Try to keep a straight face when you hear this: President Barack Obama isn't getting enough media love.
That's the world view of MSNBC "Hardball" host Chris Matthews - at least when it comes to the economy. According to Matthews, there has been a plethora of positive economic news - from a stock market that has shrugged off the threat of bad liberal policy, i.e. cap-and-trade or ObamaCare, to the actions of newly reappointed Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke of pumping liquidity into the economy.
"What do you make of this whole thing about the good economic news out there the president gets no credit for?" Matthews said on his Aug. 25 show. "I'm in the stock market. I have suffered like others before and I have seen this comeback - back up to almost 10,000 now. He gets nothing for this. The fact that consumer confidence, which was once closer to the bone, is way up. The fact that the Fed chair has done such a good job in pumping up the money supply and pumping back the economy, and averting a Great Depression - no credit."
During an interview with CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric on Tuesday, President Obama defended the administration’s handling of the economy: "nobody...anticipated that in the first three months, we would lose 700,000 jobs per month...the severity and the depth of the recession was something that, you know, really exceeded everybody's expectations."
However, on the February 6 Evening News, prior to the passage of the Obama stimulus package, correspondent Anthony Mason told Couric: "The size of the job losses last month surprised even most economists. And even if we begin to get a recovery later this year, many say the unemployment rate will continue to rise into next year, topping out somewhere north of 9 percent."
Obama made his claim after Couric asked about the current 9.5% unemployment rate: "Your administration projected that with the stimulus package, as you know, unemployment could be kept under 8%. Well, that was then, this is now." After Obama argued that the job loss "exceeded everybody’s expectations" Couric failed to point out the fact that she had reported on such expectations earlier in the year.
Democrat strategist Bob Shrum on Sunday not only praised Reaganomics, but used it as an example as why Americans should be patient in allowing President Obama's stimulus plan to take effect.
During the panel discussion on Sunday's "Meet the Press," host David Gregory asked his guests, "Why shouldn't the Republicans, who certainly spent a long time spending a lot of government money and under whose watch the economy took the turn that it did, why shouldn't there be more patience from the Republican aisle?"
Shrum amazingly offered the following answer (readers are advised to prepare for an alternate reality):
The unemployment rate in June jumped to 9.5 percent, the highest since 1983, as 467,000 jobs were lost, yet the CBS Evening News managed to air a story that didn't mention President Barack Obama or his “stimulus” bill while the NBC story only touched Obama's policies by running a soundbite of the President defending the lack of positive impact so far from his policies: “It took years for us to get into this mess and it will take us more than a few months to turn it around.” CBS reporter Anthony Mason remarked: “Hopefully it's a one-month blip.”
In contrast, ABC anchor Charles Gibson teased Thursday's World News: “Tonight, job jolt. Unemployment reaches a 26-year high. Where are all those jobs the economic stimulus was supposed to produce?” Setting up ABC's lead (CBS and NBC began with Michael Jackson), Gibson proposed: “The rising unemployment raises questions about the economic stimulus, which was supposed to create jobs.”
As NewsBusters has been reporting, Obama-loving media have been very quick to point out how recent unemployment reports from the Labor Department, though showing HUGE job losses, have been better than analysts expected.
The most absurd example was two months ago when a 539,000 decrease in nonfarm payrolls was applauded by many media outlets as being good news.
With that in mind, the Labor Department announced Thursday that job losses in June were far greater than analysts had forecast, making one wonder how the Obama-loving media will spin this positively.
ABC's online "The Note" describes itself as "Washington's Original and Most Influential Tipsheet." ABC News's Senior Political Reporter Richard Klein is its current content creator.
We'll see how influential "The Note" really is if what Klein writes about the machinations behind the attempt to make us forget that the Obama stimulus plan was supposedly going to be making some kind of difference at this point gets out anywhere else. Color me skeptical.
No doubt, Klein gets in some pretty strong, accurate, and long-overdue rips (links are in original):
On Saturday, CBS’s Anthony Mason blamed tough economic times in a small Iowa town on immigration enforcement: "...the small town of Postville, Iowa, is still struggling to recover from an immigration raid last year that left its economy in tatters."
Reporting for Saturday’s Evening News, correspondent Seth Doane followed Mason’s introduction by similarly arguing: "...last May when Agriprocessors, a kosher meat processing plant, and the town's largest employer, was raided by Homeland Security. Hundreds were arrested, accused of illegally working in the U.S...After the raid, the plant declared bankruptcy. At one point, leaving hundreds of legal workers without jobs." Doane described the town’s commemoration of the one-year anniversary of the raid: "A few weeks ago at the one-year anniversary of the raid, church bells tolled 389 times, one for each person arrested. It served as a reminder, as if anyone here needed one."
In November, Doane issued an almost identical report on the impact of the raid on the Early Show: "With empty streets and shuttered shops, this small town is facing economic calamity. Mayor Bob Penrod is taking steps this weekend to declare a state of emergency here. But it's not a natural disaster. Rather, one that's manmade...It all started May 12th, when hundreds of federal immigration authorities raided Agriprocessors and arrested 389 workers."
Sometimes the numbers in a wire service report are so ridiculous, you just know that they're bogus.
On Wednesday, June 11, a duo of Associated Press reporters, Chris Kahn and Sandy Shore, with an assist from Tali Arbel, reported on a study "green jobs" study released by the Pew Charitable Trusts. In "The Clean Energy Economy: Repowering Jobs, Businesses, and Investments Across America," Pew made the growth in "clean energy" appear more impressive than it is by vastly understating job growth in the rest of the economy during the past decade -- by a factor of three.
None of the three AP "journalists" involved, and none of the alleged layers of fact-checkers and editors at the wire service, had the intuitive sense to detect an error by Pew so pathetically obvious that anyone following the economy at all -- and that includes the folks at Pew -- should have known the figure involved was false.
Here are the first few paragraphs of the AP story (bold is mine):
Actor Jon Voight, who recently spoke critically of President Obama at a Republican fundraiser, appeared on Tuesday's The O'Reilly Factor to reiterate his problems with Obama. After recounting that America was "warned" by Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden during the Democratic primary season that Obama "had no experience" and was a "novice," the conservative actor reminded FNC viewers of the unheeded warnings about Obama's connections to questionable figures like Bill Ayers and the Reverend Jeremiah Wright:
Look, he was a fellow who was associated with all the wrong people. The signs were up. His associations with Bill Ayers, Alinsky, with ACORN, with Pfleger, with Wright. But no one seemed to take the warnings. And his inexperience was quite evident.
(I know; it almost doesn't count, because it's in the lefty-despised Wall Street Journal Opinion section.)
As yours truly noted a month after the presidential election (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), Barack Obama's handlers and his teleprompter began telling the president-elect to begin using variations on the term "create and/or save" in speeches about jobs and the economy within days of his electoral victory. During the campaign, I found no example of where Obama used any variation on that phrase; it was always "we will create X number of jobs."
Until now, no one in the press of note has paid any attention to this "clever" abandonment of logic and accountability. After all, by the new "create and/or save" non-logic, Dear Leader has "saved" over 130 million jobs since his inauguration -- even though, on a seasonally adjusted basis, almost 2.2 million Americans lost theirs from February through May:
Finally, someone in the establishment media has done a serious call-out of Team Obama's risible ruse. Here are excerpts from William McGurn's hard-hitting column in today's Wall Street Journal:
Ed Frank created an interesting little video that serves as a stark reminder of how harsh the Old Media was on Bush's "faltering" economy in comparison to today's hearts and flowers style of reporting during the age of Obama, even though the stats are far, far worse under Obama than they ever were under Bush.
Frank's video is shocking for its revelation of how Bush was slapped around and how every economic indicator during his tenure in the White House was deemed as obvious proof of the supposed though times we then faced. Yet now, every dismal indicator is celebrated as if recovery just around the corner. Under Bush the Old Media was sure the economy was a wreck, now the wreck proves we will surely be saved by Summer!
There is happy-talk and then there is delusion. The Associated Press has just approached the delusional stage with its recent assessment of what the unemployment numbers mean. Absurdly, the AP seems to imagine that the continued job losses under Obama means that job hunters are experiencing "raising hopes"! It's like sitting on the Titanic pleased that taking on water raises hopes that a nice, relaxing bath is will soon be at hand.
The first paragraph of the story claims that since last month saw a few less layoffs, why, that is saying that what we have here is "the brightest hope yet that an economic recovery" will take hold later this year. What does the AP offer as proof? Not a whole lot, sadly. In fact, the very next paragraph sort of torpedoes the first. After this "brightest hope" business, the AP gives us this:
Nonfarm payroll employment fell by 345,000 in May, about half the average monthly decline for the prior 6 months, the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor reported today. The unemployment rate continued to rise, increasing from 8.9 to 9.4 percent.
Ahead of the 8:30 a.m. report, according to Reuters, Dow futures were up 54 points, while S&P and NASDAQ futures were up 5 and 5.75 points, respectively (the time-stamp is 9:22, but the narrative is clearly pre-8:30).
Just after the market opened, I received this CNNMoney e-mail:
According to this AFP report, "Most analysts expect employers to have cut 520,000 jobs, down from 539,000 in April. But the unemployment rate is still expected to have jumped to 9.2 percent, its highest since 1983." (UPDATE: 345,000 seasonally adjusted jobs were lost in May, but the unemployment rate rose sharply to 9.4%.)
"Down from April"? Given the vagaries in the governmnent's estimates, and that the figure will be revised in the following two months, how about "virtually the same as April"?
At least AFP gave us two numbers to compare. An e-mail I received on Wednesday morning from CNNMoney.com about ADP's monthly National Employment Report didn't even do that:
The national unemployment rate is 8.9 percent and even higher in places like Cambridge, Md. So you might find it strange to see NBC advocating an expansion of legal migrant labor when so many Americans are struggling.
Nonetheless, former "NBC Nightly News" anchor Tom Brokaw did just that in the first part of a new series called "American Character." The former anchor will travel U.S. Highway 50 from coast to coast to report on people struggling in this economy. On "Nightly News" May 27, Brokaw visited a crab picking house in Cambridge, Md. that's suffering from a shortage of workers.
"Jack Brooks runs J.M. Clayton's, one of the oldest crab processors in the area," Brokaw said. "He's got all the crabs he can handle. What he doesn't have, even in this brutal economy, is enough workers to pick them."
The media have lamented use of the word fascism when it has been used to describe moves by the Bush and Obama administrations and the private sector economy.
But when examined from a purely political and economic point-of-view, that is what's going on now according to Thomas Sowell, Stanford University's Hoover Institute Senior Fellow and author of "The Housing Boom and Bust." Sowell appeared on Glenn Beck's May 27 program and was asked if the United States was still a capitalist country.
"Oh, heavens, partially," Sowell replied. "We're not a socialist country, because the socialists believe in government ownership of the means of production. But, the fascists believe that the government should have private ownership and the politicians should tell people how to run the businesses. So that's the route we seem to be going."
On May 15, I posted (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog) on the Obama administration's and government-run Chrysler's blatant deception concerning whether plants would be closed as a result of the company's bankruptcy filing.
Specifically, on April 29 and 30, Obama, the administration and Chrysler told senators, congressmen, state and local politicians, and local and regional union leaders that the bankruptcy (these are Obama's words) "will not disrupt the lives of the people who work at Chrysler or the communities that depend on it." Those who heard this and other reassurances reasonably concluded that no plants would be permanently closed. But on May 1, government-run Chrysler announced that it would close plants in Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, and Wisconsin. Days later, hundreds of Chrysler dealers were terminated.
The national media establishment has treated all of this as a non-story, so I expect it will do the same with this update from the Cleveland Plain Dealer. It includes news that two Ohio congressmen, one Democrat and one Republican, are demanding documents relating to the who, what, where, when, and why of the plant-closing decisions:
Here's a CNN e-mail alert I just received a couple of hours ago:
So how did the Associated Press's Jeannine Aversa report the above raw news? As you would expect an Obama apparatchik to do it (reproduced in full as it existed at 3:15 p.m.; bold after title is mine):
Fed sees hopeful signs but downgrades '09 forecast
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Federal Reserve expects the economy to improve in coming months, even as policymakers have downgraded their outlook for all of 2009.
You know the era of big government is alive and well when you see a mainstream news outlet praise the growth of the public sector as a "bright spot."
Leading up to and throughout the 2008 national election cycle, CBS News was generally downbeat on the economy, even when times were much better than they are currently. However, now that government has taken a much larger role in the private economy, the "CBS Evening News" has now been running a so-called "Economic Bright Spot" segment. And on the May 18 broadcast, "Evening News" anchor Katie Couric explained how government was going to save us all.
"Back here on earth, government agencies like NASA seem to be the only places hiring during this recession," Couric said. "Last month, there were 72,000 new government jobs - 66,000 federal. That's up more than 2 percent from the month before. As Kelly Wallace reports, for thousands of graduates who need jobs this hiring boom is one of the economic bright spots."
What is the idea of the American dream, of working hard and achieving something, and knowing that all, you know, half your wealth is going to someone who didn't do that?
So asked CNBC's Maria Bartiromo Thursday during a stirring discussion with a union advocate who had the nerve to claim the problems in the auto industry were all caused by a lack of a nationalized healthcare system, and that only the top one percent of wage earners in America should pay federal income taxes.
Unlike most media members who would have applauded such sentiments coming from one of their guests, Bartiromo pushed back, with respect and professional courtesy not seen much from journalists these days, and in a fashion that would make many Americans currently concerned about their nation's direction a wee bit nostalgic and tremendously proud.
What follows is a partial transcript of this exchange, as well as an embedded video of the entire segment:
It is disappointing, but not at all surprising, that the Democratic Party affiliation of the politicians involved in the union-driven campaign to force Wells Fargo Bank not to liquidate the Chicago-area operations of Hartmarx, the high-end clothier which has made suits for President Obama, has not been noted in the vast majority of stories I have reviewed about ongoing developments there.
The two Illinois politicians (there are others named below) are Illinois State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, who has formed a US Senate seat exploratory committee in hopes of unseating current occupant Roland Burris, and 13th District Congressman Phil Hare.
The situation, for those just learning of it, is described pretty well at this Chicago Sun-Times story by Sandra Guy, who at least flagged Hare's Democratic affiliation:
Even after Hart Schaffner Marx plant workers in Des Plaines unanimously stood up shouting their approval of staging a sit-in if Wells Fargo presses their parent company to liquidate, Wells Fargo said parent company Hartmarx is unable to repay more than $114 million it owes the bank.
The Associated Press's Jeannine Aversa, who became infamous last year for her stories of "vanishing jobs" that weren't, sounded hopeful early this morning before the release by Uncle Sam's Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) of its first-quarter report on Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth:
Economy's free-fall probably eased in 1Q The recession's grip on the country may be letting up a bit.
The government is set to release a report Wednesday expected to show the economy shrank at a pace of 5 percent in the first three months of this year. If Wall Street analysts' forecasts' are correct, the figure — while still extremely weak — would be viewed as a hopeful sign that the worst of the recession — in terms of lost economic activity — may be past.
Not once in his story did Stone press Bonds on specifics about how she expected to replace jobs lost due to the anti-mining regulations that she pines for, nor did he raise an eyebrow to Bonds practically suggesting that West Virginians would be better living in shotgun shacks without electricity (emphasis mine):
While Fox News has celebrated the Taxpayer Tea Party rallies and MSNBC has denigrated them, the impetus of the movement - CNBC and specifically Rick Santelli, its inspiration - had been conspicuously quiet about it.
"A lot of articles about these tea parties," Kernen said. "They all have your name in them, like you caused it. Are you actually attending any or are you just sort of got the idea going initially? What do you think? I mean, you're like a cultural phenomenon at this point."