This "Name That Party" situation has many of the usual elements. There are several stories about two Democratic judges involved in criminal behavior in Pennsylvania, and, with one exception, they "somehow" don't get around to identifying their party.
But this saga is different for two reasons:
The crimes to which the judges have pleaded guilty involve "thousands" of juveniles.
In one lonely exception, the Associated Press's coverage prominently identified the judges' party. But in what was apparently a subsequent longer revision, their party identification disappeared.
What follows is a side-by-side picture of the first four paragraphs of a February 11 AP story carried at topix.com (also saved at my host for future reference), and of the five paragraphs of the story as it now appears at MSNBC (also saved at host; red and green boxes are mine; portions of the Topix link were moved from their original locations on the page for demonstration purposes; MSNBC graphic is of the printer-friendly version):
Well, this sports feat is one for the record books.
Not as a legitimate accomplishment, mind you. No, this story is a leading candidate to win the "Biggest Sports Hoax Ever Swallowed by a Wire Service" prize.
Danica Coto of the Associated Press got duped into believing that 56 year-old Jennifer Figge had completed a 2,100-mile swim across the Atlantic Ocean in a jaw-dropping 25 days (HT to JammieWearingFool via Hot Air Headlines):
56-year-old becomes first woman to swim Atlantic Feb 8, 12:52 pm EST
Jennifer Figge pressed her toes into the Caribbean sand, exhilarated and exhausted as she touched land this week for the first time in almost a month.
Lost in the overall cratering in the stock market yesterday in reaction to Tim Geithner's awful "soiled the bed" TARP II presentation yesterday -- New York Times Company stock closed at $4.23. As of 3:30 PM today, the stock was up 12 cents.
A week ago (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), I noted that government bailout recipients General Motors and Chrysler had horrible sales in January, and that their declines are accelerating. GM was down 49% year over year in January, compared to -32% in December; Chrysler was down 55% in January, compared to -53% in December.
Meanwhile, the companies' main foreign competitors turned in January sales declines of roughly 30% that were just as bad, but at least not worse, than December. As a result, those companies took another 4% or so of market share from their US-based rivals.
Of course, no media outlets attempted to make any connection between the GM-Chrysler declines and the idea that consumers might either resent their bailed-out status, or might be worried about their survival and the potential impact of their bankruptcy or even disappearance on warranty and repair costs. Nor did any media reports that I'm aware of consider the idea that declining sales at those companies might jeopardize their ability to repay Uncle Sam's bailout "loans."
Now, despite the cash infusion from Uncle Sam, Reuters reports an analyst's belief that a bankruptcy filing by GM remains a possibility. More importantly, the wire service also claims that the government is actively involved in exploring that option. Finally (put down your drinks first), we learn that taxpayers aren't even first in line to get repaid:
Newsweek Magazine, referred to frequently by yours truly as "Newsweak," is deliberately shrinking its circulation base by half, in effect giving up on its formerly mass audience, and going through a top-to-bottom redesign.
As is the case with its fellow declining competitor Time, it never occurs to these people that their legacy of bias, double standards, and inexplicable sloppiness have chased away so many readers that whatever business model they adopt won't work without an accompanying fundamental philosophical shift towards fairness, balance, and due diligence that is nowhere on the horizon. In Newsweak's case, all you need to remember is the "Quran flush" debacle of 2005 and Drudge's trumping Michael Isikoff on Monica Lewinsky in 1998 (with plenty of other examples in between and ever since, as you can see by typing "newsweek" at the Media Research Center's search page).
Here are excerpts from a New York Times puff piece on the magazine's plans (the picture at the top right is from that story), including a bizarre new "feature" straight from the "Can't Make This Stuff Up" Department (in bold at the end):
The Washington Post's Mary Ann Akers, aka "The Sleuth," has (Tom) Delay Derangement Syndrome (DDS), and she's got it bad.
Akers's DDS outbreak occurred as she reported on the plan by the Obama Administration to have the director of the Census Bureau report to the White House instead of the Director of the Commerce Department.
(On Thursday evening, after my original post [at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog], CQpolitics.com separately updated its original coverage by reporting that "the White House but sought to define the relationship as one in which the director would 'work closely with' rather than report to President Obama’s senior staff." Uh huh.)
As if to justify the administration's plan, Akers incoherently compared the Obama White House's attempt to coopt the entire Census Bureau to what Texan Delay and other Republicans did a few years ago to maximize the number of GOP-majority districts in one state.
Here are the opening paragraphs of Akers's Friday evening bellyache (link is in original):
Have you ever wondered how the geniuses who report business news know why the stock market opens or closes up or down on any given day -- especially when they venture into political explanations?
I received this e-mail from CNN just after the markets opened:
Gosh, those e-mail drafters at CNN are smart. Who knew that the markets want the stimulus package so bad?
Can't you hear, senators? The markets want their stimulus and they want it now!
Give me a break. There is no hard evidence of CNN's assertion. Others commenting on the opening, including CNN itself, aren't buying all of what the e-mail was selling. Here's what CNNMoney.com had to say at 9:42 a.m.:
On January 25, as noted by yours truly here at NewsBusters ("Obama 'Shifting Power From Traditional Cabinet Posts"), Jonathan Martin at Politico.com reported that President Obama "is moving to create perhaps the most powerful staff in modern history – a sort of West Wing on steroids that places no less than a half-dozen of his top initiatives into the hands of advisers outside the Cabinet." (The picture on the right is at that report.)
I'm not aware that any Old Media outlet besides Politico itself, which is largely a collection of Old Media alums, has covered this development.
The power grab continues. My bet is that Old Media will also maintain its studied ignorance of this development, despite years of whining about alleged Executive Branch excesses during the Bush administration.
Now it looks like Barack Obama's inner circle is going to teach the Census Bureau how to count in 2010. CQpolitics.com this morning reported that the White House is taking the next decennial census away from the Commerce Department, and keeping it for itself.
The newspaper that appears to be on a mission to become Manhattan's quaint little alternative daily is considering a move that would cheer those who prefer fair and balanced reporting accompanied by intellectually honest editorials and op-eds.
That publication, the New York Times, is considering a return to fee-based content -- and this time, it might go for the whole enchilada.
Times Executive Editor Bill Keller dangled the possibility yesterday in an online Q&A.
Yesterday was Pity the Poor President Day in Old Media.
Early last night, I noted how the Associated Press's Ben Feller chose to characterize an already-planned visit by Barack and Michelle Obama to a DC elementary school as an "escape" that "surely made him happy for a while."
A few hours ago, NB's Brent Baker reported with amazement the absurd attempts by CBS's Katie Couric and NBC's Brian Williams to portray Obama -- who either allowed poor vetting by his team or was nonchalant about the tax and other irregularities they found -- as somehow being a "culture of Washington" victim. Zheesh.
As noted Friday evening (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), Jake Tapper at ABC's Political Punch blog revealed that former South Dakota senator Tom Daschle, Barack Obama's nominee for Secretary of Health and Human Services, had failed to pay over $100,000 in federal income taxes for 2005, 2006, and 2007, because he did not originally report the "the services of (a free) car and driver" provided to him by his employer, private equity firm InterMedia Advisers.
At 11:24 last night, Tapper posted a separate update (HT to NB commenter "slickwillie2001") indicating that Daschle's tax problems involve larger amounts, go well beyond the matter of a "mere" car and driver, and are not completely resolved (bolds are mine):
Former South Dakota Senator Tom Daschle (picture at right is part of a Getty Images pic at a related New York Times story) has just upped the ante in Washington's tax-avoiding/evading game of "Can you top this?"
Whereas recently confirmed Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner "only" $40,000 in back taxes and interest, principally relating to unpaid Social Security and Medicare taxes (with a dash of retirement-plan penalty and illegally deducted overnight summer camp expenses included in the mix), the man who Rush Limbaugh used to call "Puff" Daschle during his Senate days has upped to ante to six figures.
What motivated Politico to take a two month-old story about South Carolina GOP Senator Jim DeMint (picture at right is from that story) out of mothballs and put it out there right now?
That question inevitably occurs to a careful reader of Manu Raju's "Republicans Chew on DeMint" story that appeared at the site Tuesday. It primarily covers the goings-on at a November 18 Republican Conference meeting in Washington. There is another reference to summer votes on global AIDS and housing bills.
So why is that news now? Well, it's not hard to believe that it's because DeMint's mindset is making headway with fellow Republicans in Washington. Beat reporters, as well as turf-protecting and mostly unnamed senators and senate aides, are likely not at all happy about that.
I realize it's the other chamber of Congress, but yesterday's unanimous GOP "no" to the stimulus/"Porkulus" bill by House Republicans is a sign that the Party of Lincoln may be on the road back to its roots. By holding the line, Minority Leader John Boehner and his colleagues, at least for one day, made it clear that core beliefs mean something. Jim DeMint surely welcomed that result.
The same can't be said for Senate GOPers sniping about DeMint, as Raju reports (bolds are mine):
I'll betcha this won't get much notice in the Obamedia, so it needs some here.
Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe's Environment and Public Works Committee Press Blog released a statement last night reporting that Dr. John S. Theon, the former supervisor of over-the-top global warming alarmist James Hansen, has publicly rebuked his former employee's conduct, refuted Hansen's comedic claim that he was being muzzled, and has joined the ranks of AGW (anthropogenic global warming) skeptics.
Hansen's histrionics were last noted on January 18 (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog) when the UK Guardian carried his dire warning that the about-to-be-inaugurated Barack Obama "Has Four Years to Save Earth" from the impact of global warming.
President Barack Obama is taking far-reaching steps to centralize decision-making inside the White House, surrounding himself with influential counselors, overseas envoys and policy "czars" that shift power from traditional Cabinet posts.
Not even a week has passed since he was sworn in, but already Obama is moving to create perhaps the most powerful staff in modern history – a sort of West Wing on steroids that places no less than a half-dozen of his top initiatives into the hands of advisers outside the Cabinet.
James Lovelock (picture is from his web site) has been the topic of at least three previous NewsBusters posts:
In September 2006, Dan Gainor marveled at how the Washington Post could devote 2,400 words to Lovelock and his "Gaia Theory" -- the idea that the earth acts like a living organism.
In October 2007, Gainor noted Lovelock's appearance in that esteemed scientific publication Rolling Stone, which called him "The Prophet of Climate Change." Lovelock claimed that global warming is irreversible, and that, as stated by writer Jeff Goodell, "the Earth's population will be culled from today's 6.6 billion to as few as 500 million."
A March 2008 post by Jeff Poor told readers that Lovelock, in the UK Daily Mail, had apparently moved up his disaster scenario by 60 years, among other things predicting that by 2040 China would be uninhabitable.
Lovelock clearly isn't the go-to guy for cool, calm, and collected science. But given his standing with many environmentalists, his views of certain aspects of environmentalism are worthy of attention. They are profoundly negative, as recorded in the January 24 issue of New Scientist by "Gaia Vince," where Lovelock also proposes a last-ditch strategy for saving the planet and salvaging several hundred million more survivors:
The Frigid Fingers Were Live, but the Music Wasn’t
It was not precisely lip-synching, but pretty close.
The somber, elegiac tones before President Obama’s oath of office at the inauguration on Tuesday came from the instruments of Yo-Yo Ma, Itzhak Perlman and two colleagues. But what the millions on the Mall and watching on television heard was in fact a recording, made two days earlier by the quartet and matched tone for tone by the musicians playing along.
The first suckerpunch of "Ohio Media v. Any and All Viable Republican or Conservative Politicians" comes from Joe "Hack" Hallett and Jonathan Riskind of the Columbus Dispatch ("Wall Street ties might hamstring GOP hopeful Kasich"). The recipient is former congressman and current Fox weekend show host John Kasich, who is frequently mentioned as a possible GOP challenger to Buckeye State Governor T-Shirt Ted Strickland.
It takes the pair 14 paragraphs to tell us that there's no story here -- that is, unless they want to accuse Kasich's spokesperson of lying:
I was going through the comments tonight at my Pajamas Media column about the Geithner nomination that went up earlier today, and came across this at Comment 39 from "Mike M":
The deduction he took for the summer camp as a day care expense is EXPRESSLY PROHIBITED IN THE IRS CODE! That’s out and out tax fraud. Even Leona Helmsly (sic) is jealous in her grave ....
It turns out that there is a lot more to the Geithner story. It has been sitting right there in details that were made public last week, but were mostly ignored by the Washington press. While the amounts involved aren't anywhere near as large as those relating to Geithner's self-employment taxes from 2001 through 2004 on his earnings at the International Monetary Fund -- taxes he didn't pay until audited by the IRS (2003 and 2004) or until just before his nomination was announced (2001 and 2002) -- they are nonetheless revealing, infuriating, and disturbing. They make the claims of "honest mistakes" that his defenders up to and including Barack Obama continue to employ look much, much weaker (paragraph image is from Pages 3 and 4 of the relevant report stored here as a PDF; a larger JPEG image is here):
The Associated Press's 1:12 p.m. coverage (saved here, as the dynamic link changed during the drafting of this post) of the Senate Finance Committee's hearing on Barack Obama's nomination of Timothy Giethner as Treasury Secretary has plenty of discussion of Geithner's tax "mistakes" (the picture, but not its heading, is from a November 21 New York Times article).
But as has been the case with every AP report I've seen, there is no mention of the fact that the International Monetary Fund, Geithner's 2001-2004 employer, partially reimbursed him for his Social Security and Medicare "self-employment tax" liabilities.
Here are the first eight paragraphs of AP Economics Writer Martin Crutsinger's report:
2008 was the safest year ever to be an American miner. The combined number of fatalities from all forms of mining was the lowest ever.
2007 (latest information available) also shows the lowest "all-injury" rate for miners on record by far.
Yet Ken Ward Jr.'s early-January contribution at the Charleston (WV) Gazette to the spate of final-month Bush-bashing pretended that this data doesn't exist. Instead he gave the impression of an opposite situation. Media outlets have been trying and failing to make this case since the Sago Mine Disaster of January 2006 (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), even while the safety stats have generally showed nearly continuous improvement.
Bob Shrum has a funny way of telling the troops to calm down.
The purpose of the long-time Democratic strategist's opinion piece at The Week (the picture at the right is at that link) is to counsel his ideological colleagues that despite current appearances, soon-to-be president Barack Obama will indeed enact their liberal agenda.
But while telling Democrats to focus on the future and to resist the urge to dig through every nook and cranny in Washington in search of a Bush Adminstration crime to prosecute, his first sentence revives the long-debunked claim that George W. Bush didn't win the 2000 election fair and square.
First, the bad news: James Hansen, head of NASA's the Goddard Institute of Space Studies is still bloviating about the catastrophes that await us because of what yours truly and others refer to as globaloney (the belief that the earth is dangerously warming, that human activity is the cause of the warming, and that radical steps that would cause huge reductions in standards of living around the world are required to save the planet from extinction). Reporter Robin McKie carries Hansen's latest "we'd better act or else" warning at the UK Guardian.
The hopefully good news is that Hansen's warning is thus far getting very light press coverage. A 9:45 a.m. Google News search done on "Hansen climate" (not in quotes) for January 16-18 came back with all of 24 items (the first page of results says there are 267, but there are really only 24.
Here are the first five paragraphs of McKie's article, if you can bear reading them (bolds after title are mine):
President 'has four years to save Earth' US must take the lead to avert eco-disaster
The Associated Press's record of running interference for Treasury Secretary nominee Timothy Geithner continues mostly unabated.
My chronicle of AP's largely weak coverage, most of which has been previously detailed at NewsBusters (here, here, and here), is at the end of this post.
No AP report I have seen has noted that Geithner applied for and merely pocketed partial "reimbursements" from the International Monetary Fund for payroll/"self-employment" taxes. He signed IMF forms saying that he had paid or would pay those taxes. He didn't pay up for 2003 and 2004 until his returns were audited. He more than likely never would have paid up for 2001 and 2002 if he had not been nominated, even though a strong case could be made that he engaged in tax evasion.
These aspects of Geithner's tax situation, if widely known, would, I believe, cause the average taxpayer to object strongly to the very idea of his nomination. AP's alleged journalists appear to believe that this cannot be allowed to happen.
AP Personal Finance writer Dave Carpenter, in a mostly Q&A piece with a really weak title ("Meltdown 101: US tax laws can even foil the pros"), continued the silence on pocketed reimbursements yesterday afternoon (stored here for future reference). He also seems to have found every excuse for Geither except "the dog ate my W-2":
Yesterday, details discovered about Treasury Secretary nominee Timothy Geithner's tax situation moved it to well past the level of an "honest mistake."
You wouldn't know it from the Associated Press's Julie Hirschfeld Davis, who, as I noted yesterday (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), continues to run interference for him. A story from Thursday afternoon that has since been dynamically updated had a final paragraph alluding to the fact that Geithner had signed annual statements acknowleding his obligation to pay his own payroll taxes (Update: That Thursday afternoon story is still at Breitbart). That paragraph is not present in the story as updated at 3:13 a.m. this morning (saved here for future reference). Even that paragraph, when it was present, didn't note that Geithner had applied for and received reimbursement for payroll taxes he didn't pay.
First, here are key paragraphs from Davis's cheerleading roundup, including disconcerting statements of support for Geithner from many who should know better:
In a post last night, I criticized the Associated Press for glossing over the 15 years of personal and domestic self-employment tax filing and payment problems of Timothy Geithner, Barack Obama's nominee for Treasury Secretary (pictured at right in an AP photo).
It turns out that Brett Blackledge's Tuesday evening report was relatively hard-hitting in comparison to Julie Hirschfeld Davis's rendition early this morning (stored here, because her original 3:33 a.m. report has since been updated).
Davis's assignment appears to have been to shorten and update Blackledge's original writeup. To be fair, Davis immediately indicated that Geithner's nomination is no longer on cruise control. But she deleted, or pushed to later paragraphs, quite a few details that would cause an average reader to go "Huh? This guy wants to be Treasury Secretary?" What's more, her vague title ("Tax problems may plague Obama's treasury pick") replaced a much more specific one from Blackledge ("Geithner failed to pay self-employment taxes").
Davis's most obvious airbrush is in her second paragraph (bold is mine):
Jan. 14 Update: "AP's Early-AM Revision Flushes Many Details, Calls His Tax Problems 'Goofs'"
Timothy Geithner, pictured at right in an AP photo, is Barack Obama's nominee for Treasury Secretary.
Mr. Geithner will, among many other duties, oversee the Internal Revenue Service.
How odd, to say the least, that Mr. Geithner has had persistent tax filing and payment problems going back over 15 years involving self-employment taxes for both himself and his paid help, as well as with the employment of someone who for a time did not have proper legal status to remain in the country.
You would think that such things might place a cabinet nominee, especially to head Treasury, in jeopardy, and to cause the president who nominated him to have second thoughts. After all, in 2001, Linda Chavez's nomination as Labor Secretary went down in flames over matters relating to an illegal immigrant whom Chavez had sheltered in her home a decade earlier. Also, in 1993, Zoe Baird withdrew as Bill Clinton's nominee for Attorney General over the employment of illegal-immigrant domestic help and her failure to pay the related employment taxes on a timely basis.
But Geithner's nomination is apparently getting the all clear, with pliant Republicans giving the okey-dokey, and press outlets like the Associated Press giving his problems the relatively no-big-deal treatment.
Here are some excerpts from tonight's AP story by Brett J. Blackledge (stored here for future reference when there are subsequent updates; 5 AM Update: The link did indeed change; an alternate link that seems to match what AP had up at its own site at the time of this post appearance is here):