"President Obama reeling back the Bush administration's plans for a missile defense shield in Eastern Europe, instead opting for a new system he says is better equipped to fend off an Iranian threat," "Fast Money" host Melissa Lee said on her Sept. 17 show.
Somebody really needs to find the Associated Press's Martin Crutsinger some OCD therapy. It seems that he has a not-magnificent obsession with the two major theaters of the War on Terror (yeah, I still call it that), and that he seemingly won't be able to conquer it without outside intervention.
In his report on August's federal budget deficit, the AP reporter continued to cite the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as contributors to the increase in the federal budget deficit, when they are in fact virtually if not totally irrelevant. Additionally, he betrayed a critical misunderstanding of how the government has decided to account for "investments" the Treasury Department has made in many financial entities, General Motors, and Chrysler.
This is the third consecutive month for Crutsinger's war-connected crud:
If you rely only on the three major broadcast networks or one of the top major national papers as your news sources, the name "Van Jones" might prompt you to say,"Who?" But, while the media had difficulty reporting on Van Jones the embattled member of the Obama Administration, it had no such trouble covering Van Jones the anti-Iraq War protestor.
Jones, who was President Barack Obama's so-called "green jobs czar" resigned in the middle of the night on Sept. 6 - a Saturday night/Sunday morning on Labor Day weekend. He had for weeks been embroiled in controversy after revelations that he had signed a petition demanding an investigation into whether the 9/11 terrorist attacks were an inside job by the U.S. government, was a self-described communist and had publicly derided Republicans as "a**holes." But the story had gotten little coverage from the mainstream media.
Reacting to the Associated Press's decision to publish -- against a grieving father's wishes -- a photo of a mortally-wounded Marine, MRC President and NewsBusters Publisher Brent Bozell blasted the news wire in a statement today:
The Associated Press should be ashamed for even thinking something as preposterous as this. This photo will do nothing but cause great sorrow for the family of a hero. As the father of a Marine, I cannot imagine the pain they will endure because of its publication and the damage it will cause in their grief.
Way to go, AP. On the eve of the federal holiday dedicated to the American worker, you are causing pain for the family of a hero that has given the ultimate sacrifice of his life in labor for his country.
The AP defended its decision by insisting the decision came "after a period of reflection" and was done to convey "the grimness of war and the sacrifice of young men and women fighting it."
Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has also slammed the AP's decision, reports Mike Allen of The Politico:
As the national debate roils on about the proposed public option for health care and as newspapers face declining fortunes, one might think major newspaper editors would jump at the chance to front-page a story of government-run health care negligence.
Army veteran Juan Rivera reported to the veterans hospital in Miami for a routine colonoscopy in May 2008. Almost a year later, the 55-year-old father of two learned that the Department of Veterans Affairs had not properly sterilized the equipment used for the procedure.
If you were a reporter trying to gauge the credibility of Obama administration protests that it is really serious when it says that it will honor patient, doctor, and family treatment wishes in serious illness situations if the government takes an exponentially greater role in health care, you might look into how areas of health care already controlled by the government are dealing with these sensitive matters.
Apparently either no journalist has cared to look, or if anyone has looked, they haven't found anything they believe is worth reporting.
In today's Wall Street Journal, Jim Towey, a former director of the Bush White House's Office of Faith-Based Initiatives and founder of the nonprofit Aging with Dignity, found a troubling, newsworthy, death-encouraging decision that has already been made during Barack Obama's short term in office.
While some in the media have been dusting off their love beads, bell-bottoms and broomstick skirts in an effort to wax nostalgic about Woodstock, the VFW has reminded its members that the world did not stop for those four days in August 1969.
In fact, for 109 American soldiers, the world ended that weekend.
Much has been made over the "half a million strong" that flocked to a dairy farm in rural New York to celebrate music and peace. Richard K. Kolb instead compared the coverage Newsweek and Time gave to the festival while shortchanging American efforts in Vietnam.
So the latest GI Joe flick is creating controversy, because the character is no longer portrayed as a typical American soldier. Instead he’s part of some elite murky force of international fighters - a Benetton ad with rocket launchers. On MSNBC, Donny Deutsch tried to take John J. Miller to task over his objections to the change – pointing out that the shift from an iconic American character to a mushy international delight is a “business” decision. For the movie to make money internationally, Donny thinks the character has to become part of global task force of community organizers. To this, I say, “Fiddle faddle,” which is short for “Silly stupid fiddle faddle.”
I wrote about this two years ago, just when Hasbro and Paramount execs decided to give GI Joe a makeover. Back then they felt the world would be too pissed at us for getting rid of Saddam Hussein to go see a movie about an American hero. As it turns out, they were wrong - the backlash over Saddam’s death had less impact than Norman Fell’s.
But for a moment, let’s attempt to use Donny’s logic on other flicks.
It's been a long time since MSNBC could pretend to be anything but a shill for liberal politicians, policies and causes. Any remaining doubts about that can be dispelled by surveying the network's recent coverage of the controversy over gays in the military.
Cable news' self-described "place for politics" covered the U.S. military's "don't ask, don't tell" administrative policy six different times between July 27 and July 29. Opponents of the current policy were able to state their case unchallenged, while network anchors made it clear that they were themselves in favor of allowing openly homosexual men and women to serve in the armed forces. Not one defender of the current policy appeared in any of the conversations about "don't ask, don't tell."
Conversations about the policy, which bans openly gay men and women from serving in the military, were keyed around the actions of Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Penn., and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y. Murphy, the first Iraq war veteran to serve in Congress, kicked-off a seven city tour sponsored by the gay rights' activist group Human Rights Campaign to increase public support for his bill that seeks to allow homosexuals to serve in the armed forces. Gillibrand announced that the Senate Armed Services committee agreed to hold a hearing on the policy in the fall, the first since 1993, when former President Bill Clinton instituted the policy as a compromise.
Over at Media Bistro, we find an odd story that has it all: foul language, boorish behavior, sexual harassment, a male U.S. Navy officer, and a female journalist. Only the story isn’t what you might think it would be considering the ingredients. In this case it is the naval officer filing a complaint against the female reporter for sexual harassment.
Media Bistro has learned that US Navy Commander Jeffrey D. Gordon has filed a sexual harassment complaint against the Miami Herald's Carol Rosenberg with Gordon claiming that Rosenberg made comments about Gordon’s “sexual orientation,” repeatedly showered foul language upon him, and made comments of a sexual nature to him in the presence of others.
Once again Barack Obama waded into territory of which he has no knowledge: American history. Not only did he say during a TV interview that he doesn’t want “victory” in Afghanistan -- because victory is apparently too harsh for the losers -- but he used an example from WWII that never even happened to justify his touchy feely ideas on warfare. So will anyone in the Old Media even realize that the president’s historical example was a muff-up of real history? Will the Old Media make fun of him for his obvious lack of knowledge of our own history?
Let’s try a thought experiment, shall we? When I say “victory,” what do you think of? Do you think of winning the World Series? Do you picture that famous photo of the U.S. Sailor kissing the pretty girl in Time Square as WWII ended? Do you just imagine “winning” at whatever contest is at hand?
Perhaps inadvertently, the text of the Associated Press's earliest video coverage (scroll down the right frame at the link) of Walter Cronkite's death would appear to say a lot about how journalists see themselves -- and it's not as objective communicators of what is occurring in the world:
Cronkite: "Hello, I'm Walter Cronkite."
AP's Diane Kepler, narrator: He was the most trusted man in America.
Cronkite (November 22, 1963): From Dallas, Texas, the flash apparently official. President Kennedy died at 1PM Central Standard Time, 2 o'clock Eastern Standard Time, some 38 minutes ago.
DK: Walter Cronkite, for many the quintessential TV journalist, has died. For most Americans he was the man to turn to on everything from the assassination of President Kennedy to what to think about the war in Vietnam.
