Government Agencies

By Tom Blumer | February 28, 2015 | 6:26 PM EST

After yesterday's government report on economic growth reduced the fourth quarter's originally estimated increase in gross domestic product from an annualized 2.6 percent to 2.2 percent, you just knew that the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, would try to ride to the rescue.

Late Friday afternoon, the AP's Martin Crutsinger gamely tried to concoct five reasons why we shouldn't worry our pretty little heads over a growth figure which confirms that the worst post-World War II recovery on record continues to be the worst post-World War II recovery on record. He only came up with four highly questionable reasons, while pretending he still had five (bolds and numbered tags are mine; I also numbered the reporter's reasons):

By Tom Blumer | February 28, 2015 | 9:45 AM EST

On Friday morning at Jezebel, a Gawker-affiliated web site, Natasha Vargas-Cooper thought she had Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker by the — well, you know.

In a post tellingly tagged "Conservative Werewolves," Vargas-Cooper was absolutely sure — so certain that she apparently felt no need to check any further — that Walker's proposed budget would allow its colleges to "to stop reporting sexual assaults." Vicious vitriol ensued (bolds are mine throughout this post):

By Tom Blumer | February 27, 2015 | 11:28 PM EST

A couple of thousand protesters have showed up to rail against the Wisconsin Legislature's move to pass right to work legislation this week.

That number is far smaller than what was seen four years ago, when Badger State Governor Scott Walker championed Act 10, a budget repair bill which limited — but please note, contrary to frequent press assertions, did not eliminate — most public-sector unions' collective bargaining rights. Todd Richmond's Wednesday evening coverage of the situation in Madison at the Associated Press got plenty of perspectives from union members and others upset with the legislature's latest move, but predictably failed to get any insights from right to work supporters or those skeptical of protesters' positions. Excerpts follow the jump (bolds and numbereed tags are mine):

By Tom Blumer | February 27, 2015 | 9:01 PM EST

The Fiscal Times is a generally strong and informative online publication. That said, it has occasionally exhibits symptoms of what could be seen as either serious leftist bias, quite disappointing ignorance, or both.

One such example arrived in my email box early this morning. It contained the following headline and opening tease for a story about the food stamp program:

By Tom Blumer | February 26, 2015 | 11:12 PM EST

At the Associated Press late Thursday morning, Ken Dilanian, the wire service's intelligence writer, did a marvelous job of covering up the essence of Director of National Intelligence James Clapper's Worldwide Threat Assessment testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee.

The trouble is that if he were doing his job as our Founders anticipated he would when they gave the nation's press extraordinary and then unheard-of freedoms, he would have covered the story instead of covering it up.

By Tom Blumer | February 26, 2015 | 6:10 PM EST

The Associated Press's headline at Alan Fram's coverage of the controversy over the existence of an Obama administration contingency plan if it loses the Halbig v. Burwell case pending at the Supreme Court may be among the most inchoherent ever: "GOP CLAIMS PAPER SHOWS FED AIDES' PREPS FOR HEALTH LAW LOSS."

"Paper"? What is in question is an alleged 100-page contingency plan should the Court declare that subsidies paid by HealthCare.gov, the federal health insurance exchange for over three dozen states, are illegal. "Health law loss"? What does that even mean?

By Tom Blumer | February 26, 2015 | 11:20 AM EST

Wednesday night, Fox News's Greta Van Susteren sharply criticized Susan Rice for her Tuesday comment about Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu's impending March 3 speech to Congress, namely that "On both sides, there has now been injected a degree of partisanship, which is not only unfortunate, but I think it's destructive of the fabric of the relationship." To be clear, Rice is not freelancing. Wednesday afternoon, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters that "what she said was entirely consistent with what the President said publicly before."

This was too much for Van Susteren, who needed only 45 seconds of the 90-second clip which follows to rattle off a half-dozen examples of how the Obama administration's conduct has been "destructive" to the U.S.-Israel relationship.

By Matthew Balan | February 25, 2015 | 7:40 PM EST

Wyatt Andrews revealed the details of a new scandal at the Department of Veterans Affairs on Wednesday's CBS This Morning. Andrews zeroed in on how the veterans'  benefits office in Oakland, California simply ignored "more than 13,000 informal claims filed between 1996 and 2009 – all of which were stashed in a file cabinet." The correspondent spotlighted whistleblowers who claimed that "V.A. supervisors in Oakland ordered [employees] to mark the claims 'no action necessary,' and to toss them aside." Andrews later put the California benefits office in a larger context of government "mismanagement."

By Clay Waters | February 25, 2015 | 10:19 AM EST

Tuesday's New York Times featured a front-page "congressional memo" by Carl Hulse and Ashley Parker devoted to the paper's new favorite topic: How the GOP-led Congress is staining the party's reputation for 2016: "Funding Fight Poses Dangers For the G.O.P. -- Battle on Immigration Puts Security at Issue."

By Tom Blumer | February 25, 2015 | 9:09 AM EST

In an almost completely expected decision, the Department of Justice yesterday announced that it "found insufficient evidence to pursue federal criminal civil rights charges against George Zimmerman for the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin on Feb. 26, 2012."

In reporting on the announcement, Jennifer Kay and Eric Tucker at the Associated Press were predictably selective in recounting the details of the case while ignoring or downplaying others.

By Kyle Drennen | February 23, 2015 | 12:58 PM EST

On Monday, both NBC's Today and CBS This Morning used a terrorist threat against the Mall of America in Minneapolis to hit the Republican Congress over the Department of Homeland Security funding fight. On Today, White House correspondent Kristen Welker concluded her report on the security concerns by declaring: "Meanwhile, the clock is ticking with Congress locked in a bitter battle over how to fund DHS. If Congress can't resolve its differences by Friday, the agency that oversees much of the nation's security operations will run out of money."

By Tom Blumer | February 21, 2015 | 11:59 PM EST

Thursday on his Your World show, host Neil Cavuto went after the Obama administration's near obsession with the coverage it gets on Fox News.

While Team Obama can count on the Big Three triumvirate of ABC, CBS and NBC to toe the line, promoting its points while generally avoiding damning information, Fox has generally remained fair and balanced, an approach which has clearly gotten under their ultra-thin skins.