Although to ask this question is to invite with a good degree of criticism, it is still worth asking: Is Obama administration's approach to publicly reprimanding private industry cause for concern?
On CNBC's May 4 "Squawk Box," host Michelle Caruso-Cabrera raised this point and asked Washington correspondent John Harwood if White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs' recent statement BP was a little overboard.
"The spokesperson says, quote, ‘We're going to keep our boot on the throats of BP,'" Caruso-Cabrera said. "How is the Business Council going to react to that when they see President Obama?"
Harwood, who often goes easy on the Obama administration, wasn't so quick to criticize Gibbs for this. His explanation was that it was a little "hostile," but repeated Gibbs' suggestion it was just a regional saying.
"If you’re a fan of Glenn Beck or Rush Limbaugh, try reading a few columns on the Huffington Post website."
So said President Barack Obama in his commencement address to the University of Michigan 2010 graduates Saturday.
"If we choose only to expose ourselves to opinions and viewpoints that are in line with our own, studies suggest that we will become more polarized, more set in our ways," ironically said the President.
"But if we choose to actively seek out information that challenges our assumptions and our beliefs, perhaps we can begin to understand where the people who disagree with us are coming from."
Obama then gave some examples to the audience (video follows - courtesy The Right Scoop - with transcript and commentary, h/t our old friend Ian Schwartz, photo courtesy AP):
In his regular online chat at washingtonpost.com, Post media reporter Howard Kurtz responded to a question about Obama holding more press conferences to give the people "an ongoing view of his intellect, grasp of issues, and moderate temperament and views," but he seems to have "little, if any respect" for the press corps. Kurtz responded:
My sense is that the president respects the mainstream media but has little patience for cable food-fight shows, inflammatory bloggers or conservative radio talk show hosts (he has criticized Rush, Glenn and Sean by name several times).
That sounds like "Obama has little patience for shows and blogs which are willing to challenge his mythic status and suggest he's neither experienced nor wise." Kurtz continued:
When interviewing White House press secretary Robert Gibbs on Sunday's edition of Reliable Sources on CNN, host Howard Kurtz suggested Bret Baier's interview with President Obama was an "interrupt-a-thon," as if the proper role of a journalist is to allow 90 seconds for each answer. It sounded like a CNN host attacking the other team, or simply like a softball question:
KURTZ: Let me ask you about Fox. The White House campaign against Fox News, did that end when Fox's Bret Baier was invited into the Oval Office, who a lot of people have called the interrupt-a-thon interview?
GIBBS: Well, I'll let Fox determine whether or not they got out of that interview what they wanted to get out of it based on the fact that -- I mean, I think the uniqueness of having an interview with the president is getting a chance to sit as close as we are and getting that insight. I mean, he could -- this was the last interview the president did before something as historic as health care passed.
On Tuesday's front page, Washington Post reporter Jason Horowitz reported press secretary Robert Gibbs will eventually be promoted out of that pedestrian job of White House press secretary and become a senior strategist. Team Obama's disdain for their press enablers was a given:
By and large, positive coverage has always been a fact of life in the Obama universe, so it's not surprising that the administration's press secretary, especially one who is personally close to the president, is less interested in wooing the reporters in the room than sparring with them.
Horowitz noted some terse exchanges from several weeks ago between Gibbs and the network correspondents, but suggested that the press was increasingly "anachronistic" and irrelevant and Gibbs' job was "less lofty" than it used to be:
The former Chairman of the California Democratic Party was for some reason treated as a journalist during yesterday's White House press briefing, and used the opportunity to smear a prominent conservative blogger.
Bill Press, who chaired the California Democratic Party for a few years in the 1990s, and who now hosts a radio talk show, demonstrated his total lack of serious journalistic credibility at yesterday's briefing.
He misquoted RedState's Erick Erickson to make it seem as if he was encouraging the listeners of his radio show to not fill out the Census, and tried to turn Erickson's statement into an attack on CNN, who recently hired Erickson as a political correspondent.
Monday’s Washington Post should be retitled Washington Happy Talk. Topping the right side of the page is the headline "Democrats upbeat on health-care bill" and below that, the headline "Obama priority shift could help his party." This is quite a shift from the gloom-and-doom days of President Bush.
The first story, by Post reporter Dan Eggen, noted the obvious point that votes are still lacking, but he played up what he called "the most optimistic talk" on the Sunday shows. Well, not exactly. He reported White House spokesman Robert Gibbs "declared ‘this is the climactic week for health-care reform.’"
But Gibbs was bolder than that. On CBS, he promised that by next Sunday, "[We]'ll be talking about the House having passed that proposal and us being a signature away from health care reform in this country."
Eggen used to be a Justice Department reporter pounding away at what liberals considered the Bush administration’s war on the Constitution. But this is all he could muster on the "Slaughter solution" talk in paragraph 15:
Helen Thomas on Friday asked White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs why the United States keeps giving iron-clad commitments to Israel when it violates international law?
Gibbs responded during the press briefing, "Well, again, we enjoy a strong relationship with the country and the people. We are committed to their security."
Giving what the late Tony Snow marvelously referred to as "The Hezbollah View," Thomas challenged the man at the podium, "How about the Palestinian security?" (video embedded below the fold with transcript, h/t HotAirPundit):
ABC's George Stephanopoulos on Tuesday showed little interest in grilling Robert Gibbs over serious allegations made by a Democratic Congressman. Talking to the White House press secretary, the Good Morning America host could only manage a single question: "[Representative Massa has] made very specific and pointed charges against Rahm Emanuel, Democratic leaders in the House. What's the White House response?"
And that was it. Stephanopoulos simply moved on to health care. He didn't ask about allegations that a naked Emanuel once approached Massa in the shower of the House gym and screamed at him. Further, wondering about "the White House response" is a very weak question. How about, "Are the charges true?" or "Did the White House pressure Massa to resign?"
Later in the piece, the GMA anchor asked if President Obama would be "willing to negotiate new language" with Congressman Bart Stupak over the issue of abortion and the health care bill. When Gibbs asserted, "This is not a bill about abortion," Stephanopoulos again offered no challenge. He simply accepted the declaration and moved on.
Comedian Joy Behar is known for saying some pretty absurd things on television, but her comment on Wednesday's "The View" was nothing less than disgraceful.
When co-host Barbara Walters brought up the issue of Sarah Palin, and how White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs had made a joke to the press pool by writing some notes on his hand, a rather heated discussion broke out with lone conservative Elisabeth Hasselbeck making the case that such behavior is beneath the office of the President.
"When the Press Secretary is up there being the mouthpiece for the White House during a time of crisis like we've been in for so long, don't make a joke and write on your hand. You are the Press Secretary of the White House."
This didn't sit well with Behar who actually responded (video embedded below the fold, h/t Story Balloon):
Previewing the State of the Union on Wednesday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith spoke with former White House Communications Director Anita Dunn, who claimed the GOP “made a decision a year ago that they weren’t going to cooperate on anything.” Smith replied: “I don’t think you can say what you just said and look at what happened with health care, especially in the last month, and be honest about it.”
Dunn, who just recently stepped down as communications director to the Obama White House, disregarded Smith’s challenge:
Harry, I disagree with that, mostly because I was working at the White House for most of this time. And I saw how many meetings with Republicans, how many attempts to reach out, how much time was spent listening to their concerns. An entire summer spent giving a lot of room to a bipartisan process which ultimately Republicans walked away from, even as their leaders from day one announced that they were going to kill health care no matter what was in the bill.
It seems that few if any events in political history has caused such a rapid meltdown among the media and the Democrats as last week's election of Scott Brown as senator from Massachusetts. And a prime example of the many meltdowns now happening is an off-camera exchange between Ed Schultz of MSNBC and White House press secretary Robert Gibbs in which Big Ed told the latter that he was "full of sh*t." Here is Schultz describing the encounter in this video:
I know it’s being recorded, but I wasn’t told it was off the record but Mr. Gibbs and I had quite the conversation off the air the other night. And I’m gonna tell ya, I told him he was full of sh*t is what I told him. I mean I did. And then he gave me the Dick Cheney f-bomb the same way Sen. Leahy got it on the Senate floor. So I told Robert Gibbs, I said, and I’m sorry you’re swearing at me but I’m just trying to help you out. I’m telling you you’re losing your base. Do you understand that you’re losing your base? And that the American people, they don't want public option. The American people want single payer.
But according to "Fox News Sunday" host Chris Wallace, efforts to spin this in a positive way are futile. Wallace appeared on the Fox Business Network's Jan. 21 "Imus in the Morning" program to explain their efforts to alter the news coverage to a favorable tone in the wake of this news is not the proper course of action.
"I think it means a big deal and I have to laugh, you know, somebody was saying yesterday, there's some events that are just un-spinable," Wallace said. "They're just too big, too dramatic, too obvious - you can't spin them and yet the White House clearly is trying to spin this."
President Obama returned to populist rhetoric Jan. 14 when he announced a $90 billion tax on roughly 50 large banks, supposedly to recoup "every single dime" of the TARP dollars used to rescue the financial sector.
Nevermind that a number of those banks including Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase and Morgan Stanley already repaid their TARP debts with interest and were forced to take the money in the first place.
Just recently BB&T's former CEO John Allison, who "adamantly opposed" TARP, told Fox Business viewers how the government strong-armed banks like his, that didn't need loans into taking money anyway.
Now Obama wants to assess billions of dollars in yearly "fees" on those firms. Talk about a raw deal.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the six largest banks - Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, Citigroup Inc., Bank of America, and Wells Fargo & Co. - will bear most of the burden for this punitive bank tax if it is approved by Congress. The tax bill for each bank would range from more than $1 billion to more than $2.4 billion per year for 10 years the Journal said.
Obama claims the 10-year Financial Crisis Responsibility Fee isn't a "punishment," but the timing and tone of his announcement suggest revenge, not policy.
Given the generally sycophantic attitude of the White House Press Corps, Robert Gibbs may have been caught off guard when he started facing some tough questions on President Obama's apparent flip-flop regarding his many promises to broadcast health care negotiations on C-SPAN. Gibbs stubbornly refused to answer multiple questions about the broken promises (h/t Byron York). Naked Emperor News complied video clips of eight instances of Obama promising to broadcast those negotiations on C-SPAN "so that people can see who is making arguments on behalf of their constituents, and who are making arguments on behalf of the drug companies or the insurance companies", as he said during one speech. The President has reneged on that commitment by reportedly encouraging Congressional leaders to skip conference committee negotiations.
C-SPAN CEO Brian Lamb recently sent a letter to the President and Congressional leaders "respectfully request[ing] that you allow the public full access, through television, to legislation that will affect the lives of every single American." That request went unheeded.
On Wednesday’s Situation Room, CNN’s Jack Cafferty surprisingly blasted top Democrats, especially President Obama, over the secret negotiations being conducted to reconcile the House and Senate versions of health care “reform” legislation: “President Obama hasn’t even made a token effort to keep his campaign promises of more openness and transparency in government. It was all just another lie.”
The CNN commentator, who sang the praises of President Obama not even a year ago, devoted his first Cafferty File segment, which began 13 minutes into the 4 pm Eastern hour, to berating the chief executive and congressional Democrats over their closed-door sessions. He even went so far to express his hope that “the voters remember some of this crap when the midterm elections roll around later this year.”
Yesterday, Obama press secretary Robert Gibbs took shots at Howard Dean and his opposition to ObamaCare, suggesting the good doctor didn't know what he was talking about.
It was payback time this morning, as Dean announced that he would "not vigorously" back Pres. Obama's re-election bid.
The former DNC Chairman expressed his tepid support for Obama, Part Deux on today's Morning Joe in response to new poll data indicating Pres. Obama's popularity, and public support for ObamaCare, have fallen to all-time lows.
Joe Scarborough suggested that Dean would be accused of dragging down his party and helping Republicans.
NewsBuster Rusty Weiss was praised on Saturday by "Fox News Watch" regular Jim Pinkerton.
The program began with host Jon Scott talking about President Obama's declining poll numbers, and how White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs spun them last week claiming, "I don't put a lot of stake in, never have in the EKG that is the daily Gallup trend."
Scott then passed the baton to Pinkerton who marvelously said, "[H]ats off to Rusty Weiss at NewsBusters who pointed out that back in February, when the Gallup poll showed enormous support for the stimulus package, the same guy, Robert Gibbs, was delighted to flap that as proof for what a great policy he had" (video embedded below the fold with partial transcript):
White House Press Secretary, Robert Gibbs, recently ridiculed a Gallup poll which showed the President's approval ratings at a record low for this stage of his presidency, for seemingly no other reason than they showed the President in a negative light. Gibbs referred to the Gallup polling organization as a wildly fluctuating EKG, labeling their results as the equivalent of ‘a 6-year-old with a crayon.'
Predictably, this administration has managed to throw a temper tantrum at every instance of failure that has defined them. The only surprise here, being that Gibbs was capable of taking the pacifier out of his mouth long enough to make the analogy.
On the other hand, it was mere months ago that Gibbs himself used Gallup poll numbers to demonstrate support for President Obama's economic stimulus plan - a stimulus plan that a 6-year-old with a crayon would have voted ‘no' on.
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs lashed out at Gallup polling today for releasing poll data that the administration does not like. The most recent Gallup poll shows President Obama's approval ratings at 47 percent, the lowest rating on record at this point in any presidency.
"If I was a heart patient and Gallup was my EKG, I'd visit my doctor," Gibbs told reporters today, referring to recent fluctuations in the polling company's reported presidential approval ratings. As of November 30, Gallup reported Obama's favorable rating at 51 percent, with 42 percent responding unfavorably. The latter rose to 46 percent as of Sunday.
"I'm sure a 6-year-old with a crayon could do something not unlike that. I don't put a lot of stake in, never have, in the EKG that is the daily Gallup trend," Gibbs added.
Ryan was pressing Gibbs over whether Desiree Rogers, the White House social secretary, essentially "invited herself" to last week's state dinner in honor of the Indian Prime Minister. Rogers has come under scrutiny for failing to have either herself or other social office staffers accompany Secret Service staffers who conducted security screenings for the dinner.
Gibbs, annoyed by Ryan pressing the matter, chided Ryan to calm down and suggesting that she was throwing a tantrum much like his son sometimes does.
I've included a partial transcript and CSPAN's video embed below the page break. Advance the embedded video above to about the 31:00 timestamp to see the relevant exchange (h/t Tim Graham):
Forget Ford Hood and investigating the so-called "terror" connections of Nidal Hasan.
Yours truly has come across something the current crowd running our government might see as even more sinister. The Obama administration, the FBI, the Justice Department, and, most importantly, the White House's speech police simply have to get on this right away.
You see, General David Petraeus visited the Air Force Academy last week and may have uttered a word once thought to have been stricken from all speeches and discussions relating to military matters.
UPDATE: Fox News White House correspondent Major Garrett corrected the record during Studio B in the 3PM ET hour on Wednesday (see video).
At 10:15AM ET during America’s Newsroom on Fox News Channel, co-host Martha MacCallum reported that in a gaggle with reporters Wednesday morning White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs claimed that President Obama did not watch election results Tuesday night but rather watched an HBO special about his 2008 campaign.
A tipster contacted NewsBusters questioning that report and after having acquired a transcript of the press gaggle, we have confirmed that the Fox News report was incorrect and Gibbs did not make any such statement.
Gibbs made this statement at the beginning of the untaped discussion with White House reporters:
One thing I should contextualize – the President obviously got updates about the election last night. He did not watch – as I told some of you – did not watch election returns. I wouldn’t read a ton into that since he didn’t actually watch election returns when he was running. If you did watch the movie on HBO – we called him and told him he won Iowa. He did not watch election returns.
Clearly Gibbs was simply referencing the HBO documentary as evidence that the President does not routinely watch election returns.
During the 10AM ET hour of America’s Newsroom on Fox News Channel, fill-in co-host Martha Maccallum told viewers what President Obama watched on election night while Democrats suffered big losses in New Jersey and Virginia: “Robert Gibbs said, well, he was actually watching, you know, the HBO special about his year-long campaign and how it all went.”
On Tuesday night the White House had worked to downplay the Democratic gubernatorial defeats by claiming the President did not watch the election returns. Apparently Gibbs thought it would look better if the commander in chief was watching a self-indulgent fawning documentary about himself. Interestingly, Obama apparently previewed the HBO special a few days earlier, as Gibbs himself explained to the blog Talking Points Memo: “White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs says Obama has already seen ‘By the People’...Gibbs told TPMDC Obama’s review: ‘Thumbs up!’”
On FNC, Maccallum noted: “...we know that Michelle and the girls went to the Miley Cyrus concert last night... So he’s all alone in that big house, right? Nothing to do but sit back and watch – reminisce about the long campaign and watch HBO and the special.” The HBO documentary, ‘By the People,’ debuted on Tuesday, in commemoration of the one year anniversary of Obama’s election.
Numerous sources are reporting a meeting occurred Wednesday between high-ranking officials at the White House and the Fox News Channel to try and reach an end to hostilities between the Administration and the nation's leading cable news network.
With Fox's ratings soaring as a result of the incursion, and the White House looking more and more foolish, one has to wonder what the Adminstration could have offered to make this deal possible.
Unfortunately, such details aren't currently available besides what Mediaite reported Wednesday:
And you thought President Obama just didn’t like Glenn Beck. According to MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough, the administration’s repeated attacks on Fox News are an attempt to send a message to the rest of the news media: “Fox isn’t a real news organization, so the stories it generates aren’t real news.”
The Oct. 21 “Morning Joe” reported on an exchange yesterday (noted on Newsbusters by Noel Sheppard) between ABC Chief White House Correspondent Jake Tapper and White House Spokesman Robert Gibbs, in which Tapper asked whether it was “appropriate” for the administration to be deciding what news organizations are legitimate.
“I think Jake Tapper was onto what we got onto yesterday morning, because we’ve been having this debate: ‘Does this make sense for them to shoot down at Fox News?’” said host Joe Scarborough. “No it doesn’t if your target’s Fox News.”
On Tuesday, another prominent media member challenged the White House strategy of attacking the Fox News Channel.
This time up at the plate was ABC's Jake Tapper who asked White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs during today's gaggle:
It’s escaped none of our notice that the White House has decided in the last few weeks to declare one of our sister organizations “not a news organization” and to tell the rest of us not to treat them like a news organization. Can you explain why it’s appropriate for the White House to decide that a news organization is not one?
Tapper posted the full exchange with Gibbs at his Political Punch blog (emphases his, file photo):
By now, most NewsBusters readers have seen the Drudge Report item alleging that President Obama called rapper Kanye West (he of the "George Bush doesn't care about black people" fame) a "jackass." This report originated with Terry Moran's rogue tweet to that effect, which later caused ABC to apologize to the White House for relaying off-the-record information to the public at large.
Gossip Web site TMZ.com, however, has no such qualms about relaying off-the-record statements made by celebrities -- even, or especially, when the celebrity in question is the President of the United States.
It's been nearly seven months since CNBC reporter Rick Santelli took a stand against the Obama administration, which inspired the tea party movement - and the White House hasn't forgotten.
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs was asked by CNBC Washington correspondent John Harwood why the administration decided to go after Santelli after his Feb. 19 call for a metaphorical revolt over President Barack Obama's economic policies.
"Truthfully, one primary reason," Gibbs said in comments aired on CNBC's Sept. 4 "Squawk on the Street." "And that was - I thought the argument that he was making was both disingenuous and not based on the facts. It was clear that Rick was very passionate about the issue. And look, we have differing opinions from both sides of the political aisle. It was clear to me that the argument that he was making wasn't based on him having actually read our plan."
On Tuesday’s Situation Room, CNN’s Suzanne Malveaux questioned RNC Chairman Michael Steele about the debate over ObamaCare, and alleged that protesters “from your own party...have talked about and compared President Obama to Hitler” at the health care town halls. The anchor also bizarrely asked Steele if he gave Attorney General Holder “credit...for breaking away from President Obama.”
Midway through her interview with the GOP leader, Malveaux made the left-wing allegation that Republican activists were using Nazi imagery against the President at the town halls: “How honest do you think the debate has been- the discussion? In light of some of the town hall meetings, some of the rhetoric that we’ve seen from both sides, but specifically those who are from your own party who have talked about and compared President Obama to- to Hitler.”
CNN has raised the issue of the Nazi comparisons at the health care town halls in the past weeks, all the while making three significant omissions. First, they neglected to mention that early in August, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi accused the anti-ObamaCare protesters of “carrying swastikas and symbols like that to a town hall meeting on health care,” which led to Rush Limbaugh pointing out the similarities between the DNC health care logo and a Nazi symbol. They have also failed to mention that supporters of leftist Lyndon LaRouche bore posters of President Obama defaced with a Hitler mustache.