Not that it absolves them from blame, but one contributor to the Big Three establishment TV networks' utter failure to report on or keep up with developments in the IRS targeting scandal -- failures which have been noted by Geoffrey Dickens at NewsBusters, as well as by the Media Research Center's Brent Bozell on Sean Hannity's TV show last night -- is the Associated Press.
The AP provides much of the raw material for the networks' stories and largely determines the nets' perception as to which stories are important. It is still quite appropriate to refer to it as the Administration's Press, even after Obama administration Attorney General Eric Holder admitted to scouring phone records involving 20 business and personal lines used by over 100 AP reporters and editors in April and May of last year. Yesterday's failure by the wire service's Pete Yost to even mention that the IRS scandal was on the agenda at a House Judiciary Committee hearing yesterday involving FBI Director Robert Mueller exemplifies how negligent or intimidated (or both) the AP has become.
When last seen at NewsBusters in February, the Associated Press's Liz Sidoti was talking down to the public about its "collective obsession with the trivial" less than a week after AP reporter Ken Thomas wasted 500 words of print and bandwidth on how Florida Sen. Marco Rubio took a sip of water during a speech.
Now Sidoti, who is the AP's National Political Editor, is quite worried -- actually, obsessed -- that the public might waking up and contrasting what President Barack Obama is delivering compared to what he has promised at a most inopportune time, and that "controversies" might overtake Dear Leader's second-term agenda (bolds are mine):
Of course, Mrs. Clinton dipping her toes in the Twitter waters comes on the heels of new revelations of 'endemic' corruption at the State Department during her watch. You wouldn't know, however, from Miller's brief item, which enthused that:
Although there are stories at Fox News and the Daily Caller, there appears to be almost no interest on the part of the establishment press in covering the Treasury Department's failure to report over 99% of its conference costs when Oklahoma Republican Senator Tom Coburn asked for an itemized listing a year ago.
The Politico, the repository for stories which cause Democrats and the left discomfort that the rest of the press would prefer to ignore ("Oh, the Politico did something with it, so we don't have to"), buried the item in a "Morning Tax" report Thursday. Writer Lauren French held off as long as she possibly could presenting how the $50 million in omitted IRS costs dwarfed the measly $500,000 which was reported (paragraph breaks added by me; bolds are mine throughout this post):
A week ago (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), I wrote up a post on the Miami Herald's coverage of how the chief of staff of Florida Democratic Congressman Joe Garcia had admittted to attempting to orchestrate "a sophisticated scheme to manipulate last year’s primary elections by submitting hundreds of fraudulent absentee-ballot requests."
I also noted that the story, which broke on Friday, May 31, was "getting very little notice," but that perhaps "the amount and scope of national coverage will increase when the work week starts." Well, the official work week has ended, and there has been almost no coverage anywhere, despite Congressman Garcia's stunning reaction to the news reported in a separate June 1 Herald story (bolds are mine):
The most interesting thing (to me, at least) about Wednesday's report in the Los Angeles Times by Ricardo Lopez on how the author of an economic report out of UCLA has said that the U.S. economy's performance since the recession officially ended in June 2009 stinks -- "It's not a recovery. It's not even normal growth. It's bad" -- is how the Associated Press relayed it to its readers and subscribers. I don't recall ever seeing a 15-plus paragraph report go unbylined, but this one did.
Maybe whoever wrote the AP item didn't want to incur the wrath of his or her colleague Tom Raum, who early last week wrote that the economy is "clearly, if slowly" recovering. It's also somewhat likely that Christopher Rugaber, who wrote "Gone are the fears that the economy could fall into another recession" in early April, might be a bit miffed. Choice nuggets from Lopez's LAT lament follow the jump:
A Google News search on ["Susan Rice" "executive privilege"] (typed exactly as indicated between brackets) returns two stories. The main one is at Fox News, where K.T. McFarland pointed out that President Obama, now that he has appointed Susan Rice to be his National Security Adviser, can invoke executive privilege to keep her from testifying before Congress. The second is at Mediate, and notes that McFarland said the same thing to Fox News Channel anchor Martha MacCallum earlier today.
Among those who conveniently didn't catch this: Frank James at NPR, who didn't identify the executive privilege dodge in his "5 Takeaways From Obama's Susan Rice Appointment"; the Associated Press, whose three Wednesday items on Rice (here, here, and here) don't mention it, and where a search on "executive privilege" (not in quotes) returned nothing relevant; and the Politico, where a search on "Rice executive privilege" (not in quotes) also returned nothing relevant. Excerpts from McFarland's column, with harsh words about Rice's lack of qualifications, follow the jump (bold and italics are hers except final paragraph):
It's thankfully been a long, long time since we've heard from Keith Olbermann.
Unfortunately, he came out of the bathtub long enough on Monday to give a Twitter follower his opinion of Attorney General Eric Holder saying, "He should've resigned or been dismissed after the AP overreach. Instead he made a Fox News figure a martyr":
This has to be an imaginary story, right? Most Democrats and others on the left continue to insist that voter fraud is not a problem, even in the face of examples like Minnesota U.S. Senator Al Franken, whose 312-vote "victory" margin in 2008 may have entirely consisted (and then some) of illegal votes by felons in just one county.
More recently, it seems that the claim is under revision. A Democratic Party county chair, in a Cincinnati Enquirer story about three out-of-staters who voted or attempted to vote in Ohio, is reported to have "long said there is no evidence of systemic fraud." Well, though they were were prevented from casting illegal ballots, a Florida Democratic congressman's chief of staff and his alleged cohorts definitely attempted large-scale "systemic" fraud last year. The Miami Herald, which played an important investigative role, had the story on Friday. A Google News search on relevant terms indicates that it's getting very little notice (15 items in total, most in Florida). Excerpts from Patricia Mazzei's Herald story follow the jump (bolds are mine):
The ice seems to be cracking beneath Attorney General Eric Holder's feet.
When asked by NBC Meet the Press host David Gregory Sunday if Holder is going to "stay in the job" given the leaks investigation scandal, former NBC Night News host Tom Brokaw replied, "Boy, I think it’s tough to see how he does" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Kibret Markos's Friday report noted the doctor's Occupy Wall Street sympathies ("Rivera also was quoted in a Bloomberg News report last year voicing his support for Occupy Wall Street protesters"). The AP, whose union was among OWS's most ardent supporters, did not. Instead, it "cleverly" misdirected by telling readers that "Prosecutors haven't said why Rivera had the items or what he planned to do with them." Evidence of those sympathies and of that involvement follow the jump.
Maricopa County, Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio won't be subject to a recall election. It wasn't even close, though two press reports, one at the Associated Press and another at the Los Angeles Times, failed to accurately convey how seriously organizers failed. Both reports also trotted out an "if only" excuse which doesn't pass the stench test, let alone the smell test.
Neither outlet gave an accurate impression of how seriously the recall drive failed. Organizers needed 335,317 valid signatures, but Stephen Lemons at the Phoenix New Times (in a "Feathered Bastard" report, no less) reported earlier in the week that the recall movement's manager "estimates that the recall now needs 90,000 more signatures to have a cushion in addition to the 335,317 necessary to force a recall." In other words, the magic turn-in number, unreported by both the AP and the Times, was really 425,000 and change.
It appears that even HBO’s Bill Maher is starting to question Barack Obama’s abilities as president, for on Friday’s Real Time, the host said, “He doesn't even know what the IRS and the Justice Department are doing” (video follows with transcript and commentary):
What is it with state Democratic Party chairpersons these days?
South Carolina Chairman Dick Harpootlian, whose term just recently ended, has hurled repeated tasteless insults at Palmetto State Governor Nikki Haley, who is of Indian heritage. His final parting shot: Haley needs to be sent "back to wherever the hell she came from." Louisiana's Democratic Party chairwoman joined in the "fun" earlier this week on the floor of the state's Senate (HT Campaign Spot; bolds are mine):
One particular sentence has recently become a virtual meme at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press.
Its latest appearance is at Christopher Rugaber's report this afternoon on April's seasonally adjusted 0.2 percent drop in consumer spending. Rugaber, who infamously wrote "Gone are the fears that the economy could fall into another recession" in early April, perhaps betraying a bit of nervousness, called today's news "a sign that economic growth may be slowing." Deeper into his dispatch, he rolled out the meme:
Do you want to understand just how astonishingly biased MSNBC is?
On Thursday's Martin Bashir show, MSNBC political analyst Michael Eric Dyson actually said - without any pushback from the host - that scandal-ridden attorney general Eric Holder is "the Moses of our time" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
While the Associated Press may get something wrong – and omit things on occasion – they’ve admitted one thing that the big three has yet to confirm: Obamacare will cost Americans their health care coverage. In a story by Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar that was published on May 29, he noted that Americans might find themselves stripped of coverage this fall since their current plans don’t meet the requirements dictated by the president. Hence, they have to find a new plan, and small businesses are in the same situation. The result could be confusion on a biblical level.
It seems Obama is reneging his promise of allowing Americans to keep their coverage if they like it. As a result, unions have begun to have buyer’s remorse over this bill; Sen. Max Baucus (D-Montana) has said he feels like a “train wreck” is coming, and the Society of Actuaries has reported that individual premiums will rise 32% under Obamacare. As small businesses are firing more than they’re hiring, it’s added to the anxiety over the impact of this law through the various tax increases that are on the horizon. Yet, most in the media have omitted these developments, and with the AP, IRS, and Benghazi scandals engulfing this presidency – the effects of the Affordable Car Act are bound to blindside the country.
Wednesday's CBS This Morning zeroed in on the House Judiciary Committee's inquiry into whether Attorney General Eric Holder lied under oath during his testimony regarding the Justice Department's controversial investigation of journalists. Jan Crawford's two-and-a-half minute report on the congressional investigation into Holder stood out as the only coverage on the Big Three networks on their Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning newscasts.
Crawford underlined that "conservative and liberal voices" are clamoring for Holder's resignation in the wake of the questionable surveillance of the Associated Press and Fox News' James Rosen. She also asserted that "everyone in Washington is talking about is whether...a survivor, like Eric Holder, gets drummed out."
MSNBC’s Chris Matthews is no longer willing to call the White House troubles involving Benghazi, the Internal Revenue Service, and the leaks investigation "scandals."
No, on Tuesday’s Hardball, the host called them “kerfuffles,” once even correcting himself after accidentally referring to what happened at the IRS as a scandal (video follows with transcript and commentary):
It isn’t often that 0.065 percent of something becomes its defining characteristic. But that’s what happened in Paris on Sunday. After a peaceful pro-traditional-marriage march had already ended, 96 protesters – less than 0.065 percent of the 150,000 demonstrators – were arrested for refusing to disperse and skirmishing with police. But from the way the media covered the march, one would think the demonstration itself was made up of violent rioters clashing with police forces.
“French pro-traditional marriage march turns into a riot,” announced The Examiner. Reuters followed suit, starting off their article with a 30 pictures slideshow, of which at least 24 shots were related to the post-march rogue groups of rioters. (Only picture #30 provided a clear view of the streets filled to overflowing with the tens of thousands of peaceful demonstrators.) Reuters admitted that “the rally was peaceful throughout much of the day,” but the second half of the article was ominously entitled “WARNINGS OF VIOLENCE IGNORED” and discussed the possibility of the march turning aggressive.
In "Go Ahead, Invade Their Phone Records: AP Reports Obama Has 'Alleged Scandals' and 'Alleged Misbehavior,'" Tim Graham at NewsBusters noted how Tom Raum at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, claimed that "Alleged misbehavior by the Internal Revenue Service and other federal agencies gives the GOP something else to talk about and investigate as the economy clearly, if slowly, recovers on President Barack Obama's watch, robbing Republicans of a central argument against Democrats."
That this is an exercise in sheer fantasy on Raum's part can be quickly demonstrated in two graphics.
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."