Government Agencies

By Matthew Balan | July 30, 2014 | 10:30 PM EDT

ABC's World News stood out as the sole Big Three evening newscast on Wednesday to not cover the release of Lois Lerner's e-mails, where the former top IRS official slammed conservatives as "a**holes" and "crazies." Instead, the news program devoted full reports to the water main that burst on the campus of UCLA and the controversy over usage charges on cell phone bills.

By contrast, NBC Nightly News and CBS Evening News on Wednesday both set aside about two minutes each of air time to Lerner's "salty language," as NBC's Kelly O'Donnell put it: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]

By Tom Blumer | July 29, 2014 | 7:52 PM EDT

At the Washington Post's Plum Line blog this afternoon, Greg Sargent argued that the legislative history of Obamacare supports the argument that Congress intended that participants in federal exchanges be entitled to premium subsidies (alternatively referred to in some quarters as "tax credits"), and that the history should doom the Halbig suit, which contends that tax subsidies cannot be disbursed to Obamacare participants who purchased their coverage through the federal exchange.

Unfortunately for Sargent, the history really makes the opposite legal argument, significantly strengthening the Halbig side's hand. First we'll look at what Sargent wrote. Then we'll see how a RedState diarist nuked his argument within two hours.

By Tom Blumer | July 28, 2014 | 5:04 PM EDT

Of all the Associated Press reporters out there, Matt Lee, whose beat is the State Department, appears to have the least patience with the pablum (and worse) he is expected to swallow from the Obama administration.

In September of last year, as the situation in Syria escalated, Obama administration Secretary of State John Kerry proposed a non-mandatory request for a Congressional vote on U.S. military involvement in Syria. After hearing State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki defend that proposal as "courageous," Lee, after getting a non-response to a question as why it was courageous, famously asked: "Was there some kind of, like, group spine-removal op procedure at the White House over the weekend?" Though he may not have exercised the best judgment this morning in posting the tweet which follows the jump, at least we can say that Lee hasn't taken up permanent residence in the wire service's otherwise very crowded water-carrier wing:

By Tom Blumer | July 28, 2014 | 4:01 PM EDT

The Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, wants Americans to know that the Obama adminisration is really, really upset — but not at Hamas for committing terrorist acts, using women and children as human shields, and digging tunnels for the purpose of mass-murdering civilians on Rosh Hashanah.

No-no-no. Team Obama is "fuming" (i.e., their poor little feeeeewings are hurt) because Israeli officials and the Israeli media — even its liberal wing — are furiously criticizing U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry for apparently doing all he can to sell out the Jewish state's positions in attempting to negotiate a ceasefire with Hamas.

By Tom Blumer | July 26, 2014 | 11:19 PM EDT

On Thursday, with PJ Media's J. Christian Adams as her guest, Fox News's Megyn Kelly recited a list of assertions (under oath, she reminded us) made by Internal Revenue Service officials which have later been shown to be lies or cause for agency flip-flops after "new" facts have been revealed.

It's a significant list. By implication, it's an indictment of the vast majority of the establishment press, which has refused to give the IRS scandal the attention it deserves. Video and a transcript follow the jump.

By Matthew Balan | July 24, 2014 | 12:25 PM EDT

On Tuesday's NBC Nightly News, Brian Williams reported the Apollo 11 astronauts' meeting with President Obama to mark the 45th anniversary of the first moon landing, but failed to mention that only photo journalists were permitted to cover the event. Williams spotlighted Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins's visit to the White House, and how "with them in spirit in the Oval Office today was the late, great Neil Armstrong."

During his minute-long news brief, the anchor also pointed out a former NASA administrator's warning about the current state of the U.S. manned spaceflight program: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]

By Matthew Balan | July 23, 2014 | 11:44 PM EDT

Wednesday's NBC Nightly News was the sole Big Three evening newscast to notice the criticism of the Obama administration banning U.S. airliners from traveling to Israel. Prominent politicians from both sides of the political spectrum, including Senator Ted Cruz and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, have denounced this move by the FAA. Senator Cruz accused the administration of using the "federal regulatory agency to launch an economic boycott on Israel."

Anchor Brian Williams zeroed in on Bloomberg's blunt critique of the travel ban, as he introduced a report from correspondent Richard Engel: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]

By Matthew Balan | July 23, 2014 | 10:02 PM EDT

The Big Three networks' morning and evening newscasts have yet to cover the Government Accountability Office's investigation of ObamaCare's sign-up process that uncovered that fraudulent documents were able to procure federal health plans and subsidies. On Wednesday, Amy Goldstein of the Washington Post reported that "undercover GAO investigators tried to obtain health plans for a dozen fictitious applicants....All but one of the fake applicants ended up getting subsidized coverage — and have kept it."

Brian Williams glossed over this GAO investigation on Wednesday's NBC Nightly News, but set aside 21 seconds of air time to tout the latest enrollment numbers for ObamaCare: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]

By Tom Blumer | July 21, 2014 | 11:59 PM EDT

President Obama signed an executive order on Monday which will force many religious organizations and their members to sever their service and business ties with the federal government if they wish to stay true to their beliefs.

The EO adds "sexual orientation and gender identity" to the bases upon which contractors cannot discriminate if they wish to continue doing business with Uncle Sam. Jennifer Epstein's coverage at the Politico blithely assumed that everybody knows what "LGBT" means. The acronym is in her headline and content, while none of the four words comprising its meaning — lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender — appear anywhere in her writeup. Epstein also erroneously contended that "LGBT" advocates are still shooting for passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), when the fact is that, in the wake of the Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby decision, they now oppose it. Excerpts follow the jump (bolds are mine throughout this post):

By Tom Blumer | July 21, 2014 | 9:16 AM EDT

Let's see. A rebel group pushing for separation from Ukaine has shot down a passenger plane, killing almost 300 aboard. Israel has invaded Gaza. Illegal immigrants are flooding across the U.S.-Mexico border, in at least one instance following a hail of protective gunfire directed at Border Patrol agents.

Meanwhile, in news concerning truly important matters, New York Democratic Senator Charles Schumer and fellow party member Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut are focusing on what's really important — prescription pet medication prices:

By Tom Blumer | July 18, 2014 | 3:38 PM EDT

The Obama administration is probably wondering why so many people of all political stripes don't believe that they take foreign policy seriously, up to and including charges that the president and his minions are doing the equivalent of fiddling as some parts of the world burn, and others threaten to.

I don't see why would anyone think that (in case it's not obvious, that's sarcasm). After all, wasn't Bush 43 press secretary Ari Fleischer linking to a friend's column on men's suits after the Bali bombings in 2002? And didn't the London bombings in 2005 lead the otherwise hapless Scott McClellan to wax eloquent on the importance of tie-shirt coordination? The answer to both of those questions is, "Of course not." But yesterday, on a day when Israel invaded Gaza, pro-Russian forces shot down a passenger airliner with almost 300 aboard, and diseases this country hasn't seen in decades continued to be carried over the U.S. Mexican border by "Unaccompanied Alien Children" (that DHS's term), State Department spokesman Jen Psaki tweeted on the dreadfully important topic of how you can be "informed" and fashionable (HT The Blaze):

By Tom Blumer | July 17, 2014 | 11:59 PM EDT

Late this afternoon, I went to the Top Business Headlines page at the Associated Press's national web site to get today's new home construction news. Because the AP didn't have a story there (saved here for future reference), I knew it had to be bad, especially because to ignore it, the wire service made room in its Top 10 stories for an item on Toyota experimenting with fuel cells and aircraft orders at an air show in England.

The Census Bureau reported that seasonally adjusted housing starts fell by 9.3 percent in June after declining 7.3 percent in May. Seasonally adjusted applications for new building permits declined by 4.2 percent after a 5.1 percent revised May drop. Reporter Martin Crutsinger, doing his utmost to earn the "Worst Economics Writer" tag the National Review's Kevin Williamson conferred on him last year, blamed the weather, blamed "the South" without telling readers how the Census Bureau defines it, and ignored how, even after a very bad month, that region is still outperforming other regions in new homebuilding. Excerpts follow the jump (bolds and numbered tags are mine):