On Monday's The O'Reilly Factor, during the "Weekdays with Bernie" segment, host Bill O'Reilly and Fox News Analyst Bernard Goldberg discussed media coverage of the Fort Hood massacre and the political correctness of some who were hesitant about discussing the role Nidal Hasan's extreme Muslim beliefs played in his decision to attack fellow troops. Whilte ABC News was given credit for covering this angle early, a quote by Newsweek's Evan Thomas expressing fear that Hasan's religious beliefs "will get the right wing going" was also discussed.
O'Reilly began the segment by playing the offending clip of Newsweek's Thomas:
I cringe that he's a Muslim. I mean, because it just inflames all the fears. I think he's probably just a nut case but, with that label attached to him, it will get the right wing going. And it just, these things are tragic, but that makes it much worse.
Dobbs, on his Nov. 10 radio program, didn't reserve judgment and criticized President Barack Obama for telling people to do so in a speech following the tragic event. Dobbs played a clip from the speech Obama gave last week in which he warned, "We don't know all the answers yet and I would caution against jumping to conclusions until we have all the facts."
"Isn't that remarkable, telling the American people not to jump to any conclusions?" Dobbs said. "Not to speculate, not to be curious about what is happening to our men and women, who should be the center of all of our attention and concern and care. Let's compare that statement by our president to what he said at the end of a press conference about health care shortly after the arrest of Professor Henry Louis Gates, his good friend."
CNN misquoted a soldier at Fort Hood who was wounded in last week's shooting to suggest that the soldier's recollection that Major Hasan shouted "Allahu Akbar" before firing was in doubt. Many in the media have been doing their best to downplay evidence suggesting Hasan was acting in accordance with radical Muslim beliefs.
"I was sitting in about the second row back when the assailant stood up and yelled 'Allahu Akbar' in Arabic and he opened fire," Pvt. Joseph Foster recalled yesterday on CNN's "American Morning" (Video below the fold - h/t Jim Hoft at Gateway Pundit).
As is seemingly tradition, the media is once again playing that classic game known as ‘How Can We Blame Bush?' It's the party favorite where liberals take the biggest headline of the day, and immediately link Bush to the cause in one fell swoop, eliminating all facets of rationale.
Now, syndicated columnist Gwynne Dyer has introduced his own version, something that is only surprising in the length of time it took for this kind of diatribe to crack the pages of the media: ‘Fort Hood = Bush's fault'.
In his latest column, Dyer makes the tired argument that it is the War on Terror which breeds Muslim resentment, and by extension, is an obvious explanation for the actions of Major Nidal Malik Hasan. It was President Bush who popularized the War on Terror phrase, delivering a speech shortly after the attacks of September 11th which would outline his future plans.
As Dyer states (emphasis mine):
The one explanation that is excluded is that America's wars in Muslim lands overseas are radicalizing Muslims at home.
Dyer's revisionist history also explains that the War on Terror itself was not in response to escalating attacks by jihadists - rather, it was part panic, part ignorance, and a heaping portion of racism.
In a bleary-eyed opinion article in the Sunday Boston Globe (11/8/09), Harvard divinity professor Harvey Cox denounces religious "fundamentalism." In doing so, he places mass-murdering Muslims from the Middle East on the same playing field as conservative Christians from the United States. From Cox's article:
As the 20th century ended and a new one began, fundamentalism has taken on more formidable shapes, both politically and religiously. Though most of its adherents work through spiritual and educational channels, the small minority that turn to violence have caught the media’s attention. If some seem ready to die for faith, others are ready to kill for it, gunning down abortion doctors in church, hijacking planes, and exploding bombs at weddings. For plenty of thoughtful people, fundamentalism has come to represent the most dangerous threat to open societies since the fall of communism.
Andrea Elliott’s front page article in the November 9 New York Times played up the thousands of Muslims in the U.S. military and how their “service...is more necessary and more complicated than ever before,” but gave the false impression that a Medal of Honor recipient named near the end of her piece was a Muslim himself, when he was actually Catholic.
Elliott spent much of her article, “Complications Grow for Muslims Serving in the U.S. Military” (which appeared above the fold on the front page of the print edition of the Times), detailing the concerns of “many Muslim soldiers and their commanders...[who] fear that the relationship between the military and its Muslim service members will only grow more difficult” after Major Nidal Malik Hasan’s shooting rampage at Fort Hood on November 5. She later noted that “[w]hatever his possible motives, the emerging portrait of Major Hasan’s life in the military casts light on some of the struggles and frustrations felt by other Muslims in the services.”
Near the end of the article, Elliott changed the subject ever so slightly that it might have gone unnoticed. The reporter quoted Captain Erich Rahman, an Iraq war veteran and Bronze Star winner: “Too many Americans overlook the heroic efforts of Arab-Americans in uniform, said Capt. Eric Rahman...He cited the example of Lieutenant Michael A. Monsoor, a Navy Seal who was awarded the Medal of Honor after pulling a team member to safety during firefight in 2006, in Ramadi, Iraq. Lieutenant Monsoor died saving another American, yet he will never be remembered like Major Hasan, said Captain Rahman. Regardless, he said, Muslim- and Arab-Americans are crucial to the military’s success in Afghanistan and Iraq.”
At the end of Sunday’s Face the Nation on CBS, host Bob Schieffer offered commentary on the cause of the mass shooting at Fort Hood: “That doctor [Major Nidal Hasan] should not have been at Fort Hood. I don’t care how hard-up the Army is for mental health professionals....sadly, this shows the Army still does not take protecting soldiers’ mental health as seriously as it does training them to shoot.”
Schieffer went on to argue: “And then there is the other part that often happens in government. Don’t deal with the problem, shuffle it off to somewhere else. When he had problems at Walter Reed hospital, the doctor was just packed off to Fort Hood.” In similar fashion, Schieffer “shuffled off” the responsibility of an overly politically correct media that continually denounces profiling of criminal suspects or terrorists.
Earlier in the broadcast, Schieffer asked Congressman Ike Skelton: “Do you think this is a sign that the military is simply overextended?”
Two-and-a-half years before Army Major Nidal Hasan, a Muslim medical doctor, murdered 13 at Fort Hood in Texas in what more-and-more looks like a jihadist terrorist attack given his anti-American rants and ties to Islamic extremists, ABC's since-canceled Boston Legal drama ridiculed the idea a doctor could be a terrorist.
A scene in the episode first aired on Tuesday, May 8, 2007 -- meant to show the silliness and incompetence of the military for detaining obviously innocent men -- concluded with a released terror suspect being asked in courtroom about a colleague who had committed suicide to avoid the mistreatment: “Was your friend a terrorist?” The man replied with these words, dripping with disgust, which dramatically ended the scene: “No, he was a doctor.”
On Monday’s American Morning, CNN’s Carol Costello highlighted a column on the “right-wing” Pajamas Media website during a report on a possible backlash against Muslim soldiers, but omitted how the author of the column is a noted feminist, and that her only “right-wing” credential is her focus on Islamic misogyny.
Anchor John Roberts introduced Costello’s report, noting that apparently “many people [are] fearing a backlash against America’s Muslim soldiers” after the shooting rampage at Fort Hood on November 5. The CNN correspondent featured the mother of a Muslim army corporal who was killed in the line of duty in Iraq during the segment.
On Sunday’s Face the Nation on CBS, host Bob Schieffer tried to provide some perspective on the Fort Hood shooting, committed by an Islamic extremist: “It’s looking more and more like he was just, sort of, a religious nut. And you know Islam doesn’t have a majority – or the Christian religion has its full, you know, full helping of nuts too.”
Schieffer made the comments while speaking to Senator Lindsey Graham, who agreed that Muslims do not have “a corner” on extremism. Schieffer went on to wonder what role political correctness played in the shooter, Major Nidal Hasan, not being held accountable for radical comments he made prior to the attack: “Do you think the fact that he was a Muslim may have caused the military to kind of step back and be reluctant to challenge him on some of this stuff for fear that they’d be accused of discrimination or something like that?”
Graham replied: “I hope not. I hope – I hope that’s not the case....his actions do not reflect on the Islamic – Muslim faith” Schieffer added: “Well, I’m not suggesting that they do.” Promoting the very political correctness that Schieffer asked about, Graham argued: “But some people are. Some people are, and I want to say, as a United States Senator, that I reject that....Let’s don’t accuse people of basically giving him a pass because he’s a Muslim. Because I don’t think there’s any evidence of that.”
On Friday’s Countdown show, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann suggested that Fox News is a racist organization that would hold race or religion against its employees in awarding promotions, as he used the show’s "Worst Person" segment to slam Fox and Friends co-hosts Brian Kilmeade, Gretchen Carlson, and Peter Johnson, for raising questions about whether Muslims serving in the military should be treated with more attention. While every show in MSNBC’s primetime and morning lineups has a host who is white and non-Muslim, Olbermann suggested that the Fox and Friends hosts would have trouble succeeding at FNC if they were Muslim or non-white. Olbermann: "Since we’re asking questions, I have one for Carlson, Johnson, and Kilmeade. You guys ever wonder if you all succeeded inside a company like Fox mostly because you’re not Muslim or black or Asian or Hispanic?"
Olbermann's allegation ignores FNC personalities like Geraldo Rivera and Julie Banderas, who have hosted their own shows; and Juan Williams and Michelle Malkin who have both guest hosted for The O'Reilly Factor in addition to their work as contributors. Even on Fox and Friends, Lauren Green used to read the show's news briefs.
Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the "Worst Person in the World" segment from the Friday, November 6, Countdown show on MSNBC:
ABC doubled the length of its evening newscast on Friday night and World News used its second half hour to suggest an exculpatory reason behind Army psychiatrist Nidal Hasan's mass killing at Fort Hood -- as anchor Charles Gibson reasoned “treating the mentally wounded can be stressful” -- then to devote a story to the plight of Muslim soldiers: “It's not easy for anyone serving in the armed forces these days, but with America fighting Islamic enemies overseas, Muslim troops face a unique burden.” Reporter Bill Weir despaired:
The Pentagon has made a real concerted effort to create a military that is culturally sensitive and religiously tolerant, but Muslims in uniform today face a challenge not seen since Japanese-Americans fought in World War II. They taste suspicion from some fellow soldiers who question their loyalty and resentment from fellow Muslims opposed to both American wars.
Weir featured a Muslim soldier who lamented “our religion teaches better,” before Weir painted Muslim soldiers as victims of intolerance, highlighting the experience of one Muslim soldier who “began his overseas deployment on 9/11, and taunts followed him throughout his four-year enlistment.”
Appearing on the Dr. Nancy program on MSNBC Friday, NBC News terrorism analyst Roger Cressey warned against labeling the mass shooting at Ft. Hood as terrorism, despite the apparent radical views of the shooter: “We’ve heard some family references that he was being criticized for his Muslim faith, that’s all we know right now....It’s still premature to draw the terrorism conclusion.”
Prior to Cressey’s assessment, host Dr. Nancy Snyderman spoke with Dr. Stevan Hobfoll, director of the Traumatic Stress Center at Rush University Medical Center and asked about the mental health of the attacker, Major Nidal Hasan. Hobfoll made no hesitation describing the shooting as a terrorist act: “Strangely enough, terrorism is not in itself an area – an act of mental illness. I think this was a Jihadist act, it’s certainly psychologically abnormal what he did, but that doesn’t mean that he had any psychological disorder, per se.”
As reports of the Fort Hood shooting began to pour in yesterday, numerous news outlets neglected to mention that the shooter is a Muslim. Either the potential import of this fact was completely lost on these journalists, or they omitted the shooter's Muslim affiliations out of a concern for political correctness.
CBS and NBC both omitted the shooter's faith in their East Coast feeds last night, as reported by Brent Baker. The Los Angeles Times left key facts out of its report, published at 9:46 EST (which has since been edited), even though other other media outlets had reported them. Among these was that shooter Nidal Malik Hasan was Muslim, and that he had previously expressed on an Internet forum affinity for suicide bombers.
The Associated Press reported at 8:15 EST that Hasan had "come to the attention" of Army officials at least six months ago for these Internet posts.
Neither the CBS Evening News nor NBC Nightly News, in their East coast feeds Thursday night, noted the Muslim religious beliefs of the mass killer at the Fort Hood Army base in Texas, but ABC anchor Charles Gibson wasn't cowed by political correctness as he teased World News, “Fort Hood tragedy: An Army officer, a Muslim convert, is the suspect in a shooting spree...” Introducing his first story, Gibson referred to how Major Nidal Malik Hasan “an army officer, a Muslim, opened fire with handguns...” (With a range of frequency, during late afternoon/early evening coverage, CNN, FNC and MSNBC all identified Hasan as a Muslim.)
Cryptically, ABC's senior foreign affairs correspondent, Martha Raddatz, concluded a story on reaction at Fort Hood: “As for the suspect, Nadal Hasan, as one officer's wife told me, 'I wish his name was Smith.'” So, a concern this will lead to groundless fear of Muslims?
The CBS Evening News avoided any mention of Islam or Muslim faith as Katie Couric provided this benign description: “Today, according to the Army, a soldier opened fire....He's identified tonight as Army Major Nadal Malik Hasan, a licensed psychiatrist and drug and rehab specialist from Bethesda, Maryland.” NBC anchor Brian Williams: “The soldier, identified as the initial gunman here, is an Army psychiatrist, Nadal Malik Hasan. He's an officer, a Major, and he was apparently armed with two handguns.” NBC's Pete Williams insisted, the MRC's Brad Wilmouth noticed, “everything about his background is rock solid, and nothing extraordinary stands out about his background.”
CNN’s Iranian-born chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour interviewed one of the leaders of the militant group which stormed the U.S. embassy in Tehran in 1979 and held 52 Americans hostage for 444 days for her “Amanpour” program. The interview, along with that of one of the hostages, is set to air this coming Sunday.
Wednesday’s Newsroom program previewed the upcoming episode of Amanpour’s program 12 minutes into the 12 pm Eastern hour, playing clips from the correspondent’s interviews with Jon Limbert, one of the employees of the embassy who spent more than a year in captivity, and Ebrahim Asgharzadeh, a leader of a group which supported Ayatollah Khomeni and held the Americans captive.
An article in the Albany Times Union promotes a controversy brewing in local schools in upstate New York. A controversy in that schools are willing to close their doors during Christian and Jewish religious holidays - but not Muslim holidays.
Tucked away within the article is a supporting statement from Jay Worona, counsel for the New York State School Board Association (NYSSBA), in which he promotes a possible alternative to canceling classes. Worona states, "One request we have seen is for a room during Ramadan for students to pray in, and many districts are attempting to provide those."
What the reporter fails to note is that Worona, who apparently is in favor of separate prayer rooms for Muslim students, opposes the inclusion of a display containing the Ten Commandments in New York schools.
Interesting. A prayer room for Muslim students. What happened to the separation of religion and education, church and state? Or did that only apply to the assault on Christianity in our schools, the elimination of nativity scenes, the conversion of labels such as 'Christmas Break' to 'Winter Break', or the deletion of the phrase 'under God' from our Pledge of Allegiance?
With the eight year anniversary of 9/11 mere hours away, the Associated Press has written a very moving, very emotional piece, focusing on victims who fear leaving the house on that day, victims who will never view that day as routine, victims who get a sick feeling in their stomach when the anniversary arrives each year - Muslims.
While nobody is promoting discrimination against any group of people based on the actions of a maniacal few, one has to question if the alleged terror experienced by Muslims on this anniversary warrants a focal point? On a day in which Americans take time to remember the devastation and the loss of life on 9/11, we are encouraged by the AP to feel sorry for those who might receive strange stares, or may 'feel' less safe on this day because they are Muslim.
Yet there is little mention of Americans themselves who feel a little less safe on 9/11, because we remember being attacked on that day, we remember watching over 3,000 of our friends and family dying that day, we remember the screams of the heroes on Flight 93, the screams of women and men, mothers and fathers, wives and husbands, who desperately made an attempt to take back a plane scheduled for a suicide mission which surely would have killed many more.
A quote from Sarah Sayeed attempts to capture the anxiety of the day as she wonders, ‘should I go anywhere?' An appropriate question, but perhaps more so for Americans who asked themselves the same question weeks, months, and even years after the tragedy. There is no attempt to capture the anxiety of those who still give a quick glance up to the sky each time the sound of an airplane fills their ears.
In the L.A. Times on July 22, writer Catherine Lyons again revealed a bit of her Bush Derangement Syndrome by calling the war on terror a “so-called war on terror.” What is with these people that simply cannot accept terms of reality? It’s like this every time they use the word terrorism, or “terrorism” as the Old Media so often terms it, and the war on terror. The Old Media simply refuses to understand that terrorism exists, that it is a problem, and that we are at war with terrorists.
This usage of the “so-called” remark was doubly amusing because Lyons threw in her “so-called war on terror” comment into a story about U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder’s visit to a closed meeting of Muslims held in Los Angeles on July 18. Her scoffing at the war on terror seemed geared to let Muslim readers in on the fact that she didn’t believe there was terrorism or that Bush was really fighting a war on terror… wink, wink.
Little has been made about yesterday's "The Fall of Capitalism and the Rise of Islam" conference that was held at the Hilton Hotel Grand Ballroom in Oak Lawn, IL. The conference was held by the group Hizb Ut Tahrir; a group that has been banned in Germany, Russia, Pakistan and several other Middle Eastern countries. Yet most mainstream media organizations in the United States didn't even bother to mention the event.
The estimated 800 attending the conference discussed issues related to the global capitalist economic system and Islamic alternatives to that system, said spokesman Mohammad Malkawi. Opinions about Hizb ut-Tahrir varied widely. Outside the hotel, protesters said the organization is simply another terrorist group. - Chicago Sun Times, Muslim group's economic session draws opponents
You have to dig pretty deep into the book of varied reality to classify this event as an economic session. The video accompanying this article is a direct promotional video for the event. If the video alone doesn't convince you of the group's aim then perhaps the reasons other countries have banned the group will.
Something must be in the water at the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
In the past couple of weeks, longtime columnist Connie Schultz, who happens to be married to U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown, has come out in favor of changing copyright law to "save newspapers" (the relevant columns are here and here). Its Readers' Representative has also jumped on board.
This hostility towards blogs and bloggers is not a one-off aberration at the PD. In November 2007, columnist Dick Feagler went off, asking, among other things, "Have they ridden (implied: off the record) with a candidate in the middle of the night?" Feagler's cozy brand of non-objective "journalism" has been one of one-party, one-paper-dominated Cleveland's biggest problems for decades.
More recently, in what I take to be his second related video chat (HT The Future of Journalism via Instapundit) on the copyright topic, Readers' Rep Ted Diadiun, pictured at right, calls bloggers "a bunch of pipsqueaks out there talking about what real journalists do” (at 10:00 mark of video at link).
Editor's Note: The following was originally posted to Andrew Breitbart's Big Hollywood blog on June 24. Perhaps of greatest note to NewsBusters readers is Tapson's reporting on the pronouncements of Daily Beast contributor and UC Riverside professor Reza Aslan that "There is no such thing as Sharia."
While Iranian-American protesters packed streetcorners in Westwood last Saturday afternoon in support of the revolution currently playing out in the streets of Tehran, an historical drama about stoning in Iran got underway at the Los Angeles Film Festival mere blocks away.
For the few who don’t know by now, The Stoning of Soraya M. is based on French-Iranian journalist Freidoune Sahebjam’s bestselling book, which relates the true story of a woman in a remote Iranian village, in the years after the 1979 Khomeini revolution, who is falsely accused of adultery and stoned to death by a mob desperate to cleanse themselves of this affront to their collective honor and to their religion. It’s not only a gripping story in its own right, but it shines a harsh spotlight on the almost unimaginable reality that the barbaric punishment of stoning still exists in the Iranian law code, despite a largely nominal 2002 moratorium, the result of pressure from Western human rights groups.
(Full disclosure, even though I’m not reviewing the film here: I’m close friends with the filmmakers Cyrus and Betsy Nowrasteh, I provided Mpower Pictures with a bit of research on the project, I’m friends with other cast and crew and producers associated with the film, and I think stoning is bad. So don’t take my word for it when I say SorayaBig Hollywood’s John Nolte will be the most important, affecting film you’ll see all year. Instead seek out the multitude of reviewers who recommend the film, including and then see it for yourself.)
Following Saturday’s screening was a panel discussion, not so much moderated as simply hosted by Iranian novelist Khaled Hosseini, author of the bestselling The Kite Runner, who personally selected the film for the L.A. Film Festival. The panel also included Soraya’s writer-director Cyrus Nowrasteh, starring actress Shohreh Aghdashloo, and Dr. Reza Aslan, billed as an Islamic scholar.
Leave it to New York Times liberal movie critic Stephen Holden to come down on "The Stoning of Soraya M," for stereotyping a couple of murderous, misogynist Islamists as...murderous misogynist Islamists.
Holden generally likes politically activist movies, especially left-wing documentaries that take aim at politically correct targets like big business and heartland hicks. By contrast, he's not fond of Israel or the Catholic Church, or evidently, movies about injustices committed against women in the Muslim world, like "The Stoning of Soraya M." Conservatives have embraced the movie, which might also provide a clue as to why Holden hates it. In calling it "lurid torture-porn," Holden echoes columnist Frank Rich's smear against "The Passion of the Christ" as "a joyride for sadomasochists."
The protesters admire our freedom, but they are appalled--and insulted--by our neocolonialist condescension over the past 50 years. The reformers, and even some conservatives, consider Ahmadinejad the George W. Bush of Iran--a crude, unsophisticated demagogue, who puts a strong Potemkin face to the world without very much knowledge of what the rest of the world is about. This was an anology [sic] that came up in interview after interview, with reformers and conservatives alike.
Klein doesn't explicitly reference the "axis of evil" remarks in then-President Bush's 2002 State of the Union address as an offense, although he quite probably has it in mind. Yet a review of the relevant passage from that speech shows Bush was dead-on and arguably eerily prophetic about the iron-fisted repression that the world is witness to presently on the streets of Tehran (portion in bold is my emphasis):
On Thursday evening, the CBS Evening News and the NBC Nightly News presented opposite takes on whether Iranian presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi is really a moderate, or whether he is actually about as extreme and dangerous as current President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. CBS’s Mark Phillips argued that Mousavi is merely more moderate in "tone" than Ahmadinejad while taking similar policy positions, while NBC’s Richard Engel played up Mousavi as a real alternative to Ahmadinejad. CBS News substitute anchor Maggie Rodriguez introduced Phillips’s report: "Mir Hossein Mousavi insists he won the presidential election there, only to have it stolen from him. He's been cast as an outsider, anxious for reform. But as Mark Phillips reports, that's not exactly the case."
After beginning his report contending that "Mir Hossein Mousavi is neither a champion of democracy as we know it, nor an advocate of great change within Iran's mullah-dominated government," Phillips further argued that Mousavi would bring little substantive policy difference to the presidency:
For the last several months, New York Times reporter turned international columnist Roger Cohen has filed naïve apologist columns about Iran, often attacking Israel in the process. Previously mocked for this embarrassing display of Obama-mania in March 2008, Cohen attracted negative attention on the foreign affairs front earlier this year by telling readers how good things really were for Jews in Iran.
After that line of argument failed to convince, he then accused Israel of lying about the Iranian threat while constantly insisting that Iran was actually a functioning and reformist democracy. Cohen minimized the danger posed by Iran's demonized leader, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, excusing his anti-Israel rantings. And of course, Cohen strongly favored Obama's brand of diplomacy with Iran as opposed to Bush's hostility.
Cohen's Thursday column from Tehran, "Iran Awakens Yet Again," which ran in the Times international edition the day before the vote, featured some poorly timed fawning over Iran's "unpredictable" democracy.
Media coverage of successful counter-terrorism operation operations has been lacking and points to an overall lack of awareness toward well-funded, well-coordinated Jihadist efforts inside the U.S., a prominent Muslim-American has warned. Hatred of the West and the U.S. in particular was the primary drive force behind a plot that involved the potential use of explosives and missiles, according to a complaint filed in New York this past May.
The four suspects had planned to discharge explosives outside Jewish community centers and to attack U.S. military aircraft with missiles, authorities claim. This follows on the heels of a planned Jihadist assault on the Fort Dix military base in New Jersey last year that was also thwarted.
Message: Obama cares about Muslims. And he's got Osama bin Laden on the run by wisely fighting the war not militarily, but ideologically, unlike George Bush.
That's the bottom-line finding in Rod Nordland's piece from Baghdad for the New York Times Sunday Week in Review story on Obama's speech to Muslims in Cairo, "Forceful Words and Fateful Realities." Nordland, a longtime Newsweek foreign correspondent, portrayed Osama bin Laden's taped rebuttal as a sign of his weakness.
Barack Obama's speech in Cairo last Thursday was "soft spoken and eloquent," said Moqtada al-Sadr, the radical Iraqi cleric, grudgingly, since he also said he despised it. It was a speech that meant different things to different people, a quality that has been much noted in this president. He supported Israel, but reached out to the Muslim world in an unprecedented way. Some friends were troubled, others reassured. Some of America's enemies denounced it, but none dismissed it. Not even the arch-enemies at whom, in some important way, the speech was directed.
It must have been a while since David Gergen dropped his resume in the hopper for Team Obama, so it’s no small surprise that it was about for him to turn on the rhetorical firehose and gush some love the White House’s way.
On the June 4 “Anderson Cooper 360,” Gergen was asked by the host to give his initial reaction to President Obama’s speech in Cairo. Gergen immediately mugged for the camera:
DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Anderson, there was no way he could quite reach the summit with this speech. He couldn't please everyone. We're hearing a lot of nitpicking on aspects of the speech.
But, overall, it was the most powerful and the most persuasive speech any American president has ever made to the Muslim populations around the world, perhaps back of his background.
Cooper, to his credit, was immediately incredulous:
On Tuesday's Hannity show on FNC, while interviewing author Brigitte Gabriel, host Sean Hannity suggested that, rather than make apologies for America in the Muslim world, that President Obama should point out that Muslims have benefited from America's assistance in various countries, and Gabriel pointed out that the United States sided with Muslims against Christians in the former Yugoslavia.
Hannity posed the question: "Shouldn't the President be highlighting, for example, the sacrifice of America to help save some Kuwaiti Muslims and in Somalia and in Afghanistan and in Iraq and in other parts of the world?"