The Federal Reserve reported Thursday that April industrial production fell, the second negative reading in the past three months. Specifically, February and April fell by 0.7%, and March showed an increase of 0.2%.
In May 2001, that same report showed that production fell for the seventh consecutive month.
Seasonally adjusted data from the Fed indicates that industrial production during those seven months (October 2000 through April 2001) fell 2.6%.
During the past seven months (October 2007 through April 2008), industrial production has fallen 1.7%.
Guess which set of circumstances generated more talk of recession?
How do you write an article about Uncle Sam's April financial results without telling readers how much money came in and went out -- especially if what came in was an all-time record?
Yesterday and today, many journalists have shown us how. Two of them are Martin Crutsinger of the Associated Press and Michael M. Phillips of the Wall Street Journal.
Crutsinger's AP report actually made it appear as if collections is the problem area. In fact, as you will eventually see after the jump, April's result had nothing to do with "dampening" revenue growth, and everything to do with exploding spending.
How about I ask you if you "feel" like you make enough money each year? Let's say you make $48,000 a year, OK? (That's the median household income in the US) You'll likely tell me, then that you "feel" you need more. Now, from this, can I conclude that you are "struggling in life" as a citizen of the USA? Not if you use actual data instead of "feelings" to determine what "struggling" means and not if you then try to add context to what we all have compared to what others in the world have, of course. But, this is exactly the sort of nonsensical "survey" that Reuters gravely warned us about this week. Without bothering with any statistics or context, Reuters excitedly reported that "Many Americans struggling in life, survey finds", and decided that everyone is downtrodden and filled with "suffering" in the United States today.
But this is just another so-called survey that is reported backwards. It turns out that, even by their unscientific criteria, 49 percent of the Americans they surveyed said that they were "thriving, with few health or money worries." So, why is this reported as if the preponderance of our fellow citizens is claiming to be "struggling"?
Don't you just love the MSM? They can't even report good news without interjecting their doom and gloom, agenda driven verbiage into any report. This time it is the Associated Press with the good news that the Marines and the rest of America's armed forces have reached their recruiting goals. In fact, many branches of the service exceeded them. All good news, right? Well, naturally the AP had to throw some cold water on the good tidings. You see, according to the AP the Marines fulfilled their recruiting goals because of a "slow economy" and despite Iraq being an "unpopular war." They just can't let it go, can they?
After giving us the details that the Marines surpassed their recruiting goals the AP had to remind us that U.S. forces were "stretched thin by the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan" and that those joining the service are doing so because -- and here is that old canard again -- "other job possibilities" are limited for them.
What part of "free" in "free-market" does the Associated Press not understand?
The news wire's Glen Johnson is reporting today that Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) plans on unveiling a plan to combat global climate change "while adhering to free-market principles."
McCain's major solution is to implement a cap-and-trade program on carbon-fuel emissions, like a similar program in the Clean Air Act that was used to reduce sulfur dioxide emissions that triggered acid rain.
Industries would be given emission targets, and those coming in under their limit could sell their surplus polluting capacity to companies unable to meet their target.
A cap-and-trade programs would certainly be a market, but it would be an artificial one imposed on manufacturers by government fiat. The key word in free-market being of course, free.
It would be correct to call a voluntary cap-and-trade program created by industry groups outside the pressure of government regulation a "free-market" solution, but the component of force by government here only puts an Adam Smith happy face on a Karl Marx mandate.
During the 1992 presidential campaign, when incumbent Vice President Dan Quayle made a spelling mistake, the New York Times was all over it. It's clear from the Times's story that the rest of the media was also in full pursuit:
So Jay Leno has a week's worth of new Dan Quayle jokes. At a school here, everyone was quite hush-hush the day after the visiting Vice President spelled potato wrong while directing a spelling bee.
..... Reporters stood around today for hours outside of the house where 12-year-old William Figueroa lives. He has become a national celebrity for having spelled the word correctly on the blackboard, only to have Mr. Quayle, holding a flash card with the word spelled incorrectly, encourage him to add an E at the end.
Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer is a college professor with a long history of political activism and fearless liberalism.—AP, 5-11-08, profile of candidate for Minn. Dem primary nomination [emphasis added].
Fearless liberalism? Fearless? It's fearless for an American college professor to be a big-time liberal? Give me a fearless break!
Yet that's how the AP described the predictably left-wing politics of the man challenging Al Franken for the right to challenge Republican Norm Coleman for his seat in the US Senate. Among Nelson-Pallmeyer's positions:
I noted a few weeks ago (at BizzyBlog; at NewsBusters) that Mike Celizic at MSNBC couldn't get though his article about Jenna Bush's upcoming wedding without bringing up her misdemeanor arrests from seven years ago.
Julie Mason of the Houston Chronicle also went there in a late Thursday report. She also threw in a number of shots at Jenna's father, his administration, and his hometown:
Saturday, in an Oscar de la Renta gown with twin sister Barbara at her side, Jenna Bush, 26, will marry 29-year-old business school student Henry Hager at her parents' Central Texas ranch.
It's probably as close as Oscar de la Renta will ever get to Crawford.
The Associated Press today wins first place for the most misleading headline in the MSM by saying that a study shows that Jon Stewart's Comedy Central "The Daily Show" show is somehow "a lot like" Bill O'Reilly's "The O'Reilly Factor." The Thursday May 8 report is flippantly headlined, "Study of 'Daily Show': It's a lot like O'Reilly," but the following report does not exactly confirm the headline. It appears that the AP's distorted headline was meant to equate "The O'Reilly Factor" to comedy in order to impugn the serious character of the hit Fox show and make of it but an exercise in comedy.
Worker productivity rose by a better-than-expected amount in the first three months of the year while labor cost pressures eased.
The Labor Department reported Wednesday that productivity, the amount of output per hour of work, increased at an annual rate of 2.2 percent in the first quarter. That was slightly higher than the 1.5 percent increase that had been expected.
If you have been watching the primary election coverage tonight you've probably seen at least one story about elderly nuns from South Bend, Indiana, who were "denied the right to vote" for lack of a photo ID.
It's a shame when the mainstream media, bear false witness. Even more so when they exploit the nun angle to carry water for left-wing groups that opposed the law all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Under Indiana's voter ID law, persons lacking proper ID can vote. The only difference is they cast a provisional ballot which is not counted until after their identity is verified within 10 days following the election.
In one of her earliest drafts, AP's Deborah Hastings did note the 10-day provisional ballot exception, but still crafted her coverage to paint the South Bend sisters as the victims of an unforgiving law:
In a remarkable example of "Name that Party," the Associated Press, in an unbylined report about the beginning of his divorce trial appearing in USA Today, failed to name the party of former New Jersey Governor James McGreevey, who resigned in 2005, or of his former "male staffer."
Beyond that, AP did not accurately describe the circumstances that triggered McGreevey's resignation.
Here's how the report began (bold is mine; HT to an e-mailer):
After two tell-all books, tawdry sex claims and 3½ years of living apart, New Jersey's gay ex-governor and his estranged wife showed up for court Tuesday morning to begin the process of ending their marriage.
..... The issues to be decided in the divorce settlement involve custody, alimony and child support, and whether McGreevey, now openly gay, committed fraud by marrying a woman.
Three things in life are certain: death, taxes, and media hype about gasoline prices. On television that third item often takes place not just in your usual standup at a gas station interviewing outraged motorists. In Web-based media, however, the still shot is worth 1,000 barrels.
We've noted how CNN.com has done it. Today, it's ABCNews.com with its front-page teaser headline "Oil: Another Day, Another Record."
The photo accompanying the AP story filed from Vienna -- yes, as in Austria -- by writer George Jahn depicts a gas marquee from an American gas station showing regular unleaded at $4.419-a-gallon. Here's how the caption for the AP photo by Marcio Jose Sanchez that accompanies Jahn's article reads (emphasis mine):
It seems to matter little whether the location is Gaza or Baghdad. If there is a way to spin a story, Associated Press reporters will find it.
Today, American forces called in an AC-130 for support when they came under fire in the Kazimiyah district of Baghdad.
The Associated Press editorializes:
The AC-130, a lethal tool used by the military since the Vietnam War, can slowly circle over a target for long periods.
Human rights groups have criticized their use in urban settings where militants may be among crowded populations of noncombatants. The four-engine gunships were also used to support the U.S. attack that took the western city of Fallujah from insurgents in November 2004.
What the Associated Press does not mention is that the modern AC-130U is the most complex aircraft weapons system on the planet, and the reason for its complexity is that the aircraft's sensors, navigation, and fire control systems are calibrated to conduct exceedingly accurate surgical strikes. It is likely because of their precision strike capabilities that the AC-130U was chosen for this mission over other available means of attack.
Why does it seem that, when a Democratic politician's career is on the line, Old Media reporters find a way to make it look like it's only Republicans who want to push him or her out the door?
Ohio Attorney General Marc Dann, who for a while was seen as the Buckeye State's version of New York's now-disgraced former governor Eliot Spitzer, is fighting for his political life.
In a Friday press conference statement (a JPG transcript of statement, opening in a separate window, is here), Dann admitted to an extramarital affair with an unidentified employee and announced that he was discharging three of his closest advisers over formal complaints of sexual harassment. Storm clouds potentially loom over the fallout from this, plus other events and incidents too numerous to detail here, occurring on Dann's watch.
Dann declared Friday that he has no plans to resign.
By mid-Saturday, two of Ohio's major newspapers, and many of its smaller ones, had issued editorial calls for Dann's resignation. It was clear that many others would follow on Sunday -- and they did. Ohio's left-leaning blogs are also mostly in the Dann-must-go camp.
On May 2, the Associated Press uncritically reported that an effort to clarify where "evangelicals" stand in the culture/political war in America is soon to be released. It is to be called "An Evangelical Manifesto" and is touted by the AP as a statement by "evangelicals" that "faith is now too political." That isn't all. The AP is claiming that it isn't just Christian leaders in general that are saying this but that it is "conservative Christian leaders" who are standing up and denouncing politics in religion. But a little investigation proves that "conservative leaders" is not a very good description of those who have signed onto this "manifesto." In fact, many of the most well-known conservative Christian leaders in the country have decided not to sign onto the "manifesto" and many more weren't even consulted or included in the creation of this highly political document that pretends it stands against politics.
Sadly, this "manifesto" that is claiming to want to take religion back from its political involvement is itself a political statement, one that was created by people that refused to include Christian leaders from the right side of the political spectrum. This so-called "manifesto" seems to be just another attempt by the political left to undermine the devotion of Christians to the political right.
Well, we've played "Name That Party" so often that it is getting to be old hat. How many times have we seen it where the MSM refuses to mention that a Democrat is the troubled politician in the news? We've also said many times that if only that criminal politician were a Republican, why we'd get the party mentioned ASAP. We say it and accept the claim as fact, but we don't often focus on examples to prove our case. Our detractors point to that and say "prove it!"
Call this one more example of proof.
It seems that Mike Krusee a REPUBLICAN State Representative from Williamson County, Texas got himself pulled over after a night of hittin' the hooch. Of course, we know he is a Republican because the MSM fell all over itself to let us know the fact. Curiously, Krusee is the same fellow who helped up the fines for drunk driving in the state house, the MSM also let us know.
You have to wonder if the Associated Press felt the need to find an exceptionally gloomy story to write when it learned that the economy would probably show positive growth in the government's first-quarter GDP report. That report was released earlier today -- and came in at +0.6%.
If so, this article by the AP's Anne D'Innocenzio (HT to a NewsBusters e-mailer) does the job:
The for-sale listings on the online hub Craigslist come with plaintive notices, like the one from the teenager in Georgia who said her mother lost her job and pleaded, "Please buy anything you can to help out."
Or the seller in Milwaukee who wrote in one post of needing to pay bills — and put a diamond engagement ring up for bids to do it.
Struggling with mounting debt and rising prices, faced with the toughest economic times since the early 1990s, Americans are selling prized possessions online and at flea markets at alarming rates.
Those of us, including myself, who thought that the supply-side boom in federal receipts had totally played out, as well as those who are concerned about the condition of the economy, have received a surprising bit of good news this month.
Old Media, which doesn't seem interested in looking for, let alone finding, good news, is not reporting a very interesting development. With two business days remaining in April, Uncle Sam's Daily Treasury Statement shows that federal receipts from income and employment taxes, before refunds, are actually ahead of all of April 2007:
My bottom line analysis (11:25): The two R's of bias from this Rose Garden presser: Martha Raddatz on Syria and numerous reporters on the dreaded R-word, recession. Of course a recession is two consecutive quarters of NEGATIVE economic growth, and we've yet to see one quarter of negative growth, much less two. But all the same, NY Times's Stolberg made it sound like Q1 numbers on GDP tomorrow will show a recession.
The questions below will be posted in reverse chronological order:
In a 10:15 EDT post today at CNN.com, producer Bill Mears noted the 6-3 ruling by the Supreme Court upholding an Indiana law requiring photo ID in order to vote. Yet Mears left out that Democrats who challenged the law were unable to produce a single voter who could prove he or she was unable to vote due to the law nor did Mears point out mechanisms the Indiana law has in place for provisional balloting and free voter ID cards.
Here's Mears's four-paragraph blog post at the CNN Political Ticker:
WASHINGTON (CNN) – The Supreme Court on Monday backed Indiana's law requiring voters to show photo identification, despite concerns thousands of elderly, poor, and minority voters could be locked out of their right to cast ballots.
The 6-3 vote allows Indiana to require the identification when it holds its statewide primary next month.
Update (11:25 EDT): The Stevens opinion in Crawford v. Marion County Election Board, along with the Scalia concurrence and the dissents by Justices Souter and Breyer can be found here.
This morning the Supreme Court issued a 6-3 ruling upholding Indiana's voter ID law. That law requires voters to present photo identification prior to voting in order to curb voter fraud.
Yet AP writer Mark Sherman cast the decision as a political victory for Republicans in a "splintered" ruling from the bench. Oh, and for good measure Sherman invoked the controversial 2000 Bush v. Gore decision that "sealed" President Bush's electoral victory, a favored talking point of liberals who argue the president was "selected not elected" (emphasis mine):
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court ruled Monday that states can require voters to produce photo identification without violating their constitutional rights, validating Republican-inspired voter ID laws.
In a splintered 6-3 ruling, the court upheld Indiana's strict photo ID requirement, which Democrats and civil rights groups said would deter poor, older and minority voters from casting ballots. Its backers said it was needed to deter fraud.
Many in the press seem to have difficulty distinguishing between the economy as a whole and individual governments' fiscal situations. Because of that, they seem to be believe that if a state government is having difficulty balancing its budget, there must be a recession in the whole state's economy.
The finances of many states have deteriorated so badly that they appear to be in a recession, regardless of whether that's true for the nation as a whole, a survey of all 50 state fiscal directors concludes.
The situation looks even worse for the fiscal year that begins July 1 in most states.
The issue of illegal immigration has seemed to drift from the front pages of the news, of late, but the AP is not finished trying to advocate for law breakers everywhere, it seems. On April 25, the Associated Press posted a story that serves as a perfect example of how the wire service aims their reporting to support illegal immigration in the United States. In "Arizona sheriff stirs furor with crackdown on illegals," all the negative framing of the issue is used against Sheriff Joe Arpaio's efforts to curb illegal immigration and those who stand against him are constantly given the benefit of the doubt with neutral or positive language describing their actions. Additionally, whenever illegals are mentioned they are presented as victims, one "afraid" immigrant even being quoted as calling our immigration officials "the devil."
The subject of the story is Sheriff Arpaio's recent "crackdown" on illegal immigrants in his jurisdiction of Maricopa County, Arizona. After Federal training was given to his officers, the sheriff began a series of sweeps across the county to detain illegal immigrants. His actions are completely legal and not a single case of abuse by the sheriff's officers has been reported -- a fact that the AP story doesn't bother to mention until the 20th paragraph of the 22 paragraph story.
Reuters, the British newswire notorious for refusing to call terrorist organizations anything more incendiary than "militant," is now worrying that a Bush administration decision to declassify intelligence that makes Syria look bad may harm "diplomacy."
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States laid out intelligence on Thursday it believes shows North Korea helped Syria build a suspected nuclear reactor destroyed by Israel last year, a step that may complicate its diplomacy both on the Korean Peninsula and in the Middle East.
In breaking its official silence on the mysterious September 6 Israeli air strike, the Bush administration is taking the risk that Syria could be angered by the public disclosures and could seek to retaliate against Israel.
With the Olympics coming on, what's more poignant than the image of the sprinter hopefully awaiting the official time, only to learn he missed the record by 1/100th of a second? I'm in that same heartbroken mood for the Associated Press this morning. The wire service came so close to equalling the world record for revealing the Republican party affiliation of someone finding himself sideways of the law. Check out the first sentence from this AP story of April 17th:
A Republican congressional candidate was charged Thursday with felony burglary and criminal trespass stemming from an encounter last year with an ex-girlfriend.
Today, talk-show heavyweight Rush Limbaugh picked up on a curious oversight by an AP business reporter whose negative spin in supposedly objective stories on the economy has frequently been noted here.
In a Friday story about a survey of top financial company executives, the Associated Press's Martin Crutsinger wrote the following (bold is mine):
Turmoil in credit and housing markets will be the most significant threat to growth this year, according to a survey of top financial company executives released Friday.
These executives believe there is a high probability — 88 percent — that the country will suffer a recession in the next 12 months.
..... After credit market tumult and troubles in the housing market, the executives listed the next biggest threats to the economy now as the possibility the government will impose higher taxes or raise protectionist barriers to foreign competition.