Democrat Darling Woody Harrelson’s Hit Man Father Said He Was Involved in the JFK Assassination

Mick Gregory

UPDATED

I’d imagine you didn’t read any of this in your New York Times, LA Times, Washington Post or San Francisco Chronicle.

This report is a little treat for people like you who read citizen journalist Web pages to get more depth. The mainstream media has been glossing over inconvenient stories that could tarnish the image of the left and Democrat party for some 60 years in the U.S. For “the greater good” the press has been downplaying or even hiding some striking events. Instead, Paris Hilton is covered 24/7.

The outpoken, Hollywood Democrat, Woody Harrelson had a role model that may have helped him in Oliver Stone’s Natural Born Killers, Woody’s father was a top-notch hit man. Charles Voyde Harrelson was caught and convicted to two life terms for killing U.S. District Judge John H. Wood in 1979. That is the extent of the coverage in the press.

First of all, hit men like Charles Harrelson do not get hired unless they come with excellent credentials and are  highly recommended by clients. Charles Harrelson had already earned a “rep” for getting the job done and keeping his head down and mouth shut on some previous kills.

There are people reporting that Charles Harrelson earned the honor of a best-in-class hit man in the early ’60s. Before he was convicted for Judge Wood’s killing, he was a contractor for several other successful operations and what made them so successful, no trace to the clients. 

There are reports that Harrelson’s father was one of three “homeless men” arrested on railroad tracks near the “grassy knoll” in Dallas, minutes after of John F. Kennedy’s assassination. They were questioned and released.

The most amazing fact not being reported is that Charles Harrelson openly admitted being involved in the JFK assination. He has made public statemenst about it. So why didn’t Dan Rather or Mike Wallace talk to Mr. Harrelson and find out more about his statements?

Too late now, Harrelson died a few months ago of an apparent heart attack at the Supermax facility in Colorado, he was 69.

Prior to the Wood murder, Charles Harrelson was tried for the 1968 killing of Hearne, Texas grain dealer Sam Degelia in Edinburg, Texas. Harrelson’s attorney was Percy Foreman, who had been counsel for convicted Martin Luther King assassin James Earl Ray. Foreman produced a surprise witness: a nightclub singer who claimed that she had been with Harrelson at the time of the murder. The trial ended in a hung jury: 11 for conviction, one for acquittal.

Harrelson was retried in 1974 in Brownsville, Texas. Texas Ranger Jack Dean, the lead investigator on the Degelia case, was in the courtroom with a perjury arrest warrant for the nightclub singer. But she had learned of it and fled to Aruba. Without the help of her testimony, Harrelson was found guilty and sentenced to 15 years in prison. With time off for good behavior, he was free in five years.

Harrelson has declared and made public statements that he was involved in John F. Kennedy’s assassination. Why would he admit that while trying to appeal his life sentences?

Informants have reported that he was one of the three “tramps” photographed after being arrested on November 22 1963, in a boxcar in the railyard near Dealey Plaza in Dallas. Harrelson’s arresting officer, Marvin L. Wise, claims that the three men in his custody were released after a few hours of questioning. The other arresting officer, David V. Harkness, testified that there were several individuals removed from the train that day other than the three individuals in the photograph. Dallas Police Department documents presented to the public in 1992 indicate that three transients were arrested by Dallas officer W.E. Chambers.

Oliver Stone depicted the arrest of the “tramps” with clean hands and clothes in his docudrama JFK.
One has to wonder what kind of conversations Stone and Woody Harrelson had regarding the Warren Commission findings and Woody’s infamous dad. 

UPDATE:

In Harrelson’s Texas murder trial for killing Sam Degelia the prosecution introduced an eyewitness, Jerry O’Brien Watkins, who at one time had posed as a CIA agent and tried to buy weapons for anti-Castro exiles in Miami, a scam that apparently involved Harrelson. There is good evidence that Harrelson had ties to exiles doing drug and gun smuggling and other serious business in Florida before and after the JFK assassination.

It is clear that between 1960 when Charles Harrelson was arrested for a petty crime in California and the mid-‘60s when he was driving new big luxury cars, living all over the country, and wearing expensive clothes, he did something to get a serious reputation as a contract hit man. It’s also clear that even after his very first arrest he had a strong will to keep his mouth shut and lie about big crimes he had committed.

A blogger named “James” stated, “I have no doubts that the JFK assassination was orchestrated with the use of cutouts (cutouts are individuals involved, but do not know the big picture) to recruit small operating cells. People who circulate in the professional killing business are fully aware of the dangers… These people have to be handled from the time they are recruited for the job, to the time they are tucked safely away. To even be considered for something like the Kennedy hit, you would have had to possess a solid track record, reliability in a crisis, and the ability to keep your mouth shut no matter what. These professionals were tried and tested operators known to the cutouts and known to the plotters.”
–James.

It is a Hollywood script cliché to say that by participating in a high-profile assassination you sign your own death warrant. No one would volunteer to get involved. This fact also helps explain that Lee Harvey Oswald was, as he said, “a patsy” and then silenced by Jack Ruby. Oswald was the perfect patsy. He had been a communist defector, never mind a former U.S. Marine with black ops experience who was let back in the U.S. with no problem, not even a small fine.

Here is a recording from one of the last men alive to know anything about the JFK conspiracy, by E. Howard Hunt. He also died a few months ago of this year. His son Saint John Hunt is finishing a book with his father’s death bed confessions. LBJ had set the assassination plan and helped greatly in its coverup.

The age of objectivity and fair reporting in America is over — MSNBC is disgraced

Who is a Democrat PR talking head and who is a journalist on MSNBC, NBC or CNN? Why stop there? The Washington Post, New York Times, LA Times and SF Chronicle are not investigating economic issues and massive bailouts. What kind of balanced journalism do you think the media performed during the two-year election?

First the gang journalists piled on Hillary, next they covered for Obama and attacked Palin.

MSNBC was the victim of a hoax when it reported that an adviser to John McCain had identified himself as the source of an embarrassing story about former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, the network said Wednesday.

The New York TImes had a reporter rewrite an AP story on the hoax and they spun the story to blame FOX News first with the hoax.  This is called journalism?

MSNBC was the victim of a hoax when it reported that an adviser to John McCain had identified himself as the source of an embarrassing story about former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, the network said Wednesday.

David Shuster, an anchor for the cable news network, said on air Monday that Martin Eisenstadt, “a McCain policy adviser,” had come forth and identified himself as the source of a story saying Palin had mistakenly believed Africa was a country instead of a continent.

Eisenstadt identifies himself on a blog as a senior fellow at the Harding Institute for Freedom and Democracy and “a contributor to FOX News.” Yet neither he nor the institute exist; each is part of a hoax dreamed up by a filmmaker named Eitan Gorlin and his partner, Dan Mirvish, the New York Times reported Wednesday.

The Eisenstadt claim had mistakenly been delivered to Shuster by a producer and was used in a political discussion Monday afternoon, MSNBC said.

“The story was not properly vetted and should not have made air,” said Jeremy Gaines, network spokesman. “We recognized the error almost immediately and ran a correction on air within minutes.”

Gaines told the Times that someone in the network’s newsroom had presumed the information solid because it was passed along in an e-mail from a colleague.

The hoax was limited to the identity of the source in the story about Palin—not the Fox News story itself. While Palin has denied that she mistook Africa for a country, the veracity of that report was not put in question by the revelation that Eisenstadt is a phony.

Eisenstadt’s “work” had been quoted and debunked before. The Huffington Post said it had cited Eisenstadt in July on a story regarding the Hilton family and McCain.

Among the other victims were political blogs for the Los Angeles Times and The New Republic, each of which referenced false material from Eisenstadt’s blog.

“The story was not properly vetted and should not have made air,” said Jeremy Gaines, MSNBC spokesman.

There are plenty of questions that are not asked.

How did Minnesota Democrat Party election officials come up with 500 more votes for the Democrat senate candidate days after the polls closed and none for the Republican candidate?

Why was there a crisis over $150,000 spent on Sarah Palin’s campaign clothing, but no comparison with Hillary’s warehouse of pantsuits or Obama’s Greek columns and semi-truck of suits?

Newspaper and news magazine circulation is dropping. Layoffs continue. (Wait until after January).

Houston, we have a problem. I see dead people voting.

By Mick Gregor

Massive voter fraud by ACORN is sweeping the nation. Much of the spike in registration of new Democrats is coming from these efforts. Even the polls are changed due to sample size adujustments made to match the surge in Democrat voter registration. Sample size is weighted 10 to 25 percent in favor of Democrats before the pollsters make their calls.

More than 1.9 million people are registered to vote in Harris County alone. A TV news team found 4,000 people dead on the voter roles. That’s Houston an island of Democrats in a huge red state.

Now look at Ohio. A man who has come out and spoke about the voter-registration scandal told The New York Post yesterday he was given cash and cigarettes by aggressive ACORN activists in exchange for registering an astonishing 72 times, in a blatant violation of Ohio and federal voter laws.

“Sometimes, they come up and bribe me with a cigarette, or they’ll give me a dollar to sign up,” said Freddie Johnson, 19, who filled out 72 separate voter-registration cards over an 18-month period at the behest of the left-leaning Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN).

Take that into account and add it to Limbaugh’s Operation Chaos that had Republicans switching over to vote for Hillary duriing the primaries and you can see that there is an artificial surge in Democrat registrations. Many states required that you declare you were a Democrat. Legal or intimidation tactic, it didn’t matter, thousands of Republicans switched to defeat Hillary.

Investigative reporter Amy Davis on Houston’s Local 2 reported how hundreds of voters could sway this year’s election — voters who are not even alive.

“All-in-all, a great person, a great woman, just a wonderful person” is how Alexis Guidry described her mother to Local 2 Investigates.

“As far back as I can remember, they’ve always voted in the election,” Guidry said of her parents.

The March 2008 Primary was no exception. Voting records show Alexis’ mom, Gloria Guidry, cast her ballot in person near her South Houston home.

“It was just very shocking, a little unsettling,” said Alexis Guidry.

It’s unsettling because Gloria Guidry died of cancer 10 months before the March Primary.

“She’d be very upset,” Guidry said when asked what her mom would think.

Trent Seibert, of Texas Watchdog, says you should be too.

“This is really disquieting. It’s concerning. It’s worrisome,” said Seibert.

He heads up the non-partisan news group on the web.

Texas Watchdog compared Harris County’s voter registration roll with the Social Security death index and found more than 4,000 matches — registered voters that, it appears, are already dead.

Harris County is overwhelming Democratic as are most big urban areas. Houston is the fourth largest city in the U.S. and has a popular Democrat as mayor, Bill White.

Some of them, like Henderson Hill’s late wife Linda, voted postmortem.

“I would like to know who did it, myself,” Hill told Davis.

We don’t know who used Linda Hill’s or Gloria Guidry’s IDs to vote, but we do know if their names had been purged from voter rolls after they died, using their IDs wouldn’t have worked.

“This is a red flag. No matter where you are, this should set off alarm bells,” Seibert said. “Someone needs to take a look at this.”

“We just kind of work with the systems that we’re allowed to,” explained George Hammerlein, the director of Harris County Voter Registration.

The county’s system for culling deceased voters from the roll seems painfully primitive.

We watched employees clip obituaries from the newspaper and sort through probate records for names matching those on the roll. But, Hammerlein says while fraud is a concern, for his office, disenfranchising voters is a bigger one.

“We do all we can, but you know we’d rather err on the side of leaving people on the roll instead of taking them off inadvertently,” he said. But could that cautious “better safe than sorry” standard sway an election some say will be a close one?

Texas Watchdog found 4,462 registered voters who appear to be deceased.

“We’ve never had any evidence there’s a concerted attempt at fraud,” Hammerlein told Local 2. But there is evidence the state agency in charge of ensuring only eligible voters can vote is not.

The State Auditor’s Office conducted an audit of the voter registration system at the Secretary of State’s Office last November.

Auditors identified 49,049 registered voters state-wide who may have been ineligible to vote. Approximately 23,576 may have been deceased and another 23,114 were possible felons. And they found more than 2,359 duplicate records.

The auditor did not find any instances in which potentially ineligible voters actually voted, but they wrote, “Although the Secretary of State’s office has processes to identify many ineligible voters and remove them from the State’s voter registration list, improvements can be made.”

Almost a year after this audit, we wanted to know if the Secretary of State has made any improvements. Have they added any safeguards to the process?

No one from that office would talk to us on camera, but the Director of Elections told us, “We’d rather err in leaving someone on the roll than taking someone off.”

“If there’s something wrong here, if there’s something amiss, this is the worst election to have that happen, “Seibert warned. And Guidry agrees. “I don’t think it’s a matter that she would take lightly,” she said of her mom.

In what she calls an historic election, Guidry says her mother wouldn’t want anyone speaking for her.

“I think she would definitely do all that she could just to make sure things were on the up and up.”

We sent the information we showed you to the Director of Elections in Austin. She said her office refers any credible allegation of election fraud to the Attorney General for investigation. She said the cases we presented would be felony violations.

Visit www.texaswatchdog.org for more information about how Texas Watchdog found dead voters on the rolls.

Reports of voter fraud by liberal groups could change election results
Michelle Malkin calls this wave of fraud a “radical revolution”
that is “taking place in your backyard.”

And much of these efforts are funded by your tax dollars!

The radical group ACORN – which gets 40 percent of its funding
from you and me through taxes — has registered 1.27 million voters and now
is being exposed for fraudulent practices. The other 60 percent comes from the Democrat Party.

We are watching a constitutional crisis.

Despised San Francisco attorneys in dog-mauling death of their neighbor Diane Whipple are liberal Democrats

UPDATE: Sept. 22, 2008

A judge has sentenced a dog owner to 15 years to life in prison, seven years after her canines fatally mauled her neighbor in an upscale San Francisco neighborhood.A judge had reduced a jury’s conviction of second-degree murder to involuntary manslaughter and Marjorie Knoller was sentenced in 2002 to four years in prison.

But the California Supreme Court last year ordered the second-degree murder conviction reinstated. She was sentenced on that conviction Monday. Knoller’s lawyers plan to appeal.

The conviction stemmed from the 2001 death of Dianne Whipple. She was attacked by Knoller’s two Presa Canarios in a hallway of their apartment building. Each dog weighed more than 100 pounds and inflicted at least 77 wounds.

Here are some details that you may have missed becuase of the media coverups:

The case of the San Francisco dog owners who kept a killer bull mastiff in an apartment are Democrat activists. You might remember this grusome case: Marjorie Knoller was convicted of second-degree murder in the dog-mauling death of her neighbor Diane Whipple. Her husband, Robert Noel was convicted of a lesser charge because he wasn’t at the scene when the killing took place. Both lawyers were and remain active Democrats and also were ‘friends’ of a felon in prison, a member of the Aryan Brotherhood. The case came up again because a liberal judge cleared the Democrat fundraisers of the serious charges. Here is the rest of the story:

By Mick Gregory

The case of Knoller and her husband Robert Noel attracted worldwide media attention, but many of the unique details of the case were filtered out by the press. Did you know they were Democrat activists? They even had witnesses testify to that in their defense, they hate Republicans. (That makes it OK to have killer dogs the size and temperment of lions in a city apartment that end up tearing the throat out of a young woman). They hate Bush and Cheney!

When liberal and openly gay San Francisco Superior Court Judge James Warren threw out Marjorie Knoller’s second-degree murder conviction for the dog-mauling death of her neighbor Diane Whipple, the judge justified his controversial decision by explaining that Knoller did not know her conduct had a “high probability of death to another human being.”

More history on Warren: he is the son of the famous JFK assassination coverup, Earl Warren of the Warren Commission. Two death-bed confessions early this year have brought to light that that VP Lyndon Johnson was behind the assassination. But that is a story for another time.

Knoller and Noel were keeping the two massive dogs for Paul Schneider, a life inmate and member of the Aryan Brotherhood prison gang who bred and sold the Presa Canarios using people outside the prison. The couple later adopted Schneider, then 39 years old. And Mrs. Knoller was having sex with him on prison visits.

Days after the attack, Knoller appeared on “Good Morning America” and showed no remorse. Noel also publicly insulted San Francisco’s then-DA Terence Hallinan and partly blamed Whipple for the attack.

There were sex pictures of the cute couple and their adopted son and news reports of thier anti-Bush activisim. The “journalists” scrubbed that out of their reports. Continue reading

Gary Pruitt to get the boot from the Titanic of newspaper failures. McClatchy is a case study in ignorance

CEO Gary Pruitt of the McClatchy News Inc. (mainly newspapers) has made it on Jim Cramer’s Wall of Shame, and Cramer cited MNI’s disastrous acquisition of Knight-Ridder which brought the stock down 82% as the reason for this special honor. The newspaper had been a well-run operation, but Cramer said the acquisition was among the worst he has ever seen. In addition, advertising revenue dropped 16% after subsequent declines. McClatchy has a history of making losing acquisitions, including the Minneapolis Star in 1998. Not only did Cramer give Pruitt a special place on the Wall of Shame, he gave him the middle name “Schemp” after the inept sidekick of the Three Stooges.

Pruitt may be looking for a job on the Obama campaign. The McClatchy family unanimously voted him off the board of directors on Tuesday.

McClatchy stock has crashed to less than a gallon of gas, about $3.20. There is no more wiggle room for stock offers. The stock smells like an old fish wrapped in the Sacramento Bee.

Continue reading

McCain picks Sarah Palin! McCain picks Palin! The Energy to Run America!

Published on Aug 29, 2008 

Sen. John McCain has taken center stage the day after Obama’s coronation at the Democrat Convention by announcing his VP at high noon. It’s Sarah Palin she has it all, good looks right out of central casting, intelligent speaker, family values and governor of Alaska. She is an environmentalist and understands drilling for oil is a must for U.S. energy independence.

She has positive energy and wit. She will be able to out debate Biden and show that the Republicans trust a women for high office. She has a  real life, not a life-long  politician like Biden and so many other Big Brother Democrats. 

The mother of five is an avid runner. Here is an article from the WSJ in September:

WSJ. Magazine
Gov. Sarah Palin: Midnight runs and caribou dinners

Coming Saturday Sept. 6 in the debut issue of WSJ. Magazine, a conversation with Gov. Sarah Palin about her unusual workout and fitness routine. Preview excerpt
By JEN MURPHY
August 29, 2008 1:42 p.m.
[sarah palin]
Brian Adams for WSJ. Magazine

Gov. Sarah Palin has always been a runner. Her parents were marathoners and high school track and cross-country coaches. “Running was a family affair,” she says. “I didn’t have much choice. Thankfully, I’ve never tired of it.”

Gov. Palin, a mother of five kids, says exercise is still very much a “family thing.” She and her husband, Todd, also an athlete, named their first son Track because he was born in that sport’s season. Gov. Palin (above, near Mendenhall Glacier, outside of Juneau) and her family live in Wasilla, about 45 miles north of Anchorage.

Workout

“Conventional running is my sanity,” Gov. Palin says. Having recently given birth to her fifth child, the governor is trying to get back to her old workout routine. She was running 7 to 10 miles almost every day but switched to aerobics classes at her gym when she became pregnant. She has worked her way back up to running three miles every other day.

In the summer, when it’s always light, she’ll sometimes run as late as midnight. In the dead of winter, when it’s dark, she sneaks in an afternoon run, or else grudgingly runs on the treadmill at home or at the gym in the evening. Gov. Palin keeps dumbbells at home, but she says most of her upper body strength comes from snowmobiling with her family. “It’s the best upper body workout you could ever have,” she says. “You’re maneuvering through hundreds of pounds of powder.” (Todd is a four-time champion of the Tesoro Iron Dog, the world’s longest snowmobile race.)

[sarah palin]
Brian Adams for WSJ. Magazine
Gov. Palin in Juneau, Alaska

Diet pitfall

“My family and I eat a healthy diet heavy in wild Alaskan seafood, moose, caribou and fresh fruit,” she says. “I guess my biggest pitfall is breakfast. I know it’s the most important meal of the day but I still haven’t bought into it. I hate to admit it, but a skinny white-chocolate mocha is my staple in the morning.”

Workout gear

“My ideal fantasy is to be running on a hot dusty road just wearing running shorts and some kind of top that wicks away sweat. But in reality I’m running in 20-below temperatures, so I wear layers of fleece and always a good outdoor waterproof trail shoe. Right now I’ve been running in Nike Air Structure Triax. And I always wear sunglasses. My kids tell me to put them on so I don’t freak people out when they see me with a goofy hairdo and no makeup.”

While I’m working out

“I’m thinking about my next speech. I usually write my best speeches and letters [in my head] while out running. That is my inspired time.”

Postworkout food

“Nothing. I just drink water.”

Workout pitfall

“Being pregnant every few years. If I get lazy and go weeks or months without exercising it’s not because of circumstances but because I’m being less disciplined. Shame on me.”

Visit http://palinforvp.blogspot.com/

Drill here, drill now!

Sarah Palin

Sarah Palin

Newspapers send thousands to ‘cover’ the Democrat National Convention

This is called journalism? Thousands of newspaper reporters are in Denver to “cover” the party and coronation of the Obama/Biden ticket.

In fact, 15,000 “journalists” are flocking around the DNC convention. For the Republican convention? Not so much.

Did you know that several of the Democrat delegates are reporters and publishers?

Here is one. I’m not kidding. His name is Thomas Martinet.

It’s all rehearsed, fluffed up press conferences, electronic press releases and speeches read off teleprompters on unity and “toned down” socialism with a mix of religion and race thrown in. And the press laps it up. Of course, more than 90 percent vote exclusively for Democrats. This is amazing considering they have no problem picking up stories from wire services for most of their other news.

Meanwhile, back at the dilapidated newspapers, they continue to cut jobs to try and slow the red ink. How could they afford to send reporters to Denver? I wonder how many of the schmucks are on their own dime. It’s like their visit to Mecca every four years. The reporters are among old friends who still believe they have power.

Is there ever a report of the fall off in the number of reporters at the Republican convention? How about questions on how many houses John Kerry owned? Or a question on Obama’s life in Chicago and Hawaii while his brother lives on a dollar a month in shack in Africa?

This report is one of the best I’ve seen on the state of newspapers. It comes from digitaldeliverance.com.

Ignorance isn’t bliss to the dying. Witness the pathos of American daily newspaper companies. Most have finally begun to realize that the deterioration of their businesses isn’t cyclical but grave. Yet few, if any, understand why. Almost all grasp for the reasons.

Some attribute their grave condition to advertisers suddenly switching huge portions of spending from print to online – an excuse that ignores more than 30 years of declines in those newspapers’ printed editions’ circulations and readerships. Some others attribute their deterioration to not having transplanted their content into online quickly enough -an excuse that ignores not only the dozen years they’ve spent transplanting it but how their online editions are now read even less frequently and less thoroughly than their printed editions.

Most of the print newspaper experts who diagnose these companies’ condition still prescribe stale nostrums such as more consumer focus groups, subscription price incentives, more stylish typography, or shorter stories. Meanwhile, most of the experts who diagnose these companies’ Web sites prescribe balms and accessories such as giving blogs to reporters, adding video, or having the readers themselves report the stories. American daily newspaper companies have long been too financially impatient to submit themselves to anything but ostensibly quick cures and they’ve even longer been too conceptually myopic to perceive the real reasons for their declines.

I’ll declare the real reasons. There are but two and neither has anything to do with multimedia, ‘convergence’, blogs, ‘Web 2.0’, ‘citizen journalism,’ or any ancillary topics you may have heard presented at New Media conferences this millennium.

Nor is either of the real reasons advertisers’ abandonment of printed newspapers. Their abandonment is a symptom, not the reason for the decline. To understand the real reasons why the American daily newspaper industry is dying, first understand why more and more Americans are no longer reading daily papers and how their abandonment of newspapers has been wrought by changes in their own media economics. Also comprehend why the epicenter of the newspaper industry’s problems in post-Industrial countries is America and exactly how grave the situation is there.

The Fate of American Daily Newspapers
More than half of the 1,439 daily newspapers in the United States won’t exist in print, e-paper, or Web site formats by the end of next decade. They will go out of business. The few national dailies — namely USA Today, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal — will have diminished but continuing existences via the Web and e-paper, but not in print. The first dailies to expire will be the regional dailies, which have already begun to implode. Those plus a very many smaller dailies, most of whose circulations are steadily evaporating, will decline to levels at which they will no longer be economically viable to publish daily. Further layoffs of staffs by those newspapers’ companies cannot avoid this fate – not so long as daily circulations and readerships continually and increasingly decline. (Layoffs are becoming little more than the remedy of bleeding that was used in attempts to cure ill patients during the 18th Century and cannot restore the industry’s health.)

‘Hyperlocal’ news startup companies, whose services will be delivered not on newsprint but online, might replace many small dailies, but not most, and certainly not before the printed products’ demise. The deaths of large numbers of daily newspapers in the U.S. won’t cause a new Dark Age but will certainly cause a ‘Gray Age’ for American journalism during the next decade. Much local and regional news won’t see the light of publication. (America alone won’t suffer this calamity. Many other post-Industrial countries’ newspaper industries will suffer or, at best, skirt a version of this disaster.)

Is the Situation Really That Bad? Yes. Look at the numbers.

Last year, the most authoritative newsletter covering the American newspaper industry intentionally went out of business. The Morton-Groves Newspaper Newsletter, in a front page editorial entitled ‘Passing the Inflection Point,’ co-publisher Miles Grove, the former chief economist of the Newspaper Association of America, politely stated:

“The market momentum guiding the future of newspapers is especially brutal in the larger markets. Many have already passed the point of opportunity as it is too late for newspapers that have not successfully adopted marketing practices needed to support the core product and integrate with alternative distribution channels …For those who have not made the transition, technology and market factors may be too strong to enable success.”

Last month, Goldman Sachs equity analyst Peter Appert put it more bluntly in a Reuters in a story about the dwindling number of equity analysts who still covering the deterioration of this $40 billion industry:

“If I covered only the newspaper industry, first of all I would have been fired a long time ago; secondly, I would have had to kill myself.”

Among the largest American newspaper companies, the losses of equity have been titanic. On the August day in when I write this, stock in the Journal Register Companyis trading for less than four pennies per share, down from $3.25 a year ago, a loss of 99 percent. Any of the buildings housing any of its 22 daily newspapers is worth more than the company’s current stock market capitalization (currently $1.4 million). Journal Register reports that it has $77 million in assets, $719 million in liabilities, and lost $102 million last year. Standard & Poor’s, which downgraded its rating of Journal Register’s stock to junk, has now withdrawn any rating of it. Meanwhile, stock in Gatehouse Media, which publishes 97 dailies, is trading at 57 pennies per share, down from $22.00 two years ago, a 97 percent loss. That company faces delisting by the New York Stock Exchange and the equity research firm Morningstar this week declared its stock to be essentially worthless, valuing the fair price as zero.

Meanwhile, stock in the McClatchy Company, which publishers 30 dailies, has dropped from $74.30 three years ago to $3.78, a 95 percent loss. Stock in Lee Enterprises, which publishes 51 dailies, has dropped from $48.57 to $3.83, a 92 percent loss during the past four years. Media General, which publishes 25 dailies, has seen its stock price drop 83 percent in the past four years. Stock of The New York Times Company, which publishes 17 dailies, has dropped 75 percent during the past six years, from $51.50 to $12.98. Stock in Gannett Company, which publishes 85 dailies, has dropped 65 percent, from $90.14 to $17.40, during the past four years. Despite these results, Morningstar still calls newspapers, “the market’s most overvalued stocks,” according to the newspaper industry trade journal, Editor & Publisher.

The American newspaper industry’s losses of advertising revenues have been so well reported elsewhere that I see no need to outline those here. Likewise the industry’s losses of weekday and Sunday circulations, except that the industry maintains the façade that its overall circulation losses during the past three decades have been relatively minor. Weekday overall circulation was 62 million in 1970, dropped to 55.8 million at the turn of the century, and is approximately 53 million today. An overall loss of 9 million or 14.5% isn’t paltry but doesn’t seem that bad in the span of 38 years.

However, those absolute numbers fail to account for population growth during that time. The American population was 203 million in 1970 and 304 million today. Had the American daily newspaper industry at least kept pace with population growth, its weekday circulation should be 93 million today, not 53 million. The industry’s weekday penetration proportionate to population dropped from 30.5 percent 1970s to 17.4 percent to today, a relative decline of 43 percent.

To combat news of these declines, the industry has stretching its yardstick of readership plus begun conflating daily print circulation and monthlyonline usage. Its readership estimates vary from 2.3 people to 2.5 people per printed copy, numbers which, if true, would also mean that the majority of people who read a daily newspaper don’t themselves purchase it. More likely, the industry is stretching readership to mean the number of people who might live in a household where at least one person happened to buy or subscribe to a newspaper. But the other 1.3 to 1.5 people haven’t necessarily read it.

An independent survey released this month by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press reported that 46 percent of Americans a newspaper ‘regularly‘, down from 52 percent two years ago and as high as of 71 percent in 1992. Moreover, only 34 percent say they read a newspaper ‘yesterday‘, down from 40 percent two years ago.

Meanwhile, the industry has begun combining its Web sites’ total number of monthly users and its printed editions’ daily circulation totals – even though the average monthly unique user of the average American daily newspaper Web site use the site on only four to seven days per month. The resulting muddle of daily and monthly vastly overstates the number of people who use a newspaper daily, whether in print or online.

Despite those financial, advertising, circulation, and readership declines, an article of faith among newspaper companies has become that the cure lay online. The most widely prescribed remedies are multimedia (also called ‘convergence’) and interactivity (mainly in forms of ‘Web 2.0’ and ‘citizen journalism’). The companies hope that adding those attributes to what their newspapers have always done will reverse their industry’s fate.

Yet adding multimedia, convergence, interactivity, Web 2.0, and ‘citizen journalism’ to what their newspapers have always done aren’t cures but merely balms and accessories. No matter how well intentioned those New Media prescriptions are, no matter how much more animated or responsive multimedia and interactivity can make daily newspapers, adding those will prove to be little more than analgesics.

The absences of multimedia or interactivity aren’t why the circulations and readerships of American daily newspapers have been declining in relation to both population and households for more than three decades. Half of American newspapers’ declines in weekday circulation and readership relative to population occurred before the Internet opened to the public in late 1991, prior to popular awareness of interactivity or multimedia. Although Americans nowadays expect all media to have multimedia and interactive attributes, the absence of those attributes clearly aren’t the major causes of the deterioration of the newspaper industry nor will adding those reverse those declines.

So, what are the two reasons why the American daily newspaper industry’s is dying?

The major one is simply that American newspaper companies have violated a specific part of the Principle of Supply & Demand when consumers’ supply of news and information radically changed in the past 15 to 30 years. The other and more reasons why American newspapers are dying is because of how far too many of them have deviated from their local roots).

The major reason alone is a mortal wound for the industry, but the minor reason exacerbated it due to a corollary effect of newspapers’ violation of a Principle of Supply & Demand.

The editor-managed newspapers are a prime example of sad bastards.

Bump from Biden. Not so much.

Pew, NYT, Gallup, Rasmussen, CNN, CNBC and Huffington Post are all scrambling to get a poll out showing a spike in support for their Obama/Biden dream ticket. But so far, silence. That means no bump. Hillary still has a chance in Denver next week.

In fact, Gallup shows McCain up! Can Hillary do anything about it?

It’s official: Barack Obama has received no bounce in voter support out of his selection of Sen. Joe Biden to be his vice presidential running mate.

Gallup Poll Daily tracking from Aug. 23-25, the first three-day period falling entirely after Obama’s Saturday morning vice presidential announcement, shows 46% of national registered voters backing John McCain and 44% supporting Obama, not appreciably different from the previous week’s standing for both candidates. This is the first time since Obama clinched the nomination in early June, though, that McCain has held any kind of advantage over Obama in Gallup Poll Daily tracking.

Obama picks Hillary! Obama picks Hillary! Not!


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Update: It’s Biden. Who said Democrats couldn’t keep a secret?

Obama didn’t want Hillary Clinton and the machine around him for the rest of his life. Can you blame him? Wouldn’t you rather shoot the breeze with Joe Biden? Sure.

By Mick Gregory

With McCain’s lopsided win in the debate held by Rev. Warren in California, the DNC leadership are in a panic. They will try and force Obama to pick Hillary as his running mate.

That’s my prediction. We’ll have to see if Hillary wants to chance it with this stalled campaign. Maybe there is so much worry, that Hillary will get the nomination in Denver. Obama has to nip it in the bud and name Hillary his VP before the revolt takes over the convention and makes Hillary the candidate and Obama has to settle for Veep.

Ralph Nader agrees with me.

“He just has to swallow hard and do what JFK did” in picking rival Lyndon Johnson in 1960, said the liberal activist and maverick presidential candidate.

According to Nader’s logic, Obama may dislike Hillary, but will conclude he has no choice but to get over it if he hopes to leave next week’s convention in Denver with a unified party and a decent shot against John McCain in the fall: “The polls show 25 percent of her supporters have not gotten on board.”

“He’s got to be very concerned by the [neck-and-neck] polls and by what happened at Saddleback,” added Nader, referring to the recent candidates forum hosted by evangelist Rick Warren. “He got beat in Saddleback—big time.”

Nader said his own sources—and, to be blunt, they sound a bit sketchy—lead him to believe that Clinton remains in serious consideration. A friend, he said, recently saw Clinton family intimate Vernon Jordan on Martha’s Vineyard and reported the “usually very effusive” Jordan to be suspiciously “tight-lipped.”

It was only in May that Sen. Barack Obama cockily proclaimed he would debate Sen. John McCain “anywhere, anytime.” But in June, Obama said no to McCain’s challenge to have 10 one-on-one town hall meetings

— ibdeditorials.com.

After what happened at Lake Forest, Calif.’s evangelical Saddleback last Saturday evening, we may have found that debating is Obama’s Achilles’ heel. Whether or not you like the idea of such events being held in religious venues, the plain-and-simple method of questioning used by Saddleback pastor and best-selling author Rick Warren revealed fundamental differences between these two men.

“It’s one of those situations where the devil is in the details,” Obama said at one point. He could have been referring to his own oratorical shortcomings when a teleprompter is unavailable. We learned a lot more about the real Obama at Saddleback than we will next week as he delivers his acceptance speech in Denver before a massive stadium crowd.

The stark differences between the two came through the most on the question of whether there is evil in the world. Obama spoke of evil within America, “in parents who have viciously abused their children.” According to the Democrat, we can’t really erase evil in the world because “that is God’s task.” And we have to “have some humility in how we approach the issue of confronting evil.”

For McCain, with a global war on terror raging, there was no equivocating: We must “defeat” evil. If al-Qaida’s placing of suicide vests on mentally-disabled women and then blowing them up by remote control in a Baghdad market isn’t evil, he asked: “You have to tell me what is.”

Asked to name figures he would rely on for advice, Obama gave the stock answer of family members. McCain pointed to Gen. David Petraeus, Iraq’s scourge of the surge; Democratic Rep. John Lewis, who “had his skull fractured” by white racists while protesting for civil rights in the 60s; plus Internet entrepreneur Meg Whitman, the innovative former CEO of eBay.

When Warren inquired into changes of mind on big issues, Obama fretted about welfare reform; McCain unashamedly said “drilling” — for reasons of national security and economic need.

On taxes, Obama waxed political: “What I’m trying to do is create a sense of balance and fairness in our tax code.” McCain showed an understanding of what drives a free economy: “I don’t want to take any money from the rich. I want everybody to get rich. I don’t believe in class warfare or redistribution of the wealth.”

To any honest observer, the differences between John McCain and Barack Obama have been evident all along. What we saw last weekend was Obama’s shallowness juxtaposed with McCain’s depth, the product of his extraordinary life experience.

It may not have been a debate, but it was one of the most lopsided political contests in memory. — iht.com

I have to agree, this was the most lopsided debate win I’ve seen in my life.

I can’t wait to see a few debates. I know there will be only two or three now. And the Democrats will have to try and put the fix in with the “right” kind of journalists asking the questions.

Covering Rielle Hunter and John Edwards was ‘not up to our level of journalism’

The News & Observer editor John Drescher said “We reported aggressively but used restraint when it came to publication.

WTF? Reporting without publishing is not reporting at all. Reminds me of the coverage the News & Observer gave the Duke LaCross team. Both stories will go down in history for showing that the Democrat rags slanted coverage against the college students of a great university in favor of an “exotic dancer” and known drug abuser backed by the local Democrat machine and DA Mike Nifong, to win votes from racists. This is also John Edwards’ home town newspaper.

No problem printing a story about “Office” star Kelly Kapoor spilling over. Right. We get it. It’s getting a little nipply out here.

The public has caught on to the agenda. That’s why the Web is crushing the corrupt newspaper editors Rielle Hunter is aka as Rielly Hunter.

Democrat John Edwards is finished politically. Rielly Hunter is behind him 100%

John Edwards has been having an affair with a female staff member, Rielly Hunter, at the same time he was using his dying wife, Elizabeth Edward’s cancer, as a campaign ploy to win sympathy votes. Even more ironic, it is now evident Edwards accepted a “Father of the Year” on about the day of conception of his love child.

THIS JUST IN: Edwards admits to the affair on “Nightline” tonight. She was never a film maker, but paid $100,000 for her “services.”

Is that legal? Not by Republican Congressional rules.

Now we now that Democrat pretty boy has been paying money to keep Miss Hunter quiet. She has been living in Santa Barbara while raising her child.

Are they waiting for Mrs. Edwards to die?

Why did Edwards visit Ms. Hunter at the posh Beverly Hills Hotel?

The Washington Post and New York Times preach affirmative action for every other organization, but they don’t practice it

The New York Times is a daily promotional newsletter for the elite liberals and Democrat party. The  high paying positions are filled by family members and friends from the inner circle of the Democrat party.  A former speech writer for Bill Clinton rejected an Op-Ed letter from John McCain, while printing Obama’s letter in full the week before.

Take a look at the CEO, publisher and executive editor positions at the New York Times. It’s all in the family. And one of the biggest jokes on Wall Street, their stock is like the Democrat’s super delegates, the Sulzberger family has voting rights while all the other stockholders do not. That assures that Pinch Sulzberger stays highly paid as CEO and publisher of the crumbling empire. Pinchy gets to travel to Devos, Switzerland to discuss economic issues on the non-voting stock holders’ dime. (Devos is one of the most expensive resorts in the world).

Why isn’t the NYT practicing affirmative action? Appoint Jessie Jackson or Al Sharpton as publisher or at least on the board of directors.  Practice what you preach, affirmative action where it counts.

“We are delighted that these two exceptional individuals have agreed to be nominees for election by our shareholders,” the company’s chairman, Arthur Sulzberger Jr., said in a press release sday announcing the news. “The skills, expertise and leadership qualities of these two nominees will greatly benefit our Company during this time of tremendous change in the media world.”
One new director,  Dawn Lepore, served as a director of Wal-Mart from 2001 to 2004. While Ms. Lepore was serving as a Wal-Mart director, along side Hillary Clinton, the Times was denouncing Wal-Mart for a series of supposed sins.  The other  director is from “Big Oil.” Google it if you don’t believe me.

 The Washington Post created a media group and a high paying job for family member Katharine Weymouth, part of the Graham family. Weymouth is the niece of CEO Donald Graham.

A new generation of the Graham family  is taking a lead role. Katharine Weymouth, niece of chairman and CEO Donald Graham, has been appointed CEO of Washington Post Media, a new unit that includes the paper and Washingtonpost.Newsweek Interactive. This should bring the business sides closer together, perhaps even integrating them, but the newsrooms will remain distinct.

She also becomes the fifth member of the Graham family to serve as publisher, returning the family to that post as she succeeds Boisfeuillet Jones, Jr.; he is now vice chairman of the company and chairman of the Washington Post (NYSE: WPO).

The Washington Post is actually getting some heat for its elite liberal act.

Washington Post Metro reporter Robert Pierre  said it’s “unconscionable” that the paper would devote a year and 12 chapters to the murder of a white woman — Chandra Levy — when around 200 people per year are murdered in DC — most of them black males. “I personally hope that people march on the paper and throw the papers back,” he says. “It is absolutely absurd and dare I say, racist, at its core.”

Let’s see Obama’s plans on issues such as ‘free health care’ for everyone

The Democrats have done a good job with high minded sounding goals such as “free or universal health care for all Americans.” Question: who do these politicians think are Americans? Are illegal immigrants Americans? Do we have mainstream reporters who will ask Sen. Obama? Where is the money going to come from to pay for 30 million illegals’ health care?

What percentage of illegal immigrants carry auto insurance, let alone health insurance?

Obama has said, proudly and often, “I am going to give health insurance to 47 million Americans who are now without coverage.” But are they “Americans?”That 47 million statistic includes illegal immigrants – who virtually all lack insurance. In fact, about one in four of those lacking insurance is here illegally. And they are, by far, the group most in need of health insurance. — Reported by Dick Morris.

“We can’t drill our way out of the energy crisis.” We can’t? Why not try? Most of the U.S. coastline has not been explored. Wouldn’t it be better for every U.S. citizen if there was more enegry coming to market? What are Americans going to do with their 100 million cars sell them to third world countries as we convert overnight to minielectric carts at $30,000 per auto? Where are the factories putting out millions of batteries? What kind of footprint will those tons of batteries have on the evnironment? What is the realistic timeline?


The land of the freebies.

Covering millions of poor illegal families with free healthcare will bust our system. And would encourage more poor to enter America illegally. Within a few more years of this mass migration to the land of the freebies, and the U.S. will become a failed state.

Oil at $8 per gallon will shut down the system. People won’t be able to afford to go to work.

I can’t help but think many Democrats are looking forward to that.

The kings of oil increasing production to 10 million barrels a day

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest oil exporter, is planning to increase its output next month by about a half-million barrels of oil a day of its light, sweet crude oil, according to analysts and oil traders who have been informed by Saudi officials. This announcement alone, plus the Republican party political movement called “Drill Here — Drill Now!” is making it into the media. 

The increase could bring Saudi output to a production level of 10 million barrels a day, which, if sustained, would be the kingdom’s highest performance level in history. The move was seen as a sign that the Saudis are becoming increasingly nervous about both the political and economic effect of high oil prices. In recent weeks, soaring fuel costs have incited demonstrations and protests from Italy to Indonesia.

Saudi Arabia is currently pumping 9.45 million barrels a day, which is an increase of about 300,000 barrels from last month.

The Saudis are concerned that today’s record prices might eventually damp economic growth and lead to lower oil demand, as is already happening in the United States and other developed countries. The current prices are also making alternative fuels more viable, threatening the long-term prospects of the oil-based economy. The high prices have also made it profitable to stimulate mature oil wells in Texas and California. 

President Bush visited Saudi Arabia twice this year, pleading with King Abdullah to step up production. While the Saudis resisted the calls then, arguing that the markets were well supplied, they seem to have since concluded that they needed to disrupt the momentum that has been building in commodity markets, sending prices higher. That creates panic. There seems to be no end in sight. 

The Saudi plans were disclosed in interviews with several oil traders and analysts who said that Saudi oil officials had privately conveyed their production plans recently to some traders and companies in the United States. The analysts declined to be identified so as not to be cut off from future information from the Saudis.

Last week, King Abdullah also took the unprecedented step of arranging on short notice a major gathering of oil producers and consumers to address the causes of the price rally. The meeting will be held on June 22 in the Red Sea town of Jeddah.

Oil prices have gained 40 percent this year, rising to nearly $140 a barrel in recent days and driving gasoline costs above $4 a gallon. Some analysts have predicted that prices could reach $200 a barrel this year as oil consumption continues to rise rapidly while supplies lag.

The growing volatility of the markets, including a record one-day gain of $10.75 a barrel last week, has persuaded the Saudis that they need to step in, analysts said. The Saudis and Republicans are the only groups trying to lower the price of crude. But you won’t read that in your mainstream newspaper on watch it on NBC. 

Did you know…

Until recently, only 35 percent of oil has been extracted from reservoirs. Oil resides in porous rock formations, it is not in the sate of underground pools as many consumers believe. Today, oil companies such as Chevron, Shell,  Halliburton and Schlumberger, have developed stimulation methods to revive mature wells. There are fracturing and perforating techniques, 3-D seismic methods to clearly see trapped reservers that have been missed by the original well. There are now, steerable drill bits that can capture those trapped oil reserves and pinpoint stimulation on targeted areas. 

–Mick Gregory

Informant found shot to death in his home before he could testify.

An informant in the Dallas suburb of Plano who threatened to out police officers and members of the Dallas Cowboys and New Orleans Saints  was found shot to death in his home this morning (June 5), making him the second steroid dealer/informant killed this year before he could testify against law enforcement. Reported Jason Trahan at the Dallas News (“Convicted steroid dealer David Jacobs found dead in Plano home,” June 5)

Convicted steroids dealer David Jacobs, who recently agreed to tell the NFL which football players received banned substances he manufactured, was found dead in his Plano home this morning.

The body of a woman identified as Amanda Jo Earhart-Savell, 30, and a gun were also found at the home.

About 11:30 a.m., four men in ski masks and raid jackets with “police” on the back — indicating they may be undercover narcotics officers — arrived at the busy scene and entered the home with a cart to carry documents.

The Dallas Morning News spoke to Mr. Jacobs frequently and exchanged e-mails with him as recently as this weekend. He was interested in getting on with his life after accepting a plea deal for three years of probation on charges related to his steroids trafficking.

Mr. Jacobs said he wanted to rebuild his nutritional supplement business, but he was having trouble getting his old client base to work with him. He also was having financial problems, but the former Marine seemed to be in good spirits.

Jacobs claimed to have sold steroids to officers from the Garland, Richardson, Dallas, Arlington, and Plano police departments as well as to members of the Dallas Cowboys and New Orleans Saints.

Why didn’t he just hang himself like the DC madam and one of her escorts?

Will the FBI be called in? He was just a disgruntled drug dealer. Maybe he made his suicide look like murder?

Five of America’s top energy company executives called before Congress. Where is Citgo?

Five U.S. oil company executives are scheduled to “testify” at the Capitol on Tuesday about soaring crude oil prices and prices at the gas pump of over $3.20 per gallon.

Why wasn’t Citgo invited to the interrogations? What is the profit margin for the energy companies? It is 8 percent. That’s about half of the New York Times, LA Times and Houston Chronicle’s profit margins.

By Mick Gregory

Executives from the three biggest U.S.-based oil companies — Exxon Mobil, Chevron Corp and ConocoPhillips will attend, as well as U.S. representatives of BP and Royal Dutch Shell.

With accusatory questions expected from Democrats on the panel, oil executives will have to simply point to U.S. crude oil prices, which have skyrocketed from below $20 per barrel in early 2002 to a record $111.80 a barrel earlier this month. Approximately 44 gallons of gasoline are in one barrel. Heavy sour crude oil takes more processing expense to produce the equivalent in light, sweet crude.

“Gasoline and diesel prices are being set in what we consider to be a crude-driven market,” said Red Cavaney, president of the American Petroleum Institute, which lobbies on behalf of big U.S. oil companies.

A good question to ask is why not Citgo? How can an OPEC member be trading and pumping up prices on the New York Mercantile exchange while being members of a cartel that benefits from raising the price of crude?

Do the Democrats have a basic understanding of business and markets?

How about leasing exploritory drilling in Alaska and off shore? More supply lowers demand and price. It’s simple Eco 101.

Will Hillary or Obama chime in? This could be good. Will the famous Democrat from California speak up, Henry Waxman?

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Mainstream media didn’t hide the housing bubble — They didn’t see it. They were too busy writing puff pieces on celebrities making millions on their mansions

Mick Gregory

I really do like to say “I told you so,” once in a while, especially to liberal Californians in the mass media. My family and I moved from the Bay Area to Houston, Texas three years ago at the peak of the housing bubble. We were watching the market trends and came to our own conclusion well before the “experts” in the media. Our neighbors, both attorneys, had also noticed the growth was hitting 30 percent a year in our San Francisco suburb. Those stats come in every month by realtor associations; polished up by their PR departments — they are finally picked up by journalists and edited neatly following the AP style book. There are a lot of hacks in the industry who think that’s what makes good journalism. No analysis, just following the rules of serial comma usage and the very important difference (in their minds) between that and which.

Never mind that the price per square foot was over $350 and there were multiple offers coming on homes. The time spent on the market wasn’t measured in days, but hours.

Three years ago, there were very few reporters at the LA Times or SF Chronicle looking at the historic, unreal climb in prices. “This is California, there will always be a market for a piece of paradise,” we’ve seen in various versions in the entertaining Homes sections that ran every Saturday and Sunday.

Reports on the housing bubble and wobbles were rare. How could you expect anything better? Business reporters don’t have the resume to get an administrative assistant job at Fortune 500 companies or with developers. They don’t have the ambition to sell real estate, or the skill to be a property flipper.

More important than that, journalists are tied to their home town newspapers or TV stations. They can’t be objective in reporting bloated housing prices or comparing the quality of housing between markets such as LA and Houston.

The free fall of California real estate is finally front page news. Now that foreclosures are equal to home sales in some California neighborhoods. All this sudden analysis is 2.5 years too late for the thousands losing their homes.

Back then, the “executive editors” promoted cute columns called Hot Properties with features on how celebrities were tripling their prices on Bay Area and Malibu homes.

The party is over. That was the last time newspapers made windfall profits off of 5 pound Sunday newspapers.

Here is an excellent look at the media circus from Dan Gillmor’s blog on citizen journalism is among the best in the blog biz. Gillmor gives journalists too much credit. He should know some 94.5 percent didn’t even take Economics 101.

Housing Bubble Coverage: Defending the Indefensible

Editor & Publisher: Newspaper Biz Editors Defend Mortgage Crisis Coverage. Did the growing mortgage credit crisis, which took a huge turn with last week’s collapse of Bear Sterns, get enough early coverage from newspapers? Top business editors at several of the nation’s major papers say yes, although a few admit some of the more complicated elements may not have been broken out enough for readers.

“What tripe. The newspaper industry almost totally failed to do its job, and the public got screwed once again.”

Citing a story here and there, as several editors do in the E&P piece, is not evidence of newspapers doing their job. It’s quite the opposite.

When an economic catastrophe of this sort — and entirely predicable one — is building, journalists are failing to do their jobs when they don’t harp on it.

As I said in a previous posting, newspapers and broadcasters were raking in billions in advertising from the real estate and banking industries as this bubble inflated. I do not believe this is a coincidence. I also don’t believe it was deliberate malfeasance; but you just don’t see lots of tough coverage in media of the people and companies paying the bills.

Many if not most papers have special weekly real estate pages or sections where you would find little hint of the potential for trouble. I know I looked for it in the papers I read. That’s where the discussion belonged — as well, of course, as Page One — not solely in the occasional business page stories. Hundreds of references to bubbles, most in the past year and not when there was a chance to slow down that train, were dwarfed by comparison to the buying advice that dominated coverage of real estate overall.

Oh, sure, there were extremely infrequent stories containing warnings in a few publications — and occasional quotes from skeptics in the prices-just-keep-rising stories that overwhelmingly dominated the coverage. But the reality is that journalists mostly didn’t have a clue, or didn’t want to have a clue. I don’t know which is worse.

Some bloggers, and some economists, did shout warnings. They were ignored, or worse, insulted by wishful thinkers and (I suspect) people who stood to gain from the continuing bubble.

Again, from a previous post, here are some questions the media all but ignored until too late:

Where were the stories we should have been seeing, noting that “buyers” — a word that is ludicrous in context –were running headlong toward a financial cliff? What happened to the coverage of a housing market that fewer and fewer people could afford to enter except with no-interest or no-down-payment loans, where home prices were so far out of sync with the economy that there was no precedent for such imbalance?

Where were the stories pointing out that the secondary (and far beyond) mortgage markets were salting hugely risky debt all through the American economy? You think your bank or pension fund doesn’t have some of this garbage somewhere in its books? Think again.

The media also bungled by not fingering the makers of this bubble apart from foolish “buyers” who proved to be such suckers. This boom was fueled by people who knew it couldn’t last: brokers, bankers and, above all, Wall Street’s ever-clever wizards who risk other people’s money for gigantic fees.

This is another journalistic scandal. It’s not quite on the order of the bended-knee, pre-war coverage — stenography of government officials’ lies and deceptions — that helped steer America into the Iraq war, but only because it’s not killing people in large numbers.

It’s a massive enough scandal, though. There’s plenty of pain left in this deflation, possibly including an outright tanking of the economy.

The journalism craft should take a long, hard look at what it’s failed to do, yet again, in the housing bubble. It has failed to warn — as loudly and incessantly as it did in promoting the housing bubble — that a financial crunch was on the way.

There’s plenty of blame to go around in this mess. The finger-pointing has barely begun. But when it gets going for real, I hope that journalists who do some of that pointing will at least look in a mirror.

“I can remember the yards of copy written about new developments and real estate sections filled with puff pieces promoting house buying, with no hint of any risks involved with these investments. For the few stories you cite, what about those that quoted the National Association of Realtors about how this was the right time to buy a house, and that house prices have never declined. Remember how we were told house prices were supposed to be “sticky” and that when there was a downturn, the prices would stick rather than fall precipitously. Where were the investigative pieces about how low-income people were being ripped off by subprime mortgages? Both the New York Times and Wall Street Journal you cite ran endless stories about high prices for New York apartments, with appropriate pictures of the luxury amenities that came with them. In my lifetime, newspapers have missed the S&L excess of the 1990’s, and they dropped the ball on this one, too. And what about the culpability of Congress in this? Where are the investigative pieces of House and Senate banking legislation that opened the door to easy lending, no-document loans and giving mortgages to people with lousy credit reports — including illegal aliens working day work construction jobs? From what I’ve heard on CSpan, Sen. Jon Kyl has reams of information documenting how Congress contributed to the collapse now happening, but no reporters seem interested.”

DanGillmor.com Home page

California Real Estate Foreclosures and Falling Prices Finally Reported After Three Years of Industry Red Flags

By Mick Gregory

Foreclosures rise 500 percent in key Bay Area counties. (Reported one year ago).

I’d imagine a lot of Bay Area readers of the San Francisco Chronicle are wondering why they didn’t see any investigative reporting three years ago.

That’s because the realtor organizations were feeding the business reporters rosy press releases. Plus, very few reporters have MBAs or have even taken Economics 101 for that matter.

Foreclosures and default notices are reaching historic numbers in California and especially the high-tax, left-leaning Bay Area. The San Francisco Chronicle reports that in the fourth quarter of 2007, according to real estate stats released today.

Banks repossessed 31,676 homes in California in the October-November-December period, according to Data-Quick Information Systems, a La Jolla research firm. That was a dramatic 421.2 percent increase from 6,078 in the year-ago quarter. I predicted 200,000 for 2007 and 08.

More that 31,000 families lost their homes in California the past three months.

In the Bay Area, foreclosures rose a stunning 482.5 percent to 4,573 in the fourth quarter, compared with 785 a year ago. Contra Costa County, with 1,558 foreclosures, up 533.3 percent from a year ago, had the most, followed by Alameda County with 1,026 (a 514.4 percent increase) and Solano County with 704 (up 528.6 percent).

We moved from the Bay Area to Houston three years ago. My MBA and my wife’s law and real estate background paid off. We could see the bubble bursting in the near future and we timed it just right with a little luck. I built a river rock fireplace makeover and we had contractors put in hardwood floors and granite counter tops.

Our good friends Marjon and his wife, both attorneys, were studying the same red flags and moved out of California a few months ahead of us, after they did some extensive remodeling that included a new second story deck off their master suite and granite, of course.

So many of our friends and neighbors said “how could you leave California for Texas?”
(They were so smug.)

The Data-Quick company gives its services a little self promotion in the report.

“Foreclosure activity is closely tied to a decline in home values,” Data-Quick President Marshall Prentice said in a statement. “With today’s depreciation, an increasing number of homeowners find themselves owing more on a property than its market value, setting the stage for default if there is mortgage payment shock, a job loss or the owner needs to move.”

It was the most foreclosures since DataQuick began tracking them in 1988 and more than double the previous peak of 15,418 foreclosures in the third quarter of 1996. The fewest foreclosures recorded were in the second quarter of 2005, when 637 homes were repossessed.

Mortgage default notices, sent by lenders when homeowners are several months behind on payments, also hit record highs. Default notices are the first evil step of the drawn out foreclosure process. Once you fall about five or six months behind, the banks know you will never dig yourself back out.

Statewide, lenders sent 81,550 default notices, up 114.6 percent from 37,994 in the fourth quarter of 2006. It was up 12.4 percent from 72,571 in the third quarter of 2007. It was the most defaults since DataQuick began tracking them in 1992.

On Thanksgiving, we were at friends’ home in Texas, (they also came from California) having moved just a few months after us. There home has a saltwater pool and the two-story structure is about 3,200 sq. ft., a short walk to a large lake.

We laughed and congratulated ourselves as we realized that all five families at the party were from California.

Why did we leave? The state income tax is just under 10 percent, plus each employee has to pay disability tax, it went up about $600 per worker this month. Any connection to the job losses and mass exodus? Hey, but the lettuce is cheap! What about the weather, the mountains, the beaches?

Mr. Obama, have you no shame? Why did you push to fire Don Imus within days of his street-talk jock joke, but let your family attend the hate monger Rev. Wright’s church for 20 years?

“I understand MSNBC has suspended Mr. Imus,” Barack Obama told ABC News, “but I would also say that there’s nobody on my staff who would still be working for me if they made a comment like that about anybody of any ethnic group. And I would hope that NBC ends up having that same attitude.”

Mr. Obama, what about your America-hating, white-blaming racist pastor? He wasn’t joking about blaming American whites for 9/11 and inventing the HIV/AIDs virus. Why did you continue to attend Rev. Wright’s church for 20 years? Imus is a political satirist who often had you on as a guest to help build your political popularity. Rev. Wright is a hate spewing monster. Why did you let your daughters attend such a place of worship on Sundays for their entire lives?

It took Obama more than a year to speak about his pastor’s racially charged anti-American tirades, but when it came to denouncing Don Imus for his racial street talk joke against the Rutgers girls basketball team, it took Obama only a week to demand the shock jock be fired, reported by FOX News.

So this is why your wife is proud of America for the first time? You grew up in South Side of Chicago world of blame whites for all your ills. Meanwhile, American blacks are killing each other off at the rate of 20,000 a year.

The Vampierus Lives! Obama Splits Texas. The Best Little Caucus in Texas.

How many pantsuits does Hillary have in her wardrobe? The cases of extra pantsuits must add up to the amount of trunks in the Barnum and Bailey Circus. What is Hilary’s carbon footprint on her travels and luggage the past six months? Let’s start at least start a pantsuit count. I haven’t seen her wear the same ugly, ’70s pantsuit twice. I start the count at 61, her age.

Hillary Pantsuit Count: Day 61

Mick Gregory

I voted for Obama tonight and helped pick delegates. In our voting district Obama won 7 delegates to Hillary’s 4. Knowing Hillary’s instructions, “take control of the secretary position…” I nominated a nice young woman named CJ, who had an Obama badge on her coat and was sitting at an Obama table at the middle school library.

I also talked a neighbor into being a delegate. The people spoke. We shut down the Clinton machine in our neighborhood anyway.

After all the hype and fawning over the pantsuited presidential candidate, Obama actually won more delegates in Texas. Did you read anything about that in the New York Times, Houston Chronicle or Dallas Morning News?

This was far down a story in today’s WSJ.
On Tuesday, Sen. Clinton won primaries in Texas, Ohio and Rhode Island, while Sen. Obama took Vermont and Texas’s separate caucuses. The Associated Press said Sen. Clinton won at least 185 delegates to Sen. Obama’s 173, for a net gain of just 12 delegates — a total that will shrink as remaining delegates are allocated. Obama campaign manager David Plouffe predicted Sen. Clinton would net between four and 10 delegates, fewer “than we netted out of the state of Idaho.”

The Obama campaign said Sen. Obama emerged from Texas’s unique primary-and-caucus system with at least five more delegates than Sen. Clinton, even though she won the popular vote. That anomaly reflects the party’s rules for allocating delegates proportionate to the candidates’ votes in certain districts.

The fact that Tuesday’s four-state, 370-delegate sweepstakes effectively yielded a draw underscored how difficult it will be for Sen. Clinton to catch Sen. Obama with just over 600 more pledged delegates to be won. That’s why the biggest remaining contest is for superdelegates — or automatic delegates, as the Clinton camp calls them.