Bias by Omission
"Authenticity a priority for the other Obama," blares the headline for a puffy July 17 Denver Post story on the Illinois senator's wife Michelle Obama. The story by staffers Suzanne Brown and Dana Coffield lamented that:
Michelle Obama's life as a contemporary political wife has been rocky at times. Her work life has been scrutinized. Papers she wrote as a senior in college have been dredged up and analyzed; the friendly fist-bump she sometimes gives her husband on stage has been parsed. And this week, she and Barack Obama were caricatured on the cover of The New Yorker magazine as a pair of terrorists.
But have no fear, for:
Through it all, she's been reluctant to change her tone.
"It would be hard for me to edit myself and still be me," she says. "And I think that in the end, that's what the voters deserve and it's what they want. I feel that it's my duty to make sure that people know who I am and then they can make make a clear, informed decision based on the truth of who I am."
How nice. Although I seem to recall Mrs. Obama backtracking from her comment back in February about feeling proud for the first time in her adult lifetime to be an American:
I received this CNNMoney.com e-mail just before 6 PM ET:
Hmmm. So they think it's all on Ben's shoulders.
The headline at the Associated Press's coverage by Adam Schreck says that the drop was due to "bad economic news."
In her July 15 column, "'Tasteless cover,' fascinating story," Chicago Sun-Times Washington bureau chief Lynn Sweet lamented that the fuss over the New Yorker's satirical Obama cover art sucks all the oxygen out of the political newsroom. As such, it leaves almost incombustible the otherwise potentially explosive reporting by reporter Ryan Lizza, who penned the New Yorker cover feature (emphasis mine):
WASHINGTON -- The shame of the controversy over the cover of the latest edition of the New Yorker -- portraying Barack and Michelle Obama in the Oval Office, her wielding an AK-47, him in a turban and robe outfit suggesting he is a Muslim -- is that it draws attention away from a very good story inside by Ryan Lizza about Obama's Chicago political roots.
The cover hides an in-depth story about Obama's political roots, taking us to Hyde Park, the Gold Coast and Springfield. Lizza brings us inside Obama's Chicago political world and the political culture that spawned the presumptive Democratic nominee.
Among Lizza's scoops:
When media personality Tim Russert, once a top adviser to leading Democratic officeholders in New York, died of a heart attack in June, editors at YouTube rightly paid tribute to him by promoting videos that celebrated his work and life.
They didn't extend the same courtesy to conservative journalist Tony Snow over the weekend. Instead, YouTube chose to mark Snow's passing by featuring a liberal rant that blamed Snow for "hundreds of thousands of deaths," including those of innocent children, because he briefly served as President Bush's spokesman.
The video was one of two promoted in YouTube's news and politics section after Snow died of cancer at age 53. The first clip, from an interview with White House counselor Ed Gillespie on CBS' "Face The Nation," gave Snow his much-deserved due as "one of the good guys."But in an apparent and twisted attempt at balance, the second Snow-related clip that YouTube chose was headlined "Tony Snow Job." Here's how it began:
France TV 2 has lost a major court case in France that makes the lie to a major piece of Palestinian propaganda. In 2000 an incident occurred in the Palestinian areas that has since been used as propaganda for the Palestinian cause all across the world and the New York Times has repeatedly been a willing host for this propaganda. Now, however, it has been proven that France 2 perpetrated a lie that has given succor to terrorism. And where is the New York Times with this momentous news that proves Israeli innocence? Nowhere to be seen.
In 2000 the Palestinians began what they called the second intifada against Israel, a kick in the teeth to the Israelis seeking only peace. During the early stages of this attack France 2 TV, a state run television station, aired what it claimed was a video of a child and his father being shot and killed by Israeli security forces.
The Associated Press's Jeannine Aversa "creatively" and selectively rounded figures presented in today's Monthly Treasury Statement from Uncle Sam. That Treasury report, released this afternoon, covered monthly and year-to-date receipts and spending in the federal government.
By doing what she did, Aversa made sure we know that year-to-date receipts are down, but at the same time made Congress's overspending look less serious than it really is.
Here's the paragraph in question from her "Budget deficit up in first 9 months of budget year" report:
Spending of $2.2 trillion so far this year is up from $2.1 trillion reported for the corresponding period last year. Meanwhile, revenues of $1.93 trillion are down from $1.945 trillion a year ago.
Because Aversa rounded off the spending numbers to the nearest $.1 trillion while not supplying percentage changes, the average reader will think that spending is up a bit less than 5% so far this year.
Atlanta Journal-Constitution writer Bill Rankin penned a July 10 article noting a judge's refusal to slap a temporary restraining order on Georgia's voter ID law. Rankin labeled the measure "controversial." Yet the AJC staffer failed to relay that Georgia state law provides photo voter ID cards free of charge.
From the Georgia Secretary of State's Web site (PDF file):
If you do not have one of these acceptable forms of photo identification, the State of Georgia offers a FREE Voter Identification Card. An identification card can be issued at any county registrar's office or Department of Driver Services office FREE of charge.
Rankin did note that people who show up at the polling places without photo ID can still cast a provisional ballot, but that those ballots don't end up being counted as cast unless the voter comes back within two days with proper identification. He then cited both a criticism and a defense of that provision of the law:
Thursday’s "Newsroom" program on CNN, in a report promoted to be about how "controversial comments are nothing new to Jesse Jackson," was actually a retrospective from two years ago that largely glowed about Jackson’s affiliation with Martin Luther King, Jr., and giving the man a platform to answer his critics. "Newsroom" co-anchor Don Lemon, who interviewed Jackson in the report, remarked of his career, "‘How far soon we forget’ could be theme of Jesse Jackson's last decade or so. After all, it was him, marching or sitting with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in all those civil rights photographs." Lemon did mention the leader’s extramarital affair in which he sired a child, but omitted the former Democratic presidential candidate’s bigoted "Hymietown" comments from 1984.
The Associated Press's disgraceful coverage of last week's Employment Situation Report from Uncle Sam's Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) got left behind in the holiday weekend hubbub, but calls out for comment nonetheless.
The AP's Jeannine Aversa reached into her Thesaurus as she began her report with what has become the wire service's standard monthly error of treating reported seasonally adjusted job reductions as reflecting real people thrown out on the streets by mean old employers (as you will see after the jump, reality, as usual, differed):
They were a little slow on the pick up but “CBS Evening News” gets credit for finally acknowledging a report that shows serious side effects associated with the vaccine Gardasil, which protects against HPV, a sexually transmitted disease the can cause cancer.
The report, by Sharyll Attkisson, aired July 7 a full week after WorldNet Daily reported the findings. As CMI’s wonderful intern Julia Seward reported, earlier in the day both the “Early Show” and NBC’s “Today” reported on Gardasil but glossed over the serious side effects contained in the report.
If Speaker Newt Gingrich's Republican majority had faced a 9 percent approval rating at any point in the 1996 presidential election year, the media would have not let anyone forget it.
So given that and the media's frequently reminding Americans of President Bush's low approval numbers, why are the broadcast media ignoring the latest Rasmussen poll on the approval rating for Congress under the leadership of Democratic Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) and Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.)?
Rasmussen's survey hit the wires yesterday, but none of the broadcast evening news programs covered the story, not even as a brief anchor mention. The July 9 "Today," ABC's "Good Morning America," and CBS's "Early Show," similarly paid no heed to the development.
The polling firm's official news release noted that the numbers are really bad even among Democrats -- who are only in the low-double digits in strongly approving of Congress -- and the harshest criticism comes from independents (emphasis mine):