Military

By Ken Shepherd | June 3, 2014 | 9:13 PM EDT

It's not scientific, of course, but a reader poll at the bottom of an MSNBC.com piece headlined "Is Bowe Bergdahl the GOP’s new Benghazi?" seems to indicate that not even fans of the Lean Forward network are falling for the network's absurd pro-Obama spin on the prisoner swap.

By a nearly 2-to-1 margin (65 percent), readers answered "no" to the poll question, "Do you support Obama’s decision to release 5 Taliban prisoners in exchange for Bergdahl?" You can see the screen capture taken at 9:09 p.m. Eastern below the page break

By Ken Shepherd | June 3, 2014 | 8:20 PM EDT

On his June 3 Hardball program, MSNBC's Chris Matthews expressed his disapproval of the president having broken federal law in the process of securing Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl's release in exchange for transferring five high-level Taliban detainees from Guantanamo Bay to Qatari government custody.

Of course, it took a liberal Democrat, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) complaining about the matter to register with Matthews as a problem for the president, but all the same, the Hardball host seemed angry that President Obama violated a law which he signed into effect. The relevant transcript appears below the page break [emphasis mine; Listen to the MP3 audio here or watch the video below the page break]:

By Connor Williams | June 3, 2014 | 5:00 PM EDT

Responding to the evolving Taliban prisoner-swap story, Politico’s Roger Simon suggested on MSNBC’s NewsNation program that Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl’s fellow soldiers had faulty memories on the details of Bergdahl’s disappearance and that we should not “take as absolute legal fact five-year old memories from people who served with Bergdahl under circumstances of great stress.”

In further defending President Obama’s five-for-one prisoner swap, the liberal columnist insisted  there would be “little public appetite” for the wheels of military justice to grind through an investigation and possible court martial for Bergdahl. Fortunately for viewers, host Tamron Hall also had NBC military analyst Barry McCaffrey on at the same time to offer his rebuttal. The former Clinton administration drug czar strongly beat back the notion that this had anything to do with the memories of his comrades [MP3 audio here; video below]:

By Tom Blumer | June 3, 2014 | 4:36 PM EDT

Establishment press outfits have an annoying and in my view fundamentally deceptive tendency to make the content of news reports disappear once they have been "updated" with new information. The Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, is one of this technique's most egregious practitioners.

There's really no good reason for this practice. Storage is cheap. But far more important, so is leaving tracks for the sake of the historical record. In the past 48 hours, AP has virtually deep-sixed a particularly damning incident involving Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel as he crowed in front of U.S. troops about Bowe Bergdahl's release.

By Kyle Drennen | June 3, 2014 | 4:33 PM EDT

On Tuesday, MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell Reports presented two very different accounts of what kind of soldier Bowe Bergdahl was, first as a disillusioned free spirit who wished he'd joined the Peace Corps, then as a bloodthirsty warrior who wanted to rip the enemy's face off. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]

Talking to New York Times reporter Elisabeth Bumiller, host Andrea Mitchell portrayed Bergdahl sympathetically: "I read somewhere, and it may have been your reporting, that he initially thought it was sort of joining the Peace Corps, that he was going to be helping the Afghan people, that maybe he didn't really understand. Because his disillusionment came so quickly..." Bumiller replied: "He did have some romantic notions...he was going over to Afghanistan to help the Afghan people. And those views were quickly dashed after he got there."

By Mark Finkelstein | June 3, 2014 | 9:01 AM EDT

Who the hell was President Obama rescuing: Bowe Bergdahl or the Taliban terrorists themselves?  

The questions arises out of the mind-boggling defense of the Bergdahl deal proferred on today's Morning Joe by Bloomberg columnist Jeffrey Goldberg, who argued that by dint of the deal, "the President managed to get five guys out of Gitmo, which is a goal."  Well, at least President Obama didn't have to send Navy Seals in helicopters over the Gitmo fence to rescue the Talibans.  He achieved his goal with a mere stroke of his mighty pen.  

View the video after the jump.

By Kyle Drennen | June 2, 2014 | 3:44 PM EDT

While all three broadcast networks provided critical coverage of the Obama administration's decision to exchange five Taliban terrorists for American soldier Bowe Bergdahl, Meet the Press host David Gregory and CBS This Morning co-host Norah O'Donnell both attempted to spin the controversial deal as brilliant diplomacy. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]

Interviewing Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on Sunday's Meet the Press, Gregory argued: "This is potentially a good sign if you think about the future of Afghanistan....does this pave the way for perhaps a new round of negotiations with the Taliban directly between the United States and the Taliban about the Taliban's future in running Afghanistan?"

By Kyle Drennen | June 2, 2014 | 10:43 AM EDT

On Monday, NBC Today co-host Matt Lauer actually held outgoing White House Press Secretary Jay Carney's feet to the fire over the administration releasing five Taliban terrorists from Guantanamo Bay to secure the release Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl: "These are guys who are considered at very high risk to launch attacks against the U.S. if they were freed. So has the administration now, though, endangered the lives of all Americans for the safety of one American?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]

Carney argued: "...we believe that this is not a security threat to the United States and that there's sufficient mitigation to be comfortable with the transfer of those detainees to Qatar." Lauer pushed back: "Is this semantics here, Jay? Are we calling it a prisoner swap when, in fact, it is negotiating with terrorists?"

By Mark Finkelstein | June 2, 2014 | 8:34 AM EDT

You really have to watch Brian Schweitzer in action to get just how much of a blowhard he is.  By the end of his appearance on today's Morning Joe, even Mika Brzezinski seemed mortified by the antics of her fellow Democrat.  And Bill Kristol's expression of utter disdain for the former Montana governor was worth the price of admission alone.

In the course of his appearance, Schweitzer--defending President Obama's deal for the release of US soldier Bowe Bergdahl--declined to call the five senior Taliban members released either terrorists or war criminals.  Even the Daily Beast, in the person of reporter Eli Lake, has called the five "some of the worst of the worst," and "considered [by the Pentagon] to be a high risk to launch attacks against the United States and its allies if they were liberated."  When talk turned to domestic politics, Schweitzer dabbled in some anti-Ted Cruz birtherism, repeatedly alluding to the Texas senator's birth in Canada. View Schweitzer's clown act on the video after the jump.

By Jeffrey Meyer | June 1, 2014 | 11:17 AM EDT

Bill Kristol, editor of the conservative magazine The Weekly Standard dismantled liberal PBS host Tavis Smiley on ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos

Appearing as a guest on Sunday, June 1, Kristol left Smiley speechless surrounding how to solve the VA scandal when he asked his fellow panelist: “If they got a generous voucher to use to purchase the health insurance they need or the health care they need how would that be failing veterans?” [See video below.] 

By Tom Blumer | May 31, 2014 | 9:16 AM EDT

Julie Pace at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, is used to carrying water for the Obama administration. Last year, she proudly reveled in how she and her wire service sat on information it had about secret U.S.-Iran negotiations for eight months. My immediate take was that "They didn't report it until the Obama administration said it would be okay to report it." The AP denied it; unfortunately for the self-described "essential global news network," another news organization confirmed that it and AP "both had versions of it independently early & were asked to not publish til end of Iran talks." There's not a chance in Hades that the AP would have similarly accommodated a Republican or conservative administration.

After that heavy lifting, Pace surely found that giving readers the impression in a Friday report about President Barack Obama's sacking of Eric Shinseki that the problems at the Department of Veterans Affairs have more to do with its growing caseload than with incompetence and potential criminality was relatively easy.

By Tom Blumer | May 29, 2014 | 11:59 PM EDT

Imagine the press letting a Republican or conservative get away with trying to avoid uncondtionally calling something as infuriating and outrageous as the Veterans Administration waiting list scandal a real scandal.

Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi did that on Monday (HT Patterico and Real Clear Politics) in an interview with Vox's Ezra Klein, who naturally let it slide right on by: