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:
USA Today’s Jon Swartz reported March 1 that the porn industry is suffering financially. Swartz detailed all of the reasons that the porn industry is experiencing financial woes, as though it was just another suffering business.
Swartz lamented that, “The adult-entertainment industry is in a tailspin, shattering the notion that it is one of the few recession-proof industries. The slump is especially stinging because technology – which helped adult-entertainment enterprises reap riches through innovations such as video streaming, webcameras and online payments – is contributing to the misery.” The poor porn industry.
John Fritze of USA Today noted in an On Politics blog post filed last night that "Sen. Brown's 'not one job' claim [has been] questioned."
But in relaying the attack on the Massachusetts Republican senator's claim that "not one job" has been created by the Obama stimulus package, Fritze only underscored the point that Brown was making in the context of his comments.
There is no real, net job creation from the stimulus bill (emphasis mine):
USA Today just can't move on. It's been over a week since the pro-life Tebow ad aired during the Superbowl - and it wasn't nearly as controversial as the liberals said it would be. Tim Tebow's mom said nice things about her son; Tim hugged her, both of them smiled, and that was it. Most people shrugged and forgot about it. But not USA Today. On Feb. 15, it's Faith & Reason section touted the headline "Tebow pro-family ad leads to surprising 'choice' message."
The article gave the tired argument that even if you're choosing life, it's still a choice. Pam Tebow "chose to ignore doctors" but she still had options open to her. Author of the article Cathy Lynn Grossman, however, painted Tebow's choice as both ignorant and selfish, since the pregnancy could have left her first four children motherless.
Romantic comedies and candlelight dinners are two common activities that couples like to engage in on Valentine’s Day, but Bill Talen is offering a rather, uhh, unique suggestion on February 14: un-marry your spouse for gay rights. USA Today reported that Talen is inviting all couples to participate in the “unMarriage event,” taking place in New York City, which apparently isn’t anything new.
Talen, who is also known as Rev. Billy, invites all to join in on this event on his website and writes, “Join hundreds of couples at the Bethesda Fountain in Central Park this Valentine’s Day for a mass ritual in support of all the rights of ALL people to marry whomever they wish.”
He continues to write, “Brides and Grooms will suspend their vows in a ritual officiated by Reverend Billy. Tragic and hopeful love songs will be sung. Participants will be issued an official unmarried certificate suitable for framing.” How romantic.
The Left and their media minions may not have enough time to fully express their anger before it happens, but a second ad featuring Pro-Life advocate and college football star Tim Tebow is now scheduled to air during the Super Bowl pre-game show.
Adding insult to injury, this one's supposed to run four times.
Try to feel the liberal media's anger as you read USA Today's article on this subject:
Sometimes getting hung up on percentage increases causes one to miss what's going on with the actual numbers.
Such is the case in a January 26 front page story by USA Today's Richard Wolf. USAT's is the only recent original coverage I have found thus far relating to increases in the national welfare rolls during the recession. (An unbylined story at UPI merely reports on what USAT's Wolf wrote.)
USAT's Wolf let himself get distracted by double-digit caseload increases in certain states, but missed the big story: California, with roughly 12% of the country's population, was responsible for over half of the increase in both families and recipients receiving benefits. The reason the state's percentage increase was smaller than several others was because its caseload is already scandalously out of control.
Wolf also made a point of comparing the relatively small increase in the national welfare caseload to steep rises in the number of Americans receiving food stamp and unemployment insurance benefits.
Here are the first five and final paragraphs from Wolf, followed by a closer look at the numbers:
If you're totally reliant upon print media, some of the major newspapers that is, you might not have noticed the news about former Democratic Senator and 2008 presidential candidate John Edwards' admission that he was indeed the father of his campaign mistress's daughter.
That story couldn't so much as garner a single front-page story from any of the nation's top five major newspapers - USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times or The Washington Post. And only The Wall Street Journal, found the story worthy to print on its second page, not to mention the fact that it is a business journal.
Edwards admitted in a statement on Jan 21 that he was indeed the father of Frances Quinn Hunter, saying, "It was wrong for me to ever deny she was my daughter." The story of his affair with campaign staffer and videographer Rielle Hunter broke last summer when the National Enquirer busted Edwards in a Los Angeles hotel for cheating on his cancer-stricken wife.
"Viewers are about to see," Strauss warned, "full-frontal male nudity, heterosexual, homosexual and group sex, and graphic scenes rarely - if ever - seen on mainstream TV."
The most "fornication-heavy" show this year, Strauss said, will be pay-cable's "Spartacus: Blood and Sand" starring Lucy Lawless. He described it as "a 300-meets-Caligula epic about the Roman Empire's notorious slave/gladiator."
"Lawless," Strauss continued, "portrays a conniving social climber who is nude in some scenes, commits adultery in others and uses sex to manipulate frenemies and family. One episode shows Lawless' character and her gladiator-camp-owner husband (John Hannah) manually stimulated by slaves before having sex. Upcoming episodes feature orgies and a gladiator whose large endowment ultimately leads to his downfall."
Americans love to talk sports. Polite Americans don't talk religion. So when those two things meet, the news media has no idea what to make of it.
Unfortunately for journalists, sports and religion - Christianity in particular - seem to be publicly mingling more often these days. Some star athletes are more outspoken in their faith, while many others regularly find themselves in need of spiritual, if not legal, redemption.
Liberals in the media don't understand religion and religious people, so when they surface on the playing field, the resulting coverage veers wildly from awkwardly respectful to clueless to downright contemptuous.
Fox's Brit Hume caused a firestorm by suggesting on air that Tiger Woods could find "forgiveness and redemption" in Christianity, rather than the casual Buddhism the golfer has said he practices. Woods, whose marriage and career are in melt-down because of his serial infidelities, should "turn to the Christian faith, and you can make a total recovery and be a great example to the world," Hume said. And in doing so, the former anchorman committed several mortal sins in modern secular America.
With his unconventional pass delivery and a physical style that seems just as comfortable running the ball anyway, some wonder if University of Florida star quarterback Tim Tebow will achieve NFL glory. But football fans just may get to see the story of the Heisman Trophy winner and unapologetic Christian impact the pro sport's biggest game of the year.
Colorado-based conservative group Focus on the Family reportedly may buy a Super Bowl spot for an ad about how Tebow’s mother carried him to term despite a difficult and dangerous pregnancy.
If true, it would be just another example of Tebow annoying the secular left. The quarterback is as famous for wearing Bible passage citations on his game-day eye black as for winning an NCAA championship. As NewsBusters has detailed, that practice – and the faith it symbolizes – is irksome to some commentators.
Like a football coach trying to explain away the trouncing his team just took by building up the opponent, Janet Napolitano is seeking to diminish the Obama administration's NWA 253 failure by exaggerating the cunning of the Christmas Day plot.
The hapless Homeland Security head has a 679-word piece in today's USA Today basically promising to do better. She begins with this line [emphasis added]:
Friday's attempted terrorist attack against Northwest Flight 253 near Detroit is a powerful illustration that terrorists will go to great lengths to try to defeat the security measures that have been put in place since September 11, 2001.
"Great lengths?" Really? You buy a plane ticket for a kid, stick a few ounces of explosives in his nappies, then hope he'll make it onboard and remember which end to light.
Every now and then, we at NewsBusters like to point out a solid piece of journalism, instances where the media report news that cuts against the liberal narrative of the world that the MSM usually churn out.
And so today, I thought I'd pass along how USA Today noted today that "Fast-food standards for meat top those for school lunches" (h/t NB intern Mike Sargent ):
In the past three years, the government has provided the nation's schools with millions of pounds of beef and chicken that wouldn't meet the quality or safety standards of many fast-food restaurants, from Jack in the Box and other burger places to chicken chains such as KFC, a USA TODAY investigation found.
That isn't always the case. McDonald's, Burger King and Costco, for instance, are far more rigorous in checking for bacteria and dangerous pathogens. They test the ground beef they buy five to 10 times more often than the USDA tests beef made for schools during a typical production day.
And the limits Jack in the Box and other big retailers set for certain bacteria in their burgers are up to 10 times more stringent than what the USDA sets for school beef.
At the top of Friday’s Hardball on MSNBC, host Chris Matthews discovered the reason for President Obama’s political difficulties in recent months: “President Obama has his chin out on just about every hot issue out there....He’s exposed and vulnerable. His poll numbers are dropping. Is he just too darned intellectual? Too much the egg head?”
Later in the show, Matthews talked to Atlantic Media’s Ron Brownstein and USA Today’s Susan Page about Obama’s great flaw. He began by wondering: “I’m not attacking intellectuals because I do appreciate their contribution – but when politicians begin to get a little too intellectual, they lose connection with the American people....I begin to think this administration’s getting almost like one that you would imagine Adlai Stevenson running. Highly ethereal, highly intellectual, egg head. Not connected to real people and their emotional gut feelings about things.”
Page agreed and pointed out: “...there are many strengths to the Obama administration, but they’ve got an awful lot of people who went to Ivy League schools, which is great, but you also need some people who went to big state colleges.” Luckily, Page found an ‘average Joe’ in the administration: “Vice President Biden’s been the target of some fun, he is maybe the only voice in that inner circle that reflects that kind of big state school mentality.”
Openly gay actor Ian McKellen recently told Details magazine that he proudly defaces Bibles left in hotel nightstands, ripping out pages containing verses which condemn homosexual behavior. USA Today's Leslie Miller picked up on this yesterday for the paper's "Faith & Reason" blog, after spying a blog post by colleague Barbara De Lollis in a November 16 post for her Hotel Check-In blog for USA Today.
For her part, De Lollis relayed the news item and wondered, "Could word of McKellen's habit spark a movement?" De Lollis went on to ask:
Wanda Sykes debuted her new comedy show Saturday on Fox. That critics met the show with reviews of varying degrees of mediocrity is hardly surprising, as Sykes simply recycled years of Bush-bashing and Obamamania into her monologue, which set the mood for the show.
Sykes is well known in political circles for proclaiming "I hope his kidneys fail" in reference to Rush Limbaugh at this year's White House Correspondents' Dinner. She went on to make fun of Limbaugh's former drug addiction, liken him to terrorists, and call for him to be waterboarded.
So it came as little surprise that Sykes kicked off her new show with attacks on Ann Coulter, discussions of environmentally-friendly sex toys, accusations of racism leveled against Rush Limbuagh, and an anti-Bush, Obama-crazed diatribe (video and partial transcript below the fold).
“President Obama may not have delivered on all the policy changes he promised since his election a year ago, but he and his family have brought dramatic social change to the nation's capital and to the country's collective image of its first family,” USA Today's Mimi Hall and Maria Puente gushed in a front page story on Tuesday marking a year since President Obama's election, “With cultural 'flair,' Obamas updating first family's image.” The two reporters began by describing Barack and Michelle Obama as just like any other hip couple:
He carries a smartphone on his hip, goes out for burgers and plays pickup hoops. She goes to their daughters' soccer games, works in the garden and loves listening to her iPod. Together, they host poets, artists and musicians at their house and invite neighborhood kids to drop by.
The journalistic duo soon featured this glowing assessment: “'The Obamas' White House is the most open for cultural and intellectual activities since the Kennedy administration,' says Douglas Brinkley, author and presidential historian at Rice University in Houston. 'It's not simply a matter of doing events of statecraft and cultural gravitas. They have a great flair for American pop culture.'”
The paper's headline at its report on Thursday's government announcement that the nation's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) came in at an annualized 3.5% after four consecutive quarters of decline was not only over the top. Its message went directly against an admonishment by an economist quoted in Paul Davidson's underlying report, which was to not "get carried away by the really strong number."
Many commentators, while gratified that GDP growth occurred, have cautioned that the growth was influenced heavily by government programs that either have already run their course with debatable long-term impact (e.g., Cash for Clunkers), or are probably not going to last much longer even if extended (e.g., the first-time homebuyers' credit), simply because the government is running trillion-dollar annual deficits and can't afford them.
The latest newspaper circulation numbers, measuring copies sold from April through September of this year, show a 10.6 percent decline in daily newspaper sales, the first double-digit drop in circulation ever. Newspaper readership is now at its lowest level since before World War II.
The biggest losers during this six-month period, as reported by NewsBusters's Tom Blumer, were the San Francisco Chronicle (down 25.8 percent daily), the Newark Star-Ledger (down 22.2 percent daily), and the Boston Globe (down 18.5 percent daily).
The New York Times's sales during the period fell to 927,861, the first time the paper sold less than 1 million copies in that time span in decades. The Wall Street Journal saw a 0.6 percent increase in circulation, making it the most purchased newspaper in the country. The Journal surpassed USA Today, whose circulation declined by over 17 percent.
It's a variation on the old riddle, "What's black and white, but read all over?"
If you change one word and add two others, the answer to the resulting question -- "What's still mostly black and white, but red all over?" -- would be, based on just-released information about their daily circulation, "all but one of the nation's top 25 newspapers turning in comparative numbers."
Here are a few paragraphs from Michael Liedtke's coverage of the carnage at the Associated Press, which depends largely on newspaper subscription fees for its lifeblood. Note the "so far" reference in Liedtke's third paragraph: