The report tells us that Oklahoma had a seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 6.6% last month. That's far lower than the 9.9% reported for the entire USA two weeks ago. No state with a larger population has a lower unemployment rate than the Sooner State (states with lower April unemployment rates were KS - 6.5%; NE at 5.0%; ND - 3.8%; SD - 4.7%; and VT - 6.4%).
As seen in the chart below, Oklahoma's unemployment rate has been significantly lower than the national rate for well over two years, and on average in 2009 was that way across all major ethnic groups (source data for 2006 to 2009 can be accessed here; scroll down to "Annual Average Statewide Data"):
It would not surprise me if the Associated Press's April Castro has spent the last 10 weeks gritting her teeth non-stop.
In March (covered at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), she was clearly peeved at the Texas State Board of Education. In a supposedly objective news story entitled "Texas ed board vote reflects far-right influences," she decried a "faction" (actually a nearly two-thirds majority) of Board members for "injecting conservative ideals into social studies, history and economics lessons."
I will take that as an admission that such ideals have previously been absent or barely present.
Friday, non-appreciative April was tasked with covering the Board's final adoption vote that ratified proposed curriculum changes. If we are to believe her (I know, that's dangerous), improvements (my word, certainly not hers) in the meantime appear to have been strengthened the reality basis, if you will, of the curriculum.
Here are the first five paragraphs of Ms. Castro's report (link is dynamic and subject to change). There are lots of errors in those paragraphs alone; readers are invited to see if they can catch the big cahuna:
The Associated Press's Sophia Tareen has apparently had a lot of time on her hands the past couple of days, and her wire service bosses couldn't find much for her to do. How else to explain Tareen's devotion of almost 1,000 words to the burning question of whether cartoon character Dora the Explorer is an illegal immigrant?
You read that right, but it's worse than that. Tareen claims that images of Dora "are being used by those who oppose and support Arizona's law," but could only cite actual instances of usage by leftists at the Huffington Post and at a a Facebook page whose category is "Just for Fun - Outlandish Statements."
Along the way, Tareen oh-so-predictably resurrects the late-1990s "Teletubbies are Gay" kerfuffle (incompletely, of course); waits until the 27th paragraph to tell us that the image at the top right, which "is circulating widely in the aftermath of Arizona's controversial new immigration law," has really been around since last year (originating at freakingnews.com); and quotes a "gender studies" professor at the University of Arizona who -- undisclosed to readers, naturally -- is virulently anti-capitalism.
A far-left Democratic congressman is accusing conservative commentators of improperly -- perhaps illegally -- conspiring with advertisers to shill for their products under the guise of political opinion. The accusers, however, conveniently ignore liberal commentators that do virtually the same thing, only on a far larger scale.
Rep. Anthony Weiner released a report yesterday alleging that Goldline "has formed an unholy alliance with conservative pundits to drive a false narrative and play off public fears in order to sell its products," according to a release. Under "conservative pundits," read the Fox News Channel, and specifically Glenn Beck.
Weiner has this far neglected to criticize Fox's cable news competitor MSNBC and its parent network, which consistently shill for policies that would dramatically enrich their parent company, General Electric. GE's communications arm consistently further's Weiner's own political agenda, so a double standard seems to be afoot in his failure to call NBC out on its colossal conflict on interest.
Believe it or not, there are some who still fail to grasp the notion that the legacy media are overwhelmingly liberal. They act shocked when the media do what they usually do -- toe the liberal line -- and search in vain for some way to explain the apparent bias.
"Does the Media Care About Unemployment?" asked Kevin Drum, a writer for the liberal Mother Jones. Drum postulated that that "the media focused way more on economic hard luck stories in the early 80s than they do now."
While a liberal noting the double standard is refreshing, Drum went on to attribute it to a litany of possible reasons, all the while ignoring the obvious, and painfully simple answer right before his eyes: as B. Daniel Blatt writes, "Because a Republican’s Not in the White House."
The birth control pill was invented 50 years ago this month. CBS Nightly News anchor Katie Couric was all set to "break out the cake and streamers." But first, she wanted to inform her viewers of a pressing national need: federal subsidies for the pill. Seriously.
Couric was distraught during her "Notebook" segment last night that, in her mind, not enough women have access to birth control. Her solution? Classify it as "preventive medicine" so that federal funds can be allocated to distributing it under the new health care law. Calling birth control "preventive medicine" seems to assume that pregnancy is a medical disorder of some sort, but I digress.
The segment runs like an infomercial for the liberal position on birth control. It lauds Planned Parenthood, the "need" for publicly funded birth control, and even throws in a dash of anti-insurance company populism. Couric caps the segment off by saying, "We've come a long way, baby, but not far enough." (Video and transcript below the fold - h/t Story Balloon)
"Associated Content claims to be a non-partisan website, encouraging its contributors to publish articles at will on any topic without prohibitions towards political ideology…unless, as it turned out in my case, YOU ARE CONSERVATIVE," Schenker wrote at the Jawa Report. Associated Content seems, in that sense, to reflect the same values of its non-digital media counterparts.
Most economists are not susceptible to partisanship in their work, a new scholarly study finds. But anyone who reads Paul Krugman's columns in the New York Times will hardly be surprised to learn he is a glaring exception to the study's findings.
He consistently changes his fiscal views depending on the party in power.
"Krugman has changed his tune in a significant way regarding the budget deficit when the White House has changed party," found Brett Barkley, an economics student at George Mason University. The study, published in Econ Journal Watch, a peer reviewed journal, examined statements from 17 economists from 1981 through 2009, and gauged the consistency of their stances on deficit spending and reduction during Republican and Democratic administrations.
According to the study, Krugman was the only economist of the 17 to "significantly" change his stance on the federal budget deficit for partisan reasons.
One of the worst ways that the lack of ideological diversity in America's newsrooms shows forth is in the media's treatment of sensational accusations against the current president.
Oftentimes, explosive allegations against presidents are either untrue or drastically overstated: George W. Bush deliberately lying to get the U.S. to war so he can cash in or deliberately ignoring Hurricaine Katrina due to his hatred of black people (a la Kanye West), Bill Clinton's supposed involvment in the drug trade, truthers, birthers, so on and so forth.
Journalists do the public a service by rebutting absurd conspiracy theories and wacko charges. In recent memory, though, they have taken a much greater zeal toward stamping out allegations against Democrats, particularly President Obama, a stark contrast to the kidglove or even promotional attitude they took toward books by liberal authors alleging all sorts of anti-Bush absurdities.
World Net Daily-affiliated author Aaron Klein recently discovered this when he sent his new book, "The Manchurian President," to members of the media he hoped would review it. He got some very angry responses. Here are some of the more colorful ones:
CBS's local affiliate in Chicago today threatened to stop covering the Illinois Senate race if the Republican candidate continues to harp on an issue extremely damaging to his Democratic opponent.
If a candidate for the United States Senate was a senior loan officer for a bank that made over $20 million in loans to convicted bookies and pimps (while he was employed as a loan officer), is that candidate's opponent in the wrong for harping on the issue?
Chicago's CBS affiliate apparently thinks such connections should be off limits. A reporter from Chicago's CBS Channel 2 told Mark Kirk, the Republican opponent of former Broadway Bank loan officer Alexi Giannoulias that his channel is "not going to cover the Senate race, if it’s consistently only in your terms, is about Broadway Bank." (H/t Big Journalism, via Steve Gutowski)
On Friday's Situation Room, CNN's Suzanne Malveaux omitted the pro-illegal immigration activism of guest Isabel Garcia. Malveaux only referenced how her guest was "legal defender of Pima County, Arizona" and that she was "also co-chair of a Tucson-based human rights group." She also omitted how Garcia participated in the beating and decapitation of a pinata effigy of Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
The CNN correspondent, filling-in for anchor Wolf Blitzer, brought on the legal defender five minutes into the 5 pm Eastern hour to discuss how Arizona Governor Jan Brewer had signed a strong anti-illegal immigration bill into law less than an hour earlier. After introducing Garcia without mentioning the name of her organization, ("The Human Rights Coalition," whose website features a logo incorporating the southwestern states into Mexico; a CNN graphic called it the "Coalition for Human Rights"), Malveaux first asked her, "The governor...said...she's not going to tolerate racial profiling....She's not going to let police officers pull somebody over because [of] the color of their skin or how they look. Do you believe the governor?"
The Pentagon rescinded the invitation of evangelist Franklin Graham to speak at its May 6 National Day of Prayer event because of complaints about his previous comments about Islam.
The Military Religious Freedom Foundation expressed its concern over Graham's involvement with the event in an April 19 letter sent to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. MRFF's complaint about Graham, the son of Rev. Billy Graham, focused on remarks he made after 9/11 in which he called Islam "wicked" and "evil" and his lack of apology for those words.
Col. Tom Collins, an Army spokesman, told ABC News on April 22, "This Army honors all faiths and tries to inculcate our soldiers and work force with an appreciation of all faiths and his past comments just were not appropriate for this venue."
Fox News contributor Bernie Goldberg hit back at Jon Stewart today, saying the "Daily Show" host was "throwing spitballs at a battleship" by attacking the Fox News Channel.
The back-and-forth between Stewart and Goldberg began when the former leveled accusations of hypocrisy, claiming Goldberg criticized others for generalizing while doing so himself. Stewart responded to Goldberg's retort with a musical number presumably titled "Go F--k Yourself."
Goldberg said he had "no problem with what [Stewart] did last night," and was "flattered" that he "devoted half of his show last night to me." But Goldberg went on to call a group of Stewart's most devoted fans "sewer rats" for trolling his site with vulgarity during the past couple days, and told Stewart to "man up."
Surprise: NBC finally found a business it likes - even a business decision it likes: companies that help homeowners who decide to walk away from their mortgages.
"New figures show foreclosures in the U.S. are up about 35-percent from a year ago," Matt Lauer kicked off an April 20 segment of "Today" that encouraged homeowners - even those financially comfortable - to simply walk away. "And a growing reason why are people who simply choose to walk away from their mortgage even when they can afford it."
"Experian, the credit-monitoring service, says 588,000 borrowers - or 18-percent of those who have defaulted on their mortgages in the past year - did it for strategic reasons and not because they're broke," NBC's George Lewis reported. "It's called a strategic default, walking away from a home and enduring foreclosure out of frustration with a bad investment."
On the scene with the Schreur family in Folsom, California, Mr. Schreur acknowledged in an interview that although his family was not in any financial distress, a sharp decline in house value incited the family to default, as any other option "made no sense."
Watch the latest business video at &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;a href=&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;quot;http://video.foxbusiness.com/&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;quot;&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;video.foxbusiness.com&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/a&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;NPR and Fox News contributor Juan Williams does not see vitriolic blanket-statements condemning conservatives as "racist," "homophobic," heartless, anti-intellectual, and depraved (to name a few), as divisive or erroneous in the least.
Aside from possibly race and identity-politics, there are few things more toxic and effective than the poisonous doctrine of class warfare - no matter how many times leaders may promise heaven on earth. In his April 7 speech at Harvard University, AFL-CIO leader (and corrupt money-laundering extraordinaire) Richard Trumka did his part to perpetuate fear and hate of conservatives - repeatedly inciting the "righteous anger" the "working class" should have against "servants of economic privilege" and "apostles of hate."
"There are forces in our country that are working hard to convert justifiable anger about an economy that only seems to work for a few of us into racist and homophobic hate and violence directed at our President and heroes like Congressman John Lewis," Trumka said. "Most of all, those forces of hate seek to divide working people -- to turn our anger against each other."
This week, Americans of all political stripes will take to the streets -- so to speak -- to protest what they see as excessive and out of control government spending and intrusion into their daily lives. Among the many Tea Party protesters, however, will be individuals plotting to undermine the peaceful grassroots movement.
Blogger Glenn Reynolds spotted CrashTheTeaParty.org today, a website that claims to represent "a nationwide network of Democrats, Republicans and Independents who are all sick and tired of that loose affiliation of racists, homophobes and morons; who constitute the fake grassroots movement, which calls itself 'the Tea Party.'"
Their plan is to "infiltrate" Tea Party protests to create the false impression that protesters are racists by … being racists. That's right, they will bring with them offensive signs and give wildly offensive interviews to reporters, all with the intention of smearing a movement that wouldn't bring those signs or give those interviews themselves. It remains to be seen whether the mainstream media will take the bait.
Burdened under a mountain of student debt? CNN has the answer - dedicate ten or so of your prime years to social work. Better yet, join the AmeriCorps.
Doing her best to channel Obama's inspiring Notre Dame address about shunning immoral endeavors in the private sector for virtuous and selfless community endeavors, Stephanie Elam sounded more like a Public Works Czar than a CNN correspondent on April 6.
"This is really about helping those people out, getting them ready as far as the choice for best course of study for the financial future," Elam said on CNN "Newsroom." "So you may consider the possibility of enlisting in public service. Demand is really high right now for government jobs ... and any remaining debt on federal student loans will be forgiven after you work full-time in public service for ten years."
Everyone knowsFox isn't "the most trusted name in news," so who is? You guessed it - and at least one media tycoon agrees. Speaking at the University of Missouri as a guest-lecture, Craig Newmark - Craigslist founder and informal Obama technology-advisor - argued that Comedy Central is the most trustworthy news source.
Invited to discuss the future of journalism - where individuals virtually have an endless amount of resources in today's era of new media - Newark stressed how trust and credibility was paramount, emphasizing the exemplary dedication Comedy Central shows have for investigative reporting and fact-checking.
"[R]ight now I think the most trusted news show in the U.S. is the one that does the best investigative reporting and the most trustworthy reporting - and that's ‘The Daily Show,'" Newark said - and he wasn't joking. "Sounds like a joke - isn't."
YouTube is assisting Al "Eco-Prophet" Gore throw a Hail Mary pass to the growing segment of Americans who are "deniers" of the earth's "climate crisis."
This time, Gore and his organization, the Alliance for Climate Protection, has issued a call-to-arms for young hipsters to make a video about climate change for a YouTube Video Volunteer contest.
"[A]s we celebrate our 40th Anniversary of Earth Day, we need action on all fronts," Gore said on the weekend YouTube sermon. "We need to build on our individual and family commitments and use this historic moment facing our nation to make a difference in changing our laws and creating a better world for ourselves, our children and our grandchildren."
Gore's message was the same - humans cannot wait another minute preventing the doomsday catastrophe of global warming, and thus America's youth must demand a drastic and immediate overhaul of the entire U.S. economy.
At Newsweek, the global warming crusade remains an important mission. The magazine's latest push came in an interview by CNN contributor Fareed Zakharia of Energy Secretary Steven Chu.
Zakaria threw softballs to Chu throughout the article, as Newsweek showed it was simply a matter of when - not if - the administration should continue to pursue a drastic environmental agenda.
It was revealing which questions were - and were not - asked of the president's Energy Secretary. Zakaria made zero reference to ClimateGate, the economic consequences of cap-and-trade and alternative energy, and no mention of the actual validity of climate change.
"Do you think that having a price on carbon is crucial?" Zakaria asked.
"I absolutely believe a price on carbon is essential - that will send a very important long-term signal," Chu said. "[But] if it's five years from now, I think it will be truly tragic, because other countries, notably China, are moving ahead so aggressively. They see this as their economic opportunity to lead in the next industrial revolution."
Last night, Bill O'Reilly used recent instances of inflamed, occasionally violent liberal protests to give his viewers a lesson in Media Bias 101. Lefties dominate the mainstream press, and are reluctant to cover events that don't suit their agendas, he stated.
O'Reilly showed a number of clips of just the latest instances of leftist political outrage (video and transcript below the fold). He concluded that "One side gets scrutinized. The other side gets a pass. Awful." Indeed, while it seems one can hardly pick up a newspaper or turn on the television without hearing about the horrible, violent racists in the Tea Party movement, there has been relatively little coverage of the left's violence and vitriol.
Betcha didn't know this: The Tea Party movement's growth was fueled by unemployed people lying around looking for something to do, and will have a hard time sustaining itself if/when the economy improves. Oh, and they're so distressed about the country's circumstances that they're letting emotion trump facts in their advocacy.
Those are the themes of Kate Zernike's Saturday New York Times report with the snarky title ("With No Jobs, Plenty of Time for Tea Party") that was carried on the front page of Sunday's print edition. Really. This is the same Kate Zernike (pictured at top right) who saw racism where none existed at CPAC in February, and who Andrew Breitbart memorably called "a despicable human being." Seems about right.
Zernike's piece attempted to support its pathetic premises and implications as a result of discussions with three -- count 'em -- individuals. One of them is in her mid-60s and collecting Social Security, hardly the archetype of a disaffected unemployed person. Comically, the Times reporter characterized Dick Armey's FreedomWorks a "Tea Party group," even though it was founded in 1984, a quarter-century before Rick Santelli's memorable tea-party rant last year.
CNN's Kyra Phillips brought on three heterodox Christians on Friday's Newsroom, all of whom endorse leftist "reforms" inside the Catholic Church, such as women priests and acceptance of homosexual behavior. Phillips didn't bring on any guests who defended the Church's positions, and actually egged on her guests: "I think all three of you need to head to the Vatican and institute some change."
Not content with simply reporting on threats against lawmakers who voted for ObamaCare, the liberal media has taken it upon itself (with a bit of direction from the Democratic Party) to blame the Tea Party and the GOP.
The coverage stands in stark contrast to the litany of similar instances involving conservatives and Republicans. They were treated as isolated incidents, if discussed at all.
CNN's Rick Sanchez certainly got the memo. On his show yesterday, he accused "crazy talk show hosts" and the Republican Party of inciting violence against lawmakers who voted for ObamaCare. He took to Twitter later that night to ask, "are our fundamentalist zealots different than the ones we fight in afghan and iraq?"
Jenna Wolfe's introduction of her guest on health-care on this morning's Today would surely have led viewers to believe he was an objective, apolitical voice. What Wolfe didn't tell viewers is that Andrew Rubin is a HuffPo blogger and such an avid ObamaCare advocate that he urged his readers to call Congress to lobby for it. Here was Wolfe's intro:
"The politics surrounding the health-care bill has dominated the headlines. But with the House vote just hours away, what's really in this bill and how will it affect you? Andrew Rubin is the host of HealthCare Connect on Sirius XM Radio. Andrew, good morning. There's so much involved here; let's try to break this down as to how it affects everyone."
I began to doubt Rubin's objectivity when he explained the bill's effect on various demographic groups by in in every case claiming that ObamaCare would be good in the short run and even better in the long run. I kept waiting for some balance: a discussion for example, of the massive taxes ObamaCare imposes, or the loss of freedom that the individual mandate represents. But never a discouraging word was heard. ObamaCare: all gain, no pain!
In a textbook case of liberal-hysteria, Henry Rollins and Vanity Fair fear the Texas Board of Education will wipe Thomas Jefferson, Martin Luther King, Charles Darwin, the Civil Rights movement, and even the outcome of the Civil War from the pages of history in the "Great Texan Rewrite."
At question is a recent victory by conservatives on the Texas Board of Education to adopt more traditional curricula to be used in writing history textbooks. Due to its size, books adopted by Texas tend to be used extensively throughout the nation.
To Rollins, any attempt to restore balance to the teaching of history is an attempt to turn back the clock.
"I fear for the New Deal reforms and any other bits of history that may somehow be seen as inconvenient truths to the architects of the Great Texan Rewrite," Rollins wrote. "I cringe when I think that the Civil Rights movement may magically vanish from the state's history or be seen as an uppity peasant uprising. What will become of the Emancipation Proclamation? The outcome of the Civil War?"
The Associated Press seems to have two unwritten rules on how and when to write stories about leftist controversies and setbacks:
Rule Number 1 -- Do little or nothing with the story until you can figure out a way to make center-right critics or victors look like the bad guys.
Rule Number 2 -- If you're thinking about covering the story any other way, refer to Rule Number 1.
On Thursday, the 1851 Center for Constitutional Law in Columbus, Ohio, which describes itself as "an independent legal center dedicated to protecting the constitutional rights of Ohioans from government abuse," announced a significant legal victory for Buckeye State residents interested in clean elections:
The 1851 Center for Constitutional Law achieved victory in its state RICO action against the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN). ACORN has agreed to settle the case and will cease all Ohio activity as a result. In its settlement with the 1851 Center, ACORN agreed to surrender all of its Ohio business licenses by June 1, 2010. Further, the organization cannot support or enable any individual or organization that seeks to engage in the same type of activity.
That seems like a pretty clear-cut result, doesn't it? Not if you're the Associated Press's JoAnne Viviano, whose brief item on Saturday followed the rules above, fabricated a supposed loophole in the settlement, and gave an unnamed spokesman an open mic to despicably play the race card:
Newsweek's Howard Fineman has some stellar advice for President Obama in his recent column: stop governing for the press. Though Fineman makes the right diagnosis for Obama's ailment -- his "journalistic" style -- his assessment of its consequences is facile and ignores the intricacies of electoral politics.
Fineman insists that it is not really important to cater to the journalistic establishment, as the public's dismal perception of the news media as an institution -- Gallup ranks it in the realm of banks and Congress, according to Fineman -- renders it irrelevant in the political sphere. "Obama needs to stop caring what we all write and say," Fineman insists, as voters are absolutely sickened by Old Media. "If we attack you, it only proves you must have some redeeming qualities," he adds.
The reality of Old Media's role in the process, however, is more complex. It boils down to the candidate's style. If the candidate is a George W. Bush -- with strong political credentials and less reliance on rhetoric -- the media exert a lesser influence. Voters can decide for themselves whether the candidate is qualified. But for a Barack Obama, who relied on rhetoric and idealism due to his lack of political credentials, Old Media has much more sway over the views of the electorate.