Once again, as it did a month ago in two separate stories, the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, left the name of Lois Lerner, the former IRS official who ran its section on tax-exempt organizations, out of its headline and opening paragraph. This time, for good measure, AP reporter Stephen Ohlemacher didn't reveal Lerner's name until Paragraph 3.
Before getting to Ohlemacher's journalistic malpractice, let's take a look at the how the Politico handled the same story of Congress holding Ms. Lerner in contempt yesterday, and at one example of how the AP itself covered the story of another controversial figure's anticipated congressional appearance in the 1980s.
Robert Costa's disdain for Tea Party-sympathetic conservatives was quite evident tonight in his coverage of Republican House Speaker John Boehner's primary victory at the Washington Post. Costa, a former writer at National Review, even insulted the noble pursuits of justice and the truth regarding Benghazi and the IRS's targeting of conservative and other groups by calling them "red meat for the tea party faithful."
The WaPo reporter characterized Boehner as having "swatted away" his opposition without revealing that the Speaker got only 69 percent of the vote. Yes, I wrote "only." Costa himself noted that "a sitting speaker still has never been defeated in a primary election," but didn't disclose Boehner's percentage of the vote. That's odd to say the least. I don't recall a sitting speaker ever losing 31 percent of the vote in a party primary, and it's possible that it has never happened outside of circumstances involving scandal or crime. I certainly don't recall a sitting speaker opening his wallet to defend his seat in a primary as Boehner did. Excerpts and analysis follow the jump (bolds are mine):
Michael Hirsh is the recently named National Editor at Politico Magazine, an effort which turning is out to be to the left of the crumbling Time Magazine and the for-now defunct Newsweek. One of Hirsh's career lowlights — he probably thinks it's a highlight — is his December 2008 contention that President George W. Bush having a shoe thrown at him in Iraq "was somehow appropriate."
Lest there be any doubt as to the possibility that there will be fair and balanced reporting on Benghazi on Hirsh's watch, I give you excerpts from "The Benghazi-Industrial Complex; Will the pseudo-scandal be enough to stop Hillary from running?" — wherein Hirsh plows new groveling ground (bolds are mine):
On the Wednesday, April 30, Hardball with Chris Matthews, guest and MSNBC political analyst Howard Fineman -- formerly of Newsweek -- mocked Wisconsin Republican Rep. Paul Ryan's intent to visit impoverished areas as a plan to "introduce himself to the bro," and went on to complain that Ryan's budget "whacks away at" programs to help the poor.
On the Wednesday, April 30, The Reid Report, MSNBC host Joy Reid attacked Wisconsin Republican Rep. Paul Ryan's budget plan, claiming that it "guts" programs to help people in poverty, and ended up cracking that he, like Mitt Romney, "wants to fire Big Bird" because the budget would end federal government funding for PBS. [See video below.]
On the Wednesday, April 30, PoliticsNation, Al Sharpton charged that the Republican Party "demonizes the working class" and that GOPers "attack the working poor" as the MSNBC host trashed Republicans for opposing a minimum wage increase. [See video below.]
When several members of Congress set out in the early 1990s to improve fiscal reporting and internal controls in the federal government, one thing they certainly had a right to expect is that the press would report on lapses as embarrassments, and that otherwise nonchalant or reluctant bureaucrats would figure out that it would be in their best interest to tighten their ships. It hasn't happened, largely because the press quickly got bored, enabling the bureaucrats to thumb their noses at those who called them out for weak reporting or control violations.
To name just one glaring example: Concerning the Internal Revenue Service, in August of last year, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration happily reported "the downgrade of the information security material weakness to a significant deficiency during the Fiscal Year 2012 financial statement audit," and that "the IRS removed it from the December 31, 2012, remediation plan" (that's bureaucratese for "finally solved the problem") — 19 years after it was first identified in 1993. In that context, let's look at an outrageous situation at the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
On the Monday, April 28, The Ed Show, MSNBC host Ed Schultz devoted the first segment of nearly 15 minutes of his show to trying to link prominent conservatives like Paul Ryan to the racist views of people like Cliven Bundy and Donald Sterling, whom the MSNBC host failed to label as a Democratic donor.
Schultz charged that Ryan and other GOPers "support policies that attack minorities" and later reiterated that conservatives "fuel racism by their policies that attack minorities." [See video below.]
On the Monday, April 28, PoliticsNation on MSNBC, during a discussion of the arrest of New York Republican Rep. Michael Grimm, the Washington Post's Dana Milbank played up the possibility that this scandal and others involving GOP congressmen could hurt Republican candidates in other parts of the country. Milbank:
Politico's David Nather must have thought he was so clever. Here's how he opened a recent column: "It can happen to anyone, right? You rally behind a guy ... and suddenly he’s spewing racist bile and boy, does it splash on your face." Yes, I left out a few words, and I'll get to that. But before providing them, the quote just rendered would apply to how those at Los Angeles branch of the NAACP must feel about their now-withdrawn but not forgotten plan to confer a lifetime achievement award on Los Angeles Clippers' owner Donald Sterling, who has been caught on tape allegedly telling a woman that she shouldn't "associate with black people" or have blacks accompany her to Clippers games.
Let's revise Nather's blather a bit for another comic circumstance: "It can happen to anyone, right? You rally behind a guy because he comes over to your side on climate change, and suddenly he’s arrested in 'a 20-count federal indictment that includes charges of mail fraud, wire fraud and tax fraud.' Boy, does it splash on your face." Now I'm talking about the fools at Organizing For Action, who celebrated the "breakthrough" of having GOP Congressman Michael Grimm come over to their side mere days before his indictment, which occurred today.
A Friday afternoon email I received from Organizing For Action, aka BarackObama.com, aka the group whose mission in life is to support whatever President Obama wants them to support, took me by surprise.
The email, which is replicated at an OFA post, told readers that "There's one fewer climate change denier in Congress." I figured that the congressman who flipped almost had to be a Republican, and I was right: "Congressman Michael Grimm (NY-11) is standing up for an honest and reality-based discussion on what to do about climate change." I also thought to myself that something else must be going here. Is it ever. I hope OFA didn't spend too much on party favors for what it described as a "breakthrough," because they happen to be cheering the "conversion" of a guy who is about to be indicted:
On the Thursday, April 24, All In with Chris Hayes, during a discussion of racist comments about black Americans by Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, MSNBC political analyst Michael Eric Dyson compared those words to a recent statement by Wisconsin Republican Rep. Paul Ryan about the work ethic in the inner cities. [See video below.]
There’s a slow but steady drumbeat of support building up in the media for an Elizabeth Warren presidential run, and MSNBC is playing a huge part in it. On Wednesday’s All In, host Chris Hayes chatted with Esquire’s Charles Pierce about what makes Sen. Warren (D-Mass.) so great. Hayes began the interview by asking, “[W]hat is it about Elizabeth Warren that people love so much? There is some quality that is bringing something out in people.”
Pierce, who wrote a profile of Warren in Esquire, made a flattering comparison of the senator’s speaking style to that of an iconic liberal president. He exclaimed that “she gets the same effect out of ‘golly’ that Lyndon Johnson used to get out of curse words.” [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
“I’ll take ‘Explicit Media Bias” for $500, Alex.” On the April 23 “Jeopardy,” a reporter for The New York Times actually admitted that it was part of his job to “annoy” Representative Darrell Issa (R-Calif.).
The admission came as a question under the category “Man of the House” about House Representatives. In the video question, New York Times reporter Eric Lichtblau introduces himself and asks:
On the Wednesday, April 23, The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell on MSNBC, guest host Ari Melber ignored concerns expressed for some time by conservatives that ObamaCare regulations would cause Americans to lose private health insurance plans they already had as the MSNBC host suggested that Tea Party Republicans do not care about people being uninsured and claimed that the goal of repealing ObamaCare is to "make sure more people are uninsured."
After MSNBC's Krystal Ball complained about Republican governors who have refused to expand Medicaid, Melber turned to recent claims by Kansas Republican Rep. Tim Huelskamp that fewer people in Kansas are insured now than before ObamaCare. [See video below.]
If there's a prize for most words spent in Obamacare avoidance, NBC News's Martha C. White is definitely in the running.
White managed to burn through almost 40 paragraphs and nearly 1,600 words in a report carried at CNBC on the all-time record number of workers employed by temporary help services. But she somehow managed to completely avoid mentioning Obamacare, which used to be known as the Affordable Care Act until President Obama and his Health and Human Services regulators made 40 changes to the law originally passed by Congress, some of which directly contradict the original law's language. The closest she came was noting that using temps "lets companies avoid the cost of providing benefits like health insurance" — which has always been the case, except that health insurance is and will continue to be a lot more expensive, giving companies even more incentive to avoid adding to their own payrolls. Excerpts follow the jump.
On the Monday, April 21, PoliticsNation on MSNBC, Al Sharpton began his show by assailing Wisconsin Republican Rep. Paul Ryan for his budget plan as the MSNBC host saw a "brutal Republican budget that guts from the poor."
Sharpton also seemed to channel DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz's history of misusing the word "literally" as he charged that the budget "literally takes from the poor to give to the rich."
Earlier today, just an hour before a hearing was to begin at the National Labor Relations Board, the United Auto Workers union dropped an appeal of the election it lost in February as it attempted to become the bargaining representative for workers at Volkswagen's Chattanooga, Tennessee plant.
In a writeup which appears at the Associated Press's "Big Story" but which somehow failed to appear in a 6 p.m. search on "UAW" at the Big Story site (sorted by date), reporter Erik Schelzig pretended that two Democratic Congressmen who last week started an "inquiry" into the circumstances surrounding the union's loss will be conducting a "congressional investigation." No they won't, because they can't, because their party is in the minority. What they can do is conduct a theatrical exercise which looks like a "hearing" which has no power and which a responsible AP reporter wouldn't call a "congressional investigation." Excerpts follow the jump (bolds are mine):
Appearing as a panel member on the Sunday, April 20, Disrupt with Karen Finney, MSNBC political analyst Jonathan Alter -- formerly of Newsweek -- asserted that President Obama's move to delay a final decision on the Keystone Pipeline "strongly increases the likelihood that he will rule against the pipeline after the election."
He recounted a history of Democratic presidents appeasing liberal environmentalists before leaving office when it is politically safer.
On the Sunday, April 20, Melissa Harris-Perry show on MSNBC, as host Harris-Perry chastised Democrats for not bragging about ObamaCare for the year's midterm elections, she at one point mocked Americans angry about having their health insurance plans cancelled, which she referred to as "crappy plans," as she lamented that Democrats are not boasting about ObamaCare or declaring, "Yeah, you can't keep your crappy plans. Just deal with that!" [See video below.]
It either doesn't take much to surprise Josh Lederman and Dana Capiello at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, or they have very short memories.
The AP pair described the Obama State Department's Friday afternoon statement (roughly 3:30 p.m., based on the "9 hours ago" result returned in a Google search on the document's title at 12:30 a.m. ET) that it would "provide more time" for eight federal agencies involved to submit "their views on the proposed Keystone Pipeline Project" as a "a surprise announcement Friday as Washington was winding down for Easter." It's as if something like this has never happened before during the Obama administration. Well, yes it has.
On the Friday, April 18, PoliticsNation, Al Sharpton hyped President Obama's dubious claims about the Affordable Care Act's alleged success as the MSNBC host asserted that the program has "exceeded expectations," and that Republicans are suffering from a "hangover" in denying its success.
Sharpton claimed to see "lies, fearmongering and paranoia" from the GOP, and brought up questionable claims dating back to 2010 that Tea Party members spat on Democratic members of Congress during a protest. Sharpton began:
On the Wednesday, April 16, PoliticsNation on MSNBC, far-left host Al Sharpton berated what he viewed as "extremism" and "intolerant radical views" of Republican candidates for U.S. Senate in Mississippi and North Carolina as he highlighted comments that he considered "offensive," "ugly," and "vile."
Guest Jonathan Capehart of the Washington Post went so far as to hyperbolically suggest that the GOP is "going to cease to exist" unless Republican Party leaders who are "aghast at the far-right extremists" do not react against these candidates.
Monday afternoon at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, Andrew Taylor predictably described the House's passage of the Ryan Budget in shrill terms (in order of appearance): "A slashing budget blueprint"; "Sweeping budget cuts"; balances the budget "at the expense of poor people and seniors"; "sharp cuts to domestic programs"; "staking out a hard line for the future"; and "tough cuts." Naturally, he failed to disclose that the Ryan budget increases the federal government's total outlays in each and every fiscal year from 2015 to 2024, with the final projected year coming in at $4.995 trillion, or 42 percent above the $3.523 trillion in spending the Congressional Budget Office predicted yesterday for fiscal 2014.
In the process of performing the AP's usual hatchet job, Taylor let loose with a howler about the federal government's ability to continue on its current financial path. The AP reporter may also have inadvertently let something slip into his narrative about the viability of a cherished government program, something which is a deep, dark secret to most Americans, but is quite well-known to those who watch things more closely:
MSNBC contributor Jimmy Williams blurred the lines of reality while arguing with Republican strategist Ron Christie on Sunday’s Weekends with Alex Witt. The two men were sparring over the desire among some Republicans to impeach Attorney General Eric Holder. [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
Witt asked how Holder can work with Republicans when some of them are calling for his impeachment, and Christie responded with an example from the George W. Bush presidency:
On the Friday, April 11, The Ed Show, MSNBC's Ed Schultz gave a political hack-style answer to a viewer question about why Republicans allegedly "dislike the poor so much" as he asserted that the poor are "useless" to conservatives because Republicans are "all about power."
Ignoring the millions of poor people who do, in fact, vote for the GOP in each election cycle, helping many Republicans get elected, the MSNBC host proclaimed:
On the Friday, April 11, PoliticsNation on MSNBC, host Al Sharpton led the show by pushing the liberal mantra that Republicans are in a "war on voting" as he highlighted President Obama's speech earlier that day to Sharpton's own left-wing National Action Network organization on the subject of voting rights.
And later in the show, as Sharpton hosted a segment dismissing the various Obama administration scandals, guest and liberal talk radio host Bill Press accused FNC audience members of being "dumb" as he asserted that California Republican Rep. Darrell Issa should be "on the payroll" of FNC head Roger Ailes.
On Friday's World News, ABC's David Kerley pressed I.R.S. Commissioner John Koskinen about taxpayers who are unable to "get an answer as to how much they're supposed to pay," due to long wait times on the agency' help line. However, Kerley didn't bother to ask Koskinen about the House Ways and Means Committee's Wednesday vote to refer former IRS official Lois Lerner to the Justice Department for prosecution, over alleged targeting of Tea Party groups for auditing.
In fact, as of Friday, none of the Big Three evening newscasts have covered the House committee's criminal referral, nor the House Oversight Committee voting on Thursday to hold Lerner in contempt of Congress. Instead, the ABC correspondent zeroed in on taxpayers' complaints about the IRS help line, as well as the commissioner's YouTube video warning about how to deal with the poor service there: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
The National Journal's Ron Fournier appeared on Greta Van Susteren's Fox News show on Tuesday and blasted Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid for "making facts up" and "lying" in his non-stop campaign against the eeeeevil Koch Brothers.
Bless his naive little heart, Fournier even actually said: "Shame on us if we in the media let him get away with this." "If"? What's all of a sudden going to prevent that from happening, Ron? If anything, the already slim chances that the press will cover Reid's fairy tales have decreased, given strong evidence that Washington Post reporters completely invented a story about the Koch Brothers' lease holdings in shale oil-rich Canada — a story which "just so happened" to end up being the basis for a letter to Koch Industries' President demanding answers sent by a Democratic senator and congressman. The video segment, including Van Susteren's explanation as to why Reid can legally get away with being so reckless, follows the jump (HT National Review's The Corner; bolds and paragraph breaks are mine):
I suspect that many readers who do their best to keep up with the news at a detailed level have a hard time understanding how many of their friends, acquaintances and neighbors — even many who they know put some effort into keeping up with current events — can be so unaware of many objectively important news developments.
There are two answers to that question. One is that the establishment press very often doesn't cover important matters at all; all one has to do is recall the empty media chairs at the trial of pre-born and newborn baby butcher Kermit Gosnell. The other is that when they do cover a story, journalists and their news outlets often do all they can to keep key names and facts out of their headlines and opening paragraph. Thanks to the fact that many people now consume news using computers, tablets, and smartphones, this stalling tactic may be even more effective now than it was in the print-only days.