It seems that not even the truth can possibly overturn the narrative that President Obama and the Democrats in Congress have brought transparency to Washington.
Last Wednesday I wrote about how the Dodd-Frank financial regulatory bill Obama signed into law last month contains a provision exempting the Securities and Exchange Commission from Freedom of Information Act requests. Such an exemption would surely have been grounds for a media outcry during the Bush administration, yet apart from The Wall Street Journal and CNN, only blogs have been following the developments. The latter opted simply to parrot the administration's claims without challenge.
Other media ouetlets, such as National Public Radio and MSNBC, completely ignored the controversy, in stark contrast to their extensive coverage of the Bush administration's attempts to curtail the scope of the Freedom of Information Act. NPR's Don Gonyea said "When conflicts arise over what should or should not be open, the administration does not hesitate to invoke the memory of 9/11. And while it's true that 9/11 changed the security landscape, it's also true that the administration was tightening the control of information much earlier . . ."
The atheists at the Daily Kos blog just keeping lobbing bombs. On Friday, the blogger with the handle "Something the Dog Said" protested the protests against the Cordoba Center mosque at Ground Zero. After predictably assigning the anti-abortion shooters to the Christian conservative camp, the Kosmonaut actually said the Muslims are "a pale reflection" of radicalism compared to Republicans:
In the end it is just the SOP of the Republican Party. Find and issue and whip up hysteria, without consideration of the long term affects or what might be lost by the tactic. It is just another of the legion of reasons why the modern Republican Party can not be trusted with the government of the United States or any single state for that matter. The radicalization they claim will come from mosques is just a pale reflection of the radicalization that has occurred in the ranks of their Party. If there is a group to fear, it is Radical Republicans, which is basically to say the most of the Republican Party at this point.
On Tuesday's CBS Evening News, correspondent Jeff Glor managed to squeeze criticism of a gaffe made by Sarah Palin into a story on a controversial plan to build a mosque just blocks from Ground Zero in New York City: "...on Twitter she called on peaceful Muslims to 'refudiate' the plan....Liberal bloggers pounced on the made-up word and Palin retracted her tweet."
While describing the opposing sides in the debate, Glor noted how Palin "upped an already raucous debate" with her comments on Twitter. After showing her tweet on screen, Glor played a clip of her using the word "refudiate" during a television appearance. He noted her response to criticism: "'Shakespeare liked to coin new words, too.'" Glor then clumsily shifted back to the topic at hand: "Grammatical debates aside, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has come out firmly in support of the plan."
The New York Times continues its delicate, sympathetic coverage of NYC-centric Muslim issues with its treatment of the controversy over the Cordoba House, a proposed Muslim community center, to be topped by a mosque, that would be raised at the sight of the World Trade Center.
Wednesday's Metro section story by Javier Hernandez, "Planned Sign of Tolerance Bringing Division Instead" certainly made a lot of positive-sounding assumptions (starting with the headline) about the ideas behind the mosque, but failed to probe the secret details of the financiers behind it or to question the propriety of building an Islamic worship site at the same spot where thousands were murdered by radical Muslims in the name of Islam.
The Cordoba House was supposed to be a monument to religious tolerance, an homage to the city in Spain where Muslims, Jews, and Christians lived together centuries ago in the midst of religious foment.
A local NBC News Washington DC correspondent emceed an event Tuesday night honoring former White House Green Jobs Czar Van Jones.
Jones, for those who don't remember, was forced to resign from the White House after it came to light that he had signed a 9/11 "Truther" petition. He apparently ascribes to a number of radical ideologies, including Marxism and Black Liberation Theology. He was a notable defending of convicted cop-killer (and leftist cause celebre) Mumia Abu-Jamal, and insisted that "white polluters and the white environmentalists are essentially steering poison into the people of color communities because they don’t have a racial justice frame."
WRC News 5's Wendy Rieger hosted the event honoring this man. "Her involvement is simply to help support the organization," a network spokesman told the Daily Caller, "and she had no involvement in choosing the attendees or award recipients."
It's well known liberals don't particularly care for Fox News host Glenn Beck, but wouldn't be comparing him to al Qaeda be a bit much?
On Sept. 11, 2001, al Qaeda attacks on the World Trade Center claimed the lives of over 2,700 people. So what does that have to do with Glenn Beck? Well according to liberal talker Bill Press, Beck's plans to hold a rally at the Lincoln Memorial on August 28 are somehow akin to al Qaeda's worldview. Press demanded the National Park Service revoke permission for Beck to hold a rally where Martin Luther King had given his "I have a dream" speech 47 years earlier. (h/t Outside the Beltway)
"In a slap at both President Lincoln and Dr. King, not to mention the American people, the National Park Service has given Glenn Beck permission to hold a Tea Party rally on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on August 28 - 47 years to the day after Martin Luther King gave his magnificent ‘I Have A Dream' speech," Press wrote in a June 16 post on his blog. "If you ask me, that's like granting al Qaeda permission to hold a rally on September 11 - at Ground Zero. What the hell were those bureaucrats at the Park Service thinking?"
Huffington Post writer and author of poetry and fiction, Anis Shivani, demonstrated what we have seen in bits and pieces throughout the liberal MSM, though it is rarely seen in such dramatic and sweeping fashion. Shivani harnessed all of the rational thought he could muster, gathered a bevy of intelligent rhetoric, armed himself with a cache of well-reasoned arguments and... quickly dispensed with them prior to writing his recent column.
The gist of the piece? Every major catastrophe to hit America can be traced to one singular event - George Bush and the 2000 Presidential election results.
Shivani starts off by listing examples of American catastrophes - 9/11, Enron, Katrina, Wall Street, the BP spill.
He then explains (emphasis mine throughout):
"It all began with the Florida election theft in 2000 (all of the now-familiar excuses were first used in full force, in total conjugation, for this first disaster). It gave a signal to everyone managing and regulating and overseeing any kind of operation, public or private, that henceforth it was the day of the jackals, that accountability and honesty and certitude were out the door."
For good measure - and in tune with his liberal colleagues - the BP oil spill is singled out as being directly Bush's fault:
In the May/June issue of “Cato Policy Report,” MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough lamented conservative foreign policy as overly dogmatic and ideological and questioned whether winning the war in Afghanistan is in America’s national security interest.
“Dogma and rigid ideologies are the enemies of conservative foreign policy,” lectured Scarborough. “Those who are still arguing in 2010 that we can somehow export democracy across the globe and rebuild other countries on the other side of the world in our image–these are the people that we have to call out today, tomorrow, and everyday, as the dangerous radicals that they are.”
With a broad stroke, Scarborough--who was the keynote speaker at the libertarian Cato Institute’s “Escalate or Withdraw? Conservatives and the War in Afghanistan” event in March--labeled all conservatives who support the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as radical. But in the same address, the MSNBC anchor made the radical pronouncement that the war in Afghanistan is not a vital national security interest.
“And I would like Barack Obama, I would like Harry Reid, I would like Nancy Pelosi, I’d like John Boehner, I’d like Mitch McConnell,” rambled Scarborough. “I’d like Republicans and Democrats alike to tell me at this point in 2010 what is ‘vital to US national interests’ in Afghanistan?”
Tavis Smiley has apparently been asleep for the last ten years. That, at least, is the only logical explanation for his claim that Christains engage in terrorism far more often than Muslims. He also thinks the Tea Party is a comparably dangerous force to radical Islam.
"There are so many more examples of Christians who do that," Smiley claimed, referring to terrorism, "than you could ever give me examples of Muslims who have done that inside this country where you live and work." He was discussing terrorism with Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Somali-born writer and former member of the Dutch Parliament.
Ali claims it is her mission to "inform the West about the danger of Islam," but Smiley was more concerned with the danger posed by Tea Party protesters, who "are being recently arrested for making threats against elected officials, for calling people 'nigger' as they walk into Capitol Hill, for spitting on people." None of those claims are true, but then again the segment was replete with falsehoods (Full video and transcript below the fold - h/t Greg Hengler).
On Wednesday's Dylan Ratigan Show on MSNBC, host Dylan Ratigan didn't see any point to continuing the war in Afghanistan and slammed military air strikes against terrorist targets as: "kids with joysticks in New Jersey and Las Vegas dropping predator bombs on civilians willy-nilly." [Audio available here]
Ratigan began a panel discussion on Afghanistan with Democratic strategist David Goodfriend and Republican strategist Brent Littlefield by wondering: "Is there anybody in this administration on either side that can actually justify the American presence in Afghanistan at this point?" Littlefield attempted to explain: "we had the previous president, took the country in there because of the attacks on 9/11." Ratigan was dismissive: "That was almost ten years ago, right? I mean that was a long time ago."
Ratigan moved on to Goodfriend and referenced NBC correspondent Richard Engel's appearance on the show on Tuesday: "He is making the point that the Bush doctrine of fight them there and they won't get us here appears to be continuing to break down as we now default to just predator drone-them-to-death wherever they may be on remote control and an apparent, sort of, nonevent in Afghanistan. It's like a charade." Of course the reliance on predator drone attacks was significantly increased under the Obama administration.
On April 22 and 27, CNN and The Washington Post both helped forward Islamic advocacy group CAIR's publicity stunt which demeaned an anonymous Virginia motorist as a racist. The Post finally found the driver on Thursday – and apparently, both news outlets jumped the gun, as the owner claimed that the numbers on his license plate were a tribute to his favorite NASCAR drivers, not secret code for “Heil Hitler.”
Anchor Rick Sanchez devoted a brief on his Rick's List program on Tuesday to presenting CAIR's side of the story on the controversy. After showing a picture of the pickup truck and the plate in question, as well as the anti-Islamic message on the truck's tailgate, Sanchez explained that "CAIR...also noticed the vanity license plate. It reads '14CV88.' CAIR says that is a coded hate message. We're told the number eight is for the eighth letter in the alphabet, 'H.' Two eights equals 'H.H.' for 'Heil Hitler.' Fourteen represents imprisoned white supremacist David Lane's motto about securing the future for white children." The anchor didn’t mention the owner’s side of the story.
Did anyone at CNN or the Washington Post consider the possibility that the story was underbaked until they communicated with the driver? Did they consider someone might find the driver and his truck and be spurred to angry talk and/or violence based on the media’s incomplete accounts? The Washington Post, at least, printed an update on Thursday to their initial article from the 22nd (the ball, obviously, is also in Sanchez's court now, as well, especially since he went after NewsBusters for not calling him before we took the "cheap shot" at him). The Post's Brigid Schulte returned to the scene of her incomplete story and provided the driver’s perspective in her Thursday article, "Virginia driver denies license plate had coded racist message."
On Tuesday's Rick List, CNN's Rick Sanchez unquestioningly forwarded Islamic advocacy group CAIR's admitted speculation about a Virginia license plate containing a supposed coded message of white supremacy/neo-Naziism, which they found on a pickup truck that also had an anti-Islamic message on it [audio clip available here].
Sanchez devoted a brief to the controversy over the Virginia license plate 18 minutes into the 4 pm Eastern hour. Earlier in the hour, the CNN anchor gave a teaser on the issue, summarizing CAIR's take as their publicist might: "Take a look at this: what's wrong with that license plate? Opponents say it has a message of nothing but bigotry and hate. I will take you through it. There's more there than meets the eye." He showed a picture of the pickup truck in question, which had a large Confederate flag on the back window of the cab and the message "Everything I ever needed to know about Islam, I learned on 9/11" on the tailgate.
The Pentagon rescinded the invitation of evangelist Franklin Graham to speak at its May 6 National Day of Prayer event because of complaints about his previous comments about Islam.
