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."
ABC’s Barbara Walters will do most anything to score a big interview. Now, she’s been forced to apologize for trying to help a former aide to Syrian President Bashar Assad land a job or get into college in America in exchange for her Assad interview last December. Sheherazad Jaafari was a press aide to Assad and daughter of Bashar Jafaari, the Syrian ambassador to the United Nations. Last October, UN Ambassdador Susan Rice and the U.S. delegation to the UN walked out on a Jafaari speech.
Walters said in a statement issued Tuesday she rejected Jaafari's later request for a job at ABC News, saying it was a conflict of interest. But she said she contacted people on Jaafari's behalf and "I regret that." London’s Daily Telegraph acquired some of the friendly e-mails of Walters, like this one to Jafaari:
On Wednesday's NBC Nightly News, a piece by correspondent Andrea Mitchell incorrectly claimed that Mitt Romney "doesn't say how" he believes the Obama administration should assist rebels who are fighting against Bashar Assad's rule of Syria, giving the impression that the GOP presidential candidate was criticizing President Obama without offering constructive ideas. She even hinted that Romney had not voiced support for arming rebels as she noted that "Others, including John McCain, say the U.S. should arm the rebels."
On Sunday's Meet the Press, host David Gregory teed one up for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that was specifically designed to mock the Republican presidential candidates while allowing her to brag uninterrupted about the foreign policy successes of Barack Obama (video follows with transcript and commentary):
The text box works in a typical crack at Bush administration foreign policy: “Using force when justified but not going it alone.” The implication, common in the pages of the Times, is that Bush somehow went it alone in the invasion of Iraq. For the record, the United States actually led a 30-nation coalition in Iraq (35 countries joined the fight in Afghanistan).
Tina Brown seems to be very conflicted about her opinion of Dick Cheney.
After telling the "Morning Joe" panel the former Vice President is a "wrecking ball" who "seems to be totally in denial still about Iraq," the Daily Beast-Newsweek editor said moments later, "He's been validated by Obama" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Referencing Dick Cheney's revelation in his new memoir that he urged President Bush to bomb a Syrian nuclear reactor in 2007, CNN's Kyra Phillips posed this obnoxious question to her panel: "Was Cheney even more of a hawk than we gave him credit for?"
The upcoming release of Cheney's memoir, "In My Time," should re-ignite the media's decade-long war on the former Vice President, as he himself has predicted that the book will have "heads exploding" in Washington. In the book he detailed a meeting in 2007 where he was the only one the room supporting the bombing of the Syrian nuclear reactor. President Bush declined to take that approach, and Israel bombed the site months later.
CNN foreign affairs analyst Fareed Zakaria – who has recently had off-the-record conversations with President Obama on foreign issues – noted the president's "restraint" in his dealing with the "Arab Spring" and the conflict in Libya Wednesday. Zakaria previously gave a thumbs-up for Obama's Mideast speech in May and later defended the president's plan for removing American troops from Afghanistan.
The point-of-note is that this is the same analyst whom, according to the New York Times, President Obama "sounded out" while shaping his foreign policy. The two simply had "off-the-record" conversations on foreign issues, according to Zakaria, and the CNN host claimed he was not an advisor to the President.
While Israel’s armed response to the attempted invasion on its border with Syria was at least somewhat justified, Syrian authorities themselves in the last weeks have slaughtered over 1,000 of its rebelling citizens, actual human rights atrocities that have only sporadically made the Times's front page. In this way the Times is playing into the hands of Syria, which is using the all-purpose enemy Israel as a distraction from its own internal oppression.
On CBS’s Sunday Morning show, during his regular commentary, right-leaning CBS contributor Ben Stein gave a pessimistic view of the "Arab Spring" movement to topple authoritarian governments in the Middle East, charged that America would regret allowing Hosni Mubarak lose power in Egypt, and predicted that the radical Muslm Brotherhood would take over there.
He also gave rare attention to the Muslim Brotherhood’s history of alliance with Nazi Germany during World War II. Stein:
The most potent political force in Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood, hates the U.S., loathes Israel, condemns the killing of bin Laden whom they praise as a martyr, and they've been wedded to terror for their entire existence. Oh, P.S., they were closely connected with Adolf Hitler. They'll probably take over Egypt completely sooner or later.
As NewsBusters previously documented, Nazi Germany helped build up the Muslim Brotherhood in the 1930s to spread anti-Jew hatred in the Middle East.
On Friday's "Inside Washington," during a discussion about American foreign policy in the Middle East and Africa, PBS's Mark Shields actually said, "The most urgent priority that we have is to find jobs somehow, not simply for Americans, which is an urgent priority, but for young Egyptians" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
As Syrian President Bashar al-Assad defiantly refused to implement democratic reforms and his security forces fired on protesters on Wednesday, the networks continued to ignore Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's Sunday comments labeling the dictator as a "reformer."
On Wednesday's CBS Evening News fill-in anchor Erica Hill read a news brief on the latest crackdown by the Syrian government: "There's more turmoil in Syria today after a hard-line speech by President Bashar al-Assad. Instead of announcing reforms, as expected, Assad blamed recent protests on a foreign conspiracy....In the port city of Latakia, witnesses say Syrian troops opened fire during an anti-government protest." Despite Clinton having made her gaffe on CBS's Face the Nation, Hill did not mention it.
Appearing on Sunday's Face the Nation on CBS, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton dismissed the idea of U.S. military action in Syria, claiming that unlike Libya's Qadhafi, Syria's Bashir Assad was considered to be a "reformer" by "many of the members of Congress." Schieffer failed to challenge the assertion. In the days since, CBS, ABC, and NBC have ignored the comment.
In contrast to Clinton's remark, a 2009 State Department review of human rights in Syria, released in a March 2010 report, found: "During the year the government and members of the security forces committed numerous serious human rights abuses, and the human rights situation worsened. The government systematically repressed citizens' abilities to change their government. In a climate of impunity, there were instances of arbitrary or unlawful deprivation of life. Members of the security forces tortured and physically abused prisoners and detainees."
So certainly such a provocative move should command coverage by the mainstream media, yet thus far among the Big Three networks, it appears from a search of Nexis that ABC has ignored the story while NBC and CBS have only done anchor briefs on the development.
ABC's Jake Tapper reported Tuesday that the Obama administration is going to support Israel in the wake of international outrage over the flotilla incident off the coast of Gaza Monday morning.
If Tapper is correct, one has to wonder whether the typically pro-Palestinian media here in America will stand with the President on this one.
Such seems especially intriguing given Obama's plummeting approval ratings and his increasingly frosty relations with press members that helped him get elected two years ago but now feel he's snubbing them at every turn.
Here's what Tapper wrote hours ago at ABC's Political Punch blog (h/t Hot Air's Ed Morrissey):
The Pentagon rescinded the invitation of evangelist Franklin Graham to speak at its May 6 National Day of Prayer event because of complaints about his previous comments about Islam.
The Military Religious Freedom Foundation expressed its concern over Graham's involvement with the event in an April 19 letter sent to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. MRFF's complaint about Graham, the son of Rev. Billy Graham, focused on remarks he made after 9/11 in which he called Islam "wicked" and "evil" and his lack of apology for those words.
Col. Tom Collins, an Army spokesman, told ABC News on April 22, "This Army honors all faiths and tries to inculcate our soldiers and work force with an appreciation of all faiths and his past comments just were not appropriate for this venue."
Uniquely among Wednesday’s broadcast network evening newscasts, ABC’s World News with Charles Gibson informed viewers that the Israeli navy earlier in the day intercepted a record quantity of weapons supplied by Iran and destined for Hezbollah, in violation of a United Nations resolution forbidding the arming of the Lebanon-based terrorist group. Host Gibson set up the report: "Israeli navy commandos today seized a ship off the coast of Cyprus. Israel's defense ministry says it was loaded with tons of weapons bound for Hezbollah militants in Lebanon. It is the largest cache of weapons ever interdicted by the Israelis, who say the arms came from one source: Iran."
Correspondent Simon McGregor-Wood opened his report by relaying that the quantity of weapons seized was enough to "keep the Islamic radicals of Hezbollah fighting for a month." And as he concluded the report, he also gave credibility to the conservative view that Iran should not be trusted in negotiations over its nuclear program: "Today's interception won't substantially reduce Hezbollah's military power, but it strengthens Israel's warning to those trying to negotiate with Iran – including the U.S. – it can't be trusted."
Did you ever in your wildest dreams imagine reading a New York Times column not written by a conservative that claimed "the forces for decency, democracy and pluralism" in the Middle East "have a little wind at their backs" due to the policies of former President George W. Bush?
Neither did I, but much to my surprise, such was said by Thomas Friedman in his most recent piece entitled "Winds of Change?"
Readers are strongly advised to fasten their seatbelts tightly across their waists, for you are about to enter an alternate media reality:
Surprise! Barbara Walters visits an anti-American dictator and returns with very nice remarks about him. Returning from the week long break on "The View" July 7, Barbara Walters described how she spent America’s birthday, and the celebration of a document denouncing tyranny, with an anti-American tyrant.
While most Americans celebrated Independence Day with fireworks and barbeques, Barbara Walters spent the occasion dining with Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad, whom Walters described as "intelligent" and "charming" who wants "very much to have good relations with us." Perhaps realizing her own gushiness about Assad Walters pre-empted accusations and denied she is "brainwashed." [audio available here]
My bottom line analysis (11:25): The two R's of bias from this Rose Garden presser: Martha Raddatz on Syria and numerous reporters on the dreaded R-word, recession. Of course a recession is two consecutive quarters of NEGATIVE economic growth, and we've yet to see one quarter of negative growth, much less two. But all the same, NY Times's Stolberg made it sound like Q1 numbers on GDP tomorrow will show a recession.
The questions below will be posted in reverse chronological order:
Reuters, the British newswire notorious for refusing to call terrorist organizations anything more incendiary than "militant," is now worrying that a Bush administration decision to declassify intelligence that makes Syria look bad may harm "diplomacy."
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States laid out intelligence on Thursday it believes shows North Korea helped Syria build a suspected nuclear reactor destroyed by Israel last year, a step that may complicate its diplomacy both on the Korean Peninsula and in the Middle East.
In breaking its official silence on the mysterious September 6 Israeli air strike, the Bush administration is taking the risk that Syria could be angered by the public disclosures and could seek to retaliate against Israel.
The Media, as Sisyphus, Unwinding its Terror TaleThere is a push by the Jurassic Press -- in two directions at once -- to frame just-so their presentation of the murder and murderers engaged in the attempted global implementation of political Islam.
One such shove was again demonstrated by the New York Times this past February 13th. The Media attempt to present these bits of human flotsam -- and their family members and friends -- in the most sympathetic of possible lights. The Times portrayal of the mourning father and grandfather of recently rubbed out Hezbollah serial assassin Imad Mugniyah -- responsible for amongst many other atrocities the 1983 bombing of the Marine Corps barracks in Beirut (American death count 241) is nothing more than another attempt to humanize these inhuman creatures.
The other Press effort underway is the minimization of the evil of these acts and actors. There is even a feel to some of these reports that those delivering them almost do not wish to have to do so, but are forced to by circumstances and forces (the Internet, anyone?) beyond their control.
Key facts that would exhibit the depths of barbarism mined by these men (and women and, sadly, their bloodletting-by-proxy children) are left out.
The February 13th New York Times online contained fifteen "Pictures of the Day". Their #1, lead photograph was what you see to the right, with the following description (emphasis added):
Security officials in Lebanon said Imad Mugniyah, 45, a senior Hezbollah military commander, was killed by a car bomb on Tuesday night in Damascus, Syria. Mr. Mugniyah had been accused in a series of bombings, hijackings and kidnappings during the 1980s and 1990s, including the 1983 bombing of a Marine barracks in Beirut that killed 241 American service members. Mr. Mugniyah's father, Fayez, left, and grandfather held each other during a wake in Beirut.
On Thursday's Countdown, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann used his latest "Special Comment" to attack President Bush's "pissy juvenile blast" for the President's criticism of the MoveOn.org "General Betray Us" ad during the day's news conference, accusing him of "hypocrisy" for not criticizing what Olbermann called the Republican "hamstringing of Captain Max Cleland and the lying about Lieutenant John Kerry." Olbermann further accused Bush of "pimping" General David Petraeus and of making the general into a "political hack" at the risk of moving America's government toward a "military junta." Olbermann: "It is a line which history shows is always the first one crossed when a democratic government in some other country has started down the long, slippery, suicidal slope towards a military junta. Get back behind that line, Mr. Bush, before some of your supporters mistake your dangerous and stupid transgression as a call to further politicize our military." (Transcript follows)
James Joyner of Outside the Beltway complains that the New York Times buried the lede with an article about an Israeli airstrike in Syria. Turns out there's reason to believe that North Korea may be smuggling "nuclear material" to terror-sponsoring states Iran and Syria:
Talk about burying your lede. This is seven “paragraphs” down in the story (I use scarce quotes because newspaper style favors incredibly short paragraphs and breaks even when the subject has not changed for ease of editing). It’s wise to be wary of assertions from unnamed officials about this sort of thing, especially when the target is those perennial bogeymen Iran and Syria but it’s hardly inconceivable that the DPRK would sell nuclear materials to our adversaries.