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  • Are MSNBC and CNBC reading the same polling data?

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    Compare and contrast these two online headlines today.

    From MSNBC:

    "Obama's rating at all-time high"

    From CNBC:

    "Support for Obama, but Challenges Await"

    And Check out the leads. From MSNBC [emphasis added]:

    After Barack Obama's first six weeks as president, the American public's attitudes about the two political parties couldn't be more different, the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll finds. Despite the country's struggling economy and vocal opposition to some of his policies, President Obama's favorability rating is at an all-time high. Two-thirds feel hopeful about his leadership and six in 10 approve of the job he's doing in the White House.

    From CNBC:

    President Barack Obama enjoys robust support from the American public, but a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll suggests potential bumps ahead for his ambitious domestic agenda.

    Note how MSNBC simply reports the results of the poll, which are rather amazing (by 48-20 percent the public thinks Dems are better handling the economy than GOP), whereas CNBC downplays the results and looks ahead to what problems could await Obama.

    In fact, one half of John Harwood's CNBC article is about what might go wrong for Obama. Harwood though, is mum about the fact that the poll finds the GOP's favorability at an all-time low.

    UPDATE: Let's look at how WSJ reported the polling results. Here's its headline:

    "Obama Gets Strong Support in Poll"

    And it lead:

    President Barack Obama enjoys widespread backing from a frightened American public for his ambitious, front-loaded agenda, a new poll indicates. He is more popular than ever, Americans are hopeful about his leadership, and opposition Republicans are getting drubbed in public opinion, the new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll suggests.

    Like MSNBC, the Journal reports the obvious news angle about the polling data. Only CNBC seems preoccupied with stressing what might go wrong for Obama.

  • ABC rewrites flawed tax article

    Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER

    ABC acknowledges serious flaws in its article about high-income professionals trying to reduce their income:

    Editor's Note: Yesterday ABC News published a version of this story which some readers felt did not provide a comprehensive enough analysis of Obama's tax code for those families making $250k or more. ABCNews.com has heard those concerns and after review has decided to post an updated version of the story below.

    The problem with the original article wasn't really that it failed to "provide a comprehensive enough analysis of Obama's tax code," it was that the article gave the false impression that an individual's entire income is taxed at the highest rate for which the individual qualifies.

    There are problems with the second draft, but it is much better than the first, and a welcome acknowledgment that the first was deeply flawed. Check it out here.

  • Wash. Times cites dubious "Gore Effect" and "sun spot activity" in challenging anthropogenic climate change

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    From a March 4 Washington Times editorial:

    Driving snow froze the hopes of organizers of "the biggest global warming protest in history" Monday in Washington. With the government on a two-hour snow delay and the speaker of the House unable to attend because her flight was grounded by inclement weather, shivering protestors gathered on the west front of the Capitol, the latest victims of a climatological phenomenon known by the scientific community as the Gore Effect.

    The Gore Effect was first noticed during a January 2004 global warming rally in New York City, held during one of the coldest days in the city's history. Since then, evidence has mounted of a correlation between global warming activism and severely cold weather.

    A year ago a congressional media briefing on the Bingaman/Specter Climate Bill was cancelled due to a cold snap. In October 2008 London saw the first snow since 1922 while the House of Commons debated the Climate Change Bill. That same month Al Gore's appearance at Harvard University coincided with low temperatures that challenged 125-year records. Tellingly, the average global temperature for each of the 366 days in 2008 was below the average for Jan. 24, 2006, the date Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth" was released at the Sundance Film Festival.

    Critics claim the Gore Effect is mere coincidence, though one could also argue that coincidence is also the basis for the anthropogenic theory of climate change. Alternative theories, e.g., citing the influence of sun spot activity, have gained increasing credence as scientists have noted global warming in recent years on other planets, which presumably have been human-free. Significant data issues have also arisen, such as the recent discovery of a chunk of Arctic sea ice the size of California that satellites had missed (but which in all probability had been known to polar bears).

    Previously:

    Drudge, Fox News again suggest a few days of cold weather trump climate change science

    Drudge déjà vu: Winter Storm + Cancelled Hearings = Global Warming??

    Dobbs again questioned human-caused global warming, suggested sun may be more responsible

  • Does anyone at CNBC have a clue?

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    Joel Lovell, who writes a money column for GQ, isn't so sure. Lovell recently confessed in the pages of the WashPost that most of the media's money experts (including himself) don't really have a clue about what people should do with their money. And that's especially true for the CNBC crew:

    I'm comforted by the fact that last March, just days before Bear Stearns stock became worthless, Jim Cramer's head nearly exploded off his shoulders, so intense was his conviction that his viewers should NOT. SELL. BEAR. But what I don't understand is the hundreds of thousands of people who still tune in every night to hear what he has to say...It's weird and disconcerting that after all that has happened there are still so many experts out there willing to dispense wisdom with utter assuredness, day after day, despite having been so spectacularly wrong in the past.

  • Will WaPo run Chris Mooney's global warming column?

    Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER

    Last week, Washington Post editorial page editor Fred Hiatt said that if people don't like George Will using the Post's op-ed page to spread global warming misinformation, they should debate him rather than expect the Post to stop publishing the misinformation.

    Well, Chris Mooney has submitted an op-ed refuting Will's claims. It will be interesting to see if Hiatt runs Mooney's column.

    Either way, though, Mooney makes clear we'll see the column "in some form no matter what, this I promise."

  • Newt in a tizzy after being called out over false Twitter claim

    Blog ››› ››› KARL FRISCH

    Earlier today, Media Matters posted an item about Newt Gingrich spreading falsehoods on the social networking website Twitter. The former Speaker, responding to an observation by his wife Callista, falsely claimed that there had been "no [oil] spill since 1969" in waters off the Santa Barbara coast in California:

    In a Twitter post, Newt Gingrich falsely claimed that there have been no oil spills in the waters off Santa Barbara since 1969. In fact, there were at least two oil spills reported in or near the Santa Barbara Channel in just the last few months, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.

    Well, it looks like Gingrich didn't like being called out for his Twittery falsehood. Steve Everley, a research assistant over at the American Enterprise Institute has a post up on Newt's American Solutions blog defending the former Speaker.

    Everley suggests in his response that Media Matters misrepresented what the Associated Press reported on February 18 regarding an oil spill off of the southern California coast. Everley writes (his emphasis):

    The second "oil spill" mentioned was actually light lubricant oil mixed with a soap used to clean the platforms. It was not crude oil as the MMFA report implied.

    In fact, Media Matters included this very information quoting the following directly from the AP's report:

    A mixture of oily lubricant and water was still leaking from an ExxonMobil platform two days after the first report of a spill off the Southern California coast, federal and state officials said Wednesday.

    Moreover, in his ten paragraph response to the Media Matters item in question, Everley acknowledges that there was at least one oil spill off the coast of Santa Barbara, though he attempts to explain it away saying "its impact was virtually non-existent."

    In other words, Newt said there had been NO oil spills since 1969 and Everley responded that there had been an oil spill in February…but that spill wasn't too significant.

    Significant or not, Everley's defense only serves to undermine Newt's original tweet.

    By the way, if you use Twitter, you should really be following Media Matters.

  • ABC News makes our head hurt

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    With its online article headlined [emphasis added]:

    Obama's Choice to Bare Arms Causes Uproar: First Lady's Sleeveless Fashion Choices Draw Criticism

    We get that first ladies make news with their fashion sense, and we get that Michelle Obama's sleeveless dresses have cause a bit of stir, and that's fine. If ABC News wants to cover that, be our guest.

    But it's the pointlessly breathless coverage ("The latest arms controversy embroiling the White House...") and the lame reporting effort that makes our head hurt. Because after reading the article you discover the ABC reporter only talked to two people for the article (or at least only two were quoted); a reporter for the Politico and a reporter for the Chicago Sun-Times. But neither of them directly criticized the Obama's fashion choices.

    So where was the "uproar" and "criticism" and "controversy" coming from? The only proof ABC pointed to was the fact that some Sun-Times readers posted comments online saying they didn't like the sleeveless look in the winter. That's it. That's the premise for the entire article.

    And yes, we're guessing if we went to the Sun-Times website we could find readers who left comments praising Obama's fashion. But that's not the story ABC wanted to tell.

    Pass the aspirin.

  • NewsBusters' Sheppard shoots and misses...badly

    Blog ››› ››› KARL FRISCH

    Terry Krepel over at ConWebWatch (he's also a Media Matters senior editor) destroys a Fox News Forum post by Noel Sheppard, NewsBusters associate editor, in which Shepard attacks Sen. John Kerry for calling Media Matters and ThinkProgress "good folks" while writing about the George Will global warming controversy on Huffington Post.

    Sheppard writes:

    What Kerry chose to hide from readers was his wife's connection to these so-called "good folks."

    ThinkProgress is the blog of the far-left leaning Center for American Progress. Contribution records show CAP having taken funds from the Tides Foundation, an organization that's received a great deal of money from the Howard Heinz Endowment chaired by -- wait for it! -- the junior senator from Massachusetts' wife Teresa Heinz Kerry.

    2008 grantees of Tides' included the Center for American Progress Action Fund — a partner of CAP's — AND the Media Matters Action Network — a partner of MMA's.

    Well, as Krepel points out:

    There's just little one problem with Sheppard's conspiracy theory: it's not true.

    As we and others have detailed, Heinz Kerry's donations to the Tides Foundation have been explicitly earmarked toward specific projects in Pennsylvania, making it impossible for that money to have gone toward CAP or Media Matters. Thus, the entire premise of Sheppard's article is false.

    Curiously, at no point does Sheppard address the actual claims CAP and Media Matters have made about Will's false statements on global warming, nor does he mention that Washington Post ombudsman Andy Alexander has raised questions about the claims and the editing process that allowed them into Will's column.

    Perhaps some good folks reading this post will visit Sheppard's entry on the Fox News Forum and educate his audience in the comments.

  • Newsweek peddles GOP talking points

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    The latest: Some Republicans wanted to support Obama's stimulus package--no, really--it's just that Nancy Pelosi ruined everything. See, it's Pelosi, not Republicans, who completely scuttled Obama's hope for bipartisanship.

    Newsweek headlines it this way;

    Obama's Pelosi Problem: The president has laid out a paradigm-shifting agenda. There will be pushback from the GOP—but less, perhaps, were it not for the House Speaker.

    I doubt RNC aides could have written it better themselves.