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)
CNN's Carol Costello teed up a La Raza chairman on Monday by asking him if some new voter ID laws are tantamount to a "war on minority voters." A CNN headline later blared "Voting Rights on Trial," as if the laws were going after people's rights.
After playing a clip of Attorney General Eric Holder promising legal action against any discriminatory voter laws, Costello asked her guest Jorge Plasencia "Is there a war on minority voters in this country?" The two were discussing a new Texas voter ID law being challenged by the Justice Department. [Video below. Audio here.]
Time magazine demonstrated in its last issue that it was so overwhelmingly thrilled with John Roberts upholding ObamaCare that it put Roberts on the cover with the title “Roberts Rules,” touting his “landmark decision.” Inside, the magazine gave the ruling 15-plus pages of coverage.
By contrast, the Congress voting to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt for failing to deliver documents on the “Fast & Furious” program drew two dismissive paragraphs – one less paragraph than Time editor Richard Stengel took to boost Roberts as a chip off the old block of “John Marshall, the greatest of all Chief Justices” in an Editor’s Note:
On Sunday morning's Melissa Harris-Perry show on MSNBC, the host noted angrily that 17 Democrats voted to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress for failing to produce documents in the Fast & Furious scandal. Harris-Perry brought on Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.), chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, to ask him if it wouldn't be better for the Democrats to go "without" the moderate-to-conservative Blue Dogs in favor of a "more easily corralled group."
Harris demanded all Democrats need to "get on the same page" before the Democrats convene in Charlotte in September, and nearly omnipresent MSNBC guest Karen Finney suggested the 17 anti-Holder Democrats were all terrified of the NRA and other outside spending groups:
On Friday's NBC Today co-host Matt Lauer didn't just lob a softball to Obama campaign advisor David Axelrod about Attorney General Eric Holder being held in contempt of Congress, he placed the ball on a tee and helped Axelrod swing the bat: "Paraphrasing here, Mr. Holder said the American people deserve better. What is the President's reaction to the actions in Congress?"
Axelrod happily spewed White House talking points on the Thursday vote that held Holder in contempt for failing to release documents regarding the Fast and Furious gun-walking scandal: "I think it was an embarrassment to the Congress....They're getting their questions answered, they wanted the confrontation, they wanted the political theater. They ought to be getting to work on the problems that are significant to the American people."
Uniquely among the broadcast network evening newscasts, the NBC Nightly News, not only ran a full report on the House of Representatives vote to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress, but the network also noted that some Democrats joined Republicans on the vote.
By contrast, ABC's World News and the CBS Evening News only mentioned the dozens of Democrats who walked out of the Capitol in protest as they devoted only about half a minute each to the story.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), while speaking on the House floor opposing the contempt charges of Attorney General Eric Holder, actually botched the name of slain border patrol agent Brian Terry.
As she expressed condolences to his family, Pelosi called him "Brian Tay, Tay, Terry" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Rep. Jim Matheson (D-Utah) broke party lines on Tuesday and announced that he will vote to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress. Matheson is the first Democrat to come out and publicly condemn Holder. Neither ABC's Good Morning America, CBS's This Morning, nor NBC's Today noted the development today.
On Sunday's NBC Meet the Press, moderator David Gregory led the show's panelists in dismissing the House Government Oversight Committee holding Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt over the Fast and Furious gun-walking scandal as a mere political "distraction" created by Republicans. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
The committee's chairman, California Republican Congressman Darrell Issa, was also on the panel and interrogated by Gregory: "If you got everything you wanted, what do you think it would prove?....What would you be able to prove? I mean what the White House is saying is this is a fishing expedition, it's to score political points, it's all theater. What can you prove if you get everything you want?"
CNN political contributor Hilary Rosen got a much-needed education about voter ID laws from George Will on ABC's This Week Sunday.
When Rosen echoed the dishonest Democrat talking point that voter ID laws are considered "under the civil rights statutes" to be voter suppression, Will smartly replied, "Let the record show that the Supreme Court, with Justice John Paul Stevens, liberal Justice writing it, said that there is no Constitutional flaw in photo ID voter laws" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Bill Maher said Friday, "Republicans don't care about dead Mexicans."
This came moments after he admitted on HBO's Real Time he didn't know anything about the controversial White House mission known as Fast and Furious "until this week" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
One of the finest examples of how liberal media members really don't know what they're talking about occurred on HBO's Real Time Friday when Reason's Nick Gillespie gave a much-needed education to MSNBC's Rachel Maddow and host Bill Maher on the issue of Fast and Furious.
In the end, Maddow and Maher embarrassed themselves in a fashion that should have both of their respective networks seriously concerned about their qualifications to disseminate information to the public (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Rock 'em sock 'em liberal Ed Schultz continues doing his darndest to unintentionally help conservatives by the simple act of opening his mouth and letting words spill out.
On his radio show yesterday, Schultz finally caught up with the Fast and Furious gun-walking scandal that's been brewing for 18 months since the murder of border agent Brian Terry (audio clips after page break).
"There’s a reason you don’t know much about the complicated and confusing mess known as 'Fast and Furious,'” wrote conservative columnist John Podhoretz at the New York Post Thursday.
"The mainstream media have largely ignored this Obama administration scandal, which would have dominated mainstream front pages and homepages and programs for months had it all taken place under a Republican administration."
Following President Obama’s decision to use executive privilege to shield Attorney General Eric Holder from turning over documents to Congress, the mainstream media can no longer continue its media blackout of the Fast and Furious scandal.
Asserting executive privilege "has several immediate effects" upon the public's awareness of a scandal the media have heretofore largely ignored, Fox News contributor Charles Krauthammer observed on the Wednesday edition of Fox News Channel's Special Report.
Steve Kornacki, who will debut as a new MSNBC host on Monday, appeared on Hardball, Thursday, to smear conservative opposition to Eric Holder and Barack Obama as racist. Asked why some on the right oppose the attorney general, Kornacki derided the "caricature of Obama" as a "secret black radical" who is trying to "take away rights or...money from, you know, from white people."
Kornacki saw an "aspect of race and culture" to the conservative disdain. In a discussion of the Fast and Furious scandal, Kornacki simplified, "...You take, you know, prominent, you know, black lawyer and you put him in charge of the Obama Justice Department and I think that's, to you know, to people who sort of traffic in that sort of thing, you know, it really is kind of a lightening rod." [UPDATED with video below. MP3 audio here.]
It appears as though CNN anchor Soledad O’Brien has joined the ranks in +the liberal media who argue that the GOP is engaging in a political witch hunt over the lethal Fast and Furious gun-walking scandal. During an interview with Sen. Chuck Grassley this morning, Soledad pressed the Iowa Republican about GOP congressmen's motives behind the contempt of Congress vote against Attorney General Eric Holder.
O'Brien hyped Maryland Democratic Congressman Elijah Cummings's charge that the the House GOP's vote for the contempt charge was purely partisan politics. O'Brien agreed, noting the partisan breakdown of the contempt vote. [Video coming soon. MP3 audio here.]
Leading off Wednesday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams could barely conceal his contempt for Attorney General Eric Holder being held in contempt by the House Government Oversight Committee: "Washington has blown up into a caustic partisan fight....And for those not following the complexities of all of it, it just looks like more of our broken politics and vicious fights now out in the open."
NBC News should be included in the category of "those not following the complexities of all of it" when it comes to covering the Fast and Furious gun running scandal at the heart of the contempt charge. Wednesday night marked the first full story the network offered on the subject, having completely ignored the controversy until June 12, with a 30-second mention of the failed operation at the end of a report.