NYTlogoInMonitorWithDollarSign.jpgThe newspaper that appears to be on a mission to become Manhattan's quaint little alternative daily is considering a move that would cheer those who prefer fair and balanced reporting accompanied by intellectually honest editorials and op-eds.

That publication, the New York Times, is considering a return to fee-based content -- and this time, it might go for the whole enchilada.

Times Executive Editor Bill Keller dangled the possibility yesterday in an online Q&A.

Bloomberg's Greg Bensinger reported the following (bolds are mine):



Here are the key numbers (in red) in Uncle Sam's November Personal Income and Outlays report (the July :

BEApersonalIncomeOutlays1108.jpg

Common sense says that the chart's results after adjusting for inflation are more important (identified as "Chained [2000] dollars") than those in current dollars. Consmers' disposable income went up 1.0% in real (after-inflation) terms in November after a 0.7% increase in October.

It took a month for real consumer spending ("Personal consumption expenditures") to catch up to the increased disposable income, but it did so in a big way in November. The 0.6% real increase is the highest in over three years. Both improvements are objectively good news, and are largely due to sharply declining gas prices.

This is pretty fundamental Econ 101 stuff, isn't it? As you can see from the headlines and the treatment of the real spending increase that follow, the business press mostly flunked, and badly:



In an attempt to play Main Street against Wall Street, Rachel Maddow mocked and criticized the rate at which Goldman Sachs was taxed this year.

The MSNBC host of "The Rachel Maddow Show" lamented that the investment bank Goldman Sachs, which reported a $2.12 billion dollar loss for the fourth quarter ending Nov. 28, paid only 1 percent in taxes for the entire year during her Dec. 18 show.

"Five pages into Goldman's earnings report this week, Bloomberg News noticed Goldman's very subtle announcement that the firm's effective tax rate this year was 1 percent," Maddow said. "One percent - they paid 1 percent in taxes. Even though they were down this last quarter, they made $2.3 billion in profit this year."



Those who thought that President-elect Obama's pre-Thanksgiving promise to "create or save jobs," appropriately satirized by Mark Finkelstein at NewsBusters on November 24, might have been another one of the Oh-So-(in)Articulate One's "inartful" statements should know that it has become standard fare in Obama speeches.

In related news, Uncle Sam told us Friday that over 136 million seasonally adjusted jobs were "saved"in November (go here to replicate):

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Never mind the 533,000 seasonally adjusted jobs lost -- which illustrates just how risible Obama's promise shift from the presidential campaign really is. Old Media's failure to note this shift is journalistic malpractice that would never occur during a Republican presidency.



Pulitzer-Prize winning author and professor of history at Stanford University David M. Kennedy told Bloomberg radio Nov. 18 that the current financial crisis bears no comparison to the Great Depression.

"Well, we're not yet in anything remotely resembling the crisis, the scale of crisis of the Great Depression." When Franklin Roosevelt took office in 1933, 13 million Americans were unemployed. "That was 25 percent of the work force," Kennedy told Bloomberg host Tom Keene.

The professor laid out exactly what has changed since the troubled 1930s:



One can picture Queen Victoria huffily declaring, "We are not amused," when reading this Margaret Carlson column about Joe the Barber in Bloomberg. Carlson appears to be upset that a "mere" plumber is steering the campaign away from the direction she wants it to follow (emphasis mine):



With 15 minutes of fame comes 15 hours of “gotcha” scrutiny -- especially if you’re a voter who has dared to criticize Barack Obama, the liberal media’s Chosen One for president.

Ohio plumber Joe Wurzelbacher has had his 15 minutes of fame, capping it off with an unplanned appearance as the poster boy of populist tax policy in last night’s presidential debate. So now it’s time for the press to turn its sights on him not as a human-interest story but as an investigative subject.

Jonathan Martin of The Politico was among the first out of the gate, with blog posts noting that Wurzelbacher, affectionately known by most of America as “Joe The Plumber,” has a tax lien against him and doesn’t have a plumber’s license. Martin conveniently forgot to mention that the law doesn’t require one.) Bloomberg also has a story on the tax lien, and AP and The Washington Post did their part to make a story out of the “unlicensed” non-story.



ap_logoPoor Karl Ritter and Matt Moore of the Associated Press must have a lot of time to kill, a dearth of ideas, and a studied disinterest in accuracy as they await the awarding of the Nobel Prize for Economics in Stockholm, Sweden on Monday. A list of past winners is here

Besides lamenting that no woman has ever won the Economics Prize (so?), the AP pair felt the need to relate the financial bailout passed by Congress and signed by the President a week ago, and the current steep stock market decline that followed it (or, as yours truly and Investors Business Daily would argue, occurred because of it), to who might win the award.

Along the way, they, as AP reporters are wont to do, erred, and quite seriously.

Here's how their report, weirdly entitled "Amid the meltdown, economics Nobel no easy pick," began (bold is mine):



Earlier this year, the media trotted out story after story of high gas price hardship as oil climbed to a record-high $147 a barrel back in July. One analyst even predicted in May that oil would reach $300 a barrel.

But, now that a financial mess has struck the markets, oil has fallen from $140 to right around $90 a barrel on Oct. 7. During months leading up to its peak, many were forecasting oil in excess of $200 by the end of 2008 and even $300 within five years. But the economic slowdown has caused the rally in commodity markets to cease, as Equidex President Phillip Gotthelf pointed out on Bloomberg TV on Oct. 7.



On PBS's Web site today, ombudsman Michael Getler writes of complaints over an incident during last Sunday's pledge drive.  He describes the cheap shot taken by actor Mike Farrell against vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin:

According to Joseph Campbell, vice president of fundraising programs, here's what happened:



On The Situation Room today, CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer made a surprising admission to, of all people, real estate entrepreneur Donald Trump:
BLITZER: What do you think of his (Obama's) decision to pick Joe Biden as his running mate?


To explain the high level of hatred for Governor Sarah Palin, the September 18 edition of "Fox and Friends" invited Bloomberg News columnist Caroline Baum. Ms. Baum, who claims to have studied it extensively, later used a vulgar term to describe which direction women voters will lean.

The Bloomberg columnist explained that Governor Palin "made the Democrats’ road to the White House less inevitable." Democrats, feeling a sense of entitlement, are outraged that, in a very hostile political environment for the Republicans, this election remains competitive. When Gretchen Carlson asked what this close election means "for the future of the Democratic party" Baum hypothesized that the Democrats are "bankrupt in terms of appealing to the population in terms of ideas."

Warning: vulgarity below.