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.
E. W. Scripps has announced that Friday will be the last day of publication for the Rocky Mountain News. This is a sad day for Denver and Colorado, and given the state's pivotal position in national politics, it's not too good for the country, either.
The Rocky always had longer articles, better coverage, and sharper commentary than its surviving rival, the Denver Post. But a tabloid format and a series of poor marketing and business decisions left it unable to compete in the shrinking market for dead-tree-based news.
The Rocky was also one of the main reasons that the more liberal Post didn't become the utterly irresponsible caricature of a newspaper that the Star-Tribune and the Los Angeles Times have turned into. With the Rocky now gone, there will be less pressure on the Post to be a responsible outlet, rather than a mouthpiece for the Democratic party and its affiliates.
In past times, the Post would have picked up the important features and much of the news staff of the Rocky. However, the Post is facing financial problems of its own, laying off some editorial and management staff, and it's unclear how long it will continue to function, even without direct competition.
So, once again, students in the Colorado university system and their parents will be asked to pay more for tuition. The Rocky slips this university talking point into its report: "Low state funding has driven heavy tuition increases every year since the beginning of the decade."
Of course, how the money's being spent escapes all attention. Good luck figuring out how much it takes to educate a 4-year student at CU; the university's allegedly been trying for years to figure that out, and still can't provide a number.
Rocky Mountain News staffer Ed Sealover offered readers a 12-paragraph article on how Planned Parenthood is making a killing off of John McCain's choice of running mate. Too bad he downplayed that they're literal killings.
In his September 23 article, "Planned Parenthood gains from Palin e-mail campaign," Sealover noted that the "staunch abortion-rights opponent" is inspiring pro-choice women to give donations to the organization in Palin's name, meaning that John McCain's campaign headquarters will soon be "receiving tens of thousands of thank-you notes."
Sealover briefly noted that Planned Parenthood provides abortion services, although he failed to mention that, although technically a not-for-profit entity, it earns windfall profits by selling abortion services. Reported Penny Starr of CNSNews.com* earlier this year:
The mainstreammedia seems all too willing to let left-wing labor groups affiliated with the Ballot Initiative Strategy Center (BISC) get away with dressing up their blatant efforts to thwart the will of the people. Let every vote be counted and everyone’s opinion be heard, say the left, unless their favorite government-enforced labor union privileges are under attack. Then, all bets are off. *(It has come to our attention via fax, that BISC was issued a cease in desist letter on March 27, for their unauthorized use of Kessler International trademark for the use of "Fraudbusters." )
Take the case of the Denver Post’s April 9 report on a legal challenge brought by the Colorado AFL-CIO alleging ballot fraud and unreported financial dealings on the part of the organizers of a state right-to-work ballot initiative. Incredibly, Mike Cerbo, executive director for the Colorado AFL-CIO defends the suit to the Rocky Mountain News by asking "We want to know who we are dealing with… [a]nd where are they getting their money? ... That's why we have campaign finance laws." And the suit comes right on the heels of the right-to-work group’s recent announcement it has gathered nearly double the signatures necessary to get its petition on the November ballot. But what the Denver media are missing in their reporting of the controversy is that the AFL-CIO and labor ally United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCWU) are part of an ongoing state by state effort to thwart popular conservative and libertarian ballot initiatives by any means necessary.
On Wednesday, Associated Press Business Writer J.W. Elphinstone used a curious definition of "narrow" to emphasize the importance of a home-price measurement index that only looks at the country's largest metro areas, while minimizing the significance of one that catalogs virtually the entire USA -- all apparently done to create an overwrought portrayal of home values as being "in freefall."
No end in sight: Housing in freefall until credit loosens and supply recedes, experts say
House prices may still have a long way to fall.
Across much of the nation, home values are dropping -- even those backed by solid mortgages -- and banks are repossessing more every day. Most experts say the dive won't hit bottom for another year and only after excess inventory is sharply reduced and credit markets improve.
Back in April, social service spending advocates in Oregon orchestrated the "Food Stamp Challenge," claiming that the average program recipient's benefits of $21 per week were woefully inadequate. Those who took the Food Stamp Challenge attempted to show just how unacceptable this average benefit was by buying $21 worth of food and trying to survive on it for seven days.
The entire premise of the Challenge was bogus from the very beginning, as syndicated columnist Mona Charen and yours truly demonstrated. This table, based on information readily available at the Department of Agriculture, shows what the real benefit levels are, before taking into account any resources (income, etc.) a person or family would be expected to have, based on their actual circumstances, to pay for food themselves (i.e., the average benefit is $21 per person week, AFTER taking those resources into account):
Raeed Tayeh, who will lead today’s event, is former head of the public relations office of the Muslim American Society, a national civil rights group. He also served as a speechwriter for Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, D-Georgia. His articles have appeared in major newspapers and magazines, and he has been a guest speaker on several radio and television programs including, "The O'Reilly Factor." Tayeh is also the author of "A Muslim's Guide to American Politics and Government."
I glad the reporter from the Rocky knew how to type, so she could transcribe this from the press release word for word. Either that, or she can cut-and-paste with great aplomb, with the same great skill I used to bring it to you. Actually being a reporter, and finding out something about her subject seems to be beyond her, at least when she's on deadline.
The Denver Post and Rocky Mountain News continue to ignore the good economic news in the ISM's Regional Reports on Business. The Institute for Supply Management's monthly national survey is one of the most respected and widely-followed economy surveys, covering as it does the expected purchasing and hiring trends, as well as the trailing indicators of price and supplier performance.
In addition to the national survey, the ISM also publishes monthly regional surveys, one of which is based in Denver. For the last two months, the manufacturing survey has been extremely strong. This month, the more violatile non-manufacturing index moved from slightly negative (49.4) to solidly positive at 53.2.
Well, yes, actually, although you wouldn't know it from this morning's addition to the "Yes, but" Chorus from the Rocky.
The al-Qaida leader's demise has given the Iraqi people "a lot of hope and optimism," said Joe Rice, a former Glendale mayor and Army reservist who recently completed his second tour in Iraq.
Joe Rice is also running as a Democrat to succeed Joe Stengel in the Colorado House's 38th District. Should our friend Matt Dunn win the Republican nomination, this is the guy he'll be going up against.
On March 18, the Rocky ran both an op-ed by Rice, and an editorial referencing that op-ed, and neither mentioned Rice's candidacy for the House 38th.
Talk about handing the media a gift. Yesterday's altercation between employees of the two Republican candidates for governor - at a forum that included the Democrat - gave the Rocky Mountain News's Stuart Strears a chance to focus on the Republicans' arguments and the Democrat's message:
An intern for the Holtzman campaign, Laura Mendenhall, tried to block a Beauprez staffer, Jory Taylor, from videotaping the event. That outraged the Beauprez campaign, which says it routinely tapes such forums.
"They were shoving him out of the way," said John Marshall, a spokesman for Beauprez. "They totally accosted him. This is just junior high school stuff. It's disappointing and juvenile and not befitting a campaign for the highest office in Colorado."
The recent unveiling of the Pulitzer Prizes had more of the same politicized whiff that the Oscars oozed earlier this year. Merit is taking a back seat now to "edginess" in both the news and entertainment media. "Speaking truth to power" is in vogue, even if it’s not true and even if it’s not in the public interest.
The roster of Pulitzer winners had an unmistakeable get-Bush smell to them, especially Dana Priest’s exposing secret prisons in Europe for terrorists in the Washington Post, and James Risen’s and Eric Lichtblau’s NSA-surveillance exposure in the New York Times. The Pulitzers have a prize for Public Service, but these leaks in the War on Terror might better deserve an award for Public Endangerment. As Bill Bennett put it, many Americans think it’s odd that on these stories, "the leaker can be prosecuted, but the person who wrote it down, told every citizen about it, and told every enemy of every citizen of this country gets a Pulitzer Prize."
Forty-ninth just sounds more dramatic. Union activists in at least nine other states - Arizona, Louisiana, Nevada, Florida, Pennsylvania, Idaho, Tennessee, Illinois and Utah - apparently agree. By one survey or another, all claimed to be 49th in 2004 or 2005.
The typical response is that [insert state name here] is thankful for Mississippi. But wait:
But Franks and others argued that the Legislature had to set priorities, and education should be the No. 1 priority. "Is it practical for us to be 49th in education funding?" Franks asked.
There is not as much money per pupil as before. This occurs at a time when Ontario's funding for education stands 49th in North America.
Gee, with 50 states and 11 provinces, not counting Mexico, you'd at least think they'd have been imaginative enough to make it 60 out of 61. Welcome to the Education Establishment, and the Media Echo Chamber. Where all the unions are strong, the statistics are good-looking, and all the funding is below-average.