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?


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