Latest from Paul Detrick
Sex sells, even during a presidential election. But that doesn't mean journalists have to be happy about it.
CNBC's "Squawk Box" co-host Joe Kernen took a moment during a panel discussion September 2 to take a shot at the onslaught of coverage over presumptive vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin's daughter's pregnancy.
You know as a member of the media I'm just kind of embarrassed with the media. The media says, "Yeah it shouldn't matter, it's not going to matter, we're not going to cover it" and then they put it on the cover of every paper.
Earlier in the broadcast Kernen told chief Washington correspondent John Harwood he did not think the family incidence was as big a deal as the media was making it out to be:
Felt a little bit like the guy in Casablanca, shocked, you know: teen sex in Alaska, John. Probably not that much of a shocker I guess, right? Not a whole lot. I guess bowling, yeah, It's a little lonely probably up there, right, John? ... I don't understand everybody at the same time saying that this is not going to be a big deal ... the press is going to be responsible about this, Barack Obama please don't make anything of this, but then it's the cover of every paper like it, you know, like matters.
If you break the terms of a contract, you should be expected to pay a penalty, right? Not according to ABC's "Good Morning America."
"Good Morning America" criticized fees charged to customers who return rental cars without a full tank of gas - part of a standard car rental agreement.
"The only thing more expensive than gassing up your car these days is not gassing up your rental car," reporter Elisabeth Leamy explained to viewers on August 29. She said companies across the nation charge as much as $8 per gallon for cars returned unfilled.
'Good Morning America' criticizes penalty for drivers who break rental rules.
Sometimes the qualities that make a strong candidate in one pool make them a weak candidate in another pool.
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney would hurt Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain as a running mate because of "vulnerability" stemming from his successful businesses and support for free trade, according to a reporter for The Washington Post.
"On the whole subject of trade deals and free trade agreements is that a vulnerability, a potential vulnerability on the side of Mitt Romney?" Andrea Mitchell asked Post reporter Chris Cillizza on the August 28 broadcast of "MSNBC Live".
"It absolutely is," said Cillizza, who writes "The Fix" blog at WashingtonPost.com. "And that's a calculation I think the McCain campaign has to make. Yes, Mitt Romney has great business bona fides. Built a business, he used that line many times in the primary: ‘I know why jobs come and I know why they go.'"
"The other side of that, however, is he worked for a company called Bingham Capital that occasionally engaged in leverage buyouts, that means shipping jobs overseas. That's not the kind of thing that's going to go over well in these rust belt states where McCain needs to perform well, most notably Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania," Cillizza said.
That “Made in America” sticker is looking more attractive.
Second-quarter (2Q) Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was revised up from 1.9 percent growth to a higher than anticipated 3.3 percent, according to reports on August 28.
Rising exports played a significant role in the expansion. According to the Commerce Department, real exports increased 13.2 percent in the 2Q of 2008, compared with an increase of 5.1 percent in the first. Real imports of goods and services decreased 0.8 percent in the first quarter and 7.6 percent in the second.
The good news on exports has been falling by the wayside in the media. The Business & Media Institute's video blog, The Biz Flog, pointed out the positive news about exports back on August 6.
Thanks to a weak dollar, it is now cheaper to export goods from the U.S. to other countries. But the story hasn't caught on in the mainstream media just yet.
Is there an echo in here? Nope, just another attack on oil companies in the months leading up to an election.
Former president Jimmy Carter told Harry Smith on CBS's "The Early Show" August 27 that he predicted "oil companies will hold down oil prices a little bit, you know, to try to help the Republican ticket."
Carter also said that the economy would be the most important issue, "as it was when Bill Clinton was elected the first time."
The former president also said it was "surprising and gratifying" when presumptive Democratic candidate Sen. Barack Obama, Ill., carried Georgia in the primary "over two attractive white candidates-Hillary Clinton and John Edwards."
Greg Hunter, a CNN correspondent for "Your $$$$$,"made the same prediction that oil prices would go down as the election nears on the June 16 broadcast. "[T]hey're going to drive that price down, they're going to pop the dollar up, they're going to drive the price down, they're going to work this, say, for the election," he said.
What are you if you don't support Sen. Barack Obama's health care plan? Well, a "bad person" according to Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell. Sticks and stones may hurt your bones but words can always be blogged:
"Hillary has fought for universal health-care for all her life. The McCain plan is respectfully a joke. Sen. Obama has a real good plan to bring health care to every American," Rendell told CBS "The Early Show" co-host Harry Smith on August 25. "She cares about that. If she didn't she'd be a bad person and she's a very good person."
Rendell, who supported Clinton in the primary, said Obama's proposal to offer a government-run health insurance program should persuade Clinton supporters to back Obama.
There are plenty of female opponents of Obama's plan who might not appreciate being called "bad."
"I think that a lot of women, when they think about moving towards government run system of health care, which is really what Sen. Obama is talking about, they're going to be a little bit cautious," Carrie Lukas, Vice President for Policy and Economics at the Independent Women's Forum, said to the Business & Media Institute.
So if a government program has been failing for decades, should you A) Privatize it, B) Get rid of it altogether, or C) Throw millions of dollars at it and hope that Americas somehow feel compelled to reenact scenes from "Some Like it Hot."
The answer is C if you were watching CNN this morning.
"American Morning" pointed out that high gas prices were the reason ridership on Amtrak was up 14 percent and then pushed for more funding for the government-sponsored program through a recent Senate proposal.
"The problem for Amtrak of course though is that they haven't had a single new passenger car since 1990," said personal finance editor Gerri Willis on the August 21 broadcast. "Their cars, even the locomotives are old and aging; they're asking Congress for help. Dick Durbin has introduced legislation into the Senate to try and do something about that. Interestingly he says that Thanksgiving is going to be a wake up call for Americans as we all try to go visit relatives for the holidays."
"What they need is new track, because every Sunday it's like this all the way up," said co-host John Roberts simulating a bumpy train ride with his anchor chair.
'American Morning' complains of 'old and aging' government program; touts senator's new spending bill as solution.
How do you make the foreclosure crisis seem even scarier? Add in a potentially deadly virus.
CBS's "The Early Show," reported August 7 that a new stronger strain of the West Nile virus could spread across the country with help from the neglected pools found in foreclosed homes in California.
"Apparently ... as more and more homes are passing into foreclosure and there are many, and many of those homes have backdoor pools, these are being neglected," Dr. Alton Baron of Roosevelt Hospital Center told co-host Maggie Rodriguez. "They're not being maintained and this can become a ripe feeding ground and breeding ground for these mosquito populations."
Baron added that the new strain of the virus "invades the brain and spinal cord" and listed other horrific symptoms including nausea, vomiting, fever, chills, rashes, disorientation, severe muscle weakness, fatigue or even paralysis.
Mosquitoes, which breed in stagnant water, pass on West Nile to animals and humans when they feed off fowl that have the virus in their blood.
Foreclosures in the state of California may have hit a record high, but there are signs of a change-signs "The Early Show" ignored.
Just when you thought it was safe to cook in your kitchen, it turns out your kitchen might be cooking you. At least that is what CBS's "The Early Show" led viewers to believe on July 25.
Co-host Harry Smith warned viewers about what might be "lurking inside" granite countertops - radioactivity.
"There's granite all over the place in modern kitchens, sometimes you have a little breakfast nook. You sit there; you may sit there hours and hours and hours in a day ... I mean some people have gone so far as to tear their kitchen counters out because of the concern," said Smith to Stanley Liebert, the quality assurance director at CMT Laboratories.
Liebert said radon gas, a "carcinogen gas that we inhale [that] causes lung cancer," is emitted from certain types of granite and could be harmful.
Smith showed some skepticism saying, "I'm having a difficult time getting my head around the idea that the countertops in your home might literally be dangerous." But he didn't include any representatives of the industry in the story.
'The Early Show' says countertops could be dangerous but does not include representatives from industry.
Is Sen. Obama too protectionist for Europe? Maybe. If you were watching "CNN Newsroom" July 24 you may have caught Christiane Amanpour telling you why.
"[Europe] wants to see an [American] president committed to free trade," cautioned CNN Chief International Correspondent from Berlin, Germany, the site of a speech by presumptive Democratic nominee Sen. Barack Obama.
Amanpour pointed to Obama's wanting to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement as a problem for the Illinois senator. She explained why on the July 24 broadcast during Obama's visit to Europe.
"But let me tell you a word of caution. The European top trade official for instance has said, ‘Listen Barack Obama quit that crowd pleasing rhetoric and get serious for instance on the issue of trade.' You know Barack Obama as a candidate has talked about renegotiating NAFTA. Well, that does not go down well in Europe, which believes in internationalism and globalism, in globalization," said Amanpour on the morning broadcast.
Catchphrases provide little context to media stories. So, when it comes to airlines and the phrase “nickel-and-dime,” reports are just becoming lame.
The Biz Flog, the video blog over at the Business and Media Institute, takes at look at the effect the high cost of oil has had on the airline industry, and the effect that has had on passengers seeing higher ticket prices and fees.
Instead of focusing on and explaining the real causes of higher ticket prices, the media have accused the airline industry of trying to “nickel-and-dime” passengers.
On “MSNBC Live” July 9 host Tamron Hall gave a report on the quality of commercial airline travel, calling price increases “nickel-and-dime fees.”
“Passengers think they’re getting nickel-and-dimed,” host of the Today show, Matt Lauer said July 9 on the morning program. “All the things that were free on planes are now costing us.”
He may have a poll this time, but something still smells fishy.
Time magazine Managing Editor Richard Stengel told the hosts of MSNBC's "Morning Joe" on July 17 that "there's incredible despair out there and there's a sense that, that something needs to be done and people have kind of an appetite for big government in a way" in America.
Stengel was citing a new poll, but the interview did not discuss the fact that the poll also found 80 percent of respondents said they should be responsible for carrying their own financial burdens.
The poll was a joint effort of Time magazine and the Rockefeller Foundation, an organization Stengel characterized as "on a mission themselves to help the American worker and find out about the economy."
Could that be political?
"If you say that favors Barack Obama, maybe it does, I don't know," Stengel said.
Although media reports on the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) usually contain majestic pictures of animals frolicking, few mention the financial
“[T]he 1.5-million-acre tip of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is critical for the health of an ancient caribou herd,” weatherman Sam Champion said on the May 6 “Good Morning America.”
“It’s a safe haven for calving every spring. The same area is valuable for another reason. Underneath it lies billions of barrels of crude oil, as of yet untapped. Oil companies say drilling can be done without danger, but environmentalists disagree. They think drilling would devastate the land and its wildlife,” said Champion.
The Biz Flog, the video blog of the Business & Media Institute, for July 16 focused on what it would take to drill in ANWR and how long it would take the financial