Before the government released its first estimate of first-quarter economic growth in late April, the establishment press, particularly Bloomberg News and the Associated Press, salivated at the chance to report the then-predicted "robust" annualized growth of 3 percent and to describe how the economy had "accelerated" from the previous quarter's pathetic 0.4 percent. When that first estimate came in at only 2.5 percent, most news organizations at least had the integrity to pronounce the news disappointing. But not Martin Crutsinger and Christopher Rugaber at the AP, aka the Administration's Press, who opened their coverage by saying that "the American economy quickened its pace early this year despite deep government cutbacks."
The government's second estimate in May was little changed at 2.4 percent. But Wednesday's third and final estimate (pending annual revisions going back several years, the next of which will appear in July) came in at 1.8 percent, a 40 percent drop from so-called experts' original predictions (1.2-point difference divided by the original 3.0 percent). The AP's reaction was to produce a terse three-paragraph blurb which was gone from its national web site within 24 hours, followed by a late afternoon report which blamed higher Social Security taxes and "federal spending cuts":
On Monday's All In show, MSNBC host Chris Hayes complained about Republicans trying to increase the number of border agents and to bar illegal immigrants from collecting Social Security benefits based on taxes they've paid into the system.
After recounting the time when he worked with several illegal immigrants in a bakery who paid Social Security taxes, and the efforts by Republicans to make the border with Mexico "one of the most militarized places in this country," Hayes concluded:
On their website, Politico insists that it exists "to prove there's a robust and profitable future for tough, fair and fun coverage of politics and government." While promising to remain objective, the goal is really to provide "a distinctive brand of journalism that drives the conversation." Of course, the paper repeatedly fails to be fair and balanced and repeatedly succeeds in steering liberal media conversation, and always with a meme that accords to the liberal media's desire to bash conservatives and boost liberal Democrats.
Take today's Jake Sherman piece, "The dysfunctional House," which lambastes House Republican leadership for being bested by a conservative faction of 62 Republicans who helped to doom the "farm bill" in a floor vote yesterday. But Sherman's goal wasn't so much to defend a bill that is 80 percent pork but to set a narrative that paints the House GOP as obstructionist and uninterested in governing, thanks to a minority of renegade conservatives. That of course will feed into a larger narrative the media hope to drive prior to the 2014 midterms:
The Big Three all punted on covering the Capitol Hill "Audit the IRS" rally on their Wednesday evening and Thursday morning newscasts. CBS This Morning played a four-second soundbite of Senator Ted Cruz addressing the thousands of Tea Party activists in attendance, but CBS, along with ABC and NBC, didn't air a full report or news brief on the protest.
The CBS morning show also stood out for spotlighting how the "IRS is under fire again...it's paying $70 million in employee bonuses, despite a White House order." CBS This Morning devoted 47 seconds of coverage to this latest IRS controversy, while ABC and NBC ignored the development.
The Washington Post's Jim Tankersley today gave the George Soros-funded liberal Center for American Progress (CAP) 14 paragraphs of puffy coverage devoted to CAP's tax-heavy plan "aimed at recharging the U.S. economy." The liberal wish list is "meant to boost beleaguered middle-class workers," Tankersley noted.
In his June 13 story headlined "Plan aims to accelerate economy," the Post economic policy correspondent hailed how "The 250-page report, '300 Million Engines of Growth,' appears to be the most comprehensive effort yet by a think tank of any ideology to bridge what was the most glaring economic policy divide of the 2012 election." Tankersley then gushed that "[t]he core of the plan is the notion that economies grow and thrive best when prosperity is broadly shared." Yeah, you know where this is going, but Tankersley waited until the 8th paragraph (out of a 14-paragraph story) to note that it comes with, wait for it, "a parade of new or increased taxes" such as:
Ira Stoll of FutureofCapitalism.com has a great piece over at TIME magazine's website which makes an interesting observation about the late U.S. Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), who died from complications from viral pneumonia this morning.
In his 30 years prior to first entering the Senate, Lautenberg made a fortune with a company that is now called Automatic Data Processing, Inc. or ADP. Along with Paychex, ADP is one of the nation's top payroll contract firms. Although Stoll didn't quite put it this way, it seems Lautenberg's fortune earned at ADP was made in no small part possible by the mind-numbing complexity of the U.S. tax code which drove millions of businesses to pay ADP to take care of the hassle for them:
Time magazine's Michael Grunwald got to thinking about how to end IRS abuse of power when it comes to reviewing applications for tax-exempt status. But somewhere along the line he opted for the ol' liberal standby: more TAXES!
In his commentary piece, "One Nation, Tax Exempt," Grunwald held out the idea of completely eliminating tax-exempt status for non-profits:
Individually, Americans do not deserve to be subservient to such a fear-mongering, intimidating and powerful agency as the Internal Revenue Service; but collectively, we do. Let's look at it.
Since the 1791 ratification of our Constitution, until well into the 1920s, federal spending as a percentage of gross domestic product never exceeded 5 percent, except during war. Today federal spending is 25 percent of our GDP. State and local government spending is about 15 percent of the GDP. That means government spends more than 40 cents of each dollar we earn. If we add government's regulatory burden, which is simply a disguised form of taxation, the government take is more than 50 percent of what we produce.
As we've documented time and again, Newsweek global business editor Daniel Gross has a history of anti-business and pro-big government bias.
Gross stayed true to form in his latest attack on a successful American business enterprise in his May 29 Newsweek feature, "Is Apple Too Clever By Half?" Gross's answer, unsurprisingly, was yes, and that the company was greedy because it has followed U.S. tax law scrupulously in a manner that lessened its tax bite.
While the Associated Press may get something wrong – and omit things on occasion – they’ve admitted one thing that the big three has yet to confirm: Obamacare will cost Americans their health care coverage. In a story by Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar that was published on May 29, he noted that Americans might find themselves stripped of coverage this fall since their current plans don’t meet the requirements dictated by the president. Hence, they have to find a new plan, and small businesses are in the same situation. The result could be confusion on a biblical level.
It seems Obama is reneging his promise of allowing Americans to keep their coverage if they like it. As a result, unions have begun to have buyer’s remorse over this bill; Sen. Max Baucus (D-Montana) has said he feels like a “train wreck” is coming, and the Society of Actuaries has reported that individual premiums will rise 32% under Obamacare. As small businesses are firing more than they’re hiring, it’s added to the anxiety over the impact of this law through the various tax increases that are on the horizon. Yet, most in the media have omitted these developments, and with the AP, IRS, and Benghazi scandals engulfing this presidency – the effects of the Affordable Car Act are bound to blindside the country.
"We have a tax problem; we are not collecting enough tax revenue -- period," Porter approvingly quoted the University of Michigan's Jim Hines, who whined, "we are never going to finance what we need with corporate taxes." Picking up on this thread, Porter lamented that the United States is "the only advanced nation that does not have a value-added tax, which is similar to a sales tax and can raise lots of revenue." Apparently the $2.5 trillion raised in federal revenue each year just can't cut it, according to Porter and Hines.
Does L.A. Times reporter Michael Hiltzik read the news? Apparently not, since he penned one of the most lapdog press-worthy articles praising the IRS to bubble to the surface in the wake of the news that it targeted conservative Americans. Hiltzik’s column published in the May 25 Business section labeled the targeting as “supposed,” noted that for a small budget – the IRS does a pretty “good job.”
“Showing some love after the ‘witch-hunt,” Hiltzik insinuates that the current fiasco is rather peripheral since the IRS has done such a great job collecting revenue throughout its history. He noted that the changes made back in the Clinton administration, which shifted the agency from enforcement to a greater focus on treating the taxpayers like customers, is the epicenter of the trouble caused two administrations later. Hiltzik also lamented a that the shift away from enforcement led to a “brain drain” within the agency, and that real criminals, tax evaders, were left to operate freely. As for the bipartisan outrage over the scandal, Hiltzik wrote:
Martin Bashir on Tuesday said New York Times columnist Paul Krugman "deserves the Nobel Peace Prize."
Yes, the MSNBC host said Peace Prize - not one for economics - all because the perilously liberal economist has advocated more deficit spending and even more federal debt to stimulate the economy (video follows with partial transcript and commentary):
"Pay attention to Senator Cruz because he is the unsmiling, contemptuous face of the wild, nasty, hard-right fringe of a Party that once competed with the Democrats to be the country’s governing Party."
So said MSNBC's Chris Matthews on Friday's Hardball (video follows with transcript and commentary):
In real life it's near impossible to find anyone who pities the IRS. That's what the New York Times is for. In a Business Day section front-pager for Thursday's paper, the Times's Michael Shear lamented that the CEO of Apple received relatively kind treatment from a Senate panel this week while IRS officials have been grilled.
"One thing became clear this week on Capitol Hill: It is better to be a tax dodger than a tax collector," whined Shear in the opening paragraph of "Torches and Pitchforks for I.R.S. but Cheers for Apple." "Plenty of good will for iPhones but only disdain for the tax collector," lamented a pull quote on the jump page which appeared underneath a picture of Apple's chief Tim Cook. Apparently Shear, and his editors at the Times, are perplexed that congressmen hold a government agency that abused its power to target Americans for their political beliefs in lower regard than a company which employs thousands of Americans and produces products loved the world over, by people of every political stripe, including those lovable hippies of the Occupy Movement.
As the media, by and large, ignores the train wreck that is on the horizon with ObamaCare, yet another union has jumped ship on the president’s health care overhaul. Back in April, you may recall, the United Union of Roofers, Waterproofers, and Allied Workers officially said thanks but no thanks to the president’s plan.
Well, now, a major labor union in the grocery industry is balking at the policy. According to The Hill:
You just knew this was bound to happen. Some on the left are trying to blame George W. Bush for Obama's IRS fiasco. Take for example Mediaite's resident Obama apologist Tommy Christopher, who wrote a much ado about nothing post on May 16 insinuating that this egregious abuse of government power stems from former Bush appointed IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman – and that credit for clearing this whole thing up will go to Obama.
Christopher penned this piece using Martin Bashir’s May 16 broadcast, which featured Joy Reid of the Grio and Republican strategist Ron Christie. During the exchange, Christie was forced to admit the Shulman was a Bush appointee, but so what? This scandal happened under Obama. The IRS executed this plan in 2010, and Shulman –and his successor Steve Miller– knew about it since the spring of 2012. There is no doubt the agency lied about their knowledge of their employees’ malfeasance, and it happened under the Obama administration. Nevertheless, Christopher dutifully wove his spin, concluding:
The IRS scandal is an absolute fiasco, and we're already witnessing the media doing their level best to downplay its significance. Unfortunately, part of that concerted effort will include the attempt to shoehorn racial, religious, and ethnic victimology narratives into the mix.
Submitted for your consideration is a May 15 post on CNN's Global Public Square (GPS) blog by Sahar Aziz headlined "Muslims to Tea Party: Welcome to our world":
On Thursday's The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, MSNBC contributor Joy Reid claimed that Republicans are going after Obama administration scandals because "the only thing that really unites conservatives and Republicans at this point is hatred of Barack Obama. So they're going to play it for all it's worth."
Host Lawrence O'Donnell had begun the discussion by reading from a National Review article cautioning Republicans against depending too much on scandal for electoral victory rather than pushing an agenda. O'Donnell suggested going after corruption in the Obama administration would hurt Republicans politically:
Blame the victim! Twenty-three liberal news operations have taken that strategy about the IRS attack on conservative nonprofits. Fifteen of the 63 members of the left-wing Media Consortium have thrown their support behind the IRS’s investigation. The 15 organizations either wrote or re-posted stories defending the IRS actions.
Another eight liberal outlets, including MSNBC, ran similar stories. Altogether, these outlets have received a combined total of more $14 million dollars from George Soros’s Open Society Foundations since 2000.
The IRS admitted to giving extra scrutiny to applications for nonprofit status from groups with words like “tea party” or “patriot” in their descriptions. After this revelation, at least 25 media outlets ran stories arguing that “The IRS was doing its job,” “the IRS was justified,” and that the only crime the IRS committed was “the sin of political correctness.”
Call it Luke Russert's version of "bitter clingers" on steroids . . . In Russert's world, there are apparently two kinds of Republican congressmen. The "smart" ones—to be found on the Ways & Means Committee—and the others, whom he calls the "God, guns and guts people," presumably in reference to this book.
Russert made his statement on today's Morning Joe, responding to Joe Scarborough's question as to whether Republicans would overplay their hand over the current scandals. According to Russert, Republicans chose well in holding today's hearing of IRS officials before the Ways & Means Committee because that's where the GOP puts its stars: "it's not the God, guns and guts people on the Ways & Means Committee: it's the smart people." View the video after the jump.
We’ve heard a lot in the past few days about the IRS applying extra scrutiny to groups with “Tea Party” or “patriots” in their name, but it appears the unfair targeting runs deeper than that. As the Thomas More Society, a non-profit public interest law firm, first reported yesterday, the IRS harassed at least two pro-life organizations that applied for tax-exempt status as early as 2009.
When the Coalition for Life of Iowa submitted such an application, the IRS reportedly demanded that they promise, under perjury of law, not to picket or protest outside of Planned Parenthood. The IRS claimed it would only approve the group’s application after such a written pledge was received. Of course, Planned Parenthood is a major supporter of Barack Obama and their concerted effort to attack Republicans as waging a "war on women" was a central base-motivating message Democrats used in the 2012 reelection campaign.
What will be the political fallout of the various scandals in which President Obama is ensnared? Chris Matthews thinks it will be huge.
Appearing on today's Morning Joe, Matthews mused that the IRS scandal alone would be worth 5-10 points to Republican candidates. He specifically mentioned Mitch McConnell, Tom Corbett and Ken Cuccinelli as Republicans whom the scandal would aid in their 2014 races. View the video after the jump.
Et tu, Roberto? It was bad enough for President Obama to have Andrea Mitchell jump ship this morning. But now someone who is—arguably—even closer to home has taken a resounding shot at the President's mishandling of the IRS scandal.
Appearing on Mitchell's MSNBC show this afternoon, former Obama press secretary Robert Gibbs condemned the president's "exceedingly passive" language in discussing the scandal. Obama had said there'd be consequences "if" wrongdoing were found, and spoken of "losing patience." Gibbs was scathing: that's what "I do with my nine-year old." Ouch! View the video after the jump.
During a report on Monday's NBC Today about the Benghazi and IRS scandals wracking the Obama administration, a headline on screen wondered if they were the result of "Obama's Second Term Curse?" White House correspondent Peter Alexander lamented: "Fewer than four months since his ambitious inaugural address, President Obama is facing significant political obstacles.... Some observers are already asking if Mr. Obama is falling victim to the second term curse."
After Alexander detailed second-term problems for past presidents, "From Watergate to Iran-Contra, even Bill Clinton's impeachment," a sound bite followed of NBC's liberal presidential historian Michael Beschloss offering this bit of advice to Obama: "The presidents who have weathered these crises best have been those who do not let themselves get distracted."
"This is the New York Times's take on how to turn something that's Nixonian into something that's 'oh, it's just conservatives turning another issue, making it political.'" Gainor said of The New York Times specifically and the media in general. "They spun it out, trying to take it away from being the awful scandal that it is."
As NewsBusters has been reporting all morning, the folks on MSNBC's Morning Joe almost unanimously came down on the Obama administration for using the Internal Revenue Service to intimidate its political opponents.
Putting an exclamation point on the outrage late in Monday's program were co-hosts Joe Scarborough and Willie Geist who shockingly agreed, "This is tyranny" (video follows with transcript and absolutely no need for additional commentary):
It only took four and a half years, but the liberal media finally found something to criticize President Obama for.
After former NBC Nightly News anchor Tom Brokaw excoriated the administration on MSNBC's Morning Joe Monday for using the Internal Revenue Service to intimidate political opponents, NBC's chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd said, "This story has more legs politically in 2014 than Benghazi" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
It appears that there is something not all liberal media members are willing to defend a Democratic administration from: using the Internal Revenue Service to intimidate political opponents.
So outraged by Friday's revelations was former NBC Nightly News anchor Tom Brokaw that on MSNBC's Morning Joe Monday, he called the tactic "outrageous," "unacceptable," and mocked, "Welcome to the second term, Mr. President" (video follows with transcript and commentary):