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On Weekend Edition Saturday, NPR's Scott Simon and Daniel Schorr suggested that the Commerce Department under President Clinton was opposed to calls by "minority groups and the black caucus" to use statistical sampling for the decennial census. In fact, the Clinton administration did plan to use sampling for the 2000 census. Additionally, Schorr claimed that the Obama White House said that the census "won't be under the Department of Commerce. We'll take it to the White House." But the Obama administration has repeatedly denied that it intends to "remov[e] the census from the Department of Commerce."
Headline: "Gregg's Withdrawal Becomes a Partisan Issue."
What do Democrats thinks of Judd Gregg's peculiar decision to belatedly walk away from an Obama cabinet post and what it means for Obama's bipartisan outreach? Readers don't know because the Post doesn't care what Democrats think. The newspaper only quotes Republicans about Gregg and the issue of partisanship.
Classic, right? And doesn't that pretty much sum up the one-sided reporting and punditry on the topic of partisanship in recent weeks?
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Last week, I explained that Newsbuster's Tom Blumer had a bit of trouble reading an AP article he criticized. See, Blumer quoted a paragraph that was clearly referring to Tom Daschle and Nancy Killefer - and then attacked it for downplaying Tim Geithner's tax troubles.
But the paragraph didn't have anything to do with Geithner. Here's the first clue: the paragraph began, "An old story, with new actors, played out Tuesday." Guess what? The Geithner story played out before last Tuesday. And here's how the paragraph ended: "rather than spend more valuable time and political capital defending the appointees, the administration dropped them and moved on." Guess what? The administration didn't drop Geithner; it stood by him, and he was confirmed as Treasury Secretary.
In other words, it is completely obvious that the paragraph wasn't about Tim Geithner in any way. Yet Blumer huffed that it was "beyond risible" because the AP reporter "knows full well that Tim Geithner's and Tom Daschle's tax problems went way, way beyond 'household help or other services.'"
Well, it turns out that Tom Blumer responded to my post. Incredibly, he stands by his misreading of the paragraph in question. Well, sort of.
Lou Dobbs falsely claimed on his radio show that "the Congressional Budget Office did a study on the president's so-called economic stimulus package. It says output would be increased somewhere between one and a half, three and a half percent." In fact, the CBO estimated that output would increase "between 1.5 percent and 3.6 percent" in fiscal year 2009 alone and estimated that output would increase as a result of the stimulus package in subsequent years as well.
Fox News' Glenn Beck falsely claimed that "[o]nly 3 percent" of the Democratic economic stimulus plan would be "spent in the next 12 months." Beck's figures were based on a partial Congressional Budget Office cost estimate that excluded faster-moving provisions in the bill. According to the CBO's full cost estimate of the bill, 11.2 percent of the $816 billion bill would be spent in the first seven-and-a-half months after the bill is enacted, and, when including the bill's tax cut provisions, $169 billion -- or 20.7 percent of the bill's total cost -- would take effect in the first seven-and-a-half months.
The Washington Post asserted that "a report from the Congressional Budget Office ... said the majority of money in the Democratic [stimulus] plan would not get spent within the first year and a half." In fact, a document described by The Huffington Post as being the "whole" CBO " 'report' " accounts for only approximately $358 billion out of the "more than $850 billion" that the Post reported is included in the Democratic proposal, meaning that the CBO analysis could not possibly reach any conclusions about "the majority of money in the Democratic plan."
The Washington Post reported, "Ed Yardeni, president and chief investment strategist at Yardeni Research, said he was skeptical of the stimulus package because much of the spending in it may come well after the crisis is over, as a report from the Congressional Budget Office has suggested." But the Post did not include a response from the Obama administration or the Democratic leadership anywhere in the same edition of the newspaper.
On Lou Dobbs Tonight, Ed Henry reported that a "study" from the Congressional Budget Office "was suggesting that a lot of the spending proposals in the original [economic stimulus] plan would not really take effect for a couple of years, so it wouldn't clearly help create jobs in the first two years of the president's administration." However, the director of the Office of Management and Budget stated in a letter that his agency's "analysis indicates that at least 75 percent of the overall package ... will be spent over the next year and a half" -- which Henry did not report.
Summary: Dick Morris used a falsehood to attack President-elect Barack Obama's choices for positions at the Department of Justice, asserting that Eric Holder "approved of the Clinton/Reno 'wall' preventing intelligence from finding out what criminal investigators had found out." However, the so-called "wall" policy was established well before President Clinton took office and was retained by the Bush administration prior to September 11, 2001.
On MSNBC Live, discussing political diversity in President-elect Barack Obama's administration, Jonathan Allen said that Obama had chosen "Robert Gates as defense secretary, and that's something that I think [Obama's] people will point to." Tamron Hall responded, "Gates is not a registered Republican." Hall did not note that Gates himself has said, "I felt, when I was at CIA, that as a professional intelligence officer, like a military officer, I should be apolitical, and so I didn't register with a party. I consider myself a Republican," and noted that until his selection by Obama, "all of my senior appointments have been under Republican presidents."
And is the stated purpose there to be as misleading as possible? Because it's become something of an epidemic.
Here's the latest: "Latinos unhappy with Obama picks."
Now, if you're a Politico novice, you might see that headline and think the article, written by Gebe Martinez, will detail how Obama's early key picks for his new administration have angered Latinos and that the article will include relevant quotes to back up the headline's crystal-clear claim.
But if you're a Politico veteran, you understand that headlines often have little to do with the article's content and that specifically in recent days/weeks headline that try way too hard to gin up conflict regarding the new Obama team usually fall flat.
Well, add this "Latinos unhappy with Obama picks" article to that pile because there is virtually nothing in the piece to justify the headline. Zero.
No joke, this is as close as the article comes to substantiating the "unhappy" headline [emphasis added]:
But at this early stage in the appointments process, there is a trickle of disappointment running through the Latino community.
We understand that in the click-through world headlines can make or break a story. But is maintaining some semblance of journalistic guidelines when hyping stories asking too much?
Amid reports that President-elect Barack Obama has decided to nominate Clinton Justice Department veteran Eric Holder to be attorney general, Chris Matthews criticized Obama on Hardball: "You could do this in any bureaucratic state, you could do it in the old Soviet Union. ... You don't need elections for this crap." But in 2001, Matthews said of George W. Bush's Cabinet picks, which included veterans of past administrations: "There's some real heavyweights in terms of experience."