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?
"Republicans Block Taxes on Big Oil Profits" blares the teaser headline on the front page of CBSNews.com. Under a graphic of the Capitol dome and a fuel gauge nearing empty, the caption reads "Senate GOP Stops Dems' Effort To Rein In Profits Of Largest Oil Companies As Gas Prices Soar."
That's a lot of bias packed into 24 words, and that's before the reader gets to the actual article. Notice the lack of cynicism as to the motive of the Democrats, who are painted on the side of consumers against industry, although the primary beneficiary of a windfall tax would be, well, the Democratic Congress.
There are limits to what you can properly communicate in a headline, but a more neutral treatment might have been: "Republicans Block Advance of Oil Profit Tax: Democrats say tax will encourage alternative fuel research, Republicans argue it will worsen energy problems."
In the AP/CBS article itself, oil industry claims that a windfall tax is counterproductive were summarily dismissed with a populist soundbite by a Democratic politician:
Now that Hillary Clinton has officially conceded the Democrat presidential nomination, will media be as interested in former supporters bashing her campaign tactics as they are former Bush administration officials that write negative tell-all books about the president?
Given the media's almost total boycott of Friday's revelation from a New Jersey Democrat superdelegate who claims the Clinton campaign "engaged in some very divisive tactics and rhetoric it should not have," the answer appears to be a resounding "No" (picture courtesy Star-Ledger).
As you read the following article from New Jersey's Star-Ledger, just imagine the kind of attention such a bombshell would have gotten on television all day Friday and in Saturday's papers if the finger was being pointed at the McCain campaign (emphasis added, h/t Ace):
In case you hadn't heard yet, the big, bad global warming bill authored by Senators Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and John Warner (R-Virg.) was pulled for consideration Friday as sponsors were unable to drum up enough support for it to have any chance of passing.
This presents an interesting opportunity for climate alarmists in the media to have to choose what they will blame the speedy demise of this legislation on: currently exploding energy prices and the public's disinterest in a bill that will raise them further, or those dastardly, environmentally-challenged Republicans.
In fact, even the Associated Press seems torn on this issue, and released two different takes on Friday thereby giving press outlets a truly convenient culprit option (picture courtesy AP).
For instance, this was the opening paragraph of an AP piece published at 3:12 AM EDT Friday (emphasis added):
The Associated Press's Jeannine Aversa started off her Friday evening report on the day's economic news showing, as she and her AP colleagues have for several months, that they either don't understand very basic concepts relating to the information they're attempting to digest and convey or are deliberately reporting it inaccurately:
Pink slips piled up and jobs disappeared into thin air in May as the nation's unemployment rate zoomed to 5.5 percent in the biggest one-month jump in decades. Wall Street swooned, and the White House said President Bush was considering new proposals to revive the economy.
..... Help-wanted signs are vanishing along with jobs, so the unemployment rate is likely to keep climbing, a government report indicated .....
Make no mistake, the news was bad. On a seasonally adjusted basis, the economy lost 49,000 jobs in May, and the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose by more than it has in any single month since the mid-1980s.
But that doesn't change the fact that Aversa either was deliberately inaccurate when she wrote that "pink slips piled up," or that she doesn't comprehend the subject matter she is supposed to be covering.
The article is simply headlined “McCain alters Obama slogan to his own liking“. At first I had expected the report to be a complaint along the lines that John McCain was using Barack Obama’s own slogan against him in a critical manner. When I read the article however I learned that the AP is claiming that John McCain not only took Barack Obama’s slogan and transformed it into his own but that he also had the gall to create a new branding on his website that supposedly uses Obama’s signature design: red, white and blue in an arrangement consisting of red and white stripes. (all emphasis mine)
Republican John McCain has transformed rival Barack Obama’s slogan of “Change We Can Believe In” into his own line, “A Leader We Can Believe In.”
McCain’s campaign this week posted the personalized motto on its Web site, http://www.johnmccain.com . The white, bold words are posted on a blue background above red and white stripes - a pattern similar to Obama’s campaign logo.
The Associated Press has an 11-paragraph story that dutifully buries Marzilli's party affiliation in the very last paragraph.:
Corey Welford, a spokesman for Middlesex District Attorney Gerry Leone, said Marzilli is accused of approaching a woman who was sitting on a park bench, making an "inappropriate comment" and attempting to touch her in a sexual manner, which she forcibly resisted.
Last week, the Bush administration released a report warning of the potential dangers of global warming, except there wasn't anything new in it. However, the timing of the release was seen as an act done so begrudgingly - since the Bush administration has previously resisted efforts to propagate climate change alarmism.
"For the first time, the Bush administration is conceding what most scientists have said for years - that global warming is having an impact on just about every aspect of the way we live," ABC "World News" anchor Charles Gibson said on May 29. "The government report was mandated by an act of Congress, but the White House has fought its release since 2004 and released it now only because a federal judge ordered it."
The Associated Press admitted the report had no new science in it, but they quoted Rick Piltz, director of Climate Science Watch, whose organization advances global warming activism.
Earlier this morning the Associated Press's Beth Fouhy reported that Sen. Hillary Clinton (N.Y.) is gearing up to concede the Democratic nomination contest to Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) in a speech following primary election returns tonight.
Not so fast, Clinton aides said, scrambling in short order to protest that Hillary is not going to throw in the towel tonight.
Earlier today, NewsBusters' Matt Sheffield caught a Washington Post editorial which told us, "Don't look now, but the U.S.-backed government and army may be winning the war." The editorial noted "a relative lull in news coverage and debate about Iraq in recent weeks -- which is odd, because May could turn out to have been one of the most important months of the war."
The Post also suggested that the situation "ought to mandate an already-overdue rethinking by the "this-war-is-lost" caucus in Washington, including Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.).
Maybe, but if the results continue, both in military progress and reduced casualties (May 2008 had the lowest single-month number of US and total coalition troop fatalities ever), how about an "I was wrong, I am sorry" first?
Even more remarkable than WaPo's editorial was that the Associated Press's Kim Gamel included "the S-word" four times in her Friday afternoon coverage of Iraqi terrorists/insurgents turning themselves in. Not in the headline, of course (What do you want, miracles?), but twice in the first six paragraphs:
The AP gives us a story about some so-called documentary about what evil befell the poor folks of Crawford, Texas, after Governor George W. Bush bought his ranch property there.I'll start right out with the key section that pretty much describes what we're dealing with, a quote by the director of this film. "I wanted to do a film indicting Bush for this political stagecraft, using this town as a prop." A guy that wanted to exploit the kind folks of Crawford, Texas is being presented as a wonderful fellow by the press? Say it isn’t so!
Naturally, the AP is in sympathy for the poor folks of Crawford who had the misfortune of becoming Bush's hometown. So, now a man can't even buy a house without it being the most evil thing any one has ever done, eh?
Rush Limbaugh highlighted this report the other day on child sexual abuse committed by United Nations peacekeepers from the charity Save the Childrren UK. He called it's the UN's "Abu Grab." This report came from Edith Lederer of the Associated Press:
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed "deep concern" Tuesday after a leading children's charity said it uncovered evidence of widespread sexual abuse of children at the hands of U.N. peacekeepers and international aid workers.
The report by Save the Children UK, based on field research in southern Sudan, Ivory Coast and Haiti, describes a litany of sexual crimes against children as young as 6.
It said some children were denied food aid unless they granted sexual favors; others were forced to have sex or to take part in child pornography; many more were subjected to improper touching or kissing.
"The report shows sexual abuse has been widely underreported because children are afraid to come forward," Jasmine Whitbread, chief executive of Save the Children UK, told Associated Press Television News.
[Update (16:33 EDT): The AP has changed its lede to read "The Vatican insisted Friday that it is properly following Christian tradition by excluding females from the priesthood as it issued a new warning that women taking part in ordinations will be excommunicated." (h/t Damian G. of Conservathink).]
According to the Associated Press, the Vatican is "slamming the door on attempts by women to become priests in the Roman Catholic Church." But it's rather hard to slam shut a door that was never open, which is what Catholic Church teaching holds about women serving in the priesthood.
From a May 30 article entitled "Vatican: excommunication for female priests" (paragraph break removed):
VATICAN CITY - The Vatican is slamming the door on attempts by women to become priests in the Roman Catholic Church. It has strongly reiterated in a decree that anyone involved in ordination ceremonies is automatically excommunicated. A top Vatican official said in a statement Friday that the church acted following what it called "so-called ordinations" in various parts of the world.
Yet far from "slamming" shut the possibility of female priests, the Catholic Church holds that God, speaking to His people through the words of Scripture -- not the Pope or the Church -- bars women from clerical office. This, however, by no means diminishes the role of women in the life of the church, as Catholic apologist Jason Evert explains (emphasis mine):
You've got to give the media credit for continuing to find new and innovative ways to make the U.S. economy look bad.
This time an increase in Spam sales are being touted as a sign that people are suffering as they are being forced to trade in their fancy meats and poultries for something less expensive - a sign of "our times," according to "NBC Nightly News" anchor Brian Williams.
"And in what may be a huge economic indicator, this may say more about our times than we realize," Williams said on the May 29 broadcast. "Spam, the canned luncheon meat product, not the junk e-mail but, Spam sales have surged, lifting profits for the maker Hormel by 14 percent in just the first quarter of this year."