Fake News, part four

I was reading my favorite WSJ this morning and saw an intriguing headline in the Best of the Web column, which I will paraphrase: Is Mona Lisa happy or sad?

People have been debating her enigmatic smile for centuries. At first glance, she appears happy, but many feel, upon reflection, that her smile is perhaps sad or melancholy or wistful or wry or something else...hence the mystery. The article linked to Yahoo News and described an interesting experiment where the researchers digitized the image and then made four versions where she is slightly happier, and four versions where she is slightly sadder. Then they asked lots of people to rate the happiness of each of the nine images.

The researchers assumed that the original unadulterated version would be neutral, but it turns out that 97% of the subjects rated it as "happy." So the conclusion was that her smile was happy, but the caveat was that there seemed to be a predisposition to rating things "happy" and having a field of images might give an overall happier rating. As usual with studies of this kind, more research is needed, I'm sure.

Something else on the Yahoo website caught my eye, as it was the top link for the mini-articles on the right side of the page. And the headline said, "Trump plans to donate salary, despite pledge not to take one." The link was to the ABC News website.

The article goes on and on, but the basic idea is that "taking" a salary and then donating it to charity is, according to ABC News, breaking a pledge not to take the salary. The phrase "despite pledge" means that Trump is breaking his promise, which feeds into the media narrative that he is a liar.

Of course, this interpretation is nonsense and is another example of the bias against Donald Trump and the creation of Fake News by the media to denigrate him.

Trump is legally obligated to take at least $1, because he must be compensated as an employee of the federal government. So in order to fulfill his promise, he needs to donate the other $399,999 to charity, or to the government, perhaps to reduce the federal debt.

It is Yahoo News' active imagination that dictates how Trump must handle his salary to satisfy the writers of the piece, which has absolutely no bearing on anything. If Trump decides that allowing the government to keep the money is not what he wants to do, then he can decide where to donate it. Not taking a salary means that he will not keep the cash, not that it won't be paid (and donated to a charity, presumably.)

Just to make sure the nitpickers don't email me, Trump could have said "I will save the government $400,000 by not taking a salary" and then he would be morally obligated to donate the salary to the Treasury. So his promise was about what he would receive and retain, not what the government would pay.

Trump is a wealthy person and does not need the $400k salary. And if somehow his circumstances abruptly changed and he needed his salary, nobody would begrudge him taking it so long as he is performing the services. "Not taking a salary" was not a selling point for voting for Trump. Put another way, nobody voted for Trump because the United States of America would save $399,999 versus his opponent. Hillary Clinton did not take such a vow, even though she and her husband have earned hundreds of millions of dollars after two careers in "public service."

The mainstream media proves that it is indeed the enemy of the Trump administration every day, and does not give the guy a fair shake, no matter that this violates all the journalistic ethics of their profession.

Subscribe to the Acton Forum and get our newsletters emailed to you -- FREE! Click on http://www.actonforum.com/subscribe-actonforum-newsletter