Secretary of State Mike Pompeo held a secret conference call on Monday and invited only “faith-based” media outlets. All mainstream media outlets were banned. Even reporters whose “beat” is religion were barred from the call. One reporter from a non-faith-based media outlet was accidentally invited, then disinvited when the error was discovered.
Outrage and concern have been growing since CNN Senior Diplomatic Correspondent Michelle Kosinski, who covers the State Department, first reported the unusual secretive conference call was being held.
Criticism has grown after the State Dept. refused to release a list of media outlets invited and on the call, and refused to release a transcript, all of which are standard operating procedure.
There is also concern that the State Dept. has refused to reveal if there were a variety of religions represented on the call. Secretary Pompeo is known as a far right conservative Christian. When he was the Director of CIA he would speak publicly about the Rapture and reportedly has “depicted the fight against terrorism as a war between radical Muslims, on one side, and the Christian faith on the other.”
The State Dept. also appears to be offering false information to cover up the event.
“The Department regularly engages in a broad array of media activities,” a State Dept. representative told HuffPost. “Some of those engagements …. are open to any interested domestic or international press.”
“Other engagements are more targeted or designed for topic, region, or audience-specific media. This has always been the case.”
That, in fact, has not always been the case, as Andrea Mitchell, a veteran journalist and NBC News’ Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent, noted on Twitter Monday night:
State dept defending @SecPompeo limiting briefing today to “faith based media” saying they regularly do targeted media and “other engagements are more targeted or designed for topic, region, or audience-specific media.” Can’t recall religion being a test before for journalists
— Andrea Mitchell (@mitchellreports) March 19, 2019
State dept will not provide transcript of @SecPompeo call with so-called “faith based media” not say who took part or what criteria were for participating. Usually transcripts are provided for all on the record interviews.
— Andrea Mitchell (@mitchellreports) March 19, 2019
CNN Global Affairs analyst John Kirby, a former State Department spokesperson under President Barack Obama, told CNN, “it is typical practice that any on the record interview in which a Cabinet official participates is transcribed and published at the earliest appropriate opportunity,” proving false the State Dept.’s claims.
“These officials are public servants. What they say — in its entirety — is inherently of public interest. It’s inappropriate and irresponsible not to observe that obligation,” Kirby, who served as a Rear Admiral in the U.S. Navy, also said.
And while the State dept. would not even verify to HuffPost that the call took place, CNN reports Sec. Pompeo’s call was held “to discuss ‘international religious freedom’ ahead of his trip to the Middle East.”
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Justice Clarence Thomas Believes Media Criticism of Decisions ‘Jeopardizes Any Faith’ in the Supreme Court
Justice Clarence Thomas complained about the harsh criticism the Supreme Court has received since allowing a controversial anti-abortion law to go into effect in Texas.
Thomas delivered the 2021 Tocqueville Lecture at the University of Notre Dame on Thursday, where he complained about media criticism, The Washington Post reported.
“I think the media makes it sound as though you are just always going right to your personal preference. So if they think you are anti-abortion or something personally, they think that’s the way you always will come out. They think you’re for this or for that. They think you become like a politician,” Thomas said.
“That’s a problem. You’re going to jeopardize any faith in the legal institutions,” he said.
A second Post report on the speech noted Thomas’ remarks on the ongoing mistrust of the court.
“The court was thought to be the least dangerous branch and we may have become the most dangerous,” Thomas said. “And I think that’s problematic.”
The newspaper noted the lecture was interrupted by protesters who yelled, “I still believe Anita Hill.”
Four Cops ‘Drag’ Man From McCarthy Press Conference for Asking Question About Jan. 6 Committee
Four law enforcement officers reportedly removed a man from House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s (R-CA) press conference on Thursday when he tried to ask a question about the Jan. 6 committee.
“I tried to ask @GOPLeader McCarthy a question after he decried Cuban police pickup up people in the streets,” Grant Stern explained in a tweet. “Why does he oppose the bipartisan #January6thCommission?”
“A Congressional staffer had four cops pick me up and drag me from the room,” he explained.
Stern’s bio indicates that he is an editor for the OccupyDemocrats organization.
Watch the video below
I tried to ask @GOPLeader McCarthy a question after he decried Cuban police pickup up people in the streets.
Why does he oppose the bipartisan #January6thCommission?
A Congressional staffer had four cops pick me up and drag me from the room.
I still asked the question. pic.twitter.com/HDqrhvARaC
— Grant Stern is fully vaccinated (@grantstern) August 5, 2021
GOP Launches Witch Hunt Demanding Investigation Into Highly-Respected University Professor’s Tweets
Republicans in Virginia are demanding that University of Virginia President James E. Ryan open an investigation into tweets by Center for Politics founder Dr. Larry Sabato.
“A reasonable taxpaying citizen can readily conclude that Dr. Sabato is demonstrating the rankest form of bitter partisanship,” Virginia GOP Chair Rich Anderson wrote in a letter printed on Republican Party of Virginia letterhead.
“In order to have faith in our institutions, it is essential that Virginians hold accountable those public employees and officials who violate institutional values, codes of conduct, and other guidelines of professional behavior.”
A spokesperson for the university said Sabato has done nothing wrong.
“There is nothing in our Code of Conduct that limits University employees from engaging in expression that is protected under the First Amendment,” the spokesman said.
Anderson complained about eight tweets by Sabato. The first noted Donald Trump’s refusal to release his tax returns.
It is a disgrace that Trump became the first major-party presidential candidate since the 1970s to avoid releasing his tax returns. This critical information should have been available for voters to consider in 2016. Never again! #TrumpTaxReturns https://t.co/5liLizaGGw
— Larry Sabato (@LarrySabato) September 27, 2020
The second tweet concerned Trump’s fact-free approach to presidential debates.
CANCEL THE REMAINING PRESIDENTIAL DEBATES. It is impossible to have an orderly, productive exchange with Donald Trump. Stop pretending otherwise. #Debate2020
— Larry Sabato (@LarrySabato) September 30, 2020
The third tweet was in the context of Trump hoping to bring back executions by firing squad while facing accusations of extreme tax fraud. It was in the comments of a Daily Beast story.
It’s just amazing to me that I am reading this! Is there not a person that will find a law against this! @LarrySabato
— Wahoo UVA (@uvaseg) November 30, 2020
Extreme tax fraud deserves a firing squad.
— Larry Sabato (@LarrySabato) November 30, 2020
The fourth tweet questioned Trump’s sanity after he released a 46-minute video pushing his “Big Lie” of voter fraud.
Cuckoo, cuckoo! Does the plush presidential suite at Walter Reed offer psychiatric treatments? Maybe time to helicopter Trump over again. https://t.co/rpMkk2mVuE
— Larry Sabato (@LarrySabato) December 3, 2020
The fifth tweet praised a return to normalcy “after 4 years of the bizarre and disturbing.”
I’m watching President-elect @JoeBiden‘s press conference. It’s so refreshingly NORMAL. After 4 years of the bizarre and the disturbing, we really are going to have a return to normalcy.
— Larry Sabato (@LarrySabato) December 4, 2020
The sixth tweet returned to the question of Trump’s mental health in the context of the delusional conspiracy theory that he will be “reinstated” as president in August in violation of the Constitution.
Of course it’s true. Trump, who governed on the edge of insanity for four long years, has gone over the edge. Yet millions of people and 90%+ of GOP members of Congress, still genuflect before this false god. https://t.co/MQ6LarvR2F
— Larry Sabato (@LarrySabato) June 3, 2021
The seventh tweet concerned Glenn Youngkin, who is worth hundreds of millions after working as the co-CEO of the private-equity firm The Carlyle Group. Youngkin is now running for governor of Virginia.
I wonder if @GlennYoungkin is still “honored” to have received Trump’s enthusiastic endorsement for VA Governor?
Trump told chief of staff Hitler ‘did a lot of good things’, book says | Donald Trump | The Guardian https://t.co/EdnKiUIjyJ
— Larry Sabato (@LarrySabato) July 7, 2021
The final tweet the GOP believes should result in an investigation concerned Trump’s choice of music at his campaign-style rallies.
— Larry Sabato (@LarrySabato) June 27, 2021
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