June 22, 2008

Worst. AP. ‘Report.’ Ever. (Update: Source Used Cinches It)

UPDATE: Catch of the DayEric the Red at Vocal Minority found out who American “historian” Allan J. Lichtman is (Wikipedia entry is here). Eric is right: “This guy is a hard-core radical leftist with a truckload of political axes to grind against Republicans!” If there was any doubt about “worst ever,” the sole-sourcing to an outright partisan disguised as a “historian” erases it.


(original post)

Two Associated Press writers, with the help of accompanying photos at ABCnews.com, have dug down deep and reached a new low in dismal, depressive reporting.

You can be forgiven if, after reading the entire Saturday afternoon “report” by Alan Fram and Eileen Putman of the Associated Press, you worry that the two writers plan to jump from the nearest tall building — and take their readers with them — unless Barack Obama wins the White House.

This is how the pained pair’s incredibly over-the-top report begins (note how the headline answers the question before the text begins; excerpted text, and photos found at the ABC link, are included for fair use and discussion purposes):

Everything seemingly is spinning out of control
Out-of-control weather, gas prices, economy chip away at American self-confidence

Is everything spinning out of control?

Midwestern levees are bursting. Polar bears are adrift. Gas prices are skyrocketing. Home values are abysmal. Air fares, college tuition and health care border on unaffordable. Wars without end rage in Iraq, Afghanistan and against terrorism.

Horatio Alger, twist in your grave.



The can-do, bootstrap approach embedded in the American psyche is under assault. Eroding it is a dour powerlessness that is chipping away at the country’s sturdy conviction that destiny can be commanded with sheer courage and perseverance.

The sense of helplessness is even reflected in this year’s presidential election. Each contender offers a sense of order – and hope. Republican John McCain promises an experienced hand in a frightening time. Democrat Barack Obama promises bright and shiny change, and his large crowds believe his exhortation, “Yes, we can.”

Freaking-Out Fram and Put-Upon Putman then lament that “a barrel-scraping 17 percent of people surveyed believe the country is moving in the right direction.” It’s a wonder, given the tenor of press reporting during at least the past two years, that it’s as high as it is.

(By the way, did you notice that Fram and Putman didn’t mention who has been in control of Congress while much of this decay in confidence has taken place until the third-last paragraph? Or that Congress is the least-trusted institution in the country — less than HMOs and “Big Business”?)

Global warming, or what yours truly likes to refer to as “globaloney,” even makes an appearance:

Floods engulf Midwestern river towns. Is it global warming, the gradual degradation of a planet’s weather that man seems powerless to stop or just a freakish late-spring deluge?

Then the Disheartened Duo get to the real purpose of their piece: to convince us, now that we’re all completely miserable, that the only solution is a change in which party controls the White House (bolds are mine):

American University historian Allan J. Lichtman notes that the U.S. has endured comparable periods and worse, including the economic stagflation (stagnant growth combined with inflation) and Iran hostage crisis of 1980; the dawn of the Cold War, the Korean War and the hysterical hunts for domestic Communists in the late 1940s and early 1950s; and the Depression of the 1930s.

“All those periods were followed by much more optimistic periods in which the American people had their confidence restored,” he said. “Of course, that doesn’t mean it will happen again.”

Each period also was followed by a change in the party controlling the White House.

By the way, those familiar with the Venona Papers and the work of M. Stanton Evans know that there is a better word to describe the “hunts for domestic Communists in the late 1940s and early 1950s.” The word is “necessary.”

You’ll have to go to the final two paragraphs at the last page of the article yourself to read how these two wrap things up. One really has to wonder how they get through each day.

Fram’s and Putman’s despondent drivel isn’t labeled “analysis,” or “background.” It is apparently what these sad sacks, and their editors at the Associated Press, believe is “journalism.”

No it’s not, but it is this: Something you should save to the hard drive, and show to anyone still clinging to the misbegotten belief that the press hasn’t taken sides in the 2008 presidential election.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.



  1. By the way, did you notice that Fram and Putman didn’t mention who has been in control of Congress while much of this decay in confidence has taken place? Or that Congress is the least-trusted institution in the country — less than HMOs and “Big Business”?

    That’s not entirely accurate. Their antepenultimate paragraph reads:

    “Never mind that their views of their current leaders are near rock bottom, reflecting a frustration with Washington’s inability to solve anything. President Bush barely gets the approval of three in 10 people, and it’s even worse for the Democratic-led Congress.”

    Still, point well taken: This is a shameless slanted excuse for a news article. The placement of the two “View” pictures is so disgustingly transparent of AP and ABC.

    Jewish AND Republican?? Oy gevalt

    (P.S. I had no idea when I woke up this morning that I’d get to use “antepenultimate” today. Thanks for the opportunity!)

    Comment by EricTheRed — June 22, 2008 @ 12:15 pm

  2. #1, thanks for the catch — I added “until the third-last paragraph” at both posts. I followed the old advice (roughly “never use a $3 word when a 50-center will do) and “settled” for “third-last” instead of “antepenultimate.” Good vocab reminder, though.

    Your site is very well-done, and blogrolled.

    Comment by TBlumer — June 22, 2008 @ 1:05 pm

  3. thank you for this report. I will now by US stocks and the dollar hand over fist…this inane story does have a purpose, after all…

    Comment by warhed — June 22, 2008 @ 3:26 pm

  4. #3, thank you, Mr. Buffett. :–>

    Sometimes I think the Oracle of Omaha is talking down the economy for the very reason you described.

    Comment by TBlumer — June 22, 2008 @ 3:35 pm

  5. Liberal Media Bias: AP’s Alan Fram and Eileen Putnam …

    When BizzyBlog owner and NewsBusters.com contributer Tom Blumer dubbed a certain Saturday AP article the “Worst. AP. ‘Report.’ Ever,” even he might not have realized how right he was….

    Trackback by Vocal Minority — June 22, 2008 @ 6:18 pm

  6. Tom – Thanks for the props.

    While posting my own blog post on this “story,” I made some startling discoveries, including the following:

    “blog Wars without end rage in Iraq, Afghanistan and against terrorism.”

    Watch the wording now, people: Iraq. Check. Afghanistan. Check. AND against terrorism. Their point: Both the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are not part of the war on terror, but rather Bush-concocted distractions from the real war.

    But this is the kicker: Who is this “American University historian” Allan Lichtman, whom they cite? According to Wikipedia:

    Lichtman has testified as an expert witness on civil rights in more than 70 cases for the U.S. Department of Justice and for civil rights groups such as the NAACP, the Mexican-American and Puerto Rican American Legal Defense and Education Funds, and the Southern Poverty Law Center. He also consulted for Vice President Al Gore and Senator Edward Kennedy. He assisted the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights investigation into voting irregularities in Florida during the 2000 election[1], submitting an extensive report of his statistical analysis of balloting problems. Lichtman concluded “there were major racial disparities in ballot rejection rates”.[2] [...]

    On September 28, 2005, Lichtman formally announced his candidacy for the United States Senate from Maryland. He ran as a progressive, opposing the War in Iraq and calling for an immediate and safe withdrawal of U.S. troops … When he and other candidates were not invited by the League of Women Voters to a debate, Lichtman went to the Maryland Public Television studio and protested; he, his wife, and campaign volunteer Gail Dobson were arrested.[3][4] On October 19th, 2006, the three were found Not Guilty on all charges.

    Now, for Fram and Putnam to cite this ideologue as an objective source is criminal in itself, but for them not to even label this guy at least as a “liberal” warrants a complete revocation of their journalism degrees. Could you imagine them citing a source just a smidgeon to the right of center without labeling them “conservative” or “right wing”? I can’t either.

    This is journalistic malpractice of the highest order, plain and simple.

    Jewish AND Republican?? Oy gevalt

    Comment by EricTheRed — June 22, 2008 @ 6:36 pm

  7. #6, GREAT catch. I updated both posts to reflect what you found.

    Comment by TBlumer — June 22, 2008 @ 7:14 pm

  8. [...] Worst. AP. ‘Report.’ Ever. …excerpted text, and photos found at the ABC link, are included for fair use and discussion purposes): [...]

    Pingback by ABC » Worst. AP. ‘Report.’ Ever. — June 22, 2008 @ 9:03 pm

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