Posts Tagged ‘press’

Progressivism Revealed In Words Of Hollywood Liberals Like Tom Hanks And Sean Penn

March 14, 2010

If you want to know what an idea looks like, it is a good idea to look for some examples of that thing in action.

Take “progressivism” or “liberalism,” for instance (please! as the old comic’s joke goes).

What do these people think?  What are they about?  What is their vision for the future, and for this country?  What do they want to do?

Well, why not ask Tom Hanks and Sean Penn, both famed Oscar-winning Hollywood liberals in good standing.

Let’s start with Sean Penn.  That way we can get rid of him faster.

Sean Penn, speaking about Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, said:

Every day, this elected leader is called a dictator here, and we just accept it, and accept it. And this is mainstream media. There should be a bar by which one goes to prison for these kinds of lies.”

Well, what SHOULD we think about Hugo Chavez?  Let’s find out.

From May 2007:

CARACAS (Reuters) - Venezuelan troops have seized an anti-government television channel’s broadcast equipment, the station said on Sunday, ahead of a controversial midnight EDT/0400 GMT takeover by President Hugo Chavez that will take the broadcaster off the air.

Chavez sparked international criticism with his decision to not renew RCTV’s license and to replace Venezuela’s most-watched channel with a state-backed network that will promote the values of his self-styled socialist revolution.

From November 2008 in the New York Review of Books:

Hugo Chávez Versus Human Rights

On September 18, we released a report in Caracas that shows how President Hugo Chávez has undermined human rights guarantees in Venezuela. That night, we returned to our hotel and found around twenty Venezuelan security agents, some armed and in military uniform, awaiting us outside our rooms. They were accompanied by a man who announced—with no apparent sense of irony—that he was a government “human rights” official and that we were being expelled from the country.

From July 2009 from the Human Rights Watch (which also includes numerous Venezuelan human rights violations):

Jul 31, 2009

The Venezuelan government has adopted and proposed measures that reduce the ability of government critics to voice their opinions and will seriously limit freedom of expression in Venezuela.

From August 2009 via the UK Telegraph:

Thirteen channels ordered to be closed by the Venezuelan government went off the air on Saturday and more than 200 are expected to close in coming weeks.

The government broadcasting watchdog, Conatel, said that 34 radio outlets would be closed because they failed to comply with regulations.

However, critics claimed the crackdown infringed on freedom of speech and hundreds of protesters demonstrated in Caracas against the closures.

And, of course, that is simply scratching the surface of Hugo Chavez’s abuses of freedom:

According to the U.S. State Department and other official government sources, the Venezuelan government has been guilty of numerous human rights violations under Chavez’s rule.

“Politicization of the judiciary and official harassment of the political opposition and the media characterized the human rights situation during the year,” said the State Department’s Country Report on Human Rights in Venezuela for 2008 that was released last month.

The report credits the Chavez regime with unlawful killings, arbitrary arrests and detention, discrimination based on political grounds, widespread corruption at all levels of government, official intimidation and attacks on the independent media.

“According to HRW [Human Rights Watch], ‘Government officials have removed scores of detractors from the career civil service, purged dissidents employees from the national oil company, denied citizens access to social programs based on their political opinions, and denounced critics as subversives deserving of discriminatory treatment,” says the State Department report.

A recent report by the Congressional Research Service also outlined human rights concerns in Chavez’s Venezuela.

“Under the populist rule of President Hugo Chavez … Venezuela has undergone enormous political changes, with a new constitution and unicameral legislature, and a new name for the country, the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela,” states a Feb. 5, 2009 CRS report.

“U.S. officials and human rights organizations have expressed concerns about the deterioration of democratic institutions,” the report adds, “and threats to freedom of expression under President Chavez, who has survived several attempts to remove him from power.”

How about Hugo Chavez in his very own words:

CHAVEZ: “Yes, we are indoctrinating the children from the first grade through college, every grade, private schools. The ideology of the revolution! The ideology of socialism! Our ideology.”

So Hugo Chavez is a dictator and a thug who is without any doubt suppressing freedom of speech and other human rights in his country.  And if I may now refresh your memory about Sean Penn’s view of the man:

Sean Penn has defended Hugo Chávez as a model democrat and said those who call him a dictator should be jailed.

The Oscar-winning actor and political activist accused the US media of smearing Venezuela’s socialist president and called for journalists to be punished.

Every day, this elected leader is called a dictator here, and we just accept it, and accept it. And this is mainstream media. There should be a bar by which one goes to prison for these kinds of lies.”

This one’s pretty easy.  Sean Penn demonizes the press for smearing a dictator by calling him a “dictator.”  And proceeds to argue that journalists who report the truth about Chavez be jailed.

Which is, of course, precisely what a dictator would do, isn’t it???

You see, Hugo Chavez is a dictator and thug; but he is a LEFTWING dictator and thug (just as most dictatorial thugs almost always are).

So, to put a thousand words into a picture:

Mind you, Sean Penn is not the only Hollywood liberal who has embraced this dictatorial thug. There’s Danny Glover, Oliver Stone, Benicio del Toro, and others.

And earlier progressives eagerly flocked around the communist revolution under Vladimir Lenin and the fascist revolutions under first Benito Mussolini and then Adolf Hitler, too.  Which is to say that this behavior from progressives – as bizarre and as morally insane as it is – is part of a century-old tradition.

Let’s go back to Woodrow Wilson, the father of the progressive movement.  In his unintentionally chilling essay, “Leaders of Men,” Wilson wrote:

The competent leader of men cares little for the interior niceties of other people’s characters: he cares much – everything – for the external uses to which they may be put. His will seeks the lines of least resistance; but the whole question with him is a question as to the application of force. There are men to be moved: how shall he move them? He supplies the power; others supply only the materials upon which that power operatesIt is the power which dictates, dominates; the materials yield. Men are as clay in the hands of the consummate leader.

On Wilson’s elitist view, American citizens truly ARE as clay.  They are incapable of understanding anything remotely complex.  And therefore the half-truths (which very often amount to whole lies) of the skillful demagogue become justified:

only a very gross substance of concrete conception can make any impression on the minds of the masses; they must get their ideas very absolutely put, and are much readier to receive a half-truth which they can understand than a whole truth which has too many sides to be seen all at once.

And how did the father of the progressive movement – who viewed men as uncomprehending clay waiting to be shaped by the half-truths of the skillful demagogue – view the Constitution?  Wilson wrote:

Justly revered as our great Constitution is, it could be stripped off and thrown aside like a garment, and the nation would still stand forth in the living vestment of flesh and sinew, warm with the heart-blood of one people, ready to recreate constitutions and laws

And uncomprehending clay men do not particularly deserve the inalienable rights bestowed upon them by a Constitution which itself is of little actual value.  Thus the father of the progressive movement wrote:

No doubt a lot of nonsense has been talked about the inalienable rights of the individual, and a great deal that was mere sentiment and pleasing speculation has been put forward as fundamental principle.

And what should be the limitations of power on the government Leviathan – which could easily be stripped of its limiting Constitution – over uncomprehending and infinitely malleable men of clay?  In The State, Wilson said that:

“Government does now whatever experience permits or the times demand.”

In his “Congressional Government,” Wilson wrote that:

“I cannot imagine power as a thing negative and not positive.”

In other words, Progressivism sees no limitations against the power of raw government power.

But I can certainly imagine such power being a negative thing.  As a student of history, I am vividly aware of the fact that in just one such form of government – communism – more than 100 million people were systematically and brutally murdered by their own government during peacetime.

Conservatives favor limited government with limited and well-defined powers.  Which is the exact OPPOSITE of fascistic totalitarian governments.  When you start demanding bigger and bigger and more activistic and socialist government, you begin meandering over to fascist land.

Thus you should understand why it  shouldn’t be surprising that Sean Penn and Danny Glover should think this way about Hugo Chavez.  Chavez is the Great Leader who shapes stupid clay men with his skillful demagoguery; and thus woe be unto any who seek to get in his way.

And, good news for progressives, the magnificent Hugo Chavez’s socialist revolution is coming to America in the form of Barack Hussein Obama:

(CNSNews.com) – Inspired by his meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama at the Americas Summit, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez declared on Sunday that Venezuelan socialism has begun to reach the United States under the Obama administration.

And it’s completely reasonable that Chavez would think this way about Obama.  After all, the American president who did nothing while the Venezuelan dictator nationalized U.S. businesses has done plenty of nationalizing himself.  Which prompted Hugo Chavez to point out:

CARACAS (Reuters) – Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez said on Tuesday that he and Cuban ally Fidel Castro risk being more conservative than U.S. President Barack Obama as Washington prepares to take control of General Motors Corp.

Does the Obama administration share the totalitarian views of Hugo Chavez, and even admire them?  It certainly does, according to the words of Obama’s Diversity czar, Mark Lloyd:

“It should be clear by now that my focus here is not freedom of speech or the press.  This freedom is all too often an exaggeration. At the very least, blind references to freedom of speech or the press serve as a distraction from the critical examination of other communications policies.

[T]he purpose of free speech is warped to protect global corporations and block rules that would promote democratic governance.”

[...]

“In Venezuela, with Chavez, is really an incredible revolution - a democratic revolution.  To begin to put in place things that are going to have an impact on the people of Venezuela.

The property owners and the folks who then controlled the media in Venezuela rebelled – worked, frankly, with folks here in the U.S. government - worked to oust him.  But he came back with another revolution, and then Chavez began to take very seriously the media in his country.

And we’ve had complaints about this ever since.”

“Complaints,” of course, which bother genuine progressives such as Sean Penn and Obama’s diversity czar Mark Lloyd.  Which is why they think that “complainers” should be thrown in jail.

The left loves – and even worships as a surrogate for God – big government, and seemingly the bigger the better.  And of course, the very biggest governments, the ones that can control the populations and guide their nations to the next socialist Utopia, invariably are or descend into totalitarian regimes.

It’s not that Sean Penn is stupid for his views.  Sean Penn is accurately explaining his progressive philosophy.  He is not a politician who needs your vote, so he can be honest.  And as a multi-millionaire celebrity, he epitomizes the mindset of progressivism: that the peon clay masses are ignorant and need to be ruled over, and that they should surrender their wills and allow the government of their superiors to do whatever they think is best.  And who better than an elitist Hollywood celebrity to explain why the more than 300 million Americans constituting the lower classes are like maggots crawling across the landscape, and that they should be compelled to shut up and do as their betters tell them?

So let us be rid of Sean Penn and introduce ourselves to the “wisdom” of Tom Hanks.  Recently – in acquainting America with the 10 part HBO series on World War II he took part in – had this to say:

“Back in World War II,” he told Brinkley, “we viewed the Japanese as ‘yellow, slant-eyed dogs’ that believed in different gods. They were out to kill us because our way of living was different. We, in turn, wanted to annihilate them because they were different. Does that sound familiar, by any chance, to what’s going on today?” In a separate interview, Hanks referred to the war in the Pacific as one of “racism and terror.”

Damn racist American bastards.  They were called “the greatest generation”; the generation that rose up from the ashes of the Great Depression to defeat the greatest evil the world has ever seen.  But you and Tom Hanks know the truth, don’t you: they were just a bunch of racists.  The vicious cheap-shot sneak attack at Pearl Harbor didn’t have anything to do with our going to war against Japan.  Heck, in the spirit of the modern “truthers” who claim that Bush bombed the World Trade Center, FDR probably sent in American planes painted to look like Japanese Zeroes.

Stupid unAmerican fool.  We didn’t want to annihilate the Japanese “because they were different.”  We were forced to annihilate them because they were utterly fanatic and refused to surrender.  We were forced to annihilate them because they started a war of annihilation and wouldn’t stop.  Tom Hanks is too ignorant and too much an ideologue to consider the Rape of Nanking, or the Bataan Death March, or the Banzai charges, or the first suicide bombers known as the Kamikaze.  I’d like to see Tom Hanks take part in a movie about the monstrous and utterly despicable Unit 731.

If Tom Hanks wasn’t a complete moral idiot, he would simply realize that Japan attacked us without provocation with a vengeance, and the United States of America responded with a vengeance.  Just as they would have done had their attackers had white skin and round eyes.

And when Tom Hanks asks, “Does that sound familiar, by any chance, to what’s going on today?”  he is not content to label the greatest generation as a bunch of racist warmongers; no, he seeks to do the same thing to our great warriors who are protecting us today.

Why are we fighting against Islamic jihadism?  Because they’re “different,” as Tom Hanks maintains?  How about because they attacked us in vicious act of war that left 3,000 innocent civilians murdered?  Maybe THAT had something to do with it?

Contrary to being “racists,” our soldiers today are operating with a level of restraint against an utterly despicable terrorist enemy – who hide among and prey upon their own civilian people – that is simply amazing to behold.  Our soldiers as a matter of routine are the most enthusiastic back-patting cheerleaders of the courage and toughness they are beginning to see in their Afghani and Iraqi counterparts.

Tom Hanks, like Sean Penn, see only ugliness in America and Americans, and only beauty in the totalitarian regimes of brutal dictators.

And that is, and always has been, the progressive way.

In Hindsight Of Massachusetts, Who Presented The Truth: Obama, Or Fox News?

January 22, 2010

A lot of things will change because of the election – mostly by Independents and even Democrats – of Republican Scott Brown in Massachusetts.

A lot of things that Democrats and the lamestream media believed were irrefutably true have been shockingly and conclusively demonstrated to have been totally false.

Did the voters in even the bluest of blue states like the Obama agenda?  No.  Did they like his health care boondoggle?  No.  Did they like the Democrats’ massive spending?  No.  Did they like the huge tax increases they see coming?  No.  Did they like the way Obama was handling terrorism?  No.

And that is now a carved-in-stone fact.  It follows the reality demonstrated by the previous statewide elections in Virginia and New Jersey.  Three states that voted for Obama in large numbers have now turned against him and ignored his personal appeals to vote for Democrats.

Pretty much exactly what Fox News was accurately reporting all along.

The mainstream media, the Democrat establishment, and the Obama White House have been lying to you.  They have been spreading propaganda.  They have advanced demagoguery.  They have broadcast their agenda rather than reality.  Fox News, virtually alone, has been reporting the facts all along.

Barack Obama promised that he would change the poisonous political dynamic and create a new era of bipartisanship.  Back in March of 2008, the New York Times correctly identified this as the CORE of Barack Obama’s promise to the American people.  But he lied.

Did Obama even attempt to live up to his core promise?  Not even close.

“Don’t come to the table with the same tired arguments and worn ideas that helped to create this crisis,” he admonished in a speech.

That speech – with that hard core partisan attack – was delivered within less than THREE WEEKS of his taking office.  Obama was claiming that Republicans didn’t even have a right to present their ideas, much less have any of their ideas or contributions considered.  Some attempt at “bipartisanship.”

And it wasn’t long before he expanded his demagoguery to include ordinary Americans and the Fox News network.  Obama attacked Tea Party demonstrators who were already unhappy with the direction Obama was leading the country, and he attacked the only news network that was reporting the actual truth:

At first it was reported that President Barack Obama wasn’t even aware of the nationwide Tea Party protests that occurred on April 15. But now he’s out criticizing them and the Fox News Channel.

In a town hall meeting in St. Louis on April 29, Obama was asked about fiscal discipline and entitlement reform. In his response, he took a shot at the Fox News Channel and the tea party movement, insisting he’s “happy to have a serious conversation” with them.

So, when you see – those of you who are watching certain news channels that on which I’m not very popular and you see folks waving tea bags around, let me just remind them that I am happy to have a serious conversation about how we are going to cut our health care costs down over the long term, how we are going to stabilize Social Security,” Obama said.

As has now been conclusively demonstrated in three separate statewide races in states that Obama had easily carried, the Tea Party protesters represent the will of the people, and Obama represents what the people don’t want.

Obama said, “we need a leader who can finally move beyond the divisive politics of Washington and bring Democrats, independents and Republicans together to get things done.”  And then he launched one attack after another against the American people and the press that was accurately reporting the facts.

Obama was like a pathological narcissist who couldn’t emotionally handle even the most legitimate criticism from Fox News.

Interviewed on CNBC Tuesday, President Obama vented his displeasure with FOX News, the cable network whose own senior vice president of programming has called it “the voice of the opposition” to the Obama administration. Here’s Obama:

“First of all, I’ve got one television station entirely devoted to attacking my administration.”

Clearly referring to FOX, the president continued:

“Well, that’s a pretty big megaphone,” he said. “And you’d be hard-pressed, if you watched the entire day, to find a positive story about me on that front.

“We welcome people who are asking us some, you know, tough questions,” he continued. “And I think that I’ve been probably as accessible as any president in the first six months — press conferences, taking questions from reporters, being held accountable, being transparent about what it is that we’re trying to do. I think that, actually, the reason that people have been generally positive about what we’ve tried to do is they feel as if I’m available and willing to answer questions, and we haven’t been trying to hide them all.”

But Obama was lying then, too.

This is the guy who is on video promising on at least eight separate occasions that he would put the health care debate on C-SPAN.  He didn’t.

The Obama-led Democrat “negotiations” (read ‘bribe sessions’) have been so closed and so secretive that even senior Democrats confess that they have been “in the dark.”

In fact, his lack of transparency and openness is literally comical.  This is the administration that literally had this: “a workshop on government openness is closed to the public.”

A separate laughable incident of Obama’s total lack of transparency comes via the LA Times blogs:

After a recent public sighting, fears had mounted that the one-time, long-term senator might rebel against traditional White House strictures and start acting on all the administration’s oft-promised promises of government transparency and official openness running back into 2008.

But the VP’s public schedule today puts all those fears to rest. [...]

DAILY GUIDANCE FOR THE VICE PRESIDENT, Thursday, January 14, 2010:

In the morning, the President and the Vice President will receive the Presidential Daily Briefing and the Economic Daily Briefing in the Oval Office. These briefings are closed press.

At 11:30 AM, the Vice President will meet with Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood to discuss the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. This meeting is closed press.

Afterwards, the President and the Vice President will have lunch in the Private Dining Room. This lunch is closed press.

At 1:00 PM, the Vice President will meet with Iraqi Vice President Adil Abd al-Mahdi in the Roosevelt Room. There will be a pool spray at the bottom of this meeting; gather time is 1:45 PM in the Brady Briefing Room.  [But note: the LA Times defines "pool spray" as "a coded message to media that a few select members will be allowed in to take pictures briefly -- possibly for only a few seconds -- as Biden and his guest pretend to continue their previously private conversation as if the meeting was open."]

(UPDATE 2:20 p.m.: The White House issued its own report on this closed meeting. Both paragraphs are added below at the end of the VP’s schedule.)

Then, at 2:15 PM, the Vice President will meet with Earl Devaney, chairman of the Recovery Act Transparency and Accountability Board. This meeting is closed press.    ###

In October, Democrats hypocritically touted their transparency immediately ahead of a closed-door meeting in which they secretly hammered out details of their ObamaCare boondoggle.

There have been a LOT of secretive closed-door meetings from this most transparent of all administrations.

CBS eventually and correctly concluded that “Obama Reneges On Health Care Transparency.”

Fox News was so far ahead of CBS on that story that it was like a cheetah racing a goldfish at a dog track.

Obama dramatically escalated his demagoguery in October:

Updated October 19, 2009
White House Urges Other Networks to Disregard Fox News

Senior Obama administration officials took to the airwaves Sunday to accuse Fox News of pushing a particular point of view and not being a real news network.

The White House is calling on other news organizations to isolate and alienate Fox News as it sends out top advisers to rail against the cable channel as a Republican Party mouthpiece.

Top political strategists question the decision by the Obama administration to escalate its offensive against Fox News. And as of Monday, the four other major television networks had not given any indication that they intend to sever their ties with Fox News.

But several top White House officials have taken aim at Fox News since communications director Anita Dunn branded Fox “opinion journalism masquerading as news” in an interview last Sunday.

White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel told CNN on Sunday that President Obama does not want “the CNNs and the others in the world [to] basically be led in following Fox.”

Obama senior adviser David Axelrod went further by calling on media outlets to join the administration in declaring that Fox is “not a news organization.”

“Other news organizations like yours ought not to treat them that way,” Axelrod counseled ABC’s George Stephanopoulos. “We’re not going to treat them that way.”

Asked Monday about another Axelrod claim that Fox News is just trying to make money, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said that while all media companies fall under that description, “I would say sometimes programming can be tilted toward accentuating those profits.”

But by urging other news outlets to side with the administration, Obama officials dramatically upped the ante in the war of words that began earlier this month with Dunn’s comments.

So Obama official after Obama official, and then Obama himself, denounce Fox News as “pushing a particular point of view.”

For Fox News, that “particular point of view” has been the truth – something the Obama administration utterly fails to comprehend.

What Obama wants is for Fox News to advance the same pro-liberal propaganda that so much of the rest of the media has dumped onto the airwaves like cafeteria slime.

Again, the proven, documented results of elections in Virginia, New Jersey, and now the incredible result of Massachusetts, prove that Fox News was telling the truth about what was going on all along.

The replacement for White House communications director Anita Dunn – who attacked the credibility of Fox News even as she declared that mass-murdering communist tyrant Mao Tse Tung was one of her two favorite philosophersis right back to playing the demagogue for Barack Obama.

Based on their reaction, it is readily apparent that Obama cannot see through his ideological propaganda, and will therefore continue to sink in power and popularity.  Meanwhile, Fox News, as the dominant reporter of the truth, will continue to grow in both power and profitability.

Media’s Bias, Dishonesty Re: Reagan Vs. Obama Unemployment Bodes Ill For America

October 4, 2009

Our founding fathers believed a free and independent press – which would serve as a watchdog protecting the nation from the lies, corruption, mismanagement, and demagoguery of politicians – would be utterly essential for a functioning democracy.

It would be nice if we had one.

The fact is that going back decades, the media have become anything but either “independent” or a “watchdog.”  Rather than guarding and protecting the truth, they have become the “lapdogs” of the left, licking the faces of Democrats and turning viciously on Republicans, without regard to the truth or the facts.

A study comparing the media’s response to IDENTICAL job loss numbers between Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama pointedly demonstrate the deceit and hypocrisy of the mainstream media.  In short, Reagan was given negative coverage 91% of the time, whereas Obama received negative coverage 7% of the time.  For some reason, the same media that has repeatedly claimed that Obama “inhereited” the recession could never bring themselves to make a similar claim about Reagan’s inheritance via Jimmy Carter.

There are some useful charts and videos on the Businessandmedia site which hosts this article.  I cite the article here merely to preserve the record.  My discussion of the ramifications of the article will follow.

Networks Flip Flop On Jobs

Identical Unemployment Numbers ‘Good’ News for Obama, But ‘All’ Bad under Reagan.

Full Report

A study from the Business & Media Institute

By Julia A. Seymour

Executive Summary
PDF Version


These are tough times. More than 3 million people have lost their jobs just since February 2009 and consumer confidence fell unexpectedly in September. The unemployment rate has spiked from 8.1 percent to 9.7 percent in the first seven months of Barack Obama’s presidency and is expected to climb even higher.

Despite that grim news, the major news networks have spun their unemployment reports into “good news” and presented Obama positively. Journalists tried hard to present rising job losses in the best possible light.

ABC’s Charles Gibson called the loss of 539,000 jobs in April a “marked improvement” May 8, 2009, because fewer jobs were lost than in March. In June 2009, Gibson was talking again about “hopeful” signs in the job numbers as more Americans were out of work.

But flashback 27 years ago to 1982, the unemployment rate was in roughly the same range as it was in 2009. Yet, network reporters consistently presented the U.S. economy under President Ronald Reagan as the “worst of times” by showing people living out of their trucks under a bridge and collecting free food at a food bank.

CBS reporter Ray Brady told a “tale of two cities” on June 4, 1982. He found the “worst of times” in Waterloo, Iowa, where the unemployment rate was the highest in the nation: 25.4 percent. That was nearly 16 percentage points higher than the national unemployment rate of 9.5 percent. He contrasted Waterloo’s joblessness with 4.6 percent unemployment in Sioux Falls, S.D. where things were “close to” the best of times.

Brady’s report addressed two very different employment situations, but most 1982 reports focused heavily on places where “desperation has turned to hopelessness.” The unemployment rate under Obama and Reagan was nearly identical, yet they received almost exactly opposite treatment from ABC, CBS and NBC reports. Reagan was mentioned negatively in reports 13 times more often than Obama.

While in Obama’s case, reporters found bright spots – like 25 police recruits’ jobs being “saved” by the stimulus package – during Reagan’s term, journalists found tragedy everywhere. They interviewed a battered wife, a family that had run out of food and many unemployed people. One NBC anchor even warned that suicide and murder rates increase in such hard times.

Although there was a difference between the two presidents in how long they had been in office, the spin was still significant. Unemployment numbers rose similarly under both Reagan and Obama, but journalists continued a long-standing trend of spinning the numbers.

The Business & Media Institute analyzed network unemployment stories on the evenings that data was released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics between March 2009 to September 2009 and March 1982 to September 1982. There were 66 stories in all – 35 stories in 2009 and 31 stories in 1982.  BMI found that network reports were 13 times more negative in their treatment of Reagan than Obama.  In fact, 91 percent of stories (20 out of 22) mentioning Reagan’s administration portrayed it negatively – while only 7 percent (1 out of 15) of Obama administration mentions were negative. Obama was mentioned positively 87 percent of the time (13 out of 15). There was not a single positive mention of the Reagan White House.

Blame for ‘Wicked’ Reagan, but Praise for Obama’s ‘Important’ Stimulus

In 1982, network reports showed desperation, sadness and tragedy as a result of rising joblessness. NBC pictured lines of people waiting outside a food bank and interviewed crisis counselors in Seattle on May 7.

“More callers talk of despair and even suicide,” Don Oliver reported that night, before interviewing Jim and Pam Smalls. Oliver called them “victims of unemployment depression and anger,” because Pam had to seek help from a battered woman’s shelter.

Another network showed people living under a highway overpass out of their trucks because they couldn’t find work. But under Obama the networks found a man “doing backflips” when he was asked to return to work at a Minnesota window company and another man who was thrilled to be hired by a hamburger stand in Arizona.

Network reports on unemployment were mirror opposites. They made Reagan look bad in a huge majority of stories and conversely made Obama look good.

Broadcasts journalists tied “rising” unemployment to Reagan in 1982 by mentioning him in 71 percent of stories (22 of 31), but linked Obama to the economy slightly more than half as often in 2009 – only 40 percent of the time (14 of 35).

When the respective presidents were mentioned, political attacks on the Reagan administration over job losses were commonplace in the 1982 network coverage. Union leaders, Democratic politicians and the unemployed were all quoted blasting Reagan for his economic policies.

NBC’s Irving R. Levine found a soon-to-be unemployed textile worker who “blames President Reagan” for his situation on March 5, 1982. That worker, Gene Biffle, told NBC, “When he went in there he said it, he was gonna get jobs and help the economy, but don’t look like he’s doing too much about that.”Following Levine’s segment, anchor Roger Mudd took Reagan to task himself by responding to statements from the administration:

“Spokesmen for the Reagan White House are coming to dread each month’s unemployment numbers because it gets harder and harder for them to explain. Economic Adviser Weidenbaum says today the figures may mean the economy may be bottoming out. Communications Director Gergen says that while unemployment may get worse, the recession seems to be bottoming out. Meanwhile, more and more people are getting bottomed out.”

In August 1982, Sam Donaldson of ABC highlighted the “partisan savagery” of Congressional Democrats, including Rep. Parren Mitchell’s, D-Md., claim that Reagan was pursuing “sadistic fiscal policies.”

The dark and gloomy tone of 1982 reports was a near polar opposite of the tenor of 2009 unemployment stories.

In 2009, the networks praised Obama for merely trying to stop rising unemployment – even when he wasn’t succeeding. And month after month reporters tried to find the “good news” or signs of a turnaround.

All three nightly newscasts mentioned Obama favorably March 6, 2009, even though 651,000 jobs had been lost in February and unemployment had jumped half a percentage point to 8.1 percent from 7.6 percent. And all three of those broadcasts emphasized a mere 25 jobs “saved” by the stimulus package.

NBC’s Chuck Todd gave Obama credit that night saying, “For these 25 new police officers here in Columbus, Ohio, the president’s stimulus plan didn’t create these jobs, it saved them. Without the money these folks would be looking for a new line of work.”

CBS Anchor Katie Couric revealed her faith in Obama’s stimulus plan that night as well saying, “I know the government is going to be creating jobs, as we’ve mentioned, through this stimulus package.”

After the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced May 8 that more than a half million jobs were lost in April, another CBS anchor, Maggie Rodriguez, looked for a ray of sunshine saying, “There is new hope the sun may be starting to peek through those economic storm clouds tonight,” before delivering the news that unemployment had jumped .4 percent to 8.9 percent nationally.

Rodriguez’ optimism led into Anthony Mason’s report. Mason quoted Obama and emphasized his call for education as the solution to joblessness and request that states allow people to maintain unemployment benefits while going back to school.

Identical Unemployment Rates, Opposite Treatment

The unemployment rate reached 9.4 percent under Reagan and under Obama (twice), but received completely different treatment from the networks – and in one case from the same reporter.

In 1982, Dan Rather reported the rate as “9.4 percent and rising.” Dan Cordtz called it “rising steadily” on ABC, while Ray Brady warned that “job loss is still spreading.” NBC found lines at food banks “four times what they were six months ago.”

In 2009, ABC found “glimmers of improvement” for an identical unemployment rate. CBS’s own economic “grim reaper,” Anthony Mason said the “economy’s showed signs of improving.” NBC also found “positive trends” to discuss – specifically mentioning “2,100 new reasons” to be “hopeful” in Georgia.

But Charles Gibson illustrated how dramatically different the network coverage of Reagan and Obama really were.

Gibson, who was a Capitol Hill correspondent for ABC in 1982, told viewers May 7, 1982, “[T]here really isn’t any good news in the statistics. All the numbers are bad.” He then quoted two Democratic attacks on Reagan including Rep. Henry S. Reuss, D-Wis., who charged that Reagan’s “policies aren’t just mistaken, they’re wicked.”

But as an ABC anchor in 2009, Gibson was full of hope. He introduced that night’s story saying “sometimes a bad jobs report can look good.”

“345,000 Americans lost their jobs in May, a big number to be sure. Traumatic if you are one of the 345,000. But the number was smaller than economists had predicted, and that’s good news,” Gibson said before admitting that the unemployment rate of 9.4 percent was “pretty bad.” Neither Gibson, nor reporter Betsy Stark mentioned President Obama at all that night.

On Aug. 7, 2009, Gibson suggested “the economy may be finally turning the corner.”

Methodology

The Business & Media Institute analyzed network unemployment stories on the evenings that data was released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in similar seven-month periods – between March 2009 to September 2009 and March 1982 to September 1982. There were 66 stories in all – 35 stories in 2009 and 31 stories in 1982.

A story was counted as a mention of Obama or Reagan if it named the respective president, the administration, the “White House,” or any administration spokespeople. Each mention was then graded positive, negative or neutral based on context.

Conclusion

Despite having similar periods of rising unemployment, Presidents Reagan and Obama were treated very differently by the network news media. This fit the theme of the network news when it came to economic reporting.

Jobs and unemployment have been one of the most significant economic measures because they impacted everyone so directly. Network viewers who watched coverage of unemployment during the Reagan years were consistently told things were bad. For identical numbers under Obama, those very same networks claimed the economy was improving. That was clear-cut bias.

And it isn’t new. The Business & Media Institute released a Special Report in 2004 called “One Economy, Two Spins” which showed the way similar economic conditions (unemployment, inflation and GDP growth) were presented negatively during the re-election campaigns of George W. Bush’s Republican administration, but positively under Bill Clinton’s Democratic re-election bid.

BMI found that jobs stories in particular were positive more than six times as often under Clinton than Bush. The networks continued to distort the good economy under Bush in 2005 and 2006 giving negative stories more air time and using ordinary people to underscore those downbeat reports.

The Media Research Center also reported in 2004 that the news media sought to discredit Reaganomics with their news coverage. Virginia Commonwealth University professor Ted J. Smith III found that out of 14,000 network news stories between 1982 and 1987 the amount of network TV coverage shrunk and became more negative as the economy improved. When one economic indicator got better, the networks covered it less and focused on something unhealthy about the economy.

Recommendations

State the Facts: Unemployment data, like all economic data, should be presented as is without reporter opinions being inserted into the broadcast. Forecasting job losses or gains should be left only to the experts.

Be Consistent: If 9.4 percent unemployment is bad, then it should be treated so regardless of who is president. If the number discredits a Republican administration, it should also discredit a Democrat.

Use History as a Guide: It is up to the networks to ensure that they cover stories consistently over time. A reporter working on a story about unemployment being the worst in 26 years should consult the coverage from that time for guidance.

Don’t Spin the Economy: Reporters should be embarrassed when they highlight 25 jobs gained after telling viewers 651,000 jobs were lost. If a story is negative, then tell it that way. Don’t allow White House spin from either party to distort the final result.

Because of the media’s dishonest and deceptive propaganda, we end up believing half truths that fundamentally amount to whole lies.

As I set up why this propaganda is so fundamentally dangerous, let me quote myself:

When Ronald Reagan took office from Jimmy Carter, inflation was at a meteoric 13.3% and the country was in the throes of a fierce recession.  There was a real question as to whether workers’ wages would keep up with the costs of living, which made people afraid to either spend or save.  And nobody knew how to control inflation – which had risen from 1.4% in 1960 to the aforementioned 13.3% in 1980 – causing a real erosion of confidence in the future.  Jimmy Carter answered a reporter’s question as to what he would do about the problem of inflation by answering, “It would be misleading for me to tell any of you that there is a solution to it.”

Reagan DID have a solution, and the result was the Reagan Revolution.

Unemployment had risen to 11%.  More businesses failed than at any time since World War II.  The picture of the economy was grim, indeed.

And then the Reagan policies – ridiculed by the very same liberal economic theorists whose policies created the inflation to begin with – began to work.  And the result – from such terrible beginnings – was the 2nd largest peacetime expansion in American history.  And now – to prove that there really is nothing new under the sun, liberal economic theorists are STILL ridiculing Reagan’s successful policy over twenty years after its success changed America.

Carter was at a self-confessed loss to solve the problem of inflation that his own administration had created.  It was Ronald Reagan who had the answer to the problem that Democrats had created and which Democrats could not solve.

I refer to the “Network Flip Flops On Jobs” article to evidence the fact that the liberal establishment thoroughly attacked Reagan for his policies.  But history clearly reveals that it wasn’t Reagan who was wrong; it was the liberals who attacked and sought to undermine him.

These same entrenched liberal establishment (and in the case of Charles Gibson, as one example, the very same people) have never learned.  They continue to believe that up is down and that down is up.  As they regard the world through a fundamentally flawed worldview, they simply cannot understand the world as it really is.  Rather, they project a liberal abstract template over the world (such as Marxist or socialist theories) which they continue to believe in — no matter how many times it is refuted by history.

We have a media that keeps seeing “unexpected rises in unemployment” and increases that – while clearly bad in and of themselves – are billed as either “better than” or less than expected” and therefore as good news.

An example of such bias is found in a New York Times article on the result of the Bush tax cuts that liberals have tried to kill ever since.  The article bagan:

WASHINGTON, July 12 – For the first time since President Bush took office, an unexpected leap in tax revenue is about to shrink the federal budget deficit this year, by nearly $100 billion.

They would NOT see that lower taxes stimulated more investment and productivity.  It simply HAD to be something else, something that their liberal filters could account for.

Under Bush, good news kept being “unexpected.”  Under Obama, it’s always bad news that’s “unexpected.”

As one poster put it:

Funny how when unemployment fell under Bush, it was always billed as a “Surprise Drop in Unemployment Numbers” or “New Job Growth Greater Than Experts Anticipated.” But when Obama is President it is always the Job losses and rising unemployment that “surprise” the experts.

In this critical time in our nation’s history – when we are more vulnerable to depression than we have been since the Great Depression itself – it is not merely the media’s bias and unfairness that is at issue anymore, though.  It is the fact that their unbalanced and prejudiced optimism is leading us toward disaster as they continue to support bad policies.

We are now the Titanic about to run full speed into the iceberg that will sink her.  There are icebergs aplenty: icebergs of shockingly high unemployment; icebergs of huge mortgage defaults which will only continue to rise; icebergs of massive and unsustainable debt; icebergs of a devalued currency; icebergs of soon-to-spiral inflation; icebergs of an-out-of-control government that WILL NOT recognize its folly until well after the soon-coming crash that will make the last one look like good times.

Stop and think about it: we’re told that we had a rise in unemployment that was worse than expected.  The median expert forecast had been 175,000 jobs lost; the actual number was 263,000.  Try way, way worse than expected.  The forecasters were a whopping 50% off.  But don’t worry; the mainstream media is still quite cheerful and optimistic.

The same media that unfairly and unrealistically demonized Reagan’s highly successful strategy is now unfairly and unrealistically praising Obama’s badly failing strategy.

The actual unemployment rate is 17%.  And yet the mainstream media presentation (with only an occasional moment to reflect on sobering news) has just been unrelentingly optimistic.  While conservatives and Republicans should rightly be outraged over the media’s bias and propaganda during Republican eras, the greater risk is the destruction that is increasingly likely to occur because the media refuses to critically examine the worsening negative effects of Obama’s policies.

The same people who continued to believe that Reagan was so, so wrong in spite of all evidence to the contrary now just as steadfastly believe that Obama is so, so right.  And that should terrify you.

This isn’t just “emperor’s new clothes”; this is wearing a View Master featuring a scenic roadway while driving the country right off a cliff.


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