In an interview with the Fox News host on Friday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer wondered if "President Bill O'Reilly" would have made the Bowe Bergdahl prisoner exchange with the Taliban. O'Reilly replied: "I would not make the deal....These are not prisoners of war, these Taliban guys, they're war criminals. We ran down last night the atrocities that the Taliban has committed over the past ten years, and it's horrifying." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Lauer followed up: "Do you think the administration either didn't see the reaction coming or misread the reaction?" O'Reilly responded: "It's such a mystery that they wouldn't know. First of all, President Obama knows what Bergdahl did because there's a classified report on the guy....They already know what he did, and it's not good."
Appearing on Thursday's MSNBC Andrea Mitchell Reports, Bloomberg News reporter Jeanne Cummings asserted that the highly controversial Bowe Bergdahl prisoner exchange – which an overwhelming majority of Americans feel has endangered the lives of U.S. soldiers – would have no negative political impact on Democrats in November's midterm elections. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Asked if the deal with the Taliban would affect the elections, Cummings declared: "Generally, no. It's a bipartisan reaction....I don't think this is going to last very long unless Congress comes up with better arguments than, 'We really hated the Rose Garden ceremony.' That compared to bringing a soldier back, for the American public, I don't think they weight together."
UPDATE, 4:40 p.m.: Friedman has partially scrubbed his Twitter bio. His Tumblr bio linked in this post remains — for now.
Late last night, Brandon Friedman, the Obama administration’s Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs at the Department of Housing and Urban Development, unleashed a furious five-tweet barrage attacking those who dare to question whether Bowe Bergdahl served "with honor and distinction" (National Security Advisor Susan Rice's words on ABC's "This Week" on Sunday).
Friedman's tweets would already be headline news in the establishment press if an official in a Republican or conservative administration published what readers are about to see. He saved his strongest venom, couched in a question, for Bergdahl's fellow soldiers — apparently including the ones who died trying to retrieve him — after Bergdahl left his unit (HT Gateway Pundit via Hot Air):
Q. When it comes to the release of five of the worst of the worst Gitmo detainees, what does Eugene Robinson know that the Pentagon doesn't? A. That President Obama must be defended at all costs and in every circumstance.
How else to explain his mind-boggling claim on today's Morning Joe that the impact on the war of the release of five senior Taliban officials would likely be "negligible." Incredibly, Robinson was only willing to put "senior" in skeptical air quotes [see screengrab after jump]. The WaPo columnist's claim sparked controlled outrage from Joe Scarborough, and energetic disagreement even from former Obama car czar Steve Rattner. View the video after the jump.
Death Penalty Month at anncoulter.com has already been interrupted by the psycho in Santa Barbara, and now it's being interrupted by the Buddhist in Bagram.
Keeping to the spirit of Death Penalty Month, let's review the execution of Pvt. Eddie Slovik. Slovik's offense: desertion in wartime. (See the tie-in?) Unlike Bowe Bergdahl, who deserted his unit, according to the accounts of his comrades, Slovik never actually deserted. He also didn't call America a "disgusting" country or say he was "ashamed to be an American." Slovik was just a chicken.
Politico Magazine Deputy Editor Blake Hounshell has made a fool of himself yet again. Three months ago, Hounshell grudgingly and bitterly had to acknowledge that former Alaska Governor and former vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin was right — and he was wrong — when she predicted in 2008 that Barack Obama's weakness might cause Russia's Vladimir Putin to calculate that he could invade Ukraine without suffering meaningful consequences. That's what happened in Crimea. Hounshell characterized Palin's contention at the time as "an extremely far-fetched scenario."
In late April, he tried to claim that no one "credible" or "authoritative" had shown that the White House had knowingly pushed a false Benghazi narrative — just as award-winning reporter Sharyl Attkisson was proving otherwise. Then in a tweet Monday evening, he petulantly questioned why everyone's so concerned about the five hardened Taliban terrorists freed from Guantanamo Bay in exchange for Bowe Bergdahl (HT Twitchy):
Five years ago, I publicly raised questions about Bowe Bergdahl's desertion from Blackfoot Company, 1-501 Infantry (Airborne), 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division.
A few weeks after his so-called "capture" in late June 2009, three conflicting accounts surfaced: U.S. officials told the Associated Press Bergdahl had "walked off" the base with three Afghans; the Taliban claimed on its website that "a drunken American soldier had come out of his garrison" and into their arms; and Bergdahl claimed in his Taliban "hostage video" that he had "lagged behind a patrol" before being captured. I asked on my blog: Were the AP's sources mistaken? Or is the disturbing first account the right one? What about the "three Afghans" Pfc. Bergdahl reportedly "just walked off" with after his shift? Who are they? What's going on?
Appearing on Wednesday's Andrea Mitchell Reports on MSNBC, NBC Pentagon correspondent Jim Miklaszewski offered a blunt response to the notion that the White House was "taken aback" by the controversy swirling around the Bowe Bergdahl prisoner exchange: "I think if anybody at the White House would have done "Google: Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl," it would have jumped right up at them. There's no explanation for why they didn't know this." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Such critical analysis was prompted by host Andrea Mitchell wondering: "Were they [at the Pentagon] at least, were they somewhat taken aback, as the White House was, by the controversy that erupted over this?" Miklaszewski replied: "Not at all....senior defense and military officials were aware from the very beginning, shortly after he was – disappeared from his base five years ago, that this was a controversial issue. That soldiers were upset that one of their own would abandon their post in a war zone..."
Chuck Todd, NBC News Chief White House Correspondent, Political Director, and host of MSNBC’s The Daily Rundown, has been doing his best serving as White House stenographer as of late.
Appearing on MSNBC’s Morning Joe on Wednesday, June 4, Todd played up the White House’s justification for releasing five dangerous Taliban prisoners and argued “At some point you’ve got to do something with these folks. And these Taliban leaders they emphasize, have no American blood on their hands, at least as far as they know.” [See video below.]
Euphoria over the Taliban's release of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl was quickly tempered by media reports that Bergdahl had abandoned his post and that his father made comments opposing the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Bergdahl's father tweeted, "I am still working to free all Guantanamo prisoners. God will repay for the death of every Afghan child."
Does that include those children killed while being used as human shields by the Taliban? Where is Bergdahl's concern for women who die from "honor killings" and for girls who are denied an education?
It did not take long for MSNBC to begin blaming the right-wing “anti-Obama machine” for the backlash against the Bergdahl prisoner swap. Intent on ignoring their own poll in which 65% of respondents didn’t support Obama’s decision to make the exchange, the June 3 edition of The Last Word With Lawrence O’Donnell went above and beyond in criticizing Republicans for “swiftboating” Bergdahl.
After airing multiple clips from Fox News, host Ari Melber, filling in for O’Donnell, went so far as to claim that “many of the loudest voices here on the Right today remain utterly uninterested in any of the questions, and are instead obsessed with hurling any accusation that might, just might, stick to this particular president.” He accused Republican strategists of manipulating Bergdahl’s platoon members for testimony discrediting Bergdahl, an outrageous claim considering these veterans came forward of their own accord and even created a Facebook group labeling the Bergdahl as a deserter. [See video below. Click here for audio]
Far too many journalists in the Washington-Gotham axis believe that any criticism of President Barack Obama must have its roots in cynical right-wing political opportunism and nothing else. At Bloomberg News, in a dispatch time-stamped June 4 at midnight, reporters David Lerman and Kathleen Hunter regaled readers with how the "Taliban Release Gives Republicans Fuel Beyond Benghazi." Some Democrats' concerns about Obama's actions in the freeing of Bowe Bergdahl were already known, including substantive issues of national security. But the Bloomberg pair limited the scope of Obama's problem with Dems to notification, while contending that "the demands for more information have come mostly from Republicans, some of whom already have declared their opposition to a deal whose details have yet to be fully disclosed."
The left-leaning New York Daily News also didn't get the memo that any criticism of Obama can only come from the right.
Acting as a stenographer on Wednesday's NBC Today, chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd parroted the Obama administration's new attack against critics of the Bowe Bergdahl prisoner exchange: "They did not expect this backlash on Bergdahl himself. I've had a few aides describe it to me as, 'We didn't know that they were going to swift boat Bergdahl'....a reference to that political fight back in 2004 over John Kerry's military service that became so controversial in that campaign. So there's some fighting words there." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
The outrageous talking point was prompted by co-host Matt Lauer wondering: "Did the White House truly think this was just going to be a celebratory moment, the release of Sergeant Bergdahl? Did they not see any of this backlash coming? Were they caught flat-footed?"
Psst: David Gregory! You can stop auditioning to fill Jay Carney's White House spokesman spot. President Obama has already appointed someone else. Given his rotten Meet The Press ratings, it's understandable that Gregory would be prospecting for his next position. Even so, his performance on today's Morning Joe was pitiable.
With even liberals like Mika Brzezinski, Donny Deutsch and John Heilemann dumping on the Bergdahl deal, there was Gregory as President Obama's lone defender. Thus: Dianne Feinstein has criticized the lack of consultation? Meh: she's been critical of the Obama admin on other things. And twice Gregory made the argument that Commanders-in-Chief, whatever the circumstances, just don't leave soldiers on the battlefield. That was too much even for Heilemann, who argued that there are limits to what a C-in-C should do, particularly when the soldier in question might have been a deserter. View the video after the jump.
For evidence that no one looking for objective reporting should seriously consider reading output from the Politico, look no further than the 5,900-word puff piece propagated by Carrie Budoff Brown and Jennifer Epstein on Sunday.
Their "Special Report: The Obama Paradox" told readers what that President Obama supposedly "recognizes that he is less in control of the Washington agenda than ever in his presidency — a reality that has left him deeply frustrated at times." Meanwhile, the EPA is going wild with carbon regs in the name of the "climate change" hoax, federal regulators are harassing banks and their customers who operating legal businesses in Operation Choke Point, and immigration policy has been unilaterally hijacked. And in a final irony, as the Politico pair were putting their handiwork to bed, Obama was conducting a prisoner swap — one soldier whose loyalties are questionable for five hardened terrorists — while violating a law requiring him to notify Congress of what he was going. "Less in control" my foot. Instead, we are seeing ever-expanding usurpation of authority by Obama and his executive branch.
It's not scientific, of course, but a reader poll at the bottom of an MSNBC.com piece headlined "Is Bowe Bergdahl the GOP’s new Benghazi?" seems to indicate that not even fans of the Lean Forward network are falling for the network's absurd pro-Obama spin on the prisoner swap.
By a nearly 2-to-1 margin (65 percent), readers answered "no" to the poll question, "Do you support Obama’s decision to release 5 Taliban prisoners in exchange for Bergdahl?" You can see thescreen capture taken at 9:09 p.m. Eastern below the page break
On his June 3 Hardball program, MSNBC's Chris Matthews expressed his disapproval of the president having broken federal law in the process of securing Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl's release in exchange for transferring five high-level Taliban detainees from Guantanamo Bay to Qatari government custody.
Of course, it took a liberal Democrat, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) complaining about the matter to register with Matthews as a problem for the president, but all the same, the Hardball host seemed angry that President Obama violated a law which he signed into effect. The relevant transcript appears below the page break [emphasis mine; Listen to the MP3 audio here or watch the video below the page break]:
Responding to the evolving Taliban prisoner-swap story, Politico’s Roger Simon suggested on MSNBC’s NewsNation program that Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl’s fellow soldiers had faulty memories on the details of Bergdahl’s disappearance and that we should not “take as absolute legal fact five-year old memories from people who served with Bergdahl under circumstances of great stress.”
In further defending President Obama’s five-for-one prisoner swap, the liberal columnist insisted there would be “little public appetite” for the wheels of military justice to grind through an investigation and possible court martial for Bergdahl. Fortunately for viewers, host Tamron Hall also had NBC military analyst Barry McCaffrey on at the same time to offer his rebuttal. The former Clinton administration drug czar strongly beat back the notion that this had anything to do with the memories of his comrades [MP3 audio here; video below]:
Establishment press outfits have an annoying and in my view fundamentally deceptive tendency to make the content of news reports disappear once they have been "updated" with new information. The Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, is one of this technique's most egregious practitioners.
There's really no good reason for this practice. Storage is cheap. But far more important, so is leaving tracks for the sake of the historical record. In the past 48 hours, AP has virtually deep-sixed a particularly damning incident involving Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel as he crowed in front of U.S. troops about Bowe Bergdahl's release.
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):