Government Agencies

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:

By Tom Blumer | January 11, 2015 | 10:02 AM EST

The ability of tiny numbers of far-left fringe group demonstrators to get undue press attention virtually any time they want continues to be intensely annoying.

In mid-2007, Barack Obama made closing the prison at Guantanmo Bay a core promise of his 2008 campaign. That was 7-1/2 years ago. Obama has been in office six years. Gitmo is still open. So naturally, the aggrieved professional protesters at Code Pink organized a demonstration against Gitmo remaining active on yesterday's 13th anniversary of the prison's opening — at former Vice President Dick Cheney's house. They got far more ink and bandwidth than they deserved from the press, including Reuters — i.e., far more than nothing.

By Tom Blumer | January 10, 2015 | 10:39 AM EST

Three results returned in a search at the Associated Press's national site on "Venezuela" tell us almost nothing about that country's deepening economic crisis.

An unbylined January 10 item reports on the visit of Nicolas Maduro, the country's de facto dictator, to Iran in hopes of "stabilizing" (i.e., raising) oil prices. A second unbylined report on January 9 tells readers that there's really nothing to worry (oh sure) about in China's growing Latin American influence. Only the faintest hint of the horrors everyday Venezuelans are now experiencing appeared on January 7. The following two paragraphs appeared at the very end of a report describing Maduro's visit to China:

By Matthew Balan | January 9, 2015 | 9:03 PM EST

Friday's NBC Nightly News enthusiastically promoted President Obama's proposal to provide "free" community college education, to the tune of $60 billion over ten years. Brian Williams hyped the "ambitious offer that could help so many families." Chris Jansing asserted that the President's plan is a "a goal everyone can agree on," but also underlined that the multi-billion dollar program is going to be a "tough sell to Congress."

By Matthew Balan | January 5, 2015 | 6:04 PM EST

Fox News's Howard Kurtz reported on Monday that former CBS correspondent Sharyl Attkisson filed a lawsuit against the Justice Department and the U.S. Postal Service over the hacking of her computers. Kurtz noted that Attkisson "alleges that three separate computer forensic exams showed that hackers used sophisticated methods to surreptitiously monitor her work between 2011 and 2013." The journalist seeks $35 million in damages against the federal agencies.

By Tom Blumer | January 3, 2015 | 12:13 AM EST

In the midst of properly blasting the New York Times for its disgraceful editorial attacking the NYPD, Fox Business News's Davd Asman has raised an important question which goes to the paper's fundamental integrity. Specifically, did the Times acquiesce to active efforts by Mayor Bill de Blasio's office encouraging them to go on the attack, effectively serving as his mouthpiece?

The question also occurred to me several days ago as I read DNAinfo.com's accounting of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio's heavyhanded attempts to get local and even state Democratic politicians to condemn the police department. Excerpts from Asman's Friday column containing that question follow the jump (bolds are mine):

By Tom Blumer | December 30, 2014 | 10:59 PM EST

Earlier this evening, Clay Waters at NewsBusters noted the New York Times Editorial Board's blistering attack on Gotham's finest.

The Times editorial insisted that the NYPD has "squandered" its presumptive respect in its treatment of Mayor Bill de Blasio since a bi-racial grand jury's December 3 decision not to indict officers on the scene in July when Eric Garner died on Staten Island. This is from a newspaper which has squandered its own credibility in this matter by either ignorantly or deliberately — I would argue the latter — failing to identify the true nature of the assorted "Justice For All" march and "protest" participants and the killer who claimed to have murdered NYPD officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos in their name.

By Tom Blumer | December 30, 2014 | 5:36 PM EST

The Associated Press is obsessed with global warming. It currently has seven items at its national site containing that term.

Two of them relate to how the U.S. is allegedly exporting more pollution, and therefore more global warming, to other countries even as it supposedly is cleaning up its act. These are the kinds of stories which the rest of the press would eagerly jump on if a Republican or conservative were in the White House, but they're basically getting the silent treatment (AP's Monday afternoon before Christmas publication may also have dampened interest). But the item I want to pick on predictably comes from the wire service's "Science Writer" and chief global alarmist Seth Borenstein, who two weeks ago set out to convince readers, with the help of a ginned-up federal report, that "The ice is melting! The ice is melting!" (bolds are mine throughout this post):

By Tom Blumer | December 30, 2014 | 11:52 AM EST

The old saying — "To err is human, but to really screw things up, you need a computer" — needs an update. In this case, it's "To err is human, but to wreck an entire industry, you need to have the federal government try to force it to computerize."

I'm referring to the government's attempt to coerce doctors into using its mandated, "clunky, time-sucking" electronic health records system. Somehow, it's barely news, with a story by Politico Magazine's Arthur Allen constituting a rare exception, that over a quarter-million doctors, i.e., half of all who are eligible, face fines next year for "failing to use the systems in the way the government required."