Military

By Tom Blumer | September 30, 2014 | 2:37 PM EDT

Steve Kroft's interview of Barack Obama was the focus of this past Sunday's episode of "60 Minutes" on CBS. It has become noteworthy primarily because of Obama's statement that U.S. intelligence agencies "underestimated what had been taking place in Syria." As several previous NewsBusters posts have shown (examples here, here, here, and here), the press is working mightily to minimize how the intelligence community and the Pentagon are pushing back, hotly disputing the President's assertion.

Another noteworthy development is that the network's audience for the Obama interview was down 69 percent in the 18-49 demographic from the show's previous episode. The vast majority of press reports noting the ratings slide, as compiled by Kristinn Taylor over at Gateway Pundit, are not mentioning that it was Obama's show.

By Tom Blumer | September 29, 2014 | 11:45 PM EDT

ABC's Jonathan Karl is on a tear — and his editorial bosses at ABC seem determined to ignore him.

As Scott Whitlock at NewsBusters noted earlier today, Karl on Friday "grilled White House press secretary Josh Earnest ... about claims that al Qaeda had been 'decimated,'" mainly because it hasn't been. Instead, it seems like there are at least ten times as many versions. The network televised none of the exchange. Tonight, NB's Curtis Houck wrote that ABC was among the networks which ignored how "several sources in the intelligence community disputed President Obama’s comments" about how they had supposedly underestimated the ISIS/ISIL threat. It turns out that ABC was silent even though Karl wrote a scathing column this afternoon which named specific names (bolds are mine):

By Curtis Houck | September 29, 2014 | 9:44 PM EDT

Throughout the day on Monday, several sources in the intelligence community disputed President Obama’s comments in an interview with CBS’s 60 Minutes that aired on Sunday night that the intelligence community and Director of National Intelligence Jim Clapper are to blame for not recognizing the threat posed by ISIS.

On the Monday evening newscasts of the major broadcast networks, ABC World News Tonight with David Muir chose to ignore the story all together while the CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley simply re-aired Obama’s comments from 60 Minutes the night prior without acknowledging the criticisms since the interview aired. NBC Nightly News offered a stark contrast as it aired a two-and-a-half-minute segment that included not only Obama’s comments, but congressional testimony from intelligence officials over the past year warning of ISIS and reports from NBC News chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel going back to January that both cited the falling apart of the Iraqi army in being able to hold territory and losses in territory to terrorists that U.S. troops had secured during the Iraq war.

By Mark Finkelstein | September 29, 2014 | 8:36 AM EDT

Score one for Joe Scarborough.  The Morning Joe host today unleashed a tirade against the FBI for treating as a case of "workplace violence" the beheading by a fanatical Muslim convert of a fellow worker in Oklahoma.  Scarborough lashed out at the FBI's political correctness in claiming that there was "no indication" that the suspect, Alton Nolen, was copying the recent ISIS beheadings.

Said Scarborough: "how stupid does the FBI really think we are? Who exactly are they afraid of offending?"  Political correctness, in its more innocuous manifestations, can be good fodder for humor.  But our government becomes so hobbled by PC that it cannot call Islamic fanaticism by its name, then political correctness becomes a grave threat to our national security.

By Tom Blumer | September 28, 2014 | 11:10 PM EDT

National Journal’s Ron Fournier was apparently among those who endured President Obama's appearance on "60 Minutes" this evening.

Fournier was able to succinctly summarize the contents of Obama's interview with Steve Kroft, the network's designated softball pitcher, in a tweet appearing shortly after its conclusion (HT Twitchy):

By Tom Blumer | September 26, 2014 | 1:22 PM EDT

USA Today, gave the equivalent of almost a full page to Eric Holder's resignation in Friday's print edition.

The paper's primary story by Gregory Korte, at the top right of the front page, described him as having "championed gay, civil, voting rights." The item's continuation on Page 8A included a quote from Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign, which calls itself "America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality." Griffin called Hold "our Robert Kennedy." How odd, given that Michael Lind's 2000 book on RFK described him as "prudish and homophobic." That's what happens when you grow up learning airbrushed history, Chad. The paper's second story went into puffery by describing how "Holder Took Work as AG Personally." Excerpts from each follow the jump.

By Curtis Houck | September 24, 2014 | 8:59 PM EDT

During his speech to the United Nations (U.N.) General Assembly on Wednesday, President Barack Obama made a striking, unusual and ridiculous comparison between the reign of terror taking place in the Middle East at the hands of the brutal Islamic terrorist group ISIS and the unrest that took place in Ferguson, Missouri last month after the death of 18-year-old Michael Brown.

As far as the any of the major broadcast networks bringing up this absurd comparison on their evening newcasts, neither ABC, CBS, or NBC gave that portion of the President’s speech any attention or allowed it to see the light of day.

By Mark Finkelstein | September 22, 2014 | 9:19 AM EDT

Could the "Islamic" in "Islamic State" be a clue?  Not for John Kerry.  Appearing on today's Morning Joe, our clueless Secretary of State insisted that what drives ISIS is a "radical, extremist, cultish" philosophy, but not—perish the thought!—a "religious attitude."

Kerry was of course echoing the analysis of that noted theologian, Barack Obama, who two weeks ago declared that ISIS is "not Islamic."  In fairness, Presidents George W. Bush and Clinton have expressed similar sentiments.  For a thorough debunking of the ISIS/Islam-deniers, see here.

By Tom Blumer | September 20, 2014 | 10:48 PM EDT

On Sunday, CBS's "60 Minutes" will broadcast Scott Pelley's recent interview of former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta.

In CBS's promotional tease, which was broadcast on Friday, in response to Pelley's question about whether he was confident that the U.S. troop withdrawal "was the right thing to do" at the time it was done, Panetta said, "No, I wasn't." That's big news. How big? So big that, based on searches on Panetta's last name, the Associated Press and the New York Times have yet to cover it. In other words, it's fair to contend that these two leading icons of American journalism are waiting for an administration response before they run the story, so they can then turn it into a "White House denies" piece. The video follows the jump.

By Tom Blumer | September 19, 2014 | 11:23 PM EDT

When White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest made his first Fox News appearance in that role, he may have thought that having Shepard Smith interview him would make the exercise a relative cakewalk.

It didn't happen. Even though Smith, as Matt Sheffield observed last year at NewsBusters, is "not known as any sort of conservative," he was clearly critical of Earnest's breezy claims about the wondrous "coalition" allegedly being assembled to fight ISIS/ISIL without U.S. combat forces, calling it "as the president once put it, something of a fantasy." The video and a transcript of key segments follow the jump.

By Curtis Houck | September 19, 2014 | 9:35 AM EDT

On Wednesday night, it was reported that two Marine Corps veterans are walking from northern North Carolina to Washington D.C. and the White House to demand that President Obama take action to ensure the release of Marine Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi from a Mexican prison. However, none of the major broadcast networks have stepped up and covered the actions of the these veterans.

One of the two veterans, retired Lance Corporal Terry Sharpe, gave an interview to Greta Van Susteren on her Fox News Channel (FNC) show On the Record Wednesday and told her that he and fellow veteran Alan Brown hope to arrive at the White House to verbally deliver the message to the President within the next seven days. As of the interview, the pair were 100 miles south of Washington.

By Matthew Balan | September 18, 2014 | 6:01 PM EDT

On Wednesday's The Lead, CNN's Jake Tapper tried to pull former White House Press Secretary Jay Carney out of acting like an apologist for President Obama. Tapper turned to his guest, who had just spent an entire segment defending his former boss's ISIS policy, and asked, "What is the difficulty in getting Arab allies to kick in with military assistance? Jay, you don't work for the White House anymore. You can be frank. What is the problem?"