October 7, 2019

"I’d like to offer a rule of thumb for evaluating political news: If a fact is reported the same by both the left-leaning and the right-leaning press, it’s probably a fact."

"If not, wait and see. It’s also smart to wait a week or two before you make up your mind, as the fog of war often makes early reporting unreliable. But after the fog clears, if all sides agree on a fact, it’s probably a fact. Or at least it’s credible, even if future reporting debunks it.... If you strip out the parts of the Ukraine story we can’t yet know to be true... Vice President Biden was handling the Ukraine portfolio while his son had a financial interest in Ukraine, and that is enough of a conflict to merit an investigation. We all agree that the sitting president is responsible for protecting the integrity of American elections and generally keeping foreign interference in U.S. politics to a minimum. That’s what Mr. Trump was doing on the Ukraine phone call.... All sides can also agree that Mr. Trump was serving his own re-election interests by asking Ukraine to investigate Mr. Biden. But we also agree our political system allows that—even encourages it—so long as the president is also clearly pursuing the national interest.... What we all agree to be true about Joe and Hunter Biden is that they had the types of interactions with Ukraine that raise eyebrows and invite a closer look. We also all agree that protecting the integrity of American elections should be a top priority for a president."

Scott Adams at the Wall Street Journal (and apparently not behind the pay wall).

48 comments:

Cogs said...

Seems to be behind the pay wall for me.

Lewis Wetzel said...

I dislike it when people talk about "facts." Facts are few and far between, and are most often seen in the material world, not the world of ideas. It is a fact that a cubic centimeter of water at 0 deg. C weighs one gram. Whether or not Trump considered national security or his own interests in urging the Ukrainians to crack down on corruption is not a "fact" of the same kind. It can only be a credible or reasonable conclusion, and that conclusion is always subject to reinterpretation or modification.

MadisonMan said...

It is behind the Wall. If I ever write for any Newspaper (as if), I would stipulate that my article would be free to read.

Left Bank of the Charles said...

Can we all agree?

"All sides can also agree that Mr. Trump was serving his own re-election interests by asking Ukraine to investigate Mr. Biden. But we also agree our political system allows that—even encourages it—so long as the president is also clearly pursuing the national interest."

Althouse has suggested she does not necessarily agree with the first sentence. And we are not likely to all agree on what is "clearly" in the national interest. Just rewrite that and see if you still agree:

"All sides can also agree that Democrats were serving their own re-election interests by asking the FBI to investigate Mr. Trump. But we also agree our political system allows that—even encourages it—so long as the president is also clearly pursuing the national interest."

TreeJoe said...

Fact: The average CNN article on Ukraine, Trump, and Biden uses a version of the following phrase 4 times per article, "To be clear, there is no wrongdoing by Joe Biden or his son."

It's funny, but I would say there is far more evidence of wrongdoing by the bidens than evidence of wrongdoing by Trump.

But here we are, playing with the definitions of the word "evidence" within an article. And making declarations of innocence sans investigation.

Leland said...

Adams assessment is what many Americans figured out when the transcript came out.

The oddity is the people on the left trying to call Biden's quid pro quo to fire the prosecutor a conspiracy theory, or that what Joe Biden did was fine because the fired prosecutor wasn't the particular prosecutor investigating Hunter. By Adams rules, this might negate some facts. Whatever the case, I've heard the severity of the accusations demand an investigation, which the President is supporting.

Nonapod said...

Whether or not Trump considered national security or his own interests in urging the Ukrainians to crack down on corruption is not a "fact" of the same kind.

Technically it's not a fact of any kind. We can't know what's going on in another person's head. We can only infer things based on evidence. People get things that are hard facts muddled with things that are actually just inferences all the time, especially in the media. Very often this is actually on purpose.

For example, the WaPo does "fact checks" of statements made by politicians, but uses a subjective scale to rate if something is true, or partially true, or a lie. But by calling it a "fact check" they're implying that they're using some kind of hard, quantitative system. It's misleading.

And the news media in general blends news with commentary, mixing facts with opinions, conjectures, and even bald face lies. They select what stories to report, what stories to focus on, and what stories to suppress. The cold reporting of facts is neither profitable or even desirable for them anymore. Journalists have a strange, incestious alliances with politicians, there's all sorts of career crossovers between journalists and bureaucrats. It's a giant mess.

bagoh20 said...

What about facts not reported at all by one side?

bagoh20 said...

If the premise is correct, then one fact we know is that everyone is a liar, a criminal and a traitor, becuase I've heard that from both sides.

Brian McKim and/or Traci Skene said...

Problem is, so many of us are in denial about which outlets are "left-leaning" or "right-leaning." Fox News Channel? Right-leaning, of course! Perhaps even Hitlerian! It's self-evident! NBC? Scrupulously neutral, right down the middle, pure of heart. Same with ABC, CBS, PBS.

As for Scott Adams, he's pure evil. Right?

narciso said...

well there are the documents that john Solomon turned up, like the deposition from shokin, the letter from blue star strategies, which was burismas' blue chip defense counsel

narciso said...

that's only his alter ego, Dogbert,

Can Of Cheese for Hunter said...

Journalism is dead.

The mega-corporate ChuckTood-Stephanopolis-Maddow (former Clinton staffers everywhere) press is corrupt.
Real journalism isn't reported in the corrupt corporate press.

Lee Stranahan On The Clinton State Department Crony Origin Of The Russian Collusion Hoax

Bruce Hayden said...

What is the alternative to what Adams has suggested? I think that he was very right here, that there is initially a lot of smoke and confusion when these things arise. Some of the smoke and confusion seems intentional, esp given its typical timing. But ignoring that, I think that stepping back for a week or two is a good suggestion.

MikeR said...

Paywall. WSJ is pretty strict about it, which is why I never read them any more. Their choice, I guess.

Ann Althouse said...

If it's behind the wall for you, try copying some text and googling it. Then click through. I think that's what worked for me.

Yancey Ward said...

Adams wrote:

"What we all agree to be true about Joe and Hunter Biden is that they had the types of interactions with Ukraine that raise eyebrows and invite a closer look."

I think Adams is correct in the sense I do think all of the Bidens' allies realize that what they did looks really, really corrupt, but I don't see hardly any of them saying so. Have any of the left-leaning commenters here actually admitted that this deserves to be investigated? If they have, I haven't seen it. The evidence makes a prima facie case that the Bidens were taking bribes and peddling influence for financial gain. Just one Democrat in the House or the Senate could just admit that might go a long way to gaining at least some traction for an impeachment investigation, but until the rules of the game are the same for both sides, Trump's supporters aren't going to give an inch.

Michael K said...

The most interesting thing about article is the comments.

Usually there is a flurry of left wing oriented comments that I sometimes suspect are paid for by somebody.

None there early, anyway,

Michael K said...

Althouse has suggested she does not necessarily agree with the first sentence. And we are not likely to all agree on what is "clearly" in the national interest. Just rewrite that and see if you still agree:

So, tracking down the origins of the Russia hoax are not important to you. Got it.

The greatest political scandal in the nation's history is not important. OK.

Lucien said...

We could have news outlets that were openly pro-left or pro-right. Then when a pro-left outlet published something critical of a leftist, and vice versa, it would be credible; and when they wanted something critical of the other side to be credible, they would be highly scrupulous in their reporting.

Instead, we have leftist news outlets like the NYT pretending to be objective, while using unscrupulous reporting to attack the other side.

Original Mike said...

"So, tracking down the origins of the Russia hoax are not important to you. Got it."

Oh, it's important to him, all right. Tracked down and buried.

Qwinn said...

Leftist projection has become so common, and so successful in preventing any consequences for their own crimes, that I would favor a constitutional amendment that requires that any scandalous accusation made by accuser X against accused Y triggers an automatic investigation of accuser X for whatever act that the accused is being accused of. Call it the Glass Houses amendment.

Szoszolo said...

I tried the copy-text-and-search method and am still hitting the paywall.

Ken B said...

Yancey
Of course they cannot admit that for then Trump's request to investigate becomes a normal, correct, routine thing. The house of cards is built on the assertion that the only reason Trump could possibly have is a corrupt one. You cannot sell an impeachment for normal, correct, and routine.

rhhardin said...

If not, wait and see

Hendiadys. Conjunction for subordination: wait to see.

Turns up more obviously when it has another tense. He's waiting and seeing (conj), vs. he's waiting to see (subordination).

Iman said...

OT, but something I've been wanting to express for a few weeks. This site is so refreshing, great comments from all sides, for the most part... and it's so good to see folks like Michael K, narciso and ocean S haring their thoughts and not having to wade through the flotsam that the Patterico site (IMHO) has become.

eddie willers said...

Oh, it's important to him, all right. Tracked down and buried.

Or as Iowahawk says, "Journalism is about covering important stories. With a pillow, until they stop moving"

readering said...

Complete BS. There was nothing meriting an investigation of Biden by the Government of Ukraine in 2018-2019. But I would love to see evidence Adams ever applied his syllogism to the investigation of the Trump campaign in 2016, when it was warranted.

The Godfather said...

I am puzzled by the practice of many publications, including but not limited to the WSJ, of putting OPINION pieces behind a paywall. I understand that they want to be paid for business and stock market reports, news, interviews, and so forth. But if you have an opinion on a matter of public importance, don't you want to reach as many people as possible with your opinion and the arguments supporting it?

Art in LA said...

My visit said the Adams opinion piece was available for free because the content was sponsored by Vanguard. That was the first time I’ve ever seen that. This was several hours ago, so things may have changed.

narayanan said...

Brian McKim and/or Traci Skene said...

Problem is, so many of us are in denial about which outlets are "left-leaning" or "right-leaning."
___________________
Wrong framing

If they don't stand for an individual's right and freedom to associate - they are my enemy

narciso said...

like a row of dominoes,

https://amgreatness.com/2019/10/07/morning-greatness-platoon-of-whistle-blowers-ready-to-be-deployed/

StephenFearby said...

Whistle-blowergate begins to unravel.

Linked to today by Real Clear Investigations:

Sean Davis, The Federalist:

Intel Community IG Stonewalling Congress On Backdated Whistleblower Rule Changes

Michael Atkinson, the inspector general for U.S. intelligence agencies, acknowledged that his office secretly changed key whistleblower forms and rules in September, but refused to explain to lawmakers why those changes were backdated to August.

"In tense testimony before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) on Friday, the inspector general for federal spy agencies refused to disclose why his office backdated secret changes to key whistleblower forms and rules in the wake of an anti-Trump whistleblower complaint filed in August, sources told The Federalist.

As The Federalist reported and the Intelligence Community Inspector General (ICIG) confirmed, the spy watchdog secretly changed its whistleblower forms and internal rules in September to eliminate a requirement that whistleblowers provide first-hand evidence to support any allegations of wrongdoing. In a press release last week, the ICIG confessed that it changed its rules in response to an anti-Trump complaint filed on August 12. That complaint, which was declassified and released by President Donald Trump in September, was based entirely on second-hand information, much of which was shown to be false following the declassification and release of a telephone conversation between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Michael Atkinson, the intelligence community inspector general, told HPSCI lawmakers during a committee oversight hearing on Friday that the whistleblower forms and rules changes were made in September, even though the new forms and guidance, which were not uploaded to the ICIG’s website until September 24, state that they were changed in August. Despite having a full week to come up with explanations for his office’s decisions to secretly change its forms to eliminate the requirement for first-hand evidence and to backdate those changes to August, Atkinson refused to provide any explanation to lawmakers baffled by his behavior.

When pressed on the curious changes and attempts to obscure the timeline of his revisions, Atkinson refused to explain why the forms were backdated to August even though they were not made until September. The ICIG previously stated that it changed its forms and guidance “in response to recent press inquiries regarding” the anti-Trump complaint, of which Congress was not even notified until the second week of September. The new forms, which were not uploaded to the ICIG website until September 24, nonetheless stated that the revisions were made back in August."

'...[T]he timing of the removal of the first-hand information requirement raises questions about potential connections to this whistleblower’s complaint,” three House Republican lawmakers wrote in a letter to Atkinson on September 30. “This timing, along with numerous apparent leaks of classified information about the contents of this complaint, also raise questions about potential criminality in the handling of these matters.”...'


https://thefederalist.com/2019/10/07/intel-community-ig-stonewalling-congress-on-backdated-whistleblower-rule-changes/

An example of Adam Schiff (who requested Atkinson to testify to his committee behind closed doors) being hoisted by his own petard.

glenn said...

One helpful hint about news organizations is if they haven’t shown the celebrated “Joe gets the prosecutor fired” video, they aren’t. News organizations.

Ingachuck'stoothlessARM said...

Vice President Biden was handling the Ukraine portfolio while his son had a financial interest in Ukraine, and that is enough of a conflict to merit an investigation. We all agree that the sitting president is responsible for protecting the integrity of American elections...

-why didnt 0_bama condemn and forbid Biden's shady dealings?
-what did he know, and when did he know it?
-how complicit is 0_bama in these dealings?
-who is protecting 0_bama from the fallout?

the inimitable Roscoe B Davis has an interesting thread...

https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1180456802930036737.html

Birkel said...

Left Bank of the Charles is correct. I'd wager that Left Bank doesn't know why. However, I am here to explain.

The question Left Bank implicitly asks is whether there was a "national interest" predicate for either of the two actions. That is the same question AG Barr is asking. Was there any evidence not created by federal agencies that suggests Trump was involved with Russians? The answer appears to be a resounding no. If it were otherwise, then the CIA would not have required running foreign spies at low-level campaign aides. That means the only motivation for the Obama Administration was domestic politics.

Was there evidence that Ukraine operates to affect the US presidential election? Yes. The NYT reported that set of facts. Such a statement against interests clearly has probative value. Why did they participate in this way? There is evidence the reason is because they had financial interests to do so. Joe Biden is implicated in this scheme. Therefore, there is a reason to believe the "national interest" is served by Trump Administration actions.

Thanks for that, Left Bank.

RobinGoodfellow said...

...and apparently not behind the pay wall).

The story is not ... “not behind the pay wall”.

Michael K said...

Blogger readering said...
Complete BS. There was nothing meriting an investigation of Biden by the Government of Ukraine in 2018-2019.


Democrats certainly march in order, no matter the subject or how wrong you are.

Remind me of ORCs in LOTR.

Mark said...

"If a fact is reported the same by both the left-leaning and the right-leaning press, it . . .

. . . proves nothing. They are both Establishment. There are plenty of people on the so-called "right" who are complete SFBs. Just read Hot Air or National Review. Drudge was once considered "right," but increasingly he's just a FOS NeverTrumper sell-out.

Bruce Hayden said...

@Fearby

I think that it is more complicated than that. It appears that the whistleblower rules didn’t explicitly exclude 2nd and subsequent hand information, but rather that it be reliable (this, of course, was not). I suspect that the old form required first hand knowledge, because anything else has questionable credibility. It just made it easier for the ICIG. Someone brought this to his attention, and explained that first hand information was not required by either the statutes, or the regulations. My strong hunch is that it was the Lawfare Group that figured out that angle. That is the sort of thing that they excel at. Not sure though how they convinced the ICIG that the matter was “Urgent”, justifying going straight to Congress, nor why it was allowed to go to the two Intelligence committees it had absolutely nothing to do with their oversight responsibilities, first because it involved foreign relations, and not intelligence, and second because those committees have essentially zero oversight power over what happens in the White House (they have oversight based on their legislative power (Article I, Section 1, but not over anything in the government they haven’t created, such as the Office of the President, which was created by Article II). ICIG jurisdiction was denied by both the general counsel for the ODNI, as well as the DOJ OLC. This was ignored.

effinayright said...

readering said...
Complete BS. There was nothing meriting an investigation of Biden by the Government of Ukraine in 2018-2019. But I would love to see evidence Adams ever applied his syllogism to the investigation of the Trump campaign in 2016, when it was warranted.
***********

Oh sure.... in Trump's case it was warranted.

Never mind that after 2 1/2 years of "investigation", Mueller shit the bed and the Dems have stopped talking about it.

Snort!

tim in vermont said...

I heard today that a poll was out that said more people want Biden investigated than want an impeachment inquiry.

StephenFearby said...

Bruce Hayden said...
@Fearby

"I think that it is more complicated than that. It appears that the whistleblower rules didn’t explicitly exclude 2nd and subsequent hand information, but rather that it be reliable (this, of course, was not). I suspect that the old form required first hand knowledge, because anything else has questionable credibility."

--------------

Bruce,

No, the rules did explicitly exclude hearsay knowledge. Sean Davis provided a link in his piece today to what he reported previously on this subject, with pictures of the pertinent language in both the old (pre-September) form and the new September form (falsely attributed on the IgIC's website to have come into effect without a date sometime in August.)

https://thefederalist.com/2019/09/27/intel-community-secretly-gutted-requirement-of-first-hand-whistleblower-knowledge/

Since this falsification was obviously done with corrupt intent, I don't think Atkinson is going to be in his job very long.

Drago said...

readering: "Complete BS. There was nothing meriting an investigation of Biden by the Government of Ukraine in 2018-2019. But I would love to see evidence Adams ever applied his syllogism to the investigation
of the Trump campaign in 2016, when it was warranted."

LOL

Its like Inga the Moron "Mindreader" never left!

Michael K said...

Skylark said...
I heard today that a poll was out that said more people want Biden investigated than want an impeachment inquiry.


This whole impeachment TV show is about polls. The Democrats began by threatening a vote in The House. Now, that is not mentioned. I suspect they are polling like mad and it is not looking good.

After the Civil War, the Democrats were out of office 20 years and "waving the bloody shirt" was a campaign tactic.

It may be again.

Bruce Hayden said...

https://thefederalist.com/2019/09/27/intel-community-secretly-gutted-requirement-of-first-hand-whistleblower-knowledge

“No, the rules did explicitly exclude hearsay knowledge. Sean Davis provided a link in his piece today to what he reported previously on this subject, with pictures of the pertinent language in both the old (pre-September) form and the new September form (falsely attributed on the IgIC's website to have come into effect without a date sometime in August.) ”

I agree that Davis was arguing that the form did not allow hearsay until sometime in probably August or September. But I doubt that the form is the rule, but rather the form is supposed to implement the appropriate rules, regulations, and statutes. My argument was that there may have been a difference between at least the rules and regulations on the one hand, and the reality of what the form allowed. My understanding is that the actual regulations, at least did not explicitly require first hand knowledge, just that it be trustworthy. Someone, along the way converted the regulatory requirement for trustworthiness into the requirement for first hand knowledge when creating or updating the form in years past. Then, some clever lawyer (presumably representing the “whistleblower” or the House Democrats- which is why I suspect the Lawfare group) noticed this small discrepancy, between form and regulations, and brought it to the attention of someone in the ICIG’s office. Possibly after the “whistleblower” complaint was originally rejected. This, BTW, is probably why the House Republicans have asked the ICIG for everything involved in changing the form.

Figuring out exactly what level the bureaucrats are working on, whether it is from the Constitution, statutes, formal regulations, rules, forms, interpretations, etc is essential to operating in the bureaucratic space. Higher levels control lower levels, which means that forms and rules cannot conflict with regulations, which in turn cannot conflict with statutes, etc. Dealing with this bureaucratic nonsense has been a big part of my professional life over the last three decades as a patent attorney. Figuring out how to get the form changed, without changing the relevant regulations required one or more very clever attorneys. It is extremely hard for non lawyers to operate in this space.

JamesB.BKK said...

Scott Adams: "We also all agree that protecting the integrity of American elections should be a top priority for a president."

If so, American presidents should be opposing the importation of reliably Marxist voters or not giving the vote to reliably Marxist guest workers that are allowed into the country. Also ex-Californians.

JamesB.BKK said...

When the media uniformly tells you that something has been "debunked" it's a safe position to become particularly skeptical.