Even the New York Times has directed criticism at President Obama for being hopelessly out of touch. Following his announcement of American journalist James Foley’s brutal death at the hands of ISIS, the President immediately headed out to the links for a quick round of golf, a move panned in an often bipartisan fashion. Liberal Times columnist Maureen Dowd mocked the President in a piece that played off Abraham Lincoln’s legendary Gettysburg Address.
Headlined “The Golf Address,” Dowd justifiably ripped President Obama for his response to that horrific tragedy: “FORE! Score? And seven trillion rounds ago, our forecaddies brought forth on this continent a new playground, conceived by Robert Trent Jones, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal when it comes to spending as much time on the links as possible — even when it seems totally inappropriate.” [See excerpts below.]
Is the beheading of an American journalist – along with the genocide of Christians and other religious minorities – enough to label the Islamist terror group ISIS as the consummation of evil? According to CNN.com, the answer is really quite complicated.
In fact, James Dawes, director of the program in Human Rights at Macalester College, argued in a piece for CNN’s online arm that “there are few things more dangerous now than allowing ourselves to think” that ISIS does “evil things for evil ends,”as NRO’s Jonah Goldberg phrased it in a tweet earlier this week. Dawes’s assertion is that Americans need to “do the hard work of understanding the context that made them, so that we can create a context that unmakes them.” He added that“understanding” will “help us see the world through their eyes.” [See Goldberg's tweet and excerpts from the piece after the jump.]
Channeling Jesse Jackson’s comments earlier this week on Newsmax TV, MSNBC’s Al Sharpton argued that no circumstance justified Michael Brown being shot multiple times, using the logic that he was unarmed. This despite reports that Brown had charged and beat Officer Darren Wilson prior to the fatal shooting.
During a predictably soft interview with host Alex Wagner on the August 20 edition of Now, Sharpton insisted that “there was no life extenuating circumstances that anyone can figure out that required six bullets.” The PoliticsNation host decided to play the role of judge and jury, claiming that no one was even questioning his rush to judgment:
Ripping the National Rifle Association has been a common theme coming from Daily Beast contributing writer Cliff Schecter. (Try his rants that they protect "homicidal maniacs" or are "treasonous and murderous.") This time, however, Schecter took a new angle, criticizing the gun-rights organization for their silence regarding the ongoing protests and riots in Ferguson, Missouri. (Silence? Somehow, he leaves out NRANews.com, which is actively talking about it.)
Schecter barely hid his suggestion that the NRA is nothing more than a bunch of gun-toting racists. He argued that “the NRA professes no kinship for those being crushed beneath the jackboots [in Ferguson]. It seems the NRA is only worried about the civil rights of white people.”
Despite new details revealed by the police that provide additional context to the Michael Brown shooting, at least one MSNBC reporter seemed to dismiss the new information as largely irrelevant. On the August 15 edition of NewsNation, guest host Alex Witt invited msnbc.com reporter Trymaine Lee to the program. He has been reporting on the ground from Ferguson, Missouri this week.
Witt mentioned the facts surrounding what the police have dubbed a “strong-arm robbery” of a convenience store that supposedly took place about 30 minutes before the fatal shooting of Michael Brown, as confirmed by still shots of the scene. The shots – while not entirely clear – indicate that Michael Brown may have been a suspect. The NewsNation guest host asked Lee how much this complicated things and whether “this fact [might] be something that instills uncertainty within this community which has become calmer overnight?” Lee replied, unconvinced: [MP3 audio here; video below]
Token quasi-conservative MSNBC host Joe Scarborough was in full-blown contrarian mode this morning as he offered his perspective on two reporters in Ferguson, Missouri, who were briefly arrested and then shortly thereafter released. The former Florida congressman ripped the reporters in question for failing to listen to the cop’s repeated orders to exit a McDonald’s as they attempted to cordon it off.
After playing video of one of the journalists – the Washington Post’s Wesley Lowery – being told by the police that he needed to leave, the Morning Joe host offered: [MP3 audio here; video below]
Leave it to the Daily Beast to throw the notion that folks should avoid politicizing a tragedy right out the window. The Web magazine used the occasion of Robin Williams’s death to laud the late comedian as a hero of the LGBT agenda for his role in ‘Mrs. Doubtfire,’ among other films. With the provocatively titled headline, “How Robin Williams’ Mrs. Doubtfire Won the Culture Wars,” senior editor Tim Teeman made the argument that Williams’s role in the 1993 comedy – and films that followed – opened the minds of Americans to alternative lifestyles and living situations.
Teeman argues that the ending of the movie – showing “two separated parents, united by their much loved children” – was a rare sight for a Hollywood film at the time. He suggested that the release date of the film was crucial:
At MSNBC, many are rallying behind Barack Obama’s foreign policy, despite his seemingly aimless goals. On the August 12 edition of The Last Word, host Lawrence O'Donnell mentioned Hillary Clinton's comments about the President's foreign policy, in which she claimed that ‘don't do stupid stuff’ is not an organizing principle. O’Donnell couldn’t help but defend Mr. Obama, even if it meant attacking the likely 2016 presidential nominee for the Democrats.
After citing a quote from a Clinton spokesman designed at easing the tension between the former Secretary of State and the President, O’Donnell claimed: “Don't do stupid stuff, if it was the organizing principle of American international relations, would be the single best organizing principle we have ever had. We would finally stop doing stupid stuff.” [MP3 audio here; video below]
While it has been reported that the United States will provide the Kurdish army – commonly known as the Peshmerga – with small arms and ammunition, there have been repeated calls to more substantially arm the paramilitary force. On the August 12 edition of CNN Newsroom, host Carol Costello discussed the subject with Haras Rafiq, an outreach officer for the Quilliam Foundation, a think tank that challenges Islamic extremism.
Costello was skeptical that doing anything to assist the Kurds against ISIS in northern Iraq would help the cause. Rafiq argued that “heavy artillery” and “heavy ammunition,” along with possible training of Kurdish forces, would be necessary to repel ISIS. Costello doubted that these options would be effective: [MP3 audio here; video below]
In a discussion about the recent unresolved shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, MSNBC’s Ronan Farrow Daily touted the idea that there is a war on black men in America.
Host Ronan Farrow cited a piece from Jonathan Capehart in the Washington Post that discussed the circumstances surrounding the deaths of African-Americans, specifically Trayvon Martin, Renisha McBride, and Michael Brown. The article hinted that black people – and particularly black males – are under attack in America. Farrow brought Capehart onto the program to ask the question himself, wondering: “Are black Americans, as you put it, under siege?” Capehart responded without hesitation: [MP3 audio here; video below]
Are the folks at CNN abandoning President Obama’s foreign policy? Well, yes, but only to throw praise upon former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton ahead of a likely 2016 presidential run. On the August 11 edition of New Day, a panel discussed President Obama’s airstrikes in northern Iraq and Mrs. Clinton’s comments about his often disjointed foreign policy.
Reacting to Hillary telling The Atlantic that “don’t do stupid stuff” does not represent coherent foreign policy, host Kate Bolduan seemed to support Clinton, doubting it was enough. CNN contributor and Daily Beast editor John Avlon agreed with the New Day host, saying it was “not an organizing principle,” and praised Clinton for differentiating herself from the President on issues of foreign policy. He argued, in fact, that Hillary was the kind of Democrat neo-conservatives could support: [MP3 audio here; video below]
Chris Matthews is apparently no fan of blogs or websites, even when they are run by his comrades at MSNBC.
On the August 8 edition of The Reid Report, guest host Jonathan Capehart welcomed the Hardball host to the program to discuss Iraq. He got a whole lot more than he bargained for. Capehart read an excerpt from a piece appearing on Ezra Klein’s Vox.com, which purports to be in the business of ‘explanatory journalism,’ but acts more as an Obama administration mouthpiece. Klein frequently shows up on MSNBC programs, either as a contributor or a guest host. In responding to the excerpt, Matthews angrily ripped Vox: [MP3 audio here; video below]
While a nearly finished 72 hour cease-fire has at least temporarily stopped the war between Israel and Gaza, the media’s anti-Israel slant has been unrelenting. On the August 7 edition of CNN Newsroom, host Carol Costello welcomed radical pro-Palestine rabbi Michael Lerner to the program, and he placed all of the blame on Israel for the conflict.
Lerner did have the courage to label Hamas as a “terrible and oppressive force,” but throughout the segment he criticized Israel’s “oppressive” occupation and blockade of the Gaza strip. And when Costello asked the rabbi who “is more to blame for so many casualties and deaths in Gaza, is it Israel or Hamas,” his answer revealed a distinctly anti-Israel bias: [MP3 audio here; video below]
After citing a whole host of issues where President Obama is receiving abysmal approval ratings from Americans, CNN’s John King absolved the commander-in-chief of any blame, arguing that this was typical of recent second-term presidents.
On the August 6 edition of The Situation Room, host Wolf Blitzer pointed to an NBC News-Wall Street Journal poll, one that has, thus far, been ignored by the NBC Nightly News, showing Americans are dissatisfied with U.S. handling of the border crisis, Russia, Gaza, and the increasing presence of ISIS in Iraq. King dismissed that this had anything to do with the President: “I'm not blaming the president for this. It's a complicated world and it's not all his fault, but when people look around the world and then look at home, there's not much to cheer about right now.” [MP3 audio here; video below]
In a discussion about Rand Paul’s presidential chances on MSNBC’s The Last Word, a panel featuring Josh Barro and Richard Wolffe managed to hit Republicans for being anti-immigrant while also accusing Paul and conservatives – not the Obama administration – of misleading on Benghazi. Paul has received media criticism for supposedly fleeing a dinner with Rep. Steve King when the Iowa Republican was approached by two so-called “Dreamers” regarding his opposition to the President’s DACA program. Paul says he got up from lunch to conduct a pre-arranged interview with reporters a few feet away.
The New York Times’s Barro, who recently caused a stir for suggesting on Twitter that socially conservative attitudes need to be ruthlessly “stamped out,” had unkind things to say about those who support more border security as well. He whined that “so much of the Republican base...is just very strongly anti-immigration.” He elaborated further on the subject: “And when Republicans talk about these immigration issues, they come off as sort of nasty.” In Barroland, it’s “nasty” to want the President to enforce the nation’s immigration laws, but perfectly civil to daydream about society blackballing social conservatives for their religious beliefs. [MP3 audio here; video below]
In a lighthearted segment on the August 5 edition of the Colbert Report, host Stephen Colbert took to mocking – and promoting – Hillary Clinton’s new book, Hard Choices. Host Stephen Colbert began the segment by ripping the “shameless name dropping” in the book, and jokingly dismissing that “there is no way on Earth one woman can be in so many places at once!”
Lo and behold, Hillary Clinton appeared on set, to roars from the studio's liberal audience and chants of “Hillary! Hillary!” Colbert and Clinton proceeded to do an extended back and forth, humorously attempting to one-up each other by name dropping famous celebrities and politicians. [MP3 audio here; video below]
CNN’s New Day morning show followed up on yesterday’s surprising discussion regarding Israel and the media with another segment on the August 5 edition of the program. It featured co-host Chris Cuomo interviewing pro-Palestinian pundit Rula Jebreal on the topic, and the on-screen headline read “Is Media Coverage Pro-Israel?”
As the old saying goes, any headline that ends in a question mark can be answered with the word “no,” but Jebreal clearly thought otherwise. [MP3 audio here; video below]
Complaints from the mainstream media over the disproportionate nature of the Israel-Hamas conflict have reached a fever pitch in recent weeks. The problem for them, it seems, is that not enough Israelis are dying in this conflict between a democratic state and a terrorist-run Islamist territory. Leave it to CNN commentator Marc Lamont Hill to make the point a little bit more explicit.
In a discussion on the August 4 edition of CNN Newsroom, Hill critiqued Israel’s Iron Dome system, almost lamenting the fact that it has limited Israeli deaths, leading to the disproportionate outcome of the war liberals so often mention. He absurdly claimed: [MP3 audio here; video below]
In a surprising segment, CNN’s New Day discussed the role of the media in the Israel-Hamas conflict and whether they are providing proper context regarding the two sides. In an interview with co-host Kate Bolduan, guest Lee Habeeb, columnist for National Review, slammed the media for its biased coverage of the issue. In fact, in a recent piece for NRO, Habeeb went so far as to claim that the media have acted as "co-conspirators" to Hamas.
When Bolduan asked where Habeeb believed the media was lacking, he argued that “the point of the spear is the media and dead children and dead women...and I don’t believe the media is covering it.” Toward the end of the segment, Bolduan cited Hamas political leader Khaled Mashaal, who claimed that the U.S. has now adopted the Israeli narrative. The New Day co-host wondered how it could go both ways. Habeeb blasted the media again: [MP3 audio here; video below]
Buried on page A19 of the Washington Post was the latest example of the Obama administration willfully, flagrantly ignoring its obligations under federal law.
In the last two fiscal years alone, according to a report from Juliet Eilperin, over 1,200 regulations are technically invalid under federal law. The reason lies in a 1996 law stating that “federal rules are supposed to be reported to the House and Senate in paper form and to the Government Accountability Office electronically.”
CBS This Morning stood out as the lone network morning newscast to cover the growing corruption scandal surrounding New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, devoting 2 minutes and 32 seconds to the story. The program cited a New York Timesreport that the Governor hired a criminal defense attorney in preparation for possible obstruction of justice or witness tampering charges.
Meanwhile, the CNN, NBC and ABC morning shows all passed on covering the new developments of the scandal. Since the story broke on July 23, CNN – who employs Andrew Cuomo’s brother, Chris, as the co-host of New Day – has not mentioned the story even one time on their network, despite regular coverage from other cable networks. [MP3 audio here; video below]
As the Israel-Hamas conflict rages on, it appears that the Israelis have lost Joe Scarborough as a trusted ally. On the July 31 edition of Morning Joe, the former Florida Congressman ripped Israel for their “indiscriminate” attacks upon Gaza, and feared that this would only cause the conflict to worsen in the future.
Following Ayman Mohyeldin’s pro-Hamas reporting on the issue, Scarborough reacted to the news that an Israeli rocket reportedly hit a UN school in Gaza: [MP3 audio here; video below]
In a piece discussing the University of Notre Dame’s policy on contraception, Irin Carmon of MSNBC.com revealed her unashamed support of government-mandated birth control and abortifacient drugs. And if the headline “This is the Next Hobby Lobby” wasn’t clear enough, the article barely mentioned opposition to Notre Dame’s decision to fight the contraception mandate. Aside from a few brief paragraphs on the Sycamore Trust, a conservative pro-life alumni group, the piece was extremely sympathetic to the pro-choice cause and dismissive of those who oppose the contraception mandate.
The article cited one student who lamented that “you couldn’t find a box of condoms anywhere” on campus. Carmon, using one student as an example, claimed that the university has stigmatized contraception entirely: “Even students who use birth control pills for non-contraceptive purposes say they have been stigmatized.”
Not only is Israel on the wrong side of opinion when it comes to the liberal media, but evidently the world’s lone Jewish state is losing its soul as well. At least this was the opinion of Andrea Mitchell on her midday MSNBC program.
In a conversation with Israeli Ambassador to the United States Ron Dermer, the Andrea Mitchell Reports host – in reference to the large number of civilians dead in Gaza – questioned what he would say to Americans: “And what do you say to them that Israel may be losing its soul, may be losing the war because of the political impact of what is happening on the ground?” [MP3 audio here; video below]
Highlighting the 10th anniversary of Barack Obama’s famous speech at the Democratic National Convention in 2004, Chris Matthews devoted a segment to discussing whether Barack Obama had lived up to the hope and promise he showed a decade earlier. The Hardball host had to work in a little bit of self-promotion, playing a clip of himself predicting Obama to be the first black president following that speech. The cable anchor, however, ignored his famous admission that the Democrat provoked a "chill" up his leg.
Matthews blamed the poor economy in part for derailing the president’s hopes of a united America. He also noted that America began to perceive Obama as a leftist, which worked to undermine the idea that he was a president who could bring people together: “All of a sudden they realized he was a man of the left on things. He was a Keynesian, he believed in a big stimulus program. He really wanted a health care program and he did it. I think that probably shocked the center.” [MP3 audio here; video below]
The media coverage of the current Israeli-Hamas conflict has been decidedly anti-Israel, and the lack of reporting on growing anti-Semitism worldwide has only made it more apparent. Surprisingly, on the July 28 edition of At This Hour with Berman and Michaela, the hosts devoted a segment to cover the virulent anti-Semitic protests occurring in Germany, France, and even in the United Kingdom.
Co-host Michaela Pereira led off by lamenting that protests from Paris to Berlin have “turned nasty, targeting all Jews. In Paris, protestors have attacked synagogues, they’ve looted shops owned by Jews, chanting death to the Jews.” Co-anchor John Berman cited an even more horrifying scene from Germany, where some have called for Jews to be killed: [MP3 audio here; video below]
Following Andrew Cuomo’s decision to disband a corruption commission he created, Morning Joe hit the New York governor hard for his questionable tactics. The scandal comes after The New York Times reported that Cuomo shut down the commission when it began to go after some of the Governor’s own political allies.
Cuomo was defiant in response to the allegations, asserting that “it's not a legal question. The Moreland Commission was my commission, it's my commission, my subpoena power, my Moreland Commission. I can appoint it, I can disband it. I can appoint you, I can un-appoint you tomorrow.” Joe Scarborough wasn’t buying the excuses, ripping the Governor: [MP3 audio here; video below]
In a historically illiterate Salonpiece, writer Heather Digby Parton argued that “right-wing hatred” of John F. Kennedy ultimately led to his death, and that a climate of hate is once again growing because of the right’s reaction to President Obama. Of course, the entire premise of Parton’s piece is false because JFK was not assassinated by any crazy ‘gun nut’ right-winger, as she might have you believe.
Lee Harvey Oswald was a proud Communist who adored the Soviet Union. But one wouldn't know that from the article. In fact, the words "Lee Harvey Oswald" are never mentioned. Parton cited some evidence that there was extreme rhetoric directed toward Kennedy from the right, and connects that to the fact that he was ultimately killed. She asserted that “The right-wing hatred for John F. Kennedy was in some ways as extreme as the hatred for Barack Obama and nowhere was it more energized than Dallas in 1963.”
In his never-ending obsession with Ted Cruz, Hardball’s Chris Matthews devoted the start and close of his program to rants against the supposed "McCarthyism" of the Texas Senator. Matthews objected to Cruz’s belief that the FAA’s short lived ban on air travel to Israel was political in nature.
On the July 24 edition of Matthews’ program, the host wondered if Cruz was “trying to mimic the headline grabbing of the bad old days, or is he just so ignorant of what those tactics have done to this country that he's not aware of what he’s committing: the horror of McCarthyism all over again.” The former Tip O’Neill staffer was far from finished with the junior Senator from Texas, however. Matthews continued: [MP3 audio here; video below]
On the July 23 edition of The Last Word, in an apparent effort to demonize conservatives as being uninterested in protecting children who were victims of sex trafficking, Lawrence O’Donnell deliberately misinterpreted the Republican position on the 2008 immigration law signed by President Bush.
O’Donnell played a clip of Congressman Mo Brooks (R-Alabama) expressing his support for sending illegal immigrant children back to their home countries. Brooks elaborated further by saying, “Now, if in fact some are, for example, being trafficked for slavery or sex purposes, that's a different issue.” Despite this clear statement, the host of The Last Word claimed that “one of the positions that these Republicans are holding is that they want to repeal the law that President Bush signed, which is about protecting children from sex trafficking. So they want to be on record as not wanting to protect children from this kind of sex trafficking.” [MP3 audio here; video below]