Social Security

By Tom Blumer | June 28, 2013 | 4:27 PM EDT

Before the government released its first estimate of first-quarter economic growth in late April, the establishment press, particularly Bloomberg News and the Associated Press, salivated at the chance to report the then-predicted "robust" annualized growth of 3 percent and to describe how the economy had "accelerated" from the previous quarter's pathetic 0.4 percent. When that first estimate came in at only 2.5 percent, most news organizations at least had the integrity to pronounce the news disappointing. But not Martin Crutsinger and Christopher Rugaber at the AP, aka the Administration's Press, who opened their coverage by saying that "the American economy quickened its pace early this year despite deep government cutbacks."

The government's second estimate in May was little changed at 2.4 percent. But Wednesday's third and final estimate (pending annual revisions going back several years, the next of which will appear in July) came in at 1.8 percent, a 40 percent drop from so-called experts' original predictions (1.2-point difference divided by the original 3.0 percent). The AP's reaction was to produce a terse three-paragraph blurb which was gone from its national web site within 24 hours, followed by a late afternoon report which blamed higher Social Security taxes and "federal spending cuts":

By Brad Wilmouth | June 25, 2013 | 3:23 PM EDT

On Monday's All In show, MSNBC host Chris Hayes complained about Republicans trying to increase the number of border agents and to bar illegal immigrants from collecting Social Security benefits based on taxes they've paid into the system.

After recounting the time when he worked with several illegal immigrants in a bakery who paid Social Security taxes, and the efforts by Republicans to make the border with Mexico "one of the most militarized places in this country," Hayes concluded:

By Paul Bremmer | June 7, 2013 | 9:45 PM EDT

Jonathan Alter showed up on PBS’s Charlie Rose Wednesday to promote the new book in which he celebrates Barack Obama’s 2012 reelection. The Bloomberg columnist doesn’t seem to understand the irony of his book’s title – The Center Holds. He really does believe President Obama is a centrist, and he attempted to explain the title from the comfort of Rose’s dark studio:

“So the reason I call the book The Center Holds is, you know, not just ObamaCare, but he has defended the American social contract against an assault by the American Right.

By Clay Waters | April 23, 2013 | 2:56 PM EDT

Showing how difficult it is to make the smallest reductions in federal spending, New York Times personal finance reporter Tara Siegel Bernard's latest "Your Money" column criticized, as hurting the old and poor, a proposed change in how inflation is calculated that would slightly curb the annual increases in entitlement spending. The proposal is generally supported by conservatives and reviled by liberals.

Bernard doesn't like it either. The headline over her Saturday column: "Budget Negotiating Chip Has Big Downside for Old and Poor."

By Tom Blumer | April 7, 2013 | 12:56 PM EDT

I guess Byron Tau thought he had to make it look like Big Labor is really, really mad at President Barack Obama and the White House so he could make Obama look like he's a moderate on economic and fiscal issues. Thus his Sunday morning post's headline: "Labor targets Obama over proposed benefit cuts."

Of course, they aren't "cuts" at all, though they are being portrayed as such. All Obama has done, according to information which appears to have been conveniently leaked (perhaps in hopes of killing the idea) to the New York Times ahead of his very late President's Budget, is "propose a new inflation formula that would have the effect of reducing cost-of-living payments for Social Security benefits, though with financial protections for low-income and very old beneficiaries, administration officials said." Despite the weakly descriptive language at the Times, monthly Social Security and other checks would continue to increase under the proposal each year inflation occurs -- just not by as much.

By Noel Sheppard | March 23, 2013 | 1:19 PM EDT

Senate Democrats on Saturday narrowly passed their first budget in four years.

Appearing on PBS's Inside Washington Friday before the vote, syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer called it "the most appalling document you have ever seen" claiming, "It marches us off a cliff into Greece and perhaps into Cyprus" (video follows with transcript and absolutely no need for additional commentary):

By Noel Sheppard | March 11, 2013 | 9:29 AM EDT

While you were watching Rand Paul's historic filibuster and the debate surrounding budget sequestration, an economic theory battle was waging between two of the nation's foremost liberal economists Paul Krugman and Jeffrey Sachs.

In his most recent salvo published at the Huffington Post Saturday, Sachs spoke heresy to Obama-lovers across the fruited plain including Krugman claiming that following the 2008 financial crisis, "It was the Fed, not the fiscal stimulus, which prevented a fall into depression."

By Noel Sheppard | March 5, 2013 | 11:31 AM EST

As NewsBusters reported earlier, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman and MSNBC's Joe Scarborough had quite a heated discussion about the budget, debt, and the economy on PBS's Charlie Rose Monday evening.

Near its conclusion, Scarborough actually scolded Krugman for pompously behaving like a sighing Al Gore (video follows with transcript and commentary):

By Noel Sheppard | March 5, 2013 | 10:25 AM EST

New York Times columnist Paul Krugman and MSNBC's Joe Scarborough had an at times heated discussion about budget deficits, debt, and the economy on PBS's Charlie Rose Monday evening.

At one point Krugman got so rattled by the facts that he actually said Scarborough quoting what he had said in the past was making an ad hominem attack against him (video follows with transcript and commentary):

By Noel Sheppard | March 4, 2013 | 9:31 AM EST

For conservatives, it's been truly delicious the past few weeks watching previously devote Obamaites break ranks with their colleagues to finally tell the world that the emperor has no clothes.

A fine example Monday was the perilously liberal economist and media darling Jeffrey Sachs who published an article at the Huffington Post with the headline "How Obama's Politics Led to Sequestration":

By Noel Sheppard | March 3, 2013 | 8:38 PM EST

"We're all socialists from the day we're born. You know, you don't have to be poor or unemployed to be on Welfare. We're all at the trough. We're all Welfare queens."

So said TIME magazine executive editor Michael Duffy on the syndicated Chris Matthews Show Sunday (video follows with transcript and commentary):

By Matt Vespa | March 1, 2013 | 6:06 PM EST

Bob Woodward is a legend in modern journalism, especially for fellow liberal reporters. But that all is for naught now that Woodward has committed the cardinal sin of criticizing the White House for an operative's use of what apparently is a fairly common tactic: a harsh bullying of the press in order to demand even more favorable coverage than the Obama-friendly press already lavishes on Team Obama.  It centers on Woodward reporting that sequestration was the White House's idea.  This morning Matt Lauer, on the Today Show, questioned Woodward's judgement, saying "I'm a little surprised you've gone public with this."  Even, the New York Times offered no refuge for Woodward.

He isn’t the only one.  Clinton operative and op-ed columnist Lanny Davis has received similar treatment, and veteran White House reporter Ron Fournier at National Journal also reported threatening emails and calls. But in today’s broadcast of Morning Joe, co-host Mika Brzezinski decided to give deference to Obama acolyte David Axelrod’s days as a journalist for the Chicago Tribune in order to portray Woodward as going over the line in his reporting on Gene Sperling's harassment: