Just how far is MSNBC's Chris Matthews willing to go to shield President Obama from criticism this election year?
On Monday's Hardball, the host defended Koran burnings saying, "In Western religions when you have a religious article, the proper way of disposing it is burning it. So it's not a desecration...An American would never burn something to desecrate it. That would be a way of treating a holy object" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Reporting on violent protests in Afghanistan following accidental Quran burnings for Monday's NBC Today, correspondent Atia Abawi declared the incident "...follows a long line of insults that has intensified the public outrage towards the U.S., including last year's intentional burning of a Koran by a pastor in Florida and the video of U.S. Marines urinating on the corpses of Taliban fighters." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski, in an attempt to defend President Obama’s recent apology for the accidental Koran burnings that set off riots in Afghanistan, equated his response to what a foreign leader would be required to do if his military inadvertently burned an American flag.
Morning Joe co-host Willie Geist correctly replied, “No because Americans wouldn’t go in the streets and start killing people” (video follows with transcript and commentary):
As violent, deadly demonstrations have broken out in Afghanistan following the recent accidental burning of Korans, it's interesting to look back nearly three years ago when the U.S. military burned a shipment of Holy Bibles written in the Pashto and Dari languages. The military destroyed the Bibles rather than ship them back stateside apparently out of fear the American church that sent them would just try shipping them back through other channels to Afghanistan.
The al-Jazeera network was involved in the breaking of the story, but a search of Nexis found no stories from the time by the Washington Post or New York Times nor the ABC, CBS, or NBC networks about the disposal of the Christian holy texts.
The Chicago News Cooperative is -- or was -- a nonprofit journalistic entity that produces content for the Chicago edition of the New York Times. It will cease filing this weekend, having lost an expected grant. Among the delights Chicago readers will miss: Suggestions that the GOP is fueling anti-Muslim rhetoric and even hate crimes, under the label of objective reporting. David Lepeska contributed “A Group to Counter Anti-Islam Sentiment” to Friday’s Chicago edition of the Times, making unsubstantiated assertions and commiting bias by omission.
As anti-Muslim rhetoric rises locally and nationally -- some of it fueled by the presidential campaign -- a group of Chicago-area Muslims is battling back, using tactics including a television ad campaign and public forums against bigotry.
On Wednesday's NBC Today, correspondent Peter Alexander noted how the Republican primary "has increasingly become laced with references to religion" and predicted that in the upcoming GOP debate on CNN, "[Rick] Santorum is likely to be peppered with questions about his remarks on what he called the President's 'phony theology.'"
Later in the report, Alexander touted Mitt Romney being drawn into the issue: "Romney has tried to narrow his focus to the economy. But at a town hall meeting on Tuesday he was asked how he would protect religious freedom and answered by attacking the President." After a sound bite of Romney describing how President Obama "hangs around" with people who have a "secular agenda," Alexander dutifully forwarded the White House defense: "The Obama campaign quickly fired back, calling Romney's comments 'disgraceful.'"
Christian evangelist Franklin Graham made some comments about President Obama on MSNBC's Morning Joe Tuesday that have liberals across the fruited plain hopping mad.
So angered is MSNBC's Chris Matthews that on Tuesday's Hardball he said, "I think we should stop inviting this guy to talk about politics...he ain’t his father’s son" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Updated at 22:51 EST (see bottom of post) | Wiley Miller's "Non Sequitur" strip is syndicated in newspapers throughout the country, including the Washington Post. To the extent Miller delves into politics and social or religious critique, it's generally from the left.
Today, the day before Ash Wednesday, Miller's February 21 cartoon was entitled "Divine Intervention" and depicted a bishop in ecclesial dress at a bar, with five empty communion chalices in front of him, being cut off by his bartender (see cartoon below).
Republicans are deceitfully playing with words to avoid being slammed as homophobes, racists, and bigots, claimed CNN contributor L.Z. Granderson on Tuesday morning's Newsroom. Anchor Kyra Phillips simply let Granderson air his liberal diatribe without any challenge, and no conservative guest was brought on to respond.
Republicans "aren't fighting for Muslims and mosques," said Granderson of their claims of "religious freedom," but simply "fighting for Christianity." [Video below. Click here for audio.]
Mormon fear at the New York Times. The paper’s online “Room for Debate” section, which “invites knowledgeable outside contributors to discuss news events and other timely issues” on Monday asked “What Is It About Mormons?," inspired by the prospect of Mitt Romney winning the Republican nomination for president. The fact that the Senate has for the last five years been led by a Mormon, Democrat Harry Reid, has failed to trigger similar concerns at the Times. The Times also shows it feels free to shower at least some religions with derision and mockery.
Only the politically correct media could think a film about the dangers of radical Islam would be controversial … in New York City, the city of the World Trade Center attack by radical Islamists.
But that's exactly the case, as The New York Times has written seven separate pieces - including an op-ed and an editorial - on the ''firestorm'' over the movie ''The Third Jihad.'' The editorial, headlined ''Hate Film,'' criticized the New York Police Department's ''decision to show a hate-filled film about Muslims to more than 1,400 city police officers.''
Would someone please buy the Washington Post's Josh White a clue? He can't seem to get a handle on the "motive" for the actions of Yonathan Melaku (actually, I think White is pretending).
Melaku has just pleaded guilty and will be sentenced to 25 years in jail. Authorities say he vandalized military grave markers, shot at the Pentagon and military museums, and was working on an improvised explosive device. But the headline to White's story (HT Atlas Shrugs) and the reporter's content act as if no one has the foggiest idea what drop Melaku to do what he did (words which betray motivation are bolded):
Rick Santorum to John Heilemann [and by extension to MSM at large] on today's Morning Joe: "it's your responsibility to defend the president, not mine." Ouch! If Newt's deft dicing of John King and Juan Williams paid huge electoral dividends, Santorum might anticipate a much-needed bump after running roughshod over the New York mag reporter.
Heilemann had called on Santorum to explain his failure to correct a woman at a town hall meeting in Florida yesterday who said President Obama was an "avowed Muslim" and legally unqualified to be president. After noting that he has repeatedly been on the record saying that he doesn't believe PBO is a Muslim and recognizes that he is legally qualified to be president, Santorum said that he chose not to chastise an elderly and infirm lady. Then came Santorum's grand slam, as set forth above. Heilemann only dug himself deeper when he responded by saying that prez candidate McCain had always defended Obama on the campaign trail. Video after the jump.
With Muammar Qadhafi dead and Libya firmly in the hands of rebels, the attention of the major network media has shifted away from the North African country. But that certainly doesn't mean the unintended consequences of the late NATO-assisted revolution aren't barreling down the track.
Tripoli-based Time magazine contributor Steve Sotloff has an excellent piece at the magazine's website about how radical Salafist Muslims are enacting a reign of terror on fellow Muslims who don't subscribe to their radical theology. You can read the whole piece here.
It remains to be seen what sort, if any, attention the media at-large pay to post-Qadhafi Libya and the degree to which President Obama's actions in support the Libyan rebels has led to a dangerous post-Qadhafi power vacuum that could likely be filled by dangerous Islamists.
On Sunday's Meet the Press on NBC, as guest Rick Santorum criticized President Obama because he refused to support a democracy movement in Iran that might have weakened the anti-America radical Muslim government of Tehran, but, by contrast, supported a democracy movement in Egypt directed against a pro-America government - which resulted in an election that recently handed more power in Cairo to radical Muslims - host David Gregory accused the GOP presidential candidate of being "patently contradictory." (Video below)
As he moved into the foreign policy portion of the interview, Gregory brought up a recent speech in which Santorum accused President Obama of engaging in "appeasement" against America's enemies, and then the NBC host defended Obama's foreign policy:
Imagine the media attention that would be garnered if any non-Muslim in the U.S. did something as sensationalistically violent and dramatic as to dress as Santa Claus and commit a mass murder against his own family at a Christmas gathering.
But this past weekend, a Muslim man in Texas who was reportedly angry at his family for becoming too westernized committed just such an egregious act, resulting in the deaths of seven people, as documented this morning by FNC's Fox and Friends. (Video below)
On the front of Wednesday’s Style section is another one of those anti-“Islamophobia” articles starring comedians. The Post’s Tara Bahrampour began: “Beware, America. The Muslims are coming, and they look and act suspiciously like you.” If “you” were a profane secularist, apparently.
Bahrampour is promoting a documentary film on a tour Muslim comedians made through Southern states called “The Muslims Are Coming!” It “includes interviews with comics such as Jon Stewart and Louis [sic] Black and commentators including CNN’s Soledad O’Brien, explores freedom of religion and what it means to be a minority in America.” CNN can always be found fighting American “phobias” about minorities – well, not so much about the Catholics. Those, they promote.
A month ago, Aya Batrawy at the Associated Press's Egyptian bureau described those who ransacked the Israeli embassy in Cairo as "protesters," and absurdly asserted in the face of contrary evidence I was able to find in about five minutes that "the historic 1979 peace treaty with Israel ... has never had the support of ordinary Egyptians."
Last week, in the wake of the burning -- more like the gutting -- of the Institut d’Egypte in Cairo and the destruction of and serious damage to thousands of priceless books, manuscripts, documents, and artifacts, Batrawy attempted to deflect blame to the military (which did have a role, as will be seen later) for not sufficiently protecting the building instead of placing it on the arsonists who did the damage. And of course, you'll search in vain for any references to the Muslim Brotherhood, Salafi radicals, or Islam. I guess Batraway didn't want anyone to get any kind of crazy idea that this "Arab Spring" enterprise which Western news outlets so gullibly embraced earlier this year isn't exactly working out. Here are several paragraphs from the AP repoter's dispatch (bolds are mine throughout this post):
On Saturday's NBC Nightly News, during a report recounting the gathering of Christian pilgrims in Bethlehem for Christmas celebrations, correspondent Martin Fletcher relayed Palestinian complaints about Israel, and gave attention to the display of an anti-Israel publicity stunt set to coincide with the occasion taking advantage of a Christmas tree theme.
On Monday's NBC Rock Center, correspondent Harry Smith began a story on an American-Muslim comedy troupe touring the American south by asserting to comedian Dean Obeidallah that, "A lot of Americans hate you." Obeidallah was slightly taken aback and replied: "I'm not sure how many actually hate me, but I know what you're getting at." [Audio available here]
Smith went on to explain the goal of the comedy tour: "Doing their best to try to win friends and influence people. Pilgrims armed with punch lines, in hopes of shattering a few stereotypes. They call their tour 'The Muslims Are Coming.'" Smith again proclaimed American bigotry: "Nearly half of all Americans admit to feeling some prejudice towards Muslims. In a funny way, the comics are fighting for their civil rights." [View video after the jump]
Tuesday's Morning Edition on NPR slanted toward TLC's controversial "All American Muslim" series by playing sound bites from two who support the reality TV show versus only one opponent. Correspondent Elizabeth Blair also failed to mention that one of the supporters works for the left-leaning Center for American Progress, while clearly identifying the opponent as being from a "conservative" group.
Host Renee Montagne noted in her introduction to Blair's report that "criticism against the home improvement chain Lowe's isn't letting up. It started after Lowe's dropped its ads from the reality TV show, 'All-American Muslim,' in response to pressure from a conservative Christian group. Now, an online petition has nearly 20,000 signatures, calling on the store to reinstate the ads."
Following all three network morning shows on Monday declaring home improvement chain Lowe's was "sparking outrage" by pulling ads from TLC's All-American Muslim, on Tuesday, NBC's Today offered a report on the controversy, with co-host Ann Curry proclaiming: "Lowe's is facing a growing backlash this morning after pulling its advertising from a reality show featuring an all-Muslim cast."
On November 9, Today news anchor Natalie Morales interviewed the cast of the show and wondered: "Did you feel that there were a lot of misconceptions out there in America today still, especially after 9/11, about Muslims in America?...Do you all still feel that way today, that there are stereotypes, that there is an injustice when it comes to how Muslims are perceived and how it feels to be Muslim in America?"
ABC, CBS, and NBC's morning shows on Monday all used news briefs to highlight how home improvement giant Lowe's is "facing a backlash" after it pulled its ads from TLC's "All-American Muslim" reality TV series. All three noted that the company reacted to a complaint from a "conservative" or "Christian" group who threatened a boycott. CBS's Early Show played up how Lowe's "critics call that bigotry."
NBC's Natalie Morales stated in her brief that the chain is "sparking outrage after its pulled its ads from a reality show about American Muslims. The retail giant bowed to pressure from an evangelical Christian group, which called for a boycott against the chain of home improvement stores." Morales added that a "California state senator, meanwhile, says he is considering a boycott and legislative action if the company does not reverse its decision."
A pathetic, obsequious act on the part of an establishment press member was exposed as utterly foolish mere days after its appearance.
On Wednesday (for Thursday's print edition), New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof wrote glowingly of "Joining a Dinner in a Muslim Brotherhood Home." He swallowed a lot more than food while he was there, as the following excerpts indicate (bolds are mine throughout this post):
On Wednesday, as Terry Baynes at Reuters reported, "A federal appeals court on Wednesday upheld the convictions of five leaders of an Islamic charity on charges of funneling money and supplies to Hamas, designated a "terrorist" group following a 1995 executive order by President Bill Clinton. ..." The organization involved was the Holy Land Foundation based in Texas. The five involved received sentences of 15 to 65 years.
Reuters appears to have been virtually unique in covering the story at a national level, and from all appearances very few establishment press outlets picked it up. What follows are various search results in attempts to find coverage of the story:
In a season in which there is very little "peace on Earth" and even less "good will towards men," it is a particularly tough time for Jews, who may be finding it more and more difficult to tell who their real friends are.
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta fired an unusually harsh salvo across the Israelis bow. In a speech at a Brookings Institution forum, he urged Israel to get to the "d--n table" for peace talks. It must have escaped Panetta's notice that the Palestinians are the ones refusing to come to the "d--n table" unless their unacceptable demands are met. These include, depending on the day, the cessation of construction projects, even on pre-1967 Israeli land, the so-called "right of return" of "Palestinian refugees," a concession by Israel to re-draw its borders to 1967 lines -- though such borders would be completely indefensible against an inevitable attack -- and the re-division of Jerusalem, which Israel rightly sees as its capital. Meanwhile, the Palestinian side concedes almost nothing and fulfills none of its promises. Neither is it held accountable for its behavior.
In a report appearing earlier today, Karl Ritter at the Associated Press wanted U.S. readers to know that the "radical right" in Europe is turning into a really big problem. Why, these people have the nerve to object to the fact that "Muslim immigrants are colonizing Europe with the tacit approval of left-wing political elites." "Colonization" seems to be an inaccurate word; substitute "taking control of portions of" and you've got it about right.
Ritter engages in the usual guilt by association as he tries to tie protest groups to Norwegian mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik, who killed no Muslims and was from all accounts I could find a loner. "Somehow," Ritter forgot to mention three specific items (there are probably more, but anyone following European news since the 2005 French riots should at least know about these) which represent clear evidence of attempts at de facto Muslim control: no-go zones, "honor killings," and the seemingly incurable wave of car burnings occurring continually throughout Europe. First, a few paragraphs from Ritter's report, with scare words bolded:
If you don't hear much about the Iranian mob which stormed the British embassy earlier today in future news reports, you can probably at least partially blame the Associated Press, which considers the event so unimportant that it's not even part of its main U.S. site's top ten world stories as of 10:25 p.m. (saved here at host for future reference, fair use and discussion purposes).
For those who are curious as to the identification of the ten stories considered more important, here they are:
On Monday, the Daily Kos covered the Saturday night GOP debate in Iowa with a typical headline "Republicans pander to American Taliban." (Who's doing the pandering? That's also the title of the latest book by Kos bloglord Markos Moulitsas.) Jed Lewison insisted Rick Santorum was Talibanesque when he said, in the Washington Post account: “As long as abortion is legal in this country... we will never have rest because that law does not comport with God’s law.”
Lewison proclaimed: "So the next time you hear Rick Santorum complain about government imposition of Sharia law, keep in mind that he doesn't have a problem with violating the separation of church and state. To him, the only thing that matters is whether the government is imposing his beliefs." (Italics in the original.) Blogs like Right Wing Watch (from People for the American Way) seized on the answer.