Yesterday's testimony by a disaffected former Bush official gave the
mainstream media the opportunity to resurrect a favored meme: President
Bush hates science.
Former Surgeon General Richard Carmona
yesterday testified before a House committee on White House meddling in
Carmona's speeches. Of course, Drs. C. Everett Koop and David Satcher
also complained of political meddling from the Reagan and Clinton
administrations respectively, but this fact was buried deep in the print accounts I've read.
But rather than exploring the complaints of political interference as a "systemic problem"-- Carmona's words -- that transcend party line and administration, news coverage in the mainstream media has
sought to single out the Bush administration as anti-science.
Of late, radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh has been arguing that the mainstream media persistently exercise the "management" of the news. That is to say, aside from slanted and biased reporting on the news of the day, they frame news developments in a way that manage events to fit a preconceived meme or storyline.
The media's coverage of Army recruiting numbers is no exception.
Bear in mind these facts included in some of the stories I cite below but usually well after the lede:
The Army is nonetheless ahead of its year-to-date recruiting goal
July, August, and September are traditionally the best months for recruiting
Many potential enlistees are turned away from being overweight or lacking a high school diploma
Some experts, such as former Defense undersecretary Edwin Dorn, marvel that "the big surprise is that Army recruiting has remained as healthy as it has been" given the Iraq war's falling support in the polls.
Nope, instead the lede is two straight months of numbers that aren't up to par and immediately Iraq is blamed.
Voila! A "trend" story waiting to happen for a media bent on managing the news.
The AP, taking their cue from the new because-she-said-so story offered by the L.A.Times, has run with a short clip on a story that claims Fred Thompson was working as a lobbyist for an abortion agency in 1991, giving the hearsay evidence against him but not offering the meat of his against the claim. The result is that the AP offers more "evidence" against Thompson than it does for him making it too easy to conclude he is "guilty" of the charge of lobbying for an abortion advocacy organization.
The AP did a wonderful job making this story seem more cut and dried than it really is, of course, but the fact is, this claim of Thompson's supposed lobbying for the National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association is nothing but an unproven (and maybe unprovable) claim against Thompson made by people who are well-known, far left activists and heavy contributors to the Hillary Clinton for President campaign. Naturally, neither the AP nor the L.A.Times wastes any time to detail the history of those making these claims against Thompson, leaving their relevant backgrounds completely out of the story.
Gee... why do you think they'd forget to let readers know that this story is based solely of the good word of Hillary supporters?
Today's release of the Institute for Supply Management's Non-Manufacturing Activity Report, which measures business conditions in the 86% of the economy other than manufacturing, came in with a reading of 60.7, after recording a 59.7 last month.
This was the 51st consecutive reported month of expansion for the Non-Manufacturing Index (any reading above 50 indicates expansion). It comes on the heels of Monday's ISM Manufacturing Report, which came in at 56, marking the 47th month of expansion in that index in the past 49 months.
So 14% of the economy is expanding nicely, while the other 86% can fairly be said to be nearly booming. Who knew?
(The rest of the post has the detail, including an era-by-era chart.)
The following was submitted by Jason Aslinger, a private practice attorney in Greenville, Ohio. Portions in bold below are the added emphasized of NB managing editor Ken Shepherd. It's a long post but it's worth the read:
In the wake of last week’s Supreme Court decision regarding racial
integration in public schools, the media have gone out of their way to
obscure the facts for the purpose of advancing its familiar political
agenda, not to mention skipped over giving readers a glimpse of the concurring opinions of Justices Thomas and Kennedy, both of which shed light on the case's significance to the average American.
In a prior NewsBusters post, I called out MSNBC's Keith
Olbermann for his false and race-baiting claim that the Supreme Court
had “overturned” the landmark decision of Brown v. Board of Education.
The subsequent commentary by the media has at least been more clever,
but no less false. Undoubtedly, the press and “expert commentators”
have calculated that the general public would not check their factual
(and political) conclusions by reading the Court’s 185-page opinion.
Without knowing the specific facts, the media distortions can not be
fully appreciated. Below we'll take a look at the facts of the case as well as the reasoning from the justices, reasoning that all too often is glossed over if not outright ignored in the media.
Those following the histrionics of "The Food Stamp Challenge" (previous NewsBusters posts here, here, and here; previous BizzyBlog posts here, here, and here) know that:
Most of those engaging in it claim that the average Food Stamp recipient "only has $21 per person per week to buy food."
The fact is that the program's monthly benefits (often referred to "Allotments"; scroll to the bottom for the monthly benefit table), when converted to weekly, range from $26.81 - $35.67 per person per week, depending on family size:
One doesn't have to look very far to see opinionated assertions in the supposedly objective Old Media coverage of yesterday's immigration-bill failure in the Senate.
Here's part of what an unbylined AP report said almost immediately after it was clear that the bill would not get the 60 votes needed for cloture: "The carefully crafted compromise was left for dead after a similar vote three weeks ago but was revived by Bush and Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid, who gave opponents more chances to change it."
To say that there is disagreement over whether the bill was "carefully crafted" is quite an understatement.
A report in the Seattle Times "compiled from The Washington Post, Gannett News Service, The Associated Press and McClatchy Newspapers" made this claim about yesterday's vote: "In a mark of lawmakers' ambivalence, however, the outcome was substantially different from a test vote Tuesday, when a 64-35 vote revived the bill."
Was it lawmaker "ambivalence," or constituent persuasiveness? And how do they know?
But the biggest error, as often is the case, was one of omission. Senator Ted Kennedy from Massachusetts lit into opponents on the Senate floor yesterday with this over-the-top riff (video is at Hot Air; bold is mine):
As a follow-up to my previous post, I thought I'd take a look at the inane headlines for coverage of the 5-4 ruling today that restricts school districts from using race to manage school populations. Time and the Los Angeles Times are real howlers:
Note: Though this post is primarily about Ohio's governor speaking at a Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) banquet in Columbus last Sunday, it contains nationally significant info about connections between CAIR, Al Qaeda, and Hamas, and Old Media's non-coverage of those connections.
On Friday ("Strickland-CAIR Update: Reported Strickland Staffer Response"), I noted how staff member "Charles" in Ohio Governor Ted Strickland's office responded in a conversation with a constituent relayed to me by a trusted source. The constituent objected to the governor's June 17 appearance at CAIR-Ohio's annual banquet -- a banquet also attended by CAIR's national chairman of the board. In part, the constituent reported the following:
"Charles of his staff stated that he did a lot of research on CAIR and they were an organization that does a lot of good and no more terrorist than the Jewish Defense Fund or Dr. James Dobson."
The late Senator Everett Dirksen had a famous saying on federal spending: "A billion here, a billion there, pretty soon it adds up to real money."
When it comes to the immigration bill currently being considered by the Senate, Old Media apparently believes: "A trillion here, a trillion there, if it's a cause we're okay with, we won't talk about it."
June 19, 2007 (Washington, DC) – The immigration bill being debated by the Senate would allow over two million illegal workers who received Social Security numbers prior to 2004 to receive more than $966 billion in Social Security benefits by 2040.
Meet the Greenes, "an American family trying to do their best to help the environment by living a green life. Take a virtual tour of their earth-friendly home and discover all the ways they conserve resources, pollute less and leave a smaller eco-footprint."
This welcoming banner sounds like something you'd see on Greenpeace.com or Climatecrisis.net (Admit it, you've been there, I go all the time to laugh at the latest ridiculous global warming headlines.)
Unfortunately "Meet the Greenes" is prominently displayed on the Web page of a major news organization. The offender? Statesman.com, the Austin American-Statesman’s home on the Internet.
"Meet the Greenes" is just one of the many delightful headlines in the "Living Green" section.
When it was announced Tuesday that China surpassed the United States as the world’s leading emitter of carbon dioxide, NewsBusters asked, “Will Media Notice?”
In reality, the answer is a mixed windbag, with most press outlets totally ignoring the revelation, and a few actually blaming the problem on – wait for it! – the United States. I kid you not.
However, before we address that stupidity, it first must be relayed that not one of the television news outlets bothered reporting the Chinese CO2 data at all. It appears that television news divisions only feel CO2 is a problem if it’s emitted by American corporations or citizens.
As for the print media, the few that did cover this story either gave it very little attention, or made some fairly predictable excuses for why it’s okay as the planet nears its seemingly inevitable doom at the hands of greenhouse gases for China to be the leading “polluter.”
For instance, the New York Times devoted a total of 83 words to this story in its “World Briefing Asia” section Thursday on page A12 (no link available):
On may 29th, the AP reported that Vice President Dick Cheney told the Secret Service to eliminate the records of visitors to the Vice President's mansion on the grounds of the U.S. Naval Observatory in Washington D.C. fitting with the MSM's claims that the VP is "too secretive." Cheney’s office countered with the fact that he had written orders to save those records. Naturally the New York Times jumped on the bandwagon with a June 3rd piece that went wild-eyed and frothing, veering straight for the "Haliburton" canard that the left has tried to hang on Cheney since his first days in office instead of staying on the topic of the visitor records.
From 2001 to 2005, Mr. Cheney received "deferred salary payments" from Halliburton that far exceeded what taxpayers gave him. Mr. Cheney still holds hundreds of thousands of stock options that have ballooned by millions of dollars as Halliburton profited handsomely from the war in Iraq.
As they are wont to do, the Times again tried to link Cheney with Haliburton payouts despite the fact that the VP has not benefited from any such income since being elected to office.
Sam Zaramba, in a subscription-only op-ed column in Tuesday's Wall Street Journal, gives the next Woodward or Bernstein a hot story to follow up on:
..... malaria ..... is the biggest killer of Ugandan and all African children. Yet it remains preventable and curable. Last week in Germany, G-8 leaders committed new resources to the fight against the mosquito-borne disease and promised to use every available tool.
Now they must honor this promise by supporting African independence in the realm of disease control. We must be able to use Dichloro-Diphenyl-Trichloroethane -- DDT.
..... Today, every single Ugandan still remains at risk. Over 10 million Ugandans are infected each year, and up to 100,000 of our mothers and children die from the disease.
No one could possibly be conspiring to prevent the eradication of malaria, could they?
Well, yes they could. And they are, as Zaramba notes:
Forget the banter about Paris Hilton among the panelists on last evening's Fox News Watch. A deadly-serious matter later arose. Conservative columnist Jim Pinkerton flatly alleged that to promote multiculturalism and allay Americans' concerns about immigration, the MSM and the Department of Homeland Security spiked a story about a terrorist dry run by 12 Syrians.
It has become clear to anyone with eyes and an open mind that the worldwide ban on DDT that is just now in the process of too-slowly being lifted has caused massive loss of human life over a period of decades that could, and should, have been avoided.
So you would think that the person who began the DDT scare in the early 1960s would be discredited, or her work at least shunted to the background. You would be wrong (link may require free registration; HT Instapundit):
For Rachel Carson admirers, it has not been a silent spring. They’ve been celebrating the centennial of her birthday with paeans to her saintliness. A new generation is reading her book in school — and mostly learning the wrong lesson from it.
The real "lesson" is that "Silent Spring" was perhaps the first successful use of junk science paired with corporation-bashing media hype to fool the general public:
Wednesday, reporter Nicholas Wade of the New York Times covered an important development in stem-cell research, opening with the following (bold is mine; link probably requires registration; HT Instapundit):
Biologists Make Skin Cells Work Like Stem Cells
In a surprising advance that could sidestep the ethical debates surrounding stem cell biology, researchers have come much closer to a major goal of regenerative medicine, the conversion of a patient’s cells into specialized tissues that might replace those lost to disease.
Longtime readers of The Wall Street Journal's editorial pages know three things:
The paper's editorials and opinion columns are usually among the best anywhere -- and not just on business and economics.
The Journal has for years had every reason to be proud of the fact, as the late Robert Bartley noted, that it is one of the few papers readers would buy for its opinion pages.
The Journal has, for 23 years, held an uncompromising "liberal" viewpoint on immigration that almost all conservatives have long since abandoned. The Journal's point of view can be summed up in five words it used in a July 3, 1984 editorial -- "There shall be open borders."
A copy of that editorial, posted for fair use and discussion purposes only, can be found here (the title is "In Defense of Huddled Masses") in a post about Journal columnist Peggy Noonan's effective break on June 1 from The Journal's doctrinaire stance.
The 1984 editorial's defining sentence is:
If Washington still wants to "do something" about immigration, we propose a five-word constitutional amendment: There shall be open borders.
This one is really stretching the limits of any legitimate blame being leveled at Fred Thompson, but the L.A.Times has published a story linking Thompson to businessman with a shady past over a radio advertisement that the Senator narrates for that businessman's company. But, as we find out, Thompson's ABC Radio contract requires that he and other ABC Radio personalities act as narrator for the radio spot, so it isn't like Fred has gone out of his way to endorse this shady businessman's product. Naturally, the L.A. Times has to title the piece "An Awkward Ad By Fred Thompson", even as the Senator barely has a walk on part in the article. Most of the article ends up being about the company that the ad was recorded for and not Thompson. So, the light is shined on Thompson even as the story is not really about him much at all.
Give Food Stamp Challenge organizers in Michigan and New Haven, Connecticut some credit.
We'll probably never know whether they figured it out on their own, or perhaps read of other organizers' errors when they were pointed out by syndicated columnist Mona Charen and by yours truly (at NewsBusters here and here; at BizzyBlog here and here). But unlike their comrades in most other cities and states, they have at least framed their Challenge using a correct amount of $35 per person per week ($5 per person per day) based on this table, which was adapted from information available at the USDA's web site (near the bottom at link; the weekly amount is result of dividing by 4.345, the average number of weeks in a month):
Well, it didn't take long for the MSM to start their attacks on Fred Thompson now that he is in the race. We are seeing more and more of them each day. Here on Newsbusters, Mark Finkelstein was curious what the line of attack would be and I found a few this week myself. Today, we find the next MSM attack line of the day being Thompson's supposed "lack of experience" for the office. Or in the phrasing by Jennifer Rubin of the New York Observer; Thompson is "Like Reagan Without the New Ideas." And, since Thompson supporters are warm to the idea that Fred is "like Reagan" it seems likely the MSM will delight in trying to paint Thompson as a faux Reagan because they know that this particular line of attack would harm him the most were his supporters to begin to believe it.
Just get a load of Rubin's first Republican-slamming paragraph:
Ford's protracted sales slump continued in May, while every other major automaker showed gains:
DETROIT — Toyota Motor Corp.'s U.S. vehicle sales jumped 14.1 percent in May to its best monthly level ever and General Motors Corp.'s sales rose 9.7 percent, helping boost industry sales 5 percent, as both automakers credited in part the appeal of their more fuel-efficient offerings amid high gas prices.
For the second month this year, Toyota outsold Ford Motor Co., which saw sales fall 6.9 percent as it continued to cut low-profit sales to rental companies. Nissan Motor Co.'s sales gained 7.4 percent, DaimlerChrysler AG's sales rose 3.9 percent and American Honda Motor Co. rose 2.5 percent.
Even factoring in the change in sales to rental companies, the article goes on to say that Ford's retail sales were still down 3%.
As he did last month, George Pipas of Ford tried an advance PR stunt that fizzled, but left less-than-close observers thinking that the company might be doing better than it really is:
Barbara Miner of the Milwaukee Journal, Sentinel has written one of the funniest anti-gun screeds I've seen in a long, long time. Oh, she didn't MEAN to be funny, of course. But, her article gave the effect of seeing a 40-year-old white guy trying to chant the lyrics to a popular rap music tune to look cool to his eye rolling kids. Her rambling little column was so filled with unintentionally funny moments, was so clueless in its lack of introspection and so completely absurd that one would have thought the link at the Milwaukee Journal, Sentinel website had accidentally taken you to the satirical website, "The Onion".
Now, I have always been somewhat confused when leftists are being unintentionally funny. Do we laugh and be mean at their utter cluelessness, or do we feel sorrow and pity instead of mirth? How should we feel, for instance, when Keith Olbermann pretends that he is giving pertinent commentary, or when Babs Streisand acts as if she is to be taken seriously... or anytime we even see Cindy Sheehan doing, well, anything. So, when I read this anti-gun piece so chock full of absurdity, I was torn as to how to feel about it.
Ah, who am I kidding? I laughed like a hyena at how foolish this liberal chick is. I mean, what planet is this woman from?
While the relatively narrow Dow Jones Industrial Average has been achieving alltime highs for a couple of months, it took until last week for the broader S&P 500 index to beat its previous record of 1527. The index closed at 1536.24 last week.
Instead of writing up the big winners in the 77% of companies that have brought the index back from its 2000 low, USA Today writer Matt Krantz looked for dark clouds in on otherwise blue sky, taking an opportunity to focus on the index's losers who kept the index's recovery of value from happening sooner:
S&P's run leaves Wal-Mart, other big caps behind
For a quarter of the stock market, the celebration about the Standard & Poor's 500's charge back to record levels for the first time in more than seven years is an example of history being written by the victors.
Even though the benchmark S&P index last week finally took out its old high from March 2000, investors who own 23% of its stocks have completely missed out. A total of 115 stocks in the S&P 500-stock index are still below where they were in March 2000, according to data from Bridge Information and S&P. They aren't down just a little, either, but off 45% on average.
"At any given time, you're going to have companies that have one-off issues," says James Paulsen of Wells Capital Management.
Yeah guys, and that's why investing in a broad-based index of stocks in an index mutual fund is often a good idea for investors who don't have the time to evaluate and keep up with either individual stocks or actively-managed mutual funds. Zheesh.
On February 28 (second item at link), New York Times business reporter David Leonhardt infamously wrote the following:
For Manufacturing, a Recession Has Arrived
The nation’s manufacturing sector managed to slip into a recession with almost nobody seeming to notice. Well, until yesterday.
To this day, Leonhardt appears to be the only one to "notice" a recession in manufacturing -- because it doesn't exist. In fact, the latest related report from the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) showed that the manufacturing sector expanded for the fourth straight month. That would include February, when Leonhardt made his "recession" call. The ISM reading of 55.0 (any reading over 50 indicates expansion) actually inched up a bit from the previous month's 54.7.
Though it's not possible to tell for sure because of the TimeSelect subscription wall, a Times search on "manufacturing recession" (not in quotes) shows no apparent retraction of Leonhardt's call, but does include plenty of references to other reasons why a recession might be possible.
Leonhardt's "less than perfect" reporting has apparently continued.
Proving that few people in the entertainment industry can tell the difference between reality and fantasy and in a perfect example of why people who write about entertainment should stay away from the topic of politics, The New York Times today has let lose one of the silliest, most confused political "editorials" yet published about Senator Fred Thompson's possible run for the White House. Fitting the he's-only-an-actor mode of considering his potential candidacy, TV writer Alessandra Stanley compounds a prosaic dismissal of the man with a complete inability to keep straight in her head which Fred Thompson she is talking about; the REAL Senator from Tennessee or the character he plays on a popular TV show.
On May 29th a Catholic Priest from Chicago's St. Sabina Church joined a rally in front of a gun shop and called for the owner of the shop and all pro-gun legislators to be "snuffed out", yet, the media is strangely silent on the "Father's" extreme comments -- words one would think would be explosive enough to get media coverage. Father Michael Pfleger, known the city over for his overt political activism, made the obscene comments while demonstrating with Jesse Jackson and his Organization Operation Push in front of Chuck's Gun Shop in Riverdale, a Chicago suburb.
This from the Capitol Fax Blog (one of Illinois' best political sites):
Rev. Michael Pfleger, pastor of St. Sabina’s Church, went way over the top this week. During a protest against Chuck’s Gun Shop, Father Pfleger twice threatened to “snuff out” the shop’s owner and threatened the same fate for legislators who oppose his position on gun control.
“We’re gonna find you and snuff you out,” Fleger said about the gun shop owner, likening the man to a “rat.” He later repeated his threat to “snuff out” the owner.