Thursday, January 5, 2012

Red Star Award: Scott Horsley of NPR for Coverage of Obama’s Unconstitutional ‘Recess’ Appointment

Every once in a while, there is a story in the mainstream media that goes so far beyond ordinary liberal bias that it deserves special recognition. To highlight such extraordinarily egregious propaganda masquerading as news, we at Big Journalism are creating the Red Star Award–named for the symbol that the Soviet Union elevated to a global emblem of communism.

The inaugural recipient of the Red Star is Scott Horsley of NPR, for his story on today’s Morning Edition: “Obama: Recess Appointment Was An ‘Obligation’

The story concerns President Barack Obama’s appointment of Richard Cordray to head the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Republicans oppose the appointment of Cordray–or anyone–to the Bureau until concerns about the lack of congressional oversight are resolved. Despite Democrats’ previous outrage over recess appointments, Obama chose to ignore Congress and appoint Cordray while the Senate was in recess.
Except–it wasn’t. The Senate used pro forma sessions to stay open–a tactic once used by Democrats to prevent some of President George W. Bush’s appointments. And why did Bush, that alleged tyrant of the “unitary executive,” fail to do what President Obama has just done? The answer–as even many liberals agree–is that it is unconstitutional, and in this case even unlawful, exceeding any power grab President Bush ever attempted.

Scott Horsley’s story does not address any of the constitutional or legal problems with President Obama’s unprecedented abuse of power. Instead, it breathlessly recounts the appointment as a tale in political courage–“the President, and his lawyers, had had enough”–and repeats Obama’s campaign messages about fighting for the “middle class” against a “do-nothing Congress,” evil financial firms, and “armies of lobbyists.”
Horsley barely mentions Republican opposition except in the most perfunctory manner, adding to the impression that it is political, not substantive. There are no audio clips of Republican or conservative opponents of Cordray’s appointment, but plenty of clips of President Obama, White House spokesman Jay Carney, and a woman at an Obama rally who praises the president for trying to look out for “everyday, working people.”

The woman is described as if she just happened to be “in the audience,” and found the president’s arguments
convincing. Yet statements of support from the crowd at Obama’s bused-in, stage-managed speeches are about as spontaneous and trustworthy as cries of grief at Kim Jong-Il’s funeral procession.
Horsley then follows Obama to a home the president says was saved from the financial “trickery” that Cordray will help prevent. Except Cordray won’t, and can’t, because the Dodd-Frank financial law the president likes to boast about explicitly states that the Bureau chief must be “confirmed by the Senate.”

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is already warning of a legal challenge to Cordray’s appointment and to the similar appointment of three new members of the National Labor Relations Board. Obama knows he’s on shaky ground, but he’s using the appointments to attack Republicans, exploiting vulnerable people in the process.

The mainstream media–and then-Senator Obama–constantly decried President Bush’s supposed disregard for the Constitution. It has largely failed to protest Obama’s vastly more ambitious encroachments, from Obamacare to the Libya war to Cordray.

Horsley’s story is a fine example of that eager hypocrisy. He should wear his Red Star proudly.

Big Journalism