For those who want the short answer to the question in this post's title, the answer is almost definitely "no." But in a New York Times op-ed piece in mid-September, former Obama "car czar" Steven Rattner effectively said that the so-called "fact-check" site known as PolitiFact should make amends to former Alaska Governor and vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin.
Does anyone remember anybody in the establishment press speculating over who might hold Cabinet positions during a second Bush 43 term in the fall of 2004 without qualifying it with "if Bush is reelected"? Neither do I.
But at the Politico on Thursday, the closest Josh Ragin got in an item found at the web site's "The Cable" section speculating on whether John Kerry or Susan Rice is better positioned to be Obama's nominee to be "America's next top diplomat" (i.e., Secretary of State) was quoting a Republican Senate aide who merely referred to the possible fireworks "if it's the beginning of a second Obama term." That doesn't even qualify as a qualifier either, because a victorious Obama might attempt to confirm a new nominee to replace Hillary Clinton during a lame-duck session. Excerpts follow the jump (bolds are mine):
Apart from bias, which is obviously the bigger problem, the establishment press's tendency towards unforced errors in business news reporting has grown over the past several years.
So when I received the following email from USA Today this morning (available here without subject line), I thought it surely must be mistaken. Well, the item I thought was a mistake wasn't one, while the one I thought was probably okay understated the underlying catastrophic news. Clarity follows the jump:
This one requires a reality check before proceeding. First, a long list of Democratic Party candidates (per ABC on September 4, five for the Senate and eight for the House) -- including many incumbents, chose not to attend the Democratic Convention in Charlotte because (let's get real) they wanted to put distance between themselves, Barack Obama, and Obama's policies (and still do). Candidate absences from the Republican Convention were relatively rare. Second, six of the most recent seven polls listed at Real Clear Politics as of 10 p.m. ET showed Obama leading Mitt Romney nationally by three or fewer points. Third, state polls have turned in a couple of surprises this week showing Obama leading by just two points and one point, respectively in Pennsylvania and Ohio -- despite Ohio's poll giving Democrats a 10-point sample advantage.
It would therefore seem that you must live in a tightly sealed, Obama-loving bubble to believe that it is Mitt Romney's campaign which is "faltering" and that GOP House candidates would therefore try to avoid being seen with him. Politico's Alex Isenstadt lives in such a bubble (bolds are mine):
Saturday, Joel Pollak at Breitbart's Big Journalism observed that President Obama is having some trouble drawing big crowds these days, and that the national press is exaggerating the turnout at his events.
He specifically cited the situation this weekend where Politico and the Wall Street Journal claimed there were "18,000 people inside a 5,000-seat arena at an Obama event in Milwaukee on Saturday." I looked at the Associated Press's national site, and the AP did the same thing, while adding that the crowd with the made-up size was "the largest yet of Obama's reelection campaign." Really.
Gosh, those were the good old days. Or so Meghan Barr at the Associated Press apparently believes.
As what's left of the Occupy Wall Street mobs from last year staged a pathetic anniversary protest in New York on Monday, Barr, in one of the most embarrassing reports I've seen emanate from the self-described "essential global news network," described them as "celebrating" and "giddy." At the end, in a desperate attempt to show that the movement actually accomplished something, Barr cited vague and I believe completely unrelated statements from two banks about "working with their customers." For those with strong stomachs, the first five and final paragraphs of Barr's beclowning follow the jump.
Patricia Zengerle's coverage of U.S. Senate candidate Tim Kaine at Reuters assumes that the Democratic former Virginia Governor committed the mother of all gaffes today. I'm not so sure. It may be that David Corn's secret video of Mitt Romney commenting on the 47 percent of Americans who pay no income taxes and are dependent on the government is sending polling data in the opposite direction from what was intended and is starting to rattle Democrats.
Let's see. The supposed consensus at Real Clear Politics shows Mitt Romney trailing Barack Obama by less than three points. As shown yesterday, one of the most recent five polls used in RCP's calculations from CBS and the New York Times is so cooked that it weighted registered Democrats over registered Republicans by 35%-22% -- so you can easily knock more than a point from Obama's lead for that item alone. Rasmussen has Romney up by two, and Gallup has gone from Obama +6 to Obama +1 in just a week.
So naturally, according to John Whitesides at Reuters, it's Romney's campaign which is "reeling" (bolds and numbered tags are mine):
Entitled "Fed action a welcome move for small businesses" and appearing very early this morning, it claims that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's third round of quantitative easing, aka QE3, is "confidence-building move" and "a reassuring sign to the financial markets as it signals to investors that U.S. monetary policy will serve as a stabilizing partner as our economy continues to improve. Its author, Sharon Jenkins, described as "is principal and lead strategist at Alexandria-based My Brothers’ Business Enterprises," is not a regular at the blog; unlike all others I saw, her name isn't even hyperlinked at her post. So who is this "Sharon Jenkins"?
The liveliest speaker at the Democratic National Convention has been hosting her own show on Current TV for almost 8 months now. A relatively new cable network co-founded by Al Gore that goes out of its way to hire all of the unabashedly liberal pundits it can get. Former Michigan governor Jennifer Granholm has fit right in.
On Friday night’s episode of The War Room, the Canadian-born talk show host began her hour-long show with a factually-challenged diatribe that bordered on the same intensity level of her now infamous speech in Charlotte. Coincidentally, the topic of discussion was kind of about the same thing – jobs, the defense of Obama’s seemingly successful stimulus bill of 2009, and more Romney criticism of course.
On September 10, in a writeup which should qualify them for immediate entry into the Journalistm Hall of Shame, the Associated Press's Julie Pace and three other assisting reporters, acting as virtual stenographers for the Obama administration and water-carriers for his reelection campaign, declared that "It will be a rare day on the campaign when terrorism, or national security for that matter, will be a center of attention," while insisting that Obama has the presumptive upper hand in such matters.
Oops. Excerpts from their write-up follow the jump. It would be funny if it weren't so tragically sad (bolds are mine):
In her writeup covering the Census Bureau's latest release of income and poverty data, Hope Yen at the Associated Press quoted University of Michigan economist Sheldon Danziger, who specializes in "Applied Policy, Labor Markets, Poverty and Social Welfare," describing the news that the official poverty rate was statistically unchanged, moving from 15.1% of all Americans to 15.0%, as "good news and surprising."
Mr. Danziger should consider moonlighting as a stand-up comedian. With laugh lines like that and another one which will be seen in the excerpt after the jump, he's a can't-miss prospect, even if his delivery is as deadpan as Steven Wright's. But, as will also be seen shortly, he has stiff competition from White House bloggers. In both cases, audiences will be laughing at them, not with them (bolds are mine):
After reading Ben White's "Morning Money" report at the Politico this morning, I went back to Real Clear Politics to make sure that I was up to date on the current polling. Currently, RCP has Barack Obama up by 3.2 points over Mitt Romney in an average of the five most recent polls -- and at least two of those polls are cooked.
But if we're to believe White, "bankers and their lobbyists" are already talking "about what went wrong with the Romney campaign, as if there is no chance the GOP nominee will turn it around and eke out a close win over President Obama."
A NewsBusters tipster found a perfect example of why those who monitor journalists' original news coverage should look at all iterations of stories they file. Doing so reveals whether coverage of a story improves or degrades over time. It also occasionally exposes biases reporters otherwise try to cover up.
The Associated Press's Ben Feller, tasked with writing a story immediately following President Obama's speech at the Democratic National Convention Thursday night, appears to have done the latter as he wrapped up a very early version of his story ("Obama's convention evolution complete"; time-stamped at 11:16 p.m. September 6 at the AP's hosted2.ap.org site and at the Rutland Herald):
If Clint Eastwood's "empty chair" speech last week at the Republican National Convention was so weak, pathetic, pitiful, ineffective, and worthless, why is far-left Hollywood not just leaving him alone? Instead, some are so upset that they're starting to take aim at the Academy Award winner's next movie and apparently rooting for it to be a flop (while using the passive-aggressive "will it hurt him?" technique).
At the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, entertainment writer Derrik J. Lang seems to have been enlisted to let everyone know that if "Trouble with the Curve" is a box-office flop, it may be because Eastwood had the gall to speak out against Dear Leader:
In a rare moment of reluctant semi-journalism which didn't name names, the Politico's Reid Epstein, in reporting about the God-Jerusalem debacle at the Democratic Convention Wednesday night, buried the lede, waiting until his third paragraph to tell readers (belated HT to Weasel Zippers) that "While the campaign at first said Obama had seen the language prior to the convention, it later said he did not learn of the issue until Wednesday morning, when he became aware of seeing news coverage of the issue." (Sidebar: Does that mean Dear Leader watches the despised Fox News?)
Then Epstein just let the disclosure sit there with no additional follow-up. His story has what is in my view a deliberately "this is boring" headline ("Division over platform at DNC" ... zzz). However, it would appear that the folks over at the Associated Press got to Epstein's third paragraph, and went into full-keister-covering mode.
On August 27, PolitiFact, the once promising but now largely co-opted "fact check" site run by the Tampa Bay Times, finally got around to evaluating Obama campaign spokesperson Stephanie Cutter's August 22 lie that "over the past, you know, 27 months we've created ... more jobs than in the Bush recovery, in the Reagan recovery." Apparently, the evaluators lost their matches as they only gave Cutter's statement a "False" tag.
In doing so, PolitiFact clearly ignored its own rating guidelines, wherein "False" means that "The statement is not accurate," while "Pants on Fire" means "The statement is not accurate and makes a ridiculous claim." Cutter made an utterly ridiculous claim, which I will illustrate beyond what was already shown on Sunday (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog):
You have to hand it to CNN: Even with abysmal ratings, the 24-hr news network manages to keep things gay. Anderson Cooper officially “came out” in early July, joining fellow anchor Don Lemon on the out-of-the-closet news team.
And it’s not just the on-air talent. CNN has a has a special relationship with Gays and Lesbians Allied Against Defamation (GLAAD), the activist group. CNN parent TimeWarner is a “Platinum Underwriter” of the GLAAD Media Awards. So are the three broadcast networks. What makes CNN special is its give-and-take with GLAAD.
CNN has mentioned or turned to GLAAD for opinions and expertise on gay-related stories at least 41 times in the last two years. That’s compared to just two mentions on the three broadcast networks combined. In many cases, GLAAD’s view was presented unopposed.
Poor David Espo and Nancy Benac. A six-paragraph squib this morning headlined "Calls for gun control stir little support" at the wire service's national site and "Despite a string of high-profile shootings, calls for gun control stir little support" at Newser.com really should have been titled "Why Aren't You Guys Politicizing This, D**nit?"
The two AP "reporters" bitterly wail and gnash their teeth over how little outcry there has been for stricter gun laws after the Aurora, Colorado theater massacre (shown in full because of its brevity and subsequent later expansion, to be discussed later in this post, and for fair use and discussion purposes).
Brian Ross is not the only blameworthy party in the irresponsible smear of a 52 year-old Tea Party activist as the possible perpetrator of the Aurora, Colorado theater massacre early Friday. Everyone on the set of ABC's Good Morning America could have said "wait, this is premature and irresponsible" -- and didn't.
GMA co-host and former Bill Clinton advisor George Stephanopoulos's response to Ross's identification of 52 year-old "Jim Holmes" as perhaps the same "James Holmes" who had been arrested earlier that morning arguably added legitimacy to Ross's speculation: "OK, we'll keep looking at that. Brian Ross, thanks very much." As if they would actually find more of a tie-in, which of course they didnt. In his column yesterday, the underappreciated John Kass at the Chicago Tribune succinctly described Stephanopoulos's likely mindset, as well as how ABC was originally hoping to blame "social media" for Ross's GMA team-assisted smear (bolds are mine):
On July 13, President Barack Obama told a campaign audience in Roanoke that "If you’ve got a business -- you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen." As Geoffrey Dickens at NewsBusters pointed out on Wednesday, it wasn't until July 17 that any of the Big Three broadcast TV news networks recognized the existence of the remark -- and two of them failed to run the actual quote.
Part of the reason for the avoidance is that the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, which seems to be serving as the establishment press's signal caller and official Obama administration water carrier, has given the remark little heed -- so little that, as is so often the case with controversial remarks made by leftists or Democrats, Obama opponent Mitt Romney had to force it into the news by incorporating it into his stump speech. At that point, as seen in Steve Peoples' Tuesday writeup carried at AZcentral.com (HT to an NB tipster; the story is already gone at the AP's national site), the wire service went into "mean Republicans attack" and "what he really meant" modes (bolds are mine):
One useful interpretation of a journalist's use of "some people say that" or "some argue that" without an accompanying reference to or quote from a subject matters expert is that such phrases really mean "in my opinion."
This is the very likely case in a disingenuously headlined Associated Press story yesterday by Andrew Taylor concerning the standoff between the Republicans, who want the current income tax structure continued for at least another year, and Democrats, including President Obama, who want to raise taxes (they describe it as "ending the Bush tax cuts," which fully went into effect over nine years ago) on "the rich," currently defined as people making $200,000 or more per year. Taylor put the following statement out there without identifying any economist or political analyst who might agree with it (because I doubt there are many, or even any):
Recent job cuts at Alabama newspapers have been steep. The Birmingham Business Journal, which (ahem) apparently is not among the participants, reports that "Three of Alabama’s largest daily newspapers, including the Birmingham News, will lay off about 400 employees as they cut back their printing schedules and increase their focus on digital." The other affected publications include the Huntsville Times and the Mobile Press Register. The job cuts are on the order of 50%-60%.
Across the Alabama border in Florida at the Pensacola News Journal, cartoonist Andy Marlette did not handle the layoff news well, as will be seen after the jump.
The Tweet watchers at Michelle Malkin's Twitchy.com caught an Associated Press reporter seeking out (perhaps the term should be "solicitweeting," with "solicitweetion" as the related noun) negative comments about Mitch Daniels on Twitter earlier today from Purdue alumni and students about the appointment announced today of Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels to become that school's next president.
After the jump, readers will see AP reporter Tom LoBianco's birdbrained tweets, followed by what should be considered an embarrassing mistake in the copy of his co-authored story (saved here for future reference, fair use, and discussion purposes):
As preposterous as it sounds, some union journalists believe they’re “the 99%.” At least that’s what they chant.
The Communications Workers of America (CWA), which represents journalists and other communications workers, has shown again just how far left it really is. On its website, CWA posted a video from its protest against Verizon, aka “verigreedy.” The protest resembles more an Occupy Wall Street demonstration, and small wonder, since CWA openly supports Occupy.
Today at a press conference, President Barack Obama said that "we’ve created 4.3 million jobs over the last 27 months, over 800,000 just this year alone. The private sector is doing fine. Where we’re seeing weaknesses in our economy have to do with state and local government ..."
Later, in a cleanup attempt, in what the press is claiming is a walkback, Obama really didn't walk it back: "Listen, it is absolutely clear that the economy is not doing fine. That's the reason I had the press conference. ... what I've been saying consistently over the last year, we've actually seen some good momentum in the private sector. We've seen 4.3 million jobs created -- 800,000 this year alone -- record corporate profits. And so that has not been the biggest drag on the economy." He never pulled back from saying that "the private sector is doing fine." The abject panic at the Associated Press is evident in tonight's report by Ken Thomas and Philip Elliott (HT to a NewsBusters tipster; bolds and numbered tags are mine):
As of 11:15 p.m., with about 74% of the votes counted, Wisconsin Governor Scott was ahead of Scott Barrett by roughly a 56-44 margin. Late-arriving votes from Democrat-heavy areas of Milwaukee and Dane Counties seemed likely to narrow the margin to perhaps 10 points. (UPDATE: Because heavier margins of support for Barrett in those two counties, the final margin was 6.9%, roughly the same as Barack Obama's 7.4% margin in 2008, which was never labeled a "survival" or "narrow" or anything similar.)
The headlines currently at CNN (HT to a NewsBusters tipster) and the Associated Press both act as if Walker squeaked by. Pics follow the jump.
As he has for nearly 16 months, the AP's Scott Bauer once again included a false statement about what the budget repair legislation also known as "Act 10" passed by Wisconsin's legislature and signed by Governor Scott Walker last year did to public-sector unions and their ability to collectively bargain.
He wrote: "Enraged Democrats and labor activists gathered more than 900,000 signatures in support of the recall after they failed to stop Walker and his GOP allies in the state Legislature from stripping most public employees of their union right to collectively bargain." Y'know, Scott, you've been writing this garbage for 16 months. You can keep it up for the next 16 months or 16 years, but what won't change is that fact that your statement today and the equivalent statements you've written in the past simply aren't true, and never will be.
Leave it to the Associated Press's Scott Bauer to take shots at Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker -- in seeming orchestration with Democratic Party officials -- for limiting his public recall election appearances because of unsafe conditions leftists in the Badger State have created, "public safety" officials have too often condoned, and the establishment press has generally downplayed for well over a year.
Bauer and his "Essential Global News Network" have been among the lead minimizers of the death threats, violence, hatred, and intimidation of Wisconsin businesses by organized labor during that time. A year ago, the AP treated the arrest of a person who emailed death threats to 16 GOP state senators and their families as a local story. AP and others have also mostly ignored the non-stop stalking by Walker's civility-challenged opponents, who among other things have disrupted school visits (with vandalism), a Special Olympics ceremony, and a police memorial. So it took a special brand of gall for Bauer and bullying Dems, including Walker's recall opponent, to criticize the governor for having to take conditions on which the press has not shone a light into account in how he campaigns (bolds are mine):
The New York Times apparently wants us to believe that it has done its journalistic duty by issuing a "correction," the text of which will follow the jump, to an especially odious May 12 op-ed ("Fables of Wealth") written by William Deresiewicz.
The author, who describes himself as "An essayist, critic and the author of 'A Jane Austen Education,'" originally claimed, as quoted at the Media Research Center's TimesWatch, that "A recent study found that 10 percent of people who work on Wall Street are 'clinical psychopaths' ... (The proportion at large is 1 percent.)." Uh, not exactly (bolds are mine throughout this post):