Military

By Tom Blumer | August 31, 2014 | 10:55 PM EDT

When last seen in coverage at NewsBusters, Anjem Choudary was sparring with Sean Hannity while claiming that ISIS atrocities are a Western "falsehood" and that Islamic Sharia law will be implemented "in the whole world one day."

Before getting to his latest stunt on CNN's Reliable Sources program with host Brian Stelter, it's important to provide some context, simply because Choudary, described at Wikipedia as a "Muslim social and political activist," has already said that "if you had a sense of humor, maybe you would have laughed" at how he conducted the mic check before his interview.

By Curtis Houck | August 29, 2014 | 4:30 PM EDT

MSNBC’s Krystal Ball substituted for Ronan Farrow as host of his MSNBC show on Friday and remarked with a guest during a segment on the Islamic terror group ISIS that their reported waterboarding of their captives, including the late James Foley, can be blamed on the U.S. detention facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and what happened at Abu Ghraib in Iraq.

After shifting gears from talking about the increased terror alert in the United Kingdom and fears across western Europe that hundreds of their citizens have joined ISIS and could return to commit terrorist attacks, Ball mentioned an article in The Washington Post that reported ISIS captives were waterboarded. She then asked MSNBC terrorism analyst Evan Kohlmann what he thought about this news. [MP3 audio here; Video below]

By Tom Blumer | August 29, 2014 | 1:06 PM EDT

Politico's Josh Gerstein was in top keister-covering mode last night in dealing with President Barack Obama's latest stated indication that U.S. foreign policy is adrift.

To him, the President's admission that “We don’t have a strategy yet” was just an "awkward choice of words" and an "inartful phrase." (By the way, over six years after after one of Obama's flaks first used it to defend the then-candidate's flip-flop on DC's strict gun ban, something he originally believed was constitutional until the Supreme Court's ruling in the Heller decision, "inartful" is still not a recognized word. Yet its use continues to spread.) Excerpts from Gerstein's grief-stricken groaner follow the jump (bolds and numbered tags are mine):

By Curtis Houck | August 29, 2014 | 12:50 PM EDT

On Friday morning, the major broadcast networks were out in full force to defend President Obama after his remarks at a press conference Thursday afternoon in which he said that “we don’t have a strategy yet” in how to militarily address the Islamic terrorist group ISIS in Syria.

Leading the way was NBC’s Today, where co-host Matt Lauer told NBC News political director and moderator of Meet the Press Chuck Todd that “[c]ritics pounced” when Obama made that remark and wondered if they took “his words too literally.” [MP3 audio here; Video below]

By Mark Finkelstein | August 29, 2014 | 9:17 AM EDT

Alexander the Great.  Stonewall Jackson. George S. Patton. To this list of some of history's greatest military strategists, a new name must be added: that of Barack Obama.  That is, if you agree with Joe Scarborough's take on President Obama's statement at yesterday's press conference that "we don't have a strategy yet" regarding possible attacks on ISIS in Syria.

According to Scarborough, speaking on today's Morning Joe, President Obama's "no strategy" statement was "straight out of The Art of War where when you were weak, you make your enemies think you were strong. When you were strong, you make your enemies think you were weak." It's what Scarborough would have done, he told viewers, if he were president. When Sam Stein said that he couldn't tell if Joe was joking, Scarborough assured him: "I'm serious. Dead serious . . . I am dead serious.  I am not joking."  View the video after the jump.

By Tom Blumer | August 29, 2014 | 12:29 AM EDT

On Thursday, an impatient Terry Moran at ABC News tweeted the following (HT Twitchy): "Say it: Russia has invaded Ukraine. Any other description is just weasel words."

Clearly, both President Obama and the folks at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, haven't been sympathetic to Moran's plea, instead opting for "weasel words." Obama, when directly asked if he "considered today's escalation in Ukraine an invasion," wouldn't characterize it with that word. At AP, a trio of reporters — Dalton Bennett, Jim Heintz, and Raf Casert — also labored mightily to follow their president's lead in avoiding the "I-word" in a late Thursday story (bolds are mine):

By Tom Blumer | August 28, 2014 | 11:03 PM EDT

I struggle to come up with a reason, other than an irresponsible attempt to minimize the impact of the horror, why the headline at a Thursday evening Associated Press story by Zeina Karam and Ryan Lucas about "more than 160 Syrian government troops" massacred by ISIS is "JIHADISTS KILL DOZENS OF CAPTURED SYRIAN SOLDIERS."

But that's how the wire service is presenting it:

By Tom Blumer | August 28, 2014 | 9:31 PM EDT

On Wednesday night, Megyn Kelly, perhaps the best host on the air today at adapting and responding to new information, did a double-take when Fox News White House correspondent Ed Henry told her that President Obama would be traveling to Rhode Island on Friday for a Democratic Party fundraiser.

Having been so informed, she then made those plans the first topic of discussion with each of her next two guests: Marc Thiessen of the American Enterprise Institute and Democratic Pary strategist Penny Lee. Along the way, it because obvious that White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest's claim that the administration has "a comprehensive strategy" for dealing with ISIS is a load of rubbish. Video and transcribed highlights follow the jump (HT Fox News Insider via The Blaze and Mediaite):

By Curtis Houck | August 28, 2014 | 4:00 PM EDT

As reported on Tuesday night, two of the three major broadcast networks covered a new report from the Office of the Inspector General at the Department of Veterans Affairs on the scandal-ridden agency and its Phoenix VA hospital that led to a nationwide investigation of delayed wait times and secret waiting lists. 

While the coverage was mixed with ABC’s World News with Diane Sawyer completely omitting the story, the coverage in print and online sources such as Politico, the Associated Press, and The Washington Post completely missed the boat.

By Curtis Houck | August 26, 2014 | 9:35 PM EDT

On Tuesday evening, NBC Nightly News offered a soft news brief on the scandal-ridden Veterans Affairs (VA) Administration by promoting President Barack Obama’s calls that the VA’s many issues will be fixed on his watch. In addition, substitute anchor Lestor Holt made quick mention of an inspector general’s report that the actions of the agency in delays in veterans waiting for care did not result in any veteran’s death. 

What NBC Nightly News failed to mention in their one-sided report was that skepticism surrounding the VA remains as both widows of veterans who died awaiting care and one of the whistle-blowers who brought the problems at the VA to light are publically raising doubts about the report’s findings. [MP3 audio here; Video below]

By Tom Blumer | August 22, 2014 | 1:39 PM EDT

The press never let George W. Bush forget about that "Mission Accomplished" banner on the USS Abraham Lincoln after Saddam Hussein was overthrown and his government's military was routed in Iraq. They often pretend that Bush said it, or adopted it. He did no such thing, saying only that “Our mission continues.”

So while the press has come close to making a claim Bush 43 never made an article of faith, it is virtually ignoring something current U.S. President Barack Obama actually said, namely that, concerning ISIS, "The analogy we use around here sometimes, and I think is accurate, is if a jayvee team puts on Lakers uniforms that doesn’t make them Kobe Bryant." Kristina Wong at the Hill is a rare exception. She reminded readers of what Obama said in January as she reported Thursday on how the nation's defense secretary and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff completely disagree (bolds are mine):

By Laura Flint | August 15, 2014 | 10:05 AM EDT

Ronan Farrow is at it again. On the August 14 edition of Ronan Farrow Daily, MSNBC’s favorite Hillary Clinton prodigy tried to blame the outfitting of local police departments with military-style gear, as exemplified in the police reaction to the recent racially charged protests in Ferguson, Missouri, on evil “defense contractors.” He asked his guest Radley Balko, author Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America’s Police Forces “how much of” the militarization of police “is due to defense contractors profiting off of this ability legislatively of the Defense Department to purchase to the point of surplus?”

Earlier Balko explained that President Reagan “off the cuff, instructed the Pentagon to start making surplus military equipment available to police departments across the country.” He added it was not until the 1990's, and the institution of section 1033 of the National Defense Authorization Act that the “transfer to Federal and State agencies personal property of the Department of Defense, including small arms and ammunition” to local police forces to aid in fighting the War on Drugs became official policy. [See video below. Click here for MP3 audio]