Government Agencies

By Tom Blumer | January 26, 2015 | 11:28 AM EST

It would seem that the conversation at Politico went something like this: "Hey, we need to hit the Obama administration for the havoc its policies have wreaked on the middle class. But we can't go after them too hard, because that might burn some bridges, and we'll lose our stenographer — er, journalistic — access. So we need to use someone sympathetic to Democrats who will know how not to go over the line."

They chose contributing editor Zachary Karabell, who during most of his writeup did a presentable job of being not too critical while posing as an objective observer — that is, until his final four paragraphs.

By Tom Blumer | January 25, 2015 | 11:55 PM EST

As President Barack Obama and Governor Jerry Brown continue to extol the wonders of the alleged economic recovery of nation and the Golden State, respectively, stories of significant growth in homelessness continue to rain on their parades. The latest example comes on the heels of reports on Seattle's burgeoning problem and the city's apparent willingness to allow officially sanctioned outdoor encampments to serve as a "temporary" (yeah, sure) solution.

In a Saturday item in the Los Angeles Times about the expansion of "homeless camps" outside of what had been known as the LA's "skid row," Times reporter Gale Holland apparently learned not to repeat a revealing disclosure she made in a December Times report covering the situation in San Jose. Her coverage was remarkably vague, failing to provide specifics I believe she could have relayed with little effort, especially given that homelessness and poverty is her assigned beat. Excerpts follow the jump.

By Tom Blumer | January 23, 2015 | 4:46 PM EST

Someone looking at the annual "Union Members" report released this morning by the Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics would logically conclude that 2014 was a year organized labor would rather forget.

While average nonagricultural wage and salary employment increased by over 2.32 million from 2013 to 2014, union membership only went up by 48,000, or about 2 percent of the nationwide increase. Additionally, the private sector's 41,000-person pickup in union membership was only 1.6 percent of its total 2.55 million increase. Yes, that means that public-sector union membership increased a bit while public-sector employment declined by 226,000. Of course, no such decidedly negative nuggets made their way into Labor Secretary Tom Perez's press release or Tom Raum's Associated Press report, excerpts of which follow the jump (bolds and numbered tags are mine):

By Tom Blumer | January 22, 2015 | 11:53 PM EST

A week ago, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, a Democrat, called homelessness in his city and the rest of King County a "full-blown crisis."

Based on the numbers presented in coverage of the area's situation, we can certainly add the Emerald City to the list of areas where homelessness has been on the rise. Odds are that many readers here didn't know that, because the national press hardly ever pays attention to homelessness when a Democrat occupies the White House. Now imagine the firestorm which would erupt if a Republican or conservative proposed the "solution," however allegedly temporary, Murray is advancing (bolds are mine):

By Tom Blumer | January 18, 2015 | 12:23 AM EST

Howard Kurtz, the Fox News analyst and the host of its "Media Buzz" program, made a few pertinent observations in a column about Victor Paul Alvarez's astonishingly crass attempt at humor at Boston.com earlier this week. That said, Kurtz should have criticized the web site and its parent, the Boston Globe, for its completely unsatisfactory explanation for the one "correction" it made to Alvarez's piece.

Alvarez somehow thought it was a great idea to make light of a potential assassin's plan to kill House Speaker John Boehner by poisoning a drink, using that news as a jumping-off point to get into the GOP leader's alleged drinking habits. As Jack Coleman at NewsBusters noted on Friday, Boston.com fired Alvarez shortly after his horrid piece appeared. Video and excerpts from Kurtz's column follow the jump.

By Tom Blumer | January 16, 2015 | 8:09 PM EST

On Tuesday, I posted (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog) on a bogus "study" out of North Dakota University contending that "almost one in 3 college men would commit rape 'if nobody would ever know and there wouldn’t be any consequences.'" Media exposure from favorable and unfavorable outlets continues to grow.

In that post, I noted that the study disqualified itself from credibility by uncriticially relaying the thoroughly discredited "1 in 5" statistic, namely (quoting the study's opening) "Federal data estimate that about one in five women becomes the victim of sexual assault while in college," and took that as a clear indication that the trio of academics involved "are not dispassionate researchers, but instead are agenda-driven individuals who are not interested in facts, but are instead looking to reach desired conclusions." In an exchange with the Washington Examiner's Ashe Schow, study leader Sarah Edwards confirmed my assessment, and ratified the idea that any media outlet which takes their work seriously is deliberately spreading disinformation (bolds are mine throughout this post):

By Tom Blumer | January 15, 2015 | 12:31 AM EST

At the Lafayette, Indiana Courier Journal, reporter Mikel Livingston, that paper's social policiy reporter, set out to try to pass the Food Stamp Challenge.

The idea, in his words, was to "survive for one week on $29.69," because, he says, that is "what the average recipient of SNAP benefits, commonly called food stamps, receives each week in Indiana." By Day 6, he claimed, "faced with the possibility that eating all my remaining food on the final day would net me just 619 calories, I realized I had failed." What he really proved is that he was well on his way to succeeding with room to spare.

By Matthew Balan | January 14, 2015 | 3:50 PM EST

Carol Costello badgered Rep. Sean Duffy on Wednesday's CNN Newsroom over House Republicans' attempt to defund President Obama's executive action granting amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants: "The Department of Homeland Security protects the United States from terrorist attacks. Some Senate Republicans – among them, Lindsey Graham – say the strategy should be revised in light of what happened in Paris. So at this moment in time, why mess with that department?"

By Tom Blumer | January 13, 2015 | 7:30 PM EST

The latest report out of Venezuela by the Associated Press's Hannah Dreier has a time stamp of 1:15 p.m. today. This means that the wire service has had plenty of time to report, and has chosen not to report, a powerful pastoral letter issued yesterday by that country's Catholic bishops (original in Spanish; full Google Translation) denouncing that country's descent into a system they described as "socialist Marxist or communist."

That decision by AP and apparently other international wire services demonstrates once again that one cannot keep up with the news without at least occasionally going to the editorial pages of the Wall Street Journal, the UK tabloids, and Investors Business Daily. In this case, it's IBD's Monica Showalter who commented on the development Monday afternoon in an opinion piece. She also brought Pope Francis into the discussion (bolds are mine throughout this post):

By Tom Blumer | January 13, 2015 | 3:17 PM EST

The feminist-leftist fever swamp is apparently thrilled to have learned of a North Dakota University "study" purporting to show that almost one in 3 college men would commit rape "if nobody would ever know and there wouldn’t be any consequences."

I'll get to the study's specifics shortly, but first want to note that the work, published in December, automatically discredited itself in its body's opening paragraph:

By Tom Blumer | January 12, 2015 | 6:49 PM EST

Well, they're nothing if not consistent.

When the Obama administration lost a court ruling against its ban on Gulf of Mexico drilling after the BP oil spill, it simply issued another ban. When it lost at the Supreme Court in the Hobby Lobby case, it just issued a new rule which hardly differed from the one the Court nullified. Now, when it becomes clear that the administration won't get the nominee it wants, the strategy is to hire him or her anyway as a "counselor." Ben White at the Politico didn't address substantive objections to this latest tactic until the final four paragraphs of his 22-paragraph report (bolds are mine):

By Tom Blumer | January 11, 2015 | 11:59 PM EST

Thus far, the nation's de facto news gatekeepers at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, have utterly failed to address the growing worldwide controversy over the absence of U.S. representation above the ambassador level at Sunday's solidarity march in Paris in the wake of Wednesday's Charlie Hebdo massacre. Crowd estimates for the Paris march range from "hundreds of thousands" to over 1.5 million.

The New York Daily News is calling the absence of a top U.S. leader "a glaring exception," and devoting its entire front page to telling our government that "You Let the World Down." The UK Daily Mail is treating the situation as a snub, also observing that Attorney General Eric Holder "was in Paris for a terrorism summit held on the march's sidelines, but he slipped away and made appearances on four American morning television talk shows just as the incredible rally was starting." But Angela Charlton and Thomas Adamson at the AP, in report carrying a 7:07 p.m. ET time stamp (saved here for future reference, fair use and discussion purposes), apparently found nothing unusual in the U.S. non-presence: