On Wednesday, an early Associated Press report following the confirmations of two of Donald Trump's cabinet nominees employed extraordinarily strident and bitter language, portraying Republican Senate Committee which approved those nominations as de facto bullies who were "unilaterally" imposing their will. An evening revision updating that afternoon report expanded that portrayal to include Trump's Supreme Court nomination of Neil Gorsuch. Naturally, there's no indication that the previous Democratic Senate under Majority Leader Harry Reid employed the same "nuclear option" tactic when his party was had control.
Tom Blumer has written for several national online publications primarily on business, economics, politics and media bias. He has had his own blog, BizzyBlog.com, since 2005, and has been with NewsBusters since December 2005. Along the way, he's had a decades-long career in accounting, finance, training and development.
Thanks to the press's obsession with cooperating with and promoting those who object to President Donald Trump's opening week actions, Live Action's exposure of Planned Parenthood as hardly more than a collection of grisly abortion chambers has gone relatively unnoticed. This heroic work deserves much wider exposure, and much more press attention. A week ago, covered by Tim Graham at NewsBusters, a Live Action video demonstrated that the vast majority of PP's facilities contacted provide no prenatal care services. Yesterday, in two new videos, Live Action revealed that Planned Parenthood has plenty of ultrasound machines, but that almost all of them are used solely "to determine a baby’s age and position in the womb" before performing an abortion. Leftist politicians and media members need to abandon their knee-jerk defense of PP as a provider of a variety of "reproductive health services," because that is not what it is.
On Sunday's State of the Union show on CNN, host Jake Tapper squeezed a couple of inconvenient truths out of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. Those truths are that both drunk driving and grand larceny, if committed by illegal immigrants, are among the criminal offenses which de Blasio and Gotham in general don't believe are serious enough to warrant contacting federal authorities for deportation.
You would think that the establishment press and the rest of the opposition to Donald Trump's administration might be able to capitalize substantively (shrieking fundraising letters don't count as "substance") on Kellyanne Conway's shaky reference to "alternative facts" about a week ago. (She should have said, "I have different, more defensible estimates than you do," because she did.) So far they can't, and they seem unable to help themselves. When they run into facts they don't like, they suppress them and seek out — you guessed it — weak or false alternative facts to fit their narrative.
It tends to be good advice to avoid automatically assigning negative or malicious intent, such as a desire to play "gotcha," when someone's actions, inaction, or statements might have simply arisen from breathtaking ignorance. But what if it appears to a combination of both traits? That seems to be the case with New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman's Saturday morning tweet. Haberman, whose access to search engines was presumably intact at the time, asked, "Other than San Bernardino shootings, has there been a terrorist attack involving a non-US-born attacker since 9/11?"
Saturday may have been the first day in Donald Trump's presidency when members of the leftist press which so despises him looked forward to going into work. You see, people from those nations affected by Trump's travel ban were in transit to the U.S., and certain conflict awaited. The media surely must have thought they had a strong candidate for designated victim in Iraqi Hameed Khalid Darweesh, especially since his ability to escape temporary detention at JFK Airport in New York City was the result of an ACLU action. Boy, were they wrong. Naturally, William Mathis at the Associated Press failed to accurately report what happened. This is 2017, AP. It's on video.
A January 24 item in the East Bay Times, which serves the San Francisco East Bay area, wondered: "What’s behind the spate of recent restaurant closures?" While it didn't ignore the problem, the article made only glancing references to current and planned increases in state and city minimum wages. Preliminary year-end statistics at the U.S. government's Bureau of Labor Statistics show that Bay area restaurant industry employment and even general retail employment have fallen, and are possibly headed towards a steep decline. One has to wonder how obvious things will have to get before the press takes the negative effects of the area's mandated sky-high minimums seriously.
All that "non-partisan" posturing, and they couldn't even get CNN to buy it. On Friday, CNN presented a segment on the 44th annual March for Life before it began. The press usually ignores the march's existence until after it has taken place, typically barely recognizes it afterwards, and almost invariably insists on describing crowd sizes which have often been in the hundreds of thousands as mere "thousands." The network's Brianna Keilar's acknowledged that the previous week's Women's March was really "the liberal Women's March."
One of the more revealing side effects of the 2016 presidential campaign, and especially the November election, is how old-line liberal publications which once had at least a veneer of respectability have completely gone off the deep end. Readers have come to expect completely unhinged, error-ridden material to routinely appear at places like Salon.com. But at the Atlantic? Beyond occasional shorter blog posts at its web site, we didn't used to see much of it. But there's no other way to describe a deeply flawed January 24 op-ed appearing there which sharply criticized ultrasound images of unborn children as an example of "how effectively politicians have used visual technology to redefine what counts as 'life.'"
In a late Wednesday afternoon NewsBusters post, I commented on the extraordinary hostility reporters at the Associated Press exhibited towards Donald Trump and his administration during their first two full business days in power. In that post, I wondered if they might be carrying a childish grudge over not being able to ask the first question at Press Secretary Sean Spicer's briefings, as they virtually always have since last decade. An unbylined late Tuesday AP report spotted by John Hinderaker at Powerline confirmed my suspicion. They're mad as hornets, and clearly can't handle it.
Tuesday afternoon, the Washington Examiner broke the story of a Secret Service agent who, in October on Facebook, declared her unwillingness to put her life on the line for a potential President Donald Trump. At that point, Kelly O'Grady, the special agent in charge for the Denver district, decided to become a selective Service agent, writing, per the Examiner, that "she would endure jail time' rather than 'taking a bullet' for what she regarded as a 'disaster' for America." The post ended with, "I'm with her," so it's not exactly difficult to determine that the potential "disaster" was Donald Trump. The New York Times waited about 24 hours before covering the story. As of 4 p.m. Eastern Time on Wednesday, the Associated Press had not yet posted a related story at either of its two national sites.
Since last decade, it's been White House tradition that the press secretary typically calls on an Associated Press reporter to ask the first question at briefings. Trump administration Press Secretary Sean Spicer has not selected AP for the first question at either of his first two briefings, and numerous press outlets have noted that avoidance. It's more than fair to ask, given the tone of the AP's Trump administration coverage so far this week, whether the wire service's reporters are now carrying a horribly unprofessional grudge, causing them to become even more hostile in their reporting than they were during the 2016 election campaign and the presidential transition. (Update, Jan. 26: They definitely are.)
In a Tuesday morning dispatch about President Donald Trump's federal hiring freeze, the Associated Press's Matthew Barakat presented a quote from Trump Press Secretary Sean Spicer. He followed it with a statistic which he wants readers to believe refutes Spicer's claim. That statistic does no such thing, but I expect, even though it's remarkably lazy and misleading, that it will become a very popular establishment press meme.
The New York Times reported Monday afternoon that NBC has suspended Saturday Night Live writer Katie Rich indefinitely for tweeting ... well, what? Reporter Dave Itzkoff failed to tell readers what Rich tweeted just minutes after Donald Trump was inaugurated as the nation's 45th President on Friday. Instead, he vaguely described it as "a widely criticized post she made Friday on her personal Twitter account in which she mocked Barron Trump, the 10-year-old son of President Donald J. Trump." That description required over 100 more characters than Rich's offensive tweet contained. Itzkoff's failure to quote is part of a trend.
On CNN's Anderson Cooper 360 on Saturday, Bakari Sellers described Saturday's "Women's March" as "something we haven't seen in this country or around this world in a very long time." Concerned Women for America CEO Penny Nance then pointed out the obvious, at least as far as the U.S. is concerned, which is that the Annual March for Life in Washington has routinely drawn crowds in the hundreds of thousands, and that January rallies in other cities, especially on the West Coast, have drawn ever-increasing throngs of prolife Americans. Nance clearly got under Sellers' skin when she questioned the validity of calling Saturday's event a "Women's March."
At 6:55 a.m. on Sunday, Angie Goff of NBC4 in Washington, whose Twitter handle is @OhMyGOFF, tweeted, "JUST IN: The White House releases statement ..." on Saturday's "Women's Marches" in Washington and elsewhere. Goff attached the alleged "White House" statement. 2-1/2 hours later, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer tweeted that "The White House has not issued a statement." Good grief.
Here's an episode which indicates that many reporters in the establishment press expect the worst from Donald Trump, and can't wait to put it out there when they think they have it. On Friday, when Time Magazine political reporter Zeke Miller didn't immediately see the bust of Martin Luther King in the White House's Oval Office where he expected to see it, his knee-jerk assumption was that it was no longer there. So he tweeted that it was gone, with no indication that he first attempted to confirm with anyone in a position to know that it had been removed. Sensing a golden opportunity, others in the press accepted Miller's non-observation and freely retweeted it.
On Tuesday, Kyle Pope, Editor in Chief and Publisher of the Columbia Journalism Review, posted "An open letter to Trump from the US press corps." Pope informed Mr. Trump, as if the man who is now this nation's 45th President didn't know already, that "while you have every right to decide your ground rules for engaging with the press, we have some, too."
An attempt by the Associated Press to smear Tom Price, nominated by Donald Trump as the next HHS Secretary, began Wednesday after the opening round of a Senate committee hearing. As of this writing, the wire service is up to its third such entry. The misleading reporting and hostility have increased with each dispatch.
Apparently, those employed as political reporters at the Associated Press never have to acknowledge the existence of their errors, let alone say they're sorry. They're also free to make major changes and corrections to the text of previously-filed reports without disclosing what they did to readers. The AP's reporting on the fight John Lewis picked with Donald Trump — and yes, Lewis started it by saying he won't attend Trump's inauguration and by questioning the legitimacy of Trump's general election victory — typifies the wire service's total lack of, or even apparent interest in, accountability.