Posted tagged ‘Associated Press’

The Associated Press Goes To War With Trump

January 24, 2017

The Associated Press Goes To War With Trump, Power LineJohn Hinderaker, January 24, 2017

[A]s we saw during the campaign, Trump can be accused of exaggeration. But the liberal press is far more guilty of outright falsity, and its accusations vastly overstate Trump’s purported sins.

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As of January 20, the liberal press has a new mantra: no more mister nice guy! We’re going to call a lie a lie, damn it! That would have been a nice practice during the last eight years, but better late than never, I suppose.

The Associated Press manifests its new attitude–all-out war on the president–with today’s “news” story: “Trump bridge-building overshadowed by false voter fraud line.”

Even as President Donald Trump starts reaching out to lawmakers and business and union leaders to sell his policies, he’s still making false claims about election fraud.

That’s a bold lead sentence. It would be interesting to try to find an instance in the last eight years when the AP attributed “false claims,” without qualification, to Barack Obama.

During a bipartisan reception with lawmakers at the White House Monday evening, Trump claimed the reason he’d lost the popular vote to his Democratic rival was that 3 million to 5 million immigrants living in the U.S. illegally had voted. That’s according to a Democratic aide familiar with the exchange who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the private meeting.

There is no evidence to support Trump’s claim.

The assertion appeared to be part of a developing pattern for Trump and his new administration in which falsehoods overshadow outreach efforts.

Extraordinarily harsh words. Note, however, that the AP takes at face value the report of a “Democratic aide…who spoke on condition of anonymity.” That is a very thin reed on which to base the assertion that Trump lied.

What about the AP’s flat assurance that “[t]here is no evidence to support Trump’s claim”? If Trump said that three million illegal immigrants voted in the election, the AP is simply wrong. There is evidence to support that claim. This study by professors from Old Dominion and James Mason Universities concluded that as many as 2.8 million illegals voted in the 2008 and 2010 elections, and the illegal immigrant population has continued to grow. The study also found that:

this [illegal] participation has been large enough to change meaningful election outcomes including Electoral College votes, and Congressional elections. Non-citizen votes likely gave Senate Democrats the pivotal 60th vote needed to overcome filibusters in order to pass health care reform and other Obama administration priorities in the 111th Congress.

The Associated Press is free to disagree with the conclusions reached by Professors Richman, Chattha and Earnest, and to offer its own estimates of the extent of illegal voting. But it hasn’t done so, and the AP’s claim that there is “no evidence” to support Trump’s claim is false. The AP also describes Trump’s assertion as “debunked,” with no reference to what evidence supposedly debunked it.

The AP goes on to accuse Trump’s of further lies:

The start of Trump’s first full week in office had begun as a reset after a tumultuous weekend dominated by his and his spokesman’s false statements about inauguration crowds and their vigorous complaints about media coverage of the celebrations.

Again, the Associated Press casually accuses both Trump and Sean Spicer of making “false statements” about the crowd at the inauguration. This flap duplicates a pattern that we saw repeatedly during the campaign. It starts with a lie about Trump by the press. Trump responds with what probably is an exaggeration, which the press hysterically denounces as a lie, without acknowledging its own role in the controversy.

Here, the press started the conflict by putting out a lowball estimate that only 250,000 attended Trump’s inauguration. The New York Times deceptively tried to further that narrative by circulating a photo of the crowd that was taken before the inauguration began, and before the crowd was fully assembled. That deception, which we wrote about here, was repeated by pretty much the entire press corps.

So what was Trump’s alleged falsehood?

“I made a speech. I looked out. The field was — it looked like a million, a million and a half people.”

The president went on to say that one network “said we drew 250,000 people. Now that’s not bad. But it’s a lie.” He then claimed that were 250,000 right by the stage and the “rest of the, you know, 20-block area, all the way back to the Washington Monument was packed.”

Trump didn’t say there were a million people there, he said it looked like a million when he looked out from the podium. And there were people extending back to the Washington Monument, although it probably wasn’t “packed” there. So Trump exaggerated, but there is only one flat-out falsehood in the picture: the original press report that only 250,000 people attended.

What was Sean Spicer’s alleged falsehood?

Spicer has taken heat for his main claim that “this was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period, both in person and around the globe,” while offering other inaccurate statements including that Trump’s was the first inauguration in which white floor coverings were used on the mall. White floor coverings were used during Obama’s second inauguration in 2013.

I assume the press isn’t going to try to create a credibility gap out of the white floor coverings. Spicer’s sin is saying that the largest ever international audience witnessed Trump’s inauguration. But whether that statement is true or not is unknown. While television ratings were higher for Barack Obama’s 2009 inauguration, online viewership around the world could indeed have been enough to make the Trump inauguration the most-watched.

Here, as we saw during the campaign, Trump can be accused of exaggeration. But the liberal press is far more guilty of outright falsity, and its accusations vastly overstate Trump’s purported sins.

It is hard to say how the all-out war on Trump by the Associated Press and other liberal outlets will end. But so far, Trump has done pretty well by running against the media.

The AP Spins Lewis vs. Trump

January 15, 2017

The AP Spins Lewis vs. Trump, Power Line, John Hinderaker, January 14, 2017

The biggest news story of the day, apparently, is the dustup between Rep. John Lewis and Donald Trump, about which I wrote this morning. Although the story has little real significance, the Associated Press, the most influential news source in the U.S., spins it furiously to drive its anti-Trump narrative.

Start with the headline: “Trump unleashes Twitter attack against civil rights legend.” Most people only read headlines, and this one gives no clue that it was Lewis, not Trump, who started the fight by saying on Meet the Press that Trump will be an illegitimate president. And Lewis is identified as a “civil rights legend,” not as a hyper-partisan Democratic politician, which is what he is. Now to the article:

Donald Trump tore into civil rights legend John Lewis for questioning the legitimacy of the Republican billionaire’s White House victory, intensifying a feud with the black congressman days before the national holiday honoring Martin Luther King Jr. and as the first African-American president prepares to leave office.

Enough with the “civil rights legend”! That was 50 years ago, and has nothing to do with Lewis’s claim that Trump is an illegitimate president-elect, or Trump’s Twitter riposte to the effect that Lewis is an ineffective Congressman. Nor does the impending Martin Luther King day, or the departure of Barack Obama from office, have any relevance. These references are just thrown in so you know whose side you are supposed to be on.

And oh, by the way, did you know that Donald Trump is a billionaire? Is that going to be injected into the first paragraph of every story about Trump for the next four years?

Lewis, among the most revered leaders of the civil rights movement, suffered a skull fracture during the march in Selma, Alabama, more than a half-century ago and has devoted his life to promoting equal rights for African-Americans.

Oh, please. Lewis has devoted his life to being a hack Democratic Party politician. John McCain was a hero 50 years ago, too, but has that ever stopped the Democrats from criticizing him? No.

It also demonstrated that no one is untouchable for scorn from a president-elect with little tolerance for public criticism. Trump has found political success even while attacking widely lauded figures before and after the campaign — a prisoner of war, parents of a slain U.S. soldier, a beauty queen and now a civil rights icon.

The AP doesn’t mention that all of these people attacked Trump first, like John Lewis. And it doesn’t occur to the AP that Trump’s success might be in part because of, not in spite of, the fact that he defends himself against scurrilous attacks.

By the way, here is a drinking game: take a shot for every article you can find about John Lewis that does not include the phrase “civil rights icon.” You will go to bed sober.

The AP takes the opportunity to rehash its “Russians hacked the election” theme, and adds more irrelevant, anti-Trump spin:

Democrat Clinton received 2.9 million more votes than Trump but lost the Electoral College vote.

Translation: she lost the election.

This is the kind of nonsense we are going to see for the next four years. It is all-out war between Donald Trump and the Democratic Party press, and so far, Trump is winning.

At the AP, Opinion Masquerades as Reporting

December 26, 2016

At the AP, Opinion Masquerades as Reporting, Power LineJohn Hinderaker, December 26, 2016

Yesterday the Associated Press published an article by its Jerusalem bureau chief, Josef Federman, on Benjamin Netanyahu’s reaction to President Obama’s betrayal of Israel in the U.N. The article is an opinion piece–a virulent one, in fact. It is suitable for publication in, say, the New York Times, as an anti-Israel op-ed. The piece is headlined Israel: humbled Netanyahu places hopes in Trump. It begins:

The Israeli government’s furious reaction to the U.N. Security Council’s adoption of a resolution opposing Jewish settlements in occupied territory underscores its fundamental and bitter dispute with the international community about the future of the West Bank and east Jerusalem.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu insists that there is nothing wrong with his controversial policy of building Jewish towns in occupied areas that the Palestinians, with overwhelming world support, claim for their state. But Friday’s U.N. rebuke was a stark reminder that the rest of the world considers it a crime. The embattled leader is now placing his hopes in the incoming administration of Donald Trump, which is shaping up as the first major player to embrace Israel’s nationalist right and its West Bank settlements.

Those are perhaps defensible statements of opinion, although I would argue that they are mostly incorrect. The overall thrust of the opening paragraphs–that the entire world other than Netanyahu’s administration and “Israel’s nationalist right” considers it a “crime” for Jews to live in their Biblical home of Judea Samaria, and that Donald Trump is the first “major player” to disagree, is blatantly false.

There is much more, for example:

In a series of statements, Netanyahu has criticized the Obama Administration for letting Resolution 2334 pass Friday by abstaining, using unprecedented language that has turned a policy disagreement into a personal vendetta.

Netanyahu’s language was unprecedented? What, did he call Obama a “chickens*t”? And was not Obama’s betrayal, coordinated with the Arabs and timed to avoid accountability to Congress or the voters, the culmination of a vendetta that included interference in Israel’s election to try to defeat the Prime Minister? That wasn’t a vendetta because, I suppose, Federman welcomed it.

Federman has opinions about Trump, too:

The recent diplomatic defeat would be much more damaging if not for a potential remaining and rather major ace in Netanyahu’s hand: the incoming Trump Administration.

In a striking departure from past policy of incumbent [Ed.: sic] presidents waiting on the sidelines, Trump tried to scuttle the resolution and called for a U.S. veto. After the vote, Trump vowed that “things will be different after Jan. 20th.”

So it’s Netanyahu and Trump who have disrupted the natural order of things by smashing precedents. How about this, Mr. Federman: what’s the precedent for a lame-duck president executing a major change in American foreign policy, against the wishes of Congress and the American people, less than 30 days before leaving office, in the face of no crisis or emergency, or even a change in circumstances?

Critically, he has appointed an outspoken supporter and donor to the settlements, his longtime attorney David Friedman, as ambassador to Israel. And aides say Trump is serious about a promise to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, which even many Israelis fear could spark violence. The Palestinians claim east Jerusalem, home to sensitive religious sites, as the capital of the future state to which they aspire.

Sensitive religious sites like Temple Mount, the Mount of Olives and the Jewish Quarter of the Old City. Moving the U.S. embassy to Israel’s capital has been part of the Republican Party’s platform for a long time. The suggestion that having the U.S. embassy on Jerusalem, along with the Knesset, Israel’s Supreme Court and other organs of Israel’s government “could spark violence” is sheer editorializing.

Mr. Federman’s article is a typical expression of the international Left’s pro-Palestinian view of the situation in Judea and Samaria. It is, as I said, an op-ed that could easily appear in a liberal organ like the New York Times. But there is not a shred of news anywhere in it. It is merely a recitation of Federman’s opinions, with the opinions of Netanyahu, Trump and their allies erected as straw men to be struck down by others.

This conclusion was so obvious that I thought the AP must have designated the Federman article an opinion piece. But no: it went out on the wire as a straight news story. In fact, as I understand the AP’s position, it doesn’t publish opinion pieces. In fact, it cautions its reporters against expressing opinions at all:

EXPRESSIONS OF OPINION:

Anyone who works for the AP must be mindful that opinions they express may damage the AP’s reputation as an unbiased source of news. They must refrain from declaring their views on contentious public issues in any public forum, whether in Web logs, chat rooms, letters to the editor, petitions, bumper stickers or lapel buttons, and must not take part in demonstrations in support of causes or movements.

How about expressions of opinion in AP news stories? That, apparently, is fine, as long as the opinions are on the left.

The Associated Press: Still Bitter that Trump Won

December 18, 2016

The Associated Press: Still Bitter that Trump Won, Power Line, John Hinderaker, December 17, 2016

Democrats are still anguished over Hillary Clinton’s defeat at the polls, and that includes the Democrats at the Associated Press. Today’s complaint is that Donald Trump isn’t doing enough to unify the country: “On victory lap, few signs Trump focusing on unified nation.”

President-elect Donald Trump on Saturday was wrapping up his postelection victory tour, showing few signs of turning the page from his blustery campaign to focus on uniting a divided nation a month before his inauguration.

At each stop, the Republican has gloatingly recapped his Election Night triumph….

Remember the beginning of the Obama administration, when Obama said “I won,” and “elections have consequences”? And when the Democrats rammed Obamacare and the ill-fated “stimulus” bill through Congress with zero Republican input and zero Republican support? Remember how the AP criticized Obama for not doing more to “unite a divided nation”? No, I don’t remember that either.

…reignited some old political feuds while starting some new ones, and done [sic] little to quiet the hate-filled chants of “Lock her up!” directed at Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.

Hate-filled! A bit of editorializing there by the AP, along with the suggestion that Trump “did little to quiet” the chants.

The AP doesn’t like Trump’s appointments, either:

Also Saturday, he announced the nomination of South Carolina Rep. Mick Mulvaney to be his budget director, choosing a tea partyer and fiscal conservative with no experience assembling a government spending plan.

Sounds like a knuckle-dragger, right? And what is that shot about having “no experience assembling a government spending plan” supposed to mean? The only way Mulvaney could have that experience is if he had already been the budget director, or else served on the House Budget Committee.

Congressman Mulvaney’s web site describes his experience:

Mick attended Georgetown University where he graduated with honors in International Economics, Commerce, and Finance. After college, Mick attended law school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He completed his formal education at Harvard Business School’s OPM program in 2006.

Mick is a serial entrepreneur, having started four businesses. He has private sector experience across many fields, including law, real estate, homebuilding, and restaurants. …

He currently serves on the House Financial Services Committee as well as the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. He previously served on the Committee on Small Business and the Budget Committee.

So the AP is not just unfair, but dead wrong in characterizing Mulvaney’s experience. The AP’s smearing of Trump goes on and on:

In Pennsylvania, he launched into a 20-minute recap of his Election Night win. The crowd cheered as the president-elect slowly ticked off his victories state by state. He mixed in rambling criticisms of pundits and politicians from both parties.

It would be fun to search the AP’s archives to try to find an instance where that organization described Barack Obama as “rambling,” even though such a characterization would often be accurate.

Trump also thanked African-Americans who didn’t vote, saying “They didn’t come out to vote for Hillary. They didn’t come out. And that was a big — so thank you to the African-American community.” Such rhetoric raised new questions about his ability to unity [sic] the country.

I don’t think Trump has to worry about achieving unity with the Associated Press.

Election Over, Associated Press Still Campaigns for the Left

November 20, 2016

Election Over, Associated Press Still Campaigns for the Left, Power LineJohn Hinderaker, November 19, 2016

At the end of 2008, I worried that the Obama administration would do great damage to America–correctly, as it turned out. But no one considered my misgivings to be newsworthy.

The case is different with respect to the incipient Trump administration. Criticisms by his opponents–the ones who just lost the election–dominate the news. The Associated Press, once a respected news organization, headlines: “Trump’s staff picks alarm minorities: ‘Injustice to America.’”

Republican President-elect Donald Trump’s choices for leadership posts threaten national unity and promise to turn back the clock on progress for racial, religious and sexual minorities, civil rights leaders and others said Friday after his nomination of Alabama U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions for attorney general.

That’s a remarkable beginning for a purported news story!

Sessions, a Republican, was denied a federal judgeship in 1986 after hearings in which he was accused of making racially charged remarks as a U.S. attorney. According to transcripts, Sessions was accused, among other things, of joking that he thought the Ku Klux Klan “was OK” until he learned its members smoked marijuana and of calling a black assistant U.S. attorney “boy.” During the hearing, Sessions denied making some of the comments and said others were jokes taken out of context.

Is it too much to expect them to come up with something within the last 30 years? Apparently so.

Black Lives Matter activist and Campaign Zero co-founder DeRay Mckesson said Sessions’ “documented racism and previous ineligibility for public office make him unfit to be the standard-bearer for the nation’s justice system.”

The AP cites one extreme left-wing source after another, as though they were reputable experts whose judgments are worthy of credence. In addition to the Black Lives Matter activist, the AP turns to unindicted terrorist co-conspirator CAIR for comment:

Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said, “Unfortunately, these very important picks in his administration send a troubling message indicating that the bigotry we saw expressed in the campaign will continue.”

The Associated Press deems representatives of a pro-terrorist group and a violent, racist movement to be mainstream commentators, while Jeff Sessions–former U.S. Attorney, Attorney General of Alabama and Chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, a senior member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, the Senate Armed Services Committee, and the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, a Senator so respected that when he ran for re-election in 2014, the Democrats did not field a candidate against him–is portrayed as an outlier, a marginal, suspect figure. That gives you a good idea where the Associated Press lies on the ideological spectrum.

The AP retails the usual nonsense against Trump adviser Steve Bannon:

Bannon led the Breitbart website, which has been widely condemned as racist, sexist and anti-Semitic.

Really? By whom? Why? This is the lowest form of smear.

The AP goes on to quote someone named Daniela Lapidous, as though her views were particularly noteworthy:

Daniela Lapidous, a 22-year-old Jewish woman who works to fight climate change…

I am sure the humor is unintended.

…called Bannon a “misogynist and anti-Semite and an anti-climate extremist.” She said she never before felt the need to fight anti-Semitism but now thinks that she must.

“I’ve been somewhat convinced that anti-Semitism isn’t a thing in the United States anymore, but this past year, with Trump and Bannon, it’s made me scared about that for the first time in my life,” said Lapidous, who lives in San Francisco.

Why does the AP inform many hundreds of thousands of readers about Ms. Lapidous’s opinion of Steve Bannon? Has Lapidous ever met Mr. Bannon? Not as far as we know. Does she cite any basis for her opinion that Bannon is an anti-Semite? No. In fact, while Bannon likely does disagree with Ms. Lapidous about global warming–I certainly hope so!–the assertion that he is anti-Semitic is disgusting. Andrew Breitbart was strongly pro-Israel; our own Scott Johnson once toured Israel with him. Breitbart News, under Bannon’s leadership, has continued to be enthusiastically pro-Israel.

This is not hard to understand: a person who is anti-Israel is not necessarily an anti-Semite, although a great many are. But no anti-Semites are strongly pro-Israel. That combination simply doesn’t exist. Which means that Ms. Lapidous is ignorant, and raises the question: why is the Associated Press sharing with us the uninformed opinion of a foolish left-wing ideologue who is all of six months removed from college? Has the AP called you lately to ask for your opinion about prominent Democrats? Probably not.

I could go on for a long time; this AP story is a target-rich environment. Instead, let’s add just one more observation. The AP pretends that it would be a terrible thing to have a racist Attorney General. Jeff Sessions, of course, would be no such thing. But we have had a racist Attorney General, just recently: Eric Holder. Holder made it the policy of the Department of Justice to enforce federal anti-discrimination laws in favor of some ethnic groups, but not others. That is textbook racism. Did the Associated Press protest? Of course not. Holder was of their party, and shared their agenda.

Trump Rips Clinton, Associated Press Rips Trump

June 22, 2016

Trump Rips Clinton, Associated Press Rips Trump, Power LineJohn Hinderaker, June 22, 2016

Today Donald Trump delivered a major speech attacking Hillary Clinton. We may have more to say about the speech later, but for now I want to highlight one of the more remarkable instances of media bias in a long time.

The Associated Press has historically been regarded as a straight, relatively non-partisan news source. That has changed in recent years, because of stories like this one on Trump’s speech, by Julie Pace and Jill Colvin. It begins:

Donald Trump launched a broad rebuke of his presidential rival Hillary Clinton Wednesday, accusing her of being “a world class liar” who personally profited from her tenure at the State Department. “She gets rich making you poor,” Trump said.

Seeking to steady his campaign after a difficult stretch, the presumptive Republican nominee cast himself as the White House candidate best positioned to address Americans’ economic interests.

“This election will decide whether we’re ruled by the people or the politicians,” Trump said during an address at his hotel in New York’s SoHo neighborhood. He made his arguments in a pointed yet measured tone, less loud and strident than has been typical in most previous campaign speeches.

The AP can’t wait any longer before telling the reader: don’t you believe it!

Yet his remarks included erroneous statements and distortions about Clinton’s record, and he frequently referenced sources of information that have been widely questioned, including the book “Clinton Cash” by Peter Schweizer.

Wow! Nothing like a little up-front editorializing. Curiously, however, the AP fails to cite a single alleged instance of an “erroneous statement” by Trump. And Schweizer’s book is meticulously researched; it is the definitive work on Bill and Hillary Clinton’s corruption. Has it been “questioned”? Well, sure: by Hillary.

I think the media campaign to defeat Donald Trump and elect Hillary Clinton will exceed anything we have ever seen.

If you want to learn more about Clinton Cash, check out our podcast interview with Peter.