The opening sentence of Charles Babington's "objective report" about the possible extension of what was billed late last year as a "temporary payroll tax cut" reads like a Democratic National Committee press release: "News flash: Congressional Republicans want to raise your taxes."
It doesn't get any better until the final paragraph. Babington's babble is otherwise a long-winded, chidish taunt about the supposed hypocrisy of anyone who would like to see a program which, for all its very considerable faults, at least ran a cash surplus for several decades get into the neighborhood of where taxes collected almost equal disbursements.
The Christian Science Monitor appears to have a problem monitoring its bloggers. Even though it asserts that its "diverse group of the best economy-related bloggers out there ... (have) responsibility for the content of their blogs," the largely respected CSM should understand that Jared Bernstein has just embarrassed it bigtime.
To its credit, CSM describes Bernstein, currently a senior fellow at the very liberal Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (Director emeritus: Marian Wright Edelman), as a Biden/Democrat hack: "Jared was chief economist to Vice President Joseph Biden and executive director of the White House Task Force on the Middle Class." But unless CSM wants to be seen as a place like the Huffington Post, where it seems that anyone can throw up anything regardless of its truthfulness (I'm talking to you, Sam Stein), it needs to at least fact-check info with an obvious surface stench -- and I could smell the acrid aroma from Bernstein's item here in Ohio. His woeful Wednesday post goes beyond predictable cherry-picking into the realm of flat-out errors.
I can hardly believe that the President of the United States, whose team is apparently deeply concerned about their guy's declining popularity and news stories which kept Republicans in the headlines this weekend, is going on a "Me Too" bus tour of Iowa, Minnesota, and Illinois this week. The only plausible reason for this is to attempt to blunt the generally positive GOP vibe coming out of Iowa and to go after Michele Bachmann, Saturday's Iowa straw poll winner.
In his coverage at the Associated Press today, Steven R. Hurst admits as much, while otherwise acting as the administration's de facto propaganda spokesman (bolds and numbered tags are mine):
Tuesday (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), yours truly noted an email from the Associated Press's Images Group which encouraged subscribing outlets to use its "iconic images and videos" to promote the 85th birthday of Fidel Castro, the "Legendary Cuban revolutionary and longtime leader."
Today, writing what may be the wire service's last calendar-driven excuse to heap praise on him while he is still alive, the AP's Peter Orsi described Cuban dictator Castro as a "revolutionary icon" with an "outsize persona," who in his prime was "a gregarious public speaker," and while in retirement remains a "prolific writer."
Chris Hayes told New York magazine recently he doesn't intend to have any "hacky partisans" on his weekend MSNBC show that debuts September 17.
But the NewsBusters archive reveals a trove of evidence demonstrating that the Washington editor of the left-wing Nation magazine could only live up to that standard if he banned himself from his own show:
First, to be fair to Associated Press reporter Christopher Sherman, because there is no equivalent reference in the 3:34 p.m. version of his report on Rick Perry's immigration positions, the headline which will follow the jump does not appear to be of his doing.
But whoever at the wire service decided on the headline to use at Sherman's piece definitely has a problem with anyone who questions the need for illegal-immgrant amnesty, is against the granting of in-state tuition for college students who are illegal immigrants, or supports robust border enforcement:
NOTE: This post replicates one which originally appeared on August 10 but was inadvertently deleted due to system complications two days later.
For some reason, Associated Press reporters Eric Tucker and Thomas Watkins, in a story about the wave of flash mob crime in the U.S. this summer, felt compelled to find an "expert" who would express some sympathy for its participants.
Well, they supposedly found one. His name is Jonathan Taplin. Here's what he told the AP:
Communist Cuba's Castro brothers may be asking themselves why they need to engage in any propaganda on their own when they have Associated Press's Images Division promoting photos of Dear Leader Fidel Castro as "iconic" and the brutal Ché Guevera as a "revolutionary hero."
What follows is the text of an email NewsBusters and BizzyBlog commenter/correspondent Gary received from AP Images on Monday. It's so over the top that you almost wonder if it's a gag. This link proves that it's not. Here goes (complimentary words and descriptive flattery bolded by me):
The predictable MSM reaction to Standard & Poor's downgrading of the US government's credit rating? Kill the messenger, of course. Yesterday, we noted how Jeff Glor at CBS' Early Show parroted the Obama line about the downgrade being "political."
Today it was ABC's turn. Good Morning America had on Mellody Hobson, a regular ABC "financial contributor" and former host of her own ABC financial-advice show. Hobson hit S&P hard, expressing the view that "everything that they do is suspect."
There's just one little factoid ABC didn't share with viewers. While presented as a presumably objective financial expert, Chicagoan Hobson in fact is an Obama partisan. Hobson served as a big-time fundraiser during Obama's 2008 presidential campaign and is involved with his 2012 campaign.
Ms. Wolverson's most obvious omission is her failure to mention the government's breathtaking downward revision to first quarter gross domestic product growth from the annualized 1.9% announced in late June to today's revised 0.4%. That's a nearly 80% hit compared to where we thought we were just a month ago, indicating how anemic the so-called recovery has been. It also gives one reason to doubt that today's 1.3% figure for the second quarter will hold up in subsequent revisions.
What follows are excerpted paragraphs containing just some of Ms. Wolverson's errors and political postures:
On Wednesday evening (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), I noted the absurdity of Associated Press coverage characterizing the 5-page document with 3-1/2 whole pages of text issued by the "Gang of Six" as a "plan" -- 12 times, plus in the item's headline. Though I didn't bring it up then, an obvious point to make about any of these items floating around Washington is that if the Congressional Budget Office can't score it, it can't be a plan. A month ago, CBO Director Doug Elmendorf told a congressional committee, in response to a question about President Obama's April proposal, that "we can't score speeches." By contrast, there's no reason to believe it can't score Cut, Cap & Balance, because it's actual legislation passed by the House.
Last night at Investors Business Daily, Mark Steyn, the self-described "One-Man Global Content Provider," made more generalized comments about the media coverage of the debt ceiling-tax-spending-amending discussions and its identification of anything stated in a semi-coherent sentence as a "plan" (press-related items in bold):
In an unbylined update of the latest developments in the budget-tax-spending-debt ceiling discussions in Washington this morning, the Associated Press committed several blunders in attempting to explain what's going on and how we got to where we are. First and foremost was its list identifying "contributors" to the $8.5 trillion growth in the national debt since 2001.
I've been trying to resist taking satisfaction in David Cay Johnston's utter humiliation on his first assignment at Reuters. Y'know, there but for the grace of God, etc. I do wish him well, though I question whether the feeling is mutual. More important, I hope he recognizes the need to go into journalistic rehab. My guess is that he doesn't.
The former New York Times journalist/reporter (whatever, David) and yours truly had an extended online dustup four years ago when I demonstrated Johnston's in my view sloppy, foundation-limited, and biased reporting at the Old Gray Lady (graphic of first few paragraphs as originally presented; current link) in an item about what had happened to Americans' incomes between 2000 and 2005 (errors summarized here in "Top Six Errors Committed by David Cay Johnston and/or the New York Times in Their Income Growth Report"; I noted a seventh later).
Let's go through the development and destruction of Johnston's maiden effort at Reuters.
He said it, he meant it, and there's no denying it.
On Monday, in a statement carried at the Washington Post, the Associated Press, the New York Times (Page A8 of Tuesday's print edition), and elsewhere, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta told U.S. troops at Camp Victory in Baghdad: "The reason you guys are here is because on 9/11 the United States got attacked. And 3,000 Americans — 3,000 not just Americans, 3,000 human beings, innocent human beings — got killed because of al-Qaeda. And we’ve been fighting as a result of that."
That sound you hear is a Democratic Party meme shattering into teeny tiny pieces. The attempts to put Humpty Dumpty together again, both by Panetta himself and the establishment press contingent following him, have been pathetic and ineffectual, which is what happens when one is up against succinctly stated truths.
Yesterday, Tim Graham at NewsBusters did an excellent job of addressing a key aspect of a report submitted by Associated Press reporter Errin Haines, who is African-American, of the presidential campaign of Herman Cain, who is also African-American. Haines questioned "voters' ability to look past his skin color and perceive him as a serious candidate."
Herman Cain attended the We The People Convention in Columbus, Ohio this past weekend. He arrived late Friday afternoon, and was greeted by several hundred attendees who were still there after the day's breakout presentations had ended (total attendance was reportedly "about 1,000", according to Joe Hallett at the Columbus Dispatch; I heard a number of 1,100 from a person affiliated with the event). For Errin Haines's benefit, I can attest that every one there looked past the man's skin color and perceives him to be a serious candidate. Cain also was the featured speaker at the event's concluding dinner on Saturday night.
There are three other aspects of Haines's report which I found quite offensive, and I will air them after the jump.
Given a chance to revise and extend its 9:58 a.m. report (covered this afternoon at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog) on the June 13 altercation between Wisconsin Supreme Court Judges David Prosser, Jr. and Ann Walsh Bradley, the Associated Press's 5:29 p.m. version persists in telling its national audience only one side of the story.
Although the fact is that accounts as to who was the aggressor completely differ, the wire service's oddly unbylined story (a 650-word AP item usually has a byline -- it's almost as if someone doesn't want their name on it) will cause its readers, including subscribing news outlets around the country, to believe that the only open question is whether and how hard Prosser choked Bradley. One suspects that AP's "fairness" defense will be the employment of these three words in Paragraph 8: "While accounts differ ..." Sorry guys, that doesn't cut it when the accounts are totally opposite.
Despite the accumulated reportage and commentary available to the Associated Press this morning, the wire service, at 9:58 a.m Eastern Time (saved here for future reference, fair use, and discussion purposes), only reported on one side of the story relating to an altercation that took place between Wisconsin Supreme Court Justices David Prosser, Jr. and Ann Walsh Bradley. In doing so, it ignored the existence of a follow-up story published at least 12 hours earlier at the Milwaukee Journal, the newspaper it cites as the primary source of its original coverage.
In AP-Land, despite contrary assertions, the relatively conservative Prosser is the alleged choking aggressor, and the left-leaning Bradley the supposed innocent victim. Taking all known accounts into consideration, the matter is hardly so clear-cut.
Gosh, I would have thought that someone in Wisconsin's or America's labor movement would have caught Scott Bauer's clear June 15 understatement of the net pay hit many unionized public sector workers in the Badger State will be taking as a result of 2011 Wisconsin Act 10, commonly known as the "Budget Repair Bill," once the law's provisions become effective on July 1. That error is in the following sentence from Bauer's report ("New lawsuit filed against Wisconsin union law"):
The law also requires workers to pay 12 percent of their health insurance costs and 5.8 percent of their pension costs, which amount to an 8 percent pay cut on average.
The AP reporter apparently spent time which should have gone towards getting the facts right to ensuring, as he did in a June 14 story (covered at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), that the law was described as "polarizing" as often as possible. Bauer's frequent use of the P-word also seemingly distracted union supporters who read or heard portions of Bauer's report from noticing the error I will explain shortly.
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."
Appearing on MSNBC today, Newsweek senior writer Andrew Romano attributed the findings of his magazine's study showing Americans don't understand basic facts about U.S. history to the country's lack of a top-down federal government-imposed curriculum.
When daytime anchor Thomas Roberts asked Romano to explain the significance of the survey, the Daily Beast scribe indicted federalism: "Another reason why we don’t do well is because we don’t have a kind of centralized curriculum in our schools. Everyone in different states kind of learns different things. And that definitely contributes to it as well."
William F. Buckley Jr. once said his job was to "stand athwart history, yelling stop!" If more liberals took this advice, they wouldn't end up looking like two CNN anchors who just don't know when to say no to unsustainable deficit spending.
On the eve of a disappointing jobs report in which the unemployment rate rose to 9.1 percent, CNN International's Richard Quest plowed ahead like the helmsman of the Titanic in calling for "classic Keynesian economics" to salvage the foundering economy.
In a post time-stamped on Saturday at 12:16 p.m., CNNMoney.com has a story (HT Ed Driscoll via the PJ Tatler) headlined "Florida and Texas in jobs p*ssing match" (except that there's an "i" where I typed an asterisk).
Since the story has been up for at least 12 hours (maybe longer, given that the its URL is dated May 20; Update, May 22, 5 p.m.: The comments at a cached CNN Political Ticker tease for the story go back to May 20 at 4:21 p.m.), it's hard not to conclude that CNN and writer Tami Luhby like its title just the way it is.
A screen cap of the top section of the item is after the jump, so you don't have to go there if you're offended by CNN's language:
In their coverage of Herman Cain's official announcement that he is a candidate for the Republican nomination for President of the United States, Associated Press reporters Shannon McCaffrey and Greg Bluestein limited their description of Cain's tenure as chief executive of Godfather's Pizza to the following:
He worked at Coca-Cola, Pillsbury and Burger King before taking the helm of the failing Godfather's Pizza franchise, which he rescued by shuttering hundreds of restaurants.
That's all he did, eh? Guys, if that's all you could cobble together about Cain's time at Godfather's, you should have ended the excerpted sentence after "franchise" (for which a better word would have been "chain").
The AP pair also omitted a couple of key elements of Cain's resume, specifically his tenure as head of the National Restaurant Association and his involvement as a director of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, where he ultimately was elected chairman.
Here is a description of Cain's tenure at Godfather's found at a site called PizzaDominoes.com:
At the top of NBC's Nightly News on Wednesday, anchor Brian Williams teased a story on charter public schools: "In our 'Education Nation' report tonight, the agonizing lottery for kids and their families to get into the best schools, but are they the best schools?" He later declared that families "put everything on the line for a coveted spot in a charter school, but do these schools really deliver?"
Introducing a report by education correspondent Rehema Ellis, Williams touted her examining "the questions being raised about whether charter schools are truly better schools." After detailing anxious parents hoping their children would win a lottery to attend a charter school outside of Atlanta, Ellis warned: "For all the excitement around charter schools, there is also growing concern that, overall, they may not be the answer for what ails America's public schools."
Imagine if the Bush 43 administration had decided to exclude a newspaper's reporters from full access to presidential events--regardless of the ostensible reason. Does anyone believe that the New York Times or Associated Press would have ignored the story?
Well, in a thoroughly predictable but nonetheless sad development, that is what has happened since the Boston Herald's Hillary Chabot reported that "The White House Press Office has refused to give the Boston Herald full access to President Obama’s Boston fund-raiser today, in e-mails objecting to the newspaper’s front page placement of a Mitt Romney op-ed, saying pool reporters are chosen based on whether they cover the news 'fairly.'" Lachlan Markay relayed Chabot's item at NewsBusters yesterday, and also chronicled several previous examples of White House mistreatment, maltreatment, and abuse of disfavored media members.
A search of the Associated Press's main site late this morning on "Boston Herald" (without quotes) returned nothing relevant, as seen after the jump:
Can someone call himself a Tea Party candidate even though he has no visible support from local Tea Party groups and has been asked by one of them not to run? The Associated Press's Carolyn Thompson apparently thinks so.
Thompson's 3:03 p.m. report (saved here for future reference, fair use and discussion purposes) makes no mention of congressional candidate Jack Davis's lack of Tea Party group support. The AP reporter also waited until the final paragraph of her 17-paragraph report to tell readers that Davis is "a wealthy Republican businessman" who ran for Congress in 2004, 2006, and 2008 -- as a Democrat.
The large body of evidence that Davis is not a legitimate Tea Party candidate consists of at least the following:
Not waiting for history to play out, a New Times caption writer, below a picture of celebrants of Obama Bin Laden's demise outside the White House, has written: "As crowds gathered outside the White House, there was little question that Mr. Obama's presidency had forever been changed."
Yesterday evening (late afternoon West Coast time), Phil Bronstein at the San Francisco Chronicle informed his readers that one of its reporters had been banned by the Obama administration:
The hip, transparent and social media-loving Obama administration is showing its analog roots. And maybe even some hypocrisy highlights.
White House officials have banished one of the best political reporters in the country from the approved pool of journalists covering presidential visits to the Bay Area for using now-standard multimedia tools to gather the news.
It's always a bit of risk saying that a bunch of supposedly smart folks are wrong, but the economists Jeannine Aversa at the Associated Press consulted for a Tuesday afternoon report on the economic outlook must be taking a double dose of sunshine pills every day.
If we are to believe these folks, the only thing that can stop the economy now is oil -- not the $112 a barrel accompanied by $4 per gallon gas we're seeing now. That's noooo problem. These smarties apparently think it's clear sailing ahead for the economy as long as oil doesn't go to $150, which would translate to at least $5.50 a gallon.
This just in: New York Times columnist Paul Krugman is a raging hypocrite. You'll be shocked to find out, I'm sure.
In the ongoing debate over entitlement reform, one relatively modest proposal for saving a bit of money is to raise the retirement age by two or three years. But in a recent blog post, Krugman dismissed the proposal, saying it "shows how disconnected [its proponents] are from the way the other half lives (and dies)." It's only the plutocrats, "the judges - and the politicians, who are similar - who think it's a great idea to raise the retirement age."
Yes, the only people who think it's a good idea are judges or politicians…or Paul Krugman, as it turns out. Back in 1996, Krugman lauded the policy as a "sensible" way to pre-empt what he then described as the looming entitlement crisis.