For the third day in a row, ABC's Good Morning America used the horrific Newtown tragedy to push its gun control agenda. On Wednesday morning, both ABC’s Elizabeth Vargas and Pierre Thomas hyped that now is a "watershed moment" and a "tipping point" as stores halted sales of some guns and Democratic NRA member Sen. Joe Manchin (W.Va.) considered changing his views on gun laws.
"Big-city mayors and one of the nation’s biggest police unions have called for a ban on assault rifles and high-capacity clips. And for some long-time allies of the gun lobby, this week was a tipping point," Thomas touted voices favoring gun control. [See video below page break. MP3 audio here.]
One of the most frustrating elements of the just-completed presidential race was the utter failure of Mitt Romney's campaign to make sure the American people learned that their government hasn't passed a budget since April 29, 2009. It seems that because those who follow the news closely already knew that, they figured the rest of the country did, which was -- and still is -- not the case.
Of course, the other reason besides the lack of Republican and conservative assertiveness is the establishment press's utter failure to report it. Another in a long line of such failures appeared in the Politico this afternoon via David Rogers. Rogers covered how fiscal cliff discussions are delaying the White House's annual farce known as the President's budget for the 2014 fiscal year while of course failing to note that U.S. government hasn't passed a real budget for nearly four years:
The word games in the press, especially at the Associated Press, concerning North Korea's nuclear capabilities are head-spinning.
In a June 16, 2009 dispatch, Ben Feller's story at the AP carried the following headline at the Huffington Post: "Obama, Lee: We Won't Allow North Korea To Have Nuclear Weapons" ("Lee" is Lee Myung-bak, then and still President of South Korea). Yet Feller's first paragraph referred to the North as a "nuclear-armed nation." If you're "armed," doesn't that mean you have a "weapon"? Additionally, a CNN report on the same day mentioned that President Obama would not be "allowing North Korea to develop nuclear weapons," though the country has claimed possession of them since early 2005. An exercise in excuse-making at the AP Wednesday evening by Bradley Klapper only adds to the confusion (bolds are mine throughout this post):
Back in the days when journalists practiced journalism, they would be on the alert for record-breaking news, whether positive or negative. These days, at least when it comes to the economy, it seems that they struggle to find positive records and ignore obvious negative ones right in front of their faces.
A case in point is today's Associated Press report on November's Monthly Treasury Statement. The government's report came in with a deficit of $172.1 billion, the highest November shortfall ever (the runner-up: last year's $137.3 billion). The AP's Christopher Rugaber either failed to recognize the reported amount as a record -- doubtful in my view given its size -- or didn't think its recordbreaking status was newsworthy. To be fair, unlike colleague Martin Crutsinger's typical monthly attempts, Rugaber got to almost all of the requisite monthly and year-to-date facts on receipts, spending, and the deficit itself, including comparisons to last year. Excerpts, including the all too familiar historical revisionism on how we got to where we are, follow the jump (bolds and numbered tags are mine):
The U.S. Department of Agriculture released its latest report on food stamp program participation through September today. I received the email alerting me to the release at 5:17 p.m., so it seems reasonable to believe that USDA and the Barack Obama administration wanted the new data to get as little attention as possible (as will be seen later, it's currently getting none). If so, they have two probable reasons for wishing to minimize its impact.
The first and more obvious of the two is that the food stamp rolls increased by over 607,000 in September to 47.71 million, yet another all-time record. That's awful enough, but here's the real kicker: the participation figure for July, the last month of data available before Election Day, was revised up by over 150,000, changing that month's reported increase from 11,600 to just under 166,000. As will be seen after the jump, no other month's data was revised except August, where the changes were infinitesimal.
While it's not fair to criticize the press's coverage of November's vehicle sales as unfair or not balanced, it would be more than fair to say that the press is either ignoring or minimizing the impact of two important influences which have been at work all year. The first is the continued loss of combined market share at the industry's two US-headquartered makers, General Motors and Ford (Chrysler, the other member of Detroit's "Big 3," is owned by Fiat).
The second is that 2009 government bailout beneficiary GM continues to "channel-stuff" its dealers with vehicles they won't sell for four months or longer -- and that's if the economy doesn't slow down or go into a recession. Dealer inventories are now twice as high as they were three years ago -- and no, GM's sales haven't doubled in the meantime -- which makes one wonder, especially this fall, if it was being done solely to make the government and President Obama look good.
Well, it was only a matter of time before the Associated Press was going to have to write up something about a Friday bomb explosion just outside of a Social Security office in Casa Grande, Arizona.
I guess the AP's Brian Skoloff needed time to work on maximizing the misdirection in his report. Instead of associating the attempted bombing by Abdullatif Ali Aldosary, described yesterday in a PJ Media post by Patrick Poole as "an Iraqi refugee" (but not by the AP reporter, of course), with any of the actual or failed terrorist bombing attacks by Islamists both on American soil and overseas beginning in the late 1990s, Skoloff's dispatch strangely decided to go all the way back to 1995 (bolds are mine througout this post):
Just before Thanksgiving, the leftist think tank Demos issued a report by its own Catherine Ruetschlin advocating a $12 an hour minimum wage (stated as $25,000 per year by her) for those who work full-time in retail.
What's interesting about Ruetschlin's suggestion is that there is a retailer out there which is actually doing that and more -- and it's not Costco, which "pays starting employees at least $10 an hour." To be fair to Costco, rapid wage advancement is apparently quite common there, but that's off-topic. Perhaps surprising to the press, the company involved starts its full-time employees not at $12 an hour, but at $13. Perhaps if it spent less time trying to figure how to discredit this company, the establishment media might instead focus on how this company is able to be profitable under such a wage structure. Before identifying the firm after the jump, we'll first see in an open letter from its CEO why it's not getting favorable press attention (in full; bolds are mine):
Today, the Congressional Budget Office released a report informing readers that extending unemployment benefits for a year, an outlay which would cost the federal government $30 billion, would, because of its allegedly stimulative impact, generate 300,000 jobs.
Even if true, neither the CBO, nor the Associated Press in covering the report, noted that this result works out to a cost $100,000 per job. Bravely assuming that each new job created pays $40,000 per year, that's a $60,000 loss in value received compared to money spent. The government's tax take at all levels on that amount of earnings is likely about $10,000 or so. All of this is apparently considered pretty smart by the AP's Sam Hananel and a quoted leading Democrat:
In what would appear to be a sure sign that the Obama administration's leftist allies, perhaps with the President's go-ahead, are preparing to throw current U.N. ambassador Susan Rice under the bus, Alex Guillen at the Politico reported at 6:14 p.m. on information that has from all appearances been public for at least three months, but which the National Resources Defense Council's On Earth blog noted about an hour earlier.
Rice's offenses? She "holds significant investments in more than a dozen Canadian oil companies and banks that would stand to benefit from expansion of the North American tar sands industry and construction of the proposed $7 billion Keystone XL pipeline." That's indeed troubling, but it was just as troubling when leftists up to and including the editorialists at the Washington Post were accusing anyone objecting to Rice's potential nomination of being presumptively racist. Excerpts from Guillen's report follow the jump (bolds are mine):
The real news in today's new-home sales information published by the Census Bureau is that September's previously reported 389,000 in seasonally adjusted annual sales was written down by over 5 percent to 369,000. Hmm -- The higher figure, aggressively touted as the highest in 2-1/2 years by the Associated Press and other establishment media outlets, was reported on October 24, just 13 days before Election Day on November 6. Now we learn that it was a mirage, and that the revised figure was merely the same as the number turned in four months earlier and barely above February. In fact, the new home market, portrayed throughout the summer and early fall as recovering somewhat nicely, merely treaded water. That trend continued in October, as annualized sales came in at 368,000. Imagine that.
To his credit, the Associated Press's Martin Crutsinger at least acknowledged the major prior-month revision in each of his first two paragraphs; however, the AP's headline writers ignored it. To Crutsinger's detriment, it's clear that he tried very hard to find someone who would pin a major portion of the blame for October's 0.3 percent drop on Superstorm Sandy. When he couldn't, he decided to take it on himself to make the point (bolds are mine):
Well, if the President himself can call a sacked consulate and four dead Americans who deserved adequate security and didn't get it "bumps in the road," why not?
Monday morning, the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, presented a story in advance of United Nations ambassador Susan Rice's meeting today with certain Republican senators -- a meeting from which Rice, who engaged in serial falsehood peddling during the weekend after the September 11 Benghazi attack, apparently falsehood-peddling Rice emerged today even worse-off than before. In that story, both the headline and first paragraph of Anne Flaherty's coverage characterized Benghazi as a "PR (public relations) disaster."
Others can comment on the entirely of the Sunday New York Times story by Serge F. Kovaleski and Brooks Barnes (used in Monday's print edition) about Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, the maker of the infamous "Innocence of Muslims" YouTube trailer the authors characterize as a "film" a dozen times in their write-up. Nakoula has now been in jail for two months.
I'm only going to comment on the following two sentences from the writeup which follow the jump:
Filling in for Alex Wagner on Monday afternoon, Ari Melber of the left-wing Nation magazine did some thing on MSNBC's Now that Wagner and many of their colleagues have been reluctant to do themselves -- expose the deception and dishonesty of Obama on the subject of drone attacks. While there was a brief mention or two in the weeks and months that preceded the election, the coverage was never sufficient -- considering the circumstances.
It's a telling sign however, that such a report would air three weeks after the incumbent's decisive re-election victory, by a guest host at that. Armed with indisputable video evidence, Melber noted the disparity between the candidate and the president [video below the page break]:
This morning the Obama administration's "National Economic Council & Council of Economic Advisers" jointly released "The Middle-Class Tax Cuts' Impact on Consumer Spending & Retailers." Among the howlers in this non-economic political document: "Independent Economic Analysis Clearly Demonstrates Why We Need to Extend the 2001/2003/2010 Tax Cuts for the Middle-class." But not everyone else? Don't high income-earners spend money too?
The primary thrust of the administration's release is that, in regards to negotiations to avoid the "fiscal cliff," is the predictable class warfare clarion call, complete with kidnapping-related rhetoric: "There is no reason to hold the middle-class hostage while we debate tax cuts for the highest income earners." The word "hostage" appears three times in the first two pages of the document. The subtext, of course, is that the hostage-holders are the Republicans in Congress, particularly the House of Representatives. At the Politico, Byron Tau ignored this classless, tasteless partisan tack by supposed professionals:
As has so often been the case for nearly four years, one needs to go to the editorial pages of the nation's two leading financial publications, the Wall Street Journal and Investor's Business Daily, to get to the truth behind news developments, especially the ones with potential to cast the Obama administration in a bad light.
There may not be a better example of the press ignoring the obvious than the circumstances surrounding Mohammed Morsi's dictatorial power grab in Egypt. Morsi gained substantial perceived world standing when the U.S. government praised him lavishly (or is it slavishly?) for his involvement in brokering a truce of sorts in the Israel-Hamas conflict. As a Friday IBD editorial pointed out, Morsi is now "using America's stamp of approval to oppress his own people" (bolds are mine throughout this post):
From what I can tell, a major scandal involving teachers in three states has received almost no national press coverage since CNN first broke a story about it in July. Among the non-participants or nearly non-participants (again, from what I can tell based on archived news search attempts) is the Associated Press, which decided early this morning on a slow news weekend when few are paying attention to publish Adrian Sainz's 1,200-word story on the topic.
What follows are portions CNN's original report, today's AP item, and a "edu-blog" post, in wondering why the conspiracy hasn't received more attention, identifies a sadly predictable likely reason.
In a Saturday PJ Media column ("A Physician’s New Reality: Patients Ask Me to Break the Law"), Dr. Peter Weiss, relays several important and ugly realities of what life will be like under the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as ObamaCare, which could easily have been reported any time during the past couple of years by members of the establishment press.
Most of what Dr. Weiss discusses has to do with ObamaCare's free annual exam. As will be seen, the administration and the press have made it seem far more valuable than what patients will see in the real world. If any of what the doctor describes below has been previously addressed in the press, I sure haven't seen it (italics are in original; bolds are mine):
In his Monday evening coverage of a federal judge's refusal to grant retailer Hobby Lobby injunctive relief from ObamaCare's mandate that it "provide insurance coverage for the morning-after and week-after birth control pills," the Associated Press's Tim Talley "cleverly" recast the government's argument over what constitutes an abortion (the government says that the morning-after pill isn't an abortifacient, when it really is) into one over when "pregnancy" (instead of life) begins. The company faces fines of $1.3 million per day (not a typo) starting on January 1 if it does not comply.
Several paragraphs from Talley's writeup will illustrate the misdirection (bolds and numbered tags are mine):
This Thanksgiving, a record high of 42.2 million Americans will use food stamps to curtail the cost of a big meal. At a whopping expense of $72 billion to the taxpayer per year, according to the Congressional Budget Office. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) has grown by 70 percent since 2007, an increase of over 15 million more people.
Despite acknowledging all of this, Elizabeth Flock of US News & World Report declared "More Americans will use food stamps to buy their Thanksgiving dinner this year than ever before," and implied these government handouts aren't as sufficient as they could be.
Continuing his wire service's sadly predictable kid-glove treatment of the Occupy movement which sometimes verges on open romance, Chuck Murr's Tuesday evening story at the Associated Press on the sentencing of three of the five participants in the foiled plot to bomb a major bridge in a Cleveland suburb utterly failed to note the active involvement of the convicted domestic terrorists (the sentencing judge's characterization) with Occupy Cleveland. It also failed to note a supportive tweet sent by Occupy Wall Street (HT Twitchy.com) claiming "entrapment" and linking to a legal defense fund web site.
By contrast, in its coverage of the sentencing today, the Cleveland Plain Dealer's James F. McCarty reminded readers, complete with a link back to the paper's May 2 story describing their involvement, that all five were "members of Occupy Cleveland movement."
It's been over a week since the Michael Bastasch at the Daily Caller exposed EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson's use of alias email accounts to conduct official business. A Monday evening Investor's Business Daily editorial noted that this practice is more than likely illegal, because "Federal law prohibits the government from using private emails for official communications unless they are appropriately stored and can be tracked" -- something which can hardly be done if non-flagged Jackson accounts are under names like "Richard Windsor."
Despite the obvious journalistic hot buttons of government secrecy and stonewalling (the Competitive Enterprise Institute has been trying through freedom of information requests since May and a lawsuit filed a few months later to get the EPA to reveal the contensts of "certain correspondence on the secondary email account assigned to" Ms. Jackson), establishment press coverage has been virtually non-existent.
In a Friday report at the Associated Press on Friday with a celebratory headline ("2 YEARS AFTER IPO, GM IS PILING UP CASH"), Auto Writer Tom Krisher described bailed-out General Motors as "thriving," but didn't identify one of the important reasons for that characterization.
In paragraphs about the company's profitability and cash stockpile, Krisher failed to note that the company still hasn't paid any U.S. income taxes since emerging from bankruptcy, or why that's the case (bolds are mine throughout this post):
Earlier today (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), I noted how several reports from the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press (here, here, and here) buried the major news about President Obama's opening demand to Congress over resolving the "fiscal cliff" of tax hikes scheduled to take effect on January 1. His demand for $1.6 trillion in tax increases over the next ten years is twice what he sought during the August 2011 debt-ceiling negotiations. You have to go to middle or near-ending paragraphs to get that from the three AP reports linked above.
Those three reports also each contain an additional paragraph which allows the administration's misstatement of its alleged "balance" between tax increases and reductions in projected levels of spending (falsely characterized as "cuts") to stand unchallenged:
Well, there's one little bit of good news in Martin Crutsinger's final report on yesterday's release of the federal government's October Monthly Treasury Statement (I did a review of his initial take yesterday [at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog]). The good news is that Crutsinger, unlike in most months during the past several years I have reviewed such reports, actually identified the single-month amount of money the federal government spent in October, namely $304 billion. We'll see if he continues the practice of reporting single-month spending amounts in future months.
The rest of Crutsinger's coverage is typically pathetic and predictable. He failed to correctly define what the deficit really is for his readers, understated the impact on fiscal 2013 of any tax or spending decisions the President and Congress might agree on, ignored the likelihood that receipts in teh coming year are likely coming back to levels last seen in fiscal 2007 (meaning that virtually the entire problem facing the country has to do with spending, not collections), and engaged in the seemingly required exercise of blaming George W. Bush for running deficits (not disclosed as far smaller) and conducting wars Congress agreed to fight before Obama came into office. As I said, typically pathetic and predictable.
Unless today is a total surprise and runs contrary to most of what we've seen during the past four years, President Obama will go through another "news conference" without a great deal of difficult or aggressive questioning from the assembled press corps.
Carrie Budoff Brown and Josh Gerstein at the Politico seem to think otherwise, and have produced a lame list of seven questions they think Obama will be asked -- so lame that one of them has to do with recently passed marijuana-legalizing initiatives in the states of Washington and Colorado:
Consider it a grim, hidden, unreported milestone, and yet another media failure.
The grim milestone relates to the increase in food stamp enrollment during the Obama administration. As Dave Gibson at Examiner.com noted on Saturday, the administration and campaign (as if there was any difference) did not release program participation data for August until three days after the election, roughly ten days after such monthly reports have typically been issued. What the data demonstrated is that food stamp enrollment during the first 43 months of the Obama administration has increased by more than it did during the entire eight years of George W. Bush's presidency, officially earning Obama the title of "Food Stamp President."
On everyone's mind this morning was the resignation of CIA Deputy Director David Petraeus on Friday. Liberal radio talk show host Bill Press did his best to catch his listeners up on the details of the scandal, but then went on a rant asking why it's even an issue.
At no point in his defense of the former Army general and CIA chief did Press bring up the impending hearing concerning Libya on Capitol Hill that Petraeus was scheduled to appear before, nor did he think an FBI investigation was necessary -- despite the confidentiality agreement Petraeus submitted to before accepting one of the highest, if not the highest-level security clearance job there is in the federal government [ video below, MP3 audio here ]:
On Monday's CBS This Morning, Sharyl Attkisson filed a hard-hitting report on the possible ties between former CIA chief David Petraeus's resignation and the continuing controversy over the terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya. Attkisson spotlighted how Petraeus told several members of Congress that "video of the Benghazi attack supports an element of spontaneity, as the administration first claimed."
Anchor Charlie Rose also hyped Rep. Peter King's theory on General Petraeus's resignation: "The chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee says the timing of the resignation suggests a cover-up. Petraeus was scheduled to testify to Congress this week about the attack that killed the American ambassador to Libya." [audio clip available here; video below the jump]