One of the more annoying aspects of business press reporting is its participants' singular focus on seasonally adjusted data to the exclusion of the underlying figures.
Many reports on the economy at least tag the figures reported as seasonally adjusted; but there seems to be a trend away from doing even that. For example, the Associated Press has routinely labeled weekly initial jobless claims as seasonally adjusted (examples from about a year ago are here, here, and here), but Thursday's adjusted claims figure of 331,000 and the 348,000 from a week earlier went unlabeled (as seen here and here, respectively). Additionally, none of the three main wire services (AP, Bloomberg, Reuters) described yesterday's reported increase in employment as "seasonally adjusted" (though the AP's Christopher Rugaber did report that the unemployment rate of 6.6 percent was seasonally adjusted). In failing to do so, they all were in essence telling readers that the economy really added 113,000 jobs in January. The truth is that it lost over 2.8 million of them:
NBC whitewashed Russia's communist legacy in the lead segment of its Friday broadcast of the opening ceremonies of the Winter Olympics in Sochi. Game of Thrones actor Peter Dinklage narrated the network's lionization of the largest country by land mass: "Russia overwhelms. Russia mystifies. Russia transcends. Through every stage of its story, it's resisted any notion of limitation. Through every re-invention, only redoubling its desire to cast a towering presence."
However, Dinklage continued with a glorification of the Marxist-Leninist totalitarian state that slaughtered tens of millions of people between 1917 and 1991: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
Thursday's CNN Newsroom spotlighted how President Obama "called for promoting religious freedom – quote, 'a key part of U.S. foreign policy," at the annual National Prayer Breakfast, but glossed over his administration's controversial birth control/abortifacient mandate under ObamaCare, which is being challenged in an ongoing Supreme Court case. The cable network still stood out, however, as none of the Big Three networks aired reports on Obama's speech.
John King zeroed in on the President's "very moving tribute to the Americans held in prison in North Korea and in Iran because of their faith-based beliefs." Instead of mentioning the HHS mandate, anchor Carol Costello played up the Democrat's encounter with a conservative politician as a supposed glimmer of hope for bipartisanship: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
In yet another bizarre and extra-constitutional twist in the saga of the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, a clearly sympathetic Associated Press — that's why I call it the Administration's Press — is reporting that the Obama administration is considering a three-year delay in demanding that health insurance companies drop so-called "substandard" or "junk" individual policies.
But that's not how the AP's Tom Murphy is framing the clearly leaked proposed move. You won't find the word "delay" in his entire story, which is a why a friend of mine who tried to find something about it online and couldn't thought that only Fox News was reporting it. No-no-no. The AP only describes the move as an "extension" which would take the pesky problem of arbitrarily cancelled individual policies off the table until — imagine that — after the 2016 elections (HT American Thinker via Free Republic; bolds are mine):
On Wednesday, Mayor John Tkazyik explained in the Poughkeepsie [N.Y.] Journal that he and almost 50 other mayors have dropped out of former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg’s group Mayors Against Illegal Guns (MAIG).
The reason they left? They all felt Bloomberg was using the organization to trample on the Second Amendment rather than to push for the stricter enforcement of existing laws. Tkazyik complained that:
Ken Shepherd at NewsBusters made reference Tuesday to an Associated Press story headline ("Modest drop in full-time work seen from health law") indicating that the outfit I prefer to call the Administration's Press is furiously spinning in reaction to Tuesday's report from the Congressional Budget Office projecting that Obamacare will reduce full-time-equivalent employment from what it would have been without the law by 2.5 million over the next 10 years.
The underlying content of the story Ken referenced is weak, as is Calvin Woodward's longer "fact check" ("ANTI-OBAMACARE CHORUS IS OFF KEY") currently carrying an early Thursday time stamp. Woodward's piece is especially troubling in how it seems to treat work as a curse instead of a necessary component of societal progress. But let's first look at the full "modest drop" dispatch.
On Wednesday the House Ways and Means Committee released new emails proving that former IRS executive Lois Lerner secretly helped craft, with Treasury officials, new rules that would make it easier to crack down on conservative groups like the Tea Party. These new rules were being written in 2012, at the height of the IRS’s targeting of the Tea Party.
So far the Big Three (ABC, CBS, NBC) networks have yet to mention this latest IRS scandal bombshell on their evening or morning shows.
Wednesday's Good Morning America on ABC ballyhooed the "breaking news" that Pope Francis shook hands with the real-life inspiration for the anti-Catholic movie "Philiomena" at the Vatican. George Stephanopoulos trumpeted the "moving journey for the woman portrayed by Judi Dench in the Oscar-nominated film" and her "remarkable story."
Cynthia McFadden slantingly gushed that "a woman, once shamed by the Catholic Church for having a baby out of wedlock, was invited today to meet Pope Francis," and mouthed the caption of Rolling Stone's recent cover featuring the pontiff: "The times – they are a-changin'." McFadden did her best to boost the movie and failed to mention conservative objections to the production. She also went out of her way to spotlight the United Nations' ideologically-tinged attack on the Church: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
While both CBS This Morning and ABC's Good Morning America both managed some air time on Wednesday to cover a new Congressional Budget Office report showing ObamaCare will cost the American economy about 2.5 million jobs, NBC's Today couldn't be bothered to mention the troubling news.
The NBC morning show did have time to provide a three-minute report on the latest bad behavior by pop star Justin Bieber, over a minute of coverage to the mascots for the upcoming Olympic games, and over a minute showing viewers how to play the new Flappy Birds game app on their phones.
Alex Wagner made it clear that she was in Senator Harry Reid's Amen corner on the Tuesday edition of her MSNBC program, promoting the Nevada Democrat's green light to President Obama to use his controversial "year of action" end run around Congress to advance the agenda of leftist LGBT activists. Wagner expressed her hope that "with the White House promising a 'year of action'...we can only hope that creating a more fair and equitable society is on that list." [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
The host also spotlighted the reporting of ThinkProgress.org, and cited new Obama adviser John Podesta, but failed to disclose that she once worked for the Podesta-founded Center for American Progress, which runs the left-wing website.
As we head into yet another year wondering whether Washington, meaning President Obama and both political parties, will finally betray the nation and pass some form of illegal-immigrant amnesty, "Machiavelli" at the Virtuous Republic blog reminds us that the argument is about more than depressed wages, "keeping families together," and (in the misguided minds of Catholic bishops) Christian charity.
Machiavelli went to Immigration and Customs Enforcement records for 2013 and found the following crime-related information the establishment press is extremely reluctant to acknowledge at its main page for removal statistics (bolds are mine throughout this post):
After opening the day at about the same level as Friday's close, the three major U.S. stock indices fell by over 2 percent Monday (DJIA, -2.08%; S&P 500, -2.28%; NASDAQ, -2.61%).
About half of the rout took place in the first 30 minutes after the 10:00 a.m. release of two reports, one on manufacturing activity and the other on construction spending. The former, from the Institute for Supply Management, showed that its January Manufacturing Index came in at a mildly expansive 51.3% (any reading over 50% indicates expansion), down by over 5 percentage points from December and missing expectations by 4.7 points. The latter, from the Census Bureau, showed that seasonally adjusted construction activity barely budged in December. The market's decline continued throughout the rest of the day as disappointing news on January car sales rolled in. As will be seen after the jump, inclement January weather got a disproportionate share of the blame in the business press for these really weak results — an explanation which clearly didn't impress the markets.
Salon.com apparently get can't get enough of former Occupy Wall Street participants, as the website featured far-left "journalist" Jesse Myerson on Sunday. Myerson, who infamously pushed for socialism in a January 2014 piece in Rolling Stone, listed seven supposed "huge misconceptions" about communism, and tried to whitewash the tens of millions butchered in the name of the discredited ideology.
The left-wing website's Twitter account heralded the writer's piece as "the best possible way to shut down your right-wing colleague railing against the ills of communism." Myerson, who includes a #FULLCOMMUNISM hashtag on his own Twitter profile, offered his beyond optimistic vision for a Marxist future:
ABC, CBS, and NBC's morning newscasts have yet to report about the bilateral squabble between the Obama administration and Israel over Secretary of State John Kerry's warning on Saturday that the U.S. ally faces "an increasing delegitimization campaign that has been building up....There are talks of boycotts and other kinds of things."
The war of words comes days after actress Scarlett Johansson ended her eight-year affiliation with Oxfam due to their opposition to Israeli settlements in the West Bank. Johansson appeared in a Super Bowl ad for SodaStream, a company based in Israel that runs a large facility on the West Bank. On Monday, CNN anchor Michaela Pereira devoted a news brief on New Day to Kerry's remark and the Israeli government's reaction: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
Over at the Associated Press's national site, there's a story about how "Some of the largest public labor unions in Illinois filed a long-awaited lawsuit Tuesday challenging the state's new pension reform law."
Given that it involves hundreds of thousands of workers, it's probably fair to say that the news deserves national attention. But how about another story which involves over 800,000 union members who are deeply dissatisfied with Obamacare? Searches at AP on Unite Here and LUINA, the two unions involved, come up empty and with nothingrelevant, respectively.
On January 20, we are told by "goptvclips," Seattle TV Station King 5 aired a short segment on how children "are being denied specialty treatment by insurance providers on the Washington Health Benefits Network." To be clear, the video's conclusion indicates that "Children's went ahead and treated" some but apparently far from all of the affected children, but, obviously "they can't afford to keep doing it that way."
This story and likely many other stories like it are not national news. As will be seen later, it appears to not even be news at the station which originally presented the story. Situations like this should raise concerns that there is a determined effort on the part of the nation's establishment press to ignore bad-news stories relating to Obamacare. One suspects that there are similar stories waiting to be told all over the country. The video as carried at "goptvclips" and a transcript follow the jump.
I suspect that more than a few readers have noticed, with likely little surprise, that there hasn't been a lot of national establishment press attention paid to how Obamacare has been working out in the real world since it officially went into effect on January 1.
Non-existent HealthCare.gov security? Who cares? Patients turned away from emergency rooms voluntarily (because they don't want to risk huge uncovered costs they will have to pay out-of-pocket) or from medical providers involuntarily (because they don't know whether a particular patient is or isn't covered)? You might find coverage of that in the British wing of the Washington press corps, and that's about it. Meanwhile, scenarios such as the one you will see play out in the local TV news report out of Pittsburgh after the jump are happening all over the country, and it's not pretty (direct YouTube; HT Personal Liberty Digest):
In yet another negative milestone for the bailouts that supposedly saved the U.S. auto industry — already a hard-to-handle claim given that Chrysler, one of the two beneficiaries, is now 100% owned by an Italian company — Volkswagen has surpassed General Motors as the world's number two automaker behind Toyota.
The reporting on this development has been quite sparse. It's not news at the Associated Press's national site, even though AP mentions VW in a report on Super Bowl ad and social media strategies. At USA Today, James R. Healey's could easily have inserted the news into his story today on the 65th anniversary of the VW Beetle's first arrival here, and didn't. What follows is an excerpt from Expatica, one of the few publications to note the shakeup in the auto industry hierarchy:
At the top of Thursday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams proclaimed that "the [Republican] governor of Georgia [Nathan Deal] chose to fall on his snow shovel" over how Tuesday's rare southern snowstorm "was handled, or better yet, mishandled" in the state. However, the coverage that followed failed to mention Atlanta's Democratic Mayor Kasim Reed by name even once. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In his report, correspondent Tom Costello declared: "A lot of anger directed toward city and state officials for failing to heed the weather forecasts. And today we learned that both the Governor and the director of the emergency services for the state were sleeping as those forecasts grew even more dire." Those "city officials" were not specified.
The Associated Press, Bloomberg and Reuters all focused on the supposedly positive news of increased consumption reported in today's "Personal Income and Outlays" release from the government's Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the process, two of the three ignored a particulary dreadful statistic about disposable income, while the third (Bloomberg) misinterpreted its meaning.
The dire statistic is the year-over-year comparison of monthly disposable income, which took a deep dive in December, turning in the worst year-over year performance as seen here, in 40 years:
Today, President Obama is going to ask a group of private-sector companies to help him try to solve a problem his administration's policies have seriously worsened, namely long-term unemployment.
Of course, that's not how Josh Lederman at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, framed the situation. All he would concede is that "long-term joblessness in the U.S. remains a major problem." After the jump, in two graphs from the St. Louis Federal Reserve, we'll see the frightening level of long-term unemployment Obama's economic policies have created – and how the horrid numbers have failed to come down significantly in the 4-1/2 years since the recession officially ended.
The Minority Leader of the United States Senate appeared on The Kelly File, Wednesday night, to announce a push back against the IRS’s latest attempt, via new rules, to silence conservative groups. Big Three (ABC, CBS, NBC) network reaction? Silence. Not a single network morning show, on Thursday, reported on the latest charges from Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
Appearing on the January 29 edition of FNC’s The Kelly File, McConnell told host Megan Kelly about the proposed regulations: “Megyn, they’re now initiating a new rule through the Treasury Department in the IRS to quiet the voices of outside groups. It is called a c4, and what they’re gonna do is redefine what outside groups can do in a way to silence the voices of conservative critics.” (video after the jump)
Philip Rucker and Scott Clement sure are "Ready for Hillary." The Washington Post scribes dutifully pounded out a January 30 front-pager that furthers the Hillary-is-inevitable meme discernible throughout the liberal media. "Clinton holds big Democratic lead" thunders the print headline, with a subhead noting she enjoys "strong support in all demographics" while the "GOP field shows no clear front-runner."
Nowhere in their 25-paragraph story was the term "Benghazi" used -- indeed, it was also not referenced in the Post/ABC poll, while Bridgegate was -- although clearly it is the former secretary of state's blackest mark on her record. By contrast, potential GOP opponent Chris Christie was depicted as critically if not mortally wounded by the bridge-lane-closure scandal, while opponents to his right were dismissed as unlikely to beat Hillary (emphasis mine):
In his Tuesday night State of the Union speech, President Barack Obama made the following pledge: "In the coming weeks, I will issue an Executive Order requiring federal contractors to pay their federally-funded employees a fair wage of at least $10.10 an hour – because if you cook our troops’ meals or wash their dishes, you shouldn’t have to live in poverty."
One would have every reason to believe from Obama's statement that the change will take effect quickly once the EO is issued — but it won't. Additionally, one would have every reason to believe that when it does take effect, it will increase the pay of anyone currently employed on federal contract work at a pay rate of under $10.10 per hour — but it won't do that either. Somehow, those "little" problems escaped "fact checkers" Josh Gerstein and Darren Samuelsohn at the Politico, who, while they did catch other problems with the President's statement, swallowed a clearly false claim about its long-term impact:
When President Bush gave his fifth State of the Union address on January 31, 2006, he sat at 43 percent approval in the Gallup tracking poll, in no small part because of public perception regarding his administration's handling of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. When President Obama delivered his fifth State of the Union last night, his Gallup approval number was lower a mere 41 percent, doubtless impacted in no small part by the disastrous rollout of ObamaCare and the public's disapproval of the health care overhaul. What's more, some 53 percent in a recent Quinnipiac poll slammed the administration as incompetent and 47 percent expressed the belief that President Obama doesn't pay attention to what's transpiring on his watch. As to more objective metrics, the job situation is worse at this point in Barack Obama's presidency than it was the same point in George W. Bush's with higher unemployment (6.7 percent to Bush's 4.9 percent) and a woefully low labor force participation rate (62.8 percent to Bush's 66 percent).
Yet when you compare the Washington Post's front-page treatments of Mr. Obama's January 28 speech and Mr. Bush's January 31, 2006 one, it becomes all too apparent that the Post is eager to help the former spin his way to resetting the narrative for the midterm election year while the paper was all too happy to pound out a drumbeat about how President Bush was an abject failure, a lame duck roasting in the waters of public disapproval. Here's how Post staffers David Nakamura and David Fahrenthold opened up their January 29 front-pager "Obama: I won't stand still" (emphasis mine):
Though this is a local story, I believe it deserves wider attention. That's because it likely reflects an attitude frequently found in local media around the nation.
A January 21 story at the Cincinnati Enquirer worried that fiscally conservative candidates who have begun winning local school board elections "may be philosophically opposed to the way public schools have been traditionally operated and funded" – as if that's automatically a bad thing. Here's some context the Enquirer's Michael D. Clark "somehow" forgot to include: "40% of Ohioans need remedial math or English in college." Gee, maybe "the way public schools have been traditionally operated and funded" isn't working. Clark also let a former local school board president engage in an unhinged rant about "those that have a goal to destroy public education." Excerpts follow the jump (a related video called "Radical School Boards" — how objective — is here; bolds are mine):
I paused a bit before putting this post up because the last thing an AP reporter needs is some guy on the right telling him he did a good job. I suspect that it's not a resume enhancer.
That said, there are two reasons not to to ignore Terence Chea's coverage of the Saturday's Walk for Life West Coast in San Francisco. The first is how it contrasts with Brett Zongker's dismissive and incomplete coverage of the far larger DC March for Life the previous Wednesday. For starters, Chea appropriately described the San Francisco march as "massive"; Zongker's story covering a much larger throng in the hundreds of thousands had no comparable adjective. Put the two stories side by side, and the average reader might believe that the West Coast march was larger. Equally as interesting, Chea's accurate description of relatively minor legislative changes in abortion-related laws since Roe v. Wade make a mockery of the left's "war on women" battle cry. I'll compare the two stories after the jump.
In a weird way, you have to love the blatant, in-your-face disingenuousness of MSNBC. On Saturday’s Weekends with Alex Witt, the program's host trotted out the newest liberal rallying cry – former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee’s (R) recent comments about the Democratic Party and women. As was the case on some other MSNBC programs last week, the network edited out all context from the former governor’s remarks, showing only the most embarrassing part.
After playing that edited, context-free clip of Huckabee, Witt remarked to Politico’s Juana Summers, “So Juana, Mike Huckabee has since said that the media distorted his comments. But why even open the door to that possibility?” [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
Usually, when the Associated Press covers the Census Bureau's monthly new-home sales releases, its reporters will tell readers that a "healthy" market should generate about 700,000 sales per year (examples here and here). Though I believe that figure is insufficiently ambitious, given that pre-bubble annual sales averaged 776,000 from 1993-2000, it apparently has somewhat wide acceptance.
Of all the times to mention that benchmark, the bureau's final report for 2013 released this morning would be it. But AP's Martin Crutsinger failed to do so, possibly because astute readers would have noted that the year's actual sales of 428,000 units show that the industry, despite years of a media-hyped "housing recovery" which is supposedly leading the economy out of the wilderness (cough, cough), is still operating at a miserable 61 percent of capacity (428K divided by 700K). Excerpts from Crutsinger's report follow the jump (bolds are mine):
Kentucky Senator Rand Paul appeared on Sunday's Meet the Press and pointed out the hypocrisy of Democrats accusing Republicans of a "war on women" despite their support of former President Bill Clinton, who "took advantage of a girl that was 20 years old and an intern in his office." Despite Paul making on the comments on NBC, only CBS This Morning on Monday reported the remarks. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
This Morning co-host Norah O'Donnell told viewers: "Senator Rand Paul says any Democrat who believes there's a GOP war against women should think about former President Bill Clinton....Paul said Sunday that if Hillary Clinton runs for president, Bill Clinton's affair with Monica Lewinsky is a legitimate campaign issue."