tipsheet
Leah Barkoukis - Warner Bros. Releases Trailer For Chris Kyle Film, “American Sniper”
Posted: 12/21/2014 5:26:00 PM EST

If the trailer is any indication, Clint Eastwood knocked it out of the park with his upcoming film “American Sniper,” which is about the story of Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, played by Bradley Cooper, who became the most deadly sniper in U.S. history while serving four tours of duty in Iraq. While the film details his mission abroad protecting his “brothers-in-arms,” it also shows him facing a different type of battle with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Cooper told reporters at the film’s premiere that it was “just an honor” to play Kyle, who was killed last year, but acknowledged the pressure of the role. “It was the responsibility I had to his family to preserve his legacy that weighed on me,” he said.

But he didn’t disappoint.

"Initially I was so focused on Chris and making sure that it honored him, but I just lost myself. It was so Chris. It wasn't Bradley on the screen. It was Chris,” Taya Kyle told the Military Times.

She continued: "I left [the private screening] feeling like a weight had been lifted. They really pulled it off. It's an authentic, genuine look at two people who love each other and what our veterans go through and what they carry ... how they take their home life to the battlefield and take the battlefield home."

The film comes out Christmas Day in New York and Los Angeles, and will be released everywhere January 16, 2015.

Matt Vespa - Michelle Nunn Will Probably Run Again Soon
Posted: 12/21/2014 3:30:00 PM EST

Yes, despite her eight-point loss to Senator-elect David Perdue, Michelle Nunn did strong enough to remain at the top of the contender list for future elections in Georgia. She brought in more than $14 million dollars by the time her failed senate campaign came to a close–and her “retail skills” even impressed Republican operatives, according to Roll Call.

Yet, the article also noted that 2016 might be too soon for Nunn to toss her hat back into the ring; the popular Sen. Johnny Isakson announced he would be seeking another term in office:

Nunn’s loss pumped the brakes on the Peach State’s potential transition into a swing state. Still, even Republicans concede a booming population in the Atlanta suburbs, particularly among minorities, portends more competitive statewide contests at some point in the future, even as the rest of the South continues to slip away from Democrats.

Her next campaign, at this point, isn’t likely to come in 2016, with the well-liked Isakson having already announced he intends to seek re-election. A second straight loss could damage her ability to clear the primary field in a more promising opportunity in the future, though Isakson lost twice statewide before his election to the Senate in 2004.

“Do you work to energize the base in the next election or do you work to win over independent and swing white voters? That’s the debate we’re having now,” said Rashad Taylor, a Georgia Democratic consultant at Mack Sumner Communications and a former state representative. “However we come out we’ll be in a better position in 2016 than we were this year.”

The current state party chairman, DuBose Porter, could face a challenge from Tharon Johnson, who was President Barack Obama’s Southern regional director in 2012. Both Porter and Johnson told CQ Roll Call Nunn would be an attractive candidate for any race in the near future.

Taylor said if 2014 were not a national wave year, both Nunn and [Jason] Carter, who lost his challenge to Republican Gov. Nathan Deal, would have performed better — and most are optimistic about the next presidential election year. If Nunn declines to challenge Isakson in 2016, the next Senate race won’t come until 2020, when Perdue is up for re-election and Nunn is six years removed from her last race.

The other notable option for Nunn is an open gubernatorial race in 2018.

While Roll Call mentioned the demographic changes in the Atlanta suburbs, the state really isn’t moving towards the Democrats in any timely fashion; it’s not even gravitating towards the center (via WaPo):

[T]he racial composition of Georgians is clearly changing. Nate Cohn reports that the share of registered voters in Georgia that is white declined from 72 to 59 percent over the past decade. Data from Alan Abramowitz strongly implies that generational replacement is at work. He reports that nearly 3 of 4 active registered voters older than 65 are white while less than half of those under 30 are white. Patterns like these, combined with the noncontroversial observation that whites are more Republican than nonwhites imply that the future may not be as good to the Republican Party in Georgia as the recent past.

However, the demographic change underway in Georgia does not appear to have had much, if any, net effect on Georgia’s “red state” status. At least not yet. To see this, consider a standard measure that political scientists, journalists and other election experts often use: the difference in vote shares received by the major-party presidential candidates. In 2012, President Obama lost Georgia by 7.8 percentage points and won the national popular vote by 3.9 points. Thus, in 2012 the margin in Georgia was 11.7 points more Republican than in the country overall. The figures for the 2008, 2004, 2000 and 1996 elections are 12.4, 14.2, 12.2 and 9.7, respectively.

Thus, in light of the demographic changes, Georgia’s lack of movement toward the Democrats poses a puzzle. Perhaps the most obvious answer is that while the nonwhite population is growing, the white population has continued to become even more Republican. Or, nonwhites in Georgia may be less Democratic than they were in the past. Of course, these are just conjectures. With more data, a persuasive answer should emerge.

It’s hard to see how any significant trend towards the left in Georgia. As FiveThirtyEight’s Harry Enten wrote over the summer, “No Democrat holds an elected statewide office in Georgia. No Democrat has won a U.S. Senate race in the state in 14 years. No Democrat has won a presidential race in the state in 22 years.”

Nevertheless, Nunn will most likely return for another crack at a statewide office in the coming years.

Kevin Glass - The Interview: These Are The Ends
Posted: 12/21/2014 3:30:00 PM EST
I don't like Seth Rogen. I don't like James Franco. Their brand of comedy is unappealing to me. I would have loved to not see their movie. And I am loathe to participate in any conflict that will place me on their side.

Nonetheless, that's were we find ourselves. I'm in the corner with James Franco and Seth Rogen. In the other corner are North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un with his legion of hackers, and the anti-political correctness police who roam Twitter.

The new Rogen/Franco joint, The Interview, looks terrible. It also was the reason given behind the massive Sony Entertainment hack, with the culprits reportedly North Korean government agents. And Sony agreed not to release the movie to kowtow to the demands and threats of those North Koreans.

Beyond having regular old bad jokes, The Interview also contains tasteless jokes, sexist jokes, and un-politically-correct jokes. For these latter sins, its removal from the theaters, by any means necessary, is a net good for the world. At least by the standards of Twitter's PC police.

Ebony senior editor Jamilah Lemieux lamented the mourning of the death of The Interview in a series of tweets, saying that those who put the movie in the category of "art" are like "petulant trust fund kid[s] who can't be held responsible for anything," and that The Interview's defenders hold up the "art" defense as a shield from criticism:

.

Freelance journalist Aura Bogado, who has written for The Nation and Colorlines, echoed a similar sentiment. After saying "Good riddance" to the film, she responded to someone asking if pulling a movie in response to North Korean threats sets a bad precedent by saying that defending a movie by "two white men objectifying Nikki Minaj's..." is not productive.

The point that comes across here is that, for Twitter's PC police, it's more important that The Interview doesn't see release than the means by which the movie is shut down. It doesn't matter that a sadistic small-minded dictator has succeeded in getting a crummy movie* dropped; it only matters that the movie is dropped and that Rogen and Franco's casual sexism won't be inflicted on the world. The ends may not justify the means; the ends merely render the justice of the means irrelevant.

Defenders of The Interview aren't saying that art should not be subject to criticism. They're saying that terrorist threats are not a legitimate reason to shut down a display of art, no matter how dumb that particular art form seems to be. Some people think interpretive dance isn't art; some people think the Piss Christ is not art; some people think that video games aren't art. Regardless of the merits of any of these media, terrorism is not a good reason to abandon their pursuit. Bowing to terrorism is notable - and is more important than even the potential misogyny of a film.

An alternate timeline that did not involve North Korea might see The Interview get released, do mediocre numbers at the box office, get roundly denounced as juvenile, crude, and misogynistic** by critics, and maybe even marginally - in some small way - incentivize film studios not to produce things that are juvenile, crude, and misogynistic. Maybe (probably?) that won't happen, but as it stands, the movie studios aren't being punished for making a bad movie, they're being punished for making fun of a totalitarian dictator. There's no way that a North Korean-spurred movie cancelation moves our culture to a more just place. There is a chance - perhaps small, but nonetheless a nonzero one - that the spectacle of a movie that is crude, juvenile, and misogynistic that bombs at the box office and is roundly denounced actually does accomplish what these writers want to accomplish.

Furthermore, and this can't be emphasized enough, we have private American companies bowing to the terrorist threats of a totalitarian dictator. This should shock us, as members of a western liberal democracy - and it certainly matters that we have Americans cheering the decision and ignoring the means by which it was accomplished.

They may not be endorsing the means by which a dislikable movie has been removed from the market, but it should still surprise us that they're ignoring those means. We might have one fewer bad movie to watch out for - but we also have set a precedent for our artistic autonomy to be subjugated by a terrorist foreign power. This was a bad week for American expression.

* Editors' note: I have not seen The Interview. Noah from Hot Air denounced commentators attacking the movie without having seen it. If you want to preface every adjective I use for the movie in this piece with "I think it looks," that would be fine, but was awkward to write. For all I know, it could subvert my expectations (that's happened before, after all).

**Note 2: Again, I have no way to judge if the movie actually is crude, juvenile, and misogynistic, but I'm granting those premeses here to take on those authors' arguments.

Cortney O'Brien - Have You Met...Rep. Richard Hudson (R-NC)
Posted: 12/21/2014 2:00:00 PM EST

Editor's Note: This article originally appeared in the December issue of Townhall Magazine. 

One day when he was a child, Rep. Richard Hudson’s (R-NC) dad dropped him off at a garbage site where he helped pick up trash until his father returned. It was a wakeup call, the congressman said. That day, he learned the importance of working for a living.

“My dad taught me the value of hard work,” Hudson told Townhall.

He would later accept jobs roofing buildings as a teenager and continued to harbor an impressive work ethic well into his adult years. He opened his own small business called Cabarrus Marketing Group, which offered business development services. Hudson said it was a “one-man ship,” but the trying role taught him more than just leadership skills. Running a business also proved to him just how much of a burden the government can be to entrepreneurship. He said a good chunk of his time was spent combing through government regulations. It's no different today. The Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, more commonly known as Dodd-Frank, Hudson explained, is one specific piece of legislation that has hampered small businesses.

“There's uncertainty in access to capital, and Dodd-Frank went way too far. Today, you can’t start a business unless you can self-finance.”

Dodd-Frank wasn't the only bill to come out of the Obama White House that has hurt small businesses. Obamacare has unleashed its own barrage of setbacks. The president's signature health care legislation forces businesses to offer health insurance to workers once their number of employees exceeds 50. What's more, the law also defines a full-time employee as someone who works more than 30 hours. Because of these regulations, many employers have fired employees or reduced their hours to avoid the added costs. Hudson shared a personal example to demonstrate Obamacare's real life negative effects on today's job market.

“I know one developer who said he’s never sat on more cash because his accountants can’t tell him what his health care costs are going to be next year.”

Instead of investing money in his company, buying new materials, or hiring new employees, this developer was forced to hold on to his money because of the Affordable Care Act’s not so cost-effective consequences.

In addition to small businesses, Hudson is also a champion for free speech. In 1954, Congress passed the Johnson Amendment, which states that people who are exempt from federal income tax cannot take part in any political campaign. President Lyndon Johnson had a specific demographic in mind when he originated this legislation, Hudson explained. After several pastors criticized the president for his leadership, he introduced the Johnson Amendment, prohibiting them from speaking their minds about political candidates in front of their congregations. More than 1,800 pastors have participated in Pulpit Freedom Sundays this year to protest the Johnson Amendment. Now, in his own effort to counteract this direct threat to the First Amendment, Hudson is an original cosponsor of the Pastor Free Speech Act, legislation that ensures pastors don't lose their free speech as soon as they step behind the pulpit.

Hudson has other legislative efforts for which he can be proud. He chairs the Transportation Security Subcommittee and in that role he managed to get an acquisition reform bill for the TSA passed out of the House. This piece of legislation increases transparency and requires the TSA to be forthcoming about its expenditures. He worked with Democrats on the bill and it passed unanimously. He describes it as a conservative reform bill that passed in a bipartisan effort.

The congressman isn't satisfied yet. This year, Hudson’s goal is to enact the Sunset Law, a bill that would do the seemingly impossible: Put a handle on bureaucracy.

“The law would put an expiration date on government departments," he explained. "It would offer some serious oversight. I am convinced this would have the biggest impact on the way things work in D.C.”

In a way, you could say Hudson is still cleaning up garbage.

Katie Pavlich - FLASHBACK: Al Sharpton's Marchers in New York City Chant "What Do We Want? Dead Cops!"
Posted: 12/21/2014 12:30:00 PM EST

As Obama civil rights advisor Al Sharpton frantically tries to distance himself from the revenge execution style slayings of two NYPD officers Saturday afternoon in Brooklyn, keep in mind that just one week ago protestors at his march in New York City were chanting, "What do we want? Dead cops! When do what them? Now!" 

The protesters were part of Al Sharpton’s “Million Marchers” protest against police violence. The protesters chanted “What do we want?… Dead cops!” as they marched in New York City.

Meanwhile, former NYPD Commissioner Bernie Kerik is accusing Sharpton and NYC Mayor Bill De Blasio of having blood on their hands. 

"In this circumstance I believe, I personally feel, that Mayor de Blasio, Sharpton and others like them, they actually have blood on their hands,” Kerik said. “They encouraged this behavior. They encouraged protests. These so-called peaceful protests that, where people are standing out there saying ‘kill the cops.’”

“Well, I hope they’re happy, because they got what they wanted,” Kerik added.

H/T Gateway Pundit

Katie Pavlich - Damage Control: Left Issues Slew of Statements After Execution Style Police Killings
Posted: 12/21/2014 11:00:00 AM EST

After months of stoking anti-police sentiment across the country, far-left organizations, leaders and government officials are in damage control mode, releasing a slew of statements in response to the execution style murders of uniformed NYPD Officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos Saturday afternoon in Brooklyn by a man claiming revenge for the cases of Michael Brown and Eric Garner. 

President Barack Obama (who made a statement hours after being briefed on the golf course in Hawaii about the incident): 

Attorney General Eric Holder:

“I condemn this afternoon's senseless shooting of two New York City police officers in the strongest possible terms. This was an unspeakable act of barbarism, and I was deeply saddened to hear of the loss of these two brave officers in the line of duty.

“On behalf of all those who serve in the United States Department of Justice, I want to express my heartfelt condolences to the officers' loved ones and colleagues. I will make available all of the resources of the Department to aid the NYPD in investigating this tragedy.

"This cowardly attack underscores the dangers that are routinely faced by those who protect and serve their fellow citizens. As a nation we must not forget this as we discuss the events of the recent past. These courageous men and women routinely incur tremendous personal risks, and place their lives on the line each and every day, in order to preserve public safety. We are forever in their debt.

"Our nation must always honor the valor -- and the sacrifices -- of all law enforcement officers with a steadfast commitment to keeping them safe. This means forging closer bonds between officers and the communities they serve, so that public safety is not a cause that is served by a courageous few, but a promise that's fulfilled by police officials and citizens working side by side."

New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio:

Our city is in mourning. Our hearts are heavy. We lost two good men who devoted their lives to protecting all of us. Officer Ramos, Officer Liu died in the line of duty, protecting the city they loved. Our hearts go out to their families, to their comrades in arms at the 84 Precinct, to the larger family of the NYPD. We honor the EMTs, the doctors, the nurses, everyone at Woodhull who tried valiantly to save their lives and couldn't. I want to thank everyone who came here today to support these families that are in such pain right now. All the leadership of the NYPD, the elected officials who are here – I thank them for coming here in solidarity with these grieving families and our police department. Although we are still learning the details, it's clear that this was an assassination – that these officers were shot, execution-style – particularly despicable act, which goes at the very heart of our society and our democracy. When a police officer is murdered, it tears at the foundation of our society. It is an attack on all of us. It's an attack on everything we hold dear. We depend on our police to protect us against forces of criminality and evil. They are a foundation of our society, and when they are attacked, it is an attack on the very concept of decency. Therefore, every New Yorker should feel they, too, were attacked. Our entire city was attacked by this heinous individual.

Even though the assailant took his own life, we'll be vigilant for any information about anyone else who might be involved. And this is a point to make clear to all my fellow New Yorkers – that any time anyone has information that there might be an attack on our police, there might be an act of violence directed at any police officer, it is imperative that that be reported immediately. You heard the commissioner outline the tragic timeline, but anybody who sees a posting on the internet or any other indication of an intention to attack the police must report it immediately. Call 9-1-1. Report it to a police officer. But whatever the situation, that information must get into the hands of the police immediately, so we can protect the lives of our police officers and, in fact, of all of us, since they protect us.

There is a sadness that is very, very hard to describe. Commissioner Bratton has felt it many times. I have felt it many times. We met the family members. We met the parents of Officer Liu, the woman he recently married. We met the wife of Officer Ramos. We met his 13-year-old son, who couldn't comprehend what had happened to his father. And with other public servants, and with leaders of this police department, we prayed over the bodies of these two officers. And I ask that all New Yorkers pray for them, pray for their families. It's a moment of terrible loss and it's a moment when we must all come together to support these families, to support healing, and to be thankful that there are heroes among us, like Officer Ramos and Officer Liu.

