Toyota and Ford are on the verge of catching Government/General Motors in monthly U.S. vehicle sales. Based on the sales trends at the three companies, GM may lose its domestic kingpin status in just a few months.
I heard the December facts giving rise to the aforementioned tidbit on the radio Monday afternoon, and wondered whether the commentator came up with them on his own or if early wire reports had relayed them. If it's the latter, the relevant points seem to have disappeared from later wire service dispatches, including this one from the Associated Press's Tom Krisher and Dee-Ann Durbin. I think they need to be plucked from the ether and emphasized, especially given the boast by the GM's chairman that it will make a profit in 2010.
"Not in sync with the current program" is how former CNN host Tucker Carlson describes his new website, the Daily Caller, which is scheduled to launch Monday. Designed as a conservative answer to the Huffington Post, the Daily Caller will do what few center-right blogs have attempted: report hard news.
Carlson and his partner, former Dick Cheney aide Neil Patel, have raised $3 million in startup capital for the site, according to the Washington Independent. That impressive sum is enough to keep the Daily Caller operating for about a year. The site will employ a reporting staff or 21 in its Washington, D.C. office.
With Andrew Breitbart's Big Journalism, which launched earlier this week, Carlson hopes to be on the cutting edge of a new effort on the right to circumvent major media outlets--and overcome the significant obstacles to conservative news of traditional media outlets.
As has been noted here in the recent past, it isn't just government entities that are a little slow on the uptake when it comes to identifying radical Muslim preachers as accessories to terrorism - it's also the media. Consider the case of Anwar al-Awlaki, a man who has consistently shown ties to terrorist attacks, yet who had gone predominantly under the media radar as nothing more than a simple cleric.
Also consider the curious case of one Yasir Qadhi, a man recently interviewed by CNN for a sympathetic look at the failed underwear bomber, Umar Farouk AbdulMutallab. A man who has apparently escaped background investigations by both CNN and the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC). (H/t the Jawa Report)
How else to explain CNN's representation of Qadhi as a simple, orthodox teacher of Islam, who had no idea of the extremist views of AbdulMutallab? And how else to explain the baffling decision by the NCTC to utilize Qadhi in its deradicalization efforts?
What, you might ask, is wrong with presenting this man as a moderate teacher of ‘the nuts and bolts of Islam?'
Well, for starters, he is - by his own admission - a proud member of the U.S. terror watch list, and an instructor at an institution so extreme in their teachings, that an anti-terror consultant once dubbed the school ‘Jihad U.'
Find out more about the man CNN presents as an innocent professor of Islam after the break...
CNN continued its spin on the retirement of Senator Byron Dorgan on Wednesday. Anchor Campbell Brown one-upped Wolf Blitzer’s “moderate Democrat” tag of the senator, going so far to label the liberal a “conservative Democrat.” Correspondent Dana Bash also noted how the outgoing senator is apparently “popular” in his state, contrary to recent polls. Not once was Dorgan labeled “liberal” or “left.”
Brown’s interview of Dorgan aired at the bottom of the 8 pm Eastern hour. During the second half of the segment, the anchor expressed some of the left’s concerns over his decision to not run for reelection: “You know, this is that rare moment where Democrats have a supermajority and are able to get through what they wanted to accomplish. And so there are people- fairly or unfairly- who are saying, why are you doing this to us now?”
Washington Post reporter Dan Eggen scored a front page hit on...wait for it...conservative advocacy groups that oppose Obamacare. (See Funding for Health-Care Interest Groups Often Fuzzy.) Eggen is scandalized that (big) business interests want to fund groups that oppose President Obama's plans to socialize insurance in the U.S. Eggen singles out a handful of non-leftists groups and complains about "opaque financing" and "hidden support from insurers, drugmakers [and] unions."
The second part of Eggen's report similarly blasts left-of-center groups that take corporate money to support Obamacare. Yeah, right. Actually, Eggen expends just one paragraph mentioning that liberal groups might be "beholden to labor unions and liberal foundations with deep pockets." No serious discussion of the fact that industry lobbyists have been a huge backer of Obamacare - or, specific provisions thereof. (See, for example, DC Examiner author and columnist Timothy P. Carney's article this week on PhRMA's influence within the Obama administration and, last week, on another major trade association, America's Health Insurance Plans.)
Isn't it curious that Eggen omits entirely any examination of what corporate interests fund left-wing groups?
Despite six months of positive economic growth, Treasury collections are continuing what is now a serious two-year downward slide.
In August, the Congressional Budget Office projected that collections during the fiscal year that will end on September 30, 2010 will be $2.264 trillion (PDF; page 2 at link). That's $159 billion, or about 7.5% higher, than fiscal 2009's final total of $2.105 trillion.
There's a problem. Unless there's a surprise when the final numbers come out next week, Uncle Sam's receipts for the quarter that just ended, i.e., the first quarter of the 2010 fiscal year, are already $60 billion behind the previous year. Somehow, this is not news.
Through November, as seen here, collections were already behind last year by about $40 billion ($268.9 bil vs. $309.6 bil). From all appearances, December was little better, as its estimated take of $218 billion trailed last year's $237.8 billion.
In a report time-stamped January 2, the Associated Press's Philip Elliott relayed what was supposedly important news:
Obama cites apparent al-Qaida link in bomb plot
An al-Qaida affiliate in Yemen apparently ordered the Christmas Day plot against a U.S. airliner, training and arming the 23-year-old Nigerian man accused in the failed bombing, President Barack Obama said Saturday.
You don't say?
The story was on the front page of Sunday's Cincinnati Enquirer, and likely many other papers across the nation.
The Obama administration's Home Affordable Modification Program (known as "HAMP" to lenders and services, and MHA, or "Making Home Affordable" to the general public) is "failing."
I only learned this because I looked at the Associated Press's feeds on Christmas evening and saw this headline -- "No consequences for lying borrowers."
In an item time-stamped December 25, AP national business columnist Rachel Beck (note: not a reporter) used language that would ordinarily cause many in the press to characterize such a person as a hard-hearted meanie to describe the results of this core Obama initiative this far:
No consequences for lying borrowers
The government shouldn't reward liars. But that's the effect of changes to the Obama administration's failing program to help homeowners modify their mortgages.
On this afternoon's CNN Newsroom, anchor Rick Sanchez briefly updated his audience on Rush Limbaugh's medical condition. He completed his comments with "We wish him well." Sanchez's good wishes didn't square with the Twitter messages that crawled at the bottom of the screen for his entire program.
Here is a sampling of the tweets he aired:
rush is an excuse for people to be vicariously racist. I have nothing good to say about him except "gotta love karma"
Rick can we get some answers on if rush's insur. will pay for his hospital stay if it is found out drugs were a part of this
I don't like to wish bad luck on people, but a 2010 without Rush's mouth going off would be fine with me
under yr new health plan Rush may pay higher premiums cuz of weight. Time to hit the treadmill and lose the weight Rush
May rush be worked on by a liberal democrat, feminist doctor who is pro gun control :)
UPDATE BELOW THE FOLD - THE ESTEEMED MR. CALDERONE RESPONDS.
CORRECTION: I said the Washington Post was on the hook twice on Calderone's list. H/t to NBer Dean who pointed out it's three - #s 2, 7 & 10. A thousand apologies, and thanks to The Man from the People's Republic of Maryland.
I for one think he did a fully fair and more than fairly good job of it. Media Research Center Director of Media Analysis Tim Graham for two thinks so as well.
On his list were the likes of MSNBC's Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow, the New York Times's Maureen Dowd and CNN. And the Washington Post - twice. Targets all for which you'll find a rich environment here on NewsBusters. And he slammed the traditional media in totality for remaining dockside while the Good Ships ACORN and Van Jones set sail on alternative media seas. He hailed the Fox News Channel's Glenn Beck and website mogul Andrew Breitbart by name for captaining those stories when the Jurassic Press stood down.
Calderone clips Fox News for what he calls their "Tea Party Trifecta," but he's hardly bashing meritlessly here either. An FNC producer was caught on tape rallying a Tea Party crowd. That is quite a bit over the top. And Sean Hannity did run B-roll from the wrong rally - a more populous one - and was forced to apologize to the world generally and Jon Stewart particularly.
Though Hannity's probably was an honest mistake. The Pulitzer-winning Dowd's excuse for "borrowing" a paragraph from the liberal website Talking Points Memo - that a "friend" had sent it to her - bends the credibility curve downward quite a bit.
Someone at Politicoworn-out horsed (See: Definition #3) Calderone on the photograph composite accompanying his article, however. (Said snapshots appear below the fold.) We don't think Calderone chooses what goes with his pieces. Perhaps he should.
2009 began as a year of smiles at the Times, with rapture over the "historic" Obama administration. Reporters showered partisan praise on Obama's Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor and first lady Michelle Obama. Meanwhile, the Times resolutely buried emerging left-wing scandals over ACORN and Obama adviser Van Jones. But the smile curdled into a defensive snarl during the long hot summer of "angry," "white," and "bitter" tea party protesters, while Times columnists blamed conservative talk show hosts for a spate of ideologically motivated killings.
But perhaps the apex of outrage at the Times in 2009 was a textbook case of liberal hypocrisy. In Timesland, unions are vital to the lifeblood of a sound economy -- just not at the Times itself.
In ascending order of awfulness, here are the Top 10 lowlights of the Times in 2009 (you can also read all the gory details at Times Watch).
This is the fifth year I have looked into how the media treats these two topics:
The use of “Christmas shopping season” vs. “holiday shopping season” (note how the AP photo at right uses “holiday” and not “shopping,” even though there is a C-C-, Chr-Chr-Christmas tree in the picture).
The frequency of Christmas and holiday layoff references.
I have done three sets of simple Google News searches each year — the first in late November, followed by identical searches roughly two and four weeks later. The results of this year's first two sets of searches are here (NewsBusters; BizzyBlog) and here (NewsBusters; BizzyBlog).
A table showing the results from this year, plus key comparisons to prior years, follows:
On Tuesday's edition of Good Morning America, Elizabeth Vargas was joined by former Bush pollster Matt Dowd and Democrat strategist James Carville. Astonishing though it may seem, Carville was not the left-most member of the panel.
Carville and Dowd were there to provide commentary on the Obama administration's response to the attempted Undi-Bomber attack. Dowd agreed with Carville's assessment of DHS Secretary JanetNapolitano's response - and then, after a bit more discussion, the conversation turned to the political ramifications:
VARGAS: We already have one Republican congressman from Michigan, who is running for Governor of that state, who is saying, trying to make hay out of this. Issued a statement, a fund-raising statement yesterday saying, "it is insulting the Obama administration would claim the system worked. These are the same weak-kneed liberals," he writes, "that tried to bring Guantanamo Bay terrorists to Michigan." Any surprise that members of the opposite party are looking to make hay on this?
On Thursday, the Treasury Department issued a press release, called "Update on Status of Support for Housing Programs." Its fourth paragraph reads as follows:
At the time the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) placed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac into conservatorship in September 2008, Treasury established Preferred Stock Purchase Agreements (PSPAs) to ensure that each firm maintained a positive net worth. Treasury is now amending the PSPAs to allow the cap on Treasury's funding commitment under these agreements to increase as necessary to accommodate any cumulative reduction in net worth over the next three years. At the conclusion of the three year period, the remaining commitment will then be fully available to be drawn per the terms of the agreements.
Translation: No matter how badly things further deteriorate at these former government sponsored enterprises, both of which since last year in essence have become government-controlled enterprises, Uncle Sam (i.e., current and future generations of taxpayers) will cover their losses.
Here is how three different news outlets headlined this Treasury/Obama administration move:
Minimizing to nearly zero the possible relevance of the suspect's home country of residence and of the possibility that he might be affiliated with what one publication refers to as the "Nigerian Taliban."
The wire service's 11:04 p.m. report (not linked, as original was revised by AP), had this to say about the relevance of Nigeria in its 23rd paragraph of 26:
Imagine that there had been a series of three incidents in which members of a [invented for present purposes] fanatical Jewish sect had attempted to bring down airliners from Arab countries.
In reporting on the latest attempt and describing the previous ones, do you think the New York Times might have mentioned the religion of the perpetrators? So do I.
But with the legerdemain required to describe a spiral staircase without using one's hands, the Gray Lady has managed in its article today to report yesterday's attempt to bring down a NWA airliner, and the earlier attempts by Richard Reid [the "shoebomber'] and the those who plotted to bring down as many as ten jets leaving the UK for the United States, without using the word "Muslim."
The Associated Press should seriously consider renaming itself "Associated Dems" or "Associated Leftists."
This morning, the AP's Charles Babington uncritically relays the latest Democratic Party talking point about its statist health care plan that has been passed in two very different forms in the House and Senate. The supposed point is that anyone who voted to create Medicare Part D in 2003 and voted against ObamaCare is "obviously" a flaming hypocrite.
Along the way, Babington ignores a Congressional Budget Office report response issued just before Christmas asserting that characterizations of the Senate's bill as reducing future government deficits are wrong. Beyond that, the litany of other distortions and errors in Babington's report is perversely impressive in its no-fib-or-spin-left-behind comprehensiveness.
Here are the first several paragraphs of Babington's babble, followed by its final sentence:
GOP lawmakers change tune on costly health plans
Democrats are troubled by the inconsistency of Republican lawmakers who approved a major Medicare expansion six years ago that has added tens of billions of dollars to federal deficits, but oppose current health overhaul plans.
On December 8, Susan Gustafson at MLive.com proclaimed that "GM's announcement of no more layoffs is good news after years of hemorrhaging jobs":
General Motors' announcement this morning that it plans no further layoffs in the immediate future is huge news for both the automaker and Michigan as a whole after years of steady erosion in the ranks of hourly and salaried workers.
.... the company doesn't expect the numbers of hourly workers on indefinite layoff to increase.
We Give It a Solid B+ Yesterday, Media Research Center (MRC) Director of Communications and NewsBusters Contributing Editor sat down with Breitbart.tv's Liz Stephans and Scott Baker to discuss the media not discussing the major rifts that exist between liberals and Democrats and Democrats and Democrats on the health care legislation wending its way fitfully through Congress.
The Jurassic Press is instead putting forward a false sense of bill passage ineveitably, ignoring the myriad soap opera-esque dramas playing out throughout the Left's ideological and political topography.
There are many stories to be told of the various liberal and Democrat factions fighting it out for health care supremacy, if only the media were willing to tell them.
Yesterday, joined by substitute co-host Lynn Berry, MSNBC's David Shuster wondered of Sen. Tom Coburn, "what was he thinking," in regards to a comment the Oklahoma Republican made on the Senate floor Sunday which Shuster interpreted in the worst possible light. Coburn, Shuster suggested to his "Big Picture" audience, was hoping a Democratic senator would drop dead before the 1 a.m. cloture vote.
Of course Shuster ignored the unambiguously inflammatory remarks, also made on Sunday on the Senate floor, by freshman Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse. The Rhode Island Democrat insisted that Republicans were "destined to break this president" and were in league with "ardent supporters" from among the ranks of "the birthers, the fanatics, the people running around in right-wing militias and Aryan support groups" to whom it was "unbearable... that President Barack Obama should exist."
Yet even after his MSNBC colleague Mika Brzezinski aired Whitehouse's comments on the December 22 "Morning Joe", Shuster failed to give his "Big Picture" viewers the, well, big picture, by showing Whitehouse's rant, even though he aired a clip of Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) which hardly makes sense unless you know that Graham is referring back to and rebutting Whitehouse's charge. See for yourself by clicking play on the video embed above.
The Republican minority in the Senate found an unlikely defender today: MSNBC’s Morning Joe co-host, Mika Brzezinski.
Yesterday, the Brew Crew played the video for the Democrat talking point attack on Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), but omitted the ghoulish statement by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.):
They [the GOP] are desperate to break this president. They have ardent supporters who are nearly hysterical at the very election of President Barack Obama. The birthers, the fanatics, the people running around in right-wing militia and Aryan support groups, it is unbearable to them that President Barack Obama should exist. That is one powerful reason. It is not the only one."
This morning, however, the bump-in to start the show was that very quote – kudos to the producers of the show for making the connection. Better late than never; and it was even done without the presence of Joe Scarborough, the token MSNBC Republican.
Sadly, some members of the Brew Crew could not contain their bias:
Most incredibly, the two reporters either missed or ignored the most inflammatory comments issued on the Senate floor on Sunday, when Democratic Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island comparing some Republican opponents of Obama care to Jim Crow-era lynchers, and Nazis: “History cautions us of the excesses to which these malignant, vindictive passions can ultimately lead. Tumbrils have rolled through taunting crowds, broken glass has sparkled in darkened streets. Strange fruit has hung from Southern trees. Even this great institution of government that we share has cowered before a tail-gunner waving secret lists."
From Hulse and Herszenhorn's report, with its emphasis on Republican nastiness:
Nasty charges of bribery. Senators cut off midspeech. Accusations of politics put over patriotism. Talk of double-crosses. A nonagenarian forced to the floor after midnight for multiple procedural votes.
The "nonagenarian" is of course Democratic Sen. Robert Byrd of West Virginia. Hulse and Herszenhorn returned to the sad plight of Democratic Sen. Robert Byrd later.
The Times actually quoted a portion of Whitehouse’s nasty speech chiding the GOP, but without mentioning the odious comparisons to Nazis and Jim Crow racists Whitehouse had made less than four minutes previously:
There was something very important that I did not see on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” this morning.
The very first bump-in on the show was a montage of Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) and Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.):
COBURN: What the American people ought to pray, is that somebody can’t make the vote tonight. That’s what they ought to pray.
DURBIN: I don’t think it’s appropriate to be invoking prayer to wish misfortune on a colleague. And I want him to clarify that. I’ve invited him, I’ve tried to reach out to him. He is my friend, and I have worked with him, but this statement goes too far. The simple reality is this: We are becoming more coarse and more divided here [...].
This, of course, is political gamesmanship. But it goes further than that. In the entirety of Morning Joe, I did not note a single mention of the following statement from Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) -- hat tip to Kerry Picket for catching this:
In its obituary on the passing of Nobel economics laureate Paul Samuelson, who died on December 13, Michael Weinstein at the New York Times lavished well-deserved praise on the winner of the 1970 Nobel Prize in Economics for building "one of the world’s great centers of graduate education in economics" at MIT, but erred seriously in recounting his most visible public policy role.
Also worth noting is how the Times headline at Samuelson's obit compares to those the paper accorded Milton Friedman and John Kenneth Galbraith upon their deaths. Friedman and Galbraith were also pioneering economists in their own right who passed away after living into their 90s during the final half of this decade:
Friedman (November 16, 2006) -- "Milton Friedman, Free Markets Theorist, Dies at 94."
Galbraith (April 30, 2006) -- "John Kenneth Galbraith, 97, Dies; Economist Held a Mirror to Society."
Of the three, only the free market capitalism-championing Friedman, who like Samuelson but unlike Galbraith was a Nobel-winningeconomist, was deemed undeserving of being identified as a member of his chosen profession in his Times obit's headline.
More seriously, Weinstein rewrites history to give Samuelson significant credit for the prosperity of the 1960s where very little is due.
On January 1, 2009, the final 4.2% stage of a four-year, 21% cut in individual income taxes took effect in Ohio. State tax withholding tables reflecting the lower rates went into effect. Ohio employees began seeing a bit more net pay in each paycheck.
This past week, the state legislature, faced with an $850 million shortfall and threats of immediate school funding cuts by Governor Ted Strickland, repealed that 4.2% cut for both 2009 and 2010. Ohioans who had taxes withheld throughout all of this year at lower levels will have to make up the difference when they file their 2009 returns next year. They will also see higher state income tax withholdings from each paycheck all of next year.
Thus, Ohioans will be paying more in income taxes for quite a while longer than they would have if things had been left alone.
But apparently we're not supposed to call this a "tax increase," and a clearly retroactive one at that. No-no-no. According to Strickland, Ohio Democrats, a few alleged Republicans, the Associated Press, and Ohio's compliant establishment media, this is a "tax cut delay." Journalists are going to extraordinary lengths to avoid writing or uttering the words "tax" and "increase" consecutively. Is there a new stylebook rule against doing that?
Here's a roundup of some the reality-avoiding language used:
CNN’s John Roberts and his guest, Jeffrey Sachs of Columbia University, pushed for President Obama to break a campaign promise to not increase taxes on those who make less than $250,000, and implement a more “broad-based” tax hike. Sachs revealed his leftist stance by blaming the trillions of dollars in debt on not taxing the rich and banks enough and calling for an end to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The CNN anchor, who described his guest, a regular contributor to the left-wing Huffington Post, as merely a “leading international economic advisor, and director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University,” first asked about the possibility of the country going bankrupt. Sachs didn’t waste any time to bring up his tax solution: “We’re not going bankrupt, but we’re not managing properly, and the gap between what we’re spending every year and what we need to spend and what we’re taxing is a persistent gap....Nobody wants to talk about the ‘T’ word...taxes. It’s the most reviled word in America...and yet, the fact of the matter is that there is no way to cut to close that gap just by cutting because the most basic things that we are doing- Social Security and health care and so forth- eat up all of that revenue.”
Yesterday at NewsBusters, Geoffrey Dickens documented the furor of MSNBC's Chris Mathews over the results of an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll (PDF).
Specifically, Mathews was irked that the Tea Party Movement (TPM) was viewed quite a bit more favorably than the two major political parties by those polled (VP=Very Positive; SP=Somewhat Positive; N=Neutral; SN=Somewhat Negative; VN=Very Negative; DK=No Opinion):
Tea Party Movement: VP-20%; SP-21%; N-21%; SN-10%; VN-13%; DK-15%
Mathews dismissed the TPM's convincing advantage over the established parties, especially in higher strong positives and lower strong negatives, as being the result of a biased poll question working in the Tea Partiers' favor. I don't think so. In fact, I think the result occurred even though the question is loaded against the TPM.
Here is the full text of the Tea Party poll question (Question 14b, Page 11; bolds are mine):
Longtime readers of Associated Press dispatches have long since learned that many of the most important facts of a story -- especially facts that put the government, bureaucrats, and leftists in a bad light -- are often found in its final paragraphs. This is a way for the wire service to boast that it really did report all important facts while usually ensuring that harried broadcasters and other users of AP content who attempt to digest it down to a couple of sentences will probably will leave the meaty and incriminating stuff on the cutting room floor.
Such is the case with a report on the arrest of dozens of Medicare ripoff artists in various US cities. While the details of the arrests are indeed important, the final three paragraphs of AP writer Kelli Kennedy's report are the real jaw-droppers, especially in the context of the president's and Congress's dogged determination to set a statist takeover of the entire health care system into motion before the end of this year (bolds are mine):