John Oliver used the Sunday July 20 edition of HBO’s Last Week Tonight as a platform to condemn the privatization of the American prison system. Rather than describing both sides of the issue, Oliver told horror stories from prisons that outsource healthcare and food provision without mentioning similar stories from publicly run prisons. According to Oliver, the verdict is straightforward: “private prisons are bad.”
The British comedian spent 18 of his 30 minute show decrying the “drug laws that do seem to be a little draconian, and a lot racist,” as well as the “dismantling of our mental health system” that lead to America having “more prisoners at the moment than China.” Of course, he failed to mention that the Chinese government usually chooses the death penalty over imprisonment, and according to CNN, “executed more people than any other country last year.” [See video below. Click here for MP3 audio]
Let's see. A rebel group pushing for separation from Ukaine has shot down a passenger plane, killing almost 300 aboard. Israel has invaded Gaza. Illegal immigrants are flooding across the U.S.-Mexico border, in at least one instance following a hail of protective gunfire directed at Border Patrol agents.
Meanwhile, in news concerning truly important matters, New York Democratic Senator Charles Schumer and fellow party member Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut are focusing on what's really important — prescription pet medication prices:
There were two pieces of significant economy-related news today. The first was that the Conference Board's index of leading economic indicators increased for the fifth straight month, this time by 0.3 percent, while May's increase was revised up to 0.7 percent. The second was that the University of Michigan's preliminary June reading on consumer confidence came in at 81.3, a decline from May. Both results trailed expectations.
Predictably, the Associated Press's Martin Crutsinger put a smiley face on the news, believing it shows that "that economic growth should accelerate in the second half of this year," while Bloomberg News's Nina Glinski was more sanguine, interpreting the confidence report as an indication that "Americans’ outlook for the economy dimmed." Excerpts from both efforts follow the jump.
The Obama administration is probably wondering why so many people of all political stripes don't believe that they take foreign policy seriously, up to and including charges that the president and his minions are doing the equivalent of fiddling as some parts of the world burn, and others threaten to.
I don't see why would anyone think that (in case it's not obvious, that's sarcasm). After all, wasn't Bush 43 press secretary Ari Fleischer linking to a friend's column on men's suits after the Bali bombings in 2002? And didn't the London bombings in 2005 lead the otherwise hapless Scott McClellan to wax eloquent on the importance of tie-shirt coordination? The answer to both of those questions is, "Of course not." But yesterday, on a day when Israel invaded Gaza, pro-Russian forces shot down a passenger airliner with almost 300 aboard, and diseases this country hasn't seen in decades continued to be carried over the U.S. Mexican border by "Unaccompanied Alien Children" (that DHS's term), State Department spokesman Jen Psaki tweeted on the dreadfully important topic of how you can be "informed" and fashionable (HT The Blaze):
The liberal media is hemorrhaging foreign correspondents from Israel and the Gaza Strip. Only one day after NBC suddenly pulled anti-Israel Ayman Mohyeldin from Gaza citing security concerns, CNN was forced to relocate journalist Diana Magnay from Israel. Both correspondents struggled to keep their reporting and social media presence neutral in tone.
Magnay reported during The Situation Room from a hill in Israel where citizens were “cheering”while watching the “astonishing” and “awful” launch of missiles into the Gaza. The CNN correspondent, normally based in Berlin, followed the segment with a tweet calling the celebrating Israelis “scum.”
Late this afternoon, I went to the Top Business Headlines page at the Associated Press's national web site to get today's new home construction news. Because the AP didn't have a story there (saved here for future reference), I knew it had to be bad, especially because to ignore it, the wire service made room in its Top 10 stories for an item on Toyota experimenting with fuel cells and aircraft orders at an air show in England.
The Census Bureau reported that seasonally adjusted housing starts fell by 9.3 percent in June after declining 7.3 percent in May. Seasonally adjusted applications for new building permits declined by 4.2 percent after a 5.1 percent revised May drop. Reporter Martin Crutsinger, doing his utmost to earn the "Worst Economics Writer" tag the National Review's Kevin Williamson conferred on him last year, blamed the weather, blamed "the South" without telling readers how the Census Bureau defines it, and ignored how, even after a very bad month, that region is still outperforming other regions in new homebuilding. Excerpts follow the jump (bolds and numbered tags are mine):
Keeping in tradition of Comedy Central talk-show hosts giving Democratic politicians softball interviews, Stephen Colbert treated New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio to one on the July 16 edition of The Colbert Report.
Colbert could have used some of his interview to make his subject uncomfortable, by say challenging the left-wing populist on his controversial efforts targeting popular and successful charter schools or making him squirm over his puzzling crusade against Central Park’s world-famous horse-drawn carriage industry – something opposed by roughly 2/3rds of New Yorkers. Instead, Colbert gave the mayor a platform to further his left-wing views on the “vast income inequality” of America today. [See video below. Click here for MP3 audio]
Fox News's Megyn Kelly has clearly had it up to here with the disinformation, misinformation, distortions and outright lies coming from the left in the wake of the Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby decision. A recent dishonest rant by Comedy Central's Jon Stewart (noted at NewsBusters by Jeffrey Meyer early Tuesday morning) and attempts by certain doctors to deny scientific truth caused Kelly to correct the record on the air.
The topic is the science behind whether or not the contraceptive methods Hobby Lobby's owners would not cover in its employee health insurance plan on conscience grounds are or are not abortifacient in nature. In the video seen after the jump (HT Gateway Pundit), readers will see her identify certain perhaps unexpected entities which have admitted that they are:
MSNBC’s unwavering devotion to President Obama amidst the immigration crisis of his own making was made prominently clear on the July 16 edition of Ronan Farrow Daily. The Lean Forward host actually misreported an ABC News Washington Post poll which determined that 58% of Americans disapprove of President Obama’s handling of immigration while only 33% approve of his policies. Farrow claimed, “there's a new poll out from ABC News and Washington Post saying that a majority of Americans agree with the president pushing on Congress on this.”
Seizing on the falsehood, Farrow immediately placed the blame on the Right, asking Republican strategist John Feehery, “should those numbers send a strong signal to Republican congressmen at this point, maybe it's time to change tracks?” [See video below. Click here for MP3 audio]
On the third day of José Díaz-Balart, the latest program to enter the Lean Forward network’s lineup, the former Telemundo host began the July 16 edition with a 9 minute discussion of the immigration crisis. Díaz-Balart, who in a TVNewser blog claimed that his show was “about opening up lines of dialogue, opening up to other communities, opening up to other thoughts across the board,” gave 6 minutes and 43 seconds of air time to liberal immigration advocates.
Of the 9 minutes and 33 seconds of discussion, 15 seconds were given to the opposing point of view by two random protesters in Oracle, Arizona. [See video below. Click here for MP3 audio]
Paul Krugman at the New York Times and other fever-swamp leftists who, incredibly, are operating under the assumption that the economy has experienced an acceptable if uneven "recovery" during the five years since the recession ended are celebrating what they believe was an epic live "embarrassment" of Rick Santelli at the hands of Steve Liesman at CNBC on Monday.
A Google search shows that Mediaite ("CNBC Reporter Torches Rick Santelli"), New Republic ("CNBC's Rick Santelli Was Embarrassed on Live TV"), Talking Points Memo ("Watch CNBC's Tea Partier Get Told How Wrong He's Been"), Business Insider ("Steve Liesman Issued A Devastating Line To Rick Santelli"), and of course Vox ("Watch Steve Liesman demolish Rick Santelli's inflation fearmongering") are all piling on. Following the jump, I will show that Santelli only claimed to have been right about the direction of the economy for the past five years, after which Liesman changed the subject and hogged the microphone:
For an example of how MSNBC is leaning forward into biased coverage of the latest troubles Israel is having with the terrorist group Hamas, one need look no further than the July 15 edition of Andrea Mitchell Reports.
After hearing from NBC foreign correspondent Ayman Mohyeldin about how the Egyptian cease-fire was rejected by Hamas because it “failed to address the comprehensive issues that they (Hamas) were trying to go after,” Mitchell invited the Israeli ambassador to Washington, Ron Dermer, to discuss the crisis in Israel and offer “his take” on U.S. nuclear negotiations with Iran. When Dermer stated that “Iran wants to develop a nuclear weapon.” Mitchell retorted that they “say they don’t.” Well, that settles it. Just like that time in 2007 when the Holocaust-denying President of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, insisted there were no gay men in Iran. [See video below. Click here for MP3 audio]
Rather than spending his two weeks off developing new ways to insult conservatives, Stephen Colbert returned from vacation brandishing a tired favorite: racism. According to the Comedy Central host, “conservatives, like myself, have supported a unitary executive and the use of executive orders in the past” however, there is something “shady” about Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder.
Just in case the host wasn’t making it clear enough, he played a clip of Attorney General Holder describing the “certain level of vehemence” and “racial animus” directed at him and the president. [See video below. Click here for MP3 audio]
On the July 14 edition of Hardball With Chris Matthews, the left-wing MSNBC host continued his pattern of spewing convenient yet historically inaccurate facts. After playing an amusing, if not crude, clip of John Oliver poking fun at the recently unearthed love letters of former President Warren G. Harding, he joked, “is it worth noting that the presidential election of 1920 was the first in which men and women both voted thanks to the passage of the 19th amendment?”
Classic Matthews to forget that women actually had presidential suffrage in over half the states before the passage of the 19th Amendment. In fact, women voters actually had a large impact on the 1916 reelection of the incumbent and very first progressive president, Woodrow Wilson. [See video below. Click here for MP3 audio]
Michelle Obama's name must really be mud in the school nutrition community these days.
I had to do a double-take when I read today's coverage of the School Nutrition Association's Annual Conference in Boston by Philip Marcelo at the Associated Press today. What Marcelo hid from the nation is that the SNA didn't want Michelle Obama or anyone else from the White House anywhere near their conference.
In the early 1970s, the press obsessed about President Nixon's alleged "isolation," especially as the Watergate scandal, which in an objective lookback has to be seen as relative child's play compared to what we're seeing now, unfolded. Proof that Nixon's "isolation" had been a constant media theme in previous months is found in an NBC Nightly News report on May 10, 1973, when a White House staff reorganization was characterized by reporter Richard Valeriani as "Nixon moving to end President('s) isolation."
On Fox News's "The Five" on Friday, Democrat Bob Beckel relayed what he said was an anonymous comment by a person in a position to know about how cut off from external advice President Barack Obama is. It seems arguably creepier than any degree of isolation Nixon may have ever had, for reasons which I will explain below. Let's see what Beckel had to say following co-host Andrea Tantaros's comment that Obama has a "Stepford staff just sort of nodding at whatever he says," and Greg Gutfeld's assertion that Obama "doesn't have anybody in his circle" with the nerve or access to intervene (bolds are mine):
Telemundo anchor José Díaz-Balart lauded his brand new MSNBC show as being “for you,” “for all of us” and “for all people”on Monday. Of course, by “all of us”José Díaz-Balart meant MSNBC’s usual target audience, liberals.
Díaz-Balart invited MSNBC anchor Lawrence O’Donnell on to the show to discuss what TheLast Word host described as the outrageous Republican rhetoric that “this presidency is out of control.” Without offering any rebuttal, Díaz-Balart allowed the Lean Forward left winger to dismiss Obama’s overreach in altering legislation as the president merely “changing some dates.” [See video below. Click here for MP3 audio]
A Justin Lynch column ("Wartime Press") originally posted at the Weekly Wonk and republished at Time.com with a more foreboding title ("Bloggers, Surveillance and Obama’s Orwellian State") really ends up being an attempted justification by those Lynch quoted for having a close alliance between the government and "journalists" with "professional standards." Thom Shanker, the Pentagon correspondent for the New York Times, gets the award for the most Orwellian quote in the litter, which will come after the jump. Its prelude is his belief that "The government really needs to get its message out to the American people, and it knows that the best way to do that is by using the American news media." Excerpts follow.
NPR’s absentee ethics watchdog/ombudsman Edward Schumacher-Matos is ending his three-year term (with three items in the the first six months of 2014, one of them insisting on a ban of the word “Redskins.”) NPR is looking for someone who has a “diplomatic style that will earn the respect and trust of the public and the NPR staff and other NPR managers.”
In reality, they’re not looking for someone who makes sure all taxpayers get a fair shake from the media outlet they’re subsidizing. They’re looking for someone to please NPR staff and the hard-core lefties known as the NPR “public.”
Richard (RJ) Eskow, "a writer, consultant, and Senior Fellow at the Campaign for America's Future," is a certified "respectable" lefty. So as much as the idea which follows may seem laughable, it shouldn't be dismissed as the unhinged rant of someone with no influence engaging in some isolated "thought experiment" which isn't shared by others in leftyland.
Eskow, in a Tuesday column at Salon, advocated regulating Internet titans Google, Amazon and Facebook as "public utilities." His justification is that they "define our lives," they're "close to monopolies," and besides, employing a breezy myth still held by many in the press, "Big Tech was created with publicly developed technology." Read on (the headline overstates Eskow's position; bolds are mine):
At the Associated Press on Friday afternoon, Andrew Taylor, who it should be noted covers Congress and is not routinely on the economics or business beat, relayed an Obama administration prediction that economic growth in 2014 will come in at 2.6 percent.
Taylor noted that this estimate, lowered from 3.3 percent, came about because of "the unexpected 2.9 percent drop in gross domestic product in the first quarter of this year when unusually severe weather dinged the economy." Besides failing to note that the contraction was an annualized drop (the actual contraction was about 0.7 percent), he didn't tell readers how absurdly strong growth will have to be during the rest of the year to hit that 2.6 percent target; it works out to an annualized 4.5 percent during each of this year's remaining unreported quarters. Perhaps the AP reporter isn't economically astute enough to recognize how unlikely that is — or worse, he recognized it and let it pass unchallenged.
One of the reasons President Barack Obama and the left can continue to make their cherished "budget stalemate" arguments against conservatives and Republicans is that the establishment press has memory-holed tax increases, including "the largest tax increase in the past two decades," which have already taken place. It now acts as if taxes on "the wealthy," which are really taxes on "high-income earners," have never been increased during Dear Leader's administration.
Josh Boak's coverage of the June budget surplus yesterday at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, is a case in point. After regaling readers with the administration-manipulated recent history of budget deficits (without mentioning the manipulation, of course), Boak uncritically relayed the Democrats' version of the argument that the standoff between the White House and the House of Representatives is over "sharp cuts on needed government programs" versus "higher taxes on the wealthy." Excerpts follow the jump (bolds are mine throughout this post; numbered tags are mine):
In what appears to be an act of leftist self-defense, an unbylined story at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, describes certain Colorado Democratic politicians' crticisms of former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg over recent "off-base remarks about two of its cities," but noted no reactions from Republicans — who are genuinely outraged, as opposed to arguably trying to cover their political tracks.
In a story which was apparently prematurely posted at Rolling Stone Magazine's web site (link is to a separately saved Google cache copy), Bloomberg told Simon Vozick-Levinson that in recent recall elections in the Centennial State, "The NRA went after two or three state Senators in a part of Colorado where I don't think there's roads. It's as far rural as you can get." Really.
The July 11 edition of ABC’s The View began with a discussion on a Kentucky bank teller fired from her job for violating the “high ethical standards” of US Bank. Her transgressions apparently were wishing patrons to “have a blessed day” after her interactions with them and, on at least one occasion, chastising a customer for taking the Lord’s name in vain.
While co-host Sherri Shepherd, a professing Christian, spoke to the discretion needed when Christians “are commanded to go out and tell the good news,” to others, guest panelist Sunny Hostin of CNN strangely brought up the “history, in our society” of people hiding “behind religion to do some really terrible things to other people.” [See video below. Click here for MP3 audio]
When TV’s Sunday-morning political chat shows book conservative guests, maybe they’re just trying to be evenhanded, but The Nation media blogger Leslie Savan opined in a Tuesday post that often the programs do it so that the right will be less likely to badger them about their liberal bias. As Savan put it, “Sometimes seeking balance is really a plea to call off the dogs.”
What riled up Savan in the first place was one such booking, of Dinesh D’Souza on last Sunday’s “This Week With George Stephanopoulos,” but she also griped about the Sunday shows generally letting Tea Party guests off easy (“It’s as if mainstream media are as afraid of the far right as John Boehner is”) as well as about “the corporate media…offer[ing] their stage to far-right media figures” including Laura Ingraham.
There were three developments in the IRS-targets-the-Tea Party scandal in the past two days, all individually meriting coverage on their own right but, taken together as a package are most definitely newsworthy. Despite this, neither ABC's World News nor the CBS Evening News nor the NBC Nightly News spared even a second of coverage to them on their July 10 broadcasts.
By contrast, time was made to cover stories like country artist Garth Brooks's return to the industry (ABC), the 100th anniversary of Babe Ruth's start in the big leagues (CBS), and a baby boom in Washington, D.C., nine months after the government shutdown (NBC). Both NBC and ABC briefly mentioned the Emmy Awards nominations and all three broadcasts had time to note the passing of modeling agency executive Eileen Ford.
I'm sure that many will pass off what Reuters and Yahoo News have just been caught doing as some kind of an innocent mistake, and perhaps it was. But isn't odd how often those "mistakes" so often end up giving President Obama and the left more credit than they deserve?
Yesterday, a Reuters story at Yahoo News was headlined "President Obama Visits the Border." That's a pretty remarkable headline, given Obama's quite widely known refusal — except perhaps by low-information Yahoo readers — to visit the Texas-Mexico border or to visit facilities where Unaccompanied Alien Children are being detained by the Border Patrol. The headline, before it was corrected to "President Obama Visits Austin," along with evidence that Google News was still carrying the original headline until just a short time ago, follow the jump.
MSNBC is not limited to televised displays of liberal bias. On the economics page of MSNBC.com, reporter Ned Resnikoff published an article earlier today entitled “Gap between minimum wage and tipped wage hits record high.” The All Inwith Chris Hayes contributor cited a new report by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) claiming that tipped workers make a “significantly lower than the overall median wage” and “experience poverty at much higher rates than the overall workforce.”
Of course, Resnikoff forgot to mention that the EPI “receives much of its funding from organized labor.” That fact was added later in a “clarification” note under the original article.
Elisabeth Hasselbeck’s vacation was ruined by the news that her anti-American on-air foe would be returning to the set of The View. On the July 9 edition of Fox & Friends, Steve Doocy, Anna Kooiman, and Brian Kilmeade called the Fox host and former View moderator to comment on the news that Rosie O’Donnell would be resuming her radical left wing rhetoric on the ABC talk show.
Hasselbeck responded, “what could ruin a vacation more than to hear news like this” before expressing her dismay that “the very woman who [has] been in the face of our military, been in the face of her own network and really in the face of a person who stood by her and had civilized debates for the time that she was there” would be returning as a moderator. [Click here for MP3 audio. See video below]
At the Politico Wednesday afternoon, Jonathan Topaz covered Texas Democratic Congressman Henry Cuellar's sharp criticism of President Barack Obama's failure to visit the nation's southern border, or for that matter any of the detention centers set up for "Unaccompanied Alien Children" (the Department of Homeland Security's term).
The Politico is where many stories the rest of the establishment press would rather not cover go to die; they then appear to say, "Well, the Politico covered it, so we don't have to." During the Reagan, Bush 41 and Bush 43 presidencies, the press went with saturation coverage of Republicans who criticized a president from their party. The degree of coverage in Cuellar's situation is quite the opposite, even though, as we shall see, the White House has contacted him in an attempt to convince him to shut up.