As of Friday morning, NBC News broadcasts had completely ignored an important scoop from the network's own national investigative correspondent Michael Isikoff that Attorney General Eric Holder personally approved the Justice Department's aggressive investigation of Fox News reporter James Rosen. Meanwhile, both CBS News and FNC provided on-air coverage of the new development. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In an article for NBCNews.com on Thursday, Isikoff reported that Holder "signed off on a controversial search warrant that identified Fox News reporter James Rosen as a 'possible co-conspirator' in violations of the Espionage Act and authorized seizure of his private emails, a law enforcement official told NBC News."
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.
At first I thought the IRS scandal was leaked to distract from the Benghazi scandal. But that didn't make sense because the IRS scandal is a more obvious abuse of power than the White House lying about the murder of four Americans in Libya.
Before I had resolved which scandal was distracting from which, we found out the Department of Justice was spying on The Associated Press -- not to protect national security, but to prevent the AP from scooping the White House. Then, this week, it broke that the Department of Justice was also spying on Fox News for reasons that remain unexplained.
How worried should President Obama be when he loses the likes of Al Hunt?
On today's Morning Joe, discussing the James Rosen outrage, Hunt called President Obama "no better than Richard Nixon" when it comes to the press. He then strongly suggested that Attorney General Eric Holder should go. View the video after the jump.
When a major journalist breaks a gun law in the nation's capital on national TV in front of hundreds of thousands of viewers at home, you'd think it would be pretty much an open-and-shut case to prosecute. But when Meet the Press host David Gregory did just that last December -- displaying on-air an empty 30-round magazine during an interview segment with the NRA's Wayne LaPierre -- he got off scot-free when the District of Columbia failed to prosecute. The relevant law on the books in the nation's capital calls for a $1,000 fine and a year in prison for any civilian who possesses a ammunition magazine that can hold more than 10 rounds.
Two months later, annoyed with the District of Columbia for failing to answer her questions pertaining to the case, pro-gun rights opinion columnist Emily Miller of the Washington Times filed a freedom of information request. On Friday, Miller updated readers by noting how the District has been stringing her and other conservative bloggers along when it came to producing documents related to the Gregory investigation (emphasis mine):
In statement released on Tuesday, the executive director of the Committee to Protect Journalists, Joel Simon, issued this warning against the Obama Justice Department investigating Fox News reporter James Rosen:"U.S. government efforts to prosecute leakers by obtaining information from journalists has a chilling effect domestically and sends a terrible message to journalists around the world who are fighting to resist government intrusion."
MSNBC ads on liberal websites like Salon.com are pushing to increase interest and ratings in the badly named show "All In," when it could be titled "A Few In." Or, to quote Dana Carvey's George Bush, "Still Gaining Acceptance." The ad says “Click here to get to know Chris Hayes.” This takes you to the “All In With Chris Hayes” Facebook page.
What you get there is a great sense of just how energetically Hayes is trying to avoid the Obama scandals. Instead, the scandal is the alleged starvation of the public sector:
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is under fire for soliciting donations from health care companies to underwrite ObamaCare PR efforts to increase enrollment but you wouldn't know that if you only got your news from ABC and NBC or skipped Sunday's edition of CBS's Face the Nation.
The Big Three (ABC, CBS, NBC) networks have effectively buried the scandal that was first broken by the Washington Post on May 10.
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].
The liberal media are not really "up in arms" with the Obama administration, but are simply having a "lover's quarrel" over the AP scandal in particular, NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell told CNBC host Larry Kudlow on his May 16 The Kudlow Report program.
What's more, it won't be that long until "[t]he Bill Clinton syndrome is going to be upon us, where it's time to move on, we've covered it [the media will say] and they're going to turn the fire right on Republicans as being obstructionists. Mark my word," the Media Research Center founder predicted. [watch the full segment below the page break]
Imagine that in a week in which George W. Bush was dogged by not one or two but three scandals -- one of which was the IRS singling out liberal groups for stricter scrutiny -- a federal appeals court invalidated a recess appointment the Republican president made, finding he improperly ran an end run around the U.S. Senate. The national media would, no doubt, pick up on the story as evidence that the president was abusing power, weaving the development into a larger narrative about the president's untrustworthiness in light of the aforementioned scandals.
Well, yesterday the Third Circuit Court of Appeals issued a ruling invalidating an Obama recess appointments that was made when the Senate was on a short break in between meetings. This is the second such ruling in four months as the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals issued a similar ruling in late January. Predictably, however, both the May 16 broadcast network evening newscasts and the May 17 broadcast network morning shows completely ignored the ruling.
NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell and Fox News host Sean Hannity kicked off the "Media Mash" segment of the May 16 Hannity with a deliciously ironic clip of Hardball host Chris Matthews lamenting on his Tuesday program that President Obama is surrounded by adoring yes-men who can't bear to tell him bad news, and that that culture of groupthink leaves the president prone to embarrassing scandals. "A little irony there?! I couldn't resist! I had to start with that," Hannity said suppressing laughter. "Okay, a sycophant who's in awe and in love with Barack Obama. Chris Matthews, call your office," Bozell quipped, adding, "This is the man who spits to tell us how much Obama's the perfect man."
Call it Luke Russert's version of "bitter clingers" on steroids . . . In Russert's world, there are apparently two kinds of Republican congressmen. The "smart" ones—to be found on the Ways & Means Committee—and the others, whom he calls the "God, guns and guts people," presumably in reference to this book.
Russert made his statement on today's Morning Joe, responding to Joe Scarborough's question as to whether Republicans would overplay their hand over the current scandals. According to Russert, Republicans chose well in holding today's hearing of IRS officials before the Ways & Means Committee because that's where the GOP puts its stars: "it's not the God, guns and guts people on the Ways & Means Committee: it's the smart people." View the video after the jump.
On Sept. 12, 2012, President Barack Obama vowed to "bring to justice" the perpetrators of the deadly attack in Benghazi, Libya. On Oct. 26, 2012, Obama said his "biggest priority" was bringing the "folks" in Libya responsible for murdering four Americans to "justice." Tick, tock, tick, tock.
While White House press secretary Jay Carney sneers at the GOP's "obsession" with what went wrong at the besieged Libyan consulate, Obama continues to ply his emptiest talking point. On May 13, 2013, more than eight months after the bloody disaster, Obama snippily reminded reporters that he had told us all back in September that "we would find out what happened, we would make sure that it did not happen again, and we would make sure that we held accountable those who had perpetrated this terrible crime."
Well, this should be fun. President Obama and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will hold a joint press conference in a few minutes in the Rose Garden. The last joint press conference the president held -- on May 13 with British Prime Minister David Cameron -- was met with some tough questions by the AP's Julie Pace.
Below the page break I'll be live-blogging the questions from journalists. As usual, please give us the questions you would like answered in the comments section. Also, who do you think might ask the toughest questions and who might try to help the president out with a softball? Let us know your thoughts.
Chris Moody of Yahoo! News has a great story this afternoon about the saga the conservative media watchdogs at MediaTrackers had with the Obama IRS. The long and short of it is that after after waiting for more than a year for IRS to approve his 501(c)3 application for the group, conservative activist Drew Ryun "determined that Media Trackers would likely never obtain standalone nonprofit status" and so he "tried a new approach," applying as a nonprofit under the name "Greenhouse Solutions" which was "a pre-existing organization that was reaching the end of its determination period."
And wouldn't you know it, Moody noted, "[t]he IRS approved Greenhouse Solutions' request for permanent nonprofit status in three weeks":
What will be the political fallout of the various scandals in which President Obama is ensnared? Chris Matthews thinks it will be huge.
Appearing on today's Morning Joe, Matthews mused that the IRS scandal alone would be worth 5-10 points to Republican candidates. He specifically mentioned Mitch McConnell, Tom Corbett and Ken Cuccinelli as Republicans whom the scandal would aid in their 2014 races. View the video after the jump.
In case you're hiding under a rock, you should know that an audit conducted by the inspector general for the Internal Revenue Service has found that IRS officials targeted for scrutiny certain groups critical of the administration.
Which groups? Well, those with "tea party" or "patriot" in their names and nonprofit groups that criticized the government and sought to educate Americans about the U.S. Constitution.
Et tu, Roberto? It was bad enough for President Obama to have Andrea Mitchell jump ship this morning. But now someone who is—arguably—even closer to home has taken a resounding shot at the President's mishandling of the IRS scandal.
Appearing on Mitchell's MSNBC show this afternoon, former Obama press secretary Robert Gibbs condemned the president's "exceedingly passive" language in discussing the scandal. Obama had said there'd be consequences "if" wrongdoing were found, and spoken of "losing patience." Gibbs was scathing: that's what "I do with my nine-year old." Ouch! View the video after the jump.
"I've just been chuckling at" the media's response to Associated Press phone records probe by the Obama/Holder Justice Department, NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell confessed to Fox Business Network host Stuart Varney this morning on the May 14 Varney & Co.
"There have been four years of overreach by this administration, four years of people not involved in journalism saying this was an administration that was drunk on power and evasive and dishonest, and the media would have nothing of it," noted the Media Research Center founder. It took the administration "turning on the press as well, and suddenly they're apoplectic," Bozell noted with a laugh. [For the full segment, watch the video below the page break]
It's been a busy week full of news stories highly damaging to liberals, from the damning testimony about Benghazi to revelations that the Obama IRS targeted the Tea Party to yesterday's conviction of Philadelphia abortionist and infanticidal maniac Kermit Gosnell.
So we at NewsBusters thought we'd show you how some conservative political cartoonists around the country were dealing with these developments in this week's edition of NB's ToonsDay:
President Obama knows he's in trouble when Andrea Mitchell—Andrea Mitchell!—proclaims the IRS and AP scandals to be among "the most outrageous excesses I've seen" in all her years in journalism [which pre-date Watergate]. The strength of Mitchell's statement drew gasps from Scarborough and Brzezinski. Then Ron Fournier, former AP editor now with the National Journal, darkly described the White House being "consumed" if it turns out someone there or in the Obama campaign had been aware of the IRS targeting of conservative groups. It happened on Morning Joe today.
But hey, President Obama still has his hangers-on. Take good old Carl Bernstein. As we reported, on yesterday's Morning Joe Bernstein blathered that he "can't imagine" that President Obama coudl be involved in the IRS mess. And there was Bernstein again today. When Fournier spoke of consequences of White House or Obama campaign knowledge of the IRS targeting, Bernstein quickly burped out that "we have no evidence of that whatsoever." Joe Scarborough had to remind the former Watergate reporter: "that's why you have investigations. You know that." View the video after 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].
"I may have swung a bit too hard, putting Barack Obama’s Administration in the same league as Franklin Roosevelt’s and Richard Nixon’s when it comes to the Internal Revenue Service," Klein wrote this morning, backpedaling a bit from a strongly-worded May 11 piece reacting to the IRS-targeting-Tea Party scandal. Klein conceded that "The situation remains a major embarrassment, though," and then went on to wage an attack against the Republican Party for seeking to take advantage of the scandals to bash the Obama administration (emphasis mine):
Sure, it was just one of those tongue-tied moments we've all experienced. But if it had been George W. Bush mispronouncing the name of a world leader who is very much in the news, imagine the field day the MSM would have had with it.
At his press appearance with British PM David Cameron today, aired on MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell Reports, President Obama was seen pronouncing the name of the Syrian dictator Bashir Assad as "Bassar Ashad." PBO pauses before pronouncing, seeming to sense he's about to get it wrong, but decides to plunge ahead. There's another priceless moment: when the show cuts back to the studio, guest-hosting Chuck Todd is seen with a hilariously baffled look on his face. View the video after the jump.
How enthusiastic can NPR be in avoiding the emerging Obama scandals? Try this: So-called “All Things Considered” aired no features on Benghazi or the IRS on Saturday or Sunday. (This excludes on-the-hour news updates.) But they found time for six minutes on the trade in rhino horns.
It was more ridiculous on “Weekend Edition” Saturday and Sunday – they also skipped both. NPR correspondent Michele Kelemen reported on Secretary of State John Kerry for 4 minutes and 22 seconds without a single word about Libya. Somehow the State Department’s Benghazi fiasco wasn’t listed as a “thorny issue” in the Middle East:
Good Morning America's Jon Karl on Monday exposed new details about the growing scandal involving the Internal Revenue Service targeting conservatives. The correspondent revealed, "I've obtained a soon-to-be released investigative report that shows the IRS started targeting Tea Party groups more than three years ago." He added that this was "despite [the IRS] publicly claiming otherwise."
According to the journalist, phrases such as "limiting government," "educating on the Bill of Rights" and "criticizing how the country is being run" were enough to have the IRS start tracking them. However, Karl steered clear of culpability when it came to the Obama administration. He explained, "The White House said it had no idea that the IRS was targeting Tea Party groups." [MP3 audio here. See video below.]
President Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron will take questions from reporters in a joint press conference to be held shortly at the White House. The president is expected to be asked about revelations that IRS officials targeted Tea Party groups for audits. I'll be watching the conference and transcribing the questions below the page break.
In the comments section, tell us what questions you'd ask the president.
It only took four and a half years, but the liberal media finally found something to criticize President Obama for.
After former NBC Nightly News anchor Tom Brokaw excoriated the administration on MSNBC's Morning Joe Monday for using the Internal Revenue Service to intimidate political opponents, NBC's chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd said, "This story has more legs politically in 2014 than Benghazi" (video follows with transcript and commentary):