June 14, 2012

Obama ‘Major Address’ Panned by Fans in the Press; AP Barely Musters Eight Paragraphs, But Debuts New Halo

Obama2012APhaloIf you’re starting to lose Jonathan Alter, reporters at Politico, and other left-leaning outlets, you’re starting to get into trouble. Double that if you can’t even get Julie Pace at the Associated Press, aka the Administration’s Press, to muster more than eight paragraphs relating to a 53-minute speech pre-positioned as a “major address.”

Hunter Walker has compiled several less than complimentary tweets at Politicker, including the following:

Before the speech was over, Politico’s Mike O’Brien begged the president to stop.

Mike O’Brien@mpoindc
In terms of politics, this speech could have ended about 20 minutes ago. Drive your message, take your ball, go home.
14 Jun 12 ReplyRetweetFavorite

On the air, MSNBC’s Jonathan Alter said it was “one of the worst speeches I’ve ever heard Barack Obama make.” He refused to back down.

Jonathan Alter@jonathanalter
Just cheerleading BO doesn’t help him. He needs a sharper, more cogent message with some memorable lines. I ain’t walking my criticism back
14 Jun 12 ReplyRetweetFavorite

ABC News reporter Devin Dwyer felt like we were all being lectured.

Obama speech in Ohio felt more lecture or courtroom arg than rally. He streamlined pitch, imbued urgency, said voters will break stalemate.
14 Jun 12 ReplyRetweetFavorite

… Yahoo! News White House correspondent Olivier Knox took note of the massive word count of the speech (for the record, the official White House transcript clocked in at just under 6,500 words).

Olivier Knox@OKnox
I ask colleague for CQ transcript of Obama speech. Response: “Sure, but it looks like they only have the first 45,000 words.”
14 Jun 12 ReplyRetweetFavorite

The long running time of President Obama’s speech made Politico’s Jennfier Epstein think of a new inspirational maxim for the country.

Jennifer Epstein@jeneps
In America we don’t quit til we’ve spoken for 54 minutes
14 Jun 12 ReplyRetweetFavorite

Buzzfeed’s Zeke Miller was clearly unimpressed.

Zeke Miller@ZekeJMiller
There is nothing new in this speech.

That’s because there’s nothing new at the White House — just the same failed policites which have led to 3-1/2 miserable years.

Pace’s coverage at AP was forced from beginning to end, up to and including the “halo” photo partially seen at the beginning of this post (AP original is here). Her report is so boring I can’t muster up the energy to excerpt anything.

If we see passing out and fainting at Obama rallies this around, it will probably occur as a result of people pretending to seem interested while it’s impossible to truly remain so. Some members of the press are clearly tired of faking it.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

AP’s Rugaber: Initial Jobless Claims Have ‘Leveled Off’ Since Winter

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 10:24 pm

Sometimes it takes a bit of exertion to disprove an assertion made by an establishment press reporter. Not this time. Today’s Department of Labor report on initial unemployment claims told us that such filings “unexpectedly” (as relayed by Reuters and Bloomberg) rose to 386,000 from an upwardly revised (of course) 380,000 the previous week; expectations were for a fall to 375,000. About an hour after DOL’s release, Christopher Rugaber at the Associated Press, aka the Administration’s Press, told readers that “Applications fell steadily during the fall and winter but have since leveled off.”

Well, this one can be taken care of in one easy chart. It starts with what was essentially the last week of winter (the week ended March 24) and goes through the week ended June 9 covered in today’s release, with an extra 3,000 added to the most current week to reflect next week’s likely upward adjusted (such adjustments during the past sixty-plus weeks have averaged about 3,900):


By Rugaber’s standard of measurement, the Boston Marathon’s Heartbreak Hill is as flat as a pancake. Race participants beg to differ.

Another few months of “leveling off” like this, and we’ll be at “levels” that will start looking recessionary. Anybody claiming otherwise, like Rugaber, isn’t leveling with his or her audience.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

Unemployment Claims: 386K SA, 374K NSA; Year-over-year NSA Drop Only 7%

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:53 am

From the Department of Labor:


In the week ending June 9, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 386,000, an increase of 6,000 from the previous week’s revised figure of 380,000. The 4-week moving average was 382,000, an increase of 3,500 from the previous week’s revised average of 378,500.


The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 373,540 in the week ending June 9, an increase of 49,155 from the previous week. There were 400,608 initial claims in the comparable week in 2011.

Business Insider’s email predicted a drop to 375K. Oops. There was only a 1% difference between this year’s and last year’s seasonal adjustment factors. Had last year’s factor been used on this year’s data, this year’s reported SA number would have been 390,000.

Being stuck in the 380s and possibly higher, after the inevitable upward adjustment coming next week, is not a good place to be. The not seasonally adjusted drop of only 6.7% compared to last year is especially troubling.

In Ohio, claims of 10,437 during the week ended June 2 were almost identical to the previous week.

AP Says Increased State Tax Collections ‘Could’ Reduce Public-Sector Layoffs, Finally Cites Medicaid As Reason They Probably Won’t

Maybe the answer to eliminating much of the annoying bias in establishment press business reporting is to have the reporters involved eliminate the could-might-maybe statements which almost inevitably follow the initial relay of the primary news.

Take the first paragraph of Christopher Rugaber’s report Tuesday on recent increases in state tax collections (bolds are mine throughout this post):

U.S. states expect to collect higher tax revenue in the coming budget year that combined would top pre-recession levels, according to a survey released Tuesday. The increase could reduce pressure on states to cut budgets and lay off workers.

Total tax revenue is forecast to rise 4.1 percent to $690.3 billion in the 2013 budget year, according to a twice-yearly survey by the National Governors Association and the National Association of State Budget Officers.

Who needs the second sentence? I don’t. Readers don’t. It’s a needless injection of speculation by Rugaber which frankly is not — repeat, is not — within the scope of his job as a reporter. Stick to the facts, sir, and resist the urge to inject your thinly disguised perspective (I would say “shut up,” but I’m trying to be nice).

In this case, it turns out that the reason for Rugaber’s sentence is to unjustifiably and unnecessarily change the subject later in to piece to contentious matters in the presidential race:


Thursday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (061412)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 7:46 am

Rules are here. Possible comment fodder may follow later. Other topics are also fair game.


Positivity: Nuncio applauds bishops’ unified efforts to defend religious freedom

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 7:30 am

From Atlanta:

Jun 13, 2012 / 04:16 pm

Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, the Pope’s representative to the United States, urged the American bishops to view the difficulties facing the Church as an opportunity to unite in defense of the faith.

Current challenges to the faithful can be seen “providentially, as an invitation to the entire Church in the United States” to adopt “an attitude of deep communion with the local bishop, in filial obedience to the Successor of Peter,” the archbishop said at a meeting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

This is particularly true for the Church’s “consecrated religious” and “educational institutions,” he said.

The papal diplomat, who is officially known as the apostolic nuncio, addressed the conference on June 13, the first day of the bishops’ three-day spring general assembly in Atlanta, Ga.

“It goes without saying that the Catholic Church in the United States is living in a particularly challenging period of its history,” Archbishop Viganò observed, specifically pointing to religious freedom and conscience rights issues.

These areas are “close to the heart of the American people,” and involve “the indispensable role of the Bishop as Chief Shepherd in his diocese,” he said.

All of this is taking place “in the context of an election year,” which requires “even more delicate” interventions, he added.

Religious freedom matters have become a key concern for the Catholic community in recent months. Chief among the threats to the Church is an insurance mandate issued by the Obama administration that will require employers to offer health insurance plans that cover contraception, sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs, even if doing so violates their consciences.

Archbishop Viganò thanked all the bishops for their unified work to stand up for religious freedom, emphasizing that “the Church must speak with one voice” in addressing modern challenges. …

Go here for the rest of the story.