Even though it's August of 2013, Hillary Clinton's possible 2016 presidential bid has already been heavily hyped by journalists. Yet, it seems that these same reporters aren't interested in exploring aspects of Clinton's job as Secretary of State. One such comment not getting attention is her 2011 labeling of Bashar al-Assad, the man almost certainly behind a devastating chemical weapons attack, as a "reformer." Between 500 and 1000 people are dead after last week's gassing.
On the March 27, 2011, Clinton insisted, "There’s a different leader in Syria now. Many of the members of Congress of both parties who have gone to Syria in recent months have said they believe he’s a reformer." (The Washington Post gave this remark three Pinocchios. Clinton later backtracked.) Yet, ABC, NBC and CBS have not reexamined the comments in the wake of the attack or its accuracy.
Maybe, in sync with the predictable press reactions to oft-seen bad economic numbers, the headline at Julie Pace's late-morning story at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, should have been: "Obama Foreign Policy Falls Apart ... Unexpectedly."
Pace's pathetic attempt at pathos in assessing the status of the Obama administration's foreign policy tells AP readers that some of it is due to "factors outside the White House's control" (as if previous administrations haven't had to deal with unanticipated developments), that Obama "misjudged" what would come in the Arab Spring's aftermath (we're supposed to ignore all of those contacts he's had with Muslim Brotherhood officials and their sympathizers), and that the NSA revelations have hurt our standing in Europe (without noting that the root cause is NSA's spying on U.S. citizens). Excerpts follow the jump.
A chemical attack in Syria that may have killed as many as 1300 people was of little interest to ABC's Good Morning America on Wednesday. The network morning show allowed a mere 25 seconds to the large scale gassing. In such a small amount of time, it's not surprising that guest news anchor Amy Robach skipped the salient point that this attack violated the so-called "red line" set out by Barack Obama in 2012.
NBC's Today allowed a little more time, two minutes and eight seconds, but also ignored the red line angle and any mention of Barack Obama. It was only CBS This Morning that noticed this. Anchor Charlie Rose pointed out, "President Obama has said that Syria's government would cross a red line if it uses chemical weapons against its own people. We're monitoring the White House for any response." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Ted Koppel made a fascinating observation about terrorism and the recent embassy evacuations that certainly won't please President Obama or his supporters in the media.
Appearing on NBC's Meet the Press, Koppel said, "With a conference call, Al Qaeda has effectively shut down 20 U.S. embassies around north Africa and the Middle East...The terrorists have achieved more with one phone call than we have achieved with all our response" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer had some harsh words Tuesday for the White House calling the evacuation of our embassies in the Middle East “ordered departures.”
Appearing on Fox News’s Special Report, Krauthammer said, “This is the first administration in history ever to launch a lexicological war on the enemy. You know, they’ve thrown the book at them - the dictionary.”
Saturday evening, a friend suggested that I watch the midnight rerun of Judge Jeanine Pirro's Fox News program for her interview segment with a Democrat and a Republican about this weekend's closing of 22 embassies overseas in response to terrorist threats.
Ryan Clayton was the Democrat whose arguments blaming George W. Bush's administration for the current level of threats in the Middle East were so weak that he was reduced to childishly reminding viewers that 9/11 happened on George W. Bush's watch (as if we didn't know, and as if eight years of previous Clinton administration weakness were irrelevant). Clayton has an interesting history, which I will note at the end of this post. The Judge Jeanine segment follows the jump.
Remember all that talk from President Obama during last year’s campaign about al Qaeda being decimated?
Apparently not, for on ABC’s This Week Sunday, Congressman Peter King (R-N.Y.) said, “Al Qaeda is in many ways stronger than it was before 9/11 because it's mutated and it spread and it can come at us from different directions” (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Everyone’s happy about the arrival of the future king of Britain – that is, everyone at leisure to take note. Presumably, Middle Eastern Christians have been too busy trying to survive to worry over whether the Duchess of Cambridge was in false labor.
And while the hard-nosed journalists at ABC, CBS and NBC have been knitting booties and speculating on names, Middle Eastern Christians have been attacked by Islamists, prevented from worshipping, driven from homes and villages, beaten and executed.
NBC’s chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd had some tough words for President Obama on Monday’s Morning Joe. Todd, anchor of MSNBC’s Daily Rundown and a frequent critic of Republicans on network’s programming, scolded the president for running a “leaderless Washington,” and for failing to “rally the world” to a “solution in Syria.”
Todd’s critique was in reference to a Saturday op-ed in the New York Times, in which conservative columnist Ross Douthat berated the Obama administration for promoting policies of little importance to most Americans – in lieu of an aggressive jobs agenda.
Conservative columnist Pat Buchanan made a statement about Friday's announcement concerning Syria definitively having used chemical weapons on its people that is guaranteed to raise eyebrows on both sides of the aisle.
Appearing on PBS's McLaughlin Group, Buchanan said, "This has Tonkin Gulf written all over it...false flag."
Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin had some harsh words for Barack Obama Saturday.
Speaking at the Faith and Freedom Coalition conference in Washington, D.C., Palin said about growing tensions in Syria, “Until we have a commander-in-chief who knows what he’s doing…let Allah sort it out.”
A Google News search on ["Susan Rice" "executive privilege"] (typed exactly as indicated between brackets) returns two stories. The main one is at Fox News, where K.T. McFarland pointed out that President Obama, now that he has appointed Susan Rice to be his National Security Adviser, can invoke executive privilege to keep her from testifying before Congress. The second is at Mediate, and notes that McFarland said the same thing to Fox News Channel anchor Martha MacCallum earlier today.
Among those who conveniently didn't catch this: Frank James at NPR, who didn't identify the executive privilege dodge in his "5 Takeaways From Obama's Susan Rice Appointment"; the Associated Press, whose three Wednesday items on Rice (here, here, and here) don't mention it, and where a search on "executive privilege" (not in quotes) returned nothing relevant; and the Politico, where a search on "Rice executive privilege" (not in quotes) also returned nothing relevant. Excerpts from McFarland's column, with harsh words about Rice's lack of qualifications, follow the jump (bold and italics are hers except final paragraph):
Well, this should be fun. President Obama and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will hold a joint press conference in a few minutes in the Rose Garden. The last joint press conference the president held -- on May 13 with British Prime Minister David Cameron -- was met with some tough questions by the AP's Julie Pace.
Below the page break I'll be live-blogging the questions from journalists. As usual, please give us the questions you would like answered in the comments section. Also, who do you think might ask the toughest questions and who might try to help the president out with a softball? Let us know your thoughts.
Sure, it was just one of those tongue-tied moments we've all experienced. But if it had been George W. Bush mispronouncing the name of a world leader who is very much in the news, imagine the field day the MSM would have had with it.
At his press appearance with British PM David Cameron today, aired on MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell Reports, President Obama was seen pronouncing the name of the Syrian dictator Bashir Assad as "Bassar Ashad." PBO pauses before pronouncing, seeming to sense he's about to get it wrong, but decides to plunge ahead. There's another priceless moment: when the show cuts back to the studio, guest-hosting Chuck Todd is seen with a hilariously baffled look on his face. View the video after the jump.
The email announcing the supposedly momentous occasion of another column by the Politico's Glenn Thrush arrived in my mailbox with the following headline and subhead: "Obama: Hey guys, I'm still here -- The president's press conference brimmed with frustration and was filled with tantalizing promise."
On clickthrough, I learned that the online website's massagers-in-chief changed those items (but not the underlying URL, which reflects the email) to the following in the published article: "President Obama: I’m still relevant -- Obama finds himself hemmed in by the familiar constraints of partisanship and world events." Thrush's text identifed another problem supposedly hemming Obama in, complete with a slavery analogy: "the shackles of his own commitments." Poor guy; he has to deal with the world as it is, not how he'd like it to be, and those darned things he promised to do to get elected and reelected. Gosh, life is just so unfair, isn't it? Excerpts following Thrush's theme follow the jump (bolds and numbered tags are mine):
President Barack Obama will take to the podium in the White House press briefing room at 10:30 a.m. Eastern for a press conference. The occasion: today is the 100th day of his second term in office. We at NewsBusters will be watching and I'll be live-blogging the questions from reporters. Pardon my inaccuracies as I'll be transcribing on the fly.
In the comments section, leave some question that YOU would ask if you were in the room. Which questions should be asked but likely won't?
NBC's Chuck Todd made some stunning statements Sunday about recent revelations concerning Syria's use of chemical weapons on its people.
Appearing on Meet the Press, Todd first said the Administration regrets President Obama's claim that this would be a "red line" adding "They didn't want to go public last week that they had this early evidence" and only did so because "they knew Congress was going to get this briefing and it was all going to get out" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Veteran journalist Howard Kurtz chided the media's "romance" of departing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on CNN's Reliable Sources on Sunday, asking "But, particularly in those TV interviews, could you see any Republican outgoing cabinet member getting that kind of treatment?" Another example came in Sunday's New York Times's front-page review of Clinton's career by Michael Gordon and Mark Landler, "Backstage Glimpses of Clinton as Dogged Diplomat, Win or Lose." The Times opened with the administration's hand-wringing over assisting the Syrian resistance (Clinton's more activist support for the rebels was rebuffed at the White House).
Yet the more damaging controversy over the assassination of four Americans at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi was mentioned just twice in the 1,674-word story, once as a "low point" for Clinton, but balanced with the "biggest highlight" of her term -- the diplomatic opening to Myanmar. The other reference noted that while the incident may have "marred" her last months of service, she still has the highest favorability ratings of her career.
The original report comes from Al Jazeera (HT Gateway Pundit via frequent home blog commenter dscott), so caution is advised. But the related video appears to be from an independent source, and the IB Times in the UK is reporting the related attack as an actual event.
According to IBT: "The regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has been accused of resorting to chemical weapons after seven people died from poisonous gas fumes in an assault on Homs." From what I could tell, as of shortly before 10 a.m. ET, the U.S. establishment press had not filed a story. More from IBT after the jump (bolds are mine):
In August, President Barack Obama "secretly" authorized support for Syria's rebels. It was so "secret" that Reuters had a story about it. It "broadly permits the CIA and other U.S. agencies to provide support that could help the rebels oust Assad."
At the Daily Beast, former Obama administration State Department member P.J. Crowley believes that " Later this year or early next, Washington may formally recognize the Syrian opposition as a viable alternative to the regime of President Bashar al-Assad." Well, okay, sometimes you have to back a less undesirable alternative, but if you do, I would think Obama owes it to the American people to have them understand the true nature of those you're backing. As of this moment, very few Americans know what the rebels would want to do if they achieve power. MEMRI does, because its people watch Middle Eastern TV and videos. What follows is a transcript from an October 21 broadcast (HT Weasel Zippers):
Syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer made a dire prediction Monday concerning declining conditions in Syria.
Appearing on Fox News's Special Report, Krauthammer said that if the "inevitable" regime change takes place, "we might be forced to send in our troops simply as a way to secure [Syria's vast supply of chemical weapons] because of the jihadists among the rebels."
CNN's Piers Morgan just couldn't let his Republican guest denounce President Obama's foreign policy. He spouted the White House spin on all the President's accomplishments while not holding him accountable for the Libya fiasco, on his Monday night show.
"I would say one of the things that Barack Obama has done incredibly successfully is restore a lot of America's very damaged reputation around the world since the eight years of George Bush and all the warfare that came with it," claimed Morgan. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
Introducing a report on the ongoing civil war in Syria on Monday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams made sure to promote PR from the White House: "...the State Department and the Pentagon are now working together on plans for Syria after Assad, hoping to avoid the chaos they believe broke out because of the lack of planning for a post-Saddam Iraq." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
However, the report that followed by chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel seemed to undermine the notion of a well-planned U.S. strategy in Syria against the Assad regime: "A rebel commander with a hundred fighters in [the city of] Aleppo told us today if the rebels don't receive a massive influx of weapons within the next 72 hours, they'll have to give up the fight."