A year ago, Standard & Poor's cut its rating of U.S. government debt from AAA to AA+.
Very early Monday morning, in what read more like an Obama administration press release than a wire service news report, Paul Wiseman at the Associated Press claimed that subsequent events and other agencies' decisions not to deliver similar downgrades represent a "decisive repudiation" of S&P's call. Gee, I think an element of other agencies' holdbacks had quite a bit to do with the Obama administration's almost immediate move to launch an investigation into how S&P handled the ratings of mortgage-backed securities leading up to the housing and mortgage lending mess in 2008. The others didn't want to become the Department of Justice's next targets. But of course Wiseman didn't bring up that inconvenient point. Excerpts follow:
Clay Waters at NewsBusters addressed this item earlier today, but I want to emphasize one particular quote in the related New York Times piece which also caught the (possibly gullible) attention of Chris Ariens at Media Bistro's TV Newser: "In private meetings with columnists, he has talked about the concept of 'false balance' — that reporters should not give equal weight to both sides of an argument when one side is factually incorrect. He frequently cites the coverage of health care and the stimulus package as examples, according to aides familiar with the meetings."
Wow. Where do you start? I'll cite just one example in each area Obama cited. I suspect readers will have more.
What does it take to win a Pulitzer Prize or write editorials for the Washington Post? Hard to say [though being a liberal certainly helps], but familiarity with the basic constitutional principles upon which our country was founded is apparently not required.
On today's Morning Joe, Pulitzer Prize winner and Washington Post editorialist Jonathan Capehart apologized to Senator Tom Coburn for being unfamiliar with Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution, the Enumerated Powers clause. As you'll see from the clip, Capehart's befuddlement regarding the clause seemed to extend beyond the specific article number to the very principle that it embodies. View the video after the jump.
Sunday on ABC, as Rush Limbaugh noted on his show yesterday, Obama campaign senior adviser and former White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs called GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney a "schoolyard bully."
Just a couple of hours later (the time stamp is noon on Sunday), what little is left of Newsweek published "Mitt Romney's Wimp Factor." Zheesh -- So which is it?
In his column at the Los Angeles Times today (HT to a NewsBusters tipster), Michael Hiltzik engages in predictable whining about discussions on how to bring the federal deficit under control seem "increasingly to be driven by the wealthy." In the instance he cites, one could substitute "big bank and big company CEOs," who seem to have recently decided that President Obama's Simpson Bowles debt commission had a good roadmap in late 2010 after being as far as I can recall pretty much AWOL on the matter when it was first presented.
That's fine. Hiltzik entitled to his take. But he's not entitled to his facts, particularly his assertions on Social Security (bold is mine):
On May 2, Matt Sheffield at NewsBusters ran down a list of national media outlets which failed to report the Occupy movement connections of the five men arrested by the FBI for plotting to blow up a suburban Cleveland bridge, despite the fact that the Cleveland Plain Dealer began noting those relationships from the get-go.
Matt wrote that the Associated Press recognized the connections, but watered it all down by "letting an Occupy Cleveland spokesman's claim the men 'weren't affiliated with or representing the group' go unchallenged." Yesterday, after one of the five arrested entered a guilty plea to avoid a probable life sentence, an unbylined AP report waited until the final of 13 paragraphs to even mention Occupy, and then proceeded to engage in the same dishonest downplaying -- even though evidence revealed a few days after Matt's post proved an undeniable, high-level relationship (bolds are mine; HT Instapundit):
While it's nice that the 2000 election cycle made a fool out of Al Gore for his outrageous claim that "I took the initiative in creating the Internet" -- which was in due course shortened by critics to a claim that he invented the Internet -- it's more than a little annoying that an accompanying myth emerged and has long persisted that the Internet was created by the government.
President Obama repeated this supposedly established wisdom during his infamous "You didn't build that" speech" on July 13 in Roanoke, Virginia: "The Internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet." Geez, even I know that the original purpose of the Internet had nothing to do with companies making money. But at the Wall Street Journal on Sunday evening, L. Gordon Crovitz took a deep dive into the actual history, and -- Surprise! (not) -- the government wasn't the Internet's creator, or its enabler, but was instead a barrier:
If the idea of tax increases is so darned popular, why do journalists "creatively" avoid using the term?
Here's an example from a lengthy Saturday report on Democrat Bob Kerrey's U.S. Senate comeback effort in Nebraska by Karen Tumulty at the Washington Post, wherein she describes the 1993 Clinton tax hikes as a "deficit-reduction plan" (bolds are mine):
Brian Ross is not the only blameworthy party in the irresponsible smear of a 52 year-old Tea Party activist as the possible perpetrator of the Aurora, Colorado theater massacre early Friday. Everyone on the set of ABC's Good Morning America could have said "wait, this is premature and irresponsible" -- and didn't.
GMA co-host and former Bill Clinton advisor George Stephanopoulos's response to Ross's identification of 52 year-old "Jim Holmes" as perhaps the same "James Holmes" who had been arrested earlier that morning arguably added legitimacy to Ross's speculation: "OK, we'll keep looking at that. Brian Ross, thanks very much." As if they would actually find more of a tie-in, which of course they didnt. In his column yesterday, the underappreciated John Kass at the Chicago Tribune succinctly described Stephanopoulos's likely mindset, as well as how ABC was originally hoping to blame "social media" for Ross's GMA team-assisted smear (bolds are mine):
The Jurassic Press is missing much in their reporting on the $50 billion bailout of General Motors (GM). The Press is open channeling for President Barack Obama - allowing him to frame the bailout exactly as he wishes in the 2012 Presidential election.
The President is running in large part on the bailout’s $30+ billion loss, uber-failed “success.” And the Press is acting as his stenographers. An epitome of this bailout nightmare mess is the electric absurdity that is the Chevrolet Volt. The Press is at every turn covering up - rather than covering - the serial failures of President Obama’s signature vehicle.
One useful interpretation of a journalist's use of "some people say that" or "some argue that" without an accompanying reference to or quote from a subject matters expert is that such phrases really mean "in my opinion."
This is the very likely case in a disingenuously headlined Associated Press story yesterday by Andrew Taylor concerning the standoff between the Republicans, who want the current income tax structure continued for at least another year, and Democrats, including President Obama, who want to raise taxes (they describe it as "ending the Bush tax cuts," which fully went into effect over nine years ago) on "the rich," currently defined as people making $200,000 or more per year. Taylor put the following statement out there without identifying any economist or political analyst who might agree with it (because I doubt there are many, or even any):
Here's how a "Business Highlights" item at the Associated Press summarized the situation between Timothy Geithner and London banks whose officials had admitted to rigging the London Interbank Offered Rate ("Libor") on Friday evening: "The Federal Reserve Bank of New York released documents Friday that show it learned five years ago of big banks understating their borrowing costs to manipulate a key interest rate. The documents also show Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, who was then president of the New York Fed, urged the Bank of England to make the rate-setting process more transparent."
Today, Charles Gasparino at the New York Post called total BS such pathetic media spin (bolds are mine):
It seems that Matt Drudge is a better headline writer than whoever at the Associated Press performed the same task at its story about California lawmakers' passage of "building the nation's first dedicated high-speed rail line, a multibillion dollar project that will eventually link Los Angeles and San Francisco" -- if sanity doesn't prevail in the meantime.
Since late yesterday, Drudge's home-page headline linking to the AP's story is "Broke California OKs funding for high-speed rail line..." That's a lot more complete than the wire service's "California high-speed rail gets green light." Then again, if the headline writer didn't already know about the state's serious budget situation, he or she wouldn't have learned from reporter Judy Lin, who stayed conveniently vague, as seen in the following excerpt:
If this were a prize fight, it would have ended at the end of the sixth round in a knockout. In a post at the American Enterprise Institute's blog this afternoon, James Pethokoukis, who previously toiled at U.S. News and Reuters, made mincemeat out of Washington Post reporter Tom Hamburger's Thursday Mitt Romney-Bain Capital hit piece ("Romney’s Bain Capital invested in companies that moved jobs overseas").
Just sit back and enjoy the pummeling. Since Hamburger didn't land any blows, I'll only deal with the punches Pethokoukis landed in explaining "Romney Reality" while refuting six "WaPo World" whines (italics are in original):
Here's an indication of just how discredited the word "stimulus" is becoming: European leaders today agreed on a $163 "growth package" of some kind. The leaders were apparently very reluctant to describe it.
At a Los Angeles Times blog this morning, Sarah Delaney's coverage mostly bought into what appears to be a charade, but the headline writer at the paper's home page didn't get the memo.
At National Review (here and here), Stanley Kurtz has proven beyond doubt that Barack Obama sought the far-left New Party's endorsement in 1996. In the process, he has rendered a central claim made by the Obama campaign at its "Fight the Smears" web site in 2008 ("Barack Did Not Seek New Party Endorsement") and swallowed whole by the gullible establishment press utterly false.
In 2008, Ben Smith, who was then at Politico, also swallowed the line from the New Party's founder that the party never really had "members," which is going to be the focus of this post:
The Catholic News Agency's Michelle Bauman reports that there has been a "wave" of recent defections and departures from the Democratic Party that could be as many as several hundred. The establishment press is clearly being remiss in failing to note them at all -- something which would not be occurring if it involved Republicans going to the party of the left.
The reasons for the moves primarily relate to President Obama's endorsement of same-sex "marriage" and the assault on religious freedoms inherent in his administration's requirement that employers who offer health insurance plans, in Bauman's words, "cover contraception, sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs, even if doing so violates their consciences." Excerpts from her report follow the jump, including a notable quote from Artur Davis, the former four-term Democratic congressman who announced to very little press coverage in late May that if he runs again for public office, it will be as a Republican:
Artur who? The seems to be the question at the New York Times and the national site of the Associated Press. Searches on former Congressman Artur Davis (in quotes at the Times, not in quotes at AP) return nothing relevant and nothing, respectively, even though Davis appears to be the only African-American current or former congressman to leave the Democratic Part and become a Republican in decades. As noted yesterday (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), the AP treated the story as a local item yesterday, and the Washington Post carried the AP's story in its Metro local section.
It appears that the two entities might be using the old "Well, Politico covered it, so we don't have to" excuse. On Tuesday of last week, the online publication filed a story reporting rumors that Davis was changing parties. Two days ago (updated yesterday), Alex Eisenstadt made it appear as if anger and not political philosophy largely drove Davis to switch:
NPR's Greg Allen has dutifully joined others in the liberal media in presenting the liberal Democratic spin on Florida's efforts to remove noncitizens from its voter rolls as a heavy-handed "purge." As I noted yesterday, the so-called "purge" has amounted to just 0.02 percent of the state's voters being called to address discrepancies in their voter registration that suggest they are noncitizens.
Predictably, Allen seized on the Democrats' poster veteran, Bill Internicola, a 91-year-old Bronze Star recipient who was born in the Bronx and is, of course, a natural-born citizen. But of course Allen failed to inform listeners of NPR's Morning Edition that Internicola's citizen status was questioned by state officials perhaps because of a date-of-birth discrepancy between his voter registration and his driver's license. Noted the Miami Herald:
On May 27, going to the same theme Scott Bauer employed at the Associated Press yesterday, USA Today's Ben Jones did his level best to cast Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker as the richly funded perpetual campaigner, while portraying Walker's recall challenger, former Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, as the underfunded man of the people underdog. Of course, as was the with Bauer's bombast, there's not a word about union-driven funding, which Walker estimated in an April Newsmax interview at about $60 million. This seems like preemptive excuse-making for a Walker victory on Tuesday. Preelection polls show Walker ahead by anywhere from 2 to 10 points.
Without a whit of skepticism, Jones relayed the following dissembling quote from a Barrett spokesperson which follows the jump:
You might think that the news of an African-American former Congressman switching his publicly declared party loyalty from Democrat to Republican would a national story.
Well, it isn't at the Associated Press, as a search returning no results at the wire service's national site on the full name of former Alabama Congressman Artur Davis (not in quotes) done at about 9 p.m. indicates. Additionally, the link to news about Davis's party switch is currently perched in the "Post Local" section at the Washington Post's web site. If this makes TV anywhere but Fox News, I'll be surprised, even though by any rational definition of "news," this is an objectively big deal. Davis is a former four-term Congressman, was a Barack Obama campaign co-chair in 2008, and was a former member of the Congressional Black Caucus. The last time an African-American congressman or former congressman changed his party from Democrat to Republican was ... well, maybe someone else can come up with a previous example, but I can't. Several paragraphs from the AP's "local" story in the Post follow the jump:
After the jump is a graphic from Investor's Business Daily comparing post-recession consumer confidence readings from the Conference Board during the Reagan and Obama administrations. See it there or see it below, because you probably won't see it at any establishment press web site or in any of their publications.
What's remarkable about the graphic is how confidence was able to stay at or above 100 (a reading of 90 is considered the "healthy economy" benchmark) in the face of a virtually non-stop media onslaught which alternatively tried to deny the existence of the ongoing prosperity, constantly warned that another recession was just around the corner, or whined about how supposedly unfair the economy was becoming (Keep in mind that the Media Research Center didn't appear on the scene until 1987) -- which is quite different from the current establishment media cheerleading which occurs seemingly any time there's the least little sign that things might be getting better.
At the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, Jesse Washington's Friday evening coverage ("Who's an American Indian? Warren case stirs query") of the nuances involved in claiming Native American Indian heritage -- or ancestry, or biology, or allegiance, or identity, or identification, or membership (and I've probably missed a couple) -- occasioned by Democratic Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren in Massachusetts is the journalistic equivalent of what the occasional Atlantic Coast Conference men's basketball game was like (with final scores sometimes in the 20s) before the NCAA legislated the shot clock: a continuous exercise in stalling.
Washington's report is time-stamped at 10:31 P.M., meaning that its last rendition was at least 18 hours after the Boston Globe performed a rare exercise in journalism and found the following, of which there is no hint in the AP story:
A Los Angeles Times editorial on May 23, naturally accompanied by a dour photo of House Speaker John Boehner, stated as if it's an indisputable fact that the August 2011 debt deal raised the ceiling by "enough to last until the end of 2012 or early 2013." A Saturday AP report by Ken Thomas and Jim Kuhnhenn so filled with distortions that it's virtually unreadable asserted, again as if it's a no-doubt fact, that hitting the limit is "more than eight months away," putting the ceiling-busting date at about January 31, 2013. Just a few of many other examples with late-December or later assumptions baked in are here (to be fair, this one frames it as a Geithner estimation), here, and here.
The real numbers, combined with the experience of the past two years, indicate that there is a good chance not only that we're not going to be that lucky, but that the government could even hit the ceiling before Election Day.
Last night (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), I noted the total inadequacy of a correction the New York Times made to a notorious William Deresiewicz op-ed ("Fables of Wealth") published on May 12. Deresiewicz originally claimed that "A recent study found that 10 percent of people who work on Wall Street are ‘clinical psychopaths’ … (The proportion at large is 1 percent.)." The study he cited was really of 203 management trainees, the proportion of supposed psychopaths found was 4%, and the study's authors said that generalizing the results in any way to the overall population should not be done. As I asserted, the Times should long ago have pulled the op-ed instead of trying to cure something which is incurable.
Well, it turns out that Deresiewicz completely blew it in interpreting the rest of the alleged foundation of his op-ed, namely English writer Bernard Mandeville's "The Fable of the Bees," leaving the author utterly without any support for his anticapitalist and anticapitalism screed. At his Chequerboard.org blog (HT John Hinderaker at Powerline), Pejman Yousefzadeh performed the clinical dismemberment:
The New York Times apparently wants us to believe that it has done its journalistic duty by issuing a "correction," the text of which will follow the jump, to an especially odious May 12 op-ed ("Fables of Wealth") written by William Deresiewicz.
The author, who describes himself as "An essayist, critic and the author of 'A Jane Austen Education,'" originally claimed, as quoted at the Media Research Center's TimesWatch, that "A recent study found that 10 percent of people who work on Wall Street are 'clinical psychopaths' ... (The proportion at large is 1 percent.)." Uh, not exactly (bolds are mine throughout this post):
President Barack Obama's allegedly "historic" support for same-sex "marriage" apparently has "prehistoric" roots -- at least as "history" is seen by the establishment press, which has acted as if all relevant history relating to Barack Obama began with his 2004 Democratic convention speech.
A Friday Los Angeles Times puff piece ("President Obama's influence on gay marriage will be tested") on the potential impact of President Barack Obama's decision to publicly support same-sex "marriage" -- supposedly for the first time -- caused blogger and longtime LAT nemesis Patterico to remind readers that Obama was a proponent of same-sex marriage without qualification during those "prehistoric" times -- in 1996 (links are in original):
If the people who run the Washington Post Company need an archetypal example of why their newspaper publishing segment is in so much financial trouble (as found here: a $22.6 million first-quarter 2012 loss following on the heels of an $18.2 million loss for all of 2011) and is bleeding customers (per the Audit Board of Circulations, the paper's daily and Sunday circulation dropped by 7.8% and 15.7%, respectively, during the year ended March 31), they only need wonder why the paper's editors tasked Jason Horowitz, with help from Julie Tate, to produce what turned into a 5,400-word writeup ("Mitt Romney’s prep school classmates recall pranks, but also troubling incidents") on Mitt Romney's high school years in the mid-1960s which appeared Thursday.
One can tell by the headline alone that it's an attempt at a hit piece. Horowitz led with the most damning incident he could find, and somehow gave it anti-homosexual overtones: