Tags: NY-Times | Anti-Israel | Bias | Proven | Amtrak Bleeds Taxpayer Billions | Obama Inaugural Ratings Plummet | Laura Ingraham

NY Times Anti-Israel Bias Proven; Amtrak Bleeds Taxpayer Billions; Obama Inaugural Ratings Plummet

By    |   Sunday, 27 January 2013 03:24 PM

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Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories):
1. Study Documents NY Times' Anti-Israel Bias
2. Laura Ingraham Moving From 'Politics' Focus to Entertainment
3. Employment Records Reveal 'Worst Bosses' in Congress
4. TV Ratings Plummet for Obama's Second Inauguration
5. Amtrak Called 'Symbol of Government Waste'
6. U.S. Birthrate Plunges After Economic Collapse

1. Study Documents NY Times' Anti-Israel Bias

A new study by a media-monitoring organization exposes the New York Times' consistent anti-Israel, pro-Palestinian bias in its coverage of the Middle East conflict.

The study was conducted by the Committee for Accuracy in Middle Eastern Reporting in America (CAMERA), which claims 65,000 U.S. members across a broad political spectrum.

CAMERA investigated the Times' coverage between July 1 and Dec. 31, 2011, and says the probe "reveals empirically that there is real cause for concern. The dominant finding of the study is a disproportionate, continuous, embedded indictment of Israel that dominates both news and commentary sections. Israeli views are downplayed while Palestinian perspectives, especially criticism of Israel, are amplified and even promoted."

Among the findings of the CAMERA study:

  • The Times presents criticism of Israel more than twice as often as it criticizes the Palestinians. Of 275 passages in the news pages classified as criticism, 187 were critical of Israel while 88 criticized the Palestinians.
  • Of 37 articles mentioning Israel's border policies and naval blockade of Gaza, just six cited Israel's goal of preventing weapons from entering Gaza and even fewer noted that weapons in Gaza often are fired into Israel.
  • When the Times reported on the Israeli military boarding a Turkish ship carrying pro-Palestinian activists, only eight of 37 articles mentioned the activists' violence that precipitated the use of firearms by the Israelis.
  • Twelve headlines mentioned Palestinian fatalities in the conflict, while none explicitly mentioned Israeli deaths, even though 14 Israelis were killed during the study period.
  • Israeli actions frequently were cited as obstacles to peace, but the Palestinian Authority's refusal to recognize a Jewish state was never described as an obstacle.
  • On the paper's opinion pages, editorials consistently blamed Israel for the Palestinian-Israel conflict. Of 20 editorials, columns, and Op-Eds cited by CAMERA, 15 predominantly criticized Israel and none predominantly criticized the Palestinians.

CAMERA concludes: "Although the [Israeli-Palestinian] conflict is a matter of great controversy, with loud voices on all sides seeking to make their case, only one side's concerns are promoted in The Times, while the opposing side is marginalized."

PJ Media states: "CAMERA's study provides objective documentation that demonstrates exactly how The New York Times abandoned journalistic standards to turn coverage of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict into the supposedly 'progressive' cause of indicting Israel."

Editor's Note:

2. Laura Ingraham Moving From 'Politics' Focus to Entertainment

Conservative talk show host Laura Ingraham says she left Talk Radio Network to launch a new show with another syndicator because she wants a program that is "livelier, funnier" — and less political.

"The Laura Ingraham Show" on TRN was heard on more than 300 stations and had 5.75 million listeners, making her the most listened-to woman on radio and the fifth most popular radio host, according to Talkers magazine.

She announced in November that she was leaving TRN after more than 11 years with the syndicator and earlier with Westwood One, and began a new show on Jan. 2 at Courtside Entertainment.

"I decided to form my own company and partner with Norm Pattiz at Courtside Entertainment. He's an old friend who syndicated my show back in 2001 through Westwood One," Ingraham told Bloomberg Businessweek.

"I didn't want to be with someone who'd try to control everything I do.

"Now I finally own my content. It means I have a lot more responsibility, but it feels good."

Ingraham, a frequent Fox News contributor and guest host, also said: "The reason Fox is popular is that most Americans believe that the dominant media in the United States is aligned with the Democrats and will not air more conservative views. It's why Rush Limbaugh is popular, too. If it weren't for the success of someone like Rush, I wouldn't be doing this."

As for her new venture, Ingraham said: "I want the show to be livelier, funnier, newsier, more unpredictable.

"Five years from now, I want my brand to be more entertainment-focused than politics-focused. I want to do what the federal government doesn't do. I want to make more money than I spend."

Editor's Note:

3. Employment Records Reveal 'Worst Bosses' in Congress

An analysis of a decade of pay records discloses the congressional offices with the highest turnover rates — or as The Washington Times calls them, the ones serving the "worst bosses on Capitol Hill."

The Times found 27 members who lost an average of at least one-third of their staff per year over a period of four years or more.

"Some members of Congress have developed reputations as nightmares to work for and even have a majority of their staff members leave after less than one year," according to the Times.

Of the 27 members of Congress with the highest turnover rates, 18 were Democrats. Only two were senators, according to the Times analysis spanning 2001 through 2011.

The "worst boss," based on staff turnover rate, was Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, a Texas Democrat who is still in office. Her average annual turnover rate was 54 percent, and one year all but six of her 23 staffers departed. She was also voted the "meanest member" of the House in a survey of staffers by Washingtonian magazine last year.

Virginia Republican George Allen had the highest turnover rate in the Senate during his tenure in the Upper House, 34 percent.

Close behind Allen at 33 percent was Sen. Chuck Hagel, the Nebraska Republican who left office in 2009 and has been nominated by President Obama to be the next secretary of defense. In 2005, 20 of 51 staffers left his office, and some later said Hagel would berate staffers for "imagined disloyalty."

No. 2 overall on the Times' list was Rep. Betty Sutton, with a turnover rate of 48 percent. Former staffers have called the Ohio Democrat, who lost her re-election bid last year, "harsh."

Next was Rep. Michele Bachmann, the Minnesota Republican who ran for president last year. Her average turnover rate was 46 percent, spiking to 66 percent in 2008.

She was followed by former Reps. Martin Meehan, D-Mass., and Hilda Solis, D-Calif., both with a 44 percent rate. When Solis assumed the post of secretary of labor in 2009, she vowed to improve working conditions for all Americans.

Rounding out the "Top 10" were Reps. Jane Harman, D-Calif., at 43 percent; Tim Murphy, R-Pa. (42 percent); Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash. (39 percent); Juanita Millender-McDonald, D-Calif. (39 percent); and Jon Porter, R-Nev. (38 percent).

Millender-McDonald once fired an aide for leaving a box of candy on her chair, according to the Times.

Only Murphy and McMorris Rodgers are still in office.

The paper points out that in offices with high turnover rates, the "bad boss" is not the member but an aide overseeing staffers.

At the other end of the staff turnover spectrum, the best members of Congress to work for, with annual turnover rates of only about 11 percent, are Republican Sen. John Thune of South Dakota and three Democratic House members: James McGovern of Massachusetts, Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, and Collin Peterson of Minnesota.

Rep. McGovern told the Times: "To be a productive member of Congress you need your staff. I think you get a better work product at the end of the day when it's about getting things done instead of being fearful."

Editor's Note:

4. TV Ratings Plummet for Obama's Second Inauguration

Less than half as many Americans watched President Barack Obama's second inauguration on cable news channels as they did on his first Inauguration Day in 2009.

About 17 million people watched Obama's address on CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News in 2009, while only around 7 million watched on those channels this year.

From 11:45 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. on Monday, when Obama took the oath of office and gave his address, some 3.1 million viewers watched on CNN, 2.3 million watched on MSNBC, and 1.3 million did so on Fox.

In 2009, 8.5 million viewers watched the inauguration on CNN, as did 5.5 million on Fox and 3 million on MSNBC.

Among the three major broadcast networks, NBC led with 5.08 million viewers, according to Nielsen. ABC was second with 4.57 million, and CBS had 3.67 million.

Including all networks that covered the ceremonies, total viewership was 20.6 million, down 46 percent from 37.8 million in 2009.

A Gallup survey found that 38 percent of respondents watched or listened to the inauguration ceremonies as they happened, and another 27 percent saw, read, or heard news coverage of the events. Back in 2009, 60 percent of those polled watched the ceremonies, and 20 percent saw, read, or heard news coverage.

This year a full one-third neither watched the ceremonies nor sought news coverage of the events.

Among Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents, 56 percent reported watching the inauguration ceremonies as they happened, compared to just 26 percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents.

Gallup also found that 12 percent of respondents thought Obama's inauguration speech was "poor" or "terrible," compared to just 3 percent in 2009.

Editor's Note:

5. Amtrak Called 'Symbol of Government Waste'

The federal government is going down the wrong track by continuing to subsidize an inefficient Amtrak rail service, an economist asserts.

The bad news: Amtrak posted a loss of $361 million last year.

The "good" news: That was the smallest operating loss for Amtrak since 1975, thanks to increased ridership in the Northeast Corridor.

"Amtrak has never been profitable. From its outset in 1971, it has been backed by taxpayers with billions of dollars in direct aid and loans," writes Daniel Hanson, an economics researcher with the American Enterprise Institute, in an Op-Ed piece for The Washington Examiner.

"Over the past three years alone, Amtrak has received more than $4.4 billion in federal aid, and it still was not able to finish any of those years in the black."

Tickets for trains running in the Northeast Corridor taking riders from Washington, D.C., to Boston cost about $150 — little more than a $125 ticket in 1997 — but the federal government kicks in nearly $50 for every ticket, pushing the real average price close to $200.

Yet the Northeast Corridor isn't any faster than the same train route 40 years and $50 billion in federal subsidies ago, Hanson points out. Amtrak's fastest train, the Acela, can make it from Washington to New York in 2 hours, 45 minutes at best — 15 minutes slower than the Penn Central Railroad could in 1969.

Since 2010 alone, the federal government has given Amtrak $6.1 million for each of the 730 miles of track it maintains. The 1,800-mile Transcontinental Railroad, built without modern equipment in the 1860s, cost $1.2 million per mile to construct. And the 47,182-mile Interstate Highway System cost about $10 million per mile to construct, and only $900,000 per mile per year to maintain.

"After four decades of federal funding, Amtrak has only stagnation and inefficiency to show for it," Hanson states.

"Amtrak provides slower trains at higher prices. It is a symbol of government waste because it fails to make any progress toward self-sufficiency and fails to innovate."

Amtrak's inefficiency came into sharp focus last year when Rep. John Mica, the Florida Republican who chaired the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, disclosed that over the previous 10 years, Amtrak had cost taxpayers a whopping $833.8 million for its food and beverage service.

"It costs passengers $9.50 to buy a cheeseburger on Amtrak, but the cost to taxpayers is $16.15," Mica said.

Hanson concludes: "It is time to admit this train has left the station. Amtrak cannot and will not be run efficiently with the backstop of government funding behind it.

"Someday a public-private partnership on railroads could be in the American interest, but for Amtrak, the government should shut off the spigot."

Editor's Note:

6. U.S. Birthrate Plunges After Economic Collapse

The birthrate in the United States has fallen below "replacement level," raising concerns about the future demographics of the nation.

The fertility rate in 2007 stood at 2.12 children per woman, the highest in nearly 40 years. But the economic downturn that began in 2008 has helped drive the rate down to 1.9 per woman, the lowest since the Jimmy Carter administration in the late 1970s and lower than France and the United Kingdom.

The replacement level is about 2.1 per woman.

Birthrates are important in "determining whether a society wants to replace itself or fall into oblivion," says Joel Kotkin, executive editor of NewGeography.com.

"No nation has thrived when its birthrate falls below replacement level and stays there — the very level the United States is at now."

The greatest threat from lowered fertility rates is probably the aging of society, Kotkin observes, noting that by 2050, the ratio of workers to retirees will rise by 50 percent to about 35 retirees per 100 workers.

That will be significantly lower than the predicted ratios in Germany and Singapore — 57 retirees for every 100 workers — but troubling nevertheless because fewer workers will pay to support retired citizens.

One culprit for the lower birthrates, especially in the United States and East Asia, is modern capitalism.

"Young workers building their careers can face consuming demands for long work hours and substantial amounts of travel," says Kotkin, who is also a distinguished presidential fellow in urban futures at Chapman University and the author of the book "The Next Hundred Million: America in 2050."

"Many confront a choice between a career and family."

Low-wage workers also face difficulties in raising a family, and they were hit particularly hard by the long recession.

Other factors Kotkin cites include a decline of extended family support networks, erosion of traditional values, and a culture that celebrates individualism, especially in major population centers.

But he also points to two bright spots. The U.S. workforce could grow by about 40 percent in the first half of this century, thanks largely to immigration, while Japan, Europe, and South Korea may suffer a decline of 25 percent or more.

And the Pew Research Center reports that America's millennial generation — those 18 to 29 — say being good parents, owning a home, and having a good marriage are their top three priorities.

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Editor's Note:

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Sunday, 27 January 2013 03:24 PM
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