You've got hand it to some (probably most) of the reporters at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press. Their story is that the economy is all right, and by gosh, they're sticking to it.
Tom Raum's dispatch yesterday is a case in point. Along the way, he pulled out several of the tired spin-driven claims which have long since been taken down but which haven't yet penetrated the skulls of low-information voters. Raum and AP seem puzzled that the supposedly okey-dokey economy doesn't seem to be helping President Obama or Democrats' 2014 congressional and senatorial election prospects (bolds and numbered tags are mine):
Did you know that the mortgage interest deduction was a major contributor to families' distressed circumstances leading to the housing bubble? Or that George W. Bush's (really modest) tax cuts in 2001 and 2003, not the Internet bubble of the late-1990s led the nation from fiscal surplus to deficits?
The reason you don't "know" these things is that they're not true. But the Associated Press's Tom Raum thinks they are, and said so as if they are indisputable facts in an AP analysis piece (or at least I hope it was meant to be that) yesterday. In over 850 words, he also failed to note, while barely acknowleding their existence, that Republicans in the House already acquiesced to $620 billion in tax increases in return for a "whopping" $15 billion in spending cuts during the fiscal cliff deal at the end of last year. Excerpts from Raum's risible writeup follow the jump.
In attempting to make the case that "Even as the private sector has been slowly adding jobs, governments have been shedding them," a chart from the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, shows how public-sector employment (not labeled as "seasonally adjusted," but that's what it is) has declined from a peak of 22.3 million in May of 2010 to 21.3 million in January 2013.
There's only on "little" problem -- That May 2010 peak occurred in the midst of the federal government's decennial census.
Even though it was near the top of the raw news wire at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, when I saw it, I had to check the date on Tom Raum's item entitled "Why It Matters: Debt." Sure enough, it really does have a September 24. 1:36 p.m. time stamp.
That is intensely ironic and somewhat delicious, because the final sentence of Raum's dispatch directly contradicts something President Barack Obama said in his appearance on David Letterman's show last week -- something I believe (but can't prove, due to frequent wire service revisions) the AP originally failed to report.
On a low-attention Sunday, the Associated Press's Tom Raum put together a pretty good analysis ("US debt will keep growing even with recovery"), though not labeled as such, of the serious financial situation the country faces thanks to the mushrooming national debt.
But the AP writer ignored two critical warnings raised in a related item he filed over a year ago on Wednesday, January 7, 2009 ("Analysis: Deficit spending is tough medicine") that have contributed mightily to the dire situation he described. In that report, Raum claimed that there was a "consensus ... that some form of major stimulus — either new spending, tax cuts or a mix — is needed ... so long as it is short term and doesn't include permanent new spending programs." It is clear that the stimulus plan passed last year has flunked both key concerns he raised.
Raum also blithely assumed that White House and Congressional Budget Office forecasts assuming a huge increase in collections are accurate, when there is ample evidence that they are not.
Here are key paragraphs from the AP's Sunday sounding of the siren:
The Associated Press's Tom Raum had to work really, really hard to come up with a sunny way to present today's jobs report and the President's reaction to it, which consisted of awarding $2.3 billion in "New Clean Energy Manufacturing Tax Credits."
Here's what he concocted: The weak employment report gave Obama the chance to change the subject from terrorism, where he continues to get hammered by Republican meanies, to something else. It's as if the only reason that the job losses occurred is because the Undie Bomber distracted Dear Leader's attention from his domestic agenda.
Here are key paragraphs from Raum's ramblings:
Obama refocuses on jobs after weak labor report
His agenda altered by the Christmas bombing attempt, President Barack Obama pivoted back to the domestic economy on Friday, promoting new U.S. spending to create tens of thousands of clean-technology jobs.
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:
See if you think these two assertions mean the same thing:
Small businesses pay up to 18 percent more per worker than large firms for the same health insurance policy.
.... small businesses pay up to 18 percent more per worker to provide health insurance for their employees.
Of course they don't mean the same thing. But to the Associated Press's Tom Raum, they apparently do.
The first statement comes from the Executive Summary of a study produced by the President's Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) called "The Economic Effects of Health Care Reform on Small Businesses and Their Employees" that the administration is using to promote passage of its health care plan. Based on dated information in the detailed CEA studay, the statement appears to be true, though with overly clever "up to" wording.
The second statement unfortunately exemplifies how the AP's Raum wrote up the CEA result in his story. This means that his write-up has several items that are demonstrably false.
Here are the story's first few paragraphs, with incorrect assertions noted in red:
Noel characterized Raum's report as suggesting that "the White House's delay in releasing an update about the budget might be tied to the administration's desire to get controversial bills on healthcare reform and cap and trade passed before Congress and Americans know just how large the deficit really is." That's because the delayed report would more than likely tell the nation that this year's deficit is expected to be even bigger than expected (using proper cash-flow reporting, which I'll get to), and future years' projected deficits are even more likely to be unsustainably high.
Two important things were missing from Raum's report. First, there was a total dearth of detail about how badly the current fiscal year that began on October 1 of last year has gone -- most especially the last quarter. Second, Raum saved until near the end of his report a prediction by one of the wire service's go-to "experts" -- the first such prediction I've seen -- that Gross Domestic Product will contract yet again in the third quarter.
The Associated Press posted an "analysis" piece by writer Tom Raum on June 15 to address the GOP strategy against Obamacare and other administration policies but the APs characterization of the GOPs efforts almost seem meant to belittle and de-legitimize that opposition as opposed to describing it. The entire GOP argument against Obama is boiled down to a use of "buzz words" as far as AP's Raum is concerned. Apparently, no political truth or ideological disagreement really enters into it. Only "tactic," and "strategy" built on "buzz words" and "fear" is offered by the GOP instead of real issues according to the AP.
In "GOP using buzz words to taunt Democrats," with a subhead of "Republicans claim Obama embraces 'socialism,'" Raum never once admits that Republicans just might have a principled ideological opposition to Obama's policies leaving readers to get the vague feeling that the GOP is trying just anything to find a winning issue. Further, the entire article is premised as if the Democrats are correct and the GOP is just trying to chip away at their essentially correct stand on the issues. AP even presents a lefty professor to shore up the AP point of view -- naturally the professor's propensities are not divulged.
At an April 4 news conference in Strasbourg, France (White House transcript here), President Obama referred to a language that doesn't exist (bold is mine; HT to DrewM at Ace of Spades):
It was also interesting to see that political interaction in Europe is not that different from the United States Senate. There's a lot of -- I don't know what the term is in Austrian -- wheeling and dealing -- and, you know, people are pursuing their interests, and everybody has their own particular issues and their own particular politics.
Apparently none of Obama's 12 teleprompters (their existence was cited a week ago at the UK's Evening Standard, and noted yesterday at NewsBusters and BizzyBlog) were able to guide Obama's dialect-challenged utterance in time.
Amazingly, Tom Raum of the Associated Press in effect made the same mistake (HT to an e-mailer) when he cited the above Obama quote and failed to note that there isn't an Austrian language. Raum and who knows how many editors surely had several hours to get it right, and didn't.
Bush’s decision to wage a vendetta against Saddam Hussein as retribution for the Sept. 11 attacks — six years ago Tuesday — led to many miscalculations and mistakes.
And what evidence does Raum offer in support of his astonishing theory that the Iraq war was Pres. Bush's "vendetta" against Saddam "for the Sept. 11 attacks"? Uh, Tom will have to get back to us on that . . .