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?
With all due respect to the chairman (Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke), he would see the recession that so many others are feeling if he would only open his eyes. While Mr. Bernanke and others are waiting for the official diagnosis (a decline in the gross domestic product for two successive quarters), the disease is spreading and has been spreading for some time.
On Saturday, CNN ran an interview with Bill Cosby on "Larry King Live," which originally ran on Thursday October 18, in which the entertainer plugged his new book "Come on People: On the Path from Victims to Victors," about problems faced by America's black population. While Cosby talked about such conservative themes as personal responsibility, which in recent years he has been famous for discussing, the entertainer also demonstrated that he has not entirely made the trip over to the conservative side as he derided Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas as "brother lite," repeatedly charging that Thomas "doesn't want to help anybody." Cosby also proclaimed that he "loves" far-left Democratic presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich. (Transcript follows)
In an article counseling readers to cancel the pity party the Washington Post wants to throw for "Young Altruists In the Crowded Field of Public Interest," Rand Simberg at Transterrestrial Musings nails it, and in the process hammers home a reality that Old Media reporters and pundits never seem to comprehend (links were in original post):
..... Who is it that really changes the world, and for the better?
I would argue that it is the people like Bill Gates, or Henry Ford, or Thomas Edison, or the Wright brothers, who have a much larger and more beneficial effect on the world than people who "want to make a difference."
Whenever the United Nations makes any dire proclamation about the future of the planet, whether dealing with global warming, the environment, war, or poverty, you can be sure media will give it great attention.
Yet, when the World Federation of UN Associations released its extraordinarily optimistic "State of the Future" report Monday, with positive news about literacy, mortality, economic growth, and poverty reduction, the press couldn't care less.
In fact, despite the Associated Press, which true to form cherry-picked one negative finding in this study for its article on the subject, absolutely no American media outlets shared this report's release. Not one.
Fortunately, thousands of miles away, Agence France-Presse felt this astoundingly upbeat study from the Millennium Project was newsworthy (emphasis added throughout, h/t Benny Peiser):
Bill Clinton has a new book out titled Giving (no, it's not free), and the book launch already has loads of media help. Today's Washington Post carries a gooey article from reporter David Segal about a Harlem book launch event and panel discussion in Harlem for Clinton hosted by Tavis Smiley, the nightly PBS chat-show host. The headline on the front of the style section was "Bill Clinton's Got What It Takes for 'Giving.'" Segal can't get over how Clinton consistently sounds like a genius, and how it makes him long for the glory days:
He still has this way of presenting his ideas for reforms as simple, elegant solutions that would all but enact themselves if enough people get behind them or merely get out of their way.
He spoke, at one point, of "whittling down materials to retrofit buildings to combat global warming in Bangladesh, and whatever it means, it sure sounds like a good idea. He said the market for charitable giving was "under-organized" and "under-capitalized," and again -- it makes sense even if you're not sure about what it means.
Here's a story a climate change obsessed media are sure to ignore: a Congressman from Southern California has actually suggested America spend financial resources to fix the endangered entitlement programs of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid rather than to solve global warming.
I don't imagine Katie, Charlie, and Brian will be doing a segment on this tonight, do you?
Regardless, Rep. John Campbell (R-California) published a must-read op-ed Tuesday entitled "Global Warming Heresy" (emphasis added throughout):
The media spun the report by the U.S. Census Bureau yesterday to show that although poverty numbers were lower, the number of Americans without health insurance was increasing. But they didn’t even get that right.
“There's news on the economy tonight,” said NBC News anchor Brian Williams. “The percentage of Americans living in poverty dropped a bit last year to 12.3 percent from 12.6 percent of the population the year before. But there was bad news on this front as well. The number of Americans without health insurance has gone up from nearly 45 million in 2005 to 47 million Americans last year.”
The statistics Williams is referring to come from the U.S. Census Report, “Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2006.” It broke down the 47 million uninsured and reported that a little over 10 million of those uninsured are not a citizen of the United States, something Williams failed to disclose.
The Census Bureau announced a drop in the poverty rate, but NBC and, especially CBS, on Tuesday night managed to turn the good news into bad by emphasizing an increase in the number of Americans without health insurance while ABC, in contrast, portrayed the decrease in poverty as good news. “A bright spot of economic news today,” fill-in ABC anchor Kate Snow announced, “the percentage of Americans living in poverty dropped last year” by “three-tenths of a percent from the year before.” Reporter Barbara Pinto actually acknowledged some positive trends during the Bush years, pointing to how “in the past four years, the country has added nearly 7 million jobs. And in those four years, the average household income has risen about $700.” Pinto didn't ignore liberal class-warfare arguments, but after a left-winger asserted “there's very little that trickles down to those at the bottom,” Pinto countered: “Obviously, some of that growth is trickling down.”
Though the AP headlined its story, “U.S. poverty rate declines significantly,” NBC anchor Brian Williams reported it dropped “a bit” and CBS anchor Katie Couric relayed how “the poverty rate is down slightly.” And while most of those in poverty manage to have many comforts of life, from good-sized homes to cars, Couric insisted poverty level income is “hardly enough for food and housing, much less other items like health insurance.” Wyatt Andrews devoted a full story to “the highest number of uninsured Americans in 20 years: 47 million without health insurance.” Andrews failed to note that 16 million of the uninsured are illegals or on Medicaid while most people are uninsured for only short periods.
Front and center of USA Today’s homepage right now are two stories that are quite frightening. The first titled, “Home Prices: Steepest Drop in 20 Years; No Recovery Soon.” Then just below that a story dubbed, “Business May Keep Their Wallets Closed.” While these two doomsday stories on the economy are front and center, full with color pictures, off to the side is a very different article entitled “U.S. Poverty Rate Down.” (see update below)
This should come as no surprise to anyone that follows the media. Good news is rarely is ever front and center, while the doom and gloom is almost certainly above the fold. Here are a few highlights from the article in case you missed it: