After Thursday's network evening newscasts ignored a report from the Government Accountability Office that the exchange of five terrorists from Guantanamo Bay for Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl was illegal, NBC's Today and ABC's Good Morning America remained silent on the Obama administration scandal on Friday. Only CBS This Morning made any mention of the violation of federal law, providing a mere 24-second news brief on the topic. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Meanwhile, both Today and GMA did find time to produce full reports on a contestant on VH1's Dating Naked reality show suing the cable network for showing her naked on the program.
MSNBC’s resident “boy genius” Ronan Farrow made a backhanded slap at our men and women in uniform by referring to the military commissions set up to try unlawful enemy combatants as “kangaroo courts.”
On Tuesday afternoon’s edition of Ronan Farrow Daily, the host was joined by Maryland Democratic Congressman Chris Van Hollen to discuss Ahmed Abu Khattala capture and where the alleged mastermind behind the deadly September 11, 2012, attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi could possibly be tried. Van Hollen argued for having him tried in a civilian federal criminal court over a military tribunal. Farrow agreed with him because of the “perception” that our military courts have given the world.
Both Time and the Wall Street Journal have reported that Bowe Bergdahl, the soldier released by his Afghan captors in exchange for five hardened Gitmo terrorists — or, in the alternative universe of the Los Angeles Times, five guys aged 43 to 47 who "are pretty old now" — will not contact his parents (WSJ's headline says he "has declined to speak to his family").
That news broke several hours after Fox News's Juan Williams appeared on Chris Wallace's Fox News Sunday and compared Bowe Bergdahl to the biblical prodigal son. The analogy didn't even work at that point, as RedState poster Aaron Gardner explained this morning. Video of Williams's wacky whine follows the jump:
With the exchange of Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl for the release of five Taliban detainees held at Guantanamo Bay complete, ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos used the opportunity to promote the possibility of Gitmo closing its doors.
On Sunday, June 8, Byron Pitts, ABC’s Chief National Correspondent peddled the line that “700 men have come through Gitmo since the beginning of the war on terror when these pictures of shackled and hooded men shock the world. Some say past allegations of waterboarding and hunger strikes have turned this place into a terrorist recruiters dream.” [See video below.]
Los Angeles Times reporter Shashank Bengali clearly put a great deal of energy and time into trying to persuade readers on Thursday that the five Gitmo terrorists released in exchange for Bowe Bergdahl "may not live up to (that) description."
It only took a day for Bengali's work to be discredited. The person he seemed to believe would be among the least likely to become a threat — after all, he was supposedly just a "civilian official" — "pledged to return to fight Americans in Afghanistan." Geez, couldn't Noorullah Noori at least have allowed a decent interval before telling the truth? Don't you just hate it when one of the guys you're trying to whitewash almost immediately turns around and makes you look like a complete fool?
Brian Williams glossed over the V.A. scandal during his interview of President Obama on Friday's NBC Nightly News. Williams did devote time to the ongoing controversy surrounding the release of senior Taliban leaders in exchange for Bowe Bergdahl – specifically the White House failing to inform Congress 30 days before the Islamists were let go from Guantanamo Bay, as required by federal law.
However, the anchor didn't mention that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid revealed that he was informed of the trade for Bergdahl on May 27, 2014 – a day before it actually happened. Williams also forwarded the President's own misleading claim about his grandfather's World War II service: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
When it comes to being a good liberal soldier, MSNBC’s Chris Matthews doesn’t seem to have gotten the network’s message that the GOP is "swiftboating" Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl. Over the past week, MSNBC hosts have maintained that Bergdahl had been swiftboated on five different broadcasts and it seems as though Matthews is sick of the comparison.
Speaking with Chuck Todd, NBC’s Chief White House Correspondent, Political Director, and host of The Daily Rundown on MSNBC, on the Wednesday June 4, Hardball, Matthews slapped down the MSNBC “swiftboat” narrative: “Swift-boating is totally misused here. Swift-boating is when you make up stories...” [See video below.]
Politico Magazine Deputy Editor Blake Hounshell has made a fool of himself yet again. Three months ago, Hounshell grudgingly and bitterly had to acknowledge that former Alaska Governor and former vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin was right — and he was wrong — when she predicted in 2008 that Barack Obama's weakness might cause Russia's Vladimir Putin to calculate that he could invade Ukraine without suffering meaningful consequences. That's what happened in Crimea. Hounshell characterized Palin's contention at the time as "an extremely far-fetched scenario."
In late April, he tried to claim that no one "credible" or "authoritative" had shown that the White House had knowingly pushed a false Benghazi narrative — just as award-winning reporter Sharyl Attkisson was proving otherwise. Then in a tweet Monday evening, he petulantly questioned why everyone's so concerned about the five hardened Taliban terrorists freed from Guantanamo Bay in exchange for Bowe Bergdahl (HT Twitchy):
Acting as a stenographer on Wednesday's NBC Today, chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd parroted the Obama administration's new attack against critics of the Bowe Bergdahl prisoner exchange: "They did not expect this backlash on Bergdahl himself. I've had a few aides describe it to me as, 'We didn't know that they were going to swift boat Bergdahl'....a reference to that political fight back in 2004 over John Kerry's military service that became so controversial in that campaign. So there's some fighting words there." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
The outrageous talking point was prompted by co-host Matt Lauer wondering: "Did the White House truly think this was just going to be a celebratory moment, the release of Sergeant Bergdahl? Did they not see any of this backlash coming? Were they caught flat-footed?"
While Stephen Colbert has no problem harping on any controversy involving the GOP, the liberal comedian and Comedy Central host seems unwilling to confront the Bergdahl prisoner swap controversy on the June 2 edition of The Colbert Report.
Colbert mocked Guantanamo: "We can't release these guys! We were this close to charging them with something!"He cracked that celebrating Bergdahl’s release was “like a pizza party for Hitler's birthday. Was it fun? Yes. Do I regret it? Of course.” But then he joked the liberated Taliban fighters will soon be dead:
Who the hell was President Obama rescuing: Bowe Bergdahl or the Taliban terrorists themselves?
The questions arises out of the mind-boggling defense of the Bergdahl deal proferred on today's Morning Joe by Bloomberg columnist Jeffrey Goldberg, who argued that by dint of the deal, "the President managed to get five guys out of Gitmo, which is a goal." Well, at least President Obama didn't have to send Navy Seals in helicopters over the Gitmo fence to rescue the Talibans. He achieved his goal with a mere stroke of his mighty pen.
While all three broadcast networks provided critical coverage of the Obama administration's decision to exchange five Taliban terrorists for American soldier Bowe Bergdahl, Meet the Press host David Gregory and CBS This Morning co-host Norah O'Donnell both attempted to spin the controversial deal as brilliant diplomacy. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Interviewing Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on Sunday's Meet the Press, Gregory argued: "This is potentially a good sign if you think about the future of Afghanistan....does this pave the way for perhaps a new round of negotiations with the Taliban directly between the United States and the Taliban about the Taliban's future in running Afghanistan?"
On Saturday, May 31, both the CBS Evening News and ABC World News with David Muir failed to report that President Obama may have violated U.S. law by failing to notify Congress prior to the release of five terrorists from Guantanamo Bay in exchange for a U.S. soldier held captive by the Taliban.
While CBS and ABC ignored the controversy in their coverage of the release of Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl on Saturday, on Sunday June 1, ABC’s George Stephanopoulos provided the first coverage of the potential violation of U.S. law by spinning for the Obama Administration.
The United States negotiated the release of five Afghan prisoners at Guantanamo Bay in exchange for the Taliban freeing an American sergeant from captivity yet President Obama may have violated U.S. law by failing to notify Congress of his actions.
Despite the potential legal problems with releasing prisoners without notifying Congress, NBC Nightly News was the only evening news program on Saturday, May 31 to mention the controversy or the GOP's criticism. [See video below.]
Charlie Rose's 18-second news brief on Thursday's CBS This Morning is the sole Big Three network mention so far of the Obama administration's decision to review the cases of dozens of terror suspects at Guantanamo Bay in preparation for the possible release. Both ABC's Good Morning America and NBC's Today ignored this latest development in the ongoing controversy over the Islamist detainees at the U.S. military base.
Rose cited a report from the Miami Herald's Carol Rosenberg during the brief, and noted that the Defense Department also recently appointed a new special envoy for the closure of the detention camp: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
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.
Code Pink's Media Benjamin managed to break into another presidential event on Thursday, namely Barack Obama's speech at the National Defense University. The topic was "U.S. Counterterrorism Strategy," meaning that the administration's aversion to the T-word seems to be diminishing as the damaging scandal-related news continues to pour in.
Readers will see that Benjamin was relatively civil towards Obama. In fact, Kathleen Hennessey and Christi Parsons at the Los Angeles Times wrote the following: "Rather than dismiss Benjamin as a heckler, the president engaged her, asking her to let him explain but also pausing to listen as she continued to talk while security closed in around her." That behavior is in direct contrast to how she behaved last decade during the Bush administration -- something never mentioned in any coverage of Thursday's speech I found. The full exchange with Obama followed by a recounting of what made Benjamin an overnight sensation in Sepetmber 2002, follow the jump.
Jay Leno continued his humorous attacks on the White House Friday.
In a series of opening monologue jokes targeting Barack Obama, the NBC Tonight Show host said of the terrorist detention center at Guantanamo Bay, “If he really wants to close it, turn it into a government-funded solar power company. The doors will be shut in a month.”
In a way you have to hand it to Krystal Ball. The former Democratic congressional candidate-turned-MSNBC co-host is always hard at work spinning for the Obama administration, come what may. Appearing on Thursday's Politics Nation, the co-host of MSNBC’s The Cycle raved about President Obama’s May 23 national security speech, claiming the president is “reining in his own power,” a “remarkable and incredibly unusual” move.
Ball fawned over the president’s speech to host Al Sharpton, claiming he “put the steps in place” to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility, before offering this proclamation about Obama’s executive power:
CNN's Christiane Amanpour and Jeffrey Toobin continued to push for Guantanamo Bay to be closed on Thursday's 10 p.m. ET hour of Anderson Cooper 360. "It's just not American," Amanpour insisted.
Amanpour, CNN's chief international correspondent, knocked the "roughty-toughty Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld decided no Geneva Conventions" for the detainees. Toobin, CNN's senior legal analyst, challenged the law passed by Congress mandating that Guantanamo be kept open. "That doesn't mean it was right," he said of its bipartisan passage. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
Insisting that Guantanamo Bay has become a recruitment tool for future terrorists and must be closed, CNN's Christiane Amanpour arrogantly scoffed at opinions to the contrary on Wednesday's special edition of Anderson Cooper 360.
Amanpour knocked Rudy Giuliani's concern of "I can't imagine where you would put these people," by jeering, "Come on." Later on, when The Blaze TV anchor Amy Holmes argued that "Jihadists have a laundry list of resentments against the West" and that the Guantanamo hunger strikes are not their prime motives for attacking the U.S., Amanpour condescended, "Oh no, we're just talking facts here now, Amy." [Video below the break. Audio here.]
More potential jihadist attacks against American civilians in the wake of the Boston bombings? Not worthy of further attention from Rachel Maddow. Instead, Maddow is more concerned with that "real crisis" down at Guantanamo, of prisoners starving themselves.
If future media critics ever want a quintessential example of the Maddow show, they could do worse than watch her program from April 30, 2013. And after cringing through it, they'll want a bleach bath. (Video clip after page break)
While NBC's chief White House correspondent and political director Chuck Todd pressed President Obama during a Tuesday news conference on the possibility of ObamaCare being a "train wreck," the network coverage of the presser completely avoided any mention of the question, instead seizing on Obama being pressured from the left to close the Guantanamo Bay prison.
Anchor Brian Williams lead off Tuesday's Nightly News by declaring: "The hunger strike at Guantanamo that's now gotten so bad prisoners are being force fed, as the President faces tough questions." Introducing a report on the topic, Williams lectured: "We don't get to see them or know their names, and most Americans actually prefer not to spend a whole lot of time thinking about the men who've been rounded up as enemy combatants and imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba."
During a Tuesday press conference at the White House, CBS's Bill Plante channeled his colleague Bob Schieffer's 2009 "open sore" pronouncement about Guantanamo Bay as he asked President Obama about an ongoing hunger strike among many of the detainees there. Plante hinted at sympathy for the prisoners as he wondered, "Is it any surprise, really, that they would prefer death rather than – have no end in sight to their confinement?"
The correspondent's leading question allowed the President to revisit the issue and call for the closure of the facility, just over three months after his administration closed the office tasked with shuttering the prison camp [audio available here; video below the jump]:
New York Times legal reporter Charlie Savage displayed a novel angle on terrorist recidivism in his story on recent outbreaks of violence among the terrorist suspects at Guantanamo Bay: "Despair Drives U.S. Detainees To Stage Revolt." (Is your heart breaking yet?) Savage wrote on Thursday's front page:
But the relative calm on display to visiting reporters last week was deceiving. Days earlier, guards had raided Camp Six and locked down protesting prisoners who had blocked security cameras, forbidding them to congregate in a communal area. A hunger strike is now in its third month, with 93 prisoners considered to be participating -- more than half the inmates and twice the number before the raid.
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.
This is CNN, where terror detainees at Guantanamo get better press treatment than social conservatives defending traditional marriage.
On Monday afternoon, CNN's Suzanne Malveaux and Michael Holmes both touted an op-ed by a Guantanamo prisoner titled "Gitmo Is Killing Me," where he tells of his hunger strike and complains of being force-fed, while held without trial for 11 years. Malveaux hailed it as a "powerful piece" and Holmes questioned U.S. hypocrisy on human rights:
MSNBC’s newest liberal darling Chris Hayes has just been given a promotion, going from weekend anchor to host of his own primetime show, All In w/ Chris Hayes. So how does he celebrate? By arguing that Guantanamo detainees should be paid restitution and allowed to live in the United States, with a path, ultimately to citizenship, of course.
In an article posted on MSNBC.com, Hayes criticized Guantanamo Bay’s continued existence in a piece entitled, “Time for radical action on Guantanamo.” Hayes, who railed against Obama’s failure to keep his promise to close the prison in Cuba, argues that:
The dozens of men who have been cleared by the United States government for release should be released immediately, should be paid restitution, and offered legal residence in the United States.
It's always interesting when liberals disagree on something because each one believes he or she is always 100 percent correct on any issue, a stance that often leads to fiery confrontations and personal attacks.
The latest example of this concept is the angry Twitter debate between Buzzfeed editor-in-chief Ben Smith and Talking Points Memo founder Josh Marshall over an article entitled “7 Things Democrats Would Have Freaked Out About if Bush Had Done Them.”