Tag Archives: Media Bias

Understanding Burnham’s First Law

(February 6, 2020) Together with William F. Buckley, in 1955 James Burnham co-founded The National Review, which remains a venerable conservative publication. Today, Burnham is mostly remembered for his ten maxims, the first of which is: “Everyone knows everything,”  by which he means that nobody can forever hide the truth about themselves. Eventually, everything comes out, and probably already has. Our great secrets are not really secrets. Others perceive more about us than we realize.

Confederate monument opponents, for example, consider statue defenders to be ignorant hicks. Everybody see’s their disdain no matter how they try to conceal it.

Colleges deny statue supporters a chance to address students because too many academics feel that opinions contrary to their own should be censored.

Too many academics have also incited students to violently silence speeches that challenge listeners to question their professors.

Nancy Pelosi can tear-up Trump’s state of the union message on national TV because she knows the media will portray her as a heroine, although they would have condemned any Republican House Speaker who might have shredded an Obama speech.

Elizabeth Warren won the Iowa caucus in only a single county because it is the one where Iowa University inculcates a false identity victimhood.

Despite pretensions to the contrary, the mainstream media and their Democratic puppets have shown that they hate Trump more than they love America.

It is always those in power who censor, which they do for a single reason: To retain power.

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Buy and sample my books at my Amazon Author Page.

The Confederacy at Flood Tide by Philip Leigh
Trading With the Enemy by Philip Leigh
Lee’s Lost Dispatch & Other Civil War Controversies by Philip Leigh
Southern Reconstruction by Philip Leigh
U. S. Grant’s Failed Presidency by Philip Leigh

Washington Post Maligns My Lee-Jackson Speech: Part II

(January 31, 2020) As explained yesterday, Washington Post reporter Courtland Milloy maligned my “Defending Confederate Monuments” speech presented on Lee-Jackson Day in Lexington, Virginia. He asked that I send him a copy while we were sitting together in the front audience row during the preliminaries. I emailed it before I took the podium. After my speech he thanked me and said, “I will be in touch.” But he never contacted me. In a post here, yesterday I responded to his remarks about an incident I don’t recall ever happening. Today I reply to his comments about African-American allusions in the speech.

Why My Confederate Statue Speech Included References to Blacks

Post reporter Milloy begins his article:

At the Robert E. Lee-Stonewall Jackson Day luncheon in Lexington, Va., this past weekend, I was surprised by the level of attention that was paid to racial issues. . . There was no apparent reason to bring up the subject of race. 

“No apparent reason?” . . . My “Defending Confederate Monuments” speech included remarks about slavery and Southern blacks because statue opponents consider both factors to be good reasons for tearing down statues. Thus, any speech defending them must necessarily address slavery and racism.  I felt compelled, for example, to debunk the Southern Poverty Law Center’s (SPLC) false claim that the 1911-1915 surge in statue erections reflected racism by explaining the period coincided with the fiftieth anniversary commemorations of the war when the old soldiers were fading away. Statues for Northern veterans also surged during those same years.

A “heartfelt” 1890 speech by black Mississippi legislator John Harris supporting a $10,000 appropriation for a Confederate monument apparently annoyed Milloy.* Harris and all five other black legislators voted “yea” thereby helping the bill pass by a vote of 57-to-41 in the lower chamber. This was too much for Milloy.

First he wrote that I gave a “verified” account of the speech as though he expected me to fabricate the source. Once he realized it was genuine he wrote, “There’s always more to the story” when a statue defender speaks. He continued:

It [Harris’ speech] was a compromise effort to get more white legislators to oppose a newly drafted Mississippi constitution, [which disfranchised black voters with a poll tax and other requirements.] And when the Confederate statue that Harris had voted for was erected, there was no doubt in anyone’s mind what it symbolized.

It is true that Harris opposed the formation of a constitutional convention to replace the 1868 Carpetbag Mississippi constitution but there was no “newly drafted constitution” at the time. Moreover, the statue bill was a carveout of larger funding from a relief bill for disabled Confederates and the destitute families of deceased veterans. His speech was a moving explanation of why he wanted $10,000 from the gross funding to be applied to a statue. While nobody can rule out the possibility that Harris was trying to influence legislators to vote against a constitutional convention, the argument is speculative. Since Harris was merely showing a preference between two applications of money appropriated specifically for Confederate veterans and their families, it seems more logical to take his words at face value.

Finally, Milloy mentioned the 1896 Plessy v. Ferguson Supreme Court ruling that legitimized the “separate but equal” race doctrine as another stain on the South. Although the case involved a 1892 Louisiana incident, Justice Henry Brown of Michigan cited a Boston precedent upholding segregated schools. Six of the other justices that joined him in the 7–1 decision were from states that were Union-loyal during the Civil War. The lone dissenter was from Kentucky.

The Washington ‘Democracy dies in darkness’ Post declined to publish my response, which I provided in an Op-Ed submission.

*Harris’s speech is excerpted in “Defending Confederate Monuments”

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Sample my books at my Amazon Author Page.

The Confederacy at Flood Tide by Philip Leigh
Trading With the Enemy by Philip Leigh
Lee’s Lost Dispatch & Other Civil War Controversies by Philip Leigh
Southern Reconstruction by Philip Leigh
U. S. Grant’s Failed Presidency by Philip Leigh

Washington Post Criticizes My Lee-Jackson Speech: Part I

(January 30, 2020) On January 21st Washington Post reporter Courtland Milloy wrote an article about my “Defending Confederate Monuments” speech at the January18th Lee-Jackson Day event in Lexington, Virginia. His “Lee-Jackson Day with a bit of history and context” article portrays me unfairly. Today’s post responds to one Milloy comment excerpted below:

Before giving his keynote speech, Civil War book author Phil Leigh made an offhand remark discounting the role of slavery in the war. Another man overheard him and pointed out that nearly all the states that seceded from the Union had cited the preservation of slavery as a main reason.

That was it. End of the exchange. 

I do not recall this exchange. Mr. Milloy could have contacted me before writing the above to see if I had any response. He had my email address since he asked me to send him a copy of my speech, which I did before even taking the podium. (We were sitting next to one another during the preliminaries.) Before he left the lecture hall after my speech he told me, “I will be in touch.” But he never contacted me. If he had, I would have responded with the remarks below, which I asked the Washington Post to print as an Op-Ed. The Post declined yesterday. 

Why Did the North Fight the Civil War?

Even though most secession declarations provided by the first seven states to join the eleven-state Confederacy cited protecting slavery as a prime motive, the reasons for Southern secession cannot be equated with the reasons for the Civil War. There would have been no war, for example, if the North had permitted the seven cotton states to depart peacefully. Everyone knew there was no danger that the South would invade the North to overthrow the Washington government. Confederate President Jefferson Davis put it succinctly: “All we ask is to be left alone.” To identify the cause of war it is as necessary to understand why the North chose to fight as it is to recognize why the cotton states seceded.

Contrary to popular belief Northerners did not decide to fight in order to end slavery. Before the shooting started, the legislatures of at least ten Northern states adopted resolutions explaining their objections to Southern secession. None stated they wanted to end slavery. Most specified a desire to “preserve the Union,” which was a euphemistic way of saying that they wanted to avoid the economic consequences of disunion.  They realized that a truncated Union separated from its Southern states would face two major economic problems.

First, it could not hope to maintain a favorable balance of payments. The slave states accounted for two-thirds of America’s exports. Without the South’s export economy America might become a perpetual debtor nation forever at the mercy of its stronger trading partners that would deplete her gold supply in order to settle persistent trade deficits.

Second, since the Confederate constitution outlawed protective tariffs her lower tariffs would confront the remaining states of the Union with two consequences. First, since ninety percent of Federal taxes came from tariffs the government would lose a significant proportion of its revenue. Articles imported into the Confederacy from Europe would divert tariff revenue from the USA to the CSA. Second, and more importantly, a low Confederate tariff would cause Southerners to buy manufactured goods from Europe as opposed to the Northern states where prices were artificially inflated by protective tariffs. Consequently, the market for Northern manufactured goods in the South might nearly vanish. That market was estimated at $200 to $400 million, which was much more than America’s $54 million in tariffs collected in 1860.

Finally, Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee and Arkansas did not join the Confederacy until after President Lincoln required that they provide soldiers to militarily force the seven cotton states back into the Union, which they believed to be unconstitutional. Although each had previously refused to secede, they doubled the Confederacy’s white population and military capacity when they rejected Lincoln’s coercion demand.

Even Eric Foner admits that most historians don’t understand why the North chose to fight. In reality, they don’t want to concede selfish motives among our Northern ancestors because that would contradict the zeitgeist vouchsafed by the cultural elite.

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Sample my books at my Amazon Author Page.

The Confederacy at Flood Tide by Philip Leigh
Trading With the Enemy by Philip Leigh
Lee’s Lost Dispatch & Other Civil War Controversies by Philip Leigh
Southern Reconstruction by Philip Leigh
U. S. Grant’s Failed Presidency by Philip Leigh

 

How to Become a Civil War Historian

(October 4, 2019) Today’s post is a satire inspired by Andrew Klavan.

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So, you want to become a Civil War historian? As an author in the field I’d like to share some of the techniques that made me the person I am today, if I had not turned out to be someone else.

As a historian of the Civil War and Reconstruction your job is to develop what professionals call the narrative. The narrative is a rendering of any series of events that will demonize Confederates and their respectful descendants. In order to get to the narrative you must start by gathering facts. Facts are any opinions held by academics and New York Times best-selling authors that will cause readers to hate Confederates and their respectful descendants. You can always tell a fact because after you express it verbally to others you will say, “That’s a fact.” You may also add, “I’m being completely objective,” which makes it even more of a fact.

To be a good historian you must also understand what academics call the issue. The issue is the lens through which you write the narrative that will cause others to despise Confederates and their admiring descendants. It might also motivate the federal government to offer more academic financial grants for the purpose of writing more books and articles to demonize Confederates and their admiring descendents. That will provide the added benefit of increasing the size of the federal government thereby shrinking the freedoms of yucky people who don’t even work on a campus, or in the mainstream media.

So, for instance, if an academic historian responds to a critic by calling him a racist, the issue is free speech. But if a yucky commoner criticizes an academic, the issue is hate speech. If a student mob wrecks a Confederate statue, the issue is “making the past relevant to today.” But if a yucky person objects and the student mob attacks her, the issue is  “applying the lessons of history through political activism.” If a yucky person complains about being attacked, the issue is “learning how to petition Congress,” which is done by contacting Congresswoman Maxine Waters who will go on TV, label the complainer a white supremacist and demand that he be put into solitary confinement. If a student is injured while tearing down a Confederate statue, the issue is climate change because hurricanes and their trailing rainstorms have rotted bronze figures across the South. Any such incident justifies a demand that the college close for a week so that History and Victimology Studies students may march on Washington to protest global warming.

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Today’s satire does not apply to all history or other humanities professors. I know many try to do their jobs conscientiously and creatively. I applaud them. Nonetheless, the mockery was prompted by a growing realization that America’s educational system is so one-sided that it has become corrupted. Certainly most of the academics that I disagree with are fine people. The problem is that they work at institutions dominated by others who think no differently than they do. As a result, they don’t realize the system is broken. The same applies to the mainstream media. Both need to recognize the problem and hire others who are able to create original research.

To learn how the Republican Party mismanaged Reconstruction get U. S. Grant’s Failed Presidency and Southern Reconstruction both by Phil Leigh.

Money Makes the World Go ‘Round

(March 24, 2019) Initially the spread of Internet media threatened The New York Times with obsolescence. Like newspapers everywhere, free-falling print advertising revenues were offset by only modest gains in online advertising, which had to be offered at much lower prices due to the characteristically lower reader response rate.  Meanwhile the advent of Craigslist decimated classified advertising, which was the newspaper industry’s profit cornerstone. From 2005 onward the company announced a series of layoffs and employee buyouts that only ended in the first half of 2017.

[Learn more about Civil War and Reconstruction at My Amazon Author Page.]

In order to offset the steady revenue decline, the newspaper created a paywall for unlimited access to its online version in March 2011. Although virtually no other newspaper had any success with an online paywall, The Times grew to 1.1 million subscribers five years later in March 2016.  Less than three years (December 2018) later, online subscribers had tripled to 3.4 million. In comparison, subscribers to the newspaper’s print version presently total only about 1.0 million and have been steadily declining. Due to the robust online growth, however, The Times recently announced that it will increase per-subscriber fees later this year while also setting a goal to reach 10 million Internet subscribers by 2025.

According to an Esquire magazine article last week, The Times’s turnaround results from a Faustian bargain to abandon objective news coverage in exchange for financial success.  Specifically, argues Esquire, in the manner of a demagogue The Times is pandering to President Trump’s critics in order to attract a mob of loyal subscribers by telling them only what they want to hear. It has become an echo chamber for confirmation bias, which has led critic Andrew Kalavan to routinely refer to The Times as “a former newspaper.” Thus, the newspaper hired and appointed Sarah Jeong to its editorial board, despite her public and shameless disdain for  white males.  As this chart shows, the newspaper’s online subscription growth accelerated during the 2016 presidential campaign. Even the company’s management confessedly refers to the acceleration that triggered the ensuing prosperity as the “Trump bump.”

From the perspective the Civil War, Esquire’s criticism explains The Times’s one-sided coverage of the controversies surrounding Confederate symbols during the past three years or so. Their articles have been consistently hostile to the Southern viewpoint. Even more significant is the newspaper’s intolerance of contrary opinions, which has contributed to a near total cultural censorship. Well reasoned letters-to-the-editor and Op-Ed submissions supporting such statues and flags are ignored. Simultaneously, expressions of hatred toward the supporters of the symbols are as obvious as cow patties on a snow bank among the authors and reader comments of such articles.

In contrast three open-mined Southern white males led the newspaper as Executive and Managing Editors during the pivotal 1960s when they put the paper’s influence behind the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the 1965 Voting Rights Act. They also supported feminism and other lasting liberal initiatives. Turner Catledge was a Mississippian while James “Scotty” Reston and Clifton Daniel were from North Carolina. But, as Drew Klavan might put it, that was back when The New York Times was a newspaper, and before it sold it soul to the Devil thereby transforming itself into “a former newspaper.”

Important Breaking News

(October 3, 2108) According to The New York Times (a former newspaper) the FBI has uncovered new scandalous information detailing how Brett Kavanaugh pulled a girl’s pigtails when both were five-years-old.

Anonymous sources close to the case informed anonymous sources close to The Times that anonymous sources within the FBI have spoken to anonymous sources who know someone who was there at the time and said that Kavanaugh’s vicious assault on the innocent child left her traumatized and crying right up to snack time.

While police did not press charges, The Times interviewed a psychologist who said that studies show “all men who eventually raped women were once five-year-old-boys” thereby creating one more link in an evidence chain that The Times will write anything and doesn’t care how much it embarrasses itself.

New York Times reporter, Angela ScreamingPants, wrote the exposé for The Times after she was hired away from her job running the George Soros funded Destroy-the-United-States-and-Kill-Everyone-in-it-Starting-with-Conservative-Supreme-Court-Justices-in-Order-to-Make-a-Better-World.

Some outsiders said that her former association may indicate bias on the part of the reporter, but Times Board Member, Sarah Kill-All-White-Men responded, “What bias? Kill all White men.”

Times Editor-in-Chief—Blithering Prevarication, III—defended the piece against those who read it and laughed hysterically until their stomach’s hurt and they could do nothing but lie on their sides. Mr. The-Third said it was long past time that all the little girls be heard because “at this newspaper we believe that if it happened to one woman then every Conservative must be guilty for some reason that I cannot entirely explain.”

The Times said it will continue to investigate Kavanaugh’s past until every last shred of its former reputation for journalistic excellence is gone.

(The above is Andrew Klavan’s introductory monologue to his podcast released earlier today.)

This is only the second post to stray from American Civil War and the Reconstruction Era topics during the past five years. I make this exception because mainstream media bias has become intolerable. It is one source of the bigotry that encouraged mobs to destroy Confederate Monuments without permitting voices defending the statues to have their say. Politically correct academic historians are among the chief wellsprings for the poisonous attitudes. During the past thirty years they have produced bigoted graduates that have permeated media. The descent of The New York Times from its former excellence to its present status as a mouthpiece for misandry is one of the saddest transformations of a respected institution in my lifetime.