Author Archives: Scott Johnson

Did O’Reilly “slander” Reagan?

Featured image The law of defamation protects the profound interest each of us has in our reputation. It has long roots in the common law of England. The English attitude to reputation can be seen in Cassio’s lament to Iago in Othello: “Reputation, reputation, reputation! O, I have lost my reputation! I have lost the immortal part of myself, and what remains is bestial.” The foul Iago seeks to persuade Cassio that »

Thoughts from the ammo line

Featured image Ammo Grrrll has her eye on RED STATE BLUE STATE: Since the advent of color television, election-night coverage has featured two separate colors for states on the electoral map. But the color scheme had not solidified until the 2000 election. In fact, Wikipedia says that as late as 1980, the networks were still using Blue for Republicans such that David Brinkley opined that the 44-state landslide for Reagan made the »

Halting Halbertal

Featured image Minnesota United States Attorney Andrew Luger took to the pages of the Star Tribune to denounce the “Islamophobia” allegedly rampant in “the news.” The column appeared under the heading “Minnesotans must face Islamophobia head-on.” Luger condemns a “current wave of Islamophobia.” There are several problems with Luger’s column. I want to note two. “Islamophobia” is a term of art invented by fanatics to stigmatize their opponents. Speaking as “Minnesota’s chief »

Iran attacks, cyber edition

Featured image Jay Solomon reports in today’s Wall Street Journal: “U.S. Detects Flurry of Iranian Hacking” (accessible via Google here). The Israel Project’s Omri Ceren takes note and comments in an email message (with the usual footnotes!) that I thought readers would find of interest: The WSJ revealed last night that there has been a “surge” in Iranian cyberattacks against U.S. officials, journalists, and activists who work on Iran. At least some »

Inside the fraying US-Israel ties

Featured image On October 23 the Wall Street Journal published the page-one story by Adam Entous on the United States’ intelligence activities directed against Israel. Given the headline “Spy vs. spy: Inside the fraying U.S.-Israel ties” (accessible here via Google), the story was full of revelations including measures taken by the United States to deter Israeli military action against Iran. Entous works the national security beat at the Journal, and his story »

Why lie? (2)

Featured image Speaking to a partisan Democratic crowd at a fundraiser in New York on Monday, President Obama mocked the Republican presidential candidates. Disparaging his domestic political opponents is what Obama does best. Not to say he’s great at it, or that he doesn’t have significant accomplishments to point to, but disparagement is his greatest strength. The GOP candidates seem to have gotten under his thin skin. “Every one of these candidates »

“Truth” hurts [corrected]

Featured image The Rathergate film Truth opened in wide release this past Friday. I took a look at the weekend box-office estimates posted by Box Office Mojo in “Truth doesn’t pay.” The film did not appear to be doing well even by comparison with Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse. Hollywood Reporter observes that the film flopped on its opening this past weekend. Nevertheless, we may have underestimated the magnitude of the »

Why lie?

Featured image In his interview with Norah O’Donnell for 60 Minutes last week, Vice President Biden said this when asked to comment on Donald Trump: The one thing I do — I’m disappointed in Donald Trump. I know what a showman and all that he is. But I really don’t think it’s healthy and I hope he reconsiders this sort of attack on all immigrants. I think that is beneath the country. »

Rabin’s legacy

Featured image The assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin 20 years ago has been the occasion of observances and retrospectives that honor his role in the Oslo Accords. Over the weekend, for example, Bill Clinton was in Jerusalem telling Israelis they must “finish the last chapter” of Rabin’s legacy. Among knowledgeable observers, Peter Berkowitz, Jeff Jacoby, and Caroline Glick have written columns worthy of note on the subject. Oslo of course »

“Truth” doesn’t pay

Featured image I’ve been curious how the Rathergate film Truth would do at the box office. The film opened Friday in wide release. Will Truth take its place in the long line of Hollywood’s politically inspired clunkers? Keep hope alive! Sony Pictures Classics paid $6 million for the distribution rights. It is spending millions more to promote the film now. It’s not a big-budget picture. I certainly hope the producers didn’t pay »

Lies of “Truth”

Featured image The Rathergate film Truth opened in more than a thousand theaters around the country this past Friday. The Sunday Star Tribune carries my column reminding readers of the film’s factual background. The column is published as “Lies upon lies: The sad state of the movie ‘Truth.'” I am grateful to Star Tribune commentary editor D.J. Tice for letting the column see the light of day in the hometown paper. Please »

Another fake hate crime

Featured image Reading a hard copy of the New York Times this morning, I find Monica Davey’s story “Suspect is charged in St. Louis church fires.” Davey updates on an investigation of church arsons that have been suspected of reflecting racial animus: A man was accused on Friday of setting two fires at St. Louis churches, part of a series of seven arson attacks that had left places of worship around the »

Live from Council Bluffs, it’s Chris Christie

Featured image Nebraska attorney David Begley continues his series of reports on appearances of the presidential candidates in Iowa for us. Yesterday Paul Mirengoff and Dave met up to attend the appearance of Chris Christie in Council Bluffs, Iowa. Paul’s impressions are set forth in the adjacent post. Omaha’s WOWT News has posted its report with video here. Dave’s report is below. Paul Mirengoff and I attended the Chris Christie town hall »

What just happened at MSP?

Featured image We went out to dinner with close friends this past Saturday evening. One of our friends told me the story below, which I asked the friend to reduce to writing in as great detail as was remembered. This is the story. It is an interesting story. It has the additional advantage of being true. I thought readers would find it of interest. My friend writes: On Sunday, October 18, I »

John Harwood reflects

Featured image The most obnoxious of the three CNBC debate moderators must have been John Harwood. The competition was stiff, but Harwood combined smug superiority together with liberal cluelessness in perfect balance. As we might have anticipated, however, Harwood is not inclined to look in the mirror to account for the negative reaction he provoked among viewers outside the media bubble. See, e.g., his walk down memory lane below via Harwood’s Twitter »

Thoughts from the ammo line

Featured image Ammo Grrrll goes TIPTOEING (Past the Graveyard of Formerly Free Speech): Way back in my misguided leftist days in San Francisco, I knew two families with wildly-varying child-raising philosophies. One couple had a lively little boy who ran barefoot in damp, chilly, meeting halls that exhibited the same standards of hygiene as many radicals did personally. He ate hot dogs, chips and candy, some picked up off dirty floors. He »

Fox News can handle this “Truth”

Featured image The folks at Fox News invited me to appear for a brief interview about the Rathergate film Truth, opening tomorrow at a theater near you. They sent me to the heart of KMSP TV’s working newsroom in suburban Minneapolis for the interview. The reporters and producers in the newsroom couldn’t escape my side of the conversation if they wanted to. That was a new one on me. FNC’s Julie Banderas »