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
June 15, 2015, 2:06 PM EDT

Today's release from the Federal Reserve on industrial production (including mining and utilities) told us that it declined by a seasonally adjusted 0.2 percent in May. It was the sixth consecutive month showing a decline or no gain, during which time output has fallen by 1.1 percent (not annualized).

Bloomberg News, which reported that economists and analysts expected an increase of 0.2 percent, described the result as "unexpected." Reuters gave us the adverb version of the U-word: "U.S. industrial production unexpectedly fell in May." In covering the news, Associated Press reporter Josh Boak failed to note the length of the protracted slump, and even went into a light version of "Happy Days Are (Still, Probably, We Really Hope) Here Again," using a sentiment survey to argue against the hard information collected by the Fed.

June 14, 2015, 11:41 PM EDT

On Thursday, the Census Bureau's report on May retail sales said that seasonally adjusted sales came in 1.2 percent higher than April. The press almost universally cited that result as demonstrating that the economy's rough patch earlier this year is likely over.

Yours truly and the contrarians at Zero Hedge both noted that the result is highly suspect, and doesn't adequately reflect the raw data behind it. The business press won't question it, because it hardly ever bothers to look at the raw data.

June 14, 2015, 9:56 PM EDT

On Friday, the Washington Post's Jeff Guo hyped a study published in the American Journal of Public Health by four people with the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. The study contends that "Connecticut’s handgun permit-to-purchase law (passed in 1994) was associated with a subsequent reduction in homicide rates" involving firearms.

Readers wondering if there is a connection to that Bloomberg, i.e., Michael, and his fierce anti-Second Amendment agenda need not wonder. There is. Two of the four authors are with the school's Center for Gun Policy and Research — very weak research which left the Post's Guo incomprehensively claiming that the state's "permit to purchase" law regulating private firearms transactions seems to have saved "a lot" of lives.

June 14, 2015, 12:00 AM EDT

The results of a search on the name of former Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick at the Associated Press's main national site are revealing — both for what is there and what isn't. It's an understatment to say that the wire service's priorities are warped.

What isn't there is any news about the results of a Boston Herald investigation which found that "Patrick’s administration secretly diverted nearly $27 million in public money to off-budget accounts that paid for a $1.35 million trade junket tab, bloated advertising contracts, and a deal with a federally subsidized tourism venture backed by U.S. Sen. Harry Reid." The AP determined that this news only deserved a brief and woefully inadequate local story.

June 13, 2015, 1:18 PM EDT

In late September 2014, the Federal Bureau of Investigation released "A Study of Active Shooter Incidents in the United States, 2000-2013."

To say the least, the report's issuance, timed six weeks before the midterm elections, and its topic ("a specific type of shooting situation law enforcement and the public may face") were curious. Given the press's inclination to sensationalize and politicize any report on gun violence, its findings were especially vulnerable to misinterpretation. When that quite predictably happened, the FBI and the study's authors appear to have done nothing to correct errant media reports. It also appears that they would have remained silent about those media distortions if longtime gun rights advocate John Lott Jr. hadn't called them out in a professional criminal justice journal.

June 12, 2015, 7:40 PM EDT

Even the leftist apparatchiks at the Politico seem to have a limit to their tolerance for the doublespeak the White House and President Obama routinely disseminate.

Reporters Edward-Isaac Dovere and Sarah Wheaton appear to hit that limit this afternoon after Obama's effort to pass Trade Adjustment Authorization (TAA) went down in flames by a shocking margin of 126-302. Since TAA had to pass for the vote on Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) to have any meaning, TPA's 219-211 "Yes" margin in a later vote was virtually meaningless. The pair used a headline whose lineage traces back to the Vietnam War era, and even asserted that Obama is "rapidly approaching lame duck status" (bolds are mine):

June 11, 2015, 11:50 PM EDT

If you're Comedy Central's Jon Stewart, you know you have to do the occasional segment going after the establishment press or left-wing groups to maintain appearances.

The James O'Keefe-ACORN saga in 2009 was one such instance. If Stewart hadn't dealt with it, his pretense of being supposedly fair to both left and right would have been blown out of the water. The incredibly petty New York Times reports on Marco Rubio's traffic tickets and finances fit the media version of the "We'd better do something with this or else" template. The video which follows the jump shows that Stewart only had a pair of strong moments, while missing at least a couple of key opportunities to make important points with humor.

June 11, 2015, 4:31 PM EDT

In addition to his usual tired historical revisionism, the Associated Press's Martin Crutsinger, in his report on May's budget deficit of $82 billion, failed to mention that the nation is once again operating at the legal limit of its authorized debt. Additionally, he mailed in his final five paragraphs, virtually copying what he wrote on May 12 in covering April's surplus.

The nation's debt ceiling has been stuck at $18.15 trillion since mid-March. Since then, the Treasury Department has taken "so-called extraordinary measures to allow continued borrowing for a limited time" (i.e., engaged in accounting and bookkeeping gimmickry) to keep the official debt total at that amount. Treasury's ability to do this is now expected to run out in December. A few paragraphs from Crutsinger's report follow the jump (bolds are mine):

June 10, 2015, 10:58 PM EDT

Among the many tired, bogus complaints heard from the establishment press is the one about how careful they are compared to the reckless knaves in the blogosphere and New Media. You see, they only use reliable sources, while bloggers will believe anything anyone writes or posts on the Internet.

Well, I suspect there are very few people in the blogosphere dumb enough to rely on a Facebook comment and then, without any further research, treating it as established fact in a discussion with a sitting United States Senator and 2016 presidential candidate. But that's what WAMU's Diane Rehm did on Tuesday in her syndicated NPR broadcast (HT Washington Free Beacon via Hot Air):

June 10, 2015, 9:16 PM EDT

Will Deener, who has been a business reporter since at least before the turn of the century, considers his most unforgettable experience on the job to be "Covering the crash of the Internet stocks and Enron in 2000-2002."

Sunday evening, the Dallas Morning News columnist moaned about how big U.S. companies engaged in real businesses are avoiding paying billions in taxes because "the nation’s largest companies stockpile billions of dollars in profits overseas." In the process, he assumed that companies would pay the highest federal income tax rate of 35 percent on all overseas profits repatratriated. That's simply wrong, and it's astonishing that someone with his experience doesn't know any better. That level of ignorance largely explains why President Barack Obama, earlier this year, was able to package what was effectively a reversal of decades of tax policy as a "one-time tax" on such earnings — whether or not they were repatriated.

June 10, 2015, 12:26 PM EDT

Readers can be excused if they believe that the Associated Press might be more interested in protecting what little is left of Baltimore prosecutor Marilyn Mosby's credibility and reputation than they are in reporting the news.

Look at the vague headline about enhanced police presence in the area where Freddie Gray was arrested that Mosby herself requested at the AP story by Juliet Linderman:

June 8, 2015, 11:13 AM EDT

The business press has gotten really excited about the possibility — some of them are even treating it as a probability — that the first-quarter's recently reported annualized economic contraction of 0.7 percent will go positive if it gets revised for so-called "residual seasonality."

"Residual seasonality" is "the manifestation of seasonal patterns in data that have already been seasonally adjusted." (Supposedly, the way to fix this is add more "seasoning.") On April 22, CNBC's Steve Liesman contended that it's been a chronic 30-year problem. As far as I can tell, no one in the press has followed up on that claim. If they had, they would have found that it has not been a 30-year "problem," and that it's a "problem" remarkably unique to the presence of Democratic Party presidential administrations and policies:

June 7, 2015, 11:57 PM EDT

In a contest for the most consistent media fool of the year, Bloomberg's Mark Halperin would be an early favorite to take the top prize for 2015.

This year, Halperin has already had at least three instances of outrageous hackery. As will be seen, for sheer hypocrisy, his most recent is arguably his worst.

June 7, 2015, 10:12 PM EDT

After the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued a draft report on Thursday declaring that, in his own words, "The government has no public safety justification to ban" hyrdraulic fracturing, or fracking, Houston Chronicle business writer Chris Tomlinson falsely claimed that the industry believes it "needs no regulation."

Tomlinson formerly toiled at the Associated Press, and it shows. One of his low points there was hypocritically taking James O'Keefe to task for "editing" his videos, even though the Project Veritas founder routinely posts accompanying raw footage, something those in the far more heavily-edited mainstream press where Tomlinson works rarely do. In the current instance, he accused the American Petroleum Institute of making an argument that anyone who read the first sentence of its press release would know it didn't make.

June 7, 2015, 10:40 AM EDT

When they can't go directly after something a Republican or conservative candidate says, the establishment press attempts to make a big deal out of dumb things their aides utter or publish.

Leftist apparatchiks usually have no such worries. The latest example of an item which would be prominently in the news if a Republican or conservative had written something equally dense comes from Lanny Davis, longtime Clinton family apologist and career Democratic Party hack. In a column appearing at the Hill, Davis whined about the supposedly awful "media frenzy" which occurred two weeks ago at a Hillary Clinton event with supposedly "everyday Americans" in Hampton, New Hampshire. Davis compared the travails and indignities the poor, put-upon Mrs. Clinton suffered to ... well, readers will see who after the jump (bolds are mine):

June 6, 2015, 11:47 PM EDT

Ruby Cramer, "a political reporter for BuzzFeed News ... based in New York," was on the campaign trail with Hillary Clinton a couple of weeks ago in Hampton, New Hampshire.

Ms. Cramer was outraged at how "two actual everyday Americans" were "crushed" by the horde of reporters who attempted to ask Mrs. Clinton real questions. What Cramer reported the couple said during the course of the "press scrum" was more than a little suspicious. Gary and Lenore Patton may be very nice people, but the idea that they are "everyday Americans" trying to keep up with politics seemed absurd. They fooled Cramer, who in turn fooled longtime Clinton apparatchik Lanny Davis, who moaned about the press's "frenzy" in an awful column at the Hill I will address on Sunday.

June 6, 2015, 9:17 PM EDT

Hillary's Clinton has called for what a Washington Post headline describes as a "sweeping expansion of voter access." While falsely accusing Republicans of preventing young people and minorities from voting, Mrs. Clinton is really pushing for widespread opportunities for fraud combined with a heavy dose of incumbent protection.

From reading the establishment press's coverage of Mrs. Clinton's "ambitious agenda" (that's what the New York Times called it), you would think that Ohio has one of the nation's most restrictive early-voting arrangments. It's not so, and Ohio Governor John Kasich justifiably rebutted that perception after Mrs. Clinton's speech.

June 5, 2015, 11:50 PM EDT

On Thursday, the Associated Press's Will Weissert demonstrated that the ignorance of our nation's founding documents exhibited by Meredith Shiner at Yahoo Politics in March is not isolated to her.

Readers may recall that Shiner, reacting to Ted Cruz's presidential announcement speech, tweeted: "Bizarre to talk about how rights are God-made and not man-made in your speech announcing a POTUS bid? When Constitution was man-made?" In covering Rick Perry's presidential announcement, Weissert showed similar ignorance.

June 4, 2015, 12:26 AM EDT

Foreign Affairs is "a multiplatform media organization with a print magazine, a website, a mobile site, various apps and social media feeds, an event business, and more." It is published by the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), an influential organization which has caught flak for decades, predominantly from the right, for undermining and misrepresenting U.S. interests.

One doesn't have to be a conspiracy theorist to recognize that CFR has significant influence on Washington politicians and the press. Thus, it's fair to say that contentions in a column in its flagship magazine by Bridget Moreng and Nathaniel Barr that recognizing the ISIS victory at Ramadi last month as significant is "dangerous," and that any kind of statement indicating that ISIS is on the rise feeds "directly into the group's narrative," are very disturbing (HT Patrick Poole at PJ Media):

June 2, 2015, 12:46 PM EDT

This morning's April factory orders report from the Census Bureau showed yet another seasonally adjusted decline. This time, they fell 0.4 percent, seriously underperforming expectations that they would come in flat.

This naturally brought forth another sighting of the U-word ("unexpectedly"), this time at Reuters. Both Reuters and the Associated Press failed to note how steep the year-over-year declines in orders — and for that matter, shipments — have become: