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.]
As NewsBusters has reported for years, David Letterman is one of Barack Obama’s biggest supporters on television.
You couldn’t tell that Wednesday, for on the CBS Late Show, the host said of the President’s flip-flop concerning a chemical weapons red line in Syria, “[T]he guy has learned how to bulls—t” (video follows with transcript and commentary):
When George W. Bush was president, America's media loved reporting international demonstrations against him once things in Iraq turned south.
With this in mind, it will be interesting to see if the same historically anti-war press will cover a picture depicting Barack Obama as the devil published Wednesday in the popular Egyptian newspaper Al Wafd.
CNN has done a generally good job of covering the Syrian crisis over the past couple of days, with many of its analysts and anchors casting a skeptical eye on President Obama’s proposed military strike. On Wednesday morning’s CNN Newsroom, chief political analyst Gloria Borger called out the president for his ridiculous assertions that his red line is really the world’s red line and his own credibility is not currently on the line.
After anchor Wolf Blitzer had played a clip from Obama’s press conference in Sweden earlier that day, Borger noted that the president was trying to shift the onus off of himself. He claimed that the “red line” he mentioned a year ago was actually the world’s red line, and that it was not his credibility on the line, but that of the international community (as well as the U.S. and Congress). Borger tore into the president: [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
Washington Post political reporter penned a column for Thursday’s paper with the headline “Could Clinton’s position on Syria today resurface in 2016?” Balz spent a whole column recounting how Senator Hillary’s vote authorizing the Iraq war doomed her in the 2008 race.
Unsurprisingly, Hillary put out a statement supporting Obama’s plans for military action. What was surprising is that Balz wrote an entire column on what might come back to bite Hillary in a presidential campaign without ever remembering she insisted on CBS that Bashar Assad was “a reformer,” not the next Saddam-style international outlaw:
Yesterday in Stockholm at the G20 summit, President Barack Obama said the following in regards to the use of chemical weapons in warfare: "I didn't set a red line. The world set a red line." For years, the press obsessed over the alleged untruthfulness of President George W. Bush's "16 words" ("The British Government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa") in his 2003 State of the Union address. Today, the Associated Press won't even directly quote the first six of Obama's.
Regardless of whether one thinks that Obama's statement is an attempt to abdicate personal responsibility for his original "red line" (i.e., in the sand) statement a year ago or an assertion that his year-ago statement merely affirmed what the rest of the world believes, it's news, and should be presented to the nation's readers and viewers in quotes. But not at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, which is barely recognizing the existence of the "red line" at all.
Politics, we're often told, is the art of the possible. The potential for American intervention in the Syrian civil war is stretching what previously was believed scarcely possible.
Liberal Democratic congressman Alan Grayson of Florida, one of the party's most strident voices, a man who once said GOP policy on health care boils down to wanting you to "die quickly," finds himself inexplicably agreeing with that most demonized of all Republicans, Sarah Palin. (Audio clips after the jump)
Fresh from his summer vacation, left-wing comedian Jon Stewart became the latest media liberal to blast President Obama’s efforts to promote military action against the government of Syria.
In no uncertain terms, Stewart blasted the idea, saying that it was ridiculous for Obama or other American leaders to want to punish Syrian dictator Bashar Hafez al-Assad for allegedly using chemical weapons against radical Islamic rebels in his country. According to Stewart, the Obama Administration’s statements about “red lines” and limited actions smacks of “seventh grade” behavior. Never shy to employ vulgarities to make his point, Stewart used several in his extended rant. Transcript and video follow.
Chris Matthews channeled his inner-Helen Thomas on Tuesday, railing against Barack Obama's "disastrous" plan for military action against Syria. The Hardball host mocked the proposed goal of sending a message to Syrian dictator BasharAssad, excoriating, "Will this mysterious signal get delivered? Will a signal go to Assad that he will never again use chemical weapons?" [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Matthews raged against air strikes on Syria, insisting, "In other words, the only thing we really know is we'll be killing poor people, committing an act of war with this notion that somehow it's smoke signals." The usually pro-Obama reporter Howard Fineman appeared perplexed by the administration's presentation to the U.S. Senate: "...The only message we're sending to the world is one of confusion....It's just utterly confusing."
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."
Academy Award-winning actor Robert De Niro is the kind of Hollywood sycophant Democrats adore.
In an interview published in September's Du Jour, De Niro said of Barack Obama, "He's a good person, period...he represents, I think, the best of the type of people that I would like to see running the government."
Catching up on a topic that eluded us over the weekend, it is worth noting that on Friday, New York Times public editor Margaret Sullivan decided to tackle the question of whether the newspaper is favoring the Obama Administration’s effort to build support for a war against Syria.
After talking to several top Times editors who inevitably aver that they are treating the anti-Syria PR effort with due skepticism, Sullivan reaches her own rather inconvenient (for her employer) conclusion that the Times is not being sufficiently skeptical:
Well, there was a Blue Moon just last month, so maybe the time was right for some rare criticism of President Obama by Andrea Mitchell.
Mitchell didn't hold back on today's Morning Joe, accusing the President of "bungling," being "ambivalent," and of undercutting his Secretary of State and Vice-President. For good measure, Mitchell suggested that in his heart of hearts, fellow panelist and former Obama spox Robert Gibbs agreed with her acidulous assessment. View the video after the jump.
Monday morning, 22-term Democratic Congressman Charlie Rangel of New York, as reported by Tal Kopan at the Politico, said that President Barack Obama's drawing of a "red line" on Syria is "embarrassing," and that he is against "putting our kids in harm’s way to solve an international problem."
Rangel is the third most-senior House member of either party. If a senior Republican congressperson similarly criticized opposed a Republican or conservative president in a matter such as this, there would be widespread establishment press coverage. In this case, there's very little. This is not unusual for stories detrimental to Democratic Party interests, as the rest of the establishment press all too often seems content to say, "Oh, that was already in the Politico, so we don't have to cover it."
The United States is poised to fire missiles at Syria in response to chemical attacks on Syrian civilians. But the assault will also pit the U.S. against one side of the civil war and aid the other side, which includes Al Qaeda. That falls just days before the anniversary of Al Qaeda attacks against both the World Trade Center and Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001.
Broadcast news outlets are clearly aware of the Islamic terror group’s role in Syria, but rarely report it. Nearly 94 percent of all Syria stories since the gas attacks have made no mention of Al Qaeda whatsoever.
It’s not like the networks haven’t had time. Since the gas attack, which happened Aug. 21 in Ghoutta, Syria, ABC, CBS and NBC morning and evening news shows have done at least 171 stories on the conflict. Just 11 of those stories have made any mention of the terrorists of Al Qaeda, and all of those have been passing references. There hasn’t been one story focused exclusively on Al Qaeda in Syria during that time.
While covering Bashar al-Assad on Tuesday, ABC's Martha Raddatz described the Syrian dictator as "looking poised and immaculately dressed." This light-hearted description is reminiscent of some of the softball questions asked by Diane Sawyer on February 5, 2007. The then-Good Morning America anchor dished with the man who, in August, allegedly used chemical weapons on his own people: "You like video games?...Do you have an iPod?"
After the dictator announced that he did, Sawyer sounded more like an Access Hollywood host: "And you're a country music fan. Faith Hill? Shania Twain?"She then moved on to the topics of what films Assad enjoyed. The fan of chemical weapons and gassing his own people touted The Pursuit of Happyness. He blurbed, "It tells you a story...Maybe there's many beneficial things to learn from, about real life." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Democratic Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton said Tuesday that at the current time, the only reason she would vote in favor of an attack on Syria was out of loyalty to Barack Obama.
Appearing on radio's Bill Press Show, the non-voting delegate from the District of Columbia also said if the President actually gets the votes he needs, "it’ll be because of loyalty of Democrats. They just don’t want to see him shamed and humiliated on the national stage" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
In my soon to be 77 years as a citizen of the United States of America, having lived through Japan's sneak attack on Pearl Harbor, the dark days of WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Watergate, 9/11 and all the other serious and profound events our beloved nation has been involved in over the last three quarters of a century, I have to say with all sincerity that I have never seen a president as confused, befuddled, impotent, insincere and as out of his depth as Barack Obama has become in dealing with the Syrian issue.
When you're the leader of the free world, you don't make statements you can't back up and you don't draw lines in the sand, watch your enemies cross them with impunity and go off and play a round of golf.
Its actual headline is, "Obama's history-defying decision to seek Congressional approval on Syria." As Instapundit's Glenn Reynolds noted a short time ago: "You can read this entire article about Obama going to Congress over Syria without seeing any mention that Bush went to Congress over Iraq and Afghanistan." After the jump, readers will get as much as (or maybe more than) they can stand, complete with the "There were no WMDs in Iraq" lie (bolds are mine):
A day after Secretary of State John Kerry compared Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to Adolf Hitler and Saddam Hussein, Britain's Daily Mail published a picture of Kerry dining with Assad in February 2009.
It's going to be fascinating to see how the Obama-loving press report this (photo courtesy AFP):
The president's call on Saturday for Congress to debate and pass a resolution authorizing airstrikes against Syria also served as a telegraphed message to the liberal media about how to spin the message in a way that puffs the president politically while turning a serious question of foreign policy and use of military resources into a domestic political grist for the 2014 midterms.
Well, the Wall Street Journal's Jay Solomon and Janet Hook smartly saluted and fired their salvo in a piece filed at the paper's website on Sunday afternoon headlined, "White House Girds for Battle With Congress." Here's how they began: