Most media storylines on the economy are predictable. Tax cuts "cost" the government money. The wealthy don't pay their fair share, and, socialized medicine is the only comprehensive way to address health care problems.
That last one's been in vogue lately as Democrats have raised health care as part of their "100 Hours" agenda. So our very own Julia Seymour took a look at the media's push for Big Brother to play doctor to 300 million Americans.
But then there's the ones that are just patently laughable. Like where the media pick the interests of say fish, over people. Look to none other than our friends at The Washington Post for that one. You can find our writeup on that here.:
If you wake up on Saturday mornings and flip on the telly hoping to catch solid Wall Street analysis or perhaps a roundup of foreign and domestic business headlines that affect your investment portfolio, don't waste your time with CNN's "In the Money."
Rather than looking to help average joes invest wisely and benefit from a strong economy and a resilient stock market, the CNN crew would much rather sound like Heidi Cullen hosting a movie night/slumber party for the Al Gore fan club.
PBS tonight airs a documentary on the late Milton Friedman, and perhaps surprisingly enough, the taxpayer-funded network did a good job. [check here for local listings]
UPDATE: You know it's gotta be good. NY Times reviewer Ginia Bellafante panned it for being too worshipful of the free market advocate. And yes, your eyes deceive you not, she found a downside to ending the draft (Friedman opposed military conscription, favoring an all-volunteer force).
Below is an excerpt from a review published to the BusinessandMedia.org Web site by Hillsdale political economy professor and BMI advisor Dr. Gary Wolfram.:
It's no secret many in the media feel that global warming is a settled scientific controversy. But even some scientists who agree that humans cause global warming think Gore's all wet when it comes to his dire predictions. Even so, The Washington Post showcased a Seattle-area teacher yesterday who was at a loss when it came to finding critics of Al Gore's brand of climate pseudo-science.
Portraying an angry parent as an enemy of sound science, reporter Blaine Harden shared with Washington Post readers the story of Federal Way, Wash., science teacher Kay Walls and her struggle to show “An Inconvenient Truth” to her students.
CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta found another explanation for why Junior is rolling round the family room with a spare tire: food advertising on the Internet.
It gets better. The study he's citing is 6 months old and hails from the liberal Kaiser Family Foundation. What's more, Gupta didn't give any tips for parents about how to regulate their kids Internet use and only gave 6 seconds to an advertising industry spokesman for comment.
Sounds like Dr. Sanjay has a fever, and the only prescription is bigger government.
UPDATE: I put together clips from Gupta's story, as clips from ABC's "World News" and CBS's "The Early Show" that display similar biases. You can find that video here (Windows Media) and here (Real Player).
On January 18, CBSNews.com posted an interview that "Public Eye" blogger Brian Montopoli conducted with business correspondent Anthony Mason. In the interview, Mason explained how he wound up reporting the business beat and why he thinks the media have a tendency to be critical of business, as well as admitting that the media in general have a liberal bias in story selection. You can find the full blog post with a link to the interview audio here.
I also took the liberty of clipping a few sound bites from his interview. It runs almost two minutes and can be found here.
In January 2006, Mason made similar comments about the media's coverage of American business:
NBC's David Gregory might be a decent reporter when he's not biased, and I know he's a great dancer, but he's no meteorologist. James Spann is, and on the January 22 "Glenn Beck" program on CNN Headline News, Spann explained the many other causes of global warming other than Gregory shuttling via jet from D.C. to New York to substitute-anchor the January 23 "Today" show.
Maybe D-Greg wasn't watching. The next morning he pressed White House press secretary Tony Snow if the president would "concede that humans are responsible for global warming."
But as Spann explained on Beck's program, carbon emissions are "a pop gun compared to" larger natural influences like "volcanic dust in the stratosphere, the position of the sun,
the temperature of the sun, the structure of the Earth’s magnetic poles, and
CORRECTION: An earlier post incorrectly said none of the
evening newscasts carried a mention of the falling gas prices. I apologize for
Gasoline costs nearly 20 cents less than it did the same
time last year, but the good news merited only a passing mention on the night
before President Bush’s State of the Union address. By contrast, the networks
spent more than 10 minutes combined interviewing 2008 presidential candidate
Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.).
"The price of gasoline fell by 6 cents last week to an
average of about $2.16 a gallon nationwide – a 14-cent decline over three
weeks,” the Associated Press reported January 22. AAA's Fuelgaugereport.com,
which displays data from the Oil Price Information Service, shows similar data.
"Retail gasoline prices have fallen 17 cents from this time
last year," and the price of crude oil has also been on a downward track, "down 86 cents at $51.13 a barrel Monday on the New York Mercantile
Exchange," the AP reported.
ABC's Charles Gibson mentioned the drop in a 15-second bit
on "World News," while CBS and NBC had no time for that good news. Each
network, however, gave the junior senator considerable air time on its January
ABC anchor Gibson gave the former first lady the most face
time with 5 minutes and 9 seconds in a satellite interview on "World News." NBC’s Brian Williams and CBS’s Katie Couric gave Clinton about the same time as a full-length
news report. Clinton’s
taped sit-down with Couric lasted 2 minutes and 40 seconds, while Williams’
taped in-studio chat was 2 minutes and 20 seconds.
You gotta love network blogs, if for nothing more they bring out those hidden gems of bias you otherwise wouldn't get from the people behind the camera. Like Ed Deitch, one of the men behind the curtain as it were.
Deitch, a senior producer for the NBC "Nightly News" expressed
bemusement recently on the NBC News "Daily Nightly" blog at the notion that there's opposition to a Bangor, Maine,
ban on smoking in cars with children.
On January 4, 2007, Consumer Reports released what the media considered a damning report that found that many infant car seats are unsafe at 38 mph side-impact crashes. In other words, small children were a car crash away from a grave injury or fatality.
The next morning, ABC, NBC, and CBS's morning programs played up the report, featuring the story prominently. CBS's Hannah Storm even used a newborn baby in a car seat as a prop during an interview.
Well, two weeks and a federal government study later, Consumer Reports issued a retraction. Turns out the laboratory they hired basically performed crash tests that simulated a side impact at 70 mph, a speed at which you are very lucky to come out alive regardless of your age or whether or not you're restrained in a car seat.
Of course, industry insiders felt this was coming, and one even said so on the January 5 "American Morning." But you didn't hear any of that two weeks ago on "Today," "Good Morning America," or "The Early Show." [full story here]
Is there any industry that elite liberals in the media don't want to regulate? Perhaps it's a little tongue-in-cheek, but The Washington Post's Robin Givhan opened her fashion column in the January 19 Style section thusly:
"If anyone ever needed evidence of why industries should not be allowed to police themselves, the Council of Fashion Designers of American just provided it."
You know we've progressed as a society when our modern-day Upton Sinclair is a clothing critic concerned about models strutting down the catwalk rather than the slaughterhouses that produce the hamburgers they won't touch with a 10-foot pole.
ABC’s Dr. Timothy Johnson leveled the harshest criticism,
telling anchor Charles Gibson that President Bush was "misleading" about his
government medical research, which he lamented had actually been "cut" last
Johnson’s liberal complaint about inadequate spending isn’t
surprising. The Business & Media Institute (BMI) has previously documented
Johnson’s advocacy of government-run health care and higher tobacco taxes.
She practically blamed Mel Gibson* for why diet supplements are not regulated as drugs by the FDA and attempted to scare viewers with the extreme case of a woman's nose falling off, but Sharyn Alfonsi's hit pieces on nutrition supplement makers weren't biased enough for CBS's in-house blogger-cum-media critic Brian Montopoli.:
"The real problem is that any topical product such as the one described in this section of Mr. Hurley's book is not a dietary supplement, and cannot be legally sold as one in the United States. By law such products are drugs. If either Mr. Hurley or his editors had bothered to look at the Federal Food Drug and Cosmetic Act, they could have avoided this fundamental mistake," wrote Marc S.Ullman, a New York attorney who represents clients "in the dietary supplement/natural products industry."
Gas prices and oil prices have been slipping lately, just not at the same rate. And that's a "real scandal" to some liberal, self-styled consumer advocates like Judy Dugan of The Foundation for Taxpayer & Consumer Rights. That's all well and good, of course, except when the media parrot the complaint and don't explain the group's biases.
That's exactly what we found from USA Today's front page treatment of sliding oil prices in its January 16 edition.
You can fill up here or read below the jump to top off the tank:
While Sylvester included one sound bite from USC's Dr. Joel Hay, she left out his chief complaint with the Democratic plan to institute de facto drug price controls in the guise of Medicare "negotiating" with drug companies to lower prices for seniors on Medicare.
What's more, Sylvester quickly dismissed Hay -- an expert in pharmacoeconomics, the study of the economics of
drug development and distribution -- saying that "common sense" dictates that government "negotiation" can lower drug prices.
NBC’s Brian Williams quickly breezed through news of a court ruling in Mississippi pertaining to Hurricane Katrina insurance claims. But unlike coverage of the case in the Associated Press and The New York Times, the “Nightly News” anchor cast the ruling only as a victory for storm damage victims, without looking at how it could harm the insurance industry or gum up courts by encouraging lawsuits.
Williams told viewers of the January 11 program about “A big legal victory today for a Biloxi, Miss., couple who sued State Farm Insurance for refusing to pay” their Hurricane Katrina damage claim. The ruling could prove helpful to “hundreds of other victims in that region” who could “benefit as a result,” the anchor insisted. All told, Norman and Genevieve Broussard walked out of court with nearly $3 million, Williams added.
Chances are if you hate what you make at your job, you either ask the boss for a raise or seek a job that pays more. Chances are you don't wait 10 years for your pay to increase. But ABC's Charles Gibson apparently thinks millions of Americans are mired in a decade-long drought of minimum wage pay.
"After years of waiting, millions of Americans have reason tonight to plan on a pay raise. The House overwhelmingly voted late today to raise the minimum wage in stages from $5.15 an hour to $7.25," Gibson informed viewers as he introduced a story by reporter Dean Reynolds on the January 10 program.
Only thing is, it's just not true. I explain why here.
It also appears CNN's Miles O'Brien got his econ degree from the Charlie Gibson Correspondence School of Economics.
From a 72-degree January day in Manhattan to "polar bears in peril," the media have done anything but chill about the weather lately.
"Never has good weather felt so bad. Never have flowers inspired so much fear. Never has the warm caress of a sunbeam seemed so ominous. The weather is sublime, it’s glorious, it’s the end of the world," wrote Joel Achenbach on the January 7 Washington Post Style section front.
In its rush to anger viewers about private company “ownership” of public roads, the January 9 “Lou Dobbs Tonight” presented only one proponent of privatized toll roads, and then misrepresented his position on the issue, cutting out his defense of private investment.
Anchor Lou Dobbs sounded the alarm about federal highways “now being sold to the highest bidder” as he introduced a story by Lisa Sylvester. Sylvester began by suggesting that “Wall Street is paving the road to highway privatization” and that far from being sound policy, “states are eyeing privatization as a quick fix.”
Sylvester, who earned her master’s degree from the distinguished Medill School of Journalism, then aired a clip of the Reason Foundation’s Robert Poole. The sound bite featured the transportation policy expert observing that while “people are frustrated” with congested roads and that “nobody really wants to raise gas taxes.”
Those sound bite selections left viewers with the impression that Poole favors more taxes and government spending on highways, which is far from true. Yet when asked by the Business & Media Institute (BMI) about his reaction to Sylvester’s presentation, Poole assured BMI that he “addressed all their concerns in the material we taped.”
“I was afraid they would selectively use what I said,” Poole lamented in an e-mail, adding he’d “debated whether even to be interviewed” given the show’s previous biased presentation on transportation.
You know the one thing I think I'd enjoy less than watching a complete stranger's vacation slide show? Subsidizing it with my tax money. But ABC's Bill Redeker (see full story here) failed to raise just how much taxpayers foot the bill for rail enthusiasts who ride Amtrak for a scenic view of the American West, even as he waxed nostalgic for the pre-Amtrak days of the luxurious long-distance train ride.
Today of course rail travel is dwarfed by more competitive, efficient, and convenient air travel while Amtrak all but monopolizes the nation's passenger rail.
But, perish the thought of actually making some cuts in the Amtrak budget:
Splicing his report with dining car scenes from “Silver Streak” and “North by Northwest,” Redeker complained that Amtrak had to skimp on china, stemware and tablecloths to meet budget cutbacks on its California Zephyr rail line.
I know, you thought things must be pretty darn good for the economy when you were spending an hour circling mall parking lots for a space so you could plunk down about 900 bucks on everything from a Nintendo Wii to a Tickle Me Elmo T.M.X.
Well, Katie Couric wants you to know that the 2006 Christmas shopping season was just "ho ho hum."
Blogger Mary Katharine Ham of Townhall.com was none too pleased with The Washington Post's biased, inaccurate treatment of her church, The Falls Church Episcopal, in a front page article of the January 4 paper.
And my colleague Julia Seymour has the proof right here.
As the new majority of Democrats takes over the House of Representatives January 4, they have big plans – plans the media have supported.
Journalists have called arguments against a minimum wage hike “a lot of bull” and even came out in blatant endorsement of socialized medicine.
"The only answer is going to be, eventually, some kind of national, universal coverage. A guaranteed system that everybody regardless of income will have at least basic health care," said ABC medical correspondent Dr. Timothy Johnson on the Oct. 16, 2006, "Good Morning America."
Unfortunately they don't give you any perspective from the medical community or the makers of distilled spirits or beer. Nope, they just give you two liberal critics of the alcohol industry to scare parents with tales of stomach pumps and binge drinking.
Dan Gainor, director of MRC's Business & Media Institute (BMI), and Cato Institute's Dr. Patrick Michaels appeared this afternoon on Fox News Channel's "Your World with Neil Cavuto" to talk about liberal media hype about climate change.
Liberal activists and Democratic spokesmen are quick to argue that the minimum wage is too low and unfair. But on the January 2 “American Morning,” that argument came from a CNN business reporter.
While CNN’s Ali Velshi did note that “a lot of small businesses oppose” the new Democratic majority’s proposed wage hike, he insisted “the bottom line is it’s simply not fair that there has been a federal minimum wage of $5.15 an hour” or “about $900 a week.”
His math was way off – $5.15 an hour comes to $206 per week. Velshi probably meant that a minimum wage earner would pull down close to $900 a month, given a 40-hour work week. Pay at $900 a week translates to $46,800 a year, a few hundred dollars more than the U.S. median income in 2005. Of course if pay “fairness” could be legislated by Congress as Velshi advocated, that would be a minor detail.
...because you won't find it in Gigi Stone's December 18 "World News" story on teacher merit pay. (Or her write-up at ABCNews.com)
Stone, to her credit, did explain that teachers unions oppose merit pay for teachers because, well, they want more money for all teachers, regardless of how crappy a job they do. Okay, she didn't put it in those words exactly, but, let's face it, that's the reason teachers unions are against merit pay.
So why did Stone insist on presenting the vice-president of the Houston Federation of Teachers as merely a teacher who was concerned that the art of public school classroom instruction under incentive pay would devolve in a race to the bottom, an effort at merely "teaching to the test" or "drill and kill?
Nigerian terrorists got free ink in the Baltimore Sun while the company that employs their victims, Shell Oil, got nothing, not even an acknowledgement from the Sun's reporter that the group, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND).
One country’s terrorist menace is one Baltimore Sun reporter’s insurgency.
In his December 18 article, “Paying the price for resistance,” Sun foreign reporter Scott Calvert gave readers a snapshot of a “violent insurgency that has forced a 20 percent to 25 percent cut” in Nigerian oil exports.