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.
On Thursday's NBC Today, in a desperate attempt to deflect from the scandals engulfing the Obama administration, co-host Savannah Guthrie wondered: "I read a headline yesterday that said Republicans see blood in the water. That they see a president who's very vulnerable politically. Is there a danger that they will overreach?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd agreed with the slanted premise: "There is. I mean, that's what happened to Republicans in 1998 with Bill Clinton. And if all of Congress is focusing on hearings to do scandals, the voters will punish them. They've done it in the past."
What will be the political fallout of the various scandals in which President Obama is ensnared? Chris Matthews thinks it will be huge.
Appearing on today's Morning Joe, Matthews mused that the IRS scandal alone would be worth 5-10 points to Republican candidates. He specifically mentioned Mitch McConnell, Tom Corbett and Ken Cuccinelli as Republicans whom the scandal would aid in their 2014 races. View the video after the jump.
In an interview with former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on Tuesday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer tried to dismiss the growing Benghazi scandal: "Do you think that the administration has answered enough questions on it? Do you think it's possible that some Republicans are trying to use this to discredit Hillary Clinton in case she decides to run for president in 2016?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Rumsfeld replied: "No. I think that's a side – that's the sideshow, is the Hillary Clinton piece of it. No, the first problem was if you're going to put people at risk, you have to try to protect them....And the Americans were left in and they weren't provided the kind of security that they needed, obviously, because they're dead."
MSNBC is well-known for excusing the failures of President Obama, usually by blaming Republican “obstructionism” for Obama’s faltering agenda. If that doesn’t work, they will pretend that the Obama administration is free from guilt regarding any criticism it may receive, essentially living in denial.
Take the Monday May 13 edition of Now w/ Alex Wagner when Time magazine assistant managing editor Rana Foroohar ridiculously asserted in light of the IRS/Tea Party scandal that, “What’s so sad about it is the president has been very rightfully proud of the lack of scandal in his administration so far.” [See video after jump. MP3 audio here.]
In a move which appears conveniently timed to coincide with a wave of other arguably more damaging bad news for the administration, the Associated Press has reported that the Department of Justice informed the wire service on Friday that it had secretly obtained two months of reporters' and editors' telephone records.
In the words of AP's Mark Sherman, in coverage late this afternoon, "the government seized the records for more than 20 separate telephone lines assigned to AP and its journalists in April and May of 2012." Sherman also notes that "more than 100 journalists work in the offices where phone records were targeted, on a wide array of stories about government and other matters," and that those records "were presumably obtained from phone companies earlier this year" (i.e., after Obama was safely re-elected). More from Sherman's report, a comment from yours truly, and several comments by others who have read AP's coverage follow the jump (bolds are mine):
Scott Pelley deserves grudging credit for recognizing something obvious at a Friday luncheon in New York. Readers tempted to go beyond that point would be advised to visit the archive of Pelley-related posts at NewsBusters on his brand of so-called journalism, a few of which will be identified later in this post.
At said luncheon, Pelley received the 20th annual Fred Friendly First Amendment Award from the School of Communications at Quinnipiac University. In his acceptance speech (full YouTube; excerpt here; HT Weekly Standard), Pelley spoke of journalistic failures during the past few months. He wants to believe that the past few months have been extraordinarily bad to a supposedly unprecedented extent.
Apparently the folks at MSNBC have decided that the Benghazi investigation is merely a political ploy by the GOP to hinder Hillary Clinton’s presidential ambitions in 2016. Instead of addressing the substantive issues that potentially resulted in a cover-up surrounding the attack, MSNBC anchors and pundits have been going out of there way to protect the Obama administration and smear Republicans.
Doing her duty to defend team Obama on Martin Bashir May 10 program, soon-to-be MSNBC host and former DNC Communications Director Karen Finney laid the blame for the dead in Benghazi on, who else, congressional Republicans:
But I believe that is what the GOP is most terrified of having to talk about. Because they know they screwed up. Their austerity measures may have endangered this man’s life and they don’t want to talk about that. [See video after jump.]
When it comes to NBC and its sister network MSNBC, Chuck Todd is one of the few journalists that actually attempt to be fair. However, there are times when Todd will make a statement that makes you pause and question how much he's co-opted by the network's determination to be Obama boosters.
On his May 10 Daily Rundown program, the veteran White House correspondent claimed that when it comes to Benghazi, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton “is going to benefit it seems a little bit in this one respect if [it appears] that her opponents try too hard."
NPR's Scott Horsley filed an unashamedly slanted report on Thursday's Morning Edition about the former national field director for Obama's reelection campaign trying to boost voter turnout among Hispanics in Texas as a means of helping Democratic candidates. The only talking heads that Horsley featured during the segment were the former Obama campaign official, Jeremy Bird, and a fellow of the left-wing Center for American Progress.
The correspondent mentioned only in passing that "some Texas Republicans are skeptical that Democrats will be competitive in their state anytime soon."
Ever since liberal comedian Stephen Colbert’s sister, Elizabeth Colbert Busch announced her candidacy for to fill the vacant First Congressional District in South Carolina, the media has been on overdrive pushing her candidacy against former Governor Mark Sanford (R-S.C.).
On Tuesday May 7, Sanford recaptured his old House seat, defeating Colbert Busch by a comfortable nine percentage points, and none could be more distraught than her own brother, Comedy Central host Stephen Colbert. [See video after jump. MP3 audio here.]
Current TV’s Bill Press is visibly distraught over the loss of Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch to former Governor Mark Sanford (R-S.C.) in the South Carolina First Congressional District special election. The liberal commentator was clearly a sore loser on May 8, and took to the radio to openly mock Sanford and the voters of South Carolina.
Press’ main attack against Sanford was his continued reference to God for his political comeback. "Mark Sanford suddenly he found religion… You know what, alright, so he won but stop the God talk," a bitter Press, himself a former Catholic seminarian, groused.
Birtherism isn't all that bad to the liberal media when a rising conservative star may be the target. Just ask the Washington Post and the New York Times, two liberal papers that devoted serious attention to the question of whether Cruz might be constitutionally ineligible for the presidency.
Post staffers Ed O’Keefe and Aaron Blake devoted an article to the matter in the May 7 paper's Style section: the question of Cruz’s eligibility for the presidency. He was born in Canada, but had an American mother, thus making him eligible for 2016, but O'Keefe and Blake glommed on to the fact that the hypothetical objection that one must be born on American soil to be "natural born" has never been definitively adjudicated. This isn't isolated to the Washington Post.
Appearing on Wednesday's NBC Today, Huffington Post contributor Abby Huntsman proclaimed that following Mark Sanford's win in Tuesday's special congressional election in South Carolina, disgraced ex-Congressman Anthony Weiner "probably slept well last night knowing that he can potentially come back, too."
Co-host Willie Geist agreed: "Absolutely, absolutely." News reader Natalie Morales chimed in: "I was thinking the same thing this morning."
At the Daily Beast on Sunday, liberal Peter Beinart called on Democrats and liberals to "strongly denounce" former South Carolina Democratic Party Chairman Dick Harpootlian's insult campaign against Palmetto State Governor Nikki Haley, or else "Democratic Party bigotry is likely to get worse."
It's too early to test Beinart's long-term prediction (such bigotry is bad enough already), but the denunciations he desires are nowhere to be found, even as Harpootlian has doubled and tripled down on his original wish to see Haley sent “back to wherever the hell she came from.” Meanwhile, the establishment press has virtually ignored Harpootlian's unhinged harangues.
In the race to the bottom event known as South Carolina's First Congressional District special election, Mark Sanford has defeated Elizabeth Colbert Busch.
Not that the establishment press didn't try to help Ms. Busch, to whose background they gave little or no scrutiny. And when two forms of scrutiny did arrive from independent quarters, first of her actual beliefs expressed in tweets before she or someone associated with her deleted them, and then this weekend of her past jailing on contempt charges during a messy divorce, they chose to ignore it.
Wrapping up a report on Monday's NBC Nightly News about a fresh round of congressional hearings on the Benghazi terrorist attack, correspondent Andrea Mitchell dismissed the development as political posturing by the House GOP: "There is an obvious political undercurrent. Republicans are taking direct aim at Hillary Clinton, the country's most popular Democrat and a possible presidential contender." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Mitchell began the report by noting new testimony from Gregory Hicks, the State Department's deputy mission chief in Tripoli, Libya at the time of the Benghazi attack, "who said he called for military help from four more special forces operatives in Tripoli, but was overruled." Mitchell emphasized that Hicks was "a diplomat, not a military officer," just before quoting his statement on the lack of U.S. military air support during the attack.
This past April, celebrity Obama donors Beyonce Knowles and husband Jay-Z took a controversial trip to the communist country of Cuba. Knowles appeared on Monday's Good Morning America and Nightline, but ABC continued to offer no skepticism about the details of the visit. Instead, reporter Amy Robach discovered her inner-entertainment journalist, wondering, "What did you make of the controversy?"
That was the extent of Robach's questions on the topic. No mention of the fact that Knowles and her husband raised over $4 million for Obama in 2012, prior to being given special permission to make the trip. (American tourists are barred from traveling there.) Robach simply summarized, "But the busy star took a break last month, traveling to Cuba with her husband Jay-Z for their fifth wedding anniversary, igniting a firestorm from lawmakers." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
We here at NewsBusters are often extremely critical of MSNBC’s Morning Joe as it often sets the agenda for the daily bias on the cable network. There are a few times, such as the Gosnell infanticide trial, when Morning Joe will actually prompt the rest of the liberal network to begin covering a story that it had previously ignored. Unfortunately that's not the case with Dick Harpootlian's racist attack on Gov. Nikki Haley (R-S.C.) at a fundraising dinner with Vice President Joe Biden in attendance.
You may recall that we noted that on May 6, Morning Joe ran a brief segment on the outgoing chairman of the South Carolina Democratic Party, Dick Harpootlian grousing that the Palmetto State's governor, who, like fellow conservative Southern governor Bobby Jindal is of Indian ethnic heritage, should be sent, “back wherever the hell she came from and this country can move forward.”
On Election Day in South Carolina, as Republican Mark Sanford seeks to regain his old congressional seat, Mika Brzezinski did her best to stop Joe Scarborough from mentioning an ugly slur that the Chairman of the state's Democratic party had made against Republican Governor Nikki Haley.
Former South Carolina Democratic Chairman Dick Harpootlian was caught in controversy this week as he pledged to send Haley—daughter of Indian immigrants—"back to wherever the hell she came from.” According to the Morning Joe panel, Harpootlian has apologized for that remark. But Harpootlian has never apologized for his 2012 remark, comparing Haley with Adolf Hitler's mistress Eva Braun. When Scarborough began to cite that slur, Mika sought to silence him. Brzezinski actually resorted to the schoolkid technique of repeating "bah, bah, bah, bah" in order to drown Scarborough out, adding "we don't need to repeat it." View the video after the jump.
It’s not often that people on MSNBC have anything bad to say about a Democrat, especially a member of the Obama administration.
That’s why it was odd to see Hardball’s Chris Matthews Monday wonder if Vice President Joe Biden predicting Elizabeth Colbert Busch will win Tuesday’s special Congressional election in South Carolina is a jinx.
During an interview with Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt for the Meet the Press web-based feature Press Pass on Sunday, NBC's David Gregory eagerly asked Schmidt about working for President Obama's 2012 campaign: "...what did you discover, what did you learn, what did you actually help to bring to the campaign that changes politics, that changes a politician's ability to say, 'Who is it that I need to reach and how do I reach them?'" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
That teed up Schmidt to brag about his role in the campaign's get-out-the-vote operation: "...the Obama campaign used sort of, essentially data modeling of one kind or another, to try to target voters that might be willing to vote for the President, and they did so extremely well....Since there are more Democratic voters in many places than Republicans, if you get the Democratic voters to come out, you tend to win. This sort of is a new fact."
It's not often that yours truly visits Huffington Post. One of those rare occasions occurred early today as I was preparing the post (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog) about South Carolina Democratic Party Chairman Dick Harpootlian relishing the idea that his party's candidate for Palmetto State Governor in 2014 might send current Republican Governor Nikki Haley "back to wherever the hell she came from."
In writing about Harpootlian's response to the controversy over his insensitive and arguably racist and nativist remark, HuffPo's Alana Horowitz, who serves as its Front Page Editor, wrote that Haley "is no stranger to scrutiny over her ethnic and religious background." To what sort of "scrutiny" did Horowitz refer involving Haley's "ethnic and religious background"? See after the jump:
The latest insensitive and arguably racist public utterance coming from the supposed party of tolerance and compassion comes from a Democrat in South Carolina. But not just any Democrat. This one is Dick Harpootlian, the Chairman of the South Carolina Democratic Party. Harpootlian has a history of making outrageously offensive public remarks about South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, yet he remained as party chairman until (according to Politico) his term ended on Saturday.
Mediaite, Politico, and almost no one else in the establishment press has reported that Harpootlian, speaking at a Jefferson-Jackson dinner Friday night just before Vice President Joe Biden appeared, said while introducing South Carolina gubernatorial candidate Vincent Sheheen (as carried at Mediaite; HT Instapundit): "In about 18 months from now,” he said, “hopefully he’ll have sent Nikki Haley back to wherever the hell she came from."
The Washington Post tiptoed gently on Friday around Joe Biden’s hopes of being elected president in 2016. “For Biden, dreams vs. realities” is the story’s headline, but at the very top of Page One, it says “At the top of his political game, the vice president shines as Obama’s personable No. 2. But events may conspire against a 2016 promotion.”
Post reporter Philip Rucker rather comically took 30 paragraphs to establish one series of “events” that threaten Biden are gaffes. The front page says Biden is a “long shot at best,” but insists he’s seen as “genuine, down-to-earth, rock solid on the issues" and “clearly has the experience and gravitas to ascend to the presidency.”
In the liberal fantasyland that is the Associated Press, it's only Republican governors with an eye on 2016 that are fraught with potential problems that could end their campaigns before they begin. In their May 2 AP story, reporters Bob Lewis and Charles Babington sought to convince readers that the Republicans governors of Virginia, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Florida are all train wrecks.
Lewis and Babington focused in particular on Virginia's Bob McDonnell and Louisiana's Bobby Jindal, who are unpopular in no small part because of moves they made on tax policy. McDonnell signed off on massive tax increases for transportation, while Jindal’s failed attempt to reform his state tax code -- making the state income tax free but boosting some sales taxes to make up for lost revenue -- has eroded his once-stellar popularity. Of course, plenty of Democratic governors thinking about 2016 also hiked taxes, but they were curiously left out of the mix.
Hard-left Daily Beast writer Michael Tomasky has a nasty habit of smearing conservatives every chance he gets, and it seems he has found his newest target, Gov. Bob McDonnell (R-Va.). Writing in a May 1 piece for the online publication Tomasky used the FBI investigation over gifts McDonnell received for his daughter’s wedding to slam the Virginia governor's Christian faith.
Tomasky started off his rant by throwing harsh language at the governor, calling his actions, “sleazy and cowardly.” At issue is the controversial relationship McDonnell has with businessman Jonnie Williams and whether or not the governor accepted money for political benefits aimed at Williams’ company, Star Scientific Inc.
How do you know when a Democratic politician's or candidate's quote will either hurt that person or hurt President Obama (in this case, it's the latter)? When the Politico reports it, and the Associated Press avoids it.
Elizabeth Colbert Busch, who is running against former South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford for the congressional seat opened up when Tim Scott was appointed to replace Jim DeMint, apparently felt the need to appeal to those who oppose ObamaCare during a debate on Monday evening. Here's what she said, according to Politico's David Nather and Darren Samuelsohn:
You've got hand it to some (probably most) of the reporters at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press. Their story is that the economy is all right, and by gosh, they're sticking to it.
Tom Raum's dispatch yesterday is a case in point. Along the way, he pulled out several of the tired spin-driven claims which have long since been taken down but which haven't yet penetrated the skulls of low-information voters. Raum and AP seem puzzled that the supposedly okey-dokey economy doesn't seem to be helping President Obama or Democrats' 2014 congressional and senatorial election prospects (bolds and numbered tags are mine):
The left's media-echo chamber just got louder. On Thursday morning in a claimed exclusive, the Politico reported that "(Former presidential adviser and campaign official David) Plouffe will appear regularly on Bloomberg Television to offer analysis and commentary on political and business issues as they impact the intersection of Wall Street, Main Street and K Street and will lend his expertise to the discussion of technology, demographic changes and crisis management."
That day at his new place of work, in response to a "kerfuffle" over errors in an academic paper which showed that, throughout history, government debt levels have held back economic growth -- errors which the authors insisted in a New York Times op-ed did not alter the fundamental validity of their conclusions, Plouffe delivered exactly what one would expect of a "former" lead Obama apparatchik: