Friday, April 27, 2012

Is the media fastly becoming furious?

Don't count on it.

The "Fast and Furious" gun running scandal that should be plaguing the Obama administration on a daily basis is languishing behind dog eating stories and 7-11 cookies. Try to imagine if this had been the Bush administration's Justice Department. It would be pounded out every day on the TV news until Attorney General Gonzalez resigned in disgrace. Not so much with Eric Holder.

The program essentially allowed a massive amount of firepower walk across the Mexican border presumably to be tracked by ATF officials with the goal of leading them to drug cartel strongholds. What happened was a tragedy that has left hundreds of innocents dead, slaughtered with American guns as the program went wildly off the rails.

Holder has been playing dumb on this subject even after documents came to light showing that the “Fast and Furious” program came up several times during Holder’s extensive weekly reports on ongoing developments in the Justice Department and its components in July 2010 and again in October 2010. He had testified on May 3 2011 that he was “not sure of the exact date, but I probably heard about Fast and Furious for the first time over the last few weeks.”

It's not that Eric Holder is a liar, he is, then so was Gonzalez and every partisan appointee that ever served in a town that peddles lies like a toddler pedals a trike. It's that the media makes so little of it because it could hurt President Obama's re-election bid. Besides it's just so darn complicated - the American people just won't get it. Simpletons...

At least CBS has made an attempt. NBC is so far up Obama's... Um, sorry. Let's just say NBC and ABC aren't going to try too hard.

CBS News requested numerous public documents through the Freedom of Information Act.

So far, all of the requests that have been answered have been denied in part or in full.

This week, we received a partial response to a request made more than a year ago. It asked for communications involving "Project Gunrunner," the umbrella program for Fast and Furious, from 2010 through April 2011. Specifically, it sought any communications to which any of the following top Justice officials were a party: Attorney General Eric Holder; Lanny Breuer, Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division; Kevin Carwile, chief of the Capital Case Unit; and Deputy Assistant Attorney Generals Bruce Schwarz and Kenneth Blanco.

The response includes mostly-blank pages.
See the nearly-blank provided to CBS News (PDF)
Federal agencies can legally claim exemptions from the Freedom of Information Act for a number of reasons including attorney-client privilege, law enforcement purposes, and personal privacy. However, they've fallen under sharp criticism from the media and public interest groups in the past decade as a large number of FOIA requests have languished, sometimes for years.
FOIA was originally intended to expedite the release of public materials to the public and media. However, in practice, FOIA requests are often not even marginally effective at obtaining documents for news reporting. To be most effective and helpful, the requests would often need to be filled in a matter of days or at least weeks.

Few requests filed by this reporter are answered within a year. When and if documents are ever produced, they are often heavily redacted and the timeliness of the information relative to the public interest has long since subsided.

Separately the FBI has denied CBS News all information requested regarding the death of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry. Two Fast and Furious weapons were found at his murder scene in December 2010. The FBI stated that the information was withheld because the murder investigation is ongoing. That investigation has now entered its second year.

It was the death of Brian Terry that put this in front of the American people and yet the FBI and the Justice Department is stonewalling the entire independent media investigation.CBS News should be applauded in this case. All the complaining I tend to do about the selective interest of the major media I have to give CBS it's due this time.

Then again don't count on CBS to raise the roof over this one. They're for Obama too.