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."
White House spokesman Jay Carney on Wednesday lectured journalists to not believe the "BS" that Barack Obama is a reckless spender. Rather than investigate Carney's assertions, or the sketchy basis for them, reporters have either embraced the talking points or allowed them to go unchallenged.
Chris Matthews on Wednesday repeated the "fact" that federal spending "is rising at the slowest rate" in 60 years. The network evening and morning shows have failed to investigate this highly questionable assertion from MarketWatch's Rex Nutting. The Washington Post, however, gave this claim "three Pinocchios" and chided Carney, "The data in the article are flawed, and the analysis lacks context."
A bogus report published by MarketWatch Tuesday claiming "under Obama, federal spending is rising at the slowest pace since Dwight Eisenhower brought the Korean War to an end in the 1950s" has been all the rage at the White House and MSNBC.
Conservative columnist Ann Coulter correctly observed Wednesday:
The Big Three networks' evening newscasts have all but punted so far on the 12 lawsuits filed on Monday against the Obama administration, challenging the abortifacient/birth control mandate which is part of ObamaCare. However, CBS actually followed up on their exclusive interview of New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan on the regulation on Tuesday's CBS This Morning.
Correspondent Norah O'Donnell confronted Press Secretary Jay Carney during the Tuesday White House press briefing over Dolan's sharp critique of the mandate on the morning newscast: "He [Dolan] said that it's a 'strait-jacketing' and 'handcuffing exemption.'...Is that what the President is doing...strait-jacketing and hand-cuffing religious institutions?" O'Donnell's question didn't make it on the air on Tuesday's CBS Evening News or Wednesday's CBS This Morning, even after Carney evaded directly answering her question.
After 19 days of controversy, CBS Evening News on Tuesday finally got around to covering the growing dispute between the Obama administration, who wants to impose a mandate for sterilizations and birth control on religious institutions, and the Catholic Church and its allies, who see it as a violation of religious liberty. All of the Big Three networks' evening newscasts on Tuesday covered the issue.
On Wednesday morning, CBS This Morning was actually the only network morning show that devoted a segment to the "hot-button issue," as anchor Gayle King labeled it. NBC's Today show gave a mere news brief on the "uproar" over the new federal policy, while ABC's Good Morning America ignored it.
Fox News's Ed Henry challenged White House Press Secretary Jay Carney during a Tuesday briefing over the growing controversy surrounding the Obama administration's move on January 20 to force most employers to cover sterilization, abortion-inducing drugs, and contraceptives in their health care policies without co-pay. This new federal mandate would force Catholic institutions, like hospitals and schools, to decide whether to obey it or follow the Church's teachings against contraception.
Anchor Megyn Kelly trumpeted that "this is turning into a big deal, and the White House... [is] saying they believe they have struck the appropriate balance...the Catholic Church...saying, how is it the appropriate balance to delay...the time at which we'd have to violate our consciences?" [video clip below the jump] The Big Three networks, on the other hand, have all but ignored the issue during the past 11 days. Only CBS This Morning on Tuesday briefly mentioned the growing controversy.
Barack Obama's political tone has become progressively more partisan since his "no red states, no blue states just the United States" warm 'n fuzziness at the 2004 Dem convention. But President Obama's rhetoric is still not harsh enough to suit Mike Barnicle.
On Morning Joe today, the former Boston Globe columnist demanded to know of Obama press sec Jay Carney just when the president was going to stop "swinging at air" and start calling out Republicans by name. Video after the jump.
At the Associated Press this afternoon, White House Correspondent Ben Feller relayed the essence of a statement by Obama administration spokesman Jay Carney about how the President believes that, in Feller's words, "it's up to New York and other municipalities to decide how much force to use in dealing with Occupy Wall Street demonstrations." Feller failed to mention both the President's previous endorsement of the goals of the Occupy protesters, and his inexcusable silence as the encampments have devolved into disease-infested swamps of criminal and antisocial behavior. How convenient.
While ABC didn't find time for the James Hoffa outburst this morning, ABC reporter Jake Tapper repeatedly engaged White House press secretary Jay Carney on Tuesday on the question of whether Obama felt Hoffa was in the spirit of Obama's January speech in Tucson about the need for civility.
Carney repeatedly backed away from the opportunity to distance the president from Obama (other than lamely claiming he hadn't arrived yet). Carney claimed there's a "ritual in Washington" to press for disavowal, but Obama wasn't present. There's also a "ritual in Washington" where a president doesn't want to upset his liberal/leftist base, which is clearly being observed. Here's a look at the Tapper-Carney exchanges as transcribed by MRC's Scott Whitlock:
CBS's Bill Plante hyped the supposedly "testy confrontation" between President Obama and Speaker Boehner on Thursday's Early Show over scheduling a presidential address to Congress: "This may prove that there is no argument too petty in today's Washington." By contrast, on Wednesday's CBS Evening News, Norah O'Donnell placed more blame on Obama for giving Boehner only a "15-minute heads-up."
Plante began with his "petty" line during his report just after the beginning of the 7 am Eastern hour, and added that "it was the timing of the President's speech that became the subject of a testy confrontation between the President and the Speaker, and the Speaker won." An on-screen graphic trumpeted the "speech spat: Obama & Boehner spar over jobs address."
President Barack Obama attacked the Republican presidential candidates Monday as part of a taxpayer-funded bus tour that the White House insists is not campaign-related.
The president’s three-day bus tour through Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois is supposed to focus on jobs. But during a town hall meeting in Cannon Falls, Minn., Obama mentioned last Thursday’s Republican debate in Ames, Iowa, and he criticized the candidates for saying they would not accept any deficit-reduction deal that includes tax increases.
In 2001, the then-Time magazine reporter wrote a snarky piece criticizing President George W. Bush's month-long vacation that was billed as a "Home to the Heartland" tour. But almost exactly 10 years later Carney, now the Obama White House's press secretary, is defending President Barack Obama's Midwest job-creation tour and vacation at Martha's Vineyard.
"I don't think Americans out there would begrudge that notion that the President would spend some time with his family," claimed Carney at a recent press briefing.
After only his third day on the job, Fox News senior White House correspondent Ed Henry was accused by White House Press Secretary Jay Carney of intentionally "creating" a dispute to please his new employer.
"I know you're creating a thing here for Fox," charged Carney toward the end of a testy exchange with the former CNN correspondent during Wednesday's press briefing.
As members of the White House press corps giggled off camera, Henry retorted: "That's not what I'm doing, you know better than that."
Wu-hoo! Welcome to another freaky ethics fiasco brought to you by the D.C. den of dysfunctional Democrats. This one comes clothed in a Tigger costume, wrapped in blinders and bathed in the fetid Beltway odor of eau de Pass le Buck.
Liberal David Wu is a seven-term Democratic congressman from Oregon who announced Tuesday that he'll resign amid a festering sex scandal involving the teenage daughter of a longtime campaign donor. He won't, however, be vacating public office until "the resolution of the debt-ceiling crisis." Translation: Call off the U-Haul trucks. Wu's staying awhile.
Despite the fact that the White House press corps is comprised mostly of members who are ardent liberal Democrats who want to see President Obama triumph over Republicans, it has grown increasingly clear that the feeling of respect is not mutual.
The White House made that apparent today by laying down a new rule for reporters covering Obama's news conferences there: No more shouting questions at the president.