Appearing as a guest on Friday's All In with Chris Hayes on MSNBC, former New York Times executive editor Jill Abramson slammed the Donald Trump administration's accomplishments so far as a "debacle" and declared that the Republican budget has "savagely" taken money from poverty programs and education. Abramson: "I think both of the scenarios, Chris, that you just laid out equal debacle because, you know, he has done quite a bit, but I think what he's done has been, you know, altogether damaging both to the country and internationally. ... A budget that has savagely taken money from housing programs from the poor, federal money for the schools."

 



Before White House press secretary Sean Spicer threw down with reporters over President Trump’s wiretap claims on Thursday, Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Mick Mulvaney faced left-leaning questions on the President’s budget that included fears people will “suffer” as a result of the conservative proposals.



In his first remarks this week to Housing and Urban Development (HUD) employees, Secretary of HUD Ben Carson called slaves “immigrants,” that had hopes for the American Dream, comments that sent the media in an uproar. From print to television to social media, journalists and celebrities alike condemned the remarks as extremely offensive. Yet the media forgot that former President Obama has also compared slaves to immigrants, and not just once, but several times.



During his Senate confirmation hearing, Dr. Ben Carson, secretary of Housing and Urban Development-designate, told a story. He said his mother was a domestic who cleaned beautiful homes. One day she asked him if he would rather live in those nice houses or the house in which he and his brother lived in Detroit. She told him that only he could decide the type of home he would eventually live in by how much he studied in school and the choices he made for his life.

 



Esquire’s Pierce readily concedes that Ben Carson (“an elite neurosurgeon”) and Mike Pompeo (“graduated at the top of his class at West Point”) are smart guys. In a way, though, they’re also tragic figures, he suggests, since they’ve “had to tailor their politics and their public personae to cater to the anti-rational, theocratic, anti-intellectual Id of modern conservatism…This means that both Carson and Pompeo have long histories of saying and writing things that sound like transmissions coming through their molars from Planet X.”



Philip Bump and the Washington Post have apparently had a couple of pretty bad days. The Post had to endure having to cover, and cover for, an absolutely awful jobs report released Friday morning. That news made their beloved Dear Leader, who had just celebrated the allegedly wonderful economic accomplishments seen during his presidency on Wednesday, look quite foolish. Never fear: By Paragraph 4 of its related story, the Post found an "expert" who claimed that "This just does not square with all the other things we’re seeing in the economy." Actually, the job market has been virtually the only exception to otherwise uniformly weak data since the fourth quarter of last year.

Perhaps partially influenced by the bad jobs news, Bump, who toils at the Post's "The Fix" blog, came completely unhinged in reacting to a Thursday evening retweet by presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.



In an analysis for the front page of Wednesday’s New York Times business section, Eduardo Porter trumpeted that the real issue ailing the American economy and impeding on its improvement is the lack of mass government jobs programs similar to its “large and underappreciated role in reshaping” the country during the 19th and 20th centuries. 



The government reported this morning that seasonally adjusted March housing starts and building permits fell by 8.8 percent and 7.7 percent, respectively, far worse declines than analysts and economists predicted.

After the report, the business wires at least communicated the facts accurately, but continued to insist almost to the point of editorializing that there's no reason to be worried about the long-term direction of housing market or the overall economy.



In covering Thursday morning's report from the Department of Labor on initial unemployment claims, one of a relatively few economic reports showing strength these days, Associated Press reporter Scott Boak spread his enthusiasm over the result to the entire economy. It wasn't justified.

It's as if the poor guy has missed most of the pertinent other economic news during the past week, most of which — other than the stock market's recovery from earlier losses this year, which is more dependent on Federal Reserve Chairman Janet Yellen's moods than it is on economic fundamentals — have been anything but strong.



Today's report on February's new-home sales from the Census Bureau showed seasonally adjusted declines in three of the nation's four regions and an increase in the West.

The Associated Press and reporter Josh Boak, displaying brazenness which might have even embarrassed the scribes at Pravda during the worst days of the Soviet Union, concentrated on how great things were in the West in their headline and opening paragraph, ensuring that those who get their news from headlines and opening blurbs on their computers and mobile devices will believe that all is mostly well. Incredibly — well, it would be except that this is AP — Boak never told readers that sales actually declined in the other three Census regions.



Ridicule by media critics has apparently made some headway against the business press's annoying habit of describing bad news about the economy as having occurred "unexpectedly." Now they seem to be reserving the "U-word" for unexpected improvements, which haven't been seen very much during the past seven-plus years.

Instead, reacting to today's bad news from the National Association of Realtors, which reported that seasonally adjusted existing homes sales dropped by 7.1 percent in February, Bloomberg News said that they "dropped more than forecast." Reuters opened with "U.S. home resales fell sharply," saving specific comparisons to forecasts for a much later paragraph. The Associated Press, which rarely even recognizes the existence of such forecasts, stuck to that posture. AP and Bloomberg both deliberately ignored a red flag about the overall health of the economy the realtors' group included in its narrative. Reuters grudgingly cited worries about the economy as "potentially troubling."



At the Associated Press, in a Friday morning writeup, the wire service's headline writers and reporter Martin Crutsinger demonstrated extraordinary auditory powers.

The headline writers somehow heard the entire U.S. economy start the year off "with a bang." Meanwhile, Crutsinger, continuing to earn his designated title of "worst economics writer" given by Kevin Williamson at National Review almost three years ago, picked up the sound of consumers who "roared back to life" in January. Those of us in the real world utterly failed to detect these things. What would we ever do without the extraordinary talents of the people at AP?