Popular and widely read Egyptian newspaper Al Wafd published the above picture today portraying U.S. President Barrack Hussein Obama as Satan himself. The unflattering picture has been making the rounds on Facebook in the Middle East and, according to Al Wafd, is representative of the hatred growing numbers of people in the region have for the American president, thanks to his staunch and unwavering support for Islamists and jihadiis — whether in Nigeria, Libya, Egypt, or Syria — even as they terrorize, murder, rape, and burn down Christian churches, that is, even as they engage in diabolical activities.
It’s all but a journalistic commandment: Thou shalt not have a vested interest in the story you’re covering. Otherwise, a personal entanglement could color a reporter’s neutrality or cloud public perceptions of fairness. An obvious area of concern: when a journalist’s relatives or spouse is part of the news.
So what to make of all the family ties between the news media and the Obama administration?
According to the news media, nothing much at all. News organizations say they’ve worked out the conflicts — real or potential — involving their journalists. But that hasn’t stopped a few eyebrows from being raised.
The list of prominent news people with close White House relations includes ABC News President Ben Sherwood, who is the brother of Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall, a top national-security adviser to President Obama. His counterpart at CBS, news division president David Rhodes, is the brother of Benjamin Rhodes, a key foreign-policy specialist. CNN’s deputy Washington bureau chief, Virginia Moseley, is married to Tom Nides, who until earlier this year was deputy secretary of state under Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Further, White House press secretary Jay Carney’s wife is Claire Shipman, a veteran reporter for ABC. And NPR’s White House correspondent, Ari Shapiro, is married to a lawyer, Michael Gottlieb, who joined the White House counsel’s office in April.
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I was talking to a social-media expert over the weekend, complaining to her that my Facebook feed had become totally worthless. She suggested it was partially my fault, because I haven’t been managing it well (unfollowing but not unfriending some people, setting it to receive only important updates from others, etc.), but it’s not entirely. And why should it be so much work? Here’s what’s on my feed right now: an ad (ugh) for something I’ll never buy, a photo I don’t care about, three videos I don’t want to watch, a link to something I don’t care about, an invite to an event I won’t attend, etc. My Facebook feed wasn’t always this way; I used to see funny status updates, links to interesting articles that sparked smart conversations. But it feels like everybody stopped trying. And now it’s become too popular: meet people at a party who you’ll never see again, and next thing you know what their grandmothers look like.
Compare it to Twitter: there’s no social pressure to follow people on Twitter you don’t want to follow, no shame in dropping people you don’t want to hear from anymore, and if you curate it carefully (shit you actually care about!) there are so many interesting people talking about interesting things!
The progressive-leaning investigative journalism group ProPublica says the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) office that targeted and harassed conservative tax-exempt groups during the 2012 election cycle gave the progressive group nine confidential applications of conservative groups whose tax-exempt status was pending.
The commendable admission lends further evidence to the lengths the IRS went during an election cycle to silence tea party and limited government voices.
ProPublica says the documents the IRS gave them were “not supposed to be made public”:
The same IRS office that deliberately targeted conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status in the run-up to the 2012 election released nine pending confidential applications of conservative groups to ProPublica late last year… In response to a request for the applications for 67 different nonprofits last November, the Cincinnati office of the IRS sent ProPublica applications or documentation for 31 groups. Nine of those applications had not yet been approved—meaning they were not supposed to be made public. (We made six of those public, after redacting their financial information, deeming that they were newsworthy.)
The group says that “no unapproved applications from liberal groups were sent to ProPublica.”
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EXCERPT FROM YOUTUBE DESCRIPTION:
Published on May 8, 2013
5/8/13 – The congressional hearing on the Benghazi consulate attack was supposed to be the biggest news story of the day Wednesday. But then, there were continuing development in the Cleveland kidnapping investigation, and of course, the long-awaited verdict in the Jodi Arias murder trial. Greg Gutfeld, co-host of Fox News’ The Five, lamented the tough break that conservatives received today, in which the Benghazi bombshells were buried by other, in his mind more frivolous, news stories.
“I have to say that the media is really President Obama’s scandal condom,” Gutfeld began. “No matter how rough things get, nothing gets through. And they catch a break no matter what.” Gutfeld suggested that Hillary Clinton should put Cleveland “hero” Charles Ramsey on her 2016 ticket because of the distraction he caused today from the hearing.
Late night show host Conan O’Brien delivered his White House Correspondents Dinner speech on Saturday night in which he roasted a number of prominent members of the media, journalistic institutions, and politicians past and present. In the speech, O’Brien tore into CNN and MSNBC. He also mocked former President George W. Bush and National Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre. O’Brien also joked at President Barack Obama expense, saying that the presidency has aged Obama significantly. “Your hair is so white, it could be a member of your cabinet,” O’Brien observed.
“When you think about it, the president and I are a lot alike,” O’Brien began. “We both went to Harvard. We both have two children. And we both told Joe Biden we didn’t have extra tickets for tonight’s event.”
O’Brien congratulated former President Bush on the opening of his library. He said that the new facility has hundreds of documents from the Bush-era, and if you go “you can be the first to read them.”
O’Brien mocked CNN’s John King for his troubles reporting breaking events following the Boston attacks. “Tonight’s dinner was halibut and filet, or as John King reported it: Lasagna and couscous,” O’Brien said.
The comedian mocked LaPierre as well, saying that his position as executive vice president of the organization means he is not the lobbying group’s chief. “Which begs the question, how freaking crazy do you have to be to be the actual president of the NRA?” O’Brien asked.