In the wake of the explosion of scandals popping up around the Obama administration, Democrats have been devising ways to get ahead of the new information about the IRS, the AP, and Benghazi leaking out every day.
Longevity may be what gives rise to “the second-term scandal plague.” This is the cause political scientist Brendan Nyhan cited when he asserted back in May 2011 that mathematical odds demonstrated that the Obama administration was due for a scandal. The longer an administration is in place, the likelihood of unearthing misconduct increases. And the magnitude and timing of these scandals have been nothing short of a grenade. White House officials have been on the defense against whispers of a rebellion in the media. And if those whispers do bubble over and the president is completely buried, any administration might as well “abandon all hope, ye who enter here” for the foreseeable future.
Consider the following.
“What part of the presidency does Obama like? He doesn’t like dealing with other politicians — that means his own cabinet, that means members of the Congress, either party. He doesn’t particularly like the press. What part does he like?” Matthews said.
“He likes going on the road, campaigning, visiting businesses like he does every couple days somewhere in Ohio or somewhere. [But] what part does he like? He doesn’t like lobbying for the bills he cares about. … He doesn’t seem to like being an executive.”
From the UK’s most famous phone hacker and concern troll Piers Morgan:
“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,” Morgan said last night.“But, actually, this is vaguely tyrannical behavior by the American government.”
From MSNBC talking head Rachel Maddow:
But the “bigger question” at hand according to Maddow is “why are they all quitting?” She reported that with 25 senators voluntarily leaving office since 2009, “this appears to be the fastest pace of U.S. senators quitting that job in modern American history.”
“Tell us if something is wrong there,” Maddow pleaded. “What is the secret about this place that has you fleeing like rats from a sinking ship?”
From NBC’s Lisa Meyers on Morning Joe:
“[T]here is such a focus on keeping the storyline and the narrative the way the administration wants it and sometimes these efforts can become excessive. And it may be that what we’re seeing from the Justice Department is really the embodiment of that mentality.”
From MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell, also on Morning Joe:
President Obama knows he’s in trouble when Andrea Mitchell—Andrea Mitchell!—proclaims the IRS and AP scandals to be among “the most outrageous excesses I’ve seen” in all her years in journalism [which pre-date Watergate]. The strength of Mitchell’s statement drew gasps from Scarborough and Brzezinski.
Despite a recent CNN poll showing that the scandals haven’t heavily affected President Obama’s approval rating, the administration has tried hard to push back on these scandals but the questions persist.
Naturally, there are some people holding fast to defending the administration against the tide of the media at large. But when you have the Daily Beast publishing columns titled “Is Obama Worse for Press Freedom Than Nixon” it’s not easy for even for the most ardent Obamabots to ignore the grenade.
Even Benghazi – an issue that liberal outlets have dismissed consistently – has become a buzzword. Anthony Bourdain talks about it in this episode of Parts Unknown that I have on in the background as I write this piece. H2 talked about it in their most recent episode of America’s Book of Secrets, citing Petraeus’s side chick’s claim that Benghazi houses a secret CIA prison.
The real sticking point for the media at large has been the AP phone records seizure and the IRS targeting of conservative groups. These two issues belie serious questions about the stability of both freedom of the press and freedom of speech (and association). Even liberal stronghold the Huffington Post hosted a piece by Jon Ward tearing apart the IRS’ attempts to claim that no discrimination purposely occurred on a larger scale. In another passage from this series of unfortunate events, the Associated Press’s CEO asserted that the Department of Justice’s seizure of phone records was “unconstitutional,” suggesting that it directly undermined freedom of the press.
Conor Friedersdorf of The Atlantic utilized these most recent revelations to make an even stronger point: there is more than enough evidence to prove that the Obama administration has transgressed the law and threatened the freedoms & liberties of American citizens on multiple occasions.
Now, potential threats to First Amendment rights stir responses from Americans of all political stripes and may not lose potency as it falls within the scope of possibility. When threats to the First Amendment come from your own government rather than as telegraph messages from North Korea’s most powerful communications system, it’s something immediate. These are the things that have the potential to stick around for some time.
Setting aside questions about the validity of the consent of so few of those governed, each and every American citizen is guaranteed these freedoms and liberties whether they participate in the selection of their government or not.
As the efforts to erode our freedoms and liberties continues, will these highly publicized acts of gross misconduct be a catalyst for more Americans to recognize the disintegration? Will the media truly raise its eyebrows and finally be a vehicle for this information?
What do you think?