Blame do-nothing Republicans for high gas prices. That was the impression visitors to ABCNews.com got this afternoon.
Among the "top headlines" lineup Web site editors included a story on "Fueling Anger" with the teaser headline: "Rejected! Big Oil Tax Gets Shelved." [see related post about CBSNews.com's bias here]
The accompanying caption to the ABC photo illustration read, "With prices soaring, GOP halts Democrats' wide-ranging energy plan."
The article itself, by writer Z. Byron Wolf, was front-loaded with bias, slamming Republicans for their filibuster of a new windfall profits tax measure while dismissing the GOP's energy plan as ineffective in the short term (emphases mine):
The supposedly surprising rejection of the Lieberman-Warner climate bill last week had an element that Old Media in the US hasn't covered, but is very relevant.
While the press is ever eager to jump on politicians who fly in the face of supposed "world opinion" when it goes against US positions and traditions, it has been virtually silent over how "the rest of the world" has been rejecting the true linchpin of government climate policies: supposedly climate change-related higher taxes and fees. Surely some of the green-leaning Senators who were supposedly on board but voted against cloture were not blind to this.
"Republicans Block Taxes on Big Oil Profits" blares the teaser headline on the front page of CBSNews.com. Under a graphic of the Capitol dome and a fuel gauge nearing empty, the caption reads "Senate GOP Stops Dems' Effort To Rein In Profits Of Largest Oil Companies As Gas Prices Soar."
That's a lot of bias packed into 24 words, and that's before the reader gets to the actual article. Notice the lack of cynicism as to the motive of the Democrats, who are painted on the side of consumers against industry, although the primary beneficiary of a windfall tax would be, well, the Democratic Congress.
There are limits to what you can properly communicate in a headline, but a more neutral treatment might have been: "Republicans Block Advance of Oil Profit Tax: Democrats say tax will encourage alternative fuel research, Republicans argue it will worsen energy problems."
In the AP/CBS article itself, oil industry claims that a windfall tax is counterproductive were summarily dismissed with a populist soundbite by a Democratic politician:
Freshly posted to Robert Cox's Olbermann Watch blog: news of a FIFTH tax warrant surfaces for MSNBC's bombastic uber-liberal Keith Olbermann.:
Olbermann Watch has confirmed that the New York State Department of Labor filed an Industrial Commission Warrant against Olbermann Broadcasting Empire on April 1, 2008 for $1,039.15 with the New York County Clerk's office.
An Industrial Commission warrant is a remedy available to the Labor Department after all administrative procedures have been exhausted - the employer had been given notice of the claim, had an opportunity to contest it, and the time for all appeals has lapsed. It creates a lien on all property of the corporation within the county and gives the county sheriff the right to execute the warrant by, among other things, attaching and selling the employer's property within the county. There are various procedures that the sheriff has to go through before selling the property.
The cover of this week’s Newsweek read "Obama, Race, and Us." But the cover story isn’t really a news report at all. It’s Newsweek’s Evan Thomas playing Obama adviser, writing a memo offering all his wisdom on behalf of the Democrat. When you really want the Democrats to win, you apparently start telling them how they should (and shouldn’t) do it. The headline was "Memo to Senator Obama: Given his successes, it's easy to argue that Barack Obama doesn't need advice. But how he'll handle race going forward is by no means a settled issue. Our open letter." Thomas also repeats the incessant Newsweek dirge that Obama's being smeared as a Muslim on the Internet.
Thomas oddly argued that Obama will be the beneficiary of gaffes (not the provider?), but must provide the people with solidly liberal policy alternatives that will be the more helpful to the lower-income voters than the Republicans:
You are asking the wary to trust you, so your promises, and policy, must ring true. Your opponents will make gaffes, and you'll be able to capitalize on them. Last week Clinton referred to Robert F. Kennedy's June 1968 assassination in defending her decision to keep her campaign going. (She later said she regretted if her comments were "in any way offensive.")
Today, I have two short United Press International stories that each have bias in them, but aren't worth a long, drawn out fisking of their own. So I'm combining them into one Newsbusters report. The first UPI report characterizes a Dutch anti-Islam cartoon as having been "found most offensive," as if it were universally accepted that it is, indeed, offensive and the second is a ridiculous report that is treated as "news" when it is really nothing but meaningless nonsense dressed up as news -- the second having the ulterior motive of stirring hatred against the eeevil "rich."
First up is "Cartoonist honored for Mohammed portrait" where UPI reports that the Danish artist who drew the "controversial cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed with a bomb in his turban" has been honored with the Sappho Award by the Danish Free Press Society. This is all good news but the UPI couldn't help but slip in some of their own bias against this brave artist in the last two paragraphs of the report. (my bold emphasis)
It seems that the drive-bys in the mainstream media have decided to keep on driving past a Rasmussen poll that contradicts the message of certain left leaning darlings on the presidential campaign trail. (h/t MKFreeberg)
The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey found that 62% of voters would prefer fewer government services with lower taxes. Nearly a third (29%) disagrees and would rather have a bigger government with higher taxes. Ten percent (10%) are not sure.
Whoa, we're not supposed to think like that. No wonder the tax and spend cheerleaders in the MSM passed it by. Nearly all of the results reported in the Rasmussen report contradict liberal group think.
"Oh, he's so down to earth," Phillips said. "He just seems like a very genuine, real person you could have a great time with. And he's a Democrat, right? I'm curious. Did he talk to you about who he is backing?"
Just when you thought every possible gas price angle had been explored by the media, they found another fresh angle - gas prices are forcing cutbacks within the Louisville, Ky. municipal government, including swimming pools that little girls will be deprived of.
"When we arrived in Louisville [Ky.], we headed straight for the Breslin Park pool," CBS correspondent Nancy Cordes said on the May 15 "Evening News." "Half the city's public pools will be padlocked this summer leaving these little girls high and dry."
Cordes's "CBS Evening News" story was a part of its "Eye on the Road" series - an effort to show how people are affected by gas prices throughout the country. For the series two reporters have been driving across the country in opposite directions, one in a Toyota Prius and the other in a Ford Fusion.
How do you write an article about Uncle Sam's April financial results without telling readers how much money came in and went out -- especially if what came in was an all-time record?
Yesterday and today, many journalists have shown us how. Two of them are Martin Crutsinger of the Associated Press and Michael M. Phillips of the Wall Street Journal.
Crutsinger's AP report actually made it appear as if collections is the problem area. In fact, as you will eventually see after the jump, April's result had nothing to do with "dampening" revenue growth, and everything to do with exploding spending.
CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, during a much hyped interview of Barack Obama on Thursday’s "The Situation Room," tried to dismiss facts about the Illinois Senator’s as mere opinions. First, the CNN host made a prediction about the upcoming general election campaign: "You know they're going to paint you -- the McCain camp, Republicans -- as a classic tax and spend liberal Democrat, that you are going to raise the taxes for the American people, and to spend money like there's no tomorrow when it comes to federal government programs. You ready to handle that kind of assault?"
How do you get a better air safety record? Try not crashing first.
The New York Times reported that outside the United States the Federal Aviation Administration is considered a "role model" and "first-rate regulator," because it has the lowest accident rate in the world. The Times' viewed regulation rather than market based innovation as the solution to accident rates in foreign countries.
In Latin America, "accidents number one for every 600,000 flights" and "Africa is the least safe region in the world for air travel, with one accident for every 244,000 flights," said the Times.
One source, Giovanni Bisignani, secretary general of the International Air Transport Association, lamented the "the lack of a common regulatory framework" and failure to live up to standards set by the International Civil Aviation Organization, a United Nations specialized agency.
But the success of accident records in the United States doesn't lie solely in regulation. Safety looks good to consumers too.
The debate over a gas tax holiday has caught the attention of all three presidential candidates as well as the media. Last night, CBS "Evening News" said 150 economists had signed a petition against the cut and quoted one saying "it isn't sound economic policy."
But that list includes several prominent liberal economists, some who have also opposed the Bush tax cuts and pushed for a higher minimum wage in other petitions. The list featured economists from liberal groups such at the Brookings Institution and the Urban Institute, as well as several former Clinton staffers.
Reporter Priya David didn't mention any political affiliations or leanings for those opposed to the gas tax holiday. "But last week some 150 economists signed a petition saying it's a bad idea," she said.
On Friday's Countdown show, MSNBC analyst Jonathan Alter, also of Newsweek, suggested that voters who support Hillary Clinton's call for a temporary suspension of the federal gasoline tax are "stupid" as he contended that the Clinton campaign team are "assuming that people are too stupid to realize that this is a bad idea that won't save them any money at the pump." Alter later argued that the tax cut strategy may end up succeeding politically for Clinton because "there are a lot of what are called 'low information' voters" who are "not reading the unanimous, unanimous newspaper editorials against this. They're not talking to the environmentalists, the economists, everybody who unanimously believes this is a bad idea. They're, you know, understandably struggling, and at the pump, they're paying a lot for gas, and they want some relief." (Transcript follows)
Big bad oil company ExxonMobil is "on the defensive in the face of consumer ire and congressional indignation" as it raked in a "huge" first quarter profit, Washington Post's Steven Mufson informed readers of his front page May 2 article.
Mufson later noted that "[d]espite Exxon's colossal profit, the company's stock fell yesterday." Mufson blamed investors "shift[ing] gears" to turn to other stocks and pull out of commodities. Yet Mufson made no attempt to explore how "new congressional vows to come up with legislation" to tax oil company profits might play into investors being skittish about the company, a favored bogeyman of left-wing populist politicians in election years marked by high gasoline prices.
By contrast, the May 2 Financial Times took a less political, business-oriented look at ExxonMobil with a front-pager by Sheila McNulty and Carola Hoyos entitled, "Exxon oil production struggles for growth":
Two segments that aired on two days straight on CNN underscored the network’s alignment with those who stand against a gasoline tax holiday during the summer driving season. First, Carol Costello’s segment on Wednesday’s "Newsroom" program used last year’s bridge collapse in Minneapolis to advance the idea that "things like road construction and bridge repair" would suffer as a result of the lost revenues. The following day, on Thursday’s "The Situation Room," host Wolf Blitzer pressed McCain campaign adviser Carly Fiorina, a former CEO of Hewlett-Packard, on McCain’s proposal, asking, "So when you say that he would take the money from reserves, in other words, we would go further into debt to pay for this tax break?" During the interview, a chyron or graphic on the screen claimed, "Saving on Gas Could Cost You: Whether to Suspend Fed Gas Taxes."
As noted earlier today on Newsbusters by Matthew Balan, Michael Moore appeared on CNN's "Larry King Live" last evening. I caught a good portion of the "interview" (if King's constant agreement and sucking up qualify as an interview) and one little segment in particular got my attention. The subject was taxes:
MOORE: You were asking me a serious question. I'm sorry. Actually, you know what I would do is I would get -- I would try to lower Americans' taxes to the rate that the French pay. The French pay less taxes than we do, less.
Joy Behar claims Bill O’Reilly’s concerns over the enormous financial cost of Hillary Clinton’s universal healthcare plan is "untrue" and "he just keeps saying it over and over as if it’s true," implying that O’Reilly is lying. This from the same woman who frequently airs falseinformation.
Discussing Senator Clinton’s interview with Bill O’Reilly on the May 1 edition of "The View," Whoopi Goldberg and Joy Behar sought to counter O’Reilly’s claim noting the national debt was much smaller at the end of the Clinton presidency than it is now. What they failed to note was that the Clinton administration failed to pass a universal healthcare plan. Had they succeeded the national debt may have been higher.
After citing other alleged failures of the Bush administration, such as high gas prices, "objective" journalist Barbara Walters commented "oh and by the way, there’s a war" and soon added in a facetious tone "we never give our opinions."
Hillary Clinton's tax policy on gas and oil is "pointless" while John McCain's is "evil," according to New York Times columnist Paul Krugman. But in explaining the difference, Krugman betrays either his ignorance of the flawed history of the so-called "windfall profits tax" on petroleum or his tacit approval of the tax despite its folly as public policy.
Anyway, John McCain has a really bad idea on gasoline, Hillary Clinton is emulating him (but with a twist that makes her plan pointless rather than evil), and Barack Obama, to his credit, says no. [...] The Clinton twist is that she proposes paying for the revenue loss with an excess profits tax on oil companies. In one pocket, out the other. So it’s pointless, not evil. But it is pointless, and disappointing.
Far from being pointless, a windfall profits tax produces negative effects on consumers and investors, as well as the health of the energy industry, say many economists, including former Bill Clinton economic advisor Robert J. Shapiro who focused his fire on the policy's damage to retirees' investments (see PDF of study here).
Washington Post reporters Alec MacGillis and Steven Mufson found another liberal economist with nothing positive to say for a windfall profits tax in their May 1 front-page article (emphasis mine):
Those of us, including myself, who thought that the supply-side boom in federal receipts had totally played out, as well as those who are concerned about the condition of the economy, have received a surprising bit of good news this month.
Old Media, which doesn't seem interested in looking for, let alone finding, good news, is not reporting a very interesting development. With two business days remaining in April, Uncle Sam's Daily Treasury Statement shows that federal receipts from income and employment taxes, before refunds, are actually ahead of all of April 2007:
“The government started sending out those tax rebate checks today, but they may not do all that much to stimulate the economy because a lot of the money will be used to pay for basic necessities like energy,” “CBS Evening News” anchor Katie Couric said on the April 28 broadcast. “The price of oil approached $120 a barrel today before closing at a record $118.75.”
Despite some receiving checks between $300 and $1,200 and an extra $300 per child, Couric deemed the rebate checks as “shrinking” because of high gas prices.
My bottom line analysis (11:25): The two R's of bias from this Rose Garden presser: Martha Raddatz on Syria and numerous reporters on the dreaded R-word, recession. Of course a recession is two consecutive quarters of NEGATIVE economic growth, and we've yet to see one quarter of negative growth, much less two. But all the same, NY Times's Stolberg made it sound like Q1 numbers on GDP tomorrow will show a recession.
The questions below will be posted in reverse chronological order:
"The biggest tab for taxpayers is defense," CBS correspondent Bob Orr reported. "The average American household is paying $2,761 in 2007 - or put another way, enough to cover 12 car payments for a new Honda Accord. Social security is nearly as expensive, $2,663 - enough to heat and cool a home for a year. In total, the average tax bill this year tops $13,000 and most taxpayers have no idea what the government is doing with their cash."
Network journalists have yet to meet a spending hike or regulation that they considered unwise, but any tax cut is always ill-advised and helps “the wealthy.” Living up to the pattern -- and illustrating how John McCain will earn media scorn for any conservative policy proposal -- NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams set up a Tuesday story on McCain's economic plan by emphasizing how “some critics say his economic plan, which centers on more tax cuts, doesn't add up.”
Reporting on McCain's plan outlined in a speech at Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh, reporter Kelly O'Donnell listed McCain's idea for a summer suspension of the gas tax, though that “tax is used to pay for highway repairs.” O'Donnell moved on to McCain's proposal to “double the income tax exemption for dependents to $7,000 a year,” hardly a boon to the rich, before getting to McCain's “core idea” to “lower taxes and make up lost revenue with cuts in government spending.” She then delivered the liberal line: “But critics and some economists argue McCain's math is wrong, that his plan would tilt toward the wealthy, swell the deficit, and not trim enough.”
Well, it's April 15th and we all know what that means. It's tax day, the day when we must pay tribute to the Lords in Washington. And on that day, The New York Times published a new spendaholic, high taxing idea to fool America's taxpayers into accepting more tax by pretending it is something else. Stuffed with bad historic interpretation, Republican slamming, and typical old style Stalinist rhetorical games-playing this editorial by Richard Conniff whimsically dreams the dreamy, dream that we aren't taxed enough and how we might fool Americans into paying more by just using a different name for them. To whit they aren't to be called taxes anymore. They're to be called "dues."
Conniff begins his uninformed rant against people who stand against high taxes by implying that we are even unpatriotic if we don't support confiscatory taxation and that our politicians are just too weak spinned to properly lead us to higher taxes despite public opinion.
To mark Tax Day, Whoopi Goldberg, a strong critic of high taxes, railed against how much the government takes from her paycheck. On the April 15 edition of "The View," Whoopi displayed some of her bills with the many government fees attached to it. She also felt she was being punished for her success even calling it "un-American" and wondering why she never gets a "break."
Co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck asked Whoopi, who admitted to voting for Hillary Clinton, if she would vote for someone who by their own admission, would raise taxes on the wealthy. Whoopi did not directly answer the question only stating "we’re getting screwed either way."
Joy Behar jumped in to hype Denmark’s socialist system. She noted Denmark’s high taxes but seemed to forget she did when she noted healthcare and education are "free." Behar then went off on a tangent when Elisabeth Hasselbeck said "so everybody move to Denmark and see if you like it." Behar screamed "don’t give me that argument. I heard that in the 60's and the 70's if you don’t like it here get your ass out. I don’t appreciate that."
It's deadline day today for filing your federal income taxes -- and Walter Rodgers, a former ABC News and CNN correspondent is thrilled, proclaiming in a recent Christian Science Monitor op-ed: “I'm happy to pay my fair share to the government. It's part of my patriotic duty -- and it's a heckuva bargain.” Rodgers proceeded to scold “chest thumpers who paper their cars with chauvinistic bumper stickers and grumble about supporting the government of the country they profess to love” as they dare to complain about taxes:
There seems to be an inconsistency about people who insist on wearing flag pins in their lapels, but who grumble about paying taxes. My friends grouse about government as though they had minimal financial or moral obligation to support it. Are they not part of "We the people"?
Rodgers insisted that “reluctance to pay one's fair share flouts 'the better angels of our nature'” and “genuine patriots,” he contended, “don't complain about their patriotic obligations.” He concluded: “Pay up and be grateful!”
Do we all get free wooden shoes? Barack Obama didn't say. But he does have an Impossible Dream to cut poverty that would make Don Quixote proud. Put people to work . . . building windmills. His idea came in response to a question at last night's Compassion Forum on CNN from Jim Wallis, a leading member of the religious left whose focus is "social justice." Wallis wanted Obama to commit to a new War on Poverty.
JIM WALLIS: As you reminded us a week or two ago, when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was killed 40 years ago, he wasn't just speaking about civil rights. He was fighting for economic justice. Was about to launch a poor people's campaign. Yet, four decades after the anniversary of his death, the poverty rate in America is virtually unchanged and 1 in 6 of our children are poor in the richest nation in the world. So in the faith community, we are wanting a new commitment around a measurable goal, something like cutting poverty in half in ten years. Would you commit -- would you at this historic compassion forum, commit to such a goal tonight and if elected, tell us how you would mobilize the nation, mobilize us to achieve that goal?
Surely, you'd think, the candidate wouldn't fall into that big-government trap. Think again . . .
Just in time for Tax Day, the April 13 issue of Parade magazine gave readers left-wing talking points on corporate taxation dressed up as objective reporting.
Contributor Gary Weiss cited two left-wing interest groups and liberal Democratic congressman Richard Neal (D-Mass.) in "Are You Paying For Corporate Fat Cats?" By the end of the article, readers are all but left to seethe an angry "yes!" to that question.
Yet at no point were any economists consulted to point out that corporate tax levies are always ultimately paid by the consumer, who bears the final cost of goods and services produced by the taxed corporations. Taxes are yet one more input cost into final goods and services. So simply put, corporations don't pay taxes, individuals do.
Weiss failed to tackle the political slant of the groups he consulted, which were merely tagged as nonprofits. A quick Google search of the groups makes clear the liberal slant of the organizations.