Tom Blumer was 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 was with NewsBusters from December 2005 to July 2018. Along the way, he's had a decades-long career in accounting, finance, training and development.
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On CNN's Reliable Sources on Sunday, Vox.com's Ezra Klein lamented the attention President Donald Trump continues to receive, whining that his rallies and tweets are crowding out "other important issues." Klein wants the establishment press and cable news — by that, he clearly means everyone but Fox — to pay less attention to Trump, even though he effectively admitted that doing so would cause hits to ratings and online traffic (Earth to Ezra: You're in charge of a business). Fox, which is already crushing its rivals, would probably love it if the rest of the press were to follow Klein's suggestion.
In late June, Politico's Josh Gerstein reported that the Associated Press, in a 2017 meeting with FBI and Justice Department officials a month before the appointment of Special Counsel Robert Mueller, had voluntarily "disclosed the existence of a storage locker used by Paul Manafort." A Sunday report by Gerstein further revealed that AP gave FBI-DOJ "a bevy of facts" about Manafort's business dealings. Two internal FBI memos released in Friday court filings documenting that meeting's discussions indicate that the wire service essentially gave the FBI and DOJ a roadmap for investigating and prosecuting Manafort, effectively acting as unpaid informants.
The government's Friday June jobs report showed that the economy gained 213,000 seasonally adjusted payroll jobs, while the nation's unemployment rate increased from 3.8 percent to 4.0 percent, primarily because 601,000 more Americans were in the labor force. Despite the increase in overall joblessness, the rate among Hispanics fell to 4.6 percent, its lowest level in the over 45 years of that statistic's history. Unlike in recent months, during which print and online establishment press outlets have mostly recognized record lows seen in black/African-American unemployment, the press has been very quiet about June's record Hispanic low. This has been particularly true at most of its perceived gatekeepers.
In mid-May, the Associated Press's Ken Thomas devoted over 800 words to the Center for American Progress's "Ideas Conference." Given that level of recognition, one might think that the AP and Thomas might have covered a blatantly false tweet the think tank published Monday about potential Donald Trump Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett by now. Nope.
The New York Times has been obsessed with the idea that Russian "meddling" somehow affected 2016's presidential election results and prevented a Hillary Clinton presidency. The Times has also served as a conduit for several leaks by opponents of President Donald Trump and others who are sympathetic with (or even part of) Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Trump-Russia investigation. So it's more than a little ironic that Times reporter Raymond Zhong, in a Friday report (for Saturday's print edition) covering China's imposition of tariffs on certain U.S. imports, noted with how its tariffs "were chosen to hit President Trump’s supporters" without characterizing them as a clear attempt at election meddling — one with far more potential impact than clumsy attempts at social media manipulation allegedly orchestrated by Russia.
The Free Press Action Fund, the far-left group that lobbied for the just-passed New Jersey "Civic Info Bill," which authorizes $5 million of taxpayer money for "grants to strengthen local news coverage," is getting an underserved but predictable free pass from the establishment press. Two prominent cheerleaders include the Associated Press and CNN's Brian Stelter.
There were two developments Monday in the disgraceful year-long, media-underplayed saga involving threats on Kentucky Republican Senator Rand Paul's life. First, federal prosecutors appealed the 30-day sentence given to Rene Boucher, who violently assaulted Paul in November. Meanwhile, as NewsBusters' Nicholas Fondacro noted in a separate Monday evening post, Capitol Police arrested a man who threatened to kill Paul and “chop up” his family with an ax. Paul has now had three serious threats against his life in just over a year. Media coverage has all too often come off as indifferent and even dismissive, especially concerning the November assault.
Jim Acosta, a legend in his own mind for shouting impertinent questions at President Donald Trump and Press Secretary Sarah Sanders at inappropriate times while insisting that he "won't be shushed" or "be the wallflower," interviewed Congressman Ruben Gallego Monday on CNN's Situation Room about his position on and the wisdom of calls by many Democrats, including three U.S. senators, to abolish the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency. After the Arizona Democrat twice dodged his questions, Acosta, the self-described tough guy, groveled: "I have to ask, I have to pressure you on this, and forgive me, congressman."
The left's paranoia has been quite visible since Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement last week. Now their bigotry is showing, particularly in the case of potential Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett. Monday on MSNBC, Zerlina Maxwell went after Barrett, whom she called "Barnett," for being "very Catholic," and for having spoken to a "hate group." That group is the Alliance Defending Freedom, which has been designated as a "hate group" by the "charlatans" (Tucker Carlson's late-June characterization) at the Southern Poverty Law Center, whose name Maxwell didn't mention.
On Saturday afternoon, Ken Thomas and Jon Gambrell at the Associated Press demonstrated the wire service's chronic resistance to recognizing genuinely good news during the Trump era. The pair pretended in their story about Donald Trump's Saturday conversation with Saudi King Salman that the President could only "claim" that Saudi Arabia has agreed to significantly boost its oil production in response to a tightening in worldwide supplies — even though as soon as Trump tweeted about it, the Saudi news agency confirmed its substance.
We don't even know who President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee will be, but Jennifer Rubin thinks she can prevent his pick from being confirmed by the Senate. Half of her strategy involves telling Maine-headquartered L.L. Bean that it should threaten to "leave Maine" unless Pine Tree State Senator Susan Collins votes against Trump's nominee, and then follow through on that threat if she supports him or her. We'll stop there for a moment to let readers catch their breath.
On Thursday, shortly after news broke of the Capital Gazette massacre in Annapolis, Maryland, Conor Berry, a reporter at the The Republican newspaper in Springfield, Massachusetts, published a tweet which appeared to be serious claiming that the shooter "dropped his #MAGA hat on the newsroom floor before opening fire." Berry, a journalist with 21 years of experience, is now an unemployed journalist, as he resigned on Friday.
Reporters often get basic facts wrong and otherwise embarrass themselves when attempting to explain specifics about guns. This is what happened to Pete Williams at MSNBC Friday morning as he tried to describe shotguns in the aftermath of Thursday's Capital Gazette massacre in Annapolis, Maryland.
With so many possible selections, it's hard to come up with a worst-of list to rank the most pathetic attempts by CNN's Jim Acosta to pose as an oh-so-tough reporter. His Friday stunt, though, was in the upper echelon for its laughable false bravado.
California's Supreme Court unanimously ruled Thursday that the state's legislature can pass a law knowing full well that compliance is impossible. The law in question, as described in the Associated Press's coverage, requires "new models of semi-automatic handguns to stamp identifying information on bullet casings when shots are fired." The underlying law defines any such weapon without this technology as an "unsafe handgun." The AP's Sudhin Thanawala described the law as "unusual." The wire service's headline called it "rare."
Thursday afternoon, in a tweet which has since been deleted, Thomson Reuters Global Editor for "Breakingviews" editor Rob Cox sent out a tweet which directly blamed President Donald Trump for the mass shooting which occurred at the Capital Gazette newspaper's newsroom in Annapolis, Maryland. It read, in part: "Blood is on your hands, Mr. President." In a Thursday evening release about Cox's tweet, Reuters Editor-in-chief Steve Adler stated that "We do not condone his behavior and will take appropriate action."
Snopes.com has once again created fact-check fiction. On Friday, the site's Kim LaCapria contended that the press has "consistently reported" that the girl photographed by Getty Images' John Moore "was never separated from her mother," and that any claim to the contrary is "Mostly False." There is more evidence than one can even hope to chronicle that it is LaCapria's claim which is false.
CNN's Brian Stelter and NRA spokesperson Dana Loesch got into a Twitter spat Monday evening over the press's handling of the story behind Getty Images photographer John Moore's "iconic" photo of a crying 2-year-old little girl at the U.S.-Mexico border. As usual, Loesch wiped the floor with the network's Reliable Sources host. During the back-and-forth, Stelter responded to Loesch's criticism of CNN's original story about the photo by pointing to a sentence stating that "A spokesman for US Customs and Border Protection later told CNN that the girl and her mother were not separated." What he really pointed to was an undisclosed stealth edit the network apparently hoped no one would see.
On June 19, Alec Sears at NewsBusters covered then-New Yorker Magazine "fact-checker" Talia Lavin, who posted a now-deleted tweet about a photo of Justin Gaertner, a combat-wounded war veteran and computer forensic analyst for the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency. She falsely claimed that a tattoo on Gaertner's elbow was a Nazi Iron Cross. Per ICE, it really is a Maltese Cross, the symbol of double amputee Gaertner’s platoon in Afghanistan, Titan 2. Despite her tweet's deletion and her apology, Lavin's subsequent conduct shows that she hasn't learned a thing.
Saturday's New York Times story on President Donald Trump's popularity reads like a tortured liberal's lament. Jeremy Peters is astonished that Trump's support in the Republican Party has grown, and doesn't understand the "protective" reaction to the unhinged attacks on him. The Times reporter also overstated the significance of a tiny drop in reported GOP affiliation in Gallup's long-running poll while ignoring a significant shift in GOP-leaning tendencies among independents.