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):
The fact has been out there for some time, but never garnered much media attention. Now, in the context of the current debate over the granting of driver's licenses to illegal immigrants, will there be renewed focus on this chilling reality? Could this be the factoid that changes a presidential election? As John Fund wrote in his Wall Street Journal column today and discussed during his "Morning Joe" appearance:
After 9/11, the Justice Department found that eight of the 19 hijackers were registered to vote.
View video of Fund's "Morning Joe" appearance here.
And what made it so simple for them to register? As Fund explains:
Has the global warming alarmism movement hit its apex? Maybe so.
In recent weeks, we've seen a resurgence of hard scientists who have come out strongly against the warm-mongers, the latest of which is Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change member John R. Christy. In an op-ed in today's Wall Street Journal, Christy tells the world that not only does he believe it's unproven that humans cause global warming, he's refusing his "share" of the Nobel Peace Prize that he was awarded because it was based on a misunderstanding of science.
An excerpt from this must-read op-ed:
I've had a lot of fun recently with my tiny (and unofficial) slice of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize awarded to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). But, though I was one of thousands of IPCC participants, I don't think I will add "0.0001 Nobel Laureate" to my resume.
The other half of the prize was awarded to former Vice President Al Gore, whose carbon footprint would stomp my neighborhood flat. But that's another story. Large icebergs in the Weddell Sea, Antarctica. Winter sea ice around the continent set a record maximum last month.
“[T]he avalanche [Oct. 19, 1987 stock-market crash] was made worse by computer program trading, but the things that triggered it were overvalued stocks, a weak dollar, a period of extreme market volatility and a summer of worrying economic news,” Christoforous said on the October 14 broadcast. “Sound familiar? Some market strategists are warning investors now to strap in.”
There’s no doubt there is risk involved when investing in the stock market and historical data should play a role in smart investing. However, the comparisons of stock values from October 1987 to October 2007 aren’t accurate according to the October 15 Wall Street Journal.
In the midst of a Wall Street Journal editorial today about proponents' misrepresentations relating to the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) coverage, cost, and financing (characterized as "fiscal fraudulence"), the Journal took shots at blogs that have questioned the SCHIP eligibiliy of Graeme Frost, the 12-year-old boy the Democrats used to deliver a two-minute rebuttal to President Bush's veto of legislation that would vastly expand the program.
The Journal's criticisms of SCHIP expansion and the Democrats' overheated rhetoric after the veto are, on substance, very solid:
After President Bush vetoed Congress's major expansion of the State Children's Health Insurance Program, Nancy Pelosi declared: "President Bush used his cruel veto pen to say, 'I forbid 10 million children from getting the health benefits they deserve.'" As far as political self-parody goes, that one ought to enter the record books.
It's wrong on the facts, for one, which Speaker Pelosi knows. ..... The Schip bill was not some all-or-nothing proposition: A continuing resolution fully funds the program through mid-November, so none of the 6.6 million recipients will lose coverage.
If you’re on the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), you might be thinking Al Gore is hogging all the glory after they split the Nobel Peace Prize. But that could be a good thing because all the skepticism will be drawn to him also.
“From the outset, leading figures within the IPCC process have shared the conviction that anthropogenic [human-caused] global warming presents a threat which demands prompt and far-reaching action,” Henderson wrote in the October 11 Wall Street Journal. “Indeed, had they not held this belief, they would not have been appointed to their positions of influence.”
According to the media's parade of children who need government assistance for insurance, President Bush must really just hate children. After all, he vetoed a bill today that would have expanded the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP).
Leading up to the October 3 veto, the media couldn’t resist scripting it as a vote against children.
What’s at stake, though, included a proposed $35-billion expansion of taxpayer-funded insurance made possible by a huge tax increase on tobacco users many of whom are poor -- burdening the same families the program is designed to help.
I have been following the strange (and mostly unreported) case of fugitive criminal and major Democratic Party fundraiser Norman Hsu since September 5. Paul Mirengoff of the Power Line blog has a post today wherein he notes that the mainstream media, led by the Wall Street Jornal, are finally taking the time to look into Hsu's attempted flight from justice. However, as Mirengoff pointedly notes,
I think the pertinent questions are: Where did the money come from?
Fugitive Democratic Party donor Norman Hsu was arrested today in Colorado, according to the Associated Press. However, while discussing the fact that many of the politicians to whom Hsu gave money are returning it or giving it to charity, the AP seems strangely reluctant to discuss the mysterious sources of Hsu's contributions. The story talks about several Democrats who are returning Hsu's gifts, and states,
The growing flap over Hsu's contributions prompted Democratic presidential candidate Chris Dodd to release a statement Thursday vowing "to refuse to accept or possess campaign contributions raised, solicited, or delivered by fugitives from justice."
"Growing flap". That's nice. But it would be even nicer if one of the so-called professional media organizations would devote some time to digging into the actual source of Hsu's large contributions.
Charges of bias leveled at PBS yesterday in this post here at Newsbusters about PBS's airing nationwide tonight of "Gold Futures," documentary regarding a proposed gold mine in Romania, are backed up today with new information revealed by John Fund in the Wall Street Journal.
"Gold Futures," by Hungarian filmmaker Tibor Kocsis, apparently is based on Kocsis' 2004-released documentary titled "New Eldorado," which had the subtitle "Gold. The Curse of Rosia Montana," and is clearly biased against the mining project.
“In the face of what I … what we all think was a baseless, ugly article about me by a partner, which I found insulting to my audience and to your intelligence, I’ve been overwhelmed the past two days by words of kindness and support from you guys,” said Cramer.
Cramer referred to Barron’s as “a partner,” possibly referring to the agreement between Dow Jones & Co., which publishes Barron’s and The Wall Street Journal, and CNBC. The deal allows CNBC to use Wall Street Journal content through 2012.
The powerful "manufacturing is in decline" meme won't go away soon, but it should.
It apparently isn't enough that the Institute for Supply Management's Manufacturing Index has read "expansion" in 48 of the past 50 months. It has become an article of faith among reporters and opportunistic politicians that American manufacturing has been, and continues to be, in a long-term decline.
The fact is that government reports also show the exact opposite. Why apparently no one, including the sector's supporters, has done, or at least published, the simple math involved to debunk the myth of "deindustrialization" is indeed a mystery.
There has been support by anecdote. For example, on August 6, Joel Kotkin, a presidential fellow in Urban Futures at Chapman University, wrote an op-ed piece for the Wall Street Journal ("The Myth of Deindustrialization"; link requires subscription). His column led as follows:
“But fundamentally it comes down to where you’re having the toys made. They’re being made in China, you don’t have oversight, there’s tremendous pressure for them to cut corners and keep costs down, because that’s how you make money. So allow me to ask you sir, how much money are you saving having these toys made in China?”
After the press spent last weekend gushing over liberal bloggers with nothing but glowing coverage of the YearlyKos convention in Chicago, the media's fascination with the Netroots continued with reckless abandon this weekend.
On Saturday, the Washington Post published an op-ed by Daily Kos founder Markos Moulitsas, to be followed by a debate on Sunday's "Meet the Press" between the head Kossack and the chairman of the Democratic Leadership Council, Harold Ford, Jr.
Are media recognizing the power of the Netroots, or just trying to assist their efforts to move the Democrat Party further and further to the left?
Regardless of the answer, Moulitsas continued to posit in the Post the same absurd assertion from his keynote address last weekend that he and his ilk represent the center of American politics (emphasis added):
At OpinionJournal.com on Thursday ("Fair but Unbalanced -- How the media promote false pessimism about the economy"), Brian Wesbury, who has written several times on the disconnect between the strong economy and the public's perception of it (previous references here, here, here, here, and here), had another generally stellar column about what is nonetheless a relatively small piece of the problem.
Wesbury ascribes much of the disconnect to TV's need for "balance," when giving positive and negative views equal weight is often in reality unbalanced:
If one guest or expert is a "bull," then the other must be a "bear," to keep things fair. Or, if there is a single guest on air, the host often takes the other side of the issue in order to keep things balanced. Get some sparks between guests, a little argument here or there, and it's even better for the ratings. The bigger the audience, the better the show, that's the way the advertisers see it. It's basic supply and demand.
But this idea of presenting both sides of an issue, while entertaining, informative and seemingly balanced, may paradoxically create a warped perspective of the economy.
While Hillary Clinton was assuring the union crowd last night that she knows how to battle the "right-wing machine," Huffington Post blogger Blake Fleetwood reports that Bill Clinton is still taking on the Clinton-challenging media machine. At a fundraiser closed to reporters (but not to bloggers?), the former president asserted "the editorial page of The Wall Street Journal is even more right wing and irrational than most of the commentators on Fox News."
He also asserted that a major American corporation was attacked by the Journal editorial board because it supported Clinton, and didn't care about whether its attacks were factual. Once the company's CEO "sent a check to Bob Dole, and announced it in the newspapers, and the WSJ never said one bad word about his company again." Here's the rundown of Clinton's media claims as the paper is being acquired by Rupert Murdoch:
The decline of the Wall Street Journal, which allowed Rupert Murdoch's purchase of it, can be blamed in part on how advertisers “perhaps weren't enthralled” with the newspaper's “vitriolic right-wing attack editorials,” Washington Post op-ed writer David Ignatius contended in a Thursday column. In “The Path That Led to Murdoch,” Ignatius, a former Wall Street Journal reporter who has held a variety of top positions at the Post since 1986, asserted that during the 1990s “the Journal's editorial page increasingly did its own reporting, with equal portions of journalistic hustle and ideological spin, and it often overshadowed the news side. I suspect that helped undermine the franchise. Advertisers, in the end, perhaps weren't enthralled with a newspaper distinguished by vitriolic right-wing attack editorials.” (Screen shot is from appearance last year on the Chris Matthews Show.)
Ignatius didn't have anything to say about the impact on the New York Times of its vitriolic left-wing attack editorials and I wouldn't count on members of the mainstream media any time soon pointing to that editorial page as the culprit for declining ad revenue at the Gray Lady.
If anyone in the media blames the Minnesota bridge collapse on "cheap Republicans" who like tax cuts, it would not be the first time. In 1989, after a memorable San Francisco earthquake, an interstate highway bridge collapsed and killed hundreds. Media figures demanded new taxes, and some even suggested the Proposition 13 ballot initiative may have caused unnecessary deaths. We reported in the November 1989 MediaWatch:
As aftershocks rumbled through the San Francisco Bay area, media figures began calling for more taxes. On the October 18 Nightline, Ted Koppel asked an agreeable Democratic politician from California: "We all remember a few years ago Proposition 13 which rolled back taxes. And at the same time the point was made you roll back the taxes, that's fine, but that means there are going to be fewer funds available for necessary projects. Any instances where the money that was not spent because of the rollback of Proposition 13 where money would have made a difference?"
Normally liberal media snobbery is irritating (and career-threatening if you're a young conservative journalist), but not when that snobbery is completely ineffectual to stop the thing which the whiney reporters hate. Schadenfreude is the word of the day after reading this Los Angeles Times piece about how "aghast" many reporters in the Wall Street Journal newsroom are at being employed by the son of Satan himself, Rupert Murdoch:
Reporters reacted bitterly to the prospect of Murdoch's gaining control of the Journal, which has long been regarded as a beacon of financial journalism.
They voiced concern that Murdoch would diminish the paper's quality, imbue it with some of the glitzy style of his crosstown New York Post and slant the Journal's news coverage to advance his business interests.
"People are aghast that this could have happened," said one reporter, who like others spoke on condition on anonymity. "It's a sickening realization to know that this really great iconic newspaper is [not only] no longer going to be independent, but is also going to be controlled by a man whose values are inimical to ours." [...]
An editorial in today’s Wall Street Journal tweaks the New York Times and other liberal critics of Rupert Murdoch’s takeover of the Journal. Noting how some of the fussier media outlets are competing with the Journal at a time when all newspapers are fighting the Internet tide, “readers can judge if the tears these papers and their writers claim to shed for the Journal's future are real, or of the crocodile variety.”
As for the ideology Murdoch’s News Corp. might bring to the Journal, the editors of the famously conservative editorial page mocked: “The nastiest attacks have come from our friends on the political left. They can't decide whose views they hate most — ours, or Mr. Murdoch's. We're especially amused by those who say Mr. Murdoch might tug us to the political left. Don't count on it.”
Rival newspapers are not calmly reporting the news that Rupert Murdoch has sealed the deal to buy The Wall Street Journal for a royal sum. The Washington Post front page headline today makes Rupert sound like he came in with tanks, not just cash: "Murdoch Seizes Wall St. Journal In $5 Billion Coup." Liberals must really see this tycoon as some sort of press-baron version of Pinochet.
In New York, competing papers made it sound more like Rupert won another prize, like he bought a new yacht. "Dow Jones Deal Gives Murdoch a Coveted Prize," wrote The New York Times on its front page. "Rupe takes the prize: Wall Street Journal owners selling out to peddler of Post" was a headline in the New York Daily News.
Though many journalists impose their views regularly in biased political coverage, and last year the New York Times publisher made clear his left-wing world view, on Tuesday night the broadcast networks framed Rupert Murdoch's acquisition of the Wall Street Journal around what agenda the “controversial” Murdoch will “impose.” That matches the “fear” expressed in online journalism forums and media magazines about Murdoch's “conservative” agenda. Leading into pro and con soundbites, CBS's Kelly Wallace described Murdoch as “a conservative who put his imprint on the New York Post and brought topless women to the Sun in London. His critics say he may not impose tabloid on the Journal, but will impose his point of view.”
NBC's Andrea Mitchell called Murdoch “a controversial press lord” and declared Murdoch “deeply conservative,” but noted he's also a “pragmatic” man who has been “a supporter of liberal politicians.” Mitchell relayed how Murdoch insists he “does not mix politics and business,” but, she cautioned, “still, some are skeptical.” The liberal Ken Auletta of The New Yorker contended Murdoch “often” uses “his publications and his media to advance either his business or his political interests.” Over on ABC, David Muir warned that Murdoch “already wields great power over much of what we watch and read” and asserted that “critics caution being a brilliant businessman does not guarantee brilliant journalism.” After a soundbite from Auletta about how Murdoch's politics influence his publications, Muir worried: “For that reason, this has turned into a painful decision for members of the Bancroft family, who controlled the Wall Street Journal for more than 100 years. Sell for $5 billion? Or is that selling out? There were tears within the Bancroft family and fears in the newsroom.” On screen, a WSJ headline: “Fear, Mixed with Some Loathing; Many Reporters at Wall Street Journal Fret Over Murdoch's Arrival.”
Looks like Rupert Murdoch has won his bid to buy Dow Jones:
The Bancroft family has accepted News Corporation's $5 billion (£2.46 billion) offer to buy Dow Jones, the owner of The Wall Street Journal, a Dow Jones executive said this afternoon, citing an internal company document.
John Prestbo, editor and executive director of Dow Jones Indexes, said that “the Bancroft family has accepted” the offer, Reuters reported.
Dow Jones “will be part of News Corp”, he added.
Mr Prestbo told Reuters that the information came from an internal company memo. [...]
Journalists far and wide are still crying about Rupert Murdoch possibly owning the Wall Street Journal. Vanity Fair's Michael Wolff said a Murdoch-owned WSJ would suffer "the loss of a few points of I.Q., a quickened pace, a higher sense of drama, less accurate, perhaps, but less tedious too, and, likely, a keener instinct for following the money." So for all of you psych majors who thought IQ scores were static; you've apparently never met a journalist who was told to be fair. By the way, isn't the most precious tenet of journalism "following the money"?
LA Times' Tim Rutten shocks us with the real reason the NY Times and Baltimore Sun reject forced embargoes and try to wreck your Harry Potter night with pre-dawn spoilers; "...it's about money." Harry Potter spoilers, classified information spoilers, apparently Pinch Sulzberger has a different take on "follow the money."
As journalism giant Rupert Murdoch's bid to buy the Wall Street Journal's parent company gets closer and closer to reality, the number of hit pieces continues to grow. After all, the man behind FOX News, the New York Post, The Times of London and other conservative-leaning news outlets cannot be allowed to conduct business without an effort to bring him to his comeuppance. Finally, however, someone from the liberal-leaning media is sticking up for Murdoch, albeit in a somewhat backhanded way.
In a commentary published on MSNBC's website today, O. Casey Corr goes to bat for Murdoch by saying despite the fact that many of the media concerns he owns tend to favor conservative views, he's not to blame for the current news media atmosphere.
It seems you can't swing a dead cat these days without whacking a Rupert Murdoch hit piece.
It must have been the New York Times' turn at the plate so to speak Thursday, and writer Richard Perez-Pena was more than up to the challenge.
After an introduction of Peter R. Kann, the Chairman and CEO of Dow Jones, the company Murdoch is trying to buy, Perez-Pena appeared loaded for bear (emphasis added throughout):
Mr. Kann, who had been advising the family against selling, expressed hope that Mr. Murdoch would not prevail, using an image of The Journal as a citadel trying to repel an invasion by tabloid barbarians.
"The drawbridge is up," Mr. Kann told the group. "So far, so good."
News Corp is a tabloid barbarian? Wow. Nice reference, wouldn't you agree? Yet, Perez-Pena was just getting warmed up:
As the potential Dow Jones sale to Rupert Murdoch gets closer, the mogul was under fire from ABC on July 18. Correspondent Bianna Golodryga cited fears that the Wall Street Journal would begin to resemble the New York Post, already owned by Murdoch.
“Here is why this story is important. This is the paper he wants to buy: The Wall Street Journal. Now, one big news story, a business story that came out a few weeks ago, was the sale of Hilton Hotels.