Lynne Cheney was right. The Vice President’s wife recently attacked a CNN pre-election special as straight out of Democratic talking points. The program in question, "Broken Government: Power Play," aired on October 26 and discussed presidential power. Reporter John King introduced his special that night on location at Independence Hall, Philadelphia. Close your eyes and it sounds like an ad straight out of the DNC:
John King: "Justice, on Mr. Bush's terms, would mean challenge after challenge, test after test of the balance of powers laid out in the Constitution, adopted here in Philadelphia's Independence Hall 219 years ago, written by men, who, for all their brilliance, could not have imagined jet aircraft, let alone jet aircraft used as weapons. Nor could men determined to find the lasting antidote to tyranny have imagined the Internet, spy satellites, other technological advances now so central in the war on terror. But they did warn, in this hall, time and time again of too much presidential power, creating a careful system of checks by the Congress and the courts, lines the Bush administration, in the name of protecting Americans from another attack, has repeatedly stretched, rewritten, and sometimes just ignored."
2,808 Americans have died in Iraq the past 43 months. Another 282 have met such a fate in and around Afghanistan as part of Operation Enduring Freedom. Likely all are rolling over in their graves as fellow countrymen who sent them to war are threatening to boycott Election Day.
Particularly disheartening to these fallen heroes must be the conservative abstentions, as likely 90 percent of such Americans were in favor of sending soldiers to Iraq in March 2003, while probably 100 percent supported invading Afghanistan after 9/11. It must be unfathomable to these brave souls that the very people who rallied politicians to risk lives for these efforts are now turning their backs on the honored dead, and what they died for.
Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it.—Thomas Paine
CNN’s "American Morning" devoted four minutes of air time, and free advertising, to a faux documentary that includes a digitally created assassination of George W. Bush. The network, which has refused to air commercials for the controversial "Death of a President," instead featured the film’s director on the Friday edition of its morning show. Anchor Miles O’Brien opened the interview with some free promotion in the form of a 13 second clip of the movie. The film's director, Gabriel Range, certainly understood the benefit of what a CNN appearance offered him. He explained late in the interview:
Miles O’Brien: "Some of these theaters that have said no to your film, in the end, all the buzz surrounding this, I guess that might be good for business, huh?"
Gabriel Range: "I think the distributor, New Market, are keen to -- they've got the film out in a lot of theaters. And they're very confident that it will reach a wide audience. I hope the fact you and I are talking about it today will mean that a lot of people will want to see the film. I would say, it's not what you think. Judge it for yourself."
With a title like "Broken Government: Power Play," one could probably assume that the upcoming CNN special won’t be very fair to President Bush. But just in case there were any doubt, reporter John King appeared on Thursday’s "American Morning" to drive home the point:
Miles O’Brien: "Twelve days to the election. We're looking at the power of the presidency. A new CNN poll out this morning, we asked some people if they think the President does in fact have too much power. And like so many issues in this country, shows a lot of division among the electorate. CNN's John King is here with a preview of what's going on tonight in our 'Broken Government' series. Good morning, John."
John King: "Good morning to you, Miles. It's a fascinating subject. Many say, post-9/11, this President has crossed, stretched, some say trampled the Constitution in his pursuit of the war on terrorism. The president says whatever it takes. Some say he has busted the balance of powers, if you will, the constitutional lines. The President, of course, says no. It's one of the issues we're exploring as we look at the 'Broken Government.' He began on a very different course, a governor with a famous name who conveyed more West Texas than Washington. Compassionate conservative was his label of choice. Kinder, gentler, his promised world view. A crisp September morning suddenly changed from gorgeous to gruesome. A few whispered words in a Florida school room, transformed a presidency and a president."
How nice of CNN to offer the caveat that President Bush does, in fact, deny stretching and trampling the Constitution.
I don’t know about you, but I love it when a liberal member of Congress tries to talk tough about terrorism. It’s kind of like watching my 13-year-old daughter try to bully my 18-year-old son. Such was the case on the “O’Reilly Factor” last night when Congressman Charlie Rangel (D-NY) tried to look tough in front of Our Boy Bill – sorry for the “Carousel” pun to those who caught it (hat tip to Hot Air with video link to follow).
The scrum started early when O’Reilly brought up the Military Commissions Act just signed by the President, and the fact that Rangel voted against it. Charlie weakly replied: “Not only is the bill unconstitutional, but it was brought up on the eve of an election to give some type of feeling that Republicans were tough on terrorism.”
Rangel stepped into an uppercut with that offering, and O’Reilly didn’t miss the opportunity:
It is quite doubtful that HBO’s Bill Maher knew what he was in for when he scheduled Danielle Pletka of the American Enterprise Institute to be on his "Real Time" panel Friday night. After all, with CNN’s Lou Dobbs and liberal actor Ben Affleck surrounding her, it seemed highly unlikely the lone conservative in the discussion would survive the scrum, let alone win the debate. However, not only did Pletka hold her own, but she also ended up schooling Maher and Affleck on a virtual plethora of geopolitical issues making this one of the more enjoyable Friday Night Fights in recent memory (video link to follow).
The first lesson came when Affleck had the gall to suggest that Iran and North Korea “became more evil after” President Bush made his Axis of Evil speech during the 2002 State of the Union address (emphasis mine):
Certainly, the New York Times’ Frank Rich is an easy target for conservatives, as he never has anything nice to say about President Bush or any politician with the letter “R” after his/her name. Yet, when such an obvious left-wing hatchet-man goes on “Oprah” to boost sales of his new, just-in-time-for-the-elections gotcha book, “The Greatest Story Ever Sold: The Decline and Fall of Truth from 9/11 to Katrina," about the current Administration’s supposed missteps in Iraq and New Orleans, it is certainly fair game.
After all, on this show humorously titled “Truth in America,” Rich described his view of a propaganda machine within the White House designed to misinform the public with what he states in his book is “a hidden and elaborate fake news factory, complete with its own fake news journalists, all of it paid for by taxpayers.” Yet, in the following video clips, notice that Rich never addressed the propaganda machine that he works for, the fake news his organization regularly disseminates to an unknowing public, and, maybe more importantly, nobody in the audience or the host ever challenged him about this obvious contradiction.
On Wednesday night, the controversial cartoon program “South Park”, now in its tenth season, lampooned all the, um, conspiracy-minded in our country (which is putting it nicely!) who believe that the Bush administration was someone involved in the attacks on 9/11. Our friends at Hot Air have a video clip of the episode which AllahPundit set up with the following:
It picks up in the oval office, where Stan, Kyle, and a 911Truth idiot have been brought by the CIA after finding out too much. But what transpires there proves to be a ruse, and only later do they learn the shocking truth — that the Truthers themselves are part of the conspiracy.
These two videos will certainly shock people. Speaking in front of the National Press Club, media mogul Ted Turner actually spoke out against news programs showing the American flag during coverage of the Iraq war. Maybe more shocking, he said that he’s unclear what side to take on the war on terror.
What follows are the full transcripts of both sound bites, with videos here and here (grateful hat tip to Drudge).
A few days ago, I alerted Michael Scheuer – the former head of the CIA's bin Laden unit – that former Terrorism Czar Richard Clarke was scheduled to be Bill Maher’s guest tonight on “Real Time”. Of course, this is the same Richard Clarke that refused to participate in last weekend’s “Fox News Sunday” panel discussion that Scheuer was a part of as addressed here. After all, why should Clarke go on a real news program where he can be asked real questions when there are hard-hitting journalists like Bill Maher around?
Anyway, this morning, Mr. Scheuer e-mailed me a list of questions that he would like to see Maher ask Clarke. This is the actual text supplied with his permission:
In The New York Post, terrorism expert and journalist Steven Emerson protested that CNN and Newsday warped the views of Republican Congressman Peter King on an Islamic group, and how they want to blame 9/11 on a Zionist conspiracy instead of al-Qaeda:
THE media is engaged in a jihad against Rep. Peter King - a jihad in defense of Islamist extremists.
King, a Long Island Republican, has warned his constituents that some leaders of the Islamic Center of Long Island have "publicly stated that the CIA or the 'Zionists' may have been behind the attacks" of 9/11.
The record backs him up. Indeed, the center's leadership has a long history of extremism. But both Newsday and CNN chose to ignore the facts and smear King.
The Sunday Times has gotten copies of videos of Osama bin Laden and high-ranking members of al Qaeda in Afghanistan training camps back in the year 2000 (hat tip to Drudge):
It is the first time that a videotape has appeared of Mohammed Atta — who flew an American Airlines plane into the north tower of the World Trade Center — at a training camp in Afghanistan. It fills in a significant gap in the timing of the build-up to the attacks on the United States.
Dates on the tape show Atta was filmed on January 18, 2000, together with Ziad Jarrah, the pilot of United Airlines flight 93, which crashed in Pennsylvania after the passengers apparently stormed the flight deck.
During an interview aired Friday on CNBC's The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch, when asked by host Deutsch how he would go about fighting terrorism, CNN founder Ted Turner argued that "you don't win people over by bombing them, you win them over by being friends with them," and soon recommended giving Muslim extremists what they want as a solution to terrorism. Turner, who in 2002 claimed that Israelis were guilty of "terrorism" against the Palestinians, on Friday's show advocated "being more even-handed in our dealing with the Palestinians and the Israelis," negotiating peace in the Middle East "so we can stop at some point furnishing military aid to Israel," and "pulling our military forces out of the Middle East." Turner labelled these moves as "things that they've asked of us" and "things that the Muslim extremists and a lot of other Muslims, too, would like to see us do." (Transcript follows)
This one’s really good, folks. Writing in Friday’s FrontPage Magazine, Professor Emeritus at Brooklyn Law School Henry Mark Holzer made the case for why the New York Times should be indicted for violating the Espionage Act (hat tip to American Thinker):
It is an article of faith on the Left and among its fellow travelers that the Bush administration stole two elections, made war on Iraq for venal reasons, tortured hapless foreigners, and conducted illegal surveillance of innocent Americans. A corollary of this mindset is that the press, primarily the Washington Post and The New York Times, has a right, indeed a duty, to print whatever they want about the administration—even if the information compromises national security.
Holzer marvelously responded to this absurd notion:
There is potentially no more deplorable aspect of politics in the new millennium than the backwards-looking blame game played by both Parties on a daily basis. Whether it’s the economy, taxes, budget deficits, or corruption, members on both sides of the aisle always have an extended finger ready to accuse the other for the problems in the world.
In the past four weeks, a new category for contestants has been created: The bin Laden’s-Still-Alive Blame Game.
When Doves Lie
It is certainly no great surprise that once all the faux hawks – the doves that felt so threatened by the 9/11 attacks that they actually wanted to respond militarily – started feeling less vulnerable, the country would return to its 9/10 divisions. However, nobody could possibly have envisioned that five years later, the political parties would actually be debating who was more responsible for the national tragedy that fateful day.
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: