Real estate mogul Donald Trump, acting like a presidential candidate, is garnering attention by latching on to the “birther” issue -- the discredited notion that President Obama was not born in Hawaii but in another country, thus making him ineligible for the presidency. The New York Times ran a poll April 22 that asked: “Do you think Barack Obama was born in the United States, or was he born in another country?” The Times then broke down the results out for Republicans (but not for independents or Democrats): 45% of Republicans answered Obama was born elsewhere, 33% said he was born in the United States.
Meanwhile, the Times has yet to bring up a 2006 poll showing more than half of Democrats believed Bush was complicit in the 9-11 attacks.
Times liberal columnist Charles Blow pounced on Saturday: “It further exacerbates a corrosive culture on the right that now celebrates the Cult of Idiocy -- from Glenn Beck to Michele Bachmann -- where riling liberals is more valuable than reason and logic, and where intellectualism and even basic learnedness are viewed with suspicion and contempt.”
In an interview with liberal actress Shirley MacLaine, HLN's Joy Behar admitted that Bill O'Reilly "bullies you around a little bit" and suggested he needs to a figure to "smack him around" as the two women teed off on the popular Fox News host.
"Well, he is little bit intimidating as you say," Behar remarked to MacLaine confirming her . He bullies you a little bit, I think. I felt that." At the end of the segment MacLaine insisted that O'Reilly needs a motherly figure like Joy Behar to control him. "To smack him around," Behar added, and MacLaine agreed.
On Tuesday's Good Morning America, reporter Jake Tapper attacked the "bizarre," "non-reality-based" conspiracy theory about President Obama's birth certificate. Yet, the ABC program has not done a similar expose on the belief that the government was involved with, or knew of, the 9/11 terror plot.
Speaking of the false idea that the President was born somewhere other than Honolulu, Tapper described it as the "bizarre conspiracy theory that is as seemingly persistent as it is erroneous. It is the lie that will not die." In contrast, GMA lacked such outrage for truthers and repeatedly promoted Rosie O'Donnell, ignoring her own weird and baseless agenda.
(Although host George Stephanopoulos did grill conspiracy theorist Jessie Ventura on April 04, 2011 about his truther ideas, the show hasn't devoted a full segment to the topic.)
When O'Donnell, who believes the Twin Towers were taken down by a controlled demolition, appeared on the April 08, 2008 GMA, then-host Diane Sawyer praised the comedienne's "singular" vision. She never mentioned trutherism.
NPR's Dina Temple-Raston touted Attorney General Eric Holder's reluctance to give detainees at Guantanamo Bay military trials during a segment on Monday's All Things Considered. Temple-Raston and host Michele Norris only featured sound bites from the Justice Department head, omitting clips from supporters of the military tribunals.
Norris began by noting the Obama administration's "major reversal" in their decision to try Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four other 9/11 suspects in military court. After playing a clip from Attorney General Holder's recent press conference, where he announced the move, the host turned to the correspondent and recounted how " in late 2009...Holder announced that these five conspirators will be tried in New York City in a civilian trial. So today's decision officially reverses that."
Temple-Raston, who conducted a sting operation against U.S. border agents earlier in 2011 by wearing a headscarf and posing as Muslim woman, mainly acted as stenographer for the attorney general, though she did acknowledge the mismanagement of the rollout for the civilian trials plan:
Over two programs totaling two and half hours of air time, ABC allowed only 65 seconds of coverage for Barack Obama's decision to break a campaign promise and try 9/11 terror suspects at Guantanamo and not in a civilian court. In contrast, all the other network evening shows on Monday and morning shows on Tuesday provided full reports.
On Tuesday's Good Morning America on ABC, Juju Chang mildly explained in a news read, "Well, we begin with a legal turnaround for the Obama administration." On Monday's World News, Diane Sawyer delicately described it as a "switch in positions." Reporter Jake Tapper noted the President has "blinked" in the face of criticism and pointed out this was a breaking of a campaign promise. (This brief mention came during a larger story about the 2012 campaign.)
In contrast, CBS's Katie Couric actually provided much stronger language. She began by asserting, "In other news, a lot of people thought it was a terrible idea to put Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four other men on trial here in New York City for the 9/11 attacks." Reporter Bob Orr, unlike Chang, labeled it a "stunning reversal" to try suspects at Guantanamo.
