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.
MRC director of media analysis Tim Graham appeared Thursday on the Fox Business program "Varney & Co." to discuss whether the Obama scandals were going to turn the media elites around on Barack Obama. Graham said this is a temporary rough patch. But he said his cynical side was surprised that other reporters embraced Fox News reporter James Rosen after the Obama administration conducted surveillance of his phone calls.
Graham said, "The Obama administration did something backwards here, because what that [Rosen surveillance] story does is cause the rest of the entire media, the liberal media, to rally around Fox News. So that’s not the kind of day they want to have." [Video below]
Appearing for his regular "Miller Time" segment on Wednesday's The O'Reilly Factor on FNC, comedian Dennis Miller asserted that the Obama administration is "looking more Nixonian" because of recent scandal revelations.
He went on to crack that when President Obama says, "I am not a crook," he'll need a teleprompter to help him. Referring to the Justice Department's focus on FNC reporter James Rosen, Miller began:
On last Friday’s Washington Week, PBS moderator Gwen Ifill brought in a panel of four liberal journalists to dissect the three scandals that have plagued the Obama administration the past couple of weeks. Predictably, most of the panelists attempted to downplay the seriousness of the Benghazi fiasco.
Midway through the Benghazi discussion, Ifill turned to The Washington Post’s Ed O’Keefe and posed the question that has surely been on every left-wing reporter’s mind for months: “But Ed, why is this -- why is this stuck? Why is this a story that never went away?” [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
As the Obama staff labors to deny they’re waging what’s being called “Obama’s war on journalism,” it might not help to have journalists mocked as fussy “figure skating judges.”
In today’s Washington Post that’s what we read from David Plouffe as he defended the White House from the “minutiae” that the White House counsel urgently wanted to keep Obama clueless about a Treasury Department inspector general’s report on the IRS scandal:
Defending the indefensible can make a liberal journalist a little prickly. How else do you explain Washington Post columnist Colbert I. "Colby" King's specious attack on his fellow Post colleague and Inside Washington panelist Charles Krauthammer this weekend?
It all happened when Krauthammer responded to a Post editorial, published in Thursday’s paper, which asserted that UN Ambassador Susan Rice did not mislead anyone about the nature of the September 11 Benghazi attack. Ninety-seven House Republicans had signed a letter charging that Rice did mislead the public, and the Post editorial demanded that those Republicans apologize to Rice. [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
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:
Conservative talk radio host Hugh Hewitt featured two liberal journalists on his nightly program this week, and both joined the chorus of media outrage at the Obama administration over the Justice Department’s recent AP probe. Bloomberg View’s Jonathan Alter called Eric Holder’s explanation of the probe “pathetic” and suggested that President Obama should “apologize to journalists” over the scandal, while Michael Shear of the New York Times was frosted by the “absolutely chilling” way that the Obama/Holder DOJ has treated journalists like criminals.
Just last week, Alter fretted over the administration’s scandals with Chris Matthews on Hardball, claiming that White House staffers had “an unhealthy love” for Obama. On Wednesday, Alter blasted the administration for their “especially aggressive” attitude towards reporters, calling the Justice Department’s recent actions “disturbing."
On Tuesday's Fox & Friends, Fox News contributor and Emmy-winning journalist Juan Williams accused the Obama Justice Department of having "criminalized journalism" by investigating Fox News correspondent James Rosen. Williams claimed that such probing by the administration “makes it difficult for journalists to do business” and posed the question, “How do you do journalism if you are treated as a criminal for asking for information?” [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
This revelation, of course, comes close on the heels of the DOJ seizing phone and email records of several Associated Press employees during a leak investigation concerning a CIA operation to foil a terror bomb plot. However, in the Rosen case, the Justice Department has “specifically gone after Rosen and Fox as co-conspirators in the case,” according to Williams, whereas “there is no such listing of AP as a co-conspirator.” In all his years of reporting, Williams said that this particular case against Rosen “stands out in a bright way to me” because it shows that the administration is trying to criminalize certain types of reporting.
In statement released on Tuesday, the executive director of the Committee to Protect Journalists, Joel Simon, issued this warning against the Obama Justice Department investigating Fox News reporter James Rosen:"U.S. government efforts to prosecute leakers by obtaining information from journalists has a chilling effect domestically and sends a terrible message to journalists around the world who are fighting to resist government intrusion."
Following a Washington Post report showing that the Obama administration under the Justice Department had singled out Fox News’ James Rosen, including secretly reading his personal emails, FNC’s Brit Hume took the Obama administration to task for its actions.
Appearing on Special Report w/ Bret Baier on May 20, the veteran Washington journalist described the actions by the Justice Department as something where “federal prosecutors have rarely if ever gone before.” At issue are details in which Rosen met with a State Department official and obtained secret details about State Department actions and intelligence on a foreign country now identified as North Korea. As a result, the FBI obtained a search warrant for Rosen's personal files, including his personal email account, to investigate Rosen's activities in connection to the North Korea story. [See video after jump. MP3 audio here.]
But all that doesn't matter to the Post's Walter Pincus, who dutifully defended Team Obama in his May 21 column, "AP leak investigation less clear-cut than the uproar." It seems the national security correspondent and columnist doesn't mind an intrusive, secret investigation, now and then, so long as it's in service of aiding a liberal president or undermining a conservative one as in the now-infamous Valerie Plame case (emphasis mine):
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.
Dylan Byers of Politico reports “Sharyl Attkisson, the Emmy-award winning CBS News investigative reporter, says that her personal and work computers have been compromised and are under investigation.”
"I can confirm that an intrusion of my computers has been under some investigation on my end for some months. But I'm not prepared to make an allegation against a specific entity today as I've been patient and methodical about this matter," Attkisson told Politico on Tuesday. She suggested it could be related to the probe of Fox reporter James Rosen:
While much of the news coverage Monday evening and Tuesday morning was dominated by coverage of the tornado that devastated Moore, Oklahoma, Tuesday's NBC Today did manage to provide two news briefs, totaling a minute and fourteen seconds, to the stunning revelation that the Obama administration searched through the private emails of Fox News chief Washington correspondent James Rosen, supposedly as a part of a leak investigation.
Neither ABC nor CBS bothered to make any mention of their media colleague Rosen being named a "criminal co-conspirator" for simply doing his job as a journalist. Instead on Tuesday, ABC's Good Morning America devoted a four-minute segment to Michael Douglas and Matt Damon discussing their gay love scenes in a movie about Liberace. Meanwhile, CBS This Morning squeezed in a forty-seven-second news brief on the death of The Doors keyboardist Ray Manzarek.
On Sunday's NBC Meet the Press, moderator David Gregory urged Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to condemn fellow Republicans for drawing parallels between the scandals rocking the Obama administration and those that occurred under President Nixon: "Would you call on Republicans who talk about impeaching the President or who talk about this as a Nixonian-style cover-up with regard to Benghazi, would you like them to stop it?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
McConnell responded: "Well, what I think we ought to do is complete the investigation and found out – find out what exactly happened....we know the administration kind of made up a tale here in order to make it seem like it wasn't a – a terrorist attack. I think that's worthy of investigation and the investigations ought to go forward."
Monday’s CBS Evening News took one break from Oklahoma tornado coverage – to run a piece on how an IRS manager who recently retired from the Cincinnati office, where 501 (c)(4) applications were processed, declared “politics and religion were things that people generally didn’t talk about at work.”
Reporter Dean Reynolds focused on the assurances by Bonnie Esrig, who was also featured in a Saturday Washington Post article on how politics had nothing to do with the targeting of conservative groups: “She never heard anyone say the words ‘the President wants this done.’”
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:
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.]