Poor President Barack Obama.

Juan Williams, in a Monday column at The Hill, insists that "the president is not to blame for the rancor and polarization that have characterized his presidency," and "is not responsible for the unprecedented obstructionism employed by (Mitch) McConnell’s Senate Republicans." Why, In Williams's world, Obama has apparently been the very model of civility, while Republicans "have let anger and extreme voices define their party."



The Associated Press's coverage of Friday's deep U.S. stock market dive in two Friday afternoon reports engaged in the reality avoidance longtime readers here have come to expect.

An item by Stan Choe ("Get used to it: Big drops for stocks are back again") spent most of its verbiage on "volatility," and only cited "China's sharp economic slowdown ... Tensions in the Middle East ... the plunge in prices of oil and other commodities" as reasons why the "volatility" will continue. (AP seems to believe that "volatility" is a synonymn for "decline"; it isn't.) Separately, Alex Veiga's more detailed coverage, after an analyst's insistence that "Oil is the root cause of today," didn't get to Friday's awful economic data until his ninth paragraph, and then only vaguely descrbed "some discouraging economic news." Meanwhile, a CNBC columnist, using a word amazingly not found in either AP writeup, warned that "A recession worse than 2008 is coming."



On Friday's Erin Burnett OutFront on CNN, during a segment devoted to discrediting President Ronald Reagan's conservative credentials and painting modern Republicans as far right, host Erin Burnett proclaimed that Republicans "would hate that guy," and joined with CNN presidential historian Douglas Brinkley in suggesting that Democrat Hillary Clinton's views on some issues are closer to Reagan's.



After serving as the virtual mouthpiece for the "there is no crisis!" crowd for at least a decade since George W. Bush's attempt to partially privatize Social Security in 2005, someone at the New York Times has finally recognized that there is one — but still won't level with readers about the system's true condition.

Eduardo Porter "writes the Economic Scene column" for the Times. Before that, "he was a member of the Times editorial board, where he wrote about business, economics, and a mix of other matters." As such, he may well have been the author of some of the Old Gray Lady's opinion pieces opposing any kind of meaningful reform of out-of-control entitlement programs while its reporters gave favorable treatment to demagogues like Harry Reid.



While the establishment press lies in wait for Republican and conservative candidates to make some kind of off-color or foolish statement — or one that can be twisted to become one, even if it originally wasn't — it consistently ignores howlers made by leftists and liberals. The list of President Barack Obama's gaffes alone, all totally or almost completely ignored by the press when they were made, is quite long.

The most telling gaffe is the kind made in all seriousness by its deliverer which betrays a level of cluelessness not thought humanly possible from a supposedly educated and informed adult. Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders committed one such gaffe in a Saturday morning tweet.



For a change, Martin Crutsinger's coverage at the Associated Press of the federal government's November Monthly Treasury Statement wasn't completely full of rose-colored baloney.

Crutsinger managed to note how auto-pilot entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare are bankrupting the country (not in those words, of course). That said, he somehow thought that highlighting a rare and small increase in year-over-year defense spending was worthwhile, while ignoring several other larger percentage increases in other areas. Most importantly, he failed to note that the national debt has increased by far more than Uncle Sam's reported deficits. Excerpts follow the jump (bolds and numbered tags are mine):



You're Definitely A Liberal When ... Assertion #7,546 -- You claim with a straight face that taxpayer-funded food stamps are wondrously stimulative for the economy. 

It's been so long since this one crossed my path that I'd begun to believe it was too delusional even for the left. 

But sure enough there it was, making its inevitable reappeance on Thom Hartmann's radio show last week. Perhaps it had something to do with the onset of the holiday season. While many if not most liberals no longer believe in Santa Claus, here's one who still believes in Santa Claus economics.

 



The "fact-checking" press has become a parody of itself during the past several years.

It's not only because of their irritating penchant for putting statements by Republicans and conservatives under a twisted microscope while ignoring drop-dead obvious falsehoods delivered by Democrats and leftists. It's because, among other things, the fact-checkers often admit that a statement is true, but then proceed to essentially say, "So what?" They also take policy goals articulated by candidates, which may or may not come to pass, render an opinion that it can't be done, and then pretend that they've actually proven something. An example of each annoying habit was found in Tuesday evening's Associated Press "fact check" of statements made by Ted Cruz and Jeb Bush during the most recent Republican presidential candidates' debate.



It was an '80s flashback in the New York Times Sunday book review. Serge Schmemann attacked a new book about Russian dictator Vladimir Putin by Garry Kasparov. Schmemann seemed to take personally Kasparov's criticism of Barack Obama and his celebration of Ronald Reagan. Schmemann gave all the credit to Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev: "...ultimately it was Gorbachev, more than any American or other Western leader, who played the greatest role in bringing down the Soviet system." Deeper inside, the Times gave space for veteran liberal journalist Timothy Noah to review a Jack Kemp biography: "If space aliens were to land a flying saucer on the Capitol’s South Lawn, one question they might ask is: Wherever did you get the idea that cutting taxes would increase revenue?"



Hillary Clinton was in Alabama a few days ago. As she has in the past at least two other times when south of the Mason-Dixon line, she decided that she could drop the letter "g" from several of her "i-n-g" words while affecting a sort-of Southern accent.

This time she was in Alabama. Mrs. Clinton cut the "g" from the at least the following words she has no trouble fully pronouncing when she's in other areas of the country: having ("havin'"), saying ("sayin'"), working ("workin'") and saving ("savin'"). She also bizarrely put the accent in the words "recession" and "depression" on the first syllable. No one in the establishment press appears to care about this apparent region-based condescension, though to be fair the video involved (but no related story I could find covering what she said in it) is from the Associated Press.



Is the Republican party actually two parties? In a sense, believes The Washington Monthly's Martin Longman, who contended in a Monday post that the forty or so congressmen who constitute the Freedom Caucus “are best understood in the parliamentary sense as being a party in their own right. In our system, they are still called Republicans, but in any other system they would be a minor party that has allied itself with another larger party to form a majority.”

Longman asserted that this unofficial party is so ideologically bonkers that it doesn’t deserve a role in resolving the central issue facing the House: “As long as the so-called Freedom Caucus of Republicans continues to demand a continuance of government shutdowns and debt ceiling brinksmanship, they do not belong in the majority and should not have any say in who the next Speaker will be…The Freedom Caucus has to be sidelined.”



Over at the Associated Press, Andrew Taylor, contrary to the wire service's usual practice, referenced a pre-official Congressional Budget Office report to tout the federal government's "improved" budget deficit. The CBO estimates that the deficit, which won't become official until the Treasury Department releases its final Monthly Treasury Statement of the fiscal year in the next week or two, will come in at $435 billion.

Predictably, Taylor didn't disclose three facts he could easily have relayed in his brief report's available space, instead choosing to create artificial drama over deadlines which are three weeks and two months away, respectively: