The estimated cost of the initial segment of California's bullet train, Golden State Governor Jerry Brown's pet project, has (excuse the pun) just shot up from $6.19 billion to $7.13 billion. If this is the only overrun encountered in this opening phase, which would be atypical, and if the California High Speed Rail Authority has similar experiences during the remainder of the project, assuming it's ever completed, its cost will rise from a currently estimated $68 billion to about $78 billion.
Obviously a big cost overrun is news. But normally, evidence of an attempted government coverup of such an overrun is even bigger news. But not at the Los Angeles Times. The paper's Ralph Vartabedian kept it out of his headline and waited until his story's ninth paragraph to note it. Even then, his description was needlessly vague. Excerpts follow the jump (bolds are mine throughout this post):
On Thursday’s NewsHour, PBS ran a full-length segment on the new special committee created by House Republicans to investigate the September 2012 Benghazi attacks. However, anchor Judy Woodruff and her guest, Robert Costa from The Washington Post -- formerly of the National Review -- pushed the idea that Republicans are exploiting the tragedy by fundraising off of it. The thing is, the network didn’t seem to care back in 2012 when President Obama gave a brief Rose Garden statement after the attacks and then dashed off to Las Vegas for a campaign fundraiser. [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
Woodruff brought up the issue of fundraising near the end of the interview:
Thursday's New Day on CNN hyped Monica Lewinsky's Vanity Fair article and acknowledged that former President Clinton's sex scandal with the now former White House intern casts doubt on Hillary Clinton's credibility in the realm of women's issues. Chris Cuomo noted that Lewinsky "makes a decent case that women, who are all gathering around Hillary as the obvious choice for them, may want to rethink it, based on how she characterizes her role in her husband's affair."
Panelists Amy Chozick of the New York Times and Republican strategist Margaret Hoover agreed with Cuomo's point, but all three, along with anchor Kate Bolduan, played up the "delicate position" for Republicans if they raised the Lewinsky scandal in a potential presidential race against Hillary Clinton. Hoover hyped that Mrs. Clinton would likely gain an advantage from the issue: [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.
In his "analysis" on Tuesday's U.S. District Court ruling which called a halt to "a secret investigation into his 2012 recall campaign and conservative groups that supported" Scott Walker, Wisconsin's Republican Governor, Scott Bauer at the Associated Press basically gave away what the prosecution's agenda really has been all about.
It really hasn't been about cleaning up political campaigns, or whatever other similar tired bromides the Walker-hating left dishes out from time to time. It's been about hurting Walker's reelection effort this fall and punishing him for reforming public-sector collective bargaining in the Badger State. Short of that, it's an attempt to marginalize him as a potential 2016 presidential candidate by smearing him with the "under investigation" and "scandal" tags. Let's start with the opening paragraphs of Bauer's bluster (bolds are mine throughout this post):
Radio host Laura Ingraham dropped a dose of reality on the Democrats’ “war on women” narrative on Fox News Tuesday night. Filling in as host of The O’Reilly Factor, Ingraham began the show with a segment about Monica Lewinsky, who resurfaced this week to write about her affair with Bill Clinton in Vanity Fair. [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
Ingraham reminded viewers that Hillary Clinton dismissed Lewinsky as a “narcissistic loony toon” in a private letter to her close friend. The Fox News substitute host charged:
Forget about the newly released White House emails – MSNBC personalities will never admit that the Benghazi scandal is anything more than a Republican talking point. On Saturday’s Weekends with Alex Witt, fill-in host Richard Lui at least brought up the new revelations in the scandal, but he and his guests continued to treat it like a big, fat nothing burger. [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
Noting that the House Oversight Committee has subpoenaed Secretary of State John Kerry to testify about Benghazi, Lui skeptically asked Lynn Sweet of the Chicago Sun-Times, “[I]s this about 2014? Because we're just really months away from the election.” Sweet, being the liberal Obama acolyte she is, answered in the affirmative:
Appearing on Monday's The Daily Rundown on MSNBC, Washington Post reporter Dan Balz touted Democratic spin that the ongoing Benghazi scandal could actually help Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential campaign: "I talked to somebody over the weekend, a Democrat, who said, you know, this could actually be good for Clinton because the degree to which the right is really after her helps her with her left....if she's under attack by the right, the Democrats across the spectrum will be more forgiving of her." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Host and NBC political director Chuck Todd led off the exchange by wondering if the House GOP was just "playing politics" with the issue by announcing a select committee to investigate the 2012 terrorist attack. Balz declared: "I mean, I think the base of the Republican Party is very stirred up and continues to be very stirred up over Benghazi." Todd whined: "And they believe the worst in this conspiracy about the White House. And they believe it to the core."
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 Monday, the three network morning shows provided 12 minutes 24 seconds to Saturday night's White House Correspondents' Dinner but only CBS This Morning reported House Speaker John Boehner on Friday announcing a new investigation into Benghazi – a news brief that totaled a mere 47 seconds. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
This Morning co-host Charlie Rose noted: "Both parties on Capitol Hill are sniping over new a investigation of the deadly Benghazi attack." After a soundbite of Republican Senator Lindsey Graham discussing the scandal on Sunday's Face the Nation, Rose added: "House Speaker John Boehner is calling for a new investigation based on a White House memo released last week. Republicans say the document proves the Obama administration tried to spin the attacks for political gain." NBC's Today and ABC's Good Morning America completely ignored the story on Monday.
You may have seen Bret Baier’s interview with former National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor on Fox News Thursday evening. The conversation dealt with the Benghazi attack, and it was combative at times. Vietor spun hard for the administration, even smugly calling Baier “dude” at one point. But Baier appeared to be well-prepared for Vietor’s spin with a wide array of relevant video clips and sound bites.
On Friday, Baier went on Mornings on the Mall, a Washington, D.C. radio program, to talk about the Vietor interview. [See YouTube video embedded below.] He explained to the hosts how he prepared so well:
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]
One day after accusing the press of ignoring the Benghazi scandal in order to protect President Obama, on Thursday's O'Reilly Factor, Fox News host Bill O'Reilly ripped into the media yet again: "Does it get any worse than that in our democracy?...The Obama administration was completely derelict in the Benghazi terror attack and was dishonest in the aftermath. And the national press doesn't give a damn? Disgraceful." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
O'Reilly cited desperate spinning of the controversy by White House Press Secretary Jay Carney and observed: "While Carney may think the press corps is stupid, he knows the press corps doesn't care, and that's why he says these outrageous things. He knows the coverage will be minimal, except on Fox News."
CNN’s Jake Tapper had some strong words for White House press secretary Jay Carney on Thursday. Appearing on The Hugh Hewitt Show, Tapper accused Carney of making “dissembling, obfuscating,” and “insulting” comments regarding the September 2012 Benghazi attacks.
Hewitt came right out and called Carney a liar, but Tapper was not willing to go quite that far. He remarked, “[C]alling somebody a liar is – it’s not normally the kind of language I use. But I think that the comments that are being made are dissembling, obfuscating, and often, you know, insulting.” [Listen to MP3 audio here.]
During a 28-second news brief on Thursday's NBC Today, anchor Natalie Morales seized on Obama administration spin downplaying newly-released emails suggesting a cover-up of Benghazi: "The White House is dismissing claims by Senator Lindsey Graham that a previously undisclosed talking points email is a smoking gun about the 2012 attack in Benghazi that killed four Americans....The White House says the email was explicitly not about Benghazi, but was about the overall situation in the region." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
That parroting of White House talking points was the only mention of the ongoing scandal on the network morning shows on Thursday. CBS This Morning did a full report on the topic on Wednesday. ABC World News provided a full report Wednesday evening while NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams offered a mere news brief that glossed over key details.
On Thursday's MSNBC Morning Joe, host Joe Scarborough annihilated liberal pundit Donny Deutsch's attempt to defend the Obama White House over emails showing a cover-up of the 2012 Benghazi terrorist attack: "I got everybody here apologizing for the White House. What about a cover-up here, Donny?!...what's the politics of the White House lying about something that we all know they're lying about?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Deutsch actually tried to spin the Democratic scandal as bad for Republicans: "I want to put up a warning for the Republicans because obviously the Republicans are seizing on this and jumping in. I think this is fools gold for 2016." Scarborough tore into him: "Why are you jumping to political strategy instead of talking....about what [White Press Secretary] Jay Carney did, the double speak?!"
Reacting to the contents of Benghazi-related emails finally obtained and published by Judicial Watch, Hounshell asked, "Can you point me to a credible, authoritative story saying the WH knowingly pushed a false narrative?" Well Blake, on the off-chance that you're really interested in the truth instead of serving as one of your organization's lead Obama administration lapdogs, I give you the Tuesday night writeup from an investigative journalist who, per her "about" page, has won four national Emmy Awards and has been nominated for eight others.
This afternoon (late morning Pacific Time), Roger Simon at PJ Media had several reactions to the latest developments in the Benghazi saga, as new evidence surfaced of a White House "effort to insulate President Barack Obama from the attacks that killed four Americans." Simon's press-related assertion: "We will now see if there is even a figment of honesty in our mainstream media ..."
Though it's still early (but just barely), it's not looking good, my friend. Matt Hadro at NewsBusters indicated as much earlier tonight in noting that the TV networks have thus far ignored the news. Later, I'll show that other key online establishment press sources are also ignoring this bombshell story.
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:
Professor Robert N. Stavins at Harvard's Kennedy School hardly seems like a major climate change/global warming boat-rocker. At his blog last year, he described climate change as "the ultimate global commons problem," where "international, if not global, cooperation is essential." Commenting on climate talks in Doha, Qatar in December 2012, he saw the role of the Harvard Project on Climate Agreements as helping countries and international bodies "address climate change in ways that are scientifically sound, economically rational, and politically pragmatic."
So Stavins is no "denier," as enviros on the left are given to calling anyone who dares to question climate change dogma. But he strongly objects to how his role in the latest IPCC report relating to how countries might co-operate to reduce carbon emissions — basically where the rubber meets the road in affecting everyday citizens' lives — was compromised by intense political interference. Excerpts from the UK Daily Mail's coverage, once again an instance of the UK tabloids scooping the U.S. press, follow the jump (bolds are mine throughout this post):
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:
MSNBC's Ari Melber may want to brush up on his Clinton scandal history in preparation for a Hillary Clinton White House run. As he substitute hosted Tuesday's The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, Melber mistook a reference to the infamous cattle futures deal for a criticism of the former First Family making money since leaving office.
From time to time, leftist media members have regaled us about how the Obama administration somehow remains totally or nearly scandal-free (two of many examples are here and here). Part of the reason they actually believe this is because real-time press dispatches covering scandalous circumstances are rarely described that way.
The journalistic gymnastics involved were on vivid display Friday evening at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press. In one of the more ridiculous such dispatches to date composed by the Obama-supportive media, AP reporter Alicia A. Caldwell lauded new Department of Homeland Security head Jeh Johnson for taking actions to "to tamp down what could have been political scandals." The problem with that assessment in two of the three instances Caldwell cited is that a "scandal" ("a disgraceful or discreditable action, circumstance, etc.") had already occurred.
Tuesday's World News on ABC stood out as the only Big Three network evening newscast to cover a new "watchdog report" that found that the IRS "handed out more than $1 million in bonuses to employees who were delinquent on their federal taxes." Jeff Zeleny also pointed out how "more than 1,000 IRS workers, who didn't pay their taxes, received not only cash bonuses, but extra time off." [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
By contrast, NBC Nightly News and CBS Evening News on Tuesday both devoted air time to the 50th anniversary of the 1964 World's Fair in New York City. NBC's Brian Williams also gave a 28-second news brief on Prince William and Princess Kate's visit to Ayers Rock in Australia, where they posed at the same spot as the prince's parents during the 1980s:
In September 2010, Lachlan Markay at NewsBusters put up a post entitled "Eight Dems Arrested in Bell, CA 'Corruption on Steroids' - Not a Single Mention of Party Affiliation From Media."
Almost four years later (!), reviews of search engine results and specific news stories on the sentencing of Robert Rizzo, the community's former city manager, are again returning no mentions of the fact that Rizzo is a Democrat.
On Monday, all three network morning shows found time to worry about IRS budget cuts meaning fewer audits and longer wait times for taxpayer assistance, but not one mentioned the ongoing scandal embroiling the agency, including Congress issuing a criminal referral for former IRS official Lois Lerner. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
On ABC's Good Morning America, news anchor Amy Robach warned: "More tax evaders could slip through the cracks this year....we are learning the IRS will have the fewest agents auditing returns since the 1980s due to budget cuts and new IRS responsibilities." On Friday, ABC's World News covered the same story – while ignoring the House Ways and Means Committee calling for Lerner's prosecution.
Fox News Sunday was the only Sunday show that discussed the latest revelations in the IRS’ targeting of conservative groups. As a result, viewers were treated to host Chris Wallace grilling Congressman Sander Levin (D-MI) over why the IRS targeted 100 percent of conservative groups as opposed to only 30 percent of liberal groups.
Appearing on Sunday April 13, Wallace challenged Levin: “30 percent of organizations with progress or progressive in their names were examined as possible political groups. And, therefore, not included -- would not have been considered for tax exempt status. But 100 percent of groups with Tea Party, Patriot or 9/12 in their names were examined. Congressman Levin, 248 conservative groups were examined, but only 29 liberal groups. How do you explain that disparity?” [See video below.]
Over the last seven days, three major revelations have emerged surrounding the IRS’ targeting of Tea Party groups. Despite the new stories, on Sunday April 13, three of the four Sunday shows, NBC’s Meet the Press, CBS’s Face the Nation and ABC’s This Week, all ignored them, whereas Fox News Sunday was the only program to mention the IRS at all.
On Wednesday April 9, The Washington Times revealed that a Dallas IRS office was covered with Vote for Obama stickers and engaging in campaign cheerleading. On the same day, The Hill broke a story revealing that Lois Lerner fed tax information to Elijah Cummings (D-MD) who sits on the committee in charge of overseeing the IRS investigation. And finally, the House Ways and Means Committee voted last week to refer Lois Lerner for criminal charges, yet the big three didn’t mention any of these stories on Sunday.
Earlier this week, Town Hall revealed that former IRS official Lois Lerner fed tax information from the conservative group “True the Vote” to Congressman Elijah Cummings (D-MD). Cummings is the ranking member of the House Oversight Committee, and recently made headlines for his confrontation with Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) over Lois Lerner’s recent testimony before the committee.
Despite this new report, CBS’ Bob Schieffer failed to bring up the IRS scandal at all during his interview with Cummings on Face the Nation on Sunday April 13. Instead, Schieffer found time to discuss liberals’ newest talking point, that women get paid less than their male counterparts.
Last week, the House Oversight Committee asked the Justice Department to seek criminal charges against former IRS official Lois Lerner. Despite the newest revelations in the IRS scandal, the Associated Press’ Julie Pace attempted to excuse the lack of media coverage.
Appearing as a panelist on Fox News Sunday on April 13, Pace argued, “If you are going to keep the story going and you want to keep the investigation going, eventually there has to be some material there to work with. And we're in this period of time where we don't have a lot to work with.”