Discussing President Obama's health-care plan on MSNBC Live, The Washington Post's Ceci Connolly baselessly asserted that "estimates" for the plan put the cost at "$1 trillion each year." However, Connolly wrote in a Post article on the plan that its estimated total -- not yearly -- cost is at least $1 trillion, while other outlets have reported that the plan is expected to cost more than $1 trillion "over 10 years."
The hapless, and now worthless, newspaper chain which is in the process of going belly-up, really ought to serve as a case study some day regarding what went terribly wrong with the American newspaper industry. And how, during the last couple decades, greedy outsiders without the slightest commitment to journalism or communities, were able to drag some worthy newspapers into the abyss.
At the top of that list is the mid-sized Journal Register Co., which, I'm guessing, will soon shutter its 'flagship' daily, the New Haven Register in Connecticut, in part because the Journal Register Co. doesn't have the slightest idea of how to operate a newspaper, let alone turn a profit.
The destruction that the Journal Register has done to the Register, and to Connecticut journalism in general, over the years is almost beyond description. The company took a community-minded newspaper that enjoyed a monopoly and beefy subscribers rates, and gutted the operation through mindless cost cutting, and that was during the economic boom times.
Anyway, here's the latest:
The Connecticut attorney general's office objected Wednesday to a plan by Journal Register Co. to pay its top executives up to $1.7 million in bonuses even as the newspaper publisher seeks Chapter 11 protection from creditors.
What are the bonuses for? For gutting the company's newspapers, of course:
The bonus plan would apply to 31 "key employees" who could receive an average of $15,700 each if 450 positions are cut by March 31, according to the company's motion for "incentive pay" filed with the court. Further bonuses totaling about $1.2 million would be available if the employees met other goals including eliminating publications and reaching certain financial targets.
On Fox & Friends, Brian Kilmeade falsely asserted that President Obama has proposed eliminating the ability of taxpayers to take income tax deductions for their charitable contributions. In fact, Obama has not proposed eliminating the charitable donation income tax deduction for any taxpayers. Rather, a provision in Obama's budget proposal would, beginning in fiscal year 2011, reduce the tax rate at which families earning more than $250,000 per year can take itemized deductions to 28 percent.
Bill O'Reilly aired a clip of President Obama stating, "We are going to ban all earmarks, the process by which individual members insert pet projects without review," which he falsely characterized as "President Obama pledging last January to end earmarks in federal spending." In fact, Obama was referring to his desire to "ban all earmarks" from his "recovery and reinvestment plan," which he specifically distinguished from "the overall budget process."
Not a word Wednesday night from ABC, CBS or NBC about the Journal's big A1 story yesterday:
As bad as 2008 was for Merrill Lynch & Co., it was very good for Andrea Orcel, the firm's top investment banker. Although Merrill's net loss ballooned to $27.6 billion last year, Mr. Orcel, 45 years old, was paid $33.8 million in cash and stock, just shy of his pay in 2007.
The networks have all recently reported on the pay of middle class autoworkers while the Big Three looked for a government bailout. But the nets didn't care about the fact that Merrill Lynch, which has benefited from taxpayer support (indirectly via TARP funds), lost $27 billion last year yet nearly 150 employees were paid more than $3 million. Or that:
Thomas Montag, the head of global sales and trading at Merrill, made $39.4 million in 2008, even though his first day on the job was in August.
Nope, nothing to see here, folks.
On ABC's World News, Charles Gibson advanced the false claim that prior to President Obama's statement that he would sign an omnibus appropriations bill that includes earmarks, Obama "campaign[ed] on a promise to end pet projects, earmarks." In fact, Obama had actually promised to reform the earmark process and cut wasteful spending, not eliminate earmarks altogether.
The AP reported that Republicans "have called on [President] Obama to veto a pending $410 billion spending bill because it includes more than 8,000 earmarks," without noting that many of the earmarks were included at the request of Republicans.
Many media conservatives have recently embraced and promoted the accusation, almost in unison, that President Obama has "lied" or broken promises. In many cases, these accusations are based on distortions of comments he has made or misrepresentations of campaign pledges.
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CNBC's Jim Cramer has repeatedly characterized President Obama and congressional Democrats as Russian communists intent on "rampant wealth destruction," claiming Obama is "taking cues from Lenin" and using terms such as "Bolshevik," "Marx," "comrades," "Soviet," "Winter Palace," and "Politburo" in reference to Democrats.
On CNN's Lou Dobbs Tonight, Ed Henry falsely suggested that President Obama's proposals to allow the Bush tax cuts to expire and to increase the capital gains tax rate would affect taxpayers in all income brackets. In fact, Obama has proposed allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire -- and increasing the capital gains tax rate -- only for individuals earning more than $200,000 in income and for joint filers earning more than $250,000 per year.
The New York Times' Maureen Dowd falsely claimed that President Obama is not "liv[ing] up to his own no-earmark pledge from the campaign," echoing a Times article false claim that Obama made "campaign promises to put an end to the practice" of earmarks and Sen. John McCain's accusation that Obama has gone back on a promise to "work to eliminate ... earmarks." In fact, Obama promised to reform the earmark process and cut wasteful spending.
In reporting that the AFL-CIO's executive council will push the Obama administration "to call for moving more aggressively on nationalization" to "counter Republican and business cries against it" and that "[l]abor leaders said the administration appeared to be vacillating on nationalization partly out of fear of Republican attacks that it was adopting socialist policies," The New York Times did not mention Sen. Lindsey Graham's statement that "nationalizing the banks" is an option that should be considered.