I receive the old-fashioned text version of MarketWatch's daily e-mail. That version of the e-mail always starts out with a short note from the editor about something that is being covered at the site that day.
Monday's e-mail from Steve Kerch, assistant managing editor/personal finance, was uncharacteristically enthusiastic about the economy. It was an enthusiasm that you'll see, after the jump, wasn't exactly reflected in his journalists' stories:
You have to wonder about all those doomsayers who predict the U.S. economy is on the brink of recession when you look at hotel rooms in New York that are filled at $600 a night, airplanes packed with passengers paying top dollar for flights to the Caribbean and Europe and highways jammed with cars guzzling $3-plus gallons of gas.
As far as travel goes this Thanksgiving holiday, the American consumer is in full rally mode. And it's not just the short jaunt to a family dinner on Thursday that's on the menu: More and more folks are making the Thanksgiving week a major vacation window, with international travel in particular seeing a big jump.
Teasing a story about the Supreme Court agreeing to hear an appeal concerning the Washington, D.C. handgun gun and whether it violates the 2nd Amendment's protection of an individual's right to keep and bear arms, CBSNews.com employed an ominous-looking graphic on its home page.
Pictured at right is the CBS/AP graphic showing in the foreground a right hand grasping a handgun, with an outline of the continental United States overlaid atop an American flag. Superimposed on the map and flag are the concentric circles of a shooting target. The corresponding story can be found here.
By contrast, ABCNews.com chose for its front page and story a graphic depicting a handgun beneath the seal of the United States Supreme Court (shown below the fold):
As we at NewsBusters have noticed, the media often pass off professional or semi-professional liberal activists as average Joes and Janes. The effect, of course, is to give a feel of authenticity to the problems, real or perceived, that these folks are struggling with, and often demand government intervention for.
So it's not surprising that the "undecided voters" in the recent Democratic debate in Vegas were often liberal activists. Bryan Preston of Hot Air looked into it. You can check out his blog entry here, or watch the embedded video posted above. (h/t Michelle Malkin)
The famous picture of a terrified Mohammed al-Dura hiding behind his father enraged millions of Muslims and became such an iconic image of Palestinian martyrdom and Israeli occupation that it caused violent rioting, inspired some UK Muslims to commit to radical Islam and was even used in suicide bomber propaganda.
It took a defamation case to get France2 to fork over the raw footage, but Media Backspin reported portions are missing (bold mine throughout):
TVNewser has an item today about MSNBC's David Shuster blasting Rudy Giuliani and Fox News brass while announcing a lawsuit involving the rival news channel (h/t Ian Schwartz):
This is how MSNBC's David Shuster, who once worked for FNC, reported the story in the 9amET hour:
"This is bad news, perhaps not just for Rudy Giuliani, but also for Fox News Channel. Roger Ailes who is in charge of Fox News, a close friend of Rupert Murdoch, he's been close friends with Rudy Giuliani for 20 years. Fox News commentator Sean Hannity led a Giuliani fund-raiser."
"Here you have a $100 million lawsuit in which Judith Regan is alleging that there was a smear campaign against her to protect the political agenda of Fox News of News Corp. and that that political agenda was to protect Rudy Giuliani"
In an Andy Rooneyesque rant about how his latest movie-going experience "left much to be desired," CBS White House correspondent Mark Knoller hinted he wouldn't mind seeing liberal consumers groups tackle hefty snack prices at the nation's movie theaters. He even suggested the short titles for two bills Congress could draft on that front.
From Knoller's November 12 Couric & Co. blog post (emphasis mine):
The fact is, most movie theaters are glorified snack bars. On average, they keep only 50% or less of the ticket price, far less for blockbusters in their opening weeks. Much of a theater’s profit comes from the concession stand.
Regal, one of the nation’s largest multiplex chains, reported the 3rd quarter profit margin at its snack bars exceeded 86%.
And the markup – especially on popcorn – is eye-popping. The Los Angeles Times last year calculated that just $30 of raw popcorn can translate into as much as $3,000 in sales at the snack bar.
That sounds like a markup that would make the oil industry blush.
On Thursday, Karl Rove gave a speech about politics and the Internet at the Willard Intercontinental Hotel, and, as reported by the Washington Times, commented about the frequent incidence of vulgarity at liberal blogs:
Mr. Rove cited the results of a study that found that writers and commenters on liberal blogs such as DailyKos.com cursed far more than writers and commenters on conservative Web sites such as FreeRepublic.com.
"My point is not that liberals swear publicly more often than conservatives. That may be true, but that's not my point," Mr. Rove said. "It is that the netroots often argue from anger rather than reason, and too often, their object is personal release, not political persuasion."
Our friend at Gateway Pundit observed this hysterical albeit predictable Netroots response (vulgarity present after the break, h/t Glenn Reynolds):
Someone needs to tell me why this news about discretionary income isn't as significant as I believe it is.
But first, three warnings: 1. I'm not about to spend the $250 needed to read the full report from the Conference Board that backs the story (their "about" page is here). 2. I don't feel totally comfortable with how the statistic is measured -- "Households with discretionary income, as defined by the study, are those whose spendable income exceeds that held by households with similar demographic features." 3. I don't feel totally comfortable that the statistic has been measured consistently.
Now with the disclaimers out of the way, here's the stunning news: More Americans have "money to burn," technically known as "discretionary income," than at any time in the past quarter-century, and perhaps in the country's history.
A lot more. A whole lot more.
So many more that I went as far back as I could for comparable stats.
As the mainstream media often accentuate the negative in the Iraq War -- see Newsweek's latest photo essay -- independent journalist Michael Yon's latest photograph (pictured at right) is highly unlikely to grace the cover of any major liberally-biased newsmagazine.
Yet the picture of Muslim and Christian Iraqis working together to affix a cross atop St. John's Church in Baghdad is creating buzz throughout the blogosphere on sites such as Captain's Quarters, Michelle Malkin, and the Anchoress as a sign of everyday progress -- not just militarily but in the battle for the "hearts and minds" of the Iraqi people.
Here are some of the Anchoress's thoughts on the matter:
It’s one of those photographs that takes the breath - there is a feeling of cognitive dissonance. Some of us on one side - who perhaps have never understood why we went to Iraq in the first place - may look at this picture and say, “but…but…Iraq is a hell-hole, an unmanageable, unwinnable, place of civil strife, death and occupied people who hate us!”
Some of us on the other side, who - overwhelmed with images of burned flags and screaming mobs - may have forgotten the humanity of the Iraqi people (people we let down once before, and who had reason to distrust us and our commitment) may see these Muslims and Christians raising a cross together, in a language of brotherhood and gratitude, and say, “but…but…all those people are bad people…”
I'm sure as a concerned social observer, CBS "Evening News" anchor Katie Couric may genuinely think we as a society are too addicted to TV. That said, I can't help but feel that her persistent third-place status in the broadcast evening news race is part and parcel of her Andy Rooney-Lite rant against the boob tube. Here's the November 7 page from Katie Couric's "Notebook" (see video here):
This week in Newsweek, writer Allison Wood complains about seeing television everywhere, and I think we're on the same wavelength.
It's in your living room, the kitchen, the bedroom. Leave home and hail a taxi, it's there too. A lot of cabs now have little TV screens bombarding you with news and weather as you head to wherever you're going.
It's arguably not as explosive as rigging trucks to explode in vintage "Dateline NBC" fashion but it seems ABC News may be using phony gay couples to gin up an incendiary story that plays on the media's preconceived storyline about intolerance and "homophobia" in conservative parts of America, particularly the South. Here's an excerpt from Michelle Malkin:
When you don’t feel like covering the news, you manfacture it. Remember the story I broke last spring about NBC News engineering a sting at NASCAR to try and expose fans as anti-Muslim bigots? Well, it looks like the dinosaur networks haven’t learned from the embarrassing backlash to that pathetic episode. Or Rathergate. Or Shattered Glass. Or Janet Cooke. Or Scott Thomas Beauchamp. Etc. etc. etc.
As Islamic scholar Robert Spencer can tell you, the mainstream media has barely noticed that Google, the Internet search engine giant, is now deciding for its users which ideas are acceptable and which are not. It’s never been a secret that Google leans left and won’t tolerate ideas it doesn’t agree with. The company hired global warming profiteer Al Gore as senior advisor and has a history of purging content based on ideology. More evidence of the company’s thinly-veiled, warm and fuzzy politically correct authoritarianism keeps popping up.
Now Google Video has suppressed a video of a speech that Spencer, author of The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades), made at Dartmouth College. Spencer, whose family comes from the Muslim world, sees his work as “calling attention to the roots and goals of jihad violence.” He carefully explains his belief that “Islam is not a monolith,” and says that he has “never” characterized all Muslims “as terrorist or given to violence.”
Google de-listed several conservative e-zines and blogs from its news crawl last year, banned anti-MoveOn.org ads, and is complicit in state censorship in communist China.
Yesterday during the 7 p.m. hour of FBN’s “America’s Nightly Scoreboard” theBusiness and Media Institute’s Director Dan Gainor went head to head with John Coifman of the Natural Resources Defense Council. The topic of discussion was “business going green” and whether or not it can put businesses in the red. The first part of the video can be seen below.
David Asman asked Gainor, “What’s wrong with going green?”
What did America ever do to deserve a major evening news anchor who's afraid of [driving in] the dark?
"CBS Evening News" anchor Katie Couric has a fresh reason to be anxious this fall: more time spent driving in the dark thanks to daylight saving time ending. Here's the tease to her video in a November 2 "Couric & Co." blog post:
Due to Daylight Saving Time this weekend, many drivers will have an extra hour of dark to face on their commute home. And that can be dangerous.
Of course, it's hardly new for Couric to champion petty anxieties on her vlog. In April, Couric used her Notebook segment to clang alarm bells about kids not knowing how to use the library. Her ghostwriter at the time, CBSNews.com's Melissa McNamara, was fired for plagiarizing a Wall Street Journal columnist in the script Couric read from, according to the New York Sun.
Update (Nov. 7 | 10:49): The folks over at the satirical NewsGroper have a "response" from Katie Couric. Enjoy (mild content warning for language).
Helen Thomas is a "stalwart of the White House press corps who wields candor like a weapon of mass instruction," gushed Seattle Post-Intelligencer managing editor David McCumber in a November 2 post at his paper's Big Blog.
In a short video of her Friday appearance, Thomas regales the P-I newsroom audience with her tired left-wing ravings about how the Bush administration lied to get the United States into war with Iraq, and how President Bush must have been utterly amazed at how sheep-like the media were in the lead-up to war. McCumber was so enchanted by her presence that he included what he considered to be a pearl of wisdom from the reporter-turned-front-row-Bush-basher:
Ann Coulter's been a naughty girl! She has to go sit a time out in the corner, according to Chris Matthews, who's withdrawing the distinct and high honor of inviting the columnist on "Hardball" as punishment for the Donny Deutsch row, which was hyped by the liberal smear machine Media Matters for America.
And I thought that was only reserved for attractive business reporters who didn't lean into the camera.
CBS's Public Eye blogger Matthew Felling sees curious timing in a controversy CNN reported on an October 31 program, but which took place weeks earlier, involving a stand-up comic and a noose:
Last night on CNN’s “Out in the Open” hosted by Rick Sanchez, he had a lively discussion/debate with an African-American comic who had worn a noose like a necktie as “a fashion accessory.” The segment began:
New York Times reporter Michael Luo posted Sunday morning on "The Caucus" blog on his days at the recent Values Voters Summit in Washington, D.C., sponsored by the social conservative lobbying group Focus on the Family, where his Times credentials didn't exactly open doors of welcome.
Cadging about for interviews, Luo discovered once again that not everyone loves the Times.
"When I first met Mrs. Crowe, she had been wary after I identified myself as a reporter from The Times. She confessed her suspicions, saying she watched Bill O'Reilly and harbored serious reservations about The Times. I had, in fact, experienced this kind of wariness, sometimes outright hostility, from nearly every person I stopped to interview at the summit. It had gotten to the point that I was even a bit nervous of approaching anyone for fear of rejection.
Why is it that a page from Katie Couric's "Notebook" is often cribbed from the left-wing playbook? [Check here for a real eye-roller from June 2007]
In her October 25 "Notebook" item at her Couric & Co. blog, the "CBS Evening News" anchor parroted the complaints of a left-wing group that finds scandalous the practice of doctors getting freebies from pharmaceutical companies.:
We all know the saying, 'there's no such thing as a free lunch,' but not if you're a doctor. Every year drug makers spend almost $7 billion in lunches, dinners, travel fees and gifts to doctors. That's on top of the estimated $18 billion in free drug samples they give them. We talked with Rob Restuccia of the Prescription Project, which studies potential conflicts of interest between drug makers and doctors. He says there's a high correlation between the prescribing of particular drugs and gifts to those physicians...
It may be a bitter pill for some drug companies but when doctors receive free lunches, it's their patients who often pay the price.
Time's Joe Klein, aka the Anonymous who wrote "Primary Colors," painted a very nasty portrait of the crop of 2008 Republican candidates for the presidency on his October 24 appearance on MSNBC's "Morning Joe." Particularly of note, Klein referred to the former Republican governor of Massachusetts as a "troglodyte.":
Look at Mitt Romney. Mitt Romney, you know, ran as a liberal against Ted Kennedy in 1994. Then he ran as a moderate for governor, and now he's running as a troglodyte. It's unbelievable.
Romney has come under fire from conservatives, and perhaps quite fairly, for his flip-flopping on key issues over the past two decades. Yet no respectable pundit on the left or right would characterize the affable family man as a "troglodyte."
Even so, Klein's invective went unanswered by host Joe Scarborough, who helpfully added, "And it seems to work in all cases."
Drudge scooped me (arrgghhh!) with two documents related to the Beauchamp/TNR story. I had asked for in a FOIA request submitted more than a month ago to the U.S. Army. Those documents including a transcript of the call between Scott Beauchamp, TNR editor Franklin Foer, and TNR executive editor Peter Scoblic on September 7. I first wrote about the conversation itself previously.
The other document was the Army's official report, which I first discussed with the investigating officer, Major John Cross, on September 10.
Knowing the documents exist is one thing; having them is quite another. Now that they have been posted on the public record, these disclosures should end careers at The New Republic.
It might not be as sexy as an item about an MSM anchor exposing his liberal bias. But if there's one thing I'd encourage conservatives to read, consider and act on in the blogosphere today, it is the Patrick Ruffni column "Information Gaps on the Right" at Hugh Hewitt's blog.
Ruffini's fundamental point is the need for professionalized, conservative "feeder blogs," sites that "tee up" information for other blogs. Ruffini points to Think Progress as a model from the left of what this should be:
Nine years have passed since The New Republic came to grips with the fact that it had a serial fabulist on its hands in writer Stephen Glass. Now the liberal magazine is facing more scrutiny for more faulty reporting at the hands of Scott Thomas Beauchamp.
"I couldn't help but be struck by the similarities and differences at The New Republic, then and now," blogger Ed Morrissey wrote after viewing the 2003 film "Shattered Glass," based on the rise and fall of New Republic writer Stephen Glass. What's most damning, Morrissey argues, is that the Beauchamp scandal is much worse in terms of the gravity of the news material that was faked and the disparity in how the TNR editors have responded:
We'll have to keep Patterico in mind for hosting duties if we ever decide to throw a NewsBusters game show (although be warned, we're fiscally conservative, so the prize would probably be a cheap Rosie O'Donnell doll).
If you ask the voters to reinstate a tax after it’s been thrown out by the courts, it’s a new tax. But if you beat the courts to it — by convincing voters to approve a slightly lower tax before the higher one is invalidated — is it a tax “reduction”?
Washington Post reporter and author of "God's Harvard," Hanna Rosin, admitted in an October 15 blog post that she disagrees politically with most evangelical Christians and that she thinks that the religious views informing their political ideology and activism is downright unhealthy for democracy.
Posting an entry in a "blogalogue" at Beliefnet.com, Rosin offered these reflections on conservative evangelical Christians and their participation in politics (emphasis mine):
Hardly surprising, I suppose, but "CBS Evening News" anchor Katie "Who made us the boss of them?" Couric has passed judgment on the SCHIP fight between Congress and President Bush, invoking a playground analogy to hit President Bush and the Democratic Congress for "playing politics" instead of working to "put children first."
Said Couric in an October 16 vlog at her online Notebook:
Both sides are using this issue to score points when they need to get out of the sandbox, act like adults, and agree on a compromise.
That's vintage Couric, alright. As NewsBusters editor Brent Baker wrote on Sept. 24, 2006:
McClatchy Newspapers is taking a somewhat ghoulish, pessimistically-toned look at the poor souls who suffer from our success in Iraq: undertakers. That's right, with less people dying, business is slow for Iraqi undertakers, report Jay Price and Qasim Zein in their October 16 article (accessed via Yahoo News), "As violence falls in Iraq, cemetery workers feel the pinch.":
NAJAF, Iraq — At what's believed to be the world's largest cemetery, where Shiite Muslims aspire to be buried and millions already have been, business isn't good.
A drop in violence around Iraq has cut burials in the huge Wadi al Salam cemetery here by at least one-third in the past six months, and that's cut the pay of thousands of workers who make their living digging graves, washing corpses or selling burial shrouds.
The burials aren't expensive, usually $200 or less, but many people draw their income from them.
Wired magazine's Sarah Lai Stirland is reporting that liberal advocacy group MoveOn.org is reversing course after it was lambasted for censorship for pushing Google to censor anti-MoveOn.org ads by Maine Senator Susan Collins' (R) campaign.:
The left-leaning political advocacy group, MoveOn.org, is backing down in a flap over the use of its name in online advertisements, permitting an influential Republican senator to criticize the organization in a reelection ad on Google's search engine.
"We don't want to support a policy that denies people freedom of expression," says Jennifer Lindenauer, MoveOn.org's communications director.