At the end of Wednesday’s CBS Evening News, anchor Katie Couric introduced a segment on Tysheoma Bethea, a 14-year-old girl who attended Obama’s address to Congress: "President Obama has said one of the biggest adjustments of his new job is living in a bubble. Now, to combat that problem, he started to read a handful of letters everyday from average Americans. One letter, written by an eighth grader from Dillon, South Carolina, caught his eye, and her story caught ours."
Correspondent Mark Strassmann then reported: "Thanks to Tysheoma Bethea, everyone at J.V. Martin Junior High now shares the audacity of hope...Last night, the 14-year-old watched President Obama read America her letter to Congress, a plea to build a new school for her small town." Strassmann described the situation at Bethea’s impoverished school and how Obama had instantly inspired them: "Too often at J.V. Martin Junior High dreams die early. 85% of students live below the poverty line. This school, built in 1896, is falling apart. For generations here, hope has been in shambles. The dropout rate is 60% and the daily fight is against a poverty of the spirit. But last night, this junior high reconnected to hope."
So where did the Cleveland Plain Dealer's Sabrina Eaton go for opinions on what Michelle Malkin earlier today called "the massive mortgage entitlement campaign launched by President Barack Obama"?
Why, they went to "housing experts," of course.
But the people she quoted aren't builders, realtors, mortgage lenders, mortgage brokers, or economists. Nor, based on the area's results, are they experts in helping individuals and families make smart housing decisions, or in helping communities build property values.
No-no-no. The people Eaton consulted as "housing experts" were an "organizing project executive director," the head of the "Columbus-based Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio," and a county treasurer. Not surprisingly, these alleged "experts" liked Obama's plan, but conditioned their praise with the requisite "there should be more" caveats -- both in terms of money and coercion.
"Conservatism Is Dead," blares the cover of the February 18 edition of The New Republic, heralding an article by Sam Tanenhaus, editor of The New York Times Book Review and Week in Review. Tanenhaus came to bury conservatism, arguing up front that today's GOP is too weak to resist Obama. (Perhaps a premature burial, given the GOP's stand against the "stimulus" package.)
Some 40 years later, there are conservatives who still inveigh against the perils of socialized medicine.
In his New Republic cover story, Tanenhaus sounded at best like a neo-liberal, making brief cursory criticism of liberal overreach while bearing down hard on conservative opposition to food stamps and the welfare state in general, with much discussion of Joe McCarthy, "the emptiness of free-market liturgy," and conservative malice toward the poor.
The morning show hosts reduce role of octuplets’ father to monetary supplier.
It’s a battle of materialism vs. morality on NBC’s Today show, and materialism is the clear winner. Apparently, the single mother of octuplets only needs their father for financial support.
In a February 6 preview of an exclusive interview with the Nadya Suleman, single mother of octuplets, the Today Show hosts mention the father of the octuplets only in terms of a financial provider, ignoring any moral obligation he might have, and failing to acknowledge that his involvement might be essential for successful parenting.
ABC's "World News Sunday" found a new twist on the obesity crisis Feb. 1. Apparently, recession can "lead to a spike in obesity."
Anchor Dan Harris introduced the "counterintuitive" report saying, "Americans are cutting back on food spending which could actually lead to a spike in obesity." Why? Because "eating healthy can cost more," ABC's Stephanie Sy reported.
Sy worried about "cheap treats" "that many public health experts fear may cause obesity rates to rise in the recession."
Interviewing shoppers in Aldi, a discount food chain, Sy said "most folks are stocking up on processed foods high in fat and sugar." Acting as the food police, Sy teased one customer about cinnamon Danishes in his cart saying, "What are these about? Very high in fat, very high in sugar."
But like many other media reports about obesity, Sy did not present the argument that ultimately every person is responsible for his or her own food choices.
Reporter Jason DeParle garnered Monday's lead story slot in the New York Times with an investigation into how the U.S. welfare system, which went through enormous changes in 1996 after President Clinton signed a bill replacing cash entitlement with work requirements and time limits, is functioning state by state during tough economic times ("Welfare Aid Failing to Grow as Economy Lags)."
But DeParle might not be the most objective teller of this particular tale -- his reporting has always been opposed to the welfare reform bill pushed by the GOP and signed by Clinton. At the time, he called it "a bill that begrudges poor infants their Pampers" and warned of more homelessness, drug use, prostitution, and abortions, none of which came to pass.
DeParle doesn't acknowledge that in his story, which began:
Despite soaring unemployment and the worst economic crisis in decades, 18 states cut their welfare rolls last year, and nationally the number of people receiving cash assistance remained at or near the lowest in more than 40 years.
The trends, based on an analysis of new state data collected by The New York Times, raise questions about how well a revamped welfare system with great state discretion is responding to growing hardships.
On Wednesday’s CBS Early Show, correspondent Thalia Assuras reported on a down-trodden family who had their spirits lifted by an invitation to the Obama Inauguration: "...struggling Americans like Telisha and Kenny Brown...Unable to pay their rent, they turned to an interfaith shelter for families, with their boys, Donovan, 12, and Dylan, 9. They had planned to celebrate the inauguration in their tiny apartment...But now the Browns will have a front-row view to history. Here in Washington, D.C."
Assuras went on to explain that: "They'll be part of a glittering fantasy world,thanks to a dream realized by Virginia millionaire, Earl Stafford...Months before the election, Earl had a spiritual inspiration to bring those less fortunate to the inauguration, no matter what the cost." In the report, Stafford exclaimed: "It was providential, I was inspired by the Lord to do this." Assuras described how: "Stafford bought a million dollar hotel package of rooms, food, and an inaugural ball, to accommodate homeless people, wounded veterans, the terminally ill, and others selected by social service organizations, at least 300 rubbing shoulders with dignitaries."
Near the end of the segment, Assuras asked 12-year-old Donovan Brown: "Is it special because it's Barack Obama?" The boy replied: "Yes." Assuras concluded her report by declaring: "For this family, January 20th offers something new...Hope for a brighter future." The camera then focused in on a 2009 Obama calender in the Brown’s apartment.
Ann Coulter made a second appearance during the 10 am Eastern hour of Wednesday’s Today show, and hosts Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb continued the discussion about the apparent “venom” in her books. Kotb asked if Coulter’s style was “kind of like shock jock, shake the cage, freak everyone out, wake everybody up,” and later stated that she felt the tone of the conservative’s writing was “dripping with venom.” The two hosts focused Coulter’s take on single motherhood in her new book, as Matt Lauer had done in her earlier appearance on the NBC program.
Kotb began the interview with her “shock jock, shake the cage” question. Coulter answered that she tries to “write in an entertaining, intriguing way, so that people will read what I have to say.” After the three briefly discussed the writing process for the author, Kotb then brought up the title of Coulter’s chapter on the problem of single motherhood: “Victim of a Crime? Thank a Single Mother.” Coulter explained her central point in the chapter, that single mothers are “victimizing their children by raising their children without fathers,” and how these children are “70% of the prison population, 60% to 70% of future unwed mothers -- of murderers, of rapists, of juvenile delinquents, of teenage runaways.”
By now, many readers know the New York Times's definition of a "good Catholic."
A good NYT Catholic doesn't necessarily need to go to Church very often. He or she focuses on the importance of alleviating poverty and other world problems, almost invariably through government handout programs and not individual or private charity. Despite the long standing of "just war" guidance, this person opposes all wars, no matter what is at stake. Finally, this person either keeps their yap shut about abortion and sexuality, or mouths platitudes like, "I'm personally against abortion, but ...." Such Catholics, if they are politicians, routinely defend their support of abortion on demand with such platitudes.
Those who run the Ave Maria family of mutual funds don't see things that way. They offer a group of mutual funds that, in their words, invest "in companies that do not violate core teachings of the Catholic Church." Accordingly, they "screen out companies associated with abortion and pornography," and apparently invest in other companies so-called politically correct (but often not orthodoxally correct) Catholics might not like.
Apparently because the funds have run radio ads, the Times's editorial board (as if it's their business) told readers at its blog that it doesn't like Ave Maria's approach. You'll also see in the bolded text that the editorialists fancy themselves to be Biblical experts:
California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's three-year lurch to the left, with the enthusiastic assistance of Democratic majorities in the state's legislature, has sent the state's fiscal situation once again into Gray Davisland -- and this time, unlike in November 2003 when he took office, the Governator doesn't have a growing economy to make getting out of the mess easier.
The state's controller said earlier today that the state "the state will run out of cash in about two months" if the state doesn't close its current budget gap of $18 billion.
Finally, the state is attempting to do something about its disproportionately costly welfare (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) program.
The howls are predictable, if somewhat understandable (which I'll get to). Excerpts from a Sacramento Bee story by Cynthia Hubert lay out the situation:
On December 18, in an item that appeared on Page C1 of its December 19 print edition (the graphic at the right is a scaled-down version of what appears at the top of the online version), the New York Times's Wendell Jamieson provided us his perspective on what has became a Christmas staple, Frank Capra Jr.'s "It's a Wonderful Life." I would suggest that the piece reveals a lot more about the author and Old Media's mindset than it tells us about the film.
Jamieson's title gives a preview of the awful attack that is on the way: "Wonderful? Sorry, George, It’s a Pitiful, Dreadful Life."
It turns out that Jamieson is the Times's city editor. I find it telling that the Times chose not to inform of this "little" fact at the end of the piece.
There is really no substitute for reading, or I should say enduring, the whole thing. But here are some samples of what the person who decides on a daily basis what Times readers and probably a large percentage of the country will learn about news and events in the nation's largest city thinks of Capra's classic, and of James Stewart's town:
It has been 19 months since Mona Charen and yours truly obliterated the legitimacy of the basic premise of the "Food Stamp Challenges" that began popping in various parts of the USA last year. The false premise is that the USDA's calculated benefit for recipients is all they have to buy food.
First it was Barack Obama's encounter with Joe the Plumber. Then there was his 2001 interview at Chicago radio station. Today, Ed Morrissey at Hot Air highlights yet another in what is turning out to be a long line of links and other items proving that Democratic candidate Barack Obama is a longtime dedicated, doctrinnaire soc-, soc-, (yes, we're still allowed to say it) socialist.
I'll cite the relevant verbiage after the jump. But what's more important, I will show just how easy it would have been for a journalist searching Google to find this item. The fact that either no one found this, or that those who might have found it obviously ignored it, shows just how lazy and/or negligent Old Media has been in vetting the Illinois senator's fitness to be president.
Here's what Obama had to say at "A Town Meeting on Economic Insecurity: Employment and Survival in Urban America" on February 25, 1996 in Chicago (bullets added by me for clarity, bold is mine):
Peripatetic New York Times columnist Tom Friedman was in China for the closing ceremony of the Beijing Olympics, and his Wednesday column "A Biblical Seven Years" praised the host country for the Games' "magnificent $43 billion infrastructure," built over the past seven years while the U.S. has been stuck fighting Al Qaeda. Friedman also praised the Communist nation's "planning, concentrated state power" and "national mobilization." Don't those words have more than a little echo of Stalinism?
After attending the spectacular closing ceremony at the Beijing Olympics and feeling the vibrations from hundreds of Chinese drummers pulsating in my own chest, I was tempted to conclude two things: “Holy mackerel, the energy coming out of this country is unrivaled.” And, two: “We are so cooked. Start teaching your kids Mandarin.”
On Wednesday's CBS "Early Show," co-host Russ Mitchell declared: "The high cost of gas is hurting everyone these days. Families, businesses, and even charities. Many organizations that deliver food to the sick and elderly are being hit extra hard." In the report that followed, correspondent Kelly Wallace went even further: "In one rural California case, according to the president of Meals on Wheels nationwide, cutting back from daily deliveries to one every 14 days proved fatal. Two seniors were found dead."
The Meals on Wheels president, Enid Borden, explained that: "We have people who are literally dying in their homes waiting for a meal. That's a crisis." Wallace also played a clip of Maryland Meals on Wheels executive director, Tom Grazio, who worried: "Some day in the not too distant future, unless things get better, we'll be telling people they can't eat today and that's disheartening."
Wallace then described " a dire situation in New York City," where Meals on Wheels director Marcia Stein continued the melodramatic theme: "For the first time in our 25-year history, we are having to ration food. We're having to make tough choices about who gets a meal, who does not get a meal, what days somebody might be without food." From this report, one is under the impression that people are literally starving to death across the country due to high gas prices. In May, the "Early Show" described how one woman "...pumps out her own blood, making $40 a pop so she has enough money to pump gas."
Last week at NewsBusters we noted how conservative commentator Pat Buchanan on MSNBC’s "Morning Joe" summed up global warming hysterias as just another "neo-Marxist idea for the transfer of wealth and power from people to elites." Now it seem that rival cable morning show "American Morning" has proved his point by highlighting a Japanese group fighting modern-day convenience with a vengeance.
On today’s "American Morning," CNN highlighted a group taking global warming hysteria to a whole new level of absurdity. The group called "Slow Life" says "the earth can't keep up with the speed of modern living. The environment losing ground to conveniences like the power hungry vending machines found on every Tokyo street corner, gas-guzzling cars and life’s outright excesses."
CNN’s Kyung Lah tried to link fast-paced lifestyles to global warming. Aside from interviewing one regular person on the street who claimed she could not afford to live a slow life, the only other person interviewed by CNN for the story was a professor sympathetic to the "Slow Life" gospel. The irrational professor claimed, "The problem is wealth. Actually it is wealth that has been producing poverty and that has been causing environmental crisis."
Food inflation is hitting everyone - even if don't have to pay for food.
According to the July 2 "CBS Evening News," part of its "The Other America" series - a title strangely similar to former Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards' liberal anti-poverty mantra of "Two Americas" - food stamp recipients are being hit by the rising the cost of food.
"With food prices climbing, more and more Americans these days are struggling to feed their families," anchor Katie Couric said. "Nearly 28 million rely on food stamps for an average benefit that comes to only about $24 a week for each person. Many are living hand-to-mouth, month-to-month."
Paul Krugman is over in Berlin, and—surprise!—concludes that Europeans have things better figured out than we benighted Americans do. The gist of his Stranded in Suburbia in today's NY Times is that dense cities like Berlin, which offer good public transportation, are the solution to the high gasoline prices we are seemingly stuck with. Krugman contrasts Berlin and Atlanta:
Greater Atlanta has roughly the same population as Greater Berlin — but Berlin is a city of trains, buses and bikes, while Atlanta is a city of cars, cars and cars.
So why don't more Americans choose to live in big cities? After citing the current lack of good public transportation and the durability of suburban housing, Krugman points his accusing liberal's finger at his fellow Americans [emphasis added]:
CBS's "Early Show" gave a fairly glowing report from the May Day celebration in Havana, Cuba, May 1, on changes Cuban President Raúl Castro has made in the country. Reporter Elizabeth Palmer called the leader's brother, Fidel Castro, a "revolutionary hero."
Fidel Castro handed provisional power to Raúl Castro, his younger brother, in July 2006. Raúl Castro officially took over the presidency in February 2008 after Fidel Castro fell ill.
Anchor Russ Mitchell said the May Day celebrations in Cuba signaled a "new era" for the country, and Palmer touted reforms like "cell phones," "text-messaging," opening of "resort hotels" to Cuban citizens and "shiny new Chinese buses."
Kevin Sack devoted his front-page New York Times Week in Review piece, "The Short End Of the Longer Life," to two recent government reports showing what he finds to be disturbing trends in life expectancy in the United States.
No, it's not on the decline. But one study found that "the life expectancy gap is growing between rich and poor," while the other found "statistically significant declines" in life expectancy for women (not men) in a minority of American counties, many clustered in the Appalachia region. And guess who's cited in the third paragraph as an expert on such matters? Failed presidential candidate John Edwards and his left-wing view of "Two Americas."
The Times painted the findings in crusade-like terms, similar to President Kennedy putting the spotlight on the poor and hungry in rural Appalachia. The paper's propaganda push came complete with a half-page black and white photo of a little girl in Kentucky standing before a portrait of her great-grandmother, reminiscent of Walker Evans' photos in Let Us Now Praise Famous Men."
The April 23 "CBS Evening News" found a way to twist the turmoil in the housing markets into something that's stretch even for them - a rise in the homeless population.
"The Anticos are leaving their Bradenton, Fla. home because they have to," CBS correspondent Kelly Cobiella said. "The bank foreclosed on it in February after Sharon lost her job and fell behind on the mortgage. For the first time in her life, she and her kids are homeless."
The true culprit behind the Antico's loss wasn't a bad mortgage or lost home value; it wasn't an adjusted rate that put the payment out of reach. It was that Sharon Antico lost her job and the family could no longer afford the mortgage.
The day after Pope Benedict XVI departed the U.S. after a six-day visit, Blaine Harden of the Washington Post lamented the Catholic Church’s influence in the Philippines, specifically, the government of Philippines "acceding to Catholic doctrine" by "supporting only what it calls ‘natural’ family planning," rejecting "modern contraception" as part of family planning." Throughout his article, titled "Birthrates Help Keep Filipinos in Poverty," Harden painted a bleak picture of "the fastest-growing segment of the Philippine population," which is "very poor people with large families," and sought to blame their poverty and backwardness on their following Catholic teaching, brushing aside corruption and other factors that contribute to poverty. A photo accompanying the article in the print-edition of the Post showed a poor Filipino mother in her shack with her four children, two of whom are naked.
Harden described the Church’s influence throughout the article, hinting that it had created a climate of fear in the country "An organization that is helping Espinoza [a poor Filipino woman who plans to get a contraceptive intrauterine device] agreed to introduce this reporter to her on condition that it not be named. The group’s health workers said they fear retaliation and harassment from officials in the national and city government, as well as from the Catholic Church." He immediately mentioned after this that in 2005, the "Catholic bishops in the southern Philippines announced that they would refuse Communion to government health workers who distributed birth control devices."
"Not long ago, a young Ohio woman named Trina Bachtel, who was having health problems while pregnant, tried to get help at a local clinic," Krugman wrote. "Unfortunately, she had previously sought care at the same clinic while uninsured and had a large unpaid balance. The clinic wouldn't see her again unless she paid $100 per visit - which she didn't have. Eventually, she sought care at a hospital 30 miles away. By then, however, it was too late. Both she and the baby died."
"Food stamps provide only about $1 per person, per meal. Who in the world is buying groceries with that?" asked Lisa Hamler-Fugitt, executive director of the Ohio Association of Second Harvest Food Bank.
On average, food stamps are now providing less than two weeks of groceries.
"There's the presumption that folks have the cash to make up the rest. Well, they don't" .....
Sigh. As noted time, and time, and time, and time again, the benefits (called "Maximum Allotments" by the government) for families with no other resources are higher (graphic link is to related page at the USDA web site):
The greatest challenge facing Kosovo - which declared independence from Serbia two weeks ago - may not be opposition from Russia and Serbia, but may come from Western environmental groups opposed to mining what The New York Times on March 5 called the nation's "vast amount of minerals."
Currently, the country's largest export is scrap metal. Accessing the extensive resources - including an estimated 14 billion tons of coal - in Kosovo will require restructuring of its "outdated" mining systems, but the mining industry has faced fierce opposition from Western environmental activists.
Between railroad tracks and beneath the roar of departing planes sits "tent city," a terminus for homeless people. It is not, as might be expected, in a blighted city center, but in the once-booming suburbia of Southern California.
The noisy, dusty camp sprang up in July with 20 residents and now numbers 200 people, including several children, growing as this region east of Los Angeles has been hit by the U.S. housing crisis.
The unraveling of the region known as the Inland Empire reads like a 21st century version of "The Grapes of Wrath," John Steinbeck's novel about families driven from their lands by the Great Depression.
In a typical softball interview with former President Bill Clinton on Monday’s CBS "Early Show," co-host Harry Smith ran defense for the Clinton campaign:
I also want to set the record straight. When you were in Muscatine a week and a half ago or so, right, and said 'I've always been against this,' speaking about the Iraq war. I did a little Googling last night, and the best I could tell, was you said the weapons inspectors should be allowed to do their jobs.
Beyond Smith’s idea that a thirty second Google search is journalism, one wonders why he felt the need to "set the record straight" for a particular presidential campaign. Maybe it has something to do with Smith’s belief that the Clintons are a "still-young couple" and "political rock stars."
Team Edwards, both eminently coiffed candidate John and his designated political hitter bride Elizabeth, on Wednesday, Novemeber 21st cancelled their scheduled appearance on The View, doing so, according to the UnDynamic Duo, to “honor the members of the Writers Guild of America”, who are currently on strike.
Not to be outpandered, Michelle Obama, wife of the incredibly audacious Barack, later that same day pulled out of her December 5th guest co-hosting duties.
Obviously, sucking up is more important than being sucked up to in Democratic presidential politics.
This is related to nearly every Donkey candidate promising to not participate in a scheduled December 10th CBS debate (moderated by the ratings Juggernaut Katie Couric) should their news writers decide to join their union brethren and sistren (one must be, in this age of PC, all-inclusive) and abandon that foundering network vessel to the waves unscribed.
The Anchoress, a three-time Weblog Awards finalist and 2007 Catholic Blog Awards Winner (congratulations!) in the Best Political/Social Commentary category (scroll down at link to see it), delivered a cold but necessary shower earlier this evening to those of us who are tempted to exaggerate or overstate the impact New Media is having on most Americans.
I'll bet that a lot of us can relay similar stories to the ones she referred to in her very perceptive post ("Good news leaks past the embargo on good news…"; links that contradict the Old Media-driven beliefs described and bolds/italics were included in her original):
Unfortunately, it is still true that until a new president is installed in the WH, preferably one with a D after the name, only the downsides are newsworthy, and that holds true in every subject. Every subject. My elderly family members are convinced that everything, everywhere, is going to hell, and they are fretful and terrified. They think everyone is out of work, the economy is in a recession, the war in Iraq is lost and there are no real terrorist threats - that’s just made-up stuff. They’re sure America is dying. They are sure the world is headed for famine. They are depressed and do not want to send out Christmas cards, because how can you do that when so much is bad in the world?