Earlier this evening, Vice President Joe Biden, through a spokesperson, backed away from his Sunday comment at a Chinese university about that nation's "one-child" policy, wherein the state allows couples, with relatively rare exceptions, to have only one child. This of course has led to a horrible abortion death toll. A Laura Ingraham email I received this evening, corroborated by a China's population minister cited by CNN in 2008, carries an estimate of 400 million deaths (CNN said it "prevented 400 million children from being born"). It has also led to what is probably an historically unprecedented male-female gender imbalance in the neighborhood of 43-60 million.
By contrast, Reuters -- no stranger to criticism from us here at NewsBusters -- had a decidedly more positive portrayal of Ctirad Masin's life-long devotion to fighting Communism in this August 13 obituary:
The next time I plan to escape reality for an extended time, I won't go to the trouble of forwarding the phones to voicemail and swearing off the Internet and TV for a few days. I'll just take whatever the Associated Press's Martin Crutsinger must be consuming.
Crutsinger's 11:45 report this morning claims that "The better-than-expected retail sales report is the second strong signal on the economy in as many days." Strike 1: It was far from unanimously considered better than expected. Strike 2: It wasn't that strong regardless, considering that it was likely achieved on borrowed money. Strike 3: The report that he thinks was strong yesterday wasn't strong either. You're out, bud. Oh, and there's Strike 4 in reserve: Though he referred to consumers being "a little more confident," Crutsinger "somehow" ignored (and AP on the whole almost completely ignored) a devastating report showing consumer sentiment at a three-decade low released well before the time stamp of his report.
I guess at Reuters, when you see that an economy can't meet normal benchmarks for success, you simply lower them, and pretend that success will come anyway.
Over at the Associated Press a few weeks ago, in his write-up in the wake of the government's awful June employment report, Chris Rugaber correctly pegged the kind of economic growth it will take to get millions of currently unemployed Americans back to work again: "The economy would need to grow 5 percent for a whole year to significantly bring down the unemployment rate."
That standard was way too high for whoever wrote an unbylined item at Reuters on Tuesday (bold after title is mine):
Per Reuters blogger James Pethokoukis, Goldman Sachs, demonstrating Democratic-friendly timing similar to that seen at the New York Times a month or so ago, published an extraordinarily gloomy economic forecast last night.
Here are some of the details he quotes:
"Following another week of weak economic data, we have cut our estimates for real GDP growth in the second and third quarter of 2011 to 1.5% and 2.5%, respectively, from 2% and 3.25%. Our forecasts for Q4 and 2012 are under review, but even excluding any further changes we now expect the unemployment rate to come down only modestly to 8¾% at the end of 2012."
I've been trying to resist taking satisfaction in David Cay Johnston's utter humiliation on his first assignment at Reuters. Y'know, there but for the grace of God, etc. I do wish him well, though I question whether the feeling is mutual. More important, I hope he recognizes the need to go into journalistic rehab. My guess is that he doesn't.
The former New York Times journalist/reporter (whatever, David) and yours truly had an extended online dustup four years ago when I demonstrated Johnston's in my view sloppy, foundation-limited, and biased reporting at the Old Gray Lady (graphic of first few paragraphs as originally presented; current link) in an item about what had happened to Americans' incomes between 2000 and 2005 (errors summarized here in "Top Six Errors Committed by David Cay Johnston and/or the New York Times in Their Income Growth Report"; I noted a seventh later).
Let's go through the development and destruction of Johnston's maiden effort at Reuters.
Wednesday afternoon, BigJournalism.com editor-in-chief Dana Loesch reported that Arizona Senator John Kyl had been on the receiving end of what I would call "mis-tweetment" at the hands of someone irresponsibly chirping away at Reuters.
The Reuters tweet stated that "Republicans have agreed to $150 billion to $200 billion in increased tax revenues as part of budget talks," and claimed Senator Kyl as its source.
Reuters on Thursday issued what it called an "exclusive" report about the Treasury department "secretly" weighing options to avert a default if the debt ceiling isn't raised by August 2nd.
In the piece, the authors shared with readers the amount of tax revenue Treasury projects it will collect in August as well as projected Social Security payments, but conspicuously ignored what the department expects to pay in interest costs on the federal debt:
Weekend coverage emanating from Minnesota via Reuters and the Associated Press is doing its level best to run interference for Democratic Governor Mark Dayton, who has chosen to shut down the government rather than sign a budget which does not include tax increases.
There were two candidates on the GOP ticket in 2008, John McCain and Sarah Palin. Both had young daughters involved in the campaign. Both have written books about the experience. Guess which book was celebrated and which was savaged?
The media's character assassination of Sarah Palin knows no bounds, as she's been smeared as everything from "evil" to "unintelligent." But "Palin Derangement Syndrome" is a hereditary disease, and the media have continued their multigenerational malice toward Bristol Palin in reviews of her new memoir, "Not Afraid of Life: My Journey So Far."
On Wednesday evening in Europe (12:31 p.m. Eastern Time), in what it was already describing as "the world's deadliest known outbreak of E. coli," the Associated Press reported that "No cause for the outbreak has yet been found," while farmers on the continent were petitioning the EU for hundreds of million of dollars in compensation.
By midday European time (6:27 a.m. ET) on Friday, June 10, it was known ("Sprouts are cause of E. coli outbreak") that the contaminated food had come from Germany, when investigators "linked separate clusters of patients who had fallen sick to 26 restaurants and cafeterias that had received produce from the organic farm."
It is not my intention to get involved in a debate on farming techniques. But it seems obvious that if the outbreak came from an "organic" farming enterprise, follow-up stories should continue to mention that origin. Failures to mention organic farming have occurred often enough at the AP that one begins to wonder if those omissions are deliberate -- especially when coupled with the wire service's complete lack of coverage identifying skepticism, of which there is plenty, about the safety of organic farming practices.
Reuters slanted towards the critics of McDonald's in a Thursday report about a petition calling on the fast food giant to retire mascot Ronald McDonald and to give up its signature Happy Meal for kids. Correspondent Debra Sherman even went so far to spotlight how the CEO of a medical company which produces "cholesterol-lowering statins and...heart stents" sits on the board of McDonald's.
Sherman hinted at the tone from the outset with the lede of her article, "McDonald's stockholders reject obesity proposal," noting how "McDonald's Corp spurned calls to assess the impact of its food on childhood obesity, and said its trademark clown Ronald McDonald would be hawking Happy Meals to kids for years to come."
It's hard to be upbeat about that but since it occurred during a Democrat administration, Reuters does its best to accentuate whatever positive it can find in its report. First the downbeat news as relayed by Reuters reporter Lucia Mutikani:
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Economic growth slowed more than expected in the first quarter as higher food and gasoline prices dampened consumer spending, and sent a broad measure of inflation rising at its fastest pace in 2-1/2 years.
And now the first of several Reuters exercises in excuse making:
But the pull back in output, which was also the result of harsh winter weather, a widening trade gap as well as weak government spending, will probably be fleeting given a firming labor market.
Chrystia Freeland has called the US prison system an "American Gulag Archipelago." The Global Editor-at-Large of Reuters made her comment during today's Dylan Ratigan show on MSNBC.
The context was a discussion of the recent WikiLeaks document dump about Gitmo, but Freeland was clearly speaking of the domestic US prison system, not our military prisons. Ratigan picked up on her theme, saying we could cut our prison costs in half if marijuana were legalized.
In a business that is supposed to treat record achievements, dubious or otherwise, as news, it's more than a little curious to note that the Associated Press's Martin Crutsinger, along with Reuters and AFP, all "somehow" forgot to tell readers that March's reported federal outlays, as seen in the Monthly Treasury Statement released today, came in at an all-time record of $339.047 billion, and that this year's spending through six months of $1.849 trillion -- also an all-time record -- is 3.5% higher than last year's comparable figure of $1.786 trillion ($1.671 trillion plus a non-cash credit of $115 billion explained here last year).
This year's six-month spending total annualizes out to $3.7 trillion, an amount that is almost $1 trillion, or 36%, higher than fiscal 2007. Though spending is the self-evident real problem, frontline reporters and their bosses would apparently prefer that news consumers not see how ugly those numbers really are.
UPDATE, April 1: Joshua Shapiro, who is "quoted" in the AP article covered in this post, has emailed me and informed me of the following --
Christopher Rugaber did not speak with him, but instead used text from "a written note that I (Shapiro) produced after the jobless claims report was released."
Shapiro is unhappy at my making it appear that he is fooled by establishment press reports. Although I framed my assertions in "if" and "might" to make it clear that I really didn't know, I regret implying that possibility, though of course I had no idea that Rugaber didn't even speak to him.
By using the word "said" without contextualizing it, Rugaber gave readers every reason to believe he spoke with Shapiro. Per Shapiro, he didn't. Rugaber used information that Shapiro framed in a much longer-term context to make current news appear better than it really is. Rugaber's AP report is even more risible than indicated in the post which follows.
This morning, the Associated Press's Christopher Rugaber, in his 9:14 a.m. coverage (saved here at my web host in case it's revised, as well as for fair use and discussion purposes) of today's weekly unemployment claims release by the Department of Labor, found an economist whose reaction was to get all pumped up about the job market:
"The downtrend ... is undeniable," Joshua Shapiro, chief economist at MFR Financial Inc., said. "We believe that this improvement will continue in the weeks and months ahead."
While one of course hopes for improvement in the coming weeks and months, the existence of an "undeniable" downward trend is questionable, as seen below:
On Thursday at Reuters, Andrew Quinn, with the help of Caren Bohan, cobbled together a pathetic "analysis" full of sympathy for a "struggling" Barack Obama and recognition of the need to keep oil flowing from Saudi Arabia. It also contained a false jab at George W. Bush and the War in Iraq.
First, let's look at Quinn's Bush jab:
Obama is committed to partnering with other countries rather than going it alone as did his predecessor George W. Bush, which both broadens and complicates the decision-making process.
This got the attention of Jeffrey Goldberg at the Atlantic (HT Instapundit), who linked to the identical but unbylined Reuters item at the New York Times. Goldberg's response:
In a Wednesday story at Reuters ("Bombing near Jerusalem bus stop kills woman, 30 hurt") describing the aftermath of "a bomb planted in a bag exploded near a bus stop in a Jewish district of Jerusalem," reporter Crispian Balmer wrote the following (bold is mine):
Medics said three people were seriously hurt by the explosion, which hit one of the main routes into central Jerusalem in the afternoon, shattering the windows of a nearby bus. A woman in her 60s died in hospital.
Police said it was a "terrorist attack" -- Israel's term for a Palestinian strike. It was the first time Jerusalem had been hit by such a bomb since 2004.
My, my. It's as if the word "terrorist" was invented by the Israelis just for the occasion.
Yesterday was supposed to be a day of massive pro-union demonstrations nationwide designed to give Wisconsin public-sector employee moral support from hordes of their union and non-union "brothers" and "sisters" around the country.
Uh, that's not exactly what transpired.
The establishment press's fallback position in matters such as these when the protesters involved have their sympathies is to cite decent numbers where available, while otherwise referring to "large crowds," leaving it to the imaginations of readers, listeners, and viewers what that really means. Call it "creative crowd reporting." With some slip-ups, the New York Times and the Associated Press each employed this tactic yesterday.
Unfortunately for them, many local reporters did estimate crowd sizes in cities other than Wisconsin's capital of Madison, and they aren't particularly impressive (while still being suspect, as will be seen later). William Jacobsen at Legal Insurrection (HT Instapundit) compiled press reports from other cities as follows:
Muammar Gaddafi has resorted to the oldest trick in the Arab-dictator book: distract attention from authoritarian rule at home by beating the Palestinian drum. Nothing new there. But what is noteworthy is how Reuters seems happy to march to the Libyan strongman's beat.
Reuters' article "Gaddafi tells Palestinians: revolt against Israel" [h/t Drudge], fails to note the irony of an iron-fisted dictator calling for "popular uprising" and "revolution" . . . elsewhere. Indeed, the Reuters article, authored by Ali Shuaib and Salah Sarrar, fails even to identify Gaddafi as the dictator he is, referring to him respectfully as the Libyan "leader."
On Friday, a Reuters report at CNBC noted the Federal Reserve's journey into the accounting and reporting twilight zone earlier this month. In doing so, it conducted a clinic in how to make unreality look acceptable and make a dangerous situation appear palatable.
In the el bizzarro world at Reuters and those the wire service interviewed for its article:
A change in how one accounts for things can magically make a functionally insolvent entity solvent again.
Such a change can also mean that an entity which has run out of cash and has to beg for funds no longer has to.
Calling a genuine erosion of capital something other than an erosion of capital means that it's no longer an erosion of capital.
Gee, why didn't they just do this at Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and Lehman Brothers 2-1/2 years ago and let things go on as usual?
Here's most of the Reuters report (bolds supporting the bullet points above are mine):
Tuesday's "Morning Joe" panel on MSNBC played the class warfare card, highlighting tension between the American middle class and the richest Americans who profit from the global economy. Impassioned co-hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski gave credence to middle class frustration at the widening gap between them and the ultra-rich.
The Atlantic magazine's editor-in-chief James Bennett referenced a poll touting that 60 percent of Americans advocate higher taxes for the wealthy as the best solution to the budget crisis. "I think part of that is a response to the sense that they're being left behind by these people," Bennet explained.
Bennet pointed out top hedge fund managers making over a billion dollars a year, and suggested Americans would like to see more of that money back. "You'd think," huffed Mika Brzezinski. "Good luck getting it from them," Joe Scarborough warned. Scarborough was a critic of the recent tax deal between Obama and the GOP, arguing that millionaires did not need the tax cuts as much as the country needed their tax revenue to pay down the deficit.
Appearing as a guest on Monday’s Parker-Spitzer on CNN, Chrystia Freeland of Reuters claimed that the European economy is at an advantage compared to the U.S. because of America’s lack of universal health care. But, when fellow guest Will Cain of the National Review pointed out that America’s economy outperforms Europe, Freeland was only able to name one nation in Europe - Germany - whose economy is performing impressively. Freeland: "I also think it’s a little bit of a mistake to be talking about how bad European economies have been doing recently. ... if you look at the industrialized nations, Germany is racing ahead. German economic growth is on a tear, so is Canadian-
Cain jumped in: "I commend you on your choice of Germany, but you picked the one out of about 12."
Freeland persisted in promoting Germany as co-host Eliot Spitzer jumped in to agree:
CHRYSTIA FREELAND: Yeah, but Germany is doing fantastically well.
ELIOT SPITZER: And Germany is the largest economy in Europe and the one that is driving the export-driven economy where their labor capital relationship is very much one that follows the blueprint of a global, of universal health care.
Cain quipped: "Good job, guys, on using Germany. I’ve got Greece, Spain, U.K., France, all with universal health care, expansive health care coverages, and their economies are literally imploding."
In a Reuters story ("Venezuela assembly gives Chavez decree powers"), reporters Daniel Wallis and Frank Jack Daniel took note of outraged "opponents who accuse him of turning South America's biggest oil producer into a dictatorship," relieving them of the responsibility for stating the obvious themselves.
Romero's item at the Times is particularly galling in its borderline admiration for the tactics employed by the man who is now Venzuela's virtual dictator (bold is mine):
At the Associated Press late Sunday afternoon, reporter Paul Wiseman, who may have the most inappropriate last name in the history of business journalism, engaged in a brazen "It's really not that bad" excuse-making exercise on behalf of the economy Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and Ben Bernanke have created. In the process, he joined a Reuters reporter in questioning the validity of the information Friday's Employment Situation Report.
The unemployment rate jumped to a seasonally adjusted 9.8% in November and only 39,000 seasonally adjusted jobs were added during the month, according to the Employment Situation Report released yesterday by Uncle Sam's Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Although she at least recognized the report's negativity, Lucia Mutikani at Reuters seemed bent on downplaying its impact, even finding an "expert" who characterized the BLS's work as an "outlier" in her Friday evening write-up. Nobody's claiming the folks at BLS are perfect, but I cannot recall a time when an establishment press wire service reporter has questioned the Employment Situation Report's underlying validity. Despite its supposed lack of credibility, Ms. Mutikani still used the information provided as an excuse to insert a point about how it should cause Fed chief Ben Bernanke to continue the "money from nothing" enterprise euphemistically referred to as "quantitative easing."
Of special note was Ms. Mutikani's bizarre contention that the seasonal adjustment calculations might be flawed. Unfortunately for her, comparisons of actual results on the ground (i.e., the not seasonally adjusted numbers) to the seasonally adjusted numbers that resulted were consistent with November 2004, the last comparable year. This has not always been the case in the volatile economy of the past 2-1/2 years.
An Oxford University think tank is taking the media to task for not doing more to whip up a frenzy about global warming.
Apparently the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism crunched the numbers and found that "[l]ess than 10 percent of the news articles written about last year's climate summit in Copenhagen dealt primarily with the science of climate change."
The study lamented the attention that was given to the ClimateGate scandal.
In an op-ed posted on our site CNSNews.com on "Obama's Clever Use of Catholics," Judie Brown wrote about how Barack Obama’s being pictured happily engaging with Catholic clergy to undergird his proclamation at an Albuquerque event that he was a "Christian by choice." But sometimes the media's willingness to promote Obama themes means the pictures are utterly unrelated to the news event:
Reuters, one of the news services covering that particular meeting in Albuquerque, used a stock photo to accompany its report.
The photo, which depicted the president with Catholic priest, Father Vien Nguyen, who leads the Mary Queen of Vietnam Church in New Orleans, was taken during a reception at the White House earlier this year in celebration of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. Father Nguyen was also honored for his help within the community after Hurricane Katrina.