April 14, 2009

Just When You Think the Big 3 Evening Newscasts Can’t Sink Any Lower, They Do

I could of course be commenting on the poor quality of the alleged journalism. But in this case I’m talking about their ratings, which is of course largely caused by said poor journalism.

Three weeks ago (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), I noted that the Big 3 networks’ evening newscasts’ combined ratings had dropped about 17% since the collective high they achieved during the week of January 26, the first full week after Barack Obama’s nomination.

Make that 21%. In the 25-54 demographic, the drop has been 30%. And it’s not just a seasonality thing. The collective drop compared to last year is over 4%, continuing a long-term decline the nets surely hoped they might prevent if they could just get their guy elected to the White House. No dice, guys.

Here is an updated week-by-week graph for each network since the first of the year, followed by some demographic and overall info (based on info found at the Evening News Ratings Category at Media Bistro’s TV Newser):

EveningNewsGraphic040609

Do you think any of them are wondering if they maybe, just maybe, should have started paying attention to that Tea Party thing a bit earlier than, say, tomorrow morning?

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

Too Good To Be True? Obama Iraq Troop Greeting Allegedly Staged

So says MacsMind (via Flopping Aces via Minority Report via Jeff Emanuel at RedState).

MacsMind’s post is in response to an all-too-predictable gusher delivered by Democratic operative disguised as Associated Press reporter Jennifer Loven on April 7 (bold is mine):

Cheered wildly by U.S. troops, President Barack Obama flew unannounced into Iraq on Tuesday and promptly declared it was time for Iraqis to “take responsibility for their country” after America’s commitment of six years and thousands of lives.

“You have given Iraq the opportunity to stand on its own as a democratic country,” the president said as he made a brief inspection of a war he opposed as candidate and now vows to end as commander in chief. “That is an extraordinary achievement.”

MacsMind contends that the troop contingent was contrived, based on an e-mail he says he received “from a sergeant that was there.” The corresponding sergeant also dropped a telltale clue (in bold):

We were pre-screened, asked by officials “Who voted for Obama?”, and then those who raised their hands were shuffled to the front of the receiving line. They even handed out digital cameras and asked them to hold them up.

Take a look at the picture at AP and notice all the cameras are the same models? Coincidence? I think not.

Well, well, here’s the picture in question:

ObamaTroopsAndCameras0409

Indeed, there are an awful lot of cameras that look awfully identical.

Another consolidated wire report found at the Dallas Morning News at midnight on April 8 described the event as “hundreds of U.S. troops cheering wildly” and as “a stunning show of appreciation for Obama from military men and women who have made great sacrifices, many serving repeated tours in a highly unpopular war.”

So it seems that the establishment press got played. It also appears that New Media made them look like the fools they are. And it looks like Team Obama is going to have to improve its stealth techniques the next time around.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

NYT: ‘Surgical’ GM Bankruptcy Would Leave $70+ Billion in Taxpayers’ and Future Generations’ Blood on the Floor

GMsilverLogoHere’s a Tea Party Wednesday engine-starter, so to speak.

This past week, while much the world focused on the terrorists in training euphemistically known as ‘pirates,” and the more religious among us attended Holy Week services and celebrated the Resurrection, bean counters and government bureaucrats were trying to figure out just how much a bankruptcy at General Motors could empty the treasury …. Oh, I forgot, the treasury is empty. I should have said “how much future generations will pay for General Motors’ current bankruptcy.”

In a Sunday night/Monday morning story that “skillfully” buried the lede, the New York Times’s Micheline Maynard and Michael J. de la Merced misdirected readers with talk of a “surgical” bankruptcy, while saving for later paragraphs evidence they have indicating that, if it occurs, it won’t be a bankruptcy as you or I understand it. Properly stated, it should be renamed “Operation Make UAW Members Nearly Whole at Taxpayers’ Expense.”

Meanwhile, the Detroit Free Press appears to be almost unique in reporting that, hard as it is to believe (kidding, of course), GM might not actually repay all of the monies “lent” by Uncle Sam.

But back at the Times, though they waited until Paragraph 10 to drop the big number on us, Maynard and de la Merced eventually made it clear that taking a bit of a principal hit on the government’s loans might be the least of taxpayers’ problems, given the skulduggery (and that is the right word) Barack Obama and Treasury Secretary Tim “Tax Cheat” Geithner have embarked upon:

‘Surgical’ Bankruptcy Possible for G.M.

The Treasury Department is directing General Motors to lay the groundwork for a bankruptcy filing by a June 1 deadline, despite G.M.’s public contention that it could still reorganize outside court, people with knowledge of the plans said during the weekend.

Members of President Obama’s automotive task force spent last week in meetings and on conference calls with G.M. officials and its advisers in Detroit and Washington. Those talks are expected to continue this week.

The goal is to prepare for a fast “surgical” bankruptcy, the people who had been briefed on the plans said. G.M., which has been granted $13.4 billion in federal aid, insists that a quick restructuring is necessary so its image and sales are not damaged permanently.

….. One plan under consideration would create a new company that would buy the “good” assets of G.M. almost immediately after the carmaker files for bankruptcy.

Less desirable assets, including unwanted brands, factories and health care obligations, would be left in the old company, which could be liquidated over several years.

Treasury officials are examining one potential outcome in which the “good G.M.” enters and exits bankruptcy protection in as little as two weeks, using $5 billion to $7 billion in federal financing, a person who had been briefed on the prospect said last week.

(Paragraph 10 — Ed.) The rest of G.M. may require as much as $70 billion in government financing, and possibly more to resolve the health care obligations and the liquidation of the factories, according to legal experts and federal officials.

This is, of course, not how a normal bankruptcy works. But then, you didn’t really think Barack Obama was going to be open to a normal bankruptcy that would leave the UAW holding its fair share of an empty bag, did you?

Though it’s vague, I interpret the last excerpted sentence as $70 billion NOT INCLUDING the health care obligations, which I believe are in the tens of billions all by themselves.

The only tiny consolation: It looks like the people who warned that this whole thing was going to turn into a bottomless pit just four short months ago at least get the chance to say “I told you so.”

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

UPDATE: Somehow, I don’t think this vehicle will save GM (HT Ed Driscoll).

AP Writers Seem Sympathetic to ‘Pirates’ in Latest Dispatch

APabsolutelyPatheticIn a report this morning  on the situation off the coast on Somalia, Associated Press reporters Elizabeth A. Kennedy and Paul Jelinek seemed oddly sympathetic to the cause of the terrorists in training the world insists on calling “pirates,” almost to the point of grudging admiration.

Check out some of the words the AP pair used in their 9:15 a.m. dispatch (saved at host for fair use and discussion purposes, and for future reference if or when the text changes) following the “breaking news alert” at the link:

Undeterred Somali pirates hijack 4 more ships

Undeterred by U.S. and French hostage rescues that killed five bandits, Somali pirates brazenly hijacked three more ships in the Gulf of Aden, the waterway at the center of the world’s fight against piracy.

….. The latest trophy for the pirates was the M.V. Irene E.M., a Greek-managed bulk carrier sailing from the Middle East to South Asia, said Noel Choong, who heads the International Maritime Bureau’s piracy reporting center in Kuala Lumpur.

The Irene was attacked and seized in the middle of the night Tuesday – a rare tactic for the pirates.

Wow. These brave “pirates” are “undeterred.” They’ll change tactics if they have to. And their reward for acting so “brazenly” is yet another “trophy.”

Trophy?!?

It would appear that the reporters’ desire to make America and the free world look weak in the face of lawlessness is more important than the impact its expansion might have on real peoples’ lives, the world economy, and their supposed best bud Barack Obama. Or maybe they’re trying to send a signal to the White House that it’s not going to get any journalistic backup if their guy continues to act like a real Commander-in-Chief instead of the Chief Kumbaya Orchestrator they expected.

The two AP reporters’ work is of a piece with an item James Taranto at Best of the Web noted yesterday at Reuters (bold is mine):

So far, pirates have generally treated hostages well, sometimes roasting goat meat for them and even passing phones round so they can call loved ones. The worst violence reported has been the occasional beating and no hostages are known to have been killed by pirates.

Taranto incredulously asked, “So suffering an ‘occasional beating’ to be consistent with being treated ‘well’?”

Not to put too fine a point on it, but maybe someone should ask Reuters writers Abdi Sheikh and Abdi Guled, if they have wives, how “well” they treat them.

Seriously, whose side are the world’s reporters on?

Back to the AP pair – Perhaps, to advance the cause of investigative journalism, Kennedy and Jelinek should consider offering themselves up in a hostage exchange so they can experience first-hand what these “brazen” and “undeterred” thugs are capable of. No, I don’t want them to really do this. But if they did, and in the somewhat unlikely event they actually survived intact, their reporting might actually improve.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

Lucid Links (041409)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 9:07 am

Noteworthy Net-Worthies:

As noted at the time, I thought Obama did the right thing with the Richard Phillips situation on Sunday. The overreaction to all of this from both sides has been pathetic. On the left and in the press, with White House help (but I repeat myself, twice), they’re trying to claim that it’s some kind of defining moment. Example: the ever reliable Jennifer Loven at the Associated Press (HT Tim Graham at NewsBusters). That’s really weak. But those on the right, and they are legion, who are saying “big bleeping deal,” are forgetting that Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter would probably have intervened to prevent the Navy from doing its job. So please, lefties, step away from the Mt. Rushmore chisels. Righties, recognize that Sunday was a small step that was at least, and at last, in the right direction. I do agree that whether or not it ultimately does anything to clean up the Somalia problem in general should be a benchmark in evaluating the administration’s success or failure in the region.

Sadly related — The administration’s apparent two week-old halt on using the term “War on Terror” in favor of crap like “overseas contingency operations” is a reality-denying, terrorist-encouraging sign that it isn’t serious about our safety. They apparently denied the bureaucratic revisionism for a bit, but Hillary Clinton confirmed it a few days later.

Speaking of Hillary, in light of this gem captured by Ken Shepherd at NewsBusters, Mrs. Clinton is probably wondering where Katie Couric was when she was making her “experience” arguments during last year’s primaries — “Sticking up against those ol’ playground bullies on the Right, CBS’s Katie Couric tells conservatives in a recent blog post to ” give the new kids on the block” in the Obama administration “a chance to get their learner’s permits first.” More currently relevant: Katie, when do we get to ask if the training wheels have come off yet?

Meant to note this (HT Michelle Malkin) a while ago, and it needs to get on the record here — “One of those allegedly asleep-at-the-switch board members (at Freddie Mac) was Chicago’s Rahm Emanuel—now chief of staff to President Barack Obama—who made at least $320,000 for a 14-month stint at Freddie Mac that required little effort.” Board seats at Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, which have cost US taxpayers almost $60 billion so far, according to the latest Monthly Treasury Statement (see the line item called “Housing and Economic Recovery Programs” on Page 15), were merely Democratic Party payoffs for other politically-related jobs well done. The Chicago Trib article notes that the negligent boards let accounting scandals fester and permitted aggressive and illegal electioneering.

AP writer Bruce Schreiner, in an early Monday story, failed to identify the party affiliation of officials indicted in March in Clay County, Kentucky. They are accused of rigging elections in Clay County. It appears to be a bipartisan, though leaning Democrat, effort. What was really weird is that it took Schreiner 14 paragraphs to even get around to naming anyone indicted. Even in a background piece, that’s ridiculous.

God Bless Texas, and Rick Perry.

Positivity: California soldier loses his leg, but not his fighting spirit

Filed under: Positivity,US & Allied Military — Tom @ 5:57 am

From Modesto, California — don’t miss the final sentence:

On March 27, Pvt. Abraham Odisho was part of a team pulling security for Maj. Gen. Robert L. Caslen, the commander of the Army’s 25th Infantry Division (Light), who was visiting the Iraqi farming town of Ad Dawr.

The 20-year-old from Modesto, Calif., was driving an armored fighting vehicle called an MRAP, for Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle. It’s sturdy, but it’s not invulnerable. At 12:30 p.m., Odisho was crawling along at about 5 mph on a divided four-lane road.

His vehicle was the third in a convoy. They’d just passed an intersection when the gunner swore and dropped down out of the turret. Odisho heard an explosion.

An insurgent, or whoever it was, had tossed a grenade at the passenger’s side. A superheated copper slug tore through the armor, grazed Odisho’s right leg and then obliterated his left shin.

Odisho’s legs no longer obeyed orders. On a scale of 1 to 10, the pain was a 10. In the moment, he knew but one thing.

“I have to get out of the kill zone or we’re going to die,” Odisho thought to himself.

Odisho manipulated his right foot with his hands so it was back on the gas pedal. Then he used one hand to push his leg down and get the vehicle rolling again. He finally caught up with the rest of the convoy, where he could be pulled out, hauled back to base and flown to the first of a series of hospitals.

Odisho lost part of his left leg in Iraq, but he considers himself lucky in every way.

On Friday, he endured his eighth surgery since he was wounded on March 27. Now bedding down on Ward 57 at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, the Army private has a long march ahead of him.

He’ll need grueling physical therapy. He’ll get a prosthetic. He’ll face the prospect of phantom pain and, one presumes, nightmares. Yet for all that, he sounds remarkably composed; content, even, particularly with his decision to become a soldier.

“I’ve done things that 90 percent of Americans haven’t done, let alone raising my right hand and taking the oath,” Odisho said in a telephone interview Friday.

….. While he’s no longer with his comrades in Hawaii-based Bastard Company, 2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry Regiment, but they’re lauding him for his adroit behavior under fire.

“They’re saying I saved everyone,” Odisho said.

Odisho is an Assyrian Christian who was born in Iraq and moved with his family to California’s Central Valley in 1991, when he was 3. In time, his parents became naturalized U.S. citizens.

….. “I am Assyrian by blood,” Odisho said, “and American by choice.”

Go here for the rest of the story.