There are so many problematic items in the establishment press's treatment of yesterday's "One Nation" rally in Washington that it's difficult to know where to begin.
So let's start at the very beginning. Among the many howlers in the coverage is a claim the Associated Press's Philip Elliott pass without response towards the end of his 12:21 p.m Saturday report (saved here at my web host for future reference, fair use, and discussion purposes; bold is mine):
One Nation organizers said that they began planning their event before learning about Beck's rally and that their march is not in reaction to it.
It would appear that either Elliott felt that this statement would easily withstand scrutiny, and thus performed none himself, or that he knew better, and let it get into his report anyway.
Given the fact that so-called progressives have been continually monitoring Beck's activities and pronouncements for several years, One Nation's organizers would have to prove that they began substantively "planning their event" before November 21, 2009. Good luck with that.
In the runup to Glenn Beck's "Restoring Honor" rally on the National Mall last month, a number of prominent media ouetlets hyped accusations of racism targeting a small-time blogger who advised visitors to steer clear of some of the more dangerous neighborhoods in Washington.
Now it has come to light that a prominent NAACP employee, Curtis Gatewood, also a "field director" for the upcoming One Nation march - organized by the NAACP and various labor unions, including the AFL-CIO and the SEIU - has made numerous anti-American and anti-Semitic statements in the past.
Will the media call One Nation out for this one individual's statements as they did the Restoring Honor rally? Will they paint this employee as representative of the rally's attendants, also as they did with Beck's event? Or will they ignore or downplay these statements, despite their dramatically more egregious nature?
Are the three news networks actively working to defeat the Republican candidate for Governor in Wisconsin? According to the far-left Service Employees International Union, yes, they most certainly are.
SEIU spokesman John-david Morgan - also, incidentally, a former journalist - told a staffer (audio embedded below the fold) for GOP gubernatorial candidate Scott Walker that local media affiliates for all three major networks were "willing partners" in the union's efforts to defeat Walker. The staffer gave a fake name and recorded the conversation without Morgan's knowledge.
"They've really been willing partners in it," Morgan told the staffer. "They come in with the TV cameras, and [channels] 58, 12 come, and 6 doesn't always. But, yeah, they've been really helpful. They think it's fun." Channels 58 and 12 are Milwaukee's CBS and ABC affiliates, respectively. "It's not perfect," Morgan added, but "they get our message across."
Obama administration Labor Secretary Hilda Solis (pictured at right with what I would guess is her ideal car of the future) shamelessly used Labor Day weekend as an opportunity to score political points.
In a presentation that was more a political stump speech than an informative presentation, Solis recited a litany of alleged accomplishments. Many of them have no relationship to what her department does, while some are also objectively wrong. Second, she set up a host of straw men in the form of "those who would" and "to those who want to" to make her department and the administration where she works appear as if they and they alone are the bulwark against rapacious employers and their political allies.
The YouTube video is present at this DOL page (direct YouTube link here). What follows are selected transcribed excerpts, with specific critiques:
The Robert F. Kennedy Community Schools in Los Angeles, apparently opening soon, will serve roughly 4,200 students in grades K-12. Its cost is coming in at $578 million, or almost $140,000 per student ($2.75 million per 20-student classroom).
This is the LA Unified District's most flagrant example of its Taj Mahal obsession, and it is far from the only one. Also, as the Associated Press's Christina Hoag reported early Sunday evening, LA is not the only place where the Taj Mahal complex is in vogue:
The K-12 complex to house 4,200 students has raised eyebrows across the country as the creme de la creme of "Taj Mahal" schools, $100 million-plus campuses boasting both architectural panache and deluxe amenities.
"There's no more of the old, windowless cinderblock schools of the '70s where kids felt, 'Oh, back to jail,'" said Joe Agron, editor-in-chief of American School & University, a school construction journal. "Districts want a showpiece for the community, a really impressive environment for learning."
Former USDA employee Shirley Sherrod says she will meet Tuesday with agriculture secretary
Shirley Sherrod, the former USDA rural development director for Georgia, said today she plans to meet Tuesday with U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to discuss a new job offer.
... Sherrod today spoke in the Sumter County town of Epes at an event hosted by the Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund. Ben Jealous, executive director of the NAACP, shared the stage with Sherrod during a panel discussion.
Sherrod said she had no ill feelings toward the NAACP or President Barack Obama.
It the meeting does indeed occur, it will be an interesting test of establishment media credibility, given the accusations leveled at Ms. Sherrod and her husband Charles by Ron Wilkins at the leftist publication Counterpunch several weeks ago. Here are some of the specifics:
When it comes to the performance of the U.S.-headquartered Detroit automakers once known as the Big Three, the real news in the J.D. Power and Associates 2010 Initial Quality Study (IQS) is not what the Associated Press's Stephen Manning wrote in his Thursday coverage ("US cars top foreign brands on quality survey") of Power's pronouncement. While barely true and in a sense historic, it's not even in the neighborhood of being the big story.
Because of its timing, Power's IQS is as good a report card as any out there on the job President Barack Obama's car czars and his apparatchik management appointees have done during the past year in improving the quality of the vehicles produced at government-controlled General Motors and Chrysler.
Previous work I did in connection with two other AP reports on perceived quality -- one in April (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), and one in mid-May (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog) -- caused me to detect a distinct aroma of propaganda-driven misdirection in Manning's missive. A detailed look at J.D. Power's report reveals the full extent of Stephen's stench.
Succinctly stating AP's inversion of reality with a strange assist from a Power spokeperson, Manning treated us to the following paragraphs:
There several annoying aspects of today's Associated Press report on the plight of newly-hired employees at U.S. auto plants represented by the United Auto Workers.
Mentioned by writers Dee-Ann Durbin and Tom Krisher, but not until their eleventh paragraph, is the fact that new workers, whose starting wage (mentioned in Paragraph 2) is "about half what veterans make under their current contract," have to "pay the same union dues as those who have been at the plant for years." But the AP pair didn't tell readers how much those dues payments are, and how harshly they affect entry-level workers. The web site ProCon.org estimates that it's in the neighborhood of $700 at Ford and Chrysler, and as much as $950 at Government/General Motors. When you're making $14 an hour, that's not chump change; it's about 34-46 cents per hour, or about 2.5% - 3.3% of base pay. A union official (not directly quoted) deadpans that "he understands their resentment." Sure.
As bad as that easily rectifiable AP oversight is, it's not the worst reporting error Durbin and Krisher committed. The following excerpted sentence is, in several ways:
The revolving door of political journalism underscores the brazen liberalism of today's newsrooms -- 15 former journalists now populate the Obama administration. And though taking a job in such a far left administration demonstrates journalists' overwhelming liberal politics, ABC News's deputy political director Teddy Davis has managed to raise the bar.
Davis announced yesterday his intention to leave ABC, and said he will be "working with the SEIU team on their political campaigns and policy agenda." The Service Employees International Union, of course, is a group of liberal shock troops who recently tried--and failed--to field far left candidates in an effort to defeat centrist Democrats.
So while some journalists have gone to bat for the Executive, Davis has managed to one-up virtually all of them in accepting a gig with one of the most partisan and thuggish groups on the political scene.
A protest noticed by the target's next-door neighbor who happened to be home at the time, namely journalist Nina Easton (who also took the photo at right), occurred in a Metro DC suburb in Maryland marked the next round of a national labor union's attempt at persuasion through intimidation.
IBD concisely describes what happens, and why it should cause so much concern:
Mob Rule From SEIU
On May 16, Washington, D.C., police escorted 14 busloads full of Service Employees International Union (SEIU) members at least part of the way to storm the Chevy Chase, Md., home of Bank of America's deputy legal counsel, Greg Baer.
Eight former Federal Elections Commissioners today blasted proponents of a Senate bill that would "blunt" the Citizens United v. FEC Supreme Court decision, which allowed unions and corporations to spend freely on political advertisements.
Writing in the Wall Street Journal, the Commissioners called the bill "unnecessary, partially duplicative of existing law, and severely burdensome to the right to engage in political speech and advocacy." They also accused Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-NY, and Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md. -- sponsors of the Senate and House legislation, respectively -- of "partisan motives" designed to satiate the Democratic Party's labor union backers.
While some prominent news organizations, including the Washington Post, have raised serious concerns about the legislation, other ostensibly (or at least presumably) pro-free speech news outlets are either silent or, in the case of the New York Times, simply parrot Democratic talking points and give critics of the bill a mention, though not a voice, and make sure to dub them "the business lobby."
One of the most important leaders of the progressive movement was speaking at a labor meeting back in 2009 where he made some outrageous claims. First he said that basically, unless you have skills, the only way to reach the middle class is by joining a union. He then went on to claim that unions are the greatest anti-poverty and pro-trade programs.
For more details on radical progressive Joel Rogers make sure you read this post on the Eyeblast blog.
The Pentagon rescinded the invitation of evangelist Franklin Graham to speak at its May 6 National Day of Prayer event because of complaints about his previous comments about Islam.
The Military Religious Freedom Foundation expressed its concern over Graham's involvement with the event in an April 19 letter sent to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. MRFF's complaint about Graham, the son of Rev. Billy Graham, focused on remarks he made after 9/11 in which he called Islam "wicked" and "evil" and his lack of apology for those words.
Col. Tom Collins, an Army spokesman, told ABC News on April 22, "This Army honors all faiths and tries to inculcate our soldiers and work force with an appreciation of all faiths and his past comments just were not appropriate for this venue."
The Wall Street Journal's headline and reporter Jeff Bennett's opening paragraph concerning Chrysler Corporation's first announcement of financial results since 2007 got right to the key points:
Chrysler Reports $4 Billion Loss Since Exiting Bankruptcy
Chrysler Group LLC lost nearly $4 billion since exiting bankruptcy last year, but the company reported a first-quarter operating profit this year and increased its cash reserves, bolstering Chief Executive Sergio Marchionne's claim that the auto maker will break even by the end of the year.
That $4 billion consists of $3.78 billion in the last 205 days of 2009 and $197 million during the first quarter of 2010. The WSJ and Bennett basically did a nice job, though I have a problem with companies trumpeting "operating profit" when there is an "actual loss."
I wonder if the Associated Press's headline and the opening paragraph from AP reporters Tom Krisher and Colleen Barry presented the situation as well as the WSJ?
Watch the latest business video at &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;a href=&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;quot;http://video.foxbusiness.com/&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;quot;&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;video.foxbusiness.com&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/a&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;NPR and Fox News contributor Juan Williams does not see vitriolic blanket-statements condemning conservatives as "racist," "homophobic," heartless, anti-intellectual, and depraved (to name a few), as divisive or erroneous in the least.
Aside from possibly race and identity-politics, there are few things more toxic and effective than the poisonous doctrine of class warfare - no matter how many times leaders may promise heaven on earth. In his April 7 speech at Harvard University, AFL-CIO leader (and corrupt money-laundering extraordinaire) Richard Trumka did his part to perpetuate fear and hate of conservatives - repeatedly inciting the "righteous anger" the "working class" should have against "servants of economic privilege" and "apostles of hate."
"There are forces in our country that are working hard to convert justifiable anger about an economy that only seems to work for a few of us into racist and homophobic hate and violence directed at our President and heroes like Congressman John Lewis," Trumka said. "Most of all, those forces of hate seek to divide working people -- to turn our anger against each other."
During a question and answer time after a speech at Harvard University, Andrew Breitbart confronted AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka about claims that TEA Party members hurled racial slurs at black members of Congress. Trumka then preceded to claim that he personally saw members of the TEA Party spitting on people and hurling racial slurs:
In late August 2009, Toyota announced that it would close its New United Motor Manufacturing Inc. (NUMMI) factory in Fremont, California at the end of March. The plant had been a joint venture of the company and General Motors until June, when GM withdrew.
Almost six months later, in the wake of a series of Toyota product recalls, and roughly seven weeks before the plant's scheduled shutdown, the UAW and the AFL-CIO on Friday began an attempt to gin up a campaign to convince the company to reopen the plant, and to encourage the public to refuse to buy its products it if doesn't.
Since there is virtually zero chance of the plant remaining open (the company said at the time of the closure that "it will close the plant, regardless of financial incentives offered by the state"), you'll have to excuse me if I question the overall timing, and even if there might be just a wee bit of government and union coordination going on here -- especially given some of the people involved and some of the statements made at a rally outside the plant and at the UAW's nearby union hall yesterday.
In terms of press coverage of yesterday's events, you have to wonder if Brooke Donald of the Associated Press and George Avalos of the Oakland Tribune were actually in the same place. Donald's AP coverage made what was going on appear relatively benign, while Avalos included important details to the contrary.
During the 2008 presidential campaign, Americans were treated to a number of populist sermons on the "special interests" who would oppose "reform" at any cost to maintain the "status quo" from which they "profit financially or politically." The drug companies, the energy companies, the Wall Street bankers, and the health insurers were the corporate enemies of a just and harmonious America, or so one might have gathered.
Obama was at the vanguard of this populist charge. But since his election, he has proposed health care legislation that would subsidize Pfizer and PhRMA, a cap and trade plan that would drive profits to General Electric, and Wall Street bailouts that lined the pockets of the same Goldman Sachs bankers he so reviled during the campaign. What happened?
Washington Examiner columnist Tim Carney exposes and investigates this monumental disconnect in his new book "Obamanomics: How Barack Obama is Bankrupting You and Enriching His Wall Street Friends, Corporate Lobbyists, and Union Bosses." Carney explores the "political strategy of partnering with the biggest businesses in order to create new regulations, taxes, and subsidies." Those measures, he argues, actually benefit the biggest businesses by crowding out competition, consolidating market share, or giving billions in subsidies directly to those companies.
Alec Baldwin, award winning actor and wannabe leftist political commentator, called on Congress to sink congressional health care legislation today, saying he would rather the federal government "Put a Major Oil Company Out of Business," according to the headline of his column at the Huffington Post.
Baldwin isn't the only liberal entertainer calling for the death of ObamaCare. Plans to tax so-called "Cadillac" health care plans--or the most expensive insurance plans--have riled up some key Democratic supporters. The Teamsters Union and the AFL-CIO have protested, but now objections are also being raised by Hollywood's biggest unions.
The Los Angeles Times reported yesterday that the "generally cozy relationship between Hollywood's unions and the Obama administration is coming under strain." The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists recently sent a letter to President Obama and congressional leaders pleading with them to drop the Cadillac tax. According to the Times, the Screen Actors Guild, the largest union of actors, is expected to take a similar stance on the legislation.
Imagine it being as hard to fire an incompetent airport screener as it is to fire an incompetent teacher. Think that might have any implications for our safety and security? Evan Kohlmann apparently doesn't. In fact, the NBC terrorism consultant thinks opposition to unionizing the employees of the Transportation Safety Administration is "nonsense" and "ridiculous."
Kohlmann made his comments on MSNBC this afternoon in the course of condemning Sen. Jim DeMint for opposing TSA unionization. The Republican senator from South Carolina has put a hold on the nomination of Erroll Southers to head the TSA because of the nominee's apparent intent to unionize the TSA.
David Shuster teed up Kohlmann's tirade [the video bears watching to see just how contemptuous Kohlmann appeared] . . .
On CNN's American Morning today, anchor John Roberts talked with correspondent Jim Acosta about "the politics" of terrorism. Part of the exchange:
ACOSTA: There is plenty punting going on in Washington, John. Hearings on the Detroit scare are planned for early next month, and the top Republican on that committee has already said there should have been a big red flag next to the suspect's name, and there are plenty of other issues, such as Guantanamo. Republicans are saying the president should shelve his plan to close Guantanamo at this point, John.
ROBERTS: So, shelve Guantanamo, but, at the same time, the president is trying to get some of his key appointments filled. They're being held up. And some of the key appointments that are still vacant are ones that are absolutely essential when it comes to maintaining security at our airports and on our jetliners.
ACOSTA: That's right. Those men and women at the airport wearing the blue shirts that say TSA, they don't have a full-time, permanent boss at this point. The temporary head of the TSA is a holdover from the Bush administration and, right now, the - the current appointee from the Obama administration to take the head of the TSA, a man by the name of Erroll Southers, he is still waiting to - to get his appointment confirmed. He is currently the assistant chief for the LAX Police Department, the Los Angeles International Airport out there in California, and his duties are head of Intelligence and Homeland Security. But, at this point, that nomination is on hold by Jim DeMint, the very conservative Senator from South Carolina. He's opposed to unionizing - fully unionizing the TSA, something that Southers apparently wants to do.
On December 8, Susan Gustafson at MLive.com proclaimed that "GM's announcement of no more layoffs is good news after years of hemorrhaging jobs":
General Motors' announcement this morning that it plans no further layoffs in the immediate future is huge news for both the automaker and Michigan as a whole after years of steady erosion in the ranks of hourly and salaried workers.
.... the company doesn't expect the numbers of hourly workers on indefinite layoff to increase.
Members of the self-proclaimed fastest-growing union in North America have started fights at town hall meetings, share office space with ACORN and spent over $60 million to elect President Barack Obama.
The left-wing, 2.1 million-member Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and its president, Andy Stern, spent much of 2009 campaigning for health care reform that would include a government-run insurance plan, and for the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), which would make it easier to unionize. Critics of EFCA say it would result in worker intimidation (not something that would bother SEIU, if its recent history is any guide).
Well-connected, Stern was the most frequent White House visitor in the first six months of Obama's presidency.
But ABC, NBC and CBS haven't reported any of those things. In fact, a search of Nexis transcripts for all of 2009 only turned up one story mentioning either SEIU or Andy Stern. That was an Aug. 20 story from Jake Tapper of ABC which identified Stern as "a close ally of the President's and the leader of a major union."
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:
Is NFL Players Association Chief DeMaurice Smith being forthright when he contends he wants to protect the sport from "discrimination and hatred" as he has claims, or is he engaging in partisan hackery, with the benefit of having the ear of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell? If you look at Smith's past, you might come to that conclusion.
"I've spoken to the Commissioner [Roger Goodell] and I understand that this ownership consideration is in the early stages," Smith wrote. "But sport in America is at its best when it unifies, gives all of us reason to cheer, and when it transcends. Our sport does exactly that when it overcomes division and rejects discrimination and hatred."
A New York Times article by Nick Bunkley on Friday targeted for print on Saturday about the status of contract talks between Ford Motor Company and the United Auto Workers piqued my interest in a previously neglected but important matter.
Ford and the UAW are apparently close to an agreement. In describing what Ford workers are being asked to give up, Bunkley wrote the following (bolds are mine throughout this post):
Ford executives have said the company needs more concessions to keep G.M. and Chrysler from having an advantage.
.... The deal that U.A.W. workers at Ford approved in March got rid of cost-of-living pay increases and performance bonuses through 2010 and eliminated the jobs bank program, which allows laid-off workers to continue receiving most of their pay. In addition to those concessions, G.M. and Chrysler workers agreed to work-rule changes and a provision that bars them from striking.
What? From press coverage at the time, you would have thought that unionized GM and Chrysler workers made ginormous, humungous, unprecedented sacrifices to enable their companies to get through bankruptcy and to emerge as lean, mean vehicle-making machines.
Reviewing September's detailed sales results in the car business carried at the Wall Street Journal, three things stick out immediately:
The awful performance at General Motors -- down 45% from September 2008.
Chrysler's even worse performance -- down "only" 42% from September 2008, but a mind-boggling 61% from September 2007 (62,197 in 2009, 156,799 in 2007)
Ford's tiny decline of only 6% from a year ago, despite the end of the Cash For Clunkers program in August.
No other major maker had a year-over-year September decline that was even half of that seen at GM or Chrysler.
Yet the press, while beginning to acknowledge serious problems at the companies, both of which were first bailed out by the government and then taken through government-orchestrated, contract law-violating, UAW-favoring bankruptcies (GM discussed here, Chrysler here), still will not entertain the possibility, despite the evidence, that consumers are shunning them because of their bailed-out status and their heavy-handed tactics in bankruptcy.
What follows are excerpts from three reports that covered September's industry results.
Some of us have been wondering how viable the Voluntary Employee Benefit Arrangements (VEBAs) set up by the United Auto Workers for its auto industry employees really are. This is of particular concern at the VEBAs tied in to General Motors and Chrysler. What happens to the employer stock these VEBAs own will heavily influence whether they have the money to pay promised benefits.
The answer to the viability question must be "not very," because the House version of health care that has made it out of committee has a $10 billion provision tucked into it that would largely work to back the VEBAs up in case GM and Chrysler are never able to stand on their own -- or in case other high-wage, high-benefit companies, many of which are unionized, follow them into serious financial difficulty.
Maybe it's because $10 billion doesn't mean much any more in an era of trillion-dollar deficits, but media coverage of this "little" provision has been very, very light. A Google News search on "retiree health care UAW" (not typed in quotes) came back with only about 25 relevant items of roughly 100 total results earlier this afternoon. Many of those results are outraged editorials and op-eds. There is precious little original news coverage of the topic.
One of the few examples of original coverage is an August 24 report by Justin Hyde and Todd Spangler of the Detroit Free Press that explains the provision and provides background:
No one can finish Saturday's report by Sam Hananel of the Associated Press without knowing the side of the political aisle on which he resides (surprise -- not -- it's decidedly on the left), and that he is more sympathetic to the interests of organized labor than he is to those of management at non-union firms.
Additionally, no one can doubt that Hananel, and perhaps his editor(s), have little respect for AP's stated policies of relying on more than one source, attempting to avoid anonymous sources, and when using them, clearly describing "the source's motive for disclosing the information."
That's a pretty remarkable achievement for a roughly 750-word report.
First, here are three word choice examples that give away Hananel's political biases: