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Tag Archives: Jonathan Karl

Jonathan Karl: We Have Seen No Evidence of Collusion

ABC News’ Jonathan Karl, one of the fairest reporters in the mainstream media – recall how aggressively he went after Barack Obama spokesman Jay Carney – told the ladies of The View what they certainly didn’t want to hear: Robert Mueller may have come up empty on the allegation he was tasked to investigate.

“On the central question of did Donald Trump or anyone on his campaign coordinate or collude with the Russian in their effort to meddle in the 2016 campaign, we have seen zero evidence of that,” Karl said.

Karl said his sources are suggesting Mueller’s report will be “anticlimactic.”

Nice to have a prominent reporter who wants to give it straight and not please his TV hosts. Hopefully he doesn’t get too much shit for it from his bosses.

WH Doesn’t Deny Small Business Growth “Stalled Out”

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest Tuesday was unable to launch a serious counterargument to Hillary Clinton’s claim that small business creation in the United States has “stalled out” under President Obama.

Notice how he tried to dodge the question and, when ABC news reporter Jonathan Karl wouldn’t let him get away, went to the fallback strategy – blaming Republicans. Earnest also employed the familiar tactic of saying he wasn’t familiar Clinton’s remarks, which if true suggests there’s a problem in the White House press office since Hillary made the remark the day before.

KARL: Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, you may have heard, is in New Hampshire — been in New Hampshire. And she made a comment about the economy, and I wanted to get your reaction to this. Regarding small business creation, she says that small business creation has “stalled out” — she was surprised to learn this — has stalled out in the United States. Does the White House agree with Hillary Clinton’s analysis of the state of the economy regarding small businesses?

EARNEST: I didn’t see the entirety of her remarks, but I can tell you that the President certainly believes that there is more that we can do here in Washington to put in place policies that will further strengthen job creation in our economy . . . blah blah blah blah blah . . .

KARL: But do you agree with Hillary Clinton that under President Barack Obama small business creation has “stalled out” in the United States?

EARNEST: I’m not sure that’s a direct quote. I suspect that it’s not. But I would — the President has —

KARL: She used the phrase “stalled out”. She said small business creation has “stalled out.” Do you agree that it has stalled out?

EARNEST: The President himself has said many times that there are additional important steps that could be taken by Washington, D.C. where members of Congress no longer serve as an impediment to forward economic momentum, but actually that they can support it.

KARL: That’s not my question, though. I just asked, do you agree that small business creation has stalled out in the United States?

EARNEST: Again, I didn’t see the entirety of her remarks.

KARL: Forget what she said. Has small business creation stalled out in the United States?

EARNEST: Well, we’ll take a look at the statistics and get back to you.

KARL: Okay, thanks.

Stop Them Before They Impeach! Send Five Dollars Today.

As you may be aware, the White House has been talking up the possibility that President Obama is going to be impeached – IMPEACHED, I TELL YA – by Republicans.

Well, Democratic fundraisers, including the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, or DCCC, have been talking it up too and raising tons of cash on the possibility. Nothing like a little fear and loathing to get the money pot stirring.

This, even though nobody serious on Capitol Hill is talking about it, and most conservatives have come to realize impeachment would be politically disastrous. In fact, that’s why they’re suing Obama instead.

Well, ABC’s Jonathan Karl wanted to know today if the White House is being used as platform for raising cash. He quizzed White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest about whether the White House was coordinating with the DCCC on the OMG, they’re going to impeach the president meme.

House Speaker John Beohner today called the impeachment talk what it is, a “scam” being run out of the White House.

What’s going on is, memories of 1998 are dancing in Democrats’ heads. It was the sixth year of Bill Clinton’s presidency, a midterm year that should have been disastrous for them, but they gained seats in the House as Republicans cranked up the impeachment machinery.

Boehner, who was the fourth ranking House Republican at the time, well remembers the episode. Then-Speaker Gingrich was predicting a gain of more than 20 seats, and the GOP lost five. Gingrich was soon out as Speaker, and Boehner was jettisoned from the leadership as well.

Thus the passion you see above. Impeachment has now been converted, by executive action of the Speaker of the House, from an 11-letter to a four-letter word.

Karl Puts State On Spot Over Ambassadors

ABC White House reporter Jonathan Karl trotted over to the State Department the other day to ask spokeswoman Jen Psaki whether U.S. ambassadors need have any qualifications other than the ability to make money and give it to President Obama.

Sure, all presidents send their donors to exotic locations at taxpayer expense to represent the United States, allowing them to bide their time at the embassy-palace while earning the right for the rest of their lives to go to their health club and have the help ask them, Would the ambassador like a fresh towel? But Karl points out in the video below that 37 percent of ambassadors appointed by Obama are political appointees, an amount he says is “considerably more” than either George W. Bush or Bill Clinton.

Photo by Keith KofflerKarl flashes “Don’t give me that nonsense” look
Photo by Keith Koffler
So much for Obama’s crusade to take money out of governing.

We recently learned that the man tapped to be ambassador to Argentina has never set foot there. Argentina is not some mango farm converted into a country. It has the second largest GDP in South America and a problematic leftist, authoritarian government. It’s big  F&$%ing deal.

Obama’s pick to represent us in Norway was recently caught in the act of not knowing squat about the place.

“That’s the goal,” Psaki says when asked if an ambassador should “have at least some basic knowledge of the country he is going to.”

The goal?

Psaki has a point though, that Karl’s seemingly outraged “How much does it cost to become an ambassador . . . in the Obama administration?” was surely scripted for TV.

But Karl has a point too when he notes, “It’s a serious question.”

WashPost Zaps Jonathan Karl for Questioning White House

The Washington Post ran a story earlier this week suggesting rather strongly that ABC’s Jonathan Karl, who aggressively takes White House Press Secretary Jay Carney to task on a daily basis, is wasting everybody’s time with a self-serving made-for-TV performance.

Jonathan KarlLet’s be clear. Karl is among only a handful of reporters – like, maybe three – who are willing to seriously go toe-to-toe with Carney and hold the White House accountable for its actions and its spin. Other than the queries from Karl, Ed Henry of Fox News, and Major Garrett of CBS, the questions range from occasionally strong demands for explanations to, more usually, bread buttering inquiries about how the president feels about this or that or what’s on the plate for tomorrow’s upcoming event.

Tough questions at a televised White House briefing are a service to the republic. They allow viewers to see the White House try to explain – or avoid explaining – controversial policies. When the explanation is nonsense, it’s there for all to witness. What’s more, the inquisitions chasten the White House by forcing officials to consider that they will have to account publicly for their actions.

Carney East Room 2And yes, tough questioning does sometimes elicit news. I don’t see where the softballs generate many headlines.

Carney faces the least assertive questioning of any press secretary I’ve seen in 16 years covering the White House.

Post reporter Paul Farhi, who wrote the piece, suggests that Karl is playing for the cameras, trying to advance his career by impressing his bosses, and engaging in a self indulgent exercise that fails to elicit news and somehow even harms to the news gathering process.

Farhi lets Karl defend himself, but the the slant of the piece is pretty clear.

“Some of Karl’s fellow press-room denizens view the give-and-take skeptically,” writes Farhi. He lets one jealous, frightened little White House reporter snipe at Karl anonymously. The reporter, no doubt one who fails to muster the courage or energy to demand truth from power, whines, “How much of [this] is aimed at breaking news by getting Carney to crack under pressure, and how much of it is pure theater aimed at ratings, impressing bosses or otherwise gaining attention?”

Even National Journal’s Ron Fournier, who ironically was one of the most impressive and unbiased cross examiners in the briefing room during the Bush years, chimes in with skepticism.

Fournier, Fahri writes, “traces the decline of the briefings to 1995,” when then-White House Press Secretary Mike McCurry put them on TV in full.

“It made it more of a show and less of a place to get and give information,” Fournier said.

Fournier says the briefings “have become ‘a crutch’ for reporters — a substitute for more energetic and probing reporting.”

That last part can be true. Reporters can just do a take from the briefing and go home. And Karl, BTW, surely has one eye on his career as he blasts away at Carney. But none of that diminishes the value or courageousness of his work or the need for contentiousness in the briefing room.

And Karl’s sometimes febrile questioning of Carney suggests much more than rank opportunism is at play.

Besides, he’s taking risks too. I remember one of Karl’s predecessors on the beat at ABC asked then-President Bill Clinton a question, prefacing it with “People are saying,” or something to that effect. Clinton demanded, Who is saying? The reporter didn’t have an answer. A couple of weeks later, he was off the beat.

The briefings began their ascent, not their decline, in 1995, when TV helped foster a more confrontational attitude.

This article by the Post and the anonymous snickering picked up by Fahri – and no doubt directed suck-up style by the same reporters toward Carney as well – will provide the White House some cover when it moves, as I expect it to do, to roll back or even cancel the televised briefings.

And that will be a tragedy not only for democracy and the press, but for a White House that should value checks on its own hubris.

Photos by Keith Koffler