Syria

By Mark Finkelstein | September 8, 2014 | 10:51 AM EDT

Joe Scarborough scoffs at Thomas Friedman's suggestion that the way to confront ISIS is for the US to adopt a carbon tax and permit oil exports.

By Jeffrey Meyer | September 7, 2014 | 6:17 PM EDT

During an appearance on ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos, Donna Brazile, former campaign manager for Al Gore’s 2000 presidential campaign, admitted to not knowing what a caliphate was while trying to defend President Obama’s policy regarding the terrorist group ISIS. 

 

Brazile argued that the battle with ISIS is “a medieval war that we're looking at to establish a caliphate” before conceding that she had to ask conservative commentator Bill Kristol “exactly what that [caliphate] meant.”

By Jeffrey Meyer | September 7, 2014 | 10:26 AM EDT

Former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney had some strikingly harsh words for President Obama over his lack of a coherent strategy to combat the terrorist group ISIS.

Appearing on Fox News Sunday on September 9, Romney slammed President Obama by insisting that he was “too busy on the golf course to pick up the phone and meet with the leaders around the world and to say what happens if.” 

By Tom Johnson | September 4, 2014 | 9:04 PM EDT

On Wednesday, American Prospect blogger Paul Waldman noted the rhetorical contrast between President Obama and Vice President Biden regarding ISIS. Essentially, Obama has sounded cool and detached, a la Miles Davis, whereas a revved-up Biden, in a Portsmouth, N.H. speech, worked up a sweat and fed off the energy of the audience in the manner of Bruce Springsteen.

“You get a sense now,” wrote Waldman, “that not only is [Obama] being cautious about what actions the United States should take with regard to ISIS, he's also being cautious in how he talks about it. He doesn't want to raise expectations of a quick and glorious victory.”

By Matthew Balan | September 4, 2014 | 4:40 PM EDT

Don Lemon surprisingly shot down a common moral equivalency argument in defense of the Islamic faith during a panel discussion on Wednesday's CNN Tonight. Lemon asked, "Is Islam a more violent religion than other faiths?" When CNN analyst Tom Fuentes answered, "Yes, it must be," guest Arsalan Iftikhar retorted by playing up that "Christian extremist organizations...have bombed gay nightclubs and...abortion clinics in the name of Christendom."

The CNN anchor interrupted Iftikhar as he made that talking point, and zeroed in on the vastly different death tolls between abortion clinic bombings and Islamist terrorist attacks: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]

By Jeffrey Meyer | September 4, 2014 | 1:30 PM EDT

Washington Post Fact Checker Glenn Kessler took aim at White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest on Wednesday, September 3 and the result wasn’t pretty. At issue was Earnest’s attempt to clarify remarks made by President Obama during an interview in January where he labeled the terrorist group ISIS as a “JV” team.

Despite the press secretary’s best efforts to argue that Obama was “not singling out ISIS” when he called them “JV”, Kessler made clear that nothing could be further from the truth and gave Earnest four Pinocchios for his efforts. 

By Kyle Drennen | September 4, 2014 | 1:00 PM EDT

While both NBC's Today and CBS This Morning on Thursday highlighted Republicans and Democrats in Congress taking President Obama to task for failing to have a strategy to combat the ISIS terror network, ABC's Good Morning America skipped any mention of the growing bipartisan frustration with the White House.

On This Morning, correspondent Nancy Cordes reported: "Lawmakers from both sides tell us they believe the President has the authority to act right away....they want to see signs that he is crafting a plan and they want the White House to share that plan with them as soon as possible....[they] want more than just promises. They want evidence that a strategy is taking shape."

By Curtis Houck | September 3, 2014 | 9:49 PM EDT

On Wednesday night’s NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams completely missed the mark on President Obama’s mixed signals regarding how his administration intends to deal with the threat of the Islamic terrorist group ISIS and omitted remarks from Obama that ISIS can be contained to the point of being “a manageable problem.”

At the top of the broadcast, Williams made this blatant falsehood: “[F]or all those who may be wondering if the U.S. is going to rise up, take the bait and get into the fight to root them out, the answer today from both the President and Vice President appeared to be clear and unambiguous.” [MP3 audio here; Video below]

By Kyle Drennen | September 3, 2014 | 4:50 PM EDT

Appearing on MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell Reports on Wednesday, NBC chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel ripped into President Obama having no strategy to combat ISIS terrorists: "This has been going on for over three years. The buildup of ISIS has not been rapid, it has been quite slow. It has been quite well-documented....I met an ISIS fighter and I broadcast it on Nightly News....So that we have no strategy to deal with ISIS is quite – is quite ridiculous at this stage."

That followed Engel revealing on Sunday's Meet the Press that military officials "are apoplectic" over the President's failure to act on the crisis. "They think that this is a clear and present danger. They think something needs to be done. One official said that this was a Freudian slip, that it shows how the United States does not have a policy to deal with Syria," he added. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]

By Matthew Balan | September 3, 2014 | 4:30 PM EDT

On Tuesday's CNN Tonight, Don Lemon spotlighted the scoop that President Obama received briefings on ISIS "for at least a year" before the extreme Islamist group's blitzkrieg across northern Iraq – something the Big Three networks failed to do the same evening. During a segment with Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times, Lemon pointed out that the President was "briefed on this a year ago, and then...looked the other way – didn't take it seriously enough."

Kristof did his best to brush this reporting aside: "I don't think it's quite right to say he didn't take it seriously enough. I think that the problem there is that there aren't good options." The CNN anchor also wondered if the liberal politician should take a stronger stance against ISIS, as one of his main counterparts did: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]

By Tom Blumer | September 3, 2014 | 2:14 PM EDT

Unfortunately and completely predictably, the Big Three news networks have ignored Catherine Herridge's Tuesday morning scoop at Fox News that President Obama was briefed on the growing threat of ISIS for over a year, going back to at least several months, if not much longer, before his "jayvee team" taunt in a January New Yorker Magazine interview. Curtis Houck and Jeffrey Meyer at NewsBusters have noted the omissions from the nets' Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning news shows, respectively.

Let's take a closer look at how NBC's Nightly News handled their broadcast. Obama's reported failure to take ISIS seriously and his failure to seize opportunities to strike before their influence became so threatening would have fit perfectly into the show's theme, uttered twice by anchor Brian Williams, namely that the world seems to be "falling apart."

By Kyle Drennen | September 3, 2014 | 12:02 PM EDT

After President Obama admitted on Thursday that he had "no strategy" for dealing with the ISIS terrorist network, on Wednesday, the network morning shows rushed to portray the aimless commander-in-chief as a tough-talking leader ready to "destroy" the radical killers.

At the top of ABC's Good Morning America, co-host George Stephanopoulos hyped: "President Obama's tough words to the ISIS terrorists who executed American journalist Steven Sotloff." In the report that followed, correspondent Brian Ross proclaimed: "President Obama vowed that ISIS will pay the price for the murder of a second American journalist. The President delivered fighting words this morning..." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]