On Tuesday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams read a short item noting the decision of Ohio Republican Congressman Steve LaTourette to retire from the House of Representatives this year, noting that he is "one of the last GOP moderates in Congress."
The NBC anchor also relayed LaTourette's complaint that "compromise has now become a dirty word."
It's becoming increasingly clear that the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, believes there are two primary kinds of users of its output: those who only read headlines and those who read on or click through. It often dresses up the headlines with inaccuracies, omissions, and occasional downright falsehoods, which more often than not are respectively rendered properly, included, and stated truthfully (or at least sort of close) in the actual content.
It's hard to find a more stark example of a contradiction between an AP headline and its underlying content than Martin Crutsinger's late afternoon report Friday following that morning's Gross Domestic Product report:
Appearing as a panel member on the Sunday, July 22, Melissa Harris-Perry show, MSNBC political analyst Jonathan Alter - formerly of Newsweek - charged that the NRA has "imposed" a "gag order" that makes politicians afraid to discuss enacting more gun control.
He went on to advise that those who support more gun laws should say to the NRA that "We're not going to let you silence us."
If the idea of tax increases is so darned popular, why do journalists "creatively" avoid using the term?
Here's an example from a lengthy Saturday report on Democrat Bob Kerrey's U.S. Senate comeback effort in Nebraska by Karen Tumulty at the Washington Post, wherein she describes the 1993 Clinton tax hikes as a "deficit-reduction plan" (bolds are mine):
Poor David Espo and Nancy Benac. A six-paragraph squib this morning headlined "Calls for gun control stir little support" at the wire service's national site and "Despite a string of high-profile shootings, calls for gun control stir little support" at Newser.com really should have been titled "Why Aren't You Guys Politicizing This, D**nit?"
The two AP "reporters" bitterly wail and gnash their teeth over how little outcry there has been for stricter gun laws after the Aurora, Colorado theater massacre (shown in full because of its brevity and subsequent later expansion, to be discussed later in this post, and for fair use and discussion purposes).
On July 12, the Department of Health and Human Services' Administration for Children & Families, the group which administers the entitlement program known to most as "welfare" or "traditional welfare, issued an "Information Memorandum" entitled "Guidance concerning waiver and expenditure authority under Section 1115" (i.e., not "proposed guidance"). After navigating the thicket of bureaucratic babble contained therein, Robert Rector and Kiki Bradley at the Heritage Foundation asserted, with agreement from several other quarters and no meaningful dissent I have detected, that the memo's effect "is the end of welfare reform."
One useful interpretation of a journalist's use of "some people say that" or "some argue that" without an accompanying reference to or quote from a subject matters expert is that such phrases really mean "in my opinion."
This is the very likely case in a disingenuously headlined Associated Press story yesterday by Andrew Taylor concerning the standoff between the Republicans, who want the current income tax structure continued for at least another year, and Democrats, including President Obama, who want to raise taxes (they describe it as "ending the Bush tax cuts," which fully went into effect over nine years ago) on "the rich," currently defined as people making $200,000 or more per year. Taylor put the following statement out there without identifying any economist or political analyst who might agree with it (because I doubt there are many, or even any):
Democrats are at it again, claiming that Republicans, particularly House Republicans, are sabotaging the economy, while ignoring the quite effective job President Barack Obama has done to ruin the economy both on his own (regulatory and anti-fossil fuel hostility, wasteful green "investments," etc.) and with the help of Congressional Democrats when they controlled both Houses of Congress (stimulus, ObamaCare, trillion-dollar deficits, etc.).
The best argument against this nonsense is that if Republicans were really interested in hurting the economy, GOP governors wouldn't be doing good to even great jobs with their own states' economies. At the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, Josh Lederman, reporting from the National Governors Association meeting in Williamsburg, Virginia, attempted to frame a response to GOP governors' contentions (in bold after the jump) which qualifies as the howler of the day:
Appearing as a panel member on Sunday's Face the Nation on CBS, Time magazine's Rana Foroohar - identified as assistant managing editor in charge of economics and business on Time's Web site - lamented that she was "sad" at how much taxes are being discussed as she asserted that "one thing that's not going to get us some kind of a growth boom is a tax cut," and then called for more government spending which she claimed would entice businesses into more economic activity.
Without clarifying that the recent political debate about taxes has been about preventing tax rates from increasing as the Bush tax cuts expire, Foroohar dismissed the effectiveness of tax cuts and explained her prescription for the economy:
The liberal media aren’t hiding their contempt for the House holding another ObamaCare repeal vote. Thursday’s Washington Post published an article headlined: “A House they looked down on: In the visitors’ gallery, health-law repeal vote didn’t look so dignified.”
On Wednesday night’s All Things Considered, congressional correspondent Andrea Seabrook dismissed the entire debate as "largely fact free, with both sides exercising more condescension and moral outrage than anything else.” That’s right, NPR is describing someone else as condescending:
Not only is the Associated Press aptly currently described as the Administration's Press -- as least as long as the White House's current occupant remains there -- it also seems to be serving as the Administration's Protection.
In a story about the "Lie-bor" scandal, wherein British banks have admitted to colluding to set the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) -- arguably the world’s most important benchmark for interest rates -- artificially low, AP reporter Martin Crutsinger "somehow" forgot that current Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner was President of the New York Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank during much of the time period in which Congressional investigators are interested. Clearly, they want to know what Geithner knew, and when he knew it. The first three paragraphs of Crutsinger's writeup, followed by his sole context-free mention of Geithner, follow the jump (bolds are mine throughout this post):
She's a seven-term Democrat representing Las Vegas in the U.S. House of Representatives and she's running in a U.S. Senate race which "observers believe could be a pickup for Democrats." But yesterday, Rep. Shelley Berkley (Nev.) received "a blow to her candidacy" when "[t]he House Ethics Committee... voted unanimously to launch a formal investigation into allegations" that the congresswoman "used her position to benefit the financial interests of her husband," Washington Post reporter Ed O'Keefe reported in a page A4 article in today's paper. Yes, that unanimous vote means that fellow Democrats want a formal investigation into Berkley.
But alas, O'Keefe was given no favors by Post editors who punished the reporter with a snoozer of a headline certain to interest hardly anyone beyond hard-core political junkies: "Nevada Rep. Berkley faces ethics investigation."
On Friday's The Ed Show, MSNBC analyst Richard Wolffe - formerly of Newsweek - compared Mitt Romney's economic plan to a "pre-9/11" mentality as he went along with substitute host Michael Eric Dyson's complaint that Republicans are being "clearly obstuctionist" against President Obama's economic agenda.
Wednesday's Today show on NBC ran a four and a half minute piece profiling Saratoga Springs, Utah, Mayor, and congressional candidate Mia Love, who has a very good chance of being the first black female Republican elected to Congress.
During an interview with RNC Chairman Reince Priebus, Brooke Baldwin skipped her own network’s poll showing more independents disagree than agree with the Supreme Court’s ruling on ObamaCare. Such cherry-picking is not uncommon for CNN hosts as Baldwin's colleague Soledad O’Brien has engaged in the practice to prop up ObamaCare as well.
When Priebus challenged Baldwin over her polling claims, she doubled down and continued to selectively highlight data that fit her narrative. Brooke cited a Gallup poll showing 46 percent of all voters agree with the Supreme Court’s decision and 45 percent of independents agree as well. Baldwin left out the key piece of data from CNN's poll which found that while 47 percent of independents agree with the ruling, a majority, 52 percent disagree. [Video coming soon. MP3 audio here.]
From the headlines to the verbiage in many establishment press write-ups, it would be easy to believe that the just-resolved controversy over interest rates on student loans affects virtually everyone in college who has borrowed money and anyone who graduated (or didn't) who borrowed and is still owes Uncle Sam.
That isn't so. To cite just one example, readers of Christine Armario's Saturday morning report at the Associated Press have to work way too hard to figure that out. Additionally those who listen to snippets of Armario's work on TV and radio broadcasts probably won't hear what she doesn't get to until her third paragraph:
On Friday's NBC Today co-host Matt Lauer didn't just lob a softball to Obama campaign advisor David Axelrod about Attorney General Eric Holder being held in contempt of Congress, he placed the ball on a tee and helped Axelrod swing the bat: "Paraphrasing here, Mr. Holder said the American people deserve better. What is the President's reaction to the actions in Congress?"
Axelrod happily spewed White House talking points on the Thursday vote that held Holder in contempt for failing to release documents regarding the Fast and Furious gun-walking scandal: "I think it was an embarrassment to the Congress....They're getting their questions answered, they wanted the confrontation, they wanted the political theater. They ought to be getting to work on the problems that are significant to the American people."
Uniquely among the broadcast network evening newscasts, the NBC Nightly News, not only ran a full report on the House of Representatives vote to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress, but the network also noted that some Democrats joined Republicans on the vote.
By contrast, ABC's World News and the CBS Evening News only mentioned the dozens of Democrats who walked out of the Capitol in protest as they devoted only about half a minute each to the story.
In the minutes following the Supreme Court’s controversial decision to uphold ObamaCare, MSNBC's Chuck Todd dismissed opposition to the law as purely partisan politics. Todd, who is the Chief White House correspondent for NBC News has decided to suddenly become a liberal pundit now that ObamaCare was upheld by the Supreme Court. [Video follows page break; MP3 audio here.]
Todd claims that those opposing ObamaCare represented a:
I have lived in the United States of America for some 75 years. I’ve witnessed a World War, the nuclear age, segregation, the Viet Nam fiasco and 12 presidential administrations and I have never seen this nation as divided as it is today.
The divisions are not only along racial, financial and political lines but sexual, religious, and moral issues divide us as never before in history.
Appearing as a panel member on this weekend's syndicated Chris Matthews Show, MSNBC's Howard Fineman - also of the Huffington Post - described President Obama as having a "superhero's challenge" in Washington in having to deal with "a different planet than the one he originally was on."
A bit earlier, Fineman had recounted that President Obama was "confused" when he came to Washington and found that conservatives were not willing to work with him. Fineman:
The count of prominent Democratic Party politicians who have decided not to attend the Democratic Party's convention in Charlotte, thereby attempting to avoid direct association with the formal renomination of incumbent President Barack Obama, is up to seven. Press coverage has been sparse. One can only imagine how much media end-zone dancing there would have been in 2004 had one governor, one senator and five congresspersons chosen not to attend the Republican National Convention to renominate George W. Bush.
On Thursday, the Hill had the story about the latest declared non-attendee, who admittedly is the least surprising addition to list (internal links are in original):
Following President Obama’s decision to use executive privilege to shield Attorney General Eric Holder from turning over documents to Congress, the mainstream media can no longer continue its media blackout of the Fast and Furious scandal.
Asserting executive privilege "has several immediate effects" upon the public's awareness of a scandal the media have heretofore largely ignored, Fox News contributor Charles Krauthammer observed on the Wednesday edition of Fox News Channel's Special Report.
It appears as though CNN anchor Soledad O’Brien has joined the ranks in +the liberal media who argue that the GOP is engaging in a political witch hunt over the lethal Fast and Furious gun-walking scandal. During an interview with Sen. Chuck Grassley this morning, Soledad pressed the Iowa Republican about GOP congressmen's motives behind the contempt of Congress vote against Attorney General Eric Holder.
O'Brien hyped Maryland Democratic Congressman Elijah Cummings's charge that the the House GOP's vote for the contempt charge was purely partisan politics. O'Brien agreed, noting the partisan breakdown of the contempt vote. [Video coming soon. MP3 audio here.]
On CNN Newsroom this morning, anchor Carol Costello reported on "Nuns on the Bus:"
"Normally, you see nuns working in their closely knit communities and religious orders. But a group of nuns in the United States, they are hitting the road," she reported. "They are taking a bus on nine-state tour. They are protesting the Ryan budget cuts they say will hurt the poor the most. The nuns are in Milwaukee today and that's where Ted Rowlands is. So the nuns are jumping into the political fray."
At the rate things are going, it may be that the list of leading West Virginia Democrats attending the party's convention in Charlotte is going to be shorter than the list of those who aren't.
The Associated Press reported the following in an unbylined item this evening in a terse three-paragraph squib with some pretty amusing attempts at impact-minimizing verbiage (bolds and numbered tags are mine):
This week the Los Angeles Times's Web site carries the story "Kirk Douglas on the blacklist: Why Hollywood showed so little courage," referencing the actor's recently released memoir. The article also appears in today's Chicago Tribune print edition, titled "How Douglas took on blacklist with 'Spartacus.'" Author Patrick Goldstein reports Douglas is particularly proud of hiring former Communist and unrepentant member of the Hollywood Ten Dalton Trumbo to write the movie "Spartacus."
Last year, Harry Reid said pretty close to the same thing President Obama said on Friday about the health of the nation's private sector. Obama claimed that "The private sector is fine." On the Senate floor on October 19, Reid claimed that "It's very clear that private-sector jobs have been doing just fine."
Don't feel bad if you don't know this, because the press mostly ignored it. The few who did notice it worked mightily to excuse it. One of the chief excusers was Pete Kasperowicz at the Hill:
Uniquely among the broadcast network evening newscasts, ABC's World News on Thursday ran a report which informed viewers that Democrats in Congress have joined Republicans in accusing the Obama administration of leaking classified information, jeopardizing the country's ability to recruit spies in other countries to help the U.S. in the future.
Host Diane Sawyer introduced the report by suggesting that administration officials have leaked sensitive information to benefit President Obama politically, noting that Democrats have weighed in against the White House as well:
The Catholic News Agency's Michelle Bauman reports that there has been a "wave" of recent defections and departures from the Democratic Party that could be as many as several hundred. The establishment press is clearly being remiss in failing to note them at all -- something which would not be occurring if it involved Republicans going to the party of the left.
The reasons for the moves primarily relate to President Obama's endorsement of same-sex "marriage" and the assault on religious freedoms inherent in his administration's requirement that employers who offer health insurance plans, in Bauman's words, "cover contraception, sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs, even if doing so violates their consciences." Excerpts from her report follow the jump, including a notable quote from Artur Davis, the former four-term Democratic congressman who announced to very little press coverage in late May that if he runs again for public office, it will be as a Republican: