At first blush, it might seem hard to imagine how one can contend that a press report describing an industry sector as operating "at depressed levels" and at volumes that are one-half of what "economists consider to be healthy" isn't telling the whole truth. But that's exactly how I would describe Tuesday's writeup by the Associated Press's Derek Kravitz after July's Census Bureau release on housing starts, building permits, homes under construction, and completions.
The problem is, as I separately noted earlier today, that of the sixteen key metrics the Bureau reported, eleven of them were record lows, either for any July on record, or any individual month on record. The other five were either the second-worst or third worst Julys on record. This isn't a depressed market; it's a despondent one. Kravitz only disclosed one of those eleven records, and in a misleading manner.
"I must confess that every time Representative Michele Bachmann uttered the phrase 'as president of the United States' during Thursday's Republican presidential debate I blacked out a little bit, so I'm sure that I missed some things."
So actually began a piece by New York Times columnist Charles Blow Saturday:
As NewsBusters reported, MSNBC's Chris Matthews on Wednesday took some poorly-researched cheap shots at conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh.
Limbaugh responded Thursday explaining that this is borne of frustration over the failure of Barack Obama noting, "The Chris Matthewses and the media are very close to the rioters in London in terms of anger, disappointment" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
For some reason, in the middle of a lengthy "Morning Joe" segment dealing with President Obama's obvious failures as a leader, host Joe Scarborough on Thursday felt the need to bring up conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh (video follows with transcript and commentary):
On Monday, one of the only sane voices in the mainstream media stood up and said, "If it wasn't for the Tea Party, they would have passed the debt ceiling thumbs up, we would have been rated BBB" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
The folks at CNN should be really proud of themselves.
In less than 24 hours, one of their current anchors - Fareed Zakaria - flat out lied about deficits, the debt ceiling, and the U.S. credit rating before a former host - Eliot Spitzer - falsely told viewers of HBO's "Real Time" that George W. Bush "gave us the deregulatory craziness that led us over the cliff" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
The New York Times on Tuesday told its readers, "House Republicans have lost sight of the country's welfare."
In an editorial entitled "The Republican Wreckage," the Gray Lady disgracefully claimed, "They have largely succeeded in their campaign to ransom America's economy for the biggest spending cuts in a generation" dimming "the futures of millions of jobless Americans":
CNN's Fareed Zakaria Thursday called the debt ceiling battle a "sideshow" caused by the Tea Party.
Appearing on "In the Arena" as a supposed "astute observer of the economy," Zakaria proceeded to bungle economic and historic facts like a high school dropout (video follows with transcript and commentary):
It is truly fascinating how liberal media members will do anything to protect the reputation of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
On this weekend's "McLaughlin Group," Newsweek's Eleanor Clift revised history to largely absolve the two government-sponsored enterprises for last decade's mortgage collapse while predictably blaming it on Wall Street and of course George W. Bush (video follows with transcript and commentary):
NBC's David Gregory challenged House Majority Leader Eric Cantor on Thursday's Today show, insinuating that Republican efforts to include tax cuts along with closing tax loopholes is not an effective compromise if Democrats are willing to cut entitlement spending.
Gregory seemed to frame the debate around whether Republicans would make the "tough" choice of not cutting taxes, since Democrats were reaching across the aisle with their "tough" choice of cutting entitlement spending. The Today show co-host pressed Cantor, "if Democrats are willing to cut trillions of dollars, which is certainly what you wanted in spending cuts, what is the Republican Party prepared to do in this negotiation that is hard?"
Chris Matthews Tuesday once again showed that his tenuous grasp of reality is getting dangerously weak.
During the final segment of "Hardball," the host unequivocally blamed the 2007 financial crisis and resulting recession on George W. Bush just moments before he said, "Okay, Obama hasn't been able to get us out of it yet, but...there’s no sense blaming one Party or the other" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
While the vast majority of those in the establishment press doggedly insist on reporting seasonally adjusted numbers in most economic spheres, there is an odd exception: Standard & Poor's Case-Shiller Home Price Indices.
Not that it's completely the press's fault. S&P emphasizes the raw numbers over the seasonally adjusted ones, and for a pretty good reason: The raw numbers represent what's really happening on the ground with home prices. In the current economy, the seasonal calculations can't really be said to reflect typical seasonal patterns. Of course, this logic should apply to other key areas, particularly employment, but we (or maybe it's the reporters) are apparently not mature enough to understand large monthly swings in jobs added or lost, or able to see them in the context of previous years.
Given that the press usually hangs its hat on seasonal numbers, you'd think they'd be more than a little shy about copying S&P's press release, which today described a very small increase as a a "boost" in home prices, which disppeared after seasonal adjustment, as seen below:
The sub-prime mortgage bust has been the topic of much discussion in the media since late 2008. Unfortunately, given the left-leaning composition of most of America's elite newsrooms, very little of that discussion has focused on the federal government-backed mortgage bundlers Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae.
Thursday morning, initial weekly unemployment claims as reported by Uncle Sam's Department of Labor came in at a seasonally adjusted 414,000. It was 16,000 lower than the previous week's upwardly revised (as usual) number, but certainly no indicator in and of itself of meaningful improvement.
The housing industry data really wasn't any better. True, the seasonally adjusted figures from the Census Bureau for building permits issued and housing units started were somewhat improved, but the raw data still had several examples of record weakness.
Wait until you see the headline the Associated Press applied to a story covering the DOL and Census reports by Derek Kravitz and Christopher Rugaber:
CNN's Eliot Spitzer arrogantly lectured about the benefits of Keynesian economics Sunday while accusing fellow panelists on "Fareed Zakaria GPS" of not knowing what they were talking about because they weren't business owners.
This led British historian Andrew Roberts to point out that President Obama's administration are mostly academics, and Ann Coulter to ask Spitzer, "What business have you ran? You’re a governor" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
In one of five items they alleged were false statements made by Mitt Romney in his presidential candidacy announcement speech, Associated Press "fact-checkers" Calvin Woodward and Jim Kuhnhenn claimed that the economy has not gotten worse since Barack Obama became president. Part 1 (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog) clearly showed that the facts are on Romney's side. The current score is Romney 1, AP 0.
The AP pair's four other allegedly false Romney statements have to do with foreclosures, whether President Obama has "apologized to the world," Obama's economic policies, and whether the candidate raised taxes while he was Governor of Massachusetts from 2003 to 2007.
Here is Romney's foreclosures statement: "Three years later, foreclosures are still at record levels. Three years later the prices of homes continue to fall."
Here's the pathetic response from Woodward and Kuhnhenn:
As no clear frontrunner emerges in the Republican presidential nomination race, the liberal media are in a full-scale panic over the thought that the former governor of Alaska might eventually enter and challenge their beloved president in November 2012.
On Sunday, "Face the Nation's" Bob Schieffer asked Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour with some incredulity, "Could you ever envision yourself supporting a ticket that had Sarah Palin at the top?" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
NewsBusters readers are well aware that we like to point out when arrogant, pompous, holier-than-thou liberals make completely false statements on the air and in print.
Bill Maher marvelously did so on HBO's "Real Time" Friday claiming that the Bush tax cuts have so far given a total of $2.8 trillion to the richest one percent of Americans (video follows with transcript and commentary):
MSNBC's Chris Matthews on Thursday got a much-needed economics lesson from CNBC's Joe Kernen.
In the midst of a discussion about the economy and how it's going to impact the 2012 elections, the "Hardball" host bragged about having studied economics in grad school leading Kernen to marvelously ask, "You studied economics?" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Shortly after 8:30 this morning, I began thinking that my CNNMoney.com e-mail alerts had stopped arriving. So I went to the Census Bureau's web site and learned that its monthly report on housing starts, building permits, and other construction-related news had indeed been released. The news for the already moribund industry was awful: Building permits in April fell by a seasonally adjusted 4% from March and by 12.0% from April 2010, while the comparable tumbles in housing starts were 10.6% and 23.9%, respectively.
Well, my opening and closing bell e-mails arrived as expected. So unless there was a technical glitch, this means that CNNMoney decided not to issue a post-8:30 alert for the bad housing news.
Let's take a look at the two e-mails which did arrive. First, just after the opening bell:
In an unbylined report this morning on homebuilders' continued pessimism, the Associated Press continues to mislead its readers and other news consumers about just how bad the market for new homes has been during the past two years.
The government has been reporting new home sales since 1963. The 320,000 news homes sold in 2010, which followed sales of only 375,000 in 2009, are the two worst performances on record. But that does not mean that they are the two worst performances in nearly a half-century, as AP continues to insist, as seen below:
New York Times columnist Paul Krugman Monday wrote another in a series of factually dishonest pieces about budget deficits and what he likes to call 'the Great Recession."
In his "The Unwisdom of Elites," the unabashed liberal made numerous falsehoods and omissions to blame our current economic and budget woes exclusively on George W. Bush and "small groups of influential people":
If you had any questions about just how far to the left New York Times columnist Paul Krugman is, they were answered Monday when he expressed enthusiastic support for the Congressional Progressive Caucus's radical tax-hiking "People's Budget."
In his "Let's Take a Hike," the Nobel laureate left no doubt about his desire to swiftly redistribute America's wealth with little regard for the economic consequences:
In its infamous June 2005 Kelo vs. New London ruling, a Supreme Court majority allowed the city of New London to seize the properties of holdout homeowners in that city's Fort Trumbull area for the "public purpose" of economic development, not a "public use" as the Constitution's Fifth Amendment requires.
It has been eleven years since the litigation began, six years since the court's ruling, and almost five years since the final settlement between the City and final holdouts the Cristofaro family and Susette Kelo, whose former home now stands elsewhere as a de facto monument to the perils of overbearing government. The land involved is still vacant, and nothing of substance has since happened. In late 2009, Pfizer, the economic linchpin which supposedly drove the city's need to remake the area, announced that it was pulling out of New London.
After several false starts, the city is working with a new developer. As of February of last year, this developer wanted to put rental townhouses in an area where century-old, largely owner-occupied homes once stood.
Early Friday, the New London Day's Kathleen Edgecomb reported a new twist. Wait until you see what the developer wants before going forward.