Two years ago today, I chronicled wire service reports which appeared shortly after John Hinckley's unsuccessful attempt to assassinate President Ronald Reagan on March 30, 1981 reporting that schoolchildren in many parts of the country cheered when they heard that he had been shot.
At the time, I suggested that school teachers and administrators who were appalled at the reactions might have been protesting a bit too much. Today, I located a 2004 item at National Review by Stanley Kurtz about another group which was happy to hear about the assassination attempt. The left's hypocrisy about "civility" -- and for that matter, basic human decency -- clearly goes way, way back:
Perhaps hoping that readers wouldn't scroll down to peruse what followed, a Tuesday evening Detroit Free Press report by David Jesse and Lori Higgins carried at USA Today featured a video taking up my entire computer screen which consisted entirely of union protesters chanting slogans for 49 seconds.
The pair's actual report carries a misleading headline ("Mich. governor signs anti-union bills after protests") directly contradicted in their dispatch's content ("The right-to-work legislation ... makes it illegal to require financial support of a labor union as a condition of employment"). But it's their description of Tuesday's incident involving Steven Crowder and Americans for Prosperity which is the report's biggest flaw (HT Instapundit):
Reporter and Barack Obama acolyte Terry Moran on Monday attended the President's last rally as a candidate, wistfully recalling the "magic" of the Democrat's past campaigns. Moran reminisced, "Looking at Barack Obama today, on the last day of his last campaign, it is impossible not to think back to what seemed a hinge of history." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Perhaps speaking of himself, the Nightline co-anchor looked back: "The crowds were bigger, more rapturous, more hopeful. For so many people it was magic." After all, it was Moran who, in February of 2009, hyperbolically declared, "I like to say that, in some ways, Barack Obama is the first President since George Washington to be taking a step down into the Oval Office." He added that the politician went from a "visionary leader" to just the president.
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.)
Breitbart.com has noted that it took about 17 hours before the dam broke, but now the Associated Press and United Press International both have stories on NBC's decision to fire a Miami-based producer over the editing of George Zimmerman's 911 call.
The AP story, which has a time stamp of 12:03 p.m. at the Wall Street Journal, plays it pretty straight (posted in full because of it relative brevity; the item's author, as shown here, is Television Writer Frazier Moore):
An item filed at the Hill on Friday afternoon by Peter Schroeder tells us that Bloomberg News was the first organization to report the latest development relating to former New Jersey Democratic Governor and Senator Jon Corzine. Bloomberg's report, via Phil Mattingly and Silla Brush, reveals that Corzine, who was CEO at the now-bankrupt MF Global Holdings until November, "gave 'direct instructions' to transfer $200 million from a customer fund account to meet an overdraft in a brokerage account with JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM), according to a memo written by congressional investigators." That would be an MF brokerage account, meaning that customer money was used to cover company losses. If the memo reflects what really happened, Corzine committed a crime -- either by committing perjury in his congressional testimony several months, in ordering the transfer itself, or both.
Bloomberg's report identifies Corzine as a Democrat in its fourteenth paragraph. But at least Bloomberg did so. That did not occur in reports at the Associated Press, United Press International, MarketWatch.com, CNBC. The Hill's Schroeder did tag Corzine as a Dem. Here are several paragraphs from Bloomberg's report (bolds are mine):
A story first broken by David Willman at the Los Angeles Times on Friday (the story is currently dated November 13, but the first comment appeared late Friday evening Pacific Time) is going almost nowhere in the rest of the establishment press. I wonder why?
No, I really don't, and neither will most readers here once they see what it's all about, namely Obama administration corruption and crony capitalism (bolds are mine):
So I figure that I need to catch up on the LightSquared saga. This is the company which, as Fox News reported on Thursday (the URL date is September 15, though the time stamp is the next day) is building "a nationwide, next-generation, 4G phone network."
The problem is, as Fox further noted, that there are concerns that "many, including (General William) Shelton, think (the network) would seriously hinder the effectiveness of high-precision GPS receiver systems, a product used most commonly by the United States military." Shelton told a congresspersons "in a classified briefing earlier this month" that he was asked by the Obama administration to change (but apparently didn't) his testimony about said dangers.
So I went to the Associated Press's main page at 9:50 this evening, did a search on the company's name, and got back the following:
Yesterday, at organized labor's traditional Labor Day picnic at Cincinnati's Coney Island amusement park, Vice President Joe Biden gave the keynote address. His key lines, as reported by Carl Weiser at the Cincinnati Enquirer's Politics Extra blog (video is here at MRC-TV): "... this is a different kind of fight. This is a fight for the heart and soul of the labor movement. This is a fight for the existence of organized labor. You are the only ones who can stop the barbarians at the gate! That’s why they want you so bad.”
Biden's statement is in an important aspect more problematic than the more widely (but not sufficiently widely) noted "son of a b*tches" comment made by Teamsters President James Hoffa Jr. in Detroit yesterday at a Labor Day event President Obama keynoted. While Hoffa was threatening and hateful, he was at least in theory speaking only for Big Labor (though Obama has essentially adopted it by not condemning it). In Cincinnati, Biden, who was elected to serve all citizens of the country, personally characterized a large plurality of those he is supposed to be serving with a word which means "savage, primitive, uncivilized persons." Biden's "barbarians"comment has received very light establishment press coverage, as did what appears to have been a singularly unimpressive number of people who actually heard his speech:
That civility thing which Democrats and the Left thought to be all-important earlier this year is sooooo January. Unless it changes its stripes overnight, the incivility and hostility on display today in Detroit, which hasn't been seen much in establishment press reports to this point, won't appear on the Big 3 Networks' morning shows tomorrow. The American people really need to see what has become of the labor movement, and the type of behavior its head cheerleader in the White House condones.
As previously documented by NewsBusters, Helen Thomas - former columnist and White House correspondent for both UPI and Hearst Newspapers - was scheduled to speak at a left-wing anti-Israel rally next month during Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's upcoming visit to America. But the Israeli newspaper Haaretz reports that Thomas "withdrew her participation fearing she will become the focus of the events."
Thomas, who last year infamously was recorded declaring that Israeli Jews should "get the hell out of Palestine" and "go home" to Poland and Germany, was quoted as saying of the upcoming protest, "I am delighted that people are coming together for this gathering, and I want to make sure that the focus stays on AIPAC and U.S. policy, not me."
A statement released by the organizers of the "Move Over AIPAC" Rally reads:
As a reminder that leftists have been poisoning the wells of civility and basic human decency for a very, very long time, I present these two items from the Associated Press and United Press International on April 1 and 2, 1981, respectively:
Wednesday evening, Brent Baker at NewsBusters noted that two of the Big Three television networks failed to tag Dan Rostenkowsi, the former long-time congressman from Chicago who was ousted from his seat in 1994 over corruption charges and ended doing prison time, as a Democrat. Rostenkowski (RIP), who was 82, died yesterday.
At the five major wire services whose reports I reviewed -- The Associated Press, Reuters, UPI, AFP, and the business-oriented Bloomberg News -- Rosty's Democratic affiliation made at least one appearance. But the prominence and directness of those appearances varied widely.
Not surprisingly, the Associated Press and writer Don Babwin did the worst job of identifying Rosty's party, waiting until the eleventh paragraph to directly tag him (the eighth paragraph contains a generic reference to the "Chicago Democratic machine"), and poured it on the thickest when referring to the supposedly beloved bygone days of bipartisanship:
CNN has announced that it will cease using all content from the Associated Press effective June 30, and from all appearances will take a run at becoming a credible wire service competitor.
Although it would be easy to dismiss this as the blind leaving the blind, this development seems like it has the potential to alter the news landscape and temper some of the worst excesses of press bias and ignorance.
Here are a few paragraphs from CNN's internal announcement, as carried at Media Bistro:
To: CNN Staff From: Jim Walton
We are taking an important next step in the content-ownership process we began in 2007 to more fully leverage CNN's global newsgathering investments. Starting today, CNN newsgathering will be the primary source of all content for all of our platforms and services. We will no longer use AP materials or services. The content we offer will be distinctive, compelling and, I am proud to say, our own.
If a conservative or Republican uttered the nonsense to be revealed shortly, we'd justifiably never hear the end of it on the late-night comedy shows and elsewhere. As it is, former car czar Steve Rattner's "creative" term for fibbing has and probably will continue to get little coverage outside of Detroit.
Rattner's risible rendition of reality spewed forth before he spoke at a Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago-Detroit District conference. Here are excerpts from the coverage by the Detroit News's Robert Snell (HT Laura Ingraham), with help from David "I think Toyota bragged about avoiding safety recalls, so they did" Shepardson (bolds are mine):
General Motors Co. Chairman and Chief Executive Ed Whitacre may have stretched the truth in a commercial saying the automaker had repaid its federal obligations, former autos czar Steve Rattner said today.
GM "may have slightly elasticized the reality of things," Rattner told reporters ahead of a speech today.
Yesterday, in the midst of the commencement address he delivered at Hampton University, President Obama made a startling "admission" (readers will see why "admission" is in quotes shortly):
And meanwhile, you're coming of age in a 24/7 media environment that bombards us with all kinds of content and exposes us to all kinds of arguments, some of which don't always rank that high on the truth meter. And with iPods and iPads; and Xboxes and PlayStations -- none of which I know how to work -- (laughter) -- information becomes a distraction, a diversion, a form of entertainment, rather than a tool of empowerment, rather than the means of emancipation. So all of this is not only putting pressure on you; it's putting new pressure on our country and on our democracy.
There are more troubling overtones inherent in the excerpt that many observers have already noted. I'll stay away from them for the purposes of this post.
Those matters aside, there are still a few pesky items that arise from the bolded portion of the excerpt.
Sometimes getting hung up on percentage increases causes one to miss what's going on with the actual numbers.
Such is the case in a January 26 front page story by USA Today's Richard Wolf. USAT's is the only recent original coverage I have found thus far relating to increases in the national welfare rolls during the recession. (An unbylined story at UPI merely reports on what USAT's Wolf wrote.)
USAT's Wolf let himself get distracted by double-digit caseload increases in certain states, but missed the big story: California, with roughly 12% of the country's population, was responsible for over half of the increase in both families and recipients receiving benefits. The reason the state's percentage increase was smaller than several others was because its caseload is already scandalously out of control.
Wolf also made a point of comparing the relatively small increase in the national welfare caseload to steep rises in the number of Americans receiving food stamp and unemployment insurance benefits.
Here are the first five and final paragraphs from Wolf, followed by a closer look at the numbers:
Now that Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala. has been named the ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, some on the far-left are gunning for Alabama's junior senator. The battle is happening as President Barack Obama is on the verge of naming an appointee to the Supreme Court to fill void of Justice David Souter.Some of the left-wing points that suggest Sessions has racist tendencies were incorporated into a May 6 Politico story by John Bresnahan and Manu Raju.
"By elevating Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions to their top spot on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Republicans have selected their chief inquisitor for President Barack Obama's first Supreme Court nominee: a Southern, white conservative man who has drawn fire for racially insensitive comments in the past," Bresnahan and Manu Raju wrote. "Democrats like how this is looking."
The story sets up Sessions to be on the defensive about race by spinning the senator's own history. According to the Politico story, Sessions had been accused of unfairly targeting black civil rights workers for election fraud charges as a federal prosecutor during a 1986 Senate hearing for a spot on the federal bench.
As expected, Joe Biden is fast becoming the clown prince of Washington D.C. His never ending case of athlete's mouth resulting from his penchant for sticking his foot between his chompers is something that should be no surprise to any long-time Biden watcher. But, amusingly, UPI tries to re-center the Biden story, rescuing him from ridicule, to discuss the supposedly important things that President Obama has entrusted to the vice president.
In "Biden soldiers on amid comedic jabs," we find UPI trying to tell us of all the important, important stuff our gabby VP is in charge of. But even the UPI can't hide the fact that these things that Obama put Biden "in charge" of are nothing more than meaningless make-work programs.
Straight from UPI's transcript of Barack Obama's Earth Day remarks in Newton, Iowa yesterday -- in the midst of flights that reportedly expended 9,000 gallons of jet fuel -- here is the President's take on this country's oil dependency (bold is mine):
Twenty percent of what we spend on imports is the price of our oil imports. ..... It's the cost we've known ever since the gas shortages of the 1970s.
And yet for more than 30 years, too little has been done about it. There's a lot of talk of action when oil prices skyrocket like they did last summer, and everybody says we've got to do something about energy independence. But then it slips from the radar when oil prices start falling like they have recently. So we shift from shock to indifference, time and again, year after year.
We can't afford that approach anymore, not when the costs for our economy, for our country and for our planet is so high.
So on this Earth Day, it is time for us to lay a new foundation for economic growth by beginning a new era of energy exploration in America.
Gosh, that sounds positively capitalist. You would think the guy is finally going to let the oil companies do what they do best.
Not a chance. Here, from later in the speech, is (I think, because he never used any variation of "explore" anywhere else in the speech) how President 'Prompter defines "exploration" (bolds are mine):
Vincent Fumo's chronicle of corruption is extraordinary, even by the "standards" of Philadelphia, PA.
Thus, it's a journalistic fail that in a story about the convictions of former 30-year state senator Fumo and longtime associate Ruth Arnao, NBC Philadephia (HT Michelle Malkin) did not identify his or her Democratic Party party affiliation.
Here is a portion of NBC Philly's early-morning story:
Fumo Guilty on All Counts
Guilty is the verdict on all 137 counts for Vince Fumo in his federal corruption trail. His co-defendant Ruth Arnao is also guilty on all counts against her.
"Well, you know his company was slowing down just like everybody else's company has been slowing down and he didn't have much to do, so he started a side business in his cubicle - which is what a lot of people did, including myself and he got caught," Adams said. "So, it just seemed like a good time to downsize him and let him see what it's like to try to get a job in this economy."
The inspiration for the change in Dilbert's storyline was the economic downturn, which has inspired media coverage that the comic pages haven't even been immune to.
Once again we have a politician who is indicted on corruption charges and once again we have a news organization who "conveniently" neglects to mention his party label. You will look in vain for the party name of Puerto Rico Governor Anibal Acevedo Vila in this United Press International report:
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico, Dec 29, 2008 (UPI via COMTEX) -- Puerto Rico's governor, indicted on corruption charges, posted a video on the popular social networking site Facebook admitting to making mistakes.
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):
A 44-year old New Jersey man has been arrested in Washington, D.C., for allegedly urinating on people while intoxicated at a Grateful Dead tribute band concert. Talk about embarassment, a Grateful Dead tribute band?! Oh, did I mention the man is a Jersey City Democratic councilman?
The AP ignored Steve Lipski's Democratic party affiliation in a November 9 story about the Friday incident, even though it was bylined from Jersey City and presumably a reporter filing from there could readily discover Lipski's Democratic Party affiliation. After all, the Democratic pol once ran unsuccessfully for Atlantic City mayor.
A November 9 UPI story on Lipski's arrest noted an unidentified source at D.C.'s popular 9:30 Club that Lipski has a rap for drunken, um, revelry: