NBC has latched onto the Chris Christie bridge scandal like a leech, so it was no surprise to see a report on the controversy within the first ten minutes of Saturday’s Today show. What was surprising, and dismaying, was that NBC followed up its report with reaction from Debbie Wasserman Schultz. It would be hard to find a less impartial analyst on this matter than the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee.
Reporter Kelly O’Donnell first mentioned DWS’s name at the tail end of her piece, announcing, “The chairman of the Democratic National Committee, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, she represents Florida in Congress, she'll be doing some of her own public events to try to counter Christie's message.” [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
Appearing on Monday's NBC Today, MSNBC Morning Joe host Joe Scarborough acknowledged how eager his colleagues at the left-wing network were to take down Republican New Jersey Governor Chris Christie: "I mean, listen, you can attack the network if you want to, there are a lot of people that go after him gleefully, that's not shocking." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Scarborough was responding to criticism from Christie's administration over MSNBC hyping claims from Democratic Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer that the Governor withheld Sandy relief funds for political reasons. Co-host Savannah Guthrie cited a Christie spokesperson "pushing back not just on the facts of the story, but on the network that broke the story....'MSNBC is a partisan network that has been openly hostile to Governor Christie and almost gleeful in their efforts attacking him.'"
Where is Willie Geist when we need him? Thomas Roberts—who has replaced Brian Schachtman as Way Too Early host—is seemingly also taking over much of Geist's turf as Morning Joe sidekick.
And whereas Geist was, at least in the MSNBC context, a voice of affable equanimity, Roberts is an unabashed liberal advocate. Witness today's Morning Joe. Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski questioned the character of Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer.Joe and Mika wondered how, after assertedly writing in her personal diary that Chris Christie's corrupt nature "literally brings tears to my eyes," Zimmer could then take to Twitter to paradoxically proclaim that she was "very glad" that Christie was governor and that he has "done a great job for NJ & Hoboken." Rising to the defense of the Dem mayor, Roberts accused Joe and Mika of "eviscerating" Zimmer, whom Roberts described as a "whistle-blower." View the video after the jump.
TIME Magazine managing editor Nancy Gibbs is a well-established fan of Hillary Clinton, and on Thursday she brought her cheerleading act to MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell Reports. Gibbs was there to discuss this week’s cover of TIME, which asks, “Can Anyone Stop Hillary?”
Mitchell asked Gibbs how long Hillary can postpone making a decision about whether to run for president in 2016. Gibbs responded, “I think she can postpone it almost longer than anyone we have seen. It allows her to not have to answer every controversy that comes up, the latest obviously being the Benghazi report today.” [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
It's hard to imagine how the Politico's Kyle Cheney could have written up his Thursday story about the government's dissatisfaction with soon to be (but not yet) former prime HealthCare.gov contractor CGI with a straight face. But it appears that he did.
The opening sentence of Cheney's report is an absolute howler. When you read it after the jump, keep in mind that the firm worked on HealthCare.gov for well over a year before its October 1 debut, and that it was obvious to everyone within hours of its launch that the web site's construction had been horribly botched. So guess when the government wants us to believe it finally figured out that CGI wasn't up to its assigned tasks?
While NBC, ABC, and CBS all covered the new Senate Intelligence Committee report blaming the Obama administration for security failures leading up to the 2012 Benghazi terrorist attack, none of the coverage on Wednesday's evening newscasts or Thursday's morning shows mentioned President Obama by name.
At the top of Wednesday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams announced: "...a scathing report just issued by the Senate Intelligence Committee. It says the deaths could have been prevented by better security, better communication....And the State Department, they say, gets most of the blame." CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley declared: "A critical report tonight blames American diplomats and intelligence officers for failing to prevent the attack on the U.S. Mission in Benghazi, Libya."
I agree with MSNBC. I find it hard to believe that Gov. Chris Christie knew nothing about his staff's plotting a massive traffic jam on the ramp to the George Washington Bridge for political retribution.
On the other hand, I also find it hard to believe that Obama didn't know his own IRS was auditing his political enemies. And I find it hard to believe that Obama didn't know you wouldn't be able to keep your doctor under Obamacare. But most of all, I find it hard to believe that MSNBC host Al Sharpton didn't know Tawana Brawley was lying when she claimed to have been gang-raped by rogue cops on the Wappingers Falls, N.Y., police force.
Select the scandal(s) that affects the most people and has long-term implications for the country in a time of war, a country with a struggling economy that last month produced the weakest job growth in decades. (According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), nearly 92 million Americans are no longer in the labor force.)
We at NewsBusters have demonstrated over the years that the liberal media are all too eager to flog Republican scandals to death while ignoring or downplaying Democratic scandals. MSNBC contributor Jonathan Alter provided a case study of that bias during an appearance on Sunday’s episode of Disrupt with Karen Finney.
While discussing Chris Christie’s bridge controversy, Alter brought up the Obama administration’s IRS scandal. Said Alter to the host, a former Democratic National Committee communications director: [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
At least one prominent liberal Democrat well-acquainted with intelligence on the matter disputes the conclusions of the New York Times regarding the deadly September 11, 2012 attack on an American diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya.
"Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) rejected the Times’s conclusion that al Qaeda wasn’t responsible for the attack that killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans," reported Julian Pecquet today, adding (emphasis mine):
Some important ObamaCare news broke late on Friday when the Obama administration announced it was dropping CGI, the contractor that built the inept healthcare.gov website, and replacing it with technology consulting firm Accenture. On top of that, on Friday, the Republican-led House passed a bill -- with a substantial number of Democrats joining in -- to partially address security concerns regarding healthcare.gov.
But alas, ABC’s Good Morning America didn’t have time to relay this news during the first half-hour of Saturday’s program. They were too busy reporting on a horrific scandal involving a prominent Democratic politician. And no, it was not about Benghazi, or the IRS targeting conservative groups, or anything to do with President Obama. Nope, this scandal involved New York City’s new mayor, Bill De Blasio. It turns out the mayor was caught red-handed eating pizza the wrong way. Co-anchor Dan Harris introduced the story: [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
We got ourselves a good Republican scandal here, and we're sticking with it. No distractions about President Obama and his culpability in the IRS and Benghazi matters. Capiche?
That was Mika Brezinski's message on Morning Joe today. When Mark Halperin mentioned that President Obama has never subjected himself to the kind of intense media grilling on Benghazi and the IRS that Chris Christie underwent on the bridge scandal during his 109-minute press conference, Mika laid down the law. Bringing up Benghazi and the IRS is "flailing for some sort of distraction. It's Chris Christie. It's New Jersey. Stick to that story," she ordered. The MSM at large will be only to happy to comply. View the video after the jump.
A frontrunner for the award going to the most obvious media double standard of the week certainly has to be NBC reporter and Meet the Press host David Gregory.
Asking a question virtually no one in the press has asked about President Barack Obama in matters far weightier than Chris Christie's "Bridgegate," Gregory addressed the following tweet to New York Times White House Correspondent Peter Baker (HT Twitchy):
CNN's senior legal analyst doesn't think Benghazi is a scandal, but he is ready to dig Chris Christie's political grave over "Bridgegate."
On Wednesday's AC 360 Later, Jeff Toobin remarked, "It's all over for Chris Christie. This is it. I'm sorry, totally." He added of Christie's controversy, "I mean, this is devastating. Forget it." [Video below the break. Audio here.]
On Thursday's NBC Today, political director Chuck Todd reveled in the wall-to-wall media coverage of the bridge closing controversy surrounding New Jersey Governor Chris Christie: "Welcome to the NFL....he has gotten a lot of benefit by being sort of this Republican rising star in the New York City media markets, so he gets a lot of access to media attention, access to national media. And so he's had a free ride, if you will. Well now, welcome to the vetting process." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Todd's comments were prompted by co-host Matt Lauer declaring: "[Christie] is a political star for the Republican Party. He's now the head of the Republican Governor's Association, a lot of power there, so Democrats are gonna work this story for a long time." Todd replied: "Absolutely....Now that he's essentially shown interest in being a presidential candidate, this is what life is like. This is what happens when the bright lights start burning."
In the competition for most obvious Obama administration apparatchik at the Los Angeles Times (i.e., the biggest tool in the toolbox), Doyle McManus has to be considered a front-runner.
As I noted on Tuesday (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), McManus, in a Sunday column, contended that "President Obama has run into his share of controversies, but none that quite reached scandalhood." He even petulantly asked, "Does anyone even remember the IRS flap?" McManus was apparently so unconcerned about being seen as inconsistent that he didn't bother telling readers that he held exactly opposite positions on at least two Obama administration "scandals" — that's what he called them – just eight months ago (HT to frequent commenter Gary Hall).
Los Angeles Times columnists have produced several delusional doozies in the past few days.
One of the more hysterical came from Doyle McManus on Sunday ("The president's hump year; The sixth year is often tough, but Obama could triumph"). While acknowledging that "The public's initial romance with the president has faded" and that "events are in charge now," he backhandedly described Obama's presidency thus far as scandal-free. Really (HT to frequent commenter Gary Hall):
On special edition of MSNBC's PoliticsNation on Monday in which a panel of MSNBC regulars selected awards for the year 2013, MSNBC contributor Joy Reid asserted that the "Knockout Game" was the "most overrated story of the year," as she complained that conservatives "went absolutely ballistic" and "wanted[ed] to stoke issues of race."
MSNBC contributor Jimmy Williams then brought up the IRS scandal in which conservative organizations were given closer scrutiny before the 2012 elections, with Williams charging, "Ain't nothing there. Never was, never will be," and with fellow panel member Krystal Ball chiming in that "It's not even a scandal."
On April 10, the New York Times almost singlehandedly revived the political career of disgraced Anthony Weiner with an 8,300-word profile of the former Congressman, his wife, and their baby boy Jonathan. Clay Waters at NewsBusters noted shortly thereafter that Jonathan van Meter's profile, which revealed Weiner's intention to become a candidate in New York City's mayoral race while somehow avoiding still-open questions about Weiner's "underage girl problem," had its intended effect, as the major broadcast networks fell in line to "promote his political rehabilitation."
We all know that the attempted rehabilitation failed spectacularly, because the supposed personal rehabilitation which formed its basis turned out to be completely fictional. In late July, a Times editorial called for Weiner to withdraw from the race without owning up to the role the paper had played in his attempted revival. So it figures that the Times, which identified Weiner's demise as one of 2013's "political lowlights" earlier in the day, would ignore Weiner's "Look at me" Thursday Facebook post.
Let's get it out of the way up-front, and excuse the "too much information" element via the New York Post: New York State Assemblyman Dennis Gabryszak is a Democrat who has been accused of having "tormented three workers with lewd antics such as sending a video of himself supposedly receiving oral sex, suggesting they shack up with him in hotels and ..." — sorry, readers who really want to know the final item will have to go to the link.
At the Albany Times Union, which appears to have been the paper which broke the story, reporter James M. Odato waited until the last of his 20 paragraphs to inform readers that "The Erie County Democrat represents the densely populated town of Cheektowaga." Naturally, the Associated Press's far briefer unbylined report did not note Gabryszak's party affiliation. Party ID-free excerpts from Odato's report follow the jump (HT JWF; bolds are mine):
2013 was the year that scandal after scandal — from the IRS targeting the Tea Party, to Benghazi, to the lies surrounding ObamaCare, and on and on — hit the Obama administration, but journalists kept acting as if the President and his team were clean as a whistle. So today, the results of our “Move Along, Nothing to See Here Award,” for denying Obama’s scandals. (Winning quotes and video below the jump.)
But somehow, the fact that the state's Obamacare exchange, Access Health CT, "had incorrect information online about deductibles and co-insurance impacting all 19 individual health plans from the three insurance companies that offer those plans" doesn't merit attention. Further indicating the development's national significance, as David Steinberg at PJ Media has noted, President Barack Obama himself cited Access Health CT as a success story in supposedly getting one-third of its enrollees from people who are 35 and younger (also not true) back on October 21. More verbiage from the story, as reported in the Hartford Courant by Fox Connecticut's Louisa Moller, follows the jump:
Well, it's not perfect, but it's a start — and it's certainly a far cry from what President Obama is now willing to admit.
In his report Tuesday on the congressional hearing for John Koskinen, Obama's nominee to be the next IRS Commissioner, Stephen Ohlemacher of the Associated Press wrote that Koskinen "told senators Tuesday he will work to restore public trust in the agency in the wake of the tea party scandal even as the IRS takes on new responsibilities administering the president's health care law." That's a remarkable admission, given that the word "scandal" does not appear in Koskinen's prepared remarks, and of course given that Obama's current opinion of what is better described as the "IRS conservative targeting scandal" is that it isn't one ("they’ve got a list, and suddenly everybody’s outraged"). As nice as it is that he used the "S-word," Ohlemacher's dispatch still contained serious oversights, including his failure to cite the change in Obama's public stance since May and his contention that no one outside the IRS knew of its targeting efforts until then.
The ongoing effort to insulate President Barack Obama from the negative consequences of his "signature achievement," not only with the HealthCare.gov web site but also his false "If you like your plan-doctor-provider, you can keep your plan-doctor-provider" guarantees, is a sickening sight to behold.
Reid Epstein at the Politico contributed one small chapter in that exercise. He decided to "report" on the portion of the President's interview with MSNBC sycophant Chris Matthews (some related NewsBusters posts are here, here, and here) concerning whether Obama's "management style" contributed to "problems with the Obamacare rollout." The predictable answers: Of course not, he doesn't need to change anything, and there's no reason why a reporter should even be the least bit skeptical. Oh, and it's really all Congress's fault (bolds and numbered tags are mine):
Sharyl Attkisson touted 'Fast and Furious' whistleblower John Dodson as "a rare example, especially amid the Obama administration's war on leaks" during a segment on Monday's CBS This Morning. Attkisson, whose reporting on the arms trafficking scandal won CBS a Edward R. Murrow Award, spotlighted the ATF senior agent's new book on "the inside story of why he went public to expose the government's false denials about its gunwalking secrets."
The correspondent also pointed out how "there's still a court battle over the 'Fast and Furious' documents that President Obama is withholding from Congress under executive privilege". She also featured a clip from Dodson where he emphasized that this is an ongoing controversy that deserves more media attention: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
Last week, NewsBusters reported that PBS NewsHour anchor Judy Woodruff failed to ask about the “Fast & Furious” Mexican gun-running scandal during an interview with B. Todd Jones, the new head of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. But on Monday’s NewsHour, Woodruff played a previously unannounced Part Two of her taped interview with Jones, and this time she asked a question about “Fast & Furious.”
That’s not to say Woodruff suddenly turned into a hard-hitting journalist. In fact, she didn’t get to “Fast & Furious” until her very last question. Even then, she brought up the topic very gently: [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
Was someone holding Mika Brzezinski's shoe collection hostage? Because something obviously forced the Morning Joe host, against her will, to devote two lengthy segments today, totalling more than 2.5 minutes, to the story of scandal-ridden Toronto Mayor Rob Ford.
With Joe Scarborough away, Mika was in charge. After airing the second long segment she complained "I can't believe he's still in the news. It doesn't make sense." Hmm. Kind of reminds me of another liberal complaining about what was done on his own watch. View the video after the jump.
With the wheels coming off of ObamaCare, liberals are desperately searching for a way to go back on the attack against Republicans. On Saturday’s Weekends with Alex Witt, Zerlina Maxwell of TheGrio.com trotted out a months-old strategy: attack Republicans for pushing the supposedly “phony” Benghazi scandal.
Asked for her opinion on the Republicans’ investigation of the Benghazi attack, Maxwell spit out the liberal narrative that we heard a lot of earlier this year: [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
At the New York Times on Tuesday evening for the front page of Wednesday's print edition, Michael D. Shear and Robert Pear wrestled with how to characterize President Barack Obama's false guarantee that "if you like your health care plan" (and doctor, and provider) "you can keep your health care plan" (and doctor, and provider.
The headline called it a "vow" (actually a pretty good word). In their opening paragraph, they called it a "promise," and indicated that the President's guarantee related to "insurance coverage." In the next paragraph, they described Obama serially presented guarantees as "wrongly assuring Americans that they could retain their health plans if they wanted." In Paragraph 6, the guarantee became an "incorrect promise." Excerpts follow the jump (HT Rare via Twitchy, which describes it as "epic bootlicking"; bolds and numbered tags are mine):