In the Friday PBS NewsHour,anchor Judy Woodruff lamented the current impasse in Washington: "I don’t know what else to call it, war between congressional Republicans and the president."
She sounded shocked that Speaker John Boehner filed suit to protest the president's constant end-runs around Congress and legislating from the White House on Obamacare, immigration, and other issues. Shields called the suit "absolutely bogus" and compared it to impeaching Bill Clinton in 1998:
On Monday, the House Oversight Committee investigating the IRS targeting scandal released new e-mails that showed Lois Lerner sent a database of tax exempt organizations to the FBI right before the 2010 midterm elections.
So what was the reaction of anchors and reporters at the Big Three (ABC, CBS, NBC ) networks to the release of federally protected confidential taxpayer information? A big fat yawn. So far no one at the Big Three evening or morning shows have reported on this most recent development in the IRS-Tea Party targeting scandal.
Frustrated by the Justice Department’s stonewalling of its IRS scandal investigation the House Oversight Committee, on Tuesday, sent a subpeona to Attorney General Eric Holder but you wouldn’t know that if you got your news from the Big Three (ABC, CBS, NBC) networks.
The news that committee chairman Darrell Issa sent the subpoena to Holder, after a Justice Department official in charge of election crimes refused to testify about his role in the IRS scandal, went unreported on the Big Three’s Tuesday night and Wednesday morning programs.
Chris Matthews's recent book Tip and the Gipper examined how President Reagan and Speaker of the House Tip O'Neill sometimes set aside their ideological differences in favor of compromising and dealmaking. In a Tuesday post, the New Yorker's Jane Mayer also portrays the '80s O'Neill positively, but in her case it's to contrast his statesmanlike reaction to terrorist attacks that occurred on Reagan's watch with Darrell Issa's hackish exploitation of Benghazi.
Mayer writes that this past Friday, Issa "announced that he had issued a subpoena to Secretary of State John Kerry for a new round of hearings devoted to searching, against diminishing odds, for some dirty, dark secret about what really happened in Benghazi." She goes on:
CNN and MSNBC failed to provide any live coverage of a Thursday morning House Oversight Committee hearing on the terrorist attack on Benghazi. Fox News provided 74 minutes and 25 seconds worth of live coverage of the hearing and had multiple interview and analysis segments talking about the revelations in the hearing. MSNBC provided a small amount of coverage but did not air the hearing live whereas CNN viewers were not made aware of the hearing until 1:15 p.m. Eastern.
During the hearing, Brig. Gen. Robert Lowell, who ran intelligence at the U.S. African command the night of the attack, argued that they knew immediately the attack was not in response to an anti-Islamic video. [See video of Fox News’ coverage of the hearing below.]
“I’ll take ‘Explicit Media Bias” for $500, Alex.” On the April 23 “Jeopardy,” a reporter for The New York Times actually admitted that it was part of his job to “annoy” Representative Darrell Issa (R-Calif.).
The admission came as a question under the category “Man of the House” about House Representatives. In the video question, New York Times reporter Eric Lichtblau introduces himself and asks:
On the Friday, April 11, PoliticsNation on MSNBC, host Al Sharpton led the show by pushing the liberal mantra that Republicans are in a "war on voting" as he highlighted President Obama's speech earlier that day to Sharpton's own left-wing National Action Network organization on the subject of voting rights.
And later in the show, as Sharpton hosted a segment dismissing the various Obama administration scandals, guest and liberal talk radio host Bill Press accused FNC audience members of being "dumb" as he asserted that California Republican Rep. Darrell Issa should be "on the payroll" of FNC head Roger Ailes.
Doing its best to follow the narrative being peddled by MSNBC’s liberal hosts, MSNBC.com decided to double-down in its attempt to minimize the severity of the IRS’ targeting of Tea Party groups.
In an April 9 piece, MSNBC.com writer Amanda Sakuma blared in her headline “GOP panel keeps fake IRS ‘scandal rolling” before pushing the talking point that “Democrats accused a House committee of throwing a slab of red meat to its GOP base Wednesday after voting to refer a former IRS official to the Justice Department for possible criminal prosecution.”
On Wednesday Fox News reported that House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa threatened to hold the IRS commissioner in contempt of Congress if he didn’t hand over emails from Lois Lerner and other IRS officials.
So far none of the Big Three (ABC, CBS, NBC) network evening or morning shows have mentioned the latest development in the ongoing investigation of the IRS targeting Tea Party groups.
MSNBC continues to fail to take the IRS targeting scandal seriously. On Thursday’s NOW with Alex Wagner, Ms. Wagner and her guest, Howard Fineman of The Huffington Post, showed their utter disdain for Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and his committee’s ongoing investigation into the scandal. [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
Wagner took particular offense to Issa’s move to hold IRS official Lois Lerner in contempt of Congress, dismissing it as an attempt to “gum up the government works.” Mocking Issa and his fellow House Republicans, Wagner screeched:
Media Research Center President Brent Bozell appeared on Fox News’ “The Kelly File” last night and chastised the networks for skipping the substance of the latest congressional hearing on the IRS’ targeting of conservative groups. Bozell’s comments came after Lois Lerner, the IRS official at the center of the scandal, once again refused to answer questions during a congressional hearing, instead choosing to use her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.
Rather than discussing the merits of the latest hearing, all three networks chose instead to play up the verbal confrontation between Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Congressman Elijah Cummings (D-MD), making it 99 days since ABC, CBS and NBC have even mentioned the actual IRS scandal. “I do believe that this IRS scandal is bigger than Watergate. And I think if you look at it objectively I think you conclude that” proclaimed Bozell. [See video below.]
Both NBC's Today and CBS This Morning on Thursday saw the beginning of the end of an investigation into the Obama administration's IRS scandal following tirade by Democratic Congressman Elijah Cummings at the conclusion of a Wednesday hearing on the topic. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
On Today, news reader Natalie Morales proclaimed: "Well, after a shouting match on Capitol Hill, California Republican Darrell Issa says his probe of alleged IRS abuses may have hit a dead end." The headline on screen read: "IRS Hearing Showdown; Probe In Danger After Chaotic Hearing." CBS This Morning co-host Charlie Rose similarly declared: "A congressional investigation into the IRS may be stalled this morning because of partisan bickering."
On Wednesday morning, Congressman Darrell Issa (R-CA) had a heated discussion with Congressman Elijah Cummings (D-MD) during the most recent hearing on the IRS’ targeting of conservative groups. Following the confrontation, the folks at MSNBC rushed to defend the Maryland Democrat and condemn the Republican for ending the hearing after former IRS agent Lois Lerner refused to testify.
Appearing on the March 6 Jansing & Co., host Chris Jansing and Democratic strategist Angela Rye teamed up to criticize Congressman Issa, with the MSNBC host beginning the segment by asking Republican strategist Joe Watkins, “As a Republican…do you wish Congressman Issa had handled that differently?”
Lois Lerner, the IRS figure at the center of the Tea Party targeting scandal, once again pleaded the Fifth on Wednesday before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. In more than 20 minutes of testimony the former director of IRS exempt organizations refused to answer Committee Chairman Darrell Issa on nine different occasions. The hearing also ended with a bit of fireworks between Issa and Democratic Congressman Elijah Cummings.
So now that networks have dramatic footage of a government official repeatedly taking the Fifth and a heated clash between congressmen, will they actually report on the IRS scandal? [Video after the jump]
The Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, had an interesting pair of headlines near the top of its raw feed yesterday.
The first headline used the typical "Republicans attack" approach any time President Obama does something objectionable, which has been quite often. The headline was "Issa Rails Against Obama's 'Imperial Presidency.'" Of course, reporter Steve Peoples didn't let readers see the exact statement Issa made, perhaps because it would have shown that he wasn't "railing" (uttering a "bitter complaint" or a "vehement denunciation") at all. The current headline at the story at AP's national site doesn't have quote marks around "imperial presidency." Clearly, Peoples doesn't think much of Issa's claim, which makes the raw feed's next headline about Obama all the more ironic:
After months of stonewalling the Justice Department finally named someone to head the investigation into the IRS-Tea Party scandal - and it's an Obama donor. So far ABC, CBS and NBC have yet to mention what Darrell Issa called “a startling conflict of interest.” In fact the Big Three networks have almost completely stopped covering the IRS scandal investigation altogether.
Since July 1, ABC, CBS and NBC have devoted a total of just 2 minutes and 8 seconds to the IRS imbroglio.
How much do you need to know about a subject before expressing a strong opinion during a panel on MSNBC? Apparently very little, as Washington Post columnist Jonathan Capehart took part in a Monday afternoon discussion on the future of the Washington Redskins National Football League team since coach Mike Shanahan had just been fired.
Kristen Welker -- fill-in host for that weekday's edition of Andrea Mitchell Reports -- asked: “Are the Redskins stronger moving forward without Shanahan?” Capehart replied: “You’re asking the wrong guy here. I don’t know anything about football.” Instead, he turned to a liberal talking point: “But this much I do know: The name of the football team, personally speaking, is an abomination and that they should change it.”
Major establishment press outlets ignored Friday's news that "Teresa Fryer, the chief information security officer for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) ... explicitly recommended denial of the website’s Authority to Operate (ATO), but was overruled by her superiors." Fryer also "refused to put her name on a letter recommending a temporary ATO be granted for six months" In other words, HealthCare.gov should not have launched.
Brian Fung at the Washington Post's "The Switch" blog didn't consider the idea that HC.gov shouldn't even have gone live the most important story element. While failing to disclose Fryer's no-go recommendation and refusal to go along, he and his post's headline instead obsessed over whether Republican Congressman and House Oversight Committee chair Darrell Issa might "release files" that "could aid hackers." It wouldn't be a surprise to learn that hackers already have them, or at least have figured out how to work with or around them. Excerpts follow the jump (bolds are mine):
House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and Congressman Pete Sessions (R-Tx.) were in Richardson, Texas, Monday at a hearing to investigate allegations that ObamaCare navigators in that state were instructing applicants to lie about their income thereby committing tax fraud.
According to the Dallas Morning News, Issa at one point told Dr. Randy Farris, regional administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, “You need to watch more Fox":
On Monday Rep. Darrell Issa, the chairman of the Oversight Committee investigating the IRS’s targeting of the Tea Party, made a stunning claim that the FBI was stonewalling his investigation.
Last week, Issa was so frustrated with William Wilkins' testimony, in which he used the phrase “I don’t recall” 80 times, he accused the IRS chief counsel of “either a deliberate attempt to obfuscate” or “gross incompetence.” Number of Big Three (ABC, CBS, NBC) stories on these stunning allegations? Zero.
On Wednesday's CBS Evening News, Nancy Cordes zeroed in on the three Republican congressmen who grilled top administration officials during a hearing on ObamaCare, ballyhooing that "none of them were really able to explain why this product they worked on for years was so flawed". Cordes played extended clips from the hearing totaling 51 seconds – nearly twice the combined number of ABC's World News and NBC Nightly News, which each played 13 seconds from it.
The correspondent played up one clip in particular from White House chief technology officer Todd Park, who gave indications that HealthCare.gov might not be fixed by the target date of November 30 [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]:
On Tuesday's New Day, CNN's Chris Cuomo blamed Republicans for "hurting families" with the government shutdown and asked Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) if he would admit to wrongdoing.
"[Y]ou did shut down the government. It is hurting families, many of whom live on the margins and you know that," Cuomo slammed Issa. "And I want to ask you if you think that that was wrong." Issa called him out for asking the classic "have you stopped beating your wife" trap question. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
The Washington Post is being incredibly transparent: it hates hearings into Benghazi. Who needs accountability when our diplomatic posts lack security? The Post portrays this as a partisan exercise. But the very partisan Post has openly worried in its news pages about how the terror attack there will complicate Hillary Clinton’s reputation.
On Monday morning, Post editor Karen DeYoung was blunt (at the bottom of page A-2). The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee isn’t planning hearings. The Republicans are beginning their “promised fall assault” on Team Obama:
The Big Three network morning shows on Wednesday briefly noted the one-year anniversary of the Islamist attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi, Libya, but not one pointed out the latest development in the ongoing controversy over what happened. On Tuesday, CBS correspondent Sharyl Attkisson reported on Twitter that Secretary of State John Kerry "tells [C]ongress he will not honor the request to make Benghazi survivors available for questioning."
Norah O'Donnell highlighted on Wednesday's CBS This Morning that "Republican Congressman Darrell Issa wants to interview survivors" and that "he's giving the State Department until Monday to meet his demand", but didn't mention Kerry's refusal. [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
MSNBC’s Martin Bashir just might be the most biased and intellectually dishonest person to anchor a so-called “news” program on television today.
On the show hilariously bearing his name Thursday, Bashir actually asked a liberal guest, “Is Darrell Issa determined to become the most repugnant politician in the history of American politics, or has he already achieved that feat?” (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Appearing on Monday's The Last Word show, MSNBC.com Executive Editor Richard Wolffe -- formerly of Newsweek -- joined MSNBC host Lawrence O'Donnell in defending the actions of IRS employees who focused on Tea Party groups for scrutiny, and ended up suggesting that it was Republican Congressman Darrell Issa, rather than the IRS, that was "acting out of public view for purely partisan reasons."
After reading the statement of an IRS employee who used the word "patriots" to help identify Tea Party groups, the MSNBC host continued:
As was expected, the liberal media is moving into a new mode concerning the scandal at the Internal Revenue Service: Move along. Nothing to see here.
MSNBC’s Chris Matthews did his part Monday in a lengthy segment teased by the Hardball host saying, “It could be this whole thing was a big nothing burger” (video follows with transcript and commentary):
In what some have described as a "bombshell" statement, ABC News Political analyst Trey Hardin said something on Monday morning any reporter with any kind of meaningful inside connections in Washington should have known, but apparently wouldn't dare say or write: "I can say with a very strong sense of certainty that there are people very close to this president that not only knew what the IRS were doing but authorized it."
Martin continued: "It simply just does not happen at an agency level like that without political advisers likely in the West Wing certainly connected to the president’s ongoing campaign organization that didn’t know about it." Again, many experienced reporters in Washington had to know this. Any remaining doubts that what Hardin said is true disappeared today when Congressman Darrell Issa, as reported by Kerry Picket at Breitbart News, released hearing testimony previous obtained (bolds are mine):
As NewsBusters reported Sunday, Congressman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) on CNN’s State of the Union called White House press secretary Jay Carney a “paid liar.”
On Fox News’s Special Report Monday, syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer took issue with Issa saying, “I’ve argued here for months that Carney is majorly underpaid, and I think that really is the problem” (video follows with transcript and absolutely no need for additional commentary):
A classic case of MSM jujitsu. Yesterday, Darrell Issa called Jay Carney a "paid liar." So did Morning Joe today dig down to see if Issa was right? Of course not. Instead, its focus was on Issa--how he is "overreaching," "overplaying," etc. H/t NB reader Wayne T.
The quintessential statement came from Mika Brzezinski, who actually said that Issa's accusation "makes us all want to walk away and ignore" the White House scandals. It's not as if Mika & Co. needed much convincing! View the video after the jump, along with a medley of statements from Mika, Brian Shactman, Joe Scarborough, Jon Meacham, Chuck Todd and Robert Gibbs along similar lines.