On Wednesday's Countdown show, MNBC's Keith Olbermann attacked Fox News chairman and CEO Roger Ailes during his regular "Worst Person in the World" segment because Ailes criticized Bill Clinton's angry response to Fox News host Chris Wallace's question about why Clinton failed to capture Osama bin Laden. Olbermann, who just days ago conducted a sympathetic interview with Clinton, attacked the Fox News president for calling Clinton's reaction "an assault on all journalists" as the Countdown host referred to Ailes as "Ming the Merciless," the villainous character from the Flash Gordon series." Olbermann also personally insulted Ailes as "having achieved the perfectly circular shape" as the Countdown host awarded the night's top "Worst Person" dishonor to Ailes. (Transcript follows)
While the Today show noted there was some good news for the Bush side in the declassified NIE report they spent most of their time emphasizing the negative. Today host Matt Lauer, in an interview with William Bennett, stressed the portion of the NIE report most likely to hurt Bush, highlighted a poll of Iraqis to push the Democratic line of early withdrawal and then quoted Hillary Clinton's most recent attack on the administration.
At the top of the show Lauer opened: "On Tuesday the President declassified parts of an intelligence report that's both good and bad news for the administration. While it claims that a victory in Iraq would demoralize the terrorists it also says the war there has strengthened the jihadist movement."
Viewers of this morning's Today expecting a balanced panel discussing Bill Clinton's outburst at Fox News were greeted with James Carville debating...Paul Begala? Meredith Vieira, for the most part, sat back as Carville and Begala pumped up Clinton, rallied the Democratic base and attacked everything from the administration's war on terror to Condoleezza Rice, to Fox News. There was no Michael Smerconish or any other vaguely right-of-center counterpart to make points against Clinton's outburst.
The following is a transcript of the entire segment:
Meredith Vieira: "Norah O'Donnell, thanks. Democratic strategists James Carville and Paul Begala worked closely with former President Clinton, their book, Take It Back: A Battle Plan for Democratic Victory is now out in paperback and updated with new material. Good morning to both of you gentlemen. I want to start with you James."
Instead of exploring the accuracy or inaccuracy of former President Clinton's claims during his temper tantrum directed at Chris Wallace in an interview aired on Fox News Sunday, the ABC and NBC evening newscasts on Monday suggested a larger strategy to motivate Democrats. ABC anchor Charles Gibson framed the event: “When asked about efforts he made to get Osama bin Laden, the former President got angry. Was he really mad or was he using anger to make a larger point?” Reporter Dan Harris proposed: “Unlike Michael Dukakis, Al Gore and John Kerry, who many believe failed to effectively combat efforts to distort their image, the Clintons believe Democrats have to push back hard.”
NBC anchor Brian Williams turned to David Gergen who rationalized the tantrum: “He'd just come off a terrific week as ex-President and raised over $7 billion for worthy causes, walked into an interview with Fox with Chris Wallace that he thought was going to be at least half about his initiative. And then he thought he got sandbagged by this question...which echoes the conservative criticisms.” Gergen predicted: “It's going to be a rallying cry for Democrats because Bill Clinton has sent a very clear message to Democrats. If you get bullied, if they try to roll over you, you've got to punch back and punch back hard. That's the way to win.”
On tonight's Nightly News, NBC anchor Brian Williams played excerpts from former President Bill Clinton's meltdown on Fox News, then turned to an "expert" for "perspective" - former Clinton staffer David Gergen. Gergen and Williams downplayed Clinton's display of anger, calling it a "four or five on a scale of ten" compared to previous private Clinton hissy fits.
In this morning’s interview with Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, Today host Matt Lauer mostly asked serious questions about Pakistan’s role in the war on terror and what more that country could do but right before the end of the interview Lauer asked Musharaff to elaborate on a charge he made about the Iraq war:
Lauer: "In your book you wrote, quote, 'I never favored the invasion of Iraq because I feared it would exacerbate extremism as it most certainly has. The world is not a safer place because of the war in Iraq, the world has become far more dangerous.' A recent classified National Intelligence Estimate, in this country, draws that exact same conclusion. So let me ask you, do you think then President Bush should be blamed for making the world a less safe place?"
In his rant against Chris Wallace of Fox News on Friday, former president Bill Clinton claimed that (bold is mine):
I tried. So I tried and failed. When I failed I left a comprehensive anti-terror strategy and the best guy in the country, Dick Clarke.
You would wait forever for someone in The 527 Media to do what blogger Patterico did earlier today. In the course of a longer entry dispelling other myths and falsehoods in the Clinton-Wallace interview, Patterico busted the Clinton claim about the anti-terror transition from his administration to the incoming Bush Adminstration. He located this interview of Richard Clarke in early 2002 that was cleared for distribution by the White House in 2004 and published at Fox News' web site in March of that year.
In "Voting to Kill, How 9/11 Launched the Era of Republican Leadership" (Simon & Schuster, $15.95) Jim Geraghty has created a handbook for how Democrats can regain power (not that many will read it, or take the lessons to heart if they do), or how Republicans can maintain their current advantage. Geraghty, a former mainstream journalist, describes in precise detail both the reasons for Republican success since that awful day in September, and the self-defeating actions of the Democratic party since.
CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, in an interview for the September 20 "Situation Room," questioned President Bush about Iran and wondered, "Why would it be so bad if this Iranian regime had a nuclear weapon?" Blitzer also alternated between complaining that not enough has been done to fight terrorism and wondering if the President was unnecessarily scaring the American people.
On the subject of Iran’s nuclear ambitions, the CNN anchor quizzed Bush as to why he couldn’t meet with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad:
BLITZER: "Given the stakes involved -- a nuclear confrontation -- what do you have to lose by sitting down with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad?"
President Bush replied by reiterating the need for Iran to suspend uranium enrichment. Not to be deterred, however, Blitzer tried again a few minutes later:
BLITZER: "But if it would help -- if it would help to sit down, talk to them and try to convince them....What would be wrong to just sit down with them and tell them, you know what, here are the options before you?"
Well sports fans, that big bounce in ratings that Keith Olbermann received as a result of his vitriol-filled rant about President Bush on the fifth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks is now officially over. It appears that those who tuned in last Tuesday and Wednesday to see what all the fuss was about – including those that were lobbied by liberal bloggers to do so – learned what many with a better-than-room-temperature intelligence quotient already knew.
In fact, the gap between Olbermann’s paltry ratings and what Paula Zahn and Nancy Grace are getting in the same time slot has widened. According to TVNewser:
There are moments where it becomes painfully apparent that the media elites think that the only thing redeeming about Western culture is its ability to regret its existence. Their dream president is a lip-biting man from Arkansas, traveling the globe apologizing for every historic fault, real or imagined, America has ever committed.
This was exactly their mentality with Pope Benedict XVI over his remarks at the University of Regensburg. One wonders if any of his critics had bothered to read his address, the theme of which was the inseparability of faith and reason. He quoted a Byzantine emperor – who argued that God could never countenance the coercive violence of radical Islam, and therefore a radical Islam invoking God is irrational. Lost on the outraged was the other argument posed by Benedict: A religion that embraces reason but not faith is also bankrupt. That message was directed at radical Catholics. His call was for a serious and urgent "genuine dialogue of cultures and religions" based on faith and reason.
Comedy Central host Jon Stewart, well known for slamming conservatives, talked last night with former President Clinton and proceeded to offer him non-stop softball questions. The ex-President plugged his new Clinton Global Initiative program to fight poverty, global warming and support racial reconciliation. (Stewart did not press as to what specifically the project will do.) The tenor of the comedian’s questions can be summed up in this query on what makes Clinton happy:
Stewart: "All right, so what, in your mind, you’ve worked, you’ve worked in government for most of your career. Now you are out and doing private initiatives, these types of things. What’s more effective? What are you having more fun doing and what do you think is more effective?"
Yes, that’s right. Jon Stewart asked the former President what he found "fun," political or private life? It became clear, very early in the program, just how the talk show host differentiated between George W. Bush and Bill Clinton.
Stewart: "We got a fine program for you tonight Former president Bill Clinton will be sitting down with us today. And uh, I'll ask him probably questions about the political climate and the complex issues, and he will be like [high pitched, hysterical voice], duh, I don't know. Oh, no, wait. That's, uh, oh, right, no, this is President Clinton."
Cyrus Nowrasteh, the screenwriter behind ABC's "Path to 9/11" miniseries, has an op-ed in today's Wall Street Journal about his experience. Unsurprisingly, he has little good will for left-wing critics who tried to censor a film that portrayed Democrats in any kind of a bad light:
It would have been good to be able to report due diligence on the part of those who judged the film, the ones who held forth on it before watching a moment of it. Instead, in the rush to judgment, and the effort to portray the series as the work of a right-wing zealot, much was made of my "friendship" with Rush Limbaugh (a connection limited to two social encounters), but nothing of any acquaintance with well-known names on the other side of the political spectrum. No reference to Abby Mann, for instance, with whom I worked on "10,000 Black Men Named George" (whose hero is an African-American communist) or Oliver Stone, producer of "The Day Reagan Was Shot," a film I wrote and directed. Clearly, those enraged that a film would criticize the Clinton administration's antiterrorism policies--though critical of its successor as well--were willing to embrace only one scenario: The writer was a conservative hatchetman.
Reuters reported on Saturday (hat tip to Drudge) that the controversial British film about the assassination of President Bush actually won a critics’ choice award at the Toronto Film Festival. I imagine you’re all surprised:
"Death of a President," which stirred controversy in the days ahead of the festival, took home the Fipresci prize, which is chosen by international critics. The film, a fictional documentary showing the assassination of President Bush, was noted by the jury "for the audacity with which it distorts reality to reveal a larger truth."
See, now that’s exactly what moviegoers want these days: a film that distorts reality to reveal a larger truth. Of course, in a disturbing sort of way, that’s better than the normal media blathering which distorts reality to reveal a tapestry of lies in order to further the goals of one of the nation's major political parties. But, I digress:
On Friday night's Countdown show, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann renewed his "Special Comment" attack on President Bush, replaying the original comments from Monday's show, and adding a condemnation of Bush for an awkwardly worded, off-the-cuff remark made by the President during Friday's news conference that it is "unacceptable to think" the actions of America can be compared to those of terrorists. Not catching on to the President's likely meaning that it is "ridiculous to claim" the actions of America are similar to those terrorists, Olbermann referred to a favorite topic of his, George Orwell's 1984, as he attacked Bush's "chilling" words. Olbermann: "'It's unacceptable to think.' Sounds like something straight out of George Orwell's 1984. Instead, it was something straight out of George Bush's mouth. ... And not only issuing those chilling words, 'It's unacceptable to think,' but doing so in answer to the call to conscience from his own former Secretary of State, Colin Powell." (Transcript follows)
Rosie O’Donnell, the newly installed co-host at "The View," observed the 9/11 anniversary by stating that America "squandered" world support and the next day she asserted that "radical Christianity is just as threatening as radical Islam."
O’Donnell wasn’t the only media member to use September 11 as a pretext to bash America. CBS veteran Andy Rooney suggested in his "60 Minutes" commentary that America start acting in a way that "wouldn’t make so many people in the world want to kill us." MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann went further, accusing President Bush of "impeachable" offenses and "lies."
Appearing on another network, but continuing in the same vein, Sean Penn talked to CNN’s Larry King and mused about the President bringing fascism to the United States...
While ABC came under assault from the left in this country for
even thinking to air something critical of the Clinton administration's
role in the leadup to 9/11, Canada's leading broadcast network was
doing the very opposite: airing a "documentary" exploring
the idea that the Bush White House was behind the attacks
that killed thousands of Americans (often called MIHOP in leftie circles):
the eve of the 9/11 remembrance ceremonies, the leftist, anti-Bush
Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Canada’s national public
broadcaster, aired an outrageous and disgraceful documentary on a
Sunday news program regarding half-baked 9/11 conspiracy theories that
only served to insult the memories of those who perished that tragic
9/11: Truth, Lies and Conspiracy, the only fascinating thing about the
CBC show was its complete absurdity and the fact that it actually made
it to air.On the conspiracy side, it featured a young, budding
“film-maker” whose online documentary portrays the
destruction of the World Trade Center
towers as the result of a bomb in the basement, demolition explosives
planted beforehand throughout the buildings, and the airliner crash,
which, it claims, was not enough in itself to topple the towers.
According to this masterpiece of misleading fiction, the Pentagon was
also hit by a missile, not by an airplane; and the passengers of United
93 didn’t crash into a Pennsylvania field, but disembarked at
By now, many of you likely heard about the embarrassing and utterly disgraceful comments made by MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann on the fifth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks as reported here and here. Judging from ratings figures the following evening, Olbermann’s vitriol was a hit with his viewers.
As reported Wednesday by TVNewser, Olbermann’s ratings skyrocketed on Tuesday. His showing was good enough to put him ahead of CNN’s Paula Zahn and CNN Headline News’s Nancy Grace in the 8PM EST time slot, a feat that KO rarely achieves. His estimated 695,000 viewers was 34 percent more than the 518,000 that actually watched this atrocity Monday evening – which was also, as typical, fewer viewers than watched Paula Zahn and Nancy Grace. This was also 75 percent more than the 397,000 viewers KO had on Friday, September 8.
On her first day of work NBC's new Today co-host Meredith Vieira mistakenly called House Majority Leader John Boehner the "House Speaker." The blooper came as Vieira, in a segment with Tim Russert, referred to an earlier report by David Gregory, as he, once again, over-hyped a remark from Boehner. Vieira mistakenly asked Tim Russert:
Vieira: "Meanwhile you have, as David Gregory pointed out, the House Speaker saying, criticizing the Democratic, the Democrats for criticizing the President by saying that they're really soft on terrorism, that their commitment to fighting the war is not really there. That's worked effectively for the Republicans in the past, that argument. Do you think that it still will work?"
"American Morning" host Miles O'Brien prefaced a September 13 interview with White House Press Secretary Tony Snow by mentioning the President's 9/11 speech and wondering "if lawmakers on both sides of the aisle" were heeding Bush's call for unity. It soon became clear that when O'Brien said both sides, he meant only Republicans. The CNN anchor led with a quote critical of Democrats by Majority Leader John Boehner. Snow then attempted to reference some tough statements made by liberal Senator Carl Levin. O'Brien respond:
O'BRIEN: "No, no, I want to ask -- can I ask about Republicans first? Let's just talk about Republicans....I want to ask you about Republicans."
It was stunning, and yet it was eerily reminiscent of the extraordinary discipline of Team Clinton. Days before the ABC miniseries "The Path to 9/11" was to air, they determined the network fudged in its commitment to follow faithfully the facts in the 9/11 Commission report. A scene or two in the otherwise remarkable presentation was false.
And this was the angle Team Clinton needed in order to pounce. The Clinton campaign kicked into high gear in the days before it aired, with the ex-president and his lawyering aides and Democrats in Congress all pressuring ABC to dump the film.
It’s important to understand that Team Clinton didn’t demand the film be edited for accuracy. They wanted everything -- including all the accurate criticisms and findings – thrown in the garbage. Clinton had his usual cleanup squad write letters to ABC chief Bob Iger demanding the $40 million movie be deep-sixed: "We expect that you will make the responsible decision to not air this film."
Rosie O’Donnell, the new host of "The View," restrained herself for exactly one week before letting fly with her extreme liberalism. On the September 12 edition, in response to fellow co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck’s comment that militant Islam is a grave threat, O’Donnell stated that "radical Christianity is just as threatening as radical Islam in a country like America." The comedienne also attacked America’s response to 9/11:
O’Donnell: "We were attacked not by a nation. And as a result of the attack and the killing of nearly 3,000 innocent people we invaded two countries and killed innocent people in their countries."
From the start, Wyatt adopts the POV of the Clintonians that tried to stop ABC from airing the miniseries:
"The first half of ABC’s dramatic mini-series 'The Path to 9/11,' which drew fierce advance partisan reaction last week over its portrayal of Clinton administration officials, drew an estimated 13 million viewers Sunday night, several million more than a rebroadcast of a CBS documentary about Sept. 11 but far fewer than NBC’s opening-week National Football League game.
Following up his performance on “Democracy Now” as reported by NewsBusters, James Meigs, the Editor-in-Chief of Popular Mechanics, penned a great op-ed that was published in Tuesday’s New York Post (hat tip to American Thinker). Meigs comically began (emphasis mine):
ON Feb. 7, 2005, I became a member of the Bush/Halliburton/Zionist/CIA/New World Order/Illuminati conspiracy for world domination. That day, Popular Mechanics, the magazine I edit, hit newsstands with a story debunking 9/11 conspiracy theories. Within hours, the online community of 9/11 conspiracy buffs - which calls itself the "9/11 Truth Movement" - was aflame with wild fantasies about me, my staff and the article we had published. Conspiracy Web sites labeled Popular Mechanics a "CIA front organization" and compared us to Nazis and war criminals.
Makes one wonder what these folks think about Tim “The Toolman” Taylor! After discussing the various conspiracy theorists, including but not limited to the folks at “Loose Change,” Meigs continued (emphasis mine):
Yesterday Matt Lauer treated Hillary Clinton with kid gloves but on this morning's Today, Bush, once again, got the hostile treatment from Lauer. However in this morning's portion of Lauer's long interview with the President, Bush stepped up, even calling Matt out for trying to "justify" the Democratic position.
Lauer: "Do you know of any Democrats, that in your opinion, are trying to or would like to appease terrorists?"
George W. Bush: "I know Democrats who want to leave Iraq before the job is done and that would be a terrible mistake."
Lauer: "But those Democrats don't see the war in Iraq as inseparable from the overall war on terror."
On this morning's Today show NBC's Matt Lauer and Kelly O'Donnell advanced the Democratic Party's whine, er, line that Bush was politicizing 9/11. Lauer opened this morning's Today: "The politics of 9/11. President Bush makes a prime time speech calling for vigilance in the war on terror but some Democrats cry foul....Democrats are furious saying that he used the anniversary of 9/11 for political purposes."
In the 7 am half hour Ann Curry introduced O'Donnell's report:"Today's attack in Syria came just hours after President Bush warned in a prime time speech that terrorists are still bent on striking America but his defense of the war in Iraq on the 9/11 anniversary has some Democrats very angry. NBC's White House correspondent Kelly O'Donnell has more this morning."
As reported by NewsBuster Brad Wilmouth here, Keith Olbermann on Monday’s “Countdown” was in full attack mode on America’s president. Now, some might cynically say that he does this every evening, and they might have a point. However, yesterday was the fifth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, and Olbermann’s behavior was disgraceful. Given the solemn nature of this occasion, Olbermann’s rant might be the worst performance by a supposed press representative in recent memory. In fact, this seemed as mean-spirited and unacceptable as the comments made by Bill Maher on ABC shortly after the 9/11 attacks that resulted in his termination.
With that in mind, I have sent the following message by e-mail to Dan Abrams, MSNBC’s new general manager. For those that are interested in sending Mr. Abrams their views on this subject, I included e-mail addresses at the end of this post that hopefully will maximize the likelihood of such messages reaching his desk:
Back in July, Time magazine elevated left-liberal blogger Ana Marie Cox, better known as Wonkette, to Washington editor of their online site, Time.com. Cox, whose background includes stints at Mother Jones and The American Prospect, had built her reputation, and audience, with occasionally witty, constantly snarky and generally profane commentary on the sex lives of Washington residents. But she had an audience, and Time apparently felt that that justified her promotion. So she moved from the fringes of the blogosphere towards the mainstream press.
And now she's moved further. It's a good bet, I'd think, that most of the audience of The Early Show don't know her background. Well, they didn't learn any of it from her appearance this morning, when she was introduced as, yes, the Washington editor of time.com. Yes, that's what she is. But she's not a non-partisan political analyst, not in any way, shape or form, even though CBS treated her, presented her to their audience, as if she were. She was the first analyst that CBS had on to talk about the President's speech last night. At least through the first hour, she was the only analyst that CBS had on to talk about the President's speech last night.
Instead of opening with his usual monologue of jokes, Craig Ferguson, an immigrant from Scotland, began Monday night's Late Late Show on CBS with a tribute to America, a refreshing attitude not often heard these days in the mainstream media. “I consider myself an American,” he declared on the fifth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, adding: “I've been here for a long time. I love this country.” Ferguson contended: “Anyone who cares about anything, when these rat bastards flew those planes into those buildings, if you're a human, it would insult everything inside you.” Ferguson suggested “this is a defining moment for our generation. For one generation, it was the assassination of Kennedy, for another it's 9/11. It's 'Where were you on September the 11th?'”
Ferguson proceeded to recount how a few days after 9/11 he was at the Warner Brothers lot, where he was an actor on the Drew Carey Show, for a memorial service. The Teamsters had put up on the side of a building a huge U.S. flag and as the wind blew some of the clips holding it up came loose, but the flag stayed in place. He recalled: “For all the fear and terror that 9/11 brought, I thought then when I saw that flag stay there, I thought that's the way it is here. This is an ill wind and it moved the flag and a couple of clips popped, and the country reeled back from it, and for all the arguments and all the rascals and the scoundrels on either side of political debates, all across who try and claim this awful, awful day as something they own, there is argument and debate in America, and that's what makes us the country that we are. And when that wind blew, and when that ill wind blew in America, the flag was still there. The flag was still there.”