The Military Religious Freedom Foundation expressed its concern over Graham's involvement with the event in an April 19 letter sent to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. MRFF's complaint about Graham, the son of Rev. Billy Graham, focused on remarks he made after 9/11 in which he called Islam "wicked" and "evil" and his lack of apology for those words.
Col. Tom Collins, an Army spokesman, told ABC News on April 22, "This Army honors all faiths and tries to inculcate our soldiers and work force with an appreciation of all faiths and his past comments just were not appropriate for this venue."
Marc Thiessen is perhaps the nation's most prominent advocate of enhanced interrogation. He routinely debunks the left's myths regarding detention and interrogation policy, and has done battle with some of the loudest Bush-bashers of the legacy media along the way.
Thiessen, a former Bush speechwriter and author of Courting Disaster, argues that the CIA's enhanced interrogation techniques stopped terrorist attacks; saved American lives; and provided our military, intelligence services, and law enforcement officials with vital and actionable intelligence on the enemy.
That is heresy in liberal circles, Old Media chief among them. New Yorker reporter Jane Mayer penned a scathing review of Courting Disaster, in which she accused Thiessen of trying to "rewrite the history of the CIA’s interrogation program." Thiessen responded in National Review, and demonstrated just how desperate the liberal media is to paint Bush-era policies in a negative light.
The progression of Anwar al-Awlaki – if not the most influential force in terror operations, certainly one of the more popular faces – from simple cleric to proud member of the ‘kill or capture’ list, has sparked little interest in the MSM from a threat aspect. Instead, it has prompted yet another interview from CNN with his father, begging the United States to call off the military.
Imagine Osama bin Laden being treated with kid gloves shortly after serving as the influential and inspirational leader of the 9/11 attacks. In contrast, presenting bin Laden’s side of the story was an overwhelming goal of the liberal media shortly after 9/11, with CNN leading the charge – so much so that it prompted Brent Bozell of the Media Research Center to write a column concerning the network’s willingness to ogle the Al-Qaeda leader.
According to Bozell, CNN’s desire to interview bin Laden (through Al Jazeera) clearly demonstrated that “it does not matter to them if their offer ends up harming the American war effort on terrorism by giving this terrorist an international forum to promote his propaganda.”
Curiously, that exact scenario is being played out in the current media as well – in reverse...
Doing work the Associated Press refused to do -- or more specifically, providing context the AP refused to provide -- Sweetness & Light's indefatigable blogger Steve Gilbert gave readers the back story behind the order by U.S. District Judge James Robertson (pictured at right) to release Guantanamo Bay detainee Mohamedou Ould Salahi. Salahi is said to have, in the words of the wire service's Pete Yost, "provided advice to three of the Sept. 11 hijackers."
Has Joy Behar run out of things to talk about? Is the HLN host and "The View" co-host allowing producers to select her topics?
On HLN's March 10 "The Joy Behar Show," Behar suggested it might be time for conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh to go after making certain remarks involving embattled New York Gov. David Paterson and former Rep. Eric Massa, D-N.Y.
"This whole Massa controversy gave him an excuse to make a racial slur against New York Governor David Paterson," Behar said. "Not that Rush needs an excuse to make a racial slur."
The comments that offended Behar involved Limbaugh saying Paterson was going to be a "Massa," a double entendre Behar asserted was racist.
Nightline's Chris Bury on Monday investigated the so-called 9/11 Truth movement, but made no effort to look at the ideological make up of those who believe that the government was behind the 2001 terror attacks. Reporting from the group's convention, he asserted, "Over the weekend hundreds of Americans calling themselves 9/11 Truthers gathered at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. They come from all over the political spectrum."
However, according to a 2007 poll by Rasmussen, 35 percent of Democrats believed that President Bush knew about the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 in advance. Yet, Bury blandly explained, "They are an eclectic group with widely different agenda, including war protestors, first responders who feel neglected and families of some 9/11 victims."
With virtually zero debate - or media attention - President Barack Obama has signed a one-year extension for what many considered the most crucial and controversial aspects of the USA PATRIOT Act. The provisions, set to expire Sunday without the signature of Obama, include extensions to allow:
-1) "roving" wiretaps, permitting surveillance on multiple phones and e-mail addresses.
-2) court-approved seizures of records and property in anti-terrorism operations.
-3) surveillance on "lone-wolf" foreign nationals, who may not be part of a recognized terrorist group.
Twelve images newly released by the government of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorists' attacks on the World Trade Center provide a fresh look at the tragedy and its impact on New York City...The latest release follows Monday's publication of other newly released photos first obtained by ABC News from the federal agency investigating the buildings' collapse.
The website has made available a slide show of these pictures, as well as a video montage (embedded below the fold):
Rosie O’Donnell is still spreading 9-11 conspiracy theories on her new Sirius/XM radio show. On Friday, she welcomed Broadway star (and one-season Saturday Night Live cast member) Christine Ebersole. The two entertainers agreed that something was fishy in Washington (just as they did on ABC's The View in 2007):
EBERSOLE: I don't need to know what happened [on 9/11], because I don't, and that's why we need another investigation...I do know that the official government story is a complete and total lie.
O'DONNELL: Yes, and that's what I've been saying, too.
Regular viewers of the Daily Show with Jon Stewart are accustomed by now to the verbal battles that ensue when Stewart brings conservative guests on his show. The guests usually leave with a bit of egg on their faces, and Stewart comes off as the hard hitting, divisive and sarcastic critic.
But viewers were treated to a rare dose of sincerity and intelligent debate on Monday, when Stewart hosted former legal counsel for the Bush Justice Department John Yoo. Following up on what was a meaningful and intelligent interview Monday night, Stewart apologized to his audience on Tuesday for not being his usual cutthroat self, and daring to discuss issues in a civilized tone.
Yoo and Stewart duked it out for almost 30 minutes (videos below the fold), but the host did not manage to get the better of Yoo, who is now infamous among liberal circles for writing the legal briefs justifying expanded executive powers to combat terrorism under the previous administration.
Stewart ended the segment with a very uncharacteristic--given his tendency to demonize conservatives--call for civility in the public discourse (brief partial transcript after videos):
The media has frequently made the deplorable decision to present prisoners at Guantanamo Bay as innocent choir boys, wrapped up in the evil that is a U.S. prison system run by blood thirsty prison guards. Such is the case of a recent piece by the BBC, covering a love-fest reunion between the former Guantanamo guard who has seen the light, repenting for his evil ways, and two ex-inmates whose only goal in Afghanistan back in 2001 was to provide aid work, sight see, and smoke dope.
The BBC interview with the three individuals - former prison guard Brandon Neely and former inmates Ruhal Ahmed and Shafiq Rasul - asks the question: "But what were the pair doing in Afghanistan in 2001?"
Left-wing talker Stephanie Miller inaccurately claimed on CNN’s Larry King Live on Thursday that former President Clinton “put the Cole bombers in jail.” Miller also predictably blasted former President Bush for not “taking responsibility for 9/11,” in contrast to President Obama’s recent acceptance of responsibility for intelligence failures prior to the attempted underwear bombing on Christmas [audio clip from the segment available here].
Host Larry King first turned to the leftist talk show host during a panel discussion which began 12 minutes into the 9 pm Eastern hour: “Stephanie, the President said the buck stops with him. Was that a good move today?” Miller immediately made her full Bush Derangement Syndrome apparent in her response:
MILLER: Well, it’s certainly a different move than we ever heard in the Bush administration. I never heard anybody taking responsibility for 9/11, for Katrina. I thought he stepped to the plate. And I couldn’t disagree with Paul Bremer [who appeared in the previous segment] more, Larry. I think he [Obama] is prosecuting the exact same way President Bush prosecuted the shoe bomber, Richard Reid, as a criminal. You don’t want to make them holy warriors. You want to prosecute them as what they are and that’s criminals, and that’s what Clinton did when he put the previous- you know, Cole bombers in jail, instead of letting them get away, like Osama bin Laden.
As has been noted here in the recent past, it isn't just government entities that are a little slow on the uptake when it comes to identifying radical Muslim preachers as accessories to terrorism - it's also the media. Consider the case of Anwar al-Awlaki, a man who has consistently shown ties to terrorist attacks, yet who had gone predominantly under the media radar as nothing more than a simple cleric.
Also consider the curious case of one Yasir Qadhi, a man recently interviewed by CNN for a sympathetic look at the failed underwear bomber, Umar Farouk AbdulMutallab. A man who has apparently escaped background investigations by both CNN and the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC). (H/t the Jawa Report)
How else to explain CNN's representation of Qadhi as a simple, orthodox teacher of Islam, who had no idea of the extremist views of AbdulMutallab? And how else to explain the baffling decision by the NCTC to utilize Qadhi in its deradicalization efforts?
What, you might ask, is wrong with presenting this man as a moderate teacher of ‘the nuts and bolts of Islam?'
Well, for starters, he is - by his own admission - a proud member of the U.S. terror watch list, and an instructor at an institution so extreme in their teachings, that an anti-terror consultant once dubbed the school ‘Jihad U.'
Find out more about the man CNN presents as an innocent professor of Islam after the break...
The liberal intelligentsia are often all too eager to accuse conservatives of being fear-mongers, purveyors of hate speech, etc. But when they engage in what they accuse conservatives of doing, it's a different set of rules.
"The problem, I think, we have now is sort of crystallized by former Vice President Cheney's role in this debate," Alter said. "And I think that he has actually gotten to a place where he is emboldening the terrorists. If you have a former vice president who is saying that our current president is weak - by the way, that's the first time in American history that's ever taken place, that a former president - a former vice president has said the sitting president is not protecting the country. Never happened before, must end."
Representative Pete Hoekstra recently indicated that the attempted bombing of Northwest Airlines Flight 253 should be a clue that helps the Obama Administration ‘connect the dots' on terrorism.
While that remains unlikely with an administration more obsessed with right-wing extremists, man-caused disasters, and the impeccable success of our counterterrorism systems, perhaps it's time to start holding the main stream media accountable for their own inability to connect certain dots.
Such is the case of the media's handling of Anwar al-Awlaki...
"Having given her sleight of hand stamp of approval to the birthers, Sarah Palin is now moving on to an almost equally popular far right mythology, climate change denial."
So began MSNBC's Keith Olbermann in his number one story on Wednesday's "Countdown."
"Getting her facts wrong and misrepresenting her record as governor of Alaska, again, not enough for Palin`s latest foray into opinion piece, this one for 'The Washington Post,'" said Olbermann. "So she went into full-on denial, climate change is all political mode."
The "Countdown" host then brought on the Nation's Chris Hayes who claimed that people who don't believe in manmade global warming are like folks who "argue that 9/11 was an inside job" (video embedded below the fold courtesy our friend Story Balloon, partial transcript with commentary):
Hollywood liberalism has some strange priorities. During the last couple months, two high-profile criminals have been slated to face justice in American courts. The first drugged and raped a young girl in 1977. The second orchestrated the most deadly attack against American civilians in our nation's history.
Decisions to try them in the United States were controversial, but a petition against the extradition of the former, director Roman Polanski, garnered over 130 signatures. Included on the list were such illustrious film personalities as Woody Allen, Martin Scorcese, David Lynch, and Wess Anderson.
Shortly after, another petition circulated the hills of Los Angeles, this one protesting the Obama administration's decision to try 9/11 terrorist mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in New York City courts. This petition garnered seven names: Robert Duvall, Brian Dennehy, Jon Voight, Danny Aiello, Robert Davi, Elisabeth Hasselbeck, and Ben Stein.