The AP's coverage of the U.S. economy late Friday focused on high gas prices as the dominant, uh, driver of this year's anemic growth both visually and in its text.
As will be seen after the jump, the graphic at the AP's national site is of a gas price sign. The final sentence in the caption of the full-size version reads "High gas prices and scant income gains forced Americans to sharply pull back on spending."
The underlying report by Christopher Rugaber and Paul Wiseman predictably mentioned gas prices first and foremost, tagged debt-ceiling negotiations as a suddenly important contributor to economic uncertainty (where have they been while President Obama, his cabinet, his czars, and his hyperactive regulators have been injecting uncertainty in megadoses during the past two years?), and relayed Ben Bernanke's months-old warning that cutting back too much on government spending would hinder economic growth:
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):
But now "when President Obama announced even stricter standards — in fact, the largest increase in mileage requirements since the government began regulating" fuel economy, "the chief executives of Detroit’s Big Three were in Washington again," this time "standing in solidarity with the president."
Of course, a few paragraphs later, Vlasic allowed that the massive federal bailout of GM and Chrysler helped push the auto industry into obeisance:
"Millionaires and billionaires," President Obama says derisively, must make more "sacrifices" and live by the same rules the rest of America lives by. But there are seven little words that will never appear on the White House teleprompter: "And that means you, too, George Soros."
For all his (and his wife's) bashing of greedy Wall Street hedge-fund managers, Obama has shown nothing but love to the world's most famous hedge-fund mogul. The feeling is mutual and deep(-pocketed).
Here's what President Barack Obama said about our high rate of unemployment in an interview with NBC's Ann Curry: "The other thing that happened, though — and this goes to the point you were just making — is there are some structural issues with our economy, where a lot of businesses have learned to become much more efficient with a lot fewer workers," adding that "you see it when you go to a bank and you use an ATM; you don't go to a bank teller. Or you go to the airport and you're using a kiosk instead of checking in at the gate." The president's statements suggest that he sees labor-saving technological innovation as a contributor to today's high rate of unemployment. That's unmitigated nonsense. Let's see whether technological innovation causes unemployment.
In 1790, farmers were 90 percent, out of a population of nearly 3 million, of the U.S. labor force. By 1900, only about 41 percent of our labor force was employed in agriculture. By 2008, fewer than 3 percent of Americans were employed in agriculture. Through labor-saving technological advances and machinery, our farmers are the world's most productive. As a result, Americans are better off.
CBS's Michelle Miller leaned towards supporters of taxing junk food on Tuesday's Early Show, playing three sound bites from them and none from opponents. Miller only made one vague reference to the opposing side, and she immediately followed it by playing up the supposedly positive result of a tax: "While some say a new tax is the last thing we need, it could mean a healthier America."
The correspondent led her report by hyping how "we're paying quite a hefty toll" for creating "cheap fast food," and launched into her first sound bite, which came from Michael Jacobson, the executive director of the perennial "food police" organization, the Center for Science in the Public Interest.
After returning from asking Washington, D.C. tourists about the government-mandated phase out of incandescent light bulbs that begins in 2012, our friends at MRCTV got a first hand lesson in how the government expects Americans to handle the impending switch to mercury-laden compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs).
On Tuesday's Morning Edition, NPR's Julie Rovner spun the debate over a proposed mandate for private insurance companies to cover birth control without a copay as being between "women's health groups," which were not given an ideological label, and organizations such as the Family Research Council, which she clearly identified as "conservative." A representative from her example of a "women's health group," Planned Parenthood, labeled "unintended" pregnancies an "epidemic."
Anchor Steve Inskeep began the report with an admission about ObamaCare: "President Obama's health care overhaul law touches almost every aspect of health care, including birth control." Rovner first highlighted a woman from Tucson, Arizona who, despite having a "full-time job with health insurance [and] a husband," along with two kids, apparently couldn't afford the $25 a month copay for her birth control prescription. This led to her having a third child, and the woman declared that "while we're happy that she's here, it was not planned, and had we had some better finances, we probably could have made some better decisions."
Can anyone in Midway, Georgia take money for or even borrow food without risking arrest?
If you're in Midway, you'd better not let your neighbors reimburse you for any homemade food you cook or grow, or you might get busted for not having "a business license, peddler’s permit, and food permit to set up shop, even on residential property." Heck, you may have to worry about even giving your output away.
That's where you have to go with the "logic" of a story from Maura Kennedy at TV station WJCL (HT AP; bolds are mine; video is at link, where, in an unusual choice of priorities, this was apparently the lead story):
Wednesday’s NBC Nightly News highlighted a movement by those who object to federal regulations blocking Americans from buying the traditional incandescent light bulb. Although he plugged the report by calling one of the legal but unpopular bulbs a "rallying point against government interference in people’s lives," anchor Brian Williams neglected to note that Democrats controlled Congress in 2007 as he introduced the report by informing viewers that President Bush signed the bill into law that year:
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):
Friday afternoon, the White House quietly released its annual report to Congress on White House staff salaries. Among the employees is the infamous director of progressive media and online response, Jesse Lee, who is paid $72,500 a year to provide White House sanctioned responses to any negative press it receives.
The position, which was previously part of the privately-funded DNC's rapid response team, is now a taxpayer-funded spin machine to thwart bad press against President Barack Obama. In effect, the position is a pulpit for the White House, through Lee, to ridicule critics and promote a liberal agenda. Lee frequently retweets liberal bloggers and media organizations, but also picks fights with a number of conservative bloggers.
The New York Times celebrated the Independence Day holiday weekend with a joyless story on the front of Saturday’s Business Day on the cancer threat posed by your all-American cookout. William Neuman reported “What’s Inside the Bun?”
If there is no such thing as a healthy hot dog, how do you limit the damage at this weekend’s weenie roast?
Don’t count on the label to help much. Those pricey “natural” and “organic” hot dogs often contain just as much or more of the cancer-linked preservatives nitrate and nitrite as that old-fashioned Oscar Mayer wiener.
Unfortunately for Dylan Ratigan, close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades.
The MSNBC anchor nearly stumbled onto a valid point on Thursday's "Dylan Ratigan Show" – reporting that California's new Internet sales tax could cost thousands of jobs and millions in tax revenue – until he proposed solving this dilemma with a national Internet sales tax.
The front page of Wednesday’s National section of the New York Times featured the suddenly ubiquitous Ian Urbina advancing the paper’s agenda against the natural gas industry, as he’s been doing all week: “Lawmakers Seek Inquiry Of Natural Gas Industry.”
Luckily for the Times, it found a few liberal Democrats to keep the story going by calling for an investigation into industry practices.
Tina Korbe at Hot Air has a good roundup of the rebuttals to Urbina’s slanted reporting. Korbe summarized Urbina’s Sunday piece:
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):
The Department of Energy (DOE) continues to tout the importance of safety at nuclear facilities, while simultaneously ignoring legitimate safety concerns in the name of saving time and money.
Last week, the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board delivered a scathing report on the ‘safety culture’, or lack thereof, being perpetuated by the DOE. Within that report, which focused on how the department handled safety complaints at a nuclear waste cleanup site in Richland, Washington, were statements from several witnesses who believed that raising safety issues could be detrimental to their career. One specific situation seemed to bear this out, in which a former Engineering Manager, Walter Tamosaitis, had raised several technical safety issues in July, and was abruptly removed from the project the next day.
These findings led the House Appropriations Committee to amend a proposed 2012 DOE budget document report, stating that:
"The most recent (defense board) report describes an environment where the professional exchange of views which a safety culture relies upon is discouraged and at times punished. These revelations are both alarming and disturbing and should be interpreted by the secretary of energy as a call to action."
Lawrence O'Donnell on Tuesday accused Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) of being a socialist.
"The Last Word" host, who has admitted on national television to himself being a socialist, did so by cherry-picking from an article published at the perilously liberal website "The Huffington Post" (video follows with commentary and full transcript at end of post):
In the run-up to the passage of Obamacare in March 2010, Nancy Pelosi infamously told a friendly audience: "We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it."
Fifteen months later, we still haven't learned everything about a bill which no honest congressperson or senator can claim to have read and fully understood.
Today's "discovery" is that some couples in their early 60s earning up to $64,000 a year can qualify for Medicaid. As has become establishment press custom since Obamacare's passage, Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar at the Associated Press reports on the "anomaly," without getting to its root cause, namely that nobody who voted for the 2000-page legislation knew it was there:
The Supreme Court on Monday unequivocally rejected the notion that courts should force power companies to curtail greenhouse gas emissions, but none of the major broadcast networks covered the unanimous decision on their evening newscasts or morning shows.
The New York Times teased the ruling on the front page of Tuesday's paper, directing readers to a thorough analysis of the 8-0 decision, but ABC's "Good Morning America" and "World News," CBS's "Early Show" and "Evening News," and NBC's "Today" and "Nightly News" all skipped a decision that prevents environmentalists from using the courts to impose greenhouse gas regulations on electric utilities.
Last week, in a much-discussed, open, live, televised forum, Jamie Dimon, the CEO of JPMorgan Chase, asked Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke the $64 trillion question. While most commentators focused on the apt question, it was Bernanke's answer that shocked me when I heard it — and ought to shock the nation much more than it so far has.
Question: "Now we're told there are going to be even higher capital requirements, and we know there are 300 (financial regulatory) rules coming, has anyone bothered to study the cumulative effect of these things? And do you have a fear — like I do — that when we look back and look at them all that they will be the reason that it took so long for our banks, our credit, our businesses and most importantly, our job creation, to start going again? Is this holding us back at this point?"
If I'd heard the following words, instead of reading them, I might have assumed they were being delivered by a President Obama impressionist on "Saturday Night Live."
But the words were from Obama himself in his latest weekly radio address. "I wish I could tell you there was a quick fix to our economic problems," he said. "But the truth is we didn't get into this mess overnight, and we won't get out of it overnight. It's going to take time."
Yesterday (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), I noted a reluctance on the part of Associated Press reporters to describe the farm involved in "the world's deadliest known outbreak of E. coli" as "organic."
The wire service issued two additional reports this morning, both of which failed to use the "O-word." The case for the use of the word in these reports is as strong, if not stronger, than it was in the seven items discussed yesterday. Beyond that, AP, along with the rest of the press, has failed to explore the possibility that Germany's 1950s-era outlook towards farming practices may have helped to create the conditions allowing such an outbreak to occur.
On Wednesday evening in Europe (12:31 p.m. Eastern Time), in what it was already describing as "the world's deadliest known outbreak of E. coli," the Associated Press reported that "No cause for the outbreak has yet been found," while farmers on the continent were petitioning the EU for hundreds of million of dollars in compensation.
By midday European time (6:27 a.m. ET) on Friday, June 10, it was known ("Sprouts are cause of E. coli outbreak") that the contaminated food had come from Germany, when investigators "linked separate clusters of patients who had fallen sick to 26 restaurants and cafeterias that had received produce from the organic farm."
It is not my intention to get involved in a debate on farming techniques. But it seems obvious that if the outbreak came from an "organic" farming enterprise, follow-up stories should continue to mention that origin. Failures to mention organic farming have occurred often enough at the AP that one begins to wonder if those omissions are deliberate -- especially when coupled with the wire service's complete lack of coverage identifying skepticism, of which there is plenty, about the safety of organic farming practices.
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:
House Republicans are pushing back against Obama administration efforts to promote healthier lunches, saying the Agriculture Department should rewrite rules it issued in January meant to make school meals healthier. They say the new rules are too costly.
The bill, approved by the House Appropriations Committee late Tuesday, also questions a government proposal to curb marketing of unhealthy foods to children and urges the Food and Drug Administration to limit rules requiring calorie counts be posted on menus.