Obama’s biggest fans abandoning ship?

From WND.com, by Drew  Zahn, 05/18/2013 –

They used to think him a ‘thrill,’ but latest scandals smell  more of ‘tyranny’

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Barack Obama once enjoyed a Teflon reputation in the mainstream media, where  his allies were quick to deflect criticism of his presidency and bad news never seemed to stick.

But as scandal upon scandal have washed over his administration in recent  weeks – first a floundering response to attacks in Benghazi that led to the  death of U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, then reports the IRS targeted  his political opponents, then news the Justice Department seized phone records of Associated Press reporters – even some of Obama’s most ardent supporters in the media are turning critical.

MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, for example – he of the infamous “thrill up my leg”  comment during Obama’s 2008 campaign – offered unusually harsh words earlier  this week, complaining the president “obviously likes giving speeches more than  he does running the executive branch.”

Politico – certainly not a conservative-leaning news source – described  Matthews’ remarks as “a rare, unforgiving grilling of the president as severe as  anything that might appear on Fox News.”

On another occasion this week, Matthews blasted testimony from former IRS  chief Steve Miller, who suggested the agency’s behavior was inappropriate but  denied any political targeting.

“That Mr. Miller guy,” Matthews said, “It’s like he didn’t see what he knew  people certainly right, left and center could see, that when you target  particular groups, you’re targeting particular groups. I mean, if this were on  the other foot, and this was a George W. administration, they were targeting  groups that were calling themselves progressives, I would say it’s prima facie  evidence of targeting. I don’t think it’s complicated.”

As WND  reported, even CNN talk-show host Piers Morgan paused in his relentless  crusade for stricter gun-control laws to comment, “I’ve had some of the pro-gun  lobbyists on here, saying to me, ‘Well, the reason we need to be armed is  because of tyranny from our own government,’ and I’ve always laughed at them. I  said, ‘Don’t be ridiculous! Your government won’t turn itself on you.

“But, actually, this is vaguely tyrannical behavior by the American  government,” Morgan concluded. “I think what the IRS did is bordering on  tyrannical behavior. I think what the Department of Justice has done to the AP  is bordering on tyrannical behavior.”

An  Investor’s Business Daily editorial commented, “Many in the dominant press  are indeed turning. Politico ran a chilling story headlined ‘The IRS Wants You  to Share Everything’; NBC’s Andrea Mitchell accuses Obama of ‘the most  outrageous excesses I’ve seen’ in her years in journalism, going back before  Watergate; the Washington Post’s Dana Milbank accuses Obama of ‘a full frontal  assault on the First Amendment.’”

“Let me tell you how bad it’s gotten,” NBC “Tonight Show” host Jay Leno  quipped. “Fox News has changed its slogan from ‘Fair and Balanced’ to ‘See, I  Told You So!’”

MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow further noticed it’s not just the media, but also  congressional allies jumping off the Obama bandwagon. When Sen. Max Baucus,  D-Mont., announced plans to retire in 2014, he became the sixth Democrat to step  down two years from now instead of running for re-election.

“Tell us if something is wrong there,” Maddow said rhetorically. “What is the  secret about this place that has you fleeing like rats from a sinking ship?”

The trend, which may have begun when some Democrats started ducking for  political cover from fallout over Obamacare, has only continued in the wake of  Obama’s recent scandals.

Even Democrat Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid bristled over the AP  phone-records story, telling Salon he “can’t really defend the Department of  Justice at all” and, “I just think this has been handled so wrong.”

Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., agreed, telling MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” program,  “I don’t think anyone truly believes that the president has given a sufficient  answer for America, much less our press [about the AP scandal]. The president  has to come forward and share why he did not alert the press that they were  going to do this. He has to tell Americans, including me, what was this national  security question? You just can’t raise the flag and expect us just to salute it  every time without any reason, and the same thing applies to the IRS. We’ve got  to give him an opportunity to root out any wrongdoing, whether it’s just  negligence or it’s criminal.”

Other examples of criticism coming from typically left-leaning allies include  the following:

  • Even in the middle of a  WND column defending the administration on Benghazi and the IRS scandal,  left-wing author and journalist Bill Press declared, “The Justice Department’s  raid of AP phone records is nothing less than a totally unjustified, wholesale  trashing of the First Amendment.”
  • The Daily Beast – a website merged with Newsweek – ran a  column from James Goodale, the attorney who defended the New York Times  against President Richard Nixon in the famous Pentagon Papers trial, who  asserted, “President Barack H. Obama’s outrageous seizure of the Associated  Press’s phone records, allegedly to discover sources of leaks, should surprise  no one. Obama has relentlessly pursued leakers ever since he became president.  He is fast becoming the worst national security press president ever, and it may  not get any better.”
  • In an interview with the New York Observer, Goodale added, “Obama has all  these things that he’s done to the press on national security matters that Nixon  never did.”
  • Lanny J. Davis, a former crisis manager for President Clinton who admits he  voted for and backs Obama, told National Public Radio, “[Obama’s]  crisis-management communications team is absent without leave. Ever since we  lost the message on health care, I’ve wondered if there’s anybody there trying  to get out in front on the facts.”
  • NPR further reported Davis saying the IRS story goes to the heart of  government abuse of power: “The president of the United States should hold a  press conference and commit to a full, 100-percent investigation in concert with  the Republican leadership of the House and say, ‘I want to have on my desk the  list of anybody who recommended doing this. In the government, in the White  House, or anywhere else.’”
  • Time political columnist Joe Klein wrote of the IRS news, even before the AP  scandal broke, “Yet again, we have an example of Democrats simply not managing  the government properly and with discipline. … This is just poisonous at a time  of skepticism about the efficacy of government. … [Obama’s] unwillingness to  concentrate – and I mean concentrate obsessively – on making sure that  government is managed efficiently will be part of his legacy.”
  • Dana Milbank of the Washington Post penned similar criticism of Obama.  “President Passerby needs urgently to become a participant in his presidency,”  Milbank wrote, arguing Obama was reacting to the scandals with a portrayed  ignorance reminiscent of “just some bloke on a bar stool, getting his  information from the evening news.”
  • Jim Kuhnhenn of the Associated Press leveled his criticism at White House  Press Secretary Jay Carney at a May 14 press briefing: “The White House right  now is confronting a confluence of issues – Benghazi talking points, IRS reviews  of political groups, Justice Department review of journalists’ phone records.  And in every instance, either the president or you have placed the burden of  responsibility someplace else. On the Benghazi talking points, it’s been  political motivations on the Hill. On the IRS, it’s been the bureaucrats at the  IRS. And on the Justice Department issue, yesterday in your statement you said  those matters are handled independently by the Justice Department. But it is the  president’s administration, so I wonder, doesn’t responsibility for setting tone  and setting direction ultimately rest with the president on these matters?”
  • Other reporters  at the same press briefing passed up softball questions for tougher lines of  inquiry, including whether news of the IRS scandal was “withheld until after the  election,” whether or not the AP subpoena’s constituted an “overreach,” whether  the administration “might be hiding something,” if the IRS is being “truthful”  and how the president feels about “being compared to President Nixon.” The press  corps also grilled Carney relentlessly on the president’s reputation for  prosecuting those who leak information to the press.
  • Michigan’s Rep. Sander Levin, ranking Democrat on the House Ways and Means  Committee, said in Friday’s hearings before the committee the IRS and its  employees “have completely failed the American people” by “singling out  organizations for review based on their name or political views, rather than  their activity. … All of us are angry about this on behalf of the nation.”
  • “As you know, it’s casual Friday, which means at the White House they’re  casually going through everyone’s phone calls and records,” joked Leno on  Friday. “Love him or hate him, you got to admit President Obama is a new kind of  Democrat. I mean, think about it. He’s embroiled in three scandals, not one of  them involves sex. That has never happened before. … It’s been a tough week for  President Obama. In fact, this morning he called Mitt Romney and said, ‘Look, if  you still want the job.’”

Despite the media’s change in tone from easy forgiveness to legitimate  criticism of Obama, the Media Research Council’s Brent Bozell warns the media  are not really “up in arms” with the Obama administration, but are simply having  a “lover’s quarrel,” particularly over the AP flap.

“The Bill Clinton syndrome is going to be upon us,” Bozell predicted on  CNBC’s May 16 “The Kudlow Report” program, “where it’s time to move on, we’ve  covered it [the media will say] and they’re going to turn the fire right on  Republicans as being obstructionists. … The zeal of going after Watergate with  Woodward and Bernstein, that hasn’t been there.”

author-imageDrew  Zahn

Drew Zahn is a WND news editor who cut his  journalist teeth as a member of the award-winning staff of Leadership,  Christianity Today’s professional journal for church leaders. A former pastor,  he is the editor of seven books, including Movie-Based  Illustrations for Preaching & Teaching, which sparked his ongoing  love affair with film and his weekly WND column, “Popcorn and a  (world)view.”

Read more at http://www.wnd.com/2013/05/obamas-biggest-fans-abandoning-ship/#TeotT4klkoSLuqhz.99

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