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.
Oh. So. Predictable -- Both what is happening, and how it is being "covered."
Chrysler is barely out of bankruptcy, and there is already concern as to whether the money Uncle Sam, (i.e., U.S. taxpayers) funneled into the company -- while in the process of ripping off and intimidating its secured creditors, capriciously terminating plants and dealers, and running roughshod over long-held notions of fiduciary duty -- will be enough.
Beyond that, how many people know that the magical technology its new owner Fiat, which put no money of its own into the deal, is "more than a year away" from making its way to Chrysler?
"Somehow," the Associated Press's Obamacized news prioritizers decided that the info nuggets contained in the previous two paragraphs should be relegated to the final paragraphs of an unbylined report (also saved at host) this afternoon. The report, including its headline ("Chrysler names remaining directors to new board"), appeared to be merely a droll recitation concerning certain Board members. Only readers getting to the last three of the report's eight paragraphs would have any idea that Chrysler's situation is already a cause for renewed concern about its viability.
Readers here can make what they will of the Board's make-up, but, as noted, the real beef in the AP story is in those final paragraphs (bolds are mine):
Which company sold the most light trucks in the U.S. in June?
Which company came in at Number 9 in car sales in June, down from Number 7 a year ago?
Aren't smaller players in the auto industry obviously gaining ground on the big guys because of their small, fuel-efficient cars?
If you don't know the answers to these questions, it's because the press has been doing a poor job of covering what's really been going on in the industry since the Era of the (Failed) Auto Company Bailouts began in December of last year.
Answers to the three questions are in the charts that follow:
We are now six months into the failed Auto Bailout Era. Looking at the industry's four biggest companies, it has become clear that Ford is on the rise, General Motors continues to slip badly, Chrysler is fading into minor-player status, and Toyota's ongoing struggles continue.
In May, after April's sales results came out, two Associated Press writers noted Ford's ascendancy and uniquely hinted at its likely basis:
Detroit’s Big Three is becoming Ford and the other two.
While its rivals stay afloat with billions in government aid, Ford grabbed a bigger slice of the American car market in April .....
..... Most of ..... (Ford's) gains came at the expense of General Motors and Chrysler, which unlike Ford are dependent on federal help.
Other than that, there has been virtually no press recognition of what has to be seen as the most likely reason for the shift: Enough consumers to matter are continuing to shun the unsuccessfully bailed-out.
Today's dispatch from the Associated Press about the Chinese Communist government's attempt to require that a state-developed program called "Green Dam Youth Escort" be installed on all new personal computers sold in that country is all too typical of the awful reporting on this potentially frightening development.
I will refer to Green Dam Youth Escort as "the GD software" for the balance of this post. Many readers will find this abbreviation particularly appropriate once they fully understand everything the GD software could potentially do.
The latest news about the GD software is that the government has delayed what was to be a July 1 installation requirement, but that it intends to go forward with that mandate at some point. In the meantime, for reasons not fully vetted, many PC makers have begun shipping units with the GD software either already installed or included on an accompanying CD.
Considering the gravity of what the Chinese Communist government is trying to do to its people, worldwide media coverage of the GD software has been much lighter than justified. Somehow, what may happen to the free speech and free expression rights of 1.3 billion people isn't anywhere near as important as what's happening in connection with an entertainer who has been dead for a week.
As we near the end of June, which is supposed to be one of the four biggest months for federal tax collections (January, April, and September are the others), it is clear that the serious receipts shortfalls are not only continuing, but have caused the March 20 projections of the administration and the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) to be outdated.
Media coverage of the ongoing receipts dive has been minimal at best. A Google News search on "federal receipts" (typed in quotes) returns on seven items, two of them originating from yours truly.
Here is where things stand as of the last Friday of June in both 2009 and 2008, per Uncle Sam's related Daily Treasury Statements:
ABC's online "The Note" describes itself as "Washington's Original and Most Influential Tipsheet." ABC News's Senior Political Reporter Richard Klein is its current content creator.
We'll see how influential "The Note" really is if what Klein writes about the machinations behind the attempt to make us forget that the Obama stimulus plan was supposedly going to be making some kind of difference at this point gets out anywhere else. Color me skeptical.
No doubt, Klein gets in some pretty strong, accurate, and long-overdue rips (links are in original):
Those who have followed my posts for a while know that I have a particularly low regard for the work of MarketWatch's Rex Nutting (pictured at right). It goes back to the pre-housing mess days when he tried to tell me that the the drop in housing prices would look like the 75%-plus drop in the NASDAQ from 2000-2002 or the collapse of Dutch tulip prices centuries ago. As of April 2009, according the Federal Housing Finance Authority (FHFA), the successor to the Office of Housing Enterprise Oversight, the two-year drop in housing prices since the April 2007 peak has been 11.2% (PDF). Of course, give the Obama administration enough time, and who knows what it might do to housing values?
After the government's "final" GDP report for the first quarter of 2009 on Thursday (future comprehensive revisions during the next two years could still ultimately change the outcome), it occurred to me that the reported annualized contraction of 5.5%, in combination with the annualized 6.3% contraction logged in the fourth quarter of last year, might be some kind of record. I looked at historical info, and found that the most recent two-quarter dive is the worst since the same quarters of 1957-58. Then in seeing who might have written this up, I came across Nutting's related report, which contains two statements that are patently untrue.
What's remarkable is that one of his errors indicates that he or someone else at MarketWatch must have looked for the numbers in question and, along with his editors (if they exist), blown right by them.
In a passionate Wall Street Journal op-ed this morning ("Silence Has Consequences for Iran"), former Spanish Prime Minister José Aznar who, in case anyone cares, serves on the board of WSJ parent News Corp., says that "It would be a shame .... if our passivity gave carte blanche to a tyrannical regime to finish off the dissidents and persist with its revolutionary plans."
Shaking off passivity requires visibility. America's media establishment almost across the board is providing very little. The Associated Press and the New York Times reports exist, but their distribution is dwarfed by the death of a pop star and a governor's infidelity.
Here are useful comparisons (all searches were done at Google News at about 8:45 a.m. for June 23-27, limited to USA sources):
Clearly, the most important takeaway from ABC's low-rated White House forum on health care was President Barack Obama's admission that he would go outside the constraints of a nationalized system to get the "very best care" if necessary for his own family.
There may be no limit to how far establishment media reporters will go in their attempt to prop up the public perception of failing state-run health care programs.
The latest example comes from Massachusetts. The Bay State's CommonwealthCare (aka RomneyCare, so nicknamed because Governor Mitt Romney, rumored to be a Republican and pictured at right, championed the legislation's passage and signed the bill in 2006) continues to implode -- as anyone with a brain could have predicted, and as many, including yours truly (fourth item at link), did predict.
Despite deep cuts, which essentially amount to large-scale rationing of care and cash-starving of providers, the Boston Globe's Kay Lazar, in an allegedly straight news story, felt compelled to describe the state's health care arrangement as "trailblazing," and to characterize a 12% budget cut as "trimming."
Here are key paragraphs from what amounts to Lazar's lament, with "rationing" tags added by yours truly for emphasis:
Media Bistro broke it Tuesday morning, and gave us all of the details shortly after noon. The news: CBS and ABC's evening newscasts both came in with record low viewerships during the week of June 15.
ABC's fall to less than 6.5 million total viewers is probably more of a surprise than CBS's plunge below 5 million. Is there a health care propaganda backlash?
But the biggest news, as usual, is the combined audience drop, this time to barely 19 million. As usual, Media Bistro didn't note that.
Here's a chart comparing the overall and 25-54 demographic audiences during the week of June 15, 2009 to those of the previous week, January 26, 2009 (a combined high-water mark during the first week after Barack Obama's inauguration) and June 16, 2008:
If the recession was the only reason why the welfare rolls are what they are in the various states, you would expect the percentage of the population utilizing the entitlement program, now known as TANF (Temporary Assistance for Need Families), in the various states to have some sort of relationship to their respective unemployment rates.
That is self-evidently not the case. The failure by Sara Murray of the Wall Street Journal to note that sad fact in her Monday article about the program makes her attempt to communicate what has happened with it during the twelve months that ended in May a major disappointment. As you'll see, she got right to the edge, but didn't look into it. In the process, Ms. Murray also gave all of the credit for welfare reform to then-President Bill Clinton -- a laughably incorrect rendition of what really happened.
Here are Murray's opening four paragraphs (bolds are mine):
It struck me, in reading this AP dispatch from Tehran by Nasser Karimi and William J. Kole, that the political and media establishment has, in the two decades since the death of the very visible Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeni, allowed Ali Hoseyni Khamenei, his successor as the Supreme Leader of Iran, to fade comfortably into the background, while still pulling all the meaningful levers of power in that country.
Only now, with Tehran in turmoil, and of all things during an attempted media blackout, do we directly learn from Karimi and Kole that election winners are in most meaningful ways mere puppets who serve at Khamenei's pleasure, and that the elections themselves are mere spectacles designed to convince the populace, and perhaps more importantly the West, that Iran, though Islamic fundamentalist to the core, is still somehow a sort-of democratic country.
It is, of course, anything but that. I daresay that most in the West, up to and including many politicians and establishment media elites, and even presidential candidates, haven't even the faintest appreciation of this fact.
In their report, Karimi and Kole communicated the essence of Iran's reality in one concise phrase, referring to "the virtually limitless authority of the country's most powerful figure." Now they tell us.
Imagine, if you can, that George W. Bush made a clearly and deliberately false statement (by the way, what the left claims are his five major lies weren't, and still aren't).
Now further imagine if the Bush administration's response to criticism of the statement, if not true, had been, "Oh, the president's rhetoric shouldn't be taken literally." The press uproar over such a dismissive response would have been justifiably immediate and furious.
In his address to the American Medical Association this past Monday, President Barack Obama promised that:
.... no matter how we reform health care, we will keep this promise: If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor. Period. If you like your health care plan, you will be able to keep your health care plan. Period. No one will take it away. No matter what.
Well, Richard Alonzo-Zaldivar at the Associated Press at least noticed that Dear Leader's promises can't possibly be kept. But wait until you see his nonchalant reaction to what a conscientious press would immediately decry as a series of obvious falsehoods.