Borrowing a line from one of her Harvard colleagues, the Washington Post entitled its June 10 front-page profile of Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan, "Her work is her life is her work."*
But the 60-paragraph story by staff writers Ann Gerhart and Philip Rucker shed barely any light on the judicial philosophy that Kagan's life work demonstrates. Instead, Gerhart and Rucker presented a gauzy profile that rehashed the usual trivia -- Kagan loves poker and the opera -- while painting Kagan as a workaholic who still has time to lend an ear or a shoulder to cry on to friends in distress:
She has arrived at the age of 50 in a blaze of accomplishment. But her achievements can obscure how relatively narrow her world has been.
Instapundit's Glenn Reynolds employed sarcastic irony this morning when he wrote that "Obama’s hate speech is promoting violence against BP." Well, it's at least clear that the blame game out of Washington isn't helping the situation.
Reynolds is referring to a report from TV station WREG in Memphis about an incident involving property damage at a local BP station, and other instances that have occurred in other parts of the country (video is at the link):
Bullets Shatter Glass at BP Gas Station
(Southaven, MS) -- Windows at the BP Gas Station on Highway 51 at Custer Drive were shot out overnight. Folks who work at the store believe the suspects were expressing anger over BP and how it's handling the oil spill.
"I believe that would be the reason," said Alex Saleh. "We don't have any enemies." He said nothing was taken from the store after the windows were destroyed.
On Wednesday's Rick's List, CNN's Rick Sanchez twice highlighted how "several Republicans want to keep the cap on what oil companies pay for spills at $75 million" and how apparently that's about "how much they [oil companies] spend on campaign contributions to politicians each year," but omitted that President Obama was the top recipient of money from BP during the 2008 election cycle.
Sanchez first made those statements during a segment just after the beginning of the 3 pm Eastern hour, as he reported on left-wing organization Code Pink's interruption of a hearing of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee earlier on Wednesday. Before playing a clip of the protest, the CNN anchor stated how Diane Wilson "disrupted a Senate hearing this morning by pouring oil all over herself." He continued that Wilson "was arrested, but not before she interrupted Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski, who is tied, many would argue, to big oil in Alaska."
Copies of the U.S. Constitution put out by Wilder Publishing and being sold on Amazon.com come with an odd disclaimer on the first page of the pamphlet, in part declaring: "This book is a product of its time and does not reflect the same values as it would if it were written today." On Wednesday's America Live on FNC, host Megyn Kelly reported the controversy, will the rest of the media follow? [Click on image for larger view of disclaimer]
In an example of political correctness run amok, the disclaimer goes on to warn parents of the literary material to follow: "Parents might wish to discuss with their children how views on race, gender, sexuality, ethnicity and interpersonal relations have changed since this book was written before allowing them to read this classic work." The provocative pamphlet also includes the Declaration of Independence and the Articles of Confederation.
On FNC, correspondent Trace Gallagher quoted the publishing company's response to the controversy: "We specialize in classic books and we were receiving complaints about the values depicted in some of the books. We wrote the disclaimer so that we could stop having to point out to our readers that people held different values 100 or 200 years ago. It seems we're dammed if we do and dammed if we don't." Kelly concluded: "You know, it's one thing when you republish 'Lady Chatterley's Lover,' its another when you slap that thing on the U.S. Constitution and the Declaration of Independence." Gallagher mocked: "Warning children."
In an article published yesterday afternoon, CNBC news associate Joseph Pisani took note of something the rest of the media mostly hasn't, or at least hasn't highlighted: the terrible job market for teenagers. The headline and text indicate that this is the worst such market in 41 years. That's true, based on the stat Pisani presented. But barring a near miracle in the next three months, in terms of the stat that matters most, the unemployment rate, it's the worst ever.
Give the CNBC reporter props for doing something almost no other journalist has done, which is to use the not seasonally adjusted (NSA) employment numbers as his factual source. As I have discussed several times, including here, the reported NSA numbers represent the government's best estimate of what really happened in a given month, while the seasonally adjusted (SA) numbers published (and appropriately labeled) by the government and reported (but usually not labeled) by the press represent the result after smoothing out seasonal fluctuations.
CNN anchor Dr. Sanjay Gupta refreshingly made an implicitly pro-life argument during a report about how toxic chemicals possibly affect the unborn children: "Here in the womb, enveloped in darkness and warmth, a baby's life begins in earnest. It is a sacred space: pristine, insulated, more than nine months of safe refuge from the world outside" [audio available here].
Dr. Gupta made that statement as he gave a voice-over for the first segment of his "Toxic Childhood" special, which first aired on Thursday evening at 8 pm Eastern. CGI of a baby in the womb played as he described the "sacred space." The anchor continued on this note in his first question to Dr. Frederica Perera of Columbia University: "We imagine a baby sort of nice and safe and tucked away in the womb, impervious to all the assaults that occur on the body. You say, not so fast?" So Gupta twice referred to the unborn human as a "baby."
As other media outlets have given Helen Thomas the kid glove treatment in light of her "trailblazing" career, media consumers may be forgiven for assuming that Helen Thomas's anti-Israel, arguably anti-Semitic comments were an aberration in an otherwise unblemished career of assertive but fair journalism.
To his credit, Washington Post's media reporter Howard Kurtz made note of other incidents, such as the time Thomas blamed Israel for inspiring "99 percent" of terrorism and the time in 2002 when she exclaimed "Thank God for Hezbollah," the Iran-backed terror group that murdered 241 U.S. servicement in 1983 and has plagued Israel for decades.
As the excerpt below shows, it's not just conservatives who have had complaints about Thomas (emphases mine):
In a Wall Street Journal op-ed today, George Mason University economics professor Daniel Klein today notes that "self-identified liberals and Democrats do badly on questions of basic economics."
It therefore shouldn't be terribly surprising that so many journalists do a poor job of economic and business reporting, because, as the Media Research Center has frequently and consistently documented for over a quarter-century, a significant majority of journalists are, well, self-identified liberals and Democrats.
Sometimes what passes for business reporting in the establishment press isn't the result of conscious bias. Ignorance, as just cited, and a failure to look behind numbers, often because they fit a predetermined outlook, are also factors.
An emerging defense of Helen Thomas's "Jews go home" comment is that either what she said really was not that bad, or that others occasionally say worse things without the same level of reproach.
Richard Greener, writing at the Huffington Post on Monday, was so close to making a good point. He noted that a number of other public figures have said things that could reasonably be interpreted as more offensive than Helen Thomas's comment, and have not been forced into retirement.
Though Greener neglected to note the higher standard to which White House correspondents are inevitably held, his credibility was instantly reduced to ashes when the only example of vitriol from the left he could come up with was Keith Olbermann saying Sarah Palin is "an idiot." And he even followed it up with a pathetic attempt to satiate his readership's intense hatred for Palin (and Olby affection) by noting that "perhaps truth is an absolute defense."
It isn't particularly surprising that the establishment press is for the most part attempting to give Helen Thomas's hateful remarks and her dubious apology a very light once-over -- if they're covering her outrageous statements (that citizens of the Jewish state of Israel should “get the hell out of Palestine” and “go home” to Germany, Poland, and elsewhere) at all.
That said, the Associated Press has engaged in a few eyebrow-raisers already. The following is the only search result I found at the Associated Press's main web site at 11:30 a.m. Eastern Time:
That's a classic "Don't read this, it's boring" headline. It also confirms that the AP hasn't considered the Thomas situation newsworthy until very recently. Yes, as seen in the related video, the question from RabbiLive was about "Israel." But at the barest minimum, Thomas's remarks were "anti-Israel," and at bottom they were anti-Semitic. Any doubt about that characterization goes away when one observes Thomas's sickening sense of self-satisfaction after delivering her opening "get out" answer.
But it got more interesting when I clicked on the AP search result's link.
Writing anonymously at the Daily Caller, an anchor for a prominent TV news channel called that channel's coverage of the Gaza-bound Turkish flotilla "an abomination" and "grotesquely distorted and biased."
"I’m embarrassed by our coverage," the Anchorman concluded in an unsent email to his boss. "I take this job and my reputation seriously. But that’s nearly impossible with coverage like this." He accused the network of "acting as a public relations arm of Hamas."
The Anchorman, his pseudonym at the Daily Caller, was livid about his news organization's kid-gloves treatment of controversial former US ambassador Edward Peck. In an interview with Peck, the Anchorman claims, an on-air personality omitted "anything that might cast the slightest doubt on Pecks political motivations."
It isn't just the pro-Palestinian press that is attempting to distort the reality behind the recent flotilla incident off the coast of Gaza.
Former Democratic Congresswoman, and 2008 Green Party candidate for President of the United States, Cynthia McKinney, has voiced her own version of reality through an anti-Israeli rant in Arab News. McKinney is of course, a reliable source on the topic, having been involved in her own little attempts at defying and breaking an Israeli blockade of Gaza (translation - aiding and abetting a terrorist regime).
In her column for Arab News, McKinney expresses outrage over ‘Israel's needless, senseless act against unarmed humanitarian activists.' Having been involved in previous attempts to defy the authority of the Israeli Navy, McKinney knows full well that the Free Gaza Movement, organizers of this flotilla, consists of anything but unarmed humanitarian activists. In case memory has failed her, here is a handy reminder:
A report from the Intelligence & Terrorism Information Center highlights the link between flotilla organizers and radical human rights violators.
The Jerusalem Post points out that ‘soldiers encountered fierce resistance from the passengers who were armed with knives, bats and metal pipes.' The article then goes on to say that the already armed protestors upgraded their arsenal by ‘stealing two handguns from soldiers', opening fire, and ultimately escalating the violence that they themselves had already started.
The federal government saw its tax collections fall by almost 20% in fiscal 2009 compared to fiscal 2008. Through the first seven months of the current fiscal year, year-over-year collections were down by another 4.5%.
New York Senator Charles Schumer (pictured at right; obtained from wbng.com) is desperately searching for another way to fleece taxpayers (because cutting spending is of course out of the question), and has come up with a "brilliant" idea. An unbylined Associated Press story gives Schumer's idea, a foreign call center tax, undeserved cover by going back to seven year-old information about industry job losses that doesn't reflect current conditions.
Here are the first five paragraphs from the AP story, followed by a later paragraph containing the outdated information:
Schumer wants to slow exodus of US call centers
In an effort to slow the exodus of U.S. telephone work to overseas services, Sen. Charles Schumer is introducing legislation that would impose an excise tax on companies that transfer calls with American area codes to foreign call centers.
Parts of the U.S. establishment press have acknowledged "climate science" reality, six months late.
The fallout from ClimateGate (link is to the NewsBusters tag), the name eventually given to the scandal resulting from the unauthorized posting of over 1,000 emails and dozens of documents obtained from University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit (CRU) in the UK, goes back a full six months to November of last year.
On November 20, Australia's Andrew Bolt crisply described the contents of the aforementioned items as providing substantial evidence of: "Conspiracy, collusion in exaggerating warming data, possibly illegal destruction of embarrassing information, organised resistance to disclosure, manipulation of data, private admissions of flaws in their public claims and much more."
Over the past two years, yours truly has noted how the economy in Oklahoma has with very little media attention outperformed most of the rest of the nation. The Sooner State's much lower unemployment rate, higher GDP growth, and higher personal income growth have "strangely" coincided with the passage of a strict illegal immigration law-enforcement measure in 2007.
Now there's another significant news item out of Oklahoma that the establishment press has also virtually ignored. In November, voters there are going to decide whether to opt out of the statist health care legislation passed by Congress in March, also known as ObamaCare, by passing a state constitutional amendment.
Oklahoma is not alone. Two larger states will also have state constitutional opt-outs on the November ballot.
Rush Limbaugh brought the Oklahoma news to his listeners' attention yesterday, and linked to this LifeSiteNews.com story. If that seems an odd choice, it's because press coverage in general has been either curt, dismissive, or non-existent.
Here are key paragraphs from Peter J. Smith's LifeSite report:
Be on the lookout for media coverage of the new Medicare brochure. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) sent out this glossy piece this week to more than 40 million Medicare recipients telling them that with ObamaCare, everything is dandy!
In fact, the CMS mail piece - which likely cost $8 million at the least - wildly exaggerates claims of patient security and ignores what CMS itself has declared to be true about ObamaCare.
The mailer gushes that "Medicare is strong and solvent" and that beneficiaries will see "better access to care."
"This brochure provides you with accurate information about the new services and benefits to help you and your family now and in the future," it says.
Update - 5/27, 3:08 PM | Lachlan Markay: A new Harvard study finds that increased government spending actually reduces economic activity, contradicting the basic premise behind CBO's assumptions. Details below.
Good economic news is so rare for the current administration, that when some does emerge, many in the media parrot it as fact without really examining the claims that undergird it. New CBO numbers on the stimulus, for instance, have been trumpeted as proof the legislation at least helped, despite the fact that the numbers have little to no basis in reality.
Congressional Budget Office models are based on the assumption that stimulus spending will create jobs. They assume the conclusion they purport to demonstrate, and then claim they've demonstrated it. But if the model is inaccurate or simply based on false premises, it simply goes on tallying jobs "created or saved" without regard to the actual employment rate.
In March, a reporter asked CBO director Doug Elmendorf: "If the stimulus bill did not do what it was originally forecast to do, then that would not have been detected by the subsequent analysis, right?" His response: "That's right. That's right." Yet despite those numbers' disconnect from reality, the media continue to report them as fact, and proof that the stimulus is working.
MSNBC’s May 26 special on immigration reform, “A Nation Divided,” was replete with unbalanced interviews with liberal activists and one-sided segments featuring only liberal positions on the controversial issue.
MSNBC anchor Contessa Brewer pitched softballs to Democrats Michael Nowakowski, vice mayor of Phoenix, and Raul Castro, former Arizona governor, without brining on guests to counter their liberal perspectives.
“The other thing that this really does is it puts businesses in the enforcement business, and responsible for making sure that their employees are here legally,” Brewer told Nowakowski. “The consequences for which could mean business owners lose their livelihoods.”
In the same interview, Brewer set up Nowakowski to bemoan the supposedly high cost of enforcing Arizona’s new immigration law, which empowers state authorities to inquire into a person’s legal status if there is reasonable suspicion that a person is in the country illegally.
Doesn't everyone remember in 2005 when George W. Bush's Press Secretary Scott McClellan (bless his back-stabbing heart) called reporters into the West Wing of the White House and scolded them for asking too many questions about Hurricane Katrina? That followed a similar admonishment earlier in the year about the press's obsession with anything and everything to do with the Iraq War.
You don't remember those things? That's because they didn't happen. Oh sure, someone will be able to find examples of McClellan, as well as successors Tony Snow (RIP) and Dana Perino occasionally expressing irritation with reporters for their silly and/or repeat questions on these and other subjects. But summoning them to the West Wing for a beatdown? Hardly.
That's what Obama administration Press Secretary Robert Gibbs is said to have done last Friday with White House reporters. Here's the full text of audio that can be heard at Breitbart; a somewhat expanded text report, along with a the continually updated original graphic screen-grabbed and incorporated into the image at the top right, are at Capitol News Connection:
A protest noticed by the target's next-door neighbor who happened to be home at the time, namely journalist Nina Easton (who also took the photo at right), occurred in a Metro DC suburb in Maryland marked the next round of a national labor union's attempt at persuasion through intimidation.
IBD concisely describes what happens, and why it should cause so much concern:
Mob Rule From SEIU
On May 16, Washington, D.C., police escorted 14 busloads full of Service Employees International Union (SEIU) members at least part of the way to storm the Chevy Chase, Md., home of Bank of America's deputy legal counsel, Greg Baer.
The order of just desserts that many of us hoped was on its way to Detroit serendipitously arrived today, in the form of a stiffer-than expected sentence of Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick for violating the terms of his probation -- so severe that, for perhaps the first time in his life, Kwame and his clan are, to borrow from Elvis, all shook up.
It's too bad that readers of Associated Press dispatches can't hand out sentences dictating that certain journalists be prevented from accessing a computer keyboard or other data entry device to publish anything for public consumption for as least as long (5 years) as Kilpatrick's maximum potential time in jail. If they had that power, the AP's Corey Williams would be guilty as charged for "waiting 8 paragraphs to identify the party affiliation of a major political figure involved in crime and/or corruption." If the sentence seems too harsh, recall that Williams is an at least one-time repeat offender, having co-authored an AP dispatch in April (noted by yours truly at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog) that avoided mentioning Kilpatrick's Democratic Party pedigree at all.
Here are the first seven paragraphs of Williams's wimp-out (HT to an e-mailer, who also helpfully points out that Kilpatrick's mom, Carolyn Kilpatrick, is a Michigan congressperson, a relationship that has almost never been mentioned in any story about Kwame's calamities). Note the arrival -- finally -- of the aforementioned just desserts in the final excerpted paragraph:
NewsBusters Publisher Brent Bozell appeared on the May 25 "Fox & Friends" to discuss the media's double standard when it comes to politicians lying about their military records.
The Media Research Center president noted the most apt parallel to Richard Blumenthal was Bruce Caputo, a Republican who ran for U.S. Senate in the 1980s, only to drop out after Tim Russert -- then a staffer for Daniel Patrick Moynihan -- found that Caputo had falsely claimed to have been drafted during the Vietnam War.
At that time, "the media were relentless" against Caputo after the revelation and "it was the end of his career," Bozell noted, contrasting that with last week's Blumenthal story which to the mainstream media came and went as a "one-night story."
For the full interview, click play on the embed above at right.
CNN did its part to perpetuate the liberal talking point about Arizona's supposedly racist campaign against illegal immigrants by airing a report three times on Monday that spun the state's standards for English teachers as an "accent ban" or "crackdown." Anchor Kyra Phillips even opined that it was "just wrong to judge a teacher by his or her accent as to judge on their hair or skin color."
The network's American Morning program first aired correspondent Thelma Gutierrez's report 27 minutes into the 6 am Eastern hour. Three minutes earlier, anchor John Roberts previewed the upcoming segment by noting that "some schools in Arizona [are] cracking down on English teachers who have accents." Roberts then introduced Gutierrez's report, stating that "state education officials want immigrant teachers with heavy accents removed from classes for students who are still learning English. They say they're simply following federal guidelines that were set up by the Bush administration back in 2002. But critics are calling it an ethnic witch hunt."
The "guidelines...set up by the Bush administration" line by Roberts was actually a reference to the No Child Left Behind law which passed with bipartisan support in Congress in 2001, and signed into law by then-President Bush in January 2002. Gutierrez mentioned this during her report as she introduced the Arizona state education official defending his state's guidelines: "State School Superintendent Tom Horne says, as part of No Child Left Behind, he's been monitoring ELL teachers for bad grammar and mispronounced words for the past eight years." But instead of mentioning this detail, the CNN anchor labeled it as being from the Bush administration.
Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal (D) "loves to prosecute businesses for potentially misleading advertising" but when he's exposed as a serial liar about his Vietnam War service, the media refuse to hammer him for the scandal, NewsBusters Publisher Brent Bozell told viewers of the Saturday, May 22 "Fox & Friends."
While credit is due the New York Times for breaking the story, the network evening newscasts "ran it one night, and then they walked away from it," the Media Research Center president noted, adding by way of contrast that when South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford (R) got entangled in his web of lies, "they were on him relentlessly,as they should have been."
But Bozell added of Blumenthal, "this guy's a liberal Democrat, and [so] they walk away."
For the full segment's video, click the play button in the embed at right. You can find the MP3 audio available here.
When I saw the Associated Press's headline ("Disgraced former Ohio congressman dies at 79"), I started thinking about whom the wire service might be referring to.
Of course I knew he would be a Republican, because the establishment media never treats Democrats, even those who leave women who aren't their wives to drown in a submerged car, as "disgraced."
But even I never thought that the AP would reach back 20 years and attempt to give the national spotlight (raw feed proof as of 6:30 p.m. ET is here) to a former Ohio politician whom even most Ohioans -- even most Southwestern Ohioans -- don't remember. I clearly underestimated AP's cravenness. I guess "The Essential Global News Network" needed to find something to offset the hurt coursing through liberal circles today from seeing the GOP gain a seat, however temporarily, in Hawaii.
No "Name That Party" post would be complete without referring to how Democratic politicians in somewhat analogous situations were handled by AP upon their death. That's coming up.
But first, here is most of the wire service's story (for fair use and discussion purposes, of course) about the former congressman's death, complete with multiple party and political philosophy references, as well as guilt by association:
The report tells us that Oklahoma had a seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 6.6% last month. That's far lower than the 9.9% reported for the entire USA two weeks ago. No state with a larger population has a lower unemployment rate than the Sooner State (states with lower April unemployment rates were KS - 6.5%; NE at 5.0%; ND - 3.8%; SD - 4.7%; and VT - 6.4%).
As seen in the chart below, Oklahoma's unemployment rate has been significantly lower than the national rate for well over two years, and on average in 2009 was that way across all major ethnic groups (source data for 2006 to 2009 can be accessed here; scroll down to "Annual Average Statewide Data"):
President Barack Obama's statement just before he signed the Freedom of the Press Act on Monday painfully avoided reality to the point of giving offense. If it became widely known, it would likely become very problematic.
And obviously the loss of Daniel Pearl was one of those moments that captured the world’s imagination because it reminded us of how valuable a free press is, and it reminded us that there are those who would go to any length in order to silence journalists around the world.
Two key administration-protecting original news disseminators picked up on the need to keep the bolded words out of their news coverage of the event. The Associated Press, which usually (i.e., almost always) quotes the president in related stories, provided no quotes in its terse five-paragraph report, the first four of which follow (for fair use and discussion purposes, of course):
It would not surprise me if the Associated Press's April Castro has spent the last 10 weeks gritting her teeth non-stop.
In March (covered at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), she was clearly peeved at the Texas State Board of Education. In a supposedly objective news story entitled "Texas ed board vote reflects far-right influences," she decried a "faction" (actually a nearly two-thirds majority) of Board members for "injecting conservative ideals into social studies, history and economics lessons."
I will take that as an admission that such ideals have previously been absent or barely present.
Friday, non-appreciative April was tasked with covering the Board's final adoption vote that ratified proposed curriculum changes. If we are to believe her (I know, that's dangerous), improvements (my word, certainly not hers) in the meantime appear to have been strengthened the reality basis, if you will, of the curriculum.
Here are the first five paragraphs of Ms. Castro's report (link is dynamic and subject to change). There are lots of errors in those paragraphs alone; readers are invited to see if they can catch the big cahuna:
The Associated Press's Sophia Tareen has apparently had a lot of time on her hands the past couple of days, and her wire service bosses couldn't find much for her to do. How else to explain Tareen's devotion of almost 1,000 words to the burning question of whether cartoon character Dora the Explorer is an illegal immigrant?
You read that right, but it's worse than that. Tareen claims that images of Dora "are being used by those who oppose and support Arizona's law," but could only cite actual instances of usage by leftists at the Huffington Post and at a a Facebook page whose category is "Just for Fun - Outlandish Statements."
Along the way, Tareen oh-so-predictably resurrects the late-1990s "Teletubbies are Gay" kerfuffle (incompletely, of course); waits until the 27th paragraph to tell us that the image at the top right, which "is circulating widely in the aftermath of Arizona's controversial new immigration law," has really been around since last year (originating at freakingnews.com); and quotes a "gender studies" professor at the University of Arizona who -- undisclosed to readers, naturally -- is virulently anti-capitalism.
CNN's Casey Wian on Friday's Newsroom filed a one-sided report on an illegal immigrant activist who was arrested for participating in a sit-in at Senator John McCain's office on Monday. Wian omitted the liberal affiliation of the activist's group, oversimplified the DREAM Act (the cause of the activist), and neglected how it would open the path for illegals to receive in-state tuition.
Wian's interview of Lizbeth Mateo aired 10 minutes into the 11 am Eastern hour. An on-screen graphic mentioned Mateo's affiliation with an organization called Dream Team Los Angeles, but the correspondent didn't mention this explicitly during his report. The 25-year-old illegal immigrant, who came to the U.S. with her parents when she was 14, wore the T-shirt of another organization she leads called The DREAM is Coming.com. This organization's website has a donate page which links to a Causes.com page for the United We Dream Network, a coalition which includes liberal organizations such as the National Council for La Raza, the Center for American Progress, and the New World Foundation.