"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:
On Friday's Politics Nation on MSNBC, which was dominated by coverage of the kidnappings in Cleveland, Ohio, host Al Sharpton took a moment to note the Benghazi scandal as he accused Republicans of a conducting a "cheap stunt" and of pushing a "phony conspiracy theory." Sharpton:
In an interview with House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa on Sunday's Meet the Press, host David Gregory attempted to dismiss the growing Benghazi scandal for the Obama administration as a GOP political attack: "You've got Republicans talking about this being Watergate. One Republican raising the specter of impeachment. Conservative groups raising money off of the Benghazi story. Are you hurting your own credibility and your own find – fact-finding mission by politically overreaching?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Moments later, Gregory downplayed the Benghazi terrorist attack as just one incident among many that have "happened throughout our recent history....spanning Republican and Democratic administrations, including President Bush's administration." He then tried to pin the blame on Congress: "Why is there not more of an effort to beef up security after these attacks happen....And isn't this Congress's job to spend the money to beef up security?"
Sure, it was just one of those tongue-tied moments we've all experienced. But if it had been George W. Bush mispronouncing the name of a world leader who is very much in the news, imagine the field day the MSM would have had with it.
At his press appearance with British PM David Cameron today, aired on MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell Reports, President Obama was seen pronouncing the name of the Syrian dictator Bashir Assad as "Bassar Ashad." PBO pauses before pronouncing, seeming to sense he's about to get it wrong, but decides to plunge ahead. There's another priceless moment: when the show cuts back to the studio, guest-hosting Chuck Todd is seen with a hilariously baffled look on his face. View the video after the jump.
During a report on Monday's NBC Today about the Benghazi and IRS scandals wracking the Obama administration, a headline on screen wondered if they were the result of "Obama's Second Term Curse?" White House correspondent Peter Alexander lamented: "Fewer than four months since his ambitious inaugural address, President Obama is facing significant political obstacles.... Some observers are already asking if Mr. Obama is falling victim to the second term curse."
After Alexander detailed second-term problems for past presidents, "From Watergate to Iran-Contra, even Bill Clinton's impeachment," a sound bite followed of NBC's liberal presidential historian Michael Beschloss offering this bit of advice to Obama: "The presidents who have weathered these crises best have been those who do not let themselves get distracted."
As NewsBusters has been reporting all morning, the folks on MSNBC's Morning Joe almost unanimously came down on the Obama administration for using the Internal Revenue Service to intimidate its political opponents.
Putting an exclamation point on the outrage late in Monday's program were co-hosts Joe Scarborough and Willie Geist who shockingly agreed, "This is tyranny" (video follows with transcript and absolutely no need for additional commentary):
President Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron will take questions from reporters in a joint press conference to be held shortly at the White House. The president is expected to be asked about revelations that IRS officials targeted Tea Party groups for audits. I'll be watching the conference and transcribing the questions below the page break.
In the comments section, tell us what questions you'd ask the president.
It only took four and a half years, but the liberal media finally found something to criticize President Obama for.
After former NBC Nightly News anchor Tom Brokaw excoriated the administration on MSNBC's Morning Joe Monday for using the Internal Revenue Service to intimidate political opponents, NBC's chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd said, "This story has more legs politically in 2014 than Benghazi" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
It appears that there is something not all liberal media members are willing to defend a Democratic administration from: using the Internal Revenue Service to intimidate political opponents.
So outraged by Friday's revelations was former NBC Nightly News anchor Tom Brokaw that on MSNBC's Morning Joe Monday, he called the tactic "outrageous," "unacceptable," and mocked, "Welcome to the second term, Mr. President" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
When it comes to investigative reporters, how do you change a bulldog into a lapdog? Easy: change the occupant of the Oval Office from a Republican into a Democrat.
Witness Carl Bernstein's pitiful performance on today's Morning Joe. The man who teamed with Bob Woodward to bring down Richard Nixon now credulously claims that he "can't imagine" that President Obama is possibly involved in the IRS targeting of conservative groups. Bernstein instead blames the "hyper-partisanship" in Washington. Yeah, cause politics were so kumbaya in 1972, Carl. View the video after the jump.
Just in time for Mother's Day this year, President Obama has threatened a veto on a bill that would be of great benefit to working moms throughout the country.
In the May 11-12 edition of the Wall Street Journal, the editorial board took Mr. Obama to task for pledging to kill a bill that would reform the Fair Labor Standards Act "to allow employees to swap overtime pay for compensatory time off." The bill, "[s]ponsored by Alabama Republican (and mother of two young children) Martha Roby," passed the House last week. If signed into law, it would give private sector non-union employees the sort of flexibility that federal government employees have had since 1985.
Friday's revelation that the Internal Revenue Service targeted conservative groups prior to last year's elections was certainly reported but not with nearly the outrage as if a Republican administration went after liberals this way.
Driving home the point, George Will just before reading from the Impeachment Articles of Richard Nixon said on ABC's This Week Sunday, "If the George W. Bush administration had IRS underlings, out in Cincinnati of course, saying, 'We're going to target groups with the word progressive in their title,' we would have all hell breaking loose" (video follows with transcript and commentary):