More bad news for the newspaper industry. Anyone paying attention to the current state of financial distress in the print news industry will realize that saving money is the order of the day industry wide. Yet, not long ago the Associated Press announced that it was to raise its prices to the print news industry causing consternation everywhere. This new rate structure has caused quite a few newspapers to begin the process of dropping AP content giving pause to consider what the future of the AP might become?
Several papers have already announced that they are preparing to drop the AP, the latest of which appears to be the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. The Minnesota paper has announced it will cease using AP content by 2010. The Star-Trib joins The Bakersfield Californian, and two papers from Washington State, The Yakima Herald-Republic and Wenatchee World. Also The Post Register of Idaho Falls informed the AP that they were going to drop their service in early August.
Just in time for Barack Obama's Greco-Roman Oration tomorrow night, two significant economic reports have gone or are about to go in a positive direction:
Earlier Wednesday, the Census Bureau reported that durable goods orders increased 1.3% during July, repeating June's performance; shipments of durables were up 2.5%; and unfilled orders were at their highest level since 1992. There are exceptions, but these companies are generally very busy.
Thursday morning, the pundits are predicting that second quarter Gross Domestic Product, originally estimated at an annualized 1.9%, will be significantly revised upward. Predictions that GDP will come in at 2.7% are at Reuters, Briefing.com via CNN, and MarketWatch. If you go to the links, especially the second and third, you will detect the distinct aroma of sour grapes; the headlines found there are "The economic growth mirage" and "Big revision in GDP won't mean much," respectively.
Don't count on these statistics to get much positive traditional media play while the Obama coronation is in progress.
But there's one other number that's even worse for the everyone's-a-victim crowd than those just noted. It is one that I can almost guarantee will remain invisible during tomorrow's festivities.
In New York, U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein has ordered the release of eight more grand jury transcripts from the famous 1951 spy case that led to the conviction of the husband and wife pro-Soviet spy team of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg. Reuters reports this story as if there is some cloud of doubt still hanging over the Rosenberg's conviction despite that their guilt is no longer debatable. Yet here is Reuters giving cover to those who stubbornly wish to cast doubt on the U.S. prosecution of the Rosenbergs. It also gives Reuters and U.S. detractors the opportunity once again smear America by raising their favorite Cold War boogie man, Joe McCarthy.
Reuters sternly tells us that,
The Rosenbergs were convicted in 1951 of passing atomic secrets to the Soviet Union and executed in 1953. Rosenberg supporters describe the case as a frame-up amid anti-communist McCarthyism hysteria and Cold War fear.
It is amazing to see Reuters use every U.S. bash they could in one little paragraph. The Rosenbergs were victims of a "frame-up" because of "McCarthyism hysteria and Cold War fear." Notice how Reuters seems to forget to mention that there is no longer any doubt that the Rosenbergs were guilty, though?
On August 25 Patrick Donahue of Bloomberg breathlessly informed us that a recent poll showed that Germans love Barack Obama. In a week where Obama's soft polling numbers with Americans who will do the actual voting, you'd be excused if you wondered who cared, but apparently Bloomberg thinks this Obama puffing "news" is worth reporting. It's more reason to be suspicious that the Old Media is in the tank for Barack Obama, in any case.
This particular Bloomberg story has little substance and is centered on a population that cannot even vote for Obama in the first place. Interestingly, however, this story makes no effort to contrast high polling numbers in Germany with the much softer support Obama finds in the U.S.A. At least such a comparison might have served a more newsworthy purpose.
Reuters thinks that tax breaks and loopholes "costs" government its tax receipts. This is a perfect example of class hatred ginned up by the media to further class warfare between Americans. The absolute truth is that if people use the tax code to limit their tax burden they are not costing the government anything, but are using legal means to avoid a higher tax burden. Further, our money is NOT the government's property in the first place so a lower tax take is in no way "costing" the government anything. Yet, Reuters still uses this class warfare rhetoric to report its story revealing its attack-the-rich agenda.
The Reuters headline employs the class warfare rhetoric right off the top screaming, Tax loopholes seen costing billions annually. "Costing"? No, if tax receipts are lower it isn't because people are depriving government of due receipts. Again, it is because taxpayers are obeying the law and properly using the tax code as crated by Congress. If there are loopholes in the tax code they were placed there by Congress, whether wittingly or unwittingly, but still it’s the fault of Congress not “the rich.”
Associated Press writer Douglass K. Daniel today reports "A housing issue: McCain not sure how many they own." The article points out that John and Cindy McCain are affluent. It then links McCain's age with his difficulty in responding to the question of "how many houses he and his wealthy wife actually own:"
With most Americans feeling the pinch of a worsening economy, the remark allows McCain's opponents to suggest that he personally is far beyond its grip and cannot feel their pain. It also displays the vast wealth of the McCains — his wife Cindy's fortune has been estimated at $100 million. It's also another example of how McCain, nearly 72, can be fuzzy and forgetful on some facts.
According the Associated Press, "Ask AP" is "a weekly Q&A column where AP journalists respond to readers' questions about the news."
Given how biased the wire service's news reporting is, you wouldn't expect "Ask AP" responses to be very different. They usually aren't.
Case in point (second question at link) -- Reader Cindy Garcia of Vista, California asked AP about the costs and benefits of illegal immigration:
I hear so many conflicting stories on illegal immigration. Please tell me if you can how much the illegal immigrants contribute to the economy and how much they use in free services. If they all got deported, how would it affect our economy?
Here is the sadly incorrect and incomplete answer from AP writers Laura Wides-Munoz in Miami, Jacques Billeaud in Phoenix, and Suzanne Gamboa in Washington (bolds are mine):
Kevin McDonough (photo at right from UFS) can’t seem to avoid inserting liberal commentary into his TV reviews. The syndicated critic on Tuesday wrote about an upcoming PBS documentary on a Chilean judge’s investigation into the government of Augusto Pinochet, and editorialized that "The Judge and the General" "offers a cautionary tale for Americans," since Chile "had a long history of democratic government" before Pinochet’s coup. He continued that the film "begins and ends with scenes of rallies by fanatical supporters of Pinochet, who died in 2006 before facing trial. None of the attitudes expressed by these angry thugs would seem out of place on American talk radio."
McDonough doesn’t explain what exactly these attitudes are, but the implication of his argument is that conservative talk show hosts and their listeners are "angry thugs," that they’re a threat to "democratic government," and that they would install a Pinochet-like regime if they were given a chance.
The back-and-forth over Jerome Corsi's book, "The Obama Nation," has been heated, largely unfair to the author, and predictably marred by attacks from allegedly "objective" journalists as well as Democratic mouthpieces (but I repeat myself). Blatant examples of media bias have been noted by several NewsBusters posters, including Tim Graham (here, here, and here), Geoff Dickens, Mark Finkelstein, and Clay Waters.
But that doesn't mean there haven't been moments of humor. A delicious one comes at the expense of the Associated Press's Nedra Pickler.
You would think that someone working for the self-described "Essential Global News Network" known as the Associated Press as an Education Writer might go beyond using the Copy and Paste commands in reporting on national college entrance exam test scores.
From all appearances, you would be wrong.
AP Education Writer Justin Pope's report on the 2008 ACT exam results appears to contain nothing that isn't already in ACT, Inc.'s press release. For whatever reason, Pope missed a shocking set of results out of Michigan that should deeply worry anyone concerned about the future competency of our workforce.
Last month, it was the Associated Press's Jeannine Aversa's turn to mishandle the reporting on Uncle Sam's Monthly Treasury Statement on the government's receipts, spending, and deficit.
Aversa's usual specialty is hallucinating over "blizzards of pink slips" and "jobs vanishing into thin air" when she does her "report," aka her downbeat propaganda piece, on the government's monthly jobs release.
In covering June's Monthly Treasury Statement, Aversa selectively rounded the data she presented (covered at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog) to make receipts look less impressive and to minimize the true extent of the government's current year spending spree.
It's a bit early for politicians to be creating distance between themselves and their party's presidential candidate, is it not?
Whether it's because of a (cough, cough) "clerical error" or an exercise in political self-defense, Louisiana Democrat Senator Mary Landrieu has done that.
But in a report early this afternoon, Associated Press writer Melinda Deslatte was curiously incurious (saved at host for future reference) as to why Landrieu might be concerned about being tied too closely to the Illinois senator. Instead, Deslatte turned her report into an exercise in charge-trading between the incumbent and her Republican challenger, the deliciously named John Kennedy:
As the latest episode of Detroit's Kwame Kilpatrick Calamity has played out, we learn that there is a supplemental directive to add to the Associated Press's apparent commandment ("Thou shalt not name a Democrat's party") about politicians in trouble whose party mascot happens to be the donkey.
Several previous Kilpatrick-related AP reports, including this one from two weeks ago, have been cited at NewsBusters and elsewhere as examples of how closely that commandment is followed.
Do you know who the Associated Press thinks is secretly hoping for a Barack Obama win? Why, it's "racist groups," dontcha know? See, as the AP reports it, a black man as president couldn't be a more perfect example of how the dark race is takin' over and ruining the white man's world, right? At least, that is according to the AP's favorite go-to racist guy, David Duke, anyway. And what better way for the AP to prove that only racists oppose Obama, eh?
AP decided to dredge up the aforementioned David Duke to let the country know that "the racists" are wringing their hands in a gleeful expectation that a president Barack will swell the ranks of the KKK and other racist groups. Sternly telling us that "They're not exactly rooting for him, but prominent white supremacists anticipate a boost to their cause if Barack Obama becomes the first black president," the AP lets the cat out of the bag for the hooded set.
Want proof? Well, the AP is happy to give it... such as it is.
Many of you will remember New Jersey Governor James McGreevey who ended up having to admit he gave his gay lover an undeserved State job -- even as the gay lover claimed sexual harassment -- and that he was cheating on his wife and family with that very gay lover. Many will also remember that disgraced Governor James McGreevey was a Democrat. "Many" apparently doesn't include the Associated Press because they are still publishing stories about James McGreevey leaving out that one little fact that he was a Democrat.
To the AP, McGreevey is merely the "Former Gov." who has succeeded in winning a recent court case brought by his ex-wife who was seeking alimony. Oh, the AP gives us all sorts of information about our friend James McGreevey. The AP tells us that he was an acknowledged "gay American," we find out he was "the nation's first openly gay governor," and that McGreevey is now oddly a "seminary student."
But, not once does the AP let us know he was a Democrat.
If you believe that there's a 50-50 chance that your take-home pay will be cut by almost one-fifth beginning in as little as five months from now, would that belief affect your current spending habits?
Of course it would. But that idea apparently never occurred to the Associated Press's Mark Jewell.
In the course of a 950-word article Monday about how the rich are getting more stingy, he focused on how "the economic slump" and "downturn" are affecting their spending, while ignoring the massive tax hits high-income earners will likely be forced to absorb (illustrated in detail below the fold) if Barack Obama wins the presidency and Democrats retain control of Congress.
Well, the Associated Press is certainly living up to its new rules of being opinion editorialists instead of reporters if the following headline is any indication: "Obama links energy troubles to unpopular Cheney." This was unleashed on the world by the AP on August 5. So, I ask you, does "unpopular Cheney" sound more like opinion than it does simple news reporting?
Certainly we can face facts that the liberal press has succeeded in pillorying Vice President Cheney since almost the minute he stepped into the VP Mansion at the United States Naval Observatory. It is, therefore, a fact that Cheney has a low approval rating. But it seems to me that the headline branding Cheney "unpopular" is somewhat unseemly and opinionated as opposed to newsworthy.
Despite penning 38 paragraphs for his obituary, the closest AP's Douglas Birch came to mentioning the late Alexander Solzhenitsyn's Christian faith was by remarking how the bearded author and Soviet dissident looked like a religious icon:
In a 1978 speech at Harvard University, Solzhenitsyn - who with his beard and dour demeanor resembled a figure from an Orthodox icon - denounced the Western view that liberal democracy was fated to triumph in non-Western civilizations, which he called "worlds" unto themselves.
Yet it was in that speech -- "A World Split Apart" -- Baptist theologian Albert Mohler argues, that Solzhenitsyn famously diagnosed secularism as a disease corrupting the West and, what's more, he did so thoroughly anchored in his Orthodox Christian faith (emphasis mine):
Talk about a puff piece, this Associated Press short is a story with absolutely no substance. Not only that but after seeing the headline and then reading the story, one is hard pressed to believe they belong together. This Amy Forliti puffery is incongruously headlined "Protesters expected to transform the streets outside GOP convention into marketplace of ideas," yet there isn't any discussion at all of any such "marketplace" or about any real "ideas" in the story. In fact, the only "ideas" are ages old, stale and losing their grip among more Americans everyday.
