Does L.A. Times reporter Michael Hiltzik read the news? Apparently not, since he penned one of the most lapdog press-worthy articles praising the IRS to bubble to the surface in the wake of the news that it targeted conservative Americans. Hiltzik’s column published in the May 25 Business section labeled the targeting as “supposed,” noted that for a small budget – the IRS does a pretty “good job.”
“Showing some love after the ‘witch-hunt,” Hiltzik insinuates that the current fiasco is rather peripheral since the IRS has done such a great job collecting revenue throughout its history. He noted that the changes made back in the Clinton administration, which shifted the agency from enforcement to a greater focus on treating the taxpayers like customers, is the epicenter of the trouble caused two administrations later. Hiltzik also lamented a that the shift away from enforcement led to a “brain drain” within the agency, and that real criminals, tax evaders, were left to operate freely. As for the bipartisan outrage over the scandal, Hiltzik wrote:
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:
At the top of Wednesday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer seized on Congresswoman Michele Bachmann's decision not to seek re-election in 2014: "Breaking news. A bombshell announcement from Michele Bachmann. The Tea Party favorite says she won't seek another term in Congress....But with a swirl of controversy surrounding her, will that future include politics?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
On ABC's Good Morning America, co-host George Stephanopoulos responded to the news by fretting that Bachmann not being in Congress "takes away a big target for Democrats." Correspondent Jon Karl agreed: "Oh, that's right, George. For some Democrats, Michele Bachmann was, really, target number one. She was the most high-profile and controversial leader of the Tea Party in the Congress."
For the first time in 140 years, the GOP in North Carolina controls both chambers of the state legislature and the governor’s mansion, a feat that many find surprising for a state that up until 2008 had not voted for a Democrat for President since Jimmy Carter in 1976. The May 26 edition of The Washington Post chose not to describe this as local politics in the Tar Heel State catching up with its federal voting patterns but rather an example of a “hard turn to the right.”
In a 25-paragraph front page article, author Michael Fletcher lamented the state’s changing political dynamic, highlighting the “dozens of liberal demonstrators” who are “subjecting themselves to arrest each Monday at the state legislature” before going into details of how the North Carolina GOP capitalized on the state’s poor economy during Democratic stewardship to capture the legislature and governorship.
Radio host Hugh Hewitt's interviews with reporters can be fascinating. On Tuesday, he pressed New York Times reporter Michael Shear about the question of what President Obama was doing on the night of September 11, 2012 as the Benghazi consulate came under a vicious terrorist attack. Shear showed an obvious distaste for digging into this, saying "relevance is in the eye of the beholder" and "I'm not personally trying to get to the bottom of that."
Speaking of digging into irrelevant issues, when Shear was at The Washington Post, he spent months in 2006 trying to dig a political ditch for Sen. George Allen for insulting a Democratic opposition researcher as "Macaca." So political bias might be a better guess as to his interests:
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.
UPDATE: The photo has been changed to a University of Hawaii logo.
For outrageous and tasteless photo placement, it's hard to top the one accompanying an article in the Modesto Press about top college football prospect Aaron Zwahlen.
Despite the availability of many photos of the player, at least a few of which are likely public domain, the Press chose to use the following photo accompanying a report that Zwahlen is choosing to do two years of missionary work with his church before he begins his collegiate career at the University of Hawaii (HT to a NewsBusters tipster):
On his own website, liberal Rep. Ed Markey boasts he “continues to be one public broadcasting’s most ardent supporters, fighting to fight to protect one of our most precious landmarks on the entire media landscape.”
So it wasn’t surprising when NPR reporter Tovia Smith filed a sympathetic story on Friday’s Morning Edition whacking away at Markey’s Republican opponent in the special election to replace Sen. John Kerry. She tilted the story toward Democrats who called Gabriel Gomez “immature” and using language that “has no place in public life.” He called Markey "pond scum."
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.
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):
Now that the race for Virginia’s next governor has kicked into high gear, NBC News’ Chief White House Correspondent has decided to be partisan and sharply criticized the Republican ticket.
On his May 20 edition of The Daily Rundown, the MSNBC anchor hammered the GOP’s nominee for Virginia Lieutenant Governor, African-American pastor E.W. Jackson, as extreme and someone who “might make Todd Akin look like a moderate.” "Can the GOP win in 2013 with a ticket of candidates who are best known for being very conservative and very outspoken on social issues?" Todd rhetorically asked before playing several clips of Jackson in a manner worthy of a liberal attack ad. [See video after jump. MP3 audio here.]
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):
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.