In a late Friday afternoon release, the U.S. Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) announced its intent "to transition key Internet domain name functions to the global multistakeholder community." The statement is full of the kind of dense bureaucratic language one tends to see when the agency is doing something really important but controversial.
Stating the situation more clearly, TheDomains.com calls it "the Offical Statement Of The US Giving Up Control Over ICANN" (The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers). Americans for Limited Government has issued a press release"blasting the Obama Commerce Department for turning over control of the Internet to United Nations International Telecommunication Union." The one story in the press as of 7:30 p.m. was at the Politico, whose Erin Mershon appears to have caught wind of the news ahead of NTIA's release. Mershon takes eight paragraphs to tell readers to whom the functions are to be transitioned — and I don't think her dallying is mere sloppiness (bolds are mine):
Radio libtalker and MSNBC action hero Ed Schultz used to be conservative, as he'll occasionally remind his audience. Earlier this week on his radio show, he lapsed back.
The occasion was a discussion with a caller over President Obama's apparent support for the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a trade pact that would involve the U.S., Canada, Mexico and nine other nations in South America and Asia. (Audio after the jump)
"The U.S. could suffer a coast-to-coast blackout if saboteurs knocked out just nine of the country's 55,000 electric-transmission substations on a scorching summer day, according to a previously unreported federal analysis," the Wall Street Journal's Rebecca Smith reported on the front page of Thursday's paper. A set of "coordinated attacks in each of the nations' three separate electric systems could cause the entire power network to collapse," Smith noted, citing "people familiar with the [Federal Energy Regulatory Commission] research."
A development like this is quite newsworthy and a topic that makes for good TV news, yet the broadcast networks -- ABC, CBS, and NBC -- completely ignored the item both on the March 13 evening newscasts and the March 14 morning news programs. By contrast, they found air time for rather frivolous stories such as:
February's retail sales as reported may have been expectations of a 0.2 percent seasonally adjusted rise, but the 0.3 percent increase turned in was still far from impressive, especially after considering that the Census Bureau revised January's result down to -0.6 percent from an originally reported -0.4 percent.
Naturally, that didn't stop the Associated Press's Josh Boak and his story's headline writer from celebrating the news as a "rebound." Even more absurdly, Boak claimed that "Last month's rebound almost brought retail spending back to its December levels." Excerpts follow the jump:
CBS was the only network on Wednesday evening to report President Obama's plan to bypass Congress and force businesses to pay employees extra for overtime work. NBC and ABC both ignored the news.
Yet CBS reported the news in a positive manner, noting how "an estimated 10 million workers stand to benefit from the President's plan." White House correspondent Major Garrett said it was "part of President Obama's push to reduce income inequality."
Hailing him as a "Generous Guy," in this morning's "Cheat Sheet" digest [see screen capture below page break] the editors of the Daily Beast today praised President Obama for planning to "unveil a plan to force businesses to pay more overtime to millions of employees," justifying the move since the country "[faces] an economy where workers' wages have stagnated while corporate profits have taken off."
The editors explain how Mr. Obama is going about this, but fail to note any criticism from conservatives or libertarians, even as they, naturally, found a way to blame George W. Bush for the plight of fast-food wage earners:
On Friday, the government's Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the economy created 175,000 seasonally adjusted jobs in February, with 162,000 of the additions occurring in the private sector.
That result exceeded expectations of roughly 150,000, and caused the business press to sing odes of high praise to an economy that was amazingly overcoming this year's difficult winter weather. Unfortunately, as readers will see after the jump, February's raw results demonstrate that it was all an illusion.
In the past week, Radio Shack has announced that will close 1,100 stores, or over 20 percent of its U.S. outlets. Staples is shuttering 225 stores, or roughly 12 percent of theirs. Smaller downsizings earlier this year have been reported at Macy's (involving store and other personnel) and J.C. Penney.
One gets the impression from press reports that these are occurring primarily because of poor management or the ongoing trend towards more online sales. Though those two factors are obviously relevant, the fact that the economy began weakening during the fourth quarter, especially so in December, rarely gets a mention. When it does get noted, it's usually something mild, along the lines of "disappointing holiday sales." A Thursday afternoon Associated Press article by business writer Tom Murphy illustrates the kid-glove approach (bolds are mine; my responses to certain of Murphy's points are in italics):
Early Wednesday morning, Josh Lederman at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, opened a report on President Barack Obama's upcoming afternoon trip to Connecticut by writing that "Obama wants the U.S. to follow Connecticut's lead by raising the minimum wage." In a dispatch after Obama's speech in New Britain, Lederman wrote of "a show of support from like-minded governors," including those from the Nutmeg State, Massachusetts, Vermont and Rhode Island, all of which have minimum wages higher than the federally mandated rate of $7.25 per hour.
Correlation doesn't necessarily mean causation, but the four states Obama highlighted as examples to follow have economic performances ranging from mediocre to horrid during the past several years arguably tie to poor policy choices like high minimum wages — something Lederman should have noticed and didn't.
You don't even need to know the specifics to realize that today's economic reports were weak. All you need to know is that there was no mention of them in the Associated Press's list of Top 10 business stories as of 3:35 p.m. Among stories considered more important: a product review of Apple's tiny market-share program called iWork and three dozen passengers suing Carnival Cruise Lines.
This morning's release from ADP on February private-sector employment growth reported 139,000 jobs added; the previous four months were revised down by a total of 138,000. The Institute for Supply Management's Non-Manufacturing Index came in at 51.6%, showing relatively slow expansion (anything above 50% indicates expansion) compared to January's 54.0%. The reports missed expectations of 155,000 jobs added and 53.5%, respectively. AP coverage of these two reports somewhat understated their weakness, one quantitatively and the other qualitatively.
The Washington Post Editorial Board has long had a government agriculture policy position that is actually grounded in Reality.
Going back at least half a decade - to the passage of the last terrible Farm Bill - they have been rightly pointing out that the Crony Socialist, picking-losers-at-the-expense-of-winners matrix of taxes, subsidies and quotas is simply a disaster.
Perhaps I'm being too kind in describing the Associated Press as "The Administration's Press." Based on Jim Kuhnhenn's ridiculous "Don't worry, be happy" Saturday report on how unimportant he says the still growing national debt and the still historically large federal budget deficits supposedly are, maybe I should start calling the wire service "The Administration's Publicists" instead.
Kuhnhenn stopped just short of writing that the national debt ($17.41 trillion as of Wednesday, up from $10.63 trillion when Barack Obama took office 61 months ago, an average increase of $111 billion per month) and the annual federal budget deficit (on track to be over $500 billion for the sixth year in a row, four of which saw deficits of over $1 trillion) aren't worthy of attention, but it's clear that he believes we shouldn't be concerned about them in making electoral choices (bolds are mine):
The news in two government reports on the economy today was not good. One showed that initial unemployment claims last week rose to a seasonally adjusted 348,000; raw (not seasonally adjusted) claims were virtually identical to last year's comparable week. To avoid the dreaded U-word ("unexpectedly"), a pair of Bloomberg News reporters described the result as "exceeding all forecasts." In the other report, durable goods orders in January fell by a seasonally adjusted 1.0 percent, while December's steep decline of 4.3 percent was revised down even further to -5.3 percent.
In separate reports at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, Christopher Rugaber and Josh Boak did their best to excuse away the results and to find something positive to say. As readers will see, they had to dig pretty deep, and their efforts were unconvincing.
This morning at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, Martin Crutsinger reacted predictably to the Census Bureau's January new home sales release by commenting primarily on the forest while mostly ignoring the widely divergent health of the trees. Though he compared January to December for the country's four regions, he failed to note that three of them reported the same or fewer sales than January 2013.
This caused him to spin an unsupportable assessment of today's news as "offering hopes that housing could be regaining momentum after a slowdown last year caused by rising interest rates." Maybe in the South, Marty, but nowhere else. Several paragraphs from Crutsinger's report, followed by a regional breakdowns, are after the jump.
It would be easy to dismiss the attempt by the leftist groups Credo Mobilize and Forecast the Facts to prevent the Washington Post from publishing Charles Krauthammer's February 20 column ("The Myth of 'Settled Science'") as the whining of immature children who cover their ears and say "la-la, we can't hear you, and we're going to shut you up" every time they come across inconvenient facts.
Howard Kurtz takes the failed effort more seriously, and properly so, given that the petitioners are constantly trying to convince WaPo, the New York Times, and eventually the rest of the establishment press to do what the censors at the Los Angeles Times have already done: stop publishing any op-ed or letter to the editor from anyone they would consider a "climate change denier." Excerpts from Kurtz's Monday "Media Buzz" post at Fox News, plus a Fox News Special Report video showing Krauthammer brilliantly summarizing his column in 89 seconds, follow the jump.
In a complete non-surprise given their officials' reactions last week, the United Auto Workers union has filed an appeal with the National Labor Relations Board of the election they lost at Volkswagen's Chattanooga, Tennessee plant.
As would be expected for an organization whose journalists are members of the News Media Guild, a Friday evening report by Associated Press reporters Tom Raum and Erik Schelzig emphasized the "outside intervention" of First Amendment-protected statements made by Volunteer State politicians, including Senator Bob Corker, in the runup to the balloting, while ignoring and minimizing thuggish behavior and statements by UAW supporters and sympathizers. They also saved assessments that the effort is a long-shot at best, at least on the merits, for much later paragraphs — but with President Barack Obama's NLRB, you never know. Excerpts follow the jump (bolds are mine throughout this post):
MSNBC anchor Andrea Mitchell on Friday openly plotted strategy with a senior Democratic adviser, complimenting him on successful efforts to convince Americans think that raising the debt ceiling wasn't "running up the credit card." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Mitchell talked to Doug Hattaway, a member of Hillary Clinton's 2008 presidential campaign. She praised, "You were one of the advisors to persuade the Democrats that for this round of the debt ceiling debate they had to re-frame it so that it wasn't the Democrats wanting to spend more money." Mitchell unselfconsciously continued, "As hard as many of us in the media tried to persuade people, this is money that's already been spent, we're just paying the bills."
As much as MSNBC's left-wing prime time hosts portray themselves to be on the side of the workers, none of the anchors have responded to 10,000 petitions delivered to the network on Thursday from NBC writers and producers demanding more workplace rights.
Talking to TVNewser, Writers Guild of America East communications director Jason Gordon pointed out the hypocrisy of the liberal channel: "The company can't have it both ways – presenting the strong, progressive voices of the MSNBC hosts while at the same time depriving the [NBCUniversal] Peacock [Productions] employees of their own voices on the job."
According to a USA Today item carried at ABC News, "Sixty percent of adults can't drink milk." In July 2012, the New York Times ran an item entitled, "Got Milk? You Don't Need It." But the last time I checked, everyone uses electricity to some extent.
I'm bringing up these points because, as a friend showed me earlier today, the establishment press has run stories galore in the past several weeks about increases in the price of milk, but, as I noted a couple of days ago, has paid virtually no attention to coming increases in wholesale electricity costs of up to 80% which are due solely to Environmental Protection Agency regulations requiring the use of unproven and not commercially available "carbon capture" technology.
CNN's Carol Costello might as well have read from a Think Progress cheat sheet when she battled conservative economist Stephen Moore over wages and economics on Wednesday. Moore, for his part, gave her a lesson in economics.
Starting with the recent CBO estimate that President Obama's minimum wage proposal would cost a half million jobs, Costello argued that it was just an estimate and that the net job loss could be zero. "So many people would say I'm willing to take that bet," she offered. That was only the first in a string of Costello's liberal economic claims. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
The Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, had an interesting pair of headlines near the top of its raw feed yesterday.
The first headline used the typical "Republicans attack" approach any time President Obama does something objectionable, which has been quite often. The headline was "Issa Rails Against Obama's 'Imperial Presidency.'" Of course, reporter Steve Peoples didn't let readers see the exact statement Issa made, perhaps because it would have shown that he wasn't "railing" (uttering a "bitter complaint" or a "vehement denunciation") at all. The current headline at the story at AP's national site doesn't have quote marks around "imperial presidency." Clearly, Peoples doesn't think much of Issa's claim, which makes the raw feed's next headline about Obama all the more ironic:
The January 2014 New Residential Construction report released by the Census Bureau this morning was very weak. Building permits fell from December by a seasonally adjusted 5.4% (-1.3% for single-family homes). Housing starts fell by 16.0% (-15.9% single-family. The annualized single-family starts figure of 573,000 was the lowest in 17 months.
Naturally, Martin Crutsinger at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, blamed it on the weather, and promised that prosperity is coming soon in his very first paragraph. Too bad some of the data he cited clearly refutes the "blame the weather" meme.
While all three broadcast networks happily promoted President Obama's crusade to hike the minimum wage following his State of the Union address, NBC's Today and ABC's Good Morning America only managed to provide a scant 42 seconds of coverage on Wednesday to a new Congressional Budget Office study showing such a move would cause 500,000 people to lose their jobs.
Wednesday's CBS This Morning did offer a 2-minute report on the news, while Tuesday's CBS Evening News provided a 1-minute news brief. NBC Nightly News and ABC's World Newscompletely ignored the topic Tuesday night.
CNBC’s Rick Santelli recalled the five-year anniversary of the stimulus, housing bailout and blowing “a gasket” during “Squawk on the Street” today.
“On Feb. 19 I blew a gasket. But basically, what was born at that point was the voice of dissension. How do we know that? Many of course still remember the IRS issues. President said maybe there wasn’t a smidgen of, of, of negativity there or news there or anything inappropriate there,” Santelli explained. “But it seems like, if you look back, it was February of 2009 where all of that started if you look at some of the IRS records. But dissension was born!” (Video Below)
Five years ago, CNBC’s Rick Santelli reacted to the possibility of a mortgage bailout with frustration on live television. Quickly, his speech on the trading floor became known as the “rant heard round the world.”
Santelli, an on-air editor who reports live from the Chicago Board of Trade, is frequently interviewed during “Squawk Box” and “Squawk on the Street.” It was during one of those morning discussions on Feb. 19, 2009, that Santelli let loose on a potential bailout of homeowners arguing that “the government is promoting bad behavior” and proposing that capitalists gather in Chicago for a “Tea Party.”
CBS was the only network on Tuesday evening to highlight a CBO report that President Obama's proposal to hike the minimum wage would cost 500,000 jobs.
The CBO report was released Tuesday afternoon and estimated that the wage increase would boost 900,000 Americans above the poverty line but would also result in the loss of half a million jobs. CBS was the only network to report the news; neither NBC nor ABC touched on the CBO report.
File this under "Pathetic" and "Predictable." On Alex Wagner's MSNBC show yesterday, Wagner set up Timothy Noah, an MSNBC.com columnist, with the latest and most desperate excuse for the UAW's failure to gain the ability to represent VW-Chattanooga workers in a plantwide election last week. She did so by referring to an American Prospect column earlier in the day by Harold Meyerson, who blamed "the politics of race and culture" for the loss.
Noah predictably took the bait, even though "race" was not mentioned once in any coverage I saw in 2-1/2 days after the election until Meyerson went there. Video and a transcript, followed by a couple of jabs at Meyerson by yours truly, follow the jump (bolds and numbered tags are mine):
You might think that journalists would consider the prospect of sharply rising electricity costs in a nation blanketed by an extraordinarily cold, snowy winter and buffeted by its accompanying high utility bills hugely newsworthy.
You would be wrong. Searches on the last name of Julio Friedmann, the deputy assistant secretary of the Energy Department who testified at a congressional hearing on energy costs and technology last week, return very few results (here and here), none from a major general circulation establishment press outlet. One business-oriented outlet, Bloomberg BusinessWeek, covered Friedmann's testimony on the impact of the EPA's new "carbon capture" rules. In doing so, reporter Mark Drajem included some incoherence and misdirection (bolds are mine):
The big story about the federal budget this week was the Republican Party's struggle to deal with raising the debt ceiling. Last year's big budget story was President Barack Obama and the Democrats coming to grips with the so-called sequester, a policy gimmick that modestly slowed the growth of federal spending.
Neither of these storylines came anywhere close to dealing with reality. The two teams of Washington insiders get hung up on these side issues because they're better at symbolism than substance.
The folks at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, are really having a hard time processing the UAW's failure to gain the ability to represent Volkswagen's Chattanooga, Tennessee workers in an election held last week. AP journalists, who themselves are members of the News Media Guild, are exhibiting characterstics of still partially being in Stage 1 (Denial) but mostly Stage 2 (Anger) of the grieving process.
A Monday evening report by Tom Krisher and Erik Schelzig comes off more as a "put up or shut up" dare to those who opposed UAW representation than anything resembling objective reporting. The pair wants to know what Republicans are going to do achieve job growth in the wake of the UAW loss. The obvious response is that despite well-known federally-imposed regulatory barriers to job growth, Tennessee Republican Governor Bill Haslam and the Volunteer State's GOP-controlled legislature have been doing a far better than average job, if you will, of creating a conducive atmosphere for payroll employment growth in the state. But first, let's visit our in-mourning AP reporters and headline writer (bolds are mine):