If you spend any amount of time on Youtube watching videos related to politics, inevitably, this video has probably shown up in your recommendations at some point in time. It’s from Newsroom, back in 2012, and it has more than 19 million views.
This is just one version of it, of course — there are several others with views in the millions — but it’s popular because it’s a real classic of the genre of the “Jerk Store” leftism favored by its author, Aaron Sorkin.
Sorkin’s classic put-downs are everything a smart lefty parent wishes they had said in the moment they started losing the argument with their irritating nephew about carbon offsets. As for the Newsroom speech itself, Jeff Daniels credits it with saving his career, and he’s very proud of it:
“That was the speech I had been waiting 35 years to do,” he said. “You have to hit a home run with it. It was shot on day three of an 18-day shoot for the pilot. There was no guarantee we had a series. People bigger than Aaron Sorkin had gotten turned down by HBO. This was a key day because not only are we going to find out do we have a Will McAvoy, but do we have a show. Because this is placed in the first five minutes of the first episode when America is still sitting there with the remote deciding whether they want to stay with this or not. So we have to throw a knockout punch to them in the first five to 10 minutes.”
Top network executives came to the taping that day, Daniels recalled, along with a number of the cast. “Sam [Waterston, who played Charlie Skinner] later said, ‘I just wanted to see if I was going to have a job or not.’ It was all on me,” Daniels said. “I worked my ass off on it. First take, I hit it out of the park. I know that because Aaron walked over to me after take one and he goes, ‘OK, you’re pitching a no-hitter. I’m not going to talk to you.’ And he walked away. That was great. Then I knew I had a role, I pretty much — with Aaron’s help — saved my career and that everyone had a job.”
In a sense, everything about the left’s failures of the past decade can be connected back to this speech and what it represents. It was meant to serve in part as a rebuttal to Sorkin’s own optimism expressed through The West Wing and it’s “what if we could have a leader with the skill of a Clinton and the prestige of a Kennedy uplifted by a morally upstanding Catholic faith” fan-fiction — an approach which spawned a thousand Tracy Flicks who have no idea what persuasive political debate sounds like.
One of the nagging things about Martin Sheen’s President Bartlet was that he never really won debates — he just shamed and lectured people with his superior knowledge and unobjectionable character — until the musical crescendo came in and then things moved on. His literal first appearance in the premiere episode in 1999 (with his booming voice saying “I am the Lord your God”) is to correct a social conservative lobbyist who misstates one of the Commandments, because why would any conservative Christian actually read the Bible.
Where Sheen’s Bartlet was the world as Sorkin and his fellow pro-Clinton lefties wished it would be in the Bush era, Daniels’ McAvoy is a response to the world Sorkin and other disaffected Obama supporters felt had become reality post-Bush.
In both cases — the lecturing president, the hectoring newsman — Sorkin’s depiction is not in any way how politics works. If you go this route, you don’t get progress. You just get clapter. Sometimes even in book form.
But! But… it seems to be the way that Jen Psaki, Jake Sullivan, and a host of White House and Congressional staffers, frustrated by the intransigence of those crazy Republicans in the Obama years, really do believe to be the way politics works. Just as in Sorkin’s universes, the naive idiots who don’t know what’s good for them, the deplorables of the right, and their combined elected representatives are defeated not through the hard political work of persuasion, but by crafting the best insult. It’s natural to call them “stupid SOBs”. It gets applauded by all sorts of people. And deep down, it feels good.
What it doesn’t do is convince anyone at all that you are right. It might even convince them that if insults are the only argument that you have, it’s a sign you’re very wrong.
Why Are We Boosting Kids?
David Zweig. “If you listen to what these experts say, if you read the largely overlooked documents, and if you actually look closely at the primary data from the CDC and Pfizer, you will find a story of American health agencies’ misleading communications and a myopic policy agenda sometimes at odds with science.
“America is an outlier regarding its vaccine policy for young people. Numerous other countries have taken a far more conservative approach. The UK allows a third dose only for 12 to 15-year-olds who have serious medical conditions that put them at high risk or who live with a vulnerable person. Finland has a similar policy for 12 to 17-year-olds. In Ireland no one under 16 can receive a booster. Denmark, Sweden, Japan, and Spain, are among the countries that have approved boosters for adults only. Some countries don’t recommend Covid vaccines for healthy children at all, or just one dose. Norway’s Institute of Public Health, for example, states: “12-15-year-olds already have high protection against a severe disease course after the first vaccine dose.”
“Many countries also recognize previous Covid infection—what’s sometimes referred to as “natural immunity”—as the equivalent of at least one dose of vaccine. The U.S. does not. This is significant because the CDC estimates that as of September, well before the Omicron wave, more than 35% of children already had Covid.
“Just as official U.S. policy is out of step with much of the West on the cadence of the first two doses for children and on the question of natural immunity, our country is also out of step when it comes to pediatric boosters. That’s why a number of American experts, including some on the FDA’s own advisory committee, have challenged the wisdom of our policy. They have cited both a lack of evidence of boosters’ effectiveness in children and their potential—even if low—for harm.
“Monica Gandhi, a doctor and an infectious-disease specialist at the University of California, San Francisco, was blunt in her assessment. “I am not giving my 12 and 14-year-old boys boosters,” she told me.
“Dr. Gandhi is not the only expert to publicly state an intention to not comply with the CDC’s recommendation. Dr. Paul Offit is the director of the Vaccine Education Center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, a member of the FDA’s vaccine advisory committee, and is considered one the country’s top authorities on pediatric vaccine policy. He recently said that getting boosted would not be worth the risk for the average healthy 17-year-old boy, and he advised his son, who is in his 20s, not to get a third dose.
“Just last week, the WHO’s Chief Scientist, Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, said: “There is no evidence that healthy children or healthy adolescents need boosters. No evidence at all.”
“And yet, despite the fact that so many other countries are taking a more cautious path; despite the fact that leading American experts are warning against this policy; and despite the recent comments by the WHO’s chief scientist, the CDC and FDA have ignored all of this and gone full steam ahead.“
Why Aren’t More Moderates Standing With Manchin and Sinema?
David Marcus. “The most confounding conundrum in current American politics is why Democrats have lurched so far left, spoiling their supposed base, while ignoring millions of moderate voters in their own party, to say nothing of independents.
“The conventional wisdom is that Democrat leadership and their media allies exist in a bubble. That they don’t understand that most of the country doesn’t live on the Acela corridor. But that actually makes no sense. They aren’t idiots, they can read polls just like everyone else and those polls are horrible for them.
“There are at least two plausible explanations for this behavior by the party. The first is that by focusing their energy on the nation’s big cities, progressive Democrats can gain cultural power. While radical agendas on welfare, gender and education, to name a few, may play better in New York and Los Angeles than in the heartland, it is reasonable to believe that controlling politics in urban centers will influence television, movies and news in ways that will eventually spread, especially to younger voters.
“Similarly, a second reason may be that the far left sees more benefit than harm in a shellacking for their party in the midterms. After all, the Democrats who will be swept out of office are not the progressives, but the moderates. By losing this election, the former can gain institutional power in the party, possibly for a generation.
“This all makes perfect sense for Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and their ilk, but what seems to make no sense is why President Biden, and even more perplexingly Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., would go along with all this.
“The progressive bills like Build Back Better and the proposed election law have hit brick walls. In fact, the signature piece of Biden legislation that Democrats point to is the bipartisan infrastructure bill, shepherded by none other than Kyrsten Sinema. Why is Schumer throwing her under the bus? In fact, why is he throwing himself under the bus?“
Leftist Newsguard Being Used On Your Kids
Chuck Ross. “Tens of millions of American school children will soon rely on a liberal media watchdog group to determine what counts as misinformation.
“The American Federation of Teachers this week struck a deal to license NewsGuard web browser extensions to its 1.7 million union members. Students across the country will soon rely on NewsGuard's tools to determine the reliability of hundreds of websites. American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten said her union will use NewsGuard to help students to "separate fact from fiction" and "develop their critical-thinking and analytical skills."
“But while NewsGuard claims to be nonpartisan, one analysis of its rating system found it skews heavily in favor of liberal outlets. The Media Research Center found NewsGuard rates liberal sites 27 points higher in terms of trustworthiness than conservative outlets. Nine out of the 10 websites on NewsGuard’s misinformation list are conservative or pro-life websites. NPR, which came under fire last week for an inaccurate story about the Supreme Court, is listed as one of its most trustworthy sites, along with other establishment media outlets.”
Items of Interest