In 2012, with a Democrat in the White House, union membership declined, not only as a percentage of the workforce, but in absolute numbers. Even though the related report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed that the number of employed wage and salaried workers increased by almost 2.4 million, union membership fell by just under 400,000. Union membership is down by over 1.7 million since 2008, and fell by 961,000 during the past three years of supposed economic recovery. These results aren't sitting well with Sam Hananel at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, whose reporters are represented by the Occupy movement-supporting News Media Guild. Excerpts from the AP reporter's Wednesday report follow the jump.
For the second week in a row, actual (i.e., not seasonally adjusted) unemployment claims as reported by the Department of Labor came in greater than the analogous week in 2012.
At the same time, and also for the second week in a row, the department's seasonally adjusted claims number -- the only one the business wire services ever specifically identify in their reports -- came in lower. In today's instance, raw year-over-year claims were almost 5 percent higher than the same week a year ago, but the year-over-year seasonally adjusted figure came in 11 percent lower. That's bad enough, but then the wires compounded the problem by running with indefensible conclusions based on DOL's contradictory data.
On Wednesday, a Fox News dispatch to which the Associated Press contributed reported that House Republicans hope to pass a bill on Wednesday which would "allow the government to keep borrowing through May 18," but that "Democrats have generally reacted coolly to the three-month extension" beyond February 18, when the government is currently expected to hit the ceiling. Despite all of this, Jim Kuhnhenn, AP's White House and politics reporter at its Washington bureau, called the House's move a "retreat," with his Tuesday morning story's headline claiming: "Obama stands his ground." Really (bolds are mine throughout this post):
Ms. Superville told readers that "The Old Testament reading during the service came from the book of Exodus, Chapter 14, in which the Israelites cross the Red Sea as Moses leads them out of Egypt." That's nice, but she failed to report how church pastor Ronald E. Braxton used that passage in his sermon. Ben Shapiro at Big Government did (HT Gateway Pundit via Instapundit; links are in original; bolds are mine):
It should surprise no one that the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, often first learns of stories when other outlets break them. When this occurs with a story about a Democratic Party politician in trouble, we get to see how the self-described "essential global news network" revises (i.e., cleans up) the outlet's original content to make it render as little damage as possible.
Today out of Nevada, there's the story of Steven Brooks, a State Assembly member from North Las Vegas. The Las Vegas Sun's coverage (HT Instapundit) opens with the following sentence: "A Democratic assemblyman is in jail, arrested for threatening Democratic Speaker-elect Marilyn Kirkpatrick, according to North Las Vegas Police and Democratic sources familiar with the situation." Since it concerns an intra-party squabble, tagging those involved as Democrats three times is not at all out of line -- in fact, it's necessary if one wishes to accurately communicate the situation.
There were eight coaching changes in the National Football League during the past few weeks. It must be assumed in the absence of contrary evidence that each franchise's owners made their choice based on who they believe has the best chance to take their team to the playoffs and Super Bowl.
The "problem" is, according to league's human resource people (are those really full-time jobs?) and their eager supporters at the Associated Press and ESPN, all eight new coaches are white. As a result, barely four months after the league earned a "high diversity hiring grade" from The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport ("its third consecutive A grade on racial hiring and its first C-plus for gender hiring"), the "Rooney Rule," which requires that teams interview at least one at least one minority candidate for head coaching and top managerial jobs, is not good enough (bolds are mine):
Generalissimo Francisco Franco is still dead! But is Presidente Hugo Chavez of Venezuela still alive? In what might be a case of life imitating art, could the vice-president of Venezuela be attempting to replicate "Weekend At Bernie's?" To refresh your memory of that entertaining comedy movie, two young insurance executives are desperate to maintain the fiction that their boss, Bernie, is still alive at his beach house. The Venezuelan vice-president, Nicolas Maduro, is now ruling Venezuela in Hugo Chavez's absence especially since he was given the blessing as El Commandante's successor in December when we knew for sure that Chavez was still alive. However, the big question is if Chavez is still alive.
The Associated Press seems to think so based on their story that Chavez signed a decree naming a new Venezuelan foreign minister. However, the AP missed that the decree stated that it was signed on January 15 in Caracas (yellow highlight in photo below the fold) when we know that Chavez (or his body) has been in Cuba for weeks. Here is the AP report that failed to note this big descrepancy:
None of the three major wire services covering today's report from the Department of Labor on initial unemployment claims is reporting the major news: For the first time in a long while, actual claims filed during the most recent week ended January 12 were almost 6 percent higher than the number filed during last year's comparable week, an indication that the current employment market may be worse than it was a year ago. Instead, all three are headlining how today's questionably created seasonally adjusted claims number is the lowest in five years.
Both weeks had five business days. Both weeks represented the first such week in the new year. So how did higher raw claims result in the lowest seasonally adjusted claims number in five years, a number which is 8 percent lower than last year's comparable week? The answer, as will be seen after the jump, is that the seasonal adjustment factor used this year is sharply higher than the one used last year.
Angela McCaskill, Chief Diversity Officer at Gallaudet University, has been reinstated following three months of administrative leave which began after the university learned that she had signed a petition supporting the placement of an initiative to repeal recently passed legislation legalizing same-sex "marriage" on the Maryland ballot.
The headline at the Associated Press story about Ms. McCaskill's statement ("GAY MARRIAGE FLAP: GALLAUDET REINSTATES OFFICIAL") should have instead read "free speech flap." That's what the McCaskill controversy was about, as the underlying AP story by Ben Nuckols, which virtually ignores the witch-hunt sentiment directed at her, still makes clear (bold is mine):
A week ago, Associated Press reporters and their articles' headlines described the nation's job market in positive terms. An early a.m. report on Janaury carried this headline: "U.S. job market resilient despite budget fight." Later that same morning, just before the government's release of that day's employment report, there was this: "Jobs report expected to show underlying economic strength." Late that afternoon, reacting to the news that the economy had a December unemployment rate of 7.8 percent while adding 155,000 seasonally adjusted jobs, AP reporters Paul Wiseman and Christopher Rugaber described the performance as "matching the solid but unspectacular monthly pace of the past two years."
Reports from wire services other than the AP, which might as well stand for the Administration's Press, weren't as rosy. At Reuters ("Mediocre job growth points to slow grind for U.S. economy"), Jason Lange observed that December's hiring pace was "short of the levels needed to bring down a still lofty unemployment rate." Fair enough, but what the press continues to virtually ignore -- while obsessing over the same problem early last decade when the problem was nowhere near as severe -- is the plight of the long-term unemployed.
In 2008, as reported by Tim Graham at NewsBusters at the time, Thomas Friedman at the New York Times wrote that America ought to become "China for a day," so that Friedman's dream, in Graham's words "of a green revolution -- all those allegedly planet-saving taxes and regulations and product bans -- can be permanently enacted."
The mainland's totalitarian regime isn't merely not "green" in any meaningful sense. It also is often remarkably unconcerned about the health and well-being of its subjects. For example, a recent chemical spillp poisoned the water of millions (that's right, millions), and the government didn't bother telling anyone about it for almost a week. The story has received almost zero attention in the U.S. press. Excerpts from a January 7 story at the UK's Financial Times follow the jump (bolds are mine):
"On Tuesday is Tucson, a gun-buyback effort was disrupted by buyers who offered cash to those who came to trade arms for gift certificates." That's the caption the Washington Post ran to an Associated Press photo on page A3 of the January 9 print edition. The photo [embedded below the page break] was plastered above the headline for an unrelated story about former Rep. Gabby Giffords (D-Ariz.) and husband Mark Kelly's new pro-gun control initiative.
But did the presence of legal gun purchasers really "disrupt" the Tucson police gun buyback program? If it did, it's news to the Arizona Daily Star, which reported no violent incident or other disturbance resulting from the peaceful protest/gun purchasing:
In a Washington Examiner column last night, Gregory Kane made several quite valid points in comparing the media firestorm over Rush Limbaugh's comments about Sarah Fluke to the virtual silence over Des Moines Register columnist Donald Kaul, who, if he were in charge, "would tie Mitch McConnell and John Boehner ... to the back of a Chevy pickup truck and drag them around a parking lot until they saw the light on gun control." Kaul also wrote that he would, "If some people refused to give up their guns," make "that 'prying the guns from their cold, dead hands' thing" operative.
Confirming what readers here would expect, a search at the Associated Press's national web site on Kaul's last name comes up empty. Key paragraphs from Kane's column follow the jump (HT Instapundit; bolds are mine):
One would think that a newspaper which in its view has largely made its reputation on publishing leaked government documents and revealing government secrets would have been a bit more excited about being the sole receipient of a report from the State of New York indicating that hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," is safe. The State had already sat on the report for a year.
The Times published the story on January 3, but on Page A19, while changing its original strong title ("Hydrofracking Safe, Says N.Y. Health Dept. Analysis" -- seen in the browser window) to a less descriptive, boring, and somewhat deceptive "Gas Drilling Is Called Safe in New York."
On Wednesday, as President Obama signed -- er, auto-penned -- the legislation preventing the onset of the "fiscal cliff" passed by Congress the previous day, the establishment press was busy understating its impact. A Friday evening Wall Street Journal editorial (note: not a regular news report) in today's print edition lays out the gory details.
But first, I will cite four examples of coverage which pretended that 99 percent of Americans won't see their income taxes increase in 2013.
An unbylined Associated Press story at 1:34 p.m. (saved here for future reference, fair use and discussion purposes) disgracefully covered a federal ruling which delivered a defeat (for now) against the enforcement of ObamaCare's contraception mandate.
Unlike the Hobby Lobby situation (covered earlier today at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), where the dispute is over certain portions of the contraception mandate requiring employers to cover abortifacient drugs and devices, the ruling in the case of Thomas Monaghan, the founder of Domino's Pizza who is now has a property management business, involves the entire contraception mandate. Monaghan nevertheless was able to get a temporary restraining order (TRO). The full five-paragraph AP report is after the jump (bolds are mine throughout this post):
One of the establishment press's favorite tactics to diminish the perceived strength of a position taken by people or companies they are inclined not to favor is to take objectively true facts and statements and reduce them to things only those people or companies "say" or "believe."
Hobby Lobby's court battle against the ObamaCare mandates is a perfect case in point, with both the Politico and Associated Press providing recent related examples of this fundamentally dishonest tactic. In the December 26 item at the Politico, Jennifer Haberkorn and Kathryn Smith also falsely framed the situation as an argument over "contraception" (more on that in a bit; bolds are mine throughout this post). But first, let's look at how the pair employed the "they say" tactic:
During the past two years, Republican governors and lawmakers in Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana and Michigan have been the targets of a great deal of negative attention from the establishment press, particularly on TV, as a result of taking necessary actions to get their states' fiscal houses in order and to become more economically competitive. Meanwhile, the Midwest's largest and Democrat-dominated state careens toward bankruptcy, and it's barely news.
In early 2011, Illinois enacted massive personal and corporate income-tax increases of 67% and 46%, respectively. The tax hikes were advertised as required to address the state's huge backlog of unpaid bills to vendors and other service providers, and to shore up its badly underfunded pension funds. Almost two years later, as two separate Associated Press reports this weekend demonstrate, the state still has a huge and possibly even larger stack of unpaid invoices, and its pension situation has worsened.
In a Wednesday morning report, the Associated Press's Sarah El Deeb certainly did her best to continue the ongoing campaign to convince the West that there's really nothing about which we should be concerned in Egypt's newly approved Constitution. She characterized it as "a new chapter in Egypt's two-year transition from authoritarian rule" and quoted a group whose Facebook page doesn't exist (despite that page being the first item found in a Google Web search on the group's name) telling us that the country is in "a new phase of legal disputes over legislation and control of state institutions," and that "the battle won't be very clear to regular people." I'm taking that to mean: "Don't pay any attention to us while the Muslim Brotherhoood and Islamists consolidate their power."
The AP reporter also mentioned the opposition's fears that the constitution "enshrines a prominent role for Islamic law, or Shariah, in governing the country's affairs and reinforces Islamists' hold on power." It's more than an abstract fear, because Sharia(h) is mentioned several times in the document itself (bolds are mine):
On December 18, in covering the aftermath of the official report on the terrorist raid on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya which killed four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens, the Associated Press reported in the first three paragraphs of its coverage that "Three State Department officials resigned under pressure," identifying those who had stepped down as "Eric Boswell, the assistant secretary of state for diplomatic security, Charlene Lamb, the deputy assistant secretary responsible for embassy security, and Raymond Maxwell, the deputy assistant secretary of state who oversees the Maghreb nations of Libya, Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco."
It wasn't until the fourth paragraph that readers who got that far -- clearly a tiny percentage compared to those who saw the headline ("State Department security chief, 2 deputies, resign after damning Benghazi attack report") or only heard headline-based reports on broadcast outlets -- learned that "Some of the three may have the option of being reassigned to other duties." In other words, they might not be losing their jobs or even receive cuts in pay. At the New York Post this morning, Josh Margolin is reporting that the three identified by the AP plus one other person aren't being meaningfully punished in any sense:
Warner Todd Huston at Breitbart, Katie Glueck at the Politico, and William Jacobson at Legal Insurrection all reported today that NBC's David Gregory is under investigation by the Washington, DC Metro Police in connection with his apparent brandishing of "a 30-round magazine purportedly for an AR-15 or similar 'assault rifle'" on Sunday morning's "Meet the Press" program.
Jacobson further noted another potentially serious complication for NBC:
A post-Black Friday weekend dispatch at the Associated Press on November 26 reported that "The holiday shopping season got off to a strong start on Black Friday, with retail sales up 7 percent over last year, according to one survey. Now stores just have to keep buyers coming back without the promise of door-buster savings."
It turns out that the originally reported number was far too rosy. Nevertheless, in both late Sunday and early Monday reports, AP retail writers Mae Anderson and Anne D'Innocenzio treated the actual result, which came in 60 percent lower, as "strong." Each report contained the following paragraph (bolds are mine throughout this post):
While the Associated Press, New York Times, and the vast majority of the U.S. establishment press have avoided directly referring to Egypt's newly-approved constitution, spearheaded by ruler by decree Mohammed Morsi, as oriented toward imposing Muslim sharia law in that nation, the international press hasn't been so reluctant. Who do you believe, the rest of the world or your agenda-driven U.S-based news sources? Additionally, as will be seen, the constitution is so unabashedly socialist it would have been labeled communist if it had appeared any time prior to 1990.
Russia-based RT.com opened its coverage of fraud allegations Saturday as follows: "Egypt's new Sharia-based constitution has been approved in a second round of voting, the ruling Muslim Brotherhood party said." Its headline a week ago after the first round: "Egyptians vote on hotly contested sharia-based constitution." Meanwhile, the New York Times blew through over 1,000 words in "analyzing" the results, and did not mention sharia once.
CNBC host Maria Bartiromo went after Maryland Senator Ben Cardin on the air on Thursday (HT PJ Tatler; original here) after it became clear that Cardin and his fellow Democrats won't support any measure to prevent the fiscal cliff from arriving as currently scheduled on Janaury 1 which does not include increases in the highest marginal income-tax rates. At the end of her tirade, she got applause and cheers from those around her.
I'll give her one cheer for clearly exposing Democrats' "my way of the highway" approach. She missed the opportunity to get to three cheers because it seems that she's just now recognizing after all these months that Democrats, including President Obama, won't accept any kind of a solution that doesn't involve raising the top rates -- even though they've been saying that very thing all along. Far more important: Even if you believe that the tax hikes discussed will actually increase government collections by $1.2 trillion over ten years, that amount is a tiny percentage of the trillion-dollar deficits the government will continue to run as long as the economy putters along at its current mediocre to poor pace.
At his news conference on Wednesday, President Obama opened with a statement of over 1,100 words, all of it on gun violence, including his announcement that "I’ve asked the Vice President to lead an effort that includes members of my Cabinet and outside organizations to come up with a set of concrete proposals no later than January -- proposals that I then intend to push without delay."
That should reasonably have been expected to put the gun control issue to bed for the rest of the day. How many meaningful questions could reporters possibly pose after all of that (other than the one Jake Tapper of ABC asked, which will be seen later in the post)? But as Ben Sisario at the New York Times's Media Decoder blog reported Wednesday afternoon, that didn't satisfy many media critics, who -- with Sisario seeming to agree -- expected and wanted to see an all-gun-control, all-the-time exercise, and were angry that it didn't unfold that way (bolds are mine throughout this post):
In his Sunday appearance on "Meet the Press" (HT The Blaze), New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg answered host David Gregory's first question relating to the Sandy Hook massacre by saying that "It's so unbelievable, and it only happens in America." That statement is so obviously false that I would have expected even a Bloomberg- and gun control-sympathetic press, including Gregory himself, to point out how wrong that statement is. Nope: A search on Bloomberg's name at the Associated Press at 1:45 p.m. returned four relevant articles containing Bloomberg's name; none reports that statement, let alone its erroneous nature.
Further, a Google News search on [Bloomberg "only happens in America"] (typed exactly as indicated between brackets; sorted by date) returned 42 items, most of which were versions of a short, unbylined AP Sunday report containing the incorrect Bloomberg assertion. The AP clearly made it disappear in subsequent national site dispatches without identifying the statement's falsehood. To its credit, AP did issue a correction to an earlier "worst in U.S. history" statement in a different report:
Katie Zezima at the Associated Press is the latest in a long line of reporters sucked into the fundamental dishonesty of the "Food Stamp Challenges" which have been taking place around the country for more than five years.
Zezima's misdirection came at the direction of Newark, New Jersey's Democratic mayor Cory Booker, who challenged one of his Twitter followers several weeks ago to, in Zezima's words, "try to live on the monetary equivalent of food stamps for at least a week" in connection with "a debate about the role the government should play in school nutrition funding." Those two quoted characterizations expose the two main problems with the Food Stamp Challenge. I'll explain both after excerpting a bit more of Zezima's December 11 dispatch after the jump:
Imagine for a moment if a Christian fundamentalist pastor publicly threatened a Democratic Party governor about to sign a legitimately passed bill into law with a long-term campaign of public harassment for doing so. Now imagine if that pastor extended that threat to include appearances at the governor's home and at his children's sporting events, and that Republican and conservative elected officials on hand during the pastor's announcement voiced no objection to the pastor's threats. All of that would be news, right?
As voting on Egypt's constitution begins, an Associated Press story this morning by Aya Batrawy and Sarah El Deeb typifies how the U.S. press is only nibbling around the edges of its content. The headline reads "EGYPTIANS VOTE ON ISLAMIST-BACKED CONSTITUTION." In the story's content, the pair found an 23 year-old Egyptian engineer who told them, in their words, that "he felt the proposed constitution needed more, not less, Islamic content," and expressed a belief that "All laws have to be in line with Shariah."
Nice misdirection there. As Andrew McCarthy, "arguably the most important prosecutor in the War on Terror" and "among the most authoritative writers anywhere on the dangers of Jihad," explained at PJ Media on Wednesday morning, and as much of the non-U.S. press accurately comprehends, the proposed constitution is about institutionalizing sharia in Egypt, and the last-minute splitting of the vote, originally scheduled for only today but now taking place today and next Saturday, is about ensuring its victory at the polls (bolds are mine throughout this post):
Today's news from the Department of Labor on initial weekly unemployment claims was supposedly good -- as long as one doesn't scratch beneath the surface. Journalists used to do that. Today they didn't.
All one had to do is reach the third paragraph of DOL's release to realize that today's seasonally adjusted claims number of 343,000, touted as the lowest in two months in several news reports, was suspect. That paragraph told us that the 428,814 actual claims filed during the week ended December 8 were barely lower than the 435,863 claims seen in the week ended December 10, 2011, last year's comparable week; today's result only occurred because this year's seasonal adjustment factor was significantly different from last year's. I believe that this year-over-year drop of less than 2% in raw claims is the smallest weekly difference in a week not affect by storms or holidays this year. In other words, it really is news -- but not in the business press, which runs with the government's seasonally adjusted data and almost never looks any further. Examples follow the jump.