Those looking for evidence that there is a move afoot in the establishment press to lower the bar for whatever economic accomplishments might be accomplished during the Obama administration will be interested in how the Associated Press's report on the government's June jobs report defined "normal" unemployment.
Perhaps it's valid for reporters Jeannine Aversa and Christopher Rugaber to refer to 6% unemployment as "normal," if by that they mean "typical non-recessionary" or "long-term average" unemployment. But I couldn't help but remember that during the Bush 43 and Reagan years, unemployment rates just above and occasionally even below that level were described by wire service reporters and other journalists as "persistent unemployment" -- i.e., decidedly not "normal." I quickly found several AP and other reports from those eras that confirmed my recall of what is now a demonstrated double standard.
Here is the opening sentence from the AP report, followed by the term-redefining paragraph (bold is mine):
In covering Elena Kagan's confirmation hearings, CNN and MSNBC have repeatedly lauded the Supreme Court nominee for her "flashes of humor" and "disarming ease."
In tune with the reverberations of the network morning shows' echo chamber, correspondents like CNN's Dana Bash and anchors like MSNBC's Rachel Maddow on Tuesday praised Kagan for her ability to inject humor into otherwise "hollow and vapid" hearings and charm hostile Republican senators into docility.
"But just on a color note, what struck me, Candy, has been the way Elena Kagan has tried to use a sense of humor to really disarm the senators, particularly Republicans," noted Bash.
Maddow's guest, Dahlia Lithwick of the liberal Slate magazine, gushed over Kagan's "gut-wrenching" sense of humor, her masterful ability to balance "seriousness and levity and humor," and her "disarming and charming and kind of likeable" personality.
"A likeable liberal. Dear me, I know," quipped Maddow.
Don't be surprised if you open up the June 24 USA Today and find pom poms in the ‘Money' section.
Reporters-turned-cheerleaders Paul Wiseman, Jayne O'Donnell and Christine Dugas wrote a glowing 38-paragraph story about the proposed Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection (BCFP). The story even included a section called "keys to a new agency's success" with quotes from "experts" at a wide variety of government agencies from the Environmental Protection Agency to the Food and Drug Administration.
USA Today's story began by praising the creation of the EPA in 1970 and the way it hit the ground running by ordered city mayors to clean up their water. They included 10 "expert" voices in favor of government agencies (proposed or current) many of whom were former regulators, against only three voices of opposition - all politicians.
It didn't take Velma, Shaggy or Scooby to uncover this mystery.
In a June 21 study published in the medical journal Pediatrics, researchers from Yale University "discovered" that food products with characters on them affect children's taste preferences, which may explain why food companies have been advertising with cartoons since at least the 1960's.
CNN.com and USA Today used the study to promote advertising restrictions and victimize consumers:
"Characters from TV and movies have appeared on food products for years, but until now little research has been done to examine how they influence children's food choices," Sarah Klein wrote on CNN.com.
Demanding to wear a tuxedo and bring your lesbian partner to the high school prom has been great for Constance McMillen. Ellen DeGeneres gave her a $30,000 scholarship check. Now she's meeting with Obama and being celebrated at Gay Pride parades and ACLU fundraisers at Woodstock. In Monday's USA Today, reporter Chris Joyner offered a promotional story with absolutely zero dissent or controversy allowed against the ACLU plaintiff:
Constance McMillen started the month graduating from a strange high school in tears. She will end it meeting President Obama, attending a benefit concert with pop legend Ronnie Spector and marching in a New York City parade.
It's been that kind of year for the openly gay 18-year-old who made national news when her Fulton, Miss., high school canceled its prom after she asked to bring her girlfriend.
McMillen will attend a White House reception Tuesday for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender citizens from around the nation in recognition of Gay Pride Month.
Saturday demonstrated a staggering disparity in how media view those involved in the Gulf Coast oil spill cleanup.
While news outlets heaped scorn upon beleaguered BP CEO Tony Hayward for attending a yacht race in England Saturday, there was no such anger shown towards President Obama and Vice President Biden for going golfing.
In fact, as this Reuters piece illustrated, despite what our Commander-in-Chief was doing, it was perfectly acceptable for his administration to criticize Hayward's recreational exploits on his day off (h/t Hot Air headlines):
The “deeply polarized confirmation process in the Senate” has “undercut Obama's effort to significantly infuse the federal courts with more women and minorities,” USA Today's Joan Biskupic fretted in a Wednesday front page article in which she refused to identify Obama's nominees as liberals as she attached the positive “diversity” patina to Obama's agenda without any regard for the irony such “diversity” is ideologically uniform.
She led her June 16 story, “Push for court diversity hits snag: Partisan rancor ties up action on Obama nominees,” however, by noting the ideology supposedly pushed by President George W. Bush: “President Obama came into office determined to stop the rightward shift of the federal courts -- after eight years of appointments by President Bush -- and to add more diversity to the bench.” She then outlined Obama's achievement:
So far he is setting records for the number of women and minorities nominated to lifetime appointments. Nearly half of the 73 candidates he has tapped for the bench have been women. In all, 25% have been African Americans, 10% Hispanics and 11% Asian Americans.
Cougars and cubs playing on a ship? What may sound like a floating zoo was really the lusty subject of a USA Today feature story about the second International Cougar Cruise aboard Royal Caribbean's Mariner of the Seas that set sail May 16.
The article, "What really happens aboard a 'cougar cruise'?" (titled "'Cougars' prowl the seas aboard The Lust Boat" in the print version), not only provided publicity for the cruise's co-sponsor Singles Travel Company, but also attempted to spin the tawdry behavior between younger men (cubs) and older women (cougars) positively.
USA Today contributor Jayne Clark described the some 20 cougars and 25 cubs aboard as "disparate individuals" who were "looking for love, sex, companionship, an inexpensive cruise, a little R&R - or some combination thereof."
Former USA Today editor Kenneth Paulson attacked what he called "The myth of 'media bias'" in an article on Thursday. He just described the claims of media bias as untrue, without offering any evidence or considering any criticism:
Despite the perception of news media bias, the truth is that most traditional news organizations — primarily newspapers, their Web sites and local TV and radio — adhere to in-house ethics codes and keep politicians at arm’s length.
Yes, you read that right. Most traditional news media strive daily to report news about their communities without regard to political affiliation or special interests.
This sounds as if Paulson is writing for a naive sixth-grade social-studies class. How would he contend with questions about all the gooey news magazine covers of Obama, the network anchors going out on burger runs with Obama? But it gets sillier. Paulson claims that the reason that people say there's a media bias is because they're confused about who the media is. Certainly, they don't mean USA Today or the national TV news. The public must be badly mistaken, blurring the "traditional" news media with bloggers and talk-radio hosts and other "blustering pundits."
“cinematic Viagra for Western cultural imperialists”-Salon.com
Of all the criticisms that could likely be launched against Warner Bros.’ new “Sex and the City 2” movie, the media have latched onto the film’s reported depictions of misogynist policies in Muslim nations.
It was USA Today thatcalled the movie“an affront to Muslims.” Reviewer Claudia Puig wrote that director Michael Patrick King “is out of his league attempting to comment on the inequitable treatment of Muslim women. He ends up mocking religious beliefs and making Carrie and her friends appear insensitive.”
As a Sunday afternoon treat, here’s a sneak peek at the May 17 edition of MRC’s Notable Quotables newsletter, our bi-weekly compilation of the latest outrageous, sometimes humorous, quotes in the liberal media. The entire edition will be posted, with five video clips, at www.MRC.org on Monday morning.
Shortsighted Voters Fail to Grasp Obama’s Historic Greatness
“Big problems. Big achievements. Big costs. Historians say President Obama’s legislative record during a crisis-ridden presidency already puts him in a league with such consequential presidents as Lyndon Johnson and Franklin Roosevelt. But polls show voters aren’t totally on board with his achievements, at least not yet, and the White House acknowledges that his victories have carried huge financial and political costs. ‘There are always costs in doing big things,’ Obama told USA Today.” — Opening of May 12 USA Today cover story by Susan Page and Mimi Hall, “Will doing ‘big things’ wind up costing Obama?” The accompanying picture showed a portrait of Abraham Lincoln peering down at President Obama.
While Republicans were the most supportive, a full 45 percent of Democrats and 64 percent of independents polled supported the law. When broken down to the particulars of the bill, there was even broader support. For example, 65 percent of Democrats and and 73 percent of independents favored "requiring people to produce documents verifying legal status," the portion of the bill that has been derided as allowing the police to demand, "your papers please!"
These poll numbers are absolutely astounding, especially considering the media's non-stop campaign to denounce the law and paint it in an unfavorable light. Yet true to form, the media continue to downplay the results. A search this morning of the Web pages for the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, and USA Today found no links to articles about the poll numbers.
“Will doing 'big things' wind up costing Obama?” a Wednesday USA Today front page article worried, accompanied by a photo of contemplative President Barack Obama with Abraham Lincoln in a painting peering down at him. The caption: “History book bound?” The subhead for the story by Susan Page and Mimi Hall: “Voters' anxiety clouds his historic successes.”
The effusive lead presumed Obama deserves credit for great achievements the public has been slow to recognize:
Big problems. Big achievements. Big costs.
Historians say President Obama's legislative record during a crisis-ridden presidency already puts him in a league with such consequential presidents as Lyndon Johnson and Franklin Roosevelt. But polls show voters aren't totally on board with his achievements, at least not yet, and the White House acknowledges that his victories have carried huge financial and political costs.
“There are always costs in doing big things,” Obama told USA Today.
The duo later declared: “Historians call Obama's record incomparable.” And they meant that as a glowing positive. (Larger jpg of the front page headline and photo)
Combined tax payments on the federal, state and local levels "consumed" 9.2 percent of personal income, USA Today reported. "That rate is far below the historic average of 12 percent for the last half-century."
There's a cynical theme growing in the media that Faisal Shahzad, the man accused of attempting to set off a car bomb in New York's Times Square Saturday, was driven to violence by the loss of his job, the loss of his house, and his anger towards former President George W. Bush.
In all of this theorizing -- or what some might call psychobabble -- those making the assertion have yet to ponder if six years of Bush Derangement Syndrome might also be involved.
For over a year, Americans have been warned that so-called "hate speech" directed at Barack Obama and Democrats by conservative talk show hosts such as Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, and Sean Hannity, as well as others at Fox News, is going to manifest itself in violent acts against elected officials and/or our nation.
With this in mind mightn't years of "hate speech" directed at Bush and Republicans by liberal talk radio hosts and MSNBC in particular have incited Shahzad's anger to such an extent that he decided to become a domestic terrorist?
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."
Update: The well-publicized announcement that Editor & Publisher was going to "cease operations" last December and that was stated as a given in the original version of this post was apparently premature, as it's still there on the web. E&P is also covering the circulation news (daily; Sunday; HT to a BizzyBlog commenter).
Advertising Age (AA) had the unenviable task (given that it's supposed to stay on its vendors' and customers' good sides) of figuring out a way to cast yet another dreadful newspaper circulation report in a non-negative light. The educated guess here is that most newspaper execs are not going to be wearing the button pictured at the top right very frequently during the foreseeable future.
Here are the figures cited by AA as overall newspaper circulation declines during the past five six-month ABC reporting periods (percentages represent declines from the same six-month period of the previous year) --
March 31, 2010: - 8.7% daily, -6.5% Sunday September 30, 2009: -10.6% daily, -7.5% Sunday March 31, 2009: - 7.1% daily, -5.4% Sunday September 30, 2008: -4.6% daily, -4.9% Sunday March 31, 2008: - 3.6% daily, -4.6% Sunday
Given the results, here is AA's headline, sub-headline, and "hey, it's not really that bad" first sentence:
HBO is airing a movie, “You Don’t Know Jack,” about the life of Dr. Jack Kevorkian (aka: “Dr. Death”), who enabled the suicides of more than100 terminally-ill people. But the movie is so one-sided that even many mainstream media reviewers couldn’t help but point it out. USA Today, The Los Angeles Times, and the Boston Globe all noted how the movie favored assisted suicides.
USA Today’s Robert Bianco complained, “But on the crucial social issue itself – a person's right to die and a doctor's obligation to assist – the film falls squarely and unfailingly on Kevorkian's side.”
According to Bianco, “Everyone who stands against him is either an idiot, a bigot, or a politically motivated hack.” He cautioned, “Take that as a dual warning: You don’t get balance, and that one-sided approach can’t quite support the film’s overextended, two-hour-plus length.”
The Navy plans to allow women into the Submarine Force and ban smoking by submariners. How have those changes been greeted by the rank-and-file? File this under: Which way is it? Two headlines from Thursday, April 22:
USA Today featured a special article to help celebrate Earth Day by Mark Thoreau, an indirect descendant of author Henry David Thoreau. In “Thoreau Descendant Reflects on Walden Pond, Earth Day,” Thoreau, however, took the opportunity to call for more government involvement on environmental issues and even praised the Sierra Club, the left-wing environmental group.
Thoreau, an Englishman, explained how he has visited the scenic Walden Pond, the site where Henry David Thoreau lived for a little over two years, and was pleased with the condition of it. The site is now considered a Massachusetts state landmark and receives many visitors.
Whenever you are bored or in need of a good laugh, help yourself to some mainstream media coverage of the economy under President Obama.
Each month we at NewsBusters wonder how the recession will be spun anew, and each month news outlets act with increasing hilarity.
First up for April was an earnest little piece by USA Today writer Matt Krantz published Thursday. Krantz insisted on reporting "optimism" and "confidence" in the economy thanks to a phantom supply of "new jobs."
Just one little problem, though: Thursday happened to be the same day the Department of Labor announced a surge in unemployment claims that hampered the stock market.
But no matter to Krantz. You see, Krantz wasn't talking about new jobs that actually existed - he was celebrating an announcement from two companies that they would be strong enough to hire a few people sometime in the future.
Biskupic, a regular on PBS's Washington Week who left the Washington Post for USA Today ten years ago, contented “President Reagan and the first President Bush used their second Supreme Court nominations to make bold choices that strongly advanced their ideological interests” with Reagan picking “conservative jurist [Antonin] Scalia” while George H.W, Bush, after selecting “a moderate appeals court judge, David Souter,” settled on Clarence Thomas, “now one of the court's most conservative justices.”
In contrast, “when President Clinton got his second court vacancy, he opted for the pragmatic liberal Stephen Breyer rather than a real firebrand.” Repeating her point, with Clinton she saw more nuance than with the GOP Presidents: “His first pick was pragmatic liberal judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg, in 1993. His second pick Breyer, in 1994, was in the same mode.”
It's incredible to see how many ways the mainstream media are able to analyze and dissect the Tea Party movement phenomenon on a regular basis. But lately it has been en vogue to challenge this movement on merits of race - a popular ad hominem talking point for opponents of the movement.
"They've been called Oreos, traitors and Uncle Toms, and are used to having to defend their values," Bauman wrote. "Now black conservatives are really taking heat for their involvement in the mostly white tea party movement-and for having the audacity to oppose the policies of the nation's first black president."
In the Thursday edition of their every other week “Common Ground” discussion for USA Today, Cal Thomas and Bob Beckel took up the liberal charge the Fox News Channel is out of bounds. Neither found any credence or efficacy in the efforts to discredit the channel. “The White House had been essentially stiff-arming Fox reporters in a very Nixonian way until someone at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue wised up,” the liberal Beckel noted in the March 25 back-and-forth titled “Crazy Like a Fox?” He observed:
In fact, the president sat down with Bret Baier last week to discuss the health care legislation, and though the interview was seen as testy, no one can say Baier did anything except ask tough questions on behalf of his viewers. By any definition, that's journalism. And the president reached millions he might not have otherwise. That's a problem?
The conservative Thomas pointed out: “The left criticizes Fox for being biased, but the other cable and broadcast networks are loaded with liberal reporters and commentators who have a history of political activism.” He named names:
When the vaccine Gardasil was first introduced, the mainstream media wasted no time falsely touting it as a cure for cervical cancer. The dangerous side effects of Gardasil – including death -- were also ignored. Even though the side effects are now known, a March 18 article in USA Today by Liz Szabo worried about girls who are not receiving the vaccine.
In “Poorer Girls Not Getting HPV Vaccine for Cervical Cancer,” Szabo was confused in her first sentence and called Gardasil a “cervical cancer vaccine.” Actually Gardasil is not a vaccine for cancer; it’s a vaccine for HPV, which can cause cancer. But HPV is a sexually transmitted disease and, as many conservatives have argued, if a girl is not sexually active and has no plans to be until marriage, Gardasil is an unnecessary risk.
Of course, if Szabo has been paying attention to the mainstream media it’s easy to understand why she was confused. The Culture and Media Institute has reported on many examples of the media calling Gardasil a cancer vaccine. NBC Nightly News even had a segmented entitled “Cancer Vaccine Controversy.” CBS’s The Early Show stated that the, “top medical breakthrough [of 2006] has to be the cancer vaccine for cervical cancer, Gardasil.”
USA Today on Thursday devoted a front page story to defending one of the key scientists involved in November's ClimateGate scandal.
In a piece entitled "Questions about research slow climate change efforts," author Brian Winter -- oh the irony! -- omitted important information about Penn State University's controversial global warming alarmist Michael Mann while downplaying the seriousness of the e-mail messages at the heart of the matter.
The main article also dishonestly ignored how Mann is being investigated by his own university concerning his involvement in the scandal, and actually NEVER even mentioned the scientist's infamous "Hockey Stick" graph that has been widely discredited by climatologists and meteorologists around the world.
Instead of a fair and balanced treatment of Mann and issues related to his view of anthropogenic global warming, readers were unfortunately presented with a grossly one-sided and disingenuous report evident in the very first paragraphs: