Military

By Andrew Lautz | June 1, 2013 | 10:34 AM EDT

Former President George W. Bush has kept a low profile in his years after office, preferring to focus on personal reflection and veterans' causes since leaving the presidency in 2009. But that didn't keep a left-wing panel on MSNBC from using Bush's recent bike ride with wounded veterans to blast his presidency, though.

Alex Wagner, who anchors the noontime Now program on the Lean Forward network, introduced a segment on Friday's program about Bush's annual mountain bike ride with wounded veterans around his ranch in Texas. But she quickly turned the nonpartisan cause into a sneering criticism of the former president's intelligence and decision-making, with nary a word of praise for the charity work:

By Tom Blumer | May 26, 2013 | 12:16 PM EDT

In case you didn't get the gist of President Obama's Thursday speech at National Defense University, the AP's Robert Burns boiled it down on Saturday, perhaps supportively: "OBAMA REFOCUSES TERROR THREAT TO PRE-9/11 LEVEL."

That leaves one annoying detail Burns and Obama ignore: The "pre-9/11 threat level" wasn't that much different from the threat level during the first few years after 9/11. But our response in going to a war footing and more conscientious coordination at home was. As a result, there were no more successful terrorist attacks until the Ft. Hood massacre (mislabeled "workplace violence by our hapless government) in November 2009. The World Trade Centers were bombed in 1993. After that, there were at least the following: Khobar Towers in 1996, the American embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998, the USS Cole in 2000, and other incidents in the U.S. which may have been inspired by Islamist terrorists despite official conclusions to the contrary. The "pre-9/11 threat level" was actually higher, especially if one remembers, well, 9/11. But that's certainly not the message Obama, with Burns's help, is trying to convey. Instead, it's that the President "has all but declared" that global war on terror is over (bolds are mine):

By Tom Blumer | May 25, 2013 | 6:41 PM EDT

Code Pink's Media Benjamin managed to break into another presidential event on Thursday, namely Barack Obama's speech at the National Defense University. The topic was "U.S. Counterterrorism Strategy," meaning that the administration's aversion to the T-word seems to be diminishing as the damaging scandal-related news continues to pour in.

Readers will see that Benjamin was relatively civil towards Obama. In fact, Kathleen Hennessey and Christi Parsons at the Los Angeles Times wrote the following: "Rather than dismiss Benjamin as a heckler, the president engaged her, asking her to let him explain but also pausing to listen as she continued to talk while security closed in around her." That behavior is in direct contrast to how she behaved last decade during the Bush administration -- something never mentioned in any coverage of Thursday's speech I found. The full exchange with Obama followed by a recounting of what made Benjamin an overnight sensation in Sepetmber 2002, follow the jump.

By Andrew Lautz | May 24, 2013 | 3:42 PM EDT

In a way you have to hand it to Krystal Ball. The former Democratic congressional candidate-turned-MSNBC co-host is always hard at work spinning for the Obama administration, come what may. Appearing on Thursday's Politics Nation, the co-host of MSNBC’s The Cycle raved about President Obama’s May 23 national security speech, claiming the president is “reining in his own power,” a “remarkable and incredibly unusual” move.

Ball fawned over the president’s speech to host Al Sharpton, claiming he “put the steps in place” to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility, before offering this proclamation about Obama’s executive power:

By Ken Shepherd | May 23, 2013 | 6:10 PM EDT

Fort Hood shooter Maj. Nidal Hassan is still drawing his military paycheck while the Defense Department has refused to deem Hassan's victims as suffering combat-related wounds, which would entitle them to Purple Hearts and additional pay and benefits to aid the cost of their rehabilitation, Scott Friedman of Dallas, Texas, NBC affiliate KXAS reported on Wednesday morning. [watch the original KXAS report below the page break]

Yesterday, native Texan and MSNBC anchor Tamron Hall aired Friedman's report on her NewsNation program in her "Gut Check" segment in which she asked her viewers to weigh in on her Facebook page, "Should the Pentagon designate the Fort Hood shooting a terrorist attack?" [For their part, 76 percent of her viewers agreed that it should.] Although this is a pretty compelling report, at time of publication, neither NBC's Nightly News nor Today programs have aired the story.

By Paul Bremmer | May 23, 2013 | 4:58 PM EDT

On last Friday’s Washington Week, PBS moderator Gwen Ifill brought in a panel of four liberal journalists to dissect the three scandals that have plagued the Obama administration the past couple of weeks. Predictably, most of the panelists attempted to downplay the seriousness of the Benghazi fiasco.

Midway through the Benghazi discussion, Ifill turned to The Washington Post’s Ed O’Keefe and posed the question that has surely been on every left-wing reporter’s mind for months: “But Ed, why is this -- why is this stuck? Why is this a story that never went away?”

By Paul Bremmer | May 22, 2013 | 5:45 PM EDT

Defending the indefensible can make a liberal journalist a little prickly. How else do you explain Washington Post columnist Colbert I. "Colby" King's specious attack on his fellow Post colleague and Inside Washington panelist Charles Krauthammer this weekend?

It all happened when Krauthammer responded to a Post editorial, published in Thursday’s paper, which asserted that UN Ambassador Susan Rice did not mislead anyone about the nature of the September 11 Benghazi attack. Ninety-seven House Republicans had signed a letter charging that Rice did mislead the public, and the Post editorial demanded that those Republicans apologize to Rice.

By Tom Blumer | May 18, 2013 | 10:39 AM EDT

In a story appearing this morning at the Politico about the Department of Justice's broad and unannounced subpoenas of the April and May 2012 personal and business phone records of reporters and editors at the Associated Press involving 20 phone lines and involving over 100 reporters and editors, James Hohmann found several "veteran prosecutors" who aren't necessarily outraged by what most members of the press and several watchdog groups have declared a blatant overreach. Instead, Hohmann summarizes their "far more measured response" as: "It’s complicated."

Hohmann utterly ignored a May 15 Washington Post story which chronicled claimed discussions between AP and government officials. Ultimately, it appears that the Obama administration's Department of Justice under Eric Holder may have only gone after AP out of spite because the wire service refused to accommodate administration requests to allow it time to crow about foiling a terrorist plot before the story gained meaningful visibility, and not because the release of the story, especially after what appears to have been an appropriate and negotiated delay, represented a genuine security risk. One obvious unanswered question is why DOJ waited, according to the AP's Mark Sherman in his original story, until "earlier this year" to obtain the phone records if it was so darned important to find out who the alleged leaker was.

By Paul Bremmer | May 15, 2013 | 5:38 PM EDT

Last night on his PBS talk show, Tavis Smiley sat down for a cozy conversation with Jeremy Scahill, national security correspondent for left-wing magazine The Nation. Scahill was critical of the Obama administration, as well as the journalists who fail to hold him accountable, throughout much of the interview. However, he did let his mask of objectivity slip at a few points, revealing the liberal face underneath.

Scahill was outraged over the administration’s secrecy surrounding its national security operations, particularly drone strikes. Smiley asked him why the administration has not been more forthcoming about its use of drones, and Scahill partially blamed congressional Republicans:
 

By Paul Bremmer | May 10, 2013 | 5:05 PM EDT

On his Thursday night PBS program, Charlie Rose attempted to fulfill his duties as a liberal media member by defending the State Department’s dishonest talking points following the September 11 terrorist attack in Benghazi. Rose was grilling Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), who was involved in the Benghazi hearings, about his views on the matter.

When Rose asked Chaffetz if he believed there was a coverup, the congressman was ready. He brought up the fact that for days after the attack, the administration claimed the incident had been sparked by a spontaneous demonstration over an anti-Islam YouTube video. But Chaffetz and the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform found that to be a blatant lie:

By Jeffrey Meyer | May 9, 2013 | 11:03 AM EDT

In what could be seen as either ignorance or more likely denial of reality, NBC News's David Gregory seemed to minimize the severity of the potential cover-up following the September 11 terrorist attack on an American consulate in Benghazi, Libya. 

Appearing on MSNBC’s Morning Joe on May 9, the Meet The Press host simply claimed that the Benghazi talking points were merely handled by the Obama administration with "sloppiness." [See video after jump. MP3 audio here.]

By Mark Finkelstein | May 8, 2013 | 9:26 AM EDT

Chuck Todd has defended the Obama admin's decision not to send more special ops to Benghazi.

Appearing on today's Morning Joe, NBC News political director Todd claimed that the decision to send only two special ops to Benghazi was "very rational."  He also literally laughed off the notion that Benghazi could boil into a major scandal.  View the video after the jump.