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
October 12, 2011, 1:55 AM EDT

Somebody needed to give Calvin Woodward and Christopher Rugaber at the Associated Press Five-Hour Energy drinks or some other boost before Tuesday night's GOP debate. Their brains must have totally turned off late in the  afternoon without re-engaging before they filed their late-evening post-debate report.

Behold how the AP pair "proved" that excessive government regulation doesn't kill jobs (bolds are mine throughout this post):

October 11, 2011, 11:14 AM EDT

Only at the self-described "Essential Global News Network" could the Sunday deaths in Egypt of 26 people, mostly Coptic Christians, be kept out of a story's headline and their mention deferred until the third paragraph.

But that's what readers will see in the four-paragraph grab which follows from a much longer item by the Associated Press's Maggie Michael yesterday:

October 10, 2011, 11:55 PM EDT

Yesterday, in a different post about long-term unemployment, I wrote: "Of all the reality-denying aspects of Obama administration press coverage, the usually implicit but occasionally explicit assertion that he and his people are just helpless bystanders in an economic calamiity is easily among the most annoying."

Bloomberg's Mike Dorning triggered the annoyance meter today with an "analysis" contending that President Obama's move from being a "conciliator" (quoting an alleged "expert") to supporting "populist causes" and sympathizing with the anti-capitalist Occupy Wall Street assemblage "may provide some inoculation" against the continuing bad economy -- as if Obama, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and the their party bear no conceivable responsibility for current economic conditions. Here are the first seven paragraphs of Dorning's dreck (bolds and numbered tags are mine):

October 10, 2011, 10:08 PM EDT

Chicago Mayor and former Obama chief of staff Rahm Emanuel went after GOP presidential contender Mitt Romney yesterday over the 2008-2009 state of the auto industry. Emanuel, as paraphrased by the Associated Press, believes that "had Republican candidate Mitt Romney been president the nation would no longer have an auto industry" -- though last time I checked, Ford Motor Company, which did not accept federal government bailout money, is still headquartered in Dearborn, Michigan, which is still in the USA.

In his coverage of Emanuel's comments, the Detroit News's Dave Shepardson -- who infamously and falsely claimed in February 2010 that Toyota executives "bragged" and "boasted" about saving money on safety recalls when Japanese culture deeply frowns on the practice to the point of shunning people who engage in it -- headlined Emanuel's "no industry" howler, and committed several factual errors. In addition, he missed a quite relevant and critical March 2009 episode of support from Romney -- for better or worse (readers can decide) -- when President Obama engineered the ouster of General Motors' CEO. Here are excerpts from Shepardson's shilling:

October 9, 2011, 11:17 PM EDT

In a report carried at the Washington Post on Thursday and updated early Friday, the Associated Press's Christopher Toothaker wrote a lengthy report about how Venezuelan ruler Hugo Chavez plans to "expropriate homes on the Caribbean resort islands of Los Roques, saying the structures were built on plots bought in shadowy business deals." By the end of the day Friday, the report turned into four paragraphs written from the standpoint of certain island residents which made it seem like no big deal. Both AP reports don't convey the severity of the Chavez's action found in a Reuters report on the same topic.

Here are key paragraphs from the initial longer AP report (bolds are mine throughout):

October 9, 2011, 5:39 PM EDT

As shown in Part 1, this afternoon's report on long-term unemployment at the Associated Press by Sam Hananel attempted to create the impression but provided no actual evidence for the notion that complaints by many who have been unemployed for an extended time period that many employers are reluctant to consider and sometimes even refuse to consider their employment inquiries and applications equals support for provisions in President Obama's American Jobs Act which would for all practical purposes make them another protected class.

The AP reporter also completely failed to tell readers why the problem has reached an unprecedented post-Depression level, namely that the economy, largely due to failed public policy choices, has thus far taken three times as long to recover from its recession than it did during any other post-recession period after World War II. The following single paragraph is as close as Hananel got:

October 9, 2011, 5:06 PM EDT

The headline this afternoon at the Associated Press to a report by Sam Hananel attempted to create the impression that complaints by many who have been unemployed for an extended time period that many employers are reluctant to consider and sometimes even refuse to consider their employment inquiries and applications equals support for provisions in President Obama's American Jobs Act which would for all practical purposes make them another protected class.

No doubt there is some support for the (in my opinion) misguided notion, but Hananel's underlying report never quoted an actual long-term unemployed person supporting the idea. Additionally, as I will cover in Part 2, the AP reporter also failed to tell readers why the problem has reached an unprecedented post-Depression level, namely that the economy, largely due to failed public policy choices, has thus far taken three times as long to recover from its recession than it did during any other post-recession period after World War II. Here are key paragraphs from Hananel's dispatch concerning the problem:

October 8, 2011, 9:04 PM EDT

You would think that an Associated Press story about the Congressional Budget Office's preliminary estimate of the federal government's full fiscal year results would include things like total federal collections and total spending during the year and how they compared to the previous year.

Don't be silly. If the AP let numbers that big -- and their direction -- get into its report, readers and listeners might start thinking that spending is outrageously high, and that increasing taxes to try to cover today's ridiculous levels of spending would crucify the economy. We can't have that, not when President Obama and Democrats are desperately pushing for taxes on "millionaires and billionaires" who earn $250,000 or more per year. What follows are excerpts from the writeup, followed by important and obvious facts AP chose not to report:

October 6, 2011, 11:59 PM EDT

In a report filed at the Los Angeles Times's Politics Now blog earlier today, Washington Bureau reporter James Oliphant relayed a number of whoppers delivered by Vice President Joe Biden without anything resembling a challenge. In Part 1, I noted how Biden, who in August described Tea Party sympathizers as "terrorists" and in September as "barbarians," today spoke in complimentary terms of how much the Occupy Wall Street crowd has in common with them. In Part 2, I dealt with the Veep's hit at financially struggling Bank of America for having the nerve to try to recover some of what the Dodd-Frank "financial reform" legislation took away by charging some customers a $5 monthly fee for debit-card use.

This final part will deal with Biden's rendition of how the "bank bailout" portion of TARP operated, which is quite different from the reality. The relevant excerpt from Oliphant, which necessarily overlaps the first two parts, follows (bolds are mine throughout):

October 6, 2011, 7:58 PM EDT

In a report filed at the Los Angeles Times's Politics Now blog earlier today, Washington Bureau reporter James Oliphant relayed a number of whoppers delivered by Vice President Joe Biden without anything resembling a challenge. In Part 1, I noted how Biden, who in August described Tea Party sympathizers as "terrorists" and in September as "barbarians," today spoke in complimentary terms of how much the Occupy Wall Street crowd has in common with them.

This part will deal with Biden's hit at Bank of America and its $5 monthly fee for debit-card use. The relevant excerpt from Oliphant's writeup follows the jump (bolds are mine throughout):

October 6, 2011, 6:01 PM EDT

In a report filed at the Los Angeles Times's Politics Now blog earlier today, Washington Bureau reporter James Oliphant relayed a number of whoppers delivered by Vice President Joe Biden without anything resembling a challenge.

Breaking Biden's bilge into three sections, they involve his claim about the historical origins of the Tea Party, which Biden characterized as a collection of "barbarians" only a month ago (and as "terrorists" two month ago); his hit at Bank of America and its $5 monthly fee for debit-card use; and the nature of the "bailouts" which followed the passage of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) in the fall of 2008. In this first part, I will go after what Biden said about the Tea Party. An excerpt from Oliphant's writeup follows the jump (bolds are mine throughout):

October 5, 2011, 10:30 PM EDT

This afternoon, Jack Coleman at NewsBusters noted how MSNBC's Rachel Maddow took a shot at GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain for supposedly "taking a month off the campaign trail -- taking a month off -- to go on a book tour."

The original source for this "claim" is a very poorly written and quite deceptively headlined October 3 item at the Christian Science Monitor by David Grant. The trouble is, Grant badly distorted an item at MSNBC's First Read blog which, while quite critical of Cain, said nothing about "suspending" or "taking a month off" from the campaign (internal links are in original; paragraph breaks added by me):

October 3, 2011, 1:01 AM EDT

If you only read Thursday's coverage of Bank of America's decision to impose a $5 monthly debit card fee by Associated Press Personal Finance Writer Candice Choi, you would have no idea that last year's "Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act" triggered BofA's decision. The legislation gave the Federal Reserve the power to limit debit card interchange fees. The Fed's limit -- 21 cents plus 0.5% of each purchase transaction -- basically cut the banks' fees by about half from their pre-Dodd-Frank level. CardHub.com estimates that the cap will reduce banks' fee income by $9.4 billion annually.

Ms. Choi only cited the existence of "a new rule" in her opening paragraph. She then waited until the ninth paragraph to vaguely cite the existence of "a regulation." It hardly seems accidental that most news consumers who didn't follow the fee fight a year ago will probably have the impression that banks are driving the fee increases, as the following excerpt will demonstrate (bolds are mine):

October 1, 2011, 11:41 PM EDT

At the Politico, James Hohmann's biography page indicates that he is "an Honors graduate of Stanford University" who "studied American political history." I hope he skipped class during the time his profs covered the 1990s, because if not, he and many other classmates have been badly misled.

Hohmann covered Bill Clinton's commemoration of the twentieth anniversary of his presidential candidacy announcement at his library in Little Rock, Arkansas, and let the following Clintonian howlers go by without challenge:

September 30, 2011, 2:31 PM EDT

On Wednesday, the Environmental Protection Agency's Inspector General issued a report on the agency's "compliance with established policy and procedures" in connection with its "Greenhouse Gases Endangerment Finding." This was the finding that "greenhouse gas," or "GHG" emissions, including carbon dioxide, are in essence forms of air pollution, endanger public health, and must therefore be regulated.

As would sadly be expected, what the IG actually found and what the Associated Press's Dina Cappiello reported about the IG's findings sharply differ. Here's what IG Arthur A. Elkins, Jr. wrote in his press statement:

September 28, 2011, 3:07 PM EDT

UPDATE: John Frank responded to yours truly in an email. Go to the end of the post for the email and my reax.

Yesterday, Raleigh News & Observer blog contributor jbfrank, who from all indications is also RN&O reporter John Frank, assured readers that North Carolina Governor Beverly Perdue was joking when she suggested that "I think we ought to suspend, perhaps, elections for Congress for two years" at a Rotary Club luncheon in Cary.

That's what his headline said: "Perdue jokes about suspending Congressional elections for two years." There were no quote marks around "jokes." The headline echoed what the Governor's apparatchiks were saying. All the while, "Frank" had audio and didn't post it. He finally did this morning, and acknowledged that he was the one who did the taping:

September 27, 2011, 9:34 PM EDT

Apparently there's no audio or video of North Carolina Governor Beverly Perdue's Tuesday humdinger, namely that "I think we ought to suspend, perhaps, elections for Congress for two years and just tell them we won't hold it against them, whatever decisions they make, to just let them help this country recover." -- yet.

If none surfaces, that will be too bad, because the guess here is that the wiggle room desperate apparatchiks to North Carolina Governor Beverly Perdue and writer "jbfrank" at the Raleigh News & Observer are attempting to create -- namely, that she was only joking -- would vanish without a trace if we saw or heard how she delivered the following:

September 27, 2011, 8:39 PM EDT

What if I told you that the government put out a report today which would lead one to infer that the economy might barely have grown last year, and that it even may have contracted -- and that the reporter who appears to have been the only one who covered it didn't grasp its potential significance (or, conceivably, chose to ignore it)?

Today the Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics released its annual "Consumer Expenditures Survey" for 2010. As of 8:30 p.m., a Google News search on "consumer expenditures government" (not in quotes, past 24 hours, sorted by date, with duplicates) returned 72 items (the first page says over 2,400, but it's really only 72). All relevant results represent Associated Press reports filed by Marting Crutsinger (Yahoo Finance version here).

Here are the key paragraphs from Crutsinger's report which gave away the problem -- or at least should have, if the AP reporter had made one obvious comparison:

September 27, 2011, 1:19 PM EDT

The Conference Board's September Consumer Confidence Survey came out this morning. Overall, it rose very slightly from a miserable 45.2 to a still-miserable 45.4. Consumers' assessment of near-term prospects slid from 34.3 to in August to 32.5, while their longer-term outlook improved from 52.4 to 54.0.

At the Associated Press (saved here for future reference, fair use and discussion purposes), Retail Writer Anne D'Innocenzio characterized the element of the report relating to jobs thusly:

September 26, 2011, 10:17 PM EDT

Herman Cain's victory in Saturday's GOP straw poll in Florida didn't become headline news at the Associated Press until after the candidate's Monday morning "Today Show" interview. Earlier today at NewsBusters, Kyle Drennen noted how "Today's" Ann Curry tried to frame the result as some kind of "protest vote."

Having delayed dedicating a story to Cain's victory for roughly 36 hours, the headline in AP's unbylined story this morning was: "GOP's Cain says win in Fla. straw poll not a fluke." In other words, it didn't become news at the wire service until someone else in the media put the candidate on the defensive about the significance of his win, thus avoiding giving him any moment of unvarnished recognition for the good old-fashioned butt-kicking he delivered (37% Cain, 15% Perry, 14% Romney, 11% Santorum, all others under 10%). How convenient.