Government Agencies

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.

By Tom Blumer | February 11, 2015 | 9:54 PM EST

The federal government today reported a $17.5 billion budget deficit for January. That brings this fiscal year's shortfall through four months to $194.2 billion, up from $182.8 billion during the same period last year.

As usual, the Associated Press's coverage, this time delivered by Martin Crutsinger, named the nation's "Worst Economic Writer" by National Review's Kevin Williamson two years ago, gave an incomplete historical explanation for the $1 trillion-plus annual deficits incurred from fiscal 2009 through 2012, and "somehow" forgot that President Barack Obama, who is demanding higher taxes in the budget he recently submitted, already got a significant tax increase on higher incomes just two years ago. Excerpts follow the job:

By Tom Blumer | February 4, 2015 | 11:45 PM EST

Radio talk-show host Rush Limbaugh believes that because the center-right media and blogosphere pushed back against the vaccine vendetta campaign against Republicans and conservatives, the establishment press is sharply backing away from trying to capitalize on it, especially because both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have been shown to have played to the anti-vaxxer crowd during the 2008 Democratic presidential primary campaign.

Additionally, the New York Times, which smelled blood and ran a hit piece ("Measles Outbreak Proves Delicate Issue to G.O.P. Field") on Page A1 in its Tuesday print edition, had to issue a major three-point correction to it the very next day. That correction to the story by reporters Jeremy Peters and Richard Pérez-Peña, and Rush's reaction to it, follow the jump (bolds are mine throughout this post; paragraph breaks added by me):

By Tom Blumer | February 4, 2015 | 7:02 PM EST

On Friday, Joe Nocera at the New York Times, in the words of a February 4 Times correction, premised his op-ed column "about the indictment of the longtime New York State Assembly speaker, Sheldon Silver ... on several factual errors."

The correction failed to correct yet another factual error, namely that Silver, who was arrested, as the Times itself reported, on January 22, has not yet been formally indicted. Here is the full text of that correction (HT Instapundit; bolds are mine throughout this post):

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):