Mediaite - Mon, 05/13/2013 - 4:30pm
Earlier today, President Obama told reporters that the brouhaha over the formulation of talking points on the attacks in Benghazi was “a sideshow,” but as it turns out, the entire issue of Benghazi is nothing but a sideshow to those making the most noise about it.
A new survey from the Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling shows that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is weathering the scrutiny of the recent Benghazi hearings well, with 49% of voters saying they trust Hillary more on the Benghazi issue, versus 39% who trust congressional Republicans more. The poll also found that 23% of Americans think Benghazi is the biggest political scandal in American history, but of those Americans who think that Benghazi is the biggest political scandal in American history, 39% don’t even know where Benghazi is:
One interesting thing about the voters who think Benghazi is the biggest political scandal in American history is that 39% of them don’t actually know where it is. 10% think it’s in
Egypt, 9% in Iran, 6% in Cuba, 5% in Syria, 4% in Iraq, and 1% each in North Korea and Liberia, with 4% not willing to venture a guess.
That’s not to mention the ones who said “Wasn’t he the bad guy in Road House?”
I’m actually impressed that 58% of Americans were correctly able to identify where Benghazi is, because I’m sure there are a significant number of people who think that Watergate took place in Atlantis. One thing you learn from reading polls is that Americans aren’t all that great at knowing stuff. The people who think Benghazi is the biggest scandal in history were actually slightly more able to identify where the city is, but only by 3%. You would think that those people would be much more likely to know where it is, and least likely to think it’s in Cuba, their third most popular wrong answer.
PPP’s poll also showed that Hillary Clinton’s approval rating has remained steady since their last poll, in March, an indication that despite efforts to target her over the Benghazi issue, it might not hurt her politically. Some of that will depend on whether conservatives continue to come to her defense, but also on how much media attention this issue, Benghazi as scandal, continues to get. At a certain point, the noise reaches a volume that penetrates low-information voters, and the details matter less.
Categories: The Media
S.E. Cupp: Obama ‘Might Just Think The Press Is Really Stupid,’ Because Benghazi Makes Them ‘Look A Fool’
Mediaite - Mon, 05/13/2013 - 4:26pm
During Monday’s The Cycle, MSNBC host S.E. Cupp pushed back against her fellow co-hosts who universally said that conservatives were pursuing a political witch-hunt by investigating President Barack Obama’s administration’s response to the 2012 attack on an American consulate in Benghazi. Cupp said that the political media was unlikely to back off because they do “not want to be made to look a fool.” She added that the White House projects the impression that they “think that the press is really stupid” and the media is prepared to push back against that notion.
“I think we’ve reached a really sad stage with regard to Benghazi,” declared co-host Ari Melber. “There is an abuse of power in connection to Benghazi. The abuse of power is the complete exploitation and politicization of this strategy by some members of the Republican party in the House.”
Melber said that this fact is clear because, as Obama said today, the White House was supposedly covering up that the Benghazi attack was a terrorist act even though they acknowledged that fact three days after the attack.
“It is disgusting,” Melber added. “It has gone totally out of control, and it’s also sad.”
“Obviously, I disagree with all of you on the implications of Benghazi and scrubbing those talking points,” Cupp interjected. She said that, with a wrongly implicated filmmaker still in prison after being accused of putting an inflammatory video on YouTube that resulted in the death of four Americans, “I think those implications are pretty serious.”
She added that it is not surprising that Obama, heading into his second term, is getting push back form Congressional Republicans. What is interesting, she said, is how the press has reacted to the scandal.
“On Friday, with that presser with Jay Carney, I saw them united in their contempt for Jay Carney’s talking points in a way I have not seen this press pool be before,” Cupp declared. “The press does not want to be made to look a fool.”
She said that the political media extended Obama a lot of good will. “And now it feels like they might just think that the press is really stupid and that they can get away with a lot,” Cupp noted.
She said that the result will be a much more thorough and scrutinizing press corps with regards the White House’s talking points in the future “because their credibility is at stake now, and they don’t want to be continued to look like fools just sitting back and eating up this stuff without asking the right questions.”
Watch the clip below via MSNBC:
Categories: The Media
Mediaite - Mon, 05/13/2013 - 3:59pm
As we learned last week, the Internal Revenue Service reportedly targeted conservative “tea party” organizations during the 2012 election cycle by applying increased scrutiny to them when applying for tax-exempt status. BuzzFeed has unearthed a clip showing the IRS’ own former head asserting that his agency absolutely does not target any groups for increased scrutiny based on political beliefs.
Appearing before the House Ways & Means Subcommittee on Oversight in March 2012, then-commissioner of the IRS Douglas Shulman told Congress that his agency was not engaged in the targeting of tea party organizations, despite complaints lawmakers had received from various groups over their treatment from the bureau.
“Yes, I can give you assurances,” Shulman said when asked to reassure the panel that the IRS does not engage in political targeting. “As you know, we pride ourselves on being a non-political, non-partisan organization,” he added.
Shulman, who was a Republican appointee under President George W. Bush, told the panel: “Me and our chief counsel are the only presidential appointees and I have a five-year term that runs through presidential elections just so we will have none of that kind of political intervention into things that we do.”
Shulman’s term with the IRS ended in November 2012, after the reported targeting took place.
Watch below, via C-SPAN:
Categories: The Media
Mediaite - Mon, 05/13/2013 - 3:40pm
Could President Obama have read this op-ed by Ron Paul before his joint press conference with British Prime Minister David Cameron this morning? The president’s assessment of the Benghazi scandal was remarkably similar to that of the former congressman. Both men called the controversy a “sideshow.”
While Obama primarily went after Republicans for trying to politicize his administration’s response to the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya last September, Paul chose a more equal opportunity approach in his article, published this morning on the website of the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.
“Congressional hearings, White House damage control, endless op-eds, accusations, and defensive denials. Controversy over the events in Benghazi last September took center stage in Washington and elsewhere last week. However, the whole discussion is again more of a sideshow. Each side seeks to score political points instead of asking the real questions about the attack on the US facility, which resulted in the death of US Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans.”
Paul accused Republicans of smelling “political opportunity over evidence that the Administration heavily edited initial intelligence community talking points about the attack to remove or soften anything that might reflect badly on the president or the State Department.” But he also went after Democrats for offering “the even less convincing explanation for Benghazi, that somehow the attack occurred due to Republican sponsored cuts in the security budget at facilities overseas. With a one trillion dollar military budget, it is hard to take this seriously.”
“Neither side wants to talk about the real lesson of Benghazi,” Paul wrote. “Interventionism always carries with it unintended consequences.” He repeated his disdain with both sides of the argument in his conclusion:
“The real lesson of Benghazi will not be learned because neither Republicans nor Democrats want to hear it. But it is our interventionist foreign policy and its unintended consequences that have created these problems, including the attack and murder of Ambassador Stevens. The disputed talking points and White House whitewashing are just a sideshow.”
Paul’s son, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), has been far less even-handed in his public remarks on the Benghazi controversy, recently saying the events should “preclude” Hillary Clinton from holding political office.
Read Ron Paul’s full article here.
Categories: The Media
Rep. Issa To Megyn Kelly On Obama’s Benghazi Response: ‘An Act Of Terror Is Different Than A Terrorist Attack’
Mediaite - Mon, 05/13/2013 - 3:11pm
Shortly after President Obama responded to the Benghazi “sideshow” during a joint press conference with British Prime Minister David Cameron this morning, the man leading the investigation gave his reaction to Fox News’ Megyn Kelly. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) began by saying, “only the president could tell us with a straight face there’s never been any confusion.”
“As you go through the facts as they were,” Issa continued, “yes, in real time we knew this was an Al Qaeda-backed terrorist attack and everything else in between is simply revisionist history.” Following the testimony of Gregory Hicks and the other Benghazi “whistleblowers,” Issa challenged President Obama’s assertion that no one in the initial days after the attack knew exactly what had happened. Now that he has more information, Issa called the administration’s response, “just, plain, a cover-up.”
Last week, Rep. Issa suggested that the major takeaway of the congressional hearings on the Benghazi attack is that we now know it was a “terrorist attack.” Pressed by Kelly today to elaborate on why the administration’s response constitutes a “cover-up,” Issa focused on the difference between a “terrorist attack” and an “act of terror.” While he admits that Obama called the incident an “act of terror” he sees a sharp distinction between that phrase and the words “terrorist attack.”
“The president sent a letter to the President of Libya where he didn’t call it a terrorist attack even when at the time the President of Libya was calling that a pre-planned Sept. 11 terrorist attack. So, when you look at official correspondence from the president through the acting ambassador to the president of Libya, which came out in our hearing and was testified to under oath, the words that are being used carefully — like you just said, ‘act of terror’ — an ‘act of terror’ is different than a ‘terrorist attack.’ The truth is, this was a terrorist attack, this had Al Qaeda at it.”
Issa appears to be implying that the words “terrorist attack” connote pre-meditation and advance planning, whereas an “act of terror” could be spontaneous. Was President Obama really trying to make that distinction when he spoke about the Benghazi attack the day after it occurred?
Watch video below, via Fox News:
Categories: The Media
Lou Dobbs Rips ‘Nixonian’ Obama For Lying ‘Through His Teeth’ About IRS: ‘President Who Has Lost His Way’
Mediaite - Mon, 05/13/2013 - 2:46pm
Fox Business Network host Lou Dobbs stopped by Megyn Kelly‘s show on Monday afternoon to offer his reaction to President Obama‘s press conference — during which he responded to the IRS scandal involving the agency’s targeting politically conservative groups. Dobbs didn’t take well to Obama’s reaction and went after him for flat-out lying.
“What is outrageous is that the president of the United States this morning stands before the American people and lies through his teeth,” Dobbs charged. “That is what is outrageous.”
Kelly followed up, asking how exactly Obama was lying. Dobbs took issue with Obama’s conditional statement — that the IRS’ actions are outrageous if they’re true.
“The president must have forgotten that the Internal Revenue Service took the extraordinary step last week and admitted doing these things and apologized for doing these things — and then this president…says that if they are found to have done these things, we will have to hold them accountable, as if that would not be his first and immediate and urgent action to take,” Dobbs explained. “This is a president who has lost his way.”
Kelly delved further into the IRS issue by also bringing up Benghazi and the general response we’ve gotten to many questions, which has been, “Well, we didn’t know anything about this.”
“Is anybody minding the shop?” she asked. “Somebody has got be paying attention.”
The IRS scandal is much more serious that it appeared last week, Dobbs contended: “This is an agency with an enemies list. This is Nixonian. This is a president whose inner Nixon is being revealed. This is a government that is out of control.”
To that point, Kelly reminded Dobbs that it’s as yet unclear whether the issue is linked to Obama, but Dobbs argued that it is — because he’s “responsible for the nomination and the actions of the” IRS. The agency doesn’t exist independently.
Take a look, via Fox News:
Categories: The Media
Mediaite - Mon, 05/13/2013 - 2:43pm
Hours after the Philadelphia jury announced a deadlock on two of the charges against former abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell, the court has announced that the jury has reached a verdict on all 263 counts against him, including murder.
In a multiple-murder case that the prosecution has described as a “House of Horrors,” Gosnell’s rap sheet is lengthy, including four charges of first-degree murder.
We will update when the verdict information comes in…
UPDATE: The most important verdicts, according to Fox News:
First-degree murder of “Baby A” – GUILTY
First-degree murder of “Baby B” – GUILTY
First-degree murder of “Baby C” – GUILTY
First-degree murder of “Baby E” – NOT GUILTY
Third-degree murder of Karnamaya Mongar, 41 — NOT GUILTY
Involuntary manslaughter of Mongar – GUILTY
Categories: The Media
Mediaite - Mon, 05/13/2013 - 2:17pm
Categories: The Media
The Insidious Justification For Media Silence On Benghazi And IRS Scandals: Conservatives Cared Too Much
Mediaite - Mon, 05/13/2013 - 2:05pm
There is no conspiracy. The imagined cabal of political journalists and editors colluding in their respective conference rooms to bury news items which are potentially damaging to President Barack Obama or his liberal allies is just that – imagined. There is, however, like-think in the political press that results in an institutional culture which views with suspicion any story that conservative media outlets deem worthy of added scrutiny. Some of the media’s most influential members are beginning to realize that their own biases have shielded the administration from criticism. This was not intentional, but it was nevertheless the result of a kneejerk dismissal of stories that conservatives exhibited too much enthusiasm over. Acknowledging this condition is the first step to correcting it. The backlash from within the media by its most trusted voices has begun.
Over the weekend, The National Review’s Jim Geraghty artfully forced Bloomberg View columnist Margaret Carlson to acknowledge the fact that the media was dismissive of the Benghazi scandal simply because conservative outlets thought the story merited examination. On CNN’s Reliable Sources, Geraghty accused the mainstream press of brushing off the Benghazi scandal because those “wacky guys” in the conservative media saw significant political ramifications for the Obama administration in the story.
“Those ‘wacky guys’ did go too far,” Carlson insisted. “They have been looking for Watergate for so long that, you know, they went too far on Benghazi.”
“They were making it into this huge, impeachable – and some used the word impeachable offense – without much,” Carlson added.
“It didn’t seem like they had a sense of urgency about it, a real sense of outrage,” said NBC News Chief White House Correspondent Chuck Todd on MSNBC’s Morning Joe on Monday. No, he was not talking about the revelations last week regarding a coordinated effort by high ranking members of the Obama administration to confuse and complicate the real reasons behind the attack on an American consulate in Benghazi in 2012. Todd was talking about the brewing scandal surrounding the years in which members of the Internal Revenue Service targeted conservative groups.
“And then look at the reaction of the entire Democratic Party,” Todd continued. “Why aren’t there more Democrats jumping on this? This is outrageous no matter what political party you are.”
“This story has more legs politically in 2014 than Benghazi,” Todd concluded. This final disclaimer should be interpreted as more an effort at self-defense than an example of honest political analysis.
Todd has spent the better part of the last week downplaying the political relevance of the notion that members of the State Department, with the likely knowledge of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, facilitated that maintenance of the White House’s political narrative that Al Qaeda had been neutralized just weeks before a presidential election.
“For this conspiracy theory that some people believe is out there — that the White House was trying to downplay a terrorist attack because of the election — then they did a really poor job of it,” Todd said last week of the Benghazi scandal. “Because within three or four days, it was pretty clear to the entire world this was a terrorist attack from a group that had some sort of extremist Al Qaeda ties.”
For Todd, the fact that an alleged cover-up failed is evidence enough that no cover-up existed. Of course, this blatant effort to exonerate the White House is deeply fallacious.
This was the same NBC News Chief White House Correspondent who had recently called the notion that some media outlets were not honest brokers when it comes to stories that conservatives believe can damage Democrats a “mythology.” This the same NBC reporter who called U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice, whose nomination as the next secretary of state was scuttled by her being sent out to disseminate the false pretense behind the Benghazi attack, a “victim” of a culture in Washington that is “overly reactive” to conservative “media outlets.”
Todd’s enthusiasm for the scandal erupting over the IRS’s targeting of pro-GOP groups is as much an admission that the press got Benghazi wrong as anything else. They are guilty of the same dismissal of the IRS story which was first identified in the conservative media outlet The Blaze in February, 2012. It is a justification for the overcompensation that is coming in what will be the media’s dogged pursuit of the IRS story.
The coming weeks are likely to demonstrate that the political media is nowhere near as protective of the White House as they are protective of themselves and their institution. Burned on Benghazi, the press seems prepared to overcorrect with a tireless investigation of the IRS scandal. But while the investigation into IRS’s targeting of GOP groups is likely to go cold before it even reaches the Treasury Department, the cover-up of the administration’s response to the Benghazi attacks implicates members of the Cabinet of the President of the United States.
The media, shamed, is a cornered animal and the White House will be the on the receiving end of scrutiny yet unseen. But the conservative media would be wrong to declare victory and withdraw. There remain more questions than answers for both the Benghazi and IRS scandals. For the first time in a long time, the political press appears unwilling to dismiss those questions as conservative obsessions.
Categories: The Media
Mediaite - Mon, 05/13/2013 - 1:09pm
During his radio show on Monday afternoon, Geraldo Rivera tore into his Fox News colleague Eric Bolling for what he believed to be “slanderous” remarks about whether the post-Benghazi investigations would be different had the presidential daughters been the ones killed in the siege.
During last Thursday’s edition of The Five, Bolling suggested the media would be asking different questions if it had been Sasha or Malia Obama who died in the Benghazi attacks. Liberal blogs proceeded to attack the Fox host for invoking the presidential daughters while excoriating the press and the Democrats for not being as concerned about a potential Benghazi cover-up.
Bolling appeared on Rivera’s radio show and the two, along with former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer, got into a heated debate similar to their November 2012 “screaming match” over the Benghazi controversy. The trio went head-to-head-to-head over just how much scandal the administration’s talking points should generate, and whether the feds are engaged in a cover-up.
Towards the end of the conversation, Rivera brought up Bolling’s remarks about the presidential daughters, leading to this exchange:
RIVERA: Eric, did you say that President Obama would have sent help if Malia and Sasha were in Benghazi? Did you say that?
BOLLING: No, here’s what I said…
RIVERA: Did you make that outrageous, slanderous remark?
BOLLING: Alright, ready. Do you want to listen? Or you just want to lob a grenade? Here we go: I turned to Beckel. I said, Bob, you have a son and daughter…. If they were there, would we be asking different questions? That is my quote.
RIVERA: I think it is unbelievable that you went that far.
RIVERA: Because to bring a man’s daughters in — it just continues a slanderous angle that helps nobody. I got tears in my eyes because I love you.
Spitzer chimed in before the commercial break that Bolling has a “good issue here” with the Benghazi scandal, but cautioned the Fox host: “Don’t waste it by going a bridge too far.”
Listen to the full segment below, via The Geraldo Rivera Show:
Categories: The Media
Mediaite - Mon, 05/13/2013 - 12:59pm
Reacting to President Barack Obama’s statement on Monday, in which he called the revelation that the State Department altered talking points regarding the attack in Benghazi to remove references to terrorism a “sideshow,” the guests of MSNBC host Chris Matthews said that the president was largely correct. One panel guest called the Benghazi scandal “weak ground” for the Republican Party. In a political context, the guests agreed that the scandal regarding the politicization of requests by conservative groups for tax-exempt status from the Internal Revenue Service will yield the GOP more benefits.
Matthews insisted that the GOP has been frustrated with having to embrace immigration reform and they do not want to be “the gun party.” This, he says, is the reason for the party’s focus on the Benghazi scandal.
Matthews played a clip of the president telling reporters in the East Room of the White House on Monday that his administration could not be complicit in a cover-up of the Benghazi talking points because within a week they had changed the focus of the investigation into the attack.
“What he’s actually talking about is this question which Republicans have never been able to nail down, which is motive,” MSNBC.com editor Richard Wolffe. “Why would the White House want this cover-up?”
Matthews And Wolffe agreed that the point which was established in the 2012 presidential debates, that Obama called the attack on Benghazi an act of terrorism, resolves the issue about the edited talking points.
“The motive question doesn’t stack up to the actual event, and nor does it stack up to the actual reporting – contemporaneously, wide-spread reporting – saying that this event in Benghazi had something to do with Cairo,” Wolffe said referencing the region-wide demonstrations against an anti-Islamic YouTube.
TIME Magazine reporter Aparisim “Bobby” Ghosh agreed that the GOP will find more fertile ground to attack Obama on the IRS scandal rather than the Benghazi controversy.
“I would say, at best, this is very, very weak beer,” Ghosh said. “If this is the issue that the Republicans are looking to use against the president over Benghazi, then they’re on very, very weak ground.”
“If I were in the Republican Party, I’d be paying much more attention to the IRS scandal,” Ghosh concluded.
Matthews said that Ghosh was correct because voters are more concerned with their pocketbook than with Benghazi.
Watch the clip below via MSNBC:
Categories: The Media
Mediaite - Mon, 05/13/2013 - 12:31pm
Like a great double-play combo, Fox News’ hard news and opinion programs occasionally use a bang-bang chemistry that allows them to complete the news equivalent of a twin-killing with their most ardent viewers. The latest example of this technique is a report on America’s Newsroom that fields a new Justice Department study, distorts it in a pro-gun light, then flips it to Fox News Watch at second, who pivots and fires it to the viewers at first base, as the truth dives headfirst for the bag in vain. The hustle, in this case, is for their hard news report to assert that a new Justice Department report “blows some huge holes in popular perceptions about guns and violence,” which Fox News Watch then turns into a segment about why the media won’t report on the “new” findings.
On Friday, America’s Newsroom anchor Bill Hemmer introduced a report on the Justice Department study by calling it “A new study suggesting most Americans have a distorted perception of gun violence in America.”
He quoted states from the report indicating that gun murders have dropped 39%, and non-fatal gun crimes 70%, since 1993. Tossing to reporter Doug McKelway, Hemmer asked “What does this mean, Doug?”
McKelway feinted at objectivity by saying that the report doesn’t prove that more guns equal less crime, but “there is a very strong correlation that suggests that.”
He called the study “welcome news to Second Amendment supporters,” and said that it “blows some huge holes in popular perceptions about guns and violence,” adding that “it may cause many to rethink efforts to restrict gun show sales. For example, it found among state prison inmates who possessed a gun at the time of their offense, only 2% bought their gun at a flea market or gun show.”
That stat, though, is actually nothing new. It’s drawn from a 2004 survey of state prison inmates, and is a poor measure of the need for background checks. This is self-reporting by people who have already been caught, a tiny, unreliable subset at best.
McKelway also played a clip of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi attributing the drop to laws like the expired assault weapons ban, and explaining that without federal laws, state and local gun laws are less effective because people can just travel to skirt the law. This seems like a pretty fair and balanced thing to do, doesn’t it? Especially since there’s nothing at all in the Justice Department report to support Pelosi’s ravings, right?
Put a pin in that. McKelway concludes that “There are between 310 million and 400 million guns in private possession across the United States. That is more than at any time in our history, and gun violence is down. Although it remains higher here than in any other western nation.” Watch below:
Got that? Gun violence is way down, so there’s obviously no need to regulate guns. This is a weighty claim to make, but if the data supports it, then this is exactly the kind of analysis that’s missing from journalism these days.
As Lt. Frank Columbo would say, there’s just one more thing. What happened to the report’s opening thesis, that Americans have a “skewed perception” of gun violence? The Justice Department study says nothing about public perception, and McKelway doesn’t present any evidence to support that part of the story. That’s a glaring omission, made more glaring by the fact that Pew just released a study that does address public perceptions about gun violence, and even buys into the same flawed premise that Fox News did. Entitled “Gun Homicide Rate Down 49% Since 1993 Peak; Public Unaware,” the Pew report shows that, as of March 2013, “56% of Americans believe gun crime is higher than 20 years ago and only 12% think it is lower.”
That’s the perfect peg for McKelway’s report, so why not use it? Could it be because that same Pew report contains a graph that immediately exposes the problem with its own conclusion, and McKelway’s?
As you can see, almost all of the significant drop in gun homicides occurred between 1993 and the year 2000, and the same pattern holds for other gun stats. If Americans don’t perceive that gun violence is dropping, it’s because it isn’t, at least not for the last 13 years. Most Americans also probably don’t “perceive” a huge drop in the sale of disco records, either.
Those dates sort of ring a bell, though, don’t they? What happened in 1993 that could have caused such a sharp drop in gun violence, or at least correlated to it? That was the year the Brady Bill was passed, instituting federal background checks, and it was followed, the next year, by the passage of the federal assault weapons ban. Between 1993 and 2000, gun homicides fell by 54%, and non-fatal gun crime fell by 37%. After 2000, many of these stats leveled off, but a few actually ticked up. The year 2000 was the year that Al Gore lost the election, Supreme Court notwithstanding, because he couldn’t carry his home state, allegedly because of gun control. Democrats abandoned gun control, and gun violence stopped decreasing.
Granted, this is correlation, not causation, but it’s a much more compelling one than McKelway draws to gun ownership. In 1993, 54% of households reported owning a gun, a number which dropped to 41% in 2000, when the drop in gun violence hit its floor. Since then, as gun violence held steady or increased slightly, that number has increased to 47%. However, the rate of personal firearm ownership was 42% in 1993, decreasing to 32% in 2000, and is at 34% today. Less guns, under McKelway’s premise, equals less crime.
The question shouldn’t be whether gun violence is decreasing, anyway, but rather, are 30,000 gun deaths a year acceptable, and how many, if any, of those deaths can be prevented? Since the enactment of a law requiring seat belts in cars, the rate of traffic deaths has fallen 78%, but that doesn’t mean we stopped trying to make cars safer, or traffic laws more effective.
Fox is under no obligation to make a case for gun control, but if they’re going to present statistics, they ought to do so in a way that serves the public, not the needs of its opinion programming. An objective assessment of these statistics would include the glaring fact that the drop in gun violence all occurred over a dozen years ago, and would allow news consumers to form their own judgments. As Pew points out in the weeds of its study, there are many factors unrelated to guns which could account for the overall drop in crime, and media attention has likely given Americans the impression that gun violence is increasing more than it is, but not to the degree that Fox’s report, or Pew’s headline, suggest. If anyone else wants to report on these findings, and I think they should, they should do so honestly.
Categories: The Media
Obama Accuses Opponents Of ‘Political Circus,’ Calls Benghazi Talking Points Controversy ‘A Sideshow’
Mediaite - Mon, 05/13/2013 - 12:19pm
During a joint press conference with the British Prime Minister David Cameron this morning, President Obama went off on his political opponents and the press for the controversy over his administration’s Benghazi talking points, calling the entire ordeal a “political circus” and “sideshow” with “no there there.”
Asked by the Associated Press about the unfolding controversy, which included last week’s House Oversight Committee hearings with several State Department whistleblowers as well as revelations that the administration repeatedly revised its talking points in the wake of the attacks to omit key facts, Obama proceeded to scold his opponents:
“The whole issue of talking point, frankly, throughout this process, has been a sideshow. We have been very clear about throughout that immediately after this event happened we were not clear who exactly had carried it out, how it had occurred, what the motivations were. It happened at the same time as we had seen attacks on U.S. embassies in Cairo as a consequence of this film and nobody understood exactly what was taking place during the course of those first few days. And the e-mails that you allude to were provided by us to congressional committees. They reviewed them several months ago, concluded that in fact there was nothing awful in terms of the process that we had used. And suddenly, three days ago, this gets spun up as if there is something new to the story. There is no there there.”
He expressed astonishment that some among his political colleagues would consider the possibility that his administration actively tried to “downplay” the Benghazi attacks:
“So if this was some effort on our part to try to downplay what had happened or tamp it down, that would be a pretty odd thing that three days later we end up putting out all the information that, in fact, has now served as the basis for everybody recognizing that this was a terrorist attack and that it may have included elements that were planned by extremists inside of Libya. Who executes some sort of cover-up or effort to tamp things down for three days? The whole thing defies logic.”
He then accused his opponents of hyping the controversy for political gain:
“And the fact that this keeps on getting churned out, frankly, has a lot to do with political motivations. We’ve had folks who have challenged Hillary Clinton’s integrity, Susan Rice’s integrity, Mike Mullen and Tom Pickering’s integrity. It is a given that mine gets challenged by these same folks. They used it for fundraising, and, frankly, you know, if anybody out there wants to actually focus on how we make sure something like this does not happen again, I am happy to get their advice and information and counsel.”
The president concluded by chiding his opponents for turning the controversy into a “political circus”:
“We dishonor [the fallen] when we, you know, we turn things like this into a political circus. What happened was tragic, it was carried out by extremists inside of Libya. We are out there trying to hunt down the folks who carried this out and we’re trying to make sure we fix the system so that it doesn’t happen again.”
Watch below, via Fox:
Categories: The Media
Mediaite - Mon, 05/13/2013 - 12:16pm
During a press conference in the White House on Monday, President Barack Obama was asked about reports that the Internal Revenue Service targeted conservative groups for added scrutiny over the course of the last two years. The president condemned the actions of members of the IRS who enforced federal tax laws in a partisan fashion. “I’ve got no patience with it,” Obama said. “I will not tolerate it.”
“I first learned about this from the same news reports that I think most people learned about this,” Obama began. “This is pretty straightforward. If, in fact, IRS personnel engaged in the kind of practices that have been reported on and were intentionally targeting conservative groups, then that’s outrageous.”
“And they have to be held fully accountable, because the IRS as an independent agency requires absolute integrity and people have to have confidence that they’re applying it in a nonpartisan way – applying the laws in a nonpartisan way,” Obama continued.
“You should feel that way regardless of party – I don’t care whether you’re a Democrat, independent, or Republican,” the president added. He said that the perception that the IRS is biased is something people should be “properly concerned about.”
“I can tell you that if you’ve got the IRS operating in anything less than a neutral and nonpartisan way, then that is outrageous, it is contrary to our traditions, and people have to be held accountable and it’s got to be fixed,” Obama concluded.
Watch the clip below via Fox News Channel:
Categories: The Media
Mediaite - Mon, 05/13/2013 - 11:46am
At the top of the show on Monday, The View co-host Barbara Walters announced she’ll be retiring in the summer of 2014. Reflecting on her long career, Walters thanked those who have joined her for the ride — and hoped she may have inspired other young women to pursue a television career.
Walters began her announcement with a trip down memory lane, via a video, narrated by Walters herself, chronicling her start, her many years in the industry, and some of her particularly notable interviews — ranging from world leaders to celebrities.
“In the summer of 2014, a year from now, I plan to retire from appearing on television at all,” Walters announced, noting that she’s been on television for a whopping 50 years. “It has been an absolutely joyful, rewarding, challenging, fascinating, and occasionally bumpy ride. I wouldn’t change a thing. I’m perfectly healthy, this is my decision. I’ve been thinking about it for a long time, and this is what I want to do.”
Walters further added that she will remain co-executive producer of The View and may come back on special occasions, making it clear that: “I’m not walking into the sunset.”
Thanking those who have traveled the road with her, she hoped she “may also have inspired other women to make television in front or behind the cameras as a career.”
“I smile when some young woman says, ‘I grew up watching you on TV,’” she said. “It’s their time now.”
Take a look, via ABC:
Categories: The Media
Mediaite - Mon, 05/13/2013 - 11:07am
CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley gave his fellow journalists a scolding this weekend while accepting an award from Quinnipiac University, urging his colleagues to quit worrying about being “first” to publish a story and to avoid using social networking sites for information, as they are solely “gossip.”
“This has been a bad few months for journalism,” he lamented. “We’re getting the big stories wrong over and over again,” he continued, referring to — among many examples — the media’s initial misidentification of the Newtown shooter’s mother as a school employee.
“Let me take the first arrow,” he said, explaining how he himself made such false reports.
He also placed some blame on social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit: “In a world where everybody is a publisher, no one is an editor. And we’ve arrived at the point today.”
Those sites are “not journalism,” he warned. “That’s gossip. Journalism was invented as an antidote to gossip.”
As for news outlets desperate to be first with a big scoop, Pelley cautioned: “If you’re first, no one will ever remember. If you’re wrong, no one will ever forget.” He called such pursuits “vanity,” designed to fulfill “self-conceit … to make ourselves feel better.”
Watch a portion of his remarks below, as clipped by NowThisNews:
Categories: The Media
Mediaite - Mon, 05/13/2013 - 11:05am
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Categories: The Media
Mediaite - Mon, 05/13/2013 - 11:03am
On Saturday afternoon, Paula White was supposed to host her final three-hour show after a six-year stint as the BBC’s “Radio Stoke” afternoon DJ. But apparently she took the departure too close to heart, reportedly getting quite tipsy before slurring and giggling her way through the first 30 minutes of the broadcast. She was eventually yanked off the air and replaced on her final day as host.
“For the last time on lunchtime let’s sssssay yooooou pick the music,” she began the show. “Oh, yeah,” she said in a breathy drunken-sounding voice before pushing buttons to play the first tune.
After reading some listener farewell messages, White said: “It’s a P-A-R-T-Y because I ssssaid sooooo? Some people will say, ‘Oh, thank goodness she’s gone.’ Other people will go, ‘Mmmm, how will I get the dog to sleep?’ Because I know that people play this show out for their dogs. How lovely!”
Encouraging her listeners to send in playlist requests, White stumbled through explaining that she’s going to throw out her selections because it’s her final day. “I’ve cried about ten times today,” she giggled.
One listener suggested, via text, White was intoxicated. She denied it with a giddy squeal: “I’m not drunk, I’m not drunk. I’ve had a couple of drinks. I’m not drunk!”
She also apparently had difficulty working the boards. While attempting to play Katrina and the Waves’ hit song “Walking On Sunshine,” she instead played a short commercial jingle. “It’s my last day, why’s nothing working?” she asked.
Eventually her colleague Dan Siegertsz appeared on the air in White’s stead, telling the audience: “Paula is not feeling well and has gone home.”
Listen to the antics below (edited without commercials and songs) via the Mirror:
Categories: The Media
Matt Drudge Ties IRS Scandal To Obamacare, Foreshadows ‘Brave New President’ After ‘American Holocaust’
Mediaite - Mon, 05/13/2013 - 10:39am
Amid the controversy over Uncle Sam singling out politically conservative groups, Matt Drudge took to Twitter on Monday morning to offer his take. Linking the IRS scandal to President Obama‘s health care law, the Drudge Report creator foreshadowed civil war, an “American Holocaust,” and a “brave new president.”
Recently, Sarah Palin, too, drew a connection between health care and the IRS, noting that the “same corrupt” agency “will be in charge of enforcing Obamacare.” Drudge weighed in thusly — including some interesting hypotheticals:
Speaking of hypotheticals…
And he summed it up with a dystopian prediction:
Drudge hasn’t been the only one expressing outrage — if not quite as hyperbolically — over the issue this morning. Over at MSNBC, Chuck Todd questioned lack of anger from Democrats while Willie Geist deemed it “tyranny.” Glenn Beck, meanwhile, reminded that his site had covered this problem much earlier.
Categories: The Media
Scarborough, Willie Geist Tear Into Obama Admin Over ‘Unspeakable’ IRS Scandal: ‘This Is Tyranny…It’s Real’
Mediaite - Mon, 05/13/2013 - 9:38am
Morning Joe started the week with a segment about the “mind-boggling” IRS scandal, regarding the agency’s admitting to targeting politically conservative groups. The roundtable was unanimously outraged, with references to Richard Nixon and Willie Geist even stating it’s “tyranny.”
“Do these people not remember the Nixon administration?” Lisa Myers asked. “One of the abuses of power was his use of the IRS against his political enemies.”
Yet, the IRS has said it wasn’t politically motivated — which the panel agreed doesn’t make sense. Officials haven’t been upfront about the issue, Scarborough and Myers asserted, and their public statements appear to contradict what reports say regarding the timeline of what the IRS knew and when. It’s “indefensible.”
Political speech is sacrosanct, Scarborough argued. “Liberal and conservative Supreme Courts alike do not allow the government to tread on political speech. There is a wall around that, and the wall has been knocked down by the IRS for several years now.”
“There’s been many overblown claims of tyranny and abuse of power from the government over the last few years,” Geist jumped in, pointing to the “we’re coming for your guns”-type narrative. “This is tyranny. If this is the government, a nonpartisan agency coming after specific groups, this time it’s real.”
“I can’t imagine much worse than this,” Scarborough agreed. It’s “unspeakable,” and President Obama “needs to come out today and condemn this in the harshest terms, demand answers, and fire people.”
Take a look, via MSNBC:
Categories: The Media