Well, let's see. During the early days of the Clinton administration, we had the sad spectacle of Treasury aide Josh Steiner telling Senators investigating the Whitewater real estate deals and the Resolution Trust Corporation that that he written untrue things in his diary, i.e., that "essentially .... he had lied to his diary." During the Paula Jones trial, the jury was entertained (members are said to have laughed) when Bill Clinton tried to answer a question by saying that "It depends on what the meaning of the word 'is' is."
Soon, another insufferable howler may eventually enter the lexicon, courtesy of Monty Wilkinson, former deputy chief of staff to Attorney General Eric Holder, namely, "I lied in an email when I wrote that 'I've alerted the AG.'"
In two items about today's report on economic growth from the federal government's Bureau of Economic Analysis today, Martin Crutsinger claimed that today's lower-than-expected annualized growth of 2.8% during the fourth quarter of 2011 (vs. expectations of 3% or higher) was hurt because of big "cuts" in government spending, especially federal spending -- supposedly the biggest cuts in 40 years. I guess the underlying message is supposed to be that Congress shouldn't try to reduce federal programs any more, because already they're allegedly being cut at historic rates.
Baloney. Crutsinger was either being incredibly ignorant by assuming that all government spending is part of GDP (it's not; only government purchases of goods and services are components of GDP), or he deliberately deceived his readers. At the federal level, purchases of goods and services and "investment" are only about 30% of all government spending. Total spending has hardly gone down at all. Here are the relevant paragraphs from his two reports:
Would someone please buy the Washington Post's Josh White a clue? He can't seem to get a handle on the "motive" for the actions of Yonathan Melaku (actually, I think White is pretending).
Melaku has just pleaded guilty and will be sentenced to 25 years in jail. Authorities say he vandalized military grave markers, shot at the Pentagon and military museums, and was working on an improvised explosive device. But the headline to White's story (HT Atlas Shrugs) and the reporter's content act as if no one has the foggiest idea what drop Melaku to do what he did (words which betray motivation are bolded):
Today's report by Derek Kravitz at the Associated Press (also known to yours truly as the Administration's Press) covering the Census Bureau's December and full-year 2011 new-home sales release put a smiley-face on the "worst ever" year (the AP headline's term) in the category.
I like the adjective used at Sweetness & Light's related blog post to describe Kravitz's crud: "unfazed." The AP reporter follows four paragraphs of facts with three more paragraphs of sunshiny "analysis" which are so wholly unsupported by reality that you would fall off of your chair laughing if you didn't also realize that most readers, listeners and viewers who saw and heard this garbage today didn't know any better than to believe it:
One of the Media Research Center's dearest friends and supporters, Mark Levin, has a new book out called “Ameritopia” which as CNSNews reports will debut at number one on the New York Times best seller list in four different nonfiction categories.
On Tuesday, the esteemed author and radio host spoke to NewsBusters by phone about the book's contents and how the media are assisting powerful utopian forces in America to undermine our Constitutional republic (video follows with complete transcript, don't miss spectacular book signing video at article's conclusion):
I guess what follows shouldn't be a total surprise, given that the Obama administration was perfectly comfortable ruining hundreds of thousands of perfectly good cars during the Cash For Clunkers program in 2009.
The video which follows from CBS News in San Francisco last Thursday (full transcript here) tells viewers what is happening to valuable parts at the main manufacturing plant of the now-bankrupt Solyndra. At the risk of belaboring what longtime readers here already instinctively know, it's not news based on searches on the company's name at at the Associated Press and the New York Times.
A frequent emailer saw a silver lining in Rand Paul's detention this morning in Nashville by the Transportation Safety Administration which prevented him from speaking at today's March For Life rally in Washington: "Best way to get the MSM to mention pro-life rally."
Well, that's largely true. The local Nashville TV station video posted at Real Clear Politics mentions Paul's prolife purpose up-front, as does a commentary by James Fallows at the Atlantic (who incidentally described the rally as "mammoth"). But my emailer underestimated the lengths to which reporters at the Associated Press would go to keep anything pro-life out of a story. In their 750-word report (saved here for future reference, fair use and discussion purposes), Erik Schelzig and Eileen Sullivan completely misstated why Paul wanted to get on the flight he was not able to board -- which also means that their story's headline is incomplete:
Two examples of poor press handling of what initially appeared to be fairly good news about initial unemployment claims last Thursday got lost in the pre-South Carolina primary hubbub.
The first and most obvious was in the writeup presented by the Associated Press's Chris Rugaber. In his fourth paragraph, he raised the threshold below which a consistent level of weekly claims might be expected to move the unemployment rate downward by 15% from where it was less than 2-1/2 years ago:
Pete Yost's Friday evening story at the Associated Press, also known to yours truly as the Administration's Press, on the latest development in the Operation Fast and Furious scandal (that's my word, certainly not Yost's) has a "this is a boring story, don't read it" headline ("Prosecutor intends to take 5th if called in probe"), followed by an opening sentence which acts as if it has nothing to do with at least 300 Mexican citizens, a slain Border patrol agent, and thousands of disappearing guns.
Yost's opening sentence: "A federal prosecutor in Arizona intends to remain silent if called for questioning in a congressional probe of a problem-plagued gun smuggling investigation." Yep, Yost wants readers who don't get past the first paragraph to believe that it's only the "investigation" that's messed up beyond all recognition, not what happened in the Fast and Furious operation. Here's more from Pete's pathetic piece (bolds are mine throughout this post):
On Friday, two Deputy Secretaries, one at the Department of Transportation and the other at Defense, in their capacities as co-chairs of the National Space-Based Positioning, Navigation and Timing (PNT) Executive Committee, released a one page letter concluding that the modified broadband deployment plan of LightSquared could not coexist with current GPS devices and their spectrum. That's because: a) LightSquared's deployment "would cause harmful interference to many GPS receivers"; b) It would not be "compatible with several GPS-dependent aircraft safety-of-flight systems," and c) "there appear to be no practical solutions" to the problems.
Stories about the release, to the extent they exist, are largely avoiding the mention of "Falcone" (that's hedge fund operator and heavy Obama campaign contributor Philip Falcone, "SEC" (which is investigating Falcone and his hedge fund, and "Obama" (as in President Barack Obama, the beneficiary along with the "Democratic Party" -- another unmentioned term in any variation -- of said contributions). Coverage by Daniel Fisher at Forbes at least brings up Falcone, the SEC, and the Obama administration:
UPDATE: James Pethokoukis at the American Enterprise Institute's blog has more, including the possibility that the original story misidentified "Bain Consulting," as well as a theory as to the story's original source.
It looks like someone ran with something they thought was too good to check.
A retraction described as a "Correction" currently on CNBC's web site tells readers: "A previous story incorrectly reported that Mitt Romney's former firm, Bain & Co., was part of a team of consulting companies that advised President Barack Obama on a decision to shutter car dealerships during the auto bailout. Bain & Co. said it has no connection to the "Bain Consulting" firm referenced in government documents." Several bloggers excerpted the original report, including Ed Morrissey at Hot Air. Some of what he captured follows:
It's more than a little annoying to read a news report containing incomplete information. The irritation level hits the red zone when you realize that the writer is not only concealing important data, but telling you what you're supposed to think about what little he deigned to tell you.
Such was the case with Martin Crutsinger's Associated Press item about the Consumer Credit report issued today by the Federal Reserve. Crutsinger only told us how much debt levels increased without bothering to tell us what those debt levels are -- something a similar AP item in 2004 at the same point in a presidential reelection cycle was eager to disclose. Additionally, Crutsinger framed today's reported expansion as good news while Eileen Alt Powell's January 6, 2004 report framed expanding credit as dangerous. First, several paragraphs from Crutsinger's report (boots-on alert: it gets really, really deep):
A frequent BizzyBlog commenter tweeted about an online article he saw at CNNMoney.com entitled "Doctors going broke" about how many doctors are struggling in the current economy. His tweet: "Welcome to Obamacare."
A frequent BizzyBlog commenter tweeted about am online article he saw at CNNMoney.com entitled "Doctors going broke" about how many doctors are struggling in the current economy. His tweet: "Welcome to Obamacare."
What's interesting is that my tweeting commenter is right that Obamacare is definitely already influencing the viability of medical practices. But Ms. Parija Kavilanz's Friday report acts as if the mind-numbingly lengthy legislation and the torrent of regulations which appear destined to end up being huge multiples of that outrageous length don't exist, and actually blames many docs for their predicaments:
An unbylined item appearing at the Associated Press shortly after midnight (captured in full as a graphic here due to its brevity; for fair use and discussion purposes) crowed about how President Barack Obama "is looking to boost summer job prospects for kids," has "gotten commitments for nearly 180,000 youth employment opportunities for next summer," and only says that "Many of the positions would be unpaid training opportunities."
There are quite a few problems with Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar's December 28 coverage ("New fee coming for medical effectiveness research") concerning a new fee (i.e., tax) which will imposed on health insurance companies for each person they cover starting tomorrow.
Several times (twice in the body and once as seen above in the headline), the story refers to the assessment as a "medical effectiveness research" fee (without quotes). Just once, in the eleventh paragraph, does Alonso-Zaldivar call it by its far more widely-known name (written as indicated): "comparative effectiveness" research. But the item which stuck out like a sore thumb with me, and should also do so for anyone else who closely followed how the stimulus bill got enacted into law as well as the Obamacare discussions later that year,, was the following paragraph (bolds are mine):
There are press memes which won't go away no matter what, and no matter how often disproven. One, repeated in an Associated Press report a couple of weeks ago as our troops were about to leave Iraq, claimed that "No WMD were ever found" there. The truth: Yes they were — along with 550 metric tons of yellowcake uranium found in Iraq after Saddam was overthrown, specifically “the stuff that can be refined into nuclear weapons or nuclear fuel.”
Another meme which won't die and fails to pass the truth test was in an AP item by Julie Pace about President Obama's decision to defer raising the debt ceiling by $1.2 billion today. In it, she repeated the leftist line about how the national debt has grown so large (HT to an NB emailer):
I know, we're supposed to give TV shows and the like a bit of dramatic license to push a plot line. But doesn't it seem that an awful lot of the license taken tends to be pro-big government and left-leaning?
One pretty obvious example came along Monday night during the Season 2 finale of TNTs' "Rizzoli & Isles" (which ran again late tonight). The plot of "Burning Down the House" centered around the death of a Boston fireman in a major warehouse blaze. Ultimately, the perpetrator ended up being a fireman who was upset by "budget cuts," which were mentioned twice during the episode:
It seems that if you're a New York Times reporter on a mission to prove something you think must be obvious and your research leads to the exact opposite result from what you smugly expected, you forge ahead and try to pretend that you proved your point anyway.
At least that how it seems to have worked out for Times reporter Michael Luo in a report appearing in Tuesday's print edition which tried to show readers how one state which allows residents to carry concealed weapons with a permit is allegedly allowing large numbers of dangerous people to possess them. But the way the math works out, North Carolina, the state which the Times investigated, is far safer than many jurisdictions without such laws, even given the problems cited with pulling permits from those who have committed crimes and should not still be holding them. Additionally, the murder rate among North Carolinians who don't have permits or associate with those who do is higher than it is among permit holders. Here is Luo's pathetic attempt to make a case which can't be made:
At the Associated Press on Friday, reporter Jim Kuhnhenn provided yet another reason why characterizing the wire service as The Administration's Press is perfectly appropriate.
In wake of President Obama's use of a "signing statement" objecting on constitutional grounds to congressionally-imposed "restrictions on his ability to transfer detainees from the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to the United States," Kuhnhenn wrote that presidential candidate Obama "promised to make his application (of) the (signing statement) tool more transparent." No he didn't, Jim; as will be shown, he promised not to use them. Kuhnhenn's first three paragraphs, plus two later ones describing another signing statement matter, ran thusly (also note how the term "signing statement" was kept out of the story's headline):
Yesterday at my home blog, in the wake of Uncle Sam's reduction of third-quarter growth in gross domestic product (GDP) from an annualized 2.0% to 1.8%, I predicted that the establishment press's reaction would be the following: “Yeah, but the fourth quarter will be 3% or more. It really, really will be. Please believe us.”
Martin Crutsinger at the Associated Press made that easy prediction come true 48 minutes after the report was released. He and the rest of the establishment press also missed something far bigger, namely that yesterday's small GDP reduction brought its private-sector component back to a level below where it was at the beginning of the recession, no matter how you define that beginning. Excerpts follow the jump:
Lord have mercy, these people are looking anywhere and everywhere to turn an economic improvement molehill into something that sort of looks like a mountain.
Today, the headline to Derek Kravitz's report at the Associated Press ("Rise in home construction suggests a turnaround") reasonably reflected the underlying reality reported by the Census Bureau, but his first six paragraphs most definitely did not:
Imagine that -- A massive government bureaucracy given almost a head start of more than three years to get up and running appears to be well on its way to not being ready.
Julie Appleby covered the situation at the Washington Post yesterday. Steven Hayward at Powerline accurately called it an item which "ought to be on the front page above the fold," and wasn't. It also "just so happens" to be an early vindicator of free-market capitalism as better able than the government to set up and manage complex systems. Here are several paragraphs from Appleby's report, which will be followed by key points from Hayward (bolds are mine throughout this post):
Late Friday afternoon, Todd Shields at Bloomberg News broke a story about some guy, who happens to be an Obama and Democratic Party donor (but not disclosed), against whom the Securities and Exchange Commission is formally considering an enforcement action (also not disclosed, though it was noted at the New York Times's Dealbook Blog five hours before Shields's report), whose "wireless service caused interference to 75 percent of global-positioning system receivers examined in a U.S. government test." Though it generated a fair amount of center-right blog discussion over the weekend, the establishment press largely ignored the stunning result.
Earlier this evening, Shields and Alan Levin reported even more troubling info (as carried at the San Francisco Chronicle; bolds are mine throughout this post):
Today's Advance Monthly Retails Sales Report for November from the Census Bureau came in with a seasonally and shopping-day adjusted 0.2% increase over October. Analysts expected 0.6%, and a whole host of them described the result as "disappointing," as shown here in a Google News Search for the past 24 hours on ["retail sales" disappoint"] (typed exactly as indicated between brackets; as of 6:40 p.m. ET, over 1,100 results were returned, but only about 400 are from after the report's release).
That didn't stop the Associated Press's Christopher Rugaber and the wire service's headline writers, in separate items at 11:44 a.m. and 3:05 p.m., from getting really close to in essence claiming, as Kevin Bacon's character Chip Diller did in "Animal House," that "all is well."
Uncle Sam's Monthly Treasury Statement for November came out yesterday. The results: Tax collections through two months of the fiscal year are up 4.4% over fiscal 2010; spending is down 5.5%, but only because about $31 billion in checks which would ordinarily have gone out on October 1 (a Saturday) were sent on September 30; and the deficit of $235 billion is $55 billion less than last year.
The headline in the report by Martin Crutsinger of the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press ("Gov't on pace to run budget deficit below $1T"), celebrated the totally untenable claim, only two months into the year, that the deficit might come in below $1 trillion for the first time in four years. Crutsinger's coverage was otherwise adequate, except near the end, when he threw in the following obviously gratuitous and recklessly false and misleading statement: "A decade ago, the government was running surpluses and trillion-dollar deficits seemed unimaginable."
On Wednesday, the Politico ran a story about the International Association of Machinists Union at Boeing agreeing to approve a contract extension, the result of which ultimately led to the National Labor Relations Board dropping its controversial decision to prevent the company from beginning to operate a mostly-constructed plant in South Carolina.
Though it deserves separate commentary, that decision is not the subject of this post. What is germane at the moment is the howler of a photo accompanying the Politico's report which appears after the jump.
On Wednesday, as Terry Baynes at Reuters reported, "A federal appeals court on Wednesday upheld the convictions of five leaders of an Islamic charity on charges of funneling money and supplies to Hamas, designated a "terrorist" group following a 1995 executive order by President Bill Clinton. ..." The organization involved was the Holy Land Foundation based in Texas. The five involved received sentences of 15 to 65 years.
Reuters appears to have been virtually unique in covering the story at a national level, and from all appearances very few establishment press outlets picked it up. What follows are various search results in attempts to find coverage of the story:
Awwww. Don Berwick is unhappy. In a speech at the annual conference of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement excerpted at the Boston Globe's White Coat Notes blog, the man whom Congress would not confirm as Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) administrator seventeen months after President Obama gave him a recess appointment lashed out at his critics, especially their use of the terms "rationing" and "death panels," describing the employment of the latter term as "beyond cruelty."
Neither Chelsea Conaboy's introduction at the Globe excerpt nor Sam Baker's coverage at the Hill's Healthwatch blog brought up why the two terms Berwick despises so accurately describe his health care views, which include his belief that the Affordable Care Act passed by Congress and signed by President Obama last year -- the one where, as Nancy Pelosi warned, we're still figuring out what's really in it -- is, as he told Boston station WBUR, "majestic." What follows is most of Conaboy's intro, which almost completely ignored the overheated rhetoric in the speech excerpts which followed:
Bradley Fikes at the North County Times, whose coverage area is mostly the northern portion of San Diego County in California, appears to have broken a quite significant story last Thursday when he reported that cloning pioneer Ian Wilmut of Dolly the sheep fame (4,250 stories from 1996-2003 were found in the Google New archive) urged stem cell scientists, as Fikes headlined, to "shift away from embryonic stem cells." Wilmut, speaking at a stem cell research conference in nearby La Jolla, advocated instead for stronger pursuit of direct reprogramming of stem cells.
Five days later, searches at Google News on "Dolly sheep" (not in quotes) and Wilmut's name surfaced about a half-dozen other results, virtually all from religious and pro-life publications, and none from the establishment press. The same two searches at the Associated Press's main site (Dolly sheep; Ian Wilmut also come up empty. Here are key paragraphs from the report by Fikes (bold is mine):