NBC chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd on Sunday said there are more Democrats coming to a "rational and principled" decision in opposing an attack on Syria compared to Republicans who in his view are just as likely to be basing their opinion strictly on politics.
Such was said on NBC's Meet the Press (video follows with transcript and commentary):
On Friday, as seen in Google News search results showing posts and feeds at other web sites, a report at the New York Times by Peter Baker and Steven Lee Meyers had the following headline "Obama Fails in Bid for Wide Backing for Syria Attack."
On Twitter, self-described "conservative academic" Will Antonin wondered (HT Twitchy), "How long until this NYT headline is changed?" The answer: Not long. Sometime before the story got to the Old Gray Lady's September 7 print edition, the Baker-Meyers story's headline was changed to "Obama Falls Short on Wider Backing for Syria Attack," and its content had been changed. The original story, which had opened by saying that "President Obama emerged from the Group of 20 summit meeting with a few international supporters," is no longer present on the Times's web site.
It seems even Barack Obama doesn't want to be seen on MSNBC.
The Washington Post reported moments ago that the President of the United States, ahead of his address to the nation about Syria Tuesday, will give interviews to the evening newscasts of ABC, CBS, CNN, FNC, NBC and PBS Monday.
In Part 1 of this pair of posts on the press whitewash of President Barack Obama's "red line" on the use of chemical weapons in Syria, I looked at the Washington Post's Glenn Kessler, who excused President Barack Obama's contradictory "red line" remarks as "offhand" statements" which shouldn't count for much compared to official statements and press releases by diplomats and the White House. (Who knew?)
PolitiFact's Jon Greenberg has also predictably weighed in with the excuse-makers. The web site didn't even bother applying a "Truth-o-meter" rating, claiming that Obama "never denied using the phrase or giving it the significance it has today." Excerpts follow the jump (bolds are mine throughout this post):
As expected, the establishment press's excuse-makers have come out to defend the indefensible, claiming that President Barack Obama's Wednesday assertion in Stockholm that "I did not set a red line" with Syria and chemical weapons doesn't contradict his oft-quoted August 2012 "red line" statement.
I didn't think that the Washington Post's Glenn Kessler to be among those trying to explain it all away; (meanwhiile, PolitiFact has predictably weighed in; its post is the subject of Part 2). While he has been a bit heavier in handing out the "Pinocchios" in situations involving Republicans and conservatives than to Democrats and liberals, Kessler has rarely tried to convince readers that they didn't see or hear what the really saw and heard. Unfortunately, that's exactly what he did in this instance by giving the obvious contradiction "no rating." Excerpts follow the jump (bolds are mine; HT Hot Air):
Seven words I never thought I'd say -- keep up the good work, Michael Moore.
What prompted this was a tweet from the leftist filmmaker after Secretary of State John Kerry's appearance last night on MSNBC's "All In with Chris Hayes" during which Kerry described why military action against the Assad regime in Syria is justified. (Video after the jump)
Radical-left actor Ed Asner was blunt with Paul Bond of The Hollywood Reporter about how celebrities won’t be mobilizing against military actions launched by Barack Obama: "A lot of people don't want to feel anti-black by being opposed to Obama," he said.
"It will be a done deal before Hollywood is mobilized," Asner said. "This country will either bomb the hell out of Syria or not before Hollywood gets off its ass." Asner, 83, even doubts the value of protesting at this late stage in his life:
Ultraliberal Congressman Alan Grayson was interviewed on Thursday’s PBS NewsHour, and struck a fierce pose against missile strikes in Syria in a peace-sign tie. Anchor Jeffrey Brown repeatedly questioned how cavalier Grayson seemed in protecting a president of his own party.
From Obama’s corner, Brown began by asking what kind of message inaction would send to Syria. Grayson said “if you want to send a message, use Hallmark, not missiles.” It’s a lame joke, since Hallmark isn’t making cards for special occasions like chemical weapons attacks on civilians. Brown kept sputtering about how he could let Obama down:
Ralph Nader had some harsh words Friday for Barack Obama's planned attack on Syria.
In a letter to the President published at the Huffington Post, Nader began, "Little did your school boy chums in Hawaii, watching you race up and down the basketball court, know how prescient they were when they nicknamed you 'Barry O'Bomber.'"
In back-to-back interviews with members on Congress on Friday's MSNBC Daily Rundown, fill-in host Luke Russert desperately tried to sell Democrats and Republicans on the importance of supporting President Obama taking military action against Syria. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Talking to Democratic Virginia Congressman Gerry Connolly, Russert worried: "How much of this do you think, within your caucus, falls on this idea of, 'Okay, we're not necessarily comfortable with the idea of launching any missiles into Syria, but God help us, if we cut the President off here at the knees he becomes a lame duck quite early in his term and looks entirely weak. So we're going to kind of go along with him here in order to preserve his ability to govern on other major issues.' Is there an element of that here?"
On Thursday's All In show, as he hosted Democratic Rep. Alan Grayson and MSNBC contributor Karen Finney to debate whether President Obama should attack Syria, MSNBC host Chris Hayes declared that it "sounds a little morally obtuse" for Grayson to use the words "not our problem" as he argued against intervention in Syria.
Referring to an interview with Secretary of State John Kerry from earlier in the show, Hayes asked if the Secretary said anything that Grayson found "compelling or convincing," leading the Florida Democrat to begin his response:
On Friday's CBS This Morning, Mark Phillips all but hinted that Pope Francis had "taken sides" with Russia's Vladimir Putin and against President Obama in the international debate over military strikes in Syria. Phillips proposed that the Pope's letter to Putin "must have been music to the Russian president's ears."
The journalist also turned to a "Vatican historian" who once publicly attacked Francis' predecessor, Benedict XVI, as a "dictator", and likened him to Islamists. He also labeled the Pope's upcoming prayer and fasting vigil for peace in Syria a "religious street protest." [audio available here; video below the jump]
It really has been amazing the past few weeks watching staunchly anti-war liberals in the media supporting an attack on Syria all because Barack Obama - who happened to run on an anti-war platform! - is for it.
Take Donny Deutsch as an example, who on MSNBC's Morning Joe Friday proudly declared himself as being part of the 20 percent of the nation in favor of an attack whilst stating, "I’m shocked that the country is not lining up" behind the President (video follows with transcript and commentary):
In a break from the usual softballs that Barack Obama receives at news conferences, the President on Friday endured some tough questions, including a testy exchange with ABC's Jon Karl. The White House correspondent pressed Obama, looking for a "direct response" to a previous question: Will the U.S. launch strikes against Syria, regardless of whether Congress approves it?
Obama lectured, "And you're not getting a direct response. Brianna [Keilar of CNN] asked the question very well. You know?" Karl shot back, "It's a pretty basic question." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] An annoyed Obama, in Russia for the G20 meeting, complained, "Did you think that I was going to give you a different answer? No."
President Obama's push for military action against the Assad regime in Syria has some die-hard Obama acolytes at MSNBC finally speaking out against the president. "Even with Chris Matthews, the Obamagasm is gone," cracked Sean Hannity last night. Does "the love story [end] here?" he asked NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell on the September 5 program's "Media Mash" segment.
Not so fast, Bozell reminded Hannity, as Matthews quickly returned to form and slammed Republicans for their opposition to military action in Syria. "Obama knows he's in trouble when even Chris Matthews criticizes him.... But isn't it interesting that one day later, Chris Matthews went into his usual rant, calling anyone who disagreed with President Obama a hater?" [watch the full segment below the page break]
Associated Press reporter Matt Lee has been on the State Department beat for almost four years. At times, he has been one of a very few establishment press reporters who will challenge Obama administration officials when their assertions become too brazen to tolerate.
One of those times (HT Business Insider via Hot Air) occurred yesterday, when hapless State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki attempted to defend as "courageous" John Kerry's statement that the administration's non-mandatory request for a Congressional vote on U.S. military involvement in Syria:
One thing is certain: Axelrod didn't do the rest of us any favors . . .
On today's Morning Joe, after Joe Scarborough empathized at length, in the context of the Syrian situation, about what a lonely job President Obama has, David Axelrod actually had the chutzpah to say "there have been many days where I wonder, gee, I wonder if all of us who helped him get elected did him a favor." View the video after the jump.
Oh, how I long for the days when liberals wailed that "the rest of the world" hated America, rather than now, when the rest of the world laughs at us.
With the vast majority of Americans opposing a strike against Syria, President Obama has requested that Congress vote on his powers as commander in chief under the Constitution. The president doesn't need congressional approval to shoot a few missiles into Syria, nor -- amazingly -- has he said he'll abide by such a vote, anyway.
MSNBC hosts are skeptical if not downright opposed in principle to President Obama's push to bomb Syria, but the MSNBC.com Facebook page is doing its level best to present President Obama in a favorable light, complete with photo memes of the president adorned with quotes related to his Syria policy. [see screen captures below page break]
On September 1, the day after President Obama announced he was going to seek congressional approval, MSNBC Facebook page editors posted a photo of the president emblazoned with the following quote:
Nightline, the show born out a crisis in the Middle East, has devolved into a superficial, tabloid-heavy program that has hardly bothered with the growing crisis in Syria and Barack Obama's handling of it. Since August 21, the program has allowed a mere four segments (18 minutes and eight seconds).
In contrast, Nightline has devoted over 24 minutes to light-weight topics such as the Amish Mafia TV show, a full report on the best summer songs of all time. Other stories include a look at "color runs" (a "fun" race in which joggers have paint thrown at them.) Another segment profiled James Dyson, the man who made vacuum cleaners "sexy."
In an interview with former Bush national security advisor Stephen Hadley on her Thursday MSNBC show, host Andrea Mitchell pinned all of President Obama's problems selling military action in Syria to the Iraq War: "There is such a credibility gap between the White House and Congress, the leftover, the hangover from the Iraq War. So can you be at least a little sympathetic to what the administration is encountering now with Congress, in explaining the intelligence and getting people to believe it?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Mitchell led up to that slanted question by declaring: "I don't want to re-litigate Iraq, but the blunt fact is that some of the questions that were asked – Congressman [Juan] Vargas [D-CA] asked both [Secretary of State John] Kerry and [Defense Secretary Chuck] Hagel yesterday, 'Are you lying? Because we were lied to about weapons of mass destruction.'"
As NewsBusters previously reported, MSNBC president Phil Griffin told the New York Times in June that his network is "not the place" for breaking news.
This was evident again this past Saturday when MSNBC actually saw a 20 percent week-over-week decline during the busy news period when President Obama announced that he was going to Congress for approval to attack Syria.
On Wednesday's MSNBC Daily Rundown, minutes after President Obama denied setting a "red line" on Syria's use of chemical weapons, chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd excused the obvious falsehood: "I think it was clear that the President was trying to depersonalize the Syria issue a little bit....to say, you know, 'Stop making this about the President personally, depersonalize this.'" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Following those instructions from Obama, Todd proceeded to blame Republicans for the President trying to distance himself from his own red line: "...there are some House Republicans who are looking at this only view – through the prism of their disagreements and dislike for President Obama rather than the policy itself. And so [the White House is] trying to make the policy argument, 'Forget who's in the seat as commander-in-chief, would the United States believe this was a red line no matter who was president?'"
Wednesday's CBS Evening News twice underlined President Obama's 2012 "red line" remark before playing a soundbite of the Democrat's "I didn't set a red line" reversal earlier in the day. Scott Pelley noted that "a year ago, he [Obama] warned the Syrian dictator that a red line would be crossed if the dictator used chemical weapons against his rebellious citizens." Major Garrett soon added that Obama "set a red line on the use of chemical weapons 13 months ago." [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
None of the Big Three evening newscasts played the actual clip of the President's 2012 warning. On NBC Nightly News, Chuck Todd did his best to explain away the President's denial: "The President redefined what he meant by his red line". Jonathan Karl didn't even mention the original "red line" comment during his report on ABC's World News.
According to Chris Matthews on Wednesday, there's one reason prominent Republicans will vote against a resolution allowing Barack Obama to bomb Syria. Of course, the motive behind 2016 conservatives such as Marco Rubio and Rand Paul is "hate." The Hardball host insisted that the situation in Syria "is offering a roadmap to the Republican nomination for President next time."
Rather than principled beliefs, the anchor flatly declared, "The more you hate Obama, the more you are deeply entrenched in the deepest bunker of the GOP." Matthews instructed viewers to watch the Syria vote as it was "the testing zone, this ground-zero for political posturing." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]