Ever notice the media love to report stories about people fighting the power, unless, of course, the power happens to be something the media favor?
A March 31 New York Times article about Cuba's Havana Biennial art festival highlighted several artists whose political statements were in line with the anti-American, communist outlook of the island's regime, while ignoring prominent Cuban blogger Yoani Sanchez, who risked her freedom to protest government oppression.
During an open mic session at the festival, the award-winning Generacion Y blogger criticized Cuban policy and the lack of free expression. However, the Times did not mention her pro-free speech performance art or even cover it in a separate piece. Instead, most of the artists the paper described railed against the usual evils, such as capitalism, America and the bourgeoisie.
Afterwards, the government issued a condemnation that singled out Sanchez for “staging a provocation against the Cuban Revolution.” Fortunately, on Wednesday, Reuters reported the controversy:
Lights went out at tourism landmarks and homes across the globe on Saturday for Earth Hour 2009, a global event designed to highlight the threat from climate change.
From the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge to the Eiffel Tower in Paris and London's Houses of Parliament, lights were dimmed as part of a campaign to encourage people to cut energy use and curb greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels.
Organizers said the action showed millions of people wanted governments to work out a strong new U.N. deal to fight global warming by the end of 2009, even though the global economic crisis has raised worries about the costs.
Four paragraphs later appears "BILLION PEOPLE TAKE PART." That isn't supported by what follows, which reports that the founding organization "is hoping one billion people from nearly 90 countries will take part."
I said earlier this year (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog) that there was reason to believe that 2009 might be the year of the newspaper bailout.
Now one of Maryland's two Democratic US senators thinks he has come up with a way to subsidize and save them -- while simultaneously turning them into house organs for his party.
Ben Cardin (picture at right is from his Senate web site) has introduced "The Newspaper Revitalization Act," would accomplish the just-described goals by allowing papers to convert themselves into not-for-profit entities, providing them tax breaks, and .... prohibiting editorials.
Those who know establishment media reporting know that editorial commentary will then become the sole province of left-leaning beat reporters pretending to be strictly fact-based in their supposedly straight news stories and "analyses," while traditional newspaper editorials, which against all odds still seem to lean barely to the right when averaged out nationwide, will disappear.
The three largest mainstream media wire services all agreed that supporters of Pope Benedict XVI who dared to stand up to anti-Catholic leftists in front of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris on Sunday were extremists of the right of some sort. The Associated Press used the “right-wing” label to describe the faithful Catholics. Both Reuters and the French Agence France-Presse both used the term “far-right youths,” with the AFP going so far as describing the pro-Benedict protesters as “far-right militants” in another report.
ACT-UP Paris, joined by communists and “green” activists, protested in front of the famed Gothic cathedral to voice opposition to the pontiff’s recent remarks against condom use during his visit to Africa. In addition to holding signs which labeled Benedict XVI an “assassin,” they threw condoms on the ground while giving others to passers-by as people were leaving Mass. The radical left-wing activists skirmished with the supporters of the Pope, leading to the arrest of eleven people by police.
Barack Obama is hailed by sycophantic media members as one of the brightest men to ever be President, and was supposed to improve America's standing around the world.
Yet, on Sunday, Venezuela's Hugo Chavez called Obama "a poor ignoramus" who "should read and study a little to understand reality."
Given how impressed news members are with our new President, and how they regularly disparaged the intellectual capacity of George W. Bush, it is going to be very interesting to see how Chavez's comments get covered in the coming days.
Here's how Reuters reported them about seven hours ago:
Who will cover this gaffe? In a story headlined "Tongue-Tied Clinton Gets Warm E.U. Welcome," Reuters reported that Hillary Clinton mispronounced several names and claimed American democracy’s been "around a lot longer than European democracy." Reporter David Brunnstrom tried to make excuses – she’s not gaffe-prone, just tuckered out:
Tiredness appeared to show Friday when she answered questions in front of 500 young Europeans at the European Parliament, where she was the highest-ranking U.S. visitor since the late U.S. President Ronald Reagan in 1985.
A veteran politician, Clinton compared the complex European political environment to that of the two-party U.S. system, before adding:
"I have never understood multiparty democracy. It is hard enough with two parties to come to any resolution, and I say this very respectfully, because I feel the same way about our own democracy, which has been around a lot longer than European democracy."
The remark provoked much headshaking in the parliament of a bloc that likes to trace back its democratic tradition thousands of years to the days of classical Greece.
A week ago (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), I noted that government bailout recipients General Motors and Chrysler had horrible sales in January, and that their declines are accelerating. GM was down 49% year over year in January, compared to -32% in December; Chrysler was down 55% in January, compared to -53% in December.
Meanwhile, the companies' main foreign competitors turned in January sales declines of roughly 30% that were just as bad, but at least not worse, than December. As a result, those companies took another 4% or so of market share from their US-based rivals.
Of course, no media outlets attempted to make any connection between the GM-Chrysler declines and the idea that consumers might either resent their bailed-out status, or might be worried about their survival and the potential impact of their bankruptcy or even disappearance on warranty and repair costs. Nor did any media reports that I'm aware of consider the idea that declining sales at those companies might jeopardize their ability to repay Uncle Sam's bailout "loans."
Now, despite the cash infusion from Uncle Sam, Reuters reports an analyst's belief that a bankruptcy filing by GM remains a possibility. More importantly, the wire service also claims that the government is actively involved in exploring that option. Finally (put down your drinks first), we learn that taxpayers aren't even first in line to get repaid:
Have you ever wondered how the geniuses who report business news know why the stock market opens or closes up or down on any given day -- especially when they venture into political explanations?
I received this e-mail from CNN just after the markets opened:
Gosh, those e-mail drafters at CNN are smart. Who knew that the markets want the stimulus package so bad?
Can't you hear, senators? The markets want their stimulus and they want it now!
Give me a break. There is no hard evidence of CNN's assertion. Others commenting on the opening, including CNN itself, aren't buying all of what the e-mail was selling. Here's what CNNMoney.com had to say at 9:42 a.m.:
Barack Obama’s inauguration was hardly a triumph of media objectivity, with reporters competing to see who could be the most adoring of the new Messiah-President. As always, the latest edition of MRC’s bi-weekly Notable Quotables newsletter has the most obnoxious liberal media quotes from the last two weeks.
Here’s a sneak peek at a few of the quotes that are contained in the January 26 edition; to see the whole set, you can sign up for the free e-mail newsletter or visit www.MRC.org on Monday (the whole package should be posted by Monday afternoon).
A Day When Even the Seagulls Were Awed
“We know that wind can make a cold day feel colder, but can national pride make a freezing day feel warmer? It seems to be the case because regardless of the final crowd number estimates, never have so many people shivered so long with such joy. From above, even the seagulls must have been awed by the blanket of humanity.” — ABC’s Bill Weir on World News, January 20.
On January 22 the Associated Press posted an interesting little tidbit of news about how Team Obama is treating the press. Apparently, the Obama White House is trying to force news agencies to use Obama's own, special, ostensibly "official" photographer's photos taken at Obama press conferences instead of allowing news agencies to have their own photogs present to record the event. As a result of this attempt by Obama to control his image, the AP and Reuters are a bit miffed that Obama is trying to control the press with such an iron fisted move like this.
All I have to ask is: NOW they get worried that Obama is not too dedicated to freedom of the press? After Obama is fairly elected, NOW the Old Media is beginning to question The One on his treatment of them?
Pointing out how a Reuters photo caption described those burning an effigy of President George W. Bush as merely “demonstrators,” while in a caption a few days later those burning posters of President-elect Barack Obama were characterized as “hardline demonstrators,” OpinionJournal's James Taranto on Tuesday observed: “Reuters' pro-Obama bias seems to be tempering its usual anti-American bias.” Taranto wondered in his “Best of the Web Today” compilation for the Wall Street Journal's editorial page site: “It will be interesting to see whether this continues to be the case after Obama becomes President next week.”
The two Reuters photo captions on anti-Israel demonstrations, as posted by Yahoo News. From Friday, January 9:
Demonstrators burn an effigy of U.S. President George W. Bush during a demonstration outside the U.S. Embassy in Kuala Lumpur, in protest of Israeli aggression against Palestinians January 9, 2009. About 2,000 Muslim protesters gathered outside the U.S. embassy in the Malaysian capital on Friday holding placards and banners, and shouting anti-Israel slogans.
