More anti-war figures are voicing their opinions about contradictory and confusing statements regarding Iraq made Thursday by presumptive Democrat presidential nominee Barack Obama, and the news is clearly not good for his campaign.
One such concerned party is Tom Hayden, the famed ex-husband of Jane Fonda who, along with Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin, was part of the Chicago Seven that incited riots at the 1968 Democratic National Convention.
Forty years later, Hayden wrote a strong rebuke of Obama's suddenly fluctuating position on the Iraq war that should garner a lot of media attention given its publication at the left-leaning Huffington Post; the title alone should give folks a sense of the tightrope the junior senator from Illinois is walking concerning this issue -- "No Retreat: If you Want to Win, Stop the War! Barack at Risk" (emphasis added throughout):
Earlier this week, to avoid "undue" emphasis on how much the situation has been improving in Iraq, the press, in search of bad news, switched its focus to Afghanistan (examples here, here, and here). Kyle Drennen and Warner Todd Huston at NewsBusters noted this on Tuesday.
Similarly, Associated Press writer Ellen Simon, confronted with a key report showing economic improvement, decided that it was more important to discuss inflation.
On Tuesday, the Institute for Supply Management's Manufacturing Index, after four months of contraction, returned to slight expansion mode with a reading of 50.2 (any reading above 50 indicates expansion). The result confounded the "experts," who predicted that the index would fall by about a point instead of rising by 0.6 points.
I don't think I've ever seen AP fail to give the overall ISM result first- or second-sentence treatment, but Simon managed that trick by covering the report's inflation component, moving the overall ISM index reading down to the fourth paragraph:
Tuesday's New York Times report by Jeff Zeleny, "Campaign Flashpoints: Patriotism and Service" covered the back and forth between the McCain and Obama camps over a controversial comment by retired general and Obama adviser Wesley Clark about McCain's lack of qualifications to be president.
In response to a question by Bob Schieffer on the CBS Sunday talk show "Face the Nation," Clark said of John McCain, "I don't think riding in a fighter plane and getting shot down is a qualification to be president."
But Zeleny also put heavy emphasis on fact-checking what he considers unfair attacks on Barack Obama.
Mr. Obama arrived here in Independence, the home of President Harry S. Truman, to open a weeklong patriotism tour. He sought to explain and defend his American ideals to ward off skepticism and silence persistent rumors about his loyalties to the nation.
On Tuesday’s CBS "Early Show," co-host Harry Smith talked to foreign correspondent Lara Logan about the situation in Afghanistan and she declared: "So seven years later we have more troops in the country than we have ever had. And yet no one is admitting the fact that we are facing strategic defeat in a country that wanted us there. Unlike Iraq, they actually wanted us there."
Smith introduced the segment by proclaiming: "U.S. officials say attempts to root out Al Qaeda and the Taliban are failing. And for the second straight month in June, militants killed more U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan than in Iraq."
During the segment, Smith displayed his foreign policy credentials in reference to the Afghanistan-Pakistan border: "I've been reading lightly about these tribal areas. I was there about 20 years ago. I described it to a friend of mine, it's like the Star Wars bar. You can't trust anyone there. You don't know who's loyal to who." So Afghans and Pakistanis are like strange-looking aliens?
Update/Correction: Cross-referencing my results with that of the MRC's internal database, I found a news mention on the June 26 "Today" of the previous day's missile test, which aired at the 9:00 a.m. news brief.
I know that missile defense is hardly a major political issue right now, but successes in the program are worth at least passing mention in broadcast media, particularly given tensions with Iran and the utility of missile defenses for our military forces should conflict ensue with the nuclear weapon-pursuing theocratic state.
Unfortunately, according to Nexis, no such stories were filed on either ABC or CBS programming following the latest test on June 26. This despite the fact that the test involved a not one but two complicating twists to the testing scheme. Reported the Honolulu Advertiser's Diana Leone (emphasis mine):
For months, the mainstream media has obsessed with the evils of the "right wing attack machine." Recently, CBS bizarrely labeled attacks on Obama’s campaign financing flip flop "swift boating." ABC’s George Stephanopoulos even defended the Obama campaign’s discrimination against Muslims to "combat the issue" of false rumors that Obama is a Muslim.
While much of the mainstream media frets about the alleged GOP slime machine, they ignore the much larger, more heavily financed true smear machine from the left. The Politico reports that far left blogger John Aravosis, who also humiliates those who do not fit his brand of liberalism, is now attacking McCain’s Vietnam War record (ironically is exactly the outrage directed at the "swift boat" veterans)
Andrea Mitchell depicts Wesley Clark's cracks about John McCain's heroism as a gaffe. Bloopers that will cost him any chance of being picked for the Obama veep slot. But surely the seasoned MSM hand knows better than to imagine that Clark was freelancing. Clark's were anything but impromptu remarks, made, say, late at night to a foreign reporter in a hotel cocktail lounge in some far-flung land. To the contrary, Clark took his shots in the brightest of limelights—those of a Sunday morning talk show—speaking with the venerable Bob Schieffer. Clark was explicitly there as an Obama campaign surrogate.
Moreover, Clark had made similar comments before, as a guest on Morning Joe earlier this month [YouTube of earlier appearance]. So the Obama campaign was well aware of his views. If it had any qualms about him expressing them, surely he would have been warned off. Thus, far from representing a gaffe, Clark's comments must be seen as reflecting Barack Obama's calculated strategy—and that is precisely how the McCain campaign has interpreted them.
So why would Andrea Mitchell turn up on Morning Joe today lambasting Clark for his "stupid" and "dumb" remarks? You don't suppose she was trying to inoculate Obama, give him cover, some plausible deniability, so that the remarks get the maximum attention without Obama's fingerprints being seen on them?
On NBC's Meet the Press on Sunday, during a roundtable discussion of Barack Obama's running mate possibilities, correspondent Andrea Mitchell argued that one of the "minuses" for Obama choosing former Democratic Senator Sam Nunn would be that Nunn is "anathema to the gay and lesbian community" as she seemed to portray the "young Bill Clinton" as a victim who had the "Don't ask, don't tell" policy on gays in the military "shoved down his throat" by Nunn and then-Joint Chiefs Chairman Colin Powell in 1993. Mitchell: "Minuses: He is anathema to the gay and lesbian community because of 'Don't ask, don't tell.' He's tried to moderate his position, but it was he and Colin Powell who shoved that down the young Bill Clinton's throat in 1993, as a new President. So there are large Democratic interest groups who would rebel at the convention if Sam Nunn were the nominee." (Transcript follows)
Yesterday, charges against another Marine officer accused of involvement in the Haditha "massacre" were dismissed. Today's Washington Post printed a story, but it was from Los Angeles Times writer Tony Perry, not a Post staffer. What's more, Perry's 10-paragraph story was printed on page A10 below-the-fold. [Check here for Perry's article* at the Times Web site.]
At least that was nine paragraphs longer than the "Around the Nation" brief that the June 5 print edition of the Post ran to relay news of the acquittal of another Haditha Marine:
Marine Acquitted in Iraq Case
CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. -- A military jury acquitted Marine intelligence officer 1st Lt. Andrew Grayson of charges that he tried to help cover up the killings of 24 Iraqis in Haditha.
When Georgia Republicans ran an ad against former Senator Max Cleland, which included a photograph of Osama bin Laden, attacking the Democratic Senator's numerous votes to apply labor union rules to the Homeland Security Department, liberals were outraged as they claimed the ad was an attack on the "patriotism" of war hero Cleland. MSNBC host Keith Olbermann expressed outrage by mentioning the attack on Cleland several times in the last few years as he claimed that Cleland was "cut down," "sandbagged," "blindsided," "cheap shotted," "mugged," "hamstrung," and subjected to a "hatchet job," in part because of the inclusion of the bin Laden photograph.
But Olbermann himself recently employed a photograph of Osama bin Laden as he teased a story contending that "John McCain's top guy [Phil Gramm] on the economy made it easier for bin Laden," and charging that Gramm was "on the side of the terrorists' bankers before and after 9/11." The MSNBC host has also accused McCain of "betraying" U.S. troops, and has suggested that McCain does not "understand [the] risk and sacrifice" of U.S. troops serving in Iraq, and that he has "abandoned" them. He even went so far as to suggest that McCain has ulterior motives for supporting an extended U.S. presence in Iraq because he supports "war-profiteering" by U.S. firms who would benefit. And Olbermann once mocked McCain as "awol" during as Senate vote because he was at a fund-raiser "supporting himself instead of the troops." (Transcripts follow)
Lt. Col. Jeffrey Chessani is the latest Marine to turn out not to be a "cold-blooded killer" that the media and Democratic politicians painted Marines charged with the Haditha "massacre" to be. This two weeks after another Marine was acquitted in a Haditha court martial.
FoxNews.com has the AP story about the dismissal of charges against him here.:
CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. - A military judge dismissed charges Tuesday against a Marine officer accused of failing to investigate the killings of 24 Iraqis.
Col. Steven Folsom dismissed charges against Lt. Col. Jeffrey Chessani after finding that a four-star general overseeing the case was improperly influenced by an investigator probing the November 2005 shootings by a Marine squad in Haditha.
As you might have guessed, this story is not exactly commanding the airwaves of the cable news networks this afternoon, although the media obsessed about the "massacre" in 2005.
On Monday’s CBS "Evening News," correspondent Lara Logan touted what was essentially a press release from a key terrorist leader in Afghanistan: "Afghan warlord Gulbeddin Hekmatyar spoke exclusively to CBS News about the state of the insurgency in Afghanistan in this interview smuggled out of his secret hiding place." Logan went on to offer a translation of the video: "‘The resistance is spreading in all directions,’ he says. ‘It's becoming stronger and more powerful.’"
Logan went on to repeat more of Hekmatyar’s propaganda:
‘Although I'm confined to one bunker and a village which is under the threat of American warplanes all the time, I sleep very peacefully at night, while George Bush cannot sleep in the White House without the help of sleeping pills,’ he says.Hekmatyar mocks President Bush as a warmonger and blames him for Iran's meddling in Afghanistan. He says the Iranians are pouring money and weapons into the fight that's destroying his country.
In case you missed it, the Supreme Court Thursday bestowed Constitutional rights to terrorists currently held at Guantanamo Bay.
As my colleague Brent Baker reported hours ago, the broadcast evening news programs predictably saw this decision as a stinging defeat for the Bush administration that could prove tremendously embarrassing to the president.
Almost prophetically, conservative radio talk show host and constitutional lawyer Mark Levin stated earlier in the day that reporters making such statements "are lying through their teeth. They are propagandists, spewing the talking points of the enemy."
Beginning his program Thursday, Levin took the Supreme Court to task for this ruling, as well as the predictable standing ovation from the media, crescendoing to the following conclusion that should be required reading for all Americans interested in the truth concerning this matter (ten minute audio available here, picture courtesy Radcity):
A new study shows women and minorities are more satisfied in general with their jobs than white men in the military and that military women are generally much more positive about their career and career prospects than their civilian counterparts, according to a new study.
Newsweek's Sarah Kliff has the story in a Web exclusive (emphasis mine):
Barack Obama's greatest vulnerability as a candidate is, perhaps, his lack of national security credentials—the doubt in voters' minds as to whether he is qualified to be Commander-in-Chief. So if there was one thing Hillary Clinton could have done during her speech today to bolster Barack, it would have been a clear-cut statement that, yes, she believes in his ability to be Commander-in-Chief. But the only person person Hillary spoke of today as qualified to be Commander-in-Chief was . . . herself.
