The Associated Press's Calvin Woodward has had a few shining analytical moments during the first two years of the Obama administration (examples here and here).
The AP reporter's dispatch on "gaffes and gotchas" Friday morning, which attempted to communicate a sense of bemusement tinged with condescension, both aimed mostly at first-time candidates, is not one of them, and contained its own gaffes:
On Friday, the CBS Early Show and NBC's Today avoided any discussion of the Democratic Party's racial insensitivity in trying to get black Florida senate candidate Kendrick Meek to drop out of the race. On ABC's Good Morning America, co-host George Stephanopoulos quoted Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele on that very issue.
All three network morning shows conducted interviews with Meek, but only Stephanopoulos asked if the candidate was offended by the notion that Democratic Party officials were trying to force him out: "Michael Steele put out a statement last night where he said, 'Even the conversations sent a chilling signal to all voters.' He went on to say, 'One can only imagine the response if Republican leadership tried to force out of the race in the 11th hour a qualified black candidate like Kendrick Meek.' Were you offended by these conversations?" Meek replied by implying Steele was playing the race card: "Let's put it this way, I mean, you know the reason why Michael Steele put out the statement and I'll just leave it at that."
While all three broadcast networks, ABC, NBC, and CBS, highlighted MoveOn.org protestor Lauren Valle being stepped on outside Monday's Kentucky senate debate, only CBS reported new video showing Valle running up to Rand Paul's car and trying to shove a sign into the Republican candidate's face.
The morning and evening newscasts on Tuesday all pointed to the scuffle as evidence of the 2010 campaign getting "ugly." On ABC's Good Morning America, correspondent Jake Tapper declared: "In the Kentucky senate race, the bitter and heated contest between Democrat Jack Conway and Republican Rand Paul, continued in a debate...The tensions spilled into the crowd, when Rand Paul supporters attacked a Jack Conway supporter wearing a Rand Paul wig." On CBS's Early Show, correspondent Nancy Cordes remarked: "...there was an ugly scene outside the debate, when what appeared to be Rand Paul supporters grabbed a protester from the liberal organization MoveOn.org. After wrestling her to the ground, one of them stepped on her head."
[Update: New video Shows Lauren Valle shoving sign into Rand Paul's face.]
On Wednesday's CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith interviewed MoveOn.org protestor Lauran Valle, who was stepped on during a protest outside of the Kentucky senate debate on Monday: "Less than a week before election day, the races are heating up, some even turn ugly. We'll speak exclusively with a woman who was stomped on the head during a campaign melee."
While CBS was eager to talk to Ms. Valle, in September 2009the network failed to give any coverage to a man having his finger bitten off by a MoveOn.org supporter at a California ObamaCare rally. At the September 2 event, 65-year-old William Rice, an ObamaCare opponent, got into an altercation with an unidentified MoveOn protestor, who proceeded to bite off the tip of Rice's left pinky finger. Not only did CBS not interview Rice about the violent attack, but it offered no mention of the incident at all.
After all the front-page caterwauling about “anonymous donors” supposedly “buying the election” by running ads favoring the GOP this election cycle, the New York Times isn’t showing itself overly concerned about actual cases of potential vote fraud involving Democrats.
In his Wednesday story “Fraudulent Voting Re-emerges as a Partisan Issue.” reporter Ian Urbina quickly dismissed concerns about vote fraud from “conservative activists,” claiming that 2006 accusations from the same quarters “turned out to be largely false.”
In 2006, conservative activists repeatedly claimed that the problem of people casting fraudulent votes was so widespread that it was corrupting the political process and possibly costing their candidates victories.
The accusations turned out to be largely false, but they led to a heated debate, with voting rights groups claiming that the accusations were crippling voter registration drives and squelching turnout.
As I noted yesterday in my NB Extra piece, in an October 26 editorial listing endorsements for the Montgomery County [Md.] Council, the Washington Post erroneously stated that the incumbent County Executive Isiah "Ike" Leggett (D) was unopposed in his reelection bid.
That simply is not true, and the Post today issued a correction noting that Leggett does indeed face a challenge, from Republican Doug Rosenfeld.
Yet in today's correction notice, the Post noted that it will print an "editorial on that contest... in the coming days."
The Post most certainly has a right to make such an endorsement, but considering its gross negligence in the first place, should the paper opt simply to refuse to make an endorsement?
A search of the Nexis database from September 15 (the day after the primary election) through October 27 found just two mentions of Rosenfeld. The second was today's correction notice and the first was the very last paragraph of Metro section reporter Michael Laris's September 15 roundup of local primary election results:
[Update, 12:15 pm Wednesday: See below on CNN's additional coverage of the assault.]
