If you think Michelle's Well-Toned Arms is a tired cliche, you're not in delirious love like The Washington Post. On the front page of Saturday's Style section was a frothy feature from Post food critic Tom Sietsema. The headline was "Dinner with the first lady, at well-sculpted arm's length: When a food critic is seated near Michelle Obama, more than the meal is reviewed."
It's a publicity coup for the new restaurant Barcelona in downtown Washington, now that the Post says "it's already received Obama buzz." But that was nothing compared to how the Postie poured clumps of clotted-creamy praise all over Mrs. Obama's bod. It began:
In discussing President Obama's Wednesday press conference on the Veterans Administration wait-list scandal, CNN's Drew Griffin, identified by the network's Jake Tapper as "the reporter who began this whole story with his investigation into the Phoenix VA," appeared to barely contain himself as he described the "disconnect between what's happening out here in the country and what the president is talking about."
Specifically, Griffin asserted that "this problem is real; it exists; it really doesn't have to be studied," and that "the vets I've been talking to wanted much more direct action." Griffin clearly expected a far more substantive and immediate response from Obama yesterday, and was disappointed that it didn't come. The video segment (via the Washington Free Beacon), a transcript, and Rush Limbaugh's insightful reaction follow the jump (bolds are mine throughout this post):
Claiming that the District of Columbia's ObamaCare exchange is just too darn small in size to pay for itself, Mayor Vince Gray (D) is proposing the city council "approve legislation granting the District's exchange board broad new power to tax any health-related insurance product sold in the city -- regardless of whether it's offered on the exchange," Washington Post staffer Aaron Davis reported this morning.
"If Gray and exchange officials get their way," Davis noted, a new "1 percent tax on more than $250 million in insurance premiums paid annually" by D.C. resident. Of course, Davis's story was buried on page four of the Metro section and slapped with a snoozer of a headline, "Council to vote on new tax power for health exchange,"* rather than something which would arrest the readers attention like say, "Mayor calls for new tax on health plans."
When several members of Congress set out in the early 1990s to improve fiscal reporting and internal controls in the federal government, one thing they certainly had a right to expect is that the press would report on lapses as embarrassments, and that otherwise nonchalant or reluctant bureaucrats would figure out that it would be in their best interest to tighten their ships. It hasn't happened, largely because the press quickly got bored, enabling the bureaucrats to thumb their noses at those who called them out for weak reporting or control violations.
To name just one glaring example: Concerning the Internal Revenue Service, in August of last year, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration happily reported "the downgrade of the information security material weakness to a significant deficiency during the Fiscal Year 2012 financial statement audit," and that "the IRS removed it from the December 31, 2012, remediation plan" (that's bureaucratese for "finally solved the problem") — 19 years after it was first identified in 1993. In that context, let's look at an outrageous situation at the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
This afternoon (late morning Pacific Time), Roger Simon at PJ Media had several reactions to the latest developments in the Benghazi saga, as new evidence surfaced of a White House "effort to insulate President Barack Obama from the attacks that killed four Americans." Simon's press-related assertion: "We will now see if there is even a figment of honesty in our mainstream media ..."
Though it's still early (but just barely), it's not looking good, my friend. Matt Hadro at NewsBusters indicated as much earlier tonight in noting that the TV networks have thus far ignored the news. Later, I'll show that other key online establishment press sources are also ignoring this bombshell story.
In his April 11 Washington Post column, “Thought police on patrol,” columnist Charles Krauthammer slammed the group "Forecast the Facts" for gathering signatures to ban "deniers" from the editorial pages: “the left is entering a new phase of ideological agitation — no longer trying to win the debate but stopping debate altogether, banishing from public discourse any and all opposition. The proper word for that attitude is totalitarian.”
On Saturday, the Post published a long letter from their campaign director Brant Olson that doubled down on the censorious swagger: Krauthammer's column was "not only unreasonable but also built on misinformation that should have no place in a space intended to further an informed debate." At least the Post also published a Sam Kazman letter from the right noticing how the Post had a funny way of avoiding a front-page article noticing that the traditional D.C. cherry blossoms bloomed late...although it was a front-page story in 2012 when they were early:
This post builds on Geoffrey Dickens' post late this morning ("American Horror Story: Tales of ObamaCare Victims Untold by the Big Three Networks") about the virtual lack of any kind of coverage of the real people affected by Obamacare.
Perhaps some readers believe that little coverage is occurring because there are few if any local situations worthy enough to rise to the level of national coverage. There are two responses to that. The first is that the national outlets must not be looking for them, because they are out there, and they could find them if they wanted to (the British press often does a better job covering Obamacare than stateside outlets). The second is that local TV broadcasts have carried plenty of Obamacare-related horror stories. While some of the situations cited in the video from the Washington Free Beacon following the jump (50 States of Obamacare Victims) are of politicians delivering speeches, all of the rest of the 50 clips cite real people or groups of people with real problems caused by Obamacare:
Washington Post Metro reporter Aaron Davis has an excellent story in today's paper about ethically-deficient D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray (D) attending a reelection campaign fundraiser at the home of an "incarcerated real estate mogul" who is guilty of having "prey[ed] on homeowners facing foreclosure." Said home, by the way, is $36,000 in arrears on D.C. property taxes. Last year some of Davis's colleagues reported on how the Gray administration had moved to evict elderly residents from their houses for paltry sums of backpaid taxes, many times in cases where they had not been properly notified that they owed the District any money.
Unfortunately for Davis, and more importantly, for Post readers, his editors decided to shuffle his story off to page C5 in the Sunday paper. By contrast, they plastered the front page of Metro with an above-the-fold headline scolding the Virginia state legislature -- the lower house of which is dominated by Republicans -- for not going far enough in its ethics reforms: "Va. moves to tighten ethics rules -- but not too much."
The same Washington, D.C., prosecutor who refused to press charges against NBC's David Gregory for violating -- on national TV no less -- a District law banning "high-capacity" ammunition magazines is gunning for a private citizen, throwing the book at him for possessing, wait for it.... ONE shotgun shell. Oh, and, by the way, it was a SPENT shotgun shell.
In Tuesday’s Washington Post, political reporter Aaron C. Davis promoted radical Iraqi-American Muslim restaurant owner Anas “Andy” Shallal in his dark-horse campaign for mayor of Washington. The headline on the front page of Metro for this “scientist turned poet, painter, activist, and multi-millionaire restaurateur” was simply “Novice making unconventional bid.”
Shallal wasn’t a radical, apparently, but is “pushing a resolutely populist agenda, promising to close the gap between the District’s rich and poor in terms that echo the winning pitch of recently elected New York Mayor Bill de Blasio.” They barely put the word “liberal” into the story.
We have a new word in the seemingly never-ending saga of "quirks," "oddities" and other sanitizing language the press is using when it identifies serious problems with Obamacare and Medicaid.
The word is "tricky." In describing a bureuacratic nightmare which is leaving some children without insurance (they aren't allowed onto their parents' Obamacare plan, but they also aren't eligible for Medicaid, so they have no coverage anywhere), the Associated Press headlined the situation as follows: "HEALTH LAW TRICKY FOR PARENTS OF MEDICAID KIDS." Those who go to the same article at the DC cbslocal.com web site will at least begin to get an idea of what's really going on thanks to their replacement headline: "Many Children Unable To Be Included In Parents’ Obamacare Family Plans." Content excerpts from Holly Ramer's otherwise fine report, including an unbelievable response from government officials — scratch that, it was unbelievable until Obamacare came along; but now anything's possible — follow the jump (HT to frequent commenter Gary Hall; bolds are mine):
The student health care plan offered by Bowie State University, Maryland's oldest historically black college, is an example of one of those "substandard" plans President Obama, the Affordable Care Act's architects, and HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius have been determined to extinguish.
Well, they've gotten their way. Rather than continue a plan whose costs would have gone from $54 to $900 per semester, an increase of over 1500 percent, the university has dropped the plan. Many students are angry, and have criticized the President directly, as seen in a video at CampusReform.org. News coverage of this calamity has been sparse, to say the least. Excerpts from a report at Washington TV station WUSA follow the jump (bolds are mine):
Sam Stein, who poses as a journalist while toiling at the Huffington Post (he lost any legitimate claim to the title when he wouldn't back away when caught red-handed pretending to know something he couldn't possibly know about John McCain's vetting or lack thereof of Sarah Palin in September 2008), wrote on Thursday (HT Hot Air) that "The Obama administration is considering a fix to the president’s health care law that would expand the universe of individuals who receive tax subsidies to help buy insurance."
Of course, Stein didn't look into how much this "fix," better described as a "huge spending increase," might cost, and "somehow" forgot that any such "fix" substantially increasing tax subsidies would destroy President Obama's unqualified 2009 pledge that "I will not sign a plan that adds one dime to our deficits — either now or in the future. I will not sign it if it adds one dime to the deficit, now or in the future, period." Neither did the Associated Press's Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar in a Friday evening writeup. Philip Klein at the Washington Examiner did remember Obama's pledge. He also engaged in genuine journalism by looking at what kind of cost might be involved in the "fix" (bolds are mine):
Here’s a headline you couldn’t have found in Saturday’s Washington Post: “Washington Post Deliverer Almost Kills Professor, Leaves Him Unconscious on Sidewalk.” The Post carried a little story buried on B-3 inside the Metro section blandly headlined “Man arrested in attack on professor.”
You had to wait until paragraph six of Peter Hermann’s story to find the Post tried to spin furiously that this thug putting a professor into a coma wasn’t really a Post employee:
For the past several weeks, Washington D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray has been playing defense in the news media against “advocates for workers” who favor a “living wage bill.” That’s partly the result of shrewd marketing on the part of lawmakers who favor the legislation – who doesn’t favor a “living wage?” But it’s also because reporters do not typically question self-described “worker advocates” about the economic realities attached to a higher minimum wage.
When the government mandates a higher wage beyond what employers can afford to pay for unskilled labor, the result is higher unemployment. In other words, if the self-proclaimed “advocates” of the working class had there way, the number of people with jobs would be smaller.
Today, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney had a tense exchange with ABC's Jonathan Karl, who was apparently so taken aback by Carney's answer to another reporter that he interjected himself into the dialog — to correct Carney about what House Speaker John Boehner said earlier today about his openness to negotiating. Carney also announced that Americans won't have to wait to see how the nation's healthcare delivery system changes in 2014 to experience long times spent in waiting rooms (Patience, please; it will become clear later in the post). But first, let's get the Blaze's rundown of the Carney-Karl exchange (bolds are mine):
How frightened is the Washington Post of being accused of racism? Apparently, very.
As the Washington Navy Yard shootings story was still breaking mid-day Monday, the Post hastened to assure its readers that a witness who identified a shooter as a black man is black himself: "He was a tall black guy," said her co-worker, Todd Brundage, who is black. "He didn't say a word." The Post is basically saying it's okay to say it, you see, because they found a black man to say the word.
In advance of a month full of events oriented towards demonstrating displeasure with lawmakers who won't give carte blanche to President Obama's healthcare, gun control, "climate change," and immigration agendas, Organizing for Action Executive Director Jon Carson claimed that "We will own August." New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his Mayors Against Illegal Guns also anticipated high levels of support during this months's "No More Names: National Drive to Reduce Gun Violence" tour.
It hasn't happened in either case. If right-wing, tea party, or social conservative efforts fizzled as OFA's and MAIG's clearly are, those failures would be making headlines, and shown as proof that support for the related causes is weak. By contrast, the national establishment press is mostly ignoring and in some cases obscuring these left-wing implosions.
The Washington Post reporter today that Mayor Vince Gray (D-Washington, D.C.) confirmed it was he who pressured gospel singer Donnie McClurkin to back out of Saturday's city-sponsored concert honoring the late Martin Luther King, Jr. McClurkin was the target of local gay activists because of comments he made in 2002 in which he testified about how he used to practice homosexuality but repented of that lifestyle because of his faith in Jesus Christ.
Although a group of local African-American pastors are furious about Gray's "insidious bullying tactics" and "outright infringement of Pastor McClurkin's civil rights," the Washington Post downplayed that angle in today's page B3 story, burying their outrage in the final third of the 9-paragraph article, "Gray made call to cut gospel singer from show." "Gay activists objected to scheduled headliner at King memorial," noted the subheader, giving the casual reader scanning the page no indication that McClurkin's treatment by the mayor has sparked outrage.
Even when TV shows are green-lighted in new and daring online forums, they still have a liberal bias! Emily Yahr of The Washington Post reports Amazon Studios has approved two new comedies, and one of them is “Alpha House,” a satire of a rental house of four oafish Republican senators "living like frat brothers" by liberal “Doonesbury” cartoonist Garry Trudeau. The headliner is John Goodman. The Post headline was “Fresh wit, streaming in.”
Yahr revealed there’s another conservative-bashing journalist in the show’s credits, longtime Newsweek senior editor Jonathan Alter, who convinced Trudeau to take his old network TV pilot idea out of mothballs:
In her 19-paragraph Metro section front-pager, "D.C. cab ride ends in rape of woman, police say," Washington Post reporter Suzy Khimm waited until the very last paragraph to mention that suspect Mohammed Suleiman Roble is in the United States illegally.
"Roble is a Somali immigrant who came to the U.S. illegally, according to a 2012 arrest warrant. His lawyer, Lavonda Graham-Williams, declined to comment on either of the charges," noted Khimm. [preceding link to PlainSite.org not in original Post report]
Here’s a good definition of what The Washington Post doesn’t find newsworthy. The big headline on the front page of Monday’s Washington Examiner was “Most on D.C. welfare don’t look for work: 22% of able recipients meet job-search rules.”
A quick Nexis search of The Washington Post finds no attempt to report on this sad fact in the last few weeks. Examiner reporter Eric Newcomer explained:
As hard as the establishment press has worked over the years to make certain politicians appear to be somehow out of touch with the situation of average Americans, you might think that two legislative leaders complaining about cuts in their Congressional offices' allowance might be news. One whined that her aides, some of whom "earn" in excess of $100,000 per year, are being "priced out" of a good lunch on Capitol Hill.
Don't be silly. The press only cares about making Republicans and conservatives appear out of touch. The complainers in question are Florida Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who also heads the Democratic National Committee, and longtime Democratic Congressman Jim Moran of Virginia. The Washington Examiner's Paul Bedard noted Schultz's and Moran's whining on Wednesday:
It's hard to imagine that Nicholas Confessore and his editors at the overwhelmingly Obama-friendly New York Times were just making things up when he reported over the weekend in a Page A1 story that the Obama campaign's Organizing For America operation, now "rebooted" as the supposedly independent Organizing For Action, "will rely heavily on a small number of deep-pocketed donors ... whose influence on political campaigns Mr. Obama once deplored," granting them quarterly access to the Obama if they raise $500,000 or more.
According to Charlie Spiering at the Washington Examiner, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, when asked about the story, in Spiering's words, "asserted that OFA was an 'independent organization' that just happened to support the president’s policy agenda," "refused to address the New York Times reporting," and "ended the press briefing as reporters were still asking questions and fled the podium." If the late Tony Snow had done this while serving as press secretary under George W. Bush, we'd be seeing a continuous loop of the walkout on network TV all day long. The key paragraphs from the Times story, the reaction of MSNBC's Chuck Todd follow the jump, and the Associated Press's non-denial denial firewall follow the jump.
When it comes to the Washington press corps, it seems journalists have two modes: garden variety liberal bias and rah-rah, fist-pumping Obama boosterism. The cover of today's Express tabloid exhibits both.
"Obama Draws the Line on Guns," exults the headline on the front of the January 17 Washington Post-published tabloid. The photoshopped image accompanying the headline is an upturned fountain pen from which a wisp of smoke is curling. [view the image below the page break]
On CNN this morning, in a quote captured by Rush Limbaugh on his program today (but predictably ignored by David Edwards covering the broadcast at Raw Story), Carol Costello told viewers that "no one is talking about overturning the Second Amendment or confiscating guns in America."
Wow. What hermetically sealed cave have you been living in during the past few weeks, Carol -- or for that matter, as Limbaugh effectively asked, where have you been during the past 4-1/2 decades? Here's some of what Rush had to say in response (bolds are mine):
Just as the open casket for Emmett Till's funeral in 1955 was a grisly wake-up call to Americans about the need to seriously tackle civil rights issues in America, so grisly photos of the Newtown, Conn., school shooting crime scene could be a "transformational" moment in the gun control debate. Or so mused Jim Vance of NBC's Washington station WRC-TV the other night, passing on the suggestion he first heard from liberal radio host Joe Madison.
Vance did not outright call on parents of the Newtown massacre to push for release of the crime scene photos, but he came awfully close, suggesting that seeing the damage from AR-15 ammunition in the dead body of 6-year-old looks like might shape the debate. "Like Joe, I am not insisting on taking anybody's gun away, but I too think there might be some value to taking the discussion about this out of our heads, and into our guts," Vance insisted. [see video embed below page break]
It's pretty close to a tie, but based on time stamps, Legal Insurrection's William Jacobson, at 11:23 a.m., was 22 minutes ahead of local DC TV station WJLA in breaking an important update to the David Gregory magazine clip saga going back to Sunday's Meet the Press program. (The classless credit hogs at Politico published a related story, didn't credit Jacobson, and while citing WJLA, failed to link to its report; thus I'm not linking to Politico.) Previous related posts on Sunday (NewsBusters; BizzyBlog) and Tuesday evening (NB; BB) only relayed the possibility that NBC might have asked DC Metro Police whether they could show a high-capacity magazine on the air.
The fresh news via Jacobson is that "NBC requested and was denied permission to use (i.e., show a) high capacity magazine in news segment" -- but went ahead and did it anyway (bolds are mine):
Musician James Taylor may not be at the peak of his career anymore, but he's still doing quite well for himself. Taylor's estimated net worth is around $60 million. Nevertheless, as a featured speaker at a National Press Club luncheon on Friday, the liberal musician used the platform to bash George W. Bush, who's been out of office for nearly four years now.
While the subject was supposed to be on election reform, the veteran singer-songwriter held forth on how he amped up his political activism because he was "really suffering" during the "Cheney/Bush" years, Liz Harrington of our sister site CNSNews.com reported on Friday.
While President Obama's record-breaking pace to raising a total of $1 billion earlier this month received significant media attention, there was little if any curiosity among the traditional press about how he was on track to achieve such an unprecedented milestone in presidential fundraising. The broadcast networks in particular have not bothered to mention the growing scandal that is being scrupulously pieced together by alternative media outlets.
An independently-owned website Obama.com (redirects to official site here) has been suspected of accepting millions of dollars worth of illegal foreign donations for months now. Despite all the speculation and accusations coming from a nonprofit organization known as the Government Accountability Institute (GAI), no action had been taken until recently.