My bottom line analysis (11:25): The two R's of bias from this Rose Garden presser: Martha Raddatz on Syria and numerous reporters on the dreaded R-word, recession. Of course a recession is two consecutive quarters of NEGATIVE economic growth, and we've yet to see one quarter of negative growth, much less two. But all the same, NY Times's Stolberg made it sound like Q1 numbers on GDP tomorrow will show a recession.
The questions below will be posted in reverse chronological order:
The United States Supreme Court upheld Indiana's voter ID law today in a 6-3 decision. In an earlier post, Ken Shepherd pointed out that Associated Press reporter Mark Sherman framed the ruling as "splintered." While the four conservative Justices joined in the majority opinion, the decision itself was written by liberal Justice John Paul Stevens, and so Sherman's terminology is questionable at the very least.
But this isn't the first time Sherman has used the phrase "splintered." When the Supreme Court issued its death penalty ruling two weeks ago, Sherman wrote:
U.S. executions are all but sure to resume soon after a nationwide halt, cleared Wednesday by a splintered Supreme Court that approved the most widely used method of lethal injection.
Incredibly, Sherman framed this decision as being made by the "conservative court led by Chief Justice John Roberts," even though it was a 7-2 decision.
In a 10:15 EDT post today at CNN.com, producer Bill Mears noted the 6-3 ruling by the Supreme Court upholding an Indiana law requiring photo ID in order to vote. Yet Mears left out that Democrats who challenged the law were unable to produce a single voter who could prove he or she was unable to vote due to the law nor did Mears point out mechanisms the Indiana law has in place for provisional balloting and free voter ID cards.
Here's Mears's four-paragraph blog post at the CNN Political Ticker:
WASHINGTON (CNN) – The Supreme Court on Monday backed Indiana's law requiring voters to show photo identification, despite concerns thousands of elderly, poor, and minority voters could be locked out of their right to cast ballots.
The 6-3 vote allows Indiana to require the identification when it holds its statewide primary next month.
Update (11:25 EDT): The Stevens opinion in Crawford v. Marion County Election Board, along with the Scalia concurrence and the dissents by Justices Souter and Breyer can be found here.
This morning the Supreme Court issued a 6-3 ruling upholding Indiana's voter ID law. That law requires voters to present photo identification prior to voting in order to curb voter fraud.
Yet AP writer Mark Sherman cast the decision as a political victory for Republicans in a "splintered" ruling from the bench. Oh, and for good measure Sherman invoked the controversial 2000 Bush v. Gore decision that "sealed" President Bush's electoral victory, a favored talking point of liberals who argue the president was "selected not elected" (emphasis mine):
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court ruled Monday that states can require voters to produce photo identification without violating their constitutional rights, validating Republican-inspired voter ID laws.
In a splintered 6-3 ruling, the court upheld Indiana's strict photo ID requirement, which Democrats and civil rights groups said would deter poor, older and minority voters from casting ballots. Its backers said it was needed to deter fraud.
Many in the press seem to have difficulty distinguishing between the economy as a whole and individual governments' fiscal situations. Because of that, they seem to be believe that if a state government is having difficulty balancing its budget, there must be a recession in the whole state's economy.
The finances of many states have deteriorated so badly that they appear to be in a recession, regardless of whether that's true for the nation as a whole, a survey of all 50 state fiscal directors concludes.
The situation looks even worse for the fiscal year that begins July 1 in most states.
The issue of illegal immigration has seemed to drift from the front pages of the news, of late, but the AP is not finished trying to advocate for law breakers everywhere, it seems. On April 25, the Associated Press posted a story that serves as a perfect example of how the wire service aims their reporting to support illegal immigration in the United States. In "Arizona sheriff stirs furor with crackdown on illegals," all the negative framing of the issue is used against Sheriff Joe Arpaio's efforts to curb illegal immigration and those who stand against him are constantly given the benefit of the doubt with neutral or positive language describing their actions. Additionally, whenever illegals are mentioned they are presented as victims, one "afraid" immigrant even being quoted as calling our immigration officials "the devil."
The subject of the story is Sheriff Arpaio's recent "crackdown" on illegal immigrants in his jurisdiction of Maricopa County, Arizona. After Federal training was given to his officers, the sheriff began a series of sweeps across the county to detain illegal immigrants. His actions are completely legal and not a single case of abuse by the sheriff's officers has been reported -- a fact that the AP story doesn't bother to mention until the 20th paragraph of the 22 paragraph story.
Looks like the daughter of the West Virginia's Democratic governor has gotten herself into a bit of a scandal with an unearned, politically awarded college degree from West Virginia University. A panel to review allegations that the woman didn't really earn that degree was convened and it was determined that she just does not qualify to get that degree that was awarded her by "High-ranking academic officers" at the school. Naturally, no report mentions that Gov. Joe Manchin is a member of the Democratic Party and that HE was the one that appointed the school's officials.
It seems that at the school, highly placed friends of the Democratic governor were trying to cover for the Guv's daughter who claimed for several years that she had a degree when she did not. Heather Bresch was suddenly awarded an MBA from WVU nearly a decade after she left the school and after the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette called the University to check on the woman's degree.
Imagine for a moment that a Fox News reporter was arrested in Central Park early in the morning with a rope around his neck that was tied to his genitals. Do you think this little nuance would be included in press coverage of this bizarre event?
Probably in the headline and the opening paragraph, right?
Well, for some reason, though news outlets did report the odd happenings in NYC Friday morning when CNN's Richard Quest was officially arrested for loitering and drug possession, from what I can tell, only the New York Post included the "kinky" elements in its article Saturday (emphasis added, h/t NBer Gat New York, picture courtesy CNN):
Several friends and co-workers have asked me what it was like to attend the Papal Mass at Nationals Park in DC. It certainly didn’t seem reflected in many news media accounts. The standard AP template was largely secular and political. Reporter Victor Simpson summarized that Pope Benedict focused on "decrying that the nation's promise has been left unfulfilled for some." As I listened to the homily, I thought in that line, the Holy Father expressed that America did not begin in perfection, but there was hope for the oppressed in this country, whose freedoms were later guaranteed, that America has tried to improve, to live up to a promise, not unlike the Christian life.
A cynic might suggest that the Pope brought up slavery and the Native Americans to throw off the press from thinking he was a right-wing Reaganite. It certainly seemed greeted by reporters and pundits as a sign of his intention to make all American believers a little uncomfortable about not living up to the Gospels. (I heard this line from E. J. Dionne on NPR yesterday.) A cynic might also find political calculation in the many languages and musical styles used in the liturgy, that it was almost hard to find a white, English-speaking American reader or singer on stage, other than the Archbishop of Washington. (I was a little puzzled that one of the prayers was read in Igbo – are there a lot of American Igbo-speakers?) But I found it a wonderful reflection of a universal church, a global church, and I saw it reflected not just on stage, but on the incredible diversity in race and age all around me in the stands.
With the Olympics coming on, what's more poignant than the image of the sprinter hopefully awaiting the official time, only to learn he missed the record by 1/100th of a second? I'm in that same heartbroken mood for the Associated Press this morning. The wire service came so close to equalling the world record for revealing the Republican party affiliation of someone finding himself sideways of the law. Check out the first sentence from this AP story of April 17th:
A Republican congressional candidate was charged Thursday with felony burglary and criminal trespass stemming from an encounter last year with an ex-girlfriend.
Today, talk-show heavyweight Rush Limbaugh picked up on a curious oversight by an AP business reporter whose negative spin in supposedly objective stories on the economy has frequently been noted here.
In a Friday story about a survey of top financial company executives, the Associated Press's Martin Crutsinger wrote the following (bold is mine):
Turmoil in credit and housing markets will be the most significant threat to growth this year, according to a survey of top financial company executives released Friday.
These executives believe there is a high probability — 88 percent — that the country will suffer a recession in the next 12 months.
..... After credit market tumult and troubles in the housing market, the executives listed the next biggest threats to the economy now as the possibility the government will impose higher taxes or raise protectionist barriers to foreign competition.
Well, this time the AP has really done it. Dateline Custer County, Oklahoma: Sheriff Mike Burgess resigns after authorities charged him with running a sex-slave operation out of his jail using female inmates he bribed for the purpose. So, which party did the AP tell us our crafty entrepreneur was from? Well, they seem to have forgotten to mention it... shocking, I know.
AP's Laurie Kellman reported an entire story Wednesday night on "Abortion-rights lawmakers to receive communion," but nowhere in the story was an American quoted in opposition to granting communion to pro-abortion politicians. The angle for the story was that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and others planned to receive communion at the Papal Mass in D.C., when Pope Benedict has been supportive of denying the sacrament to abortion supporters. This paragraph stuck out:
Benedict's stance on abortion and Communion has been painful for elected officials who inhabit the troubled zone where Catholicism and their political beliefs intersect.
It would be just as true to state "Pelosi's stance on abortion and Communion has been painful for church officials," but that's not the ideological flow coming out of AP. Instead, Kellman quoted John Kerry plugging the opportunity of the papal trip to foster discussion on "poverty, disease, and despair," which in his mind probably doesn't include despair over pro-abortion politicians ever considering whether their position needs to better reflect their chosen faith.
"Not long ago, a young Ohio woman named Trina Bachtel, who was having health problems while pregnant, tried to get help at a local clinic," Krugman wrote. "Unfortunately, she had previously sought care at the same clinic while uninsured and had a large unpaid balance. The clinic wouldn't see her again unless she paid $100 per visit - which she didn't have. Eventually, she sought care at a hospital 30 miles away. By then, however, it was too late. Both she and the baby died."
The Associated Press cannot, by any stretch of the imagination, be considered pro-gun or the propaganda arm of the "gun lobby." For example, in 2006 the AP implied that the NRA was responsible for the increase in violent crime begun in 2004.1
In a recent article, the AP once again to insinuated that machinations by the "gun lobby" to sunset the Clinton gun ban may have resulted in an increased criminal use of "assault weapons"; particularly in their "discussion" of a criminal homicide which occurred last fall:
The Sept. 15 killing was remarkable in that it took place in the most innocent of settings - the fifth birthday of twin boys. But it was unremarkable in that one of the guns brandished was an AK-47-type rifle - a powerful, rapid-fire weapon that has long been used in Third World conflicts but is increasingly being used in American street fights.2
Associate Press based this article on firearm trace data:
Figures from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, obtained by The Associated Press through public records requests, show a marked increase in the number of AK-type weapons traced and entered into the agency's computer database because they had been seized or connected to a crime.3
A piece of artillery that was apparently misfired by the military crashed through the roof of a New Jersey home miles away Friday and injured a young girl's cat, which had to be euthanized, officials said.
Picatinny officials told The Star-Ledger of Newark they were investigating. The base had been conducting tests Friday, and it wasn't immediately clear what type of artillery hit the home.
In a post mockingly titled "Watch out for flying artillery," blogger Domenico Bettinelli mocked the reporter's complete lack of dictionary skills:
The Associated Press launched a farcical defense of Hillary Clinton’s discredited account of a “health care horror story” that involved a pregnant woman who died weeks after losing her baby. The article, Clinton’s Tale Part Truth, Part Errors, by Charles Babington (or is it Babblington?) is a classic journey down Libsteria Lane where no good lie goes undefended.
The AP one-ups the Hillary Clinton spin by ending their article with their own activist tainted lie as is often the case with mainstream media protectionists of candidates that have been granted most favored party status. (all emphasis mine throughout)
Clinton erred in telling audiences that the Ohio woman lacked insurance when seeking help for her troubled pregnancy. But according to Casto’s account, Bachtel’s medical tragedy began with circumstances very close to the essence of Clinton’s now-abandoned account: the lack of insurance created a $100 barrier to needed medical attention close to home.
The Associated Press's out-of-whack news priorities and seemingly boundless determination to distort never cease to amaze. Hope Yen's Sunday report on VA credit-card charges is yet more evidence that the wire service has lost its way.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Veterans Affairs employees last year racked up hundreds of thousands of dollars in government credit-card bills at casino and luxury hotels, movie theaters and high-end retailers such as Sharper Image and Franklin Covey — and government auditors are investigating, citing past spending abuses.
All told, VA staff charged $2.6 billion to their government credit cards.
Yen must "hope" that disgusted readers will stop there, because, thanks to "clever" writing, many readers will believe that $2.6 billion in spending is under investigation, and that the "hundreds of thousands" represents the small tip of a very big iceberg.
Even in sympathetic appreciations of Charlton Heston's life and career, his conservative activism for gun rights was often treated as a sour note. Richard Corliss in Time felt compelled to write "He became a villain to many in his later life, when he took up the strident support of conservative causes, most notably that of the National Rifle Association."
Later in his life, he took that stance into politics, becoming president of the National Rifle Association just when anti-gun attitudes were reaching their peak. Pilloried and parodied, lampooned and bullied, he never relented, he never backed down, and in time it came to seem less an old star's trick of vanity than an act of political heroism. He endured, like Moses. He aged, like Moses. And the stone tablet he carried had only one commandment: Thou shalt be armed. It can even be said that if the Supreme Court in June finds a meaning in the Second Amendment consistent with NRA policy, that he will have died just short of the Promised Land -- like Moses.
Remember the brouhaha the liberal media made out of Cincinnati radio host Bill Cunningham mocking "Barack Hussein Obama" at a McCain fundraiser, which McCain quickly rejected? Now the same thing (only bigger) has happened on the left. Radio Equalizer reports that at a Democratic Party fundraiser in Fargo on Friday that Obama later addressed, nationally syndicated liberal talk show host Ed Schultz slammed John McCain as a "warmonger." On Saturday, the Obama campaign repudiated the comment. But will the same networks that played up the Cunningham remarks (say, CNN) have the same fervor for the Obama-punts-Schultz story?
The Equalizer expects flying fur on the left: "While Obama is clearly looking to the general election and what will be expected of him, this is likely to go over about as well with the left as the suspension of Randi Rhodes by Air America. Don't expect Schultz to let this go without a fight."
It will make Monday's Schultz show worth sampling. From AP, which had the decency to employ the L word to describe Ed:
Is it just me, or is the Associated Press's Jeannine Aversa doing an end-zone dance because she thinks that the recession Old Media has been pining for has finally arrived?
Someone needs to remind her that one negative quarter, if it even occurs, does not a recession make.
In an early-Saturday story on the economy, Aversa treated the recession as a lock in her first paragraph, even though the fifth paragraph betrayed uncertainty (bolds are mine):
It's no longer a question of recession or not. Now it's how deep and how long. Workers' pink slips stacked ever higher in March as jittery employers slashed 80,000 jobs, the most in five years, and the national unemployment rate climbed to 5.1 percent. Job losses are nearing the staggering level of a quarter-million this year in just three months.
Now playing defense for Team Obama: Karen Hawkins and Christopher Wills of the Associated Press, as carried in the Washington Post ("Obama Found a Home in His Church") on Thursday.
Call it a Wright-wash -- Hawkins and Wills managed to avoid any mention of the main tenets of "Black Liberation Theology" (details after the jump) that form the foundation of the belief system of the Trinity United Church of Christ (TUCC). Until recently (though TUCC's Pastoral Staff page at its web site still does not reflect the supposed change), TUCC was headed by Rev. Jeremiah Wright, whose preaching moved presidential candidate Barack Obama to join the congregation 20 years.
The AP pair also managed to avoid any mention of often inflammatory items in weekly bulletin articles published by the Church.
Nowhere in the story's 1,200-plus words was there any mention of the Church's belief system, which was outlined by McClatchy's Margaret Tavel on March 20:
Did you know that 574,000 and 1.1 million more Americans had jobs in March than in February and January, respectively?
Seriously, as you can see on the right (data can be retrieved from this BLS page; select the very first "not seasonally adjusted" table).
Now the fact remains, as you can also see, that job growth during the past two months is nowhere near as great as it was during the same two months in 2006 (1.91 million) or 2007 (1.58 million). This goes a long way towards explaining why total employment, when adjusted for seasonality, fell 80,000 during March, and by 232,000 during the first quarter.
There's no denying that the employment situation has been deteriorating for several months, and I'm not trying to minimize that. What I am saying is that the "employees were thrown out on the streets during March" narrative cooked up by Old Media today, including the Associated Press's Jeannine Aversa, is clearly false, either because Old Media reporters and their editors don't understand a concept as basic as seasonality, or they don't want to.
HDNet anchor Dan Rather gets checked by a U.S. Secret Service special agent prior to boarding a bus to cover Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama D-Ill., Monday, March 31, 2008, in Harrisburg, PA (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Among the errors Davidson noted was the wire service's claim that "The United States ..... came out against the pact in 2001" -- implying, but not actually stating, that the US government was perfectly happy with Kyoto until mean old George W. Bush came along. This is, of course, patently untrue.
The error made by Erin Gartner of the Associated Press in covering Chelsea Clinton's appearance at the University of North Carolina on behalf of her mother's presidential bid was more obvious. It is just the latest in a long line of direct or attributed misstatements the AP has let stand about the treaty's history in the US (HTs to Captain Ed at Hot Air and Instapundit):
A federal judge on April 1 ordered Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Wash.), a veteran liberal legislator and Saddam Hussein stooge, to pay Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) $1 million for an illegally-taped 1996 phone conversation. Even the Associated Press, which we've taken to task numerous times for dropping party labels, noted McDermott's party affiliation. Not so the Seattle Times, McDermott's hometown paper:
A federal judge in Washington, D.C., says Congressman Jim McDermott owes an Ohio congressman $1 million for leaking an illegally taped phone call to the media.
Today's decision may end the dispute that began in 1996 when John Boehner (BAY'-ner) was taped talking about an ethics case involving Newt Gingrich. The tape reached McDermott who gave it two newspapers. He says it's a free speech issue.
Boehner sued and the case has been in the courts for a decade. A federal court ruled McDermott had no right to release the call.