These sort of nonsensical comparisons, filled to the brim with hyperbolic foolishness, is what we get from the anti-Israeli Old Media so often that it almost fails to even surprise at this point. But, here is Reuters again indulging its inner terrorist, just the same.
In "Bosnia genocide victims protest Gaza offensive," Reuters reports the over-the-top claims made by Bosnian Muslims that the action in Gaza is "just like" that of the 8,000 Bosnians murdered in 1995 in and around Srebrenica. This absurd comparison is, of course, these Muslims' opinion, but Reuters reports this straight without bothering to reveal the full facts that would show that there is, in truth, no comparison between the two situations at all.
The net effect of the article leaves hanging the Muslim claim that Israel is perpetrating an act no better than the ethnic cleansing in the 1990s in Serbia and does not bother to reveal the situation as it really exists. It would be easy for the reader to assume that the Israelis are all in the wrong here. And, one cannot help but feel that this is Reuters's goal all along.
Reuters.com is syndicating a January 7 Hollywood Reporter story informing the world that "HBO lands rights to inaugural ceremony," but this raises the question; why are parts of the inauguration being auctioned to the highest bidder for exclusive coverage? Shouldn't all of the inaugural festivities be available to every American and not relegated just for the TV network that has the most cash? Why is this vaunted man of the people allowing exclusive coverage of his big day to go to a station not available to all Americans equally?
It makes one wonder if the Democrat's claims of being interested in equality and fairness is all but hot air when the money is hitting the table?
HBO is claiming that they will offer the program for free, not pay-per-view, and that it will be broadcast to folks without the HBO channel on their cable service. But it will still be just on cable. Naturally, for those without cable at all, well, these people are out of luck. So much for Obama's big day being for ALL the people. I guess it's only for those with cable.
Why can't everyone just settle down, get out of the way, get rid of the "distractions," and let Barack Obama do his magic? That seems to be a recurring media meme during this presidential transition period.
Here are just a few examples in just the past 30 days:
In a December 12 "analysis" piece at Reuters, Steve Holland opened by telling readers that "A political scandal that led to the arrest of Illinois' governor has become an unwelcome distraction for President-elect Barack Obama as he tries to keep his focus on preparing to run the country."
Amanda Paulson's Christian Science Monitor report on December 23 about Obama's internal investigation of contacts between his team and Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich fretted that "As the saga of Gov. Rod Blagojevich and his alleged “political corruption crime spree” has played out over the past two weeks, it’s been an unwelcome distraction for another politician from Illinois: President-elect Obama."
And yesterday, Brent Baker of NewsBusters caught ABC World News Tonight anchor Dan Harris worrying that Bill Richardson's unexpected withdrawal as Commerce Secretary nominee might be "a distraction in the key early days."
Reuters ran a little flak for Barack Obama trying to help dull the outrageous expectations placed on The One by his irrationally exuberant adherents in theirs headlined "Congress faces historic challenges" -- As if no other Congress has faced "historic challenges" before? Reuters assures us, though, that times are so bad that we should not expect Obama to live up to any of his outlandish promises. This way, of course, if Obama reneges on them, the Old Media can remind everyone that it’s really our fault for expecting too much, not Obama's for reneging.
Naturally, we get the kind of Bush-is-worst rhetoric we expect from Reuters but we also find that Reuters seems to have forgotten that Congress itself has even lower ratings than does Bush. And Reuters starts off the story conveniently forgetting that the Democrats have controlled Congress since 2006.
Michelle Malkin called it, as did several NewsBusters commenters. Their prediction was that newspapers on the brink would be asking for government bailouts.
It came to pass in late November that seven Connecticut legislators asked the state's Department of Economic and Community Development for help in keeping the New Britain Herald and the Bristol Press afloat. A JPEG of the full letter with three of the seven signatures is here. Alleged GOP Governor Jodi Rell is apparently sympathetic.
A Wednesday "analysis" piece by Robert MacMillan of Reuters reports that the state agency is indeed "offering tax breaks, training funds, financing opportunities and other incentives for publishers, but not cash."
Common sense says that the chart's results after adjusting for inflation are more important (identified as "Chained  dollars") than those in current dollars. Consmers' disposable income went up 1.0% in real (after-inflation) terms in November after a 0.7% increase in October.
It took a month for real consumer spending ("Personal consumption expenditures") to catch up to the increased disposable income, but it did so in a big way in November. The 0.6% real increase is the highest in over three years. Both improvements are objectively good news, and are largely due to sharply declining gas prices.
This is pretty fundamental Econ 101 stuff, isn't it? As you can see from the headlines and the treatment of the real spending increase that follow, the business press mostly flunked, and badly:
The Media Research Center today announced its Best Notable Quotables of 2008: The 21st Annual Awards for the Year's Worst Reporting, and MSNBC's Chris Matthews "won" the dubious honor of Quote of the Year for gushing over a Barack Obama speech back in February: "I felt this thrill going up my leg. I mean, I don't have that too often….And that is an objective assessment."
Top runner-up for Quote of the Year went to Reuters for this ridiculous post-election headline: "Media bias largely unseen in U.S. presidential race."
MRC President Brent Bozell offered this comment: "Year after year, the liberal media outdo themselves in providing conservatives the sheer joy of laughing at their own words. The year of the Obama Paparazzi was no different, as they salivated over their savior and did everything in their power to crush conservatives. And we wonder why Americans don't trust the media."
Politico announced a new partnership with Reuters on Monday that will provide political, government and business news from both organizations to newspapers across the United States.
In September, Politico launched the Politico Network, a partnership whereby member publications could run Politico content in print or online, while sharing in the profits from online advertisements.
Now, members of the Politico Network—which includes 60 newspapers and 40 broadcast outlets—will be able to run a broad selection of Reuters’ wire copy for free, while similarly sharing in the revenue from online advertising that’s sold by Politico.
And Reuters will distribute Politico stories worldwide through the news organization’s subscription-based wire service.
The country awoke to surprising news that President George W. Bush had flown off to visit Iraq in a sort of farewell tour of the place that drove his presidency. With an early report, Reuters gave a few backhanded slaps at Bush that we are sure to see grow throughout the Old Media as the day progresses.
In its very first sentence, Reuters reminded us all, as if we didn't already know, that the war in Iraq is the "unpopular Iraq war" that Bush has bequeathed to Barack Obama. Even as the war has rebounded in approval ratings among the American people over the last year, Reuters is still stuck on portraying the war as troubled.
All is fair in love and war ... and environmentalism.
A Greenpeace advertisement attacking the fishing industry that was posted on YouTube Dec. 3 spells out doom and gloom for a type of Pollock if action isn't taken soon.
"Alaskan Pollock are being overfished," the voice in the TV spot said. "They're the source of everything from fish sandwiches to fish sticks. Overfishing of Canadian cod resulted in 40,000 lost jobs." The YouTube ad encouraged viewers to visit Greenpeace.org to "help defend our oceans from overfishing."
What follows are the questions that President-elect Obama took today at his 11 a.m. news conference after formally announcing former Sen. Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) as his choice for Health and Human Services Secretary.:
JACKIE CALMES, Wall Street Journal: Given the, in your statement when you addressed the controversy over Gov. Blagojevich, you did not repeat what your spokesman said yesterday about having him, that he should resign. Why did you not? And could you tell us what context, if any, you know that your staff or any emissaries for you have had with prosecutors or the FBI?
PHIL ELLIOTT, Associated Press: Thank you. Have you or anyone in your transition or campaign been intereviewed as it relates to the criminal complaint? And who is the transition advisor referenced in the complaint?
President-elect Barack Obama's decision to keep a distance from his state's governor, who was arrested on corruption charges on Tuesday, should enable him to escape becoming tainted by the scandal, analysts said.
Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich stands accused of trying to sell the president-elect's vacant U.S. Senate seat for financial and other personal benefits for himself and his wife, among other charges.
And who precisely are these analysts expecting Obama to avoid the connection?
Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich was arrested today. The Associated Press's Mike Robinson actually identified "Blago's" party in the third paragraph of his 10:27 a.m. report (link is dynamic; cited report is also here for future reference; underlying news HTs to an e-mailer):
Apparently, if one calls an Arab-American an A** H*le, Reuters and the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee want all Americans to know that this is to be considered a "violent hate crime." At least that is what it seems when looking over the very lose and sloppy definition of "violent hate crimes" in a recent story on the falling numbers of such crimes against Arab-Americans in the U.S.
While ostensibly a good story -- discrimination against Arab-Americans has decreased -- it is still odd that Reuters allows this Muslim advocacy group to define even name calling as a "hate crime" and "violent" at that. So many levels of behavior are categorized under the rubric "hate crime" here that it really makes a mockery of the term, if one is even disposed to accept such a term in the first place.
We've seen some major cases of left leaning bias in the media, especially during the late presidential campaign. Many of these cases have been blatant and over-the-top in style but, while covering the brazen cases of such bias, it is easy to forget that there are every day cases of the more subtle bias to the left in the media. Today, we have a perfect example of a more subtle left leaning bias in the media with a Reuters story headlined "Obama likely to push courts away from right." In it there are lies, distortions and tricky wording all used to pat Barack Obama on the back for his assumed sharp turn to the left he'll take as he appoints judges during his forthcoming presidency. The same tricks of the trade are used to attack George Bush and conservatives for their judicial turn to the right these last eight years.
The headline, of course, is a classic example of leftist bias. Just take a look at the language: "Obama likely to push courts away from right." More properly this headline should read: "Obama likely to push courts to the left." But, notice that instead of saying "push to the left," they say "push away from the right." This gives Obama cover for what he's really doing and takes the emotional impact away from the fact that Obama is, indeed, going to veer to the left by placing the negative connotation on the right. Reuters is assuring people that Obama ISN'T going left, no, no, no, he's only going "away" from the right!
Earlier today, in a story on falling oil prices, Mark Williams of the Associated Press bemoaned "evaporating" consumption, warned that the abrupt prices drop would cause a decline in exploration, and cited the need for trillions of dollars of investment to find more fossil fuels.
Contrary to or not in what Williams wrote:
Consumption has barely fallen.
The American electorate has chosen a new president who thinks exploring for new oil is a bad thing, and the need for that oil can be eliminated through proper tire inflation.
The new president and the Congressional majority want investments in alternative energy, and to tax the alleged "windfall" profits of oil companies, which would of course take money away from exploration.
Here are the key paragraphs from Williams's report:
File under: Don't believe your lying eyes and ears. Barely two weeks after a Pew Research Center for the People and the Press survey determined that “by a margin of 70%-9%, Americans say most journalists want to see Obama, not John McCain, win on Nov. 4,” as even 62 percent of Democrats recognized how journalists hoped Obama would be victorious, Reuters set out to prove any and all favorable Obama coverage had nothing to do with liberal bias. In a November 6 dispatch, “Media bias largely unseen in U.S. presidential race,” Steve Gorman of the Los Angeles bureau focused his story on undermining the “perception that mainstream news organizations routinely gave Obama preferential treatment en route to his election as the first black U.S. president.” Gorman contended:
But media scholars, including a former top aide to McCain, disagree. They said campaign coverage often did lean in Obama's favor, though not -- as many conservatives have suggested -- because of a hidden liberal agenda on the part of the media. Instead, academic experts said, Obama benefited largely from the dynamics of the campaign itself and the media's tendency to focus on the “horse race,” emphasizing ups and downs in the polls and political tactics. As Obama's poll numbers rose in response to events, so did favorable press coverage for him, not the other way round.
As his days in the White House wind down, Barney is getting a bit snippy, literally, with the reporters who have made life miserable for President Bush. Today the Scottish terrier bit Reuters reporter Jonathan Decker.
Appearing on MSNBC shortly after 1 p.m. EST with anchor Andrea Mitchell, The Atlantic's Ron Brownstein rebuked House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) for drawing a legitimate criticism of President-elect Obama's choice of what he described as the "sharp-elbowed" Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.) as his White House chief-of-staff (see video embedded at right, transcript is below page break).
Mitchell dismissed as "warfare" and Brownstein hit as "reflexive partisanship" Boehner's rather mild statement:
This is an ironic choice for a President-elect who has promised to change Washington, make politics more civil, and govern from the center.