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 20, 2012, 6:28 PM EST

This is the eighth year I have looked into how the media treats these two topics: The use of "Christmas shopping season" vs. "holiday shopping season," and the frequency of Christmas and holiday layoff references.  

I have done three sets of simple Google News searches each year -- the first in late November, followed by identical searches roughly two and four weeks later. I will wait until just after Christmas to relay the full results, but feel compelled to note the following relating to today's "shopping season" searches, namely that the proportion containing "Christmas" came in at the lowest I've ever seen.

November 19, 2012, 11:06 PM EST

Despite evidence reported elsewhere, a Monday story in the New York Times by Fares Akram, Jodi Rudoren and Alan Cowell described the bombing of "two buildings housing local broadcasters and production companies used by foreign outlets" as a possible example of Israel "targeting journalists" -- while ignoring one "little" thing. As the Washington Free Beacon noted (HT Instapundit), "Four senior Islamic Jihad terrorists were using the media building as a hideout. They were killed in the Israeli strike." Additionally, the Times reporters downplayed the high-percentage effectiveness of Israel's Iron Dome missile defense system in blowing up Hamas rockets before they could cause any damage.

What follows are the two "don't let the facts get in the way of a good story" paragraphs from the Times, as well as those relating to Iron Dome's results thus far:

November 19, 2012, 9:56 AM EST

On November 14, the Hill reported that "Senate Democrats, feeling confident from their net gain of two seats in last week’s election, say any deficit-reduction package negotiated in the coming weeks must include stimulus measures." Alexander Bolton's writeup quoted Senator Chuck Schumer publicly asserting that "We have to do something because the economy is not growing fast enough in the first year or two." Although Schumer was referring to 2013 and 2014, the "not growing fast enough" characterization fits the U.S. economy under President Barack Obama's and Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke's "stimulus"-oriented policies ever since the recession officially ended in June 2009.

The fact that Democrats insist on more so-called "pump-priming" after four years of trillion dollar-plus deficits accompanied by tepid growth, thereby increasing the chances that the deficit streak will hit five years or more, even with tax hikes, while growth remains anemic, is something one might consider to be, well, news. But apparently not at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, or the Politico.

November 18, 2012, 11:58 PM EST

In a Friday report at the Associated Press on Friday with a celebratory headline ("2 YEARS AFTER IPO, GM IS PILING UP CASH"), Auto Writer Tom Krisher described bailed-out General Motors as "thriving," but didn't identify one of the important reasons for that characterization.

In paragraphs about the company's profitability and cash stockpile, Krisher failed to note that the company still hasn't paid any U.S. income taxes since emerging from bankruptcy, or why that's the case (bolds are mine throughout this post):

November 18, 2012, 9:43 PM EST

A video at CNN with reporting by Sara Sidner from Gaza tells us "how a small child became a symbol of civilian casualties." Some of her narrative: "A scene no parent should ever have to endure"; "Four year-old Mahmoud Sadallah lies dead in the arms of a neighbor, a child of Gaza, another victim of an airstrike"; "we saw no evidence here of military activity." There's even a scene where Ms. Sidner reports having to flee where she is currently reporting because "there are airstrikes" and "rockets." Since Hamas doesn't have an air force, we're supposed to assume that Israel's military is responsible for Mahmoud's death.

Except, as Joel Pollak at Breitbart noted this morning, others have shown that Sidner wants us to believe isn't the truth (bolds are mine throughout this post; links are in originals presented):

November 18, 2012, 10:51 AM EST

In her "Sunday Roundup" post at the site which bears her last name, Arianna Huffington supported that notion that "This week, America finally began questioning the judgment of its generals," but lamented that the scrutiny is over "sexual conduct rather than military conduct."

Fine, that's her opinion. But what's really odd is that she apparently thought that referencing a headline found at the Onion would be seen by readers as meaningful support for her argument (HT to a NewsBusters tipster):

November 17, 2012, 8:13 AM EST

Yesterday, AFL-CIO head Richard Trumka may have broken a modern record for chutzpah exhibited by a labor leader Friday in criticizing management's decision at bankrupt snack maker Hostess Brands to liquidate in the wake of irreconcilable issues with its unions. In a Friday afternoon report at Politico, Kevin Cirilli not only let Trumka get away with it; he also lent the labor leader's contentions additional misleading support.

Trumka blamed the company's apparently imminent demise on "Bain-style Wall Street vultures." He wants everyone to believe that it's greedy, eeeevil Republican private-equity types who are on the brink of putting yet another company out of business. The "clever" framing of that quoted phrase appears to indicate that Trumka already knew better. It seems very likely that Cirilli also knew better. Three hours before the initial time stamp of Cirilli's report, Zero Hedge re-exposed the heavy involvement of D-D-D-Democrats in Hostess's management and advisors originally documented way back in july at CNNMoney by David Kaplan (additional paragraph breaks added by me; bolds are mine throughout this post):

November 16, 2012, 9:46 AM EST

Someone needs to tell Emily Jane Fox that for workers refusing to do scheduled work assigned by their employers to be engaging in a "strike" ("a concerted stopping of work or withdrawal of workers' services, as to compel an employer to accede to workers' demands or in protest against terms or conditions imposed by an employer") there needs needs to be enough of them to matter. If there aren't, it's pretty much a small group of people conducting a (conceivably justified) protest.

As Fox described it in her Thursday report at CNNMoney.com about a group of Wal-Mart employees workers planning a Black Friday walkout -- which, if large enough, may qualify for "strike" status -- what happened in October appears to have been little more than a tiny temper tantrum:

November 15, 2012, 1:26 PM EST

Earlier today (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), I noted how several reports from the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press (here, here, and here) buried the major news about President Obama's opening demand to Congress over resolving the "fiscal cliff" of tax hikes scheduled to take effect on January 1. His demand for $1.6 trillion in tax increases over the next ten years is twice what he sought during the August 2011 debt-ceiling negotiations. You have to go to middle or near-ending paragraphs to get that from the three AP reports linked above.

Those three reports also each contain an additional paragraph which allows the administration's misstatement of its alleged "balance" between tax increases and reductions in projected levels of spending (falsely characterized as "cuts") to stand unchallenged:

November 15, 2012, 11:33 AM EST

When it comes to reporting on the what the White House wants to achieve in talks with Congress about averting the "fiscal cliff," one apparent theme at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, has been "Bury the lede about the size of Obama's tax increases." I'll cover another theme ("Let them get away with misstating the 'balanced approach'") in a later post.

President Obama now wants $1.6 trillion in tax increases over the next ten years, which is double the amount he sought during last year's debt-limit standoff. In ordinary times with a responsible press corps, such a massive change in posture would be headline-driving material, but not at AP, which appears to be doing its utmost to ensure that most Americans don't know about it while still being able to claim (sort of) that "Well, we told 'em."

November 14, 2012, 4:45 PM EST

Well, there's one little bit of good news in Martin Crutsinger's final report on yesterday's release of the federal government's October Monthly Treasury Statement (I did a review of his initial take yesterday [at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog]). The good news is that Crutsinger, unlike in most months during the past several years I have reviewed such reports, actually identified the single-month amount of money the federal government spent in October, namely $304 billion. We'll see if he continues the practice of reporting single-month spending amounts in future months.

The rest of Crutsinger's coverage is typically pathetic and predictable. He failed to correctly define what the deficit really is for his readers, understated the impact on fiscal 2013 of any tax or spending decisions the President and Congress might agree on, ignored the likelihood that receipts in teh coming year are likely coming back to levels last seen in fiscal 2007 (meaning that virtually the entire problem facing the country has to do with spending, not collections), and engaged in the seemingly required exercise of blaming George W. Bush for running deficits (not disclosed as far smaller) and conducting wars Congress agreed to fight before Obama came into office. As I said, typically pathetic and predictable.

November 14, 2012, 9:55 AM EST

Unless today is a total surprise and runs contrary to most of what we've seen during the past four years, President Obama will go through another "news conference" without a great deal of difficult or aggressive questioning from the assembled press corps.

Carrie Budoff Brown and Josh Gerstein at the Politico seem to think otherwise, and have produced a lame list of seven questions they think Obama will be asked -- so lame that one of them has to do with recently passed marijuana-legalizing initiatives in the states of Washington and Colorado:

November 13, 2012, 11:57 PM EST

Suddenly discovering something that anyone with eyes could see before the election, Josh Gerstein at Politico tells us that "Obama's foreign policy team hits turbulence."

Please. For over a week after September 11, the administration was pretending that a video which wasn't relevant at all caused protests which never occurred were what supposedly led to the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya which killed four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens. We had different people in the administration taking blame (but not really), and learned that but for the heroics of two of the men who died, dozens of others might have perished. But only now is Gerstein discovering "turbulence." Read on for a narrative which would be funny if it were not so sadly symptomatic of a see-no-evil press corps:

November 13, 2012, 3:10 PM EST

The government's October 2012 Monthly Treasury Statement was released at 2 p.m. It tells us that the government took in $184 billion ($21 billion more than last year) while spending $304 billion ($43 billion more), leaving a $120 billion deficit. That's 22% higher than the October 2011 shortfall of $98.5 billion.

The early report from the Associated Press's Martin Crustinger predictably tells us that discussions over changing this ongoing situation and addressing the "fiscal cliff" involve how "to prevent tax increases and deep spending cuts from kicking in Jan. 1." "Deep"? October 2012 spending annualizes out to $3.65 trillion, which if continued, as seen in comparison to figures for the past five years which follow, would be an all-time record.

November 13, 2012, 10:18 AM EST

Consider it a grim, hidden, unreported milestone, and yet another media failure.

The grim milestone relates to the increase in food stamp enrollment during the Obama administration. As Dave Gibson at Examiner.com noted on Saturday, the administration and campaign (as if there was any difference) did not release program participation data for August until three days after the election, roughly ten days after such monthly reports have typically been issued. What the data demonstrated is that food stamp enrollment during the first 43 months of the Obama administration has increased by more than it did during the entire eight years of George W. Bush's presidency, officially earning Obama the title of "Food Stamp President."

November 11, 2012, 11:38 AM EST

First of all, I should and will stipulate that any legitimate aid and comfort to victims of Hurricane/Superstorm Sandy those affiliated with the Occupy Movement are providing is noble.

That said, Meghan Barr's report at the Associated Press on their efforts is so absurdly fawning that it insults the thousands of others volunteering with private charities who are providing assistance on a meaningful and likely much more effective scale.

November 10, 2012, 10:57 PM EST

In a Thursday afternoon item carried at the Los Angeles Times via reporters Shashank Bengali and Joseph Serna (HT NewsBusters tipster Gary Hall), New York Governor Andrew Cuomo claimed that "When we built New York, we didn’t think about floods, about storms. We didn’t have hurricanes and floods. ... Extreme weather is here to stay. Climate change is a reality. Political gridlock has held us back too long. ... Maybe Mother Nature is telling us something. One time, two times, three times. There are places that are going to be victimized by storms. We know that now."

Let's review a little history -- history anyone in the establishment press could have found in the Google News Archive and Wikipedia as I did. What I found demonstrates how extreme and outrageously untrue Mr. Cuomo's "we didn't have hurricanes and floods" claim really is.

November 9, 2012, 11:34 PM EST

Those in the press who claim to completely understand why stock market indices containing 30, 500, or thousands of individual companies went up or down on any given day are at best theorizing and at worst dissembling. The way the press handled this week's decline by blaming it all on the "fiscal cliff," as if it only became relevant on Wednesday morning, definitely fits in the latter category. Leading the pack, as usual, was the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press.

The Dow, S&P 500, and Nasdaq all advanced modestly on Monday and Tuesday, fell sharply beginning with Wednesday's opening bell through the end of Thursday before recovering a tiny bit on Friday. But if one is to believe the AP's Steve Rothwell, the large tax increases facing the U.S. on January 1 explain the entire week's results, even though the declines didn't begin until this little thing called a presidential election was concluded on Tuesday evening after a Monday and Tuesday when no one really knew which candidate would win:

November 8, 2012, 1:10 PM EST

As of shortly before 1 p.m. ET, at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, there is no story about what the Chicago Sun-Times reported Wednesday evening about just-reelected Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr., namely that he " is in the midst of plea discussions with the feds probing his alleged misuse of campaign funds." There is also no story on the home page at Politico.

Selected paragraphs from Michael Sneed's Sun-Times report follow the jump (bolds are mine):

November 7, 2012, 7:36 PM EST

Now that their guy will be in the White House for another term, the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, has apparently commenced its "Cleaning up Benghazi" project -- as, naturally, has the Obama administration.

As part of that effort, the wire service's Greg Risling, reporting from Los Angeles at 6:14 p.m., made only the vaguest of references to how the film "roiled the Middle East" and "sparked violence ... killing dozens," without mentioning how it was dishonestly leveraged by terrorists as cover for protests and violence, and of course without mentioning how Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and so many others in his administration spent well over a week -- despite clearly knowing better -- citing the film as the cause of the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya which killed four Americans, including Libyan ambassador Christopher Stevens. Excerpts follow the jump (saved here in full for future reference, fair use and discussion purposes; bolds are mine):