Julia A. Seymour is the Assistant Managing Editor for the MRC Business where she analyzes and exposes media bias on a range of economic and business issues. She has written Special Reports including Global Warming Censored, UnCritical Condition, Networks Hide the Decline in Credibility of Climate Change Science and Obama the Tax Cutter.

Seymour has also appeared on Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network and the Christian Broadcasting Network and has been an in-studio guest on the G. Gordon Liddy Show. She has also done hundreds of radio interviews on a wide-range of topics with stations in more than 35 states as well as many nationally syndicated programs. Her work has appeared or been mentioned by radio host Rush Limbaugh, Mark Levin, The Drudge Report, WorldNetDaily, USA Today, CNBC.com, Motley Fool and “Ted, White and Blue” by Ted Nugent. Prior to joining BMI in 2006, she was a staff writer for Accuracy in Academia where she wrote  about bias in lower and higher education and contributed to the book “The Real MLA Stylebook.” She holds a B.S. in Mass Communications: Print Journalism from Liberty University.

Latest from Julia A. Seymour
March 7, 2011, 10:58 AM EST

The unemployment rate finally dropped below 9 percent in February 2011, after 21 months at that rate or higher. The Labor Department reported March 4 that the rate had dropped 0.1 percent to 8.9 percent. The New York Times called it a “notable” improvement, but in 1983, the Times was downbeat about better jobs news.

“The economic waiting game may soon be over, as businesses signal that they are finally willing to resume widespread hiring,” the March 5, 2011, story by Catherine Rampell began.

In that report, Rampell also emphasized that the 192,000 jobs added that month were the most for job growth in almost a year. Her Times report suggested the rate “could rise temporarily in the next few months, as stronger job growth lures some discouraged workers to look for jobs again.”

The last time the unemployment rate dropped below 9 percent after a long period above that marker was in 1983 under President Reagan. Back then the Times was much less encouraged by the jobs report, despite a monthly drop that was five times the size of this year’s.

March 1, 2011, 11:05 AM EST

As gas prices rose in 2008, network reporters mentioned President Bush in 15 times as many stories than they brought up President Obama in a similar period in 2011.

Bush drew gallons of coverage in 2008. Comparing a 20-day span of rising gas prices in 2008 to 24 days of rising prices in February 2011, the Business & Media Institute found the networks did more than 2 ½ times as many stories during the Bush years versus Obama.

February 23, 2011, 10:18 AM EST

For roughly a week, a battle has been raging in Madison, Wis. Evening news programs on the three broadcast networks framed these as "citizen uprisings" over pay cuts and "eliminating unions' collective bargaining powers to negotiate wages and benefits."

Reporters also portrayed this as a national union issue, but mostly failed to point out the national problem of pension underfunding.

Actually, the battle is the result of Republican Gov. Scott Walker's attempts to balance the state budget by asking roughly 300,000 state employees to contribute more to their pension funds and health insurance and give up the ability to negotiate more than their wages. According to CNNMoney, the state faces a $3.6 billion budget deficit.

Only 1 out of 24 network evening stories about the Wisconsin "feud" since Feb. 16, reported a critical number relating to union pensions: $1 trillion. That's the huge deficit facing public workers' pensions in America and the reason Walker and other state governors are facing tough choices including demanding public workers contribute more.

February 21, 2011, 10:56 AM EST

When conservatives gather behind closed doors, the left plans protests and counter events. When the left plans a closed-door meeting, it gets almost no attention at all.

Politico reported briefly on Feb. 16, that Democratic operatives will gather in early March for a private strategy conference. That has gotten little attention or criticism, yet when conservatives gather at the semiannual Koch conference the left mounts elaborate protests.

“Participants include Obama campaign pollsters Joel Benenson and Paul Harstad, the 2010 executive directors of the DSCC, DCCC, and DGA, Organizing for America deputy director Jeremy Bird, SEIU political director Jon Youngdahl, and current DSCC executive director Guy Cecil,” Politico’s Ben Smith said.

When the latest “semiannual confab of conservative activists” hosted by Charles and David Koch took place, people on the left from environmentalists to unions held a counter-meeting called “Uncloaking the Kochs.” The Los Angeles Times covered the protests and even linked to streaming video of the lefties’ event, but didn’t quote a single conservative in that story.

February 14, 2011, 4:37 PM EST

Infidelity. Adultery. Those aren't exactly words that come on typical candy conversation hearts. Valentine's Day is after all a traditional holiday of love and romance, not of cheating and betrayal.

Yet, Bloomberg Businessweek used the holiday to highlight AshleyMadison.com a website that helps married people (7 out of 10 on the site are men) have affairs. The company's motto is "Life is short. Have an affair."

Like Ashley Madison, Bloomberg Businessweek must be counting on the idea that "sex sells." The magazine's offensively sexed-up cover design showed a woman's spread, fishnet-clad legs and was clearly an attempt to grab readers. On the newsstand copy those legs take up a little more than a quarter of the page, but an image on the BusinessWeek website shows a much larger image of legs taking up the entire cover.

February 11, 2011, 10:42 AM EST

The coal industry not only gets attacked by the media for being a "dirty" fossil fuel, it rarely gets positive coverage because the networks focus on disasters. Since January 1, 2010, nearly 80 percent of the broadcast network stories about coal were related to tragic mining accidents. Only 14 percent of stories mentioned coal in any context other than a mine disaster or natural disaster that affected mining.

On January 13, 2011, the Environmental Protection Agency took the unprecedented step of revoking a water permit from Arch Coal's Spruce Mine No. 1. That was in line with President Obama's threats to "bankrupt" the coal industry and a "virtual moratorium" on coal permitting, yet the networks didn't mention it in a single story.

With the recent unrest in Egypt, Tunisia and elsewhere in the Mideast, there is reason to be concerned about energy security and rising prices right now. If turmoil were to spread in the oil-rich region, energy prices could spike further.

During the first week of February, oil prices rose to the highest level since October 2008 because of Egypt concerns, according to Platts.com. In the U.S., the national average for unleaded gasoline has been above $3-a-gallon since late December (Dec. 23). Egypt produces 660,000 barrels of oil per day according to the Energy Information Agency (EIA), and 4.5 percent of the world's oil travels through its Suez Canal.

February 4, 2011, 10:35 AM EST

Jobs are heading up and down at the same time. The Bureau of Labor Statistics announced the morning of Feb. 4 that only 36,000 jobs were added in the month of January, but the unemployment rate dropped from 9.4 percent to 9.0 percent.

The mainstream news media will likely latch on to the dropping unemployment rate, despite job gains that were less than one-fourth of the consensus estimate of 148,000 jobs added. One of the CNBC panelists noted that the increase was "way below consensus."

CNBC's Rick Santelli even lashed out at some of the CNBC "Squawk Box" panel that were discussing the latest jobs report. (VIDEO BELOW FOLD)

January 17, 2011, 10:37 AM EST

- Since Obama took office, only 16 percent of health care stories mentioning the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) included any criticism of their accounting, despite criticism from many conservative and libertarian experts as well as the former head of CBO.

- Networks reporters and guests emphasized the CBO's integrity calling them "non-partisan," "independent" and the "referee" or "arbiter" of legislation costs. CBS's Nancy Cordes even declared them to be "trusted by both parties as the authority on budget matters."


The new majority in the House of Representatives has made it clear that voting on a full repeal of ObamaCare is its top priority, something a majority of Americans support. But their resolution, H.R. 2, has come under fire from the left and the liberal news media over the deficit.

Democrats, including Rep. Rob Andrews, D-N.J., claimed that House Republicans "are breaking their first promise in their first week" because the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) said that repealing the health care bill would add $230 billion to the deficit over 10 years.

CBS's Katie Couric called it "new ammunition" for Democrats on Jan 6, 2011, and on the network news that proved to be the case.

That "ammunition" used to portray the GOP as fiscal hypocrites has also been criticized as "nonsense," not that you'd know it from the network news media.

January 7, 2011, 11:46 AM EST

A sharp drop in the unemployment rate from 9.8 percent to 9.4 percent "surprised" analysts on Jan. 7, but Mesirow Financial's chief economist Diane Swonk warned CNBC viewers that it was an "anomaly."

The drop in unemployment rate confused some because in the same report the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported only 103,000 overall nonfarm payroll gains in December 2010.

CNBC's "Squawk Box" panel reacted to the falling unemployment rate by calling it "sort of a fluke," an "anomaly" and predicting it would rise again. CNBC's Rick Santelli suggested the rate dropped "because people are disenchanted' and dropping out of the labor force."

January 6, 2011, 10:30 AM EST

The 112th Congress took office Jan. 5 and the new Republican majority in the House of Representatives planned to immediately tackle the unpopular health care legislation signed into law in 2010.

The Washington Post reported that House Republicans intend to vote on a repeal of ObamaCare Jan. 12, just one week into the new congressional session.

"ObamaCare is a job-killer for businesses small and large, and the top priority for House Republicans is going to be to cut spending and grow the economy and jobs," Brad Dayspring, spokesman for incoming House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., was quoted by the Post.

That attempt to repeal has been mentioned in many network reports lately, but the public's dislike of the legislation has been missing from most ABC, CBS and NBC news stories between Dec. 5 and Jan. 4.

According to Rasmussen Reports, 60 percent of likely voters favor repeal of the health care law - for the second week in a row. Since the first week of December the percentage favoring repeal has not dropped below 55 percent, and has been between 50 and 63 percent since March of 2010. Those polls were not mentioned in any of the network stories referencing the "controversial" health care legislation.

Only four, out of 63 network stories mentioning ObamaCare legislation in the past month said anything about public opinion of the bill. Only two of those stories, both by ABC, cited any polling data on the issue. In both of those mentions, reporters for ABC admitted that the bill is at "its lowest level of popularity ever" and cited an ABC News/Washington Post poll that found 52 percent of people oppose the bill.

January 4, 2011, 10:04 AM EST

The New York Times reported on Jan. 2 that Chevron has been using outtakes from the film "Crude," an anti-Chevron film in its legal battles. The Times called it "a cautionary tale for lawyers who invite in documentary filmmakers to tell the story of their legal fights."

The footage was allowed in court after a New York federal judge ruled in May 2010 that Joe Berlinger, the filmmaker, had to turn over more than 500 hours of outtakes, according to the Times.

While this Times story was not as biased against Chevron as past articles about the $27 billion Ecuadorian lawsuit have been, but the paper was not upfront about its opposition to the use of the film footage.

December 30, 2010, 9:31 AM EST

Gas prices are "soaring" again, crossing the $3-a-gallon threshold on Dec. 23 for the first time since Oct. 17, 2008. Back then the benchmark was a relief as prices plunged from the highest price ever of $4.11.

Pump prices have been climbing all month, yet network reports downplayed the pain and suffering of consumers. Jim Axelrod of CBS called it "bad news" after reporting some positive economic news on Dec. 28, but concluded "The economy's not great, says economist Dan Greenhaus, but not terrible either."

Compare that to past media exaggeration of gas prices. NBC's Anne Thompson said that "no matter what kind of gas is sold, today it's now unbelievably expensive" on Aug. 31, 2005. That day the national average for gasoline was $2.62 - but the gas price signs shown in Thompson's report were much higher at $3.49.

December 10, 2010, 11:55 AM EST

Each year the Business & Media Institute looks back on the year's news and selects the top 10 worst economic myths. Here is our 2010 list:

10. GM Repayment Shows Taxpayer Bailout Worked

9. All the Economy Needs is More Stimulus

8. Soda is Like Cocaine and Ads Cause Obesity

7. Obama the Tax Cutter

6. The Tea Parties are Astroturf, but Green Groups Aren't.

5. Despite Largest Budget in History, Obama is Fiscally Conservative

4. Lack of Press Freedom in Gulf Doesn't Point to Obama

3. Nearly 10 Percent Unemployment Isn't So Bad

2. ClimateGate? What ClimateGate?

1. The Chamber of Commerce is Taking "Secret Foreign Money" for Election

December 3, 2010, 11:10 AM EST

The unemployment rate rose in November, from 9.6 percent up to 9.8 percent after only 39,000 jobs were added to the workforce. On MSNBC's "Morning Joe" Mark Haines of CNBC called the data "disappointing."

Haines went on to say, "An optimist or a sunny 'glass is half full' kind of person would say the unemployment rate may have ticked up because more people are now looking for work. That's the way that unemployment rate works … but I will grant you that that is a reach."

November 18, 2010, 9:55 AM EST

It’s been a year since thousands of emails and files were leaked from a prominent climate science group at the University of East Anglia, with startling comments including this one: “We can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment.”

Other leaked emails showed potential manipulation of temperature data, a willingness to destroy information rather than release it under the British Freedom of Information (FOI) law and the intimidation of publications willing to publish skeptical articles. The files also indicated that the temperature data was in a “hopeless” state.

Even though many considered it a huge scandal, the three broadcast networks didn’t think so. They ignored the story for roughly two weeks, and have only mentioned it in a dozen stories in the past year.

 
November 11, 2010, 11:07 AM EST

Food-filled winter holidays will soon arrive. But the liberal news media have already spent recent days comparing soda to an illegal drug, promoting a toy ban in kid’s Happy Meals, and generally bashing fast food companies for giving customers exactly what they want.

CNBC’s Erin Burnett outdid food police groups on Nov. 8, when she compared soda to cocaine in a segment discussing a “fat tax.” After citing some claims about people being fatter and living shorter lives, Burnett asked a beverage company spokesperson: “Is your industry killing us?”

November 5, 2010, 10:48 AM EDT

The Bureau of Labor Statistics released the unemployment numbers for October showing “fantastic” gains of 151,000 jobs, according to MSNBC, and an unchanged 9.6 unemployment rate.

CNN’s Christine Romans called it a “good report,” during “American Morning” and noted that it was the “first time in a very, very long time” enough jobs had been added in one month to keep up with new entrants to the workforce. Estimates of the number of jobs needed per month vary between 100,000 and 200,000.

October 29, 2010, 10:46 AM EDT

Media Research Center’s President Brent Bozell appeared on “Fox & Friends” Oct. 29, to discuss the broadcast networks’ spin on unemployment.

“Well, it confirms what many conservatives have said for years. It absolutely confirms it, but when you look at the numbers it really does rattle you because it is so obvious when the same reporters are taking two completely different positions because of their political proclivities,” Bozell told Steve Doocy.

After showing this video of network coverage of unemployment leading up the mid-term elections under Bush in 2005-2006 and Obama in 2009-2010, Doocy said, “OK Brent, so there they are trying to put on the happy face. I’m still struck by the comment during the Bush administration where they were talking about ‘Oh, unemployment’s at 4.8 percent. The sky is falling’.”

October 21, 2010, 10:07 AM EDT

The largest tax hikes in history are imminent and it is still unclear whether Congress and President Obama will come to an agreement before January 1. The networks should have seen those tax hikes coming a mile away, but the Business & Media Institute found the primary theme of their tax cut stories was Obama as  the hero, cutting taxes for the middle-class, not as a tax increaser.

This is the subject of BMI's brand new Special Report: Obama the Tax Cutter: A Network Fairy Tale.

Like the fabled town of Hamelin that hired the Pied Piper to conquer its rat problem, America needed a hero to overcome a faltering economy. According to the news media, that hero was Sen. Barack Obama who made extravagant promises about tax cuts for 95 percent of “working families” and getting the economy back on track.

October 14, 2010, 10:16 AM EDT

Liberals are so angry that conservatives are outspending them this election cycle, the president, MSNBC and left-wing bloggers have resorted to attacks on the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Liberal website Think Progress, an arm of the George Soros-funded Center for American Progress, claimed that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce was soliciting foreign money and using it for political attack ads here in the United States. It’s a serious charge since it is illegal to spend foreign money on domestic elections, yet the left-wing group offered no evidence to support the charge.

Lee Fang of Think Progress appeared on MSNBC’s “Countdown with Keith Olbermann” to present those allegations, but instead of supplying proof of wrongdoing Fang claimed the Chamber should prove their innocence. “They haven’t proved that there’s some firewall [for foreign funds]. They’re just saying, hey, trust us,” Fang said.

Olbermann ate up those claims, repeating them as fact and bashing the Chamber on multiple nights of his program. He even called the group “something like the Manchurian Chamber of Commerce” on Oct. 8.