ABC started off this week's focus on global warming by falsely presenting a liberal journalist and author as a Pulitzer Prize winner.
Former Boston Globe editor and reporter Ross Gelbspan was the centerpiece of Geoff Morrell's March 26 World News Tonight report. Morrell labeled Gelbspan a "Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist." But Gelbspan never won the award, which was given to seven reporters in 1984 for a social issue -- series on race relations in Boston -- not a scientific dispute like climate change.
As millions of college students enjoy spring break, a respected employment firm gave them an early graduation gift: a report showing that the class of 2006 faces the best labor market in five years. But while the media frequently relay reports from Challenger, Gray, and Christmas, the new report has largely been ignored in the media.
Reuters news wire reported on March 20:
In its annual outlook of entry-level jobs, Challenger, Gray & Christmas said strong job growth and falling unemployment makes this spring the hottest job market for America's 1.4 million college graduates since the dot-com collapse in 2001.
The firm pointed to a survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers which showed employers plan to hire 14.5 percent more new college graduates than a year ago.
Following shortly after a segment discussing a poll showing 59 percent of Americans believe the economy is doing well, CNN's "In the Money" crew wondered why Americans were not scaring easily with fears of a bird flu pandemic. [For article, click here.]
“We’ve fanned the flames of fear about this stuff,” said
CNN’s Jack Cafferty on March 18. He was talking about bird flu, and his
admission just confirmed the Free Market Project’s ongoing analysis of media
The “In the Money” co-host’s comments came as the show’s
panel looked at “Stock of the Week” Tyson Foods (NYSE: TSN), which has seen a
20-percent loss in value recently from overseas bird flu scares. Co-host
Jennifer Westhoven marveled at the American public’s apparent nonchalance about
the H5N1 avian flu virus.
On the Wal-Mart watch: Slate.com wondered "Is Whole Foods Wholesome," in a March 17 posting by The New Yorker's Field Maloney which found a left-wing use for Wal-Mart's constant evolution and innovation to capitalize on market trends and expand revenue. Maloney argued that if not for Wal-Mart's entry into selling organic groceries, "poor" Americans will be doomed by obesity-inducing non-organic, highly-processed foods while "rich" Americans might well shop at boutique organic outlets like Whole Foods.
The organic-food movement is in danger of exacerbating the growing gap between rich and poor in this country by contributing to a two-tiered national food supply, with healthy food for the rich. Could Wal-Mart's populist strategy prove to be more "sustainable"than Whole Foods? Stranger things have happened.
A Chevy Chase, Maryland family sit on the edge of bankruptcy, thanks in no small part to the complaints of a few liberal journalists.
The March 17 Washington Times reports that Marianne and Marc Duffy, a suburban Washington couple, have been told by Montgomery County officials that the permits granted them to renovate their 82-year-old house were granted in error, and consequently they will have to tear down their home.
Apparently the Duffy home renovation raised the ire of neighbors, including William Hamilton "an editor at The Washington Post, and his wife, Jane Mayer, a staff writer for the New Yorker" as well as ABC correspondent Jackie Judd, the Times's Tarron Lively reported.
The D.C. Superior Court recently ruled that thousands of non-District residents had been illegally compelled to pay a business tax. But rather than portray the tens of millions lost by local businessmen to the city government, the Post portrayed the ruling as harmful to the city's bottom line.
Staff Writer Albert Crenshaw focused on the concerns of city officials
and a sympathetic liberal think tank:
Ed Lazere, executive director of the D.C. Fiscal Policy Institute,
which analyzes D.C. tax and budget issues, said the tax generates about
$100 million a year for the city. If the ratio of suburbanites to D.C.
residents is the same among real estate investors and other owners of
unincorporated businesses as among workers generally -- roughly
two-thirds suburban to one-third District -- then the loss could round
to $70 million, "which is huge," he said.
So what do longshoremen, the unionized men and women who offload and onload cargo ships at our nation's ports, feel about the Dubai Ports World acquisition of port terminal operations in six U.S. ports? Depends whom you ask.
CNN's Lou Dobbs, long a crusader against the "exporting of America" on his Feb. 28 program presented longshoremen as monolithicly opposed.
DOBBS: The hard-working men and women at our nation's ports
know better than anyone about the dangerous gaps in our nation's port security.
And these workers say unquestionably that the Dubai Ports World deal will leave
our ports more vulnerable to terrorist attack.
A charismatic anti-American dictator commands a South American country's large state-owned oil reserves and rails frequently against American capitalism, yet the media coverage of his human rights abuses and his threats to the United States ranges from little to none.
American media have covered the ports controversy with almost 24-7
dedication. But the networks have ignored a far bigger security
threat. As energy prices have spiked and world demand increased, the
United States’ reliance on oil controlled by Venezuela’s
anti-American despot Hugo Chavez has become a real danger. But it’s
a danger the networks barely even mention.
Ken Herman of Cox Newspapers, quoted in The New York Times today about cameras in the White House briefing room:
"I don't like them seeing me do my job; I want them to
see the end result," he said of the public's looking over his shoulder in
the briefing room. "It's perfectly possible to be obnoxious and contentious
in there and produce an objective print story, but the image is so
overwhelmingly negative, and some of our TV brethren are very good at the
Yes, it's perfectly possible, it's just not probable, from my years of analyzing media bias. Terry Moran and David Gregory, for example, are just as biased in the finished product as their belligerent barrages of questioning in press briefings would suggest. And for the life of me I cannot recall a single instance where Helen Thomas has tried to elicit information from Ari Fleischer or Scott McClellan that was relevant to reporting a news story.
I also have a hard time believing that minority leaders Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) orSen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) would face the same intense questions from the press were congressional news conferences as widely televised as the White House briefings.
Reporting on a fresh development in the Fannie Mae accounting scandals, the media again dropped another opportunity to raise the Clinton administration connections. But when it was Enron which defrauded investors, the media wouldn't let the public forget the connections Enron executives had to President Bush.
After Enron’s collapse, the media frequently reminded the public of political ties top executives in the failed energy company had to the Bush administration. The same standard, however, wasn’t applied to mortgage broker Fannie Mae (FNM), whose former CEO served in the Clinton White House and was speculated to be on presidential hopeful John Kerry’s short list for Treasury secretary. The print media continued that double standard in covering a comprehensive new report on the scandal released February 23 by former Sen. Warren Rudman (R-N.H.).
CNN business contributor Andy Serwer
cast aspersions on investor Boone Pickens, a contributor to the MRC's
Free Market Project, for using perfectly legal tax deductions to lower his 2005 tax liability. He reminded viewers that it wasn't illegal, but that it "raised questions." But Serwer found nothing questionable in tax sheltering last December, reports the Free Market Project's Amy Menefee:
CNN’s Serwer advised his viewers to
get “cute” with the tax code on the Dec. 26, 2005, “American
Morning.” He wasn’t talking to billionaires, of course, but
ordinary individuals who apparently, in his estimation, deserve to
save money. Serwer encouraged his viewers to “Maximize those
charitable deductions, your 529 college plans for the kiddies. And
your gift exclusion, anyone in America can give anyone else $11,000
tax free.” He gave further advice on how to “lower your 2005 tax
A day after passing off reductions in the rate of growth for entitlement spending as "cuts" which will "pinch the elderly," The Washington Post's Jonathan Weisman bemoans tax cuts which will "cost" the government $70 billion:
One day after Congress gave final approval to a contentious measure to reduce the deficit by nearly $40 billion through 2010, the Senate last night easily approved a $70 billion tax-cutting measure that would more than wipe out all those savings.
The Free Market Project has noticed of late how the media are warming back up to the notion of a "windfall profits" tax on oil companies. The windfall profits tax was a hotter topic in the months after Katrina, but the idea didn't stick then. But now with a new session of Congress, a State of the Union address on the way, and 2005 profit reports running over the wires, the push to soak "Big Oil" is on again. [see more below the fold]
More than 2 million new jobs were created in 2005 but that wasn’t the story presented by the evening news. The three broadcast networks downplayed strong growth and, instead, emphasized negatives such as corporate layoffs and outsourcing in more than half the stories about jobs or unemployment. As Trish Regan of “CBS Evening News” put it in the July 20 broadcast, “Twenty-five thousand layoffs and more on the way. I’m Trish Regan with why the jobs picture is looking very ‘pink’ these days.”
On the Jan. 19, "NBC Nightly News," introducing a story on Google's refusal to comply with a subpoena for Web search records, anchor Brian Williams alerted viewers to "a developing story in this country tonight that involves the collision of technology and privacy...The giant and successful search engine company has been subpoenaed by the Justice Department. They want to see exactly what people are searching for."
Fifteen additional reports graced the newscasts of the broadcast networks since then, according to a Nexis search, most of these focusing on the concerns of privacy advocates who fear overreaching by the Bush administration.
Five days later, the Associated Press reported that Google will censor Web sites the Chinese government deems objectionable:
A breakneck pace to change West Virginia’s mining laws, and kind words from the state’s governor about the cooperation of mining officials in revamping the Mountain State's mining laws didn’t deter CNN’s Anderson Cooper from pressing for even more stringent regulation when interviewing the state'schief executive on his evening news program.
Interviewing Gov. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) via satellite in the 11 p.m. hour of the Jan. 23 edition of “Anderson Cooper 360,” the silver-haired son of Gloria Vanderbilt pressed the Democratic governor repeatedly about his position on raising the dollar amount for fines levied on coal companies.
Cooper's last incarnation of the question anticipated an adversarial relationship between mining companies and the state. “They’re going to fight this when it starts really hitting their pocketbook, aren’t they,” Cooper cynically asked.
Ford Motor Company's recently-announced layoffs are the result of years of declining market share coupled with rising labor costs. But while the media have relayed information on Ford's declining market share, they've avoided discussing the role labor unions have had in driving up costs.
One such burden the media have ignored are "jobs banks" which companies like Ford and GM created in the mid-80s as a concession to the United Auto Workers. The Detroit Free Press reports that Ford pays out about $140 million per year from Ford's job bank, Guaranteed Employment Numbers (GEN), to some 1,100 presently-unemployed workers.
None of the Jan. 23 network newscasts mentioned the costly GEN program nor an alternative severance package Ford has for workers which would pay $15,000 per year in tuition for each fired worker.
In November 2002, The New York Times latched its iron journalistic jaws onto a story which it considered to be of extreme national import: feminist Martha Burk's crusade to blackmail Augusta National Golf Club, the host of the Masters Tournament, into ending its men-only membership policy by pressuring CBS to drop its coverage of the storied golf championship. Burk's crusade eventually failed, but only after an almost obsessive focus by the New York Times about the quixotic mission.
Fast forward to January 2006 and the Alito hearings, and the revelation that Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-MA) once belonged to, and as recently as October donated $100 to, the Owl Club, a male-only social organization which was booted from Harvard for refusing to admit women as members.
Bonneville Radio announced yesterday that it will launch Washington Post Radio on three dial settings in the Washington, DC radio market (1500, 107.7, 104.3). Bonneville currently runs WTOP radio, a 24/7 newsradio station in Washington. Are we about to get the Post's liberal bias on the radio, too? Bonneville executive Joel Oxley said in today's Post story, "It's going to be NPR on caffeine. It will be non-drowsy public radio."
Bonneville will own and operate both WTOP and Washington Post Radio. Washington Post Radio's programming will include in-depth local, national and international news and commentary provided by Washington Post reporters, editors, and columnists as well as news makers and other local media personalities.
The Wall Street Journal’s Stephanie Kang and the New York Times’s Michael Barbaro today used similar language to describe the retail shopping season as so-so. But buried deeper in Kang’s story were facts which undercut her argument and Barbaro admittedly relied on “anecdotal reports,” mainly from recently transit-strike-plagued Manhattan, to sell his story.
Barbaro opened his December 27 article noting that “Many retailers hoping for a big finish to the holiday season instead had lighter-than-expected crowds over the long Christmas weekend, according to anecdotal reports, leaving stores to rely heavily on the next few days to pump up December sales.”
MRC's Brent Baker noted in today's CyberAlert about Brian Williams's latest instance of describing a spending increase as a "cut" in spending. I emailed Williams's comments to the Heritage Foundation's lead budget analyst, Brian Riedl. Riedl's reply:
The reconciliation bill would reduce the 5-year growth of entitlement spending from 39% down to 38%. Spending would still increase.
Riedl then dropped a link which took me to a WebMemo from November. What follows should be required reading for any reporter, but broadcast ones especially, to read before covering spending bills on Capitol Hill. Portions in bold are my emphasis:
USA Today practiced a “rip and read” of liberal talking points on winter heating costs with it’s headline for Richard Wolf’s December 12 story, “Some may face choice: Whether to heat or eat." Wolf’s article centered on critics of the Agriculture Department’s (USDA) decision to deny the requests of five states for a boost in food stamps spending.
The self-declared “nation’s newspaper” cribbed from a December 12 press release by America’s Second Harvest, whose headline read, “Heat or Eat? Millions of Americans Forced to Make the Choice This Winter; Energy Costs and Food Insecurity Reach Record Highs.”
Free Market Project (FMP) Director Dan Gainor has a piece online at the FMP website detailing how mainstream movie critics and entertainment reporters have uncritically heralded George Clooney's silver screen outing, Syriana, as a true or near-true-to-life account of how American oil companies operate in the Middle East.
Among them, A.O. Scott of the New York Times in his November 23 review: "Someone is sure to complain that the world doesn’t really work the way it does in ‘Syriana’; that oil companies, law firms and Middle Eastern regimes are not really engaged in semiclandestine collusion, to control the global oil supply and thus influence the destinies of millions of people. OK, maybe."
Of particular interest, Simpson notes that Weisman fell hook, line, and sinker for a flawed study by a handful of Federal Reserve economists. Portions in bold are my emphasis:
Weisman hyped a flawed report from the Federal Reserve Board to draw the conclusion that the earlier dividend tax cut package “had no real impact on the stock market and prompted ‘only muted gain in total corporate payouts.’
“I know, Dan, the President’s giving a speech on the economy coming up, but there are people, including Alan Greenspan of the Fed, and also the GAO, the top auditor in the country, who have said with these deficits, these mounting deficits, it is simply hard to look at this economy as anything but on thin ice, no matter what. No new taxes?”
-- Good Morning America's Diane Sawyer to Dan Bartlett, White House counselor, December 5, 2005.
"The experts have spoken, this hurricane season will go down as the biggest, baddest, deadliest, and costliest of all time," Jim Acosta ominously intoned opening his report on the November 29 edition of the CBS Evening News. Yet while the loss of life and livelihood from Hurricane Katrina was horrific, the loss of life in the 2005 season was not record-breaking.
Over 20,000 died in the Great Hurricane of 1780, Hurricane Mitch in 1998 killed over 11,000* in Central America, and the Galveston hurricane of 1900 killed 8,000. [see link]
See my article with more detail at FreeMarketProject.com
* NOAA's Chris Vaccaro gave me a more conservative 9,000-total death toll figure over the phone, which I included in my article. At any rate, the death toll from these hurricanes far surpasses the death toll for Katrina.
Strong "Black Friday" showings across America were given short shrift by the Washington Post this "Cyber Monday" which buried the story in a four-paragraph blurb on page A10 in the District and Maryland home edition.
But not only were the numbers good in comparison to last year, they far surprassed the expectations of the National Retail Federation (NRF), the industry group which analyzes and forecasts the performance of the American retail industry.
General Motors has had its share of trials lately – renegotiating worker benefits and now closing plants. The media continue to blame the auto manufacturer’s worries on high gas prices and foreign automakers. The glaring omission in the coverage is the United Auto Workers, the union that has driven GM’s costs to unsustainable heights.
That's not Joe Biden's approach, as CBS's Hannah Storm discovered on Tuesday's Early Show.
Hannah Storm: "Let me ask you about general motors, shifting gears a little bit here. They announced 30,000 job cuts, 12 facilities closing in 2008 because of poor sales and rising healthcare costs. How much does this concern you? What are the implications for other U.S. industries here?"
Montgomery Gentry are too blue collar for blue America.
At least that's the impression you would get reading Bill Friskics-Warren's review of the country duo's latest album, a "greatest hits" entitled Something To Be Proud Of.
"Staunch blue-collar populists" like Montgomery Gentry, worries the reviewer, root themselves in nostalgia for a time before "among other cultural advances, the women's and the the civil rights movements."
As proof of sexism and misogyny, Friskics-Warren bemoans the subject of "She Couldn't Change Me" being "put in her place," and is chagrined by the "smugness of the song's macho protagonist."