February 3, 2016

Barely News: Big-Rig Orders Are in a Steep, Year-Long Decline

One of the economy’s more important bellwethers has been on a steep year-long decline which shows no signs of abating this year. It’s barely news, and much of the sparse reporting seen has been incomplete and sloppy.

Truckinginfo.com reported today that “January was a tough month for truck manufacturers as Class 8 truck orders were down 35% compared to the previous month, according to a preliminary report from ACT Research.” This follows a 2015 calendar year during which total orders came in 25 percent lower than 2014. A Google News search indicates that only Reuters and the Wall Street Journal found this information important enough to cover. Reuters might as well not have bothered, given the sloppiness of its report as carried at CNBC:


January 27, 2016

IBD Editorial Explains Consumer Bureau’s Auto Loan ‘Shakedown’ the Press Won’t Cover

Critics who warned at the time the odious Dodd-Frank law was passed in 2010 that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau would become a rogue agency which would become a largely unaccountable behemoth on a mission to create problems where none exist could not have been more correct.

Sadly, searches on terms relevant to one of the agency’s latest controversies involving the distribution of funds in a two year-old auto-loan industry settlement indicate that only two media outlets have given it any attention; separately, a search at the Associated Press on the agency’s name also returns nothing relevant. Those two sources are the Daily Caller, whose January 21 story first reported that “White loan borrowers are collecting settlement proceeds … intended for black, Hispanic and Asian people,” and a Monday Investor’s Business Daily editorial. That’s it.


January 21, 2016

Eduardo Porter at the NY Times: ‘America’s Best Days May Be Behind It’

You could have set your watch to it. When a leftist local, gubernatorial or presidential regime enters its final year after demonstrating its corruption, incompetence and inexcusable disrespect for law and procedure to that point, someone in the press will directly or indirectly excuse them by saying that the entity that person is running is “ungovernable,” or that “its best days are behind it.”

President Barack Obama hit the one-year-to-go mark for his second term yesterday. On cue, Eduardo Porter at the New York Times told readers that “America’s Best Days May Be Behind It.” Naturally, Porter did not mention Obama’s name, nor did he cite Obama’s outsized contribution to why that may be the case. Of course, another element at work here is quietly discrediting anyone on the Republican or conservative side of the fence who believes that this nation can do much better.


AP Acknowledges Christmas Season Sales Increased Only 3 Pct., Ignores the 8 Pct. It Trumpeted in Late December

On December 28, the headline at a conveniently unbylined report at the Associated Press screamed: “HOLIDAY SPENDING UP 8 PERCENT; ONLINE SALES SURGE.” As I noted in a post later that day, This was odd, to say the least, given that even the incurably optimistic National Retail Federation had predicted an increase of only 3.7 percent. It turned out that the reported growth rate was based on the number of sales transactions, not their dollar amount. Despite that, that late-December AP report repeatedly and irresponsibly characterized the percentage increase as showing growth in “sales” and “spending.”

The NRF came out with its official Christmas shopping season sales increase on Friday: +3.0 percent. While she at least had the integrity to describe the news as “disappointing,” the AP’s Anne D’Innocenzio simply relayed the organization’s excuses for the almost 20 percent underachievement (0.7 percent divided by 3.7 percent) without challenge, and never acknowledged that someone at the wire service which employs her had previously reported a figure that was over 2-1/2 times higher (8 percent divided by 3 percent).


January 17, 2016

As AP Blames World for Stocks’ Dive, CNBC Columnist Warns: ‘Worse Than 2008′

The Associated Press’s coverage of Friday’s deep U.S. stock market dive in two Friday afternoon reports engaged in the reality avoidance longtime readers here have come to expect.

An item by Stan Choe (“Get used to it: Big drops for stocks are back again”) spent most of its verbiage on “volatility,” and only cited “China’s sharp economic slowdown … Tensions in the Middle East … the plunge in prices of oil and other commodities” as reasons why the “volatility” will continue. (AP seems to believe that “volatility” is a synonymn for “decline”; it isn’t.) Separately, Alex Veiga’s more detailed coverage, after an analyst’s insistence that “Oil is the root cause of today,” didn’t get to Friday’s awful economic data until his ninth paragraph, and then only vaguely descrbed “some discouraging economic news.” Meanwhile, a CNBC columnist, using a word amazingly not found in either AP writeup, warned that “A recession worse than 2008 is coming.”


Press Ignores Sanders Campaign’s Embarrassing Attack on Wikipedia

The press’s determination to protect liberal politicians against their own mistakes by minimizing their significance or failing to report them at all extends far to the left — as far left as Vermont Senator, self-described socialist and Democratic Party presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.

Excerpts from Ars Technica’s report on Team Sanders’ attempt to prevent Wikipedia from using the campaign’s logo with a copyright takedown notice follow the jump. As of early Sunday morning, that entry is one of only three listings found in a Google News search on “Sanders Wikipedia logo” (not in quotes) citing the Sanders-Wikipedia fiasco (a listing from the New York Times has no content relating to the controversy). Imagine the field day the press would be having if the campaign of a Republican or conservative presidential candidate did something similar (links are in original; bolds are mine throughout this post):


January 13, 2016

AP Reporter Mystified by World Markets’ Dive, With ‘Economies on the Mend’

It would appear that Yuri Kageyama at the Associated Press has fallen into the trap of believing the rubbish her employer and much of the rest of the world’s press has been pushing about how the world’s economies really aren’t performing all that poorly, that this “new normal” world isn’t all that bad, and what we are seeing is all we have a right to expect.

You see, Kageyama doesn’t understand why the world’s stock markets are tanking when there is so much “data showing economies on the mend.”


January 9, 2016

Memo to AP: Job Growth Doesn’t Automatically Equal Economic Growth

At the Associated Press, as seen at its “Top Business News” page Friday afternoon, Christopher Rugaber opened his song of praise for yesterday’s jobs report (“US EMPLOYERS HIRE AT ROBUST PACE, DEFYING GLOBAL TRENDS”) as follows: “American employers added a robust 292,000 jobs in December, suggesting that the U.S. economy is so far defying global weakness and growing solidly. …”

Rugaber’s opening sentence has since been revised, but the damage was done — or, being cynical, the mission was accomplished. Thanks to Rugaber’s original opening sentence being used at AP-subscribing outlets nationwide, most news readers, listeners and viewers will believe that decent job growth has been translating into “solid” overall economic growth. Too bad that hasn’t been the case — and there are reasons to believe that it will continue to not be the case.


January 6, 2016

AP Highlights Wednesday’s One Piece of Good Economic News, Buries Three Weaker Items

Today was a fairly brisk day for economic data, as four noteworthy reports were released. One of them contained good news, but with a heavy asterisk. The other three were either not good, period, or came in below expectations.

Readers here probably know which one the Associated Press was still carrying at its Top Business Stories page as of 2:39 p.m. Of course, as seen here (saved at my web host for future reference, fair use and discussion purposes), it was the one with good news.


December 24, 2015

Confirmed, After 3 Sets of Searches: Relative Media Mentions of ‘Christmas Shopping Season’ at a 10-Year Low

Filed under: Business Moves,Economy,MSM Biz/Other Bias — Tom @ 10:41 am

Merchants haven’t been the only ones discouraging those who work for them from using the word “Christmas” during the Christmas shopping season. The press has been at it for years, and those efforts have brought regrettable results.

This is the eleventh year of an effort I began in 2005. Each year has involved three sets of Google News searches on “Christmas shopping season” and “holiday shopping season” (both terms in quotes) done a few days before Christmas, two weeks earlier, and four weeks earlier. In late November, after doing the first round, I reported that the percentage of “Christmas shopping season” mentions came in “at the lowest level in all of the years I have been tracking.” Sadly, with all three rounds now completed, the raw percentage increased a bit from the first round, but the overall result hasn’t changed.


December 23, 2015

IBD: Media Blackout of FitzGibbon Sex Harassment Scandal Shows Double Standard

On Monday, I posted on the virtually complete lack of establishment press interest in the story of Trevor FitzGibbon, the former owner of far-left PR firm FitzGibbon Media. Fitzgibbon folded on Thursday after allegations of serial sexual harassment and sexual assault were reported in the Huffington Post. From there, the establishment press did virtually nothing with the story.

It will surprise no regular reader that non-coverage is still the norm. Searches this evening at the Associated Press’s main national site and at the New York Times returned nothing and no recent stories, respectively. While I’m also sure deliberate refusal to cover an obviously relevant story doesn’t surprise the editorial board at Investor’s Business Daily, it has infuriated them enough to write a stinging editorial justifiably decrying the situation — especially the press’s double standard.


December 22, 2015

CNBC Changes Xmas Shopping Headline From ‘Too Late to Save’ to ‘Can It Be Saved?’

Filed under: Business Moves,Economy,MSM Biz/Other Bias — Tom @ 2:59 pm

Yesterday, CNBC’s Krystina Gustafson opened her article about the state of the Christmas shopping season by reporting that “procrastinators around the U.S. provided a much-needed boost to retailers” last weekend, but that “the lift was likely too little too late to salvage a slow start to the holiday shopping season.” The story’s headline: “Retailers cut too deep to save the holiday season.”

Readers who go to the link will not see that headline. Instead, the headline, contradicting Gustafson’s contention that it was probably already too late, now reads: “Can last-minute shoppers save the holiday season?” As seen after the jump, the original downbeat headline remains at Google (which lists original headlines, and as best I can tell doesn’t change them if the linked story’s headline changes) and Yahoo Finance:


Business Press Exaggerates November Existing-Home Sales Plunge by (As Usual) Ignoring Raw Data

The business press worships at the altar of seasonally adjusted data. Most journalists covering the economy don’t even bother looking at raw, not seasonally adjusted data, which in layman’s terms is best understood as “what actually happened.” As I have shown for nearly a decade, this is often a big mistake.

On the rare occasions when reporters take the initiative to look at the raw data, they usually ignor it, or fail to grasp its meaning. A perfect example of that phenomenon occurred today at Bloomberg News. The business press is blindly accepting a reported 10.5 percent drop in existing home sales as evidence of all kinds of problems, including — supposedly, but not really — a regulation-driven extension of closing time frames. Though Bloomberg’s Victoria Stilwell was astute enough to look at the underlying data, unlike her fellow reporters at the Associated Press and Reuters, she completely ignored how doing so blew up the narrative.


December 21, 2015

NY Daily News Posts a Black Site’s Video While Ridiculing ‘White Meatheads’

Rosalind Brewer is CEO of Sam’s Club, the wholesale division of Walmart. Sam’s claims that it is “committed to being the most valued membership organization in the world.”

Brewer is apparently “committed” to a cause which has become quite a distraction from Sam’s core commitment. Last week, she told CNN of a meeting she had with a supplier. Was she interested in getting the best prices and terms to save her members money and otherwise deliver “value”? Apparently not. Instead, she obsessed over the fact that the subject firm’s executive team happened to consist exclusively of white men. On Wednesday, David Boroff at the New York Daily News called those who have objected to Brewer’s dance on the edges of overt racism stupid white people, i.e., “white meatheads.” The far-below-genius white guy here is actually NYDN home page editor Boroff himself. You see, the video posted at the paper’s web site is from The Black Sphere, a site operated by Kevin Jackson, a definitely not-white guy.


Far-Left PR Firm Closes Over Sex Harassment Allegations; Media Coverage Is Minimal

A leftist flack who has been waging his own personal war on women for at least a decade has been exposed. As a result, his far-left public relations firm, a leader in the field, has closed.

FitzGibbon Media shut down on Thursday. That’s because Trevor FitzGibbon, the firm’s founder and owner, who also was “a communications director for (now-President Barack) Obama’s 2008 campaign,” has been accused by several now-former employees of sexual assault and sexual harassment. Though the defunct firm’s client list reads like a Who’s Who of “progressive” and radical causes, and despite how sensational charges such as these are usually considered ready-made clickbait in the press, the FitzGibbon shutdown has received minimal press exposure. The obvious comparative point, raised at TruthRevolt on Friday: “Just imagine if this were a GOP PR firm.”