Yesterday, the White House claimed executive privilege on the ‘Fast & Furious’ documents and the House Committee on Oversight and Government Operations voted to find Attorney General Eric Holder in criminal contempt in a straight party-line vote, 23-17. The charge now goes to the full House for a vote. If it passes, the charge is referred to the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia for a grand jury proceeding.
Kind of a big deal or so you would think. Based on a sampling of the home pages of the various news media sites, you would wonder how big of a deal it really was. Here, we have a story with everything that you could possibly want in today’s hyper-partisan political environment and some media organizations are loathe to cover it.
We have guns, murders, a possible coverup, a confrontation between branches of the federal government, a contempt vote on a leading cabinet member and capping it off, questions of presidential involvement. Yet, a number of the media organizations would like this story to go away because it simply doesn’t fit their template.
To be expected, Foxnews.com, which has been covering this story from its inception, has it as the very top story this morning. Their headline reads, “No End In Sight for ‘Furious’ Standoff.” The site features seven different stories, including one video and one opinion piece by Judge Andrew P. Napolitano, a Fox anchor and legal analyst. Fox even has a copy of letter that the Justice Department sent to Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), the committee’s chairman, asserting executive privilege.
Meanwhile, the rest of the network media organizations downplayed the day’s events. Their coverage ranged from avoidance to downright lack of reporting. By now you should be aware that in the last year NBC.com, which has had one 10-second report in the last year ignored the story until Tuesday when it became clear that a crisis point had been reached.
At that point NBC News in it’s Nightly News Report, depicted the standoff as strictly a politically-motivated event. Forget the fact that laws have been broken, Mexico’s sovereignty has been breached and two U.S. agents have been killed. As far as NBC News is concerned, it’s a political circus. This morning’s front page for the Nightly News Report did feature a video and story about yesterday’s events.
Meanwhile, over at ABCNews.com, the story about the dismissal of the police chief in the Trayvon Martin case was more important than the ‘Fast & Furious’ story. In fact, the contempt citation story was buried in the latest headlines section under a story about the Jerry Sandusky case.
On MSNBC.com, the story was consigned to the section entitled ‘Other Top Stories’ and was in fact, the top story in this section. Again, like several other outlets, it was out-reported by the Trayvon Martin case. CNN.com buried the story with little prominence accorded to a story about the murder of U.S. agents. The Trayvon Martin case is considered more important than “Fast & Furious.” At CBSNews.com, it was considered just another listing in the roll of stories.
Perhaps the most glaring example of liberal avoidance of the House committee proceedings took place at C-Span. Instead of televising the hearing and the contempt vote, C-Span chose to show a boring series of debates in the House chamber. While history was being made with a contempt citation for a cabinet officer, they simply ignored it.
“If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” How many times have we heard that saying? It certainly applies to this story. Does the liberal media believe that their skillful avoidance of the “Fast & Furious” case will make it go away? Will they avoid the contempt vote in the House next week or will they wake up to their roles in American society and inform the people?