So the meme is supposedly set. Final pre-election expectations are that the popular vote in the 2012 presidential contest will come in roughly deadlocked. Rasmussen and Gallup show Republican nominee Mitt Romney up by one point. Other polls show either a tie or slight lead for incumbent Democrat Barack Obama.
Set against this expectation, don't be surprised if someone in the press, perhaps even at one of the big networks, gets overexcited and projects Barack Obama the winner based on Tuesday's early exit polls without realizing that their scope and design have changed from previous presidential elections in two fundamental ways.
Planning for the event began several weeks ago after GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney said in the first presidential debate that despite his love for Sesame Street's Big Bird he would not advocate further public funding of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Oddly, an unbylined AP story at the Washington Post written sometime earlier this week which was apparently not treated as a national story gave readers the impression that the idea for the march had only come up a few days earlier (posted in full because of its brevity and for fair use and discussion purposes):
I have remembered how to seem. ---King George III in "The Madness of King George."
This is a tale of two stories. The first story was an article your humble correspondent read in today's Miami Herald. The news couldn't be better for Mitt Romney because it reported that the Miami Herald/El Nuevo Herald poll of likely voters showed the former Massachusetts governor leading Barack Obama in Florida by a comfortable 51 to 45 margin. However in the same edition of the Miami Herald there is also an Associated Press story stating that Obama "seems" to be leading in early polls in key states. Based on what? Apparently based on pixie dust since virtually no real proof is offered.
First the Miami Herald report chock full of facts which shows Romney with a solid lead:
I heard Rush Limbaugh comment on this report from the Associated Press's Thomas Beaumont and Brian Bakst ("Romney, GOP suddenly plunging onto Democratic turf") this afternoon on his program. This evening, having read the whole, I agree with him (which of course often happens) that the AP writer are very upset that GOP presidential challenger Mitt Romney and his campaign are going after Pennsylvania and Minnesota -- so upset that they're throwing any kind of speculative nonsense they can conjure up to explain away its obvious significance, namely that Team Romney believes they can pick up even more electoral than they believe they have within their control by venturing into these two states -- oh, and Michigan too.
How upset are they? One theory the AP pair has: "Or perhaps the Republican simply has money to burn. Use it now or never." Lord have mercy, guys. The question with the answer you don't like is: Why is he "burning" it in those two states? Gee, because he apparently thinks he can win them. Several paragraphs from Beaumont's and Bakst's blubbering, which will only admit to the apparently unlikely (in their view) possibility the Romney "could" win the race for the White House, follow the jump (bolds are mine):
AP reporter Andrew Taylor wrote up one of those teasing narratives Tuesday – the kind where he says, gee the GOP could have the Senate majority if it hadn’t managed to nominate Tea Party wackos that were successfully ripped down by harsh national press coverage.
Well, there was no actual reference to the press or its anti-Tea Party aggression. There are only “flawed, gaffe-prone nominees,” and no mention of who in the political world decides what a “gaffe” is and how the media's gaffe patrol never seems to locate them in the vicinity of Joe Biden. Taylor began his “bizarre GOP missteps” narrative this way:
Yesterday, Bloomberg News reported that Fiat "is considering building Chrysler models in Italy, including Jeeps, for export to North America." Today, that news became real when company CEO Sergio Marchnionne announced, in Bloomberg's words (in paragraph 6, subtitled "Italy's Jeep"), that it will "build a small Jeep in Italy for export beginning in 2014 ... a new model for Europe and the U.S. that isn’t currently in production."
Of course, today's Bloomberg report led with Marchionne's clever denial about the company's plans for manufacturing in China: "Jeep production will not be moved from the United States to China." No, he has instead set the stage for newer Jeep models exported to the U.S. to gradually supplant older models made in the U.S. over several years. This should be an embarrassment to those who engineered the Obama administration's bailout of Chrysler in 2009, ripping off secured creditors in the bankruptcy process and thereby giving Fiat a larger initial share of the company than it deserved. But don't worry, Colleen Barry at the Associated Press is there with vague language to ensure that this news doesn't become general knowledge (bold is mine):
The latest and possibly last (we can hope) preelection poll from partnership between the Associated Press and GfK Roper International purportedly tells us that most of us "now express prejudice toward blacks" whether we "recognize those feelings or not."
That's the conclusion communicated by AP reporter Sonya Ross and wire service deputy director of polling Jennifer Agiesta. In case we don't get the point, the item's accompanying photograph at the AP national site, Yahoo News and likely elsewhere is of Barack Obama, who despite the recognized and unrecognized racism of most Americans managed to carry 53% of the vote in 2008. Contrary to the report's headline, the AP pair admit that the AP-GfK poll results alone (done online, to add insult to injury) don't prove the point they're trying to make; other bizarre tests are also involved.
It's hard to find a benchmark against which to compare remarks delivered by Vice President Joe Biden, but here's one from a past administration. In June 2004, Bush 43 Vice President Dick Cheney was greeted on the Senate Floor at the annual Senate photo op by Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy. Leahy had previously been flogging the left's phantasm over alleged "profiteering" by Halliburton, the company at which Cheney had served as Chairman and CEO from 1995-2000. At the end of a testy exchange, Cheney either said "(F-word) you" or "(F-word) yourself."
In his weekly radio address on July 3, 2010, President Barack Obama announced that "the Department of Energy is awarding nearly $2 billion in conditional commitments from the Recovery Act to two solar companies." Neither of them was named Solyndra.
One of the two companies Obama did name was Fort Collins, Colorado-based Abound Solar, which Obama touted as a company which would create "more than 2,000 construction jobs and 1,500 permanent jobs" at two new plants which "When fully operational ... will produce millions of state-of-the-art solar panels each year." As Amy Oliver detailed at Townhall a year ago, Abound is a classic case of Obama bundler cronyism. In July, just shy of two years after Obama's address, the company, which benefited from $400 million of Department of Energy loan guarantees, filed for bankruptcy. Yesterday, a Colorado District Attorney announced a criminal investigation. So far, it's only local Colorado-area news (internal links added by me; bolds are mine):
At the Associated Press Tuesday evening, the wire service re-posted verbatim Eileen Sullivan's "Why It Matters" report from October 15. One of that report's core assertions is that It "injected the issue of diplomatic security into the presidential campaign and renewed questions about the quality of U.S. intelligence." At my related NewsBusters post that day, I noted that President Obama and administration had "lots of intelligence within 24 hours of the attack, and that there was no reason to doubt its accuracy."
Reports Tuesday evening from other news sources -- notably not picked up by AP as of 6:45 this morning Eastern Time (the better to possibly keep it from appearing on the morning TV News shows which rely heavily on AP for content) -- indicate that the White House knew that the Benghazi attack was terrorism within minutes of its beginning. Excerpts from Reuters and CBS News follow the jump (bolds are mine throughout this post):
Saturday evening, via Emerson Marcus and with the Associated Press contributing, the Reno Gazette-Journal, which I hope doesn't try to describe itself as a family newspaper, published an irony-free a 500-word story (HT to a NewBusters tipster) on an appearance by Sandra Fluke earlier in the day "in front of about 10 people at the Sak ‘N Save in north Reno." You can't make this stuff up.
The story is currently the "Most Popular" at the paper's rgj.com home page. The Gazette-Journal seems to have been determined to hype Fluke's appearance no matter what so it could take shots at Rush Limbaugh and employ the "s-word" ("slut") Rush Limbaugh used (and then apologized for having used) to describe Ms. Fluke. It even employed the word in promoting her upcoming appearance in advance in one of two items dated Friday which were apparently meant for Saturday's print edition.
Seventeen days before Election Day and 45 months after Barack Obama's inauguration following a presidential campaign during which he expressed his eagerness to meet enemy leaders "without preconditions" (Obama responded "yes" to a 2008 presidential debate question containing those words), the New York Times is reporting that the U.S. and Iran "have agreed in principle for the first time to one-on-one negotiations," despite the fact that the White House has "denied that a final agreement (to negotiate) had been reached," and despite a reactive AP report (saved here for future reference, fair use and discussion purposes) claiming that while "The White House says it is prepared to talk one-on-one ... there's no agreement now to meet."
Despite the supposed certainty of the Times's headline ("U.S. Officials Say Iran Has Agreed to Nuclear Talks"), the paper's Helene Cooper and Mark Landler report that "American officials said they were uncertain whether Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, had signed off on the effort." If Khamenei isn't on board, it doesn't matter what anybody else, including Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, says or does. Three years ago, two AP reporters covering the government's crackdown on dissidents noted Khamenei's "virtually limitless authority," i.e., he's the country's behind-the-scenes dictator. In a piece that's supposed to be about a supposedly important international development, Cooper and Landler predictably blow through quite a bit of ink and bandwidth trying to paint this development as a problem for Obama's GOP opponent Mitt Romney (bolds are mine):
Electric vehicle battery maker A123 filed for bankruptcy on Tuesday. Part of the caption at an Associated Press photo found at a National Geographic report about the "hurdles for clean tech" on Wednesday stated that the company "received a $6 million grant from the Bush administration in 2007 and a $249 million grant from the Obama administration in 2008."
That's pretty funny (actually pathetic), given that Obama didn't take office until January 2009. What's not funny is which of the two presidents cited in the AP photo's caption is actually in the photo:
While this will almost certainly remain unreported on the broadcast news networks, the Associated Press is reporting that the Democratic National Convention Committee accepted at least $5 million in corporate donations and borrowed another $8 million in order to reach its $36.7 million budgetary goal, according to the financial disclosure reports that were filed with the Federal Election Commission on Oct. 17.
In doing so however, the Democratic Party failed to uphold its pledge to run its convention solely from money raised by individual donors and not corporate cash. "This convention will be different," DNC chairwoman Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-Fla.) promised last year.
In my Monday post (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog) about the "Million Muppet March," the astroturfing Obama-supportive operation being managed by Michael Bellavia -- a gentleman whose animation firm "just so happens" to have Sesame Workshop as a major client -- I questioned how he and the rest of the group can be so sure that they "can just use the Muppet characters ... at a brazenly political event without worrying about consequences."
My take on this morning's "march"-related news is that "march" organizers have quietly been prevented from doing so. That's because they're not calling it the "Million Muppet March" any more. It's now the "Million Puppet March." The remarkably incurious Associated Press, in a brief report this morning (presented in full for fair use and discussion purposes), unskeptically relayed the group's pathetic name-change excuse:
UPDATE: Henry Blodget at Business Insider reports that a "source, who is an analyst at the Department, " has told him that "the number of California claims that were not processed totalled about 15,000-25,000."
Today's release of the Department of Labor's weekly unemployment claims report showed 339,000 initial claims filed during the previous week -- a sharp decline of 30,000 from the previous week's upwardly revised 369,000. Shortly after that, the Wall Street Journal reported that "one large state didn't report additional quarterly figures as expected, accounting for a substantial part of the decrease." The Associated Press's framing: "... spokesman said one large state accounted for much of the decline." At Reuters: "one state ... reported a decline in claims last week when an increase was expected."
So you would expect caution in assessing the meaning of the report, right? Wrong -- At the AP and Reuters, they apparently just can't help themselves.
The Associated Press, after an initial acknowledgment in a Tuesday evening timeline from Bradley Klapper, has consistently failed in several subsequent reports to cite State Department officials' unmistakable assertion that there were no protests whatsoever at the Benghazi, Libya U.S. consulate on September 11 before the lethal terrorist attack which killed U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans. Instead, later reports create the impression that protests did occur.
It's even getting carried into coverage of different events. In his story (link is to early paragraphs of original version) about the Thursday morning murder of a security official at the U.S. embassy in Yemen, the AP's Ahmed Al Haj (identified as the reporter in the item I originally saw, since revised) betrayed the wire service's uninterrupted obsession with "an anti-Islam video," and wrote as if nothing learned in the past two days has any validity (bolds are mine throughout this post):
The headline writers for Bradley Klapper's story early Wednesday at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, about the September 11 attack which destroyed the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya and killed four Americans, including Libyan ambassador Christopher Stevens, had a real problem on their hands: How do we make our headline so boring that people who see it won't feel like clicking over to the story itself (or, if they're reading a newspaper, not moving on to it)? Their answer, which was pretty effective given their apparent goal: "State Dept reveals new details of Benghazi attack."
Zzz ... zzz ... Oh, excuse me, I needed a second cup of coffee to get past that snooze of a headline. Klapper's story wasn't any better, as he atrociously buried the lede -- that there never was a protest over the 14-minute anti-Mohammed video before the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya took place -- and was incredibly vague in his reference to this breathtaking story change when he finally did bring it forth (bolds are mine throughout this post):
But the media, so quick to report on a scrap that CBS reporter Allen Pizzey argued “challenges the very foundation of Christian thinking,” weren’t so eager to report on the mounting evidence that the scrap of papyrus was a forgery.
Emily Friedman of ABC News reported Monday that “Mitt Romney ordered his motorcade to make an abrupt U-turn in rural Virginia today, after zipping by a group of elementary school students waving in the front yard of the school, so he could go back and meet them.” ABC's video shows thrilled grade-schoolers in Fairfield, Virginia. But no nice move goes unpunished by the press.
Check out the AP picture distributed across the country. It's unbelievable. It honestly looks like a little girl is gaping at Romney from behind. This accompanied a snippy AP story by Lynn Elber on how Romney couldn't find time to take questions from kids for a Nickelodeon special. It's not just on Yahoo! (It's also here and here.....) Elber began by lecturing:
Earlier today, when I wasn't in a position to save what I was viewing, I came across an Associated Press item about Venezuela's Sunday election results that I knew I would have to find again at the first opportunity. Readers will see why shortly.
Because the AP has a habit of quickly replacing items at its national site while failing to leave the original behind -- especially true when the originals contain embarrassing giveaway sentiments -- I had to look elsewhere for the original story by Frank Bajak and Ian James, and found it at the Lakeland, Florida Ledger. The pair's slavering, slavish coverage of a tyrant's continued consolidation of power, arguably an even worse example of statist-supporting bias than Kyle Drennen cited earlier today at NewsBusters originating from NBC, is almost too much to bear:
As Matt Vespa at NewsBusters noted earlier this morning, MSNBC's Howard Fineman was extremely unhappy with Jim Lehrer's performance as moderator in last night's first presidential debate. Vespa reports that Fineman "seemed agitated to the point of calling Lehrer 'useless' and equated his moderating of the debate to 'criminal negligence.'"
In what may be seen as a surprise, the same network's Laurence O'Donnell didn't share that sentiment, as Mackenzie Weinger reported this morning at Politico:
As of 2 PM ET, various searches at the national web site of the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press (on "furious"; on "Univision"), Reuters ("furious"; "fast and furious"; "univision"), and United Press International ("furious"; "Univision") indicate that the three wire services have given no coverage to reports from Univision exposing the wider geographic scope and far more fatal fallout of the deliberately untrackable guns-to-cartels operation known as Fast and Furious.
I wonder how the leading U.S. Spanish network's broadcasters and audience feel about getting the same treatment the establishment press gives center-right blogs? (A lengthy yet partial transcript of Univision's broadcast with details which will shock all but those who have immersed themselves in the evolving scandal follows the jump.)
The Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, has been running a series of "Why It Matters" items in the run-up to the presidential election purporting to educate readers about important issues.
Reporter Stephen Ohlemacher's contribution to the series concerning Social Security opens with a bald-faced fib, omits the fact that the system's benefit payments and costs have exceed payroll tax collections for several years, and doubles down on the fib at the end. His opening sentence and other excerpts follow the jump:
At the Associated Press on Saturday, Gosia Wosniacka did something one rarely sees any more in wire service coverage, actually blaming a government policy for an industry's financial problems -- in this case, state-imposed price controls on the California dairy industry.
But price controls in the highly tarnished Golden State, while very relevant, have been around for decades. Ms. Wosniacka ignored the most recent cause of farmers' difficulties, namely the government-mandated diversion of much of the corn crop towards ethanol production. Several paragraphs from her report (also carried at CNS News) follow the jump:
From the "I thought Social Security was supposed to have solved this decades ago" Dept.: The State of California has just passed a law mandating opt-out pension plan contributions of 3% of earnings for six million workers in the private sector, or roughly half of its private sector workforce.
The targeted population is the cadre of those working at employers of five or more who do not offer a retirement plan. It has the distinct aroma of a bailout, because of who gets to manage the money. Excerpts from a predictably dreadful Associated Press report by Judy Lin follow the jump (bolds and numbered tags are mine):
In a dispatch today, an unbylined AP report headlined "Romney: Benghazi a 'Terrorist Attack'" seems to act as if this is some kind of revelation to the GOP nominee even though everyone except Obama administration insiders desperately trying to bring life to the corpse formerly known as the Arab Spring have been saying that for well over a week. It gets much worse than that in the report's third paragraph:
In the wake of a rather tragic and tumultuous events regarding American foreign policy in the Middle East, President Barack Obama plans to forego the opportunity for a one-on-one meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during his visit to the UN this week. The reason is simple. It just could not wait. The president needed to have a sit down with Barbara Walters and the rest of gals at The View.