Thursday's CBS This Morning rushed to President Obama's defense over the spat between the Democrat and opponent Mitt Romney over a statement issued by the U.S. embassy in Cairo, Egypt condemning an obscure Internet video about Muhammad. Minutes after Steve Kroft tossed softballs at the President and let him speak uninterrupted for two and half minutes, the show confronted Republican Senator Rob Portman for defending Romney's attack.
Anchor Norah O'Donnell hounded Portman, interjecting five confrontational questions in just over two and half minutes, about the same amount of time that Obama spoke without any disruption. O'Donnell cried, "You're mistaken, Senator," and read statements from Peggy Noonan, Nick Burns, and Mike Rogers to emphasize that "Republicans...are saying that Governor Romney stepped in it." [audio available here; video below the jump]
Barack Obama has morphed into Jimmy Carter before our eyes, but the liberal media have refused to report on the Obama Administration’s failed foreign policy of apologies and appeasement. Terrified to hurt Obama’s chances of re-election, they are shamelessly seizing on this horrific attack on Americans abroad to push their go-to narrative that Mitt Romney is tone deaf.
Romney rightly criticized the Obama Administration for its spineless apology to thugs whose idea of ‘diplomacy’ is intimidation, violence and murder. As the façade of the ‘Arab Spring’ continues to fracture and crumble away, the media have shifted to a strategy of distraction and omission.
A report yesterday in the Toronto-based Globe and Mail ("Obama’s reaction to Benghazi will be muted") concerning the September 11 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya caught my eye. Right there in its third paragraph, Alan Jamieson said that "On Wednesday, the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, was destroyed by Muslim militants."
"Destroyed"? I hadn't read that anywhere else. CNN and many other U.S. news outlets described what happened in Benghazi as an "attack" -- as if the damage done, even if serious, was not in effect a demolition. The distinction seemed particularly germane to a report yesterday in the Associated Press about Marines being dispatched to Libya:
The New York Times spelled out its habit of trying to wrong-foot Mitt Romney on Thursday's front page coverage of the violence in Egypt and Libya. The banner headline over Thursday's front page, "Attack On U.S. Site In Libya Kills Envoy; A Flash Point For Obama And Romney," ushered in coverage of the attacks on U.S. embassies in Libya and Egypt, with the assault in Libya resulting in four deaths, including the murder of Ambassador Christopher Stevens.
Times reporters Peter Baker and Ashley Parker made sure to follow the media template in characterizing Mitt Romney's criticism of the Obama administration as "clumsy and badly timed and Romney himself as "on the defensive" (twice!) in "A Challenger's Criticism Is Furiously Returned."
The NBC and CBS morning shows on Thursday both pushed the theme that Mitt Romney made a gaffe with his handling of Libya. At the same time, they shielded Barack Obama. Good Morning America's Jake Tapper stood out in highlighting problems for the President. In the wake of the murder of Ambassador Chris Stevens, Tapper asserted that "many questions remain about insufficient security at those diplomatic posts on the anniversary of 9/11 and U.S. leadership in the region in the wake of the Arab Spring."
In contrast, CBS This Morning devoted a large chunk of its coverage to allowing Barack Obama to defend himself. The three minute and 41 second story featured the President talking for a massive two and a half minutes. How long did Romney get in the Norah O'Donnell segment? A mere ten seconds.
Continuing to attack Mitt Romney's reaction to the embassy attacks in Egypt and Libya, on Thursday's NBC Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie urged Senator John McCain to admit Romney made a mistake: "Was it correct for Mitt Romney to seize on that political opportunity at a moment when the U.S. Ambassador had been killed?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
McCain stood behind Romney's criticism of the Obama administration's initial response to the attacks and added some of his own: "Look, what this is all about is American weakness and the President's inability to lead....Iraq is dissolving, our relations with Israel are at a tension point. He – I'd like to see the President of the United States speak up once for the 20,000 people that are being massacred in Syria. There is an absence of American leadership in the region..."
It appears that even quasi-conservative Joe Scarborough won’t put up with the ridiculous statements that appear on his network anymore. Such was the case during an interview with Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) on Thursday’s Morning Joe that centered on the mob attack on the U.S. embassy in Cairo and the deadly attack by Islamists on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.
McCain was asked by Scarborough whether or not Governor Romney should have waited several days to hold a press conference on Libya and Egypt, prompting the Senator to comment that he wasn't about to give Romney tactical campaign adivce and that "the fact is the United States in the Middle East is weak" under Obama and that Romney had to address "the big picture." [See video below break. MP3 audio here.]
When President Obama intervened in Libya last year, he claimed that "it's in our national interest to act" to remove a tyrant who -- in response to Bush's invasion of Iraq -- had just given up his weapons of mass destruction and pledged to be America's BFF.
Apparently Gadhafi neglected to also tell Obama, "I've got your back."
Mitt Romney was correct in his critique of President Barack Obama’s “Arab Spring” policies but, on the timing, The Weekly Standard’s Steve Hayes cautioned on FNC’s Special Report, Romney should have known the media would use it against him:
You knew the media were going to obsess on this and obsess on it they did. They’re so now fascinated by this process story, using this process story to beat up Mitt Romney rather than taking a step back and looking at the bigger picture question about the policies.
In light of the tragic events that just transpired in Egypt and Libya on Sept. 11, both presidential candidates felt obligated to host separate press conferences that aired just 30 minutes apart. In yet another example of the ‘journalistic integrity’ that saturates the MSNBC network, the Jansing and Co. hostess and guests openly showed favoritism to President Obama, who was glaringly devoid of any time for questions from the media.
Anchor Chris Jansing engaged in a conversation with NBC’s Chief White House Correspondent Chuck Todd that continued off and on throughout the allotted hour. Republican challenger Romney was taken to task for sharing his opinion on the matter without the benefit of “any foreign policy experience,” or as they described it as “launching a political attack” after the murder of an ambassador.
That it’s entirely possible there were dangerously incompetent policies in place regarding diplomatic security in both Cairo and Benghazi were not even considered.
On her 1 p.m. et MSNBC program on Wednesday, host Andrea Mitchell interrogated former United Nations Ambassador and Romney advisor Richard Williamson on the Republican presidential candidate's criticism of President Obama's response to attacks in Egypt and Libya: "Does it seem to be injecting politics into a national tragedy?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Williamson dismissed Mitchell's question: "Andrea, you're an experienced reporter. You've had the same questions asked about your own reporting from time to time....You're engaging in a process question. The importance is the substance of what's going on in the Middle East, where the U.S. is being compromised and in retreat."
Has an empty chair been getting 56.2 percent of the president's intelligence briefings?
In light of the news that fatal attacks on U.S. diplomats in Benghazi, Libya, may well have been pre-planned by al Qaeda operatives, it would behoove the media to scrutinize just how infrequently President Obama sits in on his daily intelligence briefings. As Marc Thiessen noted in an op-ed in Sunday, September 10 edition of the Washington Post, President Obama sat in on his Presidential Daily Brief (PDB) a mere 536 times out of his first 1,225 days in office. That's a mere 43.8 percent of the time. "By contrast, Obama’s predecessor, George W. Bush almost never missed his daily intelligence meeting," the American Enterprise Institute fellow noted.
ABC journalist Christiane Amanpour on Wednesday compared the rioting and murder that followed Middle Eastern anger over an anti-Islamic movie to yelling "fire in a crowded theater." Regarding filmmaker Sam Bacile and the killing of U.S. ambassador Christopher Stevens in Libya, Amanpour derided, "So, now, one has to, really, try to figure out the extremists in this country and the extremists out there who are using this and whipping up hatred." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Amanpour appeared on Good Morning America to discuss Bacile and his little-seen film. Talking to George Stephanopoulos, she asserted that the movie mocks the prophet Mohammed, portraying him as "a womanizer, a pedophile, a thug, and generally denigrate[s] Islam." Seemingly debating the need for some kind of self-censorship, Amanpour added, "There is also 100-year law by the United States Supreme Court, which says you can't cry fire in a crowded theater."
Mitt Romney's statement yesterday evening slamming the Obama administration for the U.S. embassy in Cairo's attempt to appease the Islamist protesters was "naive," MSNBC's Alex Wagner and Time magazine's Rana Foroohar agreed in a segment on the September 12 edition of Now with Alex Wagner.
While Wagner said the initial statement condemning the anti-Muhammad movie was intended to calm tempers and save lives, Foroohar went into an odd analogy that compared Islamist hatemongers with conservative radio host Glenn Beck (MP3 audio here; video embedded below page break):
The media's full-throttle attack on Mitt Romney's condemnation of Barack Obama's weak handling of the Libyan crisis isn't surprising given they invested so much time praising the President's Libyan policy in 2011. During the Arab Spring of 2011, Time's Mark Halperin called the administration’s policy toward Libya "deft" and CBS’s Norah O'Donnell declared Obama's "victories" in the Middle East would "burnish his credentials as a world leader." NBC's David Gregory hailed that since Obama "has been tested" in the foreign policy "arena" he would use the experience as "a club against Republicans."
The following quotes are the worst examples of journalists' adulation of Obama's Libyan policy back in 2011:
At the top of Wednesday's MSNBC Daily Rundown, host Chuck Todd denounced Mitt Romney for daring to criticize the Obama administration's handling of the attack on U.S. embassies in Egypt and Libya: "[The Romney campaign] wish they had that press release back, because as the hours unfolded....this statement looks crass and tone deaf in the light of this day." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Todd was referring to the Romney campaign condemning a statement by the U.S. embassy in Cairo that essentially apologized to the Islamist protesters attacking the diplomatic grounds. Todd proclaimed: "Now here's what we don't get. Why the Romney campaign didn't wait until it had all the facts....Now they're actually in a political box, because what can they do? They know that they've made a mistake."
Both President Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney spoke earlier today about the horrendous murders yesterday of U.S. foreign service officials in Benghazi, Libya. Of the two, only Romney took questions from the media. Yet rather than scrutinize the president's failure to be open to inquiry from members of the press, MSBNC's Thomas Roberts and NBC's chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd devoted the top segment of the 11 a.m. MSNBC Live program to focusing on Romney "doubling down" in today's press conference of his criticism of the Obama administration.
For his part, Roberts suggested Romney's press conference today was in response to President Obama's post-convention bounce in the polls:
With Muammar Qadhafi dead and Libya firmly in the hands of rebels, the attention of the major network media has shifted away from the North African country. But that certainly doesn't mean the unintended consequences of the late NATO-assisted revolution aren't barreling down the track.
Tripoli-based Time magazine contributor Steve Sotloff has an excellent piece at the magazine's website about how radical Salafist Muslims are enacting a reign of terror on fellow Muslims who don't subscribe to their radical theology. You can read the whole piece here.
It remains to be seen what sort, if any, attention the media at-large pay to post-Qadhafi Libya and the degree to which President Obama's actions in support the Libyan rebels has led to a dangerous post-Qadhafi power vacuum that could likely be filled by dangerous Islamists.
Appearing as a guest on Wednesday's Piers Morgan Tonight on CNN, former NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw recounted some of the rationale behind why the Bush administration believed that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction before the invasion of Iraq, even noting that President Clinton had also believed in the presence of WMD. (Video below)
As NewsBusters has been reporting for days, the Obama-loving media have been doing a collective victory lap concerning the President's appeasement retort "Go ask Osama bin Laden."
When CNN's Candy Crowley tried this during her interview with Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum on Sunday's State of the Union, she got a much-needed education that would help all her foreign policy-challenged colleagues in the press (video follows with partial transcript and commentary):
Oops, he supposedly did it again. Herman Cain, the GOP presidential candidate who has experience as a rocket scientist on his resume, made another allegedly "stupid" remark. Why, if you buy the press's accounts of his statements, it's hard to believe the guy can dress himself in the morning without hanging his pants over his head and putting his socks on his hands.
Here's what Cain said that has the ninnies at ThinkProgress aka ThinkRegress (whom I won't link) and the Politico all lathered up -- When Cain recounted how he wouldn't answer a reporter's non-specific question about Libya, he responded that he needed to know which aspect of President Obama's current "policy" (there is one?) he should address: "Do I agree with siding with the opposition? Do I agree with saying that Qadhafi should go? Do I agree that they now have a country where you’ve got Taliban and Al Qaeda that’s going to be part of the government? … Do I agree with not knowing the government was going to — which part was he asking me about? I was trying to get him to be specific and he wouldn’t be specific." Well, it turns out, in an update at Politico which ThinkRegress isn't posting, lest it disturb its meme of constant condescension, that a Cain spokesman identified an important Libyan official with Taliban connections lickety-split:
Appearing on the Sunday, November, 13, Today show on NBC to discuss Saturday night's GOP presidential debate that focused on foreign policy, Meet the Press host David Gregory suggested that, because President Obama's foreign policy, "by a lot of accounts," has been "very successful," the Republican candidates may not be so eager to go after Obama in that realm. Gregory, speaking of the candidates:
After Moammar Gadhafi's downfall as Libya's tyrannical ruler, politicians and "experts" in the U.S. and elsewhere, including French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe, are saying that his death marked the end of 42 years of tyranny and the beginning of democracy in Libya. Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., said Gadhafi's death represented an opportunity for Libya to make a peaceful and responsible transition to democracy. House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said, "Now it is time for Libya's Transitional National Council to show the world that it will respect the rights of all Libyans (and) guide the nation to democracy." German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that "Libya must now quickly make further determined steps in the direction of democracy." It's good to see the removal of a tyrant, but if we're going to be realistic, there's little hope for the emergence of what we in the West call a democracy. Let's look at it.
The "mildly Islamist" party that won a plurality of votes in recent Tunisian elections is not a troubling sign, nor is the possibility that Egypt and Libya may be moving in an Islamist direction post-Qadhafi and Mubarak, Reza Aslan argued in a Sunday "Guest Voices" piece for WashingtonPost.com's "On Faith" section (emphases mine)
NBC foreign correspondent Richard Engel is my favorite frequent guest on "The Rachel Maddow Show" -- who knows what he might say. Certainly not Maddow.
Engel didn't disappoint in his last appearance on her program Oct. 20, subtly calling Maddow out for a conspicuous omission in her recounting of Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi renouncing his weapons of mass destruction. (video after page break)
"Libya’s top leader declared the country officially 'liberated' Sunday from the four-decade rule of Moammar Gaddafi, pledging to replace his dictatorship with a more democratic but also a more strictly Islamic system," Washington Post staff writer Mary Beth Sheridan noted in the lead paragraph of her October 24 front-page article, "Libya declares liberation days after Gaddafi death."
Sheridan noted two possible significant policy changes that transitional leaders are examining: banning interest on housing loans and loosening the existing restrictions on Libyan men taking more than one wife.
There really is no limit to the hypocrisy of Bill Maher.
Despite having gotten fired by ABC shortly after the 9/11 attacks for calling America cowards due to our use of long-range cruise missiles, the host of HBO's Real Time on Friday raved about President Obama's deployment of unmanned predator drones to kill people from thousands of miles away (video follows with transcript and commentary):
On Sunday's Meet the Press, host David Gregory teed one up for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that was specifically designed to mock the Republican presidential candidates while allowing her to brag uninterrupted about the foreign policy successes of Barack Obama (video follows with transcript and commentary):
I'm not sure what press reports media analyst Howard Kurtz observed since Thursday's announcement that Moammar Gaddafi had been killed in Libya, but they certainly can't be what most people in this country have seen.
On CNN's "Reliable Sources" Sunday, Kurtz actually asked his guests why the press aren't giving President Obama more credit (video follows with transcript and commentary):