Tom Blumer is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.
Tom Blumer has written for several national online publications primarily on business, economics, politics and media bias. He has had his own blog, BizzyBlog.com, since 2005, and has been with NewsBusters since December 2005. Along the way, he's had a decades-long career in accounting, finance, training and development.
Latest from Tom Blumer
Here we go again. A month ago, Robert Baer, a leading coddler of Iran who is an "Intelligence and Security Analyst" while pontificating at CNN, contended that alleged Russian interference in the U.S. presidential election meant that the nation needs "to vote again." Now The Hill has given space to Chris Edelson, an assistant professor of government in American University's School of Public Affairs, to advocate the same thing ("Remedy for Russian meddling should be new election").
Demonstrating the power of fake news to influence uninformed people, just-elected Democratic Senator Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire brought up a thoroughly discredited Washington Post story at the Senate confirmation hearing for Former General John Kelly. President-Elect Donald Trump has nominated Kelly to be the nation's next head of the Department of Homeland Security. Hassan brought up the Post's story on a late-December "infrastructure" attack by "a hacking group connected with the Russian government" on a Vermont utility as if it was an established fact — which, of course, it's not.
It's still over a week before Donald Trump's inauguration, but Richard Cohen at the Washington Post already has a plan to get rid of him. The Post writer clearly believes that Trump — right now — fits the definition found in the 25th Amendment of the Constitution of someone who is "unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office," and could therefore be summarily removed without the effort involved in impeaching and convicting him.
President-elect Donald Trump started a controversy on January 3 when he alleged in an early-morning tweet that "General Motors is sending Mexican made model of Chevy Cruze to U.S. car dealers-tax free across border. Make in U.S.A. or pay big border tax!"
During the panel discussion on the January 8 episode of Fox News Sunday, Juan Williams claimed that last week's torture of a mentally handicapped white man by four black adults "stirs up racial tensions already hot from the campaign rhetoric of Donald Trump," and that "white nationalists" would see this as an excuse to "legitimize acts of white racism." After the panel spent a couple of minutes dealing with a viewer's question about a perceived overemphasis on the "politics" of this crime instead of the fact that it was "a racial hate crime," Laura Ingraham circled back to criticize Williams's comment as "completely off base."
A Thursday Washington Post editorial on the results of a House panel's investigation into what the paper called Planned Parenthood's "contributions" to "fetal tissue research" packs an astounding number of falsehoods into a mere five paragraphs.
Meteorologist Eric Holthaus, who has appeared a couple of times on these pages in the past (more on that shortly), is in therapy.
Well, okay, lots of people are. But get a load of what has driven Holthaus into therapy: "I know many ppl feel deep despair about climate, especially post-election." And it's because of this, "There are days where I literally can't work," and "We don't deserve this planet."
In June, when UK voters decided to leave the European Union in the "Brexit" referendum, the U.S. press told the American people that the UK economy would suffer greatly as a result. Moody's economist and max Hillary Clinton contributor Mark Zandi predicted that it would be "going down the rabbit hole." At CBS News, Mellody Hobson said that "they're acting as if a recession is a foregone conclusion."
It's one thing to predict a disaster that doesn't happen. It's quite another to predict bad news and have things turn out pretty darned well, which is thus far what has occurred. You'd never know it from reading U.S.-based establishment press coverage, but the UK economy, as reported in the UK Times, "ended last year as the strongest of the world’s advanced economies with growth accelerating in the six months after the Brexit vote."
In a Thursday item about urban gentrification at its "Upshot" blog which also appeared in its Friday print edition, Emily Badger at the New York Times took a gratuitous shot at Donald Trump over a mid-2016 statement which was true at the time — and, contrary to her insistence that it's now false, is still true.
Badger, as currently seen at the Times, has written that "Mr. Trump claimed during the (2016) campaign that the homicide rate in his new home in Washington rose by 50 percent, apparently citing the previous year’s crime statistics." Gee, that was because those stats were the latest available. But because it is 2017, and preliminary info for 2016 is now available, Badger originally wrote that Trump is wrong, because "In fact, it fell by 17 percent in 2016." Perhaps in reaction to being called out by the Weekly Standard's Ethan Epstein for trashing Trump for not having a crystal ball, the Times has stealth-edited Badger's related paragraph.
Wednesday afternoon, the Associated Press's Mary Clare Jalonick served as Democratic Party Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer's mouthpiece, relaying his promise to "oppose with everything we have" any Supreme Court nominee who isn't fit the Senator's definition of "mainstream."
The Associated Press's initial Wednesday evening report on the horrific beating and torture of a mentally handicapped 18 year-old in Chicago is woefully and predictably weak.
A comparison of what Fox 32 in Chicago was reporting at the time of AP's story will demonstrate how much the wire service chose to ignore.
Monday evening, just three days after causing an uproar by reporting that "Russian hackers penetrated (the) U.S. electricity grid through a utility in Vermont," the Washington Post is now saying that "Russian government hackers do not appear to have targeted Vermont utility, say people close to investigation." In other words (cue the late Glida Radner's famous Saturday Night Live character Emily Litella): "We told you we had a story, but we really never did. So ... Never mind."
UPDATE, January 3: "WashPost on Russian Connection to Vermont Utility Hack: Never Mind"
A not very funny thing happened to the Washington Post after its Juliet Eilperin and Adam Entous posted a story on Friday (now time-stamped as if it was Saturday) claiming in its headline that "Russian hackers penetrated U.S. electricity grid through a utility in Vermont." The claim, according to the utility involved, is false. As a result, the paper, in an "Editor's Note," told readers that "The computer at Burlington Electric that was hacked was not attached to the grid."
On Christmas evening, appearing in print on Sunday, December 26, Jeremy Peters at the New York Times pretended that the term "fake news" has only gained common currency very recently during the social media era. He also effectively contended that the establishment press holds ownership rights over the term, claiming that "conservative cable and radio personalities, top Republicans and even Mr. (Donald) Trump himself ... have appropriated" it.
Peters, who graduated from the University of Michigan in 2002 and arguably knows better, could not be more wrong. Center-right media critics, pundits and personalities have used the term "fake news" to describe establishment press reporting for at least a decade, usually with total justification. It's the press which is "appropriating" the "fake news" term in the name of marginalizing and silencing non-"mainstream" news sources.
In a column posted at NewsBusters on December 29, R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. relayed personal anecdotal evidence indicating that "This Christmas Season Was Different." Based on his interactions and observations, Tyrrell believes that 2016 marked a change in "the way we talk about what is a major holy day for the majority of the American people." In his experience, people this year were far more inclined to wish friends, neighbors and even strangers "Merry Christmas" instead of falling back on the safe but unsatisfying "Happy Holidays."
Tyrrell may have his finger on the beginnings of a broader trend.
The purveyors of what the establishment press likes to describe as "fake news" have nothing on the fake news the establishment press itself generates at the Obama administration's behest.
For example, the Associated Press, in a very late paragraph in just one of its three reports on the topic Thursday, admitted that "Though the FBI and Homeland Security Department issued a joint report on 'Russian malicious cyber activity' - replete with examples of malware code used by the Russians - it still has not released a broader report Obama has promised detailing Russia's efforts to interfere with U.S. elections." In other words, there is no — zero, zilch, nada — published evidence, let alone proof, other than the statements of anonymous Obama apparatchiks on a conference call, that Russia successfully "interfere(d) with U.S. elections." But that hasn't stopped AP or others from taking it as gospel that Russia "hacked the elections."
Here's an update from the “fake news” front: The Associated Press published an unbylined “Fact Check” of what anyone with an ounce of sense could see is a satirical article published almost 15 months ago.
That’s only the start. PolitiFact also “fact-checked” a December 23, 2016 version it knew was of that same 15 month-old item and gave it a “Pants on Fire" rating. What in the name of Mark Zuckerberg is going on?
In an item published on Tuesday, Matt Sedensky at the Associated Press reported on what he observed in a graduate "Faith and Politics" class at Emory University immediately after and during the weeks following this year's presidential election.
Class members' immature reactions to the election's result and the reporter's injected commentary are both disturbing, but very useful. That's because one of the most under-reported stories of the past two years, in terms of general visibility to the casual news consumer, is how so many college campuses have devolved into places where so-called "safe spaces," "trigger warnings" delivered before supposedly disturbing viewpoints are presented, out-of-nowhere outrage at alleged "microagressions," and intense hostility to non-conforming opinions have all proliferated.
On December 22, roughly eight hours before Anis Amri was killed by Italian police, Bouazza Ben Bouazza at the Associated Press published an item portraying the Berlin truck massacre attacker who killed at least 12 and injured almost 50 others as a "troubled" man who came to Europe "in hopes of a better life," but "fell into crime instead."
Later text completely refutes those opening claims, and the AP reporter provided no explanation as to why such obvious contradictions are present.
Steve McMahon, a Democratic Party member described as a media consultant, apparently either hasn't followed the news sufficiently since the presidential election, or is determined to rewrite history. My vote is with the latter. McMahon appeared on MSNBC on Tuesday. Before criticizing President-Elect Donald Trump's victory rallies as "incendiary, he outrageously claimed that Hillary Clinton has "been very gracious since the election," and that she "didn’t contest the election results" or "ask for recounts."