It would appear that the Apparatchik Press -- er, the Associated Press -- thinks that part of its job is to soften the impact of embarrassing admissions made by Obama administration members.
Take the wire service's Thursday afternoon AP report by Jim Kuhnhenn on Council of Economic Advisers' chair Christine Romer's observations about the stimulus package. Romer said (in AP's words) that "the government's economic stimulus spending has already had its biggest impact," and will (in Romer's words) "likely be contributing little to further growth by the middle of next year."
As you'll see shortly, AP's headline doesn't reflect what Romer said. Additionally, Kuhnhenn allowed Romer to mischaracterize the economy's performance in the second quarter without challenging it, and saved the big news -- yet another administration official admitting that unemployment will stay near double digit through the end of next year -- for his eighth paragraph.
Here's a graphic capture of Kuhnhenn's first eight paragraphs, posted for fair use and discussion purposes:
John Avlon of the Daily Beast gave his “Wingnuts of the Week” on Friday’s American Morning on CNN, and omitted the Democratic past of his “wingnut” on the right- Lousiana justice of the peace Keith Bardwell, who recently denied a marriage license to an interracial couple. Avlon didn’t give judge’s party ID at all, and gave the impression that he was on the “right” merely because of his racist conduct.
The Daily Beast writer appeared just after the bottom of the 6 am Eastern hour with anchor Kiran Chetry, who asked the “independent analyst,” as she labeled him, to begin with his choice for “wingnut” on the right: “Wingnut on the right, as you said, Louisiana Justice of the Peace Keith Bardwell, who denied a marriage certificate to an interracial couple, saying he was doing it for the kids. Maybe he was concerned they’d grow up to be president.” Avlon never gave Bardwell’s party ID during the segment. Perhaps its because he was a Democrat during most of his career. He only became a Republican last year, according to a Louisiana state government website.
As I pointed out Monday night (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), Associated Press reporter Martin Crutsinger, in his Saturday morning report on the federal government's full-year fiscal results, conveniently "forgot" about a major accounting change that enabled President Obama's Treasury Department to report a final "deficit" of "only" $1.417 trillion.
That's hundreds of billion of dollars lower than the $1.75 trillion expected in February. The change, which caused "investments" in financial institutions, General Motors, Chrysler, and other entities to be accounted for on a "net present value" (NPV) basis, had an initial impact of over $175 billion when first implemented. Crutsinger ignored the change, even though its implementation occurred after that February estimate.
Though the end of a fiscal year represents a perfect opportunity to extend readers' understanding of how our government (sort of) works, Crutsinger also did not tell readers that the reported "deficit" is nowhere near the amount of the increase in the national debt that occurred during the fiscal year. As of September 30, the national debt was $11.910 trillion, or $1.885 trillion higher than the national debt a year earlier. That means that the most recent year's "unreported deficit" was $468 billion.
One other area where Crutsinger erred was in his breezy opening paragraph assessment that the precipitous drop in cash receipts during the most recent fiscal year -- officially understated for a reason I will note shortly -- was entirely due to the recession:
That video totally nuked claims by ACORN National and ACORN Philly that O'Keefe and Giles had been "shown the door" and "kicked out" after a "few minutes" in their Philly Office visit -- claims that establishment media outlets continued to repeat even, as shown in the excerpt that follows, after ACORN was proven to have lied about what happened in New York City and San Diego.
Billy Hallowell at BigGovernment.com has a great recap of the not well-known ACORN and media goofs that have occurred since James O'Keefe and Hannah Giles released their first two sting videos (links are in original):
The mainstream media were complicit in their coverage of the ACORN scandal. Their behavior was and continues to be an insult to democracy and journalistic responsibility as the Fourth Estate has ignored facts, engaged in one-sided sourcing, and avoided basic and inherently important journalistic questioning.
The Obama ascendency, the president's acolytes have been keen on telling us, is the dawn of a new post-partisan era. But a development that undercuts that fiction -- the Obama Justice Department's recent move to scuttle non-partisan local elections in Kinston, North Carolina, on the basis of racial and partisan considerations -- has escaped the interest of the mainstream media.
Both the Washington Times (in a Tuesday front-pager) and NewsBusters sister site CNSNews.com have reported the story, but a Nexis search today yielded no stories from print outlets such as the Washington Post, New York Times, USA Today, or Los Angeles Times. Broadcast news programs on ABC, CBS, and NBC have also failed to touch the story. Fox News Channel's "Fox & Friends" briefly discussed the story shortly before 7:00 a.m. EDT on the October 21 edition with Wall Street Journal columnist John Fund.
A search for news stories about the controversy on Google News this morning yielded only 14 hits, most of them from conservative organizations or blogs.
Below is an excerpt from CNSNews.com reporter Adam Brickley's October 21 story:
Just when you thought that activist filmmaker James O'Keefe, partner Hannah Giles, and Andrew Breitbart at BigGovernment.com had run out of ammo to direct at ACORN, they have outdone themselves.
In September, BigGov aired videos showing O'Keefe and Giles, posing as a pimp and prostitute, asking for and getting cordial help in setting up their enterprise as a deliberately income-underrporting cash enterprise from ACORN representatives in Baltimore, Washington, New York City, San Bernardino, and San Diego. This help was provided even after Giles revealed her purported plans to import underage girls as part of the enterprise.
For a month, it has supposedly been the settled truth that a similar attempt by O'Keefe and Giles in Philadelphia had failed miserably, and that the pair were "thrown out" of ACORN's office there. ACORN CEO Bertha Lewis said so on CNN. The Philadelphia Daily News's David Gambacorta reported that "they were apparently shown the door." Others playing or parroting ACORN's assertions included the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Washington Post, NPR, and the New York Times.
The press should have suspected that another shoe might drop in Philly, as ACORN made similar assertions about the pair's visits in New York and San Diego after the Baltimore and Washington vids premiered that were quickly proven utterly false. But if there was any skepticism, it was well-hidden.
Now O'Keefe's and Giles's latest video (direct YouTube here) blows ACORN's Philadelphia story to smithereens. Here's what the Associated Press had to say about it this evening:
CNN’s Carol Costello again omitted the liberal source of a statistic she touted during a report on Wednesday’s American Morning, that 91% of talk radio is apparently conservative. Costello also pushed the left-wing aim of localism in radio programming, playing three soundbites in favor of the proposal, versus two against it.
Near the end of her report, which aired at the bottom of the 7 am Eastern hour, the CNN correspondent cited ultra-left talker Randi Rhodes (all three clip in favor of localism came from Rhodes), who “says millions of Americans get their political talk from AM radio -- 91 percent of which is conservative.” Costello didn’t cite the source of the figure, which comes from a 2007 report by two liberal organizations -- the Center for American Progress and Free Press -- and co-authored by Mark Lloyd, who is now the FCC’s “chief diversity officer.” The correspondent touted the figure as well during a report on Monday’s American Morning, where she claimed that it came from “Talkers” magazine. The figure itself is misleading because, as MRC’s Culture and Media Institute pointed out, the CAP report ignored “non-commercial radio,” such as NPR and other public radio networks.
Though its $1.4 trillion red-ink result was mostly known well ahead of its final issuance, the Treasury Department either conveniently got its year-end accounting work done in time for a Friday afternoon release of the final Monthly Treasury Statement, or held it until that time. Last year's report was released on Wednesday, October 15.
The final statement shows receipts of $2.105 trillion, "outlays" of $3.522 trillion, and a "deficit" of $1.417 trillion. That is $962 billion higher that last year's "deficit" of $455 billion.
The terms "outlays" and "deficit" are in quotes for reasons I will explain in this post.
There is good news and bad news about the reporting on the results by the Associated Press's Martin Crutsinger. The good news is that after at least three months of obsessing over how the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were contributing to the massive increase in this year's "deficit" compared to fiscal 2008 when they have been almost completely if not totally irrelevant (here, here, and here at NewsBusters; here, here, and here at BizzyBlog), Crutsinger correctly dropped them from the discussion. Of course, that means he was repeatedly wrong to cite those wars or even defense spending as a whole as a contributing factor in the first place. But don't wait by the phone for Martin's apology.
CNN’s Carol Costello began a new series on political talk radio on Monday’s American Morning, suggesting it was unfairly dominated by conservatives, and brought on a liberal psychiatrist who theorized that Rush Limbaugh has an audience because he’s “operating like the bully, and if you’re on the playground...you want to be...under the bully’s wing and go along with him and get...some power by proxy.”
The correspondent’s report, which aired just before the bottom of the 7 am Eastern hour, was the first installment in a “special series on talk radio,” according to anchor John Roberts. Costello zeroed in on the listeners and why the format “can capture people for such long periods of time.” A graphic on the screen during her report heralded “anger on the air: what listeners don’t know about talk radio.” [MP3 audio available here]
Towards the end of her report, the CNN correspondent played a sound bite from radical left-wing host Randi Rhodes, who speculated that “the reason they don’t passionately listen to liberal talk radio is access” (Costello outrageously downplayed Rhodes’s political leanings by describing her as someone whom “many consider a liberal talker”). The “liberal talker” noted that apparently, “ninety-one percent of talk radio is conservative.” Costello continued that “according to Talkers magazine, liberal talkers fill just nine percent of the nation’s news talk radio on the commercial dial. Change that, Rhodes says, and liberal listeners would listen just as much.”
This won't surprise anyone who reads this blog regularly, but it needs to get on the record nonetheless: The airing of a June video showing interim White House Communications Director Anita Dunn praising Mao and Mother Teresa as "two of my favorite philosophers" to a group of high school students is barely news in the establishment press.
In an August 2008 report on the Obama campaign, Anne E. Kornblut of the Washington Post also described Dunn as "as senior adviser" who had joined the campaign "in the spring."
Roger Kimball at Pajamas Media has the video of Dunn's speech. NB's Jeff Poor (covering Glenn Beck's original broadcast that broke the story) and P.J. Gladnick (on Dunn's pathetic attempt to excuse herself) have previously dealt with Dunn's speech.
Here are the Mao-relevant portions of the speech excerpt:
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal on Friday, Andrew Breitbart, founder of such center-right online powerhouses as Big Government and Big Hollywood, blasted what he dubs the "Democrat-media complex." He spoke of his most recent exposes on the administration's political malfeasance and the mainstream media's refusal to cover those scandals.
Breitbart rocketed into the national spotlight with his work with James O'Keefe and Hannah Giles, the young conservatives responsible for the ground-breaking ACORN sting operations that led to congressional votes to de-fund the community organizing group.
"I had a 20-year-old and a 25-year-old and my integrity on the line if we were going to launch this," Mr. Breitbart says. "It was so obvious that the mainstream media, given this information, would not cover it and would, in effect, attempt to cover it up." So he devised an intricate strategy of rolling out the videos one at a time, anticipating Acorn's defenses and rebutting each in turn with the next video...
Perhaps the 41st president still has it in him - at least when it comes to the left crying foul about the so-called uncivil political discourse on right, but being equally if not worse on the left - particularly on MSNBC, the "Place for Politics."
In an interview on Oct. 16 with CBS Radio, former President George H.W. Bush took a very critical tact with MSNBC hosts Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow, deeming them "a couple of sick puppies." (via MSNBC's Oct. 16 "The Rachel Maddow Show")
"I don't like it," Bush said. "I think the cables have a lot to do with it. I'll take you back to when I was president - we got tons of criticism, but didn't seem day in and day out quite as personal as some of these talk show people."
[Update, 12:30 am Eastern Saturday: Josh Brahm of the RLCC, mentioned below, contacted me and sent me the link to an edited video taken of the assault, which is imbedded at right (obscene language warning). -MB.]
Steven Ertelt of LifeNews.com reported on Friday that a pro-life activist was assaulted on October 15 by a supporter of abortion in front of the Planned Parenthood in Fresno, California, during a vigil for the nationwide 40 Days for Life campaign. Ertelt also noted that local TV news outlets ignored the story of the assault in their evening broadcasts, brushing it aside either because the victim’s injury wasn’t serious enough, or because they thought a story on “chocolate-covered bacon” was more important.
Victor Fierro, director of Latinos4Life, a pro-life organization, was physically attacked by a “pro-choice woman,” according to the press release by Right to Life of Central California (RLCC), which was also cited in the LifeNews.com report. The woman “shouted obscenities” at the pro-life demonstrators participating in the 40 Days for Life vigil in front of the Planned Parenthood facility, “before attempting to break the event security camera and assaulting...Fierro....The attacker cut Fierro’s arm with an unknown object, drawing blood, and then stormed back to her car and fled the scene.” The entire incident was captured by the video camera, though most of the assault occurred outside of its field of vision. However, the camera did capture her face and her car’s tag number.
New York Times reporter Michael Brick went to College Station, Texas, to preview a college visit by Barack Obama today commemorating the 20th anniversary of the first President Bush's "Points of Light" volunteer organization.
In the condescending "At A&M, a Dance of Decorum for Obama Visit," Brick posed fears that campus conservative activists at Texas A&M might embarrass themselves and their college with their "unchecked fervor," which "can be a raw and fearsome thing." Last year, you see, "the Young Conservatives embarrassed the university by throwing eggs at a picture of Mr. Obama."
Brick is being awfully protective of Obama. If defacing a picture of a president is an automatic embarrassment to a university, then every big college in America should be red-faced, since posters of Bush as Hitler were pretty much de rigueur at any decent campus protest. But the Times never showed any concern for campus hatred of Republicans.
On Oct. 14 CNN's "American Morning" aired a segment about the controversial program that "gives heroin to heroin addicts at the taxpayers' expense." Correspondent Paula Newton declared, "A safe, steady supply of heroin is apparently just what the doctor ordered ... As radical as it is, for some it is really working." She also said that the British government's decision to dole out 97 percent pure heroin - "better than anything sold on the street" - "takes heroin off the streets."
Anchor John Roberts became the fourth CNN personality to omit the left-wing affiliation of Wendell Potter, as he interviewed the on Tuesday’s American Morning. Roberts only described Potter as someone who “worked for two different insurance companies in the past, and now he’s working against them to help get reform passed.”
Before introducing his guest, the CNN anchor played up the merits of Senator Max Baucus’s health care reform proposal: “The Senate Finance Committee’s health care reform bill got high marks from the Congressional Budget Office for keeping the deficit down, but now, insurance companies say it will actually cost you and your family thousands of dollars more than you’re paying now. So who is telling the truth?”
After posing this rhetorical question, Roberts introduced his guest: “We’re joined by Wendell Potter. He has worked for two different insurance companies in the past, and now he’s working against them to help get reform passed.” An on-screen graphic gave a glowing description of the former insurance company spokesman’s career: “Former head of public relations at Cigna Corp. and Humana Inc., now a whistleblower against health insurance industry- advocate for health care reform.” Another chyron finally revealed that the guest was also “Sr. Fellow on Health Care, Ctr. For Media & Democracy,” but Roberts never revealed Potter’s affiliation with the left-wing organization.
Let's see. A Big 4 independent public accounting firm vs. the Democratic Party's go-to health care economics guy. Who has more presumptive credibility?
It's more than a little offensive to see the people whose party gave us entitlement programs with multitrillion-dollar unfunded liabilities (Social Security and Medicare), pension plans that are completely unsustainable (the federal government and many states), and year-over-year budget increases that almost always dwarf inflation -- in other words, people with absolutely no record of financial credibility on matters big and small -- go after Big 4 accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers and its "industry-funded" study on what would happen to insurance premiums under the BaucusCare iteration of ObamaCare with the eager assistance of their media apparatchiks.
Understand this: When PwC prepares a report for the health insurance industry projecting, in the Wall Street Journal's words, that "the Senate Finance Committee’s big health-care bill would raise health insurance premiums by thousands of dollars a year," one can be confident that it is based on exhaustively researched and thoroughly reviewed work.
I suppose President Obama is still running around telling everyone who will listen, along with anyone else who won't, that "If you like your doctors and medical providers, you can keep them."
It would also not surprise me to learn that Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick is still singing the praises of CommonwealthCare, the state-run system conservatives also deride as RomneyCare, so named after Mitt Romney, Patrick's allegedly Republican predecessor who brought it into being. Patrick even wrote a Wall Street Journal op-ed column several weeks ago that called CommonwealthCare a "model for national reform."
As an apparently pivotal Senate committee vote on imposing statist health care on the entire country looms, the Boston Globe's Liz Kowalczyk has inconveniently reminded statists (HT Hot Air) that the alleged wonders of the Bay State's care regimen are instead leading it inexorably into serious rationing, and to a direct contradiction of Obama's and Patrick's core claims. Currently on the horizon are serious limitations on choice of care providers and annual capitated payments to those providers. Kowalczyk would probably protest that she never uses the word "rationing," but it really doesn't matter. Anyone with even a modicum of sense will recognize these moves for what they are.
NBC’s Today show on Sunday devoted a three-minute report to President Obama’s speech to “gay rights” proponents, where he promised a repeal of the military’s ‘don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. The report had several sound bites from homosexual critics of the President, and none from proponents of keeping the policy. On the other hand, ABC’s GMA on Sunday had only one 23-second news brief on Obama’s speech.
Thus began El Rushbo’s interview with NBC national correspondent Jamie Gangel. It is remarkable that, even when the media sit down with Limbaugh, they still find a way to be biased. To be fair, Gangel did not conduct the interview like Keith Olbermann might have. But there were a few points of interest which must be noted – and some even pointed out by Rush during the interview.
First up, Gangel asks Rush if he’s a racist or a homophobe:
JAMIE GANGEL [voice over B-roll]: Rush’s brand of satire also keeps everyone talking. Parodies like this one, of Congressman Barney Frank, who also happens to be gay:
BARNEY FRANK IMPERSONATOR, singing: “I am the banking queen!”
GANGEL: And this one about race, and candidate Barack Obama:
A New York Times article by Nick Bunkley on Friday targeted for print on Saturday about the status of contract talks between Ford Motor Company and the United Auto Workers piqued my interest in a previously neglected but important matter.
Ford and the UAW are apparently close to an agreement. In describing what Ford workers are being asked to give up, Bunkley wrote the following (bolds are mine throughout this post):
Ford executives have said the company needs more concessions to keep G.M. and Chrysler from having an advantage.
.... The deal that U.A.W. workers at Ford approved in March got rid of cost-of-living pay increases and performance bonuses through 2010 and eliminated the jobs bank program, which allows laid-off workers to continue receiving most of their pay. In addition to those concessions, G.M. and Chrysler workers agreed to work-rule changes and a provision that bars them from striking.
What? From press coverage at the time, you would have thought that unionized GM and Chrysler workers made ginormous, humungous, unprecedented sacrifices to enable their companies to get through bankruptcy and to emerge as lean, mean vehicle-making machines.
How well I remember it. In April 2006, when Bob Carter, in a UK Telegraph op-ed, observed that there had been no warming of the earth since 1998, global warming advocates screamed that Carter didn't know what he was talking about; that he was only "a geologist at James Cook University, Queensland, engaged in paleoclimate research," not a real climatologist; and that anyway, the science was settled, so he (and we) should shut up already.
3-1/2 years later, Paul Hudson, the climate correspondent (at least for now) at no less than the previously climate koolaid-poisoned BBC, without naming him, is acknowledging the correctness (HT Instapundit) of Carter's observations. The Beeb reporter also concludes .... brace for it .... that "it seems the debate about what is causing global warming is far from over." Imagine that.
As if the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (Fan and Fred) crackups weren't bad enough, IBDeditorials.com noted on Thursday evening that another bad-mortgage shoe is about to drop. This time it's at the Federal Housing Authority (FHA).
First, let's revisit Fan and Fred to remind readers just how complete the disaster has been at these decades in the making Democratic crony-controlled entities.
A little-noticed CNNMoney.com item by Chris Isidore in late July told us what the original announced loss estimate had been a year earlier (bolds are mine throughout this post):
When Congress was debating the bailout of Fannie and Freddie last July (of 2008), the official estimate from the Congressional Budget Office was that a bailout would most likely cost taxpayers $25 billion, with only a 5% chance of the price tag reaching $100 billion between them.
Isidiore then noted that just one year later the loss estimate had doubled:
Today, Joe Scarborough continued his feud with Rush Limbaugh, insinuating that the talk radio legend is not a true conservative.
For the second time today, I’m looking ‘round the office, wondering whether I’m being punked.
Hot on the heels of Barack Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize – won for the stellar achievements (?) of the first ten days of his presidency – we find out that Joe Scarborough believes himself to be the only true heir to the mantle of Reagan and Buckley – at least, among the radio talker set.
On this morning’s edition of Morning Joe, Scarborough and the Brew Crew had the following exchange:
CNN correspondent Allan Chernoff highlighted New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s hidden camera operation against gun shows in several states on Thursday’s American Morning, but omitted any sound bites from gun rights supporters. Chernoff featured two clips from Bloomberg and one from NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly, but only read an excerpt from a statement by the NRA.
Anchors Kiran Chetry and John Roberts introduced the correspondent’s report, which ran 11 minutes into the 6 am Eastern hour. Chetry summarized that the mayor’s “undercover sting operation in three states appears to catch gun show dealers selling weapons to buyers who admit that they could not pass a background check.” Roberts continued that Bloomberg claims that “this so-called gun show loophole is making it easier for criminals to get their hands on weapons.”
CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer highlighted the latest study from the Center for Science in the Public Interest during a news brief on Tuesday’s Situation, but omitted the left-wing bent of the organization, referring to it as merely an “activist watchdog group.”
The CSPI released their “Ten Riskiest Foods Regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug and Administration” earlier in the day, and the CNN anchor noted that these edible items are “some of the healthiest foods all of us could eat, but according to an activist watchdog group, they could still make us all of us sick.” He continued with a summary of the organization’s findings, including a paraphrase of the study’s title: “Researchers say leafy greens, eggs, tuna, oysters and potatoes are among the top ten riskiest foods regulated by the FDA.”
The Globe's subheadline at the story's web page is revealing:
US funds dry up for Iran rights watchdog Obama White House less confrontational
.... But just as the Iran Human Rights Documentation Center was ramping up to investigate abuses of protesters after this summer’s disputed presidential election, the group received word that - for the first time since it was formed - its federal funding request had been denied.
“If there is one time that I expected to get funding, this was it," said Rene Redman, the group’s executive director, who had asked for $2.7 million in funding for the next two years. "I was surprised, because the world was watching human rights violations right there on television."
Many see the sudden, unexplained cutoff of funding as a shift by the Obama administration away from high-profile democracy promotion in Iran ....
On Oct. 6 "Good Morning America's" Sharyn Alfonsi devoted an entire segment to the doom-and-gloom study. But of course she conveniently forgot to mention that CSPI is a radical left-wing kill-joy consumer group that has attacked everything from remote controls to washing machines to Chinese food to casual dining.
The study was discussed in relation to a recent New York Times headline about the 22-year-old girl Stephanie Smith who was paralyzed apparently from E. coli in a frozen hamburger.
In his latest push for a health care overhaul bill, President Obama spoke to doctors in the White House Rose Garden yesterday. Painting a nice picture of the event were many media outlets that neglected to mention the White House's doctoring (forgive the pun) of the audience in an attempt at a powerful photo-op.
Doctors attending the event were instructed to show up in white lab coats to give observers the feeling that doctors stand behind the President's health care plans.
In early July, following the very first month after Chrysler LLC emerged from bankruptcy, the Associated Press, in an unbylined report about changes in the company's board, saved this little nugget for the last of its eight paragraphs:
Chrysler's poor June performance also casts doubt on whether the U.S. government's $7 billion allocation will be enough to get the automaker through the U.S. sales slump, which is projected to last into next year.
Those doubts are growing. In a report on Chrysler's just-announced management shakeup, AP auto writers Tom Krisher and Dee-Ann Durbin began their report by ringing the alarm (bolds are mine):
With sales down sharply and pressure to start generating cash before government loans run out, Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne shook up his executive team Monday, replacing two of his brand managers after just four months and splitting Dodge into car and truck units.