#FastAndFurious: The Legacy Media can take lessons from Spanish-language Univision

**Posted by Phineas

Fast and Furious got results, all right

With notable exceptions, such as CBS’ Sharyl Attkisson, the mainstream media has done a horrid job covering the deadly scandal of Operation Fast and Furious, the “gunwalking” operation in which the US Government allowed thousands of weapons to fall into the hands of vicious Mexican drug cartels. These weapons killed not only two US federal agents, but –as far as we know and with more sure to come– hundreds of Mexican citizens. It’s a scandal of epic proportions, but not all that well known to many Americans because of the media’s desperate attempts to convince us that what is really important are Mitt Romney’s tax returns.

Enter Univision, which had already raised impressed eyebrows with its hard questions to Obama over immigration. On its Aqui y Ahora show last night, Univision aired a one-hour investigative documentary on Fast and Furious, “Rapido y Furioso,” that blew the lid off this fiasco and showed clearly its human cost:

On January 30, 2010, a commando of at least 20 hit men parked themselves outside a birthday party of high school and college students in Villas de Salvarcar, Ciudad Juarez. Near midnight, the assassins, later identified as hired guns for the Mexican cartel La Linea, broke into a one-story house and opened fire on a gathering of nearly 60 teenagers. Outside, lookouts gunned down a screaming neighbor and several students who had managed to escape. Fourteen young men and women were killed, and 12 more were wounded before the hit men finally fled.

Indirectly, the United States government played a role in the massacre by supplying some of the firearms used by the cartel murderers. Three of the high caliber weapons fired that night in Villas de Salvarcar were linked to a gun tracing operation run by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), according to a Mexican army document obtained exclusively by Univision News.

Univision News identified a total of 57 more previously unreported firearms that were bought by straw purchasers monitored by ATF during Operation Fast and Furious, and then recovered in Mexico in sites related to murders, kidnappings, and at least one other massacre.

Read it all, there’s oh so much more. The ABC link also has a video excerpt with subtitles, the documentary’s first ten minutes.

At PJ Media, Bob Owens notes that the documentary shows that DoJ officials knew the weapons would only be recovered at crime scenes –after people had been killed– and just brushed it off as having to “break a few eggs.”

I wonder how the families of the victims feel about that?

Owens also highlights the information Aqui y Ahora presented on other possible gunwalking operations:

Operation Castaway, run with the same bloody-minded approach as Operation Fast and Furious, provided more than 1,000 guns to cartels via the Tampa ATF. Those guns leaked out across Honduras, Colombia, and Venezuela, according to the U.S. veteran who smuggled some of the weapons, Hugh Crumpler [6]:

“When the ATF stopped me, they told me the guns were going to cartels,” Hugh Crumpler, a Vietnam veteran turned arms trafficker, told Univision News. “The ATF knew before I knew and had been following me for a considerable length of time. They could not have followed me for two months like they said they did, and not know the guns were going somewhere, and not want for that to be happening.”

Univision also uncovered evidence of weapons being smuggled from Texas: two gun-smuggling programs similar to Fast and Furious are rumored to have put thousands of additional weapons in the cartels’ hands in operations larger than Fast and Furious. U.S. Senator John Cornyn has repeatedly pressed the Obama administration for information about the documented trail of weapons coming from two Texas ATF areas of operations. The Department of Justice has denied the existence of such programs, despite the physical evidence of guns recovered suggesting otherwise. While the Univision report focused on guns the DOJ ran to Mexican cartels, there is enough evidence to suggest other Obama administration-sanctioned gun-walking plots arming domestic criminal gangs, such as the so-called Gangwalker plot [7] in Indiana, which supplied Chicago street gangs, and similar rumored operations in California, North Carolina, northern Florida, and elsewhere, which provided weapons to gangs in U.S. cities. Nor has the Univision report focused on weapons that have found their way to cartels via the State Department [8] or the Department of Defense.

Echoing the thoughts of an Arizona sheriff, we have to ask, how does this not make complicit officials from the president down to the field agents “accessories before the fact?” In fact, let’s be blunt: supplying these weapons to armed gangs attempting to take over territory from the Mexican federal and state governments could easily be called an act of war. We already have hundreds of casualties!

Operation Fast and Furious is an absolutely monstrous scandal, the kind we’d dismiss as bad television, if we didn’t know it was real. People need to go to jail over this, and if the Mexicans care to file for extradition, I’d be happy to oblige.

Meanwhile, Univision and its reporters are once again to be congratulated and commended for refusing to be fawning sycophants and for committing real journalism.

RELATED: Earlier posts on Operation Fast and Furious.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

.@JoeNBC Scarborough to critics: Bloggers calling me out are part of the “Cheetos brigade”

This is what you call doubling down on the dumba**ery, folks:

“Morning Joe” host Joe Scarborough is pushing back against attacks from The Blaze, Buzzfeed and a number of other websites that charged he used an out-of-context video clip to mock Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney.

Scarborough attacked his critics during his Monday morning show, suggesting it had more to do with conspiracy than accountability.

“This began the great debate among the Cheetos brigade as to whether I, who has declared that he is voting for Mitt Romney, is trying to throw the election by doctoring a tape and cracking a joke,” Scarborough said. “Really, guys? Your conspiracy theories are getting out of hand — the poll conspiracy where you have Fox News in the pro-Obama conspiracy camp to throw the election for Barack Obama? It’s getting out of hand. Like, this two-second frenzy is just silly.”

Scarborough cited Hot Air blogger Jazz Shaw as one of the skeptics of the claim that his “Morning Joe” show was playing fast and loose with the clip to bolster his case, then had some harsh words for those that originally called attention to the clip in question.

“Guys, if you want to help Mitt Romney get elected, put down the Cheetos, get out of your mom’s basement and call your friends. And tell them why Mitt Romney should be president. Because these conspiracy theories aren’t helping Mitt, Paul [Ryan] or the Republican Party. And at the end of the day it makes them silly,” he continued.

What doesn’t “help” Romney/Ryan 2012 (nor an informed public) are deliberately established false narratives from left wing news outlets like Joe Scarborough’s that help people to form their opinions of candidates for better or for worse. If Scarborough had any journalistic integrity he’d admit he clearly made a mistake, apologize for the error, and then move on. Instead, he pushes back on people who did the research, who pieced together the story he and his “trusted” video editing staff failed to do, and who in the end told the real story of what happened at that campaign rally. Furthermore, for Joe to act like this isn’t a big deal in the scheme of things is ridiculous, especially if you got a look at his reaction what he thought Romney had initially done at the rally in the first place (bolded emphasis added by me)

On Wednesday, MSNBC’s Morning Joe kicked off a discussion about Mitt Romney’s reliance on running mate Paul Ryan to excite supporters by airing footage of an Ohio rally the evening before. In the clip, Romney is shown taking the stage with Ryan as supporters inaudibly chant. According to the subtitle provided by MSNBC, the crowd is chanting, “Ryan!” — before Romney interjects and leads them in chanting, “Romney! Ryan! Romney! Ryan! There we go, alright, that’s great!” Host Joe Scarborough’s exasperated reaction to the footage, which made Romney look hapless and a bit desperate, went viral. “Oh, sweet Jesus!” Scarborough said, burying his face in his hands. He added, “What do the Catholics say? Holy mother of God, we pray for our sinners now in their hour of peace?” But the subtitle in the clip misrepresented what actually took place. BuzzFeed was present at the event, and took note that the crowd was actually chanting Romney’s name, before he encouraged them to add his running mate to the chant.

Simply put, this story wouldn’t have been news at Politico nor MSDNC nor any other left-leaning news outlet if it weren’t for what was alleged to have happened at the rally that in actuality did not happen the way select “news” outlets decided to reported it.

As to Scarborough more or less saying in the scheme of things that this story is not worth spending much time on, that’s just his desperate way of trying to get people to move on and forget about his gross error in judgment in failing to get it right in the first place. These are the EXACT type of stories that need to be fact-checked and amplified if it is determined concretely that they were misreported. The report made Romney look like a fool desperate to make sure the crowd loved him as much as it loved Paul Ryan. If people didn’t check behind stories like this to either verify what was reported or to correct/clarify/debunk them, false patterns would develop and negative impressions about people would be drawn from those stories that could be entirely inaccurate.

On the other hand, I’m sure if this error-filled story was about Joe Scarborough, Joe would want to make sure the record was corrected and done so ASAP. But it’s not. It’s about the GOP candidate for President, who Joe’s network doesn’t support (even though Joe himself claims to), and the more Romney is painted by its hosts in a negative light the better the (already not very high) ratings are for his bosses when it comes to their core viewership: liberals.

Once upon a time, Joe Scarborough understood what it meant to do the research and get the facts right before you went to air with them, and to correct himself in the event he was in error. For the Morning Joe cast and crew that time, obviously, has long since passed.

Sidenote: If the bloggers out there who did the digging to get this story right are nothing more than basement-dwelling Cheetos eaters, what does that make the notoriously wrong NBC editing crew?

Obama debate prep handlers: Prez can’t sound “condescending”, must hide “contempt”

In other words, he needs to NOT be himself. Via The Politico (bolded emphasis added by me) :

Obama is an experienced debater but an inconsistent performer who is years out of practice, capable of projecting a calm, commanding image — or appearing bored, testy or condescending enough to snark out the unforgettable “You’re likeable enough, Hillary” crack four years ago.

The debates didn’t sink him in 2008 — they were probably a net plus taken as a whole, his staffers believe — but this time around Obama’s bedrock political asset is his likeability and capacity to bond with middle-class voters. Hence the unwritten rule in debate prep sessions against Sen. John Kerry, Romney’s stand-in: Hold your ground, but no more sneers.

“This is not a guy who can hide his contempt, and the only thing that can really hurt is if he’s smug and thinks he’s got this in the bag,” said a Democrat close to the Obama campaign, echoing the sentiments of several other aides and advisers heading into Wednesday’s inaugural debate against Romney at the University of Denver.


“When he was leading [in 2008], he viewed the [debate] process as an unnecessary exercise that could get him off track,” Singer added. “He’s in a similar place at this point in the race. Romney needs him to trip — not just a little stumble but something really big. The president is very well-equipped to avoid doing that, thanks to living in the fish bowl 24/7 for the last four years.”

In 2008, he did that only once, offering the infamous “likeable enough” comment at a face-off with Clinton just before the 2008 New Hampshire primary that many in his camp blame for his stunning loss to her a few days later. It was a serious mistake that gave a flailing Clinton campaign new life — and left a mark on Obama’s team.

The stakes are even higher this time. So, unfortunately for the president’s team, is Obama’s level of contempt for his opponent — his feeling for the Massachusetts governor borders on disdain. Team Obama has faith in their candidate’s discipline, but there are concerns his attitude could lead to another Al Gore eye-rolling or George H.W. Bush watch-peering episode.

“He can’t be a bigger d—k than Romney,” summed up the Democratic insider, familiar with the preparations.

Uh, yeah. To say the least.

This is something anyone who paid close attention to the 2007-2008 Democrat primary battles between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama noticed quickly – even though the prObama mainstream media, unsurprisingly, didn’t report much in the way about it. It wasn’t just the quick-answer style of the debating format that irked then-candidate Obama. It was questions he didn’t feel like he should have to answer – period. He seemed to take it personally when questions were asked of him either at debates, on the campaign trail, or at the rare press conference that he felt he should have been above having to dignify responding to. Such questions and concerns, he would say, were nothing more than mere “distractions” and should be pushed to the side so we (he) could focus on “the bigger picture” … of trying to get elected without anyone knowing much about who he was.

While it is true most politicos would prefer not to answer any question they can’t spin into a positive, the then-candidate took the sneering over the questioning of his political record, his educational background, his personal and spiritual history, and his work experience to epic levels not seen by other candidates in modern-day history. Remember when he called one female journalist “sweetie” and one press conference where he made a hasty exit after just a few questions, stating to an uptight Chicago media, “I’ve already taken like 7 questions” (paraphrasing)?

None of that has changed over the course of his time as President.

So, indeed, Obama will be his biggest enemy at the debates – much like Gore when facing off against Bush. This is something Mitt Romney will need to try and exploit at their first debate on Wednesday, and judging by his calm, cool, and collected demeanor at the GOP debates and his ability to keep fellow debate opponents on topic when it comes to the critical issues, I think he can do it.

Stay tuned.