Agence France-Presse

By Tom Blumer | August 23, 2011 | 11:04 PM EDT

Earlier this evening, Vice President Joe Biden, through a spokesperson, backed away from his Sunday comment at a Chinese university about that nation's "one-child" policy, wherein the state allows couples, with relatively rare exceptions, to have only one child. This of course has led to a horrible abortion death toll. A Laura Ingraham email I received this evening, corroborated by a China's population minister cited by CNN in 2008, carries an estimate of 400 million deaths (CNN said it "prevented 400 million children from being born"). It has also led to what is probably an historically unprecedented male-female gender imbalance in the neighborhood of 43-60 million.

Biden's comment (transcript; video) was:

By Tom Blumer | April 16, 2011 | 11:08 PM EDT

A photo taken at a Tea Party demonstration in Boston carried at Yahoo News carries the following caption (HT Powerline):

VIDEO: April 15 was tax day in the United States, and Tea Party radicals used it to stage demonstrations across the country, including near the site of the original Boston Tea Party revolt of the colonial era.

The photo was grabbed from an Agency France-Presse video with an identical description. The pic and caption follow the jump:

By Tom Blumer | April 12, 2011 | 7:33 PM EDT

In a business that is supposed to treat record achievements, dubious or otherwise, as news, it's more than a little curious to note that the Associated Press's Martin Crutsinger, along with Reuters and AFP, all "somehow" forgot to tell readers that March's reported federal outlays, as seen in the Monthly Treasury Statement released today, came in at an all-time record of $339.047 billion, and that this year's spending through six months of $1.849 trillion -- also an all-time record -- is 3.5% higher than last year's comparable figure of $1.786 trillion ($1.671 trillion plus a non-cash credit of $115 billion explained here last year).

This year's six-month spending total annualizes out to $3.7 trillion, an amount that is almost $1 trillion, or 36%, higher than fiscal 2007. Though spending is the self-evident real problem, frontline reporters and their bosses would apparently prefer that news consumers not see how ugly those numbers really are.

By Rusty Weiss | April 5, 2011 | 12:43 AM EDT

A news article written by a reporter at AFP and reproduced at such news sites as Google, Yahoo, NPR, the Dallas Morning News, and others, might qualify as an example of what happens when one allows opinion to seep into reporting.  Despite a mission statement involving claims that AFP coverage is balanced, accurate, and includes the other side of the story, this piece makes no secret of where the reporter’s bias lies.

The article features such gems as:

  • A strong yet hyperbolic opening statement – “President Barack Obama, once a fresh faced prophet of hope…”
  • A picture of the presidential seal with the caption ‘The presidential seal of Barack Obama’
  • Comedy – “Obama will … brandish a record as a genuine reformer…”
  • Labeling of the President’s opposition – “…a Republican Party dragged right of the crucial political center ground by the ultra-conservative Tea Party movement” – with no labeling of his own liberal policies or base.

Most interesting was the inclusion of this possible 2012 campaign slogan:  “Though many of America's problems predated his presidency…”

Blame.  Bush.

Here is a short list of American problems since Obama took office:

By Matthew Balan | March 2, 2011 | 7:47 PM EST

On Tuesday's World News, ABC's David Wright highlighted actress Jane Russell's "botched back-alley abortion in high school," which led her to push "hard to expand adoption," but he failed to mention that she described herself as "vigorously pro-life," and that she was a conservative activist.

Wright's report aired at the end of the evening news program. The correspondent spent most of the segment on Russell's movie career, specifically her roles in "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes" and "The Outlaw." Near the end, however, Wright noted that the actress was "also politically active," and continued with the abortion issue: "She wrote in her memoirs that a botched back-alley abortion in high school left her unable to have children. Throughout her life, she fought hard to expand adoption."

Michael Thurston of Agencee France-Presse took a similar path in his Tuesday report on the movie star, but more explicitly noted that Russell was not only pro-life, but also a conservative:

By Dave Pierre | November 13, 2010 | 3:34 PM EST

(HT: Phil Lawler/CatholicCulture.org) Major news outlets delivered a collective message about the Catholic Church this week. Here were the headlines:

  • "Pope orders sex abuse summit" (Boston Globe)
  • "Pope to Hold Sex-Abuse Summit" (Wall Street Journal)
  • "Italy: Cardinals to Ponder Response by Church to Sexual Abuse Cases" (New York Times)
  • "Pope summons cardinals over abuse: Vatican" (AFP)
  • "Cardinals to address sex abuse" (UPI)
  • "Pope calls meeting of cardinals on sex abuse" (Washington Post)

From what is presented, one would guess that Pope Benedict XVI called Cardinals and said, "Hey, let's get together and discuss the sex abuse scandals."

The problem: It didn't happen.

By P.J. Gladnick | October 26, 2010 | 10:18 AM EDT

Somebody should send a message to the absolutely clueless AFP (Agence France-Presse) news agency: the Coffee Party today is about as signficant a political force as the Prohibition Party. However, in this AFP story by Edouard Guihaire the Coffee Party,  which pretty much died almost at birth, is portrayed as a major political force on a par with the Tea Party. Perhaps Guihaire is new to America and has not woken up to the sad reality of the moribund Coffee Party which even our own liberal mainstream media has given up covering after an initial flurry of hype at the beginning of the year. So here is AFP laughably trying to convince its readers about the incredible political significance of the Whig... I mean Coffee...Party:

WOODBRIDGE, Virginia — A progressive infusion in US politics, the Coffee Party is brewing a strong counter-movement to the ultra-conservative Tea Party, just a week ahead of the US legislative elections.

Born in January in reaction to the bashing President Barack Obama's proposed health care reform was getting in Congress and the media, the Coffee Party first took shape on Facebook.

"It started on my personal Facebook page," said party founder Annabel Park, a small, soft spoken woman with a strong character.

By Tom Blumer | August 28, 2010 | 10:18 AM EDT
APonBernankeInCharge082710Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke's first full day as the only person in the whole wide world with any kind of influence over what happens in the economy didn't go too badly.

That's the impression one might get from consuming two Friday Associated dispatches and a related AP Video.

Bernanke apparently took full charge of anything and everything having to do with the economy on Thursday evening. As noted early Friday morning (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), two Thursday afternoon dispatches from the wire service in advance of the government's Friday morning GDP report widely predicted to contain news of a significant downward revision to second-quarter economic growth placed surreal importance on the content of a speech he was to give Friday morning shortly after that report's release. The names of President Barack Obama, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, Tim Geithner, and Larry Summers were totally absent from both reports.

Friday, in the wake of the downward revision of second-quarter GDP from an annualized 2.4% to 1.6%, AP's primary economic report about Bernanke's apparent first day as Emperor-in-Chief again failed to name the five folks just mentioned, as did a one-minute video from Mark Hamrick found here (after a 30-second commercial).

Here is some of what Christopher Rugaber, with assists from Jeannine Aversa and Alan Zibel, wrote about Ben's big day:

By Tom Blumer | August 22, 2010 | 8:40 PM EDT
money_down_toilet2

Call it "No Contractor Left Behind."

The Robert F. Kennedy Community Schools in Los Angeles, apparently opening soon, will serve roughly 4,200 students in grades K-12. Its cost is coming in at $578 million, or almost $140,000 per student ($2.75 million per 20-student classroom).

This is the LA Unified District's most flagrant example of its Taj Mahal obsession, and it is far from the only one. Also, as the Associated Press's Christina Hoag reported early Sunday evening, LA is not the only place where the Taj Mahal complex is in vogue:

The K-12 complex to house 4,200 students has raised eyebrows across the country as the creme de la creme of "Taj Mahal" schools, $100 million-plus campuses boasting both architectural panache and deluxe amenities.

"There's no more of the old, windowless cinderblock schools of the '70s where kids felt, 'Oh, back to jail,'" said Joe Agron, editor-in-chief of American School & University, a school construction journal. "Districts want a showpiece for the community, a really impressive environment for learning."

By Tom Blumer | August 12, 2010 | 12:46 AM EDT
NameThatPartyWednesday evening, Brent Baker at NewsBusters noted that two of the Big Three television networks failed to tag Dan Rostenkowsi, the former long-time congressman from Chicago who was ousted from his seat in 1994 over corruption charges and ended doing prison time, as a Democrat. Rostenkowski (RIP), who was 82, died yesterday.

At the five major wire services whose reports I reviewed -- The Associated Press, Reuters, UPI, AFP, and the business-oriented Bloomberg News -- Rosty's Democratic affiliation made at least one appearance. But the prominence and directness of those appearances varied widely.

Not surprisingly, the Associated Press and writer Don Babwin did the worst job of identifying Rosty's party, waiting until the eleventh paragraph to directly tag him (the eighth paragraph contains a generic reference to the "Chicago Democratic machine"), and poured it on the thickest when referring to the supposedly beloved bygone days of bipartisanship:

By Noel Sheppard | June 24, 2010 | 1:12 AM EDT

On Monday, 87 Senators signed a letter to President Obama affirming their support for Israel while urging his.

This comes in response to last month's highly-publicized flotilla incident in the Mediterranean Sea and the United Nations predictable anti-Israel reaction.

A similar letter has been circulated in the House that has apparently garnered 307 signatures.

Despite the overwhelming bipartisan outcry -- something rather rare in Washington these days to be sure -- very few American media outlets bothered to report the news.

Fortunately, the Hill published the following Wednesday (h/t Weasel Zippers):

By Tom Blumer | June 22, 2010 | 12:15 PM EDT
HugoChavez0110Late last year, a story carried by the wire service AFP reported on an announcement by Venezuela's Hugo Chavez that his government would launch "a new chain of government-run, cut-rate retail stores that will sell everything from food to cars to clothing." Chavez reportedly said that these "discount socialist stores" would show people "what a real market is all about, not those speculative, money-grubbing markets, but a market for the people."

This initiative was on top of Chavez's creation of Mercal (link is to the Venezuelan home page, complete with "The Bolivarian Government of Venezuela" logo), a state-run network of grocery stores, seven years ago.

How is this great leap forward into state control working out? A June 18 Reuters dispatch carried at CNBC reports that the government can't even keep its food fresh. But that's okay. The wire service takes a while to get there, and even then a bit of interpretation is necessary, but eventually we learn that the Chavez "solution" to that thorny problem is to seize replacement goods from private merchants:

Hugo Chavez Spearheads Raids as Food Prices Skyrocket

Mountains of rotting food found at a government warehouse, soaring prices and soldiers raiding wholesalers accused of hoarding: Food supply is the latest battle in President Hugo Chavez's socialist revolution.