Let's recall that during the primaries, Hillary repeatedly hit Obama on the issue of his lack of C-of-C cred, going so far as to draw an invidious comparison between Obama and John McCain on the matter. Consider these statements from March, as reported by the Chicago Tribune [emphasis added]:
Another day and another Marine acquitted of charges from the so-called "Haditha massacre" that left-leaning journalists (doing the bidding of Democrat Jack Murtha) insisted actually happened.
Bob Owens has the story you won't be seeing on tonight's ABCNNBCBSMSNBC shows:
A military jury has acquitted 1st Lt. Andrew Grayson of all charges that he helped cover up the killing of 24 Iraqis in Haditha following the IED ambush of a Marine patrol.
Grayson, a Marine intelligence officer, had been accused of having a military photographer erase digital photos of the dead Iraqis. Grayson had turned down a plea deal to face charges on five counts that could have led to a maximum of 20 years in prison. An obstruction-of-justice charge against Grayson had been dismissed by the judge earlier in the week. [...]
As lead-ins to short reports on the posthumous presentation of a Medal of Honor, ABC and CBS on Monday night managed to squeeze in -- more than 20 minutes into their evening newscasts -- brief mentions of how in May the fewest number U.S. servicemen were killed in Iraq in any month since the war began five years ago. But not NBC Nightly News. (And Sunday's Today and Nightly News, as well as Monday's Today, also skipped the good news.) NBC anchor Brian Williams on Monday led with worries that “because it's been underfunded for decades, mass transit may not be ready for all the Americans leaving their cars behind,” and ran his short update, on the Medal of Honor going to Army Private First Class Ross McGinnis, without anything about the decline in troops killed.
Fill-in ABC anchor George Stephanopoulos set up his report on the White House ceremony presenting the honor to the parents of McGinnis by dampening the positive news with the total death number:
The Pentagon reported 19 American troops were killed in May. That's the lowest monthly toll since the war began. The total number of Americans killed in the war is now approaching 4,100.
On the CBS Evening News, anchor Katie Couric also noted the total, but CBS didn't display it on screen, as she painted the fewest killed as “perhaps” a sign violence is going down:
In Iraq, a sign perhaps that violence is decreasing. In the lowest monthly death U.S. toll since the war began, 19 Americans were killed in May. The total U.S. toll for the war is now 4,086.
If the Speaker vilifies U.S. soldiers and praises their Iranian killers, and the Jurassic Press doesn't report it, does it make a sound?
Last Thursday, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, third in line to the Presidency and currently the highest ranking Democrat on Planet Earth, sat down for an 80-minute chat with reporters and editorial board members of her home district's San Francisco Chronicle. 62 minutes in, Madame Speaker, pontificating on the Iraq surge, offered up the following:
"Whatever the military success and any progress that may have been made, the surge didn't accomplish its goal. ... And some of the success of the surge is that the goodwill of the Iranians -- they decided in Basra when the fighting would end, they negotiated that cessation of hostilities -- the Iranians."
The following is from an MRC press release calling out the liberal mainstream media for covering up House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's (D-Calif.) recent remarks chalking up the success of the U.S. military in Iraq to the "goodwill of the Iranians." [audio of Pelosi's remarks available here]
Alexandria, VA-- Last Thursday, a collection of reporters and members of the editorial board of the San Francisco Chronicle sat down for a nearly 80-minute interview with Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi, Democrat of California.
At the 62-minute mark, Pelosi slandered and demeaned the hard-won successes of our armed forces in Iraq, saying "Whatever the military success and progress that may have been made, the surge didn't accomplish its goal. And some of the success of the surge is that the goodwill of the Iranians -- they decided in Basra when the fighting would end, they negotiated that cessation of hostilities -- the Iranians."
No one at the Chronicle reported the Speaker's vicious slander. Nor did NBC, ABC or CBS, CNN or MSNBC deem it fit for broadcast, either Thursday evening or at any point on Friday. The vaunted New York Times likewise did not deem this fit to print.
Earlier today, NewsBusters' Matt Sheffield caught a Washington Post editorial which told us, "Don't look now, but the U.S.-backed government and army may be winning the war." The editorial noted "a relative lull in news coverage and debate about Iraq in recent weeks -- which is odd, because May could turn out to have been one of the most important months of the war."
The Post also suggested that the situation "ought to mandate an already-overdue rethinking by the "this-war-is-lost" caucus in Washington, including Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.).
Maybe, but if the results continue, both in military progress and reduced casualties (May 2008 had the lowest single-month number of US and total coalition troop fatalities ever), how about an "I was wrong, I am sorry" first?
Even more remarkable than WaPo's editorial was that the Associated Press's Kim Gamel included "the S-word" four times in her Friday afternoon coverage of Iraqi terrorists/insurgents turning themselves in. Not in the headline, of course (What do you want, miracles?), but twice in the first six paragraphs:
I guess out on Lake Blowbegone, patriotism isn't kosher? Keillor just seems, nose in the air, to find all that lowborn patriotism so woefully gauche. At least, one might get that impression by reading the attack penned by Garrison Keillor against the patriotism evinced by the folks who don their red, white and blue, along with their leather jackets and hop on their Hogs to join the long line of motorcycle riders at "Rolling Thunder" on Memorial Day in Washington D.C. This year, Keillor was so put off by the patriotic bikers that he was driven to his keyboard to regale us all with his bad metaphors and surly disposition.
With "The roar of hollow patriotism," Keillor found that he just couldn't stomach the loud patriotism expressed by the Harley riders in D.C. He also seemed to say that if you are a "fat man with a ponytail" you shouldn't be allowed to express that patriotism in a manner you so wish to express it.
On Monday’s CBS "Early Show," co-host Russ Mitchell interviewed Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Admiral Mike Mullen, and asked about Iraq: "When you look at April, last month, 50 American soldiers were killed in Iraq. And a lot of Americans look at that and they're pessimistic, despite what you say about morale and how things are going in Iraq--in Iraq. Does the American public have a right to be pessimistic, in your mind?"
While suggesting Americans are ‘pessimistic’ about the war in Iraq is justified, Mitchell forgets to mention the role CBS News has played in promoting some of that pessimism with its own coverage of the war. In addition, using the phrase ‘right to be pessimistic’ leaves little room for disagreement, as Admiral Mullen pointed out: "The American public obviously gets to choose whether they're optimistic or pessimistic."
Mullen went on to explain: "I think clearly, over the last many months, things have improved fairly dramatically. We always need to be reminded of the sacrifice that these young men and women generate in terms supporting the overall mission."
On the weekend when America finds her citizens taking just a little time out of their cluttered and busy lives to pause and memorialize the sacrifice of those who have served and protected us all, the media always sees fit to make their observance of Memorial Day the issuance of stories about how bad our solders are, how bad they have it, or how bad they deserve to be treated. This year is no different, at least for the New York Times News Service, as we find a story about how a soldier was caught stealing money from a stash of U.S. cash found in one of Saddam Hussein’s captured palaces and how this theft ruined the soldier’s life.
This report has it all as far as the news media are concerned. It has a soldier that turned bad. It has the presumed injustice of the military and the war. It also has the excuse making where that soldier turned thief was somehow driven to his thievery because he came from a poor Kentucky town. It also has the "benefit" of being a tale used to denigrate our military on Memorial Day. In the warped estimation of the MSM it has every aspect of how bad it is for our military all rolled up in one. Yes, this is the perfect story as far as the MSM are concerned.
Ah, Memorial Day in Ithaca, NY, a town that looks upon Berkeley, CA as suspiciously conservative. OK, perhaps not quite, but Ithaca is so liberal than in her 2006 Senate primary [bet you didn't know there even was one], Hillary lost the City of Ithaca to a [very] little-known far-lefty named Jonathan Tasini. So liberal that a certain NewsBuster lost a 1990s mayoral bid to the then incumbent, a proud member of the Democratic Socialists of America.
So how does our hometown newspaper celebrate Memorial Day? What does it choose as its biggest headline on the front page? "Military Faces Growing Need for Therapists: Private pyschiatrists offer free services for returning troops." You get the idea, but here are the opening paragraphs to the AP story [emphasis added]:
In this corner, Clint Eastwood, Dirty Harry himself. And in that corner, the self appointed guardian of America's black population, Spike Lee. It's shaping up to be a battle royale, folks, with Lee rabbit punching the aging action star while Eastwood uses his smarts and experience to deliver a knock out blow.
In round one, Lee came out swinging at Director Clint Eastwood's WWII films, "Flags of Our Fathers" and "Letters from Iwo Jima," claiming that Eastwood "erased the role of black GIs from history." Lee tried on his self-righteous air of moral certitude and labeled Eastwood a racist. "Many black veterans who fought in Iwo Jima were hurt that there was no representation of them in both of those films," Lee said in an interview in Rome last year.
But not to fear for Eastwood losing the bout, as he is about to show us all that Spike Lee doesn't have what it takes to go toe to toe with a master.
It's a happy Memorial Day from the Associated Press as they inform that nation that a few Marines involved themselves in a "shooting spree" in Afghanistan. Yes, the AP makes it seem as if our Marines began "firing indiscriminately at vehicles and civilians" during a March 4th altercation near Nangarhar province. But, a closer read finds a far murkier story and one that seems to say that our Marines didn't go wild but that they thought they were under attack. Whether the Marines were right or wrong about being attacked is the real question at the end of the day. But whatever the case, right at the outset the AP presented the incident as if the Marines were in the wrong.
Even the headline casts the Marines actions in the negative: "Afghans appalled Marines not charged in killings." No benefit of the doubt there. In fact, the whole first half of the story explores the charges against the Marines before a single word in their defense appears.
The Cold War wasn't really a war per se but a decades-long struggle with the Soviets and their proxies, yet it was not and is not tagged dismissively in print news media as the "Cold War." Yet the same convention was not followed recently in the pages of the Washington Post when it comes to the Global War on Terrorism in the Washington Post.
On Friday’s Fox & Friends, Fox News military analyst Colonel David Hunt rattled off a series of U.S. and Iraqi achievements, then blasted the liberal media for failing to report them. “If you talk about success in Iraq, then you’re somehow giving credit to McCain,” Hunt surmised, “and I think it’s wrong, because it does not give credit to the soldiers who have earned this, and we need to stop it.”
Hunt noted that the Iraqi military and police have become more professional and are acting independently of U.S. forces, putting down a Shiite rebellion in the southern city of Basra; that an Iraqi force is stabilizing the Sadr City portion of Baghdad and the government has achieved a truce with radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr; al-Qaeda in Iraq is badly damaged and could lose its last stronghold in Mosul; and the successful campaign against al-Qaeda in Iraq has contributed to a 40 percent decline worldwide in deaths due to terrorism.
Yet, Hunt pointed out, “if it’s not Abu Ghraib with 50 stories in the New York Times, no one in the press that I’ve heard -- besides here -- will even talk about success.”
On Thursday's Countdown show, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann seemed to mock John McCain's military service as he quipped that McCain was "awol" for not showing up for a Senate vote on providing college tuition to American troops, and further accused McCain, whom he called "Senator 'I Support the Troops,'" of "supporting himself instead of the troops." The MSNBC host also mocked McCain as being at the "front lines" of a fund-raiser in California. Notably, just a few weeks ago, Olbermann thought it was amusing to scold Ann Coulter for making a crack about Barack Obama being a "Manchurian candidate" because it might remind people of McCain, even though it was Olbermann, not Coulter, who drew a connection as he observed that the film The Manchurian Candidate was about a "presidential election and an American war hero POW who'd been brainwashed in Southeast Asia." (Video of Olbermann's "Manchurian Candidate" comments can be found here.) (Transcripts follow)