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.
ABC's Laura Marquez displayed last night how the media just don't get religion.
Introducing her story on a rift in the Episcopal Church as conservative parishes in Northern Virginia voted to leave the American branch of the Anglican Communion for greener theological pastures, Marquez blamed conservatives for troubling the church's still waters.
"Members of Virginia's Truro Church may have been singing the words "The Church's One Foundation," but the action they took today rocked that foundation to its core."
In other words, conservative, orthodox Episcopalians are the bad guys, prompting a "secession" as Marquez called it, from the Episcopal Church. But that just shows Marquez's confusion as to the church's true foundation.
...but my colleague Julia Seymour has got the Airing of Grievances part down for those of us at the MRC's Business & Media Institute.
The camera pans across a sparkling Christmas tree, then zooms in on singer Clay Aiken, who begins to sing “O Come, O Come Emmanuel”: “... and ransom captive Israel … that mourns in lonely exile here, until the Son of God appear …”
So which holiday is that about?
ABC’s Kate Snow tiptoed around that question on the November 26 “Good Morning America.”
“We have a special treat for you this morning to get you warmed up for the holiday season,” she said, touting Aiken’s new “holiday” record (title: “All is Well: Songs for Christmas”).
In a new Business & Media Institute analysis, “Good Morning America” was the least likely of the network morning shows to refer to Christmas, mentioning it only about 31 percent of the time.
Outsourcing and the Internet are helping "microbusiness" owners to thrive, USA Today reported in a recent edition. That’s funny. As Lou Dobbs would have us believe, outsourcing does nothing but turn middle class Americans into economic cannon fodder for major corporations.
"Competitiveness, productivity, and efficiency are nothing more than code words for 'cheaper labor,'" Dobbs complained in the "Exporting America" chapter of his latest book "War on the Middle Class."
By "finding cheaper labor all over the world," major corporations have created a level playing field all right, "they obviously mean to cut the American standard of living down to the level of the third world," snarked the Harvard-educated business anchor.
But far from being reduced to eating beans and rice and living in sodden hovels, American entrepreneurs have coupled outsourcing with ingenuity and made successful businesses based on the Internet.
"Fed up with rising labor costs, a new generation of entrepreneurs is launching millions of tiny companies" without hiring any full-time employees. At some 20 million workers they comprise one-sixth of the civilian non-government labor force, USA Today reporter Jim Hopkins noted in his December 11 Money section story.
The "Free Speech" segment for Friday's "Evening News" went to British auto columnist Mike Rutherford who complained that Americans don't know how "lucky" they are for the cheap petrol they put in their tanks.
“Sorry, America, but if you believe you’re paying too much for the fuel you put in your
automobiles, you’re not living in the real world,” griped Rutherford. Noting that American gasoline is priced “among the lowest on the planet,” he added that “here in England, the average price of a gallon of fuel is almost $8 in your money. And you’re complaining,” he rhetorically added before insisting Americans “don’t know how lucky” they are.
Of course luck has nothing to do with it.
The reason most Britons find fueling the lorry a pence-pinching experience is because ol' John Bull is a tax guzzler.
My latest article at the MRC's Businessandmedia.org touches on a $7-billion omission on last night's evening newscasts.
"Fannie Mae took another step toward resolving its accounting fiasco by announcing a restatement of results that reduced retained earnings as of June 30, 2004, by $6.3 billion," The Wall Street Journal’s James Hagerty reported on page A4 of the December 7 paper.
The same day, The Washington Post and The New York Times devoted business section stories to the mortgage broker’s accounting errors.
The Fannie Mae story is hardly Wall Street’s garden variety profit revision.
Earlier today my colleague the MRC's Business & Media Institute director Dan Gainor testified before a Senate panel on the media's biased presentation of climate change science. Gainor's testimony is a coup for the MRC and invaluable for the public record. Of course the aim is not to legislate or regulate the media. By no means. But it's an honor when your boss gets to flesh out our hard work and intensive research for the congressional record.
The Washington Post's Michelle Boorstein penned a front page story on two Northern Virginia Episcopal parishes preparing to vote on whether to formally sever ties with the denomination and to submit to the authority of a more conservative Nigerian Anglican bishop.
Boorstein gets off to a biased start by labeling said Nigerian bishop as "controversial." No such label was assigned Episcopal Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefforts-Schori, although her theology is far from congruent with historic, orthodox Christianity.
What's more, one of Boorstein's sources, Diana Butler Bass, was presented merely as "a U.S. church historian."
"What will win now? This politicized culture, or that old Anglican, spiritual way of being in the world," Bass told Boorstein, practically casting biblically orthodox Episcopals as rabble rousing radicals within the denomination.
“President Bush has committed $15 billion over 5 years to the fight against HIV/AIDS globally,” O’Brien noted, lamenting that during Clinton’s watch, “the Congress was much less willing to pony up” the money. “Do you look back now and say, if only we put the cash in early, we could have made a big difference,” the CNN anchor pressed the former president, who appeared in a satellite interview taped November 30.
Are your a trial attorney with a record of frivolous lawsuits and a legal mind tailor made for con-tort-ing the law to fit your liberal agenda? Are you looking for some free air time on the "CBS Evening News"?
Then give Trish Regan a call. My colleague Julia Seymour noticed that on the November 30 edition of the news program the CBS correspondent gave GW Law prof George Banzhaf an infomercial compared to the paltry 10 seconds of opposition she gave to a critic of the food police.
“This could be the smoking gun. We could say that fat is the next tobacco,” said John Banzhaf of the George Washington University Law School, best known for his crusading lawsuits against the tobacco companies. Regan explained that Banzhaf wants to “go after fast food companies” and has already been involved in lawsuits that “resulted in settlements or industry changes.”
On his November 28 program, CNN's Lou Dobbs accused a major American corporation of sponsoring terrorism. But in leveling his charge, Dobbs didn't bother to give viewers a balanced perspective on American exports and business dealings in foreign countries that, to say the least, are not the nicest neighbors on the geopolitical block.
But while it's understandable to be critical of American companies doing business in Syria or Sudan, how exactly does selling cars and trucks to civilians in those countries amount to "bankrolling" terrorism?
My full article is available at the MRC's BusinessandMedia.org Web site. Before the election we documented Dobbs's bias in favor of liberal Democratic policies in his self-appointed defense of the average Joe in what he believes is the Bush administration's "War on the Middle Class."
As artificial as a breast augmentation surgery itself, the media's hype over dangers from silicone breast implants has been pretty much debunked by over a decade of scientific review. But that hasn't prompted the media to admit to and deflate the unfounded fears it blew up 16 years ago. From my colleague Julia Seymour's BMI newsletter article.
The FDA has put silicone breast implants back on the market. But journalists, who hyped the implants’ dangers more than a decade ago, have shown they’re not convinced.
“Given the history of this product, I think a lot of people are going to have a hard time with the government blessing for this particular product, being a foreign substance being sewn inside the bodies of women,” said NBC anchor Brian Williams on the Nov. 17, 2006, “Nightly News.”
Today's KidsPost section of The Washington Post gives young readers an introduction to the anti-artistic agenda of the smoke nazis.
Reporter Susan Levine gave The American Legacy Foundation plenty of ink to promote their cause in today's article "Hollywood Not Yet Kicking Butts."
Basically they think any movie involving fictional characters that smoke should merit an automatic R-rating. A picture showing historical figures who actually smoked, like FDR, is fine and dandy, however.
In contrast, the Motion Picture Association of America was given one paragraph to defend artistic license, and even then most of the graf was centered on reiterating the warning that, yes, smoking is bad for you.
Call me crazy, but how hard is it to find a libertarian or conservative pundit with the other side to be quoted for this article? (post continues after jump)
ABC's "World News" last night aired a story based on some numbers crunched by a left-leaning think tank about nearly 2 million Americans in "extreme" jobs that cause them to burn the candle at both ends. Of course most of them are very well-compensated and have loads of responsibility on their shoulders. And then some are trial attorneys.
Guess which of those two categories Betsy Stark chose from to flesh out the plight of the overworked in America. Yeah, you guessed right.
Here's but a taste (click here for the full article):
American laborers are “going to extremes” working in jobs
“where 60 hours a week can be considered part-time, and overtime is an
Another exasperating storyline from the MSM: the economy may be just fine overall but its screwing over 20-somethings who have to live with mom and dad.
My colleague Dan Gainor wrote up a review of the media's reheating the tired old storyline:
In the November 26 “World News Sunday” story “Young & in Debt,” anchor Dan Harris talked up the story about twentysomethings “forced to move back in with their parents.” ABC and USA Today each told stories of young men and women facing mountains of debt from school, credit cards and more.
Rather than focus on how self-made those debt mountains were – up to $165,000 in the USA Today story – both reports dwelled on how twentysomethings were “struggling to pay” for their living expenses.
ABC’s John Berman introduced viewers to Todd Townsend, who moved in with his mother because of $50,000 in debt, "mostly from student loans." "But he's not living there because he wants to," Berman said. He then explained to viewers the horrors of that choice, including living in two bedrooms next door to one another and even sharing a bathroom. "You share a bathroom with your mother?" asked Berman incredulously.
Berman wasn’t finished. "Moving back home can provide some financial relief; you get free food and laundry. But there are some pretty serious drawbacks." According to Townsend, who didn’t like to admit he lived with his mother when he met women, "it's not sexy."
If it's that unsexy, why go on national TV so even more young women know the answer to "my place or yours?"
Just in time for Thanksgiving, my colleague Julia Seymour has a few rainclouds to open up on the media's parade.
This time it's the media's overblown fear of inflation. Yep, it's time to put away the disco ball and the polyester.
All bets are off if Nancy Pelosi urges everyone to put on a sweater and crank down the thermostat, however.
Journalists worked themselves into a fright this spring as inflation rose, scaremongering with cries of “stagflation” and “recession.” But when the news came last week that the inflation “monster” wasn’t “rearing its ugly head,” the media could only whisper.
“I just tend to think that inflation is not something that has been kicked yet,” said CNN’s Allen Wastler on the August 19 “In the Money.”
“It’s one of those monsters, you want to stay out in front of it. The moment it’s past you – boom, you’re dead.”
My colleague Dan Gainor has an excellent take on how even in the obituary pages, The Washington Post carries the Left's water.
Even death isn’t a great equalizer at The Washington Post. Two of America’s most well-known economists died in 2006 – John Kenneth Galbraith and Milton Friedman. But there the similarities ended.
Galbraith, who the Post called “a preeminent symbol and source of liberal political thought” was deemed worthy of three news stories totaling more than 4,000 words. Although the Post credited Friedman with “tireless advocacy of unfettered free markets” that “reshaped the nation’s economic policies,” that earned him just 1,169 words and one news story, despite a Nobel Prize.
Okay, not really. Well, maybe it is, I don't follow the price of poultry and I'm sure the media doesn't have it that high in its pecking order either. But they do when it comes to gasoline, and it's up from two weeks ago.
The law of supply and demand be damned, it's up and it's screwing you just in time for the trip to grandma's house!
Up a whole nickel from two weeks ago! Man is that gonna gobble up your travel budget. Just ask Matt Lauer.
Yesterday saw the opening day of the month-and-a-half-long re-enrollment period for Medicare Part D, also known as that damn $700 billion-over-10-years boondoggle.
In other news yesterday, Wal-Mart expanded its $4/month generic prescription drug plan to 11 more states. Oh, and BJ's Wholesale Club got in on the cheap drug action too, saying they'll offer $4 generics, and you don't even have to be a member of the Club.
Great news, right? So why were those stories left out of Charlie Gibson's "World News" in favor of footage of confused or angry seniors grappling with government red tape and prescription plan fine print?