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Excuses for not covering Benghazi–a helpful list for members of the Jurassic Media

There are rising calls for more reporting on the consular attack in Benghazi. Our poor press is beleaguered, and certainly too busy covering Sandy and the election to respond.

In fact, they’re so busy they apparently can’t think up good excuses for not covering Benghazi. At least, I haven’t seen any reasons disclosed publicly. They just don’t seem to see, hear, or say anything about it.

To help them out, I thought I would come up with a nice, prefab list of excuses. If any members of the media are reading, please feel free to use these. I’m sure QandO readers will add even more in the comments:

  • There’s really no need to go on site, because there’s video of the whole thing, shot from a drone. I’m sure we’ll see it very soon, probably about November 8. No, I’m not the least bit curious about why the Obama administration hasn’t released it yet. Why do you ask?
  • I just can’t see publicizing the whole seven hour standoff thing. We have enough superhero movies already.
  • Can’t get over there. SwissAir has no business class seats left.
  • Can’t face increasing my carbon footprint with a trip that long.
  • No Starbucks in Benghazi, and I hear the one in Tripoli is always out of pumpkin spice for lattes.
  • All these ghost-shaped Halloween cookies I baked would go to waste if I couldn’t give them to trick-or-treaters.
  • Sorry, I missed your question because I just came from a meeting with Obama. Let me wipe my mouth and then hear it again.
  • Putting something that violent in front of the public is not to be done lightly. Hey, we’re consistent about that. We didn’t show the pictures of George Zimmerman’s beating either.
  • Dead ambassador? Oh, yeah, I heard something about that. Something about a video that caused a riot. What a shame. But gosh, that was six weeks ago. Old news.
  • I’m afraid of politicizing that story this close to an election. Yeah, I did report Romney’s premature comments on it, and asked him a dozen times if he regrets his remarks. So?
  • Too busy writing my story about how Hurricane Sandy depressed Democratic voting in Philadelphia, so Obama losing Pennsylvania was an act of God. Certainly not a repudiation of Obama. Nope. No way.

Seriously, I thought the media could not be any more disgraceful in their slavish covering for Obama. More fool I.


MSM – the traditional Democratic ally?

I’m sure you’re watching the MSM give a huge collective yawn concerning the Obama video that has been surfaced showing an Obama that most of America hasn’t seen.

“Old news” they’re saying.  “We’ve covered it,” they claim.  Funny, I don’t remember it (oh, it was on MSNBC?  No wonder no one has seen it).

Meanwhile the MSM is fixed on 1985 videos of Mitt Romney and his stance on … Vietnam?

Ed Driscoll, via Instapundit, sums up a couple of points that are pretty much true.  First, he quotes Andrew Ferguson at Commentary, who makes a good point using the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle as a basis:

Heisenberg’s principle can be crudely generalized (it’s the best I can do) as follows: An observer can change the nature of a thing or an event merely through the act of observation. Observation all by itself can become an intervention. Heisenberg was describing how reality works at the level of quantum mechanics, where a wave becomes a particle and vice versa depending on how it’s being measured. But it applies, too, at the level of political journalism, where reality is even stranger. There, facts can become interpretations, interpretations can become facts, and events of no significance can achieve an earthshaking importance simply by virtue of being pawed over by a large number of journalists.

A typical journalist, if he’s any good, insists at least theoretically on the iron divide between observer and participant. At its best the press corps sees itself as a squadron of Red Cross workers, wandering among the combatants in a battle zone and ensuring their own safety with a claim of strict neutrality. The Heisenberg Principle of Journalism puts the lie to all that. You see it at work whenever a news anchor announces that “this story just refuses to go away” or a headline writer insists that “questions continue to be raised” about the conduct of one hapless public figure or another.

The story refuses to go away, of course, because the anchor and his colleagues won’t let it; and the questions that continue to be raised are being raised by the headline writer and his editors. Reporters create more news than anybody, just by pretending they’re watching it unfold.

How often have we seen the absolute over-kill by the media on stories most would consider trivial.  It seems to always depend on who is involved, doesn’t it?   But, as Bengazi and Fast and Furious are proving, the inverse is also true.  The MSM can blatantly ignore what most would consider important stories as well.   Driscoll lists the exceptions:

Let’s.  And that’s precisely what the media is doing.  I’d also add to that list a litany of economic failure that is simply being ignored.

Or to put it another way, as the Washington Examiner notes tonight in an editorial, “To believe Obama is to forget the last four years.” That’s what both the Obama Administration and their palace guard are hoping.

It has gotten so obvious that even Howard Fineman has criticized the press for its obvious bias and its selective coverage.  Pat Caudell went off on the media just the other day.

The intent of the media?  To drag their chosen one across the finish line regardless of how poorly he’s done.   There seems to be no attempt to hide it anymore.  Simply peruse the stories of the day, identify what should be the stories of the day (a useful tool is to identify something not being covered and say to one’s self “if that were a Republican president …”), and it becomes clear which side, literally, the press is on.

Tonight is going to be interesting as well.  We’ll see how subtle the “moderators” of the debate are going to be about their bias by the questions they ask.  Will they focus on the economy, the unfulfilled Obama promises, the disaster his foreign policy has become, ObamaCare and its cost, etc.  Or are we going to talk about “lady parts”, what Romney said in 1985 and the evil Bain corporation.

My guess?  Not much economy, not much Obama record, lots about Mitt’s past (with the excuse that we know about Obama, but this is an opportunity to introduce America to Romney).

~McQ
Twitter: @McQandO
Facebook: QandO


Media distrust at an all time high

Gee, I wonder if they’ve figured out they’re being a little too obvious about it?

Yeah, probably not. They have “3 layers of editors” after all.

Gallup has the goods:

Now there are those out there that say, much like voter fraud, there’s really no bias in the media, they’re professionals.

Well, we may call them that, but that doesn’t make them professionals.

More importantly, much like voter fraud and a myriad other things, it ignores human nature.

What there’s been in the past, for the most part, is plausible deniability.  It just wasn’t obvious or if it was, it was arguable.  Now?

Well now it is really hardly arguable anymore.  Treatment of recent events brings that into startling focus.  Yesterday on QandO Facebook, we linked to an article that listed 6 plausible headlines if Obama was a Republican president.

And yes, they’re quite plausible.  In fact, I think that it is almost inarguable.

As interesting as the first graph above is, the second it telling in another way:

How is it telling?  Well, who is the most satisfied demographic?  18 points higher than the average in the above of those who are a great deal or fairly satisfied with the media.  And, as expected, at least if you follow the news media at all, the GOP is horribly dissatisfied.  In fact 74% have little or no trust in the media.

But that’s not the important story in that graph.  It’s the slide of the independent voter from a postion of trust to one of distrust.  A 21% drop from 2001 to now.

It is that demographic’s distrust that best tells the story.  They really have no dog in the hunt in terms of strong ideology.  Their claim is they vote the candidate that best represents them at the time.  So if anyone’s view is less tainted by ideology or concern, it would be independents.  And they’ve shown a marked downward trend in trust for the media.

The point?  Well the point may be that the media’s best biased efforts may not pay off quite as well as they hope or they’ve enjoyed in the past.

One of the reasons is there are a multitude of other sources out there that are readily available and help point out the half-truths and spin that is seen quite often in media reports these days.  It also says, at least to me, that such sources are being both sought out and believed (if the independent number has any validity at all).

Gallup concludes:

On a broad level, Americans’ high level of distrust in the media poses a challenge to democracy and to creating a fully engaged citizenry. Media sources must clearly do more to earn the trust of Americans, the majority of whom see the media as biased one way or the other. At the same time, there is an opportunity for others outside the “mass media” to serve as information sources that Americans do trust.

That’s precisely what is happening.  The media monopoly has gone the way of feudalism.  The digital printing press has seen to that.  The problem is, the media, for all their self-lauding and claims of being “professionals” haven’t yet caught on to the fact that they’re fast becoming the equivalent of the buggy whip in an automotive society.

And it’s their fault.

~McQ

Twitter: McQandO

Facebook: QandO


Romeney’s “secret video”: Much ado about nothing

So, heaven forbid, there’s a “secret video” out of Romney (provided, reportedly, by James Earl Carter IV, who, ironically, is out of work) saying things that show what he really feels about Americans, (insert gasp here) etc., etc., – que the liberal outrage of the week and the latest in the left’s distract and disrupt campaign.

As to the remarks videoed by someone at this event, here’s how Mother Jones characterized what it saw as the big 3 quotes (that, one assumes, hurts Romney).

On the 47 percent of Americans “who will vote for the president no matter what.”

On the dividends of his anticipated November 6 victory: “we’ll see—without actually doing anything—we’ll actually get a boost in the economy.”

On the “almost unthinkable prospects” for Mideast peace: “I look at the Palestinians not wanting to see peace anyway…and I say there’s just no way.”

Oh my. Romney thinks that are “47% ” of Americans who will vote for Obama, “no matter what”.

Well here’s a shocker — so do I. Are they the same 47% who pay not income taxes (and save your breath, all those who beam in with payroll and sales taxes – “income” is before “taxes” because we’re talking about a specific tax, thankyouverymuch). No. But that’s sort of irrelevant. I do indeed believe that around 47% will indeed vote for Obama “no matter what”. Just as I believe there is about 45% who will vote for Romney, “no matter what”. Shock! The political term “yellow dog” is applied to both sides, folks, for a very good reason. They exist – in large quantities.

Of course the war is for the final 8% isn’t it? It always is. Why anyone is outraged by this number and his point is beyond me … or anyone who has any freaking idea of how politics have worked in this country for ages. It’s always been about wooing the final 8-10%. Obama’s problem is, since being elected, he’s rarely if ever been beyond 49%.

As to the damage? Well I think James Taranto sums that up pretty darn well:

Romney’s comment has been compared with Obama’s infamous 2008 remark, also at a private meeting with donors, about Pennsylvania voters who get bitter and cling to guns and religion. To our mind the difference is that those people, traditionally Democratic voters, could easily tell that Obama was referring to them. Most of the 47% will not see themselves in Romney’s description–and those who do, would probably not have considered voting for him anyway.

Bingo. Not that the Democratic dog isn’t going to worry this bone as much as it can.

Quote two about the economy. Context is always nice:

Audience member: When the [unintelligible] in September, the markets are going to be looking—marginal tax rates going up, overheads going, fine, but sequestration under the debt ceiling deal—what do they call it?

Romney: Taxageddon?

Audience member: Yeah, they call it that. The Obamacare, taxes on dividends and capital gains—I mean, the markets are going to be speaking very wildly in October on all of those issues.

Romney: They’ll probably be looking at what the polls are saying. If it looks like I’m going to win, the markets will be happy. If it looks like the president’s going to win, the markets should not be terribly happy. It depends, of course, which markets you’re talking about, which types of commodities and so forth, but my own view is, if we win on November 6th there will be a great deal of optimism about the future of this country. We’ll see capital come back, and we’ll see—without actually doing anything—we’ll actually get a boost in the economy. If the president gets reelected, I don’t know what will happen. I can never predict what the markets will do. Sometimes it does the exact opposite of what I would have expected. But my own view is that if we get the—the “Taxageddon,” as they call it, January 1st, with this president, and with a Congress that can’t work together, it really is frightening, really frightening in my view.

Again, an “oh, my … wait, what?”  You mean he wasn’t talking about the economy improving and him being able to take credit “without actually doing something” as implied by the out of context quote?

Context – what a concept.  He’s talking about how the markets will react to his election, that’s all.  And, as in the previous quote – he’s right.

Finally, the Palestinian question.  He’s three for three – they don’t want peace, they want the destruction of Israel and always have.  And when offered a 95% deal, their leader (another Nobel Peace Prize winner) Yassir Arafat, turned it down.  These are the people who parade their children around in fake suicide vests and launch rockets, weekly, into Israel.

As to what he said in full:

And I look at the Palestinians not wanting to see peace anyway, for political purposes, committed to the destruction and elimination of Israel, and these thorny issues, and I say there’s just no way. And so what you do is you say you move things along the best way you can. You hope for some degree of stability, but you recognize that it’s going to remain an unsolved problem. I mean, we look at that in China and Taiwan. All right, we have a potentially volatile situation, but we sort of live with it. And we kick the ball down the field and hope that ultimately, somehow, something will happen and resolve. We don’t go to war to try and resolve it.

On the other hand, I got a call from a former secretary of state—and I won’t mention which one it was—but this individual said to me, “You know, I think there’s a prospect for a settlement between the Palestinians and the Israelis after the Palestinian elections.” I said, “Really?” And his answer was, “Yes, I think there’s some prospect.” And I didn’t delve into it but you know, I always keep open the idea of, I have to tell ya, the idea of pushing on the Israelis?—to give something up, to get the Palestinians to act, is the worst idea in the world. We have done that time and time and time again. It does not work. So, the only answer is show your strength. Again, American strength, American resolve, as the Palestinians someday reach the point where they want peace more than we’re trying to push peace on them—and then it’s worth having the discussion. Until then, it’s just wishful thinking.

Can’t disagree.   Won’t disagree.  It’s essentially true.  When, and only when, the Palestinians get serious about real peace can such a process go forward.  They’re still not there.  In fact, they’re not even close.

Anyway, there you go.  The outrage is just nonsense as usual, but certainly helpful in the disrupt and distract campagin.  Not reported on?  This part of the conversation:

Audience member: The debates are gonna be coming, and I hope at the right moment you can turn to President Obama, look at the American people, and say, “If you vote to reelect President Obama, you’re voting to bankrupt the United States.” I hope you keep that in your quiver because that’s what gonna happen. And I think it’s going to be very effective. Just wanted to give you that.

Romney: Yeah, it’s interesting…the former head of Goldman Sachs, John Whitehead, was also the former head of the New York Federal Reserve. And I met with him, and he said as soon as the Fed stops buying all the debt that we’re issuing—which they’ve been doing, the Fed’s buying like three-quarters of the debt that America issues. He said, once that’s over, he said we’re going to have a failed Treasury auction, interest rates are going to have to go up. We’re living in this borrowed fantasy world, where the government keeps on borrowing money. You know, we borrow this extra trillion a year, we wonder who’s loaning us the trillion? The Chinese aren’t loaning us anymore. The Russians aren’t loaning it to us anymore. So who’s giving us the trillion? And the answer is we’re just making it up. The Federal Reserve is just taking it and saying, “Here, we’re giving it.’ It’s just made up money, and this does not augur well for our economic future.

You know, some of these things are complex enough it’s not easy for people to understand, but your point of saying, bankruptcy usually concentrates the mind. Yeah, George.

Audience member, “George”: Governor, to your point on complexity. How is—you’ve traveled around America and talked to people in larger groups and perhaps people with different backgrounds, and people in this room: To what extent do people really understand that we’re hurtling toward a cliff, and to what extent do people understand the severity of the fiscal situation we’re in. Do people get it?

Romney: They don’t. By and large people don’t get it. People in our party, and part of—it’s our fault because we’ve been talking about deficits and debt for about 25 or 30 years as a party, and so they’ve heard us say it and say it and say it. The fact that Greece is going what it’s going through, and they read about France and Italy and Spain, has finally made this issue topical for the American people. And so when you do polls, and you ask people what is the biggest issue in the 2012 election, No. 1 is the economy and jobs by a wide margin. But No. 2 is the deficit. But debt, that doesn’t calculate for folks, but the deficit does. They recognize you can’t go on forever like this. Although the people who recognize that tend to be Republicans, and the people who don’t recognize that tend to be Democrats. And what we have to get is that 5 or 10 percent in the middle who sometimes vote Republican, sometimes vote Democrat, and have them understand how important this is. It’s a challenge. I did the calculation for folks today, and USA Today publishes this every year. It’s a front-page story: the headline once a year, it somehow escapes people’s attention, and that is, if you take the total national debt and the unfunded liabilities of Medicare, Social Security, and Medicaid, the amount of debt plus unfunded liabilities per household in America is $520,000. Per household.

Audience member: It’s like 12 times their income, right?

Romney: At least. 10, 12 times their income. Even though we’re not going to be writing the check for that amount per household, they’re going to be paying the interest on that. You’ll be paying the interest on that. [Audience laughs.] Because we—my generation will be long gone, and you’ll be paying the interest. And so you’ll be paying taxes, not only for the things you want in your generation, but for all the things we spent money on, which is just—it’s extraordinary to think the tax rates, someone calculated what would happen. If we don’t change Medicare or Social Security, the tax rate—you know what the payroll tax is now, it’s 15.3 percent—if we don’t change those programs, that tax rate will have to ultimately rise to 44 percent. The payroll tax. Then there’s the income tax on top, which the president wants to take to 40 percent. Then there’s state tax in most states. And sales tax. So you end up having to take 100 percent of people’s income. And yet the president, three and a half years in, won’t talk about reforming Social Security or Medicare. And when the Republicans do, it’s “Oh, you’re throwing granny off the cliff.” It’s like you’re killing the kids. The biggest surprise that I have is that young people will vote for Democrats. They look at this and say, “Holy cow! The only guys who are worried about the future of our country and our future are Republicans.” But the Democrats, they talk about social issues, draw in the young people, and they vote on that issue. It’s like, I mean, there won’t be any houses like this if we stay on the road we’re on.

Now that is important stuff.  That is what this elections should be about.

Not this other crap that MJ and the left chose to quote out of context.  But then, what choice do they have but to resort to that given their candidate of choice’s record.

By the way, there’s now a controversy brewing about the possibility that the secret video might have been edited.  Or, perhaps the gap is more like the Nixon tapes.  Regardless, charges are flying back and forth.  David Corn at MJ says they’re complete.  But a bunch aren’t buying that.  By the way, MJ blasted James O’Keefe for “edited” ACORN tapes if you’ll remember.

So, it’s politics in the media as usual.  Wonderful stuff, no?

Aren’t we being well served?

~McQ

Twitter: McQandO

Facebook: QandO


Probably untrue news – 9 Sept 2012 edition

Mitt Romney stopped and bought Girl Scout cookies during a campaign stop this morning. He bought two boxes of Do-si-dos and a box of Trefoil butter cookies.

Debbie Wasserman-Shultz derided the incident as yet more evidence that Romney is out of touch with average Americans. "He didn’t get a single box of Samoas or Thin Mints? That’s unpardonable. Those are the Girl Scout Cookie varieties Americans love. Mitt Romney has proven again that he’s not fit to lead America during this tough economy."

Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa called Romney a racist over the flap. "He didn’t buy anything that has any chocolate in it. Not only did he turn down the totally brown Thin Mints, he wouldn’t even take the partially brown Samoas. The only reason I can think of for such blatant insensitivity is outright racism."

Senate Majority leader Harry Reid said a friend in the Girl Scouts told him Romney had never purchased Samoas or Thin Mints. "The facts are clear. Unless Romney releases his purchase records of Girl Scout cookies for the last twenty years, we’ll all know exactly what to think."

A Romney campaign spokesman pointed out that the group of Girl Scouts selling cookies outside a supermarket was out of Samoas and Thin Mints. "We were all disappointed that there were no Samoas, but that’s not Mitt Romney’s fault. The Obama economy with its high unemployment has made it impossible for the Girl Scouts to predict how many cookies of each variety to order. I really wanted some Samoas with vanilla ice cream on top, but, hey, that’s just how it goes."

Politifact looked at the Romney campaign’s claim that they didn’t buy Samoas or Thin Mints because they were not available that day. Since there were some Samoas and Thin Mints available from other scouts elsewhere in the country, they rated the claim "mostly false".


Time to “like” QandO on Facebook

OK, guys, you’ve delayed long enough.  Head on over to Facebook and like QandO  (it didn’t kill Kyle8).

We’re actually calling it QandO Plus because we’re popping up links to content you don’t find over here.

So?

So go do it (we’re trying to get over 100 today and over 200 by the weekend … so help out, will ya?).

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO

Facebook: QandO


Media bias? Majority of likely voters say yes

This can’t help the mainstream media’s already battered reputation or it’s constant claim of objective political reporting:

Likely voters, by a five-to-one margin, believe that America’s media is in President Obama’s pocket and will treat his candidacy better than challenger Mitt Romney’s as the election nears, according to a new Rasmussen Reports poll.

The startling numbers point to an even more disturbing trend for the media: Reporters just aren’t trusted to deliver the news in an unbiased fashion. The proof: Rasmussen found that when it comes to information about the presidential campaign, 48 percent of likely voters trust friends and family while just 26 percent trust reporters.

In fact, it’s even worse than those two lead paragraphs in the story:

The poll found that 59 percent of likely voters believe that the media has given Obama better treatment than Romney, a view Team Obama doesn’t agree with. Just 18 percent believe the media has treated Romney better.

Whether or not “Team Obama” agrees is irrelevant.  In politics, perception is reality.  And the reality is a large majority of likely voters (the key demographic) find the media both bias and wanting in terms of fair, objective and balanced political reporting.

So what is the impact of this?

Well, for one, tuning the media out.  Few people are likely to keep listening to or watching coverage don’t trust.  One of the reasons for the rise of the new media is it provides an important “other side” to the coverage of politics.

Despite their protestations to the contrary, the mainstream media has been unable to convince almost 60% of the likely voters they’re unbiased and trustworthy.  That has to come from somewhere when you talk those numbers.  And it is unlikely it is only a figment of that 60%’s imagination.  They see the bias as real and they don’t like it or trust what they consider the biased outlets.

If you’re wondering why CNN’s numbers are at an all time low or why newspapers are failing this is part of it.  Meanwhile the new media is thriving.  It may not be objective, but readers and viewers know that, because new media outlets make no bones about it.  What these outlets provide is “the rest of the story”.  And when the rest of the story comes out, and all the facts are on the table, not just what the mainstream media chose to use,  it makes the mainstream medias bias apparent.

Another reason the mainstream media is considered to be in Obama’s pocket is that instead of asking hard questions and follow up, and researching a story, they’ve become a transcription service.  Whatever the campaign or White House put out is dutifully published or announced with little or any questioning.  When that is shot full of holes by blogs and on-line news services and pundits, they again look to be biased (when, in many cases, they’re just not doing their job).

The question, of course, is with almost 60% of likely voters believing that the mainstream media is in Obama’s pocket, what effect will that have on the election.

In the past the media has, of course, played a large role in helping determine who the next president would be.  Will the 60% disregard and ignore the media?   Will they treat it as a propaganda arm of the campaign and seek their information elsewhere?  Because of the perception held by a majority of the likely voters, will the media play a diminished role in this election?

All interesting and entertaining questions which we’ll have to monitor during this election cycle. 

I remember years ago, after QandO got started and blogs began having some visibility and impact, media organizations sniffing down their arrogant noses at these upstarts who dared to question their dominance and reminding everyone the difference between some loser in the basement in his pajamas churning out his stuff and a professional organization, with trained journalists and 3 layers of editors.

Well as it turns out, that difference hasn’t mattered.  The pajama clad are still around (and pretty well established now) and the professional organizations with trained journalists and 3 layers of editors have seen their reputations and followings dwindle.

You’d think, by now, they’d be clued into the ‘why’, but apparently its like economics to the left – it just doesn’t compute.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO

Facebook: QandO


Recovery? Maybe it is time to use the “D” word

Market Watch writer Al Lewis opines:

The Great Depression that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke claims to have averted has been part of the background radiation of our economy since at least 2008.

It’s just that like radiation — it’s invisible.

Uh, no.  It’s no.  It is simply a word, a description, that most of the media refuses to use.

Here, try it out.  “Depression.”  See, it’s not so hard.

In fact anyone who takes an objective look at what we’ve been suffering has concluded that while our current condition may not fit the arbitrary definition of whatever is considered a depression today, our economy certainly isn’t in any condition to be called recovered or even “recovering”.  In fact, it is a disaster:

 

073112recovery1

 

In a new research note, JPMorgan points out that since 1970, Japan, Finland and Sweden have all gone through what the U.S. is currently going through. And all three of them had recoveries stronger than America’s. The above chart compares the economic recovery — as measured by real GDP per capita — of each nation at different points after the trough of their recessions. And the U.S. is in dead last after 12 quarters from the bottom.

Take a particular look at Japan.  That is the economy during the “lost decade” that we’re currently underperforming.  Says JP Morgan’s Michael Feroli:

The poster child for slow growth coming out of a debt-fuelled financial crisis has to be Japan, which ever since the early 1990s has had trouble getting a head of steam. The recession which kicked off Japan’s “lost decade” lasted from 1991 to 1993. Including the recovery experience from that recession is sobering: we are currently faring worse than Japan at the same point in their lost decade.

So what’s the plan?  How are we going to work ourselves out of this position?  What policies will we institute to begin the actual, not pseudo, recovery?  Well, it’s an election year.  Don’t expect to hear the hard truths from this administration.  Instead, prepare to be reminded “its working”.  That in spite of reality:

As the economy reels, the national debt approaches $16 trillion, and we hear fears of Congress jumping off a fiscal cliff by year-end. Many states and local governments are struggling with massive deficits, too. Three California cities have filed bankruptcies.

U.S. companies are warning of slower growth amid Europe’s meltdown, yet the Dow Jones Industrial Average has crossed the 13,000 mark, and some observers are predicting new highs for the index soon.

The rising stock market is as counterintuitive as interest rates falling to new lows after the U.S. lost its triple-A debt rating last year. It isn’t that investors aren’t wary. It’s just that every place else makes them more wary. This isn’t the definition of a recovery.

No, it’s not.  But then Lewis doubles down with stupid:

The cure for our battered economy has been to allow our disasters to occur more slowly through taxpayer bailouts and extraordinary interventions from the Fed. So far, this strategy has worked. We have averted a sudden crash in favor of a depressingly slower one.

As we said from the very beginning, you can either let the economy takes its course and suffer the results quickly, get over it and recover, or you can find a way to extend it to where the effect may not be as dramatic but will linger and linger and linger.

We chose the latter path and it hasn’t at all worked out the way it was predicted (remember, at this point, unemployment was supposed to be in the 5% area if the stimulus was approved and 8% area if it wasn’t – so it’s hard to say “it worked”, isn’t it?).

The spin says the downturn was softened.  But again, I point to the promises vs. the reality.  We are no better off in terms of unemployment than it was claimed we’d be if we didn’t go an additional trillion dollars in debt.

And the economy isn’t recovering, it’s bouncing along the bottom of a trough with the possibility of going even lower if Europe implodes.

Yet the only plan I’ve seen or heard about is to repeat what failed previously with the Fed talking about a QE3 while we’re already awash in about 10 trillion dollars in funds it has already injected.  I don’t know about you but I simply haven’t much confidence in Ben Bernanke’s assurances that he can wring all that cash out of the system without triggering another economic downturn or hyperinflation.  History is not on his side.

I think Ace points to the truth of the matter that the media and politicians simply won’t touch:

This is the worst "recovery" by any nation since 1970, and it could be partly due to a category error: We’re not recovering from a recession, we’re still in the depths of a depression.

That’s right, it isn’t the “worst recovery”.  There hasn’t been a recovery. There have been “bright spots” here and there which quickly faded, but overall, we’re in the same place economically we’ve been for months and years.  And it isn’t an “invisible” depression to the unemployed and those who’ve given up hope and dropped out of the job market.  It is very visible.  And most likely they remember the promises and the results.

Of course, instead of facing this and holding politicians accountable, our media will continue to play to the distractions, the nonsense and the irrelevant instead of asking the hard questions, demanding answers and informing voters.

Unfortunately, such is life in America today.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO


Ice melt in Greenland exposes different ways media treats the story (Update)

According to the Atlantic’s Rebecca Rosen, Greenland is in the middle of an “extreme ice melt”.  You can read the article and consider the point.  I’ll give her credit.  She reports it pretty objectively including this as a reason for the melt:

NASA says that it is normal for Greenland’s ice to melt a bit in the summer; what is abnormal is the extent. Normally, only about half of the ice sheet’s surface sees any melting. This year, that proportion just about doubled. NASA additionally said that its satellites were recording uncharacteristically high temperatures over the island. Those warmer temperatures were brought by a bubble of warm air (a "heat dome"), the latest in a series of such ridges that have moved over Greenland this year.

In other words, a regional event.

She also mentions:

The last such melt event occurred in 1889, according to data from ice cores, and scientists say they would expect such an event about every 150 years. They’ll be monitoring the ice closely in the years ahead to see if this turns out to be a regular aberration, or an irregular one.

Got it.  Thanks for noting the event which appears to have a history (I’ll cover how much of a history below).

The UK’s Guardian kicks it up a notch with the use of the word “unprecedented” in their title.

“Greenland ice sheet melted at unprecedented rate during July”

No.  It didn’t. As we see from the Atlantic’s treatment,  this event isn’t at all “unprecedented.”  In fact, if I have any gripe about the Atlantic’s coverage is it stopped short of noting a longer history of Greenland’s ice melts:

greenland

 

Greenland, as you can see, has seen periods as warm or warmer than now in its history. One could logically assume then that it would have had the same sorts of weather events during those periods as it experienced during the recent week in early July. 

BTW, here’s an explanation of the numbers you see above:

greenland temp history

“Unprecedented” is obviously a incorrect characterization of the event.  Why did the Guardian seize on the word?
Because some scientist conveniently used it:

However, scientists were still coming to grips with the shocking images on Tuesday. "I think it’s fair to say that this is unprecedented," Jay Zwally, a glaciologist at Nasa’s Goddard Space Flight Center, told the Guardian.

Again, no, it isn’t “unprecedented”.  And obviously the Guardian didn’t take the time to find out if it really was.  A simple Wikipedia check would have produced the above graph.

So why the acceptance of the scientist’s characterization without checking?  I think that too is obvious – it’s scarier than admitting it has a long history of occurring,  many times prior to the industrial revolution.  It lends more immediacy to the story.   The fact that throughout its history Greenland has seen a cycle of warmer and colder weather is “inconvenient” to the scare factor related to AGW.  Certainly the Guardian is careful not to come right out and scream global warming, but by noting this “unprecedented” event, it certainly is clear that global warming, and specifically AGW,  is the dot to which they want you to connect this to.

The NY Times, on the other hand, notes the melt and takes a different approach.  While noting the melt and the high pressure ridge, the Times throws this into the mix:

Nonetheless, the scientists said, the melt was significant because Greenland’s ice sheet is unequivocally shrinking as a result of the warming of the world’s oceans, and the event could help broaden their insights into climate change and earth systems.

While they don’t claim that AGW is the cause for warming oceans (don’t worry, there are plenty of others out there that do), they don’t endeavor to explain why oceans have been warming for the past 100 years.

Here’s a pretty significant clue.  It’s a 2,300 year Hallstatt solar variation cycles graph:

800px-Carbon-14-10kyr-Hallstadtzeit_Cycles

Anyone notice what has been rising for the last 1,000 or so years?

In fact, says Sami Solanki, the director of the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research in Katlenburg-Lindau, Germany

The sun has been at its strongest over the past 60 years and may now be affecting global temperatures… the brighter sun and higher levels of so-called "greenhouse gases" both contributed to the change in the Earth’s temperature, but it was impossible to say which had the greater impact.

As it is turning out, it appears it may be the Sun.  CO2 has always been a lagging indicator in warming history until it was recently elevated by some “scientists” to a leading cause.  It has not shown the effect on temperature predicted by warmist models, however.  In fact, it hasn’t even been close even while the ppm of CO2 in the atmosphere has continued to rise. 

The point of all of this?  It appears that those traditionally associated with the AGW scaremongering are toning down their rhetoric even while still attempting, through half-truths, incomplete reporting and implication, to push the AGW agenda, albeit much more subtly now. 

Don’t let them get away with it.

UPDATE: And then, of course, there are those who don’t have a clue and don’t care, especially when they can use this to club the GOP.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO


Media Appearance Today (Updated)

If you live on Florida’s Space Coast, I’ll be on AM 1300 WMEL around 3PM Eastern, to talk about the economy and stuff. If you’re not on the Space Coast, you can listen live, worldwide, here.

UPDATE: If you’d like to listen, here is the whole interview I did on WMEL today. I cut out all the commercial breaks and whatnot, but even so, it’s still 36:20 long, so consider it an extra podcast for the week.

I don’t consider myself a "renowned economist", however. Or even an economist at all. I mean, I got me the book learnin’ in it, and I know my ciphers and my figurin’ and whatnot, but my work in the field has been in economic journalism, rather than formal work as an economist.

But the WMEL guys were very nice to me, and I appreciate it.

~
Dale Franks
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