Viewers of ABC's World News on Tuesday night learned of good news in the Pentagon's latest quarterly report on conditions in Iraq, but the positive developments went unnoted on CBS while NBC, the New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today, AP and McClatchy all stressed the negatives in the status report. ABC anchor Charles Gibson pointed out that “in the past, these reports have offered a brutally negative assessment” but the new one “shows real progress, across the board. On security, the report says weekly IED attacks have dropped 68 percent since June. The number of U.S. troop deaths from IEDs fell to the lowest level since January 2006.” Gibson proceeded to cite lower inflation and a boost in electricity production.
Wednesday's New York Times turned that into: “Pentagon Says Services in Iraq Are Stagnant.” USA Today headlined an AP dispatch in Wednesday's edition, “Pentagon: Transition to Iraqi security forces lags.” The Washington Post's story: “Iran Continues to Support Shiite Militias in Iraq, Pentagon Says.” The Washington bureau of McClatchy Newspapers, which infamously headlined an October story, “As Violence Falls in Iraq, Cemetery Workers Feel the Pinch,” headlined a Tuesday story: “Despite drop in violence, Pentagon finds little long-term progress in Iraq.” The Los Angeles Times provided an exception to the downbeat spin with an article which echoed what ABC stressed: “Pentagon reports security gains in Iraq.”
"The Golden Compass" did not produce box-office gold during its first weekend.
While ranked #1 for the weekend, the movie which opened in 3,528 theaters, was lavishly produced and promoted, only took in in $26.1 million, according to Boxofficemojo.com. Studio New Line Cinema was hoping for returns in the $30 to $40 million range.
"Compass" drew the ire of many Christians because the movie is based on the first book in a trilogy called "His Dark Materials" by avowed atheist Philip Pullman, who has said publicly that his books are about killing God. In "USA Today," Rolf Mittweg of New Line Cinema conceded that the "religion controversy might have had an effect."
Who is the biggest climate sinner? Not China, says the AP.
The Associated Press reported November 7 an interest group's findings that Saudi Arabia and the United States are the worst "climate sinners" for not taking drastic attempts to cut carbon emissions. But it accepted the group's "relatively positive" assertion that China's emission growth will slow in the future.
The news wire story picked up by USA Today reported that Saudi Arabia was the biggest sinner because its policies block attempts to curb greenhouse gases and the U.S. was second because it refuses to sign the Kyoto Treaty.
On Saturday, State Representative Carla Blanchard Dartez (D-La.) lost her re-election bid to Republican challenger Joe Harrison in a heated and controversial run-off. Yet the largest newspaper in Louisiana, The Times-Picayune (TP), chose to bury it as an afterthought in its coverage of the statewide election results. The Times-Picayune online edition, NOLA.com, placed this paragraph at the end of its story.
The only two incumbent lawmakers to lose in either chamber were Democrats. Chris Hazel dispatched Rep. Rick Farrar of Pineville in the 27th District primary. Challenger Joe Harrison topped Rep. Carla Blanchard Dartez of Morgan City to claim the 51st District seat in the runoff.
The TP made no mention of the 'Buckwheat' racial slur or the other controversies which surrounded this incumbent Democrat. Why is that?
In a move that must be causing Excedrin headaches at the New York Times and other Old Media outlets, USA Today reports that the Wall Street Journal's new owner expects to tear down its subscription wall:
News Corp. (NWS) Chairman Rupert Murdoch said Tuesday he intends to make access to The Wall Street Journal's website free, trading subscription fees for anticipated ad revenue.
"We are studying it and we expect to make that free, and instead of having 1 million (subscribers), having at least 10 million-15 million in every corner of the earth," Murdoch said.
News Corp. has signed an agreement to acquire Dow Jones (DJ), and the deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter. A special shareholders meeting is scheduled for Dec. 13 in New York.
Murdoch said he believes that a free model, with increased readership for wsj.com, will attract "large numbers" of big-spending advertisers.
It is understandable, but not forgivable, that business reporters at Old Media newspapers might think that the economy is in bad shape. They first have to get past how poorly most of their employers are doing. The industry as a whole has not been doing well, and it's been that way for quite some time.
This table illustrates that point (September 30, 2007 figures are at this post, which originally came from this Editor & Publisher article, which will soon disappear behind its firewall; March 31, 2005 figures were estimated in reverse using annual percentage changes reported as of March 31, 2006, because older data I thought would remain available no longer is):
Back in the 1990s, TV journalists worried that Bill Clinton wasn’t getting enough credit for the wonderful things that happened while he was President. NBC’s then-White House correspondent Andrea Mitchell whined on CNN’s Larry King Live back on August 18, 1994 that her fear was that Clinton “doesn’t get credit for a lot of the good, positive things he’s done.... The economy is in better shape....He should be getting some credit for the economy.”
Now that a tax-cutting Republican is in the White House, however, big media types are working to bury the news of America’s strong economy. Today’s Investor’s Business Daily has a fine summary of recent good news in an editorial headlined, “The Media’s Blackout on the Boom.” Here’s a key excerpt:
Friday's employment report, showing a much-higher-than-expected increase of 166,000 in nonfarm payroll jobs, was only the latest in a spate of remarkable reports showing the economy's stunning resilience.
USA Today founder Al Neuharth (file photo at right), who in February blustered that George W. Bush should be "planted firmly at the top" of the list of the worst U.S. presidents, reportedly dressed up as Jesus Christ --crown of thorns and all-- at a dinner with USA Today senior staff in the newspaper's infancy.
The October 25 Washington Post "The Reliable Source" column relayed the account by newspaper publisher Cathie Black, as found in her memoir "Basic Black" (emphasis mine):
"Al Neuharth was sitting at the table, dressed in a robe, a crown of thorns perched atop his graying head.
President Bush has shown that he can be empathetic, sensitive and decisive. But those qualities eluded him for days after Hurricane Katrina . . . He didn't cancel his vacation until two days after Katrina struck and didn't visit the region until four days after the storm. -- "A compassionate Bush was absent right after Katrina", USA Today, 9-9-05
USA Today's broadside is typical of the MSM criticism leveled at Pres. Bush for his failure to visit New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina. So, now that President Bush has announced that he will be visiting California on Thursday while the wildfire flames are still burning, naturally the MSM and Dems will put politics aside and laud his decision, right?
A voguish Dem theme is that America's reputation in the world has been eroded and that the next Dem president will restore it. Hillary Clinton has gone so far as to propose appointing Bill as a "roving" [I'll say] ambassador for such purposes. We can safely ignore such fluff as so much presidential-season silliness. A great nation's reputation is forged not by its goodwill ambassadors, but by its actions.
But while the bad-mouthing of America might be written off as so much election-year posturing, there is in fact an important, ironic lesson to be drawn, and it was on display during today's "Morning Joe." For her "must-read" of the morning, Mika Brzezinski chose a USA Today column by Alan M. Webber, "From afar, America resembles a 2nd-rate power", and paraphrased this paragraph from it:
A day after a USA Today/Gallup Poll discovered the majority of Americans, when provided with basic facts about the scope and impact of the plan to expand the S-CHIP program, agree with President Bush's concerns which led to his veto, on Wednesday's CBS Evening News Katie Couric trumpeted how a new CBS News poll found 81 percent favor “expanding this health insurance program for poor children.” Couric also highlighted how “four out of five say it should be expanded to cover children in middle income families” and “of those who favor expansion, three out of four are willing to pay higher taxes to get it done.” Bob Schieffer assured Couric that Democrats are not worried about Bush's veto since it means “having the President in the position that they can go out in the campaign next year and say this President vetoed health insurance for little children. That sounds pretty good on the stump.” And it sounds just like how the media have framed the topic.
Slim majorities back two positions at the core of the President's opposition to the expansion: 52% agree with Bush that most benefits should go to children in families earning less than 200% of the federal poverty level -- about $41,000 for a family of four. Only 40% say benefits should go to such families earning up to $62,000, as the bill written by Democrats and some Republicans would allow. 55% are very or somewhat concerned that the program would create an incentive for families to drop private insurance.
The websites of CNN and USAToday joined their "Big Three" network brethren in covering the march in Jena, Louisiana to support the so-called Jena 6, while at the same time, either burying mention of the teenager who was beaten by the six high school students, or not mentioning him at all.
CNN.com’s report, in which CNN correspondents Susan Roesgen, Tony Harris, Kyra Philips and Eliott McLaughlin were contributors, didn’t mention Justin Barker until the twenty-second paragraph of the story.
The teens were initially charged with attempted murder after they allegedly knocked out Justin Barker -- a white classmate -- while stomping and kicking him during a school fight on December 4, 2006.
Barker was taken to a hospital with injuries to both eyes and ears as well as cuts. His right eye had blood clots, said his mother, Kelli Barker.
Before this, the report focused entirely on the planned march in support of the so-called Jena 6.
This USA Today story about an AP report should be called headline abuse instead of "detainee abuse" because if one were to just read the headline and move on, you'd get the wrong impression about what the story really reveals. You'd obviously read USA Today's headline, "Guantanamo detainees tell of abuses," and assume the story is another abu Ghraib styled yarn about how evil US soldiers are abusing these poor, poor terrorists in the Guantanamo Bay detainment facility -- after all the prevailing MSM story has been just that when the word "abuses" is used. But, if you take the time to actually read the story, there seems less of the "abuses" you'd expect to find and more of how the detainees themselves are abusing each other, themselves, and their guards. Instead of BEING abused, the detainees seem more like the abusers and this is certainly not the message that the headline imparts in today's MSM climate. One wonders why USA Today would want to leave such a wrong conclusion with a headline that doesn't quite seem to match the story.
On the eve of the August 29 second anniversary of Hurricane Katrina striking the Mississippi-Louisiana Gulf Coast, as the American news media prepared to do a slew of anniversary-update stories, the non-partisan Political and Economic Research Council released a hefty study of how the region's small-business sector is doing.
USA Today lends a big assist in promulgating Chinese propaganda as the paper helps explain away the nature of the forced military training that Chinese children undergo. Calling the compulsory training a benign sounding "camp" and presenting the children's training as if it is a mere summer excursion, USA Today soft sells China's militarization of their youth in theirs titled, "Chinese kids undergo required military training."
As USA Today dutifully reports China's propaganda -- the children go there to "sing songs" with the training only meant to "bolster teamwork" -- we see a disgraceful example of the MSM's practice of not "offending" a totalitarian nation so as not to lose their "access" there. Instead of reporting the harsh truth, we have USA Today offering a sunny and happy report on Chinese warmongering.
The Chinese government forces all children between the ages of 9 and 18 to undergo military training at regular intervals during Summer break from school. They have no choice and neither do their parents. This is the sort of complete lack of freedom of choice that can be expected from a totalitarian government, of course. In the West, we decry militarizing our children by force, so isn't it odd that USA Today so softens this training? Isn't it shameful that the paper helps China promote the propaganda that these military training sessions are really a wonderful time for China's youth?
On Tuesday’s "Good Morning America," anchor Chris Cuomo talked to the authors of a new book about how liberals in the media allowed their politically correct biases to color coverage of the accused students in the Duke lacrosse rape case. Critiquing the media, Cuomo acknowledged, "It was difficult to report on this story fairly because there was so much pressure about pushing the angle that something had to happen. Something had to happen. It couldn't be nothing." He even proclaimed a lesson of the case to be "what people have always suspected, which is be careful what you hear from the media."
Stuart Taylor, co-author of "Until Proven Innocent," indicted liberal journalists who hold an obsession with race and sex. He derided the media’s gleeful handing of the case, saying, "The New York Times loved it, or a lot of people at the New York Times loved it. USA Today loved it. Nancy Grace on CNN loved it." However, while Cuomo did engage Taylor and his co-author K.C. Johnson on the subject of the media’s failing, the GMA anchor ignored an example from his own network. In April of 2007, ABC reporter Terry Moran blogged on the network’s official site that Americans shouldn’t feel too bad for the Duke students because of their wealth. He also claimed that the women of Rutgers basketball team suffered more from Don Imus:
Front and center of USA Today’s homepage right now are two stories that are quite frightening. The first titled, “Home Prices: Steepest Drop in 20 Years; No Recovery Soon.” Then just below that a story dubbed, “Business May Keep Their Wallets Closed.” While these two doomsday stories on the economy are front and center, full with color pictures, off to the side is a very different article entitled “U.S. Poverty Rate Down.” (see update below)
This should come as no surprise to anyone that follows the media. Good news is rarely is ever front and center, while the doom and gloom is almost certainly above the fold. Here are a few highlights from the article in case you missed it:
"How in the world could anyone write a lengthy article about the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), without mentioning once that the group has been named an unindicted co-conspirator in the nation’s largest terrorism trial?"
In June, Johnson picked up on ISNA's brush with federal prosecutors in a blog post entitled "A Really Bad CAIR Day." You can also read more reporting on the matter in Josh Gerstein's June 4 New York Sun article, "Islamic Groups Named in Hamas Funding Case."
Indeed, while reporter Cathy Lynn Grossman failed to mention ISNA's ties to Hamas, the USA Today writer focused on how sick and tired Mattson is of persistently denouncing radical Islam:
One needs to look no further than the Associated Press's story on the Scott Beauchamp saga to understand why the general public not following the news closely doesn't "get" just how biased and antagonistic towards the war, the military, and American soldiers Old Media outlets are.
In the case of Scott Beauchamp, now that their brethren at The New Republic (TNR) have been caught red-handed publishing made-up stories, John Milburn and Ellen Simon of the Associated Press appear to be doing everything they can to cover for them -- first, with a headline (probably determined elsewhere within AP) that fails to communicate anything resembling the essence of the story, and second, by struggling mightily in their reporting to make it appear that this is a "he said, she said" dispute, instead of a situation where Beauchamp and TNR have been thoroughly discredited.
Here's the headline:
Army denounces articles written by GI
Trouble is, Paragraphs 4 through 7 of the story make it clear that this is no mere denunciation -- it's a complete repudiation that the person the Army is supposedly only "denouncing" agrees with:
Okay, we’ve all heard that hybrid vehicles are better for the environment. But how do they measure up when it comes to the green in your wallet?
Even starlet Paris Hilton has boarded the hybrid bandwagon, as reported by BPM Magazine.
“I came in a hybrid car because I think that’s the way to go – to save energy and to save our earth from all this – you know pollution so I think if everyone just takes the steps to do it will make a difference,” said Hilton.
However, Hilton probably wouldn’t be as concerned about the cost of owning one of these hybrids as average people. But you wouldn’t be aware of any higher costs after reading Chris Woodyard’s August 8 USA Today story.
“It’s not just good public relations,” wrote Woodyard. “Since the Supreme Court ruled earlier this year that the EPA can regulate greenhouse gases, General Motors, Ford Motor and Chrysler have joined the U.S. Climate Action Partnership, a coalition of corporate executives calling for CO2 restrictions.”
It would be even better public relations if hybrids made economic sense, but they don’t. It turns out hybrids cost more to maintain than regular cars.
Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney (R) recently told an Illinois woman that while his grown sons have never served in the military, they are displaying their patriotism by campaigning heavily for their father's nomination for the presidency.
The Politico and USA Today have picked up on the item. USA Today's "On Politics" blog noted in an entry posted at 11:45 Eastern that:
The questioner, 41-year-old Rachel Griffiths of Milan, Ill., told Susan later that she is not a Republican and is in fact a member of a "Progressive Action for the Common Good."
Asked if she was satisfied by Romney's answer, Griffiths said:
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.