That didn't take long! Just yesterday I suggested readers keep in mind the MSM's bashing of Pres. Bush on his birthday the next time a liberal accused conservatives of being 'mean-spirited.' Groucho fans will know what I mean when I say: bring down the duck! On last evening's Journal Editorial Report , liberal newsie Marvin Kalb said the magic 'm-s' word in condemning the Wall Street Journal for its criticism of the New York Times.
The Journal had run an editorial, Fit and Unfit to Print [subscription required] that both explained why it had run a story on the anti-terror financial tracking program, and criticized the New York Times for doing so. For the record, the editorial explained that in contrast with the Times article, the Journal only published declassified information that had been provided them by the Treasury Department.
Discoverthenetworks.org is a self-described 'guide to the political left.' Go there, enter 'Center for Economic and Policy Research' and what is the FIRST thing that pops up in the entry?
"Prominent supporter of, and apologist for, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez."
When the AP writes an article on Hugo Chavez's 'new socialism.' it is quick to identify the Heritage Foundation as 'conservative' when mentioning that Heritage "found Venezuela's business climate inhospitable and 'repressed' this year, ranking it 152 out of 157 countries -- just above Zimbabwe and North Korea."
To those of us who see the Castro regime as an ugly dictatorship whose people are mired in poverty due to the communism it has imposed, little is more annoying than to hear the MSM tout the glories, as reported here by MRC, of Cuba's 'free health care,' and low illiteracy and infant mortality rates. Beyond the dubiousness of the statistics cited, are the media suggesting that trading freedom for a bowl of government porridge is a good deal?
In any case, judging by this morning's Today show, it looks as if the MSM have finally found a communist dictatorship they will not extol. The media have drawn the line at, well, the DMZ line separating South from North Korea.
The media usually leaves Hollywood out of the class warfare it engenders, but NBC's Michael Okwu found a sore spot among union members angry at Hollywood hot shots like George Clooney: Top dollar celebrities pulling down millions to voice over commercial spots.
“Let’s put it this way, there are some people that are
making a million dollars an hour,” announcer Tom Kane griped. Okwu told viewers
Kane is paid “a lot less.”
“Just go make
your movies. Let us do our commercials and no one gets hurt,” Kane told Okwu.
But Kane is far
more successful than the average union dues-paying announcer and he himself has
starred in a few animated movies.
A look at Kane’s
professional Web site and his profile at the Internet Movie Database
(imdb.com), tell of a career voicing over television shows, video games, and
trailers to movies such as “Booty Call,” “Ice Age 2,” and “Jimmy Neutron.”
What is it about celebrations of national pride that Washington Post columnists find so distasteful? Remember Marc Fisher declaring the Pledge of Allegiance "has a creepy totalitarian feel to it, with or without the obviously unconstitutional, McCarthy-era addition of the God bit"?
For Wednesday, just hours after the fireworks filled the air, it's Business section columnist Steven Pearlstein, who began: "This is the week each year when Americans revel in their nationalism, a summer brew of playful patriotism, boastful exceptionalism, and a somewhat smug insularity." Wow, there must have been no partying with the Pearlsteins.
Pearlstein's point is the the collapse of the latest round of global trade talks means that many countries are still struggling with the economic changes that globalization has wrought, including America with its rejection of illegal immigration. Pearlstein argues that Mexico is struggling, even though it has followed the "script" of international financial institutions:
One of the more interesting emerging stories in the world of American philanthropy is the dramatic growth of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, spurred this week by a massive donation by investor Warren Buffett. But MRC intern Chadd Clark found that on Monday's early edition of The Situation Room, CNN's Jeff Greenfield didn't see this as an occasion for lauding charity, but an occasion for chiding the wealthy for having too much, that there's too much income inequality. Greenfield even pushed the socialist notion that private charity shouldn't be relied on when the people should rely on the public sector:
It is real gee-whiz news when the second richest man in the world decides to give away the bulk of his fortune, most of it to a foundation run by the richest man in the world. But there is a bigger story here. It's about the massive accumulation of private wealth, the shift toward a less equal America, and the potential of what that wealth might do about it. Warren Buffett and Bill Gates made it official today. Some $30 billion of Buffett's fortune will be transferred to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which already has more money than any foundation in America....
Over the past few years, the media have consistently given a vote of no confidence to the U.S. economy, my colleague Amy Menefee wrote over at BusinessandMedia.org yesterday.
Her article shows how disconnected from reality the media are. Her points hit home even harder in light of today's announcement by the Bureau of Economic Analysis that GDP grew at 5.6 percent in the first three months of 2006.
TV journalists have been warning of “stagflation,” a bursting housing bubble, and even “recession,” but consumers are far more confident about the economy than journalists.
..... But The Associated Press feels compelled to throw cold water on the news.
Wow -- This is from the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) announcement:
Real gross domestic product -- the output of goods and services produced by labor and property
located in the United States -- increased at an annual rate of 5.6 percent in the first quarter of 2006,
according to final estimates released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis.
..... The increase in real GDP in the first quarter primarily reflected positive contributions from
personal consumption expenditures (PCE), exports, equipment and software, and federal government
The original estimate in April was 4.8%, and the revision in May was to 5.3%. Reuters notes that Wall Street economists had predicted a final revision of 5.5%.
Here's the obligatory cold water thrown by the Associated Press in the 5th, 6th, and 7th paras of their first report on the GDP news (cold-water words in bold):
The world's second-richest man, Warren Buffett, has asked Sen. Ken Salazar to vote against repealing the estate tax.
Buffett sent a letter to Salazar, D-Colo., the senator's spokesman, Drew Nannis, said. The multibillionaire Monday called on Congress not to repeal the tax.
Repealing the entire estate tax now would cost the government an estimated $550 billion to $700 billion through 2010. (emphasis added - ed.)
The Post gives no citation for this number, nor does it consider the additional wealth that will be created by businesses that can, well, stay in business after their owners die. And once again, note the assumption that it's the Government's money. If the estate tax comes back, it will be on estates over $1 million. Most estates over that number aren't just cash sitting around under mattresses. They're in businesses that employ people.
Given NewsBusters' goal of exposing outrageous liberal media bias, perhaps I should switch focus from the Katie-less Today to Harry Smith & Co. at the Early Show. I rarely check in on the show, which has languished seemingly forever in last place. But, happening upon it this morning, Smith's bald-faced bias left me breathless.
Smith's guest was Amy Walter of the Cook Political Report. Talk was first of the proposed flag-burning amendment. A snide Smith observed:
"I'm just curious about this. Because somewhere I read in the last couple of days in the entire history of the republic there have only been 200 documented serious incidents of this in the entire history of the United States." Lotta history there, Harry.
The Denver Post and Rocky Mountain News continue to ignore the good economic news in the ISM's Regional Reports on Business. The Institute for Supply Management's monthly national survey is one of the most respected and widely-followed economy surveys, covering as it does the expected purchasing and hiring trends, as well as the trailing indicators of price and supplier performance.
In addition to the national survey, the ISM also publishes monthly regional surveys, one of which is based in Denver. For the last two months, the manufacturing survey has been extremely strong. This month, the more violatile non-manufacturing index moved from slightly negative (49.4) to solidly positive at 53.2.
Last night CNN and Larry King gave the Democratic party a generous election year gift. King’s guests consisted of 9liberal Democrat Senators, four of whom are up for reelection in November, and 0 Republicans. Larry King noted that a few weeks ago he had the Republicans on. However, that program, on May 18th, was designed to have Republicans fight each other and show divisions in the Republican party. But last night, Larry King made it clear this was going to be an opportunity for these Democratic Senators to show unity and attack the Bush Administration and the Republican Party:
"Tonight, exclusive, all 9 Democratic women of the United States Senate [Senators Hillary Clinton-NY, Barbara Boxer-CA, Dianne Feinstein-CA, Patty Murray-WA, Maria Cantwell-WA, Debbie Stabenow-MI, Barbara Mikulski-MD, Blanche Lincoln-AK, and Mary Landrieu-LA]. Could one of them become the first female President? How do they think Bush is doing, and how would they do it differently? Together for the hour next on Larry King Live."
While I’m on the subject of MRC interns wanting to pluck their eyeballs out watching Al-Gorey screeds about our impending planetary doom, MRC intern Chadd Clark sat through the entire Matt Lauer "Countdown to Doomsday" special on the Sci-Fi Channel that aired on June 14. The transcripts are so full of hyperbole it reads more like the the aforementioned Science Fiction in the usual rotation on that channel than an alleged documentary hosted by an NBC News anchor. Chadd lined up a long list of wild predictions of how we may all be dead tomorrow.
9:03 PM, Lauer on the threat of extinction: "Today, some of our greatest scientific minds are warning that we could be on the brink of another terrible extinction, only this one, is our own."
The media reporting on Enron was aggressive from day one. As well it should be. But another huge corporate scandal rife with political connections has been virtually ignored by the media: the $40 billion Fannie Mae fiasco, presided over by Clinton alumni like Franklin Raines and Jamie Gorelick. Today the Washington Times ran an op-ed by the MRC's Business & Media Institute Director Dan Gainor about the media's double standard. Dan's piece is on page A18 of the print edition, and available on the Web here.
Here's a taste:
When most people hear the word "Enron," they mentally complete the phrase by adding the word "scandal." As reporter Lester Holt of NBC's "Today" put it in a Jan. 1 story, "Enron has been the poster child, if you will, of corporate scandals."
The three broadcast networks have focused growing attention on inflation recently – 42 stories since early May. CBS anchor Bob Schieffer declared on June 14 “Well, it is back, inflation, that is.” The following day, ABC’s Bill Ritter cautioned, “everything from mowing the lawn to joining a gym could cost you more money.”
Yet, when positive inflation news was announced just hours later by the new chairman of the Federal Reserve, ABC didn’t even bother reporting it on its evening news program. Meanwhile, the other two broadcast networks paid inflation relatively little notice compared to their other stories that night.
On June 15, Fed chairman Ben Bernanke told Chicago’s Economic Club that higher energy costs haven’t had a big impact on other prices, and there are even signs that such pressures may be waning. The stock market exploded on the announcement with the Dow Jones Industrial Average rising by almost 200 points, or 1.83 percent – its best one day showing since April 2005.
Rather than welcome the news after focusing on the evils of inflation, the networks paid little attention. ABC’s “World News Tonight” didn’t even report Bernanke’s statement about inflation. This was particularly odd as “Good Morning America” just hours a few earlier did a rather lengthy segment on the issue.
What do you call someone who rips off the American taxpayer by spending Katrina relief funds on champagne, "Girls Gone Wild" videos or gambling sprees? Why, a "victim," of course. At least, you do if you're an editorial writer at the Los Angeles Times.
The sub-headline in the editorial in today's LA Times reads like a parody of liberal paternalism gone wild: "It's Wrong to Blame Victims for Spending Irresponsibly." No, that's not a misprint.
While acknowledging that the 16% of improper expenditures 'is indeed high', the Times doesn't want us to get all worked up about it: "some misuse of the FEMA-issued debit cards is hardly shocking."
Well, maybe they aren't rooting for a recession, but the mainstream media sure are anticipating one coming around the bend any time now, and have for quite a while.
That's the finding in the Business & Media Institute's latest newsletter story, available online here.
Here's a taste:
No matter how the economy is doing, the word “recession”
never seems too far away. CBS began the year with talk of a recession and
similar discussion has cropped on up ABC and CNN throughout 2006 and even going
back to Hurricane Rita last fall.
ABC delivered two separate warnings of the latest recession
fears on June 7. Starting with “Good Morning America,” the network ran counter
to recent news that first-quarter growth had been revised upward. The new
number was even stronger: 5.3 percent. Despite that excellent performance,
reporter Robin Roberts warned that a recession was possible. “The two-day sell
off was sparked by concerns that the Federal Reserve could raise interest rates
too much, cooling the economy to the point of recession,” she claimed.
Here's a strategy for pro-life activists: start talking up the fact that humans share 90% [or whatever the number is] of their DNA with seals. It might win you more sympathy from the MSM. For while the liberal media love to celebrate 'a woman's right to choose', they go all weepy at the prospect of baby seals biting the dust, er, ice.
The Today show was at it again this morning with a segment on the baby seal harvest in Canada, complete with the predictable footage of those cuddly baby seals at the mercy of heartless hunters. 'Today' even warned us that "what you are about to see may be disturbing to some people."
The number of laid off workers filing claims for unemployment plunged last week by the largest amount in eight months, but it might have been a statistical fluke.
The Labor Department reported Thursday that 302,000 Americans filed for benefits last week, down by 35,000 from the previous week. Analysts had been expecting a much smaller decline of around 6,000.
..... Analysts cautioned against reading too much into last week's improvement, noting that it occurred during a holiday-shortened week when residents of many states would have had one less day to file their applications for benefits.
In Washington these days, all eyes are directed to the White House as literally the center of the political universe. President Bush’s job approval rating is the benchmark by which the left measures his clout – and by contrast, its own. When he is brought low, it means they are having a good year.
This is especially true for the national news media, which can barely refrain from a collective self-satisfied smirk these days. But here’s the funny thing. Nobody looks at <ital>their<ital> approval rating. A Harris poll in February found that only 25 percent said they have a “great deal of confidence” in the White House – but only 19 percent had great confidence in TV news, and only 14 percent for “the press” in general.
(August 1, 2005) The nation's manufacturing sector grew at a faster pace in July (2005), according to a survey of industry executives released Monday that contained lots of good news for Wall Street expectations.
The Institute of Supply Management's survey of executives at goods-producing companies came in at 56.6, the best reading of 2005 and up from the 53.8 reading in June. The closely watched survey, one of the first economic readings for July, had been forecast to rise to 54.5 in July. Any reading above 50 constitutes growth in the sector, so Monday's survey means that manufacturing has grown for 26 straight months, the longest expansion in the sector in more than 16 years, since nearly three years of uninterrupted growth ended in April 1989.
A week after ignoring the announcement of a roaring 5.3 percent GDP growth rate in the first quarter, and on the day unemployment fell a tenth of a point to 4.6 percent -- the lowest level since July of 2001 -- the CBS Evening News decided to lead Friday with how, as anchor Russ Mitchell put it: “There are new signs this evening that the economy is slowing down.” Reporter Anthony Mason asserted that “rising interest rates and rising gas prices are beginning to put the brakes on the U.S. economy." Mason laid out the bad news: "The newest numbers, just 75,000 jobs were added to the economy last month, well below forecasts. Manufacturing lost 14,000 jobs. But retail took the biggest hit, losing more than 27,000" and “the other hammer to the economy came from the once-booming construction sector. It came to a standstill in May.” Mason concluded with his own domino theory: "One major builder reported a nearly 30 percent drop in new orders for the past two months. Now that ripples right through the economy. Buying slows, then building slows, then hiring slows. And that, Russ, is why the economy is slowing."
On NBC, in contrast, Anne Thompson noted how “cuts on factory floors and at the country's retailers held back job gains for the second straight month,” but she characterized those as “signs analysts say of an economy that is slowing but not in trouble." Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Economy.com, then emphasized how the economy “is throttling back from very rapid growth earlier in the year, but it is still a very strong economy, an economy that will perform well going forward." (Transcripts follow)
The good news: The unemployment rate of 4.6% is the lowest since June 2001.
The not-as-good news: The jobs increase of 75,000 is even smaller than indicated by May's figure alone, as March and April were revised downward by 25,000 and 12,000, respectively. So the net increase in the number of people working is at the end of May is 38,000 than what was originally reported at the end of April.
I don't even have to tell you whether the business press is focusing more energy on the reduction in the unemployment rate or the mediocre jobs number, do I? Typical is MSNBC headlining an FT.com report: "US Employment Growth Stalls in May." (New Media's Drudge, by contrast, has focused on the positive with a simple headline "4.6%" since the BLS release until the time of this post.)
New York Times columnist and best-selling foreign-policy author/guru Thomas Friedman appeared on ABC's "Good Morning America" Thursday, mostly to address the administration's Iran initiative. But MRC's Brian Boyd also noticed Diane Sawyer turned to Friedman's harsh but very green Wednesday column beginning with the sentence: "Is there a company more dangerous to America's future than General Motors?"
Sawyer: "[B]oy, did you cause a stir yesterday with your column saying that it's time for Toyota to take over General Motors because General Motors has offered what to subsidize gas for people who in effect buy gas-guzzlers?"
NEW YORK (AP) — Consumers apparently shook off their worries about higher gas prices during May, shopping with enthusiasm at apparel stores and malls and giving many retailers better-than-expected results. A big exception was Wal-Mart Stores Inc., whose low-income consumers are feeling the biggest financial squeeze from $3-a-gallon gas.
Yeah, only the poor shop at Wal-Mart. Everyone else shops somewhere else. You didn't know? (/sarcasm)
Economist Thomas Sowell says it's too soon to cheer on the destruction of the mainstream media, who still wield enormous clout.
Conservatives who point out the declining audience for the big television network newscasts, and declining public trust of the media in general, often underestimate how much clout the liberal media still have.
For example, while the economy has had near-record highs in growth rates and in the stock market, with near-record lows in unemployment and inflation, polls show that the public thinks the economy is in big trouble. A steady diet of gloom-and-doom spin in the liberal media has worked. The death of media influence has been greatly exaggerated.
More is involved than partisan attempts to undermine the Bush administration. For decades, the liberal media and the intelligentsia have had to struggle mightily against good economic news. Their whole vision of the world -- and of themselves -- is at stake.
Off the wires from Marketwatch (registration may be required; bolds are mine):
May Chicago PMI rises to highest level since October
Business activity expanded in the Chicago region for the 37th consecutive month in May, the National Association of Purchasing Managers-Chicago said Wednesday. The Chicago purchasing managers' index rose to 61.5% from 57.2% in April, much stronger than the expected decline to 56.2%. It was the highest level since October. Anything over 50% indicates growth. The prices paid index fell to 76.9% from 77.2%. The new orders index rose to 69.6% from 60.8%.
In reporting on President Bush’s nomination of Henry Paulson as his new Secretary of the Treasury, CBS’s Jim Axelrod on Tuesday night suggested that "the administration needs a salesman,” citing how “no matter how much they trumpet 5.3 percent economic growth in the first quarter, 5.2 million more jobs since August 2003, or unemployment down to 4.7 percent, there's another number to contend with. In the most recent CBS News poll, just 34 percent approved of the President's handling of the economy.” But might not part of the problem lie in lack of media attention to the booming economy? For instance, Axelrod’s citation of the 5.3 percent GDP growth in the first quarter, the fastest rate in two-and-a-half years, was the first on the CBS Evening News which ignored it when the number was announced last Thursday.
Earlier is in his story, Axelrod snidely marveled at why anyone would want to join the declining Bush administration: “Leaving a job that paid him $38.3 million last year in salary, stock, and options, to take one that pays 175 grand, and to join the last two and a half years of a struggling administration, the question isn't why the White House would want him, but why he would want the job?" (Transcript follows)
A new study by BMI analysts Warren Anderson and Rachel Waters details how the broadcast media use "B-roll" (background video clips) showing pictures of higher-than-average station marquees to present a more dire picture of gas prices than reality:
Pictures of gas station prices on NBC averaged 36 cents higher than the national average between March 21 and May 24. For the typical American driver with a 20 mpg vehicle, the 36 cents extra would equal more than $200 a year.
Six of the stories in this study showed gas that was more than a dollar above the national average. ABC had four such stories and NBC two. CBS never ran a story that depicted gas at or below average.
According to experts, there are many reasons why gas prices have risen. Those include: political problems in places such as Iran, Iraq, Nigeria, and Venezuela, lingering effects from Katrina, increased demand from China and India, new ethanol requirements, and the typical summer increase. While explaining these reasons to viewers, the networks often displayed prices that were national extremes rather than those encountered by the average American consumer.
On May 22, the Federal Trade Commission released a report finding no systemic price gouging resulting from the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. The following day, USA Today -- which has carried a "nation's gas gauge" item in its front page sidebar for a few weeks now -- assigned the story below-the-fold treatment in the Money section.
Another story, on how average gas prices have dropped 6.4 cents in the past week, was relegated to the sidebar of the Money section page as well.
For my article on televised coverage of the story, click here.