In a Tuesday evening dispatch at the Associated Press (saved here for future reference, fair use and discussion purposes) on the status of U.S. foreign policy in Egypt, Bradley Klapper and Julie Pace either displayed an amazing level of clairvoyance or indulged in a level of fantasy ordinarily reserved for trips to Disneyland. I'm betting that it's the latter, that this AP report will in short order come to be seen as a complete journalistic embarrassment, and that the Obama administration is drinking from the same koolaid jug.
The good news is that they at least finally acknowledged a linkage that most of the rest of the establishment press has studiously ignored, namely that "After winning U.S. and worldwide praise (for brokering an Israel-Hamas ceasefire), Morsi immediately cashed in on his new political capital by seizing more power at home." But it's all downhill from there (bolds and numbered tags are mine):
Wednesday's New York Times front page featured Susan Rice's failed attempt to assuage concerns of three Senate Republicans on her false statements about the Benghazi massacre in "Rice Concedes Error on Libya: G.O.P. Digs In." Inside was an unflattering photo of a peeved-looking Sen. John McCain. Posing Republican senator and Rice critic McCain as the bad guy, an on-line text box accompanying the article highlighted a reader comment from "Them or Us": "If you think these three Senators walked in with open minds and no agenda, I'd like to sell you a bridge that crosses the East River into Brooklyn. McCain's little kangaroo court is about as transparent as his anger." Meanwhile, on the back pages, two liberal Times columnists disagreed on Benghazi's significance.
In the front-page story, reporters Mark Landler and Jeremy Peters minimized the import of the policy scandal by focusing on the personal, portraying Rice, who may be nominated by President Obama to the post of UN ambassador, as offering an olive branch that "hostile Senate Republicans" rejected.
Taking a strange, hostile stand toward free expression, the journalists at the New York Times assumed an amateurish YouTube video sparked deadly riots in the Muslim world, and asked the imprisoned director if he had any regrets for making the movie.
Monday's front-page report from Los Angeles came from Serge Kovaleski and Brooks Barnes and appeared in print under the guilt-assuming headline "From Man Who Insulted Muhammad, No Regret." The headline on the front of nytimes.com: "After Fueling Deadly Protests, No Regret."
So what's more important, the fact that Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi was involved in brokering a Gaza-Israeli peace deal which appears to be more than sightly tilted in Hamas's direction, or the fact that Morsi has opportunistically seized nearly dictatorial powers?
They're arguably equal, but if compelled to choose, I believe most readers here would contend that because of the difficulties seen throughout human history in undoing such things, Morsi's power grab is more important. The Associated Press doesn't share that evaluation. In its summary of "10 Things to Know for Friday" the wire service notes the "peace" accord but not the power grab:
Out: hateful tweets to black actresses supporting Romney for president. In: hateful tweets to celebrities tweeting their support for Israel in its struggle against the Palestinian terrorist network Hamas.
The conservative website The Blaze, noted that comedian Jon Lovitz -- who famously lashed out earlier this year about President Obama's determination to hike taxes -- and reality show star Kim Kardashian were harassed this past weekend with profanity-laced tirades and death wishes.
Democrats picked up seven new House seats and expanded their caucus in the Senate by two seats, electing along the way the House's first Hindu member and the Senate's first Buddhist. But for liberal religion scholar Stephen Prothero, that's not good enough, because both chambers are still disproportionately too Protestant, with Republicans in particular looking too much like an "old-fashioned America" of yesteryear.
Now that their guy will be in the White House for another term, the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, has apparently commenced its "Cleaning up Benghazi" project -- as, naturally, has the Obama administration.
As part of that effort, the wire service's Greg Risling, reporting from Los Angeles at 6:14 p.m., made only the vaguest of references to how the film "roiled the Middle East" and "sparked violence ... killing dozens," without mentioning how it was dishonestly leveraged by terrorists as cover for protests and violence, and of course without mentioning how Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and so many others in his administration spent well over a week -- despite clearly knowing better -- citing the film as the cause of the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya which killed four Americans, including Libyan ambassador Christopher Stevens. Excerpts follow the jump (saved here in full for future reference, fair use and discussion purposes; bolds are mine):
As Congress holds hearings on the fatal attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, the New York Times placed its partisan political story by Michael Schmidt and Eric Schmitt on page A10 under a neutral, purely political headline, "Before Hearings on Libya Attack, Charges of Playing Politics." The text box was mild: "An inquiry is expected to focus on potential intelligence failures."
The Washington Post at least put Benghazi on the front page, in a story by Anne Gearan under the critical but off-target headline "Deadly Benghazi Attack Could Mar Clinton Legacy" (as if Hillary Clinton's reputation is the key issue at stake, not the four Americans killed). NewsBuster Ken Shepherd critiqued Gearan's story.
Islamist radicals affiliated with the Taliban shot and critically wounded Malala Yousafzai yesterday. The Financial Times notes that Yousafzai is "a 14-year-old Pakistani activist who won international acclaim for speaking out for girls denied education under the Taliban." Yousafzai was wounded in the leg from a shot fired at her as she left school on Tuesday.
Yousafzai's shooting was the third item in a news brief aired 10 minutes before the close of Andrea Mitchell's 1 p.m. Eastern program:
“Those who came here insulting Islam and the Koran, I will take revenge on them,” said a Taliban suicide bomber with a chilling smile. Moments later he drove a truck loaded with 10,000 kg of explosives into U.S. Forward-Operating Base Salerno in Khost, Afghanistan, killing two U.S. soldiers.
It was all captured on a Taliban propaganda video narrated by an Al Jazeera reporter. (Video below.) It’s currently available for anyone to see on YouTube. More shocking, the Taliban have their own YouTube channel, though it is mostly dormant.
Sounding less like a supposed foreign policy expert and more like someone who's been listening to way too much late, late night left-wing radio, Zbigniew Brzezinski claimed to see the outlines of a "conspiracy" in the making of the anti-Mohammed movie trailer.
Saying "it's not an issue of freedom of speech entirely," Jimmy Carter's former National Security Adviser suggested on Morning Joe today that the makers of the movie could be held "liable" for the deaths of the US Ambassador to Libya and three other Americans. He recommended that the United States should "investigate and crack down" on "evil forces" such as those people behind the movie. View the video after the jump.
"President Obama has almost a psychological need to be totally blind to the realities of Islamic extremism."
So said former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich on Fox News's Hannity Monday during a discussion about the political impact of new revelations concerning the terrorist attack on our consulate in Libya.
As shown on Times Watch this morning, New York Times media reporter David Carr may pooh-pooh the idea of liberal bias. But he's a stronger supporter of the First Amendment than some of his Times colleagues, like movie critic A.O. Scott, who ludicrously defended a left-wing journalist's vandalism of the subway poster as "free expression" and even "democracy."
In "The Sweet Spot," a weekly videocast featuring Carr and movie critic A.O. Scott discussed controversial advertisements put up in the New York City subway system by anti-Islamist activist Pamela Geller that read: "In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel. Defeat Jihad."
Corrected from earlier | Time magazine managing editor Richard Stengel appeared on the September 27 Morning Joe to give viewers a preview of the latest issue of the magazine, the cover story of which is devoted to Mitt Romney's Mormon faith. At the tail end of the segment, teasing other articles in the issue, Stengel plugged Bobby Ghosh's interview with Mohammed Abdel Rahman, the son of Omar Abdel Rahman, the "blind sheikh" serving time in a federal prison for his role in aborted 1993 bombing plot targeting the World Trade Center.
"We have a great piece by Bobby Ghosh, who's been on here before about the rise of the Salafis, in the Middle East, they're the Tea Party of Muslim democracy, and that's a fantastic, insightful story as well," Stengel noted. Neither Joe Scarborough not co-host Willie Geist threw a penalty flag at Stengel's unnecessary roughness, comparing the Tea Party to radical advocates of stringent Sharia law. [MP3 audio here; video at bottom of post]
New York Times technology correspondent Somini Sengupta wrote a depressing article for the Sunday Review suggesting free speech could be limited by corporations (at the behest of government) in the interest of not offending the sensibilities of violent radical Muslims -- "Free Speech in the Age of YouTube."
Sengupta also seemed to sign on to the false notion that the anti-American violence in Egypt and Libya was tied to the shoddy old anti-Muhammad clip posted on YouTube, when in fact the violence on the anniversary of 9-11 had been long planned and the clip a pretext at best. (Meanwhile, Times editorial board member Lincoln Caplan was also disturbingly ambivalent on "absolutist" free speech on the domestic front.)
NewsBusters is showcasing the most egregious bias the Media Research Center has uncovered over the years — four quotes for each of the 25 years of the MRC, 100 quotes total — all leading up to our big 25th Anniversary Gala on Thursday evening.
Click here for posts recounting the worst of 1988 through 2009. Today, the worst bias of 2010: Journalists attack the Tea Party as Nazi “goons;” Arizona’s attempt to thwart illegal immigration is likened to the Nazi occupation of Denmark; and Katie Couric suggests a Muslim version of The Cosby Show as a remedy to American “bigotry.” [Quotes and video below the jump.]
Who knew that "a source familiar with Ambassador Steven's thinking" may have been Ambassador Stevens himself?
Citing an unnamed but mysteriously close source on Wednesday, CNN's Anderson Cooper reported that Christopher Stevens was concerned about security threats, Islamic extremism, and an al-Qaeda hit list in the months leading up to the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi.
Two days later, Cooper admitted that some of the information from that report secretly came from Stevens own handwriting, in a seven-page personal journal that the network had found at the scene of the attack.
The Innocence of Muslims trailer that has sparked deadly protests overseas is crass, intentionally offensive, and grossly inappropriate. That much is clear. As crude as the video may be, however, Google did the right thing in not removing it from YouTube because its content is not, in itself, what the law would call an “incitement to violence.” Its message did not urge others to participate in violent conduct, but was used by a violent and irresponsible faction as an excuse for more violence.
Furthermore, new media giants like Google, Facebook or Apple should not censor content on their platforms because of pressure from the government, or because of groups that might be offended by controversial yet lawful viewpoints.
Anne Gearan of The Washington Post reported Friday that the Obama administration paid $70,000 to buy ads on Pakistant television disavowing the “Innocence of Muslims” video on YouTube in an attempt to defuse street protests. “Since our founding, the United States has been a nation of respect, that respects all faiths. We reject all efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others,” Obama says in the ad, which is stamped “paid content.”
This is a different kind of political ad, with an important U.S. government goal. But will it draw scrutiny from Post “Fact Checker” Glenn Kessler, a former State Department correspondent for the Post? It can’t be accurately stated that Obama and his financial supporters (ahem, Bill Maher) have rejected “all efforts to denigrate” Christians. [Ad below]
While the Innocence of Muslims is still being blamed for the riots and murders in the Middle East, the national news media has no problem running a speculative story that disrespects the teachings of the Christian faith. New "evidence" now suggests that Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene after all, but the artifact in question dates back to the 4th century A.D.
This all began when Harvard historian Dr. Karen King received a tiny strip of papyrus from an anonymous collector. After translating the Coptic script thereon, she found two phrases, one which reads, "Jesus said to them my wife. Elsewhere on the paper it continues, "She will be able to be my disciple."
ABC and CBS News brought it up on Thursday evening, but could only afford to allot a few seconds of coverage. NBC Nightly News did not mention it at all. All three network morning news broadcasts devoted significant attention to the story, and predictably worked in references to Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code novel.
This week we learned what really gets the liberal media in a ... well ... rage. It isn't the act of perpetrating violence upon the innocent. No, it's calling out that rage for everyone to see. In Liberal Land, words speak louder than actions.
The media on the left side of the aisle took more umbrage with a Newsweek article titled, Muslim Rage, than they did with the incidents that demonstrated that rage - the killing of four Americans in Libya, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens, and the hoisting of Islamist flags on sovereign U.S. soil. Outlets like Think Progress called the Newsweek cover, which featured an image of a group of obviously agitated Muslims, Islamophobic. Newsweek for their part did not apologize for their portrayal of events in the Middle East saying:
One would hope that "free speech" would emerge the clear winner with a Times journalist covering the story. But Kirkpatrick played the "context" card, sidestepping the clear attacks on free expression demanded by Islamic extremists to the point of sounding apologetic for free expression.
As the broadcast network evening newscasts on Monday recounted protests in Beirut, Lebanon, organized by Hezbollah, only the CBS Evening News noted that the U.S. government considers Hezbollah to be a "terrorist group," while ABC called it a "militant group" and NBC gave the organization no label.
As he listed Muslim countries where protests against the United States had been occurring, CBS anchor Scott Pelley noted:
The caption accompanying a September 13 TIME magazine photo slide tags the filmmakers behind "The Innocence of Muslims" as "Islamophobes" while those rioting in the Arab street supposedly in reaction against said film are merely "orthodox Muslims.":
Acting on the premise that the trailer for the low-budget film "Innocence of Muslims" was one of the causes of rioting and anti-American protests across the Middle East this week, the Obama Administration has asked YouTube to "review" whether the two-minute preview "violates the Website's terms of service," a phrase that usually means the government wants the "offending" item deleted.
That move led the blogger at the conservative Ace of Spades Website to charge that the federal government is "now acting as the censorship arm of Islamists."
Discussing the violent anti-American demonstrations erupting across the Middle East outside U.S. embassies in Arab capitals, MSNBC contributor Michael Eric Dyson put a share of the blame on, well, "horrible" Americans.
It was the "demonization of a predictable minority," in this case Muslims, that was the spark that light the conflagration, Dyson argued on the September 14 edition of the noon Eastern program Now with Alex Wagner. "It's not as if, oh in America, we've resolved this with equanimity and grace," he added, seeking to conflate isolated incidents of hate speech against Muslims inside the United States with the violent response of the Arab street to an obscure low-budget YouTube video. [MP3 audio here; video follows page break]
American blood was shed and mobs of Muslims continue to burn American flags and chant “Death to America!” around multiple U.S. consulates. It’s a scene that’s played out on almost a regular basis. A media story (about flushing Korans or other slights to Islam real or imagined) provides some pretext and the “Arab Street” explodes with raging mobs. The ambassador’s death is what sets the current situation apart.
On the eleventh anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, the horrendously liberal website Salon published a piece with the truly absurd headline, "Fox News’ War on Muslims: Roger Ailes, Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity have stoked Islamophobia -- and encouraged right-wing ignorance."
The contents - excerpted from Nathan Lean's book “The Islamophobia Industry: How the Right Manufactures Fear of Muslims” - were stocked with misinformation about America's leading cable news channel:
Mitt Romney's statement yesterday evening slamming the Obama administration for the U.S. embassy in Cairo's attempt to appease the Islamist protesters was "naive," MSNBC's Alex Wagner and Time magazine's Rana Foroohar agreed in a segment on the September 12 edition of Now with Alex Wagner.
While Wagner said the initial statement condemning the anti-Muhammad movie was intended to calm tempers and save lives, Foroohar went into an odd analogy that compared Islamist hatemongers with conservative radio host Glenn Beck (MP3 audio here; video embedded below page break):