Who knew that two brave twenty-somethings and a skilled mentor constituted America's entire right wing?
That's apparently how Ian Urbina at the New York Times sees it. In a subheadline employed in a front-page article in the paper's March 20 print edition (relevant portion shown at right) but not used in the online edition's version, the reporter told readers that the poor, put-upon Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) is on the brink of bankruptcy because it was "ATTACKED BY" the streamrolling monolith known at "THE RIGHT" (cue the scare music and the blood-curdling scream).
Actually, it was filmmaker James O'Keefe, his investigative partner Hannah Giles, and Andrew Breitbart, the pair's take-no-prisoners mentor. Three people, hardly "the right wing," basically did it all. What followed -- the de-fundings, the abandonments by former political and corporate friends, and now apparently its imminent financial demise -- was largely inevitable fallout from a brilliantly conceived series of stings followed by a savvily managed exposure campaign that ultimately forced holdout establishment media publications, including the Times itself, to play catch-up after days of embarrassing unprofessional silence.
Obviously, that's not how Urbina sees it, occasionally with barely concealed bitterness (bolds are mine throughout this post):
In a Friday piece of presidential protection prose promulgated by the Associated Press, writer Erica Werner correctly identified a number of significant "unfulfilled commitments" relating to proposed health care legislation, and then attempted to make excuses for why they didn't happen.
Werner's work was conveniently accompanied by a heavily downplaying headline -- "Final health bill omits some of Obama's promises" -- while her rundown of the specifics in reality ended up being "all but two":
It was a bold response to skyrocketing health insurance premiums. President Barack Obama would give federal authorities the power to block unreasonable rate hikes.
Yet when Democrats unveiled the final, incarnation of their health care bill this week, the proposal was nowhere to be found.
Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-NY, for one, does not want blood on his hands from 45,000 Americans who allegedly die every year due to lack of health insurance. And MSNBC's Alex Witt, for one, doesn't think it worth questioning the veracity of that number.
"There are a lot of problems I have with the bill, primarily it doesn't go far enough. I really wish we had the public option in this bill," Nadler said in a March 18 interview on MSNBC.
"There are some other problems with it but bottom line - bottom line - the Harvard Medical School study tells us that 45,000 American per year die for lack of access to health insurance," Nadler said. "A ‘No' vote on this bill is a vote to kill 45,000 American a year. A ‘Yes' vote is a vote to save their lives - everything else is secondary."
What had Lamb troubled was that the American public's concern for global warming is at its lowest level years. According to a new Rasmussen poll, just 28 percent of Americans think it's a serious problem. To Lamb and the scientists he interviewed, that means the message isn't getting through, and scientists must look to new means of publicizing their work.
"The importance of getting the word out has science organizations scrambling to explore news channels, from souped up websites to asking Hollywood for help," he wrote.
"One effort ... will recruit Hollywood to help scientists tell their stories. NAS (National Academy of Sciences) and the University of Southern California will team up to draw on USC's expertise in film, TV, websites, and video games. The partnership will be the first between a federal agency and a film school."
But have the media completely dropped the ball and that is allowing those in power to circumvent constitutional process? According to Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., they have. She had some harsh words for the fourth estate on conservative talker Sean Hannity's March 16 radio show. (h/t Kevin Eder)
"Well yeah and the other thing is treason media," Bachmann said. "Where is the mainstream media in all of this not telling this story? This is a compelling story - that the Speaker of the House would even consider having us pass a bill that no one votes on?"
"He dug into the idiocy and negligence that produced the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression," Steve Kroft opened a segment of the March 14 CBS "60 Minutes," featuring author Michael Lewis' latest work - "The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine."
If Lewis "dug into the idiocy and negligence," he did so selectively - or that's what viewers could conclude from the long "60 Minutes" report, which concerned itself with how "some of Wall Street's smartest minds managed to destroy $1.75 trillion of wealth in the sub-prime mortgage markets." Somehow, in a 24-minute report about the sub-prime mortgage meltdown, nobody ever said where all the bad loans originated.
Lewis told Kroft that the financial crisis was "a story of mass delusion."
"How can they not look at the numbers?" Kroft asked. "How can Wall Street be selling all these, buying all of these mortgages and repackaging them and not realizing they are not very good mortgages?"
The Associated Press's timing couldn't have been better for those who still want to pretend that Social Security is really not in serious trouble. Stephen Ohlemacher's item ("Social Security to start cashing Uncle Sam's IOUs") originally appeared on Sunday, in the midst of most of the major college basketball conference tournament championships, then followed by the evening's announcement of the selections for the NCAA Division I Men's basketball tournament. (The AP has issued minor revisions several times since its original appearance, up to and including today.)
The wire service's timing, while convenient for the Washington establishment, as it minimizes the possibility of distractions from its statist health care obsession, couldn't have been worse for those of us who wish the American people would get a grip on the gravity of the situation -- which is why I saved this post for today.
What is about to occur is the event that as little as a year ago, according to the Social Security Trustees' 2009 Report, wasn't expected to arrive until 2016. Ohlemacher tells us that it's right here, right now, and gets the reporting right until his seventh paragraph (bolds are mine):
Seven of the eight Marines charged in the alleged "massacre" of 24 civilians in the Iraqi town of Haditha in 2005 have been acquitted or had their charges dismissed. Yet the cover of the New York Times's Sunday Book Review is splattered with the charge that Marines at Haditha committed a "crime."
Of all the crimes that sullied the record of the United States military in Iraq -- the torture of prisoners at Abu Ghraib, the killings of 24 Iraqi men, women and children by Marines in November 2005 in Haditha -- the murder of an entire Iraqi family in the village of Yusufiya may rank as the most chilling.
The Associated Press seems to have two unwritten rules on how and when to write stories about leftist controversies and setbacks:
Rule Number 1 -- Do little or nothing with the story until you can figure out a way to make center-right critics or victors look like the bad guys.
Rule Number 2 -- If you're thinking about covering the story any other way, refer to Rule Number 1.
On Thursday, the 1851 Center for Constitutional Law in Columbus, Ohio, which describes itself as "an independent legal center dedicated to protecting the constitutional rights of Ohioans from government abuse," announced a significant legal victory for Buckeye State residents interested in clean elections:
The 1851 Center for Constitutional Law achieved victory in its state RICO action against the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN). ACORN has agreed to settle the case and will cease all Ohio activity as a result. In its settlement with the 1851 Center, ACORN agreed to surrender all of its Ohio business licenses by June 1, 2010. Further, the organization cannot support or enable any individual or organization that seeks to engage in the same type of activity.
That seems like a pretty clear-cut result, doesn't it? Not if you're the Associated Press's JoAnne Viviano, whose brief item on Saturday followed the rules above, fabricated a supposed loophole in the settlement, and gave an unnamed spokesman an open mic to despicably play the race card:
Two reports linked by Instapundit earlier today demonstrate at a macro and micro level how weak the claim that Toyota has deliberately jeopardized consumer safety in connection with "sudden acceleration" complaints may ultimately turn out to be.
The macro piece comes from Megan McArdle (pictured at left; "How Real are the Defects in Toyota's Cars?") at her blog at the Atlantic. The magazine's business and economics editor dissected case-by-case detail originally compiled by the Los Angeles Times, which was also analyzed to an extent by Washington Examiner op-ed writer and Overlawyered blogger Ted Frank, to make important points about the likelihood of driver error in many of them.
The micro item comes from Michael Fumento, whose Forbes column takes apart the recent James Sikes "sudden acceleration" incident in California as it rips the establishment media for its total lack of skepticism about the driver's claims and his credibility.
First, to McArdle, who also has nicely done graphs at her post:
Yesterday, Jim Taranto at the Wall Street Journal's indispensable Best of the Web took note of a report by the Washington Post's V. Dion Hayes about the state of the employment market in DC, Maryland, and Virginia, and summarized its findings thusly:
So what looks to the Post like good news that looks like bad news is actually bad news that looks like good news.
Even that assessment turns out to have been overly charitable. Hayes, like most of the press, betrayed that he doesn't understand the crucial difference between raw and seasonally adjusted data by mixing the concepts (perhaps without even realizing it), failed to look at data from previous years, and ended up producing an incoherent report with no supportable conclusions.
The following table identifies all relevant changes in the three employment markets between December and January (sources -- Bureau of Labor Statistics state and selected areas tables 3, 4, 5, and 6 for January):
"Sponsors of those [sic] Stars on Ice figure skating tour apparently think that Olympian Johnny Weir is too flamboyant for their show. Weir reportedly prohibited from participating because he is not, quote, 'family friendly,'" MSNBC's Dylan Ratigan complained shortly before 5 p.m. on his MSNBC program today, citing a report by a blog published by GLAAD [the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation].
Ratigan griped that despite Weir's athletic credentials and well-known support of his family -- he's financing his brother's college education and supporting his father, who is unable to work due to a disability -- that the sponsors of the show, including Smucker's, "apparently... don't view supporting your family as family-friendly."
Ratigan then noted an online petition circulating to include Weir in the tour, but failed to include any reply from Stars on Ice, although just a few minutes before Ratigan went on the air, at least one news source had noted that Stars on Ice denied GLAAD's allegation.
Gay/lesbian publication MetroWeekly.com's Chris Geidner published the following to the Web at 4:38 p.m. EST, about 13 minutes before Ratigan went on air to further GLAAD's complaint on air (emphases mine):
NBC's "Today" gave backhanded praise to Bank of America (BofA) on March 11 because of its decision to stop charging overdraft fees for debit-card transactions.
"This is clearly an effort by Bank of America to repair its battered image," senior investigative correspondent Lisa Myers said. "But it's also a meaningful step that will save consumers money and keep families from spending more than they have."
The NBC report maintained the media theme that such fees are "abusive" by including Leslie Parrish of the Center for Responsible Lending (CRL) who said, "We highly commend Bank of America for getting rid of this abusive practice." CRL is a liberal group funded by far-left wingers like George Soros and Herb and Marion Sandler, according to ActivistCash.
While Myers acknowledged that BofA was "getting ahead" of "new federal rules," she didn't warn viewers about the negative implications of that legislation.
CNN.com has an article on its website extolling the virtues of the Coffee Party. The glowing language the piece uses to describe the movement stands in stark contrast to the cable network's treatment of Tea Party groups over the past year.
It is plain now that CNN harbors no such ill will towards the Coffee Party, which reporter Jessica Ravitch described as just a bunch of everyday Americans gathering to express their dissatisfaction with the political status quo (gee, that sounds a lot like the Tea Party movement, but I digress).
Three years ago, Steve Skvara won the admiration of many in the mainstream media by basically calling for taxpayers to foot his wife’s health insurance. Now he's ba-a-ack! No longer hailed by Chris Matthews or People's Weekly World, he still manages favorable, unquestioning coverage. Today's nwi.com Web site, which bills itself as "the largest and most trusted media company in northern Indiana," carries the article "Health care spark gets a checkup." Written by editorial page editor Doug Ross, the piece starts:
In December, Steve Skvara of Union Township was hospitalized at Northwestern Memorial Hospital for 28 hours in hopes of a clean bill of health. He emerged with a bill for $96,000.
It was pleasant, he said, to have a waiter in a tux deliver his meal, but was that really necessary?
His experience is relevant because it was Skvara who lighted the fuse on the health care debate in which the nation is now embroiled.
It was on Aug. 7, 2007, that Skvara asked the seven Democratic presidential candidates what they would do to get health care to "the woman I love." Skvara explained that he lost much of his pension when LTV collapsed, and he was forced to sit across from his wife at the kitchen table, knowing he couldn't afford her health care.
One thing you can say about the Apparatchik Press -- er, the Associated Press -- is that it's leaving no stone unturned in its attempt to prop up their guy Barack Obama.
In the tenth paragraph of an AP report today by Ben Feller on President Obama's stack of priorities ("For Obama, big agenda and small window for results"), the wire service's Ben Feller bitterly clings to an AP-GfK Roper poll result that is sharply at variance with others, and assumes that it gives Obama a level of clout that doesn't exist outside the grounds of the White House:
Obama has a key edge in setting the agenda: public approval. His job-performance rating is holding mainly steady at 53 percent, while a new Associated Press-GfK poll finds that fewer people approve of Congress - a mere 22 percent - than at any point in Obama's presidency.
Well, of course his approval is 53% in AP-GfK la-la land. The poll's sample, as you can see at the top right (found at Page 31 of the 42-page PDF, consisted of 33% declared Democrats and 23% declared Republicans.
Buried in a recent New York Times profile of senior White House advisor David Axelrod was this nugget of information: he used to be a reporter with the Chicago Tribune.
The fact is hardly a secret -- the White House notes Axelrod's brief stint at the Tribune on its website. But that bit of information was an interesting element of a predictably laudatory profile. One of President Obama's chief message-men was a political reporter for a major newspaper. Who knows better how to address journalists than a former journalist?
For its part, the Times skipped over any discussion of the significance of Axelrod's experience in journalism. The paper simply noted his former position in passing.
CNN's Jim Acosta omitted the left-wing affiliation of pro-ObamaCare protesters during a report on Wednesday's American Morning, referring to them as only "health care advocates and labor groups." Acosta, like his colleague Nancy Cordes at CBS, also highlighted child protester Marcelas Owens, and labeled him a "brave young man."
Kiran Chetry and John Roberts introduced Acosta's report, and the anchors also failed to mention the political bent of the protest, which was organized by the Health Care for America Now coalition (HCAN's members include the AFL-CIO, NAACP, and Planned Parenthood). Chetry remarked that "thousands though rallied in Washington against what they call 'insurance industry bullying.'" Roberts stated that the demonstration was "one for the books."
"You know, do I hope that those people die screaming of rectal cancer? Yeah, you know, but I’m not going to spend a lot of energy on it." – Sean Penn (when addressing his detractors)
No, I’m not making it up, you can even view the video here. O’Reilly, feel free to examine his body language, though to be fair, there isn’t much of a body to work with. For those too lazy to watch the video, let me recap it for you: **Spoiler alert!** Sean Penn has decided to take the life-plunge and go full-retard. Honestly, I don’t even know what to say anymore. Clearly, his statement was made in the poorest taste possible. Even more appalling however, is that the media doesn’t seem upset about these remarks in the slightest.
Is it just me, or do the “outrageous” quotes from Limbaugh, Coulter, and Beck that send the mainstream-media into a tizzy pale in comparison to the vitriolic hatred of Penn?
The New York Times published a scathing editorial Sunday condemning Americans who have the audacity to request that attorneys who represented terrorists not set national legal policy. The Times smeared them and their elected representatives as McCarthyites, and criticized them for noting that colossal conflict of interest.
"It is not the first time that the right has tried to distract Americans from the real issues surrounding detention policy by attacking lawyers," the Times states of controversy over Attorney General Eric Holder's reluctance to inform Congress who in the Justice Department has represented alleged terrorists, and in what capacity are they now serving.
But the left has done just that -- use nominees' records as means to block their appointments -- and the Times hasn't complained. So why the sudden outrage? Well, the paper's liberal editorial board doesn't mind when the left attacks. But when conservatives demand answers, they are evil McCarthyites on a political witch hunt.
CNN's Kate Bolduan aired a slanted report on Catholic Charities of Washington's decision to no longer offer benefits to spouses of new employees on Saturday's Newsroom, playing four sound bites from proponents of same-sex "marriage" and none from opponents. Bolduan also omitted the liberal affiliation of one of the homosexual "marriage" advocates.
During the report, which first aired 11 minutes into the 10 pm Eastern hour (and reran during the 1 pm Eastern hour on Monday), the correspondent noted how homosexual couples could get their civil marriage licenses in DC starting on Tuesday, and that there was "controversial fallout" from the move: "Catholic Charities, the social services arm of the Archdiocese of Washington, just announced it will no longer offer health benefits to spouses of any new employees or current employees who aren't already covered under its plan. As a result, the nonprofit is effectively avoiding having to give benefits to same-sex partners, keeping with the Church's opposition to same-sex marriage."
Scher railed against the Bush tax cuts, and asserted that a 35-45 percent inheritance penalty (the estate tax or death tax) isn't punitive enough to stem the deficit crisis.
"But those massive tax breaks to the superwealthy don't quite have the same juice they used to. Especially, the estate tax - levied on the inheritances of the wealthiest heirs in America," Scher wrote. "This year, because of the Bush tax plan from his first term to gradually phase out the estate tax altogether, the estate tax is literally wiped off the books."
A Monday New York Times story by Stephanie Clifford gave one cheer to the National Enquirer tabloid for its work on breaking the news of former Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards's affair with Rielle Hunter, and their child. It was a story the Enquirer pursued almost alone and which could earn it an unprecedented Pulitzer: "From Rumor to a Hint of Respect."
But the excuses Clifford forwarded on behalf of the rest of the media were unconvincing, especially regarding the Times's own steadfast silence on the burgeoning scandal.
By being the first and, largely, the only publication pursuing the Edwards story through his denials of the affair and of fathering a child out of wedlock, The Enquirer is under consideration for a Pulitzer Prize, and it has strong support for its bid from other journalists. The success has Mr. Levine considering opening a Washington bureau to look for more dirt among politicians.
The Washington Post must dislike tax cuts even more than it likes President Barack Obama. On March 6, staff writer Lori Montgomery warned that the national debt would climb by $9.7 trillion under Obama’s budget.
Relying on the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) for data, Montgomery reported that the debt would be "higher than White House forecast" but not because of spending increases by Obama. Instead, she used the CBO to attack Obama's "tax-cutting agenda" continuing a media theme of portraying him as fiscally conservative despite the largest budget ever.
"Proposed tax cuts for the middle class account for nearly a third of the ($9.7 trillion) shortfall," Montgomery wrote. Her one-sided article relied solely upon the CBO and its director Douglas W. Elmendorf.
[Update, 10:48 pm Eastern: Audio & video clips added.]
On Monday's Newsroom, CNN's Kyra Phillips sympathetically interviewed a woman who unapologetically Tweeted her chemically-induced abortion as it happened. Instead of offering the pro-life viewpoint, Phillips lamented how her guest received "e-mails and the responses [which] were so brutal." The anchor later admitted that she "didn't want to get into a debate about abortion" [audio clip available here].
During the interview, Phillips tossed softball questions at blogger Angie Jackson, who is known on Twitter as "antitheistangie," or "Angie the Anti-Theist" on her blog (Phillips didn't mention her guest's political or philosophical outlook during the entire segment). After playing a clip of Jackson from YouTube.com, Phillips first asked, "So, Angie- you know, did it take a while to come to a comfort zone, that you wanted to do this? Tell me how you eventually decided, this is how I'm going to do it and I'm going to let everybody see it happen."
It's bad enough that the Obama administration ("Obama administration encouraged by steady unemployment rate") and Harry Reid (see video snippet at link) both tried to pretend that February's Employment Situation Report issued by Uncle Sam's Bureau of Labor Statistics, which showed that the official unemployment rate was the same as January's 9.7% and that 36,000 seasonally adjusted jobs had been lost, was somehow a reason to be upbeat.
As many have pointed out for months, the expanded version of the unemployment rate has been well above 15% for quite a long time, and it at least occasionally gets referenced in media reports and political pronouncements.
But on the jobs added/lost front, what the press, pundits, and even opposition politicians are continuing to ignore is the key information that leads to the "seasonally adjusted" figure on which everyone seems to fixate -- to the point where it's not unreasonable to believe that almost everyone in America believes that 36,000 jobs lost is what really occurred during the month.
It isn't. Acknowledging that, and seeing what really did happen, is key to understanding that February's result really reflected a significant deterioration in the employment situation, not an improvement.
Former Birmingham, Alabama mayor Larry Langford (pictured at right in AP photo), who is a Democrat, was sentenced to 15 years in prison on Friday for bribery.
In reporting the story, Reuters did what a competent wire service should do, informing readers of Langford's party affiliation early on:
The former mayor of Alabama's largest city, Birmingham, was sentenced on Friday for his role in corrupt bond deals that threaten to mushroom into a massive U.S. bankruptcy case.
Larry Langford, a 63-year-old Democrat, was sentenced to 15 years in prison. Prosecutors had sought a term of at least 24 years after Langford's conviction on an array of fraud and bribery charges last year.
As has sadly come to be expected, the same cannot be said for the Associated Press. Though it eventually got around to identifying two associates of Langford as "former Democratic Party" officials, it avoided tagging Langford. In the process, the wire service may have set a "Name That Party" record for most felony convictions (60) handed to a politician whose party affiliation was never identified.
Beyond that, it appears that no establishment media outlet has raised a few self-evident points made in a Wednesday Wall Street Journal editorial, proving yet again that the paper's editorials are as much a real news source as they are a rundown of the editorialists' particular take on things.
The critical points of the editorial (link may require subscription, and will probably not be available in a few weeks) are these:
Bunning was trying to do in practice what Nancy and Pelosi, Harry Reid and President Obama are fond of only talking about (Clay Waters also made this point in one of those NewsBusters posts).
The outrage is the result of substance-free political gamesmanship.
(Tea Partiers take note) Many of Bunning's fellow party members headed for the tall grass when the media heat commenced.
What follows are the Journal excerpts that make those points (bolds are mine):