On Tuesday, MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell Reports presented two very different accounts of what kind of soldier Bowe Bergdahl was, first as a disillusioned free spirit who wished he'd joined the Peace Corps, then as a bloodthirsty warrior who wanted to rip the enemy's face off. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Talking to New York Times reporter Elisabeth Bumiller, host Andrea Mitchell portrayed Bergdahl sympathetically: "I read somewhere, and it may have been your reporting, that he initially thought it was sort of joining the Peace Corps, that he was going to be helping the Afghan people, that maybe he didn't really understand. Because his disillusionment came so quickly..." Bumiller replied: "He did have some romantic notions...he was going over to Afghanistan to help the Afghan people. And those views were quickly dashed after he got there."
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 Monday, NBC Today co-host Matt Lauer actually held outgoing White House Press Secretary Jay Carney's feet to the fire over the administration releasing five Taliban terrorists from Guantanamo Bay to secure the release Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl: "These are guys who are considered at very high risk to launch attacks against the U.S. if they were freed. So has the administration now, though, endangered the lives of all Americans for the safety of one American?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Carney argued: "...we believe that this is not a security threat to the United States and that there's sufficient mitigation to be comfortable with the transfer of those detainees to Qatar." Lauer pushed back: "Is this semantics here, Jay? Are we calling it a prisoner swap when, in fact, it is negotiating with terrorists?"
You really have to watch Brian Schweitzer in action to get just how much of a blowhard he is. By the end of his appearance on today's Morning Joe, even Mika Brzezinski seemed mortified by the antics of her fellow Democrat. And Bill Kristol's expression of utter disdain for the former Montana governor was worth the price of admission alone.
In the course of his appearance, Schweitzer--defending President Obama's deal for the release of US soldier Bowe Bergdahl--declined to call the five senior Taliban members released either terrorists or war criminals. Even the Daily Beast, in the person of reporter Eli Lake, has called the five "some of the worst of the worst," and "considered [by the Pentagon] to be a high risk to launch attacks against the United States and its allies if they were liberated." When talk turned to domestic politics, Schweitzer dabbled in some anti-Ted Cruz birtherism, repeatedly alluding to the Texas senator's birth in Canada. View Schweitzer's clown act on the video after the jump.
Bill Kristol, editor of the conservative magazine The Weekly Standard dismantled liberal PBS host Tavis Smiley on ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos.
Appearing as a guest on Sunday, June 1, Kristol left Smiley speechless surrounding how to solve the VA scandal when he asked his fellow panelist: “If they got a generous voucher to use to purchase the health insurance they need or the health care they need how would that be failing veterans?” [See video below.]
Julie Pace at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, is used to carrying water for the Obama administration. Last year, she proudly reveled in how she and her wire service sat on information it had about secret U.S.-Iran negotiations for eight months. My immediate take was that "They didn't report it until the Obama administration said it would be okay to report it." The AP denied it; unfortunately for the self-described "essential global news network," another news organization confirmed that it and AP "both had versions of it independently early & were asked to not publish til end of Iran talks." There's not a chance in Hades that the AP would have similarly accommodated a Republican or conservative administration.
After that heavy lifting, Pace surely found that giving readers the impression in a Friday report about President Barack Obama's sacking of Eric Shinseki that the problems at the Department of Veterans Affairs have more to do with its growing caseload than with incompetence and potential criminality was relatively easy.
Imagine the press letting a Republican or conservative get away with trying to avoid uncondtionally calling something as infuriating and outrageous as the Veterans Administration waiting list scandal a real scandal.
Following President Barack Obama's speech today at West Point, the UK Daily Mailreported "tepid applause and a short standing ovation from less than one-quarter of the audience upon his introduction." In a CNN video clip found at Mediaite, Jim Clancy noted that Obama did not sound like a “commander-in-chief speaking to his troops.” He further observed: “You heard the reception; it was icy."
Comedian Jodi Miller took on the Obama administration's VA and Benghazi scandals in the May 27 edition of NewsBusted. "America just celebrated Memorial Day. Or, as it's called for veterans at VA hospitals: “Take a Number and Wait” Day," she quipped, adding, "The White House is under fire for long wait times at most VA hospitals. And the administration promised to get help quickly to all our veterans, just as soon as they get around to telling the whole truth on Benghazi."
To watch the full NewsBusted episode, click on the play button in the video embed below. To subscribe to NewsBusters on YouTube, visit NewsBusted's channel here. To get NewsBusted delivered to your email inbox, sign up here.
The Associated Press's Charles Babington went so far over the top in his Monday morning dispatch on Republicans, the Obama administration's scandals, and the fall electoral landscape that it's hard to know where to begin.
The fingerprints of Obama administration operatives appear to be all over Babington's report, both in what's included and what's left out. Most notoriously, there is no mention whatsoever of the Veterans Administration scandal. Ah, but there's a specific reference to Democrats who complain that the Benghazi and IRS scandals have been "fading from national headlines" except at the specifically named Fox News. Excerpts from Babington's babbling follow the jump (bolds are mine):
Memorial Day should be observed by honoring the men and women in the military who have fallen for America. New York Magazine has found another way of observing the Memorial Day Weekend while at the same time pushing a certain political agenda. They have invaded the privacy of World War II servicemen and their families by publishing nude photographs of them: 10 Intimate Photographs of World War II Soldiers in the Buff.
Writer Christopher Bonanos can barely contain his excitement over the photos as he practically drools over himself while eagerly pushing a socio/political agenda at a time when those who have fallen should be honored:
At the Associated Press on Thursday, reporter Alan Fram covered the Senate's confirmation of David Barron without using the words "filibuster" or "waterboarding."
Given that he was confirmed on a 53-45 vote, it is highly unlikely that Barron's nomination would have survived had Senate majority leader Harry Reid not imposed the "nuclear option" last year to prevent senators from stopping a contentious nomination by requiring 60 senators to approve the idea of even having a confirmation vote. As for waterboarding, Barron's nomination became controversial because he is, as Fram noted, the "architect of the Obama administration's legal foundation for killing American terror suspects overseas with drones." 53 Democratic senators are apparently okay with that, even though many if not most of them have gone apoplectic over the idea of waterboarding known terrorists of any nationality who may have knowledge of their fellow travelers' plans.
A day after President Obama finally reacted to the Veteran's Affair scandal after weeks of silence, NBC's Today could only manage a couple news briefs on the development, totaling forty-seven seconds. Meanwhile, the morning show devoted one minute and nineteen seconds to First Daughter Malia Obama learning to drive this summer.
ABC's Good Morning America at least provided a full report on the VA scandal, but edited out any criticism of Obama. On Wednesday's World News, correspondent Jim Avila included a soundbite from a family member of a veteran who died waiting for care who accused the President of "lying" about the scandal. However, that clip vanished from Avila's GMA report Thursday morning.
MSNBC’s Chris Matthews seems determined to kill the idea that unlike the Veterans Administration scandal, past Obama scandals such as the IRS’ targeting of conservative groups are not in fact legitimate issues to investigate.
Appearing on his nightly Hardball program on Wednesday, May 21, Matthews declared “For the first time, President Obama speaks out about the VA scandal and this is no phony IRS or Benghazi nonsense, this is the real deal.” [See video below.]
In discussing President Obama's Wednesday press conference on the Veterans Administration wait-list scandal, CNN's Drew Griffin, identified by the network's Jake Tapper as "the reporter who began this whole story with his investigation into the Phoenix VA," appeared to barely contain himself as he described the "disconnect between what's happening out here in the country and what the president is talking about."
Specifically, Griffin asserted that "this problem is real; it exists; it really doesn't have to be studied," and that "the vets I've been talking to wanted much more direct action." Griffin clearly expected a far more substantive and immediate response from Obama yesterday, and was disappointed that it didn't come. The video segment (via the Washington Free Beacon), a transcript, and Rush Limbaugh's insightful reaction follow the jump (bolds are mine throughout this post):
Wednesday's World News on ABC minimized any sense of the Obama administration's responsibility in the ongoing V.A. scandal, and spent the least amount of air time on the issue among the Big Three networks' evening newscasts. The program actually aired segments on pickpocketing and custom mobile homes than lasted about a half a minute longer each than their report on the scandal.
Diane Sawyer spotlighted how the President "weighed in – talking tough and talking action" on the "growing outrage over veterans hospitals." Jim Avila noted how multiple V.A. medical facilities in several states are now being investigated, and let the relative of deceased veteran decry the President's handling of the scandal. However, he didn't mention that the wait lists have been around for years – something that CBS Evening News mentioned in its coverage of the controversy: [MP3 audio from the ABC report available here; video below the jump]
During a panel discussion on her 12 p.m. ET hour MSNBC show on Wednesday, host Andrea Mitchell wondered why President Obama chose to make a statement on the Veteran's Affairs scandal without having any significant reforms to announce: "Why send the President out to say something about the VA when he's not ready to take bolder action?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Chief White House correspondent and political director Chuck Todd acknowledged: "Well, this was an attempt, I think, to stop the political bleeding that was taking place....that this has become a political problem for the White House. The President himself hadn't spoken on it publicly since [his trip to] Asia...about three, four weeks ago. So there needed to be a sense of he had to come out and say something."
Red Alert at the White House! How bad is the VA scandal? Bad enough to make even such as Sam Stein question liberalism. The VA scandal is getting so grievous for the Obama admin and for the liberal project at large that it has led even liberals to reconsider their most cherished ideological beliefs.
On today's Morning Joe, Sam Stein of the Huffington Post wondered "is liberalism, is progressivism, in this instance the right thing" given that the additional money the Obama admin spent on the VA has not yielded results? View the video after the jump.
ABC has failed to cover exclusive reporting from its own Jonathan Karl, ABC News’ Chief White House Correspondent, when he caught White House Press Secretary Jay Carney distorting the American Legion’s position on the VA controversy.
For the second night in a row, ABC’s World News with Diane Sawyer ignored the latest in the scandal engulfing the Veterans Administration. On Monday, May 19, the Washington Times released documents that showed the Obama Administration was warned about the problems surrounding the VA as early as 2009, yet ABC has yet to cover these revelations.
The idea that Good Morning America is a superficial show is not in doubt. On Tuesday, the show's hosts devoted 12 minutes and 22 seconds to full reports on a college student stripper, a super model trying to lose weight and Dancing With the Stars. But the frivolous nature of the program often masks its liberal bias. GMA on May 20 completely ignored the revelation that Barack Obama was warned five years ago of the substandard conditions at Veterans Affairs medical facilities and that soldiers were struggling to obtain decent treatment.
That development was also avoided on ABC's World News, Monday night. What did the hosts of GMA cover instead? Juju Chang played footage of an exotic dancer and breathlessly informed: "This is how she pays her tuition. Essentially, you're a student by day and stripper by night?" Robin Roberts highlighted the efforts by super model Molly Sims to lose weight. [See below for a video montage of the morning show's most insipid news stories. MP3 audio here.]
Friday's World News on ABC mentioned the ongoing scandal surrounding the Veterans Administration only in passing, despite the fact their own chief White House correspondent, Jonathan Karl, hounded Press Secretary Jay Carney at the regular White House press briefing on the issue. Meanwhile, they set aside two full segments totaling seven minutes and 54 seconds of air time to Barbara Walters' departure from The View.
Diane Sawyer gave a 30-second news brief to a new development in the scandal – about one-sixteenth the amount of time that she and her newscast spent on Walters: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee recently portrayed Republican U.S. House candidate Lee Zeldin as a "coward" on its website for refusing to oppose Paul Ryan’s budget. To illustrate this they posted a picture of Zeldin’s face on the body of the cowardly lion from The Wizard of Oz. [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
But it just so happens that Zeldin is an Iraq War veteran, hardly the profile of a coward. So on Friday morning, he appeared on Fox and Friends and hit back hard at his Democratic opponents. When asked his reaction to being called a coward, Zeldin responded:
Since a massive scandal involving the Veterans Affairs department became public, the three networks have devoted a combined 71 minutes and 55 seconds (or 38 stories) to investigating a secret list delaying treatment to military personnel. That total time included a scant five seconds of criticism for Barack Obama. Instead, ABC, CBS and NBC focused their stories on Secretary Eric Shinseki and to assuring Americans that the President was on top of the situation.
NBC dedicated 32 minutes and 25 seconds to the revelation that up to 40 patients in Arizona died due to lack of care. CBS managed 28 minutes and two seconds and ABC allowed 11 minutes and 28 seconds. In addition to avoiding culpability for the White House, the networks got to the story late. The story broke on April 23, but NBC didn't get around to it until the May 6 Nightly News. CBS and ABC discovered the controversy for that day's morning programs.
Chris Cuomo sparred with Senator Bernie Sanders on Thursday's New Day on CNN over the left-wing politician's scheduled hearing with Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki regarding the V.A. hospitals scandal, where scores of veterans died as they waited for care. Cuomo pointed out that "the mandate for Shinseki when he was put in...was that we knew there were big lapses at the V.A. that had to be addressed, and you could argue they have not been. Isn't it time for accountability?"
When Sanders tried to shift the issue to a critique of CNN's coverage of the scandal, the anchor shot back at the Vermont senator for sounding like an apologist for the government-run health care system: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
Once again, as it did a month ago in two separate stories, the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, left the name of Lois Lerner, the former IRS official who ran its section on tax-exempt organizations, out of its headline and opening paragraph. This time, for good measure, AP reporter Stephen Ohlemacher didn't reveal Lerner's name until Paragraph 3.
Before getting to Ohlemacher's journalistic malpractice, let's take a look at the how the Politico handled the same story of Congress holding Ms. Lerner in contempt yesterday, and at one example of how the AP itself covered the story of another controversial figure's anticipated congressional appearance in the 1980s.
Michael Hirsh is the recently named National Editor at Politico Magazine, an effort which turning is out to be to the left of the crumbling Time Magazine and the for-now defunct Newsweek. One of Hirsh's career lowlights — he probably thinks it's a highlight — is his December 2008 contention that President George W. Bush having a shoe thrown at him in Iraq "was somehow appropriate."
Lest there be any doubt as to the possibility that there will be fair and balanced reporting on Benghazi on Hirsh's watch, I give you excerpts from "The Benghazi-Industrial Complex; Will the pseudo-scandal be enough to stop Hillary from running?" — wherein Hirsh plows new groveling ground (bolds are mine):
Reacting to the contents of Benghazi-related emails finally obtained and published by Judicial Watch, Hounshell asked, "Can you point me to a credible, authoritative story saying the WH knowingly pushed a false narrative?" Well Blake, on the off-chance that you're really interested in the truth instead of serving as one of your organization's lead Obama administration lapdogs, I give you the Tuesday night writeup from an investigative journalist who, per her "about" page, has won four national Emmy Awards and has been nominated for eight others.
This afternoon (late morning Pacific Time), Roger Simon at PJ Media had several reactions to the latest developments in the Benghazi saga, as new evidence surfaced of a White House "effort to insulate President Barack Obama from the attacks that killed four Americans." Simon's press-related assertion: "We will now see if there is even a figment of honesty in our mainstream media ..."
Though it's still early (but just barely), it's not looking good, my friend. Matt Hadro at NewsBusters indicated as much earlier tonight in noting that the TV networks have thus far ignored the news. Later, I'll show that other key online establishment press sources are also ignoring this bombshell story.