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
May 16, 2012, 8:44 PM EDT

Really, the only surprise is that consumers came before Obama in the headline -- because Obama came before the economy in the underlying article.

A late-day dispatch from Jonathan Fahey and Paul Wiseman at the Associated Press even found someone to say that history will be on Obama's side if gas prices fall to below $3.50 a gallon or so by Labor Day. Excerpts follow (bolds are mine):

May 16, 2012, 5:48 PM EDT

I just about knew it when I heard a top-of-hour radio report this morning. When the announcer intoned that there was a 3% increase in "home construction" in April, I said to myself: "There's the Associated Press again, up to its old tricks." That was indeed the case. When I went to the related AP reports, I found that they were, like the economic data coming out during the Obama administration, much worse than expected.  

In this morning's coverage of the still bottom-feeding situation in new home construction, the AP's Christopher Rugaber indeed wrote that a 3% seasonally adjusted April increase in housing starts from an annualized 699,000 to 717,000 represented an improvement in "the rate of construction." But he was just warming up. In an afternoon report which can only be characterized both in tone and in detail as an attempt to blow smoke up the public's posterior, he falsely claimed that "Home construction is near a three-year high." I would call that assertion "horse manure," but that would be unfair to equine excrement.

May 16, 2012, 12:44 AM EDT

On Tuesday morning at 8:30 a.m. ET, the Commerce Department reported that seasonally adjusted U.S. retail sales in April rose by 0.1%. In an 11:12 a.m. report via the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, carried at the Detroit News ("U.S. consumers hold back retail sales, even as gas prices fall"), Martin Crutsinger was appropriately not impressed: "Lower gas prices in April weren't enough to embolden U.S. consumers to spend much more elsewhere. The Commerce Department said retail sales rose only 0.1 percent last month."

Look how things changed in a late afternoon AP report currently carried at its national site co-authored by Crutsinger and Christopher Rugaber, reworked in time to go into most newspapers' print editions Wednesday morning:

May 15, 2012, 11:20 PM EDT

Here's a word which the Associated Press's Martin Crutsinger only used once in his coverage last Thursday of Uncle Sam's April 2012 Treasury Statement: "debt." And when he did, he was quoted someone about Europe's situation.

To his credit, the AP reporter wasn't particularly impressed with the fact that the government was able to run a single-month surplus of $59 billion in April. To his detriment, he didn't note that somehow, the national debt also went up by $110 billion:

May 14, 2012, 11:08 AM EDT

Here we go again. The State of California's budget is again in crisis, facing a budget deficit of $16 billion, which is $6.8 billion higher than projected mere months ago. Governor Jerry Brown is browbeating residents to pass tax initiatives in November which include "a quarter-cent increase in the state sales tax for four years and a seven-year hike on incomes of $250,000 or more that will range from 1 to 3 percentage points."

The totally predictable problem (and, from all appearances, a bit contrived; the state's controller saw this coming several months ago, and was largely ignored) is that tax revenues aren't coming in as expected. Media treatment of the problem acts as if this all some kind of uncontrollable act of God which is a by-product of the recession and weak recovery.

May 14, 2012, 12:03 AM EDT

Searches on "Government Accountability Office" (not in quotes), "shale," and "mittal" at the Associated Press's national site return nothing relevant to the energy-related story which will follow. A Google News search on "Anu Mittal," the person from the GAO who on Thursday testified before the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology`s Subcommittee on Energy and Environment, appears to return seven relevant items, but it's really five. The first is a press release from the Luddite (aka Democratic) members of the committee pooh-poohing the importance of Ms. Mittal's assertions. The other four are from non-major and/or non-establishment press sources: Newser, American Thinker, Daily Markets, and the Inquisitr (yes, spelled correctly). Only one other news outlet I'm aware of, Media Research Center's CNS News, has also noted Ms. Mittal's testimony.

What Ms. Mittal had to say is that, according to a leading research organization, just one area overlapping three states in the West (not the Midwest, as a couple of the other links assert) has an astounding quantity of recoverable oil:

May 13, 2012, 11:09 AM EDT

The headline at the Associated Press's Sunday morning story primarily about GOP presumptive presidential nominee Mitt Romney's commencement address at Liberty University ("Romney urges grads to honor family commitments") was at least acceptable. It went downhill from there, betraying what appear to be deeply-held biases held by writers Kasie Hunt and Rachel Zoll against Republicans, conservatives, and Christians -- up to and including a "red meat" reference in what the Administration's Press will probably still claim is an objective report.

Apart from the self-evident bias, Hunt and Zoll failed to grasp the fundamental concept that a commencement speech is not a political stump speech. It is supposed to be a chance for the speaker, at least one who isn't a self-absorbed narcissist, to inform, inspire and advise graduates on what awaits them in the real world and how they should generally consider carrying out the rest of their lives. That, to the AP pair's apparent disappointment and astonishment, is what Romney did. Their opening six paragraphs plus a few selected others come after the jump, with prejudicial verbiage in bold, followed by several paragraphs from Romney's speech which Hunt and Zoll, if they they had been there to report a story instead of serving as Team Obama apparatchiks, would have noted:

May 13, 2012, 1:31 AM EDT

Let's grant that Associated Press reporter Mitch Weiss, in his dispatch Saturday on the headache Democratic National Convention host state North Carolina has become for the left, acknowledged by quoting someone else that "Nobody can sugarcoat the fact that we got problems here." That said, the AP reporter applied quite a bit of sweetener with generous pinches of distortion in several instances.

Weiss's biggest howler was the patently falsely impression he gave that the constitutional amendment approved by voters on Tuesday limiting marriage to one-man, one-woman relationships achieved success solely because of a "fired-up Republican base," when the support for it had to be far broader for it to achieve its 61.06%-38.84% victory margin (scroll to the very bottom at the link; the state's Board of Elections would appear to be quite unhappy with the result).

May 12, 2012, 11:23 AM EDT

President Barack Obama's allegedly "historic" support for same-sex "marriage" apparently has "prehistoric" roots -- at least as "history" is seen by the establishment press, which has acted as if all relevant history relating to Barack Obama began with his 2004 Democratic convention speech.

A Friday Los Angeles Times puff piece ("President Obama's influence on gay marriage will be tested") on the potential impact of President Barack Obama's decision to publicly support same-sex "marriage" -- supposedly for the first time -- caused blogger and longtime LAT nemesis Patterico to remind readers that Obama was a proponent of same-sex marriage without qualification during those "prehistoric" times -- in 1996 (links are in original):

May 11, 2012, 12:46 PM EDT

This morning (saved here at host for future reference), Philip Elliott and Kasie Hunt at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, demonstrated how apparatchik propagandists work.

In their recast of reality, it's Mitt Romney whose presidential campaign has been focused on gay rights, not Barack Obama, his administration, his campaign, and the lapdog establishment press which have been obsessed with it for days. As to the 5,400-word hit piece prepared by Jason Horowitz and published in the Washington Post on early Thursday which portrayed an incident Romney says he does not recall during which he allegedly forcibly cut a classmate's hair against his will with the assistance of others -- It's "a news report" about which there are no stated doubts (there are lots of' em). Samples of the AP pair's misdirection and opportunism follow (bolds are mine):

May 10, 2012, 2:58 PM EDT

If the people who run the Washington Post Company need an archetypal example of why their newspaper publishing segment is in so much financial trouble (as found here: a $22.6 million first-quarter 2012 loss following on the heels of an $18.2 million loss for all of 2011) and is bleeding customers (per the Audit Board of Circulations, the paper's daily and Sunday circulation dropped by 7.8% and 15.7%, respectively, during the year ended March 31), they only need wonder why the paper's editors tasked Jason Horowitz, with help from Julie Tate, to produce what turned into a 5,400-word writeup ("Mitt Romney’s prep school classmates recall pranks, but also troubling incidents") on Mitt Romney's high school years in the mid-1960s which appeared Thursday.

One can tell by the headline alone that it's an attempt at a hit piece. Horowitz led with the most damning incident he could find, and somehow gave it anti-homosexual overtones:

May 10, 2012, 12:16 PM EDT

As Zero Hedge wrote this morning in response to today's initial unemployment claims report and the related press write-ups: "Same Trick Different Week."

As has been so typical in analogous instances for the year or so I have been following the weekly claims numbers closely, the Associated Press (aka the Administration's Press), Reuters, and Bloomberg headlined a "dip," a "fall," and a "drop" in filings for initial claims, even though the dip-fall-drop from 368,000 to 367,000 only occurred because last week's figure was revised up from 365,000. If this week's figure is revised up by 1,000 or more (based on the past 60 weeks, there's at least a 95% chance of that), the dip-fall-drop will be gone-gone-gone. The AP's Paul Wiseman produced the howler of the morning in the last of the five excerpted paragraphs which follow (bolds are mine):

May 9, 2012, 11:11 PM EDT

The print and online guardians in the establishment press may have to open a new case of ellipses and order extra pairs of paraphrases to deal with this one. Video and audio editing will be easier, if not ethical (NBC has taught us that during the past several weeks).

Declaring what everyone with a functioning brain has known all along -- namely that President Barack Obama supports same-sex marriage but hasn't had the political integrity to admit as much until now -- the commander-in-chief of the nation's armed forces told ABC News that "when I think about those soldiers or airmen or marines (sic) or sailors who are out there fighting on my behalf and yet feel constrained, even now that Don't Ask Don't Tell is gone, because they are not able to commit themselves in a marriage, at a certain point I've just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same sex couples should be able to get married." Yes, he said that our military is out there fighting on his behalf (links are later in this post; HT to an emailer).

May 9, 2012, 9:01 AM EDT

This morning, in a report ("Romney, Obama win; Manchin to face Raese") with a 1:00 a.m. time stamp, Associated Press reporter Lawrence Messina informed readers that U.S. Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia "refused to say whether he voted for Obama on Tuesday" in West Virginia's primary. That's news.

In his 6:01 a.m. dispatch currently at the AP's national site ("Against Obama, even a jailbird gets some votes") revising and updating his earlier work, Messina only tells readers that "Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and Sen. Joe Manchin ... have declined to say whether they will support Obama in November." Messina would rather his readers not know that a sitting U.S. Senator in President Barack Obama's own party wouldn't say whether he made a choice between Obama and Texas prison inmate Keith Judd, whose name appeared along with Obama's on the state's Democratic Party presidential ballot. This is how news is scrubbed at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press. Comparisons of the two stories follow the jump.

May 8, 2012, 10:47 AM EDT

In one of a virtually endless stream of such examples, a Monday Associated Press report by Elaine Ganley and Greg Keller on challenges facing newly elected French Prime Minister, Socialist Francois Hollande, described him as "the leftist who has pledged to buck Europe's austerity trend."

What a deceptive joke. Europe's attempt at "austerity" can't be a "trend," because it hasn't even started. The "Fiscal Treaty" involved (at Google Docs; at RTE News [large PDF]) hasn't even taken effect. Article 14, as explained by RTE's Europe Editor Tony Connelly, "will enter into force on January 1 2013 so long as 12 member states have completed ratification." A Monday editorial at Investor's Business Daily took the press to task for its pretense, and in the process noted facts about the monstrous growth of government in EU countries the U.S. establishment press won't report (bolds are mine throughout this post):

May 6, 2012, 10:28 AM EDT

The last national press reports on the five men arrested Monday for plotting to blow up a Cleveland-area bridge reassured everyone that none involved were in responsible roles in the Occupy movement. On Thursday, the Associated Press's Thomas J. Sheeran wrote that Occupy Cleveland spokespersons "said the men were associated with the group but didn't represent Occupy Cleveland or its non-violent philosophy." An earlier AP report paraphrased a claim that they "had been associated with the anticorporate Occupy Cleveland movement but don't share its nonviolent views." Reuters carried this quote: "They were in no way representing or acting on behalf of Occupy Cleveland."

Well, last night, the Cleveland Plain Dealer's Michael Sangiacomo reported that at least one of the five was once in a sufficiently responsible position within the Occupy group to represent it while signing a lease for space the group used. It will be interesting to see what, if anything, the wire services just noted and others will do with what follows:

May 5, 2012, 10:13 PM EDT

It is more than a little odd that each of the three wire services identified in today's earlier post (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), in reporting on yesterday's OMG-awful jobs report, somehow failed to mention something about the data presented. Specifically, at Bloomberg, Reuters, and the Associated Press (here and here), five reporters in four stories somehow avoided using two truly required words in describing the data contained in many if not most government economic data releases: "seasonally adjusted."

One is in an odd omission. A pair of such reports is a strange coincidence. The presence of four from three separate sources makes you wonder, especially since all three wire services found room for the two magic words (Bloomberg, though cryptically; Reuters; AP) in dispatches about Uncle Sam's report on initial unemployment claims the previous day. A look at how dismal the not seasonally adjusted numbers were in April follows the jump, and shows how, bad as they turned out to be, the Obama administration caught a lucky break in the seasonal adjustment calculations. It may also explain why the wire services avoided mentioning it.

May 5, 2012, 4:41 PM EDT

To the extent that it was there at all, there was far too little emphasis in yesterday's wire service reporting on yesterday's OMG-awful jobs report (worse than most believe, as will be shown in a later post) was far less on those who continue to be affected -- like, say, the unemployed, under-employed and discouraged, who should be the object of such news stories -- and far too much concentration on what it might mean for President Obama's reelection prospects.

This was noticeable yesterday at Bloomberg, Reuters, and of course at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press. Excerpts follow the jump (bolds are mine).

May 3, 2012, 12:16 PM EDT

Well, we can all stop thinking about the presidential election, because Barack Obama's victory is assured. This morning, Paul Wiseman at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, virtually celebrated analysts' predictions that the unemployment rate will drop a whole 0.3% between now and Election Day to 7.9%. But in searching desperately for a precedent, he claimed that a public which has historically tended to have a "What have you done for me lately?" mentality has rewarded presidents seeking reelection who have seen the jobless rate decline in "the two years before the election." By this "logic," Obama will be reelected even if the unemployment rate zooms to 9.7% by Election Day, because that rate will still be lower than November 2010 rate of 9.8%. So, as I said, it's over.

What follows in rebuttal isn't a claim that Obama won't get reelected. But if he does, it will be certainly be for reasons other than the economy's (brace yourself) "brighter jobs picture" and its move into a "virtuous cycle." Excerpts from Wiseman's wheezing follow the jump (bold is mine; HT to BizzyBlog commenter "Tony"): 

April 30, 2012, 11:56 PM EDT

At the New York Times on Saturday (in Sunday's print edition), reporters Charles Duhigg and David Kocienewski, in a report riddled with conceptual flaws and misleading statistics, bemoaned "how technology giants have taken advantage of tax codes written for an industrial age and ill suited to today’s digital economy." They focused their attention almost entirely on Apple, seemingly in simultaneous awe and disgust at how "Apple’s accountants have found legal ways to allocate about 70 percent of its profits overseas, where tax rates are often much lower, according to corporate filings."

Well guys, a look at Apple's latest 10-K annual report to the Securities and Exchange Commission on Page 73 reveals that Apple's net sales in "The Americas" geographic segment -- from the northernmost portion of Canada to the southernmost tip of Chile -- in the year ended September 24, 2011 were $38 billion out of a companywide total of $108 billion. Apple doesn't segregate U.S. sales, but it would seem that they probably aren't any more than $30 billion of that $38 billion. So the vast majority of Apple's sales are "overseas." An even larger majority is outside of the U.S. Even after allowing for aggressive tax-avoidance maneuvers, why should it surprise anyone that the large majority of profits are also earned overseas?