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
July 7, 2012, 12:44 PM EDT

It seems that Matt Drudge is a better headline writer than whoever at the Associated Press performed the same task at its story about California lawmakers' passage of "building the nation's first dedicated high-speed rail line, a multibillion dollar project that will eventually link Los Angeles and San Francisco" -- if sanity doesn't prevail in the meantime.

Since late yesterday, Drudge's home-page headline linking to the AP's story is "Broke California OKs funding for high-speed rail line..." That's a lot more complete than the wire service's "California high-speed rail gets green light." Then again, if the headline writer didn't already know about the state's serious budget situation, he or she wouldn't have learned from reporter Judy Lin, who stayed conveniently vague, as seen in the following excerpt:

July 6, 2012, 3:55 PM EDT

On Tuesday, Tom Brown at Reuters (HT CounterContempt.com aka "Republican Party Animals") wrote about the case of Quartavious Davis, a 20 year-old sentenced to life (and then some) after being "convicted of participating in a string of armed robberies in the Miami area in 2010."

In the process, Brown, whose column title was inadvertently humorous ("Insight: Florida man sees 'cruel' face of U.S. justice"), demonstrated his lack of knowledge and failure to confirm through research by asserting that "United States ... prisons house fully one-quarter of all the prisoners in the world, most of them black." As David Stein at the linked blog noted, this statement isn't merely untrue, it's most sincerely untrue (link was in original):

July 6, 2012, 12:04 AM EDT

The establishment press often pays a price in lost credibility when it ignores important economic reports. The original omission is bad enough, of course. But when subsequent business coverage makes assertions which the ignored reports directly refute, it leaves you wondering why you should even try to believe anything they compose.

Such is the case with Martin Crutsinger's report today on the Institute for Supply Management's Non Manufacturing Index (NMI). Following on the heels of Monday's Manufacturing Index, which slipped into contraction (as perceived by surveyed purchasing managers) for the first time in three years, the NMI declined but at least remained in (perceived) expansion mode. In the course of describing current economic conditions, Crutsinger made the following erroneous statement:

July 4, 2012, 7:02 PM EDT

In an analysis piece which, based on its title ("In divided era, what does July 4th mean?"), was as predictable as heat in July, Ted Anthony, who is tasked with writing "about American culture" at the Associated Press, attempted to explain, 236 years in, where what he claims is "the only nation in the world that was built solely upon an idea" stands. (Communism as an idea is what originally built the historically destructive Soviet Union, so Anthony is obviously wrong on that; readers will see another example later in this post.)

In the process, even beyond his tedious complaints about commerce ("Independence Day ... (is) more about the pursuit of happiness than life and liberty"), Anthony revealed utter ignorance about the nature and interrelationship of this country's key founding documents, as seen in the following excerpts (bolds are mine):

July 3, 2012, 11:38 PM EDT

A write-up with a current time stamp of Tuesday afternoon on how shocked (shocked, I tell you) legal Mexican immigrants and Mexican illegal aliens in the U.S. are that the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) just won a plurality of the popular vote in "their homeland" by the the Associated Press's Julie Watson posited as a fact a statement so obviously false that you have to wonder if she has editors at all.

After finding an 18 year-old (as if a teenager would know) to claim that "I think most immigrants kind of fled Mexico because of the PRI" (it couldn't have had anything to do with better jobs with no responsibilities of citizenship in the U.S. -- no way), Watson presented the following statement as a cold, hard fact:

July 2, 2012, 5:32 PM EDT

At the Associated Press, Christina Rexrode placed the blame for Monday's mediocre performance in the stock market squarely and obviously where it belonged: "Stocks struggled to stay out of the red in quiet holiday-week trading after a trade group said American manufacturing shrank in June for the first time in almost three years." The trade group involved is the Institute for Supply Management. Its manufacturing index dropped from 53.5% in May to 49.8% in June. Any reading below 50% represents contraction. Analysts expected that it would come in at between 52% (per Business Insider's email) and 52.5% (according to Zero Hedge).

Apparently the people who write CNNMoney's emails didn't want their readers to know the truth, as will be seen after the jump.

July 2, 2012, 10:56 AM EDT

I'll bet it would shake people up to know that all of the recent and steep decline in consumer confidence has occurred in households earning $75,000 or more per year. On Friday, the June Thomson Reuters and the University of Michigan Survey of Consumers told us just that.

The key sentence in the U of M press release reads as follows (PDF; bold is mine): "Perhaps of greater importance was that the entire June decline was among households with incomes above $75,000." Look at how the Associated Press's Christopher Rugaber recharacterized that direct, unmistakable assertion in his four-paragraph item on Friday:

June 30, 2012, 9:59 PM EDT

In a report currently time-stamped early Saturday morning, Emily Wilkins at the Columbus Dispatch claimed in her opening sentence covering Ohio's second We The People Convention in Columbus ("Fears fuel kinship at tea party convention") that "Tea party members are alone and scared — and to them, that’s a good thing."

Well, I was there this weekend in Columbus. I didn't see "alone" or "scared," or hear anyone say that such a combination of emotions would be "a good thing. Neither did the rest of Wilkins' report, some of which follows the jump:

June 30, 2012, 8:54 PM EDT

From the headlines to the verbiage in many establishment press write-ups, it would be easy to believe that the just-resolved controversy over interest rates on student loans affects virtually everyone in college who has borrowed money and anyone who graduated (or didn't) who borrowed and is still owes Uncle Sam.

That isn't so. To cite just one example, readers of Christine Armario's Saturday morning report at the Associated Press have to work way too hard to figure that out. Additionally those who listen to snippets of Armario's work on TV and radio broadcasts probably won't hear what she doesn't get to until her third paragraph:

June 27, 2012, 8:52 PM EDT

It seems that there will be little reason for the Obama campaign to bother issuing press releases as long as Julie Pace of the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, is around to breathlessly relay the information for them as some kind of exclusive, insider report.

If there's any difference between campaign hype and what Pace wrote in a theoretically objective news piece, it must be really subtle, because I didn't see it. Here goes (fawning and/or obsequious word choices are in bold):

June 27, 2012, 12:27 AM EDT

Recent job cuts at Alabama newspapers have been steep. The Birmingham Business Journal, which (ahem) apparently is not among the participants, reports that "Three of Alabama’s largest daily newspapers, including the Birmingham News, will lay off about 400 employees as they cut back their printing schedules and increase their focus on digital." The other affected publications include the Huntsville Times and the Mobile Press Register. The job cuts are on the order of 50%-60%.

Across the Alabama border in Florida at the Pensacola News Journal, cartoonist Andy Marlette did not handle the layoff news well, as will be seen after the jump.

June 26, 2012, 10:50 PM EDT

Despite several updates to the story first reported by Bloomberg last night that the Democratic National Convention's "move" of its "celebration" originally scheduled to take place at Charlotte Motor Speedway is really a cancellation likely driven by money problems, the Associated Press has not updated its virtual relay of the DNC's related press release published late last night.

Additionally, in its brief story on Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill's decision not to attending the convention, the AP made no reference to the nine other prominent Democratic Party politicians who have decided they'd be better off not being seen in the same convention venue with their party's incumbent presidential candidate.

June 26, 2012, 12:25 AM EDT

The stenographers at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, were apparently only too glad to relay the spin about the Monday night decision by organizers of the Democratic National Convention to move a "celebration" on September 3 from the Charlotte Motor Speedway to an unspecified (in the coverage) location in downtown Charlotte.

The AP's virtual press release follows the jump, after which I'll excerpt an item from Bloomberg a few hours ago containing the probable real explanation for the move -- money.

June 25, 2012, 10:26 PM EDT

At the Associated Press today, trying to build an impression of momentum where there isn't very much, Martin Crutsinger, concerning today's Census Bureau release of May new-home sales data, wrote that, "Americans bought new homes in May at the fastest pace in more than two years. The increase suggests a modest recovery is continuing in the U.S. housing market, despite weaker job growth."

We've been through this before. The rest of Crutsinger's report quoted no expert to support his "modest recovery" claim as it relates to sales volume. Thus, it is his opinion. Readers don't care what your opinion is, Marty. As I suggested in connection with another AP report earlier this month -- "Stick to the facts, sir, and resist the urge to inject your thinly disguised perspective (I would say "shut up," but I'm trying to be nice)." Speaking of facts, the AP's headline is deceptive. Since it hasn't changed in about 12 hours, I assume that the wire service either doesn't understand why it's wrong, or doesn't care.

June 24, 2012, 10:58 AM EDT

This one of the most obvious "if the shoe were on the other foot" items I've seen in some time.

If a Republican or conservative presidential candidate's campaign ever dared to suggest that supporters register their wedding, graduation, or other event so they could then ask friends and family to make donations to the candidate's election efforts in lieu of a gift, the ridicule wouldn't stop for the next year -- and, I should add, deservedly so. But the Obama Event Registry (Obama-Biden blog post here; HT Weasel Zippers), which has been out there for about 48 hours, has barely made an establishment press ripple. What follows is a graphic from the blog post, followed by its first four outraged comments, showing that the idea is not getting a warm, uh, reception.

June 23, 2012, 11:11 PM EDT

On Thursday, at the Washington Examiner, Byron York concentrated on Obama's clear antipathy towards business as described in David Maraniss's recent book about President Obama (Barack Obama: The Story) relating to Dear Leader's brief stint at a company called Business International.

Though that's obviously a critical point to make during the 2012 campaign, a more foundational one is that this mindset, as well as most of Obama's stream of "embellishments" (most people would call them "lies") about his time at BI, were known or knowable well before the Illinois senator decided to run for president in early 2007 -- even the one that has the folks at Michelle Malkin's Twitchy.com all atwitter, namely that Obama didn't, as he claimed, have a secretary.

June 23, 2012, 10:07 AM EDT

The count of prominent Democratic Party politicians who have decided not to attend the Democratic Party's convention in Charlotte, thereby attempting to avoid direct association with the formal renomination of incumbent President Barack Obama, is up to seven. Press coverage has been sparse. One can only imagine how much media end-zone dancing there would have been in 2004 had one governor, one senator and five congresspersons chosen not to attend the Republican National Convention to renominate George W. Bush.

On Thursday, the Hill had the story about the latest declared non-attendee, who admittedly is the least surprising addition to list (internal links are in original):

June 22, 2012, 11:25 PM EDT

If this were a prize fight, it would have ended at the end of the sixth round in a knockout. In a post at the American Enterprise Institute's blog this afternoon, James Pethokoukis, who previously toiled at U.S. News and Reuters, made mincemeat out of Washington Post reporter Tom Hamburger's Thursday Mitt Romney-Bain Capital hit piece ("Romney’s Bain Capital invested in companies that moved jobs overseas").

Just sit back and enjoy the pummeling. Since Hamburger didn't land any blows, I'll only deal with the punches Pethokoukis landed in explaining "Romney Reality" while refuting six "WaPo World" whines (italics are in original):

June 22, 2012, 4:57 PM EDT

Here's an indication of just how discredited the word "stimulus" is becoming: European leaders today agreed on a $163 "growth package" of some kind. The leaders were apparently very reluctant to describe it.

At a Los Angeles Times blog this morning, Sarah Delaney's coverage mostly bought into what appears to be a charade, but the headline writer at the paper's home page didn't get the memo.

June 22, 2012, 2:32 PM EDT

A June 16-18 YouGov.com poll (at Page 25) reported that 47% of Americans in a sample of 1,000 U.S. citizens 18 and over had heard or heard about President Barack Obama's June 8 claim that "the private sector is doing fine."

The reaction of John Sides, an associate professor in the Department of Political Science at George Washington University, as picked up by Byron Tau at the Politico, is that this "low" percentage shows that "even after national headlines, some kinds of stories just don’t register to busy Americans who have more things to do than follow every jot and tittle of the news." You've got to be kidding me; 47% is amazingly high.