President Obama constantly told falsehoods to the American people about how his policies worked, how they would be implemented, and what the benefits were. His most famous one, “if you like your health care plan, you can keep it” got him the Lie of the Year. But when President Trump does his own spinning, it all of a sudden becomes a moral conundrum for the liberal media. The stacked anti-Trump panel on NBC’s Meet the Press proved this point on Sunday when they debated when to call him a liar.
In an appearance on NBC’s Sunday Today early that morning, moderator Chuck Todd lambasted Republicans for being the reason gun control efforts were making no progress since they were in control of the House, Senate, and the Presidency. Todd ratcheted up his anti-gun stance during Meet the Press by promoting radical calls to abolish the right to bear arms by repealing the Second Amendment. And he did it by highlighting the writings of Bret Stephens, a never-Trumper turned liberal.
At the top of her show on Thursday, MSNBC anchor Andrea Mitchell was giddy as she declared that Michael Wolff’s salacious and unverified tell-all book about the Trump administration must have the White House “completely rattled.” Even as she admitted that all the details may not be true: “It’s hard to know what is actually fact and what isn’t, a lot is in quotations.”
When it comes to "news" which might discredit Donald Trump or a member of his family, the modus operandi for too many in the press is, "Tweet and report first, ask questions later (if at all)." On Sunday, several media members couldn't resist falsely tweeting that Ivanka Trump will somehow control $100 million pledged by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to a World Bank fund for women entrepreneurs, thus dishonestly opening the door to utterly false parallels to the Clinton family-controlled Clinton Foundation.
In early August, the Wall Street Journal reported that "The Obama administration secretly organized an airlift of $400 million worth of cash to Iran that coincided with the January release of four Americans detained in Tehran." Two weeks later, the administration acknowledged that the cash "was used as 'leverage' to gain the release of American prisoners" — that is, in layman's terms, the cash payment was ransom.
Make that "cash payments" — plural.
In a refreshing change of pace, CNN's John King skeptically wondered on Tuesday's New Day about the White House touting the five million "enrollments" in ObamaCare: "They wanted to get the seven million by March 31 – unlikely they'll get there....How important are the next couple of weeks, and...if they get to six, can they spin that as a success, or is this baked in as a failure?"
King later pointed out that "even if they get some policy numbers that point them toward success – maybe not where they wanted to get, but close to that – can they change the political dynamic out in the country? Because if you go to these key states, it seems like ObamaCare is still a liability." Despite this, New Day anchor John Berman still trumpeted the five million figure: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
On Saturday morning, three Wall Street Journal reporters told readers that as President Obama was promoting Obamacare, there was internal debate between "policy advisers" and "political aides" as to whether the President's obviously unqualified and unconditional "If you like your plan, you can keep your plan" statement, made roughly 20 times between his inauguration and the law's March 2010 passage, "was a promise they could keep."
"Policy advisers" didn't like it, but "political aides" prevailed, concluding that Obama's promise should remain dishonestly unconditional because "salability" and "simplification" were more "practical" and important than the truth. One particularly weak paragraph in the Journal report ends up reading like Abbott and Costello's "Who's on First?" riff (bolds are mine throughout this post):
It was bound to be overshadowed by breaking news of the fatal Washington Navy Yard shooting this morning, but today's Wall Street Journal front-pager, "Inside White House, a Head-Spinning Reversal on Chemical Weapons," would have likely gone unnoticed by the liberal broadcast and cable media regardless.
In a 66-paragraph masterpiece, Journal reporters Adam Entous, Janet Hook, and Carol Lee gave a behind-the-scenes look of how, "Through mixed messages, miscalculations, and an 11th-hour break, the U.S. stumbled into an international crisis and then stumbled out of it." Among other things disclosed, "The same day [Secretary of State John] Kerry made his fateful remark" that Syria could simply give up its weapons to the international community, "the State Department sent Congress a memo detailing: 'Russian Obstruction of Actions on Syria.'" It really is a great exploration of the Keystone Kops nature of the Obama team's bungling of Syrian foreign policy. Here's a taste (emphasis mine):
President Obama is taking questions from the news media. In the comments section, tell us what you would ask if you were a White House reporter.
I'll be covering the questions journalists ask of the president below the page break. As always, I'm doing this on the fly, so transcriptions of questions may be imperfect:
White House reporters mum on Obama lunch, even as papers back transparency
White House reporters are keeping quiet about an off-the-record lunch today with President Obama — even those at news organizations who've advocated in the past for the White House to release the names of visitors.
But the identities of the lunch's attendees won't remain secret forever: Their names will eventually appear on the White House's periodically updated public database of visitor logs.
... The Obama White House began posting the logs in order to settle a lawsuit, begun under the Bush administration, from Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), which sought the Secret Service's White House visitor logs under the Freedom of Information Act.
... And guess who filed briefs supporting that argument? Virtually every newspaper that covers the White House.
On Tuesday morning’s Today show, NBC substitute anchor Lester Holt and correspondent Savannah Guthrie all but expressed regret over President-Elect Barack Obama having to make an “adjustment” -- not being able to “just pick up and go anytime he wants” due to “not just Secret Service, but a traveling corps of journalists now follows his every move, even in Hawaii.” Guthrie reported on the “signs Obama is growing a bit frustrated with all the attention.” The on-screen graphic accompanying her report inflated this apparent frustration on the part of future chief executive: “Man in a Bubble: Obama Chafes at Constant Scrutiny.”
Holt introduced Guthrie’s report with a lament over Obama’s seeming predicament: “He may not be president yet, but Barack Obama is getting an early taste of what life as leader of the free world is really like -- a lack of freedom, and an entourage documenting his every move.” Guthrie then began her report along a similar line: “Obama came here to Hawaii to get away from it all -- get one last vacation in before becoming president. But even here, he can’t just pick up and go anytime he wants, and that’s been quite an adjustment for the president-elect.”
Imagine if you will, President Bush or Gov. Sarah Palin saying the following in a sit down interview or a Sunday morning show appearance:
We had a crisis, we kicked it down the can.... These are – just taking those two examples, these are crises you can no longer afford to kick down the can.... The crisis we have here, the American people know we have one and they are ready and willing to start to tackle those problems. You cannot afford now to kick those down the can any longer.
Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann would have their share of guffaws at the gaffe. The Daily Show might use it as a "Moment of Zen" and other broadcast and print outlets would be sure to get their licks in.
Yet neither President George W. Bush nor the Alaska governor said those things. President-elect Barack Obama's chief-of-staff Rahm Emanuel did, much to Politico's delight. Yet rather than heap scorn on Emanuel, reporter Carol Lee found the Illinois Democrat's "Rahmbonics" endearing, comparing them favorably to beloved baseball icon Yogi Berra's way with words: