On Wednesday night, Tavis Smiley welcomed film director Errol Morris onto the set of his PBS program to talk about Morris’ new documentary on former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. Unlike Bill Maher, who challenged Morris when he interviewed him last Friday, Smiley joined Morris in maligning Rumsfeld throughout the entire interview. [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
Smiley seemed appalled that Rumsfeld ever came to be in charge of the Defense Department, and by extension managing the prosecution of the Iraq War. He remarked to Morris:
Bill Maher's weekly show on HBO is occasionally a pleasure to watch, at least to this conservative, because he's that rare liberal willing to turn sacred cows on the left into hamburger.
Last month, for example, he challenged MSNBC's Rachel Maddow for her network's obsessive with the Bridgegate scandal she clearly hopes will sideline New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's prospects in 2016. A week earlier, Maher derided liberals from the 1930s for their love of Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin -- while Maher's predominantly left-leaning audience sat on their hands in response. (Video after the jump, vulgarity warning)
Imagine, if you will, it's the midterm election year of 2006 and President George W. Bush's secretary of state making careless remarks which seem to lend moral validity to an economic boycott of the United States's staunchest ally in the Middle East. The Washington Post would surely glom onto such an embarrassing gaffe and play it up as much as possible.
Yet when John Kerry made such remarks about the State of Israel, the Post's William Booth spun the gaffe as best he could, seemingly exasperated that Israeli statesmen were even complaining about the remarks. For their part, Booth's bosses dutifully shuffled to story to page A8 of the February 3 edition, rather than give it more prominent coverage (emphasis mine):
In an exclusive interview with former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on Wednesday's NBC Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie attempted to blame the Bush administration for President Obama's difficulty in garnering support for military action against Syria: "Looming over this debate time and time again has been the specter of Iraq. Most recently, the U.K. Parliament, many members cited the failure of intelligence leading up to Iraq as the reason that they won't take action now in Syria..." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Turning to Rumsfeld, Guthrie wondered: "Do you personally take any responsibility for that? Or feel any responsibility for that?" Rumsfeld reminded Guthrie of the lengthy process that led up to the Iraq War: "President Bush went to the congress, got the support of the congress. Went to the U.N., got the support of the U.N. And fashioned a very large coalition. So it seems to me that all the appropriate steps were taken and the congress, a Democratic congress, voted for regime change in Iraq."
Appearing as a guest on Thursday's PoliticsNation on MSNBC, Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank mocked South Carolina Republican Governor Nikki Haley as someone who has "reached out to a minority" in the form of white supremacists since they are a "minority," as he reacted to accusations that a member of her reelection committee is a white supremacist. Milbank:
Charlie Rose acted as an apologist for President Obama on Wednesday's CBS This Morning, after former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld asserted that the second-term executive was avoiding responsibility for the recent spate of scandals surrounding his administration.
Rumsfeld snarked that "the only thing the President has really taken responsibility for is SEAL Team Six killing Osama bin Laden." Rose interrupted his guest and replied, "Oh, that's not true." [audio clips available here; video below the jump]
In an interview with former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on Tuesday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer tried to dismiss the growing Benghazi scandal: "Do you think that the administration has answered enough questions on it? Do you think it's possible that some Republicans are trying to use this to discredit Hillary Clinton in case she decides to run for president in 2016?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Rumsfeld replied: "No. I think that's a side – that's the sideshow, is the Hillary Clinton piece of it. No, the first problem was if you're going to put people at risk, you have to try to protect them....And the Americans were left in and they weren't provided the kind of security that they needed, obviously, because they're dead."
Donald Rumsfeld said Thursday that Americans should and do penalize media outlets that have a strong bias.
Speaking with Steve Malzberg via Spreecast, the former Secretary of Defense added, "They stop buying those newspapers, or they change their channel and go to a channel that they think is somewhat more balanced" (video follows with transcript and commentary, relevant section begins at minute 15:00):