March was going to be the month when new home sales in the U.S. would finally break out after several months of horrible weather. After all, everyone knew that this winter's snow, ice, and low temperatures were the only things holding the new home market back. Consensus predictions ahead of today's related report from the Census Bureau were in the range of 450,000 to 455,000 annualized sales.
Oops. New home sales dove to a seasonally adjusted annualized 384,000, a 14.5 percent decline from February, a slightly larger miss compared to expectations, and a whopping 13.3 percent lower than March 2013. Press reports on this result predictably brought on appearances of the U-word ("unexpectedly"), with at least one interesting twist.
In his story (saved here for future reference, fair use and discussion purposes — and in case it gets edited later today; Update: It did) on the Supreme Court's decision this morning upholding Michigan voters' 2006 approval of a ban on race-, ethnic- and gender-based preferences in university admissions, USA Today's Richard Wolf failed to identify the size of the court majority, which was 6-2. Justice Elena Kagan recused herself because she was previously the U.S. solicitor general before being named to the high court. The court's decision effectively upholds such bans in seven other states.
Additionally, by focusing on Justice Anthony Kennedy as "the man to watch," Wolf initially left many readers with the impression that only five justices, Kennedy and the four others usually describe as "conservative" (Roberts, Scalia, Thomas, and Alito) made the ruling. The fact is that they were also joined by Justice Stephen Breyer, one of the supposedly reliable "liberals." Excerpts follow the jump (bolds are mine throughout this post):
Earlier today, just an hour before a hearing was to begin at the National Labor Relations Board, the United Auto Workers union dropped an appeal of the election it lost in February as it attempted to become the bargaining representative for workers at Volkswagen's Chattanooga, Tennessee plant.
In a writeup which appears at the Associated Press's "Big Story" but which somehow failed to appear in a 6 p.m. search on "UAW" at the Big Story site (sorted by date), reporter Erik Schelzig pretended that two Democratic Congressmen who last week started an "inquiry" into the circumstances surrounding the union's loss will be conducting a "congressional investigation." No they won't, because they can't, because their party is in the minority. What they can do is conduct a theatrical exercise which looks like a "hearing" which has no power and which a responsible AP reporter wouldn't call a "congressional investigation." Excerpts follow the jump (bolds are mine):
It either doesn't take much to surprise Josh Lederman and Dana Capiello at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, or they have very short memories.
The AP pair described the Obama State Department's Friday afternoon statement (roughly 3:30 p.m., based on the "9 hours ago" result returned in a Google search on the document's title at 12:30 a.m. ET) that it would "provide more time" for eight federal agencies involved to submit "their views on the proposed Keystone Pipeline Project" as a "a surprise announcement Friday as Washington was winding down for Easter." It's as if something like this has never happened before during the Obama administration. Well, yes it has.
In a Friday morning dispatch which comes off more as a set of election instructions from "Democratic strategists" than as a real news report, David Espo at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, wanted to make sure that political operatives who don't read boring pollster reports still get the message: Don't use the word "recovery" during your fall campaign.
In the course of his missive, Espo falsely claimed that economic growth since the recession officially ended has continued unbroken, and failed to remind his audience that the party has trotted out "recovery" themes several times, only to see historically weak economic and employment results each time. Excerpts follow the jump (bolds are mine):
In September 2010, Lachlan Markay at NewsBusters put up a post entitled "Eight Dems Arrested in Bell, CA 'Corruption on Steroids' - Not a Single Mention of Party Affiliation From Media."
Almost four years later (!), reviews of search engine results and specific news stories on the sentencing of Robert Rizzo, the community's former city manager, are again returning no mentions of the fact that Rizzo is a Democrat.
In a Tuesday story which appears to have been handed to it on a silver platter, and which the rest of the establishment press seems uninterested in spreading (given that searches at 11:45 p.m. Tuesday at the Associated Press and at Politico returned nothing relevant), the New York Times has reported that the Census Bureau "is changing its annual survey so thoroughly that it will be difficult to measure the effects of President Obama’s health care law in the next report, due this fall."
It took Times reporter Robert Pear 15 paragraphs to tell readers that measurement and reporting under the new survey design will be so supposedly difficult that "the agency was not planning to release coverage data from early this year in its next report." That statement indicates that the government will not disclose anything about how the rollout of Obamacare really affected the number of uninsured Americans — even under the new methodology — before this fall's elections. Everyone together now, say "How convenient."
Monday afternoon at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, Andrew Taylor predictably described the House's passage of the Ryan Budget in shrill terms (in order of appearance): "A slashing budget blueprint"; "Sweeping budget cuts"; balances the budget "at the expense of poor people and seniors"; "sharp cuts to domestic programs"; "staking out a hard line for the future"; and "tough cuts." Naturally, he failed to disclose that the Ryan budget increases the federal government's total outlays in each and every fiscal year from 2015 to 2024, with the final projected year coming in at $4.995 trillion, or 42 percent above the $3.523 trillion in spending the Congressional Budget Office predicted yesterday for fiscal 2014.
In the process of performing the AP's usual hatchet job, Taylor let loose with a howler about the federal government's ability to continue on its current financial path. The AP reporter may also have inadvertently let something slip into his narrative about the viability of a cherished government program, something which is a deep, dark secret to most Americans, but is quite well-known to those who watch things more closely:
On Thursday, Christopher Rugaber's assignment at the Associated Press was to cover that day's release of Uncle Sam's Monthly Treasury Statement for March.
If the AP economics writer had limited the scope of his coverage to the statement itself, his coverage would have been passed muster. But, as he and his AP colleagues so often do, Rugaber felt it was duty to offer what he must have thought was helpful analysis. He wrote that March's reported $37 billion deficit, an admitted significant improvement over the March 2013 result, even after adjusting for timing differences in end-of-month receipts and outlays, was "the latest sign of improvement in the nation's finances." The last time I checked, running significantly in the red is not an improvement. It really signifies less rapid deterioration, especially since fiscal 2014 in full is still expected to end with deficit of over $500 billion.
Guess who's all of a sudden standing up for law and order? Why, it's radical environmentalists, who despite their general disdain for lawful behavior have felt compelled to speak out in support of the Bureau of Land Management's attempts to round up Cliven Bundy's cattle and ultimately force the Nevada rancher to abandon his family's century-old business.
Martin Griffith at the Associated Press relayed the comments of one such group in a Sunday report in the aftermath of the BLM's abandonment of its roundup efforts, in Griffith's words, "after hundreds of states' rights protesters, some of them armed militia members, showed up at corrals outside Mesquite to demand the animals' release" (There's much to it than that; go this archived Drudge Report page for more; bolds are mine throughout this post):
On Friday, Reuters dispatched Sarah McBride, a San Francisco area reporter, to cover a protest by two dozen people. Seriously.
According to the headline at McBride's story, the presence of these two dozen protesters demonstrated that "San Francisco tech money protests intensify." McBride utterly failed to describe the protester's ultimate goals: lots and lots of money and an end to capitalism. Excerpts follow the jump (bolds are mine throughout this post):
Based on searches at their respective sites at 9:40 a.m. ET this morning, the Associated Press, the New York Times and the Politico do not have stories on the fever-swamp left's two-days-old attempts to force storage company DropBox to reverse its appointment of Condoleezza Rice to its board of directors.
The three outlets just cited, and the rest of the national establishment press, with the as usual notable exception of Fox News (in an opinion piece by Richard Grenell) and the unusual exception of UPI.com, appears to be following what I'll call the "hand-wringing template": Ignore the story until the left gets its dirty work done, and then file a timid story noting how the now-settled matter "raises free-speech issues." This is how a passive-aggressive mission is accomplished.
Associated Press stories today on the quarterly earnings releases of Wells Fargo (unbylined) and JPMorgan Chase (by Steve Rothwell) essentially mocked the nearly continuous monthly stream of reports the wire service's economics writers, particularly Martin Crutsinger and Chris Rugaber, have generated about the "housing recovery" during at least the past year.
The Wells Fargo story disclosed that the nation's largest mortgage lender "funded $36 billion worth of mortgages in the first quarter, down sharply from $109 billion a year earlier." The following graphic from the bank's detailed financial report tells the full story:
I suspect that many readers who do their best to keep up with the news at a detailed level have a hard time understanding how many of their friends, acquaintances and neighbors — even many who they know put some effort into keeping up with current events — can be so unaware of many objectively important news developments.
There are two answers to that question. One is that the establishment press very often doesn't cover important matters at all; all one has to do is recall the empty media chairs at the trial of pre-born and newborn baby butcher Kermit Gosnell. The other is that when they do cover a story, journalists and their news outlets often do all they can to keep key names and facts out of their headlines and opening paragraph. Thanks to the fact that many people now consume news using computers, tablets, and smartphones, this stalling tactic may be even more effective now than it was in the print-only days.
Let it be noted that at 7:17 p.m. on Tuesday, April 8, 2014, CNN.com finally broke down and posted a story on the alleged criminal behavior of California State Senator Leland Yee. The headline at the story by Matt Smith and Jason Carroll ("Feds: Calif. pol Leland Yee schemed to trade arms for campaign cash") gets to the heart of the matter — unlike the headline ("LAWMAKER YEE PLEADS NOT GUILTY TO FEDERAL CHARGES") at the Associated Press's most recent story on Yee. But Smith and Carroll waited until the fourth paragraph to tag Yee as a Democrat (the AP story at least got there at Paragraph 3).
CNN's story arrives 13 days after Yee's initial arrest, and 11 days, 9 hours and 58 minutes after a snippy person at the "CNN.com Writers" Twitter account — apparently one Eliott McLaughlin, according to the account's home page — claimed that its non-coverage of the Yee story was "in line with us covering state senators & state secretary of state races just about never." Yours truly disproved that assertion in about three minutes on March 29.
As I noted yesterday, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, when asked to identify a specific accomplishment during her tenure there, failed to answer the question, instead falling back on the Obama administration's tired "we inherited a terrible economy" meme.
Never let it be said that yours truly doesn't try to be helpful. Here's an "accomplishment" I can attribute to Mrs. Clinton, though I suspect she won't want to put it at the top of her resume as she promotes her anticipated presidential candidacy: presiding over an out of control agency. During each of the past four years, outside auditors have found that State had several "significant deficiencies" in its internal controls over financial reporting (of course, the last eight months of the most recent year belong to current Secretary of State John Kerry). Additionally, State's Inspector General recently identified "contracts with a total value of more than $6 billion in which contract files were incomplete or could not be located at all." Though the IG's report was released on Thursday, it conveniently escaped coverage by the Associated Press until Saturday afternoon. The unbylined AP report itself was cursory and inadequate:
On April 1 for its April 2 print edition, the New York Times allowed Venezuelan dictator Nicolas Maduro to hold forth in an op-ed about how wondrously the country has been ruled since 1998, mostly by the late Bolivarian thug Hugo Chavez and during the past year by himself.
Maduro's piece made the Times's print edition. The Times posted letters objecting to Maduro's characterizations of his country from Ramón Guillermo Aveledo, an opposition leader, and Congressman Edward R. Royce, but appears not to have printed them. I say that because there is no indication at the letters themselves that they were printed, and because certain other letters on unrelated matters are (examples here and here; scroll to the bottom in each instance). The Times did post and print a letter from Florida Senator Marco Rubio on Friday for Saturday's (less-read) print edition. The Times, to likely no one's surprise, has been lax in reporting ongoing developments in that deeply troubled country.
This afternoon, in an unbylined item headlined "US BUSINESS HIRING FINALLY TOPS RECESSION LOSSES," the Associated Press showed that it deserves the nickname "Administration's Press." The story embarrassingly described the job market's return to its previous January 2008 employment peak as a "pivotal moment." Get real. Given over six additional years of growth in the adult population, that's hardly the case.
To his credit, the AP's Christopher Rugaber, in a separate later submission, tamped down the enthusiasm, noting that "the economy is still millions of jobs short of where it should be by now." That's for sure. But whoever wrote the headline to Rugaber's story told an obvious untruth:
When an unmistakable embarrassment to liberalism occurs, a standard establishment press fallback tactic is to accuse conservatives of some form of incivility — and if there really isn't one, to make up a story about it anyway.
That's exactly what Bloomberg Businsessweek's Paul M. Barrett did on Tuesday in covering the NRA's reaction to the arrest of California State Senator and ardent gun control advocate Leland Yee on gun trafficking charges. The story's headline claimed that the group did "a victory dance." Barrett's content claimed that it was "gloating" and "strained to veil its pleasure." In truth, the group was doing nothing of the sort — unless the speech police now believe that making any kind of obvious observation about a liberal's failure is inherently unfair:
Two weeks ago, Nicholas Riccardi at the Associated Press basically gave an open mic to immigration amnesty groups who pretend to believe that the Obama administration has been deporting more immigrants who are here illegally per year than previous administrations did. Some of the groups involved are moving to disruptive tactics which look more like attempts at mob rule than those employed in a civil society.
Today, several center-right news outlets and blogs are reporting that the Center for Immigration Studies has reviewed information recently released by Homeland Security's Immigration and Customs Enforcement arm. Unsurprisingly, CIS has found far more laxness in deportation efforts. But what may surprise many, and what should be reported by AP and other establishment press outlets if they have any consistency and integrity, is how nonchalant the administration has been in releasing hardened criminals onto America's streets. Stephen Dinan at the Washington Times appears to have been the first to report on situation on Sunday:
Over at Hot Air, Dustin Siggins writes that Andrea and Colin Chisholm "are getting enormous media attention." Perhaps, and I really hope so. Unfortunately, I found no evidence of any level of attention to the Chisholms, the apparently very rich couple who allegedly engaged in protracted fraud against the welfare systems of Florida and Minnesota for seven years, at several national establishment press outlets.
Here are some of the infuriating details from ABC's weekend "Good Morning America" show, a rare establishment press exception (bolds are mine):
The Associated Press has a breaking news update: If you want to apply for Obamacare at HealthCare.gov today and you've never set up an account, forget about doing so for the time being.
The update is is running under this morning's old headline ("HEALTH CARE WEBSITE STUMBLES ON LAST DAY"), begging the question as to when a "stumble" turns into "I've fallen and I can't get up" (HT to several tweeters):
The Obamacare-loving press spares no effort in excusing and minimizing the scheme's operational, systemic, and law-based failures.
Six months after launch, HealthCare.gov still isn't functioning as intended. In fact, as of 8:47 a.m. this morning, the time stamp on an Associated Press report (also saved here for future reference, fair use and discussion purposes) by chief wire service Obamacare defender Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, the web site wasn't functioning at all. Did the AP reporter tell readers the system had crashed, or was down? Oh heck no (bolds are mine):
Pushed back from the headlines, massive protests against the repressive Nicolas Maduro regime in Venezuela continue.
So do the killings by the "colectivos." If this group of thugs enforcing Maduoro's Chavista socialist nightmare were instead right-wing paramilitary types, they would long since have been christened "death squads" and garnered international attention. A story about the colectivos finally appeared in the Associated Press today. While the coverage by Fabiola Sanchez and Frank Bajak was mostly measured, it completely ignored the fact the colectivos can operate without fear of armed resistance because of government curbs on purchases, transfers, and public carrying of guns.
The headline and first paragraph at an Associated Press item on a union strike authorization vote in Las Vegas are both far more vague than they could or should be.
Though the rest of Ken Ritter's coverage at least identifies the union involved, it completely fails to get to the heart of the matter, which is that Obamacare is causing huge increases in their employers' cost of providing health care coverage. Culinary Union Local 226 wants their casino company employers to, well, eat those costs, and the companies are resisting. Ritter's coverage, which to those who understand the full background reads like an exercise in stall-ball, never even specifically says that health benefits are this potential strike's key issue (bolds are mine throughout this post):
Although its report has its shortcomings, particularly the fact that it didn't identify him as a Democrat for 24 paragraphs (as noted this morning), the Associated Press has at least treated California State Senator Leland Yee's arrest on corruption and gun trafficking charges as a national story, with two bylined reporters and seven others assisting.
The same cannot be said of CNN.com. Web searchers, including several center-right bloggers, have noted the absence of any story about Yee there since 2011 (still true as of 6:30 p.m.). A tweet from "CNN.com Writers" snippily snapped back with a howler disproved faster than you can say "covering Democrats' keisters":
It's no secret that the folks who run the New York Times are big fans of gun control. It turns out that they also favor controlling the use of the word "gun" in headlines about Democrats.
Over at National Review's Campaign Spot yesterday, regarding the news of Democratic California Senator Leland Yee's arrest, Jim Geraghty noted: "The New York Times greeted that news with a one paragraph summary on page A21 Wednesday with the headline: 'California: State Senator Accused of Corruption.'" That A21 one-paragrapher is an AP item. According to a long AP report on Yee's arrest, Yee, a longtime gun control advocate himself, is charged with "six counts of depriving the public of honest services and one count of conspiracy to traffic in guns without a license." In addition to burying the story in its back pages, let's look at what the Times did to the AP's original headline:
Here's an example of a gaffe which the left-loving press can't ignore — at least online.
Democratic Congressman and U.S. Senate candidate Bruce Braley of Iowa spoke of the mortal dangers the nation faces if Republicans win back the Senate in November at a trial lawyers' fundraiser in Texas in January. Among those dangers is the near certainty that "a farmer from Iowa who never went to law school" will be put in charge of the Senate's Judiciary Committee. That "farmer" happens to be five-term Hawkeye State GOP Senator Chuck Grassley. Jennifer Jacobs at the Des Moines Register's Iowa Politics Blog appears to have filed the first establishment press report on Braley's belittling, and revealed an important point which others covering the story are conveniently ignoring (bolds are mine throughout this post):
At President Barack Obama's press conference in The Hague, Netherlands today, as part of a much longer question, ABC's Jonathan Karl asked Obama whether "Mitt Romney had a point when he said that Russia is America’s biggest geopolitical foe? If not Russia, who?"
It's important to note that Obama's response to that portion of Karl's question pertained to and was directed at Romney. A video containing Karl's question and Obama's answer ("With respect to Mr. Romney’s assertion that Russia’s our number- one geopolitical foe, the truth of the matter is that, you know, America’s got a whole lot of challenges. Russia is a regional power that is threatening some of its immediate neighbors -- not out of strength, but out of weakness") shows that the President's tone at that point was generally calm with a bit of a defiant edge which seemed directed at Romney and Karl (perhaps not in that order). That didn't stop the establishment press from claiming that Obama's statement was really an insult directed at Russia (it wasn't) and that the President supposedly directed his "derisive" statement towards Russian President Vladimir Putin (he didn't).
Risen is the Pulitzer Prize-winning American journalist for The New York Times who has been in the Obama administration's crosshairs "in a years-long legal battle against the government to reveal one of his confidential sources, even petitioning the Supreme Court to hear his case." On Monday, according to Andrew Beaujon at Poynter.org, Risen, appearing at at a George Polk Awards conference called Sources and Secrets, went after the Obama administration's heavy-handedness towards the press (bolds are mine throughout this post):