So Far, Media Mum on Obama's Defense Secretary: A Million Dollars for Commuting Costs?

The big three networks have, thus far, shown little interest in investigating the nearly one million dollars in commuting costs spent by Barack Obama's Defense Secretary. According to the Washington Times, Leon Panetta's weekend flights home cost $32,000 and have totaled $860,000 as of early April.

Yet, ABC, NBC and CBS have skipped this subject, even as White House Press Secretary Jay Carney was pressed on it, Wednesday. Yet, on January 29, 2012, 60 Minutes profiled Panetta about his California farm. Journalist Scott Pelley puffed, "He and his brother planted these walnut trees sixty-five years ago with their father...Did you pick the walnuts?" reported:

Panetta, the cost and nature of whose travels in more than two years as President Obama’s director of the CIA are classified, faced questions from reporters this week about the costs related to his desire to fly home every other week to see his family and look after his walnuts.

The Washington Times explained that the White House is denying any talk of a "deal" to allow the commuting:

"There's no deal here," White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters Tuesday when pressed on the issue. "The secretary has addressed the matter. He, I think, spoke about it, and he has decided to try to find a way, if there is, to reduce the cost. But, you know, I don't have anything to add to it."     

If the White House is denying a deal, and in the wake of the GSA spending scandal, shouldn't this be a topic of interest for journalists, especially the ones that have fawned over Panetta's walnut farm?

Leon Panetta
Scott Whitlock's picture

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