[UPDATED BELOW] For hours on Monday and Tuesday, CNN hyped a positive Hillary Clinton story while ignoring a negative Clinton story.
While both stories broke on Monday morning, CNN only touted one of them on Monday: Clinton joining Twitter. And the network spent almost 10 minutes discussing it on Tuesday morning. In contrast, it took until 11 a.m. on Tuesday for CNN to even mention serious accusations leveled against the State Department by its own Inspector General. Clinton was Secretary of State until only a few months ago.
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.
When last seen at NewsBusters in February, the Associated Press's Liz Sidoti was talking down to the public about its "collective obsession with the trivial" less than a week after AP reporter Ken Thomas wasted 500 words of print and bandwidth on how Florida Sen. Marco Rubio took a sip of water during a speech.
Now Sidoti, who is the AP's National Political Editor, is quite worried -- actually, obsessed -- that the public might waking up and contrasting what President Barack Obama is delivering compared to what he has promised at a most inopportune time, and that "controversies" might overtake Dear Leader's second-term agenda (bolds are mine):
Appearing on Monday's NBC Today, Guardian columnist Glenn Greenwald corrected co-host Savannah Guthrie on her framing of the NSA phone and email surveillance controversy after she inaccurately cited government leaker Edward Snowden: "Snowden makes what I consider to be a rather remarkable claim stating, quote, 'I, sitting at my desk certainly had the authorities to wiretap you'....He didn't say that he had the ability to do it....He said he had the legal authority to do it." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Greenwald responded: "That isn't what he said. He didn't say he had the legal authority. That's a word you included in the statement that he didn't actually include....he said authority, not 'legal authority,' which is what you just quoted him as saying. And what I'm telling you is that is a misquotation..."
Things got feisty on Morning Joe today, as Glenn Greenwald of the Guardian clashed with Mika Brzezinski over the leak of the NSA phone surveillance program by Greenwald's informant, Edward Snowden. H/t NB reader Jeff M.
When Brzezinski alleged that wiretapping or the review by the NSA of emails required an additional judicial review and warrant, Greenwald accused Mika of using "White House talking points" that were "completely misleading and false." Mika denied it. Greenwald upped the animosity by telling Mika she would have known better if she had paid even "remote attention" to the issues over the last ten years. View the video after the jump.
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.
Although there are stories at Fox News and the Daily Caller, there appears to be almost no interest on the part of the establishment press in covering the Treasury Department's failure to report over 99% of its conference costs when Oklahoma Republican Senator Tom Coburn asked for an itemized listing a year ago.
The Politico, the repository for stories which cause Democrats and the left discomfort that the rest of the press would prefer to ignore ("Oh, the Politico did something with it, so we don't have to"), buried the item in a "Morning Tax" report Thursday. Writer Lauren French held off as long as she possibly could presenting how the $50 million in omitted IRS costs dwarfed the measly $500,000 which was reported (paragraph breaks added by me; bolds are mine throughout this post):
Yesterday, the editorial board at the New York Times published an editorial harshly criticizing President Obama and his administration for continuing to collect the phone records of millions of Verizon customers. Presumably, the board obtained word-for-word consensus before hitting the "Enter" key on this crucial sentence in the editorial's second paragraph: "The Obama administration has lost all credibility."
Mere hours after its initial publication, Jamie Weinstein at the Daily Caller notes, the editorial ("President Obama's Dragnet") was revised. Yours truly has the graphic grabs of the most crucial changes after the jump.
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):
On May 27, Nicholas Confessore and Michael Luo at the New York Times filed a ridiculously incoherent, ignorant and biased report on Tea Party groups' attempts to have their organizations approved for tax-exempt status. The story's window title: "Non-Profit Applcants Chafing at IRS Tested Political Limits." The actual print edition title (Page A1, of course): "Groups Targeted by I.R.S. Tested Rules on Politics." The headlines give the impression that Tea Party groups deliberately tried to test the boundaries of legality.
The pair's content also betrayed more than a little ignorance of the rules governing campaign finance, electioneering, and literature distribution. Among those interviewed for the story was Tom Zawistowski, Portage County TEA Party Executive Director. Zawistowski took great exception to their writeup in an email he distributed on Saturday (bolds are mine; additional paragraph breaks added by me):
In what some have described as a "bombshell" statement, ABC News Political analyst Trey Hardin said something on Monday morning any reporter with any kind of meaningful inside connections in Washington should have known, but apparently wouldn't dare say or write: "I can say with a very strong sense of certainty that there are people very close to this president that not only knew what the IRS were doing but authorized it."
Martin continued: "It simply just does not happen at an agency level like that without political advisers likely in the West Wing certainly connected to the president’s ongoing campaign organization that didn’t know about it." Again, many experienced reporters in Washington had to know this. Any remaining doubts that what Hardin said is true disappeared today when Congressman Darrell Issa, as reported by Kerry Picket at Breitbart News, released hearing testimony previous obtained (bolds are mine):
Is the IRS scandal just not that big a deal in New York City? Perhaps for out-of-touch journos like liberal Times columnist Nicholas Kristof and The New Yorker editor David Remnick, who downplayed the controversy on Sunday's Fareed Zakaria GPS.
Kristof predictably spun the scandals into a "so what?" narrative for the White House: "I think it's true that the White House has often been tone-deaf, but every second term has scandals." Meanwhile, Remnick called the IRS scandal the doing of "very low level" employees without acknowledging that higher-ups in Washington could have orchestrated it.
When Covered California, the Golden States' health insurance exchange being set up under ObamaCare, initially announced its rates beginning in 2014, it claimed that rates will go down. Kevin Drum at Mother Jones ("if these early results hold up, Obamacare's structure seems to be doing a pretty good job at its core mission of controlling prices.") and Rick Ungar at Forbes ("the reality is that the early report card on Obamacare—at least in those states willing to give the law a chance to succeed—is looking pretty darn good") got suckered in.
It isn't so, as Avik Roy explained yesterday at Forbes (bolds are mine):
This looks like a perfect exhibit of intimidation combined with insufferable arrogance.
Joel Gehrke at the Washington Examiner reports that Democratic Party spokesperson Brad Woodhouse, apparently temporarily assuming the role of White House Press Secretary, is really upset that the New York Times refused to meet yesterday for an off-the-record discussion about Attorney General Eric Holder about recent revelations and admissions that the Justice Departmet has been conducting secret sureillance of reporters for several years (bold is mine):
The pity party for furloughed federal employees should be toned down. A story at CNNMoney.com notes something I don't expect will be only rarely be reported anywhere else, namely that there has been a concerted and likely largely successful effort on the part of federal employee unions to ensure that as many of their members as possible will be eligible to collect unemployment benefits during their time off. I would expect that those who don't have union representation are also attempting to imitate what the unions are doing whenever and wherever possible.
It's pretty safe to say that extra spending on unemployment benefits wasn't treated as a partial offset to estimated savings resulting from sequestration. CNN Money's coverage of one instance of this kind of maneuvering makes it clear that the total dollar amounts aren't small in a federal workforce of 4.4 million. Excerpts follow the jump (bolds are mine):
Earlier this afternoon, Matt Sheffield at NewsBusters noted that "The owner of Newsweek, the troubled liberal weekly news magazine, has confirmed reports that it is trying to unload the money-losing operation even despite the fact that it jettisoned its print edition last year."
A Tuesday morning puff piece on poor, besieged, downtrodden, regretful Obama administration Attorney General Eric Holder posted by Daniel Klaidman at the Daily Beast, Newsweek's online umbrella, perfectly illustrates why the operation continues to shed readers and contributed mightily to a reported $8.8 million loss last quarter. Get out the waist-high-boots for this one:
In "Go Ahead, Invade Their Phone Records: AP Reports Obama Has 'Alleged Scandals' and 'Alleged Misbehavior,'" Tim Graham at NewsBusters noted how Tom Raum at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, claimed that "Alleged misbehavior by the Internal Revenue Service and other federal agencies gives the GOP something else to talk about and investigate as the economy clearly, if slowly, recovers on President Barack Obama's watch, robbing Republicans of a central argument against Democrats."
That this is an exercise in sheer fantasy on Raum's part can be quickly demonstrated in two graphics.
Imagine if Newtown, Connecticut massacre perpetrator Adam Lanza had lived and gone on to get convicted of the 26 murders he committed. Further, imagine, post-conviction, that his attorney claimed that "things went a little awry" that day. There would be no containing the outrage, or the establishment press coverage.
Kermit Gosnell attorney Jack McMahon was interviewed on Wednesday by Fox News's Megyn Kelly. While a great deal of commendable outrage has been directed at McMahon for his statements and conduct, not enough emphasis has been placed on a comment he made which is analogous to the hypothetical posed in my first paragraph, as it was what triggered Kelly's outrage and her subsequent epic response (YouTube; excerpt begins at 1:33 mark; HT Twitchy.com):
In case you didn't get the gist of President Obama's Thursday speech at National Defense University, the AP's Robert Burns boiled it down on Saturday, perhaps supportively: "OBAMA REFOCUSES TERROR THREAT TO PRE-9/11 LEVEL."
That leaves one annoying detail Burns and Obama ignore: The "pre-9/11 threat level" wasn't that much different from the threat level during the first few years after 9/11. But our response in going to a war footing and more conscientious coordination at home was. As a result, there were no more successful terrorist attacks until the Ft. Hood massacre (mislabeled "workplace violence by our hapless government) in November 2009. The World Trade Centers were bombed in 1993. After that, there were at least the following: Khobar Towers in 1996, the American embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998, the USS Cole in 2000, and other incidents in the U.S. which may have been inspired by Islamist terrorists despite official conclusions to the contrary. The "pre-9/11 threat level" was actually higher, especially if one remembers, well, 9/11. But that's certainly not the message Obama, with Burns's help, is trying to convey. Instead, it's that the President "has all but declared" that global war on terror is over (bolds are mine):
Code Pink's Media Benjamin managed to break into another presidential event on Thursday, namely Barack Obama's speech at the National Defense University. The topic was "U.S. Counterterrorism Strategy," meaning that the administration's aversion to the T-word seems to be diminishing as the damaging scandal-related news continues to pour in.
Readers will see that Benjamin was relatively civil towards Obama. In fact, Kathleen Hennessey and Christi Parsons at the Los Angeles Times wrote the following: "Rather than dismiss Benjamin as a heckler, the president engaged her, asking her to let him explain but also pausing to listen as she continued to talk while security closed in around her." That behavior is in direct contrast to how she behaved last decade during the Bush administration -- something never mentioned in any coverage of Thursday's speech I found. The full exchange with Obama followed by a recounting of what made Benjamin an overnight sensation in Sepetmber 2002, follow the jump.
In Thursday and Friday posts at the "Politico 44: A Living Diary of the Obama Presidency," Jennifer Epstein relayed the announcement that President Barack Obama has nominated Victoria Nuland as the next assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs.
In other words, the President is defiantly giving the person who was integrally involved in altering the Benghazi talking points until they bore no resemblance to what really happened a promotion. In her first item, Epstein acted as if Republicans are the only ones who might have a problem with this. In her second item, she found two usual-suspect GOP senators who said they'd be okay being walked over. Excerpts follow the jump.
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:
One obvious question which occurred to me and I suspect others when I read Ann Marimow's first account at the Washington Post dated May 19 of the search warrant issued in 2009 for the personal emails of Fox News reporter James Rosen was: "Where has this thing been hiding?"
The "Affadavit for Search Warrant" is dated May 28, 2010. Why did it come out just this week? Marimow didn't say. More stories followed, still without explanation. It's not unreasonable to believe that the Post might have sat on knowledge of its existence, and that someone who works at the U.S. Court may have deliberately worked to keep it invisible for 18 months after it was supposed to have been unsealed in November 2011.
The Big Three networks coverage so far of the Justice Department's questionable investigation of Fox News' James Rosen has followed a similar pattern to that of their coverage of the Kermit Gosnell case. Jan Crawford's report on Thursday's CBS This Morning was the first full report on growing controversy on ABC, CBS, and NBC's morning and evening newscasts. NBC briefly covered the investigation on Tuesday's Today, and ABC has yet to mention it.
Crawford pointed out how the DOJ's "unprecedented" surveillance of Rosen has "really just set off a firestorm of criticism from the left and right. For the first time ever, a presidential administration is treating news reporting like a crime, and a reporter like a criminal suspect." [audio available here; video below the jump]
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):
Well, it looks like I was right earlier this afternoon when I thought that the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, was among those holding off on reporting the Wall Street Journal's Sunday evening disclosure that Kathryn Ruemmler, the head of the Office of the White House Counsel, "learned weeks ago that an audit of the Internal Revenue Service likely would show that agency employees inappropriately targeted conservative groups" was "nervous about the Journal’s report, waiting for administration apparatchiks to tell them what to say, or both."
It turns out that the AP, in an unbylined report, waited until Jay Carney told them what to say and then pretended that the Journal's Sunday story didn't exist (the time stamp seen at story as carried at the AP's national site at the time of this post was 2:51 p.m.; the graphic which follows is of the identical story at Yahoo News):
Yesterday (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), I took apart Espo's claim that there is a "lack of evidence to date of wrongdoing close to the Oval Office" by showing that in at least five situations -- Fast and Furious, Benghazi, IRS targeting, AP phone snooping, and HHS's shaking down of insurance companies to fund ObamaCare promotions -- have all been known by people who directly report to the President, and are thus just one step away from him. On Sunday evening, the Wall Street Journal reported that in the case of the IRS targeting, it's a lot less than one step (bolds are mine):
Jeffrey Lord at the American Spectator has reviewed the White House logs looking for a relationship between meetings listed there and the timeline found in the Inspector General's report on the targeting of Tea Party and conservative groups issued last Tuesday. Lord's work represents yet another example of alternative media scooping a lazy or negligent establishment press.
What Lord has found (single-page print version) is that President Barack Obama met with the President of the National Treasury Employees Union Colleen Kelley, on March 31, 2010. The NTEU is "the 150,000 member union that represents IRS employees along with 30 other separate government agencies." The Inspector General's report, blandly titled "Inappropriate Criteria Were Used to Identify Tax-Exempt Applications for Review," indicates that the IRS, in Lord's words, "set to work in earnest targeting the Tea Party and conservative groups around America" the very next day. Lord's work is a mandatory read-the-whole-thing item. Excerpts follow the jump (bolds are mine throughout this post):
It has only been a week since the Associated Press learned that its reporters' privacy and the confidentiality of their relationships with sources were violated on a massive and unprecedented scale by Eric Holder's Justice Department in April and May of last year. DOJ has admitted that it secretly obtained the call records for 20 personal and business lines used by over 100 AP reporters and editors. Despite its insistence that they were looking for the person who leaked information about a foiled terrorist plot, there is reason to believe the DOJ's fishing expedition was a childish response to the wire service's refusal to let the government crow about the foiled operation before anyone reported on it.
In the wake of all of this, the AP, appears determined to soldier on as the wire service more appropriately described as the Administration's Press. That's about the only way one can view the Saturday afternoon dispatch from the AP's David Espo and its accompanying headline:
Clearly, the New York Times couldn't run with Jonathan Weisman's headline or opening sentence in the report he filed shortly after Friday's portion of Friday's testimony at a hearing of the House Ways and Means Committee in its Saturday print edition. And it didn't.
The original headline at Weisman's story, as seen here (HT Ann Althouse via Instapundit), was "Treasury Knew of I.R.S. Inquiry in 2012, Official Says." His opening sentence: "The Treasury Department’s inspector general told senior Treasury officials in June 2012 he was auditing the Internal Revenue Service’s screening of politically active organizations seeking tax exemptions, disclosing for the first time on Friday that Obama administration officials were aware of the matter during the presidential campaign year." Along came Jeremy Peters, who helped to "properly" frame these matters, turning it into yet another "Republicans attack our poor innocent administration" piece. That is what made it to today's paper -- on Page A12, naturally accompanied by a "better" headline. Meanwhile, except for excerpts captured at places like the indispensable FreeRepublic, Weisman's original has been flushed down the memory hole.