Government Agencies

By Tom Blumer | February 4, 2015 | 3:31 PM EST

Yesterday, in a column at his organization's web site, the head of the nation's leading polling organization called the government's official unemployment rate, currently at 5.6 percent, a "big lie."

Rest assured that if Gallup Inc. Chairman and CEO Jim Clifton had written this column during a Republican or conservative administration, his words would have been picked up by the Associated Press and the New York Times, and would have echoed across the Big Three networks' nightly newscasts. Instead, because relatively good-looking government data is sacrosanct during a Democratic administration, an expansive Google News search at 1:15 p.m. ET on "Gallup unemployment lie" (not in quotes, showing similar items and duplicates) returned only 26 items. Almost all of them are from center-right blogs and outlets. One exception is an item at Fortune.com which accuses Clifton of indulging in a "vast" "conspiracy theory."

By Tom Blumer | February 3, 2015 | 8:34 PM EST

On Friday, the government reported that the nation's economy, as measured in its real gross domestic product, grew at an annual rate of 2.6 percent during last year's final quarter, sharply trailing analysts' consensus predictions ranging from 3.0 percent to 3.6 percent.

As is the case after the first version of every GDP report, economy watchers have been trying to estimate the effect other subsequently released fourth quarter-related government and other data might have on GDP revisions to be reported in late February and late March. Predictably, the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, seems to have decided that it will tell its readers about the ones which seem to point to upward revisions, and that it will ignore those which go in the opposite direction.

By Tom Blumer | February 2, 2015 | 5:43 PM EST

According to the Israeli publication Haaretz and many other news outlets, President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry won't meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu because it's "inappropriate."

Specifically, "The White House cited the proximity of the Israeli election to Netanyahu's visit, and the desire to refrain from interfering in the election." Certain blatant falsehoods are too much to take, and at Investor's Business Daily, this was one of them. An IBD editorial also tied the actions of those who are clearly acting as Team Obama agents trying to oust Netanyahu in those upcoming Israeli elections to a more comprehensive indictment of the administration's foreign policy (HT to a frequent tipster; bolds are mine throughout this post):

By Seton Motley | February 2, 2015 | 9:37 AM EST

The Seattle Seahawks yesterday - in a moment of profound foolishness - forsook Beast Mode for Least Mode.  And it cost them the Super Bowl.   But they can take ever so slight solace - the Media has been in Least Mode for decades. 

This has been on prominent display throughout the Barack Obama Administration - and certainly when it comes to the Administration’s many, MANY unilateral power grabs.

First, a bit of a Constitutional primer for a Media that seems to desperately need it.  Congress is the Legislative Branch.  They write laws - which the President then signs.  Said President presides over the Executive Branch.  His many, many, MANY Departments, Agencies, Commissions and Boards are then - and only then - charged with executing the legislation Congress first composed. 

By Tom Blumer | January 31, 2015 | 11:51 PM EST

At the recent meeting of the world's elites in Davos, former U.S. Vice President Al Gore and former Mexican President Felipe Calderon circulated a proposal to ban cars in all major cities in the world by dense-packing their layouts. The cost, as I noted on Monday: a mere $90 trillion (that's right, trillion). It's telling in a foreboding sense that the pair's idea wasn't laughed off the continent.

Enviro-nutty ideas such as these trace their origin to Gore's 1992 book, "Earth in the Balance," in which Gore called the internal combustion engine "the mankind's greatest enemy." In reality, it is arguably the greatest enabler of human progress in the world's history. So readers should take some delight in articles appearing two years apart — one at Time.com, and another at the Wall Street Journal, where the authors predict that the odds seem to be in favor of the evil internal combustion engine continuing to outshine the enviros' favored alternatives for at least the next couple of decades. Gore and his media enablers surely wail and gnash their teeth when such inconvenient items rear their scientific heads.

By Tom Blumer | January 31, 2015 | 9:54 AM EST

Yesterday's government report on the economy's growth, which told us that the nation's gross domestic product grew at an annual rate of 2.6 percent during the fourth quarter, sharply underachieved analysts' expectations of an annualized 3.0 percent to 3.6 percent. The stock market clearly reacted negatively to the downside surprise. Bloomberg's take at the end of the day: "U.S. stocks fell Friday, sending the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index to its biggest monthly decline in a year, as weaker-than-forecast economic growth overshadowed a rally in energy shares sparked by a surge in the price of crude."

That didn't stop Martin Crutsinger and Josh Boak at the Associated Press from celebrating the result in late-morning and overnight reports, respectively. Meanwhile, Josh Mitchell at the Wall Street Journal delivered a more sanguine take on the situation.

By Tom Blumer | January 30, 2015 | 11:48 PM EST

Former Atlanta Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran, who alleges he was fired from his position solely because of his Christian beliefs, has filed a religious discrimination complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

That's not news at the Associated Press's national site, and it appears that the AP has not even carried a local story about Cochran's EEOC complaint — omissions that reek of a double standard.

By Tom Blumer | January 30, 2015 | 9:30 PM EST

Even Charles Babington at the Associated Press, for once not the completely beholden Administration's Press, seemed to be having a hard time buying what Democrats at a meeting in Philadelphia were selling. Unfortunately, he decided to let Joe Biden's direct contradiction of his party's congressional delegation's sunnyside-up stance on the economy go unreported.

In a video carried at the Weekly Standard, Biden said, "To state the obvious, the past six years have been really, really hard for this country, And they've been really tough for our party. Just ask [former DCCC chair] Steve [Israel]. They've been really tough for our party. And together we made some really, really tough decisions -- decisions that weren't at all popular, hard to explain." Despite how "really, really hard" it has all been, the party is attempting an "in your face" at those who want to claim that it has been that way because of the Obama administration's economic policies. Excerpts from Babington's AP report follow the jump (bolds and numbered tags are mine):

By Tom Blumer | January 28, 2015 | 11:52 PM EST

If someone fools you once, shame on them. If they fool you with the same trick a second time, shame on you. If they "fool" you a third time — well, you must be in on it.

That's my take on Bloomberg News's virtually euphoric reaction to yesterday's new-home sales release from the Census Bureau. The wire service's Shobhana Chandra celebrated how seasonally adjusted December sales were at "the highest level in more than six years." The problem is that the bureau reported the same development two other times in 2014, only to see each improvement disappear in subsequent revisions. Excerpts follow the jump (bolds are mine):

By Tom Blumer | January 27, 2015 | 11:56 PM EST

Ever since the publication "Earth in the Balance" in 1992, we've seen the press minimize the public's exposure to the more outrageous ideas and quotes emanating from former Vice President Al Gore.

Concerning that original book, Gore's statement that "The internal combustion engine is the greatest enemy of mankind" and his contention that it could and be eliminated in 25 years are hardly known by anyone besides his fevered supporters and attentive opponents. Apparently wishing to rush his timetable for taking everyone out of their cars, Gore, in an idea barely noticed even in the business press, has proposed spending $90 trillion — that's right, trillion — for such an enterprise. After the jump, readers will see how he wants to do it.

By Tom Blumer | January 27, 2015 | 10:02 PM EST

On Friday, Melissa Quinn at the Daily Signal, after the release of the government's "Union Members -- 2014" report, uniquely observed that the unionized percentage of the public- and private-sector nonagricultural wage and salary U.S. workforce had reached "its lowest rate in 100 years." From what I can tell in web and news searches, despite the fact that virtually any 100-year record is ordinarily considered newsworthy, no major establishment press outlet has reported what Quinn found.

The report from Uncle Sam's Bureau of Labor Statisics claims that 1983 is "the first year for which comparable union data are available." Perhaps, but there is data available going back much further, and it has been used occasionally in previous media reports. That data also indicates that private-sector union membership is at its lowest point since the turn of the century — from the 19th to the 20th century, that is.

By Tom Blumer | January 26, 2015 | 6:11 PM EST

This post follows up on Friday morning's entry (at BizzyBlog; at NewsBusters) showing that "Fewer Than 0.5% of Americans Live in Fully Recovered Counties." This is the kind of news which would be front and center with the nation's establishment press if such a report came out during a Republican or conservative presidential administration. With Team Obama in place, NACo's work has been virtually ignored.

Some commenters at the Friday post raised a potentially valid objection to the criteria used by the National Association of Counties to determine "full recovery." NACo's four bases were returns to pre-recession bests in number of jobs, the unemployment rate, GDP, and home prices. Objectors wanted to completely discount the group's work based on its inclusion of home prices, arguing that pre-bubble home prices were artificially high, and that a failure to return to those levels was not a valid indicator of economic malaise. If all three other metrics were impressive, they would have had a point. But they weren't. This post will look at the unemployment rate metric, because that will be the only one needed to show that they still don't have a point.