In his report's apparent final incarnation early Tuesday morning, the AP writer:
Told us the amount of June's deficit ($94.3 billion), but didn't disclose the figures for June's receipts ($215.4 billion) or "outlays" ($309.7 billion), or how they compared to June of last year. In doing so, he "succeeded" in concealing the accelerating decline in tax collections.
Didn't tell us that the past month's deficit is by far the worst June ever.
"Forgot," as he did in May, to tell readers that the deficit would be hundreds of billions of dollars higher if it weren't for an "accounting change" retroactively put into place by Treasury in April that changed the definition of "outlays."
Cited the Iraq and Afghanistan wars as contributors to the deficit situation, while not identifying several other expenditure categories that have been worse offenders by far.
Found an economist, without dissent, to support the claim that what the Obama administration has done had to be done.
And that doesn't even count Crutsinger's Krugmanesque rewrites of the history of the 1930s Depression era and 1990s Japan, or the apparatchik-like tone present in a few of his paragraphs.
CBS’s “Sunday Morning” yesterday aired a remarkable segment that broadsided the national media for refusing to give our nation’s fallen soldiers the attention they deserve. Martha Gillis offered an uninterrupted, 3-minute monologue sharing the pain of losing her nephew, 1st Lt. Brian Bradshaw, who was killed on June 25 by an IED in Afghanistan. Gillis faulted the media for its virtual non-coverage, which, as NewsBusters reported last week, amounted to just 1/20th the broadcast network evening newscast airtime given to Michael Jackson's death.
In a statement released today, Media Research Center President Brent Bozell applauded CBS for the tribute (click here to view it online):
Congratulations to CBS News. This is nothing short of remarkably candid journalism. The raw emotion of 1st Lt. Bradshaw’s aunt Martha Gillis is heartbreaking. It moves the audience to see undue suffering – caused by the media – for a family that has already been crushed by the death of one of their young.
Last Tuesday, NewsBusters Editor-at-Large Brent Baker noted that seven soldiers who had been killed the week prior in Afghanistan received just 1/20th of the evening newscast time that ABC, CBS, and NBC devoted to the passing of pop star Michael Jackson.
The same day, NewsBusters Publisher and Media Research Center President Brent Bozell slammed the broadcast networks in a statement: "There is no justification for determining that the death of a celebrity over a week ago merits 20 times more news coverage than the tragic deaths of American soldiers in Afghanistan."
Perhaps in some measure reacting to the criticism, CBS's "Sunday Morning" program yesterday aired a nearly 3-minute-long opinion segment featuring Martha Gillis, whose nephew, 1st Lt. Brian Bradshaw, was killed on June 25 in Afghanistan.
In the video, Gillis criticized the media for its lack of coverage [audio available here]:
Call it "Yankee Imperialist Corrupts Impressionable Iraqi Youth":
Am I supposed to believe that USA Today had no other more relevant pictures they could have used? The fact that they went back to an AP file photo from 2007 is pretty strong evidence that USAT's page-fillers were looking to make a point.
One has to wonder if working for the Washington Post fits the Obama definition of a "shovel-ready" job given the paper's penchant for burying the lede.
Deep within his July 9-filed story "Protesters Clash With Police in Iran," Washington Post Foreign Service correspondent Thomas Erdbrink noted a very interesting development bearing implications on the Obama administration's foreign policy regarding Iran and handling of the global war on terror.
The last six paragraphs of Erdbrink's 18-paragraph story -- which ran in the July 10 print edition on page A12 -- note how the theocratic regime in Tehran praised the Obama administration for its relative silence on the Iranian election aftermath just one day before the U.S. government released Iranian detainees captured two years ago in Iraq (emphasis mine):
Wednesday’s Situation Room program on CNN devoted nearly three times as much time to clips from advocates of overturning the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy than the one sound bite from a proponent of keeping the policy. The two advocates- Democratic Representative Patrick Murphy and a female Iraq war veteran had 33 seconds of air time, compared to the 12 seconds from a conservative spokesman.
Correspondent Chris Lawrence’s report, which aired 38 minutes into the 4 pm Eastern hour of the CNN program, focused on a tour led Rep. Murphy to overturn “don’t ask, don’t tell,” which is “targeting districts where military families live, trying to drum up enough popular support to get the needed votes in Congress” to repeal the policy. After playing the 12 second sound bite from the Democrat, Lawrence featured the first clip from Staff Sargent Genevieve Chase, an Iraq war veteran, who is among the tour’s “straight soldiers and veterans” who are trying to “reach other troops and their families.”
Army 1st Lt. Brian N. Bradshaw was killed in Afghanistan, fighting in a war to protect all Americans, the same day that Michael Jackson died, prompting a letter to the Washington Post, which the paper published on Sunday, from Bradshaw's aunt, Martha Gillis, who scolded media priorities:
My nephew, Brian Bradshaw, was killed by an explosive device in Afghanistan on June 25, the same day that Michael Jackson died. Mr. Jackson received days of wall-to-wall coverage in the media. Where was the coverage of my nephew or the other soldiers who died that week? There were several of them, and our family crossed paths with the family of another fallen soldier at Dover Air Force Base, where the bodies come “home.” Only the media in Brian's hometown [in Washington State] and where he was stationed before his deployment [Alaska] covered his death.
In the letter the Post headlined, “A Life of Worth, Overlooked,” Gillis, a resident of the Washington, DC suburb of Springfield, Virginia, fondly recalled: “He had old-fashioned values and believed that military service was patriotic and that actions counted more than talk. He wasn't much for talking, although he could communicate volumes with a raised eyebrow.”
[Update, 8 pm Eastern: Screen capture, video link to interview added.]
CNN anchor Kyra Phillips sympathized with an outed homosexual army officer on Tuesday’s Newsroom program. Phillips questioned Lt. Colonel Victor Fehrenbach about his recent meeting with President Obama, and asked, “What else did you tell him, because I know this has weighed heavily on your heart for a very long time....What did he tell you that gives you...hope...that he is going to get rid of this?” [video of interview available here]
The anchor’s interview with Fehrenbach occurred a day after he attended a “celebrating LGBT Pride Month” event at the White House. He was the guest of the homosexual activist group the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, which presses for the repeal of the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy (as Rachel Maddow announced on her MSNBC show a week earlier), and is promoting a petition on the lieutenant colonel’s behalf. After noting the officer’s career and “nine medals for bravery as a combat pilot,” Phillips began with an enthusiastic question: “So there you were- every chance to say everything you ever wanted...to the president about the situation that you are fighting for, which is your job, and to get rid of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’ How did you make your way to the president for a one-on-one?”
In their watchdog role of keeping the public informed, the New York Times has over the years disclosed government secrets regarding anti-terrorism tactics, overseas prisons, interrogation tactics, and military tactics, that critics contend have harmed the effectiveness of the programs and put America and our military at greater risk.
In fact, in 2008, the Times even published the name of an interrogator who got Khalid Shaikh Mohammed to talk, against the wishes of the interrogator’s lawyer and the CIA. The interrogator and his family fear for their lives, but that’s okay, because the public has a right to know.
So when Times journalist David Rohde was captured by the Taliban and held for seven months, the Times was going to report that, right? After all, doesn’t the public have a right to know about the threats they may face while traveling in Afghanistan?
As it turns out, the New York Times doesn’t think we do.
Walsh's grave transgression: calling the senator, "ma'am." For that, the "Hardball" host treated Walsh as part of the day's "political sideshow," literally, in his June 18 program:
Sen. BARBARA BOXER: Do me a favor. Could you say, "Senator," instead of "Ma'am"? It's just a thing. I worked so hard to get that title. So I'd appreciate it. Yes, thank you.
Brig. Gen. WALSH: Yes, Senator.
CHRIS MATTHEWS: She sure did, she's been elected three times, by the way. So I guess the question is this: Had he said "sir" to a male senator, would that senator be correct in correcting the general? There is a history, however, and let us not forget, of male-female condescension in the U.S. Senate. Just recall the Anita Hill testimony of not too long ago.
Anchor Rick Sanchez used another crazed gunman’s rampage to blast conservative media during CNN’s Newsroom program on Thursday, and brought on Media Matters’ Eric Boehlert as his aide to bash talk radio and Fox News. He hinted that the white supremacist who killed a guard at the U.S. Holocaust Museum, might have been “motivated to move by right-wing pronouncements...on some TV and radio outlets.”
Sanchez began his panel discussion with Boehlert and Accuracy in Media’s Roger Aronoff at the end of the 3 pm Eastern hour of the CNN program with his indicting line of questioning against conservative radio and TV: “Was there a tone in this country that was actually started with the election of our first black president that is bringing the crazies out of the woodwork, and are they being motivated to move by right-wing pronouncements, like he’s dangerous- he’s a socialist- he’s a Muslim, and he isn’t even a U.S. citizen? This is what we hear on some TV and radio outlets.”
After introducing his two guests, the CNN anchor let the left-wing partisan Boehlert “start with the premise” which, of course, echoed the preceding introduction: “I don’t think there’s any doubt since Barack Obama’s been elected, there’s been a complete unhinged reaction from the conservative movement in America, and sort of this vigilante and- and militia-style rhetoric has become a cornerstone of the movement, and certainly of conservative media.”
On his FNC show Wednesday night, Bret Baier looked at how the murder of an abortion doctor on Sunday has earned much more media attention than Monday's murder by a politically-motivated killer of a serviceman in Arkansas, a disparity matched by the condemnation of the first killing by an Obama administration which has ignored the second. Baier reported:
In the media, [George] Tiller was a top story for almost three days. Several liberal analysts blamed pro-life groups for inciting the murder [video from MSNBC]. In contrast, there has been relatively little coverage about the killing of Army Private William Long and the wounding of Private Quinton Ezeagwula outside the recruiting center in Little Rock, despite the fact that the alleged shooter was a convert to Islam who police say probably had political and religious motives for the attack.
After outlining how the Obama administration has failed to condemn the murder of the Army private, Baier related how “conservative media analyst Brent Bozell says the different responses come down to politics.” Viewers then heard this soundbite from the President of the Media Research Center: “Politics dictated that they be outspoken on the murder of Doctor Tiller, but be silent when American servicemen are gunned down.” [audio available here]
The networks, which saw the apparently politically-motivated murder of a Kansas doctor who performed late term abortions as a major story, haven't been so interested in a Muslim convert who specifically targeted and shot two Army privates outside a Little Rock recruiting office, killing one, William Long. None mentioned it on Monday night and on Tuesday evening, as all aired follow-up pieces on Dr. George Tiller, only NBC gave it a few seconds.
A Tuesday Arkansas Democrat-Gazette post reported Abdul Hakim Muhammad was “on a mission to 'kill as many people in the Army as he could,' police said” and targeted the “soldiers 'because of what they had done to Muslims in the past.'” (The Little Rock paper noted both victims “had recently completed basic training and had never seen combat.”)
Tuesday's "Today" show completely ignored two facts about a man who murdered a soldier at an Army recruiting station in Arkansas: He had just converted to Islam and was being investigated by the FBI for a trip to Yemen. Instead, NBC's Ann Curry, in anchor briefs throughout the show, vaguely explained that Abdulhakim Muhammad was "upset with the military." Both ABC and CBS mentioned the conversion and the Yemen trip.
In the 8am hour, Curry confirmed, "Police say the suspect had political and religious motives." (What kind? She didn't say.) The reporter did note that the alleged shooter would be charged "with an act of terrorism," but the rest of her comments were so vague as to be confusing. (The network journalist also never used the individual's name.) "Good Morning America" reporter Pierre Thomas, however, very clearly defined the situation. He pointed out that police say Muhammad is "a Muslim convert" and "was specifically hunting U.S. soldiers." Thomas added, "Sources tell us Muhammad had traveled to Yemen and had been arrested for allegedly carrying a fake Somali passport. Both countries are considered hotbeds of al Qaeda-inspired radical Islam."
Those of us seeking truth in reporting, especially the inconvenient truths about a Democratic presidential administration, are re-learning the lessons of the Clinton Era:
First, that the "newspapers of record," the Associated Press, and the major TV networks (except Fox) are usually the last places you want to go to learn what's really going on, and the first place to visit if you want a rendition of the Democratic-left wing party line.
Second, that some of the best reporting and fact-checking can be found in editorials at the Wall Street Journal and Investors Business Daily.
Third, that the many of the British papers will dig up and expose administration-embarrassing news most of America's newsprint apparatchiks will bury if they find them, and ignore if they can.
In 2009, there is a fourth lesson, which is that much of the investigative reporting vacuum created by the establishment media is being filled by the center-right blogosphere.
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs is very upset that Lesson Three is again in force, and made his displeasure known (HT Politico) in reaction to a UK Telegraph report alleging that photos from the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq "include images of apparent rape and sexual abuse":
CNN anchor Rick Sanchez and Dallas Morning News political writer Wayne Slater agreed on Tuesday’s Newsroom program that former President George W. Bush appeared to be “controlled by a bunch of bullies,” or that he was “presiding over a reign of bullies, with [Dick] Cheney and [Donald] Rumsfeld and Karl Rove pushing a partisan agenda.” Later, as President Obama was getting ready to speak at a meeting with small business owners, Slater sought to correct the conservative critics of the administration’s economic policy: “You have the right wing pounding on him day after day for the...bail-outs...a liberal, a socialist -- and yet, here you have a guy who really is tracking a fairly moderate line.”
Sanchez first had the Dallas Morning News writer on just after the bottom half of the 3 pm Eastern hour of the CNN program to discuss a recent article in GQ magazine which alleged that former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld “held up military aid to New Orleans in the days after Hurricane Katrina.” The CNN anchor first asked, “Why would Donald Rumsfeld not want to help the people of New Orleans in this situation, given that he had his finger on the military relief?”
On Friday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Julie Chen read some viewer email, including a question from one woman who asked: "Would you be willing to jeopardize your job to report something your bosses or the government wanted to keep hidden?" Co-host Harry Smith used the question as an opportunity to voice his opposition to the Iraq war:
You know, I remember being in Iraq before the war started, we were there just a couple of -- a couple of weeks before the war started and it came, it was really, really clear to me on the ground that this didn't make any sense. And I remember coming back, but there was all this sort of preponderance of opinion that this -- this thing should go on. And I kept thinking to myself, 'this doesn't -- there's -- I'm not connecting the dots everybody else is connecting.' And if I have a regret in my reporting life that I didn't stand up then and say, 'this doesn't make any sense.'
On Friday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith took a critical tone against the Obama administration’s decision to reinstate military tribunals for terror suspects: "President Obama will resume the controversial military tribunals for some terror suspects." Smith later discussed the decision with John Dickerson from Slate.com and wondered what the hard left would think: "Let's talk about this decision by the Obama administration to go ahead and have tribunals for some of these terror suspects. The whole part of the -- a huge part of Obama's campaign was repudiation of this Bush policy in Guantanamo. What are Obama's supporters going to think of this decision this morning?"
Dickerson responded by attempting to explain that the decision was not a reversal by Obama: "Well, they have a lot of reason to be upset with him for a variety of decisions he's made recently. But Obama always said that he would take a look at these tribunals...He never said he would do away with them completely...So they will probably be upset. They would like the President to do away with the tribunals altogether. But in terms of matching what he's done now with his previous statements, he's still in line with what he said before."