Al Sharpton joined the sequester scare-mongering squad on his MSNBC show this evening. Just one problem: the Reverend Al got one of his "facts" embarrassingly wrong. Sharpton claimed that the effect of the sequester would be to close Rep. Paul Ryan's hometown airport in Janesville, Wisconsin. Nuh-uh.
Yes, Southern Wisconsin Regional in Janesville is on a list of 200 airports, 100 of which would have their towers closed under the sequester. So for starters, contrary to what Sharpton suggests, the odds are only 1-in-2 that even if the sequester hits, there will be any effect whatsoever on the Janesville airport. But in any case, closing a tower by no means closes an airport. Is Al unaware that of the roughly 20,000 airports in the USA, only about 500—less than 3%—have towers? Even if the tower closes, flights will continue to flow in and out of Janesville. There are well-established FAA procedures that pilots follow to communicate with each other at non-towered fields. Shame on Sharpton for his false scare-mongering. View the video after the jump.
Faux conservative David Brooks of the New York Times used his Friday appearance with Mark Shields on the PBS NewsHour to bash Republicans over sequestration, comparing GOP tactics in dealing with spending to a trite circus act. Either Mr. Brooks forgot that sequestration was the president’s idea or doesn't care about facts getting in the way of cozying up to his liberal media buddies. Even liberal Democratic Sen. Max Baucus (Montana) admitted to that, and it’s explicitly mentioned that sequestration was the White House’s idea in Bob Woodward’s new book about the 2011 debt ceiling fiasco.
Shields piggybacked off of Brooks’ remarks, and said that the GOP’s fallback position is blaming the president, as if Obama is blameless in this dismal situation.
Over the weekend the New York Times painted the $85 billion in budget cuts that will start kicking in Friday – known in Washington-speak as sequestration -- in dramatic terms, falsely heralding a new age of "government austerity" (since when?) and passing along stories of budget-cut fear-mongering from the state level.
Charlie Rose led Monday's CBS This Morning by hyping the allegedly catastrophic effect of the sequester during a promo for a report from correspondent Major Garrett: "Kids without vaccines; schools without teachers; and massive airport delays – we'll show you the worst-case scenario for government spending cuts."
Garrett himself could have been mistaken for an Obama administration flack as he devoted much of the segment to publicizing the White House's bombast about the impending $85 billion in spending cuts. He uncritically forwarded the administration's hype about the general and local effect of the cuts, which are set to take effect on March 1:
Acting like an extension of the White House press office on Monday's NBC Today, correspondent Peter Alexander promoted Obama administration talking points on the upcoming budget sequester: "This morning, the White House is picking up the pace of its PR offensive, they are rolling out reports for each of the country's states and how they will be affected by these automatic budget cuts." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Alexander listed the "dire warnings" coming from the executive branch: "In California, 9,600 low-income students could lose their college financial aid. In Florida, nearly $4 million could be slashed to provide meals for needy seniors. And in Texas, nearly 10,000 fewer children will receive vaccines for diseases like whooping cough and the flu."
At the end of 1995 and stretching into January 1996, the federal government "shut down" because of an impasse between President Bill Clinton and House Republicans led by then-House Speaker Newt Gingrich. The issue was increased taxes vs. less spending. Sound familiar? The government re-opened when a bipartisan agreement was reached to balance the budget by 2003. It wasn't for reasons that included, but were not limited to, two wars. Now the national debt is racing toward an unsustainable $17 trillion.
This time around it isn't about closing government. It's about "sequestration," which President Obama, the Democrats and their big media toadies are styling as economic Armageddon.
You've got to hand it to the headline writers at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press. They sure know how to abuse their power to shape public perceptions.
The headline at Martin Crutsinger's report this morning on projected economic growth for 2013, which the wire service is treating as this morning's "Big Story," reads: "ECONOMISTS PREDICTING MODERATE GROWTH IN 2013." Many people using computers, tablets and smartphones will see that headline, conclude that the economy's not so bad, and move on without clicking through. Too bad Crutsinger's first two paragraphs directly contradict that headline.
Call her MoveOn.Mika . . . Bob Woodward has demonstrated that President Obama was not telling the truth during the third presidential debate when he flatly stated that "the sequester is not something that I've proposed. It is something that Congress has proposed.” In fact, it was two Obama aides who devised the plan, and Obama himself who approved it.
But when Joe Scarborough wanted to get those facts on the record this morning, Mika Brzezinski repeatedly declared that discussing Obama's failure to tell the truth was "silly." Things got heated between the co-hosts at one point as Mika cut Joe off, saying "I need to talk." And trying to end the uncomfortable discussion, Mika actually announced "I'm moving on." View the video after the jump.
CNBC's Maria Bartiromo made a statement Sunday about all of the fearmongering concerning the looming budget sequester that people on both sides of the aisle should pay attention to.
Appearing on NBC's Meet the Press, Bartiromo said, "I think Wall Street is seeing this as scare tactics because if the market really believed that the economy was going to be paralyzed on March 1 we would not be trading near record highs" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
As NewsBusters has been reporting this weekend, some media members have been surprisingly breaking ranks with President Obama concerning administration claims that the world will come to an end if budget sequestration goes ahead this coming Friday.
NBC's David Gregory also appears to be feeling the White House's position is overblown and asked Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood on Sunday's Meet the Press, "Do you really think Americans think that government can't tighten up a bit?" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Rather than take Woodward head-on, Klein gutlessly goes after three words in his Friday piece: "moving the goalposts." What Woodward wrote, followed by a portion of Klein's clunker, appear after the jump.
When the Washington Post's Bob Woodward broke ranks with the Obama-loving media to correctly point out Friday that it was indeed the White House that originally proposed sequestration back in 2011, it was going to be interesting to see how many of his colleagues would follow suit.
On Sunday, CNN's Candy Crowley appeared to do so as she pressured Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood about whether or not the administration has "ginned up" the impact of the sequester in order to pressure Congress telling him at one point, "Your post-sequester total at FAA ops and facilities and equipment is going to be about $500 million more than 2008 and the planes were running just fine" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
In yesterday's Washington Post, Bob Woodward repeated what the essence of what he wrote about sequestration in his book, “The Price of Politics.”
Why? Because leftist media stooges like MSNBC's Chuck Todd, who is upset that conservatives and Republicans are "begging the media to say it's Obama that started the sequester, not them" (well, in general, Chuck, we'd like to see you tell the truth, but we've long since given up expecting it, let alone begging for it) insist on claiming that it was a Republican idea. It wasn't. Woodward re-elaborates (internal links are in original; bolds are mine):
While some in the mainstream media harp on the purportedly horrendous effects of possible across-the-board spending cuts on March 1, there is also an effort to distance President Barack Obama from responsibility. An example of this is on CNN, which has shown more than once today a report on the sequester by chief business correspondent Ali Velshi. An excerpt:
VELSHI: The forced budget cuts were created during the 2011 debt ceiling debacle. They were passed by Congress and signed by the White House.
So “the White House” signs bills into law? That’s funny. On August 2, 2011, the day the Budget Control Act became law, Situation Room host Wolf Blitzer told his audience:
Happening now, President Obama signs a bill to raise the debt limit, avoiding an economic debt crisis for now.
Another liberal media member has broken ranks and pointed the finger of blame for the looming budget sequester on Barack Obama.
After the Washington Post's Bob Woodward correctly wrote Friday that sequestration was indeed the Obama administration's idea in 2011, former Newsweek editor Evan Thomas hours later said on PBS's Inside Washington this whole standoff is "a failure of leadership by the White House...[Obama's] just playing politics" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
In attempting to make the case that "Even as the private sector has been slowly adding jobs, governments have been shedding them," a chart from the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, shows how public-sector employment (not labeled as "seasonally adjusted," but that's what it is) has declined from a peak of 22.3 million in May of 2010 to 21.3 million in January 2013.
There's only on "little" problem -- That May 2010 peak occurred in the midst of the federal government's decennial census.
Forbes just published its 20 Most Miserable Cities List for 2013. The magazine left off several obviously more "worthy" contenders, perhaps because its decisions to include and exclude certain criteria were, to say the least, more than a little odd.
I have listed the magazine's top twenty following the jump, along with each city's mayor and that person's political leanings, showing a commonality the magazine's Kurt Badenhausen failed to observe:
Appearing on Friday's Andrea Mitchell Reports on MSNBC to discuss the upcoming budget sequestration, Bloomberg View columnist Margaret Carlson touted President Obama's ability "to manipulate some of these cuts so that they're going to hurt and people are going to see them," in order to put pressure on congressional Republicans. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Carlson then proclaimed: "I think we'll start hearing, you know, squeals, when, as [Transportation Secretary] Ray LaHood predicts, you know, we see those first lines at the airport. And it may even hurt, you know, those wealthy Republicans who don't have private jets, when air traffic control and the transportation security lines grow longer."
Worse than a hurricane? New York Times reporter Matthew Wald went a bit overboard in his Friday story on possible delays at airports because of the budget cuts due to take effect next week, known as the sequester: "Spending Cuts Threaten Delays In Air Travel."
After dismissing the argument that President Obama was to blame for the sequester as "dumb" on Thursday's MSNBC Daily Rundown, NBC political director Chuck Todd further mocked the notion on Friday's program: "Republicans have been playing, well, an inside game, the inside the Beltway game, trying to build support for their position against the cuts and begging the media to say it's Obama that started the sequester, not them." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Yesterday, the Department of Labor announced that it had certified "more than 18,000 former Hostess workers around the country as eligible to apply for Trade Adjustment Assistance." I'll save excerpts from DOL's inane announcement for after the jump.
The story has garnered some local coverage in areas affected by Hostess plant closures late last year, including a couple of regional Associated Press stories. But the AP, based on a search on "hostess," did not have a story at its national site as of 9 a.m. today, even though former Hostess workers in 48 states are affected. Additionally, virtually every story found in a Google News search on "Hostess trade adjustment" (not in quotes) is local in nature. Could this possibly be because doling out tens if not hundreds of millions of dollars to workers whose unions thought the company was bluffing when it said it would throw in the towel without acceptable labor contracts is more than a little embarrassing, especially when President Barack Obama is simultaneously claiming that the federal government will have no choice but to lay off and furlough employees if sequestration takes place?
While the President and his media minions are trying to scare everyone into thinking that if the sequestration on federal spending goes through on March 1 it will be the end of the world, conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer had a different view Wednesday.
Appearing on Fox News's Special Report, Krauthammer said, "This is the most ridiculously hyped Armageddon since the Mayan calendar" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Wednesday's CBS This Morning played up the supposedly gargantuan cuts in government spending that would go into the effect if the sequester goes into effect on March 1. Charlie Rose trumpeted the "massive spending cuts" set to take effect, while Gayle King underlined that the "deep automatic spending cuts" were quickly approaching. But neither anchor pointed out that $85 billion in cuts come out of a $3.5 trillion federal budget.
Correspondent Bill Plante hyped the effect of the possible "massive layoffs" on the Washington, DC region. But he only included one soundbite from a Republican/conservative, while playing three clips from President Obama and second Democrat.
Basking in the campaign-like trappings of Obama's White House press conference, reporter Jackie Calmes repeated in Wednesday's New York Times, the president's horror stories on the purportedly deep impact of mandatory budget cuts, known as the "sequester," that are scheduled to hit March 1: "Obama Tries to Turn Up Pressure on Republicans as Cutbacks Near." The cuts amount to an estimated $85 billion this year out of a $3,600 billion dollar budget, but Calmes pushed the pain of Obama having to deal with recalcitrant Republicans:
"Days away from another fiscal crisis and with Congress on vacation, President Obama began marshaling the powers of the presidency on Tuesday to try to shame Republicans into a compromise that could avoid further self-inflicted job losses and damage to the fragile recovery," she wrote. "But so far, Republicans were declining to engage."
The NBC, ABC, and CBS evening newscasts on Tuesday all recited the same White House talking points as anchors and correspondents wrung their hands over the upcoming sequester budget cuts set to take effect on March 1. While all three broadcasts touted President Obama using "dire language" to warn against the cuts – only amounting to less that three percent of the federal budget – none of them noted that it was the President's idea in the first place. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
At the top of NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams sounded the alarm: "Deep impact....deep budget cuts poised to have a major impact on the military, law enforcement, even food inspection." In the report that followed, correspondent John Yang fretted: "Through 2021, it means cutting $85 billion a year, half from the Pentagon, half from non-defense programs. Everything from education to national parks to Meals on Wheels." Yang failed to mention the current annual federal budget is around $3.5 trillion.
After hyping the "draconian" sequester cuts set to take place March 1, CNN kept up its frenzy on Tuesday afternoon by spreading government hysteria over the $85 billion spending reduction. Headlines sounded alarms like "Medicine, Food at Risk," "Travel Nightmare In the Making," and "U.S. justice system in jeopardy."
"President Obama is warning of dire consequences for all of us if lawmakers don't act quickly," The Situation Room host Wolf Blitzer channeled White House angst. "The President clearly wants all of us to be very, very worried about the budget axe that's about to fall," he hyped during the 6 p.m. ET hour. "The President has said it's an issue of national security," reported correspondent Joe Johns on cuts to the justice system. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
Even though the upcoming sequester cuts amount to only $85 billion, compared to $16 trillion of U.S. debt, CNN hyped the deleterious effects of the cuts to the economy by comparing them to the recent asteroid that just missed earth.
"Watch out. Like the asteroid headed to earth, they're coming. $86 billion in automatic budget cuts," anchor Carol Costello warned. And "draconian" was in the CNN talking points as Costello and her colleague Christine Romans repeatedly gave that label to the cuts. [Video below the break. Audio here.]