"The Anchoress" had an excellent item yesterday about how some news wires are downplaying the authoritarian, anti-free speech nature of Hugo Chavez's move to shut down a private television network that often criticized the Venezuelan thugocrat. She notes that the bland headlines give little reason for the casual reader to sit up and take notice:
Well, sports fans, it appears the media have figured out a clever way to report the events surrounding antiwar activist Cindy Sheehan this weekend without insulting the political party they are shilling for.
Looking at the major media outlets that have begun to cover this story, the strategy appears to be to report Sheehan’s Daily Kos post from Monday, wherein she stated that she was resigning “as the ‘face’ of the American anti-war movement,” while totally ignoring her Saturday post when she defiantly declared, “I am leaving the Democratic Party.”
Pretty sneaky, wouldn’t you agree?
However, this certainly appears to be the modus operandi as demonstrated by the following articles on the subject published Tuesday which included absolutely no reference to her statements Saturday:
Yes, folks, it’s Memorial Day weekend, snow is still falling in parts of America, England, and Canada, and our House Speaker is traveling abroad to discuss the global warming crisis.
You really can't make this stuff up!
What’s potentially more comical is that Nancy Pelosi probably doesn’t get the joke, and the press will likely hide the delicious irony so as not to allow the citizenry to get distracted from all the climate change hysteria.
Thankfully, the folks at NewsBusters are more than happy to share a little vaudeville with their readers to brighten up the holiday.
Without further ado, the set up as reported by the Associated Press:
It’s been a full 48 hours since antiwar icon Cindy Sheehan publicly announced that she was leaving the Democrat Party due to Thursday’s bipartisan agreement on an Iraq war funding bill.
Yet, Google News and LexisNexis searches have identified that not one major media outlet has covered her announcement.
Given the media’s fascination with this woman since she traveled to Crawford, Texas, in August 2005 to picket near President Bush’s ranch, one must wonder why they have abandoned her now?
Does this suggest that the media’s antiwar proclivities are only important when they shed a negative light on the Administration and Republicans, but not when events such as this speak poorly about Democrats?
Before you answer, consider the following data. Since August 1, 2005:
Hugo Chavez is simultaneously acting as Bull Connor (fire hoses/water cannons) and Gustav Husak (deploying tanks against his own people), yet what little Old Media coverage there is seems to want to avoid those elements of the story.
At 11:00 a.m. Sunday, Gateway Pundit blogged on Venezuela's virtual dictator sending in tanks to intimidate opponents demonstrating against a government-planned closure of one of the country's last independent TV outlets. An underlying post at Publius Pundit that GP linked to shows the tanks in place, and has a time stamp of 2:09 a.m.
Editor's Note (May 29 | 14:35 EDT): Reaction from AP's Minnesota news editor added at bottom of post.
May 28 Note: See the Update below, which notes different timing, but no change to the fundamental premise of this post.
That there has been no love lost between the Associated Press and leading center-right blog Powerline for quite some time is not exactly a secret. The mutual distaste goes back at least as far as the 2004 presidential campaign, when Powerline caught AP reporter Scott Lindlaw telling others that his "mission" was to see that George Bush would not be reelected, and exposed the AP's Jennifer Loven's conflict of interest in reporting environmental stories while her husband was the Kerry campaign's environmental consultant.
David Espo of the Associated Press appeared to be unhappy with the result of the House vote on Iraq war funding, and to be offering an excuse for the House Democratic leadership (bolds are mine throughout this post):
WASHINGTON - Bowing to President Bush, the Democratic-controlled House reluctantly approved fresh billions for the Iraq war on Thursday, minus the troop withdrawal timeline that drew his earlier veto.
The 280-142 vote sent the bill to the Senate for final passage, expected later in the evening.
..... Five months in power on Capitol Hill, Democrats coupled their concession to the president with pledges to challenge his policies anew. "This debate will go on," vowed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, announcing plans to hold votes by fall on four separate measures seeking a change in course.
A later unbylined AP report about President Bush's impending signature on the funding bill after Senate passage almost seems to have been written by the DNC, while providing cover for the party's two leading presidential candidates:
The Associated Press imagines itself a “news” organization. Ordinarily, “news” does not convey opinion, but only facts… at least that’s the ideal. That being the general understanding of what comprises news, it is interesting when we at Newsbusters find odd bits of opinion encased inside any particular AP “news” story. But, it is really odd to find a story that is predicated almost entirely on opinion. Such is the case with the AP’s ”Frozen federal tax on gasoline leading to more toll roads, higher state fuel taxes”, a story that bemoans the fact that Federal gasoline taxes have stayed stagnant for 14 years.
Why is the AP worried about stagnant Federal gas taxes? Because the “falling” revenue prevents high spending on roads and bridges by the states. The AP worries that “A cash crunch is fast approaching for the government trust fund that pays to build and repair highways and bridges” and broadly hints that the taxes must be raised to save our roads.
That's right. Bubble, shmubble, despite this picture from Matt Drudge, who got snookered on this one:
Fire sales, schmire sales.
The Chief Snookerer in the latest search for the elusive housing bubble is Martin Crutsinger of the Associated Press, with a significant assist from the Commerce Department (link is to a PDF), which inexplicably did not, and apparently does not, report the regional sales data needed for a more detailed look.
Crutsinger took Commerce's housing report showing a significant decline in the nationwide median selling price of a new home, both in the past month and year over year, and ran with it at an all-out sprint (bold is mine):
The Associated Press ran a story Wednesday entitled “Edwards Calls ‘War on Terror’ an Ideological Doctrine” (h/t LGF).
Unfortunately, the author chose not to look into former Sen. John Edwards’ (D-North Carolina) past to see whether the presidential candidate had either referred to or supported this “ideological doctrine” himself.
Had the AP done some homework, it would have found that not only did the former senator tell Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly in October 2001, “I think that we will be united with the President throughout this war on terrorism,"(Allah has video here), but also that he and Sen. John Kerry (D-Massachusetts) both referred to this war in their respective acceptance speeches at the 2004 Democratic National Convention.
To set this up, Wednesday’s AP piece began (emphasis added):
It has been over three weeks since the fundamental claim of the "Food Stamp Challenge" was debunked, first by Mona Charen in her syndicated column, then in more detail by yours truly (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog). Yet the "Food Stamp Challenge" has spread.
As noted in this NPR report from April 23, it all started in Oregon. That state's governor, Ted Kulongoski, joined in and put on quite a show, getting plenty of Old Media attention (Associated Press; New York Times [may require free registration]) as he tried to buy a week's worth of groceries with $21, because that was said to be what "the state’s average food stamp recipient spends weekly on groceries."
The Challenge's claim that the average Food Stamp recipient's benefit of $21 per person per week is all that beneficiaries have available for purchasing food is incorrect, as anyone visiting the USDA's web site could have learned very easily.
As I noted in late April, the Food Stamp Program’s "Fact Sheet on Resources, Income and Benefits" provides a table of "Maximum Monthly Allotments" (i.e., benefits), and says the following about benefit levels (bold is mine; I converted the Monthly Allotments to weekly allotments per person by dividing by the average number of weeks in a month [4.345], and then by the number of people):
If the six men charged with planning to attack Fort Dix a few weeks ago all had ties to mosques in southern New Jersey and Philadelphia, would this be newsworthy?
Well, America’s press outlets didn’t seem to think so, for with little exception, this bit of information went largely unreported.
In fact, according to Google news and LexisNexis searches, the only major outlet to report both mosques involved was the New York Times on May 14, albeit page one of Section B (h/t WOR’s Steve Malzberg, emphasis added):
Today's funny headline, from The Washington Post: "Bush Is 'the Worst in History' In Foreign Relations, Carter Says." The AP doesn't not seem to see what's funny in these remarks: this clown couldn't manage a hostage rescue in the desert, and he's denouncing this president? The article had no reference to Carter's foreign policy failures as president.
AP reported "The denunciation of a sitting president was unprecedented for Carter, a biographer said." That biographer was Douglas Brinkley, who wrote a very favorable book on Carter's post-presidency years. But the tone doesn't sound all that different from Carter's 2004 speech to the Democrat convention, when he kvetched that all the post-9/11 good will "has been squandered by a virtually unbroken series of mistakes and miscalculations."
There was a summit between Russia’s Vladimir Putin and the leaders of the European Union on Friday that yielded as little results as it did attention from America’s media.
One of the issues on the table was whether Russia is going to provide more energy resources to EU nations starved for such.
Didn’t hear about this?
Well, that’s not surprising, for in the midst of the media’s ongoing attempts to create global warming hysteria while pushing the U.S. to participate in the Kyoto Protocol, our press have little interest in reporting how energy politics across the Atlantic and Pacific oceans are threatening economies around the globe.
Contrary to most American media that ignored this dicey subject, the BBC covered the following Associated Press article Friday (emphasis added):
The Formerly Mainstream Media is favorably transfixed on the proposed immigration "reforms" being whipped through Congress -- legislation that opponents characterize as "amnesty."
"Somehow," they have managed to virtually ignore immigration-related legislation that has actually become law in Oklahoma.
Perhaps it's because Oklahoma's reforms have nothing to do with "amnesty," and everything to do with enforcement.
Specifically, from a May 8 Associated Press story on the bill's passage:
Governor Henry today signed a sweeping immigration reform bill that was passed overwhelmingly by the Oklahoma Legislature, but described it as a stopgap measure until the federal government takes action on the issue.
Among other things, the bill contains employment, labor law and civil rights provisions to protect citizens and legal immigrants who lose their jobs at companies that employ illegal immigrants to perform the same or similar work.
Beginning in November, public agencies will be required to use a program that screens Social Security numbers to make sure they are real and that they match up with a job applicant's name.
A One News Now story provided more detail. It also makes it clear that the sponsor of the legislation believes that the states have more power to enforce immigration law than the "it's the Feds' problem" types would like us to believe (bold is mine):
If the AP didn’t write about it, it didn’t happen, right? In an article about a topic I blogged earlier in the week here at Newsbusters, the AP also reported it, but with a different angle. The Primary Source, a conservative newspaper at Boston’s Tufts University was charged with harassment and creating a hostile environment on campus by publishing what the paper called political parody; they were found guilty of the charges by a disciplinary panel. The catch is, the AP worded it in a way that only reported half the story and ignored the paper's other harassment complaint that the panel was judging-at the same time-a fact-based satire of Islam.
Have you seen the picture on the right showing a Shell station in San Francisco with gas prices in excess of $4 per gallon?
Well, there’s only one problem with it: this isn’t close to indicative of what gas prices are in the Bay Area. Not even close.
Yet, the following was captioned next to this Associated Press picture at Yahoo Thursday (h/t NB reader Brian Mortimer, emphasis added):
High gas prices are posted at a Shell gas station in San Francisco, Thursday, May 10, 2007. With gasoline prices poised to break records at the pump, energy futures prices jumped Thursday as traders noticed a gas supply imbalance in the fine print of Wednesday's government inventory report.(AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)
Sadly, the caption didn’t make clear that the prices at this station are high as a form of protest by the owner. As reported by the San Francisco Chronicle Thursday (emphasis added):
Perhaps you read this week that in April, the US Treasury reported all-time-record tax collections of $383.6 billion.
If you did, you didn't read it in the dead-trees version of the New York Times. The Old Grey Lady did not deem Thursday afternoon's news "fit to print" on Friday (requires free registration), even choosing not to carry the related Associated Press report that is the main topic of this post (even though the Time posted it online Thursday evening). A Times search on "April treasury" (not in quotes) shows no evidence of any other coverage since then, nor does Sunday's Business home page.
So, unless you happened to read a brief report from MarketWatch (requires registration) or subscribe to the Wall Street Journal (requires subscription), odds are that anything you read or heard about April's Monthly Treasury Statement came from the aforementioned AP report, written by good old Martin Crutsinger (some previous examples of Crutsinger's demonstrated bias and ignorance are here, here, here, and here).
Crutsinger's full report is here. Before I get to his biggest oversight, here are the report's relatively minor (I'm not kidding) shortcomings:
When President Bush receives protests as he travels abroad, it’s front-page headline news. Yet, when former Vice President Al Gore is so protested, the media couldn’t care less.
Although the Associated Press did report Gore’s visit to Buenos Aires, Argentina, to speak at a biofuels conference Friday, virtually no American media outlet picked up the story:
As Gore spoke, outside the hotel demonstrators on bicycles and wearing surgical masks chanted slogans against multinational agribusinesses, saying the biofuel boom will cause deforestation and turn arable land into deserts.
Sadly, there wasn't a lot of details in this piece about the actual protests. Thankfully, I received the following La Nacion article by e-mail yesterday with a translation that offered a lot more insights into the matter:
On his must-read "Best of the Web Today" column for Opinion Journal, the online home of the excellent Wall Street Journal editorial page, James Taranto did a nice analysis on Associated Press reporter Mark Sherman:
David German, the AP movie writer, reported that notorious liberal bomb-thrower and fact-fudger, Michael Moore “is under investigation by the U.S. Treasury Department for taking ailing Sept. 11 rescue workers to Cuba for a segment in his upcoming health-care documentary 'Sicko.' " The May 10 article seemed very matter of fact, but Moore and his movies were presented from the perspective that the filmmaker is controversial but accurate and is persecuted by his “adversaries.”
The AP indicated that the Treasury Department is investigating Moore because he did not follow the law. The AP obtained a copy of a letter, dated May 2, sent by the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control, which informed Moore that it was investigating potential violations of the US trade embargo which restricts US travel to Cuba. According to an unnamed source affiliated with “Sicko,” this past February, Moore took ill Ground Zero workers to Cuba for “treatment” (my use of irony quotes because Cuba used new and unproven procedures. Emphasis mine throughout):
"This office has no record that a specific license was issued authorizing you to engage in travel-related transactions involving Cuba," Dale Thompson, OFAC chief of general investigations and field operations, wrote in the letter to Moore.
The first Article 32 Hearing for the Marines charged in the Haditha incident started this week. Capt. Randy Stone, who was the legal advisor for Kilo Co., is charged with violating an order and two counts of dereliction of duty in connection with the killings. Even though this Article 32 hearing is not related to alleged murder of civilians, testimony related to the events of that November 2005 day has dominated the hearing.
Yesterday Sgt. Sanick Dela Cruz testified to the events on the ground in Haditha. Sgt. Dela Cruz testified about the deaths of 5 Iraqi men that drove up to the scene of the IED explosion immediately after the blast. Despite the testimony coming from only one witness, one news source reported the facts from the testimony differently from two others.
If Democrats had accused former House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Illinois) last year of earmarking funds that could help real estate investments owned by his wife, would the media have reported it?
Probably on the front pages of every newspaper, and as the lead story of all of the evening news programs, right?
Well, the Associated Press published a story Monday about current House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) possibly earmarking funds that would benefit her husband's investments around the San Francisco Bay. Yet, the media showed virtually no interest (emphasis added):
Has the king of Bush Derangement Syndrome, Keith Olbermann, created a new liberal malady characterized by an almost incomprehensible inability to tolerate any criticism of the MSNBC host?
After reading Joan Walsh and Glenn Greenwald’s articles at Salon Monday, one could certainly come to the conclusion that such an affliction exists, and that the two are suffering from this little known psychological impairment “Olbermann Derangement Syndrome."
Did you know that the Palestinian Authority believes Al Qaeda-linked groups are trying to assassinate Palestinian political leaders and are responsible for Sunday's deadly attack on a co-ed children's festival at a UN-run elementary school in Gaza? What about the attackers using sharia law as the reason? No? Well, if you weren't reading a handful of the foreign press, you wouldn't know. What little US reporting there was, as is often the case, was based on the AP. Unfortunately, the AP omitted any Al Qaeda references, the rise of Salafism [which the article explained is a branch of Islam that is often referred to as Wahhabism—"a derogatory term...” to many adherents] as well as the “other al-Qaida-linked groups” terrorizing Gaza and the resulting violent enforcement of sharia:
The Jerusalem Post's Khaled Abu Toameh led with what should be the most important parts of this story, especially to US readers (emphasis mine throughout):
Palestinian Authority security officials accused supporters of al-Qaida in the Gaza Strip of carrying out Sunday's attack on a UNRWA-run school [U.N. Relief and Works Agency] in Rafah in which one person was killed and six others were wounded.
"There is no doubt that al-Qaida is operating in the Gaza Strip," a senior PA security official said. "Today's attack carries the fingerprints of al-Qaida." (...)
In 2005, Bush Derangement Syndrome -- the as of yet inexplicable malady effecting much of the left whereby anything bad that happens on the planet can be tied to the White House -- peaked with continuous press accusations that Hurricane Katrina was the President’s fault.
Almost two years later, and just hours after tornadoes devastated the Midwest, the President is being indirectly blamed for potentially hampering rebuilding efforts in the hardest hit area.
I kid you not.
As reported by the Associated Press late Sunday evening with the headline “Iraq War Hampers Kansas Cleanup” (emphasis added):
By now I’m sure you’ve all heard about the bee crisis in America. Currently termed “colony collapse disorder,” it is the massive die-off of a bee hive or colony for oftentimes inexplicable reasons.
Of late, this malady has resulted in a 25 percent reduction in colony totals here in the U.S., setting off alarmist media reports like the following from the Associated Press (emphasis added throughout):
Unless someone or something stops it soon, the mysterious killer that is wiping out many of the nation's honeybees could have a devastating effect on America's dinner plate, perhaps even reducing us to a glorified bread-and-water diet.
Yummy. Even worse, look at this list of delectable delights supposedly at risk: