Former ThinkProgress blogger Zaid Jilani has written that during his time at the Center for American Progress blog, senior staff of the Center were "berated" for being too critical of President Obama on the war in Afghanistan. He compared the pressure to shut up as similar to the Russia Today cable channel.
He asserted that phone calls came in to CAP from the White House complaining about bloggers being critical of Obama's war policies, despite Jilani being the toast of MSNBC for a graph in 2011 showing Obama was leaving more troops in Afghanistan than George W. Bush ever had there:
National Security Advisor Susan Rice gave her first televised Sunday interview since her infamous Benghazi interview in 2012 on February 23, and rather than answer tough questions on the terrorist attack, she chose instead to give a softball interview to David Gregory of NBC’s Meet the Press.
For his part, Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace called out Ms. Rice for her refusal to appear on his show and accused the Obama official of not wanting to “answer the tough questions we would have asked” on Benghazi and a wide variety of foreign policy issues. [See video below.]
While all three broadcast networks provided some amount of coverage to Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai releasing 65 dangerous Taliban insurgents from prison on Thursday despite explicit U.S. objections, none of the reporting suggested President Obama's handling of the war in Afghanistan was to blame for the "tattered U.S. relations" with Karzai's government. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
At the top Thursday's ABC World News, anchor Diane Sawyer declared "American outrage" over the release, followed by White House correspondent Jonathan Karl proclaiming: "It's another low-point for already tattered U.S. relations with President Karzai, who has been trying to get his own peace deal with the Taliban."
How do MSNBC hosts feel about the war in Afghanistan? Well, it may depend on who’s in the White House at the moment.
On Saturday morning’s Weekends with Alex Witt, Ms. Witt talked to fellow MSNBC host Rachel Maddow about President Obama’s tribute to Army Ranger Sgt. 1st Class Cory Remsburg at last Tuesday’s State of the Union address. [Video below the break. MP3 audio here.] Maddow, who is certainly no fan of our wars in Afghanistan or Iraq, nonetheless reflected on the moment in a mostly positive way. Referring to the extended applause for Sgt. Remsburg, Maddow said:
A few years back, during the Media Research Center's annual gala I was honored to pay tribute to the family of a real American hero, Michael Murphy, the Navy SEAL posthumously awarded the first Congressional Medal of Honor for service in Afghanistan, and the first since the Vietnam War. Few in the room knew the story because only Fox and a handful of other outlets told it.
When the medal was announced in 2007, William Kristol noted on “Fox News Sunday” that the news received a tiny fraction of the coverage given to the Nobel Peace Prize. The Nobel that year was awarded to Al Gore and the UN “climate change” alarmists. That award received endless accolades from the sycophantic press. Kristol joked about the fans oozing over “what sacrifices he made” to make a scary documentary (while making fortunes of money off the issue as well).
Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates has been facing criticism and scorn from some media members for having the audacity to mildly criticize President Obama and some administration officials while Obama is still in office. On Tuesday, Gates appeared on the PBS NewsHour to face another round of questioning about his newly released memoir.
Midway through the interview, anchor Judy Woodruff suggested that the former defense secretary could lower morale among troops on the ground overseas: [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
In an interview with former Defense Secretary Robert Gates for Yahoo News on Monday, newly-named global anchor Katie Couric urged him to express regret for criticism of President Obama in his new memoir: "Do you think in any way, shape or form that this was the wrong thing to do? It was just bad form?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Gates replied: "No, I don't. The reality is there are a lot of contemporary issues that are at the heart of this book....And to write about them in 2017, it would be completely irrelevant." Couric followed up: "You have been known in Washington as the consummate team player, a real stand-up guy, a true patriot. Are worried this might tarnish your reputation?"
CNN’s Jake Tapper would have done well to read “Lone Survivor,” rather than just seeing the new movie, before interviewing former Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell last week. If he had, Tapper might have been more careful than to describe the deaths of Luttrell’s SEAL comrades in Afghanistan as “senseless.” And he would have been wary of Luttrell’s contempt for the liberal media.
The film “Lone Survivor, which ” took in $38.5 million at the box office its opening weekend is based on a 2010 book by Luttrell that tells the tragic story of a 2005 operation in which the three other members of Luttrell’s SEAL team, along with 17 other special ops warriors, were killed. The story turned on the team’s agonized decision to turn lose some Afghan goat herders who had stumbled onto its concealed position. As the SEALs had feared, the freed civilians went straight to the Taliban, precipitating the battle.
Rita Braver badgered former Defense Secretary Robert Gates on the January 12, 2013 edition of CBS's Sunday Morning over his new memoir which, in her words, "has created such turmoil in Washington." Braver even used Gates's own words against him: "In your book, you say that one of your favorite adages is, never miss a good chance to shut up. And I wonder if you think, maybe, you violated your own advice here."
The correspondent's hardball treatment of the former Obama cabinet official contrasts with her kid glove treatment of Attorney General Eric Holder during a September 12, 2010 interview for the morning show: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
In a panel packed with Obama sycophants on Sunday's NBC Meet the Press, lone conservative Rick Santorum was shouted down the moment he observed that Robert Gates's new memoir showed "that the President puts domestic politics before international concerns." Amid the wailing and gnashing of teeth, MSNBC host Chris Matthews declared: "But that's not what the book says. Rick, it didn't say that." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Santorum was only allowed to speak for a total of forty-six seconds during the nearly ten-minute panel discussion of Gates's book. During Santorum's first twenty-second spot on camera, Gregory pressed him to respond to left-wing activist Michael Moore: "Here's something that he tweeted this week, 'Bob Gates in his new book says Obama appointees in the White House were, quote, suspicious of and didn't trust the military honchos. Thank God.'"
While Matt Lauer worried that Robert Gates's criticism of President Obama was "dangerous or dishonorable" on Monday's NBC Today, when disgruntled ex-Bush administration officials wrote memoirs bashing the former president in 2004 and 2008, the network morning show happily cheered them on.
On January 13, 2004 – exactly ten years prior to Lauer's Monday interview with Gates – then-Today co-host Katie Couric hyped former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill's attacks on President George W. Bush in a new tell-all: "I think if I can sort of try to assess your description, as policy having no process, kind of being put together willy-nilly. You do describe him as 'a blind man in a room full of deaf people.'"
During a live interview with former Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Monday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer suggested that criticism of President Obama in Gates's new memoir was endangering American troops overseas: "As this criticism is leveled by you in the book of the commander-in-chief, the acting commander-in-chief, at a time when some 40,000 U.S. troops are in harm's way, do you think that by calling him into question at this stage it is either dangerous or dishonorable?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
After Gates rejected the notion, Lauer insisted: "But you don't think it undermines his credibility with the troops he is commander-in-chief of right now?" At the top of the show, Lauer teased the interview: "Robert Gates on his new memoir and his criticism of President Obama. Is it fair with U.S. troops still in harm's way?"
ABC, CBS, and NBC ballyhooed former Defense Secretary Robert Gates's attacks on President Obama and other high government officials on their Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning newscasts. NBC's Brian Williams and CBS's Norah O'Donnell also trumpeted the former Cabinet official's "devastating critique" of the President in his upcoming memoir. All three networks also played up Gates's self-identification as a Republican.
NBC's Today and CBS This Morning brought on former Obama administration officials on Wednesday morning. Both guests did their best to counter their former colleague. Matt Lauer touted David Axelrod's "important perspective" on the issue, and asked, "Did you get a sense that he was a guy who...was disgruntled in any way?" The CBS morning show turned to former chief of staff Bill Daley, who slammed Gates for going public: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
At the top of Wednesday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer portrayed former Defense Secretary Robert Gates as an ungrateful and disgruntled ex-employee: "Blindsided. President Obama's former Defense Secretary Robert Gates takes on his old boss – the man who awarded him the Medal of Freedom – in a blistering new memoir. This morning, what may have made him turn?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In the report that followed later, correspondent Andrea Mitchell fretted: "President Obama's decision to keep George Bush's defense secretary, a Republican, has now blown back on the White House." Like Lauer, she made sure to note how Obama had honored Gates: "Gates gave no hint of his resentment when he left the cabinet two years ago and President Obama awarded him the Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor."
Earlier this week, NBC Sports announced that "Moscow-based TV journalist Vladimir Posner (also frequently spelled "Pozner") will be a correspondent for NBC Olympics’ late-night show with Bob Costas during the Sochi Games."
To call Posner's background "problematic" is like saying that Bob Filner, former Democratic Mayor of San Diego, has a bit of a problem with how he treats members of the opposite sex. Posner is an old hand at defending and dissembling the worst excesses of the Soviet Union, including but not limited to the following exchange from 1980 cited by Lisa de Moraes at Deadline.com on Wednesday (bolds are mine throughout this post):
I think we have the winner in the "If a Republican or conservative had said it" media bias category this year, if not this decade.
In the book "Double Down" by liberal journalists Mark Halperin and John Heilemann (reviewed by Peter Hamby at the Washington Post on Friday), President Barack Obama, while discussing drone strikes in 2012, reportedly told aides that he's "really good at killing people." This would have been headline news three seconds after Hamby's review, and Hamby would have headlined it himself instead of casually mentioning it in Paragraph 11. A Google News search on an obvious search string ("really good at Killing people" obama; sorted by date) at 6:45 p.m. returns only 11 items, none of which are establishment press outlets. Michael Kelley at Business Insider, which did not show up among the search items returned, had some interesting thoughts on Obama's alleged remark Saturday evening (bolds are mine throughout this post; Update: important links relating to CIA practices which can only be considered barbaric are in the original):
On Wednesday's PoliticsNation, as MSNBC's Karen Finney joined host Al Sharpton in slamming Republicans who liken President Obama to a "dictator," Finney charged that President Bush "lied us into a war" that has resulted in U.S. troops still being in Afghanistan "12 years later," apparently without noticing that President Obama is the commander-in-chief who currently is in charge of whether troops remain in Afghanistan. Finney:
No website outdoes the Politico when it comes to looking at the world through Beltway-stereotyping glasses. A post this morning on Republican congressmen and senators' views towards attacking Syria exemplifies that outlook.
Apparently, in the fevered minds of Alex Isenstadt and James Hohmann, a GOP lawmaker learning about any idea to intervene militarily automatically salivates at the prospect and shuts down all critical thinking processes. The Politico pair are puzzled at how so many of them can possibly be opposed to President Obama's proposed Syria intervention. It's really not that hard, guys, if you abandon your stereotypes and do some thinking yourselves for a change. Excerpts follow the jump (bolds are mine):
When George W. Bush was president, America's media loved reporting international demonstrations against him once things in Iraq turned south.
With this in mind, it will be interesting to see if the same historically anti-war press will cover a picture depicting Barack Obama as the devil published Wednesday in the popular Egyptian newspaper Al Wafd.
David Letterman took a comedic swipe at George W. Bush and Barack Obama Wednesday.
Talking about what appears to be a looming American strike on Syria, the CBS Late Show host said, “It's going to be kind of an enjoyable switch for Obama. Now he can start a war that the next president will be stuck with” (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Two reporters at the Associated Press covering the trial of the alleged (but really confessed) perpetrator of the Ft. Hood massacre still believe there is a "key but difficult question" which needs to be answered: "Why did Maj. Nidal Hasan attack his fellow soldiers in the worst mass shooting ever on a U.S. military base?"
Although the narrative of Nomaan Merchant and Michael Graczyk is couched in the context of what prosecutors will allow themselves to say in the trial itself — after all, the government claims that the murders represent an incident of workplace violence, and therefore not one involving terrorism — the pair's opening, which is what will get most readers' attention, still makes it appear that Hasan's motives remain vague (bolds are mine):
Ted Koppel made a fascinating observation about terrorism and the recent embassy evacuations that certainly won't please President Obama or his supporters in the media.
Appearing on NBC's Meet the Press, Koppel said, "With a conference call, Al Qaeda has effectively shut down 20 U.S. embassies around north Africa and the Middle East...The terrorists have achieved more with one phone call than we have achieved with all our response" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer had some harsh words Tuesday for the White House calling the evacuation of our embassies in the Middle East “ordered departures.”
Appearing on Fox News’s Special Report, Krauthammer said, “This is the first administration in history ever to launch a lexicological war on the enemy. You know, they’ve thrown the book at them - the dictionary.”
Saturday evening, a friend suggested that I watch the midnight rerun of Judge Jeanine Pirro's Fox News program for her interview segment with a Democrat and a Republican about this weekend's closing of 22 embassies overseas in response to terrorist threats.
Ryan Clayton was the Democrat whose arguments blaming George W. Bush's administration for the current level of threats in the Middle East were so weak that he was reduced to childishly reminding viewers that 9/11 happened on George W. Bush's watch (as if we didn't know, and as if eight years of previous Clinton administration weakness were irrelevant). Clayton has an interesting history, which I will note at the end of this post. The Judge Jeanine segment follows the jump.
Remember all that talk from President Obama during last year’s campaign about al Qaeda being decimated?
Apparently not, for on ABC’s This Week Sunday, Congressman Peter King (R-N.Y.) said, “Al Qaeda is in many ways stronger than it was before 9/11 because it's mutated and it spread and it can come at us from different directions” (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Bradley Manning must be terribly lonely. After all, how many gay men have made news the last few years without being celebrated in the media for their gayness? And a gay man who also “struggles with issues of gender identity” can pretty much write his own contract with MSNBC.
But the media, and the broadcast networks especially, are oddly reticent about the sexual orientation and confusion of Manning, the army private convicted of the most extensive military intelligence security breach in U.S. history.