The educated guess here is that Washington Post fact checker Glenn Kessler is currently not the most popular person in the White House.
On Saturday, in a relatively rare rebuke originating from what G. Gordon Liddy has mockingly derided as "Washington's quaint little alternative newspaper" (daily circulation 741,000 in March 2005, 551,000 in March 2011), Kessler ripped into the President's claims about the auto bailout, giving him "Three Pinocchios," which in his ratings system means "Significant factual error(s) and/or obvious contradictions." Kessler found "weasel words," a "misleading figure" (actually, more), and (imagine that) a straw man.
Here are selected paragraphs from Kessler's KO (bolds are mine; internal link was in original):
... What we found is one of the most misleading collections of assertions we have seen in a short presidential speech. Virtually every claim by the president regarding the auto industry needs an asterisk, just like the fine print in that too-good-to-be-true car loan.
In late January (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), I noted how the Associated Press and the New York Times had been studiously avoiding covering the Obamacare waivers granted by Kathleen Sebelius's Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
Though I can't verify that the AP has ignored the issue since, it doesn't seem to have been a prominently covered item until today, when wire service reporter Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar ("Health care law waivers stir suspicion of favors") unsurprisingly weighed in for the defense.
In doing so, the AP reporter failed to note that the waiver process's arbitrary nature, which leaves plans at the tender mercies of HHS, is troubling even if the evidence of favoritism is not yet convincing (arbitrariness can also involve poor judgment even if politics aren't involved). He also failed to address those who contend that if Obamacare is such a good thing, why are companies and other entities having to scramble to avoid it? Finally, he failed to tell readers if any waiver requests have been turned down, and if so why.
Here are excerpts from Alonso-Zaldivar's report. Get a load of his third paragraph, where he dreams up excuses, and the final excerpted paragraph, where he all but admits that waivers in general are being granted for a very important political reason -- to prevent embarrassing Obama and the Democratic Party (bolds and numbered tags are mine):
Earlier today, NB's Tim Graham noted that the establishment press has given the silent treatment to a study by Timothy Conley of the University of Western Ontario and Bill Dupor of Ohio State University showing that the stimulus plan passed in February 2009 was a major net economic loser. In the first paragraph of the study, the authors revealed their core estimate that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act "created/saved 450 thousand government-sector jobs and destroyed/forestalled one million private sector jobs." That's a net loss of 550,000 jobs "destroyed/forestalled."
To test Tim's contention that "Our media only cites studies which estimate the number of jobs Team Obama 'saved or created,'" I did searches on Dupor's last name at the Associated Press, New York Times, Washington Post, and Los Angeles Times, and got back the following results:
Pro-government union protests in Wisconsin and elsewhere have provided some stunning insight into the double standards that pervade coverage of major protest movements. One such double standard lies in media treatment of threats against public officials. News of the release of more than 100 pages of documented threats against officials of both parties in Wisconsin has brought that double standard to light.
Very often such threats are most intensely focused on a single individual perceived as the leader of the ideological or political opposition. President Obama was the target of perhaps less overt, if certainly as menacing threats during the early stages of his administration when a handful of demonstrators brought firearms to a presidential town hall meeting. That of course dominated the airwaves for the following week, as many in the media bemoaned what they presented almost uniformly as hints at assassination.
In Wisconsin, Gov. Scott Walker, like President Obama, became the target of much of the rage from pro-union demonstrators. And like Obama, Walker received some very vocal - and in many cases more overt - threats against his life. Unlike threats against the president, however, those directed at Walker have received scant press attention outside of Wisconsin media.
Connecticut Governor Daniel Malloy has called himself the "anti-Christie" because of his willingness to raise taxes to help balance the Nutmeg State's budget. By contrast, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, the object of Malloy's scorn, recently ruled out tax increases, as he has been doing ever since he became governor in 2010.
Malloy's recently passed taxes amounting to an estimated $1.4 billion annually include property tax hikes which according to a recent Wall Street Journal editorial (quoted at link's third item) amount to "$500 a year for the average homeowner."
But Malloy still needs to balance the budget by extracting significant cost savings from the state's recalcitrant employee unions, and guess what? Just like Wisconsin's Republican Governor Scott Walker, he's staring at the need to resort to layoffs if he can't reduce employment costs. But unlike the Associated Press's militant reporters in Wisconsin, the AP's Susan Haigh in Hartford is letting Malloy off relatively easy, as seen in these excerpts from her Tuesday evening report:
Gosh, after Republican Governors Scott Walker and John Kasich succeeded in championing legislation curtailing many collective bargaining rights of unionized state and municipal employees in Wisconsin and Ohio, respectively, the establishment press had the meme all set. The GOP, conservatives, and Tea Partiers are enemies of labor and the middle class, while Democrats, liberals, and progressives are their champions.
Then along comes bluer-than-blue Massachusetts. As the Boston Globe reports, the Bay State's House "voted overwhelmingly last night (Tuesday) to strip police officers, teachers, and other municipal employees of most of their rights to bargain over health care, saying the change would save millions of dollars for financially strapped cities and towns." It's not a law yet, but it seems to be heading pretty quickly in that direction.
The Associated Press's beat reporters and editors must be beside themselves.
Imagine if a Tea Party backer by some miracle got to teach on a college campus, and began describing ways to, oh, I don't know, keep opposing politicians from conducting business, hack into their computers and destroy data, and make their staffs feel threatened. How long would that class last, and how long would it be before it became a national news story?
Well, Publius at Andrew Breitbart's BigGovernment.com reports that " the University of Missouri-St. Louis (UMSL) and the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) sponsored two college courses: Introduction to Labor Studies and Labor Politics and Society, to be taught simultaneously through a video conference between to two campuses." Publius asserts, with video proof, that the courses really really are "How-to College Course(s) in Violent Union Tactics."
The two must-see BigGov posts are here and here. Direct links to the videos and brief descriptions follow the jump:
The undisguised bias of a dispatch tonight by Associated Press reporter Laurie Kellman, with help from Scott Bauer, about Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker's appearance before a Congressional committee may have as its source two items found at the Newspaper Guild's web site (seen after the jump).
One is an announcement relating to a possible deterioration in the Guild's negotiations with AP, where union members have been working without a contract since November. Immediately below the announcement is an extraordinarily mean and spiteful cartoon produced by "alternative" comic Tom Tomorrow directed at Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan which has no place at the site of a group wishing to at least maintain a fig-leaf pretense of objectivity.
First let's look at several of the sentences seen in the 10:26 p.m. version of the pair's report (saved here at my host for future reference, fair use and discussion purposes) -- after the headline ("Wisconsin governor defends hobbling unions'), with which the AP pair may have had help:
In a Monday opinion piece at Politico (HT Hot Air) entitled "NFL players need Obama's support," Blackistone criticized the President of the United States for not supporting the players in their dispute with the league's owners, and -- I kid you not -- said it "differs very little" from the recent public-sector collective-bargaining controversy in Wisconsin. Blackistone even brought Martin Luther King into the mix (bolds are mine):
It may be laziness, or it may be failure to recognize reality, but the Associated Press's official tally of the Wisconsin Supreme Court race carried at JSOnline (but note the AP-based URL) still shows Democrat JoAnne Kloppenburg with a 204-vote lead over incumbent David Prosser, and hasn't been updated since Wednesday at 4:00 p.m.
This failure to update has occurred despite the following statement made at the 3:00 mark of the video (HT Hot Air) showing Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus explaining why over 14,000 country votes were not originally reported to the Badger State's Government Accountability Board (GAB), which oversees state elections, at a late Thursday press conference:
These numbers will be reflected in my official results, canvass report, that was submitted to the Government Accountability Board.
Ms. Nickolaus mixed up tenses, but it seems pretty clear that by using the word "official" she is saying that the GAB now has the results, and that they should be reflected in any official reports.
Accordingly, yours truly has updated the AP's non-current scoreboard with the Waukesha County correction and a couple of smaller ones:
Once again, despite almost two months of national coverage Wisconsin's collective bargaining law and the protests and bad behavior which have accompanied it, the Associated Press is deciding that the nation's news consumers outside of the Badger State don't need to read, hear, or see news relating to unions and leftists acting illegally.
In a post on Saturday (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), I noted that the wire service treated the arrest of Katherine Windels for issuing death threats to all but one of the GOP's state senators as a local story. Later on Saturday, NB's Noel Sheppard noted the virtual absence of media coverage of Windels' arrest on any broadcast network newscast or cable new show (except Fox's O'Reilly Factor).
The AP apparently believes that unions attempting to intimidate businesses into supporting their agenda -- or else -- isn't something that anyone outside of Wisconsin should care about. Even then, there is a palpable reluctance by the wire service to provide much in the way of accurate detail.
Even though the goings-on in Wisconsin this year connected with collective-bargaining rights legislation have been front-page news nationwide for well over a month, the Associated Press has apparently concluded that folks outside the Badger State couldn't possibly be interested in real threats of serious violence issued against Republican legislators who voted for it -- and their families.
The latest support for that contention comes in the AP's coverage of the indictment and arrest of Katherine Windels on four counts: two relating to "threatening injury or harm" and two for "bomb scares."
At first I thought that the wire service might have totally ignored the story when a search at the AP's home site on the woman's last name at 8:45 a.m. this morning came up empty. But AP did report the news -- in Wisconsin, treating it, at least based on the tag at the left seen below, as a local story ("Wisconsin woman Katherine Windels charged for threats to state senators"):
FreedomEden's Mary writes: "Jake Sinderbrand, son of Judge Maryann Sumi, poses a bit of a problem for his mother." Sumi is the county judge who on Friday temporarily blocked implementation of the collective bargaining-related law passed by the Wisconsin legislature and signed by Governor Scott Walker.
While looking into the News Media Guild's positions in the current standoff between it and the Associated Press, I came across the most recent contract (large PDF file) between the two. It expired this past November; unionized AP employees are continuing to work under the old contract's provisions.
Many people don't know that the AP is a "not-for-profit news cooperative" which is "owned by its contributing newspapers (over 1,000), radio and television stations (over 5,000) in the United States." It would appear to be exempt from paying federal, state, and local income taxes (and perhaps others), and as such would seem to have a competitive advantage over any person or entity which might consider competing with it.
I thought readers might be interested in certain of the expired 65-page Editorial Unit contract's provisions, and consider how often such arrangements are available in the private sector (56 other pages which follow relate to Technology Unit, whose contract provisions are very similar; bolds are mine):
In the week since Wisconsin lawmakers passed collective bargaining-related legislation, much noise has been made about efforts to recall GOP Senators who supported the measure.
A Google News search on "Wisconsin recall" returns items that are overwhelmingly oriented towards Democrat efforts to recall Republicans. The final sentence of a March 13 Associated Press report by Sam Hananel indicates that "Union officials are also helping mobilize demonstrations in state capitols and spending money on recall campaigns against GOP officials who support efforts to curb union rights," with no mention anywhere of GOP efforts against "Fleebagging" Dems.
It would be understandable if conservatives and Tea Party sympathizers believe that the Badger State recall momentum is on the Democratic side.
But an email correspondent in Wisconsin who follows matters there closely (Update, 9:00 p.m.: That would be Steve at No Runny Eggs, who has now put up a related post with a polling update) indicates that the split is closer to 50-50 in terms of genuine vulnerability. Specifically, Steve writes (bolds indicating that an atmosphere of leftist intimidation remains quite evident are mine):
Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., has once again earned his nickname: Thurston B. Howell III. He's elite, effete and so hopelessly out of touch with reality that his latest solution to America's fiscal profligacy is ... more fiscal profligacy, of course, Lovey! On Tuesday, Kerry introduced a $10 billion infrastructure bank bill that would engineer yet another federal taxpayer boondoggle benefiting Big Labor and favored Big Business interests.
Kerry finagled support from Texas GOP Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, AFL-CIO brass knuckler-in-chief Richard Trumka, statist U.S. Chamber of Commerce head Tom Donohue, and the far-left Center for American Progress. Like spinning straw into gold, the Kerry coalition promises to leverage $10 billion in unidentified funds into $640 billion for crumbling roads and bridges.
The New York Times versus state spending cuts. Reporter Sabrina Tavernise went to the downtrodden town of Gallipollis, Ohio, and collected a grab bag of sympathetic liberal anecdotes about government workers threatened by a bill that would restrict public-sector unions, for Wednesday’s “Ohio Town Sees Public Job As Only Route To Middle Class.”
Tavernise focused solely on the plight of low-income workers, including unionized government workers, while failing to mention the state's $8 billion deficit (a number included only in an Associated Press sidebar story, "Governor's Budget Seeks To Limit Union Influence.")
Jodi and Ralph Taylor are public workers whose jobs as a janitor and a sewer manager cover life’s basics. They have moved out of a trailer into a house, do not have to rely on food stamps and sometimes even splurge for the spicy wing specials at the Courtside Bar and Grill.
While that might not seem like much, jobs like theirs, with benefits and higher-than-minimum wages, are considered plum in this depressed corner of southern Ohio. Decades of industrial decline have eroded private-sector jobs here, leaving a thin crust of low-paying service work that makes public-sector jobs look great in comparison.
Now, as Ohio’s legislature moves toward final approval of a bill that would chip away at public-sector unions, those workers say they see it as the opening bell in a race to the bottom. At stake, they say, is what little they have that makes them middle class.
On her radio show Friday, Rosie O'Donnell fielded a call from a California woman who said she is a member of a correctional officers' union. Although the union has helped her, the caller told O'Donnell, it comes with baggage (audio) --
On Monday's Andrea Mitchell Reports on MSNBC, fill-in host Norah O'Donnell touted "court challenges and recall efforts now that Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has signed a bill into law restricting collective bargaining rights." Turning to former SEIU President Andy Stern, she proclaimed: "100,000 protesters took to the [Wisconsin] capital this weekend....That's a huge rally."
Stern argued: "...that is enormous and I think it just makes the point this is not over....People are very angry and this has become quite a symbolic moment." O'Donnell then lamented: "And yet, the Governor was able to sign this bill into law." She later added: "You think actually there's been a backlash that has mobilized all the pro-union forces, as a result, all across the country." Stern responded: "I think it's an American moment where people say, 'We understand we have to share in the pain when things are bad but we don't think we have to lose our rights, lose our unions, and have large corporations and some of the members of the Republican party act in such a destructful [destructive] manner.'"
Reporting on the passage of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker's proposal to curb public union benefits and bargaining power, on Thursday's CBS Evening News, correspondent Cynthia Bowers referred to the union protestors in the state capital and declared: "After three weeks of relative restraint, passions ran over today."
That "restraint" has included threats against Republican state lawmakers (with an angry mob surrounding one of them), protestors storming the state capitol building, and signs comparing Governor Walker to Adolf Hitler. As a Media Research Center Media Reality Check detailed, the networks have failed to report on the most extreme actions of the protestors, while they were eager to condemn the "incivility" of the Tea Party.
Friday’s New York Times off-lead story from Madison by Monica Davey and A.G. Sulzberger, in the aftermath of a defeat for public-sector unions in Wisconsin, spun the win by Republican Gov. Scott Walker as a long-term political victory for Democrats: “Wisconsin Curbs Public Unions, But Democrats Predict Backlash.” The online headline was even more blunt: “In Wisconsin Battle on Unions, State Democrats See a Big Gift.” Walker has evidently awoken “the sleeping giant” of labor unions (as if they had previously stayed out of politics).
By contrast, there was no such wishful thinking or hunt for the bright side for the losers in the aftermath of the fiercely contested passage of unpopular Obama-care last year. Adam Nagourney’s front-page “political memo” of March 23, 2010, “For G.O.P., United Stand Has Drawbacks, Too,” suggested Republicans could pay a political price for opposing Obama-care. (It didn’t quite work out that way.)
The instinct here is that an Associated Press "story" by Scott Bauer in Madison, Wisconsin, will get lots of radio and TV time tomorrow.
That would be a reasonable expectation, because what Bauer writes isn't really a "story" as much as it is a free political announcement. I'm predicting that the establishment press will love it, especially the opening paragraph:
Wis. defeat could help launch counterattack on GOP
With the labor movement suffering an epic defeat in Wisconsin and perhaps other states, union leaders plan to use the setback to fire up their members nationwide and mount a major counterattack against Republicans at the ballot box in 2012.
Gosh, about the only thing Bauer's lacking is a bullhorn.
Not to worry, Moore promises one of those tranquil conflicts devoid of violence.
What is it about self-proclaimed peace lovers that they are so often bellicose?
Latest example -- the agitprop filmmaker's appearance on MSNBC's Rachel Maddow show last night, coming shortly after the GOP-led Wisconsin state senate voted overwhelmingly in favor of Gov. Scott Walker's proposal to curtail collective bargaining for most public employees. After Maddow introduced Moore and praised his "barnburning speech" in Madison over the weekend, Moore said this (video below page break) --
At the top of Thursday's CBS Early Show, co-host Chris Wragge declared: "War in Wisconsin. Democrats cry foul as Republicans break a three-week deadlock over the budget battle with a surprise late-night vote." Minutes later, he remarked that the "long standoff over a plan to roll back union rights for state workers is suddenly just about over."
In the report that followed, correspondent Cynthia Bowers described the Republican legislative move as drastic: "In an audacious tactic that will likely be debated for years in Wisconsin, Republican senators yesterday, in a matter of 30 minutes, managed to ram through controversial legislation." She continued to push the idea that it was a shock: "After nearly three weeks of intense protest that sparked a nationwide debate, last night the Wisconsin Senate rushed in to a surprise vote to cut nearly all collective bargaining power from public workers."
Former CNBC anchor Donny Deutsch went ballistic Thursday on "Morning Joe" over the situation in Wisconsin. Deutsch called the Republican majority in the state capital "a fascist regime" after they rushed a vote Wednesday night to curb most collective bargaining for public sector workers.
"This is a governor that would not sit down at the table with these people, the Democrats, they walked away," Deutsch ranted. "Now he's doing whatever sleazy, end-run – this is not what this country is built on. This is a fascist regime."
Both Deutsch and MSNBC political analyst Harold Ford were audibly dismayed at the procedural move by the Republicans that caught the opposition in complete surprise, but it was an unashamed Deutsch who doubled down on his criticism by arguing that Gov. Walker and the Republicans were totalitarian.
Picture this scenario: hours after the vote on Obamacare a Tea Party protester sent an email to leading congressional Democrats with a detailed description of plans to murder both those legislators and their families. The sender claimed to know where those Democrats lived, and said he had planted bombs in various places, including the capitol building.
What do you suppose the media reaction would be?
Odds are it would be a whole lot louder than the near-total media silence thus far over an email sent to Wisconsin Senate Republicans Wednesday night that states plainly: "You will be killed and your families will also be killed due to your actions." The email goes on to describe in detail how the sender plans on killing Republican members of Wisconsin's State Senate, who voted last night to enact Gov. Scott Walker's proposed reforms to public employee union collective bargaining. Read the full text of the email below the break, via 620 WTMJ's Charlie Sykes.
Here is how the Associated Press and reporter Scott Bauer headlined and opened their 10:09 p.m. report (saved here at host for future reference, fair use and discussion purposes) on the Wisconsin Senate's collective bargaining-related vote tonight:
The Wisconsin Senate succeeded in voting Wednesday to strip nearly all collective bargaining rights from public workers, after Republicans discovered a way to bypass the chamber's missing Democrats and approve an explosive proposal that has rocked the state and unions nationwide.
The graphic cap below from this post by Ann Althouse, who has been on the scene in Madison frequently during the past few weeks, says it all about the AP's coverage:
On Monday, in a story I will link after the jump, the Associated Press reported that on March 1 the Milwaukee Teachers’ Education Association (MTEA) dropped a lawsuit it initiated last year over the school district's refusal five years earlier to cover a prescription drug the union described as "an issue of discrimination, of equal rights for all our members” (that link will also appear after the jump).
So the questions submitted for our readers to ponder are these:
1) What drug was involved?
2) How much has the district spent defending itself against the lawsuit?