For the second time in less than six months, Good Morning America offered 9/11 truther Jesse Ventura a platform to hype his conspiracy theories and smear the U.S. government as "Nazi." This occurred on the same day that GMA reporter Bianna Golodryga hit Republicans for having connections to birthers and wondered when the President will "fight back" against such charges.
In contrast, although co-host George Stephanopoulos did press Ventura on his conspiratorial beliefs, he also joked around with the former Minnesota governor. At one point, he fawned, "You've had such a varied career. You were even once on a soap opera. Young and the Restless." Stephanopoulos then played a clip of the former politician on that show.
Ventura appeared on GMA to promote his book 63 Documents the Government Doesn't Want You to Read. He slammed the U.S. government by attacking, "There are dedicated, patriotic people in government, but when you read this book, the scary part of this book for me, you could substitute the word Nazi and it would work." Stephanopoulos just moved on to his next question.
CNN's Deborah Feyerick performed a cut-and-paste job on Thursday's Newsroom by partially re-running a biased report from September 2010 on the apparent rise of "Islamophobia" in the United States. Just as before, all but one of Feyerick's sound bites during her report came from those who were worried about the supposed "intensifying hostility and rise in hate speech" against Muslims.
Anchor Suzanne Malveaux introduced the correspondent's report, which ran 40 minutes into the 12 pm Eastern hour, by putting it in the context of Rep. Peter King's hearings into the radicalization of American Muslims: "King says his radicalization of Islam hearing is going to help protect America from a terrorist attack. Well, critics, they call it a witch hunt. One of the concerns is that it is going to cause more Americans to fear and hate Muslims. Our Deborah Feyerick reports Islamophobia is on the rise." A chyron echoed Malveaux's last sentence: "Islamophobia on the Rise."
ABC, NBC and CBS news programs have mentioned the Muslim Brotherhood 135 times in 17 years, but only linked them to fundamentalist Islam 37 percent of the time. Just since the unrest in Egypt began in January, they've mentioned the Brotherhood 85 times, and decreased how often they report the nature of the group - just 32 percent of those stories mentioned the group's extremism.
Declaring "jihad" against the United States. Taking credit for deadly bombings in Cairo. Sponsoring Hamas. Assassinating Egyptian leaders. Making common cause with Nazi Germany. Openly calling for shariah law. Spawning prominent al-Qaida leaders.
Only the liberal network news media could paint a group with a resume like that as "peaceful" and "moderate." But that's precisely how the broadcast networks have often portrayed the Muslim Brotherhood.
Alex Jones, a 9/11 truther and promoter of other conspiracy theories, appeared on ABC's The View Monday to defend his friend Charlie Sheen, but diverted the interview into slamming George W. Bush for turning American into "a police state." Veteran journalist Barbara Walters did not denounce the radio host when he referenced the theory that the government was behind the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Co-hosts Joy Behar and Whoopi Goldberg, who walked out when they objected to a comment Bill O'Reilly made about Muslims, did not leave when Jones attacked, "[Charlie Sheen] didn't kill a million people in Iraq. He wasn't involved with the takedown of Building Seven here in New York."
(Building Seven, across the street from the World Trade Center, is a key component to those who believe that the Twin Towers were taken down by a controlled demolition, not as a result of international terrorism.) Later, Jones shifted the subject to politics again and ranted, "Let's compare George Bush, a million dead in Iraq!"
MSNBC anchors, such as Chris Matthews, often rail about a supposed failure by conservatives and Republicans to denounce birthers from their ranks. Yet, host Contessa Brewer interviewed 9/11 truther (and seller of birther merchandise) Alex Jones on Friday, allowing him to hype his conspiracy website three times.
Jones appeared on MSNBC's News Live to recount his gossip-filled interview with actor and friend Charlie Sheen. So desperate for the latest news on the unpredictable celebrity, Brewer blandly introduced, "Sheen was speaking with Alex Jones. He's the host of his own nationally syndicated radio show."
At no time did she hint that Jones promotes fringe theories blaming the U.S. government for 9/11 and distributes a documentary about "the chemtrail/geo-engineering" coverup. Jones also sells "Barry Soetoro" T-shirts (implying that the President is using an alias and is a secret Indonesian citizen).
One of the largest Muslim organizations in North America is considering plans to build a summer camp on 114 acres of land in the Adirondacks. Via the Albany Times Union:
“The Islamic Circle of North America, a Muslim advocacy group based in New York City, hopes to raise money to develop a camp for children and families of all religions on land donated to it last year.”
The Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), based in Queens, New York, is not devoid of controversy in a history that spans over 40 years, yet there is scant mention of these controversies by the media. The Times Union article states that, “U.S. law enforcement agencies have investigated, but never prosecuted, ICNA for terrorist connections.” And there is coverage of a fundraiser involving speakers having made anti-American statements in the past, which is quickly justified by saying, “the meeting raised money for homeless women.”
But the ICNA has so much more to offer in the way of newsworthiness, including an event involving radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, as well as a link to the presently relevant Muslim Brotherhood.
One would expect an editor of Time Magazine to argue with more logical force than a college freshman. But alas, in his effort to dismiss a looming congressional investigation into homegrown Jihadist terrorism, Romesh Ratnesar, Time's contributing editor-at-large, demonstrated a profound inability to lay out a coherent argument.
Among the article's highlights: the Fort Hood massacre wasn't actually terrorism and is therefore irrelevant to any discussion of Jihadist violence; most American Muslims are opposed to Jihadism and therefore the few who do endorse the ideology are not really a threat; and because recent terrorist attacks have failed, there is not a serious threat of future attacks.
As media outlet after media outlet advances the bogus theory that Jared Lee Loughner was incited to kill innocent people by the rhetoric of prominent conservatives, details emerging about the life of the Tucson gunman completely refute such assertions.
Adding to the growing list of evidence countering these claims is the following juicy tidbit buried in an Associated Press piece published Sunday (h/t Hot Air):
When conservative radio hosts like Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck take stands against Obama-care or amnesty for illegal immigrants, the New York Times is quick to raise concerns. But certain correct causes and personalities not only get a pass but receive heroic treatment. A prime example is comedian-activist Jon Stewart, host of “The Daily Show” on Comedy Central and main news source for many young liberal hipsters.
Stewart is celebrated once again by the Times, this time on the front of the Monday Business section by media reporters David Carr and Brian Stelter, for his latest crusade, a push to fund the health care of 9-11 responders who became ill. The online headline “In ‘Daily Show’ Role on 9/11 Bill, Echoes of Murrow.” A comparison to Murrow, the vaunted journalist slayer of Sen. Joe McCarthy, is a deep compliment in liberal media circles.
Did the bill pledging federal funds for the health care of 9/11 responders become law in the waning hours of the 111th Congress only because a comedian took it up as a personal cause?
And does that make that comedian, Jon Stewart -- despite all his protestations that what he does has nothing to do with journalism -- the modern-day equivalent of Edward R. Murrow?
Appearing as a guest on Sunday’s Reliable Sources on CNN, Steve Roberts - who has worked for both the New York Times and U.S. News and World Report - after conceding that the Tea Party movement is important, dismissively asserted that the movement "didn’t win. You only won a couple of seats." Roberts:
I think that they are an important part of the American landscape. Now I don't think they're as important as they think they are. I mean, you had people coming into Washington this week and saying, wait, we won. No, you didn't win. You won a couple of seats, and you got to deal with everybody else.
After host Howard Kurtz wondered "did the media kind of turn on" President Obama and claimed that the media had not spent enough time giving credit to Obama for his recent legislative successes, leading to guest Thomas Frank of Harper’s to bring up complaints against Obama by disaffected liberals, Roberts asserted that there is no liberal media bias:
Searching for an upside to the WikiLeaks release of secret documents, Late Show host David Letterman on Wednesday night pointed to how such disclosures could have possibly prevented the 9/11 attacks since former President George Bush had disregarded “for months and months and months” the warning “that bin Laden and al-Qaeda were interested in hijacking planes and flying them into buildings,” but not even Rachel Maddow, his far-left guest from MSNBC, bought his spin. Letterman contended:
There is the viewpoint if WikiLeaks had been in business prior to the attack of 9/11 and we knew that George Bush had looked at a document suggesting that bin Laden and al-Qaeda were interested in hijacking planes and flying them into buildings – which largely went disregarded for months and months and months until long after the attack. If we had known that, via something like WikiLeaks, we perhaps could have acted a little more alertly.
In fact, the Presidential Daily Brief to which Letterman referred, the one titled “Bin Ladin Determined To Strike in US,” was presented to Bush on August 6, barely five weeks before 9/11, not “months and months and months” in advance.
Fox News apparently employs a pair of 9/11 "Truthers": Geraldo Rivera, host of FNC's "Geraldo at Large", and, we've recently discovered, Judge Andrew Napolitano, who hosts "Freedom Watch" on the Fox Business Network.
Both Napolitano and Rivera have, er, raised questions about the "official" (read: commonsensical) explanation for the collapse of the WTC7 building on September 11, 2001. This conspiracy theory has been thoroughlydebunked a number of times. Apparently Geraldo and the Judge are not convinced.
"Early Show" co-host Maggie Rodriguez today glossed over the TSA's use of intrusive pat-downs while drilling down on the potential for "gridlock" if distressed passengers cause "chaos" this weekend over the enhanced security measures.
"There is, as I'm sure you know, this online movement that's gaining more and more momentum calling for people tomorrow to opt-out of those full-body scanners and get pat-downs instead to create chaos at the airport," noted Rodriguez, interviewing aviation expert Peter Goelz. "The head of the TSA told me yesterday that will only serve to further delay and further irritate passengers. How bad do you think it could get?"
Parroting the TSA chief's talking points, the CBS anchor failed to question Goelz, former managing director of the National Transportation Safety Board, about the potential for civil liberties abuses. Instead, CBS displayed graphics hyperbolizing "TSA Turbulence" and fretting "Will Passenger Gridlock Hamper Holiday Travel?"
Rodriguez even shifted the burden of responsibility from the government to the passengers: "Is there anything, Peter, that you suggest that people do as they travel in the next couple of days to make things go smoothly?"
Appearing as a guest on Saturday’s Huckabee show on FNC, Whoopi Goldberg - co-host of ABC’s The View - complained that bloggers disseminate inaccurate information about her without the need to "fact check," and that "they poop on you and they walk away." Goldberg: "But a blogger can say endless stuff. They don't have to fact check. ... And then that is picked up and made into some other story on another station, and it becomes the truth. See, I think fact outweighs assumption. So if you have facts in your hands, then you can talk, then you can have a conversation... People just, they poop on you and they walk away."
After asserting that she has said "not one thing" on ABC’s The View that she regrets saying, Goldberg soon added, "And I've gotten flack for what I felt was fact as opposed to someone's speculation."
But Goldberg has her own history of helping spread misinformation on The View. Last May, she and other co-hosts repeated the distorted claims of a left-wing organization in Texas which alleged that conservatives on the Texas State Board of Education were trying to downplay or eliminate references to slavery in its grade school history curriculum. On the Monday, May 17 show, Behar misinformed viewers with sarcasm: "Remember that thing called the 'slave trade'? Remember that? Okay, it turns out, what you learned was all wrong. Because it wasn't some evil buying and selling of human beings. It was simply called 'Atlantic triangular trade.' That's what they want to call it now. It's called revisionism. People do it about the Holocaust, and now Texas wants to do it about our country."
Moments later, Goldberg chimed in, "I’m sorry. Slavery was slavery. You can’t recall it." Instead of reading out the actual wording from the curriculum plan, panel members seemed only to refer to third-party accounts of the proposed changes.
And in April, the panel on the View helped feed the misinformed hysteria over Arizona’s effort to enforce federal immigration laws as some of her co-hosts assumed the new state law would require racial profiling and targeting of Hispanics, failing to convey that Arizona law enforcement would only check immigration documents of suspects who have been detained for some other reason. Goldberg acted more as moderator on this occasion and was not as outspoken as other co-hosts in making assertions about the new law, but she did not challenge the claims of her co-hosts and seemed to assume they were accurate. Goldberg, from the April 26 The View:
Correction: This post initially claimed that McGowan was a former reporter for the New York Times. In fact, McGowan was never actually employed by the paper, though he did do some freelance work for it. NewsBusters regrets the error.
The New York Times is fascinating in how closely it mirrors American liberalism - both in its politics and in its intellectual evolution. Like the American left, the Times has moved from the intellectual and patriotic liberalism of Jack Kennedy and Daniel Patrick Moynihan to the politically correct, post-American leftism that dominates what today we call "liberalism" - a term now completely unmoored from its etymology.
Veteran journalist Bill McGowan, an occasional Times contributor, a long-time reader, and author of the new book "Gray Lady Down", elaborated on the Times's political evolution in a recent interview with PJM's Ed Driscoll.
"At a certain point," McGowan told Driscoll in discussing the Times's 1960s-style, counter-cultural skew, "you just have to say, this is not reporting. This is propagandizing."
Keith Olbermann on Monday attacked Ted Koppel for not speaking out against the Iraq War as vehemently as he did.
During his Special Comment, the "Countdown" host arrogantly claimed "Koppel and everybody else in the dead, objective television news business" failed the previous decade for not reporting "the utter falsehood and dishonesty of the process by which this country was committed to the wrong war" (video follows with commentary and transcript at end of post):
A former advisor to George W. Bush smacked down Salon's Joan Walsh Monday for questioning the 43rd President's psychological compass.
Appearing on MSNBC's "Hardball," GOP strategist Ron Christie also gave Chris Matthews a much-needed education on why going into Iraq was a successful part of Bush's strategy to prevent America from a follow-up attack after 9/11 (video follows with transcript and commentary):
On Sunday’s syndicated Chris Matthews Show, panel member Katty Kay of the BBC claimed that Vice President Dick Cheney had convinced 70 percent of Americans to believe that Saddam Hussein was behind the 9/11 attacks, and that he "hoodwinked the American public." Kay’s accusation came as host Matthews had turned the discussion to the topic of how President Obama might have handled the response to the 9/11 attacks differently than President Bush.
Bob Woodward of the Washington Post asserted that "there was no al-Qaeda in Iraq until we invaded, and then they came." But, as previously documented by NewsBusters, before the 2003 invasion, varous news sources - some American, some from other countries - were already citing the governments of several countries as they reported that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the founder of al-Qaeda in Iraq, not only was already in Iraq plotting attacks against targets in Europe, but that he already had an association with Osama bin Laden and had spent time in Afghanistan.
Kay then chimed in, as she suggested that Cheney had convinced most Americans that Saddam Hussein was behind the 9/11 attacks, although she seemed to mistakenly use the word "Iraq" instead of "9/11." Kay: "But the, sort of, political ‘extraordinaryness’ of the Bush administration was that Cheney managed to convince 70 percent of American people that Iraq was, that Saddam Hussein was directly behind Iraq and hoodwinked the American public."
Matthews responded: "In the polling, you’re right, it’s in the polling."
Former president George W. Bush can’t even put exhibits in his own presidential center without offending some easily frightened leftists. New York Times reporter Michael Brick handed some at Southern Methodist University in Dallas a megaphone to complain about the megaphone Bush used to address rescue workers from the rubble of the World Trade Center in moving fashion three days after the attacks in “Opening of Exhibit on Bush Reopens a Campus Rift.” Let's pick things up at paragraph three:
But now Mr. Bush is bringing out the bullhorn.
“Breaking New Ground: Presenting the George W. Bush Presidential Center,” an exhibit set to open this weekend on the campus of Southern Methodist University, prominently features the handgun taken from Saddam Hussein and the loudspeaker used to address rescue workers at the World Trade Center in September 2001.
The choice of mementos, emphasizing some of the more controversial foreign policy aspects of the Bush presidency, has reinvigorated opposition to the center’s presence at the university.
“It’s the approach they’ve taken all along; it fits their worldview,” said the Rev. William K. McElvaney, a professor emeritus of preaching and worship at the university. “It’s a tragedy for S.M.U. to hitch its star to this.”
The new opening exhibit, some Methodist leaders said, provides a disturbing first glimpse into the presidential center’s priorities.
On Friday's CBS Early Show, after news reader Erica Hill reported on Fox News host Bill O'Reilly's heated Thursday appearance on ABC's 'The View,' co-host Harry Smith proclaimed O'Reilly to be "the bloviater-in-chief" and that "he was in full bloviation mode yesterday."
Hill began her report by declaring: "When Barbara Walters introduced the conservative talk show host on 'The View' Thursday, she ignited a major fuse, turning daytime TV into dynamite." Hill described how O'Reilly's statement that "Muslims killed us on 9/11" caused left-wing hosts Joy Behar and Whoopi Goldberg to walk off the set. Once she concluded her piece, Smith said of O'Reilly: "He loves all this attention." Hill replied "he thrives on it." Smith added: "He was so happy to see their reactions to him."
For Joy Behar, saying Muslims killed Americans on September 11, 2001 is "hate speech," but saying the American government did it is perfectly acceptable and well within the bounds of civil discourse.
That, at least, is the standard she set forth yesterday, first throwing a temper tantrum on "The View" when Bill O'Reilly noted the religious identities of the 9/11 terrorists, and then calmly sitting down to discuss the incident with 9/11 truther Jesse Ventura.
"I question 9/11, I got a conspiracy theory." Ventura made sure to note at the outset. "So who's to say [Muslims] actually did [perpetrate the attacks] or not."
Behar's response: "Well that's another thing, yeah" (video and transcript below the fold - h/t Allahpundit).
Imagine the furor if a televangelist went on a major TV network and told viewers Christianity would conquer the world and that the flag of Christianity would fly over the White House.
Network reporters, Hollywood celebrities and the pundit class likely would seize the moment as an example of the evils of America's supposed Christian theocracy. The story might be tied to the dangers of evangelical religion and likely even to the Tea Parties. Across the oceans, radical Islamists would likely do as they did during the Koran burning episode or after the Danish cartoons were published. They would riot. Cars, businesses and maybe even embassies might burn. People might die.
Thankfully, that didn't happen. What did happen is far scarier.
ABC News held a townhall meeting, bringing on experts from left and right to ask the question: "Should Americans fear Islam?"
Thanks to ABC, we know the answer. Americans absolutely should. One of the network's "experts" was Muslim cleric Anjem Choudary, who Britain's Sunday Times called "the leader of the now-outlawed extremist group Islam4UK." His comments on "This Week" bore out everything conservatives criticize about radical Islam. "We do believe as Muslims the East and the West will be governed by the Sharia," Choudray said. "Indeed we believe that one day the flag of Islam will fly over the White House."
UPDATE: Do New York Times reporters read NewsBusters? NYT stealthily inserts a reference to 9/11 without informing readers of an update. The updated version appeared in Friday's print edition.
In the latest installment of its pro-bono PR campaign for the Ground Zero mosque, the New York Times attempted to draw parallels between opposition to the mosque and opposition to the construction of St. Peter's Roman Catholic Church, built in lower Manhattan in 1785.
But somehow in his discussion of the mosque opponents, Times reporter Paul Vitello neglected to explicitly mention the September 11 terrorist attacks - you know, the events that form the entire basis for that opposition. The omission allowed the Times to continue drawing false parallels, and to implicitly perpetuate the notion that objections to the mosque are unfounded, dishonest, or bigoted.
More fundamentally, the article avoided mentioning 9/11 since doing so would have required the reporter to address the one monumental disconnect between the two cases: Catholics did not slaughter 2,852 innocent civilians in God's name two blocks from St. Peter's Church.
Standup comic and New York Times-bestselling author Sarah Silverman joked on Twitter that widows of the Sept. 11 attacks "give the best handjobs" on Oct. 6, attributing the quote to pseudonymous 19th century author and satirist Mark Twain.
"‘9/11 widows give the best hand jobs.' -Mark Twain," wrote Silverman, adding the hashtag, "#notcooltwain."
Later that day, the star of Comedy Central's "Sarah Silverman Program," appeared to amend her outlandish comment.
"Have remorse about last tweet," Silverman wrote on Twitter. "I'm sorry. Meant to be silly not mean. Should've quoted [Civil Rights activist and poet Maya] Angelou."