Someone forgot to tell the Wall Street Journal's Kelly Evans and Justin Lahart, carried here at the Arizona Republic, that they're supposed to portray the economy in a bad light whenever and wherever possible. I'll get to the pair's report later.
That "bad light" directive seems seared into the minds of the Associated Press's Martin Crutsinger and his AP colleagues, as they continue to "cling to recession," and attempt to convince consumers and businesses that if perchance we're not already in one, it's just around the bend.
The AP's persistence has borne dreadful fruit. Relentlessly downbeat reporting during at least the past six years by the wire service's business reporters -- who largely determine what most Americans see, hear, and read about the economy -- is a big reason, if not the most important reason, why most Americans, as seen in the latest consumer confidence report, have a negative economic outlook and are convinced that we are in a recession.
Old Media business reporters have a definitionally-incorrect habit of labeling single industries or economic sectors as being "in recession," when the term, as defined here, can only describe national economies or the world economy. Two examples of this are New York Times reporter David Leonhardt's description of manufacturing as being in recession in February 2007 (laughably incorrect, in any event), and the Times's employment of the term "housing recession" 25 times since October 2006, as seen in this Times search (with the phrase in quotes).
But if I wanted to be consistent with this routine form of journalistic malpractice, I would characterize the newspaper business -- at least in terms of the top 25 in the industry's food chain -- not as being in recession, but instead as going through a deep, dark, painful, protracted depression.
Monday’s NBC psychic crime drama "Medium" featured a plot line in which an Arizona senator and former POW is discovered to be a two-time murderer and a cannibal. While it is safe to assume that the story was written before the Hollywood writers’ strike, and before the rise of John McCain to front-runner status for the GOP presidential nomination, the blatant use of McCain’s personal history, as a politician and Vietnam POW, as grist to feed the murderous plot is obvious.
In Monday’s episode, titled “Aftertaste”, the medium (“Allison DuBois,” played by Patricia Arquette) suspects an ex-POW Arizona state senator is involved in a murder she sees in her dreams. Through a series of psychic flashbacks, she discovers that the senator (“Jed Garrity,” played by Gregory Itzin), as a young Army captain held by the North Vietnamese, proposed to his cellmates that they kill and eat a dying American soldier rather than starve to death. “Garrity” drew the short straw and committed the actual murder himself by strangling the dying soldier.
Apparently, the Arizona Republic cannot discuss the work of globaloney skeptic Robert Balling of Arizona State University without constantly pointing out that his "peers" think he is an idiot that has been bought off by "industries." The paper cannot write a story about his career without constantly suggesting that he is a "fringe" scientist and that he is "criticized" by those who imagine global warming is the biggest threat humanity faces today.
What's more, the Republic finds his personal life filled with "surprising contradictions" because this climatologist has a green lifestyle, as if any global warming critic must automatically believe in poisoning our waters and polluting our skies. Apparently the Az Republic thinks it's impossible that a man can be interested in safeguarding the environment but also believe that global warming is a sham. And, even worse, the Az Republic seems aghast that Rush Limbaugh has quoted from the man's work.
"An Eco-System Runs Through It" trumpets the June 19 front page headline in the San Antonio Express-News. The Anastasia Ustinova story manages to combine two liberal positions together in the guise of protecting the environment, as the sub-head tells readers that "Fencing threatens critters - and eco system."
The story goes on to note that the fence "would cut large swaths through sensitive habitat and harm rare or threatened species." The story reads like liberal environmental literature and even has time to push a non-green liberal cause: preventing border fencing.
Yet once again the left gets confused about the difference of opinion and actual balanced news.
A few days old but a goodie. I've seen in this one report something that's often missing from network treatment of the minimum wage issue: a quantification of how much the government wage mandate affects the bottom line for small businesses, and ends up screwing over the little guy.
Mark Messner, owner of Pepi's Pizza in south Phoenix, estimates he has
employed more than 2,000 high school students since 1990. But he plans
to lay off three teenage workers and decrease hours worked by others.
Of his 25-person workforce, roughly 75 percent are in high school.
"I've had to go to some of my kids and say, 'Look, my payroll just
increased 13 percent,' " he said. " 'Sorry, I don't have any hours for
Messner's monthly cost to train an employee has jumped from $440 to $580 as the turnover rate remains high.
"We go to great lengths to hang on to our high school workers, but
there are a lot of kids who come in and get one check in their pocket
and feel like they're living large and out the door they go," he said.
"We never get our return on investment when that happens."
Barry Hess, the Libertarian candidate for governor in Arizona is so upset with the "blatant and shameless" bias of his state's biggest newspaper, the Arizona Republic that he's embarking on a new effort to run ads--against the newspaper.
Judging from Hess's media bias section on his site, it seems his biggest complaint isn't necessarily about issues and more about that the paper's refusal to give coverage to other candidates besides the Democrat Janet Janet Napolitano and Republican Len Munsil. Still, this is the first time I've ever seen a candidate of any party want to run advertisements against a media outlet.
There is another interesting item in this story as well. Hess had an email exchange with Ken Western, the Republic's editorial page editor. In a reply to Hess after the candidate has expressed frustration with being called a "spoiler" by a Republic reporter, Western explicitly states that Hess should refrain from criticizing reporters since doing so will result in bad publicity for himself. Here's the relevant part of the page:
Over at GetReligion, Mollie Ziegler is giggling (a giggling Ziegler?) over how difficult liberals find it to include the voices of people who believe homosexuality is sinful and wrong into the news. Or at least giggling at the way that it can be explained. Billie Stanton wrote in the Tucson Citizen that the University of Arizona no longer taught the vital importance of balance and objectivity in reporting, which she applied:
When some talented Denver Post reporters covered an anti-gay referendum later overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court, their bias showed. Repeatedly I demanded rewrites to give the homophobes’ side equal credence.
Stanton made the point in a column in the Tucson Citizen about why she is glad to be on the editorial page. But it just cracked me up. Everyone’s entitled to their own opinion, certainly, but the question is at least worth asking: how fair of a shake can you give people when you believe their legislative opinion is based on an irrational fear of homosexuality? Of course, I was in college and living in Denver at the time of the vote and remember that things were weird. Our own governor — himself part of an interesting polyamorous family situation — marched in the streets condemning the people of his own state for how they voted.
Sheehan is a Californian whose soldier son, Casey, was killed in Iraq in April 2004.
Along with winning supporters, she has provoked vitriolic reactions as Americans disagree over the war. Sheehan clarified an oft-quoted remark that has brought intense criticism.
When she said, "This country isn't worth dying for," she was referring to Iraq, she said.
"I believe America is worth dying for."
Sadly, that isn't the truth. It isn't even close.
From Lee Kaplan's article "SFSU Hosts a Terrorist" we draw the full quote, in context:
Cindy Sheehan followed this act. Wearing a sweatshirt advertising the website for United for Peace and Justice, Sheehan was interviewed outside just before the meeting by an ABC-TV news reporter. Sheehan said then that military recruiters should not be allowed on college campuses, maintaining they trick naïve 18-year-olds with offers of money and scholarships. Tragically, Cindy Sheehan lost her son Casey who was in the Army and was killed two weeks after arriving in Iraq. She claimed he was promised a job as a chaplain’s assistant although once in the service was placed in a combat role and killed, certainly a moving story – one she exploits to promote venomous anti-Americanism. “George Bush and his neo-conservatives killed my son,” she said tearing up a bit. “America has been killing people on this continent since it was started. This country is not worth dying for.” [italics mine]
She was obviously talking about America not being worth dying for. Iraq was never part of the conversation.