Military

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.

By Matthew Balan | February 7, 2013 | 6:31 PM EST

NPR's Ari Shapiro did little to conceal his slant towards same-sex "marriage" on Thursday's Morning Edition, as he reported on the Defense Department granting limited benefits to the same-sex partners of members of the military. Shapiro hyped that supposedly, "as a political move, the Pentagon's action is barely controversial."

The openly-homosexual correspondent later asserted that "it's hard to tell whether President Obama's pro-gay positions are helping to create this wave [of support for homosexuals in the military], or just letting him surf it." He also lined up three left-leaning talking heads during his report, versus only one social conservative pundit.

By Matt Vespa | February 7, 2013 | 5:11 PM EST

With this afternoon's Senate confirmation hearings for CIA director nominee John Brennan in view, the February 7 broadcast of Now with Alex Wagner devoted significant attention to the Obama administration's use of armed drones and the recently-leaked DOJ White Paper defending the legitimacy of drone strikes that explicitly targeted American civilians overseas. 

For her part, host Alex Wagner failed to mention Anwar al-Awlaki’s activities as a terrorist operative affiliated with al-Qaeda.  The Now host merely tagged al-Awlaki as an American-born cleric, even though he served as a talent recruiter within the organization and inspired Fort Hood shooter Nidal Hassan.  Al-Awlaki also had contact with Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the terrorist who attempted to blow up a passenger airliner on Christmas Day of 2009.  None of that was mentioned on the show.