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.