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."
ABC on Tuesday and Wednesday aggressively covered the growing IRS scandal involving the targeting of conservative groups, deeming it an "important" "firestorm." Yet, World News reporter Jon Karl also spun the Obama administration as a "White House that takes pride in being scandal-free." (Fast and Furious? Solyndra? Reverend Wright?) [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
To her credit, World News anchor Diane Sawyer opened the show by trumpeting: "We begin with a dramatic new turn in the firestorm surrounding the IRS. Last night, we asked if what they did was fair. Tonight, the FBI is asking, was it criminal?" Reporter Jon Karl did the work of putting the administration on record . He quizzed press secretary Jay Carney: "Can you say categorically that nobody at the White House and nobody on the President's political team had any knowledge or was involved in any way in the targeting of Tea Party groups by the IRS?" (Carney simply replied, "Yes.")
It's just so unfortunate that such nice guys are going through such trying circumstances.
That's the impression one gets from graphic teases seen at about 9:30 this morning at the Washington Post, where the captions underneath the three left thumbnails read as follows: "President Obama’s disastrous political week"; "Jay Carney’s tough day"; and "Jay Carney’s day — in 7 faces." If you don't recall such an obvious outward show of sympathy during the final year of George W. Bush's presidency, you're not alone. A quick look at the underlying items follows the jump.
"President Barack H. Obama’s outrageous seizure of the Associated Press’s phone records, allegedly to discover sources of leaks, should surprise no one...He is fast becoming the worst national security press president ever, and it may not get any better."
So wrote James Goodale Tuesday, the attorney who defended the New York Times against President Richard Nixon in the famous Pentagon Papers trial.
NPR political director Ron Elving wrote a wistful blog post on Tuesday night headlined “Goodbye, Again, To Obama's Most Audacious Hope.”
“The sudden eruption of second-term scandals in his administration will have many costs for President Obama, but surely the most grievous will be the lost opportunity to transcend the partisan wars of Washington,” Elving mourned. “That aspiration was his fondest dream for his second term, much as it was for his first. Now it seems destined to be dashed once again.”
The Obama scandals started piling up on top of each other in the last few days. The civil servants who testified on Benghazi were heart-breaking. Then the IRS admitted a punitive agenda against tax exemptions for groups with “Tea Party” in the name, or groups which “educate about the Constitution.”
Then Eric Holder’s Justice Department was revealed to be wiretapping the Associated Press in April and May of 2012 to nail a leaker. President Obama is not a “victim” of a “second-term curse.” This is the corrupt first term beginning to smell, it is his administration, and even the media cannot deny the odor of malfeasance.
Imagine that. Politico has a very negative story on our second-term president.
After over five years during which the online publication has engaged in virtual non-stop fawning over the wonders of Barack Obama -- going all the way back to shortly after its founding in January 2007, when Ben Smith found someone who described him as "frighteningly coherent" -- Mike Allen and Jim VandeHei tonight employed adjectives and described personality traits of their beloved "44" and those surrounding hime which just about anyone with eyes, meaning everyone except all too many members of the establishment press and those who have been deceived by them, has recognized for a long, long time (bolds are mine):
Covering Barack Obama's Monday May 13 press conference for the May 14 edition of the Wall Street Journal, reporters Peter Nicholas and Janet Hook painted the president as above the partisan fray and Republicans as the ones sidetracking Washington from the "plenty of unfinished business" that the president has on his plate just "[f]our months into his new term."
In their 20-paragraph story, "Obama Dismisses Benghazi Claims," Nicholas and Hook seemed particularly interested in the president's charge that the Benghazi focus was all about GOP campaigning and fundraising, even as the veteran reporters left out that shortly after the president's joint press conference, he jetted off to New York City for a closed-door Democratic National Committee fundraiser at a private residence (emphasis mine):
In a disptach early this evening, the Associated Press's Pete Yost, perhaps signaling his employer's intent to remain the journalistic lapdog known as the Administration's Press, accepted at face value Attorney General Eric Holder's claim, while defending his department's actions, to have played no role in its wide-ranging subpoena of two months of AP phone records involving 20 cellular, personal and business lines used by over 100 wire service reporters and editors. Yost also did not address whether DOJ received judicial approval for its fishing expedition, a question the AP's Mark Sherman identified last night as unresolved.
It apparently hasn't occurred to Yost that if an Attorney General is aware that his underlings are about to engage in blatant, First Amendment-chilling prosecutorial overreach and intimidation -- a characterization the reporter himself made clear is shared by critics of all political stripes -- merely removing oneself from the case is a completely insufficient reaction. Instead, the AG is duty-bound to order it not to happen, and to remove anyone who chooses to defy his order. If the AG supports what his people have done, then he's responsible for the results and fallout. That's how being the boss is supposed to work. Excerpts from Yost's report follow the jump (bolds are mine):
In case you're hiding under a rock, you should know that an audit conducted by the inspector general for the Internal Revenue Service has found that IRS officials targeted for scrutiny certain groups critical of the administration.
Which groups? Well, those with "tea party" or "patriot" in their names and nonprofit groups that criticized the government and sought to educate Americans about the U.S. Constitution.
Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and his Republican Senate Leadership spoke to the media Tuesday after a closed policy luncheon.
The Senate Minority Leader began the event by saying, "I want to make a few observations about the administration's abuse of power," and before opening it up to questions said, "As you continue to file your stories on this subject, ask yourself before you write: how would I be writing this story if this were a Republican administration?"
While the Big Three (ABC, CBS and NBC) networks have all done stories on the Obama administration's seizure of Associated Press (AP) reporters phone records, what is striking is their reluctance to attach Barack Obama's name to the controversy. In seven total stories aired on their evening and morning shows, since the story broke on Monday afternoon, Obama's name was used only six times. Reporters were much more likely to use the generic term "government." For example, CBS's Bob Orr on Wednesday's This Morning described the controversy this way: "The government just simply came in, got the subpoenas, took the phone logs and then notified the AP after the fact."
The reluctance to put Obama's name in these stories is important because it allows the low-information voter to write off the scandal as one caused by faceless government bureaucrats.
Et tu, Roberto? It was bad enough for President Obama to have Andrea Mitchell jump ship this morning. But now someone who is—arguably—even closer to home has taken a resounding shot at the President's mishandling of the IRS scandal.
Appearing on Mitchell's MSNBC show this afternoon, former Obama press secretary Robert Gibbs condemned the president's "exceedingly passive" language in discussing the scandal. Obama had said there'd be consequences "if" wrongdoing were found, and spoken of "losing patience." Gibbs was scathing: that's what "I do with my nine-year old." Ouch! View the video after the jump.
"I've just been chuckling at" the media's response to Associated Press phone records probe by the Obama/Holder Justice Department, NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell confessed to Fox Business Network host Stuart Varney this morning on the May 14 Varney & Co.
"There have been four years of overreach by this administration, four years of people not involved in journalism saying this was an administration that was drunk on power and evasive and dishonest, and the media would have nothing of it," noted the Media Research Center founder. It took the administration "turning on the press as well, and suddenly they're apoplectic," Bozell noted with a laugh. [For the full segment, watch the video below the page break]
Leave it to Ed Schultz to conjure up the most deranged spin yet in response to the Internal Revenue Service admitting to undue scrutiny of tea party groups.
While many liberals have been critical of the Obama administration in the wake of the hardly surprising revelation, Schultz on his radio show yesterday was full-throated in his defense of the IRS -- even to the point of making the absurd claim that it showed how conservatives should support President Obama's plan to "simplify" the tax code. (Audio clips after page break)
While Monday's NBC Nightly News was content to accept President Obama labeling the Benghazi scandal as a "political circus" worthy of ridicule, on Fox News Channel's Special Report, chief Washington correspondent James Rosen was actually being a journalist and fact-checking the commander-in-chief's deceptive assertions on the controversy.
Introducing the Nightly News report on Obama attempting to downplay the scandal during a midday press conference, anchor Brian Williams announced: "...the President took the opportunity to hit back hard over accusations of some sort of a cover-up, saying that defies logic."
It's been a busy week full of news stories highly damaging to liberals, from the damning testimony about Benghazi to revelations that the Obama IRS targeted the Tea Party to yesterday's conviction of Philadelphia abortionist and infanticidal maniac Kermit Gosnell.
So we at NewsBusters thought we'd show you how some conservative political cartoonists around the country were dealing with these developments in this week's edition of NB's ToonsDay:
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):
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: