November 29, 2015

ESPN’s 2-Year Subscriber Loss: 7 Million Homes; Viewership Losses Likely Worse

The Walt Disney Company filed its annual 10-K report with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Wednesday.

The “getaway day” timing of the filing may not be a coincidence, at least as far as its 80 percent-owned ESPN subsidiary is concerned. That’s because the report contains bad news which Disney would surely want to see downplayed. Confirming problems yours truly observed in NewsBusters posts in September and October, Clay Travis at Fox Sports’ “Outkick the Coverage” blog observed that annual subscriber revenue at the the sport network’s various entities— even before considering likely accompany advertising losses — has declined by about $700 million dollars in the past two years (HT Instapundit; links are in original; bolds are mine):


AP’s Rugaber, Despite Wednesday’s Weak Economic Data: ‘Fundamentals Remain Solid’

As yours truly noted in several posts at my home blog on Wednesday and at NewsBusters on Friday and Saturday, the torrent of pre-Thanksgiving “getaway day” economic data was largely disappointing.

That didn’t stop the Associated Press’s Chris Rugaber from pushing the “All is well” meme late Wednesday afternoon, declaring, contrary to what anyone’s eyes could see, that “the fundamentals of the U.S. economy remain solid,” that “Consumers appear relatively confident in the economy,” and that “Americans are unleashing pent-up demand for big-ticket items such as homes and cars.”


November 24, 2015

Percentage of Late-Nov. Media Mentions of ‘Christmas Shopping Season’ at a 10-Year Low

As we head into the Christmas shopping season, yours truly regrets to inform readers that the relative frequency of late-November media mentions of the “Christmas shopping season” is at the lowest level in all of the years I have been tracking it — probably meaning that it’s at an all-time low, period.

This is Year 11 of an effort which began in 2005. Each year has involved Google News searches on “Christmas shopping season” and “holiday shopping season” (both terms in quotes). In the past few years, after Google News merged its archive with its regular one-month news results, I’ve made sure to only search on the past month. As seen in the graph which follows, this year’s result is down to one “Christmas” mention for every 16.5 “holiday” mentions:


November 5, 2015

AP Credited Obamacare When Ariz. Co-op’s News Was Good, Buried It When It Failed

Add Arizona’s Meritus Health Partners to the growing list of Affordable Care Act co-op failures. The Daily Signal reports that this makes 11 of 23 such state Obamacare co-ops which will have closed their doors by the end of 2015 after three or fewer years in operation.

The Associated Press, which, along with most of the rest of the establishment press, has been playing aggressive defense on behalf of Obamacare since its passage and especially since Barack Obama’s reelection in 2012, has no coverage of Meritus’s crackup at its main national or “Big Story” site. Beyond that, readers will see after the jump that the AP’s local stories about Meritus highlighted its association with ACA/Obamacare when things appeared to be going well, and buried it when they went south.


October 31, 2015

AP Story, Only Carried Locally, Fails to Tag NY Co-op’s Crackup As an Obamacare Failure

Many of the state cooperative health insurers, or “co-ops,” set up under the provisions of the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, have gotten into serious financial trouble quite quickly. Almost half have cracked up completely. Specifically, as noted at on Thursday morning, “[O]f the 24 Obamacare co-ops funded with federal tax dollars, one (Vermont’s) never got approval to sell coverage, a second (CoOportunity) has already been wound down, and nine more will terminate at the end of this year.”

Perhaps the most expensive such blowup to date has occurred in New York. An unbylined Associated Press blurb, seen after the jump, about how New York’s co-op will be forced to close its doors in just a month, is a perfect example demonstrating why the general public may never learn about Obamacare co-ops’ track record of miserable failure:


October 30, 2015

Moderators at CNBC, Which ‘Graded’ GOP Debaters Speech Patterns, Scored At or Below Every GOP Candidates

People in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. And people who ridicule the level of others’ speech patterns should check theirs first.

CNBC didn’t do that. Instead, on Thursday, as I noted in a previous NewsBusters post, it childishly rushed out a grade-level evaluation of the Republican presidential candidates’ speech patterns during the first three debates, including the Wednesday train wreck it rudely hosted, and created a graphic with the title, “Are you smarter than a GOP candidate?” Payback is sweet (bolds are mine):


October 26, 2015

Coverage of UAW-GM Tentative Agreement Perpetuates ‘Concessions’ Myth

Late Sunday evening, the United Auto Workers and General Motors reached a tentative four-year agreement shortly before the union’s 11:59 p.m. strike deadline.

The agreement was expected, simply because the financial and political blowback of a strike at a company bailed out by taxpayers at a cost running into tens of billion of dollars back in 2009 would have been severe. Also expected: the press buying into and perpetuating the myth that the union made significant concessions to GM and Chrysler during the course of those two companies’ respective corrupt bankruptcies.


October 16, 2015

Megan McArdle: ‘A Marshmallow Planet’ More Likely Than Finding Truth in ‘Truth’

The disgraceful determination of Hollywood to rewrite history not favorable to the left, its causes and its personalities has perhaps reached its nadir with the laughably misnamed movie Truth.

The film is about Dan Rather’s September 2004 60 Minutes report on President George W. Bush’s Texas Air National Guard Service during the 1970s. In Rather’s words, “The nuanced, not preachy, script makes clear our report was true.” The script may say that, but the historical record doesn’t. On October 2, John H. Hinderaker and Scott W. Johnson’s writeup detailing how bogus that report was from top to bottom appeared online at The Weekly Standard. Reading that essay in its entirely is undoubtedly important; but in this case, so is ridicule. Megan McArdle at Bloomberg View supplied that back in July.


October 14, 2015

Mark Zandi, Head Obama Economy Cheerleader, Goes All-in

It would be nice if Mark Zandi of Moody’s turns out to be right about the direction of the economy.

I don’t think he is, and believe that a significant percentage of his optimism is driven by delusion.

After the jump, I’ve posted his commentary at in its entirety for fair use and discussion purposes as a marker for the future.

I would prefer that Zandi deliver an “I told you so” a year or so from now, but his ability to do to is off to a slow start. Minutes after his claim that consumers are starting “to flex their muscles,” retail sales disappointed.


October 13, 2015

Latest Fairness Crisis: Breakfast Sandwich Inequality

Life is so unfair. “The rich” live in nicer places, have nicer amenities, drive nicer cars, etc., etc.

Here’s the last straw: Now they even have better breakfast sandwiches. But never fear: The press’s inequality police are on patrol to supply the outrage.


October 7, 2015

Update: ESPN’s Ratings Down 9 Percent in Prime Time in Third Quarter

In a September 23 post (“Impending Layoffs at ESPN Aren’t Only About the ‘Media Landscape’”), I argued that ESPN’s impending decision to lay off hundreds of employees is at least partially due to its determination to stuff political correctness down viewers’ throats.

I noted that the network’s ratings suffered a nearly 30 percent decline from August 2014 to August 2015 — a sea change which begged for an explanation beyond cable industry turmoil. A commenter observed that the network’s ratings were up during a recent week in September, so I said I would look at ratings for entire third quarter when they became available. ESPN’s primetime audience loss spread over the entire quarter was over 9 percent — a result nowhere near as awful as August alone, but certainly nothing to crow about:


September 29, 2015

Shaky: Cecile Richards’ Claim That ‘Less Than 1%’ of PP Clinics Dispose of Fetal Tissue for Compensation

In Congressional testimony Monday and Tuesday, Planned Parenthood head Cecile Richards twisted the truth in several instances.

One of them had to to with how many of its facilities are involved in the provision of fetal tissue for compensation. She may be technically telling the truth about how many are involved at this moment, but it’s clear that far more have been — at least until recently.


September 23, 2015

NPR Story: Hillary Timed Keystone Announcement to Pope’s Visit

It would appear that Hillary Clinton’s act is wearing thin even among the people at that liberal bastion known as NPR.

Tuesday afternoon, the headline at an NPR story about Mrs. Clinton’s sudden decision to publicly announce her opposition to the Keystone XL Pipeline project indicated that her announcement was deliberately timed to coincide with Pope Francis’s visit to the United States (HT Stephen Kruiser at PJ Media):


Impending Layoffs at ESPN Aren’t Only About the ‘Media Landscape’

Word on the street is that ESPN is planning to lay off “200 to 300″ employees in the coming months.

The go-to euphemism surrounding the impending layoffs, according to Variety’s Brian Steinberg, is “the changing media landscape,” primarily the “cord-cutting” phenomenon. In July, the Big Lead blog, in discussing Keith Olbermann’s expected departure from ESPN, explained that “millennials are eschewing expensive cable TV bills and streaming everything online.” While that might explain flat viewership or even a modest decline, cord-cutting is only a minor part of the problem. Someone needs to explain why ESPN’s ratings have fallen by a stunning 30 percent in the past 12 months.


September 22, 2015

AP: CMP Videos Merely Describe PP ‘Sending Fetal Tissue to Researchers’

The Associated Press, serving as the left’s de facto Praetorian guard, came through for its abortion-supporting masters once again today.

The wire service’s Alan Fram, in a sentence describing the Center for Medical Progress’s Planned Parenthood videos, told readers that they show “how they sometimes send fetal tissue to medical researchers” without noting that doing so routinely generates money for the organization.