On Friday, the White House engaged in its customary document dump, mostly secure in the knowledge that a lazy establishment press would, as usual, pay it little heed and then declare it to be old news by Monday morning.
Ed Morrissey at Hot Air identified the significance of documents relating to now-bankupt Solyndra, the California-based solar panel manufacturer which borrowed $535 million through the Department of Energy. Read the whole thing, of course, but for brevity's sake I'll present the accurate timeline Ed presented:
Fox News's Steve Doocy and former CIA officer Michael Scheuer took the gossip site Gawker to task Friday for claiming to out the identity of the CIA officer responsible for orchestrating the Osama bin Laden raid in May. "I think most of the media is anti-Agency, and they think it's fun to put people at risk," said Scheuer.
You might think that given the abysmal box office record of left-wing movies about the Iraq war that "Fair Game," a highly distorted version of the tired controversy surrounding former CIA non-agent Valerie Plame Wilson, would never have been made.
Of course, since Hollywood is dominated by leftists, economic sanity did not prevail. Economic reality did prevail, though, as "Fair Game" ended up being a total bomb. It grossed just $9.5 million domestically. Add in the international ticket sales and the fiction flick just barely managed to recoup its production budget of $22 million.
As NB's Noel Sheppard noted on Sunday, the new film "Fair Game" is so full of falsehoods and is such an affront to historical accuracy that even the Washington Post's editorial staff felt obligated to debunk the many untruths it presents.
The New York Times has taken an admirable stand on the potentially-criminal release of diplomatic cables by the online "whistleblowers" at WikiLeaks. Said one Times reporter: "The documents appear to have been acquired illegally and contain all manner of private information and statements that were never intended for the public eye, so they won't be posted here."
Oh, wait. That wasn't in reference to the WikiLeaks documents. That was the Times's former environmental blogger Andy Revkin discussing the so-called ClimateGate emails. The Times has, in fact, posted a number of American diplomatic documents obtained illegally by WikiLeaks, and containing massive amounts of sensitive diplomatic communications.
And so we get another glimpse of the amazing depths of the Gray Lady's hypocrisy.
Hardball host Chris Matthews on Monday rhapsodized over Fair Game, the new Sean Penn movie about the Valerie Plame scandal, even going so far as to compare the film to the classic Casablanca.
In a closing commentary on the lefty movie, Matthews enthused, "This is one fine movie. While there will never be another Casablanca, Fair Game is perfect for our murky time." Matthews, who interviewed Plame's husband, Joe Wilson, earlier in the show, showcased the movie as a bold truth teller.
Casablanca was ranked by the American Film Institute as the third greatest film ever. One wonders if Matthews seriously thinks Fair Game is worthy of such a connection.
Switching into film critic mode, he gushed, "Want to understand Iraq and how we got there? Want a real look at the Bush White House and how they got us there? Want to see on the big screen what our nightly fights here are all about? Go see this movie."
The director of the new film "Fair Game" - released Friday - is either blatantly dishonest, or astoundingly lazy. The movie, starring Sean Penn as former U.S. diplomat Joe Wilson and Naomi Watts as his embattled wife, CIA agent Valerie Plame, makes a number of claims on controversial issues that are demonstrably false.
The Daily Caller's Jamie Weinstein did the legwork in demonstrating just how far from the truth some of the film's central claims are. Chief among them, perhaps unsurprisingly, is that Scooter Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, and other White House officials exerted political pressure on intelligence officials to cherrypick intelligence favorable to claims that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction.
Near the end of Monday's CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith interviewed actress Naomi Watts about her latest role as former CIA agent Valerie Plame in the movie 'Fair Game': "...a ripped from the headlines true story of espionage and betrayal. Naomi Watts plays former CIA officer Valerie Plame, whose life was torn apart when her cover was blown by the U.S. government."
After playing a clip from the new film, Smith briefly summarized the controversy this way: "Joe Wilson was sent by the CIA to Niger to determine whether or not yellow-cake uranium was being exported to Iraq....when [he] said no, the Bush administration said somebody's got to pay and that was Valerie Plame." Smith went on to proclaim: "...it is not only this very public story but it is also sort of the private anguish of this family....That is almost torn asunder by this."
Editor's Note: This post originally appeared at Andrew Breitbart's Big Hollywood.
