August 15, 2008

A Reverse ‘Name That Party’ on Ted Stevens: You Don’t Fool Me, AP

DemOrGOPgraphic0708.jpgI’m sorry, this is too obvious.

Matt Apuzzo’s 750-plus word story on Ted Stevens’s situation (saved at host for future reference) doesn’t contain these words:

  • GOP.
  • Republican.
  • Conservative.
  • (R-AK).

This is the case even though he notes that Stevens “is in the midst of an unusually contentious re-election campaign.”

I mean to tell you, Matt Apuzzo bends over backwards to make sure Stevens’s party affiliation is not named. His wordsmithing gymnastics rival anything we’ve seen from 14- and 15-year-old Chinese girls this past week.

C’mon, stop it, Matt.

I’m thinking that this is AP’s lame, isolated attempt to say, “See, we treat everyone the same.”

No, Matt. No, AP.

The point is that you should ALWAYS name a troubled politician’s party — Democrat, Republican, or whatever — not hide it.

Your own stylebook from 2000 (I’d gladly accept a new one) says on Page 192 that you should:

….. include party affiliation if readers need it for understanding or are likely to be curious about what it is.

If it’s a crime or corruption story, readers are curious — by definition.

And you guys in the press are dreaming if you think this makes up for:

You can do it, Matt and AP. Name that party when it matters — always.

In Obama’s Home State, Unemployment Is Spiking; Expect Media Silence

Here’s news the traditional media will work very hard to ignore.

According to data released by Uncle Sam’s Bureaus of Labor Statistics today, the unemployment rate in Illinois is the fifth-highest in the country.

The Land of Lincoln had a seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 7.3% in July, up 2.2% from the previous year’s 5.1%. That puts Illinois, along with California, in a tie for fourth place in the worst state unemployment rate derby, behind only Michigan (8.5%), Mississippi (7.9%), and Rhode Island (7.7%).

Illinois’ 2.2% year-over-year unemployment rate increase is the third largest in any state, behind only tiny Rhode Island’s 2.7% and smaller state Tennessee’s 2.3%. Over 80% of Illinois’ deterioration has occurred in the last three months, as its March unemployment rate was only 5.5%.

Meanwhile, in Arizona …..
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Memo to John McCain …..

Filed under: Life-Based News,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 10:18 am

ProlifeMcCainVeep0808

Things I’d Like To Post About Today ….. (081508, Morning)

Filed under: TILTpatBIDHAT — Tom @ 10:15 am

….. But I Don’t Have Any Time For:

  • Renowned scientist Unhinged Luddite Prince Charles doesn’t like genetically modified (GM) food. Seriously, GM science has the potential to solve world hunger, and people want to stop it, because somebody, somewhere might actually make a little money for having done so. Where’s the compassion?
  • I really want to stick with the Dunce of Wales, as the Reason Hit & Run blog calls him, for a moment. The UK Telegraph writes that Chuck believes that “Small farmers, in particular, would be the victims of ‘gigantic corporations’ taking over the mass production of food.” In the early 1900s, blacksmith advocates could have argued against the automobile by saying that they would be “victims of ‘gigantic corporations’ taking over the mass production of transportation.” All but the nuttiest enviros would say we’re immeasurably better off because blacksmiths didn’t get their way, and automakers like GM did. The new GM is no different.
  • Apple’s worth more than Google? Yikes (and I say this as a big fan of the company’s products), the “Mac Community” is going to become (even more) insufferable.
  • Ed Morrissey at Hot Air (via Instapundit, originally at Knoxvillebiz.com) notes “Another Democrat with a government land deal.” Serious bucks are involved in the Heath Shuler-TVA situation. Even with all of its traditional media, uh, water-carriers, it really is hard to imagine a Democrat Party effort to claim a GOP “culture of corruption” this time around.
  • Newsosaur’s Default-o-Matic is predicting that the Tribune Co. is in deep trouble “as the publisher most likely to be unable to repay its debt in the future.”
  • Bloomberg reported earlier this week (HT Gawker) that New York Times Company bonds are “a step above junk and in danger of being cut.” That would be appropriate, as the Times’s business situation would then match the quality of much of its reporting, and almost all of its editorializing.

Bias-Based Briefs (081508)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 7:46 am

A somewhat-daily collection of usually short shots pointing out obvious bias, ignorance, and/or lack of expected follow-up by traditional media outlets.

______________________________________________

The August 13 ACT test-score story by Justin Pope of the Associated Press, with its misleading headline (“ACT scores down, but more students college-ready”), papered over two other points of interest beyond the Michigan jaw-dropper I noted yesterday.

The first is in this chart:

ACTtestIncrement2008v2007

ACT, Inc. celebrated the fact that so many more took its test, and that more tested as college-ready. But only 11.44% of the additional test takers tested as college-ready in all four subject areas (English, math, reading, and science). That’s pretty weak.

As noted yesterday, a large part of the reason is that the additional test-taking occurred in states and some individual school districts where the ACT became mandatory in 2008. What the test mandate is revealing is a shocking level of incompetence on the part of those who are not college-bound (not that the performance of the college-bound is anything to get excited about).

The actual “Totals Who Tested as College-Ready in All Four Subjects” figures were not available in ACT, Inc.’s 30-plus page report for either 2008 or 2007 (that seems like a more than minor oversight). Since the college-readiness percentages presented in ACT’s report were rounded to the nearest whole percentage, I thought it important to get the actual numbers who tested college-ready in each year to see if the arbitrary rounding made the results appear better or worse than they really were.

To do that, I picked up Alexander Graham Bell’s invention and got the actual numbers from Scott in ACT’s Media Relations Department. I appreciate Scott’s callback, and his provision of that data. Justin Pope and others at AP, who get paid to report for a living and whose employer pays for long-distance calls, should consider employing this technique every once in a while.

______________________________________________

Yours truly found the second biggie that the AP’s Justin Pope missed in ACT’s 2008 national report.

It’s this “boys are really smarter than girls” engine starter on Page 13 of the full report:

ACT2008BoysVs.GirlsCollegeReady

The percentage of males who tested as college-ready in all four subjects (i.e., needing no remedial help) was 37% higher (7 points higher divided by 19) than that of females. Relatively small female advantages in English and reading were blown away by much larger male advantages in math and science.

These stats could keep Joanne Jacobs posting non-stop for a week. :–>

Seriously, though, how many readers expected to see this result? Justin Pope could even have reported this gem without having to pick up the phone.

Yet in 2007, according to this Christian Science Monitor article, “women account(ed) for nearly 58 percent of the 16.6 million college students. In three years (by 2010), the ratio is projected to be around 60 to 40.”

Anyone care to explain this? More fundamentally, why doesn’t anyone care to report this in real time when the result is right there?

_______________________________________________

Matt Sheffield of NewsBusters put up a great Washington Times column yesterday (“How Traditional Media Lose Audience to the Web”).

Money quote:

Instead of reporting the news, far too many journalists have now taken it upon themselves to protect the public from it.

Based on how the John Edwards situation has gone down, who can dispute this?

_______________________________________________

Speaking of Edwards, Old Media and Democratic party vet (but I repeat myself) Walter Shapiro at Salon, in his “Johnny, We Hardly Knew Ye” column, confesses to having been duped.

Walter, Walter — you had seven months after the original revelations to change your assessment and didn’t. You just wanted to believe, and it blinded you.

Shapiro hasn’t changed a bit:

….. in 2000, no writer captured the arrogant megalomania of Dick Cheney or envisioned that Joe Lieberman’s hawkishness would eventually lead him right out of the Democratic Party.

Zheesh — Some of us remember that in 2000, those two gentlemen had a sit-down vice-presidential debate that was more civil and thoughtful than any of the three Bush v. Misbehaving Gore extravaganzas. You could make a case that Cheney and Lieberman were more qualified to be at the top of the ticket that year (Cheney over Bush on experience, Lieberman over Gore by a mile on temperament).

Cheney and Lieberman appear to have changed very little in eight years, but the traditional media treatment of them has created false templates that Shapiro can’t or won’t break through. He’s still blinded by his bias, and has learned nothing from being taken in by Edwards. Traditional Media types who migrate to the web aren’t going to get back their audiences with blindness, and blind bias, like Shapiro’s.

Positivity: Three-year-old survives rare cancer

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Metro Pittsburgh:

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Nothing is so sweet as the morning greeting Meredith Carabin gets from her 3-year-old daughter, Isabella.
“She comes in, kisses me on the nose, and says, ‘Good morning Mommy. I love you,’” said Carabin of Arnold. “She does that every morning.”

A daily routine like that is enough to warm any parent’s heart, but it’s especially emotional for Carabin, who almost lost her little girl to a rare form of cancer about two years ago.

“For a child who was supposed to be gone two years ago and is still here — it’s amazing,” Carabin said. “She’s a miracle.”

Isabella Carabin-Lindgren was diagnosed in March 2006 at 10 months old with Ewing’s sarcoma in the brain. Ewing’s sarcoma is a bone cancer that most often appears between ages 10 and 20. It rarely shows up in the brain. Common occurrences are in the pelvis, leg, upper arm or ribs.
“This is a rare tumor in general,” Dr. Regina Jakacki said. “There are few occurrences, if any, in the brain.”

Jakacki, a pediatric neuro-oncologist at Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh who treated Isabella, said rarer still is that the girl’s tumor was isolated to her brain tissue and not connected to the skull.

“It was extremely unusual,” Jakacki said.

The diagnosis

Doctors had difficulty identifying the type of cancer that Isabella developed and were practically convinced it couldn’t be Ewing’s sarcoma. Jakacki said a decision to have the tumor’s chromosomes analyzed led to the proper diagnosis.

“The doctors were saying it was impossible that she had Ewing’s sarcoma in the brain,” Carabin said. “There are so very few cases of that ever reported.”

Carabin said the road leading up to the diagnosis was filled with obstacles — every bit as much as the treatment regimen that followed.
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