June 18 2014
Media Mush: The "Lost" Emails and Hillary Interviews
Jonah Goldberg notices something interesting about the way the mainstream media is covering the story of the emails that have been “lost” by the IRS:
“Congressional investigators are fuming over revelations that the Internal Revenue Service has lost a trove of emails to and from a central figure in the agency’s tea-party controversy.”
That’s the opening sentence of the Associated Press story on the IRS’s claim that it lost an unknown number of e-mails over two years relating to the agency’s alleged targeting of political groups hostile to the president.
But note how the AP casts the story: The investigators — Republican lawmakers — are outraged.
Is it really so hard to imagine that if this were a Republican administration, the story wouldn’t be the frustration of partisan critics of the president? It would be all about that administration’s behavior. With the exception of National Journal’s Ron Fournier, who called for a special prosecutor to bypass the White House’s “stonewalling,” and former CBS correspondent Sharyl Attkisson, it’s hard to find a non-conservative journalist who thinks this is a big deal.
It appears that the press in our era has lost the ability to do something basic: see the story before their eyes. This stems in part from their having been fundamentally transformed in the Obama era.
The elite press has long been liberal and it has been biased for as long as I have been reading newspapers. But it has only recently lost the ability to ask questions. Once upon a time, the ladies and gentlemen of the press could nail down the who what where and when of a situation.
In the 1970s, when the Washington Post's "Style" section was in its heyday, we would by now have been treated to an in depth profile of the curious Bergdahl family.
I binged on Hillary Clinton interviews yesterday, and I am afraid that they were empty calories. Mrs. Clinton did a town hall meeting for CNN and later was interviewed by Fox.
CNN’s Christiane Amanpour noted that one the mothers of an American slain in Benghazi says that she has not gotten the truth from her government. So was Amanpour going to seek the truth on behalf of this woman?
Ms. Amanpour posed her question: “How do you relate to her as a mother?” Not surprisingly, Mrs. Clinton did relate to her as a mother but was not forthcoming otherwise. And so it went.
I had expected more of the interview at Fox but was disappointed. Greta van Susteren and Bret Baier, both usually excellent interviewers, blew the opportunity to find out more about Mrs. Clinton’s actions with regard to Benghazi.
The Fox duo passed up a golden opportunity to ask the question that we really need to know: where was Mrs. Clinton and what did she do as the Benghazi attack unfolded? Was she at the State Department or did she go home?
It was obvious that Mrs. Clinton, who said in response to a question that the president was “in the Oval Office” when the story broke in the afternoon, didn’t want to be asked if she knew where he was later in the evening. This was the perfect opening to ask her where she was throughout the night. (Maybe I missed something: Power Line says that Baier did try to pin her down about her whereabouts that night.)
Baier did elicit the information that, according to Clinton, she put out the press release blaming the video before talking to the president around ten that night. This is an important detail, if true: it will be cited as evidence that Mrs. Clinton and the president didn’t concoct the video story in the call—if, that is, anybody actually ever asks Mrs. Clinton any real questions.
Baier did elicit one other interesting tidbit: what does Mrs. Clinton mean when she says she takes responsibility for what happened at Benghazi? Not much actually. (She compared herself to a CEO and laid the blame on the security people.)
The most obvious example of an out of touch press I saw yesterday was a Washington Post headline indicating that there might be “war crimes” being perpetrated in Iraq. Would that be the beheadings?