Lying Democrats and the Evolution of Fake News and Activist Journalism

John Hinderaker and Joe Concha speak at Restoration Weekend.

Lawyer and co-Founder of the  Power Line blog John Hinderaker discusses "Rathergate", the evolution of media bias, fake news; while pop culture analyst, and media personality Joe Concha wows the crowd with stories about activist journalists and lying Democrats. Don’t miss this dynamic duo who spoke at the David Horowitz Freedom Center’s 2021 Restoration Weekend on Nov. 11th-14th at the Breakers Resort in Palm Beach, Florida. A transcript follows.

Transcript:

John Hinderaker: What I want to talk about in my presentation here is the evolution of the issue of media bias over the last 15 or 20 years.  And I want to do that primarily by comparing and contrasting two significant milestones in that story of media bias, which I think sheds a lot of light on how things have changed since the early 2000s.

So we started the website Power Line in 2002.  And media bias was one of the topics that we wrote on all the time.  And in those days, reporters for newspapers like the Washington Post and the New York Times were relatively accessible.  Their email addresses were public.  And if we emailed them, as we did rather frequently, to comment on and to critique their news stories, they usually would respond.  And so we got into some very interesting colloquies with some of those reporters, which resulted in a number of corrections being made to news stories.  Now, those corrections were generally subsilentio, unacknowledged, certainly, as to the source.  But nevertheless, that would sometimes happen.  Reporters in those days wanted at least to be seen as objective and fair, even though most were, in fact, biased in the direction of the Left.

Then in 2004, an episode that became known as Rathergate occurred.  "60 Minutes" tried to help swing the presidential election to John Kerry by publishing fake documents that put the service of President George Bush in the Texas Air National Guard, way back in the early 1970s, in a bad light.  It was a complete fraud.  The documents were fakes.  And the fraud unraveled quickly, as we at Power Line and others on the internet showed that the documents were clumsy forgeries that were full of substantive errors as well as the typographical errors that made most of the news.

What was most interesting to me, though, for the current context about the Rathergate affair is that within 12 hours after we hit the publish button on the very first installment of our post, "The 61st Minute," which we then went on to update with input from readers throughout the day -- but within 12 hours of that first publication, CBS News announced that it was launching an investigation into what had happened.  And they in fact did that.  They hired a former attorney general of the United States, a guy named Richard Thornburgh, to head up the investigation.  And he and others eventually produced a report called the Thornburgh Report, which painted a devastating, devastating picture of what happened, of the fraud that was perpetrated by "60 Minutes."

And as a result of that report, as a result of the facts that came out, CBS News fired Dan Rather, their longtime anchorman.  And they also fired Mary Mapes, who was the real villain of the piece, the producer of the segment that falsely smeared President Bush and his Air National Guard experience.  Years later, then then-head of CBS News said that the Rathergate incident represented the low point in the history of that news organization.

And the key point that I want to make here is that back in 2004, CBS News was really embarrassed that it had produced a false news report.  It really did want at least to be seen as a fair and unbiased news source.  And when the fraud was exposed, it took decisive action against the employees who had perpetrated it.  That was in 2004.

But over the next decade, that attitude changed.  Major news organizations have gone from being biased against conservatism to engaging in open warfare against conservatism.  In 2016, Dean Baquet, the executive editor of the New York Times, publicly stated that the New York Times approach to covering the news had changed when it came to Donald Trump.  No more neutrality, no more objectivity.  The Times would openly attack Trump, not just in its editorials but in its news stories.

Shortly after Baquet made that announcement, the Russia collusion story hit the news.  And it continued to dominate the news for the next two or three years.  And of course, we all remember the Russia collusion story, this idea that President Trump had joined forces with Vladimir Putin and the Russians to somehow influence the 2016 election in his direction.  And the support for that hypothesis -- which on its face is totally bizarre and belied by everything that Donald Trump ever did vis-à-vis Russia -- in which he stood up to Russia, unlike what the Democrats were doing, and promoted the production of American petroleum resources, which hurt the interests of the Russians more than anything else that could've been done.  But nevertheless, the only support for that hypothesis was the so-called Steele Dossier.

Well, the so-called Steele Dossier was a complete fraud.  It was paid for the Hillary Clinton campaign and brokered by Marc Elias, who some of you heard a lot about in Mollie Hemmingway's presentation just a little while ago.  And who was it who promoted the fraud of the Steele Dossier?  It was not fringe news sources on the Left, no.  It was promoted primarily and overwhelmingly by the New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN, MSNBC and other allegedly mainstream news outlets.

I would submit that the Steele Dossier never had any plausibility, let alone any proof, to support its allegations.  And I believe that the journalists who promoted it knew that in all likelihood they were promoting lies.  But they didn't care.  Their mission was to help Hillary Clinton win the election, and failing that, to hamstring the incoming Donald Trump Administration.  And in that last goal, they wound up succeeding very well.

Now, the Russia collusion story has long been exposed as a hoax.  Bob Mueller and his team of partisan zealots couldn't find a shred of evidence to support its allegations.  And the investigations of Devin Nunez and John Durham have shed plenty of light on how exactly the fraud was perpetrated.

But here's the point.  Has any liberal news organization launched an internal investigation, as CBS did back in 2004, to try to find out what happened; how could they have been so wrong about a story that they promoted so heavily?  Has any major news organization taken that approach?  The answer is no.  Not one.

Has any reporter or editor who promoted the Russia collusion hoax and made that the centerpiece, really, of liberal news reporting for, what, a year, two years, three years -- have any of the reporters and editors who promoted that hoax been fired, like Dan Rather and Mary Mapes were fired?  The answer is no.  Not a single one.  And a number of these news organizations won Pulitzer Prizes for promoting the Russia collusion hoax and the Steele Dossier.  Have any of those Pulitzer Prizes been returned?  The answer, obviously, is no.  As best I can tell, the liberal reporters and editors who promoted that story are not in the least embarrassed that the story turned out to be a clumsy fraud that was perpetrated by the Democratic Party.

On the contrary, I think they are proud of what they did.  I think the fact that the story turned out to be a hoax simply emphasizes the fact that they were willing to make sacrifices -- emphasizes, shows how far they were willing to go for the liberal cause, for the anticonservative cause.  I think it is to them a point of pride.  Their mission was to bring down Donald Trump.  And the Russia collusion hoax played a major role in what ultimately turned out to be a successful effort.

So I think if you juxtapose those two stories, they illustrate how we have gone from liberal media bias in the earlier years of the 21st century to the open warfare on conservatism that we are seeing from the left-wing, the dominant, media today.  And it's not just Donald Trump.  When Dean Baquet made his announcement about the changing philosophy at the New York Times, he tied it specifically to then-candidate Donald Trump.  But it's not just Trump.  The same posture of open advocacy, open warfare against all conservatives and all conservative causes persists in liberal media today.

And the only other thing that I want to add, before I turn it over to Joe and to a more general discussion, is that the dominant social media platforms are now playing an important role in amplifying the left-wing propaganda that is produced by the Washington Post, the New York Times, CNN and so forth.  The social media giants uniformly view these far left-wing organs as mainstream news organizations that are really beyond question and beyond reproach.  And they feature them prominently on, for example, Facebook and on Apple News.  And no news story from the New York Times or the Washington Post has ever been banned by Twitter.  So social media companies right now, I think, are very prominent in perpetrating or perpetuating the outdated idea that these media are merely biased but nevertheless still mainstream.

So that is where I see the media landscape today.  That's how I think it has evolved over the last 15 to 20 years.  I think the big question remaining is what are we going to do about it.  And I'll defer that for the ongoing discussion.  Thank you very much.

(Applause)

Joe Concha: This is not a shtick.  You know, people plan these things in the mirror when they get out of their shower before they do a speech.  I swear this just hit me.  This goes to the first person that could get out there, get me a coffee --

(Laughter)

Joe Concha: -- lots of cream, lots of sugar.  You, in the -- yeah, the Harvard hat.  Go.  And water, too.  I am in -- I'll be transparent like I always am, folks.

(Applause)

Joe Concha: Like on Fox.  I am impossibly hungover right now.

(Laughter)

Joe Concha: Bourbon.  It's the first time without my wife and kids like in six years.  So I went out last night like I was back in Panama City during Spring Break.

(Laughter)

Joe Concha: Sorry about that.  But The Breakers is happy.  $16 for a glass of bourbon, Jesus Christ.

(Laughter)

Joe Concha: You people.

Anyway, my dad just texted me before I came on.  Said, how's it going, Joey?  Still calls me Joey, because that's a Jersey thing, I guess.  So I'm going to put on the camera here.  All right.  What I want you all to do -- his name is Al, all right -- and just say, Hi, Al.  Joey's doing -- that took like at least two minutes.  Thank you.  Appreciate it.  Oh, hey.  Oh, there we go.  Somebody's got to get it.  He's still running, look at that.  He's like Jack Palance.  Look at that guy.  All right.

Anyway, all right.  So we're going to put this on here.  All right?  And just say, Hi, Al.  Joey's doing great.  Okay?  I'm going to do it in three, two, one.

Audience:  Hi, Al.  Joey's doing great.

Joe Concha: Excellent.  All right, I'll send them up to him.  It'll be on Facebook in about 90 seconds.

