At the Associated Press on Friday afternoon, Andrew Taylor, who it should be noted covers Congress and is not routinely on the economics or business beat, relayed an Obama administration prediction that economic growth in 2014 will come in at 2.6 percent.
Taylor noted that this estimate, lowered from 3.3 percent, came about because of "the unexpected 2.9 percent drop in gross domestic product in the first quarter of this year when unusually severe weather dinged the economy." Besides failing to note that the contraction was an annualized drop (the actual contraction was about 0.7 percent), he didn't tell readers how absurdly strong growth will have to be during the rest of the year to hit that 2.6 percent target; it works out to an annualized 4.5 percent during each of this year's remaining unreported quarters. Perhaps the AP reporter isn't economically astute enough to recognize how unlikely that is — or worse, he recognized it and let it pass unchallenged.
Monday afternoon at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, Andrew Taylor predictably described the House's passage of the Ryan Budget in shrill terms (in order of appearance): "A slashing budget blueprint"; "Sweeping budget cuts"; balances the budget "at the expense of poor people and seniors"; "sharp cuts to domestic programs"; "staking out a hard line for the future"; and "tough cuts." Naturally, he failed to disclose that the Ryan budget increases the federal government's total outlays in each and every fiscal year from 2015 to 2024, with the final projected year coming in at $4.995 trillion, or 42 percent above the $3.523 trillion in spending the Congressional Budget Office predicted yesterday for fiscal 2014.
In the process of performing the AP's usual hatchet job, Taylor let loose with a howler about the federal government's ability to continue on its current financial path. The AP reporter may also have inadvertently let something slip into his narrative about the viability of a cherished government program, something which is a deep, dark secret to most Americans, but is quite well-known to those who watch things more closely:
Even though government operational outlays didn't really go down at all in fiscal 2013 compared to fiscal 2012, several government agencies ended up raiding slush funds (my term) to get through sequestration, the tiny reductions in previously increased projected spending which took effect during the second half of the fiscal year.
This evening at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, Andrew Taylor identified some of those slush funds, and dutifully warned the nation about how rough the next round of sequestration will allegedly be during fiscal 2014 (bolds are mine):
An emailer who is a retired journalist wrote to me today about a January 27 Associated Press item by Andrew Taylor presented as an objective news report, calling it "Appalling ... the worst ever." If it's not, it's pretty close, though I'm not sure how any report on a single congressional action can top the comprehensive slop seen in the June 2008 classic titled, "Everything Seemingly Is Spinning Out of Control." Readers visit that linked article at their peril.
The AP report concerns the "no budget, no pay" provision added to the bill the House recently passed to increase the government's borrowing cap. Taylor's travesty reeks of contempt and imbalance. Several paragraphs follow the jump (bolds and numbered tags are mine):
The self-described "essential global news network" known as the Associated Press, more aptly characterized as the Administration's Press, has from all appearances chosen to minimize the exposure given to Friday's letter from four Senate Democrats to President Obama encouraging him to unilaterally increase the nation's debt ceiling if Congress fails to do so.
A search on Harry Reid's last name at the AP's national site at 8:30 ET this morning returned nothing relating to that letter. But there was an AP writeup about it on Sunday morning. A search on a few key words in Andrew Taylor's report found at another web site demonstrates that it's no longer available at the AP's national site. Gosh, it's almost as if AP doesn't want Americans to know that four Democratic senators are urging Obama to blatantly violate the Constitution. The first six paragraphs of Taylor's report follow the jump (bolds are mine throughout this post):
AP reporter Andrew Taylor wrote up one of those teasing narratives Tuesday – the kind where he says, gee the GOP could have the Senate majority if it hadn’t managed to nominate Tea Party wackos that were successfully ripped down by harsh national press coverage.
Well, there was no actual reference to the press or its anti-Tea Party aggression. There are only “flawed, gaffe-prone nominees,” and no mention of who in the political world decides what a “gaffe” is and how the media's gaffe patrol never seems to locate them in the vicinity of Joe Biden. Taylor began his “bizarre GOP missteps” narrative this way:
One useful interpretation of a journalist's use of "some people say that" or "some argue that" without an accompanying reference to or quote from a subject matters expert is that such phrases really mean "in my opinion."
This is the very likely case in a disingenuously headlined Associated Press story yesterday by Andrew Taylor concerning the standoff between the Republicans, who want the current income tax structure continued for at least another year, and Democrats, including President Obama, who want to raise taxes (they describe it as "ending the Bush tax cuts," which fully went into effect over nine years ago) on "the rich," currently defined as people making $200,000 or more per year. Taylor put the following statement out there without identifying any economist or political analyst who might agree with it (because I doubt there are many, or even any):
Distracted by ridiculousaurus Rex Nutting's write-up earlier in the week at MarketWatch ("Obama spending binge never happened"), which absurdly claimed that "government outlays (are) rising at slowest pace since 1950s," Taylor spent paragraph after paragraph going into the nuances of "the Wall Street bailout" (really TARP, which wasn't all about "Wall Street," unless GM and Chrysler have recently moved there) and the disputes over who should be responsible for various items of and increases in spending the fiscal 2009. He either didn't understand -- or didn't want to communicate that he really did understand -- exactly what President Obama said, which follows the jump:
In the campaign to ensure that anyone with a proposal to actually do something about the federal government's out-of-control spending gets demonized, while incumbent Barack Obama and his party go scot-free for proposing nothing beyond the autopilot, budget-free situation of the past three years, Andrew Taylor at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, went after Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney's spending proposal in an early-morning item today.
There are so many problems with Taylor's presentation that it would take a writeup longer than a college term paper to fully vet them all. But the report's most risible aspect is its blithe and unsupported assertion that Romney's plan would require "big cuts" in "nuts-and-bolts" federal programs.
Every Congressman who voted on President Obama's budget on Wednesday voted against it -- every Democrat and every Republican.
The headline writer for Andrew Taylor's related story at the Associated Press nonetheless felt it necessary to remind readers that Republicans have a majority in the House of Representatives, and only told readers that Dear Leader's budget was "easily" rejected. The report itself by Taylor was just as bad, if not worse (shown in full because of its brevity, and for fair use and discussion purposes).
Today at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, in response to the Congressional Budget Office's release today of an awful 10-year baseline outlook, Andrew Taylor made sure that his first paragraph was only about the projected "dip" in the fiscal 2012 deficit, and dedicated his second paragraph to the bad things that will happen if "the Bush tax cuts" are extended and Congress fails to live within "tight" spending "caps" (when did those happen?). Towards the end he spoke of the deficit-cutting wonders ending "the Bush tax cuts" might bring about. What follows are the first two paragraphs of Taylor's report, followed by the "Bush tax cut" passage:
The dictionary definition of "stimulate" relevant to a nation's economy is "to rouse to action or effort."
We still have journalists who gullibly relay the notion that extending unemployment benefits and increasing entitlement programs will "rouse" the economy "to action of effort," despite almost three years of evidence that such is not the case. One of them is Andrew Taylor, a writer for the Associated Press, who, in his unprofessionally titled ("Deficit deal failure would pose crummy choice") and painfully long writeup about the supercommittee's lack of action or effort in Washington, wrote the following:
Today, the White House's Office of Management and Budget published its Mid-Session Review (large PDF), an economic forecast projecting, among other things, that Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for calendar 2011 will be 1.7%. That doesn't sound like much (and it isn't), but to get there growth will have to almost triple its most recently reported level during the second half of the year. Second-half growth will also have to exceed the estimates of most economists.
Good luck finding any skepticism in the press over OMB's numbers. What follows is the numerical runthrough, followed by two media coverage examples.
Given the opportunity to directly relay the two sentences of House Speaker John Boehner's statement on the status of debt-ceiling and budget negotiations tonight, the Associated Press's Andrew Taylor and Jim Kuhnhenn, in their 9:29 p.m. report (saved here at my web host for future reference, fair use and discussion purposes) disgracefully cut the Speaker's statement off after its first sentence and inserted seven paragraphs designed to minimize its full impact, leaving readers unaware of Boehner's full statement with the impression that its second sentence was uttered sometime and somewhere else.
In the course of a story ("Senate votes down controversial House budget") from all appearances designed to make House Republicans look like quixotic time-wasters while minimizing presidential embarrassment, the Associated Press's Andrew Taylor fabricated the following:
GOP senators immediately forced a vote on President Barack Obama's February budget proposal, which opened to chilly reviews in February for failing to aggressively tackle issues like the long-term future of benefit programs like Medicare and Social Security. Democrats joined Republicans in opposing the plan, which failed to receive a single vote.
No Andrew, you're wrong, wrong, at least nineteen times wrong. From Townhall's Guy Benson, with links -- The following Senate Democrats sang the praises of the President's laughingstock of a "budget" in mid-February (resorted in alphabetical order after Reid and Schumer; bolds and underlines are as they originally appeared):
It's going to be a long year for those of us who review Associated Press reports Uncle Sam's finances for evidence of bias and ignorance. Sometimes it seems that it would be easier to highlight the rare examples of fairness and balance.
Take the first sentence of Andrew Taylor's report on President Obama's 2012 budget (please; that goes for his report and the budget). It, in combination with the oh-so-predictable headline, makes you want to stop reading on in disgust (for the purposes of this post, I did endure the whole thing; bold is mine):
In his treatment of the predicted unemployment rate, Taylor betrayed no concern whatsoever about the plight of the millions of unemployed who are in that position largely because the Obama administration attempted to bring about an economic recovery through government "stimulus" and government intervention instead of cutting taxes, or even leaving what appeared to be an incipient recovery in late 2008 continue. Instead, as AP reporters Hope Yen and Liz Sidoti did last September in advance of last year's poverty report from the Census Bureau, when they fretted over the report's impact on the Congressional midterm elections, a terrified Taylor spent two paragraphs worrying about the high unemployment rate's impact on the President's reelection prospects:
AP reporters Calvin Woodward and Andrew Taylor answered the bell and came out swinging at the Republican House within hours after John Boehner was sworn in as Speaker, accusing the GOP of supposedly breaking a number of core promises.
As usual when the wire service covers Republicans, there's no shortage of inconsistency bordering on hypocrisy coming from AP's alleged journalists.
Here are selected paragraphs from this morning's report ("PROMISES, PROMISES: GOP drops some out of the gate"):
One of the more egregious results of the Democrat-controlled Congress skipping town without passing a budget, thus failing to address the issue of whether scheduled income tax increases will really go into effect for everyone, the highest income-earners, or no one at all, is that the Internal Revenue Service and employers have been left in the lurch with no idea of how to prepare for next year. As I understand it, at a minimum this is the first time in a very long time that something like this has occurred, and it may be unprecedented.
The issue is getting a half-decent amount of play in the business press, but as a general news item, it's going almost nowhere, even though some employers are already telling employees they will have to withhold more starting on January 1, 2011 if no action is taken in Washington.
At the Associated Press's main web site, the one story about the withholding issue written by Andrew Taylor that went up early this morning plays a shady game of "Y'know, it really won't be all that bad if the increases are only in effect during the early part of next year." See if you can detect what I'm referring to in the following excerpt:
In a report that is so riddled with bias and factual errors it's hard to know even where to begin, Associated Press Writers Tom Raum and Andrew Taylor yesterday gave making President Obama look like a born-again deficit hawk their best shot.
The pair's work is partially saved here for fair use, discussion and in this case entertainment purposes.
The biggest error Raum and Taylor made was publishing the following "we wish it were true" statement:
The national debt is the accumulation of annual budget deficits. The deficit for the 2009 budget year, which ended on Sept. 30, set an all-time record in dollar terms at $1.42 trillion.
Well, Tom and Andy, using this readily available tool, if that's the case, why was the national debt on September 30, 2008 $10.02 trillion and then $11.91 trillion on September 30, 2009? That's a difference of $1.89 trillion, a whopping $470 billion more than the past year's $1.42 trillion deficit.
The answer is, sadly, that the national debt is NOT the accumulation of annual budget deficits, as shown in the graphic that follows: