Leave it to the British press to once again do the job of real reporting that U.S. journalists apparently won't do.
This time, it's Tom Leonard at the UK Telegraph. From Flint, Michigan, he tells us of a "pioneering scheme" that involves tearing down entire neighborhoods and simply abandoning them -- oops, I'm sorry, I meant to say, "returning them to nature."
This is apparently what passes for sophisticated urban planning these days.
Here are key paragraphs from Leonard's story. Especially note the breathtaking anti-progress hostility of the idea's champion (bolds are mine; Getty picture at top right is from that story):
While the liberal Democratic mayor of Los Angeles has a thing for news babes, it seems his hometown paper has a penchant for leaving out the mayor's party affiliation from reporting on his liaisons.
"A Los Angeles television reporter is dating Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, about two years after his extramarital affair with another local newscaster led to the breakup of his 20-year marriage," Phil Willon of the Los Angeles Times informed readers in a June 2 article devoid of the mayor's Democratic party affiliation:
KTLA-TV Channel 5 reporter Lu Parker, a former Miss U.S.A., has been dating Villaraigosa since March, station officials confirmed Monday. On Sunday, while working as a weekend anchor, Parker announced a story about the likelihood of Villaraigosa running for governor in 2010.
There is little argument that the British press is doing a better job than its U.S. counterparts covering the Obama administration's less than perfect performance.
If the reactions of Nile Gardiner and James Delingpole at the UK Telegraph to White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs's blanket criticism of British journalism are any indication, UK reporters are also more willing to stand up for themselves instead of filing toothless complaints and letting veiled threats go by without blowback.
First, via Howard Kurtz, here's the fine whine from Associated Press reporter, President of the White House Correspondents' Association, and Democratic operative Jennifer Loven about the Obama administration's penchant for anonymous, "on background" briefings:
Those of us seeking truth in reporting, especially the inconvenient truths about a Democratic presidential administration, are re-learning the lessons of the Clinton Era:
First, that the "newspapers of record," the Associated Press, and the major TV networks (except Fox) are usually the last places you want to go to learn what's really going on, and the first place to visit if you want a rendition of the Democratic-left wing party line.
Second, that some of the best reporting and fact-checking can be found in editorials at the Wall Street Journal and Investors Business Daily.
Third, that the many of the British papers will dig up and expose administration-embarrassing news most of America's newsprint apparatchiks will bury if they find them, and ignore if they can.
In 2009, there is a fourth lesson, which is that much of the investigative reporting vacuum created by the establishment media is being filled by the center-right blogosphere.
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs is very upset that Lesson Three is again in force, and made his displeasure known (HT Politico) in reaction to a UK Telegraph report alleging that photos from the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq "include images of apparent rape and sexual abuse":
Democratic Cincinnati City Councilwoman Laketa Cole was pulled over by city police on Wednesday afternoon along with a friend while each was driving their own motorcycle.
WCPO-TV Channel 9 investigated the incident, and found that Cole appeared to attempt to get special treatment to avoid having her friend's motorcycle seized.
The video verion of WCPO's report ultimately notes that Cole and her friend received tickets. But "somehow," the text that is supposed to reflect the content of the video does not.
The station did not mention Cole's Democratic Party affiliation in its report, or in its follow-up when Cole called to defend herself. The Cincinnati Democratic Committee endorsed Cole's reelection bid this November on April 8. The Cincinnati Enquirer's report on the incident also doesn't name Cole's party.
That's bad enough, but when Hamilton County Republican Party chairman Alex Triantafilou issued a press release denouncing Cole's apparent attempts at obtaining favoritism, the Enquirer only identified Triantafilou's party, and not Cole's (Cincinnati is the county seat of Hamilton County).
On May 15, I posted (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog) on the Obama administration's and government-run Chrysler's blatant deception concerning whether plants would be closed as a result of the company's bankruptcy filing.
Specifically, on April 29 and 30, Obama, the administration and Chrysler told senators, congressmen, state and local politicians, and local and regional union leaders that the bankruptcy (these are Obama's words) "will not disrupt the lives of the people who work at Chrysler or the communities that depend on it." Those who heard this and other reassurances reasonably concluded that no plants would be permanently closed. But on May 1, government-run Chrysler announced that it would close plants in Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, and Wisconsin. Days later, hundreds of Chrysler dealers were terminated.
The national media establishment has treated all of this as a non-story, so I expect it will do the same with this update from the Cleveland Plain Dealer. It includes news that two Ohio congressmen, one Democrat and one Republican, are demanding documents relating to the who, what, where, when, and why of the plant-closing decisions:
Those who believe that Politico is a hangout for former establishment media journalists who want to recreate a combination of the New York Times and Washington Post on the web -- complete with the insufferable biases of those two publications -- can look to the disparate treatment of two challenges to party congressional leaders as affirmative evidence.
In a search on "Cindy Sheehan" at Politico, I found that in covering the congressional candidacy of former media darling Cindy Sheehan in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's Northern California district, the online news site carried two tiny items. Only one of them was originally produced there.
In early March (covered at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), Toledo Blade Columbus Bureau reporter Jim Provance named the party of Ohio's Republican State Auditor Mary Taylor, who sharply criticized Democratic Governor Ted Strickland's serious lateness with the state's financial statements -- so late that they couldn't possibly be audited until after the Ohio General Assembly passes the budget for the two-year fiscal period that will begin on July 1.
Provance never named Strickland's or any other Democrat's party.
I should have mentioned that the governor is a Democrat. I mentioned Ms. Taylor's party affiliation because she is of the opposite party of the person she is criticizing. Just a fact that should be put out there. I should have taken the next step of noting the governor's party."
Here are the first two paragraphs of Toyota Motor Corporation's press release announcing its financial results for the year ended March 31, 2009 (most Japanese companies end their fiscal years on March 31; bolds are mine):
Tokyo - TOYOTA MOTOR CORPORATION (TMC) today announced operating results for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2009.
On a consolidated basis, net revenues for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2009 totaled 20.53 trillion yen, a decrease of 21.9 percent compared to the last fiscal year. Operating income decreased from 2.27 trillion yen to a loss of 461 billion yen, and income before income taxes, minority interest and equity in earnings of affiliated companies was a loss of 560.4 billion yen. Net income decreased from 1.72 trillion yen to a loss of 437 billion yen.
Across the board, the financial press reports I read translated the company's reported losses expressed in yen into dollars ($4.4 billion in $US for the year, and $7.7 billion in the fourth quarter), but not its revenues (about $207 billion and $35 billion, respectively).
Shoot, he's only talking about pulling $8 billion in state-controlled money because a bank won't go easy on a business borrower who can't pay. What's the big deal?
Well, the story involves the company that makes suits for President Barack Obama (pictured at right). Beyond that, the union at that company is citing the US Treasury Department's Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP) as a reason that company's bank should in essence bail it out.
You might think that these two factors, combined with what I'm characterizing as a loyalty oath all financial institutions who do business with the State of Illinois must soon agree to (covered later), might make the Treasurer's and union's threats a national story. You would be wrong.
Here is most of the very short AP item, carried at the Springfield (IL) State Journal-Register, and referred to me by a NewsBusters commenter:
Party Affiliation - Let relevance be the guide in determining whether to include a political figure's party affiliation in a story. Party affiliation is pointless in some stories, such as an account of a governor accepting a button from a poster child.
It will occur naturally in many political stories. For stories between these extremes, include party affiliation if readers need it for understanding or are likely to be curious about what it is.
The AP, as readers here know, frequently flouts its own standards when Democrats are involved in legal or personal difficulties in its reporters' original write-ups. That's bad enough. But what's doubly offensive, and sadly no longer surprising, is how its writers seem to actively work to purge party references from other publications' original local or single-state stories about Democratic politicians or officials involved in scandal or other troubles.
In the latest example, it isn't just that the subject's party isn't directly identified. Based on AP's "clever" composition, many readers are likely to conclude that the person in trouble is a Republican.
A grisly late 2007 quadruple-murder case in the Cincinnati suburb of Sharonville has apparently been solved with the arrest of Santiago Moreno.
Moreno apparently brutally stabbed his four other apartment mates with near-surgical precision.
It is horrible that these men died. It is great news that the monster who did it has apparently been caught.
What is hard to understand is why after nearly 1-1/2 years, it's finally okay to use a certain "I-word" to describe the victims' immigration status that was almost never used when the original stories broke:
On April 14, The Toledo Blade, apparently having temporarily misplaced the comma key, reported that "Longtime Lucas County Sheriff James Telb and a top commander and two former deputies were indicted by a federal grand jury Tuesday on charges related to the 2004 death of an inmate at the jail" (HT to Maggie Thurber in an e-mail).
The Blade, which likes to brag about the over 1,000 articles (I'm not kidding) it carried about Republican Tom Noe's coin-dealing losses and related matters several years ago, nearly all of which reminded readers of Noe's GOP affiliation, "somehow" forgot to tell readers that Sheriff Telb is a Democrat (scroll down to list of "Uncontested Races" at link").
The Blade's blind spot on Sheriff Telb's party has been on display frequently since then. Telb's party affiliation is nowhere to be found in these other Blade reports:
To keep up with what has happened in the aftermath of the odious Kelo v. New London Supreme Court eminent domain ruling nearly four years ago (quick answer: nothing that has to do with actually building anything), your truly gets alerts relating what is going happening in that Connecticut town. As a result, I occasionally get alerts concerning things about the affected Fort Trumbull area that while not directly tied to eminent domain, are nonetheless amusing.
Here's one: Did you know that we have government boards in many states wrestling with what to do about the supposedly imminent rises in ocean sea levels? Indeed we do, and poor, gullible Judy Benson of the New London Day decided to write about it.
Reactions from readers of the Day were justifiably less than uniformly kind.
Here are key paragraphs from Benson's report (Day link won't work without paid subscription after seven days):
Climate change poses challenges for the Connecticut coast
An important story appeared in the Cincinnati Enquirer on Tuesday. Here's how it began (Warren County is adjacent to and northeast of Cincinnati's Hamilton County):
County: no more food stamps for rich
Warren County’s poor (population) does not include someone with $80,000 in the bank, a paid-off $311,000 home and a Mercedes, members of the Warren County Board of Commissioners said Tuesday.
And if they have to fight the state and federal government over it, they will.
Recently the commissioners learned that this person, with the before-mentioned property, qualified for $500 a month in food stamps after she lost her job.
The Enquirer never told us why the County suddenly became motivated to do what it did.
Here's why (and how typical it is that the Enquirer either doesn't know this, or refused to give credit where due).
Someone who is "a source in the business" e-mailed State of Ohio Blogger Alliance founder Matt Hurley of Weapons of Mass Discussion. Matt put up a memorable post on March 13 containing the text of that e-mail:
Vincent Fumo's chronicle of corruption is extraordinary, even by the "standards" of Philadelphia, PA.
Thus, it's a journalistic fail that in a story about the convictions of former 30-year state senator Fumo and longtime associate Ruth Arnao, NBC Philadephia (HT Michelle Malkin) did not identify his or her Democratic Party party affiliation.
Here is a portion of NBC Philly's early-morning story:
Fumo Guilty on All Counts
Guilty is the verdict on all 137 counts for Vince Fumo in his federal corruption trail. His co-defendant Ruth Arnao is also guilty on all counts against her.
The Seattle Times compiles what it calls "The Favor Factory," which it calls "A database of lawmakers, earmarks, and campaign giving."
One noteworthy congressman in the Favor Factory is Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA; picture at right is currently at his home page).
Moran's Favors Factory page for 2008 lists 29 earmarks totaling $40.6 million, and over $890,000 in capaign contributions from earmark recipients.
Recall that Nancy Pelosi promised "Fiscal Restraint If Democrats Win" in a July 2006 Wall street Journal interview about the congressional elections that would be taking place four months later (link is to cato.org, which excerpted the now unavailable WSJ report). She also told the Journal:
“Personally, myself, I’d get rid of all of them,” she said. “None of them is worth the skepticism, the cynicism the public has… and the fiscal irresponsibility of it.”
Rep. Moran begged to differ just one month earlier, using language he would hopefully avoid around the second-graders with whom he is pictured above (actual offensive four-letter word is at link), as reported by a local metro DC community newspaper, the Sun Gazette:
It seems that so-called stimulus package funding is being spread around so widely that some of its beneficiaries can't figure out how to spend it as intended.
When it became clear to a few small cities in California's Los Angeles County that they didn't have appropriate transportation projects for their promised stimulus funding, they decided to sell the rights to that funding to other nearby locales at a discount. The selling city's resulting cash would then go into its unrestricted general fund and could be spent on anything the city wished.
Apparently these transactions aren't that unusual in the topsy-turvy world of California state and municipal finance. But it was a, uh, bridge too far for LA County's Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA). After approving a few stimulus-related swaps (noted in stories here and here), the MTA reversed course and putting the kibosh on those and prohibiting any future deals (noted in stories here, here, and here).
Apparently it hasn't occurred to anyone, including the local media, or the New York Times's Jennifer Steinhauer, that if these municipalities really don't need and can't use the money, US taxpayers ought to be first in line to get it back.
Los Angeles's NBC television affiliate must not have gotten the memo telling them that they should not utter the name of ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now), lest anyone reach the "wrong" conclusions.
NBC Los Angeles is the only media outlet I have found thus far to identify ACORN's presence in a story about a "disruptive display of disobedience" by members the United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) at a school board meeting Tuesday (the story credit is to "Associated Press/NBC Los Angeles," but as you will see later, I found no AP story containing an ACORN reference).
Here is the story headline that the Google News crawler apparently originally found:
Wall Street’s major stock indexes followed Monday’s strong sell-off with a day of fluctuation, ending with more losses.
The Dow Jones Industrials Average gyrated between modest gains and losses throughout the trading day, ending the down 37 points, or 0.55 percent, to close at 6,726. Monday’s fall below 7,000 sent the Dow to its lowest level since April 1997.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index ended Tuesday trading down 4.49 to 696, it first close below the 700 level since October 1996. The Nasdaq Composite Index ended Tuesday’s session down 1.84 to 1321.
But after considering inflation, the markets are, in real terms, stuck at 1995 values, as shown in the following chart:
You've got to hand it to Jim Provance of the Toledo Blade. He managed only to identify the party of a Republican in a story that is primarily about a Democratic administration's failure to produce timely financial statements.
Democratic Governor Ted Strickland, his administration, and his appointed Democrats in Ohio's Office of Budget and Management are not going to have the state's records in auditable condition until after the General Assembly passes the budget for the NEXT biennium beginning July 1 of this year. This is a situation that Republican State Auditor Mary Taylor yesterday called "unprecedented."
So "naturally," Provance identified Taylor's twice party in his report covering the situation, and failed to specifically name the party of any other statewide official -- or Strickland himself. Oh we can infer it, but inferences don't show up in search engine results. The words "Democrat" or "Democratic" are nowhere to be found.
Here are the key excerpts from the story (link corrected from original when posted):
So where did the Cleveland Plain Dealer's Sabrina Eaton go for opinions on what Michelle Malkin earlier today called "the massive mortgage entitlement campaign launched by President Barack Obama"?
Why, they went to "housing experts," of course.
But the people she quoted aren't builders, realtors, mortgage lenders, mortgage brokers, or economists. Nor, based on the area's results, are they experts in helping individuals and families make smart housing decisions, or in helping communities build property values.
No-no-no. The people Eaton consulted as "housing experts" were an "organizing project executive director," the head of the "Columbus-based Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio," and a county treasurer. Not surprisingly, these alleged "experts" liked Obama's plan, but conditioned their praise with the requisite "there should be more" caveats -- both in terms of money and coercion.
The battle between New London, Connecticut and the residents of its Fort Trumbull neighborhood began in 1998 when the City decided that it would redevelop the area for ultimate ownership by others and, if necessary, take the residents' properties for that "public purpose" -- not for "public use" (i.e., roads, bridges, schools, etc.), as the Fifth Amendment clearly intended.
Susette Kelo and other Fort Trumbull residents pushed back and sued to try to stop the city's plans. Ultimately, the Supreme Court rendered its 5-4 decision in Kelo v. New London in June 2005, erroneously (as the Founders would almost certainly have seen it) siding with the city.
In July 2006, after intervention by Connecticut Governor Jodi Rell prevented the City from carrying out its declared intent to forcibly remove final holdouts Kelo and the Cristofaros if necessary, the city and the holdouts settled.
More than 2-1/2 years after the settlement, 3-1/2 years after the Supremes' decision, and 11 years after the city's initial plans, oh boy -- a new tenant has finally moved into the Fort Trumbull Neighborhood. It's a government tenant (link at New London Day will be available for about a week), and the move is into an existing building:
This is why newspapers deserve to be buried in the dust bin of history, at least unless they clean up their act. For well over 20 years a southwest suburban Chicago newspaper called The Reporter has employed a columnist named Michael M. Bates -- who is also a long time NewsBusters contributor. He has been their local conservative columnist for many years until, that is, his latest column on Barack Obama was altered to add malicious content aimed at the columnist by the paper's editor.
