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):
The Associated Press today reported on an AP-GfK poll showing that a majority of Americans believe, in the words of the AP headline "action on climate will heat up economy, jobs." The headline was misleading, however, in that it gave readers the impression that the public is firmly behind the creation of what the Obama administration has dubbed the "green economy."
When asked what effect they thought federal policies designed to curb global warming would have on the economy, 46 percent said it would help, 27 percent said it would hurt, and 24 percent said it would have no effect.
The AP trumpeted these results as a sign that "the public is showing more faith in President Barack Obama's economic arguments for limiting heat-trapping gases than in Republican claims that the actions would kill jobs."
A breaking dispatch from the Associated Press sure makes it look like Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl (picture at top right is from his Wikipedia entry) is engaging in extortion directed at the institutions of higher education that happen to be within the city's borders. The ostensible reason for the stickup is to shore up the city's foundering pension system.
It will be interesting to see how or if the AP develops this story in the coming day before the possible Wednesday vote.
Also, the "first-of-its-kind" tax that Ravenstahl wants to impose has gotten surprisingly little national notice since he first proposed it in mid-November.
If there's a Ground Zero for America's foreclosure mess outside of much of California and metro Las Vegas, it's probably Cleveland, the Northeast Ohio city known in most of the rest of the state as the Mistake on the Lake.
The Cleveland Plain Dealer's Mark Gillespie got out from behind his desk, committed some good old-fashioned journalism, and went looking for the mistakes that exacerbated the town's breathtaking home foreclosure rate. Lo and behold, he found that city government itself contributed mightily and extraordinarily negligently to the debacle. Go far enough into Gillespie's report, and you will also find an implicit admission that the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) also played a pivotal role (bold is mine):
How Cleveland aggravated its foreclosure crisis
The city of Cleveland has aggravated its vexing foreclosure problems and has lost millions in tax dollars by helping people buy homes they could not afford, a Plain Dealer investigation has found.
In a Washington Post opinion piece published on December 6, longtime expansionary entitlement program apologists Peter Edelman and Barbara Ehrenreich ripped into the 1996 welfare reform law and its alleged effect on the poor during the struggling economy of the past two years.
In the course of their rant, Edelman and Ehrenreich told readers something that the rest of the press has largely ignored since Barack Obama took office in January: Homelessness is up, as in way, way up:
According to the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty (NLCHP), the number of homeless Americans is up by 61 percent since the recession began in December 2007.
In fact, a new report from a source normally favored by the press tells us that new "tent cities" have sprung up, and that others in existence a year ago have grown. Does anyone think these facts would remain so well-hidden if Bush 43 were still in office?
Interestingly, it seems that Edeleman and Ehrenreich appear to have serendipitously misinterpreted their information source.
A number of the conservative movement's prominent online figures are battling to be the right's equivalent of Talking Points Memo or Huffington Post--political organizations that report hard news. Many believe that to truly harness the power of the Web, political organizations must report their own news, rather than comment on reporitng from traditional outlets.
"The left needs Daily Kos, but they also need the Huffington Post," Politics Daily columnist Matt Lewis told Politico. He praised the roles of activists and opinion commentators on the right such as Red State's Erick Erickson, but noted that the conservatives have not yet matched the left's capability for original reporting.
Though HuffPo, TPM, and other politcally stilted but journalism-oriented sites, liberals "have the ability to amplify stories into the mainstream media conversation," according to Politico. Conservatives have a large void to fill when it comes to producing original content, rather than solely commenting on what is already out there. There are conservative sites providing original reporting, but there are so far no center-right equivalents to the left's powerhouse online news operations.
Has anyone else noticed how chilling it has been during the past few days? Not chilly (though it's been that too). Chilling.
On Monday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency declared, in the Associated Press's words, that "greenhouse gas emissions are a danger and must be regulated."
The AP, in the item just linked, and many other news outlets carried U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Thomas J. Donahue's warning that regulations based on EPA's declaration could lead to "a top-down command-and-control regime that will choke off growth by adding new mandates to virtually every major construction and renovation project."
Two days later, in an item carried at FoxNews.com that says it was the result of contributions by Fox's Major Garrett and the AP, a White House official confirmed the legitimacy of Donahue's stated fear (bolds are mine):
Administration Warns of 'Command-and-Control' Regulation Over Emissions
In his coverage of Uncle Sam's November Monthly Treasury Statement released yesterday, the Associated Press's Martin Crutsinger reached the wire service's usual quota of errors and misstatements. But what's remarkable is that the AP reporter's article seems to betray a belief that the country is still in a recession. Fascinating.
Along the way, Crutsinger omitted the fact that November's deficit came in a bit higher than the Congressional Budget Office estimated several days ago, failed to report that receipts from corporate income taxes went negative for the second month in a row (i.e., refund checks issued exceeded cash collections), and betrayed more than a little lack of understanding of how the government has chosen to account for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP).
After Martha Coakley's win in the Massachusetts Democratic primary virtually assured she would fill the seat of the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, Abby Goodnough's fawning profile in the New York Times lauded her for having “made a name for herself prosecuting child abuse cases -- most notably that of Louise Woodward, a British au pair convicted in 1997 of killing a baby boy in her care.”
But there was no mention of another notorious case. As Middlesex district attorney in the summer of 2001, The “perpetually articulate and composed” Coakley took part in keeping Gerard Amirault in jail on fabricated sex abuse charges.
Amirault was one of the victims of the witch-hunt known as the 1986 Fells Acres Day School ritual sex abuse case, now universally recognized as an abuse of power by Massachusetts prosecutors. Children who attended the day care center were prodded by prosecutors to make increasingly bizarre allegations of robots and evil clowns against the Amiraults, the family that ran the day care center. Amirault was convicted in 1986, his wife and sister in 1987. Amirault was finally released after 18 years; it could have been 15 if not for the work of Coakley.
Keith Olbermann is furious at ABC's David Wright for "selectively editing" a clip from the Daily Show with John Stewart. Olbermann called for Wright to be fired for this horrendous slight against journalistic integrity, then proceeded to selectively edit the same segment.
The Daily Show clip in question (reported initially at NB by Noel Sheppard) showed John Stewart fuming at the infamous East Anglia CRU staff for attempting to "hide the decline" by manipulating climate data. Wright showed Stewart saying, "Poor Al Gore, global warming completely debunked, via the very Internet you invented. Oh!"
Olbermann, in dubbing Wright the "worst person," showed an expanded clip of Stewart clearly denying that ClimateGate has "debunked" the global warming theory: "Poor Al Gore, global warming completely debunked via the very Internet you invented. Oh! Oh, the irony, the irony. Actually, the real story is not quite that sensational. Now, does it disprove global warming? No, of course not!"
Battling the "Democrat-media complex" is hard work, but Andrew Breitbart shows no signs of letting up. He announced today in an interview with Mediaite that he will launch a new site entitled "Big Journalism" in January designed solely, in his blunt words, to "fight the mainstream media."
Big Journalism will be the latest addition to the prominent network of Breitbart's sites, which include aggregator Breitbart.com, video site BreitbartTV, and center-right blogs Big Government and Big Hollywood. After Big Journalism, he told Mediaite, will come Big Education, Big Tolerance, Big Jerusalem, and Big Peace.
As for Big Journalism, Breitbart says he is determined to combat liberal media outlets "who have repeatedly, and under the guise of objectivity and political neutrality, promoted a blatantly left-of-center, pro-Democratic party agenda."
The Washington Post has a problem with partisan memory loss.
Many of you may have heard of the recent nastiness of a Virginia homeowners’ association attempting to deny Colonel Van T. Barfoot (U.S. Army, Ret.), a Congressional Medal of Honor winner, the right to erect a flagpole in his own front yard. If you are like me, you heard about this first on Wednesday, December 2, on the Mark Levin radio show.
If you’re like the Washington Post, however, you heard about it from Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) on December 3, 2009.
Salon editor Joan Walsh, a frequent contributor on MSNBC, finds the network's "Countdown" host to be lacking in the diversity department when it comes to his guests. Of course, her complaint isn't with Olbermann's refusal to feature guests with whom he could have ideological clashes -- something his nemesis Bill O'Reilly has never been afraid to do -- but the fact that his guests are infrequently of the fairer sex.
Anderson Cooper reused a segment from CNN’s 2007 special “Planet in Peril” on his program on Tuesday, where he traveled to Greenland with a climate scientist to visit a melting glacier. The same scientist, who believes in manmade global warming, also appeared live with Cooper, and dismissed the ClimateGate scandal. The CNN anchor did not have any skeptics of manmade climate change on his program.
Cooper preceded his replay of his glacier report (which came 19 minutes into the 10 pm Eastern hour) with news briefs about the latest developments on the climate change debate: “Late word tonight that Sarah Palin is now calling for President Obama to boycott the United Nations climate conference in Copenhagen. In an op-ed she wrote for The Washington Post, Palin says the leaked e-mails from a leading climate research group call into question the proposals being pushed at the two-week conference. Meantime, a U.N. weather agency made news today at the meeting when it said the current decade will likely be the warmest on record, and 2009 will probably be the fifth hottest year.”
Though none of this who appeared during the two-year-old segment- Cooper, Jeff Corwin of the Animal Planet cable network, or the climate scientist, Dr. Conrad Steffen of the University of Colorado- explicitly mentioned the manmade component of the ice melting, Dr. Steffen played up the most dire predictions of sea level rise:
Blogger Doug Ross got to the news of the Congressional Budget Office's Monthly Budget Report (PDF) over the weekend, quite accurately observing that the establishment news coverage of its content barely existed.
ABC’s Good Morning America maintained its blackout on ClimateGate this weekend, even as Sunday’s show carried a preview of this week’s climate summit in Copenhagen, Denmark. Reporter Clayton Sandell showcased two scientists, both of whom argued that the U.S. was failing to do enough to combat global warming, and seemed distressed that public faith in the claims of a human-caused catastrophe are on the decline in spite of “growing scientific evidence.”
Despite growing scientific evidence that humans are to blame for warming the planet — rising sea level, melting glaciers, more intense droughts — polls show the number of Americans who believe global warming is happening is at its lowest point in 12 years.
It should be noted that the Washington Post/ABC News poll Sandell cited was conducted between November 12 and 15, before the revelations of e-mails from Britain’s Climatic Research Unit which suggest conniving among left-wing scientists to manipulate data and silence critics.
On Sunday’s Reliable Sources, CNN's Howard Kurtz brought up the scarcity of media attention paid to the revelation that high-profile Democratic Senator Max Baucus nominated his girlfriend to be a U.S. attorney for his home state of Montana, as the CNN host even took to task CNN for ignoring the scandal, calling it a "stunning lapse in judgment," and recounted that he had monitored the news channel on Saturday and did not see Baucus mentioned. Kurtz: "Washington Post has it on page three, New York Times has it on page 33. I watched CNN all day yesterday. I didn’t see any mention of this story, which I thought was a stunning lapse in judgment."
When Kurtz questioned why there was so little media attention, guest Chip Reid of CBS News asserted there was "no scandal" in the story. Reid: "I don’t think it has legs because there’s no sex scandal, and it’s not like Vitter. It’s not like Ensign. There’s no scandal here."
Two brief AP dispatches from December 2 and December 3 about Michael Toole, a Pennsylvania judge who has agreed to plead guilty to corruption-related charges, fail to mention that Toole has at least been a contributor to the Democratic Party, and appears very likely to have been a party member.
This see-no-party treatment parallels local media coverage of Toole's situation (four of many examples are here, here, here, and here). As far as I can tell, no one has directly identified Toole's party affiliation.
It wasn't easy to ascertain that Toole is a more than likely a mule. The best online evidence of his party affiliation consists of a March blog post at Sights on Pennsylvania identifying contributions by Toole to the Luzerne County Democratic Party in 2003. Whether Toole is actually a registered Democrat, or was until shortly before his legal troubles began, is supposed to be AP's and other journalists' job to determine -- and report.
The wire service refers to Toole as a "third judge" to be hit with corruption charges. As previously noted several times at NewsBusters and BizzyBlog, the other two, Mark A. Ciavarella Jr. and Michael T. Conahan, are definitely Democrats. The AP actually said so in an early dispatch about the pair's indictment in February, but removed mention of their party membership a short time later; graphic proof that this occurred is at the earliest related post at (here and here) at each blog. As far as I can tell, the pair's party affiliation has not since been mentioned in an AP report.
Normally, it's news when a leading politician in a country hosting a summit expresses harsh dissent against that summit's agenda -- or at least it is when a leftist is the dissenter.
But I doubt that what Thor Pedersen, Speaker of the Danish Parliament, has to say about the upcoming COP15 Climate Summit will get much if any play in U.S. network newscasts or in the nation's establishment media publications of record.
On Friday’s Situation Room, CNN correspondent Mary Snow highlighted the latest developments on ClimateGate, but only played one sound bite from a skeptic of manmade climate change, as opposed to the four clips from proponents of the theory. Snow also omitted the left-wing affiliation of RealClimate.org, a website she mentioned during her report.
The correspondent led her report with a clip from Rajendra Pachauri, the head of the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, who called for an investigation into the leaked e-mails at the center of the ClimateGate scandal. After noting some of the other fallout from the controversy over the past 2 weeks, Snow continued that “[t]hose who question the effects of human activity on climate change have seized on the e-mails, accusing scientists of conspiring to hide evidence and trying to destroy data. Among them, Republican Senator James Inhofe, who has called global warming a hoax. This week, he called for hearings...and the e-mails were raised at a House hearing this week.”
The CNN correspondent played two clips from that hearing. The first came from Republican John Shadegg of Arizona, who played up the leaked e-mails: “Anyone who thinks that those e-mails are insignificant, that they don’t damage the credibility of the entire movement, is naive.” She followed this with a sound bite from Jane Lubchenco of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, who defended the apparent scientific soundness of the theory of manmade climate change: “E-mails really do nothing to undermine the very strong scientific consensus and the independent scientific analyses of thousands of scientists around the world that tell us that the Earth is warming, and that the warming is largely a result of human activity.”
An earlier version of this blog post incorrectly stated that John Harris and Mike Allen of Politico declined to ask former vice president Al Gore about controversial emails from climate scientists who support the idea of anthropogenic global warming after knowledge of those emails was publicly disclosed.
In fact, the interview with Gore occurred before the emails were public knowledge, therefore Messrs. Harris and Allen could not have asked Gore about them. NewsBusters regrets the error.
While ABC’s Good Morning America and NBC’s Today questioned Obama White House senior advisor Valerie Jarrett on the breach of security at last week’s state dinner, her appearance was conspicuously absent from the CBS Early Show on Thursday. The CBS morning show has made a consistent effort to downplay the administration’s role in party crashing scandal.
On Good Morning America, co-host Robin Roberts wondered why White House Social Secretary Desiree Rogers would not be testifying before Congress on the issue: “But, first, I want to ask you about the congressional hearing today. And ask you why isn't the social secretary, Desiree Rogers, testifying today before Congress?....you know that leaves people thinking, Valerie, that there’s something more.”
Similarly, on Today, co-host Meredith Vieira asked Jarrett: “White House Social Secretary Desiree Rogers. She was the point person for that event. She is the one who failed to assign aides to vet guests at those checkpoints. She’s the one who named herself a guest instead of a staffer, and yet, she is not being investigated. The Secret Service is, but not her. Do you think she should be investigated?”
Michelle Malkin absolutely ripped apart Nicholas Kristof's "crappy" Sunday New York Times column, "Are We Going to Let John Die?", a remorseless tear-jerker using a tragic story to guilt-trip recalcitrant Democrats like Sen. Joe Lieberman into supporting Obama-care.
Kristof explained that John Brodniak, a sawmill worker in Oregon, has hemangioma (an abnormal growth of blood vessels, causing him spasms, memory loss, and painful headaches) but can't get treatment for it in Oregon. Brodniak told Kristof he had been unable to get insurance, and thus unable to get relief from his agony. Kristof bemoaned intransigent politicians:
If a senator strolled indifferently by as John retched in pain, we would think that person pitiless. But isn't it just as monstrous for politicians to avert their eyes, make excuses and deny coverage to innumerable Americans just like John?
As the MRC’s Business and Media Institute reported on Wednesday, in the twelve days since emails were released showing climate scientists manipulating global warming data, many in the media have been stunningly silent.
The evening network newscasts on ABC, CBS, NBC have failed to make any mention of the scandal going on day thirteen since the story broke.
On NBC’s Nightly News on Wednesday, anchor Brian Williams failed to cover the climate controversy, but did manage to find the time to congratulate himself on his fifth anniversary of taking over the broadcast from Tom Brokaw.
As NewsBusters’ Noel Sheppard reported on Wednesday, even faux news anchor Jon Stewart referenced ClimateGate on The Daily Show.