Although the term isn't used, it's clear that the Obama campaign sees itself and their candidate as victims of a vast conspiracy of right-wingers.
Going all the way back to the 1988 presidential election, Obama's "Fight the Smears" chart (featuring the campaign's new sort-of "presidential seal," replacing the one that was "dropped," at the top left) purports to tell us "Who's Behind These Lies."
If the page's historical starting points are any indication, to paraphrase Jerry Lee Lewis, there may not be "a whole lotta smearin' goin' on" among the current "smearing" parties it identifies:
CNN carried KDKA footage showing that Murtha has grudgingly acknowledged the obvious: That the troop surge in Iraq has, in his words, "in the short-term ..... certainly reduced incidents," but that "I'm not sure whether it's because of the Iraqis are just worn out, but certainly the way they're doing it today makes a big difference."
What KDKA decided to keep from TV viewers is arguably at least as important as what the station showed.
In interview footage left on the cutting room floor, Murtha falsely claimed that less than 1/3 of the Iraqi benchmarks have been met, and that the majority of Americans "want us out" of Iraq as fast as possible. But most explosively, the Pennsylvania congressman claimed that a major reason why the troop surge has been successful is that before that time "we broke down doors, we went in and we killed people inadvertently."
Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama says “mental distress” should not qualify as a health exception for late term-abortions, a key distinction not embraced by many supporters of abortion rights.
In an interview this week with “Relevant,” a Christian magazine, Obama said prohibitions on late-term abortions must contain “a strict, well defined exception for the health of the mother.”
Blaming media for their campaign woes didn't work for Bill and Hillary Clinton during the primaries.
Will it work for Barack Obama now that the general election is finally under way, or will it look rather unseemly for a candidate that has received kinder treatment from the press than any in history to start pointing fingers at them when he missteps?
After all, it wasn't media members that seemingly revised their Iraq strategy on Thursday.
But you couldn't tell from comments the presumptive Democrat presidential nominee made on the stump Saturday according to the Associated Press (emphasis added):
Earlier this week, to avoid "undue" emphasis on how much the situation has been improving in Iraq, the press, in search of bad news, switched its focus to Afghanistan (examples here, here, and here). Kyle Drennen and Warner Todd Huston at NewsBusters noted this on Tuesday.
Similarly, Associated Press writer Ellen Simon, confronted with a key report showing economic improvement, decided that it was more important to discuss inflation.
On Tuesday, the Institute for Supply Management's Manufacturing Index, after four months of contraction, returned to slight expansion mode with a reading of 50.2 (any reading above 50 indicates expansion). The result confounded the "experts," who predicted that the index would fall by about a point instead of rising by 0.6 points.
I don't think I've ever seen AP fail to give the overall ISM result first- or second-sentence treatment, but Simon managed that trick by covering the report's inflation component, moving the overall ISM index reading down to the fourth paragraph:
A few hours later, we got our first response from Jennifer Loven of the Associated Press.
In a piece entitled "Analysis: Obama's Shifts to Center Give GOP Ammo," although Loven did her best to blame the presumptive Democrat presidential nominee's flip-flop problems on "the Republican weapon of choice," she made it very clear that a change in position on Iraq -- whether real or imagined -- could be fatal for the junior senator from Illinois (emphasis added throughout):
Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Barack Obama, (D-Illinois), speaks at the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials in Washington Saturday, June 28, 2008. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
FNC's Brit Hume led his Wednesday night “Grapevine” segment by marveling that though “you might have thought it was big news Tuesday when the administration reported to Congress that Iraq had made satisfactory progress on 15 of 18 political benchmarks set by the U.S.,” up from progress on only eight a year earlier, “the Media Research Center says there was not a word about the report on the CBS Evening News, NBC Nightly News or ABC's World News Tonight.”
Hume added that “the New York Times also ignored the story, and the Washington Post relegated its coverage to page eight,” before he expressed astonishment at the AP's spin:
And this -- and I'm not making this up -- is how the Associated Press began its story on the report: “No matter who's elected President in November, his foreign policy team will have to deal with...the slow pace with which the government in Baghdad operates.”
The Associated Press has shown it has difficulty stating just what a terrorist is -- a terrorist. In an article today at MSNBC.com (which may or may not have created/edited the headline) titled "Palestinian 'terrorist' in earth-mover rampage," we see how the term "terrorist" has quotes around it -- which signifies, in this case, the loathsome notion that "one man's terrorist is another's freedom fighter." Not only are said quotes used in the headline, but in the article as well:
A Palestinian man plowed an enormous construction vehicle into cars, buses and pedestrians on a busy street Wednesday, killing at least three people and wounding at least 45 before he was shot dead by an off-duty soldier.
With less than 10 hours remaining until the end of June in Iraq at the time of this post, it is clear, barring heavy last-minute casuaties, that May and June will show the lowest two-month total for US troop deaths in the five-year history of our involvement there.
The question that is this post's title occurred to me as I read through this report earlier today by Seth Sutel of the Associated Press. I believe the question is important, and that its potential implications are underappreciated.
Sutel first summarized the week's financial events in the media business. It wasn't pretty:
Even for an industry awash in bad news, the newspaper business went through one of its most severe retrenchments in recent memory last week.
Half a dozen newspapers said they would slash payrolls, one said it would outsource all its printing, and Tribune Co., one of the biggest publishers in the country, said it might sell its iconic headquarters tower in Chicago and the building that houses the Los Angeles Times.
The increasingly rapid and broad decline in the newspaper business in recent months has surprised even the most pessimistic financial analysts .....
By now, you have all heard of Wednesday's Supreme Court decision prohibiting the death penalty in cases of child rape. Having read several articles, the mainstream media's take on the case was mostly informational and understated. And that was to be expected. While the ruling could be considered a victory for civil libertarians, even the press understands that you can't do a victory dance when a child rapist is spared the death penalty.
AP political reporter Charles Babington, who recently touted "ample evidence that Obama is something special," is now warning that Obama is bracing against "race-based ads." Recent examples of "racially tinged" TV images like Obama wearing a turban and native Kenyan gear are "harbingers" of conservative 527-group ads to come. Babington then typically recounted the usual liberal-media suspects on racial politics – the Willie Horton ad and the crumpled-letter ad from Jesse Helms.
But he typically ignored acidulous race-baiting liberal commercials like the NAACP in 2000 suggesting that George W. Bush was dragging black victim James Byrd to death behind a pickup all over again, and the Missouri Democratic Party ad in 1998 that claimed: "When you don’t vote, you let enough church explode.When you don't vote, you let another cross burn." Babington implied that the history of nasty racial politics is a one-way avenue:
UPDATE: Hard to imagine, but it's even worse than originally thought. AP's go-to "historian" is, as Wikipedia shows, a shameless politically active far-leftist (HT Eric at Vocal Minority).
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Two Associated Press writers, with the help of accompanying photos at ABCnews.com, have dug down deep and reached a new low in dismal, depressive reporting.
You can be forgiven if, after reading the entire Saturday afternoon "report" by Alan Fram and Eileen Putman of the Associated Press, you worry that the two writers plan to jump from the nearest tall building -- and take their readers with them -- unless Barack Obama wins the White House.
This is how the pained pair's incredibly over-the-top report begins (note how the headline answers the question before the text begins; excerpted text is included here for fair use and discussion purposes, as are photos originally found at the ABC link that are included at the cross-post):
Everything seemingly is spinning out of control Out-of-control weather, gas prices, economy chip away at American self-confidence
Could this have been an, "Oops, we messed up" moment for CBSNews.com?
On June 18, CBS.com posted a story claiming that global seismic activity on Earth is now five times more energetic than it was just 20 years ago because of global warming. [see related NB story by D.S. Hube here]
Charm City has had Republican mayors before, but the last one was Theodore McKeldin, in the mid-1960s. His immediate successor was none other than Speaker Nancy Pelosi's (D-Calif.) father, Thomas D'Alesandro III, so for native Marylanders like myself, it's easy to take for granted that the mayor of Baltimore is and ever will be a Democrat, and that mentioning the fact is redundant.
But the national news media have an obligation to clue in readers about such things are party affiliation, and that's where, surprise, surprise, the Associated Press falls flat in its coverage of the recent raid of Mayor Sheila Dixon's private residence.
But the missing (D) is not the only problem with the June 18 article by Ben Nuckols, who laments that Dixon's "successes" will be overshadowed by such a minor inconvenience as her alleged abuse of power (emphasis mine):
BALTIMORE - Sheila Dixon has reduced violent crime and gracefully handled a variety of crises since taking over as mayor in January 2007, but a two-year state investigation of her financial dealings as City Council president threatens to overshadow her successes.
The AP's disharmony with bloggers may have only just begun, as the alternative it's now offering to being served with takedown notices involves paying an up-front sum for excerpting online articles -- as few as five words.
The pricing scale for excerpting AP content begins at $12.50 for 5-25 words and goes as high as $100 for 251 words and up. Nonprofit organizations and educational institutions enjoy a discounted rate.
An unbylined Associated Press report yesterday, at least as carried at MSNBC, acknowledges improvement, and then explains why it's not going to get much future coverage from the wire service as long as things stay that way:
BAGHDAD - Signs are emerging that Iraq has reached a turning point. Violence is down, armed extremists are in disarray, government confidence is rising and sectarian communities are gearing up for a battle at the polls rather than slaughter in the streets.
Those positive signs are attracting little attention in the United States, where the war-weary public is focused on the American presidential contest and skeptical of talk of success after so many years of unfounded optimism by the war's supporters.
Lt. Col. Jeffrey Chessani is the latest Marine to turn out not to be a "cold-blooded killer" that the media and Democratic politicians painted Marines charged with the Haditha "massacre" to be. This two weeks after another Marine was acquitted in a Haditha court martial.
FoxNews.com has the AP story about the dismissal of charges against him here.:
CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. - A military judge dismissed charges Tuesday against a Marine officer accused of failing to investigate the killings of 24 Iraqis.
Col. Steven Folsom dismissed charges against Lt. Col. Jeffrey Chessani after finding that a four-star general overseeing the case was improperly influenced by an investigator probing the November 2005 shootings by a Marine squad in Haditha.
As you might have guessed, this story is not exactly commanding the airwaves of the cable news networks this afternoon, although the media obsessed about the "massacre" in 2005.
Overall, the Tax Policy Center said people with very high incomes would benefit the most under McCain's proposal, while low- and middle-income taxpayers would see larger tax breaks under Obama's plan and wealthy taxpayers would see their taxes increase.
The AP had a short newsbreak story on Lorain County Common Pleas Judge James Burge who ruled that the state must stop the method of executions in the state, saying that the "lethal injection procedure doesn't provide the quick and painless death required by Ohio law." Accompanying the short story is the picture we post here showing the judge in his office where he proudly displays two posters, one with murderer, insurrectionist and communist Che Guevara upon it and the other is the famous "Hope" poster put out by the Barack Obama campaign.
This makes one wonder about the lack of reaction to this photo seen today from the media. Let us imagine if this judge happened to be considered a conservative. Supposing this judge had a poster of a right-wing dictator -- maybe even Hitler -- displayed side-by-side with a John McCain for president poster or a George W. Bush poster. So, what would the media be doing today should such a picture coupling McCain with a murderous, oppressor on the right be making the rounds? Who can doubt that the media would be completely out of it's mind (and rightfully so, by the way) about a judge that would seem to be celebrating a right-wing dictator?
Yet, here we have a judge, a public official, proudly showing fealty to a monster of the left, Che Guevara, a man that despised the U.S. and everything it stands for, without the media raising even a whimper! In fact, they publish it as if this judge deserved to be given respect.
The Associated Press has issued a legal threat to left-leaning news and commentary site The Drudge Retort on Thursday, claiming copyright infringement in a series of articles. One example of infringement provided by site operator Rogers Cadenhead consisted of a 57-word citation, taken from a 442-word article—A small fraction of the entire article, and certainly not any more than is necessary to pique the reader's interest in clicking over to the main AP article. I ran into similar problems with the AP way back in March, so I can definitely empathize with Cadenhead's situation.
I noticed this photo accompanying an unrelated and relatively straightforward AP story at MSNBC.com about Barack Obama's electoral strategy. As you can see, it falls into the Obama-as-messiah mold, albeit a little more subliminal and requiring more biblical literacy than previous still shots:
Photo by Alex Brandon/AP. Caption: "Sen. Barack Obama walks to the pulpit to speak at the Apostolic Church of God service about fatherhood in Chicago on Sunday."
As you can see from the photo, the background is a brick wall with the text "Jesus Christ Is Lord" emblazoned beneath a depiction of a descending dove. Depicting Obama beneath it evokes to the biblically literate reader the account of the descent of the Holy Spirit as a dove upon Jesus after his baptism, as recorded in all four gospel accounts.
Leave it to the mainstream media to highlight the latest "accomplishment" of the Castros’ oppressive regime.
One of Yahoo.com’s front page news items Monday morning linked to a story from the Associated Press about Elian Gonzalez’s entrance into Cuba’s Young Communist Union. The short uncredited story put the news this way:
The Cuban boy at the center of an international custody battle eight years ago has joined Cuba's Young Communist Union.
Communist youth newspaper Juventud Rebelde quotes Elian Gonzalez as saying he will never let down ex-President Fidel Castro and his brother Raul Castro, who succeeded Fidel earlier this year.
The Associated Press's Martin Crutsinger got out the gloom-and-doom paint in his report on the Consumer Price Index on Friday morning.
Here are his opening paragraphs:
Inflation rate jumps by biggest amount in 6 months
Inflation shot up in May at the fastest pace in six months, pushed higher by soaring costs for gasoline and other types of energy.
The Labor Department reported Friday that consumer prices rose by 0.6 percent last month, the biggest one-month increase since last November, as gasoline costs surged by 5.7 percent. Food prices, which have also been rising sharply, were up 0.3 percent as the cost of beef and bakery products showed big gains.
Core inflation, which excludes energy and food, edged up a more moderate 0.2 percent in May. But even there, core prices are up 2.3 percent over the past 12 months, above the Federal Reserve's comfort zone.
Trouble is, the markets weren't buying into the negativity Crutsinger was selling, as SmartMoney.com reported after the closing bell:
In his report on Uncle Sam's Monthly Treasury Statement released Wednesday afternoon, the Associated Press's Martin Crutsinger incorrectly informed readers that the stimulus checks sent out by the government represented the major reason why May's monthly deficit ballooned from a year ago. The AP reporter also continued with the wire service's seemingly never-ending recession obsession.
Here's the headline, and how Crutsinger began his report:
Stimulus payments result in record May deficit
A flood of economic aid payments pushed the federal budget deficit to $165.9 billion, the highest imbalance ever for May.
The Treasury Department reported Wednesday that the May deficit was more than double what it was in May 2007. Some $48 billion in payments went out as part of the $168 billion economic relief effort to revive the economy and keep the country from a deep recession.
If a Republican Congressman publicly announced that he will not endorse John McCain because the GOP presidential nominee is too conservative and has a track record of refusing to reach across the aisle to work with Democrats, would the press report it?
Probably 24 hours a day, seven days a week until this Republican Congressman became a household name, right?
Well, on Tuesday, the Associated Press revealed the name of a Democrat Congressman from Oklahoma that is refusing to endorse Barack Obama for president because he believes the nominee is "the most liberal senator" in the nation whose "record does not reflect working in a bipartisan fashion."
Oddly, this announcement went almost completely ignored by television news outlets while garnering no attention from major newspapers such as the New York Times, Washington Post, and USA Today:
Here is the full text of, and response to, a question directed to Jeannine Aversa, AP Economics Writer, Washington, in an "Ask AP" item four days ago (second question-answer segment at link; bolds are mine):
Why is it important whether we are or are not in a "recession"? I have read a technical definition of the word, and I have seen and heard many news reports in which economists and government officials opine on whether we are or are not in a recession. What is resting on that determination?