In a move that might make some people scratch their heads, a loosely formed coalition of left-leaning bloggers are trying to band together to form a labor union they hope will help them receive health insurance, conduct collective bargaining or even set professional standards.
According to CNN business reporter Ali Velshi, the relationship between oil and gas prices is difficult to grasp.
"A lot of folks are saying, 'Why have my gas prices come down 17 or 18 cents in the last couple weeks when oil prices are going up?'" said Velshi on the August 1 "American Morning."
Trust me Ali, that's not what I've heard at the pump.
"Well, I hope we've all figured out there's no way, there's no mathematician in the world who can figure out the relationship between gas and oil prices, but you can expect with oil up at 78 bucks a barrel, gas prices will soon follow and that takes things—that takes money out of the pockets of consumers who keep this economy going," he continued.
But Velshi, has not always had such a tough time making sense out of oil and gas economics.
“News that gasoline prices are falling usually comes with a warning – don’t get used to it,” said “CBS Evening News” anchor Katie Couric. “So consider yourself warned as we tell you gas has fallen 17 cents the past two weeks to a nationwide average tonight of $2.88 a gallon. That is the lowest price in three months.”
That’s right, Katie. When it comes to gasoline prices and the CBS “Evening News,” they’re either high or probably going to get higher.
"Evening News" ignored the initial drop in gasoline prices last week.
SAN FRANCISCO — Brooke Brodack remembers her first online "hater."
Nearly two years ago, the person posted rude comments about a video she had posted on YouTube, says Brodack, 21, of San Francisco, whose videos show her lip-syncing and creating characters. "It was shocking to me. Why would someone want to be so mean for no reason?"
Why, indeed? Nasty comments, sometimes even death threats, have become ubiquitous on virtually any website that seeks to engage readers in discussion.
"Ur ugly u suk and u should die," says a typical comment beneath one of Brodack's many videos. Such vulgar messages have inspired heated discussions, and video responses, on YouTube.
Reporter Janet Kornblum later brought the topic around to how mainstream media Web sites have taken to banning comments after persistent problems:
"[T]here is unmitigated good news," proclaimed Ali Velshi about the minimum wage increase on the July 24 "American Morning." While the business reporter admitted "there are lots of sides to the story," he still called it "good news."
Back on January 2, Velshi stated that the current minimum wage of $5.15 an hour is "simply not fair." He had trouble with math in that "American Morning" appearance stating that the minimum wage comes out to $900 a week, when he likely meant $900 a month.
This time, Velshi was right with the math and left with his politics.
"The bottom line is you can't underpay people. And we've been underpaying people," said Velshi.
As NewsBusters reported Monday, a writer named Corey Mitchell posted an amazingly disgraceful blog at the liberal website Daily Kos Thursday stating that the United States armed forces were creating serial killers and mass murderers.
Peter Bronson of the Cincinnati Enquirer wrote a Sunday column (HT The Daily Bellwether) that was a withering attack on the blandness, lack of local coverage, and political correctness of chain news.
Bronson, at least for the moment, works at The Enquirer, which is owned by mega-chain operator Gannett Co., Inc. Gannett publishes 85 local newspapers and USA Today.
Here's Bronson on blandness:
I wonder if a steady diet of junk-food news causes high blood pressure, indigestion and poor circulation.
Bronson on local non-coverage:
Wherever the population density can support more than one freeway exit, the chains move in and sterilize any hint of local flavor. ..... Being dropped in the middle of a chain newspaper can be like being taken to a Waffle House blindfolded, then trying to figure out if you're in Iowa or Idaho.
But the Enquirer columnist gets in his best licks criticizing newsroom political correctness, serving up three examples of what surely has driven many NewsBusters readers to distraction over their own local papers:
On today's "Your World with Neil Cavuto," the host devoted a portion of his mailbag segment to viewers from across the fruited plain telling Cavuto of their local media outlets had ignored or downplayed yesterday's stock market closing. Cavuto noted that in contrast, a large market correction in February was blared on the front pages of the nation's largest broadsheets.
I could not leave this untouched. Joan Biskupic, the same Supreme Court reporter I accused of sounding like a John McCain press flack, has given us a gem of a skewed report on a 5-4 decision today about the use of race as a factor in managing public school registration.
Let's walk through it shall we?
When reporting on a key Supreme Court ruling, it's kind of nice to give readers a glance of the reasoning of the majority first. Makes sense, right. After all, the focus is supposed to be the party at suit that, well, WINS. But Chief Justice Roberts, who wrote for the majority, isn't quoted until the 9th paragraph. Justice Kennedy's more restrained concurring opinion is referenced in the fourth, but it's dissenting liberal Justice Stephen Breyer who draws first ink in the third paragraph.
Below are the first four paragraphs (my emphasis in bold), punctuated by my commentary:
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:
Here's how USA Today's Joan Biskupic started her June 25 article on the Supreme Court's ruling in FEC v. Wisconsin Right to Life, the case in which the Court struck down a televised ad ban in the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law. (emphasis mine)
WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Monday opened the door to corporate and union financing of broadcast adssubtly attacking candidates for federal office before an election, in a 5-4 decision that is likely to make it harder for Congress to regulate campaign financing in the future.
The decision also could bring about a new flood of corporate and big-money spending on the 2008 elections.
If I didn't know better I'd think she were auditioning for a PR job with the John McCain for President campaign.
Here's how Biskupic colleague Jill Lawrence of the paper's "On Politics" blog tracked McCain's reaction to the ruling (emphasis mine):
Finally, a review of Michael Moore's “Sicko” that addressed the problems with his Seigfried & Roy style of filming and his one-sided view of health care systems. USA Today's review, by Richard Wolf, did not ignore the problems with US health care, but it put “Sicko's” view into perspective and notes the tricks and gimmicks he used to frame an image of a health care system that is worse than those in the third world (emphasis mine throughout):
Sicko is sure to prompt a healthy debate about the U.S. health care system. But it tells only one side of the story.
Michael Moore's latest documentary is partly a diatribe against insurance companies and drug makers. It recalls outrageous examples of treatments denied that led to death, disfigurement or bankruptcy.
When it was announced Tuesday that China surpassed the United States as the world’s leading emitter of carbon dioxide, NewsBusters asked, “Will Media Notice?”
In reality, the answer is a mixed windbag, with most press outlets totally ignoring the revelation, and a few actually blaming the problem on – wait for it! – the United States. I kid you not.
However, before we address that stupidity, it first must be relayed that not one of the television news outlets bothered reporting the Chinese CO2 data at all. It appears that television news divisions only feel CO2 is a problem if it’s emitted by American corporations or citizens.
As for the print media, the few that did cover this story either gave it very little attention, or made some fairly predictable excuses for why it’s okay as the planet nears its seemingly inevitable doom at the hands of greenhouse gases for China to be the leading “polluter.”
For instance, the New York Times devoted a total of 83 words to this story in its “World Briefing Asia” section Thursday on page A12 (no link available):
In a Q & A with the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle newspaper published Monday, USA Today founder Al Neuharth described Rush Limbaugh's radio show as “one of the funniest programs on the air” and asserted: “I don't become offended by the idiotic things he says; I become amused by them.” Neuharth, however, conceded Limbaugh is entitled to his supposed idiocy: “I also think that from my perspective that it's OK for idiots like him to voice their opinion because that's what this country is about and that's what the First Amendment is about.” He also allowed that he has “become convinced, although a little reluctantly, that all the bloggers on the Internet have a right to all of their stupidity, too. And there's a lot of it.” (Screen shot from a 2004 Smithsonian event carried by C-SPAN, MRC CyberAlert article.)
Neuharth, who in 2002 once devoted his weekly USA Today column to how he needs to buy diapers for himself (MRC CyberAlert item), proclaimed in February of this year that George W. Bush is the worst ever President (NewsBusters post). In 2002, he denounced Bernard Goldberg’s book, "Bias: A CBS Insider Exposes How the Media Distort the News." Neuharth took a personal shot at Goldberg, accusing him of being “a second-rate newsman,” and insisted that “Goldberg's depiction of the three biggies as biased bad guys is fiction” since Dan Rather, Peter Jennings and Tom Brokaw were all “fair.” (MRC CyberAlert article)
At this point, the answer to the latter is a resounding “No.” The answer to the former is “Not much.”
To be more specific, extensive searches of Google News and LexisNexis have identified that no major American media outlet with the exception of the New York Daily News bothered to report the theft of Yasser Arafat’s Noble Peace Prize:
The student loan industry has been too cozy with colleges and universities and has harmed students, at least that’s what the media say.
“For weeks, an investigation of the student loan business has been scrutinizing whether close ties between lenders and colleges have enriched them at the expense of debt-laden students,” explained the May 29 USA Today.
But that investigation has been an anti-industry “crusade” waged by liberal New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, and the media have been fighting alongside him.
From print to television, the formal declaration published by the group of eight most developed nations emanating from their summit in Germany was depicted as a winner for the host country’s chancellor Angela Merkel, while George W. Bush was the big meanie standing in the way of progress against the liberal bogeyman known as global warming.
For instance, NBC’s David Gregory said the following on Thursday’s “Nightly News”:
Sandy Berger, the national security adviser under former President Clinton, was disbarred yesterday in the District of Columbia.
The Washington Post says Berger agreed last month to give up his law license in order to avoid a prolonged investigation that grew out of his conviction in 2005 of removing classified documents from the National Archives.
The June 6 story by Julie Appleby emphasized problems with such insurance and questioned "whether such policies provide a false sense of security."
Critics beat out supporters in the story by a ratio of 2:1. Appleby cited two experts from different pro-universal health care advocacy groups and two unsatisfied customers.
Both advocacy groups took a hostile stance toward the health insurance industry, but Appleby gave readers no sense of the organizations' liberal positions - which included an affiliation with the liberal Kaiser Family Foundation.
This is not the first time Appleby has provided viewers with a one-sided view of health care issues. In August 2005, she wrote a story complaining about the expense of health care. But she buried the major reason for high costs: medical progress that saves more lives than ever before.
An update to my earlier post that I figured would do just as well as a fresh item.
USA Today's "On Politics" blog, "TV Newser," and The New Republic's "The Plank" contain explanations from Joe Scarborough's people of how they believe the Friday "Morning Joe" banter between the MSNBC host and guest Craig Crawford about potential GOP presidential candidate Fred Thompson's wife was taken out of context.
Noted USA Today's Mark Memmott:
A spokesman for the news network said this afternoon, though, that the
comment has been taken out of context and that it is "irresponsible" to
suggest Scarborough was employing sexual innuendo. "Works the pole"
could have been a reference to poles that some strippers use in their
acts. MSNBC says it was a reference to an exercise routine that a
growing number of women are performing.
While the relatively narrow Dow Jones Industrial Average has been achieving alltime highs for a couple of months, it took until last week for the broader S&P 500 index to beat its previous record of 1527. The index closed at 1536.24 last week.
Instead of writing up the big winners in the 77% of companies that have brought the index back from its 2000 low, USA Today writer Matt Krantz looked for dark clouds in on otherwise blue sky, taking an opportunity to focus on the index's losers who kept the index's recovery of value from happening sooner:
S&P's run leaves Wal-Mart, other big caps behind
For a quarter of the stock market, the celebration about the Standard & Poor's 500's charge back to record levels for the first time in more than seven years is an example of history being written by the victors.
Even though the benchmark S&P index last week finally took out its old high from March 2000, investors who own 23% of its stocks have completely missed out. A total of 115 stocks in the S&P 500-stock index are still below where they were in March 2000, according to data from Bridge Information and S&P. They aren't down just a little, either, but off 45% on average.
"At any given time, you're going to have companies that have one-off issues," says James Paulsen of Wells Capital Management.
Yeah guys, and that's why investing in a broad-based index of stocks in an index mutual fund is often a good idea for investors who don't have the time to evaluate and keep up with either individual stocks or actively-managed mutual funds. Zheesh.
(14:50 EDT) Video of Tim Russert misspelling "Iraq" at bottom of post.
When California homeschooler Evan O’Dorney, 13, won the National
Spelling Bee on Thursday night, the nation’s press reacted with a yawn.
of focusing on the winner, The New York Times ran a story about an
immigrant from India who lost in the second round of the competition.
That boy, Kunal Sah, 12, who is living in Utah, had hoped a victory
would secure his family’s legal status in the United States. Thus, the
Times managed to use the National Spelling Bee as one more forum for
pushing the plight of immigrants.
Not until the middle of the story
did The Times get around to announcing the winner, noting only his name
and hometown and the fact that the AP reported his victory.
It’s been a full 48 hours since antiwar icon Cindy Sheehan publicly announced that she was leaving the Democrat Party due to Thursday’s bipartisan agreement on an Iraq war funding bill.
Yet, Google News and LexisNexis searches have identified that not one major media outlet has covered her announcement.
Given the media’s fascination with this woman since she traveled to Crawford, Texas, in August 2005 to picket near President Bush’s ranch, one must wonder why they have abandoned her now?
Does this suggest that the media’s antiwar proclivities are only important when they shed a negative light on the Administration and Republicans, but not when events such as this speak poorly about Democrats?
Before you answer, consider the following data. Since August 1, 2005:
In fact, from what I can tell by looking at LexisNexis, Google News, and closed-captioning dumps, the only media outlet in the nation that covered this story was Fox News’ “Hannity & Colmes.”
This is despite the fact that the Drudge Report broke the story at 10:27AM eastern time Thursday.
What’s potentially even more shocking is that all three network evening news broadcasts began with reports out of Iraq. For instance, here’s how CBS’ Katie Couric began Thursday’s “Evening News” (from closed-captioning):
Why should a country go to the effort of spying on America when all they have to do is follow the US media? USA Today reported a database of phone calls and the New York Times publically exposed the SWIFT banking transaction database; both were used to combat terrorism. Now on the May 22 edition of ABC News’ the Blotter, Brian Ross and Richard Esposito revealed another national security-related secret (my emphasis throughout):
The CIA has received secret presidential approval to mount a covert "black" operation to destabilize the Iranian government, current and former officials in the intelligence community tell the Blotter on ABCNews.com.