Jealous guardians of high standards or just . . . jealous? There was a rare bit of consensus on tonight's Fox News Watch, as pundits from left and right came together to condemn Ann Coulter for what they judged to be money-motivated excesses in her latest opus, 'Godless: The Church of Liberalism'. The focus was Coulter's controversial statements about the Jersey Girls - the 9/11 widows turned harsh Bush administration critics. Highlighted was this excerpt from Ann's book:
"These broads are millionaires, lionized on TV and in articles about them . . . I have never seen people enjoying their husbands' death so much."
In his latest "Regarding Media" column in the Los Angeles Times (Sat. June 10, 2006), the perpetually clueless Tim Rutten claims that author Ann Coulter is a "pornographer" and her latest tome is "pornography" and "hate." ("Like most pornographers ... [Coulter] is resourceful in the service of her own economic and other interests.") In addition, Rutten expounds (emphases mine),
MRC's Mike Rule noticed on Friday that CBS "Early Show" co-host Hannah Storm held fast to deeply pessimistic questions in an interview with Sen. John McCain. She began by wondering if Zarqawi's death would have any effect at all:
"Well, even the president, Senator McCain, had a notably cautious response yesterday to the fact that al Zarqawi was dead. He said we can expect terrorists to carry on without him. What's your assessment? Will his death have any impact on the level of violence? Particularly the civil war that's raging in Iraq now?"
The world has taken another turn for the bizarre. CNSNews reported on Friday (hat tip to NB reader RJ) that a new family movie about football, “Facing the Giants,” has been given a “PG” rating by the Motion Picture Association of America apparently for having too much religious content.
Too much religious content? Are you kidding me?
This story appears to have first been reported by Terry Mattingly at the Scripps Howard News Service on Wednesday: “‘What the MPAA said is that the movie contained strong 'thematic elements' that might disturb some parents,’ said Kris Fuhr, vice president for marketing at Provident Films, which is owned by Sony Pictures. Provident plans to open the film next fall in 380 theaters nationwide with the help of Samuel Goldwyn Films, which has worked with indie movies like ‘The Squid and the Whale.’"
Just what kind of “thematic elements” are present? The article elaborated:
On Friday, talk show host Laura Ingraham laughed at how MSNBC's Chris Matthews started demoting Zarqawi on Thursday night's "Hardball" as a minor-league threat, a "Triple-A" terrorist instead of a real "World Series" win. MRC's Geoff Dickens passed on the transcript:
"Well could one concern be that if they bragged, and appropriately so bragged, about killing Zarqawi, a real bad guy, who killed Nicholas Berg and a number of other people in the most vicious way, beheading them, that they would expose the fact that they haven’t caught Mullah Omar, the head of the Taliban, haven’t caught Zawahiri, the number two guy, number three guy over there, and they certainly haven’t caught Bin Laden. Are they concerned that, that bragging at this point would look like bragging about a Triple-A World Series rather than a real one?”
On the day of the running of the final leg of the Triple Crown, we've got a new leader in the Wackiest Zarqawi-Take Stakes. The new favorite in the kooky conspiracy derby is far from a colt. Galloping ghosts! It's De-Frosted Anti-Vietnam War Man and battle-hardened Jane Fonda veteran Tom Hayden. His winning notion? That Zarqawi might really have been our guy in Iraq.
In thisHuffington Post piece, Hayden tries to give himself cover by stating "I have no reason to believe Zarqawi was an [American] agent," but then immediately goes on to contradict himself, darkly musing:
Shown the Thursday Washington Post headline, “Victory in California Calms G.O.P.” followed by the New York Times headline, “Narrow Victory by G.O.P. Signals Fall Problems,” NPR's Nina Totenberg exclaimed on Friday night's Inside Washington: "The Times is wrong!" Syndicated columnist Mark Shields suggested his disagreement with the spin of the New York Times: "I don't think there's any question that if the Democrats had won they'd be yelling at the tree tops.” Shields added his analysis that the Times missed: “The culture of corruption, I think, is not a viable campaign message for 2006 for the fall. That ought to be a warning to the Democrats.”
On Thursday, in postings for the MRC's TimesWatch and on NewsBusters, “Double Huh: NYT Headline Says GOP's Cali Win Means 'Fall Problems' for Party,” Clay Waters provided a look at the tilted June 8 front page New York Times article about the congressional race in which Republican Brian Bilbray beat Democrat Francine Busby to replace imprisoned Republican Randy 'Duke' Cunningham.
NBC’s David Gregory on Friday night resurrected two of the favorite quotes of Bush-bashers as he contrasted past boasts with how the current “cautious view about the way forward in Iraq underscores the degree to which events on the ground have humbled the Bush team.” After a clip of Bush on Friday conceding the killing of terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi is “not going to end the war. It's certainly not going to end the violence. But it's going to help a lot," Gregory declared: "It's a far cry from July, 2003" -- when Bush uttered his “bring ‘em on" taunt. Gregory then offered a second example, Vice President Dick Cheney’s 2005 prediction that "we're in the last throes, if you will, of the insurgency." (Transcript follows)
This weekend, we're doing two pictures for the captionfest. Here's the original of the first: "TV cameramen film a photograph displayed at a press conference in
Baghdad, Iraq purporting to show the body of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the
Second: "A Pakistani Muslim reads a newspaper splashed with headlines of the
killing of al Qaeda militant Abu Musab al Zarqawi in Peshawar June 9,
As I noted yesterday, while most Americans were celebrating the military success that killed the most wanted terrorist in Iraq, Abu Musab al Zarqawi, there were still some in the media trying to spin the development in a negative light. That trend continued on the CBS "Evening News" with Bob Schieffer last evening. In one segment, Schieffer interviewed two critics of the war in Iraq, New York Times columnist Tom Friedman and CBS News Analyst Michael Scheuer. Scheuer had also appeared earlier in the day on "The Early Show."
Schieffer focused on Friedman first, inquiring what Friedman thought about the development:
Meredith Vieira departed ABC's The View (registration required) today and she certainly went out with, uh, a bang. At 11:36AM EDT, co-host Joy Behar toasted Vieira, who will join the Today show in September. She remarked, "I’m so upset....And I just don’t know how to express it, you know? I thought to myself, what would Rosie O’Donnell do?"
Then Behar took Vieira in her arms and the two engaged in a long kiss. In case you missed it, ABC replayed it in slow-motion a few seconds later as they went to commercial.
A silly moment on an unserious show? Perhaps. But opponents of gay rights probably shouldn’t expect the new host of the Today show to give their arguments much credence.
Reuters reports that the country music trio Dixie Chicks is having trouble filling seats at concerts as it continues to take heat for criticism of President Bush.
While early ticket purchases for their first major tour in three years are generally robust in Northeastern cities, initial sales have fallen short of expectations in numerous markets, especially in the Midwest and South, forcing some dates to be scrubbed.
Who would have thought that the biggest country music fans would be in Boston and New York?
By contrast, the group's latest album, "Taking the Long Way," opened atop the U.S. pop charts last week, selling 526,000 copies during its first seven days and remaining No. 1 in its second week to notch one of the year's strongest debuts.
Bin Laden Far More Difficult to Find than Zarqawi, Officials say
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Although the U.S. military located and killed the
most wanted terrorist in Iraq, finding Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden
remains a tougher task, officials and analysts said Thursday....
There has been some buzz in the email this morning about a question Pam Hess of UPI asked General William Caldwell in a briefing this morning. In her question, Hess referred to those who died in the air strike that killed the most wanted man in Iraq, including Abu Musab al Zarqawi himself, as victims. Her full question was:
"General, this is Pam Hess of UPI. What's going to happen to Zarqawi's body after the autopsy? Does it get returned to Jordan to his family? And do you have anything on the identity of the others killed in the strike? And was it 6 victims including Zarqawi or was it 7?"
A legitimate question, however, her word choice is unfortunate. Let us remember the true victims are the ones who were savagely murdered by Zarqawi and his network of thugs. Zarqawi and his associates killed along with him, are not victims here, rather, they are the recipients of justice.
One day after the killing of Al-Zarqawi, it's business-as-usual for the Drive-by Media. The Washington Post even ran a poll reminding us that we all think Iraq sucks.
If I'm a Democratic strategist, I couldn't be happier. Here are this morning's top headlines:
CNN: Al-Zarqawi is dead, violence continues
CNN: Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was alive when U.S. troops first reached him after the airstrike on his safe house, a U.S. general said, according to news reports.
Of course, there's got to be controversy. What did Rumsfeld know and when did he know it?
The NY Times’ Carl Hulse says goodbye and good riddance to Rep. Tom DeLay, the former Republican House majority leader resigning his seat in Congress today, with “Defiant to the End, Delay Pats Himself on the Back and Bids the House a Torrid Goodbye.”
“Representative Tom DeLay personifies the word ‘unapologetic.’
It's not necessary for reporters to agree that the death of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi is a major victory. But they should let their readers know such people, outside the Bush Administration, exist.
In After Zarqawi, No Clear Path In Weary Iraq by the Washington Post's Ellen Knickmeyer, every independent expert downplays the significance of Zarqawi's death. Even a mysteriously identified "longtime participant in the U.S. military hunt for Zarqawi" sees it as upside for the bad guys. Yet at least one of Knickmeyer's named sources is more upbeat in a different outlet, and she omits the passionate political convictions of another.
Washington Post culture critic Philip Kennicott has filed a series of essays for the Style section about images of the war in Iraq, like the images out of Abu Ghraib. He lowered the boom today on the insensitive louts who framed a picture of dead Zarqawi. The headline: "A Chilling Portrait, Unsuitably Framed." Kennicott found the framed picture "bizarre." He lamented that the reaction was cheers from the war supporters, and intimidation of the anti-war crowd, that they had to cheer, too. Kennicott couldn't really bring himself to do much of that. He predicted, unlike the Abu Ghraib images, that this image would not be historical:
So will this image, given a strange dignity by its prominent frame, be a defining image of the war? Not likely. Its primary function is forensic. It proves, in an age of skepticism (heightened by a three-year history of official claims about the war turning out to be false), that Zarqawi is indeed dead. But beyond that, the image has little power. Indeed, as with so many images in this war, it is loaded with the potential to backfire.
If Osama bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri, and all of al Qaeda’s leaders in Iraq and throughout the world laid down their arms and surrendered to American forces, would the media report it as good news?
Judging from the initial press reaction to the killing of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in Iraq by the American military on Wednesday, the answer appears to be no.
In fact, this tepid response to the death of the leader of al Qaeda in Iraq – a man who has at times in the past couple of years been depicted as more vital to this terrorist network than the currently in-hiding bin Laden – suggests quite disturbingly that America’s media are fighting a different war than America’s soldiers.
According to NewsBusters, CNN’s senior editor for Arab affairs Octavia Nasr said the following about Zarqawi’s death on “American Morning” Thursday:
"Some people say it will enrage the insurgency, others say it will hurt it pretty bad. But if you think about the different groups in Iraq, you have to think that Zarqawi's death is not going to be a big deal for them."
However, CNN didn’t always feel that Zarqawi’s death or capture would be so inconsequential. Just days after Saddam Hussein was found in his spider hole, Paula Zahn brought CNN national correspondent Mike Boettcher on to discuss a new threat in Iraq. Zahn began the December 15, 2003 segment: