For more than a month, the American Gulf Coast has been threatened by a gigantic oil spill, caused by the April 21 explosion of a British Petroleum deepwater rig. Yet unlike five years ago — when the media were quick to put the onus on the Bush administration for its handling of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina — for four weeks, ABC, CBS and NBC failed to scrutinize the administration’s ineffectual response to this disaster, now blasted even by such Democratic stalwarts as ex-Clinton operative James Carville.
On Wednesday’s Good Morning America, Carville accused the President of “political stupidity” for not making the oil spill a top priority. “It just looks like he’s not involved in this! Man, you have got to get down here and take control of this! Put somebody in charge of this and get this thing moving! We’re about to die down here!” Carville specifically faulted Obama for not deploying sufficient federal resources to protect the valuable marshes in southern Louisiana.
The top story at NYTimes.com Friday afternoon, presumably headed for the front-page of Saturday morning’s newspaper, touted how: “Immigration Law in Arizona Reveals G.O.P. Divisions.” All but one paragraph of the 30-paragraph report by Jennifer Steinhauer described the dilemma for Republicans torn between popular sentiment in favor of Arizona’s pro-enforcement stance, and the need to not alienate Hispanic voters.
Fair enough. But the Democrats are ostensibly in worse shape, having publicly and visibly denounced (with the President of Mexico) a popular law that 64% of Americans support, according to an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.
But the Times casts the GOP as stymied by the “delicacy of the issue,” even going so far as to seek wisdom from Karl Rove (not a Times favorite), identified with the soft-line approach that helped erode President Bush’s popularity among conservatives a few years ago:
All three broadcast evening newscasts have repeatedly touted, as if it is a valid representation of national sentiment, the “boycott” of Arizona by liberal municipalities such as San Francisco and Los Angeles. But when the Arizona Corporation Commissioner on Tuesday made a tongue-in-cheek offer to help Los Angeles out in its boycott by shutting off the electricity flow, CBS and NBC were silent.
The only network to mention the proposal to test the depths of the city’s commitment to liberal sanctimony was ABC, MRC intern Matthew Hadro discovered. White House correspondent Jake Tapper first noted how President Obama and Mexican President Felipe Calderon both criticized Arizona’s new immigration law at the White House, then reported:
JAKE TAPPER: The debate is intense. The Los Angeles City Council voted last month to boycott all official business in Arizona, prompting an Arizona utilities commissioner to all but threaten to cut off the electricity Arizona power plants provide L.A. GARY PIERCE, ARIZONA CORPORATION COMMISSIONER: You can’t call a boycott on the candy store, and then decide to go in and pick and choose candy you really do want.
Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter could find himself out of a job Tuesday night, if his newly-adopted Democratic Party refuses to renominate the 80-year-old incumbent for a sixth term. For the establishment media, Specter’s chief value was as a Republican Senator they could quote espousing anti-conservative talking points usually uttered by liberal Democrats.
It will be interesting to see whether, if Specter is indeed rejected in favor of the more liberal Congressman Joe Sestak (late polls show a virtual dead heat), if that will trigger hand-wringing about the “fringe” of the Democratic Party drumming out a more “moderate” Senator.
A review of how the media have promoted Specter as more desirable than the rest of the GOP over the years, starting with Specter’s (brief) 1995 campaign for the Republican presidential nomination:
As the MRC’s Tim Graham documented yesterday, ABC and NBC's morning and evening newscasts have so far refused to tag Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan as a “liberal,” with CBS’s Jan Crawford offering the sole ideological label of the nominee on Monday's Evening News: “Her career has put her solidly on the left.”
In contrast, all three networks made a major deal out of the last person nominated by a Republican President for a slot on the Court, Justice Samuel Alito. Out of the first 21 stories on the ABC, CBS and NBC morning and evening news shows after Justice Alito’s selection, correspondents conveyed ten explicit “conservative” labels during the first 36 hours of coverage. In contrast, Graham documented just one “liberal” label in 14 Kagan stories during the equivalent time period after her selection.
In Alito’s case, the networks began trumpeting ideology from the moment he was picked. Anchor Charles Gibson opened ABC’s Special Report announcing Alito’s nomination: “He is very conservative. This is a liberal appellate court, but he is the most conservative member on it....The President has picked someone very conservative, but a very accomplished jurist as well.”
During ABC’s live coverage of President Obama’s nomination of Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court, Diane Sawyer and a quartet of correspondents failed to find a single thing to criticize about the new nominee. Instead, Sawyer touted it as a “history making day” (although why is unclear, since she's the fifth woman to be nominated), and touted Kagan as a feminist “trailblazer” and a “conciliator” between “the conservative and liberal wings of the Court.”
Good Morning America co-anchor George Stephanopoulos agreed Kagan had a “reputation for bringing conservatives and liberals together,” and recounted how he and Kagan worked side-by-side in Bill Clinton’s White House: “She does have a great temperament, very easy-going, a good sense of humor.” Then, as Kagan and President Obama strode to the podium, Sawyer quoted the nominee complimenting herself: “We had a soundbite from her saying she had a reputation for being a very good teacher.”
The last time a major disaster threatened the U.S. Gulf Coast, journalists dropped any pretense of objectivity and openly scorned what they saw as the ineffective response of the Bush administration to Hurricane Katrina. And top media writers found it just wonderful that the press was taking a side, with New York Times’ critic Alessandra Stanley saluting “a rare sense of righteous indignation by a news media that is usually on the defensive.”
Now, there are gentle suggestions that the Obama administration dropped the ball in the days after the oil rig explosion that triggered a 5,000 barrel per day leak that threatens to eclipse the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill as the worst in U.S. history. Today’s lead story in the New York Times determined that “a review of the response suggests it may be too simplistic to place all the blame for the unfolding environmental catastrophe on the oil company. The federal government also had opportunities to move more quickly, but did not do so while it waited for a resolution to the spreading spill from BP,” a theme echoed in an editorial, as Noel Sheppard notes below.
Not exactly “righteous indignation,” but the story isn’t over, yet.
In contrast, here’s some of what the critics had to say about the media’s adversarial approach when George W. Bush was in the White House:
For more than two decades, the so-called mainstream media have preached the dangers of manmade global warming, insisting American businesses and consumers must make massive economic sacrifices to ward off a global climate catastrophe. Not even last November’s exposure of e-mails from leading scientists on the alarmist side of the debate — showing them conniving to fudge or suppress data, discredit critics and distort the peer review process — has caused journalists to finally take a skeptical approach to radical environmentalists’ doomsaying.
A new study from the MRC’s Business & Media Institute documents how ABC, CBS and NBC have been just as strident in their advocacy in the months following “ClimateGate” as they were in the 20 years that preceded the scandal. At the same time, a review of the Media Research Center’s archives going back to the late 1980s shows just how strongly reporters have pushed the liberal line on global warming. Here are just some of the many examples:
The Tea Party movement launched one year ago, in response to the unprecedented expansion of government by President Barack Obama and congressional liberals, a massive increase in spending that will create economy-crushing fiscal burdens for future generations of taxpayers.
In that relatively brief period, the Tea Party has demonstrated it is a formidable political force. The pressure the movement brought to bear at the grassroots level put liberals on the defensive for much of the health care debate, and nearly succeeded in torpedoing the entire scheme in spite of Democrats’ overwhelming congressional majorities. And Tea Party activists proved decisive in a string of electoral defeats for liberals, culminating in Republican Scott Brown’s victory in the special election to succeed Ted Kennedy in the U.S. Senate.
So how have the supposedly objective media covered one of the biggest political stories in recent years? The Media Research Center has a new report out today, reviewing every mention of the Tea Party on the ABC, CBS and NBC morning and evening newscasts, Sunday talk shows, and ABC’s Nightline from February 19, 2009 (when CNBC contributor Rick Santelli first suggested throwing a “Tea Party” to protest government takeovers) through March 31, 2010. Among the major findings:
This week, the MRC’s regular Notable Quotables newsletter, documenting the latest outrageous quotes from the liberal media from the past two weeks, could not fit in its normal 3-page format, so we created a super-sized special edition, “Celebrating ObamaCare, Demonizing Its Opponents.” It’s chock full of quotes touting the wonders of the liberal health care scheme, and slamming the Tea Party and other opponents as vicious racist thugs. The whole thing is posted at www.MRC.org; here’s a sample:
If You’re Anti-ObamaCare, You Must Be a Bigot
“What are the Tea Partiers really angry about? Health care reform, or the fact that it was an African American President and a woman Speaker of the House who pushed through major change?” — MSNBC’s Chris Matthews at the top of Hardball, March 29.
On Saturday’s Good Morning America, reporter Rachel Martin cast President Obama and Democratic leaders as working hard to nail down the votes needed to pass their massive health care bill, but made no suggestion that liberals were using devious or heavy-handed tactics. But when it came to the Republicans, reporter David Kerley included an indignant Democratic congresswoman, who charged that the mean-spirited GOP was casting her as “soft on cancer” just weeks after both of her parents died of the disease. (Friday's ABC World News highlighted the same complaint, MRC's Brent Baker noticed.)
The two reports, which aired back-to-back at the top of the March 20 program, were a good illustration of the liberal media trope that Republicans sink to using offensive hardball tactics while Democrats are seen as offering lofty arguments.
On the one hand, Martin’s story showed only soundbites from Democrats: President Obama, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and a freshman Congressman who was switching his vote from “no” to “yes.” Martin helped cast Representative John Boccieri as a profile in courage:
The end of Congress’s long debate over ObamaCare could be near, as the President pushes for a final vote this week before his Asia trip, and House Democrats want a resolution before next week’s Easter break.
Yet whether or not liberals’ dreams are ultimately realized, they have had a huge advantage throughout the process. Over the past twelve months, journalists have continually stacked the deck in favor of a big government takeover of health care.
Filling in for Mark Levin on his national radio talk show on Thursday, Houston radio host Michael Berry picked up on MRC’s recently-released “Media Bias 101” report detailing dozens of polls since 1981 showing journalists liberal attitudes and strongly pro-Democratic voting record. “I'm sitting on a great study done by the Media Research Center, Media Bias 101,” Berry enthused. “It's one of the best reports I've ever seen.” [audio excerpt here]
Berry was making the point that new media technologies such as Facebook lets citizens inform each other and mobilize to affect public policy without being dependent on a relatively few unrepresentative journalists: “The ability for people to communicate and to interact in the way that Facebook allows is an absolute game changer....People that can’t get hired at big newspapers or big TV stations [are now] changing public policy in profound ways.”
Here’s some of what Berry had to say near the beginning of the first hour of the March 4 Mark Levin Show (Levin was off that night getting ready for his Friday night speech at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in California.)
“Despite persistent violence and a critical election coming up, President Obama hardly ever mentions the war in Iraq,” Joseph Curl reports in today’s Washington Times, and the news media are largely aiding in this neglect. Curl discloses that “the last time a White House reporter asked about the Iraq war was June 26,” while ABC, CBS and NBC aired just 80 minutes of coverage in all of 2009.
The near-media blackout means that the success of President Bush’s “surge” policy in 2007 — a policy opposed by President Obama and Vice President Biden when both were presidential candidates and ridiculed by the networks as a "Lost Cause" — has gone virtually unreported in the past year. This week’s Newsweek is an exception, with a big Iraq War cover story declaring “Victory at Last.”
I don’t usually post the MRC’s bi-weekly Notable Quotables here on NewsBusters, but there seemed to be more than the usual number of obnoxious liberal quotes over the past two weeks — disparaging the Tea Party as “harsh” or racist; denigrating Sarah Palin as “preposterous” and “anti-intellectual,” and insisting that the voter revolt against Democrats’ big government policies is fiction: “a tempest in a teapot.”
Here are some of the choicer quotes from this issue; the entire package (with five audio/video clips) is posted at www.MRC.org. You can also sign up to get each issue sent to you via e-mail (next issue will be March 8).
Scolding “Harsh Rhetoric” of Tea Party “On the Fringe”
ABC’s John Berman: “The business of this first ever national Tea Party convention is the nuts and bolts of politics, like voter registration....But barely scratch the surface, and there’s a tone of anger and confrontation....When we asked delegates what they thought, their feelings about the President were almost universal.” Unidentified Man: “I believe he is a socialist ideologue.” Unidentified Woman: “You just read his history, he’s a Marxist.”... Berman: “One of the goals of this convention is to turn this movement into a political force. The question is, does the harsh rhetoric keep them on the fringe?” — ABC’s World News, February 5.
Surveys over the past 30 years have consistently found top journalists are much more liberal than the rest of America. At the same time, public opinion polls show Americans see the media as politically biased, inaccurate and an obstacle to solving society’s problems. The numbers document a credibility crisis for journalism that only a swift move towards professionalism and fairness can fix.
The MRC has now created a one-stop online resource, “Media Bias 101,” detailing more than 40 surveys revealing journalists’ liberal opinions and the public’s attitudes about bias. The report also contains page after page of quotes from top reporters discussing media bias — most denying the problem, but some admitting it.
Conservative talk radio and political blogs all jumped on Vice President Joe Biden’s claim on CNN’s Larry King Live Wednesday night that the successful resolution of the Iraq war “could be one of the great achievements of this administration.” Biden and President Obama, then both Senators, strongly opposed President Bush’s 2007 troop surge that marked the turning point in the war.
On his Thursday show, Rush Limbaugh scoffed that “I was all set to say that I think maybe Obama is dumber than Biden, until I heard that....This is worse than chutzpah, folks. This is insulting everybody’s intelligence.”
But during the 2pm of MSNBC Live on Thursday, anchor Tamron Hall -- noting that "the Right [is] really honing in on this comment" -- sought reassurance from the Huffington Post’s “senior congressional correspondent” Ryan Grim, who insisted that Biden was correct. “If you can have 90,000 troops leave there, and if it were still a stable country, then actually leaving the country would be a great achievement,” Grim declared, adding: “And it would also, it’s worth nothing, be an achievement for the anti-war movement.” [Video at right, audio link here.]
Grim also refused to see any connection between Bush’s troop surge and the resulting drop in violence: “It’s an open question exactly what led to the decrease in violence that coincided with the surge.” And he deplored how conservatives blame Obama for the poor state of the economy, but refuse to let Obama take credit for the success in Iraq: “This is just utter nonsense.”
On Tuesday’s CBS Evening News, anchor Katie Couric and White House reporter Chip Reid cast President Obama’s push for “bipartisanship” in a favorable light, with Obama “working hard,” “following through on a promise” and “open to ideas from Republicans.” But in an item posted on CBSNews.com, Reid’s fellow CBS White House correspondent, Mark Knoller – who has covered every President since Gerald Ford in the mid-1970s – was far more skeptical: “When a sitting President calls for bipartisanship by the opposition – he really means surrender.”
Knoller painted the President as motivated by frustration: “His top legislative priorities are going nowhere and he’s searching for a way to get them out of lockup.” After recounting past Presidents’ tactical demands for bipartisanship, Knoller outlined the political motive:
Amid all of the snow news on Sunday night’s World News, ABC reporter David Kerley tossed in a positive reference to President Obama’s supposed abilities to create jobs. “While President Obama didn’t come up with it, the storm is its own mini-jobs program,” Kerley touted, talking about the extra cash some people made helping to shovel out their neighbors.
Actually, the jobs “created” by the snow storm might resemble those “created” by the government in that the work is only temporary, but the snow-clearing work also sprouted spontaneously based on actual demand and without the need for huge government bureaucracy to manage the process.
And nearly 48 hours after the snow stopped falling, most private businesses and individuals have dug out their own property, while local governments have yet to finish clearing residential areas. Maybe instead of demonizing profit, liberals could finally recognize how effective the profit motive is at inspiring people to engage in productive work.
Historically, there are two kinds of White House reporters: those that confront officials with the strongest critique and demand a response (think ABC’s Sam Donaldson, who dogged Bill Clinton in the late 1990s just as he had Ronald Reagan in the 1980s); and those who see their job as simply repeating the White House spin of the day.
Reporting this morning on the Obama administration’s push for another $100 billion in spending, supposedly for “job growth,” NBC’s Savannah Guthrie fell into the second category. Rather than amplify the growing chorus of critics who argue that we can’t afford more massive spending when the previous “stimulus” was so expensive and ineffective, Guthrie on NBC’s Today saluted the President for making a “judgment call” that “all economists” could support:
This is a budget where the President makes a judgment call. He's asking for $100 billion to spur job growth, things like tax cuts for small business, tax breaks to increase wages. And he's doing this knowing that it will drive up the deficit, certainly even more in the short term, but all economists agree the real way to get a chunk out of the deficit is to increase hiring.
Both ABC’s Diane Sawyer and CBS’s Katie Couric interviewed White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel as part of their networks’ run-up to tonight’s State of the Union address, but the contrast was stark. While Sawyer attempted to feel Emanuel’s pain over the setbacks for health care legislation (“Two times you have rolled the health care rock up the hill....and two times you have seen it crash back down”), a much feistier Couric interrogated Emanuel over the White House’s political failings.
“As you know, people were pretty disgusted by deals that were made up on Capitol Hill like the one given to Ben Nelson to win his support. If the White House was so involved, was this done with your blessing?” Couric demanded. Moments later, she hit Emanuel with this zinger: “You are considered a master political operative, you were the guy four years ago, of course, who orchestrated the Democratic takeover of the House. Where were you when Massachusetts was going down in flames for the Democrats?”
Writing at The Politico, Michael Calderone reports that “only a few” of CNN’s 200 Washington bureau staffers would say they “respect” 3pm to 5pm ET anchor Rick Sanchez as a journalist, compared to “almost everyone” who acknowledged respect for longtime CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer. [Click here for a run-down of NewsBusters' coverage of Sanchez over the years.]
“While that response could be taken as a slight to Sanchez,” Calderone writes, “some staffers say it’s more a reflection of the general sense of anxiety as CNN tries to find a winning formula for an afternoon/early evening lineup that’s being soundly beaten by Fox News and prime-time programming that last year for the first time also finished behind MSNBC.”
Also according to Calderone: “CNN staffers didn’t realize that Klein was sitting in the back of the room while griping about resources for The Situation Room,” until Klein contrasted the high costs of CNN’s late afternoon hard news block with the “much higher ratings” FNC’s Glenn Beck pulls “without the personnel and resources needed for the CNN show.”
The Washington Times’s Jennifer Harper picked up on a new study from the non-partisan Center for Media and Public Affairs showing President Obama getting much more flattering news coverage from ABC, CBS and NBC (46% positive vs. 54% negative) during his first year in office than did Presidents Reagan, Clinton and George W. Bush, all of whom received roughly three times more bad press than good from those same broadcast networks.
But one network did offer scrutiny roughly equal to that provided by the old networks in the past, according to CMPA: the Fox News Channel. Reviewing the first thirty minutes of FNC’s Special Report with Bret Baier, CMPA found roughly three times more negative coverage of Obama (78%) vs. positive coverage (22%) during 2009. This compares to the broadcast networks doling out 74% bad press for Ronald Reagan in 1981 and 77% bad press for George W. Bush in 2001. In 1993, Bill Clinton fared better than his GOP counterparts (28% positive vs. 72% negative), but much worse than President Obama. (Chart below the jump).
As the MRC’s Tim Graham noted in a just-released special report from MRC, Omitting for Obama, the three broadcast networks were routinely late in picking up on negative storylines about the Obama administration, and gave paltry attention to major scandals such as the radical affiliations of ex-White House aide Van Jones, ACORN, and the pro-communist musings of then-White House communications director Anita Dunn. Instead, those stories were brought to light by alternative news sources, such as Fox News, talk radio and the conservative blogosphere, and then only grudgingly covered by the old media.
Less than two hours before the polls closed in Massachusetts, CBS News political analyst John Dickerson argued that if Republican candidate Scott Brown wins tonight, “it's just going to get a lot uglier in Washington,” declaring that Republicans “feel excited and they see glory in attacking the President.”
After talking about prospects for the Democrats’ unpopular health care bill, CBS anchor Katie Couric asked Dickerson: “Finally, if this seat goes Republican, how will it change the political climate in Washington?”
Dickerson warned: “It's going to get uglier. Republicans, no matter what the outcome is, feel emboldened, they feel excited and they see glory in attacking the President. Democrats, on the other hand, have to really fight hard against that sentiment. The President's getting into that fight, pushing a populist message, and so in the end it's just going to get a lot uglier in Washington.”
There has been something of a debate over whether the Senate can properly delay seating Republican Scott Brown if he wins today’s special election, giving the Democrats time to ram through their unpopular health care bill. The Weekly Standard’s Fred Barnes has neatly summarized the arguments of GOP lawyers that the temporary Senator Paul Kirk’s term expires today with the election of a successor (either Coakley or Brown).
But Democrats are even now preparing the media to accept the idea that Kirk can remain at his post for up to two more weeks while the formal certification process proceeds at the pace chosen by officials in Democratically-controlled Massachusetts. Yet just two months ago, the lack of certification for two Democratic winners of congressional special elections was no barrier to their quick swearing in for a health care vote in the House — and it drew no complaints from the news media (and was enthusiastically received by MSNBC’s left-wing hosts).
ABC’s George Stephanopoulos is worried enough about tomorrow’s Massachusetts Senate race to be thinking about a “Plan B” for Democratic plans to push ObamaCare onto an increasingly unwilling public.
“You have top Democrats like Barney Frank of Massachusetts who said flatly if Martha Coakley, the Democrat, loses, health care is dead. So what kind of planning is the White House doing right now for backup? What's their Plan B?” Stephanopoulos fretted to White House correspondent Jake Tapper.
Tapper replied that the current “Plan B” is for the House leadership to force an up or down vote on the Senate version of health care as it was passed Christmas eve, obviating the need for a new Senate vote that could be filibustered. But “House Speaker Pelosi has told the White House she does not think the votes are there,” Tapper informed Stephanopoulos.
A new survey from Scott Rasmussen finds that more than half of all voters (51%) believe "the average reporter is more liberal than they are," and two-thirds (67%) think the media have "too much power and influence over government decisions."
Rasmussen's poll was released Thursday. Perhaps proving the point, on Friday, MSNBC anchor Savannah Guthrie reacted to polls showing the Democrats losing ground in Massachusetts by exclaiming: "This is bad." According to Rasmussen: "Only 20% of all voters say most reporters try to offer unbiased coverage of a political campaign. Seventy-two percent (72%) say most reporters try to help the candidate they want to win."
The controversy over Harry Reid's crack about Barack Obama's lack of a "Negro dialect" is apparently over, at least according to the broadcast networks. Although the story only broke Saturday afternoon, the last network news story aired Tuesday night on Nightline.
An MRC analysis found that from Saturday to Tuesday the networks ran a combined 37 items on Reid's "Negro" remark, including interviews and panel discussions. Broadcast opinions were heavily skewed in Reid's favor: 71% of interview guests, soundbites or quoted sources were supportive of the Democrat, vs. 29% who were critical of Reid.
It's an excellent case study in how the liberal media aid in Democratic scandal control. Over four days, the networks morphed the story from one of an embarrassing racial gaffe by the Senate's top Democrat into one about Republican over-reach in going after Reid, with some journalists even crediting the Senator with keen insight on race relations:
The revelation Saturday that Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid's use of the word "Negro" to refer to then-Senator Barack Obama in 2008 -- Reid said the candidate had "no Negro dialect unless he wanted to have one" -- has been heavily covered by the broadcast media, but the tone of coverage has emphasized how the President has accepted Reid's apology, with the implication that that should be the end of it.
It's hard to imagine any top Republican officeholder being so lightly treated if they used the word "Negro" at any point over the past 20 or 30 years. Indeed, the word is in such disfavor, it usually only makes the news when researchers dig into archival footage from the 1960s or early 1970s -- or when the networks are reporting on today's violent haters.
On CBS and NBC, the most recent instance (prior to Reid) of using the word "Negro" in a modern news story was in reporting on the June 2009 shooting at the Holocaust museum in Washington, carried out by a white supremacist. On ABC, the word appeared back in January 2009, as part of an insult flung by al-Qaeda's Ayman al Zawahiri towards the new President Obama.
The latest media buzz is that longtime Nightline anchor Ted Koppel, who left ABC News back in 2005, might soon return to the network to replace George Stephanopoulos as host of This Week. Here’s a hint of the perspective Koppel might bring with him to his potential new job: appearing last night as an analyst on BBC’s World News America, Koppel insisted that President Obama’s first (non)reaction to the attempted bombing of a U.S. airline on Christmas Day “was the right one,” but media “yapping” and “24-hour cable channels going at it, hour after hour after hour” pressured Obama into an “overreaction.”
Of course, the successful smuggling of a bomb onto a U.S. passenger jet — by an al-Qaeda operative who was already known to intelligence officials — exposed significant problems in the government’s security process, a fact which even Obama himself now concedes. “This was a failure to connect and understand the intelligence that we already had,” the President confessed yesterday.
But rather than scrutinize the government’s failing, Koppel apparently prefers that nothing happened: “Doing something is exactly what the terrorists want. They want to feel as though they control our actions, rather than we controlling them ourselves.”