The Associated Press this morning did a short and sweet hit piece on Sarah Palin, criticizing the Alaska Governor for acting as, well, the Alaska Governor.
Anne Sutton of the AP essentially mocks Palin for governing the state by ‘remote control.’ It’s not so much the criticism as it is the reality that if Sarah Palin wasn’t doing her job, the AP would be hammering her for that instead. The headline would go from ‘Palin manages to govern Alaska from afar’ to ‘Palin manages to neglect Alaska while campaigning.’
Sutton goes on to offer these hard-hitting examples of journalism that have come to define the AP, using such concrete descriptors as ‘almost a month’ and ‘probably’ to define lengths of time and cost respectively. The entire article follows (emphasis mine):
In a story on "Potential Problems at the Polls," Time's Michael Scherer passed along to readers a misleading anecdote about some nuns from South Bend who were "turned away" from the polls in Indiana's May presidential primary. The scary tale of sweet elderly nuns being robbed of their right to vote was how he introduced Time readers to potential problem #6, "New Burdens of Proof."
The sisters of the holy cross [sic] in notre [sic] Dame, Ind., don't have much use for driver's licenses. Or at least that's what a dozen of the nuns thought on May 6, when they went to vote in the presidential primary. They were each turned away as a result of a recently established ID-check requirement at Indiana polls.
In truth what actually happened was the nuns refused to avail themselves the opportunity of voting via provisional ballot and Scherer is hardly the first to mislead readers as to the facts of the incident in question.As I noted in a May 6 NewsBusters post:
Well, that mean ol' Sarah Palin ruined everything for the St. Louis Blues hockey team, darn it all. That's right the media's newest Cheney replacement must have been planning this monstrous attack on the Blues' goalie for weeks. Her next trick: world domination. At least this seems to be how MSNBC and the Associated Press feel about it all.
What am I talking about? Well, Palin visited the Blues' arena to see a game on October 24 and it seems that Blues goalie Manny Legace tripped on the carpet that the team laid on the ice so that Palin and her family could walk safely out to address the crowd. Because of that injury, the AP and MSNBC both decided that this accident was all Palin's fault. Really.
Associated Press lead reporter Liz Sidoti, other contributors (AP Director of Surveys Trevor Tompson, AP News Survey Specialist Dennis Junius and AP writer Alan Fram), and the wire service's supposedly vaunted editors apparently don't understand what a polling margin of error is.
In a Wednesday story I found in four different places (CBS News, AP-Google, Breitbart, Yahoo! News), Sidoti et al let a paragraph stand claiming that a 3.5% margin of error in the poll results they were reporting meant that the real results could vary by as many as 14 points.
Here are the key paragraphs found in each story (bold is mine):
An Arkansas TV reporter that had a bit part in Oliver Stone's movie "W" was found beaten unconscious in her Little Rock home on October 20 and in its report on the crime the Associated Press seemed to decide that she was beaten merely because she had appeared in the movie though this impression the AP seems to have is not supported by the police. One wonders why the AP decided to spend almost half its story focusing on her movie role when reporting this crime? Is the AP trying to say her connection with George W. Bush got her attacked? It sure seems like the AP is seized by another bout of Bush Derangement Syndrome with its unnecessary emphasis on this reporter's film role.
The APs obsession with the victim's movie role was odd, indeed. Even in its first few lines the AP ties KATV anchor Ann Pressly to her movie work saying in its first sentence that she "had a small part in the Bush biopic 'W.'" The AP takes pains to point out that in the movie, Pressly "speaks favorably of President Bush's 'Mission Accomplished' event on an aircraft carrier shortly after the start of the Iraq war." The report speaks about how she won the role in the film and then adds this odd sentence:
The hosannas have already been sung in numerous stories of this variety from earlier in the campaign, but for some reason Babington thought fit to chronicle the cries of adulation from the Illinois senator's faithful followers (emphases mine; h/t e-mail tipster Joe Loiacono):
Only a fraction of the thousands of people who attend Obama's larger rallies manage to touch him. They arrive hours early, stand and cheer during his speech, and then scream, jump and sometimes cry out in joy when he uses both hands to briefly press their arms, hands, fingers.
Story after story on the full-year results for the federal budget refers to the size of the full-year deficit for the fiscal year that just ended on September 30 ($455 billion), and how it compares to last year's deficit ($162 billion).
Almost none of them talk about why the deficit ballooned.
I wonder why?
Could it be because the Democrat-controlled Congress of Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid allowed spending to spiral out of control?
Apparently the Washington Post thinks it has an ethics violation to hold against Cindy McCain, wife of GOP presidential candidate John McCain. The Post is trying to claim that Cindy McCain somehow illicitly got a portable cell tower delivered to her remote Arizona ranch so that their phones would work there. The truth is, however, the Secret Service ordered up the portable cell tower, not Cindy McCain.
Even the words the Post uses to report the story prove somewhat weasely because, as the Post can't find any actual wrong doing, the story relies on vague ways of implying wrongdoing without actually saying it. In the end, there doesn't seem to be much there, there, but I suppose the Post had to justify the money it spent by publishing this non-story anyway.
Gee, and I thought I might be pushing the envelope on September 28 when I expressed concern that the "bailout" with the made-up $700 billion price tag that turned into the pork-loaded "bailout" with the made-up $850 billion price tag "blackmail" (though "extortion" may be the more appropriate word).
It is clear that this is indeed the case, at least twice over. First, there were the threats made by the Treasury Secretary, the President, and the Fed Chairman warning of a banking Armageddon if Congress didn't pass the bill.
Now there's clear evidence, reported with stunning casualness by CNBC, that Paulson & Co. threatened the big banks in some way to force them to "accept" Uncle Sam's preferred equity investments:
The son of an 8-term Democratic congressman from Illinois has pleaded guilty to having sex with jail inmates under his charge, the Chicago Sun-Times News Group reported today. Yet the congressman's Democratic Party affiliation was left out of the story altogether:
The son of U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush will spend six months in jail after pleading guilty to having sexual encounters with two female inmates and arranging encounters with another while serving as a state prison official.
Jeffrey M. Rush, 42, of the 700 block of Brookfield Court in Lake Zurich, pleaded guilty Wednesday to three counts of official misconduct and agreed to a sentence of 180 days in the Kane County Jail and three years probation, according to a release from the Kane County State’s Attorney’s office.
Two of the charges stem from sexual relationships Rush had with two female prison inmates between Feb. 1 and June 18, 2007, while he was serving as head of security at the Fox Valley Adult Transition Center at 1329 Lake St. in Aurora, the release said.
Given that the topic of this post is the Associated Press, I guess I should be pleased to report that one of its two reports tonight about the dive in the stock market last week is correct.
In one article ("Gov't eyes plan to take ownership stakes in banks"), AP's Harry Dunphy and Tom Raum correctly said that "the Dow Jones industrial average just completed its worst week ever, plummeting more than 18 percent." This is sadly true, at least if you "only" go back to 1921 (even I will give AP a pass for not wanting to dig through the muck of 1920, 1907, 1903 and 1901, which the New York Times was using as "hey, it's not that bad" benchmarks as Black Tuesday approached in 1929):
Poor Karl Ritter and Matt Moore of the Associated Press must have a lot of time to kill, a dearth of ideas, and a studied disinterest in accuracy as they await the awarding of the Nobel Prize for Economics in Stockholm, Sweden on Monday. A list of past winners is here.
Besides lamenting that no woman has ever won the Economics Prize (so?), the AP pair felt the need to relate the financial bailout passed by Congress and signed by the President a week ago, and the current steep stock market decline that followed it (or, as yours truly and Investors Business Daily would argue, occurred because of it), to who might win the award.
Along the way, they, as AP reporters are wont to do, erred, and quite seriously.
Here's how their report, weirdly entitled "Amid the meltdown, economics Nobel no easy pick," began (bold is mine):
Interesting, Jew attributes his downfall to the examples of others, and, according to Buchanan, "is prepared to name others who he says have engaged in similar actions." Though there's clearly an element of personal responsibility avoidance at play here, it's nonetheless worth noting that AP and Buchanan still had no interest in learning where Jew picked up what Elias described as "lessons taught by other politicians."
It's getting close to Halloween, so I hope this story doesn't scare you too much. But the Associated Press has discovered that this bad economy is making us ugly. That's right, ugly. Because of this downturn people just cannot afford to go to their friendly neighborhood plastic surgeon for those nips and tucks any more. So it is the AP's sad duty to inform us that "As economy sags, faces do too, cosmetic docs say." It's a horrible, horrible world that we now are cursed to live in if we can't afford our Botox and tummy tucks! Now, they are serious with this so quit your laughing this instant.
The economy isn't the only thing that's sagging -- so are faces, breasts and bellies as would-be cosmetic surgery patients increasingly opt against costly nips and tucks because of tough financial times.
You know, I was complaining to my Mommy yesterday that I didn't want my liposuction and she told me to do it anyway because kids in China could barely afford an eyelift these days. I know I should be grateful for what I have, though. Some people DO have it worse, ya know?
The Dow may be tanking and we could be heading into a global recession in the near future, but there's a green lining to it all, according to Reuters. Mother Earth might get a breather from those dastardly carbon emissions, what with shuttered factories and all.
Here's how the financial news wire teased a story on the afternoon of October 7, a day after the Dow closed below 10,000 for the first time since October 2004:
Economic silver lining? The slowdown in the world economy may give the planet a breather from high carbon dioxide emissions, a leading scientist says.
The October 7 story by Reuters staffer Michele Kambas focused on the recent remarks by Nobel winner Paul Crutzen:
Update's Update: I have been assured by IT that we are FINALLY ready to go with this.
The American people in poll after poll and in greater and growing numbers are railing against the egregious liberal bias of the press. And nowhere are the media more horrendously slanted than in their coverage of the presidential campaign of Illinois Sen. Barack Obama. They are (to say the least) very, very sweet on him.
The MRC has put together this college basketball tournament-style bracket event, the Sweet-On-Obama Sixteen Media Bias Tournament, so that you, the angered members of the media’s audience can vote for who gives Sen. Obama the most loving and fawning coverage of all.
The Associated Press has long been a bastion of liberal bias. But has it now sunk to the level of a left-wing blog in the throes of Palin Derangement Syndrome? Yes, suggests the Morning Joe folks. In a rare bit of unanimity, the panel condemned and ridiculed AP for its "analysis" item, "Palin's words carry racial tinge." According to Douglass K. Daniel, the item's author, Palin's criticism of Barack Obama for his association with Ayers somehow carries "a racially tinged subtext." See Warner Todd Huston's earlier discussion here.
Mika Brzezinski questioned the strategic wisdom of the McCain campaign's playing of the Ayers card, but even she joined in the excoriation of the AP.
Talk about an idiotic assertion, but the Associated Press just claimed that Governor Sarah Palin is a racist for saying that Obama used to "pal around with terrorists." According to the AP's Douglass K. Daniel, Palin is a racist because the word "terrorist" is construed now-a-days to mean a "dark-skinned radical Muslim" so that makes her a "racist" in his blinkered view.
See, it isn't overt, according to Daniel, but there is a "subtext," don't you know? And, yes, he's serious with this absurd claim, sadly. This Olympics award winning back stretch has to be seen to be believed.
If Old Media can cook their numbers to make their favored candidate look good, they will.
Earlier today, I covered two cooked AP-GfK polls (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog). The pollster dramatically changed the party-ID makeup of the second poll to include a much higher percentage of Democrats, and watered down the strong-GOP component of the Republicans sampled. As a result, the two poll results, taken together, fabricated an illusion of Barack Obama momentum, and John McCain decline. The results couldn't be more bogus; holding the mix constant from one poll to the next would have caused John McCain's lead from three weeks ago to shrink by about 1%.
Its also seems that if Old Media can't use a poll to fabricate its way to the result it wants, it simply ignores it. Two examples from the same poll will demonstrate this.
On Wednesday, NewsBusters' Scott Whitlock noted that ABC ignored its own national poll conducted with the Washington Post that showed a 4% national edge for Barack Obama -- down from 9% the previous week.
Yesterday, the Washington Post's Jon Cohen and Jennifer Agiesta didn't totally ignore the poll (full results are here). Like ABC, they ignored the topside result just mentioned, which is pictured below:
In the kitchens of the Associated Press, it's almost as if the wire service asked its chief cook -- er, pollster -- GfK Roper Public Affairs and Media, to do the following:
Whip up a tasty, representative poll after the Republican Convention.
Three weeks later, make the same dish, but this time adjust the mix of ingredients by radically oversampling Democrats and undersampling Republicans, thereby creating a false illusion of momentum in the campaign of Barack Obama, and of decline in John McCain's.
Hope people don't notice the changes in the recipe.
Of course we don't know if the differences between AP-CfK's Sept. 5-10 and Sept. 27-30 results were created deliberately, but the results sure look suspicious (both polls are available at PDF links found at AP-GfK's home page).
The more recent poll shows Obama with a 7-point lead among likely voters, both with and without leaners; the earlier poll showed McCain with a 5-point lead with leaners, and 4 points without.
Almost all of this 12-point swing (11 points with leaners) is more than likely almost completely due to major differences between the two polls' samples:
The Associated Press apparently isn't satisfied going after Sarah Palin full throttle.
The GOP Vice-Presidential nominee's visit to New York City apparently went so well that an ABC pictorial series is called "Sarah Palin Takes News York" -- though the last slide takes a shot at the McCain campaign for setting boundaries on access to Palin during her meetings with foreign leaders. ABC claims that the media threatened to boycott covering her (yeah, right).
Both the New York Times and the AP chose to address Palin's observation that her parents had involvement in the recovery effort in the aftermath of the World Trade Center attacks. In a surprisingly pleasant development, the Times's story covered that angle reasonably well. But the AP's story (as carried at the Times web site), was incomplete, nasty ("rat-killers"), and condescending.
The AP is suddenly alarmed that no one is "running Alaska" while Palin is out on the stump with John McCain, so much so that they've published a piece wondering if Alaska is about to sink into the icy grip of the Alaskan tundra, or something, because Palin isn't there. One wonders if the AP is all upset that no one is in Congress representing certain districts of Illinois or Delaware with Obama and Biden roaming the countryside instead of sitting in the Senate? One wonders if the AP has even noticed that Obama has spent less than 200 days in the Senate since he took his seat in that august body in 2005? Talk about rudderless! Talk about short-shrifting the representation of constituents!
The AP is all about the wringing of hands because Palin has been absent from the Alaska governor's office for the last three weeks. I guess the AP isn't aware that Alaska has a Lt. Governor? But, let's face it, the AP doesn't care about Alaska at all because this article is only a thinly disguised excuse to slam Palin for not running to the press to fawn over them and cater to their every need.
Most of this piece is centered on the way McCain and Palin are trying to control the Palin message, as opposed to any real worry that Alaska is running rudderless. In fact, this AP smear piece is a bait and switch, not really about what it seems to be about.
When I was a kid there was a song we sang in Sunday School called, "Everybody Ought to Go to Sunday School." If I could find something to rhyme with "Associated Press reporters," I could probably write a new verse.
Reporting yet another story involving Gov. Sarah Palin's former church, the AP continued its attempts to paint Palin as a closet Pentecostal, as well as to hint that Pentecostals are wacky, far afield from the mainstream of Christian theology.
Anchorage-based AP reporter Garance Burke devoted a September 25 article to a newly surfaced YouTube video purportedly showing Palin being prayed over by a Kenyan preacher who asked God to protect Palin from all manner of evil, including witchcraft.
Burke went on to characterize the Pentecostal church Palin used to attend as simultaneously "conservative" in biblical teaching and yet outside orthodox Christian belief:
In the Words-Mean-Things category, yesterday we got both the Associated Press and CNN distorting the words Laura Bush used to describe Sarah Palin on foreign policy. Worse, the video interview of the First Lady was right on CNN yet on its own Political Ticker blog, CNN still distorted what Laura Bush said about Palin. It makes you wonder if the folks at CNN even watch CNN?
Virginia State Police chaplains can't invoke the name of Jesus Christ during department-sanctioned events.
But to the Associated Press and its reporter Bob Lewis, that's not the story. In all too typical traditional media fashion, and in what I believe is the wire service's first report on the controversy, Lewis decided that the real story is that Republican lawmakers are objecting to the ruling by the state's police superintendent, and to Governor Tim Kaine's agreement with it.
Before getting to what Lewis wrote, here is a local report on what has transpired, from Roanoke TV station WDBJ:
Six of 17 Virginia State Police Chaplains have resigned over a request they not reference Jesus Christ at public events.
Instead, they've been instructed by the Superintendent to offer non-denominational prayers, a decision made following a recent ruling by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.
On September 20, Noel Sheppard of NewsBusters posted on a misleading Associated Press/Yahoo poll on racism. The poll asserted that if Barack Obama loses, it will be because of "[d]eep-seated racial misgivings" held by "one-third of white Democrats."
Later that day, NB's Michael Bates criticized the AP's report on the poll for its historically inaccurate claim that the US "enshrined slavery into its constitution."
NB's Lyndsi Thomas got into the neighborhood of the concern I'm about to note on Sunday, when she noted that the pollsters tried to ferret out racism by asking questions that could be seen as purely political and having nothing to do with race.
But it seems to me that the pollsters engaged in a bit of hocus pocus. These three paragraphs from a story explaining AP's methodology carried at the Minneapolis Star Tribune gave me that impression:
Doubtless still seething over not being privy to Gov. Sarah Palin's private chats with world leaders, AP's Sara Kugler described the Republican vice presidential nominee as being wrapped "in a bubble" by the campaign, even though it's fairly common practice for politicians to chat with foreign dignitaries behind closed doors.
Earlier today I noted how AP reporter Sara Kugler painted the McCain/Palin campaign as having "banned" print reporters from asking the Republican vice presidential candidate questions as she met with foreign leaders. This despite no concern by the AP or other print outlets back in July when Barack Obama conducted closed-door meetings with European heads of state.
Now a NewsBusters tipster has brought to my attention that Kugler shelled out a few benjamins to a liberal 527 during the 2004 campaign.