Going around the rope line at the bottom of his 7 p.m. Eastern edition of Monday's Hardball to ask folks whom they are supporting in the presidential race, Chris Matthews found a young man who said he was backing Romney because, unlike Obama, "he doesn't cover up scandals in the Middle East."
"What was the scandal? Get to it, nail it, what was the scandal?!" Matthews rudely barked at the Romney backer. Upon the young Romney supporter answering that he was referring to Benghazi and the administration's early dogged insistence that the fiasco was the result of a spontaneous demonstration over a YouTube video, Matthews barked back (emphasis mine), "Yeah, it was about the video. Read the newspaper. Thank you. Everybodyknows it's about the video. It's all about the video." [video follows page break]
When asked by CNN what "one foreign policy question" he would ask the President, Dan Rather didn't mention Libya and instead asked a generic question about a threat to world peace. Is he a journalist or a Miss America contestant?
CNN's Brooke Baldwin inquired of Rather on Monday, "what is the one foreign policy question that you are absolutely dying to ask of the President?" His answer: "What is, in your opinion, the single biggest threat to world peace and our own national security? And in a second term, if you're re-elected, what would you do to alleviate that threat?" [Video below the break. Audio here.]
Is the New York Times engaging in some front-page pre-debate inoculation Monday on behalf of Obama regarding his administration's contradictory reaction to the Benghazi massacre? Reporter Eric Schmitt gave the administration the benefit of the doubt in its contradictory responses to the attacks in Benghazi, Libya, which it first blamed on a YouTube clip: "How the Gap Arose Between Talk and New Intelligence."
Schmitt forwarded fog-of-war-style excuses for the administration, but failed to mention Obama's United Nations speech on Sept. 25, a full two weeks after the attacks, in which the president still blamed the uprising on an anti-Mohammed YouTube clip.
Once again, a Republican guest ripped CNN's Soledad O'Brien for her Democratic-friendly bias. Former Mayor of New York Rudy Giuliani lit into her on Monday for giving President Obama "an incredibly generous interpretation" of his reaction to the Libya attacks.
"My goodness. That's an incredibly generous interpretation for the President," Giuliani told O'Brien after she tried to refute GOP accusations of a cover-up from the Obama administration. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
You don't know whether to laugh or cry upon reading the Sunday night shots campaign Jim VandeHei and Mike Allen at Politico took at Mitt Romney and his campaign.
Maybe these guys really believe that the Romney campaign is the one which still desperately needs a "last chance to move the needle in any significant way in the swing states that will decide the election," and that "Obama is slightly better positioned in the states that will dictate the outcome." If they do, my take is that the Romney campaign is playing possum, and the Politico pair, infused with Beltway naiveté and skewed polling data, are gullibly buying it. Several paragraphs from their effort follow the jump (bolds are mine throughout this post):
New York Times Public Editor Margaret Sullivan on Sunday defended the paper against conservative criticism that it has favored Obama in its sparse Libya coverage "Connecting the Dots in Libya," and elicited this from Managing Editor Susan Chira (pictured): "We're aware that people see us as tilting liberal." But Chira also said she and her colleagues "can't be guided by that." Sullivan wrote:
The Obama-loving media were out in force Sunday downplaying the significance of the White House's ever-changing position on the attacks on our consulate in Benghazi last month.
After New York Times White House correspondent Helene Cooper called the death of four Americans "peripheral to what's going on right now" on Meet the Press, Time magazine's Joe Klein told Face the Nation viewers this matter "has been like the October mirage - it really isn't an issue" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
New York Times foreign affairs columnist Tom Friedman, who three weeks ago derided Mitt Romney for how he “acts...as if he learned his foreign policy at the International House of Pancakes,” on Sunday’s Meet the Press dismissed concerns over how the Obama administration handled Benghazi before and after the attacks. “To me,” he declared, “this is an utterly contrived story in the sense that ‘this is the end of,’ you know, ‘Obama’s foreign policy.’”
Over on ABC’s This Week, host George Stephanopoulos ludicrously argued: “Hasn’t the White House been relatively transparent?”
President Obama got himself in trouble last week for saying that the death of four Americans in Libya "is not optimal."
On Sunday, New York Times White House correspondent Helene Cooper said on NBC's Meet the Press, "The death of four Americans, which is why while incredibly tragic, is something that I think is peripheral to what's going on right now" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
The Obama-loving media is still trying to shelter the President they adore from scrutiny concerning the White House's ever-changing explanation for what happened at our consulate in Benghazi, Libya, last month.
Doing her part Friday was NPR's Nina Totenberg who actually said on PBS's Inside Washington, “There'd be no reason to send [United Nations Ambassador] Susan Rice out to lie if she was going to get exposed immediately” (video follows with transcript and commentary):
In a rare moment of genuine criticism of President Obama's response to the Libya terrorist attack, on Friday's NBC Today, Meet the Press moderator David Gregory slammed government "confusion" after the event: "...the administration response on this was both sluggish, sloppy and incoherent at some times..." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Gregory's criticism was prompted by co-host Savannah Guthrie asking about Monday's upcoming foreign policy debate. While Gregory briefly noted "missteps" on the issue by Mitt Romney in the second debate, he quickly pointed to Obama's controversial comments about the attack during a Thursday Daily Show appearance: "The President's being criticized for his – his talking points on this, on Jon Stewart saying when four Americans are killed it's 'not optimal'..."
Can Jessica Yellin be any more of an Obama flap? She scorched Mitt Romney's "binders" comment as hurtful to the candidate, but on Thursday she watered down President Obama calling the deaths of Americans in Libya "not optimal."
The President said on the Daily Show that "When four Americans get killed, it's not optimal." Yellin explained that host Jon Stewart used the word "optimal" in his question and Obama "repeated it." She promptly moved on to Obama's renewed promise to close Guantanamo Bay and his joke about Vice President Biden in a swimsuit. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
New York Times intelligence reporter Scott Shane's mock Q&A in Thursday's edition, "What Happened in Libya? Clearing Up a Fierce Dispute," served to shield President Obama from criticism on how his administration described the terrorist attacks on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, misleadingly emphasizing that Obama "referred to the attack as an 'act of terror' twice" in two days. Shane omitted that Obama and his administration proceeded to blame the attacks on spontaneous protests over a YouTube video, with Obama himself doing so several times in a September 26 speech to the United Nations.
Shane is worried that "what happened in the attack, and disputes over who said what about it, have left many people confused." (Is "confused" code for "criticizing the Obama administration"?) He's the latest Times reporter to insist that Obama "applied the 'terror' label to the attack" in his Rose Garden address on September 12, while admitting "the reference was indirect." The Times' s own managing editors would quibble with that assessment.
According to a Media Research Center (MRC) analysis, NBC and ABC continued to run interference for President Obama last night by participating in the cover-up of his lie regarding the terrorist attack in Benghazi. On the other hand, CBS Evening News fully exposed this lie and called out moderator Candy Crowley for her endorsement of Obama’s deception.
On Wednesday's CBS Evening News, correspondent Jan Crawford devoted a full story to President Obama's deceptive claim that he called the Benghazi attack an "act of terror" early on, as she recounted the administration's initial reluctance to call it a terrorist attack. The CBS correspondent also implicated debate moderator and CNN anchor Candy Crowley in bolstering Obama's distortion.
After showing a clip of Obama and Romney clashing over whether Obama had used the words "act of terror" early on, Crawford showed a clip of what the President said the day after the Benghazi attack, but then exposed Obama's revisionism:
On Wednesday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer played the part of Obama campaign stooge when he promoted the President deflecting Libya criticism by slamming Mitt Romney: "...[He] firmly and pointedly chastised Governor Romney for politicizing a tragedy like this, a national tragedy. The father of Ambassador Stevens said, quote, 'It would be really abhorrent to make this into a campaign issue.'" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Lauer then turned to Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan and sanctimoniously demanded: "So I want your response, not to the President, but to the father of Ambassador Stevens." Ryan responded: "What we owe Chris Stevens, what we owe these Americans who gave their lives, are to make sure that we get to the bottom of this so we can prevent something like this from happening again."
Candy Crowley was an utter disaster last night, and was, by far, the worst moderator of the 2012 election.
The Libya cover-up continues, and the national news media need to start asking some tough questions – including questions about one of their own. If Obama was correct that on Day 1 he said it was a terrorist attack, why did his UN ambassador say on five different national interviews that it was a YouTube video that was responsible, and who put her up to it?
The second 2012 presidential debate hosted by Candy Crowley got the full court press from the New York Times, with live fact-checking online and a 40-minute TimesCast wrap-up, that found Times reporters wrongly defending Obama and bashing Mitt Romney on a fiery exchange on Libya. Times journalists were highly supportive of Barack Obama's performance and critical of the "peevish" Mitt Romney, who "was arguably showing disrespect for the president," as Jackie Calmes insisted.
Times journalists also falsely insisted that President Obama had called the Benghazi attacks "an act of terror" in a Rose Garden speech the day after, and that Mitt Romney had made a "serious gaffe" when he suggested Obama had not. Yet in fact, as two other Times journalists softly pointed out later in the videocast, Obama was only speaking generally when he said in his Rose Garden speech that "no acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this nation." Of the Benghazi assault, Managing Editor Richard Berke admitted that Obama "didn't say 'it was a terrorist attack.' It was more of a vague quote."
It looks like Candy Crowley, her establishment press excuse-makers (for her and President Obama), and supporters of the President are going to have to resort to finding penumbras emanating from Obama's September 12 Rose Garden appearance -- y'know, the one during which the press and Democrats insist that the President really, really did call the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya a terrorist attack.
The reason they're going to have to do this is because the person who asked Obama the Libya question is saying that the President himself told him that he delayed calling Benghazi a terrorist attack. Erik Wemple at the Washington Post apparently doesn't grasp the damning significance of what the questioner, Kerry Ladka, relayed to him.
Just before 1 p.m. ET, Rush Limbaugh said the following about CNN's Candy Crowley and her performance as "moderator" last night in the second presidential debate: "In the real world, she would have committed career suicide last night."
During Tuesday's post-debate coverage on CNN, as the panel discussed moderator Candy Crowley giving cover to President Obama's attempt to defend his initial flawed response to the Benghazi terrorist attack, CNN correspondent John King blamed former Governor Mitt Romney for giving Crowley the opening to undermine the GOP candidate's criticism of Obama for taking so long to recognize that the attack was a premeditated act of terrorism.
Shortly before 11:30 p.m., CNN anchor Anderson Cooper had raised the subject as he defended Romney's reasoning and suggested that Obama was taking himself out of context to cover his own tracks. Cooper:
Syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer had some harsh words for his fellow journalists Tuesday concerning their coverage of the murders of four Americans last month at our consulate in Libya.
During a Fox News Special Report segment about this matter and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's assertion that the buck stops with her on Benghazi, Krauthammer said, "The media had to be shamed by Fox News into looking into this in the first place" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
All three morning shows on Tuesday highlighted Hillary Clinton "falling on her sword" and "taking blame" for the growing scandal over Libya. But NBC and ABC avoided specifics. On Good Morning America, reporter Reena Ninan failed to press the Secretary of State on details concerning Barack Obama's role.
In contrast, CBS reporter Margaret Brennan pushed for details on what the administration knew and when. She singled out United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice and her initial claims that the murder of Chris Stevens was a result of an anti-Islamic movie: "Who briefed Ambassador Rice that day? Did you sign off on that briefing and those speaking points?" Clinton said no and curtly replied, "You would have to ask her...Everybody had the same information." Yet, according to ABC's Ninan, "...Clinton appeared to fall on her sword."
In an interview segment with Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) on his October 15 program, MSNBC's Martin Bashir alleged that conservatives are "shamelessly exploit[ing]" the deaths of Amb. Chris Stevens and three other Americans who were killed in the September 11 terrorist strike on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya. Bashir insisted that the family members of the slain are "all" tired of politicians trying to make hay out of the matter, citing the reaction of Amb. Chris Stevens's father as evidence that the families of the are all peeved at Republicans and generally trusting of the Obama administration.
Perhaps Bashir just disregards the sentiments of Ms. Pat Smith, whose son was killed in the 9/11 anniversary attack. Smith has been interviewed by Anderson Cooper, where she complained that she believes that the Obama administration has NOT been forthcoming with answers to her questions. Reported the Huffington Post (emphasis mine):
When a news anchor's Obama-friendly question is slapped down by even a liberal columnist, it's whacky. CNN's Carol Costello wondered if Libya should even be a campaign issue, but both her guests -- liberal and conservative -- answered in a resounding affirmation on Monday.
Citing the father of dead Ambassador Chris Stevens, who deplored the tragedy becoming a campaign issue, Costello asked "So I think the Ambassador's father spoke out too late because Libya has already become a campaign issue. I guess the question is should it be?" [Video below the break. Audio here.]
CNN’s Soledad O’Brien just can’t stop herself from appearing like she works for the White House rather than the supposedly most trusted name in news.
This was so apparent on Monday’s Starting Point that guest Rudy Giuliani, the former mayor of New York City, asked her, “Am I debating with the President's campaign?” (video follows with transcribed highlights and commentary):
With New York Times political reporter Jeff Zeleny sitting next to her on the Fox News Sunday set, radio host Laura Ingraham demanded: “I would hope that the New York Times, as they camped outside of Scooter Libby’s house, during the whole Valerie Plame thing -- are you guys camped out of the Susan Rice residence?” After reciting the administration’s dissembling, she concluded: “This is ridiculous and I think the press is partly culpable here.”
Zeleny avoided her point and instead contended Mitt Romney has an opening at the next debate to question President Obama, conceding Obama “hasn’t really explained himself and they have a lot of questions to answer.”
"Either they are misleading the American people or incredibly incompetent."
So said Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) on CBS's Face the Nation Sunday about the administration's reporting of what happened when four Americans were killed at our consulate in Benghazi, Libya, last month.
In an op-ed at "Bloomberg View" on Wednesday evening, editor and columnist Michael Kinsley's headline teased that "Maybe President Romney Wouldn’t Be So Bad," before twice urging readers to vote to reelect President Obama, including in the final paragraph after an alleged parenthetical (and obviously mythical) "Pause for reflection." Ha ha.
What came in between wasn't very funny at all -- and since he's an editor, his view of things presumably has impact beyond his columns. The worst whoppers came in the following paragraph: