Here's Hillary's idea of diplomacy: bend to her will, or she'll put your life in danger. And that's how she treats our allies.
Yikes. In the spirit of bi-partisanship, let me try to send a message to Hillary's handlers: emergency personality makeover required! A couple more appearances as angry and unpleasant as this morning's on Today and Hillary's odds of winning the Dem nomination will be as slim as those she accorded to that of the surge succeeding.
The strategy for Hillary's conversation with Matt Lauer was transparent. Because her substantive position on Iraq is not as anti-war as that of Obama or Edwards, Hillary sought to compensate, in appealing to Dem primary voters, by sounding angrier about our policy than either of her rivals. From that perspective, you might say: Mission Accomplished. This was Hillary, rhetorically speaking, packing an M-4, grenades slung, knife between teeth.
But at what cost to her likability? Don't voters have to be able to warm up to a candidate? Yet Hillary hovered barely above absolute zero.
Beyond her tone, her message was about as cold-blooded as you can get. Twice she suggested threatening to cut off funding for the personal security of Iraq's leaders. As Hillary put it: "I don't think we should continue to fund the protection for the Iraqi government leaders or for the training and equipping of their army unless they meet certain conditions."
This was no idle threat. It was clearly a key element of Hillary's plan, one she repeated later:
"I [suggest] putting leverage on them and saying 'you know what, we provide security for the members of this government, we're cutting funding for that.'"
Since we’ve touched on the topic of the media celebrating women’s "independence" from men, there’s also this. On Monday’s Today, in the 8:00 am hour, NBC aired a story and a debate segment on a hot trend of mothers who choose to have fatherless children, "no man required." But this wasn’t merely a news story, but a cheerleading report, complete with supportive music bubbling underneath (including "Sisters Are Doing It for Themselves," the 1980s feminist pop song by the Eurythmics with Aretha Franklin.) When they allowed a few seconds of dissent, all the music stopped. In the debate segment, co-host Meredith Vieira’s questions were fairly tough, but the feminist guest walked all over the defender of fatherhood with strange arguments: "I think selfish gets a bad rap. Every parent, to be a good parent, has to be selfish."
Vieira began: "In the old days, women who had children out of wedlock were few and far between. But now a record number of single women are having children on their own, no man required. More now from NBC’s Janet Shamlian."
The night after the four-hour, two-night season premiere of Fox's 24 ended with a “suitcase nuke” being set off by Middle Eastern terrorists in a Southern California warehouse, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann saw a nefarious plot to aid President Bush: “Is 24 just entertainment or is it propaganda designed to keep people thinking about domestic terrorism to keep us scared?” He demanded Tuesday night: “Gripping drama or thinly veiled propaganda?” Leading into reciting a posting on NewsBusters by Noel Sheppard (Mark Finkelstein's post with video of Olbermann quoting from NewsBusters), Olbermann recounted how 24 “featured a mall attack, a would-be suicide bomber on a subway, and a successful suicide bombing on a passenger bus. Not in places where these things have already happened, but in a country called the United States of America. In case you missed the point, the show finished up with a nuclear weapon detonating in a major American city, literally conjuring up the administration's imagery for the war in Iraq, the good old mushroom cloud.”
Olbermann then posed a series of absurd questions to Robert Greenwald, producer of the comically anti-FNC movie, Outfoxed. His options for Greenwald: “Is 24 propaganda? Is it fearmongering? Or is it a program-length commercial for one political party?” Olbermann soon proposed that “if the irrational right can claim that the news is fixed to try to alter people's minds or that networks should be boycotted for nudity or for immorality,” then “shouldn't those same groups be saying 24 should be taken off of TV because it's naked brainwashing?” Suggesting some sort of Fox-White House conspiracy, Olbermann tossed up: “But does this not begin to look at this point like the blurring of the lines here,” between fact and fiction, “is deliberate?”
This morning, NewsBusters' Mark Finkelstein reported (here) how CBS anchors yucked it up over a front-page story in today's New York Times that blared, "51% of Women Are Now Living Without Spouse." This study is nothing to laugh at. It's incredibly misleading, if not dishonest.
The Times got their numbers from the Census Bureau's new American Community Survey, which surveyed "117 million women over the age of 15." Wait a minute. "Over the age of 15"?
Is it really a surprise that millions of 15-20 year-olds are "living without spouse"? It shouldn't be. In addition to several cultural factors (some of which the Times touched on), the age of consent in the United States averages just over 16 years of age. In several states, including California, it's 18.
Just as when Democratic Senator Barack Obama said he was considering a presidential campaign last October, his announcement Monday -- via a Web video that he has set up an exploratory committee -- unleashed media excitement. The CBS Evening News treated it as one of the two big stories of the day: “I'm Katie Couric. Two major stories tonight: A vicious attack in Baghdad....And Senator Barack Obama takes a big step toward running for President. He says it's time for a change.” After that tease, Couric announced: “Hi everyone. He's generated a lot of excitement. And now it looks like Senator Barack Obama is, indeed, jumping into the presidential race. We'll have more about that in a moment.”
Over on ABC's World News, which devoted more than four minutes to the topic, anchor Kate Snow trumpeted how “Democratic rising star Barack Obama takes a major step toward a run for the White House.” She soon trumpeted how “the presidential race got a major jolt today. The man who could become the first African-American President took a major step toward becoming a candidate.” Snow even spun a negative into a positive: “His political resume is rather thin, but in the 2008 race, that could be a plus.” NBC anchor Brian Williams teased “a big step tonight for Barack Obama” before touting how “a bit of political history was made today, kind of, when Illinois Democratic Senator Barack Obama almost declared his candidacy for President.”
Keith Olbermann is scared. Not by the threat of terrorism in the United States. But at the notion that "24" might be raising Americans' awareness of the threat. And he has singled out NewsBusters for the role it has played in highlighting the issue.
Olbermann devoted a Countdown segment this evening to "24", suggesting that its two-night, four-hour season opener should have been sufficient to "scare or outrage you." Incomprehensibly, Olbermann complained that the show depicted various terrorist suicide attacks "not in places where these things already happened, but in a country called the United States of America." Is it possible that Keith Olbermann has forgotten 9-11?
On Tuesday, jury selection began in the trial of Lewis Libby. And "Good Morning America" reporter Claire Shipman couldn’t resist spinning this occasion into an attack against President Bush. Libby, the former Chief of Staff to Vice President Dick Cheney, is charged with perjury and obstruction of justice. He does not, however, face prosecution for publically outing Wilson's wife, CIA agent Valerie Plame. However, through sloppy phrasing and omission, Shipman encouraged the assumption that this is yet another example of the Bush administration’s misconduct. The most brazen example is the GMA reporter’s description of the "original crime":
Claire Shipman: "Prosecutors are trying to show that Libby lied to investigators about conversations he had with reporters regarding CIA officer Valerie Plame, the undercover agent who was outed. Libby blames a faulty memory. And in classic Washington style, Libby isn't in trouble for the original crime, outing Plame, but, rather, the, quote, ‘the cover up,’ according to the prosecutor."
No government official has been charged with revealing the identity of Valerie Plame. So, how can there be an "original crime?"
It appears impossible for Time magazine to do anything without bringing its liberal bias into the equation, for in his January 14 review of the return of television hero Jack Bauer, writer James Poniewozik asked, “So, is 24 a conservative show?”
Checking that link about now to measure my veracity? Go ahead. I dare you.
Sadly, the answer seemed just as foolish as the question: “Yes, in the sense that the thriller is a conservative genre.”
He wrote that. I swear. Check if for yourself. But there’s more:
Gas prices and oil prices have been slipping lately, just not at the same rate. And that's a "real scandal" to some liberal, self-styled consumer advocates like Judy Dugan of The Foundation for Taxpayer & Consumer Rights. That's all well and good, of course, except when the media parrot the complaint and don't explain the group's biases.
That's exactly what we found from USA Today's front page treatment of sliding oil prices in its January 16 edition.
You can fill up here or read below the jump to top off the tank:
Former President Jimmy Carter was interviewed by Al-Jazeera on Sunday (hat tip to LGF, video available here), and the former peanut farmer made some statements that many in America might find quite objectionable.
For instance: “Well, I don’t really consider, I wasn’t equating the Palestinian missiles with terrorism.” What? Excuse me? Palestinian missiles aren't acts of terrorism? Really?
Alas, that was just the beginning of a series of truly shocking comments made by a former president on an Arab television network that has continually shown itself to be hostile to American interests. Take a gander at this next abomination if you've got the stomach for it:
Particularly when you consider the ramifications for millions of children growing up without a two-parent family, the news that 51% of women in America now live without a spouse [up from 35% in 1950] is serious indeed. But the decline of the basic building block of society was nothing but a laughing matter for the boys of the Early Show.
Rather than seeing any cause for concern, CBS displayed the graphic seen here blithely informing viewers: "No Husband Needed."
As Russ Mitchell threw the story to Harry Smith, he mirthfully proclaimed:
"So Harry, now there's now statistical data for what we always knew: they really don't need us, do they?"
Two media tidbits today. Broadcasting & Cable magazine reports: "Count Larry King among Katie Couric’s fans. The venerable CNN host watches the new anchor of the CBS Evening News and thinks her ratings struggles have more to do with gender than with journalism. "It might still be hard for a woman to anchor the evening news," King says. "And that’s sad."
King also said it may take a major news event to help the former Today host shed her perky image: "Hurricane Katrina made Anderson Cooper. It could happen to Katie that way." (Larry slammed O'Reilly and Nancy Grace here.)
On Howard Kurtz's chat at washingtonpost.com, Kurtz was asked about the MSNBC v. Fox fight, specifically mentioning that O'Reilly has some liberals on his show (as foils, usually, he claimed), and Olbermann doesn't generally have conservatives on his show. A questioner asked:
On Tuesday’s "American Morning," Miles O’Brien reported on the statement by evangelical leader James Dobson that he could never support Arizona Senator John McCain’s bid for the White House. O’Brien twice referred to the comments as attacks from "the far right." Political correspondent Bob Franken went on to characterize the remarks by Dobson, the founder of Focus on the Family, as "lashing out at Senator John McCain." Franken followed by recounting McCain’s sometimes rocky relationship with Christian conservatives. In the process, the CNN reporter simplified and omitted some important facts about the Senator’s record. But first, Miles O’Brien led with classic labeling bias:
7:26 (story tease)
Miles O'Brien: "Plus, Senator John McCain takes not-so friendly fire from the far right. Why he is fending off criticism from an evangelical leader."
O'Brien: "Senator John McCain is fending off fire from the far right flank this morning. A leading evangelical minister says there's no way he could support McCain for president. 'American Morning's' Bob Franken joining us live from Washington with more. Good morning, Bob."
For three years, President Bush has been portrayed as stubborn on Iraq, so defiant that it’s disturbing, perhaps even a sign of delusional certitude. There’s a mirror image at play: those doing the portraying, i.e., the media have been every bit as stubborn when it comes to their defiant insistence that everything that happens in Iraq, no matter how positive, is another peg for bad news coverage.
We acknowledge that the daily drumbeat of death pounded by the media is based on facts. That does not mean that all death is bad. In war, it is a tragedy to learn that your countrymen have fallen. It is cause for celebration when the enemy dies. But for the American news media, all news is bad news if the theater is Iraq.
Last night I predicted that CAIR would be demanding an apology from FOX for the depiction of Muslims in "24" within 24 hours. Well it's not CAIR but ABC has started the ball rolling...
Sut Jhally, co-producer and co-director of the film "Hijacking Catastrophe," says the dramatic action in the show creates a dangerous climate in which the public loses some of its perspective on what's real and what's not. Of course that may be a minority opinion given the show's enormous popularity. Television shows like '24' also reinforce stereotypes about Arabs, he said, and in this episode connections are drawn between terrorism, Arabs and nuclear war. With the U.S. wrestling with Iran over its nuclear capabilities, these associations are dangerous, he said. "This television show is very political, and it's no accident that it's on Fox," said Jhally, who directs the Media and Education Foundation and is professor of communications at University of Massachusetts. "Given their propaganda system, it doesn't surprise me."
For fans of the hit television series “24”, Monday night was an astounding event. Personally, I was left speechless for several minutes after the stunning conclusion, and had to watch the second hour again to convince myself that I had actually seen what I had seen (video available here courtesy of our friend at Ms Underestimated).
Yet, upon reflection, I wonder how many people in the media understand how possible what was depicted last evening is. As folks on the nation’s airwaves continue to downplay the seriousness of terrorism, and undermine virtually all of the current Administration’s efforts to thwart conscienceless aggression against Western civilization, have they really pondered the unthinkable? Or, have they all grown complacent as we move continually further and further away from that fateful day in September 2001?
As NewsBusters reported last Thursday, people are resigning from the Carter Center due to the former president’s controversial book about the Israeli-Palestinian issue. One such member was on “Hannity & Colmes” Monday, and he stated that Carter has “abandoned his traditional position of honest broker and mediator,” and “goes so far as to condone terrorism until such a time a Palestinian state is achieved” (video available here courtesy of our friend at Ms Underestimated).
Of course, much like the rest of his ilk in the fawning media, host Alan Colmes did everything possible to undermine the statements being made by guest Steve Berman. But, the former Carter Center board member was having none of it.
When Colmes began the interview asking “is Jimmy Carter anti-Semitic,” Berman coolly responded:
What's become of multiculturalism? Isn't it an entrenched tenet of liberal dogma that all cultures are to be "celebrated" as equally worthy? Yet in recent weeks I've noticed a countervaling trend in the liberal establishment. Western values are exalted, as here and here. Then, even Thomas Friedman, bien-pensant hero of the foreign policy establishment, indulged in some negative Arab stereotyping that would have had the PC police screaming had the author not been, well, Thomas Friedman.
Today comes another certified MSMer, Richard Cohen of the Washington Post, suggesting that Iraqis might be fundamentally different from Americans, so much so that what they require is a brutal dictator. Muses Cohen in his column of today, Our Tunnel Vision .
In an article (HT Instapundit) decrying the alleged environmental waste in the United Arab Emirates, Associated Press writer Jim Krane gave voice to the environmental strain of Bush Derangement Syndrome when he claimed:
But the oil-rich Emirates is considered a developing country, and even as a signatory to the United Nations Kyoto protocol on global warming, is not required to cut emissions. The United States is no longer bound by Kyoto, which the Bush administration rejected after taking office in 2001.
In a gratuitous insult to all intelligent Conservatives everywhere, Mr Kane has declared you all to be slobbering Neanderthals who would rather beat your enemy to death with a club than use diplomacy and that the law obviously means nothing to you.
Some speculate one reason "24" is such a favorite of the Bush crowd is that Bauer is presented as a guy with no qualms about torturing his prisoners in order to get information as quickly as possible. In light of criticism the Bush administration gets for its torture policies, it doesn't take a think-tank expert to see why some hail the show as a breath of clean air.
What's this, the Saddam News Service? The Washington Post published a story on the front page today thoroughly soaked in the perspective of Saddam Hussein's relatives and supporters that their "heroes" were insulted by hangings yesterday. The headline was "Iraqi Hangings Bring More Denunciations: Head of Hussein's Half-Brother Is Severed." Reporters Joshua Partlow and Muhanned Saif Aldin began with the "mourners" denouncing the botching hanging as a "calculated insult" by the Maliki government, as the front page carried this quote:
"We knew that he would be executed and would join a parade of heroes, but Maliki, why did you behead him?" asked Salam al-Tikriti, 41, a relative of Ibrahim [and probably a relative of Saddam]. "Why did you insult his body? Are you still afraid of him even after he is dead? We will cut your heads the same way that you are cutting the heads of the heroes of Iraq." Nowhere on the front page was any explanation of the crimes of the executed men.
Monday's CBS Evening News featured a recounting, by Lara Logan, of how over the weekend U.S. Army soldiers rescued an Iraqi surgeon and his family who were trapped for eight days on Baghdad's Haifa Street, suffering in dire conditions and in danger of getting killed in fighting between Sunni militias and the Iraqi army. After the rescue, Dr. Quraish Fajir al-Kasir proclaimed on camera: "These are days that I will never forget in my life. Thank you American military, thank you people!" The “Crazyhorse” troops of the 4th Squadron, 9th Cavalry of the U.S. Army conducted the mission after the U.S. Ambassador to Iraq saw CBS's Friday story on the plight of Dr. al-Kasir, a very prominent Iraqi doctor who once attended a meeting at the White House.
As everyone knows and Andrea Mitchell has confirmed, Chris Matthews is no liberal. Don't let the fact that he describes the goal of the impending Iraq surge as "ethnic cleansing" fool you.
Matthews discussed the impending surge into Baghdad on this evening's Hardball with David Ignatius of the Washington Post and Gary Berntsen, the former CIA field commander for the agency's Jawbreaker team at Tora Bora.
Said Matthews, speaking of the role of US troops:
"If they are forced to do patrol duty in the streets of the Sunni areas where they are expected to basically be part of the ethnic cleansing because they will be shooting at Sunnis, they are going to get shot back at."
Monday’s Fox and Friends First stated the obvious: NBC is a liberal network. Fox News elaborated on the recent controversy, most notably between FNC’s Bill O’Reilly and several MSNBC commentators.
As some major figures at NBC denied there is any bias, co-host Brian Kilmeade asked the question "why don’t they just say they’re a liberal network?" Good question. Even far left MSNBC commentator Keith Olbermann denies he has a political agenda.
The co-hosts then played a clip of Chris Matthews stating Vice President Cheney "always wants to kill." At the end of the segment Kilmeade read one of Olbermann’s many inflammatory comments, without mentioning the MSNBC commentator’s name, that President Bush is taking the money "out of the pockets of dead soldiers in the battlefield."
The January 12 front-page story in the New York Times, "Duke Accuser Contradicts Herself," on the Duke lacrosse "rape" case, catches the case just as it's entering final meltdown phase.
NYT reporter Duff Wilson begins:
"In an interview last month with a district attorney’s investigator, the woman who has accused three Duke lacrosse players of sexual assault contradicted critical evidence and parts of her earlier accounts, dealing a new blow to a faltering case."
Decmber's rebound of the Institute for Supply Management's (ISM) Manufacturing Index (from contraction in November at 49.5 to expansion in December at 51.4; noted as part of this post; any reading over 50.0 is considered expansion) was unprecedented.
Every long period of manufacturing expansion in the past 60 years has been followed by at least seven months of contraction. But the most recently ended expansion was followed by only one month of contraction before manufacturing moved right back into expansion mode again, as you'll see.
The following is from ISM history going all the way back to 1948; parenthetical values are for the month following the end of each streak, the lowest value it went to during the subsequent contraction, and the number of months of sub-50 performance occurred before the Index went back to 50.0 or higher (previous info carried forward from this previous post):
More than a decade after publisher Steve Forbes’s flat-tax platform temporarily vaulted him to the top of the pack of GOP presidential candidates, another prospective Republican presidential candidate is making tax simplification a centerpiece of his 2008 campaign. In announcing his exploratory committee, Kansas Senator Sam Brownback argued “We need a flat tax instead of the dreadful, incomprehensible tax code we now have,” today’s Wichita Eagle reported.
But unlike back in 1996, the media are now confronted with the evidence that the flat tax help boost wealth-producing economic growth. This week’s "Time" reports on the economic boom in the former Soviet republic of Estonia, which like many Eastern European countries has seen its fortunes rise since dumping socialism and instituting a flat tax. “The economy is now one of Europe’s most dynamic, racing along at an 11.3% growth clip,” Peter Gumbel writes this week in his “Letter from Estonia.”
Nearly eleven years ago, "Time" took dead aim at Forbes’s flat tax in a January 29, 1996 cover package, “Does the Flat Tax Make Any Sense,” an issue which hit mailboxes right before the New Hampshire primary.
In retracing the early steps of the O'Reilly vs. Scarborough battle, it's funny to see that when O'Reilly attacked NBC and MSNBC on January 4, he probably hadn't left the parking lot at Fox when attack dog Joe Scarborough was already protesting his complaints on MSNBC, and running audio from O'Reilly's radio show earlier in the day. This exchange shows that Scarborough is either (a) making fun of himself, or (b) completely misleading his audience about his attention-grasping "Is Bush An Idiot?" segment last August:
O’Reilly, from his radio show: “Bush can't win. No matter what he does. NBC News, The New York Times, The Washington Post, they're going to say he's an idiot. There's no sense of balance or fairness in their reporting. That's activist journalism.”
Scarborough: “Bush an idiot? I've never said Bush is an idiot. Chris? If I ever said -- do you think Bush is an idiot?
"Do you owe the Iraqi people an apology for not doing a better job?"
This is one of the questions President Bush faced from "60 Minutes" correspondent Scott Pelley on Sunday’s program. Pelley also cited the same "Military Times" CBS’s Chief White House correspondent Jim Axelrod cited on the January 11 edition of the "Evening News," which shows more miltiary troops now disapprove of the President’s handling of the war in Iraq, and was highlighted by Brent Baker here on Newsbusters. However, when John Kerry and John Edwards and their wives were jointly interviewed on the program on July 11, 2004, correspondent Lesley Stahl did not mention a CBS poll that showed war veterans supporting President Bush for reelection by a large margin, and that poll was significant in that veterans were a group that Senator Kerry was actively courting.