Bill Plante slanted four-to-one in favor of gun control on Monday's CBS This Morning as he reported on congressional Democrats' efforts to introduce new firearms regulations. Plante played soundbites from Senator Dianne Feinstein, Carolyn McCarthy, and President Barack Obama. His sole pro-gun rights talking head was Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert, who came only after the clips from the liberals were played in succession.
Despite Obama's recent hint towards supporting more gun control laws, in the wake of the massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, Plante's clip of Obama came from a 2008 campaign rally where the then-senator tried to reassure gun owners.
One of the most frustrating elements of the just-completed presidential race was the utter failure of Mitt Romney's campaign to make sure the American people learned that their government hasn't passed a budget since April 29, 2009. It seems that because those who follow the news closely already knew that, they figured the rest of the country did, which was -- and still is -- not the case.
Of course, the other reason besides the lack of Republican and conservative assertiveness is the establishment press's utter failure to report it. Another in a long line of such failures appeared in the Politico this afternoon via David Rogers. Rogers covered how fiscal cliff discussions are delaying the White House's annual farce known as the President's budget for the 2014 fiscal year while of course failing to note that U.S. government hasn't passed a real budget for nearly four years:
If certain aspects of stories relating to an incident of gun violence don't fit the template, they usually doesn't get reported at all. But if such things somehow get some local exposure, they rarely escape into the broader national news environment. What follows is an example of the latter.
Imagine for a moment if a Christian fundamentalist pastor publicly threatened a Democratic Party governor about to sign a legitimately passed bill into law with a long-term campaign of public harassment for doing so. Now imagine if that pastor extended that threat to include appearances at the governor's home and at his children's sporting events, and that Republican and conservative elected officials on hand during the pastor's announcement voiced no objection to the pastor's threats. All of that would be news, right?
As voting on Egypt's constitution begins, an Associated Press story this morning by Aya Batrawy and Sarah El Deeb typifies how the U.S. press is only nibbling around the edges of its content. The headline reads "EGYPTIANS VOTE ON ISLAMIST-BACKED CONSTITUTION." In the story's content, the pair found an 23 year-old Egyptian engineer who told them, in their words, that "he felt the proposed constitution needed more, not less, Islamic content," and expressed a belief that "All laws have to be in line with Shariah."
Nice misdirection there. As Andrew McCarthy, "arguably the most important prosecutor in the War on Terror" and "among the most authoritative writers anywhere on the dangers of Jihad," explained at PJ Media on Wednesday morning, and as much of the non-U.S. press accurately comprehends, the proposed constitution is about institutionalizing sharia in Egypt, and the last-minute splitting of the vote, originally scheduled for only today but now taking place today and next Saturday, is about ensuring its victory at the polls (bolds are mine throughout this post):
Today's news from the Department of Labor on initial weekly unemployment claims was supposedly good -- as long as one doesn't scratch beneath the surface. Journalists used to do that. Today they didn't.
All one had to do is reach the third paragraph of DOL's release to realize that today's seasonally adjusted claims number of 343,000, touted as the lowest in two months in several news reports, was suspect. That paragraph told us that the 428,814 actual claims filed during the week ended December 8 were barely lower than the 435,863 claims seen in the week ended December 10, 2011, last year's comparable week; today's result only occurred because this year's seasonal adjustment factor was significantly different from last year's. I believe that this year-over-year drop of less than 2% in raw claims is the smallest weekly difference in a week not affect by storms or holidays this year. In other words, it really is news -- but not in the business press, which runs with the government's seasonally adjusted data and almost never looks any further. Examples follow the jump.
The word games in the press, especially at the Associated Press, concerning North Korea's nuclear capabilities are head-spinning.
In a June 16, 2009 dispatch, Ben Feller's story at the AP carried the following headline at the Huffington Post: "Obama, Lee: We Won't Allow North Korea To Have Nuclear Weapons" ("Lee" is Lee Myung-bak, then and still President of South Korea). Yet Feller's first paragraph referred to the North as a "nuclear-armed nation." If you're "armed," doesn't that mean you have a "weapon"? Additionally, a CNN report on the same day mentioned that President Obama would not be "allowing North Korea to develop nuclear weapons," though the country has claimed possession of them since early 2005. An exercise in excuse-making at the AP Wednesday evening by Bradley Klapper only adds to the confusion (bolds are mine throughout this post):
Teamsters Union president James Hoffa warned on CNN Tuesday that there would be "civil war" in Michigan over thepassage of right-to-work legislation, but after anchor Brooke Baldwin made two brief mentions of it the CNN blackout began. In contrast, on the next day Fox News hammered the "civil war" threat as an example of radical rhetoric.
How bad was CNN's blind spot to the controversy? After Hoffa warned of "civil war," Baldwin simply repeated his words back to him. "[I]n the meantime, as you wage this civil war, what does this mean for unionized workers moving forward in Michigan?" she asked, without demanding how violent the union pushback would be.
Back in the days when journalists practiced journalism, they would be on the alert for record-breaking news, whether positive or negative. These days, at least when it comes to the economy, it seems that they struggle to find positive records and ignore obvious negative ones right in front of their faces.
A case in point is today's Associated Press report on November's Monthly Treasury Statement. The government's report came in with a deficit of $172.1 billion, the highest November shortfall ever (the runner-up: last year's $137.3 billion). The AP's Christopher Rugaber either failed to recognize the reported amount as a record -- doubtful in my view given its size -- or didn't think its recordbreaking status was newsworthy. To be fair, unlike colleague Martin Crutsinger's typical monthly attempts, Rugaber got to almost all of the requisite monthly and year-to-date facts on receipts, spending, and the deficit itself, including comparisons to last year. Excerpts, including the all too familiar historical revisionism on how we got to where we are, follow the jump (bolds and numbered tags are mine):
Wednesday's New York Times's front page featured Monica Davey's latest dispatch from Lansing, after the Michigan legislature passed and the governor signed right-to-work legislation that would forbid unions to coerce membership dues from workers in the traditionally union-dominated state.
The pro-union broadcast networks are deliberately censoring footage of thuggish union violence directed at conservatives. If a Tea Partier had physically assaulted a liberal journalist or ripped down a structure occupied by a liberal organization all on video, the footage would be broadcast on an endless loop. ABC, CBS, and NBC have a responsibility to the American people to expose what’s really happening in Michigan. Their double standard is absolutely outrageous.
Both Steven Crowder and Americans for Prosperity should press charges on the parties responsible for these assaults, and they should be prosecuted. ABC, CBS, and NBC may be willing to turn a blind eye to union violence, but the unions are not above the law.
Demonstrating his and his employer's pro-union bias, Jeff Karoub at the Associated Press, in compiling a list of "5 THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT MICH. RIGHT-TO-WORK BILLS," made "The Name Is Misleading" his first item.
As an AP journalist, Karoub is likely a member of the Occupy Movement-supporting News Media Guild. Earlier this year, his employer's recently departed chairman, acting in an official capacity representing his supposedly objective, values-driven organization, praised President Obama in terms so effusive that Charles Hurt at the Washington Times wrote that it was "more like he proposed to him." In his five-item listing, the third of which has an inchoherent title, Karoub seemed to jump right in where Obama left off in a Monday Michigan speech (bolds and numbers in headings are mine):
Perhaps hoping that readers wouldn't scroll down to peruse what followed, a Tuesday evening Detroit Free Press report by David Jesse and Lori Higgins carried at USA Today featured a video taking up my entire computer screen which consisted entirely of union protesters chanting slogans for 49 seconds.
The pair's actual report carries a misleading headline ("Mich. governor signs anti-union bills after protests") directly contradicted in their dispatch's content ("The right-to-work legislation ... makes it illegal to require financial support of a labor union as a condition of employment"). But it's their description of Tuesday's incident involving Steven Crowder and Americans for Prosperity which is the report's biggest flaw (HT Instapundit):
There will be plenty of time later to look at how the Associated Press and other wires more than likely fail to report the violence that took place in connection with right-to-work legislative actions in Michigan's legislature today. For now, let's look at the reactions of Associated Press reporters John Flesher and Jeff Karoub on Friday in an item which is no longer at the AP's main national site.
Their dispatch's headline ("Michigan Republicans end part of union tradition") was from all appearances an attempt to make it seem uninteresting. The story itself didn't describe the law involved as "right to work" until its fourth paragraph. Both before and after that, the pair, who are more than likely members of the Occupy Movement-supporting News Media Guild, got bitter (bolds are mine throughout this post):
Tuesday's CBS This Morning played up the union-led protests against a proposed right-to-work law in Michigan. Elaine Quijano claimed "the protests here in Michigan...[will] likely only get bigger." Quijano added that "they're planning to return today in record numbers - protesters determined to defend one of the biggest union strongholds in the country."
The correspondent loaded her report with six soundbites from the anti-right-to-work protesters and their supporters, including President Obama. Quijano only played two from proponents of the Michigan bill, including "reluctant supporter" Governor Rick Snyder.
Right-to-work legislation has passed in Michigan, despite the vociferous protests of bused-in union protesters in Lansing and sympathetic coverage from the liberal media, who have portrayed right-to-work as a blow to "union rights" as well as a "politically unnecessary" and "divisive" move by Republicans who control the state legislature and governor's mansion in a state that went strongly for Obama last month.
But there is another side of the story, which the liberal media outlets are seemingly ignoring. The Michigan-based conservative think tank called the Mackinac Center for Public Policy has not only published persuasive and thoroughly-researched reports advocating for the right-to-work policy, they are doing their best to inform the public with the facts and figures that the majority of the media refuses to acknowledge, much less verify.
As Colonel Kurtz said at the end of Apocalypse Now: “the horror, the horror.” That sentiment encapsulated New York Times Republican David Brooks and syndicated columnist Mark Shields’ reactions to the rejection of the UN treaty on the rights of the disabled in the Senate last week. Brooks called it “embarrassment for the country” – while Shields called it “a profile in cowardice.” Regardless, it seems that both men forget that we have a similar bill called The Americans with Disabilities Act, which was passed under George H.W. Bush.
During the segment, which aired on December 7, NewsHour anchor Judy Woodruff decided to end her interview with Brooks and Shields on this point:
The UK's National Health Service has been around since the late 1940s. Despite over 60 years of trying to get health care right, it still doesn't come anywhere close. This long-term failure has done nothing to deter the Obama administration and Democrats from attempting to replicate the horror here in the U.S.
The latest example of scandlous neglect comes from a Labor MP, carried in the usually left-leaning UK Guardian and many other British news outlets. Readers can count on it not being noticed by the U.S. press (HT Samizdat via Instapundit). The second-last paragraph in the excerpt following the jump seems to give away a feeling by the dead victim's wife that she's somehow betraying her statist brothers and sisters by speaking out:
The U.S. Department of Agriculture released its latest report on food stamp program participation through September today. I received the email alerting me to the release at 5:17 p.m., so it seems reasonable to believe that USDA and the Barack Obama administration wanted the new data to get as little attention as possible (as will be seen later, it's currently getting none). If so, they have two probable reasons for wishing to minimize its impact.
The first and more obvious of the two is that the food stamp rolls increased by over 607,000 in September to 47.71 million, yet another all-time record. That's awful enough, but here's the real kicker: the participation figure for July, the last month of data available before Election Day, was revised up by over 150,000, changing that month's reported increase from 11,600 to just under 166,000. As will be seen after the jump, no other month's data was revised except August, where the changes were infinitesimal.
Nancy Cordes couldn't have made outgoing Senator Jim DeMint's conservative credentials clearer on Friday's CBS This Morning, labeling the South Carolina Republican "one of the most conservative members of the Senate." Cordes outlined that DeMint was a "Tea Party hero, who has raised more than $15 million...to help elect Tea Party senators...But he has also backed a series of losing far-right candidates."
However, the correspondent couldn't be bothered to identify Comedy Central's Stephen Colbert as a liberal, as she noted the comedian's efforts to get his fans to lobby South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley to name him DeMint's replacement. She merely pointed out Colbert's persona as "one of the most conservative TV personalities out there - fake personalities, anyway." [audio clips available here; video below the jump]
"Militantly non-partisan" Major Garrett sounded more like an Obama administration flack on Thursday's CBS This Morning as he spotlighted the President's latest P.R. stunt. Garrett noted Obama's plan to visit a northern Virginia middle-class family and claimed that the Democrat was underlining the "self-evident point that if the there is a deal and their taxes aren't raised by about $2,000, they'll be happier and spend more money."
The correspondent also uncritically pointed out how Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner signaled that the White House was willing to go over the fiscal cliff if their demand for higher taxes isn't satisfied.
In August, President Barack Obama "secretly" authorized support for Syria's rebels. It was so "secret" that Reuters had a story about it. It "broadly permits the CIA and other U.S. agencies to provide support that could help the rebels oust Assad."
At the Daily Beast, former Obama administration State Department member P.J. Crowley believes that " Later this year or early next, Washington may formally recognize the Syrian opposition as a viable alternative to the regime of President Bashar al-Assad." Well, okay, sometimes you have to back a less undesirable alternative, but if you do, I would think Obama owes it to the American people to have them understand the true nature of those you're backing. As of this moment, very few Americans know what the rebels would want to do if they achieve power. MEMRI does, because its people watch Middle Eastern TV and videos. What follows is a transcript from an October 21 broadcast (HT Weasel Zippers):
Chris Matthews is not one to let a pesky thing like facts get in the way of a favored liberal narrative. That's why, for example, on the Oct. 22 edition of Hardball he insisted the 9/11 assault on the Benghazi compound was "all about" the YouTube video "Innocence of Muslims," when by that time it was most clearly established that it was a premeditated terrorist strike.
Well, yesterday, Matthews's obsession with painting a significant minority of Republicans as loony secessionists colored his cherry-picking of a Public Policy Polling survey. The Hardball host glommed onto a statistic in a December 4-released PPP poll that found some 25 percent of Republican respondents said they favored their state seceding in light of President Obama's reelection. "What do you want to bet these are the same people who say that President Obama is a Muslim?" huffed Matthews in a tease for a segment entitled "If at First You Don't Secede." But a look at the cross tabs in the poll shows that 27 percent of Hispanics, 29 percent of voters aged 18-29, and even 12 percent of African-Americans favor secession. Those demographics, of course, are all ones which the president handily won. At no point in his segment on the poll, however, did any of these facts come up. [MP3 audio excerpts here; video follows page break]
On Wednesday's CBS This Morning, Major Garrett promoted a thinly-veiled version of President Obama's "Scrooge Christmas" attack on congressional Republicans. After spotlighting how White House Press Secretary Jay Carney maligned the GOP's fiscal cliff solution as "magic beans and fairy dust," Garrett added that the "Republicans answered back – bah, humbug."
The CBS morning newscast, along with NBC's Today, aided the President by failing to point out that his rejection of the Republican plan is a 180 from his position in 2011. That year, the Democrat called for "$1.2 trillion in additional revenues, which could be accomplished without hiking tax rates by eliminating loopholes, eliminating some deductions."
Newark Mayor Cory Booker is considered a rising star in Democratic Party politics. Though a doctrinaire liberal on many fronts, he possesses several positive traits, including a willingness to risk his own safety when he sees people in danger and the courage to call out his fellow party members when they irresponsibly bash private-equity firms which, while occasionally making mistaken investments, have a far better track record of success than, say, the Department of Energy's solar plays.
That makes it all the more disappointing that Booker, like so many other leftist politicians before him, is cynically taking the bogusly designed "Food Stamp Challenge." Such an idea isn't necessarily bad, as it has the potential for helping people make wiser, more nutritious and economical food choices. But to the left that's not the point. Instead, their mission is to convince the public that benefits are too low and that the numbers of those participating in the program need to increase. To achieve their aims, advocates make a fundamentally dishonest claim about benefit levels. And in a unique twist, the Politico appears to have proactively attempted to become part of the false message.
While it's not fair to criticize the press's coverage of November's vehicle sales as unfair or not balanced, it would be more than fair to say that the press is either ignoring or minimizing the impact of two important influences which have been at work all year. The first is the continued loss of combined market share at the industry's two US-headquartered makers, General Motors and Ford (Chrysler, the other member of Detroit's "Big 3," is owned by Fiat).
The second is that 2009 government bailout beneficiary GM continues to "channel-stuff" its dealers with vehicles they won't sell for four months or longer -- and that's if the economy doesn't slow down or go into a recession. Dealer inventories are now twice as high as they were three years ago -- and no, GM's sales haven't doubled in the meantime -- which makes one wonder, especially this fall, if it was being done solely to make the government and President Obama look good.
The 2013 gubernatorial races may be in many ways a prelude of the 2014 congressional midterms. That certainly was the case in 1993 and 2009. So it's no surprise that the liberal media are doing their best to start writing the narrative about presumptive Virginia Republican gubernatorial nominee Ken Cuccinelli, who presently serves as the commonwealth's attorney general.
In a December 4 Swampland blog post, Time's Alex Altman exemplified the boilerplate comparison we're already seeing in other outlets like the Washington Post: Republican Ken Cuccinelli is a "controversial by design," staunch Tea Party conservative who could be a risky bet for the governor's mansion while his likely Democratic sparring partner, Terry McAuliffe is an ideologically nondescript inside-the-Beltway mover and shaker (emphasis mine):
Jim Axelrod filed a completely one-sided report on Tuesday's CBS This Morning linking the Jovan Belcher murder-suicide to a lack of gun control inside the NFL – and in the country in general. Axelrod turned to only pro-gun control advocates as talking heads – Brady Center flack Marcellus Wiley, NBC's Bob Costas, and New York Times sportswriter William Rhoden.
Rhoden blamed the widespread availability of guns in the U.S. for sportsmen getting involved in violent incidents: "Why do athletes love guns? Well, the reality is that this is a gun culture. Lots of people - and lots of people with money - own guns." The correspondent also outlined that liberal newspaper journalist "says the issue of guns and athletes is about youth, money, and perceived power." [audio clips available here; video below the jump]
Just before Thanksgiving, the leftist think tank Demos issued a report by its own Catherine Ruetschlin advocating a $12 an hour minimum wage (stated as $25,000 per year by her) for those who work full-time in retail.
What's interesting about Ruetschlin's suggestion is that there is a retailer out there which is actually doing that and more -- and it's not Costco, which "pays starting employees at least $10 an hour." To be fair to Costco, rapid wage advancement is apparently quite common there, but that's off-topic. Perhaps surprising to the press, the company involved starts its full-time employees not at $12 an hour, but at $13. Perhaps if it spent less time trying to figure how to discredit this company, the establishment media might instead focus on how this company is able to be profitable under such a wage structure. Before identifying the firm after the jump, we'll first see in an open letter from its CEO why it's not getting favorable press attention (in full; bolds are mine):