If you had felt that CNN would slowly run out of steam going into the afternoon hours overreacting to Monday’s bizarre and troubling Trump-Putin press conference, consider yourself sadly mistaken. Throughout the 1:00 p.m. hour, CNNers remarked that this “truly extraordinary moment in American history” was a “shocking barrage” that could warrant Trump’s impeachment.



On Friday’s PBS NewsHour, the Shields and Brooks week-in-review segment began with mutual sensitivity about the Ferguson situation – the word or concept of riots never quite emerged.

But what was really surprising was liberal Mark Shields unloading on the Obama White House over the dumping of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, which anchor Judy Woodruff tried to soft-pedal as Hagel “steps down.”



The New York Times continued its annoying, Winston Smith-like habit of rewriting history in virtually real time yesterday.

Helene Cooper's original Monday afternoon report on Chuck Hagel's sacking as Secretary of Defense is no longer available at the Times. However, since I anticipated that the paper would conduct a comprehensive cleanup yesterday when I posted on the paper's original coverage, it is available here at my web host for fair use and discussion purposes. Cooper's Tuesday Page 1 print edition replacement is starkly different from her original effort. Side-by-side comparisons of certain sections follow the jump.



Jim Miklaszewski kept it relatively diplomatic, declaring "there's something amiss here."  But Joe Scarborough was blunt: "boy, that's damning," said the Morning Joe host.  

They were characterizing Miklaszewski's description of the Obama administration's "micromanagement" of the Department of Defense in which communication flows only in one direction: from the White House to the Pentagon. On today's Morning Joe, NBC's Pentagon correspondent reported that former SecDefs Robert Gates and Leon Panetta had recently "lambaste[d]" that micromanagement.



As is the case with so many executive changes in both the public and the private sector, there is vagueness in the circumstances surrounding the end of Chuck Hagel's stint as Obama administration Secretary of Defense.

While it's not unusual for an exec to be asked to resign to avoid being formally fired, which was apparently the case with Hagel, the higher-ups involved are usually smart enough to pay tribute to the departed official and move on without letting contrary information get out. Apparently not this White House, and not the New York Times — unless their joint mission is to subtly discredit Hagel. The contradictions in today's report by Helene Cooper (saved here for future reference and fair use purposes) seem too obvious to be accidental (bolds are mine):



The press never let George W. Bush forget about that "Mission Accomplished" banner on the USS Abraham Lincoln after Saddam Hussein was overthrown and his government's military was routed in Iraq. They often pretend that Bush said it, or adopted it. He did no such thing, saying only that “Our mission continues.”

So while the press has come close to making a claim Bush 43 never made an article of faith, it is virtually ignoring something current U.S. President Barack Obama actually said, namely that, concerning ISIS, "The analogy we use around here sometimes, and I think is accurate, is if a jayvee team puts on Lakers uniforms that doesn’t make them Kobe Bryant." Kristina Wong at the Hill is a rare exception. She reminded readers of what Obama said in January as she reported Thursday on how the nation's defense secretary and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff completely disagree (bolds are mine):



Establishment press outfits have an annoying and in my view fundamentally deceptive tendency to make the content of news reports disappear once they have been "updated" with new information. The Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, is one of this technique's most egregious practitioners.

There's really no good reason for this practice. Storage is cheap. But far more important, so is leaving tracks for the sake of the historical record. In the past 48 hours, AP has virtually deep-sixed a particularly damning incident involving Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel as he crowed in front of U.S. troops about Bowe Bergdahl's release.



CBS This Morning co-host Charlie Rose scored an exclusive interview with Chuck Hagel on Friday. But rather than grill the Secretary of Defense on the latest details of the Veterans Affairs scandal, the journalist repeated talking points and wondered about whether it was "premature" for a top Obama official to resign. 

Rose began by noting that there is "quite a concern" over the growing controversy and that some "argue that we need to know the facts." Talking to Hagel, the host then wondered, "Some in your party are calling for the head of the Veterans Affairs department to resign, General Shinseki. Is it 'Premature' to ask for his resignation?"  [See video below. MP3 audio here.]



 

The plan by Barack Obama's government to "dramatically" shrink the size of the Army to its lowest level since World War II warranted a scant one minute and 56 seconds of total coverage on Monday's morning shows. Yet, CBS, NBC and ABC devoted 19 and a half minutes to such topics as TV shows, makeup and viral videos. [See video of ABC's coverage below. MP3 audio here.] None of the networks mentioned the President, shifting the responsibility solely to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.

The Today show allowed the least amount of coverage, a mere 21 seconds. This despite the program's four hour running time. Natalie Morales revealed, "Under the plan, the Army would shrink to its smallest force since the World War II build-up." She asserted that "the proposal is likely to face fierce opposition on Capitol Hill." If that's true, why devote less than 30 seconds and allow no debate? Instead, the Today anchors spent almost nine minutes on the subject of makeup and body image.



Seven words I never thought I'd say -- keep up the good work, Michael Moore.

What prompted this was a tweet from the leftist filmmaker after Secretary of State John Kerry's appearance last night on MSNBC's "All In with Chris Hayes" during which Kerry described why military action against the Assad regime in Syria is justified. (Video after the jump)



The liberal media’s effort to demonize Sen. Ted Cruz continues. On last Friday’s episode of PBS’s Inside Washington, the mostly left-leaning panel of journalists piled on the criticism of the junior senator from Texas. The attacks were focused on Cruz’s questioning of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel during Hagel’s confirmation battle. Moderator Gordon Peterson presented the topic like this: “The Tea Party activists love this guy for being so aggressive. I’m wondering how this aggression so early in his career plays on in the Senate.”

But according to panelist Evan Thomas, a Politico contributor, Cruz is not merely aggressive; he is dangerous: “You need to watch this guy, because there are a lot of demagogues out there, but not that many who are that smart. He is really, really smart, and that makes him potentially dangerous.
 



Reporting on former Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel's nomination to serve Obama as secretary of defense, the New York Times' Jeremy Peters tried to imply as he has before that the Republican move to filibuster Hagel, who bombed in hearings, was both uncollegial and unprecedented.

But Peters had to stretch in his Tuesday piece, limiting his examples to the narrow fact that Hagel is the first secretary of defense nominee to be threatened with a filibuster (ignoring the many other Republican nominees filibustered by Democrats, as well as the Democrats' outright rejection of Republican nominee John Tower in 1989).