Professor and Author Jeffrey Bilbro Talks About His New Book Reading the Times and the Media’s Trust Factor

Professor and Author Jeffrey Bilbro Talks About His New Book Reading the Times and the Media’s Trust Factor

 

Live from Music Row Monday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed Professor Jeffrey Bilbro and author of the new book Reading the Times to talk about his theological perspective on media, how news has changed, fact-checking, and left-wing media.

Leahy: We welcome to our newsmaker line, Professor Jeffrey Bilbro. He’s a professor at Grove City College, A great college in Pennsylvania about an hour from Pittsburgh. He’s the author of a new book, A Literary and Theological Inquiry into the News. Welcome, Professor Bilbro.

Bilbro: Well, thank you for having me on this morning.

Leahy: So you have a Ph.D. from Baylor. Did you take any courses there from Rodney Stark?

Bilbro: I did not, but I do know him and his work. He’s a great guy.

Leahy: He’s a great guy. Written a lot about the origins of Christianity. But your book now, it’s so interesting that you talk about this from a theological and literary perspective. Tell us about Reading the Times and what it means and what it used to mean, and what it means today.

Bilbro: There’s obviously a lot of changes in the news media in the last couple of decades, especially with the rise of social media and the Internet. But I wanted to kind of take a step back and think about the longer-term trends and shifts in the news over the last decades and centuries.

And one of the things I focus on is shifts in the 19th century with the rise of the steam-powered printing press, the telegraph, and some of these earlier technologies, and then try to use people who responded to those shifts.

And you thought about the news from a theological perspective to try to get some wisdom on how we might engage news wisely in our current situation.

Leahy: What did you learn from that?

Bilbro: A lot of it is the temptations we have today about clickbait or just getting outraged about the latest ephemeral crazy thing that somebody said on the other side. A lot of these problems in which the news can become just a set of distractions rather than a way for us to get wisdom and insight into what’s happening and how we should respond.

These are old problems. Humans are prone to distraction and are prone to getting their priorities out of whack. The solutions themselves might not be necessarily new or technological, but the kinds of virtues that the Church fathers and others have talked about for centuries.

Leahy: It sounds like you’re putting the onus on the reporters of news to report news that is significant to the lives of everybody, but not necessarily the outrage of the day. Did Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez say something stupid again? Yes. (Bilbro laughs) Yes. What was it? Right?

Bilbro: That’s right. Because we don’t need to just have our convictions reaffirmed every day by how terrible people disagree with us. But there are ways that journalists can host a thoughtful, informed conversation about events today and help us discern what’s really going on, and help us sort through what responsibility we might have in these particular circumstances.

Those are important things. So as consumers, I think we can seek out and listen to those places that give us wisdom and insight and not just continually rile us up.

Leahy: So, back to our Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez example. It’s actually not news if Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez says something stupid, because pretty much every day she says many things that are stupid. So that’s not any news. It’s sort of like dog bites man is not news. Man bites dog is news, right?

Bilbro: Yes. I think that’s right. And we need to be cognizant of what’s worth attending to. What’s actually going to help us love our neighbors and be good citizens and thoughtful members of our communities and attend to the stories that might help us do that.

Leahy: We own and operate eight state-based news sites. And one is The Tennessee Star right here in Tennessee. But also The Georgia Star News, The Michigan Star. We’re opening up The Pennsylvania Daily Star, by the way, in September.

Bilbro: Oh really?

Leahy: What advice do you have for me?

Bilbro: Oh, man. (Chuckles) You know more about this than I do. I intentionally wrote this book to news consumers because I think the people in the business, it’s tough. You have a lot of financial restrictions and pressures.

You’ve got to make money and find a way to keep people engaged. I think there’s a lot of news institutions that do a good job of fostering community amongst their listeners or readers.

Leahy: Now you have my attention because you said there are a lot. Help me out here. Give me your top two or three examples.

Bilbro: I’m being optimistic. I like World Magazine.

Leahy: Oh yes! World Magazine is fantastic. Marvin Olasky runs that. Or he did.

Bilbro: Yes. He’s near the end of his career. I think he’s done a great job.

Leahy: Does anybody actually read World Magazine, though?

Bilbro: Well, that’s a good question. I think they’re doing okay. But I don’t know. I think finding that balance between getting readers or listeners, but also giving them stuff that will edify and encourage and challenge them.

It’s hard because people – we want to hear what pleases us rather than always what we need to hear.

Leahy: Back in the land of giving advice. National Public Radio lies about our reporting all the time. And they did that just recently, where they made some statements about election reporting that we’ve done that was absolutely, totally false. What advice would you have for me dealing with lies from National Public Radio about our reporting?

Bilbro: Yes. That’s frustrating. And that’s part of why there’s a lot of news organizations like The Washington Post and others right now who are touting fact-checking. And if we just get all the right fact-checking …

Leahy: The Washington Post, owned by the left-wing autocratic billionaire Jeff Bezos. That Washington Post.

Bilbro: Yes. Exactly. And that’s why I’m skeptical that fact-checking is a real solution because it all depends on who’s checking the facts.

Leahy: It’s fact spinning when it comes from The Washington Post and The New York Times.

Bilbro: Yes. And whoever is doing the checking. And so I think this kind of deceit and fact-checking isn’t really honest. That’s an endemic problem. It’s not really honest.

Leahy: But in our case, our listeners think the establishment media is utterly dishonest, and polling shows that they’re the only institution with a lower reputation than the media. I think it’s like 17 percent approval is Congress, which is like 12 percent approval.

Bilbro: (Chuckles) And that’s a problem. It’s hard to have a thoughtful conversation when nobody can be trusted and you don’t know who to trust. Whether you’re getting the full story and usually regardless, I suppose we’re not getting the full story, we are just getting part of the story.

So it can be really hard for news consumers to know where to trust. And I think we don’t want to reject, I don’t know. It’s hard to just want to just discount all of the mainstream media, because I think some people – some individuals out there – are doing good work, too.

Leahy: Okay. And then now, by the way, that’s a statement made, and I’m not going to press you on this. I would be hard-pressed to come up with the list of those individuals in the establishment media, but kind of continue.

Bilbro: (Chuckles) I could name a few individuals at The Atlantic, say or something like that. But I agree that in general, I turn on NPR, and there are some good stories, but there’s a lot of stories I think aren’t getting the full scoop. And so it’s hard to know.

Leahy: I mean, The Atlantic is propped up by the left-wing billionaire Laurene Powell Jobs.

Bilbro: The money is a real problem, I think. And you see, a lot of these organizations are funded by various billionaire philanthropists because they’re not making money otherwise.

Leahy: Yeah, exactly. Hey, Jeff Bilbro, will you come back? And we wish you the best of luck with your book, Reading the News: A Literary and Theological Inquiry into the News. Thanks for joining us today.

Bilbro: Thanks very much.

Leahy: That’s Jeffrey Bilbro, a Professor at Grove City College in Pennsylvania. I strongly recommend it if you have kids looking for college. Take a look at Grove City, along with a few other colleges.

Listen to the full second hour here:

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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to the Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.
Photo “Jeffrey Bilbro” by Jeffrey Bilbro.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mayor Ogles Weighs In on the Potential Decertification of 2020 Election State Results

Mayor Ogles Weighs In on the Potential Decertification of 2020 Election State Results

 

Live from Music Row Tuesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. –  host Leahy welcomed Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles in the studio to discuss the potential for the 2020 election results to be decertified and the consequences of unelected bureaucrats.

Leahy: I’m always glad to have that great, steady, calming influence of that find Southern gentleman Andy Ogles, the Mayor of Maury County.

Ogles: Good morning. Because, you know, it’s good to have that calm, thoughtful, responsiveness to the hot energy I bring when we’re looking at these election issues. I would love to get your reaction to this.

And we have a story at The Tennessee Star. I’ll read the headline and the first two paragraphs and then get your reaction. This is a national story, but it does have state impact because we’ve got the problem here of illegal aliens coming into Tennessee. And it’s causing difficulties and expenses from the state.

We’ll get to that in a bit. Let me look at this story. I want to get your reaction. Headline. Former Trump Campaign Advisor Boris Epshteyn Predicts States Will Decertify 2020 Election Results.

Boris Epshteyn, attorney and former strategic advisor to the 2020 Trump campaign predicted many states will decertify their election results for the November 2020 election. In an interview with Gina Loudon, our friend, Epshteyn said the series of audits that may occur could lead to the reversal.

Additionally, this is what he says. There is no language in the Constitution that prevents such a move. “The further we go on this freight train of audits from Arizona to Georgia to Pennsylvania, and the more deeply horrifying information is uncovered. Ballots missing. Databases missing in Arizona. Fulton County, chain of custody documents missing in Georgia and Atlanta. Pennsylvania, a total cesspool of disaster. The more that information comes out, the more Americans believe this was a fraudulent election,” Epshteyn said.

What do you make of this claim that states will decertify their election results?

Ogles: I think that the last statement is key. We’re in unprecedented waters here constitutionally. The question is, there is no mechanism. So what happens next? And so ultimately, you think, well, it’s going to get kicked to the Supreme Court.

Well, the Supreme Court has already dodged this bullet. They wouldn’t hear it. You only had two dissenting votes in that case, and it was Alido and Thomas. So if they decertify and there’s a case to decertify and it goes to the Supreme Court, What’s the standing? How do you get standing before the Supreme Court?

Leahy: Neither of us are attorneys. But I think you’ve asked a critical question. I do think that it’s entirely possible that Georgia and Arizona, and in particular, Arizona because the state Senate is Republican.

The state House is Republican, same as in Georgia, although they’ve been a little weak in Georgia, they’re controlled by Republicans. I think it is possible that a special session could be held or even a regular session in January.

And reviewing all this evidence, I think they could say we vote to decertify the election. Okay. What’s the impact of that? And the answer is in terms of legal mechanism, nothing. Now in terms of public opinion, however, and I think this is the angle they’re going at.

I think a growing belief that this was an unlawful election and in many cases, and we’re looking in Georgia more and more that they can’t produce chain of custody documents as we speak today, seven and a half months after the election, there are no chain of custody documents for more than 300,000 absentee ballots cast in that election where the margin of victory was less than 12,000.

Ogles: Wow. At what point does this one become criminal? But, you know, I’ve had the opportunity kind of here as COVID’s been waning to speak, quite frequently across the state. And I can tell you, overwhelmingly, as I go around and I’m talking to these various groups from Jackson to Knoxville and everywhere in between that people think this election was stolen.

And I think more and more of these audits are showing that there’s a whole lot of monkey business or incompetence that took place. But at the end of the day, we were defrauded out of a true and honest election.

Leahy: Well, that’s the mantra now from the Secretary of State in Georgia. Sloppy but not fraudulent.

Ogles: Yeah, right.

Leahy: Sloppy, but not fraudulent. And it’s not just The Georgia Star News our site in Georgia. Just the News. Did you see what they got? John Solomon’s group. They got a 29 page memo from this guy by name of Carter Jones, who observed what happened in Fulton County from November second to November seventh.

And it is just a litany of a massive chain of custody problems. We’ve only reported on the movement of absentee ballots, which, by the way, they still haven’t produced the 385 missing transfer forms for 18,000 ballots to us at The Georgia Star News.

Fulton County claims to provided or Georgia Public Broadcasting complains that they provided all the missing documentation to them on Wednesday in 48 hours of receiving a request from them.

Six and seven months after we’ve requested it. We don’t have any of that data yet. They still haven’t provided it to us.  And by the way of the ones we looked at, five percent of those absentee ballots were delivered to the registrar before they were collected at the dropbox. (Ogles chuckles) Time travel. If you believe in time travel, you believe in the certification of that election.

Ogles: I mean, that’s like Pulitzer Prize-winning. You just proved time travel.

Leahy: Time travel!

Ogles: But, you know, Laura Baigert who was on this story for The Georgia Star News, she got a shout out from our former President Trump. That has to be an amazing accomplishment from a journalist’s perspective.

I mean, Trump is Trump. Whether you like, like Trump or dislike Trump, he’s in his own kind of stratosphere. And to be given a shout-out by the former President is pretty amazing.

Leahy: Well, he’s tracking this, and it’s important stuff. And what’s interesting is you get in the weeds on this stuff. But in an election where you have absentee ballots placed in drop boxes, what a formula for fraud that is.

By the way, the Georgia state legislature did not authorize the use of drop boxes. There were 300 around Georgia. 37 in Fulton County not authorized. It was an emergency election code rule passed by the Georgia State Election Board that put them in place.

They had a rule about how you track them. So it’s very complicated. But the chain of custody was broken on so many levels there. The way they worked it is you would put these ballots in a dropbox.

And then these election workers, some of them who worked for apparently, this attempt service called Happy Faces, who got the contract with Fulton County because they were represented by wait for it…Stacey Abrams. (Ogles chuckles)

Gee, what could go wrong there? But what we can trace is they took these ballots, apparently, to a warehouse. And they held them there until they were going to count them in the election.  Supposedly they tracked the movement of absentee ballots from 37 drop boxes to the warehouses.

They’re also supposed to, although it’s not an election code rule, apparently, there were some instructions that there’s a mechanism for tracking the movement of absentee ballots from the warehouse a couple of days before the election to four miles away to the counting center at the State Farm Arena, and then back.

You’re supposed to put them in a box. Number the boxes and track all that. They haven’t done that at all.

Ogles: So you’re saying an unelected bureaucrat change election law under the nose of the legislature, kind of like CRT in Tennessee.

Leahy: Exactly like it. This is why this is kind of circling back to what is making people so angry.

Ogles: That’s right. Because our bureaucrats are doing things that they’re not authorized to do by law, and we’re being forced to live with it. And not just on the consequences of this election, but in everyday life and in everyday life here in Tennessee.

Ogles: That’s right.

Listen to the second hour here:

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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to the Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

California Refugee Lenny Magill Talks About His Journey to Becoming the Top Glock Manufacturer

California Refugee Lenny Magill Talks About His Journey to Becoming the Top Glock Manufacturer

 

Live from Music Row Thursday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. –  host Leahy welcomed glockstore.com’s CEO and Founder Lenny Magill in studio to discuss his background and what led him to become the top Glock manufacturer.

Leahy: We are delighted to welcome to our microphones in studio, Lenny Magill, the CEO and founder of the Glock Store. Welcome, Lenny.

Magill: Well, thank you, Michael Patrick Leahy. What a great pleasure and honor it is to be here with you.

Leahy: Well, let’s start off with Magill. Now, is this Irish or Scottish?

Magill: Scottish.

Leahy: Scottish!

Magill: Yes, it is.

Leahy: Okay, so tell us a little bit about the background.

Magill: Well, I was born in Pennsylvania.

Leahy: Where in Pennsylvania?

Leahy: Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. I know Harrisburg. On the Susquehanna.

Magill: Absolutely. I went to Susquehanna High School.

Leahy: It’s a beautiful, beautiful area.

Magill: Yes. It’s the rolling hills, lots of trees, and lots of water. Really a great place to grow up. I had a great childhood.

Leahy: I have a recollection of being in Harrisburg as a kid. I grew up in upstate New York. And in the summer my dad would get the trailer and attach it to the car and we would travel around the country. We went to Gettysburg one summer.

Magill: Just outside of Harrisburg.

Leahy: But there was a trailer camp that you come in, you stop, you hook up. It was in Harrisburg. They had a beautiful sort of above ground pool. We had the greatest time in Harrisburg. I have very fond memories of Harrisburg.

Magill: And I do too. It was a great childhood. I loved being outdoors a little bit. A very outdoor area, lots of things to do outdoors as far as fishing and hiking and camping and all that.

Leahy: Yeah, exactly. They talk about Pennsylvania kind of being three states. The area around Philadelphia. You got the area around Pittsburgh, and then all in between. And they say it’s like Alabama moved to the North.  Have you heard that before?

Magill: Well, central Pennsylvania is very conservative, and it’s a great little spot to grow up. And that’s where Harrisburg is really more central. It’s Lancaster, Harrisburg, York, all those towns right around there. And that’s where I grew up. And it was really a great place to grow up. I was in Boy Scouts. I had a lot of fun.

Leahy: The Cub Scouts Webalo. The whole thing.

Magill: Cub Scouts. And I got to a Life Scout. One of the biggest, I guess disappointment in my life is that I didn’t stick around for the Eagle Scout. I had all the stuff in and lined up. My parents got divorced. I was 15, started interested in girls. I got my driver’s license. I was 16. All of a sudden, I kinda copped out and didn’t finish the Eagle Scout.

Leahy: So where did go from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania?

Magill: Well, I went a year at Temple.

Leahy: Temple? A Temple Owl.

Magill: Yes I was.

Leahy: In Philadelphia.

Magill: Temple University. And like I said, my parents had divorced. And I went down. And my dad’s a doctor, and he went to a Temple. And so I went to Temple and was disillusioned with college. I just didn’t like it. Big school.

Leahy: Temple is a big big school.

Magill: And it was in a pretty bad neighborhood. (Chuckles)

Leahy: It’s a bad part of Philadelphia. A football coach in the 1980s just won the Super Bowl.

Magill: Oh, really? How about that?

Leahy: The Tampa Bay coach Bruce Arians.

Magill: I was there for a year. I did a year at Temple. And I just didn’t like college. I didn’t like the big classes, didn’t like the whole environment. And I had a girlfriend who moved to California.

Leahy: Ah ha!

Magill: And so I went home and told my dad, mom, I’m moving to California. And my dad was like, you’re crazy. And so my mom was like, oh, be careful. And so I moved to California when I was 18 years old.

Leahy: Southern California?

Magill: Yeah. I went to San Diego.

Leahy: By the way, in terms of physical beauty, is there any place in the world that’s physically more beautiful than San Diego, California?

Magill: Well, I would say the weather is great in San Diego, but I like the trees here in Nashville to be honest. That’s the one thing that’s missing. And the water is missing in California too. They have to import water here. There’s water everywhere here. And I just think the beauty of the forest and the trees themselves are fascinating.

Leahy: You grew up in that environment. So in San Diego, you arrive, you finished a year of college. What do you do?

Magill: Well, you know what? I had no money. My dad, like I said, he’s a doctor, but he’s old school. He said, Well, good luck. He didn’t give me any money. He gave me a credit card to buy gas to drive a car out there. But that was it. Then he killed the credit card. And so I was basically on my own in California. And I ended up working at a restaurant. I worked at Bob’s Big Boy.

Leahy: Bob’s Big Boy. I remember that well.

Magill: And I was a cook.

Leahy: You’re a cook?

Magill: I was bad news. And what’s interesting is that I noticed that the waiters and the waitresses, they didn’t have waiters, but all the waitresses were making all this money in tips. And I said, well, that’s pretty interesting. I’d like to get a part of that. They said, well, we don’t have men here. And then one day, I was taking the bus to work and I saw there was a job offer for you in this place called Farrell’s Ice Cream which was just an ice cream place. So I walked in and said, hey, I want to be a waiter. He says we can’t hire you as a waiter. You have to be a busboy first or a cook first. And I said I’m tired of being a cook. I want to be a waiter.

Listen to the full third hour here:

– – –

Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to the Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.