Story after story about Rupert Murdoch’s purchase offer for Dow Jones & Company, which owns The Wall Street Journal, has criticized the prospect as a threat to journalism, questioned the media mogul’s “editorial integrity” and attacked his character.
Journalists, media critics and the union representing the Journal were up in arms.
“[P]robably not quite as frightening as the day we learned Kim Jong Il has the bomb, but close … very close. It could be worse. We might have discovered, for example, that Saddam Hussein had stashed all those missing weapons of mass destruction in a Pasadena storage locker rented to Osama bin Laden,” said a Los Angeles Times column.
NEW YORK (AP) — The nation's service sector expanded at a faster-than-expected pace in May, suggesting it could help sustain broader economic growth as the automotive and housing industries slump, a research group said Tuesday.
The Institute for Supply Management, based in Tempe, Ariz., said its index of business activity in the non-manufacturing sector was 59.7 in May. The reading was higher than April's reading of 56 and Wall Street's expectation of 56.
..... The service industries covered by the ISM report represent about 80 percent of economic activity and span diverse industries including banking, construction, retailing, mining, agriculture and travel.
Ford's protracted sales slump continued in May, while every other major automaker showed gains:
DETROIT — Toyota Motor Corp.'s U.S. vehicle sales jumped 14.1 percent in May to its best monthly level ever and General Motors Corp.'s sales rose 9.7 percent, helping boost industry sales 5 percent, as both automakers credited in part the appeal of their more fuel-efficient offerings amid high gas prices.
For the second month this year, Toyota outsold Ford Motor Co., which saw sales fall 6.9 percent as it continued to cut low-profit sales to rental companies. Nissan Motor Co.'s sales gained 7.4 percent, DaimlerChrysler AG's sales rose 3.9 percent and American Honda Motor Co. rose 2.5 percent.
Even factoring in the change in sales to rental companies, the article goes on to say that Ford's retail sales were still down 3%.
As he did last month, George Pipas of Ford tried an advance PR stunt that fizzled, but left less-than-close observers thinking that the company might be doing better than it really is:
TheDaily Brief, one of the blogs for the new Conde-Nast business magazine Portfolio, took some jabs June 1 at their target audience, businessmen, by comparing them to, “bitter banker” Mr. Potter in the movie “It’s A Wonderful Life”. The typical bias came courtesy ofMegan Barnett, News Editor of Portfolio, who said:
“Like the ruthless Mr. Potter in “It’s A Wonderful Life”, hedge funds are attacking banks for being too soft on homeowners at risk of defaulting on their mortgages. The reason? Simple. Hedge funds would make more money if they didn't.”
On February 28 (second item at link), New York Times business reporter David Leonhardt infamously wrote the following:
For Manufacturing, a Recession Has Arrived
The nation’s manufacturing sector managed to slip into a recession with almost nobody seeming to notice. Well, until yesterday.
To this day, Leonhardt appears to be the only one to "notice" a recession in manufacturing -- because it doesn't exist. In fact, the latest related report from the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) showed that the manufacturing sector expanded for the fourth straight month. That would include February, when Leonhardt made his "recession" call. The ISM reading of 55.0 (any reading over 50 indicates expansion) actually inched up a bit from the previous month's 54.7.
Though it's not possible to tell for sure because of the TimeSelect subscription wall, a Times search on "manufacturing recession" (not in quotes) shows no apparent retraction of Leonhardt's call, but does include plenty of references to other reasons why a recession might be possible.
Leonhardt's "less than perfect" reporting has apparently continued.
The May 31 CBS "Evening News" spun a recent international health incident into ammunition for an attack on the pharmaceutical companies.
After the program updated viewers on the tuberculosis scare caused by one infected man's European honeymoon, reporter Nancy Cordes launched into the blame game.
“Why haven’t more drugs been developed to fight disease with the potential to kill thousands?” asked Cordes, the CBS Transportation and Consumer Safety correspondent.
She then quoted a doctor who blamed the bottom line.
“Pharmaceutical companies live to make a profit and if antibiotics, for example, because they’re used for usually 7 to 14 days, maybe as long as a month, can’t generate the same kind of profits as a new cholesterol agent or the new Viagra, which a person might take for years,” said Dr. Eric Nuermberger, an assistant professor of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases, at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health.
David Fenton and his public relations firm are “left-leaning,” according to the May 31 Washington Post. But the glowing 1,856-word profile of Fenton revealed more than just a left-leaning tilt.
In the story “Putting the Progressive in PR” by Linton Weeks, the Post depicted Fenton, now head of Fenton Communications, as an entrepreneurial Mahatma Gandhi figure – furthering causes deemed pure and wholesome by the Post, from the protection of swordfish to abolishing the death penalty.
On Thursday’s "Good Morning America," the ABC program repeated anti-Wal-Mart talking points from the liberal group Wake-up Wal-Mart. Reporter Bianna Golodryga explained that the segment, which discussed recent company woes, was based on a confidential memo given to the network:
Bianna Golodryga: "...Wake-Up Wal-Mart, a union financed group highly critical of the retailer has provided ABC News with a confidential memo from a former ad agency with a dire warning."
The memo, which is six months old and amounts to nothing more than an embarrassing behind the scenes discussion of Wal-Mart’s strategy to market high-end goods, seemed to simply be a pretext for GMA to bash the company. Golodryga piled on, noting that "the leaked memo is just another blow to a company which has experienced its share of blunders this year, ranging from sexual discrimination lawsuits to a recent war of words with a fired ad executive." The segment also featured a representative from the left-wing Wake up Wal-Mart group slamming the company’s "poor values," while having nobody on to defend it:
It's generally bad for business to have a flippant employee who insults your loyal customers. Now if someone could just give that newsflash to the Associated Press.
The AP today picked
up on the plight of one David Noordeweir, who was fired in late
February from a Michigan Wal-Mart for an entry on his MySpace page that
insulted the intelligence of Wal-Mart shoppers. Here's the lede.:
A former Wal-Mart cashier says he was fired for joking on his MySpace
page that the average IQ would increase if a bomb were dropped on the
Gee, nothing insulting or inflammatory there.
The AP story stocked up reader's shopping cart with Noordeweir's fine whine:
It’s déjà vu all over again. Rising gas prices and oil companies’ “record profits” fuel an almost yearly call for investigations into “price gouging.” The media then complain of alleged wrongdoing and fail to ask intelligent questions about the issue.
Rising gas prices are “[k]inda suspicious,” according to CBS “Early Show” co-host Julie Chen on May 23.
"Over Ginsburg's Dissent, Court Limits Bias Suits," blared the May 30 front page headline by the Washington Post Supreme Court reporter Robert Barnes. While the 5-4 ruling in Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co.
hinged on a plain and simple application of a 1964 federal law, Barnes
front-loaded his article with the dissent of liberal Associate Justice
Ruth Bader Ginsburg, buried the majority's rationale deep in the
article after pro-Ginsburg feminist talking points, failed to include
comment from Goodyear Tire, and gave readers an unbalanced portrait of
the ruling focused on feminist reaction.
Let's take a look at how Barnes's bias unfolded, starting with the lede and second paragraph:
In an excellent investigative report last Sunday (may require free registration) that is part of a series on how "how businesses and investors seek to profit from the soaring number of older Americans, in ways helpful and harmful," the New York Times' Charles Duhigg exposed the despicable tactics of elder-scam artists and the "information services" companies that supply them the "sucker lists" they need.
He may not have known that he was simultaneously exposing information that could, and arguably should, damage the presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton.
Duhigg led with the truly sad story of 92 year-old Richard Guthrie:
..... He ended up on scam artists’ lists because his name, like millions of others, was sold by large companies to telemarketing criminals, who then turned to major banks to steal his life’s savings.
The timing couldn't have been more perfect. As the media begin hyping Michael's Moore's latest film "Sicko," CBS "Evening News" ran a two-part attack on the insurance industry.
“It’s all about money,” said Tod Smith, a 54-year-old who suffered a heart attack, about insurance companies. “That’s the bottom line,” he told CBS viewers.
The segments, aired on May 23 and 24, relied heavily on anti-industry and liberal sources, and limited industry representation.
On May 23, CBS chief investigative correspondent Armen Keteyian focused on the plight of Scott Svonkin, portraying him as an average uninsurable American. But Svonkin is not average, in fact he is an advocate - something Keteyian didn't reveal until the end of the segment.
Several witnesses testified that climate change is going to economically harm winter tourism and sporting businesses. But the committee did not consider the costs to recreation if green activists get their way – or what Congress could possibly do to protect winter sports. Pass a mandate on snowfall perhaps?
“The recreation industry’s true threats come not from climate change – which has always changed and will always change – but from the so-called global warming ‘solutions’ being proposed by government policymakers,” said Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) in a press release about the hearing.
That's right. Bubble, shmubble, despite this picture from Matt Drudge, who got snookered on this one:
Fire sales, schmire sales.
The Chief Snookerer in the latest search for the elusive housing bubble is Martin Crutsinger of the Associated Press, with a significant assist from the Commerce Department (link is to a PDF), which inexplicably did not, and apparently does not, report the regional sales data needed for a more detailed look.
Crutsinger took Commerce's housing report showing a significant decline in the nationwide median selling price of a new home, both in the past month and year over year, and ran with it at an all-out sprint (bold is mine):
If you were planning on a backyard barbeque this Memorial Day weekend, the media want you to cancel it. Unless of course, boiled tofu is on the menu.
Grilling, steaks, chicken, burgers, hot dogs, not to mention most of the other fixins’ are just too bad for you or the environment according to journalists.
We can’t broil and grill anymore?” replied “Today” co-host Ann Curry after a nutritionist said grilling is dangerous. She was talking to Joy Bauer, who said people need to avoid salty foods, grilling, frying and whole milk dairy products.
Last night the rhetorical attack on Avandia was fierce.
"We're starting with a story that affects hundreds of thousands of Americans because a new study out today says a drug they take increases their chances of having a heart attack and dying," warned CBS "Evening News" anchor Katie Couric.
You haven't heard of Robert E. Murray? That's not surprising.
If there were an open dialog instead of continual blather about "settled science" when it comes to supposedly human-induced "climate change" and "global warming" (two concepts I like to collectively refer to as "globaloney"), Murray would have visibility. But, as Strassel writes, a different "climate," the political one, appears to be keeping him largely out of the public eye, despite his best efforts to break through.
You see, Robert Murray is a coal-company executive who has first-hand experience with what will happen on a much broader scale if the radical changes envisioned by Al Gore and others (whom I like to refer to as "globalarmists") ever get enacted:
Those are not exactly words you'd expect to hear an American journalist use to refer to a Latin American dictator who has been seizing American-owned property this month. Yet Barbara Walters used all three to describe Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, in various ABC broadcasts on March 16.
Even though Chavez has recently assumed "control" of oil fields that were run by Chevron, ExxonMobil and ConocoPhillips, ABC, NBC and CBS haven't even reported it. Chavez also plans to takeover private Venezuelan media soon. That hasn't been reported either, let alone criticized.
Despite the fact that Chavez seized power and shut down his opposition in Venezuela, the media rarely portray him as a dictator, preferring kinder words like “controversial” and “populist.” Walters even talked about how "beloved" he is.
“President Hugo Chavez is so beloved by some of his supporters that they hang pictures of him in their living rooms in the poor barrios that ring the city,” Barbara Walters gushed on ABC’s “Nightline” March 16.
Katie Couric, was not warning parents about sexual predators when she said "They're after your children and grandchildren." No, the “Evening News” anchor was talking about corporations “spending nearly $17 billion a year trying to sell their products to our kids.”
The one-sided May 14 segment blamed “far-reaching tentacles” of business for obesity and youth sexual activity, among other problems.
One critic, Dr. Susan Linn from the Campaign for a Commerical-Free Childhood said:
“Advertising and marketing is a factor in childhood obesity, in eating disorders, precocious irresponsible sexuality, youth violence, underage drinking, underaged tobacco use.”
On Tuesday’s "Good Morning America," co-host Diane Sawyer and reporter Claire Shipman hyperbolically investigated "soaring" gas prices. After noting that oil companies have been publically presenting their explanations, she wondered, "But are they true? We put them to the truth test."
Apparently, it's ABC that needs the "truth test." Diane Sawyer’s intro included this comment from Gulf Oil President Joe Petrowski’s May 14 interview with CNN:
"It's very peaceful," said Hunter, "There's a growing interest in scaled-down version of a traditional funeral which costs on average of more than $6,000, but cost is not the only reason people are choosing to go green."
It's certainly the only reason I would choose to.
Hunter's segment featured Memorial Ecosystems, Inc. of Westminster, S.C. which will provide a green burial at the 76-acre Ramsey Creek Preserve for about $2,275.
A cartoon in the May 13 "Sunday Briefing" on page F2 of the Washington Post furthered a left-wing talking point against "Big Oil" that a comprehensive study by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) debunked last year: that oil companies artificially manipulate gas prices by squeezing supply.
A cartoon from the Newark Star-Ledger's Drew Sheneman depicts a man fueling his car asking a cigar-smoking "Oil Co." representative, "Why do gas prices always go up right before the summer vacation season?" "Coincidence," replies the oil executive, as he stands atop the fuel line, bottlenecking the gas on its way to the motorist's car. The price atop the pump reads $3.50.
The implication, of course, is that the petroleum industry artificially bottlenecks supply to jack up fuel costs.
But that's not true, previous probes into allegations of price gouging have determined, including a May 22, 2006 FTC study of post-Hurricane Katrina gas prices.
Among the major conclusions, the FTC post-Katrina found:
The most instructive part of the anti-Rupert Murdoch rant in today's Boston Globe is the byline: "Mitchell Zuckoff is a professor of journalism at Boston University." Yes, the author of this tirade against Fox News and its owner spends his daytime hours grooming the next generation of journalists.
The essence of Zuckoff's A robber baron in Barron's house is an invidious comparison of Clarence, the good Barron, who made the Dow Jones company great, and Rupert, the "robber baron," whose News Corp. has made a $5 billion offer to acquire the parent corporation of the Wall Street Journal, among other operations.
Colin Beavan is going without many things this year, including toilet paper. You can find previous Newsbusters and Business & Media Institute stories about Beavan here and here. His "No Impact" experiment includes going without any carbon-emitting transportation, electricity, paper products, packaging, new clothes, refrigeration ... you get the idea.
But on May 10 ABC "Nightline" host Cynthia McFadden said Beavan is doing it all "to avoid harming the earth." Too bad that's not entirely true. Beavan is conducting the "radical" year-long experiment because he is a writer of historical nonfiction and it was "the only one of four possibilities his agent thought would sell," according to The New York Times.
"Good Morning America" clearly favors government parenting over the real thing.
On May 9, GMA targeted all-terrain-vehicles (ATVs) as unsafe and promoted regulation rather than parental responsibility.
The program used frightening video of an ATV rollover and undercover footage that made retailers look criminal, and interviewed a woman who lost two relatives in accidents, as well as a doctor who said ATVs are much harder to drive than cars.
"Eight states have no laws at all regulating these vehicles, 12 others have no minimum riding age," said consumer correspondent Elisabeth Leamy.
Leamy also interviewed Pam Saylor, a woman who lost her son and another relative in separate ATV accidents, but failed to point out that she is a regulation advocate.
On Friday’s "Good Morning America," co-host Robin Roberts complained about the "staggering" salaries of American CEOs. Citing a new Forbes magazine report claiming that these individuals received a 38 percent raise last year, Roberts engaged in typical class warfare. She incredulously stated, "It has us saying, come on, you must be kidding."
Reporter Dan Harris and guest William Baldwin, editor of Forbes, listed several examples of supposedly outrageous CEO salaries and proceeded to divine who deserved such money and who did not:
Dan Harris: "Even the editor of Forbes has some trouble stomaching some of the things his staff uncovered this year. Oddly enough, number one on the list is Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple, who makes just $1 a year in salary."
Former Vice President Al Gore was included in the "Scientists and Thinkers" category. Hmm...he's not a scientist so would that make him a thinker? Just call him Al-istotle.
Actor and green activist Leonardo DiCaprio, Virgin Airlines' Richard Branson (who has offered a $25 million prize for a solution to global warming), talk show host Oprah Winfrey, and media personality Brian Williams also made the list.
Celebrities were well represented: Cate Blanchett, who marched in protest of global warming in Sydney, Australia; George Clooney, who made the cover of Vanity Fair’s 2006 “Green Issue”; and “Light Green” musician John Mayer who advocates changing one thing each year. Others included Brad Pitt, who has worked with Global Green on “sustainable” building, and Oprah Winfrey, who recently handed out compact fluorescent light bulbs to her audience.
A “promising” new drug could save lives of people fighting osteoporosis, but neither ABC “World News with Charles Gibson,” nor CBS “Evening News” even mentioned the drug’s manufacturer - Novartis Pharmaceuticals (NYSE: NVS) - in May 2 broadcasts.
Zoledronic acid “may be just what the doctor ordered,” according to Katie Couric. The broadcasts cited a new study that found a 70-percent decline in spine fractures and a 41-percent decline in hip fractures among the patients studied.