Veteran journalist Howard Kurtz chided the media's "romance" of departing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on CNN's Reliable Sources on Sunday, asking "But, particularly in those TV interviews, could you see any Republican outgoing cabinet member getting that kind of treatment?" Another example came in Sunday's New York Times's front-page review of Clinton's career by Michael Gordon and Mark Landler, "Backstage Glimpses of Clinton as Dogged Diplomat, Win or Lose." The Times opened with the administration's hand-wringing over assisting the Syrian resistance (Clinton's more activist support for the rebels was rebuffed at the White House).
Yet the more damaging controversy over the assassination of four Americans at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi was mentioned just twice in the 1,674-word story, once as a "low point" for Clinton, but balanced with the "biggest highlight" of her term -- the diplomatic opening to Myanmar. The other reference noted that while the incident may have "marred" her last months of service, she still has the highest favorability ratings of her career.
Washington Post diplomatic correspondent Anne Gearan has repeatedly blown kisses to Hillary Clinton in the past few months with her gauzy coverage of the departing secretary of state's handling of Benghazi. Today she took her show on the road, make that air, as she appeared on MSNBC's Martin Bashir program with Democratic strategist Kiki McLean and guest host former DNC communications director Karen Finney. With MSNBC looking forward giddily to a possible 2016 presidential run, the segment was titled onscreen as "Until We Meet Again."
Sure "[s]he leaves office without huge accomplishments" like groundbreaking peace talks or the like, but she does have "enormous goodwill around the world," Gearan gushed. "Some of her greatest accomplishments really were just showing up," the Post staffer insisted.
Mara Liasson hyped Hillary Clinton as "the most popular politician in the country" on Friday's Morning Edition on NPR. Liasson asserted that "there's no question that being out of politics for four years has enhanced her political reputation," and devoted her report to touting how the supposedly "fireproof" Mrs. Clinton's experience as secretary of state would make her a "field-clearing frontrunner" in the 2016 presidential race.
The NPR journalist played soundbites from just two pundits during the segment, both of them close political associates of the Clintons: former White House Press Secretary Dee Myers, and Geoff Garin, who was the chief strategist for the former First Lady's 2008 presidential bid. Liasson merely identified Garin as some one who "has worked for Clinton in the past."
In the days of the late Mike Wallace, "60 Minutes" was known for hard-hitting, aggressive journalism that asked the questions viewers wanted answered and held the powerful accountable.
The Jan. 27 program on which Steve Kroft interviewed President Obama (at his request, no less) and outgoing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton fell far short of that high standard. It was the kind of softball toss you might have expected if Oprah Winfrey or Barbara Walters had conducted the interview.
Contrary to CBS's Steve Kroft, CNN's foreign affairs reporters actually asked the tough questions of outgoing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in their Tuesday interview on The Situation Room.
While Kroft spun his foreign policy questions into softballs for Clinton and Obama on Sunday's 60 Minutes, CNN's Jill Dougherty confronted Clinton on Egypt and Libya. She started off asking if the Egyptian state would survive amidst bloody unrest, and then zeroed in on Libya:
The liberal media's lovefest for Hillary Clinton continues apace. Andrea Mitchell’s interview with the outgoing secretary of state will air today, but don’t expect to see many tough questions. We already know what Mitchell thinks about Clinton, based on a comment she made on Tuesday’s Andrea Mitchell Reports. Talking with MSNBC political analyst Ed Rendell, Mitchell declared of Clinton, “She has done such a job by everyone’s account as secretary of state.”
Except, of course, for that little Benghazi thing, which Mitchell acknowledged is Hillary’s major regret. And it’s a pretty big blight for someone who has done “such a job.” Such a job covering up the facts, maybe? Such a job misleading the American public about the nature of the attack? [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
On Tuesday's Starting Point, CNN's David Gergen smiled on Hillary Clinton's "wonderful farewell" at the State Department and touted her "very powerful position" for a 2016 presidential run. As CNN noted, Gergen once worked as an adviser to President Clinton.
When asked if anything from Clinton's term as Secretary of State would come back to haunt her as a presidential candidate, Gergen replied "I don't think so. The Benghazi affair, I think, will long be forgotten unless there's some smoking gun we have no idea about." [Video below the break. Audio here.]
In a column which went up this morning, Fox News Political Analyst Kirsten Powers, whose political positions certainly lean left and is a self-described liberal, ripped into President Obama and his administration for what she correctly characterizes as their "strategy to delegitimize a news organization" -- hers.
Her column is about far more than Obama's recent complaint to the New Republic's Chris Hughes (covered by Noel Sheppard at NewsBusters) that "If a Republican member of Congress is not punished on Fox News or by Rush Limbaugh for working with a Democrat on a bill of common interest, then you'll see more of them doing it." What Powers recounts is a strategy first employed in 2009 and apparently being revived, now that Obama no longer has to answer to America's voters, to marginalize the only U.S. network which still tries to be fair and balanced (bolds are mine):
CBS 60 Minutes correspondent Steve Kroft "ought to hand in his journalism card" if there actually were such a thing, NewsBusters senior editor Tim Graham concluded in an interview with substitute host Eric Bolling on the January 28 edition of Your World w/Neil Cavuto. Graham was referring to the January 27 puff piece that the newsmagazine aired in which Kroft failed to ask any tough questions of the president and his departing secretary of state.
"Look, this is Steve Kroft's history," Graham told Bolling. "This is the reason why we wrote a report called 'Syrupy Minutes.' With the Democrats, this is what they do." And yet, "This is the same show that broke Abu Ghraib on Bush's head. This is the same show that tried to destroy Bush with fake National Guard records." [MP3 audio here; video embedded below page break]
On Monday's CBS This Morning, Norah O'Donnell gushed over Steve Kroft's interview of President Obama and Hillary Clinton, twice emphasizing the supposed "warmness" between the two Democrats. O'Donnell asserted that the interview was "a long way from where they were in 2008 in that bitter primary battle....This time, they were leaning into each other. There was clearly a warmness between them."
John Dickerson later hyped how the Kroft segment on Sunday's 60 Minutes came at an opportune time for Mrs. Clinton, after her contentious appearances before a Senate committee about the Islamist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya:
Surely without intending to do so, liberal radio host Bill Press has providing a compelling argument against renewal of the Violence Against Women Act.
On his radio show this morning, the easily piqued Press sniffed in disdain at the sheer effrontery of Republican senators asking pointed questions of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton about the attack on the US consulate in Benghazi. (audio clip after page break)
On Thursday morning, CNN's John Berman hammered a Democratic congressman who said the cause of the Benghazi attacks doesn't make a difference at this point. In contrast, anchor Soledad O'Brien didn't ask about the controversy over that remark shouted first by Secretary Clinton.
"But, Congressman – don't the facts always make a difference and doesn't knowing the facts and knowing them quickly always help in evaluating the situation so it can be prevented in the future?" Berman pressed. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
At the top of the 9 a.m. et hour on Thursday's NBC Today, the morning show cast devoted a four-minute panel discussion to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton getting emotional during her congressional testimony on Wednesday. News reader Natalie Morales gushed: "She was speaking passionately about, you know, that heat of the moment. And also, you know, I think she just loved those people [who died in Benghazi]. So that was true emotion." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Co-host Savannah Guthrie observed: "I don't know if there's as much a stigma anymore from public figures crying from time-to-time. I mean, this is not somebody who is crying all the time. We've seen her well up in the past. I think this is probably the most emotional we've ever seen her." Morales proclaimed: "Right, she's a strong leader."
Outgoing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton appeared in Senate and House hearings Wednesday on intelligence failures in Benghazi, Libya, where four Americans were murdered last year, on the 11th anniversary of the 9-11 attacks. Yet the New York Times buried the story on page A11, in the International section, content with running a photo of Clinton on the front page.
ABC's Martha Raddatz on Thursday swooned over Hillary Clinton's Senate testimony on Benghazi, lauding the outgoing Secretary of State as "combative, charming, disarming and clearly ready for a fight." The Good Morning America correspondent seemed to enjoy the day as theater, hyping, "It was truly a riveting day on Capitol Hill...with Secretary Clinton as some have never seen her before."
Raddatz allowed that Clinton didn't convince "some Republicans," but returned to a style discussion. She continued, "But this was certainly a memorable way to close out her tenure." Focusing on the emotion of the Senate appearance, the journalist empathized that "when Clinton spoke of her four fallen colleagues, the pain, the memories were still raw." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
At the top of Thursday's NBC Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie hyped Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's performance during congressional testimony on Wednesday: "Vigorous defense. A fired up Hillary Clinton takes on her critics during her testimony about the terror attacks in Benghazi." Introducing a later report, Guthrie described it as "an emotional and at times heated appearance before Congress." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell decried "the hostile interrogation that Republican committee members gave Clinton over Benghazi." The headline on screen throughout the segment declared: "'It's Personal'; Clinton Gets Emotional During Benghazi Hearings."
The media's sickening love affair with Hillary Clinton has gone so over the top that Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) took issue with it Thursday.
Discussing the Secretary of State's recent testimony on Capitol Hill with the gang at Fox & Friends, McCain said, "She was called feisty according to the mainstream media. She obviously has an adoring media. She really didn't answer any questions" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Joe Scarborough has said that he doesn't know whether Morning Joe member Willie Geist is a Democrat or a Republican. I'd say Willie leans left on social issues but is not reflexively liberal on other matters. Today, with Scarborough absent from the Morning Joe set, Geist actually rode to the defense of Rand Paul.
The Republican Senator from Kentucky has been taking heat from Dems over telling Hillary Clinton at yesterday's Benghazi hearings that had he been president, he would have fired her for her handling of the matter. Panelist Donny Deutsch made a predictable attack, calling Paul "pathetic, amateur hour" and an "idiot." But Geist weighed in to say that Paul "had a right to challenge" Clinton, and that he's "not supposed to just sit thereand celebrate her," and that he was "doing his job." View the video after the jump.
Mark January 23rd as the launch date for the news media’s fresh campaign to have Hillary Clinton replace Barack Obama in the Oval Office in 2017. ABC and NBC, and CBS to a lesser extent, on Wednesday night treated Secretary of State Clinton’s appearances before Senate and House committees not as an chance to explore Obama administration dissembling on Benghazi, but as an opportunity to boost Clinton’s supposed brilliant performance.
“The indignation. And then, the tears in her eyes,” ABC anchor Diane Sawyer announced before trumpeting: “It was a valedictory that showed her indignation and emotion as she ends this tenure on the public stage. ABC’s chief global affairs correspondent, Martha Raddatz, brings us the riveting encounter today.”
It was a metaphysical certitude that America's media were going to gush and fawn over Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's testimony before Congress Wednesday as they mercilessly attacked any Senator or Representative having the gall to ask her tough questions about what happend at our consulate in Benghazi, Libya, last year.
Playing his part was MSNBC's Chris Matthews who on Hardball moments after the hearing ended said of Senator Ron Johnson's (R-Wisc.) exchange with Clinton, "That was kind of a pissant performance" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
There was a funny moment during Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's testimony before Congress Wednesday concerning last year's attack on our consulate in Benghazi, Libya.
When newly-elected Republican Congressman from Arkansas Tom Cotton began his questioning of Clinton, he said, "Some of our peers on the other side have expressed their ambitions for your future. I’d like to say that I just wish you’d won the Democratic primary in 2008."
Leave it to Obama-boosting MSNBC to carry water for the Obama administration over the terrorist attack on our consulate in Benghazi. Speaking with Congressman Chris Smith (R-N.J) on her MSNBC program Wednesday afternoon -- prior to Smith's committee's hearing with Clinton but following this morning's Senate hearing -- Ms. Mitchell spouted off numerous White House talking points to excuse Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s failure to secure our embassy in Benghazi.
Mitchell’s regurgitation of Obama/Clinton talking points comes just hours after she claimed Clinton had a “stellar term” as Secretary of State. The segment began with Congressman Smith outlining his expectations for Ms. Clinton’s testimony:
Previewing Hillary Clinton's testimony on the terrorist incident in Benghazi, George Stephanopoulos scoffed at the idea that members of Congress would dare grill the outgoing Secretary of State. Talking to Martha Raddatz on Tuesday, the Good Morning America co-host predicted, "But she's very well practiced at [testifying] and I can't imagine they're really going to beat her up on her last few days as Secretary of State."
In fact, Senator Rand Paul did aggressively question Senator Clinton, telling her, "Had I been President at the time and I found out you had not read the cables… I would have relieved you of your post." Additionally, since when has someone leaving been an excuse not to press them on important issues?
Wrapping up a report on Wednesday's NBC Today about Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's upcoming congressional testimony on the Benghazi terrorist attack, chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell sympathetically observed: "It will be a grueling day, first in the Senate, then in the House. Not how the Secretary of State had planned to wind up what is widely viewed as a stellar term as the nation's top diplomat." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
At the top of the segment, Mitchell seemed to lament that Clinton would have to endure such questioning after recent health problems: "The Secretary of State has had to deal with a serious illness, amidst swirling and discredited conspiracy theories, but is now finally able to answer questions about security failures in Benghazi. After a fall, a concussion, and a blood clot, Hillary Clinton will face questions today Republicans have wanted to ask for months."
On Tuesday, CBS's Sharyl Attkisson broke on Twitter that the Obama administration "has indicated that it will not be answering Benghazi question we've been asking since Oct." Attkisson, who has provided hard-hitting reporting on the September 11, 2012 Islamist attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya, listed many of the questions that the executive branch has yet to answer about the story.
The journalist noted in a later Tweet that "CBS News FOI'd Benghazi info from State Dept, CIA, FBI and Defense Dept. None has been provided." Attkisson also pointed out a false claim by the administration:
During a retrospective on 2012 on the December 30, 2012 edition of CBS's Sunday Morning, Charles Osgood ludicrously oversimplified the continuing scandal over the September 11, 2012 Islamist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya. Osgood conspicuously omitted U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice's Sunday show appearances five days after the assault, which conflicted with intelligence agencies' early conclusion that the attack was pre-planned.
The journalist's 14-second look at the story merely consisted of two sentences noting who died in the American installation and one of the most recent developments [audio available here; video below the jump]:
As 2012 winds down, we're reliving some of the worst media bias of the year with our Best Notable Quotables of 2012. Yesterday, I recounted some of the nastiest barbs journalists threw at the GOP ticket; today, a look at some of the most egregious favors committed on behalf of Barack Obama's campaign.
While conservatives like Rick Santorum were often cast as radical or weird, journalists lovingly fawned over President Obama as if he was still the rock star of Campaign 2008. Sherri Shepherd, co-host of ABC's The View, won our "Let Us Fluff Your Pillow Award," for obsequious Obama interviews, after a September 25 encounter in which Shepherd seemed intent on casting the President as the Romancer-in-Chief.
On December 18, in covering the aftermath of the official report on the terrorist raid on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya which killed four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens, the Associated Press reported in the first three paragraphs of its coverage that "Three State Department officials resigned under pressure," identifying those who had stepped down as "Eric Boswell, the assistant secretary of state for diplomatic security, Charlene Lamb, the deputy assistant secretary responsible for embassy security, and Raymond Maxwell, the deputy assistant secretary of state who oversees the Maghreb nations of Libya, Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco."
It wasn't until the fourth paragraph that readers who got that far -- clearly a tiny percentage compared to those who saw the headline ("State Department security chief, 2 deputies, resign after damning Benghazi attack report") or only heard headline-based reports on broadcast outlets -- learned that "Some of the three may have the option of being reassigned to other duties." In other words, they might not be losing their jobs or even receive cuts in pay. At the New York Post this morning, Josh Margolin is reporting that the three identified by the AP plus one other person aren't being meaningfully punished in any sense: