CNN's senior legal analyst thinks there's too much "hysteria" over the IRS scandal and that it really may not have been that big of a story to begin with. He argued thus on the 11 a.m. ET hour of Thursday's Newsroom.
CNN's Jeffrey Toobin's spin went as follows: "the IRS is required by law to investigate these organizations," and "it's not clear that there were liberal organizations applying, certainly, in the numbers that the Tea Party were," and "A lot of these organizations that are complaining wound up getting approved for 501(c)(4) status. So what are their damages?" Ergo, "we need to know a lot more, but we need perhaps a little less hysteria, too." [Video below the break. Audio here.]
On Thursday's NBC Today, in a desperate attempt to deflect from the scandals engulfing the Obama administration, co-host Savannah Guthrie wondered: "I read a headline yesterday that said Republicans see blood in the water. That they see a president who's very vulnerable politically. Is there a danger that they will overreach?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd agreed with the slanted premise: "There is. I mean, that's what happened to Republicans in 1998 with Bill Clinton. And if all of Congress is focusing on hearings to do scandals, the voters will punish them. They've done it in the past."
Well, this should be fun. President Obama and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will hold a joint press conference in a few minutes in the Rose Garden. The last joint press conference the president held -- on May 13 with British Prime Minister David Cameron -- was met with some tough questions by the AP's Julie Pace.
Below the page break I'll be live-blogging the questions from journalists. As usual, please give us the questions you would like answered in the comments section. Also, who do you think might ask the toughest questions and who might try to help the president out with a softball? Let us know your thoughts.
The journalists at Good Morning America on Thursday floated the idea that Barack Obama is poised to move on from the Internal Revenue Service scandal. One day after the President announced the resignation of the acting IRS commissioner, co-host George Stephanopoulos trumpeted, "The White House firing back. The President's team firing on all fronts, promising immediate action as the scandals boil over in Washington." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
An ABC graphic insited, "On the Attack." Talking to reporter Jon Karl, Stephanopoulos noted the "tough" week at the White House, but wondered, "Do they now feel like they have this under control?" Karl touted, "I think they feel a lot better now than they did 24 hours ago, George."
With the entertainment industry pumping out a different crop of reality shows every season, a new phenomenon had occurred. Business, success, and making money are suddenly portrayed positively. Reality shows depict business as a positive thing because, in reality, average Americans don’t see business and money as an inherently bad thing. That’s a complete turn-around from how businessmen have been pictured in scripted TV.
There are more than a dozen reality shows that portray a softer, more human side to businessmen and women. A&E has had huge success with its show “Duck Dynasty” that follows the self-made millionaire family that invented and patented the Duck Commander Duck Call. In fact, the season three finale of “Duck Dynasty” that aired on April 24, 2013 broke records with an astounding 9.6 million viewers.
As multiple scandals engulfed the presidency, "Watching Washington This Week," a nytimes.com video featuring New York Times congressional reporters Jeremy Peters and Ashley Parker having a pseudo-informal chat outside the White House, managed to place President Obama as the victim of a cold Republican Congress.
MSNBC brews up a fresh pot of liberal talking points every morning with Morning Joe and its liberal co-host Mika Brzezinski. Brzezinski lets it known every day that she is not only extremely liberal, but looks for every opportunity she can to criticize conservatives on a regular basis.
But as a result of her fervent partisanship, Mika has trouble admitting when conservatives are right on an issue, and shows, rather comically, actual physical discomfort at the sign of conservative success. [See video after jump. MP3 audio here.]
PBS has announced its new fall schedule, and it unfolds like a reinforced liberal stereotype. It includes a "landmark" six-hour series on Latino-American history narrated by Benjamin Bratt, and a six-hour series on African-American history narrated by Henry Louis “Beer Summit” Gates, from America's colonial period "up to the present day — when America has a black president yet remains a nation divided by race."
The liberal network will air a “Great Performances” special titled “Barbra Streisand: Back to Brooklyn,” and, of course, to mark the 50th anniversary of the dark day in Dallas when President Kennedy was shot and killed, PBS is planning hours and hours of JFK specials:
ACLU Action, a new initiative of the American Civil Liberties Union, has launched a campaign pressuring ABC and the producers of the sitcom "Modern Family" to make a gay-wedding episode for the characters Cam and Mitchell. They created a website at ModernFamilyWedding.com.
"The freedom to marry is being advanced in American living rooms as much as in court rooms," said ACLU Executive Director Anthony D. Romero. "As we wait for the Supreme Court to rule, we want to keep this issue on the minds and screens of Americans everywhere."
The liberal comedian said he found it strange that the president didn't learn much sooner about the Internal Revenue Service persecuting groups with “Tea Party” or “Patriot” in their names and the Justice Department confiscating phone records about Associated Press reporters.
The Heritage Foundation recently issued a comprehensive report showing that Sen. Marco Rubio's plan to instantly legalize 11.5 million illegal immigrants would add $6.3 trillion to the nation's budget deficits over the next 50 years. Heritage assumed there are 11.5 million illegals, but other estimates put the number at 33 million, which would mean adding another $18 trillion to the deficit. To put that in perspective, the largest U.S. budget deficit in history was $1.4 trillion in 2009.
Currently, the average illegal alien gets about $24,721 in taxpayer-funded benefits and pays about $10,334 in taxes. After full legalization, they will be eligible for a whole new panoply of government benefits such as direct welfare payments, Obamacare, Social Security and Medicare. Heritage concludes that the total government benefits to these former illegal aliens will then rise to about $43,900 per household, while the taxes paid by them will increase only modestly to around $16,000.
Chris Moody of Yahoo! News has a great story this afternoon about the saga the conservative media watchdogs at MediaTrackers had with the Obama IRS. The long and short of it is that after after waiting for more than a year for IRS to approve his 501(c)3 application for the group, conservative activist Drew Ryun "determined that Media Trackers would likely never obtain standalone nonprofit status" and so he "tried a new approach," applying as a nonprofit under the name "Greenhouse Solutions" which was "a pre-existing organization that was reaching the end of its determination period."
And wouldn't you know it, Moody noted, "[t]he IRS approved Greenhouse Solutions' request for permanent nonprofit status in three weeks":
On Wednesday's Starting Point, CNN's Brianna Keilar twice noted that accusations that the White House "downplayed the role of terrorism" in the Benghazi attacks went from being a "right-wing obsession" to "mainstream news."
"The White House has also been plagued recently by questions about whether it downplayed the role of terrorism in that September attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi," Keilar reported. "That had gone from sort of a right-wing obsession to mainstream news recently." [Video below the break. Audio here.]
Even Chris Matthews admits it. Talking to the liberal Alex Wagner on Wednesday's Hardball about the IRS scandal, the cable host came clean on the press and their love for Barack Obama. After Wagner insisted that the President was tired of an "unfair media," Matthews scoffed, "Let me tell you something. The press has generally been pro-Obama. That's a fact." If the President disagrees, "he's crazy." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
The MSNBC anchor summed up the state of journalism: "I look at the major newspapers. I look at the major networks, broadcast nets. I look at us...CNN. Where's all this antipathy towards Obama?" According to Matthews, if the staff of the White House are unhappy with how they've been covered, they "are very uninformed about the history of presidencies."
With a headline on screen lamenting "Obama's Second-Term Blues" on Wednesday's NBC Today, the worst criticism Meet the Press moderator David Gregory could muster against the President amid growing scandals was this: "And there is a passivity about the President and the White House that even his aides and allies on the outside acknowledge is a problem. Why there has not been a faster, more stringent response."
Noting the IRS, Benghazi, and Associate Press phone records scandals, co-host Savannah Guthrie asked Gregory: "Is there a common narrative that is a critique of the administration here?" Gregory couldn't manage to find one: "Well, I don't know that you can necessarily tie all of them together....I think there is a feeling that there is too much passivity, that the President's too much of a bystander, learning about these things, as he said about the IRS, from news reports."
Last night on his PBS talk show, Tavis Smiley sat down for a cozy conversation with Jeremy Scahill, national security correspondent for left-wing magazine The Nation. Scahill was critical of the Obama administration, as well as the journalists who fail to hold him accountable, throughout much of the interview. However, he did let his mask of objectivity slip at a few points, revealing the liberal face underneath.
Scahill was outraged over the administration’s secrecy surrounding its national security operations, particularly drone strikes. Smiley asked him why the administration has not been more forthcoming about its use of drones, and Scahill partially blamed congressional Republicans: [Video below the break. MP3 audio here.]
ABC, the network that has been relentlessly pushing an apocalyptic view of what sequester could do to America, on Wednesday suggested that a lower deficit could be a bad thing. Good Morning America's Josh Elliott relayed the news that a budget surplus in April could lead to a lower 2013 deficit by $200 billion.
Elliott lectured, "But some do worry this may actually hurt the economy because it may tempt Congress to delay a long-term budget deal." Elliott didn't explain who the "some" are, but the attitude shouldn't be surprising. In April, after sequester started, GMA's hosts warned of a dark future, of "airport armageddon" and "airplane apocalypse."
MSNBC is known for having bizarrely liberal commentators dubbed “political analysts” who hold forth their opinions while others on the panel nod in agreement. One such frequent panelist is Georgetown University's Dr. Michael Eric Dyson.
But on Wednesday's Now with Alex Wagner, Dyson went to new bizarre and nonsensical heights in his reaction to the controversy involved the Obama/Holder DOJ secretly subpoenaing the phone records of AP reporters. And yes, before you ask, the "Debating Race" author tossed in some absurd reference to race even though it had absolutely nothing to do with the story. [See video after jump. MP3 audio here.]
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.")