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
March 25, 2012, 11:50 AM EDT

During the week of March 12, after the arrival of Daylight Saving Time, the audience for the evenings newscasts at the Big Three networks dropped precipitously compared to the previous week (by 7.7%) and the same week last year (by 9.0%).

Perhaps the year-over-year metric is an unfair comparison, because during the same week in 2011 the Japanese tsunami drew in ordinarily uninterested viewers. Compared to two years ago, the combined audience was slightly higher (by 2.1%). NBC and ABC were both down slightly, while CBS, recovering from the Katie Couric era and still in a distant third place, showed a double-digit gain. But the three networks were down in the advertiser-prized 25-54 demographic, with CBS eking out a much smaller gain which did not offset losses at NBC and ABC. Here are the numbers:

March 25, 2012, 12:14 AM EDT

Less than two weeks after his suspension for previous intemperate tweets was lifted, CNN's Roland Martin was engaging in personally insulting "mis-tweetment" again this afternoon with PJ Media's David Steinberg.

In a series of tweets at around 5 p.m. tonight seen after the jump, Steinberg criticized Martin for spending so much time on the press's Trayvon Martin obsession -- where one person tragically died -- while ignoring the impact and meaning of the documents leaked by an unnamed Department of Justice official relating to the Fast and Furious "gunwalking" scandal -- as a result of which "at least 300 Mexicans, plus at least two American law enforcement agents" have been killed. Martin's responses were immature, insulting, condescending -- and all too typical of a press corps which, now that it is seeing poll results it doesn't like, has in certain cases taken to calling voters stupid.

March 24, 2012, 5:58 PM EDT

An item filed at the Hill on Friday afternoon by Peter Schroeder tells us that Bloomberg News was the first organization to report the latest development relating to former New Jersey Democratic Governor and Senator Jon Corzine. Bloomberg's report, via Phil Mattingly and Silla Brush, reveals that Corzine, who was CEO at the now-bankrupt MF Global Holdings until November, "gave 'direct instructions' to transfer $200 million from a customer fund account to meet an overdraft in a brokerage account with JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM), according to a memo written by congressional investigators." That would be an MF brokerage account, meaning that customer money was used to cover company losses. If the memo reflects what really happened, Corzine committed a crime -- either by committing perjury in his congressional testimony several months, in ordering the transfer itself, or both.

Bloomberg's report identifies Corzine as a Democrat in its fourteenth paragraph. But at least Bloomberg did so. That did not occur in reports at the Associated PressUnited Press International, MarketWatch.comCNBC. The Hill's Schroeder did tag Corzine as a Dem. Here are several paragraphs from Bloomberg's report (bolds are mine):

March 23, 2012, 8:53 AM EDT

Rush Limbaugh was right yesterday when he suggested that "If I were you, I would regard every AP (Associated Press) story, particularly this year, as nothing more than a propaganda piece for the reelection of Barack Obama." Rush fan Matt Drudge, who currently has a deliberately misleading AP report linked at the top of his Drudge Report, would do well to heed Rush's suggestion.

The AP story by Will Weissert concerns what GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum said yesterday about Mitt Romney. What Santorum actually said was that “If they’re going to be a little different (Romney compared to President Barack Obama), we might as well stay with what we have instead of taking a risk of what may be the Etch A Sketch candidate for the future.” Notice that the statement is conditional, and that if Romney can demonstrate that he is more than "a little different," Santorum's concern is no longer valid. That's not what Weissert's headline or copy portray (HT to a NewsBusters emailer; bold is mine):

March 22, 2012, 3:11 PM EDT

Here's some good advice from Rush Limbaugh's opening monologue today: "If I were you, I would regard every AP story, particularly this year, as nothing more than a propaganda piece for the reelection of Barack Obama."

What occasioned Rush's rant is the thinly disguised propaganda today from the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, concerning President Obama's visit to Cushing, Oklahoma to pretend that he's really a fan of the Keystone Pipeline, starting with the following headline:

March 21, 2012, 11:54 PM EDT

You've got to admire the determination of Derek Kravitz at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, to find lemonade among the lemons known as the monthly new-home construction statistics from the Census Bureau. Why, he was even able to find a guy who said that "housing permits-not the starts" are more relevant in gauging the health of the market. Did it ever occur to these guys that builders might be piling up permits in the hope that economic conditions will change for the better for real once it's clear that the country will have new leadership (which could conceivably happen even before the November general elections)?

Here are the first seven paragraphs from Kravitz's report, followed by a fuller rundown of the relevant stats (bolds are mine):

March 21, 2012, 3:19 PM EDT

If Scott Walker somehow loses his recall election in Wisconsin, will that be national news? Of course it will.

Well, if the Walker recall really is a national story, why isn't it news that 29 judges who are supposed to be impartial in their rulings and who are under strict prohibitions against political activity were found by Gannett News to have signed petitions supporting Walker's recall -- including at least one who has ruled in a recall-related matter without bothering to disclose his action? Make such a story about Republican judges signing petitions to recall a Democratic governor, and it would be national news for sure. Here are several paragraphs from Eric Litke's report:

March 18, 2012, 8:30 PM EDT

In what may be the most obvious over-employment of journalistic resources since the Associated Press assigned 11 reporters to review Sarah Palin's book in late 2009, seven journalists with the AP (yep, again) worked up a Friday afternoon item (saved here for future reference, fair use, discussion and embarrassment purposes) entitled "6 months later, what has Occupy protest achieved?"

Primary writer Meghan Barr, along with "Jeff Martin in Atlanta, Kathy Matheson in Philadelphia, Michael Gormley in Albany, N.Y., Erika Niedowski and David Klepper in Providence, R.I., and News Researcher Julie Reed in New York," recited an embarrassing, paper-thin list of accomplishments. They also completely avoided what most of the nation likely sees as the movement's primary achievement, despite the press's attempts to minimize and cover it up: showing us what the world might very well look like if the movement's leaders and primary instigators ever got their way -- ugly, dangerous, and filthy. Here is the complete list of key accomplishments the seven AP personnel cited (my comments in italics):

March 18, 2012, 4:45 PM EDT

On Friday, Darren Samuelsohn at the Politico (HT Hot Air), the place where it seems that inconvenient stories go so the Associated Press, the New York Times and the rest of the establishment press can claim they have an excuse not to cover them (respective proofs as of about 3:30 p.m. in the current instance are here and here), covering -- or I should say attempting to cover -- the latest of the White House's ritual Friday document dumps, reported that a White House communications official rejected an apparent proposal to seat Solyndra executives at the President's January 2011 State of the Union address, and that others within the White House already knew that Solyndra was in deep trouble before then.

And he almost got to the real meat of the story, but not quite. In this instance, not quite isn't anywhere near good enough (bolds are mine throughout this post), nor is the "nothing new here, you really don't need to read this" headline:

March 17, 2012, 9:17 PM EDT

Maybe it's due to budget cutbacks at major establishment news sources, but I doubt it. Maybe it's because they believe nobody cares about news out of the Middle East. No, that can't be it. Or maybe it's because they think that people already know and understand the Muslim mindset. Well, after several decades of press attempts to keep it from us, that doesn't make any sense either.

Whatever the reason(s), which I'll get to, a certain piece of what one would think is pretty significant news out of the Middle East has gone unreported for the past five days going on six. What follows are three translations of related articles through Google's translation tool (which eliminates the budget excuse of "We need interpreters to translate these things from scratch, and don't have the money"):

March 16, 2012, 11:31 AM EDT

When the press wants to smear a conservative outfit, it embarks on a mission to find and highlight someone, no matter how peripheral their involvement or unreflective of that group's beliefs, to portray as somehow typical of their mindset. But when someone who is clearly a long-time activist in the "pro-choice" movement clearly betrays the truth -- that the movement really is pro-abortion without limits -- they're nowhere to be found.

I expect that to be the case with Jessica DelBalzo's latest item ("I Love Abortion") filed at RH Reality Check, and not merely because the press is so predictable. It's because the press ignored an arguably more outrageous commentary Ms. DelBalzo filed at the same site in August, where she proudly told readers that she had discussed abortion and with her two year-old child, and that all "pro-choice" mothers of toddlers who successfully escaped the womb should do the same thing -- before the "forced-birth bullies" have a chance to exert their awful influence.

March 16, 2012, 12:47 AM EDT

From David Axelrod's Magic Land of the Double Standard: "Cleanup attempt at CNN. Bring the hazmat suits."

Tonight on CNN, as reported by several outlets (Mediaite, Politico, LA Times, but not the Associated Press, which as of 11:45 p.m. on Thursday hadn't done a national story about Maher in 10 days), David Axelrod told Erin Burnett, in the process of dodging a question about whether an Obama Super-PAC would give back Bill Maher's $1 million contribution, said that Maher's outrageous, misogynist comments against mostly conservative women really aren't as important as Rush Limbaugh's one-time, apologized-for hits at Sandra Fluke:

March 15, 2012, 1:18 PM EDT

The exercise of watching the press report on the current week's unemployment claims figure as if it's etched in stone and assessing it as if it's the last word -- only to see the figure get upwardly revised the next week virtually without media comment -- is getting extraordinarily tedious and predictable (but of course watching what they do remains necessary). 

At the Associated Press, Bloomberg, and Reuters, this week's version of the shell game has a relatively unique twist. The three wire services respectively and all without qualification say that today's seasonally adjusted figure of 351,000 from the Department of Labor "matches a four-year low," "the lowest level in four years," and "back to a four-year low." As seen in the graphic which follows, based on the history of the past year, there's a 98% chance they will be wrong after subsequent revisions, almost all of which have occurred during the very next reported week:

March 15, 2012, 1:06 AM EDT

The dictionary.com definitions of "taunt" including the following: as a verb, "to reproach in a sarcastic, insulting, or jeering manner; mock" and "to provoke by taunts; twit"; as a noun, "an insulting gibe or sarcasm; scornful reproach or challenge."

Note that the definition does not include: "to make eye contact." Unfortunately, Yahoo sportswriter Graham Watson's dictionary apparently does. Even though all Mississippi Valley State guard Kevin Burwell did after making a three-point shot was look over at President Obama and (according to the broadcasters, not Watson) make eye contact for what could hardly have been more than a half-second, Watson turned it into a "taunt," and even seemed to pin the blame for MVSU's loss on Burwell:

March 14, 2012, 11:27 PM EDT

 

On February 28, as reported at the Politico, Obama administration Energy Secretary Steven Chu told a House panel the following in response to a question he interrupted about his interest in having an "overall goal" of lowering gas prices: “No, the overall goal is to decrease our dependency on oil, to build and strengthen our economy.” Yesterday, also as carried at the Politico, Chu effectively retracted that statement, as well as his more infamous September 2008 assertion that he would like to see gas prices in the U.S. resemble those seen in Europe.

A search on Chu's full name (not in quotes) at the Associated Press's main national site and through Google at its hosted2.ap.org site returns nothing relevant to either story. It would not be unreasonable to assert that the Politico, with little or nothing in the way of direct subscriber or member outreach, it the place where many negative stories about the Obama administration get posted -- and go no further.

March 14, 2012, 7:06 PM EDT

In her syndicated column today (at NewsBusters; at her home blog), Michelle Malkin runs down how CNN news anchor Soledad O'Brien has an affinity for the work of the late Harvard Professor Derrick Bell, particularly his "critical race theory" (CRT) that she has to this point not disclosed to her CNN viewers.

O'Brien also had a guest professor on her program who told the audience that CRT has nothing to do with, in Michelle's words, "bashing America as a white supremacy-ruled government." Trouble is, the professor has written that CRT “highlight(s) the ways in which the law is not neutral and objective, but designed to support White supremacy and the subordination of people of color.” As Michelle wrote: "Oops." An NB tipster noted that O'Brien's O'Babbling should not have surprised anyone given her supportive reaction, noted at the time at Media Bistro, to a particularly odd and pathetic speech (transcript here) the Rev. Jeremiah Wright of Chicago's Trinity United Church of Christ (y'know, the guy whose inflammatory, anti-American sermons Barack Obama never heard despite almost two decades as a TUCC member) gave at an NAACP dinner in Detroit on April 26, 2008 (internal link was in original):

March 14, 2012, 12:45 PM EDT

The New York Times told us about three weeks ago that "there's little President Obama" can do about the current pump price of gas. Since then, it has become a well-established media meme. Poor guy.

Well, not really. Four years ago, another U.S. president did something which caused the barrel price of oil to drop by over $6, and the press spent the rest of the day trying to pretend that the drop had nothing to do with his actions -- and almost succeeded. What follows is from my related NewsBusters post on July 15, 2008 ("Oil Drops Over $6 a Barrel; I Wonder Why?"):

March 13, 2012, 12:58 PM EDT

Last night (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), I noted how Christopher Rugaber at the Associated Press, also known to yours truly as the Administration's Press, failed to tell his readers that the federal government's $232 billion reported deficit in February was an all-time single-month record. I also went back and showed that another AP reporter in March 2008 did note that February 2008's deficit was at the time an all-time record. If there's a reason for the patently obvious inconsistency other than who happens to be occupying the White House at the moment, I'd sure like to know what it is.

Rugaber's report had other risible aspects which I have excerpted below in three separate segments:

March 12, 2012, 11:22 PM EDT

In his report on today's release of Uncle Sam's February Monthly Treasury Statement, Christopher Rugaber at the Associated Press today did almost all he could to ensure that his wire service remains deserving of the nickname yours truly gave it several month ago: "The Administration's Press."

Rugaber's primary sin of omission ensures that readers, listeners and viewers at AP's subscribing outlets will probably not learn that February's deficit, at a rounded $232 billion, was the highest single-month shortfall in U.S. history. But four years ago in March 2008, during the final year of George W. Bush's presidency, the wire service's Jeannine Aversa somehow found space to note the record-breaking nature of that year's $176 billion February deficit:

March 11, 2012, 3:59 PM EDT

This probably won't surprise anyone, but it should be noted for the record: As of 3:45 p.m. today, almost 72 hours after the related story broke, the Associated Press has not reported on new revelations about the clear influence radical, racist professor Derrick Bell had on now-President Barack Obama 20 years ago -- so influential that Obama "routinely assigned works by Bell as required reading" in his University of Chicago law classes. The AP has also not told its subscribing outlets and news consumers about how many of its colleagues in the press withheld information on the relationship between the two during the 2008 presidential election campaign. A search on Bell's name (not in quotes) at the AP's main site returns nothing relevant, even though it has been shown that Obama told a Harvard audience that people should "[O]pen your hearts and open your minds to the words of Prof. Derrick Bell."

However, there has been no shortage of coverage at the AP and elsewhere of what Mitt Romney did with his dog 29 years ago. But of course, the dog story is far more relevant to Mitt Romney's governing philosophy than Obama's love of a professor whose core life contention revolves around insurmountable white racism (/sarc). The AP's cover-up treatment of Bell has been consistent, as seen in the first three paragraphs of its brief write-up after the professor's death in October 2011 (bold is mine):