Military

By Jeffrey Meyer | September 3, 2014 | 11:45 AM EDT

For the second day in a row, the “big three” networks (ABC, CBS, and NBC) all ignored a new report from a former Pentagon official which claims that President Obama received briefings on the terrorist group ISIS “for at least a year before the group seized large swaths of territory over the summer.” 

Following the “big three” ignoring the report on their Tuesday night broadcasts, on Wednesday, September 3, all three network morning shows continued to omit the revelation during their coverage of ISIS following the beheading of a second American journalist, Steven Sotloff. While the networks continue to ignore this latest report, all three did their best to make the president look tough in going after the terrorist group. 

By Curtis Houck | September 3, 2014 | 12:05 AM EDT

On Tuesday night, the three major broadcast networks omitted from their coverage on the Islamic group ISIS a report that President Barack Obama has received briefings on the terrorist organization “for at least a year before the group seized large swaths of territory over the summer.”

ABC, CBS, and NBC all led their evening newscasts with multiple segments on the gruesome murder of American journalist Stephen Sotloff at the hands of ISIS in a propaganda video released on Tuesday afternoon. Over on the Fox News Channel (FNC), Special Report with Bret Baier aired three segments on the story, including a report from chief intelligence correspondent Catherine Herridge. [MP3 audio here; Video below]

By Tom Blumer | August 31, 2014 | 10:55 PM EDT

When last seen in coverage at NewsBusters, Anjem Choudary was sparring with Sean Hannity while claiming that ISIS atrocities are a Western "falsehood" and that Islamic Sharia law will be implemented "in the whole world one day."

Before getting to his latest stunt on CNN's Reliable Sources program with host Brian Stelter, it's important to provide some context, simply because Choudary, described at Wikipedia as a "Muslim social and political activist," has already said that "if you had a sense of humor, maybe you would have laughed" at how he conducted the mic check before his interview.

By Curtis Houck | August 29, 2014 | 4:30 PM EDT

MSNBC’s Krystal Ball substituted for Ronan Farrow as host of his MSNBC show on Friday and remarked with a guest during a segment on the Islamic terror group ISIS that their reported waterboarding of their captives, including the late James Foley, can be blamed on the U.S. detention facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and what happened at Abu Ghraib in Iraq.

After shifting gears from talking about the increased terror alert in the United Kingdom and fears across western Europe that hundreds of their citizens have joined ISIS and could return to commit terrorist attacks, Ball mentioned an article in The Washington Post that reported ISIS captives were waterboarded. She then asked MSNBC terrorism analyst Evan Kohlmann what he thought about this news. [MP3 audio here; Video below]

By Tom Blumer | August 29, 2014 | 1:06 PM EDT

Politico's Josh Gerstein was in top keister-covering mode last night in dealing with President Barack Obama's latest stated indication that U.S. foreign policy is adrift.

To him, the President's admission that “We don’t have a strategy yet” was just an "awkward choice of words" and an "inartful phrase." (By the way, over six years after after one of Obama's flaks first used it to defend the then-candidate's flip-flop on DC's strict gun ban, something he originally believed was constitutional until the Supreme Court's ruling in the Heller decision, "inartful" is still not a recognized word. Yet its use continues to spread.) Excerpts from Gerstein's grief-stricken groaner follow the jump (bolds and numbered tags are mine):

By Curtis Houck | August 29, 2014 | 12:50 PM EDT

On Friday morning, the major broadcast networks were out in full force to defend President Obama after his remarks at a press conference Thursday afternoon in which he said that “we don’t have a strategy yet” in how to militarily address the Islamic terrorist group ISIS in Syria.

Leading the way was NBC’s Today, where co-host Matt Lauer told NBC News political director and moderator of Meet the Press Chuck Todd that “[c]ritics pounced” when Obama made that remark and wondered if they took “his words too literally.” [MP3 audio here; Video below]

By Mark Finkelstein | August 29, 2014 | 9:17 AM EDT

Alexander the Great.  Stonewall Jackson. George S. Patton. To this list of some of history's greatest military strategists, a new name must be added: that of Barack Obama.  That is, if you agree with Joe Scarborough's take on President Obama's statement at yesterday's press conference that "we don't have a strategy yet" regarding possible attacks on ISIS in Syria.

According to Scarborough, speaking on today's Morning Joe, President Obama's "no strategy" statement was "straight out of The Art of War where when you were weak, you make your enemies think you were strong. When you were strong, you make your enemies think you were weak." It's what Scarborough would have done, he told viewers, if he were president. When Sam Stein said that he couldn't tell if Joe was joking, Scarborough assured him: "I'm serious. Dead serious . . . I am dead serious.  I am not joking."  View the video after the jump.

By Tom Blumer | August 29, 2014 | 12:29 AM EDT

On Thursday, an impatient Terry Moran at ABC News tweeted the following (HT Twitchy): "Say it: Russia has invaded Ukraine. Any other description is just weasel words."

Clearly, both President Obama and the folks at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, haven't been sympathetic to Moran's plea, instead opting for "weasel words." Obama, when directly asked if he "considered today's escalation in Ukraine an invasion," wouldn't characterize it with that word. At AP, a trio of reporters — Dalton Bennett, Jim Heintz, and Raf Casert — also labored mightily to follow their president's lead in avoiding the "I-word" in a late Thursday story (bolds are mine):

By Tom Blumer | August 28, 2014 | 11:03 PM EDT

I struggle to come up with a reason, other than an irresponsible attempt to minimize the impact of the horror, why the headline at a Thursday evening Associated Press story by Zeina Karam and Ryan Lucas about "more than 160 Syrian government troops" massacred by ISIS is "JIHADISTS KILL DOZENS OF CAPTURED SYRIAN SOLDIERS."

But that's how the wire service is presenting it:

By Tom Blumer | August 28, 2014 | 9:31 PM EDT

On Wednesday night, Megyn Kelly, perhaps the best host on the air today at adapting and responding to new information, did a double-take when Fox News White House correspondent Ed Henry told her that President Obama would be traveling to Rhode Island on Friday for a Democratic Party fundraiser.

Having been so informed, she then made those plans the first topic of discussion with each of her next two guests: Marc Thiessen of the American Enterprise Institute and Democratic Pary strategist Penny Lee. Along the way, it because obvious that White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest's claim that the administration has "a comprehensive strategy" for dealing with ISIS is a load of rubbish. Video and transcribed highlights follow the jump (HT Fox News Insider via The Blaze and Mediaite):

By Curtis Houck | August 28, 2014 | 4:00 PM EDT

As reported on Tuesday night, two of the three major broadcast networks covered a new report from the Office of the Inspector General at the Department of Veterans Affairs on the scandal-ridden agency and its Phoenix VA hospital that led to a nationwide investigation of delayed wait times and secret waiting lists. 

While the coverage was mixed with ABC’s World News with Diane Sawyer completely omitting the story, the coverage in print and online sources such as Politico, the Associated Press, and The Washington Post completely missed the boat.

By Curtis Houck | August 26, 2014 | 9:35 PM EDT

On Tuesday evening, NBC Nightly News offered a soft news brief on the scandal-ridden Veterans Affairs (VA) Administration by promoting President Barack Obama’s calls that the VA’s many issues will be fixed on his watch. In addition, substitute anchor Lestor Holt made quick mention of an inspector general’s report that the actions of the agency in delays in veterans waiting for care did not result in any veteran’s death. 

What NBC Nightly News failed to mention in their one-sided report was that skepticism surrounding the VA remains as both widows of veterans who died awaiting care and one of the whistle-blowers who brought the problems at the VA to light are publically raising doubts about the report’s findings. [MP3 audio here; Video below]