Colorado journalists and politicians who fell in line and attempted the bogus "Food Stamp Challenge" probably didn't anticipate that a Colorado blogger would call them out, and then call their bluff. But that is exactly what happened.
In June, Colorado Freedom Report's Ari Armstrong challenged those in that state's media and political class who swallowed the claim that Food Stamp recipients can't get by on $21 per person per week (even though, as syndicated columnist Mona Charen and yours truly noted back in April, the right number is between about $27 and $36, depending on family size) to pay $10 to a charity of Mr. Armstrong's choice for every dollar under $1,080 ($6 a day for 180 days) that he and his wife combined spent on food in a six-month period.
(Picky, picky -- The Armstrongs were even tougher on themselves than they needed to be, as there are 184 days in the six-month August 2006 - January 2007 time period involved. They could have used $1,104 as their benchmark.)
NBC proved to be a media anomaly on July 17, leading its “Nightly News” broadcast with the record-high close on Wall Street and admitting that the stock market does benefit “a majority of Americans.” This historic bull run by the stock market was virtually ignored by other media. Katie Couric briefly mentioned it on the CBS “Evening News,” and ABC “World News” ignored it on July 17.
The Hill newspaper can be a good read for Capitol Hill coverage. It goes deeper than the superficial treatment the MSM often gives legislative matters.
That said, it seems to me the paper is taking at best a curious tack on an issue dividing fiscal conservatives of late: whether to sew up a federal tax loophole on private equity compensation and effectively raise some taxes as a result.
The Hill is painting the matter as one of conservative activists versus their GOP congressional allies with Jessica Holzer's July 18 article, "Conservatives break with GOP leaders on tax bill." The lede for the article lends the impression that some conservatives are finding a tax they actually like:
When Matt Lauer introduced a segment on the booming stock market by asking "is the rising tide lifting all boats?" I braced myself for another MSM excursion into class warfare. But surprise, surprise . . .
CNBC's Erin Burnett narrated the segment, and her opening also made me figure we were in for more bash-the-rich rhetoric. "Another day, another record on Wall Street . . . As stocks rise, it is time to finally ask, who is really making all the money? Who are the winners of the global economic boom?"
Cut to clips of the Dem presidential contenders, including Hillary offering up this bit of class warfare at its pandering worst: "while productivity and corporate profits are up, the fruits of that success just hasn't [sic] reached many of our families. It's like trickle-down economics but without the trickle."
But then came the surprising shift of gears.
CNBC'S ERIN BURNETT: But while the rich are getting richer, you may be too. Here's why: more than half of Americans are invested in the market, whether through a 401(k) plan or buying stocks or mutual funds, and many of those investments are surging. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 12% so far this year, and if your retirement plan invested in oil, that alone is up 21%. It's also worth noting that while politicians talk about "two Americas" [get ready to duck, John Edwards] virtually all Americans are seeing wages rise, and unemployment is at an historic low.
Hardly a week goes by without the New York Times editorializing for more government regulation of something or other. But the Grey Lady takes things to another level in its jeremiad of this morning: scolding the Chinese communists for insufficient regulation of their economy.
Now it's true that a variety of defective Chinese products have made their way into international commerce, from, as the Times enumerates, toothpaste sweetened with an industrial solvent [NB: file photo, not of defective brands] to tainted antibiotics. But for entertaining irony, it's hard to beat the spectacle of the New York Times criticizing a communist government for insufficient regulation of its society.
On today's "Your World with Neil Cavuto," the host devoted a portion of his mailbag segment to viewers from across the fruited plain telling Cavuto of their local media outlets had ignored or downplayed yesterday's stock market closing. Cavuto noted that in contrast, a large market correction in February was blared on the front pages of the nation's largest broadsheets.
“In stock market terms alone, this is now the longest consecutive uninterrupted stock market rally,” said Lawrence Kudlow on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on July 13.
“It started in early 2003, so that’s four and a half years. And it’s incredible how much wealth is being created out there and it’s unfortunate, really – almost tragic – that the president just doesn’t get any credit for it at all because he’s got a lot to say on the economy.”
While Kudlow found the record worth cheering, the three major networks supplied "some worries" and "some dark clouds" to viewers on July 12. Each one offered its own spin of gloomy news following the record high closings of the Dow and S&P 500.
"There are still some dark clouds looming over this market," said correspondent Dan Harris on ABC’s "World News with Charles Gibson." "The housing market is in a slump, interest rates are rising and gas prices are ticking back up."
The summer of media love for Al Gore continues in the Washington Post today. An article by Lori Aratani boasts in the sub-heading that “Al Gore’s film has raised awareness of energy conservation, officials say.”
The piece is actually on John Morrill, an Arlington County bureaucrat who has, for years, been “touting the cost saving benefits and environmentally friendly nature” of compact fluorescent lamps. He says in the past people ignored him but now, “thanks in part to ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ the issue has a higher profile.”
While the article stumbles over itself bestowing platitudes on Al Gore’s “documentary,” it – of course – fails to mention that while Al was busy lecturing America about the evils of carbon emissions, his own house in Tennessee was using over 20 times more energy than the national average.
The segment, called "Hidden Charges," did not include comment from the banking industry and it also ignored the risk taken by banks by offering overdraft protection service – which can be a benefit to consumers. Bouncing a check is costly too from what I've heard.
The Washington Post today reported how the White House expects the federal budget deficit to shrink, but placed it in a five-paragraph story below the fold on page A6. Yet a Reuters story on the same development noted something that the Washington Post's Lori Montgomery left out of her story. The new White House figure of $205 billion "is still higher than many private forecasts, which have pegged the deficit at around $150 billion."
What's more, Post reporter Montgomery included a reference to President Bush crediting his tax cuts with the revenue surge, but added "that has been challenged by many economists." Montgomery failed to name any such economist, much less his/her rationale. After all, if tax revenue is growing at unexpected rates following tax cuts, are there many economists who actually expect tax revenues to roll in at a faster pace when levied at their pre-Bush tax cut levels?
Here’s something you don’t see every day: a member of the mainstream media blaming high gas prices on somebody other than President Bush or Vice President Cheney.
Better strap yourselves in, for the culprit is truly shocking.
Not only did Wednesday’s Washington Post deflect responsibility for the rise in prices paid at the pump away from the White House, much of the blame was actually shifted to – wait for it! – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California).
Today's release of the Institute for Supply Management's Non-Manufacturing Activity Report, which measures business conditions in the 86% of the economy other than manufacturing, came in with a reading of 60.7, after recording a 59.7 last month.
This was the 51st consecutive reported month of expansion for the Non-Manufacturing Index (any reading above 50 indicates expansion). It comes on the heels of Monday's ISM Manufacturing Report, which came in at 56, marking the 47th month of expansion in that index in the past 49 months.
So 14% of the economy is expanding nicely, while the other 86% can fairly be said to be nearly booming. Who knew?
(The rest of the post has the detail, including an era-by-era chart.)
The New York Times let go of the media’s “How dare you make that much money,” attitude on July 3 to support a new kind of executive. The green kind.
“The new environmental chiefs are helping companies profit from the push to go green,” wrote Claudia H. Deutsch.
Deutsch’s article supported the concept talking about how it will make money for companies, without mentioning any drawbacks. She also left out the radical left-wing nature of some of the groups mentioned in the story. The only criticism of the new positions came from the left.
Those following the histrionics of "The Food Stamp Challenge" (previous NewsBusters posts here, here, and here; previous BizzyBlog posts here, here, and here) know that:
Most of those engaging in it claim that the average Food Stamp recipient "only has $21 per person per week to buy food."
The fact is that the program's monthly benefits (often referred to "Allotments"; scroll to the bottom for the monthly benefit table), when converted to weekly, range from $26.81 - $35.67 per person per week, depending on family size:
A report by ABC correspondent Betsy Stark suggested that although Americans are seeing lower prices at the pump, they must face the newest economic problem – the rising price of dairy.
ABC News has only reported the decline in gas prices twice in its nightly newscasts since they began to go down right before the Memorial Day holiday. Gas prices have gone down on average 24 cents nationally and this was only mentioned on two broadcasts.
Billion-dollar returns just aren’t good enough for NBC. On June 26, the “Nightly News” attacked wealthy hedge fund managers for making high-risk investments and for trying to do business with the “vulnerable” upper-middle class.
Reporter Carl Quintanilla mentioned rich investors who want to become “hedge fund rich,” but then focused his segment negatively on such investment firms.
“[T]he people who run them buy mansions, art – paying themselves salaries of over a billion dollars in just the past year.”
But is there anything wrong with that? According to Quintanilla, they’re run by greedy people and too risky for “a new more vulnerable audience.”
“They are beginning to target the upper middle class – the reasonably wealthy professional rather than the millionaire or the super-rich,” said Columbia University Law Professor John Coffee.
“American Morning” provided another forecast of mostly cloudy skies for the housing market on June 26.
“I got to tell you John [Roberts, “American Morning” co-host], this is not good news for people who are out there trying to sell their house and this of course is supposed to be the biggest time of year for sales,” said Gerri Willis to begin her report.
Willis, the personal finance correspondent for CNN and host of “Open House” was reporting new data from the National Association of Realtors that showed lower median home prices and slipping sales.
While the NAR data was downbeat, Willis called it too “upbeat” and “optimistic.” She then labeled a doomsayer with a more negative prediction “respected."
The late Senator Everett Dirksen had a famous saying on federal spending: "A billion here, a billion there, pretty soon it adds up to real money."
When it comes to the immigration bill currently being considered by the Senate, Old Media apparently believes: "A trillion here, a trillion there, if it's a cause we're okay with, we won't talk about it."
June 19, 2007 (Washington, DC) – The immigration bill being debated by the Senate would allow over two million illegal workers who received Social Security numbers prior to 2004 to receive more than $966 billion in Social Security benefits by 2040.
The energy debate on the Hill could help determine policy and prices for decades. Just don’t expect CNN to report it in a fair way.
Instead, you get Ali Velshi, the ‘American Morning’ business reporter, taking swipes at energy companies and the Republican Party. While the GOP stopped plans for a new tax to pay for more Democratic goodies, Velshi said the Republican wasn’t “particularly sound.”
That’s OK, he also complained that the oil companies are “getting off free.” Apparently, Velshi, not always known for math accuracy, needs a tune-up when it comes to taxes. Oil companies paid an estimated $48.36 billion in income taxes in 2004. They also collect a similar number in excise taxes for Uncle Sugar.
Tuesday mornings’s Democratic presidential candidates forum, aired live on MSNBC and moderated by Chris Matthews, had a few, to put it mildly, strange moments. Billed as a forum, the event was little more than a union-sponsored soapbox for the three leading Democratic candidates, Senators Clinton and Obama, and former Senator Edwards.
The left-leaning American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, or AFSCME, which organized the soapbox, was quick to cheer for the most mundane of liberal catch phrases while descending into boos and hisses at the very mention of former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani.
On this morning's GMA, a classic bit of MSM advocacy for more government regulation of business that will drive up costs and drive out jobs. The occasion is the hearings today before the House Workforce Protections Subcommittee, chaired by Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-Calif.), on a proposal to expand family and medical leave and impose mandatory sick leave.
Introducing the segment, ABC's David Wright lamented that "it's something that every parent struggles with: how to balance work and family. And the U.S. lags far behind other countries in helping parents to cope. Here on Capitol Hill today, Congress will take the first baby steps to try to address that situation."
Environmentalism is hip, green celebrities are “very sexy” and saving the planet is “simple,” according to the media.
It is certainly not “extreme” as far as journalists are concerned. The deluge of celebrity books, films and even rock concerts is making green look good – because journalists leave out the cost to individuals, businesses and the economy.
“Going green” is all the rage – from Live Earth to “green” weddings and interior decorating. The problem is, media reports imply that people won’t have to make enormous sacrifices to do what is right for the environment. That downplays the reality of environmentalism, which is anti-business and anti-economic growth; even, at times, anti-human rights.
But the truth is, like the recent Dilbert comic pointed out, environmentalism is extreme, inconvenient, and costly. In one recent case, environmentalists have even limited people’s right to travel in their own country.
Apocalyptic rants about what global warming will do to civilization have become so frequent it's hard to keep up, but CBS “Evening News” had a monumental one on June 19.
Mark Phillips reported an international study that said climate change could threaten the $662 billion international tourism industry – because rising sea levels and humidity will supposedly destroy monuments and sites like the Tower of London, the Eiffel Tower, the Parthenon and so on.
“[G]lobal warming may hasten the destruction of some of the world’s most treasured buildings and heritage sites,” warned Phillips.
Of course, Phillip neglected to tell viewers that some of the sites have already survived at least two changes in climate and a couple world wars.
I look forward to complaints that China has only a sixth of the world's population but emits a quarter of its CO2, that Chinese auto emissions standards aren't good enough (Mr Gore?) and that China hasn't signed Kyoto .....
As we've documented at NewsBusters, last year the media, particularly the Washington Post, raked then-Sen. George Allen (R-Va.) over the coals for his infamous "macaca" insult, and his ensuing profuse apologies for same. We've also documented that Democratic politicians' jokes about India and Indian-Americans have been largely ignored (see below the jump).
The latest racial incident kicking up dust on the 2008 campaign trail is yet another Democratic gaffe, dubbed by some, "Punjab-gate," after an Obama presidential campaign research memo cheekily described rival Hillary Clinton as a Democrat from Punjab, a province in India.
Of course, as the oppo memo itself notes, and as John McCormick of the Chicago Tribune reported in the Trib's "The Swamp" blog, Obama's staff were referring to another "lame attempt at humor" (my emphasis, see below jump) by the junior senator from the Empire State about her electoral chances were she to decide to relocate to India: