It would appear that if you're an op-ed columnist at the New York Times, you can make up just about any outrageous claim and not get called on it by anyone responsible (if there is such a thing) at the Old Gray Lady.
The column in question, Joseph P. Kennedy II's "The High Cost of Gambling on Oil," goes back two weeks to April 10, but deserves a closer look for two reasons. First Kennedy, who wants to see "pure" speculation by those who are not actual industry participants completely banned (confirmed in the item's browser window title), claimed that oil "extraction" costs "average $11 a barrel worldwide." Second, Kennedy's concluding bio gives the impression that he is an energy industry mogul and not in fact the head of "a non-profit organization that primarily aids the poor in the United States and throughout the world ..." First, here is Kennedy's extraction cost claim (bolds are mine throughout this post):
There are a few Democrats in Vicki Smith's coverage at the Associated Press, aka the Adminsitration's Press, of the fraud investigation of former Mine Safety and Health Administration Director J. Davitt McAteer. As is AP's derelict custom in cases where Dems are involved in scandal or corruption, the party affiliation of those Democrats isn't mentioned.
The first Democrat is McAteer himself, who, based on a review of Federal Election Commission records, given roughly $1,900 to various Democratic Party candidates and causes during the past 13 years, including contributions to the party's presidential nominees in 2000, 2004, and 2008. Then there's West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin, who was previously the state's governor. Finally, although the AP gets a pass for this (it's Sunday, and we're in a forgiving mood), the name and administration of Democrat Bill Clinton, the guy McAteer worked for when he headed MSHA, never comes up. Excerpts from Ms. Smith's party ID-free report follow:
Jury selection in the trial of two-time Democratic Party presidential candidate and John Kerry's Democratic Party running mate in the 2004 election John Edwards began on Thursday. In the related five-paragraph Associated Press story, Michael Biesecker actually identified Edwards as a Democrat in his fourth of his five paragraphs.
That's not a stellar performance (a Republican or conservative in the kind of trouble Edwards is in would have his or her party identified in either the headline, the first paragraph, or both), but at least the party label is present. As blogger extraordinaire Doug Ross noted earlier this evening, in an 1,800-word item at the Atlantic on Wednesday ("Why the John Edwards Trial Is a Bigger Deal Than You Think"), author and undisclosed former Democratic candidate for statewide office Hampton Dellinger failed to name Edwards's party at all, while figuring out a way to tag something or someone "Republican" five times. Here are the opportunities studiously avoided in his treatise only relating to variations on the word "president" (bolded by me):
Well, the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, apparently has Missouri Democratic Congressman and Congressional Black Caucus Chairman Emanuel Cleaver's back. As of 2:40 p.m., there is no national story relevant to Cleaver's unpaid $1 million-plus loan at the wire service's national site, even though information published by the Kansas City Star late Friday evening (interesting timing; HT to KC Star's David Helling, who later informed me that the story made Page A-1 of the Star's Saturday print edition, while the original received the same placement on Friday) indicates that taxpayers could be out up to $1.1 million because the Small Business Administration-backed a loan to Cleaver's car wash business back in 2002 which is has been seriously delinquent for years. The Bank has sued for repayment.
There is an unbylined local AP story which appears to have been published shortly after midnight on Monday (shown in full because of its brevity and for fair use and discussion purposes):
The KC Star didn't exactly provide exemplary coverage in its report. One would think from reading the story's headline and first two paragraphs that Bank of America and the congressman are having some kind of difficult conversation. In paragraph 3, we finally learn that there really is a lawsuit involved. It took the Star seven paragraphs to indicate that taxpayers may be on the hook and eight paragraphs to tag Cleaver as a Dem (impact-minimizing words in bold):
That the Associated Press gives stories about corrupt and scandalous politicians disparate treatment depending on their party affiliation is not exactly breaking news. But it's ordinarily difficult to point to situations involving fairly similar sets of facts occurring at roughly the same time which make the disparity between the wire service's treatment of Republicans and Democrats so obvious.
A largely analogous pair of stories out of Pennsylvania during the past two weeks involves Republican State Senator Jane Orie and former Democratic State Senate leader Robert Mellow. If anything, Mellow's guilty plea to "conspiracy to commit mail fraud and to filing a false income tax return" should be more worthy of national-story treatment by AP because of his former leadership position. But in fact, it appears that the opposite has happened. The story about Orie's conviction is on the national wire, complete with "GOP" in the headline. Mellow's guilty plea is a local story which I did not find at the AP's national site in a search on his name, with no Dem ID in the headline (both have their parties ID'd early in their related stories). Here are the first four paragraphs from Monday night's national story on Orie by Joe Mandak and Kevin Begos:
Has the New York Times Business section gone soft on former New Jersey Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine, now under the scandal spotlight for his service as chief executive of the failed financial services firm MF Global?
Saturday's Business Day story by Azam Ahmed and Ben Protess buried intriguing details that reflect suspiciously on Corzine under the bland headline, "Congressional Memo Sheds New Light on MF Global." The paper didn't even identify the scandal-plagued former governor as a Democrat.
An item filed at the Hill on Friday afternoon by Peter Schroeder tells us that Bloomberg News was the first organization to report the latest development relating to former New Jersey Democratic Governor and Senator Jon Corzine. Bloomberg's report, via Phil Mattingly and Silla Brush, reveals that Corzine, who was CEO at the now-bankrupt MF Global Holdings until November, "gave 'direct instructions' to transfer $200 million from a customer fund account to meet an overdraft in a brokerage account with JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM), according to a memo written by congressional investigators." That would be an MF brokerage account, meaning that customer money was used to cover company losses. If the memo reflects what really happened, Corzine committed a crime -- either by committing perjury in his congressional testimony several months, in ordering the transfer itself, or both.
Bloomberg's report identifies Corzine as a Democrat in its fourteenth paragraph. But at least Bloomberg did so. That did not occur in reports at the Associated Press, United Press International, MarketWatch.com, CNBC. The Hill's Schroeder did tag Corzine as a Dem. Here are several paragraphs from Bloomberg's report (bolds are mine):
Maybe there's some unwritten guideline in the press relating to when a politician who is no longer holding office doesn't have to have his party label applied if he gets into some kind of trouble -- even if that trouble is related to when he was in office.
The suspicion here is that the rule only applies to past Democratic Party officeholders, and that the guideline period is unduly short. A recent example is former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, a Democrat who is under investigation for bribery and kickbacks. Both the Associated Press and Reuters failed to tag Nagin or any other Democrat in their related reports; the AP report called him a "moderate."
In his pre-Super Bowl interview with Matt Lauer on Sunday, President Obama was asked the following question about Iran in light of the heightening tensions over its nuclear program and the possibility of an Israeli air strike: "(In repsonse) Do you fear that they will wage attacks within the United States on American soil?" Obama responded as follows: "We don't see any evidence that they have those intentions or capabilities right now."
Really? The President's statement directly goes against statements made recently by other government officials, up to and including Attorney General Eric Holder. Lauer, who is paid to look good while delivering the news and conducting interviews but not necessarily to deliver on substance, especially if it might disturb the American people before the Big Game, totally missed the contradiction. Fortunately, Ed Lasky at American Thinker didn't (internal links added by me):
On Monday I noted how Washington Post staff writer Greg Miller failed to report that alleged top-secret information leaker John Kiriakou was employed from 2009 to 2011 as an investigator on the Foreign Relations Committee for Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.).
Tuesday’s New York Times provided two more entries to the paper’s already-bulging “Name that Party” file, wherein the paper leaves off the party affiliation of Democrats who find themselves in legal or ethical trouble, yet readily names controversial Republicans.
Former CIA agent John Kiriakou has been charged today with "repeatedly leaking classified information to journalists as well as violating the federal law that forbids disclosing the identity of covert intelligence officers," NBC News's Michael Isikoff reported earlier today. Isikoff noted in the second paragraph of his report that Kiriakou "between 2009 and last year worked as an investigator for Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee."
This morning, P.J. Gladnick at NewsBusters pointed to how the Des Moines Register avoided identifying the employer of a "prominent member of a well known Democrat campaign consulting firm" who was also a "former Obama campaign staffer" until the firm, LINK Strategies, had a chance to fire him. Once Zachary Edwards was shown the door, it it became a "safe" story to cover, whereupon the Register ran the story as "Political consultants quickly fire arrested man." But of course.
Though the story of Edwards's arrest in connection with an attempt to steal Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz's identity is nationally newsworthy, it appears that the Associated Press has not yet covered it that way, while avoiding the damning details in its local/regional story.
In the annals of fawning coverage of scandal-plagued Democrats, Michael Biesecker's Saturday morning report on John Edwards's illness and its effect on his upcoming trail on campaign finance violations surely must be among the worst.
Biesecker missed at least a half-dozen natural opportunities to tag Edwards as a Democrat, finally doing so in cryptic fashion in his 15th of 17 paragraphs. He didn't identify Edwards as the 2004 vice-presidential candidate until that same paragraph, and in doing so named who was at the top of the GOP ticket (George W. Bush) without naming who was at the top of the Dems' (John Kerry). The AP reporter threw obsequious virtual kisses at a man who betrayed his terminally ill wife while omitting two clearly relevant recent reports, one from an outlet which has scooped the look-the-other-way establishment press time after time in this sad, four-year saga. Here are several paragraphs from Biescecker's blather (some of the many clear opportunities to tag Edwards as a Dem and examples of over-the-top fawning are bolded):
NPR's Yuki Noguchi and Lynn Neary completely omitted Jon Corzine's Democratic affiliation on Thursday's All Things Considered, while mentioning practically every other prominent occupation he has held- Goldman Sachs CEO, senator, governor, even "multimillionaire." On the other hand, Noguchi gave the Republican party ID of two representatives who questioned Corzine at a recent hearing.
Neary outlined in her introduction for Noguchi's report that "former Senator Jon Corzine returned to Congress...Corzine was once CEO of the most successful bank on Wall Street. He left Goldman Sachs for the Senate, then was elected governor of New Jersey." The correspondent soon added that "until late October, Corzine was the CEO of MF Global."
As the three broadcast network evening newscasts on Thursday reported former New Jersey Democratic Senator Jon Corzine's testimony before Congress on the billion dollars in investor money that went missing from the financial firm he once headed, only the NBC Nightly News took the time to label him as a Democrat.
ABC, NBC, and CBS all reported on former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich receiving a 14-year prison sentence for corruption on their evening news programs on Wednesday and their morning shows on Thursday, but only CBS's Early Show gave his Democratic affiliation. ABC devoted only 3 news briefs total to the conviction, while NBC Nightly News and The Early Show aired full reports.
News anchor Jeff Glor introduced correspondent Michelle Miller's report on the CBS morning program at the bottom of the 7 am Eastern hour by stating that "Rod Blagojevich is paying a very high price for corruption. Is it too high? In Chicago Wednesday, a judge sentenced the former Illinois governor to 14 years in prison"
Former New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine (D) will testify to a House panel today regarding the MF Global scandal that he "simply do[es] not know where the money is, or why the accounts have not been reconciled to date," reports Associated Press's Marcy Gordon.
Gordon eventually got around to mentioning Corzine's party affiliation, in paragraph 11 out of her 12-paragraph story:
Wednesday afternoon, Matthew Balan at NewsBusters noted that two of the three network morning shows failed to mention disgraced former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich's Democratic Party affiliation.
Not that it's an excuse, but what was probably their primary raw material, namely three Tuesday reports from the Associated Press, completely failed to tag Blago as a Democrat, specifically the following (idea HT to NB commenter "trak65"):
The Big Three network morning shows on Wednesday highlighted the upcoming sentencing of former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, but only CBS's Early Show identified the disgraced politician as a Democrat and devoted a full segment to him. ABC's Good Morning America and NBC's Today omitted his party ID, and just gave news briefs on the convict's possible sentence.
CBS correspondent Cynthia Bowers wasted little time before noting that "the former Democratic governor was convicted on 18 counts of corruption, after being caught on a profanity-laced federal wiretap offering political favors in return for financial gain." Bowers played two sound bites from the wiretap recording, including the infamous "bleeping golden" clip from Blagojevich.
Former Prince George's County, Maryland Executive Jack Johnson was sentenced today to over seven years in prison for, according to Eric Tucker at the Associated Press, "extorting hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes during a tenure that prosecutors say was rife with greed, corruption and an unchecked pay-to-play culture." Tucker failed to identify Johnson as a Democrat.
The AP is not alone. A Google News Search on "Jack Johnson Prince George's County" (not in quotes, past 24 hours, without duplicates) returned 51 items at 11:40 p.m. tonight (the first page says 152, but it's really 51). The following number of results came back in the same search when I added the word "Democrat" (also after the jump -- sordid details of Johnson's astonishing corruption):
ABC's World News this week failed to mention the development that former New Jersey Democratic Senator and former Governor Jon Corzine is mired in a scandal involving $600 million in missing funds from the financial firm MF Global which he headed until today.
The CBS Evening News and the NBC Nightly News so far have not mentioned Corzine's Democratic Party affiliation as they ran full reports on Tuesday, and on Friday both shows updated viewers after Corzine's resignation.
On Friday, Brian Williams related that a "prominent criminal defense lawyer" had been hired by Corzine as the NBC anchor read a brief item:
Consider this post the print and online follow-up to the report early Tuesday evening by Matthew Balan at NewsBusters on the failure of the Big Three TV networks to note the Democratic Party/Obama fundraising affiliation of former New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine, whose now-bankrupt MF Global financial firm has apparently admitted to diverting client money in a futile attempt to battle its financial free-fall.
Balan found that the Big Three's morning shows "omitted the party affiliation of Jon Corzine as they reported on the federal investigation into his brokerage firm," and that ABC didn't even mention Corzine's name. This is not surprising, as the wire services which provide much of the raw material for these shows for the most part similarly failed, and have continued to do so. A rundown of much of what the wires have produced, along with a look at several New York Times items, follows the jump:
On Tuesday, the morning shows of the Big Three networks omitted the party affiliation of Jon Corzine as they reported on the federal investigation into his brokerage firm, something that even the liberal New York Times gave in their coverage of the story. ABC's Good Morning America also failed to include Corzine's name during their news brief on the investigation.
News anchor Josh Elliott noted in a 13-second brief that "a Wall Street brokerage firm run by New Jersey's former governoris filing for bankruptcy. Regulators say some $700 million belonging to MF Global's customers is apparently missing." Apparently, the name of the Democrat's firm is newsworthy at ABC, but his name and his party ID isn't.
Sometimes it's really hard to understand why certain events get heavy national press coverage while others which are arguably at least as significant and serious get little if any notice. This is one of them. Scott Walker, who solved a $3 billion projected deficit in Wisconsin, is a media and leftist (but I repeat myself) arch-villain because much of the balancing was done by adjusting public-sector employee contributions towards health and pension benefits to more closely but still more generously resemble what's seen in the private sector, and by reducing public-sector employees' ability to restore them to their formerly out-of-control levels through collective bargaining. Ditto for John Kasich in Ohio, where the projected deficit was $8 billion.
Meanwhile, the state of Illinois defers billions of dollars of payments to vendors by four or more months because, despite 67% and 46% increases in personal and business income taxes, respectively, it still doesn't have the money to come even close to staying current. Yet virtually all we've seen from the national press on the problem is one Associated Press story conveniently filed on a Saturday. Here are key paragraphs from the report by Christopher Wills (bolds are mine throughout this post):
If you only read Thursday's coverage of Bank of America's decision to impose a $5 monthly debit card fee by Associated Press Personal Finance Writer Candice Choi, you would have no idea that last year's "Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act" triggered BofA's decision. The legislation gave the Federal Reserve the power to limit debit card interchange fees. The Fed's limit -- 21 cents plus 0.5% of each purchase transaction -- basically cut the banks' fees by about half from their pre-Dodd-Frank level. CardHub.com estimates that the cap will reduce banks' fee income by $9.4 billion annually.
Ms. Choi only cited the existence of "a new rule" in her opening paragraph. She then waited until the ninth paragraph to vaguely cite the existence of "a regulation." It hardly seems accidental that most news consumers who didn't follow the fee fight a year ago will probably have the impression that banks are driving the fee increases, as the following excerpt will demonstrate (bolds are mine):