In criticizing a large-scale economic stimulus plan favored by President-elect Barack Obama and congressional Democrats, an Investor's Business Daily editorial echoed other media by citing the New Deal and Japan's "lost decade" as purported evidence that stimulus spending is "the least effective way to give the economy a boost." However, according to prominent economists, economic conditions in 1930s America and 1990s Japan were improving following major increases in stimulus spending -- trends that were reversed only when the respective governments decided to cut spending and raise taxes in an attempt to reduce the deficit.
The Washington Times reported that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid "back a card-check bill that would allow unionization of a workplace if the majority of employees sign union cards, eliminating the secret ballot that workers cast to decide whether to allow a union." In fact, the Employee Free Choice Act does not eliminate employees' rights to a secret ballot; as The New York Times reported, "Business groups have attacked the legislation because it would take away employers' right to insist on holding a secret-ballot election to determine whether workers favored unionization."
Consistent with a pattern on Fox News, Chris Wallace used a term echoed by opponents of the Employee Free Choice Act when he identified the EFCA as "union card check." Wallace later acknowledged that he was using the terminology of one side of the debate on the bill.
Fortune magazine Washington editor Nina Easton asserted: "The union-backed Employee Free Choice Act eliminates secret ballots, and declares the union the winner if a majority of employees openly sign a petition." In fact, the EFCA does not eliminate employees' rights to a secret ballot; as The New York Times reported, "Business groups have attacked the legislation because it would take away employers' right to insist on holding a secret-ballot election to determine whether workers favored unionization" [emphasis added].
On Special Report, Fred Barnes and Charles Krauthammer echoed other conservatives in claiming that the Community Reinvestment Act and efforts to expand affordable housing are at least in part to blame for the home foreclosure crisis. But as experts have noted, the CRA does not govern the vast majority of subprime lenders.
The daily this week published a full-throated anti-union opinion piece (screed?) that attacks Labor Secretary nominee, Congresswoman Hilda Solis. It was written by Bret Jacobson. Who's he? Here's how the LA Times describes Jacobson at the bottom of his op-ed:
Bret Jacobson is founder and president of Maverick Strategies LLC, a research and communications firm serving business and free-market think tanks.
Sounds rather innocuous, right? Not quite. Blogger Matt Browner Hamlin fills in the blanks. Bottom line:
The most important piece of Jacobson's biography - his professional connection to one of the biggest anti-union groups in America - is left out of a column that specifically pushes [an anti-union] agenda.
Seems if the Times wants to allow Big Business surrogates to denigrate unions and their workers in the pages of the daily, than the Times ought to at least be upfront about who's doing it.
Numerous media figures have cited Japanese fiscal policy during the "lost decade" of the 1990s to criticize President-elect Barack Obama's plan to undertake a large-scale stimulus program. These media figures ignore evidence that, according to prominent economists, economic conditions were improving in Japan before the Japanese government temporarily abandoned stimulus spending in an attempt to reduce the deficit.
On MSNBC Live, Norah O'Donnell asked Dina ElBoghdady to "explain" why the "centerpiece of the federal program to help struggling homeowners has been a complete failure," but the two noted only HUD Secretary Steve Preston's assertion that, in O'Donnell's words, "it's Congress to blame." Neither O'Donnell nor ElBoghdady mentioned any Democratic criticism of the Bush administration's handling of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act.
Blogger Bill Scher does a thorough and important dissection of a recent CNN.com story that purported to examine possible pork layered into infrastructure spending requests recently made big city mayors.
There's nothing wrong with that premise in terms of good enterprise reporting. The problem, according to Scher, was that CNN simply gave a platform to conservative partisans to sound off about "pork" without providing a larger context.
For instance, the CNN article raised red flags because:
A report to Congress that requests $73.2 billion to pay for infrastructure projects around the country includes plans for a polar bear exhibit, an anti-prostitution program, a water park ride, zoos, museums and aquatic centers, CNN has found...Those projects -- plus money for aquatic centers, museums, bike paths, zoos, skateboard parks, dog and equestrian parks, police department stun guns, tree planting and murals -- total $376.5 million.
1) Do the math. CNN claims the mayors' request includes $376.5 million of "pork." But the entire request totals $73.2 billion.
That means one-half of one percent of the proposal is pork, and 99.5% are solid requests.
On his radio show, Lou Dobbs played an audio clip of an interview in which Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, while discussing the global economy and the Canadian economy, was asked, "Are you scared?"* When Harper replied, "I'm very worried about the Canadian economy," Lou Dobbs said: "Well, you know, we're all concerned. We're all worried. Anyone paying attention is concerned and worried, but are you scared? Are you afraid? No. That's un-American."
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From Nicholas Kristof's column:
As my Times colleague David Leonhardt has noted, the reported $73-an-hour wage in Detroit is a fiction.
On the one hand, it's good to see Kristof, and Leonhardt last week, trying to dismantle the $73-an-hour misinformation. The thick irony, of course, is that it was the New York Times that gave the phony meme life nearly a month ago. Neither Kristof or Leonhardt mentioned that embarrassing fact. (Or that MMFA called the paper out on the matter.)
Meanwhile, lots of readers praised Leonhardt's effort last week to set the record straight about autoworkers. But the Daily Howler thought Leonhardt did a dreadful job sorting out the facts.
On-screen text at MSNBC and a Washington Times article and headline echoed the Republican accusation that the United Auto Workers union killed the $14 billion bailout for General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler. In fact, Senate Republicans refused to support legislation endorsed by the White House, a majority of members of the House and Senate, and the UAW.
Media echoed the Republican accusation that the United Auto Workers union killed the $14 billion bailout for GM, Ford, and Chrysler. But The New York Times stated that it was Senate Republicans who "refused to support a bill endorsed by the White House and Congressional Democrats."
Even though the crises facing the financial and automotive industries were born primarily of the actions (or inaction) of those in positions of power in private industry and in government, many conservative media figures have assigned blame to specific groups of less wealthy or less influential people -- the poor, minorities, undocumented immigrants, and union members, among others -- disregarding the facts that belie such assignments of blame.