Imagine for a moment that a Fox News reporter was arrested in Central Park early in the morning with a rope around his neck that was tied to his genitals. Do you think this little nuance would be included in press coverage of this bizarre event?
Probably in the headline and the opening paragraph, right?
Well, for some reason, though news outlets did report the odd happenings in NYC Friday morning when CNN's Richard Quest was officially arrested for loitering and drug possession, from what I can tell, only the New York Post included the "kinky" elements in its article Saturday (emphasis added, h/t NBer Gat New York, picture courtesy CNN):
Several friends and co-workers have asked me what it was like to attend the Papal Mass at Nationals Park in DC. It certainly didn’t seem reflected in many news media accounts. The standard AP template was largely secular and political. Reporter Victor Simpson summarized that Pope Benedict focused on "decrying that the nation's promise has been left unfulfilled for some." As I listened to the homily, I thought in that line, the Holy Father expressed that America did not begin in perfection, but there was hope for the oppressed in this country, whose freedoms were later guaranteed, that America has tried to improve, to live up to a promise, not unlike the Christian life.
A cynic might suggest that the Pope brought up slavery and the Native Americans to throw off the press from thinking he was a right-wing Reaganite. It certainly seemed greeted by reporters and pundits as a sign of his intention to make all American believers a little uncomfortable about not living up to the Gospels. (I heard this line from E. J. Dionne on NPR yesterday.) A cynic might also find political calculation in the many languages and musical styles used in the liturgy, that it was almost hard to find a white, English-speaking American reader or singer on stage, other than the Archbishop of Washington. (I was a little puzzled that one of the prayers was read in Igbo – are there a lot of American Igbo-speakers?) But I found it a wonderful reflection of a universal church, a global church, and I saw it reflected not just on stage, but on the incredible diversity in race and age all around me in the stands.
With the Olympics coming on, what's more poignant than the image of the sprinter hopefully awaiting the official time, only to learn he missed the record by 1/100th of a second? I'm in that same heartbroken mood for the Associated Press this morning. The wire service came so close to equalling the world record for revealing the Republican party affiliation of someone finding himself sideways of the law. Check out the first sentence from this AP story of April 17th:
A Republican congressional candidate was charged Thursday with felony burglary and criminal trespass stemming from an encounter last year with an ex-girlfriend.
Today, talk-show heavyweight Rush Limbaugh picked up on a curious oversight by an AP business reporter whose negative spin in supposedly objective stories on the economy has frequently been noted here.
In a Friday story about a survey of top financial company executives, the Associated Press's Martin Crutsinger wrote the following (bold is mine):
Turmoil in credit and housing markets will be the most significant threat to growth this year, according to a survey of top financial company executives released Friday.
These executives believe there is a high probability — 88 percent — that the country will suffer a recession in the next 12 months.
..... After credit market tumult and troubles in the housing market, the executives listed the next biggest threats to the economy now as the possibility the government will impose higher taxes or raise protectionist barriers to foreign competition.
Well, this time the AP has really done it. Dateline Custer County, Oklahoma: Sheriff Mike Burgess resigns after authorities charged him with running a sex-slave operation out of his jail using female inmates he bribed for the purpose. So, which party did the AP tell us our crafty entrepreneur was from? Well, they seem to have forgotten to mention it... shocking, I know.
AP's Laurie Kellman reported an entire story Wednesday night on "Abortion-rights lawmakers to receive communion," but nowhere in the story was an American quoted in opposition to granting communion to pro-abortion politicians. The angle for the story was that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and others planned to receive communion at the Papal Mass in D.C., when Pope Benedict has been supportive of denying the sacrament to abortion supporters. This paragraph stuck out:
Benedict's stance on abortion and Communion has been painful for elected officials who inhabit the troubled zone where Catholicism and their political beliefs intersect.
It would be just as true to state "Pelosi's stance on abortion and Communion has been painful for church officials," but that's not the ideological flow coming out of AP. Instead, Kellman quoted John Kerry plugging the opportunity of the papal trip to foster discussion on "poverty, disease, and despair," which in his mind probably doesn't include despair over pro-abortion politicians ever considering whether their position needs to better reflect their chosen faith.
"Not long ago, a young Ohio woman named Trina Bachtel, who was having health problems while pregnant, tried to get help at a local clinic," Krugman wrote. "Unfortunately, she had previously sought care at the same clinic while uninsured and had a large unpaid balance. The clinic wouldn't see her again unless she paid $100 per visit - which she didn't have. Eventually, she sought care at a hospital 30 miles away. By then, however, it was too late. Both she and the baby died."
The Associated Press cannot, by any stretch of the imagination, be considered pro-gun or the propaganda arm of the "gun lobby." For example, in 2006 the AP implied that the NRA was responsible for the increase in violent crime begun in 2004.1
In a recent article, the AP once again to insinuated that machinations by the "gun lobby" to sunset the Clinton gun ban may have resulted in an increased criminal use of "assault weapons"; particularly in their "discussion" of a criminal homicide which occurred last fall:
The Sept. 15 killing was remarkable in that it took place in the most innocent of settings - the fifth birthday of twin boys. But it was unremarkable in that one of the guns brandished was an AK-47-type rifle - a powerful, rapid-fire weapon that has long been used in Third World conflicts but is increasingly being used in American street fights.2
Associate Press based this article on firearm trace data:
Figures from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, obtained by The Associated Press through public records requests, show a marked increase in the number of AK-type weapons traced and entered into the agency's computer database because they had been seized or connected to a crime.3
A piece of artillery that was apparently misfired by the military crashed through the roof of a New Jersey home miles away Friday and injured a young girl's cat, which had to be euthanized, officials said.
Picatinny officials told The Star-Ledger of Newark they were investigating. The base had been conducting tests Friday, and it wasn't immediately clear what type of artillery hit the home.
In a post mockingly titled "Watch out for flying artillery," blogger Domenico Bettinelli mocked the reporter's complete lack of dictionary skills:
The Associated Press launched a farcical defense of Hillary Clinton’s discredited account of a “health care horror story” that involved a pregnant woman who died weeks after losing her baby. The article, Clinton’s Tale Part Truth, Part Errors, by Charles Babington (or is it Babblington?) is a classic journey down Libsteria Lane where no good lie goes undefended.
The AP one-ups the Hillary Clinton spin by ending their article with their own activist tainted lie as is often the case with mainstream media protectionists of candidates that have been granted most favored party status. (all emphasis mine throughout)
Clinton erred in telling audiences that the Ohio woman lacked insurance when seeking help for her troubled pregnancy. But according to Casto’s account, Bachtel’s medical tragedy began with circumstances very close to the essence of Clinton’s now-abandoned account: the lack of insurance created a $100 barrier to needed medical attention close to home.
The Associated Press's out-of-whack news priorities and seemingly boundless determination to distort never cease to amaze. Hope Yen's Sunday report on VA credit-card charges is yet more evidence that the wire service has lost its way.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Veterans Affairs employees last year racked up hundreds of thousands of dollars in government credit-card bills at casino and luxury hotels, movie theaters and high-end retailers such as Sharper Image and Franklin Covey — and government auditors are investigating, citing past spending abuses.
All told, VA staff charged $2.6 billion to their government credit cards.
Yen must "hope" that disgusted readers will stop there, because, thanks to "clever" writing, many readers will believe that $2.6 billion in spending is under investigation, and that the "hundreds of thousands" represents the small tip of a very big iceberg.
Even in sympathetic appreciations of Charlton Heston's life and career, his conservative activism for gun rights was often treated as a sour note. Richard Corliss in Time felt compelled to write "He became a villain to many in his later life, when he took up the strident support of conservative causes, most notably that of the National Rifle Association."
Later in his life, he took that stance into politics, becoming president of the National Rifle Association just when anti-gun attitudes were reaching their peak. Pilloried and parodied, lampooned and bullied, he never relented, he never backed down, and in time it came to seem less an old star's trick of vanity than an act of political heroism. He endured, like Moses. He aged, like Moses. And the stone tablet he carried had only one commandment: Thou shalt be armed. It can even be said that if the Supreme Court in June finds a meaning in the Second Amendment consistent with NRA policy, that he will have died just short of the Promised Land -- like Moses.
Remember the brouhaha the liberal media made out of Cincinnati radio host Bill Cunningham mocking "Barack Hussein Obama" at a McCain fundraiser, which McCain quickly rejected? Now the same thing (only bigger) has happened on the left. Radio Equalizer reports that at a Democratic Party fundraiser in Fargo on Friday that Obama later addressed, nationally syndicated liberal talk show host Ed Schultz slammed John McCain as a "warmonger." On Saturday, the Obama campaign repudiated the comment. But will the same networks that played up the Cunningham remarks (say, CNN) have the same fervor for the Obama-punts-Schultz story?
The Equalizer expects flying fur on the left: "While Obama is clearly looking to the general election and what will be expected of him, this is likely to go over about as well with the left as the suspension of Randi Rhodes by Air America. Don't expect Schultz to let this go without a fight."
It will make Monday's Schultz show worth sampling. From AP, which had the decency to employ the L word to describe Ed:
Is it just me, or is the Associated Press's Jeannine Aversa doing an end-zone dance because she thinks that the recession Old Media has been pining for has finally arrived?
Someone needs to remind her that one negative quarter, if it even occurs, does not a recession make.
In an early-Saturday story on the economy, Aversa treated the recession as a lock in her first paragraph, even though the fifth paragraph betrayed uncertainty (bolds are mine):
It's no longer a question of recession or not. Now it's how deep and how long. Workers' pink slips stacked ever higher in March as jittery employers slashed 80,000 jobs, the most in five years, and the national unemployment rate climbed to 5.1 percent. Job losses are nearing the staggering level of a quarter-million this year in just three months.
Now playing defense for Team Obama: Karen Hawkins and Christopher Wills of the Associated Press, as carried in the Washington Post ("Obama Found a Home in His Church") on Thursday.
Call it a Wright-wash -- Hawkins and Wills managed to avoid any mention of the main tenets of "Black Liberation Theology" (details after the jump) that form the foundation of the belief system of the Trinity United Church of Christ (TUCC). Until recently (though TUCC's Pastoral Staff page at its web site still does not reflect the supposed change), TUCC was headed by Rev. Jeremiah Wright, whose preaching moved presidential candidate Barack Obama to join the congregation 20 years.
The AP pair also managed to avoid any mention of often inflammatory items in weekly bulletin articles published by the Church.
Nowhere in the story's 1,200-plus words was there any mention of the Church's belief system, which was outlined by McClatchy's Margaret Tavel on March 20:
Did you know that 574,000 and 1.1 million more Americans had jobs in March than in February and January, respectively?
Seriously, as you can see on the right (data can be retrieved from this BLS page; select the very first "not seasonally adjusted" table).
Now the fact remains, as you can also see, that job growth during the past two months is nowhere near as great as it was during the same two months in 2006 (1.91 million) or 2007 (1.58 million). This goes a long way towards explaining why total employment, when adjusted for seasonality, fell 80,000 during March, and by 232,000 during the first quarter.
There's no denying that the employment situation has been deteriorating for several months, and I'm not trying to minimize that. What I am saying is that the "employees were thrown out on the streets during March" narrative cooked up by Old Media today, including the Associated Press's Jeannine Aversa, is clearly false, either because Old Media reporters and their editors don't understand a concept as basic as seasonality, or they don't want to.
HDNet anchor Dan Rather gets checked by a U.S. Secret Service special agent prior to boarding a bus to cover Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama D-Ill., Monday, March 31, 2008, in Harrisburg, PA (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Among the errors Davidson noted was the wire service's claim that "The United States ..... came out against the pact in 2001" -- implying, but not actually stating, that the US government was perfectly happy with Kyoto until mean old George W. Bush came along. This is, of course, patently untrue.
The error made by Erin Gartner of the Associated Press in covering Chelsea Clinton's appearance at the University of North Carolina on behalf of her mother's presidential bid was more obvious. It is just the latest in a long line of direct or attributed misstatements the AP has let stand about the treaty's history in the US (HTs to Captain Ed at Hot Air and Instapundit):
A federal judge on April 1 ordered Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Wash.), a veteran liberal legislator and Saddam Hussein stooge, to pay Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) $1 million for an illegally-taped 1996 phone conversation. Even the Associated Press, which we've taken to task numerous times for dropping party labels, noted McDermott's party affiliation. Not so the Seattle Times, McDermott's hometown paper:
A federal judge in Washington, D.C., says Congressman Jim McDermott owes an Ohio congressman $1 million for leaking an illegally taped phone call to the media.
Today's decision may end the dispute that began in 1996 when John Boehner (BAY'-ner) was taped talking about an ethics case involving Newt Gingrich. The tape reached McDermott who gave it two newspapers. He says it's a free speech issue.
Boehner sued and the case has been in the courts for a decade. A federal court ruled McDermott had no right to release the call.
Economic activity in the manufacturing sector failed to grow in March, while the overall economy grew for the 77th consecutive month, say the nation's supply executives in the latest Manufacturing ISM Report On Business®.
The report was issued today by Norbert J. Ore, C.P.M., chair of the Institute for Supply Management™ Manufacturing Business Survey Committee. "The manufacturing sector failed to grow in March as the PMI fell below 50 percent for the second consecutive month.
Just because the ISM says the economy has grown won't necessarily make it so when Uncle Sam's Bureau of Economic Analysis releases the first quarter 2008 GDP report late this month, but it beats the alternative.
The real fun comes in looking over the reporting on the ISM results. Were they better or worse than "expected"? Well, it depends on who you ask.
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):