The Washington Post today reported how the White House expects the federal budget deficit to shrink, but placed it in a five-paragraph story below the fold on page A6. Yet a Reuters story on the same development noted something that the Washington Post's Lori Montgomery left out of her story. The new White House figure of $205 billion "is still higher than many private forecasts, which have pegged the deficit at around $150 billion."
What's more, Post reporter Montgomery included a reference to President Bush crediting his tax cuts with the revenue surge, but added "that has been challenged by many economists." Montgomery failed to name any such economist, much less his/her rationale. After all, if tax revenue is growing at unexpected rates following tax cuts, are there many economists who actually expect tax revenues to roll in at a faster pace when levied at their pre-Bush tax cut levels?
Yesterday's testimony by a disaffected former Bush official gave the
mainstream media the opportunity to resurrect a favored meme: President
Bush hates science.
Former Surgeon General Richard Carmona
yesterday testified before a House committee on White House meddling in
Carmona's speeches. Of course, Drs. C. Everett Koop and David Satcher
also complained of political meddling from the Reagan and Clinton
administrations respectively, but this fact was buried deep in the print accounts I've read.
But rather than exploring the complaints of political interference as a "systemic problem"-- Carmona's words -- that transcend party line and administration, news coverage in the mainstream media has
sought to single out the Bush administration as anti-science.
Over on his blog, "The News Hole," Keith Olbermann's staff posted an item on Sen. David Vitter (R-La.), who has admitted patronizing the erotic services of a call girl agency.
Olbermann (or a staffer who blogs for him), closed the July 10 entry "The Vitter End" with a not-so-subtle "ha, another hypocrite gets what's coming to him" snark:
And...from Sen. David Vitter's website:
For his work in
Congress, David has received numerous awards from leading organizations
such as Americans for Tax Reform, the 60 + Association, and the Family
Mr. Vitter has some 'splainin to do.
Wow, that's really clever and original, Olbie. How quickly he forgets, I dunno, Bill Clinton and the staunch defense he received from NOW, even well after his history of sexual misconduct with employees was apparent.
Of late, radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh has been arguing that the mainstream media persistently exercise the "management" of the news. That is to say, aside from slanted and biased reporting on the news of the day, they frame news developments in a way that manage events to fit a preconceived meme or storyline.
The media's coverage of Army recruiting numbers is no exception.
Bear in mind these facts included in some of the stories I cite below but usually well after the lede:
The Army is nonetheless ahead of its year-to-date recruiting goal
July, August, and September are traditionally the best months for recruiting
Many potential enlistees are turned away from being overweight or lacking a high school diploma
Some experts, such as former Defense undersecretary Edwin Dorn, marvel that "the big surprise is that Army recruiting has remained as healthy as it has been" given the Iraq war's falling support in the polls.
Nope, instead the lede is two straight months of numbers that aren't up to par and immediately Iraq is blamed.
Voila! A "trend" story waiting to happen for a media bent on managing the news.
The following was submitted by Jason Aslinger, a private practice attorney in Greenville, Ohio. Portions in bold below are the added emphasized of NB managing editor Ken Shepherd. It's a long post but it's worth the read:
In the wake of last week’s Supreme Court decision regarding racial
integration in public schools, the media have gone out of their way to
obscure the facts for the purpose of advancing its familiar political
agenda, not to mention skipped over giving readers a glimpse of the concurring opinions of Justices Thomas and Kennedy, both of which shed light on the case's significance to the average American.
In a prior NewsBusters post, I called out MSNBC's Keith
Olbermann for his false and race-baiting claim that the Supreme Court
had “overturned” the landmark decision of Brown v. Board of Education.
The subsequent commentary by the media has at least been more clever,
but no less false. Undoubtedly, the press and “expert commentators”
have calculated that the general public would not check their factual
(and political) conclusions by reading the Court’s 185-page opinion.
Without knowing the specific facts, the media distortions can not be
fully appreciated. Below we'll take a look at the facts of the case as well as the reasoning from the justices, reasoning that all too often is glossed over if not outright ignored in the media.
This is a little old as it was published last Thursday, but MTV's Kurt Loder (pictured at right) did a yeoman's job in dissecting Michael Moore's paean to socialized health care, in a movie review on MTV.com entitled, "'Sicko': Heavily Doctored."
While Loder conceded that Moore's handpicked stories of bureaucratic madness are "horrifying, and then infuriating" and praises scrutiny of HMO manager Kaiser Permanente, the MTV personality quickly turned to slamming Moore for a one-sided propaganda film that failed to present viewers with a command of the complexities of providing health care to a nation of some 300 million people. Portions below in bold are my emphasis:
Unfortunately, Moore is also a con man of a very brazen sort, and never
more so than in this film. His cherry-picked facts, manipulative
interviews (with lingering close-ups of distraught people breaking down
in tears) and blithe assertions (how does he know 18,000* people will
die this year because they have no health insurance?) are so stacked
that you can feel his whole argument sliding sideways as the picture
unspools. The American health-care system is in urgent need of reform,
no question. Some 47 million people are uninsured (although many are
only temporarily so, being either in-between jobs or young enough not
to feel a pressing need to buy health insurance). There are a number of
proposals as to what might be done to correct this situation. Moore has
no use for any of them, save one.
The following was written for NewsBusters by Jason Aslinger, a private practice attorney from Greenville, Ohio. Portions in bold below reflect the editor's emphasis.
The media’s contempt for the conservative U.S. Supreme Court reached new lows this week when it used a dishonest play on words to imply that the Court was against racial diversity in public schools.
That distortion, however, paled in comparison to MSNBC's Keith Olbermann, who announced on his blog (appropriately named “The News Hole”) that the landmark case of Brown v. Board of Education had been overturned!
Olbermann would have you believe that the U.S. Supreme Court had returned us to the days of segregated public schools.
Under the intentionally inflammatory heading “TURNING BACK HISTORY,” Olbermann's "Countdown" staff wrote:
Fox News Channel's late-night host Greg Gutfeld has a blog entry up at Huffington Post (also cross-posted to his DailyGut.com Web site) that mocks the insane moonbattery of leftist blog commenters who can't possibly accept that today's attempted bombings in London were part of a terrorist plot.
Gutfeld has a wicked sense of humor, so I snipped a little excerpt below. You can catch "Red Eye w/Greg Gutfeld" at 2:00 a.m. EDT on the Fox News Channel:
Folks, I just spent three hours surfing the net and did I learn a lot!
Did you know that most of the news we get is controlled by the Bu$hies?
Let me enlighten you about today's so-called terrorist bombing attempt
Roseanne Barr once suggested that while she has the qualifications to take Rosie O'Donnell's steel (which hopefully won't melt) reinforced chair (or is it perch?) on "The View," that she's a bit too anti-Israel to work on the gab fest. It's a shame, seeing as she has as much raw blogging talent as Rosie, although she sometimes slips into an ALL CAPS SHOUT FEST!!!!:
IMPEACH THE PRESIDENT AND THE VICE PRESIDENT, THEY ARE TRAITORS TO AMERICA, AND SO ARE ALL OF THEIR SUPPORTERS. IMPEACH! ANYONE IN CONGRESS WHO REFUSES TO SAVE OUR UNION FROM THESE TRAITORS BY DOING NOTHING NEEDS TO BE RECALLED. SAVE OUR TROOPS!!! SAVE OUR SCHOOLS AND HOSPITALS AND JOBS. FEED OUR HUNGRY AND POOR! SAVE THE DROWNING PEOPLE IN NEW ORLEANS! ANYONE WHO MENTIONS PARIS HILTON ONE MORE TIME MUST DIE!
You're welcome for the bump in traffic, Ms. Barr, and HAVE A HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY.
CNSNews.com staff writer Monisha Bansal has done something I've seen very little, if any of, in mainstream media coverage. Reporting on yesterday's Supreme Court ruling striking down two race-based preference structures that governed public school districts in Louisville, Ky. and Seattle, Ms. Bansal documented the reaction of the lawyers who won the lawsuits in question.
As NewsBusters has repeatedly noted, most of the media focus has been on the political dimensions of a "rightward" shift in the Court, in Kennedy as the new swing justice, etc.
Below is an excerpt of Bansal's June 29 article, portions in bold are my emphasis:
The following is submitted by Jason Aslinger, a NewsBusters reader and a private practice attorney from Greenville, Ohio. Cohen pictured at right (file photo).
In his June 28 "Court Watch" article, CBS News legal analyst Andrew Cohen laments the
conservative bent of the U.S. Supreme Court under Chief Justice John
Roberts. But rather than give readers sound legal critiques, Cohen sounds out a decidely political lament.
With a title like “Rightward Ho!” you might think that
Cohen would attack the Court’s conservative justices, and he
does, dismissing Justice Samuel Alito as a "rigid starboard-facing
ideologue" while he derides Chief Justice John Roberts as "silly and
Cohen lists several cases from the 2007 term in which, in Cohen’s
view, Justice Alito delivered the deciding vote. Cohen writes:
I could not leave this untouched. Joan Biskupic, the same Supreme Court reporter I accused of sounding like a John McCain press flack, has given us a gem of a skewed report on a 5-4 decision today about the use of race as a factor in managing public school registration.
Let's walk through it shall we?
When reporting on a key Supreme Court ruling, it's kind of nice to give readers a glance of the reasoning of the majority first. Makes sense, right. After all, the focus is supposed to be the party at suit that, well, WINS. But Chief Justice Roberts, who wrote for the majority, isn't quoted until the 9th paragraph. Justice Kennedy's more restrained concurring opinion is referenced in the fourth, but it's dissenting liberal Justice Stephen Breyer who draws first ink in the third paragraph.
Below are the first four paragraphs (my emphasis in bold), punctuated by my commentary:
As a follow-up to my previous post, I thought I'd take a look at the inane headlines for coverage of the 5-4 ruling today that restricts school districts from using race to manage school populations. Time and the Los Angeles Times are real howlers:
In a landmark 5-4 case today, the U.S. Supreme Court found that two school systems had improperly used race as a consideration in managing the public school districts. Web sites for many newspapers have carried Associated Press coverage of the ruling, and the later the revision of the AP report, the more information tends to be packed in them.
As of 1:15 a.m. Eastern when I started this post*, the Los Angeles Times front page linked to an AP story published just before 11 a.m. Eastern. But in that version of the AP story, Chief Justice John Roberts, who wrote the majority opinion, is not quoted at all. Yet a similar AP story (perhaps the same story but with fewer paragraphs edited out) was published just minutes later in the Washington Examiner.
The June 27 edition of "MSNBC Live" was sponsored by liberal filmmaker Michael Moore.
"'MSNBC Live' is brought to you by 'SiCKO', a Michael Moore film in theatres everywhere Friday," read the announcer dipping into a commercial break about 14 minutes into the 10 a.m. block of MSNBC programming.
Myra Langerhas of "Snarking Dawg" had this pointed take on those vaunted "campaign finance reform" champions at the liberal New York Times that I thought I'd share with you:
Typical editorial from every litterbox's paper of record. Boil it down
to bones - 'Bong hits 4 Jesus' banner by a high school student during
class hours demands 1st Amendment protection, but an ad from a private
group that asks Senators to vote on judicial nominees needs to be
censored by the Federal Gubmint.
Wow, and the 'smart guys' read this fodder.
Our very own Clay Waters scoops out that litterbox regularly. You can track his record of the Times' droppings at TimesWatch.org.
In its rush to paint yesterday's Supreme Court ruling that struck down an issue ad ban contained in the so-called McCain-Feingold Law, the Chicago Tribune described the case as a win for President Bush and the GOP, even though the Bush administration's lawyers lost the case in question and even though the case benefits liberal activist groups as much as it does conservatives. What's more, Bush's appointees to the court actually restrained the conservative majority from taking a bigger swipe at the campaign finance law.
Here's the lede from the Tribune staffer David Savage:
WASHINGTON -- The Supreme Court gave President Bush and Republican
leaders two important 5-4 victories Monday by clearing the way for
corporate-funded broadcast ads before next year's election and by
shielding the White House's "faith-based initiative" from challenge in
Oh really? President Bush signed the campaign finance bill into law, it was his Federal Election Commission that pleaded and lost the case, and he's not able to run again for reelection, yet somehow he won yesterday by virtue of his Federal Election Commission losing?
What's more, Republicans, conservatives, and business interests can certainly benefit from the change in the law, but so can Democrats, liberals, and labor unions, a point that the Washington Post's Robert Barnes picked up on in his reporting, which tracked favorable reaction from labor and business leaders:
CBS legal analyst Andrew Cohen found the rulings from the Supreme Court today to be a boon for conservatives, but he couldn't resist hinting about his personal opinions about those cases. He didn't seem to agree with any of them. (emphasis mine):
Conservatives go 4-4 today at the Supreme Court
Let's stay with our baseball theme today.
and political conservatives hit for the cycle Monday morning when they
"won" four long-awaited rulings from the United States Supreme Court.
The Justices further chipped away at the wall that separates church and
state, took some of the steam out of the McCain-Feingold campaign
finance law, neutered federal regulators in environmental cases to the
benefit of developers and slammed a high school kid who had the
temerity to put up a silly sign near his high school.
Here's how USA Today's Joan Biskupic started her June 25 article on the Supreme Court's ruling in FEC v. Wisconsin Right to Life, the case in which the Court struck down a televised ad ban in the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law. (emphasis mine)
WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Monday opened the door to corporate and union financing of broadcast adssubtly attacking candidates for federal office before an election, in a 5-4 decision that is likely to make it harder for Congress to regulate campaign financing in the future.
The decision also could bring about a new flood of corporate and big-money spending on the 2008 elections.
If I didn't know better I'd think she were auditioning for a PR job with the John McCain for President campaign.
Here's how Biskupic colleague Jill Lawrence of the paper's "On Politics" blog tracked McCain's reaction to the ruling (emphasis mine):
Today the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that it was unconstitutional to ban interest groups from running issue ads close to an election. The McCain-Feingold Act bans any issue ads by interest groups that mention a candidate running for reelection from airing within 60 days of a general election (and 30 days before a primary), even if the ad does not expressly advocate voting for or against the named candidate.
The way Ariane de Vogue of ABCNews.com reports it, the ruling is not a victory for free speech and political participation, but a blow to "reform." (emphasis mine):
Reigniting the debate over campaign finance regulation, the Supreme
Court struck down a part of the 2002 Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act on
That legislation, also known as the McCain-Feingold law,
restricts corporations and labor unions from broadcasting ads at
election time using general funds. Proponents of campaign finance
reform fear Monday's ruling will create a major loophole in the
legislation and cause an influx of so-called "sham issue" ads that
McCain-Feingold was created in part to combat.
Reporting a new survey on the success of a federal voucher program in the District of Columbia,
New York Times reporter Sam Dillon portrayed the federal program as a failure, albeit
one that makes parents of voucher students feel good on the taxpayers' dime.
Here's how Dillon opened his story (emphasis mine):
Students who participated in the first year of the District of
Columbia’s federally financed school voucher program did not show
significantly higher math or reading achievement, but their parents
were satisfied anyway, viewing the private schools they attended at
taxpayer expense as safer and better than public schools, according to
an Education Department study released yesterday.
Nowhere in his article does Dillon dive into problems that have plagued D.C. public schools that have helped push parents to seize the opportunity to send a child to private school on the public dime.
Instead, Dillon goes to lengths to castigate parents of voucher students as out-of-touch with reality about their child's education:
Earlier today, NewsBusters contributor Pam Meister picked up on the MSNBC investigation into journalists' political contributions. Nearly 87 percent of the journalists gave exclusively to Democratic candidates.
Now some journos are reacting, and it seems the ones at Time magazine don't see the big deal.
I haven't myself made any political donations since I've been with
Time, as far as I remember, owing mostly to being a cheap bastard.
(Time's policy allows political donations, although according to
MSNBC's list, only one staffer has taken advantage of that, so I'm
guessing most of my co-workers are as tightfisted as I am.) Scratch
that: I did attend a fundraiser for John Kerry in 2004, which I believe
Mrs. Tuned In paid for, that consisted of a $20-a-ticket concert in a
friend's backyard by children's folk-rock musician Dan Zanes. There is
probably no more yuppie-Brooklyn phenomenon than a Toddlers Against
The Washington Post's Fredrick Kunkle let a leftist group skate away with the bland "nonprofit group" tag. The group, the Boston-based World Against Toys Causing Harm (WATCH) named Heelys -- a pair of sneakers with small wheels recessed into the heel -- the worst toy of 2006.
But a review of WATCH's Web site reveals that the group is headed by a trial attorney who boasts of raking in "record-setting settlements and jury verdicts throughout the country."
Oh, and they don't like toy laser guns, although they, you know, don't actually shoot real lasers:
The Washington Post's obituary pages are never immune from bias, particularly when a Communist goes on to his or her eternal reward. The passing of the "first lady" of Cuba, Fidel Castro's sister in law Vilma Espin de Castro, is no exception. The bias began even before the lede with a headline that described the dead Communist as a "politician" who "empowered women in Cuba."
It wasn't until the 17th out of the 23-paragraph obit that Post staffer Adam Bernstein noted Raul Castro's late wife"was reportedly ruthless when it came to ordering the killing of suspected informers."
Instead, Bernstein chose to view Espin "as a champion of women's rights" being "the first woman elected to full membership on the Cuban Communist Party's Politburo." Something tells me she wasn't a champion of, oh, I dunno, the right to private property, the right of free speech, the right to free and fair elections, or the right to travel freely outside of Cuba. Bernstein doesn't mention it, but other news accounts make clear she was for the right to have an abortion, the quintessential "woman's right" to many in the mainstream media.
Coming back from a commercial break that included a plug for "the best reporting, the power of NBC News" on "Super Tuesdays," MSNBC's Chris Matthews was caught uttering an expletive, complaining about the content of the network's programming.
The "Hardball" host complained that "we're all reacting here and putting on shit" with the network's breaking news coverage pertaining to New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg leaving the GOP to become an independent.
There's nothing biased here, just some industry news. Politico and Media Bistro's fishbowlDC are reporting that it looks like NBC/MSNBC will be giving up their Capitol Hill cubby hole digs and moving most if not all of their DC bureau operation out to Nebraska. Avenue that is.
For those unfamiliar with Washington, the NBC offices on Nebraska are considerably farther from Capitol Hill than the stone's throw from the Senate that NBC now enjoys.
The bottom line: this could make it harder to get congressmen and senators who need to stay close to the Hill for legislative votes to appear on camera on MSNBC.
As we've documented at NewsBusters, last year the media, particularly the Washington Post, raked then-Sen. George Allen (R-Va.) over the coals for his infamous "macaca" insult, and his ensuing profuse apologies for same. We've also documented that Democratic politicians' jokes about India and Indian-Americans have been largely ignored (see below the jump).
The latest racial incident kicking up dust on the 2008 campaign trail is yet another Democratic gaffe, dubbed by some, "Punjab-gate," after an Obama presidential campaign research memo cheekily described rival Hillary Clinton as a Democrat from Punjab, a province in India.
Of course, as the oppo memo itself notes, and as John McCormick of the Chicago Tribune reported in the Trib's "The Swamp" blog, Obama's staff were referring to another "lame attempt at humor" (my emphasis, see below jump) by the junior senator from the Empire State about her electoral chances were she to decide to relocate to India: