Bret Stephens delivered the Daniel Pearl Memorial Lecture this week at the University of California, Los Angeles. Read the full text of his remarks below: I’m profoundly honored to have this opportunity to celebrate the legacy of Danny Pearl, my colleague at The Wall Street Journal … – Time Magazine
The Wall Street Journal doesn’t always tell the truth. This speech that deals in part with the unimpeachable integrity of the Journal is simply untrue.
Take for instance a recent article about PewDiePie, gaming vlogger Felix Kjellberg, calling him an anti-Semite. He is the most popular personality on YouTube with 53 million subscribers and counting. He’s not anti-Semite, though the Journal did its best to make him so.
PewDiePie did videos that explored why it was so easy for people, especially Jews, to be insulted. One video involved two half-naked video artists who were willing to say vile things about Jews for $5 dollars. PewDiePie points out this was his way of showing in the Internet era that people will do anything for tiny bits of money.
WSJ for some reason found it necessary to examine PewDiePie’s entire video output before coming up with nine videos that they claimed contained anti-Jew allusions. They also said that because he wore wire rim glasses, he was cultivating a look similar to Himmler’s.
Even if this were true, and we obviously don’t think it is, PewDiePie surely deserved a strong talking to, perhaps a warning. Instead he was stripped of a large TV show and the PewDiePie site itself was downgraded so he’ll receive less money from it.
Vox opined on PewDiePie, badly of course …
“It’s hard to look at his recent string of alt-right allusions as existing in a vacuum during a moment when neo-Nazi politics has abruptly jumped into the international spotlight. As much as Kjellberg might wish for his comedy to be seen as over the top and exaggerated, Disney and YouTube’s respective reevaluations of their business relationships with him are a bold reminder that we’re living in a historical period when joking about controversial subjects is a more tenuous proposition than ever — and one that could have serious real-world repercussions.”
The Wall Street Journal and Youtube stripped him literally of millions of dollars in order to send a “bold reminder that we’re living in a historical period when joking about controversial subjects is a more tenuous proposition than ever.”
In other words, PewDiePie was making jokes, as even Vox admits when evaluating the “evidence.” Nonethess, the Wall Street Journal, in pursuit of “truth”, held him up as someone whose motives were suspect and integrity was questionable – enough so he should lose possible millions in revenue.
From the Journal as regards the Pearl speech:
Some of you may have noticed that we’re living through a period in which the executive branch of government is engaged in a systematic effort to create a climate of opinion against the news business.
The President routinely describes reporting he dislikes as FAKE NEWS. The Administration calls the press “the opposition party,” ridicules news organizations it doesn’t like as business failures, and calls for journalists to be fired. Mr. Trump has called for rewriting libel laws in order to more easily sue the press.
When you work at The Wall Street Journal, the coins of the realm are truth and trust — the latter flowing exclusively from the former. When you read a story in the Journal, you do so with the assurance that immense reportorial and editorial effort has been expended to ensure that what you read is factual.
Not true, as we have just pointed out. PewDiePie was eviscerated because of a Wall Street Journal story that accused him of anti-Semitism and intolerance far beyond what he was indicating.
It said in his heart, he might be closer to the alt.right than he let on. But that’s just supposition. Similarly the WSJ is filled with the “coins of the realm,” truth and trust. Except it’s not.
The accusations that Trump makes are agreed to by a majority of Americans, 60-90 percent of whom just don’t trust the mainstream media, including the Journal.
We honor the responsibility to separate truth from falsehood, which is never more important than when powerful people insist that falsehoods are truths, or that there is no such thing as truth to begin with.
No you don’t. Yesterday we carried a story saying Trump might have syphilis. This is the sort of story, appearing in the very mainstream New Republic, that leads Trump to say that the mainstream news media is perpetually vile and hurtful when it comes to stories about him.
The rest of the Pearl Memorial speech is a long peroration of what has going wrong under the Trump administration. Some of it is true, but most of it would be better delivered by someone who wasn’t at the Journal.
Trump is winning not because he is popular but because he is right. The news media is impossibly biased as a whole, and anti-Trump.
The only real caveat is that Trump ought to go after the top level culprits, the ones who actually own the media that is so biased against him. This he has not done yet, presumable because it would bring him into conflict with our true masters, and he is not ready for that battle yet (and maybe never will be).
But this article in the end is simply untrue. The mainstream media pursues its own self interest. It only hits the truth inadvertently while pursuing its factoids for other reasons entirely.
Conclusion: Donald Trump will surely preside over at least a partial realignment of the news media as we know it today. It is losing too badly for it to continue on as it is. But it won’t change totally, only subside, biding its time. If he makes a bad enough mistake, it will roar back to life for the inevitable impeachment.