Editors at the Los Angeles Times and the Washington Post each used the reverential term "wisdom" to define the findings of the Baker-Hamilton commission -- suggesting that the current drift of Bush policy is the opposite, foolishness.
In Wednesday's press conference with James Baker and Lee Hamilton, MRC's Mike Rule noticed Doyle McManus, Washington Bureau Chief of the Los Angeles Times, asked the commissioners: "All of you have considerable experience in helping presidents change course when they find themselves in a blind alley. What do you intend to do from now on to help President Bush embrace the wisdom of all of your recommendations?" McManus noted Bush had "already expressed discomfort with several of them, including engaging Syria and Iran," and threatening the Iraqi government with troop withdrawals.
CBS News and Katie Couric put repenting before the looking to the future and solutions as producers chose this question, from Couric to British Prime Minister Tony Blair, to tease at the top of Thursday's CBS Evening News: “Do you regret what many perceive as your unwavering support of this President and this war?" In the subsequent interview, Couric, who the night before called Iraq a “nightmare,” pressed Blair about himself and President George W. Bush “acknowledging failures.” Referring to their joint press conference, Couric queried: "The President seemed determined as ever to stay on track. Do you think he, or for that matter you, are capable of acknowledging failures in this policy and changing gears when and if necessary?" Couric's follow-up displayed her frustration with Bush: "But he's been very insistent for months now that the U.S. policy is correct and while he's accepted there may have to be a slight change, he's really dug his heels in."
In contrast, on ABC's World News, George Stephanopoulos avoided such psychological speculation and calls for regret as he stuck to questioning Blair about the Iraq Study Group's recommendations. For instance, Stephanopoulos wondered: “Senator McCain said today that this report is 'a recipe for defeat' because it doesn't include massive increases in troops in Baghdad to secure Baghdad. Do you agree?” (NBC did not get a sit-down with Blair.)
Appearing on Tuesday’s "Larry King Live," comedienne Kathy Griffin claimed to be so liberal that she refers to herself as a Sandinista and not a Democrat. On the same program, Griffin took delight in the downfall of Christian evangelical leader Ted Haggard, telling CNN’s Larry King that she "love[s] it." It’s unclear why King asked the D-list star about the scandal, perhaps he hoped to bate her into another hateful rant. Later in the program, Griffin offered a clue as to why she would be so effusive over a reverend’s fall from grace. Regarding religion, she claimed to not "believe in any of that crap." King led Griffin into the discussion with his ususal odd segue :
Larry King: "Before we talk about your folks and freebies, what do you make of Ted Haggard, the minister and the choir boy?"
Kathy Griffin: "I love it. I think it's hysterical because it's always, like, the ultra-right-wing conservatives that are banging the kids and the prostitutes and doing the crystal meth. Foley, delicious. Did you read those e-mails? ‘Do I make you horny?’ ‘No, grandpa, back off. And I'm changing the lock to the dorm.’ I mean, you know, if you're doing that stuff, don't be on the ethics committees, don't be a preacher. I saw that documentary, ‘Jesus Camp’ because you guys showed a clip of it on the show. He's kind of busted on that. He's all freaky."
President Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair held a joint press conference today to discuss the Baker-Hamilton Iraq Study Group Report. The main goal of the presser was to show unity between the two leaders and discuss the plan going forward.
Apparently that goal is not in line with the mainstream media mission that is focused primarily on getting President Bush to admit that the War in Iraq is not going well. The underlying theme is that President Bush is still in denial. The only remaining question is whether or not some lucky reporter can get him to admit it.
One of the CNN reporters actually pondered if Tony Blair can get President Bush to face up to the difficulties in Iraq and admit that we need a new direction. Sure, President Bush has no clue as to what is going on.
It seems Matt Lauer and Tom Brokaw can't get their story straight. On this morning's Today show Brokaw falsely stated the U.S. went to war in Iraq without allies but apparently this was news to Matt Lauer as he opened the show identifying British Prime Minister Tony Blair as a "war ally." Appearing live from Pearl Harbor, Brokaw comparing World War II to the current action in Iraq declared: "The irony of course is that we're trying to get out of one war in which we had no allies..." But in the same hour Today host Lauer opened the program this way:
"Good morning the study is finished, now comes the test. President Bush meets this morning with his war ally, British Prime Minister Tony Blair, a day after that scathing report from the Iraq Study Group."
My latest article at the MRC's Businessandmedia.org touches on a $7-billion omission on last night's evening newscasts.
"Fannie Mae took another step toward resolving its accounting fiasco by announcing a restatement of results that reduced retained earnings as of June 30, 2004, by $6.3 billion," The Wall Street Journal’s James Hagerty reported on page A4 of the December 7 paper.
The same day, The Washington Post and The New York Times devoted business section stories to the mortgage broker’s accounting errors.
The Fannie Mae story is hardly Wall Street’s garden variety profit revision.
Wednesday, December 6, 2006, will certainly go down in history as the day the media used the release of a bipartisan report on the Iraq war as a way to thoroughly lambaste the president of the United States. Though this wasn’t surprising, the glee on the faces of those reporting what should have been bad news was quite striking.
For those that were interested in seeing such a merry bashing, MSNBC’s “Scarborough Country” was certainly the place (video available here, hat tip to NRO’s Media Blog). Host Scarborough nicely set it up for his guest, “Meet the Press’s” Tim Russert: “And I asked Tim if he ever remembered seeing a president undercut in such a dramatic way.” Russert didn’t disappoint:
When the "six burning Sunnis" story hit the blogosphere, James Taranto of the Wall Street Journal Opinion Journal wrote that bloggers had "turned over a rock" at the Associated Press.
In his Best of the Web column today, Taranto turns over a rock himself and discovers a reporter for the Philadelphia Daily News trying to scurry away from the light. Will Bunch is upset that conservative bloggers, the Iraqi Ministry of the Interior, and CENTCOM blew the whistle on the AP's story.
Now comes the flap over a mosque attack in Baghdad, and a dispute over the news account -- trumpted [sic] on this Daily News front page at top -- that six Sunni worshippers were burned alive. This Huffington Post post does a good job of breaking down the mixed signals on whether this event really happened as reported by the AP. It's clear to me that a) The AP based its article on information from a trusted and previously reliable source, which is no guarantee of avoiding an error but is also the proven and accepted way all over the world that journalists gather news and b) even if the report were wrong, and I'm not convinced that it is, it was in the context of horrific -- and demonstrably true -- escalating violence in Baghdad.
Arab countries are seeing the Iraq Study Group's
report as proof
President Bush has failed. Arab countries aren't the only ones cheering
the report, though. The American press has been positively giddy about
it, even though it's been ill-received by conservatives and liberals who actually study foreign policy.
Australian women plan "bikini protest" of imam's comments that the everyday attire of women in that country makes them nothing more than "uncovered meat."
Democrats' 2006 victories seemed to have purged the Republican party of its moderates. Democrats, meanwhile, are alleged to have secretly met with the terrorist group Hamas. Not everyone believes this, though.
RIP: Megan McClung,
a press officer for the Marines stationed in Ramadi, Iraq. She was
killed trying to fill an information request.
Pro-Muslim New York Times reporter Neil MacFarquhar covers the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's attempt at a Muslim sitcom, "Little Mosque on the Prairie," and manages to get what he considers a sad example of life imitating art almost totally wrong.
"The handsome, clean-cut young man of evidently Pakistani or Indian origin is standing in an airport line, gesticulating emphatically as he says into his cellphone, 'If Dad thinks that’s suicide, so be it,' adding after a pause, 'This is Allah’s plan for me.'
"As might be expected, a cop materializes almost instantly and drags the man off, telling him that his appointment in paradise will have to wait, even though the suicide he is referring to is of the career kind; he’s giving up the law to pursue a more spiritual occupation.
Co-host of CBS’s "Early Show," Harry Smith, highlighted the recommendations of the Iraq Study Group and his worries that they could be disregarded by the Bush administration, and may "end up with the dust bunnies." In the 7:00 half hour of Thursday’s program, Smith interviewed the co-chairs of the Iraq Study Group, former Secretary of State James Baker and former Democratic Congressman Lee Hamilton, and he also spoke with Illinois Senator Barack Obama. In both instances, Smith alluded to the fact that the Bush administration may not follow the Baker/Hamilton Commission findings.
During his segment with Secretary Baker and Congressman Hamilton, Smith lamented to Secretary Baker that the Iraq Study Group had spent months on its report, but it may be discarded by the president:
Iranian Ambassador to the United Nations Javad Zarif seemed to take the advice from Howard Dean: Whenever someone challenges you, blame the "Fox News propaganda machine." On Wednesday night, Zarif spoke at a forum at Columbia University. Several students challenged him on issues from support of Hezbollah, nuclear ambitions, suppressing dissent, and denial of the Holocaust. The frustrated Zarif retorted, "my friend don’t consume whatever is fed by Fox News." The crowd reacted with laughter and some scattered applause.
This was not the first time the Iranian government, like the Democrats, blasted Fox News. Back in March, Iranian Ambassador to the IAEA Ali Asghar Sotanieh attacked Fox News. A left wing blogger chose to side with the Ayatollahs. I thought liberals hate theocracy. I guess I was wrong. The entire transcript is below.
Regular viewers of Fox News’ “Hannity & Colmes” know that the two hosts rarely agree on anything, and that when they do, their guests better watch out, because they’re going to be blasted from both sides. Such was the case Tuesday evening when H&C invited the Reverend Paul Scott of the Messianic Afrikan Nation to discuss his bizarre views about race and Christmas (video available here courtesy of our friend at Ms Underestimated). Colmes began, “So, you have a beef with Christmas this year, or every year?” The Reverend replied:
Well, the problem that we have is with traditional Eurocentric Christmas, the lily white Christmas. Christmas is the whitest time of year. And in a situation and a climate when black men are being shot by police officers, black -- elderly black grandmothers are being shot by police officers, black men are being forced to dance their way out of traffic tickets, white comedians feel that they can make jokes about black men.
Colmes accurately inquired: “That has nothing to do with Christmas, though, as you well know. Do you think most people look at Christmas through the lens of race?” The Reverend amazingly answered: “I think that racism is so prevalent in our society you can't separate anything from race.” He said that. He really did. And that’s when the fun started:
I told you that watching the Dems' internecine battles was going to be fun. The slap the NY Times took at the Dem leadership today for backing away from its pledge to reform Congress as part of implementing the 9-11 panel recommendations was just an hors d'ouevre. In a column in today's Los Angeles Times, Arianna Huffington serves up a heaping main course, feasting on Hillary's foibles.
All you really need to know about how Huff feels about Hil is to have a look at the photo here from the LA Times that accompanies Arianna's column. But let's plunge on with these excerpts from Hillary's too vane to be president:
"While the country is urgently engaged in finding a way out of the quagmire in Iraq, Hillary Rodham Clinton is busy holding private dinners for key Democrats from primary states."
"A politician more comfortable following than leading."
How do you know the Iraq Study Group's suggestion of reaching out to Iran is in trouble? When of all people a leading MSM light like Matt Lauer approvingly cites leading neo-con Richard Perle to shoot down the idea.
The Baker-Hamilton duo was making the TV rounds this morning. Appearing on 'Today,' it wasn't long into their chat with Matt that he hit them with this:
"Let's talk about this idea of reaching out to the people in the neighborhood - Syria and Iran. Richard Perle said recently that 'talking to Iran about Iraq will be seen throughout the region as an indication of American weakness."
To drive home the point, 'Today' displayed a graphic with Perle's photo and the language cited above.
For those of a Republican bent, Election Day wasn't much fun. But that's not to say that defeat doesn't bring with it certain muted pleasures of its own. Such as watching the liberal media take the Dem congressional majority to task as it begins to moonwalk away from various campaign promises. Chief among those pledges was this one, part of the DNC's official 6-Point Plan for 2006:
"We want to close the remaining gaps in our security by enacting the 9/11 Commission recommendations."
One of the most important 9/11 panel recommendations called for Congress to reform its own house when it comes to the oversight of intelligence. This might sound like inside baseball, but it's important. The basic notion is this: intelligence agencies will be most responsive to those congressional committees that control their budgets. The way Congress is currently organized, the various committees on intelligence - those with the most expertise in the area - are effectively toothless. They have no budget control over the intelligence agencies they theoretically oversee. Instead, budgetary control is in the hands of the armed services committees and the appropriations panels' defense subcommittees.
It is amusing to me that the South was always considered by Democrats as "the people", the salt of the Earth, and the so-called rank and file in the "solid South" when the they had a lock on their votes from 1820 all the way until 1980. The South was the all-American region and the Democrats loved them dearly. Yes, for over 160 years the Democrats counted the Southern states as stalwarts and they loved them like brothers. But, now that the Southern states more often vote GOP they are a "problem" and are filled with Bible- brainwashed racists who pine for a return to slavery as far as the left is concerned.
On Wednesday's Countdown show, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann reported the recent deaths of 10 American troops in Iraq by commenting that they had "paid the ultimate price for President Bush's execution of the war." His comments came as he was introducing an interview with Thomas Ricks of the Washington Post on what the Iraq Study Group report could mean for American troops. Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the December 6 Countdown show:
Keith Olbermann: "On this, the same day the Iraq Study Group released its report, 10 more Americans paid the ultimate price for President Bush's execution of the war. The collective price America's military is paying and how the Iraq Study Group may change it is our number three story in the Countdown tonight."
I don't track Keith Olbermann's descents into mean-spirited bad taste systematically enough to definitively proclaim that he has charted a new low. Let's just say that he has once again indulged his proclivity to traffic for political purposes in the worst of ill-will.
ABC anchor Charles Gibson and NBC anchor Brian Williams let the Iraq Study Group's conclusion, that “the situation in Iraq is grave and deteriorating,” speak for itself as they refrained from additional editorializing in opening their Wednesday night newscasts. But CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric inserted her personal views into the top of her newscast as she framed the day's news: “With each death, with every passing day, so many of us ask, 'Is there any way out of this nightmare?'” She proceeded to explain how “today we got an answer from a bipartisan commission headed by former Secretary of State James Baker and former Congressman Lee Hamilton.” All three December 6 broadcast network evening shows were anchored from Washington, DC.