Granted, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) is a trade organization which will, as trade organizations do, try to put the best face on a bad situation. And granted, part of the press's job is to filter through hype and false sunniness to report the truth of what's really going on.
But that is most emphatically not what the Associated Press did with yesterday's NAR report on the state of the national housing market. Instead, AP failed to report overall statistics in favor of reporting individual metro areas; ignored most of the legitimately good news; ignored an important piece of historical context; and, most importantly, and as has been the case for well over a year in the national business press, emphasized reductions in unit sales while de-emphasizing much smaller reductions in sale prices.
The domestic policy differences between Hillary and Obama are negligible. But the Clinton camp likes to claim that his national health care plan would leave 15 million people out, whereas hers covers everyone. Let's put aside for the moment the fact that former Clinton cabinet member Robert Reich says the Obama plan would actually wind up covering more people. The key to Hillary's claim that she would cover everyone is that . . . she would punish people who refuse to fall in line.
Naturally, Clinton isn't eager to specify just what such punishment would be. But under intense questioning by Tucker Carlson on his MSNBC show this evening, senior Clinton advisor Kiki McLean employed an Orwellian euphemism. People who didn't comply wouldn't be punished. They'd simply incur an . . . "outcome."
ABC's "Political Radar" blog reported Wednesday (h/t NBer Gat New York, paragraph break removed for space):
On Wednesday, a top adviser to John McCain said more definitively than he has in the past that he will step down from the Arizona senator's presidential campaign if the presumed GOP nominee faces Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., in the general election..."I would simply be uncomfortable being in a campaign that would be inevitably attacking Barack Obama," said McCain adviser Mark McKinnon in an interview with NPR's "All Things Considered." "I think it would be uncomfortable for me, and I think it would be bad for the McCain campaign."
If you were McCain, would you fire this man immediately due to his obviously divided loyalties? Any other thoughts, NBers?
Noting Sen. Barack Obama's recent statement that he considers the Second Amendment an individual right -- setting aside for a moment his pro-gun control record and defense of the D.C. handgun ban -- ABC's Jan Crawford Greenburg dismissed private gun ownership as constitutionally protected, holding instead that the "orthodox" view defends only a state's right.
Here's the relevant portion from a February 15 entry at Greenburg's Legalities blog (emphasis mine):
During a two part interview on the Thursday and Friday CBS "Early Show," co-host Maggie Rodriguez asked Hugo Chavez’s ex-wife, Marisabel Rodriguez, "Is Hugo Chavez a charismatic leader or a mad man?" This was followed later by the question, "Is he a Communist?" To which Marisabel Rodriguez responded: "If he's not, he's very similar to one."
Maggie Rodriguez, who is Cuban-American, had several other questions critical of Chavez:
Just last week Hugo Chavez reportedly boasted about chewing coca leaves, which is the base of cocaine. What do you think about this? Could this have altered his mind?...Do you think he should step down as president of Venezuela?
Vice President of the Business & Media Institute Dan Gainor outlined the media's failure in covering consumer confidence numbers in a February 15 appearance on the Fox Business Network.
"What we're talking about, instead of consumer confidence, we're talking about media competence," Gainor said. "Last year, July was the six-year high for consumer confidence and yet if you watch any one of the three network news shows, evening news shows, you didn't see it."
"But airline mergers have traditionally meant job losses, especially in the airlines' hub cities, as well as fewer flight options for passengers in smaller cities and higher ticket prices," NBC correspondent Tom Costello said. "In Atlanta, we found frequent travelers fearing that's exactly what could happen."
New York Times media reporter Jacques Steinberg interviewed conservative talk radio giant Rush Limbaugh on his strong opposition to GOP presidential front-runner John McCain for Friday's "Warring on McCain, Limbaugh Sees No Reconciliation." The interview was OK, but the response from the Times's liberal readership was vitriolic.
"Rush Limbaugh took his show on the road this week, forsaking his main broadcast studio in Palm Beach, Fla., for one in Midtown Manhattan. But the change of scenery did nothing to dampen the Republican-on-Republican smackdown he has been waging from afar against Senator John McCain, the party's likely presidential nominee, whom Mr. Limbaugh considers too moderate.
As he opened his radio program Wednesday, Mr. Limbaugh lobbed yet another grenade.
NPR senior news analyst Daniel Schorr has a new book out, a package of his radio commentaries. In a nod to where the NPR brand appeals most, Schorr will be selling his book at a members-only meeting of the Woman’s National Democratic Club next week, as Fishbowl DC passes along:
"Legendary broadcast journalist Daniel Schorr will speak about and sign his book, Come to Think of It at a luncheon program co-sponsored by the English-Speaking Union on Tuesday, February 19 at the Woman's National Democratic Club. ... The cost of the program is $30. For tickets, contact the English-Speaking Union at esuwdc.net/(202) 234-4602, or the Woman's National Democratic Club at (202) 232-7363."
All likely with the blessing of MSNBC's top brass, I suppose.
