The New York Times did some damage control for the Obama administration in its lead editorial Tuesday, defending in part, the IRS's politically motivated audits against fledgling Tea Party nonprofits during the last campaign cycle. The paper ridiculously portrayed the White House as just as outraged as conservatives in a headline: "White House Under Fire: It Condemns I.R.S. Audits of Political Groups."
And the paper's own public editor lambasted the paper's soft-soap coverage of the scandal: "Many on the right – as noted last week in my blog posts about Benghazi – do not think they can get a fair shake from The Times. This coverage won’t do anything to dispel that belief."
CNN gave more coverage to the Jodi Arias trial in one day than it did to the entire Kermit Gosnell trial over the span of eight weeks. NewsBusters already reported how the congressional hearings on the Benghazi attacks disappeared amidst CNN's incessant live coverage of tabloid crime stories.
When the verdict was reached in the Arias trial last Wednesday, CNN's coverage for the day totaled almost a whopping three hours. In contrast, the network gave just under 100 minutes to the Gosnell story in eight weeks since the trial began on March 18.
President Obama knows he's in trouble when Andrea Mitchell—Andrea Mitchell!—proclaims the IRS and AP scandals to be among "the most outrageous excesses I've seen" in all her years in journalism [which pre-date Watergate]. The strength of Mitchell's statement drew gasps from Scarborough and Brzezinski. Then Ron Fournier, former AP editor now with the National Journal, darkly described the White House being "consumed" if it turns out someone there or in the Obama campaign had been aware of the IRS targeting of conservative groups. It happened on Morning Joe today.
But hey, President Obama still has his hangers-on. Take good old Carl Bernstein. As we reported, on yesterday's Morning Joe Bernstein blathered that he "can't imagine" that President Obama coudl be involved in the IRS mess. And there was Bernstein again today. When Fournier spoke of consequences of White House or Obama campaign knowledge of the IRS targeting, Bernstein quickly burped out that "we have no evidence of that whatsoever." Joe Scarborough had to remind the former Watergate reporter: "that's why you have investigations. You know that." View the video after the jump.
Susan Jones at CNSNews.com noted that on Monday night, conservative lawyer and radio host Mark Levin told Fox News's Sean Hannity that the emerging scandal over politics at the IRS exposes "the passivity and timidity of Congress."
"The fact is, a year ago Congress should have been calling witnesses before their committees, should have placed them under oath, should have been pursuing possible perjury claims and should have gotten to the bottom of this before the election cycle ran out." Levin has routinely found House Speaker John Boehner to be too passive with Team Obama.
When the Obama scandals pile up and Obama's image of integrity starts to enter the shredder, what do the most partisan reporters do to fend off the bad publicity? Try to portray the conservatives as "nutso" impeachers. At The Daily Beast, there was this headline Monday: "The Coming Attempt to Impeach Obama: The idea of impeaching Obama is industrial-strength insane. Republicans will probably try anyway, predicts Michael Tomasky."
Tomasky portrays conservatives as "crazy" and Obama as the most clueless of presidents: he knew absolutely nothing about the Benghazi talking points? Then who elected him expecting a competent executive? Tomasky leads with his heart, with his fervent Obama-loving hope that history does not record these scandals as significant:
On Monday, NPR Morning Edition anchor Steve Inskeep expressed -- in the face of all the evidence of Fast and Furious, Solyndra, MF Global, and so on -- that the first term of Obama's presidency was "remarkably scandal-free." When I challenged him on the factual inaccuracy of this, he tweeted in reply , "Hm, did I say it was scandal-free or that it 'has been described' as such?"
However passively Inskeep expressed it, he certainly agreed with it. Inskeep asked Cokie Roberts, "This administration has been described -- I don't even know how many times- - as remarkably scandal-free. But when you get into the second term of an administration, there's often some dirty laundry that comes out. Is that what's happening now?" Roberts agreed:
In a move which appears conveniently timed to coincide with a wave of other arguably more damaging bad news for the administration, the Associated Press has reported that the Department of Justice informed the wire service on Friday that it had secretly obtained two months of reporters' and editors' telephone records.
In the words of AP's Mark Sherman, in coverage late this afternoon, "the government seized the records for more than 20 separate telephone lines assigned to AP and its journalists in April and May of 2012." Sherman also notes that "more than 100 journalists work in the offices where phone records were targeted, on a wide array of stories about government and other matters," and that those records "were presumably obtained from phone companies earlier this year" (i.e., after Obama was safely re-elected). More from Sherman's report, a comment from yours truly, and several comments by others who have read AP's coverage follow the jump (bolds are mine):
"Many small-business owners worry that a new tax on insurance providers in the health-care law will mean higher premiums for them, undermining the law's capacity to lower their health-care costs," Washington Post staff writer J.D. Harrison opened his 15-paragraph May 13 story, "Small-business owners dread impact of health insurance tax." The website headline was even starker: "Health insurance tax ‘scares the daylights’ out of some small-business owners."
Unfortunately for print edition, readers, Post editors buried this front-page-worthy article on page A15. Yes, today's front page was mostly populated with meaty, hard-news stories, but a large photo from last night's Capital-Rangers hockey game dominated the center of the page while London bureau chief Anthony Faiola's "Letter from Britain" feature, headlined, "Eurovision drought feels like a hard day's night," was published directly beneath that [see image following page break].
Fifty six days after the grisly trial of abortionist Kermit Gosnell began, ABC broke its self-imposed blackout and finally offered coverage. World News anchor Diane Sawyer belatedly told viewers that Gosnell was convicted on three counts of first degree murder against newborn babies, as well as on a slew of other charges. Terry Moran explained, "For two months, jurors heard often shocking, grisly testimony." He described the details as a "house of horrors." A house of horrors that ABC took 56 days to notice.
As the Media Research Center has aggressively documented, ABC went from March 18, 2013 (the trial's start) through Monday afternoon with no coverage. Yet during the same time, the network devoted a staggering 187 minutes (or 70 segments) to other shocking criminal cases, such as Jodi Arias and Amanda Knox.
On Friday's All In show, MSNBC host Chris Hayes led the show by recounting the news of the "big, bad, scary" scandal of President Obama's IRS targeting conservative groups, but also chided Republicans for continuing to push Benghazi, which he referred to as a "witch hunt" and a "fake, ginned up scandal."
After reading a quote from a Tea Party group which brought up Benghazi in reacting to the IRS scandal, Hayes continued:
On Friday's Politics Nation on MSNBC, which was dominated by coverage of the kidnappings in Cleveland, Ohio, host Al Sharpton took a moment to note the Benghazi scandal as he accused Republicans of a conducting a "cheap stunt" and of pushing a "phony conspiracy theory." Sharpton:
Liberal MSNBC host Chris Matthews on Monday expressed "outrage" over the growing IRS scandal involving targeted audits of conservative groups. At the same time, he fretted that such a controversy would strengthen conservatives who believe the federal government will soon take them to "concentration camps." Worrying about the President's political future, Matthews lectured Obama: "Find a way to get rid of whoever did this, or your enemies will ride this baby right through 2014."
The Hardball anchor sneered that the "right-wing people" "love this story" and "expect the worst." He continued, "Theyget up in the morning figuring, well, they're about to be picked up by the FEMA workers and taken to concentration camps or the black helicopters of new world order, they're coming to take their guns." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
The New York Times unsurprisingly stuck by its biased language on the abortion issue as it broke the news that a jury had found Philadelphia abortionist Dr. Kermit Gosnell guilty of three counts of first-degree murder on Monday. Jon Hurdle labeled the convicted murderer's victims "fetuses" in the second sentence of his article. Hurdle would go on to use the slanted term five more times in his write-up.
The correspondent later acknowledged that the prosecution had referred to the murder victims as babies, but only after using his "fetuses" label.
Jeffrey Kluger showed up on Saturday’s CBS This Morning to do what he does best: clang the alarm bells over global warming. The TIME magazine senior editor even went so far as to warn that Manhattan may soon be underwater.
Kluger was brought on to discuss a recent reading -- atop an observation station on a dormant volcano -- finding that atmospheric carbon dioxide is at its highest level in 2 million years. Back then, he informed us, sea levels were 66 feet higher than they are now. He then struck an ominous tone: “What this means is we are on the west side of Manhattan at this moment. If this keeps up to what it was back then, we would be swimming at this address.” [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
The revelation that the IRS was being used by liberals as a political weapon against conservative groups like the Tea Party makes NBC's Dr. Nancy Snyderman's 2009 call on the tax agency to investigate Catholic bishops even more chilling.
During an MSNBC November 12, 2009 segment about Catholic bishops' opposition to abortion funding in ObamaCare, Snyderman joined NOW President Terry O'Neill in calling on the IRS to investigate them. (video after the jump)
She's been off the set of Starting Point for less than two months, but former CNN host Soledad O'Brien is stirring up controversy yet again. In a Harvard Institute of Politics video, O'Brien arrogantly lectured "white people" who want her to "just see beyond race."
O'Brien, now a visiting fellow at Harvard University's Graduate School of Education, gave her reaction to the "white" critics of her documentaries on race: "And I was like, again, 'okay white person, this is a conversation that you're clearly uncomfortable with. And I have no problem seeing race, and I think we should talk about race.'" [Video below the break.]
In an interview with House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa on Sunday's Meet the Press, host David Gregory attempted to dismiss the growing Benghazi scandal for the Obama administration as a GOP political attack: "You've got Republicans talking about this being Watergate. One Republican raising the specter of impeachment. Conservative groups raising money off of the Benghazi story. Are you hurting your own credibility and your own find – fact-finding mission by politically overreaching?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Moments later, Gregory downplayed the Benghazi terrorist attack as just one incident among many that have "happened throughout our recent history....spanning Republican and Democratic administrations, including President Bush's administration." He then tried to pin the blame on Congress: "Why is there not more of an effort to beef up security after these attacks happen....And isn't this Congress's job to spend the money to beef up security?"
Hard to believe, but Rachel Maddow once engaged in something resembling journalism in response to the attack in Benghazi.
It came on her MSNBC show only two days after the jihadist onslaught that killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans last September, on the 11th anniversary of 9/11. Maddow described how security in Benghazi had deteriorated for months-- while she inadvertently damned the Obama administration for not providing adequate protection as conditions worsened.
"I may have swung a bit too hard, putting Barack Obama’s Administration in the same league as Franklin Roosevelt’s and Richard Nixon’s when it comes to the Internal Revenue Service," Klein wrote this morning, backpedaling a bit from a strongly-worded May 11 piece reacting to the IRS-targeting-Tea Party scandal. Klein conceded that "The situation remains a major embarrassment, though," and then went on to wage an attack against the Republican Party for seeking to take advantage of the scandals to bash the Obama administration (emphasis mine):
Sure, it was just one of those tongue-tied moments we've all experienced. But if it had been George W. Bush mispronouncing the name of a world leader who is very much in the news, imagine the field day the MSM would have had with it.
At his press appearance with British PM David Cameron today, aired on MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell Reports, President Obama was seen pronouncing the name of the Syrian dictator Bashir Assad as "Bassar Ashad." PBO pauses before pronouncing, seeming to sense he's about to get it wrong, but decides to plunge ahead. There's another priceless moment: when the show cuts back to the studio, guest-hosting Chuck Todd is seen with a hilariously baffled look on his face. View the video after the jump.
Jurors found abortionist Kermit Gosnell guilty on Monday of three first degree murder charges. In the eight weeks since the trial began, ABC has completely ignored the case, offering no coverage, discussion or mention of Gosnell and the gory details. It's not as though the network lacks interest in shocking criminal trials. In that same 56 day period, Good Morning America has devoted a staggering 187 minutes-- or 70 segments-- to sensational trials such as the Jodi Arias and Amanda Knox cases.
Over eight weeks, GMA featured Arias, who was convicted of slitting the throat of her ex-boyfriend, 38 times, more than 50 percent of the network's criminal trial coverage. Yet, World News, Nightline and GMA skipped Gosnell "snipping" the necks of newborn babies. Will ABC break the news blackout and cover the verdict?
New York Times's environmental reporter Justin Gillis earned an unusual two-column lead story part in Saturday's paper, part of his long-running scarefest series, "Temperatures Rising." The latest entry: "Heat-Trapping Gas Passes Milestone, Raising Fears." (Though that scary headline turns out to be upon further review a bit premature.) Gillis committed his usual smear of warming skeptics: "Climate-change contrarians, who have little scientific credibility but are politically influential in Washington...."
How enthusiastic can NPR be in avoiding the emerging Obama scandals? Try this: So-called “All Things Considered” aired no features on Benghazi or the IRS on Saturday or Sunday. (This excludes on-the-hour news updates.) But they found time for six minutes on the trade in rhino horns.
It was more ridiculous on “Weekend Edition” Saturday and Sunday – they also skipped both. NPR correspondent Michele Kelemen reported on Secretary of State John Kerry for 4 minutes and 22 seconds without a single word about Libya. Somehow the State Department’s Benghazi fiasco wasn’t listed as a “thorny issue” in the Middle East:
During a report on Monday's NBC Today about the Benghazi and IRS scandals wracking the Obama administration, a headline on screen wondered if they were the result of "Obama's Second Term Curse?" White House correspondent Peter Alexander lamented: "Fewer than four months since his ambitious inaugural address, President Obama is facing significant political obstacles.... Some observers are already asking if Mr. Obama is falling victim to the second term curse."
After Alexander detailed second-term problems for past presidents, "From Watergate to Iran-Contra, even Bill Clinton's impeachment," a sound bite followed of NBC's liberal presidential historian Michael Beschloss offering this bit of advice to Obama: "The presidents who have weathered these crises best have been those who do not let themselves get distracted."
"This is the New York Times's take on how to turn something that's Nixonian into something that's 'oh, it's just conservatives turning another issue, making it political.'" Gainor said of The New York Times specifically and the media in general. "They spun it out, trying to take it away from being the awful scandal that it is."
Good Morning America's Jon Karl on Monday exposed new details about the growing scandal involving the Internal Revenue Service targeting conservatives. The correspondent revealed, "I've obtained a soon-to-be released investigative report that shows the IRS started targeting Tea Party groups more than three years ago." He added that this was "despite [the IRS] publicly claiming otherwise."
According to the journalist, phrases such as "limiting government," "educating on the Bill of Rights" and "criticizing how the country is being run" were enough to have the IRS start tracking them. However, Karl steered clear of culpability when it came to the Obama administration. He explained, "The White House said it had no idea that the IRS was targeting Tea Party groups." [MP3 audio here. See video below.]
Scandalous news that the Internal Revenue Service intimidated nonprofit opponents of the Obama administration made page 11 of Saturday's New York Times.
The IRS apology to Tea Party and other conservative organizations for politically motivated targeting of their nonprofit status was dealt with in mild fashion by reporter Jonathan Weisman, though not on the front page. "I.R.S. Apologizes to Tea Party Groups Over Audits of Applications for Tax Exemption." The same audits that were applauded last year by the Times' s editorial page. And a Monday front-page follow-up was topped with what even liberal journalists found a bizarre headline: "IRS Focus on Conservatives Gives GOP an Issue to Seize On." That's the story?
As NewsBusters has been reporting all morning, the folks on MSNBC's Morning Joe almost unanimously came down on the Obama administration for using the Internal Revenue Service to intimidate its political opponents.
Putting an exclamation point on the outrage late in Monday's program were co-hosts Joe Scarborough and Willie Geist who shockingly agreed, "This is tyranny" (video follows with transcript and absolutely no need for additional commentary):
President Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron will take questions from reporters in a joint press conference to be held shortly at the White House. The president is expected to be asked about revelations that IRS officials targeted Tea Party groups for audits. I'll be watching the conference and transcribing the questions below the page break.
In the comments section, tell us what questions you'd ask the president.