According the Associated Press, "Ask AP" is "a weekly Q&A column where AP journalists respond to readers' questions about the news."
Given how biased the wire service's news reporting is, you wouldn't expect "Ask AP" responses to be very different. They usually aren't.
Case in point (second question at link) -- Reader Cindy Garcia of Vista, California asked AP about the costs and benefits of illegal immigration:
I hear so many conflicting stories on illegal immigration. Please tell me if you can how much the illegal immigrants contribute to the economy and how much they use in free services. If they all got deported, how would it affect our economy?
Here is the sadly incorrect and incomplete answer from AP writers Laura Wides-Munoz in Miami, Jacques Billeaud in Phoenix, and Suzanne Gamboa in Washington (bolds are mine):
[Update, 3:30 pm ET Wednesday: Video added, at right.]
Wednesday’s American Morning program on CNN ran a segment by correspondent Ed Lavandera on the practice of corporal punishment for students, which featured a Texas student speaking out against paddling who wore a red T-shirt -- which featured the communist hammer and sickle symbol, an insignia popular with regimes which presided over the torture and murder of hundreds of millions. Lavandera also ran three sound bites of individuals speaking out against the practice versus one principal who is in favor of it.
Lavandera interviewed student Joe Cancellare, who received "two swats" from a paddle at his Alpine, Texas school after being sent to the principal’s office for flinging rubber bands. Cancellare and his mother Andrea Cancellare, who was also interviewed, both object to this form of punishment. Lavandera stated that Ms. Cancellare "had earlier written a letter to the school expressing her vehement opposition to corporal punishment, and demanding that her son be exempted from the practice."
If Barack Obama is looking for an elder statesman with national security credentials as his running mate, my two cents say he should pick Sam Nunn. The conventional wisdom, though, has Obama leaning toward Joe Biden. If the senior senator from Delaware is indeed tapped, we can expect that mere milliseconds will elapse before some MSM outlet labels Biden a "moderate" or a "centrist."
We thought it might be useful to do a little prophylactic exploration of the Biden record. Given his long tenure in the Senate, he's earned literally hundreds of interest-group ratings over the years. But here is a representative sample, as culled from the invaluable Project Vote Smart. Although his "grades" have of course varied from year to year, overall we find—surprise!—that Biden is a garden-variety liberal.
You would think that someone working for the self-described "Essential Global News Network" known as the Associated Press as an Education Writer might go beyond using the Copy and Paste commands in reporting on national college entrance exam test scores.
From all appearances, you would be wrong.
AP Education Writer Justin Pope's report on the 2008 ACT exam results appears to contain nothing that isn't already in ACT, Inc.'s press release. For whatever reason, Pope missed a shocking set of results out of Michigan that should deeply worry anyone concerned about the future competency of our workforce.
Yes, there are two Americas. The one where John Edwards used to have a scholarship program that he intended to set up as an example for all of America to follow... and the one where he cancels that scholarship program. Is it because he isn't running for president any more? Since Edwards has other things to do now -- like hiding from the media in his mistresses' house and maybe getting a few $400 haircuts -- Edwards has pulled the plug on his pilot scholarship program in North Carolina. It was for the kids... now it isn't. As the media ignores Edwards' love child story, any takers if they will ignore this one, too?
In May of 2007, to great fanfare, Edwards rolled out his "College for Everyone" plan saying that this was a college plan for "any student wishing to work hard." At that time, the well coiffed, two-time presidential candidate said that he wanted "every young person" to go to college and touted his new program then beginning at Greene Central High School in Snow Hill, NC.
State Test Scores in Reading and Mathematics Continue To Increase, Achievement Gaps Narrow Since 2002
A multi-year study designed to report on the effects of the much maligned 2002 No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) has determined that students achieved moderate to large gains on state tests in math and reading. The study also concluded that achievement gaps between white students and minorities narrowed, with significant reduction for the African American community and low income groups.
The study was conducted by the non-partisan Center On Education Policy over a 2 year period. Results of the report were released on June 24th yet few major newspapers bothered to mention the news. (all emphasis mine)
WASHINGTON, D.C. – June 24, 2008 – Student scores on state tests of reading and mathematics have risen since 2002, and achievement gaps between various groups of students have narrowed more often than they have widened, according to the most comprehensive and rigorous recent analysis of state test scores. These improvements have occurred during a period when the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), state education reforms, and local school improvement efforts have focused on raising test scores and narrowing achievement gaps.
Given how much grief charter schools and other creative initiatives get from the government-school establishment if they don't instantly turn at risk kids into Einsteins, along with the hounding of homeschoolers that seems to be on the rise, this story shouldn't be allowed to fall through the cracks, or remain confined to its local area.
Last Sunday's Rochester Democrat and Chronicle story (HT One News Now), which really should be read in full, would be humorous ("Kids Get Answers, Still Can't Pass") if it weren't for the fact that real children are clearly not getting educated. This systemic failure will affect them, and, to at least a slight degree, everyone reading this, for years to come (bolds are mine):
This could be perhaps the most bizarre application of James Carville's worn out expression, "It's the economy stupid." "CBS Evening News" linked the economy to the famed pregnancy pact that has received national attention.
The June 19 broadcast of "Evening News" faulted the ailing economy for 17 Massachusetts high school students agreeing to get pregnant intentionally around the same time so they could raise children together.
According to Gloucester Public Schools Superintendent Christopher Farmer, the girls did it to gain status. CBS correspondent Michelle Miller took it a step further and made an economic connection.
"Status in Gloucester is hard to come by," Miller said. "The once-thriving fishing community has seen jobs drift overseas. Economic depression has left many teens trying to fill the void."
In yet another example of why the west could be too weak to fight the sort of global terrorism that takes the form of Islamofascism, a textbook monitoring group is charging that American textbooks have been cleansed of mentioning the violence inherent in the Islamic "Jihad." Now, our children will not be taught what "Jihad" truly means, nor that it has been used as an excuse to kill their fellow citizens because our schools have sanitized Islam of all outrage and violence. Will the media follow this story and report that our children are being exposed to Islamic propaganda like this?
According to the New York Examiner, the American Textbook Council reports that textbooks approved for middle and high schools students have caved in to a politically correct cleansing of Islam and dumbed down history critical to a fuller understanding of Muslim history -- one that reflects on our own times.
Could science and statistics be beyond the media's ability to understand and report upon them? One might be excused to think so by the hash the MSM made of the supposed claim that in the U.S. one in four teenaged girls have a sexually transmitted disease. On March 11, the CDC issued a press release announcing a study that made the claim, but did not release the full study so that anyone interested might see the whole story. Regardless of the further facts that serves to sharply decreases that one in four number, the media rushed to sensationalize the shocking claim that 25 percent of our young girls have STDs.
Making it political, The New York Times rushed the story to their front page in order to attack the Bush Administration's so-called "abstinence-only programs" with a slam by the president of Planned Parenthood, Cecile Richards. The Times quotes Richards as saying, "The national policy of promoting abstinence-only programs is a $1.5 billion failure and teenage girls are paying the real price." But, unfortunately for this claim, lower rates of sexual activity has, indeed, brought down the number of STDs in the U.S. So, contrary to the breathless exclamations by Planned Parenthood and The New York Times, abstinence-only programs cannot be fingered as a negative in disease rates.
But the Times wasn't the only one. Just about every major newssource on TV and print media went on a feeding frenzy with the "one in four" claim. Only, further review of the CDC's report seems to show that the "one in four" claim is not really the case.
Only in the west can one see a school that hosts a day when school children are encouraged to dress like, act like, and "learn about" those trying to kill them and all in a day that the country is in the midst of war. And only in the west would the media help celebrate such an outrageous example of support for what, in truth, are our enemies.
On May 9, the kids of the Amherst Middle School in Amherst, New Hampshire, were forced to parade about their school dressed as "Saudi Arabians" so that they could "learn from people around the world" in a happy day of multiculturalism. But, what they ended up being taught was the wholly sanitized version of how wonderful Saudi society is instead of the truth.
Sadly, the Milford (NH) Cabinet, a small newspaper group in the Granite State, is full of uncritical praise and wonder at the multicultural extravaganza forced upon these children unawares. Worse, they didn't do any reporting on how this day of appeasement came to be held.
Is it possible to discuss teen birth rates without attacking abstinence-only education? Apparently not for NBC's Chief Medical Editor Dr. Nancy Snyderman.
During a May 28 "Today" show discussion of high schools providing birth control to teens without parental notification, Snyderman cast doubt on abstinence-only education, saying, "I don't think there's any healthcare professional who says [abstinence education] is the magic bullet and it's really working."
School-provided birth control is a hot topic again due to the rising number of teenage pregnancies at Gloucester High School in Massachusetts. Pregnancies at Gloucester High soared from 4 to 17 in one year, spurring some school health officials to propose offering free birth control to students without parental notification. Dr. Brian Orr, the school's clinic director, resigned last week after the Addison Gilbert Hospital, which funds the clinic, opposed the idea.
Host Meredith Vieira gave Snyderman a second opportunity to bash abstinence when she asked "Teen pregnancy is up for the first time in 15 years, why is that?" Snyderman responded:
On Thursday's Countdown show, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann seemed to mock John McCain's military service as he quipped that McCain was "awol" for not showing up for a Senate vote on providing college tuition to American troops, and further accused McCain, whom he called "Senator 'I Support the Troops,'" of "supporting himself instead of the troops." The MSNBC host also mocked McCain as being at the "front lines" of a fund-raiser in California. Notably, just a few weeks ago, Olbermann thought it was amusing to scold Ann Coulter for making a crack about Barack Obama being a "Manchurian candidate" because it might remind people of McCain, even though it was Olbermann, not Coulter, who drew a connection as he observed that the film The Manchurian Candidate was about a "presidential election and an American war hero POW who'd been brainwashed in Southeast Asia." (Video of Olbermann's "Manchurian Candidate" comments can be found here.) (Transcripts follow)
On Thursday’s CBS "Early Show" co-host Harry Smith was introducing a report on the winner of National Geographic’s annual geography bee and became confused by some geographical trivia: "In which ocean are the South Sandwich Islands located? A sixth grader from Nebraska answered that question. It's in the -- is it in the Atlantic?I thought the Sandwich Islands were actually named after the earl of -- it's Hawaii. That's not right. I'm so sorry."
At that point, co-host Julie Chen showed that she was not quite ready to compete in the geography bee:
JULIE CHEN: No, it's in which ocean, so that is right. So it's the Atlantic Ocean.
SMITH: Hawaii is not in the Atlantic Ocean.
CHEN: Oh, it's in the Pacific.
Smith, who earlier in the show bragged: "we’re big geography nuts in our house," understandably confused the South Sandwich Islands, located in the southern Atlantic Ocean off the tip of Argentina, with the Sandwich Islands, the original name given to Hawaii, after the British Earl of Sandwich. Smith later made the correction: " Okay, just to set the record straight, we now -- we had to figure this out, right?...Because the Sandwich Islands are in the Pacific. The South Sandwich islands in the Atlantic. My bad."
However, there does not seem to be any explanation for Chen believing that the Hawaiian Islands were located in the Atlantic Ocean. NBC’s Ann Curry was similarly geographically challenged on the February 4, "Today" show when she couldn’t find the state of Illinois on a map of the United States and pointed to Minnesota instead.
A small paper in South Carolina called The Statesman indulged in some blatant hetero bashing this week in a story about a high school principal who resigned because of his convictions that the school should not allow a homosexual club to be started in his school. Naturally, the paper tries to make it seem as if the principal is an unreasonable bigot. The paper even conveniently forgot the part of the principal's resignation letter that clearly explains why he disagreed with allowing a club based on sexual activity in a high school -- and the explanation had nothing to do with any anti-gay sentiment.
Here is a story in a small paper in Philadelphia that serves as a fine example of the junk that all too often passes for "journalism" in America today. This example is as ridiculously anti-intellectual and dismissive of the importance of preserving our history as it is anti-corporate. It's a fine example of a journalist who thinks he is smarter and funnier than everyone about whom he writes -- even his name reflects that condescension. The arrogance and smarminess is so thick with James Smart's "Renovating a historic home" that it just drips off the page.
Of course, Mr. Smart's work isn't what one would call straight journalism, but more like the sort of commentary one would see from writers such as Dave Barry. Light hearted, ultimately pointless wastes of time that would find readers no better informed after having read them, but no worse off for the four minutes or so of their lives they'll never get back from the exercise. But, in this particular piece, Smart goes over the edge of simple minded, blather and into uncalled for denigration. It also reveals his intense anti-capitalist feelings. Whatever his past work, this one reveals far more about his generally dismissive attitude against our history and capitalist system than it does about the subject matter.
Do you ever get the feeling the reason most people in the media have bought into Nobel Laureate Al Gore's global warming myth is that they are largely uneducated in matters of science, and regardless of the volume of information available at their fingertips via the Internet, such pompous folks are too lazy to take the time to do any research that might challenge their dogma?
After all, the depth of most press members' studies regarding climate matters is having watched the schlockumentary "An Inconvenient Truth" which is full of more holes than Paul McCartney's roof (kudos if you get the pun without clicking on the link!).
As such, assuming the answer to the introductory question is a resounding "Yes," might I suggest media be required to take the following tutorial offered by Professor Bob Carter of James Cook University in Australia (part one embedded right).
In it, Carter addresses five tests of the hypothesis espoused by the climate alarmists that there is "dangerous human-caused global warming":
We are certainly used to seeing the MSM causing trouble for conservatives and this one is no different at least on that level. But the interesting thing here is that the trouble a social conservative discovered was as a result of what she wrote in the MSM as opposed to what was written about her by the MSM. It seems that the opinion editorial written by Crystal Dixon for the Toledo Free Press got her fired by the University of Toledo because... well, you know how universities are all about free expression and speech, right? Unfortunately for Dixon, though, hers wasn't the proper, politically correct sort of speech that is officially approved of by the thugs at the University of Toledo.
You see, Crystal Dixon made the mistake of believing that this whole silly idea of "freedom of religion" also applied to our institutions of higher learning. She foolishly asserted in her Toledo Free Press op ed that as far as her religious beliefs are concerned, homosexuality is a choice made by the individual instead of some genetic predisposition, that someone chooses to engage in homosexual activities instead of assuming that being gay is forced upon one by "nature."
Of course, Dixon based her entire op ed on her Christian religious beliefs. It was no hate filled rant and was quite civil, even tempered, and to the point. But the gay mafia inside the University of Toledo must be awfully powerful. Or, at the very least, fear of them was enough to stifle -- no, execute -- Mrs. Dixon over what the president of UoT must imagine is her wretched religious extremism.
There is a news report starting to make the rounds amongst the MSM on a study that claims to have discovered why conservatives tend to be happier than liberals and it is just the sort of bilge that the MSM loves to promulgate. We may see more of it over the next several days because, while it is titled "Conservatives Happier Than Liberals," it is basically saying that the reason conservatives are happier is because they just don't care about other people. This purported research claims to pinpoint the reason conservatives are happier and it is because they have theirs and they don't care if everyone else is poor and downtrodden. In contrast they claim liberals are less happy because they care more about people and are all heartbroken that people suffer "inequalities."
Yes, they are telling us that if you're a happy conservative, it's because you are a hateful, meanie. Thank you New York University.
The San Francisco Chronicle and the various demagogue politicians of Berkeley and Oakland, California should really be ashamed of themselves for ginning up into sensational "raids" a few arrests by ICE agents and making of them actions designed to empty those community's schools of children. In reality a few routine U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement operations in those cities occurred yesterday that had nothing to do with school children. Yet, these politicians shamelessly ran about the countryside waving their arms, serving grave warnings to ICE about their supposed targeting of school children, and ginning up parents with the false bravado of standing athwart ICE's "harassment and fear." But, with all the running about like Chicken Little claiming the ICE is falling, no raids either occurred or were even planned. To top it off, the San Francisco Chronicle reports the incident as the "fear across the communities" being "real" instead of correctly noting that these pandering pols in office made much ado about nothing just to inflate their own importance.
Apparently ICE made a few arrests at some homes in Berkeley and Oakland and that somehow sent a "wave of panic among parents" who were fooled into believing that ICE officers were about to raid all the schools in the area to snap up illegals for deportation.
College textbooks are overpriced and something should be done. Why, Congress should even step in! That is the message that The New York Times wants us to understand and I can't say it is, in and of itself, entirely the wrong message -- save the whole bit about Congress stepping in, of course. But, as is typical of The New York Times, their story is only a small part of the whole story. In their exuberance to shake a finger at book manufacturers and in their hurry to blame capitalism the Times missed the bigger story.
The Times reports that "College students and their families are rightly outraged about the bankrupting costs of textbooks that have nearly tripled since the 1980s." They also report that a bill is pending in Congress that would "require publishers to sell 'unbundled' versions of the books..." This, the Times feels, is the right move to solve the problem. Any first year economics student, however, knows there is far more to it than just slapping more regulations on book publishers.
Friday's 20/20 aired a piece on liberal columnist Arianna Huffington in which ABC host John Stossel got to challenge Huffington's views on issues like welfare, OSHA regulations, and the "lunatic fringe" of the Republican party. When Stossel took her to task for living in a $7 million home that is "burning more carbon than 100 people in the Third World" even while she is part of the "war on global warming," Huffington responded: "There is no question that the fact that I'm living in a big house, I occasionally travel on private planes, all those things are a contradiction. I'm not setting myself up as some paragon who only goes around on a bicycle and lives by candlelight." (Transcript follows)
Looks like the daughter of the West Virginia's Democratic governor has gotten herself into a bit of a scandal with an unearned, politically awarded college degree from West Virginia University. A panel to review allegations that the woman didn't really earn that degree was convened and it was determined that she just does not qualify to get that degree that was awarded her by "High-ranking academic officers" at the school. Naturally, no report mentions that Gov. Joe Manchin is a member of the Democratic Party and that HE was the one that appointed the school's officials.
It seems that at the school, highly placed friends of the Democratic governor were trying to cover for the Guv's daughter who claimed for several years that she had a degree when she did not. Heather Bresch was suddenly awarded an MBA from WVU nearly a decade after she left the school and after the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette called the University to check on the woman's degree.
LAT television critic Mary McNamara made the slip up in this April 19 article about HBO's surge in popularity when she began describing the cable network's “John Adams” miniseries (via Patterico) (all bold mine):
In his portrayal of our second president, Paul Giamatti creates a man perpetually dissatisfied, disgusted by the preening ambition of politics even as he is infected by it... [S]etting up a new government is a bureaucratic nightmare, with oversized personalities disagreeing over things both petty and fundamental. George Washington (David Morse) so quickly tired of the infighting among his Cabinet and vagaries of public opinion that he stepped down from the presidency after a single term. "I know now what it is like to be disliked," he says to Adams, his perpetually disliked vice president.
I confess that when the producers of Ben Stein’s new documentary "Expelled" called, offering me a private screening, I was less than excited.
It is a reality of PC liberalism: There is only one credible side to an issue, and any dissent is not only rejected, it is scorned. Global warming. Gay "rights." Abortion "rights." On these and so many other issues there is enlightenment, and then there is the Idiotic Other Side. PC liberalism’s power centers are the news media, the entertainment industry and academia and all are in the clutches of an unmistakable hypocrisy: Theirs is an ideology that preaches the freedom of thought and expression at every opportunity, yet practices absolute intolerance toward dissension.
Evolution is another one of those one-sided debates. We know the concept of Intelligent Design is stifled in academic circles. An entire documentary to state the obvious? You can see my reluctance to view it.
I went into the screening bored. I came out of it stunned.
The Yale Daily News breathlessly informed us of a female student, art major Aliza Shvarts, who claimed that her senior art project was a documentation of nine months of self-induced miscarriages. Her goal, of course, was to "spark conversation" about "the relationship between art and the human body." What is really the truth with this so-called "art" project, though, is that Shvarts has pulled the wool over the eyes of the Yale Daily News, the willing dupes who claim to be her professors, and anyone reading this story on Drudge and believing she really induced her own miscarriages. It's all a hoax. Or if not an outright hoax, it’s a misleading tale of a girl who hasn't a clue about how one becomes pregnant, what the fake drugs she took are really capable of doing, and the psychological pain of a real miscarriage.
It's also proof that our sources of news rarely if ever employ any common sense in how they write up the news. A tiny bit of logic put to this story of "self-induced miscarriages" would reveal it to be all stuff and nonsense. But, no, what we get instead is the story reported as if it is fact and not the cynical efforts of a kid that just wants her 15 minutes of fame. It is also proof that the liberal side of the abortion debate leads the ideological mindset of the news.
We have another incident of empty showboating by a college kid who imagines herself to be making "art" and a "statement" by placing American flags on the floor in hopes that people would disrespect them enough to walk upon them. One Miss Susan Crane of the University of Maine at Farmington decided that her "art" was going to be an exercise in desecration. Keep your eye on this and see if the MSM will cover it. It is just starting to make the blog rounds.
Unfortunately, all we have is another disrespectful kid doing the same thing that a dozen other disrespectful kids have done at anti-American campuses across the country over the last 40 years or so. There isn't a thing "new" or even unexpected about it at this point. This makes her "statement" empty and pointless. But Crane has been fooled by her anti-American professors into imagining she is sparking a "conversation" about patriotism and the flag.
"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."
If Barack Obama is looking for proof there are indeed bitter Americans out there, he need look no further than across the kitchen table.
Morning Joe opened today with a clip of Michelle Obama on the stump that I can only call stunning. By her tone, and her language both verbal and physical, this is one angry lady. The transcript below doesn't begin to convey Mrs. Obama's apparent rage.
That Bill Clinton was elected twice is proof that an angry wife is no bar to office. But Michelle Obama's level of ire can certainly be no asset on the campaign trail. Morning Joe did air it, but just how much MSM coverage will we see of what I would sincerely call an astounding piece of video?
It seems to do a serviceable job of describing their upcoming nuptials, what the attendants will wear, where it will be (an informal affair at the Bush family Crawford, Texas ranch), where they met, where he proposed. All nice stuff.
It's only slightly annoying that a picture caption at the article reads, "Jenna Bush, 25, and her fiance Henry Hager are scheduled to be married on May 10 in Texas." Cold feet on the part of the bride or the groom is always a possibility, but "will be married" seems more appropriate. But really, not a big deal.
But towards the end, Celizic drops in this:
Jenna Bush, 26, is a 2004 graduate of the University of Texas, where she was twice charged with misdemeanors for alcohol-related offenses.