Military

By Mark Finkelstein | October 14, 2014 | 12:48 PM EDT

Those who see Leon Panetta as a stalking horse for Hillary Clinton just got some more ammunition for their argument.  Last week, Panetta helped distance Hillary from President Obama's foreign policy failures by blasting Obama for mistakes in Syria and Iraq.

But today, discussing the foreign policy issue on which Hillary is most vulnerable--Benghazi--Panetta suddenly became very forgiving.  Appearing on the Diane Rehm show, Panetta declared "nobody is to blame for Benghazi." The relevant part of the interview begins at 33:30.

By Tom Blumer | October 12, 2014 | 6:06 PM EDT

Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Martin Dempsey's told Marth Raddatz on ABC's "This Week" that ISIS fighters got to within 16 miles of Baghdad's airport in Iraq earlier this week. Framing that distance in a way those in the nation's out of touch Beltway political class will understand, that's the driving distance from the U.S. Capitol Building to Tysons Corner Mall in Northern Virginia. The U.S. had to call in Apache helicopters to prevent Iraqi forces from being overrun.

ABC's Benjamin Bell, in preparing his 12:50 p.m. report on the Dempsey interview, saved that startling piece of information for his fourth paragraph and kept it out of his headline. It's almost as if he was hoping that no one will want to watch the report's accompanying video, which is nowhere near as blasé about that news.

By Mark Finkelstein | October 10, 2014 | 7:32 AM EDT

Remember when dissent was patriotic?  When people like Hillary Clinton screeched that "we have a right to disagree with any administration?" Forget about it.  That's so, like, 2003. You know, when George W. Bush was President.  

Things are different today.  Now, criticizing a sitting president is wrong. Very wrong.  Just ask Joe Scarborough, who on today's Morning Joe accused Leon Panetta of a "lack of character" for criticizing President Obama in his book and public appearances.

By Tom Blumer | October 4, 2014 | 12:13 AM EDT

On her Thursday Fox News show, Megyn Kelly interviewed the State Department's Jen Psaki.

Psaki's thankless and impossible task was to defend the administration against former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta's assessment that U.S. troops completely left Iraq too early. Video and the damning portions of the transcript follow the jump:

By Kyle Drennen | October 2, 2014 | 2:52 PM EDT

Appearing on MSNBC's Jose Diaz-Balart on Thursday, former talk show host and retired Marine Montel Williams scolded the Obama administration for not taking action to free Marine Sergeant Andrew Tahmooressi, held in a Mexican prison for six months on a trumped up weapons charge: "...what I found out was extremely disturbing....Jill Tahmooressi has had a son in prison for six months who is ill. No one from the White House has reached out to her to say, 'We're going to do something.' The State Department hasn't even called her directly to say, 'We're going to do something.'"

Williams, who testified on behalf of Tahmooressi at a congressional hearing on Wednesday, pointed out the President's hypocrisy on the issue: "Remember, when [Sergeant Bowe] Bergdahl was let out, the President said he did so because he was in imminent risk of medical danger. Sergeant Tahmooressi's in the same position. The President should do the same thing. And not trade anybody, just make the call to the president of Mexico." [Listen to the audio]

By Curtis Houck | October 1, 2014 | 9:41 PM EDT

On Wednesday night, the major broadcast networks failed to report on news that an internal memo was sent to members of the intelligence community by Director of National Intelligence (DNI) James Clapper praising their efforts on identifying the rise of ISIS after President Barack Obama blamed them for not doing so in an interview on Sunday’s 60 Minutes.

The memo was able to be obtained by Fox News and its chief intelligence correspondent, Catherine Herridge and it detailed how government intelligence has, for two years, “monitored, assessed and called attention to the expansion of ISIS.” 

By Jeffrey Meyer | October 1, 2014 | 11:09 AM EDT

Sergeant Andrew Tahmooressi has been jailed in a Mexican prison for the past nine months for accidentally crossing the U.S.-Mexico border with several firearms. Since his arrest, the “big three” (ABC, CBS, and NBC) networks have barely covered his story on their morning or evening newscasts despite the numerous efforts by the public to get him freed. On Wednesday, Sergeant Tahmooressi’s mother appeared before a House committee asking Congress to support a resolution calling for her son’s safe return to the United State and unsurprisingly all three network morning newscasts ignored her upcoming testimony on Capitol Hill. 

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):