About the only thing you can conclude about the Agence France-Presse wire service's August 4 "news" item about a health care poll result ("Majority back Obama on health care reform: poll") is that they couldn't find anything more recent than three weeks old to provide the result they were looking for. So AFP went back to a poll done between July 9-13 -- an online one no less. As NewsBusters colleague Noel Sheppard would say, "I kid you not."
The House Democrats' 1,018-page health-care plan wasn't even released until late in the day on Tuesday, July 14. To say that AFP's report and the related poll results are worse than worthless to any current discussions is almost to praise them too much.
Here is a mini-pic of the first several paragraphs presented for fair use, discussion, and repudiation purposes:
Kudos to Steve Ertelt at LifeNews.com (the source of the graphic at the right) and to others in the pro-life community for getting the notoriously stubborn Associated Press to effectively back down on a false claim it made about the availability of abortion services in the version of the health care bill passed by a House Committee last week.
The Associated Press is coming under criticism from pro-life advocates who say its recent wrap-up article on the health care debate is misleading.
AP writer Charles Babington wrote a "fact check" story attempting to make the case that abortion is not included in the health care bills and that President Barack Obama doesn't want it to be included.
But Douglas Johnson, the legislative director for the National Right to Life Committee, says that's not the case.
Just in case you somehow haven't heard about it in the past couple of months, the Associated Press wanted to remind everyone this morning that South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford (who, to be clear, I believe should resign), who had AN AFFAIR(!!), went back to work today -- and that this really, really deserved to be a national story, as shown in the mini-pic of the AP's raw feed:
The unbylined AP item also reminded readers that Sanford "had been a GOP darling" earlier this year. Of course, there's no bias in that dubious statement.
Here's a picture of most of the short AP report, produced for the purposes of fair use, discussion, and ridicule:
Yours truly and others have since April noted a precipitous and likely historic dive in Uncle Sam's monthly collections. Year-over-year declines actually began last summer. The degree of monthly fall-offs has gotten "progressively" worse since then.
Yesterday, the Associated Press finally went beyond blandly reciting year-to-date comparisons to note the historic significance of the cash crash at the Treasury. Even then, Stephen Ohlemacher's report understated the degree of the decline in receipts from economic activity (i.e., excluding last year's stimulus payments, which were treated by Treasury as "negative receipts"). He also only carried his analysis through June 2009, even though sufficient information about the full month of July was available in Treasury's last daily statement of the month released yesterday afternoon.
See if you think these two assertions mean the same thing:
Small businesses pay up to 18 percent more per worker than large firms for the same health insurance policy.
.... small businesses pay up to 18 percent more per worker to provide health insurance for their employees.
Of course they don't mean the same thing. But to the Associated Press's Tom Raum, they apparently do.
The first statement comes from the Executive Summary of a study produced by the President's Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) called "The Economic Effects of Health Care Reform on Small Businesses and Their Employees" that the administration is using to promote passage of its health care plan. Based on dated information in the detailed CEA studay, the statement appears to be true, though with overly clever "up to" wording.
The second statement unfortunately exemplifies how the AP's Raum wrote up the CEA result in his story. This means that his write-up has several items that are demonstrably false.
Here are the story's first few paragraphs, with incorrect assertions noted in red:
Here's a particularly noteworthy "Name That Party" follow-up.
In a February post ("AP’s ‘Name That Party’ Twist: Disgraced PA Judges’ Dem Party ID Disappears After Initial Inclusion"; at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), I noted that the Associated Press had originally identified the party of two Democratic judges involved in a shocking scheme that pushed thousands of juvenile offenders into detention centers for minor offenses in return for millions in kickbacks.
However, in longer subsequent reports, the AP dropped the party affiliation of Luzerne County Judges Mark Ciavarella (pictured at left) and Michael Conahan.
This evening, in a 5-paragraph story (as of 7:47 p.m.; story could change over time) about a federal judge's refusal to accept plea agreements from the pair, AP Writer MaryClaire Dale stayed consistent with the wire service's see-no-Democrats approach to developments in this grisly story:
Cambridge Police Officer Sgt. Leon Lashley, the African-American cop who was with James Crowley during Crowley's arrest of Henry Louis Gates last week, is learning the hard way that no good deed goes unpunished -- especially one that involves speaking out in support of a fellow officer who happens to be white.
He's also learning that the wretches who write headlines for the Associated Press can distort his take on events in their headline in the hope that readers don't read or click over to the actual text to see how he really feels.
The zoo I'm referring to is the Franklin Park Zoo (FPZ), not the Massachusetts state legislature, although the slang version of the word's meaning likely applies there as well.
As reported in a July 10 Boston Globe story, in reaction to Patrick's line-item veto of $4 million of the FPZ's $6.5 million annual subsidy, Zoo New England, which runs the FPZ's two zoo sites, ".... in a written statement that echoed a letter sent earlier to legislative leaders, said they would be unlikely to find homes for at least 20 percent of the animals, 'requiring either destroying them, or the care of the animals in perpetuity.'"
After a fierce public and political backlash, zoo management appeared to pull back. Glen Johnson at the Associated Press on July 13 said that "it stepped back from that claim over the weekend, saying 'there are no plans for the zoo to euthanize any animals in the collection as a result of the budget cuts.'"
Four years ago, on June 23, 2005, a 6-3 Supreme Court majority ruled in Kelo v. New London that the New London, Connecticut government could condemn houses in that city's Fort Trumbull area in the name of redevelopment. A bit over a year later, the city settled with the area's final two holdouts, the Cristofaro family and Susette Kelo.
Since then the city has without success tried to engage a developer to build a hotel on part of the now-leveled area, and to put apartments or condos on the rest. Yes, you read that right; they're building residences where residences used to be.
The idea behind the hotel was that it would serve as lodging for visitors to the anticipated U.S. Coast Guard Museum.
The Bloomberg administration in New York has happened upon an idea for at least partially solving the city's homeless problem: Buy them tickets to get to the homes of relatives in the U.S. or abroad who will take them in.
Along the way, the New York Times's coverage of the story throws out an estimate of annual costs to take care of a homeless family that is either ridiculously high, or indicative of out-of-control bloat. The story also reveals the dense logic of a so-called "homeless advocate" who believes that the people sent away are still homeless. Finally and separately, though I couldn't find a reference myself, a well-known blogger asserts that a similar approach to the problem taken by another city was derided as uncaring.
Watching Associated Press reports evolve, or as is all too often the case, devolve, can be a revealing exercise.
Example: What happened between 8 p.m. Friday and 8 a.m. Saturday that would have caused the Associated Press and writer Nancy Benac to water down the headline and opening paragraphs of their story about the Obama-Gates-Crowley situation from this ....
In late April, the Associated Press's Calvin Woodward, in a "Fact Check" report ("Obama disowns deficit he helped shape"), hit President Barack Obama's claims that he and his party don't deserve much of the blame for the size of this year's deficit pretty hard. It was such a surprise that I wondered who had put truth serum in his coffee.
Well, you might have guessed it would be Calvin Woodard doing the primary honors in an AP Fact Check that again takes aim at the President, this time over his health care bill. With the co-bylined help of Jim Kuhnhenn and contributions from Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, Woodward and his team went after several claims made by Obama at his Wednesday press conference that don't stand up to scrutiny.
Someone at the Associated Press got a headline mostly right ("Obama rushes to quell racial uproar he helped fire") -- although you still have to wonder if it had been almost anyone else, if something along the lines of "xxxx stops short of full apology" would have been used instead.
AP writer Nancy Benac's story does note a couple of clear negatives in Barack Obama's behavior in the Henry Gates matter, but it also lapses into blather about "the nation's keen sensitivities on matters of race."
Benac also blew by an incendiary comment by White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs about the President's police union critics reported earlier today at the Politico -- "I think the Fraternal Order of Police endorsed McCain, if I'm not mistaken" -- that surely would not have been ignored had a Republican president's PressSec had made a similar statement about a Democrat-endorsing group. It as if, in Gibbs's world, partisanship is the only reason the FOP defended officer James Crowley.
Noel characterized Raum's report as suggesting that "the White House's delay in releasing an update about the budget might be tied to the administration's desire to get controversial bills on healthcare reform and cap and trade passed before Congress and Americans know just how large the deficit really is." That's because the delayed report would more than likely tell the nation that this year's deficit is expected to be even bigger than expected (using proper cash-flow reporting, which I'll get to), and future years' projected deficits are even more likely to be unsustainably high.
Two important things were missing from Raum's report. First, there was a total dearth of detail about how badly the current fiscal year that began on October 1 of last year has gone -- most especially the last quarter. Second, Raum saved until near the end of his report a prediction by one of the wire service's go-to "experts" -- the first such prediction I've seen -- that Gross Domestic Product will contract yet again in the third quarter.
