August 6, 2009

LifeNews.com Busts AP Over Presence of Abortion Funding in Dems’ Health Care Plan

APmediaBiasLifeNewsKudos to Steve Ertelt at LifeNews.com (the source of the graphic at the right) and to others in the pro-life community for getting the notoriously stubborn Associated Press to effectively back down on a false claim it made about the availability of abortion services in the version of the health care bill passed by a House Committee last week.

On August 3, Ertelt wrote the following (link to AP story added by me for fair use, discussion, and refutation purposes):

The Associated Press is coming under criticism from pro-life advocates who say its recent wrap-up article on the health care debate is misleading.

AP writer Charles Babington wrote a “fact check” story attempting to make the case that abortion is not included in the health care bills and that President Barack Obama doesn’t want it to be included.

But Douglas Johnson, the legislative director for the National Right to Life Committee, says that’s not the case.

AP claims that “Obama recently told CBS that the nation should continue a tradition of not financing abortions as part of government-funded health care.’”

“If Obama had actually said that, it would have been a very newsworthy statement indeed. But Obama didn’t say it. AP has grossly distorted what Obama actually said,” Johnson tells LifeNews.com.

….. (In an interview with CBS’s Katie Couric on July 21), Obama added, “I’m pro-choice, but I think we also have the tradition in this town, historically, of not financing abortions as part of government-funded health care.”

Johnson said Obama’s remark was an observation and not an endorsement of keeping abortion out of health care, as the Associated Press reported.

“Contrary to the AP account, Obama did not in any way endorse this ‘tradition’ and he did not say that the ‘tradition’ should be continued,” Johnson noted. That is “not surprising since Obama consistently has opposed limits on funding abortion during his time in the Illinois state senate and the U.S. Senate, and he reiterated his flat opposition to the Hyde Amendment when he ran for President.”

….. “We respectfully ask that AP retract this distorted rewrite on what Obama said on an important public policy issue,” Johnson said.

On August 5, in commenting on an AP follow-up report, Ertelt noted that AP had in effect corrected itself:

Two days after LifeNews.com exposed an Associated Press article that mislead its readers on the abortion funding contained in the government-run health care plans, AP has backtracked. The news service is now reporting that the bills Congress is considering will result in taxpayer-funded abortions.

AP features a new article today with the headline, “Gov’t insurance would allow coverage for abortion.”

Reporter Ricardo Alonsozaldivar writes, “Health care legislation before Congress would allow a new government-sponsored insurance plan to cover abortions, a decision that would affect millions of women and recast federal policy on the divisive issue.”

That’s a far cry from the weekend story where AP writer Charles Babington wrote a “fact check” that claimed it is “not clear” if abortion funding is included in the legislation.

The Babington story was so bad that Douglas Johnson, the legislative director for the National Right to Life Committee, told LifeNews.com, “We respectfully ask that AP retract this distorted” article.

While the first AP piece claimed the health care bill “could create a government-run insurance program, or insurance ‘exchanges,’ that would not involve Medicaid” that could involve abortion funding, the new piece says that is now the case.

AP admitted that the Capps amendment a House committee adopted last week “would allow the public plan to cover abortion” with “dollars from beneficiary premiums.” It added, “Likewise, private plans in the new insurance exchange could opt to cover abortion.”

Johnson told LifeNews.com today that the AP piece “confirms what we’ve been saying: Under both Obama-backed bills, House and Senate, the federal government would run a huge system of subsidizing elective abortion.”

This is all to the good, but the fact remains that Babington’s bogus take — in a “Fact Check” report, no less — is still out there, uncorrected. A review of the latest list of AP corrections, which includes items going back into July, shows no indication of an admission that Babington was wrong. He was, and the fact that AP won’t correct or pull his report — while tacitly acknowledging in a separate report that he was indeed wrong — is yet another disgraceful episode in the annals of the self-described “Essential Global News Network.”

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

Transparent: AP Puts No-News Story about Sanford on National Wire

Could they be any more obvious about it?

Just in case you somehow haven’t heard about it in the past couple of months, the Associated Press wanted to remind everyone this morning that South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford (who, to be clear, I believe should resign), who had AN AFFAIR(!!), went back to work today — and that this really, really deserved to be a national story, as shown in the mini-pic of the AP’s raw feed:

SanfordInAPrawFeed080609

The unbylined AP item also reminded readers that Sanford “had been a GOP darling” earlier this year. Of course, there’s no bias in that dubious statement.

Here’s a picture of most of the short AP report, produced for the purposes of fair use, discussion, and ridicule:

SanfordAPreport080609

You will note that there is no real news in the report. Apparently the only reason for running it is a need to keep fresh the memory that a fiscally conservative Republican had an affair.

Maybe someone at the AP is jealous that a book about a real “Culture of Corruption” is Number 1 on the New York Times Bestsellers List.

The AP would be better served if they paid attention to what is really in relatively important things like, oh, what’s in the health care bill. I’ll get to that shortly. (Update: It’s here.)

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

Lickety-Split Links (080609, Morning)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 9:36 am

Michelle Malkin’sCulture of Corruptionwill hit Number 1 on the August 16 New York Times Bestsellers List. Heartiest congrats.

Michelle notes that “It happened without a single review in a mainstream newspaper.” The “pretend it doesn’t exist” outlook was also present with Mark Levin’s seminal “Liberty and Tyranny,” which spent 12 of 13 weeks atop the NYT’s list.

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Sound-bite summary of this Mark Steyn critique of Jason Weisburg’s pathetic Obama excuse piece at Slate — “It’s getting a little old to blame Bush for the horrors of the Bush presidency. So why not blame Bush for the horrors of the Obama presidency?”

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Read Kurt Brouwer’s “Crackpot Economics & Cash For Clunkers.” It’s as good a collection of sound economic thought from a variety of sources, including Kurt himself, as I think you’ll find anywhere.

The consensus, not surprisingly: It stinks.

The post has a spot-on analogy that was originally at Econbrowser, referring to “the Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1933, which paid farmers to slaughter livestock and plow up good crops, as if destroying useful goods could somehow make the nation wealthier.”

Disabling and destroying a perfectly usable car is really about the same. Personally, it never even occurred to me, and I suspect many others, that a program like this would mandate the substantive destruction of hundreds of thousands of cars. As so many commenters at so many places have already asked in one form or another, “Why not give the cars away to poor people, students, or struggling charities that need them?”

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Also noted at Kurt’s place in the same post — When Germany recently embarked on a similar plan, other consumer goods retailers complained that the program was “sucking out spending” from the retail sector.

There may be a parallel effect in play here. In the U.S., “…. retail sales decreased 0.2 percent for the week ending Aug. 1, the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) and Goldman Sachs reported Tuesday. On a year-over-year basis, sales were down 0.7 percent.”

The Associated Press’s Anne D’Innocenzio writes that “It’s still early, but analysts’ grades already are coming in: the back-to-school shopping season is off to a lousy start.” D’Innocenzio quotes an economist who, using a very appropriate verb, says that Cash for Clunkers “might siphon away sales from other categories like clothing and home furnishings.”

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Heard something really, really interesting yesterday — Glenn Beck told listeners during the 11 a.m. Eastern hour that he has refused to carry advertising from General Motors. I don’t know the specific date that this began, but I do know that it’s because Beck said he can no longer trust them. I also (I believe safely) assume that he objects to the government’s ownership.

I believe that if I were in Beck’s place I would have done the same thing. I certainly wouldn’t be doing what Sean Hannity has been doing. It’s not just that Hannity is still carrying GM ads; he’s narrating them. And it’s not just that he’s hawking the vehicles; he’s actually telling listeners to learn all about the “new GM” (I heard that pitch on Monday or Tuesday).

I don’t think I’m alone when I say that Mr. “Conservative Underground, Conservatism in Exile” is engaging in more than a little hypocrisy in taking money from a state-run enterprise that came into being largely by shafting bondholders out of their contractual rights.

I guess if Obama’s unwieldy health plan passes, we’ll hear Sean singing ad-driven praises of the Health Choices Administration and the Bureau of Health Information in the coming years.

I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, given that Hannity has been a virtually non-stop all-Mitt Romney, all-the-time lap dog for almost two years, despite Romney’s drop-dead obvious Objective Unfitness. But it’s deeply disappointing, given that Hannity (heaven help us) is Limbaugh’s heir apparent if/when El Rushbo ever hangs up the Golden EIB microphone.

I’m not up on what Rush has or hasn’t done since the GM bailouts began, or since the GM bankruptcy; but I don’t think he’s presently carrying GM advertising either, and I believe he hasn’t been for several months.

Here’s my bigger-picture take: GM, as I recall it, barely ever advertised nationally on conservative talk radio until mid- to late-2007. If there were any ads before that time, I don’t think the hosts ever narrated the pitches themselves. The company almost certainly wasn’t giving the hosts and their employees cars to try out for a few weeks before then. By late 2007/early 2008, almost all of them (Limbaugh, Hannity, Beck, and Ingraham for sure) were narrating ads and singing the praises of the loaned models (i.e., putting their reputations on the line, as opposed to merely carrying canned ads).

I believe that GM did what it did largely to mute anticipated criticism of its likely plans to seek government help. Yes of course it wanted to sell cars, but conservative talk didn’t all of a sudden become an effective advertising medium in 2007.

By mid-2008, writers at Forbes, the Wall Street Journal, and others were already speculating that the company appeared to be dressing itself up for a government bailout of some kind. In hindsight, it does seem that the company, with its hype of the barely on the drawing board Volt and other green and politically correct posturing, combined with seeming neglect of its core brands, was doing just that.

If buying off conservative talk radio was indeed the strategy, it worked well enough. You would expect the talkers to have been in all-out rant mode last December at bailout crunch time. Instead, my recall is that their criticism, though present, was comparatively perfunctory. If they feel I’m being unfair, they know how to contact me.

Positivity: Neighbours toast fire rescue hero

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 7:43 am

From Queensland, Australia:

12:00a.m. 3rd August 2009

The manager of a Buderim unit complex has been hailed as a hero by neighbours after he rushed barefoot to fight a fire in one of his apartments.

Emergency services received a report of a fire in ‘The Enclave’ apartment block on Fig Bird Crescent at 1.40pm yesterday.

Eyewitness Loreina Wilson said complex manager Greg Robinson ran from his own apartment without a second thought as flames and thick black smoke billowed from the ground floor apartment.

Fire fighters said the female resident first realised her apartment was on fire as she was driving home and saw the clouds of smoke.

Enclave resident of two years, Paul O’Ranje, said he and his family were just leaving for an afternoon bike ride when they saw the fire.

The 38 year old father jumped the tall wooden fence and grabbed another garden hose to help Mr Robinson fight off the blaze which started in a wheelie bin outside the unit.

“I only arrived afterwards. Greg was already there at that time,” Mr O’Ranje said.

….. Neighbours cried out their best wishes to Mr Robinson as the emergency vehicle left telling him there would be a drink waiting for him on return.

Go here for the whole story.