The standards which govern our public discourse!


Speaking quite frankly, there are none: Consider the standards which now control the making of journalistic claims.

More specifically, consider the lack of such standards. Consider a claim by the New York Times' Charles Blow. Also, consider the links supplied by Blow in alleged support of his claim.

In fairness, Blow's claim is supported by our one extant rule of journalism. According to that one rule, any claim is accepted as true if it supports a sweeping denunciation of some group of Others.

In the case of Blow's most recent column, The Others are fingered in his headline: "White Evangelicals Shun Morality for Power." After a string of  pleasing non sequiturs concerning Franklin Graham, Blow moves on to the claim which is implied by the highlighted passage:

BLOW (9/20/21): I had grown up hearing from pulpits that it was the world that changed, not God’s word. The word was like a rock. A lie was a lie, yesterday, today and tomorrow, no matter who told it.

I had hoped that there were more white evangelicals who embraced the same teachings, who would not abide by the message the Grahams of the world were advancing, who would stand on principle.

But I was wrong. A report for the Pew Research Center published last week found that, contrary to an onslaught of press coverage about evangelicals who had left the church, disgusted by its embrace of the president, “There is solid evidence that white Americans who viewed Trump favorably and did not identify as evangelicals in 2016 were much more likely than white Trump skeptics to begin identifying as born-again or evangelical Protestants by 2020.”

Our question: 

At some point along the way, was there really "an onslaught of press coverage about evangelicals who had left the church, disgusted by its embrace of the president?"

We can't recall any such onslaught, though that doesn't settle the question. Meanwhile, the Pew report to which Blow refers doesn't describe any such onslaught of coverage. 

That said, Blow offers one link in support of the claim that some such "onslaught of press coverage" actually took place at some point. He links to an April 2019 first-person report at Religion & Politics, a relatively little-known online news journal.

In that first-person report, Bradley Oinishi, an  associate professor of religious studies at Skidmore College, describes what happened when he himself left evangelical movement for political reasons—when he left the evangelical movement back in 2005.

In the course of his report, Oinishi does refer to “Deconstructing My Religion,” a 26-minute CBS documentary "centered on the stories of the figures who started and have worked to sustain" people who have left the evangelical faith. 

The CBS program aired in December 2018, generating little discussion. As best we can tell, it wasn't focused on evangelicals who abandoned their faith due to Trump.

Did that "onslaught" ever take place? Was there ever "an onslaught of press coverage about evangelicals who had left the church, disgusted by its embrace of the president?" 

We don't know if any such onslaught ever took place. We do know these two things:

First, no one at the New York Times made Blow offer support for his claim. Also, this is the way our clownish discourse works at the highest levels.

Blow's column is a pastiche of non sequiturs and unsupported claims. This is the way a certain former president plays the game. It's also the way of our greatest journalists at the top of our clownish discourse.

Meanwhile, here's Fred Kaplan at Slate, discussing Robert Woodward's standards of evidence and proof. We may touch on that topic tomorrow—but our national culture, such as it is, is clownish all the way down.

Can a modern nation function this way? As Bruce Springsteen once advised, "Son, take a good look around."


  1. Oh well. On account your liberal-hitlerian cult being hitlerian, spewing hatred against certain Christian denominations -- in addition to being utterly racist -- is simply par for the course, dear Bob. No surprise here.

    Thanks for documenting liberal atrocities.

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  2. "Was there ever "an onslaught of press coverage about evangelicals who had left the church, disgusted by its embrace of the president?"

    I found several such articles via cursory Google search. It seems that it was mostly young people who were choosing to have no church affiliation rather than belong to a church that was supporting Trump.

    Somerby never says how many articles constitute an onslaught, but there were more than few if you looked at the many pages following the first one (as people rarely do) listing such articles. They began in 2017 and continued to the present.

    Given that Somerby does not define how many are needed and there exist more than a few, I think this point goes to Blow.

    But why couldn't Somerby have done this research himself? Why does he pretend there is no way of checking, and why does he think this was important enough to merit a whole essay? Most likely because he dislikes Blow and this sounds like another way to disparage him.

  3. "First, no one at the New York Times made Blow offer support for his claim."

    Somerby doesn't know this. Because support for Blow's statement does exist, it may be true that a fact-checker for the NY Times found the same articles I did. Somerby never looked -- he thinks it is enough work just to accuse.

  4. This is what media criticism really looks like. Not this shit Somerby writes attacking black and gay journalists:

  5. While Somerby wastes time attacking Blow, here is what is happening among actual black "thought leaders," including a statement by President Biden:

  6. Brittany Cooper on critical race theory:

  7. 'We do know these two things:

    First, no one at the New York Times made Blow offer support for his claim. Also, this is the way our clownish discourse works at the highest levels.'

    The only thing Somerby knows is to demonstrate what a clueless, lying, moron he is. In fact, the Pew report does link to 2 articles about people leaving the evangelical church because of Trump, although that is not the focus of the Pew report. A quick google search would find other such articles. Somerby can't be bothered to search because he is a lying Trumptard. His hatred towards Blow and others is because he's envious of their success.

    At this point, Somerby has dedicated his brain and soul (such as they are for someone as brainless and soulless as him) to attacking those who oppose Trump. In short, he is a malignant, lying, Trumptard

  8. “was there really "an onslaught of press coverage about evangelicals who had left the church, disgusted by its embrace of the president?"”

    Trusting to his recollection, Somerby is skeptical of the claim. Blow supposedly provides no evidence, so Somerby attacks him for his lack of standards.

    First off, Pew Research stated its principal reasons for doing the survey in the first place:
    “Since Donald Trump was elected president in 2016 due in part to strong support from White evangelical Protestants, many observers have wondered what impact this political alliance might have on the evangelical church in the United States. Would there be an exodus from the church on the part of those who do not share their fellow evangelicals’ enthusiasm for the former president? If so, would this leave behind a smaller evangelical population, or would any such defectors be replaced by Trump-supporting converts to evangelicalism? And would White evangelicals who backed Trump in 2016 stick with him in 2020?”

    This suggests the topic was discussed and hence prompted the survey. I certainly recall a lot of reporting and speculation on this.

    Here are some examples:

    How fights over Trump have led evangelicals to leave their churches

    Faith leaders back Biden in sign that evangelical support for Trump is waning

    Beth Moore, a Prominent Evangelical, Splits With Southern Baptists
    A teacher on biblical topics, she cited the “staggering” disorientation of seeing denominational leaders support Donald J. Trump, among other issues.

    White Gen X and millennial evangelicals are losing faith in the conservative culture wars

    Some Christians say Trump has pushed young people away from their churches — and his impact on Christianity could last well beyond his presidency

    The Evangelical Reckoning Begins

    Why I Can No Longer Call Myself an Evangelical Republican
    (also published in the New York Times)

    There’s plenty more. Is this enough to give credence to Blow’s claim so as not to lump it in with journalism’s “lack of standards”?

    1. It took Trump for these people to realize the religion of Evangelical Christianity is bigotry?

      Have they been living under a rock since Brown vs. Board of Education was decided?