Tom Blumer Gets NewsBusted
The blogger was fired from the Media Research Center-operated NewsBusters after white nationalist links were discovered in his posts. But what about the MRC editors who let those links go through in the first place?
By Terry Krepel
The MRC moved with surprising swiftness to the news: NewsBusters 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 was apparently 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, and that they were at the time of the original posts? Blumer's posts apparently don't get a lot of editorial scrutiny before going live; after all, ConWebWatch has devoted two articles to the shaky logic and general cluelessness about how the media works Blumer has exhibited in his NewsBusters work.
There is no way that the MRC could not have seen this coming -- especially since it had to edit a post to tamp down some of Blumer's more racially inflammatory claims.
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. As ConWebWatch documented, 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 failed because it still comes off as racist, and NewsBusters should never have published it in the first place -- or, at the very 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.
NewsBusters never publicly addressed Blumer's dismissal beyond changing his author bio to the past tense. (Blumer has so far declined to address it on his BizzyBlog site.) The MRC should, however, publicly explain the editorial process that allowed links to white nationalist websites -- one of which made explicitly racist statements -- to get through in the first place, not to mention remaining live for three years. It should also explain what disciplinary measures, if any, the MRC meted out to those editors who missed Blumer's white nationalist links.
But as we saw with it similar radio silence over the Brent Bozell ghostwriting scandal -- in which it was revealed that Bozell's MRC underling Tim Graham actually wrote Bozell's syndicated column, which ultimately shamed the MRC into giving Graham co-byline credit -- the MRC never holds itself to the same scrutiny to which it holds the so-called "liberal media."
Misleading to the end
In the months leading up to his abrupt yet discreet departure, Blumer was up to his usual tricks of presenting misleading information and partisan rants.
In a November 2017 post, Blumer demonstrated how he just doesn't know when to give up on a long-ended scandal, venting outrage 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 cited comes from an anonymous "longtime Tea Party activist" and a guy so obsessed with the non-scandal that he posted articles about it for "1,353 straight days." Blumer offered 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 ranted instead about 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.
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 wanted it to drag on anyway for no apparently reason other than political retaliation and pursuit of a nonexistent conspiracy. Sad, isn't it?
Blumer was regularly loath to give President Obama credit for creating the economy whose coattails President Trump is currently riding. He did 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.
Blumer failed to acknowledge, however, that most of that did happen under Obama. As the graph of seasonally adjusted black unemployment that illustrates Blumer's post demonstrated, black unemployment has been on a steady downward trend since 2012 -- the midpoint of Obama's presidency.
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 cited no specific policy that has earned Trump the right to take credit for the current low in black unemployment.
Blumer harrumphed in a March 11 post:
Leftists finally think (erroneously) they have a game-changing incident involving a Border Patrol apprehension of an illegal immigrant.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 overtook Blumer's superior tone. Actual news organizations reported 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 have decided not to charge her in relation to human smuggling.
As has been the case with such things at NewsBusters and the MRC, Blumer's post has not been updated or corrected, and no other NewsBusters post updates the story.
In a March 31 post, Blumer complained 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."
After detailing the supposed ways 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.
This is the kind of scintillating "media research" the MRC will now have to do without as a result of dismissing Blumer. Then again, if the MRC's editors couldn't be bothered to read Blumer's copy closely enough to have noticed the white-nationalist links he used, there's no reason to believe anything else at NewsBusters gets closely fact-checked either -- just as long as it fits the right-wing, anti-media narrative.
Of course, the MRC is free to disabuse us of the appearance of a lax editorial process. Just speak up.