In case you didn't get the gist of President Obama's Thursday speech at National Defense University, the AP's Robert Burns boiled it down on Saturday, perhaps supportively: "OBAMA REFOCUSES TERROR THREAT TO PRE-9/11 LEVEL."
That leaves one annoying detail Burns and Obama ignore: The "pre-9/11 threat level" wasn't that much different from the threat level during the first few years after 9/11. But our response in going to a war footing and more conscientious coordination at home was. As a result, there were no more successful terrorist attacks until the Ft. Hood massacre (mislabeled "workplace violence by our hapless government) in November 2009. The World Trade Centers were bombed in 1993. After that, there were at least the following: Khobar Towers in 1996, the American embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998, the USS Cole in 2000, and other incidents in the U.S. which may have been inspired by Islamist terrorists despite official conclusions to the contrary. The "pre-9/11 threat level" was actually higher, especially if one remembers, well, 9/11. But that's certainly not the message Obama, with Burns's help, is trying to convey. Instead, it's that the President "has all but declared" that global war on terror is over (bolds are mine):
Code Pink's Media Benjamin managed to break into another presidential event on Thursday, namely Barack Obama's speech at the National Defense University. The topic was "U.S. Counterterrorism Strategy," meaning that the administration's aversion to the T-word seems to be diminishing as the damaging scandal-related news continues to pour in.
Readers will see that Benjamin was relatively civil towards Obama. In fact, Kathleen Hennessey and Christi Parsons at the Los Angeles Times wrote the following: "Rather than dismiss Benjamin as a heckler, the president engaged her, asking her to let him explain but also pausing to listen as she continued to talk while security closed in around her." That behavior is in direct contrast to how she behaved last decade during the Bush administration -- something never mentioned in any coverage of Thursday's speech I found. The full exchange with Obama followed by a recounting of what made Benjamin an overnight sensation in Sepetmber 2002, follow the jump.
A Google News search on "Sweden riots" done tonight at 10 PM ET (not in quotes, sorted by date, with duplicates) returned 314 items. Adding the word "Muslim" to the search reduced the number of results to nine. Fewer than a handful are from establishment press outlets, and one of those only appeared in the search results because a commenter and not the story's writer used the M-word.
That pretty much tells you all you need to know about the determined denial of reality in which the worldwide press is engaged in reporting riots in the suburbs of Stockholm, which have entered their fifth day. The Associated Press, as would be expected, is a willing participant in that exercise, as the following headline which could have been (any maybe was) written by an Occupy movement member and the accompanying excerpt from a Thursday afternoon story filed by the wire service's Malin Rising demonstrates (bolds are mine throughout this post):
The Big Three networks coverage so far of the Justice Department's questionable investigation of Fox News' James Rosen has followed a similar pattern to that of their coverage of the Kermit Gosnell case. Jan Crawford's report on Thursday's CBS This Morning was the first full report on growing controversy on ABC, CBS, and NBC's morning and evening newscasts. NBC briefly covered the investigation on Tuesday's Today, and ABC has yet to mention it.
Crawford pointed out how the DOJ's "unprecedented" surveillance of Rosen has "really just set off a firestorm of criticism from the left and right. For the first time ever, a presidential administration is treating news reporting like a crime, and a reporter like a criminal suspect." [audio available here; video below the jump]
But all that doesn't matter to the Post's Walter Pincus, who dutifully defended Team Obama in his May 21 column, "AP leak investigation less clear-cut than the uproar." It seems the national security correspondent and columnist doesn't mind an intrusive, secret investigation, now and then, so long as it's in service of aiding a liberal president or undermining a conservative one as in the now-infamous Valerie Plame case (emphasis mine):
At Bloomberg Views, Al Hunt, formerly "the executive editor of Bloomberg News, directing coverage of the Washington bureau," referred to the controversies swirling around the White House as "faux scandals" and insisted that ... wait for it ... the Obama administration "is the most scandal-free administration in recent memory." No wonder Bloomberg News developed into such a hopelessly biased outfit while he was there. As much as I could stand to excerpt from Hunt's harangue follows the jump (bolds and numbered tags are mine):
Well, it looks like I was right earlier this afternoon when I thought that the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, was among those holding off on reporting the Wall Street Journal's Sunday evening disclosure that Kathryn Ruemmler, the head of the Office of the White House Counsel, "learned weeks ago that an audit of the Internal Revenue Service likely would show that agency employees inappropriately targeted conservative groups" was "nervous about the Journal’s report, waiting for administration apparatchiks to tell them what to say, or both."
It turns out that the AP, in an unbylined report, waited until Jay Carney told them what to say and then pretended that the Journal's Sunday story didn't exist (the time stamp seen at story as carried at the AP's national site at the time of this post was 2:51 p.m.; the graphic which follows is of the identical story at Yahoo News):
Yesterday (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), I took apart Espo's claim that there is a "lack of evidence to date of wrongdoing close to the Oval Office" by showing that in at least five situations -- Fast and Furious, Benghazi, IRS targeting, AP phone snooping, and HHS's shaking down of insurance companies to fund ObamaCare promotions -- have all been known by people who directly report to the President, and are thus just one step away from him. On Sunday evening, the Wall Street Journal reported that in the case of the IRS targeting, it's a lot less than one step (bolds are mine):
While the the front page of today's Washington Post is actually reporting significant developments in two of Barack Obama's trifecta of scandals, the Washington Post Company-owned free tabloid the Express is busy lamenting if the president will ever get "A Break from the Storm?"
Perhaps, as "advisers say," he "should stage a major economic speech to drown out the noise[emphasis mine] of recent scandals," Express editors helpfully offered in a caption for their front-page photo illustration, which depicted a grimacing President Obama getting drenched in a downpour [see image below page break].
It has only been a week since the Associated Press learned that its reporters' privacy and the confidentiality of their relationships with sources were violated on a massive and unprecedented scale by Eric Holder's Justice Department in April and May of last year. DOJ has admitted that it secretly obtained the call records for 20 personal and business lines used by over 100 AP reporters and editors. Despite its insistence that they were looking for the person who leaked information about a foiled terrorist plot, there is reason to believe the DOJ's fishing expedition was a childish response to the wire service's refusal to let the government crow about the foiled operation before anyone reported on it.
In the wake of all of this, the AP, appears determined to soldier on as the wire service more appropriately described as the Administration's Press. That's about the only way one can view the Saturday afternoon dispatch from the AP's David Espo and its accompanying headline:
In a story appearing this morning at the Politico about the Department of Justice's broad and unannounced subpoenas of the April and May 2012 personal and business phone records of reporters and editors at the Associated Press involving 20 phone lines and involving over 100 reporters and editors, James Hohmann found several "veteran prosecutors" who aren't necessarily outraged by what most members of the press and several watchdog groups have declared a blatant overreach. Instead, Hohmann summarizes their "far more measured response" as: "It’s complicated."
Hohmann utterly ignored a May 15 Washington Post story which chronicled claimed discussions between AP and government officials. Ultimately, it appears that the Obama administration's Department of Justice under Eric Holder may have only gone after AP out of spite because the wire service refused to accommodate administration requests to allow it time to crow about foiling a terrorist plot before the story gained meaningful visibility, and not because the release of the story, especially after what appears to have been an appropriate and negotiated delay, represented a genuine security risk. One obvious unanswered question is why DOJ waited, according to the AP's Mark Sherman in his original story, until "earlier this year" to obtain the phone records if it was so darned important to find out who the alleged leaker was.
MSNBC is known for having bizarrely liberal commentators dubbed “political analysts” who hold forth their opinions while others on the panel nod in agreement. One such frequent panelist is Georgetown University's Dr. Michael Eric Dyson.
But on Wednesday's Now with Alex Wagner, Dyson went to new bizarre and nonsensical heights in his reaction to the controversy involved the Obama/Holder DOJ secretly subpoenaing the phone records of AP reporters. And yes, before you ask, the "Debating Race" author tossed in some absurd reference to race even though it had absolutely nothing to do with the story. [See video after jump. MP3 audio here.]
In a disptach early this evening, the Associated Press's Pete Yost, perhaps signaling his employer's intent to remain the journalistic lapdog known as the Administration's Press, accepted at face value Attorney General Eric Holder's claim, while defending his department's actions, to have played no role in its wide-ranging subpoena of two months of AP phone records involving 20 cellular, personal and business lines used by over 100 wire service reporters and editors. Yost also did not address whether DOJ received judicial approval for its fishing expedition, a question the AP's Mark Sherman identified last night as unresolved.
It apparently hasn't occurred to Yost that if an Attorney General is aware that his underlings are about to engage in blatant, First Amendment-chilling prosecutorial overreach and intimidation -- a characterization the reporter himself made clear is shared by critics of all political stripes -- merely removing oneself from the case is a completely insufficient reaction. Instead, the AG is duty-bound to order it not to happen, and to remove anyone who chooses to defy his order. If the AG supports what his people have done, then he's responsible for the results and fallout. That's how being the boss is supposed to work. Excerpts from Yost's report follow the jump (bolds are mine):
In a move which appears conveniently timed to coincide with a wave of other arguably more damaging bad news for the administration, the Associated Press has reported that the Department of Justice informed the wire service on Friday that it had secretly obtained two months of reporters' and editors' telephone records.
In the words of AP's Mark Sherman, in coverage late this afternoon, "the government seized the records for more than 20 separate telephone lines assigned to AP and its journalists in April and May of 2012." Sherman also notes that "more than 100 journalists work in the offices where phone records were targeted, on a wide array of stories about government and other matters," and that those records "were presumably obtained from phone companies earlier this year" (i.e., after Obama was safely re-elected). More from Sherman's report, a comment from yours truly, and several comments by others who have read AP's coverage follow the jump (bolds are mine):
It says something about the seriousness of the rest of the news during the past several days when a story about unethical spying by reporters working for a company founded and built by the current mayor of New York City barely makes a ripple.
It has been alleged, and now admitted, that Bloomberg reporters monitored terminal login activity to develop stories about possible Wall Street executive departures before anyone else outside the entities involved knew and for other news-gathering purposes. The practice appears to go back to when Gotham Mayor Michael Bloomberg was still at the helm of Bloomberg LP, as seen in the bolded sections in the excerpt from a Saturday CNBC news story which follows the jump:
How many times have we heard establishment press members, particularly broadcasters, insist that no one on the left side of the gun control discussion wants to take away anyone's guns? Just a few examples include CNN's Piers Morgan, CNN's Carol Costello, and MSNBC's Alex Wagner, even after New York Governor Andrew Cuomo was quoted in the New York Times before Christmas saying that "confiscation could be an option." Currently, New York, as Hot Air's Jazz Shaw noted in late April, actually is confiscating guns, based on "the exercise of reasonable professional judgment" of "mental health professionals."
Though I'm sure they'll try, the deniers are going to have a hard time explaining away what the Association of New Jersey Rifle and Pistol Clubs has reported with accompanying audio. After the conclusion of a hearing of New Jersey's Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee, an open mic captured the following discussion among three Democratic senators (HT PolitiChicks via Instapundit; internal link and bolds are in original):
The Associated Press could not very well ignore today's hearing at which whistleblowers are testifying as to the events surrounding the Benghazi attack and the Obama administration's failed response thereto. So AP did the next best thing from its liberal perspective: it downplayed the hearing's significance, casting it as a purely partisan event in its headline as a "GOP hearing."
That is not mere MSM spin: it is blatant journalistic malpractice. This is not some unofficial hearing held under Republican auspices. It is an entirely official hearing before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Yes, there has in recent times been a faux House "hearing" held by a political party for partisan purposes. That would be the "hearing" held by Democrats in February 2012, featuring Sandra Fluke. More after the jump.
At the Daily Beast on Sunday, liberal Peter Beinart called on Democrats and liberals to "strongly denounce" former South Carolina Democratic Party Chairman Dick Harpootlian's insult campaign against Palmetto State Governor Nikki Haley, or else "Democratic Party bigotry is likely to get worse."
It's too early to test Beinart's long-term prediction (such bigotry is bad enough already), but the denunciations he desires are nowhere to be found, even as Harpootlian has doubled and tripled down on his original wish to see Haley sent “back to wherever the hell she came from.” Meanwhile, the establishment press has virtually ignored Harpootlian's unhinged harangues.
In a web interview after his appearance on ABC's “This Week” yesterday, former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, who suddenly withdrew after being nominated by President Barack Obama to be his first Secretary of Commerce in 2009, was asked the following about freshman U.S. Senator Ted Cruz: "Do you think he represents most Hispanics with his politics?"
The latest insensitive and arguably racist public utterance coming from the supposed party of tolerance and compassion comes from a Democrat in South Carolina. But not just any Democrat. This one is Dick Harpootlian, the Chairman of the South Carolina Democratic Party. Harpootlian has a history of making outrageously offensive public remarks about South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, yet he remained as party chairman until (according to Politico) his term ended on Saturday.
Mediaite, Politico, and almost no one else in the establishment press has reported that Harpootlian, speaking at a Jefferson-Jackson dinner Friday night just before Vice President Joe Biden appeared, said while introducing South Carolina gubernatorial candidate Vincent Sheheen (as carried at Mediaite; HT Instapundit): "In about 18 months from now,” he said, “hopefully he’ll have sent Nikki Haley back to wherever the hell she came from."
How do you know when a Democratic politician's or candidate's quote will either hurt that person or hurt President Obama (in this case, it's the latter)? When the Politico reports it, and the Associated Press avoids it.
Elizabeth Colbert Busch, who is running against former South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford for the congressional seat opened up when Tim Scott was appointed to replace Jim DeMint, apparently felt the need to appeal to those who oppose ObamaCare during a debate on Monday evening. Here's what she said, according to Politico's David Nather and Darren Samuelsohn:
You've got hand it to some (probably most) of the reporters at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press. Their story is that the economy is all right, and by gosh, they're sticking to it.
Tom Raum's dispatch yesterday is a case in point. Along the way, he pulled out several of the tired spin-driven claims which have long since been taken down but which haven't yet penetrated the skulls of low-information voters. Raum and AP seem puzzled that the supposedly okey-dokey economy doesn't seem to be helping President Obama or Democrats' 2014 congressional and senatorial election prospects (bolds and numbered tags are mine):
On Friday, the government reported that the economy grew by an annualized 2.5 percent during the first quarter. Earlier today, in Part 1 of this series, (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog) I showed that while most news organizations, including CNN, Bloomberg and Reuters, characterized that news as a disappointment, especially comparred to expectations of 3.0 percent or more following an awful fourth quarter of 0.4%, Martin Crutsinger and Chris Rugaber remained irrationally exuberant, not only about the "quickened" pace of growth but about prospects for higher growth in the second half of this year.
In Part 2 (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), we saw how even others at the self-described Essential Global News Network disagreed with Crutsinger's and Rugaber's joint assessment. A "News Summary" item was headlined "STOCKS STALL AS GROWTH DISAPPOINTS." A report by AP Markets Writer Steve Rothwell was headlined "STOCKS STALL ON TEPID US ECONOMIC GROWTH," and forecasted slower growth during the rest of the year. There is one other key paragraph written by the pair of AP economics writers which deserves separate vetting. It follows the jump (bolds are mine throughout this post):
On Friday, the government reported that the economy grew by an annualized 2.5 percent during the first quarter. As I noted in Part 1 (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), three establishment press outlets (CNN, Bloomberg, and Reuters) pronounced the result "disappointing" -- but not Martin Crutsinger and Christopher Rugaber at the Associated Press, whose headline read "AFTER NEAR-STALL IN LATE 2012, US ECONOMY PICKS UP," and whose content described the economy as having "quickened its pace" as "the strongest consumer spending in two years fueled a 2.5 percent annual growth rate in the January-March quarter."
It turns out that the AP pair's enthusiasm was not only not shared at other news organizations. It wasn't even shared within AP, as will be seen after the jump.
On Friday, the government reported that the economy grew by an annualized 2.5 percent during the first quarter. The awful 0.4 percent result seen in the fourth quarter was largely sloughed off as caused by a number of one-time factors. Analysts convinced themselves that reported first-quarter growth would come in at 3.0 percent or slightly higher in Friday's release. Instead, we saw what Zero Hedge noted was the biggest such expectations miss since September 2011.
As a result, at least three establishment press organizations pronounced the result disappointing -- except for two business reporters at the Associated Press whose names are virtual fixtures here.
On April 4, the Associated Press' Christopher Rugaber wrote: "Gone are the fears that the economy could fall into another recession."
Having in effect announced the repeal of the business cycle for the foreseeable future, despite the fact that the economy's post-recession job recovery performance has been the worst since World War II by miles, it seems that Rugaber is now doing his best to prop up his assertion with shaky claims about the meaning of government economic reports. That would include the second sentence of his opening paragraph of his dispatch on Thursday's report on jobless claims from the government's Department of Labor (bolds are mine):
The brief AP report's third paragraph then has Menino saying, again in AP's words, that "another person was taken into custody" after "a pipe bomb was found in another location." This apparent inconsistency seems to be an attempt by the mayor to minimize the degree of homegrown "sleeper cell" concerns, especially in light of reports containing a cascade of contradicting details which follow the jump.
To be clear, this criticism is not of President Obama. It is directed at the Associated Press's Jim Kuhnhenn, who seems to think that the impact of any and all events in the nation and the world on the status of Obama's "presidency" is more important than any other consideration.
Those who might have given the Associated Press's Jimmy Golen the benefit of the doubt early this morning for writing that the Boston Marathon bombings "raised alarms that terrorists might have struck again in the U.S." are going to have a tougher time doing so with his 8:15 a.m. report, in which he wrote that "the blasts among the throngs of spectators raised fears of a terrorist attack." In context, readers can insert "that it was" to replace "of." (If he meant to write "that there will be another terorrist attack," he would have. He didn't.)
The first several paragraphs of Golen's report (since revised; the referenced report is saved here for future reference, fair use and discussion purposes) follow they jump: