Monday, May 27, 2013

Where's the CBS Face Palm, Bob Schieffer?

As has been well pointed out by Jazz Shaw at HotAir, Bob Schieffer, veteran CBS newscaster, has now endeavored to up the ante on his recent close questioning of the Obama Administration's fast-talking propagandist, Dan Pfeiffer, to the point of now lecturing President Obama on the need for the administration to examine its communications policy.

Jazz has helpfully posted the full transcript of Schieffer's soapbox spiel, but the money line from Bob seems to be this one:
"The President needs to rethink his entire communications policy top to bottom. It is hurting his credibility and shortchanging the public."
Now, many of us could not agree more. But for Bob Schieffer to be mouthing this seems more than just a little hypocritical.

In other words, he's absolutely right. But he's hardly the right guy to be making the case!

It should occur to anyone who has been paying attention that there is quite a large measure of hypocrisy involved in any of the top figures at CBS lecturing the President on his "communications policy" when it pretty clearly appears to be the case that they were key communications enablers of the President during the fall Presidential Campaign, having quietly helped him to put one over on the American people during the run up to the election.

As a result, the venerable CBS newscaster Bob Schieffer may really need to examine his own damn "communications policy," and most certainly that of the CBS television network, particularly with respect to their highly suspicious handling of one key video clip from an interview of Barack Obama by Steve Kroft, conducted by the CBS 60 Minutes team on September 12, 2012, right after the President's Rose Garden remarks made in response to the Benghazi attacks -- the clip was of Obama openly and deliberately downplaying the possible role of terror in the attack when he was specifically asked by Kroft if it was a "terrorism attack."

Here was the key question and answer during that September 12, 2012 interview:
. . .
STEVE KROFT: Mr. President, this morning you went out of your way to avoid the use of the word terrorism in connection with the Libya Attack, do you believe that this was a terrorism attack?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well it’s too early to tell exactly how this came about, what group was involved, but obviously it was an attack on Americans. And we are going to be working with the Libyan government to make sure that we bring these folks to justice, one way or the other.
. . . .

That exchange, at the time utterly unknown to the American public because someone at CBS hid it before it aired, obviously gained high newsworthy significance during the heart of the Presidential campaign last fall, particularly during and in the immediate aftermath of the second presidential debate which was held on October 16th, the one moderated by the failed fact-checker, CNN's hapless Candy Crowley, when she initially agreed with the President's risible claim that he had called the attack a "terrorism attack" right from the get-go.  In fact, he had obviously done no such thing!

That conclusion was also just recently arrived at by the Washington Post, with their "posthumous" awarding of their notorious "four Pinocchios award," a mere 8 months after the comments were made, and only half a year after the election itself was held.

Of major news organizations, only Fox News sounded the alarm about the quiet posting of the tape on the CBS website before the election, hereCBS had done so without notice, and obviously too late for the newsworthy clip to matter in the election, at least without stories appearing on the news.  Funny how the WaPo missed those Fox stories at the time of the release, huh?

And, great timing by our other mainstream news giants all around, no?

Regardless of it's newsworthy significance from the second debate on, that clip remained curiously buried by one or more unknown "bigs" at the CBS network, with the prime "suspects" including -- in addition to third presidential debate moderator, and long time CBS News anchor, Bob Schieffer -- the following specific individuals, to wit: CBS News President, David Rhodes (brother of Ben Rhodes, Deputy Nat'l Security Adviser to Barack Obama, and NSA Benghazi "talking points" editor); and/or Patricia Shevlin, Executive Producer of the CBS Evening News; and/or, CBS Evening News prime anchor (and active 60 Minutes contributor) Scott Pelly; and or, CBS 60 Minutes interviewer, Steve Kroft; and or, CBS 60 Minutes Executive Editor, Bill Owens.

Any one or more of those individuals may have played an active or passive role in their game of "Shhhh . . . Let's Hide the Tape." But they're not talking.

And yet, Bob Schieffer now deigns to lecture the President, telling him that he has a "communications policy" problem, when one or more of several CBS bigwig compatriots of his -- possibly including Schieffer himself -- quietly participated in a news blackout on that clip last fall that likely affected the outcome of the 2012 Presidential Election?

Well, shake my head!  Seems like this current crop at the "Tiffany Network" has nothing on mere pikers like Dan Rather and Mary Mapes!

My father, who sadly passed away some 35 years ago, had a great old-time expression to describe an obvious hypocrite.

He'd shake his head and say, "Jeez, that guy has more nerve than a one-legged man at an ass kicker's convention."

Schieffer would have earned a "one-kick" nod from Dad over this latest mission of his!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Byers: Attkisson/Shevlin Cat Fight at CBS? It Runs Much Deeper!

05/26/2013 -- A new Politico portrait of CBS investigative reporter Sharyl Attkisson by Dylan Byers could prove to be a very important story, and possibly a logical next step in uncovering what may have been a patent resurgence of direct and inappropriate left-wing political interference during the Presidential election process by a news media figure (or figures) at the CBS news network.

Shades of the Dan Rather and Mary Mapes attempted media coup? Well, there are certainly many unanswered questions about the 2012 coverage -- and non-coverage -- that CBS has since conspicuously failed to address.  They should examine those matters. Therefore, the problem certainly seems to run far deeper than a personality conflict between Sharyl Attkisson and a news producer, Patricia Shevlin.

John Nolte at Breitbart News highlighted the Byers story here, with a perspective piece primarily focused on the reported conflict between Attkisson and CBS Evening News Executive Producer, Patricia Shevlin, entitled, "Politico: Attkisson Fights Bias of CBS Evening News Producer."

As John succinctly put it:
"Byers' story is yet more confirmation that there really is a Narrative Plantation controlled by the left. Recently, we learned that Attkisson was/is having trouble getting Libya reports on the air. What does that tell you, especially now that her Libya reporting (as Byers points out) has been vindicated."
Other obvious questions might now include, what role, if any, did Shevlin have in minimizing exposure of the now-famous and muted Presidential response to Steve Kroft on September 12, 2012? And, what role might others have played in the curious history of that "off and on" tape clip during the 2012 election?

Serious questions still remain unaddressed about the curious non-inclusion of that short clip in a CBS 60 Minutes, Wednesday show in mid-September -- a key "question and answer" portion of the interview of President Obama that was conducted on September 12th by Steve Kroft almost immediately following the President's Rose Garden reaction to the terrorist attacks in Benghazi.  What we now know followed that initial suppression, was the continued burying of that clip during the heart of the campaign and the equally mysterious and quietly unannounced initial appearance of the clip on the CBS website, just two days before the 2012 election.

That late CBS posting was obviously too close to the end for the newsworthy clip to have any effect in meaningfully addressing what had emerged during the second Presidential debate, on October 16th as a key issue in the fall campaign -- the timeline of the President's public posture in identifying the attack at the Libyan outpost, as an act of terrorism.

During that debate, the President had received an unwarranted political boost by at least initial backing from moderator, Candy Crowley. But even the Washington Post now concedes (seven months late) that the President earned a disreputable "four Pinocchios" for his brazen dissembling during that exchange.  For their part, CBS quietly kept the lid on the proof they had to the contrary (of the President's claim)! Who at CBS -- obviously other than Steve Kroft and his producer --inappropriately kept the lid on that clip after that second debate?

And then, why did CBS so furtively post that obviously newsworthy clip too late to have a legitimate role in the election, and even then, fail to draw any attention to it, such as on the CBS Evening News?

Who were the network players in that "delicate" handling of the clip? Was Bob Scheiffer, a news anchor, aware of the clip before he moderated the third debate on October? How about the recently boastful Scott Pelly, who has been the CBS Evening News prime anchor since May of 2011?  He too, incidentally was an old hand from 60 Minutes.

Because of an obvious appearance of a conflict of interest in the matter, did CBS News President David Rhodes, the brother of the Deputy National Security Advisor, Ben Rhodes, the NSA editor of the Benghazi "Talking Points," recuse himself from any decision-making role in the matter at CBS?  Or, did he play an active role in keeping it quiet?

In sum, who among the top players at CBS News made the final decisions regarding the suspicious handling of that tape clip? Or, was that clip merely a victim of CBS groupthink?

Dylan Byers' Politico piece seems to write off the possibility that David Rhodes has been anything other than pleased with Sharyll Attkisson's investigative reporting on the Obama Administration . . . "CBS News president David Rhodes is said to value her diligence," but Byers does not specifically address questions about the handling of the Kroft tape, and whether Rhodes may have played any role in that.

And, perhaps most importantly from the perspective of Executive Producer Patricia Shevlin . . . why was that Kroft clip not the subject of a lead news story on the CBS Evening News, such as in the immediate aftermath of the second debate "kerfuffle" between the President and Mitt Romney, which occurred on October 16th; or prior to (or during) the third debate on the 22nd, which was moderated by CBS's own Bob Schieffer; or even at the time of the quiet initial posting of the tape on the CBS network's website, just two days before the election? It was quietly posted at that time, with no story on the CBS Evening News.

As we have previously noted, only Fox News openly covered the obviously newsworthy and significant Kroft clip that had been curiously concealed initially, then kept bottled up during a few key moments of the campaign, and then was finally posted without comment at the last second during the campaign, too late to matter . .  all that having occurred as a result of decisions made at the CBS network.

Does partisan political bias at CBS still run as deep as it did in the Dan Rather years?

We all still recall the key role and unquestionable bias of CBS 60 Minutes producer, Mary Mapes, who teamed with disgraced former CBS news anchor, Dan Rather back in the fall of 2004, in their attempted-but-failed media-based coup, having publicized known and absolutely fake documents on the Wednesday edition of the show. Even the hired CBS document expert questioned the authenticity of the Killian documents that Rather and Mapes had presented as legitimate.  That show was subsequently exposed as an openly partisan effort to reshuffle the odds of that year's Presidential race, obviously intended to undermine the Bush reelection effort by throwing the President off stride in the heat of the campaign.

However, a resultant dizzying round of highly convincing internet based document analytics that followed immediately on the heels of that corrupt airing of the bogus documents, collectively contributed to by a variety of previously unknown bloggers, not only slammed the door on the legitimacy of those documents, but also stemmed the previously absolute media dominance of the mainstream media, cementing with proof what had largely consisted of prior suspicions of left wing bias in the media.

One interesting career fact readers may not be aware of is that CBS's Patricia Shevlin, really cut her eye teeth in the news business as a producer of the CBS Evening News (1989 - 1991), and then as a senior producer (1995 - 2000), for Dan Rather for many years during the lengthy period during which he was the network's prime anchor.

Now that long-time connection to the biased new figure may or may not mean anything with regard these latest CBS machinations. But what is undeniable is the fact that Shevlin was the Executive Producer of the CBS Evening News when the decisions were made to forgo coverage of the Kroft clip during the news hour.

At a minimum, therefore, the CBS network definitely owes the public an explanation for the curious and obviously inappropriate handling of that tape clip at a few important points during the 2012 election campaign.  And Patricia Shevlin should indeed be one focus of inquiry in particular, in piecing together that explanation.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Retrospective Umbrage Of Bob Schieffer


To: Bob Schieffer, Anchor, CBS Evening News; Host, CBS Face the Nation; former 2012 Presidential Debate Moderator (3rd Presidential Debate, held October 22, 2012).

From: A Concerned and Curious Citizen of the United States

Date: May 21, 2013

Mr. Schieffer:  Today I watched a fascinating video clip, posted by Ed Morrissey on HotAir, here, and originally posted by Meenal Vamburkar on Mediaite, here, involving a key portion of an appearance by White House staff underling, Dan Pfeiffer, on your interview show (Face the Nation) which was held on May 19, 2013, and which you hosted for CBS.

This one:

At one point during that interview, you expressed righteous indignation at the mere presence of Mr. Pfeiffer, to take questions regarding a brewing scandal about IRS abuses of power in the targeting and auditing of American individuals and groups on partisan political grounds. Your umbrage was directed at Mr. Pfeiffer because it was he, and not some more knowledgeable “higher-up” Obama Administration official, who was making the appearance on your show. Your concern was that the Obama Administration did not send someone who actually knew what happened. They sent a fast-talking "flak."  It was just like, as you retrospecively observed herein, they had done when they dispatched Susan Rice to talk about Benghazi, back in mid-September.

And you finished your point to Pfeiffer [at about 5:30] with a telling rhetorical flourish, by saying (my emphasis added):
“. . .
"I mean I would, and I mean this as no disrespect to you — why are you here today? Why isn’t the White House chief of staff here to tell us what happened?"
Good one, Bob! Now that was the way to do it with Mr. Pfeiffer.

Hey, I have a great idea! Why not use that same tactic in order to flush out some more of the unanswered questions regarding the Benghazi scandal? And, to be honest, part of the problem with that one seems to have occurred close to your home turf, at CBS. So, you could use your position there to report the news.

Let me explain. On the day following the attacks that killed those four brave Americans, September 12, 2012, this exchange took place during an interview of President Obama by your pal, Steve Kroft of CBS:
. . .
STEVE KROFT: Mr. President, this morning you went out of your way to avoid the use of the word terrorism in connection with the Libya Attack, do you believe that this was a terrorism attack?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well it’s too early to tell exactly how this came about, what group was involved, but obviously it was an attack on Americans. And we are going to be working with the Libyan government to make sure that we bring these folks to justice, one way or the other.
. . . .
Unfortunately for the American people (but politically fortunate for the President) someone at CBS intentionally suppressed that portion of the taped interview with Kroft -- where the President refused to call it a "terrorism attack." We can only now guess why, but we now know the interview was intended for airing on the 60 Minutes Wednesday show that week. That was when the other portions of the Kroft interview were first aired, but NOT that above portion.

Someone at CBS also kept that portion of the Kroft interview completely under wraps until a mere two days before the November election, too late to have any effect in resolving an important issue that had arisen during the 2nd debate (on October 16th), and, therefore, too late to have had any effect on the election.

Bob, that suppressed tape was not even released until long after you, Bob Scheiffer, the anchor of the CBS Evening News, “moderated” the third Presidential debate on foreign policy, on October 22, 2012.

Yep.  It was more than a full week later, a mere two days before the election, when someone at CBS quietly, and without any public notice, posted that additional video clip on the network website!

Only Fox News noticed the quiet release and covered that on their news during those final two days.

Even your network, CBS, ignored it, as did all the other major broadcast networks, including CNN. Yet, we all remember when Candy Crowley of CNN had incorrectly “backed up” the President when she moderated that second debate. But when the release of the Kroft interview proved conclusively that she had been wrong in backing up Obama back on the 16th, why do you suppose she chose not do a story on CNN to correct her error? Why has neither she nor CNN publicly addressed that issue since then?  Thoughts?

But I’m most curious why you folks at CBS ignored that clip, Bob? Why, as the anchor of the CBS Evening News, didn’t you play it up during the news hour, including by noting the contextual significance of that Q&A portion in light of the patently false claim the President had made during the second debate — i.e., that he had publicly called the Benghazi attack a "terrorism attack" right from the get go?

Now, I assume that whoever initially suppressed that portion of the tape did NOT let you know about it at the time, right? Bob, you only became aware of it, as the rest of us did, two days before the election, right?  You didn't know about it when you moderated the third debate on foreign policy, did you?  Bob?

Anyway, so . . . here’s my idea. You should invite Steve Kroft and his producer (who BOTH would have been very aware of the suppression of the tape), to appear on your show, Face the Nation to answer questions about why the tape was initially suppressed, and also to address why it was not released right after the second debate, when it was patently obvious how newsworthy that tape was.  CBS is still in the news business, right?

I mean, think about the idea of catching the President in an obvious “whopper” during the Presidential race, and not just 7 months later after it was all over! Whoa!  Now that would have been great, huh?  Bob?

And, if Steve Kroft and his producer both decline your invitation to appear on Face the Nation, and they send some lackey over to talk to you about it, you could say, “Why are you here today?” Cool, huh?

You don't suppose some "higher up" at CBS ordered that tape suppressed, do you?

Well just to be sure, you should use the same idea with CBS News President, David Rhodes. I’ll bet he knew something about he suppression of that tape at some point, too. At least someone should ask him, no? You should invite him to appear on Face the Nation, and if he sends some lackey, you can also ask him (or her), "Why are you here today?"

Bob, the reason I suggest this latter approach, is because David Rhodes is the brother of Ben Rhodes, who is the President’s deputy National Security Adviser. AND, Ben was a key player in "editing" what turned out to be the bogus talking points that Susan Rice tried to run past you guys way back in mid-September. UPDATE: More here.

Again, remember when you got so upset about that for the first time, just this past week?

Small world, huh Bob?

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Sticker Situation: 2016 Begins

May 18, 2013 -- Uh oh! It's starting already . . . sent by a friend, Jake.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Chechen Terrorists Make Move: One Dead; Other Holed Up In Watertown, MA

April 19, 2013 -- One of the two suspects being sought in the Boston Marathon bombing is dead, having been killed during a gun battle confrontation with police in Watertown, Massachusetts last night, following a car chase from Cambridge, MA where at least the younger brother had resided for "several years" -- perhaps for as long as 10 years -- and to where they apparently had initially retreated to following the planting of the bombs just across the Charles River in Boston on Monday. The terrorists, as it turns out, were Chechen brothers who may have also received military terror training overseas.

The name of "suspect number two" who last night managed to elude police and is still at large, is Dzhokhar A.Tsarneav, age 19, who on his "Profile" (FaceBook style) page self-identifies as a Muslim. Under "Beliefs" he posted under "World View:  Islam" and under "Personal Priority:   Career and Money" and his site further shows that he has145 followers.  His dead brother's first name was reportedly, "Tamerlan Tsarneav."

What is now becoming clear is the close proximity of the actual Boston Marathon finishing line to their residence, which means that they could have literally walked away from the finishing line of the marathon where they had just planted the deadly bombs, by walking just a few blocks in Boston, and then walked the short distance across a bridge over the Charles River, to their residence in Cambridge.  And, conversely, it is clear that the brothers could have easily assembled those deadly devices -- which some experts have described as potentially unstable over any length of time -- right in their residence in Cambridge, and then simply walked them over to the marathon.  They had reportedly been residing there in Cambridge as permanent residents of the United States. The second brother is still on the loose, and has become the subject of a massive door-to-door manhunt in about a 15 or 20 block area of Watertown.

UPDATE: In a series of announcements, it has become clear that several extraordinary steps, nearly the entire area in and around Boston, out to and including Watertown, Massachusetts, are on virtual shut down as the massive manhunt for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev proceeds.  

UPDATE:  Here is the "Wanted Poster:"

UPDATE:  And here is the latest FBI photo of Dzhokhar which was also uploaded this morning, no doubt intended as an aid in the massive manhunt that has been underway for several hours:

A police officer in Cambridge, Massachusetts -- a campus policeman from MIT -- was killed by the suspects late yesterday evening, having been shot in his vehicle in the vicinity of Vassar and Main Streets in Cambridge.  The officer's gun was stolen from him. An alarm call had gone out to Cambridge police indicating that there was a robbery at the convenience store in the town.  The campus police officer from MIT may have recognized one or perhaps both of the perpetrators, and they may have recognized that they had been "made" or identified by him, which prompted them to then attack him. 

The suspects subsequently hijacked a black Mercedes SUV from a gas station in the area, forcing the driver to accompany them.  At some point, while it had been stopped for gas, the driver of the SUV was reportedly able to escape, or was kicked out by the terrorists, and he ran into a convenience store asking the clerk to call the police.  He is unharmed.  Following a high speed car chase into Watertown, a gunfight ensued, and another uniformed officer, a transit officer, was killed by gunshot during a confrontation with the terror suspects in Watertown, Massachusetts.

One of the two brothers (suspect number one) was fatally wounded.  However, the Dzhokhar A.Tsarneav is still on the loose.

According to Jennifer Griffin of Fox News, while monitoring police scanners earlier yesterday, she said that at least one message she heard regarding the terror suspects indicated that they were on the lookout for a 5' 7" foreigner perhaps of Middle Eastern origin.

As a result of the fluid situation, the entire City of Watertown is now on complete lock-down, as was just announced by the police chief.

In addition, what have been described as possibly "military grade" terror devices, many of which were being thrown by the suspects from the hijacked vehicle, are currently being located and disarmed.

As of a little after 5 pm yesterday, the FBI had publicly released several still photos and a video which identified two suspects at the scene of the Boston Marathon on Monday.  Late yesterday evening, more photos were released by the FBI, all of which can be found here.

Here was the video of the two during the race:

Supplementing this video, there were several still photos, including the newest ones now displayed below.

Last night, the FBI released additional photos, which are by far the most clear shots of the two suspects.  The suspects apparently had sought to make some sort of move outside, perhaps because it was in the dark, from whatever location they had been hiding in, perhaps around Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Here is the clearest shot yet of "suspect number one" from the race.  He was the man who was also killed in a gun battle confrontation with police earlier this evening.

And here is the other of the two clear photos of Dzhokhar A.Tsarneav who is reportedly still at large somewhere within the perimeter in the Watertown, Massachusetts area:

 Here was the clearest photo of the two of them together, which was uploaded with the above shot by the FBI, somewhere around 4 am this morning:

As a result, a massive manhunt is now on the way for Dzhokhar A.Tsarneav shown on the left above, who as we indicated is reportedly still on the loose in Watertown, several miles from Boston. His brother, "suspect number one" on the right was apparently killed in the exchange of gunfire with police following the car chase last evening.  According to hospital officials who briefly spoke at Beth Israel early this morning, in addition to having sustained multiple gunshot wounds, and perhaps shrapnel wounds, he also had trauma wounds, perhaps sustained from an explosive device.  The possibility, therefore, exists that he may have been wounded by one of his own devices.

When the two suspects carjacked the Mercedes SUV vehicle at the gas station, including having taken the owner hostage, the wild car chase thereupon ensued with the individuals in the hijacked vehicle throwing explosives from the vehicle and exchanging gunfire with police. At some point, the second police officer, reportedly identified as transit officer, was severely wounded in the exchange of gunfire, and is in critical condition in the hospital.

Late breaking reports from Fox News federal sources were cited as having indicated that the two suspects "may have been from overseas, and may have had military training."

UPDATE: The Daily Caller now has a post up indicating that, in addition to his nefarious activities over the past few days, several friends said that Dzhokhar Tsarneav was also a pothead, and that had posted a few tweets back in early November indicating that he was a supporter of Barack Obama during the 2012 Presidential Election.
. . .
"Boston bombing suspect and fugitive Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was a “normal pot head” who supported President Obama for re-election last November, according to friends and his Twitter account.
. . .
Tsarneav’s Twitter account provided clues about the suspected bomber’s political views. On November 6th, he retweeted several statements suggesting a preference for President Obama over Republican candidate Mitt Romney.

He retweeted a statement from President Obama’s Organizing for Action account that said: “This happened because of you. Thank you,” in reference to Obama’s victory.
. . . .

Saturday, April 13, 2013

NJ Superior Court Judge: Blogger Protected By State Shield Law

April 13, 2013 -- A New Jersey Superior Court Judge, Karen M. Cassidy, A.J.S.C., has issued a written opinion (posted by CountyWatchers, here and hereafter cited as "decis") quashing a subpoena that had been issued by the Union County Prosecutor, Theodore Romankow, whose office had been seeking to compel a county-oriented blogger by the name of Tina Renna, to disclose the sources for a few recent posts (e.g., here, here, and here) which Tina wrote revealing details about a number of Union County, NJ local employees were misusing their official positions to make personal use county property (portable electrical generators) during the recent "superstorm" Sandy.  That storm knocked out power in large areas of the State of New Jersey, in some cases for considerable periods of time, and the power outages included areas of Union County.

Ms. Renna, 51, has been posting revealing news items for several years now (since 2005) on her blog which is entitled, "The County Watchers" and which she has published regularly in conjunction with a  501(c)3 organization that she is involved with, called "Union County Watchdog Association." She relied on unnamed sources in her posts about the misuse of the county-owned generators.

Renna posted here about the court ruling in her favor.

Late last night (April 12th) the (NJ) Star-Ledger also published a story about the ruling, one which appears to be a case of first impression regarding the coverage of a "Newspaperman's privilege" for a non-traditional news source, such as is The County Watcher, by the protections of the New Jersey Shield Law.  The NJ Shield Law, or "Newspaperman's Privilege Law" N.J.S.A. 2A-84A-21, et seq. was initially passed by the New Jersey Legislature way back in 1977, long before blogs, new media and even any publicly available internet electronic media sources existed.

From the Star-Ledger report:
. . .
In a decision that could impact bloggers across New Jersey, a Superior Court judge ruled today that a self-declared citizen watchdog who writes stinging critiques of Union County government has the same legal protections as a professional journalist.

While questioning the quality and tone of the writing in Tina Renna’s blog posts, Judge Karen Cassidy concluded Renna "obtained material in the course of professional newsgathering activities" with the aim of disseminating it over the internet.

As such, Cassidy wrote in her opinion, Renna should be covered by the state’s shield law. Under that law, one of the most powerful of its kind in the country, journalistss generally cannot be forced to reveal their sources or other sensitive information to law enforcement or grand juries.
. . . .
Actually, in her analysis, Judge Cassidy noted three fundamental factors which she determined were necessary for making a proper determination regarding whether a potential claimant seeking protection under the provisions of the NJ Shield Law, is qualified thereby.

The judge rejected several arguments that had been advanced by the State urging that Renna and her organizational blogger participants were not journalists at all (citing as evidence the fact that they had not previously identified themselves as such), petty ruminations about spelling and grammatical errors contained in her posts, and a claim that she and her blog participants were identifiable as advocates for political change, rather than as journalists.

According to the judge, the person must meet those three requisite general criteria in order to be identified as a protected journalist under the protection of the shield law, including as follows:  The "first factor a claimant must demonstrate to establish privilege is a requisite connection to the news media." [decis at 16].  The second factor, according to the judge, is that the journalist maintain a "necessary purpose to gather and disseminate news" [decis at 18].  And, "[t]he third and final factor requires that the materials were obtained in the course of professional newsgathering activities." [decis at 19].

In her analysis of the facts of the case in the context of those factors, the judge concluded that Tina Renna and her stories met all three criteria, and held that she was thereby protected by the NJ Shield Law from the attempt on the part of the Union County Prosecutor to force her reveal her sources for the "generator" story.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Incompetent Staging Of PR Video Contributed To Diplomat's Death

The first account of young diplomat, Anne Smedinghoff's death in Afghanistan, including the official version that was told to her father, was simply not true. Somehow, it always seems to come back to staged events, and Shaun Waterman of the Washington Times quotes James Carafano of the Heritage Foundation legitimately asking, is this another "one off" for the State Department, ala Bengazi, or an indication of a real  problem in the way State is "doing risk management for high-risk posts?"

Via a post on the Weekly Standard, it now is clear that that several media outlets, including a detailed eye-witness account from McClatchy, are now all reporting that the initial and "official" account of the deaths in Afghanistan of the young and idealistic diplomat, 25 year old Anne Smedinghoff and several others in her party, were clearly erroneous. The State Department has since conceded that the initial report was in error as well.

The most logical conclusion is that the initial account was a cover-up story, one that seemed obviously intended to mask the embarrassing reality of the tragic incident.  However, State claimed that initial reports were confused with the indications that the actual target of the attack [Mohammad Ashraf Nasery, the Governor of Zabol Province] was in an armored vehicle, and was uninjured in the attack. Nevertheless, fateful mistakes in the staging of the "book distributing" event that was being video-taped, involved a few very bad errors in judgment in both the planning and execution thereof.

Instead having been inside an armored vehicle when she was killed by the blast from a suicide bomber, as was initially reported and also officially told to the father of the young woman, it now seems that Anne and her group had been out walking around a few hundred yards through a wooded area, videographer in hand, filming the event for obvious PR purposes.  But they were somehow guided to the wrong building, different from the school at which their staged "book distributing" PR event was supposed to have taken place. And while apparently doubling back on foot, the very visible group, made up predominantly of westerners, was attacked and several in the group, including Anne, were killed by a suicide bomber.

Whose "brilliant" idea was it for this young, idealistic "diplomat," Anne Smedinghoff, and the very visible party of several westerners she was traveling with, including a camera videographer, to have been walking around out in the open on foot, engaging in an only marginally significant PR event -- distributing books -- in a highly dangerous province of the war zone in Afghanistan?

And, who was the employee or employees at the State Department, or security detail, who did such a poor job on the "advance work" for that staged walk through the woods, the one which resulted in the entire party ending up at the wrong building, where it suddenly became obvious that they were lost? That is a question that will likely never be publicly answered! But somebody really dropped the ball.

Moreover, why was Anne Smeddinghoff's father initially lied to by the State Department, when he was falsely told that she was inside an armored vehicle when the attack that tragically killed her occurred?

At least that last question literally answers itself!  Imagine if they had told the poor man the truth!
"Well, sir, we set up this big PR event for your daughter, cameras and all, and she and her party were on foot and they took a long walk out in the open, but they ended up at the wrong building.  So, as they were doubling back, a car bomber, who was apparently there watching the whole thing, just drove up and detonated his bomb, unfortunately killing her and several others."

And finally, here is a take away question:  Is it possible that John Kerry could actually end up being a bigger disaster as Secretary of State, than was Hillary Clinton? He sure seems to be off to a "strong" start.

But, of course, people will remember that former Sec'y of State Clinton lied right to the face of the father of Ty Woods, right after the Benghazi fiasco, when she and the Obama administration were first attempting to serve up their cover-up story by seeking to falsely blame the Benghazi attack on a "spontaneous demonstration" in reaction to the Mohammed video.

And she did so at the solemn receiving ceremony in the United States, when Wood's body and those of the others were returned to the United States. Clinton, as you may recall, actually told Ty Woods father at the time, as he later revealed on the Lars Larson radio show:
"We’re going to have that person arrested and prosecuted that did the video."

Have none of these people any sense of shame?