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
May 20, 2011, 10:51 PM EDT

Earlier today, NB's Tim Graham noted that the establishment press has given the silent treatment to a study by Timothy Conley of the University of Western Ontario and Bill Dupor of Ohio State University showing that the stimulus plan passed in February 2009 was a major net economic loser. In the first paragraph of the study, the authors revealed their core estimate that  the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act "created/saved 450 thousand government-sector jobs and destroyed/forestalled one million private sector jobs." That's a net loss of 550,000 jobs "destroyed/forestalled."

To test Tim's contention that "Our media only cites studies which estimate the number of jobs Team Obama 'saved or created,'" I did searches on Dupor's last name at the Associated Press, New York Times, Washington Post, and Los Angeles Times, and got back the following results:

May 19, 2011, 12:03 PM EDT

Imagine if the Bush 43 administration had decided to exclude a newspaper's reporters from full access to presidential events--regardless of the ostensible reason. Does anyone believe that the New York Times or Associated Press would have ignored the story?

Well, in a thoroughly predictable but nonetheless sad development, that is what has happened since the Boston Herald's Hillary Chabot reported that "The White House Press Office has refused to give the Boston Herald full access to President Obama’s Boston fund-raiser today, in e-mails objecting to the newspaper’s front page placement of a Mitt Romney op-ed, saying pool reporters are chosen based on whether they cover the news 'fairly.'" Lachlan Markay relayed Chabot's item at NewsBusters yesterday, and also chronicled several previous examples of White House mistreatment, maltreatment, and abuse of disfavored media members.

A search of the Associated Press's main site late this morning on "Boston Herald" (without quotes) returned nothing relevant, as seen after the jump:

May 19, 2011, 12:07 AM EDT

You would think that a story about the awful summer job outlook for teens this year would be receiving more than a little media play. So far, it's not getting much at all.

Here are key paragraphs from the relevant unbylined Associated Press report ("Summer 2011 could be worst ever in teen job market, study finds"):

May 17, 2011, 9:22 PM EDT

UPDATE, May 18: NewsBusters commenter "dreamsincolor" has pointed out that CNN "somehow" forgot Democratic New York Congressman Eric Massa, who resigned in 2009 to avoid "an ethics investigation into alleged misconduct toward a male staff member."

(Begin original post)

Chris Ariens filed a report today at MediaBistro's TVNewser that opened with a reader's Tweet, which plaintively asked: "Did CNN really exclude Spitzer from Malveaux package on Sex Scandals & Politics? Hmm.."

Ariens responds:

The answer: yes it did.

May 17, 2011, 6:52 PM EDT

Shortly after 8:30 this morning, I began thinking that my CNNMoney.com e-mail alerts had stopped arriving. So I went to the Census Bureau's web site and learned that its monthly report on housing starts, building permits, and other construction-related news had indeed been released. The news for the already moribund industry was awful: Building permits in April fell by a seasonally adjusted 4% from March and by 12.0% from April 2010, while the comparable tumbles in housing starts were 10.6% and 23.9%, respectively.

Well, my opening and closing bell e-mails arrived as expected. So unless there was a technical glitch, this means that CNNMoney decided not to issue a post-8:30 alert for the bad housing news.

Let's take a look at the two e-mails which did arrive. First, just after the opening bell:

May 16, 2011, 11:35 PM EDT

Martin Crutsinger's Wednesday, May 11 coverage of that day's release of Uncle Sam's April 2011 Monthly Treasury Statement was such a train wreck that I had to turn away before I could get through it, hoping against hope that if I came back a few days later it wouldn't seem so bad. Of course I was wrong.

How was Marty Crutisinger's report erroneous, incomplete, misleading, and from all appearances politically-driven? Let me count just some of the ways, as I go through selected segments from his report:

May 16, 2011, 11:36 AM EDT

In an unbylined report this morning on homebuilders' continued pessimism, the Associated Press continues to mislead its readers and other news consumers about just how bad the market for new homes has been during the past two years.

The government has been reporting new home sales since 1963. The 320,000 news homes sold in 2010, which followed sales of only 375,000 in 2009, are the two worst performances on record. But that does not mean that they are the two worst performances in nearly a half-century, as AP continues to insist, as seen below:

May 15, 2011, 11:55 PM EDT

The opening paragraph of Saturday morning's Associated Press report by Stephen Ohlemacher and Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar on the state of Social Security and Medicare and an additional sentence from the third paragraph give away the fact that theirs will not be a missive that should be taken seriously (bold is mine):

The bad economy is worsening the already-shaky finances of Medicare and Social Security, draining the trust funds supporting them faster than expected and intensifying the need for Congress to shore up the massive benefit programs, the government said Friday.

 

... The Social Security trust funds are projected to be drained in 2036, one year earlier than the last estimate.

This post will concentrate on Social Security. By referring to the idea that its trust fund is being "drained," the pair are perpetuating the myth that the Social Security system has a stash of cash and investments just sitting there ready to be redeemed and distributed as benefits when needed. This of course is false. What follows are four fundamental truths about Social Security.

May 14, 2011, 2:12 AM EDT

Apparently, the state of California has been trying to do something about the runaway costs of its "traditional welfare" program. Nationally, it's known as TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families). In the tarnished Golden State, it's called CalWORKS (California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids).

Wednesday, the supposedly nonpartisan but clearly left-leaning California Budget Project (CBP) issued a report entitled "Recent Cuts to CalWORKs Have Significantly Affected Families and Local Communities." At the Sacramento Business Journal, Staff Writer Kathy Robertson essentially transcribed its major points. Had she done further work, she would have noted that the number of CalWORKs recipients, already over triple the national average as a percentage of the population, increased by another quarter-million during the past 27 reported months (June 2008 to September 2010) to 1.46 million. That total is almost 4% of the state's population. The welfare-receiving percentage of the population in the rest of the country, including a few other states which have allowed their rolls to unreasonably balloon, is less than 1.2%.

Here are several paragraphs from Robertson's report:

May 12, 2011, 4:34 PM EDT

Can someone call himself a Tea Party candidate even though he has no visible support from local Tea Party groups and has been asked by one of them not to run? The Associated Press's Carolyn Thompson apparently thinks so.

Thompson's 3:03 p.m. report (saved here for future reference, fair use and discussion purposes) makes no mention of congressional candidate Jack Davis's lack of Tea Party group support. The AP reporter also waited until the final paragraph of her 17-paragraph report to tell readers that Davis is "a wealthy Republican businessman" who ran for Congress in 2004, 2006, and 2008 -- as a Democrat.

The large body of evidence that Davis is not a legitimate Tea Party candidate consists of at least the following:

May 12, 2011, 12:06 AM EDT

Just barely a year after it derided the establishment media's obsession over oil-affected birds in the Gulf of Mexico while virtually ignoring the loss human life in awful floods in Tennessee (noted at the time at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), Investors Business Daily's editorialists are calling out the press for oversaturating us with Obama-OBL victory lap coverage at the expense of informing the nation about the severity of this year's horrible Mississippi River flooding.

IBD makes great points in the following excerpts (bolds are mine):

May 11, 2011, 11:16 AM EDT

The chefs in the kitchens at AP-GfK, a joint effort of the Associated Press and GfK Roper Public Affairs & Corporate Communications, have been working overtime cooking up a scrumptious dish for fans of Barack Obama and the Democratic Party.

After tasting the output this morning, the AP's Liz Sidoti and Jennifer Agiesta could hardly contain their glee (also saved here for future reference, fair use and discussion purposes):

President Barack Obama's approval rating has hit its highest point in two years - 60 percent - and more than half of Americans now say he deserves to be re-elected, according to an Associated Press-GfK poll taken after U.S. forces killed al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.

In March, the same poll had the president's approval rating at 53%. The graphic which follows, obtained from the the poll's "topline" at AP-GfK's web site, reveal that the AP pair enjoy feasting on empty calories:

May 11, 2011, 1:41 AM EDT

Connecticut Governor Daniel Malloy has called himself the "anti-Christie" because of his willingness to raise taxes to help balance the Nutmeg State's budget. By contrast, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, the object of Malloy's scorn, recently ruled out tax increases, as he has been doing ever since he became governor in 2010.

Malloy's recently passed taxes amounting to an estimated $1.4 billion annually include property tax hikes which according to a recent Wall Street Journal editorial (quoted at link's third item) amount to "$500 a year for the average homeowner."

But Malloy still needs to balance the budget by extracting significant cost savings from the state's recalcitrant employee unions, and guess what? Just like Wisconsin's Republican Governor Scott Walker, he's staring at the need to resort to layoffs if he can't reduce employment costs. But unlike the Associated Press's militant reporters in Wisconsin, the AP's Susan Haigh in Hartford is letting Malloy off relatively easy, as seen in these excerpts from her Tuesday evening report:

May 10, 2011, 9:34 PM EDT

Just when you consider cutting the Associated Press a break for doing something right, they pull this.

Most people know that in the interest of "not spiking the football," the Obama administration has decided that it will not release photos of Osama bin Laden's dead body.

Shortly after the decision was announced, AP filed a Freedom of Information Act request for said photos. According to John Hudson at the Atlantic (HT to Jim Taranto at the Wall Street Journal's Best of the Web), the AP's Michael Oreskes claims that "This information is important for the historical record" and "It's our job as journalists to seek this material." So far, so good.

But you just knew they'd figure out a way to potentially ruin it. Here's Oreskes as quoted by Hudson:

May 10, 2011, 1:12 AM EDT

Sunday evening (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), I predicted that the press will ignore the likelihood, based on the Congressional Budget Office's most recent Monthly Budget Review, that officially reported federal spending will top $1 trillion for the first time during a three-month period (i.e., for February through April 2010) when the Tim Geithner's gang issues its Monthly Treasury Statement on Wednesday afternoon.

You can also pretty much count on the fact that the press will greet an uptick in April and year-to-date 2011 collections as something impressive. In historical context, as the graphic after the jump will show, it absolutely is not.

May 8, 2011, 11:56 PM EDT

Early each month, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) issues its "Monthly Budget Review." Its purpose is to estimate and comment on the federal government's budget results for the previous month a few days before the Treasury reports its official results.

CBO's most recent review, issued on Friday (2-page PDF), estimates that Uncle Sam's outlays during April amounted to $330 billion. If that number holds up, or overstates actual results by less than $2.2 billion, it will mean for the first time ever that our government officially spent over $1 trillion in a three-month period (an estimated $330 billion in April plus a reported $672.2 billion in February and March combined). Regardless, February through April is certain to eclipse May-July 2009's previous official all-time high (after TARP-obfuscating accounting adjustments; go here for the detail) of $948.7 billion.

This certainty, the detail behind it, and the federal government's real long-term track record make mince meat of the following off-the-cuff assessment of why federal receipts and spending go up and down made Saturday by Alan Fram at the Associated Press:

A strong economy brings the government more revenue and lower spending. A weak economy in which the jobless and poor need more support does the opposite.

We wish, Alan.

May 3, 2011, 7:28 PM EDT

How convenient. Via Editor and Publisher, the newspaper industry's Audit Bureau of Circulations, in issuing its March 31, 2011 circulation figures, tells us we shouldn't try to compare this year's numbers to last year's:

Because of the new and redefined categories of circulation on this FAS-FAX report, ABC recommends not making any direct comparisons of March 2011 data to prior audit periods.

As readers will see, if the ABC was really interested in enabling us to make apples-to-apples comparisons, it could have done so with appropriate definitional caveats. But it didn't; instead, it revised its definition of "total circulation" this year without disclosing the impact of the switch.

I've made the comparisons where possible for daily editions anyway, and they follow after the jump (original info links: March 31, 2011; March 31, 2010; Boston Globe data obtained here):

May 3, 2011, 2:08 PM EDT

The New York Times's supposedly momentous decision to omit "Mr." from references to Osama bin Laden in its Monday obituary is apparently working to distract critics from the item's other problems.

Along with Michael T. Kaufman, Kate Zernike, whose primary vocation seems to be finding racism in the Tea Party movement where none exists and otherwise smearing its participants, comes off as almost critical of how bin Laden was "elevated to the realm of evil in the American imagination once reserved for dictators like Hitler and Stalin."

Imagination ("the faculty ... of forming mental images or concepts of what is not actually present to the senses")? Babe, I don't know about you, but we didn't imagine September 11. We saw it. Others directly experienced it. Many died. Do you remember?

The obit's topper for me is the (in my opinion) deliberate historical revisionism in the following passage (bolds are mine throughout this post):

May 2, 2011, 4:43 PM EDT

Update (17:38 EDT on May 4): Rush Limbaugh mentioned this post on his May 3 program. You can listen to that by clicking here.

Well, this should be interesting.

The AP is reporting (preserved here in case the report devolves, as such things very often do) that "secret prisons" and "harsh interrogation techniques" were involved in getting the "first strands of information" that ultimately led to Sunday operation which killed 9/11 mastermind Osama Bin Laden.

It's only a three-paragrapher, so it follows in full (for fair use and discussion purposes). Get a load of the final paragraph:

May 2, 2011, 10:05 AM EDT

Not waiting for history to play out, a New Times caption writer, below a picture of celebrants of Obama Bin Laden's demise outside the White House, has written: "As crowds gathered outside the White House, there was little question that Mr. Obama's presidency had forever been changed."

The pic and caption follow the jump.