NBC Tonight Show host Jay Leno took a fiscal poke at President Obama Thursday.
After mentioning that it was Michelle Obama’s birthday, and that she told reporters that she wanted “a nice gift from Barack, but nothing extravagant,” Leno quipped, “Oh, don't worry. Obama is very responsible when he's spending his own money. Don't have worry about that. No problem there” (video follows with commentary):
None of the three major wire services covering today's report from the Department of Labor on initial unemployment claims is reporting the major news: For the first time in a long while, actual claims filed during the most recent week ended January 12 were almost 6 percent higher than the number filed during last year's comparable week, an indication that the current employment market may be worse than it was a year ago. Instead, all three are headlining how today's questionably created seasonally adjusted claims number is the lowest in five years.
Both weeks had five business days. Both weeks represented the first such week in the new year. So how did higher raw claims result in the lowest seasonally adjusted claims number in five years, a number which is 8 percent lower than last year's comparable week? The answer, as will be seen after the jump, is that the seasonal adjustment factor used this year is sharply higher than the one used last year.
Paul Krugman vs. Jon Stewart. The New York Times columnist and economist put his utter lack of humor on display in a Saturday afternoon blog post in which he attacked as lazy and unprofessional the host of the Daily Show. Stewart's sin? Daring to mock the trillion-dollar platinum coin as a solution to the debt ceiling crisis. Here's Krugman on "Lazy Jon Stewart":
Oh, dear. Jon Stewart took on the platinum coin, and made a hash of it -- he faceplanted, as Ryan Cooper says. What went wrong? Jon Chait says that he flunked econ, but that’s just part of it. He also flunked law, politics, and just plain professional....Above all, however, what went wrong here is a lack of professionalism on the part of Stewart and his staff....In this case, however, it’s obvious that nobody at TDS spent even a few minutes researching the topic. It was just yuk-yuk-yuk they’re talking about a trillion-dollar con hahaha. Hey, if we want this kind of intellectual laziness, we can just tune in to Fox."
New York Times labor reporter Steven Greenhouse celebrates Occupy Wall Street ideas like the "Robin Hood tax" in his reporting, so it's no surprise his Sunday Review "news analysis," "Productivity Climbs, But Wages Stagnate," pushed unvarnished left-wing ideas from economists who want a much higher minimum wage, strengthening unions, and higher taxes (in Greenhouse's euphemism, "a more progressive tax system") in the name of spurring higher wages for workers.
The self-described "essential global news network" known as the Associated Press, more aptly characterized as the Administration's Press, has from all appearances chosen to minimize the exposure given to Friday's letter from four Senate Democrats to President Obama encouraging him to unilaterally increase the nation's debt ceiling if Congress fails to do so.
A search on Harry Reid's last name at the AP's national site at 8:30 ET this morning returned nothing relating to that letter. But there was an AP writeup about it on Sunday morning. A search on a few key words in Andrew Taylor's report found at another web site demonstrates that it's no longer available at the AP's national site. Gosh, it's almost as if AP doesn't want Americans to know that four Democratic senators are urging Obama to blatantly violate the Constitution. The first six paragraphs of Taylor's report follow the jump (bolds are mine throughout this post):
A week ago, Associated Press reporters and their articles' headlines described the nation's job market in positive terms. An early a.m. report on Janaury carried this headline: "U.S. job market resilient despite budget fight." Later that same morning, just before the government's release of that day's employment report, there was this: "Jobs report expected to show underlying economic strength." Late that afternoon, reacting to the news that the economy had a December unemployment rate of 7.8 percent while adding 155,000 seasonally adjusted jobs, AP reporters Paul Wiseman and Christopher Rugaber described the performance as "matching the solid but unspectacular monthly pace of the past two years."
Reports from wire services other than the AP, which might as well stand for the Administration's Press, weren't as rosy. At Reuters ("Mediocre job growth points to slow grind for U.S. economy"), Jason Lange observed that December's hiring pace was "short of the levels needed to bring down a still lofty unemployment rate." Fair enough, but what the press continues to virtually ignore -- while obsessing over the same problem early last decade when the problem was nowhere near as severe -- is the plight of the long-term unemployed.
"Congress could lower individual rates across the board by 44 percent and come up with the same amount of revenue if it eliminated all tax breaks" Washington Post reporter Josh Hicks noted in a January 10. Given the ongoing battles over taxes, spending, and the national debt in Congress, you'd think this would be worthy of front-page placement in the Post. Editors apparently disagreed, placing it on the bottom of page A13, today's edition of The Fed Page.
"Congress should simplify the tax code to ease the burden on filers, as well as take a hard look at the myriad tax breaks that cost nearly as much revenue as the government generates from individual income taxes," Hicks noted in his lead paragraph, referring to National Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson's annual report to Congress. "[T]he existing code of 4 million words imposes a 'significant, even unconscionable' burden of compliance on taxpayers," Hicks noted, quoting Olson.
The left must think Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner is a magician, since they think funds to evade the debt ceiling can be conjured up in the form of a platinum coin.
The left-wing blogosphere has been promoting a loony idea to prevent the GOP from being able to cut spending in debt ceiling negotiations. The idea has gained traction with a Bloomberg News contributor and well-known liberal economist Paul Krugman, and being heavily promoted by sites like Huffington Post. So many people are talking about it that it has a twitter hashtag: #mintthecoin.
While the media were quick to point out how Garden State Republicans were quick to criticize the House Republican leadership for not calling a vote on Sandy relief before the expiration of the 112th Congress, you probably haven't heard about how a potential Democratic challenger to Chris Christie has gotten into hot water for saying the Republican governor "prayed a lot" for the devastating natural disaster to boost his popularity.
That comment came a few days ago from New Jersey Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D), in what seems to be another attempt by some Democrats in exploiting tragedy. While local New Jersey news outlets and some national publications have reported the story, it seems that thus far ABC, CBS, and NBC have ignored this in their evening new coverage last night:
None of these facts about Ted Strickland's record got into Alexander Burns's Tuesday coverage of Strickland's decision at the Politico. Instead, readers were treated to a narrative which made Strickland's fundamentally deceptive attempt to keep his job in the 2010 election seem almost heroic (bolds are mine throughout this post):
Only at MSNBC would you see a segment entitled “by the numbers” that left out the most important figure: the price tag to the American taxpayer. Such was the case on Monday morning, with MSNBC Live host Thomas Roberts gushing over the different activities the President Obama and his family participated in during their Christmas vacation in Hawaii.
The “numbers” Roberts referred to was not the cost of the trip, but rather the number of times Obama and his family enjoyed time on the golf course or swimming [See video after jump. MP3 audio here.]:
One would think that a newspaper which in its view has largely made its reputation on publishing leaked government documents and revealing government secrets would have been a bit more excited about being the sole receipient of a report from the State of New York indicating that hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," is safe. The State had already sat on the report for a year.
The Times published the story on January 3, but on Page A19, while changing its original strong title ("Hydrofracking Safe, Says N.Y. Health Dept. Analysis" -- seen in the browser window) to a less descriptive, boring, and somewhat deceptive "Gas Drilling Is Called Safe in New York."
On Wednesday, as President Obama signed -- er, auto-penned -- the legislation preventing the onset of the "fiscal cliff" passed by Congress the previous day, the establishment press was busy understating its impact. A Friday evening Wall Street Journal editorial (note: not a regular news report) in today's print edition lays out the gory details.
But first, I will cite four examples of coverage which pretended that 99 percent of Americans won't see their income taxes increase in 2013.
CNN reporter Ali Velshi thrashed Republicans and conservatives during last weekend's fiscal cliff negotiations. As Tim Graham of NewsBusters already reported, Velshi "clearly doesn't care about looking objective" and showed it when he opened fire on Grover Norquist last week and declared that taxes must go up on the wealthy.
In what became a tired liberal rant, Velshi pushed that argument over and over again last weekend, paddling House Republicans for not "compromising" with Democrats on tax hikes while barely wagging a finger at President Obama and the Democratic Senate. Below is the worst of Velshi from last weekend. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
I wonder, as we begin 2013 and look forward to four more years of this insufferable poseur in the White House, where Sandra Fluke might be. Miss Fluke is the lady who made birth control a matter of national security, in particular her own personal supply of pills and God knows what else. Prior to her appearance on the national scene I always thought it was a male?s responsibility to supply condoms, as the occasion warranted. Yet Miss Fluke enlightened me. Actually she never told us what she used these items for. I suppose I am jumping to conclusions. She might be an artiste, and they may be part of her palette. There are all sorts of things birth control devices can be used for. At any rate, she brought birth control to the fore in American presidential elections at least four decades after they became a fixture in America. In that respect she made history.
Prior to Miss Fluke's public campaign for birth control, those who follow national politics had believed that elections revolved around the economy. But in 2012 we had an economy in a feeble condition. After four years in the White House, President Barack Obama presided over the weakest recovery from a recession on record. He had given Keynesian economics a bad name, even with many Keynesians. He had enlarged the federal government to almost 25 percent of GDP, from its traditional size of 18 or 19 percent. He was running deficits of a trillion dollars a year and promised them for years to come.
That was not the cry of a dyed-in-the-wool conservative politician. Rather it was Jim Cramer, CNBC’s own host of “Mad Money,” speaking to the upcoming fight in Washington over the debt ceiling. [See video after the jump]
If you are reading this blog post, you are in a minority of your fellow citizens in several ways. Firstly, you actually care about politics. Most Americans do not. Secondly, you care enough about being informed about political issues that you actually are interested in going out of your way to read up on conservative positions. Thirdly, if you are a conservative reading NewsBusters, you are further in the minority because you actually understand that media and culture actually control the political environment.
Unfortunately, most conservatives have failed to understand this. And it is the reason that conservatism or classical liberalism has not gained traction in this country or around the world despite being correct on the merits. In public relations and politics, however, perception is more real than reality.
It didn't take long for new Senator Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) to get lectured by liberal CNN. After Cruz told anchor Wolf Blitzer that he opposed the fiscal cliff deal, Blitzer reproved him and told him to "deal with reality."
"[Y]ou're in the minority in the United States Senate. You've got to deal with reality.You can't just be -- you can't just be overly idealistic on those issues," said Blitzer, who shed his objectivity to lecture a sitting congressman on what he should do. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
Over 13 months ago, the NBC, CBS and ABC newscasts touted Barack Obama as a tough talker who wouldn't back down on threatened spending cuts. Now, that he's backed down, the same networks have ignored the President's retreat. On November 21, 2011, Obama thundered, "My message to [Congress] is simple: No. I will veto any effort to get rid of those automatic spending cuts to domestic and defense spending. There will be no easy off-ramps on this one." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
This allowed the then-presidential candidate to portray himself as a budget hawk taking a hard line on sequestration. Nightly News anchor Brian Williams introduced Obama's comments by describing the country as a "nation of addicts, spending addicts kicking the can down the road." According to Williams, the President "pushed back hard." Williams and other journalist didn't question the seriousness of Obama's pledge. On Wednesday, the President signed a deal to avert the fiscal cliff and kept those cuts from going into place.
In a late Wednesday column at the Politico, the online website's Steven Sloan wrote that Democrats might be done hiking tax rates, specifically "that they’ve exhausted their ability to raise taxes on the richest Americans by jacking up their rates." But it's clear in later segments of his write-up that Democrats still want to go after "loopholes" and deductions, meaning that they still want to see effective marginal rates -- the ones which motivate high income earners' decisionmaking -- to get "jacked up." Such moves would also mean that the tax owed on a given amount of gross income would go up; i.e., they would be tax increases.
In suport of his misdirecting premise, Sloan quoted many Democrats, but somehow forgot to include Democratic President Barack Obama's stated position after the fiscal cliff mess concluded. In a video for supporters, as relayed by Joel Gehrke at the Washington Examiner, Obama didn't budge from using the same language he has used all along to justify tax increases. Gehrke's accurate headline captures the essence (video is at link; bolds are mine throughout this post):
The perilously liberal New York Times columnist Paul Krugman is not pleased with the President's handling of the fiscal cliff negotiations.
So angered is the Nobel laureate that he wrote at his blog Wednesday, "[If Obama doesn't] finally stand up for his side...nobody will ever trust him again, and he will go down in history as the wimp who threw it all away."
On Wednesday's CBS This Morning, Nancy Cordes trumpeted the passage of Senate Democrats' temporary fiscal cliff fix by the House as a "big bipartisan victory", immediately after pointing out that "the votes were about two-to-one Democratic in favor of the bill." Cordes also hyped how the bill is "a milestone, finally settling a decade-long debate over the Bush-era tax cuts," despite the fact the bill raises tax rates on top earners.
The correspondent also likened Congress to a teenaged student: "Well, if this was high school, you'd say they turned in the assignment a little bit late. It was kind of a rush job, but at least they got it done."
This is the eighth year I have done shopping and layoff-related searches on how often the words "Christmas" and "holiday" are used.
As has been the case since the enterprise began in 2005, news reports are far more likely to refer to the commercial time frame between Thanksgiving and Christmas as the "holiday shopping season." Meanwhile, compared to shopping references, news reports are several times more likely to refer to Christmas in connection with layoffs. This years raw results -- originally gathered here, here, and here at my home blog, along with comparisons to previous years -- follow the jump:
During the past two years, Republican governors and lawmakers in Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana and Michigan have been the targets of a great deal of negative attention from the establishment press, particularly on TV, as a result of taking necessary actions to get their states' fiscal houses in order and to become more economically competitive. Meanwhile, the Midwest's largest and Democrat-dominated state careens toward bankruptcy, and it's barely news.
In early 2011, Illinois enacted massive personal and corporate income-tax increases of 67% and 46%, respectively. The tax hikes were advertised as required to address the state's huge backlog of unpaid bills to vendors and other service providers, and to shore up its badly underfunded pension funds. Almost two years later, as two separate Associated Press reports this weekend demonstrate, the state still has a huge and possibly even larger stack of unpaid invoices, and its pension situation has worsened.
Former Newsweek editor Evan Thomas made a bizarre statement on PBS's Inside Washington Friday.
"Unexplored story of the year: white men dropping out - dropping out of the workforce, dropping out of elections, just plain dropping out, getting social security, not doing anything, going hunting, fishing, just not in the game" (video follows with transcript and commentary, file photo):
With four days until the "fiscal cliff," CBS This Morning peppered its report on the Congressional negotiations with four Democratic sound bites compared to just one from Republicans.
Chief White House correspondent Major Garrett quoted Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) three times and simply relayed his smear of Rep. John Boehner's Speakership as a "dictatorship." Both ABC and NBC called out Reid's rhetoric, however. [See video after jump. MP3 audio here.]