Not surprisingly, there has been yet another revelation in the unfolding of the James Rosen investigation scandal. On Tuesday, it was discovered that Attorney General Eric Holder went “judge shopping” to find someone who would sign off on a subpoena of Fox News Correspondent James Rosen’s personal records. Apparently, Holder went to three different federal judges before he found one that would agree to sign the subpoena without telling Rosen or Fox News.
However, the only morning show coverage of this important development in this scandal was found on the Fox and Friends; no other network or cable show devoted a sentence to educate the public about this discovery.
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."
"When First Amendment advocates say Rosen was "falsely" characterized as a co-conspirator, they do not understand the law," huffed Pincus. "When others claim this investigation is 'intimidating a growing number of government sources,' they don't understand history." Lucky for us we have Pincus to school us all, I suppose. But the fact remains that when you consider the timeline of the investigation, there appears to be no legitimate reason for the FBI to have gone on a fishing expedition through Rosen's emails and phone records, considering what they already knew from their investigation of government records that narrowed down the leak to one suspect: intelligence adviser Stephen Jin-Woo Kim.
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):
[UPDATED BELOW] News broke on Thursday that Attorney General Eric Holder approved the Justice Department's seizure of a Fox News reporter's private e-mails. CNN still has yet to report this development, although the network found time to cover Brad Pitt's "face blindness" on Friday.
Host Jake Tapper ripped into the Obama administration on Wednesday for its investigation of Rosen, but on Thursday NBCNews.com reported that Holder personally approved the search warrant, labeling Rosen a "possible co-conspirator" against the Espionage Act. CNN still hasn't reported this, as of Friday afternoon.
Friday's CBS This Morning, unlike NBC's Today, briefly picked up on NBC journalist Michael Isikoff's significant reporting from Thursday that Attorney General Eric Holder's "signed off on a controversial search warrant" against Fox News' James Rosen and "authorized seizure of his private emails." However, unlike their strong "Obama's war on journalism" label of the scandal on Thursday, Gayle King and Bob Schieffer gave a more subdued response to this new detail.
King pointed out that "Holder signed off on allowing an investigation into some reporters' e-mails", but merely wondered if President Obama was in an "awkward position" as a result. Schieffer did assert that "there's no question in my mind this was an outrageous overreach", but didn't call for an investigation into the administration's surveillance of Rosen and the AP [audio available here; video below the jump].
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.
Appearing for his regular "Miller Time" segment on Wednesday's The O'Reilly Factor on FNC, comedian Dennis Miller asserted that the Obama administration is "looking more Nixonian" because of recent scandal revelations.
He went on to crack that when President Obama says, "I am not a crook," he'll need a teleprompter to help him. Referring to the Justice Department's focus on FNC reporter James Rosen, Miller began:
Conservative talk radio host Hugh Hewitt featured two liberal journalists on his nightly program this week, and both joined the chorus of media outrage at the Obama administration over the Justice Department’s recent AP probe. Bloomberg View’s Jonathan Alter called Eric Holder’s explanation of the probe “pathetic” and suggested that President Obama should “apologize to journalists” over the scandal, while Michael Shear of the New York Times was frosted by the “absolutely chilling” way that the Obama/Holder DOJ has treated journalists like criminals.
Just last week, Alter fretted over the administration’s scandals with Chris Matthews on Hardball, claiming that White House staffers had “an unhealthy love” for Obama. On Wednesday, Alter blasted the administration for their “especially aggressive” attitude towards reporters, calling the Justice Department’s recent actions “disturbing."
Even ABC News’s Cokie Roberts recognizes that the Obama administration has far overstepped its constitutional boundaries in obtaining the personal emails of Fox News reporter James Rosen. The political commentator denounced the Obama/Holder Justice Department’s actions on Tuesday’s Morning Joe on MSNBC, claiming the overreach was “appalling.”
Roberts later criticized the administration’s treatment of the press at large, arguing that the White House has its “own broadcasting network” that delivers “unfiltered presidential propaganda to people all the time.” Yes, she said that on MSNBC, failing to see the irony. And yes, this is the same Cokie Roberts that just last week marveled at how Obama’s presidency was “scandal-free.”
As more revelations surface concerning the White House targeting press members, more and more of Barack Obama's fans in the media are breaking ranks.
Count NBC's chief White House correspondent amongst them, for on MSNBC's Morning Joe Wednesday, Chuck Todd actually said, "They want to criminalize journalism" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
At Bloomberg Views, Al Hunt, formerly "the executive editor of Bloomberg News, directing coverage of the Washington bureau," referred to the controversies swirling around the White House as "faux scandals" and insisted that ... wait for it ... the Obama administration "is the most scandal-free administration in recent memory." No wonder Bloomberg News developed into such a hopelessly biased outfit while he was there. As much as I could stand to excerpt from Hunt's harangue follows the jump (bolds and numbered tags are mine):
When a reporter makes an assertion about someone else's beliefs or motivations, he or she is supposed to offer something up as evidence, say a direct quote, something that person has written, or even something someone else close to him or her has said.
Politico's Josh Gerstein offered nothing of the sort in his coverage of Eric Holder's "you can't touch me" attitude, though he provides plenty of evidence to support my characterization of Holder's outlook. Gerstein, without a shred of support, wrote the following in describing what he believes Republicans and conservatives are trying to accomplish in pursuing the myriad scandals in the Obama administration which have burst forth during the past two weeks, along with others, including but not limited to Operation Fast and Furious, which occurred during the Obama administration's first term (bolds are mine throughout this post):
It has only been a week since the Associated Press learned that its reporters' privacy and the confidentiality of their relationships with sources were violated on a massive and unprecedented scale by Eric Holder's Justice Department in April and May of last year. DOJ has admitted that it secretly obtained the call records for 20 personal and business lines used by over 100 AP reporters and editors. Despite its insistence that they were looking for the person who leaked information about a foiled terrorist plot, there is reason to believe the DOJ's fishing expedition was a childish response to the wire service's refusal to let the government crow about the foiled operation before anyone reported on it.
In the wake of all of this, the AP, appears determined to soldier on as the wire service more appropriately described as the Administration's Press. That's about the only way one can view the Saturday afternoon dispatch from the AP's David Espo and its accompanying headline:
When I first heard of limp faux apology by the IRS's Lois Lerner on Friday for her tax-exempt division's harassment of Tea Party and conservative organizations, I thought she had done so on a conference call.
Well, she did have a conference call with reporters later that day -- the one where she said “I’m not good at math” -- but her original apology occurred at a conference of the Exempt Organizations Committee of the Tax Section of the American Bar Association in Washington (Lerner's relevant involvement is shown here). Why would such a mea culpa occur out of the blue at such a venue? The answer, per Kevin Williamson at National Review's The Corner blog, is that it wasn't out of the blue at all (bolds are mine throughout this post):
In a disptach early this evening, the Associated Press's Pete Yost, perhaps signaling his employer's intent to remain the journalistic lapdog known as the Administration's Press, accepted at face value Attorney General Eric Holder's claim, while defending his department's actions, to have played no role in its wide-ranging subpoena of two months of AP phone records involving 20 cellular, personal and business lines used by over 100 wire service reporters and editors. Yost also did not address whether DOJ received judicial approval for its fishing expedition, a question the AP's Mark Sherman identified last night as unresolved.
It apparently hasn't occurred to Yost that if an Attorney General is aware that his underlings are about to engage in blatant, First Amendment-chilling prosecutorial overreach and intimidation -- a characterization the reporter himself made clear is shared by critics of all political stripes -- merely removing oneself from the case is a completely insufficient reaction. Instead, the AG is duty-bound to order it not to happen, and to remove anyone who chooses to defy his order. If the AG supports what his people have done, then he's responsible for the results and fallout. That's how being the boss is supposed to work. Excerpts from Yost's report follow the jump (bolds are mine):
While the Big Three (ABC, CBS and NBC) networks have all done stories on the Obama administration's seizure of Associated Press (AP) reporters phone records, what is striking is their reluctance to attach Barack Obama's name to the controversy. In seven total stories aired on their evening and morning shows, since the story broke on Monday afternoon, Obama's name was used only six times. Reporters were much more likely to use the generic term "government." For example, CBS's Bob Orr on Wednesday's This Morning described the controversy this way: "The government just simply came in, got the subpoenas, took the phone logs and then notified the AP after the fact."
The reluctance to put Obama's name in these stories is important because it allows the low-information voter to write off the scandal as one caused by faceless government bureaucrats.
"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]
In a move which appears conveniently timed to coincide with a wave of other arguably more damaging bad news for the administration, the Associated Press has reported that the Department of Justice informed the wire service on Friday that it had secretly obtained two months of reporters' and editors' telephone records.
In the words of AP's Mark Sherman, in coverage late this afternoon, "the government seized the records for more than 20 separate telephone lines assigned to AP and its journalists in April and May of 2012." Sherman also notes that "more than 100 journalists work in the offices where phone records were targeted, on a wide array of stories about government and other matters," and that those records "were presumably obtained from phone companies earlier this year" (i.e., after Obama was safely re-elected). More from Sherman's report, a comment from yours truly, and several comments by others who have read AP's coverage follow the jump (bolds are mine):
Should federal prosecutors be allowed to pack heat? It’s a good question given the recent assassinations of a District Attorney and his assistant in Kaufman County, Texas. While not federal prosecutors, the recent assassinations illustrate that prosecutors have become a target for violence, particularly in federal cases where drug cartels – or terrorists – may be involved.
Recently, Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) sent a letter to Obama Attorney General Eric Holder, seeking clarification on federal policy about the ability of federal prosecutors carrying firearms on federal property. The Washington Post covered this development in Friday's paper, but buried the item on page A10. What's more, within the story itself, reporter Ed O'Keefe buried in the next-to-last paragraph the fact that the National Association of Assistant U.S. Attorneys, which represent federal prosecutors, are supportive of the initiative that would permit their clients to carry firearms.
Way to go out on a limb, Harold!. . . Of all the Morning Joe regulars, Harold Ford, Jr. is on my short list of those who bring the least to the table. Ford seems more interested in cultivating friends and avoiding offense than in saying anything interesting or—heaven forfend—controversial.
Ford took his penchant for finding something good to say about everyone to absurd new heights on today's show. On the one hand, Harold showed respect for Rand Paul's filibuster. On the other, he actually broke out the hoary "my dear friend" in saying he wasn't as worred about the drone policy as is Ron Wyden. And Harold is confident that President Obama will uphold the Constitution. Ford even claimed that AG Eric Holder did "a phenomenal job" in answering questions on the drone policy. We're running out of hands, here, Harold! Matters reached an absurd crescendo when, after observing that those who hang out with terrorists put themselves in peril, Ford proclaimed "I don't dine, socialize or spend time with people who are on a terrorist list around the globe." Good to know! View the video after the jump.
Senior Editorial Writer of the Washington Examiner Sean Higgins published an informative column Tuesday night giving some background for a case that appeared before the Supreme Court on Wednesday morning. Shelby County, Ala. v. Eric Holder has liberals in a panic apparently, because of its challenge to a key portion of the Voting Rights Act that requires many states and some counties to get "pre-clearance" for voting law changes by a federal court. Curiously enough, major media outlets have neglected to mention the context and true history behind the law in question.
Ironically, the Voting Rights Act has completely changed the political landscape of the South ever since it was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1965, and in ways that have poorly served African-American voters specifically and the Democratic Party generally. Higgins explained:
On Tuesday's CBS This Morning, Norah O'Donnell and Charlie Rose ganged up on former Obama chief of staff Rahm Emanuel from the left. O'Donnell cited sources blaming Emanuel for the President's failure to push for stricter gun control during his first term. But neither anchor brought up the obvious subject: Chicago's high murder rate, and what that says about the big Democratic city's rigid anti-gun stance.
O'Donnell hounded the Chicago mayor for resisting Attorney General Eric Holder's liberal anti-gun agenda and over the Obama administration's apparent hesitance towards the controversial issue [audio available here; video below the jump]:
In their continuing push to rig the election for Barack Obama, none of the three broadcast networks – ABC, CBS, or NBC – devoted a single second of coverage to Univision’s politically devastating investigative report about the Obama Administration’s lethal gunwalking scandal, Fast and Furious.
Media Research President Brent Bozell reacted: "“This is another example of the media deliberately rigging this election. The Obama Administration provided guns to Mexican drug cartels, and the networks have the gall to ignore it. ABC, CBS and NBC have absolutely no excuse for spiking this explosive report, and are clearly doing so because it will damage Obama’s chances of re-election. Americans shouldn’t have to learn a second language to receive real investigative reporting."
UPDATE: Still no ABC, CBS, NBC coverage of Univision's Fast and Furious report on Monday's evening newscasts or Tuesday's morning shows.
Over the weekend the Univision network broke major news in the Fast and Furious gunwalking scandal. They found 57 previously unreported guns used in crimes by Mexican cartels, but ABC, CBS and NBC have yet to report the Spanish-language network’s findings.
There were zero mentions on Sunday night’s ABC's World News and CBS's Evening News (NBC's Nightly News was pre-empted by Ryder Cup coverage) or on any of Monday’s morning shows. The blackout on ABC’s broadcasts is particularly confounding since they have an excerpt from Univision's September 30 report on ABC's official Web site. (video after the jump)