Bates was one of those conservatives (like myself) that wrote that he hoped that Obama would not succeed as president IF success meant that all sorts of socialist, unAmerican policies would be implemented. Bates was not wishing the president to fail except in implementing policies that Bates felt would be bad for America and even more to the point Bates was not saying he wished the U.S. as a whole ill. But it seems that "nuance" is not something that Bates' editor understands because the editor decided to add some things to Bates' column that Bates did not say.
The first suckerpunch of "Ohio Media v. Any and All Viable Republican or Conservative Politicians" comes from Joe "Hack" Hallett and Jonathan Riskind of the Columbus Dispatch ("Wall Street ties might hamstring GOP hopeful Kasich"). The recipient is former congressman and current Fox weekend show host John Kasich, who is frequently mentioned as a possible GOP challenger to Buckeye State Governor T-Shirt Ted Strickland.
It takes the pair 14 paragraphs to tell us that there's no story here -- that is, unless they want to accuse Kasich's spokesperson of lying:
2008 was the safest year ever to be an American miner. The combined number of fatalities from all forms of mining was the lowest ever.
2007 (latest information available) also shows the lowest "all-injury" rate for miners on record by far.
Yet Ken Ward Jr.'s early-January contribution at the Charleston (WV) Gazette to the spate of final-month Bush-bashing pretended that this data doesn't exist. Instead he gave the impression of an opposite situation. Media outlets have been trying and failing to make this case since the Sago Mine Disaster of January 2006 (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), even while the safety stats have generally showed nearly continuous improvement.
My therapist told me to take two shots at Chris Matthews and call him in the morning . . .
Mike Barnicle is back to looking down his nose at bloggers. After Mika Brzezinski claimed on today's Morning Joe that "blogging isn't journalism," the former Boston Globe columnist declared that "95%, 99% of blogging isn't journalism. It's therapy for the blogger."
The predicate was a provocative one. Willie Geist read from an Esquire interview of Sarah Palin in which she said that—long after the issue had been put to rest—the Anchorage Daily News called her—based on allegations in blogs—to ask whether she was indeed the mother of Trig, her youngest child. Palin took that as evidence of continuing problems in the world of "journalism," prompting Mika and Mike to go off on us members of the pajamahadeen.
A link to a story in the New London (CT) Day (story will be available for only a few days) arrived in my e-mail yesterday thanks to a Google alert:
Deed Gives NL Building A New Address Italian Dramatic Club outlived street it used to be on in fort area
The story stands as a bitter reminder of the blatant favoritism that took place during the sad saga of Susette Kelo and her neighbors in the Ft. Trumbull area of that Connecticut town.
Ms. Kelo and her neighbors had their homes condemned, and ultimately lost in appeals that went all the way to the Supreme Court, where in June 2005 that court's majority ruled that when our Founders wrote "public use" in the Constitution's 5th Amendment (i.e., building a bridge, or a road, or a school), they really meant "public purpose" (doing anything the government deems to be a worthy cause, including taking someone's property and conveying it to another for a worthy "development" cause).
As you can see from the following Google Earth map image that is probably about two years old, the Italian Dramatic Club (IDC) sits virtually alone at 79 Chelsea Street:
The Cincinnati Enquirer's coverage (photo is from that coverage) of a local press conference and demonstration relating to the Israeli-Hamas conflict in Israel and Gaza has been atrocious. I suspect that the Enquirer is not unique in its egregious journalistic failures.
The two stories involved, both by Rebecca Goodman, are (original Cincinnati reference HT to Atlas Shrugs):
-- Dec. 31 -- "Area groups call for an end to Gaza conflict" -- Jan. 1 -- "Ecumenical group calls for end to fighting in Gaza Strip"
Any more, you can almost work up a checklist on stories such as these, and expect to be able to check off the majority of, if not all, of the items on the list. The checklist follows the jump:
Michelle Malkin called it, as did several NewsBusters commenters. Their prediction was that newspapers on the brink would be asking for government bailouts.
It came to pass in late November that seven Connecticut legislators asked the state's Department of Economic and Community Development for help in keeping the New Britain Herald and the Bristol Press afloat. A JPEG of the full letter with three of the seven signatures is here. Alleged GOP Governor Jodi Rell is apparently sympathetic.
A Wednesday "analysis" piece by Robert MacMillan of Reuters reports that the state agency is indeed "offering tax breaks, training funds, financing opportunities and other incentives for publishers, but not cash."