Blogs

By Tom Blumer | February 25, 2015 | 9:09 AM EST

In an almost completely expected decision, the Department of Justice yesterday announced that it "found insufficient evidence to pursue federal criminal civil rights charges against George Zimmerman for the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin on Feb. 26, 2012."

In reporting on the announcement, Jennifer Kay and Eric Tucker at the Associated Press were predictably selective in recounting the details of the case while ignoring or downplaying others.

By Jeffrey Meyer | February 24, 2015 | 2:43 PM EST

On Monday, Katie Couric, former CBS Evening News anchor and current Yahoo Global News anchor, sat down with David Axelrod, former senior advisor to President Obama, to discuss his memoir Believer: My Forty Years in Politics.

By Tom Blumer | February 23, 2015 | 10:25 AM EST

On Friday, Jim Kuhnhenn at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, seemed to enjoy President Barack Obama's rant against Republicans and others grossly dissatisfied with the economy's performance on his watch. He described Obama as "taunting Republicans" in his speech at the Democratic Party's winter meeting in Washington.

The wire service itself seems less enamored of Kuhnhenn's less than presidential portrayal of Obama. Based on a search on "taunting," the first word in his report, it is no longer present at the AP's national site.

By Tom Blumer | February 23, 2015 | 12:08 AM EST

In his Friday Washington Post column, Dana Milbank accused Scott Walker of "cowardice" which "ought to disqualify him as a serious presidential contender."

Walker's alleged "cowardice" was his failure to disown the following remark made by New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani: “I do not believe that the president loves America.” Last time I checked, Rudy's entitled to his opinion, and Walker's entitled to opt out of psychoanalyzing the Oval Office's current occupant. This sent Milbank into a a blind fury (bolds and numbered tags are mine):

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 20, 2015 | 11:32 PM EST

Earlier today, Thaddeus Murphy was charged in U.S. District Court in Colorado in connection with an attempted January bombing in Colorado Springs.

The targeted building houses that city's chapter of the NAACP, a barber shop — and, apparently at one time, a tax accountant's office. Quite a few people leaped to the conclusion that the bomb had to be meant for the NAACP, even though, as syndicated columnist and area resident Michelle Malkin noted last month, "The NAACP office is located on the opposite side of the building" from where the explosion occurred. The Criminal Complaint filed today indicates that the NAACP was not the target. The long vacant accountant's office was.

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.