Pathetic Puff Piece on Holder Shows Why Daily Beast and Newsweek Continue Their Slide

Earlier this afternoon, Matt Sheffield at NewsBusters noted that "The owner of Newsweek, the troubled liberal weekly news magazine, has confirmed reports that it is trying to unload the money-losing operation even despite the fact that it jettisoned its print edition last year."

A Tuesday morning puff piece on poor, besieged, downtrodden, regretful Obama administration Attorney General Eric Holder posted by Daniel Klaidman at the Daily Beast, Newsweek's online umbrella, perfectly illustrates why the operation continues to shed readers and contributed mightily to a reported $8.8 million loss last quarter. Get out the waist-high-boots for this one:


Holder’s Regrets and Repairs

How the attorney general feels about his own role in the Fox News case—and how he plans to prevent it from happening again.

... Controversy was already swirling around the DOJ over the recent revelation that federal prosecutors had seized the phone records of reporters and editors from the Associated Press in a separate leak probe. Media organizations, civil-liberties groups, and members of Congress were in an uproar about the AP case, which they regarded as an appalling intrusion on freedom of the press.

Now came the (Washington) Post’s discovery of the Fox affidavit, which was part of a three-year-old FBI investigation into a State Department contract employee who had allegedly leaked highly classified information about North Korea. And this case had an ominous wrinkle that the AP case had lacked: in the affidavit, investigators had indicated that the (Fox News) reporter himself, James Rosen, might also be guilty of a crime—for simply soliciting the information.

... for Attorney General Eric Holder, the gravity of the situation didn’t fully sink in until Monday morning when he read the Post’s front-page story, sitting at his kitchen table. Quoting from the affidavit, the story detailed how agents had tracked Rosen’s movements in and out of the State Department, perused his private emails, and traced the timing of his calls to the State Department security adviser suspected of leaking to him. Then the story, quoting the stark, clinical language of the affidavit, described Rosen as “at the very least ... an aider, abettor and/or co-conspirator” in the crime. Holder knew that Justice would be besieged by the twin leak probes; but, according to aides, he was also beginning to feel a creeping sense of personal remorse.

The sweeping seizure of the AP phone records had thrown Justice on the defensive. But at least in that case Holder had some personal insulation; having been interviewed by the FBI, he’d recused himself from the investigation and, thus, had not personally signed off on the subpoenas. In the Fox case, however, Holder knew he bore a direct measure of responsibility. He had approved a search-warrant application that equated a reporter’s newsgathering activities with criminal conduct. That put Holder at the center of the brewing controversy, all while the Obama administration was being buffeted over allegations that the IRS had targeted conservative groups and by the continuing Benghazi tempest.

... As attorney general, a position at the intersection of law, politics, and investigations, Holder has been at the center of partisan controversy almost since taking office. But sources close to the attorney general says he has been particularly stung by the leak controversy, in large part because his department’s—and his own—actions are at odds with his image of himself as a pragmatic lawyer with liberal instincts and a well-honed sense of balance—not unlike the president he serves. “Look, Eric sees himself fundamentally as a progressive, not some Torquemada out to silence the press,” says a friend who asked not to be identified.

The idea that Holder is not responsible for the AP subpoenas because he recused himself -- assuming he really did, because he doesn't remember when he did, and there's apparently no record that he did -- is simply stupid. He's in charge of DOJ. If he thought going after AP phone records was a bad and constitutionally questionable idea, he could have and should have stopped it.

Holder, who called the nation a bunch of cowards almost as soon as he was confirmed, has allowed Black Panthers inimidate people at the polls in two straight presidential elections, universally hired far-left ideologues for DOJ's various divisions, and fought common-sense voter-ID laws at every turn, knows damned well that his operates his office not out of pragmatism, but entirely in pursuit of ideological and political gain. No self-respecting news publication would have allowed Klaidman's calamity to become publicly visible.

If the Daily Beast/Newsweek crew going to put out delusional dreck such as this, current owner Interactive Corp. or the new owners should just apply for a White House "green jobs" grant. They can threaten to restart Newsweek's print edition and print a half-million copies whether or not anyone buys them. They can then justify receiving a grant based on the number of trees saved if they don't go through with it.

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.

Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.