Death and taxes may be the only certainties in life, but journalists’ support for higher taxes is almost as predictable.
Actions that liberals dislike, such as smoking, eating the "wrong" food, and spewing carbon earn media support for tax increases.
Right now, the media are promoting a “bipartisan” bill in Congress that would expand the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) by raising tobacco taxes sky-high.
“Senate Panel Adds Billions For Health,” announced a headline from the July 20 New York Times. The headline sent a positive message that people’s health would be improved, rather than the honest message that the bill calls for a 156-percent tax increase on cigarettes, and a more than 20,000-percent increase on cigars (up to $10 per cigar).
Going green is the simple solution to Detroit's woes, according to NBC "Nightly News."
"[W]ith gas prices up and global warming at the forefront, Americans are looking for better mileage and cleaner cars these days," said anchor Brian Williams, broadcasting on July 24 from the Motor City.
NBC correspondent Kevin Tibbles promoted Ford's "experimental green fleet of the future" which includes a hydrogen/electric car. Tibbles also celebrated GM vice president Bob Lutz' green ideas.
"And while analysts predict it could take five years for Detroit to pull even [with Japan in the production of hybrid vehicles], Lutz doesn’t think it’s too little, too late," Tibbles said.
The list of media-approved drinks in dwindling. Bottled water is out for its contribution to global warming, we're not supposed to chuckle at beer ads and energy drinks make kids sick according to the news media.
Soda "may be bad for our hearts," worried CBS "Evening News" anchor Katie Couric.
The CBS report focused on a woman "hooked" on soda, consuming eight glasses of soda a day according to CBS Medical correspondent Dr. Jon LaPook.
What CBS left out was an industry response, although the network had the opportunity. The American Beverage Association told Business & Media Institute that "Evening News" interviewed ABA president Susan Neely, but left it out of the broadcast.
As CBS and NBC evening newscasts ignored dropping gas prices on July 23, ABC's Charles Gibson found a way to provide negative spin.
"News today in this country, that gas guzzling is getting cheaper while coffee guzzling gets more expensive. The price of gas took a dive in the past week. The government says it was down nine cents a gallon, to an average of $2.96," Gibson said on "World News with Charles Gibson."
But the cost of an optional Starbucks latte has nothing to do with gasoline. Still, Gibson oddly correlated the nine-cent price drop per gallon of gas since last week with the nine-cent price increase at the popular coffee joint.
In the July 22 Washington Post, writer Monica Hesse interviewed Ron DeFore of the SUV Owners of America (SUVOA), for her Style section front-pager, "A Man Who Wants SUVs to Get More R-E-S-P-E-C-T."
But far from respect, Hesse's interview at turns shifted from an almost "Daily Show"-like mockery to an unqualified parroting of liberal talking points. You can find her interview here, but I found these three questions particularly to be cheap shots:
In 1992, Bill Clinton successfully used a campaign strategy of continually focusing attention on the supposedly poor economy thinking that Americans typically vote with their wallets.
Of course, most intelligent people know that the recession actually ended in early 1991, and that this strategy would have failed miserably had the media not been complicit, and, instead, honestly reported economic realities.
Regardless, it appears media at this point are concerned that a strong economy and rising stock market might undermine Democrat presidential candidates in November 2008.
With that in mind, the New York Times' Tom Redburn wrote an article Saturday that diminished the importance of the economy in the upcoming elections, threw cold water on the premise that presidents have any impact on economic developments, and told readers to be much more concerned with - wait for it - the war in Iraq.
In fact, the article actually began (h/t Lynn Davidson, emphasis added throughout):
See Update below: Michelle back on the flooding beat!
If you're Michelle Kosinki's agent, you surely have a verboten vocabulary list. Words you don't want your ward ever to say on air. Above all, of course, "canoe." But others too. Ones like "puddle," "slosh," and certainly . . . "row."
But there was Michelle on this morning's "Today," reporting from London on Potter-mania. And you guessed it . . .
As NewsBusters has been reporting this week (see this and this), as the stock market hit new all-time highs, the media have been dour Nervous Nellies carping and whining about gas prices, the low value of the dollar, the housing slump, and the rising trade deficit.
Yet, there are a variety of issues that press outlets have conveniently ignored during this record bull run that not only explain rising stock prices, but also give a more accurate view of what is going on in the global economy.
For instance, Bloomberg was one of the only major media outlets Tuesday which reported record purchases of U.S. securities by foreigners in May (emphasis added):
Eleven companies announced on July 18 to self-regulate and stop advertising to children under 12 in order to "help curb the child obesity problem."
But that wasn't enough for ABC "World News with Charles Gibson" or CBS "Evening News." Both shows supplied food fascists to complain that even this change isn't going to be enough.
"Today’s changes are getting a lot of attention, but as American children face an epidemic of obesity, will these changes really make a difference?” wondered “World News with Charles Gibson” anchor Elizabeth Vargas on July 18.
As the potential Dow Jones sale to Rupert Murdoch gets closer, the mogul was under fire from ABC on July 18. Correspondent Bianna Golodryga cited fears that the Wall Street Journal would begin to resemble the New York Post, already owned by Murdoch.
“Here is why this story is important. This is the paper he wants to buy: The Wall Street Journal. Now, one big news story, a business story that came out a few weeks ago, was the sale of Hilton Hotels.
“Private” must be the new cuss word, because “CBS Evening News” sure made it sound dirty on July 16.
“It was the winter of 2003, when Congress, in the dead of night, overhauled Medicare … [Medicare Advantage] and it put a large part of a government-run program into the hands of private insurance companies,” said investigative correspondent Armen Keteyian.
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.
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.
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.
You know it's summer when your favorite shows start reruns, but most people don't expect reruns of television news. Yet ABC news looked like one on July 9.
ABC "World News with Charles Gibson" followed up it's July 8 hit piece on bottled water, with a second hit piece the next evening.
"There are billions and billions and billions of these [water bottles] that end up in landfills every year," correspondent Ryan Owens said to an unidentified man.
Owens report beat up bottled water using the same points as the earlier report: that it is environmentally damaging because the bottles end up in landfills and plastic is created using fossil fuels. He quoted the mayor of Salt Lake City, Utah - one city that has banned the bottle.
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.
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.
The Washington Post's Fredrick Kunkle let a leftist group skate away with the bland "nonprofit group" tag. The group, the Boston-based World Against Toys Causing Harm (WATCH) named Heelys -- a pair of sneakers with small wheels recessed into the heel -- the worst toy of 2006.
But a review of WATCH's Web site reveals that the group is headed by a trial attorney who boasts of raking in "record-setting settlements and jury verdicts throughout the country."
Oh, and they don't like toy laser guns, although they, you know, don't actually shoot real lasers: