The New York Times, is a Trump stock

In Hollywood, they say there is no such thing as negative publicity.  The “failing New York Times” with it’s fake news is a constant theme of Donald Trump. The New York Times has won 122 Pulitzer Prizes, more than any other newspaper. The prize is awarded for excellence in journalism in a range of categories.  The list of awards is extensive- see link at the end.

But is it failing?   Before I answer that question, there is an extensive decline in newspaper’s circulation in the US.    The average news junkie can get his morning fix by listening to CNN and BBC, then hit the internet to get the latest in areas of interest, Hollywood, sports, or in my case business.   But, internationally, circulation is rising- due to increase literacy,  higher incomes, and global awareness.   That’s great!

Now, Jim Cramer reviewed the finances of the New York Times, and found the company is not failing, but is thriving.  Instead of going through the slew of financial data, I’ll simply provide the CNBC link:

CNBC – Jim Cramer on the New York Times

Ironically,  all Trump’s tweets may have increased interest in the New York Times.    A lot of the content is now on the Internet and distributed free.   Where the increased revenues are coming from, is the increase in online advertising. The Times is by no way perfect- see links for past controversies.

Jim Cramer in January was touting a lot of stocks to be “Trump stocks”  based on deregulation,  overseas repatriation, and tax cuts for businesses. You would not think of First Solar, a maker of solar panels, to outperform Peabody Coal,Chesapeake Gas  or Sanchez Oil (involved in horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracking) but you would be so wrong.   This will have to wait for another blog.  My New York  Times is on the table.

Stay tuned,

Dave

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_New_York_Times

 

The New York Times and their sick agenda

In Trump’s world, the new axis of evil, are the Washington Post and the New York Times.   I considered Trump’s tweet on Qatar as a supporter of terrorism  the worse of all tweets.  He has outdone himself again.   On July 22, 2017, Donald Trump tweeted:

The Failing New York Times foiled U.S. attempt to kill the single most wanted terrorist,Al-Baghdadi. Their sick agenda over National Security

Trump was reacting to a report on a Fox News program about 25 minutes ago.  They mentioned the New York Times.

Al-Baghdadi is the single most wanted terrorist, as the leader of ISIL.  Nobody is sure if he is alive or dead.   The Russians stated that he may possibly have been killed during the May 16, 2015 raid.  The Defense Department says they have no evidence to show he has been killed  or is  now still alive.  General Mattis has stated they assume he is alive until they have proof he is not.

Trump’s tweet  is a very serious accusation.  If it were true, it makes the NYT complicit in terrorist activities.   Fortunately,  it  is 100% untrue-   there is not a grain of truth to this tweet.  But there was a grain of false information which Fox News spun  into a totally false “news report.”

Fox News-  All the news, all the time, and a pile of stuff made up, to boot.   Breaking news on terrorism,  leaks and the New York Times.  Oh my, what could be better!

Here’s the timetable:

May 16, 2015: US Delta commando  forces raid on the home of Abu Sayyaf in Syria,  chief financial officer for ISIL, killing Abu and capturing his wife, Umm.  She was questioned outside of the country.  The raid provides a treasure trove of information on ISIL and its operation, through seized laptops, cell phones and other materials.

May 17, 2015:  Pentagon discloses details of the raid to the public, and is extensively covered by the Western media, including the New York Times.   The Pentagon reveals they captured Umm and she is being interrogated outside of Syria.

 June 7, 2015:  (3 weeks after the raid) New York Times publishes more extensive details on the raid and the information.

July 21, 2017:  More than 2 years after the raid,  General Tony Thomas, at the Aspen Security Conference was asked if we had ever come close to killing Al-Baghdadi.  He responded yes, there were instances in which we were closing in on Al-Baghdadi.  He goes on to state that the capture and questioning of Umm Sayyaf  yielded very useful information.   He then states that after the information was leaked by a national news organization,  Al-Baghdadi likely took new precautions. He did not identify the New York Times.

July 22, 2017:  Fox News broadcasts a news story of how Al-Baghdadi might have been captured, if the NYT had not leaked information.

_____

The New York Times responded to Fox News, asking for an apology.  They stated, “No senior American official complained publicly about the story until now, more than two years later.”   They also do not dismiss General Thomas statements that  Al-Baghdadi became more cautious after the raid.   The problem is the disclosures came either from Secretary of Defense or the military spokespersons, not leaks.   What was inaccurately stated at a conference during a Q+A session would likely not get much publicity, if  Fox News had spent any time trying to find any collaboration of their story.  They have received the standard “no comment” from the Department of Defense.  No one in the Trump administration, except Trump, has charged the New York Times with disclosing  sensitive military information.

With Trump’s tweet,  this accusation  became worldwide news.  His hostility towards media reporting from CNN,  the Washington Post and the New York Times is very sad.   These institutions  will survive much longer than he will, as people want to hear the story  from reporters on the ground, not Trump’s tweet.

Stay tuned,

Dave

 

Government Accountability

Whether a president is doing a good job, is not for the president or his cabinet to decide.  Unlike a corporation, which runs with a board of directors, and make decisions, it is the American people, through the election process, which keep the government accountable.  Good news pours out of government.  Bad news is hidden under the rug.  Or more correctly, buried within the agencies of government.

Governments like to err on the side of caution.  They have a particular point of view, consistent with their policies.  Their policies and the supporting rationale are rapidly disseminated by the media.   However, as new information comes in, showing inconsistencies or direct conflicts with what has been said, then release of this information may be delayed or withheld from the public, even with the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

In doing research for my book (Florida Citrus Canker Epidemic: Pieces of a Puzzle, available on Amazon, yes this is plug to buy the book),  I discovered how frustratingly difficult it is, to obtain public documents as governments have learned all the tricks at avoiding the requirements of FOIA and other state laws, with the intent of making government more open.

The news organizations have  an advantage, because they can hire lawyers and challenge the government agencies in court.   The New York Times filed more FIOA requests than any other organization.  They filed 31 lawsuits when Obama was in office.  Fox News filed a total of 3 lawsuits when Obama was in office, and 2 lawsuits between election  and inauguration days.  So much for their “investigative journalism.”

The Center for Public Integrity (CPI),  takes second place.  So what is the CPI?  According to Wikipedia:

The Center for Public Integrity (CPI) is an American nonprofit investigative journalism organization whose stated mission is “to reveal abuses of power, corruption and dereliction of duty by powerful public and private institutions in order to cause them to operate with honesty, integrity, accountability and to put the public interest first.” With over 50 staff members, CPI is one of the largest nonpartisan, nonprofit investigative centers in America. It won the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting.

A link to their website is given in the links below.  They recently won 7 dateline awards, as given by the  Society of Professional Journalists.

Table 1. News Organizations Filing Three or More FOIA Lawsuits
Number of FOIA Suits Filed
News Organization Plaintiff Total Bush Obama
The New York Times Company 36 5 31
Center for Public Integrity 17 9 8
Associated Press 8 5 3
San Francisco Bay Guardian 6 1 5
Tax Analysts 6 4 2
Fox News Network, LLC 5 0 5*
Daily Caller News Foundation 4 0 4
Los Angeles Times Communicatio 4 3 1
Prison Legal News 4 2 2
Bloomberg LP 3 3 0
Detroit Free Press 3 2 1
SAE Productions, Inc. 3 2 1
* two suits were filed after Obama was elected, but just before he assumed office.

The above list does not include hundreds of lawsuits, filed by reporters and other organizations.  Two organization which have partisan missions are:  Judicial Watch (Conservative/ Republican) and Center for the Media and Democracy (CMD, Liberal/ Democrat).   Judicial Watch was extremely active during the Clinton email and Benghazi scandals.   Now it’s CMD turn, to uncover secrets held by the Trump administration.

Republicans better get used to the adage, “what goes around comes around.”  If they can make all sorts of accusations against Hillary Clinton based on her emails, so can Democrats use email conversations.     The February 2017 article in the  New York Times-  “The Pruitt Emails: E.P.A. Chief Was Arm in Arm With Industry” is based on released emails from Oklahoma.   It reveals how Scott Pruitt fought EPA regulations, as Attorney General of Oklahoma and was well connected with oil industry executives and Republican campaign donors.

Please ignore for the next four years, the outlandish attacks on the media by Trump, particularly the printed media such as the New York Times, Washington Post, and the Wall Street Journal.  We need dedicated correspondents, reporters, and the journalists that finally piece together a story.  Truth will not roll out of the White House in a neat little package and with the blessings of Trump.

Stay tuned,

Dave

Links:

New York Times:  Think FOIA Is a Paper Tiger? The New York Times Gives It Some Bite

FOIA Project: News Reporters Drive Growth in Media FOIA Litigation

FOIA Project:  News Media Requests    (The more recent FOIA lawsuits are filed in the name of a reporter, but likely  with the backing of their organizations).

Judicial Watch

Center for the Media and Democracy (CMD)

Thank you horrible, horrible people

All governments and businesses are inherently closed and dishonest organizations. This is not being negative, because  I’m not saying they are closed and dishonest all the time, in every aspect.  Just occasionally when something goes very wrong.   The public wants to know why VW manipulated their emission tests and how stupid the EPA could have been to accept these tests. Or how could  Wells Fargo opened up millions of fake accounts.   We want to know  the details of how VA  military  hospitals were able to cheated the system in reporting the time veterans had to wait for their urgent medical needs.  Or the IRS scandal where non=profit organizations  were systematically targeted if their  applications contained certain keywords, almost always related to conservative causes.  We want to know what was hit when the bombs dropped in Yemen missed their target under Trump.  Or when a Children’s hospital was bombed under Obama.    And we want to know how many times, Obama took vacations to go golfing.  Same with Trump.   And the same with the next president.

Another words, we want dirt.  It is our right.   Freedom of the press is how we keep our government and businesses honest.

Trump has been blasting  unfavorable media commentary to a new level.    Much of his problems stem from the way he portrays events.   The dishonesty of reasons behind Comey’s firing is a case in point, which I and others have covered enough. Commentary which blends the news with insight  is  either incredible, amazing, terrific or despicable, horrible, dishonest  or totally fake.   When the mother of all bombs was dropped on Afghanistan, CNN brought in a group of  military experts and  all were in full support of Trump’s action.  No problem with CNN.  But after Trump  said more had been done to defeat ISIS in Afghanistan in 8 weeks of his administration  than 8 years under Obama, one former military expert described that as a highly derogatory statement  to those serving in  armed forces.

He can’t be satisfied with his own accomplishments; he has to show he is better than Obama and Democrats.    His wild exaggerations are quickly picked up by dedicated  reporters.    Case in point, the Obama administration wiretapped the Trump towers.  Director Comey replied there is no evidence of this.   Should Comey have said, “No comment, it is under investigation” ? Would he have score some loyalty points?

Trump  stated in his latest interview with Judge Jeanine Pirro, that she is a fair and balanced reporter as she tossed a number of  softball questions at Trump.    I turned the channel at this point.  She is known for her non-stop rants against Hillary Clinton:

 Hillary, snap out of it,” Pirro said. “I’m tired of going through this with you. You’re a two-time loser who lost because you were a lousy candidate, you didn’t have a message, you lied every time you opened your mouth; you didn’t know what states to campaign in, you put our national security at risk with your amateur email setup, you were in a foundation that was nothing more than an organized criminal enterprise parading as a charity, four men died under your watch as you lied about a video, and there [were] a billion dollars missing from the State Department when you left. And I could go on and on, but I just don’t have the time. So, stop with the poor me nonsense. We’ve had it with you Clintons always claiming victimhood. The two of you haven’t followed the rules since the day you both showed up in your bell bottoms in Arkansas.”

Imagine if she said the same words to Trump, “You lied every time you opened your mouth,” Wow, end of interview, I sure. I watch Fox News for the news segments, not the commentary. I would not watch her show as too much tabloid gossip (Hillary steals a billion from the State Department).   Gee,  wouldn’t you think there would be an investigation?

Reporters are not going to get the straight story from government and inside information is fundamental to full reporting.    Piecing together the truth requires getting facts from people on the inside.   Leaking was given high praise by candidate Trump, and now widely condemned by President Trump.  Every person he fires from government can talk freely about their experiences.

Keep up the good work you horrible, horrible reporters from the mainstream media.    America needs you, for this president and all future presidents.

Stay tuned,

Dave

 

Telling it like it isn’t

90-million

How do we get 90 million jobs back?   Labor Participation statistics were dropping during Bush Administration too- but Fox doesn’t mention this.   Labor participation is more a measure of the aging of our population and does  not  correlate with unemployment and  other common measures of our economy.   If more young people are enroll in higher education, the  Labor Participation go down.  They don’t tell you this!.

While housing starts went up during Obama term,  home ownership has declined.   The National Review is a magazine dedicated to conservative and generally conservative  Republican idealogy.   But,  one of their articles takes on Sean Hannity from Fox News on the home ownership statistics, as being meaningful measures because he comparing the situation now to yer 2008, just when the housing bubble burst causing worldwide recession:

http://www.nationalreview.com/article/443010/sean-hannity-barack-obamas-economic-record-what-his-criticism-gets-wrong

The author makes a real good point- the last thing we need is a return to  2008 and lower lending standards which encourages people to buy houses they can ill afford.  This may not be shared with Donald Trump, as housing busts are  terrific opportunities for people with cash to profit from foreclosures.   Way too early to know Trump’s economic program includes relaxed lending regulations.

My advice to anyone who is struggling to make car,  credit card and student loan payments is to rent.   For those who believe they have extra money, my advice if they are young to invest it in education.

I try not to watch Fox News, as there are much better sources of  solid news reporting.

Stay tuned,

Dave

Fact checkers

I use factcheck.org mostly, but politifact.com has nice summaries of Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump and others.

Other fact checkers are:

Washington Post

snopes.com

Politifact found that on the average 4% of Trump’s facts were true while 19% of Clinton’s were true.  Adding the categories of true, mostly true and half true gets Trump up to 30% while Clinto gets 75%.

Stay tuned,

Dave

 

One American News- Biased Reporting

Florida is the largest of the battleground states, in the 2016 election.  One American News reported  Florida’s voters  now  lean more toward Trump following the release of Benghazi reports.   Gravis Marketing did the polling.  I have no reason to believe their  polling was biased.   Their sample size of 1619 registered voters is above average.  The bias is the way the results were reported.

The polls showed in a race between Clinton and Trump,  52% of the respondents favored Clinton verses Trump with 48%.  However, in a three way race,  Trump led with 49% verses  Clinton with 45% and “Other”  with 6%.   So, it really looks like Florida is too close to call or still a toss up state.

There are two Benghazi reports.  The  Democrat’s version, approximately 300 pages,  was released on Monday, July 27 and the official version, backed only by Republican members with 800 pages was  released mid-day on Tuesday, July 28.  The poll took place from July 27 to 28, 2016.   So, how many of the respondents might have  reacted to each report is unknown, but it is likely a wash in the end.

It is unfortunate the biased reporting from OAN.  They said they don’t mix news with commentary like Fox News .  They just did exactly that.

Stay tuned,

Dave

 

http://www.oann.com/pollflorida/

Al Jazeera America – Off the Air

Al Jazeera American News ended its broadcast on April 12, 2015.

Al Jazeera America

It provided excellent unbiased, in-depth, accurate   and comprehensive news.  David Cay Johnston wrote a column that sums up my feelings:

The Way News Should Be Done

“Great journalism doesn’t always attract large audiences, ”   as Johnston wrote is the unfortunate truth.  Further he wrote of how AJAM grew as leader in journalism:  “In 2013, when many top television and print journalists were looking for jobs, AJAM snatched up superb talents — including John Seigenthaler, Joie Chen, Antonio Mora, Randall Pinkston and Ali Velshi, the best in his class at explaining personal finance and economics.”

Excellence in journalism gets awards rather than audiences.  Viewer comments mirrored my thoughts – what goes on in the world affects us- so we need to be better informed:

Viewer comments

My favorite by far, is from Jane Smith, who writes, “Please come back AJAM.”

The other major news stations’ problems  are all too obvious- they are more focused on entertainment.  They are obviously pandering to their audience. Republicans like Fox News, and Democrats like MSNBC.    So much “reporting” and so little solid, unbiased reporting.

My favorite news station right now is the BBC.    For finance, Bloomberg and CNBC still lead the pack.

Stay tuned,

Dave

 

 

 

The Media

 

laugh fest

Image from Africanews.com on South Sudan Laugh Festival last week.

The  four axioms of media reporting are:

  1. If it bleeds, it leads.*
  2. Incidences closer to the viewing audience are far more important than further away.
  3. The more similar the victims are to the viewing audience, the more likely people will watch
  4. Commentary should  conform to long held beliefs of viewing audience.  Fox has conservative  commentators and MSNBC has liberal commentators.

A terrorist attack in a shopping mall in Iowa.  Hasn’t happened, but if it does,  you will have every reporter in the country swarming down to cover the story.  And every political candidate will have something to say with tweets and text messages flying around within milliseconds.

A 178 people have die from an epidemic of  yellow fever in Angola. Reported last week. It was on BBC, one of my favorite news channels. Relatively unimportant as it is in Africa.

A blend of happy and sad news is nice.  Obama dancing the tango is fine. Of course, if you’re Fox News,  everything can be Obama’s fault.  Instead of dancing the tango, our Chief-in-Commander should be flying to Brussels in Air Force 1 , dressed on combat gear,  on the phone to the Brussels’ police demanding two Muslim terrorists are caught right now.

There is a lot of  election year theatrics.  Interpol exists if  you don’t know.  Fox plays to its audience- like usual. If Obama did try to be involved,   Fox would have come down, full force, that he was grandstanding,  totally superficial and an attempt to score points from a tragic event.  But both Kerry and Biden went to Belgium. and I’m certain discussions are of a longer term strategy for defeating ISIL fanatics.

Reporting from China or Moscow, what six people on the street think about Donald Trump is not international news.

A lot of things happen in the past week.  How many reporters flew to South Sudan to participate in the first Laugh Festival?

South Sudan’s Laugh Festival

From the looks of it, some people were close to dying from laughter.   How in the world do you have a laugh festival in a country beset with so many problems?  South Sudan is one of the world’s newest country,  for 2 years has been in a terrible civil war.

Yes, dear – there are serious events occurring outside of the US – Europe, and the other three “newsworthy” countries Cuba, Canada and Mexico.  The Brazilian Congress has started impeachment proceedings against their president, Dilma Rouseff  this week and over 3 million people protested against the government in Sao Paulo.

And just last week,  South African police launch a graft probe against the President Duduzane Zuma’s son.

Volkswagen and the EPA were supposed to be in court this week to tell the judge if the problems with emissions were fixable.  They got a one month extension.  I think it’s their second extension.

Last week, we learned scientists believe the Zika virus has been around in Brazil for 2 years. To me that’s frightening.

From the country down under, the Great Barrier Reef is disappearing due to climate change:

Great Barrier Reef 

But like the news of South Sudan’s festival, there was plenty of positive news, of which 99% goes unreported.  The new funding for World Health Organization to combat yellow fever in Africa last week has to be one of them.  The agreement signed in Egypt  between defense ministers from 27 African and Arab countries, pledging  information sharing in combating terrorism is another.  Or how women farmers are making a big difference and the great work of the Rainforest Alliance.  Terrific news.

I like to watch BBC  and Al-Jazeera news.   I like One American News, but only for their reporting, not commentary.  They keep them separate.  I like Bloomberg News.   I watch Fareed Zakaria  on CNN which is good,  except he should let others give “their take” as the lead in to the program.

Perhaps, the media could have reported on South Sudan’s laugh fest as kind of a happy news filler.

Stay tuned.

Dave

  • quote from Marshall McCluhen