On The Situation Room today, CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer made a surprising admission to, of all people, real estate entrepreneur Donald Trump:
BLITZER: What do you think of his (Obama's) decision to pick Joe Biden as his running mate?
TRUMP: I really don't know Senator Biden but I know one thing. He's run a number of times for president. He's gotten less than 1 percent of the vote each time. And that's a pretty tough thing. You know, he's also been involved in pretty big controversy like plagiarism in college and various other things. That's a pretty big statement. So perhaps you change over a period of time. But when you plagiarize, that's a very bad statement. That hasn't been brought up yet, but I'm sure at some point it will. I'm sure that Sarah Palin will bring it up in a debate or somebody's going to bring it up.
BLITZER: Are you talking about plagiarism when he was running for president?
TRUMP: No, I'm talking about when he was a college student as I understand it, and this was a big issue originally but he supposedly plagiarized as a college student. That's a pretty serious charge.
BLITZER: I don't remember that. We'll check it out. But maybe you obviously have a better memory about that.
To explain the high level of hatred for Governor Sarah Palin, the September 18 edition of "Fox and Friends" invited Bloomberg News columnist Caroline Baum. Ms. Baum, who claims to have studied it extensively, later used a vulgar term to describe which direction women voters will lean.
The Bloomberg columnist explained that Governor Palin "made the Democrats’ road to the White House less inevitable." Democrats, feeling a sense of entitlement, are outraged that, in a very hostile political environment for the Republicans, this election remains competitive. When Gretchen Carlson asked what this close election means "for the future of the Democratic party" Baum hypothesized that the Democrats are "bankrupt in terms of appealing to the population in terms of ideas."
On CNN's American Morning today, White House correspondent Suzanne Malveaux reported on Barack Obama's campaigning in Virginia. Afterwards, anchor Kiran Chetry had a question:
CHETRY: All right. And Suzanne, what's on tap for the campaign today? And please tell me it's not lipstick again.
MALVEAUX: Let's hope not. He's going to be in Norfolk, Virginia. That is in southeast Virginia, and it's home to the world's largest Naval base. It's one of the most competitive areas that the Democrats and Republicans are fighting over. It's a critical piece of property, piece of land there with folks in Virginia, and they want those voters.
For those who say that the Maverick can't learn a new lesson, Bloomberg has a story that proves John McCain has at least learned this lesson; the media is not his friend. Pronouncing that McCain's "longtime love affair" between himself and the media is "on the rocks," Bloomberg reports on how McCain has been distancing himself from the media of late. Naturally, Bloomberg takes a few shots along the way, too.
It seems that, instead of placing the blame on the media where it belongs for its mistreatment of McCain and its sycophancy for Obama, Bloomberg seems to suggest that it is the fault of McCain's new campaign manager who, Bloomberg gravely tells us, was "close to Karl Rove."
Palin, 44, who wasn't high on conventional-wisdom rankings of potential vice presidential candidates, may soothe social conservatives in her own party and may appeal to some disappointed Hillary Clinton backers. She's younger than Obama, who is 47, and has served less than half of her first term as governor.
``It's either a grand-slam home run or it'll turn out to be a bust,'' said Stu Rothenberg, editor of the Rothenberg Political Report in Washington. The answer will be clear over the next few days, he said.
OK, folks (as Joe Biden of Scranton would say). Sensitivity training for everyone.
On August 25 Patrick Donahue of Bloomberg breathlessly informed us that a recent poll showed that Germans love Barack Obama. In a week where Obama's soft polling numbers with Americans who will do the actual voting, you'd be excused if you wondered who cared, but apparently Bloomberg thinks this Obama puffing "news" is worth reporting. It's more reason to be suspicious that the Old Media is in the tank for Barack Obama, in any case.
This particular Bloomberg story has little substance and is centered on a population that cannot even vote for Obama in the first place. Interestingly, however, this story makes no effort to contrast high polling numbers in Germany with the much softer support Obama finds in the U.S.A. At least such a comparison might have served a more newsworthy purpose.
Barack Obama's overseas trip this past week proved “he's not a left-wing ideologue” or a “dove” and, “if anything, he's center, even center-right, on foreign policy issues,”Bloomberg News world affairs columnist Fred Kempe, a veteran of the Wall Street Journal, declared on this weekend's Political Capital show which airs several times Friday night and Saturday on Bloomberg TV.
Host Al Hunt, formerly Executive Washington Editor of the Wall Street Journal, opened the segment with Kempe by showing video of Obama shooting a basketball as he enthused, “You might call it the shot heard 'round the world: Barack Obama, at a military base in Kuwait, meeting with the troops and sinking a three-pointer.” Asked his assessment of Obama's trip, Kempe echoed: “If it weren't a three-point shot, I would have called it a slam dunk. In any case, wherever he went he had perfect pitch.” Hunt concluded the segment: “From a three-point shot to 200,000 people in Berlin, it was an extraordinarily memorable week.”
Brian Wesbury, whose writings I have quoted often, is at it again, puncturing the economic gloom with reality-based analysis. Since his job is to provide useful info for the investor-clients at First Trust, creating unrealized hype is not in his best interest.
Bloomberg News is acting as if they know how "many Muslims around the world" feel about Barack Obama. In Bloomberg's considered opinion, Obama is "just an American with a Muslim middle name" and won't "advance" the "interests" of Muslims. The main point that Bloomberg seems to be trying to sell is that Barack Obama's Muslim past will not make him tend to bow to world-wide Muslim sentiment. Bloomberg is obviously doing their best to prop up the Obama campaign by trying to allay fears that Obama will be a disaster on foreign policy. This is a perfect example of agenda journalism disguised as news.
So, how do the folks at Bloomberg know what the world's Muslims think about Barack Obama? Is it polls? Did they conduct extensive interviews or research on how Muslims feel about Obama? No, it seems more like Bloomberg's opinion is loosely based on the opinions of the three Muslims they quote and a broad interpretation of one poll on Obama and one on Muslim opinion of the US in general. It seems a rather wild leap in logic from the "evidence" they present to assume that they have a firm grasp on the opinion about Obama of all the world's Muslims.
Apparently complacent about criticism from the Tennessee Center for Policy Research that his family's energy use at his Nashville home is more than 19 times greater than the average American household's, Al Gore has committed conspicious energy consumption once again.
In Washington D.C. Thursday to deliver yet another speech warning Americans about global warming caused, Gore believes, by excessive use of fossil fuels, Gore handed yet more evidence to critics who believe he's a hypocrite.
He did so by traveling to his speech in what almost certainly was an unnecessary entourage of three luxury gas-guzzling vehicles -- two Lincoln Town Cars and a Surburban SUV -- one of which was kept idling outside for twenty minutes, apparently to keep the interior cool for the driver, Mrs. Gore and the Gores' adult daughter.
As Congress takes new aim at speculators for the high price of gasoline, some media reports seem to be following suit. But as The Biz Flog explains this week, there is considerable debate over whether speculators should be blamed for the high cost of oil.
June 23, the same day Democrats on the House Energy and Commerce Committee condemned oil speculators, the "CBS Evening News" and ABC's "World News" blamed oil speculation for a large chunk of the spike in prices.
"There's no doubt speculation plays a role in the skyrocketing price, but how much?" ABC correspondent Ryan Owens said June 23. "Experts say if it were just simple supply and demand a barrel would cost $75. Today it closed north of $135."
Scott Horsley explained oil speculation on June 29 for National Public Radio's "All Things Considered," where he pointed out that there have always been financial players in the oil market and there is still a debate over what influence they really have.
Brian Williams raised the possibility of General Motors (NYSE:GM) going out of business on the June 26 "NBC Nightly News" to Jim Cramer, host of CNBC's "Mad Money."
"[J]im, I know you talk about this, think about this everyday for a living and have a formula regarding this," Williams said. "But first, what's going on out there? I heard one analyst today said, ‘GM will go out of business,' though I know a lot of people disagree with that and it's a scary thought."
“The most important reason [Al] Gore should be Vice President is that he's suffered and learned. He has the temperament some of us reach on our death beds,” former Time magazine Deputy Washington Bureau Chief Margaret Carlson trumpeted in a column posted Thursday on Bloomberg.com. In “Gore Has Right Stuff for Second Turn as No. 2,” Carlson effused:
If there's anything we need to rescue us from the last eight years, it's brains, good judgment and experience. Obama has the first two. Gore has all three.
Though on this weekend's Political Capital program on Bloomberg Television she hailed Gore's “presidential timber,” she was more restrained than in her column:
If what Obama needs, and I think it's what he needs, somebody of presidential timber, why not get somebody who won the popular presidential vote and who's done everything? And who was right about the Middle East, right about this Iraq war, knows where the lights are in the White House, has gravitas?
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.
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.
How many times will The New York Times publish a disreputable reporter's work before it learns its lesson?
Perhaps the third time will be the charm. Alexei Barrionuevo has under come under fire for plagiarism on two separate occasions, but the Times printed a story March 27 ("Salmon Virus Indicts Chile's Fishing Methods") by Barrionuevo anyway, prompting a response from the salmon industry.
Barrionuevo quotes Adolfo Flores in his article, identifying him as Port Director of Castro, Chiloe Island. But in a letter to the Times May 2, Eric McErlain, writing on behalf of Salmon of the Americas Inc (an industry group), pointed out major problems with the report.
"In actuality, Mr. Flores is simply a security guard who works for a third party contractor," McErlain wrote. "I've enclosed an English translation of a letter from Patricio Cuello, the general manager of the Port of Puerto Montt, which administers Castro, confirming this."
My bottom line analysis (11:25): The two R's of bias from this Rose Garden presser: Martha Raddatz on Syria and numerous reporters on the dreaded R-word, recession. Of course a recession is two consecutive quarters of NEGATIVE economic growth, and we've yet to see one quarter of negative growth, much less two. But all the same, NY Times's Stolberg made it sound like Q1 numbers on GDP tomorrow will show a recession.
The questions below will be posted in reverse chronological order:
.... for what I believe is a painfully obvious reason.
It is reports like the one written up by Shobhana Chandra at Bloomberg yesterday on household net worth that make you wonder if everyday US citizens will ever get the information needed to accurately evaluate what's going on in the economy without doing more digging than they have time for -- or that they should even have to do.
Chandra's writeup seemed to deliberately omit any and all context readers could have used to understand the significance of the information presented. She (based on this source, I'm assuming that Chandra is female -- if I'm wrong, please let me know) also sought out an "expert" to support a specious case that the reported results were masking a greater deterioration.
"And John Kilduff, who I know you speak with often, as well, Brian, he says we could see prices at the pump as high as $4 a gallon," Burnett said. "And that could be by the middle of February. So it could be anytime in the next six weeks. So that's going to be an increase, and we've seen it across the board, Brian. Commodity prices are going up, and that is causing worry for stocks."
Worried about finding employment after losing your job because of this gosh-awful recession we're having? Oh, you haven't lost your job yet? Yeah, we aren't actually having a recession yet, but that's just details.
"It's a bumpy ride for the American worker as well. As the economy slows the unemployment rate is rising," anchor Katie Couric said. "About 7.6 million Americans are now unemployed. That's a million more than a year ago. So what should you do if you lose your job? [CBS correspondent] Kelly Cobiella looks at some strategies for job seekers for whom this economic downturn is really hitting home."
The headline "The Economy Sucks" might be something you'd expect to see in Rolling Stone or on Slate.com, but certainly not in a reputable news magazine, right?
Yet, the January 21 issue of Newsweek defied expectations by using that for part of a headline for a one-sided, pro-Bill Clinton view of the economy. The article recalled the 1992 "It's the economy, stupid!" campaign as it tore down the current economy.
So, why does the economy "suck" according to Newsweek? It isn't that there's a depression looming or that we're in recessionary times, we're just "perilously close to sliding into a recession."
"Today, the nation is perilously close to sliding into a recession; in '92, the economy had already started growing, though a jobless recovery doomed George H.W. Bush's re-election bid anyway," Gross wrote. "The lesson? Voters' perceptions matter more than whether the economy is technically expanding or contracting."
"No, I don't think we're going to hit recession, but it's going to feel like it," Welch said. "Things are slowing down dramatically, as everyone knows. But I think we'll weather this thing and the global economy will keep us alive. So, we will not have a technical recession, but it will sure as hell feel like one."
"[W]ell, as you said the economy certainly is front and center," Bolton said. "And in fact in the latest survey of Bloomberg economists, economists putting the odds of developing a recession at about 40 percent. Jay Bryson - he's a global economist at Wachovia - he says we are skating on the edge of recession, but it's all going to come down to the consumer. Another economist that we spoke with said that consumers right now are really hanging on by their fingernails. And of course it's not really a surprise."
Never underestimate the power of the media with a "doom and gloom" agenda - especially when it comes to such a renowned contest like the 18th annual American Dialect Society "Word of the Year" contest.
"‘Subprime' has been around with bankers for awhile, but now everyone is talking about ‘subprime,'" said Wayne Glowka, a spokesman for the group and a dean at Reinhardt College in Waleska, Ga. "It's affecting all kinds of people in all kinds of places."
Oh, how Old Media wants a recession. Too bad the economy isn't cooperating.
The latest Institute for Supply Management (ISM) report on the Manufacturing Sector, covering about 15% of the non-government economy, was just released this morning, and led as follows:
Economic activity in the manufacturing sector expanded in November for the 10th consecutive month, while the overall economy grew for the 73rd consecutive month, say the nation's supply executives in the latest Manufacturing ISM Report On Business®.
True, the reading of 50.8% was barely above the 50% cutoff point for expansion. But it's barely lower than the 50.9% turned in last month, and still came in slightly ahead of expectations, which averaged 50.4%, according to the Associated Press, and 50.7%, according to Bloomberg.
This makes three out of three fourth quarter ISM reports showing continued growth -- two in manufacturing, plus October's non-manufacturing report that came in at 55.8%, up from 54.8% in September. If Wednesday's ISM report on non-manufacturing for November comes in at 55.9% or higher, it will means that the economy as a whole, as ISM measures it, is not only growing, but growing faster. Recession, reschmession.