De Blasio must have missed the "peaceful" protestors in New York marching with Al Sharpton last week chanting, "What do we want? Want dead cops! When do we want them? Now!" 

The protesters were part of Al Sharpton’s “Million Marchers” protest against police violence. The protesters chanted “What do we want?… Dead cops!” as they marched in New York City.

De Blasio also missed this woman.

Rev. Al Sharpton: 

"I have spoken to the Garner family and we are outraged by the early reports of the police killed in Brooklyn today, Any use of the names of Eric Garner and Michael Brown, in connection with any violence or killing of police, is reprehensible and against the pursuit of justice in both cases.

We have stressed at every rally and march that anyone engaged in any violence is an enemy to the pursuit of justice for Eric Garner and Michael Brown. We have been criticized at National Action Network for not allowing rhetoric or chanting of violence and would abruptly denounce it at all of our gatherings. The Garner family and I have always stressed that we do not believe that all police are bad, in fact we have stressed that most police are not bad.

We plan to hold a press conference in the morning to express our outrage and our condolences to the families and the police department. Details to follow."

ColorofChange: 

“The ColorOfChange community is deeply saddened to learn about the killing of two NYPD officers in Brooklyn and the attempted killing of the shooter’s ex-girlfriend. It is a tragedy anytime a life is lost to senseless violence. We send our heartfelt condolences to the loved ones of the two officers that lost their lives today.

“Our community knows all too well the grief and heartache associated with losing a loved one to violence. Today is another tragic reminder that we have an enormous amount of work to do to keep our communities safe. We condemn any and all forms of violence, including violence perpetrated by and against police officers.

“ColorOfChange will continue to support peaceful protesters fighting for a higher standard of policing in cities across the country. The deaths of these officers in the line of duty should not result in retaliation or more militarized, violent attempts by law enforcement to suppress protests or target civilians. We caution the efforts by police unions and others to draw misleading connections with this tragedy to the growing nationwide movement to hold officers accountable.

“We urge the media to push back against claims not rooted in facts. This is a sad and terrible incident that troubles all of us working for more just and safer country"

#BlackLivesMatter: 

"Our hearts grieve with New York, a community already reeling from the losses of Eric Garner, Ramarley Graham, Kimani Gray, Akai Gurley, Islan Nettles and many more. An eye for an eye is not our vision of justice, and we who have taken to the streets seeking justice and liberation know that we need deep transformation to correct the larger institutional problems of racial profiling, abuse, and violence.

"We know all too well the pain and the trauma that follows the senseless loss of our family members and loved ones. We extend our hearts and prayers to the families of those who lost their loved ones this week. No one should suffer the loss of those whom they love.

"At the heart of our movement work is a deep and profound love for our people, and we are rooted in the belief that Black people in the U.S. must reassert our right to live be well in a country where our lives have been deemed valueless. Together, we champion a complete transformation of the ways we see and relate to one another.

"Now is our moment to advance a dramatic overhaul of policing practices. Now is the time to direct more resources into community mental health services and practices. Now is a moment for empathy and deep listening. Now is the time to end violence against women and trans people. Now is our moment to come together to end state violence.

"Our movement, grown from the love for our people and for all people, will continue to advance our vision of justice for all of us. Let's hold each other close as we work together to end violence in our communities—once and for all."

Ferguson Action: 

"We are shocked and saddened by the news of two NYPD officers killed today in Brooklyn. We mourned with the families of Eric Garner and Mike Brown who experienced unspeakable loss, and similarly our hearts go out to the families of these officers who are now experiencing that same grief. They deserve all of our prayers.

"Unfortunately, there have been attempts to draw misleading connections between this movement and today's tragic events. Millions have stood together in acts of non-violent civil disobedience, one of the cornerstones of our democracy. It is irresponsible to draw connections between this movement and the actions of a troubled man who took the lives of these officers and attempted to take the life of his ex-partner, before ultimately taking his own. Today's events are a tragedy in their own right. To conflate them with the brave activism of millions of people across the country is nothing short of cheap political punditry.

"Elected officials and law enforcement leaders must not allow this narrative to continue, as it only serves to heighten tensions at a time when the families of those killed are in mourning.

"We stand with the families in mourning, we stand united against senseless killings, and we stand for a justice system that works for all."

The narrative has already become that the perpetrator who carried out the assassinations and eventually killed himself is unrelated to the cases of Michael Brown or Eric Garner, but the Instagram account of the murderer states otherwise.

"I'm putting wings on pigs today, they take 1 of ours....let's take 2 of theirs #ShootThePolice #RIPErivGardner #RIPMichaelBrown This may be my final post. I'm putting pigs in a blanket."


Katie Pavlich - WATCH: NYPD Officers Turn Their Backs on NYC Mayor De Blasio
Posted: 12/21/2014 10:25:00 AM EST

Shortly after the horrific murders of NYPD police officers in Brooklyn yesterday, New York City Mayor De Blasio did not receive a warm welcome when he entered Woodhull Hospital for a press conference. NYPD police officers in the room turned their backs on the mayor and Police Commissioner Bill Bratton as they walked into the room. 

As a reminder, De Blasio recently slammed the New York police to the media, essentially called them racists and accused them of being responsible for the "distrust" in local communities. UPDATE: He also explained to the press how he warned and "trained" his son to be afraid of police. 

Police unions, which have been angry for weeks, are accusing De Blasio of having "blood on his hands"  for the recent slayings.

A written message from Edward Mullins, president of the Sergeants Benevolent Association, addressed the mayor directly. “Mayor de Blasio,” it read in part, “the blood of these two officers is clearly on your hands.”

Naturally, after police refused to face De Blasio as he entered the room, his press secretary lashed out and accused officers of "irresponsible" behavior.

Asked on Saturday about the turned backs and union messages, Phil Walzak, the mayor’s press secretary, said it was “unfortunate that in a time of great tragedy, some would resort to irresponsible, overheated rhetoric that angers and divides people.”
De Blasio didn't speak for long at the press conference last night and deferred to Commissioner Bratton, but not before saying "We're all in this together," which was met with the response, "No we're not" by an officer in the room.

Katie Pavlich - Tragedy: Murdered NYPD Police Officers Taken From Wives, Child Days Before Christmas
Posted: 12/20/2014 8:30:00 PM EST

Earlier today in Brooklyn, two New York City police officers were shot execution style in broad daylight by a gang member from Baltimore. The officers were killed while sitting in their patrol car. They were in the area working overtime and participating in an anti-terrorism exercise. They didn't have the chance to pull their weapons in defense. 

Their names were Officer Wenjian Liu and Officer Rafael Ramos. Officer Liu was recently married and is survived by his wife. Officer Ramos turned 40 on December 12 and leaves behind his wife and 13-year old son. 

Rest in peace PO Rafael Ramos and PO Wenjin Liu.

May they rest in peace.

Cortney O'Brien - Horror: Two Police Officers Murdered in Brooklyn
Posted: 12/20/2014 5:30:00 PM EST
Editor's note: This post has been updated.

Tension between citizens and the police has been at an all-time high in recent months, considering the fallout from grand jury decisions not to indict white police officers who felt they were justified in killing unarmed black men. But this relationship took another tragic turn today, when two New York police officers were shot and killed while sitting in their squad car in Brooklyn. More from the AP:

An armed man walked up to two New York Police Department officers sitting inside a patrol car and opened fire Saturday afternoon, striking them both before running into a nearby subway station and apparently committing suicide, police said.

One law enforcement officer told the New York Post that this was an 'execution.' As for the executor, he is dead:

The suspected gunman fled to a nearby subway station at Myrtle and Willoughby avenues, where he was fatally shot. Preliminary reports were unclear on whether he was shot by police or his own hand.

On his Instagram page, the murderer bragged about getting 'revenge' for the grand jury decisions in Ferguson and New York. 

Whether it was rioting and looting in Ferguson, Missouri, then blocking traffic and shutting down bridges in New York City, protesters have made themselves heard. How sad, however, that things have come to this.

Some are blaming the media and the federal government for encouraging an anti-cop mentality:

Others are wondering whether this fatal shooting will get as much media coverage as the tragic cases of Michael Brown or Eric Garner:

Michael Brown and Eric Garner should not be dead. They should certainly be remembered. But taking more lives is not the answer. Pray for the NYPD. 

Matt Vespa - Here Are The Emails Between UVA And Rolling Stone
Posted: 12/20/2014 1:30:00 PM EST

We all know that Rolling Stone’s UVA story is a complete disaster. Though have no fear; Rolling Stone writer Sabrina Rubin Erdely, who botched the original story, is re-reporting…on her own discredited piece.

To add to the history of shoddy journalism that surrounds this piece, the Federalist published the findings from their FOIA request regarding email exchanges between Rolling Stone and the University of Virginia last night. Most of it surrounds writer Sabrina Rubin Erdely trying to set up a one-on-one interview with university president Teresa Sullivan, which didn’t go as smoothly as Rubin had hoped. The Federalist’s Sean Davis wrote that:

Erdely bristled when told she would not be given a private, one-on-one meeting with Teresa Sullivan, the UVA president.

“I do hope that my interview with President Sullivan will be one-on-one,” she wrote, “as I don’t generally conduct interviews with PR people sitting in.”

Her complaints continued in a separate e-mail to UVA officials.

“As for the presence of other people during the interview: If that’s the only way I’ll be allowed to talk to President Sullivan, then so be it,” Erdely wrote. “But I imagine a university president is fully capable of getting through a phone conversation on her own, without help.”

Additionally, Mollie Hemingway, also of the Federalistwrote that in one email exchange between UVA and Rolling Stone fact-checker, Lisa Garber-Paul; they told her that a case Erdely was referencing in her piece was “objectively false:”

Even though Garber-Paul at no time asked about any of the anecdotes in Erdely’s reporting, the University of Virginia repeatedly told Erdely and Garber-Paul that the facts of one case she was talking about were mistaken. Anthony Paul de Bruyn [University Spokesperson] wrote to Garber-Paul, “It has been brought to our attention by a few students that Sabrina has spoken to that she is referencing an incident where a male student raped three different women and received a one-year suspension. “This is in fact objectively false.”

So, while this latest development isn't exactly a bombshell, over at the Washington Post, former editor of the Philadelphia Inquirer and the Lexington-Herald Leader, Amanda Bennett wrote that Will Dana, RS’s Managing Editor, has done untold damage to everyone involved with this story and should resign for journalistic negligence. Also, she noted that a story having a strong narrative isn’t a bad thing, but without facts; it’s just bias:

Allowing the narrative to take control is what crowds do. It is what mobs do. It is what despots and tyrants do. It is what, unchecked, we all will do.

There is nothing wrong with pursuing a strong story, or even with having a strong point of view. Advocacy demands it. And journalism, like science, is often at its best when pursuing a powerful thesis statement.

But a strong narrative without the underpinning of facts is bias. And bias can morph in the blink of an eye into destruction, fear and suspicion.

You, Will — as editor of a major publication with huge readership and huge credibility — had an obligation to do one thing well, and that was to find out what really happened. Everyone should do this before they make up their minds, forward a post, condemn an actor, a politician, a school, a system. For you, Will, whose publication commands so many resources and so much respect, that was your primary obligation. To temper the narrative with the truth. And it was to do so before you passed this story on to others.

Buying into a story, as your official statement says you did, based on your feelings that it is “credible” is buying into a narrative. And narrative ungirded by facts is bias. The most basic fact-checking involves reaching out to the other side. And that, you tell us, you did not require the reporter to do.

So, Will, if your temptation down the road is to seize on whatever facts your investigation uncovers to say: “See? We told you. We were right all along” — don’t. Just don’t. Instead, look at the harm that you have done by buying into the narrative and not checking the facts.

If it turns out that “Jackie” is a troubled young woman who has turned some trauma in her life into a gruesome fantasy tale, then you have committed the sin of exploitation. Deep, thorough reporting would have exposed the fault lines in the story and spared her and you. If your reporting finds that Jackie is credible and her story, despite inaccuracies in details, is largely accurate, then you have committed another sin by handing detractors of the issue the crowbars with which to pummel your — and her — account. No matter what you find, it is hard to imagine that you will ever restore the story to the credible status that you once believed it deserved.

As I’ve said previously, this isn’t about the hoax of campus rape, rape apologists, or the patriarchy. It’s about bad journalism. Jackie could have been sexually assaulted in some fashion that night. The allegations that she was forced to perform oral sex on five men could be true. Yet, because of RS’s irresponsible reporting, that possible truth is irreparably damaged.

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