Old Media reporters have worked themselves into such a lather trying to talk down the economy that you have to wonder if retailers got lulled into believing them.
The Associated Press's report on Black Friday sales by reporter Anne D'Innocenzio went through the normal good news/"yeah, but" routine (bolds are mine throughout).
First, the good news:
The nation's retailers had a robust start to the holiday shopping season, according to results announced Saturday by a national research group that tracks sales at retail outlets across the country.
According to ShopperTrak RCT Corp., which tracks sales at more than 50,000 retail outlets, total sales rose 8.3 percent to about $10.3 billion on Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, compared with $9.5 billion on the same day a year ago. ShopperTrak had expected an increase of no more than 4 percent to 5 percent.
But in bringing out the supposed "bad news," D'Innocenzio may have inadvertently exposed a retailer miscalculation:
Abracadabra seems to be the magic word - at least for one New Hampshire Democrat and United Press International (UPI).
Prosecutors in Strafford County are claiming in court papers that former congressional candidate, Gary Dodds (D-NH) staged his own car accident and faked his disappearance in 2006 in order to garner sympathy and support for his weak campaign.
*****Update at end of post includes detailed response to unhappy e-mail messages concerning this subject.
As someone that has done a lot of economic writing and financial media analysis, I'm used to gloom and doom from journalists.
However, Saturday's Associated Press article concerning the credit crunch and how it's impacting the mortgage market could be the worst example of economic and financial misreporting and exaggeration I've seen since the press universally forecast an economic downturn after Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans.
Entitled "Have We Seen the Worst of the Mortgage Crisis," Joe Bel Bruno's piece actually suggested that a depression could be looming, and that housing prices in some areas could decline by 40 percent (emphasis added):
The AP has used the somewhat heartwarming tale of an illegal alien who found an American boy and his mother suffering from a car accident in the Arizona desert and stayed with them until help arrived as an excuse to plead that illegals aren't "criminals" and should somehow be given a break. The AP tried to pin this wild leap in logic on Santa Cruz County Sheriff Tony Estrada, but they offer no quote marks around the sentence, so it is hard to say if the Sheriff really said that or the AP was extrapolating and putting words in the Sheriff's mouth. Still, that this one illegal did something morally right even while he was breaking our laws, does not erase all the illegalities and law breaking that every other illegal immigrant has done over the last 30 years. Nor does it erase the fact that this particular illegal was breaking the law even as he was nice enough to help the little boy and his mother.
You know the drill. An elected Democrat gets in trouble with the law, and the party label might as well be in the witness protection program when it comes to some reporters at the AP. Now, in this particular case the infraction is minor --a traffic violation bearing a $75 fine -- but all the same writer Carla K. Johnson left out a Chicago congressman's party label in her November 23 story:
CHICAGO (AP) — An Illinois congressman said he was a victim of racial profiling when police gave him a traffic ticket alleging he swerved over the center line.
U.S. Rep. Danny Davis, who is black, said he will go to traffic court to challenge the $75 ticket given to him early Monday by two white officers.
"I'm not one of these people who cry racism," Davis told The Associated Press on Friday. "I'm a person who believes in hard work and follows the rules."
In the past couple of days, you couldn't swing a dead cat without hitting an hysterical press report concerning an excerpt of former White House press secretary Scott McClellan's soon to be released book seemingly implicating President George W. Bush in lying about the Valerie Plame Wilson affair.
Those guilty of premature emasculation will likely be distraught over statements by the book's publisher indicating the media overreacted to the 121 words posted at Public Affairs Books.com Monday which were part of a marketing campaign to rollout upcoming spring printings.
The amazing discovery that apparent embryonic stem cells can be made in the laboratory without destroying human embryos could be spun as a victory for pro-lifers, who have been mercilessly mocked as the Antonym of Science for suggesting any delay in crushing embyros in the hope of finding other methods that would be less destructive of human life. That media spin hasn’t happened. But look at how some reporters are still skirting around the hard, cold fact of embryo destruction for research. Here’s NBC on Wednesday morning, courtesy of MRC’s Justin McCarthy:
ANN CURRY: There is a potential breakthrough in stem cell research to report this morning. Scientists have found the way to create stem cells without using human embryos. NBC's chief science correspondent Robert Bazell has more now....
ROBERT BAZELL: Many people, including President Bush, are thrilled with the research, because it does not use embryos, which have been the only source of embryonic stem cells.
Those who believe in the civil right that the Second Amendment was created to protect were not surprised when the Supreme Court decided today to hear a case that challenges the District of Columbia's draconian gun laws, which are arguably the toughest in the nation.
The AP story on the decision correctly notes that the case "could produce the most in-depth examination of the constitutional right to ‘keep and bear arms' in nearly 70 years."
D.C. law only permits those people who had handguns when the gun-prohibition law was enacted 31 years ago to keep them, creating a privileged class of D.C. residents who, unlike the rest of us, have the ability to defend themselves from the thugs who terrorize large portions of the city. The blatantly unconstitutional law hasn't worked, and The Onion rightly mocked D.C.'s skyrocketing violent crime rate in a satirical news story in 2003, D.C. Once Again Murder Capital, Mayor Brags.
The U.S. military plans to seek a criminal case in an Iraqi court against an award-winning Associated Press photographer but is refusing to disclose what evidence or accusations would be presented.
An AP attorney on Monday strongly protested the decision, calling the U.S. military plans a “sham of due process.” The journalist, Bilal Hussein, has already been imprisoned without charges for more than 19 months.
Here is the kind of lapse in logic that drives me crazy (no pun intended). The AP today has a story headline that just makes me cringe: "SUV plunges into canal, killing 7 people inside." Now here is the problem, HOW did an SUV go about killing these poor people? Did it unpark itself, drive across town, slam open its doors and gobble up some folks waiting at a bus stop and then drive them into a canal? Should we be wary of every SUV on the street for fear that it may kidnap us only to drive us off cliffs or into canals? Or is it more likely, AP, that a driver was responsible for killing the passengers INSIDE the SUV? Isn't it a tad more likely that the SUV did not kill anyone, but that the actions of the human at its wheel was the culprit?
1. Venezuela's Hugo Chavez calls former Spanish prime minister Aznar a "fascist." 2. Chavez interrupts current Spanish prime minister Zapatero. 3. Spanish King Juan Carlos tells Chavez to "shut up."
Let me get this straight. King Carlos of Spain started this?
According to a Nov., 11th AP story, it was Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who first "triggered the exchange by repeatedly referring to former Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar as a ‘fascist.'" Chavez, reportedly also piled on the defamatory remarks by adding, "Fascists are not human. A snake is more human."
The AP account proceeds to lay out the course of events:
Spain's current socialist prime minister, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, responded during his own allotted time by urging Chavez to be more diplomatic in his words and respect other leaders despite political differences.
Did you hear about that challenge famed oilman T. Boone Pickens made on November 6 when he offered $1 million to anyone that could disprove even one charge made against Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) by the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth?
Like most people that weren't at the American Spectator dinner the evening Pickens made the offer, you probably didn't learn about this until Kerry accepted the challenge ten days later.
I guess that's when media outlets figured it was news, for at that point, they circled the wagons, and jumped all over a story that had gone totally ignored for nine days.
As reported by the Associated Press Friday (h/t Dan Gainor):
The New York Times newspaper headlined its article about the recently concluded United Nations-sponsored Internet conference in Brazil as US Control of Internet Remains Issue. However, as is usual with the Times, while the tone of the article was complaining about the fact that the United States maintains control over the core Internet, they offered no evidence that handing over control to a foreign or even worse, a UN-controlled entity would be better. As the Associated Press article used by the Times reports,
A U.N.-sponsored Internet conference ended Thursday with little to show in closing the issue of U.S. control over how people around the world access e-mail and Web sites. With no concrete recommendations for action, the only certainty going forward is that any resentment about the American influence will only grow as more users from the developing world come online, changing the face of the global network.
On Monday, NewsBusters reported the ironic occurrence of a Missouri newspaper firing a former journalism professor for plagiarism.
At the time, I wrote, "I'm not sure whether to laugh or cry."
Well, new information suggests the latter, as the piece which started the brouhaha, a November 3 column by professor emeritus John Merrill, was critical of a new department for women's and gender studies at the University of Missouri-Columbia (emphasis added):
In our never-ending quest to identify the worst - nay best - example of Bush Derangement Syndrome in the media, NewsBusters disrespectfully offers the following.
Even though George W. Bush is not an actor, he not only made a listing of Hollywood's coldest people, he topped it.
You've got to be kidding!
As reported by the Associated Press Wednesday (h/t NB reader tracyz20, emphasis added):
The online magazine Film Threat placed Bush at the top of its "Frigid 50," an annual ranking of the "least-powerful, least-inspiring and least-intriguing people in Hollywood" in contrast to the "hot" lists that celebrity magazines often compile.
Thinking the AP must have been mistaken, I ambled over to Film Threat's website, and confirmed the lunacy (emphasis added):
Uh oh! America might have to do without CBS' usual standard of news reporting if the network's news writers vote to strike Thursday. Hmm, what production staffer will ghostwrite “Katie Couric's Notebook” now?
November 12, the AP reported that CBS' 500 radio and television news writers, who belong to the Writers Guild Association East, “are expected to overwhelmingly approve a strike authorization” during Thursday's upcoming vote. This strike would follow the WGA drama and comedy writers walk out, which has shut down much of television.
*****Update: Media Matters shill doesn't like this post, and is responded to at end of article.
The financial scam involved in advancing climate alarmism got even more obvious Monday - to folks outside of the media, that is! - when Nobel Laureate Al Gore joined "Silicon Valley's most prestigious venture capital firm to guide investments that help combat global warming."
As reported by the Associated Press (emphasis added, h/t NBer Wildcatter 1980): "Gore, who won the Nobel Peace Prize last month for his work on climate change, joins Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers as it and dozens of other venture firms expand into so-called ‘clean-tech' investments worldwide."
Media that have continually ignored the financial aspects of this con will certainly not see the exquisitely delicious irony in the following announcement from the same article:
It feels like Groundhog Day, the movie. Every time Congress takes up abstinence-only education programs, you can count on the media to trot out a story claiming abstinence-only education doesn’t work. They did it in April of this year with the flawed Mathematica study and they’re doing it again with a "new" study put out by the pleasantly-named National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy.
The Associated Press story, "Report: Abstinence programs don’t work" is a classic example of liberal-agenda promotion. From the slanted opening paragraph to the failure to cite or quote even a single advocate of abstinence-only education, the entire piece is a pitch for progressive comprehensive sex education programs. Just look at the lede:
On Sunday, America's leading wire service published an article that more closely resembled a Democrat talking points memo than anything I've seen in months.
In fact, it could have been written by the Democrat that did the response to President Bush's radio address on Saturday.
In a piece amazingly entitled "Sense of History Eludes Bush in Radio Attack on Democrats," after quoting some of the President's words concerning his desire that Congress pass a veterans spending bill before the Thanksgiving break, the Associated Press editorialized (h/t NBer saw the light, emphasis added throughout):
It seems that no bad Hillary Clinton deed goes unresponded to.
As we are in the midst of a presidential campaign, this by itself is not an issue. That it is the national media that is leading this charge is. One need focus on but the latest corners of the Clinton pantheon to come to light to see the full court press the press puts on when their girl needs them.
In an October 10 Boston Globe interview, Senator Clinton let her socialism slip a bit, saying "I have a million ideas. I can't do all of them. I happen to think in running a disciplined campaign - especially when it comes to fiscal responsibility, which is what I'm trying to do - everything I propose I have to pay for. You know, you go to my website, you'll see what I would use to pay for what I've proposed. So I've got a lot of ideas, I just obviously can't propose them all. I can't afford them all. The country can't afford them all." (Emphasis ours.)
Displayed prominently on the home page for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer Web site at 12:30 Tuesday afternoon was this tease for a story about a local politician in hot water for crude remarks to a colleague:
GOP lawmaker punished Minority House Republicans have severely disciplined a Vancouver lawmaker for inappropriate remarks to a female staffer.
The link takes readers to AP writer Curt Woodward's story, "House GOP member punished for remark to woman aide," in which we learn in the lead paragraph that "Minority House Republicans" in the Washington state House of Representatives, "already reeling from a sex scandal that prompted one member to quit, have severely disciplined a Vancouver lawmaker for inappropriate remarks to a female staffer."
We have seen over and over again how the MSM (and the AP in particular) can't seem to force themselves to mention the party affiliation of some elected official accused and/or convicted of a crime if that official happens to be a Democrat. Now the MSM has expanded that from elected officials even to party workers. The AP reports a story on two Democrat election officials convicted of recount rigging and neglect of official duties for their actions during the 2004 elections but, for some hard to determine reason, few if any news sources are mentioning that these two are Democrats. Jacqueline Maiden and Kathleen Dreamer have pleaded guilty to the charges after an aborted conviction from last January, the original trial having been granted a retrial on grounds not connected with the pair's actions.
TV Newser sums up the Brian Williams gig on Saturday Night live here. NB fans probably would have found it interesting (if not so funny) that Williams opened a presidential-debate skit by telling the Democratic also-rans several times that Sen. Hillary Clinton will appear in the center of the stage, since "all of us in the media want her to be the nominee!" The joke also included that she would get a 15-minute interview to herself before the event started, since the media so favored her.
Inside the media, the reviews were chummy. Tom Shales of the Washington Post offered a thumbs up:
Brian Williams neither took nor gave a pie in the face when he made history this weekend as the first network anchor to host NBC's "Saturday Night Live." Williams is NBC's, too, and the gig was supposed to help loosen up and polish up his image, making him not just an anchor but a friend.
When Rudy Giuliani said the survival rate for prostate cancer is 82 percent in the U.S. but only 44 percent in Britain, which has socialized medicine, you'd think a typical American response would be sympathy for the Britons, and the logical British response, outrage at its government.
You'd think wrong. The U.S. press corps devoted considerable energy -- and in some quarters, heated emotion -- to knocking down Giuliani's statistic, even when it had to twist logic like pretzels to do so. Meanwhile, the only outrage detected in Britain was against Giuliani -- for mentioning it.
Yet Giuliani's point, which is that socialized medicine systems fare badly compared to our own, remains valid.
As NewsBusters reported Thursday, Keith Olbermann and Arianna Huffington made some irresponsible misrepresentations on Tuesday's "Countdown" of a seemingly innocent statement by Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani.
At the end of the article, the following question was posed: Does anybody believe Olbermann and/or Huffington will apologize for their erroneous defamation of Giuliani?
Well, sports fans, we now have our answer, for in their own way, Keith and Arianna perfectly demonstrated how liberals apologize when they make a mistake insulting conservatives: continue insulting them.
For instance, on Friday's "Countdown," Olbermann actually did apologize for the error, but then immediately began his "Worst Person in the World" segment giving all three dishonors to Giuliani. I kid you not (portions of LexisNexis transcript follow, video available here):
It's always eyebrow-raising to see liberals denounce Team Bush for blatant "fear-mongering" about the terror threat from al-Qaeda or Iran, then watch them turn around and do blatant "fear-mongering" about global warming. A new report from Arthur Max of the Associated Press helpfully relays a crystal-ball report from several think tanks:
At the very least, the report said, the U.S. can expect more population migrations, both internally and from across its borders; a proliferation of diseases; greater conflict in weak states, especially in Africa where climates will change most drastically; and a restructuring in global power in line with the accessibility of natural resources.
Left unchecked, "the collapse and chaos associated with extreme climate change futures would destabilize virtually every aspect of modern life," said the report, comparing the potential outcome with the Cold War doomsday scenarios of a nuclear holocaust.