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
March 18, 2012, 8:30 PM EDT

In what may be the most obvious over-employment of journalistic resources since the Associated Press assigned 11 reporters to review Sarah Palin's book in late 2009, seven journalists with the AP (yep, again) worked up a Friday afternoon item (saved here for future reference, fair use, discussion and embarrassment purposes) entitled "6 months later, what has Occupy protest achieved?"

Primary writer Meghan Barr, along with "Jeff Martin in Atlanta, Kathy Matheson in Philadelphia, Michael Gormley in Albany, N.Y., Erika Niedowski and David Klepper in Providence, R.I., and News Researcher Julie Reed in New York," recited an embarrassing, paper-thin list of accomplishments. They also completely avoided what most of the nation likely sees as the movement's primary achievement, despite the press's attempts to minimize and cover it up: showing us what the world might very well look like if the movement's leaders and primary instigators ever got their way -- ugly, dangerous, and filthy. Here is the complete list of key accomplishments the seven AP personnel cited (my comments in italics):

March 18, 2012, 4:45 PM EDT

On Friday, Darren Samuelsohn at the Politico (HT Hot Air), the place where it seems that inconvenient stories go so the Associated Press, the New York Times and the rest of the establishment press can claim they have an excuse not to cover them (respective proofs as of about 3:30 p.m. in the current instance are here and here), covering -- or I should say attempting to cover -- the latest of the White House's ritual Friday document dumps, reported that a White House communications official rejected an apparent proposal to seat Solyndra executives at the President's January 2011 State of the Union address, and that others within the White House already knew that Solyndra was in deep trouble before then.

And he almost got to the real meat of the story, but not quite. In this instance, not quite isn't anywhere near good enough (bolds are mine throughout this post), nor is the "nothing new here, you really don't need to read this" headline:

March 17, 2012, 9:17 PM EDT

Maybe it's due to budget cutbacks at major establishment news sources, but I doubt it. Maybe it's because they believe nobody cares about news out of the Middle East. No, that can't be it. Or maybe it's because they think that people already know and understand the Muslim mindset. Well, after several decades of press attempts to keep it from us, that doesn't make any sense either.

Whatever the reason(s), which I'll get to, a certain piece of what one would think is pretty significant news out of the Middle East has gone unreported for the past five days going on six. What follows are three translations of related articles through Google's translation tool (which eliminates the budget excuse of "We need interpreters to translate these things from scratch, and don't have the money"):

March 16, 2012, 11:31 AM EDT

When the press wants to smear a conservative outfit, it embarks on a mission to find and highlight someone, no matter how peripheral their involvement or unreflective of that group's beliefs, to portray as somehow typical of their mindset. But when someone who is clearly a long-time activist in the "pro-choice" movement clearly betrays the truth -- that the movement really is pro-abortion without limits -- they're nowhere to be found.

I expect that to be the case with Jessica DelBalzo's latest item ("I Love Abortion") filed at RH Reality Check, and not merely because the press is so predictable. It's because the press ignored an arguably more outrageous commentary Ms. DelBalzo filed at the same site in August, where she proudly told readers that she had discussed abortion and with her two year-old child, and that all "pro-choice" mothers of toddlers who successfully escaped the womb should do the same thing -- before the "forced-birth bullies" have a chance to exert their awful influence.

March 16, 2012, 12:47 AM EDT

From David Axelrod's Magic Land of the Double Standard: "Cleanup attempt at CNN. Bring the hazmat suits."

Tonight on CNN, as reported by several outlets (Mediaite, Politico, LA Times, but not the Associated Press, which as of 11:45 p.m. on Thursday hadn't done a national story about Maher in 10 days), David Axelrod told Erin Burnett, in the process of dodging a question about whether an Obama Super-PAC would give back Bill Maher's $1 million contribution, said that Maher's outrageous, misogynist comments against mostly conservative women really aren't as important as Rush Limbaugh's one-time, apologized-for hits at Sandra Fluke:

March 15, 2012, 1:18 PM EDT

The exercise of watching the press report on the current week's unemployment claims figure as if it's etched in stone and assessing it as if it's the last word -- only to see the figure get upwardly revised the next week virtually without media comment -- is getting extraordinarily tedious and predictable (but of course watching what they do remains necessary). 

At the Associated Press, Bloomberg, and Reuters, this week's version of the shell game has a relatively unique twist. The three wire services respectively and all without qualification say that today's seasonally adjusted figure of 351,000 from the Department of Labor "matches a four-year low," "the lowest level in four years," and "back to a four-year low." As seen in the graphic which follows, based on the history of the past year, there's a 98% chance they will be wrong after subsequent revisions, almost all of which have occurred during the very next reported week:

March 15, 2012, 1:06 AM EDT

The dictionary.com definitions of "taunt" including the following: as a verb, "to reproach in a sarcastic, insulting, or jeering manner; mock" and "to provoke by taunts; twit"; as a noun, "an insulting gibe or sarcasm; scornful reproach or challenge."

Note that the definition does not include: "to make eye contact." Unfortunately, Yahoo sportswriter Graham Watson's dictionary apparently does. Even though all Mississippi Valley State guard Kevin Burwell did after making a three-point shot was look over at President Obama and (according to the broadcasters, not Watson) make eye contact for what could hardly have been more than a half-second, Watson turned it into a "taunt," and even seemed to pin the blame for MVSU's loss on Burwell:

March 14, 2012, 11:27 PM EDT

 

On February 28, as reported at the Politico, Obama administration Energy Secretary Steven Chu told a House panel the following in response to a question he interrupted about his interest in having an "overall goal" of lowering gas prices: “No, the overall goal is to decrease our dependency on oil, to build and strengthen our economy.” Yesterday, also as carried at the Politico, Chu effectively retracted that statement, as well as his more infamous September 2008 assertion that he would like to see gas prices in the U.S. resemble those seen in Europe.

A search on Chu's full name (not in quotes) at the Associated Press's main national site and through Google at its hosted2.ap.org site returns nothing relevant to either story. It would not be unreasonable to assert that the Politico, with little or nothing in the way of direct subscriber or member outreach, it the place where many negative stories about the Obama administration get posted -- and go no further.

March 14, 2012, 7:06 PM EDT

In her syndicated column today (at NewsBusters; at her home blog), Michelle Malkin runs down how CNN news anchor Soledad O'Brien has an affinity for the work of the late Harvard Professor Derrick Bell, particularly his "critical race theory" (CRT) that she has to this point not disclosed to her CNN viewers.

O'Brien also had a guest professor on her program who told the audience that CRT has nothing to do with, in Michelle's words, "bashing America as a white supremacy-ruled government." Trouble is, the professor has written that CRT “highlight(s) the ways in which the law is not neutral and objective, but designed to support White supremacy and the subordination of people of color.” As Michelle wrote: "Oops." An NB tipster noted that O'Brien's O'Babbling should not have surprised anyone given her supportive reaction, noted at the time at Media Bistro, to a particularly odd and pathetic speech (transcript here) the Rev. Jeremiah Wright of Chicago's Trinity United Church of Christ (y'know, the guy whose inflammatory, anti-American sermons Barack Obama never heard despite almost two decades as a TUCC member) gave at an NAACP dinner in Detroit on April 26, 2008 (internal link was in original):

March 14, 2012, 12:45 PM EDT

The New York Times told us about three weeks ago that "there's little President Obama" can do about the current pump price of gas. Since then, it has become a well-established media meme. Poor guy.

Well, not really. Four years ago, another U.S. president did something which caused the barrel price of oil to drop by over $6, and the press spent the rest of the day trying to pretend that the drop had nothing to do with his actions -- and almost succeeded. What follows is from my related NewsBusters post on July 15, 2008 ("Oil Drops Over $6 a Barrel; I Wonder Why?"):

March 13, 2012, 12:58 PM EDT

Last night (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), I noted how Christopher Rugaber at the Associated Press, also known to yours truly as the Administration's Press, failed to tell his readers that the federal government's $232 billion reported deficit in February was an all-time single-month record. I also went back and showed that another AP reporter in March 2008 did note that February 2008's deficit was at the time an all-time record. If there's a reason for the patently obvious inconsistency other than who happens to be occupying the White House at the moment, I'd sure like to know what it is.

Rugaber's report had other risible aspects which I have excerpted below in three separate segments:

March 12, 2012, 11:22 PM EDT

In his report on today's release of Uncle Sam's February Monthly Treasury Statement, Christopher Rugaber at the Associated Press today did almost all he could to ensure that his wire service remains deserving of the nickname yours truly gave it several month ago: "The Administration's Press."

Rugaber's primary sin of omission ensures that readers, listeners and viewers at AP's subscribing outlets will probably not learn that February's deficit, at a rounded $232 billion, was the highest single-month shortfall in U.S. history. But four years ago in March 2008, during the final year of George W. Bush's presidency, the wire service's Jeannine Aversa somehow found space to note the record-breaking nature of that year's $176 billion February deficit:

March 11, 2012, 3:59 PM EDT

This probably won't surprise anyone, but it should be noted for the record: As of 3:45 p.m. today, almost 72 hours after the related story broke, the Associated Press has not reported on new revelations about the clear influence radical, racist professor Derrick Bell had on now-President Barack Obama 20 years ago -- so influential that Obama "routinely assigned works by Bell as required reading" in his University of Chicago law classes. The AP has also not told its subscribing outlets and news consumers about how many of its colleagues in the press withheld information on the relationship between the two during the 2008 presidential election campaign. A search on Bell's name (not in quotes) at the AP's main site returns nothing relevant, even though it has been shown that Obama told a Harvard audience that people should "[O]pen your hearts and open your minds to the words of Prof. Derrick Bell."

However, there has been no shortage of coverage at the AP and elsewhere of what Mitt Romney did with his dog 29 years ago. But of course, the dog story is far more relevant to Mitt Romney's governing philosophy than Obama's love of a professor whose core life contention revolves around insurmountable white racism (/sarc). The AP's cover-up treatment of Bell has been consistent, as seen in the first three paragraphs of its brief write-up after the professor's death in October 2011 (bold is mine):

March 9, 2012, 8:39 PM EST

Gosh, how did that happen?

At the Associated Press as of 7:30 p.m., its Top Business stories (saved here for future reference) top headline read: "Strong 3 months of hiring as US adds 277,000 jobs." The headline at the underlying article (saved here) reads the same. Related pics are after the jump.

March 9, 2012, 6:48 PM EST

Yesterday was sort of "Pick on Christopher Rugaber at the Associated Press Day." So when I came across a particularly reprehensible report he filed last night whining about the difficulty the economy may face in meeting heightened expectations -- with yet another reference to the wire service's obsession with its relevance to President Obama's approval ratings and reelection -- I let it go.

That changed when I learned about and then read Kyle Drennen's NewsBusters post today about CNBC's Carl Quintanilla, Friday's fill-in Today show host. Carl Q spoke of how "...we're in a situation where we're sort of managing expectations, especially for the White House." "We" are "managing expectations ... especially for the White House"? What Carl Q said seems to have been influenced by what Rugaber wrote yesterday. Especially note the last excerpted paragraph (bolds are mine):

March 9, 2012, 5:06 PM EST

In the second half of his second hour today, Rush Limbaugh followed up on a phone call from a "Victor in Atlanta." Vince is concerned that many Americans like him, even though they want a different president, are "zapped out of enthusiasm."

Rush took Vince's call as an opportunity to look at the Sandra Fluke controversy of the past week and use its results as an indicator that enthusiasm for defending conservatives and conservative principles against the hate-filled left is as great as ever -- great enough to not only defeat the attempt to marginalize him but to force the left and the leftist establishment press to at least for the moment go into strategic retreat and to temporarily clean up its act (bolds are mine):

March 8, 2012, 5:24 PM EST

Earlier today (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), I noted the press's ridiculously forgiving coverage of today's reported increase in unemployment claims while concentrating primarily on RTT News's assertion that the unemployment rate should continue to come down as long as weekly claims stay below 400,000. Three years ago, Christopher Rugaber's threshold at the Associated Press, also known to yours truly as the Administration's Press, was 325,000. He has since raised it (including in today's report) to 375,000.

This afternoon, Rush Limbaugh expanded on wire service's knee-jerk defense of mediocre-to-bad economic news, taking particular umbrage at the thoroughly misleading headline at Rugaber's report, as well as his first paragraph, which I will relay first before posting part of Rush's reaction:

March 8, 2012, 10:29 AM EST

The Department of Labor reported today that initial claims for unemployment benefits increased to 362,000 from an upwardly revised (as usual) 354,000 the previous week. Expectations were for a reading of 351,000 (Business Insider's email) or 352,000 (Bloomberg).

Over at the Associated Press, also known as the Administration's Press, the headlined reaction in its 9:17 a.m. report was: "Applications Hover Near Low Levels." As usual, it took a New Media source, in this case Zero Hedge, to point out something potentially troubling in the news, namely that "this is the first time we have seen three consecutive weeks of rises since August 2010." True, the rises have been modest, but next week will almost certainly see an upward revision to this week (the case for 51 of the past 52 weeks, averaging almost 4,000 and with no decreases). Modest or not, they run counter to presumptive press claims that the job market is "healing" (Reuters) and "improving" (Bloomberg). The howler of the day came from RTT News, which "offers custom news and information solutions" for which subscribers apparently pay at least $250 a month:

March 6, 2012, 2:53 PM EST

Over at the Associated Press in a report with a Tuesday morning time stamp, Christopher Rugaber produced yet another predictable lemonade-from-lemons story about how the economy is allegedly "improving faster than economists had expected. They now foresee slightly stronger growth and hiring than they did two months earlier - trends that would help President Barack Obama's re-election hopes." Because, after all, that's what it's all about.

The folks at AP, the economists they surveyed for their report, and the rest of the establishment press really need to get out more. Y'know, they used to, at least before November 4, 2008. If they did, they'd find something which it seems only the BBC among major original-source news organizations has found: well over 50 "tent cities." These are not Occupy movement encampments; instead they are places where one will find America's desperately poor:

March 6, 2012, 10:20 AM EST

Have we reached a point where a positive story about a political candidate whose views are considered unacceptable by the media elites won't get widely covered even when it's virtually dropped in their laps?

One can't help but suspect that's the case with Rick Santorum. February 13, the Detroit Free Press carried a moving story by Kathleen Gray about how the parents of a Michigan girl with Trisomy 18, the same disease from which his Santorum's daughter Bella suffers, credit the former senator's detailed and determined suggestions in the midst of their daughter's fight with saving her life. Read the whole thing; what follows are selected excerpts, starting with a downplaying headline: