About a week ago, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown suggested in a UK Telegraph column that allowing hospitals to harvest organs from dead patients without their prior consent or their families' post-mortem consent might be a good idea.
Mr. Brown's occasion for bringing up the topic was telling, and perhaps explains why Brown's proposal got very little coverage in the US:
This year will be the 60th anniversary of the National Health Service: a year to celebrate and thank all the staff who run our hospitals, clinics and GP practices; but also a year in which to renew the NHS for the 21st century, because I believe that only by renewal can we make the NHS even more relevant for future decades than it has been in the past.
..... we may need to do more to encourage more of us to donate (organs. In Britain we have 14.9 million people on the organ donor register - which is around 24 per cent of the population. In terms of actual donors (not just people willing to give, but those whose organs are actually used) we have a rate of about 13 donors per million in our population. This compares with about 22 per million in France, 25 per million in America and around 35 per million in Spain - the best in the world.
That is why I want to start a debate in this country about whether we should take steps to move towards a new system designed to enable far more of us to benefit from transplant surgery - one that better reflects survey findings that around 90 per cent of us are in favour of organ donation.
The Republicans had two contests for delegates on Saturday, but many pundits played the game of playing up the hotly contested race, and playing down the "little-contested" race, even though they equally count at convention time. In this case, it also means playing up media favorite John McCain and playing down media un-favorite Mitt Romney. Here's AP reporter Tom Raum:
Among Republicans, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney cruised to victory in the little-contested GOP Nevada caucuses.
But McCain's victory in South Carolina could shake up the GOP contest and give him political grasp. McCain won in New Hampshire but placed second to Romney in Michigan.
This kind of punditry, assuming McCain's victory is the one with the "grasp," ignores the actual delegate count. According to CNN on Sunday morning, Romney has 72, McCain has 38, and Huckabee has 29.
Yesterday Newsbuster writer Seton Motley wrote a couple of articles about the blatant liberal bias that stinks up syndicated feeds and news reports coming out of the Associated Press.
As a testimony to the truthfulness of Motley's articles I perused the headlines from the rapidly changing AP RSS feed of their top political news and found that the tone of the teasers were less than ingratiating toward Republicans. The feeds at the time of this writing were full of adjectival editorializing that had a tendency to associate Republicans with negative phrases and words that connote a scrambling uphill path to victory. Where the Democratic race was being characterized as "tight" the Republican race was being characterized as "chaotic" and "uncertain".
The Associated Press (AP) is the Hulking Monster of the news syndication business.
Formed in May of 1846, The Syndicate has risen to currently consist of 243 news bureaus in 97 countries. They have over 3,000 journalists on staff. 121 countries avail themselves of what they have to offer. Their content appears in 1,700 newspapers worldwide.
But the AP is now far more than merely "Press". There are additionally 850 AP Radio News audio affiliates, with 5,000 radio and television outlets spanning the globe taking them for and at their word.
Beyond just the majors, it is from where a great many small town American newspapers get most or all of their national and international news stories. They are a deeply and tremendously dominant and influential force.
"Bush allows Navy to use sonar in whale areas," blares the headline to an AP story on MSNBC.com about President Bush granting the Navy the right to continue to test mid-frequency active sonar in coastal waters despite a federal court judge's order for the Navy to stop.
"Judge had earlier ordered 12-mile no-sonar zone off California," reads the subhead.
Gee, I wasn't aware that whales had legal claims on U.S. coastal waters, let alone that they are considered "whale areas."
The issue at hand is whether environmental laws can and should be shelved from time to time for national security exemptions, and if the president can make that determination as commander-in-chief. So why not a headline that's more straightforward?
"Bush allows Navy to use sonar in coastal waters. Decision challenges court ruling aimed at protecting whales."
The ink was barely dry on the Michigan primary results when the Associated Press circulated an "On Deadline" column from political reporter Ron Fournier headlined "Mitt Won, Authenticity Lost." Fournier savaged Mitt Romney for pandering to Michigan voters and demonstrating he is "the most malleable — and least credible — major presidential candidate." Fournier complained that John McCain "deserved a better result," and that "The man who spoke hard truths to Michigan lost."
So much for journalists not taking sides. Here's how the Fournier news analysis began:
WASHINGTON - Mitt Romney's victory in Michigan was a defeat for authenticity in politics.
The former Massachusetts governor pandered to voters, distorted his opponents' record and continued to show why he's the most malleable — and least credible — major presidential candidate.
David Crary of the Associated Press, in an article asking if sexism or racism is more "taboo" in the context of the recent war of words between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, concluded that "both are alive and well." It appears, though, judging by the use of quotes from feminists including Gloria Steinem and Kim Gandy, it seems that Crary is taking the apparent sexism against Hillary Clinton more seriously.
The first half of Crary’s article focused on the sexism component of the discussion. Crary quoted Steinem’s claim in a recent New York Times article that "gender is 'probably the most restricting force in American life' — more so than race." He then quotes Yvonne Scruggs-Leftwich, who "suggested there was little point in ranking them," and NOW president Kim Gandy, who is of the view that while racism may be "somewhat coded," there’s still "an awful lot of explicit sexist stuff."
Crary then spent six paragraphs on criticism of Hillary Clinton that has apparent sexist overtones.
By omitting key facts of the original "Rathergate" story from his report Thursday, Associated Press Writer Samuel Maull managed to give the former CBS news anchor's contentions an appearance of credibility.
A judge said Wednesday that he was leaning toward allowing Dan Rather's $70 million lawsuit over his being fired by CBS to proceed.
"I concluded there was enough in the complaint (by Rather) to continue with discovery (pretrial research)," state Judicial Hearing Officer Ira Gammerman said at a hearing on CBS' motion to dismiss the case.
We are in the middle of an intense election cycle, we all know. Both parties are, for the first time in many years, completely undecided as to which of their candidates is "the" candidate. It's pretty exciting for a political junkie. So, what does the Associated Press give us? What political news is of the utmost importance to help us all in this supremely important decision, so urgent that the AP felt we needed to know about it? Why, it's that Chris Matthews has made a few lefties mad at him for helping Hillary win in New Hampshire, of course! The AP is trying to drum up sympathy for Matthews who is supposedly on the receiving end of a "backlash" for his supposed attacks on Hillary Clinton.
He’s become the target for critics who think a backlash against the media played a part in Hillary Clinton’s surprise win in New Hampshire. Chris Matthews laughs off that idea, and insists he has a lot of respect for her.
Though Uncle Sam did run a surplus last month, the year-to-date figures are alarming:
It should be pretty clear that the big news in the above figures is that federal spending during the first quarter of the fiscal year was almost 9% higher than during the first quarter a year ago. If the spending increase had been held to only 5%, this fiscal year's quarterly deficit would have come in virtually the same as last year's.
Yet it took these publications the following number of paragraphs to get to the year-to-date spending news:
The AP "wants your questions." No, really... I'm serious. With their continued roll out of "AP 2.0" (as I reported on here) the Associated Press wants you to email them with all those nagging questions you have about the news and current events. If you see or read a story from the AP and you are curious about something, drop 'em a line.
Do you read about world events online and wish you could click on a Tell Me More button? Do you watch newscasts, read blogs and download news podcasts, only to end up frustrated by a question that's left ringing in your head?
Here's your chance to get some answers from the people who really know the news: journalists at the world's largest newsgathering organization.
The AP is not playin', man. They are serious that these "journalists" are the ones who "really know the news." Of course, the main reason they "really know the news" is because they make it up themselves! So, they outta know. Ya know?
In an article about the status of Massachusetts's health care system on January 6, Associated Press Writer Steve LeBlanc seemed to be auditioning for a spot at the BBC.
Until just a few years ago, when the cost, sanitation, treatment and other problems at the British National Health service (NHS) became so obvious that they could not be ignored, the BBC could be counted on to give glowing reports on the NHS, regardless of the reality.
LeBlanc's opening paragraphs, carried in the Worcester Telegram & Gazette, could have been taken straight from 1990s-and-prior BBC missives:
Massachusetts is facing a daunting goal as it enters the second year of its grand experiment of extending health care coverage to nearly all citizens - reining in spiraling costs that could threaten the landmark law.
"The sustainability of reform depends on our ability to restrain or constrain or moderate the increase in costs," said Jon Kingsdale, executive director of the Health Insurance Connector Authority, which oversees the health care law.
"That's going to take a huge concerted effort by all players in the health care area," he added.
For Massachusetts residents deemed able to afford health care, but refuse, that means facing new monthly fines that could total as much as $912 for individuals and $1,824 for couples by the end of the year.
Update (17:35): Paul Colford with AP e-mailed me with an updated obit posted at 14:40 EST that had more information. See more at bottom of the post.
Philip Agee, a leftist who exposed fellow CIA operatives by name in a book he published in the 1970s has died in Cuba. Agee's perfidy was one reason Congress in 1982 passed the Intelligence Identities Protection Act. If that doesn't ring a bell, that's precisely the law that Bush administration critics charged Karl Rove and/or Scooter Libby violated in the "outing" of CIA agent Valerie Plame.
Yet while the Plame case was a media obsession for roughtly four years, the AP's Will Weissert buried that detail deep in its January 9 obituary. What's more, the wire service practically painted Agee's defection to Cuba as retirement from CIA work to the private sector:
Isn't the Internet wonderful? It wasn't long before folks in the conservative blogosphere uncovered the fact that the "Iron my Shirt" guys that disrupted yesterday's Hillary campaign stop in Salem, New Hampshire are radio geeks trying to create a radio stunt. Just about every major news outlet reported the stunt as a real political protest. Only one of them bothered to look into the thing to try and track down the real motivation of the disrupters.
The AP reported it straight and their report was typical of most other MSM outlets.
Hillary Rodham Clinton's campaign stop was interrupted Monday when two men stood in the crowd and began screaming, "Iron my shirt!" during one of her final appearances before the New Hampshire primary.
I don't know how you top the example coming up for simultaneous outrage and doublespeak.
It's from Nedra Pickler of the Associated Press, covering Hillary Clinton's claim that Barack Obama -- known to yours truly as BOOHOO (Barack O-bombaOverseas Hussein “Obambi” Obama) -- is not a strong enough defender of abortion "rights."
During his eight years in the legislature, Obama cast a number of votes on abortion and received a 100 percent rating from the Illinois Planned Parenthood Council for his support of abortion rights, family planning services and health insurance coverage for female contraceptives. He voted against requiring medical care for aborted fetuses who survive, a vote that especially riled abortion opponents.
Never underestimate the power of the media with a "doom and gloom" agenda - especially when it comes to such a renowned contest like the 18th annual American Dialect Society "Word of the Year" contest.
"‘Subprime' has been around with bankers for awhile, but now everyone is talking about ‘subprime,'" said Wayne Glowka, a spokesman for the group and a dean at Reinhardt College in Waleska, Ga. "It's affecting all kinds of people in all kinds of places."
A January 4 Associated Press story by Jeannine Aversa pointed to the job data as one of the "problems in the economy" that has "elevated fears about a recession." But even with all these "problems" - housing woes, the credit crunch, high oil prices, weak job numbers - the criteria of the economy being in a recession still haven't been close to being met.
Last year's most bizarre and famously icky sex scandal was, of course, Senator Larry Craig's airport bathroom incident, in which the Idaho Republican was alleged to have been soliciting homosexual sex from an undercover cop. Suffice it to say no one who came across the story could walk away without knowing Craig's party affiliation, and in some cases his record as a conservative with some libertarian-friendly stances.
So how did the Associated Press's Bill Poovey treat a former Democratic Tennessee judge with an arguably nastier, kinkier, more disturbing sexual predilection? Not one mention of John B. Hagler's Democratic Party affiliation in Poovey's 23-paragraph January 2 story, even though the judge's sex fantasy recording sure spooked at least one veteran police officer (emphasis mine, h/t NB reader Chris Mario):
Two years ago, Old Media, particularly the New York Times, and quite a few chronic sufferers of Bush Derangement Syndrome (but I repeat myself), attempted to hijack the Sago Mine tragedy in West Virginia before the wakes for the 12 dead miners were even held. They wanted to pin the catastrophe, totally without foundation, on the idea that the administration had created the conditions for the tragedy by starving the budget of the Mine Safety and Health Administration and by putting industry cronies who were deliberately lax in safety enforcement in charge.
The Times even tried to tie the tragedy to Hurricane Katrina, which had occurred a few months earlier.
The claims of negligence and pervasive deteriorating safety conditions were definitively debunked at these posts:
In short, yours truly and Bevan found that coal-mine deaths and injuries had been declining significantly during the previous four years; inspection hours had shown no indications of a safety letup; and the budget for MHSA had not been slashed.
So where is coal-mine safety, and mine safety in general, two years later?
The dispute over Indiana's voter ID law that is headed to the Supreme Court in January is as much a partisan political drama as a legal tussle.
On one side are mainly Republican backers of the law, including the Bush administration, who say state-produced photo identification is a prudent measure intended to cut down on vote fraud. Yet there have been no Indiana prosecutions of in-person voter fraud — the kind the law is supposed to prevent.
On the other side are mainly Democratic opponents who call voter ID a modern-day poll tax that will disproportionately affect poor, minority and elderly voters — who tend to back Democrats. Yet, a federal judge found that opponents of the law were unable to produce evidence of a single, individual Indiana resident who had been barred from voting because of the law.
Conservative radio host and political pundit, Jed Babbin, did a great job of smacking the Associated Press around in an editorial in Human Events, today. Calling the AP "one of the most politically activist media outlets" out there and pointing out that the wire service is often "caught Hillary-handed," Babbin does a great job of handing the AP its hat. And Babbin warns that every candidate "who exudes a whiff of conservatism" will see the APs guns leveled upon them.
To prove his case, Babbin uses the example of how the AP is doing it's level best to destroy the candidacy of Fred Thompson because, in Babbin's view, he is one of the most conservative candidates in the field as well as how often the AP rides to Hillary Clinton's rescue quite despite the facts.
How thoughtful of the AP to give NewsBusters a Christmas contestant for “Name That Party.” Consider this post our thank you note for the timely gift!
In this December 25 article, the AP buried the party affiliation of Democratic Philadelphia mayor John F. Street in the very last sentence of a ten-paragraph article about the mayor taking an extra $111,000 in pay raises that he rejected while in office. He now wants to take the money through a program he he once vetoed, claiming the city couldn't afford it. He then played the race card and asked as a politician elected mainly by "poor black people" "what will I do" without the extra money.
Not only did the AP bury Street's party, it didn't label him a Dem outright, instead indirectly referred to a “fellow Democrat” as the only party identification. (Thnx to NBer DaBird)
Also missing are references to Street's financial troubles, some relating to his office, and several corruption scandals, earning him a 2005 Time magazine award as one of the worst top-three big city mayors. Note the many spots for a label:
As 2007 comes to a close, one has to wonder just how much further the press are willing to go printing Democrat talking points in order to get the candidates of their choice elected next year.
Throughout 2006, the biased media told the citizenry that all their problems would be solved if they kicked Republicans out of office, and elected enough Democrats to take over the Senate and the House.
Now that the first year of the 110th Congress has ended with key Democrat campaign promises not having been fulfilled, it's all the Republicans' fault.
Despite the absurdity of such a claim, that's exactly how the Associated Press depicted the situation in an article published moments ago, while making the case that if readers want Congress to accomplish more in the future, they had better vote for Democrats in 2008 (emphasis added throughout):
The mainstream media is onceagainreporting the story of New York banker and ex-GOP voter Jeff Volk who claims to have been rescued by Hillary Clinton from the harrowing conditions of a New Orleans Hotel during Hurricane Katrina. Only now the details of that ordeal have evolved as have a few other elements of the story that the mainstream media seems to have glossed over in their rush to report about a defecting GOP voter.
It's Christmas, the surge is undeniably working, and December, 2007, could end up being the least violent month in Iraq since America invaded in March, 2003.
Despite all that, the Associated Press, in an article published Thursday dealing with the top news stories of the year, couldn't restrain its antiwar proclivities, and, instead, chose to put a lump of coal under everybody's tree.
Coming in third place in this unscientific poll of 271 AP members, the Iraq War, with a dash of pessimism only Ebenezer Scrooge could enjoy (emphasis added):
When Larry Summers suggested in early 2005 that, as paraphrased by Slate's William Saletan, "innate differences between the sexes might help explain why relatively few women become professional scientists or engineers," the outcry was immediate, furious, and went to saturation level virtually overnight. The controversy ultimately led to his resignation a year later as Harvard President.
On Wednesday, Mr. Summers, a Democrat who was once Treasury Secretary under Bill Clinton, made a recommendation in his area of expertise -- that is, that a tax cut would be a good idea to protect against a possible recession. (Yours truly doesn't believe that a recession is anywhere near occurring. But hey, I've said since May, and several times since [here, here, and here, among others] that a tax cut is needed anyway to keep the economy chugging along at a good rate. So if panicked pols want to enact a tax cut for the wrong reason, I'll take it.)
Old Media reaction to Summers has been virtual silence.
"The economy is slowing down so fast this quarter you can see the skid marks as it slams on the brakes," Stuart Hoffman, chief economist at PNC Financial Services Group, said in an Associated Press story on December 20.
The story also quoted former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, who isn't optimistic either.