Katie Pavlich

The Associated Press scandal just keeps getting worse, and we haven't even started yet. AP CEO Gary Pruitt informed staffers Wednesday that the Department of Justice monitored, not one, not twenty, but "thousands and thousands" of phone calls made by reporters and editors.

Associated Press president and chief executive Gary Pruitt told staff at a Wednesday town hall meeting that the phone records obtained by the government included "thousands and thousands" of calls in and out of the news organization, according to a staffer who attended.

Pruitt said Wednesday that the Obama administration acted as "judge, jury and executioner" in secretly obtaining the news organization's records, a criticism he also leveled in a recent appearance on CBS' "Face the Nation."

During the town hall, Pruitt reiterated that the AP did not report on a CIA-thwarted terrorist plot in May 2012 out of national security concerns until sources indicated the Obama administration was going to announce it publicly.

Meanwhile, calls for Attorney General Eric Holder to resign are getting louder....from liberals.

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Newsbusters  (Watch the video here)

CBS's Bill Plante: Obama Administration 'Undercutting First Amendment,' 'It's State-Run Media' By Noel Sheppard Created 02/24/2013 - 4:01pm

Bill Plante, CBS News Senior White House Correspondent, made a rather shocking statement Sunday about the Obama administration's media strategy.

Appearing on CNN's Reliable Sources, Plante said that to the extent the White House is able to "put out their own material" without the Washington press corps, "they're undercutting the First's state-run media" (video follows with transcript and commentary):

HOWARD KURTZ, HOST: Bill Plante, you've been patrolling that building since Ronald Reagan. Does the White House press look a little self-involved, a little whiny as I said earlier, complaining about this Tiger incident?

BILL PLANTE, CBS NEWS SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: We've gotten used to being called whiny lapdogs. I've heard it for 30 years. But this is not about a picture of Tiger Woods. This is about access to the president. And access to the president has been cut and pushed and curtailed over every administration I've covered.

And here's the nub of it, Howie: this administration has the tools to reach people on their own. They don't need us as much. And to the extent that they're able to do that, they're undercutting the First Amendment, which guarantees a free press through many voices. If they put out their own material, it's state-run media.

Conservative radio hosts such as Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Mark Levin have been talking about state-run media since Obama was elected. It's nevertheless extraordinary to hear this from someone at CBS News.

Of course, it would have been nice for Plante to say this before Election Day.

Regardless, it's going to be interesting to see whether more in the media begin making this case or if the lapdogs will just continue lapping.

Stay tuned.

About the AuthorNoel Sheppard is the Associate Editor of NewsBusters. Click here to follow Noel Sheppard on Twitter.

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Free the First Editorial Note:

If Obama doesn’t need the existing “media” complex, neither do we in the citizen media. Not at all. No more than MacArthur needed Toyko Rose, or Eisenhower needed Berlin Betty.

The founders won our liberty with handwritten letters delivered by men on horseback. Certainly we can find a way to preserve that liberty for our posterity with the plethora of communications tools we now have at our fingertips.

"The true liberty of the press is amply secured by permitting every man to publish his opinion; but it is due to the peace and dignity of society, to inquire into the motives of such publications, and to distinguish between those which are meant for use and reformation, and with an eye solely to the public good, and those which are intended merely to delude and defame. To the latter description, it is impossible that any good government should afford protection and impunity."

--Thomas McKean,  Respublica v. Oswald, 1788

Cybercast News Service

Terence P. Jeffrey

In a legal argument formally presented in federal court in the case of Hobby Lobby v. Kathleen Sebelius, the Obama administration is claiming that the First Amendment—which expressly denies the government the authority to prohibit the “free exercise” of religion—nonetheless allows it to force Christians to directly violate their religious beliefs even on a matter that involves the life and death of innocent human beings. …

The Obama administration is making a two-fold argument for why it can force Christians to act against their faith in complying with the regulation it has issued under the Obamacare law that requires virtually all health care plans to cover, without co-pay, sterilizations, contraceptives, and abortion-inducing drugs.

The first argument the administration makes against the owners of Hobby Lobby is that Americans lose their First Amendment right to freely exercise their religion when they form a corporation and engage in commerce. A person’s Christianity, the administration argues, cannot be carried out through activities he engages in through an incorporated business. … The second argument the administration makes to justify forcing Christians to act against their faith is more sweeping. Here the administration argues it can force a person to act against his religion so long as the coercion is done under the authority of a law that is neutral and generally applicable—in other words, as long as the law was not written specifically to persecute Christians as Christians, the government can use that law to persecute Christians. …

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Michael W. Chapman

America is largely a Christian nation with 77 percent of adults identifying themselves as Christian, according to a Gallup survey, while only 0.6 percent identified as Muslim. The survey also found that Mormons were the most religious in practicing their faith. …

When asked, “Is religion important in your daily life?” Mormons ranked highest with 87 percent saying “yes.” Protestants followed with 79 percent saying “yes,” and then Muslims, 78 percent “yes,” and Catholics, 70 percent “yes.” Only 41 percent of Jews said that religion was important in their daily life. …

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The Hill

Sam Baker

The Supreme Court on Wednesday refused to block the Obama administration´s contraception mandate from taking effect. Justice Sonia Sotomayor rejected a request for an emergency injunction that would have shielded employers from the mandate. The request was filed by Hobby Lobby, an arts-and-crafts chain. The company´s Catholic owners say the contraception mandate violates their religious freedom. Hobby Lobby might eventually win on that point, Sotomayor said, but the company didn´t meet the standard for an injunction blocking the mandate from taking effect.

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Equal Protection for Posterity

Sarah Cleveland:

Thinking about the people I met this morning while on the sidewalk. It was so bitterly cold... Dozens of parents and grandparents went inside today. It was so busy.. There were several of us counseling and praying outside of the mill today and as always, we spoke to as many people as we could going in, reaching out equally to the people standing on the steps having a cigarette, the workers, and the people walking out of the building.

I spoke with Renee, a mother of two. A child, age 5 at home, and another, age 4 months, in utero. She was dropped off earlier in the morning, went in the building, and eventually came out, slowly looking around. I approached her and asked her if she was okay. She told me she had scheduled an abortion for today, but she wasn’t feeling well, that she needed to come out for air.

She didn't understand the development of her baby at 4 months nor did she understand how an abortion was performed at this stage. I told her my experience with this and gave her the information she needed. As we talked about it, she looked to the ground. She said her boyfriend had dropped her off and is insisting she aborts the baby. We talked a while longer until she said she was going to walk to OSU Medical Center to make sure things were okay.

It was so cold and windy and a very long walk to the hospital. “Would you like a ride?” I offered. “You’d do that?” she said, surprised. “Of course! Let’s head over and make sure you and the baby are both alright.” And so, instead of Renee going through with the abortion, my friend, Mark, and I, took her to a nearby hospital for help. I gave her my name and number, local CPC info, and offered to personally help her with anything she’d need. She repeatedly thanked us for being out on the sidewalk and for being there for her. My prayer tonight is for Renee and her baby.


National Review 

Kathryn Jean Lopez

A federal D.C. circuit court ruled late Tuesday, just a few days after arguments, that not only can Wheaton College and Belmont Abbey stay in court, but what the Obama administration has said about fixing the religious-freedom problem they and other religiously affiliated non-profits have with the HHS abortion-drug, contraception, sterilization mandate must become real policy, and that the Department of Health and Human Services must report to the D.C. court every 60 days until they fix the problem. 

This is a huge step toward some restoration of religious liberty as we’ve known it. (This particular court command, of course, won’t help the likes of Hobby Lobby. But that’s another case … those are other cases … that are also about protecting religious freedom — our fundamental, first, God-given freedom — in the United States.) 

Congratulations to the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty and for those, like Wheaton’s president Philip Ryken, who have been willing to fight this restrictive, coercive policy. 

More on the procedural victory here.

Judie Brown

December 11, 2012 ( - The United States Department of Education (DOE) is investigating a junior ROTC instructor who is reported to have said that the Bible condemns homosexuality. An excerpt from the report states: “On Nov. 21 the DOE sent a letter to James Robinson, director of GLBT Advocacy and Youth Services, which says the department will be investigating whether or not students were ‘subjected to a hostile environment on the basis of sex or harassment based on failing to conform to gender stereotypes.’ They will also seek to find out if the school district ‘retaliated against the student . . . by failing to respond and take action reasonably calculated to stop the peer bullying.’”

If this sounds like a further extension of the Obama administration’s ongoing effort to quash religious freedom, not to mention freedom of speech, then you are correct. When this report first came to my attention, it occurred to me that it was a spoof, a joke, or perhaps somebody’s idea of humor. It is none of those things; the DOE is dead serious.

LifeSiteNews updated the story clarifying that the DOE’s Office of Civil Rights will be conducting the investigation. But there is something rather odd about this, don’t you think?

I mean, it’s similar to the threats leveled against students who wear pro-life T-shirts to school during National Pro-Life T-Shirt Week. Ridicule and humiliation are apparently acceptable if someone speaks out in favor of morality, even if only by way of a T-shirt message.

In other words, only specified forms of speech and liberal interpretations of Scripture are to be tolerated.

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Matthew Boyle

A federal appeals court issued an injunction on Wednesday that temporarily blocks [Alleged] President Barack Obama’s Department of Health and Human Services from implementing Obamacare’s contraception mandate.

The mandate requires employers to provide their employee with health care plans that include coverage for contraceptives, sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs.

Missouri business owner Frank O’Brien, who employs 87 people at O’Brien Industrial Holdings, alleged in the lawsuit that led to the injunction that the mandate unconstitutionally infringes on his religious beliefs.

On its website, the company says its mission is “to make our labor a pleasing offering to the Lord while enriching our families and society.” O’Brien is a Catholic. (RELATED: College files lawsuit against contraceptive mandate)

The order by the three-judge panel on the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals prohibits HHS from forcing O’Brien to comply with the mandate, until the court issues a substantive ruling on the matter. The injunction order is not a final determination on the merits of O’Brien’s case or the constitutionality of the mandate.

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