In 2003, Halliburton Company received a great deal of scrutiny from the establishment press over certain no-bid contracts obtained in connection with the Iraq War. Examples, two of which are from the Associated Press, are here, here, and here. A Google News Archive Search on "Halliburton no-bid" not in quotes allegedly returns 1,760 items (Google's counter is suspect, but the list extends to at least 19 pages, or well over 190 items, including multiple items in some listings).
In 2010, the Washington Times was virtually alone among media outlets in reporting that the Obama administration, despite presidential candidate Barack Obama's campaign promise never to entertain such deals, had entered into a no-bid contract with KBR, a former subsidiary of Halliburton, "worth as much as $568 million." It turns out that CGI, the Canadian company which is the lead firm in the design and rollout of HealtCare.gov, also has a no-bid contract with the federal government. But an AP search on "CGI no-bid" (not in quotes) comes up empty. A Google News search on the same string (not in quotes) returns only four times, none of which are establishment press outlets (as would be expected, the Washington Times is one of the four).
After consistently blaming Republicans for the government shutdown, on Sunday's NBC Nightly News, fill-in anchor Carl Quintanilla warned that while the budget stalemate ended days earlier, "Many people who were furloughed or otherwise affected are still paying the price, and will do so for some time." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In the report that followed, CNBC correspondent Bertha Coombs touted: "A new survey says about forty percent of consumers cut their spending because of the government shutdown. And store traffic was down seven percent compared to last year." She then proclaimed: "Retailers are hoping the shutdown doesn't become the Grinch that stole Christmas, but they're worried it will."
During the 2011-2012 controversy over Wisconsin's Act 10, the establishment press, led by the Associated Press, clearly took sides against Badger State Republican Governor Scott Walker and the GOP-led legislature. No one was more blatantly biased than the AP's Scott Bauer, who repeatedly insisted in 2011 and 2012 that the law "strip(s) most public employees of their union right to collectively bargain." It does not. While Act 10 sharply limits the scope of what can be negotiated, it does not eliminate unions' right to exist, or to negotiate.
Walker will be releasing a new book, "Unintimidated: A Governor's Story and a Nation's Challenge," in November. Given the sustained national attention Act 10 received, the utlimately failed recall movement it inspired, and Walker's possible interest in seeking the nation's presidency in 2016, it's reasonable to believe that the AP would have wanted to carry Bauer's Monday morning review of the book as a national story. But thus far, it has not. I believe it's because Bauer comes across as a fundamentally dishonest and embarrassingly partisan sore loser.
Apparently PBS has decided to make like MSNBC and spend more time dissecting the Republican Party’s problems real, imagined, and/or overblown. On Monday’s PBSNewsHour, anchor Judy Woodruff announced that the program would begin “a series of conversations about where the Republican Party goes from here.” The first installment, a discussion with former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-Miss.), amounted to a lot of hand-wringing over the Tea Party.
Throughout the interview, Lott tried to keep the focus on positive steps Republicans can take, but Woodruff kept calling his attention back to the alleged problem of the Tea Party. The anchor reminded Lott that “you have factions in your party, I mean, all the way from the Tea Party to folks who sympathize with the Tea Party all the way to some moderates.” Interesting how she split the Tea Party into two groups while putting “some moderates” in one group. [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
A recurring theme at the Los Angeles Times during the past several days has been that the nation's economic and fiscal circumstances really aren't all that bad, and they're getting better under Dear Leader Obama. (Oh, and throw in a healthy dose of "It's Bush's fault" for good measure.)
Lisa Mascaro, with the help of Brian Bennett, David Lauter and Michael A. Memoli, added to that effort late Saturday afternoon. In an item primarily about the politics of the Washington's next scheduled fiscal standoff in mid-December, she did the usual spin on this year's budget deficit (writing that it has "declined rapidly," while conveniently forgetting that this year's shortfall will be higher than any non-Obama deficit in U.S. history). She also gave undue credence based on poor historical accuracy to Congressional Budget Office projections which claim that "the national debt ... is projected to be stable or even declining as a share of the economy well into the next decade." But she ventured beyond the careful but misleading realm of the previous two statements into flat-out falsehood when she wrote: "The country is on a budget trajectory that, while substantially improved from the recent recession ..."
ABC on Thursday night took a victory lap in its effort to blame congressional Republicans for the government shutdown. World News reporter Jeff Zeleny and other journalists at the network phoned all the House and Senate GOP members who opposed the deal to reopen the federal government. These reporters demanded to know if the lawmakers would give back the salary they earned during the 16-day shutdown.
Zeleny justified, "Since it was Congress that shut the government down, one of the top questions you asked us, should they get paid?" [See video below. MP3 audio here.] The journalist made no mention of Barack Obama or the congressional Democrats who rejected numerous compromise efforts to reopen the federal government.
Well, the federal government has been reopened and the debt ceiling has been raised, but to hear CBS’s Bob Schieffer tell it, you would think the United States just made it through another civil war. On Friday’s CBS This Morning, Schieffer compared the recent shutdown haggle to America’s bloodiest war.
The chief Washington correspondent was on the program to discuss the aftermath of the partial government shutdown when he made this comment: “I think the model for Democrats right now is Abraham Lincoln in his second inaugural address when he said, ‘With malice toward none and charity for all, let us go forward now,’ and so forth.” [See video below the break.]
Good Morning America's Jon Karl on Friday continued his efforts to assign blame for what he called the "Ted Cruz shutdown." This prompted the Texas senator to shoot back: "A lot of the media did" that. [See video below. MP3 audio here.] GMA co-host George Stephanopoulos touted the Republican's appearance as a "contentious and defiant interview."
Karl lectured, "People hated this shutdown. They hated this impasse. And this was seen as the Ted Cruz shutdown." He attacked, "You more than any single individual were seen as the one that triggered this crisis to begin with."
Liberal cable anchor Chris Matthews on Thursday sneered at conservatives Mike Lee and Ted Cruz, trashing their "white" "minority" base. The Hardball host also defined a patriot as someone who "believes in government." According to Matthews, conservative Republicans in the House and Senate don't meet this standard. The host fumed, "They all run around as if 'we got all of these white people out here,' this little minority of the country. 'But they're better Americans than the rest and we represent them.'" Perhaps the journalist is unaware that Cruz is multi-ethnic and not "white."[See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Matthews insisted that Americans should be asking these questions in the wake of the government shutdown: "Does the majority will still matter? There's the fact that he [Obama] is President, is it paramount?" The anchor lectured that it is "highly inconsistent" for conservatives to call themselves patriots since they have "disrespect for institutions." He then went on to offer a new definition of patriotism.
Fox News host Stuart Varney embarrassed Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.) on Wednesday’s Your World with Neil Cavuto, using archived video to expose the congressman’s hypocrisy on the debt limit. Rangel supported raising the debt limit before today’s deadline, of course, but back in 2004, with Republican George W. Bush in the White House, he sang a different tune.
Varney, filling in for Cavuto, set Rangel up by asking him why he wanted to borrow so much money now. Rangel ignored the question, instead expressing his glee at the deal the Senate had reached. He exclaimed, “[W]e have kicked the can down the road and I'm happy.” Varney then made his play: [Watch the video below the break.]
After spending days trashing the Republican Party as guilty of "treason" and "economic terrorism," left-wing MSNBC anchor Ed Schultz on Wednesday spotlighted the Taliban's criticism of the shutdown. The host lectured that "no matter what the final outcome of the showdown is...damage to our global reputation has already been done." He then proceeded to showcase international attacks on America.
Schultz went so far as to highlight, "Heck, even the Taliban militants took the opportunity to taunt the United States. The group issued this statement, accusing U.S. politicians of 'sucking the blood of their own people.'" [See video below. MP3 audio here.] It was just Tuesday that the cable anchor railed against a form of "terrorism," but he was talking about the GOP.
Sweet set out to convince readers that while the White House veggie garden was the first lady's "signature project," she was powerless to thwart the ravages of Mother Nature as the shutdown furloughed gardeners who tended to the plants. Apparently the First Lady can't work the garden herself with some capable volunteers from local charities like Miriam's Kitchen helping her, even though she used those folks for a harvesting photo-op in October 2009 (emphasis mine):
As the government shutdown neared its end, ABC's Jon Karl put the blame totally on House Republicans and allowed Barack Obama to escape responsibility. According to Karl on Tuesday night's World News, "...After bringing the economy to the brink, the Republicans, the conservatives who drove this, will have nothing to show for it." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
On Wednesday's Good Morning America, Karl upped the hyperbole, warning of the "dangerous brinkmanship" that could lead to "economic collapse." Shifting into opinion mode, Karl lectured, "As this showdown moves towards end game, House Republicans are the clear losers. They push to the brink and have nothing to show for it."
For the second time in one day, an MSNBC anchor accused Republicans of betraying the United States. According to Ed Schultz on Tuesday, House GOP members who won't agree to all of Barack Obama's demands on the government shutdown are committing "economic terrorism" and plotting a "coup d'etat" against the President.
Schultz brought on Democratic Congressman Joseph Crowley to discuss whether there would be a vote on the shutdown. The Ed Show host fumed, "Congressman, what we're seeing happen in America right now, I think, is economic terrorism." The anchor offered his version of what passing the debt ceiling deadline would mean: "Interest rates are going to go nuts. Belt tightening is going to take place. Unemployment's going to go up." He escalated, "This is economic terrorism as I call it...It seems to be nothing more than a legislative coup d'etat." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Between the government shut down and the debt ceiling limit about to be crossed Oct. 17, the news media is screaming like the house is on fire. The Obama administration has also warned of dangers. Of course, that’s nothing new.
In many cases following the Obama administration’s reports and threats, the networks were hysterical in their coverage of the “fiscal cliff” and the sequester in late 2012 and early 2013. They repeated predictions and made claims that in many cases, simply failed to happen.
Lefty hysteria over the debt ceiling reached a new peak with the Huffington Post’s “A Survival Guide to the Debt Ceiling Apocalypse.” Hyping fears of what they call “defaultocalypse,” the article openly advocated readers to “panic,” “heavily arm yourself” and “train and befriend a wolf.”
This Oct. 14 article detailed the various financial risks of a national default, calling Republicans “insane” for allowing this possibility. Presumably, they intended to be humorous, but the dire warnings over default are consistent with the Huffington Post’s regular fear mongering over the Oct. 17 debt-ceiling deadline.
Amidst all the blather about Republicans going over the cliff and taking the world with them, a tantalizing bit of truth broke through on today's Morning Joe. Doomsaying notwithstanding, the GOP is actually positioned to do OK in 2014.
Making the comment particularly surprising was its source: none other than Barack Obama's former senior adviser himself—David Axelrod. View the video after the jump.
Perhaps the most frustrating aspect of this government shutdown has been the inability of the average person to get a handle on what's really going on.
Outfits like the network evening news shows, the Associated Press, the New York Times and others compose their spin, and almost invariably tilt their coverage towards the Obama administration and Democrats; developments favoring the GOP and conservatives, if mentioned at all, get washed away. Two examples from today of shutdown settlement ideas President Barack Obama rejected will prove the point.
MSNBC morning host Thomas Roberts on Tuesday continued in his role as one of MSNBC's most rabidly partisan, openly liberal anchors. Talking to Republican Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn about the partial government shutdown, he questioned her patriotism, sneering, "Congresswoman, let me ask you though, when it comes to ObamaCare, do you hate ObamaCare more than you love your country?" [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
A surprised Blackburn immediately retorted, "I've got to tell you something,. I think that comments like that" are "just incredibly inappropriate." Parroting White House talking points, Roberts recited, "You don't think it's incredibly inappropriate to shut down our government and take all the hostages of Americans that you've taken?" After Blackburn again objected to the smear, Roberts lectured, "No, no, no. It's not inappropriate because you've taken the government hostage through a shutdown and all the American people, you're walking them to a cliff."
Apparently desperate to claim that 17 percent government shutdown is causing pain, Christopher Rugaber at the Associated Press, aka the Adminstration's Press, decided that the Empire State Manufacturing Index's decline from brisk expansion to modest expansion was "a sign that the partial government shutdown may be weighing on the economy." Rugaber wrote what he did despite the actual report's emphasis that both business and labor market conditions "held steady," and its accompanying observation that manufacturers' borrowing costs have increased.
Though the headline at the AP's national site is a neutral "NY FACTORY ACTIVITY GROWS MORE SLOWLY IN OCTOBER," the one accompanying the story at some outlets (e.g., here and here — "Survey shows NY factory activity grows more slowly in October, signaling shutdown impact") is not. The four-paragraph story, presented in full for future reference, fair use and discussion purposes, follows the jump:
Appearing as a guest on the Friday, October 11, PoliticsNation on MSNBC, Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank called the Tea Party Republican faction a "very small minority" and accused them of causing "economic destruction."
After host Al Sharpton noted polling finding that Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz is substantially more popular with Tea Party Republicans than other groups, Milbank responded:
Kathleen Pender at the San Francisco Chronicle (HT Zombie at PJ Media) had some Obamacare-related financial advice for her readers on Saturday: "Consider reducing your 2014 income by working just a bit less," because doing so could get you a "huge health care subsidy."
This is not news to anyone who has studied Obamacare in detail, and shouldn't be a revelation to anyone in the business press, especially a financial advice columnist like Pender. Among several others, Robert Rector at the Heritage Foundation and yours truly sounded the alarm about Obamacare's work-demotivating impact — as well as how it will encourage marital breakups and discourage couples from getting married — in early 2010. I also wrote related columns here and here in late September. Excerpts from Pender's prose follow the jump (bolds are mine):
The healthcare sector, particular hospitals, is hitting a wall. In a Sunday morning writeup, USA Today reporters Paul Davidson and Barbara Hansen considered this news "surprising," because Obamacare is supposedly going to bring hospitals so much new business.
Well, guys, that new business needs to be profitable. Odds are it won't be. The staff cuts also appear to foreshadow the rationing so many people have predicted would result, and which has resulted under state-run healthcare in U.S. states like Massachusetts and other countries, if Obamacare passed. Of course, the USAT pair didn't recognize that possibility. Excerpts follow the jump (bolds are mine):
Three New York Times reporters' coverage of HealthCare.gov's systemic failures is inadvertently funny. Its opening paragraph quotes Henry Chao, described as "the chief digital architect for the Obama administration’s new online insurance marketplace," as "deeply worried about the web site's debut" way back in March, and hoping that "it’s not a third-world experience." The Third World, many of whose developers have shown that they can design functional interactive web sites, should feel insulted.
There was no annual adjustment to Social Security benefits for inflation during 2010 or 2011. That's because the 2009 increase of 5.8 percent (announced in November 2008, and considered the "2009" increase at this table) was artifically lifted by the $4 per gallon gas prices seen in the summer of 2008, the period used in the annual inflation adjustment calculation. After gas prices came down, overall prices levels were slightly lower during the next two years.
With that background, it's hard to imagine how a headline writer at the Associated Press, aka the Adminstration's Press, could transform what writer Stephen Ohlemacher accurately described as an "historically small increase" to "among the lowest in years" — unless it's to create a false impression among those who only read headlines that the government is being unduly stingy in disbursing benefits. Excerpts from Ohlemacher's report follow the jump (bolds are mine):
The Obama-loving media couldn't wait to report findings from an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll concerning how the public are giving far more blame for the government shutdown to Republicans than the President.
What they chose not to report was that 51 percent of respondents in the very same poll said of Barack Obama, "He is putting his own political agenda ahead of what's good for the country":
For someone whose job title is global business editor, Daniel Gross seems far more concerned with bashing businessmen for not toeing the liberal line than reporting business news. Then again, perhaps we shouldn't expect that much from The Daily Beast.
Gross, who has slammed Apple's penchant for legal tax avoidance as being "too greedy for its own good" turned his attention today to Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, lambasting him for daring to blame both Republicans and Democrats for the government shutdown, rather than use the work stoppage as an occasion to spout liberal talking points demonizing the Tea Party. The Yahoo! Finance alum seems particularly miffed because of Schultz's push for socially liberal stands in the past:
MSNBC’s Chris Matthews said one of the dumbest things he’s ever said in his life Thursday evening, and that’s saying something.
When NBC Tonight Show host Jay Leno asked if he thought John Boehner (R-Oh.) would lose his Speakership as a result of the current government shutdown/debt ceiling debate, Matthews responded, “It might be the greatest thing he ever does in his life” (video follows with transcript and commentary):
According to Chris Matthews, a new NBC poll showing bad poll numbers for the Republican Party is comparable to "Watergate." Finding that Americans blame Republicans over Democrats for the shutdown by a 22 percent margin, Matthews marveled, "I get the sense that this is a historic poll."
Talking to Chuck Todd, the Hardball anchor prompted, "Compared to Watergate?" This was too much for Todd. He hedged, "Is it Watergate levels? Well, if this were October 2014, you might be talking about something like this. This is wave-type numbers, if this were a month out from the election. But we're not a month out from the election." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]