Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The media’s reporting on retail sales, ideology first

Every year news consumers are bombarded with stories about dismal retail sales forecast but this year, it seems the news isn’t so gloomy, in fact on Tampa Bay’s local news this morning, there were stories about retailers and shoppers getting ready for their holiday shopping and the overall coverage strongly slanted toward a strong forecast of strong sales numbers from Black Friday foward; a Google search of “retail sales” found a quite different tone, and here’s the search results of two previous years:

Hot October Stops Retail Sales Cold

Washington Post - Nov 9, 2007

Retail sales post weak gains in October

msnbc.com - Nov 14, 2007

US Retail Sales in October Trail Analyst Estimates

Bloomberg - Nov 8, 2007

Retail sales fall by record amount in October

FOXNews - Nov 14, 2008

US Oct retail sales disappoint as shoppers pull back

Forbes - Nov 6, 2008

Retail sales drop for first time in three years

Times Online - Nov 11, 2008

By contrast, when “retail sales” were Googled for this year, the headlines populated in the search results were decidedly different then the previous two years’ headlines:

US retail sales surge on autos, manufacturing slows

Forbes - Nov 16, 2009

US Retail sales slightly ahead of estimates

Reuters - Nov 5, 2009
By Nicole Maestri,
NEW YORK (Reuters) - US retail chains reported October sales slightly ahead of Wall Street expectations

Retail Sales Enjoy Best October In 7 Years

New York Times - Nov 9, 2009

Could it be the media is trying to mislead its viewers/readers? Hmmm; one wonders what’s different this year than in the previous two years (unemployment in those years were 5% in 2007 and 6.5% in 2008). Given the present economic circumstances, with U-3 unemployment at 10.0% and the U-6 currently at 17.5%, record foreclosures and personal bankruptcy filings, the weakening US dollar, one wonders how it might be that consumers are spending more.

There is a bias in the mainstream media and examples such as these prove so. Why else would newspaper circulation needed to be fluffed-up by new counting procedures (which allow newspapers to count both printed sales and electronic subscription sales, meaning they may count sales twice) and why else would blatantly left-of-center cable networks be losing so many viewers?

-- The Editors, Killswitch Politick

Click here to subscribe

Click here to contact

Monday, November 23, 2009

The sad reality of 2000 comes back yet again

In November of 2000, Vice President Al Gore was given a premature victory via faulty exit polling and a media eager to rid themselves of the Texas misfit cowboy. Hours later, Gore conceded the election to George W. Bush and within hours of that, rescinded his concession. It was at that moment, the American political system would forever be changed.

Hanging chads, absentee voters, military ballots, butterfly ballots, voter intent, and the list went on and on; it was nothing really out of the ordinary as far as elections go, but it happened in the narrowest of margins and during the biggest election of the free world.

Since the 2000 Presidential election, there have been a number of post-election challenges from state congressional races to the US Senate. The 2000 precedent of recounting and legal wrangling has been seen over and over again. The last big spectacle was between Norm Coleman and Al Franken for a senatorial seat representing the state of Minnesota. Coleman won the election initially, but team Franken kept the recounts going until their candidate was sworn in.

Now, in the wake of the tide-turning gubernatorial elections in Virginia and New Jersey, the District 23 race in New York between democrat Bill Owens and conservative Doug Hoffman seems to have been decided. By a narrow victory on election night, Mr. Owen’s bested his opponent but the race wasn’t over. Out of the media spotlight, this race was close, close enough for Doug Hoffman to imitate Gore’s un-concession – leading to the dreaded chicken-or-egg electoral guesswork. Last week, the last of the district’s absentee ballots were counted, and challenger Doug Hoffman trailed the earlier declared winner, Bill Owens, by 3,129 votes.

Mr. Hoffman would have to come with a 500 vote margin to continue his challenge, a goal that is quite unlikely to be met. Staring defeat in the eye for the second time, Mr. Hoffman has made allegations that state unions and ACORN had stolen the election.

Elections are held in precincts, not courtrooms and the 2000 Presidential Election proved that; there is often a lamenting of how few Americans actually turn out to vote on Election Day, but with candidates like these, who can blame them?

-- Killswitch Politick

Click here to subscribe

Click here to contact

Monday, November 16, 2009

Global cooling, 1970s, Global warming, 1990s, Global climate change, 2000s

June 24th, 1974, Time Magazine featured a cover story with a family gathered around a busted out console television and a fire burning inside, warming them – the cover exclaiming, ”The Cooling of America”. Inside, the story told of a coming ice age, “Telltale signs are everywhere —from the unexpected persistence and thickness of pack ice in the waters around Iceland to the southward migration of a warmth-loving creature like the armadillo from the Midwest. Since the 1940s the mean global temperature has dropped about 2.7° F. Although that figure is at best an estimate, it is supported by other convincing data.”

Thirty-five years later and no such catastrophe unfolded. But we are still being told of the coming climate catastrophe…

  • Ted Danson stated that the oceans would be dried-up in ten years…about twenty years ago.
  • "We'll be eight degrees hotter in 30 or 40 years and basically none of the crops will grow, most of the people will have died and the rest of us will be cannibals." - Ted Turner in PBS interview with Charlie Rose

What has angered some scientists is the miscasting of carbon as some evil, destructive element. Humans are made of carbon; in fact, most every organic thing on this planet is made of carbon. Trees emit oxygen and take-in carbon. Geologist Ian Plimer, a professor from Adelaide University, contends that a modern rise in temperature around the world is caused by solar cycles and other "extra terrestrial" forces. He stated carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, commonly blamed for global warming, is a natural occurrence caused by volcanoes erupting.

"We cannot stop carbon emissions because most of them come from volcanoes. It is a normal element cycled around in the earth and my science, which is looking back in time, is saying we have had a planet that has been a green, warm wet planet 80 per cent of the time. We have had huge climate change in the past and to think the very slight variations we measure today are the result of our life - we really have to put ice blocks in our drinks."

Scientists such as Dr. Roy Spencer, Professor Ian Clark, and Dr. Tim Patterson, just to name a few of the most vocal “skeptics” have raised many questions regarding the science behind the anthropogenic contention and not only have pointed to the shaky evidence, but have sounded the follow the money bell.

Last spring Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) asked former Vice President Al Gore during a House hearing if his investments in green energy meant he would personally profit from cap-and-trade. Mr. Gore’s answer was a combination of incredulousness and condescension. Mr. Gore said that he’s not stumping for money, but rather the good of the environment. Really? In 2000, Mr. Gore was worth between $1M to $2M, and in eight years, his reported worth was about $100M – a nice perk for talking about melting iceburgs.

-- Killswitch Politick

Click here to subscribe

Click here to contact

Monday, November 9, 2009

The pot calling the kettle black; the hypocrisy of media bias

Last week, John Stossel wrote a piece entitled, “The double standard about journalists’ bias”. It was an autobiographical piece in which he recounts the blatant hypocrisy of his colleagues.

Stossel said after years of reporting on business crooks at the local level, he was surprised to find a challenge in finding like crooks when he went national on 20/20, “As a local TV reporter, I could find plenty of crooks. But once I got to the national stage…it was hard to find comparable national scams.”

Mr. Stossel deduces the reason for this is simple: free markets are regulators. They reward those companies who put forth a quality product or service and punish those that don’t, “Regulation barely deters cheaters, but competition does.”

Certainly a sound concept but as Mr. Stossel would learn in his move from network news to the most viewed cable news network, suddenly competition isn’t such a good thing – that is, when you’re beating your competition hands-down.

After nearly forty years as a reporter, Stossel has gone from media hero to media zero; why? Because after so many years of championing government regulation, he came to realize it was counterproductive to business and to the American consumer. His 19 Emmy wins would stop, invitations to speak at journalism conferences were no longer extended – all because the veteran consumer reporter had the audacity to change his mind about the good of government regulation.

He titled segments accordingly; “Are we scaring you to death?” analyzed the scare-for-ratings tactics of newscasts and media coverage.

When Glenn Beck was at CNN, not much attention was paid to him, but at FOX News, it’s an entirely different story; as in the amount of stories done about him and not the scandals he uncovers. Mr. Beck drove the Van Jones story at FOX News. He uncovered what the White House vetting process failed to find, a radical, avowed communist.

Beck and Bill O’Reilly have done yeoman’s work in investigating ACORN and have come to uncover scandal after scandal, from millions flowing through a former funeral home in New Orleans to rampant voter registration fraud. Do the mainstream media back them like Deep Throat? No. They accuse them of making mountains out of molehills or fabricating scandals.

When the shoe is on the other foot, the mainstream media is conspicuously silent – Dan Rather used phony documents, aided and abetted by producer Mary Mapes to try and destroy President Bush from being reelected. Jayson Blair made-up entire interviews when writing for the New York Times – his explanation? The liberal news of record expected too much from him.

To quote Mr. Stossel from one of his most popular segments, “Give me a break!”

-- The Editors, Killswitch Politick

Click here to subscribe

Click here to contact

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The blame game and its unintended consequences

Iran is nuking up. North Korea is demanding one-on-one talks. China and France are lecturing the US to get our financial house in order. Afghanistan spirals toward chaos. The Obama administration’s reaction: it’s all Bush’s fault.

A very clear and discernable pattern has emerged from the office of the 45th President: blame the 44th President and then excuse itself from any criticism, now or in the future.

Valerie Jarrett declared "I think that what the administration has said very clearly is that we're going to speak truth to power. When we saw all of the distortions in the course of the summer, when people were coming down to town hall meetings and putting up signs that were scaring seniors to death."

Ms. Jarrett, a senior advisor to President Obama, doesn’t mince words – except these don’t make much sense. Truth to power? To whom or what is she bestowing such power? In this case, it’s a cable news network, and one that has the audacity to run stories contrary to the accounting shell game that’s being put out by the White House and the democrat majority Congress. Too bad the most powerful man in the world doesn’t have enough power.

While it may be a politically calculated distraction tactic, it certainly is preposterous that the White House doesn’t have a large enough megaphone or the clout to get their message out.

And when it isn’t targeting a news network, the administration seems perfectly content to go about a methodical blame-game, “It's clear that basically we had a war for eight years that was going on, that's adrift," said Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel. "That we're beginning at scratch, and just from the starting point, after eight years."

President Obama recently explained why his economic policies have not had a positive impact on the economy, "I don't mind cleaning up the mess that some other folks made…that's what I signed up to do. But while I'm there mopping the floor, I don't want somebody standing there saying, 'You're not mopping fast enough.'

A continuation of his post-inaugural speeches, with all-too familiar little chestnuts like, "…we have chosen hope over fear," and "restore science to its rightful place," and that he would never allow America to "give [our ideals] up for expedience's sake."

But it doesn’t just end with blaming Bush, it necessarily includes exempting and holding harmless any of his policies, "I expect to be held responsible for these issues because I'm the president. But I don't want the folks who created the mess…to do a lot of talking. I want them just to get out of the way so we can clean up the mess." While in France Mr. Obama stated, "there have been times where America has shown arrogance and been dismissive, even derisive."

While Mr. Obama may find comfort in point his finger backward, the American people are reading his explanations as excuses and his rationalizations as “I can’t handle the pressure of the office you elected me to”. With Rasmussen showing his approval rating at 46%, there is less confidence in the man about hope.

-- Killswitch Politick

Click here to subscribe

Click here to contact

Monday, October 26, 2009

The only war the administration is willing to fight

The Obama administration has finally found a war that it is more-than-willing to fight – and its not in Iraq or Afghanistan, and the enemies aren’t militant Islamic terrorists or warlords – it’s a war of words against FOX News.

While the administration plays Nero’s fiddle as Afghanistan backslides and unemployment creeps up toward 10%, it is pulling out all the stops in battling what it has publicly deemed the most important issues: health care reform most Americans are opposed to, and dirt-kicking a cable news network.

From a strategy standpoint, one wonders what in the name of Pete the administration is doing: since the row began two months ago, FOX News ratings have only gone up. Not to mention the political fallout: republicans who don’t much approve of the president’s policies aren’t being wooed, independents that put Mr. Obama in the White House are left to scratch their heads as his post-partisanship posture expires, and those on the left either already dislike FOX News and/or are concerned about more meaningful issues.

David Gergen, who has served in the White House as an adviser to Presidents: Nixon, Ford, Reagan, and Clinton said, "(White House officials) have gotten themselves into a fight they don't necessarily want to be in. I don't think it's in their best interest…I mean, for goodness sakes – you know, you engage in the debate.”

The fight between the White House and FOX News began in August when FOX News Sunday’s Chris Wallace fact-checked contentious allegations made by VA Assistant Secretary Tammy Duckworth.

Anita Dunn, the White House communications director, has stated that fact-checking an administration official was "something I've never seen a Sunday show do." By her declaration, Ms. Dunn seems to believe that any assertion or statement made by an administration official should be accepted at face-value and the American people don’t have a right to know what is and isn’t true.

FOX News has time and again asked for administration officials to come on the network to correct whatever errors might have been made however, Mr. Obama’s Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel, has likewise chimed in and the word is out – no administration official will be made available to FOX News – much like more troops won’t be given to the generals who request them.

-- Killswitch Politick

Click here to subscribe

Click here to contact

Saturday, October 17, 2009

A Rush to judgment

Rush was blitzed out of an investment consortium by an all out media blitz that seems to be a false start. Red flags were immediately thrown by defenders and supporters but the media’s forward progress has done moved the chains just enough.

The many allegations that were repeated are now under review and it looks likely that Mr. Limbaugh has a case. But as the illegitimate quotes spread one has to wonder a few things:

Where are the sound bites?

With over twenty million listeners and constant media scrutiny, why aren’t we hearing Mr. Limbaugh in his own voice? Surely, with “quotes” and “statement” this old, there is bound to be audio proof of these remarks repeatedly attributed to the talk show host.

Where are the dates?

Okay, let’s suppose for a minute someone in Mr. Limbaugh’s mammoth audience, scores of pundits, media types don’t have the actual audio (which is precisely what is being done), then I am sure there would be dates certain, confirmed and fact checked to reference.

Where was the outrage and protest?

And if there is no certain date, then where were the protests? Where was the media frenzy? Seriously, if the man says something even remotely controversial, it passes every anchors lips as they read the copy.

Why didn’t his sponsors drop him?

So we don’t have audio, we don’t have the dates, we don’t have media circus, but surely at hearing these outrageous declarations, wouldn’t his sponsors publicly drop him to distance themselves?

-- Killswitch Politick

Click here to subscribe

Click here to contact