In the first 15 minutes of Wednesday’s Hardball, MSNBC pundit Chris Matthews and an assembled crew of cringeworthy guests to defend the Obama administration’s surveillance of the Trump campaign under the guise of alleged Russian collusion (built on some dubious pieces to begin with) while decrying the use of the word “spying.”



A new character assassination, er, I mean biopic about Vice President Dick Cheney is set to hit theaters this Christmas. Starring Christian Bale in the titular role, Vice appears to be less of a thoughtful political drama detailing Cheney’s role during the Bush years, and more of a gritty, gangster movie, depicting the vice president’s quest for absolute power.



On Thursday, at the direction of President Trump, America’s national security and intelligence chiefs lined up and spoke from the White House briefing room to reassure the country that they were doing everything in their power to combat Russian meddling in our elections. It was something the liberal media had been crying about for a long time, but the liberal media can never be pleased as CNN and MSNBC hosts decried the timing, moving the goal post.



Not long after top-secret documents from the National Security Agency made their way onto the internet news site The Intercept on Monday, the Justice Department arrested NSA contractor Reality Winner. The 25-year-old Air Force veteran worked on a military base in Georgia, but online she had a long history of being heavily anti-Trump, an apparent social justice warrior, and a supporter of Iran over the U.S. During their evening broadcasts, the Big Three Networks (ABC, CBS, and NBC) either played down her political attitudes, or outright ignored them as they reported on what she did.


All of the negative news about President Donald Trump provided a convenient smokescreen to obscure a story highly damaging to former President Barack Obama on Wednesday. As first reported by Circa News, “The National Security Agency under former President Barack Obama routinely violated American privacy protections while scouring through overseas intercepts and failed to disclose the extent of the problems until the final days before Donald Trump was elected president last fall.” As would be expected, the Big Three Networks (ABC, CBS, and NBC) completely omitted from their evening broadcasts. 



Capitol Hill was a hive of activity on Monday. The House Intelligence Committee conducted a hearing with FBI Director James Comey and NSA Director Mike Rogers about the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election. In the Senate, the Judiciary Committee conducted the first in a series of hearings in the confirmation process of Judge Neil Gorsuch. Both were major events on the hill but the Comey hearing drew the overwhelming majority of the network news attention, leaving one anchor to say it was “overshadowing” Gorsuch. 



After news broke on Thursday that NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams landed an exclusive interview with NSA leaker Edward Snowden, the network began running promos wondering whether Snowden was a "traitor" or a "patriot." First a clip played of Williams observing: "A lot of people would say you have badly damaged your country." A second clip of the exchange feature Williams asking Snowden: "Have you performed, as you see it, a public service?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]



With his book entitled No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA and the U.S. Surveillance State set for release on Tuesday, the GQ website posted an extensive interview with radical-left reporter Glenn Greenwald in which he covers a wide range of topics, ranging from his continuing friendship with Snowden to his strong distaste for the presumptive Democratic candidate in the upcoming 2016 presidential election.

Hillary Clinton is “banal, corrupted, drained of vibrancy and passion,” he told interviewer Michael Paterniti in a move that is bound to diminish his stature among liberal Democrats. However, Greenwald admitted, the "f**king hawk" is going to be the first female president, and women in America are going to be completely invested in her candidacy.”



On Friday, January 17, President Obama unveiled the rough outlines of his plan to modify but maintain the National Security Administration's ability to collect telephony metadata from American civilians. For its part on the front page the following morning, The Washington Post exulted that "Obama moves to rein in surveillance" as he "[o]rders limits on phone data." Another front-pager sought to flesh out "A candidate's promises vs. a president's duty," essentially justifying the president's departure from his pre-presidential rhetoric about civil liberties. [see screen capture below page break]

Fast forward to January 23 and scathing report by the congressionally-sanctioned Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, wherein the PCLOB attacked as unconstitutional, illegal, and ineffectual the spying agencies metadata collection program. Post editors opted to place Ellen Nakashima's story on the matter on page A2, pitched in such a way as to practically beg the reader not to dive in. "Obama disagrees with report on NSA," noted the headline, with the subhead adding, "Phone-collection program is legal, administration says." Well, there we have it. Nothing to see here. By contrast, Post editors opted to rake the Bush/Cheney administration over the coals with a front-pager examining "A CIA prison''s secret history in Poland." Staff writer Adam Goldman looked at a CIA "black site" in Poland that was, according to the subheader, "shrouded in mystery, though it cast a long shadow":



In his classic novel "1984," George Orwell warned about the evils of a totalitarian state dominated by a single ruling party with total power over its inhabitants. Oceania, his fictional superstate, is under complete surveillance by the authorities. The character known as "Big Brother" reminds everyone he is constantly monitoring the citizens of Oceania, mainly by "telescreen."

At the end of 2013, the federal government may not yet have telescreens, which in Orwell's imagination had the ability to eavesdrop on people's conversations and broadcast propaganda, but it does have the nonfiction equivalent -- data collection, drones and other technological invasions of privacy. Our government does have the National Security Agency.



 

All three networks on Monday night and Tuesday morning covered the "major blow" a judge delivered by ruling that the National Security Agency's massive data collection is likely unconstitutional. Yet, NBC's Nightly News managed to mention the President only once in passing. Instead, anchor Brian Williams kept the nearly three and a half minute segment politically vague: "Privacy violation: A surprise ruling about the government's spying on the phone calls made by Americans. The question tonight, what will this change and when?"

Williams lectured, "In the name of keeping us safe, Americans have sacrificed a number of freedoms since 9/11, including the privacy of communications." Journalist Pete Williams added, "It's a serious legal blow to one of the most controversial practices of the NSA." Is it a blow to Obama? Neither journalist said. In contrast, NBC's Today on Tuesday immediately mentioned the President. Matt Lauer opened the segment by noting that "the Obama administration's beginning to plan an appeal of a major court ruling." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]



President Obama's narcissistic hits just keep on coming. Yesterday, we noted that in his interview with NBC's Chuck Todd, President Obama cast himself as the victim of the ObamaCare mess, complaining that "I've been burned" by the bad website.  

In a new clip from the interview, aired during today's Daily Rundown, President Obama bragged "I can guarantee you that I have been more deeply involved in our intelligence operations on a whole set of areas where there real threats against us than just about any President." As with his victim whine, the prez caught himself and amended his remark.  But once again, his true feelings were clear.  View the video after the jump.