Their disingenuous complaint: The Obama administration supposedly has insurmountable technological and resource edges over the establishment press attempting to cover it. Because of those advantages, VandeHei and Allen claim, in essence (my words, except for the internal quote), "It's not our fault that President Obama is 'a master at limiting, shaping and manipulating media coverage of himself and his White House.' So if you dumb skeptics and conservatives think the problem is media bias, you're wrong. We're powerless against the puppet master." The first four paragraphs of the pair's insufferable dreck, which I believe is all that readers will be able to tolerate, follow the jump (bolds are mine):
Liz Sidoti's offering this morning at the Associated Press, which is clearly a serious competitor for Worst AP Item Ever, carries the "column" label. As such, I suppose we're expected to accept the idea that the "analysis" offered is hers alone.
But you would think that the self-described "essential global news network" would have enough business judgment to review a reporter's work to make sure it doesn't talk down to the general public and indict its own reporting on the economy at the same time. You would be wrong, as will be seen after the jump.
On Sunday, 35,000 protestors marched on the Washington Mall urging President Obama to reject the Keystone XL pipeline, giving the Washington Post’s Steven Mufson ample space to hype the march. In the 20 paragraph expose, the Post fails to label the protestors as liberal once and does not include any quotes from supporters of the pipeline, instead choosing to hype their global warming hysteria.
Instead, the article is peppered with liberal quotes, while criticizing President Obama from the left:
Leaders of the rally said they wanted to press Obama to follow up on the strong rhetoric in his inaugural address about the need to slow climate change. The official posters at the rally borrowed Obama’s campaign slogan “forward.” The read: “Mr. President, Forward-on Climate.”
Here's something to keep in mind in the context of the past several years, as well as during the current runup in gas prices: They're more than likely higher than the press's reported "national averages."
On Friday, the Associated Press reported the following concerning gas prices: "The national average is $3.64 a gallon, up a cent and a half from Thursday, with the highest prices in California, the Northeast and the Midwest." It would appears that the press typically uses GasBuddy.com for its national average quote, which is currently just above $3.68. I really don't intend to knock the web site, whose primary mission is to help consumers find the cheapest gas prices in their neighborhood. But their quoted "national average" appears to really be the average of each of the 50 states plus DC giving each state equal weight, without any accounting for states' widely varying populations. And yes, the difference matters by enough that it's worth noting.
On Friday, Renee Dudley at Bloomberg News exposed the contents of February 12 internal emails revealing that Walmart executives are worried -- very worried -- about sales during the first 10 to 14 days of the its most current fiscal period (mostly likely either the first 10 days of February if the company works with calendar months, or 14 days if it began the second period of the fiscal year on Monday January 28).
Their primary concerns are the payroll tax hike and delayed tax refunds, but they may also need to start worrying about higher gas prices (bolds are mine):
When a news story is too newsworthy to ignore but too embarrassing to the Obama administration to highlight, what's a liberal newspaper editor to do? Why, bury it, of course. That's what Washington Post editors did to Steven Mufson's February 14 story on an inspector general's report finding, surprise, surprise, that taxpayer monies on another Obama-hyped green energy project have gone to waste.
What's more, the Post's editor's assigned the item a boring headline, "Report: Grant to battery company was mismanaged."
Crutsinger also erroneously reported that the government turned in its first monthly surplus since April of last year (no, it was really September of last year), told readers that "the government is spending less on some programs" without telling them that total year-to-date spending so far is up by over 3 percent compared the first four months of fiscal 2012, and made it appear as if "higher taxes for some Americans" are narrowing the budget gap a bit, when the fiscal cliff raised taxes for every employed and self-employed person who pays into the Social Security system. Other than that, he did a good job (/sarc). Exceprts follow the jump (bolds and numbered tags are mine):
If beauty is truly in the eye of the beholder, then the host of “The Ed Show” on MSNBC is definitely wearing blinders.
During the Wednesday night edition of his program, Schultz attacked Steve Doocy of the morning “Fox and Friends” show for stating that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is the subject of a new website that is “showing off this glamorous new face. Face-lift, perhaps?”
In a Friday editorial, Investor's Business Daily picked up a disturbing downside in the January 2013 jobs report released by the government's Bureau of Labor Statistics earlier that day: More people are working, but they're working fewer hours per week. In certain sectors, including retail, the industry's aggregate hours worked actually shrank compared to January 2012. Memo to Chris Rugaber at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press: That's another reason your description of Friday's report as "mostly encouraging" is rubbish.
IBD relied on seasonally adjusted data in arriving at its findings. The raw figures (i.e., not seasonally adjusted amounts), representing the government's best estimates of actual conditions during the month before seasonal smoothing, are even more disturbing -- and far more relevant. This is especially the case in retail, as January is a month when retailers retrench after the Christmas shopping season; whatever pullback takes place will mostly stick for the next several months. A few paragraphs from the paper's editorial, as well as a comparison of the raw and seasonally adjusted numbers in retail in January 2013 and 2012, follow the jump (HT frequent BizzyBlog commenter dscott):
While they told their readers of the number of jobs supposedly added in total (157,000) and in other sectors, the fact remains that in the real world, before seasonal adjustment, the government told us, as is the case every January, that employment declined steeply. In January 2013, the government estimates that 2.84 million jobs were lost.
Yesterday at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, Christopher Rugaber really wrote that the government's Employment Situation Summary released Friday was "mostly encouraging."
The Friday morning dispatch, still present at Yahoo News but which has understandably disappeared from the wire service's national site, stuck with his smiley-faced description even as he noted, "one negative sign: The unemployment rate rose to 7.9 percent from 7.8 percent." If January's performance repeats itself for the rest of year, 1.9 million more people will have found work during 2013 and the unemployment rate will be 9 percent -- at which point it would appear that Chris will try to tell us that we've finally achieved heaven on earth. Excerpts from Rugaber's ridiculous rubbish, riddled as it is with errors, omissions, a blatant coverage inconsistency, and political hackery, follow the jump:
This is so pathetic and predictable, you could almost set your watch to it.
Just ten hours after a government report showed that the economy went into contraction for the first time in three years during 2012's fourth quarter, an item penned "by the editors" at Bloomberg News appeared which scolded us that the nation's gross domestic product (GDP) is an "imperfect measure of progress," and that we really should be looking at indicators of "social progress or human happiness." As usual, when things go bad in Leftyland, the problem is the yardstick, not what's being measured. The first four paragraphs from the editorial, which reads like -- no, make that "really is" -- the text of a leftist political stump speech, follow the jump:
Yesterday (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), reacting to a disgracefully biased January 27 report by Andrew Taylor at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, on the "no budget, no pay" provision in debt-ceiling legislation passed by the House, I wrote that "Taylor’s report is historically bad ... Sadly, I believe AP can do much worse during the next several years — and probably will."
An unbylined AP item released shortly after the government announced that the economy contracted by an annualized 0.1 percent during the fourth quarter of last year made that fear come true under ten hours (I may have more on the very odd time stamp of this report -- 8:11 a.m. -- in a future post). On his program today, Rush Limbaugh had a field day with the nonsense presented (bolds are mine throughout this post):
In his coverage of the Conference Board's Consumer Confidence report released earlier today, the Associated Press's Martin Crutsinger conveniently avoided using quote marks when he wrote that "Conference Board economist Lynn Franco said the tax increase was the key reason confidence tumbled in January, making Americans less optimistic about the next six months." That isn't what Franco said.
Crutsinger also -- finally -- told AP readers and subscribers what other reporters and commentators have been saying for about two weeks, namely that analysts' estimates of economic growth in tomorrow's government report on gross domestic product are a for a very weak annualized 1%.
In 2012, with a Democrat in the White House, union membership declined, not only as a percentage of the workforce, but in absolute numbers. Even though the related report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed that the number of employed wage and salaried workers increased by almost 2.4 million, union membership fell by just under 400,000. Union membership is down by over 1.7 million since 2008, and fell by 961,000 during the past three years of supposed economic recovery. These results aren't sitting well with Sam Hananel at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, whose reporters are represented by the Occupy movement-supporting News Media Guild. Excerpts from the AP reporter's Wednesday report follow the jump.
For the second week in a row, actual (i.e., not seasonally adjusted) unemployment claims as reported by the Department of Labor came in greater than the analogous week in 2012.
At the same time, and also for the second week in a row, the department's seasonally adjusted claims number -- the only one the business wire services ever specifically identify in their reports -- came in lower. In today's instance, raw year-over-year claims were almost 5 percent higher than the same week a year ago, but the year-over-year seasonally adjusted figure came in 11 percent lower. That's bad enough, but then the wires compounded the problem by running with indefensible conclusions based on DOL's contradictory data.
CBSNews.com promoted a restaurant attack by the pro-regulatory food police group the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) Jan. 16, without noting the agenda of the group or providing other points of view.
The online story that regurgitated CSPI’s annual “Xtreme Eating” report released that day, favorably called the group a “watchdog” and essentially ran the group’s entire report with no industry response. The CBS article included a slideshow (with CSPI’s own images) depicting each food item that CSPI criticized, with its nutritional content. Both the article and the slideshow linked back to the original CSPI report.
CSPI’s director Michael F. Jacobson accused the chains of intentionally making people obese or diabetic. "It's as if IHOP, The Cheesecake Factory, Maggiano's Little Italy, and other major restaurant chains are scientifically engineering these extreme meals with the express purpose of promoting obesity, diabetes, and heart disease," said Jacobson. (Emphasis added)
None of the three major wire services covering today's report from the Department of Labor on initial unemployment claims is reporting the major news: For the first time in a long while, actual claims filed during the most recent week ended January 12 were almost 6 percent higher than the number filed during last year's comparable week, an indication that the current employment market may be worse than it was a year ago. Instead, all three are headlining how today's questionably created seasonally adjusted claims number is the lowest in five years.
Both weeks had five business days. Both weeks represented the first such week in the new year. So how did higher raw claims result in the lowest seasonally adjusted claims number in five years, a number which is 8 percent lower than last year's comparable week? The answer, as will be seen after the jump, is that the seasonal adjustment factor used this year is sharply higher than the one used last year.
On Wednesday, as President Obama signed -- er, auto-penned -- the legislation preventing the onset of the "fiscal cliff" passed by Congress the previous day, the establishment press was busy understating its impact. A Friday evening Wall Street Journal editorial (note: not a regular news report) in today's print edition lays out the gory details.
But first, I will cite four examples of coverage which pretended that 99 percent of Americans won't see their income taxes increase in 2013.
This is the eighth year I have done shopping and layoff-related searches on how often the words "Christmas" and "holiday" are used.
As has been the case since the enterprise began in 2005, news reports are far more likely to refer to the commercial time frame between Thanksgiving and Christmas as the "holiday shopping season." Meanwhile, compared to shopping references, news reports are several times more likely to refer to Christmas in connection with layoffs. This years raw results -- originally gathered here, here, and here at my home blog, along with comparisons to previous years -- follow the jump:
A post-Black Friday weekend dispatch at the Associated Press on November 26 reported that "The holiday shopping season got off to a strong start on Black Friday, with retail sales up 7 percent over last year, according to one survey. Now stores just have to keep buyers coming back without the promise of door-buster savings."
It turns out that the originally reported number was far too rosy. Nevertheless, in both late Sunday and early Monday reports, AP retail writers Mae Anderson and Anne D'Innocenzio treated the actual result, which came in 60 percent lower, as "strong." Each report contained the following paragraph (bolds are mine throughout this post):
CNBC host Maria Bartiromo went after Maryland Senator Ben Cardin on the air on Thursday (HT PJ Tatler; original here) after it became clear that Cardin and his fellow Democrats won't support any measure to prevent the fiscal cliff from arriving as currently scheduled on Janaury 1 which does not include increases in the highest marginal income-tax rates. At the end of her tirade, she got applause and cheers from those around her.
I'll give her one cheer for clearly exposing Democrats' "my way of the highway" approach. She missed the opportunity to get to three cheers because it seems that she's just now recognizing after all these months that Democrats, including President Obama, won't accept any kind of a solution that doesn't involve raising the top rates -- even though they've been saying that very thing all along. Far more important: Even if you believe that the tax hikes discussed will actually increase government collections by $1.2 trillion over ten years, that amount is a tiny percentage of the trillion-dollar deficits the government will continue to run as long as the economy putters along at its current mediocre to poor pace.
For many Americans, ABC, NBC and CBS are the major source of news on business and the economy. Unfortunately, this is like depending on the middle school student newspaper for information about important local school board deliberations.
Network reporters are either ill-prepared to discuss complex issues of economics, finance and business or choose to be advocates for viewpoints rather than objective reporters who strive for balance. Liberal preferences for government solutions and interventionism as well as hostility toward wealth and profit dominate network coverage.
“FrackNation,” a film by investigative journalist Phelim McAleer, will be broadcast on Jan. 22, 2012 at 9 p.m. ET according to The Hollywood Reporter. AXS TV is a cable network owned by Mark Cuban, Ryan Seacrest and entertainment companies AEG and CAA.
Today's news from the Department of Labor on initial weekly unemployment claims was supposedly good -- as long as one doesn't scratch beneath the surface. Journalists used to do that. Today they didn't.
All one had to do is reach the third paragraph of DOL's release to realize that today's seasonally adjusted claims number of 343,000, touted as the lowest in two months in several news reports, was suspect. That paragraph told us that the 428,814 actual claims filed during the week ended December 8 were barely lower than the 435,863 claims seen in the week ended December 10, 2011, last year's comparable week; today's result only occurred because this year's seasonal adjustment factor was significantly different from last year's. I believe that this year-over-year drop of less than 2% in raw claims is the smallest weekly difference in a week not affect by storms or holidays this year. In other words, it really is news -- but not in the business press, which runs with the government's seasonally adjusted data and almost never looks any further. Examples follow the jump.
Back in the days when journalists practiced journalism, they would be on the alert for record-breaking news, whether positive or negative. These days, at least when it comes to the economy, it seems that they struggle to find positive records and ignore obvious negative ones right in front of their faces.
A case in point is today's Associated Press report on November's Monthly Treasury Statement. The government's report came in with a deficit of $172.1 billion, the highest November shortfall ever (the runner-up: last year's $137.3 billion). The AP's Christopher Rugaber either failed to recognize the reported amount as a record -- doubtful in my view given its size -- or didn't think its recordbreaking status was newsworthy. To be fair, unlike colleague Martin Crutsinger's typical monthly attempts, Rugaber got to almost all of the requisite monthly and year-to-date facts on receipts, spending, and the deficit itself, including comparisons to last year. Excerpts, including the all too familiar historical revisionism on how we got to where we are, follow the jump (bolds and numbered tags are mine):
Perhaps hoping that readers wouldn't scroll down to peruse what followed, a Tuesday evening Detroit Free Press report by David Jesse and Lori Higgins carried at USA Today featured a video taking up my entire computer screen which consisted entirely of union protesters chanting slogans for 49 seconds.
The pair's actual report carries a misleading headline ("Mich. governor signs anti-union bills after protests") directly contradicted in their dispatch's content ("The right-to-work legislation ... makes it illegal to require financial support of a labor union as a condition of employment"). But it's their description of Tuesday's incident involving Steven Crowder and Americans for Prosperity which is the report's biggest flaw (HT Instapundit):
There will be plenty of time later to look at how the Associated Press and other wires more than likely fail to report the violence that took place in connection with right-to-work legislative actions in Michigan's legislature today. For now, let's look at the reactions of Associated Press reporters John Flesher and Jeff Karoub on Friday in an item which is no longer at the AP's main national site.
Their dispatch's headline ("Michigan Republicans end part of union tradition") was from all appearances an attempt to make it seem uninteresting. The story itself didn't describe the law involved as "right to work" until its fourth paragraph. Both before and after that, the pair, who are more than likely members of the Occupy Movement-supporting News Media Guild, got bitter (bolds are mine throughout this post):
The first entirely post-election reading from the University of Michigan-Thomson Reuters consumer confidence survey came out on Friday. It was awful. As reported at MarketWatch, the overall index "fell to 74.5 from 82.7 in November," far below expectations of 82.0, representing "the biggest one-month drop since March 2011." Zero Hedge noted that it's the "biggest miss on record" compared to expectations.
Of course, in Establishment Medialand and with the analysts they chose to consult, the plunge has everything to do with the "fiscal cliff," and nothing to do with the reelection of President Obama to a second four-year term or his intensely partisan conduct since then. Sure, guys.
Michigan may very well become the 24th state to adopt right-to-work legislation on Tuesday, and liberal media outlets have given its opponents ample opportunity to state their case. While proponents have not been allowed to defend the law at all, MSNBC's Chris Jansing was more than happy to briefly play "devil's advocate" with her guest on Monday -- newly elected state representative Tim Greimel who called right-to-work "too divisive and too extreme for the state."
Following his lengthy diatribe on the subject, in which he also called right-to-work the "surest path to poverty that anybody could pursue here in Michigan," Jansing invited the Washington Post's Dana Milbank and Jackie Kucinich -- daughter of retiring liberal Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) -- of USA Today back on the program to reinforce the argument Greimel made. Hardly a balanced analysis of legislation designed to safeguard an individual's right not be coerced into a union or into financially supporting a union in which he/she is not a member [ video and transcript below ]