Friday's CBS Evening News and ABC's World News both glowingly harkened back to a prominent past example of bilateral exchange between the U.S. and China, as they reported on Michelle Obama's trip to the East Asian country. But they continued their blackout on covering the White House's ban of journalists accompanying the First Lady. During a news brief, CBS's Scott Pelley trumpeted how "education is the focus of her [Mrs. Obama's] week-long trip, but there was also time for a little bit of ping-pong diplomacy."
The ABC evening newscast surpassed their competitor, however, with David Muir touting "the images making headlines out of China... the Chinese president unexpectedly coming out to meet her – the whole thing reminiscent of those iconic shots of President Nixon in his groundbreaking trip to China." Jonathan Karl also raised the air of "ping-pong diplomacy," but noted the current First Lady's departure from her predecessors in her approach to the communist regime: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
MSNBC is at it yet again, slandering conservatives wishing to protect the religious liberties of business owners as "anti-gay" bigots.
The latest example comes with the headline for Adam Serwer's March 21 story, "Georgia Republicans tack anti-gay amendments onto unrelated bills." To his credit, Serwer himself avoided needless invective, giving a rather fair description of the controversy at hand, even though it was a bit paltry in space devoted to those favoring the legislation. What's more, Serwer seemed rather incurious as to how the average Georgian feels about corporate interests -- you know, the bad guys in the eyes of the Left when they favor tax cuts and other pro-business moves -- being a significant factor in scotching the bill (emphasis mine):
It wouldn't be Saint Patrick's Day in the 21st century U.S. without a parade controversy. As has been the case in Boston for well over 20 years, even after a unanimous Supreme Court decision affirmed the parade sponsors' position in a 1995 ruling, it concerns the exclusion of what the conservative, social values-oriented group Mass Resistance charitably describes as the "gay pride parade" element.
Apparently, the "gay pride" element thought that the arrival of new Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, who replaced Tom Menino after Menino's 21 years at the helm in January, would be their opportunity to intimidate their way into the parade. It didn't work. Of particular note is how aggressive and hostile reporters at both local newspapers, the ultraliberal Globe and the supposedly center-right Herald, were towards the parade's organizers and sponsors (links are in original; some bolds are mine):
Bill Plante acted as a stenographer for the Obama administration on Thursday's CBS This Morning, as he spotlighted the "multi-tiered state and national effort to get young people enrolled" in ObamaCare before the end of March. Plante touted the "supportive celebrity Tweets and videos....and a tongue-in-cheek tool kit that teaches parents how to get on social media and 'nag' their children 'mercilessly.'"
The correspondent again noted Zach Galifianikis' mock interview of President Obama, which the Big Three networks spent 100 times more coverage on than the low enrollment the previous week. However, CBS This Morning at least mentioned how the administration fell millions short of its original seven million goal. ABC nor NBC have yet to mention the new enrollment figures on their morning and evening newscasts. [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
Sometimes the saying "better late than never" applies. This isn't one of them.
In a report originally time-stamped on March 18 (HT Sweetness and Light) and revised this afternoon at its national web site, the Associated Press's Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar and seven other AP reporters found out that Obamacare is putting the screws to many cancer patients. Of course, they didn't phrase it that way, but that's the primary takeaway from their report. The story's headline was so weak that many readers who saw it on their computers, tablets and smartphones likely blew right past it without clicking through. Excerpts follow the jump (bolds are mine):
Let me begin by saying that I think the only issue in the 2014 election should be Obamacare. In fact, that should be the only issue in every election until it's repealed.
I also think all Republican candidates should be trained with shock collars and cattle prods to automatically respond, upon hearing some combination of the words "abortion," "rape" and "incest": "Yes, of course there should be exceptions in the case of rape or incest, and I also support giving rapists the death penalty, unlike my Democratic opponent, who wants to give rapists the right to vote. Now, back to what I was saying about Obamacare ..."
Former liberal CNN contributor Roland Martin launched a left-wing tirade on his TV One news program on Wednesday, aimed mainly at conservative opponents of President Barack Obama's foreign policy: "Who the hell is America fooling to tell somebody else in another country who you can invade and cannot invade?...the United States, under President Reagan, invaded Grenada....Yet, here we are telling another sovereign nation what countries you can't invade. It's called being hypocritical. It is called being shameless, and frankly, we look silly."
Despite targeting Republican Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham by name for their criticism of Obama, Martin threw a much wider net in his rant: "So Americans, can you please stop with the hypocritical nature of your criticism?...The fact of the matter is, America has always invaded other countries." The host also included some of the left's usual examples of America's meddling around the world: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
On Wednesday, the Politico's Dylan Byers, imitating the president his web site so loves and adores, unilaterally decided ("new rule") that those of us who are making the self-evident observation that President Barack Obama's foreign policy performance has been weak can't do so unless we articulate what he should be doing.
How quaint. I don't recall seeing, hearing or reading of anyone at Politico or in the rest of the establishment press trying to place such firm conditions on those who opposed the Iraq War or how it was being conducted, the Bush 43 tax cuts, or any other performance, initiative, or idea during the previous presidential administration. Byers' tweet and several choice responses to it follow the jump (HT Twitchy):
In a refreshing change of pace, CNN's John King skeptically wondered on Tuesday's New Day about the White House touting the five million "enrollments" in ObamaCare: "They wanted to get the seven million by March 31 – unlikely they'll get there....How important are the next couple of weeks, and...if they get to six, can they spin that as a success, or is this baked in as a failure?"
King later pointed out that "even if they get some policy numbers that point them toward success – maybe not where they wanted to get, but close to that – can they change the political dynamic out in the country? Because if you go to these key states, it seems like ObamaCare is still a liability." Despite this, New Day anchor John Berman still trumpeted the five million figure: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
One of the more annoying aspects of establishment press coverage of many controversial issues is the outlets' tendency to act as if opposition to many things (really almost anything) which advance the left's agenda springs exclusively from Republicans. One obvious example is abortion, as if you can't be pro-life and libertarian or liberal (see: Nat Hentoff).
Another budding example has to do with governance of the Internet. Late Friday afternoon, the Commerce Department's National Telecommunications & Information Administration (NTIA) announced its "intent to transition key Internet domain name functions" to "the global multistakeholder community." Obviously, there is Republican opposition to this move, but you don't have to be either to be opposed. Predictably, though, Jessica Meyers and Erin Mershon at the Politico headlined ("Defenders of Net transition: GOP off base") and framed their writeup as if that's the case. Excerpts from their report and an an excerpt from a blog post at the nonpartisan Information and Technology Innovation Foundation follow the jump.
Former Louisiana Governor and convicted felon Edwin Edwards now wants to be the Bayou State's Sixth District congressman — as a Democrat.
In his coverage of Edwards' improbable but obviously not impossible candidacy, Associated Press reporter Kevin McGill simply took it for granted that Edwards can appear on the November ballot as a Democrat. That shouldn't be automatic, as a recent example from next door neighbor Alablama demonstrates. Excerpts and discussion follow the jump:
As of Monday evening, ABC, CBS, and NBC's morning and evening newscasts have yet to cover North Korea's firing of 25 short-range missiles into the Sea of Japan on Sunday. NBCNews.com did post an unsigned article from Reuters on Sunday about how the "missiles flew for 45 miles before splashing into the sea," and ABC News' website went with AP's write-up on the development, but neither outlet devoted any air time to the story.
By contrast, CNN's New Day on Monday devoted a 20-second news brief to the Obama administration's reaction to this latest instance of North Korean sabre-rattling: [video below the jump]
One of the more humorous attempts at furious spin this weekend occurred over at the New York Times. Jonathan Martin and Ashley Parker somehow managed to cover how association with President Barack Obama is becoming “poisonous” to Democratic Party candidates in this fall's elections without identifying or even acknowledging the existence of the primary reason for his toxicity — namely his repeated guarantees, now all proven false, that "If you like your plan, doctor, medical provider, and prescription drug regimen, you can keep them, period."
Martin and Parker claim that the Dems' biggest hurdles are HealthCare.gov's awful rollout and the administration's inept marketing of Obamacare (HT Powerline; bolds are mine):
As of 11 P.M. Eastern Time Sunday evening, searches at both the Associated Press and at the Politico on "radioactive" returned nothing relating to a comment made on TV by Russian "journalist" Dmitry Kiselyov reminding viewers that his country, as translated by the wire service AFP, "is the only one in the world "realistically capable of turning the United States into radioactive ash." Reuters also has a story here. Further evidence of AP disinterest is the fact that its two "10 Things to Know for Monday" relating to Russia as of 9:03 p.m. noted the West's intent to impose sanctions and penalties but did not mention the Russian threat.
Kiselyov isn't some freelancer mouthing off for "look at me" attention. As such, the failure of these two outlets to report what is clearly a serious escalation in rhetoric emanating from Russia is breathtakingly negligent, even by their non-standards. It's as if they're desperately trying to keep Kiselyov's statement from becoming an item on the U.S. morning news shows.
On Friday's Hardball, Chris Matthews continued his tirade targeted at Democrats from the previous day, in the wake of the party's loss in the special election in Florida on Tuesday. The MSNBC host bemoaned how supposedly, "Republicans say, we've got to cut entitlements....And yet, they don't pay a price for it politically. I'm determined that they pay a price for their words."
Matthews added that "Democrats better be focusing on what Republicans are promising to do – on issues like choice; on issues like voter suppression – or they're going to get their asses handed to them this November." He later zeroed in on how Republicans apparently "exploited" Democratic congressional candidate Alex Sink's "reasonable" approach during her campaign: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
On Friday, March 13, 1964, in Kew Gardens, Queens, Winston Moseley murdered Kitty Genovese, a twenty-eight-year-old bar manager, in Queens. In a March 10, 2014 column (HT Instapundit) in the New Yorker, Nicholas Lemann reviewed two recently published books on the murder and its aftermath, one by Catherine Pelonero and the other by Kevin Cook.
Lemann writes that the murder "became an American obsession ... (due) to the influence of one man, A. M. Rosenthal, of the New York Times." It's worth reading the whole article to see how one newspaper five decades ago was able to shape a national narrative with no resistance. Excerpts pointing to how the Times manipulated the circumstances to cast aspersions on ordinary citizens follow the jump:
In a late Friday afternoon release, the U.S. Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) announced its intent "to transition key Internet domain name functions to the global multistakeholder community." The statement is full of the kind of dense bureaucratic language one tends to see when the agency is doing something really important but controversial.
Stating the situation more clearly, TheDomains.com calls it "the Offical Statement Of The US Giving Up Control Over ICANN" (The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers). Americans for Limited Government has issued a press release"blasting the Obama Commerce Department for turning over control of the Internet to United Nations International Telecommunication Union." The one story in the press as of 7:30 p.m. was at the Politico, whose Erin Mershon appears to have caught wind of the news ahead of NTIA's release. Mershon takes eight paragraphs to tell readers to whom the functions are to be transitioned — and I don't think her dallying is mere sloppiness (bolds are mine):
Washington Post "Fact Checker" blogger Glenn Kessler has given "Four Pinocchios" ("a whopper") to a pro-Democratic group's political ad opposing the U.S. Senate candidacy of Louisiana Republican Bill Cassidy. The claim: The Koch Brothers, who are prominent financial supporters of the pro-GOP group Americans for Prosperity, want to protect, in the ad's words, “tax cuts for companies that ship our jobs overseas.”
Unfortunately, I have been told that Kessler's post did not make the paper's print edition; to no one's surprise, the Post has a tendency to give Kessler posts which fact-check Republicans greater print edition visibility. Additionally, at least one other Post writer and career race-baiter Al Sharpton have praised the anti-Koch ad and the strategy behind it. The likelihood that either will acknowledge Kessler's debunking is extremely low. Here are the key paragraphs from Kessler's work (bolds are mine throughout this post):
MSNBC's Ronan Farrow marked the one-year anniversary of the election of Pope Francis on Thursday by browbeating the Catholic Church for supposedly thwarting the fight against AIDS in the developing world, and for the Church's apparent lack of action in stopping genocide. Farrow played up how "Church social policies often fly in the face of skyrocketing HIV rates," and bemoaned how "the Church does still ban contraception in those places. Is that costing lives?"
The neophyte TV host asked one of his priest guests, "You don't think that it's irresponsible, given the emphasis on mercy and the preservation of life, that there's not more leeway on that doctrine?" He also played up how "brutal conflicts in countries with significant Catholic populations demand attention that some say the Church is failing to provide," and faulted the Church for its apparent inaction during the genocide in Rwanda almost 20 years ago: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
February's retail sales as reported may have been expectations of a 0.2 percent seasonally adjusted rise, but the 0.3 percent increase turned in was still far from impressive, especially after considering that the Census Bureau revised January's result down to -0.6 percent from an originally reported -0.4 percent.
Naturally, that didn't stop the Associated Press's Josh Boak and his story's headline writer from celebrating the news as a "rebound." Even more absurdly, Boak claimed that "Last month's rebound almost brought retail spending back to its December levels." Excerpts follow the jump:
[Update, 3:45 pm Eastern: Cuomo angrily responds to NewsBusters; see below.]
On Wednesday's New Day, CNN's Chris Cuomo played up how Florida Republican David Jolly's campaign played The Price Is Right theme music at his victory rally on Tuesday, and remarked that its use was somehow a perfect sign of the influence of big money in political races: "What a metaphor for what politics has become – that they are playing the theme song of The Price Is Right when they celebrate a victory, because it's about the money! It makes me sick."
What Cuomo didn't realize is that the former host of The Price Is Right, Bob Barker, endorsed Jolly. NewsBusters executive editor Tim Graham noted NPR's reporting on Barker's endorsement in a December 2013 item: [MP3 audio available here; video of Cuomo below the jump]
Last night, I noted that the Associated Press had not deigned to consider Republican David Jolly's victory over Democrat Alex Sink in the FL-13 Congressional race a "Top U.S. Story" as of 10:13 p.m. To AP's credit (or perhaps because of yours truly's and others' razzing?), a story about the race was at the Number 6 spot in Top U.S. Stories as of 8:15 this morning.
CNN.com, on the other hand (HT to NewsBusters commenter "Jon"), is clearly playing "hide the story" with the Jolly-Sink race. Its worldwide home page as of 8:38 a.m. had one line item titled "GOP wins year's 1st election showdown" halfway down the page, and a tiny picture in the "Politics" section near the bottom of the page headlined "GOP Scores First 2014 Win." Could they be any more vague? Its U.S. home page as of 7:37 a.m. had no reference to the race at all.
On Friday, the government's Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the economy created 175,000 seasonally adjusted jobs in February, with 162,000 of the additions occurring in the private sector.
That result exceeded expectations of roughly 150,000, and caused the business press to sing odes of high praise to an economy that was amazingly overcoming this year's difficult winter weather. Unfortunately, as readers will see after the jump, February's raw results demonstrate that it was all an illusion.
In the past week, Radio Shack has announced that will close 1,100 stores, or over 20 percent of its U.S. outlets. Staples is shuttering 225 stores, or roughly 12 percent of theirs. Smaller downsizings earlier this year have been reported at Macy's (involving store and other personnel) and J.C. Penney.
One gets the impression from press reports that these are occurring primarily because of poor management or the ongoing trend towards more online sales. Though those two factors are obviously relevant, the fact that the economy began weakening during the fourth quarter, especially so in December, rarely gets a mention. When it does get noted, it's usually something mild, along the lines of "disappointing holiday sales." A Thursday afternoon Associated Press article by business writer Tom Murphy illustrates the kid-glove approach (bolds are mine; my responses to certain of Murphy's points are in italics):
Friday's NBC Nightly News played up the latest dust-up between Senators John McCain and Ted Cruz over the latter's criticism of three of the Republican Party's presidential candidates, including Bob Dole. Brian Williams underlined the apparent "genuine and palpable tension today in Washington," after Senator Cruz criticized Dole, McCain, and Mitt Romney's campaigns during a speech at CPAC: "When you don't stand for principle, Democrats celebrate."
Kelly O'Donnell zeroed in McCain's shot back at Cruz on Andrea Mitchell's MSNBC program, and hyped how "[Cruz], one of the Tea Party's most provocative figures...triggered a new Republican rift" with his remark. O'Donnell also hyped the Texas senator's Friday statement reacting to his colleague from Arizona: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
On Friday's This Hour, CNN's John Berman bemoaned how medical marijuana is still illegal in many jurisdictions, and hinted that executive action needed be taken to fix this situation. After noting that "one of the problems right now is the federal law," Berman asked, "Can't they change this? Can't a stroke of the pen change this problem?"
Doctor Sanjay Gupta also played up how people with chronic illnesses are affected by this federal regulation, and underlined its apparent damaging impact: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
Anyone who's heard Hillary Clinton sing would know that comparing her to one of the great rock singers is a ludicrous comparison. But it stands out as a notable air-kiss in the new book HRC by White House reporters Jonathan Allen (Bloomberg News) and Amie Parnes (The Hill).
When Hillary arrived at the State Department to begin work "as the new boss" in 2009, they wrote, "she brought with her an entourage befitting an international icon. And she was greeted as a celebrity." But she was Bono of U2?
Sunny Hostin blasted an Indiana mall's ban of people wearing raised hoodies on Thursday's New Day: "This is...akin, in my view...to 'stop and frisk' – to the pretext of 'stop and frisk' – and I think many courts have found that this type of behavior is unacceptable, and downright unconstitutional."
The CNN legal analyst also contended that "'hoodie' is code for 'thug' in many places," and later claimed that "to identify just hoodies in my view...it's very, very clear what we're talking about here. We're talking about racial profiling. It's code for racial profiling." [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
You don't even need to know the specifics to realize that today's economic reports were weak. All you need to know is that there was no mention of them in the Associated Press's list of Top 10 business stories as of 3:35 p.m. Among stories considered more important: a product review of Apple's tiny market-share program called iWork and three dozen passengers suing Carnival Cruise Lines.
This morning's release from ADP on February private-sector employment growth reported 139,000 jobs added; the previous four months were revised down by a total of 138,000. The Institute for Supply Management's Non-Manufacturing Index came in at 51.6%, showing relatively slow expansion (anything above 50% indicates expansion) compared to January's 54.0%. The reports missed expectations of 155,000 jobs added and 53.5%, respectively. AP coverage of these two reports somewhat understated their weakness, one quantitatively and the other qualitatively.
On Wednesday, CNN's Daniel Burke gave liberal-tinged spin/extrapolation about Pope Francis's answer to an Italian newspaper's question about secular civil unions. Burke asserted in a CNN.com article that the pontiff "reaffirmed the Catholic Church's opposition to gay marriage...but suggested in a newspaper interview that it could support some types of civil unions."
However, the journalist left out that despite the Bishop of Rome's generalized answer, he concretely opposed a proposed civil unions bill in Malta near the end of 2013. More recently, the Pope's spokesman lashed out at the Italian media in January 2014 for spinning a separate remark from the native of Argentina as "an opening to legal provision for civil unions for gay couples, a subject of debate in Italy."