During the Obama administration, the Associated Press has annually gone through the motions of noting its lack of transparency in responding to Freedom of Information Act requests. In March, its coverage of 2013 FOIA results led with the following sentence: "The Obama administration more often than ever censored government files or outright denied access to them last year under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act, according to a new analysis of federal data." Then everyone went back to work defending the administration against the information seekers.
Part of that defense includes mischaracterizing the legal hurdles those who file FOIA requests must overcome to get the administration to do what it is legally required to do right off the bat. Three sentences from recent coverage of Judicial Watch's attempts to pry information out of the State Department will make my point.
If there was ever drop-dead obvious proof that it's more than fair to call the Associated Press the Administration's Press, it's in the opening phrase of the first sentence of the wire service's Monday morning report on the House's select committee on Benghazi: "Republicans hoping to ride their Benghazi investigation to a November election sweep ..." As far as reporters Donna Cassata and Bradley Klapper are concerned, there can't possibly be any other motivation for holding the hearings.
Cassata and Klapper's agenda-driven drivel makes several trips into the land of "Republicans say," when the correct words should be: "The facts are." More crucially, Klapper completely ignored two reports he filed on October 10, 2012 which showed that the State Department "never believed" that the murder of Christopher Stevens and three other Americans in the Benghazi attack was inspired by an anti-Muslim video (bolds numbered tags are mine throughout this post):
Documents obtained by the Washington Times revealed that the Bush Administration warned the Obama Administration about problems within the Veterans Administration as early as 2008, yet both the ABC and NBC evening news broadcasts ignored the story on Monday, May 19.
Of the big three networks, only the CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley covered the new revelations in the VA scandal. CBS News host Scott Pelley noted that “The Bush White House was so concerned about this back in 2008 that it warned the incoming Obama Administration.” [See video below.]
At the end of a live radio interview earlier today on WMAL's Mornings on the Mall, Benghazi whistleblower attorney Joe diGenova was asked by co-host Brian Wilson to "help poor Chuck Todd out and maybe give him one question that you think has not been answered?"[listen to the full interview by clicking play on the embed below the page break; the relevant portion begins at 7:15 in]
DiGenova, obliged, rattling off a handful of questions [see transcript below page break] while noting occasions where administration officials lied, including in the Obama/Clinton State Department's Accountability Review Board (ARB), which, you may recall, failed to interrogate Mrs. Clinton. What's more, the former federal prosecutor promised the WMAL audience:
Returning from a trip to Iran for an upcoming 60 Minutes story on the authoritarian regime, correspondent Steve Kroft appeared on Friday's CBS This Morning to preview the piece and made an observation about the nation's nuclear weapons program: "...they're convinced that they're not building a bomb. They don't believe – we didn't talk to anybody who believes they're building a bomb. That the supreme leader has dictated that it's against their religion, you know, and that a fatwa was issued. It's on his website." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
At the top of the exchange, Kroft praised Iranian President Rouhani and his government as "pragmatists" who wanted to "stop all the bad talk" and try to "get a few things accomplished."
The Daily Beast’s Eleanor Clift is at it again, this time tripling-down on her ridiculous assertion that Ambassador Chris Stevens “was not murdered” in the Benghazi terrorist attack.
Clift penned a May 15 article inThe Daily Beast entitled “My Benghazi Scandal” where she proclaimed “I may be under fire from conservatives for saying Ambassador Stevens wasn’t murdered in Benghazi, but I’m not backing down. Here’s why I said what I did.” [Update included below.]
"A number of once popular network TV shows such as Suburgatory and Community were canceled last week. However, MSNBC, CNN, ABC, NBC, and CBS have all renewed the series Ignoring Benghazi for another season!"
Watch Jodi Miller zing the liberal media and liberal politicians in the latest edition of NewsBusted, embedded below the page break. Sign up for NewsBusted in your email here. Subscribe to the NewsBusted channel on YouTube by visiting here.
Appearing on The Steve Malzberg Show on Newsmax, Eleanor Clift, writer for The Daily Beast, repeated her assertion that Ambassador Chris Stevens “was not murdered” in the Benghazi terrorist attack.
Clift made her initial comments on the PBS program The McLaughlin Group on May 11 and despite being pressed by Malzberg on Tuesday, May 13, she insisted that Ambassador Stevens was not murdered: “Dying of smoke inhalation in the safe room of a CIA outpost has a slightly different feeling.” [See video below.]
On her Tuesday 12 p.m. MSNBC show, host and NBC chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell was more concerned with protecting Hillary Clinton than holding the potential 2016 Democratic candidate accountable for refusing to label Nigerian kidnappers Boko Haram as terrorists: "...the alleged delay in designating Boko Haram as a terror group. This is being used to try to go after Hillary Clinton's record as secretary of state." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
NBC national security analyst Michael Leiter tried to downplay the failure: "Designating the actual organization is really not the key part to countering the threat and attacking them at the source....do I think the delay had a serious consequence in this event or the path of Boko Haram? I really don't."
Amid the U.S. major media focus on hundreds of Nigerian school girls being kidnapped by the radical Islamic group Boko Haram, The Daily Beast's Josh Rogan first reported a week ago that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton refused to designate the group as a terrorist organization during her tenure, despite being urged to do so by both the FBI and CIA.
Since that news broke on May 7, NBC, ABC, and CBS have aired a total of 51 stories on the kidnappings but only briefly mentioned Clinton's failure in 3 of those stories – once on each network – totaling barely two minutes.
The Obama administration continues to suppress documents that could finally explain why U.S. officials lied to the world that the September 2012 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, occurred as a protest over an American-made anti-Muslim video. And the families and friends of the four brave Americans murdered there continue to suffer without answers, reasons or justice. Is there not a shred of heart left in Washington?
USA Today explained this past week how the watchdog group Judicial Watch blew the whistle on the White House's withholding of documents and obtained a letter from the U.S. Department of Justice under the Freedom of Information Act. In it, the Justice Department tries to justify its withholding of further Benghazi documents.
There was a real dust-up on today's Morning Joe over Benghazi and the House select committee empanelled to investigate it. In the move-on-nothing-to-see corner were Chuck Todd and Donny Deutsch. Opposing them was Nicolle Wallace, who made an impassioned case that the Obama admin's cover-up of the talking points that the White House furnished to Susan Rice, falsely blaming the attack on an internet video, merits anger and investigation.
As MRC's Jeffrey Meyer has noted, Todd has been on a tear trying to downplay Benghazi and disparage the select committee. But in his determination to defend all things Obama, Todd today ran badly afoul of the facts. He claimed that the false talking points weren't worth caring about since the Obama admin stopped citing the internet video within "two days." Could Todd truly have forgotten that two weeks later, in a formal address at the United Nations, President Obama was still talking about that infernal video? View the video after the jump.
Among other things, Cain talked about his political leanings -- socially liberal but conservative on foreign, military, and economic policies -- as well as his disagreements with the Obama administration. "A president's job is supposed to be to enforce our laws, which, it seems to have gone by the wayside at this point in time," Cain observed. After Bevan asked what Cain's biggest "gripe" was with the Obama administration, the actor replied [emphasis mine; watch video below page break]:
CBS News has come under fire for a supposed conflict of interest between its president David Rhodes and his Brother Ben Rhodes, President Obama’s Deputy National Security Advisor and CNN’s Reliable Sources did its best to dismiss the issue.
Appearing on Sunday, May 11, CNN host Brian Stelter argued that “CBS has at times been so aggressive covering Benghazi that I've had sources describe it to me as overcompensating. In other words, the network perceived to have gone out of its way to pursue the story to inoculate itself against charges of a brotherly conflict of interest.” [See video below.]
Chuck Todd, NBC News Chief White House Correspondent, political director, and host of The Daily Rundown on MSNBC is at it again minimizing the investigation into the terrorist attack in Benghazi.
Appearing on The Daily Rundown on Monday, May 12, Todd proclaimed thatthe recent scandal engulfing the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) “has legs and is very dangerous for the White House, much more so frankly than the partisanized Benghazi.” [See video below.]
Chris Matthews mocked Republicans on Friday's Hardball over their hawkish stance towards Boko Haram, the Nigerian Islamist group that recently kidnapped hundreds of girls. Matthews made a thinly-veiled racial attack on the GOP during a panel discussion on the terrorist organization: "By the way, when did the Republican Party take this keen interest in Africa? I may have missed that one."
Guest Michelle Bernard, who is of Jamaican decent, quickly followed the MSNBC host with a more overt racially-based jab at Republicans: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
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.
Chuck Todd, NBC's political director, Chief White House Correspondent and host of MSNBC's The Daily Rundown appeared on MSNBC's Morning Joe on Wednesday, May 7 to pour cold water on the new Benghazi select committee.
Todd appeared on Morning Joe during two separate segments Wednesday morning to suggest that the Benghazi special committee “ has a whiff of politics to it. To some people more than a whiff.” [See video below.]
The Daily Beast on Tuesday drew attention to an important story that has been under-reported by the major broadcast networks. According to an article written by Eli Lake, Libya has become a hub for al Qaeda-affiliated terrorists since the September 2012 Benghazi attacks. This information came from various “current and former U.S. counterterrorism officials.”
Lake summarized the situation in his second and third paragraphs:
Appearing as a guest on The Steve Malzberg Show, Democratic strategist and Newsmax contributor Hank Sheinkopf critized the GOP investigation of Benghazi claiming it will actually help Hillary Clinton if she decides to run for president in 2016.
Sheinkopf argued that the GOP will “commit electoral suicide” by “pillaring her [Hillary Clinton] now” on Benghazi before asserting “setting her up to morally castigate her will only create a heroine and by that they will elect her president.” [See video below.]
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):
¡Ay caramba! Imagine the cries of offensive ethnic stereotyping or worse if Fox News had observed Cinco de Mayo by having one of its yanqui persons of pallor stagger across the set in a sombrero while chugging from a bottle of tequila?
But it happened on MSNBC, so the PC police probably won't make a peep. At today's transition from Way Too Early to Morning Joe, there pranced producer Louis Burgdorf with his Halloween-store sombrero and pint bottle. WTE host Thomas Roberts encouraged Burgdorf "to drink the whole thing and eat the worm," meaning either it was mezcal not tequila or Roberts just doesn't know his south-of-the-border booze. View the video after the jump.
Appearing on Fox News Sunday, Fox’s Brit Hume had some strong words for former Congresswoman Jane Harman (D-CA) over her dismissal of the seriousness of the latest revelations in the Benghazi scandal.
After Harman said that it was time to “move on" from Benghazi Hume swiped back “ I'm talking about the talking points used on that program that day which were monumentally misleading and were, and have since been shown to be false and based on no intelligence of any consequence that we know of.” [See video below.]
On Friday, CBS Evening News caught up with its Big Three competitors and reported on the latest developments on the controversy surrounding the September 2012 terrorist attack on the U.S. facility in Benghazi, Libya. CBS also finally mentioned its own president's family connection to a White House official involved in the Obama administration's handling of the immediate aftermath of the attack.
Nancy Cordes gave a full report on how the "the White House released previously unseen e-mails" about the federal government's response to the terrorist strike, which led to House Speaker John Boehner forming a new select committee to investigate the attack. Scott Pelley also disclosed that "Ben Rhodes, the White House deputy national security advisor mentioned in Nancy's story, is the brother of CBS News President David Rhodes." [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
ABC, CBS, and NBC's morning and evening newscasts have yet to set aside any air time to a mass abduction of over 200 schoolgirls from a school in northern Nigeria on April 16, 2014. Islamist terrorist group Boko Haram raided the government-run institution and forced the students into vehicles. On Thursday, the girls' parents and their supporters led a demonstration to pressure the government into action.
The last time the Big Three networks covered the ongoing insurgency in Nigeria was on the April 14, 2014 edition of NBC Nightly News. Anchor Brian Williams gave a 26-second news brief about Boko Haram's bombing in the capital of Abuja, which took place mere hours before the jihadist group kidnapped the students. Nine days later, CNN's Wolf Blitzer devoted a full segment on his Wolf program to the school incident with correspondent Vladimir Duthiers: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
CNN and MSNBC failed to provide any live coverage of a Thursday morning House Oversight Committee hearing on the terrorist attack on Benghazi. Fox News provided 74 minutes and 25 seconds worth of live coverage of the hearing and had multiple interview and analysis segments talking about the revelations in the hearing. MSNBC provided a small amount of coverage but did not air the hearing live whereas CNN viewers were not made aware of the hearing until 1:15 p.m. Eastern.
During the hearing, Brig. Gen. Robert Lowell, who ran intelligence at the U.S. African command the night of the attack, argued that they knew immediately the attack was not in response to an anti-Islamic video. [See video of Fox News’ coverage of the hearing below.]
Former CBS reporter Sharyl Attkisson spoke to WMAL’s Brian Wilson and Larry O’Connor on their Mornings on the Mall radio show on Thursday, May 1 and had some strong words surrounding the latest revelations surrounding the Benghazi terrorist attack. Earlier this week, emails obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request showed that the Obama Administration had instructed Susan Rice to use talking points that an anti-Muslim video sparked the terrorist attack and that it was not a reflection of President Obama’s foreign policy.
Attkisson argued that “In the end, this is all the Obama Administration. I mean to me, it matters to some degree I guess who exactly did what. But the point is we now know the Obama Administration officials in whatever agencies at the White House were responsible for creating this narrative that was incorrect for whatever reason.” [Click here to listen to the entire interview.]