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."
While both ABC’s Good Morning America and NBC’s Today on Thursday covered President Obama’s decision to block the public release of photos depicting prisoner abuse under U.S. custody, CBS’s Early Show failed to make any mention of the dramatic reversal by the White House.
On Wednesday, CBS senior White House correspondent Bill Plante asked Press Secretary Robert Gibbs about the President’s decision and he later reported the story on the CBS Evening News, explaining: "The ACLU, which sued for release of the pictures, said the President's decision flies in the face of his promise of transparent government." A clip of Jameel Jaffer of the ACLU was played: "So if you accept the administration's logic, you'd really have to give the government wholesale censorship power and that's not something that we can accept and it's not something that the courts have accepted." Plante concluded: "Candidate Obama pushed for full disclosure. President Obama has decided that there are times when transparency is a tough call." However, when Plante was on the Early Show on Thursday, to discuss speculation of the President’s Supreme Court pick, the topic never came up.
Did you know that former vice president Dick Cheney is speaking out only because he is trying to protect his legacy? Well just in case you wondered about it Steven Hurst for the Associated Press wants to assure that he has read Cheney's mind and it's all settled. This is what passes for "analysis" at the AP.
The AP has also decided that Cheney speaking out causes "chagrin" in a GOP trying to "rebuild the tattered party." Additionally, he AP throws out that much bandied liberal canard that Cheney is dishonoring "protocol" by speaking out because, you see, former chief executives always remain silent about presidents that follow them. Right Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and Al Gore? Riiiight?
Oh, and one more thing: did you know that Cheney was "unpopular"? Well, just in case you forgot, the AP kindly reminds you. After reading this anti-Cheney attack piece, one wonders if the AP is now just letting White House flacks write its copy for it. It probably saves the AP some time, anyway.
I just cannot get behind this Star Trek rebirth. The whole thing is just so unrealistic. Not the warp speed or phasers or beaming about the universe - those are at least remotely plausible. I am talking about the fact that the starship Enterprise is composed entirely of officers and yet it still seems to function. Where are the non-commissioned officers (NCO), the petty officers and sergeants who actually make any military organization run? No, I can suspend disbelief over Klingons and tribbles, and I actively support the notion of green alien hotties. But the idea of a functioning military unit without sergeants is just a wormhole too far.
Hollywood movies often focus on the commanders, the captains and colonels, but they have also managed to highlight some great sergeants as well. When you are picking out DVDs for next weekend, remember that May 16th is Armed Forces Day and consider a few selections that show the sergeant in all his gruff and grumbling glory.
If you have never experienced the joy of going through basic training and do not plan to, your first stop should be Full Metal Jacket, with R. Lee Ermey’s legendary portrayal of a Marine drill instructor who must have missed out on the block of instruction on sensitivity. I saw this in the theater about a week before I reported to Basic. That was a poor idea.
In 2004, coalition forces in Iraq launched Operation Phantom Fury, the battle for control of Fallujah. American troops battled through a city of enemy insurgents, fighting house to house and street to street to seize control of the most dangerous city in the world.
Narrated by Senator Fred D. Thompson, “Perfect Valor” [view trailer at right] is the story of the high price paid by US forces and the legacy of that campaign as seen through the eyes of the men and women who were there, risking their lives in service to their country.
We meet a Navy Cross recipient, recognized for extraordinary gallantry under fire during the assault on Fallujah. A true American hero still haunted by his experience in Iraq. We listen to the family of a fallen Marine as they tell the story of their sacrifice. We hear the harrowing tale of a battalion surgeon who risked his own life to move an aid station forward, into the middle of the fight - a decision that saved thirty lives.
Yesterday I forecasted that by and large the mainstream media would paper over or outright ignore the testimony of Captain Richard Phillips. The commanding officer of the MV Maersk Alabama told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that arming senior officers on merchant ships should be part of a larger anti-piracy policy that includes beefed up U.S. Navy patrols and escorts. Also testifying, Maersk chairman John Clancey disagreed with his employee about arming the civilian sailors.
Well today, that newspaper which touts itself as bearing "all the news that's fit to print" failed to include a story on the testimony by the former Somali pirate hostage. That's right, the New York Times failed to even carry an Associated Press wire story, according to a search of the New York Times Web site for content published between April 30 and May 1 that mentions "Richard Phillips." A similar scouring of the print edition's A-section confirmed that the paper didn't carry the story.
What's more, it's not as though the Times was unaware of Phillips' testimony before the fact. As Kate Phillips and Janie Lorber noted in an April 30 post at the Times' The Caucus blog:
It's bound to be mostly lost in the mainstream media thanks to swine flu and the Obama 100 days hype, but Richard Phillips testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee today. In doing so, the captain of the MV Maersk Alabama called on lawmakers to open the way for at least some merchant sailors to be armed as part of a comprehensive anti-piracy policy that includes more military escorts.
The Chicago Tribune's Mark Silva has the story in an April 30 post in that paper's "The Swamp" blog. Silva reports that Phillips has a moderate stance on arming civilian crews -- he wants only the four most senior ranking officers aboard a given ship armed -- and that Phillips hopes for a greater U.S. Navy presence in escorting and protecting U.S. merchant vessels (emphases mine):
"First, I believe it is the responsibility of our government to protect the United States, including U.S.-flag vessels that are by definition an extension of the United States, their U.S. citizen crews, and our nation's worldwide commercial assets.
"So, it follows then that the most desirable and appropriate solution to piracy is for the United States government to provide protection, through military escorts and/or military detachments aboard U.S. vessels. That said, I am well aware that some will argue that there is a limit to any government's resources - even America's.
As if school kids didn't get enough liberal propaganda. Whether parents know it or not, millions of students across the country have been receiving biased news magazines in the classroom. Without adult guidance, children are at risk to take as fact the consistently liberal views of Time magazine.
Through Great American Opportunities, people can order magazine subscriptions and earn Time for Kids subscriptions for the school of their choice. Kindergarten through sixth-graders will then receive this publication free of charge.
According to its website, "The Time For Kids Program helps schools receive the best in current weekly classroom news magazines for students in grades K-6 at no cost. TFK delivers three weekly news magazines to over 3.9 million students."
This program comes from a magazine that has published articles on how kids are bad for the environment. As CMI noted previously, Time's article on May 8 described this environmental problem:
Oh, the Navy's gone and done it. They've made the pirates angrier, and hence more dangerous.
Newsweek's Mark Hosenball and Michael Isikoff predicted in their April 15 piece that the future of pirate encounters off the Horn of Africa will only result in more "Blood in the Water," because it will "radicalize the [Somali] population" according to some insurance and shipping experts.
Before the demise of three of the Maersk Alabama pirates, the Somali pirates were downright nice bad guys, aside from hijacking unarmed civilian shipping vessels and yachts:
On Wednesday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith highlighted a recent report by the liberal Southern Poverty Law Center claiming a recent surge in hate groups in the United States: "The Southern Poverty Law Center's Intelligence Report found 926 active hate groups in the country. That's up more than 50% from just 2000...And they say part of it is because of the election of President Obama. Other part of the responsibility goes to the deteriorating economy." An on-screen graphic read: "Rising Tide of Hatred? Report: Right Wing Extremism May Increase." [audio available here]
Smith talked to Southern Poverty Law Center founder Morris Dees about the report as well as a similar report by the Department of Homeland Security: "Your report dovetails with a brand new report from the Department of Homeland Security claiming basically the same thing...Do these -- do you feel like your report and their report sync up?" Dees declared:
I think they sync up pretty much. The report from the Department of Homeland Security should be taken very seriously. What we've found in our intelligence project we've run for a number of years here is the political climate, the election of Obama, the immigration issues that have faced the United States over the last five to ten years, and now especially the economy, is almost causing a resurgence of what we saw in the days of Timothy McVeigh. Almost a militia movement that's being reborn in the United States.
MacsMind's post is in response to an all-too-predictable gusher delivered by Democratic operative disguised as Associated Press reporter Jennifer Loven on April 7 (bold is mine):
Cheered wildly by U.S. troops, President Barack Obama flew unannounced into Iraq on Tuesday and promptly declared it was time for Iraqis to "take responsibility for their country" after America's commitment of six years and thousands of lives.
"You have given Iraq the opportunity to stand on its own as a democratic country," the president said as he made a brief inspection of a war he opposed as candidate and now vows to end as commander in chief. "That is an extraordinary achievement."
MacsMind contends that the troop contingent was contrived, based on an e-mail he says he received "from a sergeant that was there." The corresponding sergeant also dropped a telltale clue (in bold):
In a report this morning on the situation off the coast on Somalia, Associated Press reporters Elizabeth A. Kennedy and Paul Jelinek seemed oddly sympathetic to the cause of the terrorists in training the world insists on calling "pirates," almost to the point of grudging admiration.
Check out some of the words the AP pair used in their 9:15 a.m. dispatch (saved at host for fair use and discussion purposes, and for future reference if or when the text changes) following the "breaking news alert" at the link:
Undeterred Somali pirates hijack 4 more ships
Undeterred by U.S. and French hostage rescues that killed five bandits, Somali pirates brazenly hijacked three more ships in the Gulf of Aden, the waterway at the center of the world's fight against piracy.
..... The latest trophy for the pirates was the M.V. Irene E.M., a Greek-managed bulk carrier sailing from the Middle East to South Asia, said Noel Choong, who heads the International Maritime Bureau's piracy reporting center in Kuala Lumpur.
The Irene was attacked and seized in the middle of the night Tuesday - a rare tactic for the pirates.
President Barack Obama was "crisp and decisive" but also lucky in his handling of the Maersk Alabama hostage crisis, exults Time magazine's Joe Klein [depicted in NewsBusters screen cap/file photo at right] in an April 13 Swampland blog post.
Klein added that had the Navy SEAL snipers failed in hitting their targets, Republicans and second-guessing journalists would probably push the Obama administration to escalate matters to tackle a non-existent pirate "threat":
But it could easily have gone wrong, through no fault of the President and the SEALs--a gust of wind, whatever...and then the Administration would have had to waste all sorts of energy on damage control, fending off the second-guessers--Republicans and, all too often, people like me--and perhaps overreacting to the pirate "threat" as a result. Presidencies are, sadly, built or crippled on such quirks of fate.
When Hollywood movies and their stars trash America's brave soldiers, the anti-war press can't give them enough attention.
Yet, when cast and crew members of the soon to be released prequel of the sci-fi classic "Star Trek" visited service men and women in Kuwait on Saturday, newsrooms across the fruited plain couldn't care less.
A search of Nexis between April 7 -- the day when pirates seized the U.S.-registered and American-crewed Maersk Alabama -- and today, April 10, shows that both the Washington Post and Los Angeles Times failed to even mention President Barack Obama in their stories on the ongoing hostage situation. The New York Times did, once, in a page A6 April 9 story by Mark Mazetti and Sharon Otterman, but it came 15 paragraphs into the 26-paragraph story and served to explain Obama's absence in the ongoing U.S. response:
At the White House, military and national security officials tracked the developments from the Situation Room, and they provided several briefings to President Obama and other administration officials throughout the day.
Mr. Obama first learned of the hijacking early on Wednesday morning after he returned to the White House from his overseas trip, and he later convened an interagency group on maritime safety, aides said. The White House press secretary, Robert Gibbs, said, ''Our top priority is the personal safety of the crew members on board.''
Basically, the nation's top three newspapers are letting President Obama off the hook from any scrutiny regarding his involvement or lack thereof in the ongoing hostage situation.
In what almost seems a gleeful pronouncement, The New York Times trumpeted America's powerlessness over the recent capture by pirates of a captain of a U.S. run freighter on the high seas. With an April 9 headline that blares, "Standoff With Pirates Shows U.S. Power Has Limits," the Times almost seems to revel in that taking down of an arrogant America by mere pirates in power boats.
It's quite hard not to feel that the Times is celebrating the enfeebling of the "world's most powerful military," here.
The mainstream media has found little of alarm in the story, but conservative bloggers including musician Charlie Daniels have taken heed of the Obama administration's changes to the terminology the U.S. government uses to describe the war on terrorism. For example, "terrorism" will now be referred to as "man-caused disasters" and the Global War on Terror will now be referred to as "Overseas Contingency Operation."
Daniels, who performed at the 2003 Media Research Center Gala, pulls no punches in his March 27 post, where demonstrates the absurdity of the politically correct language deployed by the Obama administration:
"Forget about bringing the troops home Iraq - we need to get the troops home from World War II," Maher said. "Can anybody tell me why in 2009, we still have more than 50,000 troops in Germany and 30,000 in Japan? At some point these people are going to have to learn to rape themselves."
On Friday’s CBS Early Show co-host Harry Smith interviewed Afghanistan war veteran and Obama campaign volunteer Craig Mullaney, author of "The Unforgiving Minute: A Soldier’s Education," and praised the book: "What a wonderful story, the arc, blue-collar kid decides to go to West Point, even ends up in Oxford before he ends up in Afghanistan. Ranger school...And look at you, receiving your diploma from Al Gore, no less....Such a pleasure to meet you. It is such a wonderful, wonderful read. So thoughtful and so articulate. And such good writing. Really appreciate it."
Smith did make vague mention of Mullaney’s political connection to Barack Obama’s presidential campaign: "Fast forward, you come out of the service, decide to become involved politically. You're involved with President Obama now. He's going to announce this in -- another increase in troops in Afghanistan. The thing that people whisper about, the concern they have for this president, will Afghanistan be this president's Vietnam? Does that worry you?" Mullaney replied: "I worry about a lack of patience in the American public. It's been a long time since we've focused on Afghanistan. And we've lost a lot of ground over the last seven years. And it's going to take a big effort to garner the resources necessary to really turn the situation around."
"Good Morning America" co-host Robin Roberts conducted a two part, almost 11 minute interview with Michelle Obama on Friday that avoided tough questions and consisted almost entirely of softballs. This included reading e-mails from the audience, such as "What does she [the first lady] do for relaxation in the evening, away from the public?" and also "...How can she stay so positive about the economy?"
This is quite a contrast to some of the queries Laura Bush had to deal with when she was first lady. On October 22, 2007, the very same Roberts quoted Archbishop Desmond Tutu to Mrs. Bush. She challenged, "Desmond Tutu went even farther, saying the generosity of Americans, that's what we should export instead of our bombs." She also informed Mrs. Bush of the assertion by New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman that America "should export hope instead of fear."
Nancy Pelosi's callous treatment of the United States Air Force has been uncovered by a Freedom of Information Act request from Judicial Watch – and with the exception of Fox and Friends, the morning shows have given it exactly zero air time.
When Rush Limbaugh called a phony soldier a phony, the media frenzy was nearly instantaneous. But when Nancy Pelosi's staffer writes a belligerent email to the Department of Defense, demanding to know the location of every G5S in Air Force service, there is a virtual media blackout.
Fox and Friends reported the staffer as writing:
KAY KING: It is my understanding there are no G5S available for the House during the Memorial Day recess. This is totally unacceptable. The Speaker will want to know where the planes are [...] This is not good news, and we will have some very disappointed folks, as well as a very upset Speaker.
On the December 9, 2008, Countdown show, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann charged that Bush administration members – whom he did not specify by name but presumably President Bush was meant to be included – deserve to be "in hell," as he cited a report that a post-war insurgency in Iraq using roadside bombs to attack U.S. troops had been predicted by the U.S. military before the invasion. During the show’s regular "Bushed!" segment, Olbermann lambasted the Bush administration:
So not only did the Bush administration and the Bush Pentagon ignore the prewar intel, that the WMD we sought to recover were not in Iraq, but the Bush administration and the Bush Pentagon ignored that if we removed Saddam Hussein an insurgency of some sort would develop in Iraq. And now we learn the Bush administration and the Bush Pentagon ignored the prewar intel that when an insurgency did develop, it would use roadside bombs to kill the troops we needlessly sent there.
I don’t know what, if any religion you belong to, but I suspect you’ll agree that people who ignored that many foretellings of preventable death should have a long time to think about it in hell!
Below is a complete transcript of the "Bushed!" segment from the December 9, 2008, Countdown show on MSNBC, with critical portions in bold:
On Tuesday’s CBS Evening News, correspondent Lara Logan reported on the Obama administration’s effort to improve relations between the United States and Russia by abandoning a missile defense system proposed under the Bush administration: "It's become one of the most contentious issues dividing the U.S. and Russia. American plans to deploy a missile defense system on Russia's doorstep...The Obama administration's willingness to even open discussions on the issue is a dramatic reversal of U.S. policy under President Bush, who dismissed Russian objections. That dispute helped bring U.S.-Russian relations to their lowest point since the break-up of the Soviet Union nearly 20 years ago. Today the President made it clear he's already started to change that."
Rather than offer any criticism, Logan cited Steven Pifer of the left-leaning Brookings Institution, who declared: "It seems to me that when we're looking for issues on which we can signal to the Russians that we're prepared to be more flexible and listen to some of their concerns, missile defense is one." At the top of the broadcast, anchor Katie Couric teased the segment by describing Obama’s proposal as an "intriguing suggestion."
New numbers are out about President Obama's performance and they show that, while most Americans favor the majority of actions he has taken, two of his more controversial decisions are highly unpopular. One of the disputed actions, the closing of the prison facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, has long been a high-profile issue the media can hardly dodge. But the other, reversing the “Mexico City” policy, has gotten little news coverage. It will be interesting to watch whether they finally report on Mexico City, or even note that Obama has made any unpopular moves.
The mainstream media is still head over heels for our new commander in chief, and he still has honeymoon popularity with the public. But according to a Feb. 1 USA Today/Gallup Poll telephone survey of 1,000 adults, only 35 percent of Americans approved of Obama's decision to overturn the Mexico City Policy, a ban on U.S. funding of overseas family planning groups that promote abortion.