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
July 17, 2014, 11:59 PM EDT

Late this afternoon, I went to the Top Business Headlines page at the Associated Press's national web site to get today's new home construction news. Because the AP didn't have a story there (saved here for future reference), I knew it had to be bad, especially because to ignore it, the wire service made room in its Top 10 stories for an item on Toyota experimenting with fuel cells and aircraft orders at an air show in England.

The Census Bureau reported that seasonally adjusted housing starts fell by 9.3 percent in June after declining 7.3 percent in May. Seasonally adjusted applications for new building permits declined by 4.2 percent after a 5.1 percent revised May drop. Reporter Martin Crutsinger, doing his utmost to earn the "Worst Economics Writer" tag the National Review's Kevin Williamson conferred on him last year, blamed the weather, blamed "the South" without telling readers how the Census Bureau defines it, and ignored how, even after a very bad month, that region is still outperforming other regions in new homebuilding. Excerpts follow the jump (bolds and numbered tags are mine):

July 17, 2014, 2:32 PM EDT

Fox News's Megyn Kelly has clearly had it up to here with the disinformation, misinformation, distortions and outright lies coming from the left in the wake of the Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby decision. A recent dishonest rant by Comedy Central's Jon Stewart (noted at NewsBusters by Jeffrey Meyer early Tuesday morning) and attempts by certain doctors to deny scientific truth caused Kelly to correct the record on the air.

The topic is the science behind whether or not the contraceptive methods Hobby Lobby's owners would not cover in its employee health insurance plan on conscience grounds are or are not abortifacient in nature. In the video seen after the jump (HT Gateway Pundit), readers will see her identify certain perhaps unexpected entities which have admitted that they are:

July 16, 2014, 1:39 AM EDT

Paul Krugman at the New York Times and other fever-swamp leftists who, incredibly, are operating under the assumption that the economy has experienced an acceptable if uneven "recovery" during the five years since the recession ended are celebrating what they believe was an epic live "embarrassment" of Rick Santelli at the hands of Steve Liesman at CNBC on Monday.

A Google search shows that Mediaite ("CNBC Reporter Torches Rick Santelli"), New Republic ("CNBC's Rick Santelli Was Embarrassed on Live TV"), Talking Points Memo ("Watch CNBC's Tea Partier Get Told How Wrong He's Been"), Business Insider ("Steve Liesman Issued A Devastating Line To Rick Santelli"), and of course Vox ("Watch Steve Liesman demolish Rick Santelli's inflation fearmongering") are all piling on. Following the jump, I will show that Santelli only claimed to have been right about the direction of the economy for the past five years, after which Liesman changed the subject and hogged the microphone:

July 15, 2014, 12:00 AM EDT

Michelle Obama's name must really be mud in the school nutrition community these days.

I had to do a double-take when I read today's coverage of the School Nutrition Association's Annual Conference in Boston by Philip Marcelo at the Associated Press today. What Marcelo hid from the nation is that the SNA didn't want Michelle Obama or anyone else from the White House anywhere near their conference.

July 14, 2014, 4:33 PM EDT

In the early 1970s, the press obsessed about President Nixon's alleged "isolation," especially as the Watergate scandal, which in an objective lookback has to be seen as relative child's play compared to what we're seeing now, unfolded. Proof that Nixon's "isolation" had been a constant media theme in previous months is found in an NBC Nightly News report on May 10, 1973, when a White House staff reorganization was characterized by reporter Richard Valeriani as "Nixon moving to end President('s) isolation."

On Fox News's "The Five" on Friday, Democrat Bob Beckel relayed what he said was an anonymous comment by a person in a position to know about how cut off from external advice President Barack Obama is. It seems arguably creepier than any degree of isolation Nixon may have ever had, for reasons which I will explain below. Let's see what Beckel had to say following co-host Andrea Tantaros's comment that Obama has a "Stepford staff just sort of nodding at whatever he says," and Greg Gutfeld's assertion that Obama "doesn't have anybody in his circle" with the nerve or access to intervene (bolds are mine):

July 13, 2014, 9:18 PM EDT

Well, this explains a lot.

A Justin Lynch column ("Wartime Press") originally posted at the Weekly Wonk and republished at Time.com with a more foreboding title ("Bloggers, Surveillance and Obama’s Orwellian State") really ends up being an attempted justification by those Lynch quoted for having a close alliance between the government and "journalists" with "professional standards." Thom Shanker, the Pentagon correspondent for the New York Times, gets the award for the most Orwellian quote in the litter, which will come after the jump. Its prelude is his belief that "The government really needs to get its message out to the American people, and it knows that the best way to do that is by using the American news media." Excerpts follow.

July 13, 2014, 10:28 AM EDT

Richard (RJ) Eskow, "a writer, consultant, and Senior Fellow at the Campaign for America's Future," is a certified "respectable" lefty. So as much as the idea which follows may seem laughable, it shouldn't be dismissed as the unhinged rant of someone with no influence engaging in some isolated "thought experiment" which isn't shared by others in leftyland.

Eskow, in a Tuesday column at Salon, advocated regulating Internet titans Google, Amazon and Facebook as "public utilities." His justification is that they "define our lives," they're "close to monopolies," and besides, employing a breezy myth still held by many in the press, "Big Tech was created with publicly developed technology." Read on (the headline overstates Eskow's position; bolds are mine):

July 12, 2014, 7:45 PM EDT

At the Associated Press on Friday afternoon, Andrew Taylor, who it should be noted covers Congress and is not routinely on the economics or business beat, relayed an Obama administration prediction that economic growth in 2014 will come in at 2.6 percent.

Taylor noted that this estimate, lowered from 3.3 percent, came about because of "the unexpected 2.9 percent drop in gross domestic product in the first quarter of this year when unusually severe weather dinged the economy." Besides failing to note that the contraction was an annualized drop (the actual contraction was about 0.7 percent), he didn't tell readers how absurdly strong growth will have to be during the rest of the year to hit that 2.6 percent target; it works out to an annualized 4.5 percent during each of this year's remaining unreported quarters. Perhaps the AP reporter isn't economically astute enough to recognize how unlikely that is — or worse, he recognized it and let it pass unchallenged.

July 12, 2014, 10:27 AM EDT

One of the reasons President Barack Obama and the left can continue to make their cherished "budget stalemate" arguments against conservatives and Republicans is that the establishment press has memory-holed tax increases, including "the largest tax increase in the past two decades," which have already taken place. It now acts as if taxes on "the wealthy," which are really taxes on "high-income earners," have never been increased during Dear Leader's administration.

Josh Boak's coverage of the June budget surplus yesterday at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, is a case in point. After regaling readers with the administration-manipulated recent history of budget deficits (without mentioning the manipulation, of course), Boak uncritically relayed the Democrats' version of the argument that the standoff between the White House and the House of Representatives is over "sharp cuts on needed government programs" versus "higher taxes on the wealthy." Excerpts follow the jump (bolds are mine throughout this post; numbered tags are mine):

July 11, 2014, 8:42 PM EDT

In what appears to be an act of leftist self-defense, an unbylined story at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, describes certain Colorado Democratic politicians' crticisms of former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg over recent "off-base remarks about two of its cities," but noted no reactions from Republicans — who are genuinely outraged, as opposed to arguably trying to cover their political tracks.

In a story which was apparently prematurely posted at Rolling Stone Magazine's web site (link is to a separately saved Google cache copy), Bloomberg told Simon Vozick-Levinson that in recent recall elections in the Centennial State, "The NRA went after two or three state Senators in a part of Colorado where I don't think there's roads. It's as far rural as you can get." Really.

July 10, 2014, 5:56 PM EDT

I'm sure that many will pass off what Reuters and Yahoo News have just been caught doing as some kind of an innocent mistake, and perhaps it was. But isn't odd how often those "mistakes" so often end up giving President Obama and the left more credit than they deserve?

Yesterday, a Reuters story at Yahoo News was headlined "President Obama Visits the Border." That's a pretty remarkable headline, given Obama's quite widely known refusal — except perhaps by low-information Yahoo readers — to visit the Texas-Mexico border or to visit facilities where Unaccompanied Alien Children are being detained by the Border Patrol. The headline, before it was corrected to "President Obama Visits Austin," along with evidence that Google News was still carrying the original headline until just a short time ago, follow the jump.

July 10, 2014, 12:44 AM EDT

At the Politico Wednesday afternoon, Jonathan Topaz covered Texas Democratic Congressman Henry Cuellar's sharp criticism of President Barack Obama's failure to visit the nation's southern border, or for that matter any of the detention centers set up for "Unaccompanied Alien Children" (the Department of Homeland Security's term).

The Politico is where many stories the rest of the establishment press would rather not cover go to die; they then appear to say, "Well, the Politico covered it, so we don't have to." During the Reagan, Bush 41 and Bush 43 presidencies, the press went with saturation coverage of Republicans who criticized a president from their party. The degree of coverage in Cuellar's situation is quite the opposite, even though, as we shall see, the White House has contacted him in an attempt to convince him to shut up.

July 9, 2014, 9:15 PM EDT

On Tuesday, Harry Reid told the press that "the one thing we're going to do, during this work period, sooner rather than later, is to ensure that women's lives are not determined by virtue of five white men. This Hobby Lobby decision is outrageous, and we're going to do something about it."

Obviously, Reid's statement assailing the Supreme Court majority in the Hobby Lobby decision is incorrect, as black African-American Clarence Thomas was among the five justices who defended the religious freedom of the Green family which owns and runs Hobby Lobby. Ordinarily, in an obvious gaffe involving a Democratic Party politican, coverage would be sparse. But in this case, there are at least two instances where an establishment press outlet actually reported Reid's statement without pointing out that it was wrong. One occurred at the New York Times.

July 9, 2014, 2:29 PM EDT

Former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin was sentenced to 10 years in prison today on fraud, bribery and related charges. In a January 2006 appearance on PBS's Tavis Smiley Show, Nagin, who in many several previous news reports had been described as a Republican who became a Democrat once he sought political office, told Smiley that he "never was a Republican" and he has been a "life-long Democrat."

As would be expected, several media outlets are failing to report Nagin's declared status as a "life-long Democrat." A particularly egregious example is at USA Today (saved here for future reference, fair use and discussion purposes, and in case USAT makes revisions; HT longtime NB commenter Gary Hall; bolds are mine):

July 8, 2014, 8:32 PM EDT

On Monday evening's NBC Nightly News, host Brian Williams used a perhaps revealing verb to describe a belief held by former Soviet foreign minister and Georgian president Eduard Shevardnadze, who died on Monday at 86.

It would be good to look back and learn how Shevardnadze came to say what he said a decade ago before getting to how Williams framed it. As reported in Doug Martin's obituary at the New York Times (bolds are mine throughout this post):

July 8, 2014, 5:20 PM EDT

The press loves billionaire Warren Buffett, who can be relied to support President Barack Obama even in implausible circumstances — such as the current economy, where the "recovery" following the 2008-2009 traditionally defined recession has been worse than any since World War II, and barely better than what was seen during the awful post-Depression 1930s.

Thus far, the press has managed to ignore one of the implications of the first quarter's serious contraction. One more quarter of economic contraction could mean that the end of the recession, as Buffett himself has defined it, failed to permanently arrive.

July 7, 2014, 6:00 PM EDT

This goes back to a week ago Saturday morning, but given the content and that it occurred on a weekend, it really needs more visibility.

On June 28, Juan Williams put in an appearance on a Fox News "Cashin' In" show panel which discussed the IRS scandal. Host Eric Bolling discussed poll results revealing that three-quarters of Americans believe that the IRS deliberately destroyed emails, and overhwelmingly want to see people involved in destroying the emails to be held accountable. The video after the jump, accompanied by Mediaite coverage containing key quotes, will show that Williams not only insists that he is completely unimpressed with the newsworthiness of the story, but also believe that those who believe it to be important are engaging in a "paranoia conspiracy" (Warning: Those who are on blood pressure meds should make that they have taken them and have allowed enough time to pass for them to achieve their proper effect; bolds are mine):

July 7, 2014, 11:57 AM EDT

Donna Brazile apparently liked yours truly's NewsBusters post yesterday. That post ripped the Associated Press's Pollyanna-like coverage of the U.S. economy, and carried the following headline which may have caused several spilled drinks and soaked monitors among the genuinely informed — "AP: ‘Humming’ and ‘Rising’ U.S. Economy Is a ‘World-Beater.'"

About five hours after the post's appearance, Brazile tweeted her clear approval (HT Twitchy). While we appreciate any traffic which might have come this way as a result of Brazile's tweet, it's hard to imagine that Al Gore's 2000 presidential campaign manager has switched sides. It's far more likely that she didn't bother reading the underlying post. The tweet follows the jump:

July 6, 2014, 9:45 PM EDT

Fox News contributor and syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer made a very interesting and logical correlation Friday. The press has predictably failed to make the connection or even to relay Krauthammer's point, simply because it leads to the default assumption that conservatives were right on an important economic issue.

To be clear, the point Krauthammer and National Review Online's Robert Stein made on Thursday isn't directly provable. But the fact that an acceleration in job growth and a significant reduction in the unemployment rate have occurred in the six months since extended unemployment benefits expired is hard to explain away as some kind of lucky coincidence — especially given the endless blather of "weather" excuses the press and the administration have made about the economy in general since early this year. Video and a transcript follow the jump.

July 6, 2014, 5:10 PM EDT

In the latest White House press release disguised as analysis at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, AP stenographer Paul Wiseman sang the praises of this nation's "humming" job market and its "steadily rising" growth as the economy is "finally showing the vigor that Americans have long awaited." Wow.

Of course, the White House — er, Wiseman — never mentioned the following (to name just a few): two straight months (April and May) of real declines in consumer purchases; the seasonally adjusted decline of 523,000 in full-time employment paired with an increase of 799,000 part-time jobs in June; April’s and May's trade imbalance coming in worse than March’s, which was already very high; shipments of durable goods barely budging in April and May; factory orders falling in May; or May's flat construction spending. It got worse, as Wiseman concocted five reasons why the U.S. economy is a "world beater." Excerpts from Paul's pathetic prose follow the jump (bolds and numbered tags are mine):