You know the era of big government is alive and well when you see a mainstream news outlet praise the growth of the public sector as a "bright spot."
Leading up to and throughout the 2008 national election cycle, CBS News was generally downbeat on the economy, even when times were much better than they are currently. However, now that government has taken a much larger role in the private economy, the "CBS Evening News" has now been running a so-called "Economic Bright Spot" segment. And on the May 18 broadcast, "Evening News" anchor Katie Couric explained how government was going to save us all.
"Back here on earth, government agencies like NASA seem to be the only places hiring during this recession," Couric said. "Last month, there were 72,000 new government jobs - 66,000 federal. That's up more than 2 percent from the month before. As Kelly Wallace reports, for thousands of graduates who need jobs this hiring boom is one of the economic bright spots."
Katie Couric sees America through a very dark prism. On Monday, she launched a new “Children of the Recession” series, in collaboration with USA Today, with an op-ed in “the nation's newspaper” in which she speculated today's kids may become the “Recession Generation” since “in some ways, I think they already are,” or the “innocent victims could become the Lost Generation.”
Then, on Monday's CBS Evening News, she portrayed America as in such a bad way that it reminded her of the Great Depression, asserting the impact of the recession “may be” to children “what the depression was to an earlier generation.” In a story on the “Safe Families for Children” program that helps overwhelmed families hand their kids temporarily to other families, Couric raised the most ominous comparison: “Volunteer families stepping in during tough times is reminiscent of the Great Depression when parents in dire straits sent their children to live with relatives or other people in the community.”
In the May 18 USA today op-ed, “The recession's tiniest victims need help, too,” Couric denigrated the kind of news she's presented as dealing with “things and places that are cold, vague, incomprehensible” (quite an endorsement for her newscast!), before pivoting to how the real news is an anecdote-based recounting of the plight of a few kids:
What is the idea of the American dream, of working hard and achieving something, and knowing that all, you know, half your wealth is going to someone who didn't do that?
So asked CNBC's Maria Bartiromo Thursday during a stirring discussion with a union advocate who had the nerve to claim the problems in the auto industry were all caused by a lack of a nationalized healthcare system, and that only the top one percent of wage earners in America should pay federal income taxes.
Unlike most media members who would have applauded such sentiments coming from one of their guests, Bartiromo pushed back, with respect and professional courtesy not seen much from journalists these days, and in a fashion that would make many Americans currently concerned about their nation's direction a wee bit nostalgic and tremendously proud.
What follows is a partial transcript of this exchange, as well as an embedded video of the entire segment:
In Part I (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog) of my coverage of Martin Crutsinger's Associated Press report about Uncle Sam's Monthly Treasury Statement and the Obama administration's deficit projections, I noted that the government "miraculously" shrunk the deficit through March, the first six months of its fiscal year, by $175 billion, by employing an "accounting change."
Even though this "accounting change," which does not report TARP disbursements as outlays because they are considered "investments," violates fundamental cash-flow reporting principles, Crutsinger gave the change an unskeptical treatment. He also failed to tell readers whether the administration used the old or new method in calculating its latest full-year deficit projection of $1.84 trillion. If Team Obama used the new method to determine it, the deficit under the old and more correct method will more than likely be over $2 trillion.
Crutsinger also failed to report the steep dive in federal receipts that took place in April, which is the government's highest month for collections, compared to last year's all-time record April haul, which I referred to as the "Supply-Side Stunner," and which Crutsinger and others also failed to report when it occurred last year (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog).
Here is how April 2009 collections compared to April of 2008:
Roubini, often called Dr. Doom and known for crazy parties, predicted back in 2005 the speculative housing bubble would be the eventual undoing of the economy - and he was correct. However, as Jeff Macke, founder and president of Macke Asset Management and panelist on "Fast Money" explained May 11, being two years early with that prediction wasn't something to hang your hat on.
"Let me give you a little hint on trading," Macke said. "If you're two years early on any idea, what you are mostly is dead. You're a professor, as opposed to a trader. And if we still have time to talk after the five-minute butt kissing we gave the guy, I'll tell you what - he hasn't made anyone a cent. Until he does, as far as I'm concerned, it's a nice opinion but it's not making me money."
For whatever reason, CNBC keeps lining up challengers to take on its Chicago Mercantile Exchange floor reporter Rick Santelli over his self-reliance, pro-taxpayer persona - whether it's Steve Liesman, Arianna Huffington or this time, Keith Boykin - editor of The Daily Voice, a CNBC contributor and a BET TV host.
ON CNBC's May 7 "The Call," Santelli took on Boykin in the program's "The Call of the Wild" segment. Boykin was armed with the usual anti-George W. Bush talking points to defend President Barack Obama and his policies.
"Look what he inherited first of all," Boykin said.
"He didn't inherit anything," Santelli said. "He ran for office, it was his choice."
Here's a teachable moment: Bad things can happen when the government intervenes in the economy, which Fox Business Network host Cody Willard pointed out on his "Shot Clock" segment on "Happy Hour."
Willard, on FBN's May 4 "Happy Hour" used part of his segment to call for the jailing of the New York Fed's chairman, Stephen Friedman.
"New York Fed [Chairman] Stephen Friedman - this guy belongs in jail," Willard said. "This is the head of the New York Fed - Stephen Friedman guys."
Willard was referring to a report in the May 4 Wall Street Journal that questioned Friedman's current ties to Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) while playing an instrumental role in shaping Washington's response to the financial crisis late last year. Willard explained that Friedman was able to profit after Goldman was approved to be a bank holding company in late 2008, making it eligible for a $10-billion capital injection.
Somebody needs to 'fess up. Who put truth serum in Calvin Woodward's coffee this morning?
Whoever it is, they're in a heap of trouble, as Woodward produced a fact-checking critique of Barack Obama that is so good you'd swear most of it was ghostwritten by a conservative talk host.
It will be interesting to see how much distribution it gets. I would suggest not counting on too much, but being open to a pleasant surprise.
Regardless of its distribution, you'd better believe they've read it in the White House, and they're wondering what in the world happened.
Here are key paragraphs from Woodward's rundown, which is really, seriously, a read (and save) the whole thing item (it is saved at my host for future reference; HT to Mark Levin, who excerpted the report on his show tonight):
The Associated Press's Jeannine Aversa, who became infamous last year for her stories of "vanishing jobs" that weren't, sounded hopeful early this morning before the release by Uncle Sam's Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) of its first-quarter report on Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth:
Economy's free-fall probably eased in 1Q The recession's grip on the country may be letting up a bit.
The government is set to release a report Wednesday expected to show the economy shrank at a pace of 5 percent in the first three months of this year. If Wall Street analysts' forecasts' are correct, the figure — while still extremely weak — would be viewed as a hopeful sign that the worst of the recession — in terms of lost economic activity — may be past.
Some financial indicators took somewhat of a shock over swine flu fears on the first day after the swine flu fears were realized.
"But on Wall Street today and overseas, travel-related stocks took a beating over flu fears," NBC correspondent Tom Costello said on the April 27 "NBC Nightly News," reporting that U.S. airline stocks were hit hard, down a little over 8 percent on the news.
"If this lasts two months and spreads across the globe, then the global downturn will intensify," Zandi said. "Millions of more jobs will be lost, unemployment will rise, and this recession will last well into 2010."
On April 21, the Business and Media Institute's Dan Gainor testified before the House Judiciary Committee's Courts and Competition Policy in a hearing on "A New Age for Newspapers."
As MRC's Tim Graham wrote on April 22, the hearing was spurred by the steady drumbeat of newspaper closings around the country, and calls from some Democrat lawmakers to bail out and subsidize the newspaper business.
While others testified on newsprint business models and the impact of the Internet, Gainor's statement to the subcommittee highlighted liberal bias as a major factor in the industry's decline. "The concept of a journalist as a neutral party has become a punch line for a joke, not a guideline for an industry," he said.
Almost a year ago, I was posting on what I called the "Supply-Side Stunner" (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog).
In April 2008, the US Treasury collected an all-time record $407.3 billion ($403.75 billion after subtracting the first $3.35 billion wave of stimulus checks, which really should have been treated as outlays, that went out just before month-end). It was an indication that, as I said at the time, "many (entrepreneurs, businesspeople, and investors) are thinking, in the face of relentless media harping to the contrary, that 2008 will be at least as profitable (as 2007)."
This year, it's shaping up to be the "Bailout Year Bummer." Uncle Sam's fiscal year began on October 1 of last year, mere days before Congress passed the legislation that has come to be known as TARP, and a bit more than three months after Nancy Pelosi, Barack Obama, and Harry Reid promised to starve the economy of energy and punitively tax its highest producers, creating what I have since called the POR (Pelosi-Obama-Reid) Economy.
Through March, federal receipts were running 14% behind the previous year. Each month during the fiscal year has trailed the previous year, and degree of the difference has steadily increased.
The New York Times Company is burning full blast towards oblivion and if they don't figure out a way to pull out of their death spiral soon it won't be pretty. In fact, in the first quarter of 2009 the Times lost an incredible $74.5 million which was far far beyond what analysts had predicted. Here's how the Times describes it's own deterioration:
The New York Times Company reported a first-quarter loss of $74.5 million on Tuesday, compared with a loss of $335,000 in the period a year ago, as it joined the roster of newspaper companies recording the steepest advertising declines in generations.
Advertising revenue at the company’s publishing segment fell 28.4 percent in the quarter, including an 8 percent decline in Internet advertising at the News Media Group.
The Times Company’s total revenue of $609 million, down 18.6 percent from $747.9 million in the first quarter a year ago, fell more than $20 million short of analysts’ projections.
Of course this abysmal performance is already being spun by the Times itself and the Associated Press as nothing more than a result of a shift in marketing and the poor economy:
Ladies and Gentlemen, The Lamestream Media The media coverage of the more than 800 Taxed Enough Already (TEA) Party protests that took place in all fifty states on April 15 ranged from disdainful dismissal of their nature, significance and import, to outright hostility towards the events and individual participants, to sexual innuendo-based full-on ridicule.
In this summary, we focused on the three major networks - NBC, ABC and CBS, the two left-of-center cable news networks - CNN and MSNBC and the three major "national" newspapers - the USA Today, the New York Times and the Washington Post.
While not an exhaustively comprehensive oeuvre of TEA Party bias, it contains many, many examples which serve to illustrate the broader antipathetic themes.
When a senior editor from Newsweek goes on MSNBC to discuss conservatives who protest the massive tax and spend agenda of the Obama Administration, why shouldn't he join in the fun of disparaging them with juvenile sexual innuendo? After all, he's among friends and fellow travelers.
But eventually, someone may call that senior editor to account for his "pornographic" slurs, as St. Louis radio host Jamie Allman did to Newsweek's Daniel Gross on April 14.
Gross had appeared on MSNBC's "Countdown," on April 10 and told guest host David Shuster, "I think when it comes to tea bagging, the president should probably ignore this ... to get bogged down with what seems to be a fringe group of people throwing consumer products into the lakes and rivers of this nation, ah, doesn't seem to be worthy of his attention."
While Fox News has celebrated the Taxpayer Tea Party rallies and MSNBC has denigrated them, the impetus of the movement - CNBC and specifically Rick Santelli, its inspiration - had been conspicuously quiet about it.
"A lot of articles about these tea parties," Kernen said. "They all have your name in them, like you caused it. Are you actually attending any or are you just sort of got the idea going initially? What do you think? I mean, you're like a cultural phenomenon at this point."
UPDATE AT END OF POST: DHS cited Pittsburgh cop killings as a "recent example of the potential violence associated with a rise in rightwing extremism."
Days after liberal media representatives blamed conservative talkers for cop killings in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and a week before Tea Party protests will sweep the nation, the Department of Homeland Security issued a report warning that the recession as well as the current political environment could lead to acts of violence from "domestic rightwing terrorists."
With the Tax Day tea party rallies just three days away, outside of the Fox News Channel, the coverage has been lacking. And, it was something that even Washington Post media columnist and host of CNN's "Reliable Sources" Howard Kurtz acknowledged on his April 12 program.
"The folks at Fox News have found something to be for in this age of Obama," Kurtz said. "They are firmly in favor of tea parties. On Wednesday, that would be April 15th - there will be tax protests around the country on the theme of the original Boston Tea Party. TaxDayTeaParty.com says it was inspired by that rant against President Obama's mortgage aid plan by CNBC's Rick Santelli."
However, Kurtz didn't condemn his network and other networks for lack of coverage - but instead explored the notion that Fox News was giving it too much coverage.
Even before a single bag of tea has been dumped as a form of protest over government economic policies, the gang at MSNBC is in full-attack mode over the notion these protests merit any recognition.
On MSNBC's April 10 "Countdown," fill-in host David Shuster imitated his MSNBC colleague Rachel Maddow's juvenile and overdone description of the tea party protest to disparage the upcoming nationwide event.
"Now to the so-called ‘teabagging parties' you may have heard about," Shuster said. "They have been fluffed repeatedly by Fox News. Citizen protests over the government's collection of taxpayer money, specifically that the wealthiest taxpayers in our nation will see their rates go up 3 percent two years from now."
Is pessimism about the economy really the new porn?
ABC's Dan Harris inquired about that possibility in an April 9 "Quick Fix" video for ABCNews.com. But he didn't examine ABC's role in promoting pessimistic or apocalyptic news which has been happening for years.
"Here's something I'm fixated on this week," Harris teased. "A little something called pessimism porn. That is a term coined by the good folks over at New York Magazine and it refers to the fact that there are a lot of people who've become addicted to reading apocalyptic news about the economy online."
According to Harris, "People are logging on to read all sorts of dire predictions about a new Great Depression, bread lines, riots. You name it."
Limbaugh appeared on Fox News Channel's April 8 "Your World with Neil Cavuto" and explained why he was leaving and how he felt about those that were glad he was leaving.
"Well, if they're glad I'm leaving, Neil, then I assume that the governor of New York, the unelected governor - has no interest in the tax revenue he collects from me, in which case I would ask him to call off his audit dogs," Limbaugh said. "You know, one thing that hasn't been reported in this and I've mentioned it each time I've talked about stopping doing business in New York is I left New York as a resident in 1997. I moved down here to Florida, and I have been audited every year. This has been going on since '97. This is 12 years that I have been audited. The most recent audit is for the last three years. It's been going on since October."
It's hard to find an upside to the continuous drumbeat of bad economic news. But on April 7, MSNBC host and Obama cheerleader Rachel Maddow felt compelled to try.
"There is a silver lining here, maybe," Maddow said. "As horrible as the jobs numbers are and as pessimistic as executives across the country appear to be - Americans broadly speaking are actually sort of increasingly optimistic these days."
Maddow cited a New York Times/CBS poll that indicated more Americans think the United States is heading in the right direction, the number who think the economy is getting worse has decreased and more are thinking the bank bailout will help "all Americans" - all of this occurring since President Barack Obama was sworn in back in January.
BMI's Dan Gainor has the following column on Tax Day and Tea Parties up on the Fox Forum:
When you want tea, you bring water to a boil. When you want genuine change, you do the same thing to the American public.
Right now, that public is boiling mad and, with April 15 around the corner, the most important thing brewing is tax protest. For every state in the nation, this tea’s for you.
Lucky for us, our cups runneth over. The nationwide Tax Day Tea Party movement is building incredible steam with an event on the day most Americans dread – April 15. It’s an H&R Block Party to take back our government from people who couldn’t manage the budget of a Kwik-E-Mart.
Saturday's New York Times front-page story by Shaila Dewan from Columbia, S.C., was a hostile profile of the state's conservative Republican Gov. Mark Sanford, who has been unpopular on the Times news pages ever since he dared challenge Barack Obama's expensive spending ideas.
Dewan mocked Sanford's "extreme" frugality (an odd thing to make fun of in these recessionary times) in "Rejecting Aid, One Governor Irks His Own." Showing her own frugality, Dewan squeezed two insults into her first line: Rich and cheap.
For a millionaire, Gov.Mark Sanfordhas a reputation for frugality that borders on the extreme.
Former employees say he has been known to require his staff to use both sides of a Post-it note. When Mr. Sanford was a congressman, he slept on a futon in his office and returned his housing allowance. And when, after he moved into the Governor's Mansion here, tax collectors declared his family's home on Sullivan's Island a secondary residence subject to a higher tax rate, he appealed and won.
Funny, you could easily imagine the Times pushing such frugal traits as endearing in a liberal Democrat trying to reduce his carbon footprint.
Although CNBC "Mad Money" host Jim Cramer has backed off his hyperbolic attacks on President Barack Obama ever since his "Daily Show" appearance, he's shown that he's not afraid to take on the Democratic-controlled Congress.
So, to give credit where credit is due, the "Mad Money" host dedicated an entire segment to the Employee Free Choice Act, aka card check and how its passage by Congress could be detrimental to Wal-Mart's (NYSE:WMT) stock price on his April 3 program. And during the segment, Cramer used three references to Soviet/Russian communism to describe the Democrat effort pushing card check.
"Right now, in Congress - they're getting ready for what is essentially a referendum on Wal-Mart," Cramer said. "And the referendum's name is the Employee Free Choice Act, also known by slang as card check - a bill that will make it much easier for workers to form unions and much harder for employers to get in their way."
For the second time in a week, CNBC's Rick Santelli faced down one of the standard-bearers of liberalism.
First, he explained to Huffington Post editor and founder Arianna Huffington on the March 31 "Squawk Box" that markets are more efficient in correcting economic hardship, in the banking and housing sectors. On CNBC's April 3 "The Call," Santelli took on University of California at Berkeley economics professor and former Secretary of Labor for President Bill Clinton, Robert Reich.
According to Reich, the agreement brokered between President Barack Obama and other G20 leaders - to give the International Monetary Fund (IMF) $1.1 trillion - was positive and should be celebrated.