Sunday, January 31, 2010

Welcome to Hot Air readers 

I will be joining several other writers filling in for Ed Morrissey and Allahpundit at Hot Air (the big board -- I've been posting occasionally in the Green Room for some months now) over the next few days. The boys are apparently off to parts unknown. It's for this reason you will see a rare (for me) Sunday post at the Scholars. Some material will be just here on Scholars alone, so you will want to read both places.

I take it is unnecessary to tell you that Hot Air is a favorite blog of mine, and that I think you should read it. But I just did, so there.

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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Media alerts 

Two places to hear me tomorrow:
All times Central, of course.


Thursday, January 21, 2010

Media alert 

I will take my monthly turn on KKMS Live at 5pm CT. Topics expected are the Minnesota jobless rate, the changing agenda in Washington (if we are to believe the reports) and the proposal to increase federal government borrowing by $1,900,000,000,000. Yes, eleven zeroes, for those of you scoring at home. KKMS broadcasts on 980 AM in the Twin Cities; streaming starts on the listen live button from here.


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Quick question 

You've probably seen this report on how few people who see their Google News front page actually click through to the story. Is there any evidence out there on how many people who take in a printed newspaper actually read the stories rather than scan the headlines? One has a click measure, the other does not. You could only get the latter from a survey, where may be some false reporting of reading. Not saying, just saying...

I understand, by the way, that the question is whether the newspapers are getting the clicks to report to their online advertisers. But I think some want to draw a point about the news knowledge of the online reader. I just don't think it's that clear.


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Media alert 

St. Cloud, MN, January 2010: - Three prominent local economists will speak at the St. Cloud Public Library on Wednesday, Jan. 20, 7:00 � 8:30 p.m., about �St. Cloud�s Economy: Past, Present and Future.� The meeting is open to the public and will take place in the library�s Bremer Community Room.

The presenters are King Banaian, Ph.D., professor and chairman of the Department of Economics at St. Cloud State University; Louis Johnston, Ph.D., associate professor of economics at the College of St. Benedict and St. John�s University; and Rich MacDonald, Ph.D., assistant director of the Center for Economic Education at St. Cloud State University.

Their presentation will describe the economy of the St. Cloud area, including a brief history, a description of the economy�s performance in 2009, and thoughts on how the economy is likely to fare in the future.

For more information about programming at Great River Regional Library, visit the library�s Events page at, or contact the library at 320-650-2500.

I draw "present" out of that list of three. Johnston, an excellent economic historian as well as macroeconomist, does "past" and MacDonald will do "future". It's not the biggest of rooms, so if you want a seat come early.

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Friday, January 15, 2010

Tomorrow on the King Banaian Show 

The housing market continues to be the focus of much news, what with the workout of "phantom inventory" from banks, the HAMP failure, what is happening to the FHA, etc. I have been looking for a housing specialist, and on the show tomorrow I have Mary Tootikian, author of Stunned in America. She is a mortgage industry specialist with over 20 years in the business, and her book argues that the banks have overreacted to the loss of housing prices. Are we too tight with lending now? Who is responsible, and what can be done?

Please tune in! The show starts at 9am on KYCR (from the linked page you can open the stream) and Ms. Tootikian is expected to join us in the 10 o'clock hour. After that, head on over to the Sportsman Show with the NARN, 11-3.

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Saturday, January 02, 2010

Today on the King Banaian Show 

The King Banaian Show will be LIVE tomorrow starting at 9am. Here's the show's site, and be sure to use Twitter either by #kbrs or by following the show on Twitter. We'll have not just a year in review but a whole decade of it. What were the best business stories, and the worst? (I'm pretty sure we know what #1 of the latter was!) It's a New Year Edition of KBRS, and I look forward to your listening and phone calls at 651-289-4477.

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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Media alerts 

While the King Banaian Show will take this weekend off, you have a few opportunities to hear me anyway. Tonight I'll visit James Joyner on his Outside the Beltway Radio on BlogTalkRadio at 4:30pm CT. The health care bill and the government's ability to end wait times on airplanes will be two topics -- I'll bet there's more.

Holidays usually mean my substitute radio work goes up, and indeed I'll be filling in for Don Lyons on the Morning Show on KNSI next week, 6-8am Monday through Wednesday. (St. Cloud mayor Dave Kleis is taking both Christmas and New Year's Eves.) Wake up with me if you live nearby, or stream it.


Friday, December 04, 2009

Tomorrow on the King Banaian Show 

Show starts at 9am on KYCR. I will cover the jobs report, the estate tax, and what does it mean that North Korea had a monetary reform this past week. I am pleased to be joined in the 10am hour with Paul Rubin, president of the White Bear Lake Superstore, to talk about both cash for clunkers and the turnover of leadership at GM.

There is an online stream available from the station link; you can reach us during the show via Twitter using the search term #kbrs or the show's Twitter stream.

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Monday, November 30, 2009

Media alerts 

I will be on KNSI's Hot Talk with the Ox and Mike Landy around 10:20 this morning to discuss economic news, including Dubai, where things are getting really antsy now.

Just as advanced notice, I will be also substitute hosting for Don Lyons on KNSI's Morning Show Wednesday through Friday this week.


Thursday, November 26, 2009

Media alert 

I will be substituting for Don Lyons on the KNSI Morning Show tomorrow from 6 to 8 am tomorrow on AM 1450. Listen in while you shop or have a leisurely breakfast.


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Media alerts 

I'll be on WJON with Jay Caldwell at about 10:40am CT today for my usual discussion of area economic conditions. Your live listen link is there.

I will also be on the Ed Morrissey Show at 2pm CT to discuss the latest economic news, where the jobs are and are not, and whatever other silliness Ed and I get into. (Link goes to UStream page currently, will put in HotAir link when it goes live.)

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Monday, November 23, 2009

I don't understand newspapers 

According to the City Pages, the proper way to interview Congresswoman Bachmann is:
Q: Gov. Tim Pawlenty said on MSNBC that moderates need to fall in line with the conservative base of the Republican Party. Do you agree?
A: I think that he's accurate that ...
And they chastise as "pitching softballs" a newspaper that already declared "we've had enough" of Bachmann.

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Thursday, October 29, 2009

Busy media alerts 

I will be on Ed Morrissey's show at 3pm CT (bonus time!) to discuss the current GDP figures. Wish I had written a post about it, and I will, but I'm getting ready to stand in the rain to watch Littlest's cross-country sectionals.

Also been too busy to write a nice reply to Dane Smith. I like him, I really do. I just wish he would be right more often. I'll try to get one off tonight.

I'll be speaking tomorrow on a panel on U.S. fiscal policy at the Minnesota Economics Association. Follow the link for details. My focus is on international aspects, with special reference to China and Armenia. All in about the length of one segment I do on radio. That will be a challenge.

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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Quick media alert 

Forgot to tell you: I'm sitting in for Don Lyons on the KNSI Morning Show tomorrow, 6-8 am.

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Monday, October 19, 2009

From there all things look right 

I love having a seven-year-old blog, because I find some useful things on it. After reading yet another description of the Obama Administration's attack on Fox News I recalled the Groseclose and Milyo work on how liberal Fox News is. Of course that's a bit of a joke, but the study cited there found that Fox was about as conservative as Charles Stenholm, a Texas Democrat who lost to a Tom DeLay-picked candidate after serving 26 years.

Of course there was some complaining about the technique that paper used, but it was published in the peer-reviewed Quarterly Journal of Economics in 2005. A second paper was published in Critical Review the following year; their editorial policy allows for peer review at the editor's discretion, so we don't know if that one was or not, but potentially their work was vetted twice. Fox' Special Report comes off in these papers as being ideologically in the same space as Olympia Snowe, the only Republican so far to vote for the Democrats' health care plan

And let's not forget that the current president, at least on ADA scores, ranks as the most liberal. While the average Democrat legislator pulls about an 85, Obama was a cool 100. From that vantage point, even the New York Times looks a little right.

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Thursday, October 08, 2009

Media alerts 

  1. Due to a technical glitch, I am covering for Don again on the KNSI Morning Show, 6-8am tomorrow.
  2. If you are in St. Cloud, you have a great opportunity to hear an alumnus of my department who has made quite a name for himself. Jim Bullard, president of the St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank, will be speaking at Atwood Little Theater tomorrow at 1pm on the economy. There will be a brief Q&A at the end of the hour. Admission is free. Here are directions to Atwood.
  3. As to the status of Final Word, please check back tomorrow for news. I'm 98% sure of what happens next and need time to get the details. But it's going to be a different and I think an exciting opportunity.

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Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Media alerts 

I will be on WJON at 10:40 or so Central discussing the local economy.

Comments about the real estate market in the local paper here. (My real estate friends will be mad at me again.)

I am sitting in for Don Lyons tomorrow, 6-8am on KNSI.

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Monday, September 21, 2009

What motivates a newspaper? 

The local paper seemed to go on the offensive yesterday over complaints that their coverage of recent events has been a little meager and one-sided. Managing editor John Bodette argues that the paper focuses on local coverage. True, but the one case of local coverage he does give in the article is of the local tea party and town hall of Michele Bachmann. In that case, as I noted last week, they used one article to cover both events. They were not organized together and had little to do with each other except that Bachmann spoke at both (and, I guess I did too, though I said very little at either one.) The editorial page gave more space yesterday to a screed about the tea party than its reporter provided coverage.

All the other items were national items, which Bodette reports as having seen some coverage inside the paper. It's not as if national items never appear on page one, but if I ran a St. Cloud newspaper I would take the same attitude Bodette does: Local news is what will sell papers.

Then editorial page editor Randy Krebs decides to reveal something about his editing. The crux of his argument:
The teacher asked our class what the purpose of television was and the overwhelming response was �entertainment.� His tart reply: �Wrong! What you see as �entertainment� is merely something to show between the commercials there to get your money.�...

I will grant you that �objective news reporting� is a subjective term. That�s human nature. I also fully acknowledge that the business realities facing newsgathering entities can impact those efforts, especially these days. And by no means am I comparing broadcast to print media. (They are apples and oranges, but that�s another column � or a book.)

But to be blunt, the bulk of the complaints aren�t that sophisticated. They simply don�t seem to grasp that what they are watching or listening to is more about entertainment. In the words of my old teacher, �it�s there to keep you tuned in until the next commercial.�
So when you watch Fox News or MSNBC, they are giving you entertainment, not facts, and it's because of the almighty dollar. But what motivates the newspaper if not profit? This is after all a newspaper of the Gannett chain, one that prefers smaller papers where they dominate the advertising market. As ad revenues dropped the newspaper got smaller, and as it got smaller so did the amount of news provided.

Local sells, Bodette tells us, and TV and radio (and I'd assume blogs like this one) are motivated by something base like "getting eyeballs to commercials" while the newspapers are not. Yet the newspaper operates as a business; it hires and fires workers, including reporters, based on profit. It can and does shade its news (see here for more) but it will respond to incentives just like anyone else. Would the editors agree we should apply the same skepticism to print as we do to broadcast?

Profit is often not the only motive. Particularly when it comes to managers working for a distant ownership, other goals come in to play. One of those may be acceptance within your profession. Providing enough profit keeps the paychecks coming, but when given an opportunity you may choose to do things that keep you invited to the nice parties at the next journalism convention.

Krebs instructs us:
As the person at Times Media whose job hinges largely on people understanding �it�s the Opinion Page,� I simply ask you to be a little a more discerning, and perhaps honest.
Now remember, this is the newspaper that has said in its very same editorial page that "we've had enough" of Bachmann who "consistently invokes extremism."
This board has never been a supporter of Bachmann, but it was willing to treat her tactics and outlandish statements as errors in judgment and/or a need to get noticed. Sadly, we�ve had enough.

Two straight years of her consistently spewing misleading snippets about important issues yet never stepping beyond those statements to find realistic solutions make it clear she is all about extremism and cares nothing about crafting viable public policy.
I'd love to give you the whole column, but it appears to have gone down the memory hole in the Times' parlous web. No money in that, either, dontcha know!

So how about, when you do a report on Bachmann and you bury the tea party story after the jump and append it to the end of the town hall story, "you be a little more discerning, and perhaps honest" yourself.

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Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Speaking alert 

Two talks this morning, to a local commercial real estate group on the local economy, followed by a quick dash to St. Paul to speak to a coordinating group concerned with taxation. I have one or two quick notes in the queue to read; back this PM.

Remember: NARN on a Stick continues all week. (How come they call it NARN on a Stick if they don't put our heads on sticks, but do Strom?) I'll have the end-King's-vegetarianism poll up Thursday morning.

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Monday, August 31, 2009

Media alert 

I will be on KKMS at 3:30, live from the State Fair, and then Ed Morrissey and I take a turn for NARN on a Stick at the Patriot booth at the Fair from 5-7pm. Please tune in (links to both those stations will include streaming audio.)

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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Lack of differentiation 

Krugman notices that nobody watches Fox Business News. Truth is, it sits on my box right next to Bloomberg, which is a longtime addiction for me. I have it on my favorites list, between Bloomberg and ESPN News (after which comes MLB Network and then back to Fox News.) You have to offer me something that gets me to switch that habit, be it from Bloomberg or CNBC. It's just not different enough: If you go too conservative you're bleeding people from Fox News, and if you play it as straight business nobody has a reason to change. And, it seems every time I turn it on they're playing Dave Bloody Ramsey again. It's not like there's a dearth of infomercials on cable...


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Media alert 

After a long absence, I return to KNSI tomorrow for the Morning Show, 6-8am. The link should include a place to stream the podcast. I'll be there the rest of the week.

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Monday, August 17, 2009

Media alert 

I'll be on KKMS in 10 minutes for a review of the economy with Jeff and Lee.


Monday, July 20, 2009

Stop thinking like that! 

I was driving through town (for locals: down Third Ave N at the laundromat on the corner at Cooper) when a billboard caught my eye:
Recession 101:

Economic forecasts tend to be shovel-ready
As the local economic forecaster, I at first thought someone was taking a shot at me. (You DO realize, right, that the world revolves around me? Good, thought you did.) But no, this turns out to be a national campaign by someone who doesn't like bad economic news.
"Interesting fact about recessions ... they end."

"Self worth is greater than net worth."

"This will end long before those who caused it are paroled."

Those are a few of the messages drivers in Rhode Island and across the country are seeing as part of a billboard campaign dubbed "Recession 101" and funded by an anonymous East Coast donor who was depressed about how the country was reacting to the economy's tailspin.

The campaign began in June and is now appearing on more than 1,000 billboards across America, including a spot in New York's Times Square. The client wanted people to realize the country has undergone recessions before and made it through, said designer Charlie Robb.

"One of the lines is, 'Stop obsessing about economy, you're scaring the children.' That's the overriding concept of the thing," said Robb, founding director of the Florida-based Charchin Creative.
The whole campaign can be found here. I understand the desire to remind America of its resiliency and optimism. But seriously, those of us who write forecasts are not trying to do anything other than get the forecast right. The only people who hide bad news lately work at OMB.

At least one strand of research suggests that, if you want consumer sentiment to improve, start with the newspapers, not the economists.

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Wednesday, July 08, 2009

The U.S. press is bad, until you hear all the others 

If you think the press is bad in the US, you should watch an Armenian press conference. I just did at the end of the formal part of this conference. Almost everyone in this conference has said pretty much the same thing: we're in a deep recession, led by a collapse in construction that was the product largely of private money. The government is getting help from foreign aid to deal with the collapse in budget receipts thanks to a 9.5% forecasted decline in GDP according to the IMF.

You then hear all the plans from the government on what to do next. The Prime Minister yesterday was supposed to give a ten minute welcoming statement to us and instead lays out a 45 minute policy speech (as a member of the organization that developed the conference, I have to say we all were tickled.) So what gets covered? "We expect the recession to get worse." (Which is twisting his words, actually.)

A minister presents a paper discussing three scenarios -- bad, worse, awful. All that the press covers is "awful".

The press conference begins with a question to the IMF representative "How bad will it be?" It ends with a question "how can we afford to get out of this recession?" A focus on the negative, a lack of depth. I was standing with an American journalist and asked for an impression. "You hear what they are doing. They can only lead with bad news."

I've been at my share of American press conferences. I've had bad things to say about them, too. But it was many times better than this one. And according to an Armenian businessman, these negative reports are "hurting our economy." Where have I heard that before?

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Thursday, June 18, 2009

Media alert: The Ed Morrissey Show 

I will be on the Ed Morrissey Show at 2pm Central Time. Click that link and follow directions to listen in!

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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Judge Sotomayor and the All-Female Club 

Thanks to Powerline for the following paragraph to which I'll pose two questions:
Judge Sotomayor has disclosed to the Senate that she belonged to an all-female club called the Belizean Grove. She claims that her club "did not discriminate in an inappropriate way."
If Judge Sotomayor had been a Republican, would the mainstream media, dominated by independents who vote for democrats, have ignored this [sexist] membership?

Secondly, does Judge Sotomayor's comment, highlighted above, mean that they discriminated in an appropriate way?

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Monday, June 15, 2009

What Media Bias???? 

Just another day showing the media support of Democrats. Cindy Sheehan stages her own protest and the media is everywhere. What mainstream media covers 600 protesters of Nancy Pelosi? The latter happened in Houston on Friday, January 12. Did you see anything about this in the media?

Zip, nada, zero, etc. Why? Maybe the media doesn't want the American people to know what is really happening in the US. But, thanks to Politico, we have a video.

Americans are being cheated when their news is filtered through the lens of a media beholden or whatever to one political party. Our mainstream media has become so enamored (?) with the Democrats that they refuse to show anything that portrays their ignorance, arrogance or negative attitudes. This omission is unfair and unjust to all of us. Freedom of the press means the good, bad and ugly of BOTH sides is covered as evenly as possible. Silly me, I thought the First Amendment meant that.

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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Advanced notice -- citizen journalists academy 

When Dave Aeikens was on my program on Saturday he mentioned an citizen's journalism academy he was hoping to run for Minneapolis. It appears to be a go:
I am writing to let you know that the Society of Professional Journalists will be bringing one of its national training programs to Minneapolis in June. The Citizen Journalism academies are designed to help provide advice and information to journalists not affiliated with newsrooms or who have not had formal training about gathering and reporting news. The program provides primers on ethics, state open records laws, media law, writing for online audiences and a look at the latest technological trends that people are using to cover the news. The Minneapolis Academy is the fifth in a series that started in 2008. We have had successful stops in North Carolina, Los Angeles and Chicago. A program is planned for Denver in May.

Minneapolis is an obvious place to conduct this event because of the great outpouring of citizen journalists in Minnesota.

I am hoping you will help me spread the word about this event to your friends and colleagues. I have provided a link that better explains the programs and describes some of the speakers we have lined up for Minneapolis. We will be completing the program lineup in the next few weeks.
Word spread, Dave. The link says the Minneapolis session is June 13, at the StarTribune. Cost is $40 which includes lunch.


Monday, March 30, 2009

Thinking about media and bias 

Saturday's Final Word featured Society for Professional Journalists and St. Cloud Times reporter Dave Aeikens, the podcast of which is now available (link when it's live.) Following on our discussion of the press restrictions of the Minnesota Legislature, Dave provided us with examples where online and "legacy" journalists (hey, if it works for toxic assets, why not?) are working together to blur the lines between who is a journalist and who is not. In fact, he was adamant that the line could not be drawn.

In the second half we turned to the idea of media bias; I am one who does not think there is groupthink in the media (Janet might disagree with me here, but read through to be sure), but that writers tend to reflect individual preferences and are reinforced in doing so when they think their audience will favor. Some of the economic research that convinces me of this is a paper by Mullainathan and Shleifer (2005 AER, ungated copy here, hereinafter MS.) It was their example of the two stories on the unemployment rate that I read to Dave. I think there's slanting of stories, which as MS point out can be a rational response to a biased readership. The market for the StarTribune contains the congressional district of Keith Ellison, so you write stories Ellison supporters would like. That's not bias, that's responding to incentives.

With that in mind, consider this opinion piece written by Randy Krebs in the Sunday St. Cloud paper. He illustrates his belief that he has intolerant readers by reporting on phone calls he receives after the paper reports on "Rep. Steve Gottwalt�s bill requiring people to remove headgear for their driver�s license photo." A few sentences later he writes, "A couple of different readers called separately to express support for Gottwalt�s initial idea." Mr. Krebs takes the rest of the column to call these two callers intolerant. Wouldn't a reader think that by extension Krebs thinks Gottwalt is, too?

Except that the paper reported weeks ago (in an article co-authored by Dave Aeikens, just to tie this together) that after meeting with Muslim groups, who felt the law was discriminatory against their religious practices, Gottwalt revised the bill to strike a better balance. This point appears nowhere in the Krebs opinion unless you ask why Krebs called it "Gottwalt's initial idea." It seems to me Krebs was aware of that change, but because it was inconvenient to his story he made his way quickly around that point to get back to attacking the droogs who dared ring his phone.

So is that bias? I don't think so; even if it is, Mr. Krebs is certainly entitled in an opinion piece to express it. I suspect though it's a bit more like slanting; there is nothing false about what Krebs has written, but he's in need of props to tell his story of religious intolerance and found these callers handy. It would muddy his story to remind people of Gottwalt's revision, so that doesn't make it into the op-ed.

Dave argues in the podcast that without newspapers bloggers have nothing to say. But newspapers in fact present us with something to do: to demonstrate slanting, and yes, re-slant for our readers. Since it appears more liberals self-select into careers in journalism (see for example here and here for evidence, for starters), those who want a different slant are served by both Fox and by center-right bloggers.

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Media Alert: WJON, KLTF 

Two appearances on central Minnesota radio this morning, talking about the local economy and last Friday's report:
There are audio streams available from each of those links (I do not think either podcasts.)


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Media alert: The Ed Morrissey Show 

The usefulness of economists continues, so I get to reappear on The Ed Morrissey Show at 2pm today to talk about the Geithner Plan. I haven't posted about it yet, so listen in, and then check back here for a summary.


Thursday, March 19, 2009

Media alert: The Ed Morrissey Show 

I'll be on the Ed Morrissey Show at 2:30pm CT today. I believe he's doing movies in the first half hour, so tune in for the whole show. I don't have a scorecard for what he wants to talk about, but I bet it will be economicky.

UPDATE: Different show link, and found out he wants to talk Fed. Google for Operation Twist to prepare...

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Marty gets a pass, for one 

Marty Owings, whose fight to get access to the Minnesota Legislature was chronicled on our show last Saturday and earlier, is now credentialed to the Minnesota House. How many others? We don't yet know:
My remaining concerns are simple. If there are new rules for "online" media, I haven't seen any. Perhaps we all fall under the umbrella of "Press", but then there remains the issue of updating the language to remove words like "television" and "radio", to be replaced with the more generic term "Press". If the process has not changed and the rules are what they've always been, then will every Journalist who applies for credentials have to wait two months and pester Legislators endlessly until they approve them?
So we do not yet know if anything has been done for Dan Ochsner. As Sunshine Week conitnues, let's keep working for equal access to all journalists, regardless of their media. Let's hope that Marty getting a pass and Dan losing his is the result of a process that provides equal access and not because Marty and Dan are on different sides of most issues.

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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Quick note on media bias 

For the discussion happening on Janet's post last night, permit me to recall a few earlier posts on the topic pre-Janet:
See also this from Steve Levitt and this from Freakonomics Blog co-contributor Melissa Lafsky.


Thursday, February 19, 2009

Media alert: Hot Air radio 

I'll join Ed Morrissey on Hot Air Radio at 2:30pm CT today to talk about the stimulus package, the mortgage bailout, and whither goeth the Obama economic plan. Be sure to tune in!

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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Wife Murders - A Glimmer of Light? 

In this post, I discussed the beheading of an Islamic woman, Aasiya Hassan, by her husband in Buffalo, NY. Also mentioned in that post was the silence of NOW. As in the past, the national president of NOW, Ms. Gandy, makes inane comments that attempt to equate all domestic violence or simply says nothing. Quoted in the Best of the Web Today, February 17, by James Taranto are the NOW responses to murder and/or violence perpetrated on women. Note Ms. Gandy's different reactions (or lack thereof) when the victim is from another culture:
One popular R&B singer, Chris Brown, assaulted and threatened singer Rihanna. Comment by Ms. Gandy: "Everyone is talking about this case because it involves two popular recording artists, but the sad reality is that domestic violence and dating violence happen every day, even among young teens, and the impact is both far-reaching and under-reported."

Relating to the Buffalo murder by Mr. Hassan, NOW issued this statement: ...

Two other cases were described: one from Murietta, CA where a Mr. Muhummed was sentenced to multiple life sentences for torturing and abusing some of his children and imprisoning two of his three wives; the brutalization of a woman by her husband, a vice consul at the Afghanistan Consulate in Queens. Ms Gandy of NOW issued this statement: ...
However, there may be a new wind blowing. Regarding the Buffalo murder, the NOW president in NY, Marcia Pappas, said: �This was apparently a terroristic version of honor killing, a murder rooted in cultural notions about women�s subordination to men.� She decried the scant national media attention paid to the story.

From Mr. Auhdi Jasser, founder and chairman of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy,
"It [the murder of Mrs. Hassan] certainly has all the markings of [an honor killing]," Jasser told "She expressed through the legal system that she was being abused, and at the moment she asked for divorce, she's not only murdered � she's decapitated."

His final comment is quite important: "The most dangerous aspect of this case is to simply say it's domestic violence," NOW, pay attention. Western press, pay attention. All behavior is NOT equal.

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Sunday, February 15, 2009

Imagine a Headline: Beautiful Wife of Televangelist Crucified 

If this event had happened, there would be an immediate media firestorm. That story would have legs, with multiple angles for reporting: Religious hypocrisy. Sex and gore. Domestic Violence. A gruesomely unusual method of killing.

There can be no doubt that national and international newspapers and television would run endless breathless stories. Think Nicole Simpson, Mathew Shepard, Lorena Bobbitt, and Jim and Tammy Fay Bakker. Outraged women's groups would be interviewed. There would be no holding back, even though the public image of Christianity would take another hit.

Now consider a real story with the potential headline: Beautiful Wife of Televangelist Beheaded

Virtual silence by the same media. As of the time of this post, a search on Google News turns only a handful of published stories, mostly local, about the murder of this beautiful woman.

What accounts for the difference? Most people would have no difficulty completing this analogy: crucified::Christianity beheaded::??

The Associated Press carried the following short item on Friday:
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) - A Buffalo-area man who runs an American-Islamic television station is accused of beheading his wife.

Orchard Park police say 44-year-old Muzzammil Hassan told police Thursday evening that his wife was dead at his office. That's where police found the body of 37-year-old Aasiya Hassan.

Hassan is now charged with second-degree murder [J:???] and police believe the killing occurred sometime late Thursday afternoon. Authorities say his wife had recently filed for divorce and had an order of protection that had him out of the home as of February 6th.

Hassan is the founder and chief executive of Bridges TV, which he launched in 2004 in hopes of portraying Muslims in a better light. [J: oh, really?]

Police didn't know Friday if Hassan had an attorney.
The only major outlets carrying the story as of now are the Toronto Star and the New York Post. Craven cowardice and political correctness reign. Update - Mark Steyn and Michelle Malkin have posted.

Where are the feminists? NOW? The media that is so quick to ridicule and condemn Christians and Jews? Just how fair and just is this barbaric behavior so easily ignored by western press?

Footnote: the standard texts to be read in our Lutheran church today condemns religious hypocrisy in this passage from I Corinthians Chapter 9, Verse 27: I pommel my body and subdue it, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.

Don't you wonder what is being preached in mosques today?

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Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Media alert: KNSI 

I am on the KNSI Morning Show Wednesday through Friday this week, 6-8am CT. �Hope you listen in! �Streaming is available from the link, but alas no podcast.

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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Media alert: Hot Air radio 

I'll be on The Ed Morrissey Show at 2pm today CT. We'll discuss new data on housing. Let me also point to this article in the WSJ this morning on the same data, with some additional city-level data. Please listen in!

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Thursday, January 15, 2009

Media alert: Hot Talk 

I will be sitting in for Dan "The Ox" Ochsner on 1450 KNSI from 8 to 11 am tomorrow morning, joined by Mike Landy. For those of you who listen to me on Final Word, the format is pretty similar, but this Mike is not Michael. (More on him tomorrow, since Saturday is MDE's swan song from FW.)

There's streaming audio from the KNSI link; please listen in, and call 320-251-1990 to participate!

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Sunday, January 11, 2009

Children, Hamas, the Mainstream Press 

Some of you know that I taught elementary school a number of years ago. This was before the politically correct movement got in the way of real education. I teach a college class now and all I can say is we're cheating our children by giving them As, letting them think each of them is perfect all the time, that there is no evil except the USA and that all children deserve to win everything and get gold stars. When we don't demand standards and knowledge, we all lose, but more importantly, we are handicapping them for life.

Now, I've found this video about the Hamas (you know, those Palestinians whom Israel is fighting because these Palestinians seem to think they can fire rockets into Israeli homes, schools, etc. with abandon and nothing will be done about it because the mainstream press and the United Nations (UN) turn a blind eye towards this practice and do nothing).

Watch this video. Something is radically wrong when a culture teaches its 5 year olds to hate and become a "martyr" which in reality is murder. Would you want your kid or grand kid to be raised in such an environment of hate, prejudice and sheeer stupidity with a total disregard for all human life?

I think not. It's time that civilized nations and so-called psychologists look at the real damage being done to Palestinian kids. Start raising the noise level on this practice. The problem is not Israel - you won't find sane nations teaching guerrilla warfare to kindergartners - you will in Palestine - it's been going on for a very long time.

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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Media alert: Hot Air radio 

Finals have been graded, giving me time to get onto The Ed Morrissey Show today at 2:30pm CT. Hope yuo can join us!


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Media alert 

I'll be on KKMS (AM 980) in the Twin Cities in a few minutes with Jeff Shell and Lee Michaels, talking about the current economy. For those of you outside the Twin Cities, KKMS is the sister station of The Patriot. The interview should last until 4pm CT. Listen in! (Stream on the station link.)

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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Kathy Kersten, the Strib and a Free Press 

Kathy's son and mine went to the same school for 7th and 8th grades. We got to know each other fairly well and have kept in touch ever since. The fact that the Strib is dropping her column says volumes about the bias in the paper. Yes, Nick Coleman is going, too - finally - but he's got an entire chorus behind him so his leftist view of the world will be perpetuated.

Kathy's view, is another issue. Her columns provide much needed fresh air and common sense. They covered issues too much of the mainstream media is either afraid to write about or is incapable of comprehending. If you wish to make your sentiments known, please contact the paper's editor, Nancy Barnes at: While I doubt Ms. Barnes will even consider hiring a conservative replacement, letting her know why releasing Ms. Kersten is a horrible mistake has a slight chance of making an impact.

When papers and media present only one side of an issue or ignore an issue in its entirety, they are cheating themselves and their audience. A press that engages in such self-censorship is no longer free - it has voluntarily given up its freedom - without a fight.

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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Media alert: Hot Air radio 

I'll be on at 2pm with Ed Morrissey of Hot Air to talk about the bank/auto/Armenian economics professor bailout plan. :) Excuse my voice in advance -- I have a cold and am hitting the honey and lemon tea right now to effect repairs.

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Thursday, November 13, 2008

A sad day 

Fire Joe Morgan is no more.

How the hell is still available?

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Monday, November 03, 2008

Kid reporters 

One of my nieces is friends with a 13-year-old student reporter for Scholastic News Online, and I've been watching the press conference they are having for the last ten minutes before going to lunch. I hope they get jobs as reporters in the future; there may be hope yet to resurrect that profession.

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Monday, October 27, 2008

There's no substitute for good data 

It is no secret that the press has been in the bag for Senator Obama. �Howard Kurtz' last Friday made it quite plain:

Fifty-seven percent of the print and broadcast stories about the Republican nominee were decidedly negative, the Project for Excellence in Journalism says in a report out today, while 14 percent were positive. The McCain campaign has repeatedly complained that the mainstream media are biased toward the senator from Illinois.�

Obama's coverage was more balanced during the six-week period from Sept. 8 through last Thursday, with 36 percent of the stories clearly positive, 35 percent neutral or mixed and 29 percent negative.�

McCain has struggled during this period and slipped in the polls, which is one of the reasons for the more negative assessments by the 48 news outlets studied by the Washington-based group. But the imbalance is striking nonetheless.
We have joked often about bias at the StarTribune, which made last Saturday's endorsement of Senator Coleman for re-election all the more remarkable. When it turns out that the media are taking their children to Obama events to get souvenirs, it strains credulity to think they do not have some investment in the history that an Obama win would create in their minds, and damn the consequences both to the country of his policies later and to the newspapers' own reputations.

I have received several emails and phone calls over the last week furious with coverage of the local newspaper. There has been a steady drumbeat of negative front-page articles regarding Rep. Bachmann -- this one on her withdrawing a pardon request for someone subsequently pleading guilty in the Petters scandal ran as their Sunday headline; if you can explain that choice as anything other than an attack to smear Bachmann by implication, the comments box is open -- and a preference for higher taxes for public works that borders on fetishism. It is almost an article of faith that this is true among local Republican leaders. �

But at the same time, I know many of the reporters and most of the editorial board, and I do not want to believe this of them. �I do not believe them to be intentional in that bias. �They may have it despite their attempts to work around them. �I don't think perception should be allowed to decide this without some supporting evidence.

So I have a proposal. I wish to replicate the Project for Excellence in Journalism study for our local newspaper. �I need a few hours of volunteer time and access to the Times' archives for the last two months. �I propose using the public library for the archive. �Send an email to the comment box if you wish to participate. �I am particularly hoping one or two liberal readers to join this project. �We would replicate this for Obama/McCain, Coleman/Franken/Barkley and Bachmann/Tinklenberg. �I would hope to finish the project quickly, though finishing it in time for the elections is not important. �This is not a partisan event. �It's an attempt to give evidence on the quality of our own area paper's news coverage.

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Friday, October 10, 2008

Media alert: Joshua Sharf radio 

I will be on Joshua Sharf's BlogTalkRadio program at 1pm CT with Bill Polley, to discuss the financial situation.


Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Classic Media Bias 

This unsolicited note was received by Glenn Reynolds, author of the Instapundit site.

"A READER AT A MAJOR NEWSROOM EMAILS: "Off the record, every suspicion you have about MSM being in the tank for O is true. We have a team of 4 people going thru dumpsters in Alaska and 4 in Arizona. Not a single one looking into Acorn, Ayers or Freddiemae. Editor refuses to publish anything that would jeopardize election for O, and betting you dollars to donuts same is true at NYT, others. People cheer when CNN or NBC run another Palin-mocking but raising any reasonable inquiry into Obama is derided or flat out ignored. The fix is in, and its working." I asked permission to reprint without attribution and it was granted. (Glenn)

It will be the mainstream media (MSM) who are the cause of our loss of freedoms. When they, along with their buddies in the classrooms, choose favorites (think teacher's pet) and "report" only one side of an issue we all lose. When the MSM condones name calling and unsubstantiated attacks of people of one side of the political spectrum, while refusing to address real issues, we all lose. When the MSM ignores facts that are counter to their bubble beliefs, we all lose,

The saddest irony is that if this bias continues unchecked, the "truth" squad will run DC and there will be no stopping this "truth" squad from turning on the very MSM they used to gain power, that is, after the "truth" squad has eliminated any voice that does not buy into their agenda.

Americans are smart enough IF given the necessary information. When Americans get only one viewpoint, it becomes very difficult to make a wise decision. One cannot choose well without facts.


Thursday, September 18, 2008

Quick media note 

I am doing the second half of Hot Talk on KNSI tomorrow morning, from 9:30 to 11am. Ox and Mike will have the first half, I believe, from the new Derrick House at Quarry Park.

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Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Can't get enough of this radio thing 

Media alert: �I'll be hosting the Morning Show on 1450 KNSI for through Friday from 6 to 8am. �Streaming available on the link; the call in number is 320-251-1990. �It gets a little lonely in that first hour sometimes so if you're up and interested, give us a call please.

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Sunday, September 07, 2008

An Invitation on Women's Rights 

Today I found a report about a young Pakistani girl who was forced into marriage with a 45 year old man at the age of 9. By age 17, she had had enough of the "relationship" and decided to go to court for an annulment. After fighting for her case, mostly by herself, she was finally granted an annulment.

Freedom? No. Family members murdered her outside the courtroom on the street, in front of police.

A second story in the article tells of three other teenage school girls who wanted to marry men of their choice, not some middle-aged guy who decided he needed a young girl. (We have terms for this in the west.) The three young women and two older women were rounded up by (guess what?) male relatives, taken to a desert area, lined up, shot, and thrown in a ditch. It's not clear they were yet dead. They were buried alive. When the two older women decided to protest, they, too were murdered and thrown in the ditch.

Even more disgusting is this comment by a Pakistan national parliament senator, "these are centuries-old traditions and I will continue to defend them" Excuse me - most cultures have realized that 7th century practices are barbaric and have no place in today's societies. While these cultures have adapted over centuries, there is a subset of one that refuses to treat women with decency.

I invite our readers, the traditional mainstream media, the National Organization for Women and other "feminists" to join me in devoting time and attention to publicizing and condemning these atrocities towards women.

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Friday, September 05, 2008

Vilification doesn't pay 

The latest in your Sarah-Palin-is-a-wacko attack: She's a Pentecostal. Hide the children! Final Word producer Matt (a/k/a Antoine) explains:
While some "Bible-believers" may disagree on Theology, but they don't deride them. This is what these AP Reporters don't get. When you don't have a evangelical or even a Judeo-Christian worldview, it's extremely hard to understand the theological differences and the different style of worship that happens in a Pentecostal church. They express their worship outwardly. Maybe I can help them understand. That furrow that Chris Matthews feels for Barack Obama, that's close to how Pentecostals feel about their triune God, the Father, Son (that's Jesus) and Holy Spirit. When they feel the Holy Spirit move, it is expressed through verbal worship.
In the group I have breakfast with many mornings, this "she's a Pentecostal" thing had already reached one of our group who supports the Democratic candidate. "They do that speaking in tongues thing" he said. And another guy at the table, whom everyone knew goes to a fundamentalist church and has some different views on religion, said "so do I. What would you like to know about it?" A little education happened after that.

A third guy usually there but not that time is a pastor friend. He says, in short, while we have theological differences people who profess Christianity are spreading the Word, and we do not argue with them. There's always an opportunity to get a little education, one that I try to take.

But the vilification of Governor Palin will continue, since nobody will countenance her being more popular than the would-be Community-Organizer-in-Chief; and who think the only sisterhood that should matter should be lead by women in pantsuits. Maybe it works, but maybe the pantsuits this time will be the ones getting a little education.

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Thursday, September 04, 2008

How many saw her? 

At the end of our broadcast last night, I said to Ed and Duane Patterson of the Hugh Hewitt Show that the most important thing this morning would be to see what was the rating for the Palin speech. Here's the answer: Palin Nabs Highest '08 Broadcast TV Convention Ratings:
Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin�s speech during Wednesday night�s Republican National Convention bested Democratic speeches from Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden and, in some cases, Barack Obama in preliminary ratings.

Speaking last night, along with former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, Gov. Palin took in a 5.4 rating/8 share on NBC, according to preliminary overnight household data from Nielsen Media Research, measuring 55 markets across the United States.

In terms of this year�s conventions, the preliminary rating for NBC�s coverage last night is higher than any other night of the convention on the broadcast networks, including Sen. Obama�s nomination acceptance speech on Aug. 28.

However, the ratings are preliminary and are subject to change.
The Economist reports that final figures for Barack Obama's convention speech was for 38 million viewers, "twice the audience that viewed John Kerry�s address to his party in 2004, but not as many that watched big football games earlier in the year." Note that preliminary numbers will have to be updated, so we don't know that she beat Obama in all markets or on all networks. But no doubt she is the topic at every water cooler and across every fence and in every coffee shop in America today.

UPDATE: Via Drudge, total viewership 37.2 million on four fewer networks than Obama's 38.4 million. Within the margin of error, to say the least.

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Friday, August 22, 2008

Media alert 

I will be subbing for Don Lyons on the Morning Show today at 6-8am on 1450 KNSI here in St. Cloud (streaming available through the link). Then at 5-7pm, the Final Word begins its State Fair duties. If you are at the Fair this afternoon, come by the Patriot booth, newly placed on Dan Patch Blvd, and visit with Michael and me. NARN will be at the Fair weekdays 5-7 along with our normal Saturday gig (11-5; the Final Word begins at 3.)

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Thursday, August 14, 2008

Media alert 

I will be on Hot Air with Ed Morrissey at 2pm today, discussing both economics and Georgia. Please join in the conversation! In re the Obama tax plans, see this from the campaign (as published in this morning's WSJ); my summary of the Boskin editorials to which Furman and Goolsbee are responding; and contrast to Brill and Viard,

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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Media Bias? Yep, big time. 

We've all been saturated with coverage of Senator Obama and will have to contend with this for a few more days. This saturation represents what many conservatives indicates the unfairness of political coverage by the mainstream media (MSM). Just reference one time in television's history when the anchors on the (used to be) Big Three networks were part of a non-president's overseas entourage? I don't think ever. Yet those on the left complain that the coverage is controlled by the right. Excuse me while I choke on that last statement.

Now from Investor's Business Daily comes a totally shocking report: Media donations favor Democrats. While the overview looks like 10:1 or 20:1, when Ron Paul and Rudy Giuliani are taken out of the equation and only Obama and McCain are used, the ratio is 100:1. I'm shocked, just totally shocked! I had NO idea. Take a look at this table.

The MSM uses as its excuse that Obama is more newsworthy but the donations say otherwise - the MSM wants to flex its declining muscle and put Obama in as POTUS. They may do it since they ignore his gaffes, his flip-flopping (Obama makes John Kerry look like an amateur), his flat out misstatements (to be charitable) like the one today about his heading up the Senate banking committee when he's not even on a subcommittee. What's a little lie when the press is foreign - Obama and his staff probably figure those foreigners won't know the difference. Perhaps in fawning Europe that might be the case but not in Israel or the rest of the Middle East where Senator Obama has gotten a luke warm reception at best.

Enough - money talks and this table says it all. Media bias is alive and well. Please remember this when you read news reports.

What's really bad about this is that people only get one side of the "news" and this simply is wrong. I have a saying I use, "Like promotes like" and it sure looks like MSM, located in mostly strong blue cities, promotes blue/left leaning people to the detriment of us all.


Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Stuff they learn in j-school 

Excuse me while I clean the Coke off my keyboard after reading this.

Rep. Bachmann used a word picture to describe the offlimits energy supplies in this way:

Picture the pantry being full of food and your children wanting to eat. Then picture that the pantry is locked. America has lots of energy but Congress has locked the pantry.

Mr. [Pioneer Press reporter Jim] Ragsdale started by saying that he liked the picture, then asked this question:

�What if the pantry was full and the children were already overweight. Shouldn�t we keep that pantry locked?

Leo suggests Mr. Ragsdale "pines for the return to the malaise of yesteryear that everyone so enjoyed during the Carter administration."

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Monday, June 16, 2008

Late media alert 

My friend Ed Morrissey just wrote to ask me to be on The Ed Morrissey Show around 2:30. We will discuss the economy and maybe the series of posts on the bulletin boards. The series is in progress and will continue for another two weeks or so -- as I mentioned to Gary while he was here on campus this AM, SCSU is a target-rich environment for such posts. I've only explored one building thus far. Here are the first six photo-posts:

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Friday, June 13, 2008

How sad 

It seems weird that a man who wrote two books about his father would die on Father's Day weekend. I remember sitting in hotel rooms overseas stuck with CNBC and BBC World waiting for Tim Russert to come on. One show had him in Cooperstown with four Hall of Fame catchers. You could feel his excitement, and why not? if you were there, you'd've felt the same. And he behaved just as you would have wanted to, asked the questions you would have wanted to ask.

Whatever one thought of Russert's politics, you thought he was like you, would like you, and you would like him if you had a cup of coffee with him. And so you watched.


Thursday, May 22, 2008

For you early morning types 

I'll be on KNSI's Morning Show tomorrow, 6-8 AM. Streaming audio available at that link.

I was going to post things today but had too much fun updating a syllabus instead. We academics are funny like that. Back tomorrow.


Monday, May 12, 2008

Media alert 

I am going to be on the Ed Morrissey Show at 2pm CT.


Friday, April 25, 2008

Why �News�papers Have Lost Former Subscribers Like Us 

Hunger Stalks Millions of Poor Americans blares the headline in the Financial Times of London. The article itself, however, turns out to be a combination of rank speculation and advocacy journalism for more welfare spending, triggered by pending congressional consideration of the farm bill.

The real story behind the farm bill, of course, is this astonishing observation by Ronald Bailey:
The amount of food being burned because of government mandates and subsidies for biofuels would feed nearly 450 million people. [My paraphrase]
That�s right, folks. We could feed every person on the entire North American continent with the food we burn because of well-intentioned but foolish government intervention in agricultural markets.

Over at National Review Online, Deroy Murdock notes the resulting Global Food Riots: Made in Washington, DC occurring in such places as Haiti, Mexico, Egypt, Pakistan and the Ivory Coast. His excellent article pulls together a wide range of relevant factual information on the biofuels mess, linked to the sources.

Contrast the opening sentences of the FT story:
An escalating global food crisis could bring the problem of hunger home to the US and other developed countries. Millions of poor Americans risk going hungry if food prices continue to rise and food agencies struggle to cope with rising costs, dwindling resources and a huge increase in demand. Already more and more poor people in the US are turning to charity and government assistance as they struggle with rising food costs and soaring fuel bills.
The only factual information here is that the US has a social safety net, consisting of a variety of government programs and private charities that help poor people with food, fuel bills and similar problems. Food prices are up, and the social safety net appears to be doing what it is supposed to do. The rest is speculation.

All of the remainder of the FT article consists of quotes from �campaigners� who seek �to broaden eligibility for food stamps and increase emergency food provision�: the California Women Infants and Children Program Association, the Food Research and Action Center, the Cleveland Food Bank, the Greater Chicago Food Depository, America�s Second Harvest, and Martha�s Table.

It is neither news nor interesting analyis that such organizations want more of our tax dollars devoted to their government rent-seeking activities.

We used to subscribe to the Financial Times, the Economist, Scientific American and National Geographic, all of which once consistently published excellent material with analysis based on well-sourced facts. We watched with dismay as each began to devote more and more of their limited resources to shallow advocacy pieces like this. We canceled our subscriptions, one by one, with regret.

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Thursday, April 24, 2008

Talk tonight 

I will be speaking to a group of students at St. Olaf College tonight at 8pm in Buntrock Commons. The topic is health care and Medicare. "King, you don't know anything about that do you?" That's why I take these tasks on, to force myself to learn. I went through the positions on Medicare of the three different candidates. Short of it: None impressed me.


Friday, April 18, 2008

Italian Pesidential Elections 

You haven't seen much of this in the main stream press but Italy is the 5th European nation to elect a prime minister who is friendly to the US in the past three years. Did we change leaders? No but the Europeans realize what is at stake. Berlusconi was elected Prime Minister of Italy last weekend - overwhelmingly. The Greens and Communists are out, as in gone, as in no influence, the first time since the end of WWII. Italy is on its way to a two-party system.

Five of the six biggest nations in Europe now have elected leaders who are supporters of the US: (Germany, 82,000,000, Angela Merkel); France, (62,000,000,000, Nicholas Sarkozy); the UK (59,000,000, Gordon Brown); Italy (57,000,000, Silvio Berlusconi); and Poland (39,000,000, Lech Kaczynski). The only outlier is Spain, (40,000,000, Jose Luis Zapatero), in which the mishandling of the Madrid bombings three days before the 2004 election led to a swing to the Spanish Socialist Workers Party.

Why won't we hear much about these successes? Oh, the mainstream media doesn't want us to know - they might have to admit that the USA is not the big, bad ogre they would like to make us out to be.

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Thursday, April 17, 2008

Another day, another radio 

I will be filling in tomorrow morning for Dan "The Ox" Ochsner on Newstalk 1450 KNSI, 8-11am. Live streaming (but no podcast) available from the link. I will be with Dan's usual co-host Mike Landy; we anticipate a discussion starting at 9 about government waste.

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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Media alert: Outside the Beltway radio 

It will be my pleasure to join James Joyner on Outside the Beltway Radio to talk about the three presidential candidates economic plans tonight at 6pm CT. I'm also n Hot Air tomorrow at 2:30 with Ed Morrissey but I don't know that that will be the topic. Separately link for that tomorrow.


Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Other podcasting 

I think we should try this ourselves for FW: The David Strom Show's better half, Margaret Martin, has a show page for each broadcast in which they excerpt clips. She has two of me in last week's show.

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Monday, March 31, 2008

Tales of the AP stylebook 

St. Cloud Times managing editor John Bodette defends his paper's use of the term "anti-abortion" in its coverage of a local appearance by Alan Keyes:

The Times follows The Associated Press Stylebook in matter of style and usage.

The entry in the AP stylebook on "abortion" reads: "Use anti-abortion instead of pro-life and abortion rights instead of pro-abortion or pro-choice. Avoid abortionist, which connotes a person who performs clandestine abortions."

So, when writing our news stories we use the terms anti-abortion instead of pro-life unless it appears in a quote or the title of a group or organization.

...The reason the AP Stylebook makes its decision probably involves clarity of terms.

Here is a key quote from the foreword to the 2006 edition of the AP Stylebook: "But just as the AP remains dedicated to its fundamental journalistic principles, the AP Stylebook remains committed to its original concept: to provide a uniform presentation of the printed word, to make a story written anywhere understandable everywhere."

The original article is not online that I can find (the Times still uses a one-week pay wall for its free archives), so I cannot give you the context, but I think that pretty well says it. I'm not arguing with the AP stylebook's representation of abortion positions, but interested that Bodette would consider anti-abortion part of its "clarity of terms".

This morning the Times runs on page 1 an unsigned AP article that contains the same paragraph as this one signed by Tom Raum of the AP in the Washington Post:
The two Democrats are calling for a more activist role for the U.S. government to protect individuals. McCain is echoing standard GOP dogma of protecting markets and opposing bailouts.
What "clarity of terms" is incorporated in the use of the word "dogma"? Is Mr. Raum engaged in making "a story written anywhere understandable everywhere," or is he making a political point that makes the free market position somehow less considered, a knee-jerk reaction rather than something thought out as being better for individuals. "Activist" is a word that has connotations for economists different than for the public -- to the latter, it's meant to say Democrats want to do something, while the Republicans want to do nothing, and want to do nothing because they aren't thinking, they're just acting on an -ism.

That's clear enough to me ... clearly, the AP is impugning McCain's policies. Is "impugn" in the AP Stylebook?

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Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Two radios today 

I'm on two internet radio programs today. At noon CT I will be on Midstream Radio with Jazz Shaw and the Lady Logician. They write to ask me to explain Paul Krugman's column from yesterday. Consider me sympathetic to it; more below. (Note: Those wanting graphs with their Krugman go here.)

At 2:30pm CT I will be joining Ed Morrissey with his new Ed Morrissey Show (part of his new duties at Hot Air). He wants to talk about Brad Schiller's article in the WSJ yesterday on the reporting of inequality. That deserves a separate post which will appear above this one.

Back to Krugman. A speech by New York Federal Reserve President Timothy Geithner has him worried. What got him worried? Here's a paragraph:
The current episode has a basic dynamic in common with all past crises. As market participants have moved to reduce exposure to further losses, to step on the brake, the brake became the accelerator, amplifying the shock. Measured risk has increased more quickly than many institutions have been able reduce it, and attempts to reduce it have added to volatility and downward pressure on prices, further increasing measured exposure to risk. Uncertainty about the market value of securities and about counterparty credit risk has increased, and many hedges have not performed as intended. The rational actions taken by even the strongest financial institutions to reduce exposure to future losses have caused significant collateral damage to market functioning. This, in turn, has intensified the liquidity problems for a wide range of bank and nonbank financial institutions.
In English, then: Everyone tried to get out of their positions at once, and put downward pressure on prices of the assets they were holding. I had two people quote a statistic today to me while I was off-campus (and an international visitor on-campus) that 10% of mortgages today are worth more than the houses that are their collateral. The damage has spread even to hedge funds backed by Treasuries, which almost never happens: Treasuries are supposed to be safest of the safe. Now that's collateral damage.

The Federal Reserve facing these liquidity issues -- and still faced with inflation higher than they would like -- has engaged in what James Hamilton calls monetary policy on the asset side of the balance sheet. In it Hamilton says the Fed's policy has rotated from its usual actions on monetary base -- the liability side of the Federal Reserve balance sheet -- to its asset side. I've updated his table to show what's happened since mid-December:

There hasn't been still much of a change in the monetary base -- there has been about a doubling of bank reserves, indicating that banks are laying away some money to protect themselves. When I wrote in August, the Fed was trying to use the discount window itself. The Fed has moved towards buying more and more assets through its term auction facility. It is permitting a variety of assets to be purchased through this, leading one writer to refer to the Fed as a pawnbroker as Krugman mentions. But those collateral are no different in type than they bought before -- it's just that they're more risky, and everyone knows it.

(UPDATE: I failed to mention yesterday's action expanding a second "Term Securities Lending Facility." This strikes me just as more of the same; Douglas Elmendorf shows that it's two transactions combined to one, both on the asset side. Remember what Bagehot said? Lending on "any good paper". Or Jeffrey Lacker in August said, one needs to make credit available without interfering with market assessment of risk. It's the destruction of credit that is to be avoided. Does the TSLF interfere with market assessment of risk? I don't yet see it.)

Where I "mostly agree" with Krugman -- the effect of these effects diminishes each time we try to add more reserves this way while we sterilize the the inflow of money. The Fed is selling off its Treasury holdings to absorb back the excess credit they are creating. In theory, we should not be generating additional inflationary pressures this way, and nothing in the money supply data would indicate to me a sharp increase in inflationary expectations. But they are nonetheless there, even if Bernanke doesn't seem too concerned.

As to Krugman's conclusion, that something must be done about the risks in mortgage markets, I wonder what he thought of George McGovern? I've looked at the change in risks by looking at the change in the spread between Baa and Aaa corporate bonds; it's risen, but only to levels that existed in 2003. That is not part of the anatomy of a crisis. I also wrote last August that asking banks to take an ownership position in houses -- an idea that seems not only to be not going away but being encouraged by people who should know better -- is a major risk to us getting out of the current jam. The market seems to be compelling banks to take their haircuts (in part by selling a piece of themselves to sovereign wealth funds, something Ed wants to talk about.) The political system is what is stopping homeowners from being told to do the same thing.

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Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Speaking, and media 

Program notes for the week:
As usual, busy and probably light blogging. But the book would be shipped if not for one page of references somebody didn't turn in yet. So light is at the end of the tunnel...

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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Media Bias - The African Tour Not Covered 

President and Mrs. Bush went on a tour of Africa from February 17-21 - by the few accounts I heard of, it was incredibly successful. Where's our mainstream media coverage? Not too many places.

And you think there is no bias? If Bush were a Democrat on a goodwill tour of Africa being received well, do you think our mainstream media would ignore it? No.

What is the basic problem here? Americans are not being informed of the really good things our president is doing. Whether we like it or not, we are the world leader and when our president makes a point of carrying representative democracy to nations craving for something besides a tribal mentality and our media ignores it, that is plain wrong.

President Bush has done more to alleviate the scourge of AIDs in the African continent than any one else, including all the do-gooders in Europe. A total of $15,000,000,000 has been allocated to help Africans with this disease. Coverage? None.

The U.S. is the largest donor to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), with more than 40 percent of that funding going to Africa in 2007. Coverage, none. (from White House memo)

Here are a few of the notices I found about this trip, nothing major.

NPR mini report - Note the snide, nasty remark in the second paragraph. Of course, this is NPR, funded by our tax dollars.

Rwanda: We cannot be everywhere but also must recognize that tribal conflicts too often are alive and well in many African nations. The US never colonized any nation in Africa. The Arabs and Europeans did, big time. Both groups, Arabs 700 years before the Europeans, engaged in pitting tribes against each other, originally for a source of slaves, later for other reasons. The Europeans left conflicting boundaries but based on my students, they also left decent school systems for boys and girls. The Arabs wiped out cultures, languages, etc. Schools appear to be for boys only. The US has provide far more hope, support, and direction than any other nation on the planet. Are our students taught this? No.

This unclear article in an unknown paper, includes this comment: "But as far as the international activist community is concerned, Bush's remarks fall on deaf ears." Part of the reason Bush's comments "fall on deaf ears" is because too much of the world's media likes to ignore Bush and any good done by the US while blaming us for any and all problems. They refuse to help, really help.

The list goes on - you get the picture. We need our media to we tout what we do right - which is a lot. When we and others on the planet only hear bad, incorrect, or politically negative news about the US, we all lose. Our children have nothing to believe in when they are shown and taught only the negative. Just ask yourself - what could or would you do if your parents and grandparents only told you what you did wrong? You would have no faith in yourself. A nation can only do good as long as it believes in itself - once that is gone, basic tribal (in the general definition of tribal) instincts take over - it's not pretty.

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Monday, February 11, 2008

Another thing we have in common 

I had no idea Ed was also a big fan of All That Jazz. My parents were always the last on the block to get stuff, like a microwave, a color TV, or HBO. So when we finally got the last of those in about 1978 -- I was already in college but living at home -- we were addicted to it. After I went to graduate school, I came back for Christmas and this movie was on constantly that break (1979-80), and like Ed, I was fascinated with Roy Scheider's portrayal of Bob Fosse (who I still keep trying to type as Ray Fosse, baseball addict that I am.) I don't know how many times I've said "It's show time, folks" before walking into a classroom. Too many, I'm sure.

I liked no other movie Scheider did as much as this (though his role in "The Russia House" was good, it's just not a good LeCarre movie). This was the start of the second half of his career as a supporting actor showing up in every political thriller you could imagine. Since I'm a sucker for those movies, I saw him often. I had no idea he was 75 now, and he was still working. He was an actor we took for granted, but someone who added something to the movies I liked.


Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Back to KNSI 

It appears that, for a while at least, I'm the substitute for KNSI's Morning Show. I'll be on 6-8 tomorrow and Friday this week, and Wednesday through Friday next week. AM 1450 on your dial, and I believe their streaming works (from the link above) when they're on local programming. We might do a little politics tomorrow, just maybe.

UPDATE: Whoops! Missed communication had both me and Don Lyons there this morning. "The Senator" will be trying his hand at the host chair tomorrow. I'll be on next week.

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Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Media alert 

Sticky for the day: I will be hosting an election returns show on AM 1280 the Patriot tonight beginning at 8pm. At some point Michael will arrive; we anticipate many local political figures calling in with their observations. Ed Morrissey is anticipated to stop by after his caucus (which I believe is his first experience ever with the MN system). THere's streaming audio available from the Patriot site if you are not in our broadcast range (which in the evening is quite possible.) We will have updates from other states as well on a night that could be decisive for John McCain but likely to be just another step in the danse macabre that has become the Democratic primary.

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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

"A frightening six-week stretch" 

It was thought by most individuals on campus that quick, forceful action on the appearance of vandals on the campus would lead to eventually good press. What we get for our efforts instead is an AP reporter running a story that reaches as far as the L.A. Times titled "Racist Displays Persist at Minn. College." (The PioneerPress at least gives us a little more credit: "Swastikas, other displays undermine St. Cloud State's efforts.") The writer dredges up our past bout with an anti-Semitism lawsuit and wonders how a court-ordered settlement that includes a state-funded Jewish Studies program could not solve the perceived problems of the campus.

The writer, Patrick Condon, is an AP writer who usually covers the Minnesota Legislature and state politics, and his writing indicates a great unfamiliarity with the personalities of SCSU. He uncritically quotes our Buster Cooper as "retired faculty", who is once again peddling his letters discouraging minority students from attending here. All to assist Condon to perpetrate a stereotype of St. Cloud and this university:
That was before a frightening six-week stretch in November and December when vandals carved or scrawled more than a dozen swastikas and other racist images on campus walls, elevators and bathroom stalls.

The spate came as a setback to this central Minnesota university, which has spent more than $1 million, thousands of hours and untold energy in recent years trying to undo its reputation as hostile toward racial and ethnic minorities, an image so entrenched that some refer to the surrounding town as "White Cloud."
Frightened, mind you, by graffiti. So what did this "Voices of Resistance" (required!) get you, President Potter? And toward what end does Condon work when he first uses the "White Cloud" smear and then reminds us of the influx of Somali immigrants?

Nor does advertising help. We noted in 2002 that all our efforts to remedy the anti-Semitism case of the time only bought us bad press. I wonder if President Potter, or any other administrator, had read those posts or former President Saigo's letters and the lack of good press we received. Perhaps then this administration would know that appeasement never buys you any peace with the drive-by media.

Yesterday's St. Cloud Times included a column by local lawyer John Reep, which noted the folly of our campus' efforts and suggests a different course of action:

We should stop reporting minor vandalism as hate crime and reserve that designation for more serious events. If we don't report, we should be able to stay off the evening news in Minneapolis.

Too late for that.
We can't control other news outlets, but our local media should be more selective in covering these stories. The continued coverage of every minor event lends credibility to that event, and actually contributes to an atmosphere of fear and intimidation that nobody wants.
Really, nobody wants this? Once again I ask, cui bono?

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Monday, January 21, 2008

Quick media note 

I'll be on Captain Ed's Heading Right Radio in about 25 minutes.

And for those of you who missed me on KNSI's Morning Show this morning, you can try again tomorrow and Wednesday.

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Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Arts and The Military 

A few weeks ago, we went to to see the Pompeii Exhibit and the current film at the Omni Theater, Greece: Secrets of the Past at the Science Museum of Minnesota. The Pompeii Exhibit was excellent. The artifacts and display of living quarters were informative and interesting. The formed casts showing people caught as the mountain exploded were eerie, very eerie. The film, however, left much to be desired.

The movie's photography was breathtaking. It recreated the Parthenon in all its glory, a tribute to the wonders of modern technology. However, the film also made too many statements in support of the current politically correct philosophy. The female narrator, one of the stars of My Big Fat Greek Wedding, made sure she covered her agenda. While it is true that the Greeks had slaves, as did all cultures at one time or another, the Greeks also laid the foundations for western ideas about man ruling himself, republican government and democracy.

The narrator had to make sure we knew Greek women were not allowed to vote. She pushed the "everyone is equal" agenda. First, the Greeks never thought everyone was equal. Second, it was the west that gave women the right to vote. You can argue it took the west too long but the concept and implementation of women's rights occurred in the west; not Africa, not Asia, not the Middle East, not Latin America, only in the northern hemisphere western cultures. Third, one of the main reasons the arts were able to flourish in the Greek world was because they had a strong military that protected them from outside invasions. Yes, they had wars but they also provided a stable enough environment that allowed arts to thrive.

It would be nice if the west's entertainment industry recognized this fact: They could not produce the quantity and quality of film, books, theater, music, etc. without a safe nation state. By having a strong military to protect all of us, these artistic endeavors can flourish. It would be especially heartwarming if the members of these communities recognized this.

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