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On his Fox News program, Sean Hannity falsely claimed that President Obama made a "campaign promise" to allow "no earmarks." Hannity then aired a clip of Obama stating his desire to "ban all earmarks" from the economic recovery package, falsely suggesting that Obama was referring to banning all earmarks in general.
From a particularly dreadful Saturday dispatch:
Every day, the economy is becoming more and more an Obama economy.
As we noted the other day, the latest NBC/WSJ poll found that a strong majority of Americans (66 percent) won't begin to assign to Obama responsibility for the performance of the economy until 2010, and 43 percent won't do so until 2011.
But news outlets like the AP don't care what Americans think. They're assigning Obama responsibility for the economy today because, c'mon, he's already been president for like 50 days, right?
In an AP "analysis," Tom Raum suggested that President Obama is to blame for job losses since he took office -- an argument rejected even by conservative CNBC host and National Review Online economics editor Larry Kudlow.
In the past few days, MSNBC has repeatedly used misleading graphics of the Dow Jones industrial average showing a decline since the beginning of November 2008, suggesting that the drop started with the election of President Obama. In fact, the Dow was on a downward trajectory months before the election, dropping 3,738 points from May 2, 2008, to November 3, 2008.
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Discussing a photo of Michelle Obama at a homeless shelter that featured a man photographing Obama using a cell phone, Rush Limbaugh said, "[T]he homeless and the poor are showing up taking pictures of her with their cell phones." But homeless advocates have stated that cell phones are a "lifeline" for the homeless and noted the importance of having a stable phone number in trying to find jobs.
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In a March 6 news article headline, Bloomberg referred to the "Obama Bear Market," and The Wall Street Journal ran an op-ed on the same day with the headline "Obama's Radicalism is Killing the Dow." In fact, the market has been on a decline since October 2007, and, as the Financial Times' Dan McCrum said, "it's the economy which is driving the market down here" and that "what's important is that President Obama doesn't try to address that in the short term. He's quite right that short-term market movements aren't -- shouldn't be driving government policy. What he needs to do is concentrate on fixing the economy, and the market will sort itself out."
In an effort to tag the current economic crisis on the new president, more and more business news outlets are pretending there was no unfolding financial crisis before Obama's Inauguration Day, and that the Dow for some unexplainable reason has suddenly gone south with his arrival in the White House. Mouthing the anti-Democratic complaints from the Street, the business press pretends our economic woes started January 21.
For instance, Bloomberg News aggressively plays dumb with its Eric Martin's article, "'Obama Bear Market' Punishes Investors as Dow Slumps." The entire article is built around the premise that the stock markets are tanking under Obama and that he's to blame. Nowhere in the article is there the slightest hint on context--none--regarding the fact that Obama, you know, inherited an economic crisis from a Republican administration.
Over on the WSJ's editorial page, Michael Boskin, a Stanford Prof, does the same thing as he dissects the Obama budget. Headline: "Obama's Radicalism Is Killing the Dow." (Subtle, right?)
Boskin goes on and on about how much he hates Obama's spending plans and taxation and costly health care initiatives. What's pretty much ignored? The fact that the budget is, in part, in response to an unfolding global economic crisis that Obama inherited. For some reason, Boskin left that pertinent fact out.
In the wake of the unfolding economic collapse, lots of people have pointed the finger at the business press, suggesting for years they failed the see the current troubles forming; that they played dumb. Well, it turns out some portions of the business press aren't done playing dumb.
On Morning Joe, Joe Scarborough baselessly claimed that "we're spending ... $2 trillion this year ... just to pay interest on the national debt." However, the Treasury Department estimated that interest payments on the national debt will be roughly $450 billion in fiscal year 2009 -- almost one-quarter the amount Scarborough claimed.
I really don't have time to track everything said on CNN and every other network, read every publication that does national news and still report news on my own, so I don't know if "class warfare" is being used every 10 seconds on tv. I suspect not, as it's a loaded term.
Bacon is right; "class warfare" is a loaded (and selectively applied) term. But whether he has noticed or not, the phrase has made its way into quite a few news reports -- and not just those on cable news and in the Politico.
For example, here's a recent Washington Post headline: "Mortgage-Aid Tiff May Portend a New Wave of Class War." That article hyped "the potential for a new wave of class warfare as the president unveils economic plans that reward some people, often at the expense of others."
Another example: on Sunday, the Post will run a column by Jackson Diehl, deputy editor of the paper's editorial board. In the column, which is already available online, Diehl argues that Obama's policies "allow" Republicans to call them "class warfare":
"If anything, Obama has raised the stakes by proposing no funding source other than higher taxes on wealthy Americans, allowing Republicans to raise the cries of 'socialism' and 'class warfare.'"
Point being: Bacon is right that reporters shouldn't use the term "class warfare" -- but they're doing it, even if he hasn't noticed.
Wednesday's online headline from CNBC's incessant Street cheerleader, Larry Kudlow:
"Recovery Indicators Are Being Ignored"
This afternoon's headline from WSJ.com:
"Recession Job Losses Top Four Million"
The Journal lead:
The U.S. economy continues to hemorrhage jobs at monthly rates not seen in six decades, a government report showed, signaling that there's still no end in sight to the severe recession that has already cost the U.S. over four million jobs.
But yes, by all means listen to Kudlow.
Specifically, for the team of top notch reporters who are trying to cover the most complex and challenging economic story of our lifetime. And by most accounts they're doing a good job staying on top of the constantly changing crisis.
The embarrassing part is when they open up the opinion pages of their own newspaper and see the editorials about the economy that read like they were penned by pledging members of the Young Republicans club.
Like the Journal's attempt to blame Obama for the downturn in the stock market. Only a fool would make that case. (i.e. Slumping housing prices in December and January were Obama's fault? Okay.....) But that's what the Journal proudly did this week:
As 2009 opened, three weeks before Barack Obama took office, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 9034 on January 2, its highest level since the autumn panic. Yesterday the Dow fell another 4.24% to 6763, for an overall decline of 25% in two months and to its lowest level since 1997. The dismaying message here is that President Obama's policies have become part of the economy's problem.
Over at NPR, Dick Meyer makes what should be this glaringly obvious point:
The idea of blaming one person for the downfall of the economy with a gross domestic product of about $14 trillion, powered by 300 million people and engaged in complex global commerce is nuts — whether that person is Bush, Obama, Alan Greenspan, Bernard Madoff, Osama bin Laden or the editors of opinions at The Wall Street Journal.
And if the Journal wants to toss around numbers to play the stock market blame game, Meyer notes [emphasis added]:
The rather more substantial fall came when the Dow was hovering around 14,000 in October 2007 and then tanked to 7552 on Nov. 20, 2008? That would mean, using the nastiest numbers, that the Dow fell about 46.5 percent on President Bush's watch. So far during the Obama administration, the Dow has dropped 15 percent.