I do hope that Associated Press reporters Arthur Max and Charles J. Hanley are finding some recreational time while they are reporting from Cancun about what's happening at the "United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change."
The pair's bosses ought to be asking them how much real attention they are paying to the festivities since they began. For example, as far as I can tell from two reports by Mr. Max (here and here), he seems to have missed the opening prayer to the pagan goddess Ixchel; Ken Shepherd at NewsBusters took note of it from thousands of miles away. We'd understand if you were really at the beach, Arthur.
The unemployment rate jumped to a seasonally adjusted 9.8% in November and only 39,000 seasonally adjusted jobs were added during the month, according to the Employment Situation Report released yesterday by Uncle Sam's Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Although she at least recognized the report's negativity, Lucia Mutikani at Reuters seemed bent on downplaying its impact, even finding an "expert" who characterized the BLS's work as an "outlier" in her Friday evening write-up. Nobody's claiming the folks at BLS are perfect, but I cannot recall a time when an establishment press wire service reporter has questioned the Employment Situation Report's underlying validity. Despite its supposed lack of credibility, Ms. Mutikani still used the information provided as an excuse to insert a point about how it should cause Fed chief Ben Bernanke to continue the "money from nothing" enterprise euphemistically referred to as "quantitative easing."
Of special note was Ms. Mutikani's bizarre contention that the seasonal adjustment calculations might be flawed. Unfortunately for her, comparisons of actual results on the ground (i.e., the not seasonally adjusted numbers) to the seasonally adjusted numbers that resulted were consistent with November 2004, the last comparable year. This has not always been the case in the volatile economy of the past 2-1/2 years.
Here's something about which the environmentalists and car czars planted inside the Obama administration can't be pleased: as a percentage of their U.S. sales, Multi-Government/General Motors and Chrysler are selling more "light trucks," consisting of pickups, SUVS, and "crossover" vehicles than any other major manufacturer. Further, the companies are clearly emphasizing light trucks at the expense of their car models.
I wonder how a government promise to accomplish this would have been received by the fossil-fuels-are-awful media at bankruptcy crunch time last year?
You can pretty much count on this inconvenient product mix not getting a great deal of establishment press attention while it drools over the underpowered, heavily subsidized electric lemon known as the Chevy Volt and whatever toy disguised as a useful vehicle Chrysler/Fiat plans on foisting onto the market.
In no uncertain terms, Rush Limbaugh (link will become unavailable in seven days) ripped into an Associated Press report today on the alleged perils of allowing unemployment benefits to expire for what the Labor Department says is nearly 2 million unemployed:
I have not had one class in economics since high school in the 1960s -- not one -- and I understand more about this through my own self-education than these wizards at the AP. And I'm still convinced they just repeated it. They just printed a fax from Pelosi's office or whatever. ... After 23 years and we still get trash like this in our major, #1 wire service. I guarantee you whoever wrote this story is an absolute, abject ignoramus. I don't know about you, folks, but I don't like being surrounded by stupidity.
The chief ignoramus in question whose name Rush didn't have is the misnamed AP Economics Writer Paul Wiseman, with the ignorant assistance of Christopher Rugaber. Behold their ignorance:
This would be really funny if it weren't for the fact that so many supposedly informed people, including our president and those who surround him, may actually buy into ideas being proposed at the United Nations-sponsored Cancun climate conference, and will relish the means by which they could be put into place.
At the UK Telegraph today, environment correspondent Louise Gray feeds us the following headline and sub-headline:
Cancun climate change summit: scientists call for rationing in developed world
Global warming is now such a serious threat to mankind that climate change experts are calling for Second World War-style rationing in rich countries to bring down carbon emissions.
From all appearances, such rationing would last at least two decades, during which there would be, by design, no economic growth. Zero, zip, nada.
Here are selected paragraphs from Gray's grouse (bolds and number tags are mine):
I've noted an interesting disparity in how the Associated Press, the so-called Essential Global News Network, has covered Democratic and Republican congressional victories in situations where the counting has gone on well past Election Day.
Let's contrast the amount of ink and bandwidth devoted to Republican Joe Walsh's victory over incumbent Democrat Melissa Bean in Illinois compared to the coverage accorded California Democrat Jerry McNerney in his victory over the GOP's David Harmer.
First, in Walsh vs. Bean, the following is the only item that comes up in a search on Ms. Bean's name at the AP's main site:
There are many annoying aspects of the sea change in media coverage of the economy since Barack Obama became president. At or near the top of the list is how the business press has downplayed the unprecedented housing industry disaster, while lowering the bar that will supposedly represent a real recovery to ridiculous levels.
According the the Census Bureau (12-page PDF), 23,000 new homes were sold nationwide in October. That figure ties August 2010 and December 1966 (when the population was 35% smaller) for is the lowest single month since records have been kept. More extensive evidence of how bad things are will come after the jump.
On Wednesday, the Associated Press's Martin Crutsinger provided as good an example as any of the press template for housing coverage -- acknowledge that, yes, things are really bad; give readers an absurdly low benchmark for what would represent real improvement and how long it should take to get there; locate some "expert" to say it's really not all that bad; and find some kind of anecdote somewhere, anywhere, that will leave the impression that things might somehow be getting better:
In separate reports for the Associated Press during the past week, Christopher Rugaber and Jeannine Aversa, economics writers for the wire service, each dealt with estimates for next year's average unemployment rate. They came back with significantly different predictions for 2011 without recognizing how widely those estimates varied.
On Tuesday, Rugaber dealt with the Federal Reserve's latest economic growth projections, in the process telling readers that the Fed expects that the unemployment rate "will be 8.9 percent to 9.1 percent in 2011."
On Friday, Aversa looked at three alternative proposals for handling next year's federal income tax rates, which will increase substantially for everyone unless Congress acts. The projected unemployment rates for next year under the three proposals are all either 9.9% or 10.0%.
So the Fed thinks that unemployment will come down next year, while Aversa's consulted experts think it will go up slightly regardless of what Congress does or doesn't do about taxes. The one-point difference between the two sets of estimates represents about 1.5 million workers. That's not a small number. Did things suddenly get worse while the turkeys were cooking on Thursday?
It seems that the Times's Michael Shear is disappointed that Dear Leader is yet again caught up in a "distraction" ("Pat-Downs Ensnare White House in New Distraction"). It's headlined in the item's browser window as "Pat-Downs Ensnare White House in New Controversy." Interesting edit, don't you think? If it's a "controversy," the President owns it. If it's a "distraction," well, it's an unfair intrusion. Clever.
Shear wrapped it in a narrative whose theme was that "It all felt vaguely familiar." Well, yeah. What's more than vaguely familiar has been the press's tendency to lament the distractions our supposedly otherwise focused like a laser beam chief executive must endure. On April 9, 2009 (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), I noted that "The words 'Obama' and 'distraction' have both appeared in 2,425 articles in just the past 30 days; excluding duplicates, it's about 450."
In his blog entry, Shear listed many other awful distractions the president has encountered. What's interesting are how many of them escalated because of Obama or people working directly for him:
This is the sixth year I have looked into how the media treats these two topics: The use of "Christmas shopping season" vs. "holiday shopping season," and the frequency of Christmas and holiday layoff references.
I have done three sets of simple Google News searches each year -- the first in late November, followed by identical searches roughly two and four weeks later.
A graphic containing key results from the past five years is here.
The results of this year's first set of searches, done at roughly 3:00 p.m. this afternoon, largely reinforce the trends noted last year:
Imagine the (justifiable) media and other outcry that would result if a previous presidential administration and congressional leadership had convinced gullible House and Senate members to pass a law which they weren't given time to read specifying the following about a new Military Spending Board.
First, the Board appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate) sets a predetermined (by the Board) target for military spending growth. If the Board determines that the growth of military spending will not match this predetermined target, it has the power to enact a remedy through “fast track” legislation, which will work like this:
The seemingly endless variety of "name that party" stunts has yet another wrinkle.
In this case, Matt Drudge is currently linking to a Des Moines Register story ("Culver OKs state pay raises"; also saved here at host for future reference) about how outgoing Iowa Governor Chet Culver has decided to rush through union contracts granting thousands of state employees 3% raises (before considering "step" raises that occur with seniority) in each of the next two years before Republican Governor Terry Bransted takes over in January.
The headline for Drudge's link is "Lame duck Dem governor in Iowa OKs $100 million in raises for state workers." Actually, it's $100 million a year for the next two years. But the linked Register article by Jason Clayworth never identifies Culver's Democratic Party affiliation, even though he tags the governor's opposition as Republican twice in the first two paragraphs. In other words, not that it was difficult to show that Culver is a Dem, but Drudge had to figure it out and tell his readers -- and we thank him for that.
A couple of NewsBusters posts during the past week -- one from yours truly and another courtesy of Ken Shepherd -- have pointed to the press's reluctance to identify the Democratic Party affiliations of indicted Prince George's County Executive Jack Johnson and his also-indicted wife Leslie, who is a County Council member.
Today, the Associated Press's Brian Witte kept up the wire service's tradition of either not naming the party of an indicted Democrat or deferring that identification until very late in the report (in the apparent hope that subscribing outlets picking up the story won't use it). Jack Johnson's party affiliation was saved for the 19th paragraph; Witte never identified his wife's party affiliation. Witte further quoted a Republican who commented on the situation in Paragraph 10, and noted that said Republican "ran against Johnson in 2002" in Paragraph 11, leaving it vague as to whether it was a primary or general election contest.
Finally, Witte gave voice to people who believes that the Johnsons and ultimately other county officials are being targeted based on their African-American ethnicity -- in county where two-thirds of its residents are African-American.
That's bad enough. But a Tuesday report covering the latest release of the Housing Market Index (HMI) by the National Association of Home Builders demonstrates how utterly determined the wire service is to put gobs of lipstick on a very ugly pig.
For context, I'll show readers the complete 25-year history of said index.
First, I am grateful that Edenhofer, a German economist who is "co-chair of the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) Working Group III on Mitigation of Climate Change," has a last name on which searching is easy. I quickly determined that his name last name doesn't currently come up in searches at the Associated Press's main web site, the New York Times, the Washington Post, or the Los Angeles Times.
That's because he hasn't said or done anything newsworthy, right? Wrong. What's newsworthy is my second reason for thanking him. First covered at NewsBusters yesterday by Noel Sheppard, and described this evening in an Investors Business Daily editorial, Mr. Edenhofer has proffered the principal motivation behind the "climate change movement" -- redistribution of wealth (bolds are mine):
Persistent pursuit of a story by journalists has in all too many cases been replaced by a dogged determination to keep politically incorrect facts out of important stories.
An Associated Press item out of Grand Island, Nebraska this morning illustrates this point. It's not very difficult to identify aspects of the story reporter Josh Funk worked mightily to leave out (bolded items hinting at what's not there and related number tags are mine):
It was billed as "his first one-on-one interview since his loss," the first for a sitting Ohio governor in 36 years, so you would think anything particularly controversial Strickland might have to say would be news elseswhere.
Well, here's an obviously newsworthy comment (in bold), especially considering what came just before and after it:
Gosh, what's a bigger story -- that to the extent it was ever happening at all the housing recovery "seems to have been aborted," or that according to the government there was very little inflation in October?
When you increase demand for something, its price should go up.
In the case of bonds, if the demand for them increases, their price should go up, and their effective interest-rate yield should go down.
That didn't happen on Friday when the Federal Reserve began executing its second round of "money from nothing" quantitative easing. Even though the Fed increased demand, bond prices went down and yields went up.
Why? If you read a late Friday afternoon report by the Associated Press's Matthew Craft you essentially get a bunch of blubbering "I don't know" statements (bolds after headline are mine):
Don't go overboard with it, but have some pity on Sewell Chan at the New York Times.
On Thursday evening online and in Friday's print edition, Chan was among three Times reporters who composed a report ripping President Obama's lack of results at the G-20 summit. The piece's original title -- "Obama's Economic View is Rejected on World Stage" -- originally appeared online and actually made its way into the print edition. The headline apparently didn't sit well with someone at the Times. As I noted in a previous post (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), it was changed to "Obama Trade Strategy Runs Into Stiff Resistance" sometime on Friday.
That was apparently not enough to satisfy whoever is charge of politically correct revisionism at the Times. Chan seems to have been assigned the thankless task of composing not one, but two, kiss-and-make-up pieces to smooth things over.
In Maryland, Prince George's County's top elected official, County Executive Jack B. Johnson (pictured at right on NB's home page) was arrested yesterday, and "is accused of accepting cash in return for helping a developer secure federal funding."
Johnson's wife, a recently elected councilperson, was also arrested yesterday. The couple are both accused of "tampering with a witness and evidence relating to the commission of a federal offense, and destruction, alteration, and falsification of records in a federal investigation."
The linked article at Gazette.net does not identify the Johnsons' political party affiliation. When this failure to identify occurs, it typically means that the politicians involved are Democrats. As expected, the Johnson are indeed Dems (Jack; Leslie).
Sadly, it is not at all surprising that there is a virtual blackout on the Johnsons' party affiliation:
Along with the cheerful news that Fox News trounced its cable news competitors on Election Night (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), those longing for more fairness and balance in television news coverage can take some comfort in the fact that the Big Three Networks' evening news shows came in with audiences almost 20% lower during the week before and the week of the 2010 midterm elections compared to the same two weeks in 2006.
As seen below, NBC took the smallest hit of the three networks, losing an average of "only" 1.2 million viewers in the two comparative weeks involved. ABC got hit harder, while CBS lost nearly 3 in 10 viewers (Sources: MediaBistro -- Nov. 1, 2010; Oct. 25, 2010; Nov. 6, 2006; Oct. 30, 2006):
Thursday evening, NB's Ken Shepherd accurately pointed out how little establishment press interest there has been in prominently carrying an Associated Press report about how the Obama administration has been, in the words of the wire service's Dina Cappiello, "downplaying scientific findings, misrepresenting data and most recently misconstruing the opinions of experts it solicited."
This is not to excuse those who have given her report short shrift, but the AP and Cappiello herself did their level best to try to minimize the significance of what was to come in their headline and first paragraph, respectively:
Before critiquing, I should recognize that USA Today, while most of the establishment press has snoozed, has done a very creditable job of exposing the wide differential between federal employee and private-sector pay (Aug. 10, 2010; "Federal workers earning double their private counterparts"), and of identifying the outrageous degree by which salaries in the upper levels of Uncle Sam's empire are expanding (Dec. 11, 2009; "For feds, more get 6-figure salaries").
Yesterday, in a mostly well-done report, USAT's Dennis Cauchon, who also authored the two linked items in the previous paragraph, delved into many of the details concerning the growing number of federal employees who get paid $150,000 or more per year. Among his more important points is the fact that a great deal of the expansion into this high level of pay has occurred since President Obama took office, during a period when overall inflation has been very low:
The politicians who received more votes than their opponents weren't the only winners on Election Night.
Fox News's dominance on Election Night was overwhelming. If the competition between Fox, CNN, and MSNBC had instead been an electoral contest, they would have called it 30 seconds after the polls closed.
The graphic that follows illustrates just how big Fox's gains were in 2010 compared to 2006, after a mediocre 2006 compared to 2002:
They're back, they have their media water-carriers in place, and the Obama administration is smack dab in the middle of it.
The United Nations is pushing for countries in the developed world to keep their "promise" to, in the worlds of Charles J. Hanley at the Associated Press, "raise up to $100 billion a year in new money for poorer countries to cope with climate change and reduce their greenhouse gas emissions."
It's as if ClimateGate never happened (link is to NB's 120-plus posts on the topic). It's as if the IPCC and others associated with the scandal and the evidence-impaired claims of global warming -- er, climate change -- uh, make that climate disruption -- still have their reputations totally intact.