Worker productivity rose by a better-than-expected amount in the first three months of the year while labor cost pressures eased.
The Labor Department reported Wednesday that productivity, the amount of output per hour of work, increased at an annual rate of 2.2 percent in the first quarter. That was slightly higher than the 1.5 percent increase that had been expected.
For the rest of the campaign, the Media Research Center will each Tuesday announce its picks for the “Worst of the Week,” meaning the most egregious, horrendous and stupefying liberal bias of Campaign 2008. This week, the spotlight shines on those journalists who rushed to the side of Barack Obama after his minister’s radical comments, and NBC’s ridiculous effort to hype bad economic news [audio/video links below fold]:
Feeling Obama’s Pain. After Barack Obama’s former pastor’s radical remarks at the National Press Club, liberal journalists rallied around the Democratic candidate. Hours after Jeremiah Wright spoke on April 28, NBC’s Brian Williams emphasized those who deemed it a "circus" and a "sideshow," as his NBC Nightly News highlighted the Washington Post’s Jonathan Capehart: "Unfortunately, the victim in all of this is going to be Senator Obama’s campaign."
Three things in life are certain: death, taxes, and media hype about gasoline prices. On television that third item often takes place not just in your usual standup at a gas station interviewing outraged motorists. In Web-based media, however, the still shot is worth 1,000 barrels.
We've noted how CNN.com has done it. Today, it's ABCNews.com with its front-page teaser headline "Oil: Another Day, Another Record."
The photo accompanying the AP story filed from Vienna -- yes, as in Austria -- by writer George Jahn depicts a gas marquee from an American gas station showing regular unleaded at $4.419-a-gallon. Here's how the caption for the AP photo by Marcio Jose Sanchez that accompanies Jahn's article reads (emphasis mine):
The debate over a gas tax holiday has caught the attention of all three presidential candidates as well as the media. Last night, CBS "Evening News" said 150 economists had signed a petition against the cut and quoted one saying "it isn't sound economic policy."
But that list includes several prominent liberal economists, some who have also opposed the Bush tax cuts and pushed for a higher minimum wage in other petitions. The list featured economists from liberal groups such at the Brookings Institution and the Urban Institute, as well as several former Clinton staffers.
Reporter Priya David didn't mention any political affiliations or leanings for those opposed to the gas tax holiday. "But last week some 150 economists signed a petition saying it's a bad idea," she said.
When it comes to the economy, "it's not good. Not good," according to Jon Stewart. "But don't take my word for it. Seriously, I'm actually doing very well."
On May 1, "The Daily Show" host was introducing a segment that made light of doom-and-gloom economic reporting on network and cable news. His mash-up highlighted CBS's own "Grim Reaper," Anthony Mason, ABC's Betsy Stark, NBC's Brian Williams and CNN's senior business correspondent Ali Velshi.
Stewart poked hardest at Velshi, whom he called that "Hairless Prophet of Doom."
"Who is that hairless prophet of doom and how can we appease his anger, please?" Stewart pleaded, "If we give you our hair will you give us back our money? Will you do it, sir? I beg of you - Velshi!"
The network news broadcasts are to blame for the American people's widely held misconception that the U.S. economy is in a recession, according to Media Research Center founder and President L. Brent Bozell III.
"How in the world is it that 81 percent of the American people believe that we're in a recession?" Bozell asked on CNBC's "Kudlow and Company" May 2. "Maybe it's because the national networks this year, and we've counted it, have talked about a recession over 500 times."
The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing.—Archilochus (7th-century BC)
Mark Penn might not be appearing before the cameras on Hillary's behalf nowadays, but bet that he is beavering away behind the scenes on his polling. And judging from Hillary's dogged [to mix an animal metaphor] performance on this morning's Today, it's obvious the pollster's turned up one big thing: Dem primary voters hate oil companies.
Meredith Vieira gamely tried to get Clinton onto other subjects during her interview. But no matter the question, the answer was almost invariably the same: I Hate Big Oil. Since the questions were irrelevant, let's dispense with them and simply count the ways in which Hillary expressed her wrath at those evil purveyors of oil.
I always find it amazing when writers in the mainstream press seem to have so little knowledge of America and its history. Of course, I suppose that being blissfully ignorant of US history does help paper over their betrayal, substituting the feeling that they can maintain allegiance to American "ideals" as they attempt to advocate for the sort of socialist/communist vision that they want America to become, quite despite its true character and principles. Heck, if you don't know you are betraying your own country, you can't be ashamed of yourself for it, right? In any case, here we have another prime example of such a betrayal by The New York Times' Thomas Friedman from his May 4 piece where he has decided that America is finished, done, kaput. And guess what? It's all George W. Bush's fault -- shocking, I know.
Freidman imagines that he has found the pulse of the people and he has found that they are aching for nation building. Not nation building in Iraq or Afghanistan, but in the USA. He says we have little to show for our efforts in Iraq, that "we’re just not that strong anymore." He also claims that we have no "leverage" in Iran.
Heck, he should know. After all he and his paper have been attempting to foster these very situations for 8 years. If what Friedman is saying is true, then he and his anti-American paper deserve hearty congratulations for their success at nation destroying -- ours.
My two cents say George Stephanopoulos gave Hillary a harder time than Tim Russert did Obama during their respective appearances on This Week and Meet the Press today. Russert never pinned Obama down on exactly what he knew of Rev. Wright's most controversial assertions and when he knew it.
Over on ABC, Stephanopoulos twice challenged Hillary to name a single economist who supported her proposal for a gas-tax holiday, and threw in her face the fact that even her big admirer in economist ranks, Paul Krugman of the NY Times, has criticized her over it. In exposing her inability to name a single practitioner of the dismal science who supported her plan [McCain, who's also called for a gas-tax holiday would presumably be similarly hard-pressed], Stephanopoulos left Clinton looking like a panderer. Stephanopoulos raised the issue right out of the box.
Chavez wants to increase domestic food production; so, of course, the logical solution is to base the recovery on Marxist economics. After watching the failed totalitarian agronomics of Cuba and Russia, you'd think they could have invested a few bucks in a SimCity game so they could practice a little first.
Unbelievably, Reuters said Chavez “sheltered consumers from rising world food costs with subsidies and price controls,” and then in spite of all of that awesome planning, something surprisingly went wrong (all bolded portions mine):
On the day the government reported a tenth of a point drop in the unemployment rate and two days after news of a second straight quarter of 0.6 percent GDP growth proved the nation is not in a recession, Friday's NBC Nightly News delivered a ridiculously shallow story, based on two anecdotes and a couple of advocates, to prove rising prices are forcing the elderly out of their homes and into vans and soup kitchens. Anchor Brian Williams promised “an interesting look...at the toll that rising prices, of things like gas and food, is taking on Americans living on fixed incomes.” [audio available here]
Chris Jansing [that's her by the van] traveled to Northridge, California, just north of Los Angeles, where she found 82-year-old Betty Weinstein, stunned by a water bill, turning to a second reverse mortgage to stay in her home. But she at least still has a home. Jansing then highlighted an even sadder case:
Rising rents forced Scott and Kate Bishop to move out of this blue house and into their van, sleeping on a mattress in the back.
But it got worse: “And now high food costs have meant, for first time in their lives, the Bishops have gone hungry.” Jansing cited no source for her claims as she asserted: “Soup kitchens and food banks are seeing record numbers of seniors asking for help for the first time in their lives,” but “now donations here are down as middle class donors struggle to feed their own families.”
Although the economy is showing only a slow rate of growth, consumer spending actually showed an increase for the month of March. But, don't be fooled - that's a bad sign, according to "CBS Evening News" anchor Katie Couric.
"[T]he government reported today that consumer spending in March shot up twice as much as economists were expecting, and it's not because we're buying more - it's because the prices are so much higher, especially food," Couric said on the May 1 broadcast.
On the April 30 edition of "BBC World," Justin Webb reported on rising fuel costs and how the increase in prices affect the American public. According to Mr. Webb, many Americans drive cars nearly the size of big rigs, and will need to spend their tax rebate on fuel, thereby doing little for the economy at large. After all, if a big rig tank takes over a thousand dollars to fill, many American cars must face similar costs. [Audio available here] Transcript below:
“Many Americans drive private cars not much smaller than this truck, and the risk is that they use their tax rebate simply to buy fuel, boosting the profits of the oil companies but doing little or nothing for the wider American economy.
Despite all the gloom and doom, the employment picture in April was much better than economists had expected, and, maybe more important, quite different than the Hooveresque, Depression Era picture media members have been painting for months.
Makes you wonder if in press rooms all around America, as well as in Democrat campaign headquarters across the fruited plain, there was a huge sigh of disappointment at 8:30 AM EDT when the Labor Department released the data.
Critical updates at end of post including FAR better-than-expected factory orders report!
As such, without further ado, here's the news most people in the nation actually hoping for a good economy will be glad to hear:
As noted earlier today on Newsbusters by Matthew Balan, Michael Moore appeared on CNN's "Larry King Live" last evening. I caught a good portion of the "interview" (if King's constant agreement and sucking up qualify as an interview) and one little segment in particular got my attention. The subject was taxes:
MOORE: You were asking me a serious question. I'm sorry. Actually, you know what I would do is I would get -- I would try to lower Americans' taxes to the rate that the French pay. The French pay less taxes than we do, less.
At the April 29 Rose Garden press conference, Ryan asked President Bush the following question about the economy:
I talked to [Rep.] James Clyburn [D-S.C.] before this press conference. He said, "As a man thinketh, so are we." And Americans believe we are in a recession. What will it take for you to say those words, that we are in a recession?
Of course the following day, data from the federal government show the U.S. economy in slow economic growth, but far from the six months of negative growth needed for a recession. No matter to Ryan, who today went from applying the "as a man thinketh" logic to a 5-year old liberal media meme about the war in Iraq. Appearing shortly after 11:30 a.m. EDT on MSNBC to discuss the 2008 presidential race, Ryan parroted liberal talking points on the Iraq war:
Joy Behar claims Bill O’Reilly’s concerns over the enormous financial cost of Hillary Clinton’s universal healthcare plan is "untrue" and "he just keeps saying it over and over as if it’s true," implying that O’Reilly is lying. This from the same woman who frequently airs falseinformation.
Discussing Senator Clinton’s interview with Bill O’Reilly on the May 1 edition of "The View," Whoopi Goldberg and Joy Behar sought to counter O’Reilly’s claim noting the national debt was much smaller at the end of the Clinton presidency than it is now. What they failed to note was that the Clinton administration failed to pass a universal healthcare plan. Had they succeeded the national debt may have been higher.
After citing other alleged failures of the Bush administration, such as high gas prices, "objective" journalist Barbara Walters commented "oh and by the way, there’s a war" and soon added in a facetious tone "we never give our opinions."
Once again, the New York Times is expecting American taxpayers to care not only about the plight of illegal immigrants, but on the hardship imposed on their families back in Latin America because of the fitful U.S. crackdown on illegal immigration.
Old Media business reporters have a definitionally-incorrect habit of labeling single industries or economic sectors as being "in recession," when the term, as defined here, can only describe national economies or the world economy. Two examples of this are New York Times reporter David Leonhardt's description of manufacturing as being in recession in February 2007 (laughably incorrect, in any event), and the Times's employment of the term "housing recession" 25 times since October 2006, as seen in this Times search (with the phrase in quotes).
But if I wanted to be consistent with this routine form of journalistic malpractice, I would characterize the newspaper business -- at least in terms of the top 25 in the industry's food chain -- not as being in recession, but instead as going through a deep, dark, painful, protracted depression.
An April 7 CBS Evening News report on the health care monetary burden of illegal aliens on American taxpayers has just now drawn the ire and the fire of the two largest Hispanic grievance groups -- the National Council of La Raza (translation: "The Race") and the Mexican American Legal and Educational Fund (MAL (not Mos) DEF).
Byron Pitts' piece is fairly mild and pretty much down the middle of the fairway, and CBS News and their (for now) flagship girl Katie Couric deserve kudos for at least addressing the issue.
But the Latino Intolerance Duo (LID -- as in flipped their's) can not let stand unchallenged the reporting of the costs of the invasion. Pitts pointing out that someone somewhere (that would of course be us) must pick up the tab -- when the likes of Fabiola (the illegal alien mother featured in the story) does not -- is to them an "anti-Latino falsehood". They do not offer how or why something so obvious as this is either "anti-Latino" or a "falsehood" -- we are left to assume that their asserting it empirically makes it so.
On our end, there was bit of a bone to be picked with the Tiffany Network's numbers.
You have to wonder if the Associated Press felt the need to find an exceptionally gloomy story to write when it learned that the economy would probably show positive growth in the government's first-quarter GDP report. That report was released earlier today -- and came in at +0.6%.
If so, this article by the AP's Anne D'Innocenzio (HT to a NewsBusters e-mailer) does the job:
The for-sale listings on the online hub Craigslist come with plaintive notices, like the one from the teenager in Georgia who said her mother lost her job and pleaded, "Please buy anything you can to help out."
Or the seller in Milwaukee who wrote in one post of needing to pay bills — and put a diamond engagement ring up for bids to do it.
Struggling with mounting debt and rising prices, faced with the toughest economic times since the early 1990s, Americans are selling prized possessions online and at flea markets at alarming rates.
The Associated Press's Jeannine Aversa really should change her writing focus, because economics is clearly not her specialty.
After telling readers in March that "Dangerous cracks in the nation's job market" are "ominous signs that the country is falling toward a recession or has already toppled into one," Aversa had the gall to report Wednesday, "The bruised economy limped through the first quarter of this year at a six-tenths of a percentage point growth rate as housing and credit problems forced people and businesses alike to hunker down."
Are you joking? You, your wire service, and virtually every media outlet in the nation have been telling Americans that we're already in a recession. A government report comes out saying that we're not, and this is how you begin your article covering the surprising announcement?
How disgraceful. Sadly, that was just the beginning (emphasis added, h/t NB reader PunditDotCom):
Those of us, including myself, who thought that the supply-side boom in federal receipts had totally played out, as well as those who are concerned about the condition of the economy, have received a surprising bit of good news this month.
Old Media, which doesn't seem interested in looking for, let alone finding, good news, is not reporting a very interesting development. With two business days remaining in April, Uncle Sam's Daily Treasury Statement shows that federal receipts from income and employment taxes, before refunds, are actually ahead of all of April 2007:
“The government started sending out those tax rebate checks today, but they may not do all that much to stimulate the economy because a lot of the money will be used to pay for basic necessities like energy,” “CBS Evening News” anchor Katie Couric said on the April 28 broadcast. “The price of oil approached $120 a barrel today before closing at a record $118.75.”
Despite some receiving checks between $300 and $1,200 and an extra $300 per child, Couric deemed the rebate checks as “shrinking” because of high gas prices.
Fresh off its controversial Iwo Jima cover with Marines raising a tree, Time magazine's May 5 issue celebrates with an Earth Day roundup. The cause for celebration? That in 2008, "every day is Earth Day," exulted Nancy Gibbs.
Gibbs celebrated, among other things, the banning of DDT, which led to millions of preventable deaths from malaria. "Back in 1970, there was ... poison in our pesticides," she said, but after the Environmental Protection Agency was created, "DDT was banned."
Perhaps she missed the fact that DDT was reinstated for use in malaria-ridden countries by order of the World Health Organization in 2006.
Another part of this year's Earth Day roundup: "Bolivia's socialist President Evo Morales told the U.N. that 'if we want to save our planet Earth, we have a duty to put an end to the capitalist system.'" Meanwhile, Gibbs wrote, "capitalists polished their image to a green sheen."
As food prices soar, and international experts as well as media members call for action, Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK), the ranking Republican on the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee, took to the Senate floor Tuesday calling for a Congressional review of biofuel policy, and for the Environmental Protection Agency to waive the current ethanol mandates.
Coincidentally, this occurred minutes after President Bush told reporters that he believes ethanol and biofuels are key to solving the nation's long-term energy problems.
With that in mind, given the amount of press coverage biofuels have been given in the past few weeks, it will be interesting to see which side of this story media will report this evening and in the days to come.
After all, what Inhofe called for today was for Congress to "revisit the recently enacted biofuel mandate," and for the EPA to exercise its waiver provision granted in the 2007 Energy Bill "that offers protection to consumers if corn prices or availability become unsustainable."
What follows is the full prepared text of Inhofe's speech (fvideo embedded upper-right):
My bottom line analysis (11:25): The two R's of bias from this Rose Garden presser: Martha Raddatz on Syria and numerous reporters on the dreaded R-word, recession. Of course a recession is two consecutive quarters of NEGATIVE economic growth, and we've yet to see one quarter of negative growth, much less two. But all the same, NY Times's Stolberg made it sound like Q1 numbers on GDP tomorrow will show a recession.
The questions below will be posted in reverse chronological order:
High food prices may be affecting middle-income families, but an anecdotal report on CBS's "The Early Show" April 28 made the situation seem as if one family's use of a food bank was "the new face of hunger."
CBS reporter Priya David highlighted Pablo and Ada Melecio, a couple who recently lost their jobs and have elected to use a food bank to make ends meet. Ada Melecio said their "mortgage payments started falling behind and all the interest on that plus all the credit cards" were making their situation even worse.