After all, they're clearly not trying to hide their political leanings anymore. So, why should they care if one of their hosts speaks and writes such detritus that it evokes the following vitriolic commentary from his readers aimed at America's president (vulgarity alert, h/t NBer Thomas Stewart):
Sure, it's garden variety AP labeling/double-standard bias, but it bears busting anyway.
At KnoxNews.com (h/t NB reader coffee260), one can read the tale of Nashville, Tennessee, state representative Rob Briley, who "has pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of an accident and property damage prior to leading authorities on a high-speed chase last September." Briley is a Democrat, but his party affiliation was not mentioned in the 6-paragraph story.
Yet another AP dispatch on another state politician, this one from Maryland, had a quite different treatment of that legislator's political affiliation.
You know, if the Associated Press ever straightens up and starts reporting the news like a truly unbiased news agency it would ruin our little game of "Democrat or Not?" Fortunately for us, it doesn't seem like the AP is going to go legitimate any time soon and our little game can go on ad infinitum. Today our game is being hosted in the Tennessee House of Representatives where State Representative Bob Briley pleaded guilty to a DUI from last September.
State Rep. Rob Briley of Nashville has pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of an accident and property damage prior to leading authorities on a high-speed chase last September... Authorities said he struck the rear of a truck and then left the scene.
If the surge in Iraq did not work, you can be sure the networks would all use its one-year anniversary to highlight its failure, but on Thursday night only ABC's World News, of the three broadcast network evening newscasts, marked the anniversary. With “Surge Success” on screen, anchor Charles Gibson noted “it was one year ago today that the surge began in Iraq -- the troop buildup ordered by the President when so many of his critics were calling for a draw down of troops. 30,000 additional troops started arriving a year ago.” From Iraq, Clarissa Ward began over matching video:
If you're looking for one measure of the impact of the surge, look at General David Petraeus, walking through a Baghdad neighborhood with no body armor and no helmet. It's one year since the beginning of what's known here as "Operation Fardh al-Qanoon." According to the U.S. military, violence is down 60 percent. One key to the success, reconciliation.
In Friday's Post Politics Hour on washingtonpost.com, Anne Kornblut, the Post political reporter deployed to travel with Hillary, suggested that now that the Clinton-juggernaut image has been junked, it's funny that Hillary didn't make any verbal mistakes, that the mistakes could be attributed more to Bill and her staff. (Her ice-queen personality and wooden vocal delivery and persistently high negatives had nothing to do with it?)
McLean, Va.: Anne: We were told by any number of reporters and pundits (including -- ahem -- you, I believe) that the Clintons had this awe-inspiring, flawless political machine set to roll through the primaries. Given that they've blown their lead (not to mention their aura of inevitability), care to re-evaluate?
A conservative Christian group yesterday criticized a large Methodist church in the District for planning to offer services that recognize gay and lesbian relationships, saying they violate the United Methodist ban on same-sex unions.
Foundry United Methodist Church, which Bill and Hillary Rodham Clinton attended when he was president, decided last month to support its senior pastor's decision to lead services that "recognize and honor" committed gay relationships. Foundry clergy, however, do not perform union ceremonies, the local bishop said.
Americans will be in far greater danger of a terrorist attack after midnight Saturday due to House Democrats, led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Cal.), deciding to leave town for a break rather than vote on a surveillance bill that cleared the Senate Tuesday.
Sadly, the good folks at the Associated Press don't seem concerned, for instead of painting an accurate picture of this truly abysmal delay tactic by the left, the wire service chose to defend Pelosi and the Democrats while conveniently ignoring some key facts.
As reported moments ago (emphasis added throughout):
(See Update below for correction and clarification re Google News.)
This one has an interesting twist relating to Google News that I will get to later.
It should be no surprise that the so-called "newspapers of record" did very little with the news earlier this week that the actiing director of an Iraqi psychiatric hospital had been arrested for allegedly supplying mentally ill patients for use as, for lack of a better description, unwillingly co-opted "suicide bombers."
Iraq Hospital Chief Allegedly Supplied Patients for Bombings
The acting director of a Baghdad psychiatric hospital has been arrested on suspicion of supplying Al Qaeda in Iraq with the mentally impaired women it used to blow up two crowded animal markets in the city on Feb. 1, killing about 100 people.
Forty-eight people accused of taking part in an immigrant trafficking ring have been indicted on human smuggling and money laundering charges, authorities said.
The group brought in as much as $130,000 a week moving people from Naco, Mexico, to its center of operations in Phoenix and then to destinations across the United States, Phoenix police Lt. Vince Piano said Thursday.
Does this shock you? What does it say about our immigration policy and our borders? Will either Party ever come up with a solution that will be both effective AND politically beneficial to them, which, of course, is MUCH MORE IMPORTANT than good policy, right?
It's not about Katie Couric's liberal bias today; it's her sheer fatuousness. Couric has been accorded rare access for extended interviews with the women involved in the presidential race. MRC's Brent Baker has detailed how Couric squandered part of her interview of Hillary Clinton, aired on this past Sunday's 60 Minutes, on silly talk.
This morning's Early Show featured excerpts from Couric's interview of Michelle Obama. No huge headlines, but once again Couric wasted time with obvious and trivial questions. The CBS anchor literally apologized to Obama, for example, for posing the much-asked question of what her personal cause as First Lady would be [answer: the challenges mothers face in balancing work and family].
Washington Post "Reliable Source" gossips Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts chronicled the jokes at Thursday night’s Washington Press Club Foundation dinner, including the ones at the expense of the liberal media:
Sen. Mitch McConnell dryly scores with his line about the Dem race between "a New York senator who was born in Illinois, and an Illinois senator who was apparently born in a manger." Sen. John Cornyn makes his point more sharply, noting that the New York Times declined to attend this year. "Their table didn't go to waste. They just donated it to MoveOn.org at a discount." An "ohhhhhh" fills the room, followed by a lone hiss...
For once, Nancy Pelosi gets into the sassy, hazing spirit of these things. "I knew I had arrived in Washington when Helen Thomas played me in a skit at Gridiron. Remember that?" she coos. "I do." She blows a kiss to the veteran correspondent -- but zings: "That was Italian." (Get it? Kiss of death!)
Andrea Mitchell stopped just short of donning an impromptu Obama campaign-advisor hat. But the NBC correspondent has left little doubt she personally feels the time is ripe for Barack Obama to promote gun control as a campaign issue.
Some of the topics in today's episode: Mitt Romney advising John McCain on immigration? Liberal scientists endorse McCain, Chris Matthews almost cries at the idea of Obama losing to Hillary Clinton.
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On Thursday's Countdown show, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann delivered his latest "Special Comment" rant against President Bush, this time attacking him for threatening to veto an extension of the Protect America Act unless it includes provisions to give immunity from lawsuits to telecom companies who have cooperated with government surveillance in the past.
Calling the President a "liar" who was "slinging crap" and using "a form of terrorism against his own people" to gain support, Olbermann accused President Bush of fascism: "If you believe in the seamless mutuality of government and big business, come out and say it! There is a dictionary definition, one word that describes that toxic blend. You're a fascist! Get them to print you a T-shirt with fascist on it! What else is this but fascism?" (Transcript follows)
Clinton condemned the comment during an interview with a Washington DC radio host (see Tim Graham's earlier post on rest of interview) in which he was asked about Olbermann's remark in the context of the Shuster kerfuffle.
The Times, in a report (link requires free registration) by Robert F. Worth and Nada Bakri, actually called the recently slain Hezbollah commander Imad Mugniyah a terrorist:
A top Hezbollah commander long sought by the United States for his role in terrorist attacks that killed hundreds of Americans in the 1980s, died Tuesday night in Damascus, Syria, when a bomb detonated under the vehicle he was in, Syrian officials said.
No one claimed responsibility for killing the commander, Imad Mugniyah, who had been in hiding for many years and was one of the most wanted and elusive terrorists in the world.
But, as James Taranto at Best of the Web noted, the Times's headline ("Bomb in Syria Kills Militant Sought as Terrorist") is nowhere near as clear as the first two paragraphs of the article's text, and a related Times online video by reporter John Kifner is much more blunt in its judgment of Mugniyah (Kifner received a reporting credit but not a byline in the print article).
One could feel the disdain that Emma Jane Kirby felt toward Catholicism in a recent travel piece by BBC News. Her disgust and utter dismissal of the Catholic holy site at Lourdes, France was so thick it verged on hatred. Knocking the sentiment behind Lourdes, slamming the "fusty" feel to the place, mocking its religious sincerity and, finally, ending in condescension, Kirby was so disturbed by her visit that she exclaimed "Good God!" and did so "not in any laudatory way," as she points out. Her piece was a pure hit job on Lourdes in particular and Catholicism in general and provides another great example of European's hatred for religion and the BBC's campaign against traditional culture.
Lourdes is a massive Roman Catholic pilgrimage site with more hotels than any other French city, except Paris... It reminded me of my father's attic - small, overcrowded, fusty, and so stuffed full of junk that the minute I entered I used to panic, desperate to get out again.
Although you've likely heard, the AP reported within the hour (paragraph breaks removed):
Republican campaign dropout Mitt Romney endorsed John McCain for the party's presidential nomination and asked his national convention delegates to swing behind the likely nominee..."Even when the contest was close and our disagreements were debated, the caliber of the man was apparent," the former Massachusetts governor said, standing alongside his one-time rival at his now- defunct campaign's headquarters. "This is a man capable of leading our country at a dangerous hour."..."Primaries are tough," said McCain, referring to their earlier rancor. "We know it was a hard campaign and now we move forward, we move forward together for the good of our party and the nation."
It's questionable whether Herbert Hoover actually ever promised to put "a chicken in every pot." But even if Hoover did, he was a piker compared to Hillary Clinton. Check out her remarks in a campaign speech today, as aired on this afternoon's Hardball.
HILLARY CLINTON: Over the years, you've heard plenty of promises, from plenty of people in plenty of speeches. And some of those speeches were probably pretty good. But speeches don't put food on the table. Speeches don't fill up your tank. Speeches don't fill your prescriptions or do anything about that stack of bills that keeps you up at night. That's the difference between me and my Democratic opponent. My opponent makes speeches. I offer solutions.