Bloomberg News is acting as if they know how "many Muslims around the world" feel about Barack Obama. In Bloomberg's considered opinion, Obama is "just an American with a Muslim middle name" and won't "advance" the "interests" of Muslims. The main point that Bloomberg seems to be trying to sell is that Barack Obama's Muslim past will not make him tend to bow to world-wide Muslim sentiment. Bloomberg is obviously doing their best to prop up the Obama campaign by trying to allay fears that Obama will be a disaster on foreign policy. This is a perfect example of agenda journalism disguised as news.
So, how do the folks at Bloomberg know what the world's Muslims think about Barack Obama? Is it polls? Did they conduct extensive interviews or research on how Muslims feel about Obama? No, it seems more like Bloomberg's opinion is loosely based on the opinions of the three Muslims they quote and a broad interpretation of one poll on Obama and one on Muslim opinion of the US in general. It seems a rather wild leap in logic from the "evidence" they present to assume that they have a firm grasp on the opinion about Obama of all the world's Muslims.
After the firestorm that erupted Saturday over the Associated Press's classless story on the death of former White House Press Secretary Tony Snow, I was hoping that the possibly-chastened wire service could get through its coverage of his funeral without getting in any gratuitous digs.
In that horrid Saturday story (blogged at NewsBusters and BizzyBlog), the AP's Douglass K. Daniel, with the assistance of longtime Bush basher Jennifer Loven, felt it necessary, within hours of Snow's passing, to characterize him as "not always (having) a command of the facts," questioning reporters' motives "as if he were starring in a TV show broadcast live from the West Wing," and turning his briefings into "personality-driven media event(s) short on facts and long on confrontation." In a further descent into tastelessness, they felt it necessary to tell us what Snow's salary at the White House was -- something I don't believe I have ever seen written in a story on anyone else's death. (11:00 a.m. update: See this comment below for an exception.)
Covering Snow's funeral Thursday, AP reporter Ben Feller stayed classy almost to the end. But then he apparently couldn't help himself, and followed the execrable example of his Saturday predecessors in his story's third-last paragraph.
Update (13:40 EDT): You can see in bold some of the questions I thought particularly biased. I've clipped Mark Smith's first question about turning the thermostat down and driving less and posted that video on EyeBlast.tv. You can find it embedded at right. [Official White House transcript available here.]
10:17 EDT: President Bush will hold a press conference in a few minutes, I'll be watching and live-blogging questions from the press corps. I'll update the blog post after the fact (assuming President Bush takes questions) with a link to the official White House transcript. If warranted, we may also post video of the most biased questions.
11:09 | President thanks reporters for their time, closes conference.
11:06 | Olivier (sp?): "Is President Karzai correct and do you think the new government in Pakistan is willing to combat terrorism?"
11:02 | Ryan: Do you think it [the economy] changes before you leave office?
10:59 | April Ryan, American Urban Radio Networks: "When in your guestimation will this country see a turnaround on the soft economy?" Also asks about what's happening in Sudan.
10:57 | Compton presses again on oil company question.
10:55 | Ann Compton, ABC Radio: "You never mention oil companies. Are you confident that American oil producers are tapping all the sources they have out there, including offshore?" Compton also asks about Iraq and what Bush will leave his successor.
10:53 | Smith of AP Radio asks if President Bush sees the "value" of a campaign to push for conservation.
10:52 | Mark Smith, AP Radio: "Mr. President, understanding what you say about energy supplies being tight and the debate over energy, which has gone on for years and will continue long through the campaign and into the next administration -- one thing nobody debates is that if Americans use less energy the current supply/demand equation would improve. Why have you not sort of called on Americans to drive less and to turn down the thermostat?"
10:50 | Roger Runningen, Bloomberg News on a second stimulus: "Is it too late to consider a second one?"
That must be some crystal ball Reuters reporters Jeremy Pelofsky and Tom Doggett have.
They somehow know that George W. Bush's Executive Order lifting an Executive Branch ban on offshore drilling will work out to be "largely symbolic" -- even though Congress's ban will expire on September 30 unless it's proactively renewed.
Further, Pelofsky and Doggett seem to almost know that since Barack Obama opposes any additional offshore drilling, not enough of his fellow party members will defect from that position between now and the Congressional ban's expiration, regardless of whether he remains competitive or sinks in the polls in the meantime.
For those unfamiliar, since May of this year the Associated Press has had a new Washington Bureau Chief, a past AP reporter named Ron Fournier. According to Politico, the previous chief was pushed out to make room for Fournier in a "hard-feelings shake-up" with the old chief left worried that Fournier might "destroy" the AP. A pretty stark assessment, of course, but not necessarily all sour grapes from the passing chief because there is a legitimate reason for her to worry about Fournier. You see, Fournier has decided that a more hard-charging, opinion oriented style of writing is the new direction the AP should take in this new Internet age and it's a direction that makes the AP's past bias even more pronounced.
Former chief, Sandy Johnson, is a bit worried about Fournier's new direction. “I loved the Washington bureau. I just hope he doesn’t destroy it,” she is quoted as telling the Politico. It seems she has reason to worry.
Specifically, Cheney's 2000 statement was that "we may well be on the front edge of a recession here," while Bush's 2001 claim was a milder "You know better than me that our economy is slowing down."
So what will be the reaction be to the Sunday assertion by Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama that there's "little doubt" the country is in a recession, when no negative growth has occurred?
At long last, has the Associated Press lost all sense of decency?
The AP's story (saved here for future reference in case the wire service is embarrassed into revising it; you might consider saving it too as Exhibit A on how far over the cliff the dinosaur media has driven itself) by Douglass K. Daniel, with Jennifer Loven contributing (I might have known), gets in at least three cheap, fundamentally untrue, and totally uncalled-for shots at Tony Snow, who died earlier this morning.
I won't sully NB's front page with any of them. They follow the jump:
So if you're in index funds, this has not been the best of times (but, on the "bright" side, to the extent your 401(k) or other retirement investments are index funds, your current contributions are buying more shares).
Nonetheless, be thankful if you're not directly or indirectly invested in newspaper stocks.
Newsosaur reported today (HT to commenter dscott) that seven newspaper stocks hit record intraday lows in today's trading before recovering a bit before the close:
The Associated Press's Jeannine Aversa "creatively" and selectively rounded figures presented in today's Monthly Treasury Statement from Uncle Sam. That Treasury report, released this afternoon, covered monthly and year-to-date receipts and spending in the federal government.
By doing what she did, Aversa made sure we know that year-to-date receipts are down, but at the same time made Congress's overspending look less serious than it really is.
Spending of $2.2 trillion so far this year is up from $2.1 trillion reported for the corresponding period last year. Meanwhile, revenues of $1.93 trillion are down from $1.945 trillion a year ago.
Because Aversa rounded off the spending numbers to the nearest $.1 trillion while not supplying percentage changes, the average reader will think that spending is up a bit less than 5% so far this year.
The Associated Press's disgraceful coverage of last week's Employment Situation Report from Uncle Sam's Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) got left behind in the holiday weekend hubbub, but calls out for comment nonetheless.
The AP's Jeannine Aversa reached into her Thesaurus as she began her report with what has become the wire service's standard monthly error of treating reported seasonally adjusted job reductions as reflecting real people thrown out on the streets by mean old employers (as you will see after the jump, reality, as usual, differed):
Along with a few of his police bodyguards Mayor Frank Melton of Jackson, Mississippi has been indicted on Federal civil rights violations. It seems that in his zeal to curb drug crime, Melton forced some local youngsters at gunpoint to take a sledgehammer to a private residence that Melton claimed was a drug house.
One little problem, Melton had no court order and no right to destroy a private residence. Yet he and his rogue police bodyguards illegally entered this private residence and wrecked the place anyway.
As the media systematically ignores the good news in Iraq, the AP instead turns to “reporting” on a “journalist’s” Iraq love tryst. Why we need to see a story of CBS' Lara Logan's romance troubles is anyone’s guess? But apparently the AP thinks that Lara Logan's love tryst with a married contractor in Iraq is "news" while the surge and the complete lack of any real civil war in Iraq is not.
Here is the problem with the news media. Dan Rather fell for it. Walter Cronkite was overcome by it. Each of these "journalists" imagined that they were the news, that their lives and opinions were just as important to the nation as the news upon which they reported.
Sure Logan is a slightly better than average looking newsbabe, but so what? Is her horsing around with a married man something that is important to the world? Is her slutting around with multiple partners during her time as a correspondent in Iraq something that we all have a hunger, a NEED to know?
Although the term isn't used, it's clear that the Obama campaign sees itself and their candidate as victims of a vast conspiracy of right-wingers.
Going all the way back to the 1988 presidential election, Obama's "Fight the Smears" chart (featuring the campaign's new sort-of "presidential seal," replacing the one that was "dropped," at the top left) purports to tell us "Who's Behind These Lies."
If the page's historical starting points are any indication, to paraphrase Jerry Lee Lewis, there may not be "a whole lotta smearin' goin' on" among the current "smearing" parties it identifies:
CNN carried KDKA footage showing that Murtha has grudgingly acknowledged the obvious: That the troop surge in Iraq has, in his words, "in the short-term ..... certainly reduced incidents," but that "I'm not sure whether it's because of the Iraqis are just worn out, but certainly the way they're doing it today makes a big difference."
What KDKA decided to keep from TV viewers is arguably at least as important as what the station showed.
In interview footage left on the cutting room floor, Murtha falsely claimed that less than 1/3 of the Iraqi benchmarks have been met, and that the majority of Americans "want us out" of Iraq as fast as possible. But most explosively, the Pennsylvania congressman claimed that a major reason why the troop surge has been successful is that before that time "we broke down doors, we went in and we killed people inadvertently."
Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama says “mental distress” should not qualify as a health exception for late term-abortions, a key distinction not embraced by many supporters of abortion rights.
In an interview this week with “Relevant,” a Christian magazine, Obama said prohibitions on late-term abortions must contain “a strict, well defined exception for the health of the mother.”
Earlier this week, to avoid "undue" emphasis on how much the situation has been improving in Iraq, the press, in search of bad news, switched its focus to Afghanistan (examples here, here, and here). Kyle Drennen and Warner Todd Huston at NewsBusters noted this on Tuesday.
Similarly, Associated Press writer Ellen Simon, confronted with a key report showing economic improvement, decided that it was more important to discuss inflation.
On Tuesday, the Institute for Supply Management's Manufacturing Index, after four months of contraction, returned to slight expansion mode with a reading of 50.2 (any reading above 50 indicates expansion). The result confounded the "experts," who predicted that the index would fall by about a point instead of rising by 0.6 points.
I don't think I've ever seen AP fail to give the overall ISM result first- or second-sentence treatment, but Simon managed that trick by covering the report's inflation component, moving the overall ISM index reading down to the fourth paragraph:
With less than 10 hours remaining until the end of June in Iraq at the time of this post, it is clear, barring heavy last-minute casuaties, that May and June will show the lowest two-month total for US troop deaths in the five-year history of our involvement there.
The question that is this post's title occurred to me as I read through this report earlier today by Seth Sutel of the Associated Press. I believe the question is important, and that its potential implications are underappreciated.
Sutel first summarized the week's financial events in the media business. It wasn't pretty:
Even for an industry awash in bad news, the newspaper business went through one of its most severe retrenchments in recent memory last week.
Half a dozen newspapers said they would slash payrolls, one said it would outsource all its printing, and Tribune Co., one of the biggest publishers in the country, said it might sell its iconic headquarters tower in Chicago and the building that houses the Los Angeles Times.
The increasingly rapid and broad decline in the newspaper business in recent months has surprised even the most pessimistic financial analysts .....
UPDATE: Hard to imagine, but it's even worse than originally thought. AP's go-to "historian" is, as Wikipedia shows, a shameless politically active far-leftist (HT Eric at Vocal Minority).
(begin original post)
Two Associated Press writers, with the help of accompanying photos at ABCnews.com, have dug down deep and reached a new low in dismal, depressive reporting.
You can be forgiven if, after reading the entire Saturday afternoon "report" by Alan Fram and Eileen Putman of the Associated Press, you worry that the two writers plan to jump from the nearest tall building -- and take their readers with them -- unless Barack Obama wins the White House.
This is how the pained pair's incredibly over-the-top report begins (note how the headline answers the question before the text begins; excerpted text is included here for fair use and discussion purposes, as are photos originally found at the ABC link that are included at the cross-post):
Everything seemingly is spinning out of control Out-of-control weather, gas prices, economy chip away at American self-confidence
It looks like Reuters is trying to say that the United States stands against the rule of law with their latest piece on a recent ruling from the so-called World Court -- the International Court of Justice (ICJ). The ICJ wants the U.S. to vacate the death penalty sentences of several Mexican nationals that sit on death row in prisons in several states and Reuters is shaking its finger at the nasty Americans that deny the jurisdiction of the self-styled World Court.
Mexico has been agitating with the World Court to force the United States to vacate (or at least revisit) the convictions of 51 Mexican nationals now on death row because they claim that these murderers were not alerted to their right to seek consular assistance before they went into the American court systems.
Naturally, the ICJ happily complied with Mexico's request and demanded that the U.S. comply with the World Court decision. Bush made an unfortunate decision in 2005 to ask the various states to comply with the ICJ, but the issue has since been settled by the Supreme Court of the United States. Fortunately, just this month the SCOTUS said that our courts are not bound by the ICJ rulings.
No wonder Barack Obama doesn't get challenged by the media on fundamentals -- y'know, things like how many states there are in the union (he says 57 or so), whether Illinois is closer to Kentucky than Arkansas (he says it's not), or whether Warren Buffett's income (!) is $56 billion (Obama seems to think that income and net worth are the same).
Apparently, some in the media have similar serious problems with basic economics and math.
Check out this from AFP about Americans' driving (bolds are mine):
The AP's disharmony with bloggers may have only just begun, as the alternative it's now offering to being served with takedown notices involves paying an up-front sum for excerpting online articles -- as few as five words.
The pricing scale for excerpting AP content begins at $12.50 for 5-25 words and goes as high as $100 for 251 words and up. Nonprofit organizations and educational institutions enjoy a discounted rate.
An unbylined Associated Press report yesterday, at least as carried at MSNBC, acknowledges improvement, and then explains why it's not going to get much future coverage from the wire service as long as things stay that way:
BAGHDAD - Signs are emerging that Iraq has reached a turning point. Violence is down, armed extremists are in disarray, government confidence is rising and sectarian communities are gearing up for a battle at the polls rather than slaughter in the streets.
Those positive signs are attracting little attention in the United States, where the war-weary public is focused on the American presidential contest and skeptical of talk of success after so many years of unfounded optimism by the war's supporters.
Overall, the Tax Policy Center said people with very high incomes would benefit the most under McCain's proposal, while low- and middle-income taxpayers would see larger tax breaks under Obama's plan and wealthy taxpayers would see their taxes increase.
The AP had a short newsbreak story on Lorain County Common Pleas Judge James Burge who ruled that the state must stop the method of executions in the state, saying that the "lethal injection procedure doesn't provide the quick and painless death required by Ohio law." Accompanying the short story is the picture we post here showing the judge in his office where he proudly displays two posters, one with murderer, insurrectionist and communist Che Guevara upon it and the other is the famous "Hope" poster put out by the Barack Obama campaign.
This makes one wonder about the lack of reaction to this photo seen today from the media. Let us imagine if this judge happened to be considered a conservative. Supposing this judge had a poster of a right-wing dictator -- maybe even Hitler -- displayed side-by-side with a John McCain for president poster or a George W. Bush poster. So, what would the media be doing today should such a picture coupling McCain with a murderous, oppressor on the right be making the rounds? Who can doubt that the media would be completely out of it's mind (and rightfully so, by the way) about a judge that would seem to be celebrating a right-wing dictator?
Yet, here we have a judge, a public official, proudly showing fealty to a monster of the left, Che Guevara, a man that despised the U.S. and everything it stands for, without the media raising even a whimper! In fact, they publish it as if this judge deserved to be given respect.
Leave it to the mainstream media to highlight the latest "accomplishment" of the Castros’ oppressive regime.
One of Yahoo.com’s front page news items Monday morning linked to a story from the Associated Press about Elian Gonzalez’s entrance into Cuba’s Young Communist Union. The short uncredited story put the news this way:
The Cuban boy at the center of an international custody battle eight years ago has joined Cuba's Young Communist Union.
Communist youth newspaper Juventud Rebelde quotes Elian Gonzalez as saying he will never let down ex-President Fidel Castro and his brother Raul Castro, who succeeded Fidel earlier this year.
The Associated Press's Martin Crutsinger got out the gloom-and-doom paint in his report on the Consumer Price Index on Friday morning.
Here are his opening paragraphs:
Inflation rate jumps by biggest amount in 6 months
Inflation shot up in May at the fastest pace in six months, pushed higher by soaring costs for gasoline and other types of energy.
The Labor Department reported Friday that consumer prices rose by 0.6 percent last month, the biggest one-month increase since last November, as gasoline costs surged by 5.7 percent. Food prices, which have also been rising sharply, were up 0.3 percent as the cost of beef and bakery products showed big gains.
Core inflation, which excludes energy and food, edged up a more moderate 0.2 percent in May. But even there, core prices are up 2.3 percent over the past 12 months, above the Federal Reserve's comfort zone.
Trouble is, the markets weren't buying into the negativity Crutsinger was selling, as SmartMoney.com reported after the closing bell: