Almost everybody within earshot of a broadcasting device yesterday knows that the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported a net loss of 4,000 jobs in the economy in August. Unemployment rate, at 4.6%, was unchanged.
Reporting, and misreporting, by the New York Times and Associated Press set Old Media's template for the story. Some reports, including this one by Vikas Bajaj at the Times, laid the entire onus of the loss on private companies:
Companies reduced their payrolls by 4,000 jobs in August, a sudden turnaround from the net increase of 68,000 jobs in July.
Fugitive Democratic Party donor Norman Hsu was arrested today in Colorado, according to the Associated Press. However, while discussing the fact that many of the politicians to whom Hsu gave money are returning it or giving it to charity, the AP seems strangely reluctant to discuss the mysterious sources of Hsu's contributions. The story talks about several Democrats who are returning Hsu's gifts, and states,
The growing flap over Hsu's contributions prompted Democratic presidential candidate Chris Dodd to release a statement Thursday vowing "to refuse to accept or possess campaign contributions raised, solicited, or delivered by fugitives from justice."
"Growing flap". That's nice. But it would be even nicer if one of the so-called professional media organizations would devote some time to digging into the actual source of Hsu's large contributions.
Democratic fundraiser Norman Hsu, whose many large contributions to Democratic coffers, including Hillary Clinton came from an apparently non-existent source, has jumped bail yet again. As reported by the Associated Press,
Hsu, a Hong Kong native, was also supposed to turn over his passport Wednesday. Hsu's prominent Silicon Valley criminal defense attorney Jim Brosnahan said Hsu failed to give the passport to the legal team on Monday. "Mr. Hsu is not here and we do not know where Mr. Hsu is," Brosnahan said outside court. Brosnahan said that "there was some contact" with Hsu a few hours before the scheduled 9 a.m. court appearance, but he declined to say how and who talked to Hsu. Hsu pleaded no contest in 1991 to a felony count of grand theft, admitting he'd defrauded investors of $1 million after falsely claiming to have contracts to purchase and sell Latex gloves. He was facing up to three years in prison when he skipped town before his 1992 sentencing date.
Frustration with CENTCOM's and the military's ability and willingness to get its message out abounded late last year.
Although I'll allow that many things get past me, I have noticed bare improvements at best out of CENTCOM since then.
One blogger in Ohio has now done something about it.
Fortunately, heroic (that IS the right word) onsite milbloggers and others on the ground in Iraq have picked up much of the slack in the meantime. I would attempt to enumerate them here, but I'm sure I'll miss many who don't deserve to be overlooked. Collectively, I believe that they have conferred a degree of balance in the war-related news in two ways.
New York Times reporter Gretel Kovach reported on the tragic shooting death in Dallas of Jeffrey Carter Albrecht, the keyboard player for Edie Brickell and the New Bohemians, in "Musician Is Killed For Banging On a Door." But unwittingly or not, that headline (killed for banging on a door -- talk about harsh Texas justice!) suggested the shooting was an overreaction, and Kovach's article further politicized the issue from the second sentence on.
A Texas rock musician was shot to death here early Monday by a neighbor who fired through a closed door, thinking he was scaring off a burglar.
The incident occurred just three days after a new law took effect strengthening the right of Texans to use deadly force to protect themselves and their property.
Sometimes, after you read a story from the MSM, you have to sit back and say to yourself, "just what in the heck that was all about?" Such is the case with the AP's latest titled "Clooney: Obama's like a rock star," a story that seems to present George Clooney's political opinion as if he is somehow a respected policy wonk, political pundit, or a well-known intellectual. There is no pretext for this story presenting Clooney's political meanderings and no sensible reason why the AP is presenting his blather as news. The AP just presents it straight forwardly as if it is somehow news we all just need to know. All in all, it is an amazing report for its senselessness, cluelessness, and pointlessness. On the other hand, it fits to a tee with the APs editorial position on politics and the world and this fact alone surely accounts for its publication.
The week had a gusher of economic news, and most of it was favorable:
Thursday, 2nd Quarter Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was revised sharply upward to 4.0% from July's initial estimate of 3.4%; the final GDP number for the second quarter comes out in late September.
The most comprehensive quarterly housing report issued, from the government's Office for Housing Enterprise Oversight (OFHEO), showed that home prices nationwide increased ever so slightly during the 2nd quarter, and were 3.19% higher than a year earlier. That year-over-year result is greater than inflation during the same period.
The only really bad news I can think of at the moment: Consumer confidence took a hit in two different reports during the week (here and here).
Well of course consumer confidence was due for a hit. With the press, especially Time Magazine, working overtime to make the housing situation look like the crisis of the century, it's a wonder that anyone's getting out of bed to face the day.
Anyone who follows the MSM knows that Cuba is a virtual paradise. A land of free health care, universal literacy and low infant-mortality rates where, as Andrea Mitchell has explained to us, kids don't care about freedom and the only big problems are those caused by the U.S. Yes, Cuba is the sort of place no one would ever want to leave. Certainly not to go to live in the United States, where, as everyone knows thanks to Michael Moore's "Sicko," health care is so bad that 9-11 heroes are forced to seek help from Havana.
A government watchdog group filed an ethics complaint against Idaho Sen. Larry Craig Tuesday after Craig said he pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges stemming from complaints of lewd conduct in a men's room. . .
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington filed a complaint with the Senate ethics committee seeking an investigation into whether Craig violated Senate rules by engaging in disorderly conduct.
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics (CREW) may qualify to be described as a government watchdog group. What the Associated Press should have told its readers is that CREW is an extraordinarily partisan watchdog group.
According to its Web site, CREW has initiated lawsuits or lodged complaints against Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI), Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX), Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-CA), Sen. Mel Martinez (R-FL), Rep. Gary Miller (R-CA), and House minority leader John Boehner (R-OH).
One of the ways reporters avoid putting someone on the radical left is by merely calling them "anti-war" or "pacifist" – or even "combative pacifist." From my vacation perch in Wisconsin Dells, I found on the front of the "Daybreak" section in Friday’s Wisconsin State Journal (out of Madison) an Associated Press obit of leftist poet Grace Paley. "Poet, pacifist Paley dies," was their headline. The appreciation by AP writer Hillel Italie began: "Poet and short story writer Grace Paley, a literary eminence and old-fashioned rebel who described herself as a ‘combative pacifist,’ has died. She was 84."
A few paragraphs in, it’s more clear that Paley’s parents were communists, and nearly everyone in her early milieu was, ahem, "anti-war." Italie added:
A family in Clovis, California, which is near Fresno, has sadly become the modern day version of the Ryans, real-life brothers depicted in Steven Spielberg's acclaimed film "Saving Private Ryan" wherein all but one died serving his country in World War II.
For the Hubbards, Nathan, the second of three brothers serving in Iraq, died Wednesday in a helicopter accident in the northern part of that embattled nation. This came two years, nine months, and eighteen days after the death of brother Jared there.
The sole surviving brother, Jason, the eldest, returned home Friday, and according to the Associated Press, may not be going back to Iraq:
Most Americans understand that unemployment declining is a good thing.
Yet, the folks at the Associated Press seem confused about this economic statistic as evidenced by an article published Saturday entitled "Help Wanted Ads Go Unanswered in West."
In fact, contrary to a media fixated on bashing corporations and business owners as greedy little devils, Matt Gouras' piece actually elicited sympathy for folks normally in the press' crosshairs while oddly downplaying the benefits tight labor markets typically bring employees (emphasis added throughout, h/t to an NB reader in Hawaii):
What a difference a headline makes. An alert tipster in Minnesota sent the Media Research Center a clip from the August 10 St. Paul Pioneer Press, which included this scary-sounding headline over a story about a Food and Drug Administration report: “Heartburn Drugs Subject of Federal Safety Inquiry.”
The story, distributed by the Los Angeles Times News Service, was about whether two commonly prescribed drugs, Nexium and Prilosec, might cause heart problems. Maybe, suggested writer Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar: “Federal regulators Thursday said they have opened a safety investigation of two popular heartburn drugs — Nexium, marketed as the ‘purple pill,’ and Prilosec, its older chemical cousin — after receiving clinical data that appeared to link them to serious heart problems.”
Socialist thinking can often pop up in the most unexpected places.
One of the “most powerful bond investors in America” is calling for a full-fledged government bailout of homeowners who are struggling to pay their mortgages. Pimco Chief Investment Officer and founder Bill Gross thinks the Fed and monetary policy need to step aside for direct government intervention by President George Bush.
“Write some checks, bail 'em out, prevent a destructive housing deflation that Ben Bernanke is unable to do," wrote Gross on his September blog, which appeared in an Associated Press story on August 23. “This rescue, which admittedly might bail out speculators who deserve much worse, would support millions of hard working Americans whose recent hours have become ones of frantic desperation.”
Arthur Bremer, the man who on May 15, 1972, attempted to assassinate then-Gov. George Wallace (D-Ala.), is scheduled to be released from a Maryland correctional facility later this fall, the Associated Press reports.
In 1963, during his first term as Alabama's chief executive, the Democratic governor famously declared: "I draw the line in the dust and toss the gauntlet before the feet of tyranny, and I say segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever."
While Wallace recanted his segregationist views years later, in May of 1972 he still espoused racist rhetoric during his run for the Democratic presidential nomination.
The Associated Press's Melinda Deslatte covered the controversy over Democratic attack ads on GOP gubernatorial candidate Bobby Jindal yesterday:
A political ad from the Louisiana governor's race is drawing a storm of criticism for accusing Republican Rep. Bobby Jindal of calling Protestants "scandalous, depraved, selfish and heretical."
Democrats say the state party's 30-second TV spot - running in heavily Protestant central and north Louisiana - simply explains Jindal's beliefs with his own words, using portions of the Catholic congressman's religious writings through the 1990s, before he was an elected official.
Jindal, who is running for governor, said the ad distorts his writings.
Liberals around the country are smiling today at an Associated Press poll and story circulating on the web claiming that conservatives read less than liberals, none more so than former Colorado Democratic congresswoman Pat Schroeder who despite being president of the American Association of Publishers decided she felt like insulting half of her potential reading audience by dusting off an old liberal refrain:
"The Karl Roves of the world have built a generation that just wants a couple slogans: 'No, don't raise my taxes, no new taxes,' [...] It's pretty hard to write a book saying, 'No new taxes, no new taxes, no new taxes' on every page. [...] She said liberals tend to be policy wonks who "can't say anything in less than paragraphs. We really want the whole picture, want to peel the onion."
It's all too familiar and really kind of sad since this poll is hardly conclusive (more on that in a minute). For all their talk about being "regular people," the left sure loves calling their fellow citizens stupid and moronic. You'd think that after employing this method for so long—think Reagan-as-idiot-savant, rationalizing the radio failure of Mario Cuomo, Air America, etc.—that the left would realize their elitist and snobbish attitude and either drop it or drop the whole "party of the people" nonsense. After all, how can you be for the common man if you regard him as an ignorant dolt?
Steyn takes on the lunacy of sanctuary cities, media-report tiptoeing, and the apparently hopelessly-in-denial political elites:
..... there's been a succession of prominent stories with one common feature that the very same pundits, politicians and lobby groups have a curious reluctance to go anywhere near. In a New York Times report headlined "Sorrow And Anger As Newark Buries Slain Youth," the limpidly tasteful Times prose prioritized "sorrow" over "anger," and offered only the following reference to the perpetrators: "The authorities have said robbery appeared to be the motive. Three suspects – two 15-year-olds and a 28-year-old construction worker from Peru – have been arrested."
Some extraordinary statements concerning global warming have been made in the past couple of days by a key member of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum that could signal the end of the Kyoto Protocol as we know it.
Of course, you likely didn't hear about this, for even though America is part of APEC, our media seemed thoroughly disinterested.
However, as this is indeed quite important news for folks on both sides of the anthropogenic global warming debate, the following was reported by the Associated Press via the International Herald Tribune Friday (emphasis added throughout, h/t Benny Peiser):
Today's Washington Post story about the latest legal filings in a securities case echoes the bias of liberal blogs and publications on the case.
The Post leads the story this way:
The Bush administration yesterday sided with accountants, bankers and lawyers seeking to avoid liability in corporate fraud cases, arguing that investors must show they lost money after relying on deceptions by third parties in order to proceed with private lawsuits.
"The Bush administration yesterday sided with U.S. manufacturers and their 14 million employees, arguing against a reinterpretation of securities law that could lead to an explosive rise in litigation."
As Congress debates ways to combat climate change, a leaked internal briefing to officials in Great Britain (PDF available here) showed members of that government backtracking on renewable energy targets set forth by the European Union and agreed upon by former Prime Minister Tony Blair.
As reported by England's Guardian Monday (emphasis added throughout, h/t Benny Peiser):
In contrast to the government's claims to be leading the world on climate change, officials within the former Department of Trade and Industry have admitted that under current policies Britain would miss the EU's 2020 target of 20% energy from renewables by a long way. And their suggestion that "statistical interpretations of the target" be used rather than new ways to reach it has infuriated environmentalists.
"Statistical interpretations" is a clever way of saying "cooking the books":
At OpinionJournal.com on Thursday ("Fair but Unbalanced -- How the media promote false pessimism about the economy"), Brian Wesbury, who has written several times on the disconnect between the strong economy and the public's perception of it (previous references here, here, here, here, and here), had another generally stellar column about what is nonetheless a relatively small piece of the problem.
Wesbury ascribes much of the disconnect to TV's need for "balance," when giving positive and negative views equal weight is often in reality unbalanced:
If one guest or expert is a "bull," then the other must be a "bear," to keep things fair. Or, if there is a single guest on air, the host often takes the other side of the issue in order to keep things balanced. Get some sparks between guests, a little argument here or there, and it's even better for the ratings. The bigger the audience, the better the show, that's the way the advertisers see it. It's basic supply and demand.
But this idea of presenting both sides of an issue, while entertaining, informative and seemingly balanced, may paradoxically create a warped perspective of the economy.
The Kids Are All Right Economic literacy test: High school seniors beat Congress.
Excerpts (bold is mine):
Since its founding in 1969, the NAEP has become something of an annual exercise in American educational masochism. Last year, only 54% of students met NAEP's "basic" standard--the equivalent of a passing grade--on the science test. The previous year tested history; a mere 47% passed. But when knowledge of economics was tested this year, well, let's just say the supply curve shifted. NAEP reported this week that 79% of twelfth graders passed this first-ever national economics test. Holy Hayek.
..... The depth of knowledge shown by ordinary seniors suggests that they have been able to absorb basic economic truths from their daily experiences. Now, if this wisdom can only survive four years of instruction by your average college faculty.
An interesting story on Fox News tells of a Boston man who was robbed while visiting Phoenix.
First, we must remember that Boston, being part of the People’s Republic of Massachusetts, does not allow people to carry concealed firearms for personal protection. Therefore, this man was not armed, unlike concealed carry licensees from the 40 shall-issue states.1 So this is partly a story about self-defense denied, and the consequences thereof. One can also note that the leaders of the State of Massachusetts, who believe that regular, law-abiding folk should not carry concealed firearms, will not endure any personal inconvenience or liability for this unfortunate incident.
On August 3, NewsBusters contributor Scott Whitlock noticed the network morning shows largely ignored Sen. Barack Obama's (D-Ill.) dovish blanket assertion that he would rule out the use of nuclear weapons in "any circumstances" in dealing with terrorists in Afghanistan and Pakistan. At the time, Sen. Hillary Clinton called the pronouncement unwise. But according to the Associated Press, it appears Clinton is contradicting a statement she made in April 2006 that aligns with Obama's stance.
On August 2, Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) took the opportunity to disagree with Obama's dovish stance. As the Washington Post reported in the August 3 paper:
One needs to look no further than the Associated Press's story on the Scott Beauchamp saga to understand why the general public not following the news closely doesn't "get" just how biased and antagonistic towards the war, the military, and American soldiers Old Media outlets are.
In the case of Scott Beauchamp, now that their brethren at The New Republic (TNR) have been caught red-handed publishing made-up stories, John Milburn and Ellen Simon of the Associated Press appear to be doing everything they can to cover for them -- first, with a headline (probably determined elsewhere within AP) that fails to communicate anything resembling the essence of the story, and second, by struggling mightily in their reporting to make it appear that this is a "he said, she said" dispute, instead of a situation where Beauchamp and TNR have been thoroughly discredited.
Here's the headline:
Army denounces articles written by GI
Trouble is, Paragraphs 4 through 7 of the story make it clear that this is no mere denunciation -- it's a complete repudiation that the person the Army is supposedly only "denouncing" agrees with:
Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney (R) recently told an Illinois woman that while his grown sons have never served in the military, they are displaying their patriotism by campaigning heavily for their father's nomination for the presidency.
The Politico and USA Today have picked up on the item. USA Today's "On Politics" blog noted in an entry posted at 11:45 Eastern that:
The questioner, 41-year-old Rachel Griffiths of Milan, Ill., told Susan later that she is not a Republican and is in fact a member of a "Progressive Action for the Common Good."
Asked if she was satisfied by Romney's answer, Griffiths said:
As NewsBusters reported Sunday, Newsweek's current issue featured a cover story blasting anthropogenic global warming skeptics as "deniers," and pointing fingers at companies like ExxonMobil as participating in a coordinated misinformation campaign akin to the tobacco industry misleading citizens about the dangers of cigarette smoking.
Shortly after this new issue hit the stands, Al Gore told a forum in Singapore, "the deniers offered a bounty of $10,000 for each article disputing the consensus that people could crank out and get published somewhere."
This raises an interesting question: Is this a coordinated attack designed to incite anger in citizens that polls show are not as upset about this issue as the left and their media minions?
As reported by the Associated Press Tuesday (emphasis added):
In a move that might make some people scratch their heads, a loosely formed coalition of left-leaning bloggers are trying to band together to form a labor union they hope will help them receive health insurance, conduct collective bargaining or even set professional standards.
As Sean Penn gushed over despot Hugo Chavez Thursday, a former Miss Venezuela and previous co-star of the activist actor's was telling the Associated Press she hopes Penn "comes to his senses and he realizes that he's being used."
Movie lovers likely remember Maria Conchita Alonso as Robin Williams' girlfriend in "Moscow on the Hudson," and Arnold Schwarzenegger's in "The Running Man."
With that in mind, the Associated Press reported Thursday (emphasis added throughout):