You don't even need to know the specifics to realize that today's economic reports were weak. All you need to know is that there was no mention of them in the Associated Press's list of Top 10 business stories as of 3:35 p.m. Among stories considered more important: a product review of Apple's tiny market-share program called iWork and three dozen passengers suing Carnival Cruise Lines.
This morning's release from ADP on February private-sector employment growth reported 139,000 jobs added; the previous four months were revised down by a total of 138,000. The Institute for Supply Management's Non-Manufacturing Index came in at 51.6%, showing relatively slow expansion (anything above 50% indicates expansion) compared to January's 54.0%. The reports missed expectations of 155,000 jobs added and 53.5%, respectively. AP coverage of these two reports somewhat understated their weakness, one quantitatively and the other qualitatively.
It appears that Aron Heller at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's press, might have been applying lessons learned from the wire service's U.S. business and economics writers in his coverage of Israel's settlement activity. Heller also seems strangely fond of this mythical thing known as the "international community."
AP business and economics writers like Martin Crutsinger and Christopher Rugaber have regaled us with the wonders of the alleged housing recovery during the past two years, but haven't been quite as good at telling us that over 4-1/2 years after the recession officially ended, new home sales and construction activity is still only about 60-65 percent of what is seen as healthy by most economists and analysts. Heller pulled an analogous trick in his report; fortunately Evelyn Gordon at Commentary (HT Powerline) was astute enough to catch his misdirection, one in which President Obama has also engaged.
Shameless shilling for the Demcratic Party's presumptive presidential 2016 nominee appears to have reached an all-time peak.
A USA Today email I received this afternoon (email web link here) breathlessly delivered the following "Breaking" news story readers will see after the jump. Keep in mind that this is not a normal, garden-variety news story. No, this one's "breaking," meaning that we apparently must drop everything and read it because of its immediate importance to anyone who tries to follow the news:
The people who pretentiously call themselves journalists at the News Media Guild-represented Associated Press are really having a hard time getting over the representation election the United Auto Workers union lost two weeks ago at the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
The latest whine came from Erik Schelzig Friday afternoon. He must have believed he was being really hard-hitting in trying to hold Volunteer State Senator Bob Corker to his word that "If the UAW is voted down they're going to come here ... and affirm they're going to build a line here" within two weeks. Well, Erik, Corker clearly miscalculated. The Senator never dreamed that the UAW would appeal a secret-ballot vote it lost by 6.4 percent of the ballots cast, and also underestimated the chances of retalation by the U.S. government and the company's German union. Several paragraphs from Erik's execrable essay follow the jump (bolds are mine throughout this post):
The Obama administration's most recent abuse of the English language late last week involved its reluctance bordering on refusal to call Russia's military move into Crimea an "invasion." The press, unlike in 1970 when Richard Nixon sent U.S. troops into Cambodia for under three months, is largely following suit.
CNN (HT Hot Air) began the Team Obama-driven festivities on Friday by reporting that "According to the latest U.S. assessment, there has been an uncontested arrival of Russian military forces by air at a Russian base in Crimea. They are believed to be Russian land forces, CNN was told."
In December, NPR, the New York Times, National Journal, and other establishment press platforms gave the Republican National Committee grief over the following tweet: "Today we remember Rosa Parks' bold stand and her role in ending racism." The tweet erronseously shortened the following sentence from a longer GOP statement: "“We remember and honor Rosa Parks today for the role she played in fighting racism and ending segregation." Juliet Lapidos at the Times noted that the tweet was corrected in 3-1/2 hours, and seemed to lament that it took so long.
During the 2008 presidential campaign, GOP Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin made what has turned out to be a prescient remark about the relevance of a U.S. president's resolve and its potential impact on Russia's posture with the old Soviet Union's satellite states. She observed: "After the Russian Army invaded the nation of Georgia, Senator Obama's reaction was one of indecision and moral equivalence, the kind of response that would only encourage Russia's Putin to invade Ukraine next."
Many in the press ridiculed that notion. Among them was Blake Hounshell, who was then blogging at Foreign Policy Magazine. Characterizing Palin's notion as "strange," he wrote: "As we've said before, this is an extremely far-fetched scenario." Hounshell, now a deputy editor at Politico Magazine, has handled Palin's self-effacing Facebook "I told you so" ("I could see this one from Alaska") and pile-ons by center-right blogs too numerous to mention with tweets demonstrating the class, dignity, and good sportsmanship you would expect from the high-brow commentariat, i.e., none (HT Twitchy).
Perhaps I'm being too kind in describing the Associated Press as "The Administration's Press." Based on Jim Kuhnhenn's ridiculous "Don't worry, be happy" Saturday report on how unimportant he says the still growing national debt and the still historically large federal budget deficits supposedly are, maybe I should start calling the wire service "The Administration's Publicists" instead.
Kuhnhenn stopped just short of writing that the national debt ($17.41 trillion as of Wednesday, up from $10.63 trillion when Barack Obama took office 61 months ago, an average increase of $111 billion per month) and the annual federal budget deficit (on track to be over $500 billion for the sixth year in a row, four of which saw deficits of over $1 trillion) aren't worthy of attention, but it's clear that he believes we shouldn't be concerned about them in making electoral choices (bolds are mine):
Patrick Moore is one of the early members of Greenpeace, and was an important official in that organization from 1971 to 1986.
Moore is among the last people one might expect to be a "climate change denier," as those who irritate us with the idea that human-caused global warming is "settled science" like to characterize people who disagree with them. But he is, as seen in Congressional testimony earlier this week. The establishment press is ignoring Patrick; the few identified results at the link come from British newspapers and center-right outlets. An Investor's Business Daily editorial yesterday highlighted what Moore had to say (bolds are mine):
Separately, left-leaning law professor Jonathan Turley warned a Congressional committee on Wednesday that President Obama's extensive use of executive orders, executive actions, and unilateral regulatory moves threatens to enable the President, as Turley phrased it in a Fox News interview on Thursday, to "effectively become a government unto himself." If Turley had made his statement in 2006 or 2007 during the Iraq War, it would almost certainly have become a media obsession. Instead, as will be shown after the jump, Turley's testimony is being completely ignored by everyone except center-right news outlets and bloggers.
The news in two government reports on the economy today was not good. One showed that initial unemployment claims last week rose to a seasonally adjusted 348,000; raw (not seasonally adjusted) claims were virtually identical to last year's comparable week. To avoid the dreaded U-word ("unexpectedly"), a pair of Bloomberg News reporters described the result as "exceeding all forecasts." In the other report, durable goods orders in January fell by a seasonally adjusted 1.0 percent, while December's steep decline of 4.3 percent was revised down even further to -5.3 percent.
In separate reports at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, Christopher Rugaber and Josh Boak did their best to excuse away the results and to find something positive to say. As readers will see, they had to dig pretty deep, and their efforts were unconvincing.
Double standards in the establishment press's treatment of Republican and Democrat politicians is an unfortunate reality. Evidence that it's getting worse — to the point of begging the question, "At long last, have you no shame?" — can be seen in the disparate treatment of Florida's two major-party March 11 congressional special election candidates, Republican David Jolly and Democrat Alex Sink.
At the Associated Press, it is headline-making national news, via reporter Tamara Lush, that Jolly "was not charged and not at fault in a 1989 car crash in which he fatally struck a pedestrian, according to a Florida Highway Patrol report." Again: "NOT at fault." Meanwhile, it is not news at AP's national site that less than 30 hours ago, Sink, in a televised debate, resorted to offensive stereotyping in advocating changes in immigration law when she asked, "Where are you going to get people to work to clean our hotel rooms or do our landscaping?" Excerpts from Townhall.com's story, plus a video containing Sink's statement, follow the jump.
This morning at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, Martin Crutsinger reacted predictably to the Census Bureau's January new home sales release by commenting primarily on the forest while mostly ignoring the widely divergent health of the trees. Though he compared January to December for the country's four regions, he failed to note that three of them reported the same or fewer sales than January 2013.
This caused him to spin an unsupportable assessment of today's news as "offering hopes that housing could be regaining momentum after a slowdown last year caused by rising interest rates." Maybe in the South, Marty, but nowhere else. Several paragraphs from Crutsinger's report, followed by a regional breakdowns, are after the jump.
At the rate he's going, South Florida Sun Sentinel cartoonist and variable-length commentator Chan Lowe may turn out to be this decade's Ted Rall.
On Tuesday, Lowe had a column and cartoon (link may require subscription) satirizing the Sunshine State's "Stand Your Ground" law and gun owners in general ("Angry White Males," of course), characterizing them as treating their weapons with perverted reverence as compensation for their other failures in life (e.g., not getting along with their classmates at the playground, or with girls). The day before (link may require subscription; HT Twitchy), he went after parents who oppose the top-down, privacy-invading, testing-obsessed, instructionally-impaired Common Core curriculum with a vengeance. Readers should put down all drinks and other objects before skipping to the jump, because what you'll see will almost certainly be upsetting.
At the Associated Press on Friday, Chris Tomlinson wrote a story of national significance ("State officials investigating Democratic activists") which the wire service appears not to have ever carried at its national site.
It is nationally significant because the establishment press, both in print and over the airwaves, has chosen to make the Lone Star State gubernatorial candidacy of Democrat Wendy Davis a national matter. However, continuing a pattern going back several months (examples here and here), when negative matters relating to her campaign or to those assisting it surface, all of a sudden we're supposed to believe nobody outside of Texas cares.
It would be easy to dismiss the attempt by the leftist groups Credo Mobilize and Forecast the Facts to prevent the Washington Post from publishing Charles Krauthammer's February 20 column ("The Myth of 'Settled Science'") as the whining of immature children who cover their ears and say "la-la, we can't hear you, and we're going to shut you up" every time they come across inconvenient facts.
Howard Kurtz takes the failed effort more seriously, and properly so, given that the petitioners are constantly trying to convince WaPo, the New York Times, and eventually the rest of the establishment press to do what the censors at the Los Angeles Times have already done: stop publishing any op-ed or letter to the editor from anyone they would consider a "climate change denier." Excerpts from Kurtz's Monday "Media Buzz" post at Fox News, plus a Fox News Special Report video showing Krauthammer brilliantly summarizing his column in 89 seconds, follow the jump.
Michigan Congressman John Dingell announced his retirement today. The Democrat's career as Congress's longest-serving member will end with this session.
With the help of a related statement by President Obama, press coverage predictably placed great emphasis on Dingell's decades-long advocacy of universal health care coverage and his involvement in the 2010 passage of the Affordable Care Act, which used to be the law governing the scope and implementation of state-controlled health care until the Obama administration's regime of pre-implementation waivers and post-passage changes turned it into the mush which should now and forever be called "Obamacare." That emphasis on Obamacare "somehow" overlooked an infamous but truthful statement Dingell made to WJR Radio's Paul W. Smith shortly after the original law's passage in March 2010. It's the kind of statement the press would have covered when Dingell originally made it (they didn't), and would never have forgotten if it had been made by a Republican or conservative.
In a lengthy item "as told to Joe Hagan" at NYMag.com's The Vulture, actor, commercial pitchman, and brief MSNBC host Alec Baldwin makes it very clear that he is fed up with a lot of things.
There is plenty of material for discussion in his writeup. I want to focus on what he sees as his mistreatment at the hands of MSNBC and the self-described "progressive" community. Unfortunately, after said mistreatment, it's clear that he still doesn't get the difference between legitimate if strident criticism and expressions of over-the-top hatred, as the excerpts which follow will show (bolds are mine):
In a complete non-surprise given their officials' reactions last week, the United Auto Workers union has filed an appeal with the National Labor Relations Board of the election they lost at Volkswagen's Chattanooga, Tennessee plant.
As would be expected for an organization whose journalists are members of the News Media Guild, a Friday evening report by Associated Press reporters Tom Raum and Erik Schelzig emphasized the "outside intervention" of First Amendment-protected statements made by Volunteer State politicians, including Senator Bob Corker, in the runup to the balloting, while ignoring and minimizing thuggish behavior and statements by UAW supporters and sympathizers. They also saved assessments that the effort is a long-shot at best, at least on the merits, for much later paragraphs — but with President Barack Obama's NLRB, you never know. Excerpts follow the jump (bolds are mine throughout this post):
The AP's White House correspondent, surely at the suggestion of the group she is supposed to be covering objectively, writes that President Barack Obama's forays into unilateral executive action have been good for his soul. The President's authoritarian moves have apparently also been "cathartic" for the White House staff, now reportedly "buoyed by a new sense of purpose." Isn't that sweet? Excerpts from this piece of journalistic junk follow the jump (bolds are mine):
On February 10, in a rare moment of candor which was quickly edited away in subsequent revisions, Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, wrote that President Obama had unilaterally instituted delays and revisions in Obamacare's employer mandate because he was "angling to avoid political peril."
Of course he was. Postponing and revising the requirement that firms cover their employees "or face a $2000 fine per employee, after the first 30," delays the decidedly negative impact of the statist healthcare scheme until after November's elections. But in a Friday evening report, Politico's David Nather essentially tried to claim that Obama really acted against his own best interest (links are in original; bolds and numbered tags are mine):
On Thursday, Kyle Drennen at NewsBusters noted that none of the three broadcast networks had covered the intent of the Federal Communications Commission, in the words of Byron York at the Washington Examiner, to "send government contractors into the nation's newsrooms to determine whether journalists are producing articles, television reports, Internet content, and commentary that meets the public's 'critical information needs.'"
Given that the nets take many of their new prioritization cues from the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, and to a lesser extent from the New York Times, it shouldn't surprise anyone that searches at the self-described "essential global news network" and at the Old Gray Lady indicate that neither outlet has covered it. The FCC has supposedly backtracked, but not really, as Katy Bachman at AdWeek noted yesterday (bolds are mine throughout this post):
That attention makes the press's virtual inattention outside of the Nutmeg State itself to what has since been learned all the more difficult to justify. It turns out that there are now three types of so-called "assault weapon" owners in Connecticut: those who registered by the deadline, those whose registrations came in after the deadline, and those who defied the state's registration demand. As J.D. Tuccille at Reason.com reported on Tuesday, the second group is on track to having their guns confiscated, and the number of people in the third group dwarfs those in the first two — a situation which has greatly upset the political establishment, particularly the editorial board at the state's largest newspaper (HT Instapundit; bolds are mine):
According to a USA Today item carried at ABC News, "Sixty percent of adults can't drink milk." In July 2012, the New York Times ran an item entitled, "Got Milk? You Don't Need It." But the last time I checked, everyone uses electricity to some extent.
I'm bringing up these points because, as a friend showed me earlier today, the establishment press has run stories galore in the past several weeks about increases in the price of milk, but, as I noted a couple of days ago, has paid virtually no attention to coming increases in wholesale electricity costs of up to 80% which are due solely to Environmental Protection Agency regulations requiring the use of unproven and not commercially available "carbon capture" technology.
The Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, had an interesting pair of headlines near the top of its raw feed yesterday.
The first headline used the typical "Republicans attack" approach any time President Obama does something objectionable, which has been quite often. The headline was "Issa Rails Against Obama's 'Imperial Presidency.'" Of course, reporter Steve Peoples didn't let readers see the exact statement Issa made, perhaps because it would have shown that he wasn't "railing" (uttering a "bitter complaint" or a "vehement denunciation") at all. The current headline at the story at AP's national site doesn't have quote marks around "imperial presidency." Clearly, Peoples doesn't think much of Issa's claim, which makes the raw feed's next headline about Obama all the more ironic:
The left constantly rants about alleged illegal coordination between conservative and Republican candidates and groups with little to no proof. At least once, when it had no evidence, it went to court to try to get a judge to allow them to engage in a wide-ranging fishing expedition to find something, anything, which might "prove" it. Fortunately, a Wisconsin judge in mid-January turned back that request involving Badger State Governor Scott Walker and organizations which independently advocated for his 2010 election and defended him against the 2012 recall effort.
James O'Keefe's latest video involving Battleground Texas would appear to demonstrate that many in the left assume conservatives routinely engage in illegal campaign activity because, well, the left routinely engages in illegal campaign activity. Watch Project Veritas's latest video after the jump, and ask yourself whether the illegal use of voter information O'Keefe exposes would be ignored by the press if a conservative or Republican organization were engaging in it:
The January 2014 New Residential Construction report released by the Census Bureau this morning was very weak. Building permits fell from December by a seasonally adjusted 5.4% (-1.3% for single-family homes). Housing starts fell by 16.0% (-15.9% single-family. The annualized single-family starts figure of 573,000 was the lowest in 17 months.
Naturally, Martin Crutsinger at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, blamed it on the weather, and promised that prosperity is coming soon in his very first paragraph. Too bad some of the data he cited clearly refutes the "blame the weather" meme.
File this under "Pathetic" and "Predictable." On Alex Wagner's MSNBC show yesterday, Wagner set up Timothy Noah, an MSNBC.com columnist, with the latest and most desperate excuse for the UAW's failure to gain the ability to represent VW-Chattanooga workers in a plantwide election last week. She did so by referring to an American Prospect column earlier in the day by Harold Meyerson, who blamed "the politics of race and culture" for the loss.
Noah predictably took the bait, even though "race" was not mentioned once in any coverage I saw in 2-1/2 days after the election until Meyerson went there. Video and a transcript, followed by a couple of jabs at Meyerson by yours truly, follow the jump (bolds and numbered tags are mine):
You might think that journalists would consider the prospect of sharply rising electricity costs in a nation blanketed by an extraordinarily cold, snowy winter and buffeted by its accompanying high utility bills hugely newsworthy.
You would be wrong. Searches on the last name of Julio Friedmann, the deputy assistant secretary of the Energy Department who testified at a congressional hearing on energy costs and technology last week, return very few results (here and here), none from a major general circulation establishment press outlet. One business-oriented outlet, Bloomberg BusinessWeek, covered Friedmann's testimony on the impact of the EPA's new "carbon capture" rules. In doing so, reporter Mark Drajem included some incoherence and misdirection (bolds are mine):
The folks at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, are really having a hard time processing the UAW's failure to gain the ability to represent Volkswagen's Chattanooga, Tennessee workers in an election held last week. AP journalists, who themselves are members of the News Media Guild, are exhibiting characterstics of still partially being in Stage 1 (Denial) but mostly Stage 2 (Anger) of the grieving process.
A Monday evening report by Tom Krisher and Erik Schelzig comes off more as a "put up or shut up" dare to those who opposed UAW representation than anything resembling objective reporting. The pair wants to know what Republicans are going to do achieve job growth in the wake of the UAW loss. The obvious response is that despite well-known federally-imposed regulatory barriers to job growth, Tennessee Republican Governor Bill Haslam and the Volunteer State's GOP-controlled legislature have been doing a far better than average job, if you will, of creating a conducive atmosphere for payroll employment growth in the state. But first, let's visit our in-mourning AP reporters and headline writer (bolds are mine):