No one can finish Saturday's report by Sam Hananel of the Associated Press without knowing the side of the political aisle on which he resides (surprise -- not -- it's decidedly on the left), and that he is more sympathetic to the interests of organized labor than he is to those of management at non-union firms.
Additionally, no one can doubt that Hananel, and perhaps his editor(s), have little respect for AP's stated policies of relying on more than one source, attempting to avoid anonymous sources, and when using them, clearly describing "the source's motive for disclosing the information."
That's a pretty remarkable achievement for a roughly 750-word report.
First, here are three word choice examples that give away Hananel's political biases:
Perhaps inadvertently, the text of the Associated Press's earliest video coverage (scroll down the right frame at the link) of Walter Cronkite's death would appear to say a lot about how journalists see themselves -- and it's not as objective communicators of what is occurring in the world:
Cronkite: "Hello, I'm Walter Cronkite."
AP's Diane Kepler, narrator: He was the most trusted man in America.
Cronkite (November 22, 1963): From Dallas, Texas, the flash apparently official. President Kennedy died at 1PM Central Standard Time, 2 o'clock Eastern Standard Time, some 38 minutes ago.
DK: Walter Cronkite, for many the quintessential TV journalist, has died. For most Americans he was the man to turn to on everything from the assassination of President Kennedy to what to think about the war in Vietnam.
This post proves the point, as if it even needs to be proven, that you have to go to the editorial pages of publications like the Wall Street Journal and Investors Business Daily to get your news when leftists are in control of the government.
When the topic is statist health care, that's doubly true.
IBDeditorials.com got to Page 16 of the House's health care bill, did the investigative work the establishment media was either too lazy to do -- or worse, other outlets did the work and didn't think readers should know what IBD found.
Yesterday afternoon, IBD laid the following bombshell on its readers (HT to dscott; I also heard Rush mention this a short time ago; bolds after title are mine):
It's Not An Option
Congress: It didn't take long to run into an "uh-oh" moment when reading the House's "health care for all Americans" bill. Right there on Page 16 is a provision making individual private medical insurance illegal.
In his report's apparent final incarnation early Tuesday morning, the AP writer:
Told us the amount of June's deficit ($94.3 billion), but didn't disclose the figures for June's receipts ($215.4 billion) or "outlays" ($309.7 billion), or how they compared to June of last year. In doing so, he "succeeded" in concealing the accelerating decline in tax collections.
Didn't tell us that the past month's deficit is by far the worst June ever.
"Forgot," as he did in May, to tell readers that the deficit would be hundreds of billions of dollars higher if it weren't for an "accounting change" retroactively put into place by Treasury in April that changed the definition of "outlays."
Cited the Iraq and Afghanistan wars as contributors to the deficit situation, while not identifying several other expenditure categories that have been worse offenders by far.
Found an economist, without dissent, to support the claim that what the Obama administration has done had to be done.
And that doesn't even count Crutsinger's Krugmanesque rewrites of the history of the 1930s Depression era and 1990s Japan, or the apparatchik-like tone present in a few of his paragraphs.
Somebody at the Columbus Dispatch has a bit of explaining to do.
You see, Ohio Governor's former Director of Community and Faith-Based Initiatives, one Robert "Eric" McFadden, after "years" of not getting caught, pleaded guilty last Thursday of two felonies for trying to market the "services" of a 17 year-old prostitute. Yes, a 17 year-old.
In his original report late Thursday morning on McFadden's plea -- a report no longer available at the paper's web site even though it is listed at a relevant site search (last item listed; screen cap is here for later reference) -- the Dispatch's Bruce Cadwallader gave a barely adequate description of the facts and circumstances surrounding both McFadden's day job and the double life that he had been leading "for years" up to his arrest in January.
But in his early-AM Friday report, which I have confirmed with a Dispatch representative is the one that went into the paper's July 10 print edition, Cadwallader "somehow" left out the "for years" reference, giving readers a clear and incorrect impression that McFadden had only recently begun his illicit activities.
An editorial in yesterday's Wall Street Journal bemoaned the fact that the state-run health system in Massachusetts is failing, and that its implosion isn't common knowledge.
Formally known as CommonwealthCare, the Massachusetts scheme has the political name of "RomneyCare," in "honor" of the Bay State governor and former presidential candidate who championed its passage in 2006.
The Journal understands that the Bay State Blowup is one of the media's least-covered stories because exposure of CommonwealthCare's true results would make all too clear the awaiting disasters found in the various versions of ObamaCare Congress is considering for the entire country.
The Journal editorial yesterday primarily addressed what I'll call the "free rider" problem (link to outside blog post added by me; bolds are mine):
If you listened to any top-of-the-hour radio newscast yesterday, you probably heard that General Motors has exited from bankruptcy, with the company promising to really, really do better this time around.
You more than likely didn't hear anything about how much government money it has taken to enable GM to survive and reemerge. That's because original story sources like the Associated Press put off such troublesome disclosures until later in their reports.
In the AP's case, even when writers Tom Krisher and Ken Thomas, assisted by three other contributors, finally got around to discussing taxpayer funding in the 25th paragraph of their 29-paragraph report, they understated the amount of government money expended. The pair also seemed to imply that creditors of the "old GM," consisting of the parts the emerging company left behind, would be made whole, which is of course far from the case.
Here are the paragraphs from the story that relate to my observations:
Call it "Yankee Imperialist Corrupts Impressionable Iraqi Youth":
Am I supposed to believe that USA Today had no other more relevant pictures they could have used? The fact that they went back to an AP file photo from 2007 is pretty strong evidence that USAT's page-fillers were looking to make a point.
Something must be in the water at the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
In the past couple of weeks, longtime columnist Connie Schultz, who happens to be married to U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown, has come out in favor of changing copyright law to "save newspapers" (the relevant columns are here and here). Its Readers' Representative has also jumped on board.
This hostility towards blogs and bloggers is not a one-off aberration at the PD. In November 2007, columnist Dick Feagler went off, asking, among other things, "Have they ridden (implied: off the record) with a candidate in the middle of the night?" Feagler's cozy brand of non-objective "journalism" has been one of one-party, one-paper-dominated Cleveland's biggest problems for decades.
More recently, in what I take to be his second related video chat (HT The Future of Journalism via Instapundit) on the copyright topic, Readers' Rep Ted Diadiun, pictured at right, calls bloggers "a bunch of pipsqueaks out there talking about what real journalists do” (at 10:00 mark of video at link).
In a July 7 New York Times Magazine article ("The Place of Women on the Court"; HT to an e-mailer) apparently scheduled to appear in its July 12 print edition (based on its URL), Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg told the Times's Emily Bazelon that "at the time Roe was decided, there was concern about population growth and particularly growth in populations that we don't want to have too many of."
Who is this "we" Ginsburg refers to?
Alleged reporter Bazelon did not follow up on this astounding admission.
Here, in full context of the Q&A discussion about women's reproductive rights, is Justice Ginsburg's statement:
The entire nation is about to get a look at exactly how federal stimulus money is being spent in the Tri-State. Tomorrow morning, Vice-President Joe Biden will be in Northside to look at how that neighborhood and the city plan to use $1.6 million to help rehab the old American Can plant on Spring Grove Avenue. The huge building, which you can see from I-75, has been largely empty since the fifties, but not for much longer.
If you've even been in Northside, you've probably seen this building and wondered about it. Back in the days before aluminum cans, American Can made the machinery here that made the old pop cans in the days when cans had seams. Empty for decades, with a little luck, starting late this summer, this building's next life will get underway.
In a wildly meandering report on the status of the POR (Pelosi-Obama-Reid) Alliance's attempt to enact statist health care this year, Associated Press writers David Espo and Erica Werner:
Told us that the House wants to slap a surtax on "highly paid" Americans without disclosing the percentage of the proposed surtax or how much it might raise.
Forgot to tell us that wealthy wage earners already pay a "surtax" designed to fund others' health care that has failed to solve any long-term financial issues (maybe you've forgotten too, so I'll remind you).
Acted as if the legislation under consideration will instantly zero out the number of uninsured Americans, which they falsely claimed is currently 50 million.
Here are the relevant paragraphs from the AP report:
In the later paragraphs of a story today about the latest hurdle bailed-out General Motors has managed to jump to get out of bankruptcy, the Associated Press's Bree Fowler almost totally ignored the impact of Ford's improvement largely at GM's expense during the first half of 2009, acting as if GM's decline has almost solely been the result of defections to foreign competitors.
Fowler's only mention of Ford comes in connection with its new, apparently redesigned Fiesta. Fowler makes it appear to the relatively uninformed reader that the Fiesta is appearing on the market for the first time.