Appearing as a guest on Thursday's PoliticsNation show on MSNBC, Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank mocked House Republicans for repeatedly holding unsuccessful votes to repeal ObamaCare as he suggested they should continue to "waste" time so "they'll be less of a harm to the country" because that way "they're not cutting food stamps." Milbank:
The PBS NewsHour led off its Thursday evening telecast with a story about the three scandals that currently envelop the Obama administration: the IRS targeting of Tea Party groups, the Justice Department’s subpoena of AP phone records, and the Benghazi attack. Rather than following the package with analysis from a journalist, as PBS often does with stories like this, the taxpayer-subsidized network brought on White House Communications Director Jennifer Palmieri to provide the White House's spin on these scandals.
Even worse, anchor Judy Woodruff did not rise to the occasion with any tough questioning, allowing Palmieri to spin her way right out of trouble. All of Woodruff’s questions dealt with President Obama’s reaction to the scandals; she never grilled Palmieri on whether the White House was involved in any of this. The assumption seemed to be that the president was an innocent bystander in all of these scandals. [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
Imagine that in a week in which George W. Bush was dogged by not one or two but three scandals -- one of which was the IRS singling out liberal groups for stricter scrutiny -- a federal appeals court invalidated a recess appointment the Republican president made, finding he improperly ran an end run around the U.S. Senate. The national media would, no doubt, pick up on the story as evidence that the president was abusing power, weaving the development into a larger narrative about the president's untrustworthiness in light of the aforementioned scandals.
Well, yesterday the Third Circuit Court of Appeals issued a ruling invalidating an Obama recess appointments that was made when the Senate was on a short break in between meetings. This is the second such ruling in four months as the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals issued a similar ruling in late January. Predictably, however, both the May 16 broadcast network evening newscasts and the May 17 broadcast network morning shows completely ignored the ruling.
On Thursday's NBC Nightly News, after proclaiming President Obama to be "on the offensive" amid growing scandals, anchor Brian Williams hinted at those controversies being only temporary setbacks for Obama: "And some folks are already calling the President's problems the curse of the second term. And yet it's tough to know the staying power of any given scandal in the making, along with the effect any of this might have on his overall planned agenda." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
This is the same Brian Williams who in February quipped that Florida Senator Marco Rubio taking a sip of water during a response to the President's State of the Union address was a moment "that just might live on forever."
In the latest instance of liberal journalists thinking alike, Charlie Rose asked practically the same question on Friday's CBS This Morning that ABC's George Stephanopoulos did on Good Morning America. Rose wondered if congressional Republicans "may overplay their hand and somehow squander what they think is opportunity" on the three scandals currently surrounding the Obama White House.
The CBS anchor proposed this question not even four minutes after Stephanopoulos asked ABC correspondent Jonathan Karl, "Are some of [the GOP] leaders worried that some of the Republicans may be overplaying their hand?"
Reeve imputes a level of pessimism to the quote that doesn’t inhere in it. But then she turns around and evinces a degree of optimism that isn’t warranted either, telling readers the Obama presidency “is being declared alive after all on Thursday.”
The same CNN host who slobbered back in 2011, "A lot of things are just perfect about Barack Obama," is now taking the President to task for lack of transparency.
Two nights in a row, CNN's Piers Morgan whacked the Obama administration for promising transparency before three scandals revealed that promise to be broken at best. "[T]he real problem for Barack Obama, it seems to me, as the President, is that he promised to be different. He promised to be transparent. None of this looks very transparent, does it?" Morgan pressed on his Wednesday night show. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
On Thursday's The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, MSNBC contributor Joy Reid claimed that Republicans are going after Obama administration scandals because "the only thing that really unites conservatives and Republicans at this point is hatred of Barack Obama. So they're going to play it for all it's worth."
Host Lawrence O'Donnell had begun the discussion by reading from a National Review article cautioning Republicans against depending too much on scandal for electoral victory rather than pushing an agenda. O'Donnell suggested going after corruption in the Obama administration would hurt Republicans politically:
On Friday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer described how President Obama was "trying to move past" the scandals plaguing his administration. In the report that followed, chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd began by parroting the President's attempts to downplay the political firestorm: "Aides say the President's keeping things in perspective and believes this is just a blip, he'll bounce back." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
After playing clips of Obama's Thursday news conference, including Reuters reporter Jeff Mason asking about comparisons to Nixon, Todd promoted more White House spin: "In the end, aides say Mr. Obama does not feel under siege this week. The New York Times reporting the President has 'talked longingly of going Bulworth,' referencing the movie featuring Warren Beatty as a senator who suddenly decides to speak his mind whatever the political cost."
Jay Leno continued his humorous attack on the White House Thursday.
At the beginning of a series of opening monologue jokes about the various scandals plaguing President Obama, the NBC Tonight Show host said, “If Republicans really want to do away with ObamaCare, they should endorse it as a conservative non-profit - let the IRS take it down” (video follows with transcript and absolutely no need for additional commentary):
NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell and Fox News host Sean Hannity kicked off the "Media Mash" segment of the May 16 Hannity with a deliciously ironic clip of Hardball host Chris Matthews lamenting on his Tuesday program that President Obama is surrounded by adoring yes-men who can't bear to tell him bad news, and that that culture of groupthink leaves the president prone to embarrassing scandals. "A little irony there?! I couldn't resist! I had to start with that," Hannity said suppressing laughter. "Okay, a sycophant who's in awe and in love with Barack Obama. Chris Matthews, call your office," Bozell quipped, adding, "This is the man who spits to tell us how much Obama's the perfect man."
The reporters at Good Morning America on Friday continued White House damage control efforts on the growing scandal involving the Internal Revenue Service targeting conservative groups. Former Democratic operative turned journalist George Stephanopoulos insisted that Barack Obama is "trying to turn the corner after a tough week fending off controversy."
Talking to Jon Karl, he wondered, "Are some of [the GOP] leaders worried that some of the Republicans may be overplaying their hand?" [See video below. MP3 audio here.] Karl lectured, "There's real concern about this." The journalist added that certain Republicans are talking about "impeachment." Instead of focusing on political rhetoric, Karl could have mentioned that the IRS official in charge during the Tea Party targeting is now running Obama's health care office. He skipped this development.
During Wednesday's edition of MSNBC's weeknight program “The Last Word,” host Lawrence O'Donnell responded to a statement made earlier in the day by President Obama about the Internal Revenue Service's discrimination against conservative groups seeking non-profit status: “Across the board, everybody believes” what was revealed in the report from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration is “an outrage.”
“Everybody but me,” O'Donnell insisted. “I believe that the IRS agents in this case did nothing wrong.”
“President Obama has called for creation of a government wide strategy ‘to address any gender pay gap in the Federal workforce.'" Eric Yoder of the Washington Post noted in a May 14 article. That's all well and good, but nowhere in Yoder's story did he consider that there's a pay disparity problem in the White House and in Senate Democratic offices, according to investigations by the Washington Free Beacon.
On Sept. 12, 2012, President Barack Obama vowed to "bring to justice" the perpetrators of the deadly attack in Benghazi, Libya. On Oct. 26, 2012, Obama said his "biggest priority" was bringing the "folks" in Libya responsible for murdering four Americans to "justice." Tick, tock, tick, tock.
While White House press secretary Jay Carney sneers at the GOP's "obsession" with what went wrong at the besieged Libyan consulate, Obama continues to ply his emptiest talking point. On May 13, 2013, more than eight months after the bloody disaster, Obama snippily reminded reporters that he had told us all back in September that "we would find out what happened, we would make sure that it did not happen again, and we would make sure that we held accountable those who had perpetrated this terrible crime."
On Wednesday's The O'Reilly Factor, liberal FNC political analyst Kirsten Powers again accused President Barack Obama of speaking "lies" in claiming that he called Benghazi a terrorist attack early on. Host Bill O'Reilly introduced the segment by playing a clip of Powers from Monday's Special Report with Bret Baier. Powers, from Monday:
For years, NewsBusters has reported how few comedians dare to tell jokes about President Obama.
On the CBS Late Show Wednesday, host David Letterman humorously addressed this saying, “I don't make jokes about him because I don't want the FBI tapping my phone, my phone. That's why” (video follows with transcript and commentary):
On Wednesday's All In show, MSNBC host Chris Hayes boosted the efforts of convicted felon Tim DeChristopher as he interviewed the environmental activist who served two years in prison for making illegal bids in an oil lease auction that he had no way of honoring.
Hayes gave the activist a forum to encourage more law-breaking as part of the environmental movement as DeChristopher suggested that only "civil disobedience" would be effective.
Thursday's CBS This Morning did its best to shift blame away from President Obama on the IRS, Justice Department, and Benghazi scandals currently surrounding his administration. Bob Schieffer shot down comparisons to the Watergate scandal that led to former President Richard Nixon's resignation: "This is not the Nixon administration, where you had burglars and people talking about blowing up the Brookings Institution. This is more of a case – is anybody home?" [audio available here; video below the jump]
Anchor Charlie Rose seconded Schieffer's assessment, asserting that the President "seems like a bystander in his own government." He later stated that "the President has to take control of his own government."
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 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.
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."
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.]
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:
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."