This "choice" thing with abortion is really the narrowest of one-way streets.
Seven robed men decided in 1973 that a woman has a "privacy" right to "choose" to take the life of a pre-born baby she is carrying, the God-given right to life of the baby be damned. But the radicals in Jerry Brown's government in the State of California have now mandated that all employers in that state, even those with religious affiliations, do not have a choice as to whether they will cover abortions in their health plans. It's funny, but certainly not in a humorous sense, how certain states' attempts to limit the practice routinely make national news, while this blatantly coercive dictate by California has barely been noticed.
A Friday afternoon dispatch at the Politico from Carrie Budoff Brown and Jennifer Epstein tells us that "The White House is putting the finishing touches on a post-Labor Day schedule that will send the president to states where he’s still popular."
The list of states where the Politico pair alleges that's the case is quite short: "Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Illinois and California." That's it. Obama, in a situation resembling that of Richard Nixon in the final months of his presidency, when "Tricky Dick" was mocked for being able to find friendly audiences in just a few Southern states, is apparently toxic everywhere else, just in time for midterm elections. Moreover, it didn't take much research to show that the Politico's pair's claim Obama is "still popular" in most of those five states is either false or shaky — especially after considering that such polls are all too often overloaded with Democrat and liberal respondents.
On Thursday, an impatient Terry Moran at ABC News tweeted the following (HT Twitchy): "Say it: Russia has invaded Ukraine. Any other description is just weasel words."
Clearly, both President Obama and the folks at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, haven't been sympathetic to Moran's plea, instead opting for "weasel words." Obama, when directly asked if he "considered today's escalation in Ukraine an invasion," wouldn't characterize it with that word. At AP, a trio of reporters — Dalton Bennett, Jim Heintz, and Raf Casert — also labored mightily to follow their president's lead in avoiding the "I-word" in a late Thursday story (bolds are mine):
I struggle to come up with a reason, other than an irresponsible attempt to minimize the impact of the horror, why the headline at a Thursday evening Associated Press story by Zeina Karam and Ryan Lucas about "more than 160 Syrian government troops" massacred by ISIS is "JIHADISTS KILL DOZENS OF CAPTURED SYRIAN SOLDIERS."
The Golden Age of Obamacare has apparently not led to the Golden Age of access to medical care anywhere, any time its promoters promised. Thanks to non-payments, the true enrollment numbers aren't what we've been told. The networks patients can access — approved by government regulators — are often highly restricted. Sky-high-deductibles are present in most Obamacare plans before any kind of reimbursed coverage kicks in. Finally, since this is for the time being a country where people usually can't be forced to provide money-losing service, many doctors are refusing to see Obamacare-"covered" patients.
Since things aren't working out as wonderfully as planned, the left and the Obama administration are on the prowl for scapegoats. The easiest targets are the insurance companies, some of whom foolishly thought that being on the Obamacare team would buy them immunity. According to a Wednesday Associated Press story by Tom Murphy, they're being charged with chasing sick people away — even though it appears, from a sentence eight paragraphs into the dispatch, that it's not financially advantageous for them to keep such patients out.
In a Wednesday report on the Congressional Budget Office's downward revision of this year's predicted gross domestic product growth to a dismal 1.5 percent, the Associated Press's Andrew Taylor acted as if the Obama administration's prediction of 2.6 percent still has a realistic chance of occurring.
While one never wants to absolutely say never, the administration's higher prediction would require annualized growth to come in at roughly 4.3 percent during the second half of this year — something virtually no one is predicting. It would also rely on the second quarter, initially reported at 4.0 percent in July's first release, not to be revised downward significantly. The government's second iteration of GDP growth will be released at 8:30 this morning. Excerpts from Taylor's report follow the jump.
Someone must have slipped the wrong data to the Associated Press's Josh Boak yesterday before he composed his dispatch on the Census Bureau's latest report on new home sales.
Boak got the current month's news right, though likely by accident (like almost everyone else in the business press, he relies on seasonally adjusted figures, and rarely goes to the unadjusted data), telling readers that "Fewer Americans bought new homes in July, evidence that the housing sector is struggling to gain traction more than five years into the economic recovery." That's fine, but his characterization of the longer-term history of home sales was woefully incorrect:
The Associated Press's Top Business News page lists the headlines and opening passages of what the wire service believes are the ten most important business stories at the moment. Its 9:16 a.m. version had a story entitled "JACKSON HOLE DEMONSTRATORS RALLY AGAINST RATE HIKE" listed fifth. Earlier in the morning it was fourth.
Surely, I thought to myself, this must be about a group of at least several hundred to merit this level of attention. Not at all. The opening sentence at Matthew Brown's Friday afternoon story tells us it was "a group of about 10," but that one group member somehow got to speak with Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen (bolds are mine):
The press never let George W. Bush forget about that "Mission Accomplished" banner on the USS Abraham Lincoln after Saddam Hussein was overthrown and his government's military was routed in Iraq. They often pretend that Bush said it, or adopted it. He did no such thing, saying only that “Our mission continues.”
So while the press has come close to making a claim Bush 43 never made an article of faith, it is virtually ignoring something current U.S. President Barack Obama actually said, namely that, concerning ISIS, "The analogy we use around here sometimes, and I think is accurate, is if a jayvee team puts on Lakers uniforms that doesn’t make them Kobe Bryant." Kristina Wong at the Hill is a rare exception. She reminded readers of what Obama said in January as she reported Thursday on how the nation's defense secretary and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff completely disagree (bolds are mine):
Over at Hot Air on Tuesday night, Mary Katharine Ham pointed to a headline at the New York Times, present at its web home page as well as at the story itself, which equally blames Hamas and Israel for the end of their cease-fire: "Rockets From Gaza and Israeli Response Break Cease-Fire." Someone needs to tell Isabel Kershner and Jodi Rudoren that it's the "rockets from Gaza" which broke the cease-fire.
There's a bigger problem with the story, and with establishment press coverage of the conflict in general during the past 36 hours, namely that virtually everyone is ignoring a Monday blockbuster report at the Jerusalem Post presenting compelling evidence that Hamas intended to overthrow the Palestinian government and its President, Mahmoud Abbas, in conjunction with its attacks on Israel (Shin Bet is Israel's internal security service; bolds are mine):
Kudos to Ed Driscoll at PJ Media, Eddie Scarry at Mediaite, and likely others in pointing out that the Associated Press has frequently violated its own stylebook in describing Michael Brown, the 18 year-old who was fatally shot in a scuffle with police in Ferguson, Missouri, as a "teen" or "teenager."
The AP's latest stylebook, in sync with the one I have from over a decade ago, states that reports should (italics is theirs) “use man or woman for individuals 18 and older." The violations have been pervasive, and have likely occurred since Brown died on August 9. Let's start with the specifics at Mediaite (most bolds are mine; links are in original):
Recent news about Obamacare hasn't exactly been good, but the press has been pretty effective in keeping it quiet. To name just a few items, Enrollment is shrinking, because perhaps as many as 20 percent of enrollees aren't keeping up with their premiums. Rising costs have moved insurers to beg for bailouts, which appear to be forthcoming.
Then there's this: Just last week in Massachusetts, where the state-run health insurance got its start under Republican Governor Mitt Romney eight years ago, the state's exchange announced that everyone currently enrolled in 2014 or who should have enrolled and didn't is going to have to apply for 2015 coverage this fall. Oh, and the system it plans to employ may not even be working by mid-November.
Vox's Max Fisher shamelessly invoked medieval history in a Monday post about Pope Francis. Fisher highlighted the pontiff's support for action against ISIS's "unjust aggression" in Iraq, and hyped that "there is good precedent for this...between 1096 and 1272 AD, popes also endorsed the use of Western military action to destroy Middle Eastern caliphates. Those were known as the crusades; there were nine, which means that this would be number 10."
The former Washington Post journalist immediately set the tone with the title of his post: "News from 1096 AD: Pope endorses military force to destroy Middle Eastern caliphate." Fisher continued in this vein in his lead paragraph:
Texas Governor Rick Perry, who, in the oddest of coincidences (that's sarcasm), just so happens to be considered one of the Republican Party's stronger potential contenders for the 2016 presidential nomination, was indicted in Austin today by a Travis County grand jury. The charges are "abuse of official capacity and coercion of a public servant" in connection with a veto "threat" he carried out — thus making "promise" a better word to describe his original stated intentions.
"Threatening" a veto and then carrying through on that "threat" is obviously a pretty routine occurrence in governmental jurisdictions through the country, from the President on down. As to initial press coverage, Paul J. Weber and Will Weissert at the Associated Press predictably misstated the results of another politically motivated prosecution of a major GOP elected official, namely former Congressman Tom "The Hammer" Delay, and focused on how expensive it might be to defend Perry by quoting an hourly legal representation rate which may or may not be accurate. Excerpts follow the jump (bolds are mine):
The federal government reported a $94.6 blllion deficit in July, only marginally better than the $97.6 figure posted in July 2013.
As has become its habit, the Associated Press's coverage of that result contained omissions, spin and half-truths about government tax collections, spending and the origins of the Obama administration's first four years of consecutive trillion-dollar deficits. Particularly annoying is the wire service's insistence on ignoring the large tax increase in two decades as a factor — in the interest, of course, of supporting the Obama administration's call for more of the same. Veteran Martin Crutsinger was responsible for this month's rendition. Excerpts follow the jump:
Give the New York Daily News credit for surfacing a video which originally appeared at Ed Notes Online, a publication whose "about" page says it opposes "the education corporate-based reforms ... undermining the public school system" and exposes "the motives behind the education deformers."
The video shows Michael Mulgrew, the president of New York City's United Federation of Teachers, threatening to "punch you in the face and push you in the dirt" if you oppose the nationally imposed and controlled Common Core standards, and from all appearances laying claim to America's children as the property of its teachers. Give the rest of the establishment press — which routinely pounces on inflammatory statements coming from the right and distorts others into making them appear to be — demerits for almost completely failing to expose an education tyrant. Video and excerpts from the Daily News's coverage follow the jump.
This morning, the Census Bureau, in its advance report on retail sales, revealed that seasonally adjusted July sales were "virtually unchanged" from June. Expectations were for a 0.2 percent gain, supposedly with "solid upside" potential. Oops. June's result stayed at its previously reported 0.2 percent increase.
Reuters did the "U-word" honors this time out: "U.S. retail sales unexpectedly stalled in July, pointing to some loss of momentum in the economy early in the third quarter." Someone needs to tell the wire service's Lucia Mutikani that no increase means no momentum. Over at the Associated Press, Josh Boak tried the deadpan approach.
So what's more newsworthy: A white, privileged, female lawyer wearing pink shoes whose filibuster failed to stop abortion restrictions from taking effect in Texas, or a an African-American female state representative who sponsored and helped successfully shepherd a similar law through Louisiana's legislature — with overwhelming support from Democratic legislators? If you think it should be the latter, you obviously don't understand the priorities of the nation's establishment press.
The events in Texas have led to the gubernatorial candidacy of Democrat filibuster leader and media darling Wendy Davis. In June of this year, the legislature in next-door Louisiana passed a similar measure. Katrina Jackson's outspoken sponsorship and Democrats' majority support of the law has gotten nowhere near the attention Wendy Davis's shenanigans have received.
To read the Associated Press's Friday evening coverage of a federal judge's refusal to block North Carolina's election law reforms from taking effect in the upcoming general election, you'd think it was an unsuccessful effort on the part of a group of poor Davids to defeat the Tar Heel State's government Goliath.
As J. Christian Adams at PJ Media noted shortly after the decision, it was nothing of the sort. Attorney General Eric Holder's Department of Justice weighed in heavily, and is in fact listed as the plaintiff in one of the three cases Federal District Judge Thomas D. Schroeder decided. Additionally, a prominent national law firm took the case on a pro bono basis for the allegedly aggrieved groups. I'll first look at a bit of what AP's Michael Biesecker and Gary D. Robertson wrote, and follow it with Adams's reality-based rendition.
Yesterday, Roll Call and The Hill both relayed Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein's call, in Roll Call's words, "for a broader military campaign against ISIL, not just the targeted missions authorized by the president." She believes it is needed because "It has become clear that ISIL is recruiting fighters in Western countries ... and possibly returning them to European and American cities to attack us in our backyard."
Searches at their web sites indicate that the Associated Press and New York Times have not reported Feinstein's stark warning, which directly contradicts the President's January ridicule of ISIL/ISIS as the equivalent of junior varsity basketball players. At the Politico, in a worry-wart piece on "Obama's liberal problem," Seung Min Kim and Jeremy Herb shamefully omitted Feinstein's "in our backyard" warning — while covering the rest of what she said.
Several months ago, based on several far from minor out-of-the-gate mistakes, I characterized the candidacy of the Democratic Party's challenger to incumbent Republican Governor John Kasich as "the wreck that is Edward FitzGerald."
In the past week, FitzGerald has utterly imploded. The latest revelation Tuesday afternoon, namely that he had "no license to drive at all from 2002 to 2008," leaves one wondering whether his party vetted him at all. Former Cleveland Plain Dealer editorial director Brent Larkin calls this "at or near the top of the list" of "bizarre developments" he's seen in 45 years of covering politics. Despite the fact that Ohio is a key battleground state and that Kasich had in some quarters been seen as vulnerable after his attempt at Scott Walker-like reforms went down in flames in 2011, national news about Fall-Apart FitzGerald is sparse — and when it appears, it's often made to look like a GOP dirty tricks exercise.
They had to invent Sarah Palin's supposedly most embarrassing gaffe when she was the vice-presidential nominiee in 2008. She never said, "I can see Russia from my house!" Comedienne Tina Fey did. As noted at NewsBusters several days ago, that hasn't altered the folklore.
You don't have to invent gaffes for Joe Biden, the man who became Vice President after the 2008 election. He generates them continually. The lists seen here and here contain many of the golden oldies through August of 2012. There have been plenty since then. His latest, following the jump, is a doozy. The smart money would be on the establishment press ignoring it, as they have the vast majority of the others.
As of Tuesday morning, ABC's morning and evening newscasts have yet to cover the Associated Press report that revealed the Obama administration's covert program in Cuba that attempted "recruit young Cubans to anti-government activism" on the communist-dominated island. The AP outlined that "over at least two years, the U.S. Agency for International Development...sent nearly a dozen neophytes from Venezuela, Costa Rica and Peru to gin up opposition in Cuba."
By contrast, both CBS This Morning and NBC's Today set aside air time to the scoop. NBC's Natalie Morales gave a 32-second news brief on the clandestine program: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
Former Congressman Barney Frank had "a July interview" with the Huffington Post. The liberal blog's Zach Carter put up a post about it on Friday, August 1 at 3:59 p.m.
How convenient, because Frank ripped President Obama and his administration, who he says "just lied to people" about whether they could keep their existing healthcare plans under the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare. Naturally, despite the fact that most of those "if you like your plan-doctor-provider-drug regimen, you can keep them" promises were made before the law's passage, whoever interviewed Frank at HuffPo didn't follow up with the obvious question: "Despite the lies, why are you still comfortable with having voted for it?" Or if they did, they chose not to publish Frank's response. Excerpts follow the jump.
In a Thursday report on why many Americans are still unimpressed with the U.S. job market, Associated Press reporters Christopher Rugaber and Josh Boak made a rare admission that "Finding a steady full-time job has become harder" than it was before the recession.
The AP pair then contended that "the trend might also reflect a lasting shift among restaurants and coffee shops," but found an "expert" who only acknowledged that such employers are trying to be more careful in their spending. Although they mentioned Obamacare as a reason why pollied Republicans are dissatisfied with the economy, Rugaber and Boak never cited the healthcare law as a possible factor in the significant move to employ part-timers, even though Investor's Business Daily has compiled a list of 429 employers "with strong proof that ObamaCare's employer mandate is behind cuts to work hours or staffing levels." Excerpts follow the jump (bolds and numbered tags are mine):
Tonight at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, a dispatch by Ken Dilanian and Eileen Sullivan reports that "a document circulating among White House staff" about post-9/11 allegedly harsh and inhumane CIA interrogation techniques — a document which was "accidentally emailed to an Associated Press reporter" — claims that Former Secretary of State Colin Powell "may not have been informed when the techniques were first used in 2002." Given the wire service's unrequited lapdog love for all things Obama, it seems more likely, as posited by Instapundit's Glenn Reynolds, that the "AP reporter" in question is on the regular circulation list and was told to call this particular leak an accident. Excerpts follow the jump (bolds are mine):
Earlier today, I gave the Associated Press an unwarranted benefit of the doubt. I figured that there was no way the language contained in an offensive AP tweet on the Israel-Gaza situation would appear in an actual story by an alleged professional journalist. Boy, was I wrong.
The language in question was posted at 6 a.m. ET and is still present at the wire service's official Twitter account. It reads: "As much of world watches Gaza war in horror, members of Congress fall over each other to support Israel." I wrote this afternoon that "The tweet ... links to a brief dispatch by Bradley Klapper, whose coverage, to be fair (but only if he's not the tweeter), doesn't reflect the sentiments expressed in the tweet." Well, it didn't then, because the underlying story had been revised. Here's are the first five paragraphs of Klapper's story as they appeared before comprehensive cleanup efforts ensued:
Of all the Associated Press reporters out there, Matt Lee, whose beat is the State Department, appears to have the least patience with the pablum (and worse) he is expected to swallow from the Obama administration.
In September of last year, as the situation in Syria escalated, Obama administration Secretary of State John Kerry proposed a non-mandatory request for a Congressional vote on U.S. military involvement in Syria. After hearing State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki defend that proposal as "courageous," Lee, after getting a non-response to a question as why it was courageous, famously asked: "Was there some kind of, like, group spine-removal op procedure at the White House over the weekend?" Though he may not have exercised the best judgment this morning in posting the tweet which follows the jump, at least we can say that Lee hasn't taken up permanent residence in the wire service's otherwise very crowded water-carrier wing:
The Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, wants Americans to know that the Obama adminisration is really, really upset — but not at Hamas for committing terrorist acts, using women and children as human shields, and digging tunnels for the purpose of mass-murdering civilians on Rosh Hashanah.
No-no-no. Team Obama is "fuming" (i.e., their poor little feeeeewings are hurt) because Israeli officials and the Israeli media — even its liberal wing — are furiously criticizing U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry for apparently doing all he can to sell out the Jewish state's positions in attempting to negotiate a ceasefire with Hamas.