In his coverage of the Department of Labor's Unemployment Insurance Weekly Claims Report at the Associated Press this morning, economics writer Christopher Rugaber stubbornly referenced a supposedly predictive benchmark the wire service has been using which has consistently failed in recent months.
Rugaber also claimed that today's seasonally adjusted increase from the previous week, which will almost certainly become a bigger one after next week's revision, is "evidence that the job market's recovery remains modest and uneven." Uh, not exactly. Excerpts follow (bolds and numbered tags are mine):
I was beginning to hold out hope that the Associated Press was tiring of its partnership with the polling firm GfK Roper Public Affairs & Corporate Communications.
No such luck. The latest AP-GfK poll on the presidential race of 1,007 people of whom 878 are registered voters shows Barack Obama leading Mitt Romney 48% to 44%. That four-point lead is down from 10 points in May and six points in June. The August poll only ended up with Obama in the lead because of extraordinary overweighting of Democrats and a ridiculously small percentage of people who describe themselves as strong Republicans.
An unbylined Associated Press item late this morning told us that, according to AAA, "Thirty three million people will travel 50 miles or more during Labor Day weekend," which will be "the highest level of travel for Labor Day since the start of the recession in late 2007."
But it won't be, as will be revealed in the AAA-sourced graphic found at Page 3 of its 36-page report (large PDF) seen after the jump.
Although the Obama/Biden campaign has plenty of gaffes and erroneous statements to answer for from the past five-and-a-half months -- the last presidential press conference was March 6 -- Associated Press White House correspondent Jeff Kuhnhenn opted to toss a softball to President Obama today as he was selected by the president to ask the first question at the chief executive's impromptu session with reporters in the White House press briefing room.
"You are no doubt aware of the comments that Missouri Senate candidate, Republican Todd Akin made on rape and abortion. I wondered if you think those views represent the views of the Republican party in general. They have been denounced by your own rival and other Republicans. Are they an outlier or representative?" Kuhnhenn asked, having obviously answered his own question. [MP3 audio here; video follows page break]
If we're to believe a report by Heidi Przybyla at Bloomberg News on August 13, the country might be operating under bipartisan deficit-reduction framework instead of being without a budget for over three years if it weren't for Wisconsin Congressman and GOP vice-presidential nominee Paul Ryan. Her lead: "Representative Paul Ryan was a pivotal figure in killing the 2010 Bowles-Simpson agreement, which Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney now holds out as a model for putting America’s fiscal house in order."
There are many deceptions and unsupported assertions in Przybyla's report, but before getting to some of the others, many of which relate to her inability to recognize objective truth, the two most important related to her treatment of President Obama's role in the rejection of Simpson-Bowles:
About a month ago, I joked in a column published elsewhere that the reason a certain New York Times column didn't resonate with anyone is because no one pays attention to the Old Gray Lady any more.
Unfortunately, that's not true. But the fact that almost no other establishment press outlet has mentioned the paper's disclosure late Wednesday (appearing in Thursday's print edition) that former MF Global CEO Jon Corzine and others at the bankrupt firm likely won't face criminal prosecution in the firm's crack-up, which featured raiding individual customers' accounts to the tune of $1.6 billion, seems to indicate that the Times has become a favored holding cell for stories detrimental to Democrats which will otherwise be ignored. Oh, and contrary to the belief expressed in a very long Vanity Fair item in February, when Corzine was seen to be in "a scandal he can’t survive," and that "his career is likely finished," the man is seriously considering starting up a new hedge fund.
Earlier today (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), I noted how the Associated Press's Steve Peoples and Politico's Juana Summers could only find hundreds of people attending GOP vice-presidential pick Paul Ryan's Wednesday appearance at Oxford, Ohio's Miami University. Perhaps even more troubling is how they somehow chose an odd angle for their coverage, namely that Ryan has supposedly avoiding talking about Medicare in his stump speeches -- and both wrote "that changed" in describing its first mention.
It seems more than a little odd that two establishment press reporters from supposedly separate and independent media outlets both apparently focused for four days on when Ryan would mention the word "Medicare" on the campaign trail. Summers even made it her headline, while Peoples seemed to want to convey the impression that Ryan has been afraid to mention the word:
UPDATE: In its video report, but not in its accompanying text, Cincinnati Local 12 News reported that the crowd was over 6,000, and that "a whole line of people were turned away, because there wasn't enough room."
It would appear that Politico's Juana Summers and the Associated Press's Steve Peoples have an unusual and nearly identical problem with math. Yesterday, they could have and should have gone to the Secret Service for help. (Also, go to this subsequent post about how the pair also played a very odd duet in supposedly independently written stories, both attempting to portray Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan as avoiding the topic of Medicare on the campaign trail.)
Summers wrote that Ryan's appearance yesterday at Miami University drew "several hundred supporters gathered for an outdoor rally." Peoples claimed it was "hundreds of supporters." After the jump, I will note several media outlets which reported that the crowd numbered in the "thousands" -- including one which cited a Secret Service estimate of 5,500.
There are so many holes in Paul Wiseman's Wednesday report at the Associated Press on the weakness of the current "recovery" that it would take a term paper to cover all of them. I'll just concentrate on a repeat error Wiseman made. It is one which AP colleagues Christopher Rugaber (with Wiseman, as demonstrated here) and Martin Crutsinger (as shown here) have also committed. All three gentlemen have been preparing their reports as if "government spending" is the same thing as the government spending and investment component of the nation's economic output. It's not.
In his piece about why the Obama "recovery" (as seen here, by Warren Buffet's requirement that per capita GDP has to return to where it was before the downturn began, we don't even have the beginnings of a recovery yet) is the worst since World War II, Wiseman had the following to say on the "government spending" topic:
(UPDATED: The Washington Post reports "A law enforcement official said at one point in the scuffle, the shooter expressed views that differed from those of the Family Research Council. The official also said the shooter was carrying a bag that had a Chick-Fil-A bag inside." NBC Washington identified the suspect as Floyd Corkins, 28.)
There was a shooting Wednesday morning at the Family Research Council in Washington. The suspect "made statements regarding their policies, and then opened fire with a gun striking a security guard," a source told Fox News.None of the other breaking reports seem to refer to a political motive, but AP's early coverage includes the information that FRC president Tony Perkins recently came to the defense of Chick-fil-A and their president Dan Cathy:
Late this this afternoon, the Associated Press made a correction to Christopher Rugaber's August 10 story on July's federal budget results. His original claim, noted on August 11 by yours truly at NewsBusters and at BizzyBlog, was that Barack Obama's promise to cut the deficit in half was something "he pledged to do during his 2008 campaign."
As noted in my original post and its mirror, the only evidence of a "cut in half" promise I could locate was in February 2009, a month after Obama took office and shortly after the passage of the stimulus package. A February 21, 2009 AP story reported that such a promise was coming, and it became official two days later. After the jump, readers will find the text of the AP's correction language (also found here, and currently listed at the top of its corrections link at its national site) followed by a few paragraphs from the original item up to where the correction has been incorporated:
In her story this aftermoon on the imminent expiration of the company's "lock-up" period during which certain employees and insiders must hold onto their company stock, Associated Press Technology writer Barbara Ortutay reports that Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg will be locked into his holdings until mid-November -- while omitting out of apparent ignorance the fact that he previously cashed out to the tune of over $1 billion.
UPDATE: The AP has corrected its story. The related NewsBusters post is here.
In his coverage of the latest Monthly Treasury Statement showing July and year-to-date federal budget deficits of $69.6 billion and $974 billion, respectively, Christopher Rugaber at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, cut President Obama a significant break when he wrote that "GOP candidate Mitt Romney has criticized Obama for failing to cut the deficit in half, as he pledged to do during his 2008 campaign."
The problem is that Obama's "pledge" wasn't a campaign promise at all. It was a promise made on February 23, 2009, over 3-1/2 months after he won the presidential election and more than a month after his inauguration. The, uh, Associated Press had the scoop that he would make this promise two days earlier:
Friday afternoon, the Associated Press's Jonathan Fahey couldn't get four paragraphs into his report on higher gas prices nationwide without starting to fret about their impact on President Obama's re-election effort.
