The thrill is gone: networks refuse prime time slot for Obama speech

April 4, 2014
Feeling rejected.

Feeling rejected.

Oh, how this must pain the soul of our Narcissist in Chief. Remember the halcyon days of Hope and Change in his first term, when it seemed like he was making a national address every week? Joint sessions of Congress, prime time press conferences, the networks just couldn’t get enough Obama.

Someone cue B.B. King, because the thrill is gone, baby:

White House officials sought valuable primetime air for a rare, impromptu Tuesday night address to tout the accomplishment of signing up more than 7 million people under the Affordable Care Act.

But network officials refused to make the kind of accommodation they did previously for the announcement that Osama Bin Laden had been killed, for instance, and Obama was left instead cutting into the much smaller audiences of Ellen and other daytime shows.

Three sources familiar with the request confirmed the White House asked for the primetime slot in their effort both to emphasize a bright moment following the challenging roll out and, more important, to try to reintroduce the country to a law that remains unpopular.

Oh, man. “No, you can’t interrupt NCIS. But, hey, we’ll let you cut into Ellen, champ.” How far our modern Icarus has fallen. Could it be even the major networks knew the 7 million sign ups “milestone” was just a bunch of smoke?

Regardless, it’s a sign both of the growing irrelevance of Obama as he moves further into lame-duck status and that the fight over this train-wreck of a law isn’t over, no matter how many they claim to have signed up. The major networks aren’t going to give up valuable commercial revenue just to satisfy Obama’s need to take a victory lap.

This calls for a song. Hit it, B.B.!

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


CNN’s dumbest news question, evar

March 20, 2014

Phineas Fahrquar:

And yet CNN wonders why its ratings are in the tank…

Originally posted on Watts Up With That?:

And we thought this one was bad:  CNN talking empty head (Feyerick) asks Bill Nye if approaching Meteor was a result of global warming….

OK that set the stage, what could be dumber than that? Now study the picture below, and ask yourself, what’s wrong with this picture? Note the plane, a Boeing 777.

black_holes_777_CNN

And here is what was said: 

View original 117 more words


The anti-Southern bigotry of @NPR

March 6, 2014
Chattanooga VW workers, per MSNBC

A handful of Southern Democrats, per NPR

Jonah Goldberg listened to an NPR story about the defeat in the Senate of radical Leftist lawyer Debo Adegbile to head the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. Per NPR, a “handful of Southern Democrats” (1) voted with the Republicans to defeat Adegbile. Here’s the roster:

  • Chris Coons (Del.)
  • Bob Casey (Pa.)
  • Mark Pryor (Ark.)
  • Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.)
  • Joe Manchin (W.V.)
  • Joe Donnelly (Ind.)
  • John Walsh (Mont.)
  • Harry Reid (NV)

Apparently I’m not as knowledgeable about US History as I thought; I completely missed Pennsylvania and Indiana joining the Confederacy, and I didn’t realize the South butted up against Canada.

NPR: “National Public Reactionaries.”

Footnote:
(1) Hint to the Morning Edition producers —  Jim Crow ended a long time ago.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Humorous headline of the day, @BarackObama edition

March 3, 2014

Politico gathered several writers to talk about how Obama would handle the Ukraine crisis. And, knowing that journal and it’s love for The One, I’m sure the headline writer was deadly serious:

Obama steel spine

“Aluminum foil” more readily comes to mind, if you ask me.

 


Tennessee VW workers rejected the UAW because of… racism!

February 23, 2014
Chattanooga VW workers, per MSNBC

Chattanooga VW workers, per MSNBC

But, of course.

According to MSNBC pundit Timothy Noah, workers at the Chattanooga Volkswagen assembly plant rejected membership in the United Auto Workers union because they were a bunch of mouthing-breathing, knuckle-dragging, Southern racists:

“The South has always been hostile territory for union organizing. Y’know, as Harold said, the culture war in the South trumps the class war. You already have in a number of Southern states right to work laws, which means that even if they had unionized the plants, those who benefited from the presence of that union wouldn’t have had to pay union dues if they didn’t feel like it. So you’re in an overwhelmingly hostile climate.

And the opposition I gather, through, portrayed this as a kind of northern invasion, a re-fighting of the Civil War. Apparently there are not a lot of, uh, black employees in this particular plant. And so, that kind of, uh, uh, uh, waving of the Confederate flag was an effective strategy.”

Yep, those Johnny Rebs in Tennessee just took a pull on the whiskey jug, channeled the spirit Jeff Davis and Nathan Bedford Forrest, and voted down the union, because they wanted to re-fight the Chattanooga campaign. It couldn’t have been because they made a rational economic decision as free people that the union didn’t provide enough benefits to warrant the dues they’d have to pay. Nah. It just had to be because there were so few Blacks there in the workforce that they weren’t afraid to show their real, neo-Confederate faces.

Who’s the bigot again, Timmy?

RELATED: Naturally, the UAW wants the NLRB to overturn the election results and call a new vote. Typical: If you can’t win, vote and vote again until the rubes vote the way they’re told. What do they think this is, the EU?

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


The Washington Post declares @ScottWalker a leading 2016 contender

February 20, 2014
Target

Target

And how do we know that? Because they’ve launched the official smear campaign. From Jim Geraghty:

The story [...] points out that of the two criminal investigations mentioned in the lead, one “is closed and found no wrongdoing by the governor” but has “the potential to embarrass him.”

One revelation is that “e-mails show he knew county officials were working closely with campaign officials.” Of course, the problem isn’t county officials and campaign officials “working closely” — the public official’s schedule and other matters require communication between the two offices. The problem is when taxpayer dollars are used for campaign purposes, or if public employees work on campaigns on the taxpayer’s dime. One complaint is that the county officials used private e-mail accounts for political communications with the governor, allegedly to “shield political business from public scrutiny.” But if the county officials had used their official work accounts, wouldn’t they be doing campaign work on a taxpayer-funded and supplied e-mail account? The effort to avoid the scandal is being cited as a scandal.

The other investigation is examining “possible illegal political coordination during the 2012 recall election.” Both investigations were begun by Milwaukee district attorney John Chisolm, a Democrat, and it will not shock you to learn there is no investigation of union activity during the recall.

Read the rest as Jim recites a litany of questionable private political use of public funds and property by the Obama camp, about which the WaPo wrote nary a word. Why, it’s as if they were covering for the Democrats….

Nah. Couldn’t be.

This is the opening salvo in a campaign similar to what was launched recently against Governor Christie in “Bridge-gate” and years ago against Sarah Palin: the Democrat-MSM establishment (but I repeat myself) will reveal whom they fear by whom they attack and they will attempt to destroy that person. After 2008, Governor Palin was savagely attacked in the press to the point that she was ruined as a broadly popular potential candidate. In the New Jersey bridge brouhaha, the press devoted so much coverage to Governor Christie that one would think he had committed mass-murder in downtown Trenton. Coincidentally, he’s also been touted as a leading contender for 2016. What was at worst a regional controversy was treated as a  national scandal, while Benghazi, the IRS, the FCC… Outside of Fox, not so much.

Congratulations, Governor Walker. They fear you!

PS: On the question of 2016, while it’s still way early, I’m generally in the “governors before senators” camp, and I’d be very happy with any from among Perry, Walker, or Jindal, in no real order. And, who knows, a dark horse Republican governor might become a real contender.  We have an excellent bullpen. This isn’t to diss our 2010 or 2012 classes of senators, many of whom have great promise, themselves, but I’d prefer they serve a term or two in the Senate and then as a governor, before running for president, to get some executive experience. I’m a bit wary of electing freshmen senators to such a a tough job, for some reason…

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Great Moments in Journalism: “No, really?” division

December 27, 2013
No way!!

The deuce you say!!

horrific crime occurs in Chicago:

An 18-year-old man was charged with first-degree murder Thursday after police found a decapitated man early Christmas morning in the Hermosa neighborhood on the Northwest Side.

Officers responding to a homicide call found the decapitated 41-year-old man about 2 a.m. Wednesday inside a basement apartment in the 2500 block of North Kildare Avenue, police said.

And the local CBS station makes sure to nail down the crucial details:

The man was dead at the scene, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office. He was identified as 41-year-old Silvestre Diaz-Hernandez and lived at the apartment.

Good thing they pointed that out; otherwise, I’d have never drawn that conclusion from the word “decapitated.” I can only imagine the look on the ME’s face when asked “And what is the victim’s condition?”

via ST on Facebook


Though outraged, @AETV is happy to take “flyover folks’” money

December 20, 2013

My blog-buddy ST has already eloquently written about the intolerant, anti-Christian, anti-Southern bigotry behind A&E’s craven capitulation to liberal fascist pressure groups over “Duck Dynasty” star Phil Robertson’s comments about sin and sinners, including homosexuality (1). Apparently, paraphrasing St. Paul’s first Epistle to the Corinthians is now enough to get one banned from television (2).

While ST has covered that angle admirably, I noticed something else. Last night I was watching a couple of episodes (coincidentally, I only started watching the day before this brouhaha exploded) of Duck Dynasty and stayed tuned in to catch another show called “Rodeo Girls.” As you can tell from the title, this show is not about a group of post-modern urban hipster liberals sitting around in their jammies, drinking hot chocolate and talking about healthcare. No, it’s about young, attractive women who compete in the rodeo circuit. (3) And the cultural similarities to Duck Dynasty got me wondering about the rest of A&E’s shows. (I don’t usually watch the network.) Let’s take a look at their line-up, shall we?

First, Duck Dynasty. Note that, as of today, Phil is still featured:

A&E Duck Dynasty

Next, American Hoggers. Just screams “Manhattan metrosexual,” doesn’t it?

A&E American Hoggers

Then we have “Crazy Hearts, Nashville.” A little country, a little sex:

A&E Crazy Hearts

But wait! There’s more! “Rodeo Girls!” Bikini-clad cowgirls riding stallions. (4) Yeah, I’m sure they’ll be lunching with Anna Wintour real soon.

A&E Rodeo Girls

Finally, we have “Storage Wars, Texas.” I wonder what they think of gun control and the individual mandate?

A&E Storage Wars

Notice a pattern? All these show involve people from what is disparagingly called “flyover country,” those lands beyond the pale the denizens of which the urban progressive elites like to patronize and treat like sub-normal children. And yet these are more than half the shows A&E has featured on their site. It seems pretty obvious that A&E is happy to promote shows featuring unsophisticated mouth-breathing hicks and earn money from the unsophisticated mouth-breathing hick audiences that watch, just so long as none of them express their unsophisticated mouth-breathing views.

Or maybe A&E’s honchos misread their audience:

Living in the echo chamber of the MSM’s ivory tower may well wind up costing A&E and their owners quite a bit.

Footnotes:
(1) To clarify, while I disagree with my esteemed co-blogger, Phil Robertson, and St. Paul about homosexuality being a sin, I respect their beliefs and wouldn’t want to ban them from the public square. Unlike A&E.
(2) No, I don’t think this is all that comparable to what happened to Martin Bashir. He spewed scatological, unhinged, hate-filled words at Sarah Palin. Phil just expressed his opinion in answer to a question, cited Scripture, and said it was up to God to judge. Huge difference.
(3) Watch out, Jessica! That Anthony is no good for you! (BTW, last night’s episode was set in Red Bluff, California. Not all of us are “L.A.” or “San Francisco” elitists.)
(4) Sigmund Freud, call your office.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


A&E so offended by Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson that they’re continuing marathon airings

December 19, 2013

In fact, I watched some episodes last night: good stuff, and I’d swear I could recognize some of my own family in there. As for the controversy over Phil’s comments, A&E thoroughly beclowned themselves over this. Phil did not call for gays to be persecuted in any way: he merely stated his belief in the Biblical view that homosexuality is a sin and paraphrased a verse from Paul’s 1st letter to the Corinthians to illustrate it. He did not compare homosexuality to bestiality: he was listing a category of sins. I don’t agree with Phil or St. Paul on this, but it’s Phil’s right to hold that opinion and express it, especially when it was in answer to a question. A&E cravenly caved in to a liberal fascist pressure group, GLAAD, and fired someone for the crime of “wrong thinking.” (Mao would approve.) As I said last night on Twitter, “@AETV’s fundamental mistake: assuming the audience was laughing at Phil and his family, rather than identifying with them. #LiberalBigotry.” I think they’ll get a hard lesson in that when the huge audience that follows Duck Dynasty walks away.


#Benghazi: about that 60 minutes retraction

November 11, 2013
American Blood, US Consulate, Benghazi

American Blood, US Consulate, Benghazi

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about a 60 Minutes report that appeared to blow large holes in the Obama administration’s story about what happened the night of September 11th, 2012, when our consulate in Benghazi was attacked and four Americans, including he ambassador, were killed. The report featured, but wasn’t solely based on, the testimony of “Morgan Jones,” the pseudonym of Dylan Davies, a security contractor employed by the Blue Mountain Group who had claimed to be at the compound while it was under attack and to have seen Ambassador Stevens body in the hospital in Benghazi.

About a week later, the story blew up in “60 Minutes” and journalist Lara Logan’s face when it became evident that there were serious questions about Davies’ credibility. CBS rapidly retracted their story and profusely apologized:

The correspondent for the disputed “60 Minutes’’ segment about the attack on the United States Special Mission in Benghazi, Libya, last year apologized on the air Friday morning, saying it was a “mistake’’ to put on a security officer whose credibility has since been undermined by his diverging accounts of his actions that night.

The correspondent, Lara Logan, said on “CBS This Morning’’ that the news division was misled by the officer, adding, “We will apologize to our viewers, and we will correct the record on our broadcast on Sunday night.”

The apology followed disclosure by The New York Times on Thursday evening that the security contractor, Dylan Davies, had provided the F.B.I. an account that contradicted a version of events he provided in a recently published book and in the interview with “60 Minutes,” which was broadcast on Oct. 27.

Mr. Davies told the F.B.I. that he was not on the scene until the morning after the attack.

This was humiliating for Logan, “60 Minutes,” and CBS, the latter of which was still smarting from the Dan Rather “fake but true” scandal of 2004. They had been working on the story for a year, yet somehow missed FBI reports that called his claims into serious question. With the apology and retraction, that should put an end to this aspect of the story.

But something keeps bugging me.

This cave-in by CBS happened awfully fast, like a sand castle crumbling before a wave. Davies wasn’t by any means the only source for the story, nor even the most important — just the most dramatic, and hence his leading story in the video report. (The video has been withdrawn by CBS, but you can review the transcript at RCP) But also interviewed were Greg Hicks, the Deputy Chief of Mission in Libya on the night of the attack, and Lt. Col. Andy Wood, a Green Beret based in Tripoli at the time of the attack. Were their stories invalidated in any way? Frankly, no. In fact, Woods’ testimony corroborates what Davies had said about the looming danger in Benghazi and that people knew something was going to happen:

The last time he went to Benghazi was in June, just three months before the attack. While he was there, al Qaeda tried to assassinate the British ambassador. Wood says, to him, it came as no surprise because al Qaeda — using a familiar tactic — had stated their intent in an online posting, saying they would attack the Red Cross, the British and then the Americans in Benghazi.

Lara Logan: And you watched as they–

Andy Wood: As they did each one of those.

Lara Logan: –attacked the Red Cross and the British mission. And the only ones left–

Andy Wood: Were us. They made good on two out of the three promises. It was a matter of time till they captured the third one.

Lara Logan: And Washington was aware of that?

Andy Wood: They knew we monitored it. We included that in our reports to both State Department and DOD.

Andy Wood told us he raised his concerns directly with Amb. Stevens three months before the U.S. compound was overrun.

Regarding Davies own story, the fabricated part, if any, seems to be the description of his own heroics — entering the compound, fighting a terrorist, and sneaking into an al Qaeda-controlled hospital where he found Ambassador Stevens corpse. Perhaps he was trying to pump sales his now-recalled book and lay the groundwork for a movie deal.

But, the important parts, about the security problems in Benghazi and the question of American awareness of the danger, are seemingly unchallenged. Why then did CBS and Logan surrender so quickly? Why didn’t they say they’d “get to the bottom of this” and then figure out which parts were true and which not? As it stands, they’ve created a problem for anyone who questions the official account of what happened that night.

Journalist Lee Stranahan wondered similar things and points out that the FBI people who disputed Davies’s story have never been identified and that the effort to discredit Davies was being pushed by Media Matter’s For America, a hard-left media house that devoted itself to seeing Hillary Clinton elected President.

Clinton was Secretary of State on the night of the attack.

Stranahan reviews a long list of data from Logan’s report that’s not in dispute. Here are a few:

  • Quick reaction force from the CIA Annex ignored orders to wait and raced to the compound and repelled a force of as many as 60 armed terrorists and managed to save five American lives and recover the body of Foreign Service Officer Sean Smith
  • The same force that had gone to the compound was now defending the CIA Annex. Hours later, they were joined by a small team of Americans from Tripoli.
  • Wood: attack required “Coordination, planning, training, experienced personnel. They practice those things. They knew what they were doing. That was a– that was a well-executed attack.”
  • Two Delta Force operators who fought at the Annex and they’ve since been awarded the Distinguished Service Cross and the Navy Cros
  •  Hicks told no help coming “”Listen, you’ve gotta tell those guys there may not be any help coming.”

So, why did CBS surrender so fast? Forgive my indulgence in a little bit of speculation, but could the fact that the brother of the head of CBS News works in the White House on the National Security Council and was a central figure in the revising of the controversial Benghazi talking points be significant?

Nah. Must be a coincidence.

RELATED: More Stranahan on Davies and that FBI interview. Did Congress know?

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


New York Times editorial on Obama’s ‘if you like your plan you can keep it’ promise: He ‘misspoke’

November 3, 2013

The New York Times, the always-reliable marketing arm of the Democratic Party.


If you still think the MSM is unbiased and nonpartisan…

October 16, 2013
"Thumb on the scale"

“Thumb on the scale”

Then here’s a needed reality check:

Bob Filner, the former San Diego mayor forced out of office in a storm of sexual harassment allegations, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to a series of false imprisonment and battery charges involving three women.

The episode for Mr. Filner and the city he led for less than a year ended at a swift 16-minute court hearing in Superior Court, where Mr. Filner, dressed in a crisp blue suit and a gold tie, entered his plea with a series of “yes, sirs” as the judge described the scope of the one felony charge and two misdemeanor charges.

It was a sharp contrast from his resignation speech in August, when the mayor said he had been the victim of a “lynch mob.” His lawyer, Jerry Coughlan, said afterward that the once-defiant Mr. Filner, who faced sexual harassment allegations from 17 women, had “learned to get beyond denial” during his treatment for sexual disorders at a facility in Los Angeles in September.

Notice what’s missing? Any mention of “Filthy Filner’s” political party. If he had been a Republican, his affiliation would have been all over the page. Read the rest of Charlie Cooke’s article for the proof.

Don’t tell me liberal media bias is a myth.


About that NBC/WSJ poll that panicked Republicans

October 11, 2013
"Thumb on the scale"

“Thumb on the scale”

You know, the one that showed Republicans getting killed over the government shutdown? Turns out there was a…. slight bias in the sample:

Gee, why am I not surprised that a poll that draws one-fifth of its respondents from government employees turns out badly for the party that’s against Big Government?

I think we can safely ignore this one.

Check out Bryan Preston’s post for analysis.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


How AP altered its headline to protect Obamacare

October 3, 2013

Don’t believe the press is in the tank for Obama and Obamacare? Well, check this out.

Yesterday evening, Jon Gabriel re-tweeted a link from National Review’s Charles Cooke to the Associated Press web site, which was running an article on the serious problems experienced by those using the Obamacare exchanges, which were only in their second day of operation. This is how the headline read:

AP Obamacare headline original

You’ll note that the graphic is not from the AP web site, but from Knoxnews.com, which carried this article as an AP subscriber. I had to search Bing to find it. Why? Because someone at the Associated Press soon after changed the headline of the original article at the AP site. Here’s how it reads now:

AP Obamacare headline altered

Pretty significant, no? Nice way to put a much more positive spin on this anti-constitutional monstrosity.

I realize this happens frequently, but the dishonesty is still breathtaking.

And this is why much of the MSM cannot be trusted: they are not honest brokers of information, but a propaganda and marketing arm of the Obama White House, the Democratic Party, and the Left.

Walter Duranty would be so proud.

via Leatherneck

PS:

Found a version of the original AP article online. Here’s how the headline looked when Cooke shared it:

AP Obamacare headline AP site original

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Navy Yard shooting: an AR-15 *was* used there. Updated.

September 18, 2013

All too predictably, gun control advocates raced to take advantage of the atrocity of yesterdays’s mass shooting at the Navy Yard to press their case, this time by decrying the use of an AR-15 in the killings, the semi-automatic rifle having become the fear-object of choice for people who hate the Second Amendment (1).

Trouble is, the shooter didn’t use an AR-15. From what can be reconstructed, he entered the base armed with a legally-purchased shotgun (Joe Biden’s “Good Weapon”) and at some point obtained a pistol. But, gun-rights defenders are also wrong: there was at least one AR-15 involved in the shooting.

It was used by the police to kill the bad guy.

Sorry, gun-grabbers.

PS: After the last mass shooting, at Newtown, there was a lot of talk about the dangers of gun-free zones. So, will someone please explain, why, of all places, are military bases still  gun-free zones, per a Clinton-era regulation? These are people trained to use firearms and respond to combat situations. Why are we forcing them to be sitting ducks?

via Doug Powers

Footnote:
(1) And check out how this Advanced Placement Exam textbook mangles the Second Amendment. That is either gross ignorance or deliberate deception.

UPDATE: Based on a couple of comments on Twitter, I should clarify something. The point isn’t to argue over what kind of weapon was used, per se, but to correct the misinformation the reactionary Left uses to advance its agenda for an eventual gun ban. (Regardless of what they say, that’s where gun-control logic leads.) If left uncorrected with the truth at all times, the lie becomes the dominant narrative and the momentum goes to the gun-grabbers.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Syria: The New York Times goes foaming-at-the-mouth Neocon

August 29, 2013

So, this was the headline in an op-ed in yesterday’s times:

syria NYT hypocritical headline

And speaking as a Neocon… “amateurs!”

I eagerly await the Times editorial denunciation of the Times op-ed writers.

Can one die of an irony overload?

via Instapundit


(Video) The lynching of George Zimmerman

July 21, 2013

In one of the best Afterburners in a while (1), Bill Whittle looks at the trial of George Zimmerman for killing Trayvon Martin and proclaims it nothing less than one of the great civil rights violations of our time — a violation of Zimmerman’s rights:

This information about Martin’s use of “Lean” and its side-effects (paranoia, physical aggressiveness) is new to me. That the judge barred the evidence is flabbergasting, as it bears directly on Martin’s state of mind that night. Remember, he had lost Zimmerman, got to his destination, and then went back to confront Zimmerman at his truck. And yet Martin using a drug that could lead to this kind of behavior wasn’t ruled admissible?

Along with “lynching,” let’s add “kangaroo court” and “show trial,” too. smiley angry

Footnote:
(1) Which, if you recall my liking of this series, is a pretty high bar.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Facebook flunks English, suspends user for writing “chigger.”

July 19, 2013

The illiteracy, it burns:

It started yesterday, when SF author Michael Z Williamson was blocked by Facebook for 12 hours for using the word “chigger” in a post.  When his twelve hours were up — following massive derision against Facebook by all his friends — his block expired. He was promptly blocked again.

Read the rest of Charlie Martin’s post. Williamson finally got his account unblocked, but Facebook also couldn’t understand “niggardly,” and so banned another miscreant; Facebook tried the “we’re overwhelmed with reported posts and sometimes make mistakes” excuse, but that doesn’t explain why they continue to allow a page that calls for a man’s murder and others that repeatedly use an extremely offensive word for Blacks. (Not to mention various pages advocating violent jihad against the West.)

Facebook is a private company and has every right to monitor what’s written on its site, but one would think they should want to a) hire people with the vocabulary of at least a 7th-grader; b) try to be consistent; or c) just give up and let everyone vent. (At least option C is helpful for monitoring idiot jihadis.)

Flashback: It’s not the first time the use of the word “niggardly” has exposed the ignorant.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


You’re not being hacked, @SharylAttkisson. You’re being haunted.

June 18, 2013

How else would you explain computers mysteriously turning on and off? It’s gotta be ghosts:

CBS News announced on Friday that the computer of investigative reporter Sharyl Attkisson’s computer had registered multiple breaches, a disclosure that prompted a great deal of speculation about just who was responsible for the misbehavior. In a short segment today on “CBS This Morning,” Attkisson lent a personal touch to the story.

The primary takeaway? That Attkisson’s hardware sort of “woke up” in the middle of the night. When asked how the hacking manifested itself, she said, “One example was the computers began turning themselves on and then back off again during the night.”

Creepy, huh?

They’re heeeerre!

Okay, so, maybe not ghosts. Probably someone much more mundane, in fact. Someone with some very specific interests:

“The intruders did have access to personal information including passwords to my financial accounts and so on, but didn’t tamper with those, so they weren’t interested in stealing my identity or doing things to my finances. So people can decide on their own what they might have been trying to do in there,” Attkisson said.

These were computers Attkisson used mostly for work. And what was she working on last Fall?

Stories about Benghazi and Operation Fast and Furious. Hmmm…

Back to the WaPo article (first quote), Erik Wemple contacted a former NSA operative who found government intrusion hard to believe:

Cedric Leighton, a former deputy director of training at the National Security Agency (NSA), cautions against reaching too many conclusions on the sophistication of the intruder(s). “It’s sloppy work (1) in the realm of hackerdom,” says Leighton. “If you’re going to do something like that, you try not to leave anything behind. You try to make sure that you don’t do anything different than what the user is doing.”

Noting the time of the intrusion, Leighton speculated about Chinese hackers. But Attkisson works mostly on domestic investigations; why would a Chinese hacker be interested in her work? You’d think they’d be more interested in reporters who cover the military or tech beats, for example. Just some bored kid in Shanghai who saw her on TV and thought it would be cool to hack her machines?

Nah. I don’t think so. And neither does Attkisson, it seems:

ATTKISSON: I have attorneys at CBS who are helping us through this. I also have personal counsel.

O’REILLY: And so, all your counsels are saying, “Don’t say anything.” Just maybe you have the same counsel that the attorney general and Ed Muller has?

No, it’s a joke. Bad joke. Sorry. So, all of your counsels are saying, “Don’t accuse anybody right now.”

ATTKISSON: Well, they’re just telling us what we can say, more than anything right now, which is, you know, what you basically heard, that there has been an intrusion of the computer, this is not phishing, this is not malware.

This is not ordinary, as someone asked me, old boyfriend trying to look through my files. They know it’s not that.

O’REILLY: No. This is big.

ATTKISSON: Yes.

O’REILLY: Yes. But in order to go after somebody, you’ve got to have the suspicion. And I assume you have a suspicion.

You don’t have to tell me. I don’t want to get your lawyers mad. But I assume you have a suspicion.

ATTKISSON: Well, I think I know. But I am just not prepared to go into that. So, we’re continuing our investigation.

In other words, she was working on stories not at all complimentary to the government, her computers are hacked –no financial or other personal data stolen–  and she and her employers think they have a pretty good idea who did it.

And I’ll bet they’re not Chinese.

She and CBS were smart to retain their own counsel; with the government apparently willing to intimidate the children of whistleblowers, they’ll want to have all their legal ducks in a row before going public with any accusations.

Footnote:
(1) The basic idea being that US government couldn’t be this clumsy, could it? Well… Given their inability to ferret out the Tsarnaevs before they bombed the Boston Marathon, or their willful blindness that lead to fatal political correctness regarding Major Hasan, or their mind-boggling incompetence in granting a top security clearance to Edward Snowden, let’s just say it’s not that hard for me to believe they could leave a trail marked by flashing neon signs.

Reminds me in fact of a scene from S*P*Y*S, a 1974 espionage comedy starring Donald Sutherland and Elliot Gould. When someone tries to blow them up, they’re convinced their own employers, the CIA, did it. Their boss denies it, but they won’t have it (going from memory): “No, it wasn’t the KGB! They don’t screw up! This was screwed up! It had to be us!”

Sounds plausible to me.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


You’re not paranoid if they really are out to get you, @SharylAttkisson

June 14, 2013

A few weeks ago, I mentioned CBS reporter Sharyl Attkisson’s strong suspicions that her home and work computers had been accessed by unknown persons. Coming in the wake of revelations about the government’s seizure of phone records for journalists and editors at the Associated Press and a secret warrant for phone records and email belonging to Fox reporter James Rosen charging him with being an unindicted co-conspirator under the Espionage Act of 1917, Attkisson’s accusations couldn’t be dismissed as paranoia or mere attention-seeking.

In fact, she was right:

“A cyber security firm hired by CBS News has determined through forensic analysis that Sharyl Attkisson’s computer was accessed by an unauthorized, external, unknown party on multiple occasions late in 2012. Evidence suggests this party performed all access remotely using Attkisson’s accounts. While no malicious code was found, forensic analysis revealed an intruder had executed commands that appeared to involve search and exfiltration of data.

This party also used sophisticated methods to remove all possible indications of unauthorized activity, and alter system times to cause further confusion.

CBS News is taking steps to identify the responsible party and their method of access.”

Now, as an expert contacted by the Post’s Erik Wemple points out, this doesn’t necessarily mean it was the government:

Eugene H. Spafford, a Purdue University professor and specialist in computer security, said that Attkisson’s initial statements about computer intrusions left open a wide field of possibilities, from viruses to botnet activity to acquaintances to criminal gangs to the government. 

And an investigative reporter as determined as Attkisson, who’s looked into many sensitive topics –such as Fast and Furious… hmmm…–  could well have alarmed many different types of people who might want to find out what she knows, who she’s talking to, etc.

But, in late 2012, Attkisson was writing a series of articles on the Benghazi massacre that weren’t toeing the government line. Indeed, she was asking some tough questions, especially about the lack of a military rescue mission:

CBS News has been told that, hours after the attack began, an unmanned Predator drone was sent over the U.S. mission in Benghazi, and that the drone and other reconnaissance aircraft apparently observed the final hours of the protracted battle.

The State Department, White House and Pentagon declined to say what military options were available. A White House official told CBS News that, at the start of the attack, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Martin Dempsey and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta “looked at available options, and the ones we exercised had our military forces arrive in less than 24 hours, well ahead of timelines laid out in established policies.”

But it was too late to help the Americans in Benghazi. The ambassador and three others were dead.

(hat tip: Ed Morrissey for the reminder of this)

That highlighted paragraph indicates anonymous sources. And if the government was forcing access to James Rosen’s phone records and emails (and his parents’ emails), and CBS was talking to anonymous sources giving out information embarrassing to the Obama administration, then it’s not at all hard to look at the break-in into Attkisson’s computers and wonder if something similar happened here.

It will be interesting to see what CBS discovers, and I suspect the relevant committee’s of Congress will have even more work when they do find out who was behind it.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


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