The ABC News web site currently features a dramatic picture of a nuclear bomb blast (a cropped version of which appears at right) along with a story blurb that matches Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's claim that the U.S. is hypocritical to seek to prevent nations like Iran and North Korea from getting the bomb while we still preserve our nuclear arsenal.
The headline: "You Can't Build Nukes. But We Can" followed by this short story tease: "A decision has been made to update and redesign America's aging stockpile of nuclear weapons, even as the U.S. demands that Iran and North Korea not build up their own arsenals."
When you click on the actual AP report, written by Scott Lindlaw, readers see a much more neutral headline, "Bush Administration Picks Lawrence Livermore Warhead Design," and the story mainly focuses on the technical reasons for updating the country's nuclear technology. Deep in the story, however, Lindlaw cited critics who thought the U.S. was sending the "wrong signal" to the world's rogue regimes.
Last week, the Senate Ethics Committee exonerated former Virginia Senator George Allen on charges that he failed to report stock options he earned during the time he served as a director of a biotech company. As Cal Thomas throughly documented in his current column, this determination of innocence has gone little noticed by the mainstream media. The accusations, however, which were made last October during Allen’s heated, and ultimately unsuccessful, reelection campaign, were heavily covered.
As noted by CNSNews.com, the charges, first reported by the AP, were picked up and editorialized in several prominent Virginia papers. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee even used the claims in an ad for Allen’s Democratic opponent James Webb. (See above picure) Not so coincidentally, Senator Allen ended up losing his pivotal Senate seat by around 8000 votes. So the question is, now that it turns out the media hyped faulty accusations, where does Senator Allen go to get his reputation and his Senate seat back?
In his March 1 column, Cal Thomas commented on the shoddy coverage by the liberal media [emphasis added]:
Over at National Review Online Jay Nordlinger is praising a national media outlets for its reporting from the United Nations. The UN is not exactly a hot or hostile beat for liberal media outlets, who seem to like the intentions of the UN, and never seem to worry much about the follow-through. Oil-For-Food fraud? Yawn. Sexual harassment by UN brass? Yawn. This story is more pedestrian, about how "multilateralism" can often break down into a moral void.
I wanted to be super-sure that you saw this highly revealing article about the United Nations. It’s by Edith M. Lederer, the excellent U.N. correspondent of the Associated Press.
The United States criticized the United Nations for refusing to list a panel it organized Tuesday entitled “State-Sanctioned Mass Rape in Burma and Sudan” on a U.N. Web site.
The U.S. Mission to the United Nations arranged to hold the panel on the sidelines of the annual two-week meeting of the Commission on the Status of Women which this year is focusing on discrimination and violence against women. It will include presentations about rape and sexual violence in both countries.
But the U.N.’s Meeting Services branch objected to the title, which was published in the U.N.’s daily journal last Thursday, because it “would be perceived as offensive to named member states,” according to a letter to the U.S. Mission obtained by the Associated Press.
Two reports from earlier this week, one that warned of a "likely recession," and another that flat-out declared a non-existent "manufacturing recession," have to make you wonder, especially considering a positive report from the real world that came out earlier today.
Second -- On Tuesday evening, the New York Times (may require registration), in an article by David Leonhardt, declared:
For Manufacturing, a Recession Has Arrived
The nation’s manufacturing sector managed to slip into a recession with almost nobody seeming to notice. Well, until yesterday.
Wall Street was caught off guard when the Commerce Department reported yesterday morning that orders for durable goods — big items like home computers and factory machines — plunged almost 8 percent last month. That’s a big number, but it really shouldn’t have come as too much of a surprise. In two of the last three months, the manufacturing sector has shrunk, according to surveys by the Institute for Supply Management that have been out for weeks.
It sure looks as if Leonhardt was engaging in wishful thinking:
Here's a headline sure to spook any investor or economist: "Greenspan warns of likely U.S. recession." That was the headline right near the top of the widely surfed Drudge Report yesterday afternoon and this morning, referring to a speech that former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan made the other day via satellite to a business conference in Hong Kong. Many market watchers are blaming those comments– along with a weak durable goods report and the plunge in the Chinese stock market – for today's stock market sell-off. But despite the inflammatory Drudge headline – which, in all fairness, linked to an Associated Press story with that same title – the Maestro was hardly so definitive as Drudge made him out to be. Here is what Greenspan said, according to AP:
February 28, 2007 -- To those who remember the infamous 1981 Brinks heist in Nyack, Judith Clark is a self-indulgent '60s radical serving a well-deserved 75-year prison term for her role in the violent deaths of three heroic law-enforcement officers.
But to the Associated Press, which supplies news to the world, Judith Clark is a "former freedom fighter."
The man suspected of kidnapping a 13-year-old boy and leaving him tied to a tree in the woods in a ransom scheme reportedly is an illegal alien who had already been deported once.
Police are searching for Vincente Ignacio Beltran-Moreno, 22, an illegal alien who has already been deported once, for the kidnapping of 13 year old Clay Moore at gun point. It's believed to be a ransom attempt but Moore escaped on his own.
What’s next, knitting? The AP has taken up genealogy and investigated the family tree of Republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney. On Saturday, February 24th, Yahoo published an AP article detailing the polygamy in his family's past. The AP includes the obligatory phrase noting that Romney condemns the practice but for the rest of the article, goes into explicit detail about the Romneys' devotion to polygamy, even after the Mormon church and federal law banned it. The AP rattles off the family’s polygamists and gets into “how important polygamy was to them” (emphasis mine throughout):
Talk about a blatant attempt to mislead with a headline! We have no better example of such an effort than one by the AP today. It is a textbook case of a headline that does not fit the facts of the story.
Here is the headline:
R.I. to recognize gay unions performed in Mass.
Wow! It would be big news, indeed, if legislation had been passed wherein Gay Unions from Massachusetts were to be officially recognized by Rhode Island. And, if one were to read this AP headline and move on, one would be left with the impression that it had. Even the sub head doesn't really tell the whole truth.
State’s attorney general says there’s no reason to deny them recognition
Last Thursday, I provided Associated Press Media Relations Director Linda Wagner with confirmation that a January 4 Steven R. Hurst article appears to be 180-degrees from the truth.
To date, neither Wagner nor any other AP contact has deemed to provide
any sort of response. Frankly, I didn't expect one. The Hurst article
was a CYA piece written to provide cover for shoddy Associated Press
reporting, and it is not in their personal interests to admit that
they've been caught apparently fabricating that story from the ground
I've thus resorted to contacting several members of the AP Board of
Directors with the following letter sent out just moments ago, hoping
that they will display the integrity that neither AP reporters nor
senior management seem to have any interest in maintaining.
If they decline to investigate this extended "Jayson Blair" moment,
then their integrity and credibility as a news organization, to put it
mildly, is shot.
Here is a copy of the letter, with links added for context and HTML formatting added:
Talk about creating a false dichotomy geared to discrediting a policy! The AP has generated a doosie in theirs titled "Rural America bears scars from Iraq war" and subtitled "Nearly half of U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq came from a small town".
Their main thrust is that small towns are somehow seeing their sons fall on the field of battle in "unfair" numbers.
Across the nation, small towns are quietly bearing a disproportionate burden of war. Nearly half of the more than 3,100 U.S. military fatalities in Iraq have come from towns like McKeesport, where fewer than 25,000 people live, according to an analysis by The Associated Press. One in five hailed from hometowns of less than 5,000.
At first blush this might seem to be alarming. But, when one lets that first emotive rush fade and allows a little common sense to be applied to the situation, it doesn't seem so outrageous. The fact is, youngsters from rural areas are simply far more prone to joining the military in the first place and always have been. So it is a natural matter of strict statistics that more from those areas would fall in battle. After all, there are more of them.
So, what we are left with is a naked, emotive effort to cause some sort of outrage over the perceived unfairness of this statistic, even as there is no "fair" or "unfair" component to it. It is simply a fact.
Realizing we don't yet know all the details, apparently the AP has decided to not put the story of a Muslim cab driver running down two students after a religious dispute over the wire. Why might that be? They can't all be writing about Anna Nicole Smith?
And no, I don't mean the cloud of smug from all the Toyonda Piouses.
Benefit concerts, even ones held to save the planet, generate lots of trash and traffic, and eat up plenty of electricity, half of which is generated in this country from coal-fired power plants. Just don't expect the liberal media to make those points as they cover former Vice President Al Gore's "Live Earth" concerts.
In keeping with their constant quest to saddle the USA with the fault for the growing unrest in he Middle East, the Washington Post has unleashed another article, replete with some efforts to blame-the-USA-first, titled "Across Arab World, a Widening Rift".
In the first paragraph, writer Anthony Shadid illustrates the traditionally intertwined nature of Egypt's Sunni and Shiite communities showing us how they have so easily coexisted in the recent past but quickly gets to the warnings of the danger of the Shiites "rising".
Naturally, this is the fault of the USA who has left Arabs with a sense of "powerlessness and a persistent suspicion of American intentions." The rise of unrest is also blamed on the "United States and others for inflaming it".
U.S. Tax Revenues Up 9.7% Through Four Months, Deficit Down 57%; U.S. Media Outlets Mostly Ignore the News
There's a good chance you didn't hear about this (original US Treasury report is here):
Both Brian Wesbury at FT Portfolios and yours truly have to confess to being wrong so far this year on revenue growth. We both have been thinking (Wesbury here, BizzyBlog here) that it’s going to come in at 9%, but as you see, through four months it’s actually pushing 10%.
The AP has found a new way to attack TV's 24. They say that because of the depiction of character Jack Bauer's, shall we say, short-cuts in interrogating prisoners his ways have now infected the US Military. Absurdly, the AP is advancing the case, in "Does Jack Bauer Influence Interrogators?", that "there are indications that real-life American interrogators in Iraq are taking cues from what they see on television."
Are they indeed? Says who?
Predictably the AP reports these claims are from the "advocacy group Human Rights First".
While the media fawn over despots like Syria’s Bashar al-Assad and Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez, they rarely report on the horrors of life for most under such rule. With that in mind, it seems safe to assume that a current meat and sugar shortage in Venezuela that appears to be caused by government price controls is likely to go mostly unnoticed.
As reported by the Associated Press (emphasis mine throughout):
President Hugo Chavez's administration blames the food supply problems on unscrupulous speculators, but industry officials say government price controls that strangle profits are responsible. Authorities on Wednesday raided a warehouse in Caracas and seized seven tons of sugar hoarded by vendors unwilling to market the inventory at the official price.
Hmmm. Price controls and government intervention in the free market causes shortages and hyperinflation. You don’t expect to see that reported on the broadcast network news programs tonight, do you? Regardless, the article continued:
Following in John Kerry’s footsteps, former Vice President Al Gore was in Madrid, Spain, Wednesday basically blaming the world’s problems on the country that made him a very wealthy man.
As reported by the Associated Press (h/t Drudge, emphasis mine throughout): “Emerging economies such as China are justified in holding back on fighting greenhouse gas emissions until richer polluters like the United States do more to solve the problem, former Vice President Al Gore said Wednesday.”
Of course, Gore didn’t mention that one of the fastest growing economies in the world is China’s, or that it is believed that nation has been buying twice its actual need for oil in the past five years to stockpile it for the future. Such facts are unimportant when you’re trying to sell junk science.
Getting back to the recent announcement by China blaming America for global warming:
This was one of the topics discussed at a conservative bloggers briefing that I attended this afternoon: the media are complaining that Senate Republicans are shutting off a debate on Iraq war policy by, well, voting against shutting off debate.
Now, why is Fox the only outlet reporting that the "Democratic majority failed to shut off debate" instead of the Republicans succeeded in blocking debate. I am no parliamentary expert, that's for sure, but I do know cloture ends debate. So, how do Republicans voting against ending debate get accused of ending debate?
So which do you think will be a greater source of indigestion at the Clinton dinner table this evening: Barack Obama possibly getting the Democrat nomination for president in 2008, or Al Gore winning the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007?
Regardless of the answer, as amazing as it might seem, the former vice president was actually nominated for such an honor according to the Associated Press (emphasis mine throughout): "Former Vice President Al Gore was nominated for the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize for his wide-reaching efforts to draw the world's attention to the dangers of global warming, a Norwegian lawmaker said Thursday."
Extraordinary. Before you read the rest of this nonsense, please remove combustibles and sharp objects from proximity:
"The House passed a $463.5 billion spending bill Wednesday that covers about one-sixth of the federal budget as Democrats cleared away the financial mess they inherited from Republicans."
Cleared away the financial mess, all in one spending bill? That's not just editorializing, it's bald-faced partisan rhetoric, not fact. Just paragraphs later, Taylor suggests the Democrats are still a lot like Republicans:
This is amusing for it's total ridiculousness. In the AP story about upcoming Senate campaign of Al Franken, the soon to be ex-Air America ranter and supposed comedian, AP seems to have forgotten to mention he is a liberal.
And the long piece gives no hint of Franken's leanings until the last line of the report: Long AP Version
And even the long piece does not state Franken's leftist positioning as a fact, but couches it as the claim of a political science professor. And they don't even introduce the label until the very last paragraph of a ten paragraph story.
The headline conveys the obvious impression that our troops are fighting Iraqi soldiers and not terrorists/"insurgents."
Based on the story that follows, the headline is obviously false.
Bryan thought the headline at the original story had been updated, but that turns out to have been incorrect. Yours truly tipped him, and he noted, that the story is still there in all its ignominy. What's more, he noted, by reviewing Google News results, that the false headline, even if corrected now, has spread around the country and around the world. Further supporting the Pandora's Box nature of the AP's journalistic malpractice, here's a regular Google search on the headline (in quotes) showing that it still generates thousands of hits. And even though most of underlying linked stories appear to have different titles now, some (like this one) still have the original.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released its monthly report on "mass layoffs" yesterday. It also included annual totals and an eleven-year chart of mass layoff history.
A "mass layoff action" involves "at least 50 persons from a single establishment." Since 1988, employers have been required to give 60 days notice of "covered plant closings and covered mass layoffs." The BLS Mass Layoffs report compiles those notices.
Now that 2006 is in the record books, here is that eleven-year chart:
As you can see, the total number of "layoff events" in 2006 came in at the lowest on record (BLS began compiling these statistics during the second quarter of 1995), while the number of people who filed unemployment claims as a result of those layoffs was the lowest in 10 years. On a percentage-of-workforce basis, the number of unemployment claims filers in 2006 was also, along with the layoff events, the lowest in the 11 full years BLS has reported on this information.
Proving the pro-life movement is alive and well despite abortion advocates obtaining control of Congress last November, hundreds of thousands of pro-life advocates participated in the annual March for Life. The mood was optimistic and positive despite 34 years of legalized abortion since the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision.
Independent confirmation of the size of the crowd, plus additional chances for readers to get a perspective on the number of people present (no aerial shots, unfortunately), is at "Barbara's Public March for Life 2007 Gallery," where Barbara says:
As a former radical leftist, I attended many demonstrations in Washington, DC. Now having attended the March for Life two years in a row, I'm amazed at how under-reported the March for Life is - and all too aware of how that under-reporting contributes to the rampant stereotyping of pro-lifers as middle-aged white males. I actually saw very few of those today! What I saw were hundreds of thousands of people willing to brave the cold (DC had its first snow of the winter the night before) to affirm that a baby in the womb is not property to be destroyed, but a person that those committed to human rights must defend. It's a child, not a choice!
As has been the case for decades, those who are supposed to bring us the news couldn't and/or wouldn't accurately report what was occurring right in front of them:
As reported by NewsBusters, Bill O’Reilly and Stephen Colbert squared off Thursday evening in well-publicized meetings on each other’s popular programs. According to the Los Angeles Times, this was a ratings bonanza for both:
Colbert helped O'Reilly draw more than 2.9 million viewers, a boost of 46% over last quarter and a hike of 67% among 25- to 54-year-old viewers.
With O'Reilly on his show, Colbert garnered 1.64 million viewers, up 50% over last quarter, and his biggest audience ever.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics released what it calls its Usual Weekly Earnings Report for the Fourth Quarter of 2006 on Friday.
This is one of the more important reports the BLS releases because:
It looks at the earnings of full-time wage and salary workers, excluding part-timers, business owners, and the self-employed.
It looks at individuals, not households or families.
Unlike most reports, it tells us median earnings, the point at which half of workers are earning more and half earning less. Other reports covering "average" results may be distorted by the impact of high earners bringing up the reported average while a "typical" person at the median might not be making any progress.
It specifically compares nominal earnings increases at the median (i.e., before inflation) to inflation that occurred during the same time period. It therefore tells us whether the "typical" (as opposed to "average") worker has gotten ahead or has fallen behind during the period covered.
So it was very heartening to read the first paragraph from Friday's Usual Weekly Earnings report:
Median weekly earnings of the nation’s 106.9 million full-time wage and salary workers were $682 in the fourth quarter of 2006, the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor reported today. This was 3.5 percent higher than a year earlier, compared with a gain of 1.9 percent in the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) over the same period.
As long as it's not about violence in Iraq, the AP is willing to issue corrections, and in big letters.
Says the "new" caption:
Colombian soldiers escort former Colombian cabinet minister Fernando Araujo, with his arms up, as they arrive at a military base in Cartagena, Colombia, Friday, Jan. 5, 2007. Fernando Araujo escaped from six years in rebel captivity by fleeing through the jungle for five days after troops attacked the guerrillas who held him, he said Friday.(AP Photo/Ricardo Maldonado)
In an article (HT Instapundit) decrying the alleged environmental waste in the United Arab Emirates, Associated Press writer Jim Krane gave voice to the environmental strain of Bush Derangement Syndrome when he claimed:
But the oil-rich Emirates is considered a developing country, and even as a signatory to the United Nations Kyoto protocol on global warming, is not required to cut emissions. The United States is no longer bound by Kyoto, which the Bush administration rejected after taking office in 2001.