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:
In one of a virtually endless stream of such examples, a Monday Associated Press report by Elaine Ganley and Greg Keller on challenges facing newly elected French Prime Minister, Socialist Francois Hollande, described him as "the leftist who has pledged to buck Europe's austerity trend."
What a deceptive joke. Europe's attempt at "austerity" can't be a "trend," because it hasn't even started. The "Fiscal Treaty" involved (at Google Docs; at RTE News [large PDF]) hasn't even taken effect. Article 14, as explained by RTE's Europe Editor Tony Connelly, "will enter into force on January 1 2013 so long as 12 member states have completed ratification." A Monday editorial at Investor's Business Daily took the press to task for its pretense, and in the process noted facts about the monstrous growth of government in EU countries the U.S. establishment press won't report (bolds are mine throughout this post):
The last national press reports on the five men arrested Monday for plotting to blow up a Cleveland-area bridge reassured everyone that none involved were in responsible roles in the Occupy movement. On Thursday, the Associated Press's Thomas J. Sheeran wrote that Occupy Cleveland spokespersons "said the men were associated with the group but didn't represent Occupy Cleveland or its non-violent philosophy." An earlier AP report paraphrased a claim that they "had been associated with the anticorporate Occupy Cleveland movement but don't share its nonviolent views." Reuters carried this quote: "They were in no way representing or acting on behalf of Occupy Cleveland."
Well, last night, the Cleveland Plain Dealer's Michael Sangiacomo reported that at least one of the five was once in a sufficiently responsible position within the Occupy group to represent it while signing a lease for space the group used. It will be interesting to see what, if anything, the wire services just noted and others will do with what follows:
At the New York Times on Saturday (in Sunday's print edition), reporters Charles Duhigg and David Kocienewski, in a report riddled with conceptual flaws and misleading statistics, bemoaned "how technology giants have taken advantage of tax codes written for an industrial age and ill suited to today’s digital economy." They focused their attention almost entirely on Apple, seemingly in simultaneous awe and disgust at how "Apple’s accountants have found legal ways to allocate about 70 percent of its profits overseas, where tax rates are often much lower, according to corporate filings."
Well guys, a look at Apple's latest 10-K annual report to the Securities and Exchange Commission on Page 73 reveals that Apple's net sales in "The Americas" geographic segment -- from the northernmost portion of Canada to the southernmost tip of Chile -- in the year ended September 24, 2011 were $38 billion out of a companywide total of $108 billion. Apple doesn't segregate U.S. sales, but it would seem that they probably aren't any more than $30 billion of that $38 billion. So the vast majority of Apple's sales are "overseas." An even larger majority is outside of the U.S. Even after allowing for aggressive tax-avoidance maneuvers, why should it surprise anyone that the large majority of profits are also earned overseas?
Per her bio, Gail Collins at the New York Times "joined the New York Times in 1995 as a member of the editorial board and later as an op-ed columnist. In 2001 she became the first woman ever appointed editor of the Times editorial page." So she was hanging with the Old Gray Lady in 2003.
The columnist's presence at the paper that year is quite relevant. You see, Ms. Collins has brought up the 1983 story of Seamus, the Mitt Romney family Irish setter, who the presumptive GOP presidential nominee put "into a dog carrier on the roof of his station wagon for a 12-hour trip to Ontario," on dozens of occasions in her Times column in the almost five years since the story first appeared. Yet during those five years, it seems she has never recognized (and if she has, she certainly has not been chastened by) the existence an exceptionally positive dog-related Romney story printed in her employer's own paper on July 8, 2003. It follows the jump (underlines are mine; presented in full for fair use and discussion purposes):
A year ago in March, an Investor's Business Daily editorial ("America's Enemies Don't Want U.S. Drilling") informed readers that "the Venezuelan Embassy in Washington put out a Twitter post expressing disappointment that the documentary 'Gasland' didn't win an Academy Award." Specifically: "Sadly, 'Gasland' didn't win an Oscar, because a Vzlan helped make it," Venezuela's Twitterer whined." IBD went on to note that "Gasland" had "a Venezuelan production assistant, Irene Yibirin, who ... (has) ties to the (Chavez) government's Foundation National Cinematheque. ... [O]n the site, she praised Chavez."
Why is this relevant? Well, as another IBD editorial on Thursday noted, EPA Region 6 Administrator Al Armendariz, who became deservedly infamous last week when his public articulation of his "Crucify Them" philosophy towards enforcement of environmental laws and regulations in a speech a year ago was exposed, really loves the film, which industry officials have shown is riddled with deceptions and outright falsehoods. Not only that, he was also involved in making it:
Yesterday the trustees who oversee Social Security announced that "the program's trust fund will be depleted by 2033 -- three years earlier than projected last year." "Never since the 1983 reforms have we come as close to the point of trust fund depletion as we are right now," trustee Charles Blahous said. But alas, the Washington Post shuffled that story over to page A3 rather than the front page.
So what actually made today's Post front page? Among other things, a highly parochial story about a lawsuit pitting neighbors against each other in a wealthy Northern Virginia community. "Plans for a Va. mansion modeled on Versailles irk neighbors," read the subheadline for Post staffer Justin Jouvenal's 30-paragraph story. Why on Earth is this worthy of front-page space? You have to wait until paragraph 14, when Jouvenal discloses that a former media executive is one of those filing the lawsuit against his neighbor, Young Yi:
It would appear that if you're an op-ed columnist at the New York Times, you can make up just about any outrageous claim and not get called on it by anyone responsible (if there is such a thing) at the Old Gray Lady.
The column in question, Joseph P. Kennedy II's "The High Cost of Gambling on Oil," goes back two weeks to April 10, but deserves a closer look for two reasons. First Kennedy, who wants to see "pure" speculation by those who are not actual industry participants completely banned (confirmed in the item's browser window title), claimed that oil "extraction" costs "average $11 a barrel worldwide." Second, Kennedy's concluding bio gives the impression that he is an energy industry mogul and not in fact the head of "a non-profit organization that primarily aids the poor in the United States and throughout the world ..." First, here is Kennedy's extraction cost claim (bolds are mine throughout this post):
Well, the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, apparently has Missouri Democratic Congressman and Congressional Black Caucus Chairman Emanuel Cleaver's back. As of 2:40 p.m., there is no national story relevant to Cleaver's unpaid $1 million-plus loan at the wire service's national site, even though information published by the Kansas City Star late Friday evening (interesting timing; HT to KC Star's David Helling, who later informed me that the story made Page A-1 of the Star's Saturday print edition, while the original received the same placement on Friday) indicates that taxpayers could be out up to $1.1 million because the Small Business Administration-backed a loan to Cleaver's car wash business back in 2002 which is has been seriously delinquent for years. The Bank has sued for repayment.
There is an unbylined local AP story which appears to have been published shortly after midnight on Monday (shown in full because of its brevity and for fair use and discussion purposes):