There's a fabulous column by Ed Driscoll (HT to NixGuy in an e-mail) about the evolution of media and reporting from the invention of radio to our current circumstances.
It's the title of Driscoll's work, "Atlas Mugged: How a Gang of Scrappy, Individual Bloggers Broke the Stranglehold of the Mainstream Media," that misses the mark a bit.
Ed has the "stranglehold" part nailed:
By the early 1970s, mass media had reached its zenith (if you’ll pardon the pun). Most Americans were getting their news from one of three TV networks’ half-hour nightly broadcasts. With the exception of New York, most big cities had only one or two primary newspapers. And no matter what a modern newspaper’s lineage, by and large its articles, except for local issues, came from global wire services like the Associated Press or Reuters; it took its editorial lead from the New York Times; and it claimed to be impartial (while usually failing miserably).
I'm no expert on firearms or anything, but I'm pretty sure spent ammunition doesn't look shiny and pristine. So why did the AFP (and Yahoo!, which syndicated the photo) swallow that notion hook, line, and sinker?
Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney (R) recently told an Illinois woman that while his grown sons have never served in the military, they are displaying their patriotism by campaigning heavily for their father's nomination for the presidency.
The Politico and USA Today have picked up on the item. USA Today's "On Politics" blog noted in an entry posted at 11:45 Eastern that:
The questioner, 41-year-old Rachel Griffiths of Milan, Ill., told Susan later that she is not a Republican and is in fact a member of a "Progressive Action for the Common Good."
Asked if she was satisfied by Romney's answer, Griffiths said:
Mayor George Darden, of Spring Valley, New York, is a Democrat who has been caught hiring illegal immigrants to work for his suburban village but you wouldn't know he is a Democrat by the coverage his story is getting. In fact, of the several stories thus far, not one even mentions his Party. But, an even bigger mystery is why this story isn't getting wider notice?
On the 17th this story of a Mayor of a New York city personally approaching illegal immigrants on street corners and hiring them to work for the village was first reported in local papers. It seems awfully shocking that an elected official would personally violate so many US immigration and work laws all at one time, yet no mention of the man's Party has surfaced nor have we heard much from this story on a national level. How much hype would this story get from the AP, do you imagine, if this Mayor had been a Republican? And why has several days gone by with so few MSM outlets picking this story up? Perhaps that this Mayor isn't a Republican the national media finds it less than compelling?
The AP will use just bout any excuse to say that the USA isn't what it used to be, or what it should be. Yes, they will use any excuse to tear down this great country. Today's example is predicated on the dodgy research of another America bashing "economist" who is saying Americans are too short -- as in too short in actual, physical height -- because we are "gradually falling behind the rest of the world" in everything.
Lamenting that in the 1850's the people of the USA averaged 2 and 1/2 inches taller than folks in western Europe, the AP goes on to rip the USA because other nations have caught up to us and, in some cases, surpassed us in height. But it isn't just height that the AP says makes us losers.
Without explaining, the AP says that we have faded in "so many other arenas."
But a Florida Republican state legislator is only arrested for solicitation of oral sex from an undercover male police officer, and his party affiliation is rendered in the second paragraph of the AP story.
That doesn't seem to square with the AP Stylebook, which says party affiliation mention should be tested by relevance to the story and that in some stories "[p]arty affiliation is pointless."
I received an e-mail tip from a member of the news media who enjoys our work, pointing out some shenanigans at the Associated Press. The matter at hand was President Bush answering a question about Plamegate at today's White House news conference.
Here's an excerpt of his e-mail (emphasis mine):
If you haven't already, check out the AP Stories on the President's
press conference this morning (7/12). The item: BC-Bush 4th Lead by
Headline: Bush acknowledges administration leaked CIA operative's name.
However... quote in paragraph 6 contradicts headline: "I'm aware of the fact that PERHAPS somebody in the administration did disclose the name of that person.
The Washington Post today reported how the White House expects the federal budget deficit to shrink, but placed it in a five-paragraph story below the fold on page A6. Yet a Reuters story on the same development noted something that the Washington Post's Lori Montgomery left out of her story. The new White House figure of $205 billion "is still higher than many private forecasts, which have pegged the deficit at around $150 billion."
What's more, Post reporter Montgomery included a reference to President Bush crediting his tax cuts with the revenue surge, but added "that has been challenged by many economists." Montgomery failed to name any such economist, much less his/her rationale. After all, if tax revenue is growing at unexpected rates following tax cuts, are there many economists who actually expect tax revenues to roll in at a faster pace when levied at their pre-Bush tax cut levels?
The AP, taking their cue from the new because-she-said-so story offered by the L.A.Times, has run with a short clip on a story that claims Fred Thompson was working as a lobbyist for an abortion agency in 1991, giving the hearsay evidence against him but not offering the meat of his against the claim. The result is that the AP offers more "evidence" against Thompson than it does for him making it too easy to conclude he is "guilty" of the charge of lobbying for an abortion advocacy organization.
The AP did a wonderful job making this story seem more cut and dried than it really is, of course, but the fact is, this claim of Thompson's supposed lobbying for the National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association is nothing but an unproven (and maybe unprovable) claim against Thompson made by people who are well-known, far left activists and heavy contributors to the Hillary Clinton for President campaign. Naturally, neither the AP nor the L.A.Times wastes any time to detail the history of those making these claims against Thompson, leaving their relevant backgrounds completely out of the story.
Gee... why do you think they'd forget to let readers know that this story is based solely of the good word of Hillary supporters?
Remember when you were a kid and got caught telling a lie, but your excuse was that a pal "made you do it" and it was so hard to tell the truth anyway because of this reason or that? It didn't matter to your parents then, did it? Well, here we have Reuters revealing that they fell for a false story about 20 beheaded Iraqis that was planted by insurgents, but do they just admit it and take responsibility? No, they whine that it is "very hard" to get stories in Iraq because it is so dangerous for journalists there.
I can tell we are all rolling our eyes, aren't we?
On the 28th Reuters and the AP along with most major news sources recklessly reported that 20 beheaded bodies were found by "Iraqi Policemen" on the banks of the Tigris River near Salman Pak, 19 miles south of Baghdad.
I say recklessly because not one of these supposed professional news sources substantiated the story but merely accepted the "news" as fact with no corroboration. This is something we have seen dozens of times since we entered Iraq with these news services explaining away this breach of professional standards by saying that it is just too dangerous for journalists to be in those areas to do the leg work to make sure their stories are true before they publish them.
Right on cue, as the illegal immigrant amnesty bill failed to get the required support for passage in the Senate, the MSM is here to tell us mean spirited LEGAL Americans how "hard" it is on all those poor, innocent ILLEGAL migrants who break the law to come here by the millions. Yes, folks, women and children hardest hit, as the old saw goes. Of course, it is nearly ignored by the MSM that these people are not just "innocents" but are here knowingly breaking our laws and then blaming us when they find life a bit uncomfortable -- and a bit uncomfortable is all they are facing it should be remembered.
Three quick reports are indicative of how the MSM is making the average, legal American out to be an evil, racist, selfish creep by urging their elected officials to think of their own constituents before they think of undeserving foreign invaders.
One doesn't have to look very far to see opinionated assertions in the supposedly objective Old Media coverage of yesterday's immigration-bill failure in the Senate.
Here's part of what an unbylined AP report said almost immediately after it was clear that the bill would not get the 60 votes needed for cloture: "The carefully crafted compromise was left for dead after a similar vote three weeks ago but was revived by Bush and Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid, who gave opponents more chances to change it."
To say that there is disagreement over whether the bill was "carefully crafted" is quite an understatement.
A report in the Seattle Times "compiled from The Washington Post, Gannett News Service, The Associated Press and McClatchy Newspapers" made this claim about yesterday's vote: "In a mark of lawmakers' ambivalence, however, the outcome was substantially different from a test vote Tuesday, when a 64-35 vote revived the bill."
Was it lawmaker "ambivalence," or constituent persuasiveness? And how do they know?
But the biggest error, as often is the case, was one of omission. Senator Ted Kennedy from Massachusetts lit into opponents on the Senate floor yesterday with this over-the-top riff (video is at Hot Air; bold is mine):
In a report on a recent release of decades old documents detailing CIA operations in the 1960's and 70's, Reuters seems to find it necessary to interject "criticism" of president Bush "being too secretive now" even though not one part of the story has anything to do with president Bush or any modern CIA operations. It would be like talking about the Civil War and interjecting a Bush comment, or talking of Roman times and suddenly sticking in a "US imperialism" comment into the mix where it doesn't legitimately belong.
The MSM's Bush Derangement Syndrome is so pervasive that they cannot even discuss historical information without trying to embarrass or attack this president in the midst of it all.
At issue is the CIA's recent release of decades old clandestine operations documents.
In a landmark 5-4 case today, the U.S. Supreme Court found that two school systems had improperly used race as a consideration in managing the public school districts. Web sites for many newspapers have carried Associated Press coverage of the ruling, and the later the revision of the AP report, the more information tends to be packed in them.
As of 1:15 a.m. Eastern when I started this post*, the Los Angeles Times front page linked to an AP story published just before 11 a.m. Eastern. But in that version of the AP story, Chief Justice John Roberts, who wrote the majority opinion, is not quoted at all. Yet a similar AP story (perhaps the same story but with fewer paragraphs edited out) was published just minutes later in the Washington Examiner.
Today the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that it was unconstitutional to ban interest groups from running issue ads close to an election. The McCain-Feingold Act bans any issue ads by interest groups that mention a candidate running for reelection from airing within 60 days of a general election (and 30 days before a primary), even if the ad does not expressly advocate voting for or against the named candidate.
The way Ariane de Vogue of ABCNews.com reports it, the ruling is not a victory for free speech and political participation, but a blow to "reform." (emphasis mine):
Reigniting the debate over campaign finance regulation, the Supreme
Court struck down a part of the 2002 Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act on
That legislation, also known as the McCain-Feingold law,
restricts corporations and labor unions from broadcasting ads at
election time using general funds. Proponents of campaign finance
reform fear Monday's ruling will create a major loophole in the
legislation and cause an influx of so-called "sham issue" ads that
McCain-Feingold was created in part to combat.
On may 29th, the AP reported that Vice President Dick Cheney told the Secret Service to eliminate the records of visitors to the Vice President's mansion on the grounds of the U.S. Naval Observatory in Washington D.C. fitting with the MSM's claims that the VP is "too secretive." Cheney’s office countered with the fact that he had written orders to save those records. Naturally the New York Times jumped on the bandwagon with a June 3rd piece that went wild-eyed and frothing, veering straight for the "Haliburton" canard that the left has tried to hang on Cheney since his first days in office instead of staying on the topic of the visitor records.
From 2001 to 2005, Mr. Cheney received "deferred salary payments" from Halliburton that far exceeded what taxpayers gave him. Mr. Cheney still holds hundreds of thousands of stock options that have ballooned by millions of dollars as Halliburton profited handsomely from the war in Iraq.
As they are wont to do, the Times again tried to link Cheney with Haliburton payouts despite the fact that the VP has not benefited from any such income since being elected to office.
In a rather soft boiled story on West Virginia Senator Robert Byrd's dotage and his uselessness as an able bodied member of the Senate, at 89 he's currently the longest serving Senator in American history, the AP did the right thing in reminding the readers that Byrd was once a member of the Klan. Yet, they had to go and ruin the truth by claiming that Klan members are "certainly conservative."
In fact, this AP story amazingly tries to make it seem as if Byrd had only late in life become that member of Congress that has been "endeared" to "many liberals", hinting that it only just dawned on him after 53 years in the Senate to become a liberal. The AP imagines that Byrd somehow "remade" himself into a liberal over the Bush administration's Iraq policy, as if he never was one before that.
French president Nicolas Sarkozy and his political party are pretty popular these days. He's only enjoying a landslide parliamentary election a month after he routed Socialist Segolene Royal to gain the keys to the Élysée Palace.
But the way you read it in the Associated Press, it almost sounds as if Sarkozy is a latter day Robespierre, at least in that there's some Reign of Terror just waiting to break out all over the Fifth Republic. [Emphasis mine]
PARIS -- President Nicolas Sarkozy appears to have won a mandate for change after his party swept first-round parliamentary elections, and he is picking up speed in his plans to overhaul France's welfare state. But rivals say he should watch out.
A major misstep, critics warn, and the streets again could explode in anger.
More headline editorializing, this time on Yahoo. A June 5 Reuters article titled, “Bush bashes Putin on democracy on eve of G8 summit” sounds like Bush attacked Russian president Vladimir Putin, but the body of the article clearly did not support that view.
The headline told a very different story than the article. Editors not reporters are generally responsible for headlines, and they can greatly influence opinions about the news. The importance of a bias-free headline is that most people don’t read every word of every article; they often just skim the headlines. That meant the people who read just the headline got a very different impression from those who read the entire article (emphasis mine throughout):
"Russia is not our enemy," Bush said after meeting Czech leaders on a visit aimed at highlighting the country's emergence from Soviet domination.
He said he would urge Putin at the summit to cooperate with the U.S. plan to deploy a radar system in the Czech Republic and interceptor missiles in Poland, but later in a speech took a dig at Moscow's record on democracy. "In Russia reforms that once promised to empower citizens have been derailed, with troubling implications for democratic development," Bush said.
The AP has given us a piece on how "Right-Wing" book publishers are "worried" over the future success of publishing books on conservatives topics. One cannot help wonder, though, if the "worry" by the so-called "right-wing" publishers is more like the APs glee when you read their piece titled, "Right-Wing Publishers Worry About Future", by Hillel Italie, AP National Writer.
The first half of this story leads the reader to imagine that Conservative books are hurting in the market with all the negative quotes employed about their future. Naturally, after that first half about how dismal the future for conservative books is, the story then takes a turn to praise liberal books, showing how "energized" they are, after which the story broadens into a piece about the entire BookExpo America gathering.
When done reading the report, you realize that, despite the story's title, it isn't just about how bad the conservative book market is, but, instead, it is a story on the whole of the BookExpo America trade show. Why, exactly, is this titled the way it is, then, if it isn't just about how bad the conservative market is?
Who would have thought that chivalry would still be alive at the liberal Associated Press? Yet in its story on the split between Larry and Laurie David, the venerable wire agency states the age, 59, of the creator of Seinfeld, but not that of his activist wife, producer of Al Gore's "Inconvenient Truth."
Isn't the feminist AP the home of strong women, proud of every wrinkle?
For the record, Laurie hits the half-century mark next March . . . unless of course a global-warming catastrophe stops the clock for all of us before then.
NEW YORK (AP) — The nation's service sector expanded at a faster-than-expected pace in May, suggesting it could help sustain broader economic growth as the automotive and housing industries slump, a research group said Tuesday.
The Institute for Supply Management, based in Tempe, Ariz., said its index of business activity in the non-manufacturing sector was 59.7 in May. The reading was higher than April's reading of 56 and Wall Street's expectation of 56.
..... The service industries covered by the ISM report represent about 80 percent of economic activity and span diverse industries including banking, construction, retailing, mining, agriculture and travel.
NewsBusters reader Paul Farmer (NoMoreClintons) sent along the following this morning a guest blog submission. Farmer touched on the decidedly vague guidance that the Associated Press gives reporters on when to include a politician's party affiliation.
Farmer has an older AP Stylebook than I have (I have the 2006 edition), but the portion on "party affiliation" he excerpts from his is nearly a word-for-word match with mine.
So in light of AP's pattern of obscuring the party affiliation of the recently indicted Rep. William Jefferson (D-La.) (as reported by NB's Lynn Davidson) and an initial lack of interest by some media in Jefferson's scandal (see this oldie but a goodie from 2005, the early days of NB), I'd thought I'd share Mr. Farmer's thoughts with you:
In April, NewsBusters contributor Dan Gainor criticized how the Washington Post puffed up a liberal secessionist movement in the state of Vermont. You know, the state that now has two very liberal independent senators, socialist professor Bernie Sanders and Patrick Leahy (D), and previously gave the nation RINO-turned-independent Jim Jeffords. [UPDATE: See "Little Green Footballs" for more on just how liberal the secessionist movement's leaders are]
Well, now the Associated Press is running with the story, and outlets like CBSNews.com are peddling the piece to readers. In CBS's case this morning, on the Web site's front page (see screencap at right).
Nowhere in the story does the AP describe the key players behind the secession movement as liberal or even as "progressive," (not to mention conspiracy nutjobs-- see bottom of post) nor is any pundit brought in to chalk up their rumblings about secession as hysteria driven by Bush Derangement Syndrome.
What's more, the AP doesn't address the unconstitutionality of secession until late in the article and even then in a misleading fashion:
It's generally bad for business to have a flippant employee who insults your loyal customers. Now if someone could just give that newsflash to the Associated Press.
The AP today picked
up on the plight of one David Noordeweir, who was fired in late
February from a Michigan Wal-Mart for an entry on his MySpace page that
insulted the intelligence of Wal-Mart shoppers. Here's the lede.:
A former Wal-Mart cashier says he was fired for joking on his MySpace
page that the average IQ would increase if a bomb were dropped on the
Gee, nothing insulting or inflammatory there.
The AP story stocked up reader's shopping cart with Noordeweir's fine whine:
Update: SEE Editor's Note at bottom of post for related MRC content.
1Q07 Home Prices Up 0.5%, 4.3% Over 12 Months Ago
Those looking for a pervasive and severe nationwide decline in home prices are going to have to keep looking.
The Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight (OFHEO) just released its House Price Index (PDF) for the first quarter of 2007. This most comprehensive of home-price reports shows that nationwide prices increased 0.45% (rounded to 0.5% in the announcement) in the first quarter of this year, and went up 4.25% (rounded to 4.3% in the announcement) in the past four quarters.
Core inflation during those two time periods was 0.6% and 2.5%, respectively. OFHEO says that inflation excluding only shelter costs only rose 1.6% during the past year.
Context (from Pages 4 and 5 of the report):
From 1990 through 1997, reported four-quarter appreciation was less than the 4.25% just reported 28 out of 32 times.
During that same time period, individual-quarter appreciation was less than the 0.45% just reported 14 out of 32 times -- including six nationwide quarterly declines.
I recall no discussions of pervasive real estate "bubbles" or fears of steep, widespread declines during the 1990s.
Actor and former Tennessee senator Fred Thompson is close to forming a presidential exploratory committee, according to numerous media outlets, citing people close to the TV star. Reporting that news, CBSNews.com ran with a less-than-flattering AP photo of Thompson, pictured at right.
"Former Sen. Fred Thompson attends the Prescott Bush Awards Dinner in Stamford Conn., on May 24, 2007," read the caption.
By contrast, ABCNews.com ran an AP photo that features a stern-looking Thompson. With skyscrapers in the background, it evokes his current TV character incarnation, New York County District Attorney Arthur Branch on NBC's long-running court drama "Law & Order." You can see that screen cap pictured below: