Government Agencies

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.

By Tom Blumer | February 21, 2015 | 10:28 AM EST

On February 12, in a report on inventories, the Associated Press's Martin Crutsinger referred to an economist who believed, in Crutsinger's words, "that the economy expanded at a 2 percent annual rate in the final three months of the year (2014)." That result would be a fairly significant downward revision to the 2.6 percent rate the government estimated in late January.

The next day, Macroeconomic Advisers, a leading economic research firm which describes itself as "independent with no loyalty to any political ideology," estimated that the economy, as measured in its Gross Domesitic Product, "declined by 0.6% in December, and growth for November was revised down by three-tenths." Since then, though they may be out there somewhere, I haven't seen AP or other major news outlets make any reference to analysts' revised fourth-quarter estimates.

By Tom Blumer | February 17, 2015 | 10:45 PM EST

In a rundown of the deteriorating situation in Libya in its February 23 issue, New Yorker Magazine's Jon Lee Anderson quoted "a senior (Obama) Administration official" (the capital "A" is Anderson's) who, incredibly, claimed that the country's descent into virtual chaos resulted from "the politicization" of the September 11, 2012 terrorist attack which killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three others.

You see, because of that alleged politicization, Team Obama-Hillary claims that it, in the Administration official's words, "reduced our geographic scope and presence in the country," and, in Anderson's words, that it "wound down its diplomatic presence and essentially abandoned its role" there. A "senior Administration official" chimed in with how Benghazi "brought a 'broader chill'" to U.S. efforts.

By Tom Blumer | February 14, 2015 | 11:47 PM EST

What an ironic title New York Times op-ed columnist and former editorial page editor Gail Collins used — "Scott Walker Needs an Eraser" — in her February 13 opinion piece blasting Wisconsin's Republican governor.

In her nitpicky, selective mind, Walker must already have an eraser, one that's so powerful that it could reach back to the year before he became Badger State chief executive and eliminate teachers' jobs (bolds are mine throughout this post):

By Tom Blumer | February 14, 2015 | 2:05 AM EST

Late Friday afternoon, roughly two hours ("shortly after noon" Pacific Time) after the press release announcing Oregon Democratic Governor John Kitzhaber's resignation effective next Wednesday, Philip Bump at the Washington Post's "The Fix" blog tried to explain away the national press's nearly complete failure to cover Kitzhaber's mounting ethical and now potentially criminal problems for nearly four months. This is the same bunch which obsessed over Republican Governor Chris Christie's "Bridgegate" non-scandal for months on end.

Bump specifically linked to and quoted — and, predictably mischaracterized — yours truly's related Thursday afternoon post at NewsBusters. The short answer to Bump's whining is simply that Kitzhaber's problems were self-evidently very serious from the get-go in October, and grew by degrees with virtually each passing week, while Bridgegate, which was beaten like a drum for months on end, never progressed beyond the status of a pathetically weak hatchet job.

By Tom Blumer | February 12, 2015 | 7:29 PM EST

In a sign that the walls are truly beginning to close in around him, the Associated Press's national site and the New York Times, both of which have largely ignored the growing ethical scandals surrounding Oregon Democratic Governor John Kitzhaber and his fiancee Cylvia Hayes for months, have gotten busy during the past 24 hours.

The very belated national attention cannot possibly be helpful to his survival prospects. It should have come months ago, but apparently ensuring that a Democrat would remain in charge of the Beaver State was too important a matter for the national press to consider spreading the results of the outstanding investigative journalism done by Nigel Jaquiss at Willamette Week beyond the state's borders.

By Tom Blumer | February 12, 2015 | 1:27 PM EST

The establishment press has obsessed over Republican Governor Chris Christie's non-scandals in New Jersey for 18 months. Anything appearing to be problematic during the past four years for Wisconsin GOP Governor Scott Walker, including a "John Doe" fishing expedition driven by a power-abusing Democratic prosecutor, has been national news.

Meanwhile, the press appears to have lost interest in Democratic New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's possible connections with arrested State Speaker Sheldon Silver. In a far more glaring omission, the vast majority of the country outside of the Pacific Northwest, even those who closely follow the news, barely recognize the name of John Kitzhaber, Oregon's Democratic Governor. Kitzhaber is embroiled in an ethics scandal so serious that he was apparently on the verge of resigning on Tuesday before he changed his mind.