I knew he was a prolific text-messager, but I had no idea former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick (D) was a whiz with computer software.
Yet the perjurious former chief executive of Motor City is "talented and has a lot of charisma," as the Associated Press today described Compuware Corporation executive Peter Karmanos's assessment of Kilpatrick. According to the AP, Kilpatrick will be a customer representative for the company, dealing with public sector clients such as state government agencies.
Besides leaving out Kilpatrick's Democratic party affiliation, the AP's February 13 item left unmentioned that Karmanos is a hefty political donor to both sides of the aisle -- over $213,000 in federal contributions since 1994 -- and once gave $1,000 to the 2004 congressional campaign of Kilpatrick's mother, Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick (D-Mich.), according to OpenSecrets.org.
A week ago (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), I noted that government bailout recipients General Motors and Chrysler had horrible sales in January, and that their declines are accelerating. GM was down 49% year over year in January, compared to -32% in December; Chrysler was down 55% in January, compared to -53% in December.
Meanwhile, the companies' main foreign competitors turned in January sales declines of roughly 30% that were just as bad, but at least not worse, than December. As a result, those companies took another 4% or so of market share from their US-based rivals.
Of course, no media outlets attempted to make any connection between the GM-Chrysler declines and the idea that consumers might either resent their bailed-out status, or might be worried about their survival and the potential impact of their bankruptcy or even disappearance on warranty and repair costs. Nor did any media reports that I'm aware of consider the idea that declining sales at those companies might jeopardize their ability to repay Uncle Sam's bailout "loans."
Now, despite the cash infusion from Uncle Sam, Reuters reports an analyst's belief that a bankruptcy filing by GM remains a possibility. More importantly, the wire service also claims that the government is actively involved in exploring that option. Finally (put down your drinks first), we learn that taxpayers aren't even first in line to get repaid:
Have you ever wondered how the geniuses who report business news know why the stock market opens or closes up or down on any given day -- especially when they venture into political explanations?
I received this e-mail from CNN just after the markets opened:
Gosh, those e-mail drafters at CNN are smart. Who knew that the markets want the stimulus package so bad?
Can't you hear, senators? The markets want their stimulus and they want it now!
Give me a break. There is no hard evidence of CNN's assertion. Others commenting on the opening, including CNN itself, aren't buying all of what the e-mail was selling. Here's what CNNMoney.com had to say at 9:42 a.m.:
But in truth, there's hardly anything new about the controversy in question save for a celebrity chiming in to resurrect the issue of aerial wolf hunts in Alaska:
It's not the first time Defenders of Wildlife has targeted Palin. Last fall, when Palin was John McCain's running mate, it ran ads in several states denouncing Palin and the predator control program, and raised more than $1 million. Judd had campaigned for President Barack Obama during the campaign.
Far from Palin making a new enemy, this is a new twist on an ongoing complaint by animal rights activists about the state of Alaska's wildlife management policy, which allows for limited, licensed aerial hunting of wolves in remote areas difficult to access or traverse by ground.
The newspaper that appears to be on a mission to become Manhattan's quaint little alternative daily is considering a move that would cheer those who prefer fair and balanced reporting accompanied by intellectually honest editorials and op-eds.
That publication, the New York Times, is considering a return to fee-based content -- and this time, it might go for the whole enchilada.
Times Executive Editor Bill Keller dangled the possibility yesterday in an online Q&A.
Yesterday was Pity the Poor President Day in Old Media.
Early last night, I noted how the Associated Press's Ben Feller chose to characterize an already-planned visit by Barack and Michelle Obama to a DC elementary school as an "escape" that "surely made him happy for a while."
A few hours ago, NB's Brent Baker reported with amazement the absurd attempts by CBS's Katie Couric and NBC's Brian Williams to portray Obama -- who either allowed poor vetting by his team or was nonchalant about the tax and other irregularities they found -- as somehow being a "culture of Washington" victim. Zheesh.
The promoter who failed to hold a promised Veterans Inaugural Ball on Tuesday has left behind a trail of angry corporate sponsors and charities who contributed to the event, disappointed performers who were booked for entertainment, and 17 to 25 beauty queens who were told they would be ambassadors for their states at the ball and help raise up to $10 million for veterans’ causes.
Reporter Rick Maze gave a detailed account of promoter Dante Hayes's lies and fabrications:
He disappeared last week, about the time that the performers and beauty queens were expecting to receive final details on their travel and lodging arrangements, and around the same time that the hotel where the ball was supposed to be held pulled the plug when it had not received payment.
On January 22 the Associated Press posted an interesting little tidbit of news about how Team Obama is treating the press. Apparently, the Obama White House is trying to force news agencies to use Obama's own, special, ostensibly "official" photographer's photos taken at Obama press conferences instead of allowing news agencies to have their own photogs present to record the event. As a result of this attempt by Obama to control his image, the AP and Reuters are a bit miffed that Obama is trying to control the press with such an iron fisted move like this.
All I have to ask is: NOW they get worried that Obama is not too dedicated to freedom of the press? After Obama is fairly elected, NOW the Old Media is beginning to question The One on his treatment of them?
One convicted on bribery, the other attacks cops at crime scene saying she wasn't driving drunk
Now that the media has had it's near orgasmic reaction to Obama's inaugural, it's apparently time for some more "name that party" fun for everyone. Today we have incidents widely separated by distance, but not separated at all in at least one way. We have in Alabama a pair of convictions on bribery and conspiracy of a state wide politician and a Jefferson County Minister and in Chicago we have a City Alderman arrested for drunken driving who decided to get all up in the faces of the arresting officers as they attempted to do their job. The coincidence between the two stories is that, you guessed it, none of the stories detailing these incidents could find room in them to identify these politicians as Democrats. I know, I know. You're shocked, eh?
Our first case is that of Alabama Sen. E.B. McClain and his pal the very in-trouble Reverend Samuel Pettagrue, both convicted after only a scant 8 hours of deliberation by a jury of their peers. It was guilty on all 48 counts for the pair in a Birmingham court because "Pettagrue accepted nearly $760,000 in state grant money obtained by McClain to run a nonprofit foundation and then gave McClain more than $300,000 in kickbacks."
I was going through the comments tonight at my Pajamas Media column about the Geithner nomination that went up earlier today, and came across this at Comment 39 from "Mike M":
The deduction he took for the summer camp as a day care expense is EXPRESSLY PROHIBITED IN THE IRS CODE! That’s out and out tax fraud. Even Leona Helmsly (sic) is jealous in her grave ....
It turns out that there is a lot more to the Geithner story. It has been sitting right there in details that were made public last week, but were mostly ignored by the Washington press. While the amounts involved aren't anywhere near as large as those relating to Geithner's self-employment taxes from 2001 through 2004 on his earnings at the International Monetary Fund -- taxes he didn't pay until audited by the IRS (2003 and 2004) or until just before his nomination was announced (2001 and 2002) -- they are nonetheless revealing, infuriating, and disturbing. They make the claims of "honest mistakes" that his defenders up to and including Barack Obama continue to employ look much, much weaker (paragraph image is from Pages 3 and 4 of the relevant report stored here as a PDF; a larger JPEG image is here):
The Associated Press's 1:12 p.m. coverage (saved here, as the dynamic link changed during the drafting of this post) of the Senate Finance Committee's hearing on Barack Obama's nomination of Timothy Giethner as Treasury Secretary has plenty of discussion of Geithner's tax "mistakes" (the picture, but not its heading, is from a November 21 New York Times article).
But as has been the case with every AP report I've seen, there is no mention of the fact that the International Monetary Fund, Geithner's 2001-2004 employer, partially reimbursed him for his Social Security and Medicare "self-employment tax" liabilities.
Here are the first eight paragraphs of AP Economics Writer Martin Crutsinger's report:
The Associated Press's record of running interference for Treasury Secretary nominee Timothy Geithner continues mostly unabated.
My chronicle of AP's largely weak coverage, most of which has been previously detailed at NewsBusters (here, here, and here), is at the end of this post.
No AP report I have seen has noted that Geithner applied for and merely pocketed partial "reimbursements" from the International Monetary Fund for payroll/"self-employment" taxes. He signed IMF forms saying that he had paid or would pay those taxes. He didn't pay up for 2003 and 2004 until his returns were audited. He more than likely never would have paid up for 2001 and 2002 if he had not been nominated, even though a strong case could be made that he engaged in tax evasion.
These aspects of Geithner's tax situation, if widely known, would, I believe, cause the average taxpayer to object strongly to the very idea of his nomination. AP's alleged journalists appear to believe that this cannot be allowed to happen.
AP Personal Finance writer Dave Carpenter, in a mostly Q&A piece with a really weak title ("Meltdown 101: US tax laws can even foil the pros"), continued the silence on pocketed reimbursements yesterday afternoon (stored here for future reference). He also seems to have found every excuse for Geither except "the dog ate my W-2":
"Sometimes, Brian, I think we live in a parallel universe, where the media see the world one way when it's a Democrat in power and another way when a Republican is in power," NewsBusters Publisher Brent Bozell told Fox News Channel's Brian Kilmeade. [audio of segment available here]
The Media Research Center president appeared on the January 16 "Fox & Friends" to discuss an astounding contrast that illustrates the media's liberal biases: the Associated Press scorned the roughly $40 million spent on the 2005 Bush inauguration but is assuring readers that it's okay to glam it up for the 2009 Obama inauguration.:
BRENT BOZELL: Look at these headlines. We found this, this is from AP. Four years ago on the eve of George Bush's second inauguration. This is the lede: "President Bush's second inauguration will cost tens of millions of dollars. Forty million alone in private donations for parties, balls, etc. Then it goes on to say, what else could that money buy..... Now, four years later, same AP news outlet. A story on Barack Obama. According to the Guardian newspaper, he could spend as much as $150 million. That would be three times more than George Bush spent. This is their [AP's] lede: "So you're attending an inaugural ball saluting the historic election of Barack Obama in the worst economic climate in three generations. Can you get away with glitzing it up and still be appropriate not to mention comfortable and finacially viable? To quote the man of the hour, 'Yes, you can.' Veteran ballgoers say you should, and fashionistas say you must."
Presumably after having read NewsBusters Senior Editor Rich Noyes's January 14 blog on the matter, the hosts of "Fox & Friends" today discussed the Associated Press's double standard on presidential inauguration spending.
STEVE DOOCY: When you look back at how the mainstream media described his [George W. Bush's second] inaugural, back when he spent about $40 million on it... critics, for instance, writers at the Associated Press said, "look, we are in a time of war and we are facing all sorts of challenges." That money, four years ago, they said, should be used to armor up humvees and to protect our men and women overseas....You fast forward four years, suddenly we've forgetten all about those AP stories, where people are going, "George Bush's inauguration extravagant," now you're tripling the money. Where's the outcry?!
Yesterday, details discovered about Treasury Secretary nominee Timothy Geithner's tax situation moved it to well past the level of an "honest mistake."
You wouldn't know it from the Associated Press's Julie Hirschfeld Davis, who, as I noted yesterday (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), continues to run interference for him. A story from Thursday afternoon that has since been dynamically updated had a final paragraph alluding to the fact that Geithner had signed annual statements acknowleding his obligation to pay his own payroll taxes (Update: That Thursday afternoon story is still at Breitbart). That paragraph is not present in the story as updated at 3:13 a.m. this morning (saved here for future reference). Even that paragraph, when it was present, didn't note that Geithner had applied for and received reimbursement for payroll taxes he didn't pay.
First, here are key paragraphs from Davis's cheerleading roundup, including disconcerting statements of support for Geithner from many who should know better:
The news that the Gannett Company--the nation’s largest newspaper publisher, flagship USA Today--is forcing thousands of its employees to take unpaid leave is the latest, shocking, evidence of the ill health of the old media.
But for present purposes, let's focus on this odd nugget: Gannett has informed its employees that pursuant to federal and state law, they [emphasis added]:
must not work while on an unpaid leave. That includes reading or responding to e-mails, calling or responding to calls from colleagues and being on site at your location at any time during your furlough days.
Can't you just imagine the scenario? A conscientious furloughed Gannett employee is at home trying to stay current by reading some emails, when suddenly comes a battering at the door: "FBI! Put down the mouse and step slowly away from your computer!"
Mayor Gary Becker of Racine, Wisconsin, received some unwanted attention from the Old Media and the local police today because of his arrest for using a computer to solicit sex from a child. According to the Associated Press, Becker is "tentatively charged with attempted second-degree sexual assault of a child, child enticement, possession of child pornography, exposing a child to harmful materials, using a computer to facilitate a child sex crime and misconduct in public office."
The AP spends several paragraphs detailing the world of Mayor Becker. It describes his election, his marriage and kids. It describes his accused crime and where and how he was snapped up by the police. But there is one little thing the AP can't seem to find any information on... his party.
That's right, once again the Old Media gives us an alleged criminal sexual pervert politician and somehow forgets to mention the accused is a Democrat.
In a post last night, I criticized the Associated Press for glossing over the 15 years of personal and domestic self-employment tax filing and payment problems of Timothy Geithner, Barack Obama's nominee for Treasury Secretary (pictured at right in an AP photo).
It turns out that Brett Blackledge's Tuesday evening report was relatively hard-hitting in comparison to Julie Hirschfeld Davis's rendition early this morning (stored here, because her original 3:33 a.m. report has since been updated).
Davis's assignment appears to have been to shorten and update Blackledge's original writeup. To be fair, Davis immediately indicated that Geithner's nomination is no longer on cruise control. But she deleted, or pushed to later paragraphs, quite a few details that would cause an average reader to go "Huh? This guy wants to be Treasury Secretary?" What's more, her vague title ("Tax problems may plague Obama's treasury pick") replaced a much more specific one from Blackledge ("Geithner failed to pay self-employment taxes").
Davis's most obvious airbrush is in her second paragraph (bold is mine):
Jan. 14 Update: "AP's Early-AM Revision Flushes Many Details, Calls His Tax Problems 'Goofs'"
Timothy Geithner, pictured at right in an AP photo, is Barack Obama's nominee for Treasury Secretary.
Mr. Geithner will, among many other duties, oversee the Internal Revenue Service.
How odd, to say the least, that Mr. Geithner has had persistent tax filing and payment problems going back over 15 years involving self-employment taxes for both himself and his paid help, as well as with the employment of someone who for a time did not have proper legal status to remain in the country.
You would think that such things might place a cabinet nominee, especially to head Treasury, in jeopardy, and to cause the president who nominated him to have second thoughts. After all, in 2001, Linda Chavez's nomination as Labor Secretary went down in flames over matters relating to an illegal immigrant whom Chavez had sheltered in her home a decade earlier. Also, in 1993, Zoe Baird withdrew as Bill Clinton's nominee for Attorney General over the employment of illegal-immigrant domestic help and her failure to pay the related employment taxes on a timely basis.
But Geithner's nomination is apparently getting the all clear, with pliant Republicans giving the okey-dokey, and press outlets like the Associated Press giving his problems the relatively no-big-deal treatment.
Here are some excerpts from tonight's AP story by Brett J. Blackledge (stored here for future reference when there are subsequent updates; 5 AM Update: The link did indeed change; an alternate link that seems to match what AP had up at its own site at the time of this post appearance is here):
Correction (Feb. 10, 2009): Corrected from original reporting attributing AP and Getty with the photo editing. In fact it was ABCNews.com, not AP or Getty Images that overlaid the Bush photo on the Gaza rubble photo. AP and Getty Images supplied the respective photos. Thanks to the folks at StinkyJournalism.org for pointing out the error.
I guess, since flat-out fauxtography as practiced in 2006 in the Middle East has become so difficult, and has been shown as likely to be detected, that the press has decided to go with "creative" image placement to do the dirty work that must be done to create sympathy for Hamas and antipathy towards President Bush and the United States.
For "some reason," the editors at ABCNews.com placed President Bush's image at its bottom right. The photo compilation (shown above) accompanied a report by Miguel Marquez and Simon McGregor-Wood that appears to have also run on the network's "World News" program.
The wreckage in the photo purports to be "the destroyed house of Hamas leader of Nizar Rayan following an Israeli air strike the day before in Jabalia in the northern Gaza Strip" (given the state of reporting out of the region, one never knows for sure).
There is no good reason for Mr. Bush's picture to be included, since:
These sort of nonsensical comparisons, filled to the brim with hyperbolic foolishness, is what we get from the anti-Israeli Old Media so often that it almost fails to even surprise at this point. But, here is Reuters again indulging its inner terrorist, just the same.
In "Bosnia genocide victims protest Gaza offensive," Reuters reports the over-the-top claims made by Bosnian Muslims that the action in Gaza is "just like" that of the 8,000 Bosnians murdered in 1995 in and around Srebrenica. This absurd comparison is, of course, these Muslims' opinion, but Reuters reports this straight without bothering to reveal the full facts that would show that there is, in truth, no comparison between the two situations at all.
The net effect of the article leaves hanging the Muslim claim that Israel is perpetrating an act no better than the ethnic cleansing in the 1990s in Serbia and does not bother to reveal the situation as it really exists. It would be easy for the reader to assume that the Israelis are all in the wrong here. And, one cannot help but feel that this is Reuters's goal all along.
A video report about last night's riot in Oakland related to the shooting death of an unarmed man at the hands of a Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) police officer actually calls it .... a riot. What's more, the reporter notes, as is really often the case in situations such as these, how people he characterized as "professional protesters" egged others on and created the atmosphere that led to so much violence and vandalism.
CBS5 reporter Joe Vazquez filed "Inside the Oakland Riot: A First-Hand Account." It's a little too "gee whiz" to me, but it least it gets some usually unreported facts out.
Reuters.com is syndicating a January 7 Hollywood Reporter story informing the world that "HBO lands rights to inaugural ceremony," but this raises the question; why are parts of the inauguration being auctioned to the highest bidder for exclusive coverage? Shouldn't all of the inaugural festivities be available to every American and not relegated just for the TV network that has the most cash? Why is this vaunted man of the people allowing exclusive coverage of his big day to go to a station not available to all Americans equally?
It makes one wonder if the Democrat's claims of being interested in equality and fairness is all but hot air when the money is hitting the table?
HBO is claiming that they will offer the program for free, not pay-per-view, and that it will be broadcast to folks without the HBO channel on their cable service. But it will still be just on cable. Naturally, for those without cable at all, well, these people are out of luck. So much for Obama's big day being for ALL the people. I guess it's only for those with cable.
In a like vein as the story I posted a few days ago showing Reuters helping cover for Obama by lowering expectations, a trio of stories -- two from McClatchy and one from the AP -- prove to be little more than empty Obama boostering with little worth as news, though the AP piece at least comes close to being newsworthy. Unfortunately, this is the sort of empty reporting that has become du jour for the Old Media. It's the media's covering for the Clinton's all over again, yet 10-times more intense.
To paraphrase Forrest Gump, "inexperienced is as inexperienced does." At least that is what comes to my mind when hearing that Barack Obama has picked the inoffensive, completely inexperienced and unqualified Leon Panetta to be the new director of the CIA. Really. Leon Panetta? The onetime director of the Office of Management and Budget Panetta, that Leon Panetta? This old Clinton partisan has absolutely no experience whatsoever with intelligence gathering or the administration of the same. None. Zip. Nada.
Now, if George W. Bush had picked such an inexperienced man for any government position much less one at cabinet level, the media would have crucified him -- in fact, it did if you recount the Harriet Meyers for SCOTUS debacle. So, in "Obama's intel picks short on direct experience" does the Associated Press scoff at the pick? Do they lambast Obama for picking such a completely unqualified man for CIA in a day when we are besieged on all sides by enemies from whom our ability to gather intelligence is a major weapon of protection? Do they decry this pick of a man with not even the tiniest amount of experience for one of the most delicate and important positions of the day?
Why can't everyone just settle down, get out of the way, get rid of the "distractions," and let Barack Obama do his magic? That seems to be a recurring media meme during this presidential transition period.
Here are just a few examples in just the past 30 days:
In a December 12 "analysis" piece at Reuters, Steve Holland opened by telling readers that "A political scandal that led to the arrest of Illinois' governor has become an unwelcome distraction for President-elect Barack Obama as he tries to keep his focus on preparing to run the country."
Amanda Paulson's Christian Science Monitor report on December 23 about Obama's internal investigation of contacts between his team and Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich fretted that "As the saga of Gov. Rod Blagojevich and his alleged “political corruption crime spree” has played out over the past two weeks, it’s been an unwelcome distraction for another politician from Illinois: President-elect Obama."
And yesterday, Brent Baker of NewsBusters caught ABC World News Tonight anchor Dan Harris worrying that Bill Richardson's unexpected withdrawal as Commerce Secretary nominee might be "a distraction in the key early days."