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
Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Martin Dempsey's told Marth Raddatz on ABC's "This Week" that ISIS fighters got to within 16 miles of Baghdad's airport in Iraq earlier this week. Framing that distance in a way those in the nation's out of touch Beltway political class will understand, that's the driving distance from the U.S. Capitol Building to Tysons Corner Mall in Northern Virginia. The U.S. had to call in Apache helicopters to prevent Iraqi forces from being overrun.
ABC's Benjamin Bell, in preparing his 12:50 p.m. report on the Dempsey interview, saved that startling piece of information for his fourth paragraph and kept it out of his headline. It's almost as if he was hoping that no one will want to watch the report's accompanying video, which is nowhere near as blasé about that news.
Texas Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis's "wheelchair" ad, her latest and most despicable attempt to smear her Republican opponent, Attorney General Greg Abbott, got favorable reviews in a Friday evening column by Jonathan Tilove at the Austin American-Statesman.
Tilove, the Statesman's chief political writer, wrote that the ad provoked "debate about whether it was an act of unseemly desperation or daring inspiration," and asserted that it "breathed new life" into Davis's flagging campaign. Cheerlead much, Jonathan? As seen in the excerpts which follow, Tilove also found a prominent University of Texas at Austin prof who characterized the Davis ad as "ballsy" (bolds and numbered tags are mine):
The federal government's latest fiscal year ended on September 30. The final Monthly Treasury Statement for the fiscal year, will likely be published during the coming week or possibly a few days later.
From time to time, commenters at NewsBusters have pointed that Uncle Sam's reported deficits don't represent the whole story. They are certainly right. While the press is all excited over this week's Monthly Budget Review released by the Congressional Budget Office, which contain an unofficial but probably accurate estimate that the fiscal 2014 budget deficit was "only" $486 billion, the national debt has grown by far more than that.
In covering the latest debate between incumbent Wisconsin Republican Governor Scott Walker and Democratic challenger Mary Burke, the Politico's James Hohmann significantly understated the number of jobs added in the Badger State during Walker's tenure.
Hohmann wrote that "Burke attacked Walker for his 'broken promise' to create 250,000 private sector jobs during his first term. He’s now at a little over 100,000." That's only true if you think that 126,000 is only "a little over" 100,000:
Another day, another dishonest Associated Press headline.
No one realistically expects the AP, aka the Administration's Press, to go after Texas Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis for her vicious ad attacking her opponent, Greg Abbott. The 30-second ad, seen after the jump, denigrates Abbott as a man who sued for millions when he was crippled by a falling tree and then supposedly turned his back on victims as the Lone Star State's Attorney General. That said, it shouldn't be too much — but it apparently is — to expect the AP to avoid presenting headlines which are the direct opposite of reality.
This morning, I received two identical daily briefing emails from USA Today. The subject line was "Life Expectancy in USA Reaches Record High."
As USA Today's web-page version of the email shows, the email body contained no link to or mention of a life-expectancy related article. Giving the paper the benefit of the doubt, I clicked on the email's "5 things you need to know Friday"; it also has nothing on the topic. After searching for and finding Larry Copeland's related article and doing just a little research, it's clear that the news, while indeed a record, is not anywhere near as encouraging as the reporter's cheerleading content would indicate (bolds are mine):
It's disconcerting, and occasionally infuriating, to watch facts originally reported in some national stories disappear or get sanitized in later versions.
What the Associated Press has been doing to its more recent reports on the September 25 beheading of Colleen Hufford in Moore, Oklahoma has moved firmly into the infuriating stage. Several examples after the jump will demonstrate this.
On Tuesday afternoon, a graphic at CNN described Former Obama administration Defense Secretary Leon Panetta as a "former aide."
Tuesday evening Eastern Time, the network, in video seen after the jump, also let long-time Obama loyalist Bill Burton smear Panetta as "sad," "dishonorable," and "small and petty." Burton also came within inches of accusing Panetta of betraying his country because we are now "at a time of a lot of instabilities around the world." It appears not to have dawned on Burton that President Obama's policies have at a minimum created the power vacuums which have caused those "instabilities" to arise.
In a sign that the historical revisionists and Barack Obama legacy builders at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, may have shifted their operation into high gear for the final weeks of the midterm election campaign, Andrew Taylor has written that "Obama inherited a trillion-dollar-plus deficit after the 2008 financial crisis."
The occasion for Taylor's tripe is the Congressional Budget Office's release of its final Monthly Budget Review for fiscal year 2014. In the report, which the AP has almost always ignored in every other month in favor of waiting for the official Monthly Treasury Statement issued shortly thereafter, the CBO estimates that the year's budget deficit will come in at "only" $486 billion. A grab of Taylor's original full five-paragraph blurb, which has since been revised while still containing the "inherited" claim, follows the jump:
Not at the Associated Press, where "a few" can apparently be two, at least when it comes to "fact-checking" President Obama's grandiose claims in his Thursday speech at Northwestern University. Thanks to Obama's primary contention that "it is indisputable that our economy is stronger today than when I took office," any economy-related statistic was fair game for the AP's Christopher Rugaber. But the AP reporter chose only to address two nitty-gritty items, while avoiding any attempt to evaluate Obama's core assertion.
Apparently, Margaret Williams, managing director of the World Wildlife Federation's Arctic program, interpreted that line as "cuckoo-ca-choo," and has gone cuckoo in talking about real walruses in the real world, blaming a large gathering of them on global warming (which hasn't been occurring for 18 years). The Associated Press's Dan Joling apparently left his cuckoo detector at home in reporting on what Ms. Williams had to say. Following the jump, readers will see what resulted from this cuckoo convergence (bolds are mine throughout this post):
The polling partnership of the Associated Press and GfK Public Affairs & Corporate Communications conducted its final pre-early voting survey of the American electorate during the five days ended September 29.
It would be pretty hard to argue against the idea that the polling effort searched for answers it could use, while avoiding getting — or at least publishing — answers it wouldn't like. The best example of this "cleverness" is embodied in whose approval and disapproval numbers the survey chose to disclose.
On Thursday, President Barack Obama did something Republicans have inexplicably been reluctant to do. He nationalized the impending midterm elections by telling a friendly audience at Northwestern University that "I am not on the ballot this fall ... But make no mistake: These policies (of my administration) are on the ballot -- every single one of them."
That evening on Fox News's Special Report hosted by Bret Baier, in video seen after the jump (HT Real Clear Politics), George Will was ready with some facts and a deadly redistributionist riposte on how Obama's policies have worked out in the real world, including in the President's home state, during the past six years:
Yesterday's news that the economy added 248,000 payroll jobs, while the official unemployment rate dropped to 5.9 percent, generated the expected hosannahs from much of the establishment press.
One utterly predictable such writeup came from the Associated Press. The headline at Christopher Rugaber's report, "SURGE OF HIRING CUTS US JOBLESS RATE TO 5.9 PCT," utterly ignored the fact that much of the 0.2-point drop was attributable to 97,000 Americans leaving the workforce (the official rate would not have changed at all from August if a still-unacceptable 100,000 people had instead entered the workforce). The most troubling aspect of Rugaber's dispatch was how he shielded the Federal Reserve and left-dominated economics community from its relatively recent irresponsible decision to accept an unacceptable benchmark as the best the economy can do.
On her Thursday Fox News show, Megyn Kelly interviewed the State Department's Jen Psaki.
Psaki's thankless and impossible task was to defend the administration against former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta's assessment that U.S. troops completely left Iraq too early. Video and the damning portions of the transcript follow the jump:
Bill O'Reilly's opening talking points on his show tonight went after President Obama's claim that the intelligence community underestimated and did not adequately communicate the dangers of ISIS/ISIL in Iraq and Syria with both barrels.
As documented in several NewsBusters posts in the 48-plus hours since Obama's Sunday night "60 Minutes" interview, O'Reilly's no-holds-barred analysis assessment, as seen in the video which follows the jump, is a stark contrast to what has been seen on other broadcast networks:
On Sunday, Trip Gabriel at the New York Times had the thankless task of concocting a report which would somehow make Ohio Democrats feel positive about winning at least one statewide office in November instead of getting skunked, which appears pretty likely at this point.
That's because the campaign of the Dems' gubernatorial candidate, affectionately known as the Wreck That Is Edward FitzGerald, has imploded over the fact that FitzGerald, a former FBI agent, somehow managed to drive without a valid permanent license for ten years. In the course of carrying out her mission — one she should have chosen not to accept — Gabriel made three errors. Two of them involve failing to check out two not-credible claims by Democrats. A third involves a basic fact about Ohio's electoral offices. Two of the three really require Times corrections. We'll see if they are forthcoming.
During the third quarter, Fox News, which has been routinely walloping its cable-news competition for years, was "the most-watched (network during) primetime across all of cable in more than a decade — even besting USA and ESPN."
So says the Hollywood Reporter, which also gets the award for the most delicious (or is it really the most truthful?) typo of the day:
Steve Kroft's interview of Barack Obama was the focus of this past Sunday's episode of "60 Minutes" on CBS. It has become noteworthy primarily because of Obama's statement that U.S. intelligence agencies "underestimated what had been taking place in Syria." As several previous NewsBusters posts have shown (examples here, here, here, and here), the press is working mightily to minimize how the intelligence community and the Pentagon are pushing back, hotly disputing the President's assertion.
Another noteworthy development is that the network's audience for the Obama interview was down 69 percent in the 18-49 demographic from the show's previous episode. The vast majority of press reports noting the ratings slide, as compiled by Kristinn Taylor over at Gateway Pundit, are not mentioning that it was Obama's show.
A number of center-right and New Media outlets have noted Politico Magazine's disingenuousness in the opening photograph in its "Race and the Modern GOP" article.
At the item's top is the iconic "Stand in the Schoolhouse Door" photo showing onetime segregationist Alabama Governor George Wallace "try(ing) to block the entry of two black students" into the University of Alabama. The aforementioned article title appears beneath the words "History Dept." The magazine is clearly trying to lead anyone not old enough to remember or anyone unfamiliar with U.S. history to believe that Wallace, who ran for president as a Democrat in 1964 and 1976 and as an Independent in 1968 and 1972, was a Republican. The writeup by Doug McAdam and Karen Kloos waits a dozen mostly long paragraphs before finally tagging Wallace as a Democrat.