President Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron will take questions from reporters in a joint press conference to be held shortly at the White House. The president is expected to be asked about revelations that IRS officials targeted Tea Party groups for audits. I'll be watching the conference and transcribing the questions below the page break.
In the comments section, tell us what questions you'd ask the president.
When it comes to the Washington press corps, it seems journalists have two modes: garden variety liberal bias and rah-rah, fist-pumping Obama boosterism. The cover of today's Express tabloid exhibits both.
"Obama Draws the Line on Guns," exults the headline on the front of the January 17 Washington Post-published tabloid. The photoshopped image accompanying the headline is an upturned fountain pen from which a wisp of smoke is curling. [view the image below the page break]
Update: Full transcript of the press briefing available here. | Consider this your presidential press conference open thread. Managing Editor Ken Shepherd will live-blog the questions. This is a rush transcript. We will update it later with an accurate transcript.
Julie Pace, Associated Press: Today marks the one month anniversary of the shooting in Newtown.... How hard will you push for an assault weapons ban? ... What other measures could be pushed?
In a Tuesday evening dispatch at the Associated Press (saved here for future reference, fair use and discussion purposes) on the status of U.S. foreign policy in Egypt, Bradley Klapper and Julie Pace either displayed an amazing level of clairvoyance or indulged in a level of fantasy ordinarily reserved for trips to Disneyland. I'm betting that it's the latter, that this AP report will in short order come to be seen as a complete journalistic embarrassment, and that the Obama administration is drinking from the same koolaid jug.
The good news is that they at least finally acknowledged a linkage that most of the rest of the establishment press has studiously ignored, namely that "After winning U.S. and worldwide praise (for brokering an Israel-Hamas ceasefire), Morsi immediately cashed in on his new political capital by seizing more power at home." But it's all downhill from there (bolds and numbered tags are mine):
On September 10, in a writeup which should qualify them for immediate entry into the Journalistm Hall of Shame, the Associated Press's Julie Pace and three other assisting reporters, acting as virtual stenographers for the Obama administration and water-carriers for his reelection campaign, declared that "It will be a rare day on the campaign when terrorism, or national security for that matter, will be a center of attention," while insisting that Obama has the presumptive upper hand in such matters.
Oops. Excerpts from their write-up follow the jump. It would be funny if it weren't so tragically sad (bolds are mine):
In a rare moment of reluctant semi-journalism which didn't name names, the Politico's Reid Epstein, in reporting about the God-Jerusalem debacle at the Democratic Convention Wednesday night, buried the lede, waiting until his third paragraph to tell readers (belated HT to Weasel Zippers) that "While the campaign at first said Obama had seen the language prior to the convention, it later said he did not learn of the issue until Wednesday morning, when he became aware of seeing news coverage of the issue." (Sidebar: Does that mean Dear Leader watches the despised Fox News?)
Then Epstein just let the disclosure sit there with no additional follow-up. His story has what is in my view a deliberately "this is boring" headline ("Division over platform at DNC" ... zzz). However, it would appear that the folks over at the Associated Press got to Epstein's third paragraph, and went into full-keister-covering mode.
Well, it looks like we have a bit of evidence that, contrary to an assertion by a pair of Politico reporters, it's not the media elites who can "powerfully shape" the narrative coming out of party conventions (the issue in question there was how Mitt Romney's nomination acceptance speech would be spun).
After all, as Scott Whitlock at NewsBusters noted earlier today, the three major networks have totally ignored the omission of "God" in the Democratic Party's platform, and have only lightly covered the platform's failure to name Jerusalem as Israel's capital. Despite that, and therefore obviously because of center-right media pressure (and semi-sensible Dems sensing disastrous election fallout), those issues now are both like Prego spaghetti sauce -- i.e., they're in there. Associated Press reporters Julie Pace and Steve Peoples seemed a bit unhappy with this turn of events in the version of their dispatch which appeared shortly after 6 PM ET, and tried to pin the entire blame on Republicans:
It seems that there will be little reason for the Obama campaign to bother issuing press releases as long as Julie Pace of the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, is around to breathlessly relay the information for them as some kind of exclusive, insider report.
If there's any difference between campaign hype and what Pace wrote in a theoretically objective news piece, it must be really subtle, because I didn't see it. Here goes (fawning and/or obsequious word choices are in bold):
If you're starting to lose Jonathan Alter, reporters at Politico, and other left-leaning outlets, you're starting to get into trouble. Double that if you can't even get Julie Pace at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, to muster more than eight paragraphs relating to a 53-minute speech pre-positioned as a "major address."
Hunter Walker has compiled several less than complimentary tweets at Politicker, including the following:
On December 31, 2003, looking ahead to the upcoming 2004 election year, an Associated Press reporter -- I think it would have been Jennifer Loven at the time -- wrote about how George W. Bush was going to spend as much of the next 10-plus months as possible figuring that "he no longer needs Congress to promote his agenda." Therfore, he would use "aggressive campaign fundraising and use executive action to try to boost the economy." Thus, his "re-election year will focus almost exclusively on executive action" at the rate of "at least two or three directives per week." Sadly, this meant that Bush's "election year retreat from legislative fights means" that his "term will end without significant progress on two of his ... campaign promises."
Oops, I'm sorry. That AP report never happened. The high-handed, non-governing, non-legislating, campaign-driven agenda is what Barack Obama, his White House apparatchiks, and his reelection campaign have said they will do in 2012 -- and Julie Pace at the Associated Press seems to heartily approve (bolds repeating what was quoted in the first paragraph above are mine):
There are press memes which won't go away no matter what, and no matter how often disproven. One, repeated in an Associated Press report a couple of weeks ago as our troops were about to leave Iraq, claimed that "No WMD were ever found" there. The truth: Yes they were — along with 550 metric tons of yellowcake uranium found in Iraq after Saddam was overthrown, specifically “the stuff that can be refined into nuclear weapons or nuclear fuel.”
Another meme which won't die and fails to pass the truth test was in an AP item by Julie Pace about President Obama's decision to defer raising the debt ceiling by $1.2 billion today. In it, she repeated the leftist line about how the national debt has grown so large (HT to an NB emailer):
In an early version of Julie Pace's coverage of President Obama's selection of Alan Krueger to be the next head of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, the following paragraph appeared (bolds are mine):
I've seen Associated Press reporters make absurd assertions before, but a statement written by Julie Pace and Vanessa Gera, who covered President Barack Obama's trip to Poland yesterday, has to be at or near the top of the list of all-time humdingers.
Polish Solidarity hero and Nobel Peace Prize winner Lech Walesa did not meet with Obama yesterday. Wait until you see the sheer speculation as to why there was no meeting in the bolded sentence in the fourth paragraph of the following excerpt from the AP pair's Friday evening report:
To those who have spent time following new reports emanating from the Associated Press, it's not exactly a secret that many of the alleged journalists who work there are having difficulty with the idea that there will be a new Republican majority in the House during the next two years. A further annoyance is that many members of that majority, especially the newer ones, hold sensible, Constitution-based views inspired by Tea Party movement. But as supposed professionals, you would think that the folks at the wire service might try a little harder to avoid blatantly revealing their bias.
If the AP's Julie Pace was really trying to stay within the bounds of the patently obvious, she failed miserably, as the bolded words in the following paragraph from her 2:31 p.m. report (also saved here for future reference, fair use, and discussion purposes) on President Obama's decision to delay submitting a budget to Congress until mid-February indicate:
What follows was eminently predictable, but noting it is nonetheless necessary.
Shirley Sherrod, and to a lesser extent her husband Charles, were media celebrities for a while in late July. Readers might have noticed their near absence from establishment media news reports during the past seven days. It would be easy to think that this has occurred because the story played itself out, with nothing newsworthy to add.
That stopped being true on Monday, August 2, when a column by Ron Wilkins ("The Other Side of Shirley Sherrod") appeared in the leftist alternative publication Counterpunch.
Wilkins is currently a professor in the Department of Africana Studies (not misspelled) at Cal State University. He claims in the final sentence of his column that he is knowledgeable concerning what he is writing because "I was one of those workers at NCI." "NCI" is New Communities, Inc., described at a RuralDevelopment.org link as "the land trust that Shirley and Charles Sherrod established, with other black farm families in the 1960's."
Here's part of what Wilkins alleges (excerpted items are not in the same order as they originally appeared; out of order verbiage is identified):
Rush mentioned this on the air as his show opened.
It comes from the Associated Press, in a later paragraph of an Obama cheerleading item ("Obama pitches health plan in spirited appearance"; AP picture at right is from that story) by Julie Pace and David Espo.
The paragraph in question opens by giving readers the impression that either Pace, Espo, or another AP person has actually seen language in whatever iteration of ObamaCare happens to be floating around House chambers these days. But then it backs down and says it's only "described by a Democratic aide," meaning that the wire service is willingly serving as a trial-balloon enabler:
In a new change sought by House Democrats, the fix-it bill would require businesses to count part-time workers when calculating penalties for failing to provide health coverage for employees. Smaller businesses would be exempt. The Senate bill would count only full-time workers in applying the penalties, but under the change, described by a Democratic aide, two part-time workers would count as one full-time worker. Businesses say that's unduly burdensome, but Democrats contend it would prevent businesses from avoiding penalties by hiring more workers part-time.