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):
In a Friday afternoon dispatch issued in the wake of the government's jobs report earlier that day, Christopher Rugaber and Josh Boak at the Associated Press wrote that "most economists ... forecast a strong rebound in economic growth - to a 3.5 percent annual rate in the current April-June quarter. And growth should reach nearly 3 percent for the full year, up from 1.9 percent in 2013, they expect."
There are two problems with that prediction. The first lies in how strong the third and fourth quarters will have to be for the economy to get "nearly 3 percent" for the full year, given the tiny first-quarter annualized growth of 0.1 percent reported on Wednesday. The second and perhaps more crucial issue is that the full-year estimate significantly exceeds the "altered assessment" at the Fed concerning how fast it thinks the economy can grow without running the risk of igniting inflation.
In June 2006, the New York Times, over strident pleas not to from the Bush 43 administration, published details of how counterterrorism officials were "tracing transactions of people suspected of having ties to Al Qaeda by reviewing records from the nerve center of the global banking industry." According to the administration, the program had "helped in the capture of the most wanted Qaeda figure in Southeast Asia." Other outlets like the Wall Street Journal and the Los Angeles Times, which were apparently on the brink of breaking what the Times reported first, also chipped in with their own supplements. The stories received prominent network TV coverage, and reinforced the image of the Bush administration as secretive and far less than transparent.
So the details of how the government was monitoring the operation of the world's financial system to obtain clues to help catch terrorists apparently deserved full exposure. If that's fine, why has the press been barely interested in a far more troubling development, namely Eric Holder's U.S. Department of Justice using pressure on the financial system to conduct "a massive government overreach into private businesses that are operating within the law," which has been going on for at least a year? Welcome to "Operation Choke Point."
When several members of Congress set out in the early 1990s to improve fiscal reporting and internal controls in the federal government, one thing they certainly had a right to expect is that the press would report on lapses as embarrassments, and that otherwise nonchalant or reluctant bureaucrats would figure out that it would be in their best interest to tighten their ships. It hasn't happened, largely because the press quickly got bored, enabling the bureaucrats to thumb their noses at those who called them out for weak reporting or control violations.
To name just one glaring example: Concerning the Internal Revenue Service, in August of last year, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration happily reported "the downgrade of the information security material weakness to a significant deficiency during the Fiscal Year 2012 financial statement audit," and that "the IRS removed it from the December 31, 2012, remediation plan" (that's bureaucratese for "finally solved the problem") — 19 years after it was first identified in 1993. In that context, let's look at an outrageous situation at the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
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.
At the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, Martin Crutsinger has pretty much proven that he's been on some kind of workout regimen. If he wasn't, he couldn't possibly have carried so much Obama administration water in his 1:45 p.m. report on the state of the economy (saved here for future reference, fair use and discussion purposes) as he did.
Crutsinger's message: Pay no attention to that lousy GDP report we expect to see tomorrow morning (there's some reason to believe that it may get artificially juiced, which I'll explain later). Starting this month, the economy has been smokin', and this year's going to be just great. Too bad the evidence for his optimism mostly doesn't exist — and to the extent it does, it's not rip-roaring great. Excerpts from Crutsinger's latest crummy creation follow the jump.
The Associated Press's lengthy Monday evening treatment of Toyota's decision to move its U.S. headquarters and consolidate many of its North American operations in Metro Dallas is reasonably good in spots. But Gillian Flaccus and Michael R. Blood were unduly selective in reporting Torrance, California Mayor Frank Scotto's reaction to the news that his town would be losing several thousand jobs, and downplayed the relevance of clearly obvious factors influencing the move.
Let's see what Scotto, a Republican, told the Los Angeles Times, followed by the AP's reporting.
Professor Robert N. Stavins at Harvard's Kennedy School hardly seems like a major climate change/global warming boat-rocker. At his blog last year, he described climate change as "the ultimate global commons problem," where "international, if not global, cooperation is essential." Commenting on climate talks in Doha, Qatar in December 2012, he saw the role of the Harvard Project on Climate Agreements as helping countries and international bodies "address climate change in ways that are scientifically sound, economically rational, and politically pragmatic."
So Stavins is no "denier," as enviros on the left are given to calling anyone who dares to question climate change dogma. But he strongly objects to how his role in the latest IPCC report relating to how countries might co-operate to reduce carbon emissions — basically where the rubber meets the road in affecting everyday citizens' lives — was compromised by intense political interference. Excerpts from the UK Daily Mail's coverage, once again an instance of the UK tabloids scooping the U.S. press, follow the jump (bolds are mine throughout this post):
Politico's David Nather must have thought he was so clever. Here's how he opened a recent column: "It can happen to anyone, right? You rally behind a guy ... and suddenly he’s spewing racist bile and boy, does it splash on your face." Yes, I left out a few words, and I'll get to that. But before providing them, the quote just rendered would apply to how those at Los Angeles branch of the NAACP must feel about their now-withdrawn but not forgotten plan to confer a lifetime achievement award on Los Angeles Clippers' owner Donald Sterling, who has been caught on tape allegedly telling a woman that she shouldn't "associate with black people" or have blacks accompany her to Clippers games.
Let's revise Nather's blather a bit for another comic circumstance: "It can happen to anyone, right? You rally behind a guy because he comes over to your side on climate change, and suddenly he’s arrested in 'a 20-count federal indictment that includes charges of mail fraud, wire fraud and tax fraud.' Boy, does it splash on your face." Now I'm talking about the fools at Organizing For Action, who celebrated the "breakthrough" of having GOP Congressman Michael Grimm come over to their side mere days before his indictment, which occurred today.
A Friday afternoon email I received from Organizing For Action, aka BarackObama.com, aka the group whose mission in life is to support whatever President Obama wants them to support, took me by surprise.
The email, which is replicated at an OFA post, told readers that "There's one fewer climate change denier in Congress." I figured that the congressman who flipped almost had to be a Republican, and I was right: "Congressman Michael Grimm (NY-11) is standing up for an honest and reality-based discussion on what to do about climate change." I also thought to myself that something else must be going here. Is it ever. I hope OFA didn't spend too much on party favors for what it described as a "breakthrough," because they happen to be cheering the "conversion" of a guy who is about to be indicted:
Last night (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), I noted that Donald Sterling, owner of the National Basketball Association's Los Angeles Clippers, was allegedly caught on tape chiding a person who is apparently his girlfriend for "taking pictures with minorities" and "associating with black people." He also tells her that she is a "delicate" "Latina or white girl," and because of that doesn't understand why she would "associate with black people." He doesn't want her bringing black people, including NBA legend Magic Johnson, to games.
It turns out that Sterling must be known in liberal and politically correct circles for far more than the few small political donations from two decades ago identified in last night's post. The Clippers owner is scheduled in less than three weeks to receive a lifetime achievement award from the Los Angeles chapter of the NAACP at its 100th anniversary event, where Al Sharpton and LA Mayor Eric Garcetti will also be honored as persons of the year (HT to a NewsBusters commenter):
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.
Norah O'Donnell pursued Texas Governor Rick Perry on Thursday's CBS This Morning over the controversial land dispute between Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy and the federal government. O'Donnell asked Perry, "What do you make of this standoff? What do you think of Clive Bundy? Do you think what he's done was a good thing?"
When the Republican politician replied that Bundy is a "side story," and that "rather than sending armed troops....I hope our government officials...use common sense when it comes to these issues of conflict...dealing with something...in a substantially-less confrontational way," the CBS anchor followed up by spotlighting the rancher's racially-charged remarks: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
A month ago, the UK Telegraph reported that "The remains of more than 15,000 babies were incinerated as 'clinical waste' by hospitals in Britain with some used in 'waste to energy' plants."
Prolife news sites and blogs as well as many other center-right outlets covered the story. The establishment press almost completely ignored it. Matt Balan of NewsBusters noted on March 26 that the story "got picked up by newspapers across much of the Anglosphere – including The Vancouver Sun and The Ottawa Citizen in Canada," but that it did not "receive wide coverage in the United States." More like barely any, with the only TV broadcast exception at the time being a segment on Fox News's The Five. Perhaps the non-coverage excuse was "Well, that's the UK. It could never happen here." That excuse was lame anyway, and now it's no longer operative (go to Page 3 at the B.C. Catholic link; story by Steve Weatherbe):
Tuesday's World News on ABC stood out as the only Big Three network evening newscast to cover a new "watchdog report" that found that the IRS "handed out more than $1 million in bonuses to employees who were delinquent on their federal taxes." Jeff Zeleny also pointed out how "more than 1,000 IRS workers, who didn't pay their taxes, received not only cash bonuses, but extra time off." [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
By contrast, NBC Nightly News and CBS Evening News on Tuesday both devoted air time to the 50th anniversary of the 1964 World's Fair in New York City. NBC's Brian Williams also gave a 28-second news brief on Prince William and Princess Kate's visit to Ayers Rock in Australia, where they posed at the same spot as the prince's parents during the 1980s:
In his story (saved here for future reference, fair use and discussion purposes — and in case it gets edited later today; Update: It did) on the Supreme Court's decision this morning upholding Michigan voters' 2006 approval of a ban on race-, ethnic- and gender-based preferences in university admissions, USA Today's Richard Wolf failed to identify the size of the court majority, which was 6-2. Justice Elena Kagan recused herself because she was previously the U.S. solicitor general before being named to the high court. The court's decision effectively upholds such bans in seven other states.
Additionally, by focusing on Justice Anthony Kennedy as "the man to watch," Wolf initially left many readers with the impression that only five justices, Kennedy and the four others usually describe as "conservative" (Roberts, Scalia, Thomas, and Alito) made the ruling. The fact is that they were also joined by Justice Stephen Breyer, one of the supposedly reliable "liberals." Excerpts follow the jump (bolds are mine throughout this post):
If there's a prize for most words spent in Obamacare avoidance, NBC News's Martha C. White is definitely in the running.
White managed to burn through almost 40 paragraphs and nearly 1,600 words in a report carried at CNBC on the all-time record number of workers employed by temporary help services. But she somehow managed to completely avoid mentioning Obamacare, which used to be known as the Affordable Care Act until President Obama and his Health and Human Services regulators made 40 changes to the law originally passed by Congress, some of which directly contradict the original law's language. The closest she came was noting that using temps "lets companies avoid the cost of providing benefits like health insurance" — which has always been the case, except that health insurance is and will continue to be a lot more expensive, giving companies even more incentive to avoid adding to their own payrolls. Excerpts follow the jump.
Earlier today, just an hour before a hearing was to begin at the National Labor Relations Board, the United Auto Workers union dropped an appeal of the election it lost in February as it attempted to become the bargaining representative for workers at Volkswagen's Chattanooga, Tennessee plant.
In a writeup which appears at the Associated Press's "Big Story" but which somehow failed to appear in a 6 p.m. search on "UAW" at the Big Story site (sorted by date), reporter Erik Schelzig pretended that two Democratic Congressmen who last week started an "inquiry" into the circumstances surrounding the union's loss will be conducting a "congressional investigation." No they won't, because they can't, because their party is in the minority. What they can do is conduct a theatrical exercise which looks like a "hearing" which has no power and which a responsible AP reporter wouldn't call a "congressional investigation." Excerpts follow the jump (bolds are mine):
Last Tuesday, in an incredibly childish piece, even by his non-standards, Politico's David Nather acted as if the resistance at Clive Bundy's ranch was endorsed and supported entirely by the tea party movement and/or Republicans and/or conservatives, so he could then characterize their post stand-off behavior — i.e., pursuit of their longer-term political goals — as some form of abandonment.
I was tempted to ignore Nather's nattering, but a couple of subsequent events are making Nather look even more foolish than usual. The first is the fact that Bundy still has significant armed assistance, something the Politico reporter appears not to have anticipated. The second relates to allegations of misbehavior, including illegal property destruction, by Bureau of Land Management agents. First, let's get to some of Nather's blather (bolds are mine throughout this post):
It either doesn't take much to surprise Josh Lederman and Dana Capiello at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, or they have very short memories.
The AP pair described the Obama State Department's Friday afternoon statement (roughly 3:30 p.m., based on the "9 hours ago" result returned in a Google search on the document's title at 12:30 a.m. ET) that it would "provide more time" for eight federal agencies involved to submit "their views on the proposed Keystone Pipeline Project" as a "a surprise announcement Friday as Washington was winding down for Easter." It's as if something like this has never happened before during the Obama administration. Well, yes it has.
David Nather at the Politico apparently wanted to make sure that those who don't follow the news closely see a triumphant headline ("Obama Spikes the Football") and a congratulatory opening paragraph at their computers, tablets, and smartphones.
Sure, the Politico reporter gradually threw in all kinds of qualifications after that, but his mission is largely accomplished: Cause those who don't click through to believe that Obamacare is functioning as intended, and — especially in the headline — communicate the message that the debate about the statist health regime's existence is really over. He can say that he did his job while at the same time keeping most people away from the more complicated reality. In that sense, Nather is right there with reporters at ABC and CBS who claim without verifiable evidence, as Rich Noyes at NewsBusters noted earlier this afternoon, that the program has achieved "a major milestone." Excerpts follow the jump (bolds are mine):
In September 2010, Lachlan Markay at NewsBusters put up a post entitled "Eight Dems Arrested in Bell, CA 'Corruption on Steroids' - Not a Single Mention of Party Affiliation From Media."
Almost four years later (!), reviews of search engine results and specific news stories on the sentencing of Robert Rizzo, the community's former city manager, are again returning no mentions of the fact that Rizzo is a Democrat.
In a Tuesday story which appears to have been handed to it on a silver platter, and which the rest of the establishment press seems uninterested in spreading (given that searches at 11:45 p.m. Tuesday at the Associated Press and at Politico returned nothing relevant), the New York Times has reported that the Census Bureau "is changing its annual survey so thoroughly that it will be difficult to measure the effects of President Obama’s health care law in the next report, due this fall."
It took Times reporter Robert Pear 15 paragraphs to tell readers that measurement and reporting under the new survey design will be so supposedly difficult that "the agency was not planning to release coverage data from early this year in its next report." That statement indicates that the government will not disclose anything about how the rollout of Obamacare really affected the number of uninsured Americans — even under the new methodology — before this fall's elections. Everyone together now, say "How convenient."
Monday afternoon at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, Andrew Taylor predictably described the House's passage of the Ryan Budget in shrill terms (in order of appearance): "A slashing budget blueprint"; "Sweeping budget cuts"; balances the budget "at the expense of poor people and seniors"; "sharp cuts to domestic programs"; "staking out a hard line for the future"; and "tough cuts." Naturally, he failed to disclose that the Ryan budget increases the federal government's total outlays in each and every fiscal year from 2015 to 2024, with the final projected year coming in at $4.995 trillion, or 42 percent above the $3.523 trillion in spending the Congressional Budget Office predicted yesterday for fiscal 2014.
In the process of performing the AP's usual hatchet job, Taylor let loose with a howler about the federal government's ability to continue on its current financial path. The AP reporter may also have inadvertently let something slip into his narrative about the viability of a cherished government program, something which is a deep, dark secret to most Americans, but is quite well-known to those who watch things more closely:
Guess who's all of a sudden standing up for law and order? Why, it's radical environmentalists, who despite their general disdain for lawful behavior have felt compelled to speak out in support of the Bureau of Land Management's attempts to round up Cliven Bundy's cattle and ultimately force the Nevada rancher to abandon his family's century-old business.
Martin Griffith at the Associated Press relayed the comments of one such group in a Sunday report in the aftermath of the BLM's abandonment of its roundup efforts, in Griffith's words, "after hundreds of states' rights protesters, some of them armed militia members, showed up at corrals outside Mesquite to demand the animals' release" (There's much to it than that; go this archived Drudge Report page for more; bolds are mine throughout this post):
Based on searches at their respective sites at 9:40 a.m. ET this morning, the Associated Press, the New York Times and the Politico do not have stories on the fever-swamp left's two-days-old attempts to force storage company DropBox to reverse its appointment of Condoleezza Rice to its board of directors.
The three outlets just cited, and the rest of the national establishment press, with the as usual notable exception of Fox News (in an opinion piece by Richard Grenell) and the unusual exception of UPI.com, appears to be following what I'll call the "hand-wringing template": Ignore the story until the left gets its dirty work done, and then file a timid story noting how the now-settled matter "raises free-speech issues." This is how a passive-aggressive mission is accomplished.
I suspect that many readers who do their best to keep up with the news at a detailed level have a hard time understanding how many of their friends, acquaintances and neighbors — even many who they know put some effort into keeping up with current events — can be so unaware of many objectively important news developments.
There are two answers to that question. One is that the establishment press very often doesn't cover important matters at all; all one has to do is recall the empty media chairs at the trial of pre-born and newborn baby butcher Kermit Gosnell. The other is that when they do cover a story, journalists and their news outlets often do all they can to keep key names and facts out of their headlines and opening paragraph. Thanks to the fact that many people now consume news using computers, tablets, and smartphones, this stalling tactic may be even more effective now than it was in the print-only days.
The primary objection to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), created as part of the mammoth Dodd-Frank legislation passed in 2010, has been its unaccountability. It "is ensconced within the Federal Reserve," which frees it from congressional and presidential oversight. Even the Fed "is statutorily prohibited from 'intervening' in CFPB affairs."
It should surprise no one that Richard Cordray, the unaccountable agency's director, seems to believe that he and his kingdom are untouchable. Cordray, a Democrat who not coincidentally has been mentioned as a possible down-the-road candidate to be Ohio's governor, has, according to a whistleblower, presided over a "'pervasive' culture of intimidation and hostility within the bureau." Further, according to the Washington Free Beacon's coverage of the whistleblower's testimony at a House Committee on Financial Services hearing, Cordray personally told the whistleblower "to have her attorneys 'back down.'" a Wednesday story at the Politico by M.J. Lee represents nearly the full extent of establishment press coverage I could locate. Excerpts from Lee's Politico story follow the jump.
As I noted yesterday, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, when asked to identify a specific accomplishment during her tenure there, failed to answer the question, instead falling back on the Obama administration's tired "we inherited a terrible economy" meme.
Never let it be said that yours truly doesn't try to be helpful. Here's an "accomplishment" I can attribute to Mrs. Clinton, though I suspect she won't want to put it at the top of her resume as she promotes her anticipated presidential candidacy: presiding over an out of control agency. During each of the past four years, outside auditors have found that State had several "significant deficiencies" in its internal controls over financial reporting (of course, the last eight months of the most recent year belong to current Secretary of State John Kerry). Additionally, State's Inspector General recently identified "contracts with a total value of more than $6 billion in which contract files were incomplete or could not be located at all." Though the IG's report was released on Thursday, it conveniently escaped coverage by the Associated Press until Saturday afternoon. The unbylined AP report itself was cursory and inadequate: