January 13, 2013

Politico’s Byers Churns Out Over 2,000 Words on ‘Al Jazeera America: Will They Watch?’

Before Current TV sold itself to Al Jazeera, allowing former Vice President Al Gore to walk away with a reported $100 million, making him (according to Forbes Magazine) richer than the left’s designated archvillain Mitt Romney, the network’s average audience was between 25,000 and 45,000.

The burning question on the mind of Dylan Byers Saturday afternoon at the Politico — a question that somehow merited over 2,000 words of content — was “Al Jazeera America (AJA): Will they watch?” He could have answered his question in eleven words: “Except for segments of America’s Muslim community, the answer is ‘no.’” Along the way, Byers spoke with former Al Jazeera English (AJE) anchor David Marash, who, per Byers, “still describes it as ‘the best news channel on Earth.’” That’s odd, because what Al Jazeera English did to him, as described in an interview he had in April 2008 with Brent Cunningham at the Columbia Journalism Review in April 2008 should have caused him to doubt the channel’s ability to cover American stories in its new AJA unit with any kind of integrity (bolds are mine):

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Powell on MTP: GOP Has ‘A Dark Vein of Intolerance’

Filed under: MSM Biz/Other Bias,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 3:41 pm

President Barack Obama and his administration have been on the receiving end of a great deal of leftist criticism recently for its “lack of diversity” (to be clear, I find that entire discussion tiresome, as it would be more productive to spend time on problems like John Kerry’s anti-American history, Jack Lew’s bankrupting budgetary intransigence, and Eric Holder’s unprecedented obsession with suing states exercising their sovereign rights).

With that backdrop, it’s incredibly convenient that Colin Powell “just so happened” to appear today on NBC’s “Meet the Press” with David Gregory, the Washington elitist disguised as a journalist who on Friday escaped prosecution for violating District of Columbia gun and ammunition law three weeks ago, to accuse the Republican Party — the party whose members ended slavery, provided the margins by which landmark civil-rights legislation passed in the 1950s and 1960s, and whose ranks rarely if ever included members of the Ku Klux Klan while southern Democrats were infested with such members for nearly a century — of having “a dark vein of intolerance.”

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The New, Media-Numbed Normal (See Correction of IBD Excerpt Within Text)

Whom do you believe about the economy, the press or your lying eyes?

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This column went up at PJ Media and was teased here at BizzyBlog on Friday.

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Associated Press stories on the economy and the fiscal cliff during the previous week tell us that we’re in for four more years of having the so-called “essential global news network” and the rest of the establishment press tell us that we aren’t really seeing what we can see right in front of us. Meanwhile, their headlines and the stories they choose to ignore demonstrate a dogged determination to keep those who don’t follow the news closely from seeing what they don’t want them to see.

The AP’s headline writers and Christopher Rugaber already had their minds made up about what Friday’s Employment Situation Summary from the Bureau of Labor Statistics would mean even before it was released. In a dispatch the previous evening headlined “U.S. job market resilient despite budget fight,” Rugaber decided that the additional 155,000 jobs analysts predicted the report would show constituted proof that “the job market held up” during December’s fiscal cliff negotiations between the White House and Congress.

The AP brought out a deeper shovel the next morning just ahead of the report, claiming that it “was expected to show underlying strength.” When BLS’s number exactly matched consensus predictions, Rugaber wrote that it was in line with “the solid but unspectacular monthly pace of the past two years.”

Horse manure. The two-year average of 153,000 is just barely above the 150,000 jobs which need to be added every month just to keep up with population growth. What’s “solid” about that?

While Rugaber and the rest of the press write and talk about resilience, the raw (i.e., not seasonally adjusted) jobs numbers from BLS, in combination with still far too high unemployment, tell us a far different story. Here are the actual changes in employment for the last four months of the past 13 years:

NSAtotalNFPandPrivateSeptToDec2012

Note that both in total and in the private sector, the net change in jobs was worse than 2011 in three of the final four months of 2012. Additionally, December’s contractions of 243,000 and 103,000, respectively, were worse than December 2005 and 2006 — years during which the establishment media was mostly unimpressed with how the job market was performing.

In a decent economy, the monthly jobs numbers would be beating the pants off of that period, simply because there’s so much economic slack. The seasonally adjusted unemployment rates in December 2005 and December 2006 — in the midst of that supposedly God-awful Bush economy — were 4.9 percent and 4.4%, respectively. Monthly seasonally adjusted job additions of 150,000 or so are acceptable when unemployment is so low, and it turns out that the economy added a more than acceptable 2.5 million jobs in 2005, followed by 2 million in 2006.

But the current unemployment rate is 7.8 percent, while the fully loaded rate is still 14.4%. The only reason employers appeared to be unaffected by the recent goings-on in Washington is that they’ve long since adjusted to our government’s deficit- and bogus stimulus-driven malaise. The fiscal cliff calamity is just another episode of the same old song and dance they’ve seen during the four-plus years since Barack Obama was first elected President.

In the middle of the last decade, the press continually pounded readers, listeners and viewers with tales of the long-suffering unemployed and the homeless. The sustained pain has been far greater during a far longer period during Obama’s four years, even though we are now 3-1/2 years removed from the recession’s official end. Yet we rarely see or hear a word about chronic unemployment or rising homelessness.

Wise news consumers know that in the current media environment, the best economic coverage and analysis will be found in the house editorials at the nation’s two leading business newspapers. As a Friday evening editorial at one of them, Investor’s Business Daily, made the following points which most others ignored about Friday’s employment report (see the correction below for a discussion of the cross-out words):

… [T]he pool of long-term unemployed was a staggering 4.8 million in December, which is 2 million more than when Obama took office. The average length of unemployment was 38 months weeks — almost 20 months weeks longer than four years ago and 15 months weeks longer than when the recession ended in June 2009.

Sometimes, as in this chart from the St. Louis branch of the Federal Reserve, you just have to see it graphically to fully comprehend just how bad things are:

AverageUnemploymentLengthToLate2012

The only thing I see that is “solid” and “resilient” in this graph is a record average length of unemployment refusing to come down, even though it’s almost twice as high as any value previously seen in over 60 years of recordkeeping.

(Correction added on Jan. 13: The IBD excerpt refers to “months” three times. The references, as seen in the chart, should have been to “weeks.” I have crossed out IBD’s references to “months” above and replaced them with “weeks” to remove any doubt as to what the chart really says. The points that the result is almost twice as long as we’ve seen at any other time since World War II, and that the press has rarely if ever reported this readily available information, both still stand. — Ed.)

As to the fiscal cliff, the biggest fiction perpetrated by the AP, Business Week, and so many others is that, in AP’s words, “the tax package that Congress passed New Year’s Day will protect 99 percent of Americans from an income tax increase.”

No it won’t. It took an editorial at the Wall Street Journal, the other source of legitimate economic news in the current media firewall, to point out that roughly three times as many taxpayers will be affected, and that their marginal tax rates on each dollar of additional income will be far higher than advertised:

… The revival of two dormant provisions of the tax code means the much ballyhooed $450,000 income threshold for the highest tax rate is largely fake.

… Under the new law, some of the steepest tax increases may fall on upper-middle class earners with incomes just above $250,000.

… The Senate Finance Committee informs us that in effect the loss of the personal exemptions, currently $3,800 per family member, can mean a 4.4 percentage point rise in the marginal tax rate for a married couple with two kids and incomes above $250,000. A family with four kids in that income range faces about a six percentage point marginal rate hike. The restored limitations on itemized deductions can raise the tax rate by another one percentage point.

… families in the 33% tax bracket could see their effective marginal rate paid on each additional dollar earned rise to above 38%.

All of this was done despite our still awful job market and declining personal income, pretty much ensuring that the economy will underperform as far as the eye can see. Oh, and in case you missed it, Obama doesn’t think he’s done making the rich pay their “fair share.”

Welcome to the new, media-numbed normal.

Sunday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (011313)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 6:00 am

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

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Positivity: Hero Cop Makes Second Rescue

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From San Diego:

hursday, Jan 10, 2013 | Updated 7:50 AM PST

Officer saved a mother and two teens from a burning building earlier this week

The same officer who saved a mother and her two teenage daughters from a burning building earlier this week has made a second heroic rescue.

Just after midnight Thursday, police said a driver lost control on Field Street in Clairemont and drove over an embankment.

The car landed up-side-down against an apartment building, and the driver in the car was trapped inside. when emergency personnel arrived.

The San Diego Police Department responded to assist. Among the officers at the scene was Zach Bradley, who pulled the driver safely out of the vehicle. She was not seriously injured.

Bradley was the same officer who responded to a fire Tuesday in Clairemont. As the fire was burning in the apartment building, Bradley circled around the back of the building to find a mother and her two daughters crying for help in a room on the second floor.

“They were terrified,” said neighbor James Anderson in a Tuesday interview. “They were like ‘help us help us’ and smoke was billowing out.”

He told them to jump, and caught all three. …

Go here for the rest of the story.