With rapidly rising debt and an unprecedented credit downgrade, Puerto Rico is facing a looming default with terrifying implications on American bond markets, though you would never know about it watching broadcast news.
The leading credit rating firm Standard & Poor’s Rating services downgraded Puerto Rican debt to “junk” status on Feb. 5, with further downgrades likely. Despite Puerto Rico having more than three times as much debt as Detroit did before bankruptcy, the broadcast networks paid no attention to this looming crisis in the six months before Feb. 1, 2014.
Puerto Rico, with $70 billion in debt and 14.7 percent unemployment, edges closer to a default. Regardless, ABC, CBS and NBC did not air a single story covering this crisis between Aug. 1, 2013 and Feb. 1, 2014.
Ed Schultz has spent weeks blaming Detroit’s recent bankruptcy filing on Republican policies, even though the city has been firmly in Democratic hands for decades. The bombastic MSNBC host has called the city a “conservative utopia,” arguing that Republican anti-union policies have “gutted Detroit.”
Schultz’s latest tirade came on Saturday’s The Ed Show, when the left-wing host bizarrely claimed that Republicans have “taken democracy away from Detroit.” Schultz further suggested that Republicans “circumvent[ed] local elections in this country” and “discard[ed] what people want and say about their communities.”
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):
Given the underlying story, the following headline to a Thursday story at the Detroit Free Press is either a big mistake or a deliberate attempt to focus blame where it absolutely does not belong: "Man on probation, fined for role in tea party scam." Excuse me while I question whether the Freep deserves the benefit of the doubt.
L.L. Brasler's story is really about how the second of two Democratic Party operatives has been sentenced for running an electoral scam with sham candidates to hurt Republican and conservatives and to blunt the impact of the Tea Party movement:
Someone should inform Helen Thomas that the First Amendment does not protect one's right to honorary degrees.
The disgraced former White House correspondent lashed out at her critics Tuesday, and stood by her vicious anti-Semitic remarks - both her most recent claims that "Congress, the White House, and Hollywood, Wall Street, are owned by the Zionists" and the remarks that led to her resignation.
According to the Detroit Free Press, Thomas issued a bizarre threat - unmoored from any coherent legal understanding of "freedom of speech" - to Anti-Defamation League president Abe Foxman, who had called for Thomas to be stripped of all honorary awards:
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.
This item will not be filed under "Mother's Day Role-Modeling Behavior."
In this story, it's hard to figure out what's more outrageous: The willful defacement of property -- in this case, a brand-new $5 million pedestrian bridge by an alleged adult in her mid-40s who is the mother of a teenaged son -- or the near non-reaction to wanton vandalism perpetrated in broad daylight by her and others on what is supposed to be a source of pride in Detroit.
That's even before getting to the news that one of the vandals, Oneita Jackson, is a copy editor at the Detroit Free Press who has her own Freep blog called "O Street."
On March 21, Ms. Jackson, from her establishment media perch, admonished readers to "Agree or Disagree, Just Be Civil." You can't make this stuff up.
The 2010 NFL draft showed that it's not enough to be a star football player anymore. Character counts now too.
Tim Tebow, and the Denver Bronco's drafting him as first-round pick, was the big story out of the NFL draft. Despite a phenomenal college career in which he won the Heisman Trophy as a sophomore, led the Florida Gators to two national championships, and lived out his Christian beliefs, many expressed doubts over Tebow's ability to compete on the professional level.
For publicly stating his Christian beliefs, Tebow has been called a "religious fundamentalist, lightning-rod misfit," told he "has a long way to mature from a business perspective," and his family and friends were compared to "Nazis."
On Wednesday, the Detroit Free Press published the Mike Thompson cartoon seen at the right. It shows a GM bigwig carrying a briefcase telling a recoiling Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, and three other politicians that "We're going to pay off the loan." The cartoon's caption is, "The Seven Dirty Words You Can't Say in Washington."
At his blog, where a full-size version of the cartoon can be found, Thompson writes:
You have to wonder what those who opposed the GM bailout think about the loan repayment. ...
It’s way too early for those who favored government aid for GM to break out in loud chants of “I told you so,” but if the good news out of GM continues, they might want to start thinking about warming up their vocal cords.
In his April 23 "Uncommon Sense" column at Forbes.com (HT Instapundit), Shikha Dalmia tells Thompson what he thinks, and suggests not scheduling the opera any time soon (bold is mine):
Rochelle Riley of the Detroit Free Press recently penned a column so wrought with falsehoods that it is difficult to navigate the ensuing minefield of absurdity.
But navigate we shall...
Riley sets out with a fully sarcastic, yet hearty, thank you to John Boehner, alleging that his fiery speech to the House had contributed to the Democrat's healthcare victory.
"Boehner and many of his supporters - as well as some extremists the party hasn't decided how to handle - faced off against the American people and lost."
It is difficult to comprehend the unmitigated arrogance of liberals as they repeatedly voice that talking point: The healthcare reform legislation is a victory for the American people.
This simply is not so. As recently as Sunday, Americans were staunchly opposed to Obamacare by a 54-41% margin according to a Rasmussen poll. The veracity of their opposition was also overwhelming, with 45% who strongly oppose the plan, and 26% who strongly favor the plan. If this were an election, we'd be speaking in terms of a landslide. In reality, it is a landslide defeat for the American people. For Obama, Pelosi, and their liberal media cohorts to define going against the will of the governed as a victory for the people, is to essentially spit directly into the collective face of this nation.
CNN and the Detroit Free Press remind me of why we miss the Rocky Mountain News.
Years ago, the News had a foreign affairs editor named Holger Jensen. Jensen was relentlessly anti-Israel, reliably making excuses for her attackers, and faulting Israel for defending herself. His fact-checking was always a little suspect, but in April 2002, Jensen went too far. He reprinted offensive excerpts from an Amos Oz interview purported to be with Ariel Sharon. In fact, the interview was not with then-Prime Minister Sharon, but with another soldier.
This was, you remember, mere weeks after the murderous Passover Bombing in Netanya. Israel's response, which was drawing howls of indignation, and Jensen probably thought the timing was right.
Add USA Today to the growing list of media outlets smearing Rush Limbaugh as a racist to support their opposition to Limbaugh becoming an NFL team owner as part of a group bidding to purchase the St. Louis Rams. In a column featured on page 3 of Monday's Sports section, Drew Sharp, a columnist for the Detroit Free Press -- which like USA Today is owned by Gannett -- declared “the NFL should pass on Rush.” Sharp argued:
The league cannot be that hamstrung in finding deep-pocketed financiers that it's left with no alternative but embracing someone whose occupational practice is making people feel more comfortable within their own prejudices.
Two paragraphs later, Sharp bemoaned: “Limbaugh's quest to buy the St. Louis Rams simply becomes another act in the football freak show.” And he concluded: “When you really think about it, Limbaugh's bombastic style perfectly meshes with a league mind-set that's already sacrificed its scruples.”
Looks like it is just starting to dawn on some lefties that Obama is ushering in an era of oppression of free speech. So it seems for Laura Varon Brown of the Detroit Free Press, at least. Oh, she isn't saying that Obama himself is trampling on free speech, but she is starting to understand that the left's penchant for political correctness is serving the function as a sort of self-imposed oppression no matter what Obama says. It's getting so bad, according to Brown, that any criticism of Obama is treated as akin to treason... at least it is in the "circles" she runs in, anyway.
Brown can count herself in the same boat as the late-night comedy shows that are finding that any criticism of The One is verboten to their left-wing audiences. Even the supposedly unshakable Bill Maher, who congratulates himself on his bravery for taking on the establishment, has found that he's had to shy from criticizing Obama. These people are seeing that attacking "The Man" is not so funny when it is their man in the crosshairs. Suddenly such folks have a new-found respect for the office and a more circumspect behavior toward the president is now du jour.
Here's a Tea Party Wednesday engine-starter, so to speak.
This past week, while much the world focused on the terrorists in training euphemistically known as "pirates," and the more religious among us attended Holy Week services and celebrated the Resurrection, bean counters and government bureaucrats were trying to figure out just how much a bankruptcy at General Motors could cost the treasury .... Oh, I forgot, the treasury is empty. I should have said "how much future generations will pay for General Motors' current bankruptcy."
In a Sunday night/Monday morning story that 'skillfully' buried the lede, the New York Times's Micheline Maynard and Michael J. de la Merced misdirected readers with talk of a "surgical" bankruptcy, while saving for later paragraphs evidence they have indicating that, if it occurs, it won't be a bankruptcy as you or I understand it. Properly stated, it should be renamed "Operation Make UAW Members Nearly Whole at Taxpayers' Expense."
Meanwhile, the Detroit Free Press appears to be almost unique in reporting that, hard as it is to believe (kidding, of course), GM might not actually repay all of the monies "lent" by Uncle Sam.
But back at the Times, though they waited until Paragraph 10 to drop the big number on us, Maynard and de la Merced eventually made it clear that taking a bit of a principal hit on the government's loans might be the least of taxpayers' problems, given the skulduggery (and that is the right word) Barack Obama and Treasury Secretary Tim "Tax Cheat" Geithner have embarked upon:
Our friend from Detroit, Jacob Appel, thinks that gays need government reparations and the Detroit Free Press was so enamored of his idea that it published his plea in its April 7 issue. One has a suspicion that they missed a deadline because this story would have more properly been published on April 1, a day well known as April Fool's Day. This one simply must be a joke.
Appel is so filled with absurd pronouncements, anti-hetero bias, and outright hatred in his piece that one simply cannot take his central thesis seriously. But his mode of thinking here does highlight the illogic of his position on the issue, so it is instructive to review it.
In yet another example of post-election continuing BDS (that's, er, "Bush Derangement Syndrome," natch) the Detroit Free Press's Rochelle Riley has called upon Speaker Nancy Pelosi to begin impeachment proceedings against George Bush "for [the] economy's sake."
Pelosi wouldn’t have to start from scratch: Rep. Dennis Kucinich, the bravest member of Congress, introduced legislation 11 months ago to impeach the president and vice president. Last January, the House gave a first reading of one of those articles of impeachment. Our own Rep. John Conyers, chair of the House Judiciary Committee, joined 38 other representatives to sponsor HR 635, which would form a committee to look into whether there are grounds for impeachment. Revive that effort!
Last week, Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-New York, submitted a resolution demanding that Bush stop issuing “pre-emptive pardons of senior officials in his administration during the final 90 days of office.”
A well-known Lansing-area evangelical church was the target of a raucous demonstration by gay anarchists during Sunday services.
The disruption came from a group that calls itself Bash Back, and involved demonstrations outside the church and inside the sanctuary while services were under way, said Mt. Hope Church communications director David Williams.
Members of the group inside the church shouted pro-gay slogans, threw leaflets, unfurled a banner and pulled a fire alarm, then hastily departed, Williams said. There were no injuries, he said.
I suppose this makes something like the one hundredth leftist female writer that has decided that Sarah Palin is a traitor to womanhood. But, here we have it again, another wild-eyed, hate filled, far left screed filled with name calling and little else, this one from Rochelle Riley and the Detroit Free Press. One would think that the papers all across the country would be ashamed of giving space to these obviously unhinged women and their so-called political analysis. If you want to see set backs, these sorts of catty, snippy, over-the-top articles against Sarah Palin have set female commentators back to the stone age where it concerns serious people being able to take them seriously.
Riley starts right off the top, not even taking a few lines to get to the blinding hatred, with the headline telling Palin to "leave the race before you further hurt women." One could easily ask Riley to stop writing "before she hurts women further," but she goes on anyway.
Last week, the Detroit Free Press's Web site posted "Which books would Palin want to ban?," a column by syndicated columnist Leonard Pitts Jr. Pitts begins with a series of possible questions for Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin. Then he makes his point:
My first question, though, would not be one of those. I'd simply ask which books she wants to ban -- and why.
Yes, there's a list of titles floating around the Internet right now, but it's a fake. It is, however, established fact that our would-be vice president has in the past tried to pull books off library shelves.
Back on September 3, the Detroit Free Press ran a feature asking local voters how they felt about Governor Sarah Palin's acceptance speech during the Republican National Convention. However, several of those identified as "independent" voters have turned out to be far from independent but are anti-war activists and members of the radical hate-group, Code Pink. Looks like the Detroit Free Press got snookered big time on this one.
The Free Press published the opinions of Ilene Beninson, 52, and Joellen Gilchrist, 64, as the opinion of "independents" and, naturally, they both hated Palin and her speech. But, as the days rolled onward, it has come to light that neither Beninson nor Gilchrist are as "independent" as they claimed. Even ABC's Jake Tapper got snared by the sham independents. Tapper later apologized for his error.
At long last, the soon-to-be erstwhile Democratic mayor of Detroit, Kwame Kilpatrick, pleaded guilty and will resign as mayor. The Detroit Free Press reports all of the salacious details--except the singular detail that Kilpatrick is a Democrat.
In a courtroom this morning, Kilpatrick pleaded guilty to two felony counts of obstructing justice by committing perjury. He will spend four months in jail, pay up to $1 million in restitution, and serve five years' probation. [...]
Two June 23 Motor City newspaper reports -- one in the Detroit Free Press ("Group blasts subprime loans," by Amber Hunt), the other in the Detroit News ("ACORN focuses on vote," by Mike Martindale) -- portrayed the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) as a noble enterprise dedicated to helping troubled borrowers and increasing voter involvement in the political process.
Hunt and Martindale were either unaware, or perhaps didn't care, that ACORN has had myriad problems over several years, including but not limited to voter-registration fraud, employee mistreatment and intimidation, and home-loan irregularities. Days before the group's national convention in Detroit, the Consumer Rights League, a group whose stated mission is "protecting consumer choice," issued a scathing whistleblower report charging ACORN with "misusing taxpayer dollars for political ends and by attacking lending corporations for the same 'predatory' lending practices it regularly engages in."
Here are selected paragraphs from each reporter's virtual press releases (HTs to Michelle Malkin here and here):
Staffers for the Detroit Free Press are now in the clear when it comes to cutting campaign contributions for politicians, reports NewsGuild.org, the Web site for The Newspaper Guild, a print journalists union. (h/t Business & Media Institute's Dan Gainor; emphasis mine):
An arbitrator's decision voiding a Detroit Free Press ban on political contributions by editorial employees has implications for other publishers attempting to control what their employees can do off the job-provided those employees are protected by an appropriately worded collective bargaining agreement.
In his May 27 decision, arbitrator Paul E. Glendon ruled that the Free Press cannot ban any particular activity of its editorial employees without documenting that the activity is compromising the paper or the employees' work. Without such documentation, Glendon wrote, the company could not justify its "unilateral incursion" against contractual safeguards.
Old Media business reporters have a definitionally-incorrect habit of labeling single industries or economic sectors as being "in recession," when the term, as defined here, can only describe national economies or the world economy. Two examples of this are New York Times reporter David Leonhardt's description of manufacturing as being in recession in February 2007 (laughably incorrect, in any event), and the Times's employment of the term "housing recession" 25 times since October 2006, as seen in this Times search (with the phrase in quotes).
But if I wanted to be consistent with this routine form of journalistic malpractice, I would characterize the newspaper business -- at least in terms of the top 25 in the industry's food chain -- not as being in recession, but instead as going through a deep, dark, painful, protracted depression.
A few days before Eliot Spitzer went down in flames, a highly-connected Barack Obama* [Update: Kilpatrick has not committed to Obama] superdelegate was mired in accusations of corruption, bid-rigging and a dead-stripper sex scandal. Usually the media love to report the downfall of party bigwigs, but not in the case of Detroit's youngest mayor Kwame Kilpatrick. Much of the media downplayed the mayor's scandals and did not report his party, let alone his status as a Democratic power player who can influence the election.
Kwame, who is the son of Congressional Black Caucus Chairwoman Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick (D-MI), is not just any mayor. He was a Democratic rising star, who spoke at the 2004 Democratic National Convention and is the superdelegate to the 2008 convention thanks to his position as Vice President of the Conference of Democratic Mayors.
But now “The First Hip Hop Mayor” is in serious trouble, with members of the city council calling for his resignation. Controversy has engulfed his two terms, and the latest bout involves a report that his wife assaulted a now-dead stripper whose shooting is still unsolved. At the same time, the mayor's longtime pal Bobby Ferguson won at least $45 million in city contracts while reportedly receiving inside information from Kilpatrick and his chief of staff.
Mayor Kwame M. Kilpatrick was at age 31 the youngest elected Mayor in the history of Detroit, the Motor City. Now, at 38, he is also the Vice President of the National Conference of Democratic Mayors as well as that organization's representative to the Democratic National Committee. He also seems to have a problem with appropriate behavior... then lies about it to try to cover it up. But one thing he doesn't seem to have to worry about is the MSM telling people he's a Democrat!
In a series of articles with ongoing coverage the Detroit Free Press reveals the attempted cover-up of an affair between Mayor Kilpatrick and his chief of staff, Christine Beatty.
It is understandable, but not forgivable, that business reporters at Old Media newspapers might think that the economy is in bad shape. They first have to get past how poorly most of their employers are doing. The industry as a whole has not been doing well, and it's been that way for quite some time.
This table illustrates that point (September 30, 2007 figures are at this post, which originally came from this Editor & Publisher article, which will soon disappear behind its firewall; March 31, 2005 figures were estimated in reverse using annual percentage changes reported as of March 31, 2006, because older data I thought would remain available no longer is):
As a follow-up to my previous post, I thought I'd take a look at the inane headlines for coverage of the 5-4 ruling today that restricts school districts from using race to manage school populations. Time and the Los Angeles Times are real howlers: