The Associated Press was eager to publish the ties between Jack Abramoff, Tyco International and the Republican Party. According to the AP, Tyco is "Company A" in court documents describing the case against Abramoff.
In the article, Sharon Theimer wrote about Tyco's relationship with several other lobbying firms, including that of former Senator Majority Leader Bob Dole. She also cited Tyco attorney Timothy E. Flanigan's relationship to Abramoff, reminding readers that Flanigan withdrew his nomination to be President Bush's deputy attorney general in October. As usual, both Tom Delay and Bob Ney were listed as being investigated for their ties with Abramoff.
The Associated Press's Martin Crutsinger has been on the opposite of a roll:
Just before Christmas, he appeared to be lowballing the consensus estimate of 4th Quarter 2005 GDP growth by describing it as "around 3 percent," when a broad-based Bloomberg survey of economists indicated a consensus forecast of 3.3%.
Second, he pooh-poohed November's Construction Spending report released two days ago by giving full credit for the increase to a record level to Government Sector spending, which offset decline in "home building." The reality was that Nonresidential spending in the Private Sector deserved the largest portion of the credit, and that the residential spending decline, which occurred in the Government Sector, was most likely related to apartments, assisted-living quarters and other non-owned properties.
Today, he sought to discount the good news about initial job claims, and hearkened back to the previous economic expansion with an incorrect reference.
The Associated Press's Martin Crutsinger used today's release by the Commerce Department's Census Bureau of November's Construction Spending Report as an opportunity to take an unsupported swipe at the housing market, and to give government spending full credit for the favorable news.
Here are the topline seasonally adjusted numbers (4-page PDF) released today (in billions; listed in order of November, October and the net change; figures may not add up due to rounding):
Total Construction -- $1,146.4, $1,144.2, +$2.2
By Sector: Residential $648.4, $648.9, -$0.5 Nonresidential $498.0, $495.3, +$2.7
Public and Private: Public $253.9, $253.2, +$0.7 Private $892.4, $891.0, +$1.4
Who needs a publicist to promote your book when the AP will do it for free? The AP is shilling for James Risen's new book, State of War: The Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration. In an article titled, "CIA Ignored Info Iraq Had no WMD", posted on yahoo.com, the AP states that the book "describes secret operations of the Bush Administration's war on terror". The articles cites an instance of the CIA sending an Iraqi-American MD to Iraq to talk to her brother about Iraq's nuclear weapons programs. Despite reports of a nuclear weapons program that ended years before, the article reports "In October 2002, a month after the doctor's trip to Baghdad, the U.S intelligence community issued a National Intelligence Estimate that concluded Iraq was reconstituting its nuclear program". According to the article, "New York Times reporter James Risen uses the anecdote to illustrate how the CIA ignored information that Iraq no longer had weapons of mass destruction.
Sometimes a story comes along that may look to be something particular, but then turns out not to be. The story written by Associated Press (AP) journalist Patrick Condon titled: "Sign Tallying Iraq Casualties Causes Stir" is just such a story.
Condon seeks to portray Vietnam veteran Scott Cameron as anything but an anti-war, politically motivated Democrat, who just so happens to have his "modest memorial" to U.S. forces posted in the Campaign office of Democratic gubernatorial candidate, Steve Kelley. Kelley's office just also happens to be next door to the Army's military recruiters office.
Signaling the slow-as-a-glacier news pace right now, the big AP story of the morning is "Core of White House Staff Largely Intact." And they're trying to tell us planes landing safely is not news, but this is? Reporter Jennifer Loven projects: "The big question is how much longer Bush's inner circle can hold together."
Of course, there is room eventually for liberal spin, the old Newsweek bubble-boy spin: "And the lack of change has contributed to criticism of Bush as governing from inside a bubble that isolates him from smart dissent, healthy competition, fresh ideas and bad news. 'If people stay that long, group-think can set in, and that's dangerous for a president,' [David] Gergen said."
Associated Press education writer Ben Feller tackles the question of how Bill Clinton's impeachment is being handled in high school textbooks. The quick answer: with quite a bit of euphemism and some sad editorializing.
Middle school texts describe it as "a personal relationship between the president and a White House intern." In high school books, it is Clinton's "improper relationship with a young White House intern," or Clinton "denied having sexual relations" with an intern. Students don't need the bawdy details to grasp the impeachment struggle, said Allan Lichtman, a presidential historian and professor at American University.
The Associated Press is very good at what it does. It's just a shame that straight news reporting isn't it.
They've run a piece this morning (Lawmakers Hasten to Return Abramoff Gifts) dealing with lobbyist and equal-opportunity crook Jack Abramoff. Regular AP readers will remember that when Abramoff was indicted back in August the AP story mentioned one congressman by name, Republican Tom Delay, and they mentioned him 5 times. Despite the fact that Abramoff has given money to many congresspeople of both party, the Republican Delay got mentioned, and no one else.
Well, they're at it again. (H/T to Michelle Malkin). Today's AP story makes it seem, again, as if Abramoff gave, or steered, contributions to Republicans, and to Republicans alone. They start with a quote from the President:
This week, President Bush said it seemed to him that Abramoff "was an equal money dispenser, that he was giving money to people in both political parties."
On December 7, The Associated Press's Martin Crutsinger reported on a rise in factory orders and productivity growth, and quoted an expert who predicted good times ahead:
"The momentum of growth has been very strong," said Nariman Behravesh, chief economist at Global Insight in Lexington, Mass. "This suggests that growth in the fourth quarter of this year and early next year will remain robust."
Two weeks later, on December 21 at 8:37 AM ET, in a report on the slight downward revision of third-quarter GDP growth from 4.3% to 4.1%, Crutsinger wrote the following, apparently for consumption by the general population, based on where it appeared (bold is mine):
Two old and typically biased news organizations have combined on an unctuous double-teaming against the Bush Administration. The Washington Post and the Associated Press have taken a story based on innuendo and un-named sources and made it front-page news. What a surprise.
The Post ran its story, “Spy Court Judge Quits In Protest” with the subtitle, “Jurist Concerned Bush Order Tainted Work of Secret Panel.” In it, the Post makes the claim that a judge who sits on the FISA court, resigned “in protest of President Bush's secret authorization of a domestic spying program according to two sources.”
Almost immediately into the story titled "Mexico Retaliates for Border Wall Plan," written by Associated Press staff writer Mark Stevenson, it easy to see where the AP's sympathies lie, and that is squarely with law-breaking illegal aliens, or what the AP calls "migrants" or "migrant workers."
The piece is an out and out condemnation of the House of Representatives recent bill that passed just last week that will employ tough new immigration deterrents, among them a 700-mile security fence, and an end to the 50,000 per-year diversity visa lottery.
There were only two subjects that concerned the media during President Bush’s December 19th news conference: Bad news on Iraq and domestic spying. Problems in Iraq accounted for six questions, while there were seven on domestic spying. (Note: Questions were counted based on their topic. Follow-ups on the same subject were not counted as separate questions.)
The assembled members of the press seemed relatively uninterested in the successful Iraqi elections. In fact, there were no questions specifically about the elections or about the improving economy.
The folks over at The New York Times must be laughing their heads off. With the President’s poll numbers on the rise, a fabulous election result in Iraq, and the potential extension of a key antiterrorism bill that the administration holds dear, the Times stole Christmas from the White House last week with the release of one carefully-timed article.
After some pretty horrible months in September and October, President Bush has been fighting his way back up from a virtual poll abyss. The economy—regardless of left-wing protestations to the contrary—has been humming. Energy prices—regardless of, well, you get the point—have been plummeting. And, the Sunnis, who largely boycotted the past two elections in Iraq, were giving signs that they would participate in Thursday’s elections in very large, enthusiastic numbers.
All the President needed to make this holiday season a truly joyous one was a relatively safe, incident-free day at the Iraqi polls Thursday, and the Patriot Act to be extended before Congress adjourned for the year on Friday.
The Grinch…err., I mean, the Times had something else in mind.
As NewsBusters’ Clay Waters reported, a National Security Agency surveillance program, codenamed “Echelon,” – apparently similar to what the NSA is doing today to counter terrorist activities that has garnered tremendous media outrage in the past four days – existed some years ago. In fact, according to a February 27, 2000 Associated Press article, the ACLU had been expressing its concern regarding this program for quite some time:
“Nevertheless, the American Civil Liberties Union has been requesting congressional hearings on Echelon for nearly a year. In a letter sent to the House Government Reform Committee in April 1999, the ACLU said: ''It is important that Congress investigate to determine if the Echelon program is as sweeping and intrusive as has been reported.''
This AP article also referenced a letter that the NSA had sent to Congress concerning the upcoming “60 Minutes” story:
As reported by the MRC’s Brent Baker, the media are in full dudgeon over new revelations of a secret eavesdropping, antiterrorism strategy by the White House. However, there are some key elements of this story that the president just discussed in his weekly radio address as reported by the Associated Press that The New York Times and others either neglected to share with the public, or downplayed in their reports:
“Bush said the program was narrowly designed and used ‘consistent with U.S. law and the Constitution.’ He said it is used only to intercept the international communications of people inside the United States who have been determined to have ‘a clear link’ to al-Qaida or related terrorist organizations.”
In a post-9/11 world, this does seem to be a reasonable strategy to avert further terrorist attacks. Wouldn’t most Americans wish that the 9/11 hijackers all had their “international communications” intercepted regardless of the existence of a court order to do so?
Hurricane Katrina is apparently still killing people. OpinionJournal.com's James Taranto reports:
Back in September we
noted that some twisted souls on the Angry Left were hoping for an
enormous death toll from Hurricane Katrina, because they thought that would
hurt President Bush politically and diminish the 9/11 attacks and the threat
of terrorism more generally. The actual death toll turned out to be in the low
four figures--a terrible tragedy to normal people, but a disappointment for
the aforementioned lefto sickos.
A story in the Associated Press, however, suggests that some people want to
inflate the Katrina death toll. "Even as the official toll continues to
rise when more bodies are found in once-flooded homes, the real total may never
be known," the AP says. "The victims are scattered far and wide, and
the connections of their deaths to the storm are not necessarily obvious."
Examples include "13-month-old Destiny McNeese, who rolled onto her stomach
and suffocated on an air mattress after her family fled from Kentwood [La.]
Two "breakthoughs" in stem-cell research announced at roughly the same time have, based on Google News searches, received very disparate treatment in news coverage.
to view the Google News screen shot. Note: the "hours ago" indicator
is only for the lead item listed. Both stories originated in news coverage in
the early AM on December 13.
first, originally covered by the Louisville Courier Journal, is about adult
stem cells and how researchers are claiming that they can be made to do all the
tricks that, until this "breakthrough," embryonic stem cells have been
thought to be able to perform:
University of Louisville researchers have coaxed stem cells from adult mice to change into brain, nerve, heart and pancreatic cells. That could lead to treatments for human diseases and end the debate over embryonic stem cells.
"We have found a counterpart for embryonic stem cells in adult bone marrow. This could negate the ethical concerns," said Dr. Mariusz Ratajczak, leader of the research team and director of the stem-cell biology program at U of L's James Graham Brown Cancer Center.
This adult stem cell "breakthough" had only 31 "related items" in a Google News search as of about 10 AM today, with no apparent coverage by the Associated Press or the New York Times. United Press International is the only major wire service or major newspaper that has mentioned the story.
second, primarily covered by The Washington Post's Rick Weiss ("Human
Brain Cells Are Grown In Mice") appeared on Page A03 of the paper on Tuesday,
December 13, and is about embryonic stem cells:
One has to wonder after reading two Associated Press articles.
The first, not attributed is about the Detroit Mayoral vote recount. Two Democrats are involved in the contested result. Neither candidate's party affiliation is named.
The second , by AP's Susan Gamboa, is about Prosecutor Ronnie Earle issuing "subpoenas for bank records and other information of a defense contractor involved in the bribery case of a California congressman" in the case of Tom Delay.
Setting aside the fact that Randy Cunningham is a FORMER congressman (properly identified later), no mention is made of Mr. Earle's Democrat affiliation. But Mr. Delay's "Texans for a Republican Majority" gets a mention. Additionally, one of the later paragraphs states that "Earle alleges that DeLay and two coconspirators funneled $190,000 in corporate contributions through the Texas political committee and an arm of the National Republican Committee to seven GOP state legislative candidates."
As reported yesterday by NewsBusters, a brand new ABC News/TIME poll depicted Iraqis as being very optimistic about themselves and the future of their country. The Associated Press via USA Today is sharing this information with its readers by focusing attention on the negatives first. The article, entitled “Most Iraqis Oppose U.S. Troops, Poll Says,” began:
“Most Iraqis disapprove of the presence of U.S. forces in their country, yet they are optimistic about Iraq's future and their own personal lives, according to a new poll.
“More than two-thirds of those surveyed oppose the presence of troops from the United States and its coalition partners and less than half, 44%, say their country is better off now than it was before the war, according to an ABC News poll conducted with Time magazine and other media partners.”
The Associated Press/Ipsos released results of a new poll concerning the public’s opinion of political corruption. In its report about this survey, the AP categorized the public’s negative view as being almost exclusively a Republican problem. In fact, not one Democrat is specifically named in this article, while seven Republicans are. Yet, buried very deep in one of the final paragraphs is the finding that, within the poll’s margin of error, Democrats and Republicans are considered equally ethical.
Months after her death, the Associated Press has reopened the tragic story of Terri Schiavo, this time giving its huge audience the big news that her husband has launched a Political Action Committee:
Michael Schiavo, whose effort to end life support for his brain-damaged wife divided a nation, is launching a political action committee that will challenge candidates based on where they stand on government's reach in private lives.
In rehashing the story, the AP continues just as it left off, lying. Terri Schiavo was no more on “life support” than is an infant child who cannot feed itself. But just to keep the ball rolling--in an AP-ish sort of way--they couldn’t resist jabbing you know who:
A recent report published by the Gallup Organization stated:
“a majority of U.S. investors continue to describe the current economy as being ‘in a slowdown’ or ‘recession’ as opposed to being ‘in a recovery’ or ‘sustained expansion.’”
Regardless of continuously strong economic reports, such bearish assessments have been regularly portrayed by public opinion polls for several years. During this period, economists and politicians – including the Bush administration – have wondered what is responsible for this disconnect between perception and reality.
A detailed look at how unemployment numbers are shared with the public by mainstream media outlets gives us some clues. The Labor Department on Friday announced very strong employment gains for the month of November. In fact, this was the largest number of job creations since April. However, this news was reported to the public in a fashion that largely downplayed its significance. A 3.2 percent annual increase in wages was characterized as employees “basically treading water.” Although energy prices have been steadily declining since September, jobs market stories included references of this still being a “huge concern.” Other news accounts referred to the unemployment rate being “stuck at 5 percent,” as if a 5 percent unemployment rate is a bad thing, while one cable news outlet told viewers to take the numbers “with a grain of salt.”
Yesterday Lester wrote, "U.S. Allies Oppose Torture, Polls Show", but instead of focusing on the torture poll, the article focuses on American allies that don't want the United States conducting secret interrogations of terror suspects on their soil.
About two-thirds of the people living in Canada, Mexico, South Korea and Spain said they would oppose allowing the U.S. to secretly interrogate terror suspects in their countries. Almost that many in Britain, France, Germany and Italy said they feel the same way. Almost two-thirds in the United States support such interrogations in the U.S. by their own government.
WASHINGTON - A spy-agency analysis released Thursday contends a second attack on U.S. ships in the Gulf of Tonkin never happened, casting further doubt on the leading rationale for escalation of the Vietnam War.
Much as faulty U.S. intelligence preceded the invasion of Iraq, the mishandling of intercepted communications 40 years earlier is blamed in the National Security Agency paper for giving President Johnson carte blanche in the conflict.
There's more than one parallel here, and it goes to the blinders the AP is wearing when it reports on either war. The idea that America was going to go to war over the Gulf of Tonkin alone is absurd. Unless there was a much more serious threat, like the notion that Communists were going to overrun southeast Asia (which they did), a couple of bullet holes in the side of a ship weren't going to goad this country into a 10-year, 500,000-man commitment half a world away.
The media’s pessimistic holiday shopping forecasts fail to register with reality.
Don't miss my latest at the Free Market Project: Contrary to the media’s pessimistic forecasts for the Christmas shopping season reported by the Free Market Project in late October, strong retail sales this Thanksgiving weekend got the annual end-of-the-year buying bonanza off to a bang. In fact, the economic data available prior to this weekend looked so strong that the National Retail Federation, the world’s largest retail trade association, actually raised its sales forecast for 2005 holiday shopping from a 5 percent year-over-year increase to 6 percent.
Regardless of this upgrade in expectations by retailers themselves, and the fabulous start to the shopping season, the media continued to rain on everybody’s parade.
The Chicago-based organization - supported by several Protestant denominations that believe Christianity forbids all war-making and violence - has sent activists into war zones, including Bosnia and Haiti, since the late 1980s. It has about 160 members around the world and about a dozen in Iraq.
Don't miss my latest writing for the Free Market Project: Media claims about a “housing bubble” are nothing new. Since before the 9/11 terror attacks, the media have been calling the housing market a “bubble” while predicting an imminent, devastating decline. Not only have they been wrong in forecasting such a top, they have thoroughly mischaracterized what an investment bubble is. Now that the market for homes has finally slowed a bit, the media are declaring the bubble has burst.
A Bubble?: Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan has denied the existence of a national housing bubble for several years, but the media have used the term repeatedly.
Strong Gains: The increase in real estate values the past five years has not resembled the rapid rise typically seen in a bubble. In 2000, the national median existing-home value was $139,000. This grew to $215,900 by the third quarter of 2005 – a 55-percent nominal increase but a 34-percent inflation-adjusted gain.
Home Sales Still Going Up: New home sales jumped another 13 percent in October. While sales of existing homes were down 2.7 percent from September, the median national price rose to $218,000, a 16.6 percent increase since October 2004.
Associated Press reports today that routinely wacky CNN founder Ted Turner lectured at Kansas State University and echoed Howard Dean's line as a presidential candidate: "Media mogul Ted Turner said Monday that Iraq is 'no better off' following the U.S.-led invasion that ousted dictator Saddam Hussein in 2003."
Turner also said he thinks it's plausible that President Bush will launch a nuclear war:
He warned that a nuclear war could "kill everything on the planet" and said it could take place in an afternoon. Turner said he was afraid someone in power could make the mistake to launch a nuclear war, including President Bush, based on his previous decisions.
Dave Huber explains at Oh, That Liberal Media that the Boston Globe erred in its headline in an AP story with the words "Teacher Under Investigation for Alleged Liberalism":
The school superintendent whose district includes Mount Anthony Union High School has labeled "inappropriate" and "irresponsible" an English teacher's use of liberal statements in a vocabulary quiz.
"I wish Bush would be (coherent, eschewed) for once during a speech, but there are theories that his everyday diction charms the below-average mind, hence insuring him Republican votes," said one question on a quiz written by English and social studies teacher Bret Chenkin.
The Associated Press and United Press International are reporting that another Democratic hawk, Norm Dicks (D-Washington), has changed his position on the Iraq war. They are both quoting from and referencing a Seattle Times article first published about 16 hours ago entitled “Defense hawk Dicks says he now sees war as a mistake.” Yet, they are conveniently ignoring previous statements made by Dicks concerning the war that were also reported by the Seattle Times.