Recent Commentaries

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The List
On Friday (Jan. 27), President Trump followed through on one of his signature campaign promises. One year ago, this month (Jan. 20), I wrote about candidate Trump’s planned Muslim ban (Fact-Checking a Reader, which has elicited additional response since Friday). Here’s what Trump originally called for as stated in a campaign press release dated December 7, 2015: “Donald J.  » Read...
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January 30, 2017
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Make America Civil Again – Conclusion
On March 4, 1865, near the end of a Civil War that divided the nation like no other in our history, President Abraham Lincoln stood to deliver his second inaugural address. Lincoln understood that the reconstruction of the South – both physically and emotionally – was the greatest priority. He addressed the thousands in attendance with purpose and eloquence. And...
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January 25, 2017
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Make America Civil Again – Part 2
Waiting at a small regional airport for a connecting flight, I passed through the security area and am sitting in the lounge waiting for the plane to load when another passenger, carrying two large bags, approaches the security check point. This was after 9/11, when security measures at airports had significantly increased. With no passengers standing in line, the large...
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January 23, 2017
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Make America Civil Again – Part 1
ci·vil·i·ty formal politeness and courtesy in behavior and speech. Last year, civility took a beating – from rallies to street protestors; from road rage to political rage. Civility was pushed to the back of the bus, and shouted down every time it requested just a little self-restraint and decorum. According to the Zogby Survey on Civility in U.S. Politics conducted...
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January 20, 2017
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Not Going Away
While President-elect Donald Trump announced that his sons will run his company but make no new foreign deals, problems already exist. “At the Wednesday press conference where Mr. Trump described the company’s new structure,” The Wall Street Journal writes (Jan. 14), “he also said he had turned down $2 billion in property deals in Dubai to avoid any possible ethics...
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January 18, 2017
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Last week, President-elect Donald Trump held his first press conference since being elected. While the meeting was supposed to allow Mr. Trump to lay out his proposal on how he will unravel himself from his many conflict of interest issues, the conversation quickly turned to an intelligence briefing for Mr. Trump – specifically a 2-page synopsis of a 35-page report...
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January 16, 2017
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The Media: 1770 and 2016 – Conclusion
No one in modern American politics has used social media to influence an audience better than Donald Trump. His tool of choice: Twitter – the technological equivalent of a 1770 broadside. Long before he ran for president, Trump would use social media to preen before a television appearance. “Be sure to tune in and watch Donald Trump on Late Night...
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January 13, 2017
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The Media: 1770 and 2016 – Part 2
In his 1997 introduction to his screenplay, All the President’s Men, writer William Goldman makes this prescient observation. “The scariest thing about hype today is this: as the hype artists get more and more skilled, and they are, pretty soon hype is going to be accepted as truth.” “If Russia, or some other entity, was hacking, why did the White...
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January 11, 2017
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The Media: 1770 and 2016
Without a doubt, last year was the year the news media and politics fused into a kind of “Kardashian” alt-reality of over-the-top, dramatic nonsense that turned logic on its head. However, I want to go back in time, revisiting an event that took place in Boston, because I think there are some interesting parallels to the 2016 presidential campaign. On...
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January 9, 2017
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Dear Mr. Baker
Gerard Baker is The Wall Street Journal’s editor in chief. You have a strangely nuanced view of what is or is not a lie when it comes to the utterances and tweets of President-elect Trump. Here’s what you said (Trump, ‘Lies’ and Honest Journalism): “[A] ‘Lie’ implies much more than just saying something that’s false. It implies a deliberate intent...
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January 6, 2017