I don't know about you, but whenever I have to choose whose military strategy to rely on - the Israeli IDF's or a member of the MSM - I'm going to go with the American media guy every time - particularly when the fellow in question is NBC Nightly News host Brian Williams. After all, what battles or wars has Israel ever won? In contrast, those fraternity parties back at Catholic University were an absolute minefield, not to mention the internecine battle scars Brian earned while working in Jimmy Carter's White House.
So it was that I listened with rapt attention to Brian's report from Tel Aviv this morning, and learned - to my horror - that the Israeli battle plan didn't meet muster with General Williams.
One of the frequent complaints liberals make about the Bush admin is that it is far too secret with everything, cutting off the public from information that it has a right to know. It's a complaint that's usually made by either party when it's out of power. The minority party usually tries to paint the majority as a corrupt and less-than-transparent.
Curiously, though, some new Democratic complaints of a lack of transparancy are now arising, but they're not about Republicans. Via Ed Morrissey at Captain's Quarters, we learn that more moderate Democrats are raising questions about a liberal group lavishing millions of dollars on leftist groups like Air America and Media Matters in exchange for silence about their finances:
An alliance of nearly a hundred of the nation's wealthiest donors is
roiling Democratic political circles, directing more than $50 million
in the past nine months to liberal think tanks and advocacy groups in
what organizers say is the first installment of a long-term campaign to
compete more aggressively against conservatives.
A year after its founding, Democracy Alliance has followed up on
its pledge to become a major power in the liberal movement. It has
lavished millions on groups that have been willing to submit to its
extensive screening process and its demands for secrecy.
These include the Center for American Progress, a think tank with an
unabashed partisan edge, as well as Media Matters for America, which
tracks what it sees as conservative bias in the news media. Several
alliance donors are negotiating a major investment in Air America, a
liberal talk-radio network.
But the large checks and demanding style wielded by Democracy
Alliance organizers in recent months have caused unease among
Washington's community of Democratic-linked organizations. The alliance
has required organizations that receive its endorsement to sign
agreements shielding the identity of donors.
Remember the Adam Clymer incident? Back when George W. Bush was running for president, he called a New York Times reporter an obscenity in what he thought was an unmiked remark to Dick Cheney. For weeks, the liberal elite press corps, notorious for its own love of profanity, was up in arms about how dastardly Bush was for using such horrible, filthy language.
Now it seems Bush will soon be hearing more hypocritical lectures:
It wasn't meant to be overheard. Private luncheon conversations among world leaders, picked up by a microphone, provided a rare window into both banter and substance _ including President Bush cursing Hezbollah's attacks against Israel.
Bush expressed his frustration with the United Nations and his disgust with the militant Islamic group and its backers in Syria as he talked to British Prime Minister Tony Blair during the closing lunch at the Group of Eight summit.
"See the irony is that what they need to do is get Syria to get Hezbollah to stop doing this s--- and it's over," Bush told Blair as he chewed on a buttered roll. [...]
The unscripted comments came during a photo opportunity at the lunch. The leaders clearly did not realize that a live microphone was picking up their discussion.
Asked about the microphone mishap during his final briefing of the summit, Blair quipped that it was "all about transparent government."
Joe Wilson wants the world to know that in the wake of the disclosure of his wife's identity, he and Valerie have been threatened, and not just by "Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity listeners."
But as documented by MRC, after the Oklahoma City bombing liberals like Bryant Gumbel pointed the finger at conservative talk radio: "Right-wing talk show hosts like Rush Limbaugh . . . and others take to the air . . . the extent to which their attitudes may embolden and encourage some extremists has clearly become an issue."
Will the left wing please make up its mind? Which is it? Are conservative talk-show fans harmless fuzzballs, or potentially dangerous mind-numbed robots?
NBC's Andrea Mitchell asked on Monday's NBC Nightly News: “What is Hezbollah and what is its end game?” Mitchell first answered that “experts say to prove it can damage Israel in ways Arab countries couldn't.” But then she proceeded to refer to “Hezbollah's charismatic leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah,” also describing him as “a Shiite populist” who she relayed, over video of kids, “provides social services where Lebanon's weak new government cannot.” Mitchell refrained from labeling Hezbollah as “terrorist” -- or mentioning how its real "end game" is the destruction of Israel -- going no further than to say it “operates militias." (Transcripts follows)
The "revolving door" is a
term reporters often cynically use to talk about the close
relationships that political and lobbying people have with each
other. It's certainly true that in American politics, many people do
move readily between working in government posts to lobbying
But what many journos won't tell you is
that there's another revolving door that politicos use, from politics
to media. They also won't tell you that only Democrats seem to have
the key. The number of Republicans moving into positions of influence
inside the media is small enough you can almost count it on one hand.
And in many cases, the sheer audacity of a former Republican politico
daring to set foot in the press has caused left-wingers, journalist
and blogger alike. The recent Ben
Domenech fiasco or the disgraceful hounding that Susan
Molinari experienced after being hired as an anchor at CBS are
potent examples of this.
Israel versus Hezbollah? Those exchanges pale in comparison to the crossfire between MSNBC host Tucker Carlson and former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin 'Bibi' Netanyahu on this afternoon's 'Tucker'. Alright, perhaps I exaggerate a tad, but there was no mistaking Netanyahu's anger at the way Carlson framed the issue of Americans in Lebanon.
Here's how Carlson, who made the plight of the estimated 25,000 Americans in Lebanon a theme of the show, introduced Netanyahu:
"25,000 Americans are trapped as the nation of Lebanon continues to come under fire from Israeli airstrikes. . . Thousands of US citizens are stranded and Israel is doing nothing to help them. Or is it? What will it take to get our people out of harm's way? Here to answer that question is Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of Israel from 1996-99."
The Senate prepares to take up a bill to allow federal financing of research on stem cell lines that are derived from embryos now in cold storage at fertility clinics and slated for destruction. And New York Times reporter Sheryl Gay Stolberg lies in wait, ready to pounce on the vote as yet another imminent Republican crackup, in Sunday’s “Senate Appears Poised for a Showdown With the President Over Stem Cell Research.”
“The president’s mind has not changed; his chief political adviser, Karl Rove, reiterated the veto threat this week. That keeps Mr. Bush in good stead with the religious conservatives who make up an important part of his base, but at odds with other leading Republicans, including Senator Bill Frist, the majority leader, who is a heart-lung surgeon and has pushed to bring the measure to a vote.”
A story in The Washington Post yesterday contained some survey data that bolster an argument the Media Research Center's Business & Media Institute (BMI) has made for years now: the media's negativism on the economy has a strong influence on the public:
The paper sponsored “a survey-based experiment”
of “more than 2,500 online respondents” who were “shown a brief news
clip before being asked to reply to a series of questions.” The views
of respondents on their personal economic well-being were wildly
different between survey-takers shown a story on gas prices and
respondents shown a story on job growth.
Before starting her new job as anchor of the CBS Evening News, Katie Couric is going on a "listening tour" of the country. As Kathleen Parker writes in the Orlando Sentinel, this looks very similar to the "listening tour" that Hillary Clinton did in New York state in preparation for her Senate run.
The decision to send Couric around the country on a "listening tour," scheduled to wrap up Monday, was a poor calculation. First off, the free-associative mind goes straight to that other trailblazing female, Hillary Clinton, who launched a listening tour before running for U.S. Senate.
Katie, Hillary, Katie, Hillary -- two liberal peas in a pod? The question burrows in the mind and wants to stay.
When you're a White House correspondent so far out in left field even Dana "I'm not a hunter but I play one on TV" Milbank fires off a warning shot about your biases, you know you've lost all credibility.
The Washington Post's Dana Milbank today reviewed Hearst columnist Helen Thomas's latest book and found it a "rather unpleasant rehashing of the liberal criticism of the press's performance before the Iraq war."
Far from a right wing armor-bearer -- as numerous NewsBuster posts can attest -- Milbank at least retains a measure of intellectual honesty in reminding Post readers that the Washington press corps was not uncritical of the Bush administration's defense of the war in the lead-up to the March 2003 invasion.
Columnist Robert Novak, after submitting to a pair of interviews on his friendly home turf -- Fox News -- traveled to an away field on Sunday, appearing with Tim Russert on NBC's "Meet the Press," where he found himself on the hot seat at times.
There, among other things, he reversed course in his dispute with "Newsday," now saying that the paper did not not misquote him on a key point but rather that he misspoke. He continued to claim that he did not really "out" covert CIA agent Valerie Plame. And he defended not only talking about sources with the prosecutor, but also refusing until now to confirm he had testified.
Slapstick Politics has an excerpt from a recent Entertainment Weekly article on Al Gore's film, "An Inconvenient Truth." It turns out documentary films about global warming have a way of making people cool. This should be encouraging news for science club high schoolers around the country.
Minds are being changed, all right, and not just about global warming. Miraculously, over the past few months, An Inconvenient Truth has accomplished something many people once thought inconceivable: It's made Al Gore cool. The somber policy wonk who campaigned for president in 2000 with all those bland speeches about lockboxes is gone. He's now a hip and trendy (in a wonky sort of way) ecological activist. While promoting the movie this summer, Gore has been connecting with crowds more effortlessly and comfortably — even charismatically — than he ever did as a politician. He even found his sense of humor; turns out it's been hiding all this time inside daughter Kristin, a former comedy writer on Matt Groening's Futurama and the one responsible for Gore's gag
This one is truly delicious (grateful hat tip to Little Green Footballs): The International Federation of Journalists condemned Israel for attacking the headquarters of Lebanese broadcaster Al-Manar. For those that are unfamiliar, this is the television station and website run by Hezbollah, the terrorist group that started this recent conflagration against Israel.
As reported by the Islamic Republic News Agency: “The International Federation of Journalists Friday condemned the Israeli bombing of the Lebanese broadcaster Al-Manar, warning that the attack follows a pattern of media targeting that threatens the lives of media staff, violates international law and endorses the use of violence to stifle dissident media.”
Is Harry Smith's goal at every stage of every war to stop it? If he had been around on June 6, 1944, would he have been asking what could be done to stop D-Day? The question arises in light of Smith's questions on this morning's Early Show to Michael O'Hanlon of the Brookings Institution.
Right out of the box, cease-fire seemed to be on Harry's mind: "We have Hezbollah content to fire rockets into Israel, just as we heard a couple of minutes ago from [CBS reporter] Sharyn Alfonsi. We have Israel intent on squashing Hezbollah. Is there any country in the world, any group of countries, for that matter, that can compel either side to stop?"
O'Hanlon didn't think so, noting that at this stage neither side shows the remotest interest in a cease fire.
A piece in today’s NYT lets slip a canard that has been increasingly accepted as an article of faith among many talking heads and television news cycles, and reveals that the United States forces are actually helping Iraqis by being there.
And dang it all if it isn’t the Sunnis pleading for the Americans to remain steadfast and strong this time. While this is not necessarily an encouraging development, it does dampen previous notions that the US forces are viewed strictly as occupiers, bloodthirsty killers or as incompetent and unnecessary, and are instead looked upon by the oppressed and victimized as a protecting force (along with the Iraqi police and army).
When, on the McLaughlin Group over the weekend, Newsweek's Eleanor Clift charged that President Bush is “a dictator who's ineffective,” an incensed Chrystia Freeland, a Canadian native who is the Managing Editor in the U.S. of London's Financial Times, scolded Clift for using the dictator label “so loosely” and inaccurately.
Clift opined that of those attending the G-8 summit, Russian President Vladimir Putin is “the only one of those leaders who goes in there with a commanding popularity among his own people, because he is perceived to be an effective dictator. What we have in this country is a dictator who's ineffective." Freeland, shouting over panelists who were trying to move on to other points, retorted: "But he's not a dictator! I mean we can't use, no we can't use these terms so loosely." Clift backtracked a bit: “Well we have an authoritarian President who is ineffective." But Freeland stood her ground, pointing out: "You guys can elect your Presidents and there can be a free choice. That's not the case in Russia."
Assume that a Democrat is in the White House. The US has been fairly busy all over the globe with this warring thing: Operation's Bushwhacker, Desert Strike, Desert Fox, Southern Skies, Infinite Reach, Allied Force, etc. A former Ambassador, an active supporter of the Republican party, is asked by a CIA operative [his wife] to take a trip to a foreign country to find out more information about a piece of intelligence provided to us by one of our closest allies.
Upon returning from the trip the Ambassador’s findings, according to a Senate Intelligence Committee report, “CIA analysts did not believe that the report added any new information to clarify the issue, they did not use the report to produce any further analytical products or highlight the report for policymakers. For the same reason, CIA's briefer did not brief the Vice President on the report, despite the Vice President's previous questions about the issue.” Regardless, the Ambassador goes right ahead and writes a column attacking the administration on the case of WMD’s. Fast Forward to the real players. It’s so weak that even Dana Milbank, over at the Washington Post is forced to acknowledge in an Oct, 25, 2005 article that: “Wilson had to admit he had misspoken.”
In what has to be the biggest stretch of all time to personally attack the President, the LA Times tries to blame the bad behavior of a French frog on George W. Bush.
NOW WE KNOW why France's team captain lost his cool in the World Cup finals and France lost the trophy to Italy. Terrorism.
Zinedine Zidane, who is of French and Algerian ancestry, head-butted an Italian player who insulted him. Although Zidane in an interview Wednesday would not say what words provoked him, a lip reader hired by the Times of London claims Marco Materazzi called Zidane "the son of a terrorist whore.'' That's pure trickle-down politics. From the White House to the soccer pitch, "terrorist" has "cooties" and "your mother wears combat boots" flat beat as the top playground potty-mouth slur for the 21st century.
Who's surprised? The Bush administration has been scattering the word like ticker tape on a Manhattan parade. Old McDonald left the farm for the NSA, and now it's here a terrorist, there a terrorist, everywhere a terrorist.
That has to be the most sophomoric reasoning I've ever encountered in a newspaper. George Bush didn't make Marerazzi say what he did. George Bush didn't force Zidane to act like a French frog.
But this fits hand in glove with the party-line liberal view of personal responsibility -- that there is none.
President Bush is an even greater threat to our civil liberties than that bête noire of the left, Richard Nixon. That's Morton Halperin's conclusion in a Los Angeles Times op-ed of today, Bush: Worse Than Nixon.
Halperin was once a name in the news. In 1969, then-National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger named Halperin to the NSA. But soon thereafter Kissinger suspected it was the dovish Halperin who leaked to the NY Times the fact that the US was secretly bombing Cambodia. The FBI began tapping his phone, and Halperin was soon gone from NSA. Perhaps Halperin's biggest claim to fame is the fact that Pres. Nixon put him on his 'Enemies List.' A red badge of courage, no pun intended, off which a person can no doubt eat for a lifetime in liberal circles.
Halperin remains active politically, serving as a senior fellow at the 'Center for American Progress.' As detailed by the invaluable Discoverthenetworks, CAP is a George Soros-funded organization founded on the risible notion that American colleges and universities are dominated by . . . conservatives."
"It's hard not to notice the clear similarities between then and now. Both the Nixon and Bush presidencies rely heavily on the use of national security as a pretext for the usurpation of unprecedented executive power.
It wasn’t the barnburner it could have been, but there was a wonderful mini-flyweight boxing match Friday night on MSNBC’s “Hardball.” In the left corner, weighing 105 pounds, Norah O’Donnell. In the right corner, weighing 100 pounds, Ann Coulter (video to follow).
The crowd got a sense before the opening bell that O’Donnell was ready for a donnybrook when prior to Coulter even stepping foot out of her dressing room, O’Donnell referred to her opponent as a “conservative provocateur.” The first actual fisticuffs though came early in round one with O’Donnell jabbing at Coulter over the recent hostilities in Israel and Lebanon being the fault of the Bush administration:
How much do researchers at the Washington Post get paid? How much training does it take to learn how to pull selective items as "research" but ignore some facts that are easily accessible on the Internet?
Once again, I'm doing the job the mainstream media absolutely refuses to do...
Today's WaPo has an article about the six US soldiers charged in the rape and murders in Mahmoudiya and the connection to the barbaric murders of Pfc Menchaca and Pfc. Tucker. Here's some lines from the article, Amid War, Some Violence May Be Personal, by Sonya Geis and John Pomfret with research by Julie Tate ...
"On March 12, a 15-year-old Iraqi girl was raped, and she and her father, mother and sister were gunned down in their home. Three months later, three U.S. soldiers were slain by insurgents. One was shot and two others were kidnapped and killed and their bodies mutilated in what a group linked to al-Qaeda declared was retribution for the attack on the Iraqi family." "One of the questions surrounding two of the most dreadful incidents of the war is whether they are connected. Did the alleged rape and murder of Iraqi civilians by U.S. troops beget the torture and slaying of their own comrades?
Earlier this month, the Mujaheddin al-Shura Council posted a gruesome video on the Internet showing the soldiers' disfigured bodies and said they were executed to "avenge" the rape and homicides. Army investigators deny the claims and say there is no connection between the incidents, though military spokesmen did not respond to questions last week about why they believe that."
The L.A. Times has gone into despair over a 10 second pause in a recent press conference held by Gen. Peter J. Schoomaker, Army chief of staff.
In an article titled "Is U.S. Winning? Army Chief Is at a Loss", by Peter Spiegel, published on July 15th, the L.A. Times moaned that we surely must be losing the war because General Schoomaker paused for "10 seconds" after being asked if we are winning.
It seemed like a routine question, one that military leaders involved in prosecuting the war in Iraq must ask themselves with some regularity: Is the U.S. winning?
But for Gen. Peter J. Schoomaker, the Army chief of staff known for his straight-shooting bluntness, it proved a hard one to answer.
Tom Brokaw's two-hour Sunday night special, Global Warming: What You Need to Know, may be airing on the Discovery Channel, but NBC News, a co-producer of the program, is adopting it as its own even as another reviewer has asserted it provides a one-sided presentation. At the end of Friday's NBC Nightly News, Brian Williams touted, “One quick program note here about a friend of ours: Tom Brokaw's special report on global warming airs this Sunday night on the Discovery Channel. That's at 9 Eastern time.” A bit later Friday night, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann previewed a clip of the cable special: "Tom Brokaw has faced right-wing attacks for his report on global warming. We'll give you your first look at his special report and about how the latest news is that the Earth's warming is leading to the deaths of polar bears." Countdown viewers were then treated to an excerpt from the show in which Brokaw presented one scientists' take on how global warming is harming polar bears in the Arctic which, Brokaw definitely declared, are “likely to become another statistic in one's database of a species on its way to extinction." The excerpt -- identical to the preview clip aired on Friday's Today -- was certainly one-sided, but Olbermann insisted Brokaw's special “is plenty balanced. It is the Earth's atmosphere that is not balanced."
Meanwhile, in a review posted Friday by Bloomberg News, Dave Shiflett concluded: “You'll find more dissent at a North Korean political rally than in this program.” (A transcript, excerpts and a picture of cute baby polar bears follow)
[UPDATE: Saturday's NBC Nightly News aired an excerpt which showed the special matches Al Gore's fear-mongering ]
At the beginning of each TV season, the cable and broadcast television networks trot out their new lineups for an ever-jaded and cynical bunch, the nation's TV critics. Despite their grousing about shows, Aaron Barnhart writes, tv crix realize they shouldn't be complaining because in many ways, entertainment television has never been better in this country than it is now. So why is it that news television fails to inspire much enthusiasm? My thoughts follow this excerpt from Barnhart's piece:
Here inside the Ritz-Carlton ballroom, we may be suffering from chills,
bloggerhea and other work-related ailments, but we're not kidding
ourselves: We know our jobs are great.
And that's because it's a pleasure to write about TV shows that, on
the whole, are now better made and better written than movies are.
Every day, thousands of people walk out of the store with a home
theater and soon discover the joys of staying at home as opposed to the
cineplex, where their choices have dwindled thanks to the
divide-and-conquer demographic madness that has gripped Hollywood. (If
only the Caribbean pirates would wear Prada, as my friend Gary Dretzka recently joked.)
Prime time television is more entertaining, more satisfying and -- as Stephen Johnson convincingly argued in his book Everything Bad Is Good For You -- more challenging than it has ever been. We're living in a golden age for TV entertainment.
So why is it that the situation for TV news is trending in exactly
the opposite direction? Why is it more insipid, sensational and facile
than ever? Why are Americans who rely on television as their main
source of information less informed than ever? [...]
As reported by NewsBusters Wednesday, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee had a fund-raising videoat its website showing flag-draped coffins of American soldiers killed in Iraq. The Associated Press reported Saturday that the DCCC has decided to pull this ad:
Democrats pulled an Internet ad that showed flag-draped coffins Friday after Republicans and at least two Democrats demanded it be taken down on grounds the image was insensitive and not fit for a political commercial.
The ad by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee called for a "new direction" and displayed a staccato of images, including war scenes, pollution and breached levees as well as a photograph of former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay doctored to look like a police mug shot.
Without expressing any outrage whatsover concerning the contents of this ad, the article continued:
"It is a liberal editorial page and a liberal editorial board that reflects core values the paper has had for a long time. But I would challenge anyone, if you look at our news reports on those big issues of the day -- tax policy, foreign affairs -- to say it is a liberal newspaper. It is objectivity they strive hard to do." -- New York Times Editorial Page Editor Gail Collins, in an interview with Joe Strupp of Editor & Publisher, July 14.
Trey Parker and Matt Stone of the hit Comedy Central series “South Park” were recently interviewed during MTV Networks Television Critics Association tour as reported by Reuters, and the irreverent duo made some interesting statements about episodes of theirs that have been censored: “The creators of ‘South Park’ lambasted Comedy Central Thursday for removing an episode that lampooned Scientology and Tom Cruise from the network's repeat schedule and for blanking out the image of Muhammad during another.” Parker said, “‘So there are two things we can't do on Comedy Central: show Muhammad or Tom Cruise.’”
On Thursday night, and then again on Friday night, anchor Brian Williams gave time on the NBC Nightly News to highlighting Valerie Plame Wilson's lawsuit against Vice President Dick Cheney, his former Chief of Staff Scooter Libby and top Bush advisor Karl Rove. On Thursday, Williams framed the story from Plame Wilson's agenda, reporting her “cover was blown after her husband criticized the Bush administration's claims about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction,” and relayed how her lawsuit says Cheney, Libby and Rove “all conspired to discredit, punish and seek revenge against the couple and claims their constitutional and legal rights were violated.” Rove's denial then got five words.
On Friday night, Williams heralded how “today we heard Plame speak in public for the very first time. She told reporters in Washington she and her husband filed this lawsuit with quote, 'heavy hearts.'" Viewers then saw a clip of Plame slamming her targets: "I and my former CIA colleagues trusted our government to protect us as we did our jobs. That a few reckless individuals within the current administration betrayed that trust has been a grave disappointment to every patriotic American." (Transcripts follow.)