He also wanted readers to understand without any doubt that President Obama and the by inference his government bear absolutely no responsibility for the recent run-up to a national average of $3.67 a gallon nationwide with statewide averages in California and Illinois topping $4, and conveniently used one interviewed driver as a prop to begin making his quite transparent political point. Later in the report, he inadvertently cited a reason why the government is contributing to higher prices at the pump. I'll cite yet another among many additional government-induced factors later in the post.
Last time I checked the Associated Press was a national news service.
So in a story about how a refinery fire in California will likely cause West Coast gas prices to hit $4 a gallon, why did reporter Jason Dearen ignore the fact that prices are already at $4 a gallon in many parts of the country already?
Let's see if this story gets any meaningful attention in the U.S., or if the Associated Press expands the brief unbylined item currently seen at its national site. I wouldn't bet on it -- and even if that occurs, I don't expect the U.S. establishment press to give what is contained therein much notice.
The AP's four-paragraph blurb tells us that independent columnists in Egypt are alarmed at what they see as the newly empowered Muslim Brotherhood's "attempt to control the state-owned press":
A year ago, Standard & Poor's cut its rating of U.S. government debt from AAA to AA+.
Very early Monday morning, in what read more like an Obama administration press release than a wire service news report, Paul Wiseman at the Associated Press claimed that subsequent events and other agencies' decisions not to deliver similar downgrades represent a "decisive repudiation" of S&P's call. Gee, I think an element of other agencies' holdbacks had quite a bit to do with the Obama administration's almost immediate move to launch an investigation into how S&P handled the ratings of mortgage-backed securities leading up to the housing and mortgage lending mess in 2008. The others didn't want to become the Department of Justice's next targets. But of course Wiseman didn't bring up that inconvenient point. Excerpts follow:
Since Mitt Romney is supposedly responsible for the death from cancer of a woman who died in 2006, seven years after the presumptive GOP nominee left Bain Capital, it seems more than fair to talk about what has resulted from the Obama administration's blatant favoritism towards UAW members while shafting former Delphi salaried workers.
Tonight, the Associated Press's Adwatch entry by Stephen Braun actually calls out the Obama super-PAC Priorities USA, specifically saying that the assertion by Joe Soptic, the woman's widower, "that Romney bears some blame in his wife's death is not backed up factually in the ad." Fair enough, but, especially because it was in the news today, let's look at the Delphi situation.
The modern equivalent of a broken record, which used to be a common saying about someone who says the same thing over and over, is the "infinite loop" -- "a sequence of instructions in a computer program which loops (i.e., repeats) endlessly."
On Social Security, the establishment press has played a false infinite loop for decades, namely that its "trust fund" contains lots of real assets. Here is Stephen Ohlemacher's replay of the loop found in his coverage at the Associated Press on early Monday:
It's as if these people think that we're still in the era of the Pony Express and passenger pigeons.
Both CNN's email alert after the close of the markets today and the Associated Press's post-close report acted as if Monday's stock market gain was due to a positive momentum effect from Friday's splendiforous jobs report, which really wasn't that good at all. CNN's 4:01 p.m. email told recipients that "U.S. stocks end higher on momentum from July jobs report." AP's first paragraph at its news summary page read as follows:
Well, it looks like Democrats in a Southern state have embarrassed party officials once again. Back in 2010, it was Alvin Greene in South Carolina, whose victory in that state's U.S. Senate primary so infuriated Palmetto State Congressman James Clyburn that he accused Greene of being a plant and called for a federal probe. Greene refused to step aside; incumbent Republican Jim DeMint defeated Greene in a landslide.
A similar script is playing out in Tennessee, where relative unknown Mark Clayton defeated seven other challengers in the Volunteer State's Democratic U.S. Senate primary. It turns out that Clayton is vice president of an alleged "hate group." If that characterization really fits Clayton's Public Advocate of the United States (there's ample reason to doubt that), then Associated Press reporter Lucas L. Johnson II "somehow" forgot to notice that a couple of national Democrats apparently agree with the group's supposedly "hateful" positions -- as well as, it would appear, President Barack Obama himself. Excerpts follow the jump:
The Associated Press carried two stories on Friday about the attempt by and ultimate failure of former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman to avoid going back to prison.
In the first, ahead of that day's hearing, AP reporter Bob Johnson failed to mention Siegelman's Democratic Party affiliation. In the second, Johnson managed to get Democratic Party references designed to raise what appear to be partisan questions about whether Siegelman really deserved his fate into his 29th and 34th of 35 paragraphs. Excerpts follow (AP is using all uppercase in its national site headlines now; bolds are mine):
The wire services and other establishment press members appear to be getting more selective in what they will allow into their headlines, particularly omitting items which might hurt Dear Leader.
Take the coverage of yesterday's Employment Situation Summary from the government's Bureau of Labor Statistics. The news was a combination of bad and mediocre (though expectations-beating): The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased from 8.2% to 8.3% (or from 8.217% to 8.254%, if you're Obama administration hack Alan Krueger), while the seasonally adjusted number of jobs added was 163,000. Both results are really unacceptable when there's so much not utilized and underutilized labor. Three establishment press headlines avoided mentioning the rate increase, even though it was a major element of the underlying story:
General Motors didn't have a very good second quarter, as the Associated Press's Tom Krisher duly noted on Thursday.
What Krisher didn't note, and what almost no one in the establishment press ever notes, is the fact that the company doesn't have to pay any income taxes on its U.S. profits until it uses up losses carried forward from before its 2009 bankruptcy filing accompanied by at least $50 billion in government capitalization -- something other companies emerging from bankruptcy are almost never allowed to do. Based on the company's reported North American income for the quarter of $2 billion, most of which would have been realized on U.S. business, taxpayers subsidized the company to the tune of several hundred million dollars in just three months.
Start with the item's headline: "US consumers more confident in the economy in July" Uh, no. Given that a value of 90 is what the AP acknowledges in a later paragraph "indicates a healthy economy," today's overall reading of 65.9, up from 62.7 in June, means that consumers are less gloomy or less downbeat. Confident? Hardly. AP even got the report's underlying indicators wrong:
Sunday on ABC, as Rush Limbaugh noted on his show yesterday, Obama campaign senior adviser and former White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs called GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney a "schoolyard bully."
Just a couple of hours later (the time stamp is noon on Sunday), what little is left of Newsweek published "Mitt Romney's Wimp Factor." Zheesh -- So which is it?
Last night (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog) I critiqued a short Associated Press item posted earlier Monday by reporter John Hanna which seemed quite alarmed at the notion that "Conservatives in Republicans are turning against moderates in their own party."
Hanna expanded his report on Monday. Its apparently final version, time-stamped at 5:16 p.m. at the AP's national site, goes further into describing those scary conservatives who want Republicans who will act on principle instead of just going along. What follows are excerpts from material added after the initial report:
In the kerfuffle over the initial refusal by Mitt Romney's campaign to allow reporters into a fundraising event to take place at an Israeli hotel on Monday, a position the campaign reversed late yesterday (early morning in Israel), the Associated Press's Kasie Hunt had, to say the least, an interesting take on property rights, while clearly misstating how the Obama campaign has handled press access.
You know, President Obama is such a constructive guy. Why, he's a veritable Mr. Sunshine like Chicago Cubs baseball Hall of Famer Ernie Banks. He hardly ever goes after presidential opponent Mitt Romney with harsh criticism. When he does, it's a "rare swipe."
That's what Jim Kuhnhenn at the Associated Press told his readers yesterday in his coverage ("New day, old bickering on taxes between Obama, GOP") of the President's weekly radio address and related matters. Kuhnhenn, who between shifts as a reporter must live in a hermetically sealed cave, wrote the following:
It's becoming increasingly clear that the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, believes there are two primary kinds of users of its output: those who only read headlines and those who read on or click through. It often dresses up the headlines with inaccuracies, omissions, and occasional downright falsehoods, which more often than not are respectively rendered properly, included, and stated truthfully (or at least sort of close) in the actual content.
It's hard to find a more stark example of a contradiction between an AP headline and its underlying content than Martin Crutsinger's late afternoon report Friday following that morning's Gross Domestic Product report: