The Pulitzer Prize winner's latest syndicated column is an offbeat gem about the "suspension of operations" that appears to presage the death of Antioch University in Yellow Springs, Ohio:
There is, however, a minuscule market for what Antioch sells for a tuition, room and board of $35,221 -- repressive liberalism unleavened by learning.
Founded in 1852 -- its first president was Horace Mann -- Antioch was, for a while, admirable. One of the first colleges to enroll women and blacks, it was a destination for escaped slaves. Its alumni include Stephen Jay Gould, Coretta Scott King and Rod Serling, whose "Twilight Zone" never imagined anything weirder than what Antioch became when its liberalism curdled.
In 1972-73, Antioch had 2,470 students. In 1973, a protracted and embittering student and employee strike left the campus physically decrepit and intellectually toxic. By 1985, enrollment was down 80 percent. This fall there may be 300 students served by a faculty of 40.
There is a troubling undercurrent of seemingly routine violence and harassment that appears to have been the order of the day at the school:
That's less than 20 million (19,940,000) for all three combined, and a 5.4% drop from the low-water mark of a year ago. The 25-54 demo for all three nets was under 6 million (5,920,000), and their combined 25-54 demo ratings of 4.9/21 are down 14% and 19% from last year's 5.7/26. Ouch.
You don't suppose that almost 20 years of Media Research Center truth-telling about the relentless bias in the nets' evening news shows might have something to do with the ongoing decline? Nah, can't be (/sarcasm).
Previous related posts are here (NB), here (NB), and here (BizzyBlog).
Today's release of the Institute for Supply Management's Non-Manufacturing Activity Report, which measures business conditions in the 86% of the economy other than manufacturing, came in with a reading of 60.7, after recording a 59.7 last month.
This was the 51st consecutive reported month of expansion for the Non-Manufacturing Index (any reading above 50 indicates expansion). It comes on the heels of Monday's ISM Manufacturing Report, which came in at 56, marking the 47th month of expansion in that index in the past 49 months.
So 14% of the economy is expanding nicely, while the other 86% can fairly be said to be nearly booming. Who knew?
(The rest of the post has the detail, including an era-by-era chart.)
Michael Yon doesn't have an answer (HT to NewsBuster reader "acumen") as to why Old Media won't cover the Al Qaeda massacre of a small village near Baqubah, Iraq that he reported earlier this week (related NewsBusters posts are here and here):
Coordinates to the area of the gravesites are MC 679 381.
In my dispatch, I reported that six people were killed, but mentioned that Iraqi soldiers were still digging out bodies when I left. A few hours ago, Colonel Hiduit put the number at 10-14, and said the search for bodies had ended. I made video of the graves, bodies and of interviews with Iraqi and American soldiers while we still were at the scene and have been working to make material from this available on this website.
..... But for those publications who actually had people embedded in Baqubah when the story first broke and still failed to cover it, their malaise is inexplicable. I do not know why all failed to report the murders and booby-trapped village: apparently no reporters bothered to go out there, even though it’s only about 3.5 miles from this base. Any one of the reporters currently in Baqubah could still go to these coordinates and follow his or her nose and find the gravesites.
If American media fails to cover this with the same amount of gusto that they have pursued Haditha and Abu Ghraib, they will be demonstrating their preference for whom they wish to win this conflict. The press has to tell the story that evil really does exist in this world. Imagine if the story of the Holocaust was never told because the media was only interested in reporting Allied atrocities. Yes, by failing to treat this war objectively, the media does indeed enable massacres such as this one and history will judge the coverage of this war very harshly.
Matt Sheffield's post over at Ace's place ("The Attempted Crucifixion of Frank Luntz") noted the heat PBS had received for having GOP pollster Frank Luntz participate as an analyst at last Thursday's Democrat debate:
The blog left's puppet master, David Brock, sends out an "alert" informing them that someone who might possibly be conservative is going to be allowed to report as a "mainstream" journalist.
..... Thankfully, PBS has not backed down. Luntz, who is a respected pollster and is often quoted in liberal publications is not getting the shaft, making him one of the very few Republicans that has (so far) managed to escape the assault of the conservaphobic left.
Mr. Brock and his Media Matters (MM) organization are being quite selective.
In August 2006, longtime "Friend of Bill" Clinton Vinod Gupta's Info USA, which had spent its entire corporate history in "data collection and distribution," made what should have been seen as an eyebrow-raising acquisition:
Those following the histrionics of "The Food Stamp Challenge" (previous NewsBusters posts here, here, and here; previous BizzyBlog posts here, here, and here) know that:
Most of those engaging in it claim that the average Food Stamp recipient "only has $21 per person per week to buy food."
The fact is that the program's monthly benefits (often referred to "Allotments"; scroll to the bottom for the monthly benefit table), when converted to weekly, range from $26.81 - $35.67 per person per week, depending on family size:
One doesn't have to look very far to see opinionated assertions in the supposedly objective Old Media coverage of yesterday's immigration-bill failure in the Senate.
Here's part of what an unbylined AP report said almost immediately after it was clear that the bill would not get the 60 votes needed for cloture: "The carefully crafted compromise was left for dead after a similar vote three weeks ago but was revived by Bush and Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid, who gave opponents more chances to change it."
To say that there is disagreement over whether the bill was "carefully crafted" is quite an understatement.
A report in the Seattle Times "compiled from The Washington Post, Gannett News Service, The Associated Press and McClatchy Newspapers" made this claim about yesterday's vote: "In a mark of lawmakers' ambivalence, however, the outcome was substantially different from a test vote Tuesday, when a 64-35 vote revived the bill."
Was it lawmaker "ambivalence," or constituent persuasiveness? And how do they know?
But the biggest error, as often is the case, was one of omission. Senator Ted Kennedy from Massachusetts lit into opponents on the Senate floor yesterday with this over-the-top riff (video is at Hot Air; bold is mine):
Note: Though this post is primarily about Ohio's governor speaking at a Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) banquet in Columbus last Sunday, it contains nationally significant info about connections between CAIR, Al Qaeda, and Hamas, and Old Media's non-coverage of those connections.
On Friday ("Strickland-CAIR Update: Reported Strickland Staffer Response"), I noted how staff member "Charles" in Ohio Governor Ted Strickland's office responded in a conversation with a constituent relayed to me by a trusted source. The constituent objected to the governor's June 17 appearance at CAIR-Ohio's annual banquet -- a banquet also attended by CAIR's national chairman of the board. In part, the constituent reported the following:
"Charles of his staff stated that he did a lot of research on CAIR and they were an organization that does a lot of good and no more terrorist than the Jewish Defense Fund or Dr. James Dobson."
The late Senator Everett Dirksen had a famous saying on federal spending: "A billion here, a billion there, pretty soon it adds up to real money."
When it comes to the immigration bill currently being considered by the Senate, Old Media apparently believes: "A trillion here, a trillion there, if it's a cause we're okay with, we won't talk about it."
June 19, 2007 (Washington, DC) – The immigration bill being debated by the Senate would allow over two million illegal workers who received Social Security numbers prior to 2004 to receive more than $966 billion in Social Security benefits by 2040.
I look forward to complaints that China has only a sixth of the world's population but emits a quarter of its CO2, that Chinese auto emissions standards aren't good enough (Mr Gore?) and that China hasn't signed Kyoto .....
Monday, June 18, 2007 OHIO GOVERNOR SPEAKS AT CAIR BANQUET
(COLUMBUS, OH, 6/18/2007) - Ohio Governor Ted Strickland spoke last night at the tenth annual banquet of the Council on American-Islamic Relations chapter in that state (CAIR-OH).
Governor Strickland addressed the crowd of 350 people, saying: "On behalf of all Ohioans, [my wife and I] appreciate your vision to promote justice and mutual understanding. We gather under CAIR-Ohio's theme this year, 'American Muslims: Connecting and Sharing,' to do just that, to connect and share and get to know each other better."
Governor Strickland also expressed appreciation for "the Muslim traditions of strong family, hard work, and education,” and presented a proclamation honoring CAIR-Ohio’s work.
In an ideal world, a news consumer would get his or her essential facts from hard-news coverage, and would read op-ed columns solely to learn writers' opinions on particular topics of interest -- while perhaps being entertained in the process.
We clearly do not live in an ideal world. If fact, the "news" is all often turned upside-down, as journalists supposedly covering the hard news end up focusing on trivialities and personalities, while subtly (or not so subtly) injecting their own opinions into their work. This leaves the necessary work of substantively informing the audience to op-ed writers.
No one does the job Old Media hard-news reporters won't do better than Mark Steyn.
In his Chicago Sun-Times column today, Steyn, in his typical engaging style, does more in under 1,200 words to inform readers about the real-world implementation difficulties and disparate-treatment outrages in the immigration bill under consideration in Washington than all of Old Media's hard-news reporters have in several weeks.
Here are just a few of the nuggets in Steyn's piece that I was not aware of, and that you probably haven't seen or heard anywhere else:
..... One of the strangest examples (of "political correctness has crept into the halls of academia") comes from Marquette University in Wisconsin -- where a Dave Barry quip was banned. Last fall, Ph.D. student Stuart Ditsler printed out a short blurb from one of Barry's humor columns and stuck it on his office door. It read, "As Americans we must always remember that we all have a common enemy, an enemy that is dangerous, powerful and relentless. I refer, of course, to the federal government." Of course, anybody who has ever heard of Dave Barry would know that he wasn't exactly suggesting insurrection.
The head of Marquette's philosophy department apparently didn't get it. He took down Barry's words and issued a statement that included the words, "while I am a strong supporter of academic freedom. I'm afraid that hallways and office doors are not free-speech zones." Since then, the Marquette philosophy department has stuck to its stance that Barry's words are "patently offensive," despite the fact that lots of other doors had slogans pasted on them.
As is often true in situations such as these, there's a lot more to the story. In this case, a little digging reveals not only a hypocritical academic mindset, but also shows that the next generation of journalists is on track to be even more biased than the current crop.
Sam Zaramba, in a subscription-only op-ed column in Tuesday's Wall Street Journal, gives the next Woodward or Bernstein a hot story to follow up on:
..... malaria ..... is the biggest killer of Ugandan and all African children. Yet it remains preventable and curable. Last week in Germany, G-8 leaders committed new resources to the fight against the mosquito-borne disease and promised to use every available tool.
Now they must honor this promise by supporting African independence in the realm of disease control. We must be able to use Dichloro-Diphenyl-Trichloroethane -- DDT.
..... Today, every single Ugandan still remains at risk. Over 10 million Ugandans are infected each year, and up to 100,000 of our mothers and children die from the disease.
No one could possibly be conspiring to prevent the eradication of malaria, could they?
Well, yes they could. And they are, as Zaramba notes:
THIS is CNN in 1998; the link is to a story debunking the network's Peter Arnett and April Oliver, who accused Vietnam soldiers of war crimes in Operation Tailwind.
This is from 2003. The network's Eason Jordan confessed that the network twisted the news out of Saddam Hussein's Iraq, thereby giving false impressions of the regime to the world so that it could maintain its access to the country (the article is posted at the author's web host for fair use and discussion purposes).
Then there's this from 2005. Eason Jordan accused the US military in Iraq of targeting journalists, and ultimately resigned in the wake of the outcry. "Somehow" the actual video footage of Jordan's accusations, made at the World Economic Forum in Davos, never surfaced.
It has become clear to anyone with eyes and an open mind that the worldwide ban on DDT that is just now in the process of too-slowly being lifted has caused massive loss of human life over a period of decades that could, and should, have been avoided.
So you would think that the person who began the DDT scare in the early 1960s would be discredited, or her work at least shunted to the background. You would be wrong (link may require free registration; HT Instapundit):
For Rachel Carson admirers, it has not been a silent spring. They’ve been celebrating the centennial of her birthday with paeans to her saintliness. A new generation is reading her book in school — and mostly learning the wrong lesson from it.
The real "lesson" is that "Silent Spring" was perhaps the first successful use of junk science paired with corporation-bashing media hype to fool the general public:
Wednesday, reporter Nicholas Wade of the New York Times covered an important development in stem-cell research, opening with the following (bold is mine; link probably requires registration; HT Instapundit):
Biologists Make Skin Cells Work Like Stem Cells
In a surprising advance that could sidestep the ethical debates surrounding stem cell biology, researchers have come much closer to a major goal of regenerative medicine, the conversion of a patient’s cells into specialized tissues that might replace those lost to disease.
Longtime readers of The Wall Street Journal's editorial pages know three things:
The paper's editorials and opinion columns are usually among the best anywhere -- and not just on business and economics.
The Journal has for years had every reason to be proud of the fact, as the late Robert Bartley noted, that it is one of the few papers readers would buy for its opinion pages.
The Journal has, for 23 years, held an uncompromising "liberal" viewpoint on immigration that almost all conservatives have long since abandoned. The Journal's point of view can be summed up in five words it used in a July 3, 1984 editorial -- "There shall be open borders."
A copy of that editorial, posted for fair use and discussion purposes only, can be found here (the title is "In Defense of Huddled Masses") in a post about Journal columnist Peggy Noonan's effective break on June 1 from The Journal's doctrinaire stance.
The 1984 editorial's defining sentence is:
If Washington still wants to "do something" about immigration, we propose a five-word constitutional amendment: There shall be open borders.
Give Food Stamp Challenge organizers in Michigan and New Haven, Connecticut some credit.
We'll probably never know whether they figured it out on their own, or perhaps read of other organizers' errors when they were pointed out by syndicated columnist Mona Charen and by yours truly (at NewsBusters here and here; at BizzyBlog here and here). But unlike their comrades in most other cities and states, they have at least framed their Challenge using a correct amount of $35 per person per week ($5 per person per day) based on this table, which was adapted from information available at the USDA's web site (near the bottom at link; the weekly amount is result of dividing by 4.345, the average number of weeks in a month):
NEW YORK (AP) — The nation's service sector expanded at a faster-than-expected pace in May, suggesting it could help sustain broader economic growth as the automotive and housing industries slump, a research group said Tuesday.
The Institute for Supply Management, based in Tempe, Ariz., said its index of business activity in the non-manufacturing sector was 59.7 in May. The reading was higher than April's reading of 56 and Wall Street's expectation of 56.
..... The service industries covered by the ISM report represent about 80 percent of economic activity and span diverse industries including banking, construction, retailing, mining, agriculture and travel.
Ford's protracted sales slump continued in May, while every other major automaker showed gains:
DETROIT — Toyota Motor Corp.'s U.S. vehicle sales jumped 14.1 percent in May to its best monthly level ever and General Motors Corp.'s sales rose 9.7 percent, helping boost industry sales 5 percent, as both automakers credited in part the appeal of their more fuel-efficient offerings amid high gas prices.
For the second month this year, Toyota outsold Ford Motor Co., which saw sales fall 6.9 percent as it continued to cut low-profit sales to rental companies. Nissan Motor Co.'s sales gained 7.4 percent, DaimlerChrysler AG's sales rose 3.9 percent and American Honda Motor Co. rose 2.5 percent.
Even factoring in the change in sales to rental companies, the article goes on to say that Ford's retail sales were still down 3%.
As he did last month, George Pipas of Ford tried an advance PR stunt that fizzled, but left less-than-close observers thinking that the company might be doing better than it really is:
While the relatively narrow Dow Jones Industrial Average has been achieving alltime highs for a couple of months, it took until last week for the broader S&P 500 index to beat its previous record of 1527. The index closed at 1536.24 last week.
Instead of writing up the big winners in the 77% of companies that have brought the index back from its 2000 low, USA Today writer Matt Krantz looked for dark clouds in on otherwise blue sky, taking an opportunity to focus on the index's losers who kept the index's recovery of value from happening sooner:
S&P's run leaves Wal-Mart, other big caps behind
For a quarter of the stock market, the celebration about the Standard & Poor's 500's charge back to record levels for the first time in more than seven years is an example of history being written by the victors.
Even though the benchmark S&P index last week finally took out its old high from March 2000, investors who own 23% of its stocks have completely missed out. A total of 115 stocks in the S&P 500-stock index are still below where they were in March 2000, according to data from Bridge Information and S&P. They aren't down just a little, either, but off 45% on average.
"At any given time, you're going to have companies that have one-off issues," says James Paulsen of Wells Capital Management.
Yeah guys, and that's why investing in a broad-based index of stocks in an index mutual fund is often a good idea for investors who don't have the time to evaluate and keep up with either individual stocks or actively-managed mutual funds. Zheesh.
On February 28 (second item at link), New York Times business reporter David Leonhardt infamously wrote the following:
For Manufacturing, a Recession Has Arrived
The nation’s manufacturing sector managed to slip into a recession with almost nobody seeming to notice. Well, until yesterday.
To this day, Leonhardt appears to be the only one to "notice" a recession in manufacturing -- because it doesn't exist. In fact, the latest related report from the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) showed that the manufacturing sector expanded for the fourth straight month. That would include February, when Leonhardt made his "recession" call. The ISM reading of 55.0 (any reading over 50 indicates expansion) actually inched up a bit from the previous month's 54.7.
Though it's not possible to tell for sure because of the TimeSelect subscription wall, a Times search on "manufacturing recession" (not in quotes) shows no apparent retraction of Leonhardt's call, but does include plenty of references to other reasons why a recession might be possible.
Leonhardt's "less than perfect" reporting has apparently continued.
The three charts at the end of this post from the Bureau of Labor Statistics should be cause for concern.
They show the unemployment rates for Blacks (African-Americans), all teens, and African-American teens during the past 10 years.
Each low unemployment-rate point achieved in 2000, when the overall unemployment rate reached its low point of 3.8%, was much lower than it is currently. Specifically:
The Black/African American unemployment rate is 1.5% point higher (8.5% currently, 7.0% in April 2000). The percentage of African-Americans who are unemployed is still 21% higher (8.5/7.0) than it was at its low point in 2000.
The teen unemployment rate is 3.4% point higher (15.7% currently, 12.3% in June 2000). The percentage of teens who are unemployed is still 28% higher (15.7/12.3) than it was at its low point in 2000.
The Black/African American teen unemployment rate is 10.4% point higher (30.4% currently, 20.0% in April 2000). The percentage of African-American teens who are unemployed is still 52% higher (30.4/20.0) than it was at its low point in 2000.
If the 2007 unemployment rates in the these categories were the same as they were in 2000, the overall unemployment rate would be about 0.3% lower, and much closer to its 2000 low.
Update: SEE Editor's Note at bottom of post for related MRC content.
1Q07 Home Prices Up 0.5%, 4.3% Over 12 Months Ago
Those looking for a pervasive and severe nationwide decline in home prices are going to have to keep looking.
The Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight (OFHEO) just released its House Price Index (PDF) for the first quarter of 2007. This most comprehensive of home-price reports shows that nationwide prices increased 0.45% (rounded to 0.5% in the announcement) in the first quarter of this year, and went up 4.25% (rounded to 4.3% in the announcement) in the past four quarters.
Core inflation during those two time periods was 0.6% and 2.5%, respectively. OFHEO says that inflation excluding only shelter costs only rose 1.6% during the past year.
Context (from Pages 4 and 5 of the report):
From 1990 through 1997, reported four-quarter appreciation was less than the 4.25% just reported 28 out of 32 times.
During that same time period, individual-quarter appreciation was less than the 0.45% just reported 14 out of 32 times -- including six nationwide quarterly declines.
I recall no discussions of pervasive real estate "bubbles" or fears of steep, widespread declines during the 1990s.
Hugo Chavez is simultaneously acting as Bull Connor (fire hoses/water cannons) and Gustav Husak (deploying tanks against his own people), yet what little Old Media coverage there is seems to want to avoid those elements of the story.
At 11:00 a.m. Sunday, Gateway Pundit blogged on Venezuela's virtual dictator sending in tanks to intimidate opponents demonstrating against a government-planned closure of one of the country's last independent TV outlets. An underlying post at Publius Pundit that GP linked to shows the tanks in place, and has a time stamp of 2:09 a.m.
Editor's Note (May 29 | 14:35 EDT): Reaction from AP's Minnesota news editor added at bottom of post.
May 28 Note: See the Update below, which notes different timing, but no change to the fundamental premise of this post.
That there has been no love lost between the Associated Press and leading center-right blog Powerline for quite some time is not exactly a secret. The mutual distaste goes back at least as far as the 2004 presidential campaign, when Powerline caught AP reporter Scott Lindlaw telling others that his "mission" was to see that George Bush would not be reelected, and exposed the AP's Jennifer Loven's conflict of interest in reporting environmental stories while her husband was the Kerry campaign's environmental consultant.