American Elephants


The Infamous Friday News Dump by The Elephant's Child

Fridays are famous in the news cycle as the day to release foul and disreputable tidbits since everyone is occupied with weekend plans and finishing up at the office.  Apparently if it’s a particularly nice weekend that is promised, they can even release bigger news. If people happen to hear, hopefully they will forget.

So in the course of events, the Internal Revenue Service has apologized for “inappropriate targeting of conservative political groups during the 2012 election to see if they were violating their tax-exempt status. IRS agents singled out dozens of organizations for special review because they included those dangerous words “tea party” or “patriot” in their exemption applications.  In some cases these groups were asked for lists of their donors, which “violates IRS policy.”

Terribly sorry if that kept you from raising money, caused you problems, low-level employees, no high-level officials involved. Apologies. White House flack Jay Carney said it was indeed “inappropriate” (there’s that word again), but the Treasury Department’s inspector general for tax administration has been investigating ever since last summer and his report is due next week.  (Also “insensitive”) Nobody’s fault really, low-level employees, just move along. Jay Carney, White House flack, added that one of the directors of the IRS was appointed by George W. Bush.

And of course there is Benghazi. The press has noticed that there is something funny about the talking points and ABC’s Jonathan Karl has obtained 12 different versions of the CIA talking points as they evolved from the first draft written entirely by the CIA to the final versions distributed to Congress and UN Ambassador Susan Rice. Is this an indication that the story of Benghazi is to be all about talking points? Wasn’t there something about people dying, perhaps unnecessarily, because of administration malfeasance?

The news that the Secretary of State in the most transparent administration in history had her chief of staff warn a Benghazi whistle-blower not to spill the beans on Benghazi. Hillary had long experience with “handlers” delegated to deal with the “bimbo eruptions.” People who dare to speak out need to be intimidated. Gregory Hicks, the deputy chief of mission in Libya, a career foreign service officer for 22 years, said that after he talked to investigators about Benghazi, he received a searing phone reprimand from a very angry Cheryl Mills, chief of Staff to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Hicks was told not to talk to Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) when a congressional delegation  visited Libya after the attack. When he did anyway, a long string of glowing performance reviews morphed into criticisms of his management style and leadership and he was demoted to desk officer. Hicks said he had never before been told not to meet with a congressional delegation. Far from trying to find out what happened, Hillary Clinton and the State Department sought to suppress the truth and punish anyone who would speak the truth.

So, an efficient administration, being on top of the news cycle and aware that accusations of an attempted cover-up of events leading to the murder of our Ambassador, his aide, and two SEALS are floating around, what do you do? Why you have an off-the-record briefing for the White House press corps, so the reporters can’t repeat anything even if they want to.  Why would the press agree to that?

Simple. They changed the language describing the meeting from “off-the-record” to: Though the existence of the meeting was off the record, it was conducted on “deep background.” “Deep Background” apparently means that the information presented by the briefers can be used in reporting, but the briefers can’t be quoted.”

Ari Fleischer tweeted : “Time Magazine reporter Jay Carney would have been the 1st person to object to how the WH is handling the press today.”


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