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
December 31, 2011, 7:32 PM EST

On December 31, 2003, looking ahead to the upcoming 2004 election year, an Associated Press reporter -- I think it would have been Jennifer Loven at the time -- wrote about how George W. Bush was going to spend as much of the next 10-plus months as possible figuring that "he no longer needs Congress to promote his agenda." Therfore, he would use "aggressive campaign fundraising and use executive action to try to boost the economy." Thus, his "re-election year will focus almost exclusively on executive action" at the rate of "at least two or three directives per week." Sadly, this meant that Bush's "election year retreat from legislative fights means" that his "term will end without significant progress on two of his ... campaign promises."

Oops, I'm sorry. That AP report never happened. The high-handed, non-governing, non-legislating, campaign-driven agenda is what Barack Obama, his White House apparatchiks, and his reelection campaign have said they will do in 2012 -- and Julie Pace at the Associated Press seems to heartily approve (bolds repeating what was quoted in the first paragraph above are mine):

December 31, 2011, 9:25 AM EST

There are quite a few problems with Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar's December 28 coverage ("New fee coming for medical effectiveness research") concerning a new fee (i.e., tax) which will imposed on health insurance companies for each person they cover starting tomorrow.

Several times (twice in the body and once as seen above in the headline), the story refers to the assessment as a "medical effectiveness research" fee (without quotes). Just once, in the eleventh paragraph, does Alonso-Zaldivar call it by its far more widely-known name (written as indicated): "comparative effectiveness" research. But the item which stuck out like a sore thumb with me, and should also do so for anyone else who closely followed how the stimulus bill got enacted into law as well as the Obamacare discussions later that year,, was the following paragraph (bolds are mine):

December 31, 2011, 12:50 AM EST

Jean H. Lee's Friday afternoon report at the Associated Press on the omnipresence of images of the late Kim Jong Il throughout North Korea reads more like an audition to be the communist nation's next propaganda minister than a wire service report.

Not once does she call the late tyrant a tyrant, or for that matter even a Communist. If you didn't know any better, you would think you're reading about some idyllic place where people are happy, content, and well-off -- not a place where oppression rules, hundreds of thousands starve, and millions more would but for the kindness of foreigners. Though there is no substitute for reading the whole relatively short thing, here are several paragraphs indicating just how bad Lee's report really is (saved here in full as a graphic for future reference, fair use and discussion purposes; HT to an NB tipster):

December 30, 2011, 11:58 PM EST

There are press memes which won't go away no matter what, and no matter how often disproven. One, repeated in an Associated Press report a couple of weeks ago as our troops were about to leave Iraq, claimed that "No WMD were ever found" there. The truth: Yes they were — along with 550 metric tons of yellowcake uranium found in Iraq after Saddam was overthrown, specifically “the stuff that can be refined into nuclear weapons or nuclear fuel.”

Another meme which won't die and fails to pass the truth test was in an AP item by Julie Pace about President Obama's decision to defer raising the debt ceiling by $1.2 billion today. In it, she repeated the leftist line about how the national debt has grown so large (HT to an NB emailer):

December 30, 2011, 4:55 PM EST

It's certainly not the most egregious media bias or error story you'll every see. But hey, it's the end of the year and almost GOP primary time, so take a break, lighten up a bit, and enjoy this one.

On Wednesday, as shown here and based on when comments first appeared, USA Today's Chris Woodyard put up an item in McPaper's "Drive On" blog about how the funeral of North Korean Dictator Kim Jong Il used decades-old Lincolns. The headline: "North Korea's elite use Nixon-era Lincolns." Figures, right? Any chance to get in a dig at a Republican or conservative. What's wrong with just saying "1970s"? Well, nothing, especially when you're proven wrong about the Nixonian lineage.

December 29, 2011, 12:04 PM EST

After the news portion of a "Warmer Weather Hurting Retail" segment on the impact of the mild winter on retail sales thus far appearing early this morning on CNBC, Joe Kernen and John Harwood got into it over the relevance and influence of so-called "global warming" (I guess Harwood didn't get the memo that it's "climate change" now).

Picking up at the 2:10 mark of the video:

December 29, 2011, 12:55 AM EST

I know, we're supposed to give TV shows and the like a bit of dramatic license to push a plot line. But doesn't it seem that an awful lot of the license taken tends to be pro-big government and left-leaning?

One pretty obvious example came along Monday night during the Season 2 finale of TNTs' "Rizzoli & Isles" (which ran again late tonight). The plot of "Burning Down the House" centered around the death of a Boston fireman in a major warehouse blaze. Ultimately, the perpetrator ended up being a fireman who was upset by "budget cuts," which were mentioned twice during the episode:

December 28, 2011, 10:59 PM EST

It seems that if you're a New York Times reporter on a mission to prove something you think must be obvious and your research leads to the exact opposite result from what you smugly expected, you forge ahead and try to pretend that you proved your point anyway.

At least that how it seems to have worked out for Times reporter Michael Luo in a report appearing in Tuesday's print edition which tried to show readers how one state which allows residents to carry concealed weapons with a permit is allegedly allowing large numbers of dangerous people to possess them. But the way the math works out, North Carolina, the state which the Times investigated, is far safer than many jurisdictions without such laws, even given the problems cited with pulling permits from those who have committed crimes and should not still be holding them. Additionally, the murder rate among North Carolinians who don't have permits or associate with those who do is higher than it is among permit holders. Here is Luo's pathetic attempt to make a case which can't be made:

December 28, 2011, 2:27 PM EST

In an item which still has a breaking news tag, Josh Funk at the Associated Press (saved here for future reference, fair use, and discussion purposes) call retiring Nebraska Senator Ben Nelson a "centrist," and almost seemed to mourn over "an increasingly polarizing climate" which made it clear that Nelson's reelection would have been a steep uphill fight. Of course, there was no mention of the infamous Cornhusker kickback which was offered and then withdrawn in a firestorm of controversy in an Obama administration attempt to win Nelson's support for the passage of ObamaCare -- which they got anyway.

Here are several paragraphs from Funk's report and the immediately following breaking news item:

December 28, 2011, 10:08 AM EST

At the New York Times Thursday morning, reporter Choe Sang-Hun's covering the funeral for late North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il made it clear to readers that it "The funeral, and the mourning, appeared to have been meticulously choreographed by the government." Meanwhile, over at the Associated Press (saved here at host for future reference, fair use and discussion purposes), a story involving five reporters left the impression that the outpouring of grief was genuine and broadly shared.

Here are key paragraphs relating to that aspect of the funeral coverage, first from the Times (bolds are mine throughout this post):

December 28, 2011, 8:17 AM EST

At the Associated Press on Friday, reporter Jim Kuhnhenn provided yet another reason why characterizing the wire service as The Administration's Press is perfectly appropriate.

In wake of President Obama's use of a "signing statement" objecting on constitutional grounds to congressionally-imposed "restrictions on his ability to transfer detainees from the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to the United States," Kuhnhenn wrote that presidential candidate Obama "promised to make his application (of) the (signing statement) tool more transparent." No he didn't, Jim; as will be shown, he promised not to use them. Kuhnhenn's first three paragraphs, plus two later ones describing another signing statement matter, ran thusly (also note how the term "signing statement" was kept out of the story's headline):

December 26, 2011, 10:44 PM EST

A month ago, Aya Batrawy at the Associated Press's Egyptian bureau described those who ransacked the Israeli embassy in Cairo as "protesters," and absurdly asserted in the face of contrary evidence I was able to find in about five minutes that "the historic 1979 peace treaty with Israel ... has never had the support of ordinary Egyptians."

Last week, in the wake of the burning -- more like the gutting -- of the Institut d’Egypte in Cairo and the destruction of and serious damage to thousands of priceless books, manuscripts, documents, and artifacts, Batrawy attempted to deflect blame to the military (which did have a role, as will be seen later) for not sufficiently protecting the building instead of placing it on the arsonists who did the damage. And of course, you'll search in vain for any references to the Muslim Brotherhood, Salafi radicals, or Islam. I guess Batraway didn't want anyone to get any kind of crazy idea that this "Arab Spring" enterprise which Western news outlets so gullibly embraced earlier this year isn't exactly working out. Here are several paragraphs from the AP repoter's dispatch (bolds are mine throughout this post):

December 26, 2011, 6:59 PM EST

I hope that the nominations for dumbest wire service item of the year are still open, because the December 20 report by Associated Press Education Writer Jay Pope on the alleged negative impact of a successful college football team on the grades of male students on campus must be placed in the running.

Based on an eight-year study of grades by economists at just one school, the University of Oregon, who are either getting grant money they don't deserve or have totally run out of productive things to do, a three-win improvement by a football team can increase the differential between male and female students' grade-point averages by as much as 0.0144 points. Seriously. Pope never disclosed the degree of difference I just cited, and wasted almost 900 words on a story which should never have been written. What follows is some of the AP writer's vapid verbiage:

December 26, 2011, 12:08 PM EST

This is the seventh year I have looked into how the media treats two Christmas-related topics: The use of “Christmas shopping season” vs. “holiday shopping season” and the relative frequency of "Christmas" and "holiday" layoff references.

Unfortunately, the hints of improvement late last year, when 20% of stories in the late December pre-Christmas search referenced the "Christmas shopping season," largely disappeared this year. Well, at least the combined results of this year's three sets of searches (at Google News, done shortly before Thanksgiving, about two weeks later, and a few days before Christmas) show that last year's overall gains compared to the two previous years held steady. But, as will be seen after the jump, news reports still use the term "holiday shopping season" seven times as often as "Christmas shopping season."

December 23, 2011, 1:05 PM EST

Yesterday at my home blog, in the wake of Uncle Sam's reduction of third-quarter growth in gross domestic product (GDP) from an annualized 2.0% to 1.8%, I predicted that the establishment press's reaction would be the following: “Yeah, but the fourth quarter will be 3% or more. It really, really will be. Please believe us.”

Martin Crutsinger at the Associated Press made that easy prediction come true 48 minutes after the report was released. He and the rest of the establishment press also missed something far bigger, namely that yesterday's small GDP reduction brought its private-sector component back to a level below where it was at the beginning of the recession, no matter how you define that beginning. Excerpts follow the jump:

December 23, 2011, 12:01 AM EST

In her profile of Kansas Governor Sam Brownback on Wednesday, the Washington Post's Annie Gowen went through the predictable leftist checklist of things that should supposedly cause the rest of America not to like him. A state taken over by "tea party fervor"? Check. "Slashed" funding for "schools, social services and the arts"? Check. Imply that his predecessor, radical proabort and ObamaCare implementer Kathleen Sebelius, is a "moderate," and that he is somehow breaking a tradition of moderation? Check. Finding an old-line Republican who thinks he's going too far? Check. Oh, and mentioning that the eeeeeevil Koch brothers, who like the guy and have given him money (that might have something to do with the fact that Koch is headquartered in Wichita)? Check.

Here are excerpts from Gowen's report (HT Norma at Collecting My Thoughts, whose reaction is "Something good is happening in Kansas"; bolds are mine):

December 20, 2011, 11:50 PM EST

Lord have mercy, these people are looking anywhere and everywhere to turn an economic improvement molehill into something that sort of looks like a mountain.

Today, the headline to Derek Kravitz's report at the Associated Press ("Rise in home construction suggests a turnaround") reasonably reflected the underlying reality reported by the Census Bureau, but his first six paragraphs most definitely did not:

December 20, 2011, 5:12 PM EST

The establishment press will never tell their readers, listeners and viewers that the five best-performing states in job growth through the first eleven months of this year, as well as nine of the top eleven, have relatively conservative Republicans occupying their respective governors' mansions. If these eleven star performers had only performed as well as the rest of the nation, over 300,000 fewer people would be working, and the unemployment rate would be at least 0.2% higher.

As will be seen after the jump, the list, based on data released today by Uncle Sam's Bureau of Labor Statistics, includes several against which the Obama administration has undertaken significant job-killing or job-deferring actions (i.e., these states have outperformed despite the handicaps, and would have done much better without them):

December 19, 2011, 11:59 PM EST

See-no-evil economic reporting during the Obama years has "somehow" missed a number of developments in the makeup of the American workforce which I believe would not have been missed (or deliberately overlooked, take your pick) if a Republican or conservative were in the White House. One of them relates to full-time employment.

Did you know that seasonally adjusted full-time employment in September 2011 was lower than it was when the recession officially ended in June 2009, and that this was the case for 26 of the first 27 post-recession months? What's more, the economy had over 8.7 million fewer full-time workers in November 2011 than it did when full-time employment peaked four years earlier in November 2007. Proof from the Bureau of Labor Statistics follows the jump.

December 19, 2011, 7:03 PM EST

Imagine that -- A massive government bureaucracy given almost a head start of more than three years to get up and running appears to be well on its way to not being ready.

Julie Appleby covered the situation at the Washington Post yesterday. Steven Hayward at Powerline accurately called it an item which "ought to be on the front page above the fold," and wasn't. It also "just so happens" to be an early vindicator of free-market capitalism as better able than the government to set up and manage complex systems. Here are several paragraphs from Appleby's report, which will be followed by key points from Hayward (bolds are mine throughout this post):