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
May 31, 2012, 11:48 PM EDT

Artur who? The seems to be the question at the New York Times and the national site of the Associated Press. Searches on former Congressman Artur Davis (in quotes at the Times, not in quotes at AP) return nothing relevant and nothing, respectively, even though Davis appears to be the only African-American current or former congressman to leave the Democratic Part and become a Republican in decades. As noted yesterday (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), the AP treated the story as a local item yesterday, and the Washington Post carried the AP's story in its Metro local section.

It appears that the two entities might be using the old "Well, Politico covered it, so we don't have to" excuse. On Tuesday of last week, the online publication filed a story reporting rumors that Davis was changing parties. Two days ago (updated yesterday), Alex Eisenstadt made it appear as if anger and not political philosophy largely drove Davis to switch:

May 31, 2012, 7:33 AM EDT

On May 27, going to the same theme Scott Bauer employed at the Associated Press yesterday, USA Today's Ben Jones did his level best to cast Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker as the richly funded perpetual campaigner, while portraying Walker's recall challenger, former Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, as the underfunded man of the people underdog. Of course, as was the with Bauer's bombast, there's not a word about union-driven funding, which Walker estimated in an April Newsmax interview at about $60 million. This seems like preemptive excuse-making for a Walker victory on Tuesday. Preelection polls show Walker ahead by anywhere from 2 to 10 points.

Without a whit of skepticism, Jones relayed the following dissembling quote from a Barrett spokesperson which follows the jump:

May 30, 2012, 9:40 PM EDT

You might think that the news of an African-American former Congressman switching his publicly declared party loyalty from Democrat to Republican would a national story.

Well, it isn't at the Associated Press, as a search returning no results at the wire service's national site on the full name of former Alabama Congressman Artur Davis (not in quotes) done at about 9 p.m. indicates. Additionally, the link to news about Davis's party switch is currently perched in the "Post Local" section at the Washington Post's web site. If this makes TV anywhere but Fox News, I'll be surprised, even though by any rational definition of "news," this is an objectively big deal. Davis is a former four-term Congressman, was a Barack Obama campaign co-chair in 2008, and was a former member of the Congressional Black Caucus. The last time an African-American congressman or former congressman changed his party from Democrat to Republican was ... well, maybe someone else can come up with a previous example, but I can't. Several paragraphs from the AP's "local" story in the Post follow the jump:

May 30, 2012, 6:27 PM EDT

Though he hasn't been alone in his applying the campaign fundraisng double standard in Wisconsin's recall election, Scott Bauer at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, has a particularly odious item today about the dollars raised by each side. It's particularly odious because the word "unions" appears only once -- as the target of Walker, who has, as Bauer sees it, "rocketed to stardom after taking on public sector unions." There is no mention of the millions of union dollars which have poured into Wisconsin from all over the country, which, thankfully, someone else has quantified.

Bauer also continues to bitterly cling to the notion, concerning which yours truly has been nagging him since February of last year, that "most Wisconsin public workers lost their collective bargaining rights" as a result of Walker-supported legislation which passed in the Legislature last year -- as if they no longer have any collective bargaining rights at all. This has been and continues to be a flat-out falsehood. The first five paragraphs of Bauer's bombast follow the jump (bolds are mine throughout this post):

May 30, 2012, 3:40 PM EDT

After the jump is a graphic from Investor's Business Daily comparing post-recession consumer confidence readings from the Conference Board during the Reagan and Obama administrations. See it there or see it below, because you probably won't see it at any establishment press web site or in any of their publications.

What's remarkable about the graphic is how confidence was able to stay at or above 100 (a reading of 90 is considered the "healthy economy" benchmark) in the face of a virtually non-stop media onslaught which alternatively tried to deny the existence of the ongoing prosperity, constantly warned that another recession was just around the corner, or whined about how supposedly unfair the economy was becoming (Keep in mind that the Media Research Center didn't appear on the scene until 1987) -- which is quite different from the current establishment media cheerleading which occurs seemingly any time there's the least little sign that things might be getting better.

May 30, 2012, 10:29 AM EDT

In a generally even-handed report on yesterday's drop in consumer confidence as reported by the Conference Board (from a revised 68.7 to 64.9, vs. expectations of a rise to 69.6, according to Bloomberg), the Associated Press's Mae Anderson, with assistance from Christopher Rugaber, engaged in a bit of excuse-making in and downplaying in their later paragraphs.

The AP pegged its water-down to a strong upward move in the yesterday's stock trading, pretending that investors didn't take the confidence report seriously. That's odd, because other press reports attributed those gains to "rising optimism about Greece's prospects to remain in the euro zone, which offset a disappointing reading on U.S. consumer confidence." In other words, the report was considered, but the news out of Greece was better. The relevant later paragraphs from AP's report, one relatively early, and the rest appearing much later, are after the jump (bold is mine):

May 29, 2012, 12:05 AM EDT

At the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, Jesse Washington's Friday evening coverage ("Who's an American Indian? Warren case stirs query") of the nuances involved in claiming Native American Indian heritage -- or ancestry, or biology, or allegiance, or identity, or identification, or membership (and I've probably missed a couple) -- occasioned by Democratic Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren in Massachusetts is the journalistic equivalent of what the occasional Atlantic Coast Conference men's basketball game was like (with final scores sometimes in the 20s) before the NCAA legislated the shot clock: a continuous exercise in stalling.

Washington's report is time-stamped at 10:31 P.M., meaning that its last rendition was at least 18 hours after the Boston Globe performed a rare exercise in journalism and found the following, of which there is no hint in the AP story:

May 28, 2012, 10:35 PM EDT

Leave it to the Associated Press's Scott Bauer to take shots at Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker -- in seeming orchestration with Democratic Party officials -- for limiting his public recall election appearances because of unsafe conditions leftists in the Badger State have created, "public safety" officials have too often condoned, and the establishment press has generally downplayed for well over a year.

Bauer and his "Essential Global News Network" have been among the lead minimizers of the death threats, violence, hatred, and intimidation of Wisconsin businesses by organized labor during that time. A year ago, the AP treated the arrest of a person who emailed death threats to 16 GOP state senators and their families as a local story. AP and others have also mostly ignored the non-stop stalking by Walker's civility-challenged opponents, who among other things have disrupted school visits (with vandalism), a Special Olympics ceremony, and a police memorial. So it took a special brand of gall for Bauer and bullying Dems, including Walker's recall opponent, to criticize the governor for having to take conditions on which the press has not shone a light into account in how he campaigns (bolds are mine):

May 28, 2012, 12:19 AM EDT

As the clock in the Eastern time zone officially tells me that it's Memorial Day, it occurs to me that the men and women we honor today did not fight and die so they would see their country become one where a person could be hounded from their home, see themselves and/or loved ones lose their jobs, worry about the safety of their kids, or be visited by police with guns drawn as a result of a false anonymous tip -- all of which has "just so happened" to occur in close proximity to having blogged about the activities of a certain person or his associates.

It also occurs to me that part of the way of life these men and women died to preserve had to do with defending the rights of the press (which at the time of our Founders was understood to be anyone "down" to the level of a pamphleteer) to conscientiously do their jobs, and that part of the reason why what is happening as described in the first paragraph goes on may be because those involved know that they often won't be called out by the local, regional, or national press -- virtually no matter how egregious their offenses. 

May 27, 2012, 10:09 PM EDT

A Los Angeles Times editorial on May 23, naturally accompanied by a dour photo of House Speaker John Boehner, stated as if it's an indisputable fact that the August 2011 debt deal raised the ceiling by "enough to last until the end of 2012 or early 2013." A Saturday AP report by Ken Thomas and Jim Kuhnhenn so filled with distortions that it's virtually unreadable asserted, again as if it's a no-doubt fact, that hitting the limit is "more than eight months away," putting the ceiling-busting date at about January 31, 2013. Just a few of many other examples with late-December or later assumptions baked in are here (to be fair, this one frames it as a Geithner estimation), here, and here.

The real numbers, combined with the experience of the past two years, indicate that there is a good chance not only that we're not going to be that lucky, but that the government could even hit the ceiling before Election Day.

May 27, 2012, 11:02 AM EDT

At the Associated Press aka the Administration's Press on Saturday, Andrew Taylor's "Fact Check" item on President Obama's stump speech claim in Iowa on Thursday dove into the trees without first looking at the forest.

Distracted by ridiculousaurus Rex Nutting's write-up earlier in the week at MarketWatch ("Obama spending binge never happened"), which absurdly claimed that "government outlays (are) rising at slowest pace since 1950s," Taylor spent paragraph after paragraph going into the nuances of "the Wall Street bailout" (really TARP, which wasn't all about "Wall Street," unless GM and Chrysler have recently moved there) and the disputes over who should be responsible for various items of and increases in spending the fiscal 2009. He either didn't understand -- or didn't want to communicate that he really did understand -- exactly what President Obama said, which follows the jump:

May 26, 2012, 10:07 AM EDT

Yesterday, West New York, New Jersey Mayor Felix Roque and his son were arrested and charged with "gaining unauthorized access to computers, conspiracy and causing damage to protected computers" -- offenses which carry potential sentences of over 10 years.

At NJ.com, home of the Star-Ledger (print circulation now less than 200,000), one finds that the there is an even greater example of hackery than that involving political hacks allegedly perpetrating computer hacks. That would be hackery of the journalistic persuasion. In his coverage of the Roques' arrests, the Star-Ledger's Ted Sherman waited 19 paragraphs to directly tag Roque as a Democrat. Meanwhile, Sherman noted the mayor's support of Republican Governor Chris Christie -- twice (Paragraphs 5 and 20) -- and his short-lived endorsement of Joseph Kyrillos, the Republican challenging incumbent Democratic U.S. Senator Robert Menendez. As will be seen, Sherman's shameful show of bias caps several months of disgraceful NJ.com coverage of Roque. First, excerpts from Sherman's coverage of the arrests, completely with shaky grammar (bolds are mine):

May 25, 2012, 11:04 PM EDT

If for no other reason than the uniqueness of the alleged crimes involved, the story of the arrests of West New York, New Jersey Mayor Felix Roque and his son deserves attention. It is getting some, complete with the predictable downplaying and omission of the Mayor's political party affiliation, which "just so happens" to be as a Democrat.

Since it's currently appearing at Yahoo News, which is the Internet's most popular news site, with an estimated 110 million unique monthly visitors, Alex Fitzpatrick's Thursday report on the mayor's arrest which originated at Mashable.com is worth calling out, especially because in almost 300 words, Fitzpatrick failed to identify Roque's party. Get a load of what this guy and his son allegedly did to protect their jobs:

May 24, 2012, 11:42 AM EDT

Last week, what the Department of Labor had originally reported as a dip in new unemployment claims the previous week (from 368,000 to 367,000) was revised into an increase (to 370,000). This week, what DOL originally reported was a no-change situation (i.e., 370,000) was revised into an increase (to 372,000).

It's getting ever more difficult to accept DOL's ongoing underestimations, which now run to 60 of the 61 most recent weeks I've been able to track (the one exception was a "no change" situation during the week ended June 18, 2011). In covering today's charade, Reuters, Bloomberg, and the Associated Press (aka the Administration's Press), all failed to note that this week's revision to last week turned last week into an increase instead of a no-change. In what should be seen as only a marginal improvement, two of the three (the AP, predictably, was the exception), headlined this week's small initial reduction from last week -- which seems destined to disappear after revision next week -- as "essentially unchanged." Excerpts follow the jump.

May 23, 2012, 11:18 PM EDT

To be fair, the full text of what Martin Crutsinger at the Associated Press wrote in the first sentence of what I believe was the final version of his report today on the Census Bureau's new-home sales release was that "Americans bought more new homes last month, the latest evidence that the U.S. housing market could be starting to recover." The other "evidence" he cited related to a small bump reported earlier this week in existing home sales and one homebuilder's improved financial results.

That's pretty thin gruel from which to paint a "could be starting to recover" scenario, especially when it's expressed by someone who isn't a housing expert, i.e., an AP reporter. The only expert Crutsinger cited told him that "Housing could be a pleasant surprise this year." Wow. How profound. Let's take a look at some quotes from experts Thomson Reuters was able to find. Readers will note that the variations on word "bottom" occur quite frequently (quotes are not in the same order as they appeared at the link):

May 22, 2012, 11:43 PM EDT

At Media Bistro earlier today, the news about the combined average total audience for the Big Three TV networks' evening news was grim enough, coming in at a combined 20.15 million (NBC, 7.52 million; ABC, 7.14 million; CBS, 5.49 million).

But the news about the audience in the key 25-54 demographic was, from what I can tell, either an all-time low or darned close to it. I couldn't find an example of one that was lower in searches through previous overall audience low points covered in prior posts at NewsBusters and or my home blog. Last week and other weeks which were almost as low in the 25-54 deme follow the jump:

May 22, 2012, 9:26 PM EDT

Last night (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), I noted the total inadequacy of a correction the New York Times made to a notorious William Deresiewicz op-ed ("Fables of Wealth") published on May 12. Deresiewicz originally claimed that "A recent study found that 10 percent of people who work on Wall Street are ‘clinical psychopaths’ … (The proportion at large is 1 percent.)." The study he cited was really of 203 management trainees, the proportion of supposed psychopaths found was 4%, and the study's authors said that generalizing the results in any way to the overall population should not be done. As I asserted, the Times should long ago have pulled the op-ed instead of trying to cure something which is incurable.

Well, it turns out that Deresiewicz completely blew it in interpreting the rest of the alleged foundation of his op-ed, namely English writer Bernard Mandeville's "The Fable of the Bees," leaving the author utterly without any support for his anticapitalist and anticapitalism screed. At his Chequerboard.org blog (HT John Hinderaker at Powerline), Pejman Yousefzadeh performed the clinical dismemberment:

May 22, 2012, 12:58 AM EDT

The New York Times apparently wants us to believe that it has done its journalistic duty by issuing a "correction," the text of which will follow the jump, to an especially odious May 12 op-ed ("Fables of Wealth") written by William Deresiewicz.

The author, who describes himself as "An essayist, critic and the author of 'A Jane Austen Education,'" originally claimed, as quoted at the Media Research Center's TimesWatch, that "A recent study found that 10 percent of people who work on Wall Street are 'clinical psychopaths' ... (The proportion at large is 1 percent.)." Uh, not exactly (bolds are mine throughout this post):

May 20, 2012, 1:54 PM EDT

Last night (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), yours truly questioned how the Associated Press could have two identically worded stories with different headlines -- "Cache of evidence in shooting, still huge gaps" and "Amid evidence cache in Martin case, questions nag" -- posted at its national site.

This morning, Paul Colford, Director of AP Media Relations posted a comment at BizzyBlog which included a request that I note his communication with me at NewsBusters. Mr. Colford's note and my response follow the jump:

May 19, 2012, 11:38 PM EDT

Update: An AP official has responded to this post. That response, and my reply, are here.

Note: A sentence which erroneously reported the Eastern Time Zone equivalent of a story at the Kansas City Star has been removed.

The Associated Press appears to have done something unusual in its coverage of the the Trayvon Martin-George Zimmerman case on Monday. Two identically worded stories with differing headlines are still at the AP's national site.

It is more than a little odd that the story with the earlier headline ("Cache of evidence in shooting, still huge gaps") is still present. The headline grossly mischaracterizes the nature of the publicly released data. The same story with a different and more accurate headline ("Amid evidence cache in Martin case, questions nag") is also still there. I don't think I've ever seen this happen at AP, especially not for over 24 hours (the time stamps on the two stories are both late Friday afternoon). Graphics with the two examples follow the jump.