In the past couple of weeks as illegal immigration has dominated the front pages and the lead stories of virtually every network’s evening news program, you haven’t been able to swing a gato muerto without hitting some pundit or broadcaster discussing the “unwanted jobs” being taken by undocumented workers. In fact, according to LexisNexis, there have been over two hundred news reports since this brouhaha began containing the phrase “jobs Americans won’t do.”
Jobs Americans won’t do? Excuse me?
I don’t know about you, but I find this concept almost as offensive as racial epithets directed at illegal immigrants. After all, is there really a job that Americans won’t do, and, if so, why?
On the other hand, if this is indeed not the case, but rather a convenient media affectation to simplify a complex problem for those with lukewarm intelligence quotients, what is the truth that is clearly eluding the talking headless?
To answer this question, I delved into the hallowed halls of employment data buried deep in the recesses of the Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics…God bless me. There, I found answers that some might find rather shocking.
On the politics beat in Wednesday's Washington Post: first, don't ever let them tell you that liberal reporters don't want to be stenographers to power. They don't mind writing news stories that read like a press release...if they're about Hillary Clinton. Political reporter Dan Balz writes up the junior senator from New York's speech on the economy in Chicago without a single critic, just Mayor Richard Daley welcoming the hometown girl "whatever office you are in." Hillary's speech had shades of Old-Style Liberalism in it: "America did not build the greatest economy in the world because we had rich people," she said, "We built the greatest economy in the world because we built the American middle class." She also insisted tax cuts were not "the cure-all for everything that ails the American economy." Balz couldn't note she tends to hate tax cuts...just like liberal reporters.
On a light news day, why not run a generic piece on President Bush's low poll numbers and his assertedly bleak prospects for reviving them? That was apparently the thinking at the Today show this morning.
Today themed the segment "Can Bush Save Presidency?", and NBC White House reporter Kelly O'Donnell seemed to answer the question in the negative, kicking things off with this gloomy assessment:
"For President Bush, low poll numbers have not just been a dip or temporary rough patch but appear now to be a sustained pattern that is different than his predecessors of both parties who went through their own tough times." She continued: "His . . presidency appears to have a chronic case of the below-40 percent blues."
After David Gergen was shown suggesting that "presidents have sometimes broken out of slumps when they've had big, bold initiatives and unexpected victories - that often shake things up" O'Donnell reappeared to dump cold water on the notion that W could have any such luck:
"Looking back, some second-term presidents have been able to rebound. President Reagan's approval fell to 34 percent with the arms-for-hostages scandal. Pres. Clinton hit 41 percent around impeachment. But both bounced back up to the 60s as they left office. Analysts say the prospects for Mr. Bush are not as good because of the weight of ongoing events: Iraq, gas prices, the CIA leak case and hurricane response."
Gergen popped back up to pessimistically proclaim: "After a while those negative feelings really do congeal, they crystallize, they become firm and then it's very hard to break out."
O'Donnell: "political observers claim big speeches and staff changes won't turn things around and suggest the president may have to wait to seize on any good news."
Commentator Stu Rothenberg then observed: "If there is something he can brag about he needs to quickly then be able to go to the American public and make his case and drive home the point. But for now he simply doesn't have much ammunition at his disposal."
Count on Today and its MSM cohorts to do their best to keep things that way.
W. Thomas Smith, a former Marine, writes about myths that are being perpetuated about American soldiers. The one most trumpeted by the media is that recruitment is down because of the war in Iraq.
Five of the biggest myths include:
1) The U.S. Defense Department is unable to recruit enough military personnel to defend the country and its interests abroad.
2) Critical combat arms units are not being filled.
3) The military will accept any warm body and any dull brain it can get its hands on.
4) American minorities (and those from lower income urban areas) are suffering disproportionately higher losses on the battlefield.
5) Female soldiers are fighting in offensive ground combat operations.
Poor John Green. The executive producer of ABC’s weekend “Good Morning America” broadcasts got a month-long involuntary vacation after his private e-mails were exposed saying “Bush makes me sick,” and that former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright has “Jew shame.”
Once the e-mails were publicized, the people inside the media were agitated. How many of them are equally guilty? How many people inside the liberal media send snarky anti-Bush notes to each other every day? The New York Times lamented the “chilling effect.”
Watching Chris Matthews and Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-California) on Tuesday’s “Hardball,” it was impossible to differentiate between the political talk show host and the Democrat senator searching for mid-term votes for her party. In fact, at times, it seemed that the host was the Democrat senator, as Matthews appeared to be beseeching his guest to censure President Bush regarding terrorist surveillance.
Matthews began the segment (hat tip to Expose the Left): “Let me ask you this, Senator, are you going to follow through with this? Are you going to try to get him censured?” As Boxer answered, Matthews could regularly be heard in the background saying “Right” to the senator’s statements as if he was one hundred percent in agreement with everything one of the most liberal members of Congress was saying.
For example, when Boxer said, “Now we see how hard the president himself tried to hurt Ambassador Joe Wilson, who told the truth about Saddam Hussein and the nuclear weapons program. He told the truth that it wasn`t happening,” Matthews said, “Right.” Boxer continued, “And yet in fact, this president wanted to release information that even he knew, and the administration knew, was suspect.” Matthews again interjected, “Right.”
Matthews then went into full cheerleader mode sans miniskirt and pompoms:
In this ABC made-for-TV production of “The Ten Commandments” we have a new Moses, ethnically and religiously cleansed.
As played by Dougray Scott (Charlton Heston, not), Moses has been homogenized, pasteurized, sanitized and dry-cleaned so as not to offend any race, religion or creed. This Moses (as opposed to the Moses of the Bible and even the Moses of Cecil B. DeMille) is not Hebrew, and in fact he’s not anything but multi-cultural.
Along both parts of this series (new and improved over DeMille!!!) that ran Monday and Tuesday, April 10 and 11, the word “Hebrew” never came up, neither attached to him or to his people, yes, the Hebrews. The best this fat-free, low-calorie script could do was refer to Moses as a “slave” and later, as the “leader” of a “people.”
CNN's Wolf Blitzer wondered, on Tuesday's Situation Room, “if Bill Clinton could run for President again, would he be re-elected?" Though Clinton never reached 50 percent (43% in 1992, 49% in 1996), Jack Cafferty excitedly agreed with the proposition: "Oh, I think he probably would be, in a heartbeat, don't you?" Cafferty listed some other potential candidates, such as "the Governor down in Virginia" who "might be a good guy" and "they got Barack Obama," but instead, “who do you see on TV? You see Hillary and Chuck Schumer and Ted Kennedy." Cafferty maintained: "Clinton would be the answer to a prayer. Not Hillary, her husband." The exchange followed the 5pm EDT hour “Cafferty File" segment question: "Can religion help the Democrats?" That was prompted by Bill Clinton's recommendation to Democrats that they emphasize “values” and religious beliefs. None of the e-mailed replies Cafferty read had made any suggestion about Bill Clinton running for President again. (Transcript follows.)
At today’s Pentagon press briefing, a reporter said Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld didn’t dispute or address a claim from a book about the run-up to the War in Iraq. Rumsfeld interrupted him and made him look like a fool:
RUMSFELD: You think I'm going to stand around reading your books and disputing things in them or validating or not validating? I have a real daytime job. You would do nothing else but that if you did that. The fact that I haven't disputed something -- I mean, if I disputed all of the mythology that comes out of this group and the books of the world, I wouldn't have any time to do anything else.
On Tuesday's Lou Dobbs Tonight on CNN, Dobbs scolded “this country's major daily newspapers” for how they “misled” readers in their coverage of immigration rallies since “their headlines failed to tell the truth about what the rallies are all about: Rallies in favor of illegal immigration, and amnesty for illegal aliens.” Dobbs showed the front pages of four newspapers, starting with the New York Times' headline of “Immigrants Rally in Scores of Cities for Legal Status,” followed by the Washington Post's description of “Immigration Rights Rallies,” USA Today's “Historic rallies voice a 'dream'” and the Wall Street Journal's “Immigration-Policy Protests Draw Huge Crowds of Workers.”
Dobbs, however, offered praise for one newspaper's “astute” take, quoting approvingly from a Tuesday Las Vegas Review-Journal editorial which contended: “Organizers wanted the marches to be more about people and less about policy. Most television stations swallowed the bait and delivered news reports soft enough to follow Sesame Street on PBS.” (Transcript, of the comments from Dobbs, follows.)
In light of CBS’s and CNN’s obvious pandering to left wing sensibilities on the illegal immigration issue, FNC’s Fox and Friends provided a welcome alternative. The April 11 edition of the show featured a interview with Pete Sepp, a spokesman for the National Taxpayers Union. Co-host E.D. Hill opened the segment this way:
"If a citizen fails to pay taxes, I mean, we’ve got a tax day coming along, say you don't feel like doing it this year, well what happens when the IRS comes, excuse me, where's that money? Well, what do you get charged with, what do you have to pay in terms of fines versus what an illegal alien would have to do?"
I'm truly amazed at the oozy, woozy promotional coverage the pro-amnesty rally received in The Washington Post today. (For a nice dose of balance, for a more skeptical take on the rally, see Michelle Malkin's photo/video roundup.) But the really woozy take on the power of the rally crowds emerged in the Style section today from classical-music critic/fanciful political essayist Philip Kennicott. Which one of these Kennicott beauties is the weirdest quote of the day?
A. "The crowd is a tapestry, an abstract pattern of color and shapes; or it is something like an engulfing sea of humanity that threatens to overwhelm. Within those two categories, there are other choices. Is the abstraction an organic shape, that flows like blood in the veins? Or is it regimented and linear, something suggestive of a military force gathered for battle? And does the oceanic crowd attack fragile markers of civilization and good order? Or does it cleanse the decadent vestiges of an old and unjust regime?"
Yesterday, many people from around the country gathered in cities and demanded rights for illegal immigrants, and these protests were the primary focus of this morning’s "The Early Show" on CBS. In one segment, co-host Harry Smith interviewed Lou Dobbs, host of CNN’s "Lou Dobbs Tonight" and Bill Richardson, governor of New Mexico. Through his questions, Smith made it pretty clear where he stood on the immigration issue.
In his first question to Lou Dobbs, Harry Smith was awe struck at the outpouring of patriotism demonstrated by the protestors:
"When you saw these pictures yesterday from these demonstrations in all these cities across the country, hundreds of thousands of people, American flags unfurled, people draping themselves in the American dream, what did you think?"
CNN senior political analyst Bill Schneider was eager to tout yesterday’s illegal immigration rallies as a "consciousness-raising moment" for Hispanics who harbor "resentment" against those who feel illegal immigration is a serious problem facing the United States. Schneider was discussing the effect of the protests on the 2006 mid-term elections with American Morning co-host Miles O’Brien:
Miles O’Brien: "According to the numbers I’ve seen, Jon Kyl [Republican Senator from Arizona who is up for re-election in 2006] is–has a comfortable margin of lead right now, has taken a pretty conservative stand on immigration. Think those numbers will narrow over this issue?"
Bill Schneider: "Well, that’s what he and probably a lot of people are worried about, namely, what–to what extent are those demonstrators going to become, become is the key word, a political force? They have not been in the past. But this looks like a consciousness-raising moment, because so much of these demonstrations were really spontaneous..."
In a flashback to last summer and a preview of this summer, Charlie Gibson accused oil companies of dictating the price of oil.
Gibson began an interview with a financial contributor for "Good Morning America" by asking if $3 a gallon was inevitable this summer. Mellody Hobson answered yes, then pointed out that oil prices managed to rally despite the warm winter.
Then Gibson complained, "Which leads everybody to be very cynical about what the oil companies are doing: it's a warm winter, so they have extra supply of oil; and they made record profits last year. So they can't get ready to give us decent supply this summer?"
Hobson: "Well the supply may be there but the issue is the market sets the price for gas around the world. And so if they can sell gas at $60 a barrel in the rest of the world, they're going to sell it at $60 a barrel in the U.S. They're not going to sell it cheaper."
On to promote his new children's book Billy Crystal couldn't resist taking a shot at the President on this morning's Today show. Crystal, opening to an illustration of a grandfather in his book let this zinger fly: "So we try to make them, [the] guy look like an everyman but look at this, if you can get in close, doesn't he look like President Bush?"
Lauer: "He does. He really does."
Crystal: "Just telling this little baby you have a $9 trillion dollar debt you can't pay off. Isn't that nice?"
Carl Limbacher at Newsmax.com spotted the latest item from Barbara Streisand's "Truth Alert" (think of it as her own Media Matters).
In her latest "Truth Alert," Dr. Streisand explores what she describes as the "psycho-social reasons relating to Bush’s decision to invade Iraq."
Turns out, according to the oracle of Malibu, Bush has "a long-standing father and son competition based on feelings of jealousy and inadequacy."
Posits Streisand: "Bush saw the opportunity to emerge from his father's shadow and no longer be seen as the perpetual underachiever who consistently failed under the watchful eye of his accomplished father."
Starters: Yesterday's illegal immigration rallies attracted
a lot of media and blogger attention. Of course, since most of the media favors
unchecked immigration of any kind, they have a tendency to cover up the more outrageous signs
that protesters were sporting Monday. If you're looking for blog coverage of
the protests, head over to Instapundit.com.
Which party will benefit from illegal immigration as it
gains a higher profile in the national debate? The Washington
Times thinks Democrats stand the most to gain. Ace of Spades agrees, arguing
that the Dems' strategy of not offering policy alternatives pays off on at
least this issue.
Media: Bob Schieffer and CBS News accused of racism by fired
producer. "Schieffer has a reputation for bigotry," Raylena Fields
alleges. He "frequently and publicly refers to a newsroom assistant as
'Brownie' due to the complexion of his skin." Fields also claims she saw
the anchor address a black correspondent as "boy." In middle eastern media, Saudi television regularly allows anti-semitic
and anti-American rhetoric on its government-owned airwaves. MEMRI exposes one
of the more virulent
ranters who compares American "neocons" (aka Jews) of being the "closest
thing there is to Nazism." (ht LGF).
How did the media cover guns last week? Alphecca blog's Jeff
Soyer answers that in his weekly roundup of press gun
New York Times National reporter Jodi Rudoren (formerly Jodi Wilgoren, and therein lies a self-absorbed tale) has a Saturday front-page story on yet another investigation of a congressman, Rep. Alan Mollohan of West Virginia.
“As lawmakers have increasingly slipped pet projects into federal spending bills over the past decade, one lawmaker has used his powerful perch on the House Appropriations Committee to funnel $250 million into five nonprofit organizations that he set up. Those actions have prompted a complaint to federal prosecutors that questions whether any of that taxpayer money helped fuel a parallel growth in his personal fortune.
As the MRC’s Brent Baker reported, the broadcast network news programs focused much attention Monday on immigration issues and rallies. In an effort to demonstrate growing public sentiment in favor of giving such folks guest worker status, the “Evening News” presented data recently obtained from a CBS News poll on the subject. Unfortunately, CBS only shared the parts of the poll that seemed to support its own position on this issue while ignoring the results that didn’t (video link to follow). White House correspondent Jim Axelrod claimed: “According to a new CBS News poll, 74 percent of Americans favor allowing illegal immigrants to stay and work if they have been here at least five years, pay a fine and back taxes, speak English and don't have a criminal record. But even when you wipe away all those conditions, more Americans still favor allowing illegals to apply for work permits than oppose the idea.”
In addition, Axelrod concluded his piece by suggesting that it was conservatives that are blocking legislation that would make these protestors happy: “And despite the latest poll numbers, don't forget that in this town there is still a strong feeling among conservatives that the only nonnegotiables in immigration reform are tighter borders and stricter law enforcement. So this would hardly be the first group to demonstrate at the Mall and ultimately be disappointed.”
Yet, Axelrod and CBS chose not to include in this report other numbers from this poll suggesting that Americans are not only opposed to illegal immigration, but also think legal immigration is too high:
Jack Kelley has a good article about journalists who selectively choose when to recycle old news.
"A senior administration official confirmed for the first time on Sunday that President Bush had ordered the declassification of parts of a prewar intelligence report on Iraq in an effort to rebut critics who said the administration had exaggerated the nuclear threat posed by Saddam Hussein," reported David Sanger and David Johnston in the New York Times Monday.
For the first time? Here's the AP's Tom Raum on July 20, 2003: "The White House declassified portions of an October, 2002 intelligence report to demonstrate that President Bush had ample reason to believe Iraq was reconstituting a nuclear weapons program."....
Many media watchers predicted the press would turn on John McCain only after he got the Republican nomination and had to face a Democrat. Before the general election, he was expected to be coddled by the press as the sensible alternative to more right-wing Republican candidates.
But Howard Kurtz writes in the Washington Post that the McCain-media love affair may be ending sooner as McCain publicly embraces conservative positions.
John McCain was expecting journalists to start slapping him around, and he hasn't been disappointed.
As he gears up for a likely presidential campaign, the Arizona senator knows that reporters and columnists -- whom he jokingly described last year as "my base" -- have to prove their independence this time around. Media folks spent so much time riding on McCain's bus and listening to his rolling news conferences in the 2000 campaign that they were often mocked for swooning over the candidate.
Imagine you're a news show host, and a former presidential adviser just claimed that the United States military is near to "a state of rebellion" against civilian authorities. Do you think you might have asked a follow-up question or two?
Apparently not, at least if you're Matt Lauer interviewing James Carville, who made just such an inflammatory allegation on this morning's Today show. The topic was the source of the leak of the alleged plans for an attack on Iran to destroy its nuclear capabilities, such plans said to extend to the possible use of tactical nuclear weapons to destroy hardened, underground facilities.
Carville was adamant that the military were behind the leak. His theory was that the military "thought by leaking this, it would lessen the chances that they would do something foolish in Iran which is always a possibility with this administration."
On the media beat Monday, New York Times reporter Lorne Manly (is that his real name?) wrote a story headlined "Before You Hit Send, Pause, Reflect," on the sad case of ABC weekend "Good Morning America" executive producer John Green, who was suspended for a month after the New York Post reported that he said former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright had "Jew shame." He was not suspended immediately when the Drudge Report displayed an e-mail from the 2004 presidential debates where he declared "Bush makes me sick" for his attacks on Kerry.
Manly lamented that the Green mini-scandal has put a "chilling effect" on wild and woolly newsrooms. He began by noting that although newsrooms may be more sanitary and smoke-free than the kind portrayed in the old Cary Grant-Rosalind Russell movie "His Girl Friday," "their freewheeling nature has not been completely extinguished, with the banter and off-color humor about the day's events and personalities ricocheting among today's cubicle dwellers, at times through news organizations' e-mail systems." Manly's story completely exaggerates how the media supposedly bend over backwards to appear fair and balanced:
On his new blog over at U.S. News & World Report, cranky old liberal John Mashek (who earned the C.O.L. title for dismissing MRC's DisHonors dinner as "preposterous" a few posts back) reports from a media panel at Middle Tennessee State University. He heard one Mary Mapes, still outraged by people who would insist she should prove a story before she puts it on the air:
Mary Mapes, the CBS producer who was fired over her role in a 60 Minutes II story about George W. Bush's service in the Texas Air National Guard, said profiteering had taken over at television networks at the expense of news. Mapes defended her professionalism in the controversy, indicating that a rush to run the story played a role in the errors admitted by CBS. Mapes implied that she took the fall, along with other female operatives, while the male executives at the network escaped with their jobs intact. Of course, Dan Rather, who had to humble himself for the mistake, left the network anchor chair a few months later.
The three broadcast networks led Monday night with multiple stories which celebrated the protest marches held by illegal immigrants and their supporters, with all three featuring sympathetic anecdotes about the plight of those here illegally. “Tonight,” ABC anchor Elizabeth Vargas touted in forwarding the red herring that conservatives are against “immigration” as opposed to illegal entry, “hundreds of thousands of people marching in streets across America, trying to convince the country that it needs immigrants." World News Tonight went to three field reports, starting with Miguel Marquez in Phoenix: “Everywhere you look, there are American flags. They're marching under the banner of 'Somos America,' 'we are American.'" But Dan Harris in New York City saw that “like many people here,” one man he spoke with “is carrying a Mexican flag. He says 'I don't need to carry an American flag for people to know that I want to be an American.'"
CBS anchor Bob Schieffer, who never uttered the word “illegal” in his lengthy introduction, teased: “They are not American citizens yet, but they want to be. And from every corner of America, immigrants took to the streets today to ask for new immigration laws. We'll go city to city tonight.” Schieffer trumpeted: "Not since the protests of the Vietnam era has there been anything quite like it. From the Canadian border to Texas, from California to the east coast, thousands upon thousands of immigrants in at least a hundred American cities took to the streets in peaceful demonstrations." Bill Whittaker championed “Alex Vega...a father of ten. He owns a business and a house in Orange County. He entered the U.S. illegally 28 years ago. He's marching today because he says he's tired of living in the shadows." From Washington's Mall, Jim Axelrod saw “tens of thousands of Americans” marching though many were illegals. Over on NBC, the least celebratory, Lester Holt heralded: “From border states like here in Arizona to unlikely places like South Bend, Indiana, and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, illegal immigrants alongside their supporters stepped from the shadows. Marching under the American flag, they demanded a place at the American table." (Transcripts follow.)
Forty-ninth just sounds more dramatic. Union activists in at least nine other states - Arizona, Louisiana, Nevada, Florida, Pennsylvania, Idaho, Tennessee, Illinois and Utah - apparently agree. By one survey or another, all claimed to be 49th in 2004 or 2005.
The typical response is that [insert state name here] is thankful for Mississippi. But wait:
But Franks and others argued that the Legislature had to set priorities, and education should be the No. 1 priority. "Is it practical for us to be 49th in education funding?" Franks asked.
There is not as much money per pupil as before. This occurs at a time when Ontario's funding for education stands 49th in North America.
Gee, with 50 states and 11 provinces, not counting Mexico, you'd at least think they'd have been imaginative enough to make it 60 out of 61. Welcome to the Education Establishment, and the Media Echo Chamber. Where all the unions are strong, the statistics are good-looking, and all the funding is below-average.
A New York Times reporter who called recent corporate layoffs “worse than the Great Depression” was the paper’s choice to write about the positive job growth in the economy.
Reporter Louis Uchitelle authored somewhat critical view of the latest unemployment report by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). That report showed a 211,000-job gain in March 2006 and a low jobless rate of 4.7 percent. By comparison, nearly one in four Americans was without work in the early 1930s.
Despite low unemployment and 31 straight months of job gains, economics writer and author Louis Uchitelle calls for federal laws to restrict corporate layoffs, a policy even a liberal Berkeley economist questions.
In her Newsweek back-page column this week, feminist Anna Quindlen dances a Superiority Dance on the declining Miss America pageant, as the subheadline read: "Miss America was supplanted by her sisters, who carried briefcases instead of roses and preferred a suit to a maillot and heels." Quindlen made yet another karma connection between anchor-in-waiting Katie Couric and president-in-waiting Hillary Clinton:
There are better contests today, with much better prizes. Katherine Anne Couric, from the great state of Virginia, wins the anchor seat at CBS and a reported annual salary equal to the gross national product of an emerging nation. Hillary Rodham Clinton, resident of New York, waits in the wings (or at least the Senate) for a possible stint as the leader of the free world. Granted, both require tap dancing and fixed smiles. But the white gloves are off and there are no dummies involved.