(Laughter)

Joe Concha: That's good stuff.  Oh, man, all right.  Serious talk, serious discussion.  Let's talk about the media.

And it was touched upon earlier -- it's no longer about bias.  We all know that's happening.  The isms have shifted.  It's gone from journalism to activism, like outright activism.  You watch the White House press briefings, and you see [ Michel Sender ] saying Republicans lied about critical race theory being taught in Virginia schools, Jen Psaki.  What are you going to do about it?  It's like, wait a minute, that's a question?  That's a speech.  And then that all started with Jim Acosta, obviously.  And fortunately, at least, you have a Peter Doocy in the room from Fox, who is basically the only person asking tough questions.  That's right, clap for Peter.

(Applause)

Joe Concha: And Peter, if you're watching this online, Venmo joe.concha9.  Thank you.

(Laughter)

Joe Concha: Good news is, by the way -- I know you folks paid to be here -- this actually is only costing you zero, zero dollars.

(Laughter)

Joe Concha: Costs nothing.  So when you're done, go to the Freedom Center people and be like, I want my money back.

What's with Biden doing that, that whisper thing?  I mean, you would think that the communications team would say yeah, that's just creepy, stop doing that, please.  But what are you going to do?  Let's go -- yeah, exactly the Brandon Administration.  That's what we're going to call them from now on.  I just got my dad a Let's Go Brandon sweatshirt for Christmas.  You can buy them, I swear.

Look, I go back to the same poll when it comes to media.  And that's that eight in 10 independents -- all right, I'm pretty sure you guys probably would consider yourself a republican conservative -- independents, the people in the middle, that say they're in the middle, say that the media knowingly puts out information they know to be false or fake.  That's the perception from people in the middle.  And then, you ask you folks, it's 99.99 percent of Republicans, the one holdout being Mitt Romney.

(Laughter)

Joe Concha: But that's where we're at.  So it's not like you have mistakes that happen because it's human error, because it happens.

When I was a reporter with The Hill, I would make a mistake.  But I'd go right on Twitter or anywhere I could and say, I got this wrong.  Here's what I did wrong, and I'll try not to do it again.  And the response that I would get would be like wow, that's refreshing, that's great.  You don't see that.  To the point around Russia and collusion, the fact that all these news organizations got this so wrong for so long, by the way -- this went on for three years.  Three years.  And do you hear anybody apologizing?  No, of course not.  It's not in the DNA, they can't do it.

In fact, you still even have -- I mean, talk about -- there are people that are rewarded for lying in this business, right?  Rachel Maddow, right, who pushed this for three years -- she's the top-rated host on MSNBC, which is kind of like being the skinniest kid at fat camp.  But still, she's the top-rated on that particular network.  What's the other one?  Tallest midget in the room?  Yeah, whatever, whatever.  And I'm sorry for the -- she pushes this for three years.  So then what do I got to read?  That she was offered $20 million by Jeff Zucker -- which rhymes with hooker -- over at CNN.  In other words, she gets the story so wrong, and she's going to be rewarded for it.

Chris Cuomo, right?  This guy, he gets COVID and decides -- see, that was like four minutes.

(Laughter)

Joe Concha: Okay.

(Applause)

Joe Concha: Did you get your -- you get the 10 bucks?  It's down there somewhere.  Yeah, there you go.  All right, thank you.

(Applause)

Joe Concha: Appreciate it.  All right, it's good right there, that's fine.  Thank you.  Just one moment, please, thank you.  God, that's hot.

Unidentified Audience Member: Sugar's on top.

Joe Concha: Oh, thank you, I appreciate that.

All right.  You got Chris Cuomo.  He breaks his own quarantine, right?  He goes to visit his other house in the Hamptons that's currently being built.  And then a 60-something-year-old guy on a bike comes up to him and says, what are you doing out?  You were just on TV last night saying that you had fever and the shakes.  And then Cuomo says, get out of my face.  You know, I don't need this jack you-know-what.  You know, goes on the radio next day and brags about it.  Is this the stupidest person on television?  I mean, you break your own quarantine, and then you brag about it.  Then you deny you ever did it.  So what does CNN do?  They give him a podcast.

We brought up Brian Williams before, right?  He is caught lying.  He says that he was shot at in Iraq.  He said he saw some bodies going down Bourbon Street, right, in the French Quarter.  What happens with him?  He goes from getting a half hour a night on the NBC Nightly News to an hour on MSNBC.  Let's double his time.  What a great idea.  So that's where we're at at this point, folks.

And it's funny, the mistakes.  We always hear about the mistakes.  I got to hear, you know, Brian Stelter like, well, people in this business -- sometimes there is human error, but they own up to it.  Why is it that all of those mistakes go towards conservatives, or towards Republicans?  I never see a false report that's damning to Joe Biden.  You ever see one once?  No.  But a hundred times you saw it during the Trump Administration.

And the reason why, you know, the media is so far biased -- and then now, obviously, it's activism -- is think about where national media is located.  It's in New York, and it's in Washington.  Go look at the 2020 Presidential election results sometime.  If you want to see how Manhattan and Washington, DC voted, it was something like four percent for Donald Trump in Washington and nine percent in Manhattan.  So you had this conformity.

And people in this business -- they're not here to inform you, the viewer, the reader.  They're there to get peer approval from those they work with in that bubble.  That's what they're really after.  And you see it on Twitter.  They're all retweeting each other, they like each other's tweets.  They're supposed to be in competition. New York Times and Washington Post used to hate each other.  Now it's like they're in cahoots.  CNN, MSNBC; same thing.  So that's what we're seeing now at this point.

But look.  You look at the Rittenhouse trial.  Right?  And that's what I'm talking about with conformity.  And I'm watching the analysis on this on CNN, MSNBC; reading the New York Times and the Washington Post.  Can one person at these organizations give a contrarian view to what everybody else is saying at those networks?  Just watch that trial.  Right?  The kid defends himself.  Somebody points a gun at him.  Witness testimony says that.  And instead, I got to hear about this kid's fake crying, and he's guilty until proven innocent.  We saw it with Cavanaugh, and you could go all the way down the list.  They all say the same thing.

Now the good news is, it's like the tree falling in the forest thing, where no one's really watching, just friends and relatives, basically.  I mean, I know I work for Fox, and this isn't like a yay Fox thing.  But I'm just giving you the baseball scores right now.  Fox in some time slots is beating CNN and MSNBC by five times the audience.  Sometimes four times the audience.  Newsmax, which I'm sure some of you are fans of here -- they beat CNN in some circles.

(Applause)

Joe Concha: And you can watch Newsmax and Fox, guys.  Really, there's no law against it.  That's more than fine.

So that's what's amazing about that.  But again, we reward the liars, and we reward people that are just -- so shouldn't be on TV just for the way they conduct themselves personally, for example.  I'll do the next part of this speech in this fashion.

(Laughter)

Joe Concha: Speaking of Rittenhouse, I got to watch Jeffrey Toobin yesterday.  Talk about hands up, don't shoot.

(Laughter)

Joe Concha: He's calling Rittenhouse an idiot.  This guy gets back on the air after he did what he did on a Zoom call in front of his female coworkers.  And he gets hired back anyway!  I mean, he should've been given the shaft!

(Laughter)

Joe Concha: Long time ago.  But instead, CNN gives him a happy ending.

(Laughter)

Joe Concha: How does that happen?  I worked on that for like three days.  Was the delivery good?

(Applause)

Joe Concha: All right.  Thank you.

And you got to love the Virginia election, right?  I mean, wasn't that the best?

(Applause)

Joe Concha: So you would think the media would have a come-to-Jesus moment and say, you know, maybe we kind of got this whole thing wrong, that there really is concern among parents -- I'm a parent of a six- and an eight-year-old, for example -- that maybe they really do care what their kids are taught in schools.  And maybe this critical race theory thing, which flies in the face of what Dr. Martin Luther King once said -- which is, you know, judge somebody by the content of their character, not by the color of their skin -- it's the exact opposite of that.  Maybe parents actually stood up and said enough.  And they elected Glenn Youngkin -- who none of you in this room can pick out in a lineup even six months ago, right -- over Terry McAuliffe, who's now -- you know, with baseball, I guess, this is okay, [ not ] one for three in running for governor of Virginia.

So then afterwards, I expect to hear analysis on this to say that education played a big factor.  And yes, critical race theory is being taught in Virginia schools.  Even though it's not on the syllabus, it's there, believe me.  And I see it in New Jersey as well.

And instead, I got to hear that no, no, no, no, no.  It was white supremacy that fueled Glenn Youngkin to his victory.  And Winsome Sears.  Who's Winsome Sears?  Oh.  She's the first female to win statewide in the Commonwealth and is a woman of color.  So white supremacists voted for her.  Then I look at the exit polls, and I see Glenn Youngkin got more than 50 percent of the Latino vote.  White supremacists in the Latino community!  Wow.  We got a lot to look out for.

So again, you know, I mentioned I have a six-year-old.  I read him "The Boy Who Cried Wolf" not too long ago.  And if you keep crying racism over and over again on TV, maybe people are going to stop paying attention.  Because it doesn't have its impact anymore.  Right?  It's quite simple.

So, this is interesting, by the way.  Could you imagine what Joe Biden's poll numbers would be if the press was even one one hundredth as hostile as it was to the previous President?  And he's still at 38 percent.  The Vice President, right?  I call her Tattoo.  You ever see "Fantasy Island?"

(Laughter)

Joe Concha: The plane, the plane!  She's going, the plan, the plan!  I'm like, what's she doing a Tattoo imitation for in Paris?  What a train wreck.  And she's supposed to be plan B, by the way.  That's your plan B.  When an 80-something-year-old Joe Biden needs to pass the torch, there's the next generation of Democrats.  Kamala Harris.  At 28 percent.  Not good.  Not good.  And then Pete Buttigieg apparently is plan C.  The transportation secretary.  And every interview I see with him done by media is asking about how his kids are doing, how paternity leave went.  The guy goes on paternity leave for two months, doesn't even name an acting transportation secretary during a crisis, and the blames Tucker Carlson for being mean to him.  No, do your job!

(Laughter)

Joe Concha: Oh, sorry.  The coffee's kicking in.  Appreciate that.

(Laughter)

Joe Concha: Yeah.  So you look at Biden's polls though, still.  I mean, this is hilarious.  I mean, this is the best unintentional comedy you'll ever hear.  Sixty-four percent of Americans, right -- two thirds -- don't want him to even seek a second term.  Like not only do we not want you; please don't run again, right?  And that includes half of Democrats, who want another candidate.  Oh, boy.  Again.  Who's your plan B?  Andrew Cuomo?  Whoops, nope, not going to happen.

(Laughter)

Joe Concha: And this is after the time is takes to deliver a baby to term.  This is nine months, and this is the perception of this guy.  Because here's the good news.  The media, as much as they try to be nice to this President, and hospitable -- you can't spin inflation.  Because that's something that we all feel.  It's now at a 30-year high.  You can't spin the supply chain crisis, when you may not get that Christmas gift this year.  You can't spin food prices going through the roof.  And this Thanksgiving will be the most expensive Thanksgiving you'll ever have.  You can't spin the border that is the catastrophe that the President refuses to visit or the Vice President refuses to visit.  You can't spin hundreds of Americans left behind in Afghanistan.

You cannot spin skyrocketing violent crime.  I got more friends -- it pisses me off to no -- I'm sorry I use that language.  But I got people now moving into my neighborhood from New York City.  And I keep trying to buy a bigger house for my family.  And the prices are going through the roof because all this New York money's coming in.  I keep getting outbid.

(Laughter)

Joe Concha: Because everybody's leaving New York, because New York is now really expensive to live in.  And it's dangerous to live in.  Boy, what a combination.  So now they all come out to Wyckoff, New Jersey.  Thanks.  Appreciate it.  The point is you can't spin all this stuff.  And even if the media tries to finesse it, no one believes them, anyway.

The Hill did a great survey, study, whatever you want to call it.  And they looked at 60 major newspapers in the country before the 2016 election.  Who did they endorse?  Fifty-eight endorsed Hillary Clinton.  Two went to Donald Trump.  You know what that got Mrs. Clinton?  A concession speech and a set of steak knives.  All right?

(Laughter)

Joe Concha: No one cared.  Oh, you endorse them?  Good.  Out of principle I'm voting for the other guy, just because you endorse this particular candidate.

So that's where we're at, guys.  I'll leave it there, basically.  You know, here you have the question of, can the media pivot?  Can they go back and be a lot like -- I don't know, I'll name an NBC guy.  His name was Tim Russert.  And he was a great journalist.  And you watched "Meet the Press," and you felt like you were watching something important.  Because it didn't matter whether it was a Democrat or Republican.  He asked tough questions of both parties.  And he would actually do this thing -- it's this novel concept -- of reading back a politician's words to him or her and saying, okay, you said this, and now you're doing that.  Defend that.  Not in a hostile way.  Because they're your words.  Find me Tim Russert now; he doesn't exist anymore.  And it's a shame.  And he passed years ago, and journalism's really hurt by it, no question about it.

There are consequences, though, for the most insidious bias of all.  And that is the bias of omission.  What isn't reported, right?  So it took The Wall Street Journal to dig into the fact that the Biden Administration is now considering paying those that enter this country illegally $450,000 -- up to $1 million -- if they were separated at the border.  In other words, break the law, break into the country; and you get in the richest one percent.  And you get a car, and you get a car.  He's gone full Oprah!  And if The Wall Street Journal doesn't dig into that, you know, it probably goes ahead, and then you only learn about it after the fact.  But then, no other news organizations really picked up on that.

Now, think about that.  Or it took Governor Ron DeSantis to go on Sean Hannity's show a couple nights ago to say that, oh yeah, by the way, in Florida, in the middle of the night, there are planes being flown in filled with migrants being dropped off around Florida.  He says okay, you know what I'm going to do?  DeSantis, he's great.  He's like, I'll send them to Delaware.  Right?

(Cheers and applause)

Joe Concha: Why not?  You take care of them.  So that's where we're at here, guys.

The only thing I'll leave you with, I guess on a happy note, is that at least -- maybe some of you will disagree with me on this, but there is news out there that you can trust.  And that is your local newscast.  And that's because they go on, and they say, all right, this fire happened here, and this person got stabbed there.  And there was a traffic accident here, and here's your commute home.  And the Dolphins beat the Ravens last night.  And it's going to be 80 degrees and cloudy today.  You know what those newscasts don't really have?  Opinion.  They don't have opinion.  They just give you the facts.  And that's it.

If we could get back to that, maybe we have hope.  But we can't get back to that.  Because it's all sizzle, and it's no steak.  And it's all hat, and it's no cattle.  And I don't even know what that means.  But hey, it sounds good during a speech.

(Laughter)

Joe Concha: And now we will open it up to -- because it's good to be interactive, right, with the people?  Let's hear from you on the Q&A.  What do you say?

Thank you.  Thanks for the coffee.

(Applause)

Larry Greenfield: Good, we have a couple people lined up.  Go ahead and fire away with your first question in the red --

Unidentified Audience Member: Hi, I'm [indiscernible], and I'm from Massachusetts.  And my question is --

(Laughter)

Larry Greenfield: That's you.  Go ahead.

Unidentified Audience Member: I'll start off.  I'm [indiscernible] from Massachusetts.  And I'd like to know, where is the Federal Communications Commission in all of this?  I actually wrote them a letter.  Because I did a little research, just cursory only, you know, on the internet.  And is it because we went from over the airwaves to cable that the SEC doesn't seem to have any jurisdiction over what is reported falsely on the news?  For example, we were harmed by one reporter -- I can't remember whether it was with MSNBC or CNN -- who reported something false that directly affected the stock market, that directly affected my investments, which was hurtful and harmful to me.  And the FCC in those situations are permitted by law to intervene.  So I would like an answer to that question, if any of you know.

Larry Greenfield: Got you.  John Hinderaker, the role of the FCC in media today?

John Hinderaker: Well, for starters, I think the move from broadcast to cable did have significant impact on the role of the FCC.  In the specific case you're talking about that affects the stock market, I just don't know where that might fall in legal terms.  I would say this, though.  The last thing we should want is more federal administrative authority over the press, over the media.  Because you know, you know what would happen.  You know, they wouldn't be cracking down on Rathergate and on the Russia collusion hoax; they'd be cracking down on Fox News.

So I do think that free speech is our safe harbor, and we should keep it that way.

Joe Concha: And I would just add --

Larry Greenfield: Okay.  First question back there?  Oh --

Joe Concha: Just [ going to ] add something real quick.

So anybody here know who Gigi Sohn is?  Gigi Sohn?  Hands?  Nope, okay, that's bad.  So she was nominated by Joe Biden to serve on the FCC.  FCC currently has four members; they need five.  This is somebody who said that Fox News is the biggest danger to democracy and that anti-conservative bias on Facebook and Twitter is just a bunch of B.S.  And they're going to have hearings next week to see if she gets confirmed or not.  So write your congressmen.  Write, call whoever you have to.  But that's the state of the FCC right now.  Watch out.

Larry Greenfield: Okay.  Lady -- yes?

Unidentified Audience Member: Okay.  I've had a similar problem with Fox News yesterday.  And I need some help.  Because I truly have a lot of guts, but I had no guts yesterday.

So this is what happened to me.  I was flying from New York to Palm Beach, and sitting next to a gentleman.  He was sandwiched between my husband and myself.  And I had said to him, Oh, my God, I love Ron DeSantis.  I just saw him last week in Las Vegas.  And he went, well, he's terrible.  But then we just started talking.  So he realized I was a Republican.  But it turned out he is the chairman of the board of Cornell University [inaudible] schools.  He was the chairman of the Clinton Foundation, et cetera, et cetera.  And so I turned to him, and I said -- and I know his name, and I don't want to say it.  I said to him, well, did the Clinton Foundation really put money into Haiti?  And he said to me, of course.  And he started telling me.  And he said anything that you've heard, [ that ] stories, is Fox News.  And then three times, or four times in this two-and-a-half-hour flight, he denigrated Fox News.  And I didn't say anything.  And I was so embarrassed.

Next time something like -- oh, and I was [indiscernible] shoulder.  And he was interacting with all these major financial and billionaires in New York.  So, you know, that's [indiscernible].  And I didn't say anything.  You know, I felt so guilty.  What do I do next time?

(Laughter)

Joe Concha: Well, always ask the name of the person.  Right, [ June ]?  So --

Unidentified Audience Member:  I have [ his name ].

Joe Concha: Michael Avenatti, you told me before.  Now, if you're sitting next to Avenatti --

(Laughter)

Joe Concha: -- Cardashiatti --

Larry Greenfield: Can I help you?  Don't feel guilty.  You still have time to write a letter to an editor or write a column, or sit down with a journalist and tell your story.  Don't feel guilty.  You still have time to make a difference.

(Applause)

John Hinderaker: But you know, I think that story illustrates an important point.  The Left has not just taken over the news media.  The Left has taken over academia, they've taken over the mainline churches, they've taken over even the pro sports leagues and big business.  I mean, it's a huge, huge, huge problem.  And I think that what we need to do in that kind of a casual social encounter is not be quiet.  You know, not just sit there and take it, but speak up and say, well, I don't agree.  I think Ron DeSantis is doing a terrific job as governor.  And why do you think everybody's going to Florida?  This airplane, flying to Florida, it's full.  And by the way, how you guys doing in New York?  I understand it's not so good there.  Don't hear a lot about people moving to New York.  No, I think DeSantis is doing one hell of a job.

So just don't be afraid to engage in these little -- we conservatives are way too inclined to just keep quiet and not make a fuss.

Joe Concha: Yeah.  And cockpit doors are very easy to open, if really putting an effort.

(Laughter)

Joe Concha: Just saying.

Next question, please?

Larry Greenfield: Go ahead.

John Samuel: Yes, I'm [ John Samuel ], from Beverly Hills, California, the great [ mad ] state [indiscernible].  We try to dictate to the world our way.  But it's really not our [ way ].  Bottom line: You [indiscernible] we all know about media, and misreporting, lying and so forth.  As a certified public accountant, I actually had a professional license to practice.  Many professionals have to have a license to practice.  This all started many years ago.

And so long story short, [indiscernible] this opportunity to [indiscernible] drive my thinking.  Now, I've done the research, not as much as could be.  But journalists do have a code of professional ethics.  It's just not mandatory.  There's no requirement [indiscernible].

I also did some studying.  And there is a movement out there, a small one -- it's been going on for years -- to give journalists, anybody else [indiscernible] to be required to get a license.

Back to the lady in regard to the FCC.  The FCC, the FDA -- you got all of these alphabet agencies to protect us.  And yet, back in 2001, when we had a major financial blowup, Congress passed a law called Sarbanes-Oxley.  SOX.  And in that, it required that there'd be a separate, independent, nongovernment [ agency ] called the Public Accounting Oversight Board.  Public Company Accounting Oversight Board [ reported ] to as --

Larry Greenfield: We got you.  We got you.

John Samuel:  You got me?  Bottom line is, why isn't there now, with all of the stuff going on --

Larry Greenfield: We got you.

John Samuel: -- something [ real similar ]?

Larry Greenfield: Okay.  Ethics and monitoring of journalists?

John Hinderaker: Well, the first thing I would say is that the most reliable people talking about news or making news are people who are not journalists and have no interest in being licensed.  That's people like me.  You know.  And if you set up a licensure system -- journalists -- they would control it.  And if you have a CLI and a CLE, continuing legal education requirement for 41 years, and I was a lawyer; you could do the same kind of a thing for journalists.  But what they would have programs in is how to eliminate white privilege from the newsroom.  You know.

And so I don't -- with all due respect, I just don't think that is the direction that is going to be effective.

Joe Concha: And my only advice would -- I would get out of California right away, I think.

(Laughter)

Joe Concha: You think about -- talk about the '49 Yankees, right?  You got, let's see.  Newsome, Schiff, Pelosi, Swalwell -- you know, the Fang Fang guy -- and Alyssa Milano basically running the state.

John Samuel:  You missed Maxine Waters.

Joe Concha: And I missed Maxine Waters, that's right.

(Laughter)

Larry Greenfield: We also gave the world Commie Harris.

Joe Concha: I got to like Utah or something, man.  I mean, I heard it's nice.  Provo.

Larry Greenfield: We also gave the world Commie Harris.

By the way, Media Research Center is an excellent media criticism website.  So there are efforts to monitor or watch or -- media watch organizations.

Joe Concha: There's also great columns in The Hill.

Larry Greenfield: Great column in The Hill, Joe Concha.

So we only have time, maybe, to ask those who are standing, so you get a bite at the apple, simply state your question.  We'll take all, I guess, four of them right now.  And then you guys can wrap up by addressing whatever you want.  So why don't you kindly just share your thought first?  Yes?

Sarah Cancey: Hi, my name is [ Sarah Cancey ].  And I'm an independent conservative journalist, with my YouTube channel, [indiscernible], where I do on-the-ground journalism and political content.  I started my platform when I grew up and left the Democratic Party [indiscernible].  [Indiscernible] censorship is [indiscernible] strikes to remove my channel, talking about election fraud misinformation or [indiscernible] for incitement.  We cover freedom protest rallies and have medical information.  What advice do you have for independent journalists like me who -- I've even been contacted by the FBI, asked about phrases I've said on my channel, like stop the steal; what did I mean by that?  Which is nothing but intimidating me [indiscernible].

Larry Greenfield:  Got you.

Sarah Cancey: [Indiscernible].

Larry Greenfield: Thank you.

First question back there?

Unidentified Audience Member: I go out to dinner with some friends of mine who say they're Republicans who voted for Trump.  Quite frankly, they don't like the way he acts.  And they're -- I don't know if they even voted for the guy.  What does he have to do in order to change the minds of those people to get him reelected?

Larry Greenfield: Okay.  After you.  From Virginia?

Joe Concha: I want that question.

Unidentified Audience Member: -- Virginia.  [ Nice day in ] Virginia.  Thank you all so much.

[ We're having a ] social revolution through our graduate schools and through education.  But my main question is the AT.  What about the AT?  It's rotten.

Larry Greenfield: Thank you for that.  And last question?

Unidentified Audience Member: In terms of emphasis, for those media folks on our side, including both of you -- I want to tell you what concerns me the most very briefly.  We know that the universities have inculcated our young people in a manner that's very anti-American, [ grave ] danger to the next generation [indiscernible].  We know that the media's lies [indiscernible] expanding on our knowledge of the specifics of that.  But other than people who are retired, everyone's not [indiscernible].  And a substantial portion of the public makes a living either from publicly traded corporations as an employee or a large corporation also subject to these various regulations.  I spent half my life in government and the [ current ] half of my life in private industry.  And I want to tell you that you don't have to be as conservative [indiscernible].  You just have to be a logical, fair person.

What they are doing to us, all of us, who work in these types of environments, in terms of color-coding, in terms of what they call equity and diversity and everything else -- but we must understand this is coercive.  And this is what's really going to change the country.  Because you have to pay your bills, and you have to make a living.  That coercion means even more coverage.  Because everyone who makes a living [indiscernible].

Larry Greenfield: First, John Hinderaker?

John Hinderaker: Let me just comment on that last question very, very quickly, because there's a couple things going on there.  One, it does need publicity.  People need to understand that big business is not our friend.  That's a really important thing to know.

Second thing is there may be legal remedies.  I work closely with a group called the Upper Midwest Law Center in Minnesota.  They are currently launching three lawsuits on behalf of people who were fired -- one of them was fired as an engineer for Honeywell -- because they refused to participate in the whiteness is evil critical race theory training, so-called, and propaganda that was being imposed on them.  And they're now suing.

And so I think that is one possible avenue of remedy.  We need to fight back hard against these woke companies.

(Applause)

Larry Greenfield: Sir, please read the new book out called "Woke, Inc.," which documents all of this, the rise of left-wing wokeness in corporate America.  Please.

Joe Concha: That's excellent.  That's a great recommendation.

On the Trump question: What does he have to do to convince people to vote for him again that may be reluctant to, even if they voted for him last time?

This would be the best scenario.  If you care about the issues, if you want what Glenn Youngkin did -- where he made it about issues; didn't make it about his personality -- and you care about crime, you care about the border and you care about inflation -- you care about all these things that are impacting you -- I think a genius move would be you name Donald Trump House Speaker the minute you get back Congress.  And they will.  They got to flip four seats.  They usually lose 40 to 60, the party in power.  Right?

Then from an entertainment perspective, you get, during Joe Biden's State of the Union, Trump making faces behind him the entire time.

(Laughter)

(Applause)

Joe Concha: Right?  And then if you want to impeach Biden for XYZ, he's the one running it.  Right?  So he gets that.  Then, he said, all right, I now endorse Governor Ron DeSantis for President.  And if that happens, you win 40 states like George H. W. Bush did in 1988.  That I can guarantee you.  Because it won't be, vote for me because I'm not Trump; it'll be about the issues.  So that would be the best scenario in my mind.

But to say, what does he have to do to change?  Donald Trump does not change, right?  We all don't when we get to a certain age.  You are who you are.  And Donald Trump's going to be Donald Trump, whether you like it or not.  So here's hoping that scenario happens.

Thank you.

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