Saturday, August 4, 2018

President Trump, the New York Times, and Sarah Leong

President Trump’s unique foreign policy is his meeting with foreign leaders with whom he agrees or disagrees, such as President Kim Jong Un of North Korea and President Vladimir Putin of Russia. He had an open invitation out to Hassan Rouhani of Iran. He even had a tete-a-tete with A.G. Sulzberger, the new publisher of the New York Times, on Sunday, July 28. The President emerged from the meeting with his usual effusive summary. He initially described the meeting as “very good and interesting.” Mr. Sulzberger had a different perspective in a letter to the Huffington Post: My main purpose for accepting the meeting was to raise concerns about the President’s deeply troubling anti-press rhetoric. I told the President directly That I thought his language was not just divisive but increasingly dangerous.” He added the President’s “inflammatory language is contributing to the rise in threats against journalists and will lead to violence.” The debate is essentially over divisiveness: inflammatory rhetoric and fake news by the media against inflammatory language by the President. Nothing was resolved. The publisher is correct to the extent that journalism is increasingly becoming a dangerous profession with rising attacks against journalists (47 journalists and staff killed in the first half of 2018) and arrests of journalists, but that was occurring before President Trump’s election. However, much of the political violence in the United States today is triggered by the left-wing, such as Antifa, against conservatives. One left-wing nut-job even shot several Republican members of Congress in a baseball practice in Virginia. The New York Times announced on Wednesday of appointment of Sarah Jeong to its editorial board specializing in issues of technology. She is not the solution to reducing the current divisiveness in America. To the contrary her tweets pour fuel on the fires. Ms. Jeong was born in South Korea and came with her parents to the United States to pursue the American Dream and higher education. Her parents should be proud of their daughter. She received her bachelor’s from Berkeley and law degree from Harvard. She published a book, “The Internet and Garbage,” which discusses online harassment and free speech, all by 29. Sarah Jeong though has rejected the religion of her parents, asserting she “grew up in a conservative evangelical Christian bubble,” and was “trapped in a fundamentalist school” during her teen years. She cut herself “off from the conservative evangelical community,” and labeled herself “an annoying atheist.” The Times apparently has no problem with her history of racist, sexist, anti-police, and anti-Christian diatribes laced with profanities. She posted in December 2015: “I was equating Trump to Hitler before it was cool.” One tweet illustrates the ignorance of the self-proclaimed member of the “left-wing educated elite:” “I dare you to go on Wikipedia and play ‘Things white people can take credit for’ It’s really hard.” The answers include her alma maters the University of California Berkeley and Harvard Law School, the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and Bill of Rights, and her new employer, the New York Times. My erudite late father-in-law, who never attended college, called snotnoses like her “pissants.” Sarcasm and Satire usually have a degree of sophistication to be effective. Her prose is just, plain crude with all the subtlety of a blunderbuss: “I open my mouth to politely greet a Republican, but nothing but an unending cascade of vomit flows from my mouth.” Her tweets are racist. Here’s one from December 2014: “And white people genetically predisposed to burn faster in the sun, thus logically being only fit to live underground like groveling goblins.” She must have missed the life experience that shows hundreds of millions dark complexion Caucasians that are not the pale, fair skinned Anglo-Saxons, Nordics, or Slavs. She seems to be very ignorant for one so highly educated.. “ White people have stopped breeding. You’ll all go extinct soon.” Another one is “Dumbass fucking white people marking up the internet with their opinions like dogs pissing on fire hydrants.” She hates men, failing to understand that a woman can be a feminist and like men at the same time. I’m not sure which is the most sexist, vicious, malicious tweet, but this one has to be high on the list: “Oh man, it’s kind of sick how much joy I get out of being cruel to old men.” That sounds like a bully to me, picking on those unable to protect themselves. A succinct 2013 tweet was “Kill more men,” along with “All men are garbage” in another tweet. She tweeted on February 24, 2015 “ Men are innately, unintentionally garbage.” She tweeted of heterosexual women “Being a straight woman is like being attracted to garbage heaps of radioactive arsenic.” One wonders if she ever intends to pass on her genes. Her August 2014 tweet proclaimed “Men are too fucking emotional to be let out in public. Jesus Christ.” She hates police officers. She tweeted in 2014 “Let me know when a cop gets killed by a rock or Molotov Cocktail or a stray shard of glass from a precious precious window.” A 2016 tweet is particularly telling: “If we are talking about sweeping bans on shit that kills people, why don’t we ever ever ever talk about banning the police?” Common tweets are “Police are assholes,” and “Fuck the police.” One has to wonder if the Times thoroughly vetted her, considering her vicious comments about the New York Times and its editorial writers. If I were her employer, I would never hire a staffer who had these comments to say, prior to employment, of some of my star op-ed writers. She tweeted on September 8, 2013 “A just God would not allow Tom Friedman to keep talking,” and asked of the Nobel winning economist Paul Krugman: “Guys, what drugs do you think Paul Krugman uses?” (1/2/2014) I thought she was an atheist! She tweeted on August 5, 2013 “Mind you, if I had a bajilion dollars, I’d buy the New York Times, just for the pleasure of firing Thomas Friedman.” More recently on August 11, 2017 she tweeted “Brooks is an absolute nitwit tho.” Here’s what she tweeted about the New York Times on November 24, 2013: “ After a bad day, some people come home and kick the furniture. I get on the Internet and make fun of the New York Times.” The New York Times defended Sarah Jeong by issuing a statement: “Her journalism and the fact that she is a young Asian woman has made her a subject of frequent online harassment.” “For a period of time to that harassment by imitating the rhetoric of the harassers. She sees now that this approach only serves to feed the vitriol that we do often see on social media. She regrets it and the New York Times does not condone it.” The explanation doesn’t add up. Racism is racism, rather it be by whites, blacks, Hispanics Asians or Native Americans. It is no more acceptable from the left than the right. Korean Americans have not faced the historic discrimination against the Chinese and then Japanese Americans in America, including the WWII concentration camps of the Japanese Americans. Nor does her “rhetorical” response does not explain her pre-New York Times tweets or attacks on Christians and the police. We have two great Korean American professor on the faculty, with law degrees from Yale and UCLA. We have another colleague from India. All three women are excellent scholars and teachers. None of the three, as young Asian women, have engendered scurrilous social media comments. None have posted blogs or tweets that would cause a vile internet response. I assume that if my blog ever became popular and widely circulated that I would receive such comments. The Times is right in one respect to discrimination faced by Asian Americans, both by males and females; that in, in college admissions. Many elite private universities discriminate against them in admissions, just as they did against Jewish students for the first 2/3 of the 20th Century. Indeed, Harvard is currently defending itself in a law suit alleging discrimination against Asian American applications. Social media can be vicious. Hate speech, personal threats and horrific defamatory remarks are all too common from all slices of the political spectrum. The internet brings out nutjobs who can anonymously post. I assume that if my blog ever became well-read I would be receiving such treatment. Ms. Jeong is an angry, rebellious immature young woman, who’s education exceeds her rational capacity. Many commentators are upset about the blatant double standard of the New York Times. No one should be surprised. My concern is broader. She and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez seem to reflect a large generation of our younger adults.

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