During the 2008 presidential campaign, GOP Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin made what has turned out to be a prescient remark about the relevance of a U.S. president's resolve and its potential impact on Russia's posture with the old Soviet Union's satellite states. She observed: "After the Russian Army invaded the nation of Georgia, Senator Obama's reaction was one of indecision and moral equivalence, the kind of response that would only encourage Russia's Putin to invade Ukraine next."
Many in the press ridiculed that notion. Among them was Blake Hounshell, who was then blogging at Foreign Policy Magazine. Characterizing Palin's notion as "strange," he wrote: "As we've said before, this is an extremely far-fetched scenario." Hounshell, now a deputy editor at Politico Magazine, has handled Palin's self-effacing Facebook "I told you so" ("I could see this one from Alaska") and pile-ons by center-right blogs too numerous to mention with tweets demonstrating the class, dignity, and good sportsmanship you would expect from the high-brow commentariat, i.e., none (HT Twitchy).
Perhaps I'm being too kind in describing the Associated Press as "The Administration's Press." Based on Jim Kuhnhenn's ridiculous "Don't worry, be happy" Saturday report on how unimportant he says the still growing national debt and the still historically large federal budget deficits supposedly are, maybe I should start calling the wire service "The Administration's Publicists" instead.
Kuhnhenn stopped just short of writing that the national debt ($17.41 trillion as of Wednesday, up from $10.63 trillion when Barack Obama took office 61 months ago, an average increase of $111 billion per month) and the annual federal budget deficit (on track to be over $500 billion for the sixth year in a row, four of which saw deficits of over $1 trillion) aren't worthy of attention, but it's clear that he believes we shouldn't be concerned about them in making electoral choices (bolds are mine):
The Associated Press and The Hill both reported on Noah Kai Newkirk shouting down the Supreme Court justices in their chamber, but ignored his far-left political affiliation. On Thursday, the wire service merely identified Newkirk's organization as "protest group 99Rise." Mario Trujilo of The Hill gave some a bit more information on Friday, but failed to disclose that 99Rise was founded by "a group of Los Angeles organizers active in Occupy" Wall Street.
By contrast, Lawrence Hurley and Joan Biskupic of Reuters explicitly mentioned the protester's ideology and his organization's background in a Thursday report:
On Thursday's New Day, CNN's Chris Cuomo hammered the Catholic League's Bill Donohue for his opposition to same-sex "marriage" and his support of the now-vetoed SB 1062 in Arizona. Cuomo mouthed the talking points of the social left on LGBT issues: "Why do you want to discriminate against gays? You say, we don't...only the marriages bother us. But that's the same thing, because their right as an individual is to marry."
The anchor even questioned Donohue's Catholicism, for supposedly standing with "these Christians who are more of the extreme...[who] have their own rigid beliefs," and against Pope Francis (or, more specifically, the liberal media's spin about him): [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
The news in two government reports on the economy today was not good. One showed that initial unemployment claims last week rose to a seasonally adjusted 348,000; raw (not seasonally adjusted) claims were virtually identical to last year's comparable week. To avoid the dreaded U-word ("unexpectedly"), a pair of Bloomberg News reporters described the result as "exceeding all forecasts." In the other report, durable goods orders in January fell by a seasonally adjusted 1.0 percent, while December's steep decline of 4.3 percent was revised down even further to -5.3 percent.
In separate reports at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, Christopher Rugaber and Josh Boak did their best to excuse away the results and to find something positive to say. As readers will see, they had to dig pretty deep, and their efforts were unconvincing.
An unsigned Tuesday article on Yahoo! News could have been mistaken as a press release for PBS's latest TV production attacking the Catholic Church. The unknown author hyped the Church's "horrible year" in 2012 "on many fronts, not just with mounting evidence of financial impropriety at the Vatican bank, but also with incidents of sexual abuse by clergy spreading to more than 20 countries and, further, exposure of church hypocrisy about homosexuality."
The public television channel's Frontline series turned to numerous journalists and activists who have axes to grind against the Catholic Church's moral teachings, and played up hearsay accusing unnamed Vatican clerics of conducting same-sex relationships in secret. The episode also falsely indicated that Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI invented the Church's doctrine labeling homosexual inclinations as "objectively disordered."
This morning at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, Martin Crutsinger reacted predictably to the Census Bureau's January new home sales release by commenting primarily on the forest while mostly ignoring the widely divergent health of the trees. Though he compared January to December for the country's four regions, he failed to note that three of them reported the same or fewer sales than January 2013.
This caused him to spin an unsupportable assessment of today's news as "offering hopes that housing could be regaining momentum after a slowdown last year caused by rising interest rates." Maybe in the South, Marty, but nowhere else. Several paragraphs from Crutsinger's report, followed by a regional breakdowns, are after the jump.
At the rate he's going, South Florida Sun Sentinel cartoonist and variable-length commentator Chan Lowe may turn out to be this decade's Ted Rall.
On Tuesday, Lowe had a column and cartoon (link may require subscription) satirizing the Sunshine State's "Stand Your Ground" law and gun owners in general ("Angry White Males," of course), characterizing them as treating their weapons with perverted reverence as compensation for their other failures in life (e.g., not getting along with their classmates at the playground, or with girls). The day before (link may require subscription; HT Twitchy), he went after parents who oppose the top-down, privacy-invading, testing-obsessed, instructionally-impaired Common Core curriculum with a vengeance. Readers should put down all drinks and other objects before skipping to the jump, because what you'll see will almost certainly be upsetting.
At the Associated Press on Friday, Chris Tomlinson wrote a story of national significance ("State officials investigating Democratic activists") which the wire service appears not to have ever carried at its national site.
It is nationally significant because the establishment press, both in print and over the airwaves, has chosen to make the Lone Star State gubernatorial candidacy of Democrat Wendy Davis a national matter. However, continuing a pattern going back several months (examples here and here), when negative matters relating to her campaign or to those assisting it surface, all of a sudden we're supposed to believe nobody outside of Texas cares.
On Sunday, The Daily Beast's Lizzie Crocker touted Femen's "gangs of attractive, topless women condemning religion, agitating against misogyny, and fighting dictatorship," as she introduced her interview of Inna Shevchenko, a prominent member of the radical feminist group from Europe. Crocker prominently featured a picture of Shevchenko wearing nothing but jean shorts at a protest in an attempt to emphasize this characterization.
The reporter noted how the members of the anti-Christian group refer to themselves as "sextremists," and pointed out some of their beyond crude tactics (which has not only included topless protesting, but also public urination). While Crocker also highlighted Femen's general hostility to religion as a possible "totalitarian instinct," she failed to mention that they have specifically targeted and disrupted Catholic Masses and events.
Michigan Congressman John Dingell announced his retirement today. The Democrat's career as Congress's longest-serving member will end with this session.
With the help of a related statement by President Obama, press coverage predictably placed great emphasis on Dingell's decades-long advocacy of universal health care coverage and his involvement in the 2010 passage of the Affordable Care Act, which used to be the law governing the scope and implementation of state-controlled health care until the Obama administration's regime of pre-implementation waivers and post-passage changes turned it into the mush which should now and forever be called "Obamacare." That emphasis on Obamacare "somehow" overlooked an infamous but truthful statement Dingell made to WJR Radio's Paul W. Smith shortly after the original law's passage in March 2010. It's the kind of statement the press would have covered when Dingell originally made it (they didn't), and would never have forgotten if it had been made by a Republican or conservative.
CNN's Chris Cuomo made no secret of his support of left-wing LGBT activists on Monday's New Day, as he spotlighted the controversy over a proposed bill in Arizona that would protect the religious liberties of business owners. Cuomo berated a guest from the conservative lawyer for her defense of the bill: "You don't need even need this law unless what you want to do is enforce intolerance...That's what it seems like you are doing to me, and it seems pretty obvious."
The anchor, who recently extolled rapper Macklemore's pro-LGBT agenda "Same Love" track, and raved about NFL hopeful Michael Sam's coming out, blasted guest Kellie Fiedorek and the organization she works for, the Alliance Defending Freedom, for their social conservative agenda – or as he spun it, "trying to protect Christians who feel this kind of exclusionary belief": [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
In a lengthy item "as told to Joe Hagan" at NYMag.com's The Vulture, actor, commercial pitchman, and brief MSNBC host Alec Baldwin makes it very clear that he is fed up with a lot of things.
There is plenty of material for discussion in his writeup. I want to focus on what he sees as his mistreatment at the hands of MSNBC and the self-described "progressive" community. Unfortunately, after said mistreatment, it's clear that he still doesn't get the difference between legitimate if strident criticism and expressions of over-the-top hatred, as the excerpts which follow will show (bolds are mine):
In a complete non-surprise given their officials' reactions last week, the United Auto Workers union has filed an appeal with the National Labor Relations Board of the election they lost at Volkswagen's Chattanooga, Tennessee plant.
As would be expected for an organization whose journalists are members of the News Media Guild, a Friday evening report by Associated Press reporters Tom Raum and Erik Schelzig emphasized the "outside intervention" of First Amendment-protected statements made by Volunteer State politicians, including Senator Bob Corker, in the runup to the balloting, while ignoring and minimizing thuggish behavior and statements by UAW supporters and sympathizers. They also saved assessments that the effort is a long-shot at best, at least on the merits, for much later paragraphs — but with President Barack Obama's NLRB, you never know. Excerpts follow the jump (bolds are mine throughout this post):
The AP's White House correspondent, surely at the suggestion of the group she is supposed to be covering objectively, writes that President Barack Obama's forays into unilateral executive action have been good for his soul. The President's authoritarian moves have apparently also been "cathartic" for the White House staff, now reportedly "buoyed by a new sense of purpose." Isn't that sweet? Excerpts from this piece of journalistic junk follow the jump (bolds are mine):
On February 10, in a rare moment of candor which was quickly edited away in subsequent revisions, Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, wrote that President Obama had unilaterally instituted delays and revisions in Obamacare's employer mandate because he was "angling to avoid political peril."
Of course he was. Postponing and revising the requirement that firms cover their employees "or face a $2000 fine per employee, after the first 30," delays the decidedly negative impact of the statist healthcare scheme until after November's elections. But in a Friday evening report, Politico's David Nather essentially tried to claim that Obama really acted against his own best interest (links are in original; bolds and numbered tags are mine):
ABC, CBS, and NBC have largely punted in covering the protests against the leftist government in Venezuela. Since Monday, only NBC Nightly News has devoted a full report on the demonstrations in the South American country. Altogether, NBC has aired just over two minutes of reporting on the story. Brian Williams also stood out for explicitly mentioning the political ideology of the regime: "Many...are feeling increasingly let down by the socialist government." [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
The network's Big Three competitors trail far behind in their coverage, with CBS only mentioning the protests during a 24-second news brief on Wednesday's CBS This Morning. The network's evening newscast, CBS Evening News, has yet to cover the story. ABC has devoted three news briefs on its morning and evening newscasts since Wednesday, for a total of 52 seconds of air time.
Left-wing activist turned CNN host Van Jones ran to John Kerry's defense on Wednesday's Crossfire, after co-host Newt Gingrich slammed Kerry as "delusional" for recently hyping climate change as "the world's most fearsome weapon of mass destruction." Jones retorted, "It's not delusional to focus on climate disruption. It's delusional not to."
Moments earlier, the former Obama green jobs czar himself made a doom-and-gloom prediction about the hypothetical effects of what he labeled "climate disruption:" [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
According to a USA Today item carried at ABC News, "Sixty percent of adults can't drink milk." In July 2012, the New York Times ran an item entitled, "Got Milk? You Don't Need It." But the last time I checked, everyone uses electricity to some extent.
I'm bringing up these points because, as a friend showed me earlier today, the establishment press has run stories galore in the past several weeks about increases in the price of milk, but, as I noted a couple of days ago, has paid virtually no attention to coming increases in wholesale electricity costs of up to 80% which are due solely to Environmental Protection Agency regulations requiring the use of unproven and not commercially available "carbon capture" technology.
The Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, had an interesting pair of headlines near the top of its raw feed yesterday.
The first headline used the typical "Republicans attack" approach any time President Obama does something objectionable, which has been quite often. The headline was "Issa Rails Against Obama's 'Imperial Presidency.'" Of course, reporter Steve Peoples didn't let readers see the exact statement Issa made, perhaps because it would have shown that he wasn't "railing" (uttering a "bitter complaint" or a "vehement denunciation") at all. The current headline at the story at AP's national site doesn't have quote marks around "imperial presidency." Clearly, Peoples doesn't think much of Issa's claim, which makes the raw feed's next headline about Obama all the more ironic:
NBC can't seem to keep its left-leaning slant out of its coverage of the Winter Olympics. One day after playing up Stalin's "palace for the people" in Moscow's metro system, the Big Three network's spotlighted how an American freestyle skier is living an "alternative lifestyle" – for being married at 23 and having a young daughter.
Correspondent Skyler Wilder underlined how David Wise, who won the gold medal in the half pipe on Tuesday, is "mature far beyond his years....At such a young age, Wise has the lifestyle of an adult. He wears a Baby Bjorn baby carrier around the house." Twenty-three is "such a young age?" Perhaps the network is following ObamaCare's definition of "children", which includes those aged 18 to 26.
The January 2014 New Residential Construction report released by the Census Bureau this morning was very weak. Building permits fell from December by a seasonally adjusted 5.4% (-1.3% for single-family homes). Housing starts fell by 16.0% (-15.9% single-family. The annualized single-family starts figure of 573,000 was the lowest in 17 months.
Naturally, Martin Crutsinger at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, blamed it on the weather, and promised that prosperity is coming soon in his very first paragraph. Too bad some of the data he cited clearly refutes the "blame the weather" meme.
During NBC's Saturday coverage of the Winter Olympics, former NBC Nightly News anchor Tom Brokaw spun the United States' worldwide campaign against communism during the Cold War: "In Korea, Cuba, Vietnam, and space, the U.S. spared little to defeat communism – at times, it seemed like a national obsession." [video below the jump]
Brokaw's slanted take on recent history came mere days after NBC glorified the Soviet Union as "one of modern history's pivotal experiments" as they broadcast the opening ceremonies from Sochi, Russia.
File this under "Pathetic" and "Predictable." On Alex Wagner's MSNBC show yesterday, Wagner set up Timothy Noah, an MSNBC.com columnist, with the latest and most desperate excuse for the UAW's failure to gain the ability to represent VW-Chattanooga workers in a plantwide election last week. She did so by referring to an American Prospect column earlier in the day by Harold Meyerson, who blamed "the politics of race and culture" for the loss.
Noah predictably took the bait, even though "race" was not mentioned once in any coverage I saw in 2-1/2 days after the election until Meyerson went there. Video and a transcript, followed by a couple of jabs at Meyerson by yours truly, follow the jump (bolds and numbered tags are mine):
Nancy Grace blasted Piers Morgan on the latter's CNN program on Monday for unsurprisingly forwarding gun control in the middle of a panel discussion on the controversial Michael Dunn case: "It's not really right for a Brit to jump up and start talking to us about gun control." Morgan shot back by condescending to the HLN host specifically and to Americans in general: "It seems like it's entirely down to a Brit, because your lot can't sort out your own gun problems."
Grace, who is no stranger to controversy, interrupted the British native before he could finish his pro-gun control rant, and threw the American Revolution and the Constitution at the CNN host: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
You might think that journalists would consider the prospect of sharply rising electricity costs in a nation blanketed by an extraordinarily cold, snowy winter and buffeted by its accompanying high utility bills hugely newsworthy.
You would be wrong. Searches on the last name of Julio Friedmann, the deputy assistant secretary of the Energy Department who testified at a congressional hearing on energy costs and technology last week, return very few results (here and here), none from a major general circulation establishment press outlet. One business-oriented outlet, Bloomberg BusinessWeek, covered Friedmann's testimony on the impact of the EPA's new "carbon capture" rules. In doing so, reporter Mark Drajem included some incoherence and misdirection (bolds are mine):
The folks at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, are really having a hard time processing the UAW's failure to gain the ability to represent Volkswagen's Chattanooga, Tennessee workers in an election held last week. AP journalists, who themselves are members of the News Media Guild, are exhibiting characterstics of still partially being in Stage 1 (Denial) but mostly Stage 2 (Anger) of the grieving process.
A Monday evening report by Tom Krisher and Erik Schelzig comes off more as a "put up or shut up" dare to those who opposed UAW representation than anything resembling objective reporting. The pair wants to know what Republicans are going to do achieve job growth in the wake of the UAW loss. The obvious response is that despite well-known federally-imposed regulatory barriers to job growth, Tennessee Republican Governor Bill Haslam and the Volunteer State's GOP-controlled legislature have been doing a far better than average job, if you will, of creating a conducive atmosphere for payroll employment growth in the state. But first, let's visit our in-mourning AP reporters and headline writer (bolds are mine):
NOTE: Go to the end of this post to see my reaction to an email NB received from OpenSecrets.org.
The web site OpenSecrets.org has done a great deal of useful work. Especially helpful are its lists of high-dollar political campaign donor organizations.
The web site's 1989-2014 and 2012-specific lists, to name just two, demonstrate that the hyperventilating on the left and in the establishment press about the eeeevil Koch Brothers is completely out of line:
Robert McCartney slimed a Northern Virginia Catholic priest in a Sunday column in the Washington Post for his decision to end his parish's relationship with the Boy Scouts for letting openly-homosexual youth to join as scouts. McCartney blasted Father John De Celles, pastor of St. Raymond of Peñafort parish in Springfield, for his supposed "diatribes against gay behavior, liberal activists and similar targets in his weekly columns."
The columnist later touted how "De Celles is in the minority" in disbanding his parish's Cub Scout pack and Boy Scout troop, and bringing in an alternative youth group that "discriminates against boys who refuse to hide their homosexuality," as he spun it. He all but called for discrimination against those who defend traditional sexual morals: "I hope and expect that those with narrow-minded views will be the ones who end up 'marginalized.'"
Democrat and former Ohio Governor Ted Strickland, who has been "shadowing" Chris Christie while taking every possible opportunity to accuse New Jersey's GOP Governor of either "lying" or of being "the most inept, incompetent chief executive imaginable," tried his schtick yesterday morning on Chris Wallace's Fox News show.
Unfortunately for Ted, establishment Republican and former George W. Bush adviser Karl Rove was there to do what the press should have been doing, namely calling out his blatant hypocrisy. But the clever Strickland managed to get in the last word. Viewers not familiar with the details of how Strickland's Buckeye State government went after Joe the Plumber after his preelection encounter with Barack Obama in October 2008 will likely believe that the argument ended in a standoff. That situation needs to be remedied.