As I wrote this morning to the NewsBusters editor who alerted me to the Washington Post's editorial, "The GOP’s bizarre attack on Susan Rice," I don't read WaPo much, but somehow assume they're not quite as extreme as the New York Times." Silly me, judging by WaPo's ugly, over-the-top opinion item.
Here's the ugly last paragraph from today's editorial: "Could it be, as members of the Congressional Black Caucus are charging, that the signatories of the letter are targeting Ms. Rice because she is an African American woman? The signatories deny that, and we can’t know their hearts. What we do know is that more than 80 of the signatories are white males, and nearly half are from states of the former Confederacy." More after the jump.
Jay Leno continued his comedic assault on the White House Tuesday.
During the opening monologue of NBC's Tonight Show, the host said David Petraeus's mistress Paula Broadwell had more information about Benghazi than United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Appearing on Saturday's NBC Today, CNBC chief Washington correspondent John Harwood completely dismissed the scandal surrounding the Benghazi terrorist attack as merely leftover campaign politics: "...what we're seeing in the Petraeus scandal and the Benghazi issue being prolonged is an extension of some of the conflict and the bitterness that we had during the election campaign." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Harwood predicted the whole controversy would just go away: "I'm not sure what the resolution of that is going to be. I think ultimately that energy is going to get spent and lawmakers are going to turn to the real crisis that is looming over the American economy, which is the fiscal cliff..."
From Joe Scarborough to John Heilemann, Katty Kay to Mark Halperin to Willie Geist, it was unanimous on today's Morning Joe. Whatever the substance, whatever the policy, Republicans would be making a massive political mistake by opposing the possible nomination of Susan Rice as Secretary of State.
Summed up Scarborough the MJ zeitgeist: "do a bunch of old white guys want to make their first big battle, post-election, a battle going up against a younger woman of color?" View the video after the jump. H/t reader cobokat.
On Sunday's front page, New York Times reporter Mark Landler took the heat off United Nations ambassador Susan ("stand-in...bystander") Rice for her media tour spreading false statements about what happened in Benghazi, Libya, where four Americans were murdered by terrorists. Rice went on the Sunday shows after the terrorist attack and falsely suggested that the outburst was spontaneous, blaming an anti-Islamic YouTube video for inciting a spontaneous riot on the anniversary of 9-11.
Both the headline ("A Diplomat's Detour Into the Benghazi Spotlight") and subhead ("Fill-in Role Becomes Obstacle for Rice as State Dept. Choice") favorably emphasized Rice's evasion of responsibility from what she actually told the nation after the attack.
It took more than a month -- and an intervening presidential election -- but it appears as though MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough has finally joined the chorus of conservatives criticizing Candy Crowley for covering for President Obama’s false statements on Libya during the presidential debates.
Speaking on Monday’s Morning Joe, Scarborough strongly rebuked the Obama administration’s handling of the post-Benghazi coverage. [See video below page break. MP3 audio here.]
Appearing on Sunday's NBC Meet the Press, New York Times foreign affairs columnist Tom Friedman worked to downplay the terrorist attack in Libya: "There are diplomats that go to dangerous places, and sometimes...they get killed. It is a tragedy. To me, Libya is not a scandal, it's a tragedy."
While the murder of U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans was indeed a tragedy, Friedman has insisted on protecting the Obama administration from criticism over the attack. On the October 21 Meet the Press, he declared of the growing scandal: "To me, this is an utterly contrived story in the sense that 'this is the end of,' you know, 'Obama's foreign policy.'"
The liberal media cheerleading for United Nations ambassador Susan Rice to become Secretary of State despite her repeated claims that September's attack on our consulate in Libya were a reaction to an anti-Muslim video are becoming nauseating.
On PBS's Inside Washington Friday, Politico's Roger Simon actually said, "John McCain named Sarah Palin to be a heartbeat away from the presidency but he won’t vote for Susan Rice ’cause he can’t trust her. That’s absurd" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
As more information comes to light regarding the attacks on our embassy in Benghazi, now seems like a perfect time to examine how an objective journalist deals with the Obama administration's evolving view of the attack as opposed to how an Obama-boosting one does. Viewers of the 10 a.m. hour of MSNBC programming got to see such a sharp contrast this morning.
Speaking with fill-in host Richard Lui on Jansing & Co., Joy-Ann Reid of TheGrio.com and Ron Fournier of National Journal were brought on to discuss the recent revelations that former CIA Director Petraeus knew within 24-hours that the attack on our embassy was an act of terrorism. Hearing the responses from Ms. Reid and Mr. Fournier could not offer a better contrast between Reid's bias and Fournier's dissatisfaction with swallowing whole the media's storyline. [See video below page break. MP3 audio here.]
Showing an obvious double standard, CNN's Soledad O'Brien asked a GOP congressman whether Republicans were hypocritical for opposing Susan Rice's potential candidacy for Secretary of State, but she failed to ask tough questions of a Democratic congressman about Rice's qualifications.
O'Brien insisted that although some Republicans are opposing Susan Rice's candidacy because she circulated false information on the Libya attacks, "Isn't that exactly analogous of what happened with Condoleezza Rice, who John McCain supported and who Lindsey Graham supported?" she pressed Rep. Joe Heck (R-Nev.) [Video below the break. Audio here.]
The journalists at ABC News on Wednesday and Thursday hyped the President for "coming out swinging" and showing "presidential anger" by defending his United Nations Ambassador, Susan Rice, over Libya. These World News and Good Morning America reporters downplayed the issue of what the Obama White House knew and when.
During the November 14 White House press conference, Fox News' Ed Henry spoke of the families of the four Americans who died during the attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya. He directly pressed, "...[They] have been waiting for more than two months. So I would like for you to address the families, if you can. On 9/11, as Commander-in-Chief, did you issue any orders to try to protect their lives?" [See video below. MP3 audio here.] Instead of highlighting this angle, World News anchor Diane Sawyer began her program by exclaiming "...[Barack Obama] came out swinging in defense of one member of his team and ABC's Jonathan Karl was right there in that room asking questions."
President Obama at Wednesday's press conference defended United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice from criticism concerning the four Americans killed in Libya in September by claiming she "had nothing to do with Benghazi."
This led syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer to ask on Fox News's Special Report hours later, "Then why the hell are you sending her out" to inform the public about what happened?
Following President Obama's Wednesday afternoon press conference, NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams continued his longtime obsession with the liberal fantasy film The American President and his eagerness to compare Obama to Michael Douglas's fictional presidential character: "...the President today almost conjuring the wording of Aaron Sorkin from the movie American President, as will be pointed out all day, really decided to throw down." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Referring to Obama's indignation at critics of U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice, who made false statements about the terrorist attack in Libya, chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell gushed: "This was President Andrew Shepherd really coming through in the East Room of the White House. Because this was President Obama saying, 'If you want to pick a fight with my U.N. ambassador, and blame her for something that was not her responsibility on Benghazi, then you come after me'....It was dramatic. He is angry."
Charlie Rose and Norah O'Donnell took turns hammering Senator John McCain on Wednesday's CBS This Morning over his promise to block any potential nomination of Susan Rice to be secretary of state. Rose grilled McCain after the Republican slammed Rice for blaming a "spontaneous" mob for the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi: "Didn't Susan Rice say that...all the information was not in, and she did not know everything there was to be known....what should she have said, based on what she knew at the moment?"
O'Donnell also tried to shift blame away from Ambassador Rice to a "failure with the intelligence coming out of the CIA." She later pointed a finger at former CIA Director David Petraeus and current Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. When the Arizona senator confirmed that Petraeus and Clinton deserved scrutiny, Rose interjected, "But why not wait for them before you make a judgment about Susan Rice?" [audio available here; video below the jump]
Unless today is a total surprise and runs contrary to most of what we've seen during the past four years, President Obama will go through another "news conference" without a great deal of difficult or aggressive questioning from the assembled press corps.
Carrie Budoff Brown and Josh Gerstein at the Politico seem to think otherwise, and have produced a lame list of seven questions they think Obama will be asked -- so lame that one of them has to do with recently passed marijuana-legalizing initiatives in the states of Washington and Colorado:
Suddenly discovering something that anyone with eyes could see before the election, Josh Gerstein at Politico tells us that "Obama's foreign policy team hits turbulence."
Please. For over a week after September 11, the administration was pretending that a video which wasn't relevant at all caused protests which never occurred were what supposedly led to the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya which killed four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens. We had different people in the administration taking blame (but not really), and learned that but for the heroics of two of the men who died, dozens of others might have perished. But only now is Gerstein discovering "turbulence." Read on for a narrative which would be funny if it were not so sadly symptomatic of a see-no-evil press corps:
Syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer on Tuesday said the White House used David Petraeus’s affair to get the CIA director to give testimony about the attacks on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, that was in line with the administration’s position on the matter.
Appearing on Fox News's Special Report, Krauthammer said, "The sword was lowered on Election Day" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
On everyone's mind this morning was the resignation of CIA Deputy Director David Petraeus on Friday. Liberal radio talk show host Bill Press did his best to catch his listeners up on the details of the scandal, but then went on a rant asking why it's even an issue.
At no point in his defense of the former Army general and CIA chief did Press bring up the impending hearing concerning Libya on Capitol Hill that Petraeus was scheduled to appear before, nor did he think an FBI investigation was necessary -- despite the confidentiality agreement Petraeus submitted to before accepting one of the highest, if not the highest-level security clearance job there is in the federal government [ video below, MP3 audio here ]:
On Monday's CBS This Morning, Sharyl Attkisson filed a hard-hitting report on the possible ties between former CIA chief David Petraeus's resignation and the continuing controversy over the terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya. Attkisson spotlighted how Petraeus told several members of Congress that "video of the Benghazi attack supports an element of spontaneity, as the administration first claimed."
Anchor Charlie Rose also hyped Rep. Peter King's theory on General Petraeus's resignation: "The chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee says the timing of the resignation suggests a cover-up. Petraeus was scheduled to testify to Congress this week about the attack that killed the American ambassador to Libya." [audio clip available here; video below the jump]
Greta Van Susteren on ABC's This Week Sunday took exception with a cheap shot at Fox News from Nation magazine's Katrina vanden Heuvel.
This came after vanden Heuvel said of former CIA director David Petraeus, "Don't forget that over at your network at Fox, he was your candidate for a while" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
A war broke out on the set of HBO’s Real Time Friday when MSNBC’s sole conservative commentator S.E. Cupp had the nerve to say that Barack Obama’s foreign policy was no different than former President George W. Bush’s.
In the midst of the shouting, actor Samuel L. Jackson said to Cupp, “You don’t want to f—k with Dick Cheney" (video follows with transcribed highlights and commentary):
Syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer said Friday that the revelations concerning CIA Director David Petraeus's affair will now make what happened at our consulate in Benghazi, Libya, back in September "the hottest story around."
As Krauthammer noted on Fox News's Special Report, this goes in stark contrast to how the media buried this story before Tuesday's election (video follows with transcript and commentary):
As part of a program run by the International Foundation for Electoral Systems, representatives of over 60 emerging democracies from around the world were sent to the observe and report on how the election works in this country.
What they saw left them concerned at worst and puzzled at best at the way American elections are run, leaving gaping-wide holes through which voter fraud can be committed. The Foreign Policy Cable's Josh Rogin conducted interviews with some of them for his report.
Should Republicans unilaterally disarm in the media-bias wars? Joe Scarborough seems to think so. Arguing that it distracts Republicans from performing the political blocking-and-tackling needed to win elections, Scarborough has called on Republicans to "stop blaming the media."
Saying "let's makes this personal," Scarborough cited as an example of the supposed distractions to which he was referring the controversy over the tape Morning Joe aired in September from a Romney campaign stop. Readers will recall that the clip seemed to show Romney asking the crowd, which had been chanting "Romney!", to change to "Romney/Ryan." But Scarborough suggested just the opposite: that the crowd had been chanting "Ryan!" and that Romney asked them to change to "Romney/Ryan." View the video after the jump.
Now that their guy will be in the White House for another term, the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, has apparently commenced its "Cleaning up Benghazi" project -- as, naturally, has the Obama administration.
As part of that effort, the wire service's Greg Risling, reporting from Los Angeles at 6:14 p.m., made only the vaguest of references to how the film "roiled the Middle East" and "sparked violence ... killing dozens," without mentioning how it was dishonestly leveraged by terrorists as cover for protests and violence, and of course without mentioning how Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and so many others in his administration spent well over a week -- despite clearly knowing better -- citing the film as the cause of the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya which killed four Americans, including Libyan ambassador Christopher Stevens. Excerpts follow the jump (saved here in full for future reference, fair use and discussion purposes; bolds are mine):
In his "Winners and losers from Election 2012" feature filed at his paper's website on Wednesday afternoon, the Washington Post's Chris Cillizza concluded that foreign policy in general was a "loser" in the campaign, failing to move votes (emphasis mine), "Despite all of the media attention that Libya drew in the final month of the campaign, foreign policy was an afterthought — at best — for most voters," he noted, adding that "Just 5 percent of people in the national exit poll said foreign policy was their most important issue. Interestingly, Obama won that group by 20+ points."
But as we've noted in numerous places on this blog, the administration's ever-shifting storyline on Benghazi failed to get scrutiny in the media, and new, damning revelations were downplayed or ignored, especially as the election drew closer and closer:
Now that the 2012 presidential election is over and Barack Obama has been safely reelected, the journalists at ABC's Good Morning America woke up to the fact that the President has "refused" to provide details the terrorist attack in Libya and that the administration "didn't want to talk about it." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Fill-in host Elizabeth Vargas blithely announced, "In the meantime, the Libya issue has been overhanging this election. Allegations of a, quote, massive cover-up, by Senator John McCain about this administration's, really, refusal to really put to rest this issue before voting day." Martha Raddatz, who moderated the vice presidential debate, agreed, saying, "They didn't want to talk about it. Everybody tried to pin them down on that. They did not want to talk about it." "Everybody" tried to pin them down on Libya?
The film "SEAL Team Six" came under fire for being an Obama-booster just before the election. Its Obama-supporting producer Harvey Weinstein gave credibility to those charges when he lauded the President and took shots at Mitt Romney and John McCain on CNN on Monday night.
"I didn't have to do anything to remind anybody about the decision that Barack Obama made to pull the trigger on Osama bin Laden," Obama-donor Harvey Weinstein told CNN. Host Piers Morgan teed him up by calling the drama "quite overtly political in the most magnificent propaganda-style way." [Video below the break. Audio here.]