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."
MSNBC circling the wagons? This NewsBuster is in no position to say that the FBI made a mistake by deciding not to monitor Tamerlan Tsarnaev after having interviewed him in 2011, acting on inquiries from Russian intelligence regarding his possible radical Islamic ties.
But by the same token, MSNBC host Alex Witt is in no position to say the FBI didn't make a mistake. Yet Witt has pre-emptively proferred an excuse for the FBI's decision. Speaking with investigative reporter Michael Isikoff on her show this afternon, Witt, alluding to the FBI's decision not to monitor Tsarnaev, declared: "hindsight is 20-20." View the video after the jump.
In a report for Thursday's NBC Today, investigative correspondent Michael Isikoff reported on plans for a $150 million renovation of the Guantanamo Bay prison still housing 166 terror detainees and sympathetically described how "despite improvements in recent years" of the facility, "the detainees' hopes of getting released were crushed when President Obama stopped talking about closing it." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Isikoff noted that some of the detainees were "engaged in a hunger strike...as an attempt to regain attention." A sound bite played of new the commanding general of the prison expressing his frustration with President Obama: "Nothing in the inauguration speech about closing it. Nothing in the State of the Union. You know, he's not re-staffing the office that was, you know, focused on closing or transferring."
On Sunday's Meet the Press, moderator David Gregory seized on an item in Politico arguing that upcoming sequester budget cuts could prove to be a "time bomb" for Republicans: "And the political pressure that's being brought to bear....'If sequestration happens now, House Democrats say they'll have tangible proof that the GOP is a dysfunctional party that can't even tie its own shoelaces'....Is that where the pressure is?"
Gregory posed that question to investigative correspondent Michael Isikoff, who replied: "I think the President clearly has the upper hand on the budget. Look, he won the election....Revenues being a part of the equation for cutting the budget, the President won on that....on that particular issue, he's got the upper hand. And it makes sense for him politically to hammer it – hammer it strongly."
On Wednesday's NBC Today, correspondent Michael Isikoff offered a congratulatory puff piece on the man who helped release a hidden camera video of Mitt Romney: "[It] became public as a result of some dogged sleuthing by a partisan political researcher with a very personal interest in the election....James Carter IV, who helped out it, is basking in the afterglow, receiving fresh job offers from liberal bloggers and a high-five e-mail from his grandfather, former President Jimmy Carter." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
The headline on screen throughout the report read: "'Poetic Justice'; Jimmy Carter's Grandson Helped Expose Romney Video." At one point in the segment, Carter gushed: "A lot of my Twitter followers that are supporters have said that this is poetic justice, that a Carter is the one that found this – this video that has given the Romney campaign so much trouble, and I have to say that I definitely agree with that sentiment."
Wrapping up a report for Tuesday's NBC Today about the hidden camera video of Mitt Romney speaking at a fundraiser, national investigative correspondent Michael Isikoff laughably proclaimed: "The source who made the secret video insisted to NBC News that the original motivation was not political but simple curiosity, to see what Romney would say in this unscripted setting." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
After promoting that assertion, Isikoff added: "But after watching the tape, the source decided the public should hear what Romney said and was encouraged to release it after talks with an Atlanta political researcher names James Carter IV, the grandson of Jimmy Carter..." Isikoff didn't question the fact that Romney made the comments in May but that the video was just released 50 days before the election.
The Daily Caller published two troubling stories by Matthew Boyle yesterday. The first, referring to email evidence, contends that senior Obama reelection campaign adviser David Axelrod has attempted "to subtly intimidate the respected polling firm when its numbers were unfavorable to the president," and that in August, "After Gallup declined to change its polling methodology, Obama’s Department of Justice hit it with an unrelated lawsuit" alleging that it has been overcharging the federal government on various contracts.
The second notes that DOJ has not yet formally served that lawsuit on Gallup, leading an unnamed "senior Gallup official" to theorize that "that Holder’s DOJ may be aware that serving the complaint before November’s election would appear politically charged." I'll note two other "little" things and excerpt relevant reports after the jump.
Within hours of the horrible massacre at the Aurora, Colorado movie theater, liberal reporters hijacked the tragedy to advance their anti-gun rights agenda. As they did in the wake of school shootings like Columbine (Back in 2000 the MRC documented, stories advocating gun control outnumbered those in favor of gun rights by a 10 to 1 ratio), the media were quick to heap blame on the NRA and Second Amendment supporters in their quest for more restrictions on guns.
On the very day of the Aurora shooting Time’sMichael Grunwald justified the oncoming push for gun control by the media when he pronounced: “There is nothing wrong with politicizing tragedy....Gun control and the Second Amendment are issues, too, and now seems like a pretty good time to talk about them.” (videos after the jump)
Appearing on the Saturday, July 21, Melissa Harris-Perry show on MSNBC, NBC correspondent Michael Isikoff - formerly of Newsweek - made a point of noting that one of the guns used in the Aurora theater massacre used to be illegal under the assault weapons ban, as if shooter James Holmes could not simply have purchased a different gun to assist in his murder spree.
Isikoff asserted that the assault weapons ban, which expired in 2004, "was lifted under President Bush," and noted that President Obama had "pledged during his campaign to restore it" but that "he has dropped that issue." Isikoff:
On Saturday's Today show, as NBC correspondent Michael Isikoff - formelry of Newsweek - filed a report on the drive to make people safer at movie theaters after the Aurora massacre, heconcluded his report by suggesting that, because "the powerful National Rifle Association has blocked any move for stricter gun laws," people will have to settle for "beefed-up security and greater vigilance," as if the NRA were preventing people from being safer.
Toward the end of the report, Isikoff relayed the complaint of gun control activists that it is too easy to obtain certain types of guns. Isikoff:
On the "Grapevine" section of Friday night's Special Report, Fox News anchor Bret Baier reported the MRC's findings on how the networks covered this year's "March for Life" -- or, to be more precise, how they skipped it. Once again, ABC, CBS, and NBC aired nothing on the thousands and thousands of pro-life protesters marching to the Supreme Court on the 39th anniversary of the high court legalizing abortion.
"If you were listening to the Big Three broadcast networks, you wouldn’t have heard a peep about the event," said Baier. "You would have been in the dark, too, if you were reading the print version of The New York Times. Not one word." Fox asked me for a quote which then appeared on screen: (Video below)
Former CIA agent John Kiriakou has been charged today with "repeatedly leaking classified information to journalists as well as violating the federal law that forbids disclosing the identity of covert intelligence officers," NBC News's Michael Isikoff reported earlier today. Isikoff noted in the second paragraph of his report that Kiriakou "between 2009 and last year worked as an investigator for Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee."
For those who don't know, ProPublica (bold is mine) "is an independent, non-profit newsroom that produces investigative journalism in the public interest. Our work focuses exclusively on truly important stories, stories with 'moral force.' We do this by producing journalism that shines a light on exploitation of the weak by the strong and on the failures of those with power to vindicate the trust placed in them." It has received predominant funding from the Sandler Foundation (yeah, those Sandlers; Herbert Sandler is Chairman). Other contributors include George Soros's Open Society Foundations. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. (yeah, him) is also on ProPublica's board.
Translation: They lean left. Nevertheless, the organization's Stephen Engelberg (HT Instapundit) questions whether the Politico had enough information on sexual harassment allegations against Herman Cain to publish a story (bolds are mine):
On Thursday's NBC Today, White House correspondent Kristen Welker only managed to give 23 seconds to the State Department buying up $70,000 worth of President Obama's various books. However, on October 21, investigative correspondent Michael Isikoff offered a full report about Herman Cain's presidential campaign buying copies of the businessman's new book.
Isikoff portrayed the large purchase of Cain's book as a scandal and even a potential violation of campaign finance laws: "That means profits for Cain himself and could run afoul of campaign laws, say watchdog groups." In contrast, Welker described the Obama book buying in a single sentence, followed by a sound bite of White House Press Secretary Jay Carney: "The White House didn't have anything to do with this..."
On Friday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer noted Herman Cain leading the Republican presidential field but wondered: "is he really aiming for the Oval Office or something else?" In the report that followed, correspondent Michael Isikoff proclaimed: "Herman Cain is facing new questions about whether he is profiting from his own campaign."
Isikoff reported: "Cain's campaign committee has used $100,000, collected from donors, to pay Cain's own company for thousands of these booklets written and self-published by Cain. That means profits for Cain himself and could run afoul of campaign laws, say watchdog groups." A sound bite was played of Craig Holman from the left-wing group Public Citizen declaring: "This has every appearance that Herman Cain is running for president largely to sell books and enrich his own company."
On Saturday's NBC Nightly News, correspondent Michael Isikoff filed a report recounting criticisms of GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain's 9-9-9 plan, as Isikoff asserted that "critics see more pain, not gain, for struggling families." His report continued:
On Monday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams proclaimed that Norwegian mass murderer Anders Breivik "seemed to be heavily influenced by some people in this country who write and blog about the perceived threat from Islam."
In the report that followed, correspondent Michael Isikoff noted how writings of Robert Spencer, the associate director of Stop the Islamization of America, were cited several times in Breivik's 1,500-page manifesto and declared that "some analysts say words can be weapons themselves." A sound bite was featured of Heidi Beirich of the left-wing Southern Poverty Law Center: "When you push the demonization of populations, you often end up with violence."
The NBC News Investigative Unit has devoted considerable resources to uncovering "scandals" ranging from Marcus Bachmann's health clinic to Newt Gingrich's credit line at Tiffany to the Sarah Palin document dump, but continues to ignore a botched Justice Department operation that contributed to the death of a U.S. border agent.
Examining the trove of reports filed by NBC News national investigative correspondent Michael Isikoff over the last few months reveals a fixation on investigations involving Republican politicians and an aversion to probes concerning the Obama administration, even as other media outlets expose the controversial ATF practice of letting guns purchased in America slip across the U.S.-Mexico border in hopes the trail would lead federal agents to drug kingpins.
NBC News's Michael Isikoff believes it's hypocritical of presidential candidate Michele Bachmann to criticize Medicaid because her husband's clinic receives money from this government healthcare program for the poor.
Appearing on Fox News's On the Record Wednesday night, Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich slammed NBC News for its reporting earlier that day that Callista Gingrich was a main cause of the exodus of Gingrich staffers last week: "I believe NBC owes Callista an apology....I think the program this morning was totally irresponsible and personally reprehensible..."
Host Greta Van Susteren asked Gingrich: "What was her role in the campaign prior to the departure? What is her role now? And had there been any internal conflicts with Callista and any of the people who left?" Gingrich responded: "Look, Callista and I have a very similar relationship to Nancy and Ronnie Reagan. And people blame Nancy Reagan for things that Ronald Reagan did."
Much of the media made fools of themselves with their excited obsession over the release of Sarah Palin’s gubernatorial e-mails, but NBC News went the furthest, sending, as did CNN, reporters to Juneau as the network uniquely led its Friday night newscast by hyping the non-news as a major event. “On the broadcast tonight,” anchor Lester Holt heralded, “mail call. Thousands of pages of e-mail from Sarah Palin's time as Governor. What we're learning about her tonight.”
Following a story from “national investigative correspondent” Michael Isikoff in which “MSNBC.com investigative reporter” Bill Dedman had the gall to complain “we waited longer for these records than Sarah Palin was Governor, almost a thousand days,” NBC’s David Gregory recognized, in an understatement: “As Mike and his team are finding, not a lot of bombshells here.”
At the top of Friday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer declared that it "could be a tough day for potential presidential candidate Sarah Palin. We're live in Alaska, where thousands of her e-mails as governor there will be released today." Later, fellow co-host Ann Curry introduced a report on the upcoming release by proclaiming that Palin was "about to face a new political minefield."
Without having seen a single email, national investigative correspondent Michael Isikoff argued that Palin "may now be facing a storm." The headline on screen throughout the segment read: "Problems for Palin? Thousands of E-mails to be Released."
Teasing a story on former House Speaker Newt Gingrich entering the presidential race at the top of Thursday's NBC Today, co-host Meredith Vieira proclaimed: "Political hurdle. Newt Gingrich launches his run for the White House, but will his two divorces and an admitted affair during his time as House speaker hurt his chances of becoming president?"
Later, fellow co-host Matt Lauer introduced a report on Gingrich by declaring: "He is perhaps the best known Republican in the field to date. But Gingrich also has a messy personal life that includes two divorces, three marriages, and a lengthy affair." Correspondent Michael Isikoff described how, "Everywhere he goes, Newt Gingrich hears the questions [about his personal life]....Gingrich, who once campaigned as a family values candidate, has been dogged for years by criticism of marital infidelity..."
Potential presidential candidate Donald Trump, whose controversial stance on President Obama's birth certificate has made waves in the mainstream media during the past weeks, for one reason or another, has avoided interviews on CBS's morning and evening news programs so far in 2011. In fact, Trump hasn't done an interview on either The Early Show or CBS Evening News in over two years.
On Wednesday's NBC Nightly News, correspondent Michael Isikoff claimed a prank phone call on Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker "provided his critics with evidence that his real motivation is what they've been saying all along, to crush public unions." On Thursday's CBS Early Show, co-host Erica Hill declared the "embarrassing" call revealed Walker's "plan for putting pressure on the big unions."
Isikoff suggested that Walker's private phone conversation with Ian Murphy of the left-wing Buffalo Beast website (who was pretending to be billionaire donor David Koch) ran counter to the Wisconsin Governor's public statements on his budget-cutting proposal: "Publicly, Governor Scott Walker has insisted the standoff over union rights in Wisconsin is all about saving money." On the Early Show, correspondent Dean Reynolds proclaimed: "Walker is heard discussing strategy to force Democratic senators to return to Wisconsin and vote. In another exchange, he tells of plans to punish state workers with layoffs."
Chris Matthews has a new obsession for 2011 and her name is Michele Bachmann. Matthews has gone after Bachmann with the same fervor he used to reserve for Dick Cheney and on Thursday's Hardball he mocked the Minnesota Republican Congresswoman's new appointment to the House Intelligence committee as he snidely observed: "This is great irony here, on the Intelligence committee. I wonder what the rules are for getting on that committee? I guess they're pretty lenient."
Matthews also questioned Bachman's motives for getting involved in public service as he asked The Daily Beast's Shushannah Walshe about a profile she wrote about Bachmann that touched on her religious beliefs:
MATTHEWS: Well what is the religious piece here because I don't want to push it too hard, but is there a kind of Joan of Arc thing going on here? The way you write that piece makes it sounds like she's on a kind of crusade. I'm serious. Almost a Messianic goal here, which goes beyond what we normally consider politics in America.
Thursday's NBC Nightly News led, yes led, with a lame attempt to advance the desperate Democratic spin about the “secret fortune” going into campaign ads leading to “a return to the days before Watergate, Wild West days,” a story anchor Brian Williams touted as containing “exclusive new information,” but which merely passed along stale and vague generalities suggesting some sort of vast right-wing conspiracy in efforts to dare exercise the same unfettered free speech rights practiced by NBC News.
“Tonight, we have exclusive new information about the enormous amount of money, a kind of secret fortune that has been flowing into congressional campaigns in these mid-term elections,” Williams ominously announced at the top of his newscast. Reporter Michael Isikoff, fresh from Newsweek, intoned:
In the last couple of weeks, Brian, money, special interest money has been pouring into a network of outside political groups that are really at really unprecedented levels. This is a network, the primary network is being run by Karl Rove....They are expecting to raise $250 million to flood the airwaves in these last few weeks of the election....And here's what's significant, Brian. Most of this money is coming from big fat cat donors, wealthy donors, and it's not being disclosed. Secret money pouring into American elections.
Appearing as a guest on Friday’s Countdown show, MSNBC political analyst Richard Wolffe – formerly of Newsweek – referred to the debunked story that was retracted by Newsweek in May 2005 which had incorrectly claimed that American interrogators at Guantanamo Bay had flushed a Koran down a toilet to intimidate Muslim prisoners. But Wolffe did not inform viewers that the story was untrue as he accused conservatives of a double standard for criticizing Newsweek’s inaccurate Koran desecration story from 2005 while not being aggressive enough in condemning Pastor Terry Jones’s declaration that he would burn the Koran on September 11. Wolffe:
I'm struck all the time with this story about the experience of those of us who worked in Newsweek – not the least of whom is Mike Isikoff now at NBC News who wrote a story about the abuse of the Koran in Guantanamo Bay, and there were riots and people died and the overwhelming torrent of abuse from conservative, the echo chamber, more than elected officials I think, certainly from conservative media, was that Newsweek had lied and people died. That's what they said.
Newsweek’s erroneous story inspired riots and a significant number of deaths in 2005 before it was retracted by the magazine, although, as previously documented by the MRC, Newsweek buried its retraction.