My husband David Ridenour shares his analysis of the spin coming from a sponsor of the late and unlamented Lieberman-Warner global warming cap and trade bill, and the media's response:
We've been hit with a fast-moving, spinning column of hot air - and it's not another midwestern tornado. It's Joe Lieberman.
After Senate Democrats fell 12 votes short of the number needed to invoke cloture to end debate over the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act and move to a vote earlier today, Senator Lieberman (I-CT) issued a press release boldly proclaiming victory.
"Today 54 members of the United States Senate, including 9 Republicans, demonstrated their desire to move forward with the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act," Lieberman's press statement said.
Oh really? There were, in fact, only 48 votes in favor of ending the debate. The Connecticut tornado - er, Senator - also counted five Senators who didn't attend the vote, but who indicated in letters that they would have voted in favor of cloture had it been important enough to them to show up. Lieberman's count also included Senator Edward Kennedy, recovering from surgery, who had also sent a letter.
But U.S. Senate doesn't operate by mail-in ballot - at least, not yet. Senator Lieberman used to know that when he was a Democrat.
Exactly who “threatens” whom? One of Friday’s headlines on the BBC’s Web site proposes “Israeli minister threatens Iran,” relating how Israel’s Deputy Prime Minister Shaul Mofaz says an attack will be inevitable unless Iran ends its nuclear experiments: “If Iran continues with its programme for developing nuclear weapons, we will attack it. The sanctions are ineffective."
Earlier this week, however, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told Iranians that "the criminal and terrorist Zionist regime which has 60 years of plundering, aggression and crimes in its file has reached the end of its work and will soon disappear off the geographical scene." That sounds pretty menacing, too, but plugging “Ahmadinejad” into the BBC’s search engine finds no reports on this threatening speech.
Today's dramatic $6-a-barrel spike in oil has been blamed on a couple of factors - a forecast by Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) claiming oil would hit $150 a barrel by July and a weakening dollar off news unemployment increased half a percent for the month of May.
But CNBC contributor John Kilduff, who is also the vice president of risk management for MF Global (NYSE:MF), told viewers on the June 6 "Squawk on the Street" geopolitical factors, specifically remarks from an Israeli official about attacking a nuclear facility in Iran, is behind the spike.
"[W]hat's really lit up this market big time here is, which hasn't been really mentioned. I haven't heard too much and I'm surprised at, is deputy minister in Israel said this morning that an attack on Iran's nuclear facilities is quote, ‘unavoidable,'" said Kilduff on CNBC's "Squawk on the Street."
It's not often that a denizen of Hollywood is so crass as to admit that they enjoyed using their film work as a bludgeon with which to beat up a living person, but Reuters is reporting that the folks that made the upcoming HBO film "Recount" -- and actress Laura Dern in particular -- really relished making at least one person look like an idiot. Apparently Dern really enjoyed skewering Katherine Harris, the former Florida Secretary of State responsible for certifying the 2000 general election results.
Reuters helpfully informs us that actress Dern is a "self-described liberal" who "loved portraying (Harris) in the new HBO movie." And, why was it so fun for our "self-described liberal" to portray Representative, then Florida Sec. of State Harris? Because they made her look "clueless about the workings of her office," of course.
Imagine for a moment the race card had been used during the Republican presidential nomination process, and the United Nations was sending an envoy to investigate racism in America. Do you think the media would report it?
Probably 24 hours a day, seven days a week until every person in the country had heard about it, right?
Well, the U.N. announced on Friday that it is sending its "Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance" to visit our country from May 19 until June 6.
Although Reuters reported this at 2:48 PM EDT Friday, and strongly suggested the investigation is due to racism in the Democrat presidential campaign, LexisNexis and Google searches identified no other American news outlet covering this story. Not one!
Actor Sean Penn arrived at the Cannes Film Festival to serve as the president of the prestigious Palme d'Or jury judging the best picture. But Reuters reports from France that Penn predictably lashed out at President Bush as brainless, and even puzzled reporters by praising Barack Obama, except for his "phenomenally inhuman and unconstitutional" voting record:
Penn, who is known for his vocal political activism, also took the opportunity to lash out at U.S. President George Bush and said politics should be about helping people.
How about I ask you if you "feel" like you make enough money each year? Let's say you make $48,000 a year, OK? (That's the median household income in the US) You'll likely tell me, then that you "feel" you need more. Now, from this, can I conclude that you are "struggling in life" as a citizen of the USA? Not if you use actual data instead of "feelings" to determine what "struggling" means and not if you then try to add context to what we all have compared to what others in the world have, of course. But, this is exactly the sort of nonsensical "survey" that Reuters gravely warned us about this week. Without bothering with any statistics or context, Reuters excitedly reported that "Many Americans struggling in life, survey finds", and decided that everyone is downtrodden and filled with "suffering" in the United States today.
But this is just another so-called survey that is reported backwards. It turns out that, even by their unscientific criteria, 49 percent of the Americans they surveyed said that they were "thriving, with few health or money worries." So, why is this reported as if the preponderance of our fellow citizens is claiming to be "struggling"?
During the 1992 presidential campaign, when incumbent Vice President Dan Quayle made a spelling mistake, the New York Times was all over it. It's clear from the Times's story that the rest of the media was also in full pursuit:
So Jay Leno has a week's worth of new Dan Quayle jokes. At a school here, everyone was quite hush-hush the day after the visiting Vice President spelled potato wrong while directing a spelling bee.
..... Reporters stood around today for hours outside of the house where 12-year-old William Figueroa lives. He has become a national celebrity for having spelled the word correctly on the blackboard, only to have Mr. Quayle, holding a flash card with the word spelled incorrectly, encourage him to add an E at the end.
“OMFG” is text-speak for the unspeakable. It's also the tag line for a new ad campaign aimed at teens and featuring a jumble of sexual situations, including teens undressing each other and two girls kissing. The campaign blitz is appearing in print and television, all aimed at drumming up eyeballs for the CW network's teen-themed soap "Gossip Girl."
For the uninitiated, “OMG” translates to “Oh My God” in the language of email and text messaging. The addition of the “F” means … well, it’s the word that can cost broadcasters a hefty government fine if someone actually says it on TV.
Now, of course, executives at the CW could never admit that they were actively targeting teens with such a "provocative" ad. Nor would they ever admit they were intentionally dodging an FCC fine by using the letter "F" instead of the unspeakable word. Nor would they ever consider that "F" used next to "G," which stands for "God" would be blasphemous. In fact they've gone out of their way on these subjects. But reality has a way of well, keeping it real.
Chavez wants to increase domestic food production; so, of course, the logical solution is to base the recovery on Marxist economics. After watching the failed totalitarian agronomics of Cuba and Russia, you'd think they could have invested a few bucks in a SimCity game so they could practice a little first.
Unbelievably, Reuters said Chavez “sheltered consumers from rising world food costs with subsidies and price controls,” and then in spite of all of that awesome planning, something surprisingly went wrong (all bolded portions mine):
Reuters, the British newswire notorious for refusing to call terrorist organizations anything more incendiary than "militant," is now worrying that a Bush administration decision to declassify intelligence that makes Syria look bad may harm "diplomacy."
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States laid out intelligence on Thursday it believes shows North Korea helped Syria build a suspected nuclear reactor destroyed by Israel last year, a step that may complicate its diplomacy both on the Korean Peninsula and in the Middle East.
In breaking its official silence on the mysterious September 6 Israeli air strike, the Bush administration is taking the risk that Syria could be angered by the public disclosures and could seek to retaliate against Israel.
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):
Reuters highlights a great little tale filled with anti-gun bias and bad reporting, all topped with an extremely misleading photo that presents a wonderful example of biased "reporting" at its worst. The story is about a German man who was "crowded out of his home" by his gun collection but the photo is of a gun store display in America. What the two have to do with each other is anybody's guess. But then we find out the man wasn't crowded out by his gun collection after all. Just a little thought put to the Reuters tale reveals that the whole thing is bunk.
BERLIN (Reuters) - A German man was such an avid collector of weapons and other paraphernalia that he ran out of space at home and had to sleep in a hotel, neighbors said following the 71-year-old's death... Executors found an arsenal of weaponry and assorted goods at the man's two-story home in the western city of Aachen...
Wow, it must have been hundreds and hundreds of guns that caused this man to flee from his two-story home to a hotel, right?
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):
What does it say about Reuters' environmental coverage when the news organization can't even get a basic “factbox” correct?
This March 31 Reuters “factbox” was supposed to explain “What is the Kyoto Protocol?” Instead, the media conglomerate pushed a biased eco-agenda and omitted anything that cast a negative light on the treaty or revealed problems. There was no mention of Kyoto participants failing to meet their targets or Japan trying to renegotiate because Kyoto is harming its economy. Reuters failed to report that greenhouse gas emissions are rising in the European Union and in many Kyoto-participating countries, such as Canada. Some, like Austria and Great Britain, are actually doing worse than the US in emissions growth. By skewing the data included in this factbox, Reuters massaged data to fit an agenda and crossed into advocacy journalism.
Reuters began by framing the US as the bad guy (all bold mine):
Economic activity in the manufacturing sector failed to grow in March, while the overall economy grew for the 77th consecutive month, say the nation's supply executives in the latest Manufacturing ISM Report On Business®.
The report was issued today by Norbert J. Ore, C.P.M., chair of the Institute for Supply Management™ Manufacturing Business Survey Committee. "The manufacturing sector failed to grow in March as the PMI fell below 50 percent for the second consecutive month.
Just because the ISM says the economy has grown won't necessarily make it so when Uncle Sam's Bureau of Economic Analysis releases the first quarter 2008 GDP report late this month, but it beats the alternative.
The real fun comes in looking over the reporting on the ISM results. Were they better or worse than "expected"? Well, it depends on who you ask.
Update at bottom of post: Williams responds (18:24 EDT)
I have to hand it to the AP this time. They actually noted the political party affiliation of another Democrat in legal hot water. So did CNN.com and Reuters.
But for some reason, MSNBC's Pete Williams left out the party affiliation of Louisiana's Rep. William Jefferson (D) in this March 31 item at the First Read blog:
In something of a surprise, the U.S. Supreme Court today declined to hear an appeal involving the FBI's unprecedented search of the Capitol Hill offices of Congressman William Jefferson.
A federal appeals court ruled that the FBI wrongly used its own agents look through the material seized to determine what might be covered by congressional privilege. This is a considerable victory for Jefferson, largely validating his objections to the search and giving him certain bragging rights. But prosecutors claim they have sufficient evidence independent of the search. The cash in his freezer, for example, was found well before Jefferson's offices were searched.
As a recovering journalist, it has always amazed me how little journalists, even those specializing in financial reporting, know about the basic principles of economics. Similarly, it has always fascinated me how otherwise reasonable reporters can be reduced to self-righteous anti-capitalist ideologues, spouting the kind of anti-market drivel that one might have heard at a Communist Party meeting in the 1930s.
Nowadays journalists routinely attack lenders who take a chance on the poor. Take the case of “‘Pay day’ loans exacerbate housing crisis,” an article by Nick Carey of Reuters. In it, Carey lectures his readers, identifying with certainty what is making the “housing crisis” worse. The culprit he identifies is the payday lending industry, a subset of the subprime sector so regularly vilified by liberals, including Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.
"Meet the Press" host Tim Russert asked Bartiromo and CNBC's Erin Burnett if Bernanke was "up to the task" to take on problems with the U.S. economy. Bartiromo didn't blame the Fed chief for the current economic environment, but defended Bernanke and said the foundation of the housing problems was in place prior to his tenure.
"I really don't think you can blame Ben Bernanke for this, Tim," Bartiromo said. "You know, I think that he is, as Erin said, throwing the kitchen sink, doing a lot at this point. And remember, he's a new chairman. You know, so what was put in place before he was actually in this role has set us up for this."
There was recently a brief flurry of a few incorrect labels of [former] NY Governor Eliot Spitzer -- noting him as a Republican. Perhaps the most inventive excuse for that mistake comes from Reuters via Newsbusters reader Doug M. Doug had sent an e-mail inquiring as to why Spitzer was mislabeled in this story. Here's the response from Reuters' Vincent Baldino:
Sorry for the delay in getting back to you but I wanted to look into this. Our online photo editor just got back to me and confirmed that the (R) means that he is the person on the right side of the photo. It has nothing to do with democrat or republican.
Take a look at the picture and corresponding caption again. Being that onlySpitzer and his wife are in the photo, why is it even necessary to indicate that the former governor is "on the right"? Doesn't "wife" denote "female?" Where else could Eliot Spitzer possibly be but on the right? In addition, wouldn't "(at right)" be the common method of indicating direction in a photograph?
You be the judge on whether Reuters' excuse holds any water.
Like Colored and MindedThis is past a bit ridiculous, is it not?
Agence France-Presse (AFP) yesterday disseminated to its client list a headline and photograph caption labeling sex scandalized and self-ousted New York Governor Eliot Spitzer an (R), when he is in fact a (D) -- emocrat.
They then responded -- to correspondence on the subject of their error and the error itself -- rather meekly.
AFP having only corrected their copy -- leaving myriad errors strewn throughout the print and web worlds -- left wide open the possibility that others would follow their poor suit.
[Update, 5:39 pm Eastern: The Acton Institute's office in Rome has provided an English translation of Bishop Girotti's interview. In it, the bishop has his own criticism for the media. "[I]t is necessary also to denounce the emphasis given to the media that on a daily basis casts discredit on the Church.]
A supposed list of "new sins" from the Vatican, such as pollution and genetic manipulation, made headlines across the world on Monday. The list actually didn’t come from any official Catholic Church document, but from an interview of a bishop that was published in L'Osservatore Romano, the "semi-official" newspaper in Vatican City, and it exposed the mainstream media’s fundamental misunderstanding of Christianity in general, and the Catholic Church specifically.
L'Osservatore Romano printed the interview of Gianfranco Girotti, a bishop who is a member of the Vatican’s Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Penitentiary, in its March 9 edition. In it, Girotti discussed "new forms of social sin," and gave examples such genetic manipulation and drug trafficking. Girotti, who is the number-two official at the Tribunal, is in the mid-level of the Vatican’s bureaucracy, and wouldn’t make any official decisions on behalf of the Catholic Church.
Despite Girotti’s lack of real authority, the mainstream media hyped up the interview as being authoritative. The Daily Telegraph’s website claimed that Girotti’s list of "new forms of social sin" "replaces the list originally drawn up by Pope Gregory the Great in the 6th Century, which included envy, gluttony, greed, lust, wrath and pride." Reuters’ article reported that "the Vatican has told the faithful that they should be aware of "new" sins such as causing environmental blight." CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, on Monday’s "The Situation Room," even went so far to say that "some Christian teachings say love thy neighbor and don't lie, cheat, or steal? But might would one more virtue be added -- go green? Find out why the pope says polluting the planet is a sin." And Pope Benedict XVI wasn’t even the one who was interviewed by L'Osservatore Romano!
The Reuters wire service has scoured the countryside of Iraq for opinions about who should be elected to the U.S. presidency. Apparently, either Iraq or the Reuters template offered only two options: (a) "change" from the hasty and stubborn Bush team, or (b) and apathy over how America will never change from its ruinous policy. But isn’t there anyone in Iraq who is grateful for the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, or grateful for the American commitment to stay and help build a civil society? Reuters interviewers couldn’t seem to find a one. Reporter Aseel Kami began by underlining the need for change:
Iraqis are avidly watching the 2008 U.S. election race, searching for signs of policy change under a new president and prospects for U.S. troop withdrawals from their country.
"I do not care if the president is a man or a woman, what really matters is the change of American policy towards Iraq," said Muhenad Sahib, a university professor from the southern oil hub of Basra, Iraq's second largest city.
The story reads like a lineup of Iraqis voting rhetorically for Democrats:
Employing children in military units, much less terrorist outfits, is a slam dunk case of human rights abuse. But not to Reuters, Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs notes:
Just when you think the mainstream wire services can’t possibly debase themselves any further, they release a photograph like this one, taken by Reuters Palestinian propagandist Ibraheem Abu Mustafa, with an unbelievably sick and distorted caption: