The press was eager to jump on initial remarks by U.S. bishops that President Obama's announcement yesterday of what the Wall Street Journal aptly described in an editorial this morning as the "Immaculate Contraception" -- namely, the idea that insurance companies would somehow pay out of their own pockets for costs relating to "contraceptive services" to which the bishops objected to having Catholic institutions pay for directly was "a good first step." I heard this description several times in brief radio news summaries yesterday. Later yesterday afternoon, the bishops' position was reported as "reserving judgment."
In an official statement carried at Vatican Radio's web site ("The Voice of the Pope and the Church in dialogue with the world") this morning, the bishops have rejected Obama's self-described "sensible approach." Especially pertinent, in light of my post earlier this morning, is the fact that the mandate and its revision appear to apply to employers who self-insure -- an option religious institutions have been forced to use to avoid attempts by several U.S. states to mandate what ObamaCare wants to impose on the entire nation (in full; bolds are mine):
Yesterday's announcement by President Obama (headlined at the White House's website as "Remarks by the President on Preventive Care") of planned revisions to an ObamaCare-driven rule which, in the President's words, "if a woman’s employer is a charity or a hospital that has a religious objection to providing contraceptive services as part of their health plan, the insurance company -– not the hospital, not the charity -– will be required to reach out and offer the woman contraceptive care free of charge, without co-pays and without hassles."
Showing just how out of touch the establishment press is with reality, an editorial this morning in the Wall Street Journal cutely titled "Immaculate Contraception" points out something most, including the Associated Press, have missed -- that in a large number of cases involving many thousands of employees, there is no "insurance company" there to directly pay for these services:
A "breaking" email I received from USA Today this morning is a definite sign of establishment press scrambling to give deceptive cover to an Obama administration mandate whose unpopularity continues to grow as more people become aware of it. It also shows the lengths to which the press will go to keep the relatively disengaged, which would include those who only primarily informed via email and other brief alerts without digging further, from encountering basic facts.
The email pretends that the president is about to announce a "decision" (as opposed to changing one), and refers to a "rule" without saying where the rule came from, or why:
Sometimes you read the most interesting things in those supposedly boring trade publications.
One such item of interest comes from an article in Manufacturing News (HT to an emailer) written by Richard A. McCormack which is primarily about the Mainland China's designs on the worldwide auto parts industry, including the U.S. Some of the larger American unions are demanding that the administration and Congress take action on what they see as unfair trade practices. One sentence is indicative of a more pervasive problem, and it directly contradicts what the establishment press has been telling Americans for months. It's of particular concern to all Americans because the U.S. government still owns over 25% of General Motors, and reads as follows: "China has told GM that it will not be able to sell its Volt electric vehicle in China unless GM transfers technology to China and produces the vehicle there."
In his pre-Super Bowl interview with Matt Lauer on Sunday, President Obama was asked the following question about Iran in light of the heightening tensions over its nuclear program and the possibility of an Israeli air strike: "(In repsonse) Do you fear that they will wage attacks within the United States on American soil?" Obama responded as follows: "We don't see any evidence that they have those intentions or capabilities right now."
Really? The President's statement directly goes against statements made recently by other government officials, up to and including Attorney General Eric Holder. Lauer, who is paid to look good while delivering the news and conducting interviews but not necessarily to deliver on substance, especially if it might disturb the American people before the Big Game, totally missed the contradiction. Fortunately, Ed Lasky at American Thinker didn't (internal links added by me):
The AP/CBSDC story, filed at 10:33 p.m. Eastern on the website for CBS Radio's new all-news station WNEW, reports on the passage of a strict voter ID law in the Virginia State Senate. As we've noted previously, the Washington Post has reported, uncritically, Virginia Democratic legislators' Jim Crow comparisons, but it appears that CBS News is taking the Washington Post's bias even further (see screen capture below page break):
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, on a trip underwritten by the U.S. State Department (aren't justices expected to keep their distances from the government to protect their perceived impartiality?), was in Egypt on Wednesday at a Cairo University law school seminar. While there, according to the Associated Press's Mark Sherman, she told students that (in Sherman's words) "she was inspired by last year's protests that led to the end of Hosni Mubarak's regime" and to speak to them (in her words) "during this exceptional transitional period to a real democratic state." The news that Muslim Brotherhood and Salafist parties now control about 75% of the seats in the country's parliament seems not to have registered with Ginsburg or Sherman -- or, for that matter, the State Department.
Sherman's AP story failed to note what Ms. Ginsburg said about the U.S. Constitution in an Egyptian TV interview, as did virtually all of the rest of the establishment press. ABC's Ariane de Vogue is currently the most notable exception, but as readers will see, she clearly buried the lede. Here are key paragraphs from her report (the related video is at Hot Air; the relevant portion begins at the 9:28 mark; bolds are mine):
On Tuesday, Ken Thomas of the Associated Press covered President Barack Obama's appearance at the Washington Auto Show and allowed Obama's criticism of Mitt Romney as being among those "willing to let this industry die" to stand, ignoring known history in the process.
Obama's statement marks him as a true ingrate, because for better or worse (my opinion: worse; your mileage, so to speak, may vary) Mitt Romney, after warning of the dangers of bailing out General Motors and Chrysler, shifted gears four months later and vigorously defended the President when the administration orchestrated a boardroom coup at GM which included the forced resignation of CEO Rick Wagoner. This was the point at which it became clear that Obama wanted the government to control what happened at GM until it either recovered or was forced into what most were already seeing as an inevitable bankruptcy filing. In a CNN interview the day the news broke, Romney complimented Obama for demonstrating "backbone." What follows are five paragraphs from Thomas's piece, a screen shot of the article CNN posted that day, and a transcript of the relevant portion of Romney's March 31, 2009 interview:
Even when someone who helped prepare a new guide for gardeners on the coldest temperatures seen annually in different parts of the country says that their output doesn't fit the global warming template, an AP reporter decides that it really does.
In preparing his write-up last week on the release of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's revised the official guide for gardeners, the Associated Press's Seth Borenstein, the infamous writer of reports claiming that the Climategate scandals were no big deal, buried the following quote from a USDA official at Paragraph 17 of 24:
Today at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, in response to the Congressional Budget Office's release today of an awful 10-year baseline outlook, Andrew Taylor made sure that his first paragraph was only about the projected "dip" in the fiscal 2012 deficit, and dedicated his second paragraph to the bad things that will happen if "the Bush tax cuts" are extended and Congress fails to live within "tight" spending "caps" (when did those happen?). Towards the end he spoke of the deficit-cutting wonders ending "the Bush tax cuts" might bring about. What follows are the first two paragraphs of Taylor's report, followed by the "Bush tax cut" passage:
Well, let's see. During the early days of the Clinton administration, we had the sad spectacle of Treasury aide Josh Steiner telling Senators investigating the Whitewater real estate deals and the Resolution Trust Corporation that that he written untrue things in his diary, i.e., that "essentially .... he had lied to his diary." During the Paula Jones trial, the jury was entertained (members are said to have laughed) when Bill Clinton tried to answer a question by saying that "It depends on what the meaning of the word 'is' is."
Soon, another insufferable howler may eventually enter the lexicon, courtesy of Monty Wilkinson, former deputy chief of staff to Attorney General Eric Holder, namely, "I lied in an email when I wrote that 'I've alerted the AG.'"
In two items about today's report on economic growth from the federal government's Bureau of Economic Analysis today, Martin Crutsinger claimed that today's lower-than-expected annualized growth of 2.8% during the fourth quarter of 2011 (vs. expectations of 3% or higher) was hurt because of big "cuts" in government spending, especially federal spending -- supposedly the biggest cuts in 40 years. I guess the underlying message is supposed to be that Congress shouldn't try to reduce federal programs any more, because already they're allegedly being cut at historic rates.
Baloney. Crutsinger was either being incredibly ignorant by assuming that all government spending is part of GDP (it's not; only government purchases of goods and services are components of GDP), or he deliberately deceived his readers. At the federal level, purchases of goods and services and "investment" are only about 30% of all government spending. Total spending has hardly gone down at all. Here are the relevant paragraphs from his two reports:
Today's report by Derek Kravitz at the Associated Press (also known to yours truly as the Administration's Press) covering the Census Bureau's December and full-year 2011 new-home sales release put a smiley-face on the "worst ever" year (the AP headline's term) in the category.
I like the adjective used at Sweetness & Light's related blog post to describe Kravitz's crud: "unfazed." The AP reporter follows four paragraphs of facts with three more paragraphs of sunshiny "analysis" which are so wholly unsupported by reality that you would fall off of your chair laughing if you didn't also realize that most readers, listeners and viewers who saw and heard this garbage today didn't know any better than to believe it:
While the liberal news media has been making much of an out-of-context snapshot of Gov. Jan Brewer (R-Ariz.) supposedly dressing down President Obama, missing in all the discussion is the exchange in context as could be provided by video footage of the chat.
The Washington Post's 44 Blog has such raw video -- via the Associated Press -- in a post this afternoon. Unfortunately much of the conversation between Brewer and Obama is obscured by the presidential limo, but initial footage from another camera angle shows Brewer warmly greeted the nation's chief executive as he stepped onto the tarmac. [video follows page break]
I guess what follows shouldn't be a total surprise, given that the Obama administration was perfectly comfortable ruining hundreds of thousands of perfectly good cars during the Cash For Clunkers program in 2009.
The video which follows from CBS News in San Francisco last Thursday (full transcript here) tells viewers what is happening to valuable parts at the main manufacturing plant of the now-bankrupt Solyndra. At the risk of belaboring what longtime readers here already instinctively know, it's not news based on searches on the company's name at at the Associated Press and the New York Times.
A frequent emailer saw a silver lining in Rand Paul's detention this morning in Nashville by the Transportation Safety Administration which prevented him from speaking at today's March For Life rally in Washington: "Best way to get the MSM to mention pro-life rally."
Well, that's largely true. The local Nashville TV station video posted at Real Clear Politics mentions Paul's prolife purpose up-front, as does a commentary by James Fallows at the Atlantic (who incidentally described the rally as "mammoth"). But my emailer underestimated the lengths to which reporters at the Associated Press would go to keep anything pro-life out of a story. In their 750-word report (saved here for future reference, fair use and discussion purposes), Erik Schelzig and Eileen Sullivan completely misstated why Paul wanted to get on the flight he was not able to board -- which also means that their story's headline is incomplete:
In an article on the sudden stroke suffered by Senator Mark Kirk, the Associated Press on Monday gratuitously piled on the Republican, currently in intensive care, making sure to note that in his last campaign, questions were raised "about his own honesty." The section has since been removed from the version on the Washington Post's website but can be found below in a screen capture. [Update: The Post has added the paragraphs back.]
After detailing the condition of Kirk, the AP's Sophia Tareen and Tammy Webber devoted three paragraphs to dredging up old attacks: "Kirk was elected to the Senate in 2010, winning the seat formerly held by President Barack Obama after a hard-fought election that often focused on questions about his own honesty."
Two examples of poor press handling of what initially appeared to be fairly good news about initial unemployment claims last Thursday got lost in the pre-South Carolina primary hubbub.
The first and most obvious was in the writeup presented by the Associated Press's Chris Rugaber. In his fourth paragraph, he raised the threshold below which a consistent level of weekly claims might be expected to move the unemployment rate downward by 15% from where it was less than 2-1/2 years ago:
This morning, P.J. Gladnick at NewsBusters pointed to how the Des Moines Register avoided identifying the employer of a "prominent member of a well known Democrat campaign consulting firm" who was also a "former Obama campaign staffer" until the firm, LINK Strategies, had a chance to fire him. Once Zachary Edwards was shown the door, it it became a "safe" story to cover, whereupon the Register ran the story as "Political consultants quickly fire arrested man." But of course.
Though the story of Edwards's arrest in connection with an attempt to steal Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz's identity is nationally newsworthy, it appears that the Associated Press has not yet covered it that way, while avoiding the damning details in its local/regional story.
After Rick Perry ended his presidential bid on Thursday, the Associated Press's Chris Tomlinson opened his dispatch about the announcement thusly: "Gov. Rick Perry dropped out of the presidential race on Thursday, endorsed his old friend Newt Gingrich and returned home to Texas, where the failed White House candidate has three years left to serve as the chief executive."
Based on much of his prior reportage, Tomlinson appears have a particular animus towards the Texas Governor. But tagging GOP presidential candidates or their candidacies as "failed" is not an aberration at the AP, while the wire service's omission of such tags on wildly unsuccessful Democratic candidates pointedly betrays the presence of obvious bias.
Pete Yost's Friday evening story at the Associated Press, also known to yours truly as the Administration's Press, on the latest development in the Operation Fast and Furious scandal (that's my word, certainly not Yost's) has a "this is a boring story, don't read it" headline ("Prosecutor intends to take 5th if called in probe"), followed by an opening sentence which acts as if it has nothing to do with at least 300 Mexican citizens, a slain Border patrol agent, and thousands of disappearing guns.
Yost's opening sentence: "A federal prosecutor in Arizona intends to remain silent if called for questioning in a congressional probe of a problem-plagued gun smuggling investigation." Yep, Yost wants readers who don't get past the first paragraph to believe that it's only the "investigation" that's messed up beyond all recognition, not what happened in the Fast and Furious operation. Here's more from Pete's pathetic piece (bolds are mine throughout this post):
Less than a year from its inception, the far-left Occupy Wall Street movement is already sputtering. Many liberal big-city mayors have ejected protestors from their campsites and their donations have dried up. To top it off, a big event touted to "Occupy Congress" fizzled big-time Tuesday in Washington, D.C. That didn't stop the Associated Press from trying to spin away the march's failure.
Instead of headlining its report from the event with the big news that a march expected to bring in up to 10,000 protestors ended up drawing in far less than that, the wire service headlined it with the matter-of-fact headline "Several hundred Occupy protestors rally at Capitol." While reporter Ben Nuckols did mention the failure to meet expectations, his story didn't mention the other big news that OWS is almost out of money:
The Occupy movement's unmasking as the radicals they really are and always have been continues, conveniently almost completely outside the notice of the establishment press.
As far as I can tell, only one press report by Erik Olson at the Daily News based in Longview, Washington is reporting, and even then with the use of a very inadequate headline, that Occupy Longview intends to "thwart" shipping activity at the Port of Longview. Specifically (bolds are mine throughout this post):
On Friday, the White House engaged in its customary document dump, mostly secure in the knowledge that a lazy establishment press would, as usual, pay it little heed and then declare it to be old news by Monday morning.
Ed Morrissey at Hot Air identified the significance of documents relating to now-bankupt Solyndra, the California-based solar panel manufacturer which borrowed $535 million through the Department of Energy. Read the whole thing, of course, but for brevity's sake I'll present the accurate timeline Ed presented:
Republican Ohio State Treasurer Josh Mandel is challenging incumbent Democrat U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown this November. Despite the false bravado emanating from the DNC and Ohio's Democratic Party and polls solely based on name recognition, Brown, as the Senate's most liberal member (2009 and 2010 Club for Growth ratings: 0%) in a swing state, is very vulnerable.
Associated Press Ohio reporter Julie Carr Smyth has apparently preliminarily staked out a role as the race's designated Democratic Party talking point and innuendo relay person. Her Saturday report on Mandel ("Ohio Treasurer Seeks To Unseat Brown"; alternate title showing her byline is "Ohio treasurer focused on politics in 1st year") is so transparent it's almost funny.
In the annals of fawning coverage of scandal-plagued Democrats, Michael Biesecker's Saturday morning report on John Edwards's illness and its effect on his upcoming trail on campaign finance violations surely must be among the worst.
Biesecker missed at least a half-dozen natural opportunities to tag Edwards as a Democrat, finally doing so in cryptic fashion in his 15th of 17 paragraphs. He didn't identify Edwards as the 2004 vice-presidential candidate until that same paragraph, and in doing so named who was at the top of the GOP ticket (George W. Bush) without naming who was at the top of the Dems' (John Kerry). The AP reporter threw obsequious virtual kisses at a man who betrayed his terminally ill wife while omitting two clearly relevant recent reports, one from an outlet which has scooped the look-the-other-way establishment press time after time in this sad, four-year saga. Here are several paragraphs from Biescecker's blather (some of the many clear opportunities to tag Edwards as a Dem and examples of over-the-top fawning are bolded):
On Friday, two Deputy Secretaries, one at the Department of Transportation and the other at Defense, in their capacities as co-chairs of the National Space-Based Positioning, Navigation and Timing (PNT) Executive Committee, released a one page letter concluding that the modified broadband deployment plan of LightSquared could not coexist with current GPS devices and their spectrum. That's because: a) LightSquared's deployment "would cause harmful interference to many GPS receivers"; b) It would not be "compatible with several GPS-dependent aircraft safety-of-flight systems," and c) "there appear to be no practical solutions" to the problems.
Stories about the release, to the extent they exist, are largely avoiding the mention of "Falcone" (that's hedge fund operator and heavy Obama campaign contributor Philip Falcone, "SEC" (which is investigating Falcone and his hedge fund, and "Obama" (as in President Barack Obama, the beneficiary along with the "Democratic Party" -- another unmentioned term in any variation -- of said contributions). Coverage by Daniel Fisher at Forbes at least brings up Falcone, the SEC, and the Obama administration:
Yet another episode being reported from the totalitarian nightmare that is North Korea is getting short shrift in most of the world's press, namely "criticism sessions" (i.e., rat out your neighbor, coworker, etc.) identifying North Koreans who allegedly weren't sufficiently grief-stricken over the December death of Kim Jong Il (pictured at right), weren't sufficiently demonstrative about it, or didn't attend enough mourning events, as well as the punishments for such transgressions which have reportedly followed.
The source is the Daily NK, a South Korea-based web site described by AFP as "an Internet website run by opponents of North Korea." The opening paragraphs from Wednesday's Daily NK report read as follows (bolds are mine throughout this post):
The "Doomsday Clock" has been with us since 1947. It is a symbolic construct of the now left-leaning Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, a group which "was established in 1945 by scientists, engineers, and other experts who had created the atomic bomb as part of the Manhattan Project. They knew about the horrible effects of these new weapons and devoted themselves to warning the public about the consequences of using them."
Most people who know of it probably think that the clock's intent is to symbolize how close the world is to the disaster of nuclear war; that was indeed its sole focus for decades. However, the group just moved the clock from six minutes before midnight to five. Wait until you see why, as sympathetically reported on Tuesday by Doyle Rice at USA Today's Science Fair blog:
I see that the Associated Press's Derek Kravitz is picking up where his colleague Martin Crutsinger left off in offering up incomplete information and inconvenient truth-avoiding coverage of Uncle Sam's financial results as described in the Monthly Treasury Statement. December's statement, which was released yesterday, showed a deficit of $86 billion and a year-to-date shortfall of $322 billion.
Naturally, this was cause for a positive-spinning headline at the AP report: "US gov't on pace for smaller deficit in 2012." Whoop-de-doo. Two problems: a) It's too early to tell, b) the year-to-date reduction thus far is fairly small (about 13%), c) Most of the improvement is because of a lucky break when fiscal 2011 ended, and d) December itself was a pretty bad month compared to December 2010. Here are several paragraphs from Kravitz's concoction (bolds and numbered tags are mine):