After failing for the entire calendar year of 2012 to cover the Fast and Furious scandal, the PBS NewsHour suddenly showed up on the beat Tuesday night -- not to question Holder, but to wonder why Holder was being punished by Republicans. Online, the segment title was "Why Eric Holder Is a 'Lightning Rod to Conservatives'." Why on Earth does "lightning rod" have to be in quotes? Because it's just so implausible?
Woodruff invited on two liberal journalists -- NPR legal correspondent Carrie Johnson and Daniel Klaidman of Newsweek -- to discuss how Holder is being punished because he's liberal, not whether he's stonewalled and lied to Congress.
According to ABC News' Matt Negrin, Republicans are "victimizing" and "demonizing" Attorney General Eric Holder. The ABC network has almost completely ignored the growing Fast and Furious scandal, but an online article written by Mr. Negrin put the blame on the GOP. (Negrin mocks the concept of media bias on his Facebook page. See screen cap below.)
In fact, it seems Negrin's ABCNews.com article was so biased, the network altered the headline. The original title spewed, "Demonizing Attorney General Eric Holder, GOP Is Fast and Furious." The altered headline reads: "Against Attorney General Eric Holder, GOP Is Fast and Furious." (The first version can still be found in the hyper link.) In his piece, Negrin whined, "There's little question that Republicans want to use the demonization of Holder as a political issue."
Dismissing Republican accusations against Eric Holder as "politics," CNN legal analyst Jeff Toobin claimed that allegations of corruption against the Attorney General have "not been proven at all, at least as far as I can tell."
Exasperated anchor Carol Costello teed him up by wondering why Republicans in Congress won't believe the Attorney General's admitted ignorance of tactics used in the infamous "Fast and Furious" operation. "Eric Holder has testified before the House Judiciary Committee nine times. Each time he has admitted 'Fast and Furious' was a dreadful mistake, and each time Holder says he was unaware of the tactics of the operation," she insisted. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
As Newsbusters reported yesterday, the Big Three (ABC, CBS, NBC) network news shows have been stunningly slow to report on the Eric Holder hearings on the Fast and Furious scandal. NBC news hasn’t even reported once on the gunwalking controversy, until last night. On Tuesday’s NBC Nightly News, at the very end of her report, Kelly O’Donnell finally told viewers about “a failed operation that sent US guns into Mexico.” O’Donnell awkwardly attempted to explain the controversy, in 30 seconds, since no one on Nightly News or Today had previously done it.
The only other mention of the Holder hearings came on Wednesday’s edition of CBS's This Morning. ABC skipped the story entirely.
The news that the House Oversight Committee will vote next week on whether to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress, for refusing to turn over subpoenaed documents in the Fast and Furious investigation, was met with silence from the Big Three (ABC, NBC, CBS) network news shows. There was no mention of the Holder hearings on Monday’s evening news shows or Tuesday’s morning shows.
The blackout of the Holder hearings continues a stunning trend. Since December 2010, when the Fast and Furious scandal first broke, there have been zero stories about the gunwalking scandal on NBC Nightly News and Today show. On ABC there was only one brief aired on Good Morning America. Only CBS has truly covered the story, mainly due to the work of one reporter, Sharyl Attkisson. Since Attkisson broke the gunwalking story, there have been a total of 30 full stories and 1 brief aired on CBS’s Evening News and This Morning programs.
Curiously, Attkisson’s stories on the gunwalking scandal have screeched to a halt.
Republican House Speaker John Boehner strongly objected to a slanted story on the Fast and Furious scandal by Times legal reporter Charlie Savage posted at the New York Times on Tuesday (it evidently did not make it into print).
The Daily Caller reported: "A spokesman for Speaker of the House John Boehner told The Daily Caller on Tuesday night that the New York Times published a false story alleging the speaker is trying to cut a deal with Attorney General Eric Holder over congressional subpoenas related to the Operation Fast and Furious scandal."
As of 11:15 p.m., with about 74% of the votes counted, Wisconsin Governor Scott was ahead of Scott Barrett by roughly a 56-44 margin. Late-arriving votes from Democrat-heavy areas of Milwaukee and Dane Counties seemed likely to narrow the margin to perhaps 10 points. (UPDATE: Because heavier margins of support for Barrett in those two counties, the final margin was 6.9%, roughly the same as Barack Obama's 7.4% margin in 2008, which was never labeled a "survival" or "narrow" or anything similar.)
The headlines currently at CNN (HT to a NewsBusters tipster) and the Associated Press both act as if Walker squeaked by. Pics follow the jump.
New York Times legal reporter Charlie Savage played softball with Attorney General Eric Holder on Sunday’s front page: “A Lightning Rod Undeterred by G.O.P. Thunder.” The online headline even more strongly suggested that Holder was standing brave and firm against a torrent of politically motivated Republican criticism: “Under Partisan Fire, Holder Soldiers On.”
Savage has previously downplayed the Fast and Furious “gun-walking” scandal, when the Justice Department signed off on a plan that allowed guns to flow untracked into the U.S. and Mexico, putting thousands of illegally purchased firearms on the street, one of which led to the death of Border Patrol agent Brian Terry. Savage’s November 8 coverage of Holder’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee omitted Holder’s admission that his initial statements to Congress about his knowledge of the gun-walking were "inaccurate,” while the Washington Post recognized its importance with Page 2 placement and a headline mention.
Obama administration Attorney General Eric Holder was grilled by Republicans on Capitol Hill Tuesday about the Justice Department’s botched sting Operation Fast and Furious, which allowed guns to flow untracked into the U.S. and Mexico, putting thousands of illegally purchased firearms on the street, one of which led to the death of Border Patrol agent Brian Terry in the Arizona desert.
Republican questioners even forced Holder to admit his initial statements to Congress about his knowledge of the gun-walking were "inaccurate.” But the New York Times's print edition completely skipped it.
NBC and ABC in their evening and morning newscasts completely ignored the grilling Eric Holder received on Capitol Hill on Tuesday, over his role in the Fast and Furious scandal. Senate Republicans forced Holder to admit his initial statements to Congress about his department’s role in gunwalking were "inaccurate," and that he never apologized to the family of a Border Agent killed by a Mexican drug cartel that used guns from the Fast and Furious operation. Only Sharyl Attkisson, in two full reports aired on Tuesday’s Evening News and Wednesday’s The Early Show, relayed the testimony that ABC and NBC blacked out on their broadcasts.
Attkisson, who was berated by the Obama White House and even momentarily benched by CBS, for her role in covering the story, ran down the pertinent details in the following story aired on the November 8 edition of CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley:
The tally now comes to 30 members of Congress calling for Attorney General Eric Holder to resign following Operation Fast and Furious.
The latest congressman to call for Holder's resignation was Rep. Connie Mac (R-FL). Mack, who just last week announced he will be running for Senate, indicates that calling for Holder's resignation is a widely shared and politically popular view.
Do you think Holder will step down soon? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.
In early May of this year, Attorney General Eric Holder told Rep. Darrell Issa's House committee that he was "not sure of the exact date" he learned of Fast and Furious, but that he "probably heard about Fast and Furious for the first time over the last few weeks.
Now, CBS News has obtained documents showing that Holder was sent briefings on the controversial operation as early as July 2010, nearly a year before he claimed to Congress to have known about the gunwalking program. While the Justice Department claims that "Holder misunderstood that question from the committee – he did know about Fast and Furious – just not the details," the video of the May 4 committee meeting suggests otherwise.
Do you think the media coverage of Holder's lie to Congress will be as minimal as their coverage of the Solyndra scandal? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.