Shock: The Great Media Bias Exposed: By The Media

 

by Dr Joe Duarte
October 1, 2012

Washington Post Ombudsman Exposes Paper's Left Leaning Bias

The ombudsman at one of America's newspapers of record, The Washington Post," has concluded that his newspaper has a left leaning bias, although his executive editor disagrees.

If you think that the media is biased toward the left, you're not alone. And, now, your conclusion is backed up by both polling data as well as the observations of an independent observer that works, for in is own words, a "biased" newspaper.

Patrick Pexton, the ombudsman at the Washington Post says that he gets a lot of e-mail complaining about the leftward leaning opinion pieces in the Post. Many of these are placed on pages where news traditionally goes, which adds to the perception that the paper is biased.

According to Pexton: "Republicans think the news media are being too easy on Barack Obama. In fact, 60 percent of them say so, a figure that’s up from 55 percent four years ago, when Obama ran against Sen. John McCain. That’s the conclusion of a poll conducted Sept. 20-23 by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press. This finding reflects the e-mail I receive from people who identify themselves as Republicans and conservatives, and even from some independents and Democrats, who say The Post is too easy on Obama."

And although he admits that his e-mail isn't a scientific survey, he thinks that when you combine his e-mails trends with "surveys that Pew has done in the past year should be food for thought for The Post.

Rexton points out that the Republican perception of media bias against conservatives has been increasing as "Four years ago, 48 percent of Republicans thought coverage of McCain was fair. Now only 38 percent think coverage of Romney is fair. In 2008, 39 percent of Republicans said coverage of Obama was fair. Now only 30 percent feel this way."

And he adds: "When you combine this latest poll with other Pew polls in the past year, the picture of disaffected Republicans gets even stronger. Pew has been asking annually since 1989 about perceptions of bias in the news. In 1989, about the same percentage of all groups — a quarter of Democrats, Republicans and the overall public — saw a “great deal of bias” in the news. In a January poll, that number was up to 49 percent for Republicans, 32 percent for Democrats and 37 percent for the public overall." His conclusion is that "everyone sees more bias, and Republicans see it more than other groups."

Now, Rexton gets interesting. He writes: "One aspect of The Post that particularly irks conservatives is the columnists who appear in print and online in news positions (as opposed to those on the editorial and op-ed pages and the online Opinions section). With the exception of Dan Balz and Chris Cillizza, who cover politics in a nonpartisan way, the news columnists almost to a person write from left of center."

Adding even more scalding detail, he notes: "Ezra Klein of Wonkblog comes out of the Democratic left, fills in for Rachel Maddow and Ed Schultz on MSNBC and sometimes appears in the printed Post on the front page. Steven Pearlstein, who covers business and also appears occasionally on the front page; Walter Pincus on national security; Lisa Miller of the On Faith blog; Melinda Henneberger of She the People; Valerie Strauss, the education blogger; plus the three main local columnists — Robert McCartney, Petula Dvorak and Courtland Milloy — all generally write from a progressive perspective, readers say. (So does Dana Milbank, who works for the Opinions section but writes a column that appears on Page A2 twice a week."

Correctly, Rexton points out that there are conservatives that are looking for more than "Sean Hannity’s interpretation of the news." And it is this, apparently growing number of readers that is complaining, at least in part, with regard to the obvious left leaning, but couched in claims of impartiality of The Washington Post.

So, is the Post likely to change its ways? Noway Jose'. At least not if you base it on the straight out of Mars answer from the Editor in Chief Marcus Brauchli. According to Rexton, "The Post’s executive editor, said conservative readers may perceive that recent coverage of Romney is too tough because they’ve missed a lot of the coverage of Obama in the past four years. “We’ve been covering Barack Obama aggressively for years,” Brauchli said. “We’ve only been covering Mitt Romney deeply since he became the Republican nominee. We cover politics in an even-handed way, and Dan Balz, Chris Cillizza, Karen Tumulty, Glenn Kessler and our other reporters do a terrific job of delivering the news without slant. Between the columnists on the editorial page and the commentators on the news pages, I believe The Post offers readers a balanced perspective.”

What Mr. Brauli, and moral relativists and backers of selective truth everywhere seem to be missing, is that the important coverage is the current one. If the Post beat Obama up last year, no one cares about it now. That was then. The election is being influenced by current coverage.

As Rexton puts it: "The Post should first be about news without slant. If The Post wants to wrap its news in commentary, fine, but shouldn’t some of those voices then be conservative?"

The Markets

The S & P 500 (SPX) broke below its 20-day moving average on 9-26 and ended the week, just above the key level. The problem is that the market is increasingly weakening. And the other factor is that the world's problems are clearly overwhelming the Fed's money printing.

It is clear to us, that if Mr. Obama gets elected, big business will do everything in its power to make his next term even worse. That, will likely have quite a significant set of unintended consequences, throughout the world. That's what the market is now starting to factor in.

We want to be clear on this. We are not saying that Mr. Obama is good or bad for the market. We are saying that there is now well documented evidence about how big and small businesses feel about Mr. Obama, his regulations and his tax leanings. We don't think that anything good can come of such a confrontation.



Chart Courtesy of StockCharts.com


The relationship between bonds (USB) and commodities (CRB) is having trouble making a decision. Traders are struggling with the thought of the Fed's money printing leading to inflation, while at the same time trying to price in further slowing in a global economy. If both things happen at the same time then you have Stagflation, which is not a good thing at all.



Chart Courtesy of StockCharts.com


The market's breadth is now negative in the short term. The Nasdaq Advance Decline line is making lower highs and lower lows. This is a bad sign, unless it is quickly reversed.



Chart Courtesy of StockCharts.com


The Nasdaq Hi-lo line (NAHL) is still rising, suggesting that momentum remains to the up side. This remains a positive.



Chart Courtesy of StockCharts.com


Conclusion

The odds that we've seen the highs for this rally are on the rise.

There are too many uncertainties stacking up against risk. The election and Europe are both rising in importantce, and the economy is starting to buckle as the other two exert their influence.

This is a good time to be very cautious.

Trading Plan Review

Our trading plan is working as well as ever. Sell stops have been hit on weaker positions, and those that are acting well are still open. As a result our cash position has been rising, reducing our risk.

We have fewere long positions open in our S & P timing portfolio. We also have a position in the Short S & P 500 ETF as a hedge.

We will continue to manage each position individually regardless of the overall market trend.

Our energy portfolio is back in cash. Our health care portfolio is long.

We are in cash in the gold market. We are in cash in our bond portfolio.



Stock of The Day

Altria Group (NYSE: MO) Sags Despite Healthy Yield

by Dr Joe Duarte

Shares of Altria Group (NYSE: MO) have been lagging lately, a sign that lofty dividend may not be enough in this market.



Chart Courtesy of StockCharts.com


With treasury bonds yielding 1.63% on the U.S. Ten year note, you'd expect a high yielding stocks with a presumably stable business to be doing well.

So, why is Altria struggling? To be sure, there is a concerted health related effort against tobacco ongoing at multiple levels, government, health care, etc. But, from a business standpoint money managers, especially in this low rate environment have been flocking to Altria.

But not lately, even after the company's recent dividend increase. So what's the problem? It's either a company problem, or a market problem. It's the latter that worries us more.

First, let's look at the stock. Value investors may be fretting about the valuation. The P/E ratio is 18, which is not terribly expensive for a growth stock, which Altria is not. Even worse is the Price/Book ratio, which is nearly 16.5.

That means that investors are paying 16.5 times the book value of the stock in order to get a 5% dividend. That may be the Achille's heel. A stock with little growth potential whose valuation is cleary exceeding its dividend yield.

If you throw in the fact that MO has gone up non-stop for a long time, and that the overall market is weakening, you can see why it's faltering.


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