Top 5 Under-Covered Stories of 2011

Thomas Jefferson once said, “The man who reads nothing at all is better educated than the man who reads nothing, but newspapers.” And although that view may be a tad extreme, a healthy distrust of the mainstream media is required in this day and age. Reporters, who at one time reveled in their unbiased recitation of the facts, now do more to make the news than to break the news. As a result it’s often difficult to separate fact from fiction, hard to determine whether the story reflects the reality, and nearly impossible to learn of things the news simply refuses to cover.

It is this last problem we hope to illuminate in this, our Top 5 Under-Reported Stories of 2011:

5. The Keystone XL Pipeline. The State Department, led by Hillary Clinton, has been obstinate in its refusal to issue a permit for the Keystone Pipeline, an infrastructure project that would provide thousands of immediate jobs as well as an additional 500,000 barrels of oil a day from a close ally. As the turmoil in Libya and the resultant oil price volatility should have shown, a steady source of oil from a close trading companion should be prized. Although this received passing coverage for its inclusion in the payroll tax cut extension package, it has been an issue deserving of attention for the entire year. With nearly 1,000 businesses in 47 states already providing services to the development of Canadian oil fields, this should have been a no brainer for the Obama Administration.

4. Obamacare Problems. President Obama’s signature accomplishment has had a tough year, you just wouldn’t know it from the news coverage. More than 1,800 Obamacare waivers have been granted to protect businesses from the law’s costly provisions, a Price Waterhouse Coopers survey found that 84 percent of companies indicated they would be forced to raise premiums or copayments to offset the costs of Obamacare, a study revealed that employers should expect health care costs to rise 8.5% in 2012, and the Medicare Office of the Actuary indicated that Obamacare’s “Medicare expenditure projects are based on payment updates that have a strong likelihood of not being feasible.” But perhaps the best evidence of the law’s failure was Congress’ repeal of the CLASS program – one of Obamacare’s chief generators of so-called “savings.”

3. Failing Green Energy Companies. While everyone’s eyes were focused on Solyndra a wide swath of green-energy companies that received stimulus money collapsed, yet somehow managed to sneak under the nose of the mainstream media. Companies like A123 Systems, a battery maker that received $380 million in taxpayer money, but recently announced massive layoffs. Or EnerDel, a recepient of a $118 million federal grant, that suffered a quarterly loss of $84.7 million, but whose stock now trades at just 27 cents. Or Fisker Automotive, which was given $529 million in taxpayer dollars yet recently announced they would be assembling their cars in Finland.

2. Unpassed Jobs Bills. Americans have been clamoring for jobs, prompting myriad promises by President Obama to engage in a laser-like focus on jobs. But the mainstream media completely ignored the fact that dozens of jobs-related bills were passed by the House of Representatives and sits awaiting in action by the Senate. Legislation like the REINS Act, which would restore regulatory authority to Congress, rather than unaccountable bureaucrats; the Entrepreneur Access to Capital Act, which would make it easier for startups and entrepreneurs to find capital for their fledgling businesses; or the Jobs and Energy Permitting Act of 2011, which would reverse the Obama Administration’s de facto moratorium on offshore drilling and increase domestic energy production.

1. The True Unemployment Situation. While the media has been fast to credit President Obama with the recent dip in the unemployment rate, a deeper look at the numbers reveals a less flattering picture. Indeed, much of the recent dip in unemployment can be attributed to a shrinking labor force as many Americans simply give up on finding a job. Indeed, if the same number of people were looking for work today as when Obama took office, the jobless rate would be 11 percent. The picture is even worse for young adults who suffer from the highest unemployment since World War II, with just 55.3 percent of the age group working.