[*] OBAMA: Please, everybody, have a seat. Let me first of all just thank Ken and the entire Department of the Interior staff for organizing just an extraordinary conference.
I want to thank my Cabinet members and senior administration officials who participated today. I hear that Dr. Joe Medicine Crow (ph) was around, and so I want to give a shout out to that Congressional Medal of Honor winner. It's good to see you.
Ah, the dangers of giving shout outs without a teleprompter. Crow is not a Medal of Honor recipient. As noted by the Congressional Medal of Honor Society:
The August Congressional Budget Office budget forecast for the fiscal year that began last month says that Uncle Sam will take in $2.264 trillion from October 2009 through September 2010. That's an increase of 7.6% over fiscal 2009's intake of $2.105 trillion.
Though it won't be official until Tim Geithner's crew releases its Monthly Treasury Statement next week, it's virtually certain that the government's collections will open the year in a deep hole compared to last year, and probably well behind what CBO expects.
Take a look at this compilation of key items from October's final Daily Treasury Statement, compared to the actual results from October 2008 and 2007:
Here's news you can virtually guarantee won't get noticed by what remains of the establishment media.
Whole Foods (WFMI) announced its financial results for the quarter ended September 30 yesterday. The quarter closed about 50 days after outraged leftists called for a boycott of the grocery chain to retaliate for a Wall Street Journal op-ed written by CEO John Mackey. In that column, Mackey identified "Eight things we can do to improve health care without adding to the deficit," asserting that:
The last thing our country needs is a massive new health care entitlement that will create hundreds of billions of dollars of new unfunded deficits and move us much closer to a government takeover of our health care system. Instead, we should be trying to achieve reforms by moving in the opposite direction — toward less government control and more individual empowerment.
Well, if there's so much support out there for statist health care, you would think that the Whole Foods boycott dedicated to punishing an opponent would have had a significant impact on the company's most recent quarterly results.
Well, it only took them the better part of a year to pick up on what yours truly first noted in early February (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), and what anyone with eyes has surely known for months. But the Associated Press has finally acknowledged it -- or at least it's the first time I've seen the wire service do so.
In the eighth paragraph of their article covering October's auto sales, AP reporters Tom Krisher and Dee-Ann Durbin recognized part of the reason -- and perhaps the most important reason -- why Ford has been cleaning the clocks of General Motors and Chrysler all year long:
Ford has benefited from consumer goodwill because it didn't take government bailout money or go into bankruptcy protection, as General Motors and Chrysler did.
Though October seems at first glance to have turned out somewhat differently than the first nine months of the year for Detroit's sort-of Big 3, that really isn't the case:
CNN’s Rick Sanchez omitted the left-wing ideology of an organization he cited as he lambasted North Carolina Representative Virginia Foxx on Tuesday’s Newsroom for her recent hyperbolic remarks against ObamaCare. Sanchez referenced a figure from the National Priorities Project, a think tank labeled “progressive” by CNN itself in 2007. He also left out some of the context of Rep. Foxx’s full remarks [video of the full segment available here].
The CNN anchor devoted an entire segment 37 minutes into the 3 pm Eastern hour to the North Carolina Republican’s speech on Monday against a health care “reform” bill sponsored by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Representative Foxx denounced the bill as “a tax increase bill masquerading as a health care bill,” and continued that Americans “have more to fear from the potential of that bill passing than we do from any terrorist right now in any country.”
Bloggers and their readers have "joked" about the New York Times being the official house organ of the Obama White House. Maybe it's not a joke.
Earlier this month (as seen at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), several bloggers caught the Times making significant changes to its initial coverage of Chicago's humiliating loss of its bid to host the 2016 Summer Olympics, and of President Obama's involvement in that loss. The first Times report by Peter Baker was fairly harsh, questioning the President's judgment in getting involved, while citing his slipping poll ratings.
After Times organ grinder -- er, reporter -- Jeff Zeleny got a hold of the story, most of the harshness went away, as did Baker's original story. All of a sudden, at the same URL, there was no reference to tarnished presidential prestige. A dismissive assertion that the embarrassment "would fade in a news cycle or two" appeared. There was also a mention of Obama's 25-minute meeting with Afghanistan General Stanley McChrystal that was not in the original. The reference to falling poll numbers also disappeared.
Well, the Times has just pulled a similar stunt in its coverage of President Obama's Wednesday night/Thursday morning visit to Dover Air Force Base. Once again, Jeff Zeleny is involved.
We're just going to have to get used the fact that we're long past the point where we should expect dignity and stick-to-the-facts restraint from this White House. Going after its critics is something the previous Bush 43 administration should have done more, but on the rare occasions when it did, it conducted itself and framed its language appropriately.
Such is clearly not the case with the current bunch, which more and more looks like a collection of thin-skinned crybabies than the occupiers of the highest administrative perch in the land.
One of the latest examples comes from Macon Phillips at the White House blog. In a post that, except for the presence of expletives, reads more like something you might find at a far-left blog than as a thoughtful riposte, Phillips chooses to go after Edmunds.com, a leading car information and valuation site, for daring to claim, as noted yesterday by NewsBuster Julie Seymour, that the government spent about $24,000 for each incremental Cash for Clunkers sale while the program was in place.
Here are some excerpts from Phillips's 12:20 p.m. October 29 post, including one assertion (bolded by me near the end) that he should have known better than to have made:
CNN’s Campbell Brown was quick to point out the apparent biases of competitors MSNBC and Fox News during her program on Wednesday, but ignored that of her own network as she tried to portray it as unbiased: “Some of us, like my colleagues here at CNN, are still trying to do journalism....I’m not critical of what my friends at Fox News and MSNBC do, but it is apples and oranges when compared to what we at CNN do.”
Brown concluded the 8 pm Eastern hour with remarks initially directed against the Obama administration for its campaign against Fox News. The CNN anchor thought it was “silly” for the White House to go after the 24-hour news network: “I mean, really, the White House is only just now figuring out Fox in prime-time has a conservative bias? Really? I think our friends at Fox News have been pretty up-front about it, and frankly, pretty unapologetic, for that matter. What confuses me is that if the White House is really so concerned about bias in the media, then why are they only targeting Fox?”
Update [Ken Shepherd, managing editor]: Scarborough responds via Twitter, insisting he was joking [see more at bottom of post]. Video embedded to the right.
Joe Biden is the "greatest Vice President of our time."
No, dear reader, I have not lost my marbles. I'm merely citing MSNBC's token quasi-conservative Joe Scarborough, who said on this morning's edition of "Morning Joe":
We understand that Joe Biden's numbers are going down, which I think is just stupid because all he has done is – I mean, he's become, in a couple of short months, the greatest vice president of our time.
Not content to allow his credibility to go down in flames alone, Joe took the rest of the Brew Crew with him:
In late September, Florida Congressional Democrat Alan Grayson earned attention and apparently fawning support from the far left by describing the Republican Party's health care plan, as "1. Don't get sick; 2. And if you do get sick, 3. die quickly."
Grayson's supposed apology for these over-the-top remarks on the House Floor -- remarks that would surely have earned him censure and relentless media coverage had he been a Republican criticizing a Democrat -- consisted of saying, as paraphrased by Clay Waters of NewsBusters, that his "remorse was not for Republicans, rather for the dead .... comparing the existing health care system to the Holocaust."
Little did we know that in September, Grayson made himself a House ogre with his floor remarks, he hurled a grievously sexist and offensive insult at a senior Federal Reserve adviser. Wait until you see what he called Linda Robertson on the apparently syndicated but apparently lightly heeded Alex Jones show (relevant audio begins at about 0:35 of the 1:43 YouTube video; Warning - Objectionable language follows):
Nearly everyone now knows of the reform whirlwind kicked up by the Dynamic Duo of Hannah Giles and James O'Keefe - with a big follow-up assist from BigGovernment.com impresario Andrew Breitbart.
Unless of course you rely solely on the Jurassic Press - the traditional media - for your information. If so, you may to this day remain blissfully ignorant - of this and a whole host of other important stories.
In each instance, the two spun continually wilder tales of home purchase for use as a brothel, not just for Giles but for a group of underage Central American girls the two intended to illegally smuggle into the country.
In every instance, ACORN officials were more than happy to assist with every aspect of their illegal and immoral endeavors, often in creatively evasive ways.
Do you want the public option that could make health insurance more competitive and cheaper, because it's looking like we may get it in some form at this point. Here's who else is going to be speaking in just a little bit, Senator Harry Reid is about to announce his position on this. I asked you this same question, by the way, a little while ago. How you felt about public option. You know, I've got to tell you, the numbers seem to show right now, it's about 61 percent in favor.
That 61 percent figure came from a recent CNN poll. He could have, but didn't, cite another poll, one mentioned recently in The Hill:
Polling experts, however, have documented that many people don’t know what a public option is, and that small changes in language can cause poll results to vary widely. An August poll by Penn, Schoen and Berland Associates showed that only 37 percent of those polled correctly identified the public option from a list of three choices.
Either LA Times op-ed writer Peter Dreier lives in a cave, or he's all too willing to spread falsehoods to defend an organization where he once served as a consultant. Perhaps it's a little of both.
In that Thursday op-ed ("The war on ACORN; Conservatives are distorting and playing up the community organizing group's so-called scandals"), Dreier parroted ACORN CEO's now-discredited claims that "not a single person who signed a phony name on a registration form ever actually voted," and that undercover filmmakers James O'Keefe and Hannah Giles were only able to get help from two ACORN offices in starting up their proposed prostitution enterprises involving the importation of immigrant girls.
In running Dreier's op-ed, the Times miscalculated at least twice:
First, the paper failed to disclose Dreier's past relationship with ACORN as a consultant, something that is right there in his Occidental College bio, and that readers had a right to know.
Second, the Times somehow thought Dreier's propaganda would get past LA blogger and certified Times nemesis Patterico aka Patrick Frey. That was the far more serious blunder.
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.