MSNBC continues to disparage the scandals that have plagued the Obama administration the last few weeks. On Sunday’s Weekends with Alex Witt, the host brought on former Democratic staffer Jimmy Williams and former RNC chairman Michael Steele to reluctantly discuss the scandals once again. Of course, rather than focus on the substance of the controversies, Witt fell back on the concern that she and many others in the liberal media have often expressed: “[D]oes this have the potential to derail the president's second-term agenda?”
The president’s agenda is always the victim of these scandal investigations in the minds of the press, at least when there's a (D) following the president's surname. Williams, being the Democrat that he is, brushed aside that question and riffed on another favorite left-wing talking point – Republicans will overreach, just as they did with Bill Clinton in 1998:
Media members thinking the Republicans are overplaying their hand with the Internal Revenue Service scandal should pay attention to what happened on NBC’s Tonight Show Monday.
When host Jay Leno joked that President Obama should close the IRS rather than the terrorist detention center in Guantanamo Bay, the audience erupted in thunderous applause (video follows with transcript and absolutely no need for additional commentary):
It's thankfully been a long, long time since we've heard from Keith Olbermann.
Unfortunately, he came out of the bathtub long enough on Monday to give a Twitter follower his opinion of Attorney General Eric Holder saying, "He should've resigned or been dismissed after the AP overreach. Instead he made a Fox News figure a martyr":
On May 27, Nicholas Confessore and Michael Luo at the New York Times filed a ridiculously incoherent, ignorant and biased report on Tea Party groups' attempts to have their organizations approved for tax-exempt status. The story's window title: "Non-Profit Applcants Chafing at IRS Tested Political Limits." The actual print edition title (Page A1, of course): "Groups Targeted by I.R.S. Tested Rules on Politics." The headlines give the impression that Tea Party groups deliberately tried to test the boundaries of legality.
The pair's content also betrayed more than a little ignorance of the rules governing campaign finance, electioneering, and literature distribution. Among those interviewed for the story was Tom Zawistowski, Portage County TEA Party Executive Director. Zawistowski took great exception to their writeup in an email he distributed on Saturday (bolds are mine; additional paragraph breaks added by me):
In what some have described as a "bombshell" statement, ABC News Political analyst Trey Hardin said something on Monday morning any reporter with any kind of meaningful inside connections in Washington should have known, but apparently wouldn't dare say or write: "I can say with a very strong sense of certainty that there are people very close to this president that not only knew what the IRS were doing but authorized it."
Martin continued: "It simply just does not happen at an agency level like that without political advisers likely in the West Wing certainly connected to the president’s ongoing campaign organization that didn’t know about it." Again, many experienced reporters in Washington had to know this. Any remaining doubts that what Hardin said is true disappeared today when Congressman Darrell Issa, as reported by Kerry Picket at Breitbart News, released hearing testimony previous obtained (bolds are mine):
As NewsBusters reported Sunday, Congressman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) on CNN’s State of the Union called White House press secretary Jay Carney a “paid liar.”
On Fox News’s Special Report Monday, syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer took issue with Issa saying, “I’ve argued here for months that Carney is majorly underpaid, and I think that really is the problem” (video follows with transcript and absolutely no need for additional commentary):
At the end of an interview with New York Senator Chuck Schumer on Sunday's NBC Meet the Press, moderator David Gregory teed up the Democrat to lecture Republicans on being too focused on the scandals plaguing the Obama administration: "Do you have a warning for Republicans who want to make the IRS and personal issues affecting the President the main theme of 2014?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Schumer eagerly proclaimed: "My warning to the Republicans is look at 1998. All they did is spend their time on the impeachment of Bill Clinton. And for the first time, the incumbent president didn't lose seats in the House....if they go too far, they will lose....if they emphasize it too much they're going to pay a price at the polls in 2014."
With Friday's admission by liberal activist Curtis Morrison for having bugged Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's (R-Ky.) office in April, there are some liberal media members that owe the Senator an apology.
One is certainly Howard Fineman, the editorial director of the Huffington Post, who on April 10 wrote the following (emphasis added):
In an interview with Arizona Senator John McCain on Monday's NBC Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie attempted to dismiss growing evidence that the IRS scandal rocking the Obama administration went as far as Washington D.C.: "Darrell Issa...says that his gut tells him this goes beyond the Cincinnati office....He released excerpts of some e-mails that might support that theory, they're not conclusive. Do you take the Inspector General of the IRS at its word saying this – this was something that happened in Cincinnati and went no further?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Is the IRS scandal just not that big a deal in New York City? Perhaps for out-of-touch journos like liberal Times columnist Nicholas Kristof and The New Yorker editor David Remnick, who downplayed the controversy on Sunday's Fareed Zakaria GPS.
Kristof predictably spun the scandals into a "so what?" narrative for the White House: "I think it's true that the White House has often been tone-deaf, but every second term has scandals." Meanwhile, Remnick called the IRS scandal the doing of "very low level" employees without acknowledging that higher-ups in Washington could have orchestrated it.
A classic case of MSM jujitsu. Yesterday, Darrell Issa called Jay Carney a "paid liar." So did Morning Joe today dig down to see if Issa was right? Of course not. Instead, its focus was on Issa--how he is "overreaching," "overplaying," etc. H/t NB reader Wayne T.
The quintessential statement came from Mika Brzezinski, who actually said that Issa's accusation "makes us all want to walk away and ignore" the White House scandals. It's not as if Mika & Co. needed much convincing! View the video after the jump, along with a medley of statements from Mika, Brian Shactman, Joe Scarborough, Jon Meacham, Chuck Todd and Robert Gibbs along similar lines.
The role of the White House press secretary is to disseminate information to the media, and that should be an especially important function when the president and his administration are plagued by several scandals.
However, Jay Carney has only held six press conferences in the past three weeks, far fewer than usual. In addition, the press secretary only held two brief “gaggles” during presidential trips to New Jersey and New York. Could this be happening because the people in the usually compliant media are actually asking tough questions and demanding clear answers?
This has to be an imaginary story, right? Most Democrats and others on the left continue to insist that voter fraud is not a problem, even in the face of examples like Minnesota U.S. Senator Al Franken, whose 312-vote "victory" margin in 2008 may have entirely consisted (and then some) of illegal votes by felons in just one county.
More recently, it seems that the claim is under revision. A Democratic Party county chair, in a Cincinnati Enquirer story about three out-of-staters who voted or attempted to vote in Ohio, is reported to have "long said there is no evidence of systemic fraud." Well, though they were were prevented from casting illegal ballots, a Florida Democratic congressman's chief of staff and his alleged cohorts definitely attempted large-scale "systemic" fraud last year. The Miami Herald, which played an important investigative role, had the story on Friday. A Google News search on relevant terms indicates that it's getting very little notice (15 items in total, most in Florida). Excerpts from Patricia Mazzei's Herald story follow the jump (bolds are mine):
Arianna Huffington got a much-needed education about 501(c)(4)s Sunday.
When she claimed during an ABC This Week discussion about the Internal Revenue Service scandal that Crossroads GPS shouldn't have qualified because "it was all about politics," former George W. Bush senior advisor Karl Rove struck back (video follows with transcript and commentary):
It appears that even HBO’s Bill Maher is starting to question Barack Obama’s abilities as president, for on Friday’s Real Time, the host said, “He doesn't even know what the IRS and the Justice Department are doing” (video follows with transcript and commentary):
In a stunning example of how desperate the liberal media are to defend President Obama against the numerous scandals rocking his administration, on her Friday MSNBC show, host Andrea Mitchell actually justified the Justice Department targeting journalists: "I think if they had framed it...as this is national security, these were leaks in really major cases, everyone knows how unpopular the media are, far more unpopular." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Mitchell further explained: "The American people have said in a number of polls how they feel about this. They feel that national security is more important than First Amendment freedoms. It was not framed very advantageously."
"I've been saying it from the very beginning," NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell reminded Fox News Channel's Sean Hannity. When it comes to Obama administration scandals, the liberal media are eventually forced to cover them, but "they'll do a couple of stories, and then they'll say, we're done and they'll walk away."
That's exactly why the liberal media returned to adoring lapdog form last week and gushed over pro-Obama fluff like newly-released Obama senior prom pictures from 1979, the Media Research Center founder noted. "Nothing you and I can say can better illustrate how much in the tank the press is for Barack Obama," Bozell concluded, having noted how, by contrast, Lois Lerner's taking the Fifth before a congressional hearing on IRS abuse was ignored on the May 23 Good Morning America and Today programs. [watch the full "Media Mash" segment below the page break]
Do you want to understand just how astonishingly biased MSNBC is?
On Thursday's Martin Bashir show, MSNBC political analyst Michael Eric Dyson actually said - without any pushback from the host - that scandal-ridden attorney general Eric Holder is "the Moses of our time" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
The Tea Party grassroots protesters have made no secret of their support for limited government and lower taxes. But from the perspective of network reporters and anchors, the Tea Party’s message was more radical: “no government” and “no taxes.”
On May 10, the IRS admitted to flagging more than 100 Tea Party-related applications for higher scrutiny, including applications that included the words “Tea Party” and “patriot.” But even before that targeting began, the networks had portrayed the Tea Party as a extreme group opposed to taxation, instead of one supporting smaller government.
On Thursday's NBC Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie asked special correspondent Tom Brokaw about his recent comment that the press "has to be careful about having a glass jaw" when it comes to the Obama Justice Department investigating reporters: "...you made a remark that journalists...shouldn't have what you called a 'glass jaw' when it comes to some of these investigations, citing the First Amendment and threats to the First Amendment." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Brokaw stood by his statement: "Well, the First Amendment is a critically important part of the Constitution. It is not unconditional, obviously. Any number of us over the years have been in dialogues and in conversations with senior government officials about when something can be disclosed and under what circumstances. And it's kind of case by case. It's not unconditional."
While the IRS targeting of conservative groups was still heating up in 2012, a Soros-funded journalism nonprofit was helping fan the flames. The Pulitzer-Prize-winning ProPublica released two stories targeting conservative nonprofits including Crossroads GPS, Americans for Prosperity and the Republican Jewish Coalition.
ProPublica was founded by prominent Democratic contributor and has direct connections to some of the nation’s top news organizations from The New York Times to ABC News. ProPublica was also the organization that received leaked IRS tax forms of conservative groups. ProPublica admitted “they should not have been sent to us before they were approved.”
When it comes to identifying nutcases, some might say that Howard Dean gleans valuable experience daily, while shaving.
The failed presidential candidate put his expertise to dubious use on Morning Joe today, calling National Review editor Rich Lowry a "right-wing nutcase." Lowry's sin? Having written a column mocking Eric Holder, and President Obama's decision to put Holder in charge of investigating himself in the James Rosen affair. View the video after the jump.
David Koenig's Wednesday coverage at the Associated Press of Exxon Mobil's annual meeting contained a predictable headline and related content telling us that the company wouldn't "explicitly ban discrimination against gays because the company already banned discrimination of any type and didn't need to add language regarding gays." Koenig's report apparently couldn't be considered complete without a contribution of misleading climate statistics and statements from the wire service's Seth Borenstein.
Borenstein's apparent input consisted of the following four paragraphs (bolds and numbered tags are mine):
Does L.A. Times reporter Michael Hiltzik read the news? Apparently not, since he penned one of the most lapdog press-worthy articles praising the IRS to bubble to the surface in the wake of the news that it targeted conservative Americans. Hiltzik’s column published in the May 25 Business section labeled the targeting as “supposed,” noted that for a small budget – the IRS does a pretty “good job.”
“Showing some love after the ‘witch-hunt,” Hiltzik insinuates that the current fiasco is rather peripheral since the IRS has done such a great job collecting revenue throughout its history. He noted that the changes made back in the Clinton administration, which shifted the agency from enforcement to a greater focus on treating the taxpayers like customers, is the epicenter of the trouble caused two administrations later. Hiltzik also lamented a that the shift away from enforcement led to a “brain drain” within the agency, and that real criminals, tax evaders, were left to operate freely. As for the bipartisan outrage over the scandal, Hiltzik wrote:
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.]
Wednesday's CBS This Morning zeroed in on the House Judiciary Committee's inquiry into whether Attorney General Eric Holder lied under oath during his testimony regarding the Justice Department's controversial investigation of journalists. Jan Crawford's two-and-a-half minute report on the congressional investigation into Holder stood out as the only coverage on the Big Three networks on their Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning newscasts.
Crawford underlined that "conservative and liberal voices" are clamoring for Holder's resignation in the wake of the questionable surveillance of the Associated Press and Fox News' James Rosen. She also asserted that "everyone in Washington is talking about is whether...a survivor, like Eric Holder, gets drummed out."