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
April 29, 2013, 11:12 PM EDT

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick's attempt to keep his state's agencies from releasing detailed data on the use of the public-assistance system by the Tsarnaev family, whose sons, one dead and one in custody, are accused of carrying out the Boston Marathon bombings on April 15, appeared to be successful last week.

Ah, but Patrick, apparently feeling some heat, did agree "to release the information only to a House oversight committee where it will remain a secret." Except it's not a secret any more, at least in the aggregate, based on a report in the Boston Herald by Chris Cassidy which, based on when story comments first began appearing, went up during the middle of the afternoon today:

April 29, 2013, 8:42 PM EDT

They must be paying by the word over at Politico. It's difficult to come up with another explanation as to why reporter Jonathan Martin would slog through about 3,100 words on an item entitled "Black pols stymied in Obama era." He could have easily summarized why this is the case in eight words: "Because Barack Obama is all about Barack Obama." Oh, he could have added a few more, namely "and everybody knows Barack Obama is all about Barack Obama."

Since he didn't limit himself, yours truly will note a few things Martin still left out, identify a few interesting points that were made, and then quote certain naive and/or inflammatory statements contained in Martin's mess.

April 29, 2013, 12:39 PM EDT

At MarketWatch this morning, Paul Farrell's hostility towards Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, Milton Friedman and especially free-market capitalism boiled over. Farrell claims that capitalism "is destined to destroy the world, absent a historic paradigm shift."

The problem he describes really has nothing to do with properly practiced free-market capitalism, but is instead a combination of rampant cronyism and the abandonment of capitalism's (and society's) Judeo-Christian moral underpinnings. But that's a long discussion outside the scope of this post. This post is about the opening claim Farrell makes: "Billionaires control the vast majority of the world’s wealth." No they don't.

April 28, 2013, 5:14 PM EDT

On Friday, the government reported that the economy grew by an annualized 2.5 percent during the first quarter. Earlier today, in Part 1 of this series, (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog) I showed that while most news organizations, including CNN, Bloomberg and Reuters, characterized that news as a disappointment, especially comparred to expectations of 3.0 percent or more following an awful fourth quarter of 0.4%, Martin Crutsinger and Chris Rugaber remained irrationally exuberant, not only about the "quickened" pace of growth but about prospects for higher growth in the second half of this year.

In Part 2 (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), we saw how even others at the self-described Essential Global News Network disagreed with Crutsinger's and Rugaber's joint assessment. A "News Summary" item was headlined "STOCKS STALL AS GROWTH DISAPPOINTS." A report by AP Markets Writer Steve Rothwell was headlined "STOCKS STALL ON TEPID US ECONOMIC GROWTH," and forecasted slower growth during the rest of the year. There is one other key paragraph written by the pair of AP economics writers which deserves separate vetting. It follows the jump (bolds are mine throughout this post):

April 28, 2013, 12:48 PM EDT

On Friday, the government reported that the economy grew by an annualized 2.5 percent during the first quarter. As I noted in Part 1 (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), three establishment press outlets (CNN, Bloomberg, and Reuters) pronounced the result "disappointing" -- but not Martin Crutsinger and Christopher Rugaber at the Associated Press, whose headline read "AFTER NEAR-STALL IN LATE 2012, US ECONOMY PICKS UP," and whose content described the economy as having "quickened its pace" as "the strongest consumer spending in two years fueled a 2.5 percent annual growth rate in the January-March quarter."

It turns out that the AP pair's enthusiasm was not only not shared at other news organizations. It wasn't even shared within AP, as will be seen after the jump.

April 28, 2013, 11:32 AM EDT

On Friday, the government reported that the economy grew by an annualized 2.5 percent during the first quarter. The awful 0.4 percent result seen in the fourth quarter was largely sloughed off as caused by a number of one-time factors. Analysts convinced themselves that reported first-quarter growth would come in at 3.0 percent or slightly higher in Friday's release. Instead, we saw what Zero Hedge noted was the biggest such expectations miss since September 2011.

As a result, at least three establishment press organizations pronounced the result disappointing -- except for two business reporters at the Associated Press whose names are virtual fixtures here.

April 27, 2013, 10:46 PM EDT

The left's media-echo chamber just got louder. On Thursday morning in a claimed exclusive, the Politico reported that "(Former presidential adviser and campaign official David) Plouffe will appear regularly on Bloomberg Television to offer analysis and commentary on political and business issues as they impact the intersection of Wall Street, Main Street and K Street and will lend his expertise to the discussion of technology, demographic changes and crisis management."

That day at his new place of work, in response to a "kerfuffle" over errors in an academic paper which showed that, throughout history, government debt levels have held back economic growth -- errors which the authors insisted in a New York Times op-ed did not alter the fundamental validity of their conclusions, Plouffe delivered exactly what one would expect of a "former" lead Obama apparatchik:

April 27, 2013, 11:10 AM EDT

On Thursday for Friday's print edition, the New York Times carried a weakly headlined but well-written story entitled "U.S. Opens Spigot After Farmers Claim Discrimination" on its front page. Written by Sharon LaFraniere with the help of three others, it laid out how what began in 1997 as a class-action suit by black farmers (Pigford v. Glickman) claiming they had suffered discrimination at the hands of the U.S. Department of Agriculture "became a runaway train, driven by racial politics, pressure from influential members of Congress and law firms." Moreover, LaFraniere covered how the scope of the litigation grew "to encompass a second group of African-Americans as well as Hispanic, female and Native American farmers" to the tune of over 90,000 claims and potential ultimate taxpayer cost of over $4.4 billion, in the process morphing into a vehicle for the Obama administration to unjustifiably dole out taxpayer money to as many people and constituent groups as possible. It is worth reading the entire story, though it will make just about anyone concerned about the financial and cultural future of this nation shudder.

The Times coverage indeed "vindicates" the late Andrew Breitbart, whose Big Government blog exposed the fraud associated with Pigford, but that vindication is hardly satisfying. We're supposed to be impressed that the paper finally got around to substantively covering it, and that the paper even noted the "Public criticism (which) came primarily from conservative news outlets like Breitbart.com and from Congressional conservatives like Representative Steve King, Republican of Iowa, who described the program as rife with fraud." I don't see why.

April 24, 2013, 10:57 AM EDT

In a 1,700-word report on conflict and office politics at the New York Times, the Politico's Dylan Byers omitted critical context about the apparent personality clash between Jill Abramson, the paper's executive editor, and Dean Baquet, its managing editor.

Byers could have remedied the situation by including these seven words at an appropriate point: "Baquet, who has a history of insubordination ..." This history is not a secret, as illustrated in the following writeup at the (I'm not kidding) New York Times in September 2006 (bolds are mine):

April 24, 2013, 8:23 AM EDT

The Boston Herald has broken the story -- a scoop even the Boston Globe has acknowledged -- that "Tamerlan Tsarnaev was living on taxpayer-funded state welfare benefits even as he was delving deep into the world of radical anti-American Islamism."

A responsible national establishment press would treat this as an important story, because, as the Herald's Chris Cassidy noted in the understatement of the day, it "raises questions over whether Tsarnaev financed his radicalization on taxpayer money." Several paragraphs from the Herald story, followed by a look at how Todd Wallack and Beth Healy at the Globe handled their story on the family's finances, follow the jump.

April 23, 2013, 9:20 PM EDT

Seldom have I seen so many chauvinistic statements in one place as I have in an essay found at Guardian News.com written by an author whose work has appeared in "Time, Cosmopolitan, The Huffington Post and The Daily Beast." I post it as a media bias item because I believe that the views stated therein explicitly and implicitly affect how the press covers so-called "women's issues."

Here is just one sample: "I do consider any Harvard Law School degree obtained by a woman who then chooses not to use it in any sort of professional capacity throughout most of her life a wasted opportunity. That degree could have gone to a woman who does want to spend her entire life using it to advance the cause of women – or others in need of advancement – not simply advancing the lives of her own family at home, which is a noble cause, but not one requiring an elite degree." Other quotes, plus the identity of the author and a link to the essay, follow the jump:

April 23, 2013, 6:36 PM EDT

Last week, MSNBC's Chris Matthews was seen shortly after the Boston Marathon bombings wondering whether they had anything to do with "Tax Day" (which it wasn't in Massachusetts; it was Patriots' Day, a state holiday, and the tax filing deadline there was not until the next day) and asserting that "Normally domestic terrorists, people, tend to be on the far right."

Now Matthews appears not to be interested in finding out what motivated the Tsarnaev brothers, accused of perpetrating the Boston Marathon bombings, to do what they allegedly did, as the following passage from an April 22 "Hardball" discussion with an incredulous FBI profiler found at RealClearPolitics tells us (bolds are mine):

April 21, 2013, 11:30 PM EDT

Both the Los Angeles Times and the New York Daily News, the latter crediting wire service assistance, have reported that Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the now deceased older brother accused of committing the Boston Marathon bombings, was thrown out of a service at the Islamic Society of Boston, the Cambridge mosque he attended, about three months ago. I wonder if anyone in the media will notice the terror-connected history of the ISB? It's right there for anyone who cares to look for it.

First, quoting the Times story by Andrew Tangel and Ashley Powers:

April 21, 2013, 5:53 PM EDT

On April 4, the Associated Press' Christopher Rugaber wrote: "Gone are the fears that the economy could fall into another recession."

Having in effect announced the repeal of the business cycle for the foreseeable future, despite the fact that the economy's post-recession job recovery performance has been the worst since World War II by miles, it seems that Rugaber is now doing his best to prop up his assertion with shaky claims about the meaning of government economic reports. That would include the second sentence of his opening paragraph of his dispatch on Thursday's report on jobless claims from the government's Department of Labor (bolds are mine):

April 21, 2013, 12:21 PM EDT

An unbylined Associated Press report (graphic saved here) appearing at ABC News (time-stamped 9:51 a.m. at the AP's main national site; graphic saved here) reports that Boston Mayor Tom Menino appeared on ABC's "This Week" and said, in the AP's words, that "the suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing acted alone."

The brief AP report's third paragraph then has Menino saying, again in AP's words, that "another person was taken into custody" after "a pipe bomb was found in another location." This apparent inconsistency seems to be an attempt by the mayor to minimize the degree of homegrown "sleeper cell" concerns, especially in light of reports containing a cascade of contradicting details which follow the jump.

April 20, 2013, 10:36 AM EDT

Salon's David Sirota, who on Tuesday wrote a column called "Let’s hope the Boston Marathon bomber is a white American" and doubled down on Wednesday with "I still hope the bomber is a white American" (respectively noted by Noel Sheppard at NewsBusters here and here), has predictably continued his incoherent rants. In a subsequent column, he wrote about how the "Boston aftermath brings out America’s worst prejudices." In his latest offering, with no sense of irony, circus clown Sirota tells readers that "we can't let ourselves get swept up in the media circuses that follow" (I'm not going to link to either example of dreadful dreck; readers with strong stomachs can plug the items in quotes just noted into a web search).

Apparently attempting to poison the national discussion in multimedia fashion, Sirota tweeted his belief on Thursday that any conservative who sympathizes with and supports the people of Boston and Massachusetts during this difficult time must be a hypocrite (HT Twitchy.com):

April 20, 2013, 5:33 AM EDT

To be clear, this criticism is not of President Obama. It is directed at the Associated Press's Jim Kuhnhenn, who seems to think that the impact of any and all events in the nation and the world on the status of Obama's "presidency" is more important than any other consideration.

I don't see any other way one can interpret the opening paragraph of Kuhnhenn's early Saturday dispatch (also here):

April 16, 2013, 10:28 AM EDT

This morning at the Christian Science Monitor, Staff Writer Peter Grier demonstrated a stunning level of ignorance about the Boston Marathon's significance. He then built on that ignorance to posit that yesterday's bombing at the Marathon's finish line "could indicate that the bomber was a local or at least a native of the United States."

Among other things, Grier seems completely ignorant of the fact that Boston is one of six "World Marathon Majors" (the other five are New York, London, Tokyo, Berlin, and Chicago). The related paragraph from Grier's report, followed by other indicators of the Marathon's worldwide significance, follow the jump:

April 16, 2013, 9:10 AM EDT

Those who might have given the Associated Press's Jimmy Golen the benefit of the doubt early this morning for writing that the Boston Marathon bombings "raised alarms that terrorists might have struck again in the U.S." are going to have a tougher time doing so with his 8:15 a.m. report, in which he wrote that "the blasts among the throngs of spectators raised fears of a terrorist attack." In context, readers can insert "that it was" to replace "of." (If he meant to write "that there will be another terorrist attack," he would have. He didn't.)

The first several paragraphs of Golen's report (since revised; the referenced report is saved here for future reference, fair use and discussion purposes) follow they jump:

April 16, 2013, 4:48 AM EDT

On Monday, Matt Vespa at NewsBusters noted the reluctance of the Associated Press to characterize what it would only call an "extremist attack" in Mogadishu, Somalia as "terrorism."

In his early morning dispatch in the wake of the bombings at the Boston Marathon, the AP's Jimmy Golen at least used the word. But, incredibly, despite law enforcement authorities and others describing the bombings as an act of terrorism, Golen was still strangely tentative: