"University politics are vicious precisely because the stakes are so small."
While the University of Florida Faculty Senate's decision to deny former Governor Jeb Bush an honorary degree is, in the big picture, an unimportant kerfuffle, it is nonetheless a cheap and gratuitous insult by a group of malcontented profs who clearly don't appreciate what an objectively outstanding governor the President's younger brother was (previous posts on Jeb Bush's tenure are here, here, and here).
The linked Associated Press story about the honorary degree denial, and others I've seen, fail to mention how low Florida university tuitions are compared to much of the rest of the country. A quick look at that unreported part of the story indicates that what Jeb Bush may really deserve is a statue in his honor from Florida's taxpayers and parents.
Just one example: Business Week rated the top undergraduate business schools a few weeks ago (link appears to be free). Here are the rankings of the Ohio and Florida public universities on the list, followed by their respective annual tuition bills:
Friday, Wal-Mart dropped its bid to establish a federally insured bank. It's ridiculous that they had so much trouble getting approved, because as the linked article noted:
Industrial banks have been proliferating in recent years — Target Corp., UnitedHealth Group Inc. and Harley-Davidson Inc. are among the nearly 60 that now exist. Critics say their growth dangerously blurs the line between banking and commerce, concentrating assets in the hands of a few big companies, stifling competition and hurting consumers.
I don't see where "critics," which I believe in this case really means "the unbylined author of the Associated Press article," have produced even the tiniest bit of evidence the current crop of industrial banks has stifled competition in any way, shape, or form. It's also pretty funny to see an AP writer worrying about "little guys" like Bank of America, Chase, and Citicorp, who are in an industry that itself is getting more and more concentrated (click on the "click to view data" box; the top 10 credit-card companies in 2005 had 92.4% of the business, up from 81.3% in 2004) getting some nontraditional competition.
That said, Wal-Mart's Plan B isn't going to make critics feel any better, and I don't see any "legal" or protest-driven basis on which it can be stopped:
Just how crazy, you ask? Think of the wackiest global warming "fix" you can imagine. Then compile as many of those crazy ideas as you can and you'll have this AP wire report: Crazy ideas to combat global warming.
If anyone had any doubts how nuts the media has gone over global warming, let this article put those doubts to rest:
Crazy-sounding ideas for saving the planet are getting a serious look from top scientists, a sign of their fears about global warming and the desire for an insurance policy in case things get worse.
Citing the investigator and one student who "says he trusted NYU, but now he wonders if his trust may have been misplaced," ABC's "World News" on March 18 attacked universities and lending companies and did not include representatives from either.
Anchor Dan Harris only presented New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo's view that students are being taken advantage with the practice of preferred lending. Cuomo faulted schools and lenders for "illegal, deceptive business practices."
Harris did not include an on-air interview with any college, university, loan company or industry expert, rather he only said several major lenders "all denied wrongdoing."
As is usual and customary, the peaceniks inside the Washington Post offered a second day of protest publicity before Saturday’s radical march to the Pentagon. The story by Steve Vogel and Michael E. Ruane doesn’t dominate the front page of the Metro section as protest coverage did yesterday, but it’s certainly promotional at the very bottom of Metro’s front. The headline is "Rousing, Emotional Start for War Protest."
Vogel and Ruane also employed the usual and customary practice of not using any ideological labels for protesters, and downplaying the radicalism of rally speakers. The main protest drew about 2,800 people at the Episcopalian National Cathedral. The reporters quoted Celeste Zappala, who lost a son in Iraq, saying "I am here tonight as a witness to the true cost of war...the betrayal and madness that is the war in Iraq."
Imagine you're skimming the news and come across a story entitled "Democrats Work to Smooth Iraq Tension." What would you assume the article was about? That those caring Dems had tried to ease sectarian strife between Sunnis and Shias, perhaps? I'd say that would be a fair inference. But read the story, and you'll discover that it is an account of a behind-closed-doors shouting match between Nancy Pelosi and Maxine Waters, the tart-tongued congresswoman from California.
According to the body of the article, "tempers flared on Iraq among Democrats on Tuesday as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi fielded criticism from an anti-war congresswoman over liberals' concern that the party is not doing enough to end the war. Pelosi's behind-closed-doors exchange with Rep. Maxine Waters of California [was] described as heated."
What's the harm, you might ask? After all, the full story is there for those who read it. But that's just the point. Frequently people read only the headlines. Consider, for example, this excerpt from a writer's guide:
"In search engines, newsfeeds (RSS), and other external environments . . . users often see only the headline and use it to determine whether to click into the full posting. Even if users see a short abstract along with the headline (as with most search engines), user testing shows that people often read only the headline. In fact, people often read only the first three or four words of a headline when scanning a list of possible places to go.
WASHINGTON - Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the suspected mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks, confessed to that attack and a chilling string of other terror plots during a military hearing at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, according to a transcript released Wednesday by the Pentagon.
"I was responsible for the 9/11 operation from A to Z," Mohammed said in a statement read during the session, which was held last Saturday.
Of course that confession wouldn't be complete without the obvious overture that it was coerced by the CIA who tortured the poor terrorist while vacationing at Guantanamo Bay's seaside resort.
In a stunning news conference in August 2004, then-Governor Jim
McGreevey (D-NJ) acknowledged that he was "a gay American" and announced he
was stepping down as chief executive of the Garden State. At the time
McGreevey had some dark clouds hanging over his governorship, but the
gay subplot distracted media attention from his ethically-plagued
Standing by his side throughout the press conference was the wife and mother of his child, Dina Matos.
Now McGreevey wants his wife to pony up child support. You just can't pass up a story like that, so the Associated Press filed a story.
curiously, McGreevey's party affiliation went unmentioned. Also left
out of the article, McGreevey's sexual
advances on aide Golan Cipel, an Israeli citizen, was hardly scratching the surface of the scandal. Rather than a simple case of sexual harassment at the very least, Cipel's hire for a key homeland security post was inadvisable from the start. Cipel, it turns out, was granted the security-sensitive
post without the proper scrutiny. Indeed, Cipel, an Israel citizen, didn't even have an FBI clearance.
Brit Hume led his Tuesday night Grapevine segment by scolding his media colleagues for how “news stories reporting that the Bush administration had considered firing all 93 U.S. attorneys across the country failed to mention that that is exactly what Bill Clinton did soon after taking office back in 1993.” Hume explained how that was not noted, “even in passing, in front-page stories today in the New York Times and the Washington Post, or in the AP's story on the subject.”
Earlier in the FNC newscast, reporter Steve Centanni pointed out how “the White House acknowledged there were talks in 2005, just after the President won his second term, about terminating all 93 U.S. attorneys just as President Clinton unceremoniously did 1993 after he won the White House.”
On Monday’s "Nightline," the ABC program continued the media’s fascination with the Mayan "spiritual leaders" who protested a recent visit to Guatemala by President Bush. According to anchor Cynthia McFadden, "some say he's angered the gods."
While footage onscreen showed Uruguayan demonstrators (from a previous portion of the trip) burning an American flag, Reporter Jessica Yellin noted that "many in the region don’t care for Mr. Bush" and seriously reported on the President’s "bad vibes":
JESSICA YELLIN: "The spiritual leaders of the Guatemala's indigenous Mayan population are also worried about the President's bad vibes. They will perform a special cleansing ceremony to clear away the bad energy they say he left during his visit."
NewsBusters previously reported that the AP, NBC's "Today," and ABC's "Good Morning America" reported as a curiosity some Mayan priests who complain that President Bush brought evil spirits with him to Guatemala.
Well, CBS's Peter Maer didn't want to be left out apparently. He wrote up a little something at "Couric & Co.," Katie Couric's e-sandbox on CBS's Web site.
Maer's account, like the others mentioned, seems to leave out two key facts for their readers.
Liberal media outlets aren't usually sympathetic to the story of people growing upset at the changing shape of their neighborhoods, often at the arrival of new Hispanic or Asian immigrants. But AP reporter Lisa Leff reports sensitively from San Francisco that the distraught natives who dislike the invaders are gay men are upset at the arrival of -- gasp -- people with baby strollers:
SAN FRANCISCO -- Even on a weekday in winter, the Castro district vibrates with energy, most of it male. Men holding hands, walking dogs and lounging at cafes have long been the main attraction in a neighborhood known as a gay mecca the world over.
The AP is protesting a decision made by U.S. Military officials in Afghanistan claiming an oppression of a free press and saying there was "not a reasonable justification" for erasing an AP photographer's pictures taken of the aftermath of a suicide bombing in Barikaw, Afghanistan. The decision protested by the AP was made March 4th by officers on the scene of a bombing that killed 8 Afghans, wounding 34. But, is the AP correct that this was somehow an outrage against a free press?
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan -- The U.S. military asserted that an American soldier was justified in erasing journalists' footage of the aftermath of a suicide bombing and shooting in Afghanistan last week, saying publication could have compromised a military investigation and led to false public conclusions.
With the recent announcement by CBS that they have made ex-Clinton friend Rick Kaplan the new Executive Producer of the CBS Evening News, it was eyebrow raising that another fawning pal has suddenly been ensconced in a "new" position at an American news service.
On Friday, Judge Laurence Silberman of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled that the city of Washington D.C. could not ban its citizens from owning firearms because such a ban violates the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
In light of this ruling so damaging to gun grabbers everywhere, I was curious to see how the wires were handling the news. Turns out, they don't seem too happy.
In two reports on Friday the AP gave far more time in their "balanced" report to opponents to Second Amendment rights than they did to proponents. Worse, it never seemed to occur to them to report that gun violence in Washington D.C. has consistently ranked as among the highest in the country despite being one of the strictest anti-gun cities therein.
The White House isn't alone in doing advance work for the President's trip to Latin America. Associated Press is already finding negative angles to highlight the Ugly American President's critics. Juan Carlos Llorca writes from Guatemala City:
Mayan priests will purify an ancient archaeological sites to eliminate ‘bad spirits’ after President Bush visits next week, an official with close ties to the group said Thursday.
"That a person like (Bush), with the persecution of our migrant brothers in the United States, with the wars he has provoked, is going to walk in our sacred lands, is an offense for the Mayan people and their culture," Juan Tiney, the director of a Mayan nongovernmental organization with close ties to Mayan religious and political leaders, said Thursday.
The 2006 Real (after Inflation) Increase in Household Net Worth Was Greater Than 2005's -- But You Wouldn't Know That from Reading the Associated Press's Accounts. And this is not the first time AP has ignored what's "real."
Net Worth of U.S. Households Skyrockets in Final Quarter of 2006
The net worth of U.S. households climbed to a record high in the final quarter of last year, boosted mostly by gains on stocks, the Federal Reserve reported Thursday.
Net worth — the difference between households' total assets, such as houses and bank accounts, and their total liabilities, such as mortgages and credit card debt, totaled $55.6 trillion in the October-to-December quarter.
That marked a 2.5 percent growth rate from the third quarter, the previous quarterly record high. Stocks gains helped fuel the increase in net worth, although real-estate gains played a role, too.
For all of last year, households' net worth rose by 7.4 percent, a slower pace than the 7.9 percent increase registered in 2005.
AP made 2006 look worse than 2005, when 2006 was better. "Really."
The AP reviews a new documentary at the Austin, Texas film festival, South by Southwest. "Manufacturing Dissent" is one of the films premiering at the well-regarded festival, and the documentary is about controversial director, Michael Moore, who made 2002’s gun-control statement movie, "Bowling For Columbine," and 2004's problematic anti-war critical and financial hit, "Farenheit 9/11," which focused on the war in Iraq. His work is best known for creative editing and ambushing interview targets in the name of entertainment and shock. The new documentary about Moore is generating quite a lot of talk at South By Southest, and includes a scene that demonstrates that the whole premise of the movie that made his name,“Roger & Me,” is not what it seemed:
Online, CBS and FOX used an AP report about a Beliefnet.com interview with John Edwards, in which the Democratic Presidential candidate discussed some of his religious views. Since both articles drew from the AP’s reporting, both similarly fail to make significant connections with Edwards’ comments and his personal life. Edwards said that Jesus would be disappointed with the selfishness of Americans:
"Your chances of being stuck on a stuffy airliner for hours on a taxiway – like passengers on recent JetBlue flights – are slim, the government reported yesterday," the Associated Press reported on March 6.
That was the very same day USA Today emphasized that "588 flights sat for more than two hours on taxiways before taking off in January," and highlighted "calls for federal regulation to prevent recurrences."
It's a good thing I wasn't sipping my coffee when I saw this on the front page of the Baltimore Sun in Starbucks this afternoon.
"Checks, balances rule Md. capital: Democratic leaders split on key issues, how to raise money."
Reporter Andrew Green began his March 5 article by conceding that "in ways large and small, Annapolis is showing signs of a leftward tilt" ever since Gov. Martin O'Malley took the helm on the second floor of the State House. But relax, Green continued, competing egos in the state government ensure that the legislative track isn't laden with runaway trains.
Maybe so, but all the freight the Maryland General Assembly is steaming into the station is filled with liberal goodies:
How is Al Gore going to explain this one? Multi-platinum-selling rapper Kanye West, who infamously said during the Katrina telethon, "George Bush doesn't care about black people" has something else to explain. The AP reports that Kanye asked a restaurant in Cardiff, Wales to fly a chef and a meal across the Atlantic ocean to a Manhattan business meeting this Wednesday for about $4000 "plus travel and accomodation for the restaurant's head chef" and the addition of lots of Earth-killing greenhouse gases. OK, that seems typical for the music biz, after all, Bono did have a forgotten favorite hat flown first class that was flown from London to Italy for about $1700, but now people are now paying attention to celebrity hypocrisy more closely. Kanye is signed up for Al Gore's Live Earth, which is designed to raise money for and awareness of human-caused global climate change and is the latest giant concert that will save the world. (AP didn't connect the political dots.)
The ABC News web site currently features a dramatic picture of a nuclear bomb blast (a cropped version of which appears at right) along with a story blurb that matches Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's claim that the U.S. is hypocritical to seek to prevent nations like Iran and North Korea from getting the bomb while we still preserve our nuclear arsenal.
The headline: "You Can't Build Nukes. But We Can" followed by this short story tease: "A decision has been made to update and redesign America's aging stockpile of nuclear weapons, even as the U.S. demands that Iran and North Korea not build up their own arsenals."
When you click on the actual AP report, written by Scott Lindlaw, readers see a much more neutral headline, "Bush Administration Picks Lawrence Livermore Warhead Design," and the story mainly focuses on the technical reasons for updating the country's nuclear technology. Deep in the story, however, Lindlaw cited critics who thought the U.S. was sending the "wrong signal" to the world's rogue regimes.
Last week, the Senate Ethics Committee exonerated former Virginia Senator George Allen on charges that he failed to report stock options he earned during the time he served as a director of a biotech company. As Cal Thomas throughly documented in his current column, this determination of innocence has gone little noticed by the mainstream media. The accusations, however, which were made last October during Allen’s heated, and ultimately unsuccessful, reelection campaign, were heavily covered.
As noted by CNSNews.com, the charges, first reported by the AP, were picked up and editorialized in several prominent Virginia papers. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee even used the claims in an ad for Allen’s Democratic opponent James Webb. (See above picure) Not so coincidentally, Senator Allen ended up losing his pivotal Senate seat by around 8000 votes. So the question is, now that it turns out the media hyped faulty accusations, where does Senator Allen go to get his reputation and his Senate seat back?
In his March 1 column, Cal Thomas commented on the shoddy coverage by the liberal media [emphasis added]:
Over at National Review Online Jay Nordlinger is praising a national media outlets for its reporting from the United Nations. The UN is not exactly a hot or hostile beat for liberal media outlets, who seem to like the intentions of the UN, and never seem to worry much about the follow-through. Oil-For-Food fraud? Yawn. Sexual harassment by UN brass? Yawn. This story is more pedestrian, about how "multilateralism" can often break down into a moral void.
I wanted to be super-sure that you saw this highly revealing article about the United Nations. It’s by Edith M. Lederer, the excellent U.N. correspondent of the Associated Press.
The United States criticized the United Nations for refusing to list a panel it organized Tuesday entitled “State-Sanctioned Mass Rape in Burma and Sudan” on a U.N. Web site.
The U.S. Mission to the United Nations arranged to hold the panel on the sidelines of the annual two-week meeting of the Commission on the Status of Women which this year is focusing on discrimination and violence against women. It will include presentations about rape and sexual violence in both countries.
But the U.N.’s Meeting Services branch objected to the title, which was published in the U.N.’s daily journal last Thursday, because it “would be perceived as offensive to named member states,” according to a letter to the U.S. Mission obtained by the Associated Press.
Two reports from earlier this week, one that warned of a "likely recession," and another that flat-out declared a non-existent "manufacturing recession," have to make you wonder, especially considering a positive report from the real world that came out earlier today.
Second -- On Tuesday evening, the New York Times (may require registration), in an article by David Leonhardt, declared:
For Manufacturing, a Recession Has Arrived
The nation’s manufacturing sector managed to slip into a recession with almost nobody seeming to notice. Well, until yesterday.
Wall Street was caught off guard when the Commerce Department reported yesterday morning that orders for durable goods — big items like home computers and factory machines — plunged almost 8 percent last month. That’s a big number, but it really shouldn’t have come as too much of a surprise. In two of the last three months, the manufacturing sector has shrunk, according to surveys by the Institute for Supply Management that have been out for weeks.
It sure looks as if Leonhardt was engaging in wishful thinking:
Here's a headline sure to spook any investor or economist: "Greenspan warns of likely U.S. recession." That was the headline right near the top of the widely surfed Drudge Report yesterday afternoon and this morning, referring to a speech that former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan made the other day via satellite to a business conference in Hong Kong. Many market watchers are blaming those comments– along with a weak durable goods report and the plunge in the Chinese stock market – for today's stock market sell-off. But despite the inflammatory Drudge headline – which, in all fairness, linked to an Associated Press story with that same title – the Maestro was hardly so definitive as Drudge made him out to be. Here is what Greenspan said, according to AP:
February 28, 2007 -- To those who remember the infamous 1981 Brinks heist in Nyack, Judith Clark is a self-indulgent '60s radical serving a well-deserved 75-year prison term for her role in the violent deaths of three heroic law-enforcement officers.
But to the Associated Press, which supplies news to the world, Judith Clark is a "former freedom fighter."