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 17, 2012, 6:18 PM EDT

The stunts the folks at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, continue pulling to downplay, minimize, or whitewash bad or embarrassing economic and other news shouldn't surprise us any more. But they continue to disappoint nonetheless.

Last month, a consumer sentiment index reported by the Conference Board fell by a relatively modest amount. Headlines and descriptions at related AP reports went from “falls” to “dips slightly” to “roughly flat” to a “rosy outlook” in the course of a single day. Today's AP rewrite only involved one step. At 9:04 a.m., Derek Kravitz's dispatch on the Census Bureau's New Home Construction report gave equal play to the seasonally adjusted (and totally unexpected) fall in new housing starts and the also unexpected but more modest rise in building permits:

April 17, 2012, 1:15 PM EDT

Derek Kravitz and Alex Veiga at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, must have doubled down on the energy drinks over the weekend. A Sunday morning report (HT to a NewsBusters tipster) telling readers that signs are "pointing to a long-awaited recovery" in the housing market went on, and on, and on, and on for over 1,350 words.

The factors the AP pair cited were primarily these: "Hiring has strengthened," "Loans remain cheap," "Homes are more affordable," and "Americans are more confident." They should have known that their first point has become questionable with March's mediocre jobs report and the recent spike in weekly initial unemployment claims to 380,000 (which so happens to be above his colleague Christopher Rugaber's already too-high benchmark for job-market improvement of 375,000), and that their last point should read: "Americans are less un-confident."

April 16, 2012, 2:26 PM EDT

The willingness of the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, to cover for Democratic Party flubs, crimes, and scandals is something to behold. On Sunday, the wire service's Gary D. Robertson (pictured from a recent YouTube video) opened his coverage of North Carolina's Democratic Party executive director Jay Parmley with the following sentence: "The executive director of the North Carolina Democratic Party has resigned amid concern among party activists about high turnover at the party headquarters and harassment allegations there." Yeah, that "turnover" had to be a much bigger problem than those harassment allegations.

Gosh, the coverage two days earlier by Matt Boyle at the Daily Caller "somehow" had nothing to say about "turnover." But Boyle did name names and cite other specifics, with which the AP's Robertson, in his terse, five-paragraph "I guess I have to do this but I'm not going to like it" piece, never bothered:

April 15, 2012, 9:45 PM EDT

There are a few Democrats in Vicki Smith's coverage at the Associated Press, aka the Adminsitration's Press, of the fraud investigation of former Mine Safety and Health Administration Director J. Davitt McAteer. As is AP's derelict custom in cases where Dems are involved in scandal or corruption, the party affiliation of those Democrats isn't mentioned.

The first Democrat is McAteer himself, who, based on a review of Federal Election Commission records, given roughly $1,900 to various Democratic Party candidates and causes during the past 13 years, including contributions to the party's presidential nominees in 2000, 2004, and 2008. Then there's West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin, who was previously the state's governor. Finally, although the AP gets a pass for this (it's Sunday, and we're in a forgiving mood), the name and administration of Democrat Bill Clinton, the guy McAteer worked for when he headed MSHA, never comes up. Excerpts from Ms. Smith's party ID-free report follow:

April 15, 2012, 11:19 AM EDT

For an ineffectual class warfare ploy to "work" politically, its ineffectuality must stay hidden to most. The Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, is doing its part to keep the utter immateriality of President Obama's Buffett Rule designed to go after certain high-income taxpayers hidden.

In the five relevant articles found in a search on the Omaha billionaire's last name at the wire service's national site at 10:30 a.m. ET, only one (the latest) mentions that it might raise $47 billion over 10 years, i.e., the paltry $5 billion per year cited at media outlets ranging from CNNMoney.com to Rush Limbaugh that the rule might raise. Beyond that, if the rule is couple with permanent Alternative Minimum Tax repeal, as is being proposed (HT American Thinker) by Congressional Democrats, the federal treasury will be out hundreds of billions of dollars. None of the AP reports mentions that. Brief excerpts from the five examples follow.

April 14, 2012, 10:33 PM EDT

In covering GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney's appearance at the annual National Rifle Association convention in St. Louis yesterday, Associated Press aka Adminstration's Press reporter Charles Babington pretended to know nothing about President Barack Obama's opposition to basic Second Amendment rights. At least I hope he was pretending, because Obama's hostility to the right to keep and bear arms is longstanding, well-known, and did not stop when he swore an oath to "protect and defend the Constitution" on January 20, 2009.

I have excerpted Babington's first four paragraphs plus three others. I will follow that with a rundown of Obama's pre-2008 gun-hostile record, his meeting with the Brady group in May 2011, and this "little" thing called Operation Fast and Furious Babington and his establishment media colleagues have mostly deliberately ignored for well over a year (bolds are mine throughout this post; HT to a frequent emailer):

April 14, 2012, 6:55 PM EDT

Yesterday, Time's Joe Klein may have produced the single dumbest analysis post ever. Absurd as it is, it's still important, because it probably betrays Barack Obama's election strategy, with which the press will gleefully cooperate. The strategy is: Make it about anything and everything besides what I and my administration have and haven't done, because it hasn't impressed anyone, and we know it.

Klein's entry (HT Hot Air Headlines) at Time's Swampland, which should be named Fever-Swampland, was so brain-dead that he failed to cite a single example of an incumbent facing reelection (vs. a successor seeking election for the first time) in attempting to make his case:

April 13, 2012, 11:55 PM EDT

Jury selection in the trial of two-time Democratic Party presidential candidate and John Kerry's Democratic Party running mate in the 2004 election John Edwards began on Thursday. In the related five-paragraph Associated Press story, Michael Biesecker actually identified Edwards as a Democrat in his fourth of his five paragraphs.

That's not a stellar performance (a Republican or conservative in the kind of trouble Edwards is in would have his or her party identified in either the headline, the first paragraph, or both), but at least the party label is present. As blogger extraordinaire Doug Ross noted earlier this evening, in an 1,800-word item at the Atlantic on Wednesday ("Why the John Edwards Trial Is a Bigger Deal Than You Think"), author and undisclosed former Democratic candidate for statewide office Hampton Dellinger failed to name Edwards's party at all, while figuring out a way to tag something or someone "Republican" five times. Here are the opportunities studiously avoided in his treatise only relating to variations on the word "president" (bolded by me):

April 13, 2012, 10:44 AM EDT

When I saw the headline at last night dispatch from the Associated Press's Charles Babington on presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney and his campaign ("Romney rebuts claims that he, GOP are anti-women") I thought that the Obama administration and Babington's employer, also known as the Administration's Press, might finally be throwing the inane "war on women" meme into the dustbin. After the Hilary Rosen disaster of the past 36 hours, that would seem wise.

The headline's reference to rebuttal leads one to believe that Romney had successfully "refute(d) by evidence or argument" the utter garbage the left's "war on women" accusation against Republicans and conservatives has always been. I should have known better. The headline doesn't reflect the underlying article at all, leading one to hope that most readers stop right there. Babington's report is so disgracefully over-the-top it deserves its own wing in the Journalism Hall of Shame (bolds and numbered tags, which cover only a portion of the journalistic offenses committed in Babington's full write-up, are mine):

April 12, 2012, 10:49 AM EDT

Today's Unemployment Insurance Weekly Claims Report from the Department of Labor revealed that, after seasonal adjustment, 380,000 Americans filed initial applications for unemployment benefits the week ending April 7. That figure was 13,000 higher than the week ending March 31. The AP headline at Christopher Rugaber's report as of 9:18 a.m.: "US applications for unemployment aid tick up."

Additionally, the March 31 initial claims figure of 357,000 was revised upward to 367,000. So the April 7 figure of 380,000 -- even before it almost certainly gets revised up next week (upward revisions have occurred in 53 of the past 54 weeks I have tracked) -- is 23,000 higher than what DOL initially reported for March 31. Yet Rugaber didn't tell his readers about the degree of the revision to March 31. Several paragraphs from the AP report, which contains an excuse which seasonal adjustment if done correctly by DOL should have covered, follow the jump (bolds are mine):

April 11, 2012, 11:40 PM EDT

In his report on the February 2012 monthly federal deficit on March 12, Christopher Rugaber at the Associated Press (aka the Administration's Press) told readers that the month's deficit was $232 billion, but "somehow" forgot to tell readers that it was an all-time record for a single month in U.S. government history.

Well, there's good news, much worse news, and an utterly predictable agenda-driven item in the AP's coverage of March's deficit, this time courtesy of the wire service's Martin Crutsinger. The good news is that Crutsinger recognized that March's deficit was the highest on record for any March. The much worse news is that, as I forecast AP and others would do at my home blog last last week when the Congressional Budget Office estimated March's results, he failed to tell readers that March's spending of $369.37 billion was the highest single-month amount ever recorded by $30.32 billion -- a whopping 8.9% above the previous record of 339.05 billion set in March 2011. The increase is largely due to the fact that checks for many April 1 items were written on March 30 because April 1 was a Sunday, but a record is a record, and failing to recognize one (and only then trying to explain it away if there is cause for it) is shoddy journalism. The utterly predictable agenda-driven item is after the jump.

April 11, 2012, 12:51 PM EDT

On March 1, 2011, 14 year-old Makayla Norman of Dayton died of neglect at the hands of adults (her mother and three others) who were responsible for her care and safety. Makayla weighed 28 pounds when she died, and was found "covered in bedsores, living in filth and starved to the point the she looked more like a skeleton than a teenager." On Friday, her mother pled guilty to involuntary manslaughter and endangering children. The cases of the three other adults go to trial on April 16.

In January, an investigative report by Cox Newspapers Dayton-area staff writers Josh Sweigart and Doug Page identified several parties who could and should have prevented the neglect in the first place, or detected it while in progress: "the home care agency responsible for feeding her"; "an extensive bureaucracy where officials say fraud is a massive and growing problem"; her case manager (among those indicted), who "worked for CareStar of Ohio"; and the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services. Bizarrely, two months later, while barely mentioning any of the aforementioned parties in their report, Mary McCarty and Margo Kissell at the Dayton Daily News, using questionable methods and verbiage (to be noted later), decided that one other element in Makayla's life should be nominated to receive part of the blame -- homeschooling:

April 10, 2012, 2:36 PM EDT

At the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar is floating the notion (saved here at host for future reference, fair use and discussion purposes) that members of the Supreme Court who seem inclined to strike down ObamaCare might do so without fully understanding it. Translation: Those dummies.

The AP reporter makes a claim which reads like a desperate talking point from Team Obama (and maybe it is). The essence of the "argument" is that if you have a required minimum plan design which includes many items individuals and families would never use and would never buy if left to their own devices, and you force them to purchase a health insurance policy with that design (or possibly better), it really isn't a bad thing any more if you allow some choice in copays and deductibles. 

April 9, 2012, 11:48 PM EDT

On Friday (covered at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), the Associated Press's headline at Paul Wiseman's dispatch after the release of the government's March jobs report was: "US job market takes a break after hiring binge." It was as if they just knew that March was an aberration, and that the "binging" would resume in April.

The markets weren't as convinced today: "Investors had a three-day weekend to brood over disappointing job growth in March. When they got back to work Monday and delivered their verdict, it wasn't good." Wiseman and AP regrouped today, identifying "5 reasons the US job market might be weakening":

April 9, 2012, 3:27 PM EDT

Well, the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, apparently has Missouri Democratic Congressman and Congressional Black Caucus Chairman Emanuel Cleaver's back. As of 2:40 p.m., there is no national story relevant to Cleaver's unpaid $1 million-plus loan at the wire service's national site, even though information published by the Kansas City Star late Friday evening (interesting timing; HT to KC Star's David Helling, who later informed me that the story made Page A-1 of the Star's Saturday print edition, while the original received the same placement on Friday) indicates that taxpayers could be out up to $1.1 million because the Small Business Administration-backed a loan to Cleaver's car wash business back in 2002 which is has been seriously delinquent for years. The Bank has sued for repayment.

There is an unbylined local AP story which appears to have been published shortly after midnight on Monday (shown in full because of its brevity and for fair use and discussion purposes):

April 9, 2012, 12:00 PM EDT

As of 11:55 a.m., a search at the Associated Press's national site on "Cleaver" returns nothing related to an April 6 story reported at the Kansas City star (HT Nice Deb via Gateway Pundit) that Bank of America has sued Missouri Congressman and Black Caucus Chairman Emanuel Cleaver for repayment of a $1 million-plus loan relating to a car wash.

The KC Star didn't exactly provide exemplary coverage in its report. One would think from reading the story's headline and first two paragraphs that Bank of America and the congressman are having some kind of difficult conversation. In paragraph 3, we finally learn that there really is a lawsuit involved. It took the Star seven paragraphs to indicate that taxpayers may be on the hook and eight paragraphs to tag Cleaver as a Dem (impact-minimizing words in bold):

April 7, 2012, 2:36 PM EDT

Breitbart.com has noted that it took about 17 hours before the dam broke, but now the Associated Press and United Press International both have stories on NBC's decision to fire a Miami-based producer over the editing of George Zimmerman's 911 call.

The AP story, which has a time stamp of 12:03 p.m. at the Wall Street Journal, plays it pretty straight (posted in full because of it relative brevity; the item's author, as shown here, is Television Writer Frazier Moore):

April 7, 2012, 12:46 PM EDT

Did you know that the economy was on a "hiring binge" until February? Gosh, neither did I until the headline to Paul Wiseman's report at the Associated Press yesterday afternoon informed of that.

I also didn't know that economies took breaks, but that's what the AP's headline said the economy did in March. And don't worry -- "few economists expect hiring to fizzle in spring and summer, as it did the past two years." Correct me if I'm wrong, but they weren't expecting to see fizzling in 2011 or 2010, and guess what happened (or maybe they were just extended "breaks")? What follows are the first five paragraphs from Wiseman's dispatch, plus selected others:

April 6, 2012, 8:33 PM EDT

It would seem that Paul Wiseman at the Associated Press had his copy prepared in advance for today's jobs report.

The consensus was that today's report from Uncle Sam's Bureau of Labor Statistics would show that 200,000 seasonally adjusted jobs were added in March. So it was a virtual lock that today's result would mean that the past four months were the best for net hiring in the past two years. Accordingly, after the report's release, Wiseman, despite the disappointing news that March's number was only 120,000, apparently just plugged in the four-month total and ran with it:

April 5, 2012, 11:38 AM EDT

You're going to have a hard time convincing me that Associated Press CEO Dean Singleton's lavish praise of President Barack Obama noted earlier this week by Matt Sheffield at NewsBusters hasn't trickled down to the beat reporters and affected their day-to-day coverage.

Take this opening sentence from the AP's Christopher Rugaber written shortly after the Department of Labor released its weekly unemployment claims report: "The number of people seeking U.S. unemployment benefits fell to a four-year low last week, suggesting employers kept hiring in March at a healthy pace." Really, Chris? Exactly how does less firing translate to more hiring? It doesn't (historical correlation, to the extent that it's there, doesn't signify causation). There are any number of firms which are not letting people go but which are also not hiring. Several other paragraphs from Rugaber's report follow: