The unfolding story of the Obama administration monitoring not just telephone records but Internet usage has drawn media coverage with adjectives like “astonishing.” No doubt about it, even the pro-Obama press acknowledges it is a scandal. Still, it is laughable that the media would label him a “dictator” or discuss the “I word.”
That’s not what greeted George W. Bush at the end of 2005. Just eight years ago, journalists openly discussed tyranny and the possibility of impeachment.
Appearing on Monday's The Last Word show, MSNBC.com Executive Editor Richard Wolffe -- formerly of Newsweek -- joined MSNBC host Lawrence O'Donnell in defending the actions of IRS employees who focused on Tea Party groups for scrutiny, and ended up suggesting that it was Republican Congressman Darrell Issa, rather than the IRS, that was "acting out of public view for purely partisan reasons."
After reading the statement of an IRS employee who used the word "patriots" to help identify Tea Party groups, the MSNBC host continued:
Yesterday evening the Obama administration announced it would back down from plans to fight a federal judge's ruling that the Plan B emergency contraception pill must be made available over-the-counter and without age restriction in U.S. pharmacies. Previously the FDA permitted over-the-counter sales to girls and women aged 17 and older and the Obama administration wished to revise that age requirement down to 15.
But in reporting the story, both the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal omitted any objection from pro-life or parents rights groups, even as they reported the reactions of abortion rights advocates. "We are pleased that women should soon be able to buy Plan B One-Step without the arbitrary restrictions that kept it locked behind the pharmacy counter when they needed it most urgently," the Journal's Jennifer Corbett Dooren quoted Nancy Northup of the Center for Reproductive Rights at the close of her 11-paragraph, page A3 story for Tuesday's print edition.
With attention drawn to government surveillance of citizens, some in the media are recalling that this has long been an issue. Columnist Phil Kadner of the Southtown Star, a publication of the Chicago Sun-Times, did so in a recent column, "Do you want security or freedom?":
When Communists were suspected of conspiring to undermine our country, innocent political activists were targeted in the 1930s, 1950s and 1960s. The FBI wiretapped Martin Luther King Jr. because he was campaigning for civil rights.
That was not the reason for King’s wiretap, which was carried out by the FBI after Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy authorized it on October 10, 1963. Kennedy believed that two of King’s associates had ties to the Communist party.
In an interview with Bill O'Reilly on Tuesday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer seemed perplexed by the Fox News host asserting that "the Obama administration doesn't tell us anything" about numerous government scandals: "So you think there's been less transparency under this administrations than there has been under past administrations?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
O'Reilly responded: "I don't know. I mean maybe, but I can't find out anything. Can you? I don't know what happened in Benghazi, I don't know what happened in the IRS, I don't know what happened with James Rosen....they won't tell us anything."
Norah O'Donnell unsurprisingly conducted a confrontational interview of Senator Rand Paul on Tuesday's CBS This Morning, pummeling the Kentucky Republican for his strong opposition to the National Security Agency's controversial PRISM surveillance program. The anchor played up how "all three branches of government have approved this surveillance" after Paul asserted that "we don't want the government looking at our entire life."
O'Donnell also hammered the senator for supposedly not speaking up earlier about his objections to this electronic monitoring: "There was an invitation in 2011 for...all lawmakers to view this classified report on what was going on....Did you go to that? Why not? Why only now raise these concerns? Congress was briefed on this." [audio available here; video below the jump]
MSNBC anchor Alex Witt took it upon herself to defend President Obama’s reputation on Saturday’s Weekends with Alex Witt. To do so, she employed a favorite liberal tactic: blame George W. Bush for what goes wrong in the Obama administration.
Witt was chatting with David Nakamura of The Washington Post about the NSA’s secret surveillance programs that have recently come to light. It’s a topic that is sure to anger many Americans, so Witt made sure to deflect blame away from Obama and onto his predecessor: [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
Good Morning America hasn't made time to cover a possible prostitution scandal involving Hillary Clinton's State Department, but the show's hosts gushed over the politician's debut on Twitter. News reader Josh Elliott thrilled, "Hillary Clinton has arrived on Twitter. And, boy, does she have people talking because in part of her description of herself."
After reading the description of Clinton's bio, the GMA anchors raved over the former Secretary of State's skill at social media. Robin Roberts lauded, "She's so good at that!" Entertainment reporter Lara Spencer agreed. Sam Champion bragged, "I tweeted her yesterday. I saw it early on! I'm, like, hey is this real?" After co-anchor George Stephanopoulos inquired as to whether he got a response, a dejected Champion admitted, "No."[See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Russell Brand is living up to his raunchy reputation of cracking sex jokes about conservatives. The crass British comedian today announced that he thinks conservative republicans with traditional views on sexuality are “perverts.”
Interviewing with HuffPo Live’s Josh Zepps, Brand said that he doesn’t know anyone who isn’t interested in sexuality. When host Zepps replied that he knew “a few Republican Conservatives who’d say that,” Brand immediately added: “I’ll bet they’re perverts.”
Checking back at Time.com today and searching for "State Department," I found that the magazine has still yet to get around to the story. But they have had time on Tuesday, apparently, to drum up "The 13 Funniest Celebrity First Tweets."
[UPDATED BELOW] For hours on Monday and Tuesday, CNN hyped a positive Hillary Clinton story while ignoring a negative Clinton story.
While both stories broke on Monday morning, CNN only touted one of them on Monday: Clinton joining Twitter. And the network spent almost 10 minutes discussing it on Tuesday morning. In contrast, it took until 11 a.m. on Tuesday for CNN to even mention serious accusations leveled against the State Department by its own Inspector General. Clinton was Secretary of State until only a few months ago.
After being able to avoid ups and downs in the economy, the PBS NewsHour nightly newscast is laying off employees for the first time in nearly 20 years. According to the New York Times, the show's production company will close its two offices outside of the Washington, DC area.
The show is facing a significant budgetary shortfall of almost one-fourth of its $28 million annual budget:
Appearing on Monday's The O'Reilly Factor, FNC contributor Bernie Goldberg commented on the dominant news media ignoring or downplaying congressional hearings on the Obama administration IRS scandal, and wondered why President Obama is so critical of the media as he asserted that the President's approval rating would be 20 points lower if the media covered Obama scandals "honestly." Goldberg:
Everyone remembers the extensive front-page coverage The Washington Post devoted to the jury selection and subsequent murder trial of infamous abortionist Kermit Gosnell right? Oh wait, that never happened, but another “local crime story” that occurred well outside the Post's home delivery area seems to be getting much better coverage than the Gosnell trial.
The Tuesday June 11 edition of The Washington Post ran a story on the front page of its Style section highlighting the first day of jury selection in the murder trial of George Zimmerman in Sanford, Florida. In total, the Post devoted 30-paragraphs to jury selection, yet among major newspapers, when it came to the murder trial of Kermit Gosnell, only The New York Times bothered to cover that portion of the trial.
Openly gay CNN anchor Anderson Cooper devoted a full quarter of his Thursday, June 6 program to the story of a transgender ex-Navy SEAL who laments that he could not serve in the military now as a man who identifies as a woman. [Listen to the audio here]
Cooper chronicled the adult life of Christopher Beck, who now goes by Kristin, who first enlisted in the Navy in 1990 and would eventually achieve his goal of serving as a member of the Navy SEALs. However, he claimed that he always had an inner struggle with his gender identity. He was born a man, but identified himself as a woman. He also claims to have signed up for the SEALs to try to suppress or “cure” his feminine desires but never could.
Hating Breitbart, a documentary filmed during the last several years of the late Andrew Breitbart’s life, is about one man’s struggle against the left-dominated media.
How perfect that the film about the man is about to set a record in and of itself thanks to liberal media bias? According to the Hollywood Reporter, Hating Breitbart will soon set a record on the movie ratings site Rotten Tomatoes for the biggest gap between its establishment film critics score and the score given to it by the general public.
Acting as though he were Barack Obama's lawyer, George Stephanopoulos on Tuesday's Good Morning America repeatedly pressed John Boehner as to why he doesn't believe the President's explanation about the IRS scandal. After the Speaker of the House marveled, "How can your chief of staff, your general counsel know and you not know," the GMA co-host lectured, "That's a pretty serious charge."
Stephanopoulos continued, "Have you seen any evidence or has Chairman [Darrell] Issa produced any evidence that this was led by the White House in any way, shape or form?" The former Democratic operative turned journalist complained, "What information do you want that they haven't provided?" [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Another day, another Hillary Clinton for president story by the Washington Post. On Monday, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton officially joined Twitter. Today, the Post devoted a 26-paragraph puff piece to this development and on the front page no less.
Staff writer Philip Rucker all but begged Hillary to run for president in his story headlined “One-tweet wonder draws followers, and anticipation.” Contrast that with how Post editors allotted a mere 12 paragraphs to an Anne Gearan piece on explosive allegations about drugs and prostitution use by diplomatic security staffers who protected Mrs. Clinton. That story, blandly headlined "State Dept.'s handling of cases reviewed," was placed on page A2.