In an article published yesterday afternoon, CNBC news associate Joseph Pisani took note of something the rest of the media mostly hasn't, or at least hasn't highlighted: the terrible job market for teenagers. The headline and text indicate that this is the worst such market in 41 years. That's true, based on the stat Pisani presented. But barring a near miracle in the next three months, in terms of the stat that matters most, the unemployment rate, it's the worst ever.
Give the CNBC reporter props for doing something almost no other journalist has done, which is to use the not seasonally adjusted (NSA) employment numbers as his factual source. As I have discussed several times, including here, the reported NSA numbers represent the government's best estimate of what really happened in a given month, while the seasonally adjusted (SA) numbers published (and appropriately labeled) by the government and reported (but usually not labeled) by the press represent the result after smoothing out seasonal fluctuations.
In a Wall Street Journal op-ed today, George Mason University economics professor Daniel Klein today notes that "self-identified liberals and Democrats do badly on questions of basic economics."
It therefore shouldn't be terribly surprising that so many journalists do a poor job of economic and business reporting, because, as the Media Research Center has frequently and consistently documented for over a quarter-century, a significant majority of journalists are, well, self-identified liberals and Democrats.
Sometimes what passes for business reporting in the establishment press isn't the result of conscious bias. Ignorance, as just cited, and a failure to look behind numbers, often because they fit a predetermined outlook, are also factors.
It isn't particularly surprising that the establishment press is for the most part attempting to give Helen Thomas's hateful remarks and her dubious apology a very light once-over -- if they're covering her outrageous statements (that citizens of the Jewish state of Israel should “get the hell out of Palestine” and “go home” to Germany, Poland, and elsewhere) at all.
That said, the Associated Press has engaged in a few eyebrow-raisers already. The following is the only search result I found at the Associated Press's main web site at 11:30 a.m. Eastern Time:
That's a classic "Don't read this, it's boring" headline. It also confirms that the AP hasn't considered the Thomas situation newsworthy until very recently. Yes, as seen in the related video, the question from RabbiLive was about "Israel." But at the barest minimum, Thomas's remarks were "anti-Israel," and at bottom they were anti-Semitic. Any doubt about that characterization goes away when one observes Thomas's sickening sense of self-satisfaction after delivering her opening "get out" answer.
But it got more interesting when I clicked on the AP search result's link.
The Associated Press's Karl Ritter clearly doesn't recognize how close to parody his report ("Rightist group jolts Sweden's tolerant self-image") on the mini-rise of the right-leaning Sweden Democrats Party is (I'll use "SD" as an abbreviation in this post).
Ritter is not afraid to label the SD, but won't label others. He begins by telling us that the SD is "far-right" because it is "preaching sharp cuts in immigration and calling Islam the greatest threat to Swedish society" -- conveniently, I believe, omitting the term "radical" in describing Islam. Other parties, of course, are "mainstream."
The AP reporter describes Sweden as having "a self-image of being more tolerant."
Self-image notwithstanding, a reader who gets as far as the nineteenth paragraph of Ritter's report learns that "tolerance" is a decidedly one-way street (bolds are mine):
The federal government saw its tax collections fall by almost 20% in fiscal 2009 compared to fiscal 2008. Through the first seven months of the current fiscal year, year-over-year collections were down by another 4.5%.
New York Senator Charles Schumer (pictured at right; obtained from wbng.com) is desperately searching for another way to fleece taxpayers (because cutting spending is of course out of the question), and has come up with a "brilliant" idea. An unbylined Associated Press story gives Schumer's idea, a foreign call center tax, undeserved cover by going back to seven year-old information about industry job losses that doesn't reflect current conditions.
Here are the first five paragraphs from the AP story, followed by a later paragraph containing the outdated information:
Schumer wants to slow exodus of US call centers
In an effort to slow the exodus of U.S. telephone work to overseas services, Sen. Charles Schumer is introducing legislation that would impose an excise tax on companies that transfer calls with American area codes to foreign call centers.
Over the past two years, yours truly has noted how the economy in Oklahoma has with very little media attention outperformed most of the rest of the nation. The Sooner State's much lower unemployment rate, higher GDP growth, and higher personal income growth have "strangely" coincided with the passage of a strict illegal immigration law-enforcement measure in 2007.
Now there's another significant news item out of Oklahoma that the establishment press has also virtually ignored. In November, voters there are going to decide whether to opt out of the statist health care legislation passed by Congress in March, also known as ObamaCare, by passing a state constitutional amendment.
Oklahoma is not alone. Two larger states will also have state constitutional opt-outs on the November ballot.
Rush Limbaugh brought the Oklahoma news to his listeners' attention yesterday, and linked to this LifeSiteNews.com story. If that seems an odd choice, it's because press coverage in general has been either curt, dismissive, or non-existent.
Here are key paragraphs from Peter J. Smith's LifeSite report:
A protest noticed by the target's next-door neighbor who happened to be home at the time, namely journalist Nina Easton (who also took the photo at right), occurred in a Metro DC suburb in Maryland marked the next round of a national labor union's attempt at persuasion through intimidation.
IBD concisely describes what happens, and why it should cause so much concern:
Mob Rule From SEIU
On May 16, Washington, D.C., police escorted 14 busloads full of Service Employees International Union (SEIU) members at least part of the way to storm the Chevy Chase, Md., home of Bank of America's deputy legal counsel, Greg Baer.
The order of just desserts that many of us hoped was on its way to Detroit serendipitously arrived today, in the form of a stiffer-than expected sentence of Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick for violating the terms of his probation -- so severe that, for perhaps the first time in his life, Kwame and his clan are, to borrow from Elvis, all shook up.
It's too bad that readers of Associated Press dispatches can't hand out sentences dictating that certain journalists be prevented from accessing a computer keyboard or other data entry device to publish anything for public consumption for as least as long (5 years) as Kilpatrick's maximum potential time in jail. If they had that power, the AP's Corey Williams would be guilty as charged for "waiting 8 paragraphs to identify the party affiliation of a major political figure involved in crime and/or corruption." If the sentence seems too harsh, recall that Williams is an at least one-time repeat offender, having co-authored an AP dispatch in April (noted by yours truly at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog) that avoided mentioning Kilpatrick's Democratic Party pedigree at all.
Here are the first seven paragraphs of Williams's wimp-out (HT to an e-mailer, who also helpfully points out that Kilpatrick's mom, Carolyn Kilpatrick, is a Michigan congressperson, a relationship that has almost never been mentioned in any story about Kwame's calamities). Note the arrival -- finally -- of the aforementioned just desserts in the final excerpted paragraph:
When I saw the Associated Press's headline ("Disgraced former Ohio congressman dies at 79"), I started thinking about whom the wire service might be referring to.
Of course I knew he would be a Republican, because the establishment media never treats Democrats, even those who leave women who aren't their wives to drown in a submerged car, as "disgraced."
But even I never thought that the AP would reach back 20 years and attempt to give the national spotlight (raw feed proof as of 6:30 p.m. ET is here) to a former Ohio politician whom even most Ohioans -- even most Southwestern Ohioans -- don't remember. I clearly underestimated AP's cravenness. I guess "The Essential Global News Network" needed to find something to offset the hurt coursing through liberal circles today from seeing the GOP gain a seat, however temporarily, in Hawaii.
No "Name That Party" post would be complete without referring to how Democratic politicians in somewhat analogous situations were handled by AP upon their death. That's coming up.
But first, here is most of the wire service's story (for fair use and discussion purposes, of course) about the former congressman's death, complete with multiple party and political philosophy references, as well as guilt by association:
The report tells us that Oklahoma had a seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 6.6% last month. That's far lower than the 9.9% reported for the entire USA two weeks ago. No state with a larger population has a lower unemployment rate than the Sooner State (states with lower April unemployment rates were KS - 6.5%; NE at 5.0%; ND - 3.8%; SD - 4.7%; and VT - 6.4%).
As seen in the chart below, Oklahoma's unemployment rate has been significantly lower than the national rate for well over two years, and on average in 2009 was that way across all major ethnic groups (source data for 2006 to 2009 can be accessed here; scroll down to "Annual Average Statewide Data"):
President Barack Obama's statement just before he signed the Freedom of the Press Act on Monday painfully avoided reality to the point of giving offense. If it became widely known, it would likely become very problematic.
And obviously the loss of Daniel Pearl was one of those moments that captured the world’s imagination because it reminded us of how valuable a free press is, and it reminded us that there are those who would go to any length in order to silence journalists around the world.
Two key administration-protecting original news disseminators picked up on the need to keep the bolded words out of their news coverage of the event. The Associated Press, which usually (i.e., almost always) quotes the president in related stories, provided no quotes in its terse five-paragraph report, the first four of which follow (for fair use and discussion purposes, of course):
It would not surprise me if the Associated Press's April Castro has spent the last 10 weeks gritting her teeth non-stop.
In March (covered at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), she was clearly peeved at the Texas State Board of Education. In a supposedly objective news story entitled "Texas ed board vote reflects far-right influences," she decried a "faction" (actually a nearly two-thirds majority) of Board members for "injecting conservative ideals into social studies, history and economics lessons."
I will take that as an admission that such ideals have previously been absent or barely present.
Friday, non-appreciative April was tasked with covering the Board's final adoption vote that ratified proposed curriculum changes. If we are to believe her (I know, that's dangerous), improvements (my word, certainly not hers) in the meantime appear to have been strengthened the reality basis, if you will, of the curriculum.
Here are the first five paragraphs of Ms. Castro's report (link is dynamic and subject to change). There are lots of errors in those paragraphs alone; readers are invited to see if they can catch the big cahuna:
The Associated Press's Sophia Tareen has apparently had a lot of time on her hands the past couple of days, and her wire service bosses couldn't find much for her to do. How else to explain Tareen's devotion of almost 1,000 words to the burning question of whether cartoon character Dora the Explorer is an illegal immigrant?
You read that right, but it's worse than that. Tareen claims that images of Dora "are being used by those who oppose and support Arizona's law," but could only cite actual instances of usage by leftists at the Huffington Post and at a a Facebook page whose category is "Just for Fun - Outlandish Statements."
Along the way, Tareen oh-so-predictably resurrects the late-1990s "Teletubbies are Gay" kerfuffle (incompletely, of course); waits until the 27th paragraph to tell us that the image at the top right, which "is circulating widely in the aftermath of Arizona's controversial new immigration law," has really been around since last year (originating at freakingnews.com); and quotes a "gender studies" professor at the University of Arizona who -- undisclosed to readers, naturally -- is virulently anti-capitalism.
Earlier this morning, I was minding my own business, reading this unbylined Associated Press roundup of yesterday's elections, when I got to the report's final few paragraphs. They involved "other concerns" the two major parties have. After noting yesterday's resignation by Republican congressman Mark Souder, the report's final paragraph read as follows:
Well, that's rich. I wonder how the folks at the New York Times, which prepared the 2,100-word article ("Candidate’s Words on Vietnam Service Differ From History") to which the AP refers, feel about their august publication being called merely "a newspaper"? Or about the Blumenthal campaign press release disguised as a news report the wire service's Susan Haigh put forth yesterday? Or is there more going on?
As to Blumenthal's "dispute," here's a clue for both the AP and the Nutmeg State's AG: There is no "dispute." There are only these facts and direct quotes:
Give Campbell Brown credit. Unlike many of her colleagues, who from all appearances will have to be dragged kicking and screaming away from their microphones once their networks can no longer afford to subsidize their dwindling audiences, Brown recognizes that she's in a business that has to make money.
Brown's evening CNN show has consistently failed to reach enough viewers to justify itself, and she concluded that there was no realistic hope of recovery. So, unlike a certain CBS Evening News anchor, Campbell Brown is doing the honorable thing, and resigning. She has told the network to find someone who might perform better.
Meanwhile, give the Associated Press piles of demerits. Its brief story on Brown's departure contained a final-paragraph howler about network's news posture that must be read to be believed (link is dynamic and may change over time; full AP item is presented below for fair use, discussion, and embarrassment purposes):
Today, the Associated Press generally did what is supposed to do when reporting on scandal-plagued politicians. Here are the first five paragraphs of the AP's brief report on Indiana Congressman Mark Souder's resignation announcement (link is dynamic and will probably be updated; "where's the worst one we can find?" picture of Souder at top right is via AP):
While the headline of this post is shocking, it will come as no surprise to those of us who know how strongly Obama supports abortion - to the point of infanticide.
Apparently China's reprehensible one-child policy - with its forced abortion, forced sterilization, female feticide, and female infanticide - comes nowhere close to AZ's human rights violations of attempting to enforce federal illegal immigration laws.
The United States and China reported no major breakthroughs Friday after only their 2nd round of talks about human rights since 2002.
The Obama administration wants to push Beijing to treat its citizens better, but it also needs Chinese support on Iranian and North Korean nuclear standoffs, climate change and other difficult issues...
Michael Posner, the assistant secretary of state... said... officials also discussed Chinese complaints about problems with U.S. human rights, which have included crime, poverty, homelessness and racial discrimination.
He said U.S. officials did not whitewash the American record and in fact raised on its own a new immigration law in AZ that requires police to ask about a person's immigration status if there is suspicion the person is in the country illegally....
This is one of those "you know the ending, but someone has to take note anyway" media bias posts.
On Thursday, NewsBusters colleague Noel Sheppard revealed that Obama administration Attorney General Eric Holder had told an oversight hearing of the House Judiciary Committee the following about his knowledge of Arizona's recently pass immigration law-enforcement measure:
I have not had a chance to, I've glanced at it. I have not read it.
... I have not really, I have not been briefed yet.
... I've only made, made the comments that I've made on the basis of things that I've been able to glean by reading newspaper accounts, obviously, looking at television, talking to people who are on the review panel, on the review team that are looking at the law.
It will surprise almost no one who visits this site that Holder's admitted ignorance about a routinely misrepresented law -- misrepresentations that have led to calls for boycotts of Arizona, a PC-obsessed cancellation of a girls high school basketball team's hoop dreams, and hysterical hyperventilation at Holder's Justice Department as well as by the President of the United States himself -- has received very little establishment media attention.
A few weeks ago (covered at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), the Associated Press tried to pass off a poll it had conducted with its partner GfK Roper Public Affairs and Media (inexplicably held for 40 days) as showing that "Americans (are) shifting to US cars."
Actually looking at the poll's detailed results revealed that Americans are "shifting to US cars" made by Ford, and either shifting away or staying away from those made by the two wards of the state known as Government/General Motors and Chrysler.
They're still at it, just not quite as blatantly. A brief AP item yesterday reported that automotive residual data collector Automotive Lease Guide's Spring 2010 Perceived Quality Study (PDF here) had shown a significant decline for Toyota and significant improvements at Ford and Kia.
Guess who AP "forgot" to mention? When you see the graphic results, you will see who, and instinctively understand why.
For the second year in a row, a state official has proposed eliminating the former Golden State's "welfare-to-work" program, which the rest of us know as "welfare," or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). Last year, it was left to a spokesman for the state's Department of Finance to bring out the idea. This year, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger fronted it himself.
As has been the case for the almost four years I've been following the situation, the press once again universally failed to provide anything resembling context. If it did, people would understand that this is a story about a decade-long shocking level of theoretically well-intentioned waste (the cynical observation would be that the good intentions are tempered by the likelihood that dependent voters are overwhelmingly Democratic voters).
The as up to date as possible context (through September 30 of last year for recipients and families, the latest available government data; some estimation was required because certain data fields are blank) is this:
It doesn't seem like this exercise should be that tough.
The government issues Daily Treasury Statements telling everybody what went in and out on a given business day. At the end of the month, the last Daily Treasury Statement has a record (admittedly jumbled and larded with lots of bureaucratic excess) of all receipts and disbursements for the month.
The folks at the Congressional Budget Office look over the final Daily Treasury Statement and estimate what the totals for receipts and disbursements (or "outlays") will be. The difference, obviously, is their estimate of the month's reported deficit. The only remaining items should be error corrections (if any), or accounting entries resulting from the government's ill-advised choice to account for "investments" in banks, car companies, and other entities on a "net present value" basis.
On the eighth business day of the following month, the Treasury Department releases its Monthly Treasury Statement.
On Friday, the CBO estimated that the April's deficit would be $85 billion. The press (as covered at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog) virtually ignored its report. That's bad enough, but when reporters went out to economists for deficit estimates, their predictions were significantly lower. For starters, here's what the Associated Press carried this morning:
If a conservative or Republican uttered the nonsense to be revealed shortly, we'd justifiably never hear the end of it on the late-night comedy shows and elsewhere. As it is, former car czar Steve Rattner's "creative" term for fibbing has and probably will continue to get little coverage outside of Detroit.
Rattner's risible rendition of reality spewed forth before he spoke at a Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago-Detroit District conference. Here are excerpts from the coverage by the Detroit News's Robert Snell (HT Laura Ingraham), with help from David "I think Toyota bragged about avoiding safety recalls, so they did" Shepardson (bolds are mine):
General Motors Co. Chairman and Chief Executive Ed Whitacre may have stretched the truth in a commercial saying the automaker had repaid its federal obligations, former autos czar Steve Rattner said today.
GM "may have slightly elasticized the reality of things," Rattner told reporters ahead of a speech today.
Yesterday, in the midst of the commencement address he delivered at Hampton University, President Obama made a startling "admission" (readers will see why "admission" is in quotes shortly):
And meanwhile, you're coming of age in a 24/7 media environment that bombards us with all kinds of content and exposes us to all kinds of arguments, some of which don't always rank that high on the truth meter. And with iPods and iPads; and Xboxes and PlayStations -- none of which I know how to work -- (laughter) -- information becomes a distraction, a diversion, a form of entertainment, rather than a tool of empowerment, rather than the means of emancipation. So all of this is not only putting pressure on you; it's putting new pressure on our country and on our democracy.
There are more troubling overtones inherent in the excerpt that many observers have already noted. I'll stay away from them for the purposes of this post.
Those matters aside, there are still a few pesky items that arise from the bolded portion of the excerpt.
On Friday, in the course of a general complaint about the relative lack of coverage of the flooding in Nashville and much of Tennessee, the Associated Press received a deserved compliment for its coverage from Investors Business Daily, which correctly implied that AP can't make its subscribers publish its output.
But IBD missed one item, and understandably so. On Wednesday, the AP ran an article whose purpose seemed to be either to arouse class envy at a time when people should be pulling together, or to criticize the state and federal relief effort's priorities. That article is no longer present at AP's main web site. Why?
The item can still be found in about 150 places as of 11 p.m. Eastern time. (That may seem like a lot, but in context it isn't.) Once you see the tenor and tone of the coverage, you'll understand why the wire service might have wanted to pretend it never published the coverage of reporters Sheila Burke and Travis Loller.
Unfortunately, since I didn't do a screen grab, I'm not sure of the exact title AP used at its main site. But here are examples of headlines employed at subscribing sites, one of which is probably the one the AP's main site also used:
The editorialists at Investors Business Daily are not pleased with the values on display in the relative importance given to three major stories: the deaths of 11 oil rig workers off the Gulf Coast, the oil spill that resulted from that rig's collapse, and the historic flooding in Tennessee that has taken at least 30 lives.
What does it say when 11 men who perish on an exploding oil platform, or 30 poor souls who die in a 1,000-year Tennessee flood, get less coverage than two oil-soaked birds? It says news is driven from the left.
It is to the credit of the one media outlet that reported the paparazzi-like scrums of reporters trailing rescue workers as they tried to clean off one oil-soaked gannet caught in the oil spill off Louisiana waters after a rig exploded in the Gulf on April 20. Not only did the U.S. and European media obsess breathlessly about the bird, and later about a brown pelican that followed, they seemed to be panting for more.
That's because birds are convenient tools for driving the radical green agenda to halt all oil drilling. TV media and the national papers pounded the bird story because it served a political purpose.
If a genuine, sustained economic recovery is truly underway, why can't the government show us the money? This would appear to be a question the establishment press has no interest in answering.
As seen in the graphic at the right (HT to an e-mailer), when the government's Monthly Treasury Statement is released next Wednesday, the anticipation is that it will show an April deficit of $85 billion. That estimate comes from the Congressional Budget Office, which released its Monthly Budget Review yesterday.
The government almost always runs an April surplus because it's the biggest month for tax collections. Individual filers have to settle up what's left of their previous year's liabilities with Uncle Sam on April 15, and the first installments of current-year individual and corporate estimated taxes are also due.
But as seen in the chart that follows, April receipts have cratered during the past two years by stunning amounts compared to April 2007 and 2008. The April 2010 plunge continues a nearly unbroken trend of year-over-year declines in monthly receipts going back almost two years:
Meanwhile, the local Columbus Dispatch, which would be less obligated to reveal Dann's party affiliation because its readership is more likely to already know it, told readers Dann is a Democrat in the second paragraph of its coverage.
The name of Ohio's governor, Ted Strickland, doesn't show up anywhere in either entity's coverage.
CNN and the Associated Press on Wednesday and Thursday touted how the tea party movement apparently didn't get motivate voters to turn out and "throw out the bums" in Republican primaries in Indiana, North Carolina, and Ohio. Both outlets, however, omitted how senate candidate Rob Portman ran unopposed in his primary race in Ohio.
Anchor Rick Sanchez brought on CNN national political correspondent Jessica Yellin during a segment 21 minutes into the 3 pm Eastern hour of his Rick's List program on Wednesday. After noting how Democratic Representative David Obey, a "partisan brawler," was retiring, and how "Sarah Palin and tea party influences" might be "running some of these rascals out of office," Sanchez turned to Yellin and asked her about the results: "Those allegedly angry voters could have stormed the polls in droves and thrown out the bums. They would have all been there in big numbers, and they're going to get rid of the incumbents, get rid of the old hacks. So, did that happen?"
John Christoffersen's article for the Associated Press on Tuesday night highlighted the life woes of Faisal Shahzad, the suspect in the failed Times Square bombing plot, citing how "his life seemed to unravel." Christoffersen also noted Shazad's "outspokenness about [former] President George W. Bush and the Iraq war."
The AP writer's article, titled "Times Square bombing suspect's life had unraveled," first detailed the suspect's past "enviable life:" how he had become a U.S. citizen, his wealthy Pakistani family, his MBA, his "well-educated wife and two kids" and the house he owned "in a middle-class Connecticut suburb." Christoffersen then continued with the recent difficulties he faced : "In the past couple of years, though, his life seemed to unravel: He left a job at a global marketing firm he'd held for three years, lost his home to foreclosure and moved into an apartment in an impoverished neighborhood in Bridgeport. And last weekend, authorities say, he drove an SUV loaded with explosives into Times Square intent on blowing it up."