While Thursday's NBC Today completely ignored Wednesday's dramatic congressional hearing on the growing IRS scandal, the network morning show did manage to find time to gush over Barack Obama's 1979 prom picture, with fill-in news reader Tamron Hall exclaiming: "Well, now thanks to Time magazine, we have proof that even the commander-in-chief once donned the white dinner jacket. There he is, that's 17-year-old Barry Obama...at his senior prom in Hawaii...." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Hall provided another important detail to viewers: "President Obama's classmate Kelli Alman released the pictures to Time, complete with the President's yearbook inscription to her, calling her, quote, 'extremely sweet and foxy.'" The news brief prompted a thirty-second discussion on the topic.
While the three network morning shows on Thursday all promoted President Obama's "renewed focus on transparency" in an upcoming national security speech, none of the broadcasts made any mention of the administration's deception in the ongoing scandal surrounding the terrorist attack in Benghazi.
On NBC's Today, White House correspondent Peter Alexander declared that Obama would be "highlighting new efforts to bring about transparency and even new restriction in the so-called hidden war" while citing "evidence of that renewed focus on transparency" in the form a Justice Department letter to Congress officially acknowledging the already widely-reported fact that drones were used to kill American citizen and terrorist cleric Anwar Al-Awlaki.
With each passing day, it's becoming clearer and clearer that many of the current White House resident's followers in the media are really angered by his attack on the Associated Press and Fox News's James Rosen.
On MSNBC's Morning Joe Thursday, the National Journal's Ron Fournier said of this issue, "You can't make journalism a conspiracy...The irony here is that President Obama, by raising a jihad against the press, has now made it more likely that we’re going to have what he called 'dumb wars'" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
"Let's face facts: the American media is in an abusive relationship with Obama."
So marvelously said Dennis Miller on Fox New's the O'Reilly Factor in a discussion about the Internal Revenue Service scandal Wednesday (video follows with transcript and absolutely no need for additional commentary):
On the Tuesday, May 21, All In with Chris Hayes show on MSNBC, host Hayes mocked House Speaker John Boehner for calling for the American people "to know what the truth is" about recent Obama scandals, as the MSNBC host referred to the Ohio Republican's speech as "a little invented scandal Mad Libs."
Hayes took a break from Oklahoma tornado coverage for a little political news:
"With the decision to label a Fox News television reporter a possible 'co-conspirator' in a criminal investigation of a news leak, the Obama administration has moved beyond protecting government secrets to threatening fundamental freedoms of the press to gather news."
So shockingly began a New York Times editorial Wednesday.
Jay Leno on Tuesday continued his humorous attacks on the current White House resident.
The NBC Tonight Show host concluded a series of opening monologue jokes targeting the administration saying, “That's why President Obama holds press conferences: not to explain what's going on, to find out what's going on” (video follows with transcript and absolutely no need for additional commentary):
As more revelations surface concerning the White House targeting press members, more and more of Barack Obama's fans in the media are breaking ranks.
Count NBC's chief White House correspondent amongst them, for on MSNBC's Morning Joe Wednesday, Chuck Todd actually said, "They want to criminalize journalism" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
How worried should President Obama be when he loses the likes of Al Hunt?
On today's Morning Joe, discussing the James Rosen outrage, Hunt called President Obama "no better than Richard Nixon" when it comes to the press. He then strongly suggested that Attorney General Eric Holder should go. View the video after the jump.
As the Obama scandals surround the White House, some conservatives are suggesting that -- finally -- the media are "getting tough” on Obama. Don't count on it. All our modern experience suggests tough reporting on a Democratic president is more of a temporary sensation than an ongoing trend.
The news media honestly believe they were tough on Team Clinton. It is simply not true. There was a seemingly endless supply of Clinton administration (and Clinton pre-administration) scandals, yet can you name one that was resolved? The floating FBI files. The illegal fundraising. Whitewater. On and on they went, and the media response was predictable: two or three days of tough coverage -- if at all -- and then, inevitably, political spin overtaking the hunt for facts. The search for truth became a discussion about “Republican overreach.”
The Washington Post reported on Tuesday's front page that their ABC-Post poll showed Obama’s approval rating remained steady, with 51 percent approving and 44 percent disapproving. Then came the Post polling comparison to uncaring Republicans. Dan Balz and Jon Cohen reported: “A bare majority of Americans say they believe that Obama is focused on issues that are important to them personally; just 33 percent think so of congressional Republicans.” They illustrated that 18-point gap with a graph.
Should we draw from this question that lying to the public and using the imposing powers of the IRS to thwart conservative groups aren’t issues that the people need to care about? Would the Post have asked this question during the Watergate scandal? Or Iran-Contra? Inside the Post, their graphics relayed that 74 percent of the sample felt the IRS targeting was “inappropriate.”'
Despite the devastating tornado that struck Oklahoma on Monday, ABC's Good Morning America still found time to devote several segments to stunningly superficial topics, including getting Botox injections at age 20 and Matt Damon's gay love scenes with Michael Douglas in a new movie. Additionally, the network morning show offered yet another segment to the tabloid details of the Jodi Arias criminal trial.
In total, this amounted to ten and 34 seconds for stories of minor importance. In contrast, the latest details on the growing Internal Revenue Service scandal warranted a mere 52 seconds. News reader Josh Elliott briefly explained that senior White House officials are now admitting "that the top White House lawyer, Kathy Ruemmler, knew about the investigation into the agency's targeting of conservative groups last month." Administration officials claim they did not inform the President.
Ever since he announced he was stepping down as Tonight Show host Jay Leno has seemingly been harder on Barack Obama. Well on Monday's Tonight Show with Jay Leno that trend continued as Leno featured a clip of schoolchildren peppering the President with the tough questions that the press should be hammering him with on a daily basis.
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):
MSNBC ads on liberal websites like Salon.com are pushing to increase interest and ratings in the badly named show "All In," when it could be titled "A Few In." Or, to quote Dana Carvey's George Bush, "Still Gaining Acceptance." The ad says “Click here to get to know Chris Hayes.” This takes you to the “All In With Chris Hayes” Facebook page.
What you get there is a great sense of just how energetically Hayes is trying to avoid the Obama scandals. Instead, the scandal is the alleged starvation of the public sector:
Well, it looks like I was right earlier this afternoon when I thought that the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, was among those holding off on reporting the Wall Street Journal's Sunday evening disclosure that Kathryn Ruemmler, the head of the Office of the White House Counsel, "learned weeks ago that an audit of the Internal Revenue Service likely would show that agency employees inappropriately targeted conservative groups" was "nervous about the Journal’s report, waiting for administration apparatchiks to tell them what to say, or both."
It turns out that the AP, in an unbylined report, waited until Jay Carney told them what to say and then pretended that the Journal's Sunday story didn't exist (the time stamp seen at story as carried at the AP's national site at the time of this post was 2:51 p.m.; the graphic which follows is of the identical story at Yahoo News):
ABC, CBS, and NBC touted President Obama's Sunday commencement address at Morehouse College in Atlanta on their Sunday evening and Monday morning newscasts, devoting a total of five minutes and 14 seconds to the "powerful speech", as NBC's Tamron Hall labeled it on Monday's Today. On Monday's CBS This Morning, Norah O'Donnell gushed, "I think it's one of those speeches that will be looked at over the years."
Lester Holt played up the President's apparent "voice of experience" on Sunday's NBC Nightly News, and asserted that "the President is sharing in a way we rarely hear him."
UPDATED: [May 21; 5:15 p.m. EDT | see portion in brackets below the page break] || The liberal media continue their effort to spin the Obama administration right out of trouble. On Saturday’s Today, NBC brought on John Harwood, CNBC’s chief Washington correspondent, to provide some analysis of the three scandals that rocked the administration last week. Harwood, with help from co-anchor Erica Hill, attempted to make the discussion about the Republicans and their shortcomings rather than the White House’s failings.
Hill brought up the fact that some senior Republicans, such as Newt Gingrich, have cautioned the party about not going after Obama too aggressively over the scandals. Harwood agreed, adding that the party does not have a wide enough base. He then chastised Republicans: [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
On Friday's PoliticsNation on MSNBC, host Al Sharpton lambasted House Republicans for repeatedly voting to repeal ObamaCare, calling it a "scandal" and an "outrage," as he seemed to cite a questionable study from a left-wing source from 2009 claiming that 45,000 people a year die because they lack health insurance. Sharpton began the segment:
Yesterday (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), I took apart Espo's claim that there is a "lack of evidence to date of wrongdoing close to the Oval Office" by showing that in at least five situations -- Fast and Furious, Benghazi, IRS targeting, AP phone snooping, and HHS's shaking down of insurance companies to fund ObamaCare promotions -- have all been known by people who directly report to the President, and are thus just one step away from him. On Sunday evening, the Wall Street Journal reported that in the case of the IRS targeting, it's a lot less than one step (bolds are mine):
On Sunday's NBC Nightly News, White House correspondent Peter Alexander led off with Obama team spin on the scandals rocking the administration: "...the White House is aggressively responding, calling accusations of mismanagement 'offensive and absurd.'" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
A sound bite played of Obama advisor Dan Pfeiffer ranting: "There is no question that we want to – that Republicans are trying to make political hay here....What they want to do when they're lacking a positive agenda is try to drag Washington into a swamp of partisan fishing expeditions, trumped-up hearings, and false allegations. We're not gonna let that happen."
While the the front page of today's Washington Post is actually reporting significant developments in two of Barack Obama's trifecta of scandals, the Washington Post Company-owned free tabloid the Express is busy lamenting if the president will ever get "A Break from the Storm?"
Perhaps, as "advisers say," he "should stage a major economic speech to drown out the noise[emphasis mine] of recent scandals," Express editors helpfully offered in a caption for their front-page photo illustration, which depicted a grimacing President Obama getting drenched in a downpour [see image below page break].
Jeffrey Lord at the American Spectator has reviewed the White House logs looking for a relationship between meetings listed there and the timeline found in the Inspector General's report on the targeting of Tea Party and conservative groups issued last Tuesday. Lord's work represents yet another example of alternative media scooping a lazy or negligent establishment press.
What Lord has found (single-page print version) is that President Barack Obama met with the President of the National Treasury Employees Union Colleen Kelley, on March 31, 2010. The NTEU is "the 150,000 member union that represents IRS employees along with 30 other separate government agencies." The Inspector General's report, blandly titled "Inappropriate Criteria Were Used to Identify Tax-Exempt Applications for Review," indicates that the IRS, in Lord's words, "set to work in earnest targeting the Tea Party and conservative groups around America" the very next day. Lord's work is a mandatory read-the-whole-thing item. Excerpts follow the jump (bolds are mine throughout this post):
Former Obama press secretary and campaign advisor Robert Gibbs had some harsh words for New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd Monday.
Appearing on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Gibbs said, “I don’t normally read Maureen...largely because it’s sort of largely the same column for the last like eight years” (video follows with transcript and absolutely no need for additional commentary):
Of all the scandals plaguing the Obama administration, the one involving the Internal Revenue Service appears to be the one that even liberal news outlets deem serious.
Count Washington Post Fact Checker Glenn Kessler amongst the concerned, for on Monday he actually gave the IRS's Lois Lerner "a bushel of Pinocchios" for statements she has made about her organization's targeting of conservative groups.
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):