Blogs

By Tom Blumer | February 14, 2015 | 2:05 AM EST

Late Friday afternoon, roughly two hours ("shortly after noon" Pacific Time) after the press release announcing Oregon Democratic Governor John Kitzhaber's resignation effective next Wednesday, Philip Bump at the Washington Post's "The Fix" blog tried to explain away the national press's nearly complete failure to cover Kitzhaber's mounting ethical and now potentially criminal problems for nearly four months. This is the same bunch which obsessed over Republican Governor Chris Christie's "Bridgegate" non-scandal for months on end.

Bump specifically linked to and quoted — and, predictably mischaracterized — yours truly's related Thursday afternoon post at NewsBusters. The short answer to Bump's whining is simply that Kitzhaber's problems were self-evidently very serious from the get-go in October, and grew by degrees with virtually each passing week, while Bridgegate, which was beaten like a drum for months on end, never progressed beyond the status of a pathetically weak hatchet job.

By Tom Blumer | February 12, 2015 | 7:29 PM EST

In a sign that the walls are truly beginning to close in around him, the Associated Press's national site and the New York Times, both of which have largely ignored the growing ethical scandals surrounding Oregon Democratic Governor John Kitzhaber and his fiancee Cylvia Hayes for months, have gotten busy during the past 24 hours.

The very belated national attention cannot possibly be helpful to his survival prospects. It should have come months ago, but apparently ensuring that a Democrat would remain in charge of the Beaver State was too important a matter for the national press to consider spreading the results of the outstanding investigative journalism done by Nigel Jaquiss at Willamette Week beyond the state's borders.

By Tom Blumer | February 11, 2015 | 5:14 PM EST

By yesterday afternoon, the Obama administration recognized that it had a serious problem on its hands. Zeke Miller at Time.com reported that 2008 presidential campaign manager and longtime adviser David Axelord's book revealed that, in Miller's words, "Barack Obama misled Americans for his own political benefit when he claimed in the 2008 election to oppose same sex marriage for religious reasons." Obama never opposed same-sex marriage, but acted on advice from Axelrod and others to act as if he did during the campaign.

Axelrod's claim generated enough coverage that Team Obama knew that even the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, was going to have to do some kind of story on his adviser's revelation. So how to do damage control without creating the kind of stir which would force the network broadcasters to inform low-information voters of the core deception? That's easy. Throw all pretenses of presidential dignity out the window and go to (holy moly) Buzzfeed.

By Tom Blumer | February 11, 2015 | 1:49 PM EST

Tara Parker-Pope attempted a defense of disgraced NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams in an item ("Was Brian Williams a Victim of False Memory?") posted at the New York Times "Well" blog — late Monday afternoon. It even made Tuesday's New York version of the Old Gray Lady's print edition.

Parker-Pope's premise, similar to that used by Marison Bello at USA Today three days earlier — even using the same "expert" as a source — is that the Williams saga "offers a compelling case study in how memories can change and shift dramatically over time." Parker-Pope's post is particularly pathetic because it appeared online a full four days after Variety reported that Williams "had been counseled in the past by senior NBC News executives to stop telling the story in public." Over the next several days, other media outlets corroborated and built upon what Variety reported. In other words, even if one buys into the memory-shift idea, it can't possibly apply in the Williams case. Excerpts follow the jump (bolds are mine):

By Tom Blumer | February 11, 2015 | 9:56 AM EST

Very few things drive leftists to distraction more than a strong Republican or conservative woman achieving political power.

Joni Ernst is a perfect example. The strong-willed freshman Senator from Iowa describes herself in three words: "Mother. Soldier. Leader." Imagine the howls of outrage if a conservative went after a liberal female combat veteran as Andrew Reinbach at Huffington Post did on Friday. Reinbach tried to claim that Ernst is not really a combat veteran, and questioned "The Honor of Senator Joni Ernst."

By Tom Blumer | February 11, 2015 | 12:00 AM EST

In his story on Brian Williams at 10:55 p.m. ET Tuesday, Gabriel Sherman at New York Magazine reported that the now-suspended anchor and his agent "were presented with a dossier of Williams' apparent lies," and that "Williams himself was only slowly grasping the depths of the mess he'd created."

That begs the obvious question of whether the public will ever get to know what's in that "dossier," and what impact its contents may have had on the substance of NBC's news reports during the past dozen (if not more) years. Excerpts from Sherman's report follow the jump (links are in original; bolds are mine):

By Tom Blumer | February 10, 2015 | 6:05 PM EST

John Hinderaker at Powerline is certainly correct when he notes that the media elites love "Girls," the HBO show starring sister-abusing, rapist-misidentifying Lena Dunham.

Critics rave about how great the show and its main characters are, frequently employing complimentary adjectives descriptive of or synonymous with "smart." Hinderaker was brave enough to peruse the script of the show's Season 4 episode which aired on Sunday. What he found instead fit the categories of "insulting" and "stunningly ignorant":

By Tom Blumer | February 10, 2015 | 3:28 PM EST

In a new book, Obama 2008 campaign manager and longtime Obama adviser David Axelrod reveals that, in the words of Zeke J. Miller at Time.com, "Barack Obama misled Americans for his own political benefit when he claimed in the 2008 election to oppose same sex marriage for religious reasons."

The subheadline at Miller's coverage calls it "A striking admission of political dishonesty from the keeper of the Obama flame." In my view, given that David Axelrod wouldn't make such an admission without permission, it's also a juvenile "Nyah-nyah, we fooled you, and you can't do anything about it!" taunt. Additional excerpts from Miller's article follow the jump (HT Michael Walsh at PJ Media; bolds are mine throughout this post):

By Tom Blumer | February 9, 2015 | 3:33 PM EST

At about 2:40 this afternoon, Stars and Stripes published a "full transcript of the Feb. 4 (Wednesday) interview in which the anchor admits he was never on the attacked helicopter and claims he was unaware his flight was not directly behind but actually far from the company that was hit."

Williams, in admitting that his flight was far from the company that was hit, is acknowledging that the statement he made that very evening on his Nightly News broadcast — that "I was instead in a following aircraft" — was false, and misled his viewers into believing he was near the dangers involved. Also unaddressed are the following items among many which have arisen since that interview: whether even the original 2003 broadcasts from the anchor's time in Iraq were misleading from the start; how, in the circumstances supposedly just clarified, Williams could have told a college journalist in 2007 that he "looked down the tube of an RPG that had been fired at us"; and other questionable items relating to other stories which have since surfaced. Excerpts from the interview with Travis J. Tritten of Stars and Stripes follow the jump (bolds are mine):

By Tom Blumer | February 9, 2015 | 1:31 PM EST

In an entry at the Washington Post's Volokh Conspiracy blog yesterday, George Mason University School of Law Professor David Bernstein asked, "Did the Obama Administration lie about Netanyahu?"

The issue is whether, when and how the Obama White House learned of the Israeli Prime Minister's plans to deliver a speech to the U.S. Congress. The New York Times got dragged into the discussion, and deservedly so. Additionally, Bernstein went back to 2011 to note that Netanyahu had appeared before Congress before without Team Obama howling about it. But Bernstein, and apparently others, haven't focused on what Netanyahu said in that 2011 address, and how its content almost certainly infuriated President Barack Obama, who just days earlier had declared that Israel's 1967 borders should be the starting point for any territorial negotiations in a two-state solution with a Palestinian state.

By Tom Blumer | February 8, 2015 | 10:15 PM EST

Friday morning on Fox and Friends, Geraldo Rivera, echoing Rathergate, the 2004 scandal which put the blogosphere and New Media on the map to stay and accelerated its growth, reacted to the Brian Williams debacle by denouncing those criticizing the NBC Nightly News anchor "from the safety of their mother's basement," telling them that they should just "shut up."

Saturday, in a pair of tweets reacting to Williams' decision, quoting from the anchor's internal memo, "to take myself off of my daily broadcast for the next several days," Rivera expressed sharp disappointment, saying that Williams should "stand & fight." But in an epic fail, the Twitter account to which he linked in one of his rants belongs to a different Brian Williams.

By Tom Blumer | February 7, 2015 | 6:36 PM EST

This is for the "false memories" and "he's an untouchable 'brand' crowds defending Brian Williams, who this afternoon announced that he has "decided to take myself off of my daily broadcast for the next several days."

At the 2-minute mark of the 2007 interview with a collegiate reporter following the jump, watch Williams speak of his alleged brushes with danger, including how he "looked down the tube of an RPG" during what has now been described by the Associated Press as his "fake Iraq story" (HT Ace and several others):