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
October 29, 2013, 12:43 AM EDT

On Monday, as Noel Sheppard at NewsBusters noted, Lisa Myers and Hannah Rappleye at NBC News reported that the Obama administration knew three years ago that "more than 40 to 67 percent of those in the individual market would not be able to keep their plans, even if they liked them." This of course directly contradicts President Obama's repeated promises that "If you like your plan, you can keep your plan."

I will get to the gambit the administration used to convince people that it wouldn't do what it originally intended to do in the runup to Obamacare's passage, a strategy which may have resulted from objections raised in a July 2009 Investor's Business Daily editorial, later in the post. But first, we have to look at tweets sent out tonight by three Obama administration officials in response to the NBC report, all of which dodge NBC's substantive point that the Obama administration knew policy terminations would occur, and claim that "the ACA" (the Affordable Care Act) is not to blame:

October 27, 2013, 10:05 PM EDT

On Tuesday's Fox News Special report, contributor Juan Williams lamely tried to excuse away the mind-boggling incompetence of the HealthCare.gov rollout by claiming that "massive opposition (to Obamacare) from the Republicans" caused fearful system architects to "roll it out and see how it works for now."

Juan's haughty huffiness was so absurd that the Fox News panel was caught slack-jawed and barely challenged him. That's not what happened Sunday morning on Chris Wallace's Fox News Sunday broadcast when Williams tried to claim that millions of people losing their individual health care coverage are going to be better off with Obamacare policies (video and transscript follow the jump; bolds are mine; HT to Mediaite via Twitchy):

October 27, 2013, 6:55 PM EDT

Green energy is supposedly the future. Why, solar energy will break out and become a major energy source any year now, or any decade now. Or maybe never. It has been the subject of national attention ever since President Obama made it a cornerstone of his 2008 presidential campaign. Of course, what Obama claims is in energy policy has worked out to be more a of a growth-constraining, government money-wasting endeavor than anything else.

The Denver Post carried the original story on Thursday of how the federal government's first attempt at a solar auction went. The headline was accurate: "1st auction of solar rights on public lands in Colorado draws no bids." That's right. Zero. Post reporter Mark Jaffe's first sentence was charitable but acceptable: "The plan to auction rights to federal land across the West for solar-power plants got off to a rocky start Thursday when no bidders showed up for the first auction in Colorado." Too bad that two establishment press outlets which were in a position to communicate this news to the nation failed to adequately do so.

October 27, 2013, 5:17 PM EDT

The left has been ridiculing supposedly wildly overstated estimates of the costs of building the calamitous HealthCare.gov website, the fact is that the costs involved are certainly far higher than the figures most commonly cited: "over 500 million" at Digital Trends, "over $400 million" at the New York Times. The Washington Post's Glenn Kessler is claiming that it's really only $170 milion to $300 million.

In Part 1 (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), I noted that Bloomberg Government's Peter Gosselin estimated that costs incurred and costs committed to outside firms alone are already north of $1 billion. Now let's look at how much additional taxpayer money the Department of Health and Human Services may have spent on the Obamacare exchange rollout.

October 27, 2013, 3:40 PM EDT

The left has been ridiculing supposedly wildly overstated estimates of the costs of building the calamitous HealthCare.gov website.

Based on a look at one contractor, CGI, which he must have assumed was the general contractor (i.e., the lead entity through which amounts paid to subcontracting firms would be funneled), Andrew Couts at Digital Trends originally estimated a total cost of $634 million. Couts later backed it down to "over $500 million" after identifying non-Affordable Care Act-related work with which CGI was associated. The New York Times has until recently been working with a figure of "over $400 million." All figures just noted are almost certainly miles too low, for two reasons.

October 27, 2013, 12:05 PM EDT

At the Associated Press Friday morning, economics writer Christopher Rugaber's story had a predictably sunny and incomplete headline ("LONG-LASTING US FACTORY GOODS ORDERS RISE 3.7 PCT.") followed by an opening paragraph which told readers that "orders for most other goods fell" and which speculated without basis that the substantively bad news was "a possible sign of concern about the partial government shutdown that began Oct. 1."

That's a great reporting strategy if your goal is to keep busy news consumers inadequately informed. Those who only read the headline will believe that this economic element was unequivocally positive. Those who only get through the first paragraph will see the bad news and blame congressional Republicans, on whom the establishment media has successfully pinned the blame for the 17 percent shutdown — even though it objectively doesn't belong there. Excerpts follow the jump (bolds are mine):

October 25, 2013, 1:12 PM EDT

In among the more pathetic uses of the passive voice I've seen employed to protect guilty parties, a short, unbylined personal finance-related item at ABC's web site today by the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, identifies "5 KEYS TO SUCCESSFUL HEALTH CARE SHOPPING."

The writeup doesn't mention the fact that shopping for plans in the first place is difficult (actually, closer to impossible, given HealthCare.gov's implosion), and doesn't bring up Obamacare or its more formal name, the "Affordable Care Act," at all. As is the case with arguments favoring gun control, AP blames an inanimate object to shield the real perpetrators of the challenges consumers face. In this case, it's "insurance plans" which are to blame, thus implicating implicitly evil insurance companies and avoiding any mention of Obamacare/ACA, the real cause (produced in full for future reference, fair use and discussion purposes) —

October 24, 2013, 3:16 PM EDT

As HealthCare.gov's disaster has dragged on and grown in scope, it was entirely predictable that doctrinaire leftists in the fever swamps would begin concocting reasons why its epic failure thus far has been the fault of obstructionist conservatives and Republicans.

What perhaps was less expected, but based on history should not have been, is that supposedly responsible Democrats in elected positions have also joined the ranks of "Obamacare Truthers" by promulgating outlandish theories and engaging in intense blame-shifting, both with extraordinary gusto. Perhaps the worst — or, given its absurdity, the most entertaining — is the one tweeted and quietly deleted (HT Twitchy) by Chris Bollwage, the mayor of Elizabeth, New Jersey (population 126,000):

October 24, 2013, 12:50 PM EDT

Taking journalistic hypocrisy to ever-headier heights, Politico's Todd Purdum spent hundreds of words Wednesday evening bemoaning the potential impact of an incident which both sides involved say never happened, and acted as if incivility only comes out of the mouths of conservatives and Republicans.

Earlier Wednesday, the website's Tal Kopan relayed news that Illinois Democratic Senator Dick Durbin "said in a Facebook post that a House Republican leader told off President Barack Obama during a negotiation meeting, and that GOP leaders are so disrespectful it’s practically impossible to have a conversation with them." The supposed statement to Obama by a GOP leader, which both White House spokesman Jay Carney and House Speaker John Boehner say never was made, and which Durbin could not have observed or heard because he wasn't there, was: "I cannot even stand to look at you." Durbin, it must be recalled, ultimately was forced to apologize for comparing U.S. troops at Guantanamo Bay to "Nazis, Soviets in their gulags or some mad regime — Pol Pot or others — that had no concern for human beings," in 2005.

October 23, 2013, 9:53 PM EDT

In 2003, Halliburton Company received a great deal of scrutiny from the establishment press over certain no-bid contracts obtained in connection with the Iraq War. Examples, two of which are from the Associated Press, are here, here, and here. A Google News Archive Search on "Halliburton no-bid" not in quotes allegedly returns 1,760 items (Google's counter is suspect, but the list extends to at least 19 pages, or well over 190 items, including multiple items in some listings).

In 2010, the Washington Times was virtually alone among media outlets in reporting that the Obama administration, despite presidential candidate Barack Obama's campaign promise never to entertain such deals, had entered into a no-bid contract with KBR, a former subsidiary of Halliburton, "worth as much as $568 million." It turns out that CGI, the Canadian company which is the lead firm in the design and rollout of HealtCare.gov, also has a no-bid contract with the federal government. But an AP search on "CGI no-bid" (not in quotes) comes up empty. A Google News search on the same string (not in quotes) returns only four times, none of which are establishment press outlets (as would be expected, the Washington Times is one of the four).

October 23, 2013, 1:24 PM EDT

Last night on Fox News's Special Report, Juan Williams singlehandedly raised the bar for what qualifies as world-class failure in blame-shifting. Williams excused the mind-boggling incompetence of the Obama administration's HealthCare.gov implementation by claiming that "massive opposition (to Obamacare) from the Republicans" caused fearful system architects to "roll it out and see how it works for now." Gosh, the only thing that remains is for President Obama to say that these poor programmers were "held hostage" by GOP press releases and speeches.

Video and a transcript of the relevant segment follow the jump (HT Twitchy via Hot Air; bolds are mine). Especially note the priceless look on the face of Fox panel member Stephen Hayes at the 1:12 mark of the two-minute vid:

October 23, 2013, 10:34 AM EDT

During the 2011-2012 controversy over Wisconsin's Act 10, the establishment press, led by the Associated Press, clearly took sides against Badger State Republican Governor Scott Walker and the GOP-led legislature. No one was more blatantly biased than the AP's Scott Bauer, who repeatedly insisted in 2011 and 2012 that the law "strip(s) most public employees of their union right to collectively bargain." It does not. While Act 10 sharply limits the scope of what can be negotiated, it does not eliminate unions' right to exist, or to negotiate.

Walker will be releasing a new book, "Unintimidated: A Governor's Story and a Nation's Challenge," in November. Given the sustained national attention Act 10 received, the utlimately failed recall movement it inspired, and Walker's possible interest in seeking the nation's presidency in 2016, it's reasonable to believe that the AP would have wanted to carry Bauer's Monday morning review of the book as a national story. But thus far, it has not. I believe it's because Bauer comes across as a fundamentally dishonest and embarrassingly partisan sore loser.

October 22, 2013, 12:10 PM EDT

Fox News has coverage today of the guilty plea of Jeffrey Garcia, a former congressional chief of staff who "pled guilty Monday to one felony charge and three misdemeanor charges after admitting he illegally requested hundreds of absentee ballots while he was running the campaign for Rep. Joe Garcia, who he is not related to."

The Fox story indicates that the Associated Press contributed to its report. That's odd, because a search on "Garcia absentee" (not in quotes) at the AP's national site done at 11:30 a.m. ET came up empty. That's because AP has from all appearances treated Garcia's plea and sentencing as a Florida story unworthy of national notice, despite the fact that the gaming the electoral system and allegations of voter suppression have been a national discussion topic for years. The one unbylined AP story I did find was also ridiculously sympathetic to Jeffrey:

October 21, 2013, 10:18 PM EDT

Earlier today, as seen here in a clone post elsewhere, the Politico reported, as if it is an undisputed fact, that "Republican opponents of the law (Obamacare) are preparing for their own victory lap." That alleged "victory lap" will be the "first hearing to spotlight the faulty Obamacare website."

Apparently that intemperance was a bit much even for the clearly left-leaning Politico. The original story, entitled "Obama to tackle Affordable Care Act glitches head-on," seems to have disappeared from Politico's web site, replaced by "Obama on ACA website: 'No excuse for these problems'" written by Jason Millman and Reid Epstein. A Google search on the quoted text in the previous paragraph leads to this newer item. Excerpts from the new story follow the jump (bolds are mine):

October 20, 2013, 7:56 PM EDT

Former Barack Obama campaign manager and current MSNBC senior political analyst David Axelrod today immaturely taunted those who disagree with him on Obamacare by tweeting the following question: "Isn't it ironic that the most ardent opponents of the Affordable Care Act are now complaining that people can't sign up fast enough?"

At first blush, it would appear that Axelrod's tweet might be out of bounds even at MSNBC. Based on the splash which greets those who enter "msnbc.com" in their browser's address bar, you would be wrong:

October 20, 2013, 5:43 PM EDT

A recurring theme at the Los Angeles Times during the past several days has been that the nation's economic and fiscal circumstances really aren't all that bad, and they're getting better under Dear Leader Obama. (Oh, and throw in a healthy dose of "It's Bush's fault" for good measure.)

Lisa Mascaro, with the help of Brian Bennett, David Lauter and Michael A. Memoli, added to that effort late Saturday afternoon. In an item primarily about the politics of the Washington's next scheduled fiscal standoff in mid-December, she did the usual spin on this year's budget deficit (writing that it has "declined rapidly," while conveniently forgetting that this year's shortfall will be higher than any non-Obama deficit in U.S. history). She also gave undue credence based on poor historical accuracy to Congressional Budget Office projections which claim that "the national debt ... is projected to be stable or even declining as a share of the economy well into the next decade." But she ventured beyond the careful but misleading realm of the previous two statements into flat-out falsehood when she wrote: "The country is on a budget trajectory that, while substantially improved from the recent recession ..."

October 20, 2013, 1:13 PM EDT

In a Sunday morning report which tries to put the best possible face on a project which appears to be on track to make the $22 billion "Big Dig" in Massachusetts look like a petty cash disbursement, Juliet Williams at the Associated Press claimed that the $68 billion involved thus far "would span the state." No it wouldn't, unless all of the formerly Golden State north of the San Francisco Bay Area — roughly one-fourth of the state's land mass — were to secede.

Williams also wrote: "Voters in 2008 approved $10 billion in bonds to start construction on an 800-mile rail line to ferry passengers between San Francisco and Los Angeles in 2 hours and 40 minutes." Nope. It's an 800-mile rail "network" (quoting from the state's ballot measure guide) which was supposed to include San Diego to the south (see the top left at Page 6 at the link), and apparently now does not. In other text seen below, she cited that 2008 proposition, which carried by a margin of 52.7% to 47.3%, as evidence that voters "overhelmingly approved" the project.

October 19, 2013, 4:27 PM EDT

The White House is apparently so desperate to pump anything positive about the disaster known as HealthCare.gov that it took a reporter's ability to "set up an account" as proof that the web site is working fine for some users.

Uh, no. Early Thursday afternoon, Ryan Lizza, the Washington correspondent for The New Yorker (also the guy who may have been in the best position to prove that Barack Obama was lying when he said in 2008 that he never read the church bulletins at the Rev. Jeremiah Wright's Trinity United Church of Christ, and passed), tweeted the following: "I just tested http://healthcare.gov for the first time and I was able to set up an account with no trouble." Well, setting up an account is a step, but is hardly the end of a HealthCare.gov user's journey. As seen at Twitchy, that didn't stop White House press secretary Jay Carney and senior communications adviser Tara McGuinness from retweeting Lizza's tweet — except Lizza wasn't done, and got stopped dead in his tracks when he tried to move on:

October 17, 2013, 12:05 PM EDT

The following sentence appeared in a writeup on the ongoing failure known as HealthCare.gov by Politico reporters Kyle Cheney, Jason Millman and Jennifer Haberkorn: "President Barack Obama has gotten surprisingly few questions about the enrollment problems as the country — and Republican critics of the health law — focused on the government shutdown and the debt ceiling battle."

Gosh, President Obama has been in front of the press several times during the shutdown. Whose fault is it that no national establishment press reporter has questioned him about HealthCare.gov? Excerpt from the three Politico stooges' report following the jump (bolds are mine):

October 15, 2013, 11:22 PM EDT

Perhaps the most frustrating aspect of this government shutdown has been the inability of the average person to get a handle on what's really going on.

Outfits like the network evening news shows, the Associated Press, the New York Times and others compose their spin, and almost invariably tilt their coverage towards the Obama administration and Democrats; developments favoring the GOP and conservatives, if mentioned at all, get washed away. Two examples from today of shutdown settlement ideas President Barack Obama rejected will prove the point.