Obama begins with a broad assessment of life in America in 2008, and life is not good: we're a divided country, we're a country that is "just downright mean," we are "guided by fear," we're a nation of cynics, sloths, and complacents. "We have become a nation of struggling folks who are barely making it every day," she said, as heads bobbed in the pews. "Folks are just jammed up, and it's gotten worse over my lifetime. And, doggone it, I'm young. Forty-four!"
Sheppard said that "Given how (the) media made excuses for her comments in Wisconsin (She said, "for the first time in my adult lifetime, I am really proud of my country." -- Ed.), it will be quite interesting to see just how much of (the) interview ..... will be reported in the next 24 hours."
Well, Noel, I looked at the next 72 hours, and the answer is, with one enjoyable exception, "precious little":
.... for what I believe is a painfully obvious reason.
It is reports like the one written up by Shobhana Chandra at Bloomberg yesterday on household net worth that make you wonder if everyday US citizens will ever get the information needed to accurately evaluate what's going on in the economy without doing more digging than they have time for -- or that they should even have to do.
Chandra's writeup seemed to deliberately omit any and all context readers could have used to understand the significance of the information presented. She (based on this source, I'm assuming that Chandra is female -- if I'm wrong, please let me know) also sought out an "expert" to support a specious case that the reported results were masking a greater deterioration.
For years, NewsBusters and the Business & Media Institute have regularly complained about the abysmal financial coverage offered by the mainstream press while accusing media of consistently painting a negative -- and oftentimes fallacious! -- picture of the economy.
On Friday, a perfect example of such was illustrated by the Associated Press whose article about the February unemployment data just released by the Labor Department grossly misrepresented what was announced.
In fact, the AP's Jeannine Aversa actually fabricated data that went completely contrary to what was reported. Take a close look at paragraph two of Aversa's article published at Yahoo at 9:39AM (emphasis added):
Here's is the core information the Associated Press's Jeannine Aversa had to work with today in the Employment Situation Report released by the government's Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS):
The "Dec.-Feb. change" column was added by me, but is easily calculated from the data in the BLS report. What Aversa did with this info, and my comments, are after the jump. (see also Noel Sheppard's post here)
Here's how her report began (scare words in bold; the headline is also from AP):
When January's retail sales failed to meet expectations, Old Media made sure we knew about how "disappointing" the result was. But today, February's result, which beat expectations by about as much or more than January's trailed them, was described as a mere "reprieve."
Associated Press reporter Anne D'Innocenzio's January coverage began as follows:
Stores Post Disappointing January Sales
Here's a sign of how shaky the economy has become: Wal-Mart says its shoppers are redeeming their holiday gift cards for basic items — pasta sauce, diapers, laundry detergent — instead of iPods or DVDs.
Former Navy signalman Hassan Abu-Jihaad was convicted today on charges "of leaking information about the movements and vulnerabilities of ships in his battle group to suspected terrorism supporters" in spring 2001, months before 9/11. These secrets were sent via e-mail to a pro-Taliban Web site.
But in reporting the story, MSNBC.com ran an Associated Press story that failed to note Abu-Jihaad is an American born convert to Islam, arguably germane to his terror conviction given the recipient of the classified material he leaked in 2001. By contrast, CBSNews.com ran an AP story that mentioned Abu-Jihaad's convert status:
The American-born Muslim convert formerly known as Paul R. Hall faces up to 25 years in federal prison when he is sentenced May 23. His attorneys said they were disappointed, and that an appeal was likely.
Leftist Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez is threatening neighboring Colombia with war after that country successfully killed via airstrike FARC terrorists in a camp in Ecuador. Yet in reporting the story, CBSNews.com and the AP downplayed the terroristic nature of the leftist rebel movement.
The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) has been on a Comprehensive List of Terrorists and Groups since November 2, 2001, yet in a March 2 AP filing on the CBSNews.com Web site, the Associated Press waited 30 paragraphs before hinting that FARC was an internationally-maligned terror organization:
[Venezuelan dictator Hugo] Chavez has increasingly revealed his sympathies for the FARC, and in January asked that it be struck from lists of terrorist groups internationally.
Instead, AP preferred to label FARC as a "rebel" force and put in dismissive quote marks the term "terrorists" to refer to FARC militants. For good measure, AP gave ink to former Cuban dictator Fidel Castro, who insisted Colombia was acting as a puppet of Washington:
On Wednesday, Associated Press Business Writer J.W. Elphinstone used a curious definition of "narrow" to emphasize the importance of a home-price measurement index that only looks at the country's largest metro areas, while minimizing the significance of one that catalogs virtually the entire USA -- all apparently done to create an overwrought portrayal of home values as being "in freefall."
No end in sight: Housing in freefall until credit loosens and supply recedes, experts say
House prices may still have a long way to fall.
Across much of the nation, home values are dropping -- even those backed by solid mortgages -- and banks are repossessing more every day. Most experts say the dive won't hit bottom for another year and only after excess inventory is sharply reduced and credit markets improve.
On Thursday's The O'Reilly Factor, FNC analyst Karl Rove quoted an AP story by Christopher Wills from September 18, 2004, which had reported not only that Barack Obama had previously been open to a U.S. troop increase in Iraq when he was running for Senate, but had warned against a premature troop withdrawal as a "slap in the face to the troops fighting there" which could make Iraq "an extraordinary hotbed of terrorist activity." (Transcripts follow)
After devoting his "Talking Points Memo" to debunking Obama's recent claim that "there was no such thing as Al-Qaeda in Iraq until George Bush and John McCain decided to invade Iraq," Bill O'Reilly started his interview with Rove by asking why it is "bad strategy for Obama to go out and say that the Bush administration fouled it all up and we need to get out."
Well, here is what might be a landmark case for the blogosphere, for the Internet, and for the future of our new media, citizen journalism. The AP has just sent a cease and desist letter to Brian C. Ledbetter telling him to stop using their copyrighted images on his website, snappedshot.com.
Snappedshot.com is a site predicated on criticism of photo-journalism. In pursuit of his criticism, Mr. Ledbetter uses photos from across the web that he thinks are doctored or misleading in some way. He then reports his opinion on the bias he sees therein.
Because of this pending legal action, snappedshot.com is now been placed on hiatus until the situation can be cleared up.
The Associated Press, reporters groups and advocates for press freedoms urged the Supreme Court on Friday to reject Bush administration arguments that people held by the military in Iraq have no access to American courts.
Former Newark, New Jersey Mayor Sharpe James has been brought up on charges of corruption and the AP, The New York Times and several other outlets have all been reporting that jury selection for the event is underway this week. These news outlets dutifully reported the charges against James, reported his long political career, some even reported how popular he was in office. Yet, not one of them remembered to mention he was a Democrat. So, today's episode of "Democrat or Not?" leaves us right back where we usually are... with a story of corruption of a public official where his Democratic party affiliation is somehow not "relevant" to the story.
In two versions of the story the Associated press seems not to notice that Sharpe James is a Democrat (here and here).
In a report yesterday from Cuba, Anita Snow of the Associated Press, with the help of the headline writers at ABC, seemed intent on telling any Yanqui imperialists or hard-liners in Miami's Little Havana who might have any ideas of doing something rash during the transition of power from Fidel Castro to his brother Raul to forget about trying anything (HT Rush Limbaugh; story #4 at link; link will be available until next Monday):
Old Media coverage of government budget difficulties usually focuses on the here and now, and all the "tough decisions" that have to be made.
Seldom is there ever an examination of how a state or local government entity got into its current fix. Scratch just a little bit beneath the surface, though, and you'll almost inevitably find that an annoying habit of overspending during the good times has left the state or municipality unprepared for when things go even a little bit sour, as they invariably and eventually do.
It now appears, as predicted by yours truly two weeks ago today, that Hillary Clinton will not be our next president, and that Barack Obama is going to be Democratic Party's presidential nominee.
This means that it must be time for Old Media to start playing robust defense on his behalf.
Nedra Pickler of the Associated Press got Old Media off to a "great" start in that regard this morning, as she linked criticism of Obama's patriotism strictly to conservatives, rewrote the history of the Swift Boat campaign against John Kerry, played a game of misdirection regarding the candidate's failure to put his hand over his heart during the national anthem, and made excuses for Michelle Obama's quarter-century gap in her pride in being an American.
Pickler's report, entitled "Conservatives Say Obama Lacks Patriotism," starts thusly:
I hate to say it, but for a news service that is supposed to thrive on the facts, the Associated Press sure seems to leave out an awful lot of them in their wire stories. We've seen dozens of examples of that when they conveniently forget to mention the political party affiliation when a public servant caught up in crime or scandal and happens to be a Democrat. We have also seen the AP somehow forget to mention when a criminal happens to be an illegal alien. Well, here is yet anther case where a crime is committed by an illegal and the AP seems to have developed amnesia about the fact that the criminal is an illegal alien.
Unlike Congressman Rick Renzi, who is a Republican, and whose party membership was identified in the first word of an Associated Press report yesterday about his indictment, the person involved in this situation, Wicomico County (MD) State's Attornery Davis Ruark, is not a Republican.
This explains why the AP report of Ruark's drunk-driving arrest begins devoid of any indication as to what party he might belong to:
Wicomico County State's Attorney Davis R. Ruark was charged with drunken driving Friday night after being pulled over for speeding and crossing the center line, police said.
There is no need to play the parlor game, "What party is this person a member of?" with this Associated Press story by Lara Jakes Jordan (Feb. 23 Note: The original link from AP's hosted.ap.org site was changed; the story link now goes to Jordan's story carried at SignOnSanDiego.com. Jordan's report has been saved for future reference at BizzyBlog's host for fair use and discussion purposes):
Congressman Charged in Land Deal
Republican Rep. Rick Renzi was indicted Friday on charges of extortion, wire fraud, money laundering and other matters in an Arizona land swap scam that allegedly helped him collect hundreds of thousands of dollars in payoffs.
A 26-page federal indictment unsealed in Tucson, Ariz., accuses Renzi and two former business partners of embezzlement and conspiring to promote the sale of land that buyers could swap for property owned by the federal government.
Guilt by association, that's the trick that the AP just pulled on the wife of GOP presidential candidate John McCain. In a story about the non-story du jour, AP writer Libby Quaid has placed Cindy McCain in with jilted political wives of the likes of Hillary Clinton, Suzanne Craig, Dina McGreevey, and Carlita Kilpatrick. They even reached back into the graveyard of political careers and dug up Lee Hart, wife of Donna Rice's paramour Gary Hart.
The AP got all weepy eyed over how Cindy McCain "did not hesitate" to step forward to take "her place in the history of political wives who stood by their men in the face of rumored or alleged marital infidelity." The AP then states her first lines as "Well, obviously I'm disappointed." AP thinks this is interesting because, "A coterie of wives has confronted the public pain of such an accusation. Smaller still is the band who, like Cindy McCain, have spoken out."
As the AP begins the story, you'd think that John McCain is exactly the same as Bill Clinton or Gary Hart... in other words guilty of screwin' around on his wife. Even the way they quote Cindy McCain could be taken as that she is "disappointed" in her husband if the reader stops there!
Associated Press writer Tini Tran, in covering the fallout inside Mainland/Communist China from Steven Spielberg's decision to resign from his position as artistic adviser to the Beijing Olympics over that country's involvement in Darfur, introduced the critical reaction to his decision as a "groundswell" rising up from the public. But the detail presented indicates that the reaction came from Chinese officialdom far more than from the public in general (bolds are mine):
China Media, Public Angered by Spielberg
Hollywood director Steven Spielberg's decision to quit the Beijing Olympics over the Darfur crisis is drawing condemnation by China's state-controlled media and a groundswell of criticism from the Chinese public.
..... Officially, the Chinese government has not directly criticized Spielberg by name, expressing only "regret" over his decision. But the state-run media and the public have been far less restrained.
Let me get this straight: On September 11, 2001, terrorists brutally exterminated nearly 3,000 Americans, obliterated the landscape of lower Manhattan, and pummeled the headquarters of the United States's national defense. And since that same date nearly six-and-a-half years ago, pro-lifers have committed a grand total of zero murders, attempted murders, and bombings directed at abortion workers and clinics across the United States and Canada.
So the Associated Press implies that the bigger threat of terrorism to this country comes from ... pro-lifers? Here's how the AP tells it:
When it comes to fears about a terrorist attack, people in the U.S. usually focus on Osama bin Laden and foreign-based radical groups. Yet researchers say domestic extremists who commit violence in the name of their cause — abortion or the environment, for example — account for most of the damage from such incidents in this country.
Update 14:16 | Matthew Sheffield. The level of excusing and tip-toeing around the truth about Castro is staggering. As of 2:13 ET when you do a Google News search for "Fidel Castro" you come up with 7,520 results. Add the word dictator after it and you come back with 1,417. That's 81 percent less.
Just a few headlines from major newspapers as Fidel Castro has called it quits as dictator:
Castro resigns, ending era in Cuba (LATimes.com front page)
None of those articles directly referred to Castro as a dictator. Here's how AP's Anita Snow danced around the matter of Fidel's autocracy, conceding that "detractors called him a dictator" while throwing in the favored defense leftists often throw up for Castro (emphasis mine):
I'm in the unusual position of defending uber-liberal Margaret Carlson. Carlson, formerly of Time and CNN's old Capital Gang, now with uber-liberal Al Hunt's Bloomberg News, was unfairly ripped by Taylor Marsh over at Huffington Post Saturday.
Carlson sent an e-mail to someone suggesting that, as far as Hillary Clinton's candidacy is concerned:
..... I covered the Clinton White House for 8 years and don't think it would be good for the country to go back there.
Relatively innocuous stuff.
Not according to Marsh, who launched into a major rant:
Associated Press reporter David Bauder wrote an article on the emergence of "pundit police" in the wake of MSNBC suspending reporter David Shuster for two weeks over his pimped-out-Chelsea outburst. Bauder began by noting how NewsBusters (Mark Finkelstein) was on Shuster's case within ten minutes:
Fewer than a half-million people were watching MSNBC when David Shuster made his comment that Hillary Rodham Clinton's campaign had "pimped out" daughter Chelsea by having her make political phone calls.
Among them were monitors at Newsbusters. The Web site posted video of Shuster 10 minutes after the show was over, beginning a reaction that led to his two-week suspension. The pundit police never go off duty.
In changing his tune on whether delegates from Michigan and Florida should be able to vote their preferences at the Democratic National Convention based on the results of those states' primaries, Harold Ickes has gone from DNC hack to Hillary Clinton flack.
Yesterday, Associated Press reporter Hope Yen gave Ickes an open microphone to "explain" himself, and showed no skepticism regarding Ickes's hopefully conflicting positions (bolds are mine):
Harold Ickes, a top adviser to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's campaign who voted for Democratic Party rules that stripped Michigan and Florida of their delegates, now is arguing against the very penalty he helped pass.
Remember the former governor of New Jersey, Jim McGreevey? What political party did he belong to? Can't remember? Well, don't rely on the Associated Press to assist you in its article yesterday about him and his continuing marital woes:
They've bickered over whether she knew he was gay, whose tell-all book would sell better, whether a poster of a nude man hanging over his new lover's bed had to come down before she'd allow their 6-year-old to visit.
Granted, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) is a trade organization which will, as trade organizations do, try to put the best face on a bad situation. And granted, part of the press's job is to filter through hype and false sunniness to report the truth of what's really going on.
But that is most emphatically not what the Associated Press did with yesterday's NAR report on the state of the national housing market. Instead, AP failed to report overall statistics in favor of reporting individual metro areas; ignored most of the legitimately good news; ignored an important piece of historical context; and, most importantly, and as has been the case for well over a year in the national business press, emphasized reductions in unit sales while de-emphasizing much smaller reductions in sale prices.
Sure, it's garden variety AP labeling/double-standard bias, but it bears busting anyway.
At KnoxNews.com (h/t NB reader coffee260), one can read the tale of Nashville, Tennessee, state representative Rob Briley, who "has pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of an accident and property damage prior to leading authorities on a high-speed chase last September." Briley is a Democrat, but his party affiliation was not mentioned in the 6-paragraph story.
Yet another AP dispatch on another state politician, this one from Maryland, had a quite different treatment of that legislator's political affiliation.
You know, if the Associated Press ever straightens up and starts reporting the news like a truly unbiased news agency it would ruin our little game of "Democrat or Not?" Fortunately for us, it doesn't seem like the AP is going to go legitimate any time soon and our little game can go on ad infinitum. Today our game is being hosted in the Tennessee House of Representatives where State Representative Bob Briley pleaded guilty to a DUI from last September.
State Rep. Rob Briley of Nashville has pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of an accident and property damage prior to leading authorities on a high-speed chase last September... Authorities said he struck the rear of a truck and then left the scene.