Bias by Omission
It's enlightening to see what topics New York Times editors find disturbing and newsworthy and which ones they shrug off or ignore.
New York's new senator, Kirsten Gillibrand, is a Democrat who is nonetheless under strong suspicions at the liberal Times for her support of gun rights and her previous representation of a white conservative district. On Friday's front page, she came under fire via a stash of old ammo in a story by Raymond Hernandez and David Kocieniewski. "As New Lawyer, Senator Defended Big Tobacco." Gillibrand is in trouble for defending Big Tobacco as a lawyer representing Philip Morris back in 1996.
The Philip Morris Company did not like to talk about what went on inside its lab in Cologne, Germany, where researchers secretly conducted experiments exploring the effects of cigarette smoking.
So when the Justice Department tried to get its hands on that research in 1996 to prove that tobacco industry executives had lied about the dangers of smoking, the company moved to fend off the effort with the help of a highly regarded young lawyer named Kirsten Rutnik.
Ms. Rutnik, who now goes by her married name, Gillibrand, threw herself into the work. She traveled to Germany at least twice, interviewing the lab's top scientists, whose research showed a connection between smoking and cancer but was kept far from public view.
I think it is finally getting to the point that when an Old Media story goes out over the wires without mentioning the party affiliation of troubled politicians, people naturally assume that all the criminal actions in said story are being perpetrated by Democrats. But, that assumption aside, we are still seeing reports nearly every day that omit the "Democrat" in any story involving criminal Democrats. Here is yet another one.
The Associated Press posted a story on the FBI's probe of questionable campaign donations to Senator Patty Murray and Representative Norm Dicks of Washington state. The possibly worrisome donations were from PMA Group, a lobbying firm founded by an aide of Representative John Murtha of Pennsylvania. With all these politician's names being thrown around in the AP report, though, it is curious that not a one of them were ever identified as Democrats. Not once.
On Saturday, March 28, "World Wildlife Fund is asking individuals, businesses, governments and organizations around the world to turn off their lights for one hour – Earth Hour – to make a global statement of concern about climate change and to demonstrate commitment to finding solutions."
Of course, the UN has endorsed it. Scroll through the list of supporters and you'll find among them many of the usual suspects: The American Federation of Teachers; the National Education Association; the National Science Teachers Association; the Weather Channel, whose Heidi Cullen called in early 2007 for removing the meteorological society's "seal of approval" from meteorologists who dared to question global warming in early 2007. You'll also note a sad chronology of those who have been taken in and opportunistic businesses, many of whom probably know better than to buy what Earth Hour is selling.
The Earth Hour folks had better hope that the following news out of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee either stays under the media radar or gets ignored until Saturday (bolds are mine):
Steve Kroft caught Barack Obama "laughing and chuckling several times while discussing the perilous state of the economy", at one point asking "Are you punch-drunk?" Politico says "his awkward laughter highlighted an issue Obama has faced dating back to the campaign, a sense that he sometimes is too 'cool' and detached to fully grasp the public anxiety over mounting job losses and economic worries."
We learn in the 60 minutes interview that Mr. President has time off in the afternoon to see his kids, have dinner with the family, and takes weekends off after poking his head in to see what's going on. So basically, the POTUS puts in less hours per week than I do. Kroft also fawns over the first family's playground. What Kroft won't tell you is that while millions of Americans wonder how their next mortgage payment is going to be made, and while their father demonizes Americans for having a culture of greed, the Obama children are literally playing in a castle.
The Obama's went with a Rainbow Play System which Obama himself called "the Rolls Royce of swingsets", specifically the model is Supersized Monster Castle Package IV with a Double Bubble on the Penthouse, which retails for $14,799 plus $1500 install, not including the surface it sits on. Taxpayer* money well spent in a down economy. What, don't your children have a penthouse on their swingset?
(*There is no official word yet on who paid for this swing set.)
Anyone who has followed the decline of General Motors and Chrysler since the two companies received a combined $17-plus billion in bailout money in December won't be surprised at the news that they need more -- or at the government's convenient weekend timing of the news.
The financial cliff on which Chrysler stands was a given by the time its first bailout installment arrived. But, as shown in early March in a post by yours truly at BizzyBlog (mostly mirrored at NewsBusters), GM's sales non-performance has deteriorated to the point where it has become worse than Chrysler's during the two months following the George W. Bush-decided, Barack Obama-supported bailout decision:
Disgraced former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer clearly sees the current AIG bonus controversy as an opportunity to redeem his reputation.
The Associated Press's Michael Hill provided rehabilitation assistance in his Friday report.
Spitzer is best remembered for resigning as the Empire State's chief executive after being caught patronizing high-priced prostitutes over a period of several years, and for having a reputation as an attorney general on a self-aggrandizing crusade against against corporate corruption prior to that.
Spitzer is attempting to capitalize on the public's incomplete knowledge of his sorry saga to get back in its good graces.
The AP's Hill gave Spitzer the print equivalent of a soapbox to do just that:
With AIG, Spitzer is Sheriff of Wall Street redux
Back on March 15, Noel Sheppard noted that the San Francisco Chronicle completely ignored the thousands of average Americans that came together in Cincinnati, Ohio to protest Obama's unprecedented take over of the US economy. The Cincinnati Tea Party truly was massive but is just one of the many dozens of Tea Party protests that have occurred -- and are continuing to occur -- all across the country in the last two months. Still, the SF Chronicle didn't see any reason to cover the rally.
But never fear for the Chronicle does enjoy a good protest, nonetheless. As long as it's of a leftist, anti-war flavor, of course. Witness the Chron's coverage of the "Massive anti-war, anti-Wall Street protest in San Francisco" from this weekend, March 21.
This rally was no bigger (and arguably smaller) than the anti-Obama protests in Cincinnati, yet the Chronicle reserves the word "massive" for the anti-war/anti-Wall Street protest while offering no coverage at all for the one in Cincy. If size was the key here, as the Chronicle's headline seems to note, then why ignore the likely bigger protest in Ohio only a week ago?
All day Friday the newspapers, TV stations, radio, and the Internet were abuzz with Barack Obama's failed joke about the Special Olympics Thursday night on The Tonight Show With Jay Leno. In shades of John Kerry's failed joke about the unschooled being "stuck in Iraq," the president's apologists said he was merely joking and didn't mean to say anything disparaging about people with developmental challenges. Still, the incident stirred passionate discussion all day Friday. At least it did for everyone but The New York Times's Helene Cooper. Cooper seemed not to even realize it happened if her review of the show is any indication.
One has to wonder, with the entire country talking about Obama's Special Olympics quip, how did Cooper miss that part of the story? Why would she not even make a passing notation of the controversy the joke caused?
An important story appeared in the Cincinnati Enquirer on Tuesday. Here's how it began (Warren County is adjacent to and northeast of Cincinnati's Hamilton County):
County: no more food stamps for rich
Warren County’s poor (population) does not include someone with $80,000 in the bank, a paid-off $311,000 home and a Mercedes, members of the Warren County Board of Commissioners said Tuesday.
And if they have to fight the state and federal government over it, they will.
Recently the commissioners learned that this person, with the before-mentioned property, qualified for $500 a month in food stamps after she lost her job.
The Enquirer never told us why the County suddenly became motivated to do what it did.
Here's why (and how typical it is that the Enquirer either doesn't know this, or refused to give credit where due).
Someone who is "a source in the business" e-mailed State of Ohio Blogger Alliance founder Matt Hurley of Weapons of Mass Discussion. Matt put up a memorable post on March 13 containing the text of that e-mail:
OK, this story has GOT to have been written by that satirical website The Onion! Barack Obama is about to be crowned "Newsmaker of the Year" by the National Newspaper Publishers Assn. The ceremony is to take place this afternoon,March 20, at the White House.
And here is the kicker... it's CLOSED to the press!
Seriously! This dude is getting an award from the press and he's closed the ceremony to the press. Where is the outrage? Where is the screaming about how Obama is the most "secretive president" since Bush? Where are comments about the lack of "transparency"? More to the point where are the guffaws about just how ridiculous this move is?
Manny Aragon was one of New Mexico's most powerful law makers and power brokers. A former Senate president, Aragon was this week convicted and given a 67 month sentence for lining his pockets and that of his co-conspiritors with millions in fraudulently billed state contracting money.
While his "iconic" status is mentioned and his long standing position as a "Senate leader" is dutifully chronicled, his status as a Democrat doesn't seem to make the cut of a large portion of the stories on his sentencing.
Update added below.
Between the White House and the Associated Press, nobody can figure out what the President said and did. Nobody is really worried, though. Other than Fox and Friends, they're the only ones who've heard of the President's latest teleprompter gaffe.
According to the stunningly unclear AP report:
Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen was just a few paragraphs into an address at a St. Patrick's Day celebration at the White House when he realized something sounded way too familiar. Turns out, he was repeating the speech President Barack Obama had just given.