Author and political reporter Timothy Carney has an interesting item this morning in the Washington Examiner about how Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) practically gets campaign contribution kickbacks from her support for subsidies to the drug industry for the so-called emergency contraceptive pill Plan B. Emphasis mine. (h/t James Joyner):
Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., portrays herself as a scourge of the pharmaceutical industry, but she has shown that she’s willing to help a drugmaker if that’s what it takes to profit Planned Parenthood, her indispensable political ally.
Clinton’s campaign Web site touts that she has “battled the big drug companies.” Yet she has sponsored many bills that would directly subsidize Barr Laboratories, maker of the emergency contraceptive pill Plan B, which also functions as an abortifacient. Thanks to a deal cut between Barr and Planned Parenthood, those taxpayer subsidies will yield generous profits for the pro-choice group that every four years spends millions trying to elect a Democrat to the White House.
Talk about talking down the economy! No fewer than three times today, Matt Lauer invited Barack Obama to declare that the U.S. economy is headed into recession. At the end of a "Today" interview that focused largely on Hillary-related issues and Iran, Lauer turned to the economy and pressed Obama to predict the worst.
The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review recently published a story about Citgo gas stations in Pittsburgh finding a dip in gasoline sales. The piece sympathetically portrays Hugo Chavez, the America hating dictator of Venezuela, as a victim attacked by mean American boycotters even as they then claim at the end of the story that it isn't boycotters, but a down economy causing the dip (or maybe it isn't, the story can't make up its mind). So, if it is a down economy, why did the Trib-Review spend so much energy with the first half of the piece decrying a non-existent boycott of that poor, innocent Chavez? Why all this sympathy for Chavez? Your guess is as good as mine.
In fact, there aren't a whole lot of facts presented in this piece at all, so when all is said and done, there is no real conclusion reached, prompting the question of just what the heck the point of the article was in the first place if it weren't for exploiting the mean American boycotters angle? The very first line in the piece sets the tone of pity for Chavez.
Back in the days of our MediaWatch newsletter, we used to have a feature called "Revolving Door" to note reporters swapping their jobs for political appointments or political appointees swapping their jobs for reporting gigs. (See the NB Revolving Door topic for more recent updates.) The Minneapolis Star Tribune announced that its editorial writer Dave Hage is leaving "to become communications director for first-term Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn. Hage, 52, will take over Klobuchar's fledgling press operation," which has already lost its top press aide. Hage, a Minneapolis native, was an economics correspondent for for U.S. News & World Report magazine in Washington from 1991 to 1995, where he drew our attention as he repeatedly attacked Reaganomics and boosted Clintonomics. So the new Democrat job isn’t a shocker.
From our Notable Quotables in March 1993, the myth that health socialism-pushing Clinton would have a "healthy respect" for free enterprise:
A billionaire and a receptionist walk into an IRS bar. They each order a beer. The IRS bartender charges the receptionist $2.50 and the billionaire $2,260. Who got undercharged? If you're Warren Buffett or Tom Brokaw, the answer is . . . the billionaire.
As NB Editor Brent Baker has noted, the NBC Nightly News "decided Monday night to base a story on a four-year-old contention by a professor that the middle class is worse off now than in the 1970s, followed by a piece promoting Warren Buffett's claim the rich don't pay enough in taxes."
NBC was back at it again this morning, with a "Today" segment featuring Brokaw's interview with Buffett and his gripe that the rich are undertaxed. Brokaw seconded Buffett's notion, introducing the segment this way:
When you're the world's third-richest man, you can break some rules. Warren Buffett, the "Oracle of Omaha," is going after a fundamental injustice he says touches all Americans [cut to clip of Buffett]: the taxation system has tilted toward the rich and away from the middle class in the last 10 years. It's dramatic and I don't think it's appreciated."
The likely ousting of Merrill Lynch CEO Stanley O’Neal prompted CBS correspondent Randall Pinkston to tell viewers to expect the worst as far as the stock market goes.
“O'Neal's likely exit sets the stage for another rough ride on Wall Street this week with more dramatic peaks expected in crude oil prices which hit nearly $92 a barrel last week and further uncertainty in the housing market,” Pinkston said.
A big individual income tax hike is being pushed by Democratic Rep. Charlie Rangel, chairman of the House Ways & Means Committee, but New York Times economics reporter Edmund Andrews failed to capture the import in a slanted front-page business section story Thursday.
The Times manages not to spell out precisely where Rangel's tax-hike proposal would begin to bite on "the wealthy."
"The House's leading Democratic tax writer will propose a sweeping overhaul of the tax code on Thursday that would increase taxes on many people with incomes above $200,000 but cut them for most others.
"The bill, to be introduced by Representative Charles B. Rangel of New York, chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, would also overhaul corporate taxes by eliminating many major tax breaks and lowering overall tax rates.
The U.S. economy by most markers is performing admirably. According to the National Bureau of Labor Statistics, we have had 49 consecutive months of job growth. Unemployment is at a historic low of 4.7 percent, the average number of jobs created is holding steady at around 100,000 per month and real after-tax personal income has increased by 12.5 percent. Yet, according to a CNN poll, half of Americans think the country is in a recession. As Larry Elder writes today at TownHall.com, the reason can be found in the way that the media portray the economy. And that portrayal differs dramatically when a Republican is in office as opposed to a Democrat. Elder writes,
For many months, NewsBusters has been warning readers that the hysteria being generated by the media and the Global Warmingist-in-Chief Al Gore concerning climate change would eventually begin to impact energy and economic policies.
Following last Thursday's landmark decision in Kansas to not give an electricity producer a construction license for a coal-fired power plant due to global warming fears, more than a dozen states are set to file a lawsuit against the Bush administration for holding up efforts to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from cars and trucks.
I kid you not.
As reported by the New York Times Wednesday (emphasis added throughout):
The genius of Rush Limbaugh is his ability to distill wisdom into kernels that make sense to millions of Americans. He gave good examples of that talent in the course of his appearance on today's "Morning Joe."
Rush began by praising CNBC's Erin Burnett, a frequent "Morning Joe" contributor.
NewsBusters readers are well aware of the recent controversy involving Al Gore’s schlockumentary “An Inconvenient Truth.”
A few weeks ago, a British judge cited nine errors in the film. Team Gore responded Thursday in a rebuttal published at the Washington Post’s Fact Checker blog.
Now, famed climate change skeptic Christopher Monckton, in a detailed report published by the Science and Public Policy Institute, not only refuted Gore’s defense of the movie's contents, but also listed a total of 35 errors in the award-winning abomination responsible for most of the global warming hysteria sweeping the planet (emphasis added):
On Thursday, for the first time in American history, a state denied an electricity producer a construction license for a coal-fired power plant due to manmade global warming fears. As ominously reported by the New York Times Saturday (emphasis added):
The Kansas Department of Health and Environment on Thursday turned down a permit for twin 700-megawatt coal-fired generators that a group of electric cooperatives is seeking to build near Holcomb in southwest Kansas. The ownership and the electricity would be shared by 67 cooperatives in Kansas and neighboring states.
The department's staff had recommended issuing the air quality permits, but Roderick L. Bremby, the secretary of the department, said in a statement, "I believe it would be irresponsible to ignore emerging information about the contribution of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases to climate change and the potential harm to our environment and health if we do nothing."
As the Washington Post reported Friday, this decision has disturbing national implications (emphasis added):
The similarities are eerie. On Oct. 19, 1987, the day of the Black Monday stock market crash there was trouble from the Iranians, a two-term Republican president nearing the end of his term and a network TV news media voicing warnings the American economy might be doomed. Except this day in 1987, the stock market dropped 508 points.
“It’s a day that will be in bold print in history books – Black Monday, October 19th, 1987, when the stock market went into a freefall, losing more in one day than it did on Black Tuesday in 1929,” anchor Tom Brokaw said on the Oct. 19, 1987, NBC “Nightly News.” “And while conditions are much stronger now than they were then, today’s precipitous plunge struck fear in the hearts and pocketbooks of even Wall Street veterans.”
CNN even warned for the worst: “[N]ow some analysts argue that the stock market’s recent activity is heading for recession, if not depression in the 1990s,” said CNN correspondent Mark Left on the Oct. 19, 1987, CNN “PrimeNews.”
Sounds like liberal hogwash, doesn’t it? Well, that’s how CNN Senior Business Correspondent Ali Velshi reacted to a CNN-Opinion Research poll.
“Get this: 46 percent of Americans think the economy is in a recession – 46 percent. Nearly half of all Americans think that we're in a recession,” Velshi said on the October 18 “American Morning.”
However, Velshi told viewers the economy isn’t in recession by textbook definition.
“[T]his is interesting, because by official standards, we're not in a recession,” he said. “Recession is a sustained decline in economic growth. We haven't seen any decline in economic growth. We’ve seen some decline, but not a sustained decline.”
A voguish Dem theme is that America's reputation in the world has been eroded and that the next Dem president will restore it. Hillary Clinton has gone so far as to propose appointing Bill as a "roving" [I'll say] ambassador for such purposes. We can safely ignore such fluff as so much presidential-season silliness. A great nation's reputation is forged not by its goodwill ambassadors, but by its actions.
But while the bad-mouthing of America might be written off as so much election-year posturing, there is in fact an important, ironic lesson to be drawn, and it was on display during today's "Morning Joe." For her "must-read" of the morning, Mika Brzezinski chose a USA Today column by Alan M. Webber, "From afar, America resembles a 2nd-rate power", and paraphrased this paragraph from it:
This week marks the unhappy milestone of Black Monday for Wall Street, which had some journalists warning “it could” happen again. Even if it doesn’t, the media hammered home the prospect of a possible recession.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average nosedived Oct. 19, 1987, when panicked selling cost investors 22.6 percent in one day of panicked selling. But do investors in 2007 need to be worried about another crash?
OVERVIEW: An underappreciated accomplishment of the past six years has been the continued reduction in the number of people on welfare.
The welfare caseload, after declining dramatically in the first four years after Welfare Reform was enacted, might have been expected to level off, or even rise slightly with overall population growth, after the initial impact of the 1996 law wore off.
After all, the reduction in the number of welfare recipients during the 1990s was stunning. From a peak of over 14 million in 1994, and over 12.5 million at the end of 1996 (over 4.5 million families) when the new took effect, the number of those receiving welfare came tumbling down to about 5.5 million by the end of 2000 — a decline of nearly 2 million per year.
I’m not sure that anyone expected the numbers to steadily fall after the first four years of reform, but that is exactly what has happened. Here are the details for families and recipients on welfare as of the end of each calendar year beginning with the turn of the century (000s omitted):
ABC anchor Charles Gibson twice pushed reluctant guest expert Sam Stovall, chief investment strategist at Standard & Poor's, to agree that high oil prices and the housing “crisis” will soon lead to a recession. On Tuesday's World News, Gibson outlined: “So, the housing crisis, the Treasury Secretary says it's a significant risk to the economy, the Fed Chairman says it's a significant drag on the economy, we have oil prices over $80 a barrel. Sam, isn't that a classic formula for a recession?” Stovall replied that “what I think is encouraging investors is the pro-activeness of the Fed and government officials by making sure that they get ahead of the curve and fend off the recession.” But Gibson was undeterred from his pessimistic assumptions and pressed again about whether the economy is “really broad-based enough to endure this kind of oil price hike and this kind of housing crisis and not have a recession?” Stovall maintained that oil and housing have impacted the economy, yet “our feeling is we'll probably...get away unscathed.”
“[T]he avalanche [Oct. 19, 1987 stock-market crash] was made worse by computer program trading, but the things that triggered it were overvalued stocks, a weak dollar, a period of extreme market volatility and a summer of worrying economic news,” Christoforous said on the October 14 broadcast. “Sound familiar? Some market strategists are warning investors now to strap in.”
There’s no doubt there is risk involved when investing in the stock market and historical data should play a role in smart investing. However, the comparisons of stock values from October 1987 to October 2007 aren’t accurate according to the October 15 Wall Street Journal.
The Heritage Foundation's Robert Bluey reported in his Sunday Townhall column that there was disinterest at the hallowed "newspapers of record" in the government's news about the just-ended fiscal year's deficit (links to White House deficit announcement and to Business and Media Institute report are in the original):
The U.S. budget deficit fell to the lowest level in five years last week, but three of America’s leading newspapers -- the New York Times, Washington Post and Los Angeles Times -- couldn’t find the space to mention the dramatic drop.
Journalists who have spent years trashing President Bush’s tax cuts appeared to suddenly lose interest when the budget picture brightened. That’s not surprising, however, considering that mainstream reporters frequently ignore upbeat economic news.
Is Associated Press economics writer Martin Crutsinger quietly converting to supply-side economics?
This is noteworthy, because Crutsinger has usually been the go-to reporter for uncalled-for gloom and doom about the economy for at least the past few years (a few examples are here, here, here, and here).
Here are the specifics about Crutsinger's possible epiphany. In May, covering the record US Treasury receipts in April, the AP reporter told readers the following about why the Uncle Sam's budget was running at a deficit (though there is no byline at the MSNBC link, Crutsinger is indeed the author; the now-expired Yahoo! story I linked to in May at this post did have his byline; bold is mine):
The federal budget was in surplus for four years from 1998 through 2001 as the long economic expansion helped push revenues higher. But the 2001 recession, the cost of fighting a global war on terror and the loss of revenue from President Bush’s tax cuts sent the budget back into the red starting in 2002.
But Thursday, in writing about the full fiscal year ended September 30 deficit of $162.8 billion just reported by the US Treasury -- over 34% lower than it was in fiscal 2006, and $249 billion lower than in fiscal 2004 -- Crutsinger had quite a different take (bold is mine):
Jonathan Chait is one of the Founding Fathers of Bush Derangement Syndrome. Way back in '03, the New Republic senior editor authored one of BDS's early, seminal works: "The Case for Bush Hatred," whose very sentence was the subtle: "I hate President George W. Bush."
Ah, but Jonathan Chait isn't a mere one-hatred man. As of this morning, we can conclusively state that in addition to his animus toward our nation's chief executive, Jonathan Chait also hates lower taxes.
The Associated Press lets a false statement about the economy go into print unchallenged in its story today about the furniture industry's big semi-annual trade show in High Point, N.C.
HIGH POINT, N.C. — Doug Schock shook his head in disbelief while gazing at the empty elevators, typically full as they shuttle thousands of buyers between dozens of showrooms filled with the latest styles in sofas, bedroom sets, and dining room tables and chairs. Not so this fall at the High Point Market, the twice-annual home decor and furnishings trade show that sets the table for what consumers will see in stores next season.
"Those used to be packed. You used to have to elbow your way into showrooms," said Schock, a territory manager for OneCoast Midwest Home. "I know the economy has been down since 9/11, but the housing slump combined with the weak economy, you have a double whammy."
“Say Goodbye to Baseball The ash tree – from which all baseball bats are made – is in danger of disappearing, thanks to a combination of killer beetles and global warming.”
“Say Hello to Bulgarian Hooker Shortages ‘Brothel owners in Bulgaria are blaming global warming for staff shortages. They claim their best girls are working in ski resorts because a lack of snow has forced tourists to seek other pleasures.’”
Here's another Old Media non-followup on yesterday's news: Failure to get a reaction from two Democratic presidential candidates who had harsh things to say a month ago when August's weak employment report was released.
That August report showed a loss of 4,000 jobs. The Old Media "recession worries" chorus was deafening. August's job-increase number was revised upward to a pickup of 89,000 as part of yesterday's report. As noted by Baker and Gainor, Old Media reaction to that revision was relatively muted. I also don't see that anyone in Old Media pointed out that the total new-jobs increase, including prior revisions, was a gain of 228,000 jobs (September's initial +110,000 pickup, August's +93,000 revision, and a +25,000 revision to July).
The two leading Democratic presidential candidates opportunistically jumped on that initial August report and its supposed implications in early September, reporter Edmund Andrews noted in a New York Times article:
I wonder how the media will pretend this is bad news? The latest employment numbers are in and not only are they solid, but last month wasn't the catastrophe first reported.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics announced 110,000 jobs were created in September and 89,000 were created in August. The August number replaces the 4,000 jobs lost that were first reported. If you flash back to last month, you'll remember how much the media screamed about this. ABC was declaring the August numbers a sign of "new fears this morning about the state of our economy," said Bill Weir on September 8. That's how he lead off a downbeat "Good Morning America" story entitled "Road to Recession? Bleak Signals from Job Report."
It only got worse. "And now many are asking whether the disappointing employment figures, coupled with the housing crisis, may head us, have us headed for a serious economic downturn or even recession," worried Weir.
It has been regularly reported by NewsBusters that media are doing everything in their power to withhold from the public the financial ramifications of global warming alarmism.
Be it the marketing of totally useless carbon offsets, or proposals for additional taxes on consumers and corporations, press outlets have been seemingly coordinated in their silence regarding such matters.
Another fine example of such a boycott occurred last week when House Energy and Commerce Committee chair John Dingell (D-MI) discussed a rather elaborate tax plan with the Associated Press Wednesday that virtually no major media outlet outside of Detroit bothered to report (emphasis added throughout):
There's a fabulous column by Ed Driscoll (HT to NixGuy in an e-mail) about the evolution of media and reporting from the invention of radio to our current circumstances.
It's the title of Driscoll's work, "Atlas Mugged: How a Gang of Scrappy, Individual Bloggers Broke the Stranglehold of the Mainstream Media," that misses the mark a bit.
Ed has the "stranglehold" part nailed:
By the early 1970s, mass media had reached its zenith (if you’ll pardon the pun). Most Americans were getting their news from one of three TV networks’ half-hour nightly broadcasts. With the exception of New York, most big cities had only one or two primary newspapers. And no matter what a modern newspaper’s lineage, by and large its articles, except for local issues, came from global wire services like the Associated Press or Reuters; it took its editorial lead from the New York Times; and it claimed to be impartial (while usually failing miserably).
Did you realize that Congressman Charles Rangel fully intends to enact a massive tax increase this year?
Oh, you thought that the Harlem representative only wants to fix and/or eliminate the dreadful Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT).
If you know otherwise, it's probably only because you read Robert Novak's September 17 syndicated column, which is the only meaningful coverage of Mr. Rangel's plans I have seen (HT to a NewsBusters e-mailer). In it, Novak revealed what Old Media either doesn't care to cover, or appears to not want you to know (bolds are mine):