The name Burhan Ghalioun is likely unfamiliar to most Americans. However, on January 22, he made some statements on Al-Jazeera television that should make many politicians and media members in this country sit up and take notice (video available here courtesy of Memri).
The main problem that prevents us from trying to overcome the crisis is that the clerics have become the leading shapers of public opinion. These clerics have no true knowledge of society or politics. Whoever turns on Al-Jazeera TV or any other channel see that the clerics control everything.
You thought there was a political divide concerning the war, taxes, and abortion? Well, a newly released National Journal poll of members of Congress indicated just as strong a diametric view of whether anthropogenic global warming is real or not.
Called a “Congressional Insiders Poll,” the study asked 10 Senate Democrats, 48 House Democrats, 10 Senate Republicans, and 45 House Republicans: “Do you think it’s been proven beyond a reasonable doubt that the Earth is warming because of man-made problems?”
On Monday’s Today co-host Matt Lauer interviewed 2008 Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards about the Iraq War and his healthcare plan. Lauer did asks some tough questions such as challenging Edwards’s call for a complete withdrawal of U.S. troops in Iraq within the next 18 months. Lauer read the National Intelligence Estimate, which said that would be a disaster, and he asked "so why are you right and why is an intelligence estimate, that’s basically a compilation of the best ideas of 16 intelligence groups in this country, wrong?"
However, Lauer offered some praise for this liberal former Senator. When Edwards painted a grim situation in Iraq, Matt Lauer exclaimed "I applaud your honesty." At the end of the interview Lauer showed his love for Edwards when he stated, "you’re a superstar as well." The entire transcript is below.
Ralph de Toledano, long-time conservative commentator and author died Saturday, Feb. 3, at the age of 90. See The Washington Times article here. For the young conservatives out there, go get Mr. De Toledano's books and read them! They are filled with excellent, detailed information about many of the major issues that have dominated the conservative movement, U.S. and world politics, and the media.
Mr. De Toledano's book, "Seeds of Treason," is an excellent primer on the Alger Hiss-Whittaker Chambers case, which in many ways helped to define the conservative movement in post World War II America. Other excellent books by Mr. De Toledano include: The Greatest Plot in History; J. Edgar Hoover: The Man in His Time; Spies, Dupes and Diplomats; RFK: the Man Who Would Be President; Notes from the Underground; and Nixon.
On Tuesday’s "Good Morning America," anchor Diane Sawyer continued to gush over the dictator of Syria. As already noted on NewsBusters, the ABC anchor gingerly questioned Syrian President Bashar al-Assad over the country’s political and cultural repression. But she also defended him, reminding American viewers that "change must come slowly."
A second segment focused on Assad’s wife, Asma. In this piece, Sawyer’s most laudatory yet, she profiled the Mideast power couple and a viewer could be forgiven for assuming that this was a look at the wife of a 2008 presidential contender and not the spouse of a dictator.
Sawyer informed her audience on just what an amazing couple they make and closed the segment with a direct appeal for more understanding of the Syrian dictatorship:
Diane Sawyer: "So, while the world debates the intentions of her husband on the world stage, the two of them are clearly symbols of a new generation in the Middle East. The former doctor, the former banker, schooled in England, steeped in Syria. And she might say, asking the West for a new conversation about a new day."
Never let it be said that politicians are the only ones who side-step the hardball questions in Washington. In today's Post Politics Hour chat at washingtonpost.com, reporter Peter Baker had a no-comment answer on WashPost blogger William Arkin's anti-troops fulminating:
Greenville, S.C.: Yo Peter -- you got any problems with your colleague William Arkin writing an entire column based on the American troops in Iraq being mercenaries and then, after taking a lot of heat, saying words to the effect of "I probably should not have used the word 'mercenary'"? Is this the kind of diversity The Washington Post is looking for?
Peter Baker: Sorry, this is beyond my field. William Arkin writes for the web site and this is a question better directed to the editors there.
Fox News’s Bill O’Reilly was on the warpath Monday evening, and with good reason.
The targets of his disaffection were NBC News, GE, and most vehemently, the Washington Post and William Arkin for the latter’s disgracefully disrespectful article about America’s troops published on January 30.
O’Reilly began (video available here, hat tips to Hot Air and LGF): “In a stunning display of hatred, NBC News military analyst William Arkin wrote two Internet columns chastising members of the United States Armed Forces for daring to criticize civilian dissenters of the Iraq war.”
After reading some of the offending passages, O’Reilly released the hounds:
Tom Friedman is at it again. Whenever a reporter asks him how to fix the Middle East, Friedman's response is increasingly the same - increase taxes! On this morning's Today show NBC's Meredith Vieira brought on the New York Times columnist to discuss the Iraq debate on Capitol Hill. Setting up Friedman with his own premise, Viera asked: "Well you've said, 'We need to reshape the game board.' What do you mean by that?" Friedman then gave a long-winded response that eventually revealed his solution: "Oil tax." Below is the conversation as it occurred in the 7am half hour of the February 6 Today show:
Meredith Vieira: "Well you've said, 'We need to reshape the game board. What do you mean by that?'"
In a huge blow to America’s ability to defend itself from future terrorist attacks both home and abroad, the European Central Bank has told SWIFT, the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, that it must halt the transfer of personal banking information to American authorities by April.
As reported by Agence France-Presse on February 1 (h/t to Dan at Riehl World View): “The agency, the European Data Protection Supervisor, told the bank to come up with measures ‘to make its payment operations fully compliant with data-protection legislation,’ urging it to ‘take appropriate measures as soon as possible.’”
Hadn’t heard about this? Well, how could you? After all, according to Google and LexisNexis searches, the only major American media outlet to bother reporting this was, coincidentally and quite ironically, the New York Times.
Isn’t that a delicious twist of fate? Yet, the hypocrisy in this goes much deeper.
Imagine that during the days of apartheid in South Africa, Diane Sawyer had just completed an interview of the white leader of the regime. What are the odds she would have emerged to inform viewers, in sympathetic tones, that the leader had reminded her of an old Afrikaaner saying to the effect that change must come slowly?
Yet that's just what Diane did after her interview with Syrian dictator Bashar Assad in which he claimed Syria wasn't ready for democracy. The screencap you see here is of Diane giving a dramatic portrayal of Assad's words. Emoted Diane:
"The president reminded me that all over the Arab world, there is a standard saying, 'chouay, chouay' [my transliteration] which means 'slowly, slowly. Change must come slowly.'"
Have a look at the video clip of Diane's dramatic renderinghere.
In her Sunday Ombudsman column in the Washington Post, Deborah Howell sounds more like a journalist's advocate than a reader's advocate, lamenting that reporters draw complaints about covering a protest no matter what: "Organizers often inflate the number of participants, and there will be complaints no matter how a demonstration is covered or displayed." Howell was also quick to defend the divergence in Post coverage of the March for Life vs. the latest Out-of-Iraq march. The liberal event was "worth Page 1," while "This is the 34th anniversary of that [Roe v. Wade] decision and not a reason to put the event on Page 1 in my book."
I would not argue that the March for Life was a Page 1 story this year, especially with the liberal takeover of both houses of Congress. I would argue that the Bush-bashing anti-Iraq war march was NOT page 1 material. Anti-Bush marches have not become a strictly annual routine like the March for Life, but they have been regular enough to be less newsworthy on each new occasion. Is this new Jane Fonda march really Earth-shattering material, even with liberal control of Congress? All Democrats are doing is trying to pass NON-binding resolutions. How much does a march change the equation?
Think Progress is claiming that the Washington Times published a false report regarding a request from Speaker Pelosi “demanding permanent access to a large military jet for herself, her staff, other Members and supporters.” While TP attempts to spin things as though they can support that claim, they cannot.
On February 1, the Washington Times published a story titled “Speaker pursues military flights,” which claimed that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) had been “pressing the Bush administration for routine access to military aircraft for domestic flights, such as trips back to her San Francisco district.” Former Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL) also used military aircraft to travel to his district. However, the Times reported, Pelosi is “demanding permanent access to a large military jet for herself, her staff, other Members and supporters.”
CBS's news judgment: Monday's CBS Evening News devoted a first segment story to, as anchor Katie Couric put it, the “irony” that the Senate debate over resolutions on the Iraqi surge occurred “four years to the day” after Colin Powell made his presentation at the UN which “became an embarrassment.” Couric asked and answered: “And how's this for irony? Today's Capitol Hill confrontation began four years to the day after then-Secretary of State Colin Powell made a dramatic speech at the UN to make the case that Iraq was hiding weapons of mass destruction. It was a brilliant performance, enough to sell the Congress and the nation on going to war. But before long, it became an embarrassment.”
Of course, at the time nearly everyone believed what Powell believed, as evidenced by former U.S. weapons inspector David Kay who told CBS News Pentagon reporter David Martin that he was impressed with Powell's presentation. Martin moved on to other misguided assumptions, asserting “the intelligence about Iraq was not all wrong. On the eve of the invasion, CIA analysts, including Paul Pillar, warned the aftermath could get ugly." Martin also, however, pointed out that “bad intelligence about WMD started the war, but it can't be blamed for all that has happened since." Former CIA analyst John Brennan explained: “We would still have the same bloodshed, instability and destruction even if we did uncover those treasure troves of purported weapons.” So, the fourth anniversary of Powell's presentation about WMDs really isn't relevant to the current situation, but that didn't deter CBS from bringing it up.
On Friday night's edition of Inside Washington airing locally on Washington PBS station WETA, the first topic was whether the media's been unfair to President Bush, given his abysmal approval ratings. NPR reporter Nina Totenberg said Bush received a "free ride" for years, so now the worm has turned and the coverage is fierce. Then the host turned to Newsweek's Evan Thomas, who was frank in his assessment of the media's role:
Gordon Peterson: "What do you think, Evan? Are the mainstream media bashing the president unfairly?"
Evan Thomas: "Well, our job is to bash the president, that's what we do almost --"
There's nothing like the day an Italian-American Republican moves toward announcing his presidential candidacy for musing as to whether he might have a whiff of fascism about him. As reported here, Rudy Giuliani inched closer to running for president today by filing a so-called "statement of candidacy" with the Federal Election Commission, indicating that he would seek the presidency as a Republican should he decide to go forward.
Chris Matthews had Rudy supporter and former congresswoman Susan Molinari as a guest on this afternoon's Hardball. In the course of discussing the way in which Rudy managed to clean up NYC, Matthews and Molinari had the following exchange:
"They strike on Capitol Hill. And no domestic program is safe. They're . . . the Evil Republican Spending Slashers!"
Just like "It's a Wonderful Life" at Christmas time, the MSM trots out the reruns of the "Evil Spending Slashers" every time a Republican president proposes to increase entitlement spending by less than some liberals would like.
With the spunky Contessa Brewer hosting in the studio, and reporter Patty Culhane braving the global-warming induced cold wave on the White House lawn, MSNBC ran a classic of the genre this afternoon. At one point the graphic below was displayed, warning of domestic spending "cuts" in a number of programs.
Reminded by Tim Russert on Russert's Saturday night CNBC show, about how Vice President Cheney predicted U.S. troops would be welcomed as “liberators” by the Iraqi people, New York Times Iraq reporter John Burns corrected Russert's presumption that Cheney was misguided: “The American troops were greeted as liberators. We saw it. It lasted very briefly, it was exhausted quickly by the looting.” Burns added: “I think that the instincts that led to much that went wrong were good American instincts: the desire not to have too heavy of a footprint, the desire to empower Iraqis.”
As for what led to the inaccurate assumption that Iraqi would “stand up” for democracy, Burns contended that journalists made the same error: “I think that the policy makers in Washington, and to be on honest with you the journalists also, to speak for myself, completely miscalculated the impact of 30 years of violent, brutal repression on the Iraqi people and their willingness, in President Bush's phrase, ' to stand up' for themselves, to take authority, to take risks.” Burns also rejected the notion that different U.S. strategies would have prevented the current chaos: “My guess is that history will say that the forces that we liberated by invading Iraq were so powerful and so uncontrollable that virtually nothing the United States might have done, except to impose its own repressive state with half a million troops, which might have had to last ten years or more, nothing we could have done would have effectively prevented this disintegration that is now occurring.”