A story generating a lot of discussion today concerns how former Philadelphia Schools Superintendent Arlene Ackerman, who is receiving $905,000 in severance, has applied for unemployment benefits, and has been promised that the school district will not contest her claim.
Not so fast, people. I searched Google and Google News briefly, and found an interesting aspect of the situation which no one in the media apparently wants to consider. It relates to how Ackerman's employment ended. One of many place where that ending is described came from Matt Petrillo at Philadelphia Weekly just three weeks ago. It began thusly: "It’s been 11 weeks since the School Reform Commission unanimously voted to fire public school boss lady Arlene Ackerman." A quick visit to the relevant page at the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry would appear to indicate that Ackerman should not get unemployment benefits, and that it shouldn't matter whether the district contests her claim:
Anyone who made the easy prediction that the Associated Press would fail to bring up Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac in its fawning tribute to Barney Frank after his retirement announcement yesterday was correct. Anyone making the easy prediction that the AP would lionize him as a "gay pioneer" was also spot-on.
Also predictably, the wire service's Bob Salsberg and David Espo failed to mention that Frank advocated abolishing Fan and Fred as a dishonest survival tactic during his final reelection campaign in 2010, and of course did nothing visible to make that happen this year. What's really odious in this regard is that the AP pair gave him credit (pun intended) for how he "worked to expand affordable housing," when the Community Reinvestment Act-driven subprime crisis Fan and Fred engendered has sent the housing market levels not seen since World War II. What follows are excerpts from the AP. After that I have a few contrary and clear-headed paragraphs from an Investor's Business Daily editorial, and a little reminder of a 1999 "Present" vote which should have generated controversy, but didn't:
NBC's Tom Costello made a gaffe of planetary proportions on Saturday's Nightly News as he reported on the launch of NASA's latest Martian rover. The correspondent identified the rocket, which blasted the unmanned Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) probe into space for its eight month-plus journey to the fourth planet, as a "Saturn V." This is actually the name of the rocket that took Apollo astronauts to the Moon in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The last Saturn V flew in 1973.
The expendable rocket that actually blasted off on Saturday morning, taking MSL and its Curiosity rover beyond the Earth's atmosphere, is the Atlas V. It is the newest member of a rocket family that has been in service since the 1950s. John Glenn became the first American to orbit the Earth in 1962 after a modified first-generation Atlas launched his Mercury capsule into space.
In their deeply deceptive Friday morning story ("Deep spending cuts pose a new threat to US economy") about how the bicameral bipartisan supercommittee is supposedly going to hurt the economy with whatever results from its handiwork, Christopher Rugaber and Daniel Wagner of the Associated Press, aka The Administration's Press, "somehow" forgot to include one "little" detail, and deferred another until very late in their report.
The omission, which is that the "cuts" under consideration are really reductions in projected spending increases in future years, is sadly typical. The fact is the $1.2 trillion in "savings" the supercommittee hopes to engineer will only slightly reduce the rate of spending growth. The deferral is that the pair waited until Paragraph 18 to tell readers, and even then only incompletely, that the "deep cuts" would be spread over nine years, thereby amounting to roughly 3% of the $40.3 trillion if projected 2013-2021 spending (Page XI here). The AP pair never explains how "cuts" which wouldn't kick in until the October 1, 2012 beginning of fiscal 2013 and which are (as they have almost always been) heavily skewed towards later years would affect the current economy. Excerpts from the pair's report follow (bolds are mine):
You would think that a story headlined "GOP says Energy Dept. tried to delay solar layoffs" would have a quote or two from a Republican Party spokesperson, politician, candidate or even a rank-and-file party member alleging that, well, the Energy Department tried to delay layoffs at now-bankrupt Solyndra. It doesn't. The "trifling" matter clearly didn't concern the headline writer at the Associated Press, which one again is showing that it deserves to be called "The Administration's Press."
Without attribution, Matthew Daly's early afternoon story (saved here at host for future reference, fair use and discussion purposes) largely relays and only slightly builds on what Carol D. Leonnig and Joe Stephens reported yesterday at the Washington Post. What follows are selected paragraphs from Daly's report, including two (in bold) which only generically cite GOP criticism:
On Saturday, at a Q&A session at the APEC CEO Business Summit in Hawaii, President Barack Obama, when asked about impediments to foreign investment in the United States, responded in part: "... we’ve been a little bit lazy, I think, over the last couple of decades. We’ve kind of taken for granted -- well, people will want to come here and we aren’t out there hungry, selling America and trying to attract new business into America."
As would be expected, this impolitic comment has generated quite a bit of discussion all over the place in the two days since. Well, almost all over the place, as you'll after the jump in graphic captures of the results of searches on "Obama lazy" (not in quotes) at the main site of the Associated Press and at the New York Times (Times search is in order of newest first):
In Hawaii today, according to an Associated Press dispatch filed by Ben Feller, President Barack Obama is reported to have told supporters that, in Feller's words, "everything they worked for and that the country stands for is on the line in his 2012 re-election bid."
Well, if what those donors have "worked" for is an inside track to government money, and if what the country stands for is crony capitalism, the President is right. The following excerpt from Peter Schweizer's new book, "Throw The All Out," provides the details in just one commercial arena (via The Daily Beast; HTs to Doug Ross, Conservatives4Palin, Victory Chronicles, and Heritage; bolds are mine; extra paragraph breaks added by me):
A story first broken by David Willman at the Los Angeles Times on Friday (the story is currently dated November 13, but the first comment appeared late Friday evening Pacific Time) is going almost nowhere in the rest of the establishment press. I wonder why?
No, I really don't, and neither will most readers here once they see what it's all about, namely Obama administration corruption and crony capitalism (bolds are mine):
Kerem Ozkan at Advertising Age is not happy with Matt Drudge for having the nerve to call a USDA-administered fee imposed on growers of Christmas trees a "Christmas Tree Tax" (link is Drudge Archive item containing the referenced headline).
Actually (Ozkan recognizes this), Drudge didn't start it. David Addington at Heritage did. Here are excerpts from Ozkan's not-so-fine whine, during which he inadvertently demonstrates to readers why Drudge's characterization was correct:
It would be funny if it weren't so transparently sad. We've seen "name that party" games for a long time in the press. Today, the Associated Press played "name that company."
In an unbylined report Friday evening which oddly has Dina Cappiello's Twitter address at the bottom , the identity of failed solar manufacturer Solyndra isn't revealed until the third paragraph. The item's headline refers vaguely to "a failed solar firm," while the opening paragraph describes "a failed solar panel manufacturer." Really:
It's truly delicious when the outfit which calls itself the Essential Global News Network essentially admits that a certain economic theory which begins with a "K" has become such an undesirable word -- almost an epithet -- that it avoids its mention.
That was the case with a pathetic critique of GOP candidates' economic plans written up by the wire service's Charles Babington on Sunday. When I saw its headline ("Studies challenge wisdom of GOP candidates' plans"), I blew past the story because I expected the same-old, same-old. Then an emailer with a journalistic background informed me that it was even worse than usual. He's so right that I can't possibly pick it apart without writing a book; so I'll just concentrate on the paragraph containing the theory with no name and the one which immediately follows it:
Consider this post the print and online follow-up to the report early Tuesday evening by Matthew Balan at NewsBusters on the failure of the Big Three TV networks to note the Democratic Party/Obama fundraising affiliation of former New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine, whose now-bankrupt MF Global financial firm has apparently admitted to diverting client money in a futile attempt to battle its financial free-fall.
Balan found that the Big Three's morning shows "omitted the party affiliation of Jon Corzine as they reported on the federal investigation into his brokerage firm," and that ABC didn't even mention Corzine's name. This is not surprising, as the wire services which provide much of the raw material for these shows for the most part similarly failed, and have continued to do so. A rundown of much of what the wires have produced, along with a look at several New York Times items, follows the jump:
Jonathan Alter, who spent 28 years at Newsweek, has been a columnist at Bloomberg News since early this year. Just this year, the reliably and insufferably liberal Alter, among many other things, called the Republican House's passage of Paul Ryan's budget plan in April an attempt "to throw Granny in the snow," and coldly calculated that in the wake of her shooting, Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was more valuable to Barack Obama's reelection efforts alive than dead.
In early January, Alter, appearing on an MSNBC program, took great offense at Rep. Darrell Issa's suggestion that the Obama White House is "one of the most corrupt administrations ever," claiming that "there is zero evidence" of it. The Washington Examiner's Tim Carney proceeded to identify seven such examples. Alter must have been saying "la-la I can't hear you" during Carney's chronicle, as his October 27 column was an exercise in sheer fantasy from beginning to end (bolds are mine throughout this post):
The news item I will cite goes back over a week, but the problem surely remains. In light of the ongoing battles over public-sector wages and benefits as well as the taxes which pay for them, it deserves far more attention than it is currently receiving. It follows up on an October 15 post (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog) where I noted, in reviewing an Associates Press story which originally appeared the previous day, that the State of Illinois' financial inability to pay its vendors on time and the related hardships involved have been mostly getting the establishment press silent treatment, while efforts at fiscal balance in Ohio and Wisconsin largely involving collective-bargaining reforms have been national stories with mostly negative coverage.
An October 20 AP item by Political Writer John O'Connor informs us that who gets paid first is often driven by politicians' pleas instead of place in line. Despite O'Connor's claim that "Republican or Democrat" influence can be involved, he only cited examples involving Democratic lawmakers:
At the Associated Press today, National Writer Jesse Washington attempted to dissect the relative dearth of college degrees earned by African-Americans in "STEM" (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math).
Not that anything he reported was particularly wrong, but in my view he missed the largest contributor to the problem, one that apparently can't be mentioned in polite press company. He used one word -- "uneducated" -- that started to get close but backed away. The five-word phrase he failed to mention, which could usefully carry the acronym "LUPUS":
The easy catch in former Obama administration economic adviser Austan Goolsbee's Thursday interview on MSNBC's "Morning Joe," as reported by the Politico's Tim Mak, is that he believes that "if given a second chance he would not have backed the Cash for Clunkers program or the home buyer tax credit." Goolsbee's excuse for his changed position -- that the administration didn't think the recovery would take so long, when the administration's policies have primarily explain why the recovery has taken so long -- is characteristically lame.
Something else Goolsbee said is far more surprising -- so surprising that one wonders if famed supply-side economist Arthur Laffer somehow temporarily took over the former Obama adviser's mind and body. One also wonders why Mak saved what Goolsbee said for his report's final two paragraphs instead of headlining and leading with it.
Readers participating in the real world will be quite surprised to learn that, according to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, "It's very clear that private-sector jobs have been doing just fine."
At The Hill's Floor Action blog, reporter Pete Kasperowicz, writing as if the world began in early 2010, supported Reid's contention: "Private-sector jobs have increased over the last 19 months, while government jobs have lagged." I hope both gentlemen don't mind if, after excerpting a few paragraphs from Pete K's report, we look at some real numbers after the jump.
The headline and opening sentence in Derek Kravitz's Associated Press report this morning on the Census Bureau's homebulding industry data release gives readers the impression that industry activity increased impressively during September. It increased a tiny bit, but certainly not by the percentage indicated.
The headline ignorantly assumes that a double-digit increase in housing starts is the same as an increase in "home building." It isn't. That headline, the first four paragraphs from Kravitz's report, and some other indicators of housing market progress -- and the stunning lack thereof, three full years after the politicians promised that the Troubled Asset Relief Program would right the ship -- follow the jump (bolds are mine):
Somebody needed to give Calvin Woodward and Christopher Rugaber at the Associated Press Five-Hour Energy drinks or some other boost before Tuesday night's GOP debate. Their brains must have totally turned off late in the afternoon without re-engaging before they filed their late-evening post-debate report.
Behold how the AP pair "proved" that excessive government regulation doesn't kill jobs (bolds are mine throughout this post):
Yesterday, in a different post about long-term unemployment, I wrote: "Of all the reality-denying aspects of Obama administration press coverage, the usually implicit but occasionally explicit assertion that he and his people are just helpless bystanders in an economic calamiity is easily among the most annoying."
Bloomberg's Mike Dorning triggered the annoyance meter today with an "analysis" contending that President Obama's move from being a "conciliator" (quoting an alleged "expert") to supporting "populist causes" and sympathizing with the anti-capitalist Occupy Wall Street assemblage "may provide some inoculation" against the continuing bad economy -- as if Obama, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and the their party bear no conceivable responsibility for current economic conditions. Here are the first seven paragraphs of Dorning's dreck (bolds and numbered tags are mine):
Chicago Mayor and former Obama chief of staff Rahm Emanuel went after GOP presidential contender Mitt Romney yesterday over the 2008-2009 state of the auto industry. Emanuel, as paraphrased by the Associated Press, believes that "had Republican candidate Mitt Romney been president the nation would no longer have an auto industry" -- though last time I checked, Ford Motor Company, which did not accept federal government bailout money, is still headquartered in Dearborn, Michigan, which is still in the USA.
In his coverage of Emanuel's comments, the Detroit News's Dave Shepardson -- who infamously and falsely claimed in February 2010 that Toyota executives "bragged" and "boasted" about saving money on safety recalls when Japanese culture deeply frowns on the practice to the point of shunning people who engage in it -- headlined Emanuel's "no industry" howler, and committed several factual errors. In addition, he missed a quite relevant and critical March 2009 episode of support from Romney -- for better or worse (readers can decide) -- when President Obama engineered the ouster of General Motors' CEO. Here are excerpts from Shepardson's shilling:
As shown in Part 1, this afternoon's report on long-term unemployment at the Associated Press by Sam Hananel attempted to create the impression but provided no actual evidence for the notion that complaints by many who have been unemployed for an extended time period that many employers are reluctant to consider and sometimes even refuse to consider their employment inquiries and applications equals support for provisions in President Obama's American Jobs Act which would for all practical purposes make them another protected class.
The AP reporter also completely failed to tell readers why the problem has reached an unprecedented post-Depression level, namely that the economy, largely due to failed public policy choices, has thus far taken three times as long to recover from its recession than it did during any other post-recession period after World War II. The following single paragraph is as close as Hananel got:
The headline this afternoon at the Associated Press to a report by Sam Hananel attempted to create the impression that complaints by many who have been unemployed for an extended time period that many employers are reluctant to consider and sometimes even refuse to consider their employment inquiries and applications equals support for provisions in President Obama's American Jobs Act which would for all practical purposes make them another protected class.
No doubt there is some support for the (in my opinion) misguided notion, but Hananel's underlying report never quoted an actual long-term unemployed person supporting the idea. Additionally, as I will cover in Part 2, the AP reporter also failed to tell readers why the problem has reached an unprecedented post-Depression level, namely that the economy, largely due to failed public policy choices, has thus far taken three times as long to recover from its recession than it did during any other post-recession period after World War II. Here are key paragraphs from Hananel's dispatch concerning the problem:
You would think that an Associated Press story about the Congressional Budget Office's preliminary estimate of the federal government's full fiscal year results would include things like total federal collections and total spending during the year and how they compared to the previous year.
Don't be silly. If the AP let numbers that big -- and their direction -- get into its report, readers and listeners might start thinking that spending is outrageously high, and that increasing taxes to try to cover today's ridiculous levels of spending would crucify the economy. We can't have that, not when President Obama and Democrats are desperately pushing for taxes on "millionaires and billionaires" who earn $250,000 or more per year. What follows are excerpts from the writeup, followed by important and obvious facts AP chose not to report:
In a report filed at the Los Angeles Times's Politics Now blog earlier today, Washington Bureau reporter James Oliphant relayed a number of whoppers delivered by Vice President Joe Biden without anything resembling a challenge. In Part 1, I noted how Biden, who in August described Tea Party sympathizers as "terrorists" and in September as "barbarians," today spoke in complimentary terms of how much the Occupy Wall Street crowd has in common with them. In Part 2, I dealt with the Veep's hit at financially struggling Bank of America for having the nerve to try to recover some of what the Dodd-Frank "financial reform" legislation took away by charging some customers a $5 monthly fee for debit-card use.
This final part will deal with Biden's rendition of how the "bank bailout" portion of TARP operated, which is quite different from the reality. The relevant excerpt from Oliphant, which necessarily overlaps the first two parts, follows (bolds are mine throughout):
In a report filed at the Los Angeles Times's Politics Now blog earlier today, Washington Bureau reporter James Oliphant relayed a number of whoppers delivered by Vice President Joe Biden without anything resembling a challenge. In Part 1, I noted how Biden, who in August described Tea Party sympathizers as "terrorists" and in September as "barbarians," today spoke in complimentary terms of how much the Occupy Wall Street crowd has in common with them.
This part will deal with Biden's hit at Bank of America and its $5 monthly fee for debit-card use. The relevant excerpt from Oliphant's writeup follows the jump (bolds are mine throughout):
In early May of this year, Attorney General Eric Holder told Rep. Darrell Issa's House committee that he was "not sure of the exact date" he learned of Fast and Furious, but that he "probably heard about Fast and Furious for the first time over the last few weeks.
Now, CBS News has obtained documents showing that Holder was sent briefings on the controversial operation as early as July 2010, nearly a year before he claimed to Congress to have known about the gunwalking program. While the Justice Department claims that "Holder misunderstood that question from the committee – he did know about Fast and Furious – just not the details," the video of the May 4 committee meeting suggests otherwise.
Do you think the media coverage of Holder's lie to Congress will be as minimal as their coverage of the Solyndra scandal? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.
If you only read Thursday's coverage of Bank of America's decision to impose a $5 monthly debit card fee by Associated Press Personal Finance Writer Candice Choi, you would have no idea that last year's "Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act" triggered BofA's decision. The legislation gave the Federal Reserve the power to limit debit card interchange fees. The Fed's limit -- 21 cents plus 0.5% of each purchase transaction -- basically cut the banks' fees by about half from their pre-Dodd-Frank level. CardHub.com estimates that the cap will reduce banks' fee income by $9.4 billion annually.
Ms. Choi only cited the existence of "a new rule" in her opening paragraph. She then waited until the ninth paragraph to vaguely cite the existence of "a regulation." It hardly seems accidental that most news consumers who didn't follow the fee fight a year ago will probably have the impression that banks are driving the fee increases, as the following excerpt will demonstrate (bolds are mine):
In an outrageous rant during his 3 p.m. ET hour show on MSNBC on Friday, host Martin Bashir actually attempted to blame budget cutting by Republican lawmakers for a deadly outbreak of listeria in cantaloupe: "John Boehner and his Republican majority decided to gut the food safety and inspection service....Cut, cut, cut. Now the results are in. 16 people have lost their lives."
Bashir went on to blame free market principles in general for the outbreak: "Republicans in Congress talk proudly of their commitment of laissez-faire economics, where government gets out of the way and everything works perfectly. You try telling that to those who ate melon with a side of listeria."