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
August 22, 2012, 11:17 PM EDT

I was beginning to hold out hope that the Associated Press was tiring of its partnership with the polling firm GfK Roper Public Affairs & Corporate Communications.

No such luck. The latest AP-GfK poll on the presidential race of 1,007 people of whom 878 are registered voters shows Barack Obama leading Mitt Romney 48% to 44%. That four-point lead is down from 10 points in May and six points in June. The August poll only ended up with Obama in the lead because of extraordinary overweighting of Democrats and a ridiculously small percentage of people who describe themselves as strong Republicans.

August 22, 2012, 4:21 PM EDT

Yesterday, James Taranto at the Wall Street Journal's Best of the Web had this to say about the title of an Associated Press report ("Obama Defends Tenor of His Campaign, Slams Romney") covering President Obama's four-question "press conference" -- "The writer of this Associated Press headline is either witty or clueless."

The underlying writeup by Jim Kuhnhenn and Charles Babington wasn't witty, and was at least as clueless, especially in letting the howler about how Obama was supposedly able to "distance himself" from the "Mitt Romney caused my wife to die of cancer" meme his own campaign associated itself with earlier this year (verbiage relating to the Todd Akin situation in Missouri is also in the report; I'll defer to others in that matter; bolds and numbered tags are mine):

August 22, 2012, 2:28 PM EDT

In what has become an all too predictable ritual, an AP reporter has tried to make the situation in the economy look like it's on the upswing when it's not.

Today, the AP's Christopher Rugaber read the press release on existing home sales from the National Association of Realtors. As a trade group, NAR will tend to put a good (or at least not as ugly face) on even a rough situation. So it's hard to blame them for saying that "Sales of existing homes rose in July even with constraints of affordable inventory, and the national median price is showing five consecutive months of year-over-year increases." The first half of NAR's statement is selectively incomplete, but Rugaber compounded the problem in the first sentence of his report this morning:

August 21, 2012, 1:40 PM EDT

An unbylined Associated Press item late this morning told us that, according to AAA, "Thirty three million people will travel 50 miles or more during Labor Day weekend," which will be "the highest level of travel for Labor Day since the start of the recession in late 2007."

But it won't be, as will be revealed in the AAA-sourced graphic found at Page 3 of its 36-page report (large PDF) seen after the jump.

August 19, 2012, 10:53 PM EDT

To get an idea of the Politico's priorities, first do a search on "Corzine." You'll find nothing from last week other than a reference to him as the defeated former Governor of New Jersey in an item about current Governor Chris Christie speaking at the upcoming Republican National Convention. So apparently no one cared to take notice of a New York Times story about how Corzine and apparently all other major players at bankrupt MF Global, which raided customers' accounts to the tune of $1.6 billion as it attempted to avoid its visit to death's door, will not face criminal prosecution.

Then go to something really, really important -- so important that it merited its own special breathless breaking news email a few hours ago. The nearly 1,400-word story from Jake Sherman and John Bresnahan that couldn't wait (actually, I believe it did, but more on that in a bit) is that a U.S. Congressman swam in the nude in Israel. Seriously -- I mean, unseriously (bolds are mine):

August 19, 2012, 10:39 AM EDT

If we're to believe a report by Heidi Przybyla at Bloomberg News on August 13, the country might be operating under bipartisan deficit-reduction framework instead of being without a budget for over three years if it weren't for Wisconsin Congressman and GOP vice-presidential nominee Paul Ryan. Her lead: "Representative Paul Ryan was a pivotal figure in killing the 2010 Bowles-Simpson agreement, which Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney now holds out as a model for putting America’s fiscal house in order."

There are many deceptions and unsupported assertions in Przybyla's report, but before getting to some of the others, many of which relate to her inability to recognize objective truth, the two most important related to her treatment of President Obama's role in the rejection of Simpson-Bowles:

August 18, 2012, 10:41 PM EDT

About a month ago, I joked in a column published elsewhere that the reason a certain New York Times column didn't resonate with anyone is because no one pays attention to the Old Gray Lady any more.

Unfortunately, that's not true. But the fact that almost no other establishment press outlet has mentioned the paper's disclosure late Wednesday (appearing in Thursday's print edition) that former MF Global CEO Jon Corzine and others at the bankrupt firm likely won't face criminal prosecution in the firm's crack-up, which featured raiding individual customers' accounts to the tune of $1.6 billion, seems to indicate that the Times has become a favored holding cell for stories detrimental to Democrats which will otherwise be ignored. Oh, and contrary to the belief expressed in a very long Vanity Fair item in February, when Corzine was seen to be in "a scandal he can’t survive," and that "his career is likely finished," the man is seriously considering starting up a new hedge fund.

August 16, 2012, 11:51 AM EDT

Earlier today (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), I noted how the Associated Press's Steve Peoples and Politico's Juana Summers could only find hundreds of people attending GOP vice-presidential pick Paul Ryan's Wednesday appearance at Oxford, Ohio's Miami University. Perhaps even more troubling is how they somehow chose an odd angle for their coverage, namely that Ryan has supposedly avoiding talking about Medicare in his stump speeches -- and both wrote "that changed" in describing its first mention.

It seems more than a little odd that two establishment press reporters from supposedly separate and independent media outlets both apparently focused for four days on when Ryan would mention the word "Medicare" on the campaign trail. Summers even made it her headline, while Peoples seemed to want to convey the impression that Ryan has been afraid to mention the word:

August 16, 2012, 11:12 AM EDT

UPDATE: In its video report, but not in its accompanying text, Cincinnati Local 12 News reported that the crowd was over 6,000, and that "a whole line of people were turned away, because there wasn't enough room."

It would appear that Politico's Juana Summers and the Associated Press's Steve Peoples have an unusual and nearly identical problem with math. Yesterday, they could have and should have gone to the Secret Service for help. (Also, go to this subsequent post about how the pair also played a very odd duet in supposedly independently written stories, both attempting to portray Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan as avoiding the topic of Medicare on the campaign trail.)

Summers wrote that Ryan's appearance yesterday at Miami University drew "several hundred supporters gathered for an outdoor rally." Peoples claimed it was "hundreds of supporters." After the jump, I will note several media outlets which reported that the crowd numbered in the "thousands" -- including one which cited a Secret Service estimate of 5,500.

August 15, 2012, 11:53 PM EDT

There are so many holes in Paul Wiseman's Wednesday report at the Associated Press on the weakness of the current "recovery" that it would take a term paper to cover all of them. I'll just concentrate on a repeat error Wiseman made. It is one which AP colleagues Christopher Rugaber (with Wiseman, as demonstrated here) and Martin Crutsinger (as shown here) have also committed. All three gentlemen have been preparing their reports as if "government spending" is the same thing as the government spending and investment component of the nation's economic output. It's not.

In his piece about why the Obama "recovery" (as seen here, by Warren Buffet's requirement that per capita GDP has to return to where it was before the downturn began, we don't even have the beginnings of a recovery yet) is the worst since World War II, Wiseman had the following to say on the "government spending" topic:

August 14, 2012, 6:15 PM EDT

Late this this afternoon, the Associated Press made a correction to Christopher Rugaber's August 10 story on July's federal budget results. His original claim, noted on August 11 by yours truly at NewsBusters and at BizzyBlog, was that Barack Obama's promise to cut the deficit in half was something "he pledged to do during his 2008 campaign."

As noted in my original post and its mirror, the only evidence of a "cut in half" promise I could locate was in February 2009, a month after Obama took office and shortly after the passage of the stimulus package. A February 21, 2009 AP story reported that such a promise was coming, and it became official two days later. After the jump, readers will find the text of the AP's correction language (also found here, and currently listed at the top of its corrections link at its national site) followed by a few paragraphs from the original item up to where the correction has been incorporated:

August 14, 2012, 3:12 PM EDT

In her story this aftermoon on the imminent expiration of the company's "lock-up" period during which certain employees and insiders must hold onto their company stock, Associated Press Technology writer Barbara Ortutay reports that Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg will be locked into his holdings until mid-November -- while omitting out of apparent ignorance the fact that he previously cashed out to the tune of over $1 billion.

The relevant excerpts (full story saved here for future reference, fair use, and discussion purposes) follow the jump:

August 14, 2012, 10:02 AM EDT

Matthew Yglesias has been posting at Slate.com, supposedly a paragon of online establishment press journalism, as a business and economics correspondent since November of last year. His background is unmistakably leftist: ThinkProgress, the Atlantic, TPM Media, and the American Prospect.

On Saturday, a Yglesias found a blog post which was apparently too good to check at The Richmonder, a lefty enterprise run by Jerel Wilmore. The Richmonder's post claimed that "Paul Ryan traded on insider information to avoid 2008 crash" (post has been retracted; excerpt was obtained at democraticunderground.com; some of what follows is also here):

August 12, 2012, 11:55 PM EDT

In an apparent attempt to pin blame anywhere but on the Obama administration for the rising unemployment rate, a USA Today item currently carried at Newsmax's MoneyNews.com web site opens by claiming that "Companies across the country are cutting training programs for new employees, broadening the divide between workers with skills needed to compete in today's economy and those left out, pushing up unemployment rates in the process."

The incoherence is stunning, and it continues after the jump:

August 11, 2012, 9:18 AM EDT

UPDATE: The AP has corrected its story. The related NewsBusters post is here.

In his coverage of the latest Monthly Treasury Statement showing July and year-to-date federal budget deficits of $69.6 billion and $974 billion, respectively, Christopher Rugaber at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, cut President Obama a significant break when he wrote that "GOP candidate Mitt Romney has criticized Obama for failing to cut the deficit in half, as he pledged to do during his 2008 campaign."

The problem is that Obama's "pledge" wasn't a campaign promise at all. It was a promise made on February 23, 2009, over 3-1/2 months after he won the presidential election and more than a month after his inauguration. The, uh, Associated Press had the scoop that he would make this promise two days earlier:

August 11, 2012, 7:56 AM EDT

Friday afternoon, the Associated Press's Jonathan Fahey couldn't get four paragraphs into his report on higher gas prices nationwide without starting to fret about their impact on President Obama's re-election effort.

He also wanted readers to understand without any doubt that President Obama and the by inference his government bear absolutely no responsibility for the recent run-up to a national average of $3.67 a gallon nationwide with statewide averages in California and Illinois topping $4, and conveniently used one interviewed driver as a prop to begin making his quite transparent political point. Later in the report, he inadvertently cited a reason why the government is contributing to higher prices at the pump. I'll cite yet another among many additional government-induced factors later in the post.

August 10, 2012, 8:48 AM EDT

Last time I checked the Associated Press was a national news service.

So in a story about how a refinery fire in California will likely cause West Coast gas prices to hit $4 a gallon, why did reporter Jason Dearen ignore the fact that prices are already at $4 a gallon in many parts of the country already?

August 9, 2012, 8:08 AM EDT

Let's see if this story gets any meaningful attention in the U.S., or if the Associated Press expands the brief unbylined item currently seen at its national site. I wouldn't bet on it -- and even if that occurs, I don't expect the U.S. establishment press to give what is contained therein much notice.

The AP's four-paragraph blurb tells us that independent columnists in Egypt are alarmed at what they see as the newly empowered Muslim Brotherhood's "attempt to control the state-owned press":

August 8, 2012, 11:22 PM EDT

A year ago, Standard & Poor's cut its rating of U.S. government debt from AAA to AA+.

Very early Monday morning, in what read more like an Obama administration press release than a wire service news report, Paul Wiseman at the Associated Press claimed that subsequent events and other agencies' decisions not to deliver similar downgrades represent a "decisive repudiation" of S&P's call. Gee, I think an element of other agencies' holdbacks had quite a bit to do with the Obama administration's almost immediate move to launch an investigation into how S&P handled the ratings of mortgage-backed securities leading up to the housing and mortgage lending mess in 2008. The others didn't want to become the Department of Justice's next targets. But of course Wiseman didn't bring up that inconvenient point. Excerpts follow:

August 8, 2012, 3:57 PM EDT

Clay Waters at NewsBusters addressed this item earlier today, but I want to emphasize one particular quote in the related New York Times piece which also caught the (possibly gullible) attention of Chris Ariens at Media Bistro's TV Newser: "In private meetings with columnists, he has talked about the concept of 'false balance' — that reporters should not give equal weight to both sides of an argument when one side is factually incorrect. He frequently cites the coverage of health care and the stimulus package as examples, according to aides familiar with the meetings."

Wow. Where do you start? I'll cite just one example in each area Obama cited. I suspect readers will have more.