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
March 15, 2016, 3:22 PM EDT

Today's report from the government on February's retail sales was awful. Last month's sales fell by 0.1 percent, which was bad enough. Beyond that, January's originally reported 0.2 percent increase was revised down to a 0.4 percent decrease. Additionally, as I noted at my home blog this morning, January's seasonally adjusted revision should have been much worse, based on how terrible that month's raw (i.e., not seasonally adjusted) sales figure was.

In his dispatch following the Census Bureau's release, the Associated Press's Christopher Rugaber recognized the fall in sales as a problem; but as he sees it, consumers have money, and just aren't spending it. The hardly subtle implication is that if the economy struggles, it will be due to our collective failure to engage in profligate spending:

March 14, 2016, 9:01 AM EDT

Layers of editors and fact-checkers at the Columbus (OH) Dispatch and others involved in its production "somehow" failed to detect the creation of an obviously false caption to a campaign rally photo of Donald Trump taken by a St. Louis Post-Dispatch photographer.

The photo, taken on Friday at Trump's St. Louis appearance by the Post-Dispatch's David Carson, had the following caption, apparently added surreptitiously, when it appeared in print at the Columbus Dispatch: "Donald Trump addresses a campaign rally in St. Louis. He was scheduled to go to Chicago for a rally, but canceled as his supporters became violent."

March 13, 2016, 10:53 PM EDT

Retail giant Wal-Mart Stores Inc. apparently got on the good side of the Associated Press a year ago when it announced that would be raising entry-level wages.

Since that announcement, AP, in particular wire service reporter Anne D'Innocenzio, has been excusing the company's relatively poor financial performance while complimenting it for a virtually imaginary "perk up" in sales. Falling profits, store closures, and even the company's mid-February announcement that it expects sales to be "relatively flat" during the 12 months ending January 31, 2017 — summarized in one report from another media outlet as indicating that its customers "are too broke to shop" — have failed to dampen the wire service's strange enthusiasm.

March 12, 2016, 11:22 PM EST

Sometimes there's a problem when a far-left reporter admiringly covers a far-left political official or candidate. What occasionally happens is that items which would clearly be objectionable to sensible people make it to print or onto the airwaves because the lefty journalist doesn't recognize how problematic they are. If he or she did, it would be kept out of their reports.

At NBC News, former Salon.com columnist Alex Seitz-Wald's far-leftism is beyond dispute. Writing that conservative outlets ignored the Kermit Gosnell trial as much as liberal outlets did, claiming that cable news king Fox News is "a stable for journalists who have fallen on hard times," and gushing over the appearance of Hillary Clinton's "Scooby van" in Iowa clinch that evaluation. On Saturday, Seitz-Wald allowed a quote from Bernie Sanders' statement on Donald Trump's cancellation of his Chicago speech on Friday into his report on how the cancellation came about. Big mistake.

March 12, 2016, 7:45 PM EST

From reading most establishment press news, especially their economy-related reports, you'd think that those who are complaining about the current U.S. economy are outliers — especially the millions of Americans who are angry about it. Though they sometimes acknowledge that forward progress  since the recession hasn't been robust, the media's meme-makers have mostly told us that "overall job gains have remained solid," and that we have a "resilient U.S. economy" despite woes seen in the rest of the world.

So imagine my surprise when I stumbled upon a Wednesday afternoon item by Heather Long and Patrick Gillpesie at CNN Money which told readers that those who "believe the middle class is dying, trade is killing U.S. jobs and that their kids won't have a chance to get ahead ... (have) some rationale behind their claims."

March 11, 2016, 11:59 PM EST

For the "Freedom for me, and not for thee" file: Donald Trump decided to cancel a campaign rally in Chicago tonight "due to safety concerns after protesters packed the arena where it was to take place."

An Associated Press report time-stamped at 10:12 p.m., like so many AP reports in similar circumstances before subsequent revisions "clean things up," so to speak, has some elements of balance, in the sense that it included quotes from protesters whose stated goal was to shut down the event. That said, there appears to be a serious and perhaps deliberate journalistic oversight in the final two paragraphs of the wire service's report designed to make it difficult for others to investigate how orchestrated the whole affair was.

March 10, 2016, 8:08 PM EST

Those not well-versed on events in the Middle East and how the international press routinely distorts its coverage there might think from the following headline at CNN.com yesterday — "American fatally stabbed in Israel terror attack that wounds 10 others" — that the state of Israel carried out the brutal attack which killed Vanderbilt Universtity student and U.S. Army veteran Taylor Force.

Of course, that's not the case. But it took the trio of CNN reporters who covered the story — Oren Liebermann, Steve Almasy and Amir Tal — a full 20 paragraphs before finally acknowledging that the attacker was Palestinian: "Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld tweeted that the attacker, a Palestinian from the West Bank, was fatally shot by police."

March 10, 2016, 9:12 AM EST

For years, Andrew F. Puzder, the CEO of CKE Restaurants, the parent company of the Carl's Jr. and Hardee's fast-food chains, has been telling the world that while the U.S. government makes life needlessly miserable for businesses, California, where it has been headquartered, is exponentially worse.

This week, CKE announced that it is moving its headquarters to Nashville, Tennessee. A story at the Orange County Register failed to go beyond the company's deliberately non-combative statement to explain why. As far as I can tell, the Los Angeles Times hasn't covered the move at all (I can't be absolutely sure because the paper's search engine is demonstrably horrible). Meanwhile, LA's CBS News affiliate appears to have intentionally omitted their reporter's attempt to cite "the unfavorable economic climate here in California" as a factor contributing to the move from its print coverage of the story.

March 9, 2016, 4:11 PM EST

Actual sales at the wholesale level in January, as reported today by the Census Bureau, fell sharply from December. That's to be expected. But this time was different — really different, because the drop was to a level lower than January 2012, i.e., four years ago.

Four press outlets which covered today's release either missed (or ignored) this shocking news. They only told readers about what happened with the seasonally adjusted data — which, while still pretty dismal, didn't look quite as awful.

March 8, 2016, 4:37 PM EST

Beginning early in 2014, shortly after its initial disastrous rollout, there has been a virtual blackout on anything resembling negative coverage of the "Affordable Care Act," aka Obamacare.

It hasn't been due to a lack of horror stories: plan cancellations, shocking rate increases, shrunken provider networks, co-ops going out of business, etc. It's because the nation's establishment press has worked mightily to minimize their exposure and to avoid dealing with their larger significance, calling them "glitches," "tricky situations" and the like, while mostly ignoring individual local nightmares. Now several Minnesota residents, clearly kept in the dark until now about something yours truly and several others on the center-right warned of in late 2013, have learned that Obamacare has saddled their children with tens of thousands of dollars in debt.

March 7, 2016, 9:06 PM EST

Since the economy finally began consistently regaining jobs in early 2010, the establishment press has had a consistent, predictable and annoying reporting (and non-reporting) pattern.

It starts with the Friday morning jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics at or near the beginning of the month. Virtually without fail, it has spit out positive and sometimes even very positive seasonally adjusted increases in overall payroll employment (one small exception: the Census hiring season in mid-2010). Later that day, or in some cases a week later, but in either case in the late afternoon when most reporters are thinking about their weekends instead of their jobs, the USDA releases its report on enrollment in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), aka Food Stamps. If you didn't know that the economy was adding jobs, the Food Stamp figures would lead you to believe that it wasn't. Somehow, this is never news.

March 7, 2016, 3:16 PM EST

Score another blow for (allegedly) "unintended consequences."

A proposed 33-page rule applying to investment advisers emanating from the Department of Labor would redefine the fiduciary relationship between investment advisers and their clients investing for retirement, which is the predominant objective of most investors. According to the Wall Street Journal, the rule "could be released as soon as this month." One side effect of the rule is that it could mark the beginning of the end of financial talk radio and TV broadcasts. Since such programs tend to lean center-right (there are exceptions, including Suze Orman), it seems mighty convenient for the government and its regulatory army that the press, particularly the Associated Press, has paid no visible attention to this apparently imminent rule.

March 6, 2016, 11:45 PM EST

Former First Lady Nancy Reagan died today.

The Associated Press's Christopher Weber, in an otherwise predictably passive-aggressive obituary, got one thing right: "The Reagans' mutual devotion over 52 years of marriage was legendary." How nice of him to acknowledge that now. The fact is that while it was visible during Ronald Reagan's presidency, everyone with eyes to see could recognize the special bond Nancy and husband Ron shared — except the condescending New York-Washington press corps, which as Weber noted, gave her "look of such steady adoration" a mocking moniker: "the gaze." Talk about "mean-spirited."

March 6, 2016, 12:15 PM EST

Columbia Journalism professor Dale Maharidge has produced a lengthy lament about the state of print and newsroom journalism, and how hard it's been on those forced out of their jobs. It's present online at The Nation, one of the far-left's flagships, and at BillMoyers.com, the web site of the former Johnson administration press secretary. The delusional Moyers believes that "We have an ideological press that's interested in the election of Republicans."

The title of Maharidge's mournful missive at Moyers' site asks a question: "What Happens to Journalists When No One Wants to Print Their Words Anymore?" The answer, Mr. Maharidge, is that when all of you had the chance, you failed to be reporters, and did so in the name of agenda-driven "journalism." You failed to give the public the basic information it had every right to expect, and in the process frequently demonstrated contempt for your audience. As a result, the public has largely tuned newspapers out, and they're not coming back.

March 5, 2016, 8:27 PM EST

The press is mostly thrilled over yesterday's Employment Situation Summary from the government, which reported that the unemployment rate stayed at 4.9 percent and that the economy added 242,000 seasonally adjusted payroll jobs. President Barack Obama took the opportunity to take what CNBC's Jeff Cox described as "a victory lap ... in Friday remarks to the media."

Well, why not? Obama was secure in the knowledge that the establishment press would mostly play along, even though February's larger number of private-sector workers put in 16 million fewer hours per week and earned $540 million fewer dollars per week than those who were employed in January.

March 3, 2016, 12:59 AM EST

The Washington Post's obsession over Donald Trump is a sight to behold — but not a pretty one.

On Monday, following two week-earlier Trump-demonizing columns, one comparing the billionaire to medieval emperor Charlemagne, and another claiming that Trump's electoral progress thus far had helped her understand "exactly how Hitler could have come to power in Germany," the Post issued a house editorial directly comparing Trump's "assault on democracy" to Hitler's rise to power. In other words, last week's columns were merely appetizers for the paper's institutional assertion that, as far as they're concerned, the "authoritarian" Trump should be rejected because of the likelihood that once in power, he will become another monster like Hitler — or, if we're lucky, only as bad as one of the world's current thug rulers.

March 2, 2016, 2:45 PM EST

To believe what the Associated Press's Tom Krisher and Dee-Ann Durbin wrote yesterday about February's auto sales, you have to believe that last month's car buyers were either: "a) affected with vertigo; dizzy"; or b) "frivolous and lighthearted; impulsive; flighty."

That's because they claimed that in February, "consumers - giddy from Super Bowl ads - returned to showrooms after a snowy January." Good grief.

February 29, 2016, 5:34 PM EST

It appears that there's an effort underway to expand the definition of "deniers" beyond the realm of climate change/"global warming."

Ideally, in leftists' minds, a "denier" would be "anyone who doesn't accept leftist dogma without reservations." That definition would apparently extend to anything relating to the economy, if Associated Press White House reporter and dedicated Barack Obama groupie (yes, I mean "groupie") Darlene Superville had her way. Her story's headline, as she covered President Obama's remembrance of the wonders of the "Recovery Act" — formally known as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and informally known as the "stimulus plan — directly targeted those who dare to disagree with Obama, and even attempted to concoct another phony version of "consensus" clearly intended to eventually stifle historians' dissent:

February 29, 2016, 2:07 PM EST

At the Associated Press, in a Friday morning writeup, the wire service's headline writers and reporter Martin Crutsinger demonstrated extraordinary auditory powers.

The headline writers somehow heard the entire U.S. economy start the year off "with a bang." Meanwhile, Crutsinger, continuing to earn his designated title of "worst economics writer" given by Kevin Williamson at National Review almost three years ago, picked up the sound of consumers who "roared back to life" in January. Those of us in the real world utterly failed to detect these things. What would we ever do without the extraordinary talents of the people at AP?

February 29, 2016, 12:00 AM EST

Two categories of news the press has studiously avoided during the Obama era came together this week, causing it to (in my view) proactively decide to ignore emotional congressional testimony which should have been front-page news almost everywhere.

The first is their virtually complete disinterest in reporting on congressional hearings. The list is longer than can be recounted here, but certainly includes Operation Fast & Furious, the IRS targeting scandal (now on Day 1,025) and implementation of Obamacare. The second is their reluctance to report any news casting the government's handling of legal and illegal immigration in a bad light. Leo Perrero's shocking testimony, which detailed the treatment of American IT workers at Disney who were replaced by lower-skilled foreign workers they were required to train, contained both elements. It was thus ripe to be ignored — and was.