Agence France-Presse

By Noel Sheppard | May 27, 2009 | 4:42 PM EDT

If you saw the headline "Muslim Charity Member Gets 65 Years In Prison," would you assume his crime was funding terrorist activities, or possibly something totally unrelated?

Given that this "charity member" was convicted last November on 108 charges surrounding the transfer of more than $12 million to the terrorist group Hamas, one would think a stronger, more direct and informative headline would be in order.

Apparently not to the Associated Press (h/t NBer DMartyr):

By Tom Blumer | May 10, 2009 | 9:01 AM EDT

Here are the first two paragraphs of Toyota Motor Corporation's press release announcing its financial results for the year ended March 31, 2009 (most Japanese companies end their fiscal years on March 31; bolds are mine):

Tokyo - TOYOTA MOTOR CORPORATION (TMC) today announced operating results for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2009.

On a consolidated basis, net revenues for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2009 totaled 20.53 trillion yen, a decrease of 21.9 percent compared to the last fiscal year. Operating income decreased from 2.27 trillion yen to a loss of 461 billion yen, and income before income taxes, minority interest and equity in earnings of affiliated companies was a loss of 560.4 billion yen. Net income decreased from 1.72 trillion yen to a loss of 437 billion yen.

Across the board, the financial press reports I read translated the company's reported losses expressed in yen into dollars ($4.4 billion in $US for the year, and $7.7 billion in the fourth quarter), but not its revenues (about $207 billion and $35 billion, respectively).

Why is that?

By Noel Sheppard | April 27, 2009 | 9:42 AM EDT

Move over Madonna, Miley, and Britney -- the Obamas are the hottest rock stars on the planet!

So wrote wire service Agence France-Presse Sunday in a piece so filled with sugar one might require an insulin injection to survive the full reading.

In an article entitled "Obamas Rock and Rule," AFP sunk to new lows in gushing and fawning over the first family:

By Matthew Balan | March 23, 2009 | 12:21 PM EDT

The three largest mainstream media wire services all agreed that supporters of Pope Benedict XVI who dared to stand up to anti-Catholic leftists in front of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris on Sunday were extremists of the right of some sort. The Associated Press used the “right-wing” label to describe the faithful Catholics. Both Reuters and the French Agence France-Presse both used the term “far-right youths,” with the AFP going so far as describing the pro-Benedict protesters as  “far-right militants” in another report.

ACT-UP Paris, joined by communists and “green” activists, protested in front of the famed Gothic cathedral to voice opposition to the pontiff’s recent remarks against condom use during his visit to Africa. In addition to holding signs which labeled Benedict XVI an “assassin,” they threw condoms on the ground while giving others to passers-by as people were leaving Mass. The radical left-wing activists skirmished with the supporters of the Pope, leading to the arrest of eleven people by police.

By Tom Blumer | March 11, 2009 | 3:47 PM EDT

Los Angeles's NBC television affiliate must not have gotten the memo telling them that they should not utter the name of ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now), lest anyone reach the "wrong" conclusions.

NBC Los Angeles is the only media outlet I have found thus far to identify ACORN's presence in a story about a "disruptive display of disobedience" by members the United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) at a school board meeting Tuesday (the story credit is to "Associated Press/NBC Los Angeles," but as you will see later, I found no AP story containing an ACORN reference).

Here is the story headline that the Google News crawler apparently originally found:

LAschoolBoardmtgHline0309.jpg

Look at how it changed.

By Tom Blumer | March 5, 2009 | 11:57 AM EST

GMsilverLogo0309.jpgAn early review of press coverage relating to this morning's warning by General Motors that "there is substantial doubt about our ability to continue as a going concern" shows no coverage of the reason why, despite $13.4 billion in taxpayer money (NOT counting bailout money going to GMAC), things have gotten so much worse so quickly.

The reason is that sales in the two full months since the Bush-approved, Obama-cheered bailout took place have tanked (see graphic at this NB post yesterday):

  • December 2008 (last [mostly] pre-bailout month) — down 31.2%
  • January 2009 (first full bailout month) — down 48.9%
  • February 2009 (second full bailout month — down 53.1%

Press reports I have seen are saying nothing about this frightening decay in the past 60 days:

By Tom Blumer | February 26, 2009 | 1:34 PM EST

Maybe it was just too easy to assume the worst of the news network most others in the press love to hate. Or perhaps it was deliberate.

Whatever the reason, the Agence France-Presse (AFP) wire service's Wednesday story about reaction to Barack Obama's sort-of State of the Union Speech the previous evening spent four of its last five paragraphs pinning a report harshly critical of various claims in the speech on Fox News. 

True, Fox News's web site carried the story ("Fact Check: Obama's Words on Home Aid Ring Hollow"). But it was actually written by the Associated Press's Calvin Woodward and Jim Kuhnhenn. (Yes, the AP actually wrote an Obama-critical story. More on that in a bit.)

Here are the four paragraphs in question from the AFP report, which otherwise lavishes praise on Obama's speech and rips into Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal's GOP response performance:

By Tom Blumer | February 18, 2009 | 12:56 PM EST

2007-01-04-ABC-WNCG-Pelosi.jpgNancy Pelosi had an audience with the Pope earlier today at the Vatican.

Life Site News (HT Gateway Pundit via Michelle Malkin) covered what the Vatican had to say about that meeting:

Pope Rebukes Pelosi, Tells Her Catholic Legislators Obligated to Protect Life

The Vatican Press Office released a note this morning detailing part of the conversation which Pope Benedict XVI had with Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the House of Representatives.  Vatican insiders inform LifeSiteNews.com that such releases are always phrased in diplomatic language and thus the correction of the Speaker who fancies herself a faithful Catholic despite her abortion advocacy can be taken as a rebuke.

The text of the note reads: "His Holiness took the opportunity to speak of the requirements of the natural moral law and the Church's consistent teaching on the dignity of human life from conception to natural death which enjoin all Catholics, and especially legislators, jurists and those responsible for the common good of society, to work in cooperation with all men and women of good will in creating a just system of laws capable of protecting human life at all stages of its development."

Those interested in learning how the press will minimize the Pope's rebuke have an early example to peruse at Agence France-Presse (AFP). It contains the expected watering-down of the rebuke, and more (AFP link is dynamic; its report as it appeared when this post was drafted is here):

By NB Staff | January 30, 2009 | 3:00 PM EST

http://media.eyeblast.org/newsbusters/static/2009/01/2009-01-28AFPPelosi.jpg

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) at a press conference in support of the Democrats' stimulus proposal, January 28, 2009.   Photo AFP/Getty/Mark Wilson

By Tom Blumer | January 13, 2009 | 11:15 PM EST

Geithner0109.jpg

Jan. 14 Update: "AP's Early-AM Revision Flushes Many Details, Calls His Tax Problems 'Goofs'"

Timothy Geithner, pictured at right in an AP photo, is Barack Obama's nominee for Treasury Secretary. 

Mr. Geithner will, among many other duties, oversee the Internal Revenue Service.

How odd, to say the least, that Mr. Geithner has had persistent tax filing and payment problems going back over 15 years involving self-employment taxes for both himself and his paid help, as well as with the employment of someone who for a time did not have proper legal status to remain in the country.

You would think that such things might place a cabinet nominee, especially to head Treasury, in jeopardy, and to cause the president who nominated him to have second thoughts. After all, in 2001, Linda Chavez's nomination as Labor Secretary went down in flames over matters relating to an illegal immigrant whom Chavez had sheltered in her home a decade earlier. Also, in 1993, Zoe Baird withdrew as Bill Clinton's nominee for Attorney General over the employment of illegal-immigrant domestic help and her failure to pay the related employment taxes on a timely basis.

But Geithner's nomination is apparently getting the all clear, with pliant Republicans giving the okey-dokey, and press outlets like the Associated Press giving his problems the relatively no-big-deal treatment.

Here are some excerpts from tonight's AP story by Brett J. Blackledge (stored here for future reference when there are subsequent updates; 5 AM Update: The link did indeed change; an alternate link that seems to match what AP had up at its own site at the time of this post appearance is here):

By Tom Blumer | January 6, 2009 | 9:07 AM EST

obama3Why can't everyone just settle down, get out of the way, get rid of the "distractions," and let Barack Obama do his magic? That seems to be a recurring media meme during this presidential transition period.

Here are just a few examples in just the past 30 days:

  • In a December 12 "analysis" piece at Reuters, Steve Holland opened by telling readers that "A political scandal that led to the arrest of Illinois' governor has become an unwelcome distraction for President-elect Barack Obama as he tries to keep his focus on preparing to run the country."
  • Amanda Paulson's Christian Science Monitor report on December 23 about Obama's internal investigation of contacts between his team and Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich fretted that "As the saga of Gov. Rod Blagojevich and his alleged “political corruption crime spree” has played out over the past two weeks, it’s been an unwelcome distraction for another politician from Illinois: President-elect Obama."
  • And yesterday, Brent Baker of NewsBusters caught ABC World News Tonight anchor Dan Harris worrying that Bill Richardson's unexpected withdrawal as Commerce Secretary nominee might be "a distraction in the key early days."

AFP's Jitendra Joshi offered up the latest example yesterday:

By Lynn Davidson | January 1, 2009 | 11:22 PM EST
Apparently, for Agence France-Presse, desperate Cubans who flee the Castro brothers’ island prison don’t escape or defect, they merely “depart.”   

It wasn’t merely a poorly-chosen headline stating, “Two top players depart Cuba in a bid to play in US." The whitewash was mirrored in the December 29 article, and the bias wasn’t confined to careful language manipulation.  AFP also minimized the escape by framing it as a simple desire to get rich quick in America with a fat Major League Baseball contract. There was no mention of the harsh realities of Cuban life or the possibility that maybe they also wanted more than six ounces of chicken or ten eggs a month to eat (all emphasis mine, image of Yadel Marti via AFP):

Cuban pitcher Yadel Marti and outfielder Yasser Gomez have departed their Communist island homeland in a bid to launch Major League Baseball careers, ESPN reported on Monday on its website.
(…)
Players who become available through such nations as the Dominican Republic are free agents and available to the highest bidder among the 30 North American clubs rather than having their rights assigned in a draft like US collegians.