Reacting to the announcement from President Obama that the United States will be sending approximately 300 special forces to Iraq in non-combat “advisor” roles, the panel on MSNBC’s The Cycle was skeptical that the move would accomplish anything significant. It’s fair to say that the panel was not exactly erring on the side of more intervention, however.
After reading a quote from Time magazine which pointed out that many dictators in the Middle East have argued that only their oppressive measures could quell the tension between Sunnis and Shiites, guest host Luke Russert asked, “After what's happened in Iraq, Libya, Egypt, Syria, is it fair to say the West was better off with dictators?” [MP3 audio here; video below]
Yesterday's NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll garnered a great deal of attention, primarily because of its findings about President Barack Obama, particularly the one showing showing that "54 percent – believe the term-limited president is no longer able to lead the country."
The poll also asked respondents a series of three questions on the Common Core standards which were clearly designed to elicit majority support for them and to then mislead the public into believing that the opposition is a noisy, anti-Obama minority which should be ignored. Stories covering the poll at both NBC and the Wall Street Journal indicated as much.
Appearing as a guest on Wednesday's The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, MSNBC.com executive editor Richard Wolffe mocked former Vice President Dick Cheney for his recent criticism of President Obama, and inaccurately claimed that "there was no Al-Qaeda in Iraq" before Cheney "led the decision to invade Iraq."
After dismissing Cheney as being in his "last throes," Wolffe recalled: "Let's just revisit a little bit of history. Before Dick Cheney led the decision to invade Iraq, and led the disastrous occupation of Iraq, there was no Al-Qaeda in Iraq. He allowed Al-Qaeda to get a foothold in Iraq."
MSNBC's Chris Matthews put his pro-Hillary puffery on the back-burner this evening to lead off Hardball with a screed against his favorite archnemesis Dick "it's pronounced CHEE-knee, by the way" Cheney.
Chris failed to disappoint with his loopy, nonsensical rant against the former vice president, at one point comparing him to a pitch man for the website Diedinhouse.com. Matthews even inspired a little nuttiness in the Huffington Post Media Group editorial director Howard Fineman, who insisted Cheney's hat-wearing was devised by the former vice president as a subtle sartorial dig at Obama's manliness or lack thereof. You cannot make this stuff up (LISTEN to the MP3 audio here; WATCH the video clip below the page break):
It’s been common for a few years to observe that Democrats and Republicans barely talk with each other anymore, but if you believe Talking Points Memo editor and publisher Josh Marshall, these days the two parties aren’t even truly fighting with each other.
In a Tuesday blog post, Marshall claimed that each party now is “operating in [its] own political universe.” In one universe, President Obama ignores obstructionist GOPers and uses his executive powers to accomplish what he can; in the other, Republicans and their media allies are less concerned with thwarting Obama than with revving up their base, largely by flogging Benghazi and other scandals.
Fifty-four percent of respondents in a brand new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll believe that President Obama "can't lead, get the job done," contrasted with 42 percent who say he can. What's more, a healthy plurality, 41 percent, also answered that "the performance of the Obama administration" has "gotten worse" in the past 12 months. Yet the NBC Nightly News ignored those stunning numbers in its June 18 broadcast. [Anchor Brian Williams additionally failed to tease the poll in his opening preview of the night's stories.]
While chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd did touch on how "57 percent disapprove of the job he's doing on foreign policy," that factoid was buried in a story centered on blaming former Vice President Dick Cheney's with stoking yet another inside-the-Beltway partisan "blame game" over Iraq. You can read the full transcript below the page break (listen to the full segment via mp3 audio here; watch video excerpt below page break):
The ‘Fox News viewers are racist’ meme hasn’t died yet on MSNBC. Analyzing Hillary Clinton’s interview on June 17 with Fox News, Hardball guest Michelle Bernard insisted that Hillary Clinton was “reaching out to those voters that Barack Obama said were the people who get scared of people who are different than them, and they cling to religion, or they cling to guns or have anti-immigrant sentiment.”
She continued: “And I think she’s got to reach out to that demographic. That's what we saw her doing on Fox tonight.” Host Chris Matthews, despite recently coming to the defense of the right, jumped right in to second Bernard’s analysis: “I believe people have been opposing President Obama, many of them because of his background, because of his race, absolutely.” [MP3 audio here; video below]
Appearing on Wednesday's NBC Today, chief White House correspondent and political director Chuck Todd reported on the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll showing President Obama's poll numbers taking a nose dive and made this stunning declaration: "This is as if the public is saying, 'Hey, buddy, your presidency is over. You may not believe it is, but your ability to lead and convince us that you have the right policies anymore, we're not listening.'" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
That observation was prompted by co-host Savannah Guthrie highlighting: "Let's show the poll number you call the dagger. 'Can the President lead and get the job done?' 54% say no."
In a passionate interview with host Brooke Baldwin on the June 17 edition of CNN Newsroom, Patricia Smith – mother of slain U.S. diplomat Sean Smith – voiced her frustrations about the lack of answers she has received from the Obama administration regarding Benghazi.
Smith had one basic request for Hillary Clinton, a simple phone call [MP3 audio here; video below]:
Though he has dispatched 275 military advisors to that country, his virtual ultimatum to that Iraq Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki — no angel by any stretch, but still a better alternative to a civil war or an ISIS-run terrorist state — that he must negotiate with all parties involve before the U.S. will even think about making a meaningful military commitment seems destined to allow matters to deteriorate further, perhaps to the point of no return. Despite all of this, Donna Cassata and Bradley Klapper at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, implied in a Tuesday afternoon dispatch that anyone who doesn't support plan-free military action now is some kind of hypocrite — except for Democrats who say that their support of going to war in 2002 was a mistake. The AP pair also falsely asserted that weapons of mass destruction "were never found" in Iraq.
On Tuesday's New Day show, during an interview with Paul Wolfowitz, CNN's Chris Cuomo was confrontational toward the former Bush administration Deputy Defense Secretary as the New Day co-host complained about Republicans blaming President Obama's troop withdrawal for the chaos in Iraq, arguing that such talk undermines the President from dealing with the situation because there is not a "united front."
At one point, after Wolfowitz rhetorically asked if he and Cuomo should "sit here and tell Speaker Boehner to shut up," Cuomo shot back, "Yes," and soon complained, "It's hard for" President Obama "to be strong when he's getting attacked by his own."
And, while complaining that Republicans are undermining President Obama's handling of the crisis by blaming him, Cuomo himself tried to push blame onto President Bush, suggesting Bush administration members should express "contrition." Cuomo:
While all three network morning shows covered the ongoing terrorist invasion of Iraq on Tuesday, only CBS This Morning made the connection between President Obama's foreign policy and the chaos in the country. In an interview with former U.S. ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker, This Morning co-host Charlie Rose wondered: "Has the United States and the Obama administration failed to pay sufficient attention to Iraq since American troops left?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Later on the broadcast, correspondent Jan Crawford talked to Iraq war veterans upset by seeing their hard-fought accomplishments being lost. Crawford explained: "When he campaigned for president in 2008, then-Senator Obama made bringing the troops home a priority.... But the U.S. withdrawal came at a cost, leaving an opening for radical terror groups."
Following the insulting trend of tagging every objection or concern raised about Obama administration policy and conduct as exclusively the province of Republicans and conservatives to an outrageous extreme, Rebecca Kaplan at CBS News opened her Monday story about whether the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) might plan terrorist acts in the U.S. as follows: "Republicans are sounding the warning that the next 9/11-like terror plot could emerge from the regions of Iraq and Syria that are currently dominated by an extremist group bearing down on Baghdad." Really, Rebecca? No one else is worried about that? Wanna bet?
Kaplan also seemed to believe that it would calm readers' nerves if they learned that it will be "at least a year before ISIS might pose more of a serious threat to the U.S." If that was meant to make me feel better, it didn't work. Excerpts follow the jump (links are in original; bolds are mine):
The Washington Post editorial board used the tragedy on Tuesday morning, June 10, in Troutdale, Oregon -- where a 15-year-old boy armed with an AR-15 rifle shot and killed a 14-year-old student before taking his own life -- to declare in a June 13 editorial that “such senseless violence shouldn't happen” and put the blame on Congress for not passing “any kind of responsible gun control.”
“A Congress that’s more terrified of the National Rifle Association than another Sandy Hook needs to be pushed to change by a public willing to vote out those who won’t act,” the editors declared. “It’s clear from the countless locales that have been scarred by gun violence that no place is really safe.”
Editor's Note: This was sent to the publishing syndicate as a two-parter. We have combined both parts into this one column post.
I have four colossal disagreements with how President Barack Obama cut the deal for the prisoner swap of five senior Taliban leaders for U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl; the former, the White House itself admits, could "absolutely" rejoin terrorist cells.
Sure, I have far more than four issues with how it all went down — for example, the absolute avoidance and disregard of constitutional submission and congressional consent. But this administration seems to have little regard for proper protocol with anything, so I'm going to focus here on a few different angles of argument.
"It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain..." (The Gettysburg Address)
The people at NBC who are agonizing over David Gregory's ongoing audience freefall at his Meet the Press perch need only look at the first half of his interview with 2012 Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney to see why it's happening.
Gregory basically refused to acknowledge the existence of Romney's core argument, which is essentially that he wouldn't have done what President Obama did in withdrawing from Iraq so hastily and leaving things to run on auto-pilot. Instead, he insisted on sticking with a "Well, what would do now?" line of questioning, even though, as Romney indicated, he doesn't have access to intelligence briefings necessary to assert an informed opinion. When that didn't work, he tried to hold Romney to a stale 2007 quote from when conditions were obviously very different. The fact is that wouldn't be facing the present quandary if Obama hadn't acted directly against the (often privately expressed) desires of Iraqi leaders and U.S. intelligence officials to maintain at least a significant advisory presence there. Video and a transcript of the Iraq-related portion of the interview follow the jump (bolds and numbered tags are mine):
Time’s Belinda Luscombe offered a somewhat tough “10 Questions” with the rapper Ice Cube for the June 23 issue. She asked how he could rap about being poor – “I’m squeezing the penny so hard a booger came out of Lincoln’s nose” – when he is very wealthy. She asked how much his young kids curse after listening to his music.
But the most interesting part was asking him how the Obama presidency is going. “Mr. Cube,” as she called him, was still totally down with Obama, and busting on whites not wanting to “play” with him in Washington:
On Thursday's The Lead on CNN, James Allen Fox used actual crime data to splash cold water on a liberal talking point claiming that mass shootings on the rise: "It's a horrific event when four, five, twelve people are gunned down...But let's not think that this is an epidemic." Fox, a criminology professor at Northeastern University, also pointed out that the now-expired "assault weapons" ban had little impact on the number of mass shootings.
Anchor Jake Tapper wondered "what does society need to do" to prevent such events from happening. His guest actually contended that it would be overkill to implement draconian measures in response to such massacres: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
During New Day's regular "Inside Politics" segment on Monday, CNN's John King declared that it "makes me suspicious" as he informed viewers of revelations that some of former IRS official Lois Lerner's emails not only went missing, but that it took over a year for the White House to inform Congress.
After beginning the segment by rhetorically asking, "Do you believe in the Easter Bunny? Do you believe in Santa Claus? Do you believe that Lois Lerner's emails just suddenly went poof?" King recalled the details, including a quote from House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp complaining about it taking so long for the White House to inform him of the emails. King then commented:
Paul Whitefield "is a 30-year veteran of the Los Angeles Times who is copy chief of the editorial pages and a writer/scold for the Opinion L.A. blog." He also has a serious but far from unique case of Bush (and Cheney) Derangement Syndrome and an extraordinary ignorance of the history of last decade's war in Iraq, which included a victory in 2008 the U.S. press, with rare exceptions, refused to recognize.
Clueless Paul, in a Thursday post, claimed that what has happened recently in Iraq proves (italics are his) that "the invasion ... in 2003 wasn’t a very good idea" Admitting that "I don’t know how these things keep sneaking up on us" (I can help you with that, Paul), he petulantly wrote: "Send Mr. (George W.) Bush and Mr. (Dick) Cheney over there and let them try to negotiate a solution," because "they’re the ones who created this mess in the first place." Well no, Paul. Excerpts from Whitefield's work, followed by a pointed riposte from a National Review op-ed, follow the jump (bolds are mine throughout this post):
On Friday's NBC Nightly News, Brian Williams strongly hinted that the recent Islamist blitzkrieg in Iraq was completely former President Bush's fault: "Make no mistake: what's happening in Iraq right now is a direct outgrowth of the U.S. decision to invade the country over a decade ago." However, he glossed over the Obama administration's failure to negotiate a continued U.S. presence and pulling out all American forces in late 2011 as a factor in the crisis.
Williams repeated his point to David Gregory: "How does the President sell any action at all to the component of the American people who feel...it's not our dance...even though...we broke it?" Gregory seconded his contention: "Right, that Pottery Barn rule: you broke it; you own it; you got to somehow fix it." Later, Stephanie Gosk did reference the troop pullout, but didn't mention President Obama by name: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
Did you ever want to do a Bible study with Martin Bashir?
I ask because a few days ago the former MSNBCer, who once fantasized on air about former Gov. Sarah Palin being forced to eat human excrement, shared his observation in a tweet about one way in which the president can give his Amen to a lament of the biblical King David.
June 12 was former President George H.W. Bush’s 90th birthday and comedian Conan O’Brien used the occasion to mock President Obama.
Each year, H.W. Bush goes skydiving to celebrate his birthday and Conan joked “George HW Bush turned 90 and celebrated by skydiving. So, if you include Obama there were two presidents in free fall today.” [See video below.]
Thursday's World News on ABC led with the rapid advance of an Islamist group into the heart of Iraq, but glossed over how correspondent Jonathan Karl grilled outgoing White House Press Secretary Jay Carney over how this development casts doubt on two of President Obama's supposed "top foreign policy accomplishments: ending the war in Iraq and decimating and destroying core al-Qaeda."
Terry Moran noted during how "President Obama today, resisting pleas from the Iraqi government for immediate U.S. air strikes to turn the tide, tread cautiously." Martha Raddatz later underlined that "Obama said himself today that these fighters could end up being a significant threat to our homeland." But neither journalist mentioned how their colleague sparred with Carney about the President's past boasts about Iraq and al Qaeda: [YouTube.com video of the exchange below the jump]
The story came right on the heels of Williams relaying how former President George H.W. Bush today made a parachute jump to celebrate his 90th birthday [MP3 audio clip here; video embed follows page break]:
With his approval ratings dropping and numerous scandals swirling around him it could be argued that America is going through Obama Fatigue right now. And maybe the President himself is getting tired of it all too.
Or at least that’s what Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon noticed when he took a jab at Obama on Wednesday night:
Despite Al Qaeda being on the rise in Syria and Iraq, numerous unanswered questions remaining about the Bowe Bergdahl prisoner exchange, and the ongoing VA scandal, NBC News decided to send former first daughter and Today show correspondent Jenna Bush Hager to the White House to conduct a softball interview with President Obama on fatherhood.
Today co-host Savannah Guthrie teased the pro-Obama fluff at the top of Thursday's broadcast: "Father-in-chief....In an exclusive interview with Jenna Bush Hager, President Obama gets personal about his own childhood without a father and what it's like to raise kids in the White House." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Q. How do you know that Barack Obama's feckless foreign policy poses a serious threat to the security of the free world? A. When a leading foreign policy voice of the Washington Post agrees with a leading foreign policy voice of the Wall Street Journal that such is the case.
It happened on today's Morning Joe, when WaPo's highly-respected David Ignatius agreed with a WSJ op-ed by Daniel Henninger, "While Obama Fiddles," that darkly concludes: "past some point, the world's wildfires are going to consume the Obama legacy. And leave his successor a nightmare." Said Ignatius: "those are harsh words from the Wall Street Journal, but I think there's a lot of truth to them." View the video after the jump.
On Wednesday's New Day on CNN, co-anchor Chris Cuomo mocked President Obama at the end of the show's regular "Inside Politics" segment after a clip of NBC comedian Seth Meyers making a joke about Obama trading Taliban prisoners for coffee at Starbucks.
Alluding to an upcoming interview with California Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff that calls into question whether the released Taliban prisoners really will be watched closely as they reside in Qatar, the CNN co-host took a surprising jab at President Obama. Cuomo: