We’ve long suspected that some reporters, including Pete Yost of the Associated Press, Carrie Johnson of Narodniy Politichesky Radio, and Sari Horwitz of the LA Times, were in the pocket of the Holder DOJ and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. But information in documents pried out of the DOJ by a Judicial Watch lawsuit expose the extent to which the government agents actually dictate the stories to those, and other, reporters.
We only took one journalism class in long-ago undergrad days, so we may not have made it to the upper-division or graduate level where you learn to put a slight verbal polish and your own byline on government-issue propaganda points, but Horwitz and Yost are clearly there.
Here’s an example that Sharyl Attkisson found in the DOJ election-day document dump, and reported on 22 November (yeah, some of this stuff hangs around a while before we go live with it):
You don’t want to call a press conference on this because it will blow things out perspective, but if you have any events in the next few days (preferably tomorrow), you could find a way to take two or three questions on it afterwards. Or if that’s not easily doable, you could find a way to “run into” a couple of reporters on your way to something. Maybe Pete Williams, Carrie [Johnson], Pete Yost — that part can be managed.
That document came from a spin consultant, Matthew Miller, who was briefed on what reporters were available to DOJ as, in effect, propaganda channels, and was trying to help AG Eric Holder spin the revelations that the ATF had been systematically arming the Sinaloa Cartel in an attempt to run up gun crime numbers.
Miller knows who among the reporters are willing to slant a story for a politician that they support. Like Holder. He knows that Williams, Johnson and Yost are party loyalists above any loyalty they have to the news profession — a group that includes CBS’s Bob Schieffer, too, as we’ll see.
Attkisson reports that Yost came through with Miller’s talking points:
Pete Yost of AP wrote article on Bush-era gunwalking case that seemed to so impress Holder, he wrote ” WOW!” p. 539 AP presented the story as if it were “new”…
Using, if you needed any other indicators of Pete Yost’s integrity as a journalist (stop laughing! Stop laughing, what’s so funny about using “integrity” with “journalist”?), Attkisson’s previous reporting without crediting her, and presenting it — with the ATF/DOJ-dictated spin — as a Yost “scoop.”
Tracy Schmaler — the DOJ spokesdollie who’s famous for losing her $#!+ and screaming at reporters who weren’t Yost/Horwitz/etc.-style lapdogs — has a long exchange with White House spin doc Eric Schultz on the problem, noting that some reporters are on board with the ATF/DOJ talking points, and some are not. Worst of all, Attkisson has published memos exposing lies in Holder testimony to Congress. Here’s Attkisson, quoting Judicial Watch:
On October 4, 2011, Holder’s top press aide Tracy Schmaler tells White House Deputy Press Sectary Eric Schultz, “I’m also calling Sharryl’s [sic] editor and reaching out to Scheiffer. She’s out of control”
Schultz responded, “Good. Her piece was really bad for the AG.”
Schmaler to Holder, noting one reporter who dropped the facts of the case, and obliging ran with Schmaler’s talking points instead:
Sari (WaPo reporter) [Horwitz] was good – pointed out Issa previous briefing, that weekly reports didn’t reveal tactics and noted previous op in Bush Admin
Screamin’ Schmaler has left DOJ (where she was about to lose her top-cover, with Holder’s resignation) and is employed at ASGK, a Public Relations (i.e. damage control) firm for dishonest, corrupt and all-around no-good firms, organizations, and above all people. She’ll fit right in.
The corruption of the soi-disant Ruling Class of America certainly extends to the sunken-chested, shadow-dwelling Media Wing of same.
They’re not reporters. They’re activists with bylines.
If nothing else comes out of this, you could establish a list of reporters who willingly wrote false information at the request of Miller, Schmaler, and other officials, or who suppressed or tried to suppress stories for the White House and DOJ. Or you could just do like we do, and trust none of them. (Along with the others mentioned in this article, the LA Times’s Richard Serrano, Victoria Kim, and Kathleen Hennessey are also bylines available to spin for The Party).
Party on, reporters.