August 29, 2010

AP Outrageously Asserts that Beck ‘Borrowed’ Obama’s Lines

GlennBeckOnFox0810It would appear that the development of persuasive rhetoric began and ended during the 2007-2008 presidential campaign of now-President Barack Obama.

That’s the nearly inevitable conclusion one must reach based on a breathtakingly absurd contention in a (I can’t believe I’m typing this) “Breaking News Update” that appeared at the Associated Press at 3:40 p.m. yesterday.

When Glenn Beck spoke yesterday at his “Restoring Honor” rally in Washington, he told his audience: “One man can change the world. That man or woman is you. You make the difference.”

The AP’s reaction was to assert that “Beck is borrowing some lines from President Barack Obama.” By using the word “borrowing,” AP in essence arrogantly, ignorantly and insultingly contended that Beck couldn’t possibly have come up with those sixteen words on his own, and that Barack Obama is the only historical repository of such profundity. From here, it looks like the wire service might be accusing Beck of plagiarism. My goodness, “The Essential Global News Network” should be thoroughly embarrassed.

When you take a look at the full AP item, you further realize that whoever prepared the unbylined story didn’t even bother to try to prove that Barack Obama has ever used the words Beck allegedly “borrowed”:

APonBeckBorrowingFromObama082810

Contrary to the story’s barely disguised contention, there are plenty of other people who have previously strung together the three sentences Beck used.

Putting aside the likely countless references one could compile if all the religious sermons, meeting orations, political speeches, and mealtime discussions in human history were assembled, Google Web searches on the three exact sentences the AP quoted return the following results:

As hard as it may be for the AP to believe, I can confidently contend that not every one of the results cited originated from the mind of Barack Obama. Though readers will have to forgive me for not being in the mood to go through the over 280,000 results found to prove it, the possibility exists that that Barack Obama has rarely if ever exactly said any of them.

AP’s rendition of Obama’s thought pattern, if one is to believe it, is vastly different from that of Beck, whose message is far more empowering.

Under Obama’s logic as AP has laid it out, one person can’t make a difference on their own. They need a room to be able to change a city. One room on its own can’t change a state; only a city can. A city can’t change a country; only  a state can. The logic is that of the collective; one person really can’t make a big difference without a host of others assembled into ever larger formally organized entities.

Beck skips all of the intermediate steps. One person, by himself or herself, can change the world. Sure, people can and do work together in groups to make change happen, but unlike what is strongly implied in Obama’s logic, they don’t have to submit themselves to the will of a collective entity to accomplish great things. The difference between Obama as AP explains him and Beck in his own words could not be more profound.

Finally, a 9 PM ET Google Web search on this exact phrase — “One man can change the world. That man or woman is you. You make the difference.” — returns 51 results without “similar” ones. Beck is the source of all 51.

P.S. Yes, I also noticed the complete-crock reference to a crowd of “tens of thousands.”

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

The ‘Recovery Summer’ has been found! — In Germany

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 2:45 pm

This post went up at the Washington Examiner’s OpinionZone blog and was teased here at BizzyBlog on Friday afternoon.

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It turns out that the “Recovery Summer” the Obama administration has turned into a national joke really is taking place — just not here.

Uncle Sam’s Bureau of Economic Analysis reported its first revision of second-quarter economic growth earlier this morning, estimating that the economy grew at an annualized rate of 1.6%. That’s down by one-third from last month’s initial report of 2.4%.

The good news is that the hit wasn’t as big as expected. Most estimates ahead of the news ranged from 1.2% to 1.4%. CNBC’s Jim Cramer notably predicted +0.5% and an ensuing “market panic.” Fortunately, we’ve been spared from that.

The bad news is that it’s still a pretty serious drop, and that the revised second-quarter result is less than half of the first quarter’s annualized +3.7%.

Beyond that, the rest of the year looks like it will be no better, and could end up being significantly worse.

Nouriel Roubini, Economist at New York University’s Stern School of Business, is with what seems to the current consensus that second-half growth will come in at an annualized 1.5%. But he goes further, warning that 2011 will be no better, and will seem worse: “Even at 1.5%, it’s going to feel like a recession even though technically it’s not a recession.” The way things are going, we’ll be lucky to hit that 1.5%.

Meanwhile, Germany’s economy grew at an annualized rate of over 8% during the second quarter, tripling analysts’ expectations (the 2.2% figured noted at the link is not annualized). Its government crowed: “Reunified Germany has never seen such quarterly growth before.” Expectations are that German growth will continue to be strong, though not as robust as the breakout second quarter.

Why is Germany doing so well? I suspect that it’s largely because Chancellor Angela Merkel pointedly rejected President Obama’s advice in March:

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has reiterated that she does not favor a new package of economic stimulus measures despite US calls for more spending as world leaders prepare for a G20 meeting in London.

Largely as a result, in my view, Germany has a genuine “Recovery Summer” in progress. We don’t, and we won’t, as long as this administration continues down its current path.

A Revealing AP Slip? A Strange Stray Question Mark Appears in Report on Ground Zero Mosque Imam (Update: Removed at AP Main’s Site)

RaufWithQuestionMark082710An interesting character made an appearance in a Saturday evening Associated Press report by Cristian Salazar on Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf:

APonRaufAtAPsite082810

It’s not a one-time accident. The same paragraph carried at Google’s version of the story has the same extra character:

APonRaufAtGooglesite082810

The question mark is actually well-placed, as the following paragraphs from Salazar’s report demonstrate (bolds are mine throughout this post):

… With Rauf largely absent from the debate, opponents have scoured past statements and critics portray the imam as tone-deaf to the sensitivities of families who lost relatives on Sept. 11. They argue he should forthrightly condemn Arab political movements such as Hamas that the U.S. government has designated as terrorist organizations.

Asked in June by WABC-AM whether he believed the State Department was correct in designating Hamas as a terrorist organization, Rauf gave a winding response: “I am not a politician. … The issue of terrorism is a very complex question. … I do not want to be placed … in a position of … where I am the target of one side or another.”

… After the Sept. 11 attacks, Rauf was called on repeatedly by news organizations to help explain to Americans why the U.S. was so hated by some factions in the Muslim world.

Some of his comments then have now been seized on by critics as evidence of anti-American views.

“We tend to forget, in the West, that the United States has more Muslim blood on its hands than al Qaida has on its hands of innocent non-Muslims,” he said in a 2005 lecture in Australia. “You may remember that the U.S.-led sanction against Iraq led to the death of over half a million Iraqi children. This has been documented by the United Nations.”

Salazar and the other AP contributors to the report (Religion Writer Rachel Zoll, AP writer David B. Caruso, and AP Investigative Researcher Randy Herschaft) “somehow” missed this item from just three weeks after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, in a 60 Minutes interview:

BRADLEY: Are — are — are you in any way suggesting that we in the United States deserved what happened?

Imam ABDUL RAUF: I wouldn’t say that the United States deserved what happened, but the United States policies were an accessory to the crime that happened.

BRADLEY: OK. You say that we’re an accessory?

Imam ABDUL RAUF: Yes.

BRADLEY: How?

Imam ABDUL RAUF: Because we have been an accessory to a lot of — of innocent lives dying in the world. In fact, it — in the most direct sense, Osama bin Laden is made in the USA.

As to the stray question mark, I’d like to think that an AP gremlin– or perhaps one of the report’s three other contributors — is asking Salazar, “Who do you think you’re fooling?”

The story as carried at both sites has been saved at my web host (here and here) for fair use, discussion, and future heckling purposes.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

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Update, 8:00 p.m: After leaving the story alone for about 22 hours (since 9:27 last night), the wire service has updated the story at its main site as of 7:21 p.m. The only change made was to remove the stray question mark. The stray question mark is still present in the story as carried at Google.

Positivity: ‘Glenn Beck 8/28 rally — It’s a matter of honor’

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:05 am

beck-crowd-APFrom Alveda King, written on the day before yesterday’s Glenn Beck “Restore Honor” rally in Washington:

… Americans are hungry to reclaim the symbols of our liberty, hard won by an unlikely group of outnumbered, outgunned, underfunded patriots determined not to live in servitude to the British Empire. If we want to sing the national anthem at a memorial to the man who led this fledgling nation out of slavery, and made my people free, we should be able to send our voices soaring to the heavens.

Glenn Beck’s “Rally to Restore Honor” this Saturday will give us that chance, and that’s why I feel it’s important for me to be there.

Before the words were out of Mr. Beck’s mouth announcing the Aug. 28 rally, The New York Times noted that it would be at the same place and 47 years to the day since my Uncle Martin gave his “I Have a Dream Speech.” When asked why he chose that date in particular, Beck said he had not realized its significance, but in thinking about it, he saw it is an auspicious day to rally for the honor of the American people. He has said, and he’s right, that Martin Luther King didn’t speak only for African-Americans. He spoke for all Americans, and his words still ring true.

Other groups are planning rallies and demonstrations in Washington that day, and freedom of speech gives them the right to do so – and to criticize me for not jumping on their bandwagon. But Uncle Martin’s legacy is big enough to go around.

A rally about character, not politics

Though critics see it as partisan, Beck’s rally is not a political event, per se. Instead, it is designed to be a refreshing exercise of freedom of speech.

The rally will be a celebration of who we are as a nation and a chance to stop for a moment, reflect, reorganize, and re-energize. It’s a chance to think about character; both our character as a nation and our character as individuals.

Delineating ourselves as red state or blue, liberal or conservative, minority or majority, we have not quite reached the day when men and women are “judged not by the color of their skin but on the content of their character.” We are still marching toward that day. As Uncle Martin said, “we cannot turn back.”

The rally will also give America another chance to honor and thank the men and women in our armed forces for the dangers they face every day in our stead. Unless you have a loved one in Iraq or Afghanistan, it’s too easy to forget that tens of thousands of Americans are far from the comforts of home, are directly in harm’s way, facing an enemy who hates us precisely because we are free. And coming just days before the ninth anniversary of 9/11, the day that roused us from our complacency, we could use another wakeup call, one of our own devising.

When I join Beck and all gathered at the Lincoln Memorial this weekend, I will talk about my Uncle Martin and the America he envisioned. I will talk about honor and character and sacrifice. I will be joined by those who represent the diversity of the human race.

On Saturday, Uncle Martin’s dream of personhood and human dignity will resound across America. And the Park Police should consider themselves forewarned: As we stand in the symbolic shadow of the great American who signed the Emancipation Proclamation, we just might sing.

Dr. Alveda King is the director of African-American outreach for Priests for Life, and the founder of King for America.

Go here to read Ms. King’s full column.