Syria

By Tom Blumer | September 20, 2014 | 10:48 PM EDT

On Sunday, CBS's "60 Minutes" will broadcast Scott Pelley's recent interview of former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta.

In CBS's promotional tease, which was broadcast on Friday, in response to Pelley's question about whether he was confident that the U.S. troop withdrawal "was the right thing to do" at the time it was done, Panetta said, "No, I wasn't." That's big news. How big? So big that, based on searches on Panetta's last name, the Associated Press and the New York Times have yet to cover it. In other words, it's fair to contend that these two leading icons of American journalism are waiting for an administration response before they run the story, so they can then turn it into a "White House denies" piece. The video follows the jump.

By Tom Blumer | September 19, 2014 | 11:23 PM EDT

When White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest made his first Fox News appearance in that role, he may have thought that having Shepard Smith interview him would make the exercise a relative cakewalk.

It didn't happen. Even though Smith, as Matt Sheffield observed last year at NewsBusters, is "not known as any sort of conservative," he was clearly critical of Earnest's breezy claims about the wondrous "coalition" allegedly being assembled to fight ISIS/ISIL without U.S. combat forces, calling it "as the president once put it, something of a fantasy." The video and a transcript of key segments follow the jump.

By Laura Flint | September 19, 2014 | 8:57 PM EDT

Nicolle Wallace, the token "conservative" on "The View," went out of her way to to express her faith in the Obama administration in the war on ISIS.

Trust he was a "very reluctant warrior," she said, but now "he is deadly serious."

By Matthew Balan | September 18, 2014 | 6:01 PM EDT

On Wednesday's The Lead, CNN's Jake Tapper tried to pull former White House Press Secretary Jay Carney out of acting like an apologist for President Obama. Tapper turned to his guest, who had just spent an entire segment defending his former boss's ISIS policy, and asked, "What is the difficulty in getting Arab allies to kick in with military assistance? Jay, you don't work for the White House anymore. You can be frank. What is the problem?"

By Curtis Houck | September 18, 2014 | 5:38 PM EDT

On Thursday morning, CBS continued to ignore key results of the latest CBS News/New York Times poll, which show President Obama’s approval rating at 40 percent and his foreign policy approval rating at only 34 percent. 

In contrast, the front-page New York Times article by Julie Hirschfeld Davis and Dalia Sussman included dire statistics about the President’s low domestic approval rating: “The results suggest a profoundly unsettled public mood, with two-thirds of Americans surveyed saying the country is on the wrong track and half disapproving of how Mr. Obama is doing his job, a negative assessment that threatens to be a substantial drag on Democrats in November.”

By Curtis Houck | September 17, 2014 | 9:13 PM EDT

On Wednesday, CBS and The New York Times made the point of omitting results from their own poll which show President Obama’s job approval at 40 percent and his approval on foreign policy at only 34 percent from the newscasts and print newspaper, respectively.

CBS This Morning and the CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley only mentioned the latest CBS News/New York Times poll in regards to how 57 percent of Americans do not feel as though the President is being tough enough in dealing with the threat posed by the Islamic terrorist group ISIS. At the other end of the spectrum, only 31 percent of those asked said they approved of his handling of ISIS.

By Tom Blumer | September 17, 2014 | 3:29 PM EDT

President Obama cited American exceptionalism at least ten times in his speech at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa today.

Early in his administration, Obama went out of his way to downplay the nature of U.S. exceptionalism, claiming that it was really no different than how any other nation's citizens saw their own country's uniqueness. So his speechwriters knew better than to use that word. But Obama cited how America is "unique" (read: superior) six separate times, and told his audience — and the rest of the world — that "when the world needs help, it calls on America." Time's Zeke J. Miller is one of the first among many who are choosing or will choose to ignore this change in posture, choosing primarily to obsess over whether U.S. ground troops will be called upon to quash the ISIS/ISIL threat.

By Tom Blumer | September 17, 2014 | 9:58 AM EDT

Both Old Media and Old Medea were at it again yesterday.

Old Medea is Medea Benjamin, the head of Code Pink, who led the disruption of a Senate hearing on ISIS and was eventually hauled away. Old Media demonstrated its double standards by giving Ms. Benjamin's temper tantrum little attention. That treatment sharply contrasts with that seen in September 2002, when, with a Republican in the White House, a similar petulant Code Pink display received front-page photo coverage in three major U.S. newspapers.

By Curtis Houck | September 17, 2014 | 12:55 AM EDT

On Tuesday night, the major broadcast networks worked to quickly remind viewers that President Barack Obama has promised that no United States combat troops will be on the ground in the Middle East to fight the Islamic terrorist group ISIS despite congressional testimony by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey, on Tuesday that U.S. troops returning to Iraq could still be a possibility.

ABC, CBS, and NBC each offered reports on Dempsey’s statements and included ABC World News Tonight anchor David Muir asking ABC News chief White House correspondent Jonathan Karl to “keep us honest” on the question of “[b]oots on the ground in Iraq” and lamented: “That's not what the President said last week.”

By Mark Finkelstein | September 16, 2014 | 9:42 PM EDT

Paging the MSNBC PC police! On his All In show this evening, Chris Hayes used some indubitably un-PC language to dismiss concerns that ISIS or other terrorist groups might be infiltrating across our porous southern border.

Huffed Hayes: "in the years since September 11, there have been occasional stories of this type. Sort of, a kind of girl talk mash-up of the fear about the border and the fear about terrorism being fused together."  The fear of terrorists coming across the border is "girl talk?"  Off to the re-education camp with Chris!

By Ken Shepherd | September 15, 2014 | 5:30 PM EDT

Insisting that "crush[ing]" or destroying ISIS is simply impossible to achieve, liberal Daily Beast columnist Michael Tomasky devoted an 11-paragraph piece entitled "Please—Let's Not Destroy ISIS" to explaining why he "wish[es] Obama had the conviction to stand up and say" that "contain[ing] [ISIS] is what we should do."

By Tom Johnson | September 13, 2014 | 3:37 PM EDT

Charles Pierce thinks the campaign against ISIS may cause a spike in the national “derangement” that started on 9/11, and Jonathan Chait sees neoconservatives making the same mistakes now as they did more than a decade ago: “The hysterical threat assessment, the simplistic conflation of mutually antagonistic strains of Islam, and the complete lack of concern for the possibility of overreach.”