As NewsBusters has been reporting, Obama-loving media have been very quick to point out how recent unemployment reports from the Labor Department, though showing HUGE job losses, have been better than analysts expected.
The most absurd example was two months ago when a 539,000 decrease in nonfarm payrolls was applauded by many media outlets as being good news.
With that in mind, the Labor Department announced Thursday that job losses in June were far greater than analysts had forecast, making one wonder how the Obama-loving media will spin this positively.
Those who have followed my posts for a while know that I have a particularly low regard for the work of MarketWatch's Rex Nutting (pictured at right). It goes back to the pre-housing mess days when he tried to tell me that the the drop in housing prices would look like the 75%-plus drop in the NASDAQ from 2000-2002 or the collapse of Dutch tulip prices centuries ago. As of April 2009, according the Federal Housing Finance Authority (FHFA), the successor to the Office of Housing Enterprise Oversight, the two-year drop in housing prices since the April 2007 peak has been 11.2% (PDF). Of course, give the Obama administration enough time, and who knows what it might do to housing values?
After the government's "final" GDP report for the first quarter of 2009 on Thursday (future comprehensive revisions during the next two years could still ultimately change the outcome), it occurred to me that the reported annualized contraction of 5.5%, in combination with the annualized 6.3% contraction logged in the fourth quarter of last year, might be some kind of record. I looked at historical info, and found that the most recent two-quarter dive is the worst since the same quarters of 1957-58. Then in seeing who might have written this up, I came across Nutting's related report, which contains two statements that are patently untrue.
What's remarkable is that one of his errors indicates that he or someone else at MarketWatch must have looked for the numbers in question and, along with his editors (if they exist), blown right by them.
It's basic economics - when the economy contracts and the flow of money slows, so do tax receipts to local governments, barring maneuvering by the government to impose higher taxes. And that has been a focus of news stories, most notably the state budget woes that have recently hit California.
A June 22 "CBS Evening News" segment showed how, during this sluggish economy, the demand for state government social programs, like welfare, have increased across the county, even as cash-strapped states are in fiscal crisis. But the report didn't point to one of the biggest reasons for state deficits: irresponsible government growth.
"For the first time in 15 years, welfare numbers are up in at least 26 states," CBS correspondent Cynthia Bowers said. "In Illinois, it's 3 percent, but in South Carolina the number is 23 percent, Florida 14 percent and California 10."
A fabulous 1934 Chicago Tribune cartoon that has recently been making the rounds in the blogosphere as an example of history sadly repeating itself was marvelously rerun at the paper's website on June 10.
In it, members of Franklin Delano Roosevelt's administration are seen shoveling money out of a wagon with a billboard on the side declaring, "Depleting the resources of the soundest government in the world."
On Wednesday, the Trib reprinted the cartoon with the caption "This is a 1934 Chicago Tribune political cartoon that many say rings true in today's political and economic climate. What do you think?" (full, largely legible print below the fold along with an explanation of the characters uncovered by The Federal Observer, h/t NBer Gary Hall):
Actor Jon Voight, who recently spoke critically of President Obama at a Republican fundraiser, appeared on Tuesday's The O'Reilly Factor to reiterate his problems with Obama. After recounting that America was "warned" by Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden during the Democratic primary season that Obama "had no experience" and was a "novice," the conservative actor reminded FNC viewers of the unheeded warnings about Obama's connections to questionable figures like Bill Ayers and the Reverend Jeremiah Wright:
Look, he was a fellow who was associated with all the wrong people. The signs were up. His associations with Bill Ayers, Alinsky, with ACORN, with Pfleger, with Wright. But no one seemed to take the warnings. And his inexperience was quite evident.
According to this AFP report, "Most analysts expect employers to have cut 520,000 jobs, down from 539,000 in April. But the unemployment rate is still expected to have jumped to 9.2 percent, its highest since 1983." (UPDATE: 345,000 seasonally adjusted jobs were lost in May, but the unemployment rate rose sharply to 9.4%.)
"Down from April"? Given the vagaries in the governmnent's estimates, and that the figure will be revised in the following two months, how about "virtually the same as April"?
At least AFP gave us two numbers to compare. An e-mail I received on Wednesday morning from CNNMoney.com about ADP's monthly National Employment Report didn't even do that:
In what could be a new record for the Morning Joe crew, Joe Scarborough exploded into an anti-media rant today – a mere six minutes and forty-one seconds into the show. From review of the tape, it is clear that Scarborough had not missed his morning coffee – so that was apparently not the reason for his detonation. What, then, set Scarborough off?
This Scarborough eruption was brought to you by the past (and continuing) failure of the main-stream media to cover President Obama fairly. In Mika Brzezinski’s morning news rundown, there was (what was supposed to be) a short segment on President Obama’s comments yesterday; regarding the latest in a series of auto-maker bailouts:
JOE SCARBOROUGH: How can he say that with a straight face? Seriously. This is one of the things that's troubling about this President is he can say things with a straight face that the media does not call him on.
After arguing the details of the President’s proposal at length (length for a TV show...), Brzezinski provided this gem:
On Friday's "Good Morning America," ABC White House correspondent Jake Tapper provided a skeptical, challenging analysis of the Obama administration's claims about the economic stimulus bill. NBC's "Today" and CBS's "Early Show" on Thursday simply regurgitated White House statements that the "economy is looking much healthier these days" and that the President is "taking credit for writing the prescription." [Audio available here]
Tapper, in contrast, referenced a new administration report on the stimulus entitled "100 Days, 100 Projects" and wondered, "But, how much of this is real? And how much is hype?" He asserted, "Critics have long said the administration overstates the impact of the stimulus." After playing a clip of Obama claiming 150,000 jobs have been created by the stimulus bill, Tapper called that "a number based on theory, not fact." University of Maryland economist Peter Morici appeared briefly to point out, "It's simply an implausible statement to say that some 150,000 jobs were created by direct spending, indirect spending and so forth."
During his Saturday, May 16, commencement speech at Fordham University, former NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw fretted that the "vital signs" of "Mother Earth" have "taken a turn for the worse," as he cited global warming as a problem this year's graduating class would need to help solve. He also used the term "economic justice," a term commonly invoked by the Left, as he called on graduates to "restore economic justice." Brokaw: "We need you to celebrate one another in a common cause of restoring economic justice and true value, advancing racial and religious tolerance, creating a healthier planet."
Early in his speech, Brokaw referred to the current economic problems that largely originated in the financial sector as he argued that "the economic model that has defined your lives was, in too many ways, a house of cards," and referred to "greed and avarice" in that sector, before he more optimistically praised America as a relatively more prosperous place than the rest of the world. Brokaw: "America remains a land of unparalleled economic opportunities with a standard of living that even in these constricted circumstances is well beyond the hope of hundreds of millions in less developed countries."
Update: Brokaw also spoke at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, on May 17, and madesimilar comments.
Here's a CNN e-mail alert I just received a couple of hours ago:
So how did the Associated Press's Jeannine Aversa report the above raw news? As you would expect an Obama apparatchik to do it (reproduced in full as it existed at 3:15 p.m.; bold after title is mine):
Fed sees hopeful signs but downgrades '09 forecast
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Federal Reserve expects the economy to improve in coming months, even as policymakers have downgraded their outlook for all of 2009.
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."