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 29, 2012, 5:05 PM EDT

In his column at the Los Angeles Times today (HT to a NewsBusters tipster), Michael Hiltzik engages in predictable whining about discussions on how to bring the federal deficit under control seem "increasingly to be driven by the wealthy." In the instance he cites, one could substitute "big bank and big company CEOs," who seem to have recently decided that President Obama's Simpson Bowles debt commission had a good roadmap in late 2010 after being as far as I can recall pretty much AWOL on the matter when it was first presented.

That's fine. Hiltzik entitled to his take. But he's not entitled to his facts, particularly his assertions on Social Security (bold is mine):

July 29, 2012, 2:50 PM EDT

In the kerfuffle over the initial refusal by Mitt Romney's campaign to allow reporters into a fundraising event to take place at an Israeli hotel on Monday, a position the campaign reversed late yesterday (early morning in Israel), the Associated Press's Kasie Hunt had, to say the least, an interesting take on property rights, while clearly misstating how the Obama campaign has handled press access.

Here are the first two paragraphs of her report as it existed 20 hours ago, as carried currently at Townhall:

July 29, 2012, 9:11 AM EDT

You know, President Obama is such a constructive guy. Why, he's a veritable Mr. Sunshine like Chicago Cubs baseball Hall of Famer Ernie Banks. He hardly ever goes after presidential opponent Mitt Romney with harsh criticism. When he does, it's a "rare swipe."

That's what Jim Kuhnhenn at the Associated Press told his readers yesterday in his coverage ("New day, old bickering on taxes between Obama, GOP") of the President's weekly radio address and related matters. Kuhnhenn, who between shifts as a reporter must live in a hermetically sealed cave, wrote the following:

July 28, 2012, 7:57 PM EDT

It's becoming increasingly clear that the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, believes there are two primary kinds of users of its output: those who only read headlines and those who read on or click through. It often dresses up the headlines with inaccuracies, omissions, and occasional downright falsehoods, which more often than not are respectively rendered properly, included, and stated truthfully (or at least sort of close) in the actual content.

It's hard to find a more stark example of a contradiction between an AP headline and its underlying content than Martin Crutsinger's late afternoon report Friday following that morning's Gross Domestic Product report:

July 28, 2012, 2:59 PM EDT

One of the most embarrassing yet telling exchanges (using the term loosely, as will be seen) in the history of presidential press secretaries occurred on Thursday. Connie Lawn, described here as longest-serving White House reporter, asked Obama Press Secretary Jay Carney what should have been a really easy question: "What city does this administration consider to be the capital of Israel -- Jerusalem or Tel Aviv?"

Carney wouldn't answer it, and accused Lawn and relentless national treasure Les Kinsolving of WND.com of asking about something they already knew. Carney's contemptible behavior has been virtually ignored in the establishment press. Here is the complete exchange as relayed at the White House's web site, complete with an asterisk, which I will explain (I have added names of the questioners where needed; a YouTube of part of what follows is here; bolds are mine):

July 27, 2012, 11:15 PM EDT

Give credit to CNN Money's Annalyn Chensky for intuitively recognizing the ridiculousness of the economic projections included in the White House's Mid-Session Review released today. That especially goes for the assumption that full-year economic growth in 2012, with the first and second quarters coming in at an annualized 2.0% and 1.5%, respectively (the latter subject to revisions which probably won't be significant), will somehow still come in at 2.6%.

Chensky gets demerits, however, for understating how fast growth will really have to be during the second half of the year to get that 2.6% (bolds are mine):

July 27, 2012, 9:23 PM EDT

Today's report on the growth of gross domestic product (GDP) during the second quarter didn't impress anyone -- except, apparently those who send out email alerts to CNN Money subscribers.

For several years, it has seemed like the primary goal of these alerts has been to create the illusion of pervasive prosperity when the economic news is even remotely tolerable, and to ignore or downplay news that is really bad -- all so that the relatively disengaged can be convinced that the economy isn't performing as poorly as it really is. The email alert received shortly after the government released its report showing that the economy grew at an annualized 1.5% rate during the second quarter arguably fits both categories:

July 26, 2012, 9:09 PM EDT

Poor guy. This darned economy has a mind of its own and isn't cooperating.

That's pretty much what you're forced to think in the following cop-out sentence from the Hill in anticipation of tomorrow's report on second-quarter gross domestic product (along with revisions to prior years):

July 26, 2012, 8:25 AM EDT

On May 2, Matt Sheffield at NewsBusters ran down a list of national media outlets which failed to report the Occupy movement connections of the five men arrested by the FBI for plotting to blow up a suburban Cleveland bridge, despite the fact that the Cleveland Plain Dealer began noting those relationships from the get-go.

Matt wrote that the Associated Press recognized the connections, but watered it all down by "letting an Occupy Cleveland spokesman's claim the men 'weren't affiliated with or representing the group' go unchallenged." Yesterday, after one of the five arrested entered a guilty plea to avoid a probable life sentence, an unbylined AP report waited until the final of 13 paragraphs to even mention Occupy, and then proceeded to engage in the same dishonest downplaying -- even though evidence revealed a few days after Matt's post proved an undeniable, high-level relationship (bolds are mine; HT Instapundit):

July 26, 2012, 1:34 AM EDT

No matter how inane or damning his comments and answers to inquiries, it appears that Obama Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner can continue to count on favorable coverage from the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, aka the Administration's Protection.

The AP's Marcy Gordon, with the help of her story's headline writer, made Geither's appearance before the House Committee on Financial Services all about partisanship until near the very end. Incredibly, she also relayed a very important question committee members asked about Geithner's use of an interest rate he knew was being lowballed by British banks as the basis for determining the interest rate on Treasury bailout loans while he was still head of the New York branch of the Federal Reserve Bank -- but didn't tell readers what his answer was. Excerpts follow (bolds are mine):

July 25, 2012, 11:26 AM EDT

I suppose the Associated Press deserves some credit for what appears to be a grudging acknowledgment that opponents of the oil and gas drilling technique known as hydraulic fracturing, aka "fracking," "sometimes mislead the public." Also, Kevin Begos's story does a good job of letting Josh Fox, producer of the fundamentally dishonest documentary "Gasland," hang himself with his own dodgy, reality-denying words.

But the credit pretty much ends there. Begos's report is a largely a study in false equivalence (y'know, everybody exaggerates -- except, Kevin, opponents do so serially while proponents do so rarely) and psychobabble (y'know, everyone uses "facts" they like and ignores the one that don't -- except, Kevin, for the inconvenient reality that opponents' "facts" are largely falsehoods). The problem is best exemplified in the final excerpted paragraph which follows the jump (bolds are mine):

July 24, 2012, 12:23 AM EDT

While it's nice that the 2000 election cycle made a fool out of Al Gore for his outrageous claim that "I took the initiative in creating the Internet" -- which was in due course shortened by critics to a claim that he invented the Internet -- it's more than a little annoying that an accompanying myth emerged and has long persisted that the Internet was created by the government.

President Obama repeated this supposedly established wisdom during his infamous "You didn't build that" speech" on July 13 in Roanoke, Virginia: "The Internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet." Geez, even I know that the original purpose of the Internet had nothing to do with companies making money. But at the Wall Street Journal on Sunday evening, L. Gordon Crovitz took a deep dive into the actual history, and -- Surprise! (not) -- the government wasn't the Internet's creator, or its enabler, but was instead a barrier:

July 23, 2012, 7:52 PM EDT

Gosh, if Apple would only send the money it has parked overseas back to the United States and pay income taxes on it, the federal government's situation would be so much better, the budget would would balance, and ... no, not really. According to Peter Svensson at the Associated Press, the company has $74 billion in cash parked overseas, meaning that it would owe federal income taxes of about $26 billion at the maximum statutory rate of 35% if it brought it all back at once. That amount would cover the average daily deficit incurred during the past three and now going on four years for about a week.

Svensson's report isn't all that bad, but its headline is truly risible:

July 23, 2012, 12:13 AM EDT

If the idea of tax increases is so darned popular, why do journalists "creatively" avoid using the term?

Here's an example from a lengthy Saturday report on Democrat Bob Kerrey's U.S. Senate comeback effort in Nebraska by Karen Tumulty at the Washington Post, wherein she describes the 1993 Clinton tax hikes as a "deficit-reduction plan" (bolds are mine):

July 22, 2012, 10:31 AM EDT

In September 2010, the Associated Press prepared an advance report on the expected surge in the Census Bureau's official poverty rate, which rose from 13.2% to a 15-year high of 14.3%. Their stated preoccupation was not with the associated pain, but with "the unfortunate timing for Obama and his party just seven weeks before important elections when Congress is at stake."

Well, this year's official poverty rate will very likely be the highest seen since the mid-1960s, and there's a presidential election coming up. What's the AP, aka the Administration's Press, to do? It looks like the strategy is to get a comprehensive report out on how bad things are in July when few are paying attention, and then to give the official report short shrift when it arrives in mid-September. Here are excerpts from Hope Yen's nearly 1,500-word writeup:

July 21, 2012, 10:22 AM EDT

Poor David Espo and Nancy Benac. A six-paragraph squib this morning headlined "Calls for gun control stir little support" at the wire service's national site and "Despite a string of high-profile shootings, calls for gun control stir little support" at Newser.com really should have been titled "Why Aren't You Guys Politicizing This, D**nit?"

The two AP "reporters" bitterly wail and gnash their teeth over how little outcry there has been for stricter gun laws after the Aurora, Colorado theater massacre (shown in full because of its brevity and subsequent later expansion, to be discussed later in this post, and for fair use and discussion purposes).

July 21, 2012, 8:46 AM EDT

Brian Ross is not the only blameworthy party in the irresponsible smear of a 52 year-old Tea Party activist as the possible perpetrator of the Aurora, Colorado theater massacre early Friday. Everyone on the set of ABC's Good Morning America could have said "wait, this is premature and irresponsible" -- and didn't.

GMA co-host and former Bill Clinton advisor George Stephanopoulos's response to Ross's identification of 52 year-old "Jim Holmes" as perhaps the same "James Holmes" who had been arrested earlier that morning arguably added legitimacy to Ross's speculation: "OK, we'll keep looking at that. Brian Ross, thanks very much." As if they would actually find more of a tie-in, which of course they didnt. In his column yesterday, the underappreciated John Kass at the Chicago Tribune succinctly described Stephanopoulos's likely mindset, as well as how ABC was originally hoping to blame "social media" for Ross's GMA team-assisted smear (bolds are mine):

July 20, 2012, 10:22 PM EDT

The Boston Herald has reported that Mayor Tom Menino is threatening to make obtaining the necessary licenses for a family business to operate "very difficult" -- not because the business's products are controversial or hazardous, but because the privately-held company believes that marriage should be between a man and a woman.

The middle three paragraphs of an unbylined Associated Press report predictably watered down Menino's threatening posture against the Chick-fil-A fast-food chain to an issue of "discrimination" and made it appear as if there is some kind of rift between the president and the company (bolds are mine throughout this post):

July 19, 2012, 5:26 PM EDT

In case you missed it (which wouldn't be surprising given how quiet the press has been since the related report's release, the Department of Labor reported that initial claims for unemployment rose to a seasonally adjusted 386,000 from a review (up, or course) 352,000 the previous week.

An unbylined Reuters report carried at CNBC (HT to an NB tipster) bizarrely described this result as a "rebound," both in its headline and text:

July 19, 2012, 9:59 AM EDT

Todays unemployment claims release from the Department of Labor reported that initial jobless aid applications for the week ended July 14 were 386,000 after seasonal adjustment. Business Insider's email this morning carried a prediction of 364,000. Bloomberg's consensus prediction was 365,000.

At the Associated Press, in his 8:45 a.m. dispatch (saved here for future reference, fair use and discussion purposes), Economics Writer Paul Wiseman was inadvertently correct when he wrote that "the figures may have been distorted by seasonal factors." Well yeah, Paul, but the seasonal distortion isn't the one you cited. As will be seen after the jump. today's number arguably should have come in at over 400,000.