NBC News correspondent Lisa Myers admitted to the media’s infatuation with President Obama on Wednesday’s Morning Joe on MSNBC, claiming the recent scandals plaguing the administration have turned the press, “one of the president’s most important constituencies,” against him.
She also defended the president over the administration’s seizure of Associated Press phone records. "Well, my hunch is that he probably did not know," the veteran reporter offered.
Myers’s comments came after panelist Mike Barnicle asked her whether President Obama knew of “this massive electronic blanket” that has many in the media, even the consistently pro-Obama New York Times, demanding answers of the administration.
Host Joe Scarborough criticized Myers’s defense of the president, pointing out that Attorney General Eric Holder had not admitted whether or not he was aware of the investigation. Myers went on to ponder the effect of the AP scandal on the press’s relationship with their political darling:
You have Benghazi which the right was up in arms about. Then comes the IRS which offended the right, the middle, and even some Democrats and members of the press. But when they did this, they turned one of the president's most important constituencies, the press and the left, against him.
While the press may be critiquing Obama for the first time in over five years, Myers is the first to admit how unprecedented the press’s turn on the president truly is.
Below is a transcript of the May 15 segment at 6:19 a.m. EDT:
MIKE BARNICLE: We understand that the attorney general says lives were potentially at risk. American lives were at risk. But we also know that the Associated Press held the story at the request of the administration, and the administration seems to be putting a lot of effort into keeping a good distance from the IRS story and the AP story from encroaching into the Oval Office. Do we know whether or not the President of the United States knew about this massive electronic blanket – 100 reporters involved, telephones being tapped by the government – do we know when he was told or when he found out about this?
LISA MYERS: Well, my hunch is that he probably did not know. If this decision truly was made by the U.S. attorney and those directly involved in the case and if the attorney general had, in fact, recused himself, it would appear that the president did not know. Another thing to keep in mind is that –
JOE SCARBOROUGH: Lisa, let me stop you right there. Eric Holder said he recused himself but Eric Holder hasn't come out and said that he as the attorney general wasn't aware of this, has he?
MYERS: No, he has not said that specifically. But look at this from a political standpoint. You have Benghazi which the right was up in arms about. Then comes the IRS which offended the right, the middle, and even some Democrats and members of the press. But when they did this, they turned one of the president's most important constituencies, the press and the left against him. So politically what is hard to imagine - and this is a very calculating White House -- it's hard to imagine that they would have green lighted this kind of thing. I think it's more likely that this was something that was handled within the Justice Department and that if the White House was notified, it was after the fact and not before the action was taken.
-- Andrew Lautz is an MRC intern.