We like to check in every once in a while with Joseph Farah's former employer (which he helped run into the ground the first time), the Sacramento Union, to see how the latest attempt at revival is going. (This time around, it's a weekly freebie tabloid.) This revival contains a column called "The Bee Hive," designed to attack the city's daily paper, the Sacramento Bee. The April 6 "Bee Hive" makes the following claim:
The Bee ran a front-page article Mar. 20 by James Rosen of the McClatchy Bureau with the alarmist title, “Military Hits Spending High.” This editorial disguised as news alleged that spending for the War in Iraq is the highest in history, even higher than the costs of U.S. participation in World War II.
This was followed by, in large type, "Too bad the claim is pure fiction." That's because Rosen never made that claim. Here's what Rosen actually wrote (emphasis ours):
As the Iraq war enters a fifth year, the conflict that President Bush's aides once said would all but pay for itself with oil revenues is fueling the highest level of defense spending since World War II.
Even with past spending adjusted for inflation, the $630 billion provided for the military this year exceeds the highest annual amounts during the Reagan-era defense buildup, the Vietnam War and the Korean War.
In other words, Rosen did not include World War II in his calculation.
Rather than making any attempt to disprove Rosen's calculations, the "Bee Hive" article tried to divert attention from it by claiming:
Had Rosen pursued this story without a political agenda and sought a real comparison of U.S. war spending now compared to World War II, he would have examined the relative percentages of U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) devoted to each campaign. Rosen did not do this because such a comparison would have contradicted his bias. His numbers are off – and not just by a little bit.
In fact, Rosen did give space to a conservative making the GDP comparison:
James Carafano, a defense analyst at the Heritage Institute in Washington, said military spending isn't nearly as high when compared to the overall size of the U.S. economy.
Current defense appropriations equal about 4 percent of the gross domestic product, Carafano said.
That figure is up from the 3 percent level under Clinton, he added, but still a good bit lower than the 7 1/2 percent share during the Cold War.
"When you have a bigger house, you buy more insurance," Carafano said. "When the nation is worth a lot more, we have to spend more to protect it."
If such wildly partisan, factually deficient reporting is indicative of all Union stories, it may be doomed to extinction yet again.