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.
In an interview with Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl's attorney on Thursday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer worried that the former Taliban captive and possible deserter was being unfairly investigated by the military [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]:
There was so much fanfare after his release. The President met in the Rose Garden with Sergeant Bergdahl's parents. Top military officials were quoted as saying they didn't think he would face any major punishment. And then the criticism started and then the controversy started. Now there's a full-fledged investigation. Do you think the military is succumbing to public pressure on this?
A prominent exhibit explaining why the nation's trust in its media establishment has dropped to precipitous lows would likely include Tom Cohen's Thursday afternoon column at CNN expressing befuddlement over President Barack Obama's unpopularity.
After all, Cohen's headline crows that under Obama we have "more jobs" and "less war" (!), so there's a "disconnect" which must be explained. To give you an idea of how pathetic his attempt is, he managed not to mention any form of the words "immigration," "scandal," or "contraction" (as in, the first-quarter decline in GDP) while pretending to present a complete analysis. Meanwhile, one of CNN's embedded headline links to another story ("Obama to Republicans: 'So sue me'") openly mocks Cohen, doing a better job of explaining the "disconnect" in six words than anything he wrote in his first 37 paragraphs. Excerpts follow the jump (bolds are mine throughout this post; numbered tags are mine):
Someday, Barack Obama might make a fine professor somewhere. In the meantime, someone should remind him that he's still President of the United States . . . If President Obama thought he was going to score some easy media points by sitting down for an interview with Mika Brzezinski last Friday, he was badly mistaken. Morning Joe aired the interview today, to bad reviews by its guests.
Dem Donny Deutsch didn't want to say--but said--that Obama looked "checked out," and seemed like he "wants to go home." Mark Halperin observed that Republicans resonate when they say that Obama is not "taking control." Commenting on Obama's long disquisition on the complications of the Syrian situation, Halperin observed: "it's up to the President of the United States to take some bold action to try to address [problems] and not just sit and say here's why this is hard, here's why this is hard."It's as if Barack Obama sees himself in the faculty lounge, offering exquisite insights on the problems of the day, rather than in the Oval Office, with the obligation to address them. View the video after the jump.
Liberal vs. neo-con. Isolationist vs. interventionist. The clash over Iraq strategy between John Heilemann and Bill Kristol on today's Morning Joe had it all.
Things got heated as Heilemann assailed Kristol's call for intervention as "absurd." Kristol responded by suggesting that Heilemann's invocation of "American blood" was a cheap "rhetorical line." View the video after the jump.
Thursday's World News on ABC led with the rapid advance of an Islamist group into the heart of Iraq, but glossed over how correspondent Jonathan Karl grilled outgoing White House Press Secretary Jay Carney over how this development casts doubt on two of President Obama's supposed "top foreign policy accomplishments: ending the war in Iraq and decimating and destroying core al-Qaeda."
Terry Moran noted during how "President Obama today, resisting pleas from the Iraqi government for immediate U.S. air strikes to turn the tide, tread cautiously." Martha Raddatz later underlined that "Obama said himself today that these fighters could end up being a significant threat to our homeland." But neither journalist mentioned how their colleague sparred with Carney about the President's past boasts about Iraq and al Qaeda: [YouTube.com video of the exchange below the jump]
Both Time and the Wall Street Journal have reported that Bowe Bergdahl, the soldier released by his Afghan captors in exchange for five hardened Gitmo terrorists — or, in the alternative universe of the Los Angeles Times, five guys aged 43 to 47 who "are pretty old now" — will not contact his parents (WSJ's headline says he "has declined to speak to his family").
That news broke several hours after Fox News's Juan Williams appeared on Chris Wallace's Fox News Sunday and compared Bowe Bergdahl to the biblical prodigal son. The analogy didn't even work at that point, as RedState poster Aaron Gardner explained this morning. Video of Williams's wacky whine follows the jump:
On Thursday, the editorial board at the New York Times, reacting to the growing firestorm over the release of five hardened terrorists from Gitmo in return for the Army's Bowe Bergdahl, went after Bergdahl's "army unit’s lack of security and discipline." It then incredibly claimed that a classified army report described in a separate Times dispatch that day suggested that those alleged conditions were "as much to blame for the disappearance" of Bergdahl as ... well, the sloppy editorial didn't specifically say.
On Sunday, two Times reporters continued the offensive against Bowe Bergdahl's platoon and its members, apparently wanting readers to believe that the unit's occasionally "raggedy" attire and alleged poor leadership somehow explain Bergdahl's "disappearance."
Conservative columnist Peggy Noonan had some tough words for the Obama Administration following its decision to release five Taliban prisoners from Guantanamo Bay in exchange for Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl.
Appearing on CBS’s Face the Nation on Sunday, June 8, Noonan argued “I would be sleeping better if I had a sense that the administration had a real plan as opposed to a desperate dumping.” [See video below.]
The seething anger at seeing the Obama administration being raked over the coals by critics of the Bowe Bergdahl exchange of five hardened terrorists for a soldier who left his post, including many Democrats and most prominently his fellow unit members, was apparently too much for the editorial board at the New York Times. On Thursday, they let loose with a poorly sourced and hastily drafted editorial originally entitled "The Politics of the Bergdahl Case." Tim Graham at NewsBusters alluded to this editorial on Friday in covering fake conservative David Brooks's completely predictable defense of President Obama's decision.
Several revisions later — five in all, tracked by an impressive site called NewsDiffs.org — there is a more pointed title ("The Rush to Demonize Sgt. Bergdahl"). The Times has also had to make two corrections, including an important qualification to a statement made by Arizona Senator John McCain which negated the Times's attempt to go after him (of course, the Times pretended that it didn't). The editorial went on to outrageously impugn the motives, integrity and basic decency of Bergdahl's comrades in Afghanistan and sympathizers who have had the unmitigated gall to help them tell their story to the press.
Mark Jacobson may have set a new standard for dumb defenses of the Bergdahl deal. Appearing on MSNBC's Up With Steve Kornacki today, scholar and Afghanistan veteran Jacobson suggested that opposition to the Bergdahl deal arises out of the soldier's religion and politics. He made a mind-boggling analogy: "My parents freaked out when I went to Afghanistan both times. If I had been captured. Do I want someone to say this nice Jewish kid over in Afghanