Eager to reset the political discussion away from scandal and in a manner that promotes Barack Obama as an almost apolitical statesman, MSNBC's Morning Joe this morning turned to a liberal Washington Post columnist who praised the president as a “middle-of-the-road liberal" dominated by Republican who have “gone way to the right” of their own party historically.
E.J. Dionne was brought on the Tuesday edition of MSNBC's morning show to defend his argument in Sunday's Washington Post op-ed that the president “wants to invite the nation to reason together with him.” Defending the president's scandal-ridden administration, Dionne absurdly pouted that:
For the first time in 140 years, the GOP in North Carolina controls both chambers of the state legislature and the governor’s mansion, a feat that many find surprising for a state that up until 2008 had not voted for a Democrat for President since Jimmy Carter in 1976. The May 26 edition of The Washington Post chose not to describe this as local politics in the Tar Heel State catching up with its federal voting patterns but rather an example of a “hard turn to the right.”
In a 25-paragraph front page article, author Michael Fletcher lamented the state’s changing political dynamic, highlighting the “dozens of liberal demonstrators” who are “subjecting themselves to arrest each Monday at the state legislature” before going into details of how the North Carolina GOP capitalized on the state’s poor economy during Democratic stewardship to capture the legislature and governorship.
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.
“Liberal media bias is an old complaint,” the Wall Street Journal’s James Taranto noted in his “Best of the Web Today” column this past Monday on responses to the Obama scandals, before warning: “The Obama presidency has given it a new and dangerous form. Never has the prevailing bias of the media been so closely aligned with the ideological aims and political interests of the party in power.”
He recognized “the American media remain free and independent, or you would not be reading this column,” but zinged, “to a large extent they have functioned for the past few years as if they were under state control.”
The Washington Post carried a huge, almost life-size picture of Jay Carney’s head in the Style section on Friday. But it was designed as a pick-me-up for the embattled Obama spinner. It was a story about...Carney and his favorite rock band.
“Benghazi and the IRS have kept Carney scrambling, and he hasn’t had much time to listen to ‘English Little League,’ the latest album from the Ohio indie-rock band [Guided by Voices] he has affectionately name-dropped in more than one news briefing.” Critics want Carney canned, but the Post wants him to feel happy about the “beer-soaked brilliance” of his favorite rockers:
One obvious question which occurred to me and I suspect others when I read Ann Marimow's first account at the Washington Post dated May 19 of the search warrant issued in 2009 for the personal emails of Fox News reporter James Rosen was: "Where has this thing been hiding?"
The "Affadavit for Search Warrant" is dated May 28, 2010. Why did it come out just this week? Marimow didn't say. More stories followed, still without explanation. It's not unreasonable to believe that the Post might have sat on knowledge of its existence, and that someone who works at the U.S. Court may have deliberately worked to keep it invisible for 18 months after it was supposed to have been unsealed in November 2011.
Believe it or not, none of the largest national newspapers put an article on Wednesday’s IRS hearings on the front page. The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal had a picture of Lois Lerner, but sent the reader to an inside page for the story. The New York Times and USA Today offered no picture, either.
USA Today has an excuse: it put Lerner taking the Fifth on Wednesday’s front page in a preview. But The New York Times only put this taxpayer scandal on Page One: “Europe Pushes to Shed Stigma Of a Tax Haven.” Oh, heavens forbid. Andrew Higgins championed a “sweeping global assault on tax evasion,” starting in Luxembourg.
As the Obama staff labors to deny they’re waging what’s being called “Obama’s war on journalism,” it might not help to have journalists mocked as fussy “figure skating judges.”
In today’s Washington Post that’s what we read from David Plouffe as he defended the White House from the “minutiae” that the White House counsel urgently wanted to keep Obama clueless about a Treasury Department inspector general’s report on the IRS scandal:
Up until now, the funniest thing Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank has said in the Obama years is “I think the media would love to have an Obama scandal to cover.” Well, Milbank has finally found a scandal that upsets him: the leak investigation of Fox News reporter James Rosen.
“The Rosen affair is as flagrant an assault on civil liberties as anything done by George W. Bush’s administration, and it uses technology to silence critics in a way Richard Nixon could only have dreamed of.” It’s shaking Milbank’s confidence that the other Obama scandals aren’t scandals:
The Washington Post reported on Tuesday's front page that their ABC-Post poll showed Obama’s approval rating remained steady, with 51 percent approving and 44 percent disapproving. Then came the Post polling comparison to uncaring Republicans. Dan Balz and Jon Cohen reported: “A bare majority of Americans say they believe that Obama is focused on issues that are important to them personally; just 33 percent think so of congressional Republicans.” They illustrated that 18-point gap with a graph.
Should we draw from this question that lying to the public and using the imposing powers of the IRS to thwart conservative groups aren’t issues that the people need to care about? Would the Post have asked this question during the Watergate scandal? Or Iran-Contra? Inside the Post, their graphics relayed that 74 percent of the sample felt the IRS targeting was “inappropriate.”'
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):
On Friday's PoliticsNation on MSNBC, host Al Sharpton lambasted House Republicans for repeatedly voting to repeal ObamaCare, calling it a "scandal" and an "outrage," as he seemed to cite a questionable study from a left-wing source from 2009 claiming that 45,000 people a year die because they lack health insurance. Sharpton began the segment:
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].
Of all the scandals plaguing the Obama administration, the one involving the Internal Revenue Service appears to be the one that even liberal news outlets deem serious.
Count Washington Post Fact Checker Glenn Kessler amongst the concerned, for on Monday he actually gave the IRS's Lois Lerner "a bushel of Pinocchios" for statements she has made about her organization's targeting of conservative groups.
The Washington Post on Monday reported that Obama’s Department of Justice was investigating journalists before they started wiretapping the Associated Press – for one, Fox News correspondent James Rosen in 2010. Their headline wasn't "Obama Team Also Spied on Fox News." Fox wasn't in the headline, on A-1 or on A-12, where the story continued.
Newly obtained court documents “reveal how deeply investigators explored the private communications of a working journalist — and raise the question of how often journalists have been investigated as closely as Rosen was in 2010.” Reporter Ann Marimow began:
The Washington Post made a fool of its corporate self by starting a website called “On Faith” and putting at its head the secularist Sally Quinn. Oh, she claims to be interested by religion – just as King Herod thought Christ’s miracles sounded amusing, like he was a hippie magician like Doug Henning.
In Saturday’s paper, Quinn turned dead serious about sexual assault in the military, even asserting that “sexual assault is part of the military culture.” Naturally, Quinn puts a huge part of the blame on Christians, and the infection of their organizing groups in the military:
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.
Appearing as a guest on Thursday's PoliticsNation show on MSNBC, Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank mocked House Republicans for repeatedly holding unsuccessful votes to repeal ObamaCare as he suggested they should continue to "waste" time so "they'll be less of a harm to the country" because that way "they're not cutting food stamps." Milbank:
When ultraliberal Henry Waxman ran the House Government Reform Committee, The Washington Post didn't often suggest he was a fierce partisan or ideologue. Instead, former Washington Post managing editor Robert Kaiser praised him in a book review headlined "Moustache of Justice." (The Waxman lovers even have a mug.)
Kaiser cooed, “Henry Waxman is to Congress what Ted Williams was to baseball -- a natural....Waxman has been one of the most effective members of Congress for 35 years....This is the voice of David, whose career has featured the slaying of one Goliath after another.” This is not how the Post is treating Waxman’s "feverish" successor Darrell Issa.
“President Obama has called for creation of a government wide strategy ‘to address any gender pay gap in the Federal workforce.'" Eric Yoder of the Washington Post noted in a May 14 article. That's all well and good, but nowhere in Yoder's story did he consider that there's a pay disparity problem in the White House and in Senate Democratic offices, according to investigations by the Washington Free Beacon.
As the Obama administration’s Benghazi narrative begins to crumble, they’ve decided to recycle old talking points in the hope that the news media won't fact-check them.
On May 13, during a press conference, President Obama said, “The day after it [Benghazi] happened, I acknowledged that this was an act of terrorism.” The Washington Post’s Glenn Kessler – in this instance – should be commended for calling Obama’s statement for what it is: a lie. Kessler listed three instances after the attack where Obama failed to call it a terrorist attack:
It's just so unfortunate that such nice guys are going through such trying circumstances.
That's the impression one gets from graphic teases seen at about 9:30 this morning at the Washington Post, where the captions underneath the three left thumbnails read as follows: "President Obama’s disastrous political week"; "Jay Carney’s tough day"; and "Jay Carney’s day — in 7 faces." If you don't recall such an obvious outward show of sympathy during the final year of George W. Bush's presidency, you're not alone. A quick look at the underlying items follows the jump.
"Many small-business owners worry that a new tax on insurance providers in the health-care law will mean higher premiums for them, undermining the law's capacity to lower their health-care costs," Washington Post staff writer J.D. Harrison opened his 15-paragraph May 13 story, "Small-business owners dread impact of health insurance tax." The website headline was even starker: "Health insurance tax ‘scares the daylights’ out of some small-business owners."
Unfortunately for print edition, readers, Post editors buried this front-page-worthy article on page A15. Yes, today's front page was mostly populated with meaty, hard-news stories, but a large photo from last night's Capital-Rangers hockey game dominated the center of the page while London bureau chief Anthony Faiola's "Letter from Britain" feature, headlined, "Eurovision drought feels like a hard day's night," was published directly beneath that [see image following page break].
Scandalous news that the Internal Revenue Service intimidated nonprofit opponents of the Obama administration made page 11 of Saturday's New York Times.
The IRS apology to Tea Party and other conservative organizations for politically motivated targeting of their nonprofit status was dealt with in mild fashion by reporter Jonathan Weisman, though not on the front page. "I.R.S. Apologizes to Tea Party Groups Over Audits of Applications for Tax Exemption." The same audits that were applauded last year by the Times' s editorial page. And a Monday front-page follow-up was topped with what even liberal journalists found a bizarre headline: "IRS Focus on Conservatives Gives GOP an Issue to Seize On." That's the story?
Washington Post sports columnist Mike Wise was obnoxious enough when he was mocking the Old Testament and the Ten Commandments, but in Sunday's paper, he tries to be humorous by suggesting how Washington Nationals star Bryce Harper at age 20 is greater than most of our greatest humans when they were 20: better than Thomas Edison, better than Albert Einstein, better than Gandhi, and better than Franklin Roosevelt.
That may be true in history, but then Wise had to drag in Jesus Christ. How do you compare God to a baseball star? But Wise just thinks religion is something he can pick on weekly:
The Arts section of Sunday’s Washington Post was dominated by articles analyzing the cultural importance of the Ballet Russes and its role in European modernism. For Post dance critic Sarah Kaufman, it represented “The ascent of men, the haven for gays.”
This ballet troupe was a “tremendous force in modern art and modern mores” all the way back in the 1920s, as the focus on male dancers and the ballet's sexual sensibility could represent “one big orgy” or “a living wet dream”:
ABC and the Washington Post are happy to join the war on the Boy Scouts, pushing every church in America that sponsors a Scout troop to alter their Bibles for the gay agenda. The Post headline on Saturday was "Poll: Most Americans support lifting ban on gay Boy Scouts."
The pollsters did not ask if Americans would also like ending the "bans" in other American social organizations and faith groups. Why can't avid barbecuers join PETA? Freedom of association -- whoever said that was an American principle?
The new Natalie Maines record is continuing to spur music writers to slam the "cowardice" of the country-music industry and the stuffiness of the country-music audience in the aftermath of Maines trashing President Bush at a London concert on the eve of the Iraq war.
On the NPR show "Fresh Air" on Wednesday, music critic Ken Tucker insisted Maines was just ahead of where the majority would arrive on Bush's wrong-headedness: