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
August 16, 2012, 11:51 AM EDT

Earlier today (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), I noted how the Associated Press's Steve Peoples and Politico's Juana Summers could only find hundreds of people attending GOP vice-presidential pick Paul Ryan's Wednesday appearance at Oxford, Ohio's Miami University. Perhaps even more troubling is how they somehow chose an odd angle for their coverage, namely that Ryan has supposedly avoiding talking about Medicare in his stump speeches -- and both wrote "that changed" in describing its first mention.

It seems more than a little odd that two establishment press reporters from supposedly separate and independent media outlets both apparently focused for four days on when Ryan would mention the word "Medicare" on the campaign trail. Summers even made it her headline, while Peoples seemed to want to convey the impression that Ryan has been afraid to mention the word:

August 16, 2012, 11:12 AM EDT

UPDATE: In its video report, but not in its accompanying text, Cincinnati Local 12 News reported that the crowd was over 6,000, and that "a whole line of people were turned away, because there wasn't enough room."

It would appear that Politico's Juana Summers and the Associated Press's Steve Peoples have an unusual and nearly identical problem with math. Yesterday, they could have and should have gone to the Secret Service for help. (Also, go to this subsequent post about how the pair also played a very odd duet in supposedly independently written stories, both attempting to portray Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan as avoiding the topic of Medicare on the campaign trail.)

Summers wrote that Ryan's appearance yesterday at Miami University drew "several hundred supporters gathered for an outdoor rally." Peoples claimed it was "hundreds of supporters." After the jump, I will note several media outlets which reported that the crowd numbered in the "thousands" -- including one which cited a Secret Service estimate of 5,500.

August 15, 2012, 11:53 PM EDT

There are so many holes in Paul Wiseman's Wednesday report at the Associated Press on the weakness of the current "recovery" that it would take a term paper to cover all of them. I'll just concentrate on a repeat error Wiseman made. It is one which AP colleagues Christopher Rugaber (with Wiseman, as demonstrated here) and Martin Crutsinger (as shown here) have also committed. All three gentlemen have been preparing their reports as if "government spending" is the same thing as the government spending and investment component of the nation's economic output. It's not.

In his piece about why the Obama "recovery" (as seen here, by Warren Buffet's requirement that per capita GDP has to return to where it was before the downturn began, we don't even have the beginnings of a recovery yet) is the worst since World War II, Wiseman had the following to say on the "government spending" topic:

August 14, 2012, 6:15 PM EDT

Late this this afternoon, the Associated Press made a correction to Christopher Rugaber's August 10 story on July's federal budget results. His original claim, noted on August 11 by yours truly at NewsBusters and at BizzyBlog, was that Barack Obama's promise to cut the deficit in half was something "he pledged to do during his 2008 campaign."

As noted in my original post and its mirror, the only evidence of a "cut in half" promise I could locate was in February 2009, a month after Obama took office and shortly after the passage of the stimulus package. A February 21, 2009 AP story reported that such a promise was coming, and it became official two days later. After the jump, readers will find the text of the AP's correction language (also found here, and currently listed at the top of its corrections link at its national site) followed by a few paragraphs from the original item up to where the correction has been incorporated:

August 14, 2012, 3:12 PM EDT

In her story this aftermoon on the imminent expiration of the company's "lock-up" period during which certain employees and insiders must hold onto their company stock, Associated Press Technology writer Barbara Ortutay reports that Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg will be locked into his holdings until mid-November -- while omitting out of apparent ignorance the fact that he previously cashed out to the tune of over $1 billion.

The relevant excerpts (full story saved here for future reference, fair use, and discussion purposes) follow the jump:

August 14, 2012, 10:02 AM EDT

Matthew Yglesias has been posting at Slate.com, supposedly a paragon of online establishment press journalism, as a business and economics correspondent since November of last year. His background is unmistakably leftist: ThinkProgress, the Atlantic, TPM Media, and the American Prospect.

On Saturday, a Yglesias found a blog post which was apparently too good to check at The Richmonder, a lefty enterprise run by Jerel Wilmore. The Richmonder's post claimed that "Paul Ryan traded on insider information to avoid 2008 crash" (post has been retracted; excerpt was obtained at democraticunderground.com; some of what follows is also here):

August 12, 2012, 11:55 PM EDT

In an apparent attempt to pin blame anywhere but on the Obama administration for the rising unemployment rate, a USA Today item currently carried at Newsmax's MoneyNews.com web site opens by claiming that "Companies across the country are cutting training programs for new employees, broadening the divide between workers with skills needed to compete in today's economy and those left out, pushing up unemployment rates in the process."

The incoherence is stunning, and it continues after the jump:

August 11, 2012, 9:18 AM EDT

UPDATE: The AP has corrected its story. The related NewsBusters post is here.

In his coverage of the latest Monthly Treasury Statement showing July and year-to-date federal budget deficits of $69.6 billion and $974 billion, respectively, Christopher Rugaber at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, cut President Obama a significant break when he wrote that "GOP candidate Mitt Romney has criticized Obama for failing to cut the deficit in half, as he pledged to do during his 2008 campaign."

The problem is that Obama's "pledge" wasn't a campaign promise at all. It was a promise made on February 23, 2009, over 3-1/2 months after he won the presidential election and more than a month after his inauguration. The, uh, Associated Press had the scoop that he would make this promise two days earlier:

August 11, 2012, 7:56 AM EDT

Friday afternoon, the Associated Press's Jonathan Fahey couldn't get four paragraphs into his report on higher gas prices nationwide without starting to fret about their impact on President Obama's re-election effort.

He also wanted readers to understand without any doubt that President Obama and the by inference his government bear absolutely no responsibility for the recent run-up to a national average of $3.67 a gallon nationwide with statewide averages in California and Illinois topping $4, and conveniently used one interviewed driver as a prop to begin making his quite transparent political point. Later in the report, he inadvertently cited a reason why the government is contributing to higher prices at the pump. I'll cite yet another among many additional government-induced factors later in the post.

August 10, 2012, 8:48 AM EDT

Last time I checked the Associated Press was a national news service.

So in a story about how a refinery fire in California will likely cause West Coast gas prices to hit $4 a gallon, why did reporter Jason Dearen ignore the fact that prices are already at $4 a gallon in many parts of the country already?

August 9, 2012, 8:08 AM EDT

Let's see if this story gets any meaningful attention in the U.S., or if the Associated Press expands the brief unbylined item currently seen at its national site. I wouldn't bet on it -- and even if that occurs, I don't expect the U.S. establishment press to give what is contained therein much notice.

The AP's four-paragraph blurb tells us that independent columnists in Egypt are alarmed at what they see as the newly empowered Muslim Brotherhood's "attempt to control the state-owned press":

August 8, 2012, 11:22 PM EDT

A year ago, Standard & Poor's cut its rating of U.S. government debt from AAA to AA+.

Very early Monday morning, in what read more like an Obama administration press release than a wire service news report, Paul Wiseman at the Associated Press claimed that subsequent events and other agencies' decisions not to deliver similar downgrades represent a "decisive repudiation" of S&P's call. Gee, I think an element of other agencies' holdbacks had quite a bit to do with the Obama administration's almost immediate move to launch an investigation into how S&P handled the ratings of mortgage-backed securities leading up to the housing and mortgage lending mess in 2008. The others didn't want to become the Department of Justice's next targets. But of course Wiseman didn't bring up that inconvenient point. Excerpts follow:

August 8, 2012, 3:57 PM EDT

Clay Waters at NewsBusters addressed this item earlier today, but I want to emphasize one particular quote in the related New York Times piece which also caught the (possibly gullible) attention of Chris Ariens at Media Bistro's TV Newser: "In private meetings with columnists, he has talked about the concept of 'false balance' — that reporters should not give equal weight to both sides of an argument when one side is factually incorrect. He frequently cites the coverage of health care and the stimulus package as examples, according to aides familiar with the meetings."

Wow. Where do you start? I'll cite just one example in each area Obama cited. I suspect readers will have more.

August 7, 2012, 11:59 PM EDT

Since Mitt Romney is supposedly responsible for the death from cancer of a woman who died in 2006, seven years after the presumptive GOP nominee left Bain Capital, it seems more than fair to talk about what has resulted from the Obama administration's blatant favoritism towards UAW members while shafting former Delphi salaried workers.

Tonight, the Associated Press's Adwatch entry by Stephen Braun actually calls out the Obama super-PAC Priorities USA, specifically saying that the assertion by Joe Soptic, the woman's widower, "that Romney bears some blame in his wife's death is not backed up factually in the ad." Fair enough, but, especially because it was in the news today, let's look at the Delphi situation.

August 7, 2012, 2:44 PM EDT

The modern equivalent of a broken record, which used to be a common saying about someone who says the same thing over and over, is the "infinite loop" -- "a sequence of instructions in a computer program which loops (i.e., repeats) endlessly."

On Social Security, the establishment press has played a false infinite loop for decades, namely that its "trust fund" contains lots of real assets. Here is Stephen Ohlemacher's replay of the loop found in his coverage at the Associated Press on early Monday:

August 6, 2012, 11:48 PM EDT

It's as if these people think that we're still in the era of the Pony Express and passenger pigeons.

Both CNN's email alert after the close of the markets today and the Associated Press's post-close report acted as if Monday's stock market gain was due to a positive momentum effect from Friday's splendiforous jobs report, which really wasn't that good at all. CNN's 4:01 p.m. email told recipients that "U.S. stocks end higher on momentum from July jobs report." AP's first paragraph at its news summary page read as follows:

August 5, 2012, 11:32 AM EDT

Well, it looks like Democrats in a Southern state have embarrassed party officials once again. Back in 2010, it was Alvin Greene in South Carolina, whose victory in that state's U.S. Senate primary so infuriated Palmetto State Congressman James Clyburn that he accused Greene of being a plant and called for a federal probe. Greene refused to step aside; incumbent Republican Jim DeMint defeated Greene in a landslide.

A similar script is playing out in Tennessee, where relative unknown Mark Clayton defeated seven other challengers in the Volunteer State's Democratic U.S. Senate primary. It turns out that Clayton is vice president of an alleged "hate group." If that characterization really fits Clayton's Public Advocate of the United States (there's ample reason to doubt that), then Associated Press reporter Lucas L. Johnson II "somehow" forgot to notice that a couple of national Democrats apparently agree with the group's supposedly "hateful" positions -- as well as, it would appear, President Barack Obama himself. Excerpts follow the jump:

August 4, 2012, 2:58 PM EDT

The Associated Press carried two stories on Friday about the attempt by and ultimate failure of former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman to avoid going back to prison.

In the first, ahead of that day's hearing, AP reporter Bob Johnson failed to mention Siegelman's Democratic Party affiliation. In the second, Johnson managed to get Democratic Party references designed to raise what appear to be partisan questions about whether Siegelman really deserved his fate into his 29th and 34th of 35 paragraphs. Excerpts follow (AP is using all uppercase in its national site headlines now; bolds are mine):

August 4, 2012, 1:25 PM EDT

The wire services and other establishment press members appear to be getting more selective in what they will allow into their headlines, particularly omitting items which might hurt Dear Leader.

Take the coverage of yesterday's Employment Situation Summary from the government's Bureau of Labor Statistics. The news was a combination of bad and mediocre (though expectations-beating): The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased from 8.2% to 8.3% (or from 8.217% to 8.254%, if you're Obama administration hack Alan Krueger), while the seasonally adjusted number of jobs added was 163,000. Both results are really unacceptable when there's so much not utilized and underutilized labor. Three establishment press headlines avoided mentioning the rate increase, even though it was a major element of the underlying story:

August 3, 2012, 12:53 AM EDT

General Motors didn't have a very good second quarter, as the Associated Press's Tom Krisher duly noted on Thursday.

What Krisher didn't note, and what almost no one in the establishment press ever notes, is the fact that the company doesn't have to pay any income taxes on its U.S. profits until it uses up losses carried forward from before its 2009 bankruptcy filing accompanied by at least $50 billion in government capitalization -- something other companies emerging from bankruptcy are almost never allowed to do. Based on the company's reported North American income for the quarter of $2 billion, most of which would have been realized on U.S. business, taxpayers subsidized the company to the tune of several hundred million dollars in just three months.