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
February 19, 2012, 11:14 AM EST

Late Saturday morning, a brief, unbylined Associated Press item ("ESPN sorry for offensive headline on Lin story") reported that "ESPN has apologized for using a racial slur in a headline for a story on Knicks sensation Jeremy Lin."

The racial slur in question involves using "Chink in the Armor" to headline a story posted on the network's mobile website after the Knicks lost Friday night to the lowly New Orleans Hornets, ending a seven-game winning streak. The text of ESPN's apology and discussion of the AP's protective oversights follow the jump:

February 17, 2012, 1:52 PM EST

Yesterday, the initial one-sentence squib from the Associated Press on the Census Bureau's monthly housing construction release stated that "(A) Surge in apartments offsets weak single-family homes, pushing housing starts up 1.5 percent" (the headline reads the same).

By the time AP real estate writer Derek Kravitz turned it into a full-blown report, the headline became "US housing starts rise modestly to start new year." The opening sentence now reads: "Construction of single-family homes in the U.S. cooled off slightly in January after surging in the final month last year." The word "weak" is not in the report. It won't surprise anyone that the wire service's initial unfiltered reaction was more correct. What may surprise even those who are used to AP misdirection is that Kravitz made it appear to those who don't know better, which would include a large number of newspaper, TV, and radio journalists, that construction began on almost 1.5 million single-family homes during the past three months. Really.

February 16, 2012, 11:47 PM EST

It's bad enough when items which should so obviously be leading the news aren't. It's worse when you realize that one of the reasons for the deliberate avoidance is that the press is allowing itself to be coopted into treating insignificant orchestrated political stunts to chew up scarce time and resources.

Readers who are wondering why outfits like CNN (covered yesterday by Matt Hadro at NewsBusters), the New York Times (as noted by NB's Clay Waters) and the Associated Press (caught Tuesday by yours truly) would bother to prepare reports on a dozen-person anti-Mitt Romney demonstration at the Westminster Dog Show can stop wondering. At Polititicker, Hunter Walker and Colin Campbell report that Americans United for Change (home page; Facebook page), a Democratic Party-connected group, is driving it (bolds are mine):

February 15, 2012, 11:34 PM EST

Daryl Justin Finizio, the recently elected Democratic Party Mayor of New London, Connecticut has apologized to the families and homeowners who lost their homes as a result of the city's decision to condemn properties in the Fort Trumbull area of that city. Those efforts began over a decade ago. A lawsuit by the victims which attempted to stop the city from taking their properties and destroying their homes ultimately led to the Supreme Court's Kelo vs. New London decision in 2005. The Court ruled in favor of the City based on what it believed was "a carefully considered development plan." A few remaining holdouts who tried to get the city to reverse course after the ruling, including Susette Kelo, lost their battle and settled with the city in 2006. To my knowledge, no ground has been broken on any kind of new development in the area originally occupied by the homes in the 5-1/2 years since.

Obviously, one could argue that the apology is way too late, given that the buildings have long since been leveled.

February 15, 2012, 3:59 PM EST

Today, President Obama visited Master Lock, a company he cited in his State of the Union speech on January 24 using the following words: "But right now, it's getting more expensive to do business in places like China. Meanwhile, America is more productive. A few weeks ago, the CEO of Master Lock told me that it now makes business sense for him to bring jobs back home. Today, for the first time in fifteen years, Master Lock's unionized plant in Milwaukee is running at full capacity."

Now note how Ken Thomas's report at the Associated Press originally described (since revised) what Obama supposedly said:

February 15, 2012, 12:20 PM EST

On Monday, Calvin Woodward, with help from Martin Crutsinger and Pete Yost, produced a "Fact Check" on the budget proposal the White House released earlier that day.

After properly criticizing the administration's plan to use "about $850 billion in savings from ending the wars and steers some $230 billion of that to highways" (and actually quoting someone knowledgeable, who pointed out that "Drawing down spending on wars that were already set to wind down and that were deficit-financed in the first place should not be considered savings"), Woodward went off the rails:

February 15, 2012, 10:10 AM EST

It would appear that if Kevin Paul Dupont were king, he would be exploring how to send the Stanley Cup Finals exploits of Boston Bruins goalie Tim Thomas last year down the memory hole. Thomas "held the Canucks to eight goals in seven games" and became the first goalie ever to shut out his team's opponent in a deciding Game 7 on the road, helping the Bruins win their first Cup in almost 40 years.

Since he can't do that, the Boston Globe sportswriter appears to want to use Thomas's absence from the team's White House visit three weeks ago and subsequent Facebook postings as evidence that Thomas's "legacy" is in danger (his column's headline states that Thomas needs to "restore" it). In making his supposed case, the self-professed "confused" Dupont made and repeated a fundamental factual error. Those errors destroy any credibility he may have had in portraying Thomas's decision and subsequent Facebook postings as somehow disrupting team unity:

February 14, 2012, 3:36 PM EST

Those who believe that the establishment press has gone completely to the dogs can cite support for that contention in an Associated Press story about an anti-Mitt Romney demonstration at the Westminster dog show in New York earlier today.

The story is about how "a dozen demonstrators ... plus a few pooches" showed up to demonstrate against something Romney allegedly did 29 years ago. Really. This story is sooooo important that as of 2:46 p.m., it was the second item listed at AP's Top Sports News (saved here for future reference, fair use and discussion purposes):

February 14, 2012, 9:53 AM EST

Everybody, including yours truly, makes mistakes. But a major news organization should be able to catch whoppers like the ones readers will see shortly, or at least fix them in short order if they get posted.

A Google search on the title of an ABC report on gas prices ("Bumpy Ride Ahead: Gas Prices May Soon Hit $4 a Gallon") at about 8:10 a.m. ET indicates that the story went up at about 6 p.m. last night, so the pathetic verbiage readers will see after the jump has gone unrepaired for 15 hours, and counting:

February 14, 2012, 1:08 AM EST

One web site devoted to "fighting the smears" (i.e., pretending that what is true really isn't) apparently isn't enough for Barack Obama's reelection campaign. There are now three, plus so-called "truth teams" of activists whose mission it will be to serve as rapid-response purveyors of what will likely heaping helpings of fabricated refutations.

This news is now officially 24 hours old; its first appearance, at least per Google News, came via the Washington Post and appeared at the web site of the Minneapolis Star Tribune shortly after midnight Monday morning. To no one's surprise, a search of the Associated Press's national site on "Obama truth" (not in quotes) returns nothing relevant, as does an advanced search at the New York Times on "Obama truth team" (also not in quotes). Here are key paragraphs from David Nakamura's story as it appeared at the Washington Post:

February 13, 2012, 11:56 PM EST

Maybe there's some unwritten guideline in the press relating to when a politician who is no longer holding office doesn't have to have his party label applied if he gets into some kind of trouble -- even if that trouble is related to when he was in office.

The suspicion here is that the rule only applies to past Democratic Party officeholders, and that the guideline period is unduly short. A recent example is former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, a Democrat who is under investigation for bribery and kickbacks. Both the Associated Press and Reuters failed to tag Nagin or any other Democrat in their related reports; the AP report called him a "moderate."

February 12, 2012, 11:50 PM EST

On Friday, the Daily Caller reported that Occupy movement protesters at CPAC were being paid $60 a day to be there. (Here I thought the left was really motivated these days. Guess not.)

At the self-described Essential Global News Network known as the Associated Press, this fact and other inconvenient items about the movement's pathetic efforts at and around CPAC are being ignored. Before demonstrating that, I'll identify what the additional embarrassments are.

February 12, 2012, 10:14 PM EST

On February 2, Blake Ellis at CNN Money (HT to a NewsBusters tipster), in an item which treated minor regulatory changes relating to annuities as some kind of "rescue plan" for retirees, gave President Obama credit for "measures ... (he) has put in place to help Americans save for retirement, including automatic enrollment in 401(k)s." There's no word on whether Ms. Ellis also believes that Obama hung the moon, but it wouldn't surprise me if that were the case.

Somebody needs to tell Ms. Ellis that a "History of 401(k) Plans" published by the Employee Benefits Research Institute seven years ago tells us that the critical dates relating to employers' ability to automatically enroll new and eventually existing employees in their 401(k) plans (subject to the employee's ability to proactively decline if he or she chooses) go back to 1998 and 2000, many years before Obama was sworn in as a U.S. Senator (bolds are mine):

February 11, 2012, 10:48 AM EST

The press was eager to jump on initial remarks by U.S. bishops that President Obama's announcement yesterday of what the Wall Street Journal aptly described in an editorial this morning as the "Immaculate Contraception" -- namely, the idea that insurance companies would somehow pay out of their own pockets for costs relating to "contraceptive services" to which the bishops objected to having Catholic institutions pay for directly was "a good first step." I heard this description several times in brief radio news summaries yesterday. Later yesterday afternoon, the bishops' position was reported as "reserving judgment."

In an official statement carried at Vatican Radio's web site ("The Voice of the Pope and the Church in dialogue with the world") this morning, the bishops have rejected Obama's self-described "sensible approach." Especially pertinent, in light of my post earlier this morning, is the fact that the mandate and its revision appear to apply to employers who self-insure -- an option religious institutions have been forced to use to avoid attempts by several U.S. states to mandate what ObamaCare wants to impose on the entire nation (in full; bolds are mine):

February 11, 2012, 9:54 AM EST

Yesterday's announcement by President Obama (headlined at the White House's website as "Remarks by the President on Preventive Care") of planned revisions to an ObamaCare-driven rule which, in the President's words, "if a woman’s employer is a charity or a hospital that has a religious objection to providing contraceptive services as part of their health plan, the insurance company -– not the hospital, not the charity -– will be required to reach out and offer the woman contraceptive care free of charge, without co-pays and without hassles."

Showing just how out of touch the establishment press is with reality, an editorial this morning in the Wall Street Journal cutely titled "Immaculate Contraception" points out something most, including the Associated Press, have missed -- that in a large number of cases involving many thousands of employees, there is no "insurance company" there to directly pay for these services:

February 10, 2012, 9:42 AM EST

A "breaking" email I received from USA Today this morning is a definite sign of establishment press scrambling to give deceptive cover to an Obama administration mandate whose unpopularity continues to grow as more people become aware of it. It also shows the lengths to which the press will go to keep the relatively disengaged, which would include those who only primarily informed via email and other brief alerts without digging further, from encountering basic facts.

The email pretends that the president is about to announce a "decision" (as opposed to changing one), and refers to a "rule" without saying where the rule came from, or why:

February 9, 2012, 11:37 PM EST

Sometimes you read the most interesting things in those supposedly boring trade publications.

One such item of interest comes from an article in Manufacturing News (HT to an emailer) written by Richard A. McCormack which is primarily about the Mainland China's designs on the worldwide auto parts industry, including the U.S. Some of the larger American unions are demanding that the administration and Congress take action on what they see as unfair trade practices. One sentence is indicative of a more pervasive problem, and it directly contradicts what the establishment press has been telling Americans for months. It's of particular concern to all Americans because the U.S. government still owns over 25% of General Motors, and reads as follows: "China has told GM that it will not be able to sell its Volt electric vehicle in China unless GM transfers technology to China and produces the vehicle there."

February 8, 2012, 6:11 PM EST

On Monday (appearing in the print edition on Tuesday, New York Times op-ed columnist Joe Nocera gave President Barack Obama a pass for rejecting the Keystone Pipeline. In the process, he also complained about "the way our poisoned politics damages the country," and, in a revelation which shouldn't but did surprise him, learned that far-left environmentalists want to stop all tar sands development and not just the pipeline. Imagine that.

Here are several paragraphs from Nocera's column (my comments are in italics):

February 7, 2012, 9:26 PM EST

In his pre-Super Bowl interview with Matt Lauer on Sunday, President Obama was asked the following question about Iran in light of the heightening tensions over its nuclear program and the possibility of an Israeli air strike: "(In repsonse) Do you fear that they will wage attacks within the United States on American soil?" Obama responded as follows: "We don't see any evidence that they have those intentions or capabilities right now."

Really? The President's statement directly goes against statements made recently by other government officials, up to and including Attorney General Eric Holder. Lauer, who is paid to look good while delivering the news and conducting interviews but not necessarily to deliver on substance, especially if it might disturb the American people before the Big Game, totally missed the contradiction. Fortunately, Ed Lasky at American Thinker didn't (internal links added by me):

February 4, 2012, 9:39 PM EST

On Wednesday, Kyle Drennen at NewsBusters noted how NBC news anchor Brian Williams, chief environmental correspondent Anne Thompson, and old reliable global warming proponent Dr. Gerald Meehl of the National Center for Atmospheric Research took advantage of this year's mild winter in the lower 48 U.S. states as an excuse to argue that "our warming world is shifting the odds against a traditional winter, winters as we have known them."

Well folks, winterize this report about Eastern Europe's deadly serious cold spell carried at a German web site (HT Expatica; bolds are mine):