Just in time for Barack Obama's Greco-Roman Oration tomorrow night, two significant economic reports have gone or are about to go in a positive direction:
Earlier Wednesday, the Census Bureau reported that durable goods orders increased 1.3% during July, repeating June's performance; shipments of durables were up 2.5%; and unfilled orders were at their highest level since 1992. There are exceptions, but these companies are generally very busy.
Thursday morning, the pundits are predicting that second quarter Gross Domestic Product, originally estimated at an annualized 1.9%, will be significantly revised upward. Predictions that GDP will come in at 2.7% are at Reuters, Briefing.com via CNN, and MarketWatch. If you go to the links, especially the second and third, you will detect the distinct aroma of sour grapes; the headlines found there are "The economic growth mirage" and "Big revision in GDP won't mean much," respectively.
Don't count on these statistics to get much positive traditional media play while the Obama coronation is in progress.
But there's one other number that's even worse for the everyone's-a-victim crowd than those just noted. It is one that I can almost guarantee will remain invisible during tomorrow's festivities.
A Russian newspaper, Rossiyskaya Gazeta, has an advertising section in today's Washington Post that looks very much like newspaper copy (although it does bear a disclaimer), notes Matt Lewis of Townhall.com.
Of course the above-the-fold front page story presents a decidedly pro-Russia skew to the conflict in the breakaway Georgian province of South Ossetia. The headline and subhead: "Georgian Bombs Rained on Us: South Ossetians awoke to find their villages under siege."
Another story along the same lines inside the section comes with this headline: "How Could Rockets Be Used Against a Peaceful City"? The subhead complained that the casualties in the conflict were "staggering."
Joe Biden's 1987 stump-speech plagiarism of Neil Kinnock likely occurred more than once. Additionally, according to contemporaneous New York Times reports, including an editorial, Biden's orations featured unattributed speech-lifting from John F. Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, and Hubert Humphrey.
That's a lot more than Joe Biden's defenders and two of his Wikipedia entries have thus far revealed.
Previous posts (here and here at NewsBusters; here and here at BizzyBlog) noted "interesting" modifications to the main Wikipedia entry of Biden, who Barack Obama selected as his vice-presidential running mate this past weekend.
The first post reported that the detail of Biden's undergraduate grades (generally C's and D's, with two A's in phys ed and an F in ROTC) "strangely" disappeared between Friday and Saturday. The second ultimately noted that a section relating to Biden's involvement in the presidential campaign of 2004 had been deleted, but that its text had inexplicably been moved to before 1988. It was as if the idea that Biden had "campaigned" in 2004 was true before Barack Obama selected him, but no longer true after that.
But to get to the next example of Wiki whitewashing by Obama-Biden's busy bees -- the worst found thus far -- we need to go back 21 years to the New York Times.
The Friday evening version of Joe Biden's Wikipedia entry remains firmly ensconced in a Firefox tab on my desktop, so it can be compared to its current form as Obama-Biden's busy bees brush it up. I'm doing comparisons as time allows, and there isn't much of it at the moment.
One thing is quickly obvious -- a section heading for a whole year has disappeared:
Amazing. Where did 2004 go?
You'll just loooooove what got moved to a different and less logical section of the entry, while the section "2004" went away (Note: I originally believed that the text in the "2004" section had been deleted; also see my comment below):
Celebrity advisors/surrogates--like George Clooney--are a point of pride for Democrats. They like the "cool" factor these celebrities bring to their campaigns. Though their fame brings increased attention and makes their candidates chic, celebrity also elevates people with no other identifiable skills. What, exactly, does Clooney bring to Obama's team of 300 foreign policy advisors(?), for instance.
Oh well, at least Republicans don't have to deal with Roseanne Barr. Calling herself "fat old crackpotgranny," Barr blogs every day. Multiple times a day. About everything. A small sampling should suffice:
Politico reported moments ago that campaign manager Rick Davis has sent a strongly-worded letter to Steve Capus, president of NBC News, sharply criticizing Mitchell's suggestion that the Arizona senator had somehow cheated at Saturday's Saddleback Civil Forum.
In it, Davis expressed concern that: "the level of objectivity at NBC News has fallen so low that reporters are now giving voice to unsubstantiated, partisan claims in order to undercut John McCain;" "Mitchell did what has become a pattern for her of simply repeating Obama campaign talking points," and; NBC News was "following MSNBC's lead in abandoning non-partisan coverage of the Presidential race."
The back-and-forth over Jerome Corsi's book, "The Obama Nation," has been heated, largely unfair to the author, and predictably marred by attacks from allegedly "objective" journalists as well as Democratic mouthpieces (but I repeat myself). Blatant examples of media bias have been noted by several NewsBusters posters, including Tim Graham (here, here, and here), Geoff Dickens, Mark Finkelstein, and Clay Waters.
But that doesn't mean there haven't been moments of humor. A delicious one comes at the expense of the Associated Press's Nedra Pickler.
Earlier today I noted how Associated Press reporter Ed White noted that Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick (D) will not be able to leave Michigan to travel to the Democratic Convention in Denver later this month. Kilpatrick, White also noted, is a superdelegate.
But White returned to AP form later on August 15 with a story published shortly before 5 p.m. EDT entitled "Detroit mayor to stand trial on assault charges." In that article, neither the words "Democrat" nor "superdelegate" appear even once, nor did any mention of yesterday's legal back-and-forth about the terms of the mayor's release on bond. An excerpt:
Yesterday I noted how the Washington Post practically scolded disgraced Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick (D) for fighting in court for the right to travel out-of-state to the Democratic Convention in Denver later this month. I noted that Kilpatrick's party affiliation and superdelegate status were noted in the first two paragraphs of that article, something most reports by the Associated Press have failed to note.
Now in an August 15 report -- "Detroit Mayor Has Turbulent Day" -- AP's Ed White noted Kilpatrick's Democratic affiliation in the lede, but waited until paragraph 12 out of 17 to mention his superdelegate status:
(DETROIT) - Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick's tumultuous day began with one judge suddenly declaring he could get rid of the ankle device tracking his movements and another ruling only hours later that it must go back on. By the end of the day, the embattled politician's hope of attending the Democratic National Convention was dashed.
For the fourth straight weekday as Barack Obama vacations, he received better coverage on the broadcast network evening shows than the non-vacationing John McCain. Without fresh video of Obama, the CBS Evening News came up with a new way to tout Obama's campaign as they compared the Web sites of the two candidates and declared Obama's far superior. Reporter Daniel Sieberg asserted “McCain's Web site is still playing catch up to Obama's use of cyberspace.” Turning to “Web design expert Doug Jaeger,” Sieberg echoed Joe Biden in applying the term “clean” to Obama as he highlighted how “Jaeger describes Obama's site as clean; and McCain's as cluttered.” Jaeger complained about JohnMcCain.com: “He's using lots of different typefaces at all different sizes which gives you a feeling of chaos.”
Sieberg soon trumpeted how on BarackObama.com “kids have their own special area, including a logo to color,” while the dour McCain “offers a game called Pork Invaders on his Facebook page,” but if you do well, Sieberg sarcastically noted, “you're rewarded [pause] with a statement about pork-barrel politics.” Withe the contrasting numbers on screen, the CBS reporter also championed Obama's transcendence on social networks which are largely only used by younger people:
The Obama campaign may hope the Internet will do for Obama what television did for John F. Kennedy in 1960. Just compare the candidate's popularity on the social networking sites Facebook and MySpace. While both campaigns hope their supporters spread the word, Obama is "friended" almost seven times more than McCain.
Phelps's drug of choice: rocking out on his iPod before a swim.
I kid you not.
To be fair to the Sun, Maese posted the letter from Dr. Alexei Koudinov without comment, but given the Sun's liberal biases and the fact that as a Towson, Maryland, native Phelps's hometown paper is the Sun, it's rather ridiculous to give Koudinov's argument the time of day. Koudinov's argument in a nutshell:
In your news release about the candidate forum, you suggest that you will avoid "gotcha" questions. The topics highlighted in the release are poverty, HIV/AIDS, climate and human rights with a special emphasis on character and leadership rather than programmatic details.
There is much to be said for rising above partisan politics. After all, the church is on a mission from God to all the earth....
Yesterday, in a stinging indictment of his Old Media colleagues' la-la-la treatment of the story of John Edwards's affair with Rielle Hunter, Los Angeles Times columnist Tim Rutten asserted that Edwards "may have ended his public life but he certainly ratified an end to the era in which traditional media set the agenda for national political journalism."
I'll get to Rutten's mostly perceptive points in a bit.
That's because recent developments indicate that Edwards may still be believe he can eventually re-enter public life, and they are relevant to Rutten's assertion:
This doesn't qualify as any kind of surprise, but it should be noted nonetheless.
Thursday, Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama gave a stunningly downbeat assessment of the nation's overall situation in a response to a seven year-old girl who asked him why he is running for president. Obama's media water-carriers have virtually ignored his very telling response, one that is reminiscent of Jimmy Carter's gloomiest, malaise-based assessments of America during his awful presidency.
Want to know just how beholden Democrats are to the ultra-left members of their Party?
Well, consider that Elizabeth Edwards actually posted an apology for her husband's affair -- as well as her own complicity in hiding it from people that were working for and supporting his presidential campaign -- at the extreme-left website Daily Kos.
Here are some highlights (emphasis added, h/t Lee Stranahan, photo courtesy Washington Post):
Profanity, those taboo words banned from the broadcast airwaves, is a feature of many people's daily lives. It's much less so in the establishment media world. TV and radio broadcasts are legally prohibited from using it, most newspapers have traditionally refrained from its usage.
That's not the case with the Web, where bloggers and readers face no such restrictions. That likely comes as no surprise; what may be surprising, however, is to what degree profanity seems to be a feature more common on one side of the political blogosphere than the other.
Which side is that? For answers, I turned to the search engine Google to see how common swearing is in the right and left blog universes by looking up the late stand-up comic George Carlin's "seven dirty words" in the most popular blog communities.
The results showed that online liberals tend to use profanity a lot more than online conservatives.
Despite penning 38 paragraphs for his obituary, the closest AP's Douglas Birch came to mentioning the late Alexander Solzhenitsyn's Christian faith was by remarking how the bearded author and Soviet dissident looked like a religious icon:
In a 1978 speech at Harvard University, Solzhenitsyn - who with his beard and dour demeanor resembled a figure from an Orthodox icon - denounced the Western view that liberal democracy was fated to triumph in non-Western civilizations, which he called "worlds" unto themselves.
Yet it was in that speech -- "A World Split Apart" -- Baptist theologian Albert Mohler argues, that Solzhenitsyn famously diagnosed secularism as a disease corrupting the West and, what's more, he did so thoroughly anchored in his Orthodox Christian faith (emphasis mine):
It appears something else that isn't tolerated at the ultra-left-leaning website Daily Kos is too much discussion about the extra-marital sexual escapades of Democrats the Netroots hold in high esteem.
At least, this appears to be the case given Saturday's banning of Lee Stranahan, a liberal blogger and video producer who's been writing diaries at DKos since at least April 2007, and has had his work featured at the Huffington Post.
My colleague P.J. Gladnick referenced Stranahan's HuffPo piece about Edwards back on July 27:
In a stunning development, Republicans are currently staging a revolt against House Democrats who adjourned a few hours ago to head on a five week vacation instead of allowing a vote which would permit additional offshore oil drilling.
Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) and other GOP leaders opposed the motion to adjourn the House, arguing that Pelosi's refusal to schedule a vote allowing offshore drilling is hurting the American economy. They have refused to leave the floor after the adjournment motion passed at 11:23 a.m. and are busy bashing Pelosi and her fellow Democrats for leaving town for the August recess.
The protest came moments after the GOP presented Pelosi the following letter:
"There are things you can do individually, though, to save energy," Obama said. "Making sure your tires are properly inflated - simple thing. But we could save all the oil that they're talking about getting off drilling - if everybody was just inflating their tires? And getting regular tune-ups? You'd actually save just as much!"
Yes, Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) actually suggested on the campaign trail that inflating your tires will save as much oil as can be procured by expanding domestic oil drilling, a suggestion that is downright laughable and mathematically impossible (see below the page break for more on that).
Government is notorious for moving slowly, but when it comes to adapting to technology, government's pace can be downright troublesome.
Consider Capitol Hill efforts to update Watergate-era laws and Internet-usage rules from the 1990s for use in Congress in the 21st century.
Many members of Congress and their staffs routinely participate in Web 2.0 at YouTube, Digg.com and Facebook, despite the fact that current congressional communication rules do not allow members to post any official communication (i.e., non-campaign material) on a Web site that is not House.gov or Senate.gov.
After Barack Obama’s more-than-enthusiastic greeting by many attendees at the UNITY convention for minority journalists in Chicago on Sunday, some in the media have expressed outrage that some have now questioned their objectivity, despite the appalled reactions from some of their own peers to the display and the live video shown on CNN (at right).
April Yee wrote on Andrew Romano’s blog on Newsweek.com on Monday about the question of whether minority journalists can cover the Illinois senator objectively. She quoted Ernest Suggs of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, who objected to this question even coming up in the first place: "That mindset needs to change.... It is offensive that because we have the same color or the same agenda, our journalistic ethics and responsibilities go out the window."
Suggs might have a point, since two of the biggest cheerleaders for Obama in the media are white men: Lee Cowan and Chris Matthews.
NewsBusters has reported for years how the ultra-left wing website Daily Kos will publish all kinds of hateful articles about conservative politicians and figures without ever deleting or editing them.
On Sunday, it was made infinitely clear to the Kossacks that although attacks on right-leaning figures are encouraged -- even if they've just passed away, such as the recent disgraceful posts about Jesse Helms' death -- you're not allowed to say anything bad about their hero, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann.
UPDATE at end of post: Kos denies the allegations.
Although frequent DK poster The Baculum King's "Keith Olbermann Stooping to Fox's Level Now??" has been deleted, Google still has the cached version for all to see (h/t NBer Thomas Stewart, vulgarity alert):
For the second time in about two weeks, the Huffington Post has published bad health news about a high-ranking conservative media member, and has closed comments on the article likely to prevent its readers from disgracefully applauding the event.
UPDATE at 5:40PM: Comments still closed almost five full hours after the announcement.
On July 16, Andrew Malcolm at the Los Angeles Times's Top of the Ticket Blog wrote the following (bold is mine):
When President Bush ordered the surge in January 2007, (Barack) Obama said: "I am not persuaded that 20,000 additional troops in Iraq is going to solve the sectarian violence there. In fact, I think it will do the reverse," a position he maintained throughout 2007. This year he acknowledged progress, but maintained his position that political progress was lacking.
This YouTube video (different from the compare/contrast video at the bottom of the LAT's link) shows Obama reciting the lines just quoted.
The LAT Blog notes earlier in its entry that "The parts (of Obama's web site) that stressed his opposition to the 2007 troop surge and his statement that more troops would make no difference in a civil war have somehow disappeared."
Something else disappeared this week. Team Obama, for all its posturing, probably saw something like this coming -- which explains their web site scrubbing.
Hopefully this event will repeat itself frequently. You have to get all the way to the end of an apparently weekly routine Associated Press report to see it, but there it is:
Barack Obama, the presumptive Democratic nominee, while waffling, has wanted to appear to many of his constituents as being opposed to free trade agreements, or at least wanting to renegotiate the terms of many of them.
On Wednesday, the Department of Commerce issued a press release, the kind of thing you would hope business journalists get in their e-mail boxes. But I found no coverage of this news in a Google News Search on [commerce "free trade'] (typed as indicated inside brackets).
Perhaps it's because the news would be inconvenient for Obama, who is in the midst of an Excellent Overseas Adventure, speaking to fawning crowds who fortunately will have no say at the ballot box in November.