Select Page

HORIST: Jennifer Rubin, the propagandist

HORIST: Jennifer Rubin, the propagandist

I made the mistake of reading one of Jennifer Rubin’s columns published by the Washington Post.  She writes for the publication’s “Right Turn” blog.  The title is a harbinger of days of yore when Rubin was being passed off as the left-wing rag’s house conservative.  It was false advertising then, and downright opinion fraud today.

Rubin is as arrogant and radical as any of her colleagues at the Post.  This, of course, makes her a regular contributor on Chris Mathews’ “Hardball” and Larry O’Donnell’s “Last Word” – with periodic appearance elsewhere on MSNBC’s and CNN’s most strident left-wing offerings.

She is paraded as an intellectual journalist when, in fact, Rubin is an ignorant propagandist.  I say ignorant because all propagandists are devoid of intellectual curiosity and intelligent expression.  They are locked into dogma and narrative-based talking-points.  They neither see nor express any opinion but their own – and that is always locked into some preconceived narrative.

In defense of the many legitimate journalists offering up opinions – including me – I feel obligated to define the difference between legitimate opinion and propaganda.

The most important distinction is truth and honesty.  Propagandists  engage in false narrative as a means of molding public opinion.  If not dealing in outright falsehoods, they will spin information where it is no longer recognizable as an accurate accounting.

In their arrogance, the Rubin’s of the media have no tolerance for alternative opinions and generally state their unsubstantiated opinions as fact.  They are not open to the consideration of alternative opinions, and that is why you see them cluster on those cable news shows without anyone to raise counterpoints.  Propagandists can only pontificate.  The cannot debate.

Having made all these general characterizations about Rubin, I feel obligated to be more specific – to point out some of the things in her most recent column that require rebuttal.  So, we shall proceed.

Rubin’s latest screed led off with the paragraph.

“With President Trump’s lies and outbursts coming at a furious pace, Republicans’ favorite excuse seems to be, ‘It’s just talk. Ignore it. What he does is important.’ They often say it with an air of condescension, as if only hysterics would get upset with the leader of the free world’s remarks. No matter how frequently the rationalization is proffered, it doesn’t become any more credible.”

This is the classic propagandist “straw man” opening – assumedly claiming what ALL Republicans are saying about the Trump’s personality, and counterclaiming, on behalf of ALL Republicans, a belief that only “hysterics” would be displeased by many of Trump’s tweets and statements.

Propagandists, like Rubin, create seemingly compelling arguments because they are simply hosting a two-sided debate in their own head and with their own built-in biases.  They are not only playing on both teams, but also serving as the umpires.

Among her litany of complaints against Trump beyond his personality, Rubin highlighted the following.  With the reader’s permission, — or not –I will engage in the sort of counterpoint that she abhors.  In her self-described “small sampling” of the “bad things” he does. she lists the following.

1. Refusing to sanction Saudi Arabia and publicly contradicting the CIA’s findings that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is responsible for the killing of Jamal Khashoggi.

In fact, the Trump administration has slapped sanctions on those PROVEN to be involved in the grizzly murder.  The CIA report, at best, is an opinion based on assessed probability.  But, the CIA has not even confirmed that.  Rubin’s claim that the CIA has found bin Salaman culpable is NOT an established fact that has been confirmed in any way by the CIA.  The belief that the murder could not have happened without bin Salaman’s orders or approval, is still a belief.  Even high probability is short of proof.  Our entire legal system is based on proof, not probability, for a good reason.

2.  Engaging in a trade war with China.

Trump has repeatedly expressed his devotion to free trade but has used tariffs to force it.  He is fighting against the anti-free trade activities of China, Europe and our American neighbors to the north and south.  Trump seems to have already won the latter two trade battles (hardly a war).  The tariffs on Chinese goods are having the desired impact on the Middle Kingdom by slowing down its economy.  China is a tougher egg to crack because of the entrenched unfair practices with both tariffs and the purloining of intellectual property – not to mention commercial hacking, which I mentioned anyway.  And how, pray tell, does Rubin propose to deal with these problems?  She curses the darkness without lighting a single candle.

4.  Running up the debt (and demanding more spending).

As a limited-government, fiscal conservative – a deficit/debt hawk — I am willing to give Rubin some leeway in this complaint.  Her criticism relies on the acceptance of the ten-year projections of the Congressional Budget Office.  Having dealt with federal budgets over many decades – to the point of testifying as an expert witness before Congress — I feel confident in advising caution in believing such ten-year forecasts.  They are wrong too often to be accepted at face value.  Trump and the  Republicans are betting that deep – and beneficial – cuts in federal spending over time, and the improvement in federal revenues from a growing economy, will wipe out those down-the-road deficits and perhaps retire some debt.  Will that strategy be successful or not, I do not know – and neither does Rubin.  We need to keep in mind, however, that it is her tax and spend left-wing policies that have caused the problem and if they are able to thwart the cost cuts and slow down the economy, THEY will be responsible for making their dire predictions a reality.

4.  Misusing the military as part of an election stunt to raise xenophobic fears.

Pardon my use of a bit of gutter language, but this one is pure b***sh*t – propaganda at its worst.  As you read this, more than 10,000 migrants are assembling on the border.  Very few of them meet asylum requirements.  How do we know?  Because 80 to 90 percent have failed to meet the requirements in the past.  Being opposed to open borders and unrestricted growth of the undocumented class in America is NOT xenophobia (another straw man argument).  We can know for certain that there are among those 10,000 a goodly number of hardened criminals and others with communicable diseases.  Only a very small percentage are those oft-pictured mothers and children.  (Regarding the issue of children being “gassed,” I find the parents who brought their toddlers to the fences where attempts were to be made to force entry into the United States to be guilty of child abuse.  Yeah, bring your baby to a riot.  What could possibly go wrong?)

5. Appointing a series of ethically challenged Cabinet members.

I can go along with some of the obvious unethical actions taken by a few appointees, but most of the media “charges” are simply piling on to build their preconceived narrative.  Too many of the reported ethical lapse are things that have been done by administration officials for eons – many neither illegal or even unethical.  The only people claiming much of them to be unethical are the left-wing media – propagandists, like Rubin – and former ethics advisors with a political bias.  We need to separate the wheat from the chaff even as the Rubin-Rumpelstiltskins of the Fourth Estate turn chaff into wheat – and faux wheat into political gold.

6.  Using his presidential powers to infringe on the First Amendment.

I’m assuming Rubin is grousing about Trump’s displeasure with the left-wing media – shared by millions of Americans if you look at the polling data on the media.  He makes no secret of his contempt, but he is not entirely wrong about the obsessive unfairness and partisan partiality of major portions of the press.  But Trump has done nothing … nada … to infringe or take away the rights AND privileges of the news media under the First Amendment.  In fact, he has been by far the most responsive and accessible President in American history – and I often wonder why.

7.  Installing an acting attorney general utterly unfit for the job and in violation of the appointments clause.

This is just more partisan … uh … you know what.  (I refuse to use the vulgar word twice in one commentary.)  And of course, her legal opinion on the “appointments clause” is beyond her pay grade and profession – and runs contrary to virtually all knowledgeable legal authorities.  Mathew Whitaker may be an unusual choice when looked at from a historical perspective, but he is hardly “utterly unfit.”  That is just nasty talk.

8. Endorsing and campaigning for Roy Moore.

Trump probably should not have – especially in retrospect.  But with a razor thin majority in the Senate, it was a pragmatic political decision.  Trump endorsed Moore’s opponent in the primary, which Rubin fails to take into consideration.

Rubin’s column went on to make Trump’s criticism of the Federal courts akin to an overthrow of the Judicial Branch.  Trump’s complaints about the courts may be more colorful than most Presidents – at least since Andrew Jackson – but there is hardly a President who has not complained about judicial decisions – especially when slapped down for abuse of power, as Obama was on several occasions.

Think of what America might be like if President Lincoln and all those Republicans had not criticized – and fought against — such court decisions as Dred Scott and all those other pro-slavery, pro-segregation decisions of those Democrat controlled courts.

In a twist of logic, Rubin’s suggests that criticizing the courts is the characteristic of tyrants.  Really?  Tyrants do not criticize courts because they control them.  When is the last time you head Putin, Kim or Rouhani complain about the courts in Russia, North Korea or Iran, respectively?  Tyrants are the ones who punish people for criticizing the judiciary.

Trump is president of a free Republic with the constitutional right to criticize.  It is the left who advances the notion of an omnipotent judiciary because they rely on the judges to impose their will by decree when our legislative bodies – accountable to we the people – will not.

One thing is very clear.  Rubin is no conservative.  She is not a journalist.  Just another propagandist given a platform by the left-leaning media.

So, there ‘tis.

About The Author

Larry Horist

So,there‘tis… The opinions, perspectives and analyses of Larry Horist Larry Horist is a businessman, conservative writer and political strategist with an extensive background in economics and public policy. Clients of his consulting firm have included such conservative icons as Steve Forbes and Milton Friedman. He has served as a consultant to the Nixon White House and travelled the country as a spokesman for President Reagan’s economic reforms. He has testified as an expert witness before numerous legislative bodies, including the U. S. Congress. Horist has lectured and taught courses at numerous colleges and universities, including Harvard, Northwestern, DePaul universities, Hope College and his alma mater, Knox College. He has been a guest on hundreds of public affairs talk shows, and hosted his own program, “Chicago In Sight,” on WIND radio. Horist was a one-time candidate for mayor of Chicago and served as Executive Director of the City Club of Chicago, where he led a successful two-year campaign to save the historic Chicago Theatre from the wrecking ball. An award-winning debater, his insightful and sometimes controversial commentaries appear frequently on the editorial pages of newspapers across the nation. He is praised by readers for his style, substance and sense of humor. According to one reader, Horist is the “new Charles Krauthammer.” He is actively semi-retired in Boca Raton, Florida where he devotes his time to writing. So, there ‘tis is Horist’s signature sign off.


  1. Randy Wildman

    Very concise and truthful article Larry, keep up the great work.

  2. Tom Vaughn

    It is refreshing to know you are out there holding the leftist deep blue wave from crashing onto our shore.

  3. John Noble

    Loved the article, but there is one misconception that I would like to point out regarding Larry’s reference to Abe Lincoln as being an alleged defender of the constitution and a proponent of emancipation.

    Revisionist history has done great damage to our understanding of what type of government our founders gave us. The biggest lie that we have all been taught is that Lincoln was a hero, the great emancipator, and that slavery was the issue of his war on the South. Just the opposite is true. It was “The War of Northern Aggression.” Here’s why. In his first inaugural address, good old Abe gave his strong support for the Corwin Amendment, which if it had passed, would have amended the constitution and made slavery permanent.

    He told Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederacy, “Keep your slaves, but come back into the Union.” Abe also promoted the movement to send the blacks back to Africa. Even General Ulysses Grant declared that if he thought that the war was about emancipating the slaves, he would resign his commission. The North was receiving 80% of its revenues from the South’s agrarian economy, and until they realized that fact, they had agreed to let the South go in peace. Only 20% of southerners owned slaves, and the institution would have disappeared as it had done in England and European countries. Two wrongs don’t make a right. Even the Apostle Paul sent Onesimus, his dear friend and runaway slave back to his Roman master with a “request” that he be given his freedom. Paul respected Roman law.

    Lincoln overturned our rule of law. His unconstitutional military coup converted our “bottom-up” system of state & local government into a “top-down” oligarchy which destroyed the checks & balances that formerly protected the states from federal usurpation. Lincoln established the Executive Branch as “Morality Police Chief” over the states. But you won’t find it listed as one of the enumerated powers in Article 1, Section 8. The founders would have been appalled that Lincoln made the states servants of the federal branches of government. He converted physical slavery into political repression which has now placed all of us as serfs on Uncle Sam’s Plantation. We no longer have a constitutional republic. The constitution is only given lip service, but is really just a dead letter in which “case laws” are used as precedents for a non-ending chain of unconstitutional rulings by activist judges who have never studied the constitution nor the federalist papers, thus whose judicial decisions are based on personal biases/prejudices instead of the original intent of the founders.

    The institution of slavery was allowed, but not promoted in our original document. The slave states would not have joined the Union unless the compact had allowed slavery. For 180 years prior to forming the Union, the former British colonies had done business with each other, married each other, freely travelled between the respective colonies, and fought the British together, but did not try to impose their moral differences on each other. Today, Lincoln’s carpetbaggers still carry out their rape and plunder of the American people, most of whom are so brainwashed that they believe Lincoln was a hero. After the war, a group of embittered southerners created the KKK and infiltrated the Democrat Party which got control of congress and ever since has carried on the policies established by the Lincoln Republicans.

    However, the Republicans began to become the conservative party as it realized the mortal wound that had been inflicted to the constitution by Lincoln. Today, the Democrat Party has morphed into a full blown communist organization supported by a brainwashing education system and the propaganda mainstream news media. Ask yourself, “What do communists support that Democrats don’t?”

  4. benjamin antrim

    @ john noble, a little harsh on “old Abe” but, otherwise, RIGHT-ON. Another thing I wish everyone would take up is to NEVER refer to the Democrat Party as the “democratic” party since there is NOTHING democratic about the Democrat Party!! The word “democratic” is an adjective and, as such, is never capitalized unless it’s the first word of a sentence. The Democrat Party is a “proper name” and is to be capitalized as all proper names should, even the Nazi Party or the Communist Party, altruisticly, (sp), both of which, in my humble opinion, have had or, today, have little or NO difference, modernistically, with our left-leaning leaders since J.F.K. !!

  5. Jean watts

    Rubin makes slot of sense. Trump isn’t a republican or a conservative. Trump is all about trump and making money. That’s why so many republicans have left the party. Republican Party is shrinking that’s why they need voter suppression all to endorse a liar in trump it’s sad. By the way people don’t want Obamacare dismantled and trump has no plan another of his many lies

    • Randy Wildman

      Jean watts: I suggest that you look to FB and look up The Walkway movement.

  6. John Noble

    If I seem harsh on ole Abe, it is because he had no constitutional authority to attack the South over any moral issue, including slavery. The North could have eliminated slavery by simply amending the constitution. The South had departed in peace, which was their right under the 1787 compact. Thomas Jefferson’s Kentucky & Virginia’s Resolutions of 1798 & ’99, and James Madison’s Report of 1800 made it clear that each state had the constitutional right and duty to monitor the feds, including the courts and various government agencies, for breach of the enumerated powers, and that secession was a last resort of independent nation-states. State legislatures and local governments, at their sole discretion, have the constitutional authority to defund and disobey palpable usurpations of the constitution. It should be kept in mind that the 3 federal branches were created by the states, not vice versa; therefore, they are to SERVE, not RULE the states.

    Jefferson said, to give the General Government the final and exclusive right to judge of its powers, is to make “its discretion, and not the Constitution, the measure of its powers;” and that, “in all cases of compact between parties having no common judge, each party has an equal right to judge for itself, as well of the infraction as of the mode and measure of redress.”

    My point is that UNTIL we (a) revisit the unconstitutional military coup that Lincoln presided over, (b) restore the checks & balances of the 3 federal branches, and (c) re-establish state autonomy, (d) the constitutional protections afforded to us in 1787 cannot be restored. Lincoln opened the door so that eventually a Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton would come along to drive the final coffin nail into our once great nation.