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GDP Soars and Unemployment Drops; CBS: "Economy is Slowing Down" --6/5/2006


1. GDP Soars and Unemployment Drops; CBS: "Economy is Slowing Down"
A week after ignoring the announcement of a roaring 5.3 percent GDP growth rate in the first quarter, and on the day unemployment fell a tenth of a point to 4.6 percent -- the lowest level since July of 2001 -- the CBS Evening News decided to lead Friday with how, as anchor Russ Mitchell put it: "There are new signs this evening that the economy is slowing down." Reporter Anthony Mason asserted that "rising interest rates and rising gas prices are beginning to put the brakes on the U.S. economy." Mason laid out the bad news: "The newest numbers, just 75,000 jobs were added to the economy last month, well below forecasts. Manufacturing lost 14,000 jobs. But retail took the biggest hit, losing more than 27,000" and "the other hammer to the economy came from the once-booming construction sector. It came to a standstill in May." Mason concluded with his own domino theory: "One major builder reported a nearly 30 percent drop in new orders for the past two months. Now that ripples right through the economy. Buying slows, then building slows, then hiring slows. And that, Russ, is why the economy is slowing."

2. NPR's Nina Totenberg Scolds ABC on Hastert: "A Bogus Story"
Not even their liberal media colleagues are buying ABC's May 24 hit piece on House Speaker Denny Hastert in which Brian Ross insisted that "federal officials tell us the congressional bribery investigation now includes the Speaker of the House, Dennis Hastert," and "Justice Department officials describe the 64-year-old Illinois Republican as very much in the mix of the corruption investigation." On Inside Washington aired Friday night on Washington, DC's PBS affiliate WETA-TV channel 26 and on Sunday on DC's ABC affiliate, NPR reporter Nina Totenberg declared: "That seems to have been a bogus story. It really does seem to have been a bogus story." Evan Thomas, Assistant Managing Editor of Newsweek, proposed that the ABC News "investigative unit sometimes goes a beat too," presumably "far," but another panelist talked over him.

3. Beltway Boys Pick up on Sulzberger, Express Distaste for NY Times
You read it here first. FNC's Beltway Boys (Fred Barnes and Morton Kondracke) on Saturday gave a "down," in their "Ups and Downs" segment, to New York Times Publisher Arthur Sulzberger, Jr., for a "left-wing rant" during a commencement address in which he apologized to graduates: "You weren't supposed to be graduating into a world where we are still fighting for fundamental human rights, whether it's the rights of immigrants to start a new life; or the rights of gays to marry; or the rights of women to choose. You weren't supposed to be graduating into a world where oil still drove policy and environmentalists have to fight relentlessly for every gain." After reading the quote, Kondracke revealed that "I never read the New York Times anymore for information. I read the New York Times only to find out what the left-wing slant on stuff is" and Barnes noted that he tries to read four newspapers a day, but on "a lot of days I don't get to the New York Times. I don't miss much."


GDP Soars and Unemployment Drops; CBS:
"Economy is Slowing Down"

A week after ignoring the announcement of a roaring 5.3 percent GDP growth rate in the first quarter, and on the day unemployment fell a tenth of a point to 4.6 percent -- the lowest level since July of 2001 -- the CBS Evening News decided to lead Friday with how, as anchor Russ Mitchell put it: "There are new signs this evening that the economy is slowing down." Reporter Anthony Mason asserted that "rising interest rates and rising gas prices are beginning to put the brakes on the U.S. economy." Mason laid out the bad news: "The newest numbers, just 75,000 jobs were added to the economy last month, well below forecasts. Manufacturing lost 14,000 jobs. But retail took the biggest hit, losing more than 27,000" and "the other hammer to the economy came from the once-booming construction sector. It came to a standstill in May." Mason concluded with his own domino theory: "One major builder reported a nearly 30 percent drop in new orders for the past two months. Now that ripples right through the economy. Buying slows, then building slows, then hiring slows. And that, Russ, is why the economy is slowing."

On NBC, in contrast, Anne Thompson noted how "cuts on factory floors and at the country's retailers held back job gains for the second straight month," but she characterized those as "signs analysts say of an economy that is slowing but not in trouble." Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Economy.com, then emphasized how the economy "is throttling back from very rapid growth earlier in the year, but it is still a very strong economy, an economy that will perform well going forward."

[This item was posted Friday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

On the May 30 CBS Evening News, Jim Axelrod noted how despite "5.3 percent economic growth in the first quarter, 5.2 million more jobs since August 2003, or unemployment down to 4.7 percent," a CBS News poll found that "just 34 percent approved of the President's handling of the economy." A NewsBusters item pointed out how Axelrod's citation of the 5.3 percent GDP growth in the first quarter, the fastest rate in two-and-a-half years, was the first on the CBS Evening News which ignored it when the number was announced last Thursday [May 25]." For details: www.mediaresearch.org

# ABC's short item on the Friday, June 2 World News Tonight:
Anchor Terry Moran: "There was surprising news about the economy today. The government said that employers 75,000 jobs in May. That's nearly a hundred thousand fewer than expected. The unemployment dipped a bit to 4.6 percent, the lowest in five years, but analysts said the overall picture's one of economic growth slowing from the very fast pace earlier this year. Economists said that might convince the Federal Reserve to end, at least for now, its two-year campaign of raising interest rates."


# The start of the NBC Nightly News item, which did not lead the newscast:

Anchor Brian Williams announced: "A jobs report came out today that took some analysts by surprise. It showed just 75,000 jobs were added to the entire nation's payrolls last month. That's almost 100,000 fewer than economists were predicting. At the same time, the unemployment rate dropped by a tenth of a percentage to 4.6 percent. So what do these new numbers mean for the economy as a whole? An overall look tonight from NBC News chief financial correspondent Anne Thompson."
Anne Thompson: "Cuts on factory floors and at the country's retailers held back job gains for the second straight month -- signs analysts say of an economy that is slowing but not in trouble."
Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Economy.com: "This is an economy that is throttling back from very rapid growth earlier in the year, but it is still a very strong economy, an economy that will perform well going forward."...


# CBS Evening News. The tease from anchor Russ Mitchell:
"The unemployment rate falls but there are new signs this evening that the economy is heading for a slowdown. So we'll start with the latest economic news..."

Mitchell led: "Good evening, Bob is off tonight. The U.S. economy was charging ahead at an annual rate of almost 5 percent [actually 5.3%] in the first quarter of this year. But now it appears we'll be lucky if it grows half that rapidly in this quarter. There are new signs this evening that the economy is slowing down. While the unemployment rate has fallen to a five-year low, the economy is not cranking out new jobs the way it had been. So what's going on? Here's Anthony Mason."

Anthony Mason began: "Rising interest rates and rising gas prices are beginning to put the brakes on the U.S. economy."
John Silvia, Wachovia Securities: "And yes, the economy is cooling down and now the question is how much and how fast."
Mason: "The newest numbers, just 75,000 jobs were added to the economy last month, well below forecasts. Manufacturing lost 14,000 jobs. But retail took the biggest hit, losing more than 27,000. Wal-Mart, the world's biggest retailer, reported slowing growth this week. Customers are spending less because they're paying more for gas. And John Silvia says the economy is just starting to feel the pain."
Silva: "This is not a one-shot very short three-month deal. I think it's a sustained impact on consumer spending and consumer habits in general."
Mason: "The other hammer to the economy came from the once-booming construction sector. It came to a standstill in May, adding only a thousand jobs after new home building fell in April for the first time in almost two years."
David Lereah, National Association of Realtors: "The builders right now are beginning to cut back production. They don't want to get caught with their financial pants down."
Mason: "Because home sales are falling as mortgage rates continue to rise; a 30-year fixed now averages about six and two thirds percent, the highest level in four years."
Lereah: "We are at a key transition point in the housing markets. Because the housing markets are cooling, we're on course for a soft landing but if you continue to raise rates, that soft landing may turn to hard."
Mason: "One major builder reported a nearly 30 percent drop in new orders for the past two months. Now that ripples right through the economy. Buying slows, then building slows, then hiring slows. And that, Russ, is why the economy is slowing."

NPR's Nina Totenberg Scolds ABC on Hastert:
"A Bogus Story"

Not even their liberal media colleagues are buying ABC's May 24 hit piece on House Speaker Denny Hastert in which Brian Ross insisted that "federal officials tell us the congressional bribery investigation now includes the Speaker of the House, Dennis Hastert," and "Justice Department officials describe the 64-year-old Illinois Republican as very much in the mix of the corruption investigation." On Inside Washington aired Friday night on Washington, DC's PBS affiliate WETA-TV channel 26 and on Sunday on DC's ABC affiliate, NPR reporter Nina Totenberg declared: "That seems to have been a bogus story. It really does seem to have been a bogus story." Evan Thomas, Assistant Managing Editor of Newsweek, proposed that the ABC News "investigative unit sometimes goes a beat too," presumably "far," but another panelist talked over him.

[This item was posted Friday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

The May 26 CyberAlert, "ABC Acknowledges Denials Yet Ross Stands By Hastert Bribery Probe Claim," provides video/audio of the original hyperbolic May 24 World News Tonight lead as well as full transcripts of the first Ross story and the follow-up the next night in which Ross acknowledged DOJ denials, but refused to withdraw his charges. ABC has not mentioned the story on air since the May 25 World News Tonight. Go to: www.mediaresearch.org

And last Tuesday's CyberAlert detailed how on Sunday shows two ABC veterans -- Brit Hume on Fox News Sunday and Linda Douglass on CNN's Reliable Sources -- scolded the news judgment of Ross and ABC News. Hume contended: "This looks like a bad story. They led their newscast with it....They ought to back off this story, and the sooner the better." See: www.mediaresearch.org

A transcript of the relevant portion of the June 2 Inside Washington, a half-hour weekly panel show produced by Washington, DC's ABC affiliate which carries it on Sunday morning after This Week. Before that, it airs on the affiliate's all-news cable channel, NewsChannel 8, and Friday night at 8:30pm on DC's PBS station. Given how panelists talked over each other, and that Thomas was very soft when he spoke, it was a difficult to make out portions of what was said, but I've done the best I could:

Host Gordon Peterson: "ABC News said that the FBI was looking at Denny Hastert. Is there anything to that? Hastert said that was just-"
NPR's Nina Totenberg: "That seems to have been a bogus story. It really does seem to have been a bogus story."
Charles Krauthammer, syndicated columnist: "And a nasty one too. It looks like it a form of retaliation by the-"
Peterson: "Well, that's what he said."
Totenberg: "That's what he said."
Evan Thomas, Assistant Managing Editor of Newsweek: "I think this was also the investigative unit at NBC which sometimes goes a beat-"
Totenberg and Peterson: "ABC."
Thomas: "ABC. Which sometimes goes a beat too-"

It sounded like "beat" both times, but "bit" also makes sense.

Beltway Boys Pick up on Sulzberger, Express
Distaste for NY Times

You read it here first. FNC's Beltway Boys (Fred Barnes and Morton Kondracke) on Saturday gave a "down," in their "Ups and Downs" segment, to New York Times Publisher Arthur Sulzberger, Jr., for a "left-wing rant" during a commencement address in which he apologized to graduates: "You weren't supposed to be graduating into a world where we are still fighting for fundamental human rights, whether it's the rights of immigrants to start a new life; or the rights of gays to marry; or the rights of women to choose. You weren't supposed to be graduating into a world where oil still drove policy and environmentalists have to fight relentlessly for every gain." After reading the quote, Kondracke revealed that "I never read the New York Times anymore for information. I read the New York Times only to find out what the left-wing slant on stuff is" and Barnes noted that he tries to read four newspapers a day, but on "a lot of days I don't get to the New York Times. I don't miss much."

Picking up on a TimesWatch item by Clay Waters, the May 23 CyberAlert carried an article titled: "NY Times Publisher Goes on a Left-Wing Rant at Graduation." For the item which quoted newspaper accounts of Sulzberger's May 21 address at the State University of New York at New Paltz: www.mrc.org

A May 30 CyberAlert follow-up, "NY Times Publisher Apologizes for Failure to Enact Liberalism," recounted:
C-SPAN on Saturday night (May 27) aired the Sunday, May 21 commencement remarks, by New York Times Publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr., at the State University of New York at New Paltz where he was honored with a Doctorate of Humane Letters. Sulzberger delivered a left wing rant in which he presumed liberal policy goals


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are more noble than conservative ones as he offered an "apology" for the nation his generation has left to the next generation: "You weren't supposed to be graduating into an America fighting a misbegotten war in a foreign land. You weren't supposed to be graduating into a world where we are still fighting for fundamental human rights, whether it's the rights of immigrants to start a new life; or the rights of gays to marry; or the rights of women to choose. You weren't supposed to be graduating into a world where oil still drove policy and environmentalists have to fight relentlessly for every gain."

That's posted with an audio/video clip: www.mrc.org

On their June 3 show, Kondracke and Barnes recited the corrected quote that the May 30 CyberAlert provided based on Sulzberger's remarks shown on C-SPAN. (Greg Pierce, in his May 31 "Inside Politics" column for the Washington Times, also picked up CyberAlert's corrected transcript: www.washingtontimes.com )

On FNC's Beltway Boys, carried several times over the weekend, Kondracke asserted: "Down: Pinch, otherwise known as New York Times Publisher Arthur Sulzberger. You probably missed it in the mainstream media, but Sulzberger used a commencement speech at New Paltz, New York, and he turned it into a left-wing rant, offering this apology from his generation to the graduates. Quote [text on screen]: 'You weren't supposed to be graduating into an America fighting a misbegotten war in a foreign land. You weren't supposed to be graduating into a world where we're still fighting for fundamental human rights, whether it's the rights of immigrants to start a new life, or the rights of gays to marry, or the rights of women to choose. You weren't supposed to be graduating into a world where oil still drove policy and environmentalists still fight relentlessly for every gain.'
"You know, fair and balanced, all right? I mean, you know it finally occurred to me that I never read the New York Times anymore for information. I read the New York Times only to find out what the left-wing slant on stuff is, so that I'll know where that, what that, where they're coming from."
Barnes: "Yes, and they never let you down."
Kondracke: "They've never let me down."
Barnes: "And I get four papers at home. So I read the Washington Post, the Washington Times, the Wall Street Journal and fourth, the New York Times. And you know, a lot of days -- a lot of days I don't get to the New York Times. I don't miss much, as it turns out."

-- Brent Baker