Blogger Doug Ross got to the news of the Congressional Budget Office's Monthly Budget Report (PDF) over the weekend, quite accurately observing that the establishment news coverage of its content barely existed.
On Monday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez pressed Republican Senator Lamar Alexander on the GOP’s opposition to ObamaCare: “...there’s been a lot of criticism that Republicans have done nothing but oppose this bill, nothing to help pass it, just try to kill it....have you done more than say ‘no, no, no, no, no’?”
At the top of the show, Rodriguez described a weekend visit by President Obama to Capitol Hill: “A rare closed-door rally on Capitol Hill over the weekend as President Obama calls on Democrats to close ranks and pass health care reform.” Rodriguez later suggested that Republicans “were not invited to the meeting yesterday” based on their criticism of the legislation. Senator Alexander responded: “Well that’s really an amazing statement. I mean, the President was elected on the idea of open meetings.”
Rodriguez also spoke with Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill but tried not to be too tough as she asked the Senator about the Presidential visit: “There were four holdouts yesterday before your meeting with the President. Did he succeed in changing any minds?” McCaskill declared: “Well, I think we’re getting there. Failure’s not an option.”
The New York Times’s Jason DeParle and Robert Gebeloff published a long Saturday report on the Food Stamp program that went into print on Sunday.
This is the second of three posts on their coverage; the first went up earlier today at NewsBusters and BizzyBlog. It addressed the pair's seeming happiness with the massive increase in program participation, their apparent unhappiness that 15-16 million who could be getting Food Stamps aren't, and their sense of relief that the "stigma" attached to being on a form of government dole has significantly dissipated.
This post will deal with something that should have been right in front of the Times pair's faces: Even before considering loosened eligibility standards (the third post will deal with that), Food Stamp benefits (gross and net) have increased by much more than the rate of food inflation during the past couple of years, especially in the past year, during which the increase in net benefits has been a whopping 30%.
Here are a few article excerpts from the Times report that deal with benefit levels (the first excerpted paragraph originally appeared in between the two other sets of paragraphs presented):
On Wednesday’s Good Morning America, ABC’s George Stephanopoulos highlighted House Democrats’ opposition to any troop increase in Afghanistan on budget grounds, but did not address the inconsistency of this position, since most of these congressmen support spending hundreds of billions on health care “reform.”
Before bringing up the budget issue, Stephanopoulos preemptively apologized for President Obama’s upcoming speech on Afghanistan. After guessing that it was going to be 30-40 minutes long, the anchor continued that Obama “needs that much time because this is a very difficult speech.” Just before this, the ABC anchor acted like the President himself was going to be the sole author of the speech: “I was just talking to a couple of White House aides. They say the President is actually going to begin writing the speech today. He hasn’t begun writing yet. He just made the decision [on the troop increase] the other night.”
On Monday’s Situation Room, Suzanne Malveaux became the latest CNN personality to use the offensive “teabagger” label to describe opponents of ObamaCare. Malveaux asked senior political analyst Gloria Borger, “Do we expect to see the kinds of big rallies and...the circus atmosphere that we saw...over the summer when you were talking about controversial policy, ‘teabaggers’ and all that other thing?” [audio clip available here]
The CNN anchor and correspondent, serving a substitute for the vacationing Wolf Blitzer, questioned Borger about the upcoming battle over health care “reform” in the Senate, after a 60-39 vote over the weekend to begin debate over the Democrats’ bill. Her use of the vulgar term came 14 minutes into the 4 pm Eastern hour:
CNN’s Rick Sanchez misrepresented the pro-life Stupak Amendment to the House Democrats’ health care plan on Monday’s Newsroom. Sanchez labeled the amendment a “conservative Republican challenge of health care reform.” The anchor also gave a false impression of an answer given by RNC Chairman Michael Steele in an earlier interview on American Morning.
Sanchez used the misleading label out of the gate in a segment which began 22 minutes into the 3 pm Eastern hour: “The Stupak Amendment was a conservative Republican challenge of health care reform by making Democrats agree to a provision to make sure that abortions are not covered under this new plan, and it was a successful challenge, by the way.”
A "new consensus" has emerged on the success of the economic stimulus package, according to a New York Times headline. In touting the supposed success of the legislation, and hinting at support for another round of spending, the Times neglected to mention the widespread fraud that characterizes the administration's attempt at shoring up the economy.
As reported by P.J. Gladnick on Saturday, the Times made sure to attribute its claims to "dispassionate analysts," and asserted that the stimulus is "helping an economy in free fall a year ago to grow again and shed fewer jobs than it otherwise would." Gladnick thoroughly debunked this claim, and others, in his NB post.
In a further show of bias, the Times article makes no mention of the 76,779 jobs that were not actually "saved or created" by the package, but were added to the number touted by the administration (interactive map embedded below the fold - h/t Examiner's Freddoso, Spiering, and Hemingway). Given that this number is roughly 12 percent of the 640,000 jobs the administration claims to have "saved or created," it might merit a mention in the Times's story.
To say that there's good reason not to be impressed with a quite a few U.S. Senators is to state the obvious.
But I really hope that Dana Milbank either hasn't read or really doesn't remember A Streetcar Named Desire. Because in his coverage of the Senate vote last night to go forward to debate on its health care bill, the alleged journalist stooped well below the level of most of the blogosphere by in essence calling the United States Senate the House of 100 Prostitutes -- and worse.
Yes he did -- in a column the Post put on the top of the front page.
After observing the opportunistic, advantage-taking machinations of Democratic Senators Mary Landrieu of Louisiana and Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas in return for the final two "yes" votes needed for passage, Milbank wrote the following:
At this point, there should be little doubt that there is a concerted attempt underway to use the war in Afghanistan as a justification for punitively taxing high earners.
Last weekend (noted at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), the New York Times discovered that wars cost money. It cited Wisconsin Democratic Congressman David Obey's concern that funding the Afghanistan effort at the level requested months ago by General Stanley A. McChrystal would "devour virtually any other priorities that the president or anyone in Congress had."
Thursday, as reported by AFP (noted last night at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), House Democratic heavy-hitters Barney Frank, John Murtha, and (no surprise) Obey announced the "Share The Sacrifice Act of 2010," an income-tax surcharge that overwhelmingly targets high-income earners.
Now Michigan Democratic Senator Carl Levin has weighed in. Bloomberg dutifully carried his water, as seen in this graphic containing the first four paragraphs of the report:
You've got to hand it to the propagandists at the AFP. When heavy-hitting members of the party they favor announce an idea whose main purpose is, as the New York Times suddenly "discovered" last weekend, to remind people that wars cost money and distract from supposedly more important priorities, the wire service leaps into action.
Even AFP acknowledges that the tax proposal by several top-tier Democrats has no chance of becoming law. But again, that's not the point. Their proposal's purpose is to remind people that spending money on wars supposedly takes money out of the mouths of children and other living things, even those in non-existent congressional districts, and to attempt to make the climate for increasing taxes in the near future more favorable.
An unsigned CNN.com article on Friday noted that the Senate Ethics Committee had reproved Senator Roland Burris “for actions and statements reflecting unfavorably upon the Senate,” but did not directly mention the Illinois senator’s affiliation with the Democratic Party. The article did mention that Burris was “the only African-American U.S. senator.”
The first two paragraphs from the CNN Political Ticker story excerpted the letter that the Senate committee sent to the successor to President Obama: “The Senate Ethics Committee issued a letter Friday admonishing embattled Illinois Sen. Roland Burris ‘for actions and statements reflecting unfavorably upon the Senate’ in connection with his controversial appointment by former Gov. Rod Blagojevich. ‘While the committee did not find that the evidence before it supported any actionable violations of law, senators must meet a much higher standard of conduct,’ the letter stated.”
The print story is accompanied by a screenshot of Recovery.gov, which the caption beneath it notes "is the government's stimulus-tracking Web site."
Of course, the biggest inaccuracies recently observed on Recovery.gov are non-existent congressional districts purported to have been "saved or created" jobs thanks to stimulus pork sent their way. Yet Post staffer Ed O'Keefe was careful to keep that juiciest tidbit out of his entire 10-paragraph November 19 story.
In what appears to be the opening round of a rearguard action against what leftists used to call "the good war" (only because they felt they needed to pretend they had pro-war bona fides to make their anti-Iraq War arguments look stronger to the general populace), the New York Times's Christopher Drew reported last Saturday for the Sunday print edition that sending more troops to Afghanistan as General Stanley A. McChrystal has requested might cost tens of billions of dollars.
While President Obama’s decision about sending more troops to Afghanistan is primarily a military one, it also has substantial budget implications that are adding pressure to limit the commitment, senior administration officials say.
"This week's abortion conversation is about politics. Let's not pretend it's about anything else," Newsweek's Lisa Miller huffed in a November 18 Newsweek.com post, complaining about how the moral issues surrounding abortion are taking on a life of their own in the health care debate.
We suffer, this week, from a moral myopia. Thanks to the passage in Congress of a health-reform bill, abortion is in the news again, but with the same old warriors brandishing their same old spears.
But while Miller went on to list both pro-life and pro-choice "old warriors," it's hard to believe her beef is with both sides of that fight equally. Miller laments that:
Our entire health-care system (and the proposed reform) is rife with "complex moral issues." To activate our consciences only in the realm of abortion relieves those consciences of too much responsibility.
Isikoff pitted supporters of gun rights, particularly the National Rifle Association (NRA) against "security-minded" legislators worried about gun use in terrorist attacks on the nation's railways:
Just how much clout does the gun lobby have on Capitol Hill? This week may prove to be a crucial test: A House-Senate conference committee is about to take up a massive transportation-funding bill that is pitting advocates of gun rights against security-minded members worried about the threat of terrorist attacks on Amtrak trains. Tucked into the measure is a controversial National Rifle Association-backed amendment that would cut off $1.5 billion in subsidies to Amtrak unless the federally backed national passenger-train company reverses its post-9/11 security policies and permits train passengers to travel with handguns and other firearms as part of their checked luggage.
The pesky thing about abortion for pro-choice stalwarts is that when it comes to the will of the people through their legislatures, they often lose more battles than when the voters in question are black-robed judges in a courtroom.
Just ask Newsweek's Eleanor Clift, who is bummed about the Stupak-Pitts Amendment and its effect on the Democrats' hopes for a health care reform bill that puts in place a government-run health care "option" (emphasis mine):
When health-care reform passed the House by just two votes late Saturday night, I assumed Speaker Nancy Pelosi had several more votes in her pocket from Blue Dogs who would be there if she needed them. After all, that's how Washington works. I also figured I shouldn't get too worked up about the restrictive amendment on abortion that was added at the last minute because it would be stripped from the legislation when it went to conference and was merged with the Senate bill.
It took just a little reporting for me to discover how wrong my initial assessments were.... [D]itching the amendment advanced by pro-life Michigan Democrat Bart Stupak is unlikely.
The Wall Street Journal's editorial today on the twentieth anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall is excellent, as would be expected, and gives credit where credit is due:
In the debate over who deserves credit for causing the Berlin Wall to collapse on the night of November 9, 1989, many names come to mind, both great and small.
There was Günter Schabowski, the muddled East German politburo spokesman, who in a live press conference that evening accidentally announced that the country's travel restrictions were to be lifted "immediately." There was Mikhail Gorbachev, who made it clear that the Soviet Union would not violently suppress people power in its satellite states, as it had decades earlier in Czechoslovakia and Hungary. There were the heroes of Poland's Solidarity movement, not least Pope John Paul II, who did so much to expose the moral bankruptcy of communism.
And there was Ronald Reagan, who believed the job of Western statesmanship was to muster the moral, political, economic and military wherewithal not simply to contain the Soviet bloc, but to bury it.
[Editor's note: For more on the media's pro-Communist bias in the waning days of the Cold War, read "Better Off Red?", MRC's new study looking back 20 years ago to the fall of the Berlin Wall]
In the editorial's second-last paragraph, the Journal reminds us of an alleged journalist who was so blinded by his partisan disdain for any Republican in power that he refused to acknowledge what had become clear years earlier, and of the risk-averse weenies who tried to talk him out of delivering the signature line of what is probably his most famous speech (bold is mine):
Insisting that her opinion was not influenced by her views on abortion, MSNBC's Dr. Nancy Snyderman went on a tear shortly after 12:30 p.m. EST on her November 9 "Dr. Nancy" program, denouncing the "infuriating" Stupak Amendment to the Democratic health care bill passed on Saturday.
As a consequence, women seeking to have insurance pay for abortion procedures under the would need to pay out-of-pocket for additional coverage for abortion procedures.
Snyderman hinted that she was annoyed that pro-life Democrats even thought it necessary to press for the Stupak Amendment in the first place. After all, Snyderman complained to MSNBC correspondent Kelly O'Donnell, she and her colleagues at MSNBC had done their level best for months to calm fears of pro-lifers about ObamaCare:
Isn't that Paul Krugman clever? The title of his latest op-ed ("Paranoia Strikes Deep") quotes a line, presumably deliberately, from a 1960s protest song many consider one of the opening shots in that decade's protest movement.
Before he got cute with his title, Krugman should have gone to the song's full lyrics, as they only serve to prove that what he describes as paranoia is, based on what is in HB 3962 (or was, if excised at the last minute), really very justifiable concern and fear. Or maybe he read the lyrics and was too dense to appreciate their meaning in the current circumstances.
That band featured Neil Young, Stephen Stills, Richie Furay, Jim Messina, and Dewey Martin. A YouTube of their lip-synching Smothers Brothers appearance is here.
Here are a few paragraphs, otherwise known as insults to our intelligence, from Krugman, commenting on the crowd that gathered last Thursday to protest the House's statist health care bill. I'll follow it with the song's final lyrical lament that destroys Krugman's diatribe:
You might not have known it from the lack of coverage on Thursday, but Tea Partiers rallying at Capitol Hill were joined by at least one celebrity ObamaCare critic, actor Jon Voight, who denounced the requirement forcing Americans to buy health insurance under penalty of law as unconstitutional.
Back during the George W. Bush era, the media often hyped the criticism of the Iraq War effort by liberals in Hollywood, playing up the political credibility of actors like Mike Farrell (best known for his role in the long-running TV series "M*A*S*H") who waxed philosophical on the justness or necessity of that war's effort.
Yet even though it's a rarity to find conservatives in Hollywood, much less politically vocal ones like Voight, the ones that are vocal critics of the Obama administration are all but ignored by the mainstream media.
Saturday's vote to pass ObamaCare out of the House of Representatives was a nail-biter, passing with two votes to spare over the bare-minimum majority of 218. The final vote, 220-215, had 39 Democrats join all but one Republican in voting no.
Yet while a solid 15 percent of the Democratic caucus bucked the party leadership with their no votes, the media have latched on to the sole Republican defector: pro-life, social conservative Catholic Rep. Joseph Cao (R-La.), who has a tenuous hold in a solidly liberal Democratic district once held by the corrupt William Jefferson.
Time's Jay Newton-Small made much of the solitary Republican defection in Swampland blog post on Saturday, painting it as an abject failure of House GOP Whip Eric Cantor's "promise" to keep the opposition unified. Newton-Small had to add an update later clarifying Cantor made no such explicit promise:
Very often criticism of journalists is actually criticism of journalism. Effective investigative reporting entails asking the tough questions and demanding answers. Powerful Democrats, including White House officials, have derided Fox News for this reason. But even conservative bloggers are not immune to the "extension of the opposition" charge for simply asking the tough questions.
Late last month Congressman Earl Pomeroy, D-N.D., held a conference call on the administration's reform efforts. Pomeroy reiterated his support for the House health care bill. Rob Port, of the center-right blog SayAnythingBlog.com, asked a question during the Q and A period, in which he displayed open skepticism that the "public option" would increase consumer choice in the health care market (audio and transcript below the fold).
Did you know that activist filmmaker James O'Keefe and partner Hannah Giles made only one undercover video showing ACORN employees willing to assist them in illegal and human rights-violating activities?
Absent prior knowledge, that's the impression you would have upon reading the Associated Press's coverage of the latest development in the ACORN saga, namely the raid on the organization's New Orleans office by Louisiana state investigators.
AP writer Cain Burdeau only mentions O'Keefe's and Giles's videotaping efforts in Baltimore. The fact is that the pair have thus far presented the results of their efforts in five other locations, and may have more episodes in inventory for other opportune times.
Word choice can be a subtle but effective way in which the media colorfully editorialize on the news, skewing the perceptions of readers in one direction or another. Take Washington Post's Philip Rucker, who did masterful job in skewing his 19-paragaph-long page A4 story "Activists bring 'tea party' to Capitol Hill" in favor of ObamaCare proponents while smearing conservatives in a negative light.
Rucker's labeling bias was a thread woven through the entire piece, starting with the lead paragraph (emphasis mine):
The August Congressional Budget Office budget forecast for the fiscal year that began last month says that Uncle Sam will take in $2.264 trillion from October 2009 through September 2010. That's an increase of 7.6% over fiscal 2009's intake of $2.105 trillion.
Though it won't be official until Tim Geithner's crew releases its Monthly Treasury Statement next week, it's virtually certain that the government's collections will open the year in a deep hole compared to last year, and probably well behind what CBO expects.
Take a look at this compilation of key items from October's final Daily Treasury Statement, compared to the actual results from October 2008 and 2007:
Here's news you can virtually guarantee won't get noticed by what remains of the establishment media.
Whole Foods (WFMI) announced its financial results for the quarter ended September 30 yesterday. The quarter closed about 50 days after outraged leftists called for a boycott of the grocery chain to retaliate for a Wall Street Journal op-ed written by CEO John Mackey. In that column, Mackey identified "Eight things we can do to improve health care without adding to the deficit," asserting that:
The last thing our country needs is a massive new health care entitlement that will create hundreds of billions of dollars of new unfunded deficits and move us much closer to a government takeover of our health care system. Instead, we should be trying to achieve reforms by moving in the opposite direction — toward less government control and more individual empowerment.
Well, if there's so much support out there for statist health care, you would think that the Whole Foods boycott dedicated to punishing an opponent would have had a significant impact on the company's most recent quarterly results.
CNN’s Rick Sanchez omitted the left-wing ideology of an organization he cited as he lambasted North Carolina Representative Virginia Foxx on Tuesday’s Newsroom for her recent hyperbolic remarks against ObamaCare. Sanchez referenced a figure from the National Priorities Project, a think tank labeled “progressive” by CNN itself in 2007. He also left out some of the context of Rep. Foxx’s full remarks [video of the full segment available here].
The CNN anchor devoted an entire segment 37 minutes into the 3 pm Eastern hour to the North Carolina Republican’s speech on Monday against a health care “reform” bill sponsored by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Representative Foxx denounced the bill as “a tax increase bill masquerading as a health care bill,” and continued that Americans “have more to fear from the potential of that bill passing than we do from any terrorist right now in any country.”
Laurie Kellman, call your office, check your e-mail, and tap in to your Twitter.
The Associated Press reporter didn't get the memo that recession is supposedly over, and that at a minimum you shouldn't be writing as if it will be with us for a while. She also erred in citing the weak economy as a bad thing for Democrats. The New York Times told us about a week ago that a bad economy is a good thing for Democrats who want to pass state-controlled health care and other freedom-restricting agenda items, because a bad economy increases personal insecurity. They're such pals of the little guy, you see.
Both busts against the conventional media wisdom are in Kellman's brief item from late this morning (bolds are mine):
Health care issues: Hold off for a better economy?
While analyzing the off-year elections across the country on Tuesday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith asked Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer about the New York 23rd congressional race: “...this notion that an insurgent conservative, orthodox conservative, would come in and really unseat the party’s choice for nominee there...is this a precursor of what might be happening a year from now?”
Schieffer used similar labeling to describe Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman and race’s impact on the GOP: “The Republican Party right now is still split. And I think right now it’s the conservatives who kind of have the juice....there is still no overriding philosophy, as it were, in the Republican Party, you’ve got the hard Right here and you’ve got the more moderate Republicans, right now I think the hard Right is driving the train in the Republican Party.”
Earlier, the two CBS hosts discussed the possibility of Democrats losing both governor’s races in New Jersey and Virginia. Schieffer dismissed the idea of such losses being a national referendum on the Democratic Party and President Obama: “I think these are curtain-raisers, Harry. I don’t think they’re going to give us much of an indication of what’s going to happen, you know, in the next presidential election.” Smith agreed: “Yeah, because some people would like to say this is about President Obama’s very, very short coat tails, but it seems that these races are being very much decided on an individual basis.”
On Monday, Smith asked former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney if the NY-23 race would “save or kill the Republican Party.”
Interviewing Mitt Romney on Monday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith alluded to the special election in New York’s 23rd congressional district and the success of Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman: “There’s a battle going on right now for the soul of the Republican Party. Conservatives say there’s no room for moderates there. Will this tactic save or kill the Republican Party?”
Romney argued: “Well, the Republican Party has always had a lot of voices and we are going to continue it be a big tent party. The New York 23rd race had a very anomalous situation.” Smith could hardly contain his smugness: “That’s not a big tent.” Romney replied: “I disagree with you. You look across the elected Republicans in Congress and Governors offices, they represent a pretty wide perspective of issues.”
With Democrats poised to potentially suffer across-the-board electoral losses on Tuesday and health care reform continued to be stalled in Congress, one wonders why Smith is not more focused on the battle for the soul of the Democratic Party.