Last week I noted how MSNBC's Chris Matthews, who usually has tingles down his leg for the president, was taken aback by Barack Obama's statement regarding the ISIS beheading of American freelance journalist James Foley.
Tonight a frustrated Matthews expressed his frustration with Mr. Obama once again, asking his guests Bobby Ghosh and Howard Fineman why the president didn't couch the U.S. response to the bloodthirsty Islamist terrorists as a defense of American honor. Why, Matthews wondered, did Obama stick to business as usual "playing golf last week when he had the American people's attention?" Why doesn't Obama "fight like a street fighter when it comes to defending the lives of Americans"? The relevant transcript appears below the page break (emphais mine; MP3 audio here; video follows page break):
Dan Rather, former anchor of the CBS Evening News, appeared on CNN’s Reliable Sources to harshly criticize those in Congress calling for the U.S. to take military action against the terrorist group ISIS.
Speaking to anchor Brian Stelter on Sunday, August 24, Rather proclaimed that he will only listen to those who advocate boots on the ground “if you tell me you are prepared to send your son, your daughter, your grandson, your granddaughter to that war of which you are beating the drums.” [See video below.]
In a report aired on Monday's NBC Today, correspondent Keir Simmons spoke with Islamic extremists in Britain acting as apologists for the ISIS terrorists who brutally murdered journalist James Foley. A soundbite played of one man ranting: "The question to ask is, who's really to blame for the death of James Foley? I believe it is the foreign policy of Obama."
Following the taped story, Simmons added: "It is so sickening, so disturbing to hear a group like that exercise their First Amendment rights...by saying things like that. But I said to them directly, 'You do not even represent a fraction of Muslims around the world.'" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In a Friday op-ed which appeared in the paper's international print edition on Saturday and which can reasonably be seen as giving voice to an editorial board which wouldn't dare put their name to it, La Salle University Political Science Professor Michael Boyle strenuously objected to recent characterizations of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
We can't call ISIS "evil." We also shouldn't call them a "cancer," or "savage," or "barbaric." Oh, and the fact that George W. Bush called Al Qaeda "evildoers" is why ISIS came to be, and why our problems with radical Islam are now worse. Excerpts follow the jump:
On Sunday, August 24, This Week moderator George Stephanopoulos bizarrely worried that the U.S. might take too much action in combating the terrorist group ISIS.
Speaking to Bill Kristol, editor of the conservative Weekly Standard magazine, wondered “it struck me how quickly this has all moved. From ISIS being a minor threat, the president talking about it several months ago as the junior varsity, to now an imminent threat, the words of Chuck Hagel, to the United States. And I guess I wonder, is there a danger here of overreacting?” [See video below.]
Appearing on Fox News Sunday, veteran journalist Bob Woodward had some harsh words for the Obama Administration over it’s handling of the terrorist group ISIS.
Speaking on Sunday, August 24, Woodward blasted the White House for having a confusing message on how to combat the terrorist group, insisting “there's an inconsistency here. I mean, Hagel and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs have said -- and Kerry, the Secretary of State, made it very clear, all options are on the table, and the president has said no boots on the ground.” [See video below.]
The press never let George W. Bush forget about that "Mission Accomplished" banner on the USS Abraham Lincoln after Saddam Hussein was overthrown and his government's military was routed in Iraq. They often pretend that Bush said it, or adopted it. He did no such thing, saying only that “Our mission continues.”
So while the press has come close to making a claim Bush 43 never made an article of faith, it is virtually ignoring something current U.S. President Barack Obama actually said, namely that, concerning ISIS, "The analogy we use around here sometimes, and I think is accurate, is if a jayvee team puts on Lakers uniforms that doesn’t make them Kobe Bryant." Kristina Wong at the Hill is a rare exception. She reminded readers of what Obama said in January as she reported Thursday on how the nation's defense secretary and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff completely disagree (bolds are mine):
Friday’s CBS This Morning dove into the subject of President Obama vacationing in Martha’s Vineyard while events domestically and internationally rage, including the brutal murder of American journalist James Foley at the hands of the Islamic terrorist group ISIS. While they were the only network to mention this story, the report from CBS News White House Correspondent Major Garrett and discussion among the hosts afterward did little more than cover for the president.
At the segment's conclusion, co-host Norah O’Donnell compared Obama’s golfing minutes after making a statement about Foley’s murder to former President George W. Bush going golfing after speaking about a suicide bombing in Iraq. O’Donnell observed that:[MP3 audio here; See the video after the jump]
"I don't know why he used the word 'justice.' It's not appropriate here. This is an attack on our country, we have to react to it," an upset Chris Matthews reacted to a video excerpt of President Obama's statement today about the beheading by an ISIS member of American freelance journalist James Foley.
"This is our country versus this group that's declared war on us. What's justice mean in this con-- I don't know why the word's used, like we're going to go to the World Court with this?!" Matthews sneered to guest Howard Fineman of the Huffington Post Media Group on the August 20 edition of Hardball. Later in the segment, an irate Matthews insisted "no American president can survive if he lets Americans be beheaded on international television with impunity. Impunity! He has to strike back, as an American, it's in our soul!" [LISTEN to MP3 audio here; WATCH video below the page break]
Over at Hot Air on Tuesday night, Mary Katharine Ham pointed to a headline at the New York Times, present at its web home page as well as at the story itself, which equally blames Hamas and Israel for the end of their cease-fire: "Rockets From Gaza and Israeli Response Break Cease-Fire." Someone needs to tell Isabel Kershner and Jodi Rudoren that it's the "rockets from Gaza" which broke the cease-fire.
There's a bigger problem with the story, and with establishment press coverage of the conflict in general during the past 36 hours, namely that virtually everyone is ignoring a Monday blockbuster report at the Jerusalem Post presenting compelling evidence that Hamas intended to overthrow the Palestinian government and its President, Mahmoud Abbas, in conjunction with its attacks on Israel (Shin Bet is Israel's internal security service; bolds are mine):
Vox's Max Fisher shamelessly invoked medieval history in a Monday post about Pope Francis. Fisher highlighted the pontiff's support for action against ISIS's "unjust aggression" in Iraq, and hyped that "there is good precedent for this...between 1096 and 1272 AD, popes also endorsed the use of Western military action to destroy Middle Eastern caliphates. Those were known as the crusades; there were nine, which means that this would be number 10."
The former Washington Post journalist immediately set the tone with the title of his post: "News from 1096 AD: Pope endorses military force to destroy Middle Eastern caliphate." Fisher continued in this vein in his lead paragraph:
It’s widely known that when Hillary Clinton was in high school, she was a big fan of Barry Goldwater’s 1964 presidential campaign. But would Hillary, if elected POTUS, take after the 20th century’s uber-conservative, Ronald Reagan, at least in terms of a hawkish foreign policy? Elias Isquith made that case in a Saturday article in Salon.
Isquith scrutinized the ideas Hillary expressed in her foreign-policy-themed interview with the Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg and found them wanting next to the modesty of the current president: “Obama, unlike Clinton, doesn’t talk about the world as if it were the stage for a great struggle between slavery and freedom. He knows that kind of talk was discredited by the results of our foreign policy from 2002 to 2008.”
NBC Nightly News was the sole Big Three evening newscast on Friday to cover ISIS's ongoing rampage against non-Muslims in northern Iraq. Chris Jansing filed a full report on the heartbreak for a Yazidi community in Nebraska, who have lost family to the Islamist group's campaign of terror. By contrast, ABC's World News and CBS Evening News both found time to air news briefs on the historical gaffe in a photo promoting the new season of PBS's Downton Abbey.
Jansing interviewed several Yazidis for the segment, who detailed the atrocities that ISIS is inflicting on their minority community: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
Does anyone remember a media report expressing sympathy for former President George W. Bush when adverse events happened during his Crawford, Texas "vacations"? (Given that he and Laura lived there, calling a visit to your place back home hardly seems to qualify as some kind of "vacation")
Well, Thursday evening, Politico's Carrie Budoff Brown took pity on President Obama for his "vacation from hell." Excerpts follow the jump.
On Thursday, August 14, all three network morning shows did their best to defuse the conflict between former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and President Obama following Clinton’s criticism of the White House’s foreign policy.
The “big three” (ABC, CBS, and NBC) insisted that any dispute between the two Democrats had subsided with ABC and NBC pushing the White House line that when the two met for a birthday party on Martha’s Vineyard “a good time was had by all.” [See video below.]
As NewsBusters reported on Tuesday, CNBC's chief Washington correspondent John Harwood observed on Squawk Box that the world "blowing up" on President Obama's watch would be a "big problem" for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2016. Appearing on the show again on Wednesday, Harwood divulged that the Clinton team contacted him about how much attention his comments had generated among "conservative groups." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Host Joe Kernen began the Wednesday segment by declaring: "Harwood, did you see all the press he got yesterday from his appearance on our show yesterday?...He was everywhere. John, you're the man...Big press yesterday." Harwood noted: "You know who I heard about it from? I heard about it from the Hillary Clinton team." Kernen replied: "I'm sure you heard about it. In fact, you won't be getting an interview with them anytime soon."
Remember all those books that the publishing houses rejected during the eight years before Dear Leader took office because they might get used by "the Left" to hurt George W. Bush? No you don't, because it didn't happen.
But now, things are different. Fellow soldiers of released 5-year Taliban captive Bowe Bergdahl are trying to publish a book on their side of the "he was a deserter" controversy. A divison of publishing giant Simon & Schuster has rejected their submission. That isn't necessarily unusual, but the contents of a rejection letter from one of the publisher's representatives certainly is.
On Wednesday, August 13, all three network morning shows did their best to minimize the conflict between former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and President Obama following Clinton’s criticism of the White House’s handling of the militant group ISIS.
The “big three” (ABC, CBS and NBC) networks all played up how Clinton plans to “hug it out” with President Obama when they meet at a party on Martha’s Vineyard. Speaking to “The Atlantic” magazine, Clinton criticized Obama’s foreign policy by insisting that “great nations need organizing principles. Don’t do stupid stuff is not an organizing principle.” [See video below.]
Appearing on CNBC's Squawk Box Tuesday morning, the business network's chief Washington correspondent John Harwood acknowledged that President Obama's failed foreign policy would be an obstacle to Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential ambitions: "...her independent credential running for president is that she was President Obama's secretary of state. The world is now blowing up. So that is a big problem for her. And so she's going to be looking for ways to separate herself from the current foreign policy mess." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Harwood's comments were prompted by host Joe Kernen asking about a quote in The Daily Beast in which Obama reportedly dismissed Clinton's recent criticism of his handling of the Middle East as "horsesh**t." In response, Harwood observed: "It wouldn't surprised me if he said that....I'm sure that that's how he feels about the criticism, he's made that pretty clear."
On Tuesday Morning, MSNBC and Telemundo anchor Jose Diaz-Balart brought a guest on his MSNBC show to discuss the targeted killing and persecution of Christians in Iraq at the hands of the ultra-Islamic terrorist group ISIS. The guest, Mark Arabo, who serves as the national spokesman for the Chaldeans, (the sect of Iraqi Christians facing ISIS’s terror), told Diaz-Balart that the actions of ISIS are that of “a full-blown genocide” in targeting 400,000 Christians in Iraq.
When asked by Diaz-Balart for his take on the actions of the Obama administration so far in Iraq, Arabo said that he and the Iraqi community in Southern California near San Diego (which is the second largest in the country) first “sounded this alarm from San Diego eight weeks ago and we’ve been as clear as we are today: This is a full-blown genocide.” [MP3 audio here; Video below]
In the wake of the recent surge of violence in northern Iraq as well as the potential coup within the government, NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams did his best to push the White House line that President Obama’s summer vacation was full of work.
On Monday, August 11, Williams introduced a segment with Chris Jansing, NBC’s Senior White House Correspondent, by promoting how “the White House is taking pains to stress that even though President Obama is on vacation, it’s a working vacation in Martha’s Vineyard.” [See video below.]
Any intraparty criticism of President Obama’s recent foreign policy moves regarding Iraq was nowhere to be found on NBC’s morning or evening news programs as former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton leveled some criticism at Obama on the subject in an interview with The Atlantic that was published over the weekend.
Both Sunday and Monday mornings’ installments of Today and Sunday night’s NBC Nightly News ignored this angle of disagreement among arguably the two most well-known and influential figures in Democratic politics as Obama authorized U.S. air strikes against ISIS militants in northern Iraq late last Thursday and throughout over the weekend. [MP3 audio here; Video below]
CNN's Jim Acosta ran to the Obama administration's defense in a Monday post on Twitter. Ari Fleischer, former White House press secretary under President George W. Bush, replied to Acosta's previous Tweet reporting that Vice President Joe Biden "called Iraqi Prime Minister-designate Haider al-Abadi to congratulate him." Fleischer wondered, "Why is Biden making these calls? It's POTUS's [President of the United States] job..."
The journalist complimented the Bush administration alumnus for his "good question," and continued by emphasizing Biden's supposed expertise with the Middle Eastern country: [Twitter post below the jump]
Amidst the discussion of ISIS’s offensive and Obama’s failed foreign policy with various political experts on the August 11 edition of Morning Joe, Joe Scarborough took the time to berate his fellow Republicans for refusing to “salute the President for being involved.” The host whined that he is “so sick and tired of the same people bitching and moaning about this President not doing things” and then going “on the Sunday shows and bitch and moan” when Obama actually “does things.”
Scarborough even went so far as to lecture former chief spokesperson for the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq Dan Senor: “Will you do what a lot of Republicans didn't do this weekend and salute the President for being involved?” According to the MSNBC host, Republicans should support the President for “doing what we all know, what realists, what neo-con alike understand we have to do, we have to confront ISIS.” [ See video below. Click here for MP3 audio]
Eager to defend President Obama from criticism of his vacation in Martha's Vineyard amid multiple international crises, both Sunday's ABC Good Morning America and Monday's NBC Today used false spin to downplay the bad optics. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
On GMA, co-host Dan Harris tried to deflect from Obama's time on the golf course by claiming that "George W. Bush played his fair share of golf during the Iraq war as well," an assertion that NewsBusters' Mark Finkelstein promptly disproved.
In the wake of the U.S. military launching air strikes to combat ISIS militants in northern Iraq, the entire panel on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace had some harsh words for President Obama’s foreign policy.
While the entire panel that appeared on Sunday, August 10 agreed that Obama has mismanaged the threat ISIS poses to the Middle East, Ron Fournier of National Journal had the strongest rebuke of Obama when he charged that “he's been the Commander in Chief or the underestimator in chief.” [See video below.]
Andrea Mitchell, NBC’s Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent, had some surprisingly harsh words for the Obama Administration in the wake of the militant group ISIS holding thousands of religious minorities hostage near the northern Iraq city of Irbil.
Speaking on Meet the Press on Sunday, August 10, Mitchell proclaimed that regarding Isis “there was intelligence. And to say that they were shocked by the Peshmerga on Saturday night being routed is a farce. The White House wasn't listening.” [See video below.]
Yesterday, Roll Call and The Hill both relayed Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein's call, in Roll Call's words, "for a broader military campaign against ISIL, not just the targeted missions authorized by the president." She believes it is needed because "It has become clear that ISIL is recruiting fighters in Western countries ... and possibly returning them to European and American cities to attack us in our backyard."
Searches at their web sites indicate that the Associated Press and New York Times have not reported Feinstein's stark warning, which directly contradicts the President's January ridicule of ISIL/ISIS as the equivalent of junior varsity basketball players. At the Politico, in a worry-wart piece on "Obama's liberal problem," Seung Min Kim and Jeremy Herb shamefully omitted Feinstein's "in our backyard" warning — while covering the rest of what she said.
Today's New York Times op-ed page includes a wide-ranging interview on foreign policy that Thomas Friedman conducted with President Obama. Let's break down some of the low-lights. Excerpts from interview in italics, with my comments following. And sure, when President Obama said "I don't worry about Israel's survival," he explained his insouciance in terms of Israel's military might. But was he telling a deeper truth?
Obama made clear that he is only going to involve America more deeply in places like the Middle East to the extent that the different communities there agree to an inclusive politics of no victor/no vanquished.
LOL. Yup, lions laying down with lambs any day now. So is Obama really saying that the US will not be involved in the Middle East ever again? And how does he square his statement with the attack he ordered on ISIS? Isn't that all about vanquishing them? More after the jump.
The Prime Minister of Israel, sitting across from a visiting Sean Hannity, looked Hannity and his Fox News audience in the eye, using the phrase “moral clarity” with reference to Israel’s on-going battle with Hamas and the larger conflict with radical Islamists. Hannity himself has used the phrase. Yet the phrase Benjamin Netanyahu used can just as easily apply to Hannity himself, Hannity’s trip to Israel bringing desperately needed moral clarity to the larger media coverage of the current events in the Middle East.