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."
On Wednesday, the Environmental Protection Agency's Inspector General issued a report on the agency's "compliance with established policy and procedures" in connection with its "Greenhouse Gases Endangerment Finding." This was the finding that "greenhouse gas," or "GHG" emissions, including carbon dioxide, are in essence forms of air pollution, endanger public health, and must therefore be regulated.
As would sadly be expected, what the IG actually found and what the Associated Press's Dina Cappiello reported about the IG's findings sharply differ. Here's what IG Arthur A. Elkins, Jr. wrote in his press statement:
What if I told you that the government put out a report today which would lead one to infer that the economy might barely have grown last year, and that it even may have contracted -- and that the reporter who appears to have been the only one who covered it didn't grasp its potential significance (or, conceivably, chose to ignore it)?
Today the Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics released its annual "Consumer Expenditures Survey" for 2010. As of 8:30 p.m., a Google News search on "consumer expenditures government" (not in quotes, past 24 hours, sorted by date, with duplicates) returned 72 items (the first page says over 2,400, but it's really only 72). All relevant results represent Associated Press reports filed by Marting Crutsinger (Yahoo Finance version here).
Here are the key paragraphs from Crutsinger's report which gave away the problem -- or at least should have, if the AP reporter had made one obvious comparison:
Sometimes, I think that we wouldn't have a useful press at all if it weren't for the British press.
The big news out of the International Monetary Fund this weekend was, as reported by the UK Telegraph, that it "may need billions in extra funding." Specifically, it "may have to tap its members – including Britain – for billions of pounds of extra funding to stem the European debt crisis."
In other words, the IMF doesn't have enough money to address the potential problems it sees on its own:
Earlier this evening (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), I cited a few of very many examples where the press has not hesitated during the Obama years, and really since Barack Obama became the frontrunner for the Democratic Party's nomination in 2008, to engage in uncalled-for creativity to avoid calling a statement made a lie or an unlawful action illegal. One of the lastest: A Raleigh New & Observer reporter concluded that in implying that North Carolina has bridges in imminent danger of falling -- specifically, by asking his audience: "Why would we wait to act until another bridge falls?" -- Obama "may have" merely "over-suggested the risk to public safety."
Jim Kuhnhenn's report at the Associated Press tonight on the President's visit to the Brent Spence Bridge over the Ohio River connecting Cincinnati to Covington, Kentucky appears to have taken the cover-up of the president's misleading statements to a new level, as seen in the following excerpted paragraphs (bolds are mine):
Bruce Siceloff at the Raleigh News & Observer had the task on Tuesday of writing up the results of his newspaper's follow-up investigation into the safety of bridges in the Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina area after Barack Obama's visit there last week. In a speech there, the President asserted that "In North Carolina alone, there are 153 structurally deficient bridges that need to be repaired. Four of them are near here, on or around the Beltline. Why would we wait to act until another bridge falls?"
I know this will come as a total shock to readers -- not -- but the president wasn't being truthful. Behold what Siceloff and his paper found, and how he felt compelled to come up with a new word to describe Obama's untruthful characterizations (HT to Rush Limbaugh, who brought this up on the air today):
Let's note the likely reason why what Julia Seymour observed earlier today is the case -- namely, that network news reports have taken to calling the Solyndra situation an "embarrassment."
The use of that term probably dates back to September 16, which is as far as I can tell the first time the Associated Press filed a beyond-perfunctory report about now-bankrupt Solyndra, the beneficiary of over $500 million in Energy Department loan guarantees. In January, the government also gave Solyndra's principal investors preferential treatment in advance of what was a clearly inevitable bankruptcy. Tuesday evening, the AP's Matthew Daly went to the E-word again in the final paragraph of the excerpt which follows:
UPDATE: BizzyBlog commenter "Rich in Iowa" notes that what the AP is criticizing is "a clearinghouse for employers and job seekers hosted by the State of Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development and this site pre-dates Walker’s Governorship by, oh, maybe a decade."
Boy, Scott Bauer and the Associated Press have really, really nailed Scott Walker this time -- not.
Bauer found that some of the jobs listed in Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker's "Job Center of Wisconsin" website are located in Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Michigan). Imagine that: The Badger State's governor is including jobs in neighboring states because he apparently believes that his state would be better off if some of its unemployed workers found jobs across the border. Oh the humanity.
So I figure that I need to catch up on the LightSquared saga. This is the company which, as Fox News reported on Thursday (the URL date is September 15, though the time stamp is the next day) is building "a nationwide, next-generation, 4G phone network."
The problem is, as Fox further noted, that there are concerns that "many, including (General William) Shelton, think (the network) would seriously hinder the effectiveness of high-precision GPS receiver systems, a product used most commonly by the United States military." Shelton told a congresspersons "in a classified briefing earlier this month" that he was asked by the Obama administration to change (but apparently didn't) his testimony about said dangers.
So I went to the Associated Press's main page at 9:50 this evening, did a search on the company's name, and got back the following:
It appears that it's not news anywhere but at the Hartford Courant, where "Little Pink House" author Jeff Benedict reported the development on Saturday, and at Reason.com (HT to commenter dscott), which linked to the Courant story earlier today. I suspect it won't get much coverage at other establishment press outlets.
The development is that one of the four Connecticut Supreme Court justices in the 4-3 majority which ruled against Susette Kelo and the New London, Connecticut eminent-domain holdouts, ultimately sending the case to the U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled 5-4 against the plaintiffs in Kelo vs. New London, has apologized -- quite emptily, as it turns out -- to Ms. Kelo, face to face:
David Lewis is running for Congress as a Republican in Ohio's Eighth Congressional District for the seat House Speaker John Boehner currently holds. To be kind, Lewis doesn't stand a chance. To be not as kind, the establishment press is using Lewis's candidacy as an excuse to attempt to cast doubt on the ability of Tea Party activists and the GOP establishment to get along. To be clear, there's plenty of reason for the existence of such doubts, but David Lewis's candidacy is certainly not one of them.
To the chagrin of the GOP establishment, I'm a fan of serious primary efforts, especially against incumbents who may have lost their way. But Lewis's effort is not serious. It is fundamentally flawed in its premise and completely miscasts Boehner's current prolife record. It also has given the press an opportunity to distort the priorities of the Tea Party movement.
Part 1 on the Associated Press's September 16 evening story ("Obama admin reworked Solyndra loan to favor donor"; saved here at my web host for future reference, fair use and discussion purposes) by Matthew Daly and Jack Gillum criticized the reporters and the wire service for making it appear as if all the findings in the story were the result of original work.
Two other paragraphs in the report in my opinion represent a blatant but clumsy attempt to give the impression that the bankruptcy of a major beneficiary of Department of Energy stimulus-driven loans was a bipartisan fiasco:
The August Monthly Treasury Statement released by the government today reveals that Uncle Sam ran a $134.2 billion deficit in August. That figure was $44.7 billion, or 48%, higher than the $90.5 billion deficit seen in August 2010. The year-over-year deficit increase occurred because outlays increased by 19% to over $303 billion, while receipts went up by 3% to $169 billion.
Gee, that wasn't difficult to express, was it? But it was apparently too difficult for the Associated Press's Martin Crutsinger to communicate to his readers. Of the eight figures and percentages noted in the opening paragraph, only one -- the August 2011 deficit -- appears in his report.
It's hard to figure out why Tom Krisher at the Associated Press bothered filing a report on the status of contract talks between Detroit's Big 3 automakers and the United Auto Workers. The only reason I can discern is that he wanted to brag about how he and his wire service pals have access to anonymously-sourced info about how the talks are going. Surprise: As has been the case almost always for about the past 30-plus years, It's coming down to the wire with the two sides supposedly far apart at two of the three companies. Knock me over with a feather.
Krisher failed to inform readers of three quite important sets of facts. First (seriously), he never told readers that General Motors and Chrysler workers have no-strike contract clauses prohibiting them from job actions until 2015, i.e., only Ford is financially vulnerable. Second, he failed to note that the government still holds a significant (and probably board-controlling) share of GM, or that a UAW healthcare trust owns 46.5% of Chrysler (down from an original 55%). Finally, because he didn't disclose the ownership stakes, he failed to note the obvious conflict of interest the UAW has in negotiating with Ford, or the possible government-influenced pressure on the union to drive a hard bargain with Ford on GM's behalf.
On Thursday's Morning Edition, NPR's touted the Obama administration's "more aggressive legal approach" towards pro-life demonstrators with the stepped-up prosecution of alleged violations of the controversial FACE Act. Correspondent Carrie Johnson highlighted the prosecution of an elderly pro-lifer, and let an abortion lobbyist denigrate pro-lifers as possible terrorists.
Host Steve Inskeep introduced Johnson's report with slanted language about how "the fight over abortion rights continues in courtrooms and state houses all over this country. But a smaller-scale version of that conflict is on display almost every day between protesters and escorts at abortion clinics. And some of those tensions are on the rise, as the Obama administration takes a more aggressive legal approach against people who block access to clinics."
A year ago (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), yours truly wrote up how Labor Secretary Hilda Solis had produced a Labor Day video which was both a propaganda vehicle glorifying the Obama administration's alleged economic accomplishments and a straw-man attack piece targeting "some who will suggest that, when times are tough, it’s time to get tough on working people."
This year, she's done it again. Working with the thinnest of gruel given the true state of the economy, the video is so pathetic that it's difficult at times to keep from laughing. The political statement I have transcribed after the jump goes from 0:23 to 3:57 of the 4:45 video (bolds and numbered tags are mine):
The California solar company, Solyndra, heralded by the Obama administration as a prime example of how the Recovery Act created new jobs while promoting his vision of renewable energy, is closing their doors. Just over a year ago, Obama himself spoke at the facility, praising it as “a testament to American ingenuity and dynamism.” Once a beacon of solar light in the progressive green jobs agenda, Solyndra had received a $535 million federal loan with the help of newly minted energy secretary, Steven Chu, only to find themselves staring down bankruptcy and the release of more than 1,100 workers.
Lying within that massive federal loan was a number of sub-awards to other vendors, 40 payments of which were greater than $25,000 each. The largest sub-award went to another administration favorite, CH2M Hill, to the tune of $9.6 million for their construction engineering services. The company is a $6.3 billion consulting, engineering, and construction firm, and shares some similarities to the failed Solyndra. In fact, CH2M used the nearly $10 million sub-award to design Solyndra’s solar manufacturing plant in Fremont, California. Besides that amount, CH2M is also a major beneficiary of the stimulus, having been awarded four of the top ten contracts from stimulus funding last summer - to the tune of $1.2 billion. As of this April, the company boasts of $1.6 billion in contracts from the Recovery Act.