Mia Farrow's brother, artist Patrick Farrow, committed suicide Tuesday, June 16. As expected, on the following day the Associated Press released a wire story about the incident. But, the odd thing about the short recount of the Farrows's lives and the account of the discovery of Patrick's lifeless body is that that the AP found some reason to slip in an attack on George W. Bush into the story. Worse, the AP used the fact of a U.S. soldier's death in Iraq as a vehicle to slam the past president. What did BDS have to do with the Farrows, Patrick's death, and a report on the same?
The customary information about Patrick Farrow's death was duly reported, of course. We were informed of the laundry list of facts. We got Farow's relation to actress Mia Farrow; a bit about her life; some on Patrick's life's work in sculpture and art; and some of the initial findings surrounding his death also appear. All good and proper reporting, of course. But then, at the very end, we get to the anomaly of the story, a lapsing into Bush Derangement Syndrome that is completely out of place with the rest of the tale.
And now another episode of Name That Party where the news customer reads a story and tries his darndest to discern from what party a scandal plagued politician hails. We have many times said that one of the main rules of the Name That Party parlor game is that if the Old Media is talking about a troubled Democrat, often times the pol's party is either not mentioned at all or is buried way down in the story. On the other hand, if it is a troubled Republican, why the party affiliation often leads the story if it isn't right in the headline itself. Today we have a pair of stories that proves this axiom well.
First up is the mysterious case of Detroit City Council Member Monica Conyers (wife of Representative John Conyers) who the Associated Press reports is "snarled in bribes probe." All the sordid details about the tale are laid out for us... except one. It seems the AP somehow forgot to mention that Monica Conyers is a Democrat.
The Associated Press posted an "analysis" piece by writer Tom Raum on June 15 to address the GOP strategy against Obamacare and other administration policies but the APs characterization of the GOPs efforts almost seem meant to belittle and de-legitimize that opposition as opposed to describing it. The entire GOP argument against Obama is boiled down to a use of "buzz words" as far as AP's Raum is concerned. Apparently, no political truth or ideological disagreement really enters into it. Only "tactic," and "strategy" built on "buzz words" and "fear" is offered by the GOP instead of real issues according to the AP.
In "GOP using buzz words to taunt Democrats," with a subhead of "Republicans claim Obama embraces 'socialism,'" Raum never once admits that Republicans just might have a principled ideological opposition to Obama's policies leaving readers to get the vague feeling that the GOP is trying just anything to find a winning issue. Further, the entire article is premised as if the Democrats are correct and the GOP is just trying to chip away at their essentially correct stand on the issues. AP even presents a lefty professor to shore up the AP point of view -- naturally the professor's propensities are not divulged.
Sometimes the numbers in a wire service report are so ridiculous, you just know that they're bogus.
On Wednesday, June 11, a duo of Associated Press reporters, Chris Kahn and Sandy Shore, with an assist from Tali Arbel, reported on a study "green jobs" study released by the Pew Charitable Trusts. In "The Clean Energy Economy: Repowering Jobs, Businesses, and Investments Across America," Pew made the growth in "clean energy" appear more impressive than it is by vastly understating job growth in the rest of the economy during the past decade -- by a factor of three.
None of the three AP "journalists" involved, and none of the alleged layers of fact-checkers and editors at the wire service, had the intuitive sense to detect an error by Pew so pathetically obvious that anyone following the economy at all -- and that includes the folks at Pew -- should have known the figure involved was false.
Here are the first few paragraphs of the AP story (bold is mine):
Earlier, Brent Baker reported that ABC's Pierre Thomas went off the deep end with a story claiming that America's white population was increasingly prone to a "wave of domestic terror." Now the Associated Press also wades into the same murky waters with a June 11 piece claiming that the "potential for an increase in violence from whites who feel they are slipping from power is high." Naturally, the AP employed the Old Media's favorite source for the claims. It's "some say," and "others believe."
Worse than the "some say" line of proof employed, this tale also relies on some experts that end up being expectedly biased sources. The AP asks a white supremacist what he thinks -- as if there is any doubt that he would be for increased racism -- and a university professor hawking a book on racism -- as if there would be any doubt that she'd see racism everywhere. There is also all sorts of claims and worries by authorities, but no proof of any real "growing racist movement" is presented.
It's pretty hard to dress up a disaster as something less than that, but the Associated Press's Martin Crutsinger gave it his best shot in his report yesterdayabout Uncle Sam's the May Monthly Treasury Statement, in effect understating the amount and significance of federal government's rapidly deteriorating financial situation.
With the help of dubious handling of last year's stimulus payments in May 2008's Treasury Statement, Crutsinger ignored serious declines in tax receipts from economic activity (over 30% in each of the past three months) that are, if anything, accelerating. I covered that problem in Part 1.
Additionally, after only briefly mentioning it last month (noted at the time at NewsBusters and at BizzyBlog), Crutsinger grievously erred in his explanation of how a convenient "accounting change" Treasury implemented in April relating to accounting for its Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP) has affected the reported year-to-date deficit. He claims that it contributed to it, while in reality the accounting change reduced it by about $180 billion. That is the subject of this post.
Here are key background and accounting change-related paragraphs from Crutsinger's report:
It's pretty hard to dress up a disaster as something less than that, but the Associated Press's Martin Crutsinger gave it his best shot in his report yesterday about Uncle Sam's the May Monthly Treasury Statement, in effect understating the amount and significance of federal government's rapidly deteriorating financial situation.
With the help of dubious handling of last year's stimulus payments in May 2008's Treasury Statement, Crutsinger ignored serious declines in tax receipts from economic activity that are, if anything, accelerating. I'll cover that problem in this post.
Additionally, after only briefly mentioning it last month (noted at the time at NewsBusters and at BizzyBlog), Crutsinger grievously erred in his explanation of how a convenient "accounting change" Treasury implemented in April relating to accounting for its Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP) has affected the reported year-to-date deficit. That is the subject of Part 2.
Here are key background and receipts-related paragraphs from Crutsinger's report:
You can't make this stuff up. The titled quote comes from a Bloomberg story today about new GM Chairman Ed Whitacre. You also can't make up most of the media's calm acceptance of yet another person heavily involved with running General Motors, aka Government Motors, who knows next to nothing about cars except as a consumer who drives them.
At least it's refreshing that this guy has experience running a business, which is more than you can say about the other two architects of the company as it currently subsists.
On May 31, the New York Times put out a fawning portrayal of the a Mr. Brian Deese, the guy who was the only full-timer on President-elect and then President Obama's car team from Election Night until mid-February.
Fasten your seat belts, this guy's lack of any kind of pedigree will have you death-gripping the steering wheel, as will the smug dismissiveness of a business system that has been the most successful in human history:
There is happy-talk and then there is delusion. The Associated Press has just approached the delusional stage with its recent assessment of what the unemployment numbers mean. Absurdly, the AP seems to imagine that the continued job losses under Obama means that job hunters are experiencing "raising hopes"! It's like sitting on the Titanic pleased that taking on water raises hopes that a nice, relaxing bath is will soon be at hand.
The first paragraph of the story claims that since last month saw a few less layoffs, why, that is saying that what we have here is "the brightest hope yet that an economic recovery" will take hold later this year. What does the AP offer as proof? Not a whole lot, sadly. In fact, the very next paragraph sort of torpedoes the first. After this "brightest hope" business, the AP gives us this:
Last night at about 8 p.m., the Associated Press's Roxana Hegeman became an early purveyor of the myth that abortion clinic-related violence and violence against abortionists has been a frequent and consistent occurrence during the past two decades when she wrote the following about the murder of Kansas abortionist George Tiller (saved here at host for future reference; bold is mine):
There was no immediate word of the motive (of) Tiller's assailant. But the doctor's violent death was the latest in a string of shootings and bombings over two decades directed against abortion clinics, doctors and staff.
But a look at the actual history of such violence accumulated by a pro-abortion group demonstrates that Tiller's murder is correctly seen as a horrible, isolated incident following a long, sustained decline in violence.
Here is the "History of Violence" accumulated by the National Abortion Federation (NAF), broken down into four categories:
There is little argument that the British press is doing a better job than its U.S. counterparts covering the Obama administration's less than perfect performance.
If the reactions of Nile Gardiner and James Delingpole at the UK Telegraph to White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs's blanket criticism of British journalism are any indication, UK reporters are also more willing to stand up for themselves instead of filing toothless complaints and letting veiled threats go by without blowback.
First, via Howard Kurtz, here's the fine whine from Associated Press reporter, President of the White House Correspondents' Association, and Democratic operative Jennifer Loven about the Obama administration's penchant for anonymous, "on background" briefings:
Blago and Burris, Sitting in a tree, But they'd rather we not know their political party.
There has been yet another revelation about contacts between Democratic President Barack Obama's U.S. Senate successor, Democrat Roland Burris and former Illinois Democratic governor Rod Blagojevich over Blago's pre-Senate appointment, uh, deliberations. A released FBI audio recording reveals that Burris offered to make a campaign contribution to Blago as he lobbied to be selected.
This news has brought on yet another wave of stories that fail to tell us what party Blago and Burris belong to.
The Washington Post is the only publication that identified the party of both men in the course of reporting their story. The Post's Peter Slevin and Perry Bacon Jr. also identified the Democratic Party affiliation of the Senate Ethics Committee's Barbara Boxer:
Earlier today at my blog, I noted in a post updating the sad situations at bankrupt Chrysler and headling-for-bankruptcy General Motors, that GM is, according to a Wednesday Reuters report, offering secured bondholders a much better deal than the 29 cents on the dollar Chrysler's secured creditors have been offered. Chrysler's "non-TARP secured lenders," after what they allege with much evidential support was a campaign of threats and intimidation by President Obama and the White House, abandoned their efforts to have their first-lien rights recognized in bankruptcy court.
But Indiana pension funds holding some of that secured debt representing teachers, police, and other workers have taken legal action objecting to the terms of the Chrysler bankruptcy that don’t give first-lien lenders their proper and legal due.
It thus appears, despite a chest-thumping May 2 assertion in the New York Times that the White House's Chrysler hardball might have taught GM lenders a "lesson," that Obama and his car guys don't have the stomach for riding roughshod over the rights of GM's secured bondholders and ending up with the possibility of another bankruptcy moving into a regular federal district court (the Indiana situation could be the first).
Now what? Well, if you're Team Obama, you instead try to put the screws to GM's unsecured bondholders -- to the benefit of the United Auto Workers' Voluntary Employee Benefits Association (VEBA) trust.
In a classic example of a dog-bites-man non-story, the Associated Press is dutifully furthering the "censorship" whine of a rock band that laments that Wal-Mart won't stock its new album, "21st Century Breakdown."
Of course the discount retailer's standards for music fit for its shelves are hardly new nor are they being applied out of the blue to the rockers. Nonetheless, Moody stacked the deck by quoting two of the band's three members against one Wal-Mart executive.
Here's a CNN e-mail alert I just received a couple of hours ago:
So how did the Associated Press's Jeannine Aversa report the above raw news? As you would expect an Obama apparatchik to do it (reproduced in full as it existed at 3:15 p.m.; bold after title is mine):
Fed sees hopeful signs but downgrades '09 forecast
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Federal Reserve expects the economy to improve in coming months, even as policymakers have downgraded their outlook for all of 2009.
A 60-year-old Mormon Church in Massachusetts burned to the ground on Sunday. A story about the incident appeared on the Washington Post website last night. It's an AP entry discussing the fire that chased worshippers out of the building in a panic on Sunday. But it is accompanied by a rather odd choice of images. Is it a photo of the fire-damaged church? Perhaps it is a snap of frightened churchgoers or a resolute minister vowing to rebuild? Well, none of those really.
The odd choice of photos accompanying the story of a fire at a Mormon Church is one of gay couples that "brought a lawsuit" over gay marriage in Massachusetts.
One might wonder what the heck a photo of gays has to do with a church burning down? The answer seems to be that the Washington Post doesn't seem to think there is any time that isn’t suitable to attack the Mormon Church over its opposition to gay marriage. They turned this simple story of a fire into an excuse to play politics.
In Part I (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog) of my coverage of Martin Crutsinger's Associated Press report about Uncle Sam's Monthly Treasury Statement and the Obama administration's deficit projections, I noted that the government "miraculously" shrunk the deficit through March, the first six months of its fiscal year, by $175 billion, by employing an "accounting change."
Even though this "accounting change," which does not report TARP disbursements as outlays because they are considered "investments," violates fundamental cash-flow reporting principles, Crutsinger gave the change an unskeptical treatment. He also failed to tell readers whether the administration used the old or new method in calculating its latest full-year deficit projection of $1.84 trillion. If Team Obama used the new method to determine it, the deficit under the old and more correct method will more than likely be over $2 trillion.
Crutsinger also failed to report the steep dive in federal receipts that took place in April, which is the government's highest month for collections, compared to last year's all-time record April haul, which I referred to as the "Supply-Side Stunner," and which Crutsinger and others also failed to report when it occurred last year (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog).
Here is how April 2009 collections compared to April of 2008:
Did you know that former vice president Dick Cheney is speaking out only because he is trying to protect his legacy? Well just in case you wondered about it Steven Hurst for the Associated Press wants to assure that he has read Cheney's mind and it's all settled. This is what passes for "analysis" at the AP.
The AP has also decided that Cheney speaking out causes "chagrin" in a GOP trying to "rebuild the tattered party." Additionally, he AP throws out that much bandied liberal canard that Cheney is dishonoring "protocol" by speaking out because, you see, former chief executives always remain silent about presidents that follow them. Right Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and Al Gore? Riiiight?
Oh, and one more thing: did you know that Cheney was "unpopular"? Well, just in case you forgot, the AP kindly reminds you. After reading this anti-Cheney attack piece, one wonders if the AP is now just letting White House flacks write its copy for it. It probably saves the AP some time, anyway.
Here are the first two paragraphs of Toyota Motor Corporation's press release announcing its financial results for the year ended March 31, 2009 (most Japanese companies end their fiscal years on March 31; bolds are mine):
Tokyo - TOYOTA MOTOR CORPORATION (TMC) today announced operating results for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2009.
On a consolidated basis, net revenues for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2009 totaled 20.53 trillion yen, a decrease of 21.9 percent compared to the last fiscal year. Operating income decreased from 2.27 trillion yen to a loss of 461 billion yen, and income before income taxes, minority interest and equity in earnings of affiliated companies was a loss of 560.4 billion yen. Net income decreased from 1.72 trillion yen to a loss of 437 billion yen.
Across the board, the financial press reports I read translated the company's reported losses expressed in yen into dollars ($4.4 billion in $US for the year, and $7.7 billion in the fourth quarter), but not its revenues (about $207 billion and $35 billion, respectively).
Shoot, he's only talking about pulling $8 billion in state-controlled money because a bank won't go easy on a business borrower who can't pay. What's the big deal?
Well, the story involves the company that makes suits for President Barack Obama (pictured at right). Beyond that, the union at that company is citing the US Treasury Department's Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP) as a reason that company's bank should in essence bail it out.
You might think that these two factors, combined with what I'm characterizing as a loyalty oath all financial institutions who do business with the State of Illinois must soon agree to (covered later), might make the Treasurer's and union's threats a national story. You would be wrong.
Here is most of the very short AP item, carried at the Springfield (IL) State Journal-Register, and referred to me by a NewsBusters commenter:
Obama sent Congress a detailed budget Thursday proposing to eliminate or trim 121 programs and save $17 billion next year — not a trifle, for sure, but only about half of one percent of the $3.4 trillion in federal spending for the fiscal year begining in October.
The size of the savings clearly was a sore subject at the White House.
"It is important ... for all of you, as you're writing up these stories, to recognize that $17 billion taken out of our discretionary, non-defense budget, as well as portions of our defense budget, are significant," Obama told reporters. "They mean something."
Still, Obama's hit list was smaller than the one President George W. Bush included in his budget last year targeting 151 programs for $34 billion in savings.
These alleged cuts mean almost nothing, according to the Heritage Foundation's Brian Riedl, who cut through the misdirection earlier today at The Corner (bolds are mine):
As of early Tuesday evening, according to a report by Liz Moyer at Forbes, the latest news on the Chrysler bankruptcy filing is that:
The recalcitrant non-TARP lenders who would not agree to the deal the government attempted to force on them are now attempting to challenge the deal the government and Chrysler have proposed in bankruptcy court.
These lenders want to keep their identities hidden.
In court documents, they have said that "intensifying pressure and name calling by the government threatened to harm them if their identities became public."
Bankruptcy judge Arthur Gonzalez "isn't buying it," and has given the lenders until 10 a.m. tomorrow morning to identify themselves or (though not specifically stated) they will apparently lose their standing in court.
Meanwhile, John Carney at The Business Insider today expanded on what the lenders' lawyer Tom Lauria first brought out on WJR Radio on Friday, when Lauria told talk-show host Frank Beckmann that "One of my clients was directly threatened by the White House."
As expected, Joe Biden is fast becoming the clown prince of Washington D.C. His never ending case of athlete's mouth resulting from his penchant for sticking his foot between his chompers is something that should be no surprise to any long-time Biden watcher. But, amusingly, UPI tries to re-center the Biden story, rescuing him from ridicule, to discuss the supposedly important things that President Obama has entrusted to the vice president.
In "Biden soldiers on amid comedic jabs," we find UPI trying to tell us of all the important, important stuff our gabby VP is in charge of. But even the UPI can't hide the fact that these things that Obama put Biden "in charge" of are nothing more than meaningless make-work programs.
Friday, after the April vehicle sales figures rolled in, Associated Press reporters Kimberly S. Johnson and Dan Strumpf, in the opening sentence of a report carried at USA Today, showed that they finally noticed two things, one of which yours truly caught three months ago (NewsBusters; BizzyBlog), and the other which first became clear last month (NewsBusters; BizzyBlog).
The former point is that the American people are continuing to shun bailed-out car companies General Motors and now-bankrupt Chrysler. The latter one is that Ford's gain has been most the two bailed-out companies' loss.
Here is how the inconsistently-headlined ("Auto sales fall in April; Ford gains market share from Chrysler") AP report began (bolds are mine):
Detroit's Big Three is becoming Ford and the other two.
The Associated Press's obituary on Jack Kemp continued two troubling trends found in recent AP death notices.
In July of last year, covering Tony Snow's passing (saved here; covered at NewsBusters here), AP reporters found seemingly everything negative they could think of to write about the former White House press secretary and 2008 Media Research Center Buckley Award winner (examples -- "good looks and a relentlessly bright outlook -- if not always a command of the facts"; "questioned their [reporters'] motives as if he were starring in a TV show broadcast live from the West Wing"; "[he turned] the traditionally informational daily briefing into a personality-driven media event short on facts and long on confrontation"). The wire service also saw fit to include Snow's salary when he was at the White House.
In a March story about a tragic plane crash in Montana that took 14 lives, including seven young children, the AP just had to tell us that the plane's occupants had been en route to a skiing "retreat for the ultrarich." A later report referred to their destination as the "ritzy Yellowstone Club."
Somebody needs to 'fess up. Who put truth serum in Calvin Woodward's coffee this morning?
Whoever it is, they're in a heap of trouble, as Woodward produced a fact-checking critique of Barack Obama that is so good you'd swear most of it was ghostwritten by a conservative talk host.
It will be interesting to see how much distribution it gets. I would suggest not counting on too much, but being open to a pleasant surprise.
Regardless of its distribution, you'd better believe they've read it in the White House, and they're wondering what in the world happened.
Here are key paragraphs from Woodward's rundown, which is really, seriously, a read (and save) the whole thing item (it is saved at my host for future reference; HT to Mark Levin, who excerpted the report on his show tonight):
The Associated Press's Jeannine Aversa, who became infamous last year for her stories of "vanishing jobs" that weren't, sounded hopeful early this morning before the release by Uncle Sam's Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) of its first-quarter report on Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth:
Economy's free-fall probably eased in 1Q The recession's grip on the country may be letting up a bit.
The government is set to release a report Wednesday expected to show the economy shrank at a pace of 5 percent in the first three months of this year. If Wall Street analysts' forecasts' are correct, the figure — while still extremely weak — would be viewed as a hopeful sign that the worst of the recession — in terms of lost economic activity — may be past.
Imagine that former Vice President Dick Cheney was set to be honored next month at a Catholic university's commencement ceremony and news came down that another person to be honored at the same ceremony with a different award declined the honor, stating that she felt it inappropriate for the university to honor a man who believes in and furthered the use of torture by condoning waterboarding of enemy combatants.
The press, it's safe to say, would have a field day. But that's not the case with the news of Mary Ann Glendon -- a pro-life Catholic and Harvard professor who is displeased with Notre Dame honoring pro-choice President Barack Obama -- declining to accept the Laetare Award from Notre Dame University.
Yesterday evening NewsBusters Editor-at-Large Brent Baker noted that only NBC's "Nightly News" touched on the story, and that only briefly. This morning, not even NBC's "Today" show mentioned the development in the ongoing commencement speech controversy. Broadcast TV competitors "Good Morning America" and CBS's "The Early Show" ignored the story as well.
Party Affiliation - Let relevance be the guide in determining whether to include a political figure's party affiliation in a story. Party affiliation is pointless in some stories, such as an account of a governor accepting a button from a poster child.
It will occur naturally in many political stories. For stories between these extremes, include party affiliation if readers need it for understanding or are likely to be curious about what it is.
The AP, as readers here know, frequently flouts its own standards when Democrats are involved in legal or personal difficulties in its reporters' original write-ups. That's bad enough. But what's doubly offensive, and sadly no longer surprising, is how its writers seem to actively work to purge party references from other publications' original local or single-state stories about Democratic politicians or officials involved in scandal or other troubles.
In the latest example, it isn't just that the subject's party isn't directly identified. Based on AP's "clever" composition, many readers are likely to conclude that the person in trouble is a Republican.