The political thriller Fair Game premiered at Cannes today. (Pause for giant, collective yawn from Big Hollywood readers…)
The Sean Penn-Naomi Watts “starrer” (hey, it’s fun using unnecessarily awkward Variety-speak!) revisits the Valerie Plame Wilson scandal, an episode I’m not even going to bother recapping, because to do so would simply be coma-inducing for all of us. Besides, I already summed up the affair and dissected the screenplay’s political slant for Big Hollywood here. Suffice it to say, it’s a tale the Hollywood Left is hell-bent on getting Americans to care about.
As are its water-carriers in the media. In a deceptive puff piece an article last week for the Los Angeles Times, Rachel Abramowitz discusses the film and interviews its director Doug Liman. The first clue that we’re about to be sold a crockpot of hooey comes when she describes Valerie Plame as “the undercover CIA operative whose name was leaked to the media by the Bush White House in an effort to discredit her husband, former Ambassador Joe Wilson.”
The Pentagon rescinded the invitation of evangelist Franklin Graham to speak at its May 6 National Day of Prayer event because of complaints about his previous comments about Islam.
The Military Religious Freedom Foundation expressed its concern over Graham's involvement with the event in an April 19 letter sent to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. MRFF's complaint about Graham, the son of Rev. Billy Graham, focused on remarks he made after 9/11 in which he called Islam "wicked" and "evil" and his lack of apology for those words.
Col. Tom Collins, an Army spokesman, told ABC News on April 22, "This Army honors all faiths and tries to inculcate our soldiers and work force with an appreciation of all faiths and his past comments just were not appropriate for this venue."
On Saturday’s Fox News Watch, as FNC correspondent Douglas Kennedy appeared as a member of the show’s panel, after host Jon Scott’s introduction to the show’s first segment – which involved President Obama’s response to the underwear bomber – Kennedy characterized Scott’s introduction as sounding "like it's written by Dick Cheney in his bunker." Complaining that he was ideologically outnumbered on the panel after left-leaning panel member Judith Miller – formerly of the New York Times – was critical of Obama, Miller declared, "Now, wait a minute. I am very, very liberal on a lot of issues," prompting Kennedy to exclaim, "You went to jail to protect Dick Cheney! Come on!":
David Zurawik, the Baltimore Sun’s TV critic, didn’t even wait a full 24 hours after Robert Novak’s death to launch a stinging criticism of the former Crossfire host on the newspaper’s website on Tuesday. Zurawik lamented the apparently contaminated state of political discourse on cable TV and placed much of the blame on Novak in the blog entry titled, “Robert Novak on cable TV: A Polarizing Presence.”
The critic began by announcing his intention to focus on the conservative’s television legacy, instead of his “place...on the political and journalistic map.” He then when right into his attack on Novak, which read like a thinly-veiled critique of the Fox News Channel: “Novak titled his 2007 memoir, ‘The Prince of Darkness,’ and he was indeed a very dark force in cable TV news contributing mightily to the toxic culture of confrontation, belligerence and polarization that so defines cable TV and American political discourse today. There is no way to be nice about his impact on cable TV during its formative years -- and his contributions for the worse to the tone and style of what passes for political conversation today.”
"1600 Pennsylvania Avenue" host David Shuster continued to obsess over and taunt Karl Rove on Tuesday's program, even taking the fight to Twitter. Shuster, who has named Rove a hypocrite three times so far in his daily "Hypocrisy Watch" segment, appeared gleeful that "Bush's Brain finally did respond via Twitter." The political operative told Shuster, through the social networking site, simply to "wait until the book. You're in there."
Shuster retorted on his Twitter page by sarcastically instructing Rove, "Next time, try defending yourself 'like a man,' - mano y mano as I've repeatedly invited you to do." It's odd that Shuster would expect Rove to come on the MSNBC program, considering that he has heaped nothing but invective on the former Bush aide.
In a Wednesday segment on worries President Obama, in not ruling out renditions and water-boarding, may be “slipping back into the dirty old ways” of “torture” supposedly employed by the Bush administration, Hardball host Chris Matthews blurted out: “Do you think if we water-boarded Lewis 'Scooter' Libby he'd tell us the role that the Vice President played in the outing of Joseph Wilson's wife?”
When guest Michael Smerconish's answer didn't satisfy Matthews, he turned to Salon's chief, Joan Walsh, and expounded on the scope of who he thought could be physically treated like a dangerous terrorist: “Do you think water-boarding works in the case of recent political figures in this [Bush] administration who are felons, disbarred, et cetera?...Do you think we'd get the truth through water-boarding here at home?”
Maureen Dowd's New York Times opinion piece yesterday was "Cheney and the Goat Devil." The mainstream media are reveling in the purported falling out between former President George Bush and former Vice President Dick Cheney. Supposedly the two disagreed over granting Cheney's previous chief of staff, Scooter Libby, a pardon. Dowd joins in the fun:
There were clues in the last couple of years that W. and Condi were trying to sidle away from Cheney by using the forbidden strategy of diplomacy in dealing with Iran and North Korea, and by cutting loose Rummy.
As one official who worked closely with both W. and Cheney told The New York Daily News’s Tom DeFrank the last week of the administration: “It’s been a long, long time since I’ve heard the president say, ‘Run that by the vice president’s office.’ You used to hear that all the time.”
The clearest sign of disaffection we have is Bush’s refusal to pardon Scooter Libby, the man known as “Cheney’s Cheney,” despite Vice’s tense and emotional pleading. It was his final, too little, too late “You are not the boss of me” spurning of Dick Cheney.
It may seem pointless for W. to worry about his legacy at this juncture, but he clearly did not want to add a Marc Rich blot to all the other gigantic blots on the copybook.
Approximating the Marc Rich case to that of Scooter Libby is akin to comparing Barney Frank to John Wayne. They have almost nothing in common, something even Dowd may have noticed.
The Washington Post printed Robert Novak's column about his brain tumor today, but it substantially edited the ending. The Post removed a mean-spirited quote from Joe Wilson and Valerie Plame attacking Novak that appeared in the version distributed by Creators Syndicate.
There are mad bloggers who profess to take delight in my distress, but there's no need to pay them attention in the face of such an outpouring of good will for me. I had thought 51 years of rough-and-tumble journalism in Washington made me more enemies than friends, but my recent experience suggests the opposite may be the case.
But Joe and Valerie Wilson, attempting to breathe life into the Valerie Plame "scandal," issued this statement: "We have long argued that responsible adults should take Novak's typewriter away. The time has arrived for them to also take away the keys to his Corvette."
Q. How can Scott McClellan tell he's pushed his turncoat trip a tad too far?
A. When even leading media liberals suggest his reputation's in tatters.
Say what you will, but I like Joan Walsh, editor of Salon.com. Liberal? No doubt. But also a grownup. On this evening's Hardball, Walsh had the integrity to acknowledge that by accusing Sean Hannity and Bill O'Reilly of regurgitating Bush White House talking points, McClellan was looking "worse for wear."
Sitting in for Chris Matthews, Mike Barnicle [who I must say does a more "fair 'n balanced" job than the regular guy] rolled video from the this past Friday's show in which McClellan leveled his accusation.
In an astonishing stroke of irony, the New York Times has outed the name of the CIA operative who interrogated 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, over the objections of CIA Director Michael V. Hayden and a lawyer representing the operative.
Agency officials and legal counsel told the Times that publishing the agent's name would "invade his privacy and put him at risk of retaliation from terrorists or harassment from critics of the agency."
In an Editor's Note linked from the story on KSM's interrogation, the Times defended its decision by stating that "other government employees" had been "named publicly in books and published articles" or had chosen to go public themselves, by explaining that its policy "is to withhold the name of a news subject only very rarely," and by arguing the operative's name "was necessary for the credibility and completeness of the article."
Times reporter Scott Shane describes his scoop as "the closest look to date beneath the blanket of secrecy that hides the program from terrorists and from critics who accuse the agency of torture."
Trent Duffy, who was deputy press secretary to Scott Clellan in the White House, appeared on Monday’s Washington Post op-ed page suggesting there’s a lot of lying in McClellan’s new book, including that the White House press corps was too sheepish and deferential:
The press was easy on us? How many times did you race up the ramp from the briefing room to your office after a raucous media cross-examination to complain how the press was unfair, naive, too tough and way too "liberal." Would any in the White House press corps agree they were softies?
Duffy's open letter to McClellan began with a series of truth-or-lie questions:
– Was it the truth or a lie when you told me, during a series of personal discussions in your West Wing office in late 2005 and early 2006 (at the apex of what you now call your period of "disillusionment" and "dismay"), that you were happy in your job and proud to serve President Bush and that you had no intention of leaving soon? What about in April 2006, when rumors swirled about a change at the podium, and you again told me you wanted to stay?
On Thursday's The O'Reilly Factor, after discussing Scott McClellan's views on invading Iraq with FNC contributor Karl Rove, Bill O'Reilly turned the discussion to McClellan's comments on Rove's role in the CIA leak probe. Rove complained that while the media were obsessed with him during the investigation, Richard Armitage, who was the actual leaker, was virtually ignored, and argued that if Armitage had publicly admitted earlier that he had leaked Valerie Plame's identity, "this would have all gone away. You'll notice when it came out that Richard Armitage was the source of the leak, the media rapidly lost attention." Rove also accused Joe Wilson of making untrue claims about his trip to Niger.
After playing a clip of McClellan from his Today show interview in which he complained that Rove and Scooter Libby had claimed they were not involved in the leak, Rove contended that it was Armitage who leaked Plame's identity: "The identity of Valerie Plame was leaked to Robert Novak by Richard Armitage. What I told Scott was I didn't know her name, didn't reveal her name, didn't reveal, didn't know what she did at the CIA, and that I wasn't the source for the leak." (Transcript follows)
Of all the people to call for a "truce" on excessive partisanship . . .
Interviewing Scott McClellan tonight, Keith Olbermann sanctimoniously suggested that a "truce" on rough political tactics "would be nice." But speaking with John Dean just minutes later, the Countdown host—he who has repeatedly called President Bush a liar and a fascist—reverted to form and regretted that it might be too late to impeach him.
SCOTT MCCLELLAN: [The 1988] election was very much a turning-point election. I think that George Bush, George Bush 41, George Herbert Walker Bush, is a decent individual, and a man who really believes in civility, but he, his advisors around him, knew the only way they could win was to bring down his opponent and go fully negative, and paint Michael Dukakis completely to the left. A guy who had painted himself—who had a record of trying to work to the center in a lot of ways [Ed: ?].
And, um, that legacy continues to this day, and Senator McCain says that he's going to speak out against that and not let that happen. I think that would be good for the country if that is the case. But there are certainly plenty of groups on the Republican side that are going to go forward with that kind of strategy. [Unlike groups on the Dem side. You know, like the kind-and-gentle one that ran the dragging-murder ad against W in 2000.]
I haven't seen Chris Matthews this excited since a Barack Obama speech sent a certain sensation skyward.
The Hardball host is in an absolute frenzy over Scott McClellan's allegations. So much so that guests on this evening's show are having a hard time expressing themselves as Matthews expounds at length. Ari Fleischer finally called Chris on it. And while David Gregory didn't express his ire in words, his facial expression left little doubt as to his annoyance at being cut off in mid-sentence.
The screencap shows Gregory's grimace. But be sure to view the video here to get the full effect. A bit later, former Bush press secretary Ari Fleischer appeared. He could be seen on many occasions attempting to speak, only to be submerged in a sea of ceaseless Matthews chatter. Talk at one point turned to VP Cheney's involvement in policy-making. Fleischer was again repeatedly frustrated in his attempts to talk, and finally had enough.
ABC reporter Martha Raddatz openly editorialized on Wednesday's "Good Morning America" that she is "disappointed" in former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan for not slamming the Bush White House sooner. McClellan, who has written a tell-all book bashing the President, Karl Rove and other operatives, was prominently featured as GMA's top story.
After being prompted by co-host Robin Roberts for her opinion, Raddatz unloaded: "...I'm really surprised....and disappointed." She lamented that as press secretary, "[McClellan] didn't stand up and say wait a minute, I'm not going to say these kind of things anymore. So, we're surprised." Co-host Diane Sawyer could not restrain herself from describing the new book in the most dire terms. In an intro, she breathlessly announced, "A scathing presidential review. One of the President's most loyal political aides turns on him..."
NBC's "Today" show, on Wednesday morning, led with former White House press secretary Scott McClellan's book as Matt Lauer declared it a "bombshell," and Tim Russert built up McClellan's credibility as he trumpeted, "This is not Moveon.org."
After a breathless accounting of the "scathing" and "searing" revelations in the McClellan book from David Gregory, Lauer and Russert dismissed Karl Rove's criticism of the former press secretary and underlined the impact the book would have on the election:
TIM RUSSERT: Karl Rove was out last night, basically relegating his position as unimportant. That he was not in the loop. He was not a key adviser. But the fact is, it's gonna be very difficult to diminish someone who was in that room, who was in that position for as long as he was.
MATT LAUER: And here we've got a president with historically low approval ratings, he can't run for reelection so this, is this just a parting shot on, on a departing president or will this have some impact on the fall election between Barack Obama, it seems, and John McCain?
RUSSERT: It will fuel the debate about the war in Iraq, whether or not we should have gone into Iraq. John McCain said yes, Obama said no. I believe that this will be expert testimony used by the Democrats against their incumbent president.
On October 22, 2005, my colleague Brent Baker reported Al Franken's disturbing joke to "Late Show" host David Letterman concerning Scooter Libby and Karl Rove being executed for their involvement in the Valerie Plame Wilson affair.
Almost two and a half years later, during an interview on CNN's "American Morning" Friday, Kiran Chetry asked the comedian turned Democrat senate candidate about this exchange.
When Franken had the gall to declare, "I didn't even say that in a joking manner," Chetry challenged him in a way that all media members should whenever a politician on either side of the aisle is so obviously disingenuous (video available here, h/t NBer Woody Boyd):
The US media seems to think that their job description includes deciding what information is and is not legal to leak and print- never mind that we elect Presidents, Senators and Representatives to do this, not members of the scribbling class. This arrogance and complete lack of care for their fellow Americans was famously demonstrated in the NSA and SWIFT banking exposes by the New York Times resident anti-Americans, James Risen and Eric Lichtblau.
However, these are not the only such cases. Recently, Risen has once again exposed classified data with the aid of hidden law-breakers in the government. In this case, Risen exposed a CIA-Mossad operation to destabilize Iran. Risen has been subpoenaed by a federal court to reveal who gave him this data, but predictably, he sees his mission of aiding America's enemies and assisting said enemies to kill American citizens as more important that assisting the government to uphold laws about leaking sensitive information. And equally predictably, the rest of the mainstream media is rallying to his defense. Haaretz, an Israeli news source, reported on the topic today, casting Risen in the role of victim.
The mainstream media seems to believe that they are above the law. they feel that anything that they do should be protected by law, no matter if they are engaging in actions that walk close to the line of treason. Today, Breitbart News is reporting that New York Times reporter James Risen, one of the two reporters who blew the whistle on the US government's use of overseas wire-tapping (a program, mind you that has not been declared illegal) is being subpoenaed over his source in a 2006 book on the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
On Friday's "Countdown," viewers were treated to a retrospective of MSNBC host Keith Olbermann's series of "Special Comment" attacks on conservatives, featuring four of his favorites from the year 2007. An announcer teased the show glorifying Olbermann while intermixing complimentary quotes from various media with clips of Olbermann reading his "Special Comments." The announcer read a quote from "Playboy" calling the MSNBC host the "truth teller in chief," and a quote from the "Akron Beacon Journal" claiming that he is "the one journalist actually working to save the democracy." Among the quotes from Olbermann featured in the teaser was the MSNBC host's charge that "the presidency of George W. Bush has now devolved into a criminal conspiracy to cover the ass of George W. Bush." (Transcript follows)
Removing any doubt about how she sees the world from the left, Valerie Plame Wilson, in an interview Thursday which aired Saturday night on a Washington, DC area cable channel, admired the work of the far-left Media Matters as she revealed she seeks out the group's postings for their “accuracy” and presentation of “the facts.” Carol Joynt (her blog), a former CBS News producer who as the owner of the Nathans of Georgetown restaurant every week interviews a newsmaker in front of a lunch crowd in what becomes the hour-long Q&A Cafe on NewsChannel 8, asked whether she reads “news differently than the rest of us?” Plame Wilson replied:
Having been at the center of this, I'm much more skeptical. I do try to seek other sources of information. I find something like -- there's a blog called Media Matters, I think it's Media Matters, that seeks to sort of accuracy. You know, here's some statements in the Washington Post or the New York Times or made by presidential candidates of both stripes, here's, here are the facts on them. I find that is helpful.