Fox News senior White House correspondent Ed Henry said Friday that when he used to grill George W. Bush press secretaries Dana Perino and the late Tony Snow when he was working for CNN, his colleagues cheered him on in private.
"Then when I was at Fox covering the Obama administration," he told conservative radio host Laura Ingraham, "it can get a little bit lonely sometimes" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
The Washington Post carried a huge, almost life-size picture of Jay Carney’s head in the Style section on Friday. But it was designed as a pick-me-up for the embattled Obama spinner. It was a story about...Carney and his favorite rock band.
“Benghazi and the IRS have kept Carney scrambling, and he hasn’t had much time to listen to ‘English Little League,’ the latest album from the Ohio indie-rock band [Guided by Voices] he has affectionately name-dropped in more than one news briefing.” Critics want Carney canned, but the Post wants him to feel happy about the “beer-soaked brilliance” of his favorite rockers:
Up until now, the funniest thing Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank has said in the Obama years is “I think the media would love to have an Obama scandal to cover.” Well, Milbank has finally found a scandal that upsets him: the leak investigation of Fox News reporter James Rosen.
“The Rosen affair is as flagrant an assault on civil liberties as anything done by George W. Bush’s administration, and it uses technology to silence critics in a way Richard Nixon could only have dreamed of.” It’s shaking Milbank’s confidence that the other Obama scandals aren’t scandals:
The liberal media are not really "up in arms" with the Obama administration, but are simply having a "lover's quarrel" over the AP scandal in particular, NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell told CNBC host Larry Kudlow on his May 16 The Kudlow Report program.
What's more, it won't be that long until "[t]he Bill Clinton syndrome is going to be upon us, where it's time to move on, we've covered it [the media will say] and they're going to turn the fire right on Republicans as being obstructionists. Mark my word," the Media Research Center founder predicted. [watch the full segment below the page break]
The liberal comedian said he found it strange that the president didn't learn much sooner about the Internal Revenue Service persecuting groups with “Tea Party” or “Patriot” in their names and the Justice Department confiscating phone records about Associated Press reporters.
It's just so unfortunate that such nice guys are going through such trying circumstances.
That's the impression one gets from graphic teases seen at about 9:30 this morning at the Washington Post, where the captions underneath the three left thumbnails read as follows: "President Obama’s disastrous political week"; "Jay Carney’s tough day"; and "Jay Carney’s day — in 7 faces." If you don't recall such an obvious outward show of sympathy during the final year of George W. Bush's presidency, you're not alone. A quick look at the underlying items follows the jump.
White House press secretary Jay Carney had a tough week last week concluding with an absolutely deplorable press conference wherein he continued to spin totally unbelievable yarns about the administration's talking points regarding Benghazi.
This led George Will to say on ABC's This Week Sunday that Carney's "usefulness to this administration is diminishing rapidly" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
The trial of notorious Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell -- as close to a demonic presence as anything this country will ever see -- was almost a month old when the network blackout finally ended. CNN broke its silence, as did CBS. National newspapers sent reporters to the trial for the first time.
They started covering it only because of a national outrage that they would so deliberately withhold this horror story from the public -- for political reasons.
President Obama’s budget is finally out -- a mere 65 days late -- and it’s loaded with tax increases.
At yesterday’s press briefing, White House flack-in-chief Jay Carney admitted that middle class tax increases were coming. But if a tree falls in the woods, does anyone hear it? Major media outlets like the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, and sadly even the Wall Street Journal failed to mention this aspect in their coverage of the budget’s unveiling today. Here's the relevant exchange from the April 9 briefing (emphasis mine):
On Tuesday's NBC Today, news reader Natalie Morales warned viewers: "With a potential government shutdown looming later on this month, the White House may have to cancel its annual Easter Egg Roll." In the report that followed, White House correspondent Kristen Welker added that the "event might be in jeopardy....due to the ongoing budget battles here in Washington." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
While Welker simply repeated administration talking points without skepticism, she completely ignored the fact that just days ago, during a Fox News interview on March 15, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney testily told anchor Jenna Lee that while tours of the executive mansion had been cancelled, the Easter Egg Roll was safe: "Well actually, Jenna, again, if you did a little reporting...it's paid for by the sale of those eggs that come out, as well as from donations on the outside, so it's a totally different budget. These are apples and oranges."
It's hard to imagine that Nicholas Confessore and his editors at the overwhelmingly Obama-friendly New York Times were just making things up when he reported over the weekend in a Page A1 story that the Obama campaign's Organizing For America operation, now "rebooted" as the supposedly independent Organizing For Action, "will rely heavily on a small number of deep-pocketed donors ... whose influence on political campaigns Mr. Obama once deplored," granting them quarterly access to the Obama if they raise $500,000 or more.
According to Charlie Spiering at the Washington Examiner, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, when asked about the story, in Spiering's words, "asserted that OFA was an 'independent organization' that just happened to support the president’s policy agenda," "refused to address the New York Times reporting," and "ended the press briefing as reporters were still asking questions and fled the podium." If the late Tony Snow had done this while serving as press secretary under George W. Bush, we'd be seeing a continuous loop of the walkout on network TV all day long. The key paragraphs from the Times story, the reaction of MSNBC's Chuck Todd follow the jump, and the Associated Press's non-denial denial firewall follow the jump.
In response to Politico’s “Puppet Master” take on Obama and his stiff-arming of the White House press corps, former White House reporter Matthew Cooper penned a piece for The Atlantic titled “Is Obama Too Mean to the Media, or Are Reporters Just Whiny? It’s mostly the latter.”
Cooper quoted from the Politico piece, that “Obama is a master at limiting, shaping and manipulating media coverage of himself and his White House.” He asked: “Is this an affront to the First Amendment or whining? I lean towards the latter.” But wait, there's more:
Just three days after the inauguration, a White House official told The Hill's Erik Wasson that the Obama administration would be nine days late in presenting its budget blueprint, going to Congress on February 13 with the multi-volume spending plan instead of the February 4 deadline set by federal law. This marks the third year in a row that the president has missed the budgetary deadline.
Well, yesterday, the deadline came and went, only this time White House press secretary Jay Carney informed reporters that the White House had no firm date on when the budget would be released, refusing to give reporters an approximate release date and turning to predictable talking points in which he bashed congressional Republicans, you know, the guys who actually passed a budget plan last year. From the White House website:
Bill Plante apparently couldn't be bothered to find more than one conservative/Republican for his report on Wednesday's CBS This Morning. Plante aired one soundbite from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, but followed it with three straight clips from liberals/gun control supporters - White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, the Brady Campaign's Dan Gross, and Kentucky Rep. John Yarmuth, who attacked the NRA's leadership as "bullies".
The correspondent hyped supposed "public outrage over the massacre [that] has also emboldened members of Congress to challenge the power of the gun lobby." Plante also spotlighted the NRA's multi-million dollar lobbying campaign in 2012:
On Wednesday's CBS This Morning, Major Garrett promoted a thinly-veiled version of President Obama's "Scrooge Christmas" attack on congressional Republicans. After spotlighting how White House Press Secretary Jay Carney maligned the GOP's fiscal cliff solution as "magic beans and fairy dust," Garrett added that the "Republicans answered back – bah, humbug."
The CBS morning newscast, along with NBC's Today, aided the President by failing to point out that his rejection of the Republican plan is a 180 from his position in 2011. That year, the Democrat called for "$1.2 trillion in additional revenues, which could be accomplished without hiking tax rates by eliminating loopholes, eliminating some deductions."
When it comes to reporting on the what the White House wants to achieve in talks with Congress about averting the "fiscal cliff," one apparent theme at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, has been "Bury the lede about the size of Obama's tax increases." I'll cover another theme ("Let them get away with misstating the 'balanced approach'") in a later post.
President Obama now wants $1.6 trillion in tax increases over the next ten years, which is double the amount he sought during last year's debt-limit standoff. In ordinary times with a responsible press corps, such a massive change in posture would be headline-driving material, but not at AP, which appears to be doing its utmost to ensure that most Americans don't know about it while still being able to claim (sort of) that "Well, we told 'em."
Now that their guy will be in the White House for another term, the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, has apparently commenced its "Cleaning up Benghazi" project -- as, naturally, has the Obama administration.
As part of that effort, the wire service's Greg Risling, reporting from Los Angeles at 6:14 p.m., made only the vaguest of references to how the film "roiled the Middle East" and "sparked violence ... killing dozens," without mentioning how it was dishonestly leveraged by terrorists as cover for protests and violence, and of course without mentioning how Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and so many others in his administration spent well over a week -- despite clearly knowing better -- citing the film as the cause of the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya which killed four Americans, including Libyan ambassador Christopher Stevens. Excerpts follow the jump (saved here in full for future reference, fair use and discussion purposes; bolds are mine):
Americans of all political stripes were distressed by the September 11 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, that killed four Americans, including the U.S. Ambassador. But the reaction of the national broadcast networks has been demonstrably and shamefully partisan from the beginning of this story.
In the immediate aftermath of the terrorist attack, all three broadcast networks touted the political angle that the events would bolster President Obama — “reminding voters of his power as commander-in-chief,” as NBC’s Peter Alexander asserted on the September 14 edition of Today — while Mitt Romney would be damaged by his supposedly flubbed initial reaction.
But as the story progressed and reports indicated that the Obama administration knowingly misrepresented the nature of the attack, failed to provide adequate security, and refused to authorize a potential rescue mission to save those under fire, those same journalists have been either slow to report those developments, or altogether silent.
Yesterday's Style page of the Washington Post devoted a gauzy piece by staffer Jason Horowitz to Obama's "data-driven guru" David Plouffe. Today, Horowitz's colleague Amy Gardner took her turn at Obama campaign puffery with her Style section front-pager, "
"Welcome to the 'Jen and Jay Show,' the latest iteration of the White House news briefing," Gardner opened her October 31 piece on the Air Force One press gaggles that Jen Psaki of the Obama campaign and White House press secretary Jay Carney conduct. "In the waning days of the campaign, the duo has given the briefings the feel of a vaudeville act: lighthearted and entertaining but also well rehearsed -- and deadly for Republican Mitt Romney." Gardner, ostensibly an objective journalist, oozed, going on to marvel at the showmanship of Psaki and Carney (emphases mine):
Since MRC president Brent Bozell was busy celebrating at the MRC's 25th Anniversary Gala on Thursday night, Fox News asked him to appear for a "Media Mash" segment on Friday night's Hannity. Bozell and Sean Hannity focused mostly on the emerging scandal of Team Obama's lies about the attacks at the Benghazi consulate that killed four Americans. As we've reported, the networks have been very slow off the mark on this one. ABC's Jake Tapper showed spokesman Jay Carney pooh-poohing it was a “pre-planned attack," which now looks like a lie. Networks didn't want to underline the government knew within 24 hours it was a terrorist attack.
Bozell asked, "Who shows up to a demonstration with rocket-propelled grenades?...Where are the press? They should have been doing this two weeks ago!" Hannity lamented, "They’re covering up the death by terrorists of Americans by terrorists!" And "CBS has yet to cover this,” Bozell said. (Video below)
On Friday, CBS News White House correspondent Mark Knoller reported on Twitter that Mitt Romney's campaign was "slamming [the] Obama Admin citing reports of sale of Solyndra headquarters for fire sale price of $90-million," and how "US taxpayers lost $500-million underwriting Solyndra loans." Even with this and other developments in the past month, CBS hasn't covered Solyndra since June 1, 2012 on its morning and evening newscasts.
Knoller noted in subsequent Tweets that White House Press Secretary Jay Carney had defended the federal loan guarantee for Solyndra as a "merit-based decision" during an August 2, 2012 press gaggle, after a reporter asked about an impending congressional report on the scandal. Carney also stated during the presser that President Obama "firmly believes that it is the right decision to invest in clean energy technologies."
ABC News's Jake Tapper noticed an interesting trend with President Obama. He hasn't been around to take any questions from the press lately. In fact, he has evaded the national press corps for more than two months. However, as Tapper noted on his blog today, Obama did have time to talk to "reporters from People Magazine and Entertainment Tonight." In addition, "during his three-day Iowa bus tour this week, for example, he conducted three interviews with local radio stations, including a sports talk radio show, and a roundtable discussion with columnists from three Iowa papers, in addition to sitting down with People and Entertainment Tonight. On July 12, he did an interview with Charlie Rose for CBS This Morning."
One of the most embarrassing yet telling exchanges (using the term loosely, as will be seen) in the history of presidential press secretaries occurred on Thursday. Connie Lawn, described here as longest-serving White House reporter, asked Obama Press Secretary Jay Carney what should have been a really easy question: "What city does this administration consider to be the capital of Israel -- Jerusalem or Tel Aviv?"
Carney wouldn't answer it, and accused Lawn and relentless national treasure Les Kinsolving of WND.com of asking about something they already knew. Carney's contemptible behavior has been virtually ignored in the establishment press. Here is the complete exchange as relayed at the White House's web site, complete with an asterisk, which I will explain (I have added names of the questioners where needed; a YouTube of part of what follows is here; bolds are mine):
Norah O'Donnell spun the recent controversy over national security leaks in the Obama administration's favor on Tuesday's CBS This Morning, touting that "the Justice Department...points out that they have launched six cases since 2009 to investigate these leaks. And interestingly...that is more than all previous administrations combined."
O'Donnell also forwarded the White House's talking point on the issue, that "the President said he has zero tolerance for these leaks, and that's why he said he's sure it wasn't anyone in his White House."