Update (13:40 EDT): You can see in bold some of the questions I thought particularly biased. I've clipped Mark Smith's first question about turning the thermostat down and driving less and posted that video on EyeBlast.tv. You can find it embedded at right. [Official White House transcript available here.]
10:17 EDT: President Bush will hold a press conference in a few minutes, I'll be watching and live-blogging questions from the press corps. I'll update the blog post after the fact (assuming President Bush takes questions) with a link to the official White House transcript. If warranted, we may also post video of the most biased questions.
11:09 | President thanks reporters for their time, closes conference.
11:06 | Olivier (sp?): "Is President Karzai correct and do you think the new government in Pakistan is willing to combat terrorism?"
11:02 | Ryan: Do you think it [the economy] changes before you leave office?
10:59 | April Ryan, American Urban Radio Networks: "When in your guestimation will this country see a turnaround on the soft economy?" Also asks about what's happening in Sudan.
10:57 | Compton presses again on oil company question.
10:55 | Ann Compton, ABC Radio: "You never mention oil companies. Are you confident that American oil producers are tapping all the sources they have out there, including offshore?" Compton also asks about Iraq and what Bush will leave his successor.
10:53 | Smith of AP Radio asks if President Bush sees the "value" of a campaign to push for conservation.
10:52 | Mark Smith, AP Radio: "Mr. President, understanding what you say about energy supplies being tight and the debate over energy, which has gone on for years and will continue long through the campaign and into the next administration -- one thing nobody debates is that if Americans use less energy the current supply/demand equation would improve. Why have you not sort of called on Americans to drive less and to turn down the thermostat?"
10:50 | Roger Runningen, Bloomberg News on a second stimulus: "Is it too late to consider a second one?"
For those unfamiliar, since May of this year the Associated Press has had a new Washington Bureau Chief, a past AP reporter named Ron Fournier. According to Politico, the previous chief was pushed out to make room for Fournier in a "hard-feelings shake-up" with the old chief left worried that Fournier might "destroy" the AP. A pretty stark assessment, of course, but not necessarily all sour grapes from the passing chief because there is a legitimate reason for her to worry about Fournier. You see, Fournier has decided that a more hard-charging, opinion oriented style of writing is the new direction the AP should take in this new Internet age and it's a direction that makes the AP's past bias even more pronounced.
Former chief, Sandy Johnson, is a bit worried about Fournier's new direction. “I loved the Washington bureau. I just hope he doesn’t destroy it,” she is quoted as telling the Politico. It seems she has reason to worry.
Specifically, Cheney's 2000 statement was that "we may well be on the front edge of a recession here," while Bush's 2001 claim was a milder "You know better than me that our economy is slowing down."
So what will be the reaction be to the Sunday assertion by Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama that there's "little doubt" the country is in a recession, when no negative growth has occurred?
At long last, has the Associated Press lost all sense of decency?
The AP's story (saved here for future reference in case the wire service is embarrassed into revising it; you might consider saving it too as Exhibit A on how far over the cliff the dinosaur media has driven itself) by Douglass K. Daniel, with Jennifer Loven contributing (I might have known), gets in at least three cheap, fundamentally untrue, and totally uncalled-for shots at Tony Snow, who died earlier this morning.
I won't sully NB's front page with any of them. They follow the jump:
So if you're in index funds, this has not been the best of times (but, on the "bright" side, to the extent your 401(k) or other retirement investments are index funds, your current contributions are buying more shares).
Nonetheless, be thankful if you're not directly or indirectly invested in newspaper stocks.
Newsosaur reported today (HT to commenter dscott) that seven newspaper stocks hit record intraday lows in today's trading before recovering a bit before the close:
The Associated Press's Jeannine Aversa "creatively" and selectively rounded figures presented in today's Monthly Treasury Statement from Uncle Sam. That Treasury report, released this afternoon, covered monthly and year-to-date receipts and spending in the federal government.
By doing what she did, Aversa made sure we know that year-to-date receipts are down, but at the same time made Congress's overspending look less serious than it really is.
Spending of $2.2 trillion so far this year is up from $2.1 trillion reported for the corresponding period last year. Meanwhile, revenues of $1.93 trillion are down from $1.945 trillion a year ago.
Because Aversa rounded off the spending numbers to the nearest $.1 trillion while not supplying percentage changes, the average reader will think that spending is up a bit less than 5% so far this year.
The Associated Press's disgraceful coverage of last week's Employment Situation Report from Uncle Sam's Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) got left behind in the holiday weekend hubbub, but calls out for comment nonetheless.
The AP's Jeannine Aversa reached into her Thesaurus as she began her report with what has become the wire service's standard monthly error of treating reported seasonally adjusted job reductions as reflecting real people thrown out on the streets by mean old employers (as you will see after the jump, reality, as usual, differed):
Along with a few of his police bodyguards Mayor Frank Melton of Jackson, Mississippi has been indicted on Federal civil rights violations. It seems that in his zeal to curb drug crime, Melton forced some local youngsters at gunpoint to take a sledgehammer to a private residence that Melton claimed was a drug house.
One little problem, Melton had no court order and no right to destroy a private residence. Yet he and his rogue police bodyguards illegally entered this private residence and wrecked the place anyway.
As the media systematically ignores the good news in Iraq, the AP instead turns to “reporting” on a “journalist’s” Iraq love tryst. Why we need to see a story of CBS' Lara Logan's romance troubles is anyone’s guess? But apparently the AP thinks that Lara Logan's love tryst with a married contractor in Iraq is "news" while the surge and the complete lack of any real civil war in Iraq is not.
Here is the problem with the news media. Dan Rather fell for it. Walter Cronkite was overcome by it. Each of these "journalists" imagined that they were the news, that their lives and opinions were just as important to the nation as the news upon which they reported.
Sure Logan is a slightly better than average looking newsbabe, but so what? Is her horsing around with a married man something that is important to the world? Is her slutting around with multiple partners during her time as a correspondent in Iraq something that we all have a hunger, a NEED to know?
Although the term isn't used, it's clear that the Obama campaign sees itself and their candidate as victims of a vast conspiracy of right-wingers.
Going all the way back to the 1988 presidential election, Obama's "Fight the Smears" chart (featuring the campaign's new sort-of "presidential seal," replacing the one that was "dropped," at the top left) purports to tell us "Who's Behind These Lies."
If the page's historical starting points are any indication, to paraphrase Jerry Lee Lewis, there may not be "a whole lotta smearin' goin' on" among the current "smearing" parties it identifies:
CNN carried KDKA footage showing that Murtha has grudgingly acknowledged the obvious: That the troop surge in Iraq has, in his words, "in the short-term ..... certainly reduced incidents," but that "I'm not sure whether it's because of the Iraqis are just worn out, but certainly the way they're doing it today makes a big difference."
What KDKA decided to keep from TV viewers is arguably at least as important as what the station showed.
In interview footage left on the cutting room floor, Murtha falsely claimed that less than 1/3 of the Iraqi benchmarks have been met, and that the majority of Americans "want us out" of Iraq as fast as possible. But most explosively, the Pennsylvania congressman claimed that a major reason why the troop surge has been successful is that before that time "we broke down doors, we went in and we killed people inadvertently."
Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama says “mental distress” should not qualify as a health exception for late term-abortions, a key distinction not embraced by many supporters of abortion rights.
In an interview this week with “Relevant,” a Christian magazine, Obama said prohibitions on late-term abortions must contain “a strict, well defined exception for the health of the mother.”
Blaming media for their campaign woes didn't work for Bill and Hillary Clinton during the primaries.
Will it work for Barack Obama now that the general election is finally under way, or will it look rather unseemly for a candidate that has received kinder treatment from the press than any in history to start pointing fingers at them when he missteps?
After all, it wasn't media members that seemingly revised their Iraq strategy on Thursday.
But you couldn't tell from comments the presumptive Democrat presidential nominee made on the stump Saturday according to the Associated Press (emphasis added):
Earlier this week, to avoid "undue" emphasis on how much the situation has been improving in Iraq, the press, in search of bad news, switched its focus to Afghanistan (examples here, here, and here). Kyle Drennen and Warner Todd Huston at NewsBusters noted this on Tuesday.
Similarly, Associated Press writer Ellen Simon, confronted with a key report showing economic improvement, decided that it was more important to discuss inflation.
On Tuesday, the Institute for Supply Management's Manufacturing Index, after four months of contraction, returned to slight expansion mode with a reading of 50.2 (any reading above 50 indicates expansion). The result confounded the "experts," who predicted that the index would fall by about a point instead of rising by 0.6 points.
I don't think I've ever seen AP fail to give the overall ISM result first- or second-sentence treatment, but Simon managed that trick by covering the report's inflation component, moving the overall ISM index reading down to the fourth paragraph:
A few hours later, we got our first response from Jennifer Loven of the Associated Press.
In a piece entitled "Analysis: Obama's Shifts to Center Give GOP Ammo," although Loven did her best to blame the presumptive Democrat presidential nominee's flip-flop problems on "the Republican weapon of choice," she made it very clear that a change in position on Iraq -- whether real or imagined -- could be fatal for the junior senator from Illinois (emphasis added throughout):
Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Barack Obama, (D-Illinois), speaks at the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials in Washington Saturday, June 28, 2008. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
FNC's Brit Hume led his Wednesday night “Grapevine” segment by marveling that though “you might have thought it was big news Tuesday when the administration reported to Congress that Iraq had made satisfactory progress on 15 of 18 political benchmarks set by the U.S.,” up from progress on only eight a year earlier, “the Media Research Center says there was not a word about the report on the CBS Evening News, NBC Nightly News or ABC's World News Tonight.”
Hume added that “the New York Times also ignored the story, and the Washington Post relegated its coverage to page eight,” before he expressed astonishment at the AP's spin:
And this -- and I'm not making this up -- is how the Associated Press began its story on the report: “No matter who's elected President in November, his foreign policy team will have to deal with...the slow pace with which the government in Baghdad operates.”
The Associated Press has shown it has difficulty stating just what a terrorist is -- a terrorist. In an article today at MSNBC.com (which may or may not have created/edited the headline) titled "Palestinian 'terrorist' in earth-mover rampage," we see how the term "terrorist" has quotes around it -- which signifies, in this case, the loathsome notion that "one man's terrorist is another's freedom fighter." Not only are said quotes used in the headline, but in the article as well:
A Palestinian man plowed an enormous construction vehicle into cars, buses and pedestrians on a busy street Wednesday, killing at least three people and wounding at least 45 before he was shot dead by an off-duty soldier.
With less than 10 hours remaining until the end of June in Iraq at the time of this post, it is clear, barring heavy last-minute casuaties, that May and June will show the lowest two-month total for US troop deaths in the five-year history of our involvement there.
The question that is this post's title occurred to me as I read through this report earlier today by Seth Sutel of the Associated Press. I believe the question is important, and that its potential implications are underappreciated.
Sutel first summarized the week's financial events in the media business. It wasn't pretty:
Even for an industry awash in bad news, the newspaper business went through one of its most severe retrenchments in recent memory last week.
Half a dozen newspapers said they would slash payrolls, one said it would outsource all its printing, and Tribune Co., one of the biggest publishers in the country, said it might sell its iconic headquarters tower in Chicago and the building that houses the Los Angeles Times.
The increasingly rapid and broad decline in the newspaper business in recent months has surprised even the most pessimistic financial analysts .....
By now, you have all heard of Wednesday's Supreme Court decision prohibiting the death penalty in cases of child rape. Having read several articles, the mainstream media's take on the case was mostly informational and understated. And that was to be expected. While the ruling could be considered a victory for civil libertarians, even the press understands that you can't do a victory dance when a child rapist is spared the death penalty.
AP political reporter Charles Babington, who recently touted "ample evidence that Obama is something special," is now warning that Obama is bracing against "race-based ads." Recent examples of "racially tinged" TV images like Obama wearing a turban and native Kenyan gear are "harbingers" of conservative 527-group ads to come. Babington then typically recounted the usual liberal-media suspects on racial politics – the Willie Horton ad and the crumpled-letter ad from Jesse Helms.
But he typically ignored acidulous race-baiting liberal commercials like the NAACP in 2000 suggesting that George W. Bush was dragging black victim James Byrd to death behind a pickup all over again, and the Missouri Democratic Party ad in 1998 that claimed: "When you don’t vote, you let enough church explode.When you don't vote, you let another cross burn." Babington implied that the history of nasty racial politics is a one-way avenue:
UPDATE: Hard to imagine, but it's even worse than originally thought. AP's go-to "historian" is, as Wikipedia shows, a shameless politically active far-leftist (HT Eric at Vocal Minority).
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Two Associated Press writers, with the help of accompanying photos at ABCnews.com, have dug down deep and reached a new low in dismal, depressive reporting.
You can be forgiven if, after reading the entire Saturday afternoon "report" by Alan Fram and Eileen Putman of the Associated Press, you worry that the two writers plan to jump from the nearest tall building -- and take their readers with them -- unless Barack Obama wins the White House.
This is how the pained pair's incredibly over-the-top report begins (note how the headline answers the question before the text begins; excerpted text is included here for fair use and discussion purposes, as are photos originally found at the ABC link that are included at the cross-post):
Everything seemingly is spinning out of control Out-of-control weather, gas prices, economy chip away at American self-confidence
Could this have been an, "Oops, we messed up" moment for CBSNews.com?
On June 18, CBS.com posted a story claiming that global seismic activity on Earth is now five times more energetic than it was just 20 years ago because of global warming. [see related NB story by D.S. Hube here]
Charm City has had Republican mayors before, but the last one was Theodore McKeldin, in the mid-1960s. His immediate successor was none other than Speaker Nancy Pelosi's (D-Calif.) father, Thomas D'Alesandro III, so for native Marylanders like myself, it's easy to take for granted that the mayor of Baltimore is and ever will be a Democrat, and that mentioning the fact is redundant.
But the national news media have an obligation to clue in readers about such things are party affiliation, and that's where, surprise, surprise, the Associated Press falls flat in its coverage of the recent raid of Mayor Sheila Dixon's private residence.
But the missing (D) is not the only problem with the June 18 article by Ben Nuckols, who laments that Dixon's "successes" will be overshadowed by such a minor inconvenience as her alleged abuse of power (emphasis mine):
BALTIMORE - Sheila Dixon has reduced violent crime and gracefully handled a variety of crises since taking over as mayor in January 2007, but a two-year state investigation of her financial dealings as City Council president threatens to overshadow her successes.
The AP's disharmony with bloggers may have only just begun, as the alternative it's now offering to being served with takedown notices involves paying an up-front sum for excerpting online articles -- as few as five words.
The pricing scale for excerpting AP content begins at $12.50 for 5-25 words and goes as high as $100 for 251 words and up. Nonprofit organizations and educational institutions enjoy a discounted rate.
An unbylined Associated Press report yesterday, at least as carried at MSNBC, acknowledges improvement, and then explains why it's not going to get much future coverage from the wire service as long as things stay that way:
BAGHDAD - Signs are emerging that Iraq has reached a turning point. Violence is down, armed extremists are in disarray, government confidence is rising and sectarian communities are gearing up for a battle at the polls rather than slaughter in the streets.
Those positive signs are attracting little attention in the United States, where the war-weary public is focused on the American presidential contest and skeptical of talk of success after so many years of unfounded optimism by the war's supporters.
Lt. Col. Jeffrey Chessani is the latest Marine to turn out not to be a "cold-blooded killer" that the media and Democratic politicians painted Marines charged with the Haditha "massacre" to be. This two weeks after another Marine was acquitted in a Haditha court martial.
FoxNews.com has the AP story about the dismissal of charges against him here.:
CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. - A military judge dismissed charges Tuesday against a Marine officer accused of failing to investigate the killings of 24 Iraqis.
Col. Steven Folsom dismissed charges against Lt. Col. Jeffrey Chessani after finding that a four-star general overseeing the case was improperly influenced by an investigator probing the November 2005 shootings by a Marine squad in Haditha.
As you might have guessed, this story is not exactly commanding the airwaves of the cable news networks this afternoon, although the media obsessed about the "massacre" in 2005.