On Friday, Eric Holder's Department of Justice gave the memory-hole treatment to wildly inflated statistics released last October about the number of cases and the amount of money involved in DOJ's mortgage fraud enforcement efforts.
Bloomberg News reporters who had discovered that the original numbers were suspect had been getting stonewalled for months in their efforts to get answers to their queries, and finally got them through the document-dump route. The differences are stark.
Joe Scarborough offered one of the most interesting ObamaCare metaphors to date on Friday’s Morning Joe, claiming that President Obama’s signature health care reform is “like a zombie” that is “neither alive or completely dead.” The MSNBC host added that the law “just sort of slowly marches on,” amidst a barrage of criticism from both the right and the left.
Scarborough’s panel kicked off the segment by discussing Josh Green’s latest column in Bloomberg Businessweek, in which Green argued that the Obama administration is losing the battle over the ironically-titled Affordable Care Act on Twitter. MSNBC host Thomas Roberts turned the discussion to the fast-approaching open enrollment period for ObamaCare, which begins on October 1:
MSNBC contributors Jonathan Alter and Joy Reid sound much like a good metronome: their commentary never changes, marching on at an endless, fixed pace. Alter and Reid have made a career at the Lean Forward network out of comparing Republicans to slave owners, terrorists, and drunks.
Their latest assault on the GOP came on Friday’s Now, with Reid serving as guest host in place of Alex Wagner. Discussing the latest attempt by Senate Republicans to defund ObamaCare, Alter blasted the “suicide caucus” GOP, claiming “smarter conservatives understand” that shutting down the government over ObamaCare “is suicidal.”
Former Governor Ed Rendell (D-Pa.) drifted a bit too far off MSNBC’s pro-Obama message on Thursday’s Now with Alex Wagner, receiving a strong left-wing rebuke after suggesting that President Obama should be willing to compromise with Republicans on upcoming budgetary battles.
MSNBC contributor Joy Reid likened Republicans to terrorists, claiming that the president’s situation is like “when somebody is threatening to bomb the stadium.” Reid rejected Rendell’s call for bipartisanship, instead pushing her offensive analogy even further:
After this, maybe the Pony Express will be the next thing to come back as part of a green initiative. Environmentalists and Bloomberg Businessweek are advocating that the shipping industry backtrack 100 years and reintroduce the clipper ship. Clipper ships dominated the shipping industry in the mid-1800s, until they were edged out by steam powered ships.
Businessweek ironically labeled their graphic for this July 18 article “Shipping’s High-tech Future.” While these clipper ships at least come with a few 21st Century bells and whistles, like mechanically rotating masts and supplemental biomethane fuel, this push for change doesn’t come from innovation or efficiency. Instead, it answers a new wave of regulations by the International Maritime Organization mandating how much sulfur fuel can be used by ships. Businessweek also claimed that going back to this system that shared a time period with the stage coach would prevent “about 84,000 deaths a year worldwide from marine emissions.”
President Barack Obama touted benefits of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in a speech at the White House Thursday, claiming his signature health care bill is “doing what it’s designed to do.” The president also acknowledged the “glitches” that have impacted the implementation of the law, including his announced one-year delay of a so-called “employer mandate” requiring businesses with more than 50 employees to provide health insurance.
Alex Wagner, and most of her Thursday Now panel, came to the defense of the president over ObamaCare and its implementation, while blasting Republicans for being “reluctant to embrace” the unpopular bill. Wagner invited on White House communications director Jennifer Palmieri to tout the legislation’s purported benefits, but included no conservatives on her panel to challenge Palmieri’s claims.
Today, as the wire service AFP reported in a story carried at Yahoo.com, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, in the question and answer exchange after his prepared testimony, told the House Financial Services Committee that "If we were to tighten (monetary) policy, the economy would tank."
That assessment of the economy's fragility qualifies as news, especially given the Obama administration's continued claim that the economy is "continuing to recover at a promising rate." Outlets besides AFP virtually ignored Bernanke's soundbite, which should be considered scary to anyone who realizes that Big Ben can't go on "stimulating" at his current rate forever.
Bloomberg columnist Margaret Carlson tied immigration reform to the shooting of Trayvon Martin on Wednesday’s Morning Joe, claiming Republican voters oppose the Senate immigration bill because they believe “immigrants are, you know, people in hoodies.” While the inflammatory line would no doubt be well-received on a liberal network like MSNBC, it seems somewhat unbecoming of a professional political journalist.
Suffice it to say, Carlson was not called out by her fellow panelists for the hyperbolic comment. Carlson also commended Thomas Friedman’s latest op-ed in The New York Times, entitled “If Churchill Could See Us Now,” in which Friedman – who recently held up China as a paragon of greatness, so long as they don’t emulate the “American Dream” – blasted House Republicans for making this country “un-great”:
Appearing on Friday's Political Capital show on Bloomberg News, Bloomberg View columnist Margaret Carlson -- formerly of CNN and Time magazine -- charged that Republicans are opposed to "giving dignity to immigrants" as she recounted reluctance by Republicans to entertain granting amnesty to illegal immigrants. Carlson:
MSNBC host Joe Scarborough scolded the media on Friday’s Morning Joe, claiming mainstream outlets acted as “lap dogs” to the Obama administration’s messaging on voter ID proposals during the 2012 election. Scarborough also pushed back against his liberal panel’s repeated attempts to connect voter ID laws to actual instances of racist voter suppression in the 1960s Jim Crow South.
The discussion came in wake of the Supreme Court’s decision Tuesday morning to overturn Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act, which required certain states, mostly southern, to pre-clear any changes to voting laws with the Department of Justice. Josh Green, of Bloomberg Businessweek, shared a Friday column in which he suggested the main purpose of voter ID laws were to “limit access to the polls” for minority voters. Scarborough pushed back on Green’s claims:
While government spying on citizens has been a hot topic of conversation lately, it’s worth noting that such snooping can also happen in the private sector. The Bloomberg wire service, founded by anti-gun nut New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, has admitted that its reporters have been spying on customers of its business data service for years and using that information to generate news stories.
Through an established company policy, reporters for the news service were given exclusive access to private customer records for anyone they wanted to look up. Once they pulled up a user’s records, they had the ability to see that person’s last login date, his contact information, view her requests for technical support, and even see what types of data that the customer was calling up within the vast Bloomberg financial database.
Appearing on Friday's NBC Today to push his new 448-page love letter to President Obama about the 2012 election – laughably titled, The Center Holds – left-wing Bloomberg columnist Jonathan Alter gushed: "I think this is, you know, partly just to place this in the history of this country. It was an extraordinarily important election....And I think there's also a personal lesson from Barack Obama, and that's of perseverance..." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
At the top of the promotional segment, weatherman Al Roker teed up Alter's sales pitch: "President Obama in 2010, when his party faced humiliating losses in the midterm election....[his] re-election certainly in doubt. So, how did he end up coming out on top and what can we learn from this?" The headline on-screen announced: "Lessons Learned Through Obama's Leadership."
Conservative talk radio host Hugh Hewitt featured two liberal journalists on his nightly program this week, and both joined the chorus of media outrage at the Obama administration over the Justice Department’s recent AP probe. Bloomberg View’s Jonathan Alter called Eric Holder’s explanation of the probe “pathetic” and suggested that President Obama should “apologize to journalists” over the scandal, while Michael Shear of the New York Times was frosted by the “absolutely chilling” way that the Obama/Holder DOJ has treated journalists like criminals.
Just last week, Alter fretted over the administration’s scandals with Chris Matthews on Hardball, claiming that White House staffers had “an unhealthy love” for Obama. On Wednesday, Alter blasted the administration for their “especially aggressive” attitude towards reporters, calling the Justice Department’s recent actions “disturbing."
At Bloomberg Views, Al Hunt, formerly "the executive editor of Bloomberg News, directing coverage of the Washington bureau," referred to the controversies swirling around the White House as "faux scandals" and insisted that ... wait for it ... the Obama administration "is the most scandal-free administration in recent memory." No wonder Bloomberg News developed into such a hopelessly biased outfit while he was there. As much as I could stand to excerpt from Hunt's harangue follows the jump (bolds and numbered tags are mine):
It says something about the seriousness of the rest of the news during the past several days when a story about unethical spying by reporters working for a company founded and built by the current mayor of New York City barely makes a ripple.
It has been alleged, and now admitted, that Bloomberg reporters monitored terminal login activity to develop stories about possible Wall Street executive departures before anyone else outside the entities involved knew and for other news-gathering purposes. The practice appears to go back to when Gotham Mayor Michael Bloomberg was still at the helm of Bloomberg LP, as seen in the bolded sections in the excerpt from a Saturday CNBC news story which follows the jump:
Here's a headline I bet you thought you'd never see written by a liberal columnist: "How Sarah Palin Is Right About Washington."
Yet there it was at Monday's Bloomberg View written by none other than Margaret Carlson who most of you likely remember as one of the perilously liberal contributors to the old CNN political talk show Capital Gang:
On Friday, the government reported that the economy grew by an annualized 2.5 percent during the first quarter. As I noted in Part 1 (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), three establishment press outlets (CNN, Bloomberg, and Reuters) pronounced the result "disappointing" -- but not Martin Crutsinger and Christopher Rugaber at the Associated Press, whose headline read "AFTER NEAR-STALL IN LATE 2012, US ECONOMY PICKS UP," and whose content described the economy as having "quickened its pace" as "the strongest consumer spending in two years fueled a 2.5 percent annual growth rate in the January-March quarter."
It turns out that the AP pair's enthusiasm was not only not shared at other news organizations. It wasn't even shared within AP, as will be seen after the jump.
On Friday, the government reported that the economy grew by an annualized 2.5 percent during the first quarter. The awful 0.4 percent result seen in the fourth quarter was largely sloughed off as caused by a number of one-time factors. Analysts convinced themselves that reported first-quarter growth would come in at 3.0 percent or slightly higher in Friday's release. Instead, we saw what Zero Hedge noted was the biggest such expectations miss since September 2011.
As a result, at least three establishment press organizations pronounced the result disappointing -- except for two business reporters at the Associated Press whose names are virtual fixtures here.
There's a reason why Media Research Center sister site CNS News had to put out a story about how much the government has spent so far this year -- $1.505 tillion -- after Wednesday's release of the February Monthly Treasury Statement: Two of the three major wire services failed to report that obviously important number, and the third saved it for their writeup's final sentence.
What follows are excerpts from the respective Wednesday reports at Bloomberg, Reuters and the Associated Press.
Liberal columnists don't need much information to brand Republicans as extremists. Among their meager requirements are an analogy taken out of context or a false extrapolation of something a GOP official said.
A recent example of this is an article by Bloomberg News Washington editor Al Hunt, who twisted a remark made by Rep. Steve King to declare the Iowa Republican a “fringe fanatic” because he said the United States gets “the cream of the crop” of legal immigrants and compared that to getting “the pick of the litter” when choosing a bird dog.
Appearing on Friday's Andrea Mitchell Reports on MSNBC to discuss the upcoming budget sequestration, Bloomberg View columnist Margaret Carlson touted President Obama's ability "to manipulate some of these cuts so that they're going to hurt and people are going to see them," in order to put pressure on congressional Republicans. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Carlson then proclaimed: "I think we'll start hearing, you know, squeals, when, as [Transportation Secretary] Ray LaHood predicts, you know, we see those first lines at the airport. And it may even hurt, you know, those wealthy Republicans who don't have private jets, when air traffic control and the transportation security lines grow longer."
On Friday, Renee Dudley at Bloomberg News exposed the contents of February 12 internal emails revealing that Walmart executives are worried -- very worried -- about sales during the first 10 to 14 days of the its most current fiscal period (mostly likely either the first 10 days of February if the company works with calendar months, or 14 days if it began the second period of the fiscal year on Monday January 28).
Their primary concerns are the payroll tax hike and delayed tax refunds, but they may also need to start worrying about higher gas prices (bolds are mine):
While they told their readers of the number of jobs supposedly added in total (157,000) and in other sectors, the fact remains that in the real world, before seasonal adjustment, the government told us, as is the case every January, that employment declined steeply. In January 2013, the government estimates that 2.84 million jobs were lost.
For the second week in a row, actual (i.e., not seasonally adjusted) unemployment claims as reported by the Department of Labor came in greater than the analogous week in 2012.
At the same time, and also for the second week in a row, the department's seasonally adjusted claims number -- the only one the business wire services ever specifically identify in their reports -- came in lower. In today's instance, raw year-over-year claims were almost 5 percent higher than the same week a year ago, but the year-over-year seasonally adjusted figure came in 11 percent lower. That's bad enough, but then the wires compounded the problem by running with indefensible conclusions based on DOL's contradictory data.
None of the three major wire services covering today's report from the Department of Labor on initial unemployment claims is reporting the major news: For the first time in a long while, actual claims filed during the most recent week ended January 12 were almost 6 percent higher than the number filed during last year's comparable week, an indication that the current employment market may be worse than it was a year ago. Instead, all three are headlining how today's questionably created seasonally adjusted claims number is the lowest in five years.
Both weeks had five business days. Both weeks represented the first such week in the new year. So how did higher raw claims result in the lowest seasonally adjusted claims number in five years, a number which is 8 percent lower than last year's comparable week? The answer, as will be seen after the jump, is that the seasonal adjustment factor used this year is sharply higher than the one used last year.
There has been no shortage of deceptive ads, factually-distorted statements, and outright fabrications from the political left over the campaign year to choose from, but leave it to the Tampa Bay Times's PolitiFact to give its "Lie of the Year" award to the Romney campaign. The now infamous "falsehood" in question was Romney's claim that Jeep was planning on moving production of some of its vehicles to China. This was in fact technically true, but PolitiFact trademarked it as its "Lie of the Year."
In a fit of glee, multiple left-leaning news outlets have promoted the proclamation, including of course, MSNBC. [video below, MP3 audio here ]:
Today's news from the Department of Labor on initial weekly unemployment claims was supposedly good -- as long as one doesn't scratch beneath the surface. Journalists used to do that. Today they didn't.
All one had to do is reach the third paragraph of DOL's release to realize that today's seasonally adjusted claims number of 343,000, touted as the lowest in two months in several news reports, was suspect. That paragraph told us that the 428,814 actual claims filed during the week ended December 8 were barely lower than the 435,863 claims seen in the week ended December 10, 2011, last year's comparable week; today's result only occurred because this year's seasonal adjustment factor was significantly different from last year's. I believe that this year-over-year drop of less than 2% in raw claims is the smallest weekly difference in a week not affect by storms or holidays this year. In other words, it really is news -- but not in the business press, which runs with the government's seasonally adjusted data and almost never looks any further. Examples follow the jump.
The first entirely post-election reading from the University of Michigan-Thomson Reuters consumer confidence survey came out on Friday. It was awful. As reported at MarketWatch, the overall index "fell to 74.5 from 82.7 in November," far below expectations of 82.0, representing "the biggest one-month drop since March 2011." Zero Hedge noted that it's the "biggest miss on record" compared to expectations.
Of course, in Establishment Medialand and with the analysts they chose to consult, the plunge has everything to do with the "fiscal cliff," and nothing to do with the reelection of President Obama to a second four-year term or his intensely partisan conduct since then. Sure, guys.
CEO Sergio Marchionne of Fiat, the parent company of the U.S. government bailed-out Chrysler, got two unexpected and undeserved breaks from Craig Trudell at Bloomberg yesterday.
The first was the story's presidential election-driven focus in its headline ("Chrysler CEO Reiterates Jeep Production Staying in U.S.") and first five paragraphs on Fiat's plans to manufacture vehicles in China for the Chinese market and Marchionne's insistence that this move won't reduce U.S. employment at Chrysler. Trudell waited until the sixth paragraph of his report to convey the real news, noted by yours truly yesterday (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), which is that the company plans to make a new model of Jeep, Chrysler's signature nameplate, in Italy for export to Europe and the U.S. The second undeserved break the Bloomberg reporter gave Marchionne credited him with five times more future employment growth than he deserves (if it really occurs), and is in the paragraph which follows the jump (bolds are mine throughout this post)::