As Obama prepared to tour northern Ohio cities by bus on Thursday, NPR's Morning Edition was trying to take apart the Republican challenger to liberal Senator Sherrod Brown. First, correspondent David Welna dismissed 34-year-old GOP state treasurer Josh Mandel as someone "who could easily be mistaken for a teenager."
Then he added that "independent" (read: liberal media elite) fact-checkers think he's throwing false allegations at his liberal opponent, like he was the "deciding vote" for ObamaCare:
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:
On March 1, 2011, 14 year-old Makayla Norman of Dayton died of neglect at the hands of adults (her mother and three others) who were responsible for her care and safety. Makayla weighed 28 pounds when she died, and was found "covered in bedsores, living in filth and starved to the point the she looked more like a skeleton than a teenager." On Friday, her mother pled guilty to involuntary manslaughter and endangering children. The cases of the three other adults go to trial on April 16.
In January, an investigative report by Cox Newspapers Dayton-area staff writers Josh Sweigart and Doug Page identified several parties who could and should have prevented the neglect in the first place, or detected it while in progress: "the home care agency responsible for feeding her"; "an extensive bureaucracy where officials say fraud is a massive and growing problem"; her case manager (among those indicted), who "worked for CareStar of Ohio"; and the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services. Bizarrely, two months later, while barely mentioning any of the aforementioned parties in their report, Mary McCarty and Margo Kissell at the Dayton Daily News, using questionable methods and verbiage (to be noted later), decided that one other element in Makayla's life should be nominated to receive part of the blame -- homeschooling:
Sure, there is really "no way, theoretically or otherwise" that yesterday's school shooting in Chardon, Ohio, could have been prevented, self-confessed Second Amendment opponent MSNBC's Alex Wagner noted in a closing commentary on her eponymous program this afternoon. She then immediately delving into a gripe that America's fruited plain is riddled with incredibly lax gun laws thanks to that most evil of evil bogeymen, the "gun lobby" [video follows page break; MP3 audio here]:
Conservatives had some significant victories in Tuesday’s scattered elections across the country, but the broadcast network evening newscasts on Wednesday night – with the exception of one topic on NBC – decided to only highlight, as did the morning shows earlier in the day, setbacks for conservatives.
“Ohio voters rejected a Republican-backed measure that limited the collective bargaining rights of public workers,” CBS anchor Scott Pelley noted of the measure which won by 61 to 39 percent, but neither he nor ABC’s Diane Sawyer informed viewers a ballot measure which will bar ObamaCare’s mandate won by an even more overwhelming 66 to 34 percent.
Yesterday's election saw three especially controversial ballot measures, two in Ohio and one in Mississippi. Ohio voters voted on a measure to restrict collective bargaining rights, similar to the Wisconsin law passed by Gov. Scott Walker earlier this year, and on a measure to opt out the national health care mandate imposed by Obamacare. Mississippi voters voted on a ballot initiative to declare that life begins at conception, seeking to ban abortion altogether. However, the only measure to pass was the health care mandate opt out in Ohio.
What are your thoughts on the three ballot initiatives? Are you surprised by the outcomes? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.
Earlier this evening (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), I cited a few of very many examples where the press has not hesitated during the Obama years, and really since Barack Obama became the frontrunner for the Democratic Party's nomination in 2008, to engage in uncalled-for creativity to avoid calling a statement made a lie or an unlawful action illegal. One of the lastest: A Raleigh New & Observer reporter concluded that in implying that North Carolina has bridges in imminent danger of falling -- specifically, by asking his audience: "Why would we wait to act until another bridge falls?" -- Obama "may have" merely "over-suggested the risk to public safety."
Jim Kuhnhenn's report at the Associated Press tonight on the President's visit to the Brent Spence Bridge over the Ohio River connecting Cincinnati to Covington, Kentucky appears to have taken the cover-up of the president's misleading statements to a new level, as seen in the following excerpted paragraphs (bolds are mine):
David Lewis is running for Congress as a Republican in Ohio's Eighth Congressional District for the seat House Speaker John Boehner currently holds. To be kind, Lewis doesn't stand a chance. To be not as kind, the establishment press is using Lewis's candidacy as an excuse to attempt to cast doubt on the ability of Tea Party activists and the GOP establishment to get along. To be clear, there's plenty of reason for the existence of such doubts, but David Lewis's candidacy is certainly not one of them.
To the chagrin of the GOP establishment, I'm a fan of serious primary efforts, especially against incumbents who may have lost their way. But Lewis's effort is not serious. It is fundamentally flawed in its premise and completely miscasts Boehner's current prolife record. It also has given the press an opportunity to distort the priorities of the Tea Party movement.
Yesterday, at organized labor's traditional Labor Day picnic at Cincinnati's Coney Island amusement park, Vice President Joe Biden gave the keynote address. His key lines, as reported by Carl Weiser at the Cincinnati Enquirer's Politics Extra blog (video is here at MRC-TV): "... this is a different kind of fight. This is a fight for the heart and soul of the labor movement. This is a fight for the existence of organized labor. You are the only ones who can stop the barbarians at the gate! That’s why they want you so bad.”
Biden's statement is in an important aspect more problematic than the more widely (but not sufficiently widely) noted "son of a b*tches" comment made by Teamsters President James Hoffa Jr. in Detroit yesterday at a Labor Day event President Obama keynoted. While Hoffa was threatening and hateful, he was at least in theory speaking only for Big Labor (though Obama has essentially adopted it by not condemning it). In Cincinnati, Biden, who was elected to serve all citizens of the country, personally characterized a large plurality of those he is supposed to be serving with a word which means "savage, primitive, uncivilized persons." Biden's "barbarians"comment has received very light establishment press coverage, as did what appears to have been a singularly unimpressive number of people who actually heard his speech:
Toledo-area blogger Maggie Thurber recently referred me to a week-old item at the odious, leftism uber alles Toledo Blade. Written by "Blade Staff" (can't say I can blame anyone for not wanting to put their name on this disgrace), it described a violent shooting incident which took place in Lambertville, a town in Monroe County, Michigan just north of the Glass City.
If you knew nothing else about the event and only relied on the Blade's story, you would think that what occurred was some kind of random act of violence:
If there's a reason why Dayton Daily News staff writer Drew Simon wrote his Tuesday morning story ("Seniors fear losing Social Security checks") other than to scare the elderly, I don't know what it is.
Nowhere in his report did Simon say who was the first person to invalidly raise the specter of Social Security checks not going out on August 2 (it was President Barack Obama, in case you missed it). Nowhere did he mention that the likelihood is extremely remote, and that if it happens it would only be because the Obama Treasury Department decided to let it happen. Messy items like that distract from the main purpose. Oh, but Simon did get an apparatchik from AARP who also should and probably does know better to chime in on his behalf.
In his coverage of this weekend's We The People Convention in Columbus, Ohio early Saturday morning, Columbus Dispatch reporter Ben Geier found it "surprising" that many attendees would "go after the Republican Party and House Speaker John Boehner" in expressing their opinions relating to developments in Washington. It's as if he's totally unaware of what the movement's leading members and its grass roots activists have been saying (and proving) since the first anti-stimulus rallies in early 2009 (and at earlier events--see this comment below), since Utah Tea Partiers unceremoniously ousted supposedly entrenched incumbent Bob Bennett in May 2010, and since Ohio Tea Partiers ran serious but largely unsuccessful opposition candidates for State Auditor, Secretary of State, and the State Republican Party's Central Committee slots that spring.
Since Rip Van Geier missed it, here's the message: The Tea Party movement isn't about propping up a party; it's about electing sensible, Constitution-following conservatives to political office regardless of party, revising state and federal laws to reflect constitutional principles, and of course educating the general populace about those principles and their importance.
The New York Times versus state spending cuts. Reporter Sabrina Tavernise went to the downtrodden town of Gallipollis, Ohio, and collected a grab bag of sympathetic liberal anecdotes about government workers threatened by a bill that would restrict public-sector unions, for Wednesday’s “Ohio Town Sees Public Job As Only Route To Middle Class.”
Tavernise focused solely on the plight of low-income workers, including unionized government workers, while failing to mention the state's $8 billion deficit (a number included only in an Associated Press sidebar story, "Governor's Budget Seeks To Limit Union Influence.")
Jodi and Ralph Taylor are public workers whose jobs as a janitor and a sewer manager cover life’s basics. They have moved out of a trailer into a house, do not have to rely on food stamps and sometimes even splurge for the spicy wing specials at the Courtside Bar and Grill.
While that might not seem like much, jobs like theirs, with benefits and higher-than-minimum wages, are considered plum in this depressed corner of southern Ohio. Decades of industrial decline have eroded private-sector jobs here, leaving a thin crust of low-paying service work that makes public-sector jobs look great in comparison.
Now, as Ohio’s legislature moves toward final approval of a bill that would chip away at public-sector unions, those workers say they see it as the opening bell in a race to the bottom. At stake, they say, is what little they have that makes them middle class.
Beware the crystal-ball story that predicts a backlash -- a liberal newspaper will constantly find backlashes to predict wherever conservatives succeed. The Washington Post unleashed their clairvoyance on Friday in an Amy Gardner story headlined "Ohio GOP may invite backlash with tough stance on unions." It began:
COLUMBUS -- State Republicans took the toughest line yet against public-sector unions this week, delivering an early and significant victory for a slew of lawmakers elected in November.
Perhaps too tough. Democrats and even some Republicans said that the bold action and the uncompromising way it was carried out could boomerang on Republicans in the next election, in much the same way that the stimulus bill and health-care overhaul haunted Democrats in Ohio and elsewhere last year.
Cincinnati Enquirer reporter Malia Rulon seems to have misplaced her objectivity when she prepared a February 21 front-page report on legislation passed by the House that would reduce projected spending during the current fiscal year by $61 billion. Later in this post, I will present evidence showing that Ms. Rulon's objectivity has likely been missing in action for many years.
This amount represents about 1.6% of the administration's $3.819 trillion spending estimate. If implemented, this year's $3.758 trillion in spending would still be over $1 trillion more than was spent just four years ago in fiscal 2007, as seen below:
Especially on Martin Luther King Day, it seems worth asking whether or not the assassinated civil rights leaders would have cared more about:
Whether a talk radio host told his audience, in reference to the No Child Left Behind Act causing many school districts, including the Toledo Public Schools (TPS), to believe they must "teach to the test" to avoid serious sanctions: "teaching little monkeys to peel bananas and so on and then doing it correctly on cue, does not mean that they’ve learned everything except a funny parlor trick."
The fact that TPS is rated dead-last in its metro area, and failed to meet state test-result requirements in 21 of 24 testing categories in the 2009-2010 academic year. The worst examples: In the eighth grade, only 39.0% and 34.3% of TPS students tested as proficient in math and science, respectively. According to Toledo-area blogger and sometime WSPD host Maggie Thurber, the District is also "facing a $38 million deficit and ... 58% of voters said no to their last levy request."
I think it's safe to say that King would have preferred that attention stay focused on dealing with Toledo's schools, and for that matter Ohio's schools in general, as according to the just referenced Ohio Department of Education (ODE) report card, TPS actually outperformed (actually, "less underperformed") "similar districts" in the Buckeye State in 15 of those 24 categories.
But that must not be how the Toledo Blade sees it. The far left Blade, which in distant-past editorials regaled readers with its indispensable importance as a Glass City civic institution and has been in a figurative war with local talk station WSPD for years, clearly thought it saw an opening when host Brian Wilson said the following on January 7:
Ohio election officials have unanimously dismissed a complaint by the Democratic Governors Association, alleging that the Fox News Channel made an illegal in-kind contribution of nearly $170,000 to then-gubernatorial candidate Republican John Kasich.
The DGA had alleged that the 90 seconds Kasich's campaign web address appeared at the bottom of the screen during an interview on Fox amounted to a political advertisement. The Ohio Elections Commission ruled 5-0 that it did not.
Fox News's legal counsel said the DGA's complaint ran counter to "the whole concept of press coverage."
