The AP's coverage of the U.S. economy late Friday focused on high gas prices as the dominant, uh, driver of this year's anemic growth both visually and in its text.
As will be seen after the jump, the graphic at the AP's national site is of a gas price sign. The final sentence in the caption of the full-size version reads "High gas prices and scant income gains forced Americans to sharply pull back on spending."
The underlying report by Christopher Rugaber and Paul Wiseman predictably mentioned gas prices first and foremost, tagged debt-ceiling negotiations as a suddenly important contributor to economic uncertainty (where have they been while President Obama, his cabinet, his czars, and his hyperactive regulators have been injecting uncertainty in megadoses during the past two years?), and relayed Ben Bernanke's months-old warning that cutting back too much on government spending would hinder economic growth:
The folks at CNN should be really proud of themselves.
In less than 24 hours, one of their current anchors - Fareed Zakaria - flat out lied about deficits, the debt ceiling, and the U.S. credit rating before a former host - Eliot Spitzer - falsely told viewers of HBO's "Real Time" that George W. Bush "gave us the deregulatory craziness that led us over the cliff" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
This morning, Christopher Rugaber's coverage of the news from Uncle Sam's Bureau of Economic Analysis about the growth in the nation's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) at the Associated Press appropriately characterized it as indicative of a "sharp slowdown" and "extremely bad" (via a quoted economist).
Today's report carried an advance estimate of second-quarter growth of an annualized 1.3%. As a result of revisions going all the way back to 2003, the BEA's report also included a steeply reduction to 0.4% for the first quarter (down from the 1.9% reported last month), deeper contractions during the recession's roughest quarters, and net slightly lower growth figures since the recession officially ended in June 2009.
The big story Rugaber missed -- and which I suspect the rest of the media will also miss -- is that two full years after the recession ended, the economy, based on today's numbers, has not yet fully recovered, as seen in the following graphic (Source data: Table 3A at the BEA's full GDP report):
Appearing as a guest on Thursday’s Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell on MSNBC, the Huffington Post’s Sam Stein suggested that the budget plan that the House Republican leadership is trying to pass would harm the economy, and, as if the government did not take in lots of tax revenue already, referred to the absence of a tax increase as "no revenues." Stein:
The New York Times on Tuesday told its readers, "House Republicans have lost sight of the country's welfare."
In an editorial entitled "The Republican Wreckage," the Gray Lady disgracefully claimed, "They have largely succeeded in their campaign to ransom America's economy for the biggest spending cuts in a generation" dimming "the futures of millions of jobless Americans":
CNN's Fareed Zakaria Thursday called the debt ceiling battle a "sideshow" caused by the Tea Party.
Appearing on "In the Arena" as a supposed "astute observer of the economy," Zakaria proceeded to bungle economic and historic facts like a high school dropout (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Today on the 2:00 pm segment of CNN Newsroom, anchor Randi Kaye spoke with CNN political producer Shannon Travis about criticism directed at President Barack Obama:
TRAVIS: Yes, really, really quickly, billionaire Steve Wynn, you've seen his resorts all over Las Vegas. He's blasting President Obama. I'm going to read this quote from a call, an earnings call yesterday. Quote, "I'm saying it bluntly that this administration is the greatest wet blanket to business and progress and job creation in my lifetime". Those are from Steve Wynn.
We know there are a lot of businesses who have been on a hiring streak, Randi, but this is what Steve Wynn, billionaire real estate mogul in Las Vegas thinks about the Obama administration.
What hiring streak is Travis talking about? CNN Money.com reported last week that initial unemployment claims remained above the 400,000 mark for the 14th straight week. The Bureau of Labor Statistics noted in its June, 2011 report that there are now 14.1 million Americans out of work. The same agency pegged that number at 11.6 for January, 2009, the month Barack Obama took office.
Chris Matthews on Wednesday gave a lesson on utterly shameless fear-mongering.
In the final segment of MSNBC's "Hardball," the host said, "Failure to act on the debt ceiling will create a horror for our country, a horror we’ve never seen before" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
President Barack Obama and congressional leaders seeking to negotiate a deal to increase the legal limit on the federal government's debt, would need to agree to increase that debt by $615.865 billion between now and Sept. 30, just to keep the government going at current spending levels, according to the CBO's latest estimate of the fiscal 2011 deficit and the Treasury Department's latest accounting of the federal debt.
It is truly fascinating how liberal media members will do anything to protect the reputation of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
On this weekend's "McLaughlin Group," Newsweek's Eleanor Clift revised history to largely absolve the two government-sponsored enterprises for last decade's mortgage collapse while predictably blaming it on Wall Street and of course George W. Bush (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Democrat strategist and ABC contributor Donna Brazile on Sunday predictably blamed the current debt ceiling impasse on Republicans and their refusal to raise taxes.
This led George Will to state what would be obvious to all media members if they weren't so in the tank for Barack Obama, namely that he and his Party have been kicking the deficit can down the road so long they're guilty of "can abuse" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
While Associated Press Economics writers like Christopher Rugaber and Paul Wiseman, as seen in a post this morning (at NewBusters; at BizzyBlog), talk of "baffled economists" and a job market that is "defying history," one AP writer, in discussing stocks which have done well in this economy, has revealed what employment prospects really are with quite un-baffling certainty from the point of view of those who have to put their money where their expectations are, i.e., investors.
The wire service's Bernard Condon cited a pawn shop operator, a payday lender, a debt-collection firm, and a rent-to-own outfit as companies which have outperformed the market and are expected to continue doing so. The reason for the expectation is found in the title of this post, which is also seen in the following excerpt from Condon's composition:
The New York Times on Friday once again proved itself to have absolutely no clue how budgets work.
In its editorial "Negotiating the Debt Ceiling on a Knife's Edge," the Times - like so many other math-challenged "news" organizations in America today - blamed the current debt ceiling woes on the Bush tax cuts and Republican refusal to raise revenues:
Friday afternoon, the White House quietly released its annual report to Congress on White House staff salaries. Among the employees is the infamous director of progressive media and online response, Jesse Lee, who is paid $72,500 a year to provide White House sanctioned responses to any negative press it receives.
The position, which was previously part of the privately-funded DNC's rapid response team, is now a taxpayer-funded spin machine to thwart bad press against President Barack Obama. In effect, the position is a pulpit for the White House, through Lee, to ridicule critics and promote a liberal agenda. Lee frequently retweets liberal bloggers and media organizations, but also picks fights with a number of conservative bloggers.
On Friday, at its Political Hotsheet, Corbett B. Daly at CBS News, who joined the network in late May after leaving Reuters, appeared to virtually celebrate what he believes was the latest of Mitt Romney's flip-flops.
Though it's clear that Mr. Romney has flip-flopped in the past on a number of matters, it's hard to see how Daly or any of the other flip-flop scorekeepers has a case -- at least before Romney appeared to give in to the media meme.
Here is how Daly characterized it, complete with the presumption that what Romney has been saying on the campaign trail is "factually inaccurate":
With a month to go before the next supposedly "drop dead date" regarding the nation's debt ceiling, liberal media members are out in force with hysterical claims about the world ending if Congress isn't free to spend more money it doesn't have.
Ever the faithful shill, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman did his part Friday cautioning that any spending cuts at this time "would destroy hundreds of thousands and quite possibly millions of jobs":
On ABC’s World News on Sunday, a report by correspondent Jim Avila highlighted the complaints of left-wing mayors who expressed wishes that more defense spending would be redirected at projects in their cities.
The NBC correspondent speculated about what other items could be paid for using the money used by the Pentagon in Afghanistan and Iraq, and concluded the report seeming to suggest that spending on the wars had played a role in causing "damage" to the economy of the U.S. Avila: "It's a growing part of this country's war fatigue - a decade of human cost and damage to a struggling economy."
Chris Matthews Tuesday once again showed that his tenuous grasp of reality is getting dangerously weak.
During the final segment of "Hardball," the host unequivocally blamed the 2007 financial crisis and resulting recession on George W. Bush just moments before he said, "Okay, Obama hasn't been able to get us out of it yet, but...there’s no sense blaming one Party or the other" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Newsweek's Evan Thomas on Friday tried to float the typical media meme that neither Party is doing anything to solve our nation's budget crisis.
Unfortunately for him, fellow "Inside Washington" panelist Charles Krauthammer accurately noted that the Republicans have offered a proposal to cut $6.6 trillion in the next ten years, "but the Democrats have done nothing except to demagogue the plan and to destroy it" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
On the June 14 edition of NBC's "Today," President Barack Obama ascribed part of the blame for the high unemployment rate to ATMs, yet most media outlets continue to ignore the gaffe.
"There are some structural issues with our economy where a lot of businesses have learned to become much more efficient with a lot fewer workers," lectured Obama in an interview with NBC's Ann Curry. "You see it when you go to a bank and you use an ATM, you don’t go to a bank teller, or you go to the airport and you’re using a kiosk instead of checking in at the gate."
To say that the statistics concerning new business formation during the past few years haven't been very good would be a major understatement.
USA Today's Scott Patterson deserves some credit for even looking at the topic. It is tailor-made for neglect by the rest of the establishment press. When government policies lean towards lower taxation and regulation, policies left-leaning journalists tend to oppose, net business formations generally grow, and they'd rather not report it. In the high-tax, high-regulation environments they favor, net business formation slows considerably -- and again, they'd rather not report it.