As my colleague Clay Waters noted, the New York Times finally caught up with the Washington Free Beacon's month-old scoop about an audiotape recording of Hillary Clinton chuckling as she recalled her successful 1975 defense of a man accused of raping a 12-year-old girl. Perhaps because there was no longer any plausible deniability about the existence of the story, MSNBC's Chris Matthews tonight devoted a segment to the controversy, bringing on Bernard Center founder Michelle Bernard and Salon's Joan Walsh to discuss the matter. While all three agreed that the controversy would in no way sink Mrs. Clinton's 2016 prospects, Walsh was particularly vociferous in her defense of Clinton, while Matthews and Bernard were critical of the former first lady. At one point, a testy Walsh charged Bernard with twisting the facts of the story.
"Look, Chris, it's not a fun tape to listen to, I'm not going to try to sugarcoat it," Walsh began, but this was simply a case of Mrs. Clinton doing her job. The accused rapist was simply fortunate to have in Mrs. Clinton a "good" defense attorney. But, "[i]s it laughable that you got a rapist off for raping a 12-year-old? Why is she laughing?"Matthews demanded of Walsh, who countered (emphasis mine):
The economy is going gangbusters but Americans are not psyched about it like they should be because President Obama isn't doing a great sales job. That and Republican businessmen are sitting around in their boardrooms conspiring how they can "talk down" the economy and make us all think it sucks.
That, in a nutshell, is how Hardball host Chris Matthews explained away President Obama's poor approval on the economy with the public on his July 7 program. After hailing the sunny optimism of Democratic presidents past like FDR and JFK and noting that Republican President Ronald Reagan evinced the same optimism with his 1984 reelection campaign's "Morning in America" TV spots, Matthews asked guest and former U.S. Rep. Harold Ford (D-Tenn.) [listen to MP3 audio here; video follows page break]:
Jay Carney is doing a round of interviews fresh out of the White House. In The New York Times Magazine, Jim Rutenberg threw briefing-room softballs like this: “Do people in the first row like to showboat?”
Carney said yes: “If you look at the difference in tenor between the on-camera briefings and the on-the-record-but-off-camera gaggles, it’s night and day.” That’s not just due to the TV audience, it’s due to the idea that gaggles are more designed to set up the briefing and the day’s coverage. In this and other interviews, Carney tries sneakily to dismiss the idea that Obama didn’t live up to hise pledge to be transparent.
Barack Obama treats the press like a spoiled child treats his parents. Despite the pampering, he just keeps complaining about them until he gets his way. As America tires of his inflated sense of self-importance while the economy limps and his foreign policy crumbles, Obama travels around the country complaining that the mean old media isn’t complimentary enough.
At an event with big donors in May in Chicago, Obama lamented that he – the very essence of reason and nonpartisanship -- is lumped in with a fanatical Congress in a tale of gridlocked Washington.
President Obama appears to have forgotten -- or ignored -- why we have elections. One reason is to stop, or slow down, an agenda the public doesn't like.
When polls began reflecting buyer's remorse about Mr. Obama in 2010, voters elected a Republican majority in the House of Representatives and might well have done the same in the Senate in 2012 were it not for some weak GOP candidates, especially in Nevada and Delaware.
Well, tonight, perhaps to build on that theme, guest host Steve Kornacki moderated a discussion segment featuring Democratic pollster Margie Onero and McCain presidential campaign alumnus Steve Schmidt centered on how both political parties were reacting to the case to build up energy with their respective bases and, of course, improve their fundraising hauls. For his part, Schmidt both failed to push back against any of Onero's misleading talking points -- he protested there wasn't any time for that -- and, predictably added his own lament that the GOP was at risk of being too socially conservative to appeal to female voters in the next presidential election year (emphases mine):
Reporting on the outcome of Harris v. Quinn on the front page of Tuesday's Washington Post, staff writers Jerry Markon and Robert Barnes buried the perspective of the successful party in the case, non-unionized home health care worker Pam Harris, in the 21st paragraph of the 29-paragraph article, "Ruling on union dues a blow to organized labor."
But right out of the gate, Markon and Barnes choreographed a melodrama pitting a narrow conservative majority on the Court versus the nation's labor unions and their valiant liberal defenders on the Court. An excerpt is reproduced below (emphasis mine):
The broadcast network morning newscasts came and went on Tuesday with NBC’s Today and ABC’s Good Morning America ignoring President Obama’s latest rant against Republicans. This was despite the fact that both broke their regular scheduling on Monday to cover remarks in full.
For it’s part, CBS This Morning devoted a full 2 minutes and 45 seconds to Obama’s rant against House Republicans for refusing to accept his parameters for immigration reform and bucking their own Speaker on his willingness to take up the matter. In his report, CBS News senior White House correspondent Bill Plante cast Obama in a heroic light, heralding how he: [MP3 audio here; Video and quote below the jump]
"I see this ruling as, definitely on the political front, being a good thing for the Democrats, because people are furious and thinking, I think it goes further than it does," Henneberger argued to guest host Steve Kornacki. Minutes later, Bernard saw a big problem for Republicans with women in 2016, if not 2014, insisting that Mitt Romney's "binders full of women" line and "corporate personhood" would be instrumental in locking down droves of female voters for Democrats in 2016:
Editor's Note: What follows is a statement released this afternoon by Media Research Center president and founder Brent Bozell:
"The Supreme Court's decision in the Hobby Lobby case was a great victory for the First Amendment and religious freedom. In preserving the nation's first freedom, the court rejected the government imposing its will and agenda on people of faith who run companies and organizations. It also rejected the government's heavy handed attempt to punish these corporations and citizens through financially ruinous faith fines the government sought to impose on people who choose not to violate their deeply held religious beliefs. We are confident that this decision helps pave the way for the preservation of the Media Research Center's (MRC) First Amendment rights in our religious freedom case now pending in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia."
Insisting that he's really been out of the domestic news loop, ABC News Supreme Court correspondent Terry Moran told Dan Joseph of NewsBusters sister site MRCTV.org this morning that he was in northern Iraq the past few weeks and wasn't really aware of his network's recent decisions to ignore stunning new developments in the IRS and VA scandals. What's more, he suggested, if folks really care about news regarding the IRS scandal, well, there are other places to go besides ABC.
"You know, the news judgment of every network and of every person is different," Moran offered. "I understand that for some people, that's a hugely crucial issue, and there are places that they can get that," he added. The former Nightline host then tried to establish distance from the network's story selection process before insisting he was out of pocket anyway because he was overseas. [watch the full exchange below the page break]
So it turns out that Gov. Scott Walker was not a target of a criminal investigation nor is there any evidence that the Wisconsin Republican "engaged in a criminal scheme." Indeed, there "is not such a finding" in recently unsealed documents, Randall Crocker, an attorney representing special prosecutor Francis Schmitz noted on Thursday, according to reporting by the Washington Post's Matea Gold in a June 27 article, "Wisconsin governor wasn't a target of probe, prosecutor's attorney says." The story was buried at the bottom of page A8 on Friday's paper. A similar article by Monica Davey in the New York Times was buried in Friday's paper on page A15.
During Thursday’s edition of The Situation Room on CNN, host Wolf Blitzer committed an act of journalism in grilling IRS Commissioner John Koskinen with question after question about the growing IRS e-mail scandal. His questioning included one where he asked (via a Twitter follower), “[w]hy shouldn’t taxpayers use the crashed hard drive excuse when undergoing an IRS audit?”
The interview, which lasted 13 minutes and 47 seconds, is more time than ABC and NBC spent on the IRS e-mail scandal combined on both their morning and evening news programs since the outrage surrounding lost emails of IRS employees, including former employee Lois Lerner, broke on June 13. [MP3 audio here; Video below]
The evening newscasts of all three broadcast networks tonight reported on the unanimous decision in NLRB v. Noel Canning in which the U.S. Supreme Court found that President Obama overstepped his constitutional authority in making recess appointments when the U.S. Senate was technically in session. Rather than couching the ruling as a stunning rebuke of presidential overreach by Mr. Obama, however, coverage on CBS and NBC made it sound like an intrusion on presidential prerogative. ABC's Terry Moran described the ruling as the Court saying "no, no president has [the] power" to make recess appointments when the Senate declares itself to be in session (no matter how sparsely attended).
By contrast a search of Nexis transcripts reveals that on June 28, 2004, when the Supreme Court reached a 6-3 decision in Hamdi v. Rumsfeld -- a Fifth Amendment due process case regarding an American citizen captured in Afghanistan as an enemy combatant -- the network evening newscasts hailed the ruling as "a real blow to the Bush administration" (ABC's Charles Gibson), a ruling that "struck at the very core of the way President Bush has been conducting the war on terrorism" (ABC's Manuel Medrano), with "the justices... say[ing] the Bush administration cannot expect the courts to stay on the sidelines in the war on terror" (NBC's Pete Williams).
Thursday’s edition of CBS This Morning featured the latest installment in the media’s love affair with President Barack Obama. CBS News senior White House correspondent Bill Plante switched course from a constructive work of journalism he did Tuesday to a fluff piece on how Obama uses letters Americans send to the White House “to construct his political agenda.”
The story comes as Obama is going to Minnesota today where he’ll have lunch with a woman who wrote to him about how sending her two children to daycare costs more than her family’s mortgage payment. Plante marveled about how the woman’s letter “fit perfectly into the president's agenda to emphasize the difficulties facing working families.” [MP3 audio here; Video below]
As noted by Washington Post reporter David Nakamura, newly-minted Obama White House press spokesman Josh Earnest managed to anger the White House press corps right out of the gate.
While it may not seem like a big deal that press can be "testy" with a White House, consider the contrast at the beginning of the Obama Presidency in 2009. Traditionally, the White House press corps does not stand when a president enters the briefing room, a measure of respect for their colleagues operating TV cameras in the rear of the small room. However, the White House press corps was so enamored with the former community organizer, they broke protocol and many stood as Obama entered the White House press briefing room.
Halfway through the Wednesday edition of her eponymous program this evening, CNN's Erin Burnett turned to her colleague Joe Johns for breaking news regarding a fresh development in the IRS scandal: email evidence suggesting Lois Lerner may have pushed for an audit of Iowa Republican Senator Chuck Grassley.
Immediately afterwards, in a panel discussion, CNN legal analyst Sunny Hostin endorsed calls coming from Republicans for a special prosecutor to look into the IRS scandal.
Today a unanimous Supreme Court, in an opinion written by Chief Justice John Roberts, ruled that police may not search the contents of an arrested individual's cell phone without first obtaining a warrant. While all three broadcast networks reported on the Riley v. California decision in their June 25 evening newscasts, only CBS's Janet Crawford directly referred to the "Obama administration" as having "argued cell phone searches were like a search of a suspect's wallet, briefcase, or coat, which don't require a warrant."
ABC's Terry Moran skirted around a reference to the Obama administration, saying simply that "the government" made the argument that searching a cell phone was akin to searching a wallet. NBC's Pete Williams likewise failed to describe the Obama administration's involvement in the case, to which it was not a party, but in which it took great interest.
By contrast, the competition over at CNN on Erin Burnett OutFront featured a panel discussion in which the participants made light of Mr. Clinton's defense of his consort and forecast that Bill Clinton might end up being a net negative for his wife on the campaign trail, as he was in the 2008 primaries. [MP3 audio here; video follows page break]
Yes, a handful of reporters, like Mark Halperin, have spoken out, which is commendable, but "[t]he reality is that this story is still by and large being ignored," Bozell argued. "This is serious, serious stuff going on," but the liberal media "are headed for the tall grass" because they "just don't want to know" the extent of the Obama administration's corruption. [Watch the full segment below the page break]
It turns out that Vice President Joe Biden’s claim that he’s not wealthy and does not own any stocks, bonds, or a savings account isn’t entirely true. Unfortunately, only one network did the work to debunk his statement from a speech at the White House Summit on Working Families yesterday.
CBS This Morning was the only broadcast network show on Monday evening or Tuesday morning that looked into Biden’s claims, which CBS News Senior White House correspondent Bill Plante found to be partially false. [MP3 audio here; Video below]
As most kids are screaming "School's out for summer," 18-year-old high-school student Andrew Lampart is still trying to figure out why his school's Internet service blocked him from gathering conservative facts for his side of the argument on his school debate team.
Andrew told Fox News, "I knew it was important to get facts for both sides of the case." But when he tried to do an Internet search of conservative views, he was prevented at every turn.
It is a line I have used to open speeches on the lecture circuit for years and it never fails to get a laugh: "I'm happy to be here tonight from Washington, D.C., where the only politicians with convictions are in prison."
That's only partially true. Democrats have convictions. They know what to do with power when they get it and how to isolate, even punish, any member of their party who dares to take a different position on an issue. Republicans seem to constantly react to the policies of Democrats or slam each other instead of making a case for the superiority of their ideas. It doesn't help Republicans that they lack the Democrats' uniformity.
Mark Halperin, a frequent panelist on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, made an intriguing observation on Monday’s show about the IRS scandal. After saying that the recent news regarding the destroyed hard drive belonging to former IRS official Lois Lerner would be “a test for the news media,” Halperin took a stance on the scandal that few on the cable channel would dare take.
“I think with a different administration, one that was a Republican administration, this story would be a national obsession and, instead, it's getting coverage here and a few other places, but it really deserves a lot more questions,” opined Halperin. [MP3 audio here; Video below]
Someday, Barack Obama might make a fine professor somewhere. In the meantime, someone should remind him that he's still President of the United States . . . If President Obama thought he was going to score some easy media points by sitting down for an interview with Mika Brzezinski last Friday, he was badly mistaken. Morning Joe aired the interview today, to bad reviews by its guests.
Dem Donny Deutsch didn't want to say--but said--that Obama looked "checked out," and seemed like he "wants to go home." Mark Halperin observed that Republicans resonate when they say that Obama is not "taking control." Commenting on Obama's long disquisition on the complications of the Syrian situation, Halperin observed: "it's up to the President of the United States to take some bold action to try to address [problems] and not just sit and say here's why this is hard, here's why this is hard."It's as if Barack Obama sees himself in the faculty lounge, offering exquisite insights on the problems of the day, rather than in the Oval Office, with the obligation to address them. View the video after the jump.
On Friday’s edition of CNN Newsroom with Don Lemon, host Don Lemon and CNN chief congressional correspondent Dana Bash made some unusual remarks about a Republican, but later retreated to downplaying one of the many scandals facing the Obama administration this midterm election year.
Discussing a hearing being held by the House Ways and Means Committee that featured testimony from IRS commissioner John Koskinen regarding the destroyed -- or as the IRS terms it "recycled" -- hard drive of former IRS official Lois Lerner, Lemon began by referring to Congressman Paul Ryan as “not a happy man today.” [MP3 audio here; Video below]
Despite the newest revelation in the Veterans Affairs scandal on Thursday that one in ten veterans have to wait at least one month before they can get an appointment to see a doctor, CBS and NBC refused to cover the latest news in both their evening news shows on Thursday night as well as their morning shows on Friday morning.
ABC News only gave 14 seconds of coverage to the issue in a news brief during the 7:00 am hour on Friday’s Good Morning America. CBS News chose to instead publish an article about it on their website Thursday afternoon. [MP3 audio here; Video below]
The Washington Post has assigned reporter Jenna Portnoy to follow Republican nominee David Brat's campaign for the U.S. House seat for the 7th District of Virginia. In Portnoy's latest story, published in Friday's paper on page B4, the staff writer slammed Brat for having "largely ducked media exposure since his [primary] win," noting that after a brief press statement on Thursday which lasted eight minutes, he "retreated inside" his campaign headquarters, "ignoring questions shouted by reporters." A few days earlier, Portnoy insisted that an unprepared Brat had "stumbled" during a phone interview with MSNBC's Chuck Todd
Of course, as Politico's Sarah Wheaton has noted, Brat's Democratic opponent, fellow Randolph-Macon College professor Jack Trammell, "offered few policy specifics during his first public appearance as a candidate on Saturday." Last Friday, Wheaton reported that "Trammell has declined multiple interview requests" and that "[l]ike Brat, who virtually no one thought had a shot at toppling Cantor, he’s gone into something of a lockdown." Yet a search for "Jack Trammel" on the Washington Post website reveals no such critical reporting about the Democrat's unwillingness to have free-wheeling interactions with reporters. What's more, Trammel received fawning coverage in, of all places, a June 16 Style blog entry by book reviewer Ron Charles. The topic was Trammel's yet-unfinished vampire novel (excerpt below, emphasis mine):
Anti-American commandos from Iran are already helping the Iraqi military by doing the sort of logistical coordination that President Obama promised from the U.S. Army today, NBC's Richard Engel noted in a June 19 Nightly News report from Baghdad. "The image I've had in my head all day, Brian, is of this driver's ed car with two steering wheels, with one with the U.S. Army now about 300 people on one steering wheel and the Iranian Quds Force-- which is often hostile to the United States at the other wheel -- and I'm not sure that Iran and the U.S. have any intention of driving this car in the same direction," the network's chief foreign affairs correspondent told viewers at home.