Apparently CNN considers the stating of cold, hard economic realities to be risky partisanship now. Take the case of Papa John’s CEO John Schnatter claiming that ObamaCare will increase costs for his company.
Papa John's is not the first company to claim Obamacare will raise its costs, but it is the first to be viciously attacked by CNN. [Video follows page break; MP3 audio here.]
The establishment press often pays a price in lost credibility when it ignores important economic reports. The original omission is bad enough, of course. But when subsequent business coverage makes assertions which the ignored reports directly refute, it leaves you wondering why you should even try to believe anything they compose.
Such is the case with Martin Crutsinger's report today on the Institute for Supply Management's Non Manufacturing Index (NMI). Following on the heels of Monday's Manufacturing Index, which slipped into contraction (as perceived by surveyed purchasing managers) for the first time in three years, the NMI declined but at least remained in (perceived) expansion mode. In the course of describing current economic conditions, Crutsinger made the following erroneous statement:
Making an absurd declaration on Friday's NBC Today, chief medical editor Nancy Snyderman asserted that the oppressive regime in Saudi Arabia was fairer to working women than the United States: "We still make 77 cents to the dollar as men. It's ridiculous. In a country like Saudi Arabia, where we question their rights, it's against the law to pay women less than men." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Guess what else is against the law in Saudi Arabia? For a woman to work without the permission of her male guardian. As a result, according to a report on PBS Newshour Extra, women in the Islamic state currently "only make up 5 percent of the workforce." Women must also adhere to a strict dress code and are banned from driving.
NPR's Tamara Keith forwarded the "war on women" talking point of Democratic senators on Tuesday's All Things Considered as she reported on their proposed Paycheck Fairness Act. Keith spotlighted how "the bill's author...Senator Barbara Mikulski from Maryland, points out women earn just 77 cents for every dollar made by a man in the same position. She says that's the real war on women."
However, the correspondent omitted that several cosponsors of the bill actually pay their female staffers less than male staffers. She also slanted towards the liberal politicians by playing three soundbites from them, versus only one from a Republican senator.
Readers are strongly advised to remove food, fluids, and flammables from proximity to their computers prior to reading any further. You've been warned!
New York Times columnist Paul Krugman said on ABC's This Week Sunday, "It's terribly unfair that [President Obama is] being judged on the failure of the economy to respond to policies that had been largely dictated by a hostile Congress" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
It must be campaign season. Fact-checking gurus are rating accurate statements by the Romney campaign as "Mostly False" or "Half True" or – the best – "True but False," since they're correct but they apparently don't tell the whole story.
However, when President Obama made a factually-incorrect statement last week, he did not receive a "False" rating from the website PolitiFact, but benefitted from a grading curve since he "has a point" to make. Romney received the same "Half True" rating for a factually-correct statement.
It's difficult to be a good economist and simultaneously be perceived as compassionate. To be a good economist, one has to deal with reality. To appear compassionate, often one has to avoid unpleasant questions, use "caring" terminology and view reality as optional.
Affordable housing and health care costs are terms with considerable emotional appeal that politicians exploit but have absolutely no useful meaning or analytical worth. For example, can anyone tell me in actual dollars and cents the price of an affordable car, house or myomectomy? It's probably more pleasant to pretend that there is universal agreement about what is or is not affordable.
The issue has long been an awkward topic at the New York Times Co.Publisher Arthur Sulzberger earned bonus pay in the form of stock and stock options of $4.9 million dollars in 2005, and chief executive Janet Robinson departed last year in a golden parachute worth a staggering $15 million. Of course, the Times never mentions those particular instances of greedy executives, sticking with big bad corporations not named New York Times.
Even Singer's case for greedy chief executives boiled down to the outsized reward (in stock) of a single CEO, Timothy Cook of Apple, approved by shareholders by a wide margin. But before providing the pesky context, Singer tried to numb us with Cook's big number:
Zbigniew Brzezinki's indictment of the United States was so harsh—calling America "one of the most socially unjust societies in the world"—that even his own daughter Mika was taken aback, asking her father to explain himself.
But that didn't stop Andrea Mitchell from emphatically agreeing with Zbigniew Brzezinki's condemnation of the USA. In the course of doing so, Mitchell called the Tea Party and opposition to ObamaCare "exaggerated forms" of protest, while praising Occupy Wall Street as "a real movement." Video after the jump.
For conservatives, one of the bright spots of the Occupy Wall Street protests was when millionaire investor Peter Schiff went down to Zuccotti Park with video camera and a sign reading "I Am The 1% - Let's Talk."
On Tuesday, I had the pleasure of speaking with Schiff by telephone in a sweeping interview about his experience at OWS, how the financial media are doing, and ending with his rather frightening view of the economy and the future of our nation (video follows with transcript):
On Friday's Inside Washington on PBS, regular panel member Nina Totenberg of NPR incorrectly claimed that the "top tenth of one percent" of income earners in America "controls something like 20 or 30 percent" of the nation's income, and went on to characterize the economic situation as being worse than it has been in "hundreds of years," as she suggested income gaps were at a level that "people came to this country to avoid."
In reality, it is the top one percent - not the top "tenth of one percent" - that earns about a quarter of the nation's income.
As the group discussed the Occupy Wall Street protests, Totenberg made the following observations:
It's hard to figure out why Tom Krisher at the Associated Press bothered filing a report on the status of contract talks between Detroit's Big 3 automakers and the United Auto Workers. The only reason I can discern is that he wanted to brag about how he and his wire service pals have access to anonymously-sourced info about how the talks are going. Surprise: As has been the case almost always for about the past 30-plus years, It's coming down to the wire with the two sides supposedly far apart at two of the three companies. Knock me over with a feather.
Krisher failed to inform readers of three quite important sets of facts. First (seriously), he never told readers that General Motors and Chrysler workers have no-strike contract clauses prohibiting them from job actions until 2015, i.e., only Ford is financially vulnerable. Second, he failed to note that the government still holds a significant (and probably board-controlling) share of GM, or that a UAW healthcare trust owns 46.5% of Chrysler (down from an original 55%). Finally, because he didn't disclose the ownership stakes, he failed to note the obvious conflict of interest the UAW has in negotiating with Ford, or the possible government-influenced pressure on the union to drive a hard bargain with Ford on GM's behalf.
ABC Highlights Complaints That 'There is Little Heart' in Rick Perry's Texas
On Saturday's World News on ABC, correspondent Jim Avila filed a report in which he focused mostly on aspects of Texas's economy that receive praise, but he ended up warning that things may not really be as good as they seem, as the ABC correspondent highlighted claims that, "deep in the heart of Rick Perry's Texas, there is little heart."
Reporter Ethan Bronner brought a typical liberal issue to the forefront on Friday’s front page: “Protests Force Israel to Confront Wealth Gap.” Tent-city protesters have “shaken” Israel with their call for fairly distributed wealth. Bronner never identified the protesters as left-leaning in any way. They were merely championing a cause with “strong populist resonance.”
These large protests are a story, but no one in this article really questioned the protesters or suggested this was a very political campaign against prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Eugene Kandel, Netanyahu’s chief economic adviser, was interviewed, and he stressed agreement with the notion that “large and leveraged business groups can slow growth, cause instability, and hinder competition.”
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):
If all you knew about the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reauthorization controversy was what MSNBC's Martin Bashir told you on August 3, you'd only know that it exists and that House Republicans are at fault.
Bashir claimed the thousands of furloughed FAA workers should blame Republican intransigence, but the truth is that the Democratic-controlled Senate let funding for the agency expire over proposed changes to airline unionization rules and cuts in subsidies to rural airports, including one in Sen. Harry Reid's home state of Nevada.
If the economy stagnates or falters in the coming months, it seems a metaphysical certitude Obama-loving media will do everything in their power to blame it on Tuesday's debt ceiling agreement rather than any of the other factors already in play.
MSNBC's Chris Matthews gave us a foreshadowing of such deception on "Hardball" when he blamed Tuesday's stock market collapse on the newly-signed legislation rather than the bad economic data announced in the morning (video follows with transcript and commentary):
MSNBC's Chris Matthews Tuesday exposed his own debt ceiling hypocrisy without realizing it.
As he absurdly asked his "Hardball" guests why America isn't having a "big debate" about what the federal government should pay for - like that's not what's happening at the moment! - he relayed how his parents balanced their household budget, but never once said anything about raising revenues. It was all about what they could afford (video follows with transcript and commentary):
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.
Quoting a British politician who claimed "right-wing nutters" pose the most serious threat to the international financial system, MSNBC's Martin Bashir asked his conservative guest on Monday: "He's right, isn't he?"
The MSNBC anchor posed this question at the end of a contentious interview with Tea Party Nation Founder Judson Phillips, after asking Phillips four times whether he wanted the U.S. to default on its debts.
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.
Something astonishing happened in New Jersey last week. A majority Democratic legislature and a Republican governor agreed on a measure that will cut benefits for the state's 750,000 employees and retirees.
Like Wisconsin and other states that are being forced to deal with large budget deficits caused mostly by sweetheart deals struck in more prosperous times between politicians who need votes and labor unions who deliver them, New Jersey couldn't afford to go on like this.
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):
For years America's media have been enthralled by anything that supports the theory that carbon dioxide is warming the planet leading to an imminent cataclysm if governments don't regulate this partially man-made gas.
By contrast, reports that might undermine CO2's importance in global warming, like the following released Tuesday by the AAS Solar Physics Division in Las Cruces, New Mexico, predicting a sharp decrease in solar activity in coming years, typically get either little attention or are downplayed:
MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell scolded Republican presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty today over the former Minnesota governor's proposed plan to reduce taxes and cut spending, decrying the conservative measures as "counterintuitive."
"What makes you think that a plan to actually increase the deficit by cutting taxes is the right way to go right now?" groused NBC's chief foreign affairs correspondent on "Andrea Mitchell Reports."
For those too young to remember, invoking a "long, hot summer" was a favorite pastime of the establishment press and so-called "civil rights leaders" after the race riots of the 1960s (example here). The message: Get that federal money flowing to us, or there will be violence in the streets.
At CBS News, reporter Bill Whitaker wrapped his coverage of the teen unemployment situation as follows: "For many teens with no jobs and no money, it could be one long, hot summer." Perhaps Whitaker was unaware of how loaded those words once were (and still may be). But he shouldn't get a pass for failing to mention three minimum-wage increases enacted late last decade as potential contributors to the 2007-2010 rise in teen unemployment. Whitaker also mentioned "cuts in federal funding" as affecting summer jobs programs, but "somehow" forgot to tell readers and viewers that the funding consisted of so-called "stimulus" dollars that everyone knew was going to go away (see the reference to "the end of Recovery Act funding that might have helped create some public jobs" at this link). Whitaker's omission leaves an implication that meanies in the current Congress must have done something to reduce funding, which isn't so.