The Associated Press's Top Business News page lists the headlines and opening passages of what the wire service believes are the ten most important business stories at the moment. Its 9:16 a.m. version had a story entitled "JACKSON HOLE DEMONSTRATORS RALLY AGAINST RATE HIKE" listed fifth. Earlier in the morning it was fourth.
Surely, I thought to myself, this must be about a group of at least several hundred to merit this level of attention. Not at all. The opening sentence at Matthew Brown's Friday afternoon story tells us it was "a group of about 10," but that one group member somehow got to speak with Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen (bolds are mine):
Paul Krugman at the New York Times and other fever-swamp leftists who, incredibly, are operating under the assumption that the economy has experienced an acceptable if uneven "recovery" during the five years since the recession ended are celebrating what they believe was an epic live "embarrassment" of Rick Santelli at the hands of Steve Liesman at CNBC on Monday.
A Google search shows that Mediaite ("CNBC Reporter Torches Rick Santelli"), New Republic ("CNBC's Rick Santelli Was Embarrassed on Live TV"), Talking Points Memo ("Watch CNBC's Tea Partier Get Told How Wrong He's Been"), Business Insider ("Steve Liesman Issued A Devastating Line To Rick Santelli"), and of course Vox ("Watch Steve Liesman demolish Rick Santelli's inflation fearmongering") are all piling on. Following the jump, I will show that Santelli only claimed to have been right about the direction of the economy for the past five years, after which Liesman changed the subject and hogged the microphone:
At the Associated Press on Friday afternoon, Andrew Taylor, who it should be noted covers Congress and is not routinely on the economics or business beat, relayed an Obama administration prediction that economic growth in 2014 will come in at 2.6 percent.
Taylor noted that this estimate, lowered from 3.3 percent, came about because of "the unexpected 2.9 percent drop in gross domestic product in the first quarter of this year when unusually severe weather dinged the economy." Besides failing to note that the contraction was an annualized drop (the actual contraction was about 0.7 percent), he didn't tell readers how absurdly strong growth will have to be during the rest of the year to hit that 2.6 percent target; it works out to an annualized 4.5 percent during each of this year's remaining unreported quarters. Perhaps the AP reporter isn't economically astute enough to recognize how unlikely that is — or worse, he recognized it and let it pass unchallenged.
Donna Brazile apparently liked yours truly's NewsBusters post yesterday. That post ripped the Associated Press's Pollyanna-like coverage of the U.S. economy, and carried the following headline which may have caused several spilled drinks and soaked monitors among the genuinely informed — "AP: ‘Humming’ and ‘Rising’ U.S. Economy Is a ‘World-Beater.'"
About five hours after the post's appearance, Brazile tweeted her clear approval (HT Twitchy). While we appreciate any traffic which might have come this way as a result of Brazile's tweet, it's hard to imagine that Al Gore's 2000 presidential campaign manager has switched sides. It's far more likely that she didn't bother reading the underlying post. The tweet follows the jump:
Fox News contributor and syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer made a very interesting and logical correlation Friday. The press has predictably failed to make the connection or even to relay Krauthammer's point, simply because it leads to the default assumption that conservatives were right on an important economic issue.
To be clear, the point Krauthammer and National Review Online's Robert Stein made on Thursday isn't directly provable. But the fact that an acceleration in job growth and a significant reduction in the unemployment rate have occurred in the six months since extended unemployment benefits expired is hard to explain away as some kind of lucky coincidence — especially given the endless blather of "weather" excuses the press and the administration have made about the economy in general since early this year. Video and a transcript follow the jump.
In the latest White House press release disguised as analysis at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, AP stenographer Paul Wiseman sang the praises of this nation's "humming" job market and its "steadily rising" growth as the economy is "finally showing the vigor that Americans have long awaited." Wow.
Of course, the White House — er, Wiseman — never mentioned the following (to name just a few): two straight months (April and May) of real declines in consumer purchases; the seasonally adjusted decline of 523,000 in full-time employment paired with an increase of 799,000 part-time jobs in June; April’s and May's trade imbalance coming in worse than March’s, which was already very high; shipments of durable goods barely budging in April and May; factory orders falling in May; or May's flat construction spending. It got worse, as Wiseman concocted five reasons why the U.S. economy is a "world beater." Excerpts from Paul's pathetic prose follow the jump (bolds and numbered tags are mine):
In July 2013, the Associated Press's Christopher Rugaber finally noticed the meteoric rise in the number of temporary help service and other non-payroll personnel working at U.S. employers — a trend which at the time was about 2-1/2 years old. Rugaber noted that "temps and to a much larger universe of freelancers, contract workers and consultants ... number nearly 17 million people who have only tenuous ties to the companies that pay them – about 12 percent of everyone with a job." He also cited two likely contributors to that growth. First, "Some employers have also sought to sidestep the new health care law’s rule that they provide medical coverage for permanent workers. Second, "companies want to avoid having too many employees during a downturn."
This morning, the AP's Tom Raum did another report on the situation, and proceeded to blow the numbers, ignore Obamacare, and downplay the influence of the mediocre economy.
AP's tallest tale is in ascribing the four annual deficits of over $1 trillion incurred from fiscal 2009 through 2012 entirely to the "deep recession" and the need to "stabilize the financial system," when the truth is that huge increases in government spending not related to those matters are primarily what shot the annual deficits upward — and are still keeping them at historical highs. Excerpts follow the jump (bolds and numbered tags are mine):
Appearing as a panel member on the Sunday, April 20, Disrupt with Karen Finney, MSNBC political analyst Jonathan Alter -- formerly of Newsweek -- asserted that President Obama's move to delay a final decision on the Keystone Pipeline "strongly increases the likelihood that he will rule against the pipeline after the election."
He recounted a history of Democratic presidents appeasing liberal environmentalists before leaving office when it is politically safer.
In a Friday morning dispatch which comes off more as a set of election instructions from "Democratic strategists" than as a real news report, David Espo at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, wanted to make sure that political operatives who don't read boring pollster reports still get the message: Don't use the word "recovery" during your fall campaign.
In the course of his missive, Espo falsely claimed that economic growth since the recession officially ended has continued unbroken, and failed to remind his audience that the party has trotted out "recovery" themes several times, only to see historically weak economic and employment results each time. Excerpts follow the jump (bolds are mine):
Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan made some rather ominous economic observations Sunday.
Appearing on CNN’s Fareed Zakaria GPS, Greenspan said, “[T]he level of uncertainty about the very long-term future is far greater than at any time I particularly remember.” He blamed it on “government intervention [that] has been so horrendous that businesses cannot basically decide what to do about the future” (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Chris Matthews has a new book out about his former boss the late Speaker of the House Tip O'Neill.
Despite this, the MSNBC host was made a fool of on Sunday's Meet the Press by Tea Party Congressman Raul Labrador (R-Id.) concerning how many times the government was shut down when O'Neill ruled the House (video follows with transcript and commentary):
So much for the recovery. Even liberals admit employment is “weak,” that household wealth hasn’t recovered and consumer experts say middle-class retailers are “struggling.” But two of the three broadcast news networks have been much more focused on “proof that the economy is getting stronger,” than on economic worries since the May jobs report was released June 6.
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke surprised some on Sept. 18, when he postponed the tapering off of its huge monetary “stimulus” policy called quantitative easing (QE). At the same time, the Fed cut economic growth forecasts. Reuters reported that “the Fed cut its forecast for 2013 economic growth to a 2.0 percent to 2.3 percent range from a June estimate of 2.3 percent to 2.6 percent. The downgrade for 2014 was even sharper.”
If you listen to the left, you're probably hearing about food stamp "cuts."
What you're probably not hearing is, as Ira Stoll reported in the New York Sun, that the Democrats wanted to increase food stamp spending by 65% over the next ten years but Republicans passed a bill to raise it by only 57%, so partisan spinners and liberals in the media are calling what the GOP passed "a cut."
A November 15, 2010 blog post by Michael S. Derby at the Wall Street Journal ("San Francisco Fed Official Says QE2 Is Working") told us that "The Federal Reserve‘s recently announced plan to buy $600 billion in Treasury securities to improve economic growth is having a positive effect on growth." The Fed official involved also predicted "the U.S. gross domestic product to come in at 2.5% this year (2010), and at 3.5% next year and 4.5% the year after that."
Uh, not exactly. Actual GDP results: 2.5% in 2010 (that was a gimme), followed by 1.8% and 2.8% in 2011 and 2012, respectively. Almost three years letter, the San Fran Fed's acknowledged result of that effort at "quantitative easing" — it "added about 0.13 percentage point to real GDP growth in late 2010" — is starkly different, and is only "positive" if you think a football team managing one field goal in four quarters is "positive." Of course, though it should be, the news is getting very little coverage.
One has to sift through the biased blather to get to it, but Mary Clare Jalonick's August 1 coverage at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, of the House's plans to rein in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, still popularly called "food stamps," contains an important admission which most of the establishment press has avoided as the program's costs and enrollment have skyrocketed, all in the name of preserving the false impression that the program is exclusively about preventing people from starving.
As usual, one of those distractions is the tired idea that what the House is proposing represents harmful "cuts," when what is really occurring is a long overdue and yet still watered-down effort to target benefits to the truly eligible and prevent their disbursement to people who either don't need them or shouldn't get them (bolds and numbered tags are mine):
Even though President Obama promised a cut in the corporate income tax on the campaign trail in 2012, the media are playing up as a "grand concession" or "grand bargain" his offer to Republicans to cut the federal levy in exchange for a boatload of new deficit spending -- and hidden taxes. On Tuesday evening, Fox Business Network anchor Neil Cavuto brought NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell on his eponymous program to discuss this latest way in which the media are misleading the American people and helping to uncritically further the president's talking points on the economy.
"It's being announced as a bargain," Bozell observed, although "there is no bargain, there is no agreement" that has been struck. The media using the language of "grand bargain" is simply a set-up to blame Republicans when they rightly push back against the president's plan to ratchet up spending the country can't afford, the Media Research Center president argued [watch the full Cavuto appearance in the embed below the page break]
Organizing For Action claims that its mission is to "support President Obama in achieving enactment of the national agenda Americans voted for on Election Day 2012." Presumably, on a day-to-day and month-to-month basis, that means it's able to divine the President's priorities and follow them (you see, OFA is "independent," so there can't pooooossibly be any communication between its officials and the White House, cough, cough).
Well, if OFA really is following the President's priorities, one of those priorities is decidedly not the economy, despite Obama's promise in his weekly address on Saturday to "spend every minute of every day doing everything in my power to make this economy work for working Americans again." And yes, I would expect a vigilant establishment press, which we definitely don't have, to notice, and of course they haven't. Edward-Isaac Dovere at the Politico has a list of OFA's "Action August" key event days, which follows the jump:
Has Glenn Thrush at the Politico thrown up the white flag on Democrats regaining control of the House until 2022, the first election cycle after the next wave of congressional and statehouse redistricting? If so, he clearly underestimates Republicans' ability to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, but I digress.
It would appear that Thrush has thrust himself into the throes of despair, based on the bolded sentence seen after the jump from his Friday report on how 2010 losses of control of the U.S. House and especially control of so many statehouses and state legislatures "still haunt" Dear Leader Barack Obama:
CBS's Bob Schieffer got a much-needed lesson in recent history Sunday.
During a Face the Nation discussion with House Speaker John Boehner (R-Oh.), after the host wrongly claimed sequester was "the creation of Congress," Boehner interrupted him saying, "That's wrong. Who insisted on the sequester? The President of the United States" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
It wasn't a tough prediction, but late Friday morning Noel Sheppard at NewsBusters noted the seemingly "metaphysical certitude the Obama-loving media will be falling over themselves in the next 48 hours to report the better than expected jobs numbers in June." Well, of course.
Noel also wondered how much attention the press would pay to less than desirable aspects of yesterday's jobs report from Uncle Sam's Bureau of Labor Statistics. The answer at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, which carried at least eight reports relating to the news and its effects on the financial markets, was "hardly," as will be seen in excerpts after the jump. Additionally, the AP reversed its initial take that yesterday's non-change in the unemployment rate would keep the Federal Reserve's stimulus flowing, later deciding that the jobs report was so good that the Fed can let the tapering begin.
MSNBC anchor Alex Witt turned into a skeptic of federal government spending on Saturday’s Weekends with Alex Witt, but before you get too excited, it was predictably in service of a larger liberal agenda. Witt questioned the wisdom of a $30 billion border security amendment that is now being debated in the Senate. This amendment to the larger Senate immigration bill calls for 20,000 additional border control agents, 700 miles of additional fencing along the southern border, and the expanded use of radar and drone technology.
Regarding the $30 billion cost of the amendment, Witt expressed her fear to U.S. News and World Report’s Lauren Fox: “[W]e're talking about a heck of a lot of money to help secure this border but will it actually accomplish that?” [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
In an interview with liberal economist Jeffrey Sachs for Meet the Press's Press Pass segment on Sunday, moderator David Gregory worried about skepticism of big government: "...a lot of it has to do with what role does a government play in creating more structural balance in the economy, creating more jobs...doing what nobody else can do for the economy....but that the country writ large does not support....So what changes that and what happens in the absence of that movement back toward government playing a bigger role and spending all of that money?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Sachs began his response by leveling criticism against the Obama administration's massive stimulus program: "...there's a lot of skepticism, and it's understandable. If the government wastes money or runs huge deficits and so forth, you can't be very confident....What you can't do is say, 'We're going to spend a trillion dollars, or nearly a trillion dollars, and we're going to work it out in the next five weeks and we're going to throw it on to the floor of Congress before anyone can even read it.'"
The most interesting thing (to me, at least) about Wednesday's report in the Los Angeles Times by Ricardo Lopez on how the author of an economic report out of UCLA has said that the U.S. economy's performance since the recession officially ended in June 2009 stinks -- "It's not a recovery. It's not even normal growth. It's bad" -- is how the Associated Press relayed it to its readers and subscribers. I don't recall ever seeing a 15-plus paragraph report go unbylined, but this one did.
Maybe whoever wrote the AP item didn't want to incur the wrath of his or her colleague Tom Raum, who early last week wrote that the economy is "clearly, if slowly" recovering. It's also somewhat likely that Christopher Rugaber, who wrote "Gone are the fears that the economy could fall into another recession" in early April, might be a bit miffed. Choice nuggets from Lopez's LAT lament follow the jump:
Martin Bashir on Tuesday said New York Times columnist Paul Krugman "deserves the Nobel Peace Prize."
Yes, the MSNBC host said Peace Prize - not one for economics - all because the perilously liberal economist has advocated more deficit spending and even more federal debt to stimulate the economy (video follows with partial transcript and commentary):
In "Go Ahead, Invade Their Phone Records: AP Reports Obama Has 'Alleged Scandals' and 'Alleged Misbehavior,'" Tim Graham at NewsBusters noted how Tom Raum at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, claimed that "Alleged misbehavior by the Internal Revenue Service and other federal agencies gives the GOP something else to talk about and investigate as the economy clearly, if slowly, recovers on President Barack Obama's watch, robbing Republicans of a central argument against Democrats."
That this is an exercise in sheer fantasy on Raum's part can be quickly demonstrated in two graphics.
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. 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.
While most regular people don’t really know or care who he is, Rupert Murdoch is among a small handful of individuals who is most despised by the far left in this country. Unlike many others, he also has the great distinction of being loathed by exponents of socialism worldwide.
After reading (or watching) the speech which he recently gave to an Australian think tank called the Institute of Public Affairs about the moral superiority of free markets, it’s not hard to see why those who would enslave markets because they believe them to be based on greed would despise Murdoch, especially since he has the absolute temerity to dare to own newspapers, movie studios, and television channels across the globe.