At Bloomberg Views, Al Hunt, formerly "the executive editor of Bloomberg News, directing coverage of the Washington bureau," referred to the controversies swirling around the White House as "faux scandals" and insisted that ... wait for it ... the Obama administration "is the most scandal-free administration in recent memory." No wonder Bloomberg News developed into such a hopelessly biased outfit while he was there. As much as I could stand to excerpt from Hunt's harangue follows the jump (bolds and numbered tags are mine):
When a reporter makes an assertion about someone else's beliefs or motivations, he or she is supposed to offer something up as evidence, say a direct quote, something that person has written, or even something someone else close to him or her has said.
Politico's Josh Gerstein offered nothing of the sort in his coverage of Eric Holder's "you can't touch me" attitude, though he provides plenty of evidence to support my characterization of Holder's outlook. Gerstein, without a shred of support, wrote the following in describing what he believes Republicans and conservatives are trying to accomplish in pursuing the myriad scandals in the Obama administration which have burst forth during the past two weeks, along with others, including but not limited to Operation Fast and Furious, which occurred during the Obama administration's first term (bolds are mine throughout this post):
It has only been a week since the Associated Press learned that its reporters' privacy and the confidentiality of their relationships with sources were violated on a massive and unprecedented scale by Eric Holder's Justice Department in April and May of last year. DOJ has admitted that it secretly obtained the call records for 20 personal and business lines used by over 100 AP reporters and editors. Despite its insistence that they were looking for the person who leaked information about a foiled terrorist plot, there is reason to believe the DOJ's fishing expedition was a childish response to the wire service's refusal to let the government crow about the foiled operation before anyone reported on it.
In the wake of all of this, the AP, appears determined to soldier on as the wire service more appropriately described as the Administration's Press. That's about the only way one can view the Saturday afternoon dispatch from the AP's David Espo and its accompanying headline:
Some in the media have reported on the Obama administration reneging on its promise to be transparent and open. The president’s drone policy is a testament to its commitment to secrecy. The creation of a secret kill list is also another instance where Obama has betrayed a campaign promise to his liberal base. So, why aren’t watchdog groups vociferously protesting the president’s 180-degree flip on this position?
Paul Thacker wrote on the left-leaning Slate website yesterday that Obama is no different from Bush in stonewalling FOIA requests, and skirting civil liberties – but gets away with it because of his party affiliation:
Today's Washington Post editorial clings to the liberal anti-gun rights view that only the government should have access to "military weapons," by which of course they mean semiautomatic "assault rifles" like the AR-15. Of course, government corruption and incompetence has long been an avenue by which criminals have obtained weapons, the Fast & Furious gunrunning scandal being an instructive case in point.
But alas, the drug-running scandal was curious missing from the January 11 editorial in which the Post argued that in addition to an assault weapons ban, the U.S. government needs to crack down on international gun-smuggling, particularly on the Mexican border:
As of 2 PM ET, various searches at the national web site of the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press (on "furious"; on "Univision"), Reuters ("furious"; "fast and furious"; "univision"), and United Press International ("furious"; "Univision") indicate that the three wire services have given no coverage to reports from Univision exposing the wider geographic scope and far more fatal fallout of the deliberately untrackable guns-to-cartels operation known as Fast and Furious.
I wonder how the leading U.S. Spanish network's broadcasters and audience feel about getting the same treatment the establishment press gives center-right blogs? (A lengthy yet partial transcript of Univision's broadcast with details which will shock all but those who have immersed themselves in the evolving scandal follows the jump.)
In their continuing push to rig the election for Barack Obama, none of the three broadcast networks – ABC, CBS, or NBC – devoted a single second of coverage to Univision’s politically devastating investigative report about the Obama Administration’s lethal gunwalking scandal, Fast and Furious.
Media Research President Brent Bozell reacted: "“This is another example of the media deliberately rigging this election. The Obama Administration provided guns to Mexican drug cartels, and the networks have the gall to ignore it. ABC, CBS and NBC have absolutely no excuse for spiking this explosive report, and are clearly doing so because it will damage Obama’s chances of re-election. Americans shouldn’t have to learn a second language to receive real investigative reporting."
The three networks devoted less than seven minutes to a "blistering" new report from the Justice Department on the Fast and Furious scandal. In comparison, the same programs deluged the public with coverage of Mitt Romney's "secret" tax tape, hyping it for 88 minutes.
From Wednesday night through Friday morning, World News, the NBC Nightly News, CBS This Morning,Good Morning America, Today and CBS This Morning allowed just six minutes and 40 seconds. In a brief report on Wednesday, Nightly News anchor Brian Williams called the gun running story a "rallying point" for Republicans and explained, "Tonight, a blistering report lays out the blame for what happened there." Yet, NBC has, thus far, only given the latest details one minute and 40 seconds.
NBC, which shamefully ignored the "Fast and Furious" controversy for months, failed to cover on their newscasts Monday evening and Tuesday morning the FBI offering a combined $1 million reward for the capture of four suspects in the murder of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry.
ABC devoted a full report to the FBI reward on Monday's World News, but omitted mentioning Attorney General Eric Holder's part in the controversy. On Tuesday, ABC's GMA and CBS This Morning both devoted news briefs to the new development in the Terry case, but like World News, the two programs didn't mention Holder's name in their stories. Anchor Diane Sawyer introduced correspondent Pierre Thomas's report on the reward, and got a detail wrong out of the gate:
Time magazine demonstrated in its last issue that it was so overwhelmingly thrilled with John Roberts upholding ObamaCare that it put Roberts on the cover with the title “Roberts Rules,” touting his “landmark decision.” Inside, the magazine gave the ruling 15-plus pages of coverage.
By contrast, the Congress voting to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt for failing to deliver documents on the “Fast & Furious” program drew two dismissive paragraphs – one less paragraph than Time editor Richard Stengel took to boost Roberts as a chip off the old block of “John Marshall, the greatest of all Chief Justices” in an Editor’s Note:
On Friday's NBC Today co-host Matt Lauer didn't just lob a softball to Obama campaign advisor David Axelrod about Attorney General Eric Holder being held in contempt of Congress, he placed the ball on a tee and helped Axelrod swing the bat: "Paraphrasing here, Mr. Holder said the American people deserve better. What is the President's reaction to the actions in Congress?"
Axelrod happily spewed White House talking points on the Thursday vote that held Holder in contempt for failing to release documents regarding the Fast and Furious gun-walking scandal: "I think it was an embarrassment to the Congress....They're getting their questions answered, they wanted the confrontation, they wanted the political theater. They ought to be getting to work on the problems that are significant to the American people."
Rep. Jim Matheson (D-Utah) broke party lines on Tuesday and announced that he will vote to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress. Matheson is the first Democrat to come out and publicly condemn Holder. Neither ABC's Good Morning America, CBS's This Morning, nor NBC's Today noted the development today.
On Sunday's NBC Meet the Press, moderator David Gregory led the show's panelists in dismissing the House Government Oversight Committee holding Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt over the Fast and Furious gun-walking scandal as a mere political "distraction" created by Republicans. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
The committee's chairman, California Republican Congressman Darrell Issa, was also on the panel and interrogated by Gregory: "If you got everything you wanted, what do you think it would prove?....What would you be able to prove? I mean what the White House is saying is this is a fishing expedition, it's to score political points, it's all theater. What can you prove if you get everything you want?"
Unintentionally defining irony, in the midst of trying to rationalize news media disinterest in the “Fast & Furious” scandal by maintaining “it’s not a political scandal” but “a scandal of government,” Washington Post columnist and former reporter Dana Milbank claimed on CNN's Reliable Sources: “It’s not an ideological thing. I think the media would love to have an Obama scandal to cover.”
Trying to quickly move past the Obama administration's Fast and Furious gun-walking scandal, Thursday's ABC and CBS evening newscasts dropped the story completely while NBC's Nightly News only followed up with a scant 30 seconds of coverage.
That 30 seconds on NBC consisted of anchor Brian Williams noting, "Fallout today in that fight between congressional Republicans and Attorney General Eric Holder," and explaining: "Speaker John Boehner signaled his backing for the action and hinted that the White House's use of executive privilege might involve some sort of a coverup."
Following President Obama’s decision to use executive privilege to shield Attorney General Eric Holder from turning over documents to Congress, the mainstream media can no longer continue its media blackout of the Fast and Furious scandal.
Asserting executive privilege "has several immediate effects" upon the public's awareness of a scandal the media have heretofore largely ignored, Fox News contributor Charles Krauthammer observed on the Wednesday edition of Fox News Channel's Special Report.
Steve Kornacki, who will debut as a new MSNBC host on Monday, appeared on Hardball, Thursday, to smear conservative opposition to Eric Holder and Barack Obama as racist. Asked why some on the right oppose the attorney general, Kornacki derided the "caricature of Obama" as a "secret black radical" who is trying to "take away rights or...money from, you know, from white people."
Kornacki saw an "aspect of race and culture" to the conservative disdain. In a discussion of the Fast and Furious scandal, Kornacki simplified, "...You take, you know, prominent, you know, black lawyer and you put him in charge of the Obama Justice Department and I think that's, to you know, to people who sort of traffic in that sort of thing, you know, it really is kind of a lightening rod." [UPDATED with video below. MP3 audio here.]
It appears as though CNN anchor Soledad O’Brien has joined the ranks in +the liberal media who argue that the GOP is engaging in a political witch hunt over the lethal Fast and Furious gun-walking scandal. During an interview with Sen. Chuck Grassley this morning, Soledad pressed the Iowa Republican about GOP congressmen's motives behind the contempt of Congress vote against Attorney General Eric Holder.
O'Brien hyped Maryland Democratic Congressman Elijah Cummings's charge that the the House GOP's vote for the contempt charge was purely partisan politics. O'Brien agreed, noting the partisan breakdown of the contempt vote. [Video coming soon. MP3 audio here.]
Leading off Wednesday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams could barely conceal his contempt for Attorney General Eric Holder being held in contempt by the House Government Oversight Committee: "Washington has blown up into a caustic partisan fight....And for those not following the complexities of all of it, it just looks like more of our broken politics and vicious fights now out in the open."
NBC News should be included in the category of "those not following the complexities of all of it" when it comes to covering the Fast and Furious gun running scandal at the heart of the contempt charge. Wednesday night marked the first full story the network offered on the subject, having completely ignored the controversy until June 12, with a 30-second mention of the failed operation at the end of a report.
ABC and NBC's morning shows on Thursday actually noticed something interesting was happening with the Fast and Furious scandal. Both networks covered the vote by a House committee to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt. However, Good Morning America and Today spent more time focusing on a heat wave hitting the east coast than they did the controversy involving a murdered border agent.
Good Morning America allowed a scant minute and 21 seconds for Fast and Furious, but that was only after first touting, for two minutes and 49 seconds, warm weather in the summer. NBC's Today featured a single report on the swirling controversy (one minute, 58 seconds), but only following two minutes and seven seconds on people sweating. News reader Natalie Morales highlighted the congressional action as partisan: "...A Republican-lead House panel voted along party lines to cite [Holder] for contempt of Congress."
Now that the White House has claimed executive privilege over a large number of documents, what happens next? Dick Cheney's former lawyer, Shannen Coffin, takes a look at the assertion and its likelihood of standing up in court should the House of Representatives sue to enforce a contempt citation:
On Wednesday's CBS Evening News, after a report in which it was noted that the Obama administration has invoked executive privilege over the investigation into the Fast and Furious scandal, anchor Scott Pelley related the history of other Presidents taking similar measures.
After tying in George Washington, Pelley ended up informing viewers that Bill Clinton had used similar tactics 14 times - more than twice the number of Richard Nixon and George W. Bush. Pelley:
NBC's Today kept up its complete omission of the Fast and Furious gun-running controversy on Wednesday, even as a House committee prepared to vote later in the day on whether to find Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress. CBS This Morning stood among the Big Three morning newscasts in devoting a full report to the issue. ABC's Good Morning America gave only a 20-second news brief on the controversy.
Overall, NBC has punted on the story since December 2010, when the scandal first emerged. NBC Nightly News had its own blackout on Fast and Furious until June 12, 2012, when correspondent Kelly O'Donnell finally mentioned "Congress's investigation of a failed operation that sent U.S. guns into Mexico" during a 30-second news brief. The issue hasn't been mentioned since on the evening newscast.
Yesterday former Rep. Artur Davis -- who served in Congress as a Democrat but recently became a Republican out of frustration with the Obama administration -- was a featured guest of the Heritage Foundation's weekly blogger briefing.
Davis briefly discussed the similarities between the upcoming election and the election of 1980. He claimed that Ronald Reagan had to make the American people realize that what the Carter administration was doing was ruining the economy and that Mitt Romney will have to make a similar case regarding President Obama.
It appears as though Thomas Roberts has joined chorus of MSNBC hosts jumping to the defense of embattled Attorney General Eric Holder over the Fast and Furious scandal. In an interview with Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.), Roberts suggested that Rep. Darryl Issa’s (R-Calif.) investigation into Fast and Furious was simply an example of the GOP having ‘sour grapes’ and looking for an ‘ax to grind.’
Rep. Mica countered the liberal Roberts by noting that MSNBC reporters are acting as apologists for the White House and Holder. Mica’s comments came following President Obama’s claim of executive privilege to shield Holder from turning over all the documents requested by Issa and the House oversight committee. [Video follows page break; MP3 audio here.]
Update [12:52 ET]: Former RNC Chairman Michael Steele followed Bernard's lead in MSNBC's noon hour by claiming the Fast & Furious investigation was "not good" for the House GOP. Video below and audio here.
In an attempt to twist the Obama administration's Fast & Furious gun running scandal into bad news for Republicans, on Wednesday's The Daily Rundown on MSNBC supposed Republican pundit Michelle Bernard proclaimed: "...when you think about just the damage that has been done over the last year to the GOP's brand, this is just another – adds more fuel to the fire." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Bernard was referring to the possibility of Attorney General Eric Holder being held in contempt of Congress for not providing documents about the failed policy to lawmakers. Instead of questioning the White House, Bernard continued to rant: "...this is just another thing that I think gives the Obama administration and the Obama campaign a little bit more fuel to go to the American public and say, 'Why won't they just do their job? We don't elect members of the Congress to come in and beat up on the Attorney General and be obstructionists. Ask them to do their job and back off of Eric Holder.' It makes no sense."
Liberal MSNBC anchor Chris Matthews on Tuesday slimed the House GOP investigating Attorney General Eric Holder as racist, insisting that the possible contempt charges over Fast and Furious had an "ethnic" feel. Using charged, racial imagery, Matthews demonized, "Is this sort of stop-and-frisk at the highest level? Go after the attorney general, get him to empty his pockets, stand in the spotlight."
The Hardball host, who had previously been ignoring the Fast and Furious scandal, changed course and portrayed the whole thing as a bigoted witch hunt. Talking to former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown, Matthews speculated: "I don't want to start too much forest fire here, but it is my instinct: Is this ethnic, Mr. Mayor?" [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Remember all the cries in the past for governmental transparency by the "progressive" media? Well, when it comes to the Department of Justice lack of transparency in refusing to turn over documents related to Operation Fast and Furious, Rolling Stone writer Jillian Rayfield excuses it away by claiming that the demand is really due to a GOP 'war' on Eric Holder:
A big part of the show is demonizing Holder himself. Several Republicans have recently called for Holder to step down, among them Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), and Jon Cornyn (R-TX), who did so to Holder's face in a Senate Judiciary hearing just last week. In one Republican primary debate, Rick Perry and Rick Santorum also both called for Holder's resignation. Romney, for his part, has steered clear of the issue so far, but he won't be able to for long if RNC Chair Reince Priebus gets his way. Priebus says that "Fast and Furious" will be a central 2012 campaign theme, so even if the contempt proceedings go away, it doesn't look like Holder will be off the hook anytime soon.
While calls for U.S. Attorney General Eric "Stonewall" Holder's resignation grow and the House GOP gears up for a contempt vote next week, it's worth remembering how we got into this mess. In two words: feckless bipartisanship.
"I like Barack Obama and want to help him if I can." That was Utah GOP Sen. Orrin Hatch in January 2009, just weeks before the Senate voted on President Obama's attorney general nominee, Eric Holder. Right out of the gate, upon Obama's election in November 2008, Hatch signaled that he would greenlight the administration's top law enforcer.
A certain type of knee-jerk leftist believes that all criticism of President Obama is, at bottom, racist. This week, one Kossack extended that principle to calls for Obama's black attorney general, Eric Holder, to testify before Congress. The Kossack alleged that said calls come from "cracker Republicans" who consider Holder their "nigger."
As usual, each headline is preceded by the blogger's name or pseudonym.