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.”
Poll: More Americans blame Bush for 9/11 screams the CNN headline. No doubt they rely on few people opening up the pdf file at link, which still only contains 2 questions out of what looks to be at least 27, or more. But an examination of even that tells us this is bogus news.
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The percentage of Americans who blame the Bush administration for the September 11, 2001, attacks on New York and Washington has risen from almost a third to almost half over the past four years, a CNN poll released Monday found.
Asked whether they blame the Bush administration for the attacks, 45 percent said either a "great deal" or a "moderate amount," up from 32 percent in a June 2002 CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll.
At the very end of Monday's Countdown show, during his latest "Special Comment" (also posted on his Bloggermann Web site) attacking the Bush administration, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann unleashed one of his most vitriolic attacks on the President, accusing him of "lying by implication" to get America into a "fraudulent war" with "needless death" in Iraq, which Olbermann referred to as "an impeachable offense." Olbermann: "The polite phrase for how so many of us were duped into supporting a war on the false premise that it had something to do with 9/11 is lying by implication. The impolite phrase is 'impeachable offense.'" He also bizarrely seemed to blame President Bush for the delays in building a memorial at Ground Zero, as he branded Bush's "reprehensible inaction" as a "crime against every victim here and every patriotic sentiment you [Bush] mouthed but did not enact, you have done nothing about it." After accusing the President of "forgetting the lessons of 9/11," Olbermann obnoxiously concluded: "May this country forgive you." (Transcript follows)
Video of the last two-thirds of Olbermann's nearly nine-minute long rant (5:45): Real (4.4 MB at 100 kbps) or Windows Media (3.7 MB at 81 kbps), plus MP3 audio (2 MB)
Some of you might be familiar with an Internet movie called “Loose Change.” Addressed by NewsBusters in August, this low-budget schlockumentary suggested that much of 9/11 is a fantasy created by the Bush administration to advance the war on terror.
With that in mind, “Democracy Now” host Amy Goodman invited the writer/director and researcher of this film on her program today to debate a couple of editors from Popular Mechanics magazine about this issue (video and transcript links to follow).
Popular Mechanics was invited on due to a March 2005 cover-story it did entitled “9/11: Debunking the Myths.” More recently, PM has taken a strong position against this film in an article at its blog:
The New York Times' reliably liberal television-beat reporter Alessandra Stanley offered up a surprising assessment in her mostly favorable review of “The Path to 9-11," a review which ran on Friday when there was still some doubt as to whether or not ABC would cave in to the Clintonistas and various left-wing bloggers furious at the network. The first part of the miniseries ran last night with some selective edits but with the essence of the story intact, further infuriating the left with its picture of a Clinton administration unwilling to take terrorism seriously.
Rosie O’Donnell and her fellow "View" co-hosts delivered a mostly restrained show on the fifth anniversary of 9/11. The women talked about the terrible loss of life and where each person was on that fateful day. However, during a discussion of the world’s support for America, post-September 11th, the liberal Ms. O’Donnell had to be reined in by the usually equally left-wing Joy Behar.
O’Donnell: "And it’s hard to believe that in the five years since, that's all gone away. And we have sort of squandered, the, you know, the world's, um-"
Behar: "We’ll get to that on another day."
O’Donnell: "Yeah. Well, we’ll get to it, I’m sure."
I wrote, earlier today, about how The Early Show began the broadcast this morning by politicizing 9/11. I had stopped watching after the Axelrod segment to write about it, and just recently got back to it. I was almost stunned by how right my headline had been. I just didn't know the half of it. The first hour of the show was filled with politics, the vast majority of it negative towards the Bush administration and the rest just inappropriate.
First, we had the Axelrod piece, as referenced earlier.
Axelrod: The President's aides have made it clear this is no time for politics, although his very presence here is a reminder of the lost popularity for Mr. Bush in the past five years....In the days and weeks after the President climbed that rubble pile at Ground Zero and promised revenge, the President had an 89% approval rating. Five years later that number is 36%. Later today the President will head from here in Manhattan to Shanksville, Pennsylvania. At 11:45 A.M., Mr. Bush will participate in a ceremony in Shanksville. He will then fly to Washington to lay a wreath at the Pentagon. At 9:00 tonight the President will address the nation in what we're told will be a non-political speech.
While NBC's Matt Lauer baited Sen. Hillary Clinton to admonish the administration to say we're not safer, he attacked the President for, in fact, trying to make the nation safer. Lauer prompted Clinton: "Are you comfortable that the United States did not break the law in conducting that kind of interrogations in those secret sites?" Then later in the program, as first noted by MRC's Brent Baker, Lauer repeatedly attacked Bush over interrogation methods worrying: "Are you at all concerned that at some point, even if you get results, there is a blurring the lines of, between ourselves and the people we're trying to protect us against?"
Video clip of Lauer's combative exchange with Bush over treatment of terrorists (3:20): Real (5.6 MB) or Windows Media (6.5 MB), plus MP3 audio (1.1 MB)
The 5th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on September 11th, 2001, is clearly an event that needs to be marked and acknowledged. One can only imagine the furor that would arise if the President of the United States were to neglect observing and commenting on the day. On the other hand, if he were to choose this particular time to come out with partisan political attacks, to attempt to take advantage of the anniversary observances in purely political ways, I believe we can say, with some confidence, that the mainstream press would be vociferous in their condemnation. History suggests to us that the media in this country is on the lookout for any signs of partisanship from the President today. (It also suggests that that vigilance is, shall we say, one-sided. Attacks against the President for allowing the towers to be destroyed "on his watch," as it were, would be unlikely to arouse the same sense of outrage.)
On this solemn occasion, our hearts go out to all who lost friends, colleagues, and family members five years ago, as well as to those who worked tirelessly and selflessly to save them. God Bless America.
For those that watched “The Path to 9/11” last evening, and were interested in which scenes were targeted by the Clinton administration for editing, you should see Dan Riehl’s post on the subject here.
Those that are interested in what apparently was altered in the final edition should see Al Brown's post here, as well as Editor & Publisher’s article on the subject.
With that as pretext, I wanted to offer my impressions of Part I.
ABC's entertainment division refused to knuckle under to intense pressure from supporters of former President Bill Clinton, including the Democratic National Committee and MoveOn.org, and aired the first part of their miniseries, "The Path to 9/11", with some additional edits:
On today's episode of Meet the Press (Sunday, September 10, 2006), Tim Russert interviewed Vice President Cheney. In the interview, Russert took issue with the fact that the Vice President once stated on his show that it was "pretty well confirmed" that Mohammed Atta, one of the 9/11 hijackers, met with Iraqi intelligence in Prague in April 2001.
Here's the craftiness by Russert: Mr. Cheney made the "pretty well confirmed" remark in a December 9, 2001, appearance, over four-and-a-half years ago. Russert failed to inform his audience this morning when the remark was originally made. In addition, in three following appearances on Meet the Press (3/02, 9/02, and 9/03), when the Vice President breached the topic of the Atta-Prague allegation, he essentially told Russert that he "[didn't] know" if the visit occurred, that it was "unconfirmed," and that intelligence had been unable "to nail down a close tie between the al-Qaida organization and Saddam Hussein." The Vice President's stance on the issue was certainly modified from the one he originally aired in 2001.
In fact, in the very last appearance that the Vice President made on Meet the Press (in September 2003), Mr. Cheney specifically told Russert that "we just don't know" if such a meeting ever happened. And in his September 2002 appearance, the Vice President said almost the opposite of it being "pretty well confirmed"; he said the meeting was "unconfirmed"! Yet this morning Russert harked back to the original 2001 appearance over four-and-a-half years ago to try and hammer the Vice President for the "pretty well confirmed" words. Fairness, anyone? Not at all.