Government Agencies

By Tom Blumer | June 3, 2014 | 1:27 AM EDT

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):

By Jeffrey Meyer | June 1, 2014 | 9:57 AM EDT

The United States negotiated the release of five Afghan prisoners at Guantanamo Bay in exchange for the Taliban freeing an American sergeant from captivity yet President Obama may have violated U.S. law by failing to notify Congress of his actions. 

Despite the potential legal problems with releasing prisoners without notifying Congress, NBC Nightly News was the only evening news program on Saturday, May 31 to mention the controversy or the GOP's criticism. [See video below.] 

By Tom Blumer | May 31, 2014 | 6:29 PM EDT

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?

By Tom Blumer | May 31, 2014 | 9:16 AM EDT

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.

By Tom Blumer | May 30, 2014 | 11:08 PM EDT

In a report at CNBC on Thursday, Dan Mangan covered a "Kaiser Health Tracking Poll" which appears to have been pre-cooked for an administration which would love to have the press give Obamacare even less than the disproportionately low coverage that it has received since a few weeks after HealthCare.gov's diastrous initial rollout.

Mangan eagerly took the bait. His opening sentence: "And the winner by a nose is...shut up about Obamacare!" Excerpts follow the jump (bolds are mine):

By Tom Blumer | May 29, 2014 | 11:59 PM EDT

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.

Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi did that on Monday (HT Patterico and Real Clear Politics) in an interview with Vox's Ezra Klein, who naturally let it slide right on by:

By Tom Blumer | May 28, 2014 | 7:36 PM EDT

Monday afternoon, in an error which made it into the paper's Tuesday print edition, reporter Paul Richter at the Los Angeles Times, in a story on the Obama administration's inadvertent leak of a CIA director's name in Afghanistan, was apparently so bound and determined to include a "Bush did it too" comparison that he went with leftist folklore instead of actual history.

Specifically, Richter wrote that "In 2003, another CIA operative, Valerie Plame, was publicly identified by I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, a top aide to Vice President Cheney, in an apparent attempt to discredit her husband, who had publicly raised questions about the Bush administration’s decision to invade Iraq" (HTs to Patterico and longtime NB commenter Gary Hall). Apparently no one else in the layers of editors and fact-checkers at the Times was aware that this entire claim has been known to be false since 2006.

By Tom Blumer | May 27, 2014 | 1:42 PM EDT

Last week, I noted how stunned and frustrated CNN reporter Drew Griffin was with President Barack Obama's Wednesday Veterans Administration scandal press conference. Reacting to Obama's pledge to have VA Secretary Secretary Eric Shinseki investigate the problem and to bring in another person "to conduct a broader review" of the VA, Griffin contended that "this problem is real; it exists; it really doesn't have to be studied."

I have since learned that there is an especially strong reason for Griffin's exasperation. The CNN reporter was on the VA's case long before his work in Phoenix, doing work which the rest of the press ignored.

By Tom Blumer | May 26, 2014 | 11:49 PM EDT

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):

By Tom Blumer | May 26, 2014 | 9:04 PM EDT

With about 4-1/2 months remaining before early voting begins in the the 2014 elections, three sets of Obamacare-related campaigns are in full gear. The first is seen in electoral contests around the country. The second is a campaign of disinformation and no information being conducted by the Obama administration and its Department of Health and Human Services. The third is a concerted establishment press effort to give cover to Democratic Party candidates no matter what position they take on Obamacare, and to minimize the exposure the administration's deliberate acts of non-transparency receive.

All three campaigns came together in a Monday morning Associated Press report by Bill Barrow and Josh "Lapdog" Lederman. The two reporters avoided any mention of the fact that the administration has decided to "halt" monthly Obamacare enrollment reporting, while giving cover to Democratic Senate candidates around the country who haven't yet figured out how much distance to put between themselves, Obamacare, and President Barack Obama himself (bolds are mine throughout this post):

By Tom Blumer | May 25, 2014 | 11:59 PM EDT

At the Weekly Standard this morning, Daniel Halper noted a CNN panel discussion wherein the network's John King and guest Maggie Haberman of the Politico discussed how furious many Democrats are with President Barack Obama's leadership, especially in connection with the Veterans administration scandal. The broadcast also reveals that the Beltway press corps has been aware of Democrats' misgivings about Obama's leadership for some time. We sure haven't heard much about it, have we?

This is noteworthy because the press eagerly broadcasts evidence of disagreements among Republicans and conservatives, and rarely does so when there is disunity on the left. The odds that we'll see much more of what aired this morning on CNN are therefore quite low. Video and a transcript follow the jump:

By Tom Blumer | May 24, 2014 | 9:51 AM EDT

At the Associated Press on Thursday, reporter Alan Fram covered the Senate's confirmation of David Barron without using the words "filibuster" or "waterboarding."

Given that he was confirmed on a 53-45 vote, it is highly unlikely that Barron's nomination would have survived had Senate majority leader Harry Reid not imposed the "nuclear option" last year to prevent senators from stopping a contentious nomination by requiring 60 senators to approve the idea of even having a confirmation vote. As for waterboarding, Barron's nomination became controversial because he is, as Fram noted, the "architect of the Obama administration's legal foundation for killing American terror suspects overseas with drones." 53 Democratic senators are apparently okay with that, even though many if not most of them have gone apoplectic over the idea of waterboarding known terrorists of any nationality who may have knowledge of their fellow travelers' plans.