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
November 11, 2013, 8:23 PM EST

Even though government operational outlays didn't really go down at all in fiscal 2013 compared to fiscal 2012, several government agencies ended up raiding slush funds (my term) to get through sequestration, the tiny reductions in previously increased projected spending which took effect during the second half of the fiscal year.

This evening at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, Andrew Taylor identified some of those slush funds, and dutifully warned the nation about how rough the next round of sequestration will allegedly be during fiscal 2014 (bolds are mine):

November 11, 2013, 5:03 PM EST

UPDATE: James Taranto at the Wall Street Journal "wonder(s) if the Times intended the article's publication as a joke at ObamaCare critics' expense." Seems like it takes too many direct shots at uncompassionate liberals for that to be the case, but readers can decide for themselves.

The guess here is that the folks at the New York Times who screen op-ed submissions for adherence to leftist orthodoxy got caught napping. After all, Lori Gottlieb has written at least one previous column on relationships, where she is described as a "dating coach," and another very long piece for the Times Magazine on patient-therapist relationships.

So when Gottlieb submitted an item entitled "Daring to Complain About Obamacare," the gatekeepers may have let it slide through because of who she is, and fully expected that an op-ed with that title would go after people with the unmitigated gall to complain about President Barack Obama's "signature achievement." Well, guess what? Gottlieb's the one who is unhappy with Obamacare, and is shocked — shocked, I tell you — that her liberal friends have no sympathy for the large sum she'll have to pay next year to stay insured under Obamacare (bolds are mine):

November 11, 2013, 2:54 PM EST

The press has been obsessed with the fate of Obamacare's contraception mandate ever since religious, corporate, and other litigants began challenging it in the courts.

So what explains the fact that a search on "Korte" at the Associated Press's national site and at the New York Times return nothing and nothing relevant, respectively? Or that there are only nine stories at Google Newsin a search on “Korte contraception court” (not in quotes), only two of them from establishment press outlets, on the Friday Appeals Court ruling in Chicago in Korte vs. Sebelius? That's easy. It didn't go the "right" way, and the ruling appears to have been significant. Excerpts from Joe Palazzolo's coverage at the Wall Street Journal, one of those two establishment press outlets, follow the jump (bolds are mine):

November 10, 2013, 10:19 AM EST

Saturday afternoon, Politico's Jason Millman, in an item incredibly headlined "Updated White House website keeps disputed Obamacare language," reported that "The Obama administration has updated a White House website that says its health care law allows people to keep their plans if they like them — but the website still maintains the language that Obamacare opponents have aggressively attacked the past few weeks."

No, Jason. The news is that the website still "maintains the language" which has been indisputably proven false by the millions of policy cancellations reported during the past several weeks. The real news has nothing to do with whether or not opponents "have aggressively attacked" it. Exhibiting deep denial equal to that of the White House, Millman did not acknowledge that the "you can keep you plan" statement is and has been false anywhere in his report. A screen grab of the language as it currently appears, and which Millman reports the administration now considers satisfactory, is after the jump (click on the graphic to open a larger version of it in a separate window or tab):

November 9, 2013, 11:43 PM EST

Sam Stein, who poses as a journalist while toiling at the Huffington Post (he lost any legitimate claim to the title when he wouldn't back away when caught red-handed pretending to know something he couldn't possibly know about John McCain's vetting or lack thereof of Sarah Palin in September 2008), wrote on Thursday (HT Hot Air) that "The Obama administration is considering a fix to the president’s health care law that would expand the universe of individuals who receive tax subsidies to help buy insurance."

Of course, Stein didn't look into how much this "fix," better described as a "huge spending increase," might cost, and "somehow" forgot that any such "fix" substantially increasing tax subsidies would destroy President Obama's unqualified 2009 pledge that "I will not sign a plan that adds one dime to our deficits — either now or in the future. I will not sign it if it adds one dime to the deficit, now or in the future, period." Neither did the Associated Press's Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar in a Friday evening writeup. Philip Klein at the Washington Examiner did remember Obama's pledge. He also engaged in genuine journalism by looking at what kind of cost might be involved in the "fix" (bolds are mine):

November 9, 2013, 6:24 PM EST

Assisting the Obama administration in its perpetual flight from responsibility for anything, former Obama campaign manager David Axelrod, who now campaigns from a paid propaganda perch at NBC and MSNBC, tweeted the following on Friday afternoon (HT Twitchy): "Wonder how many Insurance cos that sold junk policies after ACA was signed told customers at purchase that they'd have to eventually switch?"

Yeah, David it was their responsibility to inform their customers about a law whose constitutional fate wasn't decided until June 2012, and about which President Obama issued dozens of guarantees — not promises, guarantees — that "if you like your plan, you can keep your plan," as recently as late September of this year. And who believes, if they had tried to communicate the likelihood of cancellation before they legally had to late this year, that the unhinged wrath of the Obama administration and its leftist smear apparatus wouldn't have rained down mercilessly on them? I'll have more on that topic after the jump, but first, let me highlight several choice responses to Axelrod's tweet out of hundreds:

November 9, 2013, 2:51 PM EST

In a Thursday evening writeup (HT Twitchy) which appeared on Page A14 in its Friday morning print edition, Michael D. Shear at the New York Times reported on President Barack Obama's attempt to clean up the four-year mess he made (from June 6, 2009 through September 26, 2013) in over three dozen statements and published items. The mess was Obama's guarantee — not a promise, a guarantee — that "If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan."

Despite the fact that Obama's serially made guarantee doesn't square with what has really happened, and that Obama and his administration have known for over three years that the millions of individual plan cancellations which have occurred would indeed occur, Shear blandly accepted Obama's claim that "Mr. Obama said he had not purposely misled anyone." He also accepted an almost definitely untrue contention Obama made as an indisputable fact: "[He] (Obama) emphasized that most people who were forced off a current plan would be able to find new insurance that was cheaper and provided better coverage." People who have been able to do that and have said so publicly have thus far been very few and far between. Excerpts follow the jump.

November 9, 2013, 10:58 AM EST

Recently declared Texas gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis had a really, really bad opening round of campaign appearances. Naturally, the national press, which swooned over the Fort Worth Democrat's ultimately failed filibuster against a common-sense pro-life law in the Lone Star State's legislature, pretended not to notice.

They had local help. On Wednesday, At The Monitor in McAllen, Texas, in an item mirrored at the Brownsville Herald, "reporter" Ty Johnson opened with six paragraphs of fanboy fawning about Davis's Tuesday campaign appearance in Brownville, and then buried Davis's galling attempt to portray herself as "pro-life" in Paragraph 23. Also, stay tuned until the final segment of this post for how a Davis press aide tried to bully a local paper into retracting a headline.

November 7, 2013, 11:52 PM EST

You would think that economic forecasters, who have been obsessing over the impact on economic growth of October's 17 percent partial government shutdown might have noticed that a lot of people have all of a sudden learned that they're about to experience a major cut in their take-home pay. You would be wrong.

Hundreds of thousands of Americans had received health insurance cancellation notices by September 30, and had also learned that they will be on the hook starting next year for hundreds of dollars in premium increases on the Obamacare exchanges. It should be obvious that most affected people would have started spending less on other items virtually immediately, and that they will continue to be in major cutback mode indefinitely. But I didn't find anyone in the establishment press who mentioned it. Nor did I find anyone who noted that the millions of Americans facing higher health insurance premiums are also going to materially impact fourth quarter growth and Christmas shopping season results.

November 6, 2013, 3:41 PM EST

On Megyn Kelly's Fox News Channel show last night, reporter Trace Gallagher countered the Obama adminstration's attack on Stage Four cancer patient Edie Littlefield Sundby, whose Sunday evening Wall Street Journal op-ed on her individual plan's termination in California has garnered major attention. Ms. Sundby wrote that she has not found an available insurance plan option which will cover visits and treatments from both her current oncologist and her current primary care doctor.

In the process of addressing the White House's reference to a far-left Think Progress report which tried to pin the blame on Ms. Sundby's carrier — as if that addresses the obvious failures of her Obamacare options, which it obviously doesn't — Gallagher dropped a bombshell. Covered California, the formerly Golden State's Obamacare exchange, mandated as a condition of participation that any insurance company wishing to offer plans there had to cancel all existing individual policies in the state which did not qualify under Obamacare's strictures, i.e., they could not have any grandfathered plans (video is here full transcript is here; bolds are mine):

November 6, 2013, 11:53 AM EST

The Associated Press has published a great but disturbing story. Given the frequent and deserved grief yours truly administers when the wire service lets its readers, listeners, viewers, and subscribing news organizations down, it seems only fair to acknowledge fine work when it does occur. The real question is, in the politically charged U.S. health care environment, whether the AP's subscribers and other media outlets aware of Frank Bajak's Wednesday morning report will acknowledge its existence, and adequately relay the horrors contained therein.

The story is about what's left of Venezuela's "free" healthcare system. It's in shambles. The headline reads like it might be "only" doctors who say so, but Bajak's content says otherwise. Readers here need to go to the full report, because the excerpts which follow of necessity convey only a small portion of how awful things are, including indications that the country is moving ever closer to becoming another Cuba:

November 6, 2013, 9:22 AM EST

The Associated Press's initial coverage of President Obama's attempt to "reinvent history," the term used yesterday by the National Journal's Ron Fournier, is instructive. Monday evening, Obama claimed that his core "you can keep your (health care) plan" guarantee — made dozens of times from 2008 through 2012 — was only relevant "if it (your current plan) hasn’t changed since the law was passed."

Let's look how the AP's Nedra Pickler — or perhaps the White House correspondents' pool reporter, if Team Obama limited press access — wrote things up (HT to NB commenter Alfred Lemire) immediately after Obama's speech (6:34 p.m. report after a speech which began at 5:58 p.m.):

November 5, 2013, 1:48 PM EST

If there is to be a tidal wave of defenders of President Barack Obama's "it if it hasn't changed" revision to his original guarantee — "If you like your health insurance plan, you can keep your health insurance plan" — Ron Fournier (NewsBusters history here), who toiled at the Associated Press for 20 years and joined the National Journal several years ago, will not be among them.

In 2008, Fournier advocated "accountability journalism." When he took over as AP Washington bureau chief, he pushed for what was described as "a more hard-charging, opinion oriented style of writing" as a "new direction AP should take." Both were, in my view, thinly veiled attempts to inject more left-leaning bias into what news consumers to this day still mostly believe are "objective" wire service reports. With that demonstrated pedigree, perhaps it's a surprise that Fournier would be so vocal about Obama's attempt to "reinvent history" (HT Instapundit; bolds are mine):

November 5, 2013, 11:00 AM EST

This morning, in an apparent rush to get a jump on the rest of the excuse-making establishment press, Aamer Madhani at USA Today claimed that President Barack Obama's shameless, lame Monday night attempt to explain away his serial guarantee, namely that "If you like your health insurance plan, you can keep your health insurance plan, period" — made roughly two dozen times in 2009 and 2010, and repeated on the campaign trail in 2012 — represented a "tweaking of his claim" in which he "added a caveat." So that makes it all okay. (/sarc)

Madhani also acted as if it's only Republicans who have directed "an avalanche of criticism" at Obama. He also swallowed the false line that "only" 5 percent of Americans have been affected, ignoring a similar impact in the small group market and several well-known large-employer terminations of plans which had been offered to part-timers and retirees. Excerpts follow the jump (bolds are mine throughout this post; numbered tags are mine):

November 4, 2013, 10:17 PM EST

Update, Nov. 5, 8:30 a.m.: Video added below.

Well, let's see how well this unspeakably pathetic attempt to explain away the lie of the century (so far) works with the establishment press.

Two separate tweeters — Reid Epstein at Politico and Mark Knoller at CBS News — are reporting that President Obama, at a rally of the Organizing For Action faithful this evening, told his audience that "What we said was you can keep it (your health plan) if it hasn’t changed since the law passed" (HTs to Hot Air and Twitchy):

November 4, 2013, 2:08 PM EST

On Sunday, the editorialists at the New York Times claimed that President Barack Obama merely "misspoke" when he dishonestly promised the American people that "If you like your plan, you can keep your plan" to get Obamacare passed.

Sunday evening for Monday's print edition, reporters Reed Abelson and Katie Thomas carried heavy buckets of water on behalf of Obama and his administration. The headline: "Under Health Care Act, Millions Eligible for Free Policies." It took the Times pair 21 paragraphs to inform readers that the "free" plans have annual out-of-pocket cost limits of $6,350 for individuals and $12,700 for families. They never described how the deductibles or copays work, and never noted that taxpayers are funding the subsidies. Excerpts follow the jump (bolds are mine):

November 4, 2013, 10:41 AM EST

The Venezuelan government of Nicolas Maduro has put the country back into the expropriration business, seizing two oil rigs owned by Houston-based Superior Energy Services.

Two different Friday headlines at Associated Press stories about the seizures, one at the AP's national site and the other at the Washington Post, appeared designed more to mislead than to inform.

November 3, 2013, 7:39 PM EST

I think we have the winner in the "If a Republican or conservative had said it" media bias category this year, if not this decade.

In the book "Double Down" by liberal journalists Mark Halperin and John Heilemann (reviewed by Peter Hamby at the Washington Post on Friday), President Barack Obama, while discussing drone strikes in 2012, reportedly told aides that he's "really good at killing people." This would have been headline news three seconds after Hamby's review, and Hamby would have headlined it himself instead of casually mentioning it in Paragraph 11. A Google News search on an obvious search string ("really good at Killing people" obama; sorted by date) at 6:45 p.m. returns only 11 items, none of which are establishment press outlets. Michael Kelley at Business Insider, which did not show up among the search items returned, had some interesting thoughts on Obama's alleged remark Saturday evening (bolds are mine throughout this post; Update: important links relating to CIA practices which can only be considered barbaric are in the original):

November 3, 2013, 4:28 PM EST

On Saturday morning, three Wall Street Journal reporters told readers that as President Obama was promoting Obamacare, there was internal debate between "policy advisers" and "political aides" as to whether the President's obviously unqualified and unconditional "If you like your plan, you can keep your plan" statement, made roughly 20 times between his inauguration and the law's March 2010 passage, "was a promise they could keep."

"Policy advisers" didn't like it, but "political aides" prevailed, concluding that Obama's promise should remain dishonestly unconditional because "salability" and "simplification" were more "practical" and important than the truth. One particularly weak paragraph in the Journal report ends up reading like Abbott and Costello's "Who's on First?" riff (bolds are mine throughout this post):

November 3, 2013, 1:03 PM EST

Bill Maher was a guest on Piers Morgan's CNN show on Tuesday night; the interview segment was replayed on Friday (thanks to NB's Noel Sheppard for that catch). Among other things, Maher confirmed that he is a member of the left's unreality-based community when he described MSNBC as "very rarely wrong" and Fox News's Bill O'Reilly as someone who "says something that is insanely off-base and not true" almost every night.

Maher also lamented what he sees as CNN's biggest problem: They're trying to "play it down the middle," and viewers don't want that.