You've got to hand it to the headline writers at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press. They sure know how to abuse their power to shape public perceptions.
The headline at Martin Crutsinger's report this morning on projected economic growth for 2013, which the wire service is treating as this morning's "Big Story," reads: "ECONOMISTS PREDICTING MODERATE GROWTH IN 2013." Many people using computers, tablets and smartphones will see that headline, conclude that the economy's not so bad, and move on without clicking through. Too bad Crutsinger's first two paragraphs directly contradict that headline.
In attempting to make the case that "Even as the private sector has been slowly adding jobs, governments have been shedding them," a chart from the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, shows how public-sector employment (not labeled as "seasonally adjusted," but that's what it is) has declined from a peak of 22.3 million in May of 2010 to 21.3 million in January 2013.
There's only on "little" problem -- That May 2010 peak occurred in the midst of the federal government's decennial census.
At the Associated Press yesterday, Michael Kunzelman managed to write a 500-word story about the arraignment of former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin on bribery charges without once mentioning that Nagin is a Democrat.
That's probably not a "Name That Party" record for "Most Words Used in an AP Story about a Democratic Politician Tainted by Scandal and/or Corruption," but it's especially galling, given the mayor's culpability (along with then-Governor Kathleen Blanco) for failing to ensure that New Orleans was evacuated on a timely basis in anticipation of Hurricane Katrina, and given the national press's non-stop blaming of President George W. Bush for the death, destruction and mayhem which followed. Excerpts from Kunzelman's report follow the jump (bolds are mine):
Yesterday, the Department of Labor announced that it had certified "more than 18,000 former Hostess workers around the country as eligible to apply for Trade Adjustment Assistance." I'll save excerpts from DOL's inane announcement for after the jump.
The story has garnered some local coverage in areas affected by Hostess plant closures late last year, including a couple of regional Associated Press stories. But the AP, based on a search on "hostess," did not have a story at its national site as of 9 a.m. today, even though former Hostess workers in 48 states are affected. Additionally, virtually every story found in a Google News search on "Hostess trade adjustment" (not in quotes) is local in nature. Could this possibly be because doling out tens if not hundreds of millions of dollars to workers whose unions thought the company was bluffing when it said it would throw in the towel without acceptable labor contracts is more than a little embarrassing, especially when President Barack Obama is simultaneously claiming that the federal government will have no choice but to lay off and furlough employees if sequestration takes place?
This goes back about ten days, and I originally missed it. Fortunately, though, an Investor's Business Daily editorial got around to mentioning Rick Perry's visit to California last week in an effort to lure businesses to the more commerce-friendly environs of Texas.
Associated Press report Juliet Williams and her story's headline writer were not amused by Perry's aggressiveness. Williams seemed to be bucking to have her picture placed next to the words "petty" and "vindictive" in the dictionary. Several paragraph from her February 11 coverage of Perry's visit to the formerly Golden State follow the jump (bolds are mine throughout this post):
Robin Pomeroy did her best impression of a publicist in a nearly one-sided article for Reuters on Tuesday that spotlighted homosexuals in Rome "toasting the departure of the worst Church leader they can imagine" – Pope Benedict XVI. Pomeroy quoted extensively from LGBT activist Franco Grillini, but failed to mention his radical left wing politics, which included a run as a Communist Party candidate in Italy in the 1980s.
Grillini decried the outgoing pontiff as "the most reactionary pope ever, who made homophobia one of his battle cries." The far left politician must not have heard of the past four bishops of Rome who took the name Pius. In particular, Pius XI prophetically foresaw the current push to redefine marriage in a 1930 encyclical and issued the strongest condemnation of this course:
Following up on an item posted yesterday -- 48 hours after it issued an order to subscribing publications and outlets to "kill" a story it filed on Sunday ("Sen. Paul: Voters want to round up immigrants") claiming that Kentucky Republican Senator Rand "sees voters wanting, quote, 'somebody who wants to round people up, put in camps and send them back to Mexico,'" the story is still present on web -- at several sites whose URL begins with hosted2.ap.org. These are sites belonging to AP itself. Additionally, the story is still present at the widely read Yahoo.com.
Liz Sidoti's offering this morning at the Associated Press, which is clearly a serious competitor for Worst AP Item Ever, carries the "column" label. As such, I suppose we're expected to accept the idea that the "analysis" offered is hers alone.
But you would think that the self-described "essential global news network" would have enough business judgment to review a reporter's work to make sure it doesn't talk down to the general public and indict its own reporting on the economy at the same time. You would be wrong, as will be seen after the jump.
Sunday afternoon, the Associated Press issued a supposedly comprehensive "kill" order to all subscribers relating to an erroneous story claiming that Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) told Fox News Sunday's that "he sees voters wanting, quote, 'somebody who wants to round people up, put in camps and send them back to Mexico.'" I'm questioning whether the AP is really interested in making sure the story disappears.
In anticipation of Jesse Jackson Jr.'s indictment on Friday afternoon, Jonathan Allen and John Bresnahan at the Politico seemed all too willing to hand out sympathy cards to Jackson and his wife, both of whom stand to do time in prison for offenses relating to their raid of the congressman's campaign funds.
Specifically, the Politico pair wrote: "It’s a story of a Chicago power couple that lost track of the line between campaign cash and personal funds in a spiral of money troubles." Gosh, I didn't know that line was so blurred. Excerpts from the write-up follow the jump:
Here's something to keep in mind in the context of the past several years, as well as during the current runup in gas prices: They're more than likely higher than the press's reported "national averages."
On Friday, the Associated Press reported the following concerning gas prices: "The national average is $3.64 a gallon, up a cent and a half from Thursday, with the highest prices in California, the Northeast and the Midwest." It would appears that the press typically uses GasBuddy.com for its national average quote, which is currently just above $3.68. I really don't intend to knock the web site, whose primary mission is to help consumers find the cheapest gas prices in their neighborhood. But their quoted "national average" appears to really be the average of each of the 50 states plus DC giving each state equal weight, without any accounting for states' widely varying populations. And yes, the difference matters by enough that it's worth noting.
Jesse L. Jackson Jr. was indicted on Friday, February 15, the final day before a three-day weekend, even though the information necessary to indict appears to have been in place for some time. Though it may be out there and I'm certainly willing to stand corrected, from what I can tell, the U.S. Department of Justice made no formal announcement when it filed its charges (10-page PDF). Based on the 12:55 p.m. ET time stamp at a Politico story reporting what "the government will allege" and the 1:03 p.m. Pacific Time (i.e., 4:03 p.m. ET) of what appears to have been the first breaking news story from the Associated Press, the government appears to have waited until well into the afternoon to file its charges.
The reporting on Jackson's indictment mostly deferred identifying his party affiliation for several paragraphs, and in some instances, including the aforementioned AP breaking news item, omitted it entirely.
On Friday, Renee Dudley at Bloomberg News exposed the contents of February 12 internal emails revealing that Walmart executives are worried -- very worried -- about sales during the first 10 to 14 days of the its most current fiscal period (mostly likely either the first 10 days of February if the company works with calendar months, or 14 days if it began the second period of the fiscal year on Monday January 28).
Their primary concerns are the payroll tax hike and delayed tax refunds, but they may also need to start worrying about higher gas prices (bolds are mine):
Former Fort Hood police sergeant Kimberly Munley, one of two officers who helped stop Major Nidal Hasan's deadly shooting spree at Fort Hood, Texas in November 2009, and who was a guest at President Obama's 2010 State of the Union address (something the Politico chose to remind everyone of just yesterday), now says, according to ABC News, that "Obama broke the promise he made to her that the victims would be well taken care of."
Excerpts from ABC's web story in anticipation of a Nightline report tonight follow the jump (bolds are mine):
Crutsinger also erroneously reported that the government turned in its first monthly surplus since April of last year (no, it was really September of last year), told readers that "the government is spending less on some programs" without telling them that total year-to-date spending so far is up by over 3 percent compared the first four months of fiscal 2012, and made it appear as if "higher taxes for some Americans" are narrowing the budget gap a bit, when the fiscal cliff raised taxes for every employed and self-employed person who pays into the Social Security system. Other than that, he did a good job (/sarc). Exceprts follow the jump (bolds and numbered tags are mine):
As Geoffrey Dickens at NewsBusters noted earlier today (HT Washington Examiner), at what a White House blog post described as "a roundtable discussion to talk about the Administration’s plan to reduce gun violence" in Philadelphia yesterday, Vice President Joe Biden said, apparently to the members of the press assembled there, that "To be very blunt with you, we’re counting on all of you, the legitimate news media to cover these discussions because the truth is that times have changed."
Biden's clearly key takeaway quote is not present at that White House blog post written up by Tobin Marcus. In what might be an example of a news agency taking a cue from this treatment and deciding to be "legitimate" in the administration's eyes, Joann Loviglio at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, also failed to report Biden's obviously newsworthy comment. A few paragraphs from Loviglio's lapdog effort follow the jump:
In a Friday editorial, Investor's Business Daily picked up a disturbing downside in the January 2013 jobs report released by the government's Bureau of Labor Statistics earlier that day: More people are working, but they're working fewer hours per week. In certain sectors, including retail, the industry's aggregate hours worked actually shrank compared to January 2012. Memo to Chris Rugaber at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press: That's another reason your description of Friday's report as "mostly encouraging" is rubbish.
IBD relied on seasonally adjusted data in arriving at its findings. The raw figures (i.e., not seasonally adjusted amounts), representing the government's best estimates of actual conditions during the month before seasonal smoothing, are even more disturbing -- and far more relevant. This is especially the case in retail, as January is a month when retailers retrench after the Christmas shopping season; whatever pullback takes place will mostly stick for the next several months. A few paragraphs from the paper's editorial, as well as a comparison of the raw and seasonally adjusted numbers in retail in January 2013 and 2012, follow the jump (HT frequent BizzyBlog commenter dscott):
While they told their readers of the number of jobs supposedly added in total (157,000) and in other sectors, the fact remains that in the real world, before seasonal adjustment, the government told us, as is the case every January, that employment declined steeply. In January 2013, the government estimates that 2.84 million jobs were lost.
Yesterday at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, Christopher Rugaber really wrote that the government's Employment Situation Summary released Friday was "mostly encouraging."
The Friday morning dispatch, still present at Yahoo News but which has understandably disappeared from the wire service's national site, stuck with his smiley-faced description even as he noted, "one negative sign: The unemployment rate rose to 7.9 percent from 7.8 percent." If January's performance repeats itself for the rest of year, 1.9 million more people will have found work during 2013 and the unemployment rate will be 9 percent -- at which point it would appear that Chris will try to tell us that we've finally achieved heaven on earth. Excerpts from Rugaber's ridiculous rubbish, riddled as it is with errors, omissions, a blatant coverage inconsistency, and political hackery, follow the jump:
Darn that economy. Why won't it behave? Doesn't it realize that Barack Obama has more important things to do than worry about its health and well-being?
That's the tone I get from a story headline at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, about how "ECONOMIC JITTERS COMPETE WITH OBAMA AGENDA." The poor guy; he has to pay attention to something he must have thought he could keep at bay with continued but consistent tepid job and economic growth. Trouble is, yesterday's report from the government indicated that the economy contracted at an annualized rate of 0.1% during the fourth quarter of last year. The underlying writeup by the AP's Jim Kuhnhenn also treats the economy as an annoying distraction or possibly even a threat to his gun contral and immigration de facto amnesty efforts (bolds are mine):
Let's see. Last week, USA Today reported that "A federal court delivered a defeat to the biofuels industry Friday, ruling the U.S. government exceeded its authority by requiring refiners to purchase cellulosic biofuel despite the fact the next-generation fuel is not commercially available."
Specifically, the court ruled, in Hebert's words that "the Environmental Protection Agency had 'the authority to set a standard' for cleaner gasoline under the 1990 Clean Air Act, (but that) it could not 'mandate the manner of compliance or the precise formula' for the fuel."
Today, Matthew Daly at AP reported that the EPA in 2013 will "require production of 14 million gallons of so-called cellulosic biofuels made from grasses and woody material." In other words, EPA, in defiance of a federal court order will continue to mandate how these fuels will be produced. Daly, of course, didn't characterize what EPA did as direct defiance. Here are several paragraphs from Daly's whitewash:
This is so pathetic and predictable, you could almost set your watch to it.
Just ten hours after a government report showed that the economy went into contraction for the first time in three years during 2012's fourth quarter, an item penned "by the editors" at Bloomberg News appeared which scolded us that the nation's gross domestic product (GDP) is an "imperfect measure of progress," and that we really should be looking at indicators of "social progress or human happiness." As usual, when things go bad in Leftyland, the problem is the yardstick, not what's being measured. The first four paragraphs from the editorial, which reads like -- no, make that "really is" -- the text of a leftist political stump speech, follow the jump:
Yesterday (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), reacting to a disgracefully biased January 27 report by Andrew Taylor at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, on the "no budget, no pay" provision in debt-ceiling legislation passed by the House, I wrote that "Taylor’s report is historically bad ... Sadly, I believe AP can do much worse during the next several years — and probably will."
An unbylined AP item released shortly after the government announced that the economy contracted by an annualized 0.1 percent during the fourth quarter of last year made that fear come true under ten hours (I may have more on the very odd time stamp of this report -- 8:11 a.m. -- in a future post). On his program today, Rush Limbaugh had a field day with the nonsense presented (bolds are mine throughout this post):
In his coverage of the Conference Board's Consumer Confidence report released earlier today, the Associated Press's Martin Crutsinger conveniently avoided using quote marks when he wrote that "Conference Board economist Lynn Franco said the tax increase was the key reason confidence tumbled in January, making Americans less optimistic about the next six months." That isn't what Franco said.
Crutsinger also -- finally -- told AP readers and subscribers what other reporters and commentators have been saying for about two weeks, namely that analysts' estimates of economic growth in tomorrow's government report on gross domestic product are a for a very weak annualized 1%.
You see, according to Kroft (my paraphrase), "This whole interview thing was a surprise, and we were only allowed 30 minutes, and besides, there are so many other opportunities to ask tough questions in other venues. So why should I waste precious fawning time asking tough questions mere journalists ask when I can let the lovely pair go all gooey?" Exceprts from Bauder's butt-covering effort follow the jump (bolds are mine):
Californians will be surprised to learn that the income-tax increase voters approved in November was, according to Doug Ferguson at the Associated Press (HT Steven Greenhut at Reason.com), "the first tax increase in the state since 2004." I had no idea that residents of the once-Golden state have been so lucky in avoiding any tax increases of any kind for so long. (/sarc)
It would appear that Ferguson, in his coverage of golfer Phil Mickelson's mea culpa for having the nerve to observe that California's onerous taxes might lead him to make difficult decisions which might even include retirement, meant to write that California has seen no statewide income tax increase in nearly a decade. But that isn't what he wrote. Maybe I should cut the AP reporter some slack because he's on the sports beat, and in context, one could see that he was probably only referring to income taxes. But I won't, because of the final excerpted sentence seen after the jump (bolds are mine):
In a Wednesday Salon column which should be saved onto the hard drives of everyone in the pro-life movement as a reminder of the fundamental evil of their opposition, Mary Elizabeth Williams stated why, to her, it doesn't matter that abortion involves the taking of a human life: "I believe that life starts at conception. And it's never stopped me from being pro-choice."
The establishment press has consistently refused to apply the "pro-life" label to a movement which has always been not only about ending abortion, but about respecting and protecting human life from conception to natural death. I believe that refusal has occurred because many reporters share Ms. Williams's brutal, strongly held but rarely expressed beliefs articulated after the jump. The Salon staff writer proves that her side richly deserves to be called "anti-life" -- because that's what they are (bolds are mine throughout this post):
In 2012, with a Democrat in the White House, union membership declined, not only as a percentage of the workforce, but in absolute numbers. Even though the related report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed that the number of employed wage and salaried workers increased by almost 2.4 million, union membership fell by just under 400,000. Union membership is down by over 1.7 million since 2008, and fell by 961,000 during the past three years of supposed economic recovery. These results aren't sitting well with Sam Hananel at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, whose reporters are represented by the Occupy movement-supporting News Media Guild. Excerpts from the AP reporter's Wednesday report follow the jump.
For the second week in a row, actual (i.e., not seasonally adjusted) unemployment claims as reported by the Department of Labor came in greater than the analogous week in 2012.
At the same time, and also for the second week in a row, the department's seasonally adjusted claims number -- the only one the business wire services ever specifically identify in their reports -- came in lower. In today's instance, raw year-over-year claims were almost 5 percent higher than the same week a year ago, but the year-over-year seasonally adjusted figure came in 11 percent lower. That's bad enough, but then the wires compounded the problem by running with indefensible conclusions based on DOL's contradictory data.
An unbylined Agence France-Presse report Wednesday opens by telling readers that Japanese researchers "have succeeded in growing human kidney tissue from stem cells for the first time, in a potential first step towards helping millions who depend on dialysis." Another version of the report at another website identifies the reporter as Harumi Ozawa; an accompanying picture caption describes the achievement as a "potential breakthrough."
I perused Ozawa's dispatch to see what kind of stem cells were involved, and in the process came across a confirmation of what those of us who have been following these matters for several years have suspected for some time, namely that the supposed scientific justification for harvesting stem cells from human embryos -- supposedly because there is no other path towards combating many diseases and maladies -- no longer exists. The paragraph containing that confirmation, as well as an odd and likely nonscientific term Ozawa used in the previous paragraph, are in bold in the excerpt following the jump: