In a rare instance of critical coverage of the Obama administration on Friday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez asked Democratic Congresswoman Jane Harman about Obama’s decision to close Guantanamo Bay: "I'm not sure if you've seen the New York Times this morning. On the front page there is an article that reveals that a terror suspect released from Guantanamo a few months ago...is now heading up Al Qaeda in Yemen. I'm wondering if this makes you less inclined Representative Harman, to support closing down the prison?"
Harman actually doubted the credibility of the usually left-wing newspaper: "Not at all. Obviously,if that allegation is true and if this fellow has now become a key Al Qaeda operative, that's shocking and disappointing." Harman went on to argue: "But there is really no justification, and there was no justification, for disappearing people in a place that was located offshore America so it was outside the reach of U.S. law. As President Obama said two days ago, there's a false choice between our safety and our values." Rodriguez then turned to Republican Congressman Peter Hoekstra: "It all sounds great, but Representative Hoekstra you said yesterday that's placing 'hope ahead of reality,' right?"
On Monday’s Countdown show, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann delivered his latest "Special Comment," in which he called on President-elect Barack Obama to prosecute President Bush and administration members on a charge of torturing prisoners, and invoked extreme examples such as slavery leading to the Civil War, and the handling of Germany after World War I leading to the rise of Nazism and World War II, to illustrate that "this country has never succeeded in moving forward without first cleansing itself of its mistaken past," and that Obama must try to prosecute Bush for the sake of the country’s future. After quoting Bush’s recent words about the interrogation techniques he authorized against 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, and statements by Obama expressing reluctance to pursue prosecutions against the Bush administration, Olbermann began invoking extreme examples from history.
This country has never succeeded in moving forward without first cleansing itself of its mistaken past. ... We compromised with slavery in the Declaration of Independence, and, fourscore and nine years later, we had buried 600,000 of our sons and brothers in a civil war. After that war’s ending, we compromised with the social restructuring and protection of the rights of minorities in the South. And a century later, we had not only had not resolved anything, but black leaders were still being assassinated in the cities of the South. We compromised with Germany in the reconstruction of Europe after the First World War. Nobody even arrested the German kaiser, let alone conducted war crimes trials then. And 19 years later, there was an indescribably more evil Germany and a more heartrending Second World War.
On Wednesday’s The O’Reilly Factor, during the show’s regular "Miller Time" segment, Dennis Miller defended the practice of waterboarding terrorists to save the lives of Americans, calling the technique "heaven-sent." Miller: "Something that takes somebody who's willing to strap a bomb on and yet freaks them out to the point where they'll tell you where the next bomb is by pouring water down their nose and they don't even die, I think, wow, this is heaven-sent." He also heaped praise on President Bush for "keeping this country safe in the interim seven years" since the 9/11 attacks. Miller: "That's what I admire about him. He's willing to be hated for the rest of his life to do the right thing. And I just want to look in the camera. This is the last time I’ll be on this show when he's my President and my Commander-in-Chief and say, ‘Thank you, sir. I feel privileged that you were the President during this time in American history.’"
On Wednesday’s The O’Reilly Factor, during the show’s "Talking Points Memo," FNC host Bill O’Reilly slammed the New York Times and NBC News, presumably referring to MSNBC hosts like Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow, accusing them of having "damaged their own country in a disgusting display of propaganda and outright lies" by "convincing the world that the USA is a nation of torture, a country that sadistically inflicts pain on both the innocent and the guilty." O’Reilly further attacked the "insane call for fishing expeditions to find something that will lead to prosecuting the President and Vice President," and added that he "despises, despises those who, in the name of ideology, want to weaken the country, putting us all in danger," and charged that doing so would be "un-American."
O’Reilly then hosted a discussion with FNC military analyst retired Colonel David Hunt and, to argue the liberal point-of-view, FNC analyst Bob Beckel, and Hunt contended that he had used "coerced interrogation" in the past that had "saved guys' lives."
Susan Crawford's recent assertions of torture simply do not add up, and your main stream media isn't going to investigate anytime soon. Had Crawford made an assertion that there was unequivocally no torture to speak of at Guantanamo, the media would be sifting meticulously through her statements with a fine-toothed comb, smearing her reputation at every turn. Instead, her arguments seemingly confirm what the leftist media has long assumed - that our government has condoned torture tactics - and because of that, everything is taken at face value.
Crawford recently told Bob Woodward of the Washington Post that:
"We tortured (Mohammed al-) Qahtani. His treatment met the legal definition of torture. And that's why I did not refer the case" for prosecution.
The basic premise of this story however, had apparently been completely refuted in retrospect, back in February of 2008. By whom? Why, the Washington Post.
On February 12th, 2008, the Post printed an article titled:
U.S. to Try 6 on Capital Charges Over 9/11 Attacks
New Evidence Gained Without Coercive Tactics
You read that correctly, the staff writers went out of their way to inform the public that the evidence against the 9/11 conspirators was ‘gained without coercive tactics.'
Far be it from me to sow discord in MSNBC ranks, to stir up old animosities between colleagues there. But if Joe Scarborough is going to do a mocking imitation of Keith Olbermann in full Special Comment rant, well then, blogging ethics compel me to report it.
The jumping-off point on Morning Joe today was Eugene Robinson's current WaPo column. After claiming that he didn't want to kick the president on his way out the door, Robinson proceeded to do just that. The columnist described a variety of measures adopted by the president in prosecution of the war against terror as "departures from American values and traditions." Robinson recommended an investigation if not a criminal prosecution. That led Pat Buchanan and Scarborough to cite, chapter and verse, the ways in which Bush's supposed abrogation of "American values and traditions" were small potatoes compared to the actions of predecessors including Lincoln, Wilson and FDR.
Without mentioning the Countdown host by name, Scarborough closed with an unmistakable impression of Keith Olbermann in pompous Special Comment peroration of the sort that can be seen here.
The exquisite moral sensibilities of the MSM . . .
Would you waterboard an al Qaeda member for three minutes to get information to save the lives of nine passenger-loads of innocent civilians? Chrystia Freeland wouldn't. The US managing editor of the Financial Times made the stunning statement during the course of a classic Morning Joe dust-up today. Joe Scarborough, with help from tag-team partner Pat Buchanan, went after Freeland on her opposition to waterboarding and similar interrogation techniques. At one point Scarborough called Freeland "sophomoric." Later, the exasperated MJ host gave his guest some of the same treatment to which he'd recently been subjected by Zbigniew Brzezinski, telling Freeland "you have no idea what you're talking about."
Finally, under questioning from Buchanan, Freeland went so far as to disagree with the proposition that it would be moral to waterboard someone for three minutes to get information to foil a plot to simultaneously kill nine passenger planeloads of people.
When historians look back in wonder at how a long-established publication like the New York Times could have declined from its virtual king-of-the-world status in mid-2002 to its Bush-deranged, 85%-devalued shadow of its former self, they will surely make a few stops at Maureen Dowd's twice-weekly, lost-in-another-world columns (the Dowd picture is from the Times's web site).
Today's offering from Dowd (HT Hot Air Headlines) is intended to be a final figurative kick in the shins at George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, something she admits to fantasizing about having done to the Vice President this week when she had opportunities.
But the Dowd diatribe really ends up as a self-portrayal of someone who deeply imbibed the kool-aid her paper dished out over the past seven years and is beyond ever letting go, and serves as a microcosm of what the Old Gray Lady has done to itself in that same timeframe:
In short USA Today “dossiers” on fresh characters in the new season of Fox's 24 set to debut tonight (Sunday), two of the four profiled actors/actresses used the space to espouse their personal disgust with the U.S. government for using “torture,” which has been employed by lead character “Jack Bauer.” Left-wing activist/actress Janeane Garofalo, who plays “FBI analyst Janis Gold,” called the use of torture “reprehensible” and rued: “That our own administration borrowed ideas from 24 is such a tragedy.” USA Today explained: “A former Army interrogator has said that soldiers mimic interrogation tactics seen on the show.”
Garofalo conceded she “was initially very reticent to do it, because I heard about the right-wing nature of Joel's [24 co-creator Joel Surnow] politics and the torture-heavy scripts.” But, she quipped: “And then I thought, 'I'm unemployed!'" So much for standing up for principle.
Cherry Jones, who handles the role of “President Allison Taylor,” lamented “it's too bad this season's topic is not Wall Street. The torture thing is very unfortunate; I have trouble with it. Fortunately,” however, “my President,” meaning the character she plays, “is opposed to it."
Interviewing President-elect Barack Obama for Sunday's This Week, ABC's George Stephanopoulos zeroed in on criticism of including tax cuts in the “stimulus bill” and repeatedly pressed Obama about naming a special prosecutor, a 9/11-like commission or at least getting “your Justice Department to investigate” what an e-mail Stephanopoulos showcased on screen described as “the gravest crimes of the Bush administration, including torture and warrantless wiretapping.” On taxes, Stephanopoulos demanded: “Do you really believe those business tax cuts are going to work to create jobs?” He soon yearned: “But you might give up on some of the business tax cuts?”
Stephanopoulos put this e-mailed question up on the screen from “Bob Fertik of New York City,” failing to note he's a left-wing activist with “Prosecute Bush & Cheney!” at the top of his Web site: “Will you appoint a special prosecutor (ideally Patrick Fitzgerald) to independently investigate the gravest crimes of the Bush administration, including torture and warrantless wiretapping.?” As Obama expressed reticence, Stephanopoulos pushed for alternatives to drag national security officials into the legal process: “So, no 9/11 commission with independent subpoena power?” Not giving up, he offered another way to go: “So, let me just press that one more time. You're not ruling out prosecution, but will you tell your Justice Department to investigate these cases and follow the evidence wherever it leads?”
Discussing on MSNBC Thursday night his latest screed for Time magazine (“The Bush Administration's Most Despicable Act”), Joe Klein maligned the Bush-Cheney administration, telling 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue host David Shuster: “I think this has been a profoundly un-American administration.” Klein, whose piece for the January 19 edition of the magazine contended Vice President Dick Cheney and other officials “perpetrated what many legal scholars consider to be war crimes,” lamented on MSNBC that “it's going to be very hard to prosecute these people” but, he ruminated about “the fanciful idea” that “it might happen overseas” with “Cheney being snatched mid-stream while, you know, fly fishing in Norway as Augusto Pinochet, the dictator in Chile, was.”
In the magazine harangue posted Thursday, Klein argued that Bush “led directly to the abuses” of Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo “when he signed a memorandum stating that the Third Geneva Convention -- the one regarding the treatment of enemy prisoners taken in wartime -- did not apply to members of al-Qaeda or the Taliban.” He declared: “It was his single most callous and despicable act. It stands at the heart of the national embarrassment that was his presidency.”
As opposed to the national embarrassment to sober journalism that is Joe Klein?
During her screed last night about Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., MSNBC's Rachel Maddow made an unintentionally revealing comment --
Accountability -- every one of us who lived through the Bush administration has a measure of it as an American. Those of us who lived through it as Americans who were also members of the United States Senate, we have a big measure of it to contend with.
Yes, mon ami -- "we."
Last I checked, Maddow fulminates at MSNBC and Air America Radio but has not been elected nor appointed to the US Senate. Then again, Maddow is not a duly designated spokeswoman for the incoming Obama administration either, but this doesn't prevent her from acting as such.
Barack Obama nominates someone to head the CIA whose major qualification is his inexperience. Even Democrats are dismayed. John Travolta's son, sadly, died. So in its crucial first half-hour this morning, the Early Show naturally devotes almost five minutes to the Travolta story while ignoring the controversy surrounding Leon Panetta's appointment. Far from revealing that even senior Dems like Senators Feinstein and Rockefeller have signalled their displeasure over the naming of Panetta, CBS' Chip Reid painted the pick as a sign of how Obama is briskly taking charge. Here was the sum total of the Early Show's discussion of the matter:
CHIP REID: He may not be Commander-in-Chief just yet. But Mr. Obama is wasting no time, on Monday picking former Clinton White House Chief of Staff Leon Panetta to head the CIA, and retired Admiral Dennis Blair to be director of national intelligence.
On Sunday’s Face the Nation on CBS, host Bob Schieffer seemed to be acting out a scene from Frost/Nixon as he questioned Vice Presdient Dick Cheney about the terrorist surveillance program: "Do you feel you went too far, Mr. Vice President, in your surveillance?...Do you -- do you believe that the president, in time of war, that anything he does is legal?"
Cheney shot back with some historical context: "I can't say that anything he does is legal. I think we do, and we have, a historic precedent of taking action that you wouldn't take in peacetime...If you hark back in our history you can look at Abraham Lincoln, who suspended the writ of Habeas Corpus in the middle of the Civil War...or FDR in World War II...when he provided for internment camps for Japanese-American citizens. Most people now look back and say that was wrong. But what we did was modest by those comparisons."
Later in the interview, Schieffer again questioned the legality of Bush Administration policies: "Let me talk to you a little bit about torture. You have said that you do not believe that waterboarding, for example, was torture...Would you do it again if you had to make those same decisions again? Because a lot of people now say that some of the things that happened here may be the reason that some of our casualties happened...because people saw the publicity of these things, the kinds of things that happened at Abu Ghraib." In fact, it was CBS News that broke the Abu Ghraib story, so by Schieffer’s logic, CBS caused American casualties by showing the pictures.
Plugging how “Vice President Cheney sat down with ABC's Jonathan Karl for an exclusive interview,” fill-in World News anchor Elizabeth Vargas on Monday night asserted Cheney “made a startling admission about the questioning of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks.” But Vargas failed to explain what Cheney said to Karl that represented “a startling admission” and Karl didn't point out any “startling admission” from Cheney in the interview excerpt which followed the Vargas set up.
In fact, Cheney didn't really say anything new as he stood by the “remarkably successful effort” to get intelligence from captured terrorists, affirmed the decision to waterboard KSM and denied he's “changed.” Apparently, the “startling admission” came in his acknowledgment, hardly unknown or not previously reported, that in “the tactics that were used against Khalid Sheikh Mohammed,” he allowed: “I was aware of the program, certainly, and involved in helping get the process cleared, that is, as the agency, in effect, came in and wanted to know what they could and couldn't do, and they talked to me as well as others to explain what they wanted to do. And I supported it.”
Former Philadelphia Inquirer editorial page editor Chris Satullo, who in a July 1, 2008 editorial suggested that “America doesn't deserve to celebrate its birthday” on Independence Day due to the “waterboarding, the snarling dogs, the theft of sleep” used on some enemy combatants since 9/11, has been hired to become the director of news operations for WHYY, the PBS affiliate in the Philadelphia area.
Inquirer television critic Jonathan Storm, who wrote about Satullo’s hiring on Thursday, mentioned how William J. Marrazzo, WHYY’s president and CEO, complimented the liberal columnist as an “an outstanding journalist with a track record in civic engagement who understands this community like the back of his hand.”
This same “outstanding journalist,” in his November 9, 2008 column in the Inquirer, referred to the ideology of Sarah Palin supporters as “a rump conservatism that is small-town, resentful, anti-intellectual, and lily white” and praised “smarter analysts” such as David Frum, Kathleen Parker, Christopher Buckley and David Brooks, all of whom criticized the Alaska governor and/or supported Obama.
David Letterman, who a month ago doubted George Bush and Dick Cheney have any “humanity,” on Wednesday's Late Show pushed a guest to confirm “that George Bush's administration is clearly guilty of war crimes.” Far-left “journalist” Jane Mayer of the New Yorker was invited onto the Late Show to plug her new book, 'The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned into a War on American Ideals.' Late in her second segment, Letterman recalled how “about a year ago” a Democratic presidential candidate was a guest and during a commercial break Letterman had wondered:
“What do you think George Bush's legacy might be?” And he says, “well, I tell you what ought to happen to him, he should be arrested and tried for war crimes.” And we all sort of thought, well, he's being wacky, he's being funny. But now, you wonder...
After Mayer suggested “I don't think they're laughing about it in the White House” and relayed how “in Congress there are people who are at least pushing for truth commissions,” Letterman pressed her: “But can a case be made that George Bush's administration is clearly guilty of war crimes? That's easy enough to make that case, or.” Mayer demurred: “I'm not a lawyer.”
You would be hard-pressed to find a "better" example of a walking, talking, typing Old Media double standard-bearer than New York Times columnist and International Herald Tribune (IHT) contributor Nicholas Kristof.
..... his legacy is not all bad ..... The emancipation of women and end of child marriages moved China from one of the worst places in the world to be a girl to one where women have more equality than in, say, Japan or Korea. ..... Mao’s ruthlessness was a catastrophe at the time ..... yet there’s more to the story: Mao also helped lay the groundwork for the rebirth and rise of China after five centuries of slumber.
Here is Kristof describing an example of what is currently happening in Zimbabwe in the June 29 IHT (bold after headline is mine):
One of the more astounding post-9/11 liberal media affectations has been the extraordinary concern press members have for how terrorists looking to kill innocent Americans are treated at detention centers.
A fine example of this occurred on Thursday's "Hannity & Colmes" when the left-leaning part of Fox News's successful duo debated former White House adviser Karl Rove about the recent Supreme Court decision granting habeas corpus rights to Guantanamo Bay detainees.
Readers are advised to get a big bag of popcorn for this barnburner (video embedded right):
You know, I was wondering when this was going to happen, when someone in the MSM would say Bush has ruined July Fourth? The Philadelphia Inquirer didn't disappoint by wallowing in the worst example of blame-America-above-all as well as the most extreme case of BDS that I've seen outside the kind of nutroot sites like Daily Kos and the Democratic Underground. A mainstream paper has now gone that extra mile to let us all know that America does not deserve a July Fourth celebration this year because of Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, CIA secret prisons, and, lest you imagine otherwise, the fact that we have made George W. Bush our president. "Cancel the parade" because America is evil. It's all there in all it's anti-American splendor in A not-so-glorious Fourth, U.S. atrocities are unworthy of our heritage.
Inquirer columnist Chris Satullo thinks that America is fraught with sin and that we don't deserve a Fourth celebration. "This year, America doesn't deserve to celebrate its birthday," he whines. "This Fourth of July should be a day of quiet and atonement."
In an astonishing stroke of irony, the New York Times has outed the name of the CIA operative who interrogated 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, over the objections of CIA Director Michael V. Hayden and a lawyer representing the operative.
Agency officials and legal counsel told the Times that publishing the agent's name would "invade his privacy and put him at risk of retaliation from terrorists or harassment from critics of the agency."
In an Editor's Note linked from the story on KSM's interrogation, the Times defended its decision by stating that "other government employees" had been "named publicly in books and published articles" or had chosen to go public themselves, by explaining that its policy "is to withhold the name of a news subject only very rarely," and by arguing the operative's name "was necessary for the credibility and completeness of the article."
Times reporter Scott Shane describes his scoop as "the closest look to date beneath the blanket of secrecy that hides the program from terrorists and from critics who accuse the agency of torture."
In case you missed it, the Supreme Court Thursday bestowed Constitutional rights to terrorists currently held at Guantanamo Bay.
As my colleague Brent Baker reported hours ago, the broadcast evening news programs predictably saw this decision as a stinging defeat for the Bush administration that could prove tremendously embarrassing to the president.
Almost prophetically, conservative radio talk show host and constitutional lawyer Mark Levin stated earlier in the day that reporters making such statements "are lying through their teeth. They are propagandists, spewing the talking points of the enemy."
Beginning his program Thursday, Levin took the Supreme Court to task for this ruling, as well as the predictable standing ovation from the media, crescendoing to the following conclusion that should be required reading for all Americans interested in the truth concerning this matter (ten minute audio available here, picture courtesy Radcity):
The broadcast network evening newscasts gave as much emphasis Thursday night to the biting dissent as the majority opinion in the 5-4 Supreme Court ruling on behalf of the Guantanamo detainees, but told the story through the prism of the Bush administration getting rebuked by the decision characterized as “historic” and “landmark” -- with ABC's Martha Raddatz ominously warning “it could be very embarrassing for the administration.”CBS avoided any label for the majority while tagging the dissenters as “conservative” and only NBC noted how some of those already released have committed atrocities.
“The Supreme Court, for the third time, has slammed the Bush administration for its handling of terror suspects at Guantanamo Bay,” CBS anchor Katie Couric announced. Wyatt Andrews asserted “the ruling essentially tells the Bush administration no more halfway justice at Guantanamo” as he segued to a soundbite from a representative of a left-wing group by relaying how “lawyers for the detainees called it a victory for America's reputation around the world.” Andrews, who applied no liberal labels, said the “ruling was bitterly rebuked by the court's conservatives.”
From Kabul, NBC's Brian Williams teased “a big defeat for the Bush administration,” though he later uniquely portrayed the “landmark ruling” as “victory” for the detainees, before Pete Williams tagged both sides, citing “the court's five more liberal members” and “the four conservative dissenters.” ABC anchor Charles Gibson reported that the court “today handed the Bush administration a stinging defeat.” Jan Crawford Greenburg applied the most accurate labeling, referring to how “moderate Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the decision with the four liberal justices” while “conservative Justice Antonin Scalia read a sharp, almost personal dissent.”
CBS and NBC on Thursday night were as interested in highlighting the claims of torture, from Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM) and four 9/11 terrorist attack co-conspirators who were arraigned by a military commission court in Guantanamo Bay, as to informing viewers about the charges against them. ABC didn't consider the torture allegations relevant and so didn't mention the topic as Jan Crawford Greenburg uniquely described KSM as “evil.” In contrast to NBC which called him a “man” and “defendant,” CBS anchor Katie Couric at least described him as a “terrorist.”
CBS reporter Bob Orr, who emphasized that “some legal critics called the hearing...a complete and utter farce,” relayed how “the self-proclaimed mastermind of 9/11 said openly in court that he had been tortured by the U.S., and he called the case against him a sham.” With the quote on screen, Orr reported: “KSM, who the CIA admits was subjected to water-boarding, questioned the legitimacy of the military hearing. 'For five years, they torture,' he said. 'After the torturing they transfer us to inquisition-land in Guantanamo.'” Orr proceeded to showcase how Aziz Ali charged: “This government failed to treat me as a human for five years.”
On NBC, Jim Miklaszewski highlighted how KSM “called the legal proceedings 'evil'" and featured criticism from the ACLU. Miklaszewski also highlighted the “after five years of torture, they transfer us to inquisition land, Guantanamo” quote, before asserting: “Mohammed was water-boarded by the CIA. Defense attorneys had intended to challenge any of Mohammed's statements on the grounds he was tortured.”
Does the First Amendment guarantee a television host’s job security? Former Boston CN8 anchor Barry Nolan suggests just that.
Right of center Fox News host Bill O’Reilly recently received the Governors’ Award at the Boston/New England Chapter Emmy Awards. The local CN8 anchor objected to O’Reilly’s honor and passed out the public details of O’Reilly’s sexual harassment lawsuit. CN8 subsequently fired Mr. Nolan.
Nolan aired his protest on the left-wing website ThinkProgress.org claiming free speech has become a "myth" adding "in today’s America, speech is only ‘free’ when you are talking down to someone less powerful than you."
Unless Mr. Nolan is penning this letter from a prison cell, his free speech rights have not been violated. As an American, he certainly has the right to speak out against Bill O’Reilly. However, anchoring a news show is a privilege, not a right. CN8 had the right to fire Barry Nolan for his actions.
Nolan continued airing typical leftist talking points that journalists are intimidated from reporting the "truth" on Iraq and the War on Terror.
Actress Jessica Lange launched another assault on the Iraq War and the Bush administration on Friday as a speaker at her daughter Hannah Shepard’s commencement from Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, New York. "We are living in an America that, in the last seven and a half years, has waged an unnecessary war, established prison camps, condoned torture, employed corporate armies, eliminated the right of habeas corpus, practiced extraordinary rendition, and believe me, this is only a partial list," Lange said, before she launched into more personal observations about the joy of eating sun-warmed strawberries.
Lange has repeatedly launched public attacks on President Bush as a man who "has no heart," who runs a "regime of deceit, hypocrisy, and belligerence," and his tenure has been "an embarrassing time to be an American."
First, here is a larger chunk of Lange’s remarks at Sarah Lawrence, as transcribed and posted by the college:
I look out at your faces and guess most of you graduates are about 22 years old. I think of the world I was living in at that age. Very different from yours and yet, ominously similar.
Two years ago, after FNC's Bill O'Reilly erroneously stated that American troops had massacred Nazi German troops at Malmedy, Belgium during World War II, even after the FNC host corrected the error, which apparently should have referred to American troops who retaliated against German troops after Malmedy because of that massacre, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann, on his Countdown show, demanded that O'Reilly apologize to American troops, relaying anger expressed by some Iraq war veterans who heard about O'Reilly's mistake, and in one of his most egregious smears against the FNC host, painted O'Reilly as a defender of Nazis. The Countdown show even played an audio clip of voice actor Seth MacFarlane derogatorily calling the FNC host "that b*****d Bill O'Reilly," and telling the FNC host to "allow me to soil myself on you." (Transcripts follow)
Monday's The O'Reilly Factor, guest hosted by Laura Ingraham, showed a pre-recorded interview between FNC host Bill O'Reilly and Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez, former Commander of Coalition Forces in Iraq and author of Wiser in Battle: A Soldier's Story. During the interview, Sanchez conveyed his disapproval at the mainstream media's coverage of the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal. When O'Reilly contended that the "New York Times and the liberal media" "went wild over Abu Ghraib" to "humiliate the Bush administration," Sanchez agreed: "To a large extent, you're absolutely right, because that is reflected in some of the questioning and some, obviously, in the press reports that occurred ... I believe that, in fact, we create the strategic defeat for America to a large extent by the way that we cover it in the press." (Transcript follows)
Nicholas Kristof's Sunday column on Guantanamo prisoners, "A Prison of Shame, and It's Ours," makes the case, in typically arch prose, that his New York Times colleague Barry Bearak got off easy. The Mugabe regime in Zimbabwe imprisoned Bearak in disgusting conditions for four days, but Kristof thought it could have been worse: It could have been Guantanamo Bay.
My Times colleague Barry Bearak was imprisoned by the brutal regime in Zimbabwe last month. Barry was not beaten, but he was infected with scabies while in a bug-infested jail. He was finally brought before a court after four nights in jail and then released.
Alas, we don't treat our own inmates in Guantánamo with even that much respect for law. On Thursday, America released Sami al-Hajj, a cameraman for Al Jazeera who had been held without charges for more than six years. Mr. Hajj has credibly alleged that he was beaten, and that he was punished for a hunger strike by having feeding tubes forcibly inserted in his nose and throat without lubricant, so as to rub tissue raw.