May 9, 2006

Patterico’s Right: This Is Horrible Bias, Even for the LA Times

Filed under: MSM Biz/Other Bias,MSM Biz/Other Ignorance — Tom @ 6:09 pm

Patterico notes the way the Los Angeles Times’ Scott Collins played some recent cable news audience information. The facts are that in the 25-54 demographic, Fox is down 17%, CNN is down 38%, and MSNBC is up 16% off of a very small base.

Talk about selective fact-finding, even in what is admittedly an op-ed piece (requires registration):

A ratings downer for Fox News
May 8, 2006

Some recent ratings news no doubt gladdened the hearts of Fox News Channel haters.

First, Nielsen Media Research reported that Fox News’ overall prime-time lineup dropped 17% last month compared with a year ago (MSNBC grew 16% during the same period, while CNN plummeted by 38%).

Late last week, a reliable television industry website, TVNewser.com, reported that in April, Fox News host Bill O’Reilly had his worst month in nearly five years among viewers age 25 to 54, the most coveted audience in TV news.

Although the network still churns out ratings light-years ahead of competitors’ and O’Reilly remains cable news’ No. 1 host, Fox News’ explosive growth appears to be, like the president’s 90% approval rating in the days following Sept. 11, a relic from the first Bush term.

That’s the elephant in the room, of course — the broadly assumed, and occasionally documented, affinity between Fox News and the current administration (Vice President Dick Cheney’s office prepared a hotel checklist, recently posted on TheSmokingGun.com, that ordered “all televisions tuned to Fox News” during Cheney visits). Could it be mere coincidence that O’Reilly, populist scourge of both Clintons and countless left-wing causes, is seeing his still-formidable nightly audience of 2.1 million or so start to shrink in tandem with the Bush/GOP’s rapidly fading grip on the electorate?

Meanwhile, back in reality, where Mr. Collins does not reside, here are the audiences last Friday, the last weekday currently available:

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Collins doesn’t at all make it clear that he’s only covering the 25-54 demographic. Does Collins even realize, as this Patterico commenter shows, that CNN’s decline from a smaller base means it lost more viewers that Fox did from its larger base?

I’ve always found it pretty funny that Fox is considered conservative, because when you look at their 6PM-Midnight lineup, the only true conservative is Hannity — and he shares his show with liberal Alan Colmes. O’Reilly conservative? Please — He’s all over the place. Shep Smith? Same. Greta? Surely you jest. Hume? The best play-it-straight reporter in the business, bar none.

What liberals don’t like about Fox is that it generally airs both sides of an issue, and tries to avoid slanting the presentation. I can see how that would be difficult for someone who thinks Dan Rather was fair and balanced to swallow. The numbers of such people continue to shrink.

Don Luskin on When the Boom Began

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 3:43 pm

According to the proprietor of poorandstupid.com, who is anything but, it was in 2003, not 2001.

Here’s an excerpt from his latest National Review column:

It was the 2003 tax cuts on personal income, dividends, and capital gains. They were enacted into law in May 2003. The rest is history. Very prosperous history.

It’s really so simple. Tell people they will get to keep more of the fruits of their labors and the fruits of their investments, and they will labor more and invest more. The economy will grow.

It will grow despite the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. (but not, in my opinion, as fast as it could or should have. — Ed.) It will grow despite the ever-present threat of strike suits from the plaintiff’s bar — or from the Inquisitor General of the State of New York. It will grow despite how the Patriot Act makes it harder to move money and assets across national borders. It will grow despite threats of protectionism. It will grow.

Read the whole thing.

A Local Angle on the National Newspaper Circulation Numbers

The big news at Drudge yesterday was the Top 20 list highlighting the 2.5% decline in newspaper circulation nationwide.

15 of 20 are down, some by a lot, and the ones that are up are barely so:

Circulation for Top 20 Newspapers in USA
(link to top 50 as of March 31, 2006; September 30, 2005)

1. USA Today, 2,272,815, up 0.09 percent
2. The Wall Street Journal, 2,049,786, down 1 percent
3. The New York Times, 1,142,464, up 0.5 percent
4. Los Angeles Times, 851,832, down 5.4 percent
5. The Washington Post, 724,242, down 3.7 percent
6. New York Daily News, 708,477, down 3.7 percent
7. New York Post, 673,379, down 0.7 percent

8. Chicago Tribune, 579,079, up 0.9 percent
9. Houston Chronicle, 513,387, down 3.6 percent
10. The Arizona Republic, 438,722, down 2.1 percent
11. Newsday, Long Island, 427,771, down 2.7 percent

