Media in Tug of War Over Scope of Obama's Sept. 2016 Interest in 'Everything'

Wednesday afternoon at NewsBusters, Kristine Marsh noted that the broadcast networks' morning news shows "ignored a bombshell report released overnight" by Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Ron Johnson (R-Wis.). That report includes additional damning text messages between FBI agents Lisa Page and Peter Strzok while they were involved in investigating Hillary Clinton's private server and the Donald Trump presidential campaign's alleged connections with Russia. The media is now in a tug of war over the scope of the Page-Strzok text saying that "potus (President Obama) wants to know everything we're doing."

Here is that September 2, 2016 text:

LisaPageObamaWantsToKnowText090216

On Page 15, Senator Johnson's full report says that this text:

... raises additional questions about the type and extent of President Obama’s personal involvement in the Clinton email scandal and the FBI investigation of it.

Late Wednesday afternoon, Del Quentin Wilber at the Wall Street Journal claimed the text was about something else entirely:

... (this and other texts) show preparation to brief Barack Obama about Russia’s interference in that year’s election, according to (conveniently unnamed) associates of the FBI employees involved ... not ... meddling by the then-president in the federal Hillary Clinton email investigation.

Perhaps Obama also wanted a progress update on the Trump-Russia FISA warrant application, or on what ultimately became the Steele dossier. It certainly could have been all of the above: Hilary's emails, alleged Russian election meddling (which Obama didn't consider serious until after the election), the FISA warrant's status, and progress on the dossier. That would pretty much be "everything."

Early Wednesday afternoon, James Freeman, also at Wall Street Journal, contended:

It’s not clear ... whether it was a general comment about Mr. Obama’s oversight of the FBI or a description of his interest in a particular matter.

Obama's interest in "everything" almost certainly included the latest on the Clinton private server email situation, because, as Andrew McCarthy has consistently noted for over two years, including two weeks ago, this is where Obama was (and perhaps still is) most vulnerable:

... From the first ... the whitewash of the Hillary Clinton–emails caper was President Barack Obama’s call ... The decision was inevitable. Obama, using a pseudonymous email account, had repeatedly communicated with Secretary Clinton over her private, non-secure email account.

... If Clinton had been charged, Obama’s culpable involvement would have been patent ...

None of this mattered to NBC News until President Trump tweeted five words late Wednesday morning.

NBC's initial tweet was really a retweet:

NBCtrumpFBIbombshellCopy020718

NBC improved four hours later, though "keeping tabs" (echoed in the network's report) is hardly the same as "wants to know everything":

NBCobamaKeepingTabsTweet020718

Searches at Associated Press websites indicate that it has not produced an in-house story on Obama's newly-discovered interest in "everything." APNews.com does have links to relevant stories (here and here) at the Washington Times.

Meanwhile, hourly AP News Radio briefs broadcast to thousands of subscribing stations between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Wednesday failed to mention Johnson's report, or any damning Strzok-Page texts.

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.


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