FOIA logoFox Business is reporting that the Dodd-Frank financial reform bill that President Obama signed recently includes a provision that exempts the Securities and Exchange Commission from responding to Freedom of Information Act requests. Fox wrote:
The law, signed last week by President Obama, exempts the SEC from disclosing records or information derived from "surveillance, risk assessments, or other regulatory and oversight activities." Given that the SEC is a regulatory body, the provision covers almost every action by the agency, lawyers say. Congress and federal agencies can request information, but the public cannot.

Several years ago, the media was confronted by several similar issues involving attempts by the Bush Administration to narrow the provisions of FOIA and exempt certain agencies from having to respond to requests filed under that act. The question that remains in these next few days as the media reports on this story is weather their response will be as condemnatory as it was when George W. Bush was in office.



Advocacy groups have increasingly labelled their opposition as "astroturf," or corporate-funded fake grassroots, groups in order to demean them and lessen the fact that both sides enjoy some measure of public support. Many of the organizations throwing around accusations of astroturfing, such as the Marxist net neutrality advocacy group Free Press and the liberal ThinkProgress not only engage in astroturf strategies, but are financially supported in ways they decry as astroturf. The media, unsurprisngly, has often chosen to ignore leftist astroturfing and focus on accusations of rightist astroturfing.

The Daily Caller reported Wednesday on a pro-neutrality letter circulated around Capitol Hill by Free Press which was a product of the same astroturfing tactics Free Press has decried.

The "signatories" of the letter had no recollection of the letter and had no idea they had signed it. One of the signatories, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation wrote to the Federal Communications Comission, The Hill reported, asking to be removed from the list of signatories. Tellingly, a Free Press spokeswoman suggested that they were pressured to do so. Presumably by the Satan-worshipping board of directors of some telecommunications company.



bill-maher-earth-dayEditor's Note: The following originally appeared at Andrew Breitbart's Big Hollywood.

Bill Maher a racist?  Who’da thunk it?  Actually, anyone who pays even remote attention to the far-left comedic mouth piece could have figured that out pretty quickly. Yes, Bill, I am calling you a racist.  This accusation which he so glibly levels at anyone slightly to the right of Che Guevera  may come as a shock to him.  But he is too busy heaping his moral superiority upon those lynch mob troglodytes who inhabit “fly-over country” to ever bother  to take a look at himself.  If he did, he might come to realize that being truly colorblind or, to borrow a Hopey McChange slogan, “post racial” means more than fist-bumping Will.I.Am at a Golden Globe after after party.  It means truly seeing the world through the prism of individual not racial identity politics. 



The New York Times's former Middle East Bureau Chief thinks violent revolt is a laudable response to economic woes, and that murder is at least acceptable in pursuit of a far-left agenda. The media so concerned with the potential for violence from conservative groups are completely silent.

"Here’s to the Greeks," wrote Chris Hedges at Truthdig.com. "They know what to do when corporations pillage and loot their country." Riot, by Hedges's account, is the correct response. That the riots in Greece have so far killed three innocent people doesn't seem to bother him.

Oh but it's not violence borne of a frustration with an unsustainable welfare state that finally reached the inevitable conclusion of skyrocketing public benefits coupled with a fast-shrinking population. No, the riots are "a struggle for liberation" against the oppressive bourgeoisie (capitalists). Hedges is advocating in no vague terms mass political violence. The response from the media: crickets.


The birth control pill was invented 50 years ago this month. CBS Nightly News anchor Katie Couric was all set to "break out the cake and streamers." But first, she wanted to inform her viewers of a pressing national need: federal subsidies for the pill. Seriously.

Couric was distraught during her "Notebook" segment last night that, in her mind, not enough women have access to birth control. Her solution? Classify it as "preventive medicine" so that federal funds can be allocated to distributing it under the new health care law. Calling birth control "preventive medicine" seems to assume that pregnancy is a medical disorder of some sort, but I digress.

The segment runs like an infomercial for the liberal position on birth control. It lauds Planned Parenthood, the "need" for publicly funded birth control, and even throws in a dash of anti-insurance company populism. Couric caps the segment off by saying, "We've come a long way, baby, but not far enough." (Video and transcript below the fold - h/t Story Balloon)


Update - 5/11, 7:15 PM | Lachlan Markay: Associated Content responded to Mr. Schneker's allegations in an email. Details below.

A conservative writer is calling for a boycott of the popular online news site Associated Content after it allegedly heavily edited or deleted much of his work, and refused to compensate him properly.  

Marc Schenker, the writer who claims he was censored, says his conservative views were the cause. Associated Content, as Schenker notes, gets roughly the same number of monthly unique visitors as the Huffington Post and the Washington Post website.

"Associated Content claims to be a non-partisan website, encouraging its contributors to publish articles at will on any topic without prohibitions towards political ideology…unless, as it turned out in my case, YOU ARE CONSERVATIVE," Schenker wrote at the Jawa Report. Associated Content seems, in that sense, to reflect the same values of its non-digital media counterparts.



It took a while, but MSNBC President Phil Griffin has finally admitted and embraced his cable network's hard-left slant. He told the Chicago Tribune that he will try to carve out a niche on the left, hoping some day to rival the Fox News Channel's record-setting ratings.

Not so long ago, Griffin insisted that MSNBC was not "tied to ideology" -- unlike Fox, which simply could not be trusted, he claimed. Griffin even knocked FNC President Roger Ailes's business model, criticizing him for "creat[ing] an ideological channel… I give them total credit. I tip my hat to them. They scored. But it was ideological and opportunistic. It was a business plan."

Griffin has apparently abandoned his disdain for that business plan. He spoke glowingly of Ailes in an interview with the Tribune, saying the FNC president "changed the world" with his wildly successful business model, which went beyond just reporting to create brand loyalty and provide viewers with commentary that speaks to their views and preferences. MSNBC will now be (openly) emulating that model.



Does anyone remember when the liberal intellectuals decried populism coming from the likes of Glenn Beck and other conservatives that was aimed at the direction the country is going under the leadership of President Barack Obama and the Democratic-controlled Congress?

Throughout 2009, that so-called "bottom-barrel demagogy," as Troy Patterson called it in an post for Slate one year ago, was the focus of much consternation from the intellectual class that resides in the Northeastern U.S. corridor. One example was a critique of the Rick Santelli call that inspired the Tea Party movement, which John Dickerson called "impassioned, scattershot, and ultimately clownish" in a post for Slate back in February 2009.

Apparently it is OK to cry foul on so-called populist rants when the mouthpieces tend to be right-of-center. But now, with Congress debating financial regulation, this sort of above-the-fray approach has gone by the wayside, at least for Slate.com. On Slate's Political Gabfest podcast for April 22, moderator John Dickerson asked his panel consisting of Slate editor David Plotz and Slate senior editor Emily Bazelon, if Wall Street banks had a responsibility to self-regulate and do what's right as opposed to solely relying on legislation to set the boundaries. That inspired an "impassioned" populist response from Plotz.



The Pentagon rescinded the invitation of evangelist Franklin Graham to speak at its May 6 National Day of Prayer event because of complaints about his previous comments about Islam.

The Military Religious Freedom Foundation expressed its concern over Graham's involvement with the event in an April 19 letter sent to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. MRFF's complaint about Graham, the son of Rev. Billy Graham, focused on remarks he made after 9/11 in which he called Islam "wicked" and "evil" and his lack of apology for those words.

Col. Tom Collins, an Army spokesman, told ABC News on April 22, "This Army honors all faiths and tries to inculcate our soldiers and work force with an appreciation of all faiths and his past comments just were not appropriate for this venue."



President Obama has extensive ties to Goldman Sachs. Yet even given record-breaking financial contributions and sketchy relationships between Goldman executives and Obama officials at the highest level, the mainstream media will not afford Obama the same scrutiny it gave to George W. Bush during the collapse of Enron.

Obama's inflation-adjusted $1,007,370.85 in contributions from Goldman employees is almost seven times as much as the $151,722.42 (also inflation-adjusted) that Bush received from Enron. Goldman was one of the chief beneficiaries of the TARP bailout package -- supported by then-Senator Obama -- and has been a force for -- not against -- Democratic financial "reform" proposals currently under Senate consideration.

Despite the extensive connections between President Obama and Goldman Sachs, the same media that vaguely alleged unseemly connections between the Bush administration and Enron after its 2001 collapse have barely noticed the Obama administration's prominent ties to Goldman (h/t J.P. Freire).


Surprise: NBC finally found a business it likes - even a business decision it likes: companies that help homeowners who decide to walk away from their mortgages.

"New figures show foreclosures in the U.S. are up about 35-percent from a year ago," Matt Lauer kicked off an April 20 segment of "Today" that encouraged homeowners - even those financially comfortable - to simply walk away. "And a growing reason why are people who simply choose to walk away from their mortgage even when they can afford it."

"Experian, the credit-monitoring service, says 588,000 borrowers - or 18-percent of those who have defaulted on their mortgages in the past year - did it for strategic reasons and not because they're broke," NBC's George Lewis reported. "It's called a strategic default, walking away from a home and enduring foreclosure out of frustration with a bad investment."

On the scene with the Schreur family in Folsom, California, Mr. Schreur acknowledged in an interview that although his family was not in any financial distress, a sharp decline in house value incited the family to default, as any other option "made no sense."   



CNNmeetingWell, at least the final word in the headlined quote above is correct.

Media Bistro's Chris Ariens has a roundup of other write-ups from CNN's "Newsmakers" upfront meeting with advertisers yesterday (picture at right is from that event). 

The network had better hope that no one from the trial bar catches wind of some of what CNN's folks said at the meeting yesterday, because the degree of false advertising that occurred may be the only thing that exceeds the degree of the network's pervasive leftist bias.

Here are three of Ariens's examples, with originals links included: