Journalism? ~ dnd

The other day NBC’s Lisa Meyers had a report on the pork in the stimulus bill. The first item was a magnetic levitation high speed train from Disneyland to Las Vegas, something Harry Reid was allegedly pushing for.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21134540/vp/29245227#29245227

I thought this was curious as:

  1. Some of the terrain between Los Angeles and Las Vegas is not suitable for MagLev rail.

  2. President Obama said there were no earmarks in the bill, and this certainly would qualify as an earmark.

So I downloaded the H.R. 1 PDF and did a keyword search for the section of the bill that addressed this. Nowhere could I find anything about high-speed rail between Los Angeles and Los Vegas. What the bill says is:

For an additional amount for ‘‘Capital Assistance for Intercity Passenger Rail Service’’ to enable the Secretary of Transportation to make grants for capital costs as authorized by chapter 244 of title 49 United States Code,”

So the Secretary of Transportation, former Representative Ray LaHood (R-IL), will make the call on how this money is spent. Not Harry Reid, nor any other member of congress. I don’t know who fabricated this little chestnut, but clearly they knew what they were doing.

I don’t mean to single out Ms. Meyers, as others have reported this too. As Mark Twain said: “A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is getting its boots on.”

My point is that it took me all of five minutes to fact-check this; I’m amazed that people in the national media didn’t have the time to do the same.

And they wonder why they’re losing market share to blogs…

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37 Comments

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37 responses to “Journalism? ~ dnd

  1. anon-paranoid

    dnd…

    Are you suggesting that they actually do t heir jobs and check the facts before they report them?

    What a novel idea.

    God Bless.

  2. anon-paranoid

    From the last thread….

    Heard on the news that a women was arrested shop lifting a roll of toilet paper.

    It seems that the little money she had was for food and she couldn’t afford to pay for the toilet paper.

    And Washington thinks things are okay on Main Street when a person has to steal toilet paper?

    They are truly out of touch with Main Street.

    God Bless.

    PS: Back to work.

  3. eprof2

    Ah, 24/7 “news”! The Rockies are here, where are you?

  4. You have to wonder about a store that would have a woman arrested for a roll of TP.

    And yes dnd it’s amazing how many wrong things are reported in MSM, the fact is they still haven’t gotten used to the fact that there is now a large group looking over their shoulder, nor have the repugs for that matter!

  5. dnd

    eprof2,
    I’m in funksville, since Francis is out for the season. Still don’t know about Helton’s health.

  6. dnd

    There were some other interesting things about the Meyers piece.

    First, they were talking about high speed trains while using a blurred video of a clunky old Amtrak train. Funny.

    Second, they said there was $8 billion for high-speed rail. Nuh-uh. The $8 billion was for all intercity passenger rail, with preference given to high speed rail, and preferences given for a number of other criteria. It starts on page 250 of H.R. 1 if you want to check it out.

    Third, Mr. Williams said the bill had greater than 1000 pages. Nuh-uh. Fewer than 700. And each line is double spaced, so that seems a (deliberate?) misconception of how much stuff is there.

    That reminds me of the Boner bellowing before congress that they didn’t have time to read the “1100 page” bill. As a prop, he had a big pile of paper, bound up in twine. My first thought was: “why aren’t you reading this on your computer, like everyone else?” Second thought: “how can you read it if it’s bound up in twine? Wouldn’t it be better to put it in binders? If you drop it and the papers scatter, you’ll never be able to read it.” Third thought: “He probably had some assistant get three reams of copy paper and bind it up in twine so he could use it as a prop.”

    Lastly, even a cursory review of the bill shows that there isn’t so much on what things the money is to be spent, but how it is to be spent, e.g., time restrictions, statutory restrictions, etc.

  7. British government bans Fred Phelps, daughter from entering U.K.

    http://www.kansascity.com/637/story/1044016.html

  8. dnd

    “British government bans Fred Phelps, daughter from entering U.K.”

    I wish Gov. Ritter would ban them from entering Colorado.

  9. dnd

    Gibbs doing a presser now.

  10. The press corps is obsessed with the dow!

  11. Biden outlines dangers at Panetta oath

    Vice President Joe Biden used the swearing-in ceremony of CIA Director Leon Panetta Thursday to deliver one of the Obama administration’s harshest critiques of President George W. Bush’s approach to intelligence-gathering – promising a sharp break from policies that “caused America to fall short of its founding principles and which gave Al Qaida a powerful recruiting tool.”

    http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0209/19047.html

  12. bevntempe

    I have heard the names of the Govs that “might” not take the stimulus money. In the AZ Rep this morning, there were 3 pages of how AZ will make use of the money, which will be up to the repug governor to decide how the $ will be distributed. However, my hubby, coming home from an early morning Spanish class, was told by 2 people that they heard AZ might not take the $. Perhaps this is another example of how the MSM doesn’t get the stories straight. I’ve never heard anything about AZ not accepting the money. We need it just like every other state.

    http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/news/articles/2009/02/20/20090220stim-azbudget0220.html

  13. horsedooty

    good news on the driving front.

    Tax on miles driven idea is NIXED!

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/29298315

  14. dnd

    “The system would require all cars and trucks be equipped with global satellite positioning technology, a transponder, a clock and other equipment to record how many miles a vehicle was driven, whether it was driven on highways or secondary roads, and even whether it was driven during peak traffic periods or off-peak hours.”

    Doots, not the dumbest idea I’ve ever heard, but it ranks right up there. I understand their concern about fuel efficient vehicles or electric vehicles, but this this type of tax is hugely regressive particularly for rural drivers. Doesn’t take into account vehicle weight. And would be hugely expensive to implement. And how would you dispute your tax if the govn’t made a mistake?

    Sounds like a solution looking for a problem.

  15. Schumer: Failed ‘Zombie’ Banks Should Be Nationalized

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/02/20/schumer-failed-zombie-ban_n_168625.html

    I have the feeling that the tactic here is to make it seems that when this does happen the prez was dragged into it “kicking and screaming”.

  16. dnd

    I’m no financial expert, but I don’t see any way to clear out the toxic assets other than to nationalize zombie banks. Those assets will at some point be valued and purchased by private funds, but it’s gonna take a while.

  17. dnd

    January Consumer Price Index up 0.3%. This is very good news. I’m generally not in favor of rising prices, but this is an indicator we may not be headed for deflation, a much more difficult situation to deal with than a recession.

  18. dnd

    Wow Brian, when Schumer and Grahamm agree, this can only be a sign of the apocalypse.

  19. dnd

    Rick Santelli on Hardball. Two of the most over-caffinated guys on TV. In case you missed his rant:

  20. Hi all….

    Santelli showed his true colors……in my book …..typical Trader/ Financial person…. they are all so pissed, they might not be able to continue, playing their game…..by their own rules….What he said was essentially “F the losers”…… What he doesn’t seem to realize is that even if we were to let all the homes foreclose – it would not solve any of the economic problems, and in fact, it would worsen many problems…..

    He had to have an immature temper tantrum…..Glad he was on the air for all to see.

  21. dog's eye view

    Socks the Cat has passed. Buddy the Retriever hopes Socks will stick to cat heaven and not bother him in Dog Eden.

    http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2009/02/20/us/AP-Obit-Socks-the-Cat.html

  22. In my neighborhood (small two block area), currently there are four houses in the process of foreclosure….One is right next across the street, 2 of the other three are empty and the house behind me happens to be empty and for sale, but not a foreclosure.

  23. “She was flown to Cleveland Thursday amid speculation that the Clinic will evaluate her for a face transplant.”

    http://blog.cleveland.com/metro/2009/02/victim_of_mauling_by_chimp_sti.html

    The lady beaten by the chimp is here, I had no idea.

  24. “White House objects to ‘rant’ on housing”

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/29306391/

    “Later, Gibbs acknowledged that “there will be people that made bad decisions that in some ways will get help,” but that they are not the focus. “I also think it’s tremendously important that for people who rant on cable television to be responsible and understand what it is they’re talking about,” he said.”

  25. Steve (AH)

    Socks the Cat is dead

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090221/ap_on_re_us/obit_socks_the_cat

    Like some celebreties, I thought this cat was long dead

  26. Steve (AH)

    Dog’s Eye, my bad! You beat me to it….I should read a bit more carefully…back to the post about “journalism,” me thinks some in the media are getting lazy and relying on the politicians to write stories for them…..I still think the stimulus package is the right thing to do. I am seeing evidence of that in what the states are planning to spend it on. That would be except for South Carolina and Mississippi. I guess those states dont need the money.

    🙂

  27. dnd

    Two of the interesting things in the stimulus bill are the deadlines to get moving on projects and the “use it or lose it” clause. While that may result in some waste, that’s Ray LaHood’s responsibility. More importantly, it puts pressure on those who submit grant applications to get a move on, thus putting the breaks on the downward economy. Also, there is no guarantee that all the money allocated will be spent, which may leave some for round 2, or other economic recovery programs.

  28. dog's eye view

    Good Saturday morning all.

  29. dog's eye view

    “Work That Tiara, Boy.”

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/02/19/AR2009021901780.html?nav=hcmodule

    George Mason U’s homecoming queen is newsworthy this year.

    I thought this was a sweet story. Loved to hear of Ryan Allen, raised in Goochland, VA (beautiful, semirural and mostly conservative county outside Richmond area en route to Charlottesville), who attends this huge and anonymous commuter school and gives it some sparkle.

    Got to say, Reann is glamorous.

    Took some classes at GMU ages and ages ago. Good faculty, but very little camaraderie among students.

    This can only improve the place. Happy to see it.

  30. dnd

    Santelli’s arguments in his rant were, to quote Zbig: “stunningly superficial.” His proposal was just as unfair as the his criticism of the plan. Pragmatism trumped by ideology.

    I think he’s angling for a job at the Fox Business channel 😉

  31. There’s still a fox business channel?

  32. Nannymm

    Good morning all.

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