Oh, Forliti talks about protests filled with prosaic anti-war sentiment, ages old oil protests, anarchists and 9/11 truthers, but there is no discussion of real "ideas" in this piece. Nor does the piece discuss exactly who is organizing these protests, people who are themselves filled with the dead ideas of another era -- just for instance the United For Peace And Justice (UFPJ) is mostly a socialist organization and they are always a part of these coalitions of misfits.
The Associated Press has done it again, even beyond what Ken Shepherd of NewsBusters noted in a related post on June 4.
In that post, Ken cited an AP report that did not identify the political party of Democratic Massachusetts State Senator and alleged serial sexual assaulter James Marzilli until the eleventh and final paragraph.
AP Writer Denise Lavoie went one step further in her 300-word July 30 report on criminal complaint charges that have been filed against Marzilli. She completely failed to disclose his party, even though she noted his previous withdrawal from an upcoming election, and even though there is another prosecution in progress involving similar charges:
August 1 Update: This post has been revised to reflect July's final death toll of 13, per icasualties.org (8 hostile and 5 non-hostile).
NB readers should know that upcoming news reports about casualties in Iraq are probably going to understate how much US casualties relating to events that actually occurred during July declined.
AFP appears to be the only wire service reporting this at the moment, and it confirms my expectations. The report oddly acts as if the month is over in Iraq, even though roughly 11 hours remained (less than eight remain now) until July's official conclusion when its brief report appeared.
The Associated Press injected an editorial comment into the news... again. A few days ago, the AP issued a piece headlined Senate Republicans block heating aid bill, in which the AP made it seem as if Republicans don't care about "the poor" and are only interested in mere political partisanship. This report featured quotes showing how wonderful and caring the Democrats are but not a single quote from any Republican to explain their stance. It also clearly discounted the GOP position while positively spinning the Democratic position.
The story concerns the GOP's blocking of a Senate Democrat bill to double the Federal aid to "the poor" to subsidize their heating and air-conditioning bills. First of all, I wasn't aware that it was Constitutionally mandated that "the poor" get free air-conditioning, but that is another story. The editorializing comes in with the second paragraph.
If there is a previous record for "Highest Level of Saturation Press Coverage with No Political Party Affiliation Named" (HT to e-mailer Jason), the Cleveland press corps almost broke it.
In looking over three publications' stories about today's massive and far-ranging police actions in Cleveland and Cuyahoga County, Ohio, I found only one reference to the Democratic Party affiliation of those involved. Cleveland's sole daily newspaper put up a half-dozen related blog entries and failed to name anyone's party in any of them.
First, though, from the always-reliable (in shielding troubled Dems' party affiliations) Associated Press, writer Joe Milicia named no party in eight paragraphs:
On July 16, Andrew Malcolm at the Los Angeles Times's Top of the Ticket Blog wrote the following (bold is mine):
When President Bush ordered the surge in January 2007, (Barack) Obama said: "I am not persuaded that 20,000 additional troops in Iraq is going to solve the sectarian violence there. In fact, I think it will do the reverse," a position he maintained throughout 2007. This year he acknowledged progress, but maintained his position that political progress was lacking.
This YouTube video (different from the compare/contrast video at the bottom of the LAT's link) shows Obama reciting the lines just quoted.
The LAT Blog notes earlier in its entry that "The parts (of Obama's web site) that stressed his opposition to the 2007 troop surge and his statement that more troops would make no difference in a civil war have somehow disappeared."
Something else disappeared this week. Team Obama, for all its posturing, probably saw something like this coming -- which explains their web site scrubbing.
Hopefully this event will repeat itself frequently. You have to get all the way to the end of an apparently weekly routine Associated Press report to see it, but there it is:
The Associated Press's Ed White used almost 700 words in his story (link is dynamic; story in form found at 5:04 p.m. is also here) about the latest developments relating to Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick of Detroit, and failed to name his party affiliation even once.
Even beyond that, though he did tell readers that Kilpatrick faces a criminal trial for perjury, misconduct, and obstruction of justice, White failed to note that calls for Kilpatrick's resignation, which began in earnest with City Council's 7-1 vote in March, continue to mount.