Military

By Mark Finkelstein | March 8, 2013 | 8:53 AM EST

Way to go out on a limb, Harold!. . . Of all the Morning Joe regulars, Harold Ford, Jr. is on my short list of those who bring the least to the table. Ford seems more interested in cultivating friends and avoiding offense than in saying anything interesting or—heaven forfend—controversial.

Ford took his penchant for finding something good to say about everyone to absurd new heights on today's show.  On the one hand, Harold showed respect for Rand Paul's filibuster. On the other, he actually broke out the hoary "my dear friend" in saying he wasn't as worred about the drone policy as is Ron Wyden. And Harold is confident that President Obama will uphold the Constitution.  Ford even claimed that AG Eric Holder did "a phenomenal job" in answering questions on the drone policy. We're running out of hands, here, Harold! Matters reached an absurd crescendo when, after observing that those who hang out with terrorists put themselves in peril, Ford proclaimed "I don't dine, socialize or spend time with people who are on a terrorist list around the globe." Good to know! View the video after the jump.

By Mark Finkelstein | March 7, 2013 | 10:42 AM EST

As Joe Scarborough said, "this is liberal on liberal on liberal violence. I love watching it."  He was referring to the intra-squad liberal dogfight, spurred by Rand Paul's filibuster, that broke out on Morning Joe today over the use of drones by the U.S. government. H/t NB reader Ray R.

Though former car czar Steve Rattner played a supporting role, the two main combatants were Sam Stein of the Huffington Post and Richard Wolffe of MSNBC itself.  Stein criticized the lack of guidelines that the Obama administration has established for the use of drones on U.S. citizens, supporting Paul's argument that it should be an easy question for the Obama admin to answer.  In the other corner, Wolffe was the internationalist, suggesting all terrorists should perhaps be entitled to the same due process, be they Saudi, Kuwaiti or American.  Stein and Scarborough had to enlighten Wolffe about the special protections the Constitution extends to U.S. citizens. View the video after the jump.

By Mark Finkelstein | February 24, 2013 | 9:55 AM EST

As press secretary to President Obama, Robert Gibbs was often in the obfuscation business.  Now that he's been freed from that role and become a news analyst—albeit at MSNBC—Gibbs has become considerably more candid. Readers will recall, for example, that he described Chuck Hagel as "unimpressive and unprepared" at his Senate confirmation hearing.

Today, Gibbs took that frankness a significant step further.  On Up With Chris Hayes, Gibbs stated that as press secretary, he had been ordered not to acknowledge the existence of the drone program. View the video after the jump.

By Matt Vespa | February 18, 2013 | 3:09 PM EST

During yesterday’s edition of Fox News Sunday, Washington Post editor Bob Woodward, who wrote the book "The Price of Politics" on how Obama handled the debt-ceiling fiasco in 2011, explained again to his media colleagues that it was a White House initiative to use a hatchet with these budgetary matters in the form of sequestration.

When Fox host Chris Wallace suggested the news media would highlight every spending-cut casualty expected from sequestration, liberal analyst Juan Williams agreed: "I think the news media will play into that at every level." Wallace asked Woodward to repeat his reporting:

By Mark Finkelstein | February 18, 2013 | 10:14 AM EST

The trashing of Ted Cruz continues apace in the bien-pensant MSM. From the New York Times, to the Washington Post, to Politico and elsewhere, the liberal media has the new Republican Senator from Texas in its sights.

Joe Scarborough is clearly camped out on the Cruz-bashing bandwagon.  Earlier this month, so offended by Cruz was the sensitive Scarborough that he wouldn't deign to mention him by name.  Today, not to be outdone by Frank Bruni, who called Cruz "an ornery, swaggering piece of work," Scarborough declared that Cruz acts like "a carnival barker at a local Republican event."  View the video after the jump.

By Tom Blumer | February 15, 2013 | 11:16 PM EST

Anyone who thinks that setting a parody site of PolitiFact would be a good idea should reconsider. The site already parodies what a true fact-checking effort would look like on a nearly daily basis.

On Tuesday, the site's Molly Moorhead evaluated Marco Rubio's claim during his State of the Union response speech that spending cuts involved in sequestration were originally the idea of President Barack Obama and the White House. Of course they were. But after admitting that the "(The Price of Politics author Bob) Woodward’s reporting shows clearly that defense sequestration was an idea that came out of Obama’s White House," she still evaluated Rubio's claim as only "half-true" (bolds are mine):

By Ryan Robertson | February 13, 2013 | 12:57 PM EST

In a careless attempt to get a rise out of their readers, mainstream media outlets like the Washington Post and Esquire Magazine erroneously reported that the Navy SEAL credited with the assassination of Osama bin Laden had been unceremoniously stripped of health insurance following his retirement last September.

The story immediately went viral, thanks in large part to the tireless efforts of Ezra Klein and Sarah Kliff from the Post and their massive followings on Twitter. Former editor of the San Francisco Chronicle Phil Bronstein originally posted an 'exhaustively researched' article about it on Esquire's site. Upon its publication and online distribution however, some readers noticed just how rife with inaccuracies the story was. Former public affairs officer of the Department of Veteran Affairs Brandon Friedman was among them. (H/T - Twitchy)

By Tom Blumer | February 12, 2013 | 8:19 PM EST

Former Fort Hood police sergeant Kimberly Munley, one of two officers who helped stop Major Nidal Hasan's deadly shooting spree at Fort Hood, Texas in November 2009, and who was a guest at President Obama's 2010 State of the Union address (something the Politico chose to remind everyone of just yesterday), now says, according to ABC News, that "Obama broke the promise he made to her that the victims would be well taken care of."

Excerpts from ABC's web story in anticipation of a Nightline report tonight follow the jump (bolds are mine):

By Tom Blumer | February 12, 2013 | 8:26 AM EST

In a lengthy article in March's Esquire "reported in cooperation with" the leftist-advised Center for Investigative Reporting, CIR Executive Chairman Philip Bronstein told readers that the unnamed Navy SEAL who killed Osama bin Laden on May 1, 2011 was a year ago "wondering how he was going to feed his wife and kids or pay for their medical care." According to Bronstein, the answer is (read these words carefully): "[A]fter sixteen years in the Navy, his body filled with scar tissue, arthritis, tendonitis, eye damage, and blown disks, here is what he gets from his employer and a grateful nation: Nothing. No pension, no health care, and no protection for himself or his family."

The "no health care" portion of that statement is inarguably false. Yet Bronstein, as will be seen shortly, stands by it. On Monday, Megan McCloskey at Stars & Stripes explained something which would be known to any journalist genuinely interested in finding out how the military's pay and benefits arrangements work (link is in original; bolds are mine):

By Cal Thomas | February 11, 2013 | 10:32 AM EST

An unsigned and undated Justice Department white paper, obtained by NBC News, reports The New York Times, "...is the most detailed analysis yet to come into public view regarding the Obama legal team's views about the lawfulness of killing, without a trial, an American citizen who executive branch officials decide is an operational leader of Al Qaeda or one of its allies."

The proviso is they must pose "an imminent threat of violent attack against the United States." If "an informed, high-level official" of the government decides they are a threat, the paper says, and if capture is not feasible, they may be killed.

By Mark Finkelstein | February 10, 2013 | 9:58 AM EST

Suppose our enemies declared war on us—and we didn't show up? In a variation on the pacifist line from the 60s, that's essentially what Chris Hayes has proposed as American policy.

On his MSNBC show this morning, the hopelessly naive Hayes suggested that rather than debating "big war"—boots on ground—versus "small war"—targeted strikes—we go for a third option "no war."  In Hayes's fantasy-land, America declares the war on terror over and "declares itself at peace." View the video after the jump.

By Mark Finkelstein | February 8, 2013 | 9:56 AM EST

Sure, you might be cool with Barack Obama calling up a drone strike on an American citizen.  But don't forget: a Republican [shudder!] could become President!

That was the Washington Post editorialist Jonathan Capehart's warning to Donny Deutsch when the ad-man-turned-pundit proclaimed he had no problem with the president, under desperate circumstances, ordering a drone strike against an American.  View the video after the jump.