On Thursday, Christopher Rugaber's assignment at the Associated Press was to cover that day's release of Uncle Sam's Monthly Treasury Statement for March.
If the AP economics writer had limited the scope of his coverage to the statement itself, his coverage would have been passed muster. But, as he and his AP colleagues so often do, Rugaber felt it was duty to offer what he must have thought was helpful analysis. He wrote that March's reported $37 billion deficit, an admitted significant improvement over the March 2013 result, even after adjusting for timing differences in end-of-month receipts and outlays, was "the latest sign of improvement in the nation's finances." The last time I checked, running significantly in the red is not an improvement. It really signifies less rapid deterioration, especially since fiscal 2014 in full is still expected to end with deficit of over $500 billion.
Bozell and Tim Graham rightly pointed to the university's embrace of particularly nasty anti-Catholic and anti-Israel speakers. Michael Graham found yet another example adding toxic icing to an already rancid cake, and noted that three of its female graduates have achieved a unique level of infamy (links are in each original; bolds are mine throughout):
Guess who's all of a sudden standing up for law and order? Why, it's radical environmentalists, who despite their general disdain for lawful behavior have felt compelled to speak out in support of the Bureau of Land Management's attempts to round up Cliven Bundy's cattle and ultimately force the Nevada rancher to abandon his family's century-old business.
Martin Griffith at the Associated Press relayed the comments of one such group in a Sunday report in the aftermath of the BLM's abandonment of its roundup efforts, in Griffith's words, "after hundreds of states' rights protesters, some of them armed militia members, showed up at corrals outside Mesquite to demand the animals' release" (There's much to it than that; go this archived Drudge Report page for more; bolds are mine throughout this post):
On Friday, Reuters dispatched Sarah McBride, a San Francisco area reporter, to cover a protest by two dozen people. Seriously.
According to the headline at McBride's story, the presence of these two dozen protesters demonstrated that "San Francisco tech money protests intensify." McBride utterly failed to describe the protester's ultimate goals: lots and lots of money and an end to capitalism. Excerpts follow the jump (bolds are mine throughout this post):
Friday's CBS This Morning set aside almost six and a half minutes of air time to promote Showtime's upcoming series about climate change, which features liberal New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman and CBS's Lesley Stahl. Charlie Rose heralded the "groundbreaking new documentary series," and let Friedman spotlight Arab environmentalists, who supposedly "understand that there's no Shiite air or Sunni air. If we don't protect the commons, nobody's going to breathe."
Rose, along with co-anchor Norah O'Donnell and Gayle King also turned to Stahl, who ballyhooed how "all these floods we've heard about – much more disastrous than they have been in our lifetime. That's because the ice is melting. It's affecting the seawater all along the eastern shore of the United States." King fawned over the new TV series, and set up Friedman to speculate about "climate change skeptics" might react to it: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
Associated Press stories today on the quarterly earnings releases of Wells Fargo (unbylined) and JPMorgan Chase (by Steve Rothwell) essentially mocked the nearly continuous monthly stream of reports the wire service's economics writers, particularly Martin Crutsinger and Chris Rugaber, have generated about the "housing recovery" during at least the past year.
The Wells Fargo story disclosed that the nation's largest mortgage lender "funded $36 billion worth of mortgages in the first quarter, down sharply from $109 billion a year earlier." The following graphic from the bank's detailed financial report tells the full story:
The National Journal's Ron Fournier appeared on Greta Van Susteren's Fox News show on Tuesday and blasted Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid for "making facts up" and "lying" in his non-stop campaign against the eeeeevil Koch Brothers.
Bless his naive little heart, Fournier even actually said: "Shame on us if we in the media let him get away with this." "If"? What's all of a sudden going to prevent that from happening, Ron? If anything, the already slim chances that the press will cover Reid's fairy tales have decreased, given strong evidence that Washington Post reporters completely invented a story about the Koch Brothers' lease holdings in shale oil-rich Canada — a story which "just so happened" to end up being the basis for a letter to Koch Industries' President demanding answers sent by a Democratic senator and congressman. The video segment, including Van Susteren's explanation as to why Reid can legally get away with being so reckless, follows the jump (HT National Review's The Corner; bolds and paragraph breaks are mine):
NPR's resident ObamaCare shill Julie Rovner did her best to promote the next ObamaCare enrollment period during a segment on Wednesday's Morning Edition. Rovner featured two talking heads from liberal organization Families USA, which she identified as merely a "consumer group," and boosted their list of suggested changes for the sign-up process.
The correspondent failed to bring on any critics of the controversial law, and played up the apparent success of the first enrollment period:
On Tuesday's New Day, CNN's John King targeted President Obama and his administration for their "textbook case...of do as I say, not as I do" on the issue of equal pay for women. After playing a clip of Press Secretary Jay Carney playing up how the 88 cents on the dollar women in the White House apparently make compared to men is "better than the national average," King quipped, "I guess the coach would say, is that the best you got?"
The journalist also spotlighted two past studies involving the White House and congressional payroll at the time Mr. Obama was serving as a senator from Illinois, and pointed out the bad optics of the situation: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
Carrie Johnson's Monday report on NPR's Morning Edition could have been mistaken as an informercial for the left-of-center ACLU and the NAACP's efforts to help "protect minority voting rights," after the Supreme Court's Shelby County v. Holder decision from June 2013. Johnson played up how "a divided Supreme Court gutted part of that law – throwing into chaos a system that had required...states to ask for federal permission before making election changes."
All but one of the correspondent's talking heads during the segment were liberal activists who lamented the Court's decision, but she failed to point out their political ideology or that of the groups they represent. Johnson also singled out one attendee of the organizations' "training session," who attacked the Obama administration from the left:
Over at what's left of Time Magazine's Time.com, Jon Friedman claims that Hall of Fame baseball player Hank Aaron "Would Have Faced Worse Racism Today" than he did in 1973 and 1974 as he edged ever closer to and then broke Babe Ruth's once thought unapproachable career record of 714 home runs. There is no doubt that Aaron faced significant adversity as he neared that record. In that pre-Internet, pre-social media era, he got his death threats the old fashioned way: via snail mail. The Lords of Baseball are said to have employed extra plainclothes security details behind home plate at Atlanta Braves home and away games in 1973.
If Friedman had written that anonymous death threats can be more easily deliverable these days, he might have had a point. But he didn't go there, instead writing as if it's an indisputable fact that "The home-run king is lucky he didn't have to contend with the ubiquitous bigots and haters on today's social media." If that were so obvious, you would think the the Time writer would have come up with better "proof" than the completely irrelevant examples he cited (HT Hot Air Headlines):
As I noted yesterday, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, when asked to identify a specific accomplishment during her tenure there, failed to answer the question, instead falling back on the Obama administration's tired "we inherited a terrible economy" meme.
Never let it be said that yours truly doesn't try to be helpful. Here's an "accomplishment" I can attribute to Mrs. Clinton, though I suspect she won't want to put it at the top of her resume as she promotes her anticipated presidential candidacy: presiding over an out of control agency. During each of the past four years, outside auditors have found that State had several "significant deficiencies" in its internal controls over financial reporting (of course, the last eight months of the most recent year belong to current Secretary of State John Kerry). Additionally, State's Inspector General recently identified "contracts with a total value of more than $6 billion in which contract files were incomplete or could not be located at all." Though the IG's report was released on Thursday, it conveniently escaped coverage by the Associated Press until Saturday afternoon. The unbylined AP report itself was cursory and inadequate:
This afternoon, in an unbylined item headlined "US BUSINESS HIRING FINALLY TOPS RECESSION LOSSES," the Associated Press showed that it deserves the nickname "Administration's Press." The story embarrassingly described the job market's return to its previous January 2008 employment peak as a "pivotal moment." Get real. Given over six additional years of growth in the adult population, that's hardly the case.
To his credit, the AP's Christopher Rugaber, in a separate later submission, tamped down the enthusiasm, noting that "the economy is still millions of jobs short of where it should be by now." That's for sure. But whoever wrote the headline to Rugaber's story told an obvious untruth:
Jim Edwards, the deputy editor of the Business Insider website, and Slate.com's tech reporter Will Oremus slammed former Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich on the Friday edition of BBC World Service's World Have Your Say program. Edwards likened Eich's $1,000 donation in support of California's Proposition 8 to someone who "donated some money to the KKK." The editor also repeatedly accused the tech executive of "donating money that strip people of their civil rights."
The Business Insider editor later compared the former CEO's support of traditional marriage to supporting the "the civil right to own slaves," and defended this comparison, since "slavery is all about stripping other people of their rights, which is what being against gay marriage is all about." Oremus agreed with Edwards in labeling Eich's political donation as "beyond the pale," and defended the internal and external campaign by social leftists to force his departure: [MP3 audio available here]
Though he didn't quite get to the "Shut up, he said" threshold, Politico's David Nather, in a Tuesday tome, argued that HealthCare.gov allegedly crossing the 7 million enrollment threshold leaves opponents blubbering, and supports the argument "that government can still solve big social problems" and is "a wake-up call for Republicans and conservatives."
It's as if Nather believes — and maybe he does, in which case he's woefully ignorant — that not achieving the enrollment target is about the only potential problem with HealthCare.gov. Uh, not exactly. Just off the top of my head, there's the lack of site security, the absence of back-office interaction with insurance carriers, miscalculations of subsidies, the system's outrageous cost, and the complete inability of enrollees to add, change or delete elements of what they submitted to correct inadvertent errors or reflect changes in their life circumstances. I'm sure that only scratches the surface. Excerpts from Nather's nattering follow the jump (bolds are mine throughout this post):
When an unmistakable embarrassment to liberalism occurs, a standard establishment press fallback tactic is to accuse conservatives of some form of incivility — and if there really isn't one, to make up a story about it anyway.
That's exactly what Bloomberg Businsessweek's Paul M. Barrett did on Tuesday in covering the NRA's reaction to the arrest of California State Senator and ardent gun control advocate Leland Yee on gun trafficking charges. The story's headline claimed that the group did "a victory dance." Barrett's content claimed that it was "gloating" and "strained to veil its pleasure." In truth, the group was doing nothing of the sort — unless the speech police now believe that making any kind of obvious observation about a liberal's failure is inherently unfair:
On Wednesday's CNN Newsroom, Carol Costello decried the Supreme Court's latest decision underlining that political donations are a form of free speech: "You know, these rulings continue to surprise me – only because so many Americans are concerned about the money factor...They think it's a real problem, and these kinds of rulings seem to only exacerbate those problems."
Costello brought on liberal CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin for his take on the ruling, and asked, "Doesn't that give wealthy donors a big advantage?" Toobin twice emphasize the left-of-center opposition to this decision and the previous Citizen United decision in 2010: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
Jim Acosta emulated a P.R. flack for the Obama administration on Tuesday's CNN Newsroom, as he hyped how the White House is "on track to hit seven million signing up" for ObamaCare. Acosta gushed that "if ObamaCare were a patient, this would be a pretty miraculous recovery, when you consider...that disastrous rollout in October and November."
The correspondent later touted the development as "pretty big news over here at the White House. They're reacting with a lot of glee and happiness, I can tell you." Acosta and anchor Carol Costello also credited the President's Internet video with comedian Zach Galifianakis for part of ObamaCare's apparent success: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
Two weeks ago, Nicholas Riccardi at the Associated Press basically gave an open mic to immigration amnesty groups who pretend to believe that the Obama administration has been deporting more immigrants who are here illegally per year than previous administrations did. Some of the groups involved are moving to disruptive tactics which look more like attempts at mob rule than those employed in a civil society.
Today, several center-right news outlets and blogs are reporting that the Center for Immigration Studies has reviewed information recently released by Homeland Security's Immigration and Customs Enforcement arm. Unsurprisingly, CIS has found far more laxness in deportation efforts. But what may surprise many, and what should be reported by AP and other establishment press outlets if they have any consistency and integrity, is how nonchalant the administration has been in releasing hardened criminals onto America's streets. Stephen Dinan at the Washington Times appears to have been the first to report on situation on Sunday:
Antony Shugaar targeted Maryland's "sexist" state motto in a Sunday opinion piece for The Washington Post, which was took up the bulk of a full page of the Outlook section of the liberal paper's print edition that day (and teased above the fold of the section by trumpeting how "the state has glossed over its motto's sexism"). Shugaar led by favorably spotlighting Rep. Nancy Pelosi's Maryland roots, as he went after the state's "embarrassing" slogan.
The translator also took the state government to task for its apparently "willfully misleading" translation of the motto "Fatti maschii, parole femine," which is the only one that appears in Italian:
The Associated Press has a breaking news update: If you want to apply for Obamacare at HealthCare.gov today and you've never set up an account, forget about doing so for the time being.
The update is is running under this morning's old headline ("HEALTH CARE WEBSITE STUMBLES ON LAST DAY"), begging the question as to when a "stumble" turns into "I've fallen and I can't get up" (HT to several tweeters):
The Obamacare-loving press spares no effort in excusing and minimizing the scheme's operational, systemic, and law-based failures.
Six months after launch, HealthCare.gov still isn't functioning as intended. In fact, as of 8:47 a.m. this morning, the time stamp on an Associated Press report (also saved here for future reference, fair use and discussion purposes) by chief wire service Obamacare defender Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, the web site wasn't functioning at all. Did the AP reporter tell readers the system had crashed, or was down? Oh heck no (bolds are mine):
Friday's CBS Evening News featured a previously unaired portion of Scott Pelley's softball interview of President Obama on his recent meeting with Pope Francis. The Vatican noted on Thursday that "there was a discussion on questions of particular relevance for the Church...such as the exercise of the rights to religious freedom, life and conscientious objection" – a reference to the Catholic Church's objection to ObamaCare's abortifacient/contraception mandate.
But instead of asking about this discussion, Pelley gave the President the kid glove treatment, and wondered how the encounter affected the liberal politician: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
Brickbats to Phillip Rawls and his layers of editors at the Associated Press.
Vietnam war hero and former Alabama Senator Jeremiah Denton died on Friday. He was an incredibly courageous and inspiring man who after his return from 7-1/2 years as a POW in North Vietnam became deeply troubled at where this nation was (and still is) headed. Unsurprisingly, he became a strong pro-life and family values advocate. Apparently following an unwritten rule at AP which dictates that a writer must take at least one parting shot at a conservative upon his or her death (see: Tony Snow), Rawls took two, twice describing Denton as "rigid" (includes video of a portion of his 1966 "torture" interview; bolds are mine):
It's no secret that the folks who run the New York Times are big fans of gun control. It turns out that they also favor controlling the use of the word "gun" in headlines about Democrats.
Over at National Review's Campaign Spot yesterday, regarding the news of Democratic California Senator Leland Yee's arrest, Jim Geraghty noted: "The New York Times greeted that news with a one paragraph summary on page A21 Wednesday with the headline: 'California: State Senator Accused of Corruption.'" That A21 one-paragrapher is an AP item. According to a long AP report on Yee's arrest, Yee, a longtime gun control advocate himself, is charged with "six counts of depriving the public of honest services and one count of conspiracy to traffic in guns without a license." In addition to burying the story in its back pages, let's look at what the Times did to the AP's original headline:
Piers Morgan got in one last word in favor of gun control during the final episode of his CNN program on Friday, and called for the complete disarmament of the American citizenry: "As my brother, a British army colonel, says, 'You always want an American next to you in a trench when the going gets tough.' But that's where, I think, guns belong...in the hands of highly-trained men and women fighting for democracy and freedom, not in the hands of civilians."
Morgan blasted the NRA by name and politicians for standing in the way of his pet cause: "The gun lobby in America, lead by the NRA, has bullied this nation's politicians into cowardly, supine silence." He cited Winston Churchill for inspiring his stand, and even claimed that his campaign was pro-American: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
As I noted on Saturday, the idea that a state with about $6 billion in overdue unpaid bills would choose to raise taxes and apply the money to new spending is appalling. But when it comes to describing a state's finances, "appalling" and "Illinois" have belonged in the same sentence for so long, it's hard to remember when that wasn't the case.
Part of the reason that such proposals gain traction is that the press only occasionally reminds its readers, listeners and viewers of the past-due balance situation. As Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan's proposal to increase the income tax on incomes above $1 million by 60 percent (from 5 percent to 8 percent made legislative headway and Govenor Pat Quinn surprised absolutely no one by backing the idea of making supposedly "temporary" income tax increases imposed three years ago permanent, both the local Chicago Daily Herald and the Associated Press predictably failed in this regard.
Friday's CBS Evening News picked up where the Big Three morning shows left off earlier in the day and trumpeted how "visitors have been surging to [HealthCare.gov] – about one-and-half million a day." Scott Pelley did give a bit of slightly bad news during his 16-second news brief, noting that "today, the ObamaCare website was taken down for about 20 minutes, to fix a problem that affected log-ins." [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
However, the CBS evening newscast, along with Friday's NBC Nightly News and ABC's World News, glossed over the latest Associated Press poll, which found record-high disapproval of the controversial law: "[S]upport for President Barack Obama's health care law is languishing at its lowest level since passage of the landmark legislation four years ago...26 percent of Americans support the Affordable Care Act." This omission continues a nearly three-month-long trend by the Big Three networks to paper over bad news about ObamaCare.
An email yesterday from CNNMoney touted how fantastic it was that Obamacare enrollment has reached the six million threshold, even describing it as a "symbolic victory." Though the underlying article by Tami Luhby at least noted the problems with that 6 million figure, those problems should have been enough to negate that characterization. Instead, Luhby repeated it in her coverage (bolds are mine):
[Update, April 7, 10:55 am: the original blog entry inaccurately corrected Phillips for claiming that her husbands, correspondent John Roberts, has the last name "Robertson." In reality, Roberts' legal last name is indeed Robertson. The text below has been corrected to reflect that fact.]
CNN'S Kyra Phillips zeroed on the controversy surrounding Phil Robertson's remarks about homosexuality on Wednesday's New Day, as she interviewed Robertson's son Willie Robertson and his wife, Korie. Phillips played up the "firestorm" after the Duck Dynasty star's interview with GQ, and asked his son, "Is that what you believe?"
However, the correspondent went on to compliment Willie Robertson and his family for how well they apparently have raised their children: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]