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The Associated Press Embraces Corporatism

Back in late June of 2008, when the subtext of every AP article was "please, please vote for that Obama fella," they published -- as a straight news item -- an article with the improbable headline "Everything is Seemingly Spinning Out of Control" -- this in a month when unemployment was at 5.5 percent, when the Dow Jones was around 12,000, and when the financial meltdown of the fall of that year was not yet an issue in the news cycle. But that didn't stop liberals both in and out of the media from wanting to push that snowball down the hill early, with a serious case of Depression Lust, including the AP, which went into full freakout mode with a headline and story that would quickly become a running gag for James Taranto in his Best of the Web column at the Wall Street Journal:

Is everything spinning out of control?

Midwestern levees are bursting. Polar bears are adrift. Gas prices are skyrocketing. Home values are abysmal. Air fares, college tuition and health care border on unaffordable. Wars without end rage in Iraq, Afghanistan and against terrorism.

Horatio Alger, twist in your grave.

The can-do, bootstrap approach embedded in the American psyche is under assault. Eroding it is a dour powerlessness that is chipping away at the country's sturdy conviction that destiny can be commanded with sheer courage and perseverance.

Flash-forward to this week, and we find the AP  still really wanting Horatio Alger to keep twisting in his grave, publishing -- again as a news item, not an opinion piece -- a story titled "Conservatives make it rough for business."  I've bolded the sentences that really crank up the AP-BS meter to 11:

Conservative Republicans have roughed up the business community this year - and it's not over yet.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers and major companies like Boeing Co. and Caterpillar Inc. all wanted quick reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank, which helps finance American companies' overseas sales. Congress had reaffirmed the independent federal agency some two dozen times since its creation in 1934. But this year it took months of pleas, briefings and negotiations to overcome conservative opposition.

Similarly, industries ranging from asphalt to steel pressed for the popular transportation bill to rebuild the nation's infrastructure. Conservatives wanted to give authority to the states. Nine short-term extensions later - and almost three years after the last transportation bill expired - businesses finally prevailed last month.

The business community is now pressing the Senate to ratify a treaty governing the high seas, arguing that it would open a new path to oil, gas and other resources and produce thousands of jobs. Prospects are uncertain as conservatives stand united in opposition. They condemn the pact as a threat to U.S. sovereignty.

Perhaps the most telling clue is that proponents call it the Law of the Sea Convention - shorthand LOSC - while opponents refer to it as the Law of the Sea Treaty - LOST.

Republicans like to tout themselves as the best friends of business, and the rhetoric only grows louder in an election year. They talk forcefully about their job-creation agenda and determination to undo the burdensome regulations they say arise out of President Barack Obama's policies.

Yet when it comes to many of industry's top legislative priorities, conservative Republican lawmakers and like-minded groups including the Club for Growth and Heritage Action have thrown up roadblocks to tasks that had been easy before the 2010 elections sent a large class of conservative tea party insurgents to Congress.

They and their ideological leaders argue that the marketplace should dictate what businesses thrive and falter, not Washington.

"What we find now is this cronyism and this corporate welfare, it's corrupting the politics because there's nothing now that goes through that doesn't have a corporate interest," Republican Sen. Jim DeMint told The Associated Press in an interview. "It's not just the Ex-Im Bank. It's the transportation bill that has huge entities involved. The farm bill basically guarantees large corporate farmers."

The South Carolina lawmaker warned that the combination of big government and big industry is creating a nation that is becoming "too big to succeed."

More after the page break.