12. The Star-Ledger of Newark, N.J., 398,329, up 0.9 percent
13. San Francisco Chronicle, 398,246, down 15.6 percent
14. The Boston Globe, 397,288, down 8.5 percent
15. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 365,011, down 6.7 percent
16. Star Tribune of Minneapolis-St. Paul, 362,964, down 2.9 percent
17. The Philadelphia Inquirer, 350,457, down 5.1 percent

18. Detroit Free Press, 345,861, up 0.04 percent
19. The Plain Dealer, Cleveland, 343,163, down 1.6 percent
20. St. Petersburg Times, Florida, 323,031, down 4.4 percent

Nationwide, the trend of big papers ignoring their readership and expecting them to swallow their slanted news reports without objection continues to bring about disastrous results. In general, the worst offenders are paying the steepest price.

But here’s something interesting further down the list: Daily circulation at The Cincinnati Enquirer is UP 6.7% from 189,210 to 201,979 (see the same two links as above); Sunday’s Enquirer is up from 289,333 to 293,151. Though they sparked a little suspicion, Kirby Thornton of the Enquirer’s Marketing Deparment told me that the accompanying readership numbers, which are shown as declining during the same time, are for non-comparable full-year periods that are prior to the six-month periods presented. Thornton also told me that full-year daily circulation as of March 31, 2005 was 192,072.

Readers of the R-Rated Whistleblower will be especially taken by surprise at this; in his May 9 issue, he wrote a pretend note from the paper that said “With our circulation plummeting, please don’t ask how many people have cancelled their subscriptions ….. because of our dishonest coverage of the Ohio Second Congressional Race.” That’s a big “oops” in Blowerland.

OK, why has The Enquirer bucked the trend and done so well, outperforming the industry as whole by over 9%? The Bengals’ first playoff season in forever surely helped, and part of it also may be that the improvements made at Politics Extra (with an exception to be discussed) are carrying over into purchases of the print edition. Thornton attributed the change to a conscious decision to focus on more local coverage, and particularly noted how Northern Kentucky circulation (not presented separately) had benefitted from that change.

I’m glad he mentioned Northern Kentucky, because for all the vaunted improvements in local coverage on the Ohio side of the river (and I will concede there have been some), The Enquirer, which for a brief time here at BizzyBlog was known as The Invisibler, ignored the US Senate GOP Primary virtually up to Election Day, and as a result missed at least these newsworthy local-market stories:

  • Bill Pierce winning a “Well Qualified” rating from the Clermont County GOP leadership; Mike DeWine didn’t.
  • Hamilton County GOP totally scripting its endorsement meeting (BizzyBlog obtained and published the script, and made its presence known to the Enquirer’s political reporters); all non-incumbents were shut out. The Enquirer took the GOP’s press-release account of the meeting as gospel, and changed nothing when they were made aware of what really happened.
  • Butler County’s mysterious decision to abandon an endorsement meeting after planning and scheduling one (covered by the Plain Dealer blog!)

I would argue that ALL US Senate GOP Primary news was local, because both of Mike DeWine’s challengers, Pierce and David Smith, live in Warren County. Pierce beat Mike DeWine on two other occasions, and both gentlemen stunned Mike DeWine in a county endorsement contest in far-northwest Fulton County, causing him to finish third. Though Fulton County is a long haul from here, what would have been wrong with running “Two Local US Senate Challengers Whip Incumbent”?

So, congrats to The Enquirer for the improvements, but you can, and should, do much better.

Tammy Duckworth Has NO Business Running in Illinois’ Sixth District

Filed under: Taxes & Government — Tom @ 10:27 am

On the heels of Operation Iraqi Freedom veteran Paul Hackett’s slim-margin loss in Ohio’s Second Congressional District last summer, the Democrats are attempting to use a war vets’ strategy as part of their plan to regain the majority in the House of Representatives they lost in 1994. The linked article, though dated, indicates that 35 veterans are running for Congress, and it appears they are attempting to gain seats they currently do not hold.

One such veteran who has already won a Democrat congressional primary in Illinois is Tammy Duckworth.

Now let me be absolutely clear here: Tammy Duckworth is a bona fide war hero who has earned every honor she has received, and then some. Her recovery, after losing both legs and seriously damaging one arm, and the way she carries on in her everyday life after rehabilitation, are nothing short of inspirational.

There’s only one problem: Tammy Duckworth does not live in the district she wishes to represent (noted near the end at link). She also does not plan to move in — ever. Though legal (which it shouldn’t be), it should be unacceptable to all who live in Illinois’ Sixth District.

Duckworth was persuaded by the national party to run in the 6th District, which becomes open this year because of prolife legend Henry Hyde’s retirement, over an experienced and competitive candidate who had paid her dues:

The national party’s enthusiasm for Duckworth wasn’t matched, at least initially, among local Democrats, who noted she lives three miles outside the district. The Constitution requires only that representatives live in the state, and Duckworth says she is “emotionally attached” to her house, which was modified for her wheelchair.

Before Duckworth got in the race, local Democrats had backed Christine Cegelis, a computer consultant who won 44% of the vote against Hyde in 2004. But Cegelis has raised little money and lacks Duckworth’s “star power,” University of Illinois-Springfield political scientist Kent Redfield says.

“At least” Duckworth’s bona fides as an Illinois resident are okay. This 2005 article on Duckworth’s heroics, written before political ambition entered the picture, treats her like a native daughter–of Hawaii, which she is, having lived there until she was 21. But she has validly called Illinois her home during most of the 15 years since.

Despite an endorsement from the AFL-CIO, which had endorsed her opponent Christine Cegelis two years earlier, and national party support galore, Ms. Duckworth’s candidacy is not getting a warm reception from all quarters in the Democrat Party, including from longtime activist Alexander Cockburn (HT The Southern Journal blog):

We’re heading into a year when the Democrats could be making hay, by actually doing the right thing. In 2005 is a pointer, they never will. The latest evidence is that Rahm Emanuel, in charge of selecting Democratic Congressional candidates for 2006, is choosing millionaires and fence-straddlers on the war. He shunned Christine Cegelis, who nearly beat sixteen-termer Henry Hyde in 2004, and whom Illinois polls show to be a popular contender to succeed Hyde. But Cegelis has the disadvantage in Emanuel’s eyes of not being very rich and of agreeing with John Murtha on immediate withdrawal of US troops from Iraq. Emanuel picks Tammy Duckworth, who embodies the cynicism of the “Democratic strategists,” being a double-amputee woman Iraq veteran who is not from the district, has a hot-air position on the war and is thought to espouse a “pro-business/centrist platform”.

Cegelis was no pushover, and Duckworth barely survived the primary, as this narrative from an Evans-Novak e-mail indicates (also notice some similarities here to Ohio’s Sherrod Brown-Paul Hackett US Senate race situation earlier this year, which are bolded):

Illinois-6: This race, as we predicted, was much closer than anyone had expected. After weeks of media hype in her favor, Tammy Duckworth (D), the choice of the national party and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, prevailed just as we thought she would. But despite Duckworth’s compelling life story (she lost both legs serving in Iraq) and all the money and endorsements the national party could throw at her (including the support of DCCC Chairman Rahm Emanuel (Ill.) and Illinois Democratic Sens. Dick Durbin and Barack Obama), plus at times ridiculously fawning attention from the media, she underperformed mightily.

Democrats in the district resented Duckworth’s coronation by the party establishment — Duckworth does not live in the district — and her grassroots support proved weak. Christine Cegelis (D), the unsuccessful 2004 nominee, came within 1,100 votes of a major upset by relying on a strong ground game despite money shortage that top Democrats had induced by encouraging donors to freeze her out.

In her concession, Cegelis carefully avoided endorsing Duckworth, instead subtly complaining about national and state Democrats’ conspiracy to defeat her.

Her weak showing in the primary, Cegelis’s bitterness (how do you “subtly” complain about a conspiracy?), and the much larger vote total achieved by the Republican candidate in an uncontested race all appear to portend a loss for Duckworth in the general election.

But that obscures the larger point, and I would say this if it were Audie Murphy and not Tammy Duckworth I was discussing: She has no business running for Congress in a district in which she has no plans to live. As far as I’m concerned, it’s too late for her to change her mind and move in for politically expedient reasons if she somehow concludes that it’s necessary if she is to have a chance of winning. “At least” Hillary Clinton pretended to live in New York for about a year in her 2000 Senate run. “At least” Republican Bob McEwen bought a condo in Ohio’s Second District one month before the June 2005 Special Primary campaign began (this of course was not good enough for many of us, and ignores other much larger problems discovered in 2005 and during his second failed try in 2006) .

Leave it to Rahm Emanuel and the Democrats to push the envelope all the way to finding out whether not even being a district resident can work. If Illinois’ 6th District voters have any sense, it won’t.

If anyone is aware of any current congresspersons who don’t have residences in their districts, or any other non-resident candidates in this election cycle, I would appreciate learning about it. E-mail me directly. In my opinion, none deserve election, or re-election, and it should be obvious by now that I don’t care which party they represent.
_____________________________

UPDATE: Well, if this doesn’t beat all — in addition to not being able to submit a petition with 50 valid signatures on it and a list of other sins and foolishness that Lincoln Logs has been tracking for months, I now learn from an e-mailer that Ohio 6th District Democrat Congressional nominee Charlie Wilson doesn’t live in the district. Actual district residents should be insulted that Charlie apparently can’t find a domicile up to his standards anywhere in the District’s thousands of square miles.

A Quick Thanks

Filed under: General — Tom @ 10:01 am

…. to Brain Shavings, who designed the S.O.B. Alliance logo in various sizes, one of which you see near the top right on this site. Outstanding work, and he probably put up with 100 e-mails from other “S.O.B.ers” to get it to its final point.

Man, that is sweet.

In a Sane World, This Would Automatically DQ a Presidential Candidate …..

Filed under: Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:03 am

….. but because it’s Hillary Clinton, it won’t (HT Dr. Sanity; backup link):

Sen. Hillary Clinton said this week that Iraqi women were better off under Saddam Hussein, arguing that when the brutal dictator ran the country women were at least assured the right to participate in Iraq’s public life.

In comments that went unreported by the mainstream press, the former first lady told the Brookings Institution on Wednesday that since Saddam’s removal from power, Iraq’s postwar governing councils had engaged in “pullbacks in the rights [women] were given under Saddam Hussein.”

Sen. Clinton noted that while Saddam had been “an equal opportunity oppressor,” women were at least assured certain constitutional guarantees.

While ignoring reports about the brutal dictator’s rape rooms and other forms of persecution that were routine for women under his regime, Sen. Clinton insisted: “On paper, women had rights.”

And for Iraqi women, those paper promises translated into real benefits, she claimed.

“They went to school, they participated in the professions, they participated in the government and business and, as long as they stayed out of [Saddam's] way, they had considerable freedom of movement,” Clinton insisted.

But since Saddam’s removal, the plight of Iraq’s women has taken a significant turn for the worse, she contended.

Her statements were apparently made a little over two years ago and cry out for refutation on her part; I haven’t seen one, and don’t expect one.

Bizzy’s AM Coffee Biz-Econ-Life Links (050906)

Free Links:

  • This is a few days old, but it illustrates a pointAnkle Biting Pundits notes the usual demographic flaws in the latest round of “Bush’s numbers are in the tank” polls. 18% of the respondents aren’t voters, skewed beyond reasonableness toward Democrats, the non-religious, the young, lower incomes, urban areas, non-whites. It’s obvious that the people doing these polls know they’re going to be skewered, but they simply don’t care because the majority of people won’t be aware of the skewering. This is flat-out journalistic malpractice.
  • Return of the Conservatives catches a CNN report quotes Glenn Koocher, the Executive Director of the Massachusetts Association of School Committees (MASC) saying that parents who don’t want their very young kids taught about homosexuality in public school suffer from “narcissistic activist personality disorder.” The parents’ kids are at this point about 6 or 7 years old. With all due respect, Mr. Koocher, what’s the bleeping hurry? And the open contempt is not only astounding; in my opinion it gives away their game plan (takes off the MASC, so to speak). This is all about what MASC wants, not what parents want.
  • By “Unwritten,” He Meant That HE Hadn’t Written Them — Yet another one from last week (that’s what following elections will do to your timeliness), but what a doozy: Raytheon CEO William H. Swanson was docked $1 million in pay by the company’s Board of Directors because he plagiarized a 1944 book when he wrote “Swanson’s Unwritten Rules of Management.” It would be nice if the blogger who caught him would get a cut of that, but that’s hoping for too much.
  • The Ohio Bar Association Embarrasses Itself – It goes after a basically penniless Akron father and family that successfully went to court to get their autistic son the level of educational support he’s entitled to. The “problem” is, Brian Wood is not a lawyer. The horrors! The Bar has stood down, for now, using some of the most tired excuses imaginable, after being exposed.
  • Fidel Castro is mad that Forbes says his net worth is $900 million — He says he’s worth nothing. Who am I to argue?

Positivity: Australian Miners Rescued

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 1:00 am

Does it feel great to pass this on (HT Kevin at Wizbang):

2 Australian Miners Freed After 2 Weeks

Two Australian miners who survived for two weeks in a kennel-size cage trapped 3,000 feet underground walked unaided out of the Beaconsfield Gold Mine early Tuesday, freed by rescue crews drilling round-the-clock by hand.

Brant Webb, 37, and Todd Russell, 34, punched the air in jubilation as they emerged, their head torches glowing in the pre-dawn light. Hundreds of local residents gathered at the mine gates erupted in cheers.

The miners bear-hugged family and friends before clambering into two ambulances, still laughing and joking.

(more…)