Six out of seven reporters, called on by Barack Obama at today's press conference, asked a question of the President that came from the left and/or blamed Speaker John Boehner and the Republicans for standing in the way of a deal on the debt ceiling.
Ben Feller of the AP, began the trend of questioning when he asked how Obama was going to deal with Republicans who were "adamantly" opposed to tax increases. CBS News' Chip Reid followed with "isn't the problem the people who aren't in the room, and in particular Republican presidential candidates and Republican Tea Partiers on the Hill?"
As the New York state legislature debates authorizing same-sex marriage, some Republican legislators want to ensure that Empire State business owners in the hospitality industry, such as caterers and florists, could refuse to lend their services to a same-sex couple hoping to hire them without being wrung out to dry in court for discrimination.
To say that the statistics concerning new business formation during the past few years haven't been very good would be a major understatement.
USA Today's Scott Patterson deserves some credit for even looking at the topic. It is tailor-made for neglect by the rest of the establishment press. When government policies lean towards lower taxation and regulation, policies left-leaning journalists tend to oppose, net business formations generally grow, and they'd rather not report it. In the high-tax, high-regulation environments they favor, net business formation slows considerably -- and again, they'd rather not report it.
Dennis Cauchon at USA Today has been one of a very few establishment press reporters willing to expose federal workers' disproportionate pay and benefits (previous examples here and here) as well as Uncle Sam's precariously dangerous financial situation.
Cauchon has two USAT items today on the latter topic (HT to NB commenter Gary Hall): "U.S. funding for future promises lags by trillions," which reports that federal obligations totaled $61.6 trillion as of September 2010, a $5.3 trillion increase from a year earlier, and "Government's Mountain of Debt," which itemizes those obligations by major source.
Unsurprisingly, 75% of federal obligations, or a combined $46.2 trillion (actually more, which will be seen at the end of this post), relate to Social Security and Medicare, which no one but a few deluded leftists believe (or pretend to believe) are sustainable in their current form. Unfortunately, at the end of his first story, Cauchon quoted one of them, Michael Lind, whom the USAT reporter described as "policy director at the liberal New America Foundation's economic growth program," who said the following:
How convenient. Via Editor and Publisher, the newspaper industry's Audit Bureau of Circulations, in issuing its March 31, 2011 circulation figures, tells us we shouldn't try to compare this year's numbers to last year's:
Because of the new and redefined categories of circulation on this FAS-FAX report, ABC recommends not making any direct comparisons of March 2011 data to prior audit periods.
As readers will see, if the ABC was really interested in enabling us to make apples-to-apples comparisons, it could have done so with appropriate definitional caveats. But it didn't; instead, it revised its definition of "total circulation" this year without disclosing the impact of the switch.
I've made the comparisons where possible for daily editions anyway, and they follow after the jump (original info links: March 31, 2011; March 31, 2010; Boston Globe data obtained here):
Clearly annoyed with conservative moves to cut the federal budget and, I suppose, with the success of conservative voters and the gun rights lobby, USA Today religion writer Cathy Lynn Grossman penned an odd entry entitled "Budget battles: Granny, get your gun," excerpted in full below:
"Megachurch wants choir to sign anti-gay covenant," blared the headline USAToday.com gave a March 16 Associated Press (AP) story today.
But the story itself reveals the document in question -- Crystal Cathedral Worship Choir and Worship Team Covenant -- simply states traditional, biblically-based Christian doctrine on marriage and sexual ethics.
Yesterday, Washington Post syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer performed an act of journalism that anyone in the establishment press could have done -- and didn't -- for 17 days.
Krauthammer did a masterful job of taking apart Obama White House Office of Management and Budget Director Jacob ("Jack") Lew's ridiculous February 21 defense of Social Security and its alleged irrelevance to the deficit in USA Today.
But he went further. He caught Lew saying the exact opposite thing 11 years ago when he was -- wait for it -- Bill Clinton's White House Office of Management and Budget Director.
Here are key excerpts from Krauthammer's column on the fundamental truths about Social Security and the fundamental fib foisted on McPaper by Jack Lew (bolds are mine):
USA Today's Wednesday cover story ("Killings Escalate Piracy Crisis"), has this reference to a quote obtained by the Associated Press:
Killing hostages "has now become part of our rules," said a pirate who identified himself as Muse Abdi in a statement to the Associated Press. "From now on, anyone who tries to rescue the hostages in our hands will only collect dead bodies," Abdi said. "It will never, ever happen that hostages are rescued and we are hauled to prison."
Pretty provocative, right? In fact, it resembles a declaration of war without the rules of war. You might even call it a declaration of t-t-t-t ... terrorism.
The problem is, Abdi's quote is no longer in any story at the Associated Press's home web site, and is rarely present in other Internet news reports.
"The Civil War still divides Americans, especially at a time when some in the Tea Party movement talk of states' rights and secession; when many states are rebelling against federal initiatives such as the health care overhaul; and when America's changing demographics make some nostalgic for a society in which white Christians were more dominant."
That's how USA Today's Rick Hampson went out of his way to smear conservatives in his February 17 story -- "Across the South, the Civil War is an enduring conflict" -- devoted to examining how commemoration and/or celebration of the Confederacy during the 150th anniversary of the Civil War in the South is a divisive political issue.
Twice on Monday (here and here), I took serious issue with the opening sentences of two Associated Press stories on Uncle Sam's fiscal situation.
First, there was Martin Crutsinger's Sunday stinker, which described the level of spending in President Obama's yet to be released 2012 budget as "$3 trillion-plus," timed so that early morning news readers, radio listeners, and TV viewers would hear it. Too bad that the real number, which the AP reporter acknowledged later on Monday, is really $3.73 trillion. If you think that's bad, the administration projects that total spending this year during fiscal 2011 will be $3.82 trillion.
Then there was Monday's muff by the AP's Andrew Taylor, who absurdly claimed that the federal government has only had "two years of big spending increases." It's actually three out of four if you use Obama-Geithner accounting, and four out of four if you flush their accounting tricks out of the numbers.
The inability to get through an opening sentence without insulting reasonably informed readers' intelligence seems to have spread to USA Today. Look at how the paper's Paul Davidson opened his story about what probably ought to be called "Son of Stimulus" in the hopefully unlikely event it ever becomes a reality:
Obama is...rebooting his operation to what he knows best: wizard of all things to all people and master of warm healing. He is acting as a multi-hued, but blank, canvas upon which a swath of Americans can project its diverse hopes and dreams. President Barack Tabla Rasa.
In an interview with CNSNews.com last week, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum (R) referenced President Obama's African-American heritage last week and "found it remarkable" that he could be pro-abortion. Santorum, later clarifying his comments under media scrutiny, said he meant he is dismayed that a President who "rightfully" fights for civil rights ignores the civil rights of the unborn in America.
Santorum, speaking of President Obama's position on abortion, said in the interview "the question is--and this is what Barack Obama didn't want to answer--is that human life a person under the Constitution? And Barack Obama says no. Well, if that person, human life, is not a person, then I find it almost remarkable for a black man to say, no, we are going to decide who are people and who are not people."
The media picked up on the comment and, without publishing what Santorum said leading up to the segment, questioned if he had racial motivations. Jennifer Epstein's Politico piece was headlined "Rick Santorum plays race card on President Obama." Epstein labeled Santorum's remark "eyebrow-raising."
On Wednesday (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), in commenting on USA Today's poor decision to quote a paragraph from a New York Times op-ed by former Congressman Paul Kanjorski (D-Pa.) -- a bad decision because Kanjorski's call for "civility" directly contrasts with his call for someone to shoot Florida gubernatorial candidate Rick Scott just a few months ago -- I wrote that USAT Founder Al Neuharth's "'civility' credentials are also suspect."
Two days later, Neuharth, who claims to be "independent," more than justified those suspicions. In a "Plain Talk" item in Friday's paper ("Who shares blame in Tucson tragedy?"), Neuharth blamed a wide range of people for Jared Loughner's actions. "Somehow," he forgot to blame Jared Laughner. It's not a stretch to assert that many readers would be justified in believing that Neuharth may not even want to see Loughner convicted of a crime.
Neuharth took shots at talkers on the right and left. USAT published an absolutely laughable counter-response from MSNBC President Phil Griffin. The other response (from the right? Are you kidding?) was from a psychiatry prof.
Here is Neuharth's piece and its responses (published in their entirety because of their relative brevity; bolds are mine):
The folks at USA Today really ought to vet their candidates for the "Et Cetera -- Smart insights on the news of the day" section of the print edition of its editorial page a bit more thoroughly.
Wednesday morning's opener in that section (apparently not available online) featured two paragraphs from a New York Times op-ed by former Pennsylvania Congressman Paul Kanjorski, including this final sentence:
Therefore, it is incumbent on all Americans to create an atmosphere of civility and respect in which political discourse can flow freely, without fear of violent confrontation.
As I noted yesterday (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog; original HT Mark Hemingway at the Washington Examiner), Kanjorski's entitlement to lecture on civility is more than a little suspect, given what he said about Florida Republican gubernatorial candidate Rick Scott and the health insurance industry last year:
In its reports about the U.S. homebuilding industry and new home sales, the Associated Press has gotten lazy and/or deliberately deceptive. In doing so, it is giving readers, listeners and viewers at its subscribing outlets a completely incorrect impression that the industry and market are getting off the mat after recently being in their worst shape, in their words, "in 47 years." After identifying offending examples, I will demonstrate that industry activity and sales during 2010 have been almost undoubtedly at their lowest levels since World War II.
The following items, all from Thursday, demonstrate AP's concerted attempt to limit the damage to "47 years" ago.
2010 will be by far the worst ever in the 48 years records of new home sales have been kept, and there is little if any reason to believe things will get better soon. The news on existing home sales has hardly been better, given the price reductions sellers have had to make to move their homes. Graphics will follow shortly indicating just how bad the market for new and existing homes has been this year.
These on-the-ground realities explains why one's jaw has to almost hit the ground when reading the headline and first few paragraphs of Julie Schmit's December 23 front-pager in USA Today's Money section:
Optimism for home sales adds up Demand for existing houses continues to rise
Is America a special nation, chosen by God as “the shining city on the hill?” Do our founding documents, with their explicit invocation of natural rights, set us apart from the rest of the world?
Majorities of Americans believe so. Even the liberal Brookings Institution recently published a survey that found 58 percent of citizens believe: “God has granted America a special role in human history.”
American exceptionalism, as it is called, has been in the news quite a lot lately. In his victory speech Nov. 2, Florida Senator-elect Marco Rubio eloquently extolled American exceptionalism, provoking howls of outrage from liberals. “America is the single greatest nation in all of human history. A place without equal in the history of all mankind,” he said. The son of Cuban exiles declared that only in America could he and others have risen so far, with so few barriers to advancement.
Before critiquing, I should recognize that USA Today, while most of the establishment press has snoozed, has done a very creditable job of exposing the wide differential between federal employee and private-sector pay (Aug. 10, 2010; "Federal workers earning double their private counterparts"), and of identifying the outrageous degree by which salaries in the upper levels of Uncle Sam's empire are expanding (Dec. 11, 2009; "For feds, more get 6-figure salaries").
Yesterday, in a mostly well-done report, USAT's Dennis Cauchon, who also authored the two linked items in the previous paragraph, delved into many of the details concerning the growing number of federal employees who get paid $150,000 or more per year. Among his more important points is the fact that a great deal of the expansion into this high level of pay has occurred since President Obama took office, during a period when overall inflation has been very low:
In his weekly “The Final Word” column for USA Today, “Out of the closet...well, almost,” features reporter Craig Wilson recalled in Wednesday’s newspaper: “I once knew a gay youth who was bullied. Me.” He soon, however, pivoted to “when I came out to my parents, they were not surprised.” But, “the real trouble came when I told my mother I had become a Democrat.”
This past week, we learned that it was another year, another dive for newspaper circulations: 5% for dailies, and 4.5% on Sundays, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations. That's not as bad as some past declines, but it's still going the wrong way.
As usual, they'll blame the Internet, and reject the possibility that persistent, pervasive bias and blind adherence to politically correct reporting priorities have anything to do with the results. But as I've similarly asked before, how does one explain away the fact that the only daily paper in the nation's top 25 that has shown consistent gains during the past several years is the (usually) fair and balanced Wall Street Journal?
Chris Matthews on Friday said Sarah Palin brags about her lack of knowledge and doesn't read the paper.
In a discussion about Tea Party candidates on the syndicated program bearing his name, Matthews echoed the typical liberal media elite nonsense about such people all being illiterate idiots (video follows with transcript and commentary):
A headline in USA Today on Monday worried, "Elections are likely to trim number of women in Congress." It wasn't until the 15th paragraph of Susan Page's story that the numerous female Republican candidates running in the midterm elections were mentioned.
Instead, the Washington Bureau Chief explained, "The prospects for female congressional candidates have been hurt by a combination of a tough political landscape for Democrats — women in Congress are disproportionately Democratic— and the nation's economic troubles. Hard times historically have made voters more risk-averse and less willing to consider voting for female candidates." [Emphasis added.]
In an accompanying graph, Senator Barbara Boxer in California was listed as an example of a female who could be defeated. The only problem? Boxer's opponent is Republican Carly Fiorina, a woman. [H/T Hot Air.]
Yesterday the Gallup organization released a poll showing that Americans trust Republicans over Democrats on most major issues heading into the general election season. Today the same polling outfit released a poll that found a large number of Americans blame George W. Bush for the faltering economy.
Nearly two years after Barack Obama was elected president, Americans still are inclined to blame his predecessor for the nation's current economic problems.
In a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll taken Friday through Sunday, more than a third of those surveyed said George W. Bush deserved a great deal of the blame for economic woes and a third said he should get a moderate amount of it. Not quite another third called that unfair, saying Bush warranted not much or none of the responsibility.
Last winter, as blizzard snowfalls piled up into several feet in the nation's capital, conservatives mocked global warming alarmists for trying to link weather incidents to global warming. But as summer heat waves, volcanoes and sinkholes have appeared recently, climate alarmists proved they missed the point.
But Associated Press, USA Today, The New York Times and The Washington Post have all promoted a connection between the extreme heat and weather around the world this summer and global warming. One CNN host asked if the events were the "apocalypse" or global warming. The Huffington Post proposed naming hurricanes and other disasters after climate change "deniers."
Grossman explained that the comparison stems from conservatives who pointed out an incident in the early 1990s when Pope John Paul II halted a planned convent near the Auschwitz concentration camp. The nuns had every right to build the convent, but it was unwise and insensitive to do so, leading the pontiff to scrap the plan. By way of analogy, Muslims have every right to build a mosque near Ground Zero, but the insensitivity of doing so blocks from the site of the deadliest radical Islamic terror attack in U.S. history should lead Muslim leaders to call for the project to be scrapped.
But Grossman then went on to quote two liberals who reject the Auschwitz analogy as invalid before she conflated the Ground Zero mosque issue with isolated incidents across the country where other folks are raising NIMBY objections to mosques in their hometowns (emphasis Grossman's):
Add USA Today to the list of mainstream media outlets denouncing opponents of the plan to build a mosque near Ground Zero. In a Monday editorial, “New York mosque fight stirs all the wrong passions,” the “nation's newspaper” declared: “The argument over building a mosque and Islamic center near Ground Zero is mostly a sorry exercise in political exploitation” and berated that it's “created a convenient rallying point for those who instead want to foment hatred.” The Gannett-paper's bottom line, build it:
Perhaps those seeking to build the New York mosque will defuse the situation by seeking a less controversial site. But if they do not, the mosque, like the calm that has prevailed since Sept. 11, 2001, will stand as a marker of the USA's enduring commitment to religious freedom.
The USA Today editorial board, led by former Executive Editor Brian Gallagher, scolded Republicans for whipping up “a frenzy, giving lip service to religious freedom but offering no solution that wouldn't offend it. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who has been setting new lows for dialogue on this issue, even accused Obama of 'pandering to radical Islam,' as if any President would do such a thing.”
New Orleans Saints running back Reggie Bush has caused a lot of problems for his alma mater, University of Southern California. While playing at USC, Bush accepted cash and gifts from a wannabee sports agent which later caused the NCAA to impose harsh sanctions upon USC including four years of probation and banishment from the 2010 and 2011 bowl games. Because of his actions, Bush apologized to the current USC athletic director, Pat Haden, according to David Leon Moore writing for USA Today. Only one "little" problem, Haden vehemently denies that Bush apologized to him. First the "apology" that never happened as misreported by USA Today:
LOS ANGELES — Reggie Bush apologized to new Southern California athletics director Pat Haden and expressed tremendous regret for his actions that landed the school on NCAA probation.