Not that it absolves them from blame, but one contributor to the Big Three establishment TV networks' utter failure to report on or keep up with developments in the IRS targeting scandal -- failures which have been noted by Geoffrey Dickens at NewsBusters, as well as by the Media Research Center's Brent Bozell on Sean Hannity's TV show last night -- is the Associated Press.
The AP provides much of the raw material for the networks' stories and largely determines the nets' perception as to which stories are important. It is still quite appropriate to refer to it as the Administration's Press, even after Obama administration Attorney General Eric Holder admitted to scouring phone records involving 20 business and personal lines used by over 100 AP reporters and editors in April and May of last year. Yesterday's failure by the wire service's Pete Yost to even mention that the IRS scandal was on the agenda at a House Judiciary Committee hearing yesterday involving FBI Director Robert Mueller exemplifies how negligent or intimidated (or both) the AP has become.
Virginia's junior U.S. senator, Timothy Kaine (D) became the first member of the world's greatest deliberative body to deliver a speech in Spanish. The former governor did so during debate on immigration reform on the Senate floor on Tuesday.
Covering the development, Washington Post staffer Ed O'Keefe gave readers an 18-paragraph story devoted to the history-making oration in his June 12 page A2 story headlined, "Kaine's Spanish speech on Senate floor is a first." Yet nowhere in the entire article did O'Keefe find any critics to complain that, maybe, just maybe, Kaine's ploy was a cynical effort at pandering to Hispanic Americans. Neither was there any concern about the logistics of debate in a chamber that is accustomed to speech and debate being conducted for the record in English.
The latest State Department scandal, involving a possible cover-up of sexual misconduct by an ambassador and security officials, was only newsworthy enough to merit one full report each on ABC and NBC's morning and evening newscasts before the two networks moved on. NBC led Tuesday's Today with the "damaging documents" concerning the "possibly illegal...behavior", but ignored it the following morning. NBC Nightly News hasn't even touched the story yet.
ABC arrived late to covering the allegations on Tuesday's World News, but Good Morning America has yet to mention the issue as of Wednesday. CBS broke their scoop on the scandal on Monday's CBS This Morning, and covered it as well on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Many in the mainstream believe that the Republican Party is an elitist organization of the affluent while Democrats represent the party of the people. If that ever were true, it certainly hasn’t been for many years. Yet the myth persists.
A recent example is The Chicago Tribune, which last week on its Web site headlined “Wealthy Bruce Rauner announces for Republican governor race.” Yesterday, The Trib went with “Bill Daley to explore run for Illinois governor.”
OpenSecrets.org determined that in 2010 Daley’s “average net worth was an estimated $28.7 million.” It doesn’t appear that throwing a benefit for him will be necessary any time soon. Yet his prosperity isn’t even referenced by The Tribune. Only rich Republicans are newsworthy there.
With attention drawn to government surveillance of citizens, some in the media are recalling that this has long been an issue. Columnist Phil Kadner of the Southtown Star, a publication of the Chicago Sun-Times, did so in a recent column, "Do you want security or freedom?":
When Communists were suspected of conspiring to undermine our country, innocent political activists were targeted in the 1930s, 1950s and 1960s. The FBI wiretapped Martin Luther King Jr. because he was campaigning for civil rights.
That was not the reason for King’s wiretap, which was carried out by the FBI after Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy authorized it on October 10, 1963. Kennedy believed that two of King’s associates had ties to the Communist party.
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.
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):
A week ago (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), I wrote up a post on the Miami Herald's coverage of how the chief of staff of Florida Democratic Congressman Joe Garcia had admittted to attempting to orchestrate "a sophisticated scheme to manipulate last year’s primary elections by submitting hundreds of fraudulent absentee-ballot requests."
I also noted that the story, which broke on Friday, May 31, was "getting very little notice," but that perhaps "the amount and scope of national coverage will increase when the work week starts." Well, the official work week has ended, and there has been almost no coverage anywhere, despite Congressman Garcia's stunning reaction to the news reported in a separate June 1 Herald story (bolds are mine):
"Poll Finds Support Slumping for Health Law," blares the top headline on page A4 of Thursday's edition of the Wall Street Journal. "Americans' unease with President Barack Obama's health-care law has intensified," staff writers Patrick O'Connor and Louise Radnofsky noted, and that "just as the administration is gearing up to persuade people to sign up for some of its major provisions" according to a poll commissioned by the Journal and NBC News.
Among other things the poll found "the number calling [ObamaCare] a bad idea reached a high of 49%... with 43% 'strongly' holding that view" and double the number of poll respondents (38 percent to 19 percent) believing they will prove "worse off" under ObamaCare's implementation rather than "better off." Sure enough, however, NBC News elected to leave out those damning statistics from Thursday's edition of the Today morning show program.
The most interesting thing (to me, at least) about Wednesday's report in the Los Angeles Times by Ricardo Lopez on how the author of an economic report out of UCLA has said that the U.S. economy's performance since the recession officially ended in June 2009 stinks -- "It's not a recovery. It's not even normal growth. It's bad" -- is how the Associated Press relayed it to its readers and subscribers. I don't recall ever seeing a 15-plus paragraph report go unbylined, but this one did.
Maybe whoever wrote the AP item didn't want to incur the wrath of his or her colleague Tom Raum, who early last week wrote that the economy is "clearly, if slowly" recovering. It's also somewhat likely that Christopher Rugaber, who wrote "Gone are the fears that the economy could fall into another recession" in early April, might be a bit miffed. Choice nuggets from Lopez's LAT lament follow 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):
Instead of showing endless loops of IRS employees wasting taxpayer dollars line-dancing -- Breaking news: Government employees waste millions of your dollars every single day! -- I think it would be more useful for the public to hear a few crucial facts about the exploding scandal at the Internal Revenue Service.
At Tuesday's congressional hearings on the IRS, witnesses provided shocking details about the agency's abuse of conservative groups.
Wednesday's CBS This Morning minimized Susan Rice's refuted claims about the terrorist attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi as they covered her appointment as national security adviser. Charlie Rose and John Dickerson dwelt more on outgoing national security adviser Tom Donilon's term, with Dickerson only vaguely mentioning how Rice was "the focus of so much controversy in the Senate."
The only time that a CBS News personality specifically mentioned Benghazi during the segment was when Gayle King wondered if President Obama's decision to choose the current U.N. ambassador to succeed Donilon was a "message to Republicans who came down hard on Susan Rice during the Benghazi hearings."
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):
Politico's Katie Glueck must have been really desperate for something newsworthy as a Saturday column topic.
She apparently believed it was worth devoting over 1,500 words to a writeup whose key point was that "at least one Republican" doesn't like Texas Governor Rick Perry's aggressive attempts to persuade companies in other states to relocate to or expand in the Lone Star State. She cited only one. Even that person person's criticism was very mild, and it came from someone who, because of his position, couldn't say that what Perry is doing is great even if he wanted to without risking his job. Despite the overdose of verbiage, Glueck also never provided any details of Texas's outsized contribution to the nation's overall mediocre post-recession job growth.
This has to be an imaginary story, right? Most Democrats and others on the left continue to insist that voter fraud is not a problem, even in the face of examples like Minnesota U.S. Senator Al Franken, whose 312-vote "victory" margin in 2008 may have entirely consisted (and then some) of illegal votes by felons in just one county.
More recently, it seems that the claim is under revision. A Democratic Party county chair, in a Cincinnati Enquirer story about three out-of-staters who voted or attempted to vote in Ohio, is reported to have "long said there is no evidence of systemic fraud." Well, though they were were prevented from casting illegal ballots, a Florida Democratic congressman's chief of staff and his alleged cohorts definitely attempted large-scale "systemic" fraud last year. The Miami Herald, which played an important investigative role, had the story on Friday. A Google News search on relevant terms indicates that it's getting very little notice (15 items in total, most in Florida). Excerpts from Patricia Mazzei's Herald story follow the jump (bolds are mine):
Kibret Markos's Friday report noted the doctor's Occupy Wall Street sympathies ("Rivera also was quoted in a Bloomberg News report last year voicing his support for Occupy Wall Street protesters"). The AP, whose union was among OWS's most ardent supporters, did not. Instead, it "cleverly" misdirected by telling readers that "Prosecutors haven't said why Rivera had the items or what he planned to do with them." Evidence of those sympathies and of that involvement follow the jump.
Maricopa County, Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio won't be subject to a recall election. It wasn't even close, though two press reports, one at the Associated Press and another at the Los Angeles Times, failed to accurately convey how seriously organizers failed. Both reports also trotted out an "if only" excuse which doesn't pass the stench test, let alone the smell test.
Neither outlet gave an accurate impression of how seriously the recall drive failed. Organizers needed 335,317 valid signatures, but Stephen Lemons at the Phoenix New Times (in a "Feathered Bastard" report, no less) reported earlier in the week that the recall movement's manager "estimates that the recall now needs 90,000 more signatures to have a cushion in addition to the 335,317 necessary to force a recall." In other words, the magic turn-in number, unreported by both the AP and the Times, was really 425,000 and change.
What is it with state Democratic Party chairpersons these days?
South Carolina Chairman Dick Harpootlian, whose term just recently ended, has hurled repeated tasteless insults at Palmetto State Governor Nikki Haley, who is of Indian heritage. His final parting shot: Haley needs to be sent "back to wherever the hell she came from." Louisiana's Democratic Party chairwoman joined in the "fun" earlier this week on the floor of the state's Senate (HT Campaign Spot; bolds are mine):
One particular sentence has recently become a virtual meme at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press.
Its latest appearance is at Christopher Rugaber's report this afternoon on April's seasonally adjusted 0.2 percent drop in consumer spending. Rugaber, who infamously wrote "Gone are the fears that the economy could fall into another recession" in early April, perhaps betraying a bit of nervousness, called today's news "a sign that economic growth may be slowing." Deeper into his dispatch, he rolled out the meme:
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):
Add this to the seemingly endless list of things which would be considered news and denounced far and wide if a Republican or conservative were involved.
In early February, the Politico's Tarini Parti and Kenneth P. Vogel noted the insistence on its "About" page by Organizing For Action, the non-profit 501(c)(4) successor to Organizing for America, President Barack Obama's 2012 reelection campaign, that it "be involved in any way in elections or partisan political activity." That didn't last long. In fact, the quoted language is no longer on OFA's "About" page. Instead, OFA now exists, despite growing evidence that a mountain of information which could have swung the election to Obama's opponent was deliberately kept from the public, "to support President Obama in achieving enactment of the national agenda Americans voted for on Election Day 2012." Accordingly, OFA has no compunction over sending its members emails from Obama himself.
"I've been saying it from the very beginning," NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell reminded Fox News Channel's Sean Hannity. When it comes to Obama administration scandals, the liberal media are eventually forced to cover them, but "they'll do a couple of stories, and then they'll say, we're done and they'll walk away."
That's exactly why the liberal media returned to adoring lapdog form last week and gushed over pro-Obama fluff like newly-released Obama senior prom pictures from 1979, the Media Research Center founder noted. "Nothing you and I can say can better illustrate how much in the tank the press is for Barack Obama," Bozell concluded, having noted how, by contrast, Lois Lerner's taking the Fifth before a congressional hearing on IRS abuse was ignored on the May 23 Good Morning America and Today programs. [watch the full "Media Mash" segment below the page break]
David Koenig's Wednesday coverage at the Associated Press of Exxon Mobil's annual meeting contained a predictable headline and related content telling us that the company wouldn't "explicitly ban discrimination against gays because the company already banned discrimination of any type and didn't need to add language regarding gays." Koenig's report apparently couldn't be considered complete without a contribution of misleading climate statistics and statements from the wire service's Seth Borenstein.
Borenstein's apparent input consisted of the following four paragraphs (bolds and numbered tags are 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):
Not surprisingly, there has been yet another revelation in the unfolding of the James Rosen investigation scandal. On Tuesday, it was discovered that Attorney General Eric Holder went “judge shopping” to find someone who would sign off on a subpoena of Fox News Correspondent James Rosen’s personal records. Apparently, Holder went to three different federal judges before he found one that would agree to sign the subpoena without telling Rosen or Fox News.
However, the only morning show coverage of this important development in this scandal was found on the Fox and Friends; no other network or cable show devoted a sentence to educate the public about this discovery.
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."
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):