You've got hand it to some (probably most) of the reporters at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press. Their story is that the economy is all right, and by gosh, they're sticking to it.
Tom Raum's dispatch yesterday is a case in point. Along the way, he pulled out several of the tired spin-driven claims which have long since been taken down but which haven't yet penetrated the skulls of low-information voters. Raum and AP seem puzzled that the supposedly okey-dokey economy doesn't seem to be helping President Obama or Democrats' 2014 congressional and senatorial election prospects (bolds and numbered tags are mine):
On Friday, the government reported that the economy grew by an annualized 2.5 percent during the first quarter. Earlier today, in Part 1 of this series, (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog) I showed that while most news organizations, including CNN, Bloomberg and Reuters, characterized that news as a disappointment, especially comparred to expectations of 3.0 percent or more following an awful fourth quarter of 0.4%, Martin Crutsinger and Chris Rugaber remained irrationally exuberant, not only about the "quickened" pace of growth but about prospects for higher growth in the second half of this year.
In Part 2 (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), we saw how even others at the self-described Essential Global News Network disagreed with Crutsinger's and Rugaber's joint assessment. A "News Summary" item was headlined "STOCKS STALL AS GROWTH DISAPPOINTS." A report by AP Markets Writer Steve Rothwell was headlined "STOCKS STALL ON TEPID US ECONOMIC GROWTH," and forecasted slower growth during the rest of the year. There is one other key paragraph written by the pair of AP economics writers which deserves separate vetting. It follows the jump (bolds are mine throughout this post):
On Friday, the government reported that the economy grew by an annualized 2.5 percent during the first quarter. The awful 0.4 percent result seen in the fourth quarter was largely sloughed off as caused by a number of one-time factors. Analysts convinced themselves that reported first-quarter growth would come in at 3.0 percent or slightly higher in Friday's release. Instead, we saw what Zero Hedge noted was the biggest such expectations miss since September 2011.
As a result, at least three establishment press organizations pronounced the result disappointing -- except for two business reporters at the Associated Press whose names are virtual fixtures here.
Two years ago, Jimmy McMillan ran for New York governor and became a viral sensation, with more than 7 million Youtube views. Now the creator of The Rent is Too Damn High party is running for New York City mayor and has expanded his platform is his new rap anthem video.
In the first 30 seconds of his video, the news reporter declared that rent in New York is at an all time high. “Critics say Bloomberg has failed.” McMillan pointed out that mayor’s economic record is one of failure.
The disgraceful lengths to which writers in the establishment press will rewrite history to paper over the economy's awful performance during the past five years is perfectly illustrated in one paragraph found in an otherwise decent Associated Press "Big Story" report ("Dropouts: Discouraged Americans leave labor force") Saturday evening by Paul Wiseman and Jesse Washington, with help from Chris "No chance of recession" Rugaber and Scott Mayerowitz.
The statement: "The participation rate peaked at 67.3 percent in 2000, reflecting an influx of women into the work force. It's been falling steadily ever since." The "fall" has not been "steady," nor has been the decline in the employment-population ratio (source: Bureau of Labor Statistics data retrievable here):
Well, we can stop worrying about the economy now. Write it down. Chris Rugaber at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, tells readers today that the business cycle has been repealed. That's right. As of now, "Gone are the fears that the economy could fall into another recession."
Even giving him the benefit of the doubt that he only meant to refer to the short- or intermediate-term, it takes a mountain of chutzpah to make such a declaration after a quarter during the which the economy grew at an annualized 0.4%, i.e., an actual 0.1%. It's doubly hard to take because the press, led by the Associated Press, feared that a recession was around the corner virtually every month or quarter from the time I began blogging in early 2005 until mid-2008, when the National Bureau of Economic Research defied the normal person's definition of recession (i.e., two consecutive quarters of contraction) and decided that a recession began in December 2007, seven months before it really did.
While you were watching Rand Paul's historic filibuster and the debate surrounding budget sequestration, an economic theory battle was waging between two of the nation's foremost liberal economists Paul Krugman and Jeffrey Sachs.
In his most recent salvo published at the Huffington Post Saturday, Sachs spoke heresy to Obama-lovers across the fruited plain including Krugman claiming that following the 2008 financial crisis, "It was the Fed, not the fiscal stimulus, which prevented a fall into depression."
New York Times columnist Paul Krugman and MSNBC's Joe Scarborough had an at times heated discussion about budget deficits, debt, and the economy on PBS's Charlie Rose Monday evening.
At one point Krugman got so rattled by the facts that he actually said Scarborough quoting what he had said in the past was making an ad hominem attack against him (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Chris Matthews asked a question Sunday that should truly offend people on both sides of the aisle.
During the syndicated program bearing his name, Matthews asked his panel, "Has President Obama put himself at political risk if the big cuts do not wreak havoc?" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
CNBC's Maria Bartiromo made a statement Sunday about all of the fearmongering concerning the looming budget sequester that people on both sides of the aisle should pay attention to.
Appearing on NBC's Meet the Press, Bartiromo said, "I think Wall Street is seeing this as scare tactics because if the market really believed that the economy was going to be paralyzed on March 1 we would not be trading near record highs" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
I am indebted to Amity Shlaes for gently correcting a joke of mine that dates back to July 8, 1972. On that date in the New York Times, I joshed that President Calvin Coolidge "probably spent more time napping than any president in the nation's history" and therefore was a successful president. My joke was a play on an earlier joke by H. L. Mencken, and now Shlaes has corrected both of us. She has written a very impressive biography titled simply "Coolidge," wherein she never mentions Cal's naps but rather what made him the most successful president of the 1920s. He reversed the economic insolvency of President Woodrow Wilson, and set the economy on the road to growth, a road made rocky by Cal's successor, President Herbert Hoover, and rockier still by Hoover's successor, Franklin Roosevelt.
Though one would not know it today, Coolidge was the most successful president of the 1920s. Vice President Coolidge came to the presidency on the death of President Warren G. Harding in August 1923 and won the presidency outright in 1924 with 54 percent of the vote over the Democrat, John W. Davis, who had 28.8 percent of the vote, and the Progressive, Robert M. La Follette, who won just 16.6 percent of the vote. Moreover, Coolidge had won every race he ever contested from his first run for city councilman in 1898 to the governorship of Massachusetts in 1918, usually by astoundingly large margins. His combination of civility, effectiveness, standing by the law and, as president, tax cuts, budget balancing, and growth, was wildly popular with American voters, as was his singular asset, taciturnity.
Leave it to CBS News to push a liberal talking point as evidence of a national consensus on a highly contentious political issue. Such was the case on February 5, when CBS This Morning brought on former General Motors CEO Ed Whitacre to push to Obama administration’s decision to help bail out General Motors and Chrysler.
Speaking to Whitacre on Tuesday, co-host Charlie Rose introduced the segment by asserting that, “Everybody assumes this was money well spent by the U.S. government.” Whitacre, who was brought in by GM in 2009 while the federal government was partial owner, heaped praise on the decision to bail the automaker out:
No, I wouldn't. I think the government did exactly the right thing. I think it was the right thing for America, I wholeheartedly supported that. I think it worked really well. [See video after jump. MP3 audio here.]
Darn that economy. Why won't it behave? Doesn't it realize that Barack Obama has more important things to do than worry about its health and well-being?
That's the tone I get from a story headline at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, about how "ECONOMIC JITTERS COMPETE WITH OBAMA AGENDA." The poor guy; he has to pay attention to something he must have thought he could keep at bay with continued but consistent tepid job and economic growth. Trouble is, yesterday's report from the government indicated that the economy contracted at an annualized rate of 0.1% during the fourth quarter of last year. The underlying writeup by the AP's Jim Kuhnhenn also treats the economy as an annoying distraction or possibly even a threat to his gun contral and immigration de facto amnesty efforts (bolds are mine):
Economic activity in the U.S., turned negative in the fourth quarter of 2012 according to the Commerce Department, just one day after a huge drop in consumer confidence was announced.
This took the media entirely by surprise. It was the first time the economy went into negative territory since the recession ended. But this significant report was completely ignored by NBC “Nightly News,” carefully danced around on ABC “World News” and downplayed on CBS “Evening News” on Jan. 30. Print outlets also downplayed the news by claiming it was “not so bad.” [Video available below]
ABC and CNN contributor Donna Brazile - posing as one of Barack Obama's trusted defenders in the media like she always does! - got a much-needed education Sunday about the President's profligate spending.
Countering Brazile's propaganda on ABC's This Week, George Will said, "A dollar spent on A cannot be spent on B...This is our future. We're going to be an assisted living home with an Army. That's going to be the American government" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
A week ago, Associated Press reporters and their articles' headlines described the nation's job market in positive terms. An early a.m. report on Janaury carried this headline: "U.S. job market resilient despite budget fight." Later that same morning, just before the government's release of that day's employment report, there was this: "Jobs report expected to show underlying economic strength." Late that afternoon, reacting to the news that the economy had a December unemployment rate of 7.8 percent while adding 155,000 seasonally adjusted jobs, AP reporters Paul Wiseman and Christopher Rugaber described the performance as "matching the solid but unspectacular monthly pace of the past two years."
Reports from wire services other than the AP, which might as well stand for the Administration's Press, weren't as rosy. At Reuters ("Mediocre job growth points to slow grind for U.S. economy"), Jason Lange observed that December's hiring pace was "short of the levels needed to bring down a still lofty unemployment rate." Fair enough, but what the press continues to virtually ignore -- while obsessing over the same problem early last decade when the problem was nowhere near as severe -- is the plight of the long-term unemployed.
Here’s something I bet you thought you’d never see at the perilously liberal Huffington Post.
In a Dean Baker article published Tuesday with the astonishing title “There Is No Santa Claus and Bill Clinton Was Not an Economic Savior,” the second sentence read, “Just as little kids have to come to grips with the fact that there is no Santa Claus, it is necessary for millions of liberals, including many who think of themselves as highly knowledgeable about economic matters, to realize that President Clinton's policies sent the economy seriously off course.”
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):
Tuesday's CBS This Morning played up the union-led protests against a proposed right-to-work law in Michigan. Elaine Quijano claimed "the protests here in Michigan...[will] likely only get bigger." Quijano added that "they're planning to return today in record numbers - protesters determined to defend one of the biggest union strongholds in the country."
The correspondent loaded her report with six soundbites from the anti-right-to-work protesters and their supporters, including President Obama. Quijano only played two from proponents of the Michigan bill, including "reluctant supporter" Governor Rick Snyder.
As Colonel Kurtz said at the end of Apocalypse Now: “the horror, the horror.” That sentiment encapsulated New York Times Republican David Brooks and syndicated columnist Mark Shields’ reactions to the rejection of the UN treaty on the rights of the disabled in the Senate last week. Brooks called it “embarrassment for the country” – while Shields called it “a profile in cowardice.” Regardless, it seems that both men forget that we have a similar bill called The Americans with Disabilities Act, which was passed under George H.W. Bush.
During the segment, which aired on December 7, NewsHour anchor Judy Woodruff decided to end her interview with Brooks and Shields on this point:
Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich on Sunday gave Lawrence O'Donnell a much-needed education on the economic impact of the Bill Clinton tax hikes in the '90s.
As O'Donnell precipitated the exchange, he perfectly demonstrated why MSNBC commentators are far too liberally biased to be invited on NBC's Meet the Press (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Where’s my bacon, Obama? That's the attitude of Councilwoman JoAnn Watson, who said that in appreciation for Detroit having voted for the president, Obama should bail out the financially insolvent.
In fact, Watson says, “that’s what you do” when your friends help you out. Alas, the country sees the incompetence and the entitlement that has ruined Detroit. Just because you helped get the president re-elected, doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed loans to save your city. In fact, if such a list existed, I’d bet that most of California’s municipalities are probably in front of you, Ms. Watson.
During the December 4 edition of the PBS NewsHour, anchor Gwen Ifill decided to give a lofty eight minute and forty second interview to Obama cheerleader and Nobel laureate Paul Krugman so he can try to convince us that the fiscal cliff isn’t that big of a deal. Of course, in his estimation, Democratic proposals for higher taxes and higher spending were serious, while Republican alternatives to tackle the deficit were trivial. In fact, according to Krugman, “Obama is actually very serious in the real sense. It's just the notion he hasn't done anything on entitlement reform is totally unfair. He's done more than anyone has ever done before.”
And that’s why he needs $1.6 trillion dollars in tax hikes and $50 billion in additional stimulus spending to be "serious" about reining in deficit spending?!
Deck the halls! The Obamas were Christmas shopping on "Small Business Saturday," and spurring economic growth with their consumer spending. Economic activity that may come to an abrupt end if we take the plunge off the fiscal cliff.
CBSNews.com reporter Lindsey Boerma wrote on November 24 about the outing detailing how, “accompanied by his daughters Sasha and Malia, the president journeyed across the river to One More Page Books, which the White House described as an "independent, neighborhood bookstore." After consulting his Blackberry for an apparent holiday wish list, he purchased 15 children's books before even browsing the store.” But is President Obama really pro-small business?