MSNBC The Cycle co-host Krystal Ball enjoyed an extra hour with which to bash Republicans and puff the Obama administration today as she filled in on the 1 p.m. Eastern Ronan Farrow Daily program. Ball questioned whether breaking news of the capture of Ahmed Abu Khattala, a terrorist wanted for organizing the Benghazi attacks, would “take away a sort of key talking point for Republicans.”
The failed congressional candidate invited Howard Fineman, of the Huffington Post, and Robert Costa of The Washington Post on to Farrow’s program to discuss Republican reaction to the news of the capture. Ball then proceeded to ask if why Republicans “have a huge problem with using our own justice system to go forward and prosecute terrorists,” and are “expressing a lack of confidence in our normal [civilian] justice system.” [See video below. Click here for MP3 audio]
During the Obama administration, the Associated Press has annually gone through the motions of noting its lack of transparency in responding to Freedom of Information Act requests. In March, its coverage of 2013 FOIA results led with the following sentence: "The Obama administration more often than ever censored government files or outright denied access to them last year under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act, according to a new analysis of federal data." Then everyone went back to work defending the administration against the information seekers.
Part of that defense includes mischaracterizing the legal hurdles those who file FOIA requests must overcome to get the administration to do what it is legally required to do right off the bat. Three sentences from recent coverage of Judicial Watch's attempts to pry information out of the State Department will make my point.
On Thursday’s NewsHour, PBS ran a full-length segment on the new special committee created by House Republicans to investigate the September 2012 Benghazi attacks. However, anchor Judy Woodruff and her guest, Robert Costa from The Washington Post -- formerly of the National Review -- pushed the idea that Republicans are exploiting the tragedy by fundraising off of it. The thing is, the network didn’t seem to care back in 2012 when President Obama gave a brief Rose Garden statement after the attacks and then dashed off to Las Vegas for a campaign fundraiser. [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
Woodruff brought up the issue of fundraising near the end of the interview:
Robert Costa's disdain for Tea Party-sympathetic conservatives was quite evident tonight in his coverage of Republican House Speaker John Boehner's primary victory at the Washington Post. Costa, a former writer at National Review, even insulted the noble pursuits of justice and the truth regarding Benghazi and the IRS's targeting of conservative and other groups by calling them "red meat for the tea party faithful."
The WaPo reporter characterized Boehner as having "swatted away" his opposition without revealing that the Speaker got only 69 percent of the vote. Yes, I wrote "only." Costa himself noted that "a sitting speaker still has never been defeated in a primary election," but didn't disclose Boehner's percentage of the vote. That's odd to say the least. I don't recall a sitting speaker ever losing 31 percent of the vote in a party primary, and it's possible that it has never happened outside of circumstances involving scandal or crime. I certainly don't recall a sitting speaker opening his wallet to defend his seat in a primary as Boehner did. Excerpts and analysis follow the jump (bolds are mine):
On Friday afternoon, Matt Drudge announced in a tweet that "(I) Just paid the Obamacare penalty for not 'getting covered'... I'M CALLING IT A LIBERTY TAX!"
A White House spokesman and the "progressive" press proceeded to thoroughly embarrass itself in its rebuttal attempts. How do I know? Because, four days later, despite the substantial and widely-known uproar, the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, doesn't even have a story on the topic; a search at 11:30 p.m. on Monday on Drudge's last name came up empty. If Drudge's detractors had the upper hand, AP would be all over it.
"Republican lawmakers Thursday blamed the Obama administration for the stunning resurgence of Iraq’s al-Qaeda franchise and called on the White House to take assertive steps to help Baghdad beat back militant uprisings in the country’s west." That's how Ernesto Londono opened his January 10 story "Republicans blame Obama administration for al-Qaeda resurgence in Iraq," a front-page-worthy story which Washington Post editors buried on page A10.
By contrast, the Post ran not one but two Chris Christie bridge-scandal stories on the Friday edition's front page. The other stories rounding out the front page centered on efforts to hash out a long-term security agreement with Afghanistan, the Washington Redskins announcing their new head coach, and privacy/data-collection concerns from dashboard computers in new cars.
On Friday's edition of The Diane Rehm Show that's broadcast on many NPR stations from Washington, the host mangled her presidential history, but her guests and producers all humored her, like you might humor a nice lady who's 77. No one suggested a gold watch and an open space for a younger NPR liberal behind the mic.
As Rehm and a crew of reporters aerobically compared Barack Obama to Nelson Mandela, Rehm claimed Reagan was president in 1979 when she first took the microphone at WAMU-FM in Washington and he didn't want the U.S. involved in any anti-apartheid activities (video below):
Earlier today the Washington Post announced that it had hired National Review's Washington Editor Robert Costa. This marks perhaps the first time in decades that a top-tier "mainstream" news outlet has hired away a reporter from a right-leaning publication.
By contrast, left-leaning political magazines like the Nation, Mother Jones, or the New Republic have frequently been places where publications like the Post or the New York Times turn to for their reporter farm teams. Elite national media outlets have even taken somewhat frequently to hiring former Democratic political aides as their reporters as we've chronicled for years in our "Revolving Door" series.
National Review's Robert Costa has spoken to Chris Christie's father who claims the New Jersey governor is getting a lot of support from his family to run for president including himself.
In a brief segment on MSNBC's "Daily Rundown" Friday, Costa told host Chuck Todd that Christie is back in Trenton and will be making a decision this weekend (video follows with transcript and commentary):