Blogs

By Tom Blumer | January 4, 2015 | 1:36 PM EST

In the interest of getting all supposedly relevant information out there for the public to see, the New York Times amassed an extraordinary array of journalistic resources — three reporters, three who "contributed reporting," and two others who "contributed research" — to what they must have thought was an important, underappreciated element of the saga which ended with the brutal ambush murders of NYPD Officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu in December.

The three reporters — Kim Barker, Mosi Secret and Richard Fausset — composed roughly 2,500 words as a result of that eight-person effort. Their resulting work was posted online on Friday and appeared on the front page of the paper's January 3 New York Region and National print editions (above the fold, top right). Their mission was to sympathetically portray cop-killer Ismaaiyl Brinsley, which was bad enough. But their ultimate objective, which I'm sure was achieved in the minds of many fever-swamp liberals (example here), was to convince readers that the link between Al Sharpton and his "we want dead cops" crowd and Brinsley's motivations was not all that direct, i.e., that "Brinsley’s short life and violent end is probably less political and more accidental than initially portrayed." The rest of us will find their attempt troubling, but utterly unpersuasive in that regard.

By Tom Blumer | January 3, 2015 | 10:48 AM EST

Christopher Hedges has been gone from the New York Times for almost ten years. He has since admitted to being a socialist, been exposed as a serial plagiarist in work he has done since leaving the Times in 2005, and authored "the first issue of the Occupied Wall Street Journal, a newspaper associated with the Occupy Wall Street protests in Zuccotti Park."

Hedges is the subject of this post because, even aside from the plagiarism, he has called into permanent question the quality, accuracy and objectivity of his entire 15-year body of work as a foreign correspondent for the Times. At an obscure web site called Truthdig on December 15, Hedges called ISIS "the new Israel".

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 | January 2, 2015 | 7:29 AM EST

Former New York Governor Mario Cuomo, who died on Thursday, is predictably being lionized today by USA Today's Aamer Madhani "as (a) giant in political rhetoric," and by others elsewhere in similarly glowing terms.

Madhani goes on to characterize the three-term Empire State chief executive's 1984 Democratic Convention speech in San Francisco as "what is widely considered one of the finest pieces of political rhetoric in recent memory." That it probably was. But he also calls it "a full-throated rebuttal of President Ronald Reagan, who would go on to a landslide victory over the Democratic nominee Walter Mondale." On that, Madhani is absolutely wrong. It was an attempt at a rebuttal which has since been thoroughly refuted and discredited.

By Tom Blumer | December 31, 2014 | 5:10 PM EST

Call the Ripley's Believe It or Not people. Have smelling salts available. What follows will surely be one of the more unusual things you've seen or heard this year.

In the midst of his otherwise odious Silicon Valley race-hustling shakedown effort, Jesse Jackson said something that made sense — so much sense that the rest of the press, which usually hangs on every word of his nonsensical pronouncements, has virtually ignored it, and will probably continue to.

By Tom Blumer | December 31, 2014 | 4:09 PM EST

Chris Megerian at the Los Angeles Times, in a report first published online on Tuesday, had a difficult time trying to downplay the fact that Democrat and leftist mega-donors outspent their Republican and conservative couterparts by an overwhelming margin during the past election cycle.

But Megerian made the best of it, giving readers the impression that David Koch, of the supposedly evil Koch brothers, was the fourth-largest such donor. Times editors did their part to keep the news as quiet as possible by publishing the obviously national story in the California secion of its Wednesday print edition.

By Tom Blumer | December 31, 2014 | 2:04 PM EST

Let's say that a Republican or conservative governor or big-city mayor (yes, there actually are quite a few) was in a heated dispute with his state's or city's police union. Let's further say that this official decided that his or her best method for whipping up support was to order the staff to (ahem) "ask" GOP legislators or council members to issue public statements of support while bashing the cops. If such a campaign were exposed, that town's or state's press would appropriately be all over it. That public official would also get plenty of negative national attention, especially if he or she already had a bit of a national profile.

So let's see how far and wide — my prediction is "not very" — the following report from New York City online publication DNAinfo goes — especially at the New York Times, which has itself editorially attacked the police while indulging and ignoring the serious transgressions of "protesters" who have threatened them (HT Weasel Zippers; bolds are mine):

By Tom Blumer | December 31, 2014 | 11:04 AM EST

If CNN is searching for reasons why its ratings are at an all-time low, it doesn't need to look any further than one entry in its group of "11 extraordinary people of 2014" published on December 5.

Aside from the inanity of publishing such an annual list almost four weeks before year's end — as if no extraordinary people or extraordinary acts ever take place in December — the network's fourth selection was patently offensive, and had no substantive basis for being considered "extraordinary."

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 | 4:03 PM EST

At the Associated Press on Christmas Day, reporter Josh Lederman carried out what might as well be his official administration stenographer duties with special aplomb.

Three paragraphs will illustrate how Lederman glossed over realities relating to the 13-year war in Afghanistan and went all gooey over Barack and Michelle Obama's vacation:

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."