The latest State Department scandal, involving a possible cover-up of sexual misconduct by an ambassador and security officials, was only newsworthy enough to merit one full report each on ABC and NBC's morning and evening newscasts before the two networks moved on. NBC led Tuesday's Today with the "damaging documents" concerning the "possibly illegal...behavior", but ignored it the following morning. NBC Nightly News hasn't even touched the story yet.
ABC arrived late to covering the allegations on Tuesday's World News, but Good Morning America has yet to mention the issue as of Wednesday. CBS broke their scoop on the scandal on Monday's CBS This Morning, and covered it as well on Tuesday and Wednesday.
On Tuesday night's O'Reilly Factor, mentioning his appearance on NBC's Today that morning, Fox News host Bill O'Reilly observed that the Peacock Network was having a difficult time covering the scandals plaguing the Obama administration: "Look, even when I was at the Today show this morning, NBC News, okay? I would say the most fervent Obama news agency in the country....Even them, they're going, 'Whoa, whoa.'" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Guest Monica Crowley replied: "Even NBC, Holy smokes! That's when you know he's in trouble..." O'Reilly added: "...they can't defend him anymore, the President, because he's in charge." Crowley countered: "Well, I mean, look, they still go to great lengths to protect him." O'Reilly declared: "Not today they didn't."
Isn't it ironic that President Obama, having acquired the highest office in the land by agitating — all his political life — against privilege and discrimination, is now systematically wielding his executive power lawlessly to favor his friends and punish his enemies?
We are witnessing an unmistakable pattern from Obama and those under his command of establishing different rules for different groups of Americans. I'm not just referring to his opportunistic championing of the "poor" and his vendetta against the "wealthy" or his relentless vilification of "fat cat banks," big corporations, private jet owners and the insurance, oil, coal, natural gas and nuclear power industries. It goes well beyond that.
In a story which I can attest is accurate, Gina Loudon at WND.com, formerly WorldNetDaily, reports that the Air Force's 624th Operations Center is warning airmen not to look at the news.
That's not exactly what they're saying, but they might as well be. What the "Notice to Airmen" says is that "Users are not to use AF NIPRNET systems to access the Verizon phone records collection and other related news stories because the action could constitute a Classified Message Incident." It's currently pretty hard to go to a news site without seeing a blurb on a "related story," given how many "related stories" there are which go way beyond Verizon to nine tech companies, 50 other companies, Edward Snowden, White House, congressional and bureaucrats' responses, etc. The Air Force's claim that reading a news story or even looking at documents which have been made public is a "Classified Message Incident" is pretty shaky, based on the definition provided in a two-year old memo I located. That definition, and a grab of the censorious memo, follow the jump.
I guess “The Place for Politics” has become “The Place to Dance Around Obama Scandals.”
MSNBC’s Joy Reid was so desperate to stifle the growing scandals facing the IRS, she brought a hip-hop artist on Saturday’s The Ed Show to critique the dance moves of IRS employees. Guest-hosting for the weekend show, Reid spent five minutes interviewing musician Cupid about his dance, the Cupid Shuffle.
Sometime late Thursday afternoon, an editorial at the New York Times bitterly criticizing President Obama for the expansion of surveillance efforts during his administration contained this sentence: "The administration has lost all credibility." Within a few hours, as seen here, that sentence was changed to "The administration has lost all credibility on this issue," and set off in a separate paragraph.
A Google News search on ["Susan Rice" "executive privilege"] (typed exactly as indicated between brackets) returns two stories. The main one is at Fox News, where K.T. McFarland pointed out that President Obama, now that he has appointed Susan Rice to be his National Security Adviser, can invoke executive privilege to keep her from testifying before Congress. The second is at Mediate, and notes that McFarland said the same thing to Fox News Channel anchor Martha MacCallum earlier today.
Among those who conveniently didn't catch this: Frank James at NPR, who didn't identify the executive privilege dodge in his "5 Takeaways From Obama's Susan Rice Appointment"; the Associated Press, whose three Wednesday items on Rice (here, here, and here) don't mention it, and where a search on "executive privilege" (not in quotes) returned nothing relevant; and the Politico, where a search on "Rice executive privilege" (not in quotes) also returned nothing relevant. Excerpts from McFarland's column, with harsh words about Rice's lack of qualifications, follow the jump (bold and italics are hers except final paragraph):
Instead of showing endless loops of IRS employees wasting taxpayer dollars line-dancing -- Breaking news: Government employees waste millions of your dollars every single day! -- I think it would be more useful for the public to hear a few crucial facts about the exploding scandal at the Internal Revenue Service.
At Tuesday's congressional hearings on the IRS, witnesses provided shocking details about the agency's abuse of conservative groups.
For the second day in a row, The Washington Post showed it was bored by the IRS scandal by putting the hearings story inside the paper.
Instead, the top of Wednesday's post seized on the favorite liberal scandal du jour: "Military chiefs lament sex assaults but reject Senate bill." Their Post Express tabloid screamed this front-page headline: "CAN THE MILITARY CURE ITS 'CANCER'?"
Wednesday's CBS This Morning minimized Susan Rice's refuted claims about the terrorist attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi as they covered her appointment as national security adviser. Charlie Rose and John Dickerson dwelt more on outgoing national security adviser Tom Donilon's term, with Dickerson only vaguely mentioning how Rice was "the focus of so much controversy in the Senate."
The only time that a CBS News personality specifically mentioned Benghazi during the segment was when Gayle King wondered if President Obama's decision to choose the current U.N. ambassador to succeed Donilon was a "message to Republicans who came down hard on Susan Rice during the Benghazi hearings."
MSNBC continues to disparage the scandals that have plagued the Obama administration the last few weeks. On Sunday’s Weekends with Alex Witt, the host brought on former Democratic staffer Jimmy Williams and former RNC chairman Michael Steele to reluctantly discuss the scandals once again. Of course, rather than focus on the substance of the controversies, Witt fell back on the concern that she and many others in the liberal media have often expressed: “[D]oes this have the potential to derail the president's second-term agenda?”
The president’s agenda is always the victim of these scandal investigations in the minds of the press, at least when there's a (D) following the president's surname. Williams, being the Democrat that he is, brushed aside that question and riffed on another favorite left-wing talking point – Republicans will overreach, just as they did with Bill Clinton in 1998:
At the end of an interview with New York Senator Chuck Schumer on Sunday's NBC Meet the Press, moderator David Gregory teed up the Democrat to lecture Republicans on being too focused on the scandals plaguing the Obama administration: "Do you have a warning for Republicans who want to make the IRS and personal issues affecting the President the main theme of 2014?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Schumer eagerly proclaimed: "My warning to the Republicans is look at 1998. All they did is spend their time on the impeachment of Bill Clinton. And for the first time, the incumbent president didn't lose seats in the House....if they go too far, they will lose....if they emphasize it too much they're going to pay a price at the polls in 2014."
In an interview with Arizona Senator John McCain on Monday's NBC Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie attempted to dismiss growing evidence that the IRS scandal rocking the Obama administration went as far as Washington D.C.: "Darrell Issa...says that his gut tells him this goes beyond the Cincinnati office....He released excerpts of some e-mails that might support that theory, they're not conclusive. Do you take the Inspector General of the IRS at its word saying this – this was something that happened in Cincinnati and went no further?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
See no scandal, report no scandal. Jill Abramson, Executive Editor of the New York Times, came down to DC on Sunday to defend President Obama on the scandals and the economy, stressing the leaks cases is the only supposed scandal she cares about as she contended “I’m just not sure” the leaks cases, IRS and Benghazi “come together and create, you know -- quote, unquote -- ‘an atmosphere of scandal.’”
An atmosphere the New York Times is working to prevent.
Pivoting to the downside for President Obama of the swirling scandals, Meet the Press host David Gregory fretted over “a bigger issue that the President faces, which is where is his agenda left in all this?” Citing a poll showing the public thinks fixing unemployment should be a higher priority than investigations, Gregory despaired: “The President’s coming under fire for losing his scope, effectively, in a second term to rebuild America, to usher in economic restoration.”
“Well, that’s the tragedy for him. It’s a tragedy for all of us,” New York Times columnist Tom Friedman agreed.
MRC director of media analysis Tim Graham appeared on the Fox Business program Varney & Co. on Friday morning to discuss the fading network coverage of the IRS scandal, even though a new poll shows the American people find that to be the most serious Obama scandal.
Substitute host Charles Payne asked if the media were turning tough on Obama. “We already have disturbing signs that the networks are dropping off this,” Graham said, since IRS official Lois Lerner refused to testify and took the Fifth. (Video below)
In a stunning example of how desperate the liberal media are to defend President Obama against the numerous scandals rocking his administration, on her Friday MSNBC show, host Andrea Mitchell actually justified the Justice Department targeting journalists: "I think if they had framed it...as this is national security, these were leaks in really major cases, everyone knows how unpopular the media are, far more unpopular." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Mitchell further explained: "The American people have said in a number of polls how they feel about this. They feel that national security is more important than First Amendment freedoms. It was not framed very advantageously."
"I've been saying it from the very beginning," NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell reminded Fox News Channel's Sean Hannity. When it comes to Obama administration scandals, the liberal media are eventually forced to cover them, but "they'll do a couple of stories, and then they'll say, we're done and they'll walk away."
That's exactly why the liberal media returned to adoring lapdog form last week and gushed over pro-Obama fluff like newly-released Obama senior prom pictures from 1979, the Media Research Center founder noted. "Nothing you and I can say can better illustrate how much in the tank the press is for Barack Obama," Bozell concluded, having noted how, by contrast, Lois Lerner's taking the Fifth before a congressional hearing on IRS abuse was ignored on the May 23 Good Morning America and Today programs. [watch the full "Media Mash" segment below the page break]
On Thursday night’s O’Reilly Factor, the Fox News host opened the show by attacking former IRS commissioner Douglas Shulman for visiting the White House 157 times, almost four times as many appearances as Hillary Clinton. O’Reilly hinted this was a “smoking gun” of the White House running the IRS harassment campaign of the Tea Party.
But guess what: this fact of Shulman’s well-worn path to the White House gates has yet to be reported by ABC, CBS, NBC, and PBS. O’Reilly can’t believe this number:
On Thursday's NBC Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie asked special correspondent Tom Brokaw about his recent comment that the press "has to be careful about having a glass jaw" when it comes to the Obama Justice Department investigating reporters: "...you made a remark that journalists...shouldn't have what you called a 'glass jaw' when it comes to some of these investigations, citing the First Amendment and threats to the First Amendment." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Brokaw stood by his statement: "Well, the First Amendment is a critically important part of the Constitution. It is not unconditional, obviously. Any number of us over the years have been in dialogues and in conversations with senior government officials about when something can be disclosed and under what circumstances. And it's kind of case by case. It's not unconditional."
MSNBC continues to do its best to protect the Obama administration from any accusations of wrongdoing in the Benghazi fiasco. On Sunday’s Weekends with Alex Witt, the host went so far as to ask whether it is even legitimate to call Benghazi a scandal.
Witt was setting up her pre-taped “Office Politics” interview with Joy-Ann Reid, managing editor of The Grio and frequent MSNBC contributor, when she announced that she "asked Joy-Ann about the fallout from the Benghazi attacks and if it's legitimate to call that mess a scandal.” [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
Wednesday's CBS This Morning zeroed in on the House Judiciary Committee's inquiry into whether Attorney General Eric Holder lied under oath during his testimony regarding the Justice Department's controversial investigation of journalists. Jan Crawford's two-and-a-half minute report on the congressional investigation into Holder stood out as the only coverage on the Big Three networks on their Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning newscasts.
Crawford underlined that "conservative and liberal voices" are clamoring for Holder's resignation in the wake of the questionable surveillance of the Associated Press and Fox News' James Rosen. She also asserted that "everyone in Washington is talking about is whether...a survivor, like Eric Holder, gets drummed out."
"When First Amendment advocates say Rosen was "falsely" characterized as a co-conspirator, they do not understand the law," huffed Pincus. "When others claim this investigation is 'intimidating a growing number of government sources,' they don't understand history." Lucky for us we have Pincus to school us all, I suppose. But the fact remains that when you consider the timeline of the investigation, there appears to be no legitimate reason for the FBI to have gone on a fishing expedition through Rosen's emails and phone records, considering what they already knew from their investigation of government records that narrowed down the leak to one suspect: intelligence adviser Stephen Jin-Woo Kim.
Leading off a report on Tuesday's NBC Today about President Obama's trip to survey recovery efforts along New Jersey's shoreline after Hurricane Sandy, White House correspondent Peter Alexander proclaimed: "[The President's here] really to see the improvements to this area, and also to refocus the conversation away from some recent headlines. Focusing on what he wants to focus on: government at its best, bipartisanship, and efforts to improve the economy." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Meanwhile, on CBS This Morning, correspondent Major Garrett almost identically announced: "President Obama is eager to look at federally-financed repairs on the Jersey shore – to his mind, a welcome contrast to IRS bungling and Justice Department snooping....Today's trip could also inject some life into Mr. Obama's scandal-starved push for Beltway bipartisanship."
Not a syllable Friday or Saturday night on ABC, CBS or NBC about any of the several Obama scandals, but on Saturday night ABC’s World News trumpeted President Obama’s role as “consoler-in-chief.”
With “Consoler-in-Chief” on screen, anchor David Muir announced: “President Obama will be in Moore, Oklahoma tomorrow. ABC’s Reena Ninan already there tonight as the President prepares to fill the role he so often has in the last few months.”
“Liberal media bias is an old complaint,” the Wall Street Journal’s James Taranto noted in his “Best of the Web Today” column this past Monday on responses to the Obama scandals, before warning: “The Obama presidency has given it a new and dangerous form. Never has the prevailing bias of the media been so closely aligned with the ideological aims and political interests of the party in power.”
He recognized “the American media remain free and independent, or you would not be reading this column,” but zinged, “to a large extent they have functioned for the past few years as if they were under state control.”
In a way you have to hand it to Krystal Ball. The former Democratic congressional candidate-turned-MSNBC co-host is always hard at work spinning for the Obama administration, come what may. Appearing on Thursday's Politics Nation, the co-host of MSNBC’s The Cycle raved about President Obama’s May 23 national security speech, claiming the president is “reining in his own power,” a “remarkable and incredibly unusual” move.
Ball fawned over the president’s speech to host Al Sharpton, claiming he “put the steps in place” to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility, before offering this proclamation about Obama’s executive power:
Corrected from earlier*: On the May 16 Kudlow Report program on Fox Business Network, NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell hit the nail on the head, predicting that the media would quickly shift into the "Move On!" mode as they would start attacking Republicans as scandal-obsessed. The same evening on Fox News Channel's Hannity, Bozell noted how former CBS Evening News anchor Dan Rather was already using the Clinton scandal playbook and grousing that Republicans need to "move on."
Sure enough, a week later when the Media Research Center returned to Hannity for another "Media Mash" segment [watch the video embed below the page break], he had plenty of fresh material from the networks to illustrate how the liberal media are doing precisely that. After watching a montage of journalists complaining that Republicans may be guilty of "overreach" with their dogged pursuit of the IRS investigation, Bozell reminded guest host Eric Bolling that "this is the old game plan, which is":
Already moving on from the IRS scandal? On Thursday night, only the CBS Evening News of the broadcast network evening newscasts bothered to note how Lois Lerner, the IRS official in charge of the division which processes tax-exempt applications, was put on administrative leave after she took the Fifth and refused to answer questions at a House hearing the day before. Anchor Scott Pelley squeezed in 20 seconds on it.
Yet, ABC World News and the NBC Nightly News made room to highlight a photo of a 17-year-old Barack Obama and his prom date along with a friend and his date.