As was usually the case during Bill Clinton's presidency, the ascendancy of Dear Leader Barack Obama means that we will often have to consult the output of center-right commentators, and of course the Media Research Center and its affiliates, to cut through the establishment media's puffery to pick up even the most basic pieces of news.
I have bolded items in the excerpt below that represent news that was either not reported or vastly under-reported by what's left of the establishement media (there are even more examples at Krauthammer's full column):
That Joe Biden and the truth have been distant acquaintances from time to time was recently seen in March (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog) when the Vice President claimed that Louisiana was losing 400 jobs a day. Louisiana at the time was actually gaining jobs.
The math-challenged Biden, who infamously said during the presidential campaign that the word “jobs” has three letters, is now making claims that he had face-to-face meetings with President Bush which aides and others don't recall or have a record of. Not surprisingly, Biden's narrative concerning these alleged meetings is meant to demonstrate what an influential truth-to-power guy he is.
Bill Sammon of Fox News has the story, which is a virtual lock not to make it into the established alphabet TV networks or into what's left of the establishment's newspapers:
The Associated Press's determination to keep the identity of Democrats in trouble or under investigation hidden is indeed strong and persistent.
Its report (as of 11:03 p.m.; a copy is saved here at my web host for future reference) on the launch of an ethics probe into Democrat Jesse Jackson Jr.'s relationship with ousted former Democratic Governor Rod Blagojevich, particularly relating to Jackson’s bid to be appointed to the Senate seat left vacant by President Barack Obama, does not refer to Jackson or Blago as a Democrat. Any more, that's relatively unremarkable.
What is a bit more remarkable is that the underlying Chicago Sun-Times story on the impending probe refers to Jackson twice as a "D-Ill," once in the report's very first sentence and once in the picture caption copied at the top right (which, of all things, is apparently an AP file photo).
This means that AP had to proactively scrub the Democratic Party references already present in its underlying source.
At an April 4 news conference in Strasbourg, France (White House transcript here), President Obama referred to a language that doesn't exist (bold is mine; HT to DrewM at Ace of Spades):
It was also interesting to see that political interaction in Europe is not that different from the United States Senate. There's a lot of -- I don't know what the term is in Austrian -- wheeling and dealing -- and, you know, people are pursuing their interests, and everybody has their own particular issues and their own particular politics.
Apparently none of Obama's 12 teleprompters (their existence was cited a week ago at the UK's Evening Standard, and noted yesterday at NewsBusters and BizzyBlog) were able to guide Obama's dialect-challenged utterance in time.
Amazingly, Tom Raum of the Associated Press in effect made the same mistake (HT to an e-mailer) when he cited the above Obama quote and failed to note that there isn't an Austrian language. Raum and who knows how many editors surely had several hours to get it right, and didn't.
On Monday, the UK's Evening Standard, at its "This Is London" site, matter-of-factly noted the following in the final sentence of its report about President Obama's upcoming European trip (bold is mine):
Accompanying the party will be a total of 500 officials including kitchen staff, 35 vehicles in all, four speech writers and 12 teleprompters.
This more than vindicates yours truly's "President 'Prompter" appellation.
They could even tell good jokes and break news at the same time. As has so often been the case with Obama's gaffes and myriad foibles, the US media establishment has been nearly unanimous in ignoring the Standard's teleprompter tidbit.
Barack Obama has done something no other president has done in the five months after his election.
He and his pals Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid laid the groundwork for this achievement back in June when they created what I have since last July been calling the POR (Pelosi-Obama-Reid) Economy, so it is fair to say that Obama's accomplishment, spanning November 2008 through March 2009, belongs to him, with a heavy assist from his fellow party members.
It took a lot of hard work, perseverance, and persistence, but he and they have done it. That crowning achievement follows the jump.
Mark Levin mentioned a report by McClatchy's Steven Thomma tonight on his show. When I heard Levin read from it, I assumed that when I went to the web page that McClatchy would label it as "analysis," or "background," or something similar.
Nope. Apparently, it's supposed to be a straight news story.
Thomma writes as if world peace and civility were salvaged because President Obama supposedly brokered an agreement on an important matter. It wasn't a treaty, which would require ratification by the Senate. It was a (non-binding) pact, "calling for" certain things. And the thing that was the hang-up was (I'm not really typing this, am I?) whether or not certain tax havens, which everyone who needs to know about already is fully aware of, should have their names published in an attempt to shame them. Not the names of the people taking advantage of the havens, just the havens themselves.
As fellow NewsBuster Noel Sheppard would say, "I kid you not."
On Tuesday, both USA Today and the Associated Press highlighted guarded optimism that seemed a bit beyond the justifiable after the release of March's sales results for the auto industry.
Though there is perhaps some cause for hope, both reports made more out of the industry's roughly 25% sales pickup from February to March (compared to a typical 20% in previous years) than was justified. More importantly, both reports failed to specifically cite:
Continued market-share losses at bailed-out General Motors and Chrysler.
Ford's disproportionate share of that decent but not exceptional industrywide February to March pickup (seen in a chart after the jump).
The budget put together in Albany by New York State lawmakers, packed with skyrocketing tax increases and new taxes, appears to have picked up some casualties two days before it goes into effect. The casualties are the coffers of the Empire State and the Big Apple, which will not be collecting anticipated tax revenue from talk king Rush Limbaugh very much longer.
..... Now, remember Mayor Bloomberg, who opposed this at one point -- I don't know where he stands on it now, but Mayor Bloomberg way back -- said (summarized), "Look, we got eight million people that live here, there are 40 or 50,000 taxpayers -- families, what have you -- that pay so much in tax that they essentially support the city -- and if they start to leave, we've got a big problem." He said, "Even if 5,000 of them leave, we've got a huge problem. We just can't run out there and keep raising taxes on the rich." The governor, Mr. Paterson, didn't hear him. "It's not just people earning over $500,000 a year that are going to get hit. A lower-tier tax increase would increase taxes by 14-1/2 percent for single people between 250 and $500,000 a year, and for married and joint filers earning 300,000 to 500,000. Taxpayers now hit the current top rate of 6.85% when their incomes reach $65,000. The Paterson plan would tax top-tier earners at 8.97%, the second-tier earners at 7.85%.
.....There is no way Governor Paterson's going to raise $4 billion a year on this.
And to think we were "only" worried about having a known Tax Cheat overseeing everyone's taxes.
With Barney Frank's help, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner is trying to expand his power (and by inference that of his Dear Leader boss) well beyond that. The "Pay for Performance Act," which has already gotten out of committee, would give him veto power over salaries at every company into which the government has inserted its intrusive claws.
Besides the utter outrageousness of the news itself, the story leads to the question of how the establishment media will handle it. Whitewash it? Minimize its significance? Ignore it? Given the fact that the news is over a week old, I vote for a continuation of Door Number Three.
There is plenty of evidence that many environmental activists are, at bottom, dangerous extremists who have deluded themselves into believing that the earth's population must be radically reduced if humanity is to survive. There is also growing evidence that this far-out viewpoint is more widely accepted among so-called mainstream environmentalists than the establishment media would have us believe.
Occasionally, these views surface. Ted Turner, father of five, infamously asserted the need to reduce the earth's population to 2 billion about a decade ago. He also expressed a stronger personal preference: "Personally, I think the population should be closer to when we had indigenous populations, back before the advent of farming. Fifteen thousand years ago, there was somewhere between 40 and 100 million people." In the early 1990s, the late Jacques Cousteau suggested that "World population must be stabilized and to do that we must eliminate 350,000 people per day." More recently, though less famously, at a Psychology Today blog, writer Stephen Kotter asserted "we need to lose 4.4 billion people and we need to lose them fast."
But I don't recall seeing an adviser to a government as prominent as the UK's Jonathon Porritt publicly utter such sentiments. But utter them he has. The UK Times Online took note on March 22:
Yesterday, in the process of passing on news that bloggers such as Ed Morrissey at Hot Air and outfits like the Heritage Foundation were onto earlier, Bloomberg's Kevin Hassett delivered a stinging indictment of the establishment media for being asleep at the switch (the sole exception appears to be a video report at PBS). But while he does a good job identifying the problem and indicting journalists for ignoring the news, his prescription for a solution is badly wanting.
The news? The days of Social Security surpluses are over, six to possibly eight years earlier than was thought to be the case just a year ago.
Here are excerpts from Hassett's commentary ("Recession Bites Into Social Security’s Surplus"). His first word reveals what he thinks of the nation's political elites, and of the media that are supposed to be watching them:
No environment-related historical myth seems stronger than the one claiming that if it weren't for the Republican Congress in the late 1990s and President George W. Bush after that, the US would have ratified the Kyoto Treaty and would be under mandatory strictures designed to combat alleged "global warming" -- which, as frequently noted here and elsewhere, has been, depending on the source referenced, on hiatus for eight years to over a decade.
In an article about the Obama administration's upcoming involvement in international negotiations about so-called "climate change" after what he calls "eight years on the sidelines" ("US takes new climate change agenda to global talks"), the Associated Press's Dina Capiello continued the wire service's dishonorable long-term perpetuation of the GOP-bad, Dems-good myth (just a few previous posts on other AP examples are here, here, and here at NewsBusters; here, here, and here at BizzyBlog) by writing that:
And unlike 1997, when the Kyoto Protocol was drafted, there is now a Democratic-controlled Congress moving to embrace mandatory limits on greenhouse gases.
Yeah, if it weren't for those nasty Republicans, Bill Clinton and Al Gore would have gotten Kyoto ratified, and all would be right with the world.
Kevin Chappell of Ebony Magazine was among the reporters preselected to ask Dear Leader Barack Obama a question at his Tuesday press conference. Here was Chappell's question:
Thank you, Mr. President. A recent report found that as a result of the economic downturn, one in 50 children are now homeless in America. With shelters at full capacity, tent cities are sprouting up across the country. In passing your stimulus package, you said that help was on the way, but what would you say to these families, especially children, who are sleeping under bridges and in tents across the country?
Chappell's question was based on a report issued by the National Center on Family Homelessness. NCFH asserts that about 1.5 million children under 18 are homeless, just over 2% of the roughly 74 million children in the US (total population by each year of age is downloadable at a link at this Census Bureau page).
Last summer, as I noted in a Pajamas Media column, an advisory group known as a civil jury in San Francisco inadvertently proved how detached from reality NCFH's most recent scare figure is, and how generally bogus homelessness stats are, when it pegged the homeless population in the City by the Bay at (get ready) ....:
Gallup has issued two polls in the past couple of weeks showing that the reality is breaking through the non-stop, years-long propaganda blitz known properly known as the Great Global Warming Hoax (characterized by me since January 2007 as globaloney):
On March 11, the pollster told us that "Although a majority of Americans believe the seriousness of global warming is either correctly portrayed in the news or underestimated, a record-high 41% now say it is exaggerated." That's up from 30% three years ago.
On March 19, we were informed that "For the first time in Gallup's 25-year history of asking Americans about the trade-off between environmental protection and economic growth, a majority of Americans say economic growth should be given the priority, even if the environment suffers to some extent." And it's a 51-42 rout, a 27-point swing from 55-37 the other way just two years ago. Since globaloney is the main environmental justification for slowing (really stopping) economy growth, this result is a good proxy for increased rejection of the enviro kool-aid.
Now there's a third. Yesterday, Gallup told us that not only is globaloney increasing not believed and not more important than economic growth, it's the least important environmental issue we face. You have to look past its "clever" title and subhead to get to what should be the lede, but the glum news for Saturday's Earth Hour participants is there (bolds after title are mine):
All that cheerleading for Obama-Biden, and all they got was a continuation of their lousy long-term ratings drop.
Perhaps one reason why Big 3 network coverage of the 2008 presidential election was so heavy on fawning favoritism towards Barack Obama and Joe Biden combined with all-out attacks on John McCain and Sarah Palin was that the belief that an Obama presidency might revive interest in their declining evening newscasts.
If so, that strategy has spectacularly failed. Nine weeks into Obama's presidency, it's clear that after a short-lived revival, the audiences for NBC's Brian Williams, ABC's Charles Gibson, and especially CBS's Katie Couric are smaller than ever, and that (with the exception of NBC's Williams) the remainder who are still tuning in are older than ever.
After a significant post-election rise that peaked during the first full week after Obama's inauguration, the viewership drop at all three networks has been steep, to the point where all three have fewer people tuning in than they did a year ago at this time (source: the Evening News Ratings page at Media Bistro):
I said earlier this year (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog) that there was reason to believe that 2009 might be the year of the newspaper bailout.
Now one of Maryland's two Democratic US senators thinks he has come up with a way to subsidize and save them -- while simultaneously turning them into house organs for his party.
Ben Cardin (picture at right is from his Senate web site) has introduced "The Newspaper Revitalization Act," would accomplish the just-described goals by allowing papers to convert themselves into not-for-profit entities, providing them tax breaks, and .... prohibiting editorials.
Those who know establishment media reporting know that editorial commentary will then become the sole province of left-leaning beat reporters pretending to be strictly fact-based in their supposedly straight news stories and "analyses," while traditional newspaper editorials, which against all odds still seem to lean barely to the right when averaged out nationwide, will disappear.
Because, y'know, the victims' presumed "ultrarich" socioeconomic status was sooooo important.
Incredibly, Brown's report was not an isolated incident, as the AP played the class card at least two additional times. The first came almost three hours later, as seen in this item carried at TMC.net, as more information about the nature of the crash came out:
On Saturday, March 28, "World Wildlife Fund is asking individuals, businesses, governments and organizations around the world to turn off their lights for one hour – Earth Hour – to make a global statement of concern about climate change and to demonstrate commitment to finding solutions."
Of course, the UN has endorsed it. Scroll through the list of supporters and you'll find among them many of the usual suspects: The American Federation of Teachers; the National Education Association; the National Science Teachers Association; the Weather Channel, whose Heidi Cullen called in early 2007 for removing the meteorological society's "seal of approval" from meteorologists who dared to question global warming in early 2007. You'll also note a sad chronology of those who have been taken in and opportunistic businesses, many of whom probably know better than to buy what Earth Hour is selling.
The Earth Hour folks had better hope that the following news out of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee either stays under the media radar or gets ignored until Saturday (bolds are mine):
Anyone who has followed the decline of General Motors and Chrysler since the two companies received a combined $17-plus billion in bailout money in December won't be surprised at the news that they need more -- or at the government's convenient weekend timing of the news.
The financial cliff on which Chrysler stands was a given by the time its first bailout installment arrived. But, as shown in early March in a post by yours truly at BizzyBlog (mostly mirrored at NewsBusters), GM's sales non-performance has deteriorated to the point where it has become worse than Chrysler's during the two months following the George W. Bush-decided, Barack Obama-supported bailout decision:
Spitzer is best remembered for resigning as the Empire State's chief executive after being caught patronizing high-priced prostitutes over a period of several years, and for having a reputation as an attorney general on a self-aggrandizing crusade against against corporate corruption prior to that.
Spitzer is attempting to capitalize on the public's incomplete knowledge of his sorry saga to get back in its good graces.
An important story appeared in the Cincinnati Enquirer on Tuesday. Here's how it began (Warren County is adjacent to and northeast of Cincinnati's Hamilton County):
County: no more food stamps for rich
Warren County’s poor (population) does not include someone with $80,000 in the bank, a paid-off $311,000 home and a Mercedes, members of the Warren County Board of Commissioners said Tuesday.
And if they have to fight the state and federal government over it, they will.
Recently the commissioners learned that this person, with the before-mentioned property, qualified for $500 a month in food stamps after she lost her job.
The Enquirer never told us why the County suddenly became motivated to do what it did.
Here's why (and how typical it is that the Enquirer either doesn't know this, or refused to give credit where due).
Someone who is "a source in the business" e-mailed State of Ohio Blogger Alliance founder Matt Hurley of Weapons of Mass Discussion. Matt put up a memorable post on March 13 containing the text of that e-mail:
Vincent Fumo's chronicle of corruption is extraordinary, even by the "standards" of Philadelphia, PA.
Thus, it's a journalistic fail that in a story about the convictions of former 30-year state senator Fumo and longtime associate Ruth Arnao, NBC Philadephia (HT Michelle Malkin) did not identify his or her Democratic Party party affiliation.
Here is a portion of NBC Philly's early-morning story:
Fumo Guilty on All Counts
Guilty is the verdict on all 137 counts for Vince Fumo in his federal corruption trail. His co-defendant Ruth Arnao is also guilty on all counts against her.
Josh Brahm of Right to Life of Central California has done the definitive dissection of the comprehensive media failure in reporting on President Obama's recent Executive Order (EO) allowing federal funding for embryonic stem cell research.
Brahm's "9 Things the Media Messed Up About the Obama Stem Cell Story" (HT to an e-mail from LifeNews.com) is an exceptional magnum opus that must be read in its entirety to be fully appreciated. It identifies each of the nine errors, links to well over 40 specific instances of media bias and/or ignorance, and tell us why those errors are significant. I thought I was reasonably knowledgeable in this subject area until I read Brahm's work.
(CNS News has reported that the EO will apparently not going into effect until October 1 or later, because the supplemental appropriations bill he just signed [but apparently didn't read] "explicilty bans federal funding of any 'research in which a human embryo or embryos are destroyed, discarded, or knowingly subjected to risk of injury or death.'" That fact doesn't change the correctness of Brahm's "9 Things.")
Here are the nine items (absolutely no substitute for reading the whole thing), accompanied by brief quotes from Brahm's article:
The Seattle Times compiles what it calls "The Favor Factory," which it calls "A database of lawmakers, earmarks, and campaign giving."
One noteworthy congressman in the Favor Factory is Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA; picture at right is currently at his home page).
Moran's Favors Factory page for 2008 lists 29 earmarks totaling $40.6 million, and over $890,000 in capaign contributions from earmark recipients.
Recall that Nancy Pelosi promised "Fiscal Restraint If Democrats Win" in a July 2006 Wall street Journal interview about the congressional elections that would be taking place four months later (link is to cato.org, which excerpted the now unavailable WSJ report). She also told the Journal:
“Personally, myself, I’d get rid of all of them,” she said. “None of them is worth the skepticism, the cynicism the public has… and the fiscal irresponsibility of it.”
Rep. Moran begged to differ just one month earlier, using language he would hopefully avoid around the second-graders with whom he is pictured above (actual offensive four-letter word is at link), as reported by a local metro DC community newspaper, the Sun Gazette:
On March 6, in response to New York Times reporters' questions, President Barack Obama told the paper that he is not a socialist. He or his advisers were apparently so bothered by the questions that Obama later called the Times reporters involved in an attempt to .... well, I'm not sure, because he had already supposedly denied the charge.
The best guess is that Obama and his peeps felt he needed to get in some gratuitous digs at former president George W. Bush.
Part of Obama's phone call back to the Times including the following relative to the Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP) under then-Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson:
I did think it might be useful to point out that it wasn’t under me that we started buying a bunch of shares of banks.
..... I just think it’s clear by the time we got here, there already had been an enormous infusion of taxpayer money into the financial system.
There seems to be a wall of silence surrounding the sudden withdrawal of H. Rodgin Cohen (pictured at right) from consideration for the Number 2 job at the Treasury Department.
The party line, according to ABC's This Week host and former Clinton administration adviser George Stephanopoulos, is that "an issue arose in the final stages of the vetting process." David Cho at the Washington Post reports that "two sources familiar with the matter" confirmed this, but that they "declined to identify the reason."
Perhaps the press is not really interested in finding out that reason, or reasons. Or worse, they've got a pretty good idea, and they'd rather not dig; because if they don't dig, they won't have to tell us. Stephanopoulos appears to be giving away that he knows more than he's willing to reveal when he writes that "Cohen has been a counsel to just about every major player on Wall Street, which perhaps complicated his nomination."
"Perhaps"? A review of some of Cohen's known history makes it clear that he carries quite a bit of potentially heavy baggage.
It seems that so-called stimulus package funding is being spread around so widely that some of its beneficiaries can't figure out how to spend it as intended.
When it became clear to a few small cities in California's Los Angeles County that they didn't have appropriate transportation projects for their promised stimulus funding, they decided to sell the rights to that funding to other nearby locales at a discount. The selling city's resulting cash would then go into its unrestricted general fund and could be spent on anything the city wished.
Apparently these transactions aren't that unusual in the topsy-turvy world of California state and municipal finance. But it was a, uh, bridge too far for LA County's Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA). After approving a few stimulus-related swaps (noted in stories here and here), the MTA reversed course and putting the kibosh on those and prohibiting any future deals (noted in stories here, here, and here).
Apparently it hasn't occurred to anyone, including the local media, or the New York Times's Jennifer Steinhauer, that if these municipalities really don't need and can't use the money, US taxpayers ought to be first in line to get it back.