When last seen at NewsBusters in February, the Associated Press's Liz Sidoti was talking down to the public about its "collective obsession with the trivial" less than a week after AP reporter Ken Thomas wasted 500 words of print and bandwidth on how Florida Sen. Marco Rubio took a sip of water during a speech.
Now Sidoti, who is the AP's National Political Editor, is quite worried -- actually, obsessed -- that the public might waking up and contrasting what President Barack Obama is delivering compared to what he has promised at a most inopportune time, and that "controversies" might overtake Dear Leader's second-term agenda (bolds are mine):
COLUMN: MOUNTING CONTROVERSIES ARE ALL ABOUT TRUST
As a candidate, Barack Obama vowed to bring a different, better kind of leadership to the dysfunctional capital. He'd make government more efficient, accountable and transparent. He'd rise above the "small-ball" nature of doing business. And he'd work with Republicans to break Washington paralysis.
You can trust me, Obama said back in 2008. And - for a while, at least - a good piece of the country did.
But with big promises often come big failures - and the potential for big hits to the one thing that can make or break a presidency: credibility.
A series of mounting controversies is exposing both the risks of political promise-making and the limits of national-level governing while undercutting the core assurance Obama made from the outset: that he and his administration would behave differently.
Here we go again. Whenever a liberal or leftist president runs into difficulty, its because of "limits" on what he can do, not his or her own failures.
It gets worse, with a bogus "blame Bush" sighting, concern about Democrats' 2014 and 2016 prospects (this is the Administration's Press, after all), and a fantasyland reference to an "economic uptick" (numbered tags are mine):
The latest: the government's acknowledgement that, in a holdover from the Bush administration and with a bipartisan Congress' approval and a secret court's authorization,  it was siphoning the phone records of millions of American citizens in a massive data-collection effort officials say was meant to protect the nation from terrorism. This came after the disclosure that the government was snooping on journalists.
... Collectively, the issues call into question not only whether the nation's government can be trusted but also whether the leadership itself can.  All of this has Obama on the verge of losing the already waning faith of the American people. And without their confidence, it's really difficult for presidents to get anything done - particularly those in the second term of a presidency and inching toward lame-duck status.
The ramifications stretch beyond the White House. If enough Americans lose faith in Obama, he will lack strong coattails come next fall's congressional elections. Big losses in those races will make it harder for the Democratic presidential nominee in 2016, especially if it's Hillary Rodham Clinton,  to run as an extension of Obama's presidency and convince the American public to give Democrats another four years.
... If the controversies drag on, morale across America could end up taking a huge hit, just when the mood seems to be improving along with an economic uptick.  Or, Americans could end up buying Obama's arguments that safety sometimes trumps privacy, that his administration is taking action on the IRS, and that he's doing the best he can to forge bipartisan compromise when Republicans are obstructing progress.
Earth to Liz:
 -- What NSA is doing is no mere "holdover." I believe Sidoti knows it. Thanks to technological advances and the cooperation of the biggest names in tech, it's an incontrovertible fact that the scope of the current NSA data dragnet goes far beyond anything which occurred during the Bush administration. We can debate from here to kingdom come whether Bush 43 would have been okay with the breathtaking expansion, but we'll never know. What we do know is that candidate Obama railed against what the Bush 43 administration was doing and promised he would curtail it. Instead has vastly and probably dangerously expanded it.
 -- The only reason even a plurality of Americans still trusts President Obama is that for six years the establishment press has drowned out any meaningful attempt to call him out when he has lied and brazenly broken his promises. The list of lies and broken promises is incredibly long.
 -- It's always about whether Democrats and the left can attain power or stay in power, isn't it?
 -- These aren't all controversies, Liz. They are mostly scandals.
A "controversy" is "a prolonged public dispute, debate, or contention."
A "scandal" is "a disgraceful or discreditable action, circumstance, etc."
Sidoti herself wrote in unexcerpted text of "improper targeting of conservative groups for extra scrutiny" by the IRS. There is no dispute over its impropriety. That makes it a scandal, not a controversy.
I don't doubt for a minute that Sidoti believes that the government's snooping on AP and Fox News's James Rosen was also improper, making those actions scandalous, not controversial.
The command decisions made and not made in regards to Benghazi might still be considered controversial in some quarters, but if it's proven beyond doubt that we could have saved our men in danger, that will move into scandal territory. Regardless, there is no doubt that the proven serial lying to the American people and the victims' families about the attack's origins and the subsequent treatment of those who wanted to tell the truth are scandals.
While the nature and propriety of the NSA dragnet itself is probably still at the level of controversy, the failure to inform the American people of its all-inclusive nature is right there on the controversy-scandal borderline.
As to the "economic uptick," please, Liz. Don't insult our intelligence. The economy is barely budging, and not getting better. One of your wire service's own reports cited the author of a well-known quarterly study last week who said, “It’s not a recovery. It’s not even normal growth. It’s bad.”
The possibility that Obama may be losing his perceived credibility -- the idea that he really has none already is apparently still beyond her recognition -- appears to genuinely surprise Sidoti. In what cave have you been living during the past six years (including two years of candidate Obama), Liz?
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.