Most readers here aren't aware that Associated Press reporters began withholding their bylines this week in support of their union's "quality journalism proposals." Participating reporters are refusing to have their name placed on AP stories. It appears to apply to stories datelined in the U.S. and not overseas (as seen here).
It is truly a wonder that the world has gone on while AP reporters refuse to tell us who wrote the wire service's U.S. stories (/sarc).
The byline strike springs from the wire service's refusal, among other things, according to the News Media Guild, the union which represents AP newsroom personnel, to accept a "fixed-cost pension plan." The AP wants a defined-contribution plan (i.e., something similar or identical to a 401(k)).
Here are some economy, business, and political "gems" appearing at AP during the past few days which can't be traced to a specific reporter:
You begin to get an idea of how poorly served the news-consuming public is by the Associated Press when you compare its "reporting" on Obama czar Elizabeth Warren's appearance tomorrow before the House Financial Services Committee to an information-packed editorial -- yes, an editorial -- in the Wall Street Journal this morning.
You can read all of the over 750 words in the unbylined AP report without learning that Ms. Warren and various state attorneys general are attempting to shake down the banking system for $20 billion. You would think from the wire service's selective content that it's only Republicans who have opposed and continue to oppose the broad, unchecked authority her brainchild, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, will have over U.S. banking policy and practices. It ain't so.
CNN's Joe Johns hyped a recent Michael Moore speech on Monday's Newsroom as "incredible" and "riveting." Johns highlighted a clip from the left-wing film director, who spoke at a pro-union rally in Madison, Wisconsin, where he claimed that "America is not broke...The country is awash in wealth and cash. It's just that it's not in your hands! It has been transferred, in the greatest heist in history, from the workers...to the banks and the portfolios of the uber-rich."
Anchor Brooke Baldwin brought on the correspondent for the regular "Political Pop" segment 40 minutes into the 4 pm Eastern hour, and asked about Moore's March 5, 2011 address in Madison. Johns immediately gushed over the director's words:
BALDWIN: What was he up to in Madison?
JOE JOHNS: Yeah. Well, it was a speech and it was really pretty incredible. Have you seen it by the way?
You just knew Hollywood couldn't get through an Oscars broadcast without subjecting viewers to self-important statements of left-wing politics. War, AIDS, gay marriage, global warming - pick a liberal hobby horse and chances are an entertainer used the Academy Awards to give America his or her opinion on it.
This year, the cause du jour was class warfare, as reflected in shills for organized labor and a jab at bankers. With public sector unions protesting in Wisconsin and other states where governors are trying to address huge budget shortfalls, a couple of recipients couldn't resist adding their two cents.
Interviewing Donald Trump this morning, MSNBC's Chris Jansing put on her Democratic strategist hat to press the Republican real estate mogul with liberal talking points.
After Trump, responding to Jansing's question about what he would do to fix the economy, suggested cutting taxes to spur economic growth, the host of Jansing & Co. groused: "A lot of people sitting out there, with all due respect, saying spoken like a true businessman but not about the little guy. Tax breaks for the rich, not for the middle class."
Not missing a beat, Trump retorted: "But Chris we're the highest-taxed nation in the world, as it stands right now. And that's a pretty bad statement when you think of it."
In his lifetime, Princeton economics professor and Nobel Laureate Paul Krugman has published 20 books, over 200 papers, and since the year 2000 two columns a week at the New York Times.
Clearly without understanding the irony of his question, the man once accused by the Gray Lady's ombudsman of possessing a "disturbing habit of shaping, slicing and selectively citing numbers" asked his readers Monday, "How can voters be so ill informed [sic]?":
The search for ways to rehabilitate the Obama administration in the eyes of the public is seemingly a never-ending enterprise at the Associated Press.
Oh, they slip up occasionally. Late last week (covered yesterday at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), in an item primarily about how Congress really, really can't stop planned stimulus spending (uh-huh), the wire service's Brett J. Blackledge let slip that President Obama's stimulus program is "politically unpopular." In noting that the government wasn't able to spend the funds as fast as intended, Blackledge also indirectly confirmed an obvious truth the President admitted to the New York Times that he needed almost two years to learn: "there’s no such thing as shovel-ready projects."
So what do you do if you're "The Essential Global News Network" and need to recover? Why, you find something that appears to be working (sort of), and rename it "stimulus." Voila! See how easy that is?
Former Reagan Chief of Staff James Baker on Sunday took issue with having the 40th President blamed for financial deregulation.
When "Meet the Press" host David Gregory brought this up at the end of his program, Baker replied, "[The deregulation of the financial industry didn't occur on Ronald Reagan's watch, it occurred for the most part, I think, on Bill Clinton's watch" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
On his Wednesday 4PM ET show on MSNBC, host Dylan Ratigan denounced the fact that the recent Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission (FCIC), convened to detail the causes of the 2008 economic collapse, only had a budget of $8 million, while back in 1998, the "Clinton-Lewinsky blowjob investigation" had a $40 million budget. He was apparently referring to special prosecutor Ken Starr investigating perjury charges against the former president.
The report from the FCIC was highly partisan, with the six Democrats on the commission claiming that primary reason for the financial crisis was the lack of government regulation in the private sector. As a result, the four Republican commissioner refused to sign on to the findings and released their own dissenting report.
Ed Schultz on Tuesday spent a great deal of time blaming the crisis in Egypt on rising food prices tying commodity inflation to former President George H.W. Bush and Wall Street speculators.
Not once in over fifteen minutes of air time were the name Bill Clinton or the two bills he signed into law that deregulated the financial services and commodity futures industries mentioned (videos follow with partial transcripts and commentary):
On Friday, a Reuters report at CNBC noted the Federal Reserve's journey into the accounting and reporting twilight zone earlier this month. In doing so, it conducted a clinic in how to make unreality look acceptable and make a dangerous situation appear palatable.
In the el bizzarro world at Reuters and those the wire service interviewed for its article:
A change in how one accounts for things can magically make a functionally insolvent entity solvent again.
Such a change can also mean that an entity which has run out of cash and has to beg for funds no longer has to.
Calling a genuine erosion of capital something other than an erosion of capital means that it's no longer an erosion of capital.
Gee, why didn't they just do this at Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and Lehman Brothers 2-1/2 years ago and let things go on as usual?
Here's most of the Reuters report (bolds supporting the bullet points above are mine):
Do a media company's political activities affect the way its subsidiaries report the news? The folks at MSNBC sure think so. That channel's hosts have insisted ad nauseum that Fox News parent company News Corporation's political actives compromise the ability of Fox to report the news fairly and accurately.
But MSNBC has, as I have noted before, shilled for policies that would enrich its parent company, General Electric, under the guise of "environmental awareness." Today the Washington Post exposed yet another such conflict, reporting that GE took $16 billion in loans from the Federal Reserve during 2008 and 2009.
Gosh, what's a bigger story -- that to the extent it was ever happening at all the housing recovery "seems to have been aborted," or that according to the government there was very little inflation in October?
When you increase demand for something, its price should go up.
In the case of bonds, if the demand for them increases, their price should go up, and their effective interest-rate yield should go down.
That didn't happen on Friday when the Federal Reserve began executing its second round of "money from nothing" quantitative easing. Even though the Fed increased demand, bond prices went down and yields went up.
Why? If you read a late Friday afternoon report by the Associated Press's Matthew Craft you essentially get a bunch of blubbering "I don't know" statements (bolds after headline are mine):
Don't go overboard with it, but have some pity on Sewell Chan at the New York Times.
On Thursday evening online and in Friday's print edition, Chan was among three Times reporters who composed a report ripping President Obama's lack of results at the G-20 summit. The piece's original title -- "Obama's Economic View is Rejected on World Stage" -- originally appeared online and actually made its way into the print edition. The headline apparently didn't sit well with someone at the Times. As I noted in a previous post (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), it was changed to "Obama Trade Strategy Runs Into Stiff Resistance" sometime on Friday.
That was apparently not enough to satisfy whoever is charge of politically correct revisionism at the Times. Chan seems to have been assigned the thankless task of composing not one, but two, kiss-and-make-up pieces to smooth things over.
CNN's Kathleen Parker and Eliot Spitzer endorsed Matt Taibbi's bashing of conservatives on their Monday program. Spitzer marveled over the Rolling Stone editor's "brilliant" label of the Tea Party as "15 million pissed-off white people sent chasing after Mexicans on Medicaid." This was the second straight evening that the network brought on an anti-conservative author to promote their latest work.
The two hosts devoted 12 straight and uninterrupted minutes during the first half of the 8 pm Eastern hour to their interview of Taibbi. Parker mentioned Taibbi's new book, "Griftopia: Bubble Machines, Vampire Squids and a Long Con that is Breaking America," in her introduction of the author and labeled it "a scathing and often hilarious account of the financial crisis...it's hard to make the financial crisis funny, but you did that successfully." She continue by quoting one of the writer's attacks on Sarah Palin: "I want to read you a description that you wrote of Sarah Palin. You called her a 'narcissistic money-grubbing hack.'"
After laughing at this label, the pseudo-conservative writer sought her guest's take on Palin: "She's got the Republican establishment scared to death, so there must be something more to Sarah than just that, huh?" Taibbi replied with some guarded praise of the former Alaska governor, along with the Tea Party movement:
They're back, they have their media water-carriers in place, and the Obama administration is smack dab in the middle of it.
The United Nations is pushing for countries in the developed world to keep their "promise" to, in the worlds of Charles J. Hanley at the Associated Press, "raise up to $100 billion a year in new money for poorer countries to cope with climate change and reduce their greenhouse gas emissions."
It's as if ClimateGate never happened (link is to NB's 120-plus posts on the topic). It's as if the IPCC and others associated with the scandal and the evidence-impaired claims of global warming -- er, climate change -- uh, make that climate disruption -- still have their reputations totally intact.
HBO's Bill Maher spouted his usual anti-conservative and anti-Fox News rhetoric on Monday's Situation Room on CNN, attacking the Tea Party movement as "teabaggers [who] are all carrying the banner...of corporatist America" and accusing CNN's competitor of "filling people with misinformation." Maher also labeled Republican voters "far right" and a "fringe group of people who are very forceful."
The left-wing HBO host appeared for two segments starting at the bottom of the 5 pm Eastern hour. Anchor Wolf Blitzer began with an election-related question: "Let's talk a little bit about what's going to happen tomorrow. A lot of Democrats are worried. They're sitting on a potential political disaster tomorrow. Here's the question to you: why? What happened?"
Maher actually first blamed the Democrats: "Well- I mean, partly, it is the Democrats' fault. They don't do very good at bragging about their achievements. This Congress, which I'm sure is going to be tarred as a do-nothing Congress, actually was one of the more successful congresses in recent memory, probably not since Lyndon Johnson in 1965 has a Congress achieved so much." The guest predictably cited health care "reform" and financial reforms as his examples.
Blitzer followed-up by asking, "So is it just a matter of communications?" Maher launched his attack on Fox News in his reply:
When a Democrat or leftist makes an ill-advised remark, it seems that there's a three-stage process at the Associated Press, and perhaps in most other establishment press outlets, for handling it. It goes roughly like this:
Stage 1 - Ignore it as long as you can. If there isn't much outcry, keep ignoring it.
Stage 2 - If there ends up being enough of an outcry from conservatives or Republicans to warrant coverage, make sure that the story is about the criticism at least as much as the remark.
Stage 3 - In the ensuing coverage, leave out what was originally said.
The Associated Press is currently and grudgingly at Stage 2 with Harry Reid's remark that "but for me, we'd be in a worldwide depression," as seen below (reproduced in full for fair use and discussion purposes):
You would think someone in the U.S. establishment press would be following Uncle Sam's progress or lack thereof in getting out from under its investment in Citigroup, especially since the government promised that it would be fully divested from the bank holding company by the end of this year. From all appearances, you would be wrong.
It looks like the government may not be able to keep that year-end divestiture promise. For a fair number of news followers to learn that, the UK's Financial Times had to take an interest (link may require registration), and Drudge had to link to it:
US Treasury stumbles selling Citi shares
The US government is in danger of missing its deadline of divesting all of its Citigroup shares by the year-end after a fall in stock market trading volumes prompted authorities to slow down sales in July and August.
The lull could prompt the US Treasury, which has a stake of about 17 per cent in Citi, to consider a share offering instead of selling the stock in small quantities in the market, according to bankers and analysts.
"Greed, for lack of a better word, is good." That was the defining line of Oliver Stone's 1987 film "Wall Street," and his attack on the financial system that the news media would use for decades to portray businessmen as villains.
The theme Stone wants viewers to take away from his sequel, "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps," was tucked away in the credits of his film on a greenback. "In Greed We Trust," the bill proclaimed where the words "In God We Trust" should have been.
"Money Never Sleeps," which opens in theaters Sept. 24, uses the financial crisis of 2008 as a backdrop for the comeback of Gordon Gekko, the iconic villain of the original. This time Gekko reinvents himself as a changed man, coming back bearish on housing and speculation.
In a business school lecture Gekko warns, "The mother of all evils is speculation -- leveraged debt." He claims the economy is merely moving money around in circles and the business model itself is like a "cancer."
One of the Left's most esteemed economists, the liberal Center for Economic and Policy Research's Dean Baker, claimed Monday the "Second Great Depression," the term given to what many believed the country was heading for if drastic government action wasn't taken in the fall of 2008, was all a fiction created by Wall Street to get bailed out.
In Baker's view published at the unashamedly liberal Huffington Post, the Federal Reserve could have solved all the problems that ailed us at the time, and had some of America's largest banks been allowed to fail, their financial loss would have been "our" gain as their money was magically redistributed to Main Street.
Potentially most hysterical is that Baker never once mentioned how this all occurred weeks before Election Day, and never once mentioned Barack Obama who not only hyped the collapse to seal his ascendancy to the White House, but also continually reminds Americans to this day that his efforts averted the "Second Great Depression":
Since the financial industry collapse two years ago, dishonest media outlets and their employees have continually blamed George W. Bush for the implosion that occurred in the fall of 2008 as well as the resulting recession.
NewsBusters has regularly pushed back on this historically inaccurate premise specifically pointing to two crucial pieces of legislation signed into law by former President Bill Clinton.
On Wednesday, a contributor to the Huffington Post - who is also the editor of the website TruthDig - published an article confirming what NewsBusters has been claiming, doing so in a fashion that must have shocked the economically ignorant proprietor of this perilously liberal online "news" outlet:
I tried to find a nicer way to put it in the headline. But I can't.
At the Associated Press, Economics Writer Martin Crutsinger's apparent plug-and-play report less than an hour after the issuance of Uncle Sam's August Monthly Treasury Statement on Monday (his item is time-stamped at 2:56 p.m., which follows the Treasury Department's 2:00 p.m. release by less than an hour) contains three obviously false statements that a news organization which really subscribes to its own "Statement of News Values and Principles" would retract and/or correct.
The specific AP standard in question is whether it has violated its promise not to "knowingly introduce false information into material intended for publication or broadcast." The only conceivable excuse at this point is that Crutsinger and his employer don't realize what they have done. The three falsehoods involved are not arcane or open to interpretation. Rather, they are significant, obvious, irrefutable, and in need of correction.
What follows are the three statements, the first of which contradicts itself in the report's own subsequent sentence:
As NewsBusters has previously reported, liberal Internet publisher Arianna Huffington is breathtakingly ignorant when it comes to basic economic theory.
On Sunday, she proved it again by making an absolute fool of herself on ABC's "This Week."
With the "Roundtable" segment beginning on the subject of the economy, Huffington noted how the failure of the banking bailout to stimulate growth was "proof that the government does not work."
In a stunning display of both idiocy and hypocrisy, she moments later demanded more financial regulations, including a reinstatement of the Depression Era Glass-Steagall Act, to - wait for it! - stimulate the economy.
Adding insult to injury, George Will was available to really make clear what an absolute imbecile Huffington is (video follows with partial transcript and commentary):
As if Huffington’s book does any such thing, Sawyer wondered: “What if we pulled together in one place all the innovative ideas for creating jobs?” The generous on-screen heading beneath Huffington’s picture: “Change Agent.” After highlighting Huffington’s wish to absolve troubled mortgage-holders of much of their responsibility, Sawyer trumpeted:
Arianna Huffington's new book is called Third World America, and on her Web site, she's been gathering innovative solutions to keep that Third World from happening.
The articles posted on the Huffington Post page with “innovative solutions,” a page the ABC segment displayed, sound more like the usual liberal carping: “Work Until You're Dead? That May Be the Only Option for Many Americans,” “Thousands Crowd Atlanta Area Housing Authority for Section 8 WAITING LIST, Fights Break Out,” “The 10 Highest-Paid CEOs Who Laid Off the Most Workers: Institute for Policy Studies” and “Income Inequality: ‘The Most Profound Change In American Society In Your Lifetime.’”
Can you imagine what would happen to the economy if top wage earners were taxed at 70 to 90 percent?
Former Clinton Labor Secretary Robert Reich can, and he thinks it's a great idea.
To be sure, many Americans were concerned that giving Democrats control of the executive and legislative branches of our government during an economic crisis could usher back in socialist tendencies first seen in this nation during the Depression.
Fears of such a leftward shift sparked a new powerful movement called the Tea Party.
With this in mind, Reich's op-ed "How to End the Great Recession" published in Friday's New York Times validates these concerns: