Blogs

By Tom Blumer | February 18, 2015 | 3:36 PM EST

Several outlets have looked over the Facebook posts of Craig Hicks, who was indicted Monday for the February 10 murders of three Muslims in North Carolina.

Hicks's alleged murderous motivation appears to have had nothing directly to do with religion, but instead is said to have involved "a dispute over parking spaces at the condo community where Hicks and two of the victims lived." Whether we need to know anything else about the guy is an open question, but since it was inevitable that people would go there, it's worth noting that most outlets (examples here, here, and here) have focused on Hicks's Facebook-expressed atheism and an accompanying hostility towards all forms of religion. As will be seen, that take wasn't satisfactory to Associated Press reporters Allen G. Breed and Michael Biesecker.

By Tom Blumer | February 15, 2015 | 11:41 PM EST

In London, England earlier this week, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker delivered a speech about global trade at the Chatham House think tank. Given that the group's mission is "to help build a sustainably secure, prosperous and just world," and that it encourages "open debate and confidential discussion on the most significant developments in international affairs," it seemed a reasonable expectation that those present would ask questions relevant to those matters.

Instead, Scott Walker was asked several brazenly off-topic questions, including if he believed in evolution. He refused to answer them. In the case of evolution, he said, "I’m going to punt on that one ... That’s a question that a politician shouldn’t be involved in one way or another," while reminding the audience that "I'm here to talk about trade and not pontificate on other issues."

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 | 10:31 AM EST

Democrat John Kitzhaber announced his resignation as Governor of Oregon shortly after 3 p.m. Eastern Time on Friday (noon Pacific Time).

By 3 a.m. Eastern time Saturday morning, as seen here, less than 12 hours after the announcement, the Associated Press's "Big Story" page, the collection of current stories the wire service considers especially important, had no stories on Kitzhaber. But there were items on Jackie Chan's son leaving prison, the cricket World Cup, and the Australian Ladies Masters golf tournament.

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 11, 2015 | 5:14 PM EST

By yesterday afternoon, the Obama administration recognized that it had a serious problem on its hands. Zeke Miller at Time.com reported that 2008 presidential campaign manager and longtime adviser David Axelord's book revealed that, in Miller's words, "Barack Obama misled Americans for his own political benefit when he claimed in the 2008 election to oppose same sex marriage for religious reasons." Obama never opposed same-sex marriage, but acted on advice from Axelrod and others to act as if he did during the campaign.

Axelrod's claim generated enough coverage that Team Obama knew that even the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, was going to have to do some kind of story on his adviser's revelation. So how to do damage control without creating the kind of stir which would force the network broadcasters to inform low-information voters of the core deception? That's easy. Throw all pretenses of presidential dignity out the window and go to (holy moly) Buzzfeed.

By Tom Blumer | February 11, 2015 | 1:49 PM EST

Tara Parker-Pope attempted a defense of disgraced NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams in an item ("Was Brian Williams a Victim of False Memory?") posted at the New York Times "Well" blog — late Monday afternoon. It even made Tuesday's New York version of the Old Gray Lady's print edition.

Parker-Pope's premise, similar to that used by Marison Bello at USA Today three days earlier — even using the same "expert" as a source — is that the Williams saga "offers a compelling case study in how memories can change and shift dramatically over time." Parker-Pope's post is particularly pathetic because it appeared online a full four days after Variety reported that Williams "had been counseled in the past by senior NBC News executives to stop telling the story in public." Over the next several days, other media outlets corroborated and built upon what Variety reported. In other words, even if one buys into the memory-shift idea, it can't possibly apply in the Williams case. Excerpts follow the jump (bolds are mine):

By Tom Blumer | February 11, 2015 | 9:56 AM EST

Very few things drive leftists to distraction more than a strong Republican or conservative woman achieving political power.

Joni Ernst is a perfect example. The strong-willed freshman Senator from Iowa describes herself in three words: "Mother. Soldier. Leader." Imagine the howls of outrage if a conservative went after a liberal female combat veteran as Andrew Reinbach at Huffington Post did on Friday. Reinbach tried to claim that Ernst is not really a combat veteran, and questioned "The Honor of Senator Joni Ernst."

By Tom Blumer | February 11, 2015 | 12:00 AM EST

In his story on Brian Williams at 10:55 p.m. ET Tuesday, Gabriel Sherman at New York Magazine reported that the now-suspended anchor and his agent "were presented with a dossier of Williams' apparent lies," and that "Williams himself was only slowly grasping the depths of the mess he'd created."

That begs the obvious question of whether the public will ever get to know what's in that "dossier," and what impact its contents may have had on the substance of NBC's news reports during the past dozen (if not more) years. Excerpts from Sherman's report follow the jump (links are in original; bolds are mine):

By Tom Blumer | February 10, 2015 | 6:05 PM EST

John Hinderaker at Powerline is certainly correct when he notes that the media elites love "Girls," the HBO show starring sister-abusing, rapist-misidentifying Lena Dunham.

Critics rave about how great the show and its main characters are, frequently employing complimentary adjectives descriptive of or synonymous with "smart." Hinderaker was brave enough to peruse the script of the show's Season 4 episode which aired on Sunday. What he found instead fit the categories of "insulting" and "stunningly ignorant":

By Tom Blumer | February 10, 2015 | 3:28 PM EST

In a new book, Obama 2008 campaign manager and longtime Obama adviser David Axelrod reveals that, in the words of Zeke J. Miller at Time.com, "Barack Obama misled Americans for his own political benefit when he claimed in the 2008 election to oppose same sex marriage for religious reasons."

The subheadline at Miller's coverage calls it "A striking admission of political dishonesty from the keeper of the Obama flame." In my view, given that David Axelrod wouldn't make such an admission without permission, it's also a juvenile "Nyah-nyah, we fooled you, and you can't do anything about it!" taunt. Additional excerpts from Miller's article follow the jump (HT Michael Walsh at PJ Media; bolds are mine throughout this post):