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 9, 2014, 10:34 PM EDT

I suspect that many readers who do their best to keep up with the news at a detailed level have a hard time understanding how many of their friends, acquaintances and neighbors — even many who they know put some effort into keeping up with current events — can be so unaware of many objectively important news developments.

There are two answers to that question. One is that the establishment press very often doesn't cover important matters at all; all one has to do is recall the empty media chairs at the trial of pre-born and newborn baby butcher Kermit Gosnell. The other is that when they do cover a story, journalists and their news outlets often do all they can to keep key names and facts out of their headlines and opening paragraph. Thanks to the fact that many people now consume news using computers, tablets, and smartphones, this stalling tactic may be even more effective now than it was in the print-only days.

April 8, 2014, 10:52 PM EDT

Let it be noted that at 7:17 p.m. on Tuesday, April 8, 2014, CNN.com finally broke down and posted a story on the alleged criminal behavior of California State Senator Leland Yee. The headline at the story by Matt Smith and Jason Carroll ("Feds: Calif. pol Leland Yee schemed to trade arms for campaign cash") gets to the heart of the matter — unlike the headline ("LAWMAKER YEE PLEADS NOT GUILTY TO FEDERAL CHARGES") at the Associated Press's most recent story on Yee. But Smith and Carroll waited until the fourth paragraph to tag Yee as a Democrat (the AP story at least got there at Paragraph 3).

CNN's story arrives 13 days after Yee's initial arrest, and 11 days, 9 hours and 58 minutes after a snippy person at the "CNN.com Writers" Twitter account — apparently one Eliott McLaughlin, according to the account's home page — claimed that its non-coverage of the Yee story was "in line with us covering state senators & state secretary of state races just about never." Yours truly disproved that assertion in about three minutes on March 29.

April 8, 2014, 12:55 AM EDT

On Friday, University of California Feminist Studies Associate Professor Mireille Miller-Young pled not guilty to misdemeanor theft, battery, and vandalism. To bring those who missed the two previous related posts up to speed: A video at the YouTube site of the Survivors of the Abortion Holocaust (warning: profanity) shows Miller-Young taking a sign away from a participant in a campus pro-life outreach effort. Accompanied by two students, she took the sign back to her office and destroyed it.

Her attorney entered the not guilty plea on Miller-Young's behalf despite documented admissions to police that, in her words, "I'm stronger so I was able to take the poster," and that she, in the police report's words, "was 'mainly' responsible for the poster's destruction because she was the only one with scissors." Various searches on Ms. Miller-Young's full name indicate that only three local outlets, the Santa Barbara Independent and two others, filed stories on her plea. No one, as far as I can tell, has noted that Miller-Young continues to carry on without sanction as a $125,000-per-year researcher of "black cultural studies" and "pornography and sex work," and that her tweets betray no remorse for her destructive actions.

April 7, 2014, 4:54 PM EDT

The primary objection to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), created as part of the mammoth Dodd-Frank legislation passed in 2010, has been its unaccountability. It "is ensconced within the Federal Reserve," which frees it from congressional and presidential oversight. Even the Fed "is statutorily prohibited from 'intervening' in CFPB affairs."

It should surprise no one that Richard Cordray, the unaccountable agency's director, seems to believe that he and his kingdom are untouchable. Cordray, a Democrat who not coincidentally has been mentioned as a possible down-the-road candidate to be Ohio's governor, has, according to a whistleblower, presided over a "'pervasive' culture of intimidation and hostility within the bureau." Further, according to the Washington Free Beacon's coverage of the whistleblower's testimony at a House Committee on Financial Services hearing, Cordray personally told the whistleblower "to have her attorneys 'back down.'" a Wednesday story at the Politico by M.J. Lee represents nearly the full extent of establishment press coverage I could locate. Excerpts from Lee's Politico story follow the jump.

April 7, 2014, 12:18 PM EDT

Over at what's left of Time Magazine's Time.com, Jon Friedman claims that Hall of Fame baseball player Hank Aaron "Would Have Faced Worse Racism Today" than he did in 1973 and 1974 as he edged ever closer to and then broke Babe Ruth's once thought unapproachable career record of 714 home runs. There is no doubt that Aaron faced significant adversity as he neared that record. In that pre-Internet, pre-social media era, he got his death threats the old fashioned way: via snail mail. The Lords of Baseball are said to have employed extra plainclothes security details behind home plate at Atlanta Braves home and away games in 1973.

If Friedman had written that anonymous death threats can be more easily deliverable these days, he might have had a point. But he didn't go there, instead writing as if it's an indisputable fact that "The home-run king is lucky he didn't have to contend with the ubiquitous bigots and haters on today's social media." If that were so obvious, you would think the the Time writer would have come up with better "proof" than the completely irrelevant examples he cited (HT Hot Air Headlines):

April 6, 2014, 8:43 PM EDT

As I noted yesterday, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, when asked to identify a specific accomplishment during her tenure there, failed to answer the question, instead falling back on the Obama administration's tired "we inherited a terrible economy" meme.

Never let it be said that yours truly doesn't try to be helpful. Here's an "accomplishment" I can attribute to Mrs. Clinton, though I suspect she won't want to put it at the top of her resume as she promotes her anticipated presidential candidacy: presiding over an out of control agency. During each of the past four years, outside auditors have found that State had several "significant deficiencies" in its internal controls over financial reporting (of course, the last eight months of the most recent year belong to current Secretary of State John Kerry). Additionally, State's Inspector General recently identified "contracts with a total value of more than $6 billion in which contract files were incomplete or could not be located at all." Though the IG's report was released on Thursday, it conveniently escaped coverage by the Associated Press until Saturday afternoon. The unbylined AP report itself was cursory and inadequate:

April 5, 2014, 7:34 PM EDT

On April 1 for its April 2 print edition, the New York Times allowed Venezuelan dictator Nicolas Maduro to hold forth in an op-ed about how wondrously the country has been ruled since 1998, mostly by the late Bolivarian thug Hugo Chavez and during the past year by himself.

Maduro's piece made the Times's print edition. The Times posted letters objecting to Maduro's characterizations of his country from Ramón Guillermo Aveledo, an opposition leader, and Congressman Edward R. Royce, but appears not to have printed them. I say that because there is no indication at the letters themselves that they were printed, and because certain other letters on unrelated matters are (examples here and here; scroll to the bottom in each instance). The Times did post and print a letter from Florida Senator Marco Rubio on Friday for Saturday's (less-read) print edition. The Times, to likely no one's surprise, has been lax in reporting ongoing developments in that deeply troubled country.

April 5, 2014, 9:32 AM EDT

Several weeks ago, MRC-TV's Dan Joseph visited the Democratic Party's winter meeting to see if attendees could name a single tangible of Hillary Clinton during her tenure as Secretary of State. They couldn't. It turns out that Hillary Clinton herself can't even do that.

Remember how Texas Governor Rick Perry was mercilessly ridiculed in the press for his 2011 debate brain cramp when he couldn't identify the third of three federal government agencies he would eliminate? At the Women of the World Summit in New York City on Thursday — an event held at, of all places, the David H. Koch Theater (you can't make this stuff up) — Mrs. Clinton rambled on and on in a response to a question about what she was most proud of in looking at her time as Secretary of State, but never identified even one specific accomplishment (HT Capitol City Project):

April 4, 2014, 11:39 PM EDT

This afternoon, in an unbylined item headlined "US BUSINESS HIRING FINALLY TOPS RECESSION LOSSES," the Associated Press showed that it deserves the nickname "Administration's Press." The story embarrassingly described the job market's return to its previous January 2008 employment peak as a "pivotal moment." Get real. Given over six additional years of growth in the adult population, that's hardly the case.

To his credit, the AP's Christopher Rugaber, in a separate later submission, tamped down the enthusiasm, noting that "the economy is still millions of jobs short of where it should be by now." That's for sure. But whoever wrote the headline to Rugaber's story told an obvious untruth:

April 3, 2014, 5:25 PM EDT

Though he didn't quite get to the "Shut up, he said" threshold, Politico's David Nather, in a Tuesday tome, argued that HealthCare.gov allegedly crossing the 7 million enrollment threshold leaves opponents blubbering, and supports the argument "that government can still solve big social problems" and is "a wake-up call for Republicans and conservatives."

It's as if Nather believes — and maybe he does, in which case he's woefully ignorant — that not achieving the enrollment target is about the only potential problem with HealthCare.gov. Uh, not exactly. Just off the top of my head, there's the lack of site security, the absence of back-office interaction with insurance carriers, miscalculations of subsidies, the system's outrageous cost, and the complete inability of enrollees to add, change or delete elements of what they submitted to correct inadvertent errors or reflect changes in their life circumstances. I'm sure that only scratches the surface. Excerpts from Nather's nattering follow the jump (bolds are mine throughout this post):

April 2, 2014, 9:15 PM EDT

When an unmistakable embarrassment to liberalism occurs, a standard establishment press fallback tactic is to accuse conservatives of some form of incivility — and if there really isn't one, to make up a story about it anyway.

That's exactly what Bloomberg Businsessweek's Paul M. Barrett did on Tuesday in covering the NRA's reaction to the arrest of California State Senator and ardent gun control advocate Leland Yee on gun trafficking charges. The story's headline claimed that the group did "a victory dance." Barrett's content claimed that it was "gloating" and "strained to veil its pleasure." In truth, the group was doing nothing of the sort — unless the speech police now believe that making any kind of obvious observation about a liberal's failure is inherently unfair:

March 31, 2014, 11:05 PM EDT

Two weeks ago, Nicholas Riccardi at the Associated Press basically gave an open mic to immigration amnesty groups who pretend to believe that the Obama administration has been deporting more immigrants who are here illegally per year than previous administrations did. Some of the groups involved are moving to disruptive tactics which look more like attempts at mob rule than those employed in a civil society.

Today, several center-right news outlets and blogs are reporting that the Center for Immigration Studies has reviewed information recently released by Homeland Security's Immigration and Customs Enforcement arm. Unsurprisingly, CIS has found far more laxness in deportation efforts. But what may surprise many, and what should be reported by AP and other establishment press outlets if they have any consistency and integrity, is how nonchalant the administration has been in releasing hardened criminals onto America's streets. Stephen Dinan at the Washington Times appears to have been the first to report on situation on Sunday:

March 31, 2014, 5:48 PM EDT

Over at Hot Air, Dustin Siggins writes that Andrea and Colin Chisholm "are getting enormous media attention." Perhaps, and I really hope so. Unfortunately, I found no evidence of any level of attention to the Chisholms, the apparently very rich couple who allegedly engaged in protracted fraud against the welfare systems of Florida and Minnesota for seven years, at several national establishment press outlets.

Here are some of the infuriating details from ABC's weekend "Good Morning America" show, a rare establishment press exception (bolds are mine):

March 31, 2014, 2:10 PM EDT

The Associated Press has a breaking news update: If you want to apply for Obamacare at HealthCare.gov today and you've never set up an account, forget about doing so for the time being.

The update is is running under this morning's old headline ("HEALTH CARE WEBSITE STUMBLES ON LAST DAY"), begging the question as to when a "stumble" turns into "I've fallen and I can't get up" (HT to several tweeters):

March 31, 2014, 9:55 AM EDT

The Obamacare-loving press spares no effort in excusing and minimizing the scheme's operational, systemic, and law-based failures.

Six months after launch, HealthCare.gov still isn't functioning as intended. In fact, as of 8:47 a.m. this morning, the time stamp on an Associated Press report (also saved here for future reference, fair use and discussion purposes) by chief wire service Obamacare defender Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, the web site wasn't functioning at all. Did the AP reporter tell readers the system had crashed, or was down? Oh heck no (bolds are mine):

March 30, 2014, 11:59 PM EDT

Pushed back from the headlines, massive protests against the repressive Nicolas Maduro regime in Venezuela continue.

So do the killings by the "colectivos." If this group of thugs enforcing Maduoro's Chavista socialist nightmare were instead right-wing paramilitary types, they would long since have been christened "death squads" and garnered international attention. A story about the colectivos finally appeared in the Associated Press today. While the coverage by Fabiola Sanchez and Frank Bajak was mostly measured, it completely ignored the fact the colectivos can operate without fear of armed resistance because of government curbs on purchases, transfers, and public carrying of guns.

March 30, 2014, 9:57 PM EDT

One (among many) of the more stunning elements of Obamacare's six-month run thus far has been the administration's increasingly desperate ploys to get "millennials" to sign up as the sort-of enrollment deadline looms. One of the more appalling of those involved President Obama himself appearing on comedian Zach Galifianakis’ “Between Two Ferns” show and directing scripted insults at the host. Almost no one in the establishment press has commented on how stunts such as these diminish the dignity which used to be associated with the highest office in the land.

Building on that personal involvement, Saturday Night Live's opening skit last night showed several other made-up (I hope) attempts to make "Get Covered" go viral, including presidential photo and video ops with Kim Kardashian and the Pope, respectively. The final effort possibly included spreading viruses, as it required Obama to kiss Justin Bieber ... on the lips. Video of that skit (obvious warning to those who don't would rather not see the final act: stop the tape) follows the jump (HT the Blaze):

March 30, 2014, 10:13 AM EDT

The headline and first paragraph at an Associated Press item on a union strike authorization vote in Las Vegas are both far more vague than they could or should be.

Though the rest of Ken Ritter's coverage at least identifies the union involved, it completely fails to get to the heart of the matter, which is that Obamacare is causing huge increases in their employers' cost of providing health care coverage. Culinary Union Local 226 wants their casino company employers to, well, eat those costs, and the companies are resisting. Ritter's coverage, which to those who understand the full background reads like an exercise in stall-ball, never even specifically says that health benefits are this potential strike's key issue (bolds are mine throughout this post):

March 29, 2014, 8:39 PM EDT

Although its report has its shortcomings, particularly the fact that it didn't identify him as a Democrat for 24 paragraphs (as noted this morning), the Associated Press has at least treated California State Senator Leland Yee's arrest on corruption and gun trafficking charges as a national story, with two bylined reporters and seven others assisting.

The same cannot be said of CNN.com. Web searchers, including several center-right bloggers, have noted the absence of any story about Yee there since 2011 (still true as of 6:30 p.m.). A tweet from "CNN.com Writers" snippily snapped back with a howler disproved faster than you can say "covering Democrats' keisters":

March 29, 2014, 9:52 AM EDT

Brickbats to Phillip Rawls and his layers of editors at the Associated Press.

Vietnam war hero and former Alabama Senator Jeremiah Denton died on Friday. He was an incredibly courageous and inspiring man who after his return from 7-1/2 years as a POW in North Vietnam became deeply troubled at where this nation was (and still is) headed. Unsurprisingly, he became a strong pro-life and family values advocate. Apparently following an unwritten rule at AP which dictates that a writer must take at least one parting shot at a conservative upon his or her death (see: Tony Snow), Rawls took two, twice describing Denton as "rigid" (includes video of a portion of his 1966 "torture" interview; bolds are mine):