Shocking media honesty alert!!!

Here's something you don't see every day: a major American press outlet speaking ill of a campaign proposal from presumptive Democrat presidential nominee Barack Obama.

Yet, there it was moments ago in an Associated Press piece amazingly titled "Obama's 'No income Taxes On Seniors' Draws Critics."

Maybe even more surprising than the AP actually reporting critical assessments of the junior senator's plan to exempt from federal income taxes seniors who make less than $50,000 a year was the authors not citing anyone that supports Obama's proposal...not one single person.

Now, I know what you're thinking: this was either a Wall Street Journal or Investor's Business Daily article. Think again (emphasis added, photo courtesy AP):

If you believe that there's a 50-50 chance that your take-home pay will be cut by almost one-fifth beginning in as little as five months from now, would that belief affect your current spending habits?

Of course it would. But that idea apparently never occurred to the Associated Press's Mark Jewell.

In the course of a 950-word article Monday about how the rich are getting more stingy, he focused on how "the economic slump" and "downturn" are affecting their spending, while ignoring the massive tax hits high-income earners will likely be forced to absorb (illustrated in detail below the fold) if Barack Obama wins the presidency and Democrats retain control of Congress.

Here is some of what the AP's Jewell wrote (bolds are mine):

If, as shown yesterday (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), media reporters can't even get basic things like the fact that $1.74 x 3.5 doesn't equal anything close to $4 right, you would think that it's way too much to expect them to understand the difference between income and net worth.

You would be correct.

The coverage of last week's Social Security tax-increase proposal by Democrat Barack Obama included this representation by the candidate:

To extend the life of Social Security, Obama proposed applying a payroll tax to annual incomes above $250,000, affecting the wealthiest 3 percent of Americans. The Democrat also proposed eliminating income tax for any retiree making less than $50,000.

Press coverage of Barack Obama's Social Security proposal in Columbus, Ohio last week made many of the usual mistakes any time there's a story about the government's "third rail" program. But in this case it missed what would be a historic de-linkage of payments made into the system from benefits paid out.

First, here are the key paragraphs from the Cincinnati Enquirer's coverage of Obama's speech (bolds are mine):

Sen. Barack Obama promised senior citizens Friday that as president, he would protect Social Security benefits and provide universal health care.

To extend the life of Social Security, Obama proposed applying a payroll tax to annual incomes above $250,000, affecting the wealthiest 3 percent of Americans. The Democrat also proposed eliminating income tax for any retiree making less than $50,000.

..... Obama said it is unfair for middle-class earners to pay the Social Security tax "on every dime they make," while millionaires and billionaires pay it on only "a very small percentage of their income."

One man's pork spending is another's "relative bargain" according to the "Follow the Money" segment on the April 15 "CBS Evening News."

The newscast commemorated Tax Day by featuring what federal tax dollars are spent on, but what they chose to highlight was peculiar.

"The biggest tab for taxpayers is defense," CBS correspondent Bob Orr reported. "The average American household is paying $2,761 in 2007 - or put another way, enough to cover 12 car payments for a new Honda Accord. Social security is nearly as expensive, $2,663 - enough to heat and cool a home for a year. In total, the average tax bill this year tops $13,000 and most taxpayers have no idea what the government is doing with their cash."

The Associated Press's out-of-whack news priorities and seemingly boundless determination to distort never cease to amaze. Hope Yen's Sunday report on VA credit-card charges is yet more evidence that the wire service has lost its way.

The beginning of Yen's report is so typical, and so misleading:

Investigators Review VA Credit Charges

WASHINGTON (AP) — Veterans Affairs employees last year racked up hundreds of thousands of dollars in government credit-card bills at casino and luxury hotels, movie theaters and high-end retailers such as Sharper Image and Franklin Covey — and government auditors are investigating, citing past spending abuses.

All told, VA staff charged $2.6 billion to their government credit cards.

Yen must "hope" that disgusted readers will stop there, because, thanks to "clever" writing, many readers will believe that $2.6 billion in spending is under investigation, and that the "hundreds of thousands" represents the small tip of a very big iceberg.

Uh, not exactly.

The Treasury Department released its Monthly Treasury Statement for December this afternoon.

Though Uncle Sam did run a surplus last month, the year-to-date figures are alarming:


It should be pretty clear that the big news in the above figures is that federal spending during the first quarter of the fiscal year was almost 9% higher than during the first quarter a year ago. If the spending increase had been held to only 5%, this fiscal year's quarterly deficit would have come in virtually the same as last year's.

Yet it took these publications the following number of paragraphs to get to the year-to-date spending news: - Media Research CenterInstead of focusing on Hillary Clinton’s third-place finish in Iowa, her struggling poll numbers, or the typical horse-race questions, CNN’s John Roberts asked the former first lady about a number of issues, including the Iraq war, Social Security, and the principles that she would "stand on in good times and bad times." In his last question, Roberts asked Clinton, "What will be the underpinning of your decisions?" Her answer: "The United States Constitution first and foremost."

The first segment of the Roberts/Clinton interview aired 22 minutes into the 6 am hour of Tuesday’s "American Morning." Roberts first asked Clinton about her choice to go back to the "aggressive style of compare and contrast" that she last used before the Iowa Caucuses. She highlighted the apparent need that the Democratic candidates be compared and contrasted.

Video (0:57): Windows Media (1.76 MB) and MP3 audio (257 kB)

Lou DobbsThere are quite a few people already running for president, but one author recently suggested others might jump in: like CNN's own Lou Dobbs.

For years one of the great unanswered questions along Main and Wall streets has been why, in the midst of 24 consecutive quarters of uninterrupted growth, polls have regularly found Americans sour about the economy.

On Tuesday, a battle between the New York Times liberal economics columnist Paul Krugman and WOR radio's Steve Malzberg offered a clue.

In fact, after 16 minutes of sparring on subjects from healthcare to the Iraq war, a truly inconvenient truth became evident concerning the left's continued bearishness since the economy emerged from recession in the fourth quarter of 2001: too many folks listen to people like Krugman.

As a perfect illustration of just how separated this man, and anybody who reads him, are from reality, when Malzberg asked Krugman where he'd seek medical treatment if he was really ill, the Times columnist said (16 minute long audio link available here):

Which prominent pundit has called Barack Obama a "sucker" and a "fool"?

A. Rush Limbaugh
B. Ann Coulter
C. Michelle Malkin
D. Mark Levin
E. Laura Ingraham

Jeopardy theme-music playing . . .

Chris Matthews can't get enough of John Edwards' brutal-but-funny anti-Hillary ad, playing it twice during this evening's "Hardball." Set to the Blue Danube Waltz and based on clips from last week's debate, the theme is Hillary's double-talk on Iraq, Social Security and immigration [her triple-toe loop on driver's licenses for illegal immigrants].

But in the three-cushion game that is presidential billiards, two of Chris's guests surmised that the ad, in taking down Hillary, would likely redound to Barack Obama's benefit.

View video here [includes the Edwards' ad].