It isn't particularly surprising that the establishment press is for the most part attempting to give Helen Thomas's hateful remarks and her dubious apology a very light once-over -- if they're covering her outrageous statements (that citizens of the Jewish state of Israel should “get the hell out of Palestine” and “go home” to Germany, Poland, and elsewhere) at all.
That said, the Associated Press has engaged in a few eyebrow-raisers already. The following is the only search result I found at the Associated Press's main web site at 11:30 a.m. Eastern Time:
That's a classic "Don't read this, it's boring" headline. It also confirms that the AP hasn't considered the Thomas situation newsworthy until very recently. Yes, as seen in the related video, the question from RabbiLive was about "Israel." But at the barest minimum, Thomas's remarks were "anti-Israel," and at bottom they were anti-Semitic. Any doubt about that characterization goes away when one observes Thomas's sickening sense of self-satisfaction after delivering her opening "get out" answer.
But it got more interesting when I clicked on the AP search result's link.
Yesterday at the American Enterprise Institute's Enterprise Blog, Steven Hayward had a great post about the history of electric cars, and the press's unrequited love affair with electric vehicles (picture at right is of the $108,000 2010 Zedomax). Yum.
But first I'll start with a bit of my own research. On May 7, 1994, Paul Feldman at the Los Angeles Times led with the following two paragraphs about a company that would begin producing electric vehicles:
Electric Cars Touted as Plant Opens
Environmentalists and businessmen used the dedication Friday of a Carson-area electric vehicle assembly plant to tout the fledgling industry the week before the California Air Resources Board votes on moving forward with its mandate for mass-produced electric cars beginning in 1998.
The opening of the U.S. Electricar plant, which can convert up to 60 cars a month, demonstrates that adequate technology is available for major manufacturers to build the mandated 20,000 to 25,000 emission-free cars yearly.
A visit to this web page at the "U.S. Electricar Store" informs us of U.S. Electricar's status (bolds are mine):
Yeah. And Tiger Woods wasn't committed to chasing women . . .
Chris Matthews got off one of the all-time whoppers on this evening's Hardball. Seeking to explain why the Clintons have managed to stay together while the Gores haven't, Matthews claimed that Bill and Hillary are "committed to the core not to making money but to public life itself." H/t NB reader Ray R.
Is Chris simply clueless, or was he intentionally propagating a misperception of the lucre-hound Clintons, who as of more than two years ago had already raked in more than . . $100 million? Can't believe the number? Don't believe me. Believe . . . NPR.
Parts of the U.S. establishment press have acknowledged "climate science" reality, six months late.
The fallout from ClimateGate (link is to the NewsBusters tag), the name eventually given to the scandal resulting from the unauthorized posting of over 1,000 emails and dozens of documents obtained from University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit (CRU) in the UK, goes back a full six months to November of last year.
On November 20, Australia's Andrew Bolt crisply described the contents of the aforementioned items as providing substantial evidence of: "Conspiracy, collusion in exaggerating warming data, possibly illegal destruction of embarrassing information, organised resistance to disclosure, manipulation of data, private admissions of flaws in their public claims and much more."
Over the past two years, yours truly has noted how the economy in Oklahoma has with very little media attention outperformed most of the rest of the nation. The Sooner State's much lower unemployment rate, higher GDP growth, and higher personal income growth have "strangely" coincided with the passage of a strict illegal immigration law-enforcement measure in 2007.
Now there's another significant news item out of Oklahoma that the establishment press has also virtually ignored. In November, voters there are going to decide whether to opt out of the statist health care legislation passed by Congress in March, also known as ObamaCare, by passing a state constitutional amendment.
Oklahoma is not alone. Two larger states will also have state constitutional opt-outs on the November ballot.
Rush Limbaugh brought the Oklahoma news to his listeners' attention yesterday, and linked to this LifeSiteNews.com story. If that seems an odd choice, it's because press coverage in general has been either curt, dismissive, or non-existent.
Here are key paragraphs from Peter J. Smith's LifeSite report:
A protest noticed by the target's next-door neighbor who happened to be home at the time, namely journalist Nina Easton (who also took the photo at right), occurred in a Metro DC suburb in Maryland marked the next round of a national labor union's attempt at persuasion through intimidation.
IBD concisely describes what happens, and why it should cause so much concern:
Mob Rule From SEIU
On May 16, Washington, D.C., police escorted 14 busloads full of Service Employees International Union (SEIU) members at least part of the way to storm the Chevy Chase, Md., home of Bank of America's deputy legal counsel, Greg Baer.
Joe Scarborough was on fire this morning, his ire trained on twin targets: Dick Blumenthal, and the New York Times' John Harwood, who casually dismissed the candidate's lies about having served in Vietnam as just a case of getting "a little carried away." At one point, Scarborough claimed he wasn't calling Blumenthal a "scumbag"—but it sure sounded like it.
Harwood began his Blumenthal defense with a barroom analogy: "the occasions where he was loose is more akin to a guy who had a few too many at the bar and hit on somebody rather than somebody actually trying to slip a mickey into the girls drink." He later added this lame defense: that even if Blumenthal lied to the veterans groups about his record, they weren't deceived by it. "Were all those veterans groups fooled by it?", asked Harwood, implying they weren't. "You're a reporter, you go ask them," snapped Scarborough.
Scarborough later pointed out that Blumenthal lied and trafficked on the valor of others on precisely those occasions when, appearing before veterans groups, it would benefit him politically. Harwood miscast Joe's criticism of Blumenthal as a demand that all candidates explain why they didn't serve. A peeved Scarborough called Harwood out: "John, I don't know show, what feed you're listening to."
The report tells us that Oklahoma had a seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 6.6% last month. That's far lower than the 9.9% reported for the entire USA two weeks ago. No state with a larger population has a lower unemployment rate than the Sooner State (states with lower April unemployment rates were KS - 6.5%; NE at 5.0%; ND - 3.8%; SD - 4.7%; and VT - 6.4%).
As seen in the chart below, Oklahoma's unemployment rate has been significantly lower than the national rate for well over two years, and on average in 2009 was that way across all major ethnic groups (source data for 2006 to 2009 can be accessed here; scroll down to "Annual Average Statewide Data"):
President Barack Obama's statement just before he signed the Freedom of the Press Act on Monday painfully avoided reality to the point of giving offense. If it became widely known, it would likely become very problematic.
And obviously the loss of Daniel Pearl was one of those moments that captured the world’s imagination because it reminded us of how valuable a free press is, and it reminded us that there are those who would go to any length in order to silence journalists around the world.
Two key administration-protecting original news disseminators picked up on the need to keep the bolded words out of their news coverage of the event. The Associated Press, which usually (i.e., almost always) quotes the president in related stories, provided no quotes in its terse five-paragraph report, the first four of which follow (for fair use and discussion purposes, of course):
Earlier this morning, I was minding my own business, reading this unbylined Associated Press roundup of yesterday's elections, when I got to the report's final few paragraphs. They involved "other concerns" the two major parties have. After noting yesterday's resignation by Republican congressman Mark Souder, the report's final paragraph read as follows:
Well, that's rich. I wonder how the folks at the New York Times, which prepared the 2,100-word article ("Candidate’s Words on Vietnam Service Differ From History") to which the AP refers, feel about their august publication being called merely "a newspaper"? Or about the Blumenthal campaign press release disguised as a news report the wire service's Susan Haigh put forth yesterday? Or is there more going on?
As to Blumenthal's "dispute," here's a clue for both the AP and the Nutmeg State's AG: There is no "dispute." There are only these facts and direct quotes:
Today, the Associated Press generally did what is supposed to do when reporting on scandal-plagued politicians. Here are the first five paragraphs of the AP's brief report on Indiana Congressman Mark Souder's resignation announcement (link is dynamic and will probably be updated; "where's the worst one we can find?" picture of Souder at top right is via AP):
This is one of those "you know the ending, but someone has to take note anyway" media bias posts.
On Thursday, NewsBusters colleague Noel Sheppard revealed that Obama administration Attorney General Eric Holder had told an oversight hearing of the House Judiciary Committee the following about his knowledge of Arizona's recently pass immigration law-enforcement measure:
I have not had a chance to, I've glanced at it. I have not read it.
... I have not really, I have not been briefed yet.
... I've only made, made the comments that I've made on the basis of things that I've been able to glean by reading newspaper accounts, obviously, looking at television, talking to people who are on the review panel, on the review team that are looking at the law.
It will surprise almost no one who visits this site that Holder's admitted ignorance about a routinely misrepresented law -- misrepresentations that have led to calls for boycotts of Arizona, a PC-obsessed cancellation of a girls high school basketball team's hoop dreams, and hysterical hyperventilation at Holder's Justice Department as well as by the President of the United States himself -- has received very little establishment media attention.
While Republicans were the most supportive, a full 45 percent of Democrats and 64 percent of independents polled supported the law. When broken down to the particulars of the bill, there was even broader support. For example, 65 percent of Democrats and and 73 percent of independents favored "requiring people to produce documents verifying legal status," the portion of the bill that has been derided as allowing the police to demand, "your papers please!"
These poll numbers are absolutely astounding, especially considering the media's non-stop campaign to denounce the law and paint it in an unfavorable light. Yet true to form, the media continue to downplay the results. A search this morning of the Web pages for the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, and USA Today found no links to articles about the poll numbers.
If a conservative or Republican uttered the nonsense to be revealed shortly, we'd justifiably never hear the end of it on the late-night comedy shows and elsewhere. As it is, former car czar Steve Rattner's "creative" term for fibbing has and probably will continue to get little coverage outside of Detroit.
Rattner's risible rendition of reality spewed forth before he spoke at a Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago-Detroit District conference. Here are excerpts from the coverage by the Detroit News's Robert Snell (HT Laura Ingraham), with help from David "I think Toyota bragged about avoiding safety recalls, so they did" Shepardson (bolds are mine):
General Motors Co. Chairman and Chief Executive Ed Whitacre may have stretched the truth in a commercial saying the automaker had repaid its federal obligations, former autos czar Steve Rattner said today.
GM "may have slightly elasticized the reality of things," Rattner told reporters ahead of a speech today.
Yesterday, in the midst of the commencement address he delivered at Hampton University, President Obama made a startling "admission" (readers will see why "admission" is in quotes shortly):
And meanwhile, you're coming of age in a 24/7 media environment that bombards us with all kinds of content and exposes us to all kinds of arguments, some of which don't always rank that high on the truth meter. And with iPods and iPads; and Xboxes and PlayStations -- none of which I know how to work -- (laughter) -- information becomes a distraction, a diversion, a form of entertainment, rather than a tool of empowerment, rather than the means of emancipation. So all of this is not only putting pressure on you; it's putting new pressure on our country and on our democracy.
There are more troubling overtones inherent in the excerpt that many observers have already noted. I'll stay away from them for the purposes of this post.
Those matters aside, there are still a few pesky items that arise from the bolded portion of the excerpt.
The editorialists at Investors Business Daily are not pleased with the values on display in the relative importance given to three major stories: the deaths of 11 oil rig workers off the Gulf Coast, the oil spill that resulted from that rig's collapse, and the historic flooding in Tennessee that has taken at least 30 lives.
What does it say when 11 men who perish on an exploding oil platform, or 30 poor souls who die in a 1,000-year Tennessee flood, get less coverage than two oil-soaked birds? It says news is driven from the left.
It is to the credit of the one media outlet that reported the paparazzi-like scrums of reporters trailing rescue workers as they tried to clean off one oil-soaked gannet caught in the oil spill off Louisiana waters after a rig exploded in the Gulf on April 20. Not only did the U.S. and European media obsess breathlessly about the bird, and later about a brown pelican that followed, they seemed to be panting for more.
That's because birds are convenient tools for driving the radical green agenda to halt all oil drilling. TV media and the national papers pounded the bird story because it served a political purpose.
This item will not be filed under "Mother's Day Role-Modeling Behavior."
In this story, it's hard to figure out what's more outrageous: The willful defacement of property -- in this case, a brand-new $5 million pedestrian bridge by an alleged adult in her mid-40s who is the mother of a teenaged son -- or the near non-reaction to wanton vandalism perpetrated in broad daylight by her and others on what is supposed to be a source of pride in Detroit.
That's even before getting to the news that one of the vandals, Oneita Jackson, is a copy editor at the Detroit Free Press who has her own Freep blog called "O Street."
On March 21, Ms. Jackson, from her establishment media perch, admonished readers to "Agree or Disagree, Just Be Civil." You can't make this stuff up.
The Washington Post is making the transition from a powerhouse liberal newspaper to a network of powerhouse liberal blogs. While the paper's Old Guard is worried that the move will tarnish the Post's supposed reputation for political neutrality, it should be seen more as a embrace of the agenda the Post has evinced for years.
"Traditionalists," wrote Politico today, "worry that the Post is sacrificing a hard-won brand and hallowed news values." One such "traditionalist," Rem Rieder of the American Journalism Review, said a more openly-liberal approach to reporting, mostly done online in the form of various blogs, would be "a danger to the brand."
To the extent that the Post still pretends to be objective -- and to the extent that its readers believe that claim -- then yes, an opinion blog-centric approach is tarnishing the brand. But for those who acknowledge the Post' consistently liberal approach to the news, the only change is the way that that news is delivered.
Well, it's not the same as saying "the company lied through its teeth and the government let them," but it's as close to that as you'll probably ever see in an establishment media outlet like the New York Times.
In a column that apparently appeared on the web on Friday while appearing Sunday's print edition, Gretchen Morgenson, assistant business and financial editor at the Times, ripped into Government/General Motors, GM Chairman Ed Whitacre, and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, while uncharacteristically throwing thanks to a Republican Senator for calling the company out.
The flim-flam has to be pretty bad in a Democratic administration for someone at the Times to even notice it, let alone criticize it. But Whitacre's whoppers were apparently too much for Morgenson to ignore:
... it’s becoming apparent that those seeking the whole truth are still outnumbered by those aiming to obscure it. This is the case not only on Wall Street but also in Washington.
... Truth seekers the nation over, therefore, are indebted to Senator Charles E. Grassley, Republican of Iowa, who in recent days uncovered what he called a government-enabled “TARP money shuffle.” It relates to General Motors, which on April 21 paid the balance of its $6.7 billion loan under the Troubled Asset Relief Program.
The president is repeating a blatant falsehood about the Arizona law that has gained instant currency in the establishment press and leftist circles. It has no basis in fact, or in the legislation Grand Canyon State Governor Jan Brewer recently signed.
A short Associated Press item tonight notes that the Organization for American States is not happy with the state of Arizona for passing an immigration law-enforcement measure:
I don't expect AP to expand on OAS's statement any time soon, because in the process of doing so they might feel compelled to look at how some of the countries criticizing Arizona handle their own illegal immigrants.
Update: The well-publicized announcement that Editor & Publisher was going to "cease operations" last December and that was stated as a given in the original version of this post was apparently premature, as it's still there on the web. E&P is also covering the circulation news (daily; Sunday; HT to a BizzyBlog commenter).
Advertising Age (AA) had the unenviable task (given that it's supposed to stay on its vendors' and customers' good sides) of figuring out a way to cast yet another dreadful newspaper circulation report in a non-negative light. The educated guess here is that most newspaper execs are not going to be wearing the button pictured at the top right very frequently during the foreseeable future.
Here are the figures cited by AA as overall newspaper circulation declines during the past five six-month ABC reporting periods (percentages represent declines from the same six-month period of the previous year) --
March 31, 2010: - 8.7% daily, -6.5% Sunday September 30, 2009: -10.6% daily, -7.5% Sunday March 31, 2009: - 7.1% daily, -5.4% Sunday September 30, 2008: -4.6% daily, -4.9% Sunday March 31, 2008: - 3.6% daily, -4.6% Sunday
Given the results, here is AA's headline, sub-headline, and "hey, it's not really that bad" first sentence:
Based on what I observed at Mary Taylor's Lieutenant Governor announcement in January, it seems that veteran Columbus Dispatch reporter/columnist Joe Hallett at least occasionally gets to ask the first question at press conferences based on respect for his longevity. This has led me to refer to Hallett as "Ohio's Helen Thomas." (Thomas was allowed to ask the first question at White House press conferences and press briefings for many years.)
Hallett's politics may not be identical to Thomas's far-leftism, but they appear to be in the same neighborhood. More relevant to his journalistic duties, he's wearing a very similar set of blinders. "Clueless Joe" would be an appropriate nickname.
How else can you explain how the supposed dean of Ohio political reporters can display the incredible ignorance shown in the first paragraph of his column today without feeling utterly embarrassed?
Here is that paragraph, followed by the detail served up in Paragraph 7:
On Wednesday, the Detroit Free Press published the Mike Thompson cartoon seen at the right. It shows a GM bigwig carrying a briefcase telling a recoiling Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, and three other politicians that "We're going to pay off the loan." The cartoon's caption is, "The Seven Dirty Words You Can't Say in Washington."
At his blog, where a full-size version of the cartoon can be found, Thompson writes:
You have to wonder what those who opposed the GM bailout think about the loan repayment. ...
It’s way too early for those who favored government aid for GM to break out in loud chants of “I told you so,” but if the good news out of GM continues, they might want to start thinking about warming up their vocal cords.
In his April 23 "Uncommon Sense" column at Forbes.com (HT Instapundit), Shikha Dalmia tells Thompson what he thinks, and suggests not scheduling the opera any time soon (bold is mine):
HBO is airing a movie, “You Don’t Know Jack,” about the life of Dr. Jack Kevorkian (aka: “Dr. Death”), who enabled the suicides of more than100 terminally-ill people. But the movie is so one-sided that even many mainstream media reviewers couldn’t help but point it out. USA Today, The Los Angeles Times, and the Boston Globe all noted how the movie favored assisted suicides.
USA Today’s Robert Bianco complained, “But on the crucial social issue itself – a person's right to die and a doctor's obligation to assist – the film falls squarely and unfailingly on Kevorkian's side.”
According to Bianco, “Everyone who stands against him is either an idiot, a bigot, or a politically motivated hack.” He cautioned, “Take that as a dual warning: You don’t get balance, and that one-sided approach can’t quite support the film’s overextended, two-hour-plus length.”
Ed Whitacre, Chairman of Government/General Motors, took to the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday to crow about repaying a loan (link may require subscription). Note the deceptive headline and its accompanying end-zone dance:
The GM Bailout: Paid Back in Full The investment of U.S. and Canadian tax dollars worked.
Whitacre can try to make a case that the government's loans have been repaid, but unless and until the government's $43 billion equity investment is recouped, the company (and Uncle Sam) have no right to claim that "the GM bailout" has been "paid back in full."
Further, this particular risible rendering in Whitacre's op-ed would lead many a casual reader (and perhaps most journalists, ha-ha) to believe that GM was able to make the repayment out of cash flow:
Our ability to pay back these loans less than a year after emerging from bankruptcy is a sign that our plan for building a new GM is working.
USA Today featured a special article to help celebrate Earth Day by Mark Thoreau, an indirect descendant of author Henry David Thoreau. In “Thoreau Descendant Reflects on Walden Pond, Earth Day,” Thoreau, however, took the opportunity to call for more government involvement on environmental issues and even praised the Sierra Club, the left-wing environmental group.
Thoreau, an Englishman, explained how he has visited the scenic Walden Pond, the site where Henry David Thoreau lived for a little over two years, and was pleased with the condition of it. The site is now considered a Massachusetts state landmark and receives many visitors.
The Wall Street Journal's headline and reporter Jeff Bennett's opening paragraph concerning Chrysler Corporation's first announcement of financial results since 2007 got right to the key points:
Chrysler Reports $4 Billion Loss Since Exiting Bankruptcy
Chrysler Group LLC lost nearly $4 billion since exiting bankruptcy last year, but the company reported a first-quarter operating profit this year and increased its cash reserves, bolstering Chief Executive Sergio Marchionne's claim that the auto maker will break even by the end of the year.
That $4 billion consists of $3.78 billion in the last 205 days of 2009 and $197 million during the first quarter of 2010. The WSJ and Bennett basically did a nice job, though I have a problem with companies trumpeting "operating profit" when there is an "actual loss."
I wonder if the Associated Press's headline and the opening paragraph from AP reporters Tom Krisher and Colleen Barry presented the situation as well as the WSJ?
On the surface, it's one of the Associated Press's better dispatches from the real world on the state of the economy as people are experiencing it.
Datelined in Twinsburg, Ohio, Megan Barr's Monday morning report, "Recession is ending? Some Americans don't buy it," does a good job of mixing macro and micro elements, painting a picture of a struggling town, a non-improving state economy (now eighth-worst, according to AP's "economic stress" measurement tool), a somewhat-improving national picture, and a pervasive belief on the part of most Americans that things aren't really getting better. I couldn't help but notice the irony that AP reporter Jeannine Aversa, who wrote that the top economic story of last year was the economy's "fall - and rebound," contributed to Barr's report.
But something was done to Twinsburg a year ago that goes a long way towards explaining why many people there are likely responding as one quoted resident did -- "Who are they trying to kid?" -- when asked for a reaction as to whether the economy is getting better. The AP didn't cover that story last year -- and should have -- so it didn't know that it should have referred it this year.
It's a rare occurrence that the MRC and the typically left-leaning Dana Milbank agree, but this time he is spot on. Indeed, President Obama must have made world leaders feel as if they were transported back to a ‘Soviet-era Moscow' for the media restricted nuclear energy summit instead of arriving in the capitol of the free world."
But are we really surprised? After all, this is the same President who has won lavish praise from some of the world's most brutal dictators including Venezuela's Hugo Chavez and Cuba's Fidel Castro."