As NewsBusters has been reporting, CBS's Bob Schieffer has been coming down hard on the Obama administration in recent weeks.
That continued Sunday when the Face the Nation host delivered a special commentary wherein he said that Attorney General Eric Holder heading the review of his department "so deeply involved" in the leaks investigation scandal "makes no sense to me" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
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):
Forget the Department of Justice surveillance. Associated Press is actually writing about “alleged scandals” and “alleged misbehavior” when it reports on Obama. Somehow we’re not going to take it seriously when former AP employees like Ron Fournier have predicted the AP surveillance was going to make the wire service turn critical of the White House.
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):
Jay Leno continued his humorous attacks on Barack Obama Wednesday.
During a series of opening monologue jokes about the various scandals plaguing the Administration, the NBC Tonight Show host said that with all the President appears not to know about what's going on around him, it means "They took 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' out of the Pentagon and moved it into the White House."
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]
With each passing day, it's becoming clearer and clearer that many of the current White House resident's followers in the media are really angered by his attack on the Associated Press and Fox News's James Rosen.
On MSNBC's Morning Joe Thursday, the National Journal's Ron Fournier said of this issue, "You can't make journalism a conspiracy...The irony here is that President Obama, by raising a jihad against the press, has now made it more likely that we’re going to have what he called 'dumb wars'" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
"Let's face facts: the American media is in an abusive relationship with Obama."
So marvelously said Dennis Miller on Fox New's the O'Reilly Factor in a discussion about the Internal Revenue Service scandal Wednesday (video follows with transcript and absolutely no need for additional commentary):
"With the decision to label a Fox News television reporter a possible 'co-conspirator' in a criminal investigation of a news leak, the Obama administration has moved beyond protecting government secrets to threatening fundamental freedoms of the press to gather news."
So shockingly began a New York Times editorial Wednesday.
Jay Leno on Tuesday continued his humorous attacks on the current White House resident.
The NBC Tonight Show host concluded a series of opening monologue jokes targeting the administration saying, “That's why President Obama holds press conferences: not to explain what's going on, to find out what's going on” (video follows with transcript and absolutely no need for additional commentary):
As more revelations surface concerning the White House targeting press members, more and more of Barack Obama's fans in the media are breaking ranks.
Count NBC's chief White House correspondent amongst them, for on MSNBC's Morning Joe Wednesday, Chuck Todd actually said, "They want to criminalize journalism" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
On Tuesday's Fox & Friends, Fox News contributor and Emmy-winning journalist Juan Williams accused the Obama Justice Department of having "criminalized journalism" by investigating Fox News correspondent James Rosen. Williams claimed that such probing by the administration “makes it difficult for journalists to do business” and posed the question, “How do you do journalism if you are treated as a criminal for asking for information?” [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
This revelation, of course, comes close on the heels of the DOJ seizing phone and email records of several Associated Press employees during a leak investigation concerning a CIA operation to foil a terror bomb plot. However, in the Rosen case, the Justice Department has “specifically gone after Rosen and Fox as co-conspirators in the case,” according to Williams, whereas “there is no such listing of AP as a co-conspirator.” In all his years of reporting, Williams said that this particular case against Rosen “stands out in a bright way to me” because it shows that the administration is trying to criminalize certain types of reporting.
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):
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].
As NewsBusters has been reporting this week, even comedians that have been almost universally squeamish about telling jokes about Barack Obama have begun to do so with all the scandals now surrounding this White House.
Jumping on the bandwagon Saturday was political satirist Andy Borowitz who published a piece deliciously titled "Obama Denies Role In Government":
As NewsBusters reported two weeks ago, CBS’s Bob Schieffer is fed up with the White House’s talking points concerning what happened at our consulate in Benghazi, Libya, last September.
His impatience continued on Sunday's Face the Nation when Obama senior advisor Dan Pfeiffer gave stock answers to questions about the three crises facing the President leading Schieffer to first accuse his guest of taking "exactly the approach that the Nixon administration took" and finally scolding him by asking, "Why are you here today? Why isn't the White House Chief of Staff here to tell us what happened?" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
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:
Jay Leno on Friday continued his humorous attacks on the White House.
The NBC Tonight Show host finished a string of opening monologue jokes aimed at President Obama saying, “Let me tell you how bad it's gotten: Fox News has changed its slogan from ‘Fair and Balanced’ to ‘See, I Told You So!’" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
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.
Reeve imputes a level of pessimism to the quote that doesn’t inhere in it. But then she turns around and evinces a degree of optimism that isn’t warranted either, telling readers the Obama presidency “is being declared alive after all on Thursday.”
For years, NewsBusters has reported how few comedians dare to tell jokes about President Obama.
On the CBS Late Show Wednesday, host David Letterman humorously addressed this saying, “I don't make jokes about him because I don't want the FBI tapping my phone, my phone. That's why” (video follows with transcript and commentary):
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.]