Mountain Views News, Sierra Madre Edition [Pasadena] Saturday, July 28, 2018

MVNews this week:  Page B:3



 Mountain Views News Saturday, July 28, 2018 


Mountain Views



Susan Henderson


Dean Lee 


Joan Schmidt


LaQuetta Shamblee


Richard Garcia


Patricia Colonello




John Aveny 


Kevin Barry


Chris Leclerc

Bob Eklund

Howard Hays

Paul Carpenter

Kim Clymer-Kelley

Christopher Nyerges

Peter Dills 

Rich Johnson

Merri Jill Finstrom

Rev. James Snyder

Dr. Tina Paul

Katie Hopkins

Deanne Davis

Despina Arouzman

Renee Quenell

Marc Garlett

Keely Toten

Dan Golden


Every time Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg opens his mouth 
he somehow manages to stick his foot in it. It’s not so much what 
he says that is harmful to both himself and his company, it’s how 
he says it.

 Last week, Zuckerberg managed to infuriate a large segment 
of the population by defending Facebook’s policy to permit blatantly anti-Semitic posts 
on the site. His rationale for allowing hate speak to continue unfettered was a veritable 
cornucopia of double-speak; the kind that is both acceptable to and tolerated by an ever-
increasing number of Americans.

 During an interview with Recode’s Kara Swisher which alluded to Sandy Hook 
conspiracy theorists - a group that includes Infowars host Alex Jones - Zuckerberg 
seemed to liken those who push alternative realities (i.e. that the massacre of 20 children 
and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School never happened) to Holocaust deniers. 

 While Zuckerberg pointed out that he is Jewish and that he finds those who propagate 
lies regarding the Holocaust offensive, he also said that he didn’t believe they were 
“intentionally getting it wrong” by misleading readers, nor that those who disseminated 
this type of misinformation should be taken off his platform “if they get things wrong, 
even multiple times.”

 Like many public figures prone to confounding or deliberately misleading statements, 
Zuckerberg found himself under fire for his comments and attempted to walk them back. 
He even resorted to having his sister, Randi, come to his defense as his surrogate. 

 Randi Zuckerberg is active in Jewish organizations so she lends credibility to her 
brother’s position when she says “those bent on lying, sowing misunderstanding, and 
breeding hate will never be truly silenced.” She went on to say that, “Unfortunately, when 
we give a voice to everyone, we give it to people who use that voice for good and to people 
who abuse that voice.” 

 Fair enough. But again, it’s not so much what was said, rather how it was said; and in 
Zuckerberg’s case, stated somewhat cavalierly. 

 One of the things that has always made America great (always, not “again”) has been the 
freedom its citizens and its press have possessed to voice their opinions and observations, 
to report the news, keep us informed, and share ideas. Sadly, the very thing that makes us 
great can sometimes contribute to our vulnerability as well.

 The First Amendment and our open, uncensored channels of expression are part of 
the reason Vladimir Putin’s regime was so easily able to meddle into the 2016 presidential 
election. They provided Russia’s security services and intelligence apparatchiks access to 
the hearts and minds of the American people through the deployment of highly effective 
disinformation, or dezinformatsiya as the Kremlin calls it. And they did so through 
outlets like Facebook.

 While Russian stage-management of public opinion is not the sole reason for Mr. 
Trump’s current occupation of the White House, it certainly contributed to the American 
people’s opinion of him and his opponent which, in turn, may or may not have led to a 
favorable outcome for Vlad’s favorite marionette. More significantly, the propaganda and 
disinformation promulgated by Russian intelligence was highly effective in re-opening 
festering cultural wounds and in manipulating the emotions and reason of the American 

 As evidence continues to mount that Russian dezinformatsiya played a significant role 
in influencing public opinion leading up to the 2016 election, we are faced with a larger 
dilemma: namely, can we combat future intrusions into the American psyche without 
sacrificing a cornerstone of our democracy? The answer - fortunately - is no.

 The First Amendment sets us free, but it also leaves us susceptible to those who wish 
to manipulate the beliefs and values that have long set this nation apart. At a time when 
the current administration is disseminating “alternative facts,” and while they continue 
to accuse the mainstream media of spreading “fake news,” it’s up to all of us individually 
to dig deep and verify what we read and see online and on-air rather than blindly accept 
that which is placed before us. 

And while it is not Mark Zuckerberg’s obligation to protect us from the ills 
of the world, it is his responsibility to be more introspective when assessing 
the impact his creation has on the nearly 2.2 billion active monthly Facebook 
users around the globe.


Blair Bess is a Los Angeles-based television writer, producer, and columnist. 
He edits the online blog, and can be reached at BBess.

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The pollsters at Pew recently reported that 68 percent of Americans are 
suffering from news exhaustion, and that jibes with what I witness on an 
anecdotal basis. I don’t presume to everyone, but many of you probably 
agree that conversations with friends these days are sometimes strained. 
The dialogue often goes something like this:

 “We’ve gotta talk about Trump and everything that’s going on.”

 “I’m so sick of it. Must we?”

 “How can we not?”

 “Can’t we talk about something else?”

 Sure we can. But we’re also well aware (or we certainly should be) that democracy at home and 
the western peacekeeping alliance abroad are under unprecedented attack by destructive forces 
in Washington and Moscow. With each passing week, the challenge facing each of us becomes 
more urgent: What’s the best way to remain vigilant and still lead a sane life? What’s the best way 
to balance obligations to self, friends, and family with the obligations of citizenship? Is it possible 
to monitor the avalanche of news without going nuts? How can we best calibrate these factors in 
year two of Trumplandia?

 I brought this up on Facebook recently, and not surprisingly, nearly 100 friends shared their 
angst and exhaustion.

 One popular piece of advice, as articulated by Steve Rosenthal: “No cable news. Repeat, no 
cable news ever.” Peter Landry seconds that: “I never watch ShoutTV on cable.”Karen Rile says: 
“Something about large talking heads in the house is particularly stressful.” Glenn Burkins says: 
“In our house, my wife keeps CNN on constantly, but I have limited my time with (cable) to the 
time it takes me to walk across our family room.” 

 Some of my respondents gave shout-outs to Rachel Maddow, Brian Williams, and Nicolle 
Wallace (I do like Wallace, a career Republican who has great Republican sources), but there 
seems to be a general belief (which I endorse) that cable commentary is shrill, speculative, 
repetitive, and therefore easily culled.

 Another favorite: Staying off or reducing reliance on Twitter. That’s easier for some than 
others. I’m pro-Twitter, at least for its usefulness as a breaking news bulletin board. But it’s also 
a bottomless rabbit hole for ranters, and much time can be wasted crafting pithy ripostes. As 
Tom Felicetti says, Twitter all too often is a haven for “polarizing emotional non-factual” people. 
Murray Dubin finds that “closing that Twitter window makes me a little less nuts.”

 Matthew Cooper, and others, have zapped the Twitter app off their phones. Some people use 
their phones more qualitatively; Maria Cardenas says, “I get my news strictly from the BBC app, 
The Globalist, and NPR podcasts…Sometimes I feel out of the loop but I prefer it to every gory 
detail.” And some people have found ways to reduce their phone exposure; Bambi L. Feaster says, 
“I’ve taken to leaving my phone on my desk when I walk the dog…The dog is happier because 
we play more, walk more, and I’m not impatient.”

 Walking the dog is one way to disconnect, but the list of diversions is blessedly lengthy. 
Baseball appears to be a favorite. Jeff Brown says the Trump news is “relentless and depressing,” 
so he signed up for the DirecTV MLB package, which is “more soothing,” and I can attest that 
watching the MLB Network on basic cable is a guaranteed way to dwell for hours in an apolitical 

 Exercise is also big. Tom Harkins likes long bike rides. Miriam Hill says, “I am swimming a 
lot more laps in the pool. My minimum pool workout used to be 1,000 meters. In the last few 
months, I’ve doubled that on some days just to increase the amount of time my brain gets a 

 As for me, I’m not the best person to advise anyone on the proper calibration. My latest idea of 
escapist reading was Daniel Silva’s excellent new spy novel, “The Other Woman” – which turned 
out to be a parallel-universe tale of Russia’s penetration of America. In the author’s note, he writes: 
“Russia under Vladimir Putin is both revanchist and paranoid, a dangerous combination…
When Putin sows political chaos in Western Europe and seeks to disrupt and discredit an 
American election, he is reaching deep in the KGB’s playbook.”

 I suppose I can escape, albeit temporarily, by hanging with the grandchildren – another 
popular tip. But my oldest one, who is five, recently informed me with great solemnity: “There 
are bad guys in the world. You know that, right?” I managed a reassuring smile. But I said to 
myself: “Yeah. I think I read something about that.”

 Perhaps cockeyed optimism is the best escape of all. As Phaedra Trethan says that “while we 
all know our history is rife with racism, injustice, corruption and genocide, I still believe that arc 
bends toward justice. Maybe because if I didn’t believe that, I’d have drawn a nice warm bath, 
gotten in the tub, and opened my wrists by now.


 Dick Polman is the national political columnist at WHYY in Philadelphia and a 
“Writer in Residence” at the University of Pennsylvania. Email him at dickpolman7@


If a liberal like Jesse Jackson went on CNN and accused my 
father of being a “known womanizer” like President Trump, 
conservatives across America would go off the rails.They’d 
defend the reputation of Ronald Reagan to the max and blast 
Jackson for his false and evil equivalency.

 They’d point out that it is totally outrageous to compare the 
personal lives of President Trump and my father.

Yet look what happened last week when a prominent conservative evangelical pastor 
from Dallas went on Fox News and called my father a “known womanizer.”

 The Rev. Robert Jeffress, who’s a Fox contributor, was asked by Ed Henry to respond to 
another minister who had accused Republican lawmakers of selling their good Christian 
souls by supporting a serial bed-hopper like Trump.

 “You know,” Jeffress responded, “this is not an unusual thing - we’ve been here before. 
Back in 1980, evangelicals chose to support a twice-married Hollywood actor who was 
a known womanizer in Hollywood. His name was Ronald Reagan. …

 “The reason we supported President Reagan was not because we were supporting 
womanizing or divorce. We supported his policies.”

 When I heard Jeffress say that I blew my top and started angrily tweeting.

The first tweet I fired off to the Southern Baptist minister was pretty blunt - “All I can 
say is go F yourself.”

 My second tweet was “Dr. Jeffress. How dare you compare my father to Trump.”

Apparently, I was the only conservative Reagan Republican in North America who 
actually cared that Pastor Jeffress was casually throwing my father under the bus to 
support his beloved sinner-in-chief.

 All I heard from my fellow conservatives in the twittersphere was crickets - and a 
week later I still do.

 What that holy man from Dallas said was absolutely outrageous.

 He equated my father - who was divorced from my mother Jane Wyman when he was 
dating in Hollywood and not yet married to Nancy - to Donald Trump, who was dating 
Playboy playmates and who knows who else when he was married.

 What was more outrageous, however, was that no conservative Republicans or Fox 
commentators rose up in defense of my father and his reputation.

 As I also pointed out in a tweet last week, all those conservative talk show hosts and 
politicians who keep saying how much they love Ronald Reagan are either lying or have 
lost their spines and a pair of other things.

 I don’t believe those so-called “Reagan conservatives” anymore.

 If they wouldn’t stand up and defend my father against a vile and uninformed 
statement from someone like Jeffress’, there’s no reason to assume they love my father at 

 I don’t care what the president of the United States does in his personal life. I care 
what he does as president of the United States.

 If you want to defend Trump, fine. 

 But for God’s sake, why would you use my father to make excuses for a president who 
has cheated on every woman he’s been married to?

 To rephrase that famous old line, Rev. Jeffress, “I knew Ronald Reagan. Ronald Reagan 
was a friend of mine. And Donald Trump ain’t no Ronald Reagan - a vice versa.”

-Michael Reagan is the son of President Ronald Reagan, a political consultant, and the 
author of “Lessons My Father Taught Me: The Strength, Integrity, and Faith of Ronald 
Reagan.” He is the founder of the email service and president of The Reagan 
Legacy Foundation. Visit his websites at and 
Send comments to Follow @reaganworld on Twitter. 

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