When on today's Morning Joe, Obama spokesman Jay Carney had the chutzpah to call the IRS mess a "phony scandal,"Joe Scarborough ripped into him, calling Carney out for using "talking points," instructing him to "answer my question" and informing Carney that "I'm not somebody you talk down to from your podium." Ouch! H/t NB reader cobokat.
Scarborough reminded Carney that he hadn't told the truth when he initially claimed that the scandal was limited to low-level employees in the IRS Cincinnati office, that it now appears that it may go at least as high as the IRS Chief Counsel, appointed by President Obama, is involved. Carney continued to slough off the scandal, claiming it was a diversion and that the President wants to focus on the economy, blah, blah, blah. Things got heated, as you'll see from the video, after the jump.
For some reason, press reports I've seen thus far dealing with revelations that disgraced former congressman and now-New York City mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner continued "sexting" after his June 2011 resignation won't directly tell us that he didn't stop sexting -- assuming we've heard the last of this, which is by no means certain -- until November 2012 or January of this year, 4-6 months before he declared his Gotham mayoral candidacy. Additionally, he kept communicating with one of his partners, while supposedly not sexting, until April, the month before he began his run.
The four-month time frame can be inferred from the first excerpted paragraph after the jump in an Associated Press report by Jonathan Lemire (bolds and numbered tags are mine):
Former Democratic congressman Anthony Weiner, now a New York mayoral candidate, admitted Tuesday to sending out lewd photos of himself even after he resigned from Congress for doing so back in June of 2011.
During the previous scandal, up until Weiner's resignation, members of the media moved from casting the evidence against him as a smear job to acknowledging his mistake while imploring him to stay in Congress to mourning the "tragedy" of his downfall and resignation and insisting he was too talented to stay out of politics for long.
Would Eliot Spitzer be getting such a boost from CNN if he were a Republican? The former Democratic New York governor resigned in 2008 over a prostitution scandal, but less than three years later he snagged a prime-time show on CNN. On Wednesday night he enjoyed a nice promotion from CNN's Piers Morgan as he runs for New York City comptroller.
Morgan largely avoided Spitzer's 2008 scandal – except to use it for his "comeback" narrative. "This is all part of a comeback. You are the 'Comeback Kid.' Do you like being the 'Comeback Kid?'" he asked Spitzer. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
CBS This Morning suddenly discontinued identifying San Diego Mayor Bob Filner as a Democrat on Tuesday, after including his political affiliation in two previous reports on the allegations of sexual harassment swirling around the politician. Bill Whitaker pointed out how Filner "dismissed [the] charges...as coming from anonymous sources" and how that was "in contrast to this contrite video apology from late last week", but omitted his party ID.
Just 24 hours earlier, Whitaker reported on the morning newscast that "the city's first Democratic mayor in twenty years is embroiled in controversy and fighting for his job." On Friday, anchor Gayle King noted during a news brief that "the Democrat spent ten terms in Congress before becoming mayor less than a year ago."
On ABC's This Week yesterday, former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer -- who resigned in 2008 when caught dead to rights illegally purchasing the services of prostitutes but was never prosecuted because, as announced two days after Election Day in 2008, the Department of Justice decided that "the public interest would not be further advanced by filing criminal charges" -- called the verdict in the George Zimmerman murder trial "a failure of justice."
Of course, Politico's Juana Summers provided none of the background yours truly just did while only referring to Spitzer as "the former Democratic governor of New York who's now a candidate for New York City comptroller." Another statement Spitzer made on the same program deserves further scrutiny, which will arrive after the jump:
Imagine if -- and you'd have to imagine it, because it never happened -- the George W. Bush administration had sent members of its Justice Department to a city where a black man charged with murder was claiming self-defense in the killing of a non-African-American for the purposes of ginning up protests against the accused. Establishment press coverage and would have been justifiably intense.
On Thursday, Judicial Watch revealed that it had obtained documents showing that "a little-known unit of the Department of Justice (DOJ), the Community Relations Service (CRS), was deployed to Sanford, FL, following the Trayvon Martin shooting to help organize and manage rallies and protests against George Zimmerman." In other words, DOJ did to Zimmerman what I just noted Bush 43 administration never did and would never have considered doing. JW's bombshell is not news at the Associated Press or at the Politico.
For the third time in a week, ABC's Good Morning America failed to identify a politician involved in sex scandal as a Democrat. Amy Robach reported on Friday that "accusations of sexual harassment have been swirling around Mayor Bob Filner for weeks" and that the San Diego politician "apologized for what he called inappropriate behavior", but didn't include his party ID.
By contrast, Gayle King explicitly mentioned Filner's political affiliation on Friday's CBS This Morning: "The Democrat spent ten terms in Congress before becoming mayor less than a year ago. "
Thursday's CBS This Morning boosted a super PAC aimed at supporting a potential Hillary Clinton presidential run in 2016, and spotlighted how Mrs. Clinton is "sticking to a speaking circuit that recently included the opening of a children's library in Arkansas bearing her name. It's not exactly a presidential library, but it may be just another baby step toward what many believe is inevitable."
Correspondent Jeff Pegues played up the "prominent endorsements from politicians and celebrities", and how the former First Lady's backers are "already building a growing campaign infrastructure, they say, whether she likes it or not."
In 2013, Barack Obama has nominated 11 ambassadors who were also huge donors to his presidential campaigns. Yet, NBC, CBS and ABC have skipped the failure of a president who vowed to "change the way Washington works" when it comes to money. As the Washington Times's Dave Boyer reported on Thursday, "Washington bundler John Phillips, who raised more than $300,000 for the president's two elections, was nominated as U.S. ambassador to Italy."
On Tuesday, Matthew Barzun was nominated to be Britain's ambassador. He raised over $500,000 for Obama in 2008. Back on February 28, 2013, CNN reporter Jessica Yellin pointed out the obvious, that people who "raised a lot of money for the campaign will be getting some top jobs." She critiqued, "For the President who said he really wants to get money out of politics, this is definitely sullying some of that brand." But where have the networks been?
A report today from Nicole Winfield at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, headlines the news that Pope Francis's revision and update of Vatican City laws "criminalizes leaks." Meanwhile, searches on relevant terms at the AP's national web site ("leaks"; "insider threat" "McClatchy"; all not in quotes) return either nothing, or nothing relevant.
AP's apparent decision thus far to ignore McClatchy's latest story on the Obama administration's unprecedented "Insider Threat Program," which requires federal employees to snitch on each other for "suspicious behavior" or face serious discipline and even prosecution, is -- well, readers can pick their own adjectives after reading excerpts from McClatchy's latest item which follow the jump.
As defenses go to the charge of having lied to the people of New York about illegal activities, Eliot Spitzer's was feeble at best. Hey, politicans lie all the time about all sorts of stuff, was the essence of Client #9-turned-Comptroller-candidate's response.
Spitzer's lame defense [he literally said: "I think we all know that politicians dissemble all the time about negotiations, on substantive issues and probably on personal issues as well"] came in response to some serious grilling by Mark Halperin on today's Morning Joe. The Spitzer segment was set up to feature Mika Brzezinski as chief inquisitor, but it was actually Halperin who subjected Spritzer to the closest scrutiny. View the video after the jump.
We’re halfway through 2013, and PBS’s Washington Week used last Friday’s episode to reflect on the past six months of D.C. politics. During the course of the reflections, moderator Gwen Ifill trotted out the oft-uttered liberal complaint about “distractions” that have impeded President Obama’s second-term agenda so far.
She lamented, “You know, the one thing that's been a common theme throughout this first six months has been distractions. The ways in which pure politics has driven what ends up happening.” [Video below the break.]
Monday's CBS This Morning twice mentioned Kristin Davis, one of Eliot Spitzer's electoral opponents, during an interview of the disgraced former New York governor, but failed to mention that she claims to be the madam who sold Spitzer the services of prostitutes. Norah O'Donnell wondered, "Did you just look at the role of comptroller and say, 'look, I'd be running against Kristin Davis. I could probably easily get elected'.
O'Donnell led the interview with the issue of the former governor's prostitution scandal, and later mentioned Davis' name, but failed to mention the possible connection. Co-anchor Gayle King also referenced Spitzer's political adversary, but omitted her former "Manhattan Madam" role.
Charlie Rose forwarded the latest liberal spin about the IRS scandal on Tuesday's CBS This Morning. The anchor hyped how the agency apparently placed liberal groups on "be-on-the-lookout" lists, and asked Rep. Paul Ryan, "Does it look less partisan with this new information?"
Moments earlier in the morning newscast, correspondent Nancy Cordes reported that "groups were flagged for a whole variety of reasons when they applied for tax-exempt status, and Democrats say that's proof that there was no partisan agenda at the IRS." [audio clips available here; video below the jump]
In a desperate attempt to dismiss the ongoing IRS scandal, on MSNBC's The Daily Rundown on Tuesday, host and NBC News political director Chuck Todd seized on reports "that it wasn't just conservative groups who were targeted by the IRS" and wondered if it was "turning into a story of Republicans overplaying their hand." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Turning to his panel of guests, absent any conservative, Todd proclaimed: "The IRS 'scandal' looks like it's a bureaucratic scandal. Not the political scandal that Republicans were wishing that they had come up with." He made air quotes with his hands as he said the word "scandal." Panelist Michelle Bernard eagerly agreed with Todd's assertion: "Absolutely. They – it appears that they have really overplayed their hand."
Netroots Nation, the leftist annual convention currently in progress in San Jose (next year it's in Detroit; can't wait), bills itself as a "connector of awesome progressive activists."
Based on Emily Schultheis's Saturday morning report at the Politico on the viewpoints of those in attendance, the gathering's slogan should really be, "Blame it on Bush and Boehner." The Politico reporter also professes surprise that these largely angry leftists aren't angry at President Barack Obama, as if anyone would have really expected that (bolds are mine):
"The national news media are aiding and abetting a censorship campaign," regarding the "cascading" IRS scandal, Media Research Center founder and president Brent Bozell argued on the June 21 edition of Fox Business Network's Varney & Co.
Bozell noted, for example, that only CBS's This Morning covered the fact that IRS officials received $70 million in employee bonuses this year, despite a White House order freezing such bonuses during the sequester cutbacks. [MP3 audio here; Watch the video of the segment following the page break]
MSNBC's Martin Bashir on Tuesday snarled at a fellow liberal, Congressman Alan Grayson, for daring to compare the National Security Agency's spying program to Nazi Germany. This is the same Bashir who, on January 14, 2013, compared conservatives to Hitler.
Linking Grayson to the dreaded National Rifle Association, Bashir attacked, "The NRA says a bill which prohibits a gun registry is actually an echo of Hitler. And, of course, you've mentioned the Nazis in connection with the NSA." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] In January, however, Bashir lectured, "If anyone deserves to be equated with Hitler on the issue of firearms, then it's not the President. It's the NRA." Mr. Bashir, are Nazi comparisons wrong or not?
On Monday, Charlie Rose was more than halfway through his 47-minute interview with President Obama on PBS before he finally brought up one of the several scandals surrounding the liberal's administration. Rose pursued Obama about the NSA's leaked domestic surveillance program, but failed to mention any of the other scandals, including the IRS's targeting of conservative groups and the Justice Department's investigation of journalists.
The veteran journalist also echoed the President's critics from the left about "the notion of that you have simply continued the policies of Bush/Cheney...many people say you're Bush/Cheney-lite. And then, people write columns saying, no, no, no, he's not that at all! He's tougher."
Both parties constantly make accusations that their rival is engaged in hypocritical, unethical, or illegal behavior. But given the drastic lack of ideological diversity in the American elite media, the general public usually only hears about such accusations against Republicans.
Beyond the fact that biased reporting shapes public opinion to favor the left, it may also have an effect on law enforcement. The persistent lies that have been told about right-leaning political groups by leading Democrats, including President Obama himself, may have led to the IRS abuses of power that we’ve heard so much about in recent weeks.
ABC on Monday allowed a scant 22 seconds to the latest revelation in the scandal engulfing the Internal Revenue Service. NBC and CBS have, thus far, ignored the newest detail. The Associated Press on Sunday night reported that an IRS "supervisor in Washington says she was personally involved in scrutinizing some of the earliest applications from tea party groups seeking tax-exempt status."
Josh Elliott on Monday's Good Morning America explained, "That testimony contradicts IRS claims that agents in the Cincinnati field office were solely responsible for targeting those groups." Yet, a brief mention was all the morning show host could allow. In contrast, GMA devoted two minutes and 15 seconds to the relationship stars between Kanye West and Kim Kardashian. ABC also didn't note that the IRS employee in question, Holly Paz, donated $4000 to Barack Obama's 2008 presidential campaign.
Either CNN's Tom Cohen, his headline and subheadline writers, or both thought it was a bit over the top to describe the IRS's targeting of Tea Party, conservative, and religious groups as a "forgotten scandal" in a Friday story. Evidence that the subheadline originally read "Republicans try to keep the public focused on the forgotten scandal of IRS targeting of conservative groups" is here and here.
As will be seen after the jump, Cohen tries to make the case that there's nothing to see, that everyone who matters agrees with him, and that forgetting about the scandal would be defensible (bolds are mine):
In a four-paragraph "Big Story" item time-stamped 10:48 a.m. ("CURRENT, FORMER OFFICIALS BACK SECRET SURVEILLANCE"), Stephen Braun at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, names several Sunday news program guests who he writes are "are supporting the government's collection of phone and Internet data following new revelations about the secret surveillance programs aimed at disrupting terrorist plots." Meanwhile, the Politico is hyping former Vice President Dick Cheney's characterization of Edward Snowden as a "traitor."
Both outlets, and thus far most of the establishment press, are ignoring a report by CNETs Declan McCullagh Saturday afternoon which I believe would be dominating the news by now if anyone except Barack Obama were President. It directly contradicts an assertion Obama made -- "Nobody is listening to your phone calls" -- shortly after the NSA-Snowden story broke, and one of Congress' most liberal Democrats is the source (links are in original; bolds are mine):
In an early Wednesday morning story which seems to have been a strategic trial balloon, Charles Babington at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, ran a story trying to portray the NSA surveillance revelations by Edward Snowden and subsequent developments as matters which have only riled up people on the "far left and far right." Otherwise, the American people are okey-dokey with NSA's data dragnet. Too bad for Babington and the administration, as I demonstrated in Part 1 (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), that what appears to have been a belated attempt to intimidate prominent elected politicians has to a large extent not worked.
This post will further show that polling data Babington cited near the end of his report contradicts his claim that "Solid majorities of Americans and their elected representatives appear to support the chief elements of the government's secret data-gathering."
In an early Wednesday morning story which seems to have been a strategic trial balloon, Charles Babington at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, ran a story trying to portray the NSA surveillance revelations by Edward Snowden and subsequent developments as matters which have only riled up people on the "far left and far right." Otherwise, the American people are okey-dokey with NSA's data dragnet. Too bad for Babington and the administration that what appears to have been a belated attempt to intimidate prominent elected politicians has to a large extent not worked, and that polling data he cited near the end of his report (to be covered in Part 2) contradicts his claim that "Solid majorities of Americans and their elected representatives appear to support the chief elements of the government's secret data-gathering."
You can tell that Babington's effort was something out of the ordinary, because the self-described "Essential Global Network" actually used the term "far left" in the story's headline and content. In a U.S. story, that almost never happens unless a reporter is quoting a far-leftists' conservative or moderate opponent. Usually, the only time you see "far left" used in U.S. AP content is to identify a person's placement in a photo. Excerpts from the story follow the jump.
Not that it absolves them from blame, but one contributor to the Big Three establishment TV networks' utter failure to report on or keep up with developments in the IRS targeting scandal -- failures which have been noted by Geoffrey Dickens at NewsBusters, as well as by the Media Research Center's Brent Bozell on Sean Hannity's TV show last night -- is the Associated Press.
The AP provides much of the raw material for the networks' stories and largely determines the nets' perception as to which stories are important. It is still quite appropriate to refer to it as the Administration's Press, even after Obama administration Attorney General Eric Holder admitted to scouring phone records involving 20 business and personal lines used by over 100 AP reporters and editors in April and May of last year. Yesterday's failure by the wire service's Pete Yost to even mention that the IRS scandal was on the agenda at a House Judiciary Committee hearing yesterday involving FBI Director Robert Mueller exemplifies how negligent or intimidated (or both) the AP has become.
"The media finally recognized a[n] [Obama] scandal, but then slowly but surely they took their foot off the gas," Fox News Channel's Sean Hannity noted of the media's treatment of the IRS/Tea Party scandal as he opened the "Media Mash" segment with NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell on Thursday's Hannity. As Hannity opened the segment, an on-screen graphic [embedded below the page break] displayed data collected by Media Research Center (MRC) deputy research director Geoff Dickens which showed the broadcast media's waning interest in reporting on developments in the scandal.
"Look, the first two weeks of this scandal, 96 stories. The second two weeks, 31 stories. This week: one story. It's over," as far as the media are concerned, the MRC founder noted, even though the MRC's own CNSNews.com division broke some damning revelations related to the IRS scandal this week. For example, Bozell noted:
John Dickerson downplayed most of the recent scandals surrounding the Obama administration on Thursday's CBS This Morning, asserting that the White House was "trying to get something done on immigration....they're trying to stay focused on the things that really matter to this presidency, and only trying to spend a small amount of time putting out these little fires."
This came mere moments after Dickerson acknowledged the potential for the scandals to affect the President's legacy: "At the worst end...you get a feeling it's a scandal a week related to the administration, and if that idea sets in – that there's a kind of, rot....that affects the President's legacy." [audio available here; video below the jump]