Friday's World News on ABC glossed over the release of Deputy White House Chief of Staff Rob Nabors's report on the scandal at the Veterans Administration. President Obama had sent Nabors to look into the long wait times at veterans hospitals nationwide. Instead, the evening newscast set aside almost two minutes of air time to a woman, who is eight months pregnant, competing in a track and field competition.
On CBS Evening News, Scott Pelley led the broadcast with the "bleak picture" detailed in the new report. Correspondent Wyatt Andrews spotlighted how Nabors "combined scathing criticism with ideas on moving the V.A. forward." Brian Williams used the same label as Andrews during his 24-second news brief about the story on NBC Nightly News: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
An excited George Stephanopoulos on Friday recounted his flight on Air Force One and the thrill of watching the U.S. World Cup with Barack Obama. In the 8am hour, Stephanopoulos bragged to co-host Robin Roberts: "You were teasing me earlier about my trip yesterday on Air Force One. So, I'm just going to rub it in."
At the top of the show, he trumpeted, "ABC News exclusive: My day with the president on Air Force One, watching Team USA." The host enthused, "The President invited us up to his conference room to watch with his team onboard." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] The GMA co-anchor then showed video of himself watching the soccer game with Obama and staff.
In an exclusive interview with Barack Obama, George Stephanopoulos on Friday hinted that the President is disappointed in the American people. The overall interview actually included some tough questions on subjects such as Iraq and the crisis of illegal immigration. But the Good Morning America co-host sympathized with Obama when discussing his crumbling poll numbers and noted that "the public is blaming" the President.
Stephanopoulos then worried, "More than half of the Americans have lost confidence in your ability to lead the country and get the job done. That must have been stunning to you. Disappointing?" The journalist optimistically wondered, "How do you turn it around?" [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
A staple of establishment press reporting is to attribute a contention to a limited group of people to either place the truth of a statement into doubt, or to make it appear that only the group involved holds that opinion. Examples taking this to the absolute extreme could include: "Conervatives say the sun rises in the east and sets in the west," and "Republicans believe that abortion takes a human life."
Note that I didn't write that such extreme examples never occur in establishment press reporting. That's because they sometimes do, even to the point where the reporter(s) involved don't recognize how utterly ignorant and contradictory their content is. Take the following two bolded paragraphs from the Associated Press's terse, "Let's make this story look boring, and tell them as little as we possibly can" story about the National Organization for Marriage's court victory over the IRS in the release of its donor list (report produced in full because of its brevity, and for fair use and discussion purposes):
On Friday's Morning Joe program, MSNBC host Joe Scarborough complained about the absence of media attention to the fact that IRS commissioner John Koskinen, in charge of an organization currently embroiled in an investigation into whether it has unfairly targeted conservative groups during the Obama administration, is himself a "big Democratic donor" who has donated to President Barack Obama twice and, over the years, almost $100,000 to various Democrats.
Regular panel members Mark Halperin of Time magazine and John Heilemann of New York magazine joined in as Scarborough called out the New York Times in particular and imagined how the Times would have reacted if the roles had been reversed during the George W. Bush administration. Scarborough asked:
MRC president Brent Bozell appeared on The Kelly File on Fox News Channel on Thursday night to discuss the ongoing media effort to downplay or ignore Obama scandals.
Kelly began by showing video of the president claiming in Minneapolis that the scandals are fabricated: “Sometimes the news that's being reported on is really important. I mean what's happening in Iraq is relevant. But sometimes the news that's coming off, these are just Washington fights. They're fabricated issues, they're phony scandals that are generated. It's all geared towards the next election of ginning up a base.” Bozell called him shameless, and the most press-pampered president in history. (Video below)
The evening newscasts of all three broadcast networks tonight reported on the unanimous decision in NLRB v. Noel Canning in which the U.S. Supreme Court found that President Obama overstepped his constitutional authority in making recess appointments when the U.S. Senate was technically in session. Rather than couching the ruling as a stunning rebuke of presidential overreach by Mr. Obama, however, coverage on CBS and NBC made it sound like an intrusion on presidential prerogative. ABC's Terry Moran described the ruling as the Court saying "no, no president has [the] power" to make recess appointments when the Senate declares itself to be in session (no matter how sparsely attended).
By contrast a search of Nexis transcripts reveals that on June 28, 2004, when the Supreme Court reached a 6-3 decision in Hamdi v. Rumsfeld -- a Fifth Amendment due process case regarding an American citizen captured in Afghanistan as an enemy combatant -- the network evening newscasts hailed the ruling as "a real blow to the Bush administration" (ABC's Charles Gibson), a ruling that "struck at the very core of the way President Bush has been conducting the war on terrorism" (ABC's Manuel Medrano), with "the justices... say[ing] the Bush administration cannot expect the courts to stay on the sidelines in the war on terror" (NBC's Pete Williams).
The press, even in the wake of yesterday's awful reported 2.9 percent annualized first-quarter contraction, continues to regale us with noise about the economy's "recovery" during the past five years.
As P.J. Gladnick at NewsBusters noted yesterday, CNNMoney.com's Annalyn Kurtz, in giving readers "3 reasons not to freak out about -2.9% GDP," concluded her report by telling readers that "This recovery is underway, but it's choppy and still very slow." Actually, it may have resumed this quarter. At the Associated Press yesterday, Martin Crutsinger all too predictably wrote that"the setback is widely thought to be temporary, with growth rebounding solidly since spring." After almost five years of this nonsense, it's long past time that they start telling readers, listeners, and viewers that this economy bears more resemblance to the 1930s economy under Franklin Delano Roosevelt than it does any post-downturn economy we've seen since the end of World War II. Hard proof follows the jump.
Thursday’s edition of CBS This Morning featured the latest installment in the media’s love affair with President Barack Obama. CBS News senior White House correspondent Bill Plante switched course from a constructive work of journalism he did Tuesday to a fluff piece on how Obama uses letters Americans send to the White House “to construct his political agenda.”
The story comes as Obama is going to Minnesota today where he’ll have lunch with a woman who wrote to him about how sending her two children to daycare costs more than her family’s mortgage payment. Plante marveled about how the woman’s letter “fit perfectly into the president's agenda to emphasize the difficulties facing working families.” [MP3 audio here; Video below]
CBS lifted its blackout of House Speaker John Boehner's planned lawsuit against the Obama White House with a 15-second news brief on Thursday's CBS This Morning. The network follows in the footsteps of NBC, which first mentioned the story a day earlier on Wednesday's Today, and ABC on Wednesday's World News.
Altogether, the Big Three networks have devoted just one minute and 18 seconds to the legal development. Anchor Norah O'Donnell cited the Washington Post's coverage of the lawsuit during the brief: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
Wednesday's CBS Evening News ignored House Speaker John Boehner's announcement that he will file a lawsuit against the Obama administration over its use of executive orders. The evening newscast thus followed the example of CBS This Morning, which also omitted this development. ABC made its first on-air mention of the story on Wednesday's World News, with an 18-second news brief by anchor Diane Sawyer.
On NBC Nightly News, host Brian Williams set aside 26 seconds of air time to Speaker Boehner's planned legal move. During his news brief, Williams falsely indicated that the Republican Party controls all of Congress – when, in reality, it only controls the House of Representatives: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
On Tuesday's The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell on MSNBC, during a segment about foreign policy challenges involving Russia and the turmoil in the Middle East, MSNBC.com Executive Editor Richard Wolffe oddly suggested that President Obama finds it to be a "satisfying challenge" because it is "intellectually rigorous" to deal with such substantial foreign policy problems.
He also not surprisingly took a jab at former President Bush, blaming him for the chaos in the Middle East, and asserted that "there's a lot of cleanup there."
Host O'Donnell wondered about what things are like inside the White House as he posed:
On Tuesday, the Brookings Institution, with a David Leonhardt column at the New York Times serving as its de facto press release, published a study (full PDF here) entitled, "Is a Student Loan Crisis on the Horizon?" Unsurprisingly, their finding, in one word, was "No." Their more qualifed finding: "[I]n reality, the impact of student loans may not be as dire as many commentators fear." Their underlying "logic": "typical borrowers are no worse off now than they were a generation ago."
It's bad enough that much of the data presented by Beth Akers and Matthew M. Chingos, the study's authors, directly contradicts the sunshine they're trying blow up our keisters. What's even worse is that you don't even need to dig into the detail once you learn which year's data they used — 2010. For heaven's sake, guys, total student loan debt has grown by between 50 percent and 60 percent since then.
Comedy Central’s Jon Stewart took a break from spouting his left-wing version of the news to interview Bill Maher, HBO’s favorite atheist talk show host. When the host of The Daily Show With Jon Stewart asked Maher if he ever felt he had affected real change in the political world, he replied that the “needle has moved” away from religion and towards legalization of drugs, two of Maher’s pet political prerogatives.
Maher continued his anti-religious spiel claiming that America is often behind in “the case in social issues” due to its “God-fearing” people. The Real Time host bashed Hillary Clinton for saying her favorite book was The Bible, even insulting President Obama for “spouting spiritual bulls***.” [See video below. Click here for MP3 audio.]
Robin Roberts, the co-host of Good Morning America, is a favorite pick of top Democrats to host fawning, content-free interviews and panel discussions. On Tuesday's GMA, she showcased an exclusive one-on-one interview with Michelle Obama. As though she were reading talking points, the journalist touted, "Now, to the big all-day White House summit on working families. President Obama making a strong pitch for guaranteed paid maternity leave." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
An on-screen graphic promoted the event (which originally aired on C-SPAN) as a "presidential push for working moms." Roberts's questions, such as they were, offered no challenges for the First Lady: "Women are going into the workforce...Is that part of the movement in letting everybody know that it is an issue for everyone in the family?" The host reminded attendees at the Washington D.C. event that Mrs. Obama is a "strong woman, a strong mother, a strong wife."
During the regular "Inside Politics" segment of Tuesday's New Day on CNN, Ron Fournier of the National Journal declared that he was "naive" last year in giving the Obama administration the "benefit of the doubt" over the IRS scandal, and called for an independent prosecutor to investigate as he reacted to the recent congressional testimony of IRS commissioner John Koskinen.
A bit later, he asserted that the administration was either "incredibly incompetent" or "crooked" regarding both the IRS and V.A. scandals. Fournier:
CNN's Michaela Pereira gushed over President Obama on Monday's New Day, after co-anchor Kate Bolduan asked for "any best advice for first-time parents" (Bolduan is pregnant with her first child): "Getting parental advice from the President of the United States – fantastic." Pereira complimented Bolduan for her question: "Well done getting a little advice from the President, too. I like that."
The expectant journalist admitted that she was "a little self-serving at the end," but her colleague reassured her: "No, no, no, no, no! It was really sweet." The President gave a pretty basic answer to Bolduan's question: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
Good Morning America's reporters on Saturday, Sunday and Monday swooned over the celebrity fans of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. Yet, GMA's hosts found no time for the possible 2016 candidate's book tour gaffe. On Monday, Lara Spencer enthused, "...It's clear that Clinton has a super fan in Katy [Perry]. The singer posted this snapshot and told her millions of followers, 'I told Hillary Clinton that I would write a theme song if she needed it.'" [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Spencer praised that the singer could create a "great" campaign song for the Democrat. The day before, GMA contributor Sara Haines relayed the exact same story, calling this "a major case of girl power at Hillary Clinton's latest book signing." However, the ABC program ignored the politician's gaffe in which the multi-millionaire distinguished herself from "a lot of people who are truly well off" and claimed that she and Bill Clinton earned their fortune through "hard work."
Promoting an upcoming White House summit on working families during an interview with President Obama aired on Monday's CBS This Morning, co-host Norah O'Donnell lobbed a series of softballs on the issue, starting with: "I know you said in your State of the Union, 'When women succeed, America succeeds.' What's the single most important thing you think you can do to help working women?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Obama seized the opportunity to spew talking points: "Well, the question is not just what can I do, but I think what we as a society need to do. And this is an issue that's near and dear to my heart. I was raised by a single mom....And now I've got two daughters. So I want to make sure that their able to balance family life and the workplace much better..."
Someday, Barack Obama might make a fine professor somewhere. In the meantime, someone should remind him that he's still President of the United States . . . If President Obama thought he was going to score some easy media points by sitting down for an interview with Mika Brzezinski last Friday, he was badly mistaken. Morning Joe aired the interview today, to bad reviews by its guests.
Dem Donny Deutsch didn't want to say--but said--that Obama looked "checked out," and seemed like he "wants to go home." Mark Halperin observed that Republicans resonate when they say that Obama is not "taking control." Commenting on Obama's long disquisition on the complications of the Syrian situation, Halperin observed: "it's up to the President of the United States to take some bold action to try to address [problems] and not just sit and say here's why this is hard, here's why this is hard."It's as if Barack Obama sees himself in the faculty lounge, offering exquisite insights on the problems of the day, rather than in the Oval Office, with the obligation to address them. View the video after the jump.
As I noted yesterday, the Associated Press's Alicia Caldwell managed to ignore President Barack Obama's unilaterally imposed and recently extended "Deferred Action for Child Arrivals" (DACA) policy as the most obvious explanation for the sudden wave of "Unaccompanied Alien Children" (Homeland Security's term) illegally crossing the nation's southern border.
As weak as her report was, it had one very useful finding, namely that these young arrivals "can live in American cities, attend public schools and possibly work here for years without consequences." A "former director of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement office responsible for finding and removing immigrants living in the country," bluntly asserted that "They almost never go home." That factual situation directly contradicts a statement made by new White House press secretary Josh Earnest in his maiden press briefing on Friday — a statement which Caldwell, conveniently for the administration, did not report.
President and Mrs. Obama granted an interview to Parade magazine to promote their Monday event, “a Working Families summit in Washington, D.C. to discuss the need for affordable childcare and paid family leave, raising minimum wage, and achieving equal pay for all.”
But in writing up the interview for the Sunday newspaper supplement, Parade editor-in-chief Maggie Murphy and former ABC reporter Lynn Sherr mangled the president’s history, leaving out the grandparents in Barack’s “dependent on single mom” story:
Hillary Clinton is not as complex as the universe, but she's Big and Important enough for Peter Beinart to call his 4,600-word National Journal piece on her hypothetical presidency "A Unified Theory of Hillary" and appear to mean it (mostly) seriously.
The article deals more with Hillary's personality than with her ideology (for what it's worth, Beinart classifies Hillary, along with Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, as moderate liberals). Beinart lauds her "passion for public policy," her "formidable analytical ability," and her "[s]ingle-mindedness," but contends that last quality also is her "greatest flaw," pointing to how she suffered major setbacks on health-care reform and, eventually, the Iraq war because she did not, and perhaps could not, adjust to political realities.
Anti-American commandos from Iran are already helping the Iraqi military by doing the sort of logistical coordination that President Obama promised from the U.S. Army today, NBC's Richard Engel noted in a June 19 Nightly News report from Baghdad. "The image I've had in my head all day, Brian, is of this driver's ed car with two steering wheels, with one with the U.S. Army now about 300 people on one steering wheel and the Iranian Quds Force-- which is often hostile to the United States at the other wheel -- and I'm not sure that Iran and the U.S. have any intention of driving this car in the same direction," the network's chief foreign affairs correspondent told viewers at home.
Reacting to the announcement from President Obama that the United States will be sending approximately 300 special forces to Iraq in non-combat “advisor” roles, the panel on MSNBC’s The Cycle was skeptical that the move would accomplish anything significant. It’s fair to say that the panel was not exactly erring on the side of more intervention, however.
After reading a quote from Time magazine which pointed out that many dictators in the Middle East have argued that only their oppressive measures could quell the tension between Sunnis and Shiites, guest host Luke Russert asked, “After what's happened in Iraq, Libya, Egypt, Syria, is it fair to say the West was better off with dictators?” [MP3 audio here; video below]
Yesterday's NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll garnered a great deal of attention, primarily because of its findings about President Barack Obama, particularly the one showing showing that "54 percent – believe the term-limited president is no longer able to lead the country."
The poll also asked respondents a series of three questions on the Common Core standards which were clearly designed to elicit majority support for them and to then mislead the public into believing that the opposition is a noisy, anti-Obama minority which should be ignored. Stories covering the poll at both NBC and the Wall Street Journal indicated as much.
Appearing as a guest on Wednesday's The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, MSNBC.com executive editor Richard Wolffe mocked former Vice President Dick Cheney for his recent criticism of President Obama, and inaccurately claimed that "there was no Al-Qaeda in Iraq" before Cheney "led the decision to invade Iraq."
After dismissing Cheney as being in his "last throes," Wolffe recalled: "Let's just revisit a little bit of history. Before Dick Cheney led the decision to invade Iraq, and led the disastrous occupation of Iraq, there was no Al-Qaeda in Iraq. He allowed Al-Qaeda to get a foothold in Iraq."
MSNBC's Chris Matthews put his pro-Hillary puffery on the back-burner this evening to lead off Hardball with a screed against his favorite archnemesis Dick "it's pronounced CHEE-knee, by the way" Cheney.
Chris failed to disappoint with his loopy, nonsensical rant against the former vice president, at one point comparing him to a pitch man for the website Diedinhouse.com. Matthews even inspired a little nuttiness in the Huffington Post Media Group editorial director Howard Fineman, who insisted Cheney's hat-wearing was devised by the former vice president as a subtle sartorial dig at Obama's manliness or lack thereof. You cannot make this stuff up (LISTEN to the MP3 audio here; WATCH the video clip below the page break):
It’s been common for a few years to observe that Democrats and Republicans barely talk with each other anymore, but if you believe Talking Points Memo editor and publisher Josh Marshall, these days the two parties aren’t even truly fighting with each other.
In a Tuesday blog post, Marshall claimed that each party now is “operating in [its] own political universe.” In one universe, President Obama ignores obstructionist GOPers and uses his executive powers to accomplish what he can; in the other, Republicans and their media allies are less concerned with thwarting Obama than with revving up their base, largely by flogging Benghazi and other scandals.