The press, even in the wake of yesterday's awful reported 2.9 percent annualized first-quarter contraction, continues to regale us with noise about the economy's "recovery" during the past five years.
As P.J. Gladnick at NewsBusters noted yesterday, CNNMoney.com's Annalyn Kurtz, in giving readers "3 reasons not to freak out about -2.9% GDP," concluded her report by telling readers that "This recovery is underway, but it's choppy and still very slow." Actually, it may have resumed this quarter. At the Associated Press yesterday, Martin Crutsinger all too predictably wrote that"the setback is widely thought to be temporary, with growth rebounding solidly since spring." After almost five years of this nonsense, it's long past time that they start telling readers, listeners, and viewers that this economy bears more resemblance to the 1930s economy under Franklin Delano Roosevelt than it does any post-downturn economy we've seen since the end of World War II. Hard proof follows the jump.
News reports indicate that Vincent A. "Buddy" Cianci, who was Mayor of Providence, Rhode Island from 1975 to 1984 and 1991 to 2002, is again running to be mayor of the Ocean State's capital city. The opening sentence at the Associated Press's Thursday morning story calls him a "twice-convicted felon who led Providence as mayor for 21 years," who is going "to run as an independent."
Local web news outlet GoLocalProv reports that"Cianci has filed papers Wednesday declaring his candidacy for Mayor of Providence - as an Independent." Cianci's Wikipedia entry indicates that he was a Republican from 1974 until December of 1982, and has been an independent for the past three decades. All of this makes it mystifying how a Google search on the former two-time mayor's name, as seen after the jump, could tag him as a Republican:
Behold Stein's tweet, which, modified to defend the indefensible in the Obama administration, essentially goes like this: "See, Chris told his parents that the dog ate his homework. Doesn't that help prove that our dog might really have eaten my homework?" But instead of a dog, it's the big, bad IT monster which crashes computer hard drives (HT Twitchy):
Wednesday's CBS Evening News ignored House Speaker John Boehner's announcement that he will file a lawsuit against the Obama administration over its use of executive orders. The evening newscast thus followed the example of CBS This Morning, which also omitted this development. ABC made its first on-air mention of the story on Wednesday's World News, with an 18-second news brief by anchor Diane Sawyer.
On NBC Nightly News, host Brian Williams set aside 26 seconds of air time to Speaker Boehner's planned legal move. During his news brief, Williams falsely indicated that the Republican Party controls all of Congress – when, in reality, it only controls the House of Representatives: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
On Wednesday's New Day on CNN, The Daily Beast's John Avlon and his wife, Margaret Hoover, gloated over the recent defeats of Tea Party-backed candidates in Republican primaries. Avlon strongly hinted that the grassroots conservatives movement was full of crazy people: "Don't call it the establishment. It's the sanity caucus."
Anchor Kate Bolduan wondered if former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor's loss earlier in June was a "one-off." Hoover rattled off a list of prominent conservatives who apparently defeated in the wake of Mississippi Republican Senate candidate Chris McDaniel's defeat on Tuesday: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
On Tuesday, the Brookings Institution, with a David Leonhardt column at the New York Times serving as its de facto press release, published a study (full PDF here) entitled, "Is a Student Loan Crisis on the Horizon?" Unsurprisingly, their finding, in one word, was "No." Their more qualifed finding: "[I]n reality, the impact of student loans may not be as dire as many commentators fear." Their underlying "logic": "typical borrowers are no worse off now than they were a generation ago."
It's bad enough that much of the data presented by Beth Akers and Matthew M. Chingos, the study's authors, directly contradicts the sunshine they're trying blow up our keisters. What's even worse is that you don't even need to dig into the detail once you learn which year's data they used — 2010. For heaven's sake, guys, total student loan debt has grown by between 50 percent and 60 percent since then.
Sounding a familiar theme at the Associated Press ahead of awful economic news, Christopher Rugaber and Martin Crutsinger prepared a column in advance of tomorrow's final report on the economy's first-quarter economic contraction reminding us, with far more certainy than is justified, that "A GRIM US ECONOMIC PICTURE IS BRIGHTENING."
Guys, before you "brighten," you first have to step out of the darkness. According to the wire service's dynamic duo of reporting on the economy (I guess I could add Josh Boak and call them "the three amigos"), tomorrow's report on the nation's first-quarter Gross Domestic Product is expected to show that it contracted by "nearly 2 percent" on an annual basis. AP reports a week ago didn't include "nearly." Bloomberg News is currently predicting a contraction of 1.8 percent. I'd like to be wrong, but I'm concerned that it might be significantly worse. But Rugaber and Crutsinger say, "Don't worry, be happy; the rest of the year will probably be fine" (bolds and numbered tags are mine):
Slate's Mark Joseph Stern could have been mistaken for the mother from A Christmas Story, after slamming the classic Looney Tunes cartoon franchise on Tuesday for its comedic gun violence. Stern hyped that "the antics of Bugs Bunny and co. were a lot more brutal than you remember," and bewailed the shorts' "blasé approach to gun suicide."
The liberal website boosted the writer's article with a Tweet that asserted that "the rampant gun violence in Looney Tunes would be unthinkable today." Stern, who normally "covers science, the law, and LGBTQ issues" for Slate, led his lament by noting how the Supreme Court rebuked California's attempt to restrict the sale of gory video games to children by citing the violent humor of the Warner Brothers features:
In a Thursday New York Times op-ed, columnist Timothy Egan, who previously "worked for 18 years as a writer" at the Times, went after Wal-Mart as "net drain on taxpayers, forcing employees into public assistance with its poverty-wage structure." In his view, working at Wal-Mart and receiving its "humiliating wages ... certainly keeps you poor."
At the company's blog, David Tovar, Walmart's vice president for corporate communications, armed with a photocopy of Egan's op-ed and a red pen, ripped Egan's contentions to shreds (portion presented was reformatted to fit the available space; HT Instapundit):
CNN's Michaela Pereira gushed over President Obama on Monday's New Day, after co-anchor Kate Bolduan asked for "any best advice for first-time parents" (Bolduan is pregnant with her first child): "Getting parental advice from the President of the United States – fantastic." Pereira complimented Bolduan for her question: "Well done getting a little advice from the President, too. I like that."
The expectant journalist admitted that she was "a little self-serving at the end," but her colleague reassured her: "No, no, no, no, no! It was really sweet." The President gave a pretty basic answer to Bolduan's question: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
On Monday's New Day, CNN's Kate Bolduan blasted conservative super PAC America Rising for a supposedly bigoted attack on Hillary Clinton. The group recently attacked the former secretary of state as being out of touch: "If Hillary is going to run for president, she might be advised to take a lengthy sabbatical from her $200,000 per pop speaking tour and private shopping sprees at Bergdorfs to try and reconnect with what's happening back here on Earth."
Bolduan asserted that America Rising's statement was a "stupid, sexist remark on a shopping spree that has nothing to do with...or shouldn't have anything to do with" the recent criticism of Clinton for her "dead broke" claim. [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
In a flawed Sunday morning report on the wave of "Unaccompanied Alien Children" — that's the Department of Homeland Security's term — illegally crossing the nation's southern border, the Associated Press's Alicia Caldwell passively noted that the influx "is widely perceived as becoming a humanitarian crisis." Then, in her very next sentence, she wrote that "The system is now so overwhelmed that children are being housed in Border Patrol facilities ill-equipped to handle them." Is that statement a real or "perceived" fact, Alicia?
The AP reporter, supposedly revealing the results of a wire service "investigation," blamed the situation on "an overburdened, deeply flawed system of immigration courts and a 2002 law intended to protect children's welfare." Amazingly — well, it would be amazing if this wasn't the Administration's Press — this clueless collection of Inspector Clouseaus assigned no blame to the most obvious culprit, namely President Barack Obama's unilaterally imposed and widely reported (including by Caldwell herself) "Deferred Action for Child Arrivals" (DACA) policy in 2012. Two weeks ago, the administraion extended DACA.
Though the Associated Press is covering "the waves of immigrant children crossing the border illegally" (AP's words), the wire service doesn't seem to believe the story is particularly important. As of 8:15 this morning ET, the situation had no presence on its "Big Story" page. The dominant "Big Story"? How made-up "scandals" and Democratic Party prosecutor-driven "criminal investigations" are hurting the potential 2016 presidential candidacies of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and New Jersey's Chris Christie.
There are four "non-Big" AP stories on the "wave" (here, here, here, and here). One of those stories reports that "The spike in border crossers - southern Texas is now the busiest border crossing in the country - prompted the Homeland Security Department earlier this year to start sending families to other parts of Texas and Arizona for processing before releasing them at local bus stops." Here's a reasonable question which the AP reporters seem uninterested in pursuing: Why did DHS request private help in responding to the influx — in January — indicating that it somehow knew that the wave was coming?
Yesterday's NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll garnered a great deal of attention, primarily because of its findings about President Barack Obama, particularly the one showing showing that "54 percent – believe the term-limited president is no longer able to lead the country."
The poll also asked respondents a series of three questions on the Common Core standards which were clearly designed to elicit majority support for them and to then mislead the public into believing that the opposition is a noisy, anti-Obama minority which should be ignored. Stories covering the poll at both NBC and the Wall Street Journal indicated as much.
Some readers here may have a tough time discerning why the economy's mediocre to stagnant performance isn't fully registering with the general public, which feels that things aren't going too well but still doesn't how weak the situation really is. The obvious answer is that the press overemphasizes any good news which appears and downplays marginal or bad news — while occasionally, as seen last night in Bloomberg's coverage of yesterday's largely miserable homebuilding statistics, pretending that bad news really was good.
Perfect examples of this problem came in two CNNMoney.com emails I received this afternoon. The emails has news which could be considered news, while leaving out some clearly bad news which delegitimizes their email's optimism:
Much to the dismay of the newspaper that has an obsession with peddling Democratic attacks on the Koch brothers, Hulse was unable to find anyone besides three progressive activists that had anything negative to say about them. Instead, he found that the Koch brothers are held in high regard in the community where, among many generous donations, the Wichita State University basketball arena was renamed the Charles Koch Arena in 2003 after he gave $6 million to have it completely renovated. Here’s more from Hulse:
There must have been a double delivery of Obama administration koolaid over at Bloomberg News this morning.
The business wire service, which ordinarily is slightly less imbalanced in its business and economics reporting than the Associated Press, somehow interpreted a 6.5 percent seasonally adjusted decline in housing starts during May and a nearly identical percentage drop in building permits — with both figures lower than May 2013 — as evidence that "the homebuilding industry stabilized after a first-quarter swoon." That's ridiculous. The first quarter was supposedly as bad as it was because of bad winter weather; so there should have been an overcompensating bounceback. It hasn't happened. Meanwhile, that second Bloomberg koolaid delivery must have been the one meant for AP, whose Josh Boak turned in a report noteworthy for its unusual sobriety (bolds are mine throughout this post):
Though he has dispatched 275 military advisors to that country, his virtual ultimatum to that Iraq Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki — no angel by any stretch, but still a better alternative to a civil war or an ISIS-run terrorist state — that he must negotiate with all parties involve before the U.S. will even think about making a meaningful military commitment seems destined to allow matters to deteriorate further, perhaps to the point of no return. Despite all of this, Donna Cassata and Bradley Klapper at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, implied in a Tuesday afternoon dispatch that anyone who doesn't support plan-free military action now is some kind of hypocrite — except for Democrats who say that their support of going to war in 2002 was a mistake. The AP pair also falsely asserted that weapons of mass destruction "were never found" in Iraq.
Following the insulting trend of tagging every objection or concern raised about Obama administration policy and conduct as exclusively the province of Republicans and conservatives to an outrageous extreme, Rebecca Kaplan at CBS News opened her Monday story about whether the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) might plan terrorist acts in the U.S. as follows: "Republicans are sounding the warning that the next 9/11-like terror plot could emerge from the regions of Iraq and Syria that are currently dominated by an extremist group bearing down on Baghdad." Really, Rebecca? No one else is worried about that? Wanna bet?
Kaplan also seemed to believe that it would calm readers' nerves if they learned that it will be "at least a year before ISIS might pose more of a serious threat to the U.S." If that was meant to make me feel better, it didn't work. Excerpts follow the jump (links are in original; bolds are mine):
The people at NBC who are agonizing over David Gregory's ongoing audience freefall at his Meet the Press perch need only look at the first half of his interview with 2012 Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney to see why it's happening.
Gregory basically refused to acknowledge the existence of Romney's core argument, which is essentially that he wouldn't have done what President Obama did in withdrawing from Iraq so hastily and leaving things to run on auto-pilot. Instead, he insisted on sticking with a "Well, what would do now?" line of questioning, even though, as Romney indicated, he doesn't have access to intelligence briefings necessary to assert an informed opinion. When that didn't work, he tried to hold Romney to a stale 2007 quote from when conditions were obviously very different. The fact is that wouldn't be facing the present quandary if Obama hadn't acted directly against the (often privately expressed) desires of Iraqi leaders and U.S. intelligence officials to maintain at least a significant advisory presence there. Video and a transcript of the Iraq-related portion of the interview follow the jump (bolds and numbered tags are mine):
Paul Whitefield "is a 30-year veteran of the Los Angeles Times who is copy chief of the editorial pages and a writer/scold for the Opinion L.A. blog." He also has a serious but far from unique case of Bush (and Cheney) Derangement Syndrome and an extraordinary ignorance of the history of last decade's war in Iraq, which included a victory in 2008 the U.S. press, with rare exceptions, refused to recognize.
Clueless Paul, in a Thursday post, claimed that what has happened recently in Iraq proves (italics are his) that "the invasion ... in 2003 wasn’t a very good idea" Admitting that "I don’t know how these things keep sneaking up on us" (I can help you with that, Paul), he petulantly wrote: "Send Mr. (George W.) Bush and Mr. (Dick) Cheney over there and let them try to negotiate a solution," because "they’re the ones who created this mess in the first place." Well no, Paul. Excerpts from Whitefield's work, followed by a pointed riposte from a National Review op-ed, follow the jump (bolds are mine throughout this post):
On Friday's NBC Nightly News, Brian Williams strongly hinted that the recent Islamist blitzkrieg in Iraq was completely former President Bush's fault: "Make no mistake: what's happening in Iraq right now is a direct outgrowth of the U.S. decision to invade the country over a decade ago." However, he glossed over the Obama administration's failure to negotiate a continued U.S. presence and pulling out all American forces in late 2011 as a factor in the crisis.
Williams repeated his point to David Gregory: "How does the President sell any action at all to the component of the American people who feel...it's not our dance...even though...we broke it?" Gregory seconded his contention: "Right, that Pottery Barn rule: you broke it; you own it; you got to somehow fix it." Later, Stephanie Gosk did reference the troop pullout, but didn't mention President Obama by name: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
You've got to hand it to Martin Crutsinger at the Associated Press. His Thursday writeup on May's disappointing retail sales result — a 0.3 percent increase compared to expectations of 0.4 percent to 0.6 percent — was infused with optimism. It's "unlikely to derail overall economic growth." There's been a "revival in consumer spending." We'll see "boosting incomes and supporting stronger consumer spending" as a result of more hiring."
But along the way, Crutsinger quietly downgraded his estimate of second-quarter and full-year economic growth. Just a few weeks ago, AP reports were predicting that the second quarter might come in at an annualized 4 percent, and that 2014 on the whole would surely come in at 3 percent or greater, even after the first quarter's annualized 1.0 percent contraction. Let's see how Crutsinger stealthily reported a far lower estimate after the jump (bolds and numbered tags are mine):
First the good news: Ashley Fantz, Lindsey Knight and Kevin Wang at CNN did a very good job this morning in an online writeup debunking Michael Bloomberg's anti-gun group's claim "that there have been 74 school shootings in the past 18 months."
The bad news is that the web page still contains the CNN video which aired the Bloomberg claim without challenging it, thereby continuing to give it credibility.
It took less than two hours for leftist media types to imply that voters in VA-07 who ousted House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in last night's Republican congressional primary did so partly because of Cantor's Jewish faith. It took less than 12 hours for Politico refugee Reid Epstein, now inexplicably at the Wall Street Journal, to go after Brat with a misleading headline — "David Brat’s Writings: Hitler’s Rise 'Could All Happen Again'" — which was repeated in the opening sentence. Without presenting any evidence, Epstein also claimed that Brat predicted a "second Holocaust."
Uh, Reid: Adolf Hitler died 69 years ago. David Brat, based on what you presented, was talking about the rise of tyrannies like Hitler's (who was predominantly a leftist; what about "nation socialism" doesn't anyone understand?) — or Stalin's, or Mao's, or Ho Chi Minh's, or any number of relatively petty Eastern European tyrants propped up by Moscow during the Cold War. But an apparent desperate need to get a Hitler reference into a headline about a Republican insurgent ruled the day.
Desperate to tie David Brat's shocking defeat tonight of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in Virginia's Republican Congressional Primary to something other than voter resistance to illegal-immigrant amnesty, some on the left are already implying that Cantor's Jewish faith had something to do with the result. The fact that the seven-term Congressman has, as far as I can tell, never gotten grief of any kind from either party about his religious affiliation seems not to matter.
After the jump, readers will find a couple of religion-tainted tweets from bona fide members of the liberal media elite, followed by interesting items I found indicating that the left-leaning Jewish community's aggressive push for "immigration reform" in a district whose voters clearly oppose it may have helped do him in.
At the Associated Press yesterday, Christopher Rugaber's writeup on the latest economic growth projections of the National Association of Business Economists (NABE) contained several glaring weaknesses.
Take the headline (quite possibly not his doing) and his opening sentence. The headline, "SURVEY: GROWTH TO PICK UP, HIRING STEADY," seems designed to ensure that those who only look at headlines in print or on their online devices will remain blissfully ignorant about the economy's first-quarter contraction. The fact is that following a quarter of shrinkage, economic growth first has to "return" or "resume" before it can "pick up."
Charlie Rose and Norah O'Donnell questioned Republican Senator Marco Rubio on Tuesday's CBS This Morning over the increase in the number of children illegally entering the U.S., and whether immigration reform is going to be revived in Congress. Rose spotlighted that Rubio received "some political pushback" on the immigration issue, and wondered, "When will we see thorough immigration reform?"
The PBS veteran also noted that the Florida politician is a "leading critic of the V.A. health system," but oddly didn't ask a question about the ongoing scandal. Instead, he ran to Hillary Clinton's defense on the extent of her responsibility for the security lapses leading up the September 11, 2012 Islamist attack on the U.S. diplomatic facility in Benghazi, Libya: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
In a video segment (HT Twitchy) entitled "How Low Can You Go?" on MSNBC's "Last Word," which the network's web site corrected as this post was being drafted, substitute host Ari Melber, filling in for Lawrence O'Donnell, is seen bemoaning the resignation of a Democratic legislator in Virginia. An accompanying visual originally showed a map of North Carolina. Apparent the answer to the map's captioned question — "How Low Can You Go?" — is, "further south than Virginia actually is."
The far-left network and Democrats in general are apopleptic over the sudden resignation of Demcorat Phillip P. Puckett from the State Senate, giving the GOP a 20-19 majority in that body. As a result, the Washington Post reported on Monday that Puckett's resignation caused "Democratic negotiators ... (to agree) in a closed-door meeting Monday to pass a budget without expanding health coverage to 400,000 low-income Virginians."
In a Monday National Journal column about how many Democrats are allegedly saying they have "quit" on Obama — claims I find quite hollow, given that no one asserting this has yet had the guts to go on the record — Ron Fournier quotes "a senior White House official" with a head-shaking take on the Veterans Administration scandal.
Specifically, "Questioning why the Veterans Affairs Department hadn't been overhauled months ago as promised by Obama(actually that was seven years ago, plus six other times, Ron — Ed.), a senior White House official conceded privately to me, 'We don't do the small stuff well. And the small stuff is the important stuff.'" If the VA is "small," what in the world is big? And for that matter, what have these people done well, big or small? I suspect that the rest of the press, and Fournier himself, would be absolutely livid if they became aware of such an ignorant statement made by someone in a Republican or conservative administration.