May 17, 2011

Media Bistro: CNN ‘Sex Scandals’ TV Segment Omits CNN Show Host Eliot Spitzer

cnnlogoChris Ariens filed a report today at MediaBistro’s TVNewser that opened with a reader’s Tweet, which plaintively asked: “Did CNN really exclude Spitzer from Malveaux package on Sex Scandals & Politics? Hmm..”

Ariens responds:

The answer: yes it did.

Suzanne Malveaux‘s story, which aired at 2:30pm ET, made mention or showed images of politicians ranging from John F. Kennedy to John Edwards; also former Governors James McGreevey and Mark Sanford, and former Sen. Larry Craig and current Sen. David Vitter, former Pres. Bill Clinton, and 2012 presidential candidate Newt Gingrich — their private indiscretions made very public. But no mention of Eliot Spitzer who resigned as Governor of New York after it was revealed he had patronized a prostitution service. Spitzer now hosts CNN’s 7pm show “In the Arena.” We’ve learned the producer/editor on the story, who use their own judgment on what to use and what not to use, chose not to include Spitzer in the story. has a slideshow of 17 recent political sex scandals. On it, Spitzer is #10.

How considerate of that conveniently unnamed producer.

Spitzer’s picture is also on the front page of the slide show, which really only has 16 items (the first slide is the intro). But as readers will see, unlike in most other entries, Spitzer was not identified as a Democrat.

Their order of appearance of the scoundrels included in the slideshow, with more than a tinge of “name that party” bias, is as follows:


CNNMoney Fails to Send Out a Housing Starts/Permits Email Alert in What ‘Just So Happened’ to Be a Bad Month

Shortly after 8:30 this morning, I began thinking that my e-mail alerts had stopped arriving. So I went to the Census Bureau’s web site and learned that its monthly report on housing starts, building permits, and other construction-related news had indeed been released. The news for the already moribund industry was awful: Building permits in April fell by a seasonally adjusted 4% from March and by 12.0% from April 2010, while the comparable tumbles in housing starts were 10.6% and 23.9%, respectively.

Well, my opening and closing bell e-mails arrived as expected. So unless there was a technical glitch, this means that CNNMoney decided not to issue a post-8:30 alert for the bad housing news.

Let’s take a look at the two e-mails which did arrive. First, just after the opening bell:


Hmm. The housing news was still missing, as the e-mail assigned the opening sell-off to HP’s downbeat forecast.

Over at the Associated Press, Derek Kravitz the Creative was seeing things a little differently:

… through the first four months of this year, the pace of new-home construction is barely ahead of 2009′s — the worst year on records dating back a half-century.

The disappointing construction data contributed to a sell-off on Wall Street. The Dow Jones industrial average fell more than 110 points in mid-day trading.

In the closing-bell e-mail, CNNMoney at least acknowledged the existence of the bad housing news — barely:


Actually, guys, the “grim” news on housing consists of many “readings,” several of which include:

  • Housing starts, as noted above. While in the neighborhood, so to speak, I should note that the raw (i.e., not seasonally adjusted data tells us that April’s 36,200 single-family starts came in a whopping 34.4% lower than April 2010′s 55,200.
  • Building permits, also noted above. 36,000 actual single-family building permits were issued in April. That’s the lowest April on records going back to 1959, and 21.9% lower than April 2010 — just in time for what was known in pre-Obama times as “peak buidling season.”
  • Homes under construction. That statistic, seasonally adjusted at 418,000, is the lowest on records going back to 1970, and, incredibly, the 21st consecutive record low or tying-the-record-low month. The lowest figure reported between 1970 and May 2009 was 629,000 in July 1992.
  • Housing units completed. The raw data for April was 43,100 units, which trailed April 2010 and April 2009 by 25.3% and 34.2%, respectively.

CNNMoney’s apparent failure to issue a separate housing-related e-mail is pretty interesting, given that it had no problem getting the following out in April:


Excuse me for suggesting that CNNMoney doesn’t appear to mind alerting readers to good housing news but holds back on bad news. It would appear that they’re afraid of unduly alarming the relatively disengaged who rely on CNNMoney headlines for an accurate overview of financial news. Why, if they’re not careful, their email alert subscribers might start thinking that the housing industry is in its worst shape since World War II. We can’t allow that.

Cross-posted at

The Debt Limit, In Cartoon Form

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 4:38 pm

One of the great advantages of finding a YouTube vid like the one which follows is that it spares me from having to comment extensively on a topic where the proper answers are so obvious.

This one doesn’t have the most impressive production values, but I’ll take it (HT Zero Hedge):

With Maxed Out America day rapidly approaching (it’s coming in six years on our current trajectory, and much sooner if the economy doesn’t begin to meaningfully expand), we can’t afford to raise the debt limit without ironclad spending controls which demonstrate to the world that our nation is still a worthwhile credit risk. If we don’t, whether or not we’re at the 90% ratio of debt owed to the public (currently about $9.7 trillion) to GDP (currently $15.0 trillion, leaving a ratio of about 65%) may not matter. The world’s lenders may either decide to stop lending to us or raise our interest rates before we get to that 90% threshold.

God Bless Russell Fuhrman

Filed under: Economy,Health Care,Life-Based News,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:54 am

NoToNewt2012From Dubuque, Iowa (HT the Washington Examiner via Hot Air):

Iowan to Gingrich: Get out now before you make a bigger fool of yourself

Newt Gingrich got a not-so-nice welcome here today.

As he was getting ready to leave a speaking engagement Dubuque resident Russell Fuhrman approached him in the lobby of the Holiday Inn:

“Get out now before you make a bigger fool of yourself,” Fuhrman said directly to Gingrich.

Gingrich, visibly stunned, quickly moved forward to talk with other guests.

Fuhrman told The Register afterward that he just happened to be at the hotel. He said he’s upset with Gingrich’s disagreements with parts of the House Republican Medicare reform plan.

It being the Des Moines Register, home base of USA Today founder and quiet radical Al Neuharth, the guess here is that reporter Jason Clayworth didn’t let Newt the newly-minted RINO off the hook by not reporting on the full nature of Gingrich’s “disagreements.” A Wall Street Journal editorial today elaborates:

Asked on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday about Paul Ryan’s reform plan, Mr. Gingrich chose to throw his former allies in the GOP House not so much under the bus as off the Grand Canyon rim.

The Ryan program “is too big a jump,” he said. “I think what you want to have is a system where people voluntarily migrate to better outcomes, better solutions, better options. Not one where you suddenly impose upon you—I don’t want to—I—I’m against ObamaCare, which is imposing radical change. And I would be against a conservative imposing radical change.”

On that basis, Newt would have been against ratifying the Constitution at crunch time in the 1780s. After all, the 2011 Newt would have declared, even though the Articles of Confederation clearly weren’t working, the meaningful freedom-enhancing changes of the Constitution would would be too “radical.”

Similarly, Medicare isn’t working. It’s a runaway freight train which threatens to chew up the nation’s finances and spit it out into little pieces. It cannot survive as it stands. We can either go the statist Obamacare route, with its inevitable rationing and death panels, or put power into the hands of individuals and families to control costs. If you rule out the latter as “radical,” as Newt did, you’re inevitably condemning the nation to the former.

Gingrich’s assertion makes his candidacy even more objectively untenable than it already was. God bless Russell Fuhrman for calling him out.

Positivity: Village unscathed by tsunami – thanks to mayor’s ‘crazy idea’

Filed under: Positivity,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:08 am

From Fudai, Japan:

Published Date: 14 May 2011

WHEN the mayor of the Japanese coastal village of Fudai ordered a 51ft-high wall built in the 1970s to protect his people from the potential ravages of a tsunami, he was called crazy, foolish and wasteful.
But after Fudai survived the monster wave that followed the 11 March earthquake unscathed, he is now regarded as a saviour.

The 3,000 residents of Fudai, living between mountains behind a cove, owe their lives to the late mayor Kotaku Wamura, who saw the devastation of an earlier tsunami and made it the priority of his four decades in office to defend the village from the next one.

His floodgate between mountainsides took a dozen years to build and cost the equivalent £18 million today.

“It cost a lot of money. But without it, Fudai would have disappeared,” said seaweed fisherman Satoshi Kaneko, 55.

The project was criticised as wasteful. But the gate and an equally high seawall behind the community’s adjacent fishing port protected Fudai from the waves that obliterated so many other towns and killed more than 25,000 people.

“However you look at it, the effectiveness of the floodgate and seawall was truly impressive,” the current Fudai mayor, Hiroshi Fukawatari, said.

Towns to the north and south also braced against tsunamis with concrete seawalls. But none were as tall as Fudai’s.

In Fudai, the waves rose as high as 66ft, so some ocean water did flow over, but it caused minimal damage. The gate broke the tsunami’s main thrust.

And it was all down to Mayor Wamura, whose political reign began in the ashes of the Second World War and ended in 1987.

Fudai, about 320 miles north of Tokyo, has a pretty, white-sand beach that lured tourists every summer. But Mr Wamura never forgot how quickly the sea could turn. Massive tsunamis flattened the coast in 1933 and 1896. “When I saw bodies being dug up from the piles of earth, I had no words,” he wrote of the 1933 tsunami. …

Go here for the rest of the story.