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.
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.
Reuters gets the award for the most misleading headline of the day with its Aug 28 story making it seem as if unemployment has wildly increased in New York State -- even calling it a "crisis" -- when there was really only a small increase. The headline would cause the casual reader to assume that the world is falling apart concerning employment rates and on top of that the badly worded headline also feeds into the Bush-ruined-the-economy meme. And we know how Reuters is always looking to smear President Bush whenever it can. Further, Reuters cites the work of the Fiscal Policy Institute without identifying it as a left leaning think tank.
Reuters headlines its New York employment piece Unemployment leaps over 20 percent in 25 New York counties. It is a shocking headline, to be sure, screaming that unemployment "leaps 20 percent." Such a wild headline would certainly cause a casual reader to assume that overall unemployment has risen by 20 to 25 percent. Contrary to the scaremongering of the headline, New York's unemployment did not "leap 20 percent" in over all numbers at all. In fact, the over all unemployment of the state has only gone up by .2 percent, from 5.2 in June to 5.4 in July. That is hardly a number to spark a "Crisis."
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.
In New York, U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein has ordered the release of eight more grand jury transcripts from the famous 1951 spy case that led to the conviction of the husband and wife pro-Soviet spy team of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg. Reuters reports this story as if there is some cloud of doubt still hanging over the Rosenberg's conviction despite that their guilt is no longer debatable. Yet here is Reuters giving cover to those who stubbornly wish to cast doubt on the U.S. prosecution of the Rosenbergs. It also gives Reuters and U.S. detractors the opportunity once again smear America by raising their favorite Cold War boogie man, Joe McCarthy.
Reuters sternly tells us that,
The Rosenbergs were convicted in 1951 of passing atomic secrets to the Soviet Union and executed in 1953. Rosenberg supporters describe the case as a frame-up amid anti-communist McCarthyism hysteria and Cold War fear.
It is amazing to see Reuters use every U.S. bash they could in one little paragraph. The Rosenbergs were victims of a "frame-up" because of "McCarthyism hysteria and Cold War fear." Notice how Reuters seems to forget to mention that there is no longer any doubt that the Rosenbergs were guilty, though?
Is the following headline wishful thinking on the part of a media outlet hoping for unity at this week's Democratic National Convention, or good journalistic inquisitiveness: "Are Clintons Leaving the National Scene?"
Now, as conservatives, we mightn't care which, for whatever the reason, they'd be "melted," and we'd be doing a jig around a puddle in the middle of a castle floor while carrying a partially burned broom.
With that delicious image in your head, you decide whether this Reuters piece is advocacy or good journalism (emphasis added):
During the 11 a.m. EDT hour of Tuesday’s MSNBC “News Live,” host Dan Abrams interviewed Reuters Washington correspondent John Decker about Senator Obama’s campaign seeking a criminal investigation against the American Issues Project over an ad which links Obama to terrorist Bill Ayers.
While none of the American Issues Project ad was shown, MSNBC did help Obama rebut any claims of a connection between Obama and Ayers by airing part of Obama’s response ad: “Why is John McCain talking about the sixties trying to link Barack Obama to radical Bill Ayers? McCain knows Obama denounced Ayers’ crimes committed when Obama was just 8 years old.”
Just like in the Obama ad, Abrams only referred to Ayers as a “radical,” and never mentioned the bombings Ayers took part in or his September 2001 statement that, "I don't regret setting bombs...I feel we didn't do enough."
Reuters thinks that tax breaks and loopholes "costs" government its tax receipts. This is a perfect example of class hatred ginned up by the media to further class warfare between Americans. The absolute truth is that if people use the tax code to limit their tax burden they are not costing the government anything, but are using legal means to avoid a higher tax burden. Further, our money is NOT the government's property in the first place so a lower tax take is in no way "costing" the government anything. Yet, Reuters still uses this class warfare rhetoric to report its story revealing its attack-the-rich agenda.
The Reuters headline employs the class warfare rhetoric right off the top screaming, Tax loopholes seen costing billions annually. "Costing"? No, if tax receipts are lower it isn't because people are depriving government of due receipts. Again, it is because taxpayers are obeying the law and properly using the tax code as crated by Congress. If there are loopholes in the tax code they were placed there by Congress, whether wittingly or unwittingly, but still it’s the fault of Congress not “the rich.”
On the Reuters Web site this morning appears this cryptic headline: "ADVISORY: Baghdad story on views on Obama is withdrawn" After that, it merely states, "The BAGHDAD item headlined 'Iraqis say they like Obama, divided on his policies' is withdrawn. The story was transmitted in error."
BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama is popular among Iraqis.
In two dozen interviews across the country, many told Reuters a black man would understand their plight.
Obama arrived in Baghdad on Sunday on only his second trip to Iraq. He wants to bolster his foreign policy credentials and counter accusations from Republican presidential rival John McCain that he has not seen conditions in Iraq for himself.
"I support Obama. I think he is the best for Iraq and for the world ... if McCain wins I will be devastated," said Mustafa Salah, an office worker in the southern city of Basra.
That must be some crystal ball Reuters reporters Jeremy Pelofsky and Tom Doggett have.
They somehow know that George W. Bush's Executive Order lifting an Executive Branch ban on offshore drilling will work out to be "largely symbolic" -- even though Congress's ban will expire on September 30 unless it's proactively renewed.
Further, Pelofsky and Doggett seem to almost know that since Barack Obama opposes any additional offshore drilling, not enough of his fellow party members will defect from that position between now and the Congressional ban's expiration, regardless of whether he remains competitive or sinks in the polls in the meantime.
In today's "People Can Prove Whatever They Want If They Really Try Hard Enough" moment, Swiss scientists claimed early this week that efforts to clean the air over Europe the past three decades are responsible for at least half of that continent's 1°C rise in temperatures since 1980.
In an interesting chicken and the egg conundrum, scientists in America claimed Thursday that global warming causes smog.
So, cleaning the air causes global warming -- which ends up leading to higher levels of smog?
Let's start with the Swiss study reported by NewScientist Wednesday (emphasis added, photo courtesy Reuters):
It looks just like the type of story that would appear in The Onion but the funniest thing about this Reuters story about the effects of cow "burps" on global warming is that it was covered with a completely straight face. According to this story, methane released by cow "burps," not humans, might be the culprit in causing the rise in greenhouse gases. A scientific study on this phenomenom is being undertaken via cow "burp" collection:
Argentine scientists are taking a novel approach to studying global warming -- strapping plastic tanks to the backs of cows to collect their burps.
Researchers say the slow digestive system of cows makes them a producer of methane, a potent greenhouse gas that gets far less public attention than carbon dioxide in efforts to fight global warming.
Scientists around the world are studying the amount of methane in cow burps and Argentine researchers say they have come up with a unique way.
Whether you are a Starbucks patron or not, no doubt you've heard that the Seattle-based coffee chain plans to close 600 "underperforming" stores and cut about seven percent of its workforce.
Job loss is certainly not something to cheer about, yet Reuters found a unique story to tell on July 6, 2008. No, this wasn't the sad tale of roughly 12,000 soon-to-be unemployed baristas. It was a morbid report about coffee snobs who take "grim delight in Starbucks woes."
Reuters' unbalanced report quoted eight critics of the global coffee seller, including those who are "happy" about the store closures.
"I'm so happy. I'm so not a Starbucks person,' said Melinda Vegliotti, sipping iced coffee at the Irving Farm Coffee House in New York. 'I believe in supporting small businesses. Starbucks, bye-bye,'" she told Reuters.
Only one "defender" of Starbucks was included in that story, and the meager praise he offered was that it is "convenient."
In the past when Warren Buffett has spoken out the "super rich" needing to pay a higher tax rate, the media have hung on his every word. But, now that he has spoken out against a windfall profits tax on oil, will they notice?
"I think it is very hard to have windfall taxes," Buffett said. "Steel has doubled in price. Is that a windfall for the steel producers? Sure. Corn is $7 a bushel; soybeans are at $15 a bushel. I don't think any candidate in his right mind with the number of electoral votes in farm states would say you ought to tax farms specially because they are getting a windfall."
It looks like Reuters is trying to say that the United States stands against the rule of law with their latest piece on a recent ruling from the so-called World Court -- the International Court of Justice (ICJ). The ICJ wants the U.S. to vacate the death penalty sentences of several Mexican nationals that sit on death row in prisons in several states and Reuters is shaking its finger at the nasty Americans that deny the jurisdiction of the self-styled World Court.
Mexico has been agitating with the World Court to force the United States to vacate (or at least revisit) the convictions of 51 Mexican nationals now on death row because they claim that these murderers were not alerted to their right to seek consular assistance before they went into the American court systems.
Naturally, the ICJ happily complied with Mexico's request and demanded that the U.S. comply with the World Court decision. Bush made an unfortunate decision in 2005 to ask the various states to comply with the ICJ, but the issue has since been settled by the Supreme Court of the United States. Fortunately, just this month the SCOTUS said that our courts are not bound by the ICJ rulings.
U.S. corn futures topped out at record highs on June 11 on the news that the impact of flooding in the Midwest would hurt this year's corn crop, but the June 11 "CBS Evening News" left out one significant detail in its reporting about the crisis.
"[A]gricultural disaster aid has been requested for Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin and Michigan," CBS correspondent Cynthia Bowers said on the June 11 "Evening News." "The federal government estimates that this year's corn crop will be 10 percent lower than last year's. That's down 1.4 billion bushels, and it's too late to do much about it."
According to a Reuters story, corn prices on the Chicago Board of Trade have shot up 80 percent in the last 12 months, with almost 17 percent of that just this month. But Bowers didn't explain how the prices got so high before the floods, which put consumers of corn products in this vulnerable position. Corn futures were already priced high because of a heightened demand - artificially stimulated by federal government subsidies for ethanol produced from corn.
My husband David Ridenour shares his analysis of the spin coming from a sponsor of the late and unlamented Lieberman-Warner global warming cap and trade bill, and the media's response:
We've been hit with a fast-moving, spinning column of hot air - and it's not another midwestern tornado. It's Joe Lieberman.
After Senate Democrats fell 12 votes short of the number needed to invoke cloture to end debate over the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act and move to a vote earlier today, Senator Lieberman (I-CT) issued a press release boldly proclaiming victory.
"Today 54 members of the United States Senate, including 9 Republicans, demonstrated their desire to move forward with the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act," Lieberman's press statement said.
Oh really? There were, in fact, only 48 votes in favor of ending the debate. The Connecticut tornado - er, Senator - also counted five Senators who didn't attend the vote, but who indicated in letters that they would have voted in favor of cloture had it been important enough to them to show up. Lieberman's count also included Senator Edward Kennedy, recovering from surgery, who had also sent a letter.
But U.S. Senate doesn't operate by mail-in ballot - at least, not yet. Senator Lieberman used to know that when he was a Democrat.
Exactly who “threatens” whom? One of Friday’s headlines on the BBC’s Web site proposes “Israeli minister threatens Iran,” relating how Israel’s Deputy Prime Minister Shaul Mofaz says an attack will be inevitable unless Iran ends its nuclear experiments: “If Iran continues with its programme for developing nuclear weapons, we will attack it. The sanctions are ineffective."
Earlier this week, however, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told Iranians that "the criminal and terrorist Zionist regime which has 60 years of plundering, aggression and crimes in its file has reached the end of its work and will soon disappear off the geographical scene." That sounds pretty menacing, too, but plugging “Ahmadinejad” into the BBC’s search engine finds no reports on this threatening speech.
Today's dramatic $6-a-barrel spike in oil has been blamed on a couple of factors - a forecast by Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) claiming oil would hit $150 a barrel by July and a weakening dollar off news unemployment increased half a percent for the month of May.
But CNBC contributor John Kilduff, who is also the vice president of risk management for MF Global (NYSE:MF), told viewers on the June 6 "Squawk on the Street" geopolitical factors, specifically remarks from an Israeli official about attacking a nuclear facility in Iran, is behind the spike.
"[W]hat's really lit up this market big time here is, which hasn't been really mentioned. I haven't heard too much and I'm surprised at, is deputy minister in Israel said this morning that an attack on Iran's nuclear facilities is quote, ‘unavoidable,'" said Kilduff on CNBC's "Squawk on the Street."
It's not often that a denizen of Hollywood is so crass as to admit that they enjoyed using their film work as a bludgeon with which to beat up a living person, but Reuters is reporting that the folks that made the upcoming HBO film "Recount" -- and actress Laura Dern in particular -- really relished making at least one person look like an idiot. Apparently Dern really enjoyed skewering Katherine Harris, the former Florida Secretary of State responsible for certifying the 2000 general election results.
Reuters helpfully informs us that actress Dern is a "self-described liberal" who "loved portraying (Harris) in the new HBO movie." And, why was it so fun for our "self-described liberal" to portray Representative, then Florida Sec. of State Harris? Because they made her look "clueless about the workings of her office," of course.
Imagine for a moment the race card had been used during the Republican presidential nomination process, and the United Nations was sending an envoy to investigate racism in America. Do you think the media would report it?
Probably 24 hours a day, seven days a week until every person in the country had heard about it, right?
Well, the U.N. announced on Friday that it is sending its "Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance" to visit our country from May 19 until June 6.
Although Reuters reported this at 2:48 PM EDT Friday, and strongly suggested the investigation is due to racism in the Democrat presidential campaign, LexisNexis and Google searches identified no other American news outlet covering this story. Not one!
Actor Sean Penn arrived at the Cannes Film Festival to serve as the president of the prestigious Palme d'Or jury judging the best picture. But Reuters reports from France that Penn predictably lashed out at President Bush as brainless, and even puzzled reporters by praising Barack Obama, except for his "phenomenally inhuman and unconstitutional" voting record:
Penn, who is known for his vocal political activism, also took the opportunity to lash out at U.S. President George Bush and said politics should be about helping people.
How about I ask you if you "feel" like you make enough money each year? Let's say you make $48,000 a year, OK? (That's the median household income in the US) You'll likely tell me, then that you "feel" you need more. Now, from this, can I conclude that you are "struggling in life" as a citizen of the USA? Not if you use actual data instead of "feelings" to determine what "struggling" means and not if you then try to add context to what we all have compared to what others in the world have, of course. But, this is exactly the sort of nonsensical "survey" that Reuters gravely warned us about this week. Without bothering with any statistics or context, Reuters excitedly reported that "Many Americans struggling in life, survey finds", and decided that everyone is downtrodden and filled with "suffering" in the United States today.
But this is just another so-called survey that is reported backwards. It turns out that, even by their unscientific criteria, 49 percent of the Americans they surveyed said that they were "thriving, with few health or money worries." So, why is this reported as if the preponderance of our fellow citizens is claiming to be "struggling"?
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.