What's a little Justice Department spying between friends? Or, more accurately, between a master and his lapdogs?
In May, Obama administration Attorney General Eric Holder admitted to obtaining phone records involving 20 business, residential, and personal lines used by over 100 reporters and editors at the Associated Press during April and May 2012. After some lawyerly whining for appearances' sake, the wire service more appropriately known as the Administration's Press is back to its old tricks, and then some. On Wednesday, as will be seen after the jump, reporter Russ Bynum disgracefully covered up a geographic gaffe by President Obama during his Tuesday appearance on Jay Leno's show.
If there was a daily prize for "Propaganda Tool of the Day," Politico would have won it both yesterday and today.
Yesterday, as Noel Sheppard at NewsBusters noted, the web site changed the title of an embarrassing report by Kyle Cheney on low attendance at an Organizing For America event from "Poor attendance at Obamacare event in Virginia" (number of volunteers who showed up: one) to "Obamacare message war goes local." Today, the web site's Reid J. Epstein, in a report on OFA's totally unsurprising initiation of efforts to assist Democratic candidates in specific contests, informed readers that two people he had interviewed for the story "asked to be removed" — and that he honored their requests. Does Politico still expect its readers and the public to believe it is practicing journalism? Excerpts, including the prize-clinching reason why the two people involved asked to be removed, are after the jump.
Thursday evening, Politico reported that the Office of Personnel Management — after the unusual personal involvement of President Obama himself — had decided to issue new regulations this week to protect members of Congress and their staffs from seeing their health care premiums skyrocket once ObamaCare takes effect.
The new rules will protect a relatively small number of politically well-connected individuals, in spite of language in the 2010 health care law that specifically required that Congressmen, Senators and their aides “must be covered by plans ‘created’ by the law or ‘offered through an exchange,’ as Politico detailed.
In spite of the obvious double-standard just months before the law is poised to affect tens of millions of Americans, ABC and NBC have (so far) completely skipped this news, while CBS gave it a grand total of 18 seconds on Friday morning.
[UPDATED BELOW] CNN's Arwa Damon scored an exclusive interview with a suspect in the Benghazi attacks, yet CNN chose to air it only once. Aside from a brief mention of it on Thursday morning, the network has dropped its own scoop that it broke on 5 p.m. Wednesday on The Situation Room.
None of the three networks mentioned the story on their Wednesday evening news casts, and only CBS talked about Benghazi on Thursday, though they didn't mention Arwa Damon's report.
The establishment press's general refusal to cover clearly newsworthy developments in the Obama administration scandal involving the targeting of conservative, tea party, prolife and other groups by the Internal Revenue Service has been so negligent and blatant that several leading conservatives, including the MRC's Brent Bozell and talk-radio host Rush Limbaugh, called it out in an open letter earlier this week.
Consistent with the rest of their colleagues, the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, appears to have had no substantive story on the scandal since July 18 -- and that one was about primarily Democrats beating the false meme that progressive groups were supposedly targeted similarly. The AP's negligence extends to the tax agency's shocking level of non-cooperation with House Ways & Means Committee investigators, as will be seen after the jump.
Since new developments broke last week in the IRS scandal, CNN barely reported on it before dropping the story entirely. The network also deflected scrutiny away from the White House's possible role in the scandal.
After Thursday's congressional hearing on the IRS targeting Tea Party groups, CNN issued just one report on it on Thursday afternoon. Correspondent Dana Bash reported "no proof" that the White House was involved and whitewashed the controversy that Tea Party groups supposedly received more scrutiny than liberal groups.
The Big Three (ABC, CBS, NBC) networks have essentially censored the latest IRS scandal news. Not a single network reported on the bombshell coming out of Thursday’s congressional hearing that IRS employees were ordered to send Tea Party tax-exemption applications to the office of the IRS’s Chief Counsel, which was headed by William Wilkins, who at that time was the only Obama political appointee at the IRS.
The Big Three networks have also ignored this week’s news that tax records of political candidates (including one-time GOP Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell) and certain donors were improperly accessed by government officials, and that the Justice Department has, so far, refused to prosecute the offenders.
Today, as the wire service AFP reported in a story carried at Yahoo.com, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, in the question and answer exchange after his prepared testimony, told the House Financial Services Committee that "If we were to tighten (monetary) policy, the economy would tank."
That assessment of the economy's fragility qualifies as news, especially given the Obama administration's continued claim that the economy is "continuing to recover at a promising rate." Outlets besides AFP virtually ignored Bernanke's soundbite, which should be considered scary to anyone who realizes that Big Ben can't go on "stimulating" at his current rate forever.
Imagine if -- and you'd have to imagine it, because it never happened -- the George W. Bush administration had sent members of its Justice Department to a city where a black man charged with murder was claiming self-defense in the killing of a non-African-American for the purposes of ginning up protests against the accused. Establishment press coverage and would have been justifiably intense.
On Thursday, Judicial Watch revealed that it had obtained documents showing that "a little-known unit of the Department of Justice (DOJ), the Community Relations Service (CRS), was deployed to Sanford, FL, following the Trayvon Martin shooting to help organize and manage rallies and protests against George Zimmerman." In other words, DOJ did to Zimmerman what I just noted Bush 43 administration never did and would never have considered doing. JW's bombshell is not news at the Associated Press or at the Politico.
The story at the Associated Press this morning on the Texas Senate's passage of legislation which, as summarized at Life News, "would ban abortions after 20 weeks and hold abortion clinics accountable by making them meet basic health and safety standards," claims to originate from Austin, the Lone Star State's capital city.
The coverage by AP reporters Chris Tomlinson and Will Weissert has references to events occurring at the "the Capitol building in Austin," so I have to believe that one, the other, or both were present during the hours leading up to the bill's passage. It is thus hard to believe that the gentlemen only reported on one of the following ugly incidents in a long list compiled by Life News in an email I received this morning. The AP pair also did not note President Barack Obama's tweet in support of the protesters' grisly cause.
What does a liberal cable television host do when a guest confronts her with an ugly truth? Why, she cuts off his microphone, of course!
That's what happened on Thursday, when Nancy Grace -- host of a weeknight program on HLN, which was formerly known as the Headline Network -- clashed with Frank Taaffe, a friend of George Zimmerman who stated that black teenager Trayvon Martin had drugs in his system during their encounter on Feb. 26, 2012, in Sanford, Fla.
The July 9 broadcast of Now with Alex Wagner wouldn’t be complete without a panel discussing Texas State Senator Wendy Davis – and the abortion battle in Texas. Yet, it reached a new level with New York Times op-ed contributor Beth Matusoff Merfish declaring that she was “proud” her mother underwent an abortion since “she had the wisdom and the courage to know that her own potential would be cut short by a pregnancy and to terminate that pregnancy and I think many of our mothers have similar stories and it is really important to talk about that.”
The MSNBC network is known for two things: A lack of dissent and touting the official Obama line. So, it's not surprising that the show's panel included Ben LaBolt, a former press secretary from Obama’s 2012 campaign, and Karen Finney, former DNC Communications Director and board member of NARAL Pro-Choice America.
As of 9:15 p.m. (saved here for future reference), the home page at Politico had no story on developments in Egypt, even though story teases on unrelated matters from Thursday and Friday were still present. A browser search on "Egypt" within the home page came back empty. As millions protest in Egypt, some claiming in banners that "Obama Supports Terrorism, the most important story this evening is "5 messaging challenges for Obamacare."
Any doubt that there is a serious problem with leftists imitating the Thought Police in George Orwell's 1984 and scouring the Internet to silence free expression pretty much disappears once you see what they were able to have temporarily removed from the Facebook page of Fox Radio's Todd Starnes. And while it's a relief that the post has been restored, consider how many others without the Fox host's visibility may be having their posts removed with far less recourse.
Over at Jihad Watch, Robert Spencer has posted what he says is the substance of his entire email exchange with James Brooks of the Associated Press in the wire service's coverage of the UK Home Office's decision to ban Spencer and fellow Stop the Islamization of America leader Pamela Geller, so we can compare what actually transpired to what was published.
Brooks apparently did not contact Geller (or if he did, he didn't report any of it), and gave no indication that he tried. He gave 14 words of his report to his exchange with Spencer in his seventh of 11 paragraphs, and the AP's headline writers chose to call the pair "US anti-Islam activists" (bold is what AP included):
Pamela Geller announced at her Atlas Shrugs blog Wednesday morning that "the British government has banned us (herself and fellow Stop Islamization of America activist Robert Spencer) from entering the country ... In not allowing us into the country solely because of our true and accurate statements about Islam, the British government is behaving like a de facto Islamic state. The nation that gave the world the Magna Carta is dead." She has posted the letter (Page 1; Page 2) from the British Home Office Secretary (UK's equivalent of our Homeland Security) telling her that her presence would not be "conducive to the public good."
A later post at Geller's blog has a collection of press reports which readers should review for the predictable signs of bias. One which isn't there is from the Associated Press, written by James Brooks (bolds are mine):
First, they buried the lede, then they excised it completely.
An initial report yesterday at the New York Times on President Obama's speech on "climate change" at Georgetown University by Mark Landler and John M. Broder -- a report which was still up at least as late as 6 p.m. Tuesday evening, according to this story pull posted at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (go to the bottom of the article at the link), quoted "a member of a presidential science panel that has helped advise the White House on climate change" expressing his desire for a "war on coal" -- in Paragraphs 17 and 18 (HT to Ed Driscoll at PJ Media; bolds are mine):
U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell delivered an excellent speech today on the critical topic of free speech and how the far left has been engaging in a broad effort to censor conservatives. Contrary to what some may think, this censorship campaign has been ongoing for a number of years and includes methods beyond intimidation and harrassment by the Internal Revenue Service of conservative groups.
McConnell's remarks today are a followup to a speech he gave on this same topic last year. Since that time, the left's efforts to silence conservative voices has only increased. The senator also discusses how President Obama and his liberal supporters in the media and in office have created a culture of intimidation where conservatism is assumed to be not only incorrect but also morally repugnant and even criminal.
Who was Morning Joe protecting: the sensitive ears of its viewers, or Hillary Clinton?
During a discussion of the death of the feisty and fearless reporter Michael Hastings, Morning Joe bleeped out Joe Scarborough's reading from an email from Hastings to Philippe Reines, Hillary's personal spokesman during her Secretary of State tenure. Hastings had accused Reines of "b---s---" answers on the State Department's handling of Benghazi. The extended bleeping wasn't simply of the offending word, but of Hastings' entire sentence, so listeners never learned the thrust of his accusation. View the video after the jump.
Despite the fact that Fox News has been shown to be favorable or neutral toward many left-leaning agenda items like immigration or gay marriage, there is still a lot of hatred among many "liberals" that the cable news channel even exists.
Our MRCTV colleague Dan Joseph demonstrated this tendency nicely the other day when he went to the campus of George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia and had no problem getting the students there to sign a petition making it legal for the government to spy on and monitor the communications of all Fox News employees. Video is below:
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.
Another week, another scandal, as we learn of more malfeasance at the State Department when Hillary was at the helm, but while CBS is all over the story today, their rivals at ABC and NBC censored the story. In fact, ABC’s Good Morning America and NBC’s Today decided to skip the story entirely.
The contents of the documents obtained by CBS outline lurid details of prostitution and sexual assault committed by State Department officials. Additionally, an underground drug ring in Iraq supplied State Department security contractors with narcotics:
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.
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):
MSNBC continues to do its best to protect the Obama administration from any accusations of wrongdoing in the Benghazi fiasco. On Sunday’s Weekends with Alex Witt, the host went so far as to ask whether it is even legitimate to call Benghazi a scandal.
Witt was setting up her pre-taped “Office Politics” interview with Joy-Ann Reid, managing editor of The Grio and frequent MSNBC contributor, when she announced that she "asked Joy-Ann about the fallout from the Benghazi attacks and if it's legitimate to call that mess a scandal.” [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
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.
How worried should President Obama be when he loses the likes of Al Hunt?
On today's Morning Joe, discussing the James Rosen outrage, Hunt called President Obama "no better than Richard Nixon" when it comes to the press. He then strongly suggested that Attorney General Eric Holder should go. View the video after the jump.
In a story appearing this morning at the Politico about the Department of Justice's broad and unannounced subpoenas of the April and May 2012 personal and business phone records of reporters and editors at the Associated Press involving 20 phone lines and involving over 100 reporters and editors, James Hohmann found several "veteran prosecutors" who aren't necessarily outraged by what most members of the press and several watchdog groups have declared a blatant overreach. Instead, Hohmann summarizes their "far more measured response" as: "It’s complicated."
Hohmann utterly ignored a May 15 Washington Post story which chronicled claimed discussions between AP and government officials. Ultimately, it appears that the Obama administration's Department of Justice under Eric Holder may have only gone after AP out of spite because the wire service refused to accommodate administration requests to allow it time to crow about foiling a terrorist plot before the story gained meaningful visibility, and not because the release of the story, especially after what appears to have been an appropriate and negotiated delay, represented a genuine security risk. One obvious unanswered question is why DOJ waited, according to the AP's Mark Sherman in his original story, until "earlier this year" to obtain the phone records if it was so darned important to find out who the alleged leaker was.
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.]