On Thursday, the Treasury Department issued a press release, called "Update on Status of Support for Housing Programs." Its fourth paragraph reads as follows:
At the time the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) placed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac into conservatorship in September 2008, Treasury established Preferred Stock Purchase Agreements (PSPAs) to ensure that each firm maintained a positive net worth. Treasury is now amending the PSPAs to allow the cap on Treasury's funding commitment under these agreements to increase as necessary to accommodate any cumulative reduction in net worth over the next three years. At the conclusion of the three year period, the remaining commitment will then be fully available to be drawn per the terms of the agreements.
Translation: No matter how badly things further deteriorate at these former government sponsored enterprises, both of which since last year in essence have become government-controlled enterprises, Uncle Sam (i.e., current and future generations of taxpayers) will cover their losses.
Here is how three different news outlets headlined this Treasury/Obama administration move:
It's often said markets function better when there is gridlock in Washington, D.C. because there's less of a chance for government will interfere in the private sector, creating a sense of security. But in this day and time, that theory applies to the U.S. dollar as well.
On CNBC's Dec. 17 "Squawk Box," CNBC Chicago Mercantile Exchange reporter Rick Santelli debated what was causing the recent rise in the U.S. dollar. Santelli, the original inspiration for the tea party movement, squared off with Jim Iuorio, CNBC "OptionsAction" regular and CME trader, about the cause - a weakened European economy or the place in the calendar year.
"So Rick, is the bigger deal right now on the dollar move - the risk-aversion trade because of the end of the year or because of the problems in Europe?" Iuorio said. "Or is it a combination of both? Which is the bigger thing, do you think?"
Yesterday at NewsBusters, Geoffrey Dickens documented the furor of MSNBC's Chris Mathews over the results of an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll (PDF).
Specifically, Mathews was irked that the Tea Party Movement (TPM) was viewed quite a bit more favorably than the two major political parties by those polled (VP=Very Positive; SP=Somewhat Positive; N=Neutral; SN=Somewhat Negative; VN=Very Negative; DK=No Opinion):
Tea Party Movement: VP-20%; SP-21%; N-21%; SN-10%; VN-13%; DK-15%
Mathews dismissed the TPM's convincing advantage over the established parties, especially in higher strong positives and lower strong negatives, as being the result of a biased poll question working in the Tea Partiers' favor. I don't think so. In fact, I think the result occurred even though the question is loaded against the TPM.
Here is the full text of the Tea Party poll question (Question 14b, Page 11; bolds are mine):
Let no one say the New York Times is blind to media bias. It's uncovered it at the (conservative) New York Post and (conservative) Fox News -- although admissions of the paper's own clear liberal tilt are few and far between.
David Carr's Monday media column, “Tilting Rightward At Journal,” found a conservative slant at yet another Rupert Murdoch-owned media outlet, The Wall Street Journal. The text box: “Under Murdoch's rule, a new tone in the news pages.”
Sunday was the second anniversary of the sale of The Wall Street Journal to Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation. At that time, a chorus of journalism church ladies (I was among them) warned that one of the crown jewels of American journalism now resided in the hands of a roughneck, and predicted that he would use it to his own ends.
"Well, what do you think when you read these miserable people in The Wall Street Journal op-ed pages? And I -- I picked The Wall Street Journal. I don't get it. There's some kind of culture out there that sits around and talks to itself, and pleases -- pleasures itself, I should say, over the argument that there isn't any climate change. What is in their breakfast that makes them do this? Why do they ignore science? Maybe they're the same people that ignore the evidence of evolution and millions of years of bones. What is it about them that just -- and they're -- and they're pandered to by the editors of The Wall Street Journal and other organs, like Fox News."
The Climatic Research Unit at the heart of the ClimateGate scandal sought funds from Shell Oil in the year 2000.
Other e-mail messages obtained from the University of East Anglia's computers also showed officials at the school's CRU solicited support from ExxonMobil and BP Amoco, although the nature of this support was not identified.
As climate alarmists and their media minions love to claim that global warming skeptics are all paid shills of Big Oil, it makes one wonder how the press will report these startling revelations discovered by Anthony Watts Friday:
While most global warming-obsessed media have either ignored or downplayed the significance of the growing ClimateGate scandal, the Wall Street Journal has been on top of this story since it first broke two weeks ago.
On Thursday, Journal editorial page deputy editor Daniel Henninger penned a piece that should be an absolute must-read for all the so-called journalists in America that have either intentionally boycotted this controversy or have participated in hiding its seriousness from the public.
Called "Climategate: Science Is Dying," the article exposed some inconvenient truths far more ominous than anything in Nobel Laureate Al Gore's award winning schlockumentary:
In their report on Ford's November sales results, the Associated Press's Tom Krisher and Dee-Ann Durbin seemed to downplay the company's pretty decent month, and definitely downplayed the company's better near-term prospects compared to its principal rivals. Additionally, despite the report's Wednesday time stamp, the pair didn't update the item's content to compare Ford's performance to its competitors.
In the latest of a series of White House - media head-on confrontations, Jared Bernstein, the chief economist and economic policy advisor to Vice President Joe Biden, took on the Wall Street Journal in a Dec. 1 post on the federal government's WhiteHouse.gov Web site.
"There's a new report out from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) on the economic impact of the Recovery Act," Bernstein wrote. "I'll get to the findings in a second, but somebody over at the Wall St. Journal's editorial page has a whole lot of explaining to do."
Rupert Murdoch sees a future in journalism. With newspaper circulation at post-war lows and major dailies shutting down in a number of cities, he may be one of the few optimists left. But first, Murdoch claims, the American government must change its obsolete and destructive regulatory policies that, he says, are preventing major news outlets from competing.
"Good journalism is an expensive commodity," Murdoch told an audience at a Federal Trade Commission workshop on the future of journalism today. "Critics say people won’t pay, but I say they will. But only if you give them something good." Murdoch has announced plans to institute paywalls for all online content offered by his giant news conglomerate, News Corp.
Though Murdoch is confident that paywalls would more than make up for revenue lost by shortfalls in advertising dollars, other newspapers' experiences with the system have failed to do so. The New York Times in 2005 began charging for many of its columns, but eliminated the paywall after revenues failed to outweigh advertising dollars. Still, there are a number of unexplored options for online news payment schemes, and Murdoch is no rookie in the news business.
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:
Paul Krugman attacked the authors of the soon-to-be-released book SuperFreakonomics today for their audacious attempts to question the left's conventional wisdom on global climate change. He then touted the danger of attacking conservatives, and contended that liberal-bashing has always been the safer political and professional move.
I have a theory here, although it may not be the whole story: it’s about careerism. Annoying conservatives is dangerous [his emphasis]: they take names, hold grudges, and all too often find ways to take people who annoy them down... [Conservatives] snub anyone who breaks the unwritten rule and mocks those who must not be offended.
Annoying liberals, on the other hand, feels transgressive but has historically been safe. The rules may be changing (as [SuperFreakonomics authors Stephen] Dubner and [Steven] Levitt are in the process of finding out), but it’s been that way for a long time.
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal on Friday, Andrew Breitbart, founder of such center-right online powerhouses as Big Government and Big Hollywood, blasted what he dubs the "Democrat-media complex." He spoke of his most recent exposes on the administration's political malfeasance and the mainstream media's refusal to cover those scandals.
Breitbart rocketed into the national spotlight with his work with James O'Keefe and Hannah Giles, the young conservatives responsible for the ground-breaking ACORN sting operations that led to congressional votes to de-fund the community organizing group.
"I had a 20-year-old and a 25-year-old and my integrity on the line if we were going to launch this," Mr. Breitbart says. "It was so obvious that the mainstream media, given this information, would not cover it and would, in effect, attempt to cover it up." So he devised an intricate strategy of rolling out the videos one at a time, anticipating Acorn's defenses and rebutting each in turn with the next video...
Saturday's “Weekend Edition” of the Wall Street Journal will feature an op-ed from Rush Limbaugh, that went online earlier tonight, in which Limbaugh, echoing his on-air observations, outlines how “this spectacle is bigger” than left-wingers trying to keep him out of the NFL. After noting the leading roles of race-hustlers Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson in smearing him as a racist, Limbaugh proposed in his penultimate paragraph:
There is a contempt in the news business, including the sportswriter community, for conservatives that reflects the blind hatred espoused by Messrs. Sharpton and Jackson. “Racism” is too often their sledgehammer. And it is being used to try to keep citizens who don't share the left's agenda from participating in the full array of opportunities this nation otherwise affords each of us. It was on display many years ago in an effort to smear Clarence Thomas with racist stereotypes and keep him off the Supreme Court. More recently, it was employed against patriotic citizens who attended town-hall meetings and tea-party protests.
Earlier in the piece, “The Race Card, Football and Me,” America's most popular talk radio show host called out syndicated Washington Post sports columnist Michael Wilbon and others for “slanders against me” in forwarding fabricated quotes: “Wilbon wasn't alone. Numerous sportswriters, CNN, MSNBC, among others, falsely attributed to me statements I had never made.”
You might think that the three major networks would look favorably upon the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) breaking through the symbolic 10,000 mark. After all, it they could use it as an opportunity to spin the news as a victory for Barack Obama and his economic policies.
But that wasn't the case. Instead ABC, CBS and NBC used the occasion to point out that the rich on Wall Street are getting bonuses for the performance of the stock market, while others across the country are suffering.
"Now, if an economic recovery is under way, not everyone is sharing in it equally," "CBS Evening News" anchor Katie Couric said. "Pick up today's Wall Street Journal and you'll read banks and securities firms are on track to pay their employees record amounts this year. And, you pick up The New York Times and you'll see some workers are being forced to take huge pay cuts."
A New York Times article by Nick Bunkley on Friday targeted for print on Saturday about the status of contract talks between Ford Motor Company and the United Auto Workers piqued my interest in a previously neglected but important matter.
Ford and the UAW are apparently close to an agreement. In describing what Ford workers are being asked to give up, Bunkley wrote the following (bolds are mine throughout this post):
Ford executives have said the company needs more concessions to keep G.M. and Chrysler from having an advantage.
.... The deal that U.A.W. workers at Ford approved in March got rid of cost-of-living pay increases and performance bonuses through 2010 and eliminated the jobs bank program, which allows laid-off workers to continue receiving most of their pay. In addition to those concessions, G.M. and Chrysler workers agreed to work-rule changes and a provision that bars them from striking.
What? From press coverage at the time, you would have thought that unionized GM and Chrysler workers made ginormous, humungous, unprecedented sacrifices to enable their companies to get through bankruptcy and to emerge as lean, mean vehicle-making machines.
Based on the data, the current job situation for teenagers in America is the worst on record.
According to Uncle Sam's Bureau of Labor Statistics:
Seasonally adjusted teenage unemployment hit 25.9%. That is the highest rate in the nearly 62 years BLS has been reporting this number. The previous record was last month's 25.5%. The record before that was 24.1% in November and December of 1982. A graphic of the complete history of the teenage unemployment rate that will open in a new window is here.
Unemployment among black teens not enrolled in school is over 50%.
The rate among 20-24 year-olds is also alarmingly high at 15.1%.
Almost alone among establishment media publications -- and even then in an editorial, not a regular news report -- the Wall Street Journal commented on this distressing set of circumstances, identified the most likely cause of the problem, and worried about its longer-term consequences:
The headline and the first paragraph from this Friday Wall Street Journal report by Josh Mitchell and Stephen Power reads like a bad joke Jay Leno's writers would have discarded, because no one would believe it. The second paragraph isn't much better:
Gore-Backed Car Firm Gets Large U.S. Loan
A tiny car company backed by former Vice President Al Gore has just gotten a $529 million U.S. government loan to help build a hybrid sports car in Finland that will sell for about $89,000.
The award this week to California startup Fisker Automotive Inc. follows a $465 million government loan to Tesla Motors Inc., purveyors of a $109,000 British-built electric Roadster. Tesla is a California startup focusing on all-electric vehicles, with a number of celebrity endorsements that is backed by investors that have contributed to Democratic campaigns.
That's a combined total of just shy of a billion dollars going to two companies currently making toys for the wealthy under circumstantially suspect conditions.
In a column today, Salon’s Joe Conason drastically downplays the history of illegality that characterizes the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now. In his revisionist history of the organization, Conason tries to show that ACORN may commit voter registration fraud, intimidate its employees to prevent them from unionizing, and willingly assist in the trafficking of underage sex slaves, but by and large it is a force for good.
For many years the combined forces of the far right and the Republican Party have sought to ruin ACORN, the largest organization of poor and working families in America.
Ah yes, ACORN is supposedly battling for the rights of the working class. But in 1995, the organization sued the State of California for an exemption to the high minimum wage laws in that state on the grounds that higher wages would mean they would have to employ fewer people. Incidentally, this is the exact same argument that every opponent of minimum wage laws employs, and ACORN has always battled for a higher minimum wage.
UPDATE at end of post: song from Marx Brothers "Duck Soup" eerily validates the Journal's position.
While Obama-loving media gushed over the President's healthcare address Wednesday -- and, of course, chastised Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC.) for his untimely outburst -- an inconvenient truth went largely ignored: the current White House resident was indeed playing fast and loose with the facts.
On Friday, the Wall Street Journal's editorial board examined some of Obama's statements pertaining to Medicare, and found that his contradictions were so egregious they came across like an old Marx Brothers routine.
Although the Journal stopped short of calling the President a liar, they did conclude "his claims bear little relation to anything true":
She's been ridiculed by the so-called masters of the universe in the mainstream media for warning President Barack Obama's health care proposals could result in one of one of her loved ones having to stand in front of one of "Obama's death panels" to determine their "level of productivity in society" to see if they are worthy of health care. But despite the criticism, she's not backing down from those statements.
She pointed out the president wanted to create a bureaucracy called the "Independent Medicare Advisory Council," which is as she says is "an unelected, largely unaccountable group of experts charged with containing Medicare costs." She wrote it is policy gestures as such as that and other cost-cutting suggestions that have her concerned.
It's clear that President Barack Obama's $787-billion stimulus hasn't worked as advertised, but some economists are worried it could backfire and cause something much worse.
According to a new study by economists Charles Rowley of George Mason University and Nathanael Smith of the Locke Institute and endorsed by Nobel laureate James Buchanan, the Keynesian tactics employed by Obama "will ultimately hamper the long-term growth potential of the U.S. economy and may risk delaying full economic recovery by several years." The study accuses the president of making Depression-era mistakes.
Stephen Moore, member of the Wall Street Journal editorial board and senior economics writer, explained the study on Fox News "On the Record" Sept. 7 and said that the stimulus certainly hasn't lived up to its billing.
While media predictably blame Obama adviser Van Jones's resignation on a right-wing smear campaign, the inconvenient truth is that this episode says a lot about the current White House resident and how he was just as poorly vetted by news outlets during the campaign last year as his administration members are now that he's the Commander-in-Chief.
More to the point: if so-called journalists had done their job in 2008, voters might have known just how radical Obama was BEFORE they went to the polls instead of finding out after it was too late.
According to an editorial in Tuesday's Wall Street Journal, this is just one of the lessons from Jones's resignation (h/t Jack Coleman):
"In coaching, you've got to have more discipline and you've got to be more strict and just conservative, I think. It fits with the Republicans."
So said longtime Florida State University football coach Bobby Bowden in an article published by the Wall Street Journal Wednesday titled "Why Your Coach Votes Republican."
With the college football season just hours away from kickoff, and traditional conservative values surging throughout the nation, the Journal's piece is as timely at it is fascinating (h/t Alan Murray):
It's no secret the print newspaper industry is struggling. It's become all too common to hear that papers, like the Christian Science Monitor or the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, have ceased publishing a print edition and gone completely online.
Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright addressed this challenge and its impact on a government at the Aspen Institute's Forum on Communications and Society earlier this month. According to Albright, the fourth estate was intended to keep government in check and that countries without a free press tend to be authoritarian societies.
"Let me just say, in terms of Democracy and the free press, I think it is absolutely an essential part and all we have to do is go back and look at our Constitution," Albright said. "But I have looked at this from a number of different angles. When I was an academic, wrote about the role of the press internationally in political change. And there is no question in my mind, in terms of authoritarian societies, if you do not have information, you can't operate and it is power."
If you were a reporter trying to gauge the credibility of Obama administration protests that it is really serious when it says that it will honor patient, doctor, and family treatment wishes in serious illness situations if the government takes an exponentially greater role in health care, you might look into how areas of health care already controlled by the government are dealing with these sensitive matters.
Apparently either no journalist has cared to look, or if anyone has looked, they haven't found anything they believe is worth reporting.
In today's Wall Street Journal, Jim Towey, a former director of the Bush White House's Office of Faith-Based Initiatives and founder of the nonprofit Aging with Dignity, found a troubling, newsworthy, death-encouraging decision that has already been made during Barack Obama's short term in office.
As President Obama and his media minions try to convince the public we're spending too much on healthcare in this nation thereby necessitating draconian reform, a seemingly more logical yet elusive view is that we're not spending enough.
After all, once you provide food and shelter for you and your family, what else should be more important than physical well-being?
Given how well the healthcare industry has done during this recession, and how employment continues to rise in this field as others shed jobs at breakneck speeds, maybe we should be looking at this as an economic driver rather than impediment.
Such was certainly the case made by Craig S. Karpel in a truly outstanding op-ed at the Wall Street Journal Monday (h/t James Pinkerton):
There's a dirty little secret about ObamaCare the Left and their media minions are immorally hiding from the public: the plan in its current form will definitely harm senior citizens.
Of course, it's understandable politicians are comfortable not telling such a large voting bloc the truth. Just ask Machiavelli.
But the facts revealed by the Wall Street Journal Friday would be in virtually every report about this issue if we indeed had an honest media as opposed to advocacy journalists misrepresenting reality in order to advance an agenda they support (h/t Keith Rasmussen):
This morning, some 30 people were arrested in New Jersey, the fruit of a two-year federal investigation into a international money laundering scandal. Among those arrested were Democratic Mayors Peter Cammarano III (Hoboken) and Dennis Elwell (Secaucus), as well as Democratic deputy mayor of Jersey City Leona Beldini and Republican state Assemblyman Daniel Van Pelt.
But if you only got your news of this mass arrest from the Associated Press, you would not learn the party affiliation of these politicians. To their credit, other news outlets readily accessible to New Jerseyans such as the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal noted the party affiliations of these allegedly crooked pols.