During his rant, Democrat Strickland denounced the Republican Party as "overtaken by the zealots, by the extremists, by the radicals"; claimed that "they don’t seem to like Ohio very much, and quite frankly, they act as if they don’t like America very much," in essence questioning their patriotism; and asked the audience to help him fight "the Tea Party radicals."
The fallout has apparently been so severe that ever-helpful veteran Columbus Dispatch reporter, senior editor, and columnist Joe Hallett felt compelled on Thursday to try to help the Governor walk it all back. In an exchange that can only be seen as Hallett begging for Strickland to give him something, anything to work with, Strickland wasn't very helpful, bogusly played the "out of context" card, and in a very real sense doubled down on his disrespect for those who oppose him. He even went into a riff on how opponents (in context, "Republicans," not just "some Republicans") want to repeal the 14th amendment (huh?).
The full 11:36 video of Strickland's discussion with reporters is here (originally posted at the Ohio Capital Blog); the RGA's 2:04 excerpt featuring Hallett is here (HT RightOhio). What follows is a transcript of the excerpt:
It's interesting, and more than a little frustrating, to see how inflammatory words in speeches delivered by liberal and leftist politicians that might cast them in a bad light don't seem to make much news.
One such example occurred in a speech yesterday at Cincinnati's Coney Island, on the occasion of the AFL-CIO's huge annual picnic there. At that event, Ohio Governor Ted Strickland lashed out at the party of gubernatorial opponent John Kasich as, according to one local reporter, "overrun by extremist elements."
I don't know that this is exactly what Strickland said, but it seems highly unlikely that veteran WLWT reporter John London would have strung those words together on his own.
Strickland's characterization of his opposition as relayed by London, which you will find at this Bing video and also at WLWT's own web site, "somehow" didn't make it into the the station's accompanying text report on the event, which, contrary to what I believe is the norm at the station, doesn't in any way follow the script of the London's coverage. The "overrun by extremist elements" reference also was not noted at either of the city's two other news-following TV stations which covered the event (here and here), nor in Howard Wilkinson's coverage at Gannett's Cincinnati Enquirer. Imagine that.
Here is the first 70% or so of the verbiage in the WLWT broadcast:
On Thursday's Countdown show, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann tied together Republican opposition to same-sex marriage, the Ground Zero mosque, and illegal immigration, as he charged that "the Republican method" for electoral success is "hate." The MSNBC host opened the show: "The Republican method for winning elections is hate. Hate somebody. Anybody will do. We have seen it this year with immigrants and now, Muslims. And now, in our fifth story tonight: for the first time, we have a former head of the Republican party confirming that, yes, his party does it. They do it to win and did it in 2004 and 2006 against gay Americans. He said this even though he himself is no longer denying that he, too, is gay."
Without evidence, Olbermann also blamed the stabbing of New York City cab driver Ahmed Sharif on those who oppose construction of a mosque near Ground Zero. Although he later admitted that the mosque was not mentioned by the suspect, the MSNBC host suggested a link as he teased the show:
The front page of Saturday's Washington Post carried an article by Shailagh Murray from Ohio's 13th congressional district, just west of Cleveland. The dominant theme was two-term Rep. Betty Sutton's whining that her GOP opponent Ted Ganley, a car dealer, benefited from Cash for Clunkers but now bashes it. The Post wondered about why Democrats get so little credit for the "stimulus," and Murray's central question was this:
How can nearly $1 trillion flush through the U.S. economy, with tangible results, and still leave voters dubious? ["Flushed" is a good verb for this.]
In October 2007, I put up a BizzyBlog post (also cross-posted at the Cleveland Plain Dealer's short-lived Wide Open Blog) about William Garner (pictured at right), the Ohio man who killed five children (three of them and the lone survivor also pictured at right) to cover up a burglary in 1992.
At the time, it appeared that Garner's date with the executioner had been indefinitely called off, for specious Miranda-related reasons that you have to read to believe (and even then, it will be difficult).
On Tuesday, Garner's attempts to avoid his death sentence ultimately failed. Sadly, the Associated Press's unbylined coverage of his execution by lethal injection Tuesday allowed Garner and his lawyers to put forth one final batch of half-truths and untruths that require refutation (bolds and numbered tags are mine):
An Ohio man said he was "heartily sorry" for his carelessness (1) before he was executed Tuesday for the murders of five children in a 1992 Cincinnati apartment fire he set in an attempt to destroy evidence of a burglary. William Garner, 37, died at 10:38 a.m. at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility, 18 minutes after the lethal injection began.
Columbus Bureau Chief Jim Provance at the Toledo Blade is a one-man "Name That Party" creativity machine:
In March of last year (covered at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), in a story about late financial reports from Ohio's state government, Provance identified State Auditor Mary Taylor, who criticized Governor Ted Strickland's administration for being so tardy with the numbers that they could not be audited in time for biennial budget deliberations -- but never identified Strickland or anyone else involved in the snafu as a Democrat. NewsBusters commenter "Hoosierem reported that Provance, in response to a subsequent e-mail, had stated that "I should have taken the next step of noting the governor’s party."
Then in May (covered at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), the slow-learning Blade reporter, in a story about the indictment of Anthony Gutierrez, a former aide to disgraced Democrat and former Attorney General Marc Dann (pictured at top right in a Blade photo), never named Guttierez's party -- but did name the party of the county prosecutor who indicted him.
Provance's latest exercise in Name That Party creativity (HT to Maggie Thurber in an e-mail) revolves around Dann's guilty pleas on Thursday to ethics violations. This time, he got in a "clever" dig about Republican scandals going back a half-decade in his opening sentence, but never specifically ID'd Dann as a Democrat, referring only to "a Democratic wave" and "fellow Democrats" -- in Paragraph 11.
Meanwhile, the local Columbus Dispatch, which would be less obligated to reveal Dann's party affiliation because its readership is more likely to already know it, told readers Dann is a Democrat in the second paragraph of its coverage.
The name of Ohio's governor, Ted Strickland, doesn't show up anywhere in either entity's coverage.
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 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.
The Associated Press seems to have two unwritten rules on how and when to write stories about leftist controversies and setbacks:
Rule Number 1 -- Do little or nothing with the story until you can figure out a way to make center-right critics or victors look like the bad guys.
Rule Number 2 -- If you're thinking about covering the story any other way, refer to Rule Number 1.
On Thursday, the 1851 Center for Constitutional Law in Columbus, Ohio, which describes itself as "an independent legal center dedicated to protecting the constitutional rights of Ohioans from government abuse," announced a significant legal victory for Buckeye State residents interested in clean elections:
The 1851 Center for Constitutional Law achieved victory in its state RICO action against the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN). ACORN has agreed to settle the case and will cease all Ohio activity as a result. In its settlement with the 1851 Center, ACORN agreed to surrender all of its Ohio business licenses by June 1, 2010. Further, the organization cannot support or enable any individual or organization that seeks to engage in the same type of activity.
That seems like a pretty clear-cut result, doesn't it? Not if you're the Associated Press's JoAnne Viviano, whose brief item on Saturday followed the rules above, fabricated a supposed loophole in the settlement, and gave an unnamed spokesman an open mic to despicably play the race card:
A man who identified himself as Winston Steward, 51, of Frazier Park, Calif., says he made up the name "Ellie Light" to protect himself from criticism and possible physical attacks, and used fake addresses across the country to get local newspapers to publish his letters.
"I am Winston Steward and have been sending the letters from Ellie Light," he told The Plain Dealer in an e-mail late Tuesday, following a phone interview in which he said the same. "I hope this ends any confusion and sets the record straight."
The declining (or is it dying?) newspaper industry has suffered another blow to its image as punctilious skeptic with the motto "If your mother says she loves you, check it out." It turns out a pile of American newspapers can’t manage to check out the most basic information about people who are flat-out using their pages to push political agendas.
A person with the name of "Ellie Light" has been successfully published with the same letter in at least 68 newspapers defending President Obama – defrauding the editors by using local addresses. Reports have "her" published in two papers overseas.
Who is "Ellie Light"? We know this much: "She" is a fraud.