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 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:

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: