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):
Comedy Central’s Jon Stewart took a break from spouting his left-wing version of the news to interview Bill Maher, HBO’s favorite atheist talk show host. When the host of The Daily Show With Jon Stewart asked Maher if he ever felt he had affected real change in the political world, he replied that the “needle has moved” away from religion and towards legalization of drugs, two of Maher’s pet political prerogatives.
Maher continued his anti-religious spiel claiming that America is often behind in “the case in social issues” due to its “God-fearing” people. The Real Time host bashed Hillary Clinton for saying her favorite book was The Bible, even insulting President Obama for “spouting spiritual bulls***.” [See video below. Click here for MP3 audio.]
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):
Joy Reid has never been afraid of stating her true opinion of the Republican Party. On the June 23 edition of her eponymous program The Reid Report, the MSNBC host invited colleague Chris Hayes of All In With Chris Hayes to talk about his newest segment, “Behind The Color Line,” which investigated de facto segregation in American schools.
When Hayes told Reid that this segregation was occurring in her hometown of New York City Reid sought to clarify, “The blue state, New York, and you're talking about this. So it's not parents who are making these decisions based on race.” Reid’s implication, of course, is that if it were in a red state, de facto segregation would obviously be due to racist Republicans. [See video below. Click here for MP3 audio]
Glenn Greenwald, Edward Snowden abetter and columnist of The Guardian, appeared on the June 20 edition of Real Time With Bill Maher determined to defend Snowden as a patriotic whistle blower. The agitated liberal journalist called “total bulls***” on Real Time panelist Paul Rieckhoff, veteran and founder of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, for questioning Snowden’s true motives in fleeing to Russia.
Later in the segment, Rieckhoff questioned how Greenwald could “know that the information that he revealed did not cost American lives,” after Maher quoted Richard Clarke’s official statement that “what Snowden revealed has helped the terrorists.” The journalist shot back, “what American lives?” According to Greenwald, the Snowden investigative committee was merely “reading from the script they always read from” to prevent “transparency” in the government. [See video below. Click here for MP3 audio]
Just prior to President Obama's Thursday press conference on Iraq, NBC's chief White House correspondent and political director Chuck Todd was caught on an open mic joking that Republican Senator John McCain "must have had heart palpitations" after former general and CIA director David Petraeus seemed to back up President Obama's inaction during the crisis. Todd quipped: "Did anybody check John McCain? Is he okay now that David Petraeus came out against doing anything?"
In a statement to Business Insider on Friday, McCain communications director Brian Rodgers hit back at Todd: "It's not like further evidence was needed to prove the liberal bias at MSNBC and in the mainstream media, but Chuck Todd's 'hot mic' comments...show just how quickly the media will try and discredit Senator McCain and anyone who questions President Obama."
As I noted yesterday, the Associated Press's Alicia Caldwell managed to ignore President Barack Obama's unilaterally imposed and recently extended "Deferred Action for Child Arrivals" (DACA) policy as the most obvious explanation for the sudden wave of "Unaccompanied Alien Children" (Homeland Security's term) illegally crossing the nation's southern border.
As weak as her report was, it had one very useful finding, namely that these young arrivals "can live in American cities, attend public schools and possibly work here for years without consequences." A "former director of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement office responsible for finding and removing immigrants living in the country," bluntly asserted that "They almost never go home." That factual situation directly contradicts a statement made by new White House press secretary Josh Earnest in his maiden press briefing on Friday — a statement which Caldwell, conveniently for the administration, did not report.
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?
Josh Rogin of The Daily Beast has an arresting exclusive today: an interview with the woman whose rapist Hillary Clinton successfully defended as a criminal defense attorney in the mid 1970s. "In a long, emotional interview with The Daily Beast, she accused Clinton of intentionally lying about her in court documents, going to extraordinary lengths to discredit evidence of the rape, and later callously acknowledging and laughing about her attackers' guilt on the recordings," Rogin noted. "Hillary Clinton took me through Hell," the woman, who was 12 years old when she was sexually assaulted, told the Daily Beast. To read the full story, click here.
As we have noted, the liberal media thus far have largely ignored recent reporting by the Washington Free Beacon's Alana Goodman, who unearthed the audiotapes in question and which have resulted in a University of Arkansas official -- who is, by the way, a Clinton donor -- banning Free Beacon employees from accessing more materials at the library's Clinton archives.
The fact that “no criminal charges” have been filed against Republican Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin on illegal fundraising did not stop MSNBC’s Chuck Todd and guest Amy Walter, former political director of ABC News and national editor of The Cook Political Report, from writing his political obituary on the June 20 edition of The Daily Rundown With Chuck Todd.
“Regardless of where this ends up,” Walter commented, now “Governor Walker equals scandal.” As NewsBuster executive editor Tim Graham noted, this political “scandal” involves Democratic district attorneys purposefully targeting Walker on his campaign fundraising despite repeated court rulings that there was not enough evidence to validate the investigation. But according to Walter, no matter his innocence or guilt, his name is forever tainted with political scandal, a take the Democrat-friendly network is most happy to accept as they Lean Forward into the early stages of the 2016 campaign season. [See video below. Click here for MP3 audio]
The Daily Show With Jon Stewart is not known for political fairness in its humor. The Comedy Central show proved no different on the June 19 edition, when Stewart chose to compare the child pornography lobby in Japan to the gun rights lobby in America. He deemed that both industries are “harmful” and “destructive” and “take precedence over the protection of children.”
The ridiculous comparison came after Stewart bashed the Washington Redskins for their politically incorrect name. He claimed that it was “hard to think of any other change that is this long overdue” before settling on a new bill in Japan that outlaws the possession of child pornography. [See video below. Click here for MP3 audio]
The Washington Post has assigned reporter Jenna Portnoy to follow Republican nominee David Brat's campaign for the U.S. House seat for the 7th District of Virginia. In Portnoy's latest story, published in Friday's paper on page B4, the staff writer slammed Brat for having "largely ducked media exposure since his [primary] win," noting that after a brief press statement on Thursday which lasted eight minutes, he "retreated inside" his campaign headquarters, "ignoring questions shouted by reporters." A few days earlier, Portnoy insisted that an unprepared Brat had "stumbled" during a phone interview with MSNBC's Chuck Todd
Of course, as Politico's Sarah Wheaton has noted, Brat's Democratic opponent, fellow Randolph-Macon College professor Jack Trammell, "offered few policy specifics during his first public appearance as a candidate on Saturday." Last Friday, Wheaton reported that "Trammell has declined multiple interview requests" and that "[l]ike Brat, who virtually no one thought had a shot at toppling Cantor, he’s gone into something of a lockdown." Yet a search for "Jack Trammel" on the Washington Post website reveals no such critical reporting about the Democrat's unwillingness to have free-wheeling interactions with reporters. What's more, Trammel received fawning coverage in, of all places, a June 16 Style blog entry by book reviewer Ron Charles. The topic was Trammel's yet-unfinished vampire novel (excerpt below, emphasis mine):
"Ex-IRS official Lois Lerner’s crashed hard drive has been recycled, making it likely the lost emails of the lightning rod in the tea party targeting controversy will never be found, according to multiple sources," Politico's Rachael Bade reported Wednesday evening.
Although the revelation has congressional Republicans understandably furious and at least one prominent IT expert trashing the IRS's digital documents-retention policy as "mind-boggling", the Big Three broadcast networks all ignored the latest developments in the IRS saga on their Thursday evening newscasts, even as they had time for Harrison Ford's broken leg (NBC), a new technology for police car chases (ABC), and comedian Tracy Morgan's car accident (CBS).
On the June 19 edition of NewsNation With Tamron Hall, the MSNBCer and Today news desk anchor interviewed Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.) on American intervention in Iraq. When Hall asked the congressman what he believed would be the consequences if Maliki refused to meet American demands for reform, Meeks’s answer morphed into a rant against former Vice President Dick Cheney. Meeks snarled, “how dare he come and even raise his ugly head at this time.”
Violent rhetoric is not new for the Democrat facing multiple allegations of fraud and corruption. Just this past March, Meeks displayed a similar lack of tact towards the former veep, stating “Dick Cheney should just keep his mouth shut and stay at home.” These sentiments were mirrored later in Hall’s interview when he snapped “the guy should just go stay retired, take care of his health and just keep his mouth shut.” [See video below. Click here for MP3 audio]
In its annual survey of the public's faith in 17 key institutions, TV news has fallen to a new low, with only the U.S. Congress ranking below it in terms of public esteem.
Just 18 percent of U.S. adults say they have "a great deal" or "quite a lot" of confidence in TV news, down from 23 percent who gave those answers last year. The previous record low was in 2012, when just 21 percent said they had "a great deal" or "quite a lot" of confidence in TV news.
In a startling display of bipartisan humor, Jon Stewart made fun of both CNN and Fox's over-hyped "exclusive" interviews with Hillary Clinton on the June 18 edition of The Daily Show. Stewart noted how CNN ridiculously took the time to set the stage and “introduce the chairs” before the interview.
In a later bit, the Comedy Central host played a montage of all the times Hillary promoted the title of her book Hard Choices by cleverly weaving it into her answers to her interviewers. [See video below]
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.
Fifty-four percent of respondents in a brand new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll believe that President Obama "can't lead, get the job done," contrasted with 42 percent who say he can. What's more, a healthy plurality, 41 percent, also answered that "the performance of the Obama administration" has "gotten worse" in the past 12 months. Yet the NBC Nightly News ignored those stunning numbers in its June 18 broadcast. [Anchor Brian Williams additionally failed to tease the poll in his opening preview of the night's stories.]
While chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd did touch on how "57 percent disapprove of the job he's doing on foreign policy," that factoid was buried in a story centered on blaming former Vice President Dick Cheney's with stoking yet another inside-the-Beltway partisan "blame game" over Iraq. You can read the full transcript below the page break (listen to the full segment via mp3 audio here; watch video excerpt below page break):
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:
On June 17, John Stewart invited Daniel Schulman, senior editor of left-wing Mother Jones magazine, onto The Daily Show to discuss his newest book, Sons of Wichita: How the Koch Brothers Became America’s Most Powerful and Private Dynasty. The liberal Comedy Central host couldn’t end the interview without making his own political opinion of the famous libertarian donors clear, stating, “it is almost at its core, its such an elitist view but portrayed as a freedom agenda.”
Schulman, who is pitching his book as nonideological on the book tour circuit agreed that since the brothers “have not experienced a single solitary moment of financial insecurity in their lives” they are “the worst poster boys” for debates on say the minimum wage or welfare reform. (See video below. Click here for MP3 audio)
CBS This Morning was the only broadcast network news show that covered the latest discovery in the IRS scandal on the morning of June 18. Meanwhile, all three networks devoted at least two minutes to report on Dr. Oz’s appearance before the Senate’s Consumer Protection Committee to discuss the unconsented use of his image to endorse diet products online.
While CBS devoted only 30 seconds to the revelation that the emails of six more IRS employees have been reported lost, the network spent 2 minutes and 32 seconds describing how the celebrity doctor was berated by Democratic Senators for peddling diet products on his show that may not actually work. (See video below. Click here for MP3 audio)
At roughly 8 a.m. Eastern Time Tuesday morning, the wire service AFP (Agence France-Presse) had a story entitled "Fighting nears Baghdad as UN warns crisis 'life-threatening.'" AFP reported that "Militants pushed a weeklong offensive that has overrun swathes of Iraq to within 60 kilometres (37 miles) of Baghdad Tuesday." A Skynet video found at Gateway Pundit tells us that "ISIS Terrorists Surround Baghdad From Three Sides."
Meanwhile, as of 12:30 a.m. ET on Wednesday only one of the three Iraq-related stores (here, here and here) at the Associated Press refers — and even then only in a very late paragraph — to how ISIS (or ISIL, using AP's preferred acronym) "overran Mosul then stormed toward Baghdad."
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):
MSNBC The Cycle co-host Krystal Ball enjoyed an extra hour with which to bash Republicans and puff the Obama administration today as she filled in on the 1 p.m. Eastern Ronan Farrow Daily program. Ball questioned whether breaking news of the capture of Ahmed Abu Khattala, a terrorist wanted for organizing the Benghazi attacks, would “take away a sort of key talking point for Republicans.”
The failed congressional candidate invited Howard Fineman, of the Huffington Post, and Robert Costa of The Washington Post on to Farrow’s program to discuss Republican reaction to the news of the capture. Ball then proceeded to ask if why Republicans “have a huge problem with using our own justice system to go forward and prosecute terrorists,” and are “expressing a lack of confidence in our normal [civilian] justice system.” [See video below. Click here for MP3 audio]
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.
Ed Schultz, never one to be left behind in radical left wing rhetoric, followed suit with the rest of MSNBC in condemning an intervention in Iraq on the June 16 edition of The Ed Show. Within the first 10 minutes, he had already blamed Republicans for using “dirty scare tactics,” claimed that they were calling for “troops on the ground,” and asked viewers to text in their answers to the utterly ridiculous poll, “are you prepared to send your kid to Iraq?”
Speaking of fear mongering. [See video below. Click here for MP3 audio]
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):