Tom Blumer has written for several national online publications  primarily on business, economics, politics and media bias. He has had his own blog, BizzyBlog.com, since 2005, and has been with NewsBusters since December 2005. Along the way, he's had a decades-long career in accounting, finance, training and development.

Latest from Tom Blumer
February 11, 2015, 9:54 PM EST

The federal government today reported a $17.5 billion budget deficit for January. That brings this fiscal year's shortfall through four months to $194.2 billion, up from $182.8 billion during the same period last year.

As usual, the Associated Press's coverage, this time delivered by Martin Crutsinger, named the nation's "Worst Economic Writer" by National Review's Kevin Williamson two years ago, gave an incomplete historical explanation for the $1 trillion-plus annual deficits incurred from fiscal 2009 through 2012, and "somehow" forgot that President Barack Obama, who is demanding higher taxes in the budget he recently submitted, already got a significant tax increase on higher incomes just two years ago. Excerpts follow the job:

February 11, 2015, 5:14 PM EST

By yesterday afternoon, the Obama administration recognized that it had a serious problem on its hands. Zeke Miller at Time.com reported that 2008 presidential campaign manager and longtime adviser David Axelord's book revealed that, in Miller's words, "Barack Obama misled Americans for his own political benefit when he claimed in the 2008 election to oppose same sex marriage for religious reasons." Obama never opposed same-sex marriage, but acted on advice from Axelrod and others to act as if he did during the campaign.

Axelrod's claim generated enough coverage that Team Obama knew that even the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, was going to have to do some kind of story on his adviser's revelation. So how to do damage control without creating the kind of stir which would force the network broadcasters to inform low-information voters of the core deception? That's easy. Throw all pretenses of presidential dignity out the window and go to (holy moly) Buzzfeed.

February 11, 2015, 1:49 PM EST

Tara Parker-Pope attempted a defense of disgraced NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams in an item ("Was Brian Williams a Victim of False Memory?") posted at the New York Times "Well" blog — late Monday afternoon. It even made Tuesday's New York version of the Old Gray Lady's print edition.

Parker-Pope's premise, similar to that used by Marison Bello at USA Today three days earlier — even using the same "expert" as a source — is that the Williams saga "offers a compelling case study in how memories can change and shift dramatically over time." Parker-Pope's post is particularly pathetic because it appeared online a full four days after Variety reported that Williams "had been counseled in the past by senior NBC News executives to stop telling the story in public." Over the next several days, other media outlets corroborated and built upon what Variety reported. In other words, even if one buys into the memory-shift idea, it can't possibly apply in the Williams case. Excerpts follow the jump (bolds are mine):

February 11, 2015, 9:56 AM EST

Very few things drive leftists to distraction more than a strong Republican or conservative woman achieving political power.

Joni Ernst is a perfect example. The strong-willed freshman Senator from Iowa describes herself in three words: "Mother. Soldier. Leader." Imagine the howls of outrage if a conservative went after a liberal female combat veteran as Andrew Reinbach at Huffington Post did on Friday. Reinbach tried to claim that Ernst is not really a combat veteran, and questioned "The Honor of Senator Joni Ernst."

February 11, 2015, 12:00 AM EST

In his story on Brian Williams at 10:55 p.m. ET Tuesday, Gabriel Sherman at New York Magazine reported that the now-suspended anchor and his agent "were presented with a dossier of Williams' apparent lies," and that "Williams himself was only slowly grasping the depths of the mess he'd created."

That begs the obvious question of whether the public will ever get to know what's in that "dossier," and what impact its contents may have had on the substance of NBC's news reports during the past dozen (if not more) years. Excerpts from Sherman's report follow the jump (links are in original; bolds are mine):

February 10, 2015, 6:05 PM EST

John Hinderaker at Powerline is certainly correct when he notes that the media elites love "Girls," the HBO show starring sister-abusing, rapist-misidentifying Lena Dunham.

Critics rave about how great the show and its main characters are, frequently employing complimentary adjectives descriptive of or synonymous with "smart." Hinderaker was brave enough to peruse the script of the show's Season 4 episode which aired on Sunday. What he found instead fit the categories of "insulting" and "stunningly ignorant":

February 10, 2015, 3:28 PM EST

In a new book, Obama 2008 campaign manager and longtime Obama adviser David Axelrod reveals that, in the words of Zeke J. Miller at Time.com, "Barack Obama misled Americans for his own political benefit when he claimed in the 2008 election to oppose same sex marriage for religious reasons."

The subheadline at Miller's coverage calls it "A striking admission of political dishonesty from the keeper of the Obama flame." In my view, given that David Axelrod wouldn't make such an admission without permission, it's also a juvenile "Nyah-nyah, we fooled you, and you can't do anything about it!" taunt. Additional excerpts from Miller's article follow the jump (HT Michael Walsh at PJ Media; bolds are mine throughout this post):

February 9, 2015, 3:33 PM EST

At about 2:40 this afternoon, Stars and Stripes published a "full transcript of the Feb. 4 (Wednesday) interview in which the anchor admits he was never on the attacked helicopter and claims he was unaware his flight was not directly behind but actually far from the company that was hit."

Williams, in admitting that his flight was far from the company that was hit, is acknowledging that the statement he made that very evening on his Nightly News broadcast — that "I was instead in a following aircraft" — was false, and misled his viewers into believing he was near the dangers involved. Also unaddressed are the following items among many which have arisen since that interview: whether even the original 2003 broadcasts from the anchor's time in Iraq were misleading from the start; how, in the circumstances supposedly just clarified, Williams could have told a college journalist in 2007 that he "looked down the tube of an RPG that had been fired at us"; and other questionable items relating to other stories which have since surfaced. Excerpts from the interview with Travis J. Tritten of Stars and Stripes follow the jump (bolds are mine):

February 9, 2015, 1:31 PM EST

In an entry at the Washington Post's Volokh Conspiracy blog yesterday, George Mason University School of Law Professor David Bernstein asked, "Did the Obama Administration lie about Netanyahu?"

The issue is whether, when and how the Obama White House learned of the Israeli Prime Minister's plans to deliver a speech to the U.S. Congress. The New York Times got dragged into the discussion, and deservedly so. Additionally, Bernstein went back to 2011 to note that Netanyahu had appeared before Congress before without Team Obama howling about it. But Bernstein, and apparently others, haven't focused on what Netanyahu said in that 2011 address, and how its content almost certainly infuriated President Barack Obama, who just days earlier had declared that Israel's 1967 borders should be the starting point for any territorial negotiations in a two-state solution with a Palestinian state.

February 9, 2015, 9:25 AM EST

While its appearance at the height of the Brian Williams serial tall-tales scandal seems coincidental, a New York Times Sunday review column by Clancy Martin, a "professor of philosophy at the University of Missouri-Kansas City" who has been "married twice before" (!), reveals quite a bit about the kind of dreck the Old Gray Lady will tolerate in the name of advancing its personal values-free, anything-goes take on the world.

Clancy goes through a tired, predictable "everybody lies in their relationships" exercise, apparently unable to distinguish between good manners, motivational statements, and flat-out factual falsehoods. After the jump readers will see a list of statements the author treats as "lies" which definitely are not in many if not most circumstances. I have applied some of them to more generalized or current circumstances.

February 8, 2015, 10:15 PM EST

Friday morning on Fox and Friends, Geraldo Rivera, echoing Rathergate, the 2004 scandal which put the blogosphere and New Media on the map to stay and accelerated its growth, reacted to the Brian Williams debacle by denouncing those criticizing the NBC Nightly News anchor "from the safety of their mother's basement," telling them that they should just "shut up."

Saturday, in a pair of tweets reacting to Williams' decision, quoting from the anchor's internal memo, "to take myself off of my daily broadcast for the next several days," Rivera expressed sharp disappointment, saying that Williams should "stand & fight." But in an epic fail, the Twitter account to which he linked in one of his rants belongs to a different Brian Williams.

February 7, 2015, 6:36 PM EST

This is for the "false memories" and "he's an untouchable 'brand' crowds defending Brian Williams, who this afternoon announced that he has "decided to take myself off of my daily broadcast for the next several days."

At the 2-minute mark of the 2007 interview with a collegiate reporter following the jump, watch Williams speak of his alleged brushes with danger, including how he "looked down the tube of an RPG" during what has now been described by the Associated Press as his "fake Iraq story" (HT Ace and several others):

February 7, 2015, 10:48 AM EST

At USA Today Friday afternoon, two of its reporters came down on the side of Brian Williams in the controversy over what even the often media-enabling Associated Press has called his "fake Iraq story."

Roger Yu tried to portray Williams as a victim of a "synergistic stretch" who is now having to defend himself against the "firestorm on the Internet and social media," while Marisol Bello, who covers "breaking news, poverty and urban affairs," wrote that "there are reasons that it's plausible" that "Williams would remember riding in a helicopter that was shot down if he was nowhere near it."

February 6, 2015, 1:24 AM EST

If Brian Williams or any of the executives at NBC thought that the controversy over his "fake Iraq story" might start to die down, developments this evening have proven that they were sadly mistaken.

The quoted words in the previous sentence are from a headline at an Associated Press story by David Bauder, the wire service's TV writer. The fact that the nation's self-described "essential global news network" felt comfortable using those words to describe the 12 year-old saga of Williams's fabricated adventure in Iraq is actually among the least of his and his network's troubles tonight. Two major stories at the New York Post's Page Six appear to have made their continuing with the status quo very difficult to imagine.

February 5, 2015, 11:03 AM EST

As Curtis Houck at NewsBusters reported last night, NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams is in serious trouble after he, in Houck's words, "admitted to not being aboard a helicopter that was shot and had to be rescued following RPG fire during the U.S. invasion of Iraq in March 2003." Williams's apology, also carried at Houck's post, only refers to the "mistake" he made "on this broadcast last week" — as if it was the only time in 12 years he has recounted the incident. It's not; his "war story" was relayed several other times, including in 2013 on David Letterman's show (video here; note the level of detail now effectively admitted as having been fabricated).

In his apology attempt, Williams also told America that he was in "a following aircraft." That's very misleading. Larry O'Connor at Truth Revolt noted, that Williams "neglected to explain that he was in an aircraft that followed the one hit by RPG fire by an entire hour," which "makes it sound like he was right behind the copter in question." It seems more than fair to compare what we've learned in recent days to how NBC promoted Williams on the tenth anniversary of his presence in NBC's anchor chair last year.

February 4, 2015, 11:45 PM EST

Radio talk-show host Rush Limbaugh believes that because the center-right media and blogosphere pushed back against the vaccine vendetta campaign against Republicans and conservatives, the establishment press is sharply backing away from trying to capitalize on it, especially because both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have been shown to have played to the anti-vaxxer crowd during the 2008 Democratic presidential primary campaign.

Additionally, the New York Times, which smelled blood and ran a hit piece ("Measles Outbreak Proves Delicate Issue to G.O.P. Field") on Page A1 in its Tuesday print edition, had to issue a major three-point correction to it the very next day. That correction to the story by reporters Jeremy Peters and Richard Pérez-Peña, and Rush's reaction to it, follow the jump (bolds are mine throughout this post; paragraph breaks added by me):

February 4, 2015, 7:02 PM EST

On Friday, Joe Nocera at the New York Times, in the words of a February 4 Times correction, premised his op-ed column "about the indictment of the longtime New York State Assembly speaker, Sheldon Silver ... on several factual errors."

The correction failed to correct yet another factual error, namely that Silver, who was arrested, as the Times itself reported, on January 22, has not yet been formally indicted. Here is the full text of that correction (HT Instapundit; bolds are mine throughout this post):

February 4, 2015, 3:31 PM EST

Yesterday, in a column at his organization's web site, the head of the nation's leading polling organization called the government's official unemployment rate, currently at 5.6 percent, a "big lie."

Rest assured that if Gallup Inc. Chairman and CEO Jim Clifton had written this column during a Republican or conservative administration, his words would have been picked up by the Associated Press and the New York Times, and would have echoed across the Big Three networks' nightly newscasts. Instead, because relatively good-looking government data is sacrosanct during a Democratic administration, an expansive Google News search at 1:15 p.m. ET on "Gallup unemployment lie" (not in quotes, showing similar items and duplicates) returned only 26 items. Almost all of them are from center-right blogs and outlets. One exception is an item at Fortune.com which accuses Clifton of indulging in a "vast" "conspiracy theory."

February 3, 2015, 8:34 PM EST

On Friday, the government reported that the nation's economy, as measured in its real gross domestic product, grew at an annual rate of 2.6 percent during last year's final quarter, sharply trailing analysts' consensus predictions ranging from 3.0 percent to 3.6 percent.

As is the case after the first version of every GDP report, economy watchers have been trying to estimate the effect other subsequently released fourth quarter-related government and other data might have on GDP revisions to be reported in late February and late March. Predictably, the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, seems to have decided that it will tell its readers about the ones which seem to point to upward revisions, and that it will ignore those which go in the opposite direction.

February 2, 2015, 5:43 PM EST

According to the Israeli publication Haaretz and many other news outlets, President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry won't meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu because it's "inappropriate."

Specifically, "The White House cited the proximity of the Israeli election to Netanyahu's visit, and the desire to refrain from interfering in the election." Certain blatant falsehoods are too much to take, and at Investor's Business Daily, this was one of them. An IBD editorial also tied the actions of those who are clearly acting as Team Obama agents trying to oust Netanyahu in those upcoming Israeli elections to a more comprehensive indictment of the administration's foreign policy (HT to a frequent tipster; bolds are mine throughout this post):