Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Keeping It All In the Family: The Cozy Relations between Media and the Obama White House

Updated 5-JUN-2013

The traditional media coalition is often criticized for having a too-cozy relationship with the White House. This criticism becomes especially interesting when you consider the number of family connections in the media to current or former Obama Administration staff.  These are but a few.

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For example, current White House Press Secretary Jay Carney is married to Claire Shipman, a correspondent for ABC News and a contributor to ABC's Good Morning America.

Former Obama White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs is now a contributor to NBC News and MSNBC.  Similarly, former Obama Senior Advisor David Axelrod is now senior political analyst for MSNBC.

Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications, Ben Rhodes, is the brother of CBS News President David Rhodes.  Ben Rhodes apparently coined the term "kinetic military action" for the U.S. involvement in toppling Libyan dictator Muammar al-Gaddafi.  According to media reports, Ben Rhodes advised President Obama to withdraw support for Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak as part of the Egyptian "Arab Spring".  Ben Rhodes also helped coordinate the Obama Administration's talking points for the Benghazi terrorist attack where U.S. Ambassador John Stevens and three other Americans were killed.  Ben Rhodes is also active in driving American policy in Syria.

Dr. Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall is Special Assistant to President Obama.  Previously, she was an advisor to then Senator Joe Biden, the current Vice-President of the United States. Her brother is Ben Sherwood, President of ABC News.

President Obama's new National Security Advisor, Susan Rice, is married to Ian Cameron, former executive producer for ABC News' "This Week" Sunday news show.  Susan Rice was former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations.  She also gained notoriety during the Benghazi incident for the dubious claim, supposedly written by the U.S. "intelligence" community, that the Benghazi attack was caused by a little-viewed YouTube video.

Former Obama White House Director of the Office of Management and Budget, Peter Orzag, is married to the lovely Bianna Golodryga, who is co-anchor on the weekend edition of Good Morning America (GMA).  GMA is part of ABC News, under Ben Sherwood.  Peter Orzag is now Vice Chairman of Global Banking at Citigroup. The Orzag/Golodryga relationship began with a DC sex scandal.

Former White House Deputy Press Secretary, Katie Hogan, is married to ABC News reporter, Matthew Jaffe. According to his official ABC News bio, Jaffe covered the 2012 Presidential election for ABC News and Univision.  Interestingly, his wife, Katie Hogan, stepped down as White House Deputy Press Secretary to join President Obama's 2012 re-election campaign as deputy press secretary. Katie Hogan now serves as spokeswoman for President Obama's Organizing for Action, a tax-free 501(c)(4) organization.

Tom Nides is former Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources under then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.  Mr. Nides is married to Virginia Moseley, who is Vice-President and Deputy Bureau Chief for CNN's Washington, D.C. bureau.  Virginia Moseley was former senior Washington producer for ABC News' Good Morning America (GMA).  Apparently, Virginia Moseley and Ben Sherwood were also former college classmates.

Do these relationships matter? Consider the coverage of the Benghazi fiasco and the news media's role in covering the story.  For example, CBS reporter Sharyl Attkisson actively bulldogged investigations into the Benghazi incident.  Yet, her stories did not appear on broadcast for five months.  Could this be because CBS News is run by the brother of a White House official actively involved in "crafting" the official Obama Administration's message on Benghazi?

Friday, May 17, 2013

California April 2013 Unemployment Rate

California's official unemployment rate continued to improve in April 2013, dropping by 0.4% from March to 9.0%.  California's unemployment rate continues to lag the nation as a whole and is the 4th-highest in the nation ahead of Nevada, Illinois, and Mississippi.

SOURCE:  U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics:  Unemployment Rate for States, Seasonally Adjusted (April 2013, preliminary).

The total number of non-farm payroll jobs in California continues to improve and presently stands at 14,602,200.  The current levels is down 539,900 jobs since January 2008.

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics:  California, Total Nonfarm, Seasonally adjusted - SMS06000000000000001.