Shane and his headline writer harped on the "nonpartisan" nature of the Constitution Project, despite the fact that it clearly leans left, as a scan of the group's priorities (not to mention the personal remarks of its very own president in the Times itself) reveals.
Syndicated columnist George Will on ABC's This Week Sunday made a marvelous observation about the upcoming Academy Awards.
In his view, “Zero Dark Thirty” should win as best picture as a “rebuke to Senators Levin, Feinstein, and McCain who have enough to do without being movie critics and falsely accusing that movie of taking a stand on torture it does not take” (video follows with transcribed highlights and commentary):
On the eve of Sunday's Academy Awards presentation, former George W. Bush CIA Director Michael Hayden has made a strong statement about the hunt for Osama bin Laden film "Zero Dark Thirty."
In an interview to be aired on CNN's Fareed Zakaria GPS Sunday, Hayden said, "If you look at the movie, it was artistically true, not factually true. Artistically, it portrayed the CIA interrogation program, but factually it was overwrought and inaccurate" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Outgoing Defense Secretary Leon Panetta made news last Sunday when he once again claimed that enhanced interrogation techniques aka torture led to the United States assassinating Osama bin Laden.
During his confirmation hearing Thursday, CIA Director nominee John Brennan appeared to dodge a question from Senate Intelligence Committee Vice Chairman Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) about this claiming he didn’t have enough information to comment on whether Panetta was right or wrong.
With this afternoon's Senate confirmation hearings for CIA director nominee John Brennan in view, the February 7 broadcast of Now with Alex Wagner devoted significant attention to the Obama administration's use of armed drones and the recently-leaked DOJ White Paper defending the legitimacy of drone strikes that explicitly targeted American civilians overseas.
For her part, host Alex Wagner failed to mention Anwar al-Awlaki’s activities as a terrorist operative affiliated with al-Qaeda. The Now host merely tagged al-Awlaki as an American-born cleric, even though he served as a talent recruiter within the organization and inspired Fort Hood shooter Nidal Hassan. Al-Awlaki also had contact with Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the terrorist who attempted to blow up a passenger airliner on Christmas Day of 2009. None of that was mentioned on the show.
News that the New York Times and Washington Post kept secret until recently the secret U.S. drone base in Saudi Arabia is once again raising questions on the paper's politicized double standards on keeping state secrets related to the war on terror.
Contrast the deference paid to the Obama administration's request for secrecy, going along with the national security arguments advanced by Obama (until Wednesday's expose of White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennan, Obama's choice to head the CIA) with how the paper routinely leaked secrets during the Bush administration that may have hurt anti-terrorist programs. Here are just some of the national security low-lights and double standards Times Watch has documented at the Times over the years.
In the wake of the leaked Department of Justice memo detailing the legality of targeted killings by drones on American citizens, the PBS NewsHour found it fitting to have the ACLU defend its position in why these strikes are troubling, and why American-born al-Qaeda leader Anwar al-Awlaki should’ve been kept alive to plan acts of terror against the United States.
Of course, this is maddening to the progressive wing of the Democratic Party. Liberal publications, like The Nation, detail the dark future of drone warfare, and some anti-drone journalists, like Conor Fierdorsdorff of The Atlantic, have compared Obama to Bush. However, even with the media either criticizing, or ignoring, this development, last night’s broadcast of the PBS NewsHour didn’t take into account the hypocrisy of liberals who were on the warpath a few years prior after release of Bush memos related to enhanced interrogation techniques.
It's been nothing less than astonishing watching the media cover for Monday's leaked Department of Justice memo making the legal case for drone attacks against Americans.
Exposing the hypocrisy of this Wednesday was one of Fox News's liberal contributors Kirsten Powers who said of her colleagues on the left, "They're clearly hypocrites. They clearly don't really care about human rights. They only care if it helps them politically" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
During a segment on Thursday's NBC Today on the upcoming film about the hunt for Osama Bin Laden, Zero Dark Thirty, co-host Matt Lauer wondered if scenes depicting "brutal interrogations" of terror suspects would make movie-goers feel guilty: "It's inevitable people are going to sit in the movie theater...and when they see the scenes of torture, they're going to ask themselves if they think it was justified, if the ends justified the means." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Turning to director Kathryn Bigelow, Lauer pressed: "Do you want to make a political statement with this movie?" Bigelow replied: "Well, I think the film doesn't have an agenda. I think it just shows the story as – you know, the story of the greatest man hunt in history. And that's part of that history." Lauer urged: "But do you want people to discuss that topic more? Whether these kind of enhanced interrogation techniques are justified?"
Some serious fur flew on the Morning Joe set today, as Joe Scarborough clashed with David Remnick, editor of The New Yorker. Setting Scarborough off was the magazine's endorsement of Barack Obama that lauded the president for relieving the "national shame inflicted by the Bush administration."
Scarborough saracastically asked Remnick "who got paid the bonus for being able to squeeze in, quote, 'the shame of the Bush years?'" Scarborough went on to scald Remnick for the left's hypocrisy in giving President Obama a pass for pursuing many of the same policies that it had accused Bush-Cheney of undermining the Constitution for establishing. Remnick feigned ignorance of what Scarborough meant by "the left," and accused Joe of having "within two seconds, leapt down my throat" about the endorsement. View the video after the jump.
Appearing as a panel member during the "Roundtable" segment of Sunday's This Week on ABC, conservative commentator Ann Coulter reminded panel members that President Obama had received criticism that he divulged too much information about the raid on Osama bin Laden's compound in Pakistan when it was announced a year ago, as the group discussed accusations that White House members have divulged classified information to benefit President Obama politically.
The conservative commentator also called out liberals for criticizing President Bush as being too harsh in his detention of terror suspects while being more restrained in criticizing President Obama's methods in conducting the war on terrorism:
Appearing as a guest on Friday's The O'Reilly Factor on FNC, comedian Adam Carolla took exception with a recent interview on CBS's 60 Minutes with former CIA interrogator Jose Rodriguez, who is promoting a book about his experiences in counterterrorism, in which correspondent Lesley Stahl questioned whether the interrogation techniques used against a prisoner involved in the al-Qaeda terrorism group were too harsh.
Carolla went on to quip that if Michael Moore and Tim Robbins produced a child together, such liberals would support torture to save their child's life in spite of any political complaints they might publicly have. Carolla:
Former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has now been formally exposed for lying about her knowledge of so-called enhanced interrogation techniques such as waterboarding by a new book from a former CIA counterterrorism officer who actually gave her a briefing about them.
In other words, Pelosi and other congressional Democrats who later decried the use of "torture" when it became politically advantageous, knew about and did not object to them for years beforehand:
On Sunday's Meet the Press, host David Gregory grilled Michele Bachmann about her advocating the reinstatement of waterboarding terror suspects: "...you understand that puts you at odds with most of the generals, okay? The former Republican nominee of your party John McCain, General Colin Powell, you realize you're on the opposite end of what they believe. Do you not trust them and their views?"
Gregory provided no source for his proclamation that "most of the generals" in the military oppose waterboarding as an interrogation tactic. Bachmann fired back: "But I'm on the same side as Vice President Cheney on this issue, and others, as well. Because, again, what we're looking at is what will save American lives."
Remember during 2008's Democratic primaries when Saturday Night Live did a hilarious sketch mocking a CNN debate as being a disgraceful suck-up to then presidential candidate Barack Obama?
A repeat of this happened in real life Sunday evening when during a press conference from the APEC summit in Hawaii, CNN White House correspondent Dan Lothian actually asked the President if the GOP candidates were "uninformed, out of touch, or irresponsible" (video follows courtesy Right Scoop with transcript and commentary, photo courtesy AP):
It really has been amazing watching dovish media members who were perpetually complaining about the terrorist detention center at Guantanamo Bay and the enhanced interrogation of its residents when George W. Bush was president now cheering the assassination of United States citizen turned terrorist Anwar al-Awlaki.
