In the eyes of many in the liberal media, President Obama can do no wrong. If he does, it's not his fault; he is simply a victim of circumstance, or he made the best decision he could given the options. One can tell news items portraying Obama in this light by their descriptions of problems in the passive voice.
Take yesterday's New York Times article by Jackie Calmes, for instance. The piece displays a conspicuous use of the passive voice in the headline: "Promise to Trim Deficit Is Growing Harder to Keep", instead of, say, "Obama's Policies Make Deficit Reduction Unlikely".
The refrain is getting old. When Obama's economic policies caused the debt to skyrocket, and didn't lead to recovery but rather to more federal spending aimed at shoring up the economy, it was because the recession was worse than the administration had planned. Obama's brilliant plans to raise taxes on businesses failed because Congress succumbed to political pressure. Anticipated savings in Iraq were nullified when it turned out winning a war in Afghanistan might actually require significant funding. And Medicare is already being cut to pay for the health care overhaul, so those cuts can't go towards drawing down the deficit. You see, it's never actually Obama's fault.
In keeping with the tradition of the holidays - the minds at MSNBC, the place for politics if you're of the lefty persuasion, decided rate the top 10 political stories of the decade.
And leading this gang of masters of the political journalism universe was "Hardball" host Chris Matthews, who on the broadcast of his Dec. 24 program, announced that conservative activism, mainly the tea party movement was the eighth biggest story of the decade - but labeled "angry white voters" (emphasis added).
"Welcome back to ‘Hardball' - our number eight political story of the decade, angry whites at town hall meetings across the country," Matthews said. "Lawmakers heard the wrath of angry voters."
Uncle Sam's Bureau of Economic Analysis today revised economic growth in the third quarter downward a second time. After originally estimating annualized growth of 3.5% in October and then reducing it to 2.8% in November, the bureau's "third estimate" issued today came in at 2.2%.
If that "third estimate" term seems odd, it's because this is only the second quarter the BEA has labeled its reports "first estimate," "second estimate," and "third estimate." Previously, the respective terms for the three monthly reports were "advance," "preliminary," and "final."
If you're thinking that today's BEA figure is bad news, you obviously haven't gotten the word from Associated Press reporter Jeannine Aversa, who after a brief "not to worry," seemed to wax almost rhapsodically over how great the current quarter and next year will be (a partial screen cap of Aversa's first six paragraphs is saved here for future reference, fair use, and discussion purposes; bold is mine):
In his 1981 inaugural address, former President Ronald Reagan said, "Government is not the solution to our problems; government is the problem." Nearly 29 years later, that still holds true according to CNBC "Mad Money" host Jim Cramer and former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan.
Both Cramer and Greenspan were guests on NBC's Dec. 13 "Meet the Press" and although neither was making a vain effort to be nostalgic, but instead explained that Congress' deliberations over an "agenda" was creating uncertainty for business.
"I think the priority ought to be get rid of the agenda," Cramer said. "I hear the agenda over and over again from business people. In other words, Congress is stalled on health care. I favor universal health care, everyone does in this country. But Washington is killing job growth, not - and then trying to stimulate it small scale? How much does it cost to bring a new employee in? We don't know. We don't know what the health care will be. We don't know what the tax scheme will be."
Each year the Business & Media Institute looks back on the year's news and selects the top 10 worst economic myths. Here is our 2009 list:
10. CBS, NY Times Support Ecuadorian Shakedown of U.S. oil company 9. Media Fail to Scrutinize Obama's Job Claims 8. Government Stimulus is the Answer to Our Economic Problems 7. No Tax Increases for the Middle Class 6. The Recession was Over ... by July. 5. Cash for Clunkers was a ‘Success' 4. Reagan vs. Obama on Jobs: Same Rate, Different Story 3. Health Care Reform will be ‘Deficit Neutral' 2. Tea Parties aren't made up of grassroots protestors; they're just ‘Astroturf.' 1. ClimateGate
10. CBS, NY Times Support Ecuadorian Shakedown of U.S. oil company.
Media myth: Chevron is responsible for abandoned oil wells across Ecuador.
A South American country is trying to squeeze $27 billion out of Chevron for environmental cleanup from discarded oil wells - all with the help of the U.S. news media.
CBS "60 Minutes" and The New York Times took the side of "eco-radicals" at the Amazon Defense Coalition who have filed suit against Chevron, even though the government of Ecuador signed off on the company's cleanup actions more than 10 years ago.
White House Press Secretary, Robert Gibbs, recently ridiculed a Gallup poll which showed the President's approval ratings at a record low for this stage of his presidency, for seemingly no other reason than they showed the President in a negative light. Gibbs referred to the Gallup polling organization as a wildly fluctuating EKG, labeling their results as the equivalent of ‘a 6-year-old with a crayon.'
Predictably, this administration has managed to throw a temper tantrum at every instance of failure that has defined them. The only surprise here, being that Gibbs was capable of taking the pacifier out of his mouth long enough to make the analogy.
On the other hand, it was mere months ago that Gibbs himself used Gallup poll numbers to demonstrate support for President Obama's economic stimulus plan - a stimulus plan that a 6-year-old with a crayon would have voted ‘no' on.
Comedy Central's Jon Stewart used crude sexual humor Monday to bash President Obama's jobs summit.
After playing a videotape of the President asking those in attendance at last Thursday's forum "for specific recommendations that can be implemented that will spur on job growth as quickly as possible," Stewart offered a somewhat vulgar idea.
Delicately paraphrased, "The Daily Show" host suggested that people masturbating or performing oral sex be included in the government's jobs statistics (video embedded below the fold with partial transcript, vulgarity alert, h/t Story Balloon):
The New York Times’s Jason DeParle and Robert Gebeloff published a long Saturday report on the Food Stamp program that went into print on Sunday.
This is the second of three posts on their coverage; the first went up earlier today at NewsBusters and BizzyBlog. It addressed the pair's seeming happiness with the massive increase in program participation, their apparent unhappiness that 15-16 million who could be getting Food Stamps aren't, and their sense of relief that the "stigma" attached to being on a form of government dole has significantly dissipated.
This post will deal with something that should have been right in front of the Times pair's faces: Even before considering loosened eligibility standards (the third post will deal with that), Food Stamp benefits (gross and net) have increased by much more than the rate of food inflation during the past couple of years, especially in the past year, during which the increase in net benefits has been a whopping 30%.
Here are a few article excerpts from the Times report that deal with benefit levels (the first excerpted paragraph originally appeared in between the two other sets of paragraphs presented):
Here we go again. We've already seen how ineffective the previous $787-billion stimulus Congress and the President forced through earlier this year has been with curbing unemployment, as it has raced into double-digits over the previous months. But will there be an effort to force through another one?
"John, what would you say, I don't know, the chances of some sort of an additional jobs stimulus - however you'd like to characterize that, or whatever form it would take or price tag it might have ?" Burnett asked.
Good Morning America’s Bill Weir on Sunday defended the $300 million in pork that Senator Mary Landrieu acquired for her state, spinning, "The people of Louisiana sent her to Washington to get as much sausage as they could, you know, she could."
Landrieu provided the 60th vote on Saturday to bring the Senate’s health care bill up for debate. In return, millions in new funding will go to Louisiana. Guest George Stephanopoulos touted the money as a real bargain: "But I think Democrats are saying it's a pretty cheap vote. $300 million. Without Senator Landrieu's vote yesterday, this bill would have died, would have been very difficult to put it back together."
It didn’t seem to occur to either Stephanopoulos or Weir that one job of a senator might be to not waste millions in taxpayer money.
On Saturday, Fox News analyst Jim Pinkerton credited the Media Research Center for highlighting the lack of media outrage over the Obama administration’s fake congressional district scandal. After referencing the revelation that the Recovery.gov website claimed thousands of jobs had been saved in districts that don’t exist, Pinkerton suggested, "They [Obama officials] were embarrassed, but as the Media Research Center pointed out, the morning shows gave the story exactly 21 seconds."
Pinkerton was referencing a November 17 NewsBusters blog which noted that Tuesday’s Early Show on CBS and NBC’s Today show completely skipped the developing story. ABC’s Good Morning America devoted just 21 seconds to the topic. On Saturday’s Fox News Watch, Pinkerton concluded, "So, no, [the Obama administration will] get over it, because the media aren't going to turn this into another Watergate."
A "new consensus" has emerged on the success of the economic stimulus package, according to a New York Times headline. In touting the supposed success of the legislation, and hinting at support for another round of spending, the Times neglected to mention the widespread fraud that characterizes the administration's attempt at shoring up the economy.
As reported by P.J. Gladnick on Saturday, the Times made sure to attribute its claims to "dispassionate analysts," and asserted that the stimulus is "helping an economy in free fall a year ago to grow again and shed fewer jobs than it otherwise would." Gladnick thoroughly debunked this claim, and others, in his NB post.
In a further show of bias, the Times article makes no mention of the 76,779 jobs that were not actually "saved or created" by the package, but were added to the number touted by the administration (interactive map embedded below the fold - h/t Examiner's Freddoso, Spiering, and Hemingway). Given that this number is roughly 12 percent of the 640,000 jobs the administration claims to have "saved or created," it might merit a mention in the Times's story.
Once I built a railroad, I made it run, made it race against time. Once I built a railroad; now it's done. Brother, can you spare a dime? Once I built a tower, up to the sun, brick, and rivet, and lime; Once I built a tower, now it's done. Brother, can you spare a dime?
Forget about the Great Recession. Pay no heed to home foreclosures. Ignore double digit unemployment.
The stimulus package is working! That is thrust of a New York Times article written from the alternate economic universe. Here is the happy face appraisal of the stimulus package presented by Times writers Jackie Calmes and Michael Cooper who counter the criticism of that program with this gem:
But with roughly a quarter of the stimulus money out the door after nine months, the accumulation of hard data and real-life experience has allowed more dispassionate analysts to reach a consensus that the stimulus package, messy as it is, is working.
The print story is accompanied by a screenshot of Recovery.gov, which the caption beneath it notes "is the government's stimulus-tracking Web site."
Of course, the biggest inaccuracies recently observed on Recovery.gov are non-existent congressional districts purported to have been "saved or created" jobs thanks to stimulus pork sent their way. Yet Post staffer Ed O'Keefe was careful to keep that juiciest tidbit out of his entire 10-paragraph November 19 story.
NBC and CBS’s morning shows on Tuesday completely ignored the revelation that the Obama administration’s Recovery.gov website claims to have saved or created jobs in congressional districts that don’t exist. ABC’s Good Morning America devoted 21 seconds to the developing story.
On ABCNews.com, Jonathan Karl wrote, "In Arizona's 15th congressional district, 30 jobs have been saved or created with just $761,420 in federal stimulus spending." There is no 15th congressional district in Arizona. On Monday night’s World News, the network did manage a full report by Karl. He elaborated, "And it lists $34 million spent in Arizona's 86th district. That district doesn't exist either. In fact, in virtually every state, the website lists millions of dollars spent and hundreds of jobs created in fictional congressional districts."
With the unemployment rate soaring in 10.2 percent in Friday's report on October, two old hands in the Washington press corps appeared on Sunday morning shows where they asserted that means we need another stimulus bill and/or the problem is the current “stimulus” bill wasn't big enough. On This Week, ABC News vet Sam Donaldson maintained “we're going to have to have more stimulus, more spending.”
Over on NBC's Meet the Press, Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne, a former Washington correspondent for the New York Times before covering politics for the Post, complained: “The problem is the stimulus was too small, and they compromised it down and so you had less effect. I mean, the fact is these numbers would be a lot worse without the stimulus.”
Drinking the Kool-Aid on MSNBC wasn't enough, even for CNBC's Jim Cramer, to escape the reality that Obamanomics isn't working.
Back on October 12, Cramer, to his credit, knew there were some problems with the $787-billion stimulus passed earlier this year. However, he felt it was necessary to pledge his admiration for President Barack Obama, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke. But, Matthews asked Cramer if there would be something tangible to back up that praise.
"OK - let me ask you the question," Matthews said on MSNBC's Oct. 12 "Hardball." "Let's talk about how we keep score in electoral politics, that's how we keep score. Between now and next summer, when people begin to decide how they're going to vote in next year's election, will the employment rate be coming down by then?"
President Obama lobbied for government stimulus almost as soon as he took office. In order to gain passage of that $787 billion spending spree, Obama warned of economic "catastrophe" including double-digit unemployment.
Roughly 9 months later, we now have proof that those billions of taxpayer dollars spent didn't stop the unemployment rate from soaring to 10.2 percent. Still, that failure didn't prevent one CNN anchor from asking if a second stimulus might be needed.
CNN business correspondent Christine Romans announced the latest jobs numbers on Nov. 6 during "American Morning. She said, "The unemployment rate is 10.2 percent. It is worse than economists had been expecting - 10.2 percent - we have hit double-digits on the unemployment rate now and this is the highest since the early 1980s. The number of jobs lost: 190,000 jobs lost in the month. That is a little worse than we had thought."
Following Romans' report, CNN anchors John Roberts and Kiran Chetry consulted author William Cohan, a contributor to The DailyBeast.com and Bloomberg, and Diane Brady, senior editor of BusinessWeek magazine. Both guests were concerned about the rising rate of unemployment and Cohan said he didn't see "anything optimistic about these numbers."
The White House is taking it upon itself to police the news media. The trend started of course with the Fox News Channel, but the administration has moved on to bash other organizations, most recently the Associated Press and car site Edmunds.com. It seems to believe that any criticism of its policies is worth attacking.
The White House claims, in the words of Valerie Jarret, that it will go after any organization that "spreads false news." But the attacks suggest that the administration will take on any outlet that challenges claims designed to further its agenda.
Edmunds calculated the number of cars purchased during the Cash for Clunkers program that would have been purchased without the rebates. The site determined that C4C had incentivized the purchases of only 125,000 automobiles, meaning taxpayers paid $24,000 per car purchase under the program.
Now that the Obama administration is attempting to take a victory lap on the U.S. economic recovery, claiming the $787-billion stimulus passed earlier this year was what did the trick, despite a cost of $160,000 per 'stimulus' job, as ABC's Jake Tapper pointed out, it has come at the cost of the U.S. dollar.
Since then, the stock market has rebounded nicely. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) is off a March low of 6,547 points, even topping the 10,000-mark recently. But what has caused this nearly 50-percent jump? According to CNBC's Larry Kudlow - loose monetary policy by the Federal Reserve, with low interest rates, has made it possible for the markets to rise, with the 'loose' money going into the market.
"The funny thing is, Steven, it has gone into stocks - I mean the stock market guys ... there's no real multiplier for the economy, right?" Kudlow said on his Oct. 30 CNBC program. "But it has gone into stocks and the stock market crowd wants to see the Fed to keep pouring the money in no matter what happens to the U.S. dollar."
When Katie Couric and the folks at CBS start doubting what the Administration says about how effective February's economic stimulus package was, you know President Obama is in trouble.
Consider that on Thursday's CBS "Evening News," Chip Reid began a segment with the following startling statement about a jobs report card to be released by the White House Friday:
Well, Katie, that report is going to claim that the stimulus has already created or saved hundreds of thousands of jobs, but if the administration`s first effort at counting stimulus jobs is any guide, tomorrow`s numbers could be hard to believe.
Readers are advised to make sure youngsters are out of the room, for watching Katie and the Gang say the White House might be fudging numbers could be way too frightening for minors (video embedded below the fold with transcript, h/t Terri Green, file photo):
It would appear that the Apparatchik Press -- er, the Associated Press -- thinks that part of its job is to soften the impact of embarrassing admissions made by Obama administration members.
Take the wire service's Thursday afternoon AP report by Jim Kuhnhenn on Council of Economic Advisers' chair Christine Romer's observations about the stimulus package. Romer said (in AP's words) that "the government's economic stimulus spending has already had its biggest impact," and will (in Romer's words) "likely be contributing little to further growth by the middle of next year."
As you'll see shortly, AP's headline doesn't reflect what Romer said. Additionally, Kuhnhenn allowed Romer to mischaracterize the economy's performance in the second quarter without challenging it, and saved the big news -- yet another administration official admitting that unemployment will stay near double digit through the end of next year -- for his eighth paragraph.
Here's a graphic capture of Kuhnhenn's first eight paragraphs, posted for fair use and discussion purposes:
Showing that Reverends Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson have become interchangeable, in the 2:00PM ET hour on MSNBC, anchor Contessa Brewer mistakenly introduced Jackson as Sharpton: “Joining me now to talk about this and the nation’s real problem of joblessness, the Reverend Al Sharpton....I’m so sorry, the – the script in front of me said Reverend Al Sharpton...I know who you are, Reverend Jackson.”
Brewer was just starting to bash capitalism as she made the error: “A Goldman Sachs adviser....Brian Griffith says, quote, ‘we have to tolerate the inequality as a way to achieve greater prosperity and opportunity for all.’” She then sarcastically asked Jackson: “What’s your reaction to hearing someone say, you know, when it comes to income inequality, all’s well, the rising tide floats all boats?” Before replying, Jackson had to clarify his identity: “I’m Reverend Jesse Jackson.” Which prompted Brewer’s apology. Jackson went on to argue that Griffith’s claim was a “vulgar statement.”
Eight months after President Obama signed a stimulus package worth $787 billion, less than half the funds have been spent and nearly half of Americans want the remainder to be repealed.
Of course, that hasn't stopped the mainstream media from pushing for more.
Recall that before the first bill was even signed, Reuters hailed a statement from billionaire George Soros warning that it wouldn't be enough. In July, NewYork Times columnist Paul Krugman called the bill "inadequate" and bemoaned fiscal conservatives for their "bittter and unrelenting" skepticism.
It's an odd natural occurrence when you put MSNBC "Hardball" host Chris Matthews and CNBC "Mad Money" host Jim Cramer together, but when it happens they seem to draw some obvious conclusions - albeit nearly 10 months too late.
It isn't often that one can see two decades of history re-written in under ten minutes. But such was the occasion on this morning's episode of Morning Joe. Max Blumenthal, author of "Republican Gomorrah: Inside the Movement that Shattered the Party," spent his time on the show demonstrating the combined power of cognitive dissonance, wanton ignorance, and a willingness to re-write historical fact.
Let's take it in chronological order, shall we?
First, Blumenthal is asked to present the major thesis of his book:
Although some in the liberal media were all too eager to point out instances where some are celebrating President Barack Obama's "epic fail" in the media, it was just a matter of time before conservatives and Republicans got the blame for the President's inability to secure the 2016 Olympics for Chicago.
Enter MSNBC's Ed Schultz. During his Oct. 2 MSNBC show, the liberal host launched into a rant blaming the Republican Party and went as far as comparing the party to the anti-American antics put on by Jane Fonda during the Vietnam War. (audio available here)
Former Clinton Labor Secretary and current Obama economic advisor Robert Reich was laughed at Friday for claiming "the stimulus package is the thing that is actually keeping the economy up, keeping people employed."
In a discussion on CNBC about the larger than expected September job losses reported Friday by the Labor Department, Reich was explaining to hosts Melissa Francis and Lawrence Kudlow how things would be much worse if not for the stimulus package.
He also implied that things won't get better until healthcare is reformed.
In the middle of this absolutely absurd statement, Francis and Kudlow appeared to look at each other with the former breaking out into laughter and the latter doing his best to hold it back (video embedded below the fold):
We looked specifically at seven months of coverage in 1982 and again in 2009 that had very similar periods of unemployment where it was going up between 8 - between 8 and the high 9 percent range. And what we found was that the network reporting on ABC, NBC and CBS was overwhelmingly negative to Reagan but positive toward Obama. They were actually 13 times more negative to President Reagan than they were to Obama.
The progressive mindset is a curious one, as evidenced by New York Times columnist and Nobel Economics Prize recipient Paul Krugman.
Krugman appeared on MSNBC's Sept. 23 "The Rachel Maddow Show" and lamented that the Obama Administration missed the opportunity the recent financial crisis offered to fundamentally change how the American economy operates. Host Rachel Maddow asked Krugman what the Great Depression taught economists when it comes to avoiding a repeat.
"It taught us a lot about how to avoid one, which is that you really have to, have to put some constraints. I mean, it sort of roughly, banking is very useful but extremely dangerous and banks have to have all kinds of - you know, fencing put around them as a protection. They have to have some guarantees so that we don't have bank runs, so people know their money is safe. But then, we also have some regulation so that bankers don't take huge risks with other people's money on a ‘heads I win, tails you lose' basis."