At the risk of stating the obvious, one big reason the James Rosen and AP controversies have become front page news is that "the news" is a key stakeholder in the story itself. Replace 'reporters from accredited outlets' with 'nihilistic hackers' or 'advocacy orgs' and the tone of the coverage we're reading, and questions we're hearing, would be much, much different. Instead reporters are, quite naturally, behaving in both their normal journalistic capacities here and in their ancillary roles as trade association members -- and so the whole thing has taken on much more valence with the press than we've come to expect when the DOJ is discovered taking liberties with its investigative powers.
That's something everyone should consider the next time we learn a non-media figure has been subjected to secret, invasive federal subpoenas, etc. Until then, I'd note that in this case the coverage disparity is due in part to the fact that -- to coin a recently misquoted White House official -- the reporting does not reflect all relevant equities.Read More →
At the end of the day, a big budget agreement that passes both the House and Senate is pretty unlikely. But before it can happen, there have to be negotiations, and before there are negotiations, Republicans have to allow themselves to negotiate.
In the Senate, what's holding that up is an effort on the part of the tea party backed members to block formal negotiations until Democrats agree that the debt limit will be off limits -- so that in the event the chambers do finalize a budget, Ted Cruz and Rand Paul and other Republicans can still demand concessions in exchange for increasing the debt limit later this year. After four years of blistering Democrats for not passing a budget, this has an unwanted downside of making the party look terrible. And now Republican frustrations with Cruz's and Paul's tactics are bubbling to the surface.Read More →
The conservatives on Fox got the hearings they were itching for in the IRS mess but none of the answers.
IRS official will plead the Fifth rather than testify to Congress tomorrow.
Sen. Inhofe says Oklahoma relief won't be like Sandy because Sandy relief was a slush fund.
At the risk of drawing more obloquy upon myself, I have to second the questions Jack Shafer raises in this piece just published by Reuters: What was James Rosen Thinking?
There are a few points that seem important to make about this story.Read More →
Fresh off blaming Hollywood and the video gaming industry for extreme gun violence, the NRA is out with its top ten list of "coolest gun movies."
I lived in the Midwest for a decade, hunkering down in basements this time of year the way you do (or at least are supposed to do), but tornado videos never get old to me. Some of the most dramatic videos from yesterday's storm.
The confirmed death toll in Oklahoma has been revised downward to 24.
I think it's fair to say that Harry Reid isn't by inclination or temperament a big fan of filibuster reform. That's partly because it will upset whatever collegiality is left in the Senate and make it really hard for him to "run" the Senate. But he's not above keeping it in play as a negotiating chip with Mitch McConnell over important White House nominations. That's why Reid keeps raising the prospect of doing something on filibuster reform, after initially declaring the issue resolved with some minor rules changes in January. His threats make a lot more sense in that context, especially since it's not clear he has 51 Democrats on board for a dramatic rule change. But McConnell probably knows that, too, so at some point this posturing will lose his effectiveness, if it hasn't already.
For some straight talk on leaks, leak probes, and national security journalism, go read Walter Pincus.
Some amazingly good photos of people being extricated from the rubble in Moore, Okla., here, here and here.