CNN devoted seven news briefs on Tuesday to an assault on a MoveOn.org employee by Rand Paul supporters caught on camera outside the Kentucky Senate debate on Monday evening, but failed to mention a second assault on Rand Paul supporter by a booster of Paul's opponent, Jack Conway. Most of the briefs also omitted how the MoveOn employee was trying to get an embarrassing picture of Paul.
Emily Maxwell of KYPost.com reported late on Monday how "tensions flared at he senatorial candidates' debate here Monday night in two confrontations between Conway and Paul supporters, Lexington police reported. The first involved a woman who is a member of www.moveon.org and who was determined to pose in front of Rand Paul holding a sign that read 'Rand Paul Republicore: Employee of the Month.'" After detailing this first incident, Maxwell continued that "the second occurred after a Conway supporter stepped on the foot of a female Rand supporter, who recently had foot surgery, according to police. The woman was wearing a surgical boot, but after the injury, her incision was cut open. Police say she refused medical treatment and also filed an assault report."
Anchor John Roberts set the example for CNN's coverage of the incidents in his news brief six minutes into the 7 am Eastern hour of American Morning, as the video of the assault on Lauren Valle, the MoveOn.org employee played:
Clearly, Becky Bohrer at the Associated Press is very picky about what she'll report.
In her story datelined early this morning ("Senate race in Alaska is bitter and unpredictable"), she played the "any Tea Partier whose family or extended family has ever taken a government benefit is automatically a hypocrite" card. She made sure readers knew about Republican candidate Joe Miller's incredibly awful (that's sarcasm, in case anyone doesn't get it) violation of a government entity's office policy, wherein he was "disciplined for participating in a private poll during his lunch hour" (oh, the humanity!), and how Miller's presence in the campaign has "frightened" many Democrats into seriously considering their candidate, Scott McAdams.
Not that it justifies the horrible consequences of leaking classifed information, thereby endangering our troops, our allies, our friends, and their families (of course it doesn't), but the WikiLeaked documents being carried at outlets like the New York Times are revealing some truths that are proving quite inconvenient for Iraq war opponents.
Earlier today (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), I noted that a post at one of Wired.com's blogs ("WikiLeaks Show WMD Hunt Continued in Iraq – With Surprising Results") rnoted that "for years afterward, WikiLeaks’ newly-released Iraq war documents reveal, U.S. troops continued to find chemical weapons labs, encounter insurgent specialists in toxins, and uncover weapons of mass destruction." Add that to the already large pile of evidence that totally debunks the leftist folklore that "there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq."
Now Andrew Bolt at Melbourne, Australia's Herald-Sun (HT Instapundit) tells us that another leftist myth about the war's impact on Iraq's general populace is getting retired to the ash heap of false history (links are in original):
Back in March, in the runup to the final ObamaCare vote in the House, the establishment press was thrilled when the Congressional Budget Office issued a report estimating that ObamaCare would, in the CBO's words, "produce a net reduction in federal deficits of $138 billion over the 2010–2019 period as result of changes in direct spending and revenue." At the time, NB's Brent Baker noted how positively giddy Katie Couric at CBS News was over the CBO's estimate. Couric even claimed: "The price tag certified."
If only. It turns out that the key word in the CBO statement was "direct."
On Friday, CBO head Doug Elmendorf made a presentation (HT Jed Graham at IBD) at the Schaeffer Center of the University of Southern California entitled "Economic Effects of the March Health Legislation." In it, as shown below, he revealed a pesky and significant indirect effect of the legislation. In the process, he also introduced us to a new economic disease (my name) -- ObamaCare Withdrawn Labor Syndrome, or "OWL":
The WikiLeaksters seem to have inadvertently done history a bit of a favor in the their obsession, with the help of heavy-breathing media mouthpieces like the New York Times, to release classified military documents.
It seems that some of those documents reveal the utter untruthfulness of a core claim of Iraq War opponents, namely that "We now know that there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq."
This contention, not nuanced in any way (i.e., not "no stockpiles" or "not that many," but instead absolutely none), is part of leftist folklore. Here are just a few example of so-called "mainstream" or "respected" liberal sources found to have made that exact contention in a brief Internet searches this morning:
Just for the heck of it, AP also threw in Reid's reference to Angle as being "too extreme," and his parroting of that biennial Democratic falsehood that a GOP candidate is for "privatizing programs for the elderly and veterans."
Meanwhile, the wire service did not tag Reid as an "ultraliberal," or even as a "liberal," even though his 2009 rating with the obviously ultraliberal group Americans for Democratic Action was 95% (large PDF here), one vote short of that organization's definition of "perfection."
When a Democrat or leftist makes an ill-advised remark, it seems that there's a three-stage process at the Associated Press, and perhaps in most other establishment press outlets, for handling it. It goes roughly like this:
Stage 1 - Ignore it as long as you can. If there isn't much outcry, keep ignoring it.
Stage 2 - If there ends up being enough of an outcry from conservatives or Republicans to warrant coverage, make sure that the story is about the criticism at least as much as the remark.
Stage 3 - In the ensuing coverage, leave out what was originally said.
The Associated Press is currently and grudgingly at Stage 2 with Harry Reid's remark that "but for me, we'd be in a worldwide depression," as seen below (reproduced in full for fair use and discussion purposes):
Most readers are probably unaware that the first African-American woman to graduate from Harvard Medical School who was also the first female surgical intern at Boston City Hospital passed away this weekend.
I would suggest that the coverage is so quiet because Mildred Jefferson was also an important pro-life pioneer.
Though marred by the fact that she consistently characterized Ms. Jefferson as "antiabortion" instead of as "prolife," the obituary by Kathleen Burge at the Boston Globe captured much of the essence of this marvelous woman (bolds are mine):
Only the New York Times could burn through 2,500 words about Japan's economy and not use the word "stimulus." The Old Gray Lady's Martin Fackler did refer to Fed Chair Ben Bernanke's just-announced second attempt to "stimulate" economy, but dodged the central lesson: The government created the Japanese people's malaise, and our government, despite Japan's experience, seems determined to do the same to us.
The Times item is the first in a series, so I suppose Fackler may get around to it in subsequent reports, but it doesn't seem likely.
Here are some paragraphs from Fackler's report that show how intent he and the Times were on not getting to the real root causes of Japan's nearly two-decade malaise (bolds are mine):
To the national establishment press, this appears to be another one of those "It's at the Politico, so we can ignore it" incidents.
Thursday night, before a debate with GOP opponent George Phillips, nine-term New York Democratic Congressman Maurice Hinchey "had a heated exchange with a local reporter ... that became physical." Quite physical, in fact, to the point where Hinchey "pushed ... (the reporter) backwards into Phillips himself."
Seems like pretty big news, doesn't it? Not based on the results of a Google News search on "Hinchey debate" (not in quotes) done at 8:30 this morning:
Steven Rattner, the first Obama car czar who allegedly "bribed a political consultant to win business from New York's pension fund for his former investment firm," was extremely close this week to cutting a deal with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), only to see that agreement held up this week to the intervention of New York Attorney General and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Cuomo, the Washington Post reported today.
In his latest meandering diatribe, MSNBC left-wing bloviator Ed Schultz yesterday hilariously mischaracterized the Republican Party's position on education reform as a scheme to create a cheap labor force of ignorant Americans by abolishing public education.
"They want us to be just like the folks in Indonesia," fumed Schultz. "They love the cheap labor. They love the 40 cents an hour stuff. So the best thing we can do on the right is what they're saying: let's just eliminate, let's abolish public education."
The incensed host of "The Ed Show" pressed on, invoking identity politics:
This paragraph from an Associated Press report by Christopher Rugaber on today's economic news should at a minimum strike readers as odd:
A third report noted that prices at the wholesale level remained tame outside a sharp rise in food and energy costs. Excluding those two volatile categories, core wholesale prices rose just 0.1 percent, the Labor Department said.
So we're left hanging. Gee Chris, what was the overall change in the Producer Price Index? He never says, at least not in the 11:44 a.m. version of his report.
While network correspondents complain about the unfairness of independent advertising, they might ponder the unfairness of their habitual tendency to omit or downplay bad news for Team Obama, especially in the crucial last weeks of a campaign. Consider some of the latest stories that would have drawn much more attention and media hostility if the shoe was on the Republican foot:
Yet for its coverage of the 10 year anniversary memorial service in today's paper, the Washington Post elected to go with an 11-paragraph article by Newport News [Va.] Daily Press's Hugh Lessig rather than assign a Post staffer to the story.
Michelle Malkin picked up on this vibe yesterday, and it has become more obvious in the intervening day: The establishment press, or at least parts of it, are downplaying the American exceptionalism -- and the exceptional Americans -- involved in the Chilean mine rescue.
Reports early this morning at the Associated Press and New York Times exemplify the point. Times reporters Alexei Barrionuevo and Simon Romero even chose to deliberately cast the rescue in brazenly cynical political terms.
It’s been more than six months since the left accused Tea Party protesters of calling members of the Congressional Black Caucus “racial epithets” while they were walking to the Capitol to cast their historic votes for health care reform.
Despite the fact no video or audio (until now) has surfaced, showing any Tea Party protester in the act of racially slurring elected officials, and despite the fact that Andrew Breitbart has offered $100,000 to anyone who could provide that proof, liberals continue to perpetuate the false accusation and the media has never retracted and/or apologized for their slanderous accusations.
Following up on yesterday's post ("Government/General Motors, UAW Hose Long-Time Members Twice in Two Weeks"; at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog) -- What a "revolting" development this is, as reported in the Detroit News:
GM Orion assembly workers to picket UAW over two-tier wage structure
In an unprecedented move, Government/General Motors and the UAW are imposing a two-tiered wage structure involving pay cuts approaching 50% on union members with as many as 10-12 years of seniority. That's right; the Democratic Obama administration and the alleged champions of workers' interests are acting in concert to gut the earnings of hundreds of the union's longtime, dues-paying members.
Does anyone expect any press coverage of this outside of Detroit?
Here's more from the story by Louis Aguilar and Christina Rogers:
It was one thing when the United Auto Workers agreed many years ago to temporary "two-tiered" wage structures at the plants of Detroit's Big Three automakers. After all, it was argued, they'll be brought up to a level of full pay and benefits in several years, and new employees aren't as productive as the veterans.
On Wednesday, the far-left blog ThinkProgress unveiled an "investigation" that alleged, without any conclusive evidence, that the Chamber of Commerce was spending funds acquired from foreign-owned companies on political activities in the United States, a crime under U.S. law.
ThinkProgress demonstrated that such funds entered the Chamber's general fund, and that money from the general fund was used to pay for political activities. But it readily admitted that it could not show the same funds attained abroad were used for those activities. Instead, it demanded the Chamber prove the licit nature of its political funds. Some in the media ran with the story, despite that lack of evidence.
So was the Chamber consulted or asked for comment by media outlets that reported on the ThinkProgress post? In an interview with NewsBusters, Chamber COO David Chavern says they were not. And while the New York Times's initial coverage was an editorial, MSNBC discussed the issue on two separate programs. Neither, Chavern claims, made an attempt at balanced coverage.
I asked Chavern during a phone conversation on Thursday how he explained this apparent breach of the most basic standards of journalism.
Two New York Times reporters were out to lunch, while the Old Gray Lady's layers of fact-checkers were apparently asleep at the switch.
In an item which contained a number of oddities, Times reporters Stephanie Clifford and Catherine Rampell wrote the following:
Over all, full-time work in retail is slightly down. The number of people employed in the retail sector in August fell 4.9 percent, to 14.4 million, from a year earlier, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
My initial reaction was to wonder how a 4.9% drop in employment, which would involve about 700,000 jobs, could be "slight." But in this case, media bias isn't the problem (possible examples of bias will come later).
A look at the same BLS data the Times pair must have used reveals a likely level of sloppiness that should never gotten online, let alone into print (which it did -- on Page B1 in the October 6 paper):
The Los Angeles Times really wants you to know that Meg Whitman has taken more money from "special interests" than her Democratic opponent in the California gubernatorial race.
Not so high on its list of important facts: 97 percent of independent special interest contributions to third party groups have gone towards supporting Brown or defeating Whitman. Yet despite that fact, the Times still managed to run a story today claiming in the headline that "Donations to Whitman undercut her no-special-interests claim".
After a headline, a subheading, and two paragraphs stressing Whitman's $10.7 million in contributions from special interests - contrasted with Brown's $9.5 million - the Times finally gets around to mentioning that "those figures don't tell the whole story - unions and other special interests separately spent a further $13.7 million supporting Brown through independent political committees not controlled by the candidate" (h/t Patterico).
UPDATE:A 12:16 p.m. AP report gets to details the initial report (not labeled "breaking") should have contained.
In an unbylined Associated Press story about the wife of incumbent Democratic Massachusetts Congressman John Tierney pleading guilty in a federal tax case, the wire service fails to mention which district Tierney represents. Far worse, it only reports that Tierney "is facing a Republican challenger in next month's election," and doesn't even name him.
Gosh, we wouldn't want actual voters to react to the news that a Democratic Congressman's wife helped her brother evade taxes on millions of dollars of income by possibly identifying Tierney as their congressman, identifying his opponent, and actually voting for that opponent, now would we? No, that just wouldn't be right. It would seem that "AP" stands for "Absolute Protection" -- of Democratic incumbents.