On Sunday’s Reliable Sources on CNN, host Howard Kurtz played a portion of a video montage that was posted both on NewsBusters and on NB’s parent organization the Media Research Center’s Web site showing that correspondents on several broadcast and news networks lavished excessive praise on President Obama by calling his decision to replace General Stanley McChrystal with General David Petraeus a "brilliant" move. The CNN host played the portion of the clip that was shown on Thursday's The O'Reilly Factor on FNC.
But, as he brought up the montage with guest Lara Logan of CBS News, Kurtz missed the point as he suggested that the MRC/NewsBusters was somehow complaining that the "liberal media are in love with David Petraeus and they’re falling into line," when, in reality, the point was journalistic infatuation with Obama illustrated by so many media figures using the same word, "brilliant," and that since Petraeus is so obviously well qualified for the position it hardly takes genius to name him to the post.
Logan, accepting Kurtz’s flawed premise, responded: "Well, if they had said it was a bad decision, then it would be 'the liberal media hate David Petraeus and they’re not falling into line.'" She later concluded that the decision was, indeed, "brilliant" on Obama’s part: "The only way he had to ensure, to silence the critics and really to move on, this reassured the troops, this reassured the commanders, this reassured people who were in favor of it – the Afghans, the allies. That’s why people are calling it brilliant, maybe because it was brilliant."
Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the June 27 Reliable Sources on CNN:
HOWARD KURTZ: Bill O’Reilly, on his Fox News show, played a clip – some clips had been put together by the conservative Media Research Center, the Newsbusters site. I want to show that to you now.
CHIP REID, CBS NEWS : Sounds like a pretty brilliant decision really.
JIM MIKLASZEWSKI. NBC NEWS : This is nothing less than a stunning development, Brian, and, quite frankly, at a quick glance, almost brilliant.
CHUCK TODD, NBC NEWS : Politically, in this town, it’s going to be seen as a brilliant choice by the President-
WOLF BLITZER, CNN: -a very brilliant move to tap General Petraeus-
KURTZ: So the suggestion is that the liberal media are in love with David Petraeus and they’re falling into line.
LARA LOGAN, CBS NEWS: Well, if they had said it was a bad decision, then it would be "the liberal media hate David Petraeus and they’re not falling into line." The one line is it’s very hard to find something wrong with this decision by the President because there was only one general in the United States Army who has the political weight and influence in Washington to survive this. Anyone else going into that position who wasn’t tested, who wasn’t proven, who didn’t have political connections, would have been a lame duck. They would have been able to do nothing. President Obama faced a serious choice here. Was his strategy going to die with General McChrystal? Because there’s a lot of opposition from very powerful people in Washington who want to move to a very different model of counterterrorism and not counterinsurgency. The only way he had to ensure, to silence the critics and really to move on, this reassured the troops, this reassured the commanders, this reassured people who were in favor of it – the Afghans, the allies. That’s why people are calling it brilliant, maybe because it was brilliant.