Happy belated birthday, America, your presence in Afghanistan is "inherently corrupting." That's the message Rachel Maddow gave on her July 6 program.
During the Bush administration, the Left often argued that the president had distracted America by engaging in hostilities in Iraq, bleeding resources and attention away from the real war on terror in Afghanistan, which had harbored al Qaeda pre-9/11.
Now with Iraq all but won following the success of the Bush-approved, Petraeus-executed "surge," the Left is becoming vocal in its opposition to the war in Afghanistan and finding a platform on MSNBC.
Daytime network anchor Dylan Ratigan has been calling for withdrawal from Afghanistan for weeks, arguing that the war in Afghanistan has lasted longer than Vietnam and been a needless waste of money.
Now Ratigan's colleague has joined in the chorus. On the Tuesday, July 6 edition of her eponymous show, Maddow made this argument:
The first six words (bolded by me) of Deb Riechmann's report from Kabul, Afghanistan for the Associated Press are refreshing:
"We are in this to win," Gen. David Petraeus said as he took the reins of an Afghan war effort troubled by waning support, an emboldened enemy, government corruption and a looming commitment to withdraw troops - even with no sign of violence easing.
It would have been even more refreshing if the AP's Riechmann, who obviously felt compelled to tick off as many of the reasons Petraeus and the troops he leads may not meet the goal as quickly as possible, would have reminded readers that Petraeus's boss, President Barack Obama, has been decidedly allergic to using the words "win" and "victory" in Afghanistan since his inauguration. One of her later paragraphs presented a perfect opportunity to remind readers of the president's aversion. She passed; she shouldn't have.
Petraeus, thankfully, feels no need to hold back, as noted later in Reichmann's report (bolds are mine):
The MSNBC bloviator melded immigration reform, the military industrial complex, and congressional gridlock into a scatter-brained diatribe at the top of his eponymous program on Thursday.
In the wake of President Barack Obama's speech on immigration reform earlier in the day, Ratigan railed against "Arizona's latest anti-immigration law" and praised Obama for "doing a good job, and a better job than almost any politician I've seen in a long time, in drawing our nation's attention to the major broken systems in this country."
The former CNBC anchor who fancies himself a financial guru also babbled about a "War on Drugs that feeds money into the military complex but does nothing to defeat drug use or, for that matter, protect the border."
Then, interviewing Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.), Ratigan excoriated a Senate full of "weasels" that perpetuates an "utterly frozen process that allows the special interests to destroy our country and freeze our government."
"The media, for like five seconds, those with thrill up and down their legs, they were a little critical of the Anointed One and what was one of the worst speeches in the Oval Office... but as soon as he fired McChrystal and hired Petraeus, they went nuts," Sean Hannity observed last night at the beginning of his recurring "Media Mash" segment with NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell.
The Fox News host then rolled a montage compiled by Media Research Center (MRC) analyst Kyle Drennen which showed the mainstream media hailing Obama as "brilliant" for the personnel move.
After the montage, Bozell noted that the same media that proclaimed Obama sacking McChrystal as "brilliant" were claiming that the president really had no choice but to fire the Afghanistan commander. "If he had no choice, then it really wasn't really altogether all that brilliant," the MRC president observed.
Bozell and Hannity also discussed the media's double standard in bashing BP CEO Tony Hayward -- who had been relieved of duty for overseeing the cleanup operation -- for yachting over the weekend, while ignoring President Obama's weekend golfing excursion and MSNBC's Mika Brzezinski admitting she was parroting White House talking points to defend the administration's handling of the ongoing crisis.
At the top of Thursday's O'Reilly Factor on FNC, host Bill O'Reilly cited a NewsBusters video montage of various media figures touting President Obama's "brilliant" handling of the General McChrystal controversy: "[Obama] has a very powerful ally, the American media. After the President fired General McChrystal yesterday, NewsBusters.org put together this montage of press reaction." [Audio available here]
O'Reilly played the video as part of his Talking Points Memo opening the show. After it finished, he joked: "So I guess the firing of McChrystal was a brilliant move." He then noted how "...we could have played that montage with another 30 seconds with different reporters echoing the same theme."
Minutes later, O'Reilly asked radio host Laura Ingraham about the media all singing from the same hymnal: "When you hear the mainstream media, brilliant, it was brilliant, it was brilliant, it was brilliant." Ingraham interjected: "It was hilarious." O'Reilly replied: "Isn't it? I mean, how far down in the tank does the American people – the American media have to go, before the people just say enough." Ingraham concluded: "Well, it shows you Bill, how totally out of touch all these media figures – and that montage, I was screaming in the studio here, it was so funny to hear – but it's so out of touch with the way regular people think."
On Wednesday's Today show, NBC's Chuck Todd touted President Obama's "swiftness" in dealing with the controversy surrounding General Stanley McChrystal comments in Rolling Stone magazine as a "commander-in-chief moment," and hinted that it was a blessing in disguise, given the executive's tanking approval ratings.
Todd led the 7 am Eastern hour with his report on the President appointing General David Petraeus to replace General McChrystal, who was relieved of command following the Rolling Stone interview. The NBC White House correspondent remarked that with the Petraeus appointment, "the President signaled to his team, no more firestorms like this one will be tolerated." After playing a clip of Mr. Obama stating that he "won't tolerate division," he continued that "the President's aides don't expect there will be much division in the Senate, either, where some are predicting Petraeus will have the fastest confirmation in history, and the praise is bipartisan."
Later in the report, Todd used his "commander-in-chief moment" term as he emphasized the apparent good timing of the controversy and detailed the public's decreasing confidence in the President, according to NBC's own poll:
Far-left MSNBC ranter Ed Schultz just can't let facts get in the way of his rank partisanship and liberal propagandizing. His latest whopper, that Gen. Stanley McChrystal was "another problem [President Obama] inherited from the Bush administration," was blatantly untrue, and just earned him a "pants on fire" rating from Politifact.com.
Politifact, which has busted up other untruths propagated by media liberals, noted a valuable lesson for liberals and Democrats: "not everything can be blamed on President Bush." Indeed.
Not only did President Obama not "inherit" McChrystal's command from the previous administration, he "effectively sacked the general in charge to create a vacancy that he then proceeded to fill with McChrystal as his fix-it man," notes Politifact.
We applaud the folks at Politifact for checking Schultz's inane rantings. Welcome to our world!
NBC's Today show on Wednesday refreshingly brought on a conservative guest who ripped the Obama administration's management of the war in Afghanistan. Daniel Goure of the Lexington Institute blasted the "dysfunctional organization" at the White House overseeing the war: "It's not a team of rivals. It's a team of nine-year-olds, and something needs to be done about that" [audio available here].
Anchor Matt Lauer brought on Goure and retired General Barry McCaffrey for a panel discussion on the controversy surrounding Rolling Stone's recent article on General Stanley McChrystal, the now-former commander of American forces in Afghanistan. Goure defended McChrystal in a Wednesday column on his organization's website, suggesting that the general shouldn't be fired for his and his staff's criticism of Obama administration officials. Lauer asked to explain his position: "Mr. Goure, you think that firing General McChrystal would be a disaster- is that accurate? Tell me why."
While the media are attempting to grapple with the change in leadership of the Afghanistan war and what that all means, one thing that could be learned from this, which has been ignored, are valid criticisms of President Barack Obama and his ability to command the U.S. military.
Hastings was asked if McChrystal had perhaps gotten the whole strategy wrong, but Hastings explained it was the President that didn't know what he was really getting into.
"I think that ship had sailed last year," Hastings said. "I think once the decision was made to do a counterinsurgency strategy, they had a pretty clear idea in mind what they wanted to do and I think this is quite interesting. I think this is one of the issues Obama didn't really understand what counter-insurgency meant and when the military said they wanted to do a counterinsurgency strategy that that actually meant 150,000 troops. Obama thought he could get away with just sending 21,000 over and getting a new general."
President Obama's decision to relieve General Stanley McChrystal of command in Afghanistan and replace him with General David Petraeus was met with a chorus of praise in the media, as anchors and pundits on CBS, NBC, CNN, and MSNBC all sang in unison that it was a "brilliant" move. [Audio available here]
During live special coverage leading up to the announcement in the 1PM ET hour on CBS, White House correspondent Chip Reid proclaimed: "it sounds like a pretty brilliant decision really." At the same time on NBC, correspondent Jim Miklaszewski described it as a "stunning development" and added "at a quick glance, almost brilliant." Minutes later, White House correspondent Chuck Todd declared: "politically, in this town, it's going to be seen as a brilliant choice by the President."
Over on CNN, moments after Obama finished speaking, anchor Wolf Blitzer remarked that it was a "major moment for this president" and later observed: "a very brilliant move to tap General Petraeus." Finally, in the 2PM ET hour on MSNBC, Meet the Press host David Gregory concluded: "I think he took swift and decisive action. I think that's how it's going to be read."
MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell on Tuesday claimed that for what General Stanley McChrystal allegedly said about the White House, he legally, morally, ethically, professionally ought to be canned.
Discussing the issue with colleagues Chuck Todd and Savannah Guthrie on "The Daily Rundown," Mitchell claimed McChrystal's alleged statement "crosses the line of insubordination, and it crosses the line of the military code of justice."
She later made a comment one can't possibly imagine such a liberal media member making when George W. Bush was in the White House, "There is a reason why the military code of justice says you don't diss the Commander in Chief" (video follows with partial transcript and commentary, h/t HotAirPundit):
During Tuesday’s Morning Joe, host Joe Scarborough called for the firing of General Stanley McChrystal. He boldly exclaimed that this discharge should not come from the Commander-in-Chief because “Democrats have to treat generals differently from Republicans.”
He goes even further and states, “Were this a Republican, were it George W. Bush, McChrystal would have been fired yesterday,” and “the press would have understood it.” Of course, because during the last administration, the media was noted for giving former President George W. Bush the benefit of the doubt, especially with military decisions.
Interestingly enough, a flashback to January 31, 2006, tells a different tale.
No general should criticize his or her commander, and Gen. Stanley McChrystal is no exception. But the mainstream media is primarily concerned with the political fallout of McChrystal's apparent insubordination as revealed by a piece in Rolling Stone. They are not concerned with whether his critiques are accurate, in stark contrast to other military officers' critiques of war policy under the Bush administration.
During Bush's tenure, active duty generals that spoke out against administration policy were portrayed as courageous whistleblowers. Retired generals were treated as ever-wise sages of military policy. None were scrutinized as McChrystal, pictured right, has been in the hours since Rolling Stone released its article.
The most prominent active duty general to earn the media's affection was Gen. Eric Shinseki, current Secretary of Veterans Affairs (to the media's delight). He insisted in 2003 that, contrary to Defense Department policy as iterated by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, the United States would need to send "hundreds of thousands" of troops to Iraq during the initial invasion. The media ate it up.
Contessa Brewer got a lot more than she was likely looking for when she interviewed Col. Jack Jacobs [ret.] this afternoon about the McChrystal situation. The MSNBC host wanted to focus on the impropriety of McChrystal publicly airing his criticisms of Pres. Obama and others in the chain of command.
But while the Medal of Honor recipient readily agreed that McChrystal was out of line, and would probably pay with his job, Jacobs also went out of his way—twice—to add an inconvenient truth: that when it comes to the substance of the criticism, most in the military think McChrystal "was right."
“Who was Bob Hope?” To anyone over 35 that seems like such a strange question. Bob Hope, everyone knows, was one of the greatest American entertainers of the 20th century, and whose greatest public service was his decades-long commitment to U.S. troops all over the world for many decades, which earned him the U.S. Congressional Gold Medal and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, among other honors.
And yet it's quite possible that a senior graduating from high school this month would scrunch up his face with a puzzled look over the question. It is why it was refreshing to hear that the Library of Congress has a new exhibit called “Hope for America: Performance, Politics and Pop Culture,” drawn from the Bob Hope Collection, which was donated to the Library by the Hope family in 1998.
Unfortunately, as with so much that affects our popular culture, this man’s legacy is also an excuse to unveil a leftist political agenda, the likes of which Bob Hope would be the first to denounce.
Catching up from Friday night, on the last Real Time with Bill Maher on HBO until September, Maher insisted “I’m not trying to be a conspiracy theorist,” but then proceeded to assert the Defense Department “uses more oil than anywhere else to kill people in the Middle East to get fuel to fight wars,” so “I do think there’s something -- just the way the pharmaceutical companies sometimes come up with a pill before they come up with the disease -- I think maybe we need a war all the time so we can wear out equipment and buy oil.”
Maher’s claim came during a one-on-one with far-left film director Oliver Stone, who is producing a ten-hour documentary for Showtime, Secret History of America, about how, as Maher agreed, “America always does seem to need an enemy.” When Stone maintained the Cold War was fueled by an exaggerated fear of communism, Maher jumped in: “I’d like to blame it on oil.”
As left-wing comedian Kathy Griffin appeared on Friday’s Larry King Live on CNN, after the conversation turned to her "My Life on the D List" show’s trip to Wasilla, Alaska, featuring Levi Johnston, host King asked her about her "attraction" to Johnston, referring to talk of a relationship between the two which is rumored to just be a publicity stunt. The left-wing comedian asserted that "every time that I'm with Levi and put him in the public eye, I feel that it's my very subtle middle finger to Sarah Palin." Griffin then added, "Yeah, go ahead, Tweet me, Palin freaks, I don't care anymore."
A few minutes later, as the subject turned to her taking her show to a Senate hearing about the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy on gays in the military, Griffin recounted her meeting with Republican Representative Michele Bachmann, whom she referred to as a "moron," and, after she seemed to perceive that King was uncomfortable with the insult as he noted that Bachmann has been on the show before and is a "strong, conservative person," Griffin shot back: "Oh, boy, I didn't know it was 'Be Kind to Bachmann Day' because my word for that is 'idiot.'"
The subject of the Gaza-bound "Freedom Flotilla" organized by pro-Palestinian activists that attacked Israel Defense Forces as they boarded a cargo boat, was the subject of Charlie Rose's talk show Tuesday night.
Rose's roundtable included Ethan Bronner, Jerusalem bureau chief of the Times, who accused Israel of acting with "disproportionate force" and for causing "increasing disillusionment in the world." As if using superior force is somehow unfair to those who are attacking you.
Here's Bronner, 17 minutes into the show:
I think what's been very interesting over the last sort of six or eight years is that Israel has taken the view that military activity works and diplomacy has not actually worked all that well. And in the short term, you could argue that it has. It has stopped terrorism from the West Bank, it has stopped rockets from Gaza, stopped rockets from Hezbollah in Lebanon and so on. But the problem is, that every time it acts with this disproportionate force in order to carry out a military and security goal, what it gets is increasing disillusionment in the world. And the question is, where does the advantage of one stop and the disadvantage of the other grow so that it overwhelms it. And I think that what may be happening is that we are at that tipping point, even from an Israeli perspective.
On Thursday evening, ABC’s World News and the NBC Nightly News both marked the passing of retired Navy Lieutenant John Finn, who was the oldest living recipient of the Medal of Honor, which he earned defending America during the attack on Pearl Harbor. While ABC’s George Stephanopoulos read a short item on Lieutenant Finn, NBC’s Brian Williams devoted an full report to his heroism.
On the May 27 World News, substitute anchor Stephanopoulos informed viewers: "You might not know his name, but an American hero died today. Retired Navy Lieutenant John Finn was the oldest living Medal of Honor recipient from World War II, and the first from that war to receive it. On December 7, 1941, as kamikazes zeroed in on Pearl Harbor, Finn manned a machine gun, firing on Japanese planes even after he was gravely wounded. Lieutenant Finn was 100."
On the NBC Nightly News, Williams recounted the story of Finn’s persistence in fighting the enemy even while seriously wounded: "Chief Petty Officer John Finn ran through smoke and fire and commandeered a .50 caliber machine gun. He took aim at the planes overhead and started firing. ... Waves of Japanese planes were flying overhead, and yet he stood there and kept firing for two hours. ... John was hit by shrapnel 21 times. He was shot through one foot. His left arm was numb, and yet he stayed in the fight."
Tavis Smiley has apparently been asleep for the last ten years. That, at least, is the only logical explanation for his claim that Christains engage in terrorism far more often than Muslims. He also thinks the Tea Party is a comparably dangerous force to radical Islam.
"There are so many more examples of Christians who do that," Smiley claimed, referring to terrorism, "than you could ever give me examples of Muslims who have done that inside this country where you live and work." He was discussing terrorism with Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Somali-born writer and former member of the Dutch Parliament.
Ali claims it is her mission to "inform the West about the danger of Islam," but Smiley was more concerned with the danger posed by Tea Party protesters, who "are being recently arrested for making threats against elected officials, for calling people 'nigger' as they walk into Capitol Hill, for spitting on people." None of those claims are true, but then again the segment was replete with falsehoods (Full video and transcript below the fold - h/t Greg Hengler).
CNN.com's opinion page has clearly sided with those supporting President Obama's proposed repeal of the U.S. military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy barring open homosexuals from the ranks. During the first five months of 2010, the website has published four columns pushing for the repeal and none from supporters of the policy. Two came from the executive director of a homosexual activist group.
The first of the editorials on CNN's website came on January 28, the day after the President's State of the Union address. Alexander Nicholson, the executive director and founder of Servicemembers United, a "national organization of gay and lesbian troops and veterans and their allies," praised Mr. Obama for doing "exactly what he should have done...in this venue" in making the repeal of the policy "a priority for his administration in 2010." He also labeled this call during the speech a "watershed moment." Later in the column, Nicholson disclosed that in 2002, "just six months after the September 11 attacks, I was honorably but involuntarily discharged" due to don't ask, don't tell.
The United States is fighting two wars - in Iraq and Afghanistan - so it's natural that the nation's leaders have a solid understanding of what war is about. But President Obama's nominee for the Supreme Court has no wartime experience and if she is confirmed, that would mean no member of the highest court would have served in the military in or near combat.
This is a major shift for a nation with a proud military tradition. In the past 100 years, the United States has fought two World Wars, the Korean and Vietnam Wars and the Gulf War. American servicemen and women fought in the Philippines, Grenada, Panama, Somalia and Bosnia and many more. Given the nature of the terror threat America faces, more countries probably will likely join that list.
The three major broadcast networks have ignored this issue since Obama's May 10 nomination of Solicitor General Elena Kagan for the Supreme Court. Kagan does not have any military experience and is considered by some as anti-military. Yet, out of 17 stories on ABC, CBS and NBC since Kagan was named, not one has even mentioned the issue of wartime experience.
This, despite liberal arguments that a judge's experience is key to his or her decisions, and that the most lionized of progressive Supreme Court justices was an emphatically proud veteran of the Civil War, whose tombstone lists his war service before his court tenure.
"Psycho Talk" is a regular segment on Ed Schultz's regular MSNBC show. But after his bizarre outburst this evening, you really have to wonder whether Ed's the one ready for the rubber room . . .
Interviewing a liberal Dem congressman, Schultz expressed concern that the 1,200 National Guard troops that Pres. Obama has ordered to the Mexican border may have been issued "shoot to kill" orders.
Ed, have you forgotten who's Commander-in-Chief? If you're truly worried that the president has issued shoot-to-kill orders on illegal immigrants, then PBO is certainly in much worse political shape than even the most pessimistic observers have imagined.
Schultz indulged his paranoid fantasy while chatting with far-left Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Illinois).
NewsBusters Publisher Brent Bozell appeared on the May 25 "Fox & Friends" to discuss the media's double standard when it comes to politicians lying about their military records.
The Media Research Center president noted the most apt parallel to Richard Blumenthal was Bruce Caputo, a Republican who ran for U.S. Senate in the 1980s, only to drop out after Tim Russert -- then a staffer for Daniel Patrick Moynihan -- found that Caputo had falsely claimed to have been drafted during the Vietnam War.
At that time, "the media were relentless" against Caputo after the revelation and "it was the end of his career," Bozell noted, contrasting that with last week's Blumenthal story which to the mainstream media came and went as a "one-night story."
For the full interview, click play on the embed above at right.
Joe Scarborough was on fire this morning, his ire trained on twin targets: Dick Blumenthal, and the New York Times' John Harwood, who casually dismissed the candidate's lies about having served in Vietnam as just a case of getting "a little carried away." At one point, Scarborough claimed he wasn't calling Blumenthal a "scumbag"—but it sure sounded like it.
Harwood began his Blumenthal defense with a barroom analogy: "the occasions where he was loose is more akin to a guy who had a few too many at the bar and hit on somebody rather than somebody actually trying to slip a mickey into the girls drink." He later added this lame defense: that even if Blumenthal lied to the veterans groups about his record, they weren't deceived by it. "Were all those veterans groups fooled by it?", asked Harwood, implying they weren't. "You're a reporter, you go ask them," snapped Scarborough.
Scarborough later pointed out that Blumenthal lied and trafficked on the valor of others on precisely those occasions when, appearing before veterans groups, it would benefit him politically. Harwood miscast Joe's criticism of Blumenthal as a demand that all candidates explain why they didn't serve. A peeved Scarborough called Harwood out: "John, I don't know show, what feed you're listening to."
Editor's Note: This post originally appeared at Andrew Breitbart's Big Hollywood.
The political thriller Fair Game premiered at Cannes today. (Pause for giant, collective yawn from Big Hollywood readers…)
The Sean Penn-Naomi Watts “starrer” (hey, it’s fun using unnecessarily awkward Variety-speak!) revisits the Valerie Plame Wilson scandal, an episode I’m not even going to bother recapping, because to do so would simply be coma-inducing for all of us. Besides, I already summed up the affair and dissected the screenplay’s political slant for Big Hollywood here. Suffice it to say, it’s a tale the Hollywood Left is hell-bent on getting Americans to care about.
As are its water-carriers in the media. In a deceptive puff piece an article last week for the Los Angeles Times, Rachel Abramowitz discusses the film and interviews its director Doug Liman. The first clue that we’re about to be sold a crockpot of hooey comes when she describes Valerie Plame as “the undercover CIA operative whose name was leaked to the media by the Bush White House in an effort to discredit her husband, former Ambassador Joe Wilson.”
Earlier this morning, I was minding my own business, reading this unbylined Associated Press roundup of yesterday's elections, when I got to the report's final few paragraphs. They involved "other concerns" the two major parties have. After noting yesterday's resignation by Republican congressman Mark Souder, the report's final paragraph read as follows:
Well, that's rich. I wonder how the folks at the New York Times, which prepared the 2,100-word article ("Candidate’s Words on Vietnam Service Differ From History") to which the AP refers, feel about their august publication being called merely "a newspaper"? Or about the Blumenthal campaign press release disguised as a news report the wire service's Susan Haigh put forth yesterday? Or is there more going on?
As to Blumenthal's "dispute," here's a clue for both the AP and the Nutmeg State's AG: There is no "dispute." There are only these facts and direct quotes:
While viewers might have expected to see the latest on the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico or Tuesday's electoral primaries, CNN's Campbell Brown devoted the first two segments on her program on Monday to highlighting the apparent religious bigotry inside the U.S. Army - specifically, the upcoming lawsuit of a Muslim who alleges he was harassed and ridiculed due to his religion.
Brown played the interview of the soldier, Specialist Zachari Klawonn, during the first full segment, which began 2 minutes into the 8 pm Eastern hour. Klawonn was joined by his lawyer, Randal Mathis, as well as the commanding officer of his battalion, Colonel Jimmy Jenkins. As she introduced the segment, the anchor emphasized how the specialist is "a model soldier," "exactly what the Army says it is looking for," and how he "has an exemplary service record, and has earned the praise of both his commanders and his Army buddies."
On Monday's GMA, ABC's George Stephanopoulos dealt with the Elena Kagan Supreme Court nomination by interviewing former Obama official Greg Craig, but no one from the conservative/Republican side as a guest. The anchor did raise potential threats to Kagan's nomination, but failed to follow through when Craig omitted a key detail about the nominee's anti-military record as dean of Harvard Law School.
Stephanopoulos led off the interview, which began 8 minutes into the 7 am Eastern hour, with a softball question: "What's the single thing that impresses President Obama most about Kagan?" After the former White House counsel and former Clinton administration official played up Kagan's allegedly "extraordinary" amount of experience, the ABC anchor then asked, "What do you think is the single greatest threat to her nomination- to confirmation?"