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]
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:
American blood was shed and mobs of Muslims continue to burn American flags and chant “Death to America!” around multiple U.S. consulates. It’s a scene that’s played out on almost a regular basis. A media story (about flushing Korans or other slights to Islam real or imagined) provides some pretext and the “Arab Street” explodes with raging mobs. The ambassador’s death is what sets the current situation apart.
In the wake of the embassy attacks in Cairo and Benghazi that left four people dead, including Ambassador Chris Stevens, you would think the White House would be on crisis alert. After all, when members of the American Foreign Service come under threat, with one being assassinated– it is comforting to have a commander-in-chief executing his leadership to make sure the situation is under control. Apparently, that isn’t the case in the Obama White House and, for the most part, the national news media don't seem to mind.
"In a press conference, it's not uncommon for reporters to get together before to make sure that their important question is asked. That's not the issue," however, with how the media prepared their attack on Mitt Romney at his September 12 press conference, NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell told Fox News Channel's Sean Hannity.
"This wasn't the coordination of a question, this was the plotting of an ambush" when you consider that "six of the seven" questions focused on hitting Romney for the alleged impropriety of his statement on September 11 about the attacks by Islamist mobs on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, and the embassy in Cairo, Egypt. [video embedded below page break]
"We got about 10 minutes on the three evening newscasts" last night about "how Romney must have made a mistake" with his statement on the deadly Benghazi consulate attack instead of devoting any significant attention to the question of "What is wrong with the state of our security at our embassies in the Middle East?" NewsBusters senior editor Tim Graham complained to Fox News Channel's Neil Cavuto on his September 13 Your World program.
The liberal media are a "pathetic pack of politicizers" who have "done nothing" but "politicize this issue," Graham added. Indeed, when President Obama was interviewed by 60 Minutes, "he gets asked, 'did Romney screw this up?'" the Media Research Center director of media analysis noted. The president probably gets "tougher questions from his daughters at the supper table than he's getting from Steve Kroft at CBS," Graham quipped. [MP3 audio here; video follows page break]
Appearing on Fox News's America Live on Thursday, Daily Beast columnist and Democratic pundit Kirsten Powers ripped the liberal media for expressing more outrage over Mitt Romney's reaction to Tuesday's embassy attacks, than toward the attackers themselves: "I mean, it is just absolutely utterly insane the way that they have elevated this." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Powers worried that the blatant bias had "overshadowed any kind of outrage that you would see over the fact that you have Islamic flags being hoisted over American embassies, the fact that an American ambassador is dead."
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.
Quick! Get NBC's Chief Foreign Correspondent Richard Engel a chair.
Engel claims that he was so shocked at Barack Obama's statement that he now considers Egypt neither an ally nor an enemy that he "almost had to sit down." So if this is true, why did Obama support the overthrow of former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak who was very much our ally, Engel wonders. Here (and below the fold) in this video is Engel in desperate need of a chair over the shock administered by Obama's uncertainity about whether Egypt is friend or foe.
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."
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..."
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.
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):
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:
Earlier today, an angry Cairo mob stormed the U.S. embassy, ripped down the American flag, and flew in its place a black al Qaeda banner. The mob is reportedly angered about a documentary film that supposedly offends Muslim religious sensibilities with critiques of the Prophet Muhammad.
While CNN and Fox News have both mentioned the developing story, MSNBC has not as of the time of this publication, a review of our DVR systems shows.
Let's see if this story gets any meaningful attention in the U.S., or if the Associated Press expands the brief unbylined item currently seen at its national site. I wouldn't bet on it -- and even if that occurs, I don't expect the U.S. establishment press to give what is contained therein much notice.
The AP's four-paragraph blurb tells us that independent columnists in Egypt are alarmed at what they see as the newly empowered Muslim Brotherhood's "attempt to control the state-owned press":
Conservative author Glenn Beck on Sunday took to Twitter to blast New York Times columnist David Brooks for comments he made last year about the talk radio host's predictions concerning Egypt without President Hosni Mubarak.
On PBS's Newshour last February, syndicated columnist Mark Shields mentioned Beck in a discussion about how people attending the CPAC convention viewed the goings-on in Egypt from a domestic political perspective (transcript via LexisNexis):
On Saturday's Melissa Harris-Perry show on MSNBC, NBC correspondent Richard Engel conveyed that the reform advocates who led the toppling of Hosni Mubarak's regime in Egypt are distraught at the kinds of candidates that Egyptian voters are choosing to replace Mubarak, with both major presidential candidates likely to curtail freedom if elected. Engel recounted: (Video at bottom)
Sunday's CBS Evening News refreshingly spotlighted the continuing persecution of the Coptic Christians in Egypt, an ongoing story that the Big Three networks have largely ignored for months. Correspondent Elizabeth Palmer zeroed in on the uncertain future for the religious minority as the country gears for a rare election: "[Egypt's] Christians are deeply worried....Two of the frontrunners in the race with a realistic chance of winning are deeply devout Islamists."
The last time CBS reported on the anti-Christian violence in Egypt was a news brief on the October 9, 2011 edition of Evening News, according to a Nexis search. Since January 2011, ABC, NBC, and CBS's morning and evening newscasts have only mentioned the issue six times.
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, on a trip underwritten by the U.S. State Department (aren't justices expected to keep their distances from the government to protect their perceived impartiality?), was in Egypt on Wednesday at a Cairo University law school seminar. While there, according to the Associated Press's Mark Sherman, she told students that (in Sherman's words) "she was inspired by last year's protests that led to the end of Hosni Mubarak's regime" and to speak to them (in her words) "during this exceptional transitional period to a real democratic state." The news that Muslim Brotherhood and Salafist parties now control about 75% of the seats in the country's parliament seems not to have registered with Ginsburg or Sherman -- or, for that matter, the State Department.
Sherman's AP story failed to note what Ms. Ginsburg said about the U.S. Constitution in an Egyptian TV interview, as did virtually all of the rest of the establishment press. ABC's Ariane de Vogue is currently the most notable exception, but as readers will see, she clearly buried the lede. Here are key paragraphs from her report (the related video is at Hot Air; the relevant portion begins at the 9:28 mark; bolds are mine):
Appearing as a guest on Thursday's Chelsea Lately show on the E! network to promote his book, The New New Rules, HBO's Bill Maher denied that a sexual joke he made last February about ABC's Elisabeth Hasselbeck and CBS's Lara Logan was a reference to the rape of Logan in Egypt from that month, as he recounted that he actually made the joke on his Real Time show before Logan's sexual assault occurred.
On Sunday's Meet the Press on NBC, as guest Rick Santorum criticized President Obama because he refused to support a democracy movement in Iran that might have weakened the anti-America radical Muslim government of Tehran, but, by contrast, supported a democracy movement in Egypt directed against a pro-America government - which resulted in an election that recently handed more power in Cairo to radical Muslims - host David Gregory accused the GOP presidential candidate of being "patently contradictory." (Video below)
As he moved into the foreign policy portion of the interview, Gregory brought up a recent speech in which Santorum accused President Obama of engaging in "appeasement" against America's enemies, and then the NBC host defended Obama's foreign policy: