Government Agencies

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.

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.