In a Saturday afternoon dispatch, the Associated Press marred a mostly decent presentation of the August employment situation reported by the government yesterday in three ways.
The first is the story's misleading headline: "The Job Market Fed Faces: Healing But Still Ailing." Whether there's genuine healing going on is highly debatable, given that the labor force participation rate fell to 63.2 percent, its lowest level since 1978, and the clear trend towards part-time work. AP Economics Writer Paul Wiseman's treatment of that trend and another related one represent the report's other three weaknesses, as seen in the following three paragraphs (bolds are mine):
In Part 1 of this pair of posts on the press whitewash of President Barack Obama's "red line" on the use of chemical weapons in Syria, I looked at the Washington Post's Glenn Kessler, who excused President Barack Obama's contradictory "red line" remarks as "offhand" statements" which shouldn't count for much compared to official statements and press releases by diplomats and the White House. (Who knew?)
PolitiFact's Jon Greenberg has also predictably weighed in with the excuse-makers. The web site didn't even bother applying a "Truth-o-meter" rating, claiming that Obama "never denied using the phrase or giving it the significance it has today." Excerpts follow the jump (bolds are mine throughout this post):
As expected, the establishment press's excuse-makers have come out to defend the indefensible, claiming that President Barack Obama's Wednesday assertion in Stockholm that "I did not set a red line" with Syria and chemical weapons doesn't contradict his oft-quoted August 2012 "red line" statement.
I didn't think that the Washington Post's Glenn Kessler to be among those trying to explain it all away; (meanwhiile, PolitiFact has predictably weighed in; its post is the subject of Part 2). While he has been a bit heavier in handing out the "Pinocchios" in situations involving Republicans and conservatives than to Democrats and liberals, Kessler has rarely tried to convince readers that they didn't see or hear what the really saw and heard. Unfortunately, that's exactly what he did in this instance by giving the obvious contradiction "no rating." Excerpts follow the jump (bolds are mine; HT Hot Air):
Associated Press reporter Matt Lee has been on the State Department beat for almost four years. At times, he has been one of a very few establishment press reporters who will challenge Obama administration officials when their assertions become too brazen to tolerate.
One of those times (HT Business Insider via Hot Air) occurred yesterday, when hapless State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki attempted to defend as "courageous" John Kerry's statement that the administration's non-mandatory request for a Congressional vote on U.S. military involvement in Syria:
Yesterday in Stockholm at the G20 summit, President Barack Obama said the following in regards to the use of chemical weapons in warfare: "I didn't set a red line. The world set a red line." For years, the press obsessed over the alleged untruthfulness of President George W. Bush's "16 words" ("The British Government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa") in his 2003 State of the Union address. Today, the Associated Press won't even directly quote the first six of Obama's.
Regardless of whether one thinks that Obama's statement is an attempt to abdicate personal responsibility for his original "red line" (i.e., in the sand) statement a year ago or an assertion that his year-ago statement merely affirmed what the rest of the world believes, it's news, and should be presented to the nation's readers and viewers in quotes. But not at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, which is barely recognizing the existence of the "red line" at all.
Monday morning, 22-term Democratic Congressman Charlie Rangel of New York, as reported by Tal Kopan at the Politico, said that President Barack Obama's drawing of a "red line" on Syria is "embarrassing," and that he is against "putting our kids in harm’s way to solve an international problem."
Rangel is the third most-senior House member of either party. If a senior Republican congressperson similarly criticized opposed a Republican or conservative president in a matter such as this, there would be widespread establishment press coverage. In this case, there's very little. This is not unusual for stories detrimental to Democratic Party interests, as the rest of the establishment press all too often seems content to say, "Oh, that was already in the Politico, so we don't have to cover it."
In a Thursday morning speech, AFL-CIO head Richard Trumka told of how surprised how he was, in the words of Time's Alex Rogers at it Swampland blog, "that employers have reduced workers’ hours below 30-a-week to avoid an employer penalty scheduled to go into effect in 2015."
Here's another "surprise" from Rogers' report, at least for those who think that lawmakers sit alone and draw up 2,000-page pieces of legislation on their own (except when the media relays claims by the left that evil industries write laws which evil Republican congressmen simply rubber-stamp them): Trumka admitted organized labor's direct involvement in in writing Obamacare. In other words, labor created the mess it is now denouncing (bolds are mine throughout this post):
Its actual headline is, "Obama's history-defying decision to seek Congressional approval on Syria." As Instapundit's Glenn Reynolds noted a short time ago: "You can read this entire article about Obama going to Congress over Syria without seeing any mention that Bush went to Congress over Iraq and Afghanistan." After the jump, readers will get as much as (or maybe more than) they can stand, complete with the "There were no WMDs in Iraq" lie (bolds are mine):
At the New York Times's "Dot Earth" blog, Andrew Revkin reports that "the science on a connection between hurricanes and global warming is going in the opposite direction" — as in, the evidence that the connection between human-caused global warming (overgenerously assuming that there is any) and hurricane intensity or frequency of "heavy precipitations events," as shown in a "snapshot" of a draft of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's upcoming report, is one of "low confidence."
Fine, as in "It's about time." But at the bottom of that same graphic are findings relating to sea levels which appear to be laugh-out-loud funny.
On Thursday morning, the Columbus Dispatch's Darrel Rowland reported ("Gun battle slated for high noon in downtown Columbus") that "Mayors Against Illegal Guns is coming to Columbus on Friday for an event urging Sen. Rob Portman to support expanding background checks on gun purchases," and that "guns rights groups are planning to make their voices heard, too." There was no follow-up on what happened at the Michael Bloomberg-supported group's rally; we'll see why shortly.
Organizing for Action, the group which exists solely to promote President Barack Obama's agenda, also scheduled a rally to promote illegal-immigrant amnesty in Columbus on Friday. Intrepid center-right blogger Jesse Hathaway reported attendance (HT Twitchy) of perhaps a half-dozen. A search of the first couple of pages (here and here) of results on "immigration" at the Dispatch's web site returned no relevant coverage (results were not sorted by date, but seemed to generally move backwards in time).
If we're to believe Tom Raum's Friday afternoon report at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, the economy is humming along smoothly enough that we really shouldn't think about it that much any more, especially as something to consider when voting. And besides, it's being "eclipsed" by "other pressing events."
I'll stay away from those other "events" in the interest of concentrating on the 3-1/2 paragraphs Raum employed to convince readers that things really are okay, followed by a quote from a reliable leftist apparatchik (bolds and numbered tags are mine):
Well, if you can't say anything good about how your guy's foreign policy is going, you can at least try to trash one of his predecessors so your guy doesn't look so bad.
That would appear to be the idea behind David E. Sanger's attempt at the New York Times today to falsely inform readers that the two towering leaders of the 1980s, Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher, angrily disagreed over the UK's choice to retake the Falkland Islands after Argentina had seized them. Sanger linked back to a previous Times story which clearly pointed to the real disagreement, but never described anything resembling anger. Additionally, a cable from Secretary of State Alexander Haig during that era directly refutes Sanger's contention.
Illinois Democratic Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky added her ignorant voice to the cacophony of economic confusion Thursday on the low-rated MSNBC show hosted by Chris Hayes. If a Republican congressperson made a statement as breathtakingly ignorant as the one you're about to see, it would get wider media play. Schakowsky's "brilliant" suggestion almost certainly won't.
Why has nobody thought of this fantastic idea? Here it is as "articulated" by Schakowsky in response to a question from Hayes (HT Bridget Johnson at PJ Tatler; bolds are mine; click on the "transcript" tab at the link to see the full text of the discussion; the original transcript has no caps and is missing some punctuation, but yours truly has added them where needed):
Reporter Josh Lederman is in on it too. He never specficially describes Obama's current actions as "orders." Alternate words include "announced," "proposing," "executive actions," and "new policy." It isn't until the second-last of his 13 paragraphs that Lederman informs readers that "the White House has completed or made significant progress on all but one of the 23 executive actions Obama had previously ordered in January" (but the actions themselves are not called "orders".
[UPDATED BELOW] CNN showed a complete double standard by smacking Republican Allen West for his "plantation" remarks while giving liberal Cornel West a pass for the same offense.
On Tuesday morning, anchor Carol Costello played a clip of West decrying the "21st century plantation" for blacks and suggested that such a statement hurt the GOP's minority outreach. However, when liberal Cornel West ripped the "Obama plantation" and said Al Sharpton was its "head house Negro" on Sunday's New Day, neither CNN co-host called him on it. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
In the world of Jesse Jackson and the people over whom he has undue influence, if you oppose President Obama's agenda in any way, on any issue, you're a racist. No debate, no allowance for principled objection, discussion over. Apparently now, in Jackson's view, if you in any way oppose the frightening and financially reckless expansion of government we've seen during the past five years or the government's impending de facto takeover of healthcare — the two core issues which drove the grass-roots movement which became known as the Tea Party — you're not only a racist, you're automatically a secessionist.
In a starry-eyed, mostly incoherent item at the Politico ("Obama, race and class") which is so bad it could be the topic of three additional posts, Glenn Thrush completely misidentified Jackson's position in the civil-rights pantheon, while Jackson, once again, showed how utterly devoid of substantive arguments he is:
Two such instances occurred in one speech on Friday in Binghamton, New York, where Obama told the audience at a "town hall" meeting that "we don't have an urgent deficit crisis," and that the deficit has "now dropped at the fastest rate in 60 years." Neither statement made it into Julie Pace's onsite coverage of Obama's visit. Later that day back in Washington, the AP's Jim Kuhnhenn was still running cover for Obama (bolds are mine):
"With all the talk that took place" during the Bush administration "on Iraq about the need for congressional approval, before there was a military strike, have you heard anyone in the media question how unilaterally Barack Obama can decide to send us to war [in Syria] without congressional approval?" NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell asked Neil Cavuto on the August 26 edition of his Fox News Channel program Your World. Cavuto opened the segment by noting that many in the media were prodding Obama to use unilateral military action against Syria for having crossed a "red line" by deploying chemical weapons.
There's also the fact that "this administration, [and their] foreign policy is an incoherent mess, " Bozell added, noting that in 2011, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton hailed Syrian dictator Bashar Assad as a "reformer," something the liberal media are not reminding the American public about now. "No one's asking the question, 'Do you folks in this administration have any idea what you're doing?!'" [watch the full segment below the page break]
Maybe, in sync with the predictable press reactions to oft-seen bad economic numbers, the headline at Julie Pace's late-morning story at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, should have been: "Obama Foreign Policy Falls Apart ... Unexpectedly."
Pace's pathetic attempt at pathos in assessing the status of the Obama administration's foreign policy tells AP readers that some of it is due to "factors outside the White House's control" (as if previous administrations haven't had to deal with unanticipated developments), that Obama "misjudged" what would come in the Arab Spring's aftermath (we're supposed to ignore all of those contacts he's had with Muslim Brotherhood officials and their sympathizers), and that the NSA revelations have hurt our standing in Europe (without noting that the root cause is NSA's spying on U.S. citizens). Excerpts follow the jump.
In March, the Associated Press ran a 470-word "Big Story" item about the case of of Elaine Huguenin, an Albuquerque wedding photographer "who declined to shoot the commitment ceremony of a lesbian couple." The couple filed an anti-discrimination claim with the state's Human Rights Commission, which found that Huguenin, who runs her business with her husband, had violated state law.
New Mexico's highest court upheld the commission's ruling against Ms. Huguenin on Thursday. Though the AP has an 11-paragraph story on the ruling by Barry Massey which several AP-subscribing outlets throughout the country have picked up, searches on Ms. Huguenin's last name which returned no results and no new "Big Story" result indicate that it is not present at the AP's national site. Especially since it was such a big deal five months ago, what explains the, well, light exposure? Excerpts from what AP management is apparently now treating as a local story follow the jump:
In advance of a month full of events oriented towards demonstrating displeasure with lawmakers who won't give carte blanche to President Obama's healthcare, gun control, "climate change," and immigration agendas, Organizing for Action Executive Director Jon Carson claimed that "We will own August." New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his Mayors Against Illegal Guns also anticipated high levels of support during this months's "No More Names: National Drive to Reduce Gun Violence" tour.
It hasn't happened in either case. If right-wing, tea party, or social conservative efforts fizzled as OFA's and MAIG's clearly are, those failures would be making headlines, and shown as proof that support for the related causes is weak. By contrast, the national establishment press is mostly ignoring and in some cases obscuring these left-wing implosions.
It seems that beat reporters need to be constantly reminded that they have their hands full just discerning the facts, relaying them coherently, and leaving the "analysis" to others (while presenting alternative analytical takes when necessary).
The nagging is really for their own good. If they would stick to their jobs instead of "analyzing," which often is a cover for getting out their own opinions, they wouldn't be suffering the feelings of embarrassment Christopher Rugaber at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, should be feeling right now (I'm not saying he is; I'm saying he should be). You see, yesterday he said that a best-in-years report on existing-home sales meant one thing. Today, thanks to the Census Bureau's disastrous July new-home sales release, he said it meant quite another.
Why should things change now? NBC and ABC on Thursday night and Friday morning yet again refused to identify San Diego Mayor Bob Filner, accused of sexually harassing 18 women, as a Democrat. ABC's Good Morning America devoted two segments to his impending resignation, but mentioned only "Mayor Bob Filner."
In contrast, GMA on Thursday hyped the controversy of the Lieutenant governor of Texas, a "rising Republican star," caught on a 911 call after he attempted to free his niece from jail. On Friday, only CBS This Morning identified Filner as a Democrat. Reporter Bill Whitaker interviewed the ex-fiancee of "Democrat Bob Filner." Whitaker explained, "They already shared a passion for progressive politics, the fight for the homeless, civil rights, immigrants."
The journalists on Good Morning America, Wednesday, again ignored the fact that San Diego's mayor, accused of sexually harassing 18 women, is a Democrat. Yet, on the very same program, reporter John Muller made sure to highlight Texas Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst's scandal, chiding the "rising national Republican star." Dewhurst is under fire for intervening after his step-niece was arrested for shoplifting.
Guest co-host Josh Elliott hyped, "Caught on tape, the rising political star pressing police to let his niece out of jail." Lara Spencer hyperbolically introduced the story as a "stunning 911 call." Underlining the point, Muller informed, "David Dewhurst is one of the most powerful people in Texas politics and a rising national Republican star." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] Regarding a prominent Democrat embroiled in a scandal, however, correspondent Amy Robach only noted, "Well, the embattled mayor of San Diego has reached a settlement in the sexual harassment lawsuit against him."
Corrected from earlier | People who were wondering whether Jesse Jackson would ever respond to the killing of an Australian collegiate baseball player by three "bored" teens in Oklahoma, one of whom allegedly posted racist tweets, got their answer today. Jackson's early Wednesday morning tweet read as follows: "Praying for the family of Chris Lane. This senseless violence is frowned upon and the justice system must prevail."
A BBC report has police saying that "The boy who has talked to us said, 'we were bored and didn't have anything to do, so we decided to kill somebody.'" The related Associated Press report doesn't carry the direct quote, instead impersonally relaying that "Police say the two killed 22-year-old Christopher Lane on Friday to overcome boredom." The AP has not reported Jesse Jackson's passive-voice reaction at its national site, effectively covering for a statement which comes off as "Well, I'd better say something, so let's get it over with." Let's compare Jackson's reaction to what he wrote on July 15 in a Chicago Sun-Times column about the George Zimmerman-Trayvon Martin situation:
A Republican congressman is claiming that then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton so vehemently denied that the Benghazi attack on September 11, 2012, was a terrorist strike that she "screamed" at a congressman in a private briefing just two days later.
What do you do when you're the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, and you're trying to do your level best to described a floundering economy without incurring the wrath of the Obama administration? You search for positive-sounding words to describe what is in reality a marginal situation.
The AP seems to have settled on "steady" and "steadily."
On Wednesday at CBSnews.com, Sharyl Attkisson reported that "Three more weapons from Fast and Furious have turned up at crime scenes in Mexico."
A Google News search at 10 a.m. on ["Fast and Furious" guns] (typed exactly as indicated between brackets, past 7 days, sorted by date, with duplicates) returned 26 relevant items. Very few (to be noted later) are from establishment press outlets.
NBC hasn't covered the ongoing Bob Filner sexual harassment scandal an almost a week, despite a fifteenth woman – a 67-year-old great grandmother – coming forward on Thursday, accusing the former congressman of making lurid comments to her. The last time that NBC's morning and evening newscasts covered the Filner story was on August 10, 2013.
On Friday, ABC and CBS's morning newscasts aired news briefs on the latest development in the Filner controversy, but both failed to identify him as a Democrat. Mere seconds before reporting on the San Diego mayor, CBS This Morning pointed out the Democratic party affiliation of Filner's former congressional colleague, Jackie Speier, who blasted the Defense Department on their handling of sexual assaults in the military. [audio available here; video below the jump]