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.
"Ex-IRS official Lois Lerner’s crashed hard drive has been recycled, making it likely the lost emails of the lightning rod in the tea party targeting controversy will never be found, according to multiple sources," Politico's Rachael Bade reported Wednesday evening.
Although the revelation has congressional Republicans understandably furious and at least one prominent IT expert trashing the IRS's digital documents-retention policy as "mind-boggling", the Big Three broadcast networks all ignored the latest developments in the IRS saga on their Thursday evening newscasts, even as they had time for Harrison Ford's broken leg (NBC), a new technology for police car chases (ABC), and comedian Tracy Morgan's car accident (CBS).
Wednesday night, word came out via Politico that the hard drive to the computer of former IRS official Lois Lerner was destroyed and recycled. This follows the news that emails from Lerner and six other officials that were being investigated for the IRS' pointed targeting of conservative non-profits were lost. Without a doubt, this revelation is big news. But not in the minds of ABC, CBS, and NBC as all gave no mention to the matter.
Only ABC’s Good Morning America included a brief mention on the scrolling news feed at the bottom of the screen. The small headline read, ‘Computer Hard Drive Belong to Former IRS Official at Center of Targeting Scandal Was Destroyed, According to Politico.’
While the Obama administration tortures the Benghazi raid suspect into a false confession that a YouTube video made him attack our embassy, let's review what his "capture" is meant to distract us from:
(1) The IRS' Lois Lerner claims her computer crashed, destroying all her emails to the White House, congressional Democrats and the Department of Justice, at the very height of the IRS' targeting of tea party groups. Six other IRS officials now claim their emails are also missing. (Have they tried shutting down their computers and restarting?) Rosemary Woods erased part of a White House tape nearly half a century ago, and Chris Matthews is still talking about it.
Looks like it's not just in Iraq where civil war is breaking out. Seems that it could also be happening at MSNBC, with Iraq ironically being the flashpoint.
Two nights ago, Rachel Maddow condemned TV shows that book original Iraq war hawks like Paul Bremer. Maddow specifically called out her very own MSNBC for having given Bremer air time. And just where had Bremer appeared on the Lean Forward network? Morning Joe. So you have to imagine that Joe Scarborough might well have had Maddow in mind when on today's show he said "I don't know why some people are so intellectually weak that they're afraid to actually listen." Sniped Scarborough: if people "wanted to watch people just saying what they--what everybody else in a little circle believe, they could watch certain shows on prime time cable." Wonder which show Joe had in mind? View the video after the jump.
MSNBC's Chris Matthews put his pro-Hillary puffery on the back-burner this evening to lead off Hardball with a screed against his favorite archnemesis Dick "it's pronounced CHEE-knee, by the way" Cheney.
Chris failed to disappoint with his loopy, nonsensical rant against the former vice president, at one point comparing him to a pitch man for the website Diedinhouse.com. Matthews even inspired a little nuttiness in the Huffington Post Media Group editorial director Howard Fineman, who insisted Cheney's hat-wearing was devised by the former vice president as a subtle sartorial dig at Obama's manliness or lack thereof. You cannot make this stuff up (LISTEN to the MP3 audio here; WATCH the video clip below the page break):
Fifty-four percent of respondents in a brand new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll believe that President Obama "can't lead, get the job done," contrasted with 42 percent who say he can. What's more, a healthy plurality, 41 percent, also answered that "the performance of the Obama administration" has "gotten worse" in the past 12 months. Yet the NBC Nightly News ignored those stunning numbers in its June 18 broadcast. [Anchor Brian Williams additionally failed to tease the poll in his opening preview of the night's stories.]
While chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd did touch on how "57 percent disapprove of the job he's doing on foreign policy," that factoid was buried in a story centered on blaming former Vice President Dick Cheney's with stoking yet another inside-the-Beltway partisan "blame game" over Iraq. You can read the full transcript below the page break (listen to the full segment via mp3 audio here; watch video excerpt below page break):
Now that the initial shock of Dr. Dave Brat’s primary victory over outgoing House Minority Leader Eric Cantor has passed us by a bit, it is time to look at it for what it really is.
First off, it is only a primary victory. There is still the general election. And you can be sure the Left and their allies are now as busy as ever, plotting and sneaking and doing all sorts of devilry to send the good doctor back to the woodpile where he belongs.
Hillary Clinton hit a "home run" with her performance in a live CNN "townhall"-style interview hosted by CNN's Christiane Amanpour, Chris Matthews enthused at the opening of his June 17 Hardball program.
But none of the Big Three network evening newscasts even mentioned the development tonight, even as they had time for stories on the 20th anniversary of the OJ Simpson freeway chase (NBC), a rare postage stamp up for auction (CBS), and how dogs have and enforce a sort of social etiquette when they play with each other (ABC). [MP3 audio here; video montage follows page break]
Yesterday, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously that pro-life organization Susan B. Anthony List should be allowed to challenge in court an Ohio state law that criminalizes making false statements in an election campaign. The law, which subjects individuals and groups to costly litigation, fines, and even jail time if they can't defend their political speech to bureaucrats and judges, was used in 2010 to intimidate billboard owners into rejecting the pro-life group's election advertising. The question of whether “somebody should be able to get into federal court,” in the words of Justice Kagan at oral argument, united both the left and right wings of the high Court given the obvious and repellent injury to free speech rights.
Although it said that Susan B. Anthony List should have its day in court, the Court did not rule on the underlying merits of Ohio's false statements law. But that's not how left-wing commentators saw it. Immediately mischaracterizing the decision as endorsing a "right to lie," writers from across the Left used the decision to smear Susan B. Anthony List, in particular, and the political right, in general, as liars.
Editor's Note: This was sent to the publishing syndicate as a two-parter. We have combined both parts into this one column post.
I have four colossal disagreements with how President Barack Obama cut the deal for the prisoner swap of five senior Taliban leaders for U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl; the former, the White House itself admits, could "absolutely" rejoin terrorist cells.
Sure, I have far more than four issues with how it all went down — for example, the absolute avoidance and disregard of constitutional submission and congressional consent. But this administration seems to have little regard for proper protocol with anything, so I'm going to focus here on a few different angles of argument.
"It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain..." (The Gettysburg Address)
Yet on the June 16 Hardball program -- on MSNBC, the nation's premiere "War on Women" network -- neither Henneberger nor Hardball anchor Chris Matthews nor Politico's Roger Simon broached the topic at any time during their discussion about the former secretary of state's rocky rollout of her Hard Choices memoir. Here's an excerpt of the June 15 story from Goodman (emphasis mine):