A president with close ties to an oil company helping hide the magnitude and damage of an oil spill would be big news, if he were a conservative. But it seems even when the environmentalists and the left are upset over President Obama's handling of the Gulf oil spill, the national news media barely notice.
That night two of the three network evening shows reported the widely disputed claim without question. Only NBC "Nightly News" included any people skeptical of the White House claim. The networks have only aired a few reports about scientists disputing the claim, and have ignored liberal outrage.
"[T]onight on these beaches some good news and relief," Matt Gutman told "World News" viewers. "A new government report says that 75 percent of that oil has been cleaned up either by man or Mother Nature. And it now seems this war against this oil is coming to an end."
Gutman's report on the success of the oil cleanup included President Obama and Browner, but not a single person who disagreed with the White House claim. The Boston Globe reported Aug. 20, that Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution mapped a 22-mile-long underwater oil plume back in June. Other scientists at University of Georgia estimate that 70 to 79 percent of the oil from the leak remains, contrary to the White House assertion.
Last winter, as blizzard snowfalls piled up into several feet in the nation's capital, conservatives mocked global warming alarmists for trying to link weather incidents to global warming. But as summer heat waves, volcanoes and sinkholes have appeared recently, climate alarmists proved they missed the point.
But Associated Press, USA Today, The New York Times and The Washington Post have all promoted a connection between the extreme heat and weather around the world this summer and global warming. One CNN host asked if the events were the "apocalypse" or global warming. The Huffington Post proposed naming hurricanes and other disasters after climate change "deniers."
Aug. 14 was the 75th anniversary of Social Security, the largest government program and most troubled. Social Security is in the red this year - six years ahead of forecasts. The program faces a $41 billion shortfall this year alone.
The major anniversary of a program often nicknamed the "third-rail" of politics didn't even rate a mention on NBC "Nightly News." Instead, NBC celebrated an "iconic" children's cartoon: Dora the Explorer.
"If you've ever said the phrase: ‘Swiper, no swiping.' then you know the power of the little girl who made that phrase famous." Kate Snow enthusiastically teased. "Dora the Explorer will forever be a seven-year-old cartoon character, but this weekend marks the tenth anniversary of a ground-breaking show that has been almost inescapable for a generation of kids."
This is a historic year for the largest government program: Social Security, which turns 75 in just a few days. The program is also running a deficit for the first time since 1983, and ahead of estimates.
Initially, Social Security was created to provide supplemental income to elderly and disabled people who could not work, and was signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt Aug. 14, 1935.
Social Security is in the red six years earlier than forecasted, and for the first time since 1983 (the last time the program was "fixed"). Downplaying the significance of the problem, The New York Times reported March 24, that the program is facing a "small" $29 billion shortfall this year because the high 9.5 percent unemployment rate is cutting into payroll tax collections that fund the program's benefits. Oh, and because there isn't actually a trust fund with all the money previously collected by people paying into the system.
Problems are mounting for the Social Security program which essentially is a government-created "Ponzi scheme." It was a boon for the earliest entrants to the program like Ida May Fuller. She was the recipient of the first monthly retirement check, in 1940, and continued to collect until her death in 1975. Fuller worked only three years under the system: paying in $24.75 in taxes. By the time of her death she had collected a total of $22,888.92 according to the Social Security Administration.
CNN "Newsroom" anchor Kyra Phillips reported the "breaking news" about July's unemployment data just after 9 a.m. Aug. 6. Misreported would be more accurate.
"We begin with the breaking news this morning on a broken economy. We have new evidence of just how feeble the recovery is and how many Americans have nothing to show for it," Phillips said. "The nation's unemployment rate has remained flat at a disheartening 9.5 percent. Just last month 60,000 jobs vanished, the news is bad, but not quite as bad as we expected."
Actually, the news was worse than Phillips reported. The U.S. lost more than twice that many jobs in July: 131,000 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The BLS also revised June data after finding an additional 96,000 lost jobs (June's total losses 221,000).
Many in the news media lauded this "relief" bill and vilified conservatives trying to block its passage. "This Week" panelist Cynthia Tucker said on July 4, it was "absolutely crazy" that the Senate hadn't passed the extension bill.
Senate Democrats defeated a GOP filibuster of a $34 billion bill to extend unemployment benefits to 2.5 million out-of-work Americans on July 20, after Obama blasted the Republicans for blocking the bill.
Obama tried to cast Republicans in a hypocritical and callous light with his Rose Garden speech June 19: "The same people who didn't have any problem spending hundreds of billions of dollars on tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans are now saying we shouldn't offer relief to middle-class Americans."
Of course, that was not only his spin on the issue, it became the media's too. At a time when many Americans are angry about the massive budget deficit, network journalists mostly ignored Democratic promises to pay for every bill and instead scolded Republicans for stalling the legislation and attacked the man who did it.
CNN's "American Morning" reacted with an appropriately downbeat report, but the onscreen chyron led with the better news -- showing the lower unemployment rate rather than the job losses. Christine Romans also pointed out that it was the "best unemployment rate since July 2009," though later in the segment she admitted the rate is still "horrible."
NBC's Ann Curry offered a very brief report on the jobs data on "Today," also highlighting the lowest unemployment rate "since last July."
The report also contradicted Vice President Joe Biden's predictions of 100,000 to 200,000 jobs gained each month for the rest of 2010. This month, Biden is off by about 275,000 jobs
Overall, the news media have been supportive of the Obama's spending requests, a trend some continued in reports about the summit.
An "American Morning" segment painted a flattering picture of Obama at the G-20 summit by ignoring the "rift" between Obama's push for more stimulus and Europe's desire to slash budgets. Christine Romans made it sound as if everyone came to an agreement.
But on June 21, Associated Press reported the mortgage assistance program is "falling flat."
The broadcast networks supported the mortgage modification and housing bailout when Obama launched it in 2009, after criticizing Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson's plan for not doing "enough" to fix the problem. ABC, CBS and NBC haven't mentioned the new figures since AP reported them.
The news media have recently been struck with World Cup fever, with two broadcast networks sending reporters to South Africa to cover the games. At the same time, a bailout request that could cost taxpayers another $50 billion was ignored by most broadcast news programs.
ABC, CBS and NBC spent a combined 25 minutes 54 seconds talking about World Cup soccer between June 13 and 15. That was more than 38 times what they spend talking about Obama's latest call for further government spending - which was guaranteed to upset taxpayers.
While the World Cup is a worthwhile story, U.S. taxpayers might have ranked a request for $50 billion more of their dollars higher than the networks did.
Obama sent a letter to Congressional leaders on both sides of the aisle June 12, urging them to pass a "derailed" $50 billion state bailout bill. But the three broadcast networks' newcasts have all but ignored it. "Good Morning America" was the only network newscast to mention the president's push for more stimulus. Its story was 40 seconds long.
Toys, food, packaging. Chemicals are in them all. The media make a living by sensationalizing the potential dangers of just about everything in our modern world. Bisphenol-A (BPA), a chemical found in many plastic items, was no exception.
The news media have been scaremongering about BPA for years, even going so far as to compare it to tobacco at one point, but a cautious tone from the government and left-wing junk science prompted recent hyperbole from reporters.
Reuters warned of a "potential carcinogen in my soup," June 9. News website Newser.com took the fear-mongering a step further calling BPA "a known carcinogen" in a May 19 story about the "dangerously high" levels of BPA in canned food and drink.
It's been more than 50 days since a BP oil rig exploded off the coast of Louisiana, beginning a massive leak of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. Miles of beaches have been soiled and birds, turtles and other sea creatures have died. But the most disturbing pictures of the disaster weren't available to the public for more than 40 days.
That was when many people finally witnessed Louisiana's state bird, the brown pelican, literally covered in thick brown oil. Why so long? Because federal agencies including the Coast Guard and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) were preventing the press from reaching many areas affected by the disaster.
CBS, Associated Press, Mother Jones and The Times-Picayune have all complained about local and federal authorities and and British Petroleum contractors inhibiting their reporting.
But while many in the news media blame BP, the real culprit may well be the Obama administration. When asked, Obama and other administration spokespeople say the U.S. government is in charge of the oil spill cleanup.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics released its monthly jobs report on June 4, showing only 41,000 new private-sector jobs. But those jobs were overshadowed by the enormous number of temporary census jobs in the May data.
According to the report, "employment grew by 431,000 in May, reflecting the hiring of 411,000 temporary employees to work on Census 2010." Those Census jobs made up 95 percent of the total payroll employment growth.
Even then, the hiring fell short of expectations. Associated Press said that economists forecasted 513,000 jobs for the month and called it a "disappointing" report. "Hiring by private employers was particularly weak, which is raising concerns that the economy recovery remains slow," AP said.
In a PBS interview June 2, Vice President Joseph Biden predicted 700,000 to 1.4 million jobs would be created by the end of 2010. But at most, that would still be more than 5.2 million jobs shy of matching President Obama's claims about economic stimulus.
Biden forecast job creation "between 100,000 and 200,000 jobs on average all the way through this year" in an interview with Charlie Rose. He also predicted "trouble in paradise" for the GOP.
Left-wing website The Huffington Post reported the prediction calling it "fairly safe" by "recent trends." Sam Stein wrote that, "Biden would not, however, mark a date when he thought the unemployment rate would dip to, say, six percent."
Stein didn't remind readers that Obama said the stimulus package would create more than 4 million jobs by the end of 2010. Once you take out temporary jobs and the 100,000 minimum needed every month to keep up with population growth, the economy would need to create 932,000 new permanent jobs each and every month through the end of 2010.
British Petroleum's (BP) reputation has been marred by the April oil rig explosion and subsequent oil spill which is still gushing more than 40 days later. But according to The Washington Post, the reputation of some left-wing environmental groups has also been polluted by the incident.
"[T]he Nature Conservancy lists BP as one of its business partners. The Conservancy also has given BP a seat on its International Leadership Council and has accepted nearly $10 million in cash and land contributions from BP and affiliated corporations over the years," Joe Stephens wrote for the Post May 24.
It's not just Nature Conservancy either, the Post found $2 million in donations to Conservation International and relationships between BP and other lefty activist groups Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), Sierra Club and Audubon.
"The crude emanating from BP's well threatens to befoul a number of alliances between energy conglomerates and environmental nonprofits. At least one group, Conservation International, acknowledges that it is reassessing its ties to the oil company, with an eye toward protecting its reputation," the Post said.
This was front page news at The Post on May 24, but received only silence from other mainstream media outlets including the three broadcast networks.
"Law & Order," the popular courtroom drama that concluded its 20th and final season May 24, is a primetime TV legend. But the show that boasted its stories were "ripped from the headlines" often provided its viewers a distorted reality in which businesspeople were mostly portrayed as villains.
The Business & Media Institute examined "Law & Order," along with other television dramas' treatment of businessmen in 2005. BMI found that you were 21 times more likely to be kidnapped or killed by a businessman that a mobster.
Since 1990, the cop/attorney drama created by liberal Dick Wolf has covered a host of "bad" businesses from the company secretly testing roach poison on children and the greedy pharmaceutical execs selling a bad vaccine to the military to allegedly dirty defense contractors, landlords and medical device manufacturers.
In two out of three of its final episodes, the original "Law & Order" continued to demonize businessmen. One of those anti-business episodes villainized a bio-research firm, HemaLabs, for "stealing" DNA and blood samples from a family to create cancer treatment drugs. The company never compensated the impoverished family.
Since Obama took office, there's been a leftward swing toward increased regulation. The news media have supported that tilt, generally failing to demand explanations for high profile failures of government regulators.
From the financial crisis to the Gulf oil spill, a recent string of problems exposed serious failures of government regulators that are supposed to protect the public. But broadcast news media rarely criticized the poor performance of government in such cases.
Take the worsening oil spill off the Gulf Coast that has been called an "environmental catastrophe." The network evening shows have aired a flood of news reports attacking British Petroleum, on the progress of the clean up and speculating about how much wildlife and economic damage could result.
But some of the blame appears to rest on the shoulders of the federal government - something the evening shows didn't acknowledge until more than three weeks after the drilling rig exploded on April 21. In fact, it wasn't until after Obama spoke out against the federal agency on May 14 that any of the evening shows criticized government regulators.
While it is often an unpopular viewpoint, many economists realize unemployment insurance can actually promote unemployment.
Business & Media Institute adviser Prof. Gary Wolfram explained this in an op-ed on March 17, 2010, as the media attacked Sen. Jim Bunning for filibustering a bill including an extension of the ability to file for federal unemployment benefits.
Wolfram wrote, "It ought to be clear that if we reduce the cost of becoming or remaining unemployed, then we will have greater unemployment. This is not rocket science by any means. Suppose that unemployment benefits were $6,000 per week and lasted indefinitely. Is there little doubt that most of us would choose unemployment?"
Combined tax payments on the federal, state and local levels "consumed" 9.2 percent of personal income, USA Today reported. "That rate is far below the historic average of 12 percent for the last half-century."
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released its monthly jobs report early May 7 announcing a rise in unemployment to 9.9 percent and an increase of 290,000 jobs.
Any positive job growth is good news to be sure. But in order for Obama to meet his pledge of 4 million jobs created by the end of 2010, the U.S. economy would have to add 932,000 jobs each and every month between now and the end of the year, taking into account both temporary jobs and the number of new positions needed to keep even with population growth. According to the BLS, 2,662,000 jobs have been lost since February 2009.
The Associated Press reacted immediately to the May 7 jobs announcement by emphasizing the good news in its subhead and lead sentence: "Jobs grow by most in 4 years." They described people streaming "back into the market looking for work."
Have you seen the new General Motors commercial? In it, CEO Ed Whitacre highlights the taxpayer-funded bailout GM received and then brags: "We have repaid our government loan, in full with interest, five years ahead of the original schedule."
That advertisement (Watch it here) gives the impression that A) GM is financially stable and able to repay its debts B) the government bailout was the right decision. And that was exactly how the Obama administration and network news media celebrated GM's loan repayment of a $6.7 billion government loan.
But the ad is heavy on spin, according to The New York Times and Reason online.
Robert F. Kennedy Jr. must be having trouble remembering who is president these days. Kennedy spent much of his April 30 CNN interview attacking the previous administration for last week's Deepwater Horizon oil rig disaster and subsequent oil spill.
In an appearance on "Rick's List," Kennedy opined that as a nation "we should be moving away from our deadly addiction to oil. Not only because of the damage it's doing in the Gulf, but we are exporting, we are borrowing a billion dollars a day in our country mainly from nations that don't share our values."
But then Kennedy attacked President George W. Bush and the oil industry as a whole for the tragic spill still being dealt with off the Louisiana coastline. The founder of Waterkeeper Alliance, a left-wing environmental group, told Sanchez that his organization filed a class-action lawsuit on the behalf of Louisiana fishermen.
Host Rick Sanchez asked "What did these guys do wrong? Were they careless?"
Kennedy replied affirmatively and went on to attack not merely the single company (British Petroleum) responsible for the drilling platform, but the entire oil industry and the Bush administration:
"But because of the oil industry's influence on the Bush administration -- the Bush administration waved that requirement [for acoustic regulators used in Europe]. So it made the oil spills intrinsically much more dangerous," Kennedy claimed.
He made it clear that VAT is the "right" answer, but was worried that politicians "vaporized its political prospects" earlier this month when the Senate voted 85 to 13 that the VAT was a "massive tax increase that will cripple families on fixed income."
Ignatius warned that politicians are "afraid of being right too soon," and suggested that VAT is an example of that maxim.
For years the global warming alarmists' mantra has been "the science is settled." But a recent series of shocking disclosures about climate science has shaken the credibility of that claim.
The first scandal - ClimateGate - came Nov. 20, 2009, after someone leaked thousands of e-mails from a major climate science group: University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit (CRU). The e-mails were full of startling admissions like this one: "We can't account for the lack of warming at the moment."
Brent Bozell joined "Fox & Friends" on the 40th anniversary of Earth Day to discuss a new Business & Media Institute Special Report about the broadcast networks' distorted coverage of ClimateGate and other climate scandals.
Bozell highlighted the way the networks have barely reported ClimateGate and the other climate science scandals that have eroded the credibility of the global warming alarmism movement. Such stories were ignored because they didn't fit the "narrative" of the network news.
"What's been going on in the press; however, for a number of years is this systematic push to say that we can only have one point of view on this which is that it's settled science and it's over," Bozell told Fox News Channel.
As procrastinators rush to beat the April 15 tax deadline and thousands rally at Tea Parties to oppose out of control government spending, politicians and the national news media are mulling the possibility of a new European-style national sales tax.
On April 6, former Federal Reserve chairman and current White House economic adviser Paul Volcker revealed the Obama administration's possible strategy to tame massive deficits with a value-added tax (VAT).
"Volcker, answering a question from the audience at a New York Historical Society event, said the value-added tax ‘was not as toxic an idea' as it has been in the past and also said a carbon or other energy-related tax may become necessary," Reuters reported.
"If at the end of the day we need to raise taxes, we should raise taxes," Volcker added that day. In Europe, VAT taxes range from about 16 percent to 25 percent with an average of roughly 20 percent, according to Olivier Garret of Casey Research. Garrett, who grew up in France, called the VAT "a license to steal without people knowing it."
The "obesity epidemic" is the fault of poor individual choices and sedentary lifestyles, but in the news, blame typically falls on companies, rather than on the individual. CNN has attacked grocer stores, restaurants and food manufacturers for creating supposedly "addictive" products and in story after story called for more food regulations, taxes or other intervention.
CNN's hearty appetite for food control has gone on for years. They've waged a war on obesity all while promoting government meddling like higher taxes on drinks made with "cheap" corn syrup to fight the "obesity epidemic," health zoning prohibiting fast food restaurants from South L.A. and trans-fat bans just for starters. CNN even criticized supermarkets for wanting customers to buy products from them, back in 2006.
The network evening news programs on ABC, CBS and NBC have also mentioned those "tax breaks" for small businesses in at least four stories in the past month.
ABC's Diane Sawyer told viewers March 19 that "the day he signs this bill, small businesses will get tax credits to spur more coverage of more employees." She didn't mention any of the tax increases on individuals or businesses.