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.
On Saturday, District of Columbia Circuit Judge Frederick Scullin Jr. finally ruled that the city of Washington's ban on residents carrying firearms outside their homes is unconstitutional.
Emily Miller at Fox News calls it a decision which "leaves no gray area in gun-carrying rights." But a Google News search on "Washington DC gun case" (not in quotes, sorted by date), returned only 16 items, only one of which — a terse five-paragraph Reuters dispatch carried at the New York Times and appearing in Sunday's paper on Page A16 — is from a U.S. establishment press outlet.
It has been eight days since Marine Corps Commandant and Joint Chiefs of Staff member General James Amos spoke out against the current lack-of-leadership climate in Washington.
Specifically, in a question-and-answer session at the Brookings Institution on July 15 (PDF transcript here), Amos noted how badly the situation in Iraq has deteriorated since U.S. troops' departure in 2010, and questioned whether it would have happened if there had been "the right leadership, the right mentoring, the right government and courage" in place. This was a de facto callout of the Obama administration for failing to consolidate and secure the victory achieved in 2008. If this kind of criticism occurred during a Republican or conservative administration, it would be front-page news. Instead, a Google News search on "Amos Iraq" (not in quotes) returns roughly 10 relevant items, and the Associated Press has nothing relevant. The video and a transcript of Megyn Kelly's related interview of Oliver North Monday evening follow the jump.
President Obama signed an executive order on Monday which will force many religious organizations and their members to sever their service and business ties with the federal government if they wish to stay true to their beliefs.
The EO adds "sexual orientation and gender identity" to the bases upon which contractors cannot discriminate if they wish to continue doing business with Uncle Sam. Jennifer Epstein's coverage at the Politico blithely assumed that everybody knows what "LGBT" means. The acronym is in her headline and content, while none of the four words comprising its meaning — lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender — appear anywhere in her writeup. Epstein also erroneously contended that "LGBT" advocates are still shooting for passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), when the fact is that, in the wake of the Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby decision, they now oppose it. Excerpts follow the jump (bolds are mine throughout this post):
Sunday evening, Noah Pollak at the Weekly Standard noted that "Something important is missing from the New York Times's coverage of the war in Gaza: photographs of terrorist attacks on Israel, and pictures of Hamas fighters, tunnels, weaponry, and use of human shields."
That's because Hamas has demanded that such photographs not be circulated. The Times is clearly complying, and without telling its readers that is coverage has been restricted. Pollak believes that the Times really doesn't mind the overt censorship (links are in original; bolds are mine throughout this post):
Let's see. A rebel group pushing for separation from Ukaine has shot down a passenger plane, killing almost 300 aboard. Israel has invaded Gaza. Illegal immigrants are flooding across the U.S.-Mexico border, in at least one instance following a hail of protective gunfire directed at Border Patrol agents.
Meanwhile, in news concerning truly important matters, New York Democratic Senator Charles Schumer and fellow party member Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut are focusing on what's really important — prescription pet medication prices:
There were two pieces of significant economy-related news today. The first was that the Conference Board's index of leading economic indicators increased for the fifth straight month, this time by 0.3 percent, while May's increase was revised up to 0.7 percent. The second was that the University of Michigan's preliminary June reading on consumer confidence came in at 81.3, a decline from May. Both results trailed expectations.
Predictably, the Associated Press's Martin Crutsinger put a smiley face on the news, believing it shows that "that economic growth should accelerate in the second half of this year," while Bloomberg News's Nina Glinski was more sanguine, interpreting the confidence report as an indication that "Americans’ outlook for the economy dimmed." Excerpts from both efforts follow the jump.
On Thursday, Reuters's Carey Gillam underlined that the "embattled" Catholic bishop of Kansas City, Missouri is under "scrutiny," as she covered a former church employee's lawsuit against his diocese. The litigant, Colleen Simon, asserts that "she was wrongfully fired from her salaried position as a pastoral associate after her marriage to another woman was mentioned in a local newspaper."
Gilliam spotlighted how Simon filed her suit less than a year after an arbitrator ordered Bishop Robert Finn and his diocese to pay $1.1 million to the victims of a priest who sexually abused children:
The Obama administration is probably wondering why so many people of all political stripes don't believe that they take foreign policy seriously, up to and including charges that the president and his minions are doing the equivalent of fiddling as some parts of the world burn, and others threaten to.
I don't see why would anyone think that (in case it's not obvious, that's sarcasm). After all, wasn't Bush 43 press secretary Ari Fleischer linking to a friend's column on men's suits after the Bali bombings in 2002? And didn't the London bombings in 2005 lead the otherwise hapless Scott McClellan to wax eloquent on the importance of tie-shirt coordination? The answer to both of those questions is, "Of course not." But yesterday, on a day when Israel invaded Gaza, pro-Russian forces shot down a passenger airliner with almost 300 aboard, and diseases this country hasn't seen in decades continued to be carried over the U.S. Mexican border by "Unaccompanied Alien Children" (that DHS's term), State Department spokesman Jen Psaki tweeted on the dreadfully important topic of how you can be "informed" and fashionable (HT The Blaze):
Late this afternoon, I went to the Top Business Headlines page at the Associated Press's national web site to get today's new home construction news. Because the AP didn't have a story there (saved here for future reference), I knew it had to be bad, especially because to ignore it, the wire service made room in its Top 10 stories for an item on Toyota experimenting with fuel cells and aircraft orders at an air show in England.
The Census Bureau reported that seasonally adjusted housing starts fell by 9.3 percent in June after declining 7.3 percent in May. Seasonally adjusted applications for new building permits declined by 4.2 percent after a 5.1 percent revised May drop. Reporter Martin Crutsinger, doing his utmost to earn the "Worst Economics Writer" tag the National Review's Kevin Williamson conferred on him last year, blamed the weather, blamed "the South" without telling readers how the Census Bureau defines it, and ignored how, even after a very bad month, that region is still outperforming other regions in new homebuilding. Excerpts follow the jump (bolds and numbered tags are mine):
Michelle Obama's name must really be mud in the school nutrition community these days.
I had to do a double-take when I read today's coverage of the School Nutrition Association's Annual Conference in Boston by Philip Marcelo at the Associated Press today. What Marcelo hid from the nation is that the SNA didn't want Michelle Obama or anyone else from the White House anywhere near their conference.
A Justin Lynch column ("Wartime Press") originally posted at the Weekly Wonk and republished at Time.com with a more foreboding title ("Bloggers, Surveillance and Obama’s Orwellian State") really ends up being an attempted justification by those Lynch quoted for having a close alliance between the government and "journalists" with "professional standards." Thom Shanker, the Pentagon correspondent for the New York Times, gets the award for the most Orwellian quote in the litter, which will come after the jump. Its prelude is his belief that "The government really needs to get its message out to the American people, and it knows that the best way to do that is by using the American news media." Excerpts follow.
At the Associated Press on Friday afternoon, Andrew Taylor, who it should be noted covers Congress and is not routinely on the economics or business beat, relayed an Obama administration prediction that economic growth in 2014 will come in at 2.6 percent.
Taylor noted that this estimate, lowered from 3.3 percent, came about because of "the unexpected 2.9 percent drop in gross domestic product in the first quarter of this year when unusually severe weather dinged the economy." Besides failing to note that the contraction was an annualized drop (the actual contraction was about 0.7 percent), he didn't tell readers how absurdly strong growth will have to be during the rest of the year to hit that 2.6 percent target; it works out to an annualized 4.5 percent during each of this year's remaining unreported quarters. Perhaps the AP reporter isn't economically astute enough to recognize how unlikely that is — or worse, he recognized it and let it pass unchallenged.
One of the reasons President Barack Obama and the left can continue to make their cherished "budget stalemate" arguments against conservatives and Republicans is that the establishment press has memory-holed tax increases, including "the largest tax increase in the past two decades," which have already taken place. It now acts as if taxes on "the wealthy," which are really taxes on "high-income earners," have never been increased during Dear Leader's administration.
Josh Boak's coverage of the June budget surplus yesterday at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, is a case in point. After regaling readers with the administration-manipulated recent history of budget deficits (without mentioning the manipulation, of course), Boak uncritically relayed the Democrats' version of the argument that the standoff between the White House and the House of Representatives is over "sharp cuts on needed government programs" versus "higher taxes on the wealthy." Excerpts follow the jump (bolds are mine throughout this post; numbered tags are mine):
In what appears to be an act of leftist self-defense, an unbylined story at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, describes certain Colorado Democratic politicians' crticisms of former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg over recent "off-base remarks about two of its cities," but noted no reactions from Republicans — who are genuinely outraged, as opposed to arguably trying to cover their political tracks.
In a story which was apparently prematurely posted at Rolling Stone Magazine's web site (link is to a separately saved Google cache copy), Bloomberg told Simon Vozick-Levinson that in recent recall elections in the Centennial State, "The NRA went after two or three state Senators in a part of Colorado where I don't think there's roads. It's as far rural as you can get." Really.
I'm sure that many will pass off what Reuters and Yahoo News have just been caught doing as some kind of an innocent mistake, and perhaps it was. But isn't odd how often those "mistakes" so often end up giving President Obama and the left more credit than they deserve?
Yesterday, a Reuters story at Yahoo News was headlined "President Obama Visits the Border." That's a pretty remarkable headline, given Obama's quite widely known refusal — except perhaps by low-information Yahoo readers — to visit the Texas-Mexico border or to visit facilities where Unaccompanied Alien Children are being detained by the Border Patrol. The headline, before it was corrected to "President Obama Visits Austin," along with evidence that Google News was still carrying the original headline until just a short time ago, follow the jump.
At the Politico Wednesday afternoon, Jonathan Topaz covered Texas Democratic Congressman Henry Cuellar's sharp criticism of President Barack Obama's failure to visit the nation's southern border, or for that matter any of the detention centers set up for "Unaccompanied Alien Children" (the Department of Homeland Security's term).
The Politico is where many stories the rest of the establishment press would rather not cover go to die; they then appear to say, "Well, the Politico covered it, so we don't have to." During the Reagan, Bush 41 and Bush 43 presidencies, the press went with saturation coverage of Republicans who criticized a president from their party. The degree of coverage in Cuellar's situation is quite the opposite, even though, as we shall see, the White House has contacted him in an attempt to convince him to shut up.
On Tuesday, Harry Reid told the press that "the one thing we're going to do, during this work period, sooner rather than later, is to ensure that women's lives are not determined by virtue of five white men. This Hobby Lobby decision is outrageous, and we're going to do something about it."
Obviously, Reid's statement assailing the Supreme Court majority in the Hobby Lobby decision is incorrect, as black African-American Clarence Thomas was among the five justices who defended the religious freedom of the Green family which owns and runs Hobby Lobby. Ordinarily, in an obvious gaffe involving a Democratic Party politican, coverage would be sparse. But in this case, there are at least two instances where an establishment press outlet actually reported Reid's statement without pointing out that it was wrong. One occurred at the New York Times.
Former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin was sentenced to 10 years in prison today on fraud, bribery and related charges. In a January 2006 appearance on PBS's Tavis Smiley Show, Nagin, who in many several previous news reports had been described as a Republican who became a Democrat once he sought political office, told Smiley that he "never was a Republican" and he has been a "life-long Democrat."
As would be expected, several media outlets are failing to report Nagin's declared status as a "life-long Democrat." A particularly egregious example is at USA Today (saved here for future reference, fair use and discussion purposes, and in case USAT makes revisions; HT longtime NB commenter Gary Hall; bolds are mine):
Donna Brazile apparently liked yours truly's NewsBusters post yesterday. That post ripped the Associated Press's Pollyanna-like coverage of the U.S. economy, and carried the following headline which may have caused several spilled drinks and soaked monitors among the genuinely informed — "AP: ‘Humming’ and ‘Rising’ U.S. Economy Is a ‘World-Beater.'"
About five hours after the post's appearance, Brazile tweeted her clear approval (HT Twitchy). While we appreciate any traffic which might have come this way as a result of Brazile's tweet, it's hard to imagine that Al Gore's 2000 presidential campaign manager has switched sides. It's far more likely that she didn't bother reading the underlying post. The tweet follows the jump:
Fox News contributor and syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer made a very interesting and logical correlation Friday. The press has predictably failed to make the connection or even to relay Krauthammer's point, simply because it leads to the default assumption that conservatives were right on an important economic issue.
To be clear, the point Krauthammer and National Review Online's Robert Stein made on Thursday isn't directly provable. But the fact that an acceleration in job growth and a significant reduction in the unemployment rate have occurred in the six months since extended unemployment benefits expired is hard to explain away as some kind of lucky coincidence — especially given the endless blather of "weather" excuses the press and the administration have made about the economy in general since early this year. Video and a transcript follow the jump.
In the latest White House press release disguised as analysis at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, AP stenographer Paul Wiseman sang the praises of this nation's "humming" job market and its "steadily rising" growth as the economy is "finally showing the vigor that Americans have long awaited." Wow.
Of course, the White House — er, Wiseman — never mentioned the following (to name just a few): two straight months (April and May) of real declines in consumer purchases; the seasonally adjusted decline of 523,000 in full-time employment paired with an increase of 799,000 part-time jobs in June; April’s and May's trade imbalance coming in worse than March’s, which was already very high; shipments of durable goods barely budging in April and May; factory orders falling in May; or May's flat construction spending. It got worse, as Wiseman concocted five reasons why the U.S. economy is a "world beater." Excerpts from Paul's pathetic prose follow the jump (bolds and numbered tags are mine):
The identity of President Obama's nominee to head the scandal-plagued, bloated mess known as the Department of Veterans Affairs was known on Sunday.
Very few news outlets (the Fox news item just linked is an exception) noted that Obama's pick was particularly odd because McDonald's run as CEO at Procter & Gamble was not considered a success. He was essentially forced into retirement after four years at the helm in May 2013.
On June 18, Catholic broadcaster Eternal Word Television Network suffered a serious religious freedom setback when "A federal judge in Alabama ... dismissed a Catholic broadcaster's legal claim that requiring employers to include contraception in their health care coverage is unconstitutional." The Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, felt that story was important enough to merit coverage at its national site — and in fact, two weeks later, the story is still present there (also saved here for future reference and fair use and discussion purposes).
After that June ruling, EWTN promised that it would appeal. A July 1 compliance deadline and daily fines which would have almost certainly put the network out of business loomed. Yesterday, in the wake of the Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby decision, EWTN scored what Life News's Steven Ertelt called "a resounding victory," when it "was granted last minute relief from the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals," thus enabling it to "freely practice what it preaches while it pursues its claims in court." A search on "EWTN" at the AP's national site indicates that it has no story there on this development. The wire service does have a Monday afternoon local/regional story on the news:
In a Thursday evening writeup about how the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will allow a California wind farm to "become the first in the nation to avoid prosecution if eagles are injured or die when they run into the giant turning blades," reporter Scott Smith at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, took a big gulp of his hi-test White House koolaid, and wrote: "Under President Barack Obama, wind energy has exploded as a pollution-free energy source that can help reduce the greenhouse gases blamed for global warming."
Slowly but surely, the confident assurances of a fantabulous second quarter for the U.S. economy — one which is supposed to make the serious first-quarter contraction reported on Wednesday a distant memory — are crumbling.
Yesterday at the Associated Press, Martin Crutsinger, who just a couple of weeks ago had been relaying confident second-quarter predictions of annualized 3.5 percent and even 4 percent growth, quoted a still-optimistic economist who, in Crutsinger's words, "said strength in other areas (besides yesterday's weak consumer spending report — Ed.) should still lift economic growth to around a 3 percent annual rate in the current quarter." Today, in covering the University of Michigan's consumer confidence report, Christopher Rugaber, Crutsinger's dynamic duo buddy at the AP, brought the growth figure down to a level which won't even offset the dreadful first quarter:
A staple of establishment press reporting is to attribute a contention to a limited group of people to either place the truth of a statement into doubt, or to make it appear that only the group involved holds that opinion. Examples taking this to the absolute extreme could include: "Conervatives say the sun rises in the east and sets in the west," and "Republicans believe that abortion takes a human life."
Note that I didn't write that such extreme examples never occur in establishment press reporting. That's because they sometimes do, even to the point where the reporter(s) involved don't recognize how utterly ignorant and contradictory their content is. Take the following two bolded paragraphs from the Associated Press's terse, "Let's make this story look boring, and tell them as little as we possibly can" story about the National Organization for Marriage's court victory over the IRS in the release of its donor list (report produced in full because of its brevity, and for fair use and discussion purposes):
My, those "this quarter's really, really going to be great" predictions can disappear so quickly these days.
Yesterday, in the wake of the government's third revision to gross domestic product showing that the economy shrunk by an annualized 2.9 percent during the first quarter instead of the previously reported 1.0 percent, commentators, analysts, and economists fell all over themselves insisting that the second quarter and the rest of the year will be fine. The reaction at Goldman Sachs was — get this — to raise their estimate for second-quarter growth from an annualized 3.8 percent to 4.0 percent. Today, in the wake of a particularly weak consumer spending report for May, the backpedaling — well, partial backpedaling — is under way, particularly at the Associated Press (bolds are mine):