The president's call on Saturday for Congress to debate and pass a resolution authorizing airstrikes against Syria also served as a telegraphed message to the liberal media about how to spin the message in a way that puffs the president politically while turning a serious question of foreign policy and use of military resources into a domestic political grist for the 2014 midterms.
Well, the Wall Street Journal's Jay Solomon and Janet Hook smartly saluted and fired their salvo in a piece filed at the paper's website on Sunday afternoon headlined, "White House Girds for Battle With Congress." Here's how they began:
Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan had some harsh words for Barack Obama Sunday.
Appearing on ABC's This Week, Noonan said of the White House's surprising announcement Saturday that it was going to ask Congress for approval to strike Syria, "I think everybody pretty much views it as the president blinked."
While the Journal staffers didn't explicitly make the connection, it turns out that an unintended consequence of the Voting Rights Act's majority-minority House districts has been to restrict the pool of black House candidates who are moderate enough to appeal to a statewide, much less nationwide electorate (emphases mine):
Here's another name to add to the "name that party" file: Michael Thornsbury. The Mingo County, West Virginia circuit court judge was the subject of a federal indictment on Wednesday "after federal authorities allege he targeted his ex-lover's husband and used his position on the bench to manipulate criminal charges against the man," Kate White of the Charleston [W.V.] Gazette reported yesterday.
The Mountain State has partisan judicial elections and Thornsbury is a Democrat. Both ABC's Good Morning America and NBC's Today covered the bizarre story on their August 16 programs, but both neglected to mention Thornsbury's party affiliation.
Of the East Coast's most prestigious papers -- The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post -- only the Journal today failed to note Jesse Jackson Junior's Democratic Party affiliation, with staff writer Devlin Barrett failing to mention that fact in his 11-paragraph story. For their part, Washington Post staffers Ann Marimow and Rachel Weiner did mention Jackson is a Democrat, but that came 13 paragraphs into their 32-paragraph front-pager in the August 15 paper.
NBC News “special correspondent” Ted Koppel is once again sounding like Jimmy Carter’s former Secretary of State in a Wall Street Journal op-ed. The headline was “America's Chronic Overreaction to Terrorism: The country's capacity for self-inflicted damage must have astounded even Osama bin Laden.”
“Terrorism is designed to produce overreaction,” Koppel proclaimed with his trademark arrogance. Bill Clinton’s lack of response to terrorist attacks during his tenure in office was a mark of high intelligence, not fecklessness, unlike Bush launching that disastrous Iraq war:
Today another New York state court upheld an earlier decision in March that invalidated outgoing Mayor Mike Bloomberg's much-maligned "soda ban" which restricts many establishments in the Big Apple from selling soda cups larger than 16 ounces in capacity. As the media report on the court ruling, watch for a) the media to paint the ruling as a "blow" to an "ambitious," well-meaning effort by Bloomberg to save the city from corpulence and b) the ruling as a victory for Big Soda, even though the litigants in the case happen to be the New York Statewide Coalition of Hispanic Chambers of Commerce.
For two examples of this media narrative, I submit for your consideration two wildly different publications, Politico and, sadly, the Wall Street Journal. First Politico. Here's how Kyle Cheney opened his July 30 post, "Appeals court cans N.Y.C. soda ban" (emphasis mine):
Sarah Palin, call your office. PolitiFact, you've been refuted again.
In the later sections of a Wall Street Journal column on Sunday (in Monday's print edition), former Vermont Governor and unsuccessful 2004 Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean wrote in opposition (HT Twitchy) to Obamacare's Independent Payment Advisory Board, calling it "essentially a health-care rationing body." We'll let former Alaska Governor Palin take it from there with her August 7, 2009 Facebook post (bolds are mine throughout this post):
"I think every president in the intense media environment we have now, certainly every two-term president, gets to a point where the American people stop listening, stop leaning forward hungrily for information. I think this president got there earlier than most presidents. And I think he's in that time now."
So said the Wall Street Journal's Peggy Noonan on ABC's This Week Sunday.
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced today that the Obama/Holder Justice Department would request a federal court to put a hold on plans by the State of Texas to put into effect new voter ID laws. The Wall Street Journal's Devlin Barrett has a short article on the development, "Holder Targets Texas in New Voting-Rights Push," published shortly after the announcement at 10:05 a.m. Eastern time.
Barrett failed to directly quote any opponents of Holder's move, but did not that "The move is likely to anger conservatives who have long argued that the law has outlived its usefulness and punishes certain states—particularly in the South—based not on their current conduct, but on their past." But when it came to promoting the article on social media, a Journal social media staffer gave Twitter followers a decidedly pro-Holder spin, pitching the story thusly:
The Wall Street Journal's editorial board is rock-ribbed conservative, but its news pages often feature biased reporting that fits with the rest of the liberal media's narratives about conservatives and the GOP. Take Patrick O'Connor's 20-paragraph July 23 article, "Think Tank Becomes a Handful for GOP."
"For four decades, the Heritage Foundation was a stately think tank that sought to define conservative thinking for Republicans," O'Connor noted, lamenting that "Now, in one of the more significant transformations in the capital's intellectual firmament, it has become an activist political operation trying to alter the course of conservative thinking." In doing so, "[i]t now challenges establishment Republican leaders as much as it informs them, making waves in the process," O'Connor complained, going on to cite Republican congressmen complaining about Heritage's tactics, but failing to find pro-Heritage conservative GOPers to defend the organization.
The U.S. Marshals Service (USMS) has misplaced at least 2,000 high-tech radios, "creating what some within the agency view as a security risk for federal judges, endangered witnesses and others," the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday. What's more, WSJ staffer Devlin Barrett noted, documents released under a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request suggest that the USMS's director, Obama appointee Stacia Hylton, tried to get agency officials to low-ball the estimate of how much money the lost radios cost the U.S. taxpayer. Oh, and did I mention that the missing radio problem goes back to 2011, when the USMS's Office of Strategic Technology complained that "the entire [inventory] system is broken and drastic measures need to be taken to address the issues"?
Earlier this summer, the Washington Post reported on another federal agency, the U.S. Park Police, misplacing thousands of guns. I noted at the time that the broadcast media failed to cover the story. The same appears to be true here. Of the broadcast network morning shows, only Norah O'Donnell of CBS This Morning very briefly touched on the development on Monday's edition:
On ABC's This Week yesterday, former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer -- who resigned in 2008 when caught dead to rights illegally purchasing the services of prostitutes but was never prosecuted because, as announced two days after Election Day in 2008, the Department of Justice decided that "the public interest would not be further advanced by filing criminal charges" -- called the verdict in the George Zimmerman murder trial "a failure of justice."
Of course, Politico's Juana Summers provided none of the background yours truly just did while only referring to Spitzer as "the former Democratic governor of New York who's now a candidate for New York City comptroller." Another statement Spitzer made on the same program deserves further scrutiny, which will arrive after the jump:
The Wall Street Journal may be best-known for its conservative editorial page, but its ostensibly objective reporters are a far different story. Take Jess Bravin, the Journal's Supreme Court correspondent, and his wildly different takes on the Voting Rights Act case vs. the gay marriage cases.
Although all those cases were 5-4 decisions and although each of them involved overturning or invalidating legislation enacted overwhelmingly on a bipartisan vote in Congress or, in the Proposition 8 case, Hollingsworth v. Perry, by the voters of the State of California, Bravin predictably followed the liberal script in how he framed the outcomes.
Outgoing NBA commissioner David Stern granted an interview to Lee Hawkins of the Wall Street Journal on June 7, and Hawkins asked him about Bryant Gumbel’s characterization of Stern as a “plantation overseer” during the most recent contract negotiations with the NBA players union in 2011. He actually said Stern "always seemed eager to be viewed as some kind of modern plantation overseer treating NBA men as if they were his boys."
Stern slammed back, saying his works for the NBA "dwarf any contribution Bryant Gumbel has made" in bringing diversity in ownership and wealth for black players:
Yesterday evening the Obama administration announced it would back down from plans to fight a federal judge's ruling that the Plan B emergency contraception pill must be made available over-the-counter and without age restriction in U.S. pharmacies. Previously the FDA permitted over-the-counter sales to girls and women aged 17 and older and the Obama administration wished to revise that age requirement down to 15.
But in reporting the story, both the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal omitted any objection from pro-life or parents rights groups, even as they reported the reactions of abortion rights advocates. "We are pleased that women should soon be able to buy Plan B One-Step without the arbitrary restrictions that kept it locked behind the pharmacy counter when they needed it most urgently," the Journal's Jennifer Corbett Dooren quoted Nancy Northup of the Center for Reproductive Rights at the close of her 11-paragraph, page A3 story for Tuesday's print edition.
"Poll Finds Support Slumping for Health Law," blares the top headline on page A4 of Thursday's edition of the Wall Street Journal. "Americans' unease with President Barack Obama's health-care law has intensified," staff writers Patrick O'Connor and Louise Radnofsky noted, and that "just as the administration is gearing up to persuade people to sign up for some of its major provisions" according to a poll commissioned by the Journal and NBC News.
Among other things the poll found "the number calling [ObamaCare] a bad idea reached a high of 49%... with 43% 'strongly' holding that view" and double the number of poll respondents (38 percent to 19 percent) believing they will prove "worse off" under ObamaCare's implementation rather than "better off." Sure enough, however, NBC News elected to leave out those damning statistics from Thursday's edition of the Today morning show program.
The Wall Street Journal's David Wessel channeled the Obama administration's doom and gloom about the sequester on NPR's Morning Edition on Monday. Host Renee Montagne turned to Wessel to give a "reality check" on the sequester's current and future economic impact. The journalist cited how unnamed "economic forecasters...say they're worried that the effects of this spending restraint may have bigger negative effects" later this year.
Wessel harped on the "lots of little ways" the sequester has impacted people around the country, including the "bathroom in a national park where the toilets have been closed in some places" and how "the military is mowing grass less often at bases."
Believe it or not, none of the largest national newspapers put an article on Wednesday’s IRS hearings on the front page. The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal had a picture of Lois Lerner, but sent the reader to an inside page for the story. The New York Times and USA Today offered no picture, either.
USA Today has an excuse: it put Lerner taking the Fifth on Wednesday’s front page in a preview. But The New York Times only put this taxpayer scandal on Page One: “Europe Pushes to Shed Stigma Of a Tax Haven.” Oh, heavens forbid. Andrew Higgins championed a “sweeping global assault on tax evasion,” starting in Luxembourg.
Well, it looks like I was right earlier this afternoon when I thought that the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, was among those holding off on reporting the Wall Street Journal's Sunday evening disclosure that Kathryn Ruemmler, the head of the Office of the White House Counsel, "learned weeks ago that an audit of the Internal Revenue Service likely would show that agency employees inappropriately targeted conservative groups" was "nervous about the Journal’s report, waiting for administration apparatchiks to tell them what to say, or both."
It turns out that the AP, in an unbylined report, waited until Jay Carney told them what to say and then pretended that the Journal's Sunday story didn't exist (the time stamp seen at story as carried at the AP's national site at the time of this post was 2:51 p.m.; the graphic which follows is of the identical story at Yahoo News):
Covering Barack Obama's Monday May 13 press conference for the May 14 edition of the Wall Street Journal, reporters Peter Nicholas and Janet Hook painted the president as above the partisan fray and Republicans as the ones sidetracking Washington from the "plenty of unfinished business" that the president has on his plate just "[f]our months into his new term."
In their 20-paragraph story, "Obama Dismisses Benghazi Claims," Nicholas and Hook seemed particularly interested in the president's charge that the Benghazi focus was all about GOP campaigning and fundraising, even as the veteran reporters left out that shortly after the president's joint press conference, he jetted off to New York City for a closed-door Democratic National Committee fundraiser at a private residence (emphasis mine):
Just in time for Mother's Day this year, President Obama has threatened a veto on a bill that would be of great benefit to working moms throughout the country.
In the May 11-12 edition of the Wall Street Journal, the editorial board took Mr. Obama to task for pledging to kill a bill that would reform the Fair Labor Standards Act "to allow employees to swap overtime pay for compensatory time off." The bill, "[s]ponsored by Alabama Republican (and mother of two young children) Martha Roby," passed the House last week. If signed into law, it would give private sector non-union employees the sort of flexibility that federal government employees have had since 1985.
It's no surprise that the liberal media are ignoring poll after poll showing widespread discontent, even among Democrats, with ObamaCare. But what's utterly inexcusable is the man-bites-dog story coming out of a labor union this week, which is now calling for ObamaCare's repeal.
Janet Adamy of the Wall Street Journal noted on April 16 that the United Union of Roofers, Waterproofers, and Allied Workers is the first union to call for the repeal of Obamacare. Why? Because it could lead to members losing their existing coverage:
For about two decades now the liberal media have been blaring the warning sirens about global warming and calling for greater government regulation and taxation to stop it. On April 18, Russell Gold of the Wall Street Journal gave readers an excellent front-page article exploring how U.S. carbon emissions have decreased in the past few years, not thanks to government action but the power of the free market. It's expanded natural gas exploration -- something that drives the environmentalist Left batty, by the way -- which is the chief culprit for reduced emissions.
Energy-related emissions of carbon dioxide, the greenhouse gas that Is widely believed to contribute to global warming, have fallen 12% between 2005 and 2012 and are at their lowest level since 1994, according to a recent estimate by the Energy Information Administration, the statistical arm of the U.S. Energy Department.
When it comes to the failure of the Democratic gun control package in the U.S. Senate earlier this week, "[t]he media [have been] amplifying... with less subtlety" President Obama's gripes about the power of the NRA and a minority in the Senate supposedly scuttling the will of the American people on background checks, the Wall Street Journal editorial board noted today. But the truth of the matter, the board explained, is that Democrats have only themselves, and more specifically President Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, to blame.
The Journal editorial board explained how "[t]he White House demanded, and Mr. Reid agreed, that Congress should try to pass the [Manchin-Toomey background check] amendment without" the benefit of 30 hours of floor debate which "would have meant inspecting the details" of the legislation and "opened up the bill to pro-gun amendments that were likely to pass." A simple majority was needed for such a debate, the Journal notes, a threshold they could have cleared as Reid had 54 votes for his cloture motion. So why did Reid not go that route? Because it would "have boxed Mr. Reid into the embarrassing spectacle of having to later scotch a final bill because it also contained provisions that the White House loathes," the Journal argued, adding (emphases mine):
In a comparatively rare feat, a conservative writer has won a Pulitzer Prize, the most prestigious award in journalism. Bret Stephens, who writes a column for the Wall Street Journal primarily about world affairs is the first conservative to win the award in more than a decade.
Congratulations are certainly in order to Stephens for pulling off the win, especially since the very liberal Columbia University is in charge of the award.
President Obama’s budget is finally out -- a mere 65 days late -- and it’s loaded with tax increases.
At yesterday’s press briefing, White House flack-in-chief Jay Carney admitted that middle class tax increases were coming. But if a tree falls in the woods, does anyone hear it? Major media outlets like the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, and sadly even the Wall Street Journal failed to mention this aspect in their coverage of the budget’s unveiling today. Here's the relevant exchange from the April 9 briefing (emphasis mine):
When Jimmy Fallon replaces Jay Leno at NBC's The Tonight Show, the show will move back east to New York City, to be broadcast from network headquarters at 30 Rockefeller Plaza. The move makes financial sense for the network in part because the state of New York worked out a sweetheart tax deal for NBCUniversal to execute such a move.
In essence, the long suffering taxpayers of New York State will take a hit because their state's politicians create a tax break which seems designed explicitly to both relocate the Tonight Show and the variety show America's Got Talent, which will be moving its production from New Jersey. From today's Wall Street Journal editorial, "A Tax Break for the 0.01%":
Update (April 5): Fisker has laid off three-quarters of its workforce at its headquaters in Anaheim, owes DOE approximately $193 million | With a substantial repayment of the $529 million loan guarantee it received almost four years ago -- courtesy of the U.S. taxpayer -- coming due at the end of the month, the electric car company Fisker is exploring the idea of filing for bankruptcy before then. Sources have confirmed that an influential law firm from Chicago has been hired to help with the proceedings.
The major networks have been reticent on the subject however, as if they have no intention of breaking the next Solyndra-like scandal. It should be noted that no cars have been built since last July, and 200 of Fisker's American employees were recently furloughed.
The saga all began in 2009 when the Obama administration handed out $1 billion worth of loans to two electric car manufacturers, Fisker and Tesla. The latter appears to be on the verge of becoming profitable, but that assumes there's going to be a substantial number of people willing to pay near $1200 per month in leasing charges.
Fisker promised to do the majority of its auto assembly in Delaware, home of Vice President Joe Biden. Private investment partner Al Gore predicted that tens of thousands would be rolling off the the assembly lines there someday. But alas, two years later, it was revealed that production had shifted to Finland, where 500 workers had been hired to build the $100,000 cars called Karma.
Another report exposed that only 40 cars had been built at the time, and just two had been delivered. One of which was to actor and environmental activist Leonardo DiCaprio. Adding insult to injury, over 230 were recalled in late 2011 because of a fire hazard risk in the battery compartment. Luckily, very few were in the hands of consumers anyway.
Asked for comment back in October of 2011, founder and executive chairman Henrik Fisker was defiant. "We're not in the business of failing; we're in the business of winning," he said. "So we make the right decision for the business. That's why we went to Finland." Nearly a year and a half later, he would resign from the company that bears his namesake - citing 'differences with company management' in a March 2013 statement.
Now that the Kirkland & Ellis law firm is getting involved, to presume that a bankruptcy filing is coming isn't far-fetched. We'll keep our eyes open for the media's attention to this, but we're not holding our breath.