My, it was awfully nice of Marcy Gordon at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, to give Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner such excellent protection in her report on the New York Federal Reserve Bank's release of documents relating to its knowledge of the manipulation of the "Libor" (London interbank offered rate) used as the basis for the pricing of trillions of dollars of loans.
Her report's second paragraph only tells readers that Geithner, "who was then president of the New York Fed, urged the Bank of England to make the rate-setting process more transparent." What a helpful guy. Readers needed to go to Paragraph 12 to see more about Geithner, and even that information was given kid-glove treatment:
The title of a post at Business Insider crows, “Here's The Ballsy Businessweek Cover That's Going To Piss Off The Mormon Church.” In truth, it should anger anyone who finds it low and, frankly, un-American, to attack a candidate – directly or indirectly – through his religion.
But with Mitt Romney running neck and neck with Barack Obama, Bloomberg Businessweek saw the opportunity to further the Obama campaign’s jihad against Romney the super-wealthy tax-avoiding capitalist, while reminding readers that Romney belongs to this sort of strange, secretive cult that’s also a business empire of questionable legitimacy.
Not only is the Associated Press aptly currently described as the Administration's Press -- as least as long as the White House's current occupant remains there -- it also seems to be serving as the Administration's Protection.
In a story about the "Lie-bor" scandal, wherein British banks have admitted to colluding to set the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) -- arguably the world’s most important benchmark for interest rates -- artificially low, AP reporter Martin Crutsinger "somehow" forgot that current Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner was President of the New York Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank during much of the time period in which Congressional investigators are interested. Clearly, they want to know what Geithner knew, and when he knew it. The first three paragraphs of Crutsinger's writeup, followed by his sole context-free mention of Geithner, follow the jump (bolds are mine throughout this post):
The establishment press often pays a price in lost credibility when it ignores important economic reports. The original omission is bad enough, of course. But when subsequent business coverage makes assertions which the ignored reports directly refute, it leaves you wondering why you should even try to believe anything they compose.
Such is the case with Martin Crutsinger's report today on the Institute for Supply Management's Non Manufacturing Index (NMI). Following on the heels of Monday's Manufacturing Index, which slipped into contraction (as perceived by surveyed purchasing managers) for the first time in three years, the NMI declined but at least remained in (perceived) expansion mode. In the course of describing current economic conditions, Crutsinger made the following erroneous statement:
At the Associated Press, Christina Rexrode placed the blame for Monday's mediocre performance in the stock market squarely and obviously where it belonged: "Stocks struggled to stay out of the red in quiet holiday-week trading after a trade group said American manufacturing shrank in June for the first time in almost three years." The trade group involved is the Institute for Supply Management. Its manufacturing index dropped from 53.5% in May to 49.8% in June. Any reading below 50% represents contraction. Analysts expected that it would come in at between 52% (per Business Insider's email) and 52.5% (according to Zero Hedge).
Apparently the people who write CNNMoney's emails didn't want their readers to know the truth, as will be seen after the jump.
I'll bet it would shake people up to know that all of the recent and steep decline in consumer confidence has occurred in households earning $75,000 or more per year. On Friday, the June Thomson Reuters and the University of Michigan Survey of Consumers told us just that.
The key sentence in the U of M press release reads as follows (PDF; bold is mine): "Perhaps of greater importance was that the entire June decline was among households with incomes above $75,000." Look at how the Associated Press's Christopher Rugaber recharacterized that direct, unmistakable assertion in his four-paragraph item on Friday:
Recent job cuts at Alabama newspapers have been steep. The Birmingham Business Journal, which (ahem) apparently is not among the participants, reports that "Three of Alabama’s largest daily newspapers, including the Birmingham News, will lay off about 400 employees as they cut back their printing schedules and increase their focus on digital." The other affected publications include the Huntsville Times and the Mobile Press Register. The job cuts are on the order of 50%-60%.
Across the Alabama border in Florida at the Pensacola News Journal, cartoonist Andy Marlette did not handle the layoff news well, as will be seen after the jump.
At the Associated Press today, trying to build an impression of momentum where there isn't very much, Martin Crutsinger, concerning today's Census Bureau release of May new-home sales data, wrote that, "Americans bought new homes in May at the fastest pace in more than two years. The increase suggests a modest recovery is continuing in the U.S. housing market, despite weaker job growth."
We've been through this before. The rest of Crutsinger's report quoted no expert to support his "modest recovery" claim as it relates to sales volume. Thus, it is his opinion. Readers don't care what your opinion is, Marty. As I suggested in connection with another AP report earlier this month -- "Stick to the facts, sir, and resist the urge to inject your thinly disguised perspective (I would say "shut up," but I'm trying to be nice)." Speaking of facts, the AP's headline is deceptive. Since it hasn't changed in about 12 hours, I assume that the wire service either doesn't understand why it's wrong, or doesn't care.
If this were a prize fight, it would have ended at the end of the sixth round in a knockout. In a post at the American Enterprise Institute's blog this afternoon, James Pethokoukis, who previously toiled at U.S. News and Reuters, made mincemeat out of Washington Post reporter Tom Hamburger's Thursday Mitt Romney-Bain Capital hit piece ("Romney’s Bain Capital invested in companies that moved jobs overseas").
Just sit back and enjoy the pummeling. Since Hamburger didn't land any blows, I'll only deal with the punches Pethokoukis landed in explaining "Romney Reality" while refuting six "WaPo World" whines (italics are in original):
Financial reporter Nathaniel Popper made the front of the New York Times Sunday Business section using the language of Occupy Wall Street, in a populist crusade against high chief executive pay disguised as a news story: "C.E.O. Pay, Rising Despite the Din."
Popper talked in familiar terms of "revolution," "the 99 percent," and the "nation’s have-a-lots" versus "the have-lesses," and the term "hyperwealth," delivered without quotes, which seems to be code for "earning more than the Times thinks you should be."
It wouldn't quite be fair to say that the Associated Press's Christopher Rugaber sugarcoated his dispatch on today's release of the April Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) by Uncle Sam's Bureau of Labor Statistics. But it would be more than fair to say he missed several chances to tell readers how significant the setbacks BLS relayed really were (openings fell 8.7% from a seasonally adjusted 3.741 million to 3.416 million). That's especially true, given what we already know about May's employment situation.
What follows are several paragraphs from Rugaber's report, followed by contextual factoids the folks at Zero Hedge found which the AP reporter missed or ignored:
During the 1980s, despite data which even then was telling them they were wrong, it became a mantra of a desperate establishment press that the booming economy under Ronald Reagan really wasn't that impressive because so many of the new jobs created were part-time or temporary.
The data was not then readily available for temps, but it certainly was for part-time vs. full-time employment. It comes from to the Household Survey performed by Uncle Sam's Bureau of Labor Statistics on a monthly basis to determine the unemployment rate. What follows is a graph comparing the growth in employment in those two categories during the 35 post-recession months under Reagan to the analogous 35 months since the most recent recession's official end in June 2009. It will make you wonder how the press can claim objectivity when it has barely touched on the contrast you will see, or even on the poor performance itself without historical comparisons.
Sometimes it takes a bit of exertion to disprove an assertion made by an establishment press reporter. Not this time. Today's Department of Labor report on initial unemployment claims told us that such filings "unexpectedly" (as relayed by Reuters and Bloomberg) rose to 386,000 from an upwardly revised (of course) 380,000 the previous week; expectations were for a fall to 375,000. About an hour after DOL's release, Christopher Rugaber at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, told readers that "Applications fell steadily during the fall and winter but have since leveled off."
Well, this one can be taken care of in one easy chart. It starts with what was essentially the last week of winter (the week ended March 24) and goes through the week ended June 9 covered in today's release, with an extra 3,000 added to the most current week to reflect next week's likely upward adjusted (such adjustments during the past sixty-plus weeks have averaged about 3,900).
In a rural area where “The economy sucks when it’s good,” natural gas drilling could have gone a long way. Could have, until environmental extremists and regulators got in the way.
That’s what happened in Wayne County, Pa., just a few years ago when “corporations offered struggling farmers lucrative leases for mineral rights” but a documentary filmmaker and government prevented the drilling, according to a June 7, 2012 story from Bloomberg Businessweek magazine.
Today at a press conference, President Barack Obama said that "we’ve created 4.3 million jobs over the last 27 months, over 800,000 just this year alone. The private sector is doing fine. Where we’re seeing weaknesses in our economy have to do with state and local government ..."
Later, in a cleanup attempt, in what the press is claiming is a walkback, Obama really didn't walk it back: "Listen, it is absolutely clear that the economy is not doing fine. That's the reason I had the press conference. ... what I've been saying consistently over the last year, we've actually seen some good momentum in the private sector. We've seen 4.3 million jobs created -- 800,000 this year alone -- record corporate profits. And so that has not been the biggest drag on the economy." He never pulled back from saying that "the private sector is doing fine." The abject panic at the Associated Press is evident in tonight's report by Ken Thomas and Philip Elliott (HT to a NewsBusters tipster; bolds and numbered tags are mine):
The Boston Globe is reporting on a Massachusetts solar company that received state loans under Governor Romney, and is now filing for bankruptcy. The Globe insists that this news means that Romney's attacks on the President's failed Solyndra investment have backfired, and are implying that it opens up the Republican presidential contender up to charges of hypocrisy.
After the jump is a graphic from Investor's Business Daily comparing post-recession consumer confidence readings from the Conference Board during the Reagan and Obama administrations. See it there or see it below, because you probably won't see it at any establishment press web site or in any of their publications.
What's remarkable about the graphic is how confidence was able to stay at or above 100 (a reading of 90 is considered the "healthy economy" benchmark) in the face of a virtually non-stop media onslaught which alternatively tried to deny the existence of the ongoing prosperity, constantly warned that another recession was just around the corner, or whined about how supposedly unfair the economy was becoming (Keep in mind that the Media Research Center didn't appear on the scene until 1987) -- which is quite different from the current establishment media cheerleading which occurs seemingly any time there's the least little sign that things might be getting better.
In a generally even-handed report on yesterday's drop in consumer confidence as reported by the Conference Board (from a revised 68.7 to 64.9, vs. expectations of a rise to 69.6, according to Bloomberg), the Associated Press's Mae Anderson, with assistance from Christopher Rugaber, engaged in a bit of excuse-making in and downplaying in their later paragraphs.
The AP pegged its water-down to a strong upward move in the yesterday's stock trading, pretending that investors didn't take the confidence report seriously. That's odd, because other press reports attributed those gains to "rising optimism about Greece's prospects to remain in the euro zone, which offset a disappointing reading on U.S. consumer confidence." In other words, the report was considered, but the news out of Greece was better. The relevant later paragraphs from AP's report, one relatively early, and the rest appearing much later, are after the jump (bold is mine):
CNN's Dana Bash reported Friday on the irony of President Obama hitting Mitt Romney's connections to Bain Capital when he himself has received donations from Bain employees. CNN has highlighted Obama's hypocrisy on this matter before, but this specific story has certainly not received much air-time – if any at all – in the last two weeks.
"But isn't it hypocritical for the Obama campaign to keep money from employees of a company it goes after as job-killers?" correspondent Dana Bash asked during the segment. Yet this story of Obama's clear hypocrisy has certainly not received the attention it merits on CNN. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
Following a report on Wednesday's NBC Nightly News about the dropping value of Facebook's initial public stock offering and possible investigations into what went wrong, anchor Brian Williams saw an opportunity to adopt the talking points of the left-wing Occupy Wall Street movement: "Is this a case of the rich get richer, another advantage to the 1%...?"
Williams posed that question to New York Times reporter and CNBC host Andrew Ross Sorkin, who enthusiastically added to the class warfare rhetoric: "Boy does it feel that way, Brian. This is that and probably a lot more. And it couldn't come at a worse time given the enormous distrust that the public has of Wall Street. And it goes to this sense of fairness. This is the ultimate 1% versus 99% all over again."
CNN's Soledad O'Brien spun Mitt Romney's words into a dodging-the-question moment for the candidate on the matter of Bain Capital, on Thursday's Starting Point. O'Brien was emphasizing Romney's "reluctance" to mention his days at Bain, which had been the focus of attack ads from the Obama campaign that O'Brien herself justified the other day.
Specifically, she took Romney's interview with Time magazine where he was asked if he welcomed attention about Bain. Romney had answered "of course" and then explained why the American people were more interested in President Obama's record. CNN, however, left out that explanation. [Video coming soon.]
Last week, what the Department of Labor had originally reported as a dip in new unemployment claims the previous week (from 368,000 to 367,000) was revised into an increase (to 370,000). This week, what DOL originally reported was a no-change situation (i.e., 370,000) was revised into an increase (to 372,000).
It's getting ever more difficult to accept DOL's ongoing underestimations, which now run to 60 of the 61 most recent weeks I've been able to track (the one exception was a "no change" situation during the week ended June 18, 2011). In covering today's charade, Reuters, Bloomberg, and the Associated Press (aka the Administration's Press), all failed to note that this week's revision to last week turned last week into an increase instead of a no-change. In what should be seen as only a marginal improvement, two of the three (the AP, predictably, was the exception), headlined this week's small initial reduction from last week -- which seems destined to disappear after revision next week -- as "essentially unchanged." Excerpts follow the jump.
A bogus report published by MarketWatch Tuesday claiming "under Obama, federal spending is rising at the slowest pace since Dwight Eisenhower brought the Korean War to an end in the 1950s" has been all the rage at the White House and MSNBC.
Conservative columnist Ann Coulter correctly observed Wednesday:
To be fair, the full text of what Martin Crutsinger at the Associated Press wrote in the first sentence of what I believe was the final version of his report today on the Census Bureau's new-home sales release was that "Americans bought more new homes last month, the latest evidence that the U.S. housing market could be starting to recover." The other "evidence" he cited related to a small bump reported earlier this week in existing home sales and one homebuilder's improved financial results.
That's pretty thin gruel from which to paint a "could be starting to recover" scenario, especially when it's expressed by someone who isn't a housing expert, i.e., an AP reporter. The only expert Crutsinger cited told him that "Housing could be a pleasant surprise this year." Wow. How profound. Let's take a look at some quotes from experts Thomson Reuters was able to find. Readers will note that the variations on word "bottom" occur quite frequently (quotes are not in the same order as they appeared at the link):
CNN's Soledad O'Brien has carriedwater for President Obama before, and her "nothing to see here" attitude on Tuesday's Starting Point in regards to the Obama's blatant hypocrisy made that all the more clear.
The night before, O'Brien's colleague Anderson Cooper grilled the Obama campaign over the President's personal attacks on Mitt Romney. Cooper maintained that Obama is hitting Romney's record at Bain Capital while fund raising from another head of a private equity firm that did business with Bain, thus committing a blatant act of hypocrisy. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
On Tuesday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer invited CNBC Mad Money host Jim Cramer to elaborate on calling Mitt Romney a "job destroyer" as the head of Bain Capital on Sunday's Meet the Press: "You speaking as a pundit, or do you have some experience here?" Cramer declared: "He was talking about rationalizing the workforce, making it so that the companies were more efficient. Matt, these were code words back then. Code words for firing people."
On Sunday's NBC Meet the Press, CNBC Mad Money host Jim Cramer followed Obama campaign talking points perfectly as he decried Mitt Romney's business record at Bain Capital: "Romney's known as a job destroyer, not a creator....I think Bain sticks. I think the idea that you bring in Bain...they fire a lot of people and that's how they get prosperity for the rich." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
At the same time, Cramer dismissed a positive forward-looking Romney ad outlining specific policy proposals: "I just don't think that this will stick." He concluded the Bain attacks against Romney were "a more resonant theme" and better "than anything that Romney's come up with."
Really, the only surprise is that consumers came before Obama in the headline -- because Obama came before the economy in the underlying article.
A late-day dispatch from Jonathan Fahey and Paul Wiseman at the Associated Press even found someone to say that history will be on Obama's side if gas prices fall to below $3.50 a gallon or so by Labor Day. Excerpts follow (bolds are mine):
I just about knew it when I heard a top-of-hour radio report this morning. When the announcer intoned that there was a 3% increase in "home construction" in April, I said to myself: "There's the Associated Press again, up to its old tricks." That was indeed the case. When I went to the related AP reports, I found that they were, like the economic data coming out during the Obama administration, much worse than expected.
In this morning's coverage of the still bottom-feeding situation in new home construction, the AP's Christopher Rugaber indeed wrote that a 3% seasonally adjusted April increase in housing starts from an annualized 699,000 to 717,000 represented an improvement in "the rate of construction." But he was just warming up. In an afternoon report which can only be characterized both in tone and in detail as an attempt to blow smoke up the public's posterior, he falsely claimed that "Home construction is near a three-year high." I would call that assertion "horse manure," but that would be unfair to equine excrement.