In an unsurprising display of ignorance, Jon Stewart felt it necessary to interrupt his guest, Egyptian Revolutionary Socialist Gigi Ibrahim, to crack a lame joke comparing the human rights abuses occurring under military rule in Egypt today to the American government’s restriction of “civil rights under the guise of fighting terrorism.”
Stewart’s claim that “we’re not so different after all, you and I” came after Ibrahim explained how the Egyptian government instated an anti-protest law that led to the imprisonment of 41,000 political prisoners. Ibrahim describes how these prisons abuse, rape and torture their occupants, while the arrests and prison conditions are kept out of the media through government censorship. [See video below. Click here for MP3 audio]
NPR prides itself on being globally sophisticated. So why on Earth would one of its correspondents ask “Which Place Is More Sexist, The Middle East Or Latin America?”
On NPR's "Parallels" blog, Lourdes Garcia-Navarro suggested Brazil is just as oppressive for women as Egypt or Iraq, in a different way. She concluded: “Activists often target the Middle East for its policies towards women. But as living in Brazil has taught me, for women, even having all the freedom in the world can be its own cage.”
John Seigenthaler, the former NBC news anchor who now reads the news on Al Jazeera America, showed up on Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report Tuesday night to undergo a faux-grilling from Stephen Colbert about his new employer. While explaining how he came to work at Al Jazeera, Seigenthaler remarked, “They offered me the chance to anchor a newscast that focused on serious news. In-depth journalism, unbiased reports.” [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
Colbert, in character as usual, feigned skepticism, demanding:
It seems that Associated Press reporter Maggie Michael and Sarah El Deeb, her partner in distortion, can hardly believe that Egypt's military-backed government is calling terrorists "terrorists."
The Muslim Brotherhood is a terrorist organization. Even if one believes, as Michael asserts, that "The Brotherhood, founded in 1928, denounced violence in the late 1970s," that alleged repudiation was rendered null and void after hard-line Islamist Mohammed Morsi, who lost his legitimacy when he took dictatorial powers in November of last year, was ousted from power in July. After that, the Brotherhood, as I noted at the time, with evidence, "rededicated itself to terrorism." Egypt's government is recognizing the obvious, and the in three process thumbing its nose at the Obama administration, which as far as I can tell has never backed away from its position that the Brotherhood should have a role in Egypt's government.
When George W. Bush was president, America's media loved reporting international demonstrations against him once things in Iraq turned south.
With this in mind, it will be interesting to see if the same historically anti-war press will cover a picture depicting Barack Obama as the devil published Wednesday in the popular Egyptian newspaper Al Wafd.
David Letterman took a comedic swipe at George W. Bush and Barack Obama Wednesday.
Talking about what appears to be a looming American strike on Syria, the CBS Late Show host said, “It's going to be kind of an enjoyable switch for Obama. Now he can start a war that the next president will be stuck with” (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Maybe, in sync with the predictable press reactions to oft-seen bad economic numbers, the headline at Julie Pace's late-morning story at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, should have been: "Obama Foreign Policy Falls Apart ... Unexpectedly."
Pace's pathetic attempt at pathos in assessing the status of the Obama administration's foreign policy tells AP readers that some of it is due to "factors outside the White House's control" (as if previous administrations haven't had to deal with unanticipated developments), that Obama "misjudged" what would come in the Arab Spring's aftermath (we're supposed to ignore all of those contacts he's had with Muslim Brotherhood officials and their sympathizers), and that the NSA revelations have hurt our standing in Europe (without noting that the root cause is NSA's spying on U.S. citizens). Excerpts follow the jump.
In the media’s wall-to-wall Egypt coverage, one important facet of the ongoing crisis has gotten short shrift: the deadly plight of that nation’s Christians. The three broadcast networks in particular have buried the anti-Christian violence, devoting just 5 percent of Egypt reporting to it since last week. Six days ago, supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood and deposed President Mohammed Morsi launched what some are calling a “pogrom” and “jihad” against Egypt’s Christian population.
Violence against Egypt’s Christian minority is nothing new. Nor is the media’s disinterest in it. But in the last week, that violence suddenly escalated to epidemic levels.
Good Morning America devoted a segment on Tuesday to the "White House response" on the growing crisis in Egypt without ever mentioning Barack Obama's name. George Stephanopoulos simply informed viewers that "members of Congress continue to debate whether to cut off U.S. aid to Egypt."
Stephanopoulos later told reporter Martha Raddatz that "the United States [is] saying that for now, at least, they will not be suspending military aid to the government in Egypt." Yet, despite the ABC graphic declaring, "White House Response on Egypt Crisis," no GMA journalist in that segment actually mentioned the President who works in the "White House."
In an impressive display of journalistic gymnastics on Friday's NBC Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie and Meet the Press moderator David Gregory managed to have an entire discussion about U.S. policy in Egypt without mentioning President Obama by name. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Plenty of vague substitutions were used, including "the President" "the White House" "the administration" and most popularly, "the U.S." Anything to avoid actually holding Barack Obama accountable for the internal strife plaguing a key ally in the Middle East. Even the headline on screen during the morning show segment read: "Chaos in Egypt; What Options Does U.S. Have?" They at least briefly showed Obama on screen during the segment.
Ted Koppel made a fascinating observation about terrorism and the recent embassy evacuations that certainly won't please President Obama or his supporters in the media.
Appearing on NBC's Meet the Press, Koppel said, "With a conference call, Al Qaeda has effectively shut down 20 U.S. embassies around north Africa and the Middle East...The terrorists have achieved more with one phone call than we have achieved with all our response" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer had some harsh words Tuesday for the White House calling the evacuation of our embassies in the Middle East “ordered departures.”
Appearing on Fox News’s Special Report, Krauthammer said, “This is the first administration in history ever to launch a lexicological war on the enemy. You know, they’ve thrown the book at them - the dictionary.”
Saturday evening, a friend suggested that I watch the midnight rerun of Judge Jeanine Pirro's Fox News program for her interview segment with a Democrat and a Republican about this weekend's closing of 22 embassies overseas in response to terrorist threats.
Ryan Clayton was the Democrat whose arguments blaming George W. Bush's administration for the current level of threats in the Middle East were so weak that he was reduced to childishly reminding viewers that 9/11 happened on George W. Bush's watch (as if we didn't know, and as if eight years of previous Clinton administration weakness were irrelevant). Clayton has an interesting history, which I will note at the end of this post. The Judge Jeanine segment follows the jump.
Remember all that talk from President Obama during last year’s campaign about al Qaeda being decimated?
Apparently not, for on ABC’s This Week Sunday, Congressman Peter King (R-N.Y.) said, “Al Qaeda is in many ways stronger than it was before 9/11 because it's mutated and it spread and it can come at us from different directions” (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Everyone’s happy about the arrival of the future king of Britain – that is, everyone at leisure to take note. Presumably, Middle Eastern Christians have been too busy trying to survive to worry over whether the Duchess of Cambridge was in false labor.
And while the hard-nosed journalists at ABC, CBS and NBC have been knitting booties and speculating on names, Middle Eastern Christians have been attacked by Islamists, prevented from worshipping, driven from homes and villages, beaten and executed.
What Egyptian citizens must recognize is that political liberty thrives best where there's a large measure of economic liberty. The Egyptian people are not the problem; it's the environment they're forced to live in. Why is it that Egyptians do well in the U.S. but not Egypt? We could make the same observation about Nigerians, Cambodians, Jamaicans and many other people who leave their homeland and immigrate to the U.S. For example, Indians in India suffer great poverty. But that's not true of Indians who immigrate to the U.S. They manage to start more Silicon Valley companies than any other immigrant group, and they do the same in Massachusetts, Texas, Florida, New York and New Jersey.
According to various reports, about 50 percent of Egypt's 83 million people live on or below the $2-per-day poverty line set by the World Bank. Overall, unemployment is 13 percent, and among youths, it's 25 percent. Those are the official numbers. The true rates are estimated to be twice as high.
Well, The Washington Post sure knows how to bury a lead. It’s hardly news that someone is accusing Al Jazeera of having an anti-Western slant – it does and plenty of people have taken public exception to it. But when 22 of the network’s own employees quit because they can’t stomach the pervasive pro-Islamist bias, it’s something to write home about.
On July 9, the Post ran a straightforward “Style” section article about the latest charges of bias against Al Jazeera, this time about its pro-Muslim Brotherhood, pro-Morsi coverage of the Egyptian unrest. It seems the Egyptian military, with the hearty approval of gathered Egyptian journalists, banished some Al Jazeera reporters from a news conference.
Nicole Gaouette and John Walcott at Bloomberg BusinessWeek have revealed that the Obama administration has specifically stated that it wants the Muslim Brotherhood to have a role in any new Egyptian government. Meanwhile, other news outlets, particularly the Associated Press, have avoided disclosing that specific detail.
There are two "little" problems with the administration's disclosed position. The first is that now-deposed Mohammed Morsi's final speech on Tuesday was seen as a promise that there would be civil war if he were ousted. The second is that Morsi supporters in the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist groups have promised to carry out a campaign of terror until Morsi is reinstalled, and are keeping that promise. Those two factors should objectively disqualify the Brotherhood's involvement. Excerpts from the Bloomberg pair's report follow the jump (bolds are mine):
You've got to hand it to the folks at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press. No news organization on earth is as consistently effective at burying the substance of a story while appearing to cover it.
Take this evening's unbylined coverage of the Obama administration's noncommittal, substance-free positioning on the situation in Egypt. It takes a special talent to get through a few hundred words in a story such as this without ever mentioning the name of the ousted Mohammed Morsi or his Muslim Brotherhood party, and whoever wrote the AP story was up to the challenge (bolds are mine):
Hard to believe, but there's actually a left-wing media outlet that makes MSNBC appear sane by comparison.
If you've never visited Daily Kos, I wish I could say you're in for a treat. Alas, that's unlikely to be true. Instead, you'll probably want to shower after dropping by, lest any of its peculiar odor linger.
Apparently, one pathetic last-minute speech by Eqypt's Mohammed Morsi was sufficient to convince President Barack Obama, who has spent several days and untold amounts of worldwide capital defending the Muslim Brotherhood leader's staying on the job in the face of what may have been the largest pro-democracy demonstrations in human history.
The Politico frantically tried to run interference for Obama opportunistic change of heart today, running an item which was apparently called "U.S. Eases Away from Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi." The item was up so briefly that it was quickly replaced, while the headline just mentioned still remains in the browser window's title bar:
At the Associated Press's Big Story page as of 10:25 a.m. ET (saved here for future reference), conditions relative to stories on Egypt are the same as I observed in the wee hours this morning: "That story (about Sunday's mass protest involving "millions" per several other news outlets) is no longer even present at all at the AP’s 'Big Story' home page."
You have to click on "View More" at the bottom of the "Latest News" section at the AP's "Big Story" page before you'll see a current story. Just to make sure, a browser search within the page on Mohammed Morsi's last name (as AP spells it) found nothing.
The BBC is reporting from Egypt that "Millions of protesters across the country accuse the country's first Islamist president of failing to tackle economic and security problems since taking power a year ago." Reuters is also reporting "millions" of participants.
At the Associated Press as of 11:15 p.m., its "Big Story" home page (saved here for future reference) had three stories on Egypt. Two of them were moldy oldies from before Sunday's protests. The one from Sunday evening was buried at the bottom of the page's "Latest News" section, and didn't even have an accompanying thumbnail (Update, July 1, 1:15 a.m.: The story is no longer even present at all at the AP's "Big Story" home page). The coverage by Hamza Hendawi, Sarah El Deeb and Maggie Michael only recognized "hundreds of thousands" of protesters, but at least seemed to admit that the protesters had gained some leverage by their sheer numbers:
As of 9:15 p.m. (saved here for future reference), the home page at Politico had no story on developments in Egypt, even though story teases on unrelated matters from Thursday and Friday were still present. A browser search on "Egypt" within the home page came back empty. As millions protest in Egypt, some claiming in banners that "Obama Supports Terrorism, the most important story this evening is "5 messaging challenges for Obamacare."
As I noted on Friday, the final sentence in an AP report earlier that day (saved here at host for future reference, fair use and discussion purposes) on protests in Egypt read: "One banner depicted President Barack Obama and said, 'Obama supports terrorism.'"
I predicted with little risk of being wrong that the existence of this banner would not "survive future AP reports" -- and it hasn't, even though this and similar banners were still present in Tahrir Square on Saturday. A search at the AP's national site on "Obama supports terrorism" (not in quotes) returns nothing. Other establishment press coverage has also failed to reveal the continued presence of anti-American and anti-President Obama sentiments.
(UPDATE: "Obama Supports Terrorism" sign obtained at Twitchy.com)
This "Arab Spring" update comes from the Associated Press: "The Obama administration on Friday warned Americans against all but essential travel to Egypt and moved to reduce the official U.S. presence in the country amid fears of widespread unrest." No one could possibly have predicted this type of crisis would be a likely outcome of Hosni Mubarak's overthrow -- ahem, except former U.S. ambassador John Bolton and other people considered ignoramuses by the diplomatic elite.
Conditions on the ground reflect the growing tolerance of a diverse ethnic, religious, and democratically inclined leadership. Uh, actually not at all, as a separate AP report about today's events reveals (excerpts are not intended to describe the entire situation; reviewing the entire report and others from elsewhere will be needed for a fuller understanding):
After 56 years in broadcasting and more than 50,000 interviews across the U.S., anyone else would be considered a prime candidate for retirement, but that doesn't apply to Larry King, who will launch a “mold-breaking political talk show” in June for the Russia Today online TV network.
Perhaps failed CNN-FOX-MSNBC-Current anchor Keith Olbermann should pay attention. If no one in America will hire you, take your act international.