Now that Barack Obama has won the presidency, the poll cookers at the Associated Press have dutifully generated a barely-disguised press release for him.
A report this afternoon on the results of an AP GfK Roper Public Affairs & Media Poll is headlined "Most in AP poll confident Obama will fix economy " at Yahoo!, Google (shorter report), and the wire service's home site (all are dynamic links subject to change).
There are "only" two problems:
The underlying sample is heavily skewed towards Democrats, including strong Democrats.
Much more important, in fact crossing into downright dishonesty, the poll question asked had to do with whether respondents thought that Obama would "improve" the economy, not "fix" it.
Here are the first two paragraphs of the relatively short, unbylined report (bolds are mine to note fawning and erroneous reporting):
This is the debut video in an occasional series called "Softball Spotlight," which will showcase the softball questions that Barack Obama-loving reporters ask the future president. E-mail your tips to me: dglover-at-mediaresearch-dot-org. Or upload your own videos to Eyeblast.tv.
NBC reporter Lee Cowan was quite infatuated with Democrat Barack Obama on the campaign trail.
Cowan went so far as to confess on camera with NBC anchor Brian Williams that "it's almost hard to remain objective" because Obama is so "infectious." Weeks later in an NBC print promotional, Cowan acknowledged that "my knees quaked a bit" when he learned that he was being tasked with covering Obama.
British premier Gordon Brown, a former chancellor of the Exchequer -- analogous to the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury -- delivered a thinly-veiled entreaty to President-elect Barack Obama to eschew trade protectionism in a November 10 speech, reports Kevin Sullivan of the Washington Post Foreign Service. Post editors buried Sullivan's 18-paragraph article on page A15:
LONDON, Nov. 10 -- Prime Minister Gordon Brown on Monday warned that trade protectionism would worsen the global financial crisis, a remark widely perceived as aimed at U.S. President-elect Barack Obama.
In a speech lauding the "global power of nations working together," Brown called for "rejection of beggar-thy-neighbor protectionism that has been a feature in transforming past crises into deep recessions."
Obama's campaign rhetoric struck some allies as protectionist, particularly his calls for tax incentives to discourage companies from relocating jobs away from the United States.
Showing once again that its opinion pieces serve a dual purpose as a news source, a Monday Wall Street Journal editorial noted that Democrats have quietly dropped a central plank of their successful 2006 effort to gain a congressional majority (HT Hot Air):
Late last week the leader of the House Blue Dog Coalition, Tennessee Democrat Jim Cooper, announced that with Barack Obama about to enter the White House, "I'm not sure the old rules are relevant anymore." Why not? Because, Mr. Cooper said, "It would be unfair to the new President to put him in a budget straitjacket."
Democrats ran on "paygo" in 2006, promising to offset any new spending increases or tax cuts with comparable tax increases or spending cuts. Once in charge on Capitol Hill they quickly made exceptions, waiving paygo no fewer than 12 times to accommodate some $398 billion in new deficit spending -- not that the press corps bothered to notice.
The Journal then goes on to explain what Paygo was really all about:
With General Motors in serious trouble, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Majority Harry Reid, D-Nev., are making a push for the government to intervene and rescue the auto giant as they did with AIG. However, Francesco Guerrera, U.S. editor for the Financial Times, isn't so sure a GM failure would be as bad as some are letting on.
Guerrera appeared on CNBC's Nov. 10 "Power Lunch" to weigh the pros and cons of the newly revised AIG (NYSE:AIG) rescue package. He was asked if this type of government intervention should be offered for General Motors (NYSE:GM).
"That's what they say," Guerrera said. "I'm not sure I buy that. I think there'll be a lot of job losses if GM fails, but there's nothing systemic in the sense that if AIG goes or if, you know, one of the other banks goes - there'll be a ripple effect throughout not just the U.S. economy, but global financial markets. I don't see how you can make the systemic risk argument for a car company."
A Financial Times reporter who endorsed Obama but worried about his economic policies has taken a fresh look at the President-elect's post-election economic policy ideas, and doesn't like some of the big ticket items he sees. [See related blog entry by Jeff Poor here]
In his November 10 op-ed "The choices that confront America," British journalist Clive Crook reserved some of his harshest criticism for Obama's openness to bailing out Detroit's floundering automakers (emphasis mine):
The greatest danger of all is that the valid case for a strong stimulus takes under its wing spending proposals that create an ongoing obligation, have no true investment rationale, and represent a waste of public money now and in the future.
The bail-out currently being sought by the big US carmakers falls squarely into this category. Managers and unions have conspired for years to drive US-owned, US-based car manufacturing into the ground. Now they seek public subsidy to pay for investments they should have undertaken in any case, and to sustain wages and benefits that comparably qualified workers in other industries cannot hope to enjoy.
Why a worker in a US-owned car factory deserves more generous treatment than any other kind of US worker escapes me. Asking those other workers to pay for these privileges seems to add insult to injury. Perhaps President Obama will be able to explain.
To show how foolishly hyperbolic the Old Media and the ignorati in our universities are, the Associated Press issued a dire report that breathlessly informed us all that Barack Obama is facing a "nation in crisis" and it's all "just like Lincoln and FDR." The AP even gets an historically illiterate university professor to sonorously declare how Obama is "one step away" from Lincoln and FDR. But a review of our nation's real history shows that the America Obama will inherit is in nowhere near the state of crisis that Lincoln and Franklin Delano Roosevelt had to deal with. But, in the end, this isn't about real reporting or true historiography but about pumping Obama up and trying to shoehorn him in among what are considered by many our greatest presidents before he's even taken office.
The absurd hyperbole and wild stretching of the historical record to give gravity to Obama's reign is transparent for its effort to force readers into imagining that Obama should be given a mandate to do anything he wants. I'd suggest that the reason this foolish overestimate of our state of national "crisis" is being ladled out to an unsuspecting public is because the AP realizes that Obama did not get a mandate vote and the AP fears that Obama might face more resistance than it would like to his starkly socialist policy proscriptions. So, the AP is trying its best to break down those barriers beforehand.
Talk about "change." The latest version of president-elect Barack Obama's ever-evolving ideas for "community service" promises to pass out quite a bit of it to America's college students.
The "America Serves" (link is to Google cache) and "Service" sections of Team Obama's Change.gov site have, uh, changed quite a bit over the past day or so after many, including Kerry Picket of Newsbusters, noted that the "service" proposals require youth conscription, i.e., a non-military draft.
As of 8 AM this morning, Team Obama's cleanup operation is nearly complete, with almost all coercive language purged.
But one item noted last night by Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs remains in the "Service" section (a copy for future reference is here if/when the existing link changes), with a stunning quantitative modification:
"I agree with you," economics reporter Louis Uchitelle said, also pointing out that it took two years before the government really "stepped in and acted" during the Depression - referring to Franklin Roosevelt's action.
Norris said one of the first lessons of the 1930s was that bailing banks out would "limit the damage of the financial crisis."
"If you go back just two or three years ago, you had this powerful argument that government was the problem.So there is emerging from this an understanding that markets and government are married whether they like it or not," Uchitelle said.
Were John McCain to have won the election and the Dow have dropped the same extent it has in the immediate aftermath, it's highly unlikely the media would not draw the message that Wall Street was taking a nosedive due to the indefinite continuation "of the failed policies of the Bush administration." But with Obama as the victor, the media are not suggesting the markets may be wary of the incoming Democratic administration's tax, spending, and regulatory agendas.
Yet the "Conventional Wisdom" for Newsweek is that the Dow's record-breaking post-Election Day dive is simply a sign that "a new president alone won't settle [the] markets.":
Stockholders [down arrow]: Election Day euphoria gives way to harsh reality that a new president alone won't settle markets
The two-day loss in the Dow since Tuesday is roughly 10 percent, reports the Associated Press. As financial news wire Reuters noted on November 5, the 486-point drop the first day of President-elect Obama's victory lap "marked Wall Street's biggest loss ever on the day after a presidential election."
Emanuel, who was a senior adviser for former President Bill Clinton throughout the 1990s, was appointed to the board of Freddie Mac upon his departure from the Clinton administration.
"Clinton's going-away gift to Emanuel was a seat on the quasi-governmental Freddie Mac board, which paid him $231,655 in director's fees in 2001 and $31,060 in 2000," Lynn Sweet wrote for the Chicago Sun-Times on Jan. 3, 2002.
Drastic times call for drastic measures, and CNBC's Jim Cramer has a drastic measure that probably won't sit well with border enforcement proponents.
On Nov. 5 the host of CNBC's "Mad Money" detailed for his audience how he would save the economy serving under Democratic President-elect Barack Obama - under the facetious assumption he could be SEC chairman, Federal Reserve chairman and Treasury secretary.
Cramer's plan involves the government bailing out the big three U.S. automakers - General Motors (NYSE:GM), Chrysler (NYSE:DAI) and Ford (NYSE:F) - with a plan similar to the bailout of American International Group (NYSE:AIG), which was rescued earlier this year. Cramer would also give tax breaks to private enterprises that aid in the country's transition from petroleum-based fuels to natural gas.
The first term of President Barack Obama will bring nationalized health care, attacks on the coal industry, higher government spending and higher taxes, according to Business & Media Institute Vice President Dan Gainor.
On “Fox & Friends” Nov. 6, Gainor highlighted BMI’s most recent Special Report, America 2012, a look at what some of Obama’s major policies proposals will do to the American economy and to Americans’ wallets. The report also examines how the media promoted liberal, big-government proposals throughout the 2008 presidential campaign.
Gainor told viewers the commonly reported number of some 47 million uninsured Americans is “wildly wrong. They [both presidential candidates and the media] were claming 47 million people without insurance, the number probably closer to eight to 15. You don’t have as much of a problem if you’re pushing that.”
Obama will “try to put forth the plan for nationalized health care that the media have been supporting throughout the campaign,” Gainor said. But during the campaign, the media failed to examine the cost of Obama’s proposal, which some estimates put as high as $452 billion, Gainor added.
The MSM have already begun circling the wagons around their guy. Like a secular priest, Chris Cuomo this morning absolved Barack Obama of any responsibility for yesterday's stock market nosedive, the largest post-election drop in history.
Cuomo offered his absolution while chatting about the economy with Good Morning America co-host Diane Sawyer today.
DIANE SAWYER: First we've got to start with the market. Market went way down. Why?
CHRIS CUOMO: Well, not because it was Obama that got elected. That had already been figured into the markets. It went down because the news about the economy is not good.
Californians by very wide margins defeated two green initiatives that anthropogenic global warming enthusiasts in the media and in legislative houses across the fruited plain should take heed...but will they?
To begin with, Proposition 7 would have required utilities to generate 40 percent of their power from renewable energy by 2020 and 50 percent by 2025.
Proposition 10 would have created $5 billion in general obligation bonds to help consumers and others purchase certain high fuel economy or alternative fuel vehicles, and to fund research into alternative fuel technology.
Much to the likely chagrin of Nobel Laureate Al Gore and his global warming sycophants in the media, these measures went down, and went down in flames:
For years, and certainly throughout this campaign, the media contention has been that only the rich have done well since Bush was elected, and that his economic policies did nothing for lower and middle income wage earners.
Yet, a comparison of the 2008 and 2004 exit polls tells quite a different story about what voters made in those years.
In fact, the percentage of poor voters showed a huge decrease since 2004, while the percentage of folks making over $200,000 doubled.
As election results rolled in, the hosts on CNBC's election coverage speculated what a win by Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama might mean.
CNBC "Kudlow & Company" host Larry Kudlow warned Obama shouldn't misinterpret the election results to unleash an attack on vital parts of the economy.
"My point is Obama can not go far to the left if he is winning states like Ohio and New Mexico and let's say Virginia and the others," Kudlow said. "In other words, these red states that are hotly contested are sending a message to Sen. Obama he must in fact govern as the moderate."
Perhaps this is coming a little late with the election already underway, but the idea the current economy is as threatened as it was during the Great Depression is unfounded, according to the Nov. 4 USA Today.
"Failed banks. Panicked markets. Rising unemployment. For students of history, or people of a certain age, it all has an all-too-familiar ring. Is this another Great Depression? Not yet," John Waggoner wrote for USA Today
Soup lines, Hoovervilles and other Depression-era imagery have become commonplace in the media. Journalists have compared the current downturn to the Great Depression hundreds of times. On the networks (ABC, NBC and CBS) alone, there were 70 comparisons in the first six months of 2008. Since July 1 that number more than doubled to 157. But as Waggoner pointed out - the similarities aren't even close.
If the Republicans had a few more spokesmen like Haley Barbour, the political landscape might look a lot different. The Mississippi governor's down-home good humor and razor-sharp wit are a formidable combination. Barbour's killer combo of skills was on display on this evening's Hardball. When Chris Matthews challenged his criticism of Obama's tax credit plan, Barbour good-naturedly backed him down with an impressive disquisition on New Deal history. When he was through, Matthews had to admit that Haley was right.
I'd encourage people to view the video, not only for the entertainment value, but as a case study of how to defeat a member of the liberal media.
What the Lord Sayeth He then taketh Away… sometimes the very next day! If this video doesn’t show clearly how the media has allowed Obama to shamelessly flip flop on the issues, nothing does. Sometimes even from day to day Obama “nuanced” his way from one side of an issue to the other. Yet, the media never called him on it.
Reporter Clive Crook really likes Barack Obama and in a November 3 op-ed practically endorsed him for president. But, the Financial Times reporter worries, the Illinois senator has some loopy economic ideas.
Yes, your just read that correctly. A reporter for one of the Anglosphere's well-respected financial newspapers admits he'd vote for Obama were he an American citizen -- Crook is a subject of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II -- but he hopes his stump speech populism is all a vote-getting gimmick.
As you read this, imagine the clamor, if not outright outrage, if a conservative-leaning foreign journalist like say Mark Steyn endorsed McCain only to question his foreign policy prescriptions (emphases mine):
"Periods of crisis often beget bad policies," Lee E. Ohanian, an economist at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) said in an interview with Reason.tv. The professor stressed that six weeks ago the fundamentals of the economy looked "pretty good," before bailout "rumors" caused "panic":
What I mean by fundamentals are the amount of factories and office buildings and capital equipment we have in place, there's no change in that. There is no change really in individuals' interest in working. We've got the same work force right now we had six weeks ago. Productivity is about the same as it was perhaps even higher. All those fundamentals of the economy are the same.
Ohanian said Gross Domestic Product growth over the last five to six quarters was "on average," and productivity growth was "very high"
Appearing on the Election Day eve edition of "Fox & Friends," MRC's Brent Bozell reacted to the how the media, starting with the San Francisco Chronicle, hit the proverbial snooze button with Sen. Barack Obama's remarks about bankrupting the coal industry:
Everyone talks about the need for alternative energy.... The problem is that everytime an alternative comes forward, someone on the Left always shoots it down. That's why you don't have more growth in the coal industry or in the nuclear industry. The reason these things never come to the fore is because on the Left, they're always shot down in the final analysis. And Barack Obama just said it again, he's going to do it.
During the segment, co-host Brian Kilmeade noted that a McCain staffer Rick Davis said simply of the media's coverage of the campaign, "it sucked." Bozell agreed, hitting the media for bias by omission:
In reporting the speech by Gov. Sarah Palin in Ohio today, CNN’s Political Ticker tried to spin her question about Obama’s coal comment as old news when it clearly isn’t. Palin asked why we are just now finding out about the interview where Barack Obama said he had hoped to bankrupt the coal industry but CNN termed this interview and Obama’s startling admission as “months-old coal comments” in an attempt to soften the blow to Ohio and Pennsylvania voters. The Political Ticker said that since the San Francisco Chronicle had these comments on its website for nine months, the news of Obama’s quote was no big deal. But this is a misleading claim.
As we know from P.J. Gladnick’s NewsBusters report, Obama admitted that his intention for new coal plants was to slap so many fees, regulations and taxes on any new venture that it would “bankrupt” the company that tries it.
Washington Post reporter Sholnn Freeman frontloaded his October 31 business section front page article, "Airfare Surcharges Stay Despite Oil Price Drop," not on examining the valid business reasons for why some airlines retain the fee but in citing a liberal politician seeking to grandstand the issue.:
When oil prices were rising rapidly, many financially-strapped airlines started adding special surcharges to ticket prices to cover the bill. So now that oil prices are falling, are the fees coming off? Not yet.
The lag is drawing complaints from air travelers, consumer watchdogs and a member of Congress. Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) is sending a letter to U.S. Transportation Secretary Mary E. Peters asking the department to investigate whether the charges "have any basis in reality or if they are being used to mislead travelers, reduce competition and increase fares."
I'm guessing that Paul Krugman and David Brooks don't hang out that much together. So when both turn up on the New York Times op-ed page this morning with columns calling for massive government spending, I'm assuming they came to their conclusions independently. My working hypothesis: if Krugman and Brooks agree on something this important, they must be wrong.
Here's Krugman's prescription, which comes in response to news that consumer spending has dropped sharply [emphasis added throughout]:
[W]hat the economy needs now is something to take the place of retrenching consumers. That means a major fiscal stimulus. And this time the stimulus should take the form of actual government spending rather than rebate checks that consumers probably wouldn’t spend.
Let’s hope, then, that Congress gets to work on a package to rescue the economy as soon as the election is behind us.
It's obvious The Washington Post's "Style" section is broadening it horizons beyond fashion, music, books and other fluff, plus of course - Howard Kurtz's media column and the comics. The editors of that section are tackling important events that changed history by commemorating them as milestones.
Normally such attention is given to anniversaries that fall more under the definition of a landmark: the 25th, 50th, 75th, etc. But with the American public seeing the economy as the top issues in the presidential election - and the media tendency to compare current economic conditions to the Great Depression already well-established - the Post has deemed the 79th anniversary worthy of attention.
On Tuesday, Editor & Publisher released daily and Sunday newspaper circulation figures from the Audit Bureau of Circulations as of September 30, along with percentage changes from the preceding year. Showing that the press can't even report accurately about itself E&P's accompanying commentary vastly understated the situation:
Most Major Papers Continue Circ Decline
According to ABC for the 507 newspapers reporting in this period, daily circulation slipped 4.6% to 38,165,848 copies. For the 571 papers, Sunday dropped 4.8% to 43,631,646 copies.
For comparison purposes, in September 2007 reporting period, daily circ fell 2.6% and Sunday was down 4.6%.
"Most"? Try "Virtually All." The daily figures show that all but two of the top 25 papers lost circulation during the previous 12 months (USA today and he Wall Street Journal both gained a "whopping" 0.01%). Only the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, at +0.80%, gained on Sundays. E&P's commentary cited precious few tiny increases at non-Top 25 papers.
If you think the one-year news is bad, check out what has happened during the past five: