May 27: Paul R. La Monica for CNN Money reporting on Warren Buffett's belief that "we are already in a recession." Notice the lede:
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- It's getting harder and harder to deny that the economy is in recession.
May 29: The federal government releases an upward revision of the first quarter GDP growth. The ever-pessimistic AP reporter Martin Crutsinger grudgingly admitted that the new numbers could bolster the view that "the country can dodge a full-blown downturn":
The economy plodded ahead at a 0.9 percent pace in the first quarter - slightly better than first estimated - but still underscoring caution on the part of consumers and businesses walloped by housing, credit and financial problems.
Also see the compare-and-contrast example in the final paragraph.
A city councilman in Lorain, Ohio, a city of about 75,000 west of Cleveland, was arrested during a prostitution sting on Friday.
Of the six stories I found covering the event (the Google News search is for May 22-26), only one referred to the political party of councilman Dennis Flores, who is a Democrat (scroll down to "Second Ward Council;" HT to an e-mailer).
The Cleveland Plain Dealer set the tone for ignoring Flores's party ID, with a Saturday Breaking Metro Blog entry and Sunday story, which presumably made the print edition. Each story notes that Flores "serves as captain of his block watch."
While two others who gave the story attention without providing a party identification for Flores could perhaps be excused because they only gave it five or six paragraphs (specifically, Cleveland's WEWS and WKYC.com), writer Scott Allyn at the Morning Journal, whose main office is in Lorain, clearly had to go out of his way to avoid naming Flores's party. In the process, he also failed to identify the party affiliation of the mayor and two other city council members:
It's Memorial Day, and the good folks at the New York Times thought it appropriate to not only attack the President's position on a new G.I. Bill, but also to despicably lambaste him for "[h]aving saddled the military with a botched, unwinnable war," and"having squandered soldiers’ lives and failed them in so many ways."
On Memorial Day!
Thankfully, White House press secretary Dana Perino has already issued a written statement concerning this deplorable act by the Times on a sacred day when our nation commemorates its fallen heroes.
But before we get there, here are some of the atrocities the Times editorial staff felt were appropriate to offer their readers on this solemn holiday (emphasis added throughout, h/t FishbowlDC):
Ah, Memorial Day in Ithaca, NY, a town that looks upon Berkeley, CA as suspiciously conservative. OK, perhaps not quite, but Ithaca is so liberal than in her 2006 Senate primary [bet you didn't know there even was one], Hillary lost the City of Ithaca to a [very] little-known far-lefty named Jonathan Tasini. So liberal that a certain NewsBuster lost a 1990s mayoral bid to the then incumbent, a proud member of the Democratic Socialists of America.
So how does our hometown newspaper celebrate Memorial Day? What does it choose as its biggest headline on the front page? "Military Faces Growing Need for Therapists: Private pyschiatrists offer free services for returning troops." You get the idea, but here are the opening paragraphs to the AP story [emphasis added]:
Anyone wishing to understand why leftist bias pervades US "mainstream" media reporting will benefit from reading Steve Boriss's May 18 column ("Is the Associated Press Good for America?") at Pajamas Media.
Boriss quickly runs down the history, and gets right to the point: The self-described "not-for-profit cooperative" has a history of acting as a monopolist:
It's a happy Memorial Day from the Associated Press as they inform that nation that a few Marines involved themselves in a "shooting spree" in Afghanistan. Yes, the AP makes it seem as if our Marines began "firing indiscriminately at vehicles and civilians" during a March 4th altercation near Nangarhar province. But, a closer read finds a far murkier story and one that seems to say that our Marines didn't go wild but that they thought they were under attack. Whether the Marines were right or wrong about being attacked is the real question at the end of the day. But whatever the case, right at the outset the AP presented the incident as if the Marines were in the wrong.
Even the headline casts the Marines actions in the negative: "Afghans appalled Marines not charged in killings." No benefit of the doubt there. In fact, the whole first half of the story explores the charges against the Marines before a single word in their defense appears.
Cindy McCain, the wife of Republican presidential candidate John McCain, released a summary of her 2006 income tax return Friday prompting media members to quickly make negative comparisons between what she revealed and what Sen. John Kerry's (D-Mass.) wife disclosed to the public in October 2004.
Most notable was the New York Times which in characterizing Teresa Heinz Kerry's 2003 income as being less than Cindy's in 2006 completely ignored its own October 16, 2004, article revealing as much as $50 million Teresa made in "trusts of which she is the beneficiary" not included in her personal tax filing.
Isn't that convenient?
Let's begin our examination with Saturday's Times piece (emphasis added, h/t Redstate, picture courtesy AP):
..... But Misses Chance to Refute "Jobs Slashed" Claims.
It's good to see that someone else is on the case of the recession-obsessed Associated Press, particularly reporter Jeannine Aversa. But even the estimable James Taranto, in his Best of the Web column yesterday, let Aversa's most obvious and repeated error go by without comment.
Bureaucratic bungling by the state of Minnesota had a heavy hand in the fatal Minnesota bridge collapse last summer, according to a new report commissioned by that state's legislature. The Associated Press has the story, but it's not as exciting as the initial "blame Bush" meme the media found so convenient as the tragedy unfolded. (emphasis mine):
ST. PAUL - A new report on the Minneapolis bridge collapse said money worries may have led to bad maintenance decisions ahead of the catastrophe that killed 13 people last August.
The report, commissioned by the Legislature, also criticized the Minnesota Department of Transportation for bridge inspections that were mishandled or not acted upon over the years, even when they called for immediate repairs.
The business press's recession obsession continues:
A couple of weeks ago, in the wake of the initial first-quarter GDP growth reading of 0.6%, Rex Nutting at MarketWatch.com entertained us with the notion that an economy can be in a recession even while there is real, if anemic, economic growth.
Someone forgot to tell the Wall Street Journal's Kelly Evans and Justin Lahart, carried here at the Arizona Republic, that they're supposed to portray the economy in a bad light whenever and wherever possible. I'll get to the pair's report later.
That "bad light" directive seems seared into the minds of the Associated Press's Martin Crutsinger and his AP colleagues, as they continue to "cling to recession," and attempt to convince consumers and businesses that if perchance we're not already in one, it's just around the bend.
The AP's persistence has borne dreadful fruit. Relentlessly downbeat reporting during at least the past six years by the wire service's business reporters -- who largely determine what most Americans see, hear, and read about the economy -- is a big reason, if not the most important reason, why most Americans, as seen in the latest consumer confidence report, have a negative economic outlook and are convinced that we are in a recession.
Catching up with a fawning Associated Press story on Barack Obama from last Saturday, “Obama rises from political obscurity to verge of history,” on Friday the Wall Street Journal's James Taranto ridiculed the sycophant approach taken by the AP's Charles Babington, formerly of the Washington Post. Babington trumpeted in the May 10 dispatch: “There's ample evidence that Obama is something special, a man who makes difficult tasks look easy, who seems to touch millions of diverse people with a message of hope that somehow doesn't sound Pollyannaish.” Taranto, in his May 16 “Best of the Web Today” online compilation, poked fun at Babington:
Is Barack Obama merely something special, or is he truly extraordinary? Babington can't take a position on that. He's a professional reporter, after all, and has to maintain his detachment. But he does report that “without question, Obama is an electrifying speaker,” that “Obama has a compelling biography, too,” and that “for a politician with only four years of experience at the federal level, Obama also has spot-on instincts, associates say, and a steely confidence in his convictions, in good times and bad.”
In a May 15 article, Associated Press writer H. Josef Hebert practically cheered the addition of polar bears to a federal “threatened species” list thought of the subjectively positive effects this could have on the global warming debate: “The massive and powerful furry creature that lumbers across the Arctic ice may accomplish what 20 years of environmental activism has not done: force the issue that global warming already is having an effect and there is a price for both action and inaction.”
In his story, “Analysis: Polar Bear's Impact on People is Felt,” Hebert explained that the polar brings a “face” to the global warming debate. Whereas scientists have “long have talked of the visible damage that global warming has done to sea coral” this has “escaped the notice of the average person.” However, the polar bear, according to Wildlife Conservation Society President Steven E. Sanderson as quoted in the article, is different because it is “big, it's charismatic and it's powerful. It's beautiful and it generates sympathy. If it blinks out, you'll notice.”
The Federal Reserve reported Thursday that April industrial production fell, the second negative reading in the past three months. Specifically, February and April fell by 0.7%, and March showed an increase of 0.2%.
In May 2001, that same report showed that production fell for the seventh consecutive month.
Seasonally adjusted data from the Fed indicates that industrial production during those seven months (October 2000 through April 2001) fell 2.6%.
During the past seven months (October 2007 through April 2008), industrial production has fallen 1.7%.
Guess which set of circumstances generated more talk of recession?
Applying the AP's McCain Standard to Barack Obama Shows Sudanese Connections to His Campaign
It's a strange one sided sort of game the Associated Press is playing in its latest attack against John McCain. AP writer Jim Kuhnhenn is applying a six degrees of separation style standard in trying to accuse John McCain of investing in the Sudan because his wife owned some mutual funds that had holdings in an Indian company that allegedly does business in the Sudan. The far left has picked up on this "AP newsbreak" as evidenced by its front page status at The Huffington Post.
So I decided to play the game myself by looking at the mainstream media's favorite target of obsessive adulation, Barack Obama. My my, would you look at that? When I applied the McCain standard to Barack Obama I quickly discovered that Obama's top contributors are being targeted by activists that are targeting financial companies to divest in the Sudan. Surprised?
How do you write an article about Uncle Sam's April financial results without telling readers how much money came in and went out -- especially if what came in was an all-time record?
Yesterday and today, many journalists have shown us how. Two of them are Martin Crutsinger of the Associated Press and Michael M. Phillips of the Wall Street Journal.
Crutsinger's AP report actually made it appear as if collections is the problem area. In fact, as you will eventually see after the jump, April's result had nothing to do with "dampening" revenue growth, and everything to do with exploding spending.
Amid talk among the mainstream media of a sinking economy in which the elderly must live in vans and others cannot afford to drive 35 miles to church on Sundays, the Associated Press did note a drop in unemployment from 2006 to 2007. But even that news was buried in a story about the military and was used to explain trouble had in meeting recruiting goals.
On May 13, an AP story by writer Anne Flaherty used this drop in unemployment to explain that the military is having difficulty recruiting young people. But just a day before, the Associated Press reported that every branch of the military met its recruiting goals for the month of April, some branches even surpassed them. As Warner Todd Huston noted, AP’s Pauline Jelinek reasoned that the military was successful in its recruitment efforts because “other job possibilities” are limited.
Don’t you just hate it when newsrooms can’t agree over which biased meme should rule the day?
Don't you just love the MSM? They can't even report good news without interjecting their doom and gloom, agenda driven verbiage into any report. This time it is the Associated Press with the good news that the Marines and the rest of America's armed forces have reached their recruiting goals. In fact, many branches of the service exceeded them. All good news, right? Well, naturally the AP had to throw some cold water on the good tidings. You see, according to the AP the Marines fulfilled their recruiting goals because of a "slow economy" and despite Iraq being an "unpopular war." They just can't let it go, can they?
After giving us the details that the Marines surpassed their recruiting goals the AP had to remind us that U.S. forces were "stretched thin by the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan" and that those joining the service are doing so because -- and here is that old canard again -- "other job possibilities" are limited for them.
MoveOn.org sponsored a contest for the best 30-second pro-Barack Obama TV commercial. The winner, according to the Associated Press's article, "MoveOn ad features pro-Obama Republican," was an ad starring Air Force veteran John Weiler. The spot includes Mr. Weiler, whose military service is to be commended, saying "I've been a Republican since before I could actually vote." Not only that: "I'm a lifelong Republican and I'm voting for Barack Obama."
I don't know if Mr. Weiler is a lifelong Republican as he claims. I do know that if the Associated Press is accurate in its reporting, he must have been an extraordinary serviceman.
"He served in the Air Force from 1983 to 1989, leaving the service as a master sergeant," according to the AP. Is that not amazing? The Air Force Enlisted Promotions Fact Sheet shows promotion to Master Sergeant (E-7) requires eight years in the service. According to Military.com, "The average service wide active duty time for advancement to the rank of Master Sergeant is 17.06 years."
What part of "free" in "free-market" does the Associated Press not understand?
The news wire's Glen Johnson is reporting today that Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) plans on unveiling a plan to combat global climate change "while adhering to free-market principles."
McCain's major solution is to implement a cap-and-trade program on carbon-fuel emissions, like a similar program in the Clean Air Act that was used to reduce sulfur dioxide emissions that triggered acid rain.
Industries would be given emission targets, and those coming in under their limit could sell their surplus polluting capacity to companies unable to meet their target.
A cap-and-trade programs would certainly be a market, but it would be an artificial one imposed on manufacturers by government fiat. The key word in free-market being of course, free.
It would be correct to call a voluntary cap-and-trade program created by industry groups outside the pressure of government regulation a "free-market" solution, but the component of force by government here only puts an Adam Smith happy face on a Karl Marx mandate.
Poor teaser headline selection by MSNBC.com? I report, you decide.
At right is a screencap of a teaser headline from the Web site about U.S. humanitarian aid reaching Myanmar Burma. As the AP story linked makes clear, the fault for the delay in the aid's arrival is that of the military dictatorship, not any incompetence or lack of concern by Washington.
Yet the teaser headline reads: "First U.S. aid plane lands in Myanmar; UPDATED: Relief comes more than week after cyclone."
The same headline and subhead are found on the AP article as found when readers follow the link. The AP story itself makes clear the Burmese government has and continues to be an obstacle to reaching devastated Burmese civilians with much needed food and medical relief:
During the 1992 presidential campaign, when incumbent Vice President Dan Quayle made a spelling mistake, the New York Times was all over it. It's clear from the Times's story that the rest of the media was also in full pursuit:
So Jay Leno has a week's worth of new Dan Quayle jokes. At a school here, everyone was quite hush-hush the day after the visiting Vice President spelled potato wrong while directing a spelling bee.
..... Reporters stood around today for hours outside of the house where 12-year-old William Figueroa lives. He has become a national celebrity for having spelled the word correctly on the blackboard, only to have Mr. Quayle, holding a flash card with the word spelled incorrectly, encourage him to add an E at the end.
Brent Bozell's latest culture column starts from the standard Associated Press boilerplate celebrating how the American Library Association has allegedly kept the country safe from blue-haired censors of anything edgy. But AP and other reporters never dig below press-release level to discover that the ALA has censors of its own. Instead of merely noticing how children's books promoting gay parenting and gay marriage are controversial, the ALA's left-wing activists are pushing a social agenda that includes screening out "inappropriate" conservative titles:
Press accounts leave out that the ALA not only disdains the public "challenges," it lobbies on the books’ behalf. In 2006, the two-penguin-daddy "And Tango Makes Three" was honored as an ALA Notable Children's Book. The librarians’ group isn’t simply for "freedom." It’s for sexual liberation, promoting the "non-traditional," and it takes offense at the idea that parents might not want their children discussing homosexuality in kindergarten. Simon & Schuster, the publishers of "Tango," Simon & Schuster offer discussion questions about the book on their web site. One says: "Tango has two fathers instead of the traditional mother and father. Do you have a nontraditional family, or do you know someone who does?"
Already we can predict how the ALA next year will complain about any objection to a book called "Uncle Bobby’s Wedding," the story of a young guinea pig named Chloe who worries that her Uncle Bobby won’t play with her any more after he "marries" his boyfriend Jamie. The book ends at the "wedding," with Chloe as the enthusiastic flower girl.
Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer is a college professor with a long history of political activism and fearless liberalism.—AP, 5-11-08, profile of candidate for Minn. Dem primary nomination [emphasis added].
Fearless liberalism? Fearless? It's fearless for an American college professor to be a big-time liberal? Give me a fearless break!
Yet that's how the AP described the predictably left-wing politics of the man challenging Al Franken for the right to challenge Republican Norm Coleman for his seat in the US Senate. Among Nelson-Pallmeyer's positions:
I noted a few weeks ago (at BizzyBlog; at NewsBusters) that Mike Celizic at MSNBC couldn't get though his article about Jenna Bush's upcoming wedding without bringing up her misdemeanor arrests from seven years ago.
Julie Mason of the Houston Chronicle also went there in a late Thursday report. She also threw in a number of shots at Jenna's father, his administration, and his hometown:
Saturday, in an Oscar de la Renta gown with twin sister Barbara at her side, Jenna Bush, 26, will marry 29-year-old business school student Henry Hager at her parents' Central Texas ranch.
It's probably as close as Oscar de la Renta will ever get to Crawford.
The Associated Press today wins first place for the most misleading headline in the MSM by saying that a study shows that Jon Stewart's Comedy Central "The Daily Show" show is somehow "a lot like" Bill O'Reilly's "The O'Reilly Factor." The Thursday May 8 report is flippantly headlined, "Study of 'Daily Show': It's a lot like O'Reilly," but the following report does not exactly confirm the headline. It appears that the AP's distorted headline was meant to equate "The O'Reilly Factor" to comedy in order to impugn the serious character of the hit Fox show and make of it but an exercise in comedy.
Worker productivity rose by a better-than-expected amount in the first three months of the year while labor cost pressures eased.
The Labor Department reported Wednesday that productivity, the amount of output per hour of work, increased at an annual rate of 2.2 percent in the first quarter. That was slightly higher than the 1.5 percent increase that had been expected.