If news outlets were fueled by bias, then ABC, CBS, and NBC would be Hummers.
Over the past two years, the media have declared Sport Utility Vehicles (SUVs) "dying" while celebrating the popularity of hybrid cars. Americans disagree. Data from Edmunds.com showed SUV market share has grown or remained stable whereas hybrid market share has declined. In July 2010 alone, SUVs outsold hybrids 4 to one.
When gas prices were high in summer 2008, the media eagerly reported the demise of the SUV and wrote its epitaph, as CBS News's Hattie Kauffman eloquently did on May 26, 2008:
"Here lies the mighty sport utility vehicle, once a symbol of status and power, now collecting dust."
When the credits are the most intriguing part of the movie, there's a problem.
In the new film "The Other Guys," starring Mark Wahlberg and Will Ferrell, two mismatched cops try to make a name for themselves by investigating a potential Ponzi scheme run by a corrupt investor. The villain is a pseudo-Bernie Madoff but rather than vilifying a single fraud, director Adam McKay ("Anchorman," "Step Brothers") lumped all investors together and attacked Wall Street as a whole.
"The Other Guys" is a funny but not hilarious movie for 1 hour and 47 minutes but instead of simply rolling the credits and letting viewers leave smiling, McKay followed with graphics criticizing Wall Street and corporate executives. It was almost as if Michael Moore filmed the closing credits, as graphics included the anatomy of a Ponzi scheme, the ratio of CEO to employee salaries, a comparison of the New York Police Department's pension fund to an average CEO's pension fund, an average worker's 401(k) account compared to a CEO's, and the amount of taxes Goldman Sachs paid after the bailout.
While the credits provided the most egregious anti-business attacks, there were other subtle pokes at business and Republicans within the film. For example, the villain, named David Ershon (whose last name rhymes eerily with ‘Enron'), is seen in a photograph with former President George W. Bush and is said to be friends with conservative Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. Other chides included Ershon stealing from both the lottery and the NYPD pension fund -- essentially stealing money from the state and a labor union -- and the villains' drive SUV's while the heroes drive a Toyota Prius.
In liberal reporters' minds, the "more perfect union" referenced in the Preamble to the Constitution is a more perfect labor union.
In an August 6 ABCNews.com story about pay raises for the middle class, reporter Ray Sanchez found a few reasons for "median wage stagnation" including the decline of organized labor. He also cited a common liberal talking point -- the "erosion" of the minimum wage.
As President Obama travels to Michigan to visit General Motors and Chrysler assembly lines, the media assembly line continues mass-producing bias.
On July 30, both ABC and CBS ran stories on their websites promoting President Obama's trip to Michigan to "let you know the Detroit Big Three are in the black again." Both networks' stories claimed the "unpopular auto industry bailout has turned into an economic good-news story."
"Analysts say there is no doubt the bailout rescued these companies," ABC reported.
CBS ignored criticism of the bailouts, while ABC buried opposition from Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., in the 27th paragraph after support from White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, Treasury Secretary Advisor Ron Bloom, and White House Council on Automotive and Community Workers head Ed Montgomery.
Despite his aloofness, it might be time to become a fan of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
"World News" devoted three segments to the social networking company on July 21, the day it reached 500 million users. Reporter Bill Weir and anchor Diane Sawyer profiled Facebook and interviewed its CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
Zuckerberg responded to Sawyer's questions about Facebook including whether or not Facebook is a "colossus that will mark the end of privacy" with a response that seemed allegorical to today's Tea Party and conservative movement.
"It's just the conversation. You don't-you're not designing the end result?" Sawyer asked.
"No, I mean, people make that up for themselves," Zuckerberg said. "Right, I mean that's, that's the power of democracy in these systems is that when you give everyone a voice and give people power, the system usually ends up in a really good place, so what we view our role as is giving people that power."
If it worked for Germany, it should work for the United States, right?
In a July 21 story, AP writer Geir Moulson praised government stimulus for helping Germany "bounce back" from the recession. Moulson highlighted two government stimulus packages totaling $104 billion and a government-sponsored program that cut back workers' hours instead of laying them off as reasons for Germany's endurance:
"The various government measures are all part of the upswing."
However, nowhere in Moulsion's 25-paragraph story did he acknowledge tax cuts over the past decade as a reason for Germany's success. As reported in Deutsche Welle, a German media outlet, the European Union's statistical office indicated Germany's corporate tax rate was cut to 29.8 percent in 2010, a 42-percent decrease from the 51.6-percent rate in 2000. Germany has also cut income taxes by 3.6 percent over the past ten years.
Some investigative reporters still live up to their job descriptions.
On the July 20 edition of "CBS Evening News," reporter Sharyl Attkisson exposed how government-sponsored entity (GSE) Fannie Mae and mortgage lender Countrywide "scratched each other's backs" while their toxic loans fueled America's mortgage crisis.
Attkisson revealed new documents showing that Countrywide gave "very important person" loans to dozens of Fannie Mae executives while American taxpayers forked over $84 billion to bail out the GSE.
Among the VIP loan recipients were Fannie Mae CEO Jim Johnson, who received $10 million, former Vice Chair Jamie Gorelick and former CEO Franklin Raines, whose total amounts received remain unknown. Attkisson reported the loans, but did not mention Raines, Gorelick, and Johnson all have ties to Democrats, from Bill Clinton to John Kerry to President Obama.
The news media love to bash businesses and support regulation, so Newsweek's mockery of the CEO class and claims that they accomplished nothing between 2001 and 2009 shouldn't be a surprise.
In his July 20 "Poor Little CEO's" story, Newsweek's Daniel Gross, known for his "tea bagging" comments and staunch defense of Obama, derided a July 12 "Jobs for America" summit held by the U.S Chamber of Commerce, the Business Roundtable, and the National Federation of Independent Business.
Gross mocked the jobs summit saying it was "a little like BP holding a deepwater-drilling safety summit." He also blamed corporate America for a "lost decade" that ended with "the deepest recession since the Great Depression."
"Between 2001 and 2009, corporate America designed the playing field to its specifications - easy money from the Federal Reserve; lower taxes on capital gains, dividends, and income; an administration that let industry essentially write its own regulations," Gross claimed.
On July 14, Newsweek published a list of ten books they described as "best business literature out there." The list of ten current titles was decidedly anti-business. Newsweek included an interview with each book's author. The list included:
"War at the Wall Street Journal: Inside the Struggle to Control an American Business Empire," by Sarah Ellison. The book detailed Rupert Murdoch's purchase of the Wall Street Journal in 2003. Newsweek couldn't help but highlight Murdoch's "obsession" at competing with the liberal darling New York Times.
Some red hot chili peppers are on tour, and they're emitting a lot of greenhouse gases. But it's not the California rock band emitting carbon on a worldwide concert tour; it's seeds from chili peppers traveling to the "doomsday" vault in Norway.
A bipartisan congressional delegation visited the Svalbard Global Seed Vault July 11 as a side trip during the 19th Annual Session of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe Parliamentary Assembly. Sens. Ben Cardin, D-Md., and Dick Durbin, D-Ill., among others, delivered New World chili pepper seeds to the vault, a "fail-safe back-up plan to protect the existing world food supplies from destruction in the event of a large-scale catastrophe."
"As we manage the impact of climate change and other natural and man-made disasters around the world, the seed vault in Svalbard will be the safety deposit box that ensures we can keep that food supply intact," Cardin said in a statement.
Cardin, a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, is outspoken about environmental issues ranging from green jobs to clean energy. Despite Cardin's positions, his trip to Norway left a giant carbon footprint - bigger than the footprint left in an entire year by the average American.
How do you honor a man who built a $1.3 billion baseball dynasty and revived one of the most iconic American sports franchises? If you're the Associated Press, you whine that he avoided the estate tax.
In a July 14 article, the Associated Press bemoaned that Steinbrenner died in a year with a "quirky tax situation" due to the suspended estate tax. The AP complained that the estate tax suspension "deprives the government of billions of dollars in tax revenue" yet gives the deceased heirs "an unexpected bonanza for those who inherit wealth:"
Attorney and estate planner Jack Nuckolls told the AP that, "If you're super-wealth, it's a good year to die. It really is."
The AP tactfully noted that if Steinbrenner had not so selfishly waited to pass away, and instead died in 2009, he would have paid half a billion dollars in taxes.
While Washington lawmakers may be deadlocked over extending unemployment benefits, the liberal media are picking up the slack and helping unemployed individuals find more government help.
In a July 13 story on CNNMoney.com, reporter Hibah Yousuf profiled two individuals who've been unemployed for over 99 weeks, the maximum number of weeks a person is eligible for unemployment benefits. Yousuf how they're turning to more government agencies for assistance:
"Many have already started falling through the safety net," she reported. "These people are coping any way they can, often reaching out for other aid from agencies and charities."
Yousuf devoted one paragraph to explaining how the first individual, Kevin Huffer, took matters into his own hands by doing handyman work in exchange for rent and went fishing for meals. But she devoted another three paragraphs to the various agencies and organizations, such as the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Community Action Partnership, helping out-of-work Americans find federal assistance beyond the nearly two years of unemployment benefits.
Still, the egg story included a survey of egg prices in a random city - Athens, Georgia - and predictably, the survey discovered factory eggs were only $1.69 a dozen whereas organic eggs ranged from $3.99 to $5.38 a dozen.
"'The modern collective is more about pragmatism than altruism,'" Tuttle wrote. "It's about networking and experiencing new things, it's about saving time, money, and space and it's about consuming less."
While sports reporters have sought agents and teammates for the inside scoop on where NBA superstar free agent LeBron James will sign, there's another person who may know The King's next move: his accountant.
In a July 1 blog post, the New York Post warned that "dysfunctional lawmakers in Albany" could cost the state a chance to bring the coveted athlete to New York.
"If LeBron James goes to the Miami Heat instead of the [New York] Knicks, blame our dysfunctional lawmakers in Albany, who have saddled top-earning New Yorkers with the highest state and city income taxes in the nation, soon to be 12.85 percent on top of the IRS bite," the Post said.
The tax savings for James in Miami over New York City would be staggering, according to the Post's analysis.
Apparently, Fannie and Freddie are the new Batman and Robin.
At least they seemed more like heroes than villains in a July 6 ABC News story about the troubled housing market. Reporter Rich Blake gave the government sponsored enterprises (GSEs) Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac credit for "propping up" the flailing housing sector:
"As perplexing and disturbing as this economic brainteaser may seem, the housing sector would be in even worse shape if not for those twin government sponsored enterprises, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, both in government conservatorship and bleeding assets," Blake wrote.
The Washington Post and BP may seem like the oddest couple since Felix and Oscar, but they've been spending a lot of time - and money - together.
A Business & Media Institute study found that the Washington Post earned up to $455,652 on 17 BP ads during the month of June, or about $15,188.40 per day. All 17 ads were a full page in size, nine appeared on the back page, six ran in color, and three ran on Sundays. In short, that's a fairly high-end ad campaign. However, companies typically receive discounts off of the open rate for large ad buys or for long-term contracts, so that final total may well be lower.
BMI analyzed all 30 issues of the Post in the month of June and calculated the rates using the Post's 2010 General Ad Rates Position Premiums. Based on the position premiums, a back page ad costs $28,954 daily ($31,456 on Sundays), ads on pages A2, A3, and A5 cost $208 daily ($216) per column inch, and other specified pages cost $103 daily ($110) per column inch. full page ad is 6 x 21 inches or 126 inches. BP back page ads totaled $260,586 and the Sunday ads, which appeared on pages A5 and A15 respectively, totaled $103,716, with color costs included in premium pricing.
Don't be surprised if you open up the June 24 USA Today and find pom poms in the ‘Money' section.
Reporters-turned-cheerleaders Paul Wiseman, Jayne O'Donnell and Christine Dugas wrote a glowing 38-paragraph story about the proposed Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection (BCFP). The story even included a section called "keys to a new agency's success" with quotes from "experts" at a wide variety of government agencies from the Environmental Protection Agency to the Food and Drug Administration.
USA Today's story began by praising the creation of the EPA in 1970 and the way it hit the ground running by ordered city mayors to clean up their water. They included 10 "expert" voices in favor of government agencies (proposed or current) many of whom were former regulators, against only three voices of opposition - all politicians.
It didn't take Velma, Shaggy or Scooby to uncover this mystery.
In a June 21 study published in the medical journal Pediatrics, researchers from Yale University "discovered" that food products with characters on them affect children's taste preferences, which may explain why food companies have been advertising with cartoons since at least the 1960's.
CNN.com and USA Today used the study to promote advertising restrictions and victimize consumers:
"Characters from TV and movies have appeared on food products for years, but until now little research has been done to examine how they influence children's food choices," Sarah Klein wrote on CNN.com.
That's the theme of author John S. Cohoat's new book "No Thank You, Mr. President," which tells the story of 10 private companies in Elkhart County, Ind., that made their own way to economic recovery without government handouts.
"My hope is that these stories provide some inspiration for you or make you remember why our capitalist economic policies and truly American way of life is the answer," Cohoat wrote in his first chapter, titled ‘Why This Book? Why Now?'
Cohoat characterized Elkhart County, in the northern part of the state near South Bend, as a hard-nosed area able to take care of itself. His portrayal stands in contract to the national media's portrayal of the county as the "poster child for all that is bad with our economy."