A fairly common media meme during the past year or so has been that the continually declining value of the dollar is driving up oil and gas prices (image courtesy Slate).
In the past three months alone, there have been over 100 stories involving this very subject, including this March 10 piece from U.S. News & World Report entitled "Why Gas Prices Rise as the Dollar Falls (emphasis added):
Here's one of those complex economic truisms the financial press assumes everybody understands: A big reason oil and gas prices are hitting record highs is that the dollar is hitting record lows.
The beauty of this "truism" is that it allows media outlets to blame oil and gas price rises on the Bush administration, as everybody knows that the lower dollar is all their fault (wink, wink...nudge, nudge).
Of course, an examination of oil and Dollar Index charts does show an inverse correlation, meaning that as oil prices rise, the dollar drops and vice versa (charts provided by TradingCharts.com):
Playing the moral equivalence card in his speech this morning, Barack Obama said this:
I can no more disown [Rev. Wright] than I can disown the black community. I can no more disown him than I can my white grandmother - a woman who helped raise me, a woman who sacrificed again and again for me, a woman who loves me as much as she loves anything in this world, but a woman who once confessed her fear of black men who passed by her on the street, and who on more than one occasion has uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes that made me cringe.
Which sent me scurrying to Google for the quote I was sure I remembered. And sure enough:
There is nothing more painful to me ... than to walk down the street and hear footsteps and start thinking about robbery, then look around and see somebody white and feel relieved. -- the Reverend Jesse Jackson, as quoted in US News, 3/10/96
Jury selection began Monday in Chicago in the trial of Syrian-born businessman Antoin "Tony" Rezko, a major supporter of Barack Obama. Two days before the 2006 elections in which Democrats won by running against a "culture of corruption," Chicago newspapers revealed that Obama purchased a home in the summer of 2005 for $1.6 million, but to complete the deal, he would need to buy an adjoining parcel for $625,000. Instead, Mrs. Rezko bought the parcel, and they closed on the properties on the same day. Rezko was already under federal investigation for kickback schemes.
To a political opponent, this might resemble a lobbyist’s sweetheart deal like the one that started Rep. Duke Cunningham’s political decline, where a lobbyist paid $700,000 more for Cunningham’s home than his own sale price months later. But the national media are anything but opponents of Obama’s. An MRC analysis shows that despite Obama’s high national profile as a Democratic symbol of hope, network TV news and the national news magazines have done a dreadful job of telling the Rezko story, and have struggled not to repeat it.
In an issue dominated by rehashing early and modern American campaign history, U.S. News & World Report’s January 28/February 4 issue devoted sympathetic pages to the losing campaigns of two Massachusetts liberals, John Kerry and Michael Dukakis. The cover promised stories on "The Dirtiest Campaigns Ever," and inside the "Down & Dirty" section included reporter Danielle Knight’s story charging the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth made allegations about Kerry’s medals had "little or no merit," according to...The New York Times. In an interview with reporter Bret Schulte, Dukakis claimed that it’s all his fault we’re under the worst administration he’s ever lived under, since he failed to beat "old man" Bush in 1988, but he claimed he was the victim of negative ads that he said he failed to rebut.
It's no longer enough to say the economy is heading into or already is in a recession. Invoking the memory of the Great Depression has become the latest way to dramatize the economic turmoil caused by the credit markets.
Zuckerman told viewers we're heading into uncharted territory with this current credit freeze-up.
"You have the entire banking system now that is virtually frozen. And there are, not just this subprime mortgage thing, there are other things called credit default swaps where they will lose as much money, $250 billion on. The banks are frozen. They are not making loans because they have such huge debts that they have to take on to their balance sheets and nobody knows how to deal with that," he continued.
CNN senior political analyst (and U.S. News & World Report editor-at-large) David Gergen scolded GOP candidate Mitt Romney on Monday’s Anderson Cooper 360 for daring to suggest that the health of the American economy is as important as fighting climate change. Gergen likened that to the "divisive" debate on race among Democratic candidates and called it a “very dangerous” argument for Republicans to make: “If Romney wins, and that becomes the message of the Republican Party, we are going to have two huge clashes in this country between needs on the economy vs. needs to deal with climate change. And it’s a very dangerous place for the Republican Party to go.”
Romney’s chief rival in today’s Michigan primary, Arizona Senator John McCain, has consistently pushed the liberal side of the climate change debate. In a speech in Kalamazoo yesterday, McCain sounded a lot like Al Gore: “I believe there's scientific evidence that drastic things are happening to our planet. If I'm wrong and we move ahead with green technology, the only downside is leaving a cleaner world for our children.”
Instead of scolding McCain for embracing a liberal position in a Republican primary, Gergen faulted Romney for not following suit. Because of his past service in the Reagan and Ford administrations, Gergen is often cast as the conservative counter-balance in roundtables; last night, for example, he appeared with reporter Candy Crowley and liberal CNN contributor Roland Martin. But with Gergen (who also worked for Bill Clinton) making liberal points, too, there’s no conservative to offer an alternative opinion.
Back in the days of our MediaWatch newsletter, we used to have a feature called "Revolving Door" to note reporters swapping their jobs for political appointments or political appointees swapping their jobs for reporting gigs. (See the NB Revolving Door topic for more recent updates.) The Minneapolis Star Tribune announced that its editorial writer Dave Hage is leaving "to become communications director for first-term Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn. Hage, 52, will take over Klobuchar's fledgling press operation," which has already lost its top press aide. Hage, a Minneapolis native, was an economics correspondent for for U.S. News & World Report magazine in Washington from 1991 to 1995, where he drew our attention as he repeatedly attacked Reaganomics and boosted Clintonomics. So the new Democrat job isn’t a shocker.
From our Notable Quotables in March 1993, the myth that health socialism-pushing Clinton would have a "healthy respect" for free enterprise:
This was first reported at FreeRepublic on Sunday, September 9 at 6:55 PM Pacific Time (3:55 PM Eastern), with follow-up posts here, here, and here.
The incident took place on or some time prior to Friday, September 7. The original Freeper report, with plentiful pictures, states that:
..... It looks like the person who did this walked along The Wall with some type of container, perhaps hidden at their side so that they could squirt the oily substance without being caught in the act.
..... It is unknown who did this to The Wall, and apparently the US Park Police did not know about this damage until today; though the Park Service employees knew about it.
A story on the US News and World Report website reveals that the reason women are paid less in general may have something to do with what they study in college:
The April release of Behind the Pay Gap by the American Association of University Women Education Foundation reported that one year after college graduation, women working full time earn just 80 percent as much as their male counterparts. The report noted that one potential reason for this difference is that female students are clustered in college majors tied to careers that lead to smaller paychecks. Areas such as education, health, and psychology are dominated by women, while men make up the majority of engineering, physical science, and mathematics majors—occupations that typically pay more.
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg announcing he’s leaving the Republican Party is a little like Madonna announcing she’s leaving the Catholic Church. Was he ever really a paragon of the GOP? Speculation abounds that he’s running for president on the Ross Perot egotistical-billionaire plan, with press reports citing his intention to spend a cool $1 billion of his personal fortune. That will surely create a headwind, but a big part of the wind beneath his wings will be the support he hopes to generate from the national media.
And it’s happening already. Bloomberg’s third-party spoiler ambitions were heavily promoted by two news magazines – a big promotional cover story in Time with fellow RINO Arnold Schwarzenegger titled "The New Action Heroes," and a two-page editorial by U.S. News & World Report owner Mort Zuckerman titled "What to Like About Mike."
This is not to say these magazines believe what America really needs is a successful media magnate in the White House. If they did, they would have done the same publicity favors for Steve Forbes.
U.S. News & World Report is traditionally known as the staid sister of Time and Newsweek, so it’s a little shocking to see these harsh words on the cover this week: "Bush’s Last Stand: He’s plagued by a hostile CONGRESS, sinking POLLS, and an unending WAR. IS HE RESOLUTE OR DELUSIONAL?" (Capitals theirs.) The cover story by Kenneth T. Walsh is loaded with Bush-bashing quotes from named and anonymous sources. Walsh began by noting Bush has compared his trials to those of Abraham Lincoln and Harry Truman, and the diagnosis that Bush is mentally ill emerges from DNC chairman Dr. Howard Dean: "This is delusional – comparing yourself to two of our greatest presidents!" Liberal historian Robert Dallek added, "a great majority see him as stubborn and unyielding...And everything he touches turns to dust."
But when CBS and U.S. News & World Report’s Gloria Borger calls for a “moratorium on invoking the memory of Ronald Reagan” in a column about the recent Republican presidential debates held at a library named in his honor, this Gipper envy has clearly gotten way out of hand (emphasis added throughout):
Kenneth Walsh of U.S. News & World Report tried to reassure readers of a new, moderating Hillary in an article titled "Crafting the New Hillary."
Is that being done by her handlers, or by the liberal media as well?
Walsh reported she was moving to the center, on economics and even on
Clinton is also trying to come across as more cautious and centrist, if often ambiguous in her policy stands, to reassure independents and conservatives. In an interview with CNBC's Power Lunch
last week, she urged Bush to address fundamental problems in the
economy, such as soaring foreign debt and massive budget deficits. She
called the stock market plunge a "wake-up call" and encouraged the
administration to find some "sensible and reasonable" answers.
Here's a headline sure to spook any investor or economist: "Greenspan warns of likely U.S. recession." That was the headline right near the top of the widely surfed Drudge Report yesterday afternoon and this morning, referring to a speech that former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan made the other day via satellite to a business conference in Hong Kong. Many market watchers are blaming those comments– along with a weak durable goods report and the plunge in the Chinese stock market – for today's stock market sell-off. But despite the inflammatory Drudge headline – which, in all fairness, linked to an Associated Press story with that same title – the Maestro was hardly so definitive as Drudge made him out to be. Here is what Greenspan said, according to AP:
I'm just getting to the February 19 editions of the news magazines today. The objective? Did they report on the vulgar anti-Christian and anti-Catholic blogs of the now-retired feminist John Edwards bloggers? Not with any specifics. Each papered over the controversy.
Time's Massimo Calabresi devoted his story to the trouble with campaign bloggers and how their "bravado can backfire." In reporting on bloggers for McCain and Hillary as well for Edwards, Calabresi quoted Amanda Marcotte's snarky comments about how guilty the Duke lacrosse players were, but not her giggling over the idea of aborting Jesus after she was filled with the "hot, white, sticky Holy Spirit" so Christians would have to find another "ancient mythology" to excuse their hatred for women:
The fauxtography scandal that characterized reporting of the Israeli-Hezbollah war continues. Charles Johnson at little green footballs reports that, according to the photographer who took a dramatic picture that ran in Time and US News & World Report, editors at Time deliberately changed the caption to slant the story against Israel. The caption claimed that the picture showed an Israeli plane burning after being shot down. It actually showed a fire at a Lebanese army base caused by a ground to ground missile that misfired after Israeli bombing.
What neither magazine chose to report is that the presence of the missile and launcher hidden in a civilian truck on the army base is a clear indication of collusion between the Lebanese army and the terrorist group Hezbollah.
For these people with short memories who think the Jim Webb novel passages with lusty or just strange sexual episodes have no place in political news, clearly they do not remember the Newt Gingrich Bodice-Ripper as it broke to liberal media jokes in December of 1994. Webb’s strange passages drew no attention on the network morning shows Friday, unlike the liberal Gingrich fun in 1994:
-- CNN ended its afternoon show Inside Politics on December 1, 1994 with this exchange between anchors Bernard Shaw and Judy Woodruff on the enterprising New York Times:
Shaw: "Well, Gingrich is taking a sense of history into a new surprising realm. He's co-authoring a novel about World War II at its aftermath. Gingrich describes it as 'historical science fiction,' but others might categorize it as a sexy potboiler, at least based on an excerpt obtained by the New York Times. Now one passage reads - and let me emphasize I'm quoting now - 'Suddenly the pouting sex kitten gave way to Diana the Huntress. She rolled onto to him and somehow was sitting athwart his chest, her knees pinning his shoulders. 'Tell me, or I will make you do terrible things,' she hissed.' What are political watchers to make of this offering from the speaker-in-waiting and a proponent of family values? Well, incoming Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole was asked for his comments today."
Would Republicans be popular again if they’d only dump their conservative principles? That’s the advice in this week’s U.S. News & World Report, contained in Thomas K. Grose’s “Letter from Bournemouth, England.” Grose salutes Britain’s Conservative Party leader David Cameron for his thoroughly un-conservative approach of eschewing tax cuts, supporting gay marriage and the minimum wage, and calling Britain’s National Health Service a “great achievement.”
Grose thinks American Republicans should also morph into liberals: “Cameron’s centerward drive contrasts sharply with American conservatism, where the Republican Party is fighting the midterm congressional elections by lurching even further to the right to appease its base voters. While Cameron chirps about sunshine, Vice President Dick Cheney stumps for GOP candidates by depicting the world in gloomy terms and playing to voters' fears of terrorism.”
Both Time and Newsweek are out with another set of “bad news for Republicans” covers this week, as Tim Graham pointed out earlier this morning. In her magazine’s cover story, Time’s Karen Tumulty suggests that Republican are about to lose control of Congress. “It took 40 years for the House Democrats to exhaust their goodwill. It may take only 12 years for the Republicans to get there.”
For millions who will only notice Time, Newsweek, or U.S. News & World Report as they’re waiting to check out at the grocery store, the picture and headline on the cover will convey the news magazine’s editorial summary of the week’s important news. This week, Time showcases a huge shot of an elephant’s rump, symbolizing the end of the GOP’s control of Congress. Newsweek has a huge close-up of the disgraced Mark Foley’s face, an image that dwarfs a picture of President Bush.
In State of Denial, Bob Woodward claims Marine Gen. James L. Jones, the U.S. commander for Europe, said that the Iraq war is a "debacle" and that "the Joint Chiefs have been systematically emasculated by Rumsfeld."
Two reporters from two publications followed up on the story. They couldn't have reached more diametrically opposed conclusions as to whether Woodward quoted Jones accurately. How's this for dueling headlines?
Putting aside more conspiratorially-minded critics of the mainstream
media, genuine practical concerns and mounting evidence suggest
Western media has been co-opted by Hezbollah in Lebanon to a
significant agree. So much so, in fact, that it may be unable to paint
an accurate picture of the current conflict.
The two year old image at right is from a Reuters video of
Palestinian terrorists escaping from an action in Israel with the aid
of a UN van. Video here.
The decision by America's MSM not to publish it at the time may
represent press bias, or that its concern for American's right to know
is somewhat selective. However, it also serves to make another
Service organizations like the UN and the Red Cross often rely on
local individuals to flesh out their staffs. Obviously, there are areas
of the world where it's difficult to tell the good guys from the bad
and sometimes the bad guys may represent the majority of the local
population. Such may be the case in Southern Lebanon and it invites the
kind of co-optation witnessed above.
With the MSM having decided to rely heavily on local stringers in
covering the Israeli Hezbollah conflict in Southern Lebanon, their
coverage appears to have fallen prey to manipulation by a terrorist
group, or at least its propaganda machine.
The fauxtography scandal is blowing out of control as proof after proof rolls in how much of the self-described photojournalism coming out of Lebanon is illegitimate. If you're a blogger (or are reading some) covering the story, drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll include a link in this roundup. And of course, you can link in the comments as well. Comments are now open to unregistered users.
UPDATE 6:25. After an overnight hardware failure, NB is back up and running. The links will begin momentarily.
UPDATE 6:38. Snapped Shot is another blog worth checking out. Keep those links coming, folks!
UPDATE 7:05. Via NB reader Geepers comes this link to a German TV news show proving that the infamous Salam Daher, aka "greenhelmetguy," is a stage manager for Hezbollah. The video shows him rehearsing the removal of a body from an ambulance and giving directions to the camera operator.
Historical revisionism…describes the process that attempts to rewrite history by downgrading, denying or simply ignoring essential facts.
A recent article in U.S. News & WorldReport employs two common myths to explain why pro-gun groups allegedly wield too much political power:
Saul Cornell of Ohio State's Second Amendment Research Center, says polls consistently show broad support for gun control. What gives the gun lobby strength, he says, is that supporters see gun control as a make-or-break issue. With that passion comes money. Gun-rights groups contributed nearly 14 times as much as gun-control groups in the 2004 election cycle, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. [Emphasis added]
Here's a few tidbits from this week's news magazines.
1. Newsweek's predictably liberal "Conventional Wisdom Watch" box is clearly unhappy with the good-news-for-Bushies trend. Bush and Rove each get an up arrow. Each also get incredibly whiny blurbs. Bush: "Surprise Baghdad trip boosts troops' morale -- and his own. But he still had to sneak in, three years after invasion." Rove: "Being cleared in CIA leak probe clears his to go back to attacking Democrats as pansies. To the well once too often?"
Answer: No, not when you're pushing withdrawal from Iraq by the end of the year.
The news magazines are having trouble mustering much enthusiasm for the defeat of Zarqawi. U.S. News & World Report, which featured Zarqawi only at the top of the cover, carried an article from White House correspondent Kenneth Walsh titled "A Bit of A Bounce." Walsh didn't have any actual polling data, but noted at the article's beginning that Zarqawi and the election of Rep. Brian Bilbray were bright spots. Walsh ended, however, with liberal historian Robert Dallek (no label, of course), who wasn't budging from his stubborn take that Iraq is Vietnam:
Zarqawi's death may be a PR coup, but Dallek and other scholars argue that the U.S. occupation increasingly resembles U.S. involvement in Vietnam, an exhausting morass that haunted the country for a generation. Until there is real improvement in Iraq, they say, Bush's presidency will probably remain a troubled one.
The May 8th issue of "U.S. News and World Report" featured an article about high gas prices. Now, the fact that a news magazine would look at the rising cost of gas is not a surprise. But, that a magazine would dedicate a section to interviewing someone who served in the gas line plagued Carter Administration about what the solution to high gas prices is, does come as somewhat of a surprise. Does U.S. News and World Report forget the oil shortages under the Carter Administration. Does the magazine forget the "odd" and "even" licence plates?
The article in question appeared on page 26 and was entitled "Why a Gas Tax is Good For You." The article contained three softball questions at gas tax proponent Philip Verleger, who served in the Carter Treasury Department.
Reading the table of contents of this week’s U.S. News & World Report revealed a very biased headline: "Vote Democratic, Earn More." Underneath the headline, the promotional copy read: "Campaigns to raise the minimum wage may be just the ticket for the party." The story by reporter Silla Brush led off the magazine's national coverage this week, with the headline: "A Winning Bet? Efforts to increase the minimum wage are proliferating; Democrats say they've found an issue to rally around". Brush touted the way Democrats hope to use minimum-wage hikes as a tactic to drive the labor base to the polls:
Democrats, big labor, progressive religious groups, and community activists nationwide have latched on to the wage-hike campaign as a way to define their own "values." Public approval for a federally mandated raise is at 83 percent, and 20 states already have set a higher minimum wage than the federal level of $5.15 per hour...The federal government hasn't budged on the minimum wage in nearly a decade. At $5.15 an hour ($10,712 a year), its value has eroded so much that the 2 million Americans earning the minimum wage or below today can buy less in real terms now than at almost any time in the last half century.
On his new blog over at U.S. News & World Report, cranky old liberal John Mashek (who earned the C.O.L. title for dismissing MRC's DisHonors dinner as "preposterous" a few posts back) reports from a media panel at Middle Tennessee State University. He heard one Mary Mapes, still outraged by people who would insist she should prove a story before she puts it on the air:
Mary Mapes, the CBS producer who was fired over her role in a 60 Minutes II story about George W. Bush's service in the Texas Air National Guard, said profiteering had taken over at television networks at the expense of news. Mapes defended her professionalism in the controversy, indicating that a rush to run the story played a role in the errors admitted by CBS. Mapes implied that she took the fall, along with other female operatives, while the male executives at the network escaped with their jobs intact. Of course, Dan Rather, who had to humble himself for the mistake, left the network anchor chair a few months later.
Foreign Affairs, the Economist, and certainly U.S.News & World Report are titles you'd expect to see at the two State Department newsstands visited by the public, employees, and their kids, but Playboy and Penthouse? Yikes! Or so thought Condoleezza Rice a while back when she began receiving briefings in Foggy Bottom before her confirmation hearings as secretary of state. Alerted by an aide that the skin magazines, partially clad in brown paper covers, were placed beside newsmagazines and close to candy, nuts, and stuffed animals, she said, "I want them out."
A few weeks later, when she took over from Colin Powell, the eviction began. "The secretary wanted them gone immediately," says senior adviser Jim Wilkinson." She didn't understand how a department that claimed to fight for the rights of women worldwide could sell pornography that degrades women." And, he adds, the magazines "could be seen as contributing to a hostile work environment." He teamed with State's internal manager and several State women who had been campaigning against the publications but had gotten nowhere. Now that they have succeeded, some of those women are eyeing other lad mags like Maxim and FHM. But State News's Richard Williams isn't listening. It was no problem banning the XXX fare: It didn't move very fast. "But Maxim," he says, "is a bestseller."