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
January 31, 2014, 4:58 PM EST

In yet another negative milestone for the bailouts that supposedly saved the U.S. auto industry — already a hard-to-handle claim given that Chrysler, one of the two beneficiaries, is now 100% owned by an Italian company — Volkswagen has surpassed General Motors as the world's number two automaker behind Toyota.

The reporting on this development has been quite sparse. It's not news at the Associated Press's national site, even though AP mentions VW in a report on Super Bowl ad and social media strategies. At USA Today, James R. Healey's could easily have inserted the news into his story today on the 65th anniversary of the VW Beetle's first arrival here, and didn't. What follows is an excerpt from Expatica, one of the few publications to note the shakeup in the auto industry hierarchy:

January 31, 2014, 3:12 PM EST

The Associated Press, Bloomberg and Reuters all focused on the supposedly positive news of increased consumption reported in today's "Personal Income and Outlays" release from the government's Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the process, two of the three ignored a particulary dreadful statistic about disposable income, while the third (Bloomberg) misinterpreted its meaning.

The dire statistic is the year-over-year comparison of monthly disposable income, which took a deep dive in December, turning in the worst year-over year performance as seen here, in 40 years:

January 31, 2014, 9:13 AM EST

Today, President Obama is going to ask a group of private-sector companies to help him try to solve a problem his administration's policies have seriously worsened, namely long-term unemployment.

Of course, that's not how Josh Lederman at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, framed the situation. All he would concede is that "long-term joblessness in the U.S. remains a major problem." After the jump, in two graphs from the St. Louis Federal Reserve, we'll see the frightening level of long-term unemployment Obama's economic policies have created – and how the horrid numbers have failed to come down significantly in the 4-1/2 years since the recession officially ended.

January 30, 2014, 3:02 PM EST

MSNBC isn't anywhere near done apologizing for reflexively race-baiting conservatives.

The Cheerios biracial ad controversy ginned up by the far-left network did not begin with an isolated tweet. It began with the underlying report itself by Gabriela Resto-Montero. As originally seen by a poster at Free Republic, Ms. Resto-Montero described the reaction to the original appearance of the ad last June as a "conservative backlash." The the original June article at MSNBC does not characterize the "backlash" as anything but, well, a "backlash."

January 30, 2014, 1:43 PM EST

At the Associated Press, labeling conservative politicians as "far-right" comes pretty easily. "Far-left"? Not so much.

That there was even one item in the "far-left" search just noted is unusual. It's even more remarkable that the underlying report was written by Steve Peoples, a far-lefty disguised as a reporter if there ever was one. Excerpts from his Wednesday dispatch follow the jump.

January 29, 2014, 9:45 PM EST

In his Tuesday night State of the Union speech, President Barack Obama made the following pledge: "In the coming weeks, I will issue an Executive Order requiring federal contractors to pay their federally-funded employees a fair wage of at least $10.10 an hour – because if you cook our troops’ meals or wash their dishes, you shouldn’t have to live in poverty."

One would have every reason to believe from Obama's statement that the change will take effect quickly once the EO is issued — but it won't. Additionally, one would have every reason to believe that when it does take effect, it will increase the pay of anyone currently employed on federal contract work at a pay rate of under $10.10 per hour — but it won't do that either. Somehow, those "little" problems escaped "fact checkers" Josh Gerstein and Darren Samuelsohn at the Politico, who, while they did catch other problems with the President's statement, swallowed a clearly false claim about its long-term impact:

January 29, 2014, 11:00 AM EST

Though this is a local story, I believe it deserves wider attention. That's because it likely reflects an attitude frequently found in local media around the nation.

A January 21 story at the Cincinnati Enquirer worried that fiscally conservative candidates who have begun winning local school board elections "may be philosophically opposed to the way public schools have been traditionally operated and funded" – as if that's automatically a bad thing. Here's some context the Enquirer's Michael D. Clark "somehow" forgot to include: "40% of Ohioans need remedial math or English in college." Gee, maybe "the way public schools have been traditionally operated and funded" isn't working. Clark also let a former local school board president engage in an unhinged rant about "those that have a goal to destroy public education." Excerpts follow the jump (a related video called "Radical School Boards" — how objective — is here; bolds are mine):

January 29, 2014, 12:05 AM EST

I guess when you've run out of anything meaningful to say, you revert to your tired old one-liners, even when they are — or should be — embarrassing.

In early 2009, five days after President Obama's first State of the Union speech, Alex Castellanos, who at the time was apparenty a "Republican strategist," said the following on a CNN Sunday show: "I think, as a friend told me once, that -- listening to Barack Obama give a speech is like sex. The worse there ever was, was excellent." Tuesday night, as Politico's Lucy McCalmont reports, Castellanos was at it again:

January 28, 2014, 7:42 PM EST

I paused a bit before putting this post up because the last thing an AP reporter needs is some guy on the right telling him he did a good job. I suspect that it's not a resume enhancer.

That said, there are two reasons not to to ignore Terence Chea's coverage of the Saturday's Walk for Life West Coast in San Francisco. The first is how it contrasts with Brett Zongker's dismissive and incomplete coverage of the far larger DC March for Life the previous Wednesday. For starters, Chea appropriately described the San Francisco march as "massive"; Zongker's story covering a much larger throng in the hundreds of thousands had no comparable adjective. Put the two stories side by side, and the average reader might believe that the West Coast march was larger. Equally as interesting, Chea's accurate description of relatively minor legislative changes in abortion-related laws since Roe v. Wade make a mockery of the left's "war on women" battle cry. I'll compare the two stories after the jump.

January 28, 2014, 11:12 AM EST

There was another appearance of the dreaded U-word ("unexpectedly") this morning at Bloomberg News.

The Commerce Department's advance report on December durable goods orders and shipments showed a seasonally adjusted 4.3 percent decrease in orders from November, while November was revised down from a positive 3.4 percent to 2.6 percent. Economists' median prediction for December was for a 1.8 percent increase. Bloomberg's Victoria Stilwell had an excuse at the ready, and as will be seen, chose to use it even though she knew it was a stretch (bolds are mine throughout this post):

January 27, 2014, 4:43 PM EST

We have a new word in the seemingly never-ending saga of "quirks," "oddities" and other sanitizing language the press is using when it identifies serious problems with Obamacare and Medicaid.

The word is "tricky." In describing a bureuacratic nightmare which is leaving some children without insurance (they aren't allowed onto their parents' Obamacare plan, but they also aren't eligible for Medicaid, so they have no coverage anywhere), the Associated Press headlined the situation as follows: "HEALTH LAW TRICKY FOR PARENTS OF MEDICAID KIDS." Those who go to the same article at the DC cbslocal.com web site will at least begin to get an idea of what's really going on thanks to their replacement headline: "Many Children Unable To Be Included In Parents’ Obamacare Family Plans." Content excerpts from Holly Ramer's otherwise fine report, including an unbelievable response from government officials — scratch that, it was unbelievable until Obamacare came along; but now anything's possible — follow the jump (HT to frequent commenter Gary Hall; bolds are mine):

January 27, 2014, 1:02 PM EST

Usually, when the Associated Press covers the Census Bureau's monthly new-home sales releases, its reporters will tell readers that a "healthy" market should generate about 700,000 sales per year (examples here and here). Though I believe that figure is insufficiently ambitious, given that pre-bubble annual sales averaged 776,000 from 1993-2000, it apparently has somewhat wide acceptance.

Of all the times to mention that benchmark, the bureau's final report for 2013 released this morning would be it. But AP's Martin Crutsinger failed to do so, possibly because astute readers would have noted that the year's actual sales of 428,000 units show that the industry, despite years of a media-hyped "housing recovery" which is supposedly leading the economy out of the wilderness (cough, cough), is still operating at a miserable 61 percent of capacity (428K divided by 700K). Excerpts from Crutsinger's report follow the jump (bolds are mine):

January 26, 2014, 11:56 PM EST

When it comes to reporting on aspects of Obamacare, the press is really good at pretending to speculate about outcomes which have already happened in the real world, and at contradicting Obama administration assertions without telling readers that's what they've just done.

Case in point: Last Tuesday at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, Carla K. Johnson and Tom Murphy told readers that Obamacare "could touch ... people who have insurance through work," and that "The law may prompt some companies to drop coverage for their part-time workers" and to "start excluding spouses." The law has already "prompted" all of these things. Excerpts follow the jump.

January 25, 2014, 7:01 PM EST

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, whose name has come up as a possible 2016 presidential contender, had his name splashed all over the nation by the establishment press three years ago when he largely succeeded in reducing the disproportionate influence of public-sector union members. That attention remained steady until Walker beat back a statewide recall in tbe spring of 2012.

One might argue that Walker's now-obvious success is boring and unworthy of national attention, except for the fact that the press still features Walker in national stories from time to time — really important stuff like the fact that he got selected for jury duty but didn't serve. Turning a projected $3.6 billion deficit into a surplus, bringing down the unemployment rate, and proposing an across-the-board tax cut? Forget about it. And what little coverage does occur is almost comical, especially from the mostly unionized Associated Press. Take the last sentence of the following excerpted paragraph from AP reporter Scott Bauer on Friday morning:

January 24, 2014, 11:49 PM EST

On Friday, the Supreme Court issued a one-paragraph order in Little Sisters of the Poor et al v. Sebeluis et al. It told the Sisters that for the case to continue with no enforcement of the Affordable Care Act's contraception mandate, they need only to inform the government in writing "that they are non-profit organizations that hold themselves out as religious and have religious objections to providing coverage for contraceptive services." That's easy, because that's what they are, and that's their position.

As a result, the government has been "enjoined from enforcing against the applicants the challenged provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and related regulations pending final disposition." In other words, the Sisters will get their way until the case is decided. After the jump, I'll present a bit of the sane coverage by the Washington Post's Robert Barnes, followed by portions of the reality-avoiding writeup of Jesse Holland found at the Associated Press.

January 22, 2014, 8:54 AM EST

On Friday, as I noted on Saturday, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo told public radio's Susan Arbetter that "extreme conservatives" – that is, people who are pro-life, understand the clear meaning of the Second Amendment, or wish to keep marriage as it has traditionally been defined – "have no place in the state of New York, because that’s not who New Yorkers are." Note well that Cuomo's remarks are still not news at the Associated Press's national site.

On Sunday, Cuomo's people sent and released an "open letter" containing a very inaccurate transcription of the original interview accusing the New York Post's Aaron Short of being "entirely reckless with facts and the truth" in his report ("Gov. Cuomo to conservatives: Leave NY!"). As I demonstrated on Monday, the only reasonable interpretation of what Cuomo said is that Republican Party members who hold any one of the three positions noted in the previous paragraph "have no place in the state of New York." In the past several days, the matter has escalated. The Post has continued to cover the story – that's what newspapers are supposed to do – while, in an extraordinary move, the Counsel to the Governor has entered the fray with what can only be interpreted as threatening language.

January 21, 2014, 11:30 PM EST

This is a "Can't Make This Up" item on two levels. The more obvious of the two is an incredibly tone-deaf statement issued by Texas Democratic guberatorial candidate Wendy Davis, whose Republican opponent is paraplegic Greg Abbott, that "I am proud of what I’ve been able to achieve through hard work and perseverance. And I guarantee you that anyone who tries to say otherwise hasn’t walked a day in my shoes."

The second "Can't Make This Up" aspect relates to Nia-Malika Henderson of the "She the People" blog at the Washington Post and Jon Herskovitz at Reuters. You see, they both failed to do what establishment press members usually do, i.e, they failed to filter out the damning sentence; maybe they didn't know better. A mini-grab of Davis's statement yesterday follows the jump:

January 21, 2014, 8:07 PM EST

Wow, I'd better get this post done quickly, because Texas Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis has been tweeting up a storm and has posted "an open letter" at her web site. If I blink, I might miss a half-dozen more tweets.

Davis apparently thinks that if she accuses Republican candidate Greg Abbott and his campaign of being behind the Sunday Dallas Morning News story which poked gaping holes in her picture-perfect bio often enough, it will somehow become true. It won't. Wayne Slater, the DMN reporter who authored the story, has tweeted that "I talked to no - zero - Abbott people." But sadly, in the current establishment media environment, the in-your-face "poor little girl fights back against bullies" tactic might work. A pic of the eight tweets from three hours ago and excerpts from her "open letter" follow the jump.

January 21, 2014, 3:45 PM EST

To be fair, it started with the original story broken at the Dallas Morning News, where Wayne Slater's substantive story about Wendy Davis's problems with the truth was headlined "As Wendy Davis touts life story in race for governor, key facts blurred."

"Blurred" is clearly a popular word with an establishment press which is determined to try to make this problem with Davis's basic credibility go away. The New York Times ("Accused of Blurring Facts of Stirring Life Story, Texas Lawmaker Offers Chronology") and NBCnews.com ("Off to the races: Wendy Davis' 'blurred' bio") have also gotten in on the "blurred" headline act (Perhaps surprisingly, the Associated Press and Politico, whose coverage I addressed yesterday, have not). So has CBS News, whose Rebecca Kaplan bent over backwards to try to keep Davis in a favorable light (links are in original; bolds and numbered tags are mine):

January 20, 2014, 10:41 PM EST

Texas Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis, who is considered a hero of the pro-abortion crowd yet declared herself "pro-life" in November as her people attempted to bully the local media into twisting stories her way, is blaming her opponent for a Sunday Dallas Morning News story which pointed to significant discrepancies between her campaign biography and the truth.

It's pretty bad when I have to say that the Politico's Katie Glueck did a far better job with this story than Will Weissert at the Associated Press, but that's the case. Glueck at least challenged Davis's contention of an Abbott connection – getting a mushy, meaningless answer – and carried the unconditional denial of any contact from the Abbott campaign by DMN reporter Wayne Slater. Weissert delivered neither. Both missed something important Steve Ertelt at Life News noticed in a series of pathetic Davis tweets.