A fine example of this hypocrisy occurred on HBO's "Real Time" Friday when the host who just last year supported a civilian trial for 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed applauded Awlaki's murder while encouraging his audience to join in the merriment (video follows with transcript and commentary, vulgarity warning):
By all accounts, President Obama has been far more hawkish than anyone anywhere in the world could have possibly imagined.
Despite this, "New Yorker" magazine editor David Remnick told the crew at MSNBC's "Morning Joe" Friday that the current Administration is responsible for the lack of anti-American displays in Arab Spring uprisings (video follows with transcript and commentary):
On Tuesday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer began a hostile interview with Dick Cheney by running through various derisive labels for the former Vice President: "You've been called 'controversial' and 'divisive.' Some people have called you the most divisive political figure in this country in a century." Cheney simply quipped: "You left out Darth Vader."
Later, Lauer interrogated Cheney on interrogation tactics used on terror suspects: "If an American citizen were to be taken into captivity in Iran, for example, and the government of Iran....Would it be okay for the Iranian government to waterboard that American citizen?" When Cheney rejected such an action, Lauer replied: "So why was it okay for us to use what most people would say was torture against terror suspects?"
According to Hardball guest host Ron Reagan, former Vice President Dick Cheney is a "war criminal" for endorsing waterboarding. On Thursday, the son of the former President attacked, "But the fact of the matter is...[Cheney's] a war criminal. Torture is a crime and this is a guy who can't travel to Europe anymore for fear of being- ending up in the Hague."
Reagan was commenting on a new interview Cheney has given to NBC in which he reiterates support for waterboarding. The liberal anchor discussed the subject with Clarence Page of the Chicago Tribune. Reagan reiterated, "...Any neutral reading of, say, the U.N. Convention Against Torture makes it pretty clear that if you support waterboarding and you enact that sort of a policy, you're guilty of a war crime."
Thursday's NBC Today previewed an upcoming Dateline interview with Dick Cheney about his new memoir and labeled the former Vice President "controversial" three times in less than a minute. Co-host Ann Curry proclaimed him to be "one of the most controversial figures of our time." [Audio available here]
Turning to correspondent Jamie Gangel, who conducted the interview, Curry noted: "I understand that you asked the former Vice President, in a wide-ranging conversation, about one of the biggest controversies of his time in office and that's the so-called enhanced interrogation techniques?"
Gangel described how Cheney's book was "filled with revelations and he does not back down on those controversial programs he championed that made him such a lightning rod for criticism after 9/11."
In an otherwise typically dismal column about President Barack Obama which is one part pity party and another part an attempt at building him a he-man reputation (not kidding), New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd describes an upcoming movie featuring the exploits of Navy SEAL Team 6 in the operation which killed Osama Bin Laden on May 1.
Dowd celebrates the fact that the movie's currently anticipated opening is October 12, 2012, describing it as "perfectly timed" and "just as Obamaland was hoping." She expects that it will "give a home-stretch boost to a campaign that has grown tougher," and "counter Obama’s growing reputation as ineffectual."
Here are the relevant paragraphs from Dowd's column, including reference to a New Yorker column about the operation which has become the subject of considerable controversy (bolds and numbered tags are mine):
The network morning shows on Monday hyped the "extra spectacular" gay pride parades in the wake of New York's newly passed same sex marriage legislation. Both ABC and NBC highlighted the "hero's welcome" Governor Andrew Cuomo received after signing the bill. At the same time, they ignored dissenters.
On Monday's Today, news anchor Natalie Morales touted, "Gay pride parades around the country turned into victory laps..." and added, "Gay and lesbian couples spoke about finally realizing their decades-long dream of walking down the aisle."
Reporter Mara Schiavocampo openly opined, "This year's parade isn't just a celebration of pride, but for the first time, equality."
Comedy Central's Stephen Colbert, on Tuesday's Colbert Report, featured Newsbusters's publisher L. Brent Bozell in his "The Word" segment that ridiculed those who credit enhanced interrogation or waterboarding in the killing of Osama bin Laden. After playing a clip of Bozell, from the May 6, Fox and Friends, saying waterboarding led to the death of bin Laden and hailing: "Hip, hip hooray to George Bush" Colbert joked: "Yes, three cheers for George Bush! Unless you're in a gagged stress position, in which case try three grunts."
Colbert then went on to make fun of Donald Rumsfeld, mocking that the former Secretary of Defense must have just taken a hit from a blunt to have, in his view, contrasting views on the interrogation issue, as seen in the following excerpt from the May 17 Colbert Report:
On Thursday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams incredulously noted how "...it's become fashionable among some to say...that so-called enhanced interrogation, what some define as torture...helped contribute to the death of bin Laden." He then touted: "Today Senator John McCain headed to the floor of the U.S. Senate to refute that."
In the clip that followed, McCain declared: "In my personal experience, the abuse of prisoners sometimes produces good intelligence, but often produces bad intelligence. Because under torture a person will say anything he thinks his captors want to hear whether it is true or false." He then asserted: "The trail to bin Laden did not begin with a disclosure from Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who was waterboarded 183 times. The best intelligence gained from a CIA detainee was obtained through standard non-coercive means."
On NBC's Meet the Press on Sunday, host David Gregory remained highly skeptical of the role enhanced interrogation tactics played in tracking down and killing Osama bin Laden: "Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded 183 times. And based on reporting this week in NBC News and outside, he never gave up the truth about the courier that led to bin Laden."
Gregory made the argument while speaking to a panel that included former CIA Director General Michael Hayden, former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani. In response to Gregory's assertions, Chertoff referred to political partisans debating the issue: "...there will be people who will never be persuaded one way or the other about this." Gregory argued: "But it's a question of whether it's knowable....Is it objectively knowable?"
President Barack Obama's Ground Zero visit yesterday was "pitch perfect," according to former Newsweek editor Jon Meacham, despite reports that the commander-in-chief was rude and dismissive toward at least one American who lost a family member on Sept. 11, 2001.
On the May 6 edition of "Morning Joe," MSNBC anchor Willie Geist asked Meacham to characterize the significance of Obama's visit to the site where more than 3,000 people were slaughtered in an attack planned by deceased al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.
"I thought it was pitch perfect in the sense of it was not about him," intoned Meacham, who now occasionally writes for Time magazine. "It was not the grand speech; it was him doing a kind of human interaction with the folks."
"If you listen very carefully, you can hear the sound of thousands of people in Washington, D.C., peeling egg off their faces," NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell quipped on the May 6 "Fox & Friends," referring to the naysayers who condemned enhanced interrogation techniques such as waterboarding during the Bush administration.
Indeed, President Bush "is not getting the credit he deserves" for the finding and killing of Osama bin Laden.
As the headline proves, the Times has made itself quite comfortable with using the loaded word "torture" to describe broad interrogation methods like water-boarding and sleep deprivation that inflict temporary physical panic but not permanent damage.
The killing of Osama bin Laden provoked a host of reactions from Americans: celebration, triumph, relief, closure and renewed grief. One reaction, however, was both cynical and disturbing: crowing by the apologists and practitioners of torture that Bin Laden’s death vindicated their immoral and illegal behavior after the Sept. 11 attacks.
America should consider gathering important national security information by giving terrorists book deals, or paying them off, says the liberal Joy Behar. The HLN host offered her bizarre expertise on foreign intelligence Tuesday morning on ABC's The View.
"If we use these enhanced techniques, then they [the terrorists] can use them on us," Behar said of "enhanced interrogation techniques," which include the practice of "waterboarding" and are used by the U.S. military to extract information from prisoners. The panel was discussing whether America should be using the interrogation program to gather intelligence, if indeed it does produce valuable information.