June 25, 2011

AP Goes All Orwell in Covering Obama Apology for MOH Gaffe It Originally Ignored

By failing to initially cover a story millions of people nevertheless learned of — the presidential gaffe noted at NewsBusters by Matt Sheffield, among others, on Thursday morning — the Associated Press created a bit of a problem for itself. In a speech to soldiers at Fort Drum, President Obama “mistakenly identified a fallen member of that division as another soldier in a completely different Army unit who is alive” — both of whom were awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.

NB’s Geoffrey Dickens noted later on Thursday that the Big 3 television networks also ignored the story.

A search on the last name of deceased soldier and Medal of Honor winner Jared Monti at the AP’s main site only returns one relevant story: its Friday night/Saturday morning coverage of Obama’s apology. Wait until you see how dishonestly the wire service tried to cover its tracks (graphically captured here for future reference, fair use and discussion purposes), starting with the headline:

White House confirms Medal of Honor mistake

The dictionary’s primary definition of “confirm” is “to establish the truth, accuracy, validity, or genuineness of.”

You see, in the Orwellian world of the Associated Press, we don’t know that the President’s gaffe really occurred because the self-described “Essential Global News Network” didn’t report it. Therefore, it can only turn into something that really did occur when a White House spokesperson “confirms” that it occurred. Until then, in AP-Land, it’s only some kind of unverifiable rumor.

Never mind that it’s recorded here at YouTube and heaven knows how many other places.

Never mind that it was noted Wednesday by over 50 blogs, including several high-traffic leaders like Pajamas Media (here and here), Hot Air, Gateway Pundit, Blackfive, and Wizbang.

Never mind that Andrew Breitbart posted the related video at 3:59 p.m. on Wednesday.

Never mind that a few establishment press outlets noted the gaffe early on Thursday, though with a level of understanding which would never have been and almost never has been allotted to a conservative or Republican, including the LA Times (“Obama confuses his Medal of Honor recipients during Ft. Drum remarks”), the Washington Post (“Obama slips on names of Medal of Honor recipients”), CBS News (“Obama criticized for flubbing name of medal of honor recipient” — Of course, the gaffe isn’t the story, it’s the fact that meanie conservatives are pointing it out), and ABC News (“Obama Flubs Medal Of Honor Winner”).

And finally, never mind that even the White House transcript of the speech posted Wednesday correctly records Obama’s gaffe:

First time I saw 10th Mountain Division, you guys were in southern Iraq. When I went back to visit Afghanistan, you guys were the first ones there. I had the great honor of seeing some of you because a comrade of yours, Jared Monti, was the first person who I was able to award the Medal of Honor to who actually came back and wasn’t receiving it posthumously.

Nope. At the AP, it’s not official until a White House spokesman “confirms” what everyone who knows of it has already seen, heard, and/or read, as the text of the AP’s unbylined coverage (I’d say it’s unbylined for a reason) demonstrates:

The White House is confirming that President Barack Obama misspoke about a Medal of Honor winner coming home alive during comments at Fort Drum in upstate New York.

Addressing soldiers of the 10th Mountain Division on Thursday, Obama said one of their comrades was the first person he had awarded the Medal of Honor who wasn’t receiving it posthumously. In fact, the soldier, Sgt. 1st Class Jared Monti, was killed in action.

Obama spokesman Josh Earnest says the president misspoke. He noted that Obama paid tribute to Monti in remarks to troops in Afghanistan in March 2010. But Salvatore Giunta was the first living recipient of the medal among veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

You would almost think that until Mr. Earnest said the president “misspoke,” everybody thought Obama was correct (Update: … and that, as NewsBusters commenter MotherBelt wryly observed, everybody else was wrong about which soldier lived and which one died).

Earth to AP: The correct words are “admitted” and “acknowledged.” We’re not in a situation where a historical event isn’t considered to have happened until the White House says so — at least not yet.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

Geithner: Taxes Must Be Raised on Small Businesses to Fund a Permanently Larger Government

Filed under: Economy,Quotes, Etc. of the Day,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 10:22 am

This was soooo predictable.

The stimulus and the hundreds of billions of dollars of additional Obama administration spending were supposed to be represent a one-time pick-me-up to the economy.

Now, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner has so much as said that spending levels which are 30%-40% higher than they were just four years ago represent the untouchable baseline. The U.S. spent $2.7 trillion in fiscal 2007; it’s on track to spend well over $3.5 trillion and conceivably as much as $3.819 trillion (the number in President Obama’s gutless February budget) this year.

Last night, Investors Business Daily commented on Geithner’s admission, and his insistence (video carried here; HT PJ Tatler) that taxes must be raised to pay for the new baseline (bolds are mine):

The secretary of the Treasury says taxes must be raised on small business so the federal government can stay big. With that breathtaking statement, he helpfully mapped out the key difference between the parties.

While testifying Wednesday before the House Small Business Committee, Timothy Geithner told Rep. Renee Ellmers, R-N.C., that hiking taxes on small businesses is the only “alternative” that will allow “a balanced approach to reduce our fiscal deficits.”

“If you don’t touch revenues,” Geithner said, “you have to shrink the overall size of government programs, things like education, to levels that we could not accept as a country.”

… Democrats never give up hope they can raise taxes, and this particular Democrat wants to slap higher rates on small business. This is an especially poor choice. Small businesses are America’s jobs engine.

Even more appalling is the fact Geithner didn’t back off his position when Ellmers told him that 64% of new jobs in this country are created by small businesses. In fact, he acknowledged that she is correct.

While the number Ellmers used is compelling, we believe the rate is actually higher, around 85%. We base this estimate on our own database of public companies, which shows that over the last 25 years, big businesses created no net new jobs. That leaves small business as virtually the only job creator.

Geithner’s unabashed statement helps explain the sorry situation in which America finds itself. But in so doing, he has also provided the clarity that voters will need when his boss comes up for re-election.

The trouble is, there’s a good chance we don’t have 19 months (i.e., until January 20, 2013) to fix “the sorry situation.”

Positivity: iPods to Bring Rebirth of Silence in Rome’s Churches

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 7:00 am

From Rome:

Jun 24, 2011 / 06:10 am

The Vatican has introduced a new way of keeping silence in their churches while also informing tourists – the iPod.

Today is the first full day of a trial which sees pilgrims to the basilica of St. John Lateran given the audio-guide with a special app explaining the 1,700-year history of the church, which serves as the Pope’s cathedral.

“I can easily say that in Italy there are no examples of experiences like this in religious contexts, probably not even those in museums,” Jelena Jovanovic said to CNA. Her company, Antenna International, created the handheld device.

The multi-lingual guide offers audio, video, photos and texts to give an interactive experience to pilgrims. It also provides historical re-enactments narrated by actors.

Tourists can now listen to the experience of their fellow pilgrims from centuries past or even a “first-hand” account of the Battle of the Milvian Bridge in 312, when the Emperor Constantine saw a cross in the sky and converted to Christianity.

But the primary purpose of the guide is not entertainment or even education – it’s prayer and silence.

Bishop Luca Brandolini, the head of Pastoral Care for the Diocese of Rome, explained to CNA that “Unfortunately, our basilicas have become more like noisy meeting places at many times.”

“We need to bring back a place and time for silence. So I think this audio-guide will help achieve that.”

The Managing Director of the Opera Romana Pellegrinaggi, the Vatican body that oversees all pilgrim activity in the Diocese of Rome, agrees.

“Those who want to enter into a basilica to pray must be able to pray. So this multimedia guide helps with that,” said Fr. Caesar Atuire.

“Everyone can now do what they have to do without disturbing others.” …

Go here for the rest of the story.