Now that the government has signed off on a $25-billion bailout of home mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the obvious question is: What next?
Steve Forbes, editor-in-chief of Forbes magazine, thinks breaking up is hard to do, but necessary. "The Bush Administration should vigorously push to have Fannie and Freddie recapitalized and broken up into 10 to 12 companies, with their ties to the government completely severed," as he explained in the August 11 edition.
According to Forbes, getting 10 to 12 smaller private companies involved in mortgages "will help revive and reinvigorate that sector."
Keeping with the tone of the political campaign, the media are in full Britney Spears mode. To quote the pop tart, "Oops, they did it again." It, this time, is the economy. The mainstream media continue to be wrong about the U.S. economy.
The 2nd Quarter Gross Domestic Product numbers came out Thursday morning and the economy continued to grow, this time at a stronger pace than last quarter - 1.9 percent.
As many pundits point out, the economy has to actually recess for there to be a recession. That hasn't stopped the media, who have in many ways never stopped talking recession since we escaped the last one.
This year it has been worse, with regular references to "recession" or even "depression." These days, "depression" may be how journalists feel about their own industry. But they continue to be wrong about the economy.
I hate to say I told you so, but what the heck. We did. The Business & Media Institute warned that Fannie Mae was a looming taxpayer-backed disaster - in 2005. Only the network news shows didn't like to tell you about it. An op-ed I wrote appeared in The New York Post under the headline: "The $30B Scandal That TV Forgot." I think $30 billion is small potatoes now. $100 billion is the number being used now.
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are Government-Sponsored Entities, which means they are publicly listed yet still backed by taxpayers. They have also been mismanaged and embroiled in accounting fiascos. Fannie was run by prominent Democrats like former Chief Executive Officer Franklin Raines and former Vice Chairman Jamie Gorelick - both instrumental figures in the Clinton administration.
A Dec. 23, 2004, Washington Post article explained that Franklin Raines "was a director of the Office of Management and Budget in the Clinton administration, and his name was mentioned as a possible Treasury Secretary had Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) been elected president."
Leave it to radio star Martha Zoller to sum up the need for radio independence this Independence Day. Zoller, writing a timely piece for the Business & Media Institute, gives a brief history of the rise of talk radio and a true free market of ideas.
Thanks to the left and people like Nancy Pelosi, our ability to have media outlets give other than the liberal party line is jeopardized. It is one of the greatest threats to our freedom this July 4th.
The debate over a gas tax holiday has caught the attention of all three presidential candidates as well as the media. Last night, CBS "Evening News" said 150 economists had signed a petition against the cut and quoted one saying "it isn't sound economic policy."
But that list includes several prominent liberal economists, some who have also opposed the Bush tax cuts and pushed for a higher minimum wage in other petitions. The list featured economists from liberal groups such at the Brookings Institution and the Urban Institute, as well as several former Clinton staffers.
Reporter Priya David didn't mention any political affiliations or leanings for those opposed to the gas tax holiday. "But last week some 150 economists signed a petition saying it's a bad idea," she said.
On the Feb. 17 "American Morning," Veronica De La Cruz showed how two Web sites, operated by "the same owner," sold products to the shooters in both the Virginia Tech and Northern Illinois University tragedies. She said it was "pretty shocking to figure this out." Anchor Kiran Chetry agreed, calling it an "eerie connection."
But De La Cruz was just getting started. She was even upset at the sympathy banners on the site because they were near banners that still advertised the company's business. "I want to show you the strange juxtaposition if you move down the page. Here's the NIU shooting and then ‘Save big on rifles and handguns' right underneath. You know, something that kind of turns your stomach, if you will," she added.
It's unfair to say all lawyers are greedy scum robbing our nation of needed wealth and destroying the things that made America great. OK, not all the lawyers. But USA Today gives a good place to start with its front-page piece on the money sought by trial lawyers and "victims" of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
According to the paper, there were 247 individual filings against the Army Corps of Engineers for more than $1 billion. "One claim alone seeks $3 quadrillion in damages," wrote Brad Heath. You heard that right. That's "a 3 followed by 15 zeros - about 250 times the nation's gross domestic product." That even tops John Edwards' kind of money.
From that headline alone you can see part one of CNN's ballyhooed "Planet in Peril" program was a mixed bag. More than an hour of the first night focused on the extinction of rare species as a preface to global disaster. Forty-five minutes into the program, I began to envy some of the creatures and wondered what poacher would put me out of my misery and save me from a "planet under assault."
The photography was good, not Discovery Channel quality, but above average and the locales were exotic. But the first hour moved with almost glacial tedium. Only when hour two got going did it get more interesting - exploring Chinese pollution and Anderson Cooper's bloodstream.
The special, called by the network "the story the world can't afford to ignore," was led by Cooper, and also featured Dr. Sanjay Gupta and Animal Planet's Jeff Corwin. As the program went on, it got more interesting. Gupta whipped out typical Malthusian claims of global overpopulation saying there simply aren't enough natural resources to support everyone.
Want to know the fate of humanity? Why pick up a copy of Rolling Stone, of course. There you'll find the latest eco-extremist prediction designed to scare the world into global warming action. Gaia theory creator James Lovelock is in the latest issue predicting mankind will almost be wiped out by 2100 from global warming.
Lovelock told Rolling Stone that predictions of the earth's warming will be "nearly double the likeliest predictions of the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change." Rolling Stone summed it up by saying "The human race is doomed," in a story posted on its site October 17. Only as few as 500 million will survive "with most of the survivors living in the far latitudes - Canada, Iceland, Scandinavia, the Arctic Basin."
I'd love to spare you the Gore-y details about his plans for higher taxes, new global regulations billions of dollars in new spending or the devastation of the American economy, but that's what he's got in store for us all.
But ABC's "World News with Charles Gibson" led its broadcast with the Energy Information Administration's report by saying "Tonight, news of a cold wind a coming that promises to have a chilling effect on the American pocketbook," and continued to sing a different tune than Couric, professing that "the average American homeowner will pay 10% more for heating during what will be, generally, a colder winter."
Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) told a group at the 2007 Washington, D.C., conference on October 4 one of the things that made the SPJ great is its Code of Ethics. But the code didn't come into play during the hour-long October 5 program at the convention entitled "Climate Change Affects Every Beat."
The event had three panelists: Larry Evans, managing editor of Daily Environmental Report; Judi Greenwald, director of innovative solutions at the Pew Center on Climate Change; and Michelle Moore, vice president for policy and public affairs at the U.S. Green Building Council.
I wonder how the media will pretend this is bad news? The latest employment numbers are in and not only are they solid, but last month wasn't the catastrophe first reported.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics announced 110,000 jobs were created in September and 89,000 were created in August. The August number replaces the 4,000 jobs lost that were first reported. If you flash back to last month, you'll remember how much the media screamed about this. ABC was declaring the August numbers a sign of "new fears this morning about the state of our economy," said Bill Weir on September 8. That's how he lead off a downbeat "Good Morning America" story entitled "Road to Recession? Bleak Signals from Job Report."
It only got worse. "And now many are asking whether the disappointing employment figures, coupled with the housing crisis, may head us, have us headed for a serious economic downturn or even recession," worried Weir.
How dare CNN Meteorologist Rob Marciano say Al Gore was wrong in his movie "An Inconvenient Truth?" Apparently, his comments from yesterday that "There are definitely some inaccuracies" in the film generated a lot of controversy and e-mails for the network.
Today was Round Two. And Marciano excelled by showing both sides of a debate Gore says doesn't exist and by pointing out even more of what Gore got wrong. First the wrong: "He does talk about tornados, implying that there's an increase in tornados from global warming, that's not necessarily true," said Marciano.
Then Marciano interviewed two climate experts from opposite sides of the battle, including "science and operations officer of the National Hurricane Center, a big time researcher named Chris Landsea." Landsea explained the limits of the Gorean hype machine. Read on for details and full transcript.
After conquering space, where he spends his days and nights, wacky dictator Hugo Chavez has decided to conquer time itself. According to the August 21 New York Times, no less, Chavez is changing the clocks starting in 2008 as part of his plan to move to a six-hour workday.
The left's second-favorite dictator, after Castro, "claims that it will help the metabolism and productivity of his fellow citizens," wrote the Times in a bizarre brief.
During his lengthy Sunday TV show, Chavez was joined by Héctor Navarro, the minister of science and technology. The Times quoted him saying: "This is about the metabolic effect, where the human brain is conditioned by sunlight."
Next up, the "passionate," "dignified," and "intelligent" Chavez, as Barbara Walters called him March 16, says he wants to help America's poor and then raises the price of oil again.
You read that right (or left), Baker says the heck with the 5th Amendment protection against being "deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law." If someone borrowed too much or won't pay the mortgage, that's OK with Baker, the co-director of the left-wing economic think tank the Center for Economic and Policy Research.
The culprit is, of course, global warming. Dingell heads the House Energy and Commerce Committee and has been looking for ways to appease the Gore wing of the party without hurting the auto manufacturers Dingell represents. "In order to address the issue of climate change, we must address the issue of consumption," he said in the article.
Talk about Catch-22. The two major left-wing causes going head-to-head - global warming and whales. Call it Save the Whales vs. Save Al Gore's Career.
According to the August 14 Washington Post, there's a sea storm brewing over proposed new regulations that would require "ships reduce speed to avoid collisions with the endangered North Atlantic right whale."
Liberals are outraged that the government hasn't instituted the new rules. But the rules won't just cost business $100 million to $150 million a year. Part of that cost is due to "increased fuel consumption."
I am more than happy to come to Josette's aid (not that she needs it) because I worked directly with her in my time at the Times. We haven't spoken in years, but Josette was great to work for and both gave me some big responsibilities and treated me with respect.
Josette now has the audacity to be the United Nations World Food Program's executive director and simultaneously come from the "most conservative wing of the Bush administration," according to the Times.
The media have found their new poster boy to rail against the coal industry.
MSNBC's "Countdown with Keith Olbermann," but with Allison Stewart filling in for an absent Olbermann, had anti-coal liberal Jeff Goodell, author of "Big Coal: The Dirty Secret Behind America's Energy Future" on the show.
Unsurprisingly, he criticized the company involved in the Utah mine collapse, as well as its CEO, Chairman of Murray Energy Corp. Bob Murray.
"He is a sort of embodiment of a sort of 19th century kind of coal baron kind of guy," Goodell said and pointed out Murray is "a big donor to the Republican Party" and "sort of notorious with journalists."
Goodell also doubted Murray's claim that the collapse was caused by an earthquake.
The call from the Ivory Tower just wasn't strong enough to stop media mogul Rupert Murdoch from buying Dow Jones & Company. But, it came really close.
"Murdoch also said the media's harsh coverage of him during negotiations with the Bancroft family, which controls Dow Jones, almost squashed the deal," wrote New York Post reporter Peter Lauria in the August 9 New York Post.
And that's exactly how the mainstream press treated it. What goes down, must go down further. Even with the sour coverage on NBC and CBS on July 26, there were voices of reason that warrant commitment to the markets.
"So this is not a crash, if anything, it's a correction," said CNN "American Morning" business correspondent Ali Velshi. "It might not even be a correction; it might just be a stop on the way."
Wow, good news, even on CNN.
Others experts point at signs our economy is still in tact and still moving in the right direction as evidence not to panic.
"[T]here is unmitigated good news," proclaimed Ali Velshi about the minimum wage increase on the July 24 "American Morning." While the business reporter admitted "there are lots of sides to the story," he still called it "good news."
Back on January 2, Velshi stated that the current minimum wage of $5.15 an hour is "simply not fair." He had trouble with math in that "American Morning" appearance stating that the minimum wage comes out to $900 a week, when he likely meant $900 a month.
This time, Velshi was right with the math and left with his politics.
"The bottom line is you can't underpay people. And we've been underpaying people," said Velshi.
As the potential Dow Jones sale to Rupert Murdoch gets closer, the mogul was under fire from ABC on July 18. Correspondent Bianna Golodryga cited fears that the Wall Street Journal would begin to resemble the New York Post, already owned by Murdoch.
“Here is why this story is important. This is the paper he wants to buy: The Wall Street Journal. Now, one big news story, a business story that came out a few weeks ago, was the sale of Hilton Hotels.
The filmmaker went on “Countdown” to discuss his recent catfight with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer and Dr. Sanjay Gupta, but got sidetracked with his praise for Olbermann.
“[I] think what really got me going in terms of the other day [his spat with CNN] is that I just, I just feel Keith – and – and of course you talk about this all the time on – on your show, and your commentaries have been incredible about the war – that here we are, we’re in the fifth year of this thing and, and I've seen very few media outlets issue an apology for not doing the job that they should have done,” Moore said.
Even CNN can swallow only so much of the Michael Moore, socialized-medicine Kool-Aid.
Just when you thought all hope was lost, CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta took on Moore on the July 10 “Larry King Live.” Gupta criticized inaccuracies in the data used in Moore pro-universal health care flick “SiCKO.”
Moore had lost his cool the day before on “The Situation Room” with Wolf Blitzer because a report by Gupta claimed Moore had “fudged” some his numbers. Those numbers were primarily data about the costs of health care for Cubans, even though Gupta had committed his own blunder with one of the numbers.
Just in case you wanted some confirmation on what kind of leftist garbage NBC endorsed with the Live Earth concert, let’s flash back to singer Macy Gray and her back-up singers. Gray, as you might recall from my earlier post, had several things on her dress – a peace sign and the words “Darfur” and “Red Alert.” Not exactly controversial, just comical.
Her band was less subtle. You’ve got the guitarist with the name “George Bush” and a big X through it. How edgy. Then you have the intelligence-challenged guitarist with the name “Dick Chaney” and a big X through that. (For those who call the public school system home, the name is “Cheney.”) Here’s a hint for the left: Don’t go on global TV without a copy editor.
Live Earth or Live Al (as opposed to the version we’ve always seen) was a laugh riot. Lots of know-nothing rockers interspersed with juvenile Youtube-esque videos made for a day few could survive without nausea. It was a celebration of hypocrisy on a global scale and for NBC it was a marathon contribution to lefty causes. (Anyone think the Fairness Doctrine would ever stop something left-wing like this?)
The kicker comes courtesy of our friends at Sunday’s Washington Post. Matt Bellamy from the band Muse called the event “private jets for climate change.” And John Buckley of Carbon Footprint, an eco group that helps firms cut their footprint, said “We would have to plant 100,000 trees to offset the effects of Live Earth.”
Ordinary normal Americans recite the Pledge of Allegiance for love of country. Former Vice President Al Gore recites Pledge of the Climate Crisis with the same zeal. The only difference is Americans tend to get the Pledge of Allegiance right every time.
For the last year leading up to the much-hyped “Live Earth” event, Gore has been making the rounds to various media outlets reciting the same message – global warming bad, government regulation good. However, on the July 5 “Larry King Live” show, Gore committed a global warming slip up.
Gore told CNN’s Larry King he was urging viewers to pressure their governments “to sign and join an international treaty within two years that cuts global warming pollution by 90 percent in the developing countries and by more than half worldwide in time for the next generation to inherit a healthy earth.”