April 15 will mark the 100th anniversary of the sinking of RMS Titanic, that giant, gilded, floating city that struck an iceberg and rapidly sank, taking with it more than 1,500 lives.
British historian Simon Schama wrote about that “Voyage of the Damned” for Newsweek’s April 8 edition. The article about “all walks of life” above Titanic is certainly worth the read, especially for those fascinated by the ship, its passengers and that fateful night in the North Atlantic when the unsinkable ship, in fact, sank. But in the final paragraph Schama strangely went out of the way to connect that century-old catastrophe to the 2008 financial crisis.
The science against BPA isn’t very convincing, yet the left-wing onslaught from environmental groups, activist scientists and the media has convinced many consumers that soup cans, soda bottles and plastic storage containers are going to make them sick.
In the case of BPA, perception and reality are far different, but false perceptions can still cost businesses millions -- or put them out of business altogether. The infamous Alar scare cost apple farmers $100 million according to a 1989 Associated Press report. Even growers who weren’t using Alar were devastated. By March 31, 2012, the FDA will announce a decision on the use of BPA in food and beverage packaging.
ABC’s attacks on USDA-approved beef have already put American jobs in jeopardy, and Dan Gainor, the Media Research Center’s VP of Business and Culture, appeared on Fox News Channel’s “Happening Now” on March 28 to discuss the sliming of Beef Products Inc. by the news media.
Rising gas prices used to be big news, but not so these days. Although the national average climbed to $3.56 on Feb. 20, setting a February record after going up nearly a month straight, there was far less coverage than in 2008. Broadcast networks repeatedly covered the rise under the Bush presidency. Gas prices bounced around eventually reaching $3.56-a-gallon on April 24, 2008.
The Business and Media Institute analyzed broadcast network news references to gas or fuel prices between Jan. 20 and Feb. 20, 2012 and from March 24 and April 24, 2008. BMI found that in the 2008 period there were more than 4 times as many gas prices stories, news briefs or news headlines on ABC, CBS and NBC as there were in 2012 (97 to 21).
In November 2011 it became public knowledge that the Chevy Volt could possibly catch fire weeks after a serious accident. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) opened its investigation into the matter on Nov. 25. Now General Motors is trying to recall all of the Volts for "enhancements," all while attempting to avoid the word recall. ABC and NBC are also avoiding that recent development.
Each year the Business & Media Institute looks back on the year's news and selects the top 10 worst economic myths. This year the media's myths were wide-ranging: from conspiracy theories about economic sabotage, to overpopulation panic and Occupy Wall Street's mantra "We are the 99 percent."
While protesters only began shouting "We are the 99 Percent," a few months ago, the class warfare sentiment that the top 1 percent and the 99 percent are at odds is not a recent phenomenon. It was a claim made in media appearances before the first protests began in Zuccotti Park.
In a Democracy Now! video of Occupy protests in October 2011, a doctor, nurse and others complained about income inequality, the lack of fairness and claimed that "never" had "this much wealth been concentrated in so few hands." But before that, PBS, Vanity Fair magazine, The New York Times and other media outlets had all used left-wing class warfare messaging to criticize the amount of wealth held by the top 1 percent or the problem of "rising" income inequality.
For years while George W. Bush was in the White House, the three broadcast networks and other media repeatedly hyped the threat of rising gas prices, exaggerated the "record" price of gas and incorrectly predicted, $4, $5 and $6 gasoline or even higher. Now the gas price story has been turned upside down under the anti-oil presidency of Obama, despite sustained high gas prices.
Flashbacks of 2008 were on the minds of many when MF Global, a Wall Street firm led the Democratic former N.J. Gov. Jon Corzine, filed for bankruptcy amid a huge scandal. Forbes said the firm owes $2.2 billion to JP Morgan and Deutsche Banks. But the broadcast networks had amnesia when it came to their previous coverage of Corzine, his role as adviser and fundraiser for Obama and their previous use of him as an economic expert.
MF Global filed for bankruptcy protection on Oct. 31. The firm, under Democrat Corzine’s leadership had invested in more than $6 billionEuropean sovereign debt and was overleveraged (borrowed too much). Why would they have invested in such risky assets? According to both New York Times and Fox Business contributor Charles Gasparino, Corzine was betting on a European bailout.
The Occupy Wall Street protests marked off a full month of occupation Oct. 17, and the network news media continue to gloss over protesters calls for "revolution" as well as the socialistic mentality espoused by many of the protesters.
One protest speaker was videotaped saying, "Long live the revolution! Long live socialism!" Others in Chicago and Philadelphia marched with Communist flags. And Oakland, Calif. occupiers articulated their desire for income equality, a new political system and disgust for the bourgeoisie (whether they be landlords or hot dog stand owners.)
Extremists in Guy Fawkes masks, Code Pinkers and "professional anarchists," have camped out in New York City to protest Wall Street, greed and the capitalist system. Through social media the first protest in New York's financial district has sparked copycat protests in more than a hundred cities. In a video posted on The Blaze, organizer Nelini Stamp made it clear that what she wants is "to change the capitalist system that we have today because it's not working for any of us." Moments later she said the conversation needed to begin about how "to reform and bring, you know, sort of revolutionary change to the States." She also labeled the OWS events part of a "new age radical movement."
Yet you're unlikely to hear about that from the liberal national news media, who have ignored the radical leftist underpinnings of the movement in nearly 9 out of 10 stories thus far.
The media said there was "good" but "not great" news on the unemployment front in September with 103,000 jobs added, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The unemployment rate remained 9.1 percent.
But even with that growth, Obama's jobs promises have fallen far short. His economic policies were supposed to create 4 million jobs by the end of 2010. Now, ten months later the economy is still dealing with net job losses of 2,229,000 since February 2009.
The Solyndra scandal is certainly an "embarrassment" for the White House, as some network news reports have called it. But somehow those same reports have still failed to criticize Obama's green jobs programs for fiscal waste, even the government loan program that gave Solyndra millions.
To their credit, all three broadcast networks aired stories in September about the California solar company that declared bankruptcy in August after getting a $535 million loan guarantee from the federal government in September 2009. But out of 11 network stories on Solyndra this year (most in September), not a single one used the company's failure to criticize the loan program it used to get more than half a billion taxpayer dollars.
Just like in Groundhog Day when Bill Murray wakes up to the same day each and every morning, it appears Americans will feel a frustrating sense of déjà vu listening to President Obama's jobs speech on Sept. 8.
According to Bloomberg, Obama's not-so-new plan "follows the contours of his $830 billion 2009 economic stimulus package." This time around, Obama will call for $300 billion for tax breaks and infrastructure spending. Never mind that the first one didn't work as promised. Meanwhile, the network news media are treating the ideas from his speech like new solutions, instead of more of the same.
Ahead of the Sept. 2 release of the August jobs report, surveys had indicated the economy had added anywhere from 75,000 to 100,000 jobs that month. But those estimates turned out to be very wrong. Just minutes ahead of the release, CNBC’s Rick Santelli went out on a limb predicting that no jobs had been added in August.
Santelli was right about that number. As CNBC reported just minutes later, not a single job was added overall to the payroll numbers and the unemployment rate stayed at 9.1 percent. The previous two months were revised downward to show an additional 58,000 jobs lost.
While campaigning President Obama promised to create 5 million “green” jobs, and shortly into his term he announced a “task force” to do just that. His stimulus package included tax credits for renewable energy companies, allotted funds for weatherization and more. Now with the economy once again on shaky ground the President may pivot back to jobs in September, specifically of the “green” variety.
More than two years later after those initiatives began, the results are dismal. In fact a number of the very companies the Obama administration touted as future job creators have gone bankrupt or had to lay off employees instead. But you won’t hear about this from ABC, CBS and NBC very often.
The recent decision by Standard & Poor's to downgrade the U.S. credit rating to AA+ from AAA upset many on the left, especially those within the Obama administration. The White House lashed out at S&P and some in the news media did too. So Business & Media Institute decided to look back at six years of network (ABC,CBS and NBC) coverage of S&P.
BMI found out that bulk of network criticism of the ratings agency came AFTER the Obama administration went on the attack and that the networks relied on S&P experts three times more than they criticized them.
If you've been watching the news media react to the debt ceiling deal you might thing some drastic spending cuts were signed into law. After all, ABC made it sound like Congress took a "machete" to the budget and NBC's "Today" wondered if those spending cuts could harm the economy.
What has been completely missing from much of the network reporting was an admission that the deal "doesn't cut federal spending at all," according to a Cato scholar. The national debt is still projected to go up $12 trillion in 10 years under the plan.
That's right. Not one bit of cuts. Chris Edwards, Cato Institute's director of tax policy studies, explained that despite some media outlets view that the cuts were "sharp" and "severe" (He cited The Washington Post), the cuts aren't what Washington politicians and media made it sound like. They are really cuts to projected growth of spending and debt, something Investor's Business Daily exposed on July 22 in a front-page article.
As the debt ceiling “compromise” progressed on August 1, NPR revealed its slant against the bill in interviews with Rep. David Dreier, R-Calif., and Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo.
But it was the phrasing of one particular question during Dreier’s interview that prompted more than 20 listener complaints that called it “hostile, “rude” and proof of “liberal bias,” according to the response by NPR ombudsman Edward Schumacher-Matos. Schumacher-Matos described the question as “a virtual sucker punch.” (Listen to the interview here)
The “leading question” (by NPR’s own admission) Steve Inskeep had asked Dreier was, “Given that your speaker, in his words, said months ago that it would be a serious problem not to raise the debt ceiling, why did House Republicans spend this summer threatening to torpedo the economy by defaulting?”
The 2010 elections, which changed the balance of power in the House, were driven by popular opposition to government spending, debt and the threat of tax increases. Yet even with the federal debt limit already breached and only days left to prevent a national default, the media continue to ignore the public's wishes.
The theme of network reports on the debt ceiling battle is that some agreement MUST be reached so that the limit can be increased, but many Americans disagree with raising the debt limit and are more concerned about government spending. But that has barely been mentioned in stories.
Polls taken by Gallup, CBS and AP have all registered significant worry about federal debt and opposition to an increase in the debt ceiling. But ABC, CBS and NBC coverage of the debt limit battle being waged on Capitol Hill has not reflected that fact.
Out of 45 reports on the broadcast network's evening news programs between June 16 and July 12, only one mentioned a poll that showed public opposition to raising the debt ceiling. That's a mere 2 percent of reports. An additional two stories had some reference to what the public might think, but without polling data.
A senior political adviser to the Obama administration said on July 6 that in 2012, people won't be voting based on the unemployment rate, according to The Hill newspaper.
Of course, adviser David Plouffe said that two days before the June jobs report was released. Ahead of the jobs report, economists anticipated 100,000 or 125,000 jobs to have been added that month. Truth be told, on July 8, the jobs report showed only 18,000 jobs added and plenty of other "lousy" news.
The United States is in debt up to its eyeballs - or more realistically the Statue of Liberty's eyeballs. On May 16, America hit the debt ceiling. which is slightly less than $14.3 trillion. That works out to about $46,000 for every man, woman and child in the nation.
Despite those staggering numbers, the broadcast networks have relegated their coverage primarily to the politics involved, rather than the economics. Reporters have complained about the "partisan sniping" over spending cuts or tax hikes, but have barely included any economists in their coverage.
CNNMoney.com described the debt ceiling as "a cap set by Congress on the amount of debt the federal government can legally borrow." The Obama administration wanted a "clean" (read unconditional) vote on raising the debt limit and got its wish on May 31, when the House voted down such a debt limit increase with a large bipartisan majority (318 nays, 97 yeas).
It is no longer a secret that President Obama's administration is willing to allow electricity prices to "necessarily skyrocket," in order to accomplish his green energy agenda.
Although he has so far been unsuccessful at instituting cap-and-trade, Obama's Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is hard at work running coal companies and consumers into the ground. Not that you'd know it from ABC, NBC and CBS news coverage.
According to Paul Bedard's June 8 Washington Whispers column in US News & World Report, "two new EPA pollution regulations will slam the coal industry so hard that hundreds of thousands of jobs will be lost, and electric rates will skyrocket 11 percent to over 23 percent, according to a new study based on government data."
CNBC panelists and guests always make predictions in the minutes leading up to the Labor Department's release of the jobs report and June 3 was no exception.
While economists Diane Swonk and Mark Zandi and CNBC's own Steve Liesman all made predictions of job gains between 100,000 and 150,000 - Rick Santelli threw his own lower prediction in just seconds before the announcement: 55,000. (Video available here)
Frank dismissed questions about the “potential ethical conflict,” of regulating Fannie Mae while Herb Moses, whom Frank has called his “spouse,” worked there from 1991 through 1998.
The New York Times reporter Gretchen Morgensen was the first to report Frank’s role in helping Moses get the job at Fannie Mae, according to the Herald. The Boston paper also reported that in a May 24, radio interview on WBUR’s “Fresh Air,” Morgensen said Fannie Mae “rolled out the red carpet” for Moses to “curry favor with Frank and other members of the Financial Services Committee."
The cause for the end of the world has been imagined by screenwriters to include everything from giant insects and malevolent robots to asteroids the size of Texas. But five year ago in May 2006, Hollywood found a new menace: carbon dioxide. This scenario was different in another respect. It was supposedly true.
The documentary "An Inconvenient Truth" wasn't intended to be the blockbuster end-of-the-world tale that "Armageddon" was, but it was intended to frighten. The new film was full of disaster footage and catastrophic predictions about climate change. Its leading man: former vice president Al Gore.
The apocalyptic warning earned nearly $50 million worldwide and turned Gore into a "movie star," according to the fawning networks. Gore won accolades, including an Oscar and a Nobel Peace Prize. Reporters and anchors on ABC, CBS and NBC also made a hero of Apocalypse Al, embracing his views and bringing on guests with the same views including one who said Gore had been busy "saving the planet - literally."
Gore received almost entirely uncritical coverage from the network morning and evening shows over global warming, despite plenty of evidence - scientific evidence - that would have discredited him and his film. Since the movie's release, nearly 98 percent of those stories have excluded criticism of the so-called "science" of the film.
The April jobs report showed 244,000 job gains, “surprisingly strong” numbers according to the Kansas City Star. Many national news outlets reported that jobs number as well as the rise in unemployment rate back to 9 percent in their headlines immediately reacting to the news.
In another CNBC.com story they also said “the numbers suggested that a good portion of the boost came from McDonald’s, which moved to hire 50,000 workers last month.” While encouraging signs, don’t expect the news media to advertise that April was still the 27th month in which the unemployment rate was above 8 percent.
The average price for a gallon of unleaded gasoline hit $3.86 on April 25, more than $1-a-gallon higher than a year earlier and less than 25 cents away from the record high price of gasoline set in July 2008.
In fact, per gallon prices are more than $2 higher than when Obama took office Jan. 20, 2009. Yet the president has been nearly exempt from criticism on the issue of rising prices, despite a six-month drilling moratorium and more regulatory hurdles for industry.
The Business & Media Institute found that out of the 280 oil price stories the network evening shows have aired since the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, only 1 percent (3 stories) mentioned Obama’s drilling ban or other anti-oil actions in connection with gasoline prices.
On April 20, 2010, a horrific oil spill took place in the Gulf of Mexico on British Petroleum's (BP) Deepwater Horizon rig. Since that day, gas prices have risen nearly $1-a-gallon to $3.83 per gallon. President Barack Obama's anti-oil policies, including a drilling moratorium are at least part of the reason for that dramatic spike. But you will rarely hear that from the mainstream media.
It certainly isn't the story the network evening news shows have told their viewers since the oil spill. Out of 280 oil price stories since the disastrous pill, just 1 percent (3 out of 280) mentioned any connection between Obama's anti-oil efforts, such as the drilling moratorium, and rapidly rising gas prices.