Yesterday, I noted here the pride of place 'Today' accorded Richard Haas, President of the Council on Foreign Relations, to trumpet his abjectly bleak view of Iraq. Haas confirmed Meredith Vieira's assessment of his position: "You do not believe that there is anything about the situation that is winnable, I take it." He added that Iraq would be seen as a "colossal foreign policy failure."
All this sets the stage nicely for the forthcoming, much-leaked recommendations of the Baker Study Group, which effectively will be calling for a slow-motion retreat and surrender.
Enter John Podhoretz. In his NY Post column of today, Podhoretz excoriates both the Study Group's members and its recommendations. Excerpts:
George Will turned heads yesterday with a brutal column on Senator-Elect Jim Webb, scouring him for being rude to President Bush at a reception, and then -- in a critique sure to outrage Webb, the literary lion in his own mind -- assaults Webb's hyperbolic use of English, as in saying the rich are "infinitely" richer than the poor. Will proclaimed Webb is a "subtraction" from civility. But perhaps Will should have used a disclaimer: before the election, Will aided this "subtraction" by scouring Sen. George Allen (he "makes no secret of finding life as a senator tedious") in a Post column seven days before the election. As with the Weekly Standard and their George Allen-bashing cover this fall, when you help make the “Macaca majority,” then you should look in the mirror before despairing over the man you helped usher in.
Well, we all love to jump on it when a lefty says something stupid, don't we? We should also point out when an ostensible Conservative news commentator says something ridiculous, too...
Now, I don't usually report what radio guys are doing or saying, not that I don't like them or that I find them somehow illegitimate, but because they have their own fora from which to make their waves and they can get their ideas out without my assistance. But, I do listen to several talkers and enjoy some of them, as well.
One of the talkers I like is Hugh Hewitt. He is the reason I have stepped up my blogging and why I started a Town-Hall blog, too. I find he is usually a Reagan styled conservative and I agree with him very often. So, when he says something I usually give it consideration.
The Laurie David/Al Gore/Keith Olbermann/Washington Post v. National Science Teachers Association controversy continues, with Science magazine weighing in with facts that don't look so good for Laurie David. (Watch for the drive by media to lose interest in this story any minute now.)
Here's the latest (earlier posts about aspects of this are here, here and here):
According to Science magazine, Laurie David now admits the National Science Teachers Association offered the Gore Gang the opportunity to mail the DVD to NSTA members. What David is mad about is 1) the NSTA didn't offer to provide a letter endorsing the movie (NTSA, according to Science, says it has had a policy since 2001 "prohibiting endorsements of any product or message by an outside organization"), and 2) the NSTA didn't offer to pay the costs for mailing 50,000 DVDs (somewhat understandably, in my view, since it wasn't their idea to mail it in the first place) of David's and Gore's movie.
On Thursday's Countdown, two days after comparing Newt Gingrich's ideas on free speech and anti-terrorism measures to Naziism, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann aimed his latest "Special Comment" rant at the former House Speaker over a speech he gave at the Nackey S. Loeb First Amendment award dinner, discussed in a Manchester Union Leader article, during which Gingrich had talked about restricting some free speech rights for those who incite terrorism. Olbermann used a number of charged words and phrases in hitting Gingrich, including "fascism," "barbarism" and "delusions of grandeur." He also referred to Gingrich as a "dangerous creature" and compared Gingrich to an "arsonist giving the keynote address at a convention of firefighters." Accusing Gingrich of "exploiting" terrorism to pursue the presidency, the Countdown host quoted a line from The Manchurian Candidate referring to Angela Lansbury's character who planned to seize power while "waving the flag every time she subjugates another freedom." (Transcript follows)
On Thursday's Countdown, MSNBC's Keith Countdown made Brent Bozell, President of the Media Research Center which runs NewsBusters, the “winner” of his nightly “Worst Person in the World.” Bozell's offense? Asserting that “probably a hundred Generals in the field in Iraq would disagree” with describing the situation in Iraq as a “civil war.” Olbermann demanded: “Okay, name them. We're waiting.” But seconds before Olbermann had inadvertently made Bozell's case as he recalled how “in August and September alone, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, General Pace and General Abizaid and General Casey all admitted that at minimum, Iraq could be headed to civil war.” Yes, “could” be “headed” for civil war, but not in one.
And, for someone who propounds to be such a stickler for accuracy (on Tuesday he ridiculed FNC for dropping one letter from his name), Olbermann flubbed a basic fact. Just as he did the last time he denounced Bozell as the “worst” (November 3 NewsBusters item), Olbermann called the Media Research Center the Media Research “Council.”
A night after the media were full of reports about how Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki had “snubbed” President Bush by deciding to not join a meeting with Jordan's King, Maliki snubbed CBS anchor Katie Couric who, nonetheless, teased “my interview with Iraq's leader” -- a session which she conducted by hastily sitting on a coffee table and which consumed barely 30 seconds of her newscast. Viewers heard two answers from Maliki, but just one question from Couric, a question the CBS Evening News played both in the up top tease and later in Couric's brief re-cap of her time with Maliki in Amman: “How frustrating has it been for you, Mr. Prime Minister, to not have greater authority sooner?"
Despite the brevity of the exchange, and how it was conducted with Couric sitting on the corner of a coffee table to face Maliki who sat on a sofa, Couric touted how “he sat down for a rare interview just after his meeting with the President.” Without irony, she noted how Maliki had “a lightning-fast summit” with President Bush.
Video clip, which best conveys the hurried nature of the encounter and how Maliki jumped up at the end (1:09): Real (2 MB) or Windows Media (2.4 MB), plus MP3 audio (400 KB)
Thanks to former President Clinton and victories in the recent midterm elections, Democrats are now launching a full out attack on Fox News, the only television news outlet that holds them accountable. Congressman Barney Frank (D-MA) appeared on Wednesday’s The O’Reilly Factor to explain his recent attack on Fox News and once again lashed out on Bill O’Reilly when he issued him challenging questions. O’Reilly asked Congressman Frank what his position is on income redistribution.
Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA): "Bill, will you please stop interrupting if you want a serious discussion?"
Bill O’Reilly: "No. I'm not going to interrupt. When you say something dopey, I'm going point it out. What do you think you are, the czar of the interview?"
For the second consecutive year, CBS seized upon the opportunity to view the White House Christmas decorations to ambush First Lady Laura Bush with questions about Iraq. However, when CBS interviewed first lady and Senator-elect Hillary Clinton in 2000, Jane Clayson ignored policy questions and instead highlighted Mrs. Clinton’s accomplishments and inquired about Mrs. Clinton’s favorite Christmas traditions.
On Thursday’s "Early Show," co-host Hannah Storm portrayed Iraq as hopeless and was dismayed that U.S. troops are not being withdrawn:
"And can you offer them words of comfort and hope as I think many of them were hoping that perhaps with the recommendations of the Iraq Study Group that maybe we would begin a gradual pullout of troops but yet, once again we hear today that our troops will be there indefinitely."
It may surprise conservatives, but CNN reporter Bob Franken alleged on Thursday’s "American Morning" that Democrats are eager to label Iraq a civil war in order to undercut U.S. support for remaining in the country. Considering the cable network’s cheerleading for the Democratic Party in the recently completed midterm elections, this plainspoken statement must have been unintentional. Franken’s comment came in the midst of an otherwise typical CNN report. The segment highlighted how all respectable individuals and organizations call the conflict a civil war, so why can’t President Bush? Remarking on the popularity of the civil war terminology, Franken offered an explanation for the Democrats embrace of the phrase:
Bob Franken: "But many experts say that designating this a civil war will undermine U.S. support even more, which might explain why so many Democrats are jumping on the bandwagon."
It's a competitive bout of conservative-bashing out of the Michael Richards N-word rant at the Laugh Factory. Newsweek had two columns from black staffers, both mentioning George Allen and "Macaca." Time just had one, by the white TV critic James Poniewozik, but in referring to Richards, Mel Gibson, and the canceled O.J. Simpson special, he works in Allen, the RNC Harold-Ford-mocking ad, and Rush Limbaugh's alleged hate for Michael J. Fox:
All this followed an election whose lowlights were the macaca incident, an ad playing off miscegenation fears and a radio host mocking a disabled man. It's as if the U.S. were experiencing collective Tourette's, regurgitating decades of dutifully sublimated hate--Borat, with real people. As disturbing as the bigotry was the role of the people expressing it. Politicians and entertainers, after all, succeed by knowing our hearts and minds. We are, in a real way, implicated in their achievement and their disgrace. So you'd think this explosion of public ugliness might spur some kind of national soul searching. Did we somehow encourage their bigotry, by ignoring softer forms of it in our pop culture? Did they think on some level, conscious or not, that they spoke for us? Were they right?
The New York Post is reporting that sales of the seventh season of "Seinfeld" on DVD are 75 percent higher than lasts year's sale of season six. According to this pattern, a media dressing down should also help sales of Mel Gibson's new "Apocalypto."
Season 7 of the popular sitcom is outselling the Season 6 set (released on the same day last year) by more than 75 percent, and more than 90 percent over season 5 at some online DVD retailers, according to TMZ.com.
On Barnes and Nobel's Web site, the DVD set is the sixth-best selling and Amazon ranks it in 12th place.
It seems that one prominent member of the ultra-left in our country is starting to get the sinking feeling that he was duped by the Democrat bait and switch campaign strategy. Schlockumentartist and leading propagandist Michael Moore practically issued a fatwa at his website Wednesday demanding Democrats bring American troops home from Iraq immediately or suffer the consequences in the next elections (grateful hat tip to NB member “aero”, emphasis mine throughout):
The responsibility to end this war now falls upon the Democrats. Congress controls the purse strings and the Constitution says only Congress can declare war. Mr. Reid and Ms. Pelosi now hold the power to put an end to this madness. Failure to do so will bring the wrath of the voters. We aren't kidding around, Democrats, and if you don't believe us, just go ahead and continue this war another month. We will fight you harder than we did the Republicans. The opening page of my website has a photo of Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, each made up by a collage of photos of the American soldiers who have died in Bush's War. But it is now about to become the Bush/Democratic Party War unless swift action is taken.
Moore followed with an outline that couldn’t be any clearer:
With each passing day, the media are debunking all the myths they helped foster about what the Democrats would do if they regained control of Congress. This one is beautiful, for it has to do with issues of national security, which was considered very important by voters just three weeks ago. As reported by the Washington Post’s Jonathan Weisman, but buried on page A7 (grateful hat tip to NB member “dscott,” emphasis mine throughout):
It was a solemn pledge, repeated by Democratic leaders and candidates over and over: If elected to the majority in Congress, Democrats would implement all of the recommendations of the bipartisan commission that examined the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
But with control of Congress now secured, Democratic leaders have decided for now against implementing the one measure that would affect them most directly: a wholesale reorganization of Congress to improve oversight and funding of the nation's intelligence agencies. Instead, Democratic leaders may create a panel to look at the issue and produce recommendations, according to congressional aides and lawmakers.
Isn’t that wonderful? Sound like a classic bait and switch? Regardless, the piece continued:
The winner of the 2008 presidential election will be the candidate who uses the internet the best according to Google CEO Eric Schmidt.
After listing several examples of politicians who were victims of highly effective internet campaigns, Schmidt elaborated on why the web is important:
"This is going to happen over and over again as people use these new media to communicate," Schmidt said at a speech to the Republican Governors Association in Miami. "The ones that take advantage of this most effectively will be the ones that will be the winners of the next election.
Yesterday John Gibson, host of "The Big Story" on Fox News, wondered if a national TV network, NBC, should make the country's foreign policy.
Let me introduce you to somebody. His name is Robert Wright. He is the chairman of the NBC television network, which is actually a few networks including CNBC and MSNBC. In essence, he runs those networks.
Since I used to work over there and know Mr. Wright and know how things work somewhat, I am confident I am right when I say Bob Wright decided, or at least approved, NBC's policy to refer to whatever it is that is now going on in Iraq as a civil war.
The Pentagon doesn't think so. The White House doesn't think so. Even CBS Evening News Executive Producer Rome Hartman said he thought NBC's decision wasn't so much a news judgment as a political judgment.
Anonymous cable news exec: "Everyone has an agenda [...] All reporters are biased. Why not be open about it, transparent? We shouldn't pretend. The audience is looking for honest opinions, for opinions they can relate to."
The military and the AP are disputing the authenticity of a man, Jamil Hussein, claiming to be an Iraqi government official. The AP says he's the real deal, the military says he's a terrorist tool.
On his November 28 program, CNN's Lou Dobbs accused a major American corporation of sponsoring terrorism. But in leveling his charge, Dobbs didn't bother to give viewers a balanced perspective on American exports and business dealings in foreign countries that, to say the least, are not the nicest neighbors on the geopolitical block.
But while it's understandable to be critical of American companies doing business in Syria or Sudan, how exactly does selling cars and trucks to civilians in those countries amount to "bankrolling" terrorism?
My full article is available at the MRC's BusinessandMedia.org Web site. Before the election we documented Dobbs's bias in favor of liberal Democratic policies in his self-appointed defense of the average Joe in what he believes is the Bush administration's "War on the Middle Class."
The Minneapolis Star Tribune is currently investigating how one of its editorial writers has been taking portions of New Yorker magazine editorials and inserting them into his own articles. The Power Line blog raised one of the allegations and has the details.
How often do you watch a show like MSNBC’s “Hardball” just hoping that one of the guests will spank the host when he makes an obvious misstatement, or is just being rude? Well, such occurred Wednesday when David Shuster, filling in for the vacationing Chris Matthews, tried to bully Iraq’s ambassador to the United Nations Feisal Istrabadi
Right from the get-go, it was apparent that Shuster had no intention of showing any respect whatsoever to this dignitary, which of course was in stark contrast to how he gushed and fawned over former President Jimmy Carter just 24 hours earlier as reported by Mark Finkelstein. This is not to suggest that anyone should be accorded the respect of one of our former presidents. Instead, it was the comparative disrespect which was so striking; it was almost as if Istrabadi was a Republican.
Toward the end of the interview, it was clear that the Ambassador was getting tired of Shuster’s belligerence, and decided to fire back when the guest-host said:
With a grateful hat tip to Hot Air, all NBers that are devout ‘Seinfeld’ fans in desperate need of some comedy-induced sanity in the midst of Michael Richards’ racist breakdown must watch this video created by the folks at National Lampoon. It’s quite hysterical, and extremely well done.
Please be advised that it is a bit raw with unedited footage of Richards’ rampage, as well as being a tad off-color – obvious pun intended.
It's hard to be a sunny optimist when considering the situation at Iraq. Things are tough, no doubt. That said, was Today, the show whose NBC News parent famously declared "civil war" earlier this week, giving us a fair-and-balanced view of matters this morning when the only expert we heard from expressed the most unalloyed pessimism on Iraqi prospects?
Meredith Vieira interviewed Richard Haass, President of the Council on Foreign Relations and former principal adviser to then Secretary of State Colin Powell. At the end of their conversation, Vieira summed up Haas's views this way: "You do not believe that there is anything about the situation that is winnable, I take it."
It in turn touted a study by a social work master’s student at Southern Connecticut State University purporting to find that there exists "a direct link between mental illness and support for President Bush."
The National Science Teachers Association has now officially responded to Laurie David's Washington Post op-ed (see Noel Sheppard's Newsbusters post on the op-ed here) essentially accusing the group of being captive to corporate interests when it declined a gift of 50,000 "An Inconvenient Truth" DVDs for distribution to classrooms.
It doesn't say so, but presumably the NSTA is also responding to MSNBC anchor Keith Olbermann's Monday evening accusation that the NSTA president, Linda Froschauer, is "available at the right price," a statement made by Olbermann in a commentary that appears to have been based on the Laurie David Washington Post op-ed.
The "police captain" that the Associated Press used as the source for their story about six Sunni men dragged from prayers and burned alive by Shiite militants is not a policeman and does not work for the Iraqi government in any capacity, according to the Iraqi Ministry of the Interior.
CENTCOM had warned the AP about Hussein and other questionable sources they were using, but was rebuffed by the wire service organization. The AP's sensational story of the burning Sunnis was cited by NBC as a reason they decided to start calling violence in Iraq a "civil war." The source, "police captain Jamil Hussein," has been quoted in wire service stories since April of this year.
As reported on Newsbusters by Michelle Humphrey, actor Danny Devito was on ABC's "The View" today and went into a seemingly drunken tirade against President Bush and generally acted the fool on the show.
But, this "apology" is interesting in that ABCNews mentions all the wild statements and strange behavior by Devito on every subject except his Bush bashing. We are left wondering why it was "proper" reporting to mention Devito's seeming inebriation, his mention of partying with actor George Clooney, his slurred speech, his being bleeped, his Clinton White House story and then his "apology" to Barbra Walters.... yet not a single mention of his attack on president Bush.
I understand that NBC Today star Matt Lauer is the toast of Manhattan, but letting your wife name your son "Thijs"? Way too precious if you don't live in Amsterdam. He'll clearly hate his brother, who is simply named "Jack." Clearly, this boy is never going to see the inside of a public school with a name like that. Even the teachers might think the name is somehow a typographical error. It's pronounced Tice, as in the best you could do as a dad to explain it to men is say "ahem, you know, Tice, like Mike Tice, the former Minnesota Vikings coach." Lauer certainly can't argue he's a '70s music nut and fan of Thijs van Leer, responsible for that big hit "Hocus Pocus"
“Those two campaigns have now come together to bring the strength of both communities, the disarmament community, and the women’s rights communities together in order to stop armed violence against women, recognizing that the disarmament conversation, too often does not involve women, and that the women’s rights movement has too often not realized the importance of taking away the weapons.”
Clay Waters, Editor of the MRC's TimesWatch site and a regular contributor to NewsBusters, was a guest this afternoon on FNC's Your World with Neil Cavuto. Topic: Liberal bias in the New York Times and the impact of its publishing leaked information, specifically the timing of the Wednesday front page story: “Bush Adviser’s Memo Cites Doubts About Iraqi Leader.”
Clay appeared as part of a panel at the top of the 4pm EST show which will re-run at 5am EST Thursday morning.
Video clip (6:05): Real (4.52 MB) or Windows (3.76 MB) plus MP3 (1.76 MB)
The media’s fascination and love affair with Jimmy Carter apparently have no limits. CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer interviewed the ex-president on Tuesday’s "Situation Room" and cited his knowledge and experience of dealing with Iran:
Wolf Blitzer: "You know a lot about Iran. You spent the last 444 days of your presidency focusing in on the American hostages."
Jimmy Carter: "I remember that."
Blitzer: "I know. I remember it very well. I think everyone who was alive remembers it, as well. This is a regime -- basically, the same people who were in charge then, who took over for the shah, are still in charge right now, led by a supreme ayatollah, who has been meeting today with Talabani, and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad met yesterday with Jalal Talabani, the president of Iraq."
Blitzer may remember the event, but it’s unclear if he recalls the botched Carter rescue attempts, including one that left eight U.S. servicemen dead. If he did recollect the event, the CNN anchor certainly didn’t bring the subject up.