ABC's Jake Tapper's Thursday report on World News stands alone as the only Big Three coverage so far of what The Daily Beast's Eli Lake reported on Wednesday - that U.S. intelligence officials had "strong indications" within a day that Islamist terrorists were behind the September 11, 2012 attack on the American consulate in Benghazi - not a mob enraged at a controversial Internet video.
By contrast, former NBC Nightly News anchor Tom Brokaw tried to point the finger at Mitt Romney on Friday's Today show for the media's apparent lack of curiosity at the inconsistencies in the Obama administration's narrative about the terrorist attack. Otherwise, NBC only aired two reports on the story since Wednesday - twice running the same Ann Curry interview of Libyan President Mohammed Magarief.
While ignoring breaking news in the Obama administration's Libya fiasco on Thursday night, CNN's Piers Morgan dumped on the Romney campaign for a good portion of his show, saying Mitt is "in a hell of a lot of trouble."
Morgan cited four polls in Virginia showing "Obama comfortably ahead," even though one of the polls was actually a tie and another had Obama leading within the margin of error. "Your guy's in a hell of a lot of trouble, isn't he?" Morgan asked GOP pollster Kristen Soltis. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
"Consulate attackers had ties to al-Qaeda," blares a page A1 Washington Post headline in this morning's edition. "But terrorist group didn't plan assault in Libya, U.S. officials say," the subheader adds.
Yet six paragraphs into his article, Washington Post reporter Greg Miller noted that (emphasis mine) "The intelligence picture assembled so far indicates that militants had been preparing an assault on the U.S. compound in Benghazi for weeks but were so disorganized that, after the battle started, they had to send fighters to retrieve heavier weapons."
On Friday's NBC Today, special correspondent Tom Brokaw demonstrated the blatant media effort to ignore Obama administration failures surrounding the consulate attack in Libya: "Romney turned out to give the President air cover. There are serious questions about what happened in Libya and the absence of security and what is our Middle East policy, but Romney's missteps really have given the President more camouflage than he would have expected." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Brokaw lamely attempting to blame Mitt Romney for the failure of the media to ask tough national security questions of Obama echoed a recent revealing statement by CBS News political director John Dickerson, who declared that it was solely Romney's responsibility to hold the President to account over Libya because the media would not.
On September 25, NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell was joined by numerous other conservatives in an open letter to ABC, CBS, NBC, and CNN executives protesting their blatant bias and noting that they are encouraging Americans to get their news from other, more balanced sources.
The following night, Fox News's Greta Van Susteren referenced the letter in a segment with fellow FNCer Brit Hume, who noted that while every presidential election he's covered he's observed the media's bias against the Republican candidate, that this year is markedly different in the intensity of that bias (watch the video embedded below the page break):
ABC's Good Morning America hasn't once reported on U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice's claim on the September 16, 2012 edition of This Week that the terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya was "a spontaneous - not a pre-meditated - response to what had transpired in Cairo." Even worse, the morning show hasn't reported on the subsequent developments on the consulate attack over the past 12 days that cast doubt on Ambassador Rice's statement.
NBC's Today show also hasn't covered Rice's talking points on the attack, after she appeared on Meet the Press on the same day as her This Week appearance. News reader Natalie Morales merely reported on September 19 that "the White House says there is currently no evidence that last week's deadly attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya was planned and pre-meditated. Officials say it appears that the violence was sparked by that anti-Islam film made in the U.S." Two days later, Morales gave an update on how "the White House is now classifying the deadly attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya as a terrorist attack....But intelligence officials now believe it was a planned attack in the guise of a protest."
Both of those programs provided voluminous coverage of Romney's "47%" tape, but have no time to scrutinize the Obama administration's public statements about an incident that claimed the life of an American ambassador?
Corrected from earlier | Time magazine managing editor Richard Stengel appeared on the September 27 Morning Joe to give viewers a preview of the latest issue of the magazine, the cover story of which is devoted to Mitt Romney's Mormon faith. At the tail end of the segment, teasing other articles in the issue, Stengel plugged Bobby Ghosh's interview with Mohammed Abdel Rahman, the son of Omar Abdel Rahman, the "blind sheikh" serving time in a federal prison for his role in aborted 1993 bombing plot targeting the World Trade Center.
"We have a great piece by Bobby Ghosh, who's been on here before about the rise of the Salafis, in the Middle East, they're the Tea Party of Muslim democracy, and that's a fantastic, insightful story as well," Stengel noted. Neither Joe Scarborough not co-host Willie Geist threw a penalty flag at Stengel's unnecessary roughness, comparing the Tea Party to radical advocates of stringent Sharia law. [MP3 audio here; video at bottom of post]
In an article published shortly before 5 a.m. EDT on the morning of Sept. 26, The Daily Beast's Eli Lake revealed that three separate U.S. intelligence officials confirmed to him that within 24 hours of the September 11 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, the Obama administration had strong reason to suspect al Qaeda ties to the deadly violence.
Lake noted that the identities of at least four of the participants in the attack on the consulate were found within 24 hours, one of which has been tracked by his use of social media. This of course conflicts with the administration's early story. You may recall that four days after the attack, on Sept 16, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations insisted to CBS' Bob Schieffer that the attack was spontaneous and tied to an obscure video on YouTube.
In a dispatch today, an unbylined AP report headlined "Romney: Benghazi a 'Terrorist Attack'" seems to act as if this is some kind of revelation to the GOP nominee even though everyone except Obama administration insiders desperately trying to bring life to the corpse formerly known as the Arab Spring have been saying that for well over a week. It gets much worse than that in the report's third paragraph:
In the wake of a rather tragic and tumultuous events regarding American foreign policy in the Middle East, President Barack Obama plans to forego the opportunity for a one-on-one meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during his visit to the UN this week. The reason is simple. It just could not wait. The president needed to have a sit down with Barbara Walters and the rest of gals at The View.
Washington Post fact checker Glenn Kessler published a column yesterday attempting to debunk the claim in an American Crossroads television spot that President Obama skipped almost half of his intelligence briefings. Kessler assigned the assertion a 3 out of 4 possible Pinocchios. No matter how Kessler spins it, however, the fact remains that President Obama failed to receive in-person intelligence briefings in the days leading up to the September 11 assassination of Ambassador Chris Stevens.
The New York Times is certainly not treating Barack Obama's statement on 60 Minutes that the death of four Americans in Libya, including Libyan ambassador Christopher Stevens, as one of a few "bumps in the road," as a callous and politically damaging gaffe. Reporter Ashley Parker reluctantly covered Romney delivering "talking points" to the media on the matter, in "Republican Team Attacks Obama on Foreign Policy," but her story opened by highlighting Romney's "tough" time, including yet another mention of Romney's "47 percent" comment at a private fundraiser.
In an interview that aired Sunday, Obama was asked by CBS's Steve Kroft whether "the recent events in the Middle East given you any pause about your support for the governments that have come to power following the Arab Spring?"
Obama responded in part: "But I was pretty certain and continue to be pretty certain that there are going to be bumps in the road because, you know, in a lot of these places, the one organizing principle has been Islam."
On Monday, ABC's Good Morning America and NBC's Today failed to air any full reports on the continuing inquiry into the terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, and mentioned the issue only in passing. CBS This Morning did devote a full segment to the dispute between the State Department and CNN over their use of a Ambassador Chris Stevens' personal journal, but didn't mention President Obama or Secretary of State Hillary Clinton by name.
Matt Lauer vaguely referenced the "new wave of anti-Americanism" in the Islamic world during an interview of Tony Blair, but it took the former British prime minister to specifically point out the "tragic death of your ambassador" in Libya. During a report on the presidential race, ABC's Jake Tapper did briefly note how the President "described some of the events as bumps in the road. The Romney campaign saying that the death of four Americans, including the U.S. ambassador in Libya, is far worse than a bump in the road."
Who knew that "a source familiar with Ambassador Steven's thinking" may have been Ambassador Stevens himself?
Citing an unnamed but mysteriously close source on Wednesday, CNN's Anderson Cooper reported that Christopher Stevens was concerned about security threats, Islamic extremism, and an al-Qaeda hit list in the months leading up to the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi.
Two days later, Cooper admitted that some of the information from that report secretly came from Stevens own handwriting, in a seven-page personal journal that the network had found at the scene of the attack.
Only our totally unbiased watchdog media could turn the burning of U.S. embassies in countries where Barack Obama had recently supported mob revolts into Mitt Romney's blunder. Journalists couldn't risk having Obama's campaign slogan "Osama is dead" being amended with "and so is our ambassador."
After our ambassador to Libya was murdered in a preplanned, coordinated attack on our embassy last week, preceded by an attack on our embassy in Egypt (and followed by attacks on our embassies in Yemen, Indonesia, Tunisia and Lebanon), Romney criticized the Obama administration for "sympathizing with those who had breached our embassy in Egypt."
In a hearing yesterday before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing, an Obama administration official admitted what all of us already knew through credible reports in foreign media: Amb. Chris Stevens died on September 11 "in the course of a terrorist attack." As Karen DeYoung reported in today's Washington Post, National Counterterrorism Center director Matthew Olsen told the committee that "the people involved in the violent assault" on the consulate in Benghazi hailed from "several militant groups, including localized extremists in eastern Libya as well as affiliates of al Qaeda."
Fox News reported moments ago that the leader of last week's attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, may have been Sufian bin Qumu who was released from the detention center in Guantanamo Bay in 2007.
The New York Times reported April 24, 2011, on the release of a prisoner named Abu Sufian Ibrahim Ahmed Hamuda bin Qumu that appears to be the same man:
This week we learned what really gets the liberal media in a ... well ... rage. It isn't the act of perpetrating violence upon the innocent. No, it's calling out that rage for everyone to see. In Liberal Land, words speak louder than actions.
The media on the left side of the aisle took more umbrage with a Newsweek article titled, Muslim Rage, than they did with the incidents that demonstrated that rage - the killing of four Americans in Libya, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens, and the hoisting of Islamist flags on sovereign U.S. soil. Outlets like Think Progress called the Newsweek cover, which featured an image of a group of obviously agitated Muslims, Islamophobic. Newsweek for their part did not apologize for their portrayal of events in the Middle East saying:
The liberal panelists of MSNBC's The Cycle did their level best to help University of Pennsylvania religion professor Anthea Butler defend her now infamous tweet that the filmmaker behind the "Innocence of Muslims" video trailer on YouTube should be throw in jail. Co-host Toure Neblett went so far as to denounce the Twitter "mob" that deluged Butler's Twitter account with critical tweets. Only conservative S.E. Cupp pushed back against Butler by insisting that the YouTube video was a fig leaf justification by Islamists for violence.
"We think of this [free speech] as like an absolute right, but in fact there are limits.... So in this global world where a video clip can get spread around like wildfire, is it in fact going too far, is that beyond our constitutionally-guaranteed freedom of speech?" co-host Krystal Ball asked Butler. [MP3 audio here]
In an interview on CNN's Starting Point, Romney Campaign adviser Bay Buchanan gave an "indictment" of the media for paying more attention to a statement by a candidate than the foreign policy of the sitting President.
"That's an indictment on the media, Soledad, that they would think that some little comment by the candidate is more important than a policy, an entire foreign policy of the President of the United States," said Buchanan. And CNN's Anderson Cooper proved that argument true as he led his show the previous night with tape of Romney and not a report that the U.S. may have had advance warning on a deadly terrorist attack in Libya. [Video below the break.]
Just how bad is the media's track record this election season? On Monday, CNN's Anderson Cooper led his show with a manufactured Mitt Romney controversy instead of news that the U.S. may have had advance warning on deadly terrorist attacks.
Here's how Cooper started his show: "On Libya, late word on what American diplomats may have been told about the threat from Muslim extremists, terrorists, just three days before the attack that killed four Americans in Benghazi. We're going to have that, but first, what could be a campaign blockbuster, what Mitt Romney said to big money donors about President Obama voters when he didn't think cameras were rolling." [Video below the break. Audio here.]
Clay Waters at NewsBusters has already exposed the passive-aggressive anti-Semitism in Maureen Dowd's Sunday rant ("Neocons Slither Back") at the New York Times. So did Politico's Dylan Byers, who nonetheless thought that the Obama campaign's tweet supporting Dowd's column via its "Truth Team" (and, by inference,their endorsement of her "neocon puppet master" premise) was so unimportant that he didn't mention it until his final paragraph. Excerpts from Byers weakly headlined item follow (HT Twitchy):
Early Friday afternoon, the Washington Post's David Nakamura confirmed that on Tuesday, September 11 -- before the attack in Benghazi that killed Amb. Chris Stevens -- the Obama National Security Council asked YouTube to pull down a video "trailer" for "The Innocence of Muslims," saying it may violate the video-sharing service's "terms of service." Such a move would have removed the film from the site worldwide, something YouTube has refused to do, even though parent company Google "is honoring requests to block the video the site restricted access in Libya and Egypt because of the unrest."
But despite the troubling implications of U.S. government officials waging a specious "terms of service" complaint about a private citizen's video on a video-sharing site, a search of Nexis reveals that absent a very brief mention by ABC's Jake Tapper on the September 14 World News, the broadcast networks -- ABC, CBS, and NBC -- have ignored the story:
CNN's Soledad O'Brien on Monday felt the need to defend Barack Obama from criticism that his policies are at least partially responsible for the recent anti-American hostilities transpiring in the Middle East and other parts of the globe.
During a heated debate with Congressman Peter King (R-N.Y.) on Starting Point, O'Brien got a much-needed education on the President's "apology tour" (video follows with CNN transcript and commentary):
On September 10, in a writeup which should qualify them for immediate entry into the Journalistm Hall of Shame, the Associated Press's Julie Pace and three other assisting reporters, acting as virtual stenographers for the Obama administration and water-carriers for his reelection campaign, declared that "It will be a rare day on the campaign when terrorism, or national security for that matter, will be a center of attention," while insisting that Obama has the presumptive upper hand in such matters.
Oops. Excerpts from their write-up follow the jump. It would be funny if it weren't so tragically sad (bolds are mine):
The caption accompanying a September 13 TIME magazine photo slide tags the filmmakers behind "The Innocence of Muslims" as "Islamophobes" while those rioting in the Arab street supposedly in reaction against said film are merely "orthodox Muslims.":
Discussing the violent anti-American demonstrations erupting across the Middle East outside U.S. embassies in Arab capitals, MSNBC contributor Michael Eric Dyson put a share of the blame on, well, "horrible" Americans.
It was the "demonization of a predictable minority," in this case Muslims, that was the spark that light the conflagration, Dyson argued on the September 14 edition of the noon Eastern program Now with Alex Wagner. "It's not as if, oh in America, we've resolved this with equanimity and grace," he added, seeking to conflate isolated incidents of hate speech against Muslims inside the United States with the violent response of the Arab street to an obscure low-budget YouTube video. [MP3 audio here; video follows page break]
Is Jon Huntsman headed the way of Charlie Crist? When the 2016 Dem convention rolls around, will we see the also-ran GOP presidential nomination-seeker on the podium, seconding Hillary's nomination? You've got to wonder after Huntsman's toadying performance today as he made the MSNBC rounds.
After appearing on Morning Joe earlier, Huntsman turned up on Andrea Mitchell's show. Mitchell posed a laughably-loaded question, bashing Mitt Romney's response to the Obama administration's handling of the embassy attacks. The haughty Huntsman was only too happy to play the useful idiot, concurring that there was "a lot to the criticism" and ripping Romney as an "impetuous candidate" in a time of foreign policy crisis. View the video after the jump.
In a September 13 Washington Post On Faith blog post entitled "When free speech costs human life," Qasim Rashid of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community USA complained that it was "extreme" to expect Muslims in the Middle East to develop thicker skin and not riot every time someone halfway around the world makes a video or cartoon that offends their religious sensibilities: