As a reminder that leftists have been poisoning the wells of civility and basic human decency for a very, very long time, I present these two items from the Associated Press and United Press International on April 1 and 2, 1981, respectively:
Question: What happens when you put Joe Biden, Florida Senator Bill Nelson, and Orlando Sentinel Reporter Scott Powers together in the house of a rich Democratic donor?
Answer: They don't stay together for long, as reported in a Drudge flash late this afternoon (also carried at the PJ Tatler, whose time stamp is about 45 minutes later after adjusting for its West Coast location):
Staffers with Vice President Joe Biden confined an Orlando Sentinel reporter in a closet this week to keep him from mingling with high-powered guests gathered for a Democratic fundraiser.
On Monday, an unbylined Associated Press item briefly reported the results on results of Egypt's weekend referendum, and the U.S. reaction:
The United States has welcomed the results of Egypt's weekend referendum after it opened the way for parliamentary and presidential elections within months.
State Department spokesman Mark Toner says the approved term limits for the next Egyptian president, multiple ways for candidates to get on the ballot and judicial supervision of elections are positive trends.
Toner said "Egyptians took an important step toward realizing the aspirations" of the revolution that toppled long-time leader Hosni Mubarak from power.
The Baltimore Sun has no trouble noting for readers the political affiliation of politicians who face an ethical scandal and/or official investigation. That is, of course, if the pol in question is a Republican.
Last Wednesday, I noted how the Sun's Julie Scharper failed to note Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake's Democratic party affiliation in a story about her voting on city contracts where her husband's company had a competing bid.
The very next day, however, Scharper's colleague Nicole Fuller promptly noted the Republican affiliation of two-term Anne Arundel County Executive John Leopold. Here's how Fuller opened her story:
The back and forth between Washington Post syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer and White House Office of Management and Budget Director Jacob ("Jack") Lew continues. Thus far, Krauthammer has won both rounds, including his punch-out on Thursday.
It all started on February 21, when Lew issued a "rebuttal" to a USA Today editorial which called for near-term action to deal with Social Security's structural problems. In it, he claimed, among other things, that "Social Security benefits are entirely self-financing," and that even though tax collections are now less than benefit payments and will probably remain so indefinitely, the system "will have adequate resources to pay full benefits for the next 26 years." Ergo, per Lew, "Social Security does not cause our deficits." Zheesh.
In the week since Wisconsin lawmakers passed collective bargaining-related legislation, much noise has been made about efforts to recall GOP Senators who supported the measure.
A Google News search on "Wisconsin recall" returns items that are overwhelmingly oriented towards Democrat efforts to recall Republicans. The final sentence of a March 13 Associated Press report by Sam Hananel indicates that "Union officials are also helping mobilize demonstrations in state capitols and spending money on recall campaigns against GOP officials who support efforts to curb union rights," with no mention anywhere of GOP efforts against "Fleebagging" Dems.
It would be understandable if conservatives and Tea Party sympathizers believe that the Badger State recall momentum is on the Democratic side.
But an email correspondent in Wisconsin who follows matters there closely (Update, 9:00 p.m.: That would be Steve at No Runny Eggs, who has now put up a related post with a polling update) indicates that the split is closer to 50-50 in terms of genuine vulnerability. Specifically, Steve writes (bolds indicating that an atmosphere of leftist intimidation remains quite evident are mine):
Yesterday, Washington Post syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer performed an act of journalism that anyone in the establishment press could have done -- and didn't -- for 17 days.
Krauthammer did a masterful job of taking apart Obama White House Office of Management and Budget Director Jacob ("Jack") Lew's ridiculous February 21 defense of Social Security and its alleged irrelevance to the deficit in USA Today.
But he went further. He caught Lew saying the exact opposite thing 11 years ago when he was -- wait for it -- Bill Clinton's White House Office of Management and Budget Director.
Here are key excerpts from Krauthammer's column on the fundamental truths about Social Security and the fundamental fib foisted on McPaper by Jack Lew (bolds are mine):
The Left has been making quite a bit of conspiratorial hay over the following paragraph Eric Lipton wrote at the New York Times on February 21 ("Billionaire Brothers’ Money Plays Role in Wisconsin Dispute") about the alleged degree of involvement Koch family members have allegedly had in the Wisconsin public-sector union showdown:
Even before the new governor was sworn in last month, executives from the Koch-backed group had worked behind the scenes to try to encourage a union showdown, Mr. Phillips said in an interview on Monday.
Notice something missing? How about quotation marks? Their absence is not an accident.
In response to a question from Klein about "the animosity between unions and workplaces" (that is what Klein says he said), Stern made an interesting assertion that most readers probably took at face value:
We grew up in that culture. In the '30s, people didn't want us to exist. We had to do sit-down strikes . . . we had socialist and communist tendencies. We grew up, to speak in Marxist terms, in a world with a lot more class struggle. It's not viewed through that light anymore.
Late last week (covered at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), a Goldman Sachs economist issued a dire warning cutting current-year federal spending by a measly $61 billion, or about 1.75% of the administration's full-year projected spending total, would significantly reduce economic growth in the coming quarters. If this were so, the economy would booming beyond belief right now, given that the Obama administration ran a $800-plus billion so-called stimulus plan during the past two years, and is on track to run up over $4 trillion in reported budget deficits in a three-year period by the end of the current fiscal year. Readers will note that the economy is not booming beyond belief.
The Associated Press chimed in on Friday after the latest report on the nation's Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Expert, presumably including some geniuses at Goldman, thought it would be revised up from an annualized 3.2% to 3.3%. Oops; it came in at 2.8%. Befuddled AP reporters claimed incorrectly that reductions in state and local government spending seriously held back reported growth during the final quarter of 2010. Zheesh; the impact was only -0.29 points. The real problem is that private investment is seriously lagging, and has really never stopped lagging since the recession began in 2008.
The "Keep spending like mad or else" chorus got more help today from chief economist Mark Zandi of Moody's Analytics. This morning, the Washington Post's Lori Montgomery dutifully relayed the pile-on (bolds are mine):
GOP spending plan would cost 700,000 jobs, new report says
Yesterday was supposed to be a day of massive pro-union demonstrations nationwide designed to give Wisconsin public-sector employee moral support from hordes of their union and non-union "brothers" and "sisters" around the country.
Uh, that's not exactly what transpired.
The establishment press's fallback position in matters such as these when the protesters involved have their sympathies is to cite decent numbers where available, while otherwise referring to "large crowds," leaving it to the imaginations of readers, listeners, and viewers what that really means. Call it "creative crowd reporting." With some slip-ups, the New York Times and the Associated Press each employed this tactic yesterday.
Unfortunately for them, many local reporters did estimate crowd sizes in cities other than Wisconsin's capital of Madison, and they aren't particularly impressive (while still being suspect, as will be seen later). William Jacobsen at Legal Insurrection (HT Instapundit) compiled press reports from other cities as follows:
Thursday, an odd warning emanated from the halls of the supposedly esteemed investment firm known as Goldman Sachs: If Uncle Sam spends $61 billion less during the second half of the current fiscal year, and ends the year with "only" $3.758 trillion in spending instead of the administration's anticipated $3.819 trillion, economic growth will be seriously harmed.
Yesterday, similar nonsense was put forth by Jeannine Aversa at the Associated Press in reaction to the government's report that economic growth during the fourth quarter was revised down to 2.8% from 3.2%, when experts (like the geniuses at Goldman) had expected the number to come in at 3.3%. The headlined whine: "State and local budget cuts are slowing US economy."
Cincinnati Enquirer reporter Malia Rulon seems to have misplaced her objectivity when she prepared a February 21 front-page report on legislation passed by the House that would reduce projected spending during the current fiscal year by $61 billion. Later in this post, I will present evidence showing that Ms. Rulon's objectivity has likely been missing in action for many years.
This amount represents about 1.6% of the administration's $3.819 trillion spending estimate. If implemented, this year's $3.758 trillion in spending would still be over $1 trillion more than was spent just four years ago in fiscal 2007, as seen below:
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.
USA Today's Wednesday cover story ("Killings Escalate Piracy Crisis"), has this reference to a quote obtained by the Associated Press:
Killing hostages "has now become part of our rules," said a pirate who identified himself as Muse Abdi in a statement to the Associated Press. "From now on, anyone who tries to rescue the hostages in our hands will only collect dead bodies," Abdi said. "It will never, ever happen that hostages are rescued and we are hauled to prison."
Pretty provocative, right? In fact, it resembles a declaration of war without the rules of war. You might even call it a declaration of t-t-t-t ... terrorism.
The problem is, Abdi's quote is no longer in any story at the Associated Press's home web site, and is rarely present in other Internet news reports.
Twice on Monday (here and here), I took serious issue with the opening sentences of two Associated Press stories on Uncle Sam's fiscal situation.
First, there was Martin Crutsinger's Sunday stinker, which described the level of spending in President Obama's yet to be released 2012 budget as "$3 trillion-plus," timed so that early morning news readers, radio listeners, and TV viewers would hear it. Too bad that the real number, which the AP reporter acknowledged later on Monday, is really $3.73 trillion. If you think that's bad, the administration projects that total spending this year during fiscal 2011 will be $3.82 trillion.
Then there was Monday's muff by the AP's Andrew Taylor, who absurdly claimed that the federal government has only had "two years of big spending increases." It's actually three out of four if you use Obama-Geithner accounting, and four out of four if you flush their accounting tricks out of the numbers.
The inability to get through an opening sentence without insulting reasonably informed readers' intelligence seems to have spread to USA Today. Look at how the paper's Paul Davidson opened his story about what probably ought to be called "Son of Stimulus" in the hopefully unlikely event it ever becomes a reality:
The Washington Post Style section mounted its latest favorite hobby horse again this morning with yet another article devoted to the controversial "Hide/Seek" Smithsonian exhibit, which is closing this Sunday.
NewsBusters sister organization CNSNews.com broke the story in late November that sparked the controversy. You can read that story here.
Shortly after Penny Starr's story, the Gallery removed an offensive video entitled "Fire In My Belly," which featured among other things a depiction of ants crawling on a crucifix. The decision to remove the video was decried as censorship by liberal critics, a criticism magnified by the Post's Style section coverage of the row.
What would be worse: if Norah actually believes it--or if she doesn't?
Norah O'Donnell has claimed that the Washington Post and the New York Times provide straight-up information, without bias, of the sort that would be appealing to members of the putatively non-partisan "No Labels" group.
Norah's mind-boggling assertion came on today's Morning Joe during a discussion of AOL's acquisition of HuffPo for $315 million. Reacting to indications that Arianna Huffington may be guiding her creation toward the center and away from its leftist roots, WaPo's Jonathan Capehart argued the move made sense on the theory that people such as those at No Labels are hungry for straight-up reporting. That's when Norah broke in to claim that such unbiased reporting is already being provided by, yup, WaPo and the Times.
UPDATE: The full text of the referenced Dallas Morning News item, courtesy of Rich Noyes at the Media Research Center, is here (posted for fair use and discussion purposes).
While looking for something else, I accidentally stumbled across a 2007 item in my blog's archives that makes the current soft media treatment of the Muslim Brotherhood even more outrageous than it already appears.
In September of that year, the Dallas Morning News, covering the Holy Land Foundation terrorist funding trial, directly described what had been learned about the Muslim Brotherhood and its goals -- not in Egypt, but the in U.S. (link is to excerpt at my blog; DMN article is no longer available at Dallas.com or in the ProQuest library database):
Muslim Brotherhood’s papers detail plan to seize U.S.
April 1984 was the U.S. economy's 19th post-recession month while Ronald Reagan was President. It was a month during which the government initially reported that the unemployment rate remained at 7.7%, while the number of jobs added was 269,000. By the time the government made all its subsequent revisions over the next few years, the final jobs-added figure was 363,000.
On May 5, 1984, in an example of what Tim Graham at NewsBusters cited on Wednesday of the press's poor economic reporting during the Reagan era, the New York Times's Robert D. Hershey Jr. (link is to Proquest Database article copy, presented for fair use and discussion purposes) did what he could to downplay the good news, highlight the bad news, and create an impression that the good times might not last long, The report doesn't have the intense negativity found in many press reports during the George W. Bush era, but there is definitely an undercurrent of surprise and disappointment that things were going so swimmingly:
On Sunday evening, an event in Washington preemptively made mincemeat of the usual press claims that "thousands" would participate in the next day's March for Life.
The next day at the Washington Post, Michelle Boorstein and Ben Pershing followed form ("Thousands of abortion opponents rally in march on Mall"), but did make an interesting, seemingly reluctant observation: "Some attending the events Monday said that more young people appeared to be participating than in previous years."
The Associated Press's coverage of the march added a new twist. Its afternoon report on the rally made no attempt at a crowd size estimate. The New York Times, as far as I can tell, did no story of its own.
The Sunday evening event noted earlier was a pro-life vigil Mass, where the crowd size was relatively verifiable. The homilist, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, took the opportunity to point a finger at the establishment press, and to take note of the youthful energy driving the pro-life movement:
What's with the New York Times and its inability to practice what it preaches when it comes to avoiding gun-filled images and rhetoric? A few days ago I noted how the Times had placed a bullet-riddled ad for a violent video game right on its online op-ed page.
Now comes this Times headline: "Republicans’ Budget Man Draws Fire". That is of course a metaphorical invocation of someone who by his actions invites an enemy to shoot at him. The article's subject was Republican congressman Paul Ryan, the House Budget Committee chairman and budget hawk who will be giving the GOP response to Pres. Obama's SOTU. To complete the martial metaphor, the article, by Jennifer Steinhauer and David Herszenhorn, also describes Ryan as "the Republican point man" on budget cuts. A point man is of course the soldier at the lead of a patrol, hence most likely to be shot.
Although the Washington Post had no mention on Monday of the annual March for Life rally in Washington D.C., the paper still found time to devote 48 paragraphs and 2850 words to profiling Ron Reagan and his controversial claim in a new book that his father had symptoms of Alzheimer's while in the White House.
Staff writer Manuel Roig-Franzia made sure to highlight in the fifth paragraph, "The son, now 52, can't muster enthusiasm for present-day Reagan worship, either. He disdains the communal gushing and deifying, 'the fetishistic veneration,' while nurturing a private, though complicated, affection." [Emphasis added.]
The journalist added, "Ron's mother, Nancy Reagan, is always after him to attend this or that commemoration or unveiling. He always has the same reaction: 'Oh, no. Not another aircraft carrier. Not another bridge. Not another highway!'"
There I was this morning at the New York Times online op-ed page, the scene of so much self-righteous hand-wringing in recent weeks over the violence in our culture and rhetoric. I was deciding whether to subject myself first to Gail Collins or Charles Blow, when my eye was drawn to the ad you see here for something called "Project Blackout." A busty babe wields an assault rifle the Times surely wouldn't want in private hands. And look: the ad is peppered by bullet holes.
Click through to learn more about the violent video game, and you'll see the image [after the jump] of a man . . . in a crosshairs.
Note also the legend under the ad image that appeared on the op-ed page: "Advertise on NYTimes.com".
Like Rahm Emanuel, who wouldn't waste a crisis, Frank Rich doesn't want to let a murderous rampage pass without trying to wring political advantage. By now, even most ardent liberals have had to admit that there was no nexus between conservatives and the manifestly psychotic AZ shooter. But there was Rich, in his New York Times column of this morning, still bitterly clinging to the accusation.
To be sure, Rich recited some disclaimers that by now have become standard. But by unlucky paragraph 13, Rich could restrain himself no more. Fulminated Frank: "Much of last week’s televised bloviation was dishonest, dedicated to the pious, feel-good sentiment that both sides are equally culpable for the rage of the past two years." That is a "false equivalency," he sputtered.
Two paras later, out popped what amounted to a flat-out accusation. After claiming there exists "antigovernment radicalism as rabid on the right now as it was on the left in the late 1960s," Rich argued:
"That Loughner was likely insane, with no coherent ideological agenda, does not mean that a climate of antigovernment hysteria has no effect on him or other crazed loners out there."
Translation: yeah, Loughner was crazy, but conservatives are still to blame.
On Wednesday (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), in commenting on USA Today's poor decision to quote a paragraph from a New York Times op-ed by former Congressman Paul Kanjorski (D-Pa.) -- a bad decision because Kanjorski's call for "civility" directly contrasts with his call for someone to shoot Florida gubernatorial candidate Rick Scott just a few months ago -- I wrote that USAT Founder Al Neuharth's "'civility' credentials are also suspect."
Two days later, Neuharth, who claims to be "independent," more than justified those suspicions. In a "Plain Talk" item in Friday's paper ("Who shares blame in Tucson tragedy?"), Neuharth blamed a wide range of people for Jared Loughner's actions. "Somehow," he forgot to blame Jared Laughner. It's not a stretch to assert that many readers would be justified in believing that Neuharth may not even want to see Loughner convicted of a crime.
Neuharth took shots at talkers on the right and left. USAT published an absolutely laughable counter-response from MSNBC President Phil Griffin. The other response (from the right? Are you kidding?) was from a psychiatry prof.
Here is Neuharth's piece and its responses (published in their entirety because of their relative brevity; bolds are mine):
The folks at USA Today really ought to vet their candidates for the "Et Cetera -- Smart insights on the news of the day" section of the print edition of its editorial page a bit more thoroughly.
Wednesday morning's opener in that section (apparently not available online) featured two paragraphs from a New York Times op-ed by former Pennsylvania Congressman Paul Kanjorski, including this final sentence:
Therefore, it is incumbent on all Americans to create an atmosphere of civility and respect in which political discourse can flow freely, without fear of violent confrontation.
As I noted yesterday (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog; original HT Mark Hemingway at the Washington Examiner), Kanjorski's entitlement to lecture on civility is more than a little suspect, given what he said about Florida Republican gubernatorial candidate Rick Scott and the health insurance industry last year:
We all lose an element of freedom when security considerations distance public officials from the people. Therefore, it is incumbent on all Americans to create an atmosphere of civility and respect in which political discourse can flow freely, without fear of violent confrontation.
Here's Kanjorski, when he was still a Congressman, discussing Florida Republican gubernatorial candidate Rick Scott last year (HT Mark Hemingway at the Washington Examiner):