How the media has covered a week of Washington scandals
The mainstream Media has been in our face twenty-four hours a day with three situations that are threatening the executive branch with scandal. While only one of these stories could be considered an actual scandal, the media’s never ending coverage of these issues are preventing more important matters from being reported. It must be ratings season. Take a look at what they all had to say:
- CNN‘s take: Jake Tapper reveals that CNN has the original email sent by a top Obama aide, regarding the administration’s reaction to the Benghazi attacks. Tapper reported, “The actual email differs from how sources characterized it to two different media organizations.” Tapper notes how ABC and the Weekly Standard covered the leaked emails, which were “paraphrased” “inaccurately” and “inventing the notion” that the White House tried to protect the State Department:
- MSNBC’s take: “President Barack Obama on Monday derided the controversy over inter-agency talking points drafted in the wake of last year’s Benghazi attack, saying that charges of a politically motivated cover-up are a “sideshow” and, little more than a “political circus.” “The witnesses said that the government was poorly prepared to weather the attack and was hesitant to respond, also contending that a subsequent review of the incident ordered by the State Department came up woefully short.”
- FOX NEWS’ take: ”Benghazi may not be “Obama’s Watergate,” as Sen. Lindsay Graham has called it, but what we have is an administration that is adrift and leaking more controversy and unanswered questions every day.”
- Al Jazeera’s take: Apparently nothing!
The only talking point that matters is that four Americans died in a situation that could have been averted. All focus, here, is on the Executive Branch, and they should certainly share in the blame, but also take a look at the Legislative Branch and their lack of funding for such occurrences.
- CNN’s take: “The president released a statement Tuesday night firmly condemning the IRS’ action after a report from the agency’s inspector general found that the IRS used “inappropriate criteria” to identify potential political applications and then forwarded those applications to a team of specialists for review.”
- MSNBC’s take: “Internal Revenue Service staff improperly targeted Tea Party groups for extra scrutiny thanks to poor management at the agency, a highly anticipated internal report has found. The report was made available just hours after the U.S. Justice Department announced a criminal investigation into the scandal.”
- FOX NEWS’ take: “But “newly obtained documents” show the current IRS chief knew about the agency’s targeting of Tea Party groups as early as May 2012, and other officials in Washington were clued in more than a year before that, as the scandal continued to spread.”
- Al Jazeera’s take: “The report, from the Treasury inspector general for tax administration, blamed ineffective IRS management for allowing agents to improperly target tea party groups for extra scrutiny when they applied for tax exempt status. The IRS apologized for the practice on Friday.”
The IRS is in the process of being turned upside down and inside out. Heads have started to roll, and look for more in the near future. Given the fact that this particular fiasco flew under the radar for two years, it’s not a far stretch to wonder how many other ventures undertaken by the IRS have been on the illegal side of the ledger.
- CNN’s take: “The AP revealed Monday that federal agents had collected two months of telephone records for some of its reporters and editors without notifying it of the subpoena.”
- MSNBC’s take: “Holder said decisions in that investigation were being made by Deputy Attorney General James Cole and “the deputy attorney general would have been the one who ultimately had to authorize the subpoena that went to the AP.”
- FOX NEWS’ take: “We have Attorney General Eric Holder — he who managed to dodge full responsibility for the “Fast & Furious” gun-walking debacle in the president’s first term — revealing Tuesday that he had recused himself from the investigation into Justice Department gathering of phone records from more than “20 separate telephone lines assigned to the AP and its journalists in April and May of 2012.”
- Al Jazeera’s take: “The US Department of Justice has defended its seizure of phone records from the Associated Press news agency. Eric Holder, the attorney-general, says a story reported by the news agency put American lives at risk. However, the department’s unprecedented actions have raised questions about the First Amendment – which protects free speech.”
This third one hits home for all of the political bloggers, political commentators, and political essayists. In other words, it hits us where we live. So many things are wrong with these actions taken by the Justice Department that it’s a little overwhelming to a simple person as myself. If you start with the United States Constitution, you need not go any further than the 1st Amendment and its guarantee of free speech. Those in charge of the country fall back too quickly on Homeland Security and our War on Terror to justify breaking the rules. It is up to the citizenry to demand adherence to the constitution and more, much more, transparency from our elected officials.
Their is no question that some of these stories are worthy of mention, but only in the proper context. Only Fox News used to talk about Benghazi until the other scandals picked up steam, because there is no scandal here, just an underfunded embassy. The same goes for the AP scandal, their were no actual laws broken here. The DOJ was within their right under the Patriot Act to do what they did, but the media is not focused on whether the Patriot Act itself should be looked at. Instead they have focused on the players who technically have done nothing wrong.