Opening up the Sunday paper might lead you to the national newspaper supplement Parade Magazine, which devoted its July 10 edition to "Summer Reading" picks. Smack-dab in the middle of the issue is "12 Great Summer Books: PARADE's picks of terrific new reads, in no particular order." But that's not exactly true, since the first six are fiction, and the second six are nonfiction. Somehow it's not shocking that the number-one recommended book is "Faith" by Jennifer Haigh, a novel about a Catholic priest in Boston accused of molestation during the scandal's heyday in the last decade.
Publishers Weekly advised, "Although this all-too-plausible story offers a damning commentary on the Church's flaws and its leaders' hubris, Haigh is concerned less with religious faith than with the faith [the accused priest] Arthur's family has — and loses, and in some cases regains — in one another."
Yesterday mob boss James "Whitey" Bulger -- captured last month with $800,000 in his possession -- was granted the right to retain taxpayer-funded counsel by a U.S. Magistrate judge Marianne Bowler, who "appointed high-profile Boston criminal-defense lawyer J.W. Carney Jr. as Bulger's public defender," Wall Street Journal's Jennifer Levitz reported in today's paper.
Bulger, you may recall, is the older brother of former Massachusetts State Senate President William "Billy" Bulger. The younger Bulger was once one of the most powerful Democratic Party bosses in the Bay State, having served 18 years as Senate president.
Yet when it came to noting the family dynamic in the Bulger family, Levitz wrote one short paragraph and in it left out any reference to the Democratic Party:
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):
As night follows day, the press is beginning to go after a business entity which had the nerve to do its job and call attention to Uncle Sam's dire fiscal situation.
Standard and Poor's is presumably not 100% populated with angels, but it didn't deserve the gratuitous and ignorant shots fired at it this evening by the Associated Press's Bernard Condon and an "expert" he quoted. In attempting to tar the firm, Condon acted as if the mortgage-lending mess was the creation of "banks" which marketed mortgage-backed securities and asleep at the switch ratings agencies. He didn't once mention Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, the fiasco's Democratic crony-run uber-culprits, which for 15 years consistently deceived the markets about the quality of the already marginal loans underlying the securities they issued .
Here are selected paragraphs from Condon's cracked creation, including a headline which gives away a resentment that the ratings agencies are still actually able to do what they were designed to do (bold is mine):
Newsweek worried this week that “What’s Killing NPR” is declining to let its journalists deny (ludicrously) that there’s any liberal bias on its airwaves. Morning Edition anchor Steve Inskeep is now taking on the lead lobbyist’s role with an op-ed in Thursday’s Wall Street Journal with the headline “Liberal Bias at NPR?” Inskeep’s claiming the answer is “No.”
The pull-quote in the paper is “Surveys show that millions of conservatives choose NPR, even with powerful conservative alternatives on the radio.” He also uses a GfK poll to argue "most [NPR] listeners consistently identify themselves as 'middle of the road' or 'conservative.'" The actual results from that poll: 28% conservative, 25% percent middle of the road, 37% percent liberal. Even NPR lovers accused Inskeep of using “fuzzy math” to fight the liberal-bias claim, like Jeff Bercovici at Forbes:
So, yes, it's accurate to say that 53 percent of NPR listeners - ie. "most" listeners - are either self-described conservatives of middle-of-the-roaders. But it's even more accurate to say that most listeners - 62 percent - are self-described liberals or middle-roaders.
Amy Chua is a Hot Author for writing the book "The Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother" about how she's raising more successful children by having higher expectations. She stirred up trouble with a Wall Street Journal op-ed titled "Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior." A February 20 Washington Post story by Monica Hesse on a Chua appearance at the fashionably "progressive" Politics and Prose bookstore included a weird out-of-place slam on a conservative ad:
If "Tiger Mom" had been written by a woman of a different nationality ("Why French Women's Kids Don't Get Fat"), it might not have raised so many hackles. But this book came on the heels of that weirdly racist Citizens Against Government Waste commercial - the one where the futuristic Chinese professor cackles maniacally over the downfall of America - and at a time of concern about the U.S. economy and American children's ability to compete.
Finally, a book that both permissive lefty parents and frightened righty wing nuts can both get behind hating.
James Taranto could be the best columnist around. Every day at his Best of the Web at the Wall Street Journal online, Taranto turns out an original, often unconventional, conservative take on the news, regularly managing to leaven the message with humor.
Rush today rightly extolled Taranto's column of yesterday, in which he made the point that there is a vast, inherent difference between private and public sector unions. In the former case, unions are negotiating against corporate interests. In the latter, unions are, by definition, organizing against the interests of the public itself.
Surely even Cenk Uygur understands this. So when Cenk suggests, as he did on his MSNBC show this evening, that without unions public employees would be "at the mercy" of "corporate executives," it seems fair to accuse him of . . . fraud.
The Washington Post had better refrain from telling other media outlets to tone down their rhetoric, for on Sunday, one of the paper's longest running columnists asked on national television, "How much time do we have left to talk about how stupid Sarah Palin is?"
Such was said by Richard Cohen, a man that has been with the Post since 1968, towards the end of CNN's "Fareed Zakaria GPS" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
The award for Best Line of the Weekend goes to Wall Street Journal editorial page editor Paul Gigot who on Sunday's "Meet the Press" offered a delicious irony concerning Friday's surprise press conference hosted by Barack Obama and Bill Clinton.
"I love the symbolism of two Democratic presidents--not one, but two--endorsing Bush tax cuts, saying, 'We need them crucially to help the economy' (video follows with transcript and commentary):
The Wall Street Journal can't seem to decide whether Sarah Palin is knowledgable on monetary policy or not.
WSJ reporter Sudeep Reddy criticized Palin's "inflation hyperbole" in an article Tuesday, claiming that, contrary to Palin's claims, "Grocery prices haven’t risen all that significantly."
"Do Wall Street Journal reporters read the Wall Street Journal?" Palin shot back in a Facebook post, noting that the Journal itself had raised concerns about grocery prices mere days ago. "An inflationary tide is beginning to ripple through America's supermarkets and restaurants," an article claimed on Thursday.
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?
In light of President Barack Obama's recent attack on the Fox News Channel, the Wall Street Journal's James Taranto wonders: "why is the Ground Zero mosque the only case in which Obama has ever defended anyone's First Amendment rights without qualification?"
There are a number of possible answers, and at least some of them are reasonable and worthy of media attention. And indeed, a few journalists have noticed and raised objection to the White House's selective contempt for opinion media - Fox is "destructive," but MSNBC libtalkers Rachel Maddow and Keith Olbermann "provide an invaluable service."
But there is a deeper First Amendment double standard at work here, as Taranto notes:
James Taranto at the Wall Street Journal pointed out in his "Best of the Web Today" review on Thursday how Mark Halperin of Time seems to disagree so vehemently with himself about how the Obama presidency was supposed to unfold this year. Why would Obama delay business-tax-cut talk until the fall, for example:
It is fair to ask (and many Democrats have) why the President is only now proposing such critical measures, rather than offering them up earlier in his term, before election-season politics brought governing to a standstill.
It's fair to answer, too. While Americans were anxious about the economy, Obama was obsessed with wrecking our health care. He was urged on by cheerleaders in the media like the one who wrote an article on March 22, the day after the House passed ObamaCare, which began as follows:
A recurring rubric at James Taranto's Best of the Web Today column at the Wall Street Journal online is "We Blame George W. Bush," for tongue-in-cheek blaming of the former prez for things palpably beyond his purview. Let's add another item to the list. Dem senator Russ Feingold has blamed his tough re-election race on, yes, W.
Let's think about that. If Bush were such a bad president. If his policies were so disastrous for the country. Wouldn't that boost the chances of an incumbent Dem senator who, like Feingold, had voted against Bush policies every step of the way?
Hey, I don't try to understand Dem reasoning: I just report it. Feingold made his logic-defying allegation on this evening's Ed Show.
On the same day the Commerce Department dramatically revised down second quarter Gross Domestic Product estimates, New York Times columnist David Brooks published a stinging rebuke of Obama economic policies.
"The American stimulus package was supposed to create a 'summer of recovery,' according to Obama administration officials," wrote Brooks.
"Job growth was supposed to be surging at up to 500,000 a month," he continued. "Instead, the U.S. economy is scuffling along."
Scuffling is putting it mildly, for it was announced Friday that the GDP only grew by a pathetic 1.6 percent last quarter which was down from previous estimates of 2.4 percent.
With this in mind, Brooks' column was not only spot on, but a surprising indictment of everything the Obama administration has done since Inauguration Day:
New York Times columnist Frank Rich on Sunday blamed America's opinion of the Ground Zero mosque on the "Islamophobia command center" of Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation.
As readers are likely aware, its properties include Fox News, the New York Post, and the Wall Street Journal, all witting accomplices to a devious plot to stoke anti-Muslim sentiment according to Rich.
Never mind that public opinion polls around the country and in New York state show vast majorities in opposition to the building of this Islamic center at the site of the 9/11 attacks.
February 2009 was a pretty dark time for the conservative movement. The arguably most liberal president in the history of the United States has been sworn in to office just weeks early. The Congress had solid Democratic majorities in both chambers. And there were overtures that only way to save the nation from suffering the worst of a downtrodden economy was through an avalanche of costly legislation that would create huge budget deficits and ever-expanding bureaucracy.
But in the midst of that dark spell, CNBC's Rick Santelli lit the spark that ignited the conservative pushback. On CNBC's Feb. 19, 2009 "Squawk Box," Santelli called for a "tea party" in Lake Michigan to protest the idea the Obama administration was preparing to enact a massive housing bailout to reward people who took part in risky behavior by purchasing a home they couldn't afford.
With the media elite once again reminding the unsophisticated rubes in flyover country of their intellectual and cultural inferiority as it pertains to sensitivities regarding Islam, it seems a good time to review the recent movements of one of the most condescending liberal elitists of the contemporary commentariat: Thomas Frank.
The columnist recently left the Wall Street Journal for Harper's Magazine.
Frank, you may remember, penned the 2004 book "What's the Matter with Kansas?" which explored the baffling (for Frank) tendencies of rural populations between the two coasts to vote Republican. By Frank's account, their political views ran directly against the grain of their own interests.
Here's yet another example illustrating why one must treat the editorials at the Wall Street Journal as a primary source of hard news during Democratic presidential administrations.
On Monday, President Obama visited ZBB Energy Corp, a maker of high-tech batteries in Menominee, Wisconsin. Helene Cooper at the New York Times, where a larger version of the picture at the right appeared, reported that "The company received a $1.3 million federal stimulus loan, which officials said would triple its manufacturing capacity and could lead to 80 new jobs." Note the word "could."
At least the Times mentioned the existence of ZBB's stimulus loan. In three brief reports citing Obama's visit during the past week, the Associated Press didn't even do that.
File the news in this report filed late yesterday afternoon by Michael Calderone and John Cook at Yahoo's Upshot Blog under "D" for Double Standards:
White House reporters mum on Obama lunch, even as papers back transparency
White House reporters are keeping quiet about an off-the-record lunch today with President Obama — even those at news organizations who've advocated in the past for the White House to release the names of visitors.
But the identities of the lunch's attendees won't remain secret forever: Their names will eventually appear on the White House's periodically updated public database of visitor logs.
... The Obama White House began posting the logs in order to settle a lawsuit, begun under the Bush administration, from Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), which sought the Secret Service's White House visitor logs under the Freedom of Information Act.
... And guess who filed briefs supporting that argument? Virtually every newspaper that covers the White House.
Keith Olbermann on Thursday cherry-picked an article by former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich to make a pathetic case that Republicans are targeting and blaming unemployed Americans for the country's economic woes.
In his opening "Countdown" segment on MSNBC, the host began, "When it came time to invade, Republicans used cherry-picked intelligence to make the case for war in Iraq. Now, they`re using cherry-picked intelligence to wage war on the middle class."
Particularly in Olbermann's crosshairs was Gingrich who the "Countdown" host claimed "targeted one individual American who`s struggling to make ends meet and held him up as part of the problem."
Ironically, it was Olbermann that was guilty of cherry-picking as he quoted a very tiny portion of a Human Events article the former Speaker wrote Wednesday (video follows with commentary and full transcript at conclusion):
No matter what happens, even surrounding his personal life or his pet cause global warming, former Vice President Al Gore just isn't going away.
During an Aug. 10 conference call, Gore launched into a critique of the media's recent coverage of ClimateGate, specifically blogs, talk radio and "biased right-wing media."
"Well I believe Mark Twain often gets the credit for the saying ... that a lie runs around the world before the truth gets its boots on," Gore said. "Now I'm not sure that's the real reason for it, but there is a sad but undeniable truth that those who wanted to try sowing confusion used an echo chamber from blogs and talk show hosts and biased right-wing media to promulgate the distortions of the paid skeptics and professional deniers who tried to undermine the evidence."
Gore, who earlier during the call said he all but given up on cap-and-trade legislation being passed this Congress (audio here), alluded to a handful of "formal inquiries" that he argued cleared the science of any doubt that may have been caused by the leaked e-mails from ClimateGate, despite the questionable circumstances surrounding these inquiries.
It seems that not even the truth can possibly overturn the narrative that President Obama and the Democrats in Congress have brought transparency to Washington.
Last Wednesday I wrote about how the Dodd-Frank financial regulatory bill Obama signed into law last month contains a provision exempting the Securities and Exchange Commission from Freedom of Information Act requests. Such an exemption would surely have been grounds for a media outcry during the Bush administration, yet apart from The Wall Street Journal and CNN, only blogs have been following the developments. The latter opted simply to parrot the administration's claims without challenge.
Other media ouetlets, such as National Public Radio and MSNBC, completely ignored the controversy, in stark contrast to their extensive coverage of the Bush administration's attempts to curtail the scope of the Freedom of Information Act. NPR's Don Gonyea said "When conflicts arise over what should or should not be open, the administration does not hesitate to invoke the memory of 9/11. And while it's true that 9/11 changed the security landscape, it's also true that the administration was tightening the control of information much earlier . . ."
In Saturday's Wall Street Journal, senior economics writer Stephen Moore talked to Nevada Republican Senate contender Sharron Angle in the "Weekend Interview." He liked her answers, like why she thinks she could upset the Senate Majority Leader, she replied: "When Harry Reid got to be majority leader, the unemployment rate was 4.4%. Now it is 14%, higher than even in Michigan....What has Harry Reid's power done for our state?"
Angle said Reid's local actions (a subject the national media cares very little about) have upset the electorate:
Regarding jobs, she points to Mr. Reid's role in killing three clean coal-fired plants in rural Ely, where she and her husband have lived since 1971. After years of opposition by Mr. Reid in league with various environmental groups, NV Energy halted development of a $5 billion plant in February 2009.
That meant the loss of 5,000 jobs, Mrs. Angle says. "That's really when we realized Harry Reid doesn't care about jobs or people losing their homes. And it's also when 'Anybody but Harry Reid' signs first began to sprout up all over the state."