Update at bottom of post: Williams responds (18:24 EDT)
I have to hand it to the AP this time. They actually noted the political party affiliation of another Democrat in legal hot water. So did CNN.com and Reuters.
But for some reason, MSNBC's Pete Williams left out the party affiliation of Louisiana's Rep. William Jefferson (D) in this March 31 item at the First Read blog:
In something of a surprise, the U.S. Supreme Court today declined to hear an appeal involving the FBI's unprecedented search of the Capitol Hill offices of Congressman William Jefferson.
A federal appeals court ruled that the FBI wrongly used its own agents look through the material seized to determine what might be covered by congressional privilege. This is a considerable victory for Jefferson, largely validating his objections to the search and giving him certain bragging rights. But prosecutors claim they have sufficient evidence independent of the search. The cash in his freezer, for example, was found well before Jefferson's offices were searched.
Just once I'd like to see blame for one of our societal ills put in the proper place these days. Everyone has to finger point at everyone else while ignoring their own part in the mess. This incident, though, is just another bad example of blame put everywhere but where it belongs. In this case, the AP reports about a University of Texas at San Antonio incident of plagiarism of which Clemson University's Daniel Wueste ridiculously blames on the Internet.
At the UofT, a student committee was convened to write an honor code to discourage cheating and plagiarizing, a rising problem in our Universities nation wide. Unfortunately, the student committee's results lifted sections of Brigham Young University's honor code that the UofT students found on-line. Yes, the code to discourage cheating and plagiarism was, in part, plagiarized.
The Associated Press, reporting the indictment of Puerto Rico Gov. Anibal Acevedo Vila (pictured at right via AFP/Getty Images file photo) failed to note Vila is a Democrat, let alone that he is an Obama superdelegate.
But Vila's party affiliation is hardly a state secret. Indeed, ABC's Jake Tapper noted the Obama connection on his Political Punch blog this morning:
As NewsBusters has been reporting, media are finally lining up to bash Hillary Clinton for her recent gaffe concerning fictitious sniper fire when she visited Bosnia in 1996.
Next to take the gloves off was the Associated Press's Ron Fournier who deliciously likened this misstatement during a presidential campaign to Al Gore implying in 2000 that he invented the Internet.
Get yourself a fresh cup of coffee, kick your feet up on the desk, and prepare yourself for some unexpected hits that came early and often in Fournier's article published Tuesday evening (emphasis added throughout):
Yesterday's Existing Home Sales report for February issued by the National Association of Realtors had better than expected news: On an annualized basis, sales were up. They were expected to go down. Someone interested in getting to the bottom of things would have found that the improvement reported by the NAR may be an early indicator a broader recovery in existing-home unit sales and sales prices.
That appears to be the last thing the Associated Press's Martin Crutsinger was interested in yesterday. In his report, he instead seemed determined to do all he could to portray the increase as a one-month respite in a long-term gloomy scenario. Additionally, he, in my opinion, presented changes in annualized sales volume as if they were one-month changes in actual sales, causing readers to possible believe that the housing market remains more in the doldrums than it really is.
Here at NewsBusters yesterday, Brent Baker, Ken Shepherd, and Scott Whitlock noted now the TV networks, with rare exception, avoided calling indicted Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick a Democrat.
On the print and online side of Old Media, the Associated Press also avoided identifying Kilpatrick's party (HT to an anonymous e-mailer). This follows on the heels of another such example almost a week ago.
AP writer Corey Williams, in a 400-plus word article carried at Breitbart and posted just before noon yesterday, missed clear opportunities in at least the first, second, and sixth paragraphs of his report to tell readers that Kilpatrick is a Democrat:
Italy's most prominent Muslim, an iconoclastic writer who condemned Islamic extremism and defended Israel, converted to Catholicism Saturday in a baptism by the pope at a Vatican Easter service.
An Egyptian-born, non-practicing Muslim who is married to a Catholic, Magdi Allam infuriated some Muslims with his books and columns in the newspaper Corriere della Sera newspaper, where he is a deputy editor. He titled one book "Long Live Israel."
A recent AP story about 50-year-olds moving back into their parents homes because the economy is so bad is one of the best examples of taking anecdotal evidence and stretching it into a universal truth that I have seen for a while. Filled with the sadly common "many say" and all based on the tale of one person who moved back home at 52, the AP magically discerned a national trend. This is the sort of shoddy reporting that is geared for one thing and one thing only: to promulgate a political agenda.
Taking shelter with parents isn't uncommon for young people in their 20s, especially when the job market is poor. But now the slumping economy and the credit crunch are forcing some children to do so later in life -- even in middle age.
On Wednesday, Fox News became the first news network to pick up on the contradiction between claims made by Senator Hillary Clinton about her 1996 trip to Bosnia and the reality reported by journalists at the time. In a speech on Monday, Clinton asserted that “I remember landing under sniper fire. There was supposed to be some kind of a greeting ceremony at the airport, but instead we just ran with our heads down to get into the vehicles to get to our base.”
But no news outlet mentioned sniper fire at the time, and TV news footage from the day of Clinton’s visit, which was first posted Tuesday on NewsBusters, shows Clinton and her daughter walking around without helmets, greeting various people including the acting President of Bosnia and a Bosnian child who read a little speech for the then-First Lady.
Yesterday NewsBusters contributor and MRC News Analysis Division intern Lyndsi Thomas noted the Chicago Tribune leaving out the Democratic Party affiliations of two politicians tied up in the Tony Rezko trial: Gov. Rod Blagojevich and Chicago Alderman Richard Mell, the governor's father-in-law.
Some have accused the media of trying to undermine the war effort by swaying public opinion with images of flag-draped coffins returning from Iraq, but the visuals are justified and important, according to Associated Press President and CEO Tom Curley.
Curley was the keynote speaker of the Sunshine Week dinner at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. on March 18. Curley defended the media's use of the controversial photographs as "moving and very unifying."
"Well, we've all tried and we've all been turned down, and I think your question is another reminder we should keep trying," Curley said when asked about the importance of those photographs. "We should never stop trying. I find those pictures very moving and very unifying. All of us really, really appreciate the sacrifices that are being made."
Apparently, AP's television writer David Bauder just noticed that the Iraq war has been canceled as TV fare lately. Maybe Mr. Bauder should have been reading Newsbusters because our own Rich Noyes noticed how the war had vanished from TV all the way back on Feb. 28th.
Of course, Bauder is trying to spin this neglect as mere "fatigue," as if the war were a fad that people have just grown tired of as opposed to TV losing interest because the war no longer fits the we-can't-win template that the media had been used to following with their coverage.
In fact, the surge has gone so well that even Bauder had to give the campaign its due.
The Associated Press editors tasked in-house "writer" Phillip Elliott to write an article that dispels the "rumors and outright lies" concerning Barack Obama and the perception that Mr. Obama's support of Israel is questionable. The product of that task is what you'd expect from any number of left leaning story tellers in the mainstream media who write about Obama as opposed to journalists, reporters and political observers that actually take the time to research, study and honestly discuss that which they have found.
Elliott took no time setting up the Obama defense from the first sentence, stating that "Barack Obama has a solid Senate record in support of Israel". The rest of the article is essentially an exercise in repetition; repackaging the most often repeated excuses in defense of a man that inexplicably spent 20 years in a church listening to the controversial and dogmatic sermons of his pastor Rev. Jeremiah Wright. Wright honored noted Jew hater Louis Farrakhan and traveled with the Nation of Islam leader to visit Libya's Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi. You know Qadhafi, he's the megalomaniacal leader of Libya that instituted Sharia Law and expelled most all the Jews from his country while simultaneously destroying all their cemeteries. A real humanitarian and man of the people, IN HELL!
On Monday, the same morning that the Eliot Spitzer prostitution scandal broke, Bob Owens at Confederate Yankee posted an e-mail from the Associated Press which explained the newswire's policy against blogs using AP photos. The long and short of it: unless you have a license from AP, you're violating copyright to use an AP photo.
But today, blogger Jules Crittenden informed me, the AP is defending its policy of lifting from her MySpace page copyrighted photos of Spitzer call girl Ashley Alexandra Dupre:
NewsBusters readers are well aware of our contention that the press have adopted the 1992 strategy of making every economic report look like the world is coming to an end, and we'll all be in soup lines next year if the Democrat presidential candidate isn't inaugurated in January.
No finer example is available than Thursday's Associated Press article concerning February's very disappointing retail sales report. To be sure, store traffic was much worse than expected last month, and we are not trying to paint a rosy picture.
However, there are two truly disturbing elements in Martin Crutsinger's piece entitled "Retail Sales Plunge by 0.6 Percent" (h/t NBer Par for the Course):
Democrats dialing for damsels don't get labeled with the big "D"
Changing His MindRonald Reagan often said "I did not leave the Democratic Party, the Democratic Party left me."
For floundering and foundering New York Governor Eliot Spitzer -- a twist on the Gipper's words. Spitzer didn't leave the Democratic Party: the Media just didn't see the need to mention the fact that Spitzer was - at least until noon Wednesday -- one of the most powerful Democrats in the nation.
On Monday afternoon, the Big Three Networks (NBC, ABC and CBS) and the Associated Press led the charge of the wall-to-wall coverage of the breaking news that Spitzer was involved with an interstate prostitution ring. And with near unanimity they failed to mention that Spitzer is a Democrat.
Spitzer - who since his years as the Big Apple's swashbuckling anti-capitalist Attorney General the Press has glowingly called the Champion of the Everyman -- was caught on one or more wiretaps dialing for damsels to the tune of $5,500 an hour.
Only the press can fail to see the irony of calling someone who inherited $500 million - and who hires ladies of the evening at hourly rates equal to a semester's tuition at a state university - a champion of the everyman.
We've written at NewsBusters at how reticent the Associated Press is to note the Democratic Party affiliation of controversial or disgraced politicians, the latest of which is New York Governor Eliot Spitzer. But right off the bat the AP yesterday disclosed the party affiliation of an Oklahoma state legislator strongly critical of gay rights activists.
OKLAHOMA CITY – A Republican member of the Oklahoma Legislature has received death threats since telling a political group that "the homosexual agenda is just destroying this nation" and poses a bigger threat to the U.S. than terrorism or Islam.
"I'm not gay-bashing. But according to God's word that is not the right kind of lifestyle," Rep. Sally Kern of Oklahoma City said during an appearance before a group of Republicans. Her comments were recorded and posted on the video sharing Web site YouTube on Friday by the Washington, D.C.-based Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund.
The AP made certain to stack the article with critics of Kern, one of whom called Kern's comments "hate speech":
A few days before Eliot Spitzer went down in flames, a highly-connected Barack Obama* [Update: Kilpatrick has not committed to Obama] superdelegate was mired in accusations of corruption, bid-rigging and a dead-stripper sex scandal. Usually the media love to report the downfall of party bigwigs, but not in the case of Detroit's youngest mayor Kwame Kilpatrick. Much of the media downplayed the mayor's scandals and did not report his party, let alone his status as a Democratic power player who can influence the election.
Kwame, who is the son of Congressional Black Caucus Chairwoman Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick (D-MI), is not just any mayor. He was a Democratic rising star, who spoke at the 2004 Democratic National Convention and is the superdelegate to the 2008 convention thanks to his position as Vice President of the Conference of Democratic Mayors.
But now “The First Hip Hop Mayor” is in serious trouble, with members of the city council calling for his resignation. Controversy has engulfed his two terms, and the latest bout involves a report that his wife assaulted a now-dead stripper whose shooting is still unsolved. At the same time, the mayor's longtime pal Bobby Ferguson won at least $45 million in city contracts while reportedly receiving inside information from Kilpatrick and his chief of staff.
Update (16:50 EDT): Clay Waters of MRC's TimesWatch informs me the 3rd paragraph reference in a NYT article to Spitzer's Democratic Party affiliation has been removed. Only an oblique reference to his party remains in the 15th paragraph, notes Waters.
It's the first major political sex scandal of 2008 (aside from Detroit's Kwame Kilpatrick) and it involves a Democrat. So of course the Associated Press failed to note Gov. Eliot Spitzer's (D-NY) party affiliation. Via the LATimes.com Web site, published at 2:28 p.m. EDT:
The New York Times is reporting that Gov. Eliot Spitzer has told senior advisers that he had been involved in a prostitution ring.
On its Web site, the newspaper cites an anonymous administration official as the source and says Spitzer was meeting with his top aides.
Spitzer officials wouldn't immediately comment on the story to The Associated Press. An announcement was scheduled for 2:15 p.m. at his Manhattan office.
The New York Times has more here, and that paper notes Spitzer's party affiliation in the third graf:
On Monday’s Early Show on CBS, substitute news anchor Chris Wragge exaggerated Vice President Cheney’s business resume. Instead of merely being CEO of Halliburton (and its then-subsidiary Kellogg, Brown & Root), he was said to be the owner of the entire company:
A report to be released as early as today finds that dozen of U.S. troops in Iraq got sick from contaminated water. The water was supplied by the military contractor KBR, once owned by Vice President Dick Cheney. The report said soldiers experienced skin infections, diarrhea and other illnesses after using discolored, foul-smelling water.
To show how CBS script writers might have exaggerated the facts, here’s the lead from the AP story on the same subject by Larry Margasak:
Dozens of U.S. troops in Iraq fell sick at bases using "unmonitored and potentially unsafe" water supplied by the military and a contractor once owned by Vice President Dick Cheney's former company, the Pentagon's internal watchdog says.
In a report from the presidential campaign trail in Wyoming early Saturday morning, Sara Kugler of the Associated Press picked up on an economic meme created out of whole cloth by one of her colleagues, and treated it as an undisputed fact -- all in the name of creating support for campaign rhetoric coming from one of the two remaining Democratic presidential candidates.
The Labor Department's report, released Friday, also showed that the nation's unemployment rate dipped to 4.8 percent as hundreds of thousands of people — perhaps discouraged by their prospects — left the civilian labor force. The jobless rate was 4.9 percent in January.
One of the truly disgraceful media fixations since America invaded Iraq five years ago has been to blame all the world's problems on energy contractor Halliburton while making it clear that Vice President Dick Cheney used to be its Chief Executive Officer.
Despite it being almost eight years since Cheney resigned his position with the contracting giant and sold all of his stock, Halliburton-obsessed press members continue to implicate the Vice President in any bad news concerning his former company.
On Sunday, the Associated Press made such a nefarious connection in the very first paragraph of its article concerning water problems in Iraq (h/t NBer FastEd):
Obama begins with a broad assessment of life in America in 2008, and life is not good: we're a divided country, we're a country that is "just downright mean," we are "guided by fear," we're a nation of cynics, sloths, and complacents. "We have become a nation of struggling folks who are barely making it every day," she said, as heads bobbed in the pews. "Folks are just jammed up, and it's gotten worse over my lifetime. And, doggone it, I'm young. Forty-four!"
Sheppard said that "Given how (the) media made excuses for her comments in Wisconsin (She said, "for the first time in my adult lifetime, I am really proud of my country." -- Ed.), it will be quite interesting to see just how much of (the) interview ..... will be reported in the next 24 hours."
Well, Noel, I looked at the next 72 hours, and the answer is, with one enjoyable exception, "precious little":
.... for what I believe is a painfully obvious reason.
It is reports like the one written up by Shobhana Chandra at Bloomberg yesterday on household net worth that make you wonder if everyday US citizens will ever get the information needed to accurately evaluate what's going on in the economy without doing more digging than they have time for -- or that they should even have to do.
Chandra's writeup seemed to deliberately omit any and all context readers could have used to understand the significance of the information presented. She (based on this source, I'm assuming that Chandra is female -- if I'm wrong, please let me know) also sought out an "expert" to support a specious case that the reported results were masking a greater deterioration.
For years, NewsBusters and the Business & Media Institute have regularly complained about the abysmal financial coverage offered by the mainstream press while accusing media of consistently painting a negative -- and oftentimes fallacious! -- picture of the economy.
On Friday, a perfect example of such was illustrated by the Associated Press whose article about the February unemployment data just released by the Labor Department grossly misrepresented what was announced.
In fact, the AP's Jeannine Aversa actually fabricated data that went completely contrary to what was reported. Take a close look at paragraph two of Aversa's article published at Yahoo at 9:39AM (emphasis added):
Here's is the core information the Associated Press's Jeannine Aversa had to work with today in the Employment Situation Report released by the government's Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS):
The "Dec.-Feb. change" column was added by me, but is easily calculated from the data in the BLS report. What Aversa did with this info, and my comments, are after the jump. (see also Noel Sheppard's post here)
Here's how her report began (scare words in bold; the headline is also from AP):
When January's retail sales failed to meet expectations, Old Media made sure we knew about how "disappointing" the result was. But today, February's result, which beat expectations by about as much or more than January's trailed them, was described as a mere "reprieve."
Associated Press reporter Anne D'Innocenzio's January coverage began as follows:
Stores Post Disappointing January Sales
Here's a sign of how shaky the economy has become: Wal-Mart says its shoppers are redeeming their holiday gift cards for basic items — pasta sauce, diapers, laundry detergent — instead of iPods or DVDs.