Where would a Nightline viewer go for important political news? It wouldn't be the late night ABC show. This week, the program has focused on topics such as Angelina Jolie's mastectomy and the latest plastic surgery operations. Co-anchor Terry Moran saves most of the hard news for his Twitter page.
Except for a mere 28 seconds that aired at 1:05am in the early morning hours of Tuesday, the program's hosts have ignored the growing scandal involving the IRS targeting conservative groups for audits and harassment. Yet, while Nightline focused on Prince Harry's visit to America, co-anchor Terry Moran tweeted: "It keeps getting worse: IRS office that targeted Tea Party also disclosed confidential docs from conservative groups."
On Wednesday's Around the World, CNN's Suzanne Malveaux admitted that the Obama administration has lost some media "support," noting "tension" between the White House and the press corps.
"One of the things I noticed as well is that really you have a press corps that is engaged. There was tension in that room. And perhaps a loss of some support there, you know?" Malveaux said of Tuesday's White House press briefing. Is she acknowledging a prior cozy relationship between the press and the administration? [Video below the break. Audio here.]
Charlie Rose acted as an apologist for President Obama on Wednesday's CBS This Morning, after former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld asserted that the second-term executive was avoiding responsibility for the recent spate of scandals surrounding his administration.
Rumsfeld snarked that "the only thing the President has really taken responsibility for is SEAL Team Six killing Osama bin Laden." Rose interrupted his guest and replied, "Oh, that's not true." [audio clips available here; video below the jump]
NPR legal correspondent Carrie Johnson reported on the IRS scandal on Tuesday’s Morning Edition displaying an urgent need to spread some Bush administration into the story. First she mentioned a 2004 FBI probe that improperly acquired phone records from New York Times and Washington Post reporters without going through proper channels.
Then she concluded with how the last secret subpoena for a reporter’s phone records came in 2001. But it involved Clinton-appointed U.S. Attorney Mary Jo White – who just became Obama’s appointee to head the Securities and Exchange Commission:
On the Tuesday, May 14, All In show, Chris Hayes linked former President Ronald Reagan to a former Guatemalan dictator convicted of genocide as the MSNBC host seemed to suggest that the story was as worthy of attention as Benghazi and ended up sarcastically challenging Fox News to give attention to it.
After playing a clip of Reagan from 1982 praising the then-ruler of Guatemala, Hayes continued:
In likely the only time she'll ever publicly utter the name of convicted baby killer Kermit Gosnell, MSNBC's Rachel Maddow ended her self-imposed blackout of the abortionist's trial and told her viewers he'd been found guilty of murder.
Media coverage of Gosnell's two-month trial was "polarizing," Maddow sniffed, perturbed that so many lesser evolved beings remain unconvinced about the necessity or niceties of abortion on demand. (Video after page break)
On Wednesday's NBC Today, regular panelist Donny Deutsch downplayed the scandals embroiling the Obama administration as merely the result of the public not having anything else to focus on: "I think in this media age we spend so many year – four years, night and day staring at these candidates, that after a while we get a little bored and turned off. And really the only story to report going forward is what I'll call that kind of slippery slope." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Co-host Matt Lauer called out Deutsch's dismissive tone: "I think you're making a little light of some of these stories. Some of these are pretty important, big stories." At the end of the discussion, Deutsch doubled down: "I think this is a function of, as I said again, of we are gonna over-magnify versus diminish anything that happens for any second term president."
ABC on Tuesday and Wednesday aggressively covered the growing IRS scandal involving the targeting of conservative groups, deeming it an "important" "firestorm." Yet, World News reporter Jon Karl also spun the Obama administration as a "White House that takes pride in being scandal-free." (Fast and Furious? Solyndra? Reverend Wright?) [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
To her credit, World News anchor Diane Sawyer opened the show by trumpeting: "We begin with a dramatic new turn in the firestorm surrounding the IRS. Last night, we asked if what they did was fair. Tonight, the FBI is asking, was it criminal?" Reporter Jon Karl did the work of putting the administration on record . He quizzed press secretary Jay Carney: "Can you say categorically that nobody at the White House and nobody on the President's political team had any knowledge or was involved in any way in the targeting of Tea Party groups by the IRS?" (Carney simply replied, "Yes.")
It's just so unfortunate that such nice guys are going through such trying circumstances.
That's the impression one gets from graphic teases seen at about 9:30 this morning at the Washington Post, where the captions underneath the three left thumbnails read as follows: "President Obama’s disastrous political week"; "Jay Carney’s tough day"; and "Jay Carney’s day — in 7 faces." If you don't recall such an obvious outward show of sympathy during the final year of George W. Bush's presidency, you're not alone. A quick look at the underlying items follows the jump.
On Sunday's 6 p.m. Newsroom, CNN's Don Lemon made a shockingly generous excuse for the Obama administration's talking points on Benghazi that were edited a dozen times to the point of inaccuracy.
"[T]he accusation is that the Obama administration in some way tried to change the talking points or water them down. And my question is, and I really – I'm being honest about this, what administration, Ana, doesn't try to control the message no matter what it is?" Lemon asked. He also framed the accusations against the administration as "partisan," ignoring whether or not they were also true. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
"President Barack H. Obama’s outrageous seizure of the Associated Press’s phone records, allegedly to discover sources of leaks, should surprise no one...He is fast becoming the worst national security press president ever, and it may not get any better."
So wrote James Goodale Tuesday, the attorney who defended the New York Times against President Richard Nixon in the famous Pentagon Papers trial.
What will be the political fallout of the various scandals in which President Obama is ensnared? Chris Matthews thinks it will be huge.
Appearing on today's Morning Joe, Matthews mused that the IRS scandal alone would be worth 5-10 points to Republican candidates. He specifically mentioned Mitch McConnell, Tom Corbett and Ken Cuccinelli as Republicans whom the scandal would aid in their 2014 races. View the video after the jump.
The media furor that began Monday night over the Justice Department obtaining two months of phone records from the Associated Press marks the first time in 335 days that any of the Big Three evening newscasts have even mentioned the existence of two criminal investigations into whether White House or other national security officials leaked sensitive secrets, perhaps to politically benefit Barack Obama’s re-election campaign.
This week’s coverage has generally referred to how the FBI is investigating “who leaked details of a highly-classified effort to foil a terror plot,” as NBC’s Pete Williams put it on Tuesday’s Today show. On ABC’s Good Morning America that same day, reporter David Kerley insisted that “the President and White House made it clear they want to go after leakers,” without letting viewers in on how the leading suspects are presumably all top administration officials.
The press and the left. But Lisa Myers repeats herself. Seriously, though, Myers did make a stunning admission along such lines on today's Morning Joe? H/t NB reader Pam.
Describing the harm done to President Obama by the AP spying scandal, NBC senior investigate correspondent Myers said the effect of the scandal has been to turn "one [sic] of the President's most important constituencies, the press and the left, against him." Did Myers make a double Freudian slip in describing the press and the left as "one" and the press as one of Obama's "most important constituencies"? View the video after the jump.
NPR political director Ron Elving wrote a wistful blog post on Tuesday night headlined “Goodbye, Again, To Obama's Most Audacious Hope.”
“The sudden eruption of second-term scandals in his administration will have many costs for President Obama, but surely the most grievous will be the lost opportunity to transcend the partisan wars of Washington,” Elving mourned. “That aspiration was his fondest dream for his second term, much as it was for his first. Now it seems destined to be dashed once again.”
When I first heard of limp faux apology by the IRS's Lois Lerner on Friday for her tax-exempt division's harassment of Tea Party and conservative organizations, I thought she had done so on a conference call.
Well, she did have a conference call with reporters later that day -- the one where she said “I’m not good at math” -- but her original apology occurred at a conference of the Exempt Organizations Committee of the Tax Section of the American Bar Association in Washington (Lerner's relevant involvement is shown here). Why would such a mea culpa occur out of the blue at such a venue? The answer, per Kevin Williamson at National Review's The Corner blog, is that it wasn't out of the blue at all (bolds are mine throughout this post):
Ever since libertarian billionaires Charles and David Koch expressed an interest this past March in buying the Los Angeles Times, half of the daily newspaper's staff has threatened to quit if the deal goes through because the paper would become an “ideological mouthpiece” for conservative Republicans.
The Obama scandals started piling up on top of each other in the last few days. The civil servants who testified on Benghazi were heart-breaking. Then the IRS admitted a punitive agenda against tax exemptions for groups with “Tea Party” in the name, or groups which “educate about the Constitution.”
Then Eric Holder’s Justice Department was revealed to be wiretapping the Associated Press in April and May of 2012 to nail a leaker. President Obama is not a “victim” of a “second-term curse.” This is the corrupt first term beginning to smell, it is his administration, and even the media cannot deny the odor of malfeasance.
Imagine that. Politico has a very negative story on our second-term president.
After over five years during which the online publication has engaged in virtual non-stop fawning over the wonders of Barack Obama -- going all the way back to shortly after its founding in January 2007, when Ben Smith found someone who described him as "frighteningly coherent" -- Mike Allen and Jim VandeHei tonight employed adjectives and described personality traits of their beloved "44" and those surrounding hime which just about anyone with eyes, meaning everyone except all too many members of the establishment press and those who have been deceived by them, has recognized for a long, long time (bolds are mine):
Covering Barack Obama's Monday May 13 press conference for the May 14 edition of the Wall Street Journal, reporters Peter Nicholas and Janet Hook painted the president as above the partisan fray and Republicans as the ones sidetracking Washington from the "plenty of unfinished business" that the president has on his plate just "[f]our months into his new term."
In their 20-paragraph story, "Obama Dismisses Benghazi Claims," Nicholas and Hook seemed particularly interested in the president's charge that the Benghazi focus was all about GOP campaigning and fundraising, even as the veteran reporters left out that shortly after the president's joint press conference, he jetted off to New York City for a closed-door Democratic National Committee fundraiser at a private residence (emphasis mine):