It's hard to find journalism more shoddy than this, courtesy of the AP's Matt Apuzzo [emphasis added]:
The price tag for President-elect Barack Obama's inauguration gala is expected to break records, with some estimates reaching as high as $150 million. Despite the bleak economy, however, Democrats who called on President George W. Bush to be frugal four years ago are issuing no such demands now that an inaugural weekend of rock concerts and star-studded parties has begun.
Where does that jaw-dropping number of $150 million come from? The AP never says. It doesn't quote anybody, it doesn't point to any facts. There's no nothing. The AP builds an entire story around how much Obama's inauguration might cost (why stop at $150 million?), yet never substantiates the what-if estimates.
As we said, journalism doesn't get much worse than that.
For an ind-depth look at the phony controversy over Obama's possible inauguration costs, click here.
UPDATE: Unlike AP, ABC News at least tries to substantiate the huge figure the media have been tossing around in terms of the cost of Obama's inauguration. (Hint: Most of it is for security.) But even with ABC's actual reporting, the article still falls short. (Hint: No context.)
The Times' Mark Leibovich wrote up Obama's recent Beltway get-togethers with various pundits and reflected on Bush's complete lack of social interaction with the capitol over the last eight years [emphasis added]:
In contrast to Mr. Obama's week of fraternizing, George W. Bush never came around to the notion that Washington socializing was worth the effort — or the risk of a later-than-necessary bedtime. While it is not likely that a few well-placed dinners, social calls or drop-bys over eight years would have had much bearing on his abysmal approval ratings, it is not far-fetched to think it could have bought him a slight uptick in sympathy from the bipartisan commentariat that routinely savaged him.
See, if Bush had only gone to cocktail parties, the pundits--on both sides of isle-- wouldn't have have been quite so mean to him.
A) I must have missed all those GOP columnists who have "savaged" Bush during the last eight years. B) Liberal commentariat were "savaging" Bush in 2001 and 2002 and 2003? And C) Bush refused to interact with the Beltway for the first four years of his administration and was showered with media hosannas, which proved Bush's complete repudiation of the Village's social circuit had no bearing with his coverage.
This reminds me of the Slate article we recently commented on, which claimed the press gets outraged when it's ignored by the White House, even though this press corps did not become outraged when ignored by the Bush White House. And now the Times suggests the press would have been more sympathetic to Bush if he hadn't ignored them socially, yet the press produced more sympathetic coverage for Bush than any other president in recent memory.
Bush hasn't even left office and already the Village is rewriting its history.
Politico's Patrick O'Connor thinks it's a very big deal that some Democrats have some unpleasant things to say about Bush's legacy as he prepares to leave office. And Politico suggests its certainly newsworthy (and a bit amazing) that some Democrats even want to hold Bush hearings after he leaves town.
I mean my goodness, what kind of zealots investigate the actions of presidents after he leaves the White House? What kind of partisan fanatics call for hearings about a president months after he has exited?
Oh, you mean those kind.
Because they suggest journalists who deliver bad news for Republicans are biased. For real.
You couldn't ask for a better example than from our pals at Newsbusters who posted this dart:
Friday's CBS Evening News delivered a parting shot at outgoing President George W. Bush as fill-in anchor Maggie Rodriguez paired how a just-released CBS News/New York Times survey pegged Bush's approval rating "at just 22 percent" -- which she noted "is the lowest for an outgoing President since the question was first asked more than 70 years ago" -- with how "68 percent said they expect Barack Obama to be a good or very good President."
How dare CBS accurately, and in a straightforward manner, report the facts as reflected by public polling which captures the feelings of everyday Americans!!
Jay Rosen offers up a must read:
In the age of mass media, the press was able to define the sphere of legitimate debate with relative ease because the people on the receiving end were atomized-- connected "up" to Big Media but not across to each other. And now that authority is eroding.
Over at Slate, Jack Shafer, looking ahead to how Obama might treat the media, announces the press hates being snubbed:
Nothing throws the Washington press corps into a bigger tizzy than being ignored. Being dissed is something the press corps can live with—in fact, they love being dissed.
But I'm confused. For the last eight years the Bush White House clearly ignored the press. (Bush "bypassed" the media, as Time just noted.) Did I miss something or was the press thrown into a tizzy by the Bush silent treatment? Did the press raise up at the White House, or was I not paying attention during that loud rebellion?
Seems like rather than being thrown into a tizzy, the press did the opposite; it fell asleep for eight years.
UPDATE: My bad. According to NBC's David Gregory, the press did exactly what it was supposed to while covering the Bush years. Nope, no lessons to be learned here folks. (Now wonder he was awarded the MTP gig.)
Similar to its run-up to Hillary Clinton's confirmation hearing, the Beltway press was in overdrive about how AG nominee Eric Holder was going to face all sorts of problems (i.e. "bruising" and "grueling" hearings) because of his role in the Marc Rich pardon, which dated back to the final days of the Clinton administration. (It even had Dems squirming!)
The whole frenzy seemed like just another chance for the press to re-hash a soggy Clinton scandal. And it was.
Because just like with Hillary Clinton's polite confirmation quizzing, the promised press hype never really materialized at Holder's hearing.
Aside from the fact they despise the press and wish it would just go away. They're also awful at critiquing the press because they don't even understand how journalism works are what it's supposed to look like. Instead, they just whine.
Take Michelle Malkin's dart at the AP for the report it posted on Bush's farewell address. Malkin's was high dudgeon because the way the Bush-hating AP was so mean and unfair in its report. That the "pure contempt" was dripping from the dispatch.
Malkin hated the headline: "Bush address includes laundry list of back patting"
And she claimed the lead was wildly unfair:
In his farewell address to the nation, President George W. Bush is acknowledging that many of his decisions are unpopular with the American people. But he says there can be no debate about the results. Indeed, a text of the speech comes with a laundry list of what Bush says are successes.
It was telling that Malkin never actually explained what was wrong with the AP's work. Probably because there was nothing wrong with it. Malkin just likes to whine (consider it her calling) and pretend she's being a press critic.
Committed to the belief that bigger government is always better, Media Matters and Campaign for America's Future are pushing back data showing that the New Deal never solved unemployment. Cutting through their rhetoric, both leftist organizations make the same narrow objection: that the data we use does not count make work government programs like the Civil Conservation Corps as employed.
Now we will always maintain that not counting government work programs as employment is the more accurate measure.
But for the sake of argument, lets cede the point that anyone receiving government employment assistance is 'employed'. Does that end up changing the the impact of New Deal spending on unemployment? No. As the chart above shows, even when using the numbers preferred by the leftist proponents of big government, the story is still the same: Unemployment never made it near the 1970-2008 5.5% normal unemployment rate until well after the U.S. entered World War II.
Got that? Heritage sniffs that the New Deal "never solved unemployment" because it did not bring unemployment from 25 percent all the way down to 5.5 percent.
If the worst the far-right Heritage Foundation can say about the New Deal is that it failed to cut the unemployment rate by 80 percent, that sounds like a pretty solid, if accidental, endorsement to me.