The identity of President Obama's nominee to head the scandal-plagued, bloated mess known as the Department of Veterans Affairs was known on Sunday.
Very few news outlets (the Fox news item just linked is an exception) noted that Obama's pick was particularly odd because McDonald's run as CEO at Procter & Gamble was not considered a success. He was essentially forced into retirement after four years at the helm in May 2013.
In a Monday National Journal column about how many Democrats are allegedly saying they have "quit" on Obama — claims I find quite hollow, given that no one asserting this has yet had the guts to go on the record — Ron Fournier quotes "a senior White House official" with a head-shaking take on the Veterans Administration scandal.
Specifically, "Questioning why the Veterans Affairs Department hadn't been overhauled months ago as promised by Obama(actually that was seven years ago, plus six other times, Ron — Ed.), a senior White House official conceded privately to me, 'We don't do the small stuff well. And the small stuff is the important stuff.'" If the VA is "small," what in the world is big? And for that matter, what have these people done well, big or small? I suspect that the rest of the press, and Fournier himself, would be absolutely livid if they became aware of such an ignorant statement made by someone in a Republican or conservative administration.
Both Time and the Wall Street Journal have reported that Bowe Bergdahl, the soldier released by his Afghan captors in exchange for five hardened Gitmo terrorists — or, in the alternative universe of the Los Angeles Times, five guys aged 43 to 47 who "are pretty old now" — will not contact his parents (WSJ's headline says he "has declined to speak to his family").
That news broke several hours after Fox News's Juan Williams appeared on Chris Wallace's Fox News Sunday and compared Bowe Bergdahl to the biblical prodigal son. The analogy didn't even work at that point, as RedState poster Aaron Gardner explained this morning. Video of Williams's wacky whine follows the jump:
For evidence that no one looking for objective reporting should seriously consider reading output from the Politico, look no further than the 5,900-word puff piece propagated by Carrie Budoff Brown and Jennifer Epstein on Sunday.
Their "Special Report: The Obama Paradox" told readers what that President Obama supposedly "recognizes that he is less in control of the Washington agenda than ever in his presidency — a reality that has left him deeply frustrated at times." Meanwhile, the EPA is going wild with carbon regs in the name of the "climate change" hoax, federal regulators are harassing banks and their customers who operating legal businesses in Operation Choke Point, and immigration policy has been unilaterally hijacked. And in a final irony, as the Politico pair were putting their handiwork to bed, Obama was conducting a prisoner swap — one soldier whose loyalties are questionable for five hardened terrorists — while violating a law requiring him to notify Congress of what he was going. "Less in control" my foot. Instead, we are seeing ever-expanding usurpation of authority by Obama and his executive branch.
Establishment press outfits have an annoying and in my view fundamentally deceptive tendency to make the content of news reports disappear once they have been "updated" with new information. The Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, is one of this technique's most egregious practitioners.
There's really no good reason for this practice. Storage is cheap. But far more important, so is leaving tracks for the sake of the historical record. In the past 48 hours, AP has virtually deep-sixed a particularly damning incident involving Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel as he crowed in front of U.S. troops about Bowe Bergdahl's release.
A month ago, I noted that the establishment press has ignored an especially pernicious program undertaken by Eric Holder's Department of Justice and the Obama administration's regulatory apparatus, namely Operation Choke Point.
On Thursday, a strong 321-87 bipartisan majority of the House passed H.R. 4660, the "Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act (of) 2015." Among its provisions: "Sec. 554. None of the funds made available in this Act may be used to carry out Operation Choke Point." The final bill's supporters included 204 Republicans and 117 Democrats. The establishment press has ignored the vote. Excerpts from Kelly Riddell's Friday coverage at the Washington Times follows the jump (bolds are mine throughout this post):
An item which appears to be overlooked in the Department of Veterans Affairs scandal is the press's and presumably the public's blind acceptance of the department's goal to reduce its average wait times to 14 days as supposedly "aggressive."
My reaction is that the goal doesn't seem "aggressive" at all, or even borderline acceptable, based on both personal experience and some admittedly limited research I've done on best practices. It seems to me that the average consumer, and for that matter the average journalist, would have a hard time accepting the idea of an average 14-day wait time for a personal appointment involving real urgency. So why should the expectations of or for those who served our country be any lower?
Julie Pace at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, is used to carrying water for the Obama administration. Last year, she proudly reveled in how she and her wire service sat on information it had about secret U.S.-Iran negotiations for eight months. My immediate take was that "They didn't report it until the Obama administration said it would be okay to report it." The AP denied it; unfortunately for the self-described "essential global news network," another news organization confirmed that it and AP "both had versions of it independently early & were asked to not publish til end of Iran talks." There's not a chance in Hades that the AP would have similarly accommodated a Republican or conservative administration.
After that heavy lifting, Pace surely found that giving readers the impression in a Friday report about President Barack Obama's sacking of Eric Shinseki that the problems at the Department of Veterans Affairs have more to do with its growing caseload than with incompetence and potential criminality was relatively easy.
Imagine the press letting a Republican or conservative get away with trying to avoid uncondtionally calling something as infuriating and outrageous as the Veterans Administration waiting list scandal a real scandal.
The Associated Press's Charles Babington went so far over the top in his Monday morning dispatch on Republicans, the Obama administration's scandals, and the fall electoral landscape that it's hard to know where to begin.
The fingerprints of Obama administration operatives appear to be all over Babington's report, both in what's included and what's left out. Most notoriously, there is no mention whatsoever of the Veterans Administration scandal. Ah, but there's a specific reference to Democrats who complain that the Benghazi and IRS scandals have been "fading from national headlines" except at the specifically named Fox News. Excerpts from Babington's babbling follow the jump (bolds are mine):
The press continues its disinterested fiddling while the royal mess known as Obamacare burns through money and exhausts the patience of those attempting any kind of oversight.
One of the more obvious examples of this is how the Washington Post's May 17 story on errors in calculating Obamacare subsidies has gone absolutely nowhere. About one-third of the 20 results returned in a Google News search on "healthcare subsidies" (not in quotes) at 11 p.m. ET Friday evening were partial reprints or rewrites of the original story by WaPo reporters Amy Goldstein and Sandhya Somashekhar. Most of the remaining results were from center-right outlets, while a few came from medical sites. The results didn't change much when searching on "health care" instead of "healthcare." What the WaPo pair reported is a breathtaking cacophony of incompetence which, as Heritage noted last year, won't even "solve" itself when Obamacare enrollees file their 2014 tax returns. Goldstein and Somashekhar also missed an opportunity to make a fundamental point, which is that everyone who has enrolled has some exposure.
During the Pentagon Papers controversy over the release of Vietnam-related military and other documents in 1971, if a columnist had written that "the private companies that own newspapers, and their employees, should not have the final say over the release of government secrets, and a free pass to make them public with no legal consequences," and that "that decision must ultimately be made by the government," he or she would have been tagged in the press as a "(Richard) Nixon defender" and "an enemy of press freedom."
How ironic it thus is that Thursday, in his New York Times review of Glenn Greenwald's new book ("No Place to Hide"), current liberal Vanity Fair columnist and former CNN "Crossfire" host Michael Kinsley used that very language as he went after Greenwald, who has been NSA eavesdropping leaker Edward Snowden's go-between for the past year, with a vengeance. And yes, he did it at the Times, the very newspaper which was at the heart of the Pentagon Papers litigation that was ultimately decided in its favor.
In early May, CBS's morning and evening newscasts spotlighted congressional Democrats' vehement opposition to the formation of a select committee to investigate the September 11, 2012 Islamist attacks on the U.S. government facilities in Benghazi, Libya during 10 minutes and 14 seconds of reporting.
However, when Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi named five Democrats to the committee on Wednesday, the CBS news programs minimized their coverage of the development. Wednesday's CBS Evening Newsset aside 23 seconds to the story, while Norah O'Donnell gave a 14-second news brief on Thursday's CBS This Morning about the story: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
If there was ever drop-dead obvious proof that it's more than fair to call the Associated Press the Administration's Press, it's in the opening phrase of the first sentence of the wire service's Monday morning report on the House's select committee on Benghazi: "Republicans hoping to ride their Benghazi investigation to a November election sweep ..." As far as reporters Donna Cassata and Bradley Klapper are concerned, there can't possibly be any other motivation for holding the hearings.
Cassata and Klapper's agenda-driven drivel makes several trips into the land of "Republicans say," when the correct words should be: "The facts are." More crucially, Klapper completely ignored two reports he filed on October 10, 2012 which showed that the State Department "never believed" that the murder of Christopher Stevens and three other Americans in the Benghazi attack was inspired by an anti-Muslim video (bolds numbered tags are mine throughout this post):
A search at 11:00 p.m. ET tonight at the Associated Press's national web site on "Serco," the company with a five-year, $1.25 billion contract to process paper Obamacare enrollment applications, returned no results. That's absolutely pathetic, given that St. Louis TV station KMOV, based on multiple accounts from several current and former employees and contractors, has reported that the company has well over 1,000 people doing almost nothing all day simply because there are very few paper applications to process. KMOV, which carried five consecutive reports this week (here, here, here, here, and here), even noted in its later segments that its work had drawn national attention.
What's worse than AP not covering the story nationally? How about the wire service treating it as a local and regional story, even though Serco and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services are wasting roughly $20 million per month of U.S. taxpayers' money, and even though calls for investigation have come from U.S. senators in at least two states? It would have been just as absurd if AP had treated bankrupt Solyndra, which failed to repay an Energy Department loan of over $500 million several years ago, as a California-only story because that's where its plant was. Excerpts from the AP's story, including a "This story is boring, so don't read it" headline, follow the jump (bolds are mine):
There seems to be a concentrated effort on MSNBC lately to dismiss certain legitimate concerns raised by Republican political figures as loony or unworthy of serious consideration. On Wednesday’s edition of PoliticsNation, Clarence Page of the Chicago Tribune killed two birds with one stone by simultaneously linking concerns over Benghazi and Hillary Clinton’s health to the “birther” conspiracy theories. [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
Host Al Sharpton played a clip in which Comedy Central host Jon Stewart mocked Karl Rove’s question about the health of Hillary Clinton’s brain. Stewart dubbed the concern “Brainghazi,” and Page loved the term:
The government is paying private contractor Serco $1.2 billion over five years — and likely more, as will be seen later — to process paper Obamacare applications. In turn, according to a report by television station KMOV, Serco has hired and continues to pay a reported 1,800 workers who have virtually no work to do.
Massive waste like this should develop into a national story and create a journalistic swarm. If it does, it will be unusual, because the press has been avoiding stories which make President Barack Obama's "signature accomplishment" of state-controlled health care look bad like the plague. We'll see if it's different this time. The KMOV report follows the jump (HT Gateway Pundit's Progressives Today blog):
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:
Forget about the newly released White House emails – MSNBC personalities will never admit that the Benghazi scandal is anything more than a Republican talking point. On Saturday’s Weekends with Alex Witt, fill-in host Richard Lui at least brought up the new revelations in the scandal, but he and his guests continued to treat it like a big, fat nothing burger. [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
Noting that the House Oversight Committee has subpoenaed Secretary of State John Kerry to testify about Benghazi, Lui skeptically asked Lynn Sweet of the Chicago Sun-Times, “[I]s this about 2014? Because we're just really months away from the election.” Sweet, being the liberal Obama acolyte she is, answered in the affirmative:
Michael Hirsh is the recently named National Editor at Politico Magazine, an effort which turning is out to be to the left of the crumbling Time Magazine and the for-now defunct Newsweek. One of Hirsh's career lowlights — he probably thinks it's a highlight — is his December 2008 contention that President George W. Bush having a shoe thrown at him in Iraq "was somehow appropriate."
Lest there be any doubt as to the possibility that there will be fair and balanced reporting on Benghazi on Hirsh's watch, I give you excerpts from "The Benghazi-Industrial Complex; Will the pseudo-scandal be enough to stop Hillary from running?" — wherein Hirsh plows new groveling ground (bolds are mine):
On Monday, the three network morning shows provided 12 minutes 24 seconds to Saturday night's White House Correspondents' Dinner but only CBS This Morning reported House Speaker John Boehner on Friday announcing a new investigation into Benghazi – a news brief that totaled a mere 47 seconds. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
This Morning co-host Charlie Rose noted: "Both parties on Capitol Hill are sniping over new a investigation of the deadly Benghazi attack." After a soundbite of Republican Senator Lindsey Graham discussing the scandal on Sunday's Face the Nation, Rose added: "House Speaker John Boehner is calling for a new investigation based on a White House memo released last week. Republicans say the document proves the Obama administration tried to spin the attacks for political gain." NBC's Today and ABC's Good Morning America completely ignored the story on Monday.
You may have seen Bret Baier’s interview with former National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor on Fox News Thursday evening. The conversation dealt with the Benghazi attack, and it was combative at times. Vietor spun hard for the administration, even smugly calling Baier “dude” at one point. But Baier appeared to be well-prepared for Vietor’s spin with a wide array of relevant video clips and sound bites.
On Friday, Baier went on Mornings on the Mall, a Washington, D.C. radio program, to talk about the Vietor interview. [See YouTube video embedded below.] He explained to the hosts how he prepared so well:
On Friday, CBS Evening News caught up with its Big Three competitors and reported on the latest developments on the controversy surrounding the September 2012 terrorist attack on the U.S. facility in Benghazi, Libya. CBS also finally mentioned its own president's family connection to a White House official involved in the Obama administration's handling of the immediate aftermath of the attack.
Nancy Cordes gave a full report on how the "the White House released previously unseen e-mails" about the federal government's response to the terrorist strike, which led to House Speaker John Boehner forming a new select committee to investigate the attack. Scott Pelley also disclosed that "Ben Rhodes, the White House deputy national security advisor mentioned in Nancy's story, is the brother of CBS News President David Rhodes." [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
Reacting to the contents of Benghazi-related emails finally obtained and published by Judicial Watch, Hounshell asked, "Can you point me to a credible, authoritative story saying the WH knowingly pushed a false narrative?" Well Blake, on the off-chance that you're really interested in the truth instead of serving as one of your organization's lead Obama administration lapdogs, I give you the Tuesday night writeup from an investigative journalist who, per her "about" page, has won four national Emmy Awards and has been nominated for eight others.
This afternoon (late morning Pacific Time), Roger Simon at PJ Media had several reactions to the latest developments in the Benghazi saga, as new evidence surfaced of a White House "effort to insulate President Barack Obama from the attacks that killed four Americans." Simon's press-related assertion: "We will now see if there is even a figment of honesty in our mainstream media ..."
Though it's still early (but just barely), it's not looking good, my friend. Matt Hadro at NewsBusters indicated as much earlier tonight in noting that the TV networks have thus far ignored the news. Later, I'll show that other key online establishment press sources are also ignoring this bombshell story.
From time to time, leftist media members have regaled us about how the Obama administration somehow remains totally or nearly scandal-free (two of many examples are here and here). Part of the reason they actually believe this is because real-time press dispatches covering scandalous circumstances are rarely described that way.
The journalistic gymnastics involved were on vivid display Friday evening at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press. In one of the more ridiculous such dispatches to date composed by the Obama-supportive media, AP reporter Alicia A. Caldwell lauded new Department of Homeland Security head Jeh Johnson for taking actions to "to tamp down what could have been political scandals." The problem with that assessment in two of the three instances Caldwell cited is that a "scandal" ("a disgraceful or discreditable action, circumstance, etc.") had already occurred.
The Obamacare-loving press spares no effort in excusing and minimizing the scheme's operational, systemic, and law-based failures.
Six months after launch, HealthCare.gov still isn't functioning as intended. In fact, as of 8:47 a.m. this morning, the time stamp on an Associated Press report (also saved here for future reference, fair use and discussion purposes) by chief wire service Obamacare defender Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, the web site wasn't functioning at all. Did the AP reporter tell readers the system had crashed, or was down? Oh heck no (bolds are mine):
This post builds on Geoffrey Dickens' post late this morning ("American Horror Story: Tales of ObamaCare Victims Untold by the Big Three Networks") about the virtual lack of any kind of coverage of the real people affected by Obamacare.
Perhaps some readers believe that little coverage is occurring because there are few if any local situations worthy enough to rise to the level of national coverage. There are two responses to that. The first is that the national outlets must not be looking for them, because they are out there, and they could find them if they wanted to (the British press often does a better job covering Obamacare than stateside outlets). The second is that local TV broadcasts have carried plenty of Obamacare-related horror stories. While some of the situations cited in the video from the Washington Free Beacon following the jump (50 States of Obamacare Victims) are of politicians delivering speeches, all of the rest of the 50 clips cite real people or groups of people with real problems caused by Obamacare:
MSNBC continues to fail to take the IRS targeting scandal seriously. On Thursday’s NOW with Alex Wagner, Ms. Wagner and her guest, Howard Fineman of The Huffington Post, showed their utter disdain for Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and his committee’s ongoing investigation into the scandal. [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
Wagner took particular offense to Issa’s move to hold IRS official Lois Lerner in contempt of Congress, dismissing it as an attempt to “gum up the government works.” Mocking Issa and his fellow House Republicans, Wagner screeched:
It's hard to imagine how the Politico's Kyle Cheney could have written up his Thursday story about the government's dissatisfaction with soon to be (but not yet) former prime HealthCare.gov contractor CGI with a straight face. But it appears that he did.
The opening sentence of Cheney's report is an absolute howler. When you read it after the jump, keep in mind that the firm worked on HealthCare.gov for well over a year before its October 1 debut, and that it was obvious to everyone within hours of its launch that the web site's construction had been horribly botched. So guess when the government wants us to believe it finally figured out that CGI wasn't up to its assigned tasks?