On Friday, the government reported that the economy grew by an annualized 2.5 percent during the first quarter. The awful 0.4 percent result seen in the fourth quarter was largely sloughed off as caused by a number of one-time factors. Analysts convinced themselves that reported first-quarter growth would come in at 3.0 percent or slightly higher in Friday's release. Instead, we saw what Zero Hedge noted was the biggest such expectations miss since September 2011.
As a result, at least three establishment press organizations pronounced the result disappointing -- except for two business reporters at the Associated Press whose names are virtual fixtures here.
Politico's "About" page consists of two rotating graphics: One says: "More reporters. Better coverage." The other: "A distinctive brand of journalism driving the conversation."
It's hard to make a case that Politico's coverage is "better" (than what -- the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press? That would be setting the bar pretty low). And while it is distinctive, the web site should replace the "c" in "distinctive" with a "k." In one example of stinky distinctiveness, Katie Glueck spent four paragraphs smearing the NRA by inference in a story about evidence found at the home of Newtown, Connecticut mass murderer Adam Lanza and his mother Nancy before recognizing the NRA's response that neither person was ever a member of the organization (bolds are mine throughout this post:
On Wednesday, Bruno Waterfield at the UK Telegraph relayed that "Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the Dutch chairman of the eurozone, told the FT and Reuters that the heavy losses inflicted on depositors in Cyprus would be the template for future banking crises across Europe." That's "would," not "could." The Associated Press hasn't had the nerve to correctly characterize what Dijsselbloem said, and now Reuters itself has gotten cold feet.
Today, on the third anniversary of the enactment of state-managed healthcare, aka the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), aka ObamaCare, it's worth noting a precursor of what we can expect from the establishment press as the law's implementation presses on. It can be summed up in eight words: "Hype the alleged good. Ignore the obviously bad." Distilled in four words: "Toe the administration line."
Two examples of how the press is ignoring the obviously bad came from the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, in its March 6 caoverage of the contents of the Federal Reserve's "beige book" released that day. The Fed's report contained five specific comments, four of them negative and one neutral, about the current and imminent impact of ObamaCare. None made it into either AP report. Many other outlets also ignored or minimized those comments.
There's a reason why Media Research Center sister site CNS News had to put out a story about how much the government has spent so far this year -- $1.505 tillion -- after Wednesday's release of the February Monthly Treasury Statement: Two of the three major wire services failed to report that obviously important number, and the third saved it for their writeup's final sentence.
What follows are excerpts from the respective Wednesday reports at Bloomberg, Reuters and the Associated Press.
Naomi O'Leary's Tuesday article for Reuters about a piece of "artwork" blasting Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI could have been mistaken for a press release, as the journalist merely gave a platform for the same-sex couple behind the display to voice their anti-Catholic views. Most of the quotes in O'Leary's write-up came from artists Antonio Garullo and Mario Ottocento, "the first Italian gay couple to be married when they wed in Holland in 2002."
The correspondent emulated a publicist as she spotlighted how the exhibition is supposedly a "life-size model of Benedict in a confessional box, his sumptuous red and cream-colored robes spread about him."
Frank Bajak of the AP lionized Venezuelan autocrat and "fighter" Hugo Chavez minutes after his death on Tuesday, playing up in the second sentence of his item how the "former paratroop commander and fiery populist...outsmarted his rivals time and again." Bajak later hyped Chavez as a "master communicator and savvy political strategist."
Robin Pomeroy did her best impression of a publicist in a nearly one-sided article for Reuters on Tuesday that spotlighted homosexuals in Rome "toasting the departure of the worst Church leader they can imagine" – Pope Benedict XVI. Pomeroy quoted extensively from LGBT activist Franco Grillini, but failed to mention his radical left wing politics, which included a run as a Communist Party candidate in Italy in the 1980s.
Grillini decried the outgoing pontiff as "the most reactionary pope ever, who made homophobia one of his battle cries." The far left politician must not have heard of the past four bishops of Rome who took the name Pius. In particular, Pius XI prophetically foresaw the current push to redefine marriage in a 1930 encyclical and issued the strongest condemnation of this course:
While they told their readers of the number of jobs supposedly added in total (157,000) and in other sectors, the fact remains that in the real world, before seasonal adjustment, the government told us, as is the case every January, that employment declined steeply. In January 2013, the government estimates that 2.84 million jobs were lost.
For the second week in a row, actual (i.e., not seasonally adjusted) unemployment claims as reported by the Department of Labor came in greater than the analogous week in 2012.
At the same time, and also for the second week in a row, the department's seasonally adjusted claims number -- the only one the business wire services ever specifically identify in their reports -- came in lower. In today's instance, raw year-over-year claims were almost 5 percent higher than the same week a year ago, but the year-over-year seasonally adjusted figure came in 11 percent lower. That's bad enough, but then the wires compounded the problem by running with indefensible conclusions based on DOL's contradictory data.
None of the three major wire services covering today's report from the Department of Labor on initial unemployment claims is reporting the major news: For the first time in a long while, actual claims filed during the most recent week ended January 12 were almost 6 percent higher than the number filed during last year's comparable week, an indication that the current employment market may be worse than it was a year ago. Instead, all three are headlining how today's questionably created seasonally adjusted claims number is the lowest in five years.
Both weeks had five business days. Both weeks represented the first such week in the new year. So how did higher raw claims result in the lowest seasonally adjusted claims number in five years, a number which is 8 percent lower than last year's comparable week? The answer, as will be seen after the jump, is that the seasonal adjustment factor used this year is sharply higher than the one used last year.
A week ago, Associated Press reporters and their articles' headlines described the nation's job market in positive terms. An early a.m. report on Janaury carried this headline: "U.S. job market resilient despite budget fight." Later that same morning, just before the government's release of that day's employment report, there was this: "Jobs report expected to show underlying economic strength." Late that afternoon, reacting to the news that the economy had a December unemployment rate of 7.8 percent while adding 155,000 seasonally adjusted jobs, AP reporters Paul Wiseman and Christopher Rugaber described the performance as "matching the solid but unspectacular monthly pace of the past two years."
Reports from wire services other than the AP, which might as well stand for the Administration's Press, weren't as rosy. At Reuters ("Mediocre job growth points to slow grind for U.S. economy"), Jason Lange observed that December's hiring pace was "short of the levels needed to bring down a still lofty unemployment rate." Fair enough, but what the press continues to virtually ignore -- while obsessing over the same problem early last decade when the problem was nowhere near as severe -- is the plight of the long-term unemployed.
Today's news from the Department of Labor on initial weekly unemployment claims was supposedly good -- as long as one doesn't scratch beneath the surface. Journalists used to do that. Today they didn't.
All one had to do is reach the third paragraph of DOL's release to realize that today's seasonally adjusted claims number of 343,000, touted as the lowest in two months in several news reports, was suspect. That paragraph told us that the 428,814 actual claims filed during the week ended December 8 were barely lower than the 435,863 claims seen in the week ended December 10, 2011, last year's comparable week; today's result only occurred because this year's seasonal adjustment factor was significantly different from last year's. I believe that this year-over-year drop of less than 2% in raw claims is the smallest weekly difference in a week not affect by storms or holidays this year. In other words, it really is news -- but not in the business press, which runs with the government's seasonally adjusted data and almost never looks any further. Examples follow the jump.
The first entirely post-election reading from the University of Michigan-Thomson Reuters consumer confidence survey came out on Friday. It was awful. As reported at MarketWatch, the overall index "fell to 74.5 from 82.7 in November," far below expectations of 82.0, representing "the biggest one-month drop since March 2011." Zero Hedge noted that it's the "biggest miss on record" compared to expectations.
Of course, in Establishment Medialand and with the analysts they chose to consult, the plunge has everything to do with the "fiscal cliff," and nothing to do with the reelection of President Obama to a second four-year term or his intensely partisan conduct since then. Sure, guys.
Reuters correspondent Andrea King Collier offered readers a heavily-slanted 27-paragraph story last evening about Michigan Republican lawmakers pushing a right-to-work bill in the state legislature. King Collier quoted only one proponent of the legislation -- Gov. Rick Snyder -- who was described as a "reluctant supporter of the measure," unlike "other Republican governors who have championed curbs on unions." Snyder sounded apologetic for the legislature's action, quoted by King Collier as saying "that issue was on the table whether I wanted it to be there or not."
By contrast, King Collier quoted three critics of the legislation: a union boss, an Obama White House spokesman, and a teacher's union member who was on hand outside the state capitol in Lansing to protest the bills under consideration.
In August, President Barack Obama "secretly" authorized support for Syria's rebels. It was so "secret" that Reuters had a story about it. It "broadly permits the CIA and other U.S. agencies to provide support that could help the rebels oust Assad."
At the Daily Beast, former Obama administration State Department member P.J. Crowley believes that " Later this year or early next, Washington may formally recognize the Syrian opposition as a viable alternative to the regime of President Bashar al-Assad." Well, okay, sometimes you have to back a less undesirable alternative, but if you do, I would think Obama owes it to the American people to have them understand the true nature of those you're backing. As of this moment, very few Americans know what the rebels would want to do if they achieve power. MEMRI does, because its people watch Middle Eastern TV and videos. What follows is a transcript from an October 21 broadcast (HT Weasel Zippers):
Tonight's fun facts relate to the strike by the group a Reuters report describes as "500 clerical workers at the ports, members of the relatively small Office of Clerical Union Workers" at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. The strikers' picket lines have been honored by "some 10,000 members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union."
These fun facts are rarely mentioned, but readers will want to learn them, and the rest of the country also should be quite interested. Though they could conceivably be elsewhere, I only found them mentioned in one Associated Press item from two days ago currently carried at Google News. It's a good thing it's there, because it appears to be gone from the AP's national web site. In fact, a search there at 11 p.m. ET on "Los Angeles ports" (not in quotes) came up empty. The fun fact is not in the aforementioned Reuters story, a very long AP story from November 28 found at the San Jose Mercury News, or a related November 30 New York Times story. The fun facts, and a link to the AP story, are after the jump:
Reviewing several dispatches from the past couple of days, the latest news out of Egypt is that Egyptian "President" Mohammed Morsi "is not backing down in the showdown over decrees granting him near-absolute powers," that "clashes between the two camps (Morsi's Islamist supporters and secular opponents) ... left two dead and hundreds injured," and that the country's Muslim Brotherhood-dominated assembly "pushed through the 234-article draft (constitution) in just 21 hours from Thursday into Friday ... (after) Coptic Christians and liberals earlier had walked out."
The draft constitution includes several articles "that rights activists, liberals and Christians fear will lead to restrictions on the rights of women and minorities," and omits "bans on slavery or promises to adhere to international rights treaties." Oh, and I almost forgot: "The Obama administration is declining to criticize Egypt's draft constitution." It's worth identifying at this point several (but by no means all; what follows is surely a small sample) of those who in 2011 reassured the world that Egyptians had nothing to fear if the Brotherhood and Islamists became dominant.
Reuters somehow can't recognize a 100% tax rate even when it is right under their noses in their own article. Reporter Marc Frank apparently thinks that going to a 35% tax rate would somehow be more of a burden for Cubans than their current tax rate which is 100%. Frank even wrote about the 100% tax rate but absurdly didn't recognize the fact that total confiscation of revenue is the same thing:
Under the old system, large and small state-run companies, which accounted for more than 90 percent of economic activity, simply handed over all their revenues to the government, which then allocated resources to them.
On Friday's Anderson Cooper 360 on CNN, as noted at HonestReporting.com, host Cooper devoted a one-minute segment to informing viewers that his show on Thursday had used footage of a Palestinian man in Gaza who was apparently faking injury for the benefit of cameras. Cooper began his retraction:
The Associated Press, Bloomberg and Reuters all eagerly told readers today that the seasonally adjusted annualized level of single-family home sales in September of 389,000 was the highest in 2-1/2 years and really, really good news for the housing market, the economy as a whole, or both. What they all "somehow" failed to mention was the fact that sales are still far below where they were during the 12-month recession in 2008 and 2009 (defining "recession" properly), when the market was screeching to a halt after overbuilding driven by subprime lending frauds by design Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
The numbers reported by the Census Bureau since January of 2008, first expressed at seasonally adjusted annual rates, then as raw number of homes sold, follow the jump.
At the Associated Press Tuesday evening, the wire service re-posted verbatim Eileen Sullivan's "Why It Matters" report from October 15. One of that report's core assertions is that It "injected the issue of diplomatic security into the presidential campaign and renewed questions about the quality of U.S. intelligence." At my related NewsBusters post that day, I noted that President Obama and administration had "lots of intelligence within 24 hours of the attack, and that there was no reason to doubt its accuracy."
Reports Tuesday evening from other news sources -- notably not picked up by AP as of 6:45 this morning Eastern Time (the better to possibly keep it from appearing on the morning TV News shows which rely heavily on AP for content) -- indicate that the White House knew that the Benghazi attack was terrorism within minutes of its beginning. Excerpts from Reuters and CBS News follow the jump (bolds are mine throughout this post):
My initial reaction to the story by Daniel Trotta at Reuters about plans for a "Million Muppet March" in Washington on November 3, the Saturday before Election Day, was that the whole thing doesn't seem as wildly spontaneous, grass roots-driven, and coincidental as presented. It turns out that it isn't. As Lee Cary at TeaParty911.com found (HT Newsalert via Ed Driscoll at Instapundit), the guiding force of the enterprise is an animation company executive who "just so happens" to have a lot to gain if the status quo of government funding of the Corporation For Public Broadcasting continues. It's also interesting how he's apparently able to use the Muppet characters in the "march" without worrying about getting anyone's publicly expressed permission to do so.
First, here are several paragraphs from Trotta's tripe (bolds are mine throughout this post):
UPDATE: Henry Blodget at Business Insider reports that a "source, who is an analyst at the Department, " has told him that "the number of California claims that were not processed totalled about 15,000-25,000."
Today's release of the Department of Labor's weekly unemployment claims report showed 339,000 initial claims filed during the previous week -- a sharp decline of 30,000 from the previous week's upwardly revised 369,000. Shortly after that, the Wall Street Journal reported that "one large state didn't report additional quarterly figures as expected, accounting for a substantial part of the decrease." The Associated Press's framing: "... spokesman said one large state accounted for much of the decline." At Reuters: "one state ... reported a decline in claims last week when an increase was expected."
So you would expect caution in assessing the meaning of the report, right? Wrong -- At the AP and Reuters, they apparently just can't help themselves.
Okay, Steven Spielberg said what he said about Democrats and Republicans at his prerelease press conference promoting "Lincoln," his next movie which will be released just after Election Day. And of course he's spectacularly wrong in claiming that the country's two major political parties have "traded political places over the last 150 years."
If that were the entire story and Reuters reporter Christine Kearney (pictured here at LinkedIn) had simply relayed what Spielberg said, this post wouldn't be about media bias. But is, because Ms. Kearney herself took a journey into the land of make-believe with this subsequent sentence:
As of 2 PM ET, various searches at the national web site of the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press (on "furious"; on "Univision"), Reuters ("furious"; "fast and furious"; "univision"), and United Press International ("furious"; "Univision") indicate that the three wire services have given no coverage to reports from Univision exposing the wider geographic scope and far more fatal fallout of the deliberately untrackable guns-to-cartels operation known as Fast and Furious.
I wonder how the leading U.S. Spanish network's broadcasters and audience feel about getting the same treatment the establishment press gives center-right blogs? (A lengthy yet partial transcript of Univision's broadcast with details which will shock all but those who have immersed themselves in the evolving scandal follows the jump.)
In an irony of ironies, a CNN roundtable on media bias featured a liberal figure of the institutional media, Chrystia Freeland, claiming that Paul Ryan has gotten "pretty fabulous treatment" at the hands of the media. Her statement came on Sunday's Reliable Sources.
"I think he's had pretty fabulous treatment in the press and maybe actually a lack of scrutiny of what he's actually saying," Freeland opined, pointing to the "image" of him as "superwonk." She ironically addressed media bias as a liberal member of the mainstream press. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
In the wake of a rather tragic and tumultuous events regarding American foreign policy in the Middle East, President Barack Obama plans to forego the opportunity for a one-on-one meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during his visit to the UN this week. The reason is simple. It just could not wait. The president needed to have a sit down with Barbara Walters and the rest of gals at The View.
Patricia Zengerle's coverage of U.S. Senate candidate Tim Kaine at Reuters assumes that the Democratic former Virginia Governor committed the mother of all gaffes today. I'm not so sure. It may be that David Corn's secret video of Mitt Romney commenting on the 47 percent of Americans who pay no income taxes and are dependent on the government is sending polling data in the opposite direction from what was intended and is starting to rattle Democrats.