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 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:

April 4, 2012, 12:08 PM EDT

The Department of (I don't know what kind of) Justice has decided to drop its case again prolife sidewalk counselor Mary Susan Pine and pay her $120,000 in legal fees. DOJ had no case in the first place.

If this were an antiwar protester or someone else favored by the left, this would be "DOJ run amok" news. But you will search in vain for a story about Ms. Pine at the Associated Press, the New York Times, the Washington Post, or the Los Angeles Times (searches are on "Pine abortion," not in quotes). You will find 18 references to her in a Google News search on "Pine abortion" (not in quotes, sorted by date, with duplicates), only one of which is an establishment press outlet (Fox News). What follows is the press release from Liberty Counsel, which defended Ms. Pine, and excerpts from J. Christian Adams's related column at PJ Media (bolds are mine throughout):

April 3, 2012, 10:19 PM EDT

For the umpteenth time, news unfavorable or embarrassing to the left comes from the UK instead of the USA.

In this instance, it was an unbylined item in Saturday's Daily Mail. For years, Oregon University Sociology and environmental studies professor Kari Norgaard has been spewing forth bigoted characterizations of anyone who dares not surrender to the gospel of global warming. But her bizarre outlook didn't get meaningful notice from the press all these years until she presented her, uh, work at the annual four-day ‘Planet Under Pressure’ international conference in London. Here is some of what the Daily Mail found, and which Rush Limbaugh for all practical purposes broke in the U.S. media. I hear echoes of the former Soviet Union's serial abuse of psychiatry just around the bend (bolds are mine throughout this post):

April 2, 2012, 6:44 PM EDT

An Associated Press report a week ago by Pallovi Gogoi on how economists would like to see taxes increased to close the government's annual budget deficit (I guess because tax increases have done so well at closing deficits before - /sarc) has a truly curious sentence about the Keystone Pipeline: "The project drew opposition from environmentalists, while supporters say it will create over 1,000 jobs." That's right -- 1,000.

Actually, as almost everyone at NewsBusters knows already, the number is much larger than 1,000. A recent item at About.com by Tom Murse identifies all of the major estimates offered thus far:

March 30, 2012, 11:41 PM EDT

On Tuesday (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), I noted how the Associated Press's headlined assessments at Anne D'Innocenzio's reports throughout the day on the Conference Board's monthly consumer confidence survey went from "falls" to "dips slightly" to "roughly flat" before ending up at "rosy" -- an evaluation the AP reporter also included in the verbiage of her final dispatch. For the record, the confidence measurement fell to 70.2 in March from 71.6 in February. Bloomberg's final report for the day also obfuscated, with a headline of "Consumer Confidence in U.S. Holds Close to One-Year High" and an opening sentence which read: "Confidence among U.S. consumers in March held close to the highest level in a year, underpinned by an improving labor market" -- anything to keep any indication of drop out of what most people would see. Along the same lines, Rush Limbaugh also picked on Reuters Tuesday for saying that confidence only "eased."

The University of Michigan's Consumer Sentiment Survey came out today. The press release's opening sentence: "Consumer confidence edged upward as more favorable income and job trends offset rising gas prices." Its value (with a different scale) went from 75.3 to 76.2. That's also "roughly" flat, isn't it? Don't be silly. All three wires said that an increase smaller than Tuesday's Conference Board decrease was an  unqualified "rise."

March 30, 2012, 1:43 PM EDT

From what I can tell, no one in the establishment press yesterday attempted to quantify the total employment impact of yesterday's announcement by Best Buy that it will reduce its headquarters headcount by 400 and close 50 stores. One thing is certain: It's not just 400, as the headlines and verbiage in certain media reports might lead readers to believe -- and it's not excusable to say that the company itself didn't name a specific number of employees affected by the store closures.

An estimate of how many jobs will really be lost is after the jump, followed by a few misleading media examples. Note that the media review is based on reports from Thursday; today, we began learning which stores will be closing. They include five in the Twin Cities area where the company is headquartered.

March 29, 2012, 11:56 PM EDT

Earlier this year, a reporter informed me of what is apparently a common belief in the business press, namely that "the Labor Department considers the (seasonally adjusted, or SA) numbers to be much more reflective of what’s actually going on in the economy" than the raw (i.e., not seasonally adjusted, or NSA) economic data. That's interesting, given that you can't even do seasonal adjustments without the raw data, but I digress. That expressed and almost blind belief in SA numbers explains why virtually no one in the press bothers to look at, let alone report, the NSA numbers.

But given this "seasoned" faith, why didn't the business press tell readers that today's revisions to SA figures for initial unemployment claims going back to 2007 released today by the Department of Labor increased the originally reported amounts for the past four weeks by an average of almost 4%? That's indeed what happened, and it hardly seems minor. Instead, Bloomberg, Reuters, and the Associated Press all celebrated today's number (359,000) as the lowest in four years -- which it will no longer be if it gets revised upward next week by 2,000 or more next week (the average seen during the past year has been a bit below 4,000). The specific changes are after the jump, followed by a rundown of the three wire services' coverage.

March 29, 2012, 12:44 PM EDT

Every Congressman who voted on President Obama's budget on Wednesday voted against it -- every Democrat and every Republican.

The headline writer for Andrew Taylor's related story at the Associated Press nonetheless felt it necessary to remind readers that Republicans have a majority in the House of Representatives, and only told readers that Dear Leader's budget was "easily" rejected. The report itself by Taylor was just as bad, if not worse (shown in full because of its brevity, and for fair use and discussion purposes).

March 27, 2012, 9:49 PM EDT

I had to make sure that the Conference Board, which issues one of the most closely watched consumer confidence reports each month, didn't issue some kind of update during the day after telling us in the morning that its reading for March came in at 70.2, down from 71.6 in February.

Nothing changed. But oh how the Associated Press's headlines about the Board's reported results changed in successive dispatches authored by the wire service's Anne D'Innocenzio, as seen after the jump from Google News listings:

March 27, 2012, 6:04 PM EDT

Leave it to the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Propagandists, to cover for Barack Obama's Uncle Omar, formally known as Onyango Obama. Today, Uncle Omar was given a slap on the wrists so light it's hard to imagine he even felt it.

Today's AP cleanup in Massachusetts arrives via Denise Lavoie, whose principal contribution to the spin is to tell readers that Uncle Omar is "appealing a deportation order," when in fact he ignored an order for 19 years until his arrest for "operating under the influence" in August of last year. Excerpts, including the "say as little as possible" headline, follow:

March 27, 2012, 1:16 PM EDT

Apparently most reporters at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Propagandists, lost the memo that Reuters got ("Obama Campaign: Obamacare Not a Bad Word After All"). Either that, or they haven't been paying attention their Obama For America emails.

OFA and President Obama himself both say it's now okay to call the fraudulently named Affordable Care Act which became law in March 2010 "ObamaCare"; the only matter in dispute is whether one should capitalize the "c." Jeff Mason at Reuters, which was already a bit late with its own report, tried to explain it all Monday evening, but "somehow" forgot what may be the most obvious motivation, namely that the "affordable" part of the original bill's title has been proven to be anything but:

March 27, 2012, 1:07 AM EDT

That the Associated Press gives stories about corrupt and scandalous politicians disparate treatment depending on their party affiliation is not exactly breaking news. But it's ordinarily difficult to point to situations involving fairly similar sets of facts occurring at roughly the same time which make the disparity between the wire service's treatment of Republicans and Democrats so obvious.

A largely analogous pair of stories out of Pennsylvania during the past two weeks involves Republican State Senator Jane Orie and former Democratic State Senate leader Robert Mellow. If anything, Mellow's guilty plea to "conspiracy to commit mail fraud and to filing a false income tax return" should be more worthy of national-story treatment by AP because of his former leadership position. But in fact, it appears that the opposite has happened. The story about Orie's conviction is on the national wire, complete with "GOP" in the headline. Mellow's guilty plea is a local story which I did not find at the AP's national site in a search on his name, with no Dem ID in the headline (both have their parties ID'd early in their related stories). Here are the first four paragraphs from Monday night's national story on Orie by Joe Mandak and Kevin Begos:

March 26, 2012, 7:20 PM EDT

A search on Travyvon Martin's name (not in quotes) at the Associated Press's main national site at 7 p.m. returned 37 items.

A search on "Trayvon Martin bounty" (also not in quotes) returned one item. Here is the relevant section of the related story by Jennifer Kay and Errin Haines, way down in Paragraphs 13 and 14:

March 25, 2012, 2:22 PM EDT

Failure to heed Rush Limbaugh's Thursday warning relating to another matter ("If I were you, I would regard every AP story, particularly this year, as nothing more than a propaganda piece for the reelection of Barack Obama") is allowing the Associated Press to perpetuate what I demonstrated on Friday is a totally unsupported falsehood concerning a statement made by presidential candidate Rick Santorum.

What Santorum said was a clearly conditional statement (full context and here): "If you’re going to be a little different, we might as well stay with what we have instead of taking a risk with what may be the Etch A Sketch candidate of the future." Here is what the AP's headline writers and the wire service's Will Weissert twisted things on Friday (saved here at host for future reference, fair use and discussion purposes):

March 25, 2012, 11:50 AM EDT

During the week of March 12, after the arrival of Daylight Saving Time, the audience for the evenings newscasts at the Big Three networks dropped precipitously compared to the previous week (by 7.7%) and the same week last year (by 9.0%).

Perhaps the year-over-year metric is an unfair comparison, because during the same week in 2011 the Japanese tsunami drew in ordinarily uninterested viewers. Compared to two years ago, the combined audience was slightly higher (by 2.1%). NBC and ABC were both down slightly, while CBS, recovering from the Katie Couric era and still in a distant third place, showed a double-digit gain. But the three networks were down in the advertiser-prized 25-54 demographic, with CBS eking out a much smaller gain which did not offset losses at NBC and ABC. Here are the numbers:

March 25, 2012, 12:14 AM EDT

Less than two weeks after his suspension for previous intemperate tweets was lifted, CNN's Roland Martin was engaging in personally insulting "mis-tweetment" again this afternoon with PJ Media's David Steinberg.

In a series of tweets at around 5 p.m. tonight seen after the jump, Steinberg criticized Martin for spending so much time on the press's Trayvon Martin obsession -- where one person tragically died -- while ignoring the impact and meaning of the documents leaked by an unnamed Department of Justice official relating to the Fast and Furious "gunwalking" scandal -- as a result of which "at least 300 Mexicans, plus at least two American law enforcement agents" have been killed. Martin's responses were immature, insulting, condescending -- and all too typical of a press corps which, now that it is seeing poll results it doesn't like, has in certain cases taken to calling voters stupid.

March 24, 2012, 5:58 PM EDT

An item filed at the Hill on Friday afternoon by Peter Schroeder tells us that Bloomberg News was the first organization to report the latest development relating to former New Jersey Democratic Governor and Senator Jon Corzine. Bloomberg's report, via Phil Mattingly and Silla Brush, reveals that Corzine, who was CEO at the now-bankrupt MF Global Holdings until November, "gave 'direct instructions' to transfer $200 million from a customer fund account to meet an overdraft in a brokerage account with JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM), according to a memo written by congressional investigators." That would be an MF brokerage account, meaning that customer money was used to cover company losses. If the memo reflects what really happened, Corzine committed a crime -- either by committing perjury in his congressional testimony several months, in ordering the transfer itself, or both.

Bloomberg's report identifies Corzine as a Democrat in its fourteenth paragraph. But at least Bloomberg did so. That did not occur in reports at the Associated PressUnited Press International, MarketWatch.comCNBC. The Hill's Schroeder did tag Corzine as a Dem. Here are several paragraphs from Bloomberg's report (bolds are mine):