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Friday, July 13, 2018
White Nationalist Links Cost Blumer His NewsBusters Gig
Topic: NewsBusters

Well, that was quick.

Earlier this week, Media Matters discovered that a 2015 NewsBusters post by contributing editor Tom Blumer linked to an article on the white nationalist site American Renaissance stating in part that "my experience has also taught me that blacks are different by almost any measure to all other people. They cannot reason as well. They cannot communicate as well. They cannot control their impulses as well. They are a threat to all who cross their paths, black and non-black alike." Blumer also linked in a 2017 post to white nationalist site VDARE, benignly suggesting that it is a "center-right" operation.

NewsBusters has since deleted the links and added editor's notes to both posts noting the deletion, adding to one post, "NewsBusters does not associate with known white nationalists." Blumer has not written any new posts since the story broke, despite near-daily contributions before that; he apparently has been fired, as his NewsBusters author bio page now speaks of him in the past tense, calling him a "former contributing editor."

The thing is, Blumer's white-nationalist leanings should not have been a surprise to NewsBusters. Did nobody at the MRC edit his posts and double-check his links? Are they not aware that AmRen and VDARE are white nationalist websites? Blumer's post apparently don't get a lot of editorial scrutiny, given that we've devoted two articles to their shaky logic and general cluelessness about how the media works.

NewsBusters should have known, especially since it had to edit a post to tamp down some of Blumer's more racially inflammatory claims.

As we documented, NewsBusters published a 2016 post by Blumer in which he tried to argue that a poll showing Trump supporters are more likely to believe that blacks are more “lazy” than whites, “less intelligent” than whites, more “rude” than whites, more “violent” than whites and more “criminal” than whites somehow doesn't indicate racist beliefs. The original version of the post on Blumer's BizzyBlog site went even further, desperately trying to blame those conditions regarding blacks on liberal meddling, insisting that "Those who have seen the difference in behavior in real life are going to regretfully agree, without any hint of racism, that blacks in 2016 America on the whole [engage in a particular undesirable behavior] than non-blacks, as much as they sincerely wish it were not so" and that Trump supporters are simply "more willing to recognize those realities."

It's a delicate bit of needle-threading that fails because it still comes off as racist, and NewsBusters should never have published it in the first place -- or, at least, it should have sent up a red flag about the rest of Blumer's content. But given that NewsBusters' editing of Blumer has been on the lax side -- as the direct white-nationalist links show -- he was given a pass that it seems has not been earned.

As of this writing, Blumer hasn't noted his dismissal from NewsBusters on his personal blog, and NewsBusters itself hasn't mentioned it beyond changing his author bio to the past tense. NewsBusters should, however, publicly explain the editorial process that allowed a link to a white nationalist website making explicitly racist statements to get through in the first place, not to mention remaining live for three years.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:43 PM EDT
Thursday, July 5, 2018
NewsBusters' Sports Blogger Freaks Out (Again) Over ESPN Mag's Body Issue
Topic: NewsBusters

Mysterious NewsBusters sports blogger Jay Maxson generally has two modes of operation: Colin Kaepernick derangement and ESPN derangement. Last year, he engaged in a massive form of the latter by freaking out over ESPN The Magazine's "body issue" featuring naked athletes but carefully shot to avoid showing naughty bits -- despite no record of ever complaining about Sports Illustrated's swimsult issue.

Maxson rectified that with his June 25 rant about this year's "body issue," in which he declares that it's worse than SI's swimsuit issue despite the fact the swimsult models aren't even athletes:

It's a well-known fact that ESPN doesn't always stick to sports. And this week The Worldwide Leader in (Liberal and Naked) Sports will prove again that it doesn't always stick to clothed athletes either. ESPN is unveiling—disrobing is a better word choice—its 10th edition of the Body Issue (online and in its magazine), and 16 current and former athletes will be featured without a stitch of clothing. For the past few days, the network website has been titillating viewers by featuring nude photos from an archive of the past nine years of body issues.

Apparently our sex-drenched culture needs one more media outlet appealing to people's prurient interests. Swimsuits and faux swimsuits painted on models sells magazines and gets clicks for Sports Illustrated. ESPN one-downs SI by featuring completely buck naked athletes to raise viewership during the dog days of summer. No privates are visible on these immodest athletes; those are covered by side views and arms and legs, allowing the athletes to run, jump and cavort about with no fabric restraints at all.

He's particularly incensed about pictures of "rainbow athletes," such as two female pro basketball athletes "who are dating," complete with a sneering reference to "the world's most famous Olympic bronze medalist, Adam Rippon." (The MRC hates Adam Rippon.)

Maxson then tried to link the "body issue" to allegations of sexual harassment against ESPN employees, telling ESPN that if one allegation goes to trial, "you might want to downplay the Body Issue." But Maxon offers no proof of a link between the two that exists outside his fevered, nudity-addled brain.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:42 PM EDT
Wednesday, June 20, 2018
MRC's Double Standard on Pedantry
Topic: NewsBusters

In a June 7 MRC NewsBusters post, P.J. Gladnick bashed CNN's Jim Acosta as "a pedant on steroids" for pointing out that President Trump didn't get his facts quite correct when he said to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau that Canadians burned down the White House during the War of 1812. Gladnick was quick to declare that "Trump was right" -- even though he also conceded that Canada was not an independent country at the time and the White House was burned by British-led troops. Still, he felt the need to rail against "over-zealous fact-checkers."

Speaking of pedantic, overzealous fact-checkers, Gladnick appears not to have noticed that his NewsBusters colleague, Tom Blumer, was exactly that a couple days earlier. First, he complained that the Associated Press said the Supreme Court "narrowly" ruled in the case of a Colorado baker who refused to bake a cake for a same-sex marraige, asserting that, since the vote was 7-2 and not 5-4,  "the justification for this characterization is thin"-- even though the ruling applied only in this particular case and refused to address the larger issue of discrimination for religious reasons.

Blumer then went even more pedantic by attacking the AP for describing said narrowness by writing that ""the big issue in the case, whether a business can refuse to serve gay and lesbian people," has not been decided:

The AP wants readers to believe, based on its use of "whether," that it's likely that future courts will rule that providers of good and services can never refuse to serve gays and lesbians under any circumstances. The Court has clearly stated that "religious and philosophical objections" represent clear and legitimate exceptions to that otherwise true statement, allaying fears that its 2015 Obergefell v. Hodges same-sex marriage ruling might be used to banish any right to exercise those objections, or even express them, out of the public square.

The AP should have written that "the big issue in the case, when (i.e., under what circumstances) a business can refuse to serve gay and lesbian people on religious and philosophical grounds," remains undecided. It appears that the degree to which those objections can be "limited" is far smaller than state and local so-called "civil-rights" enforcers had assumed.

Blumer apparently won't admit that discrimination on religious and philosophical grounds is still discrimination, and that the AP's wording, while a little too broad for Blumer's taste, is accurate.

So it seems pedantry is perfectly fine at the MRC -- as long as it's done in service to its ideological agenda.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:09 PM EDT
Wednesday, June 6, 2018
NewsBusters Blogger Oblivious To Fact His Fellow Bloggers Root For NY Times' Demise
Topic: NewsBusters

Randy Hall complains in a May 26 NewsBusters post that "wildly liberal" New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio said he "will not shed a tear" if the conservataive New York Post goes out of business. Hall added: "It’s always refreshing when liberals join conservatives in having an adversarial relationship with those in the press. Of course, the Democrats often hope their enemies go under while Republicans don’t take such a hostile view of their adversaries."

First: As we've noted, if the Post were subject to the normal laws of supply and demand, the Post would have gone out of business years ago. It has lost money for decades and stays in business only becasuse its owner, Rupert Murdoch and News Corp. (also owner of Fox News) wants a New York newspaper presence.

Second: Hall has apparently not been reading the website that publishes him. The MRC enjoys rooting for media outlets it doesn't like to go out of business. For example, here's how it cheers for the failure of that other NYC paper, the New York Times:

  • In 2008, Tom Blumer gloated over the low stock price of what he mockingly called "Manhattan's quaint little alternative paper" and insisting that the market thought the paper to be "worse than worthless." Blumer declared that "There's a steep price to pay for insufferable bias, and NYT's shareholders are paying it" and that "The market is telling the company's shareholders that they'd be better off hanging on to the Red Sox and their interest in the headquarters building -- and shuttering or selling off whatever they can of everything else."
  • In 2009, Blumer further chortled over the New York Times Co.'s suspension of its quarterly dividend, sneering: "Perhaps we have arrived at the point many predicted would come to pass: The 'venerable' New York Times may no longer be the national newspaper of record."
  • That same year, Stephen Gutowski highlighted a right-wing blogger writing that "it's possible to take some" joy over the Times' financial problems and seemed giddy at the adea that "analysts give [the Times] less than a year to survive."
  • And Noel Sheppard was even more giddy at the idea of "the end of his paper being one of the leading proponents of socialism in a capitalist democracy. One can dream, right?"

Of course, the Times survived that financial crisis and is now a money-maker, remained influential, and its stock is doing fine -- much to the chagrin of NewsBusters and its Media Research Center parent. Perhaps Hall should be a little more attentive.


Posted by Terry K. at 4:05 PM EDT
Friday, May 18, 2018
NewsBusters Blogger Whines That MSNBC Won't Promote Fox News
Topic: NewsBusters

Randy Hall whines in a May 9 NewsBusters post:

While observing World Press Freedom Day on May 3, MSNBC aired an advertisement encouraging viewers to watch not just that liberal channel, but also follow more than 25 other left-leaning sources and newspapers while not mentioning Fox, the most-watched news network on cable TV.

[...]

On the print side, it included newspapers as The GuardianFinancial Times, USA Today, The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Sun-Times, Baltimore Sun, Philadelphia Enquirer, Florida's Sun Sentinel, The Daily Press (Newport News, VA), the Sun (Naperville, Illinois), and the New York Daily News.

Also mentioned were BBC News, the global Inter Press Service and magazines like New York Magazine, The New Yorker,  and The Atlantic.

The closest the advertisement to conservative outlets were the Wall Street Journal and National Review.

But Hall never proves that any -- let alone all -- of these outlets are "left-leaning." Apparently, he's just parroting the MRC's propganda that any media outlet that's not as far to the right as Fox News is "liberal." And his suggestion that the Wall Street Journal (owned by Fox News' Rupert Murdoch) and National Review are merely close to conservative and not actually conservative is ridiculous.

Hall spends the rest of his post complaining that the MSNBC ad didn't offer Fox News as an option. But he didn't note whether Fox News ran a similar ad to mark World Press Freedom Day -- probably because if it had, it almost certainly wouldn't have told people to watch MSNBC. Does Hall really think otherwise?


Posted by Terry K. at 1:44 PM EDT
Friday, April 20, 2018
MRC's NewsBusters Is Getting Conspiracy-Happy Again
Topic: NewsBusters

The Media Resarch Center's newfound love of conspiracy theories continues in a March 31 NewsBusters post by Tom Blumer complaining that normal people in the media didn't see the same conspiracy theories he did:

On Thursday, shortly after Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that he would not appoint a second special counsel, CNN's Jeffrey Toobin agreed with the decision, claiming that "as far as I could tell, most of the accusations against the FBI are lunatic conspiracy theories."

That would lead one to question why Toobin didn't complain about having an inspector general and federal prosecutor John Huber look into these matters. The fact is that there is enough evidence of a conspiracy and coverup to justify some form of inquiry — and Toobin, in his heart of hearts, should know that.

After detailing how people in the FBI really are conspiring against Donald Trump and doing things that are totally real and not conspiracy theories at all, Blumer huffed: "Toobin's contention, properly viewed, and regardless of the appropriateness of Sessions' decision not to engage a second special counsel, appears to be part of a real conspiracy — that of the establishment press to keep the truth from the American people."

So the people calling out conspiracy theories are the real conspirators. Got it.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:29 PM EDT
Tuesday, April 10, 2018
Tom Blumer Hasn't Corrected His NewsBusters Post Yet
Topic: NewsBusters

Tom Blumer harrumphed in a March 11 NewsBusters post:

Leftists finally think (erroneously) they have a game-changing incident involving a Border Patrol apprehension of an illegal immigrant.

A week ago, Perla Morales-Luna was arrested in front of her crying daughters in National City, California. Someone videotaped the incident. The video has gone viral. What most early press reports failed to note, or buried deep in their stories, is that the woman refused to be taken peacefully and in private. One unusual exception was a Friday evening Associated Press story.

[...]

AP reporter Elliot Spagat clearly decided not to describe Morales-Luna's alleged involvement in human smuggling as, well, human smuggling.

Blumer went on to grouse that "given the alleged crime ... it's hard to imagine that this story will change many minds."

But the facts have overtaken Blumer's superior tone. Actual news organizations note that Morales-Luna -- who has been in the U.S. for more than 20 years and has no criminal record -- has been released from custody while her case is being processed, and federal officials are not charging her in relation to human smugging.

As has been the case with such things at NewsBusters and its parent, the Media Research Center, Blumer's post has not been updated or corrected, and no other NewsBusters post updates the story.


Posted by Terry K. at 7:48 PM EDT
Saturday, February 24, 2018
Add Art and Art History To The Things NewsBusters' Blumer Doesn't Understand
Topic: NewsBusters

We've documented how WorldNetDaily and the Media Research Center went into a calculated freakout of a couple of paintings of women holding severed heads done by Kehinde Wiley, painter of the official portraits of Barack and Michelle Obama, refusing to acknowledge their context as reinterpretations of classic Renaissance-era art themes.

Now, NewsBusters blogger Tom Blumer feels the need to share his ignorant take on the situation:

MRCTV's Brittany M. Hughes reported Monday that Kehinde Wiley, Barack Obama's official portrait artist, previously created two paintings of black women holding white women's severed heads, making him the art world's equivalent of Donald Trump severed-head comedienne Kathy Griffin. Additionally, Wiley, described in New York Magazine as "possibly the wealthiest painter of his generation," outsources much of "his" painting to China to "cut costs." Establishment press coverage has virtually ignored these components of Wiley's background, but their descriptions of Obama's involvement in selecting him reveal his almost certain awareness of the artist's full portfolio.

[...]

Revelations that a foreign country-outsourcing portrait artist for a white president had created paintings showing severed heads of blacks would dominate the news cycle for days.

And if Wiley was the portrait artist for a white president, Blumer would be praising his outsourcing as a prime example of capitalism in action.

Blumer already doesn't understand how the media works, so it's no surprise he doesn't understand art or art history either.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:15 AM EST
Thursday, February 15, 2018
MRC Still Trying to Push Gay Conversion Therapy
Topic: NewsBusters

The Media Research Center has a thing about insisting that gay conversion therapy works, despite the lack of any scientific evidence to back it up. The latest to try it is Robert Oscar Lopez, an instructor at Southern Baptist Seminary, in a Jan. 18 NewsBusters post complaining about coverage of the issue.

Lopez complained about the "cliched and vague styles" used by critics of the therapy, then pushes the unsupported claim that apparently all gay people were sexually abused:

The U.S. Dept. of Justice reports that 17% of males are sexually abused as minors, overwhelmingly by other males. Nobody claims that 17% of all men are gay, so tens of millions of men will have homosexual history but not necessarily a homosexual future. One must wonder if “authentic” or “loving” policies should silence discussion with such men about their conflicted feelings and anger over what has happened. Many, including therapists and former homosexuals whom I have interviewed (see here, here, here, and here) see a valuable message to offer such individuals: the act of abuse does not define them forever.

Nor should a entire group of people be dismissed as abuse victims as a way to deny their sexual identity, but Lopez missed that part.

From there, Lopez attacked a Univision report on conversion therapy for not conforming to anti-gay attitudes:

[Anchor Ilia] Calderón’s characterization of the issue starts out by implicitly accepting the often-repeated claim that homosexuality is an “orientation” - a part of a person’s identity like race, sex, or religion. Experts still have no strong evidence from science or cultural history. Direct testimonials vary. Some people never changed their sexual patterns while others who engaged in homosexual activity went on to live normal heterosexual lives (I count among the latter.) Neither Calderón nor Univision correspondent Danay Rivero acknowledge in their reporting the fact that many who seek “conversion therapy” suffered trauma or want to overcome obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors that are themselves harmful.

Univision’s Rivero interviews Dr. Lisset Ivery, who contends that reparative therapy is “very harmful” since “from infancy as a child you already begin to form your gender identity…and if the person is having some psychological disorder, then what you do is identify the disease that the person is suffering.”

Rivero also interviews pro-gay conversion ban Arianna Linto, a “Trans-Latina activist” who in her interview mentions that almost 41% of suicides by LGBTs are by people who have mental problems.

Both Ivery’s and Linto’s claims are disputable. Even if we accepted them, the Broward ban makes little sense. Such a high rate of mental problems co-existing with LGBT lifestyles looks rather like co-morbidity. It would seem that new policy actions should focus on changing whatever this network of individuals does that causes so much dysfunction and unhappiness.

Interestingly, Univisión’s report centers around the case of a self-described trans schizophrenic, Kathy Morón who says she has tried to kill herself twice. It is unclear why Broward County would in effect want to only surround Morón with people whose suicide rates and mental health pose so much danger.

Missing from Univision’s report? Perspective from experts like David Pickup, a well-known reparative therapist in Dallas and co-plaintiff in the federal case, Vazzo v. the City of Tampa, suing over a similar ban. In an interview with MRC Latino, Pickup said Americans cannot promote inclusion, protection, authenticity, or love by banning and penalizing people who help clients deal with unwanted homosexual feelings. Instead, Pickup sees such laws as violations of free trade, parents’ rights, patients’ rights, and religious rights.

Lopez doesn't seem to consider the possibility that gays have more mental problems because of societal ostracization for their orientation, not to mention people like himself who would like to force highly questionable conversion therapy on them.

Lopez goes on to claim that "Pickup describes himself as an authentic reparative therapist, as opposed to the quackery so often reported and vilified by the liberal media." Actually, Pickup does engage in quackery; not only is he a board member of the virulently anti-gay group NARTH (as highlighted on his own website), he was (and maybe is) a senior staff member for the Mankind Project, which runs a purported "New Warriors Training Program" conversion therapy program that involves participants going naked at one point to affirm their masculinity, or something.

Lopez then insists -- again without basis -- that Hispanic boys are more likely to turn gay because there aren't enough men around, thus purportedly making them prey for gay recruiters:

Also lost in their coverage is the special risk to their target audience:  Latinos are more likely than non-Latino whites to be fatherless, incarcerated, or in placement by Child Protective Services. These are situations that tend to coincide with less than constant supervision and potential misconduct by a high-risk individual who can get them alone (for example, a mother’s boyfriend).

In other words, they are more likely to be in situations where they could experience same-sex abuse and might need a therapist like David Pickup to assist them in avoiding lifelong behaviors that would allow their abusers to force on them a homosexual life they do not, and should not, want for themselves.

We'll pass on Pickup's so-called therapy, and so should everyone else. We'll also pass on Lopez's self-published anti-gay gay erotica (a cover of which is pictured above).


Posted by Terry K. at 10:02 PM EST
Tuesday, February 13, 2018
MRC Blogger Gets Vague About Why People Are Calling Tennis Player Alt-Right
Topic: NewsBusters

The mysterious Jay Maxson tried to work up a little anger in a Jan. 24 MRC NewsBusters post:

Tennys Sandgren, the 97th-ranked men's tennis player in the world, just pulled off the greatest victory of his life in the Australian Open. He took out No. 5 seed Dominic Thiem in five sets Monday. The huge upset moved Sandgren into the quarterfinals with some of the great names of tennis, including Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer. That alone should have been the big story, but instead liberal media checked out his social media, branded him "alt-right" and ganged up on him.

During the press conference after upsetting Theim, an unidentified Aussie reporter ambushed Sandgren about his alleged social media ties to the alt-right:

“Tennys, the rise in your profile has drawn attention to your social media output, which includes some political figures who might be considered outside the mainstream. Yeah, there was a #Pizzagate exchange at some point, and I just wondered if you were concerned about having yourself connected to some of these controversial figures.”

Sandgren found the question amusing and laughed. The reporter continued the questioning, asking him about various conspiracy theories and people identified as alt-right. Sandgren denied he's alt-right and responded:

"I mean, no. I'm not concerned about it. It's fine, it's fine. Look, who you follow on Twitter I feel like doesn't matter even a little bit. What information you see doesn't dictate what you think or believe. I think it's crazy to think that. I think it's crazy to assume that, to say, 'Oh well he's following X person so he believes all the things that this person believes.' I think that's ridiculous."

Sandgren added that he's "a firm Christian" whose allegiance is for "Christ and following Him and that's what I support."

Maxson, however, is a little on the vague side about exactly what Sandgren tweeted that made the media (correctly) think he's alt-right, stating only that his Twitter account had "numerous links to right-wing ideologues" and that he "had engaged with people spreading misinformation portraying Hillary Clinton as a Satan-worshiping occultist, and 'Pizzagate, a similarly baseless conspiracy theory hoax that Clinton was connected to a pizzeria child sex ring.'"

In fact, Sandgren said in a tweet that he had read "everything" about Pizzagate and concluded: "It's sickening and the collective evidence is too much to ignore." And he went far beyond merely "engaging with" people spreading the occult stuff about Hillary (which may be the first time the MRC admitted something bad about Hillary is "misinformation"); he effectively endorsed it by claiming that people don't know what to do with it. Or they are concocting a way to make it sound not so bad."

Instead of telling us the full details of Sandgren's tweets, Maxson whined that he was "ambushed" with questions about it and that one blogger "is now labeling Sandgren a 'Pizzagate Truther' and castigating him for believing in 'fake news.'"-- a contention Maxson never disputes.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:08 AM EST
Saturday, January 20, 2018
NewsBusters Blogger Gives Trump Credit for Black Unemployment Trend Started Under Obama
Topic: NewsBusters

We've noted how NewsBusters blogger Tom Blumer is loath to give President Obama credit for creating the economy whose coattails President Trump is currently riding. He does so again in a Jan. 12 post:

The seasonally adjusted black unemployment rate in December was 6.8 percent, the first time that rate has ever fallen below 7 percent. A look at the monthly detail for all 46 years of available data shows that the previous lows were 7.0 percent, seen in both April 2000 and September 2017.

No other month during 1999 or 2000, the last time black unemployment dipped to historically low levels, came in under 7.3 percent. Almost no one knows that 2017 contains four of the five lowest reported monthly black unemployment rates on record: June's 7.1 percent, September's 7.0 percent, November's 7.2 percent, and December's 6.8 percent.

Digging further, December's raw unemployment rate of 6.3 percent (before seasonal adjustments) is by far the lowest December on record. The previous December low was 6.9 percent in 2000.

It's hard to imagine that the Big Three networks would have failed to report this remarkable story if it had occurred during Barack Obama's presidency.

Blumer fails to acknowledge, however, that most of that did happen under Obama. As the graph of seasonally adjusted black unemployment that illustrates Blumer's post illustrates, black unemployment has been on a steady downward trend since 2012.

Nevertheless, Blumer continued ranting:

The black unemployment rate in January 2009, the surveys for which were conducted a week before his inauguration, was 12.7 percent. Despite trillions of dollars of so-called stimulus from record federal budget deficits and over $4 trillion in unprecedented "money-from-nothing" quantitative easing by the Federal Reserve, the black unemployment rate at first just kept on rising, peaking at 16.8 percent in March 2010. It didn't move permanently below 15 percent until early 2012, didn't stay below the 12.7 percent Obama "inherited" until November 2013, and didn't get below 11.3 percent, the previous decade's pre-recession peak, until September 2014, almost seven years after Obama he was inaugurated. By that time, white unemployment was only 5.1 percent. That's a lot of suffering.

Blumer doesn't mention it despite his inclusion of another graph partially illustrating the fact, but black employment has always been roughly twice as high as white unemployment, and that gap typically increases in times of recession, which the first part of the Obama presidency inarguably was. Yet Blumer just can't credit Obama for the drop in black unemployment in the last half of his presidency.

As before with the economic numbers, Blumer cites no specific policy that has earned Trump the right to take credit for the current low in black unemployment.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:14 AM EST
Thursday, January 11, 2018
NewsBusters Blogger Pretends Trump Isn't Riding Coattails of Obama's Economy
Topic: NewsBusters

Tom Blumer, in a Dec. 29 NewsBusters post, is very upset that a Politico article would point out the obvious and note that the good economic numbers President Trump is taking credit for are a continuation of the grtowing economy under President Obama:

So Trump supposedly inherited reasonably strong or tolerable growth, job creation, wages, and stock market performance. That's all so wrong it's very hard for me to keep from laughing.

Let's also be clear, because the Politico pair aggressively tried to muddy the waters with meaningless comparisons to Obama's first year: What matters is what kind of momentum and accumulated damage Obama bequeathed to his successor. It's clear that Trump got an unprecedented amount of the latter, principally a mountainous national debt, massive over-regulation, and the monstrosity known as Obamacare, and very little of the former, which will be discussed in the rest of this post.

Start with growth. Our 44th president's economy turned in average annualized growth of 1.5 percent during his administration's final six quarters:

Exactly how is the growth of above 3 percent seen in the second and third quarters of this year "squarely built" on six quarters of growth which averaged barely half of that? The obvious answer is that it isn't. (Who "owns" the first quarter of 2017 is subject to debate, but if one thinks it belongs to Obama, then the seven-quarter average rounds down to 1.5 percent.)

We also should not forget that several economists were trying to manage expectations for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's continuation of Obama's high-regulation, slow-growth economy by claiming that the best level of growth the U.S. economy could achieve would be 2 percent from here on out.

Now let's look at job creation. The Politico pair overlooked two important things.

The first is that there has been a decided change in the mix of full-time and part-time jobs added this year compared to 2016 — and it has been towards full-time employment:

The clear shift towards full-time employment is an indication of greater business confidence in the Trump administration after it inherited a business environment sorely lacking it.

The second is that the government may be understating this year's level of job creation. That's because ADP's private-sector jobs estimate shows 2.296 million jobs added during the first 11 months of the year, which is 422,000 more than the 1.874 million reported by the government's Bureau of Labor Statistics. If ADP is right — and it may very well be, because its methodology appears to give it a better chance of detecting job creation at startup and emerging companies on a timely basis than BLS — the difference of roughly 38,000 jobs per month would bring Trump's monthly average per the Establishment Survey of employer payrolls to 212,000, well above the 2016 average of 187,000.

As to wages, increases in average hourly pay haven't improved, but thanks to the heavier concentration of full-time jobs, the average work week has nudged up a bit, leading to a larger increase in average weekly pay during the past 12 months than that seen during calendar 2016:

To be clear, this year's performance in this area hasn't been satisfactory, but it's an improvement, especially compared to the 2.3 percent compound growth in weekly earnings seen during the last six years of the Obama administration.

[...]

Thus, it's obvious that Donald Trump inherited no meaningful "legacy" of economic momentum from Barack Obama. Though Politico reporters White and Cook, and others in the establishment press, will no doubt continue brazenly pretending otherwise, no one should be fooled.

For all of Blumer's bluster, at no point does he name any specific economic policy detail Trump has implemented that he can directly attribute to the improved 2017 numbers. That tells us Blumer just can't admit that it really is Obama's economic momentum for which Trump is taking credit.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:15 PM EST
Thursday, November 30, 2017
NewsBusters Blogger Wants To See IRS Non-Scandal Drag On, Just Because
Topic: NewsBusters

Tom Blumer just doesn't know when to give up on a scandal.

he devoted a Nov. 24 NewsBusters post to being outraged about a Bloomberg View op-ed by Francis Wilkinson proclaiming the IRS controversy over alleged targeting of right-wing groups seeking tax exemptions to be nothingburger it was. Blumer first goes the ad hominem route, denigrating the op-ed's writer as a "career leftist" who once worked for a "Democratic media firm." But the evidence he cites comes from an anonymous "longtime Tea Party activist" and a guy so obsessed with the non-scandal that he posted articles about itfor "1,353 striaght days." Blumer offers no evidence why his partisans are any more trustworthy than the op-ed writer.

Never mind that the so-called scandal effectively ended four years ago, when the IRS admitted that the groups were targeted -- not for their political bias, but because of a flood of applications for tax-exempt status between 2010 and 2012. Blumer rants insteadabout alleged stonewalling that led several congressional committees to fail to find evidence:

The failure to produce evidence occurred because, as just noted, they made every attempt to either destroy it or withhold it. Of course, Wilkinson never mentioned the IRS's obstruction and evidence destruction.

Enough evidence to matter is still available, which explains why the IRS scandal's conspirators are still stonewalling and attempting to enlist the assistance of the courts to keep that evidence under wraps.

Blumer didn't mention that those congressional committees are controlled by Republicans, and if there was actually something there, they could have easily  found something -- anything -- to destroy the IRS with. But Obama's not president anymore, and raging against the IRS doesn't have the same political juice when there's a Republican in the White House.

Curiously, Blumer didn't mention the report issued in September by the Treasury Department's inspector general, which pointed out that liberal-leaning groups were also singled out for more scrutiny and that the IRS had changed its procedures in that area.

In other words, there's really nothing left to investigate. Yet Blumer wants it to drag on anyway for no apparently reason other than political retaliation and pursuit of a nonexistent conspiracy. Sad, isn't it?


Posted by Terry K. at 4:41 PM EST
Friday, November 10, 2017
MRC's Double Standard on News Outlets Using Fusion GPS
Topic: NewsBusters

NewsBusters' Tom Blumer uses a Nov. 4 post to go on a major tirade over oppo-research group Fusion GPS and its hiring by the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign:

Now that Hillary Clinton has admitted that her campaign and the Democratic National Committee — which we now know her campaign totally controlled beginning in August 2015 — paid Fusion GPS for the infamous Trump-Russia dossier, it's long past time that people understand the full scope of what that firm, which has been serially misrepresented as just another "opposition research" outlet, has done to change the media landscape.

Don't count on the establishment press to do it, because, as we'll see, Fusion has played a major role in corrupting their determination of what "news" is, how it gets covered — and how it gets covered up.

[...]

Fusion doesn't just hand over what it finds to its clients. It actively works to place stories with reporters desperate for scoops they'll never find on their own. Their related dispatches almost invariably claim that their stories came from anonymous sources.

[...]

The overarching point here is that when a political campaign or a client engages Fusion GPS, it is not merely looking for "opposition research."

Hillary Clinton outsourced a key component of her campaign's communications effort to a group of news manipulators and smear merchants. Her campaign concealed that arrangement, and intended to keep it permanently away from public scrutiny, by funneling payments to Fusion GPS through the campaign's law firm. (In the Venezuelan matter noted above, "Fusion GPS says being paid by a law firm means all paperwork about their work ... (was) covered by attorney-client privilege.")

The very act of hiring Fusion GPS indicates that Hillary Clinton and her campaign intended to smear Donald Trump and his campaign with accusations — even if false — about their involvement or "collusion" with Russia. This determination, apparently shared by the lame-duck Obama administration's FBI, continued even after she lost the general election a year ago.

For all this ranting about Fusion GPS' media work, exactly none of his ire is directed at the right-wing media outlet that hired Fusion GPS to look into Republican presidential candidates, including Trump, in the first place: the Washington Free Beacon.Blumer only referenced it in passing by quoting from an article admitting that Republican funder Peter Singer "hired the firm on behalf of the Washington Free Beacon to do research on all of the GOP candidates during the primary, including Trump."

Despite Blumer effectively conceding this inconvenient fact, he does not criticize the Free Beacon for laundering the work of an oppo-research firm through its "journalism" operation. He does not call out the Free Beacon for being among the "news manipulators and smear merchants" who made use of Fusion GPS research while failing to disclose it was hired to do exactly that. And Blumer does not declare the Free Beacon to be a political operation hiding behind a scrim of "journalism."

Just another example of how the Media Research Center has different standards for right-wing media than it does for regular media.


Posted by Terry K. at 6:09 PM EST
Monday, September 25, 2017
MRC Blogger Doesn't Know Who John Legend Is
Topic: NewsBusters

Media Research Center blogger Jay Maxson already has a severe case of Colin Kaepernick Derangement Syndrome -- and it's getting worse.

Maxson went on a tirade in a Sept. 24 NewsBusters post against a post at Slate defending football players' kneeling protests, written by John Legend:

NFL protests have given the liberal media a newfound "appreciation" of patriotism and the Constitution. Media covering this movement suffer from selective amnesia about U.S. history, however. Slate's John Legend is a protest apologist and historical revisionist as well who strains credibility.

In his blog today, Legend argues "The NFL Protests are Patriotic." He writes, "The president of the United States loves to drape himself in the symbols of patriotism, but fails to respect the ideals at the core of our Constitution and national identity. Trump may love the flag, but he doesn’t love anything it’s supposed to stand for."

Legend then proceeds to launch into historical revisionism, if not downright fantasy.

[...]

The Slate progressive asks if there would have been a Civil Rights Act without the Birmingham protests when Bull Connor unleashed dogs and firehoses on Black children. Legend skips over the fact that Connor was a Democrat. Would the Act have passed without Republican support? No. Democrats Al Gore Sr. and Robert Byrd were among the 21 Democrats who voted against civil rights, but Legend gives credit for it anyway to President Kennedy and President Johnson.

Maxson seems to be unaware that Legend is not a staff writer at Slate. As the bio link to his name states: "John Legend is a 10-time Grammy Awards winner, an Academy and Tony awards winner, philanthropist, and founder of the FREEAMERICA campaign."

Also, in trying to hang Bull Connor and opposition to civil rights in the 1960s on the entire Democratic Party, Maxson conveniently fails to mention that this opposition was the last gasp of anti-integration southern Democrats in the party, and that Democrats who opposed the party's endorsement of civil rights eventually became Republican.

In other words, the Democratic Party of the 1960s is not the party of today. So who's engaging in historical revisionism again?

If Maxson can't figure out something as basic as who John Legend is, we can probably assume that the rest of his hateful ranting is just as ignorant.


Posted by Terry K. at 8:01 PM EDT

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