On Monday, the Insitute for Illinois' Fiscal Sustainability (IIFS), an outfit associated with the Civic Federation, a "nonpartisan" organization which appears to have leftist instincts and funding, warned that the state government's $8 billion stack of unpaid bills will grow to $22 billion in five years. IIFS correctly blames out of control pension costs, and recommends several reforms which don't seem to match the urgency of the situation.
One thing the report doesn't do, concerning which the press appears to be completely incurious, is estimate how long it will take vendors in President Barack Obama's Democrat-dominated home state to get paid if the backlog of unpaid bills really becomes that large. The answer, in brief, is: "so long that no one with a brain will want to do business with the state, likely causing its government to completely collapse."
I presume everyone remembers how when the New York Times published information about a classified program designed to track the movement of alleged terrorist funding through the international banking system Bush administration officials threatened to prosecute Times reporters and management over what they had done? No you don't, because although some conservatives and Republicans thought it might be a worth considering it didn't happen. You can guarantee that if it had, it would have become a TV-radio-newspaper-Internet establishment press obsession for days on end.
Tonight, Washington Post's Bob Woodward alleged that because he is sticking to his guns in insisting that sequestration was the brainchild of the Obama White House, that it was personally approved by Obama, and that bringing up tax increases now to try to resolve the current sequestration impasse is "moving the goalposts," he has been threatened by "a very senior person" in the White House. Woodward said so on CNN's Situation Room earlier today. What's even more troubling is that Woodward told two Politico reporters the same thing yesterday, and that they appear to have sat on the revelation until this evening when the CNN interview forced their hand. Relevant portions of the CNN transcript and Politico column follow the jump.
Good Morning America on Tuesday edited out an inaccurate assertion by First Lady Michelle Obama that the gunman in a Chicago killing used an "automatic weapon." Regarding the death of teenager Hadiya Pendelton, Mrs. Obama claimed, "And she was caught in the line of fire because some kids had some automatic weapons they didn't need." This quote appeared online, but not on the February 26 interview with Robin Roberts.
The Chicago Tribuneexplained, "...A day after her homicide on Jan. 29, Chicago police Superintendent Garry McCarthy said the gunman possibly used a revolver because no bullet casings were found at the shooting scene — as there would be if a semi-automatic or automatic weapon had been used." No ABC show on Tuesday or Wednesday offered an explanation as to why the network helpfully covered up for the First Lady's error. [Updated with video.]
Scott Pelley chided House Speaker John Boehner on Tuesday's CBS Evening News, indicating the Republican leader was largely to blame for the imminent sequester: "You said that the President didn't have the guts to do what needed to be done on the budget. Today, you said the Senate has to get off its ass. Those don't sound like the words of a man seeking to bring people together to compromise."
Pelley had already pointed the finger at Boehner for the impasse over the federal budget back on the February 12, 2013 edition of the evening newscast, mere hours before the State of the Union:
The rogue collection of bureaucrats known as the Environmental Protection Agency continues its lawless ways. The establishment press continues to serve as enablers.
In January, a federal court vacated the EPA's regulations mandating the use of cellulosic biofuels which weren't produced at all until last year, and barely exist now. In response, the agency, directly defying the court, increased the production requirement of these fuels for 2013. In covering the story, as I noted at NewsBusters on January 31, the Associated Press's Matt Daly only wrote that "An oil industry representative said the Obama administration was thumbing its nose at a ruling last week by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia" -- as if the agency's action was only a matter of some eeeevil oil guy's opinion.
At the Hill on Monday, Pete Kasperowicz, employing the establishment press's usual "mean Republicans attack" spin, is packaging something first aggregated on Friday at Michelle Malkin's Twitchy.com exclusively as an accusation coming from GOP Congressman Steve Stockman of Texas.
Malkin's credit-denied crew, with the help of citizen activists who did much of the dirty work, detected what I will call "Astro-Tweets," a Twitter-driven variant of the campaign tactic known as "astroturfing," which aims, using a variety of means, to create the illusion of public support for a cause where little or none exists (bolds are mine throughout this post):
It's hard to imagine that Nicholas Confessore and his editors at the overwhelmingly Obama-friendly New York Times were just making things up when he reported over the weekend in a Page A1 story that the Obama campaign's Organizing For America operation, now "rebooted" as the supposedly independent Organizing For Action, "will rely heavily on a small number of deep-pocketed donors ... whose influence on political campaigns Mr. Obama once deplored," granting them quarterly access to the Obama if they raise $500,000 or more.
According to Charlie Spiering at the Washington Examiner, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, when asked about the story, in Spiering's words, "asserted that OFA was an 'independent organization' that just happened to support the president’s policy agenda," "refused to address the New York Times reporting," and "ended the press briefing as reporters were still asking questions and fled the podium." If the late Tony Snow had done this while serving as press secretary under George W. Bush, we'd be seeing a continuous loop of the walkout on network TV all day long. The key paragraphs from the Times story, the reaction of MSNBC's Chuck Todd follow the jump, and the Associated Press's non-denial denial firewall follow the jump.
You've got to hand it to the headline writers at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press. They sure know how to abuse their power to shape public perceptions.
The headline at Martin Crutsinger's report this morning on projected economic growth for 2013, which the wire service is treating as this morning's "Big Story," reads: "ECONOMISTS PREDICTING MODERATE GROWTH IN 2013." Many people using computers, tablets and smartphones will see that headline, conclude that the economy's not so bad, and move on without clicking through. Too bad Crutsinger's first two paragraphs directly contradict that headline.
Call her MoveOn.Mika . . . Bob Woodward has demonstrated that President Obama was not telling the truth during the third presidential debate when he flatly stated that "the sequester is not something that I've proposed. It is something that Congress has proposed.” In fact, it was two Obama aides who devised the plan, and Obama himself who approved it.
But when Joe Scarborough wanted to get those facts on the record this morning, Mika Brzezinski repeatedly declared that discussing Obama's failure to tell the truth was "silly." Things got heated between the co-hosts at one point as Mika cut Joe off, saying "I need to talk." And trying to end the uncomfortable discussion, Mika actually announced "I'm moving on." View the video after the jump.
On Wednesday, the New York Daily News reported that Rob Morrison, an anchor for CBS's New York City affiliate WCBS, had quit his job after being arrested the previous weekend for an alleged assault on his wife, CBS MoneyWatch anchor Ashley Morrison. While this news story has been picked up by CNN, the New York Times, and UPI, CBS's own morning and evening newscasts have yet to report on it.
By contrast, CBS This Morning devoted several news items to the arrest and trial of Fox News correspondent Douglas Kennedy in 2012. During a April 4, 2012 report, then-anchor Erica Hill pointed out his affiliation with the news outlet before interviewing the journalist's attorney:
Sadly, MSNBC cannot follow sister network NBC’s lead in reporting the story of disgraced Democrat Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill) and his impending prison sentence for illegally using campaign funds for personal usage.
On the February 20 edition of NBC Nightly News as well as on the February 21 edition of Today, both shows correctly identify Jesse Jackson Jr. as a Democrat, but their MSNBC morning show Morning Joe skipped the important detail. [See video after jump. MP3 audio here.]
The New York Times is engaging in defense of scandal-plagued Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez, accused of influence peddling in his suspicious relationship with Florida eye doctor Salomon Melgen, who flew Menendez to the Dominican Republic on his private plane. Menendez intervened on Melgen's behalf in two Medicare disputes.
Last Sunday the paper very strangely chided a conservative group, the National Legal and Policy Center, for its part in exposing the Menendez scandal (even though the Times itself collaborated with the group, using its data to write its February 1 front-page story on the Menendez accusations). As if to make up for helping put the story (somewhat) into the mainstream press, the front of Thursday's edition featured a sympathetic profile of Menendez by reporters Raymond Hernandez and Sam Dolnick, "Amid Questions About Ethics, Battle-Tested Senator Digs In." The Times gave more space to supporters who suggest the whole thing is a smear job.
At the Associated Press yesterday, Michael Kunzelman managed to write a 500-word story about the arraignment of former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin on bribery charges without once mentioning that Nagin is a Democrat.
That's probably not a "Name That Party" record for "Most Words Used in an AP Story about a Democratic Politician Tainted by Scandal and/or Corruption," but it's especially galling, given the mayor's culpability (along with then-Governor Kathleen Blanco) for failing to ensure that New Orleans was evacuated on a timely basis in anticipation of Hurricane Katrina, and given the national press's non-stop blaming of President George W. Bush for the death, destruction and mayhem which followed. Excerpts from Kunzelman's report follow the jump (bolds are mine):
Following up on an item posted yesterday -- 48 hours after it issued an order to subscribing publications and outlets to "kill" a story it filed on Sunday ("Sen. Paul: Voters want to round up immigrants") claiming that Kentucky Republican Senator Rand "sees voters wanting, quote, 'somebody who wants to round people up, put in camps and send them back to Mexico,'" the story is still present on web -- at several sites whose URL begins with hosted2.ap.org. These are sites belonging to AP itself. Additionally, the story is still present at the widely read Yahoo.com.
Wait a sec: aren't liberals supposed to be the edgy dudes who like to buck the established order? The ones who glorify guys with the guts to "speak truth to power"? So what could possibly have turned these hipsters into a bunch of suddenly stodgy sourpusses reaching for their Miss Manners? Looks like in-your-face is no longer in style when the upstart in question is—horrors!—a conservative!
Continuing his campaign for proper etiquette--and against Ted Cruz--Frank Bruni appeared on Morning Joe today. The New York Times columnist recently wrote a cranky column calling Cruz an "an ornery, swaggering piece of work." Bruni took things one stodgy step further, calling Cruz a "whippersnapper." Frank fulminated over Ted's temerity in actually voting against the august John Kerry. View the video after the jump.
Liz Sidoti's offering this morning at the Associated Press, which is clearly a serious competitor for Worst AP Item Ever, carries the "column" label. As such, I suppose we're expected to accept the idea that the "analysis" offered is hers alone.
But you would think that the self-described "essential global news network" would have enough business judgment to review a reporter's work to make sure it doesn't talk down to the general public and indict its own reporting on the economy at the same time. You would be wrong, as will be seen after the jump.
The trashing of Ted Cruz continues apace in the bien-pensant MSM. From the New York Times, to the Washington Post, to Politico and elsewhere, the liberal media has the new Republican Senator from Texas in its sights.
Joe Scarborough is clearly camped out on the Cruz-bashing bandwagon. Earlier this month, so offended by Cruz was the sensitive Scarborough that he wouldn't deign to mention him by name. Today, not to be outdone by Frank Bruni, who called Cruz "an ornery, swaggering piece of work," Scarborough declared that Cruz acts like "a carnival barker at a local Republican event." View the video after the jump.
In anticipation of Jesse Jackson Jr.'s indictment on Friday afternoon, Jonathan Allen and John Bresnahan at the Politico seemed all too willing to hand out sympathy cards to Jackson and his wife, both of whom stand to do time in prison for offenses relating to their raid of the congressman's campaign funds.
Specifically, the Politico pair wrote: "It’s a story of a Chicago power couple that lost track of the line between campaign cash and personal funds in a spiral of money troubles." Gosh, I didn't know that line was so blurred. Excerpts from the write-up follow the jump:
ABC News reporter David Wright chose an odd metaphor to describe criticism of the possible timing of the selection of Pope Benedict XVI's successor.
Wright, speaking live from the Vatican on today's Good Morning America, reported that yesterday the Vatican spokesman had floated a trial balloon suggesting that the conclave to choose a new Pope could be moved up from its originally established date of March 15th. Continued Wright: "but in other quarters of the Church, that trial balloon is being shot down faster than an old-school nun might rap you on the knuckles." View the video after the jump.
On Friday, Renee Dudley at Bloomberg News exposed the contents of February 12 internal emails revealing that Walmart executives are worried -- very worried -- about sales during the first 10 to 14 days of the its most current fiscal period (mostly likely either the first 10 days of February if the company works with calendar months, or 14 days if it began the second period of the fiscal year on Monday January 28).
Their primary concerns are the payroll tax hike and delayed tax refunds, but they may also need to start worrying about higher gas prices (bolds are mine):
Anyone who thinks that setting a parody site of PolitiFact would be a good idea should reconsider. The site already parodies what a true fact-checking effort would look like on a nearly daily basis.
On Tuesday, the site's Molly Moorhead evaluated Marco Rubio's claim during his State of the Union response speech that spending cuts involved in sequestration were originally the idea of President Barack Obama and the White House. Of course they were. But after admitting that the "(The Price of Politics author Bob) Woodward’s reporting shows clearly that defense sequestration was an idea that came out of Obama’s White House," she still evaluated Rubio's claim as only "half-true" (bolds are mine):
The liberal hosts on MSNBC just couldn't get enough of watching U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio reach for a glass of water and take a sip during his rebuttal of President Barack Obama's State of the Union address, airing the snippet a staggering 155 times during the Wednesday broadcast schedule, according to a tally by the Daily Caller.
Other cable news networks showed the footage far less often. CNN aired it 34 times, and Fox News Channel played it just 12 times -- all of which took place on “The O’Reilly Factor” and “Hannity” while the hosts discussed the media's obsession with the Florida Republican's “watergate” incident.
Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Tex.) looks mighty good for a woman who has to be at least 148 years old.
My take on her age is based on a statement the Congresswoman made today while objecting to impending spending reductions relating to sequestration in which she characterized herself as "a freed slave." Slavery as a legal institution ended in the U.S. in 1865 at the end of the Civil War. Here is what Ms. Jackson Lee said, in context (HT Rush Limbaugh):
New Jersey Democratic Senator Frank Lautenberg, 89, announced today that he will retire in two years at the end of his term. President Obama predictably praised him as a "steadfast champion of the people of New Jersey."
Well, not all of the people of New Jersey. In March 2011, Lautenberg spoke at a pro-Planned Parenthood rally in Englewood. In a statement the establishment press steadfastly ignored, Lautenberg, responding to vocal pro-life protesters, said the following (video still present at LifeNews.com; bolds are mine throughout this post):
From the day President Obama nominated him, the New York Times has oozed sympathy for the plight of Chuck Hagel, Obama's nominee for secretary of Defense. Times reporters have warned darkly of the disappearance of congressional "comity" and "courtesy" (as if the clubbiness and glad-handing endemic to the U.S. Senate represents some shining exemplar of good government) among Republicans, who dare suggest Hagel came off grossly uninformed and confused on foreign policy issues in his congressional hearings.
Kirsten Powers is definitely liberal, but not blind.
Here's her take on President Obama's State of the Union speech last night as expressed in her Wednesday USA Today column, with an added bonus of a delicious potshot at the sycophantic press: "It was so hackish, so devoid of any theme or purpose, that it makes one wonder whether part of Obama just wants to see how bad he can be before his cultists in the news media can see it." Obviously, from reaction seen at various NewsBusters posts today (here, here, here, and here), the cultists are still mesmerized. More from Powers's good by hardly error-free column is after the jump (bolds are mine):
Imagine the firestorm of outrage that would be ignited in the liberal media were a conservative paper like the Wall Street Journal to hire a Republican pundit who insulted First Lady Michelle Obama during last year's campaign, even if said pundit subsequently apologized. Now compare that to the silence that most certainly will greet the Washington Post hiring Hilary Rosen as an opinion contributor.
Paul Bedard of the Washington Examiner notes that Rosen -- who infamously snarled that Ann Romney "didn't work a day in her life" -- will co-author" the paper's 'Insider's' column with Republican strategist Ed Rogers" (emphasis mine):
Crutsinger also erroneously reported that the government turned in its first monthly surplus since April of last year (no, it was really September of last year), told readers that "the government is spending less on some programs" without telling them that total year-to-date spending so far is up by over 3 percent compared the first four months of fiscal 2012, and made it appear as if "higher taxes for some Americans" are narrowing the budget gap a bit, when the fiscal cliff raised taxes for every employed and self-employed person who pays into the Social Security system. Other than that, he did a good job (/sarc). Exceprts follow the jump (bolds and numbered tags are mine):
NBC's Savannah Guthrie pressed White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett on Tuesday's Today over President Obama's apparent inaction on many key issues. After reading an excerpt from the President's 2009 address to Congress, Guthrie wondered, "You know, Americans have heard these refrains over and over again. What can you guarantee to the American people that will turn these words into actual action?"
By contrast, on Tuesday's CBS This Morning, anchor Charlie Rose merely prompted Jarrett to provide the Obama administration's talking points on the upcoming State of the Union address:
As Geoffrey Dickens at NewsBusters noted earlier today (HT Washington Examiner), at what a White House blog post described as "a roundtable discussion to talk about the Administration’s plan to reduce gun violence" in Philadelphia yesterday, Vice President Joe Biden said, apparently to the members of the press assembled there, that "To be very blunt with you, we’re counting on all of you, the legitimate news media to cover these discussions because the truth is that times have changed."
Biden's clearly key takeaway quote is not present at that White House blog post written up by Tobin Marcus. In what might be an example of a news agency taking a cue from this treatment and deciding to be "legitimate" in the administration's eyes, Joann Loviglio at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, also failed to report Biden's obviously newsworthy comment. A few paragraphs from Loviglio's lapdog effort follow the jump: