In its opening half-hour, Good Morning America found time to tell us—twice—that Pres.-elect Obama choked up with emotion as he viewed his packed-up old home. But somehow ABC never got around to mentioning that a possible pay-to-play scheme was behind Bill Richardson's bye-bye as Commerce Secretary nominee.
After the show-opening roll in which the president elect was shown heading to DC, Robin Roberts literally bounced in her co-anchor's chair: "so excited, so excited, so excited . . . It's a new day, new year, new everything going on." Added Diane Sawyer helpfully: "And a president-elect." "Yes," concurred Robin, as if it wasn't clear that's what her excitement was really all about.
Then came the first mention of the Pres.-elect getting misty. Roberts: "He was home alone in Chicago. And one of Malia's friends came over and had a little scrapbook that he wanted delivered to his ten-year old, and he was flipping through it, and I would imagine, got a little choked up." When senior political correspondent Jake Tapper came on, he provided crucial additional details about the warm and fuzzy moment, complete with a clip of the president-elect recounting the story to reporters. But Tapper gave short shrift to the Richardson matter, and, appearing later, George Stephanopoulos was equally tight-lipped.
During a report on Friday’s Situation Room, CNN correspondent Susan Roesgen failed to mention the left-wing affiliation of the “activists” who were protesting near the Chicago home of President-elect Barack Obama. She only labeled them as “pro-Obama” and that they “promote a list of campaign promises they want Obama to remember -- promises to bring the troops home, to stop foreclosures, to make a plan for universal health care.”
Roesgen’s short report, which began 36 minutes into the 5 pm Eastern hour of the CNN program, began with a description of the tight security outside Obama’s home, and how “anyone who wants to make a political statement is pretty much pushed off to the side.” She described the group of people making the demonstration as “small in number, big in spirit.”
The CNN correspondent went on to describe the “activists” and their agenda:
Filing his January 1 story from Santiago, Cuba, Washington Post foreign service staffer William Booth paid homage to the 50-year mark of the Castro revolution, pinning blame on "mostly hostile U.S. presidents" and a "decades-long trade and travel embargo" for the big 5-0 being celebrated as a "low-key event that was far removed from the triumphant displays and mass rallies of [Cuba's] socialist glory days."
Booth's 14-paragraph article failed to label either ailing despot Fidel nor ruling substitute despot Raul Castro as dictators, although the man they deposed in 1959, Fulgencio Batista, was tagged as a "despised dictator."
What's more, the word "revolution" to describe the Castro regime a total of seven times in the story, four of them by Booth himself, the other three in quotes from Castro. At no point did Booth quote a Cuban dissident or any Castro opponent, although he made efforts to paint the younger Castro brother as something of a reformer:
The Cincinnati Enquirer's coverage (photo is from that coverage) of a local press conference and demonstration relating to the Israeli-Hamas conflict in Israel and Gaza has been atrocious. I suspect that the Enquirer is not unique in its egregious journalistic failures.
The two stories involved, both by Rebecca Goodman, are (original Cincinnati reference HT to Atlas Shrugs):
-- Dec. 31 -- "Area groups call for an end to Gaza conflict" -- Jan. 1 -- "Ecumenical group calls for end to fighting in Gaza Strip"
Any more, you can almost work up a checklist on stories such as these, and expect to be able to check off the majority of, if not all, of the items on the list. The checklist follows the jump:
It wasn’t merely a poorly-chosen headline stating, “Two top players depart Cuba in a bid to play in US." The whitewash was mirrored in the December 29 article, and the bias wasn’t confined to careful language manipulation. AFP also minimized the escape by framing it as a simple desire to get rich quick in America with a fat Major League Baseball contract. There was no mention of the harsh realities of Cuban life or the possibility that maybe they also wanted more than six ounces of chicken or ten eggs a month to eat (all emphasis mine, image of Yadel Marti via AFP):
Cuban pitcher Yadel Marti and outfielder Yasser Gomez have departed their Communist island homeland in a bid to launch Major League Baseball careers, ESPN reported on Monday on its website. (…) Players who become available through such nations as the Dominican Republic are free agents and available to the highest bidder among the 30 North American clubs rather than having their rights assigned in a draft like US collegians.
As pro-Palestinian media members blame Israel for the recent hostilities in that part of the world, there's an incontrovertible truth being shamefully ignored: rocket and mortar attacks coming from Gaza into Israel have dramatically increased since Hamas won parliamentary elections in January 2006.
Failing to Grace the WaPo Front PageThe Washington Post has certainly taken a timeworn media tack in it's coverage of the latest instance of Israel stubbornly insisting on continuing to exist. That being: keep nearly all mentions of the prolonged and incessant attacks of Israel by the Palestinians off the front page and to an absolute minimum, then deliver maximum coverage of the Israelis' response.
A response that Israel on Christmas Day openly announced was to come were the rocket bombardments from the Gaza Strip not halted. This called shot gave the Post two (additional) days to provide a description of the nearly daily asaults Israel has faced from Gaza since they ceded the territory to the Palestinians in September 2005 (and that have been stepped up even further in the last month plus). To provide some sort of context for why the Israelis were planning what they have now begun.
But rarely if ever does the Post find these Palestinian attacks worthy of any coverage at all, let alone the stuff of front page placement. It didn't this time either. No mention -- of Israel's warning or why they had issued it -- made the Post's front page at all on either day.
"Garbage piles up, even after snow has melted," reads a December 29 Seattle Post-Intelligencer story posted to the Web site Sunday evening. Yet nowhere in the story by staffers Brad Wong or Eric Nalder was any blame for the garbage glut laid at the doorstep of the city's Democratic chief executive.
Mayor Greg Nickels may be partly to blame for the trash backlog because of his stubborn refusal to salt the roads during the Emerald City's latest snowstorms. Indeed, as the Seattle Times reported, the city's streets were left snow-packed "by design" (h/t Fausta):
To hear the city's spin, Seattle's road crews are making "great progress" in clearing the ice-caked streets.
But it turns out "plowed streets" in Seattle actually means "snow-packed," as in there's snow and ice left on major arterials by design.
Common sense says that the chart's results after adjusting for inflation are more important (identified as "Chained  dollars") than those in current dollars. Consmers' disposable income went up 1.0% in real (after-inflation) terms in November after a 0.7% increase in October.
It took a month for real consumer spending ("Personal consumption expenditures") to catch up to the increased disposable income, but it did so in a big way in November. The 0.6% real increase is the highest in over three years. Both improvements are objectively good news, and are largely due to sharply declining gas prices.
This is pretty fundamental Econ 101 stuff, isn't it? As you can see from the headlines and the treatment of the real spending increase that follow, the business press mostly flunked, and badly:
You would think from reading yesterday afternoon's report by the Associated Press's Tom Murphy that companies like Toyota, Nissan, and Honda are not that far from finding themselves in the situations US taxpayer bailout recipients General Motors and Chrysler are in.
Murphy tries mightily to make the foreign-owned companies' situations look serious, at one point even putting out the howler that they are "not quite" as bad off as Detroit's Big Three.
You've got to be kidding me.
Murphy's "Meltdown 101: Foreign automakers struggle too" apparently just arrived from the School of Hard Laughs. It is mostly written in a Q&A format. Here are some excerpts (bolds are mine):
Several years ago, the Houston Chronicle got in the act with a piece by Leslie Casimir titled "Learning about Kwanzaa from the holiday's creator." This one, though, was a bit off the usual track of the how-great-is-Kwanzaa theme because this particular piece celebrated the inventor of the faux holiday, Maulana Karenga, himself. So, instead of merely celebrating this manufactured holiday Casimir amazingly made a hero of the rapist, race monger and violent thug who created it!
It's almost as if the Associated Press's Ian James and the wire service's headline writers think that Hugo Chavez's latest announcement that he plans to expropriate a huge, city block-sized, nearly complete shopping mall is sort of cute and quirky. James even gave it a "clever" name: drive-by socialism.
My post at NewsBusters yesterday noted that James's initial report Sunday evening was short on many details. Today, James filled many of the holes but leaned strongly towards sympathy with the Venezuelan strongman's decision, even avoiding use of the word "expropriating" until the third paragraph. The AP's whitewashing headline seems to be designed to cause readers to yawn and move on to something else.
What seems to have occurred is that poor Mr. Chavez got stuck in traffic and didn't like it. That's all it takes in Venezuela for a project that has surely been years in the making to vanish -- unless Mr. Impulsive changes his mind. Here are excerpts from James's report:
Chavez orders halt to construction of Caracas mall
President Hugo Chavez says he was heading through downtown Caracas when he was shocked by the sight of a huge, nearly finished shopping mall amid the high-rise offices and apartments.
"They had already built a monster there," Chavez said. "I passed by there just recently and said, 'What is this? My God!'"
California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's three-year lurch to the left, with the enthusiastic assistance of Democratic majorities in the state's legislature, has sent the state's fiscal situation once again into Gray Davisland -- and this time, unlike in November 2003 when he took office, the Governator doesn't have a growing economy to make getting out of the mess easier.
The state's controller said earlier today that the state "the state will run out of cash in about two months" if the state doesn't close its current budget gap of $18 billion.
Finally, the state is attempting to do something about its disproportionately costly welfare (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) program.
The howls are predictable, if somewhat understandable (which I'll get to). Excerpts from a Sacramento Bee story by Cynthia Hubert lay out the situation:
Two situations over the weekend illustrate that the Associated Press's habitual failure to identify the political party of Democrats in trouble is more than likely a conscious decision. This is despite the AP Stylebook's guidance (as of 2000, the latest free edition I can find; a PDF is here) that a reporter should "include party affiliation if readers need it for understanding or are likely to be curious about what it is."
In both of the instances I will cite, local papers decided that party affiliation was important enough to include. But AP reporters decided that they weren't, even though out-of-state readers are less likely to know the party affiliation of the politician(s) involved.
In its year-ending double issue Newsweek couldn't resist injecting liberal media bias into its mini obituaries entitled "Remember Them Well."
Yet the newsmagazine seemed to forget, perhaps intentionally, the left-of-center politics of prominent liberals profiled while using terms like "far-right" to describe the politics of deceased conservatives such as Paul Weyrich.
But wait, there's more, Newsweek used the occasion to link the civil rights struggles of the 1960s with the fight for same-sex marriage and to approve the first President Bush's breaking of the "no new taxes" pledge.
Take Studs Terkel, the hard-left Communist journalist who passed away at age 96. Newsweek ignored his political leanings, euphemizing them by referencing his "working-class empathy and patient, guileless style [that] helped a confused nation speak its mind."
CJR's Trudy Lieberman announced it was "ominous news" that a government health insurance plan might be delayed:
"Ezra Klein over at The American Prospect’s blog was right on point last week when he sent along some ominous news. Klein, quoting a story in Congressional Quarterly, said that John McDonough, the former head of a Massachusetts advocacy group who now works for Ted Kennedy, seemed to be backpedaling on the public option..."
On the other side, Lieberman warned, "right-wing think tanks" are "on the march," illuminating problems with a government-controlled approach to medicine. She noted The Heritage Foundation's criticism of a federal health board, a top idea of Health and Human Services Secretary-designate Tom Daschle. Lieberman's warning:
Hugo Chavez has announced that he plans to expropriate a huge and nearly complete shopping mall in Caracas.
The Spanish language web page of Constructora Sambil that describes the project (pictured at the right) says that it's 21,600 square meters.
Chavez appears to have no idea what he will do with it. The Associated Press's Ian James apparently had no idea what to do with that shocking bit of information. He didn't follow up with any government officials who might have an idea of what Dear Leader has in mind. He didn't explore whether what Sambil has built thus far is useful or sensible for whatever noble purpose Chavez might be considering. He just let the Venezuelan strongman's comment sit there, and instead moved on to his incoherent screed against materialism.
Associated Press writer Glen Johnson's story on the indictment of a close friend of Salvatore DiMasi, Massachusetts's Democratic Speaker of the House, is the latest in a long line of fairly long stories about Democratic politicians in trouble that fails to identify their party affiliation.
The story names a half-dozen politicians, all of whom are Democrats, without identifying the party of any of them. No variation of the word "Democrat" appears anywhere.
ABC News is reporting that an attorney that did undercover work for the FBI in the 1980's told federal authorities decades ago that Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich ran an illegal gambling operation and payed the mob a street tax in order to operate. (see update below)
Former mob lawyer and Chicago cop Robert Cooley was so credible as an FBI informant that his work netted 24 corrupt judges, lawyers and cops in operation Gambat. Yet ABC news elected not to report the story during Blagojevich's 2006 re-election campaign because Cooley wanted to remain anonymous and the Governor denied the allegation.
"When I was working with government wearing wire, I reported, I observed Rod, the present governor, who was running a gambling operation out in the western suburbs. He was paying street tax to the mob out there," said Robert Cooley, federal informant.
On a web-based interview show last week, Cooley said he reported to federal authorities nearly two decades ago that Rod Blagojevich had been operating an illegal sports gambling business.
Robert Cooley is a former Chicago police officer-turned mob lawyer-turned federal informant. During Operation Gambat in the late 1980's and early 1990's, Cooley's undercover work and testimony put away 24 crooked politicians, judges, lawyers and cops.Several years ago, when Mr. Blagojevich was running for re-election, Cooley provided the same information to the ABC7 I-Team. Because Cooley did not want to be identified at the time and the governor denied it, ABC7 did not report the story.
Barack Obama has selected Rick Warren to deliver the invocation at the president-elect's inauguration.
Based on yesterday's New York Times story about this and other inauguration decisions, you would think that complaints about Warren's selection represent a mere tempest in a teapot. The Times devoted all of one sentence (bolded) to the controversy:
Barack Obama has selected the Rev. Rick Warren, the evangelical pastor and author of “The Purpose Driven Life,” to deliver the invocation at his inauguration, a role that positions Mr. Warren to succeed Billy Graham as the nation’s pre-eminent minister and reflects the generational changes in the evangelical Christian movement.
..... The choice of Mr. Warren, pastor of a megachurch in Orange County, Calif., is an olive branch to conservative Christian evangelicals. Mr. Warren is an outspoken opponent of abortion and same-sex marriage — litmus-test issues for Christian conservatives. In fact, his selection set off a round of criticism by gay rights groups angered by his support for California’s ban on same-sex marriages.
It's hardly a secret that Chicago public schools chief executive Arne Duncan was the architect behind a failed plan to open a "gay-friendly" high school in the Windy City. But for some reason Washington Post staffer Maria Glod decided to keep that skeleton in the closet, leaving the fact out completely from her page A3 December 17 story, "Education Pick Is Called 'Down-to-Earth' Leader."
Glod set out in her 22-paragraph article to portray Duncan as an education reformed well-respected by both Democrats and Republicans and even garnering begrudging respect and even some allies among teachers unions and school bureaucrats who were at first wary of him.
The controvery over the proposed Social Justice Solidarity High School -- which was scrapped in a November 18 school board vote -- was completely left unmentioned although as Brad Haynes of the Wall Street Journal's Washington Wire blog reported yesterday:
The Chicago company that was the site of a six-day worker sit-in has filed for bankruptcy. Though this appears to have been expected, it seems that many aspects of this story went under-reported or unreported.
The Chicago Sun Times story written by Francine Knowles and Sandra Guy makes it appear that Bank of America, the lender whose refusal to extend a credit line allegedly caused the company's failure, ended up "lending" over $1 million to fired workers (bolds are mine):
**UPDATE** Duncan also tied to Chicago Annenberg Challenge organization employing terrorist William Ayers
So, how often do you think that the Old Media will mention that Barack Obama's choice for Secretary of Education, Chicago schools chief Arne Duncan, supported to be opened in Chicago a gay, lesbian and transgender high school? Any takers?
I have looked over many of the stories on Obama's pick for Sec of Ed, but seen mention of his support of the gay high school only a few times. Only three stories mentioned it out of the first 20 I checked. Even the Wall Street Journal didn't mention it in their announcement of the Obama pick.
There was a fire Friday at Wasilla Bible Church, where GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin and her family are members. The fire did $1 million in damage. The photo at the right is among three that are in a slide show at Wasilla's local paper, the Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman, whose story is here.
The Washington Post has a short AP story at Page A02 (more on that shortly). The New York Times has nothing about it on its home page. A Times search on "Palin Church" (without quotes) leads to the same AP story; a review of today's print edition shows that the story appears on Page A41.
Does anyone think a similar fire at Chicago's Trinity United Church of Christ, which Barack Obama attended for almost two decades until earlier this year, would have been as quietly covered -- even if Obama had lost?
Maybe it's just as well that the AP's coverage isn't too prominent yet, because Rachel D'Oro's story added an agenda-driven undercurrent in the last excerpted paragraph:
A collection of "The Faces of Political Scandal," assembled by ABC News yesterday (HT to an e-mailer), once again demonstrates the media's relative reluctance to identify the membership of Democrats involved in scandal.
Of the 14 politicians identified, seven are Democrats and seven are Republicans. Five of the seven GOP members are identified as such, while only two of the seven Democrats were flagged. The montage also has a couple of surprising factual errors.
Here's the detail, slide by slide:
Current Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich -- Party not ID'd, while containing a quote with a Republican frame of reference ("Gov. Blagojevich has taken us to a new low," U.S. attorney Patrick Fitzgerald said. "This conduct would make Lincoln roll over in his grave.").
KHQA TV wishes to offer clarification regarding a story that appeared last month on our website ConnectTristates.com. The story, which discussed the appointment of a replacement for President Elect Obama in the U.S. Senate, became the subject of much discussion on talk radio and on blog sites Wednesday.
The story housed in our website archive was on the morning of November 5, 2008. It suggested that a meeting was scheduled later that day between President Elect Obama and Illinois Governor Blagojevich. KHQA has no knowledge that any meeting ever took place. Governor Blagojevich did appear at a news conference in Chicago on that date.
That's fine, except for the fact that the KHQA story in my NewsBusters/BizzyBlog post earlier today was from November 8 -- three days later (link again is to a file saved at my web host, obtained from Google cache shortly before it disappeared). It (obviously) talked about the meeting in the past tense (bold is mine):
Note -- A related November 5 story at KHAQ in advance of the Obama-Blago meeting that is no longer available at KHAQ's site is here at my web host. It has been taken down from the related web site, and I believe its Google cache has also been removed.
(original post follows)
Yes indeed (content at original link was deleted; current link is to copy at my web host; HT to an e-mailer, who tells me that “this is (in) the newspaper from Quincy, IL from KHQA, a CBS affiliate”; bold is mine):
By Alexis Hunt Saturday, November 08, 2008 at 9:48 p.m.
Duckworth comments on consideration for Senate
QUINCY, IL -- Now that Barack Obama will be moving to the White House, his seat in the U.S. Senate representing Illinois will have to be filled.
Obama met with Governor Rod Blagojevich earlier this week to discuss it. Illinois law states that the governor chooses that replacement. There's already been speculation about his selection...from Congressman Jesse Jackson, Junior to Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs Director Tammy Duckworth.
If Rod Blagojevich were a Republican, what's the over-under on the number of times the network morning shows would have mentioned that fact in their coverage today?
But Blago is a Democrat. So how often did Today, Good Morning America and the Early Show explicitly identify him as such during their opening half-hours today? Not once. The closest any came were references at Today and Early Show today to "Democratic politics" and one at GMA to "the Democratic Chicago machine." Speaking of GMA, George Stephanopoulos, appearing there, put in the most embarrassingly sycophantish performance of the morning.
On Tuesday’s Situation Room, CNN host Wolf Blitzer tried to downplay the significance of the arrest of the Democratic governor of Illinois Rod Blagojevich by making an unequivocal statement about Republicans: “You know, most of the scandals -- most of the political scandals...in recent years have involved Republicans...and they’re all pretty well-known.” He continued by labeling the Democrat’s apprehension a “huge embarrassment.”
Blitzer made the remark to Karen Finney, the communications director for the Democratic National Committee, during the regular “Strategy Session” segment. Finney appeared with Republican strategist John Feehery, and the three discussed the political implications of Blagojevich’s arrest. Besides this most recent development, the CNN host only mentioned the recent defeat of Louisiana Representative William Jefferson as an example of a political scandal involving a Democrat.