Another exasperating storyline from the MSM: the economy may be just fine overall but its screwing over 20-somethings who have to live with mom and dad.
My colleague Dan Gainor wrote up a review of the media's reheating the tired old storyline:
In the November 26 “World News Sunday” story “Young & in Debt,” anchor Dan Harris talked up the story about twentysomethings “forced to move back in with their parents.” ABC and USA Today each told stories of young men and women facing mountains of debt from school, credit cards and more.
Rather than focus on how self-made those debt mountains were – up to $165,000 in the USA Today story – both reports dwelled on how twentysomethings were “struggling to pay” for their living expenses.
ABC’s John Berman introduced viewers to Todd Townsend, who moved in with his mother because of $50,000 in debt, "mostly from student loans." "But he's not living there because he wants to," Berman said. He then explained to viewers the horrors of that choice, including living in two bedrooms next door to one another and even sharing a bathroom. "You share a bathroom with your mother?" asked Berman incredulously.
Berman wasn’t finished. "Moving back home can provide some financial relief; you get free food and laundry. But there are some pretty serious drawbacks." According to Townsend, who didn’t like to admit he lived with his mother when he met women, "it's not sexy."
If it's that unsexy, why go on national TV so even more young women know the answer to "my place or yours?"
In a fitting Veterans Day tribute, this morning’s USA Today recognizes America’s “21st Century Heroes,” a relatively small group of U.S. military servicemen who received our country's highest honors for their valor in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Good for USA Today. There hasn’t been much coverage of America's military heroes — indeed, back in June the Media Research Center noted that a three-week time period saw three times more network TV coverage of allegations of military misconduct than coverage of America’s top military heroes over a five year period.
This morning’s USA Today story, by Gregg Zoroya and Oren Dorell, helps restore some much-needed balance. “As the nation observes Veterans Day, America is witnessing a new generation of combat heroes from the battlefields of Afghanistan and Iraq," they write. The front-page of the paper carries a November 2004 photo of Marine Sgt. Maj. Bradley Kasal being carried out of a firefight in Fallujah, where his heroism earned him the Navy Cross. An excerpt:
Imagine if you will that a month ago, a major newspaper, in combination with a major polling organization, had pronounced that the Republicans were ahead by 23 percentage points in voter preference for the upcoming midterm elections. Further imagine that just two weeks ago, this lead had been trimmed to thirteen. And, just for argument’s sake, with two days to go before the pivotal elections, the Democrats had cut this lead to only seven points. Do you think the opening paragraph in the article on this subject by this major, left-leaning newspaper might address this?
Well, USA Today just posted an article at its website (hat tip to The Strata-Sphere) concerning a new poll done with the Gallup Organization (this author is waiting with baited breath for the full results to be published!), and the most important finding of the survey didn’t come until the sixth paragraph (emphasis mine): “What's more, President Bush's last-ditch push for votes and Sen. John Kerry's comments that seemed to denigrate the education level of U.S. forces in Iraq have helped energize GOP voters. A Democratic advantage of 23 percentage points a month ago and 13 points two weeks ago is now down to 7.”
Instead of leading with that important information, the reader had to wade through the following:
On this morning's Meet The Press, Tim Russert tried to pass off the editorial in the "Army Times" and sister publications calling for Donald Rumsfeld's noggin as having some special significance. RNCC Chairman Tom Reynolds didn't let him get away with it. Reynolds exposed those so-called "military newspapers" as nothing more than cogs in the Gannett chain, a member-in-good-standing of the MSM whose flagship paper is the reliably-liberal USA Today.
Russert flashed the panel of the editorial shown here, and asked Reynolds:
In another grand example of "journalistic" integrity, USA Today has declared the Iraq war a total failure even as we are still in the middle of it all. With that "truth" reported, I'd like to have their crystal ball to get the next lottery numbers, too.
Now, it is absolutely true to say that the peace in Iraq has been hard to win. It is a fair assessment to say that the Bush administration has made many mistakes in re-building and nation building in Iraq. But, it is not fair to say the efforts in Iraq have been a failure. This project the Bush administration has undertaken will not only take many, many years to develop but it will be many decades to see the full range of effects that the effort at democracy building in Iraq (as Bush duly warned us when he began it all).
“The John Kerry flap may have been the major political story yesterday, and even today,” Brit Hume accurately noted in his Wednesday “Grapevine” segment since, indeed, the ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts led with it both Tuesday and Wednesday night. But he observed, “you might not have known that from the newspaper coverage. Not a single front-page headline in the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal or USA Today. The Times cast it as a chance for the President to attack Kerry. Not until the 15th paragraph, on page 18, does a reader learn what Kerry actually said.” Hume also picked up on how ABC framed the story: “On ABC News, the Kerry flap was described as quote, 'an object lesson in how in this day and age an idle political remark gets seized upon.'" A late Tuesday night NewsBusters posting, "ABC's Gibson: Kerry's Dumb 'Get Stuck In Iraq' Merely an 'Idle Political Remark,'" distributed in Wednesday's MRC CyberAlert, highlighted the characterization by World News anchor Charles Gibson.
And Hume relayed how ABC News Political Director Mark Halperin, on the Hugh Hewitt's radio show, “says well over 70 percent of the people working on his network's political coverage are liberal, and would vote Democratic.”
Can't be because this is 6 days before an election, right?
At any rate, it seems even a liberal pundit cited in the cover story isn't falling for the Lou Dobbs lament that the halcyon days of the middle class are behind us:
“Looking back” with nostalgia “to a golden age of the middle class doesn’t wash,” the USA Today reporter wrote, citing Jason Furman of the liberal Center for Budget and Policy Priorities. “Overall health care is better now, for example, and far fewer people a generation ago expected to go to college,” Waggoner conceded.
While some tabloids capture the drama of John Kerry's uneducated-people-stuck-in-Iraq joke ("KERRY KALAMITY," says the New York Daily News), the nation's biggest newspapers have headlines draining the drama out of the story, and certainly leaving the contents of the "joke" out of the headline:
Boy, it didn’t take long for Katie Couric to go from media darling to whipping girl, did it? You’d think the perky one did something really obscene, like stating that she was voting for a Republican in the upcoming midterm elections. Yet, there it was in large type at USA Today: “Couric Fails to Keep CBS News on Top for Long” (hat tip to TVNewser). In reality, that might be the kindest statement in this article about Couric which began (emphasis mine throughout):
USA Today took another swipe at the produce packaging industry in today's Money section.
Reporter Julie Schmit buried an expert in her story who called the industry "superb" at processing vegetables to be safe and germ-free for consumers.
“The industry does a superb job of washing,” said Christine Bruhn of the Center for Consumer
Research at the University of California, Davis.
In fact, said Bruhn, “the bagged product is safer” than washing produce at home that has been purchased unpackaged at the grocery store.
Yet rather than put this point of view near the top of her article, Schimt buried these quotes at the end, long after sounding an alarming tone about the safety of pre-packaged produce.
In an otherwise balanced story yesterday on conservative and libertarian efforts to limit a 2005 Supreme Court ruling expanding eminent domain, USA Today reporter Martin Kasindorf concluded his story with a swipe at anti-Kelo v. New London activists by quoting a Georgetown University legal expert.
"The property rights advocates have exploited Kelo to advance a broader anti-government agenda," Kasindorf quoted "John Echeverria of Georgetown University Law Center."
Actually, Echeverria is head of the Georgetown Environmental Law & Policy Institute, and his bias in favor of Kelo and work with the liberal Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), went unmentioned. In doing so, the reader is left with the impression Echeverria is a dispassionate legal observer, or at least one uninvolved in Kelo-related controversies.
Yet on November 4, 2005, Echeverria told New York state legislators, "I firmly believe the U.S. Supreme Court decision" in Kelo v. New London "was correctly decided."
I didn’t believe it when I saw it, nor did I believe a NewsBusters member when he/she referred to it in our comments section. But, there it was in USA Today: “Gas Price Decline May Spur Inflation.”
Can’t be, right? After all, even if you’re not an economist, you are intelligent enough to realize that inflation is typically caused by higher energy prices. Such was certainly the case in the ’70s, and has been the case in the past twelve to twenty-four months as oil and gasoline prices have skyrocketed. Isn’t that what the media have been claiming since Hurricane Katrina hit last year – higher oil and gas prices are going to lead to inflation?
Yet, this USA Today article had the gall to suggest that declining gas prices were a bad thing because they would spark inflation. If you don’t believe me, read it for yourself:
If you look hard, you can see the Democratic optimism about the fall elections fading, off the front pages of the newspapers. On the bottom of the front page of a separate "Campaign 2006" section of The Washington Post today (they call it page A23), you can read the account by Jim VandeHei and Chris Cillizza about Democrats getting worried about superior GOP turnout programs. (I can't guarantee you won't be sickened by the GOP establishment siding aggressively against the conservative in this race.)
Raymond Hernandez reported in the New York Times that giddy Democratic optimism about wresting four or five House seats from the GOP in New York state is fading fast...
“Identify sources whenever feasible. The public is entitled to as much information as possible on sources' reliability,” the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) advises its members.
That’s not how USA Today reporter Stephanie Armour’s September 5 story on “living with the minimum wage” appeared in the paper. The full-page story and photo essay told how
hard it is to live on a paycheck close to Florida’s minimum wage of $6.40 an hour. It
left out that the star of the piece – depicted simply as a “low wage” worker
who makes $6.55 an hour – was an activist for a group that advocates a wage
In a classic “Do as I Say, Not as I Do,” the leader of the new cult the Global Warmingists, Al Gore, appears to not practice what he preaches. A USA Today op-ed by author Peter Schweizer reported Wednesday evening (hat tip to Drudge with emphasis mine):
Graciously, Gore tells consumers how to change their lives to curb their carbon-gobbling ways: Switch to compact fluorescent light bulbs, use a clothesline, drive a hybrid, use renewable energy, dramatically cut back on consumption. Better still, responsible global citizens can follow Gore's example, because, as he readily points out in his speeches, he lives a "carbon-neutral lifestyle." But if Al Gore is the world's role model for ecology, the planet is doomed.
Shhhh. Wait. It gets better (coffee cups down, kids!):
Here's an excerpt from an excellent editorial by Gary Witzenburg, a former auto engineer who helped design the GM EV1, the early '90s electric car that left-wing conspiracy theorists think the big ol' meanies at Big Oil killed. Suffice it to say, Witzenburg was nowhere to be found on the taxpayer-funded infomercial for "Who Killed the Electric Car" on the June 9 edition of "Now with David Brancaccio."
Here's an excerpt of his August 8 "Another View" editorial in "USA Today":
Widespread acceptance of battery-powered EVs will not happen until someone develops battery technology competitive with a tank of gas (or diesel) in every way. It must be absolutely safe, long-term durable, capable of operating reliably in extreme weather and temperatures, mass-producible at low cost, able to carry comparable energy in a package of comparable size and weight, and able to be quickly recharged. None comes remotely close.
Readers of these columns might have noticed that I occasionally include at the foot the fact that I live in 'the liberal haven of Ithaca, NY.' To give you a flavor for what I'm talking about, consider today's op-ed page in my hometown daily, the Ithaca Journal. The Journal is a Gannett newspaper. That's the chain [led by USA Today] that, as I've documented, chose as a news editor someonewho believes calling VP Cheney 'Satan' makes for the best commencement speech ever.
Hardened NBC watchers know to expect a shift toward the left when Andrea Mitchell is sitting in for Tim Russert on "Meet the Press." On Sunday's big media roundtable, the topic was the administration's "war" on the press. Bennett said Washington Post reporter Dana Priest, whose story on the CIA's secret prisons for terror suspects in Europe outraged Bennett, went all personal on Bennett by saying her story did not break the law: "I mean, some people would like to make casino gambling a crime, but it is not a crime." (The liberal Washington Monthly broke the story in 2003 that Bennett had a bad habit of gambling away thousands of dollars on casino slot machines. The media glee was palpable.)
Frank Ahrens and Howard Kurtz make a fairly big deal in the Washington Post (and on page A-2) on Saturday that "USA Today has acknowledged that it cannot prove key elements of a blockbuster May 11 story in which it reported that several telecommunications companies were handing over customer phone records to the National Security Agency."
"We take every error seriously," USA Today Editor Ken Paulson said in an interview. "This was obviously a big story. . . . All we can do is set the record straight."
Reporter Leslie Cauley revealed her unidentified sources to a top editor, Paulson said, and "the sources are credible," adding, "They have a track record with Leslie and she trusts them." But several members of the congressional intelligence committees later contradicted the sources on the question of whether Verizon and BellSouth had provided information to the NSA.
Remember that USA Today article from May 11 alleging that “[t]he National Security Agency has been secretly collecting the phone call records of tens of millions of Americans, using data provided by AT&T, Verizon and BellSouth?” Well, the USA Today just issued a retraction:
“Based on its reporting after the May 11 article, USA TODAY has now concluded that while the NSA has built a massive domestic calls record database involving the domestic call records of telecommunications companies, the newspaper cannot confirm that BellSouth or Verizon contracted with the NSA to provide bulk calling records to that database.”
To begin your Fourth of July holiday weekend with a bang, read the entire delicious retraction here.
Earlier today, the Los Angeles Times reported that Pentagon officials were considering
dropping Article 3 of the Geneva Convention from FM 34-52, the Army's
field manual on interrogation. While the Pentagon has not reached a
final decision on the potential modifications to FM 34-52, the Times
and USA Today certainly have. Follow the escalation.
"The Pentagon has decided to omit from new detainee policies a key tenet
of the Geneva Convention that explicitly bans "humiliating and
degrading treatment," according to knowledgeable military officials, a
step that would mark a further, potentially permanent, shift away from
strict adherence to international human rights standards."
The higher CO2 levels that inherently come with global warming are actually a good thing if you're starving in a third world country. Plants breathe CO2, and higher levels means faster plant growth and higher crop yields.
But that isn't the story you want to paint if you're a big media operation like USA Today. Instead, you want to frame it like this:
Study: Global warming boosts poison ivy WASHINGTON (AP) — Another reason to worry about global warming: more and itchier poison ivy. The noxious vine grows faster and bigger as carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere rise, researchers report Monday... Compared to poison ivy grown in usual atmospheric conditions, those exposed to the extra-high carbon dioxide grew about three times larger — and produced more allergenic form of urushiol, scientists from Duke and Harvard University reported. "...the shift toward a more allergenic form of urushiol have important implications for the future health of both humans and forests," the study concludes.
There you have it. That means I can expect to get stricken with poison ivy three times more than I have in the past, which is currently a consistent zero times. This coupled with inch higher water must be part of the end of civilization that Al Gore anticipates. Remember, folks, all of this global warming nonsense you're reading about is just part of the 2008 Democratic platform as delivered by big media.
On May 22, the Federal Trade Commission released a report finding no systemic price gouging resulting from the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. The following day, USA Today -- which has carried a "nation's gas gauge" item in its front page sidebar for a few weeks now -- assigned the story below-the-fold treatment in the Money section.
Another story, on how average gas prices have dropped 6.4 cents in the past week, was relegated to the sidebar of the Money section page as well.
For my article on televised coverage of the story, click here.
An editorial in Saturday's Washington Times highlighted the discovery by the MRC's Rich Noyes, as detailed in a Friday NewsBusters posting, about how “Leslie Cauley, the USA Today reporter who 'broke' the news that three major U.S. telecommunications companies were assisting the National Security Agency in building a database to more easily track any communications by potential terrorists, is listed as a donor to former House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt, according to a search of the Center for Responsive Politics Web site.”
The May 20 editorial, “Spinning, Spying and USA Today,” recounted: “With Verizon and BellSouth both challenging USA Today's report on their alleged participation in NSA's surveillance programs, it's not yet clear whether or to what extent the claims in the Gannett daily's much-discussed article are true. What's clearer is that USA Today reporter Leslie Cauley has ties to the Democratic Party, which the Media Research Center's 'NewsBusters' Web site unearthed yesterday. Searching through campaign-filing records, Rich Noyes discovered that Miss Cauley gave $2,000 to then-Democratic presidential hopeful Dick Gephardt in 2003. That's the type of activity that journalists normally avoid if they wish to be perceived as objective...” (How Rush Limbaugh also picked up the posting, follows)
NewsBusters' Rich Noyes has reported on the Democratic affiliations of the USA Today reporter who "broke" the NSA phone records story.
Other journalists are worried about the loss of credibility to the profession in general if the story turns out to be false. Reports Editor and Publisher:
The USA Today phone records scoop, which is drawing increased scrutiny as phone companies dispute elements of the report, has also sparked interest among those in the news business, as well as longtime journalism observers.
Editors and veteran journalists who spoke with E&P are mixed on how the situation has been handled by all involved, with some claiming that the outcome could impact how news outlets report sensitive intelligence information in the future.
BellSouth Corp. has sent a letter to USA Today and the newspaper's parent company, Gannett, demanding the retraction of a story which said the phone company shared its customers calling records with a federal spy agency, according to a Thursday report in the online edition of the Wall Street Journal. The letter demanded that the newspaper retract the "faults and unsubstantiated statements" in the May 11 article, which said BellSouth and some of its rivals shared bulk calling data with the National Security Agency, the Journal said. The story ignited a firestorm about government intrusion into consumer privacy and led to lawsuits against BellSouth, Verizon Communications Inc., and AT&T Inc. A phone call to BellSouth wasn't immediately returned. End of Story
Stunning news from Expatica's German edition (bolds are mine; because of its brevity, the entire report is included here):
Germans say al-Qaeda no longer organizing strikes
18 May 2006
DUESSELDORF - Al-Qaeda's hierarchy in western Europe has vanished and the terrorist network's leadership has largely ceased direct management of attacks, a senior German police intelligence officer told a trial court this week.
She said the al-Qaeda leadership now mainly relied on video and internet proclamations to inspire Islamists in the western world to act on their own.
Germany's BKA federal crime agency had no evidence of Islamists swearing an oath of loyalty to Osama bin Laden since 2001 to become al-Qaeda members. The only terrorist to have done so since that date was Abu-Musab al-Sarqawi, the Jordanian who mounts attacks in Iraq.
Part-Time Pundit says "another drive-by media attempt to discredit" Bush and claim the Republicans "are trying to usher in a new era of fascism has fallen flat on its face."
Claims by USA Today using sources with “direct knowledge of the program” that the NSA has been collecting massive databases of phone calls don’t appear to match with the records of two of the three apparent participants, Verizon and Bell South....
Once again, we are faced with an “objective” journalistic medium that didn’t do enough footwork to verify the claims that were made before it splashed them on the front page and riled the population. The irony is that it appears the population would support such a database if it existed.
Here is the most insincere question a liberal TV news star can ask: How can President Bush turn around his poll numbers? Imagine how they would have reacted if Rush Limbaugh had pretended to worry how Bill Clinton was going to turn around his fortunes. The media’s crocodile tears are not even laughable, just nauseating. Pushing down the president’s approval rating seems to be their daily task.
The newest manufactured brouhaha – over the National Security Agency creating a database of phone records to track terrorist phone patterns -- was just the latest in a long string of stories trumped up to make Bush look not just incorrect, but dictatorial, even evil. USA Today hyped the story, and the media pack lapped it up, but it failed the first test of newsworthiness: is it new? No. USA Today’s scoop was mostly a retelling of what the New York Times reported last Christmas Eve, that the phone companies had given the NSA "access to streams of international and domestic communications."
Did USA Today skew their poll results of the NSA phone collection scandal? It sure looks that way. As Brent Baker has already reported, On May 12, ABC News and The Washington Post conducted a poll to find out whether Americans support the NSA’s collection of phone call records. They asked this question:
"It's been reported that the National Security Agency has been collecting the phone call records of tens of millions of Americans. It then analyzes calling patterns in an effort to identify possible terrorism suspects, without listening to or recording the conversations. Would you consider this an acceptable or unacceptable way for the federal government to investigate terrorism? Do you feel that way strongly or somewhat?"