There seems to be a wall of silence surrounding the sudden withdrawal of H. Rodgin Cohen (pictured at right) from consideration for the Number 2 job at the Treasury Department.
The party line, according to ABC's This Week host and former Clinton administration adviser George Stephanopoulos, is that "an issue arose in the final stages of the vetting process." David Cho at the Washington Post reports that "two sources familiar with the matter" confirmed this, but that they "declined to identify the reason."
Perhaps the press is not really interested in finding out that reason, or reasons. Or worse, they've got a pretty good idea, and they'd rather not dig; because if they don't dig, they won't have to tell us. Stephanopoulos appears to be giving away that he knows more than he's willing to reveal when he writes that "Cohen has been a counsel to just about every major player on Wall Street, which perhaps complicated his nomination."
"Perhaps"? A review of some of Cohen's known history makes it clear that he carries quite a bit of potentially heavy baggage.
On March 9, the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on one of Barack Obama's latest nominees. This time it was to assess the suitability of Tony West, Obama's nominee for the assistant attorney general in charge of the U.S. Justice Department's Civil Division. Things went "smoothly" according to the San Jose Mercury News, also publishing a nice bio of West. The Washington Post merely mentioned the hearing was "notable." Similarly the East Bay Express simply makes mention of the hearing having occurred. Apparently there was nothing of interest in West’s nomination.
Curiously enough, though, not one of these brief reports mention that Tony West was "American Taliban" terrorist John Walker Lindh's defense lawyer. Another key bit of info left out of these announcements was that Tony West raised $65 million for Obama's presidential campaign. Money well spent if it gets a cushy government job, I suppose.
CNN’s Sanjay Gupta filled in as host on Larry King Live on Wednesday, six days after ending his bid to be Obama's surgeon general. Despite his medical training, he did not see fit to correct former President Bill Clinton after he repeatedly referred to human embryos as not being fertilized.
During his initial question, Gupta referred to Clinton as “someone who studied this,” but after he made his erroneous assertion the first time, Gupta only asked if the former president had “any reservations” to stem cell research that would destroy human embryos. Clinton would go on to make this false characterization five more times in his answer to Gupta’s lone follow-up.
Gupta's interview with the former president was devoted mainly to health care reform. The brain surgeon brought up the issue of embryonic stem cell research after he observed that Clinton’s finger sometimes shook when he pointed it. When Clinton clarified that he had consulted with a doctor, who told him in wasn’t Parkinson’s Disease, Gupta asked the former president about President Obama’s decision to remove the limitations on federal funding for the embryo-killing research: “There was a federal -- an order today providing federal money for embryonic stem cell research. First of all, let me just ask you, as someone who studied this, is this going to always be as divisive an issue as it is now? Is this going to be the abortion of the next generation, or are people going to come around?”
It seems that so-called stimulus package funding is being spread around so widely that some of its beneficiaries can't figure out how to spend it as intended.
When it became clear to a few small cities in California's Los Angeles County that they didn't have appropriate transportation projects for their promised stimulus funding, they decided to sell the rights to that funding to other nearby locales at a discount. The selling city's resulting cash would then go into its unrestricted general fund and could be spent on anything the city wished.
Apparently these transactions aren't that unusual in the topsy-turvy world of California state and municipal finance. But it was a, uh, bridge too far for LA County's Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA). After approving a few stimulus-related swaps (noted in stories here and here), the MTA reversed course and putting the kibosh on those and prohibiting any future deals (noted in stories here, here, and here).
Apparently it hasn't occurred to anyone, including the local media, or the New York Times's Jennifer Steinhauer, that if these municipalities really don't need and can't use the money, US taxpayers ought to be first in line to get it back.
After the attacks were known to all, James Carville told assembled Washington reporters at a hotel conference room breakfast where he and Democratic pollster Stanley Greenberg spoke (photo is from the May 20, 2004 Christian Science Monitor) to "Disregard everything we just said! This changes everything!"
The assembled press apparently understood that as something each and every one of them should take to the grave.
"Good Morning America" news anchor Chris Cuomo gave an interview to the TV Newser podcast "Morning Media Menu" on Wednesday in which he touted the seriousness of the ABC program and later vaguely broached the subject of the issues journalists leave out of stories. But first, he bragged, "I think a fair criticism of 'Good Morning America' would be that we're not a great entertainment show. You know what I mean?" Cuomo (see file photo above) added that the show's hosts and talent really "think as reporters first" and that "there's so much pressure in the morning to be entertaining, given the time, give what is going on with people's lives."
"But, that's just not where our hearts and our heads are," he concluded. Of course, it should be pointed out that "Good Morning America" is the program that devoted almost its entire second hour last Friday to a U2 rock concert and also features a weekly segment on the latest events to occur on "Dancing With the Stars." To be fair, the subject that prompted Cuomo's comments was GMA's ongoing "Big" sweeps series. Each day this week, one of the program's anchors has traveled to different countries, many of which have featured informative segments about the lives of the people there, (such as Robin Roberts in Mumbai, India on Tuesday.) However, GMA certainly has its share of frivolous, mindless story segments.
While talking with podcast hosts Steve Krakauer and Glynnis Macnicol, Cuomo also expressed his new found interest in Twitter. He asserted that he really does read the comments people leave on his page and offered this interesting tidbit: "Because, I think I may develop something...I'm thinking of developing a dialogue about what was not said in our stories." After referencing a GMA segment on AIG and its operations in London, he added, "You know, there is a lot of implication that we don't discuss in our stories, that I would be happy to discuss on Twitter. So, I'm going to use it."
Los Angeles's NBC television affiliate must not have gotten the memo telling them that they should not utter the name of ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now), lest anyone reach the "wrong" conclusions.
NBC Los Angeles is the only media outlet I have found thus far to identify ACORN's presence in a story about a "disruptive display of disobedience" by members the United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) at a school board meeting Tuesday (the story credit is to "Associated Press/NBC Los Angeles," but as you will see later, I found no AP story containing an ACORN reference).
Here is the story headline that the Google News crawler apparently originally found:
You come to NewsBusters for the reporting the American Media just won't do, to hold truth to power, and to point out when they look the other way as their ideological leader does things like give an easy button to Russia, or claims that cars were invented by Americans, while getting economic advice from someone who can't actually make money.
And in hindsight, I almost have to admire Bill Clinton for how he was able to stretch a penny of truth into a dollar. Obama, he doesn't even try, and shame on you if you won't swallow his lies because like claiming Americans invented the automobile, it's only for our benefit. In his stem cell announcement Obama said:
"scientists believe these tiny cells may have the potential to help us understand, and possibly cure, some of our most devastating diseases and conditions... To spur insulin production and spare a child from a lifetime of needles... But that potential will not reveal itself on its own.Medical miracles do not happen simply by accident."
***TWO UPDATES, including the response from AP's Ron Fournier, at the end of this post.***
Friday evening the Associated Press (AP) issued an un-bylined story which was nothing more than a stenographic reprint of the latest dishonest Democratic attack on talk radio host Rush Limbaugh.
The Friday story apparently reflected zero research into the charge levied by Brian Wolff, executive director of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC). The AP merely quoted Rush out of context - just as the DCCC had - and then served him up as a piñata for Wolff to pummel.
The AP cites Rush as having said that Congress's current push for socialist health care will "(b)efore it's all over ... be called the Ted Kennedy Memorial Health Care bill." This allowed the AP to serve up Wolff's whacks on Limbaugh; Wolff called Limbaugh's remark "outrageous and reprehensible."
Had the AP done ANY journalistic due diligence, they would have found this January 13 story from Fox News, quoting a spokeswoman for one of the architects of a national health care bill who said that any legislation that emerges would be named after Kennedy.
Coverage of "tea party" protests in various cities around the country (this March 4 Pajamas Media press release, HT to FreeRepublic, cited 22 locations on February 27 and seven this weekend) has been sparse to non-existent, especially at major establishment media outlets.
Most notably, based on a seach on "tea party" (not in quotes) at its ap.org home page at about 10:00 a.m., there has been no coverage of this weekend's or last weekend's protests by the Associated Press, the self-described "essential global news network":
You would think that a proposal for the government to radically extend its involvement in health care would motivate reporters to investigate how it's working out in other countries. You would be wrong.
Mark Levin bought this matter up on his show Thursday. His web site's home page (near the bottom left) points to a post at Liberty-Page.com, where there are compilations of dozens of articles on how socialized medicine is not working out well in Britain, Canada, and elsewhere.
Though it's still early in year, the Liberty-Page site cites no reports from either country during 2009. This leads to the question of how difficult it would be to find more recent examples.
The answer is "very easy," despite the fact that British and Canadian news organizations have traditionally tended to treat their countries' socialized systems as sancrosanct.
Looking at just one country, here are just six relevant results from the past three weeks obtained from a Google News search on "NHS BBC" (not in quotes):
First, let me try and set this up. You have heard the conversation on this newscast and on many other newscasts just a couple of weeks ago. There were many red state Southern governors who were on the record saying we're so angry about this stimulus package, we are so angry about the spending, that we don't want the money. We don't want the money in our states.
You heard that from people like Haley Barbour and Governor Sanford of South Carolina, to a certain extent, from Governor Jindal in Louisiana. What six states, I ask, that resisted the stimulus money are getting for what they're putting into the system now?
In other words, let me rephrase that. How much from every dollar that they get from the government are they giving back or receiving? We have got a brand-new statistic. I want to break this down for you. And these are the six states that we were talking about, six red states.
An early review of press coverage relating to this morning's warning by General Motors that "there is substantial doubt about our ability to continue as a going concern" shows no coverage of the reason why, despite $13.4 billion in taxpayer money (NOT counting bailout money going to GMAC), things have gotten so much worse so quickly.
The reason is that sales in the two full months since the Bush-approved, Obama-cheered bailout took place have tanked (see graphic at this NB post yesterday):
December 2008 (last [mostly] pre-bailout month) — down 31.2%
January 2009 (first full bailout month) — down 48.9%
February 2009 (second full bailout month — down 53.1%
Press reports I have seen are saying nothing about this frightening decay in the past 60 days:
On Wednesday’s Newsroom program, CNN anchor Rick Sanchez turned to Eric Burns, the president of the left-wing organization Media Matters for America, to “fact check” Representative Mike Pence’s appearance on the program the previous day. Sanchez failed to mention the political leanings of Media Matters during the segment, and didn’t follow-up when Burns obliquely referenced his past occupation as a communications director for Democratic Representative Louise Slaughter.
Before introducing Burns, Sanchez played a clip of Representative Pence stating that he fought President Bush “on education spending. I fought my president -- was one of the 25 Republicans that opposed the prescription drug entitlement. I fought the earmarking culture and run-away spending under Republican control, and I’m going to keep fighting it as Democrats take us further down the road of deficit spending and debts.” The CNN anchor then made his introduction of the Media Matters president, omitting the left-wing stance of Burns’ organization: “Eric Burns is joining us now. He’s with Media Matters. His organization does the following -- you know what they do? They basically check to see if what politicians and people like me say on the air is truthful -- is accurate. When we make mistakes, they call us on it. I’ve been called.”
For the second month in a row, taxpayer-bailout beneficiary General Motors fared worse than every one of its non-bailed-out competitors.
The Associated Press's Tom Krisher and Bree Fowler didn't totally hide that fact, but it took them until the 22nd paragraph of their report, which was supposedly about the February performance of the entire auto industry ("Auto sales slump persists as consumers stay scared"), to mention the specifics of the sales declines at Toyota, Honda, and Nissan. Those declines "just happened" to be smaller than those at General Motors, fellow bailout bud Chrysler, and non-bailout recipient Ford. The AP pair stated in an early paragraph that "Japanese makers fared only slightly better." Readers will, I believe, question Krisher's/Fowler's definition of "slightly."
Also not emphasized, and illustrated in a chart below: The share of the US auto market held by Detroit's so-called Big Three has fallen significantly since the government bailouts of GM and Chrysler in December.
Wall Street’s major stock indexes followed Monday’s strong sell-off with a day of fluctuation, ending with more losses.
The Dow Jones Industrials Average gyrated between modest gains and losses throughout the trading day, ending the down 37 points, or 0.55 percent, to close at 6,726. Monday’s fall below 7,000 sent the Dow to its lowest level since April 1997.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index ended Tuesday trading down 4.49 to 696, it first close below the 700 level since October 1996. The Nasdaq Composite Index ended Tuesday’s session down 1.84 to 1321.
But after considering inflation, the markets are, in real terms, stuck at 1995 values, as shown in the following chart:
You've got to hand it to Jim Provance of the Toledo Blade. He managed only to identify the party of a Republican in a story that is primarily about a Democratic administration's failure to produce timely financial statements.
Democratic Governor Ted Strickland, his administration, and his appointed Democrats in Ohio's Office of Budget and Management are not going to have the state's records in auditable condition until after the General Assembly passes the budget for the NEXT biennium beginning July 1 of this year. This is a situation that Republican State Auditor Mary Taylor yesterday called "unprecedented."
So "naturally," Provance identified Taylor's twice party in his report covering the situation, and failed to specifically name the party of any other statewide official -- or Strickland himself. Oh we can infer it, but inferences don't show up in search engine results. The words "Democrat" or "Democratic" are nowhere to be found.
Here are the key excerpts from the story (link corrected from original when posted):
The math-challenged Biden, who infamously said during the presidential campaign that the word "jobs" has three letters (maybe you don't know about that one either), made this false claim Wednesday morning, and almost no one noticed.
One exception was TV station KSLA, which filed this report (related but not identically scripted video can be found at link; direct link to vid is here). Reporter Fred Childress's "Fact Check" told us that Biden isn't merely wrong; the Bayou State actually gained seasonally adjusted jobs in December:
There's an N-Word you apparently write at your own risk if you're in the establishment media. It's "nationalization."
The Associated Press's Stephen Bernard, with the help of old reliables Jeannine Aversa and Martin Crutsinger, blew through almost 800 words (link is dynamic; 12:49 p.m. version is saved here for future reference, is now authored by Crutsinger, and is longer than what I originally read) about the deal between Uncle Sam and Citigroup, under which the government could end up with a 36% ownership stake -- almost certainly enough, as Citi's largest shareholder, to impose its will -- without mentioning the term.
Another precious tidbit is in the story's second-last paragraph (bold is mine):
Last month, Robert Rubin, a former Treasury Secretary who was a longtime Citigroup board member, and Win Bischoff, most recently chairman at Citigroup, both announced their retirement from the company.
"A" former Treasury Secretary?
Gee, until recently he was known as Democratic Treasury Secretary under Democrat Bill Clinton.
Americans like their toilet tissue soft: exotic confections that are silken, thick and hot-air-fluffed.
The national obsession with soft paper has driven the growth of brands like Cottonelle Ultra, Quilted Northern Ultra and Charmin Ultra -- which in 2008 alone increased its sales by 40 percent in some markets, according to Information Resources, Inc., a marketing research firm.
But fluffiness comes at a price: millions of trees harvested in North America and in Latin American countries, including some percentage of trees from rare old-growth forests in Canada. Although toilet tissue can be made at similar cost from recycled material, it is the fiber taken from standing trees that help give it that plush feel, and most large manufacturers rely on them.
Naturally, America is to blame:
Other countries are far less picky about toilet tissue. In many European nations, a rough sheet of paper is deemed sufficient. Other countries are also more willing to use toilet tissue made in part or exclusively from recycled paper.
The New York Times seems to think there was no such thing as partisanship in Washington, D.C. until conservative Republicans came around in the 1990s to invent it. White House reporter Sheryl Gay Stolberg's front-page Sunday Week in Review story, "Cutting the President Slack Is So Old School," is another example of that ideological blindness, impying that former House Speaker Newt Gingrich personally invented partisanship.
That requires ignoring Bill Clinton's "war room," his administration's persecution of the White House Travel Office, and before that, the personal attacks made by liberal interest groups on conservative Republican Supreme Court nominees Robert Bork and Clarence Thomas. Which is just what Stolberg does:
....the concept of the "loyal opposition" came to mean that a president, especially a new one elected by comfortable majority, could expect cooperation from the other side, in deference to the will of the voters. But in the partisan politics of recent decades, another view developed, advanced by Congressional leaders like Newt Gingrich, the former House speaker, that the minority party has the right, even obligation, to stick to its ideological principles.
CNBC reporter Santelli's Thursday morning "Shout Heard Round the World" (CNBC's term) objecting to the Obama administration's mortgage modification program on the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange quickly went viral, and struck two nerves. First, it ignited a groundswell of support from the over 90% of the of the nation that pays its bills and plays by the (normal) rules. The other nerve it struck was at the White House, whose spokesman Robert Gibbs struck back with a level of poorly concealed fury and contempt that I don't think I've seen publicly displayed by any other administration in my lifetime.
Larry Kudlow had Santelli as a guest on CNBC's Kudlow Report Friday night (CNBC video here; YouTube here [HT Scott's Slant]). As one would fully expect by this time, Santelli made a few huge, emotionally-charged points of his own. The gratifying stunner is Kudlow's passion in the final third of the interview, where he sounded the alarm over freedom of the press, basic respect, and bullying.
Looking around the web, at least at this point, this interview has gained relatively little exposure, leaving the distinct and incorrect impression that Gibbs has the rhetorical upper hand.
No way. The CNBC pair of Santelli and Kudlow has the White House on its heels. Common-sense, passionate, principled assertions rooted in truth will tend to do that. Here's the full transcript (bolds are mine):
South Carolina Congressman James Clyburn appeared on WIS-TV yesterday in a round table setting to discuss how the stimulus bill will affect South Carolina. During the debate he stated that he was insulted by opposition to the plan; specifically targeting GOP Governors of Southern States by implying that their opposition was a "slap in the face of African-Americans" as if race was a determining factor.
"The governor of Louisiana expressed opposition. Has the highest African-American population in the country. Governor of Mississippi expressed opposition. The governor of Texas, and the governor of South Carolina.
These four governor's represent states that are in the black belt. I was insulted by that," Clyburn said. "All of this was a slap in the face of African-Americans. It had nothing to do with Governor Sanford." (src - WIS-TV)
On Friday’s Newsroom program, CNN anchor Heidi Collins failed to mention ACORN’s role in sponsoring a rally against foreclosures in an Oakland, California neighborhood. During her brief, video clips from the protest clearly showed the presence of the group’s signs, name, and logo.
Collins characterized the rally as “[a]nger over the foreclosure crisis pouring out into the streets of Oakland, California -- protesters had a rally in a neighborhood where last month, more than 165 people lost their homes, or now face the possibility of foreclosure. They’re vowing to stop the banks from taking control of the properties.”
Local media in the San Francisco Bay area did a better job of covering the protest. A news brief in the San Francisco Chronicle on Friday mentioned ACORN by name: “Community group ACORN...is launching a campaign to encourage families in foreclosure to refuse to leave their homes. The group staged a rally...at the East Oakland home of Rosa Gonzalez, who has been foreclosed upon but not evicted. ACORN held similar events at foreclosed homes in Los Angeles, New York, Tucson, Baltimore, Orlando and Houston. About 100 ACORN members and local residents listened to speeches urging a moratorium on foreclosures.”
Yesterday, The New York Times Company suspended its quarterly dividend. The company's stock slid 5% to close at $3.51, yet another all-time low in the company's nearly 23 years as a public company in its current form (the Times has been a public company since the 1960s).
Henry Blodget at Silicon Valley Insider noted, even before yesterday's announcement and share-price dip, that the company's share price is lower than the $4 cost of its flagship publication's Sunday newspaper.
It has been nearly seven years since its New York Times newspaper slid into serious Bush Derangement Syndrome, and a bit over a year since the onset of its Obamamania obsession (the Times essentially wrote off Hillary Clinton's presidential candidacy after Super Tuesday last year). Since June 2002, the stock is down 93%:
Amy Sullivan’s article on Time.com on Thursday, “The Catholic Crusade Against a Mythical Abortion Bill,” tried to downplay President Obama’s past and current support for abortion, and tried to use a technicality to “prove” that there is no chance of passage for the staunchly pro-abortion Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA): “...FOCA has also provided ammunition for those on the right who want to paint Obama as ‘the most pro-abortion president ever.’ It’s been less than a month since he took office, but so far the President has given social conservatives little evidence to back up that charge. He did repeal the Mexico City policy banning federal funds to foreign family planning organizations that provide abortion referrals or services — but so did Bill Clinton.” In reality, the Obama adminstration’s record on the issue consists of much more than merely support for legislative proposals and signing executive orders.
There's nothing in Santos's story Wednesday about the fact that the leader of this alleged "grass-roots effort," ACORN, receives funding from the federal government through various federal programs and third-party groups, or that it registered thousands and thousands of ineligible voters during the last presidential campaign. Instead, readers were treated to 1,260 words of "power to the people" sloganeering straight from ACORN without a single dissenting voice.
As resistance to foreclosure evictions grows among homeowners, community leaders and some law enforcement officials, a broad civil disobedience campaign is starting in New York and other cities to support families who refuse orders to vacate their homes.
Now it would be easy to say, "But of course she's a Democrat; she's from Chicago." Okay, but the Sun-Times, in five other reports spread over almost two years, mentioned her party only once. What's more, the Tribune's coverage quoted Assistant U.S. Atty. Joseph Alesia saying that Troutman had been on "a five-year crime spree. .... Even by Chicago standards, it's (what she did is) no small crime." Logically, this would mean that even by Chicago Democratic Party standards, what Troutman did stood out.
Troutman's "obvious" Democratic Party affiliation also doesn't exonerate the Associated Press, whose stories go national and worldwide, And yes, there are plenty of people around the country and in the rest of the world who do not know that Democrats own Windy City politics (a little reminder every once in a while to those who do know wouldn't hurt either).
Our friends at the Associated Press and local Portland KGW Channel 8 both note how some Oregon state lawmakers proposed a bill which would raise the tax on a barrel of beer by a staggering 1,900%.But guess what they leave out? The AP's story is brief:
Beer brewers in Oregon are hopping mad about a proposed bill that would raise their taxes by 1900 percent. The state bill would impose a nearly $50 tax on each barrel of beer produced by Oregon brewers.
Lawmakers who support the tax say the bill would fund prevention and treatment programs for those addicted to alcohol, as well as raise revenue for the state.
But brewers say the tax would cost jobs and could force small breweries to shut down. They say it could also mean a two to four dollar per six pack increase in price for consumers.
KGW's article is more in-depth, mentions the lawmakers who have proposed the bill, but leaves it up to the reader to determine their party affiliation:
On Tuesday’s American Morning, anchor Kiran Chertry and correspondent Jason Carroll failed to mention the left-wing politics of filmmaker Michael Moore during a report about his latest project, which targets the financial industry, and included a sound bite from People Magazine’s Leah Rozen, who expressed a desire to “see Michael Moore spank Wall Street.” Carroll emphasized Moore’s credentials, and agreed with Chetry that many would rush to assist him: “They loved that ‘gotcha’ kind of filmmaking, and Michael Moore does it better than no one else and he’s about to do it again.”
The segment on Moore’s new production began with a clip from “Sicko,” his last movie, as Chetry announced that “the controversial filmmaker is setting his sights on Wall Street. He’s actively recruiting people who’ve worked in the financial sector to expose what he calls the biggest swindle in U.S. history.” As she introduced Carroll, the anchor continued that Moore “probably has a rapt audience at this point, because everything that’s happened with this financial crisis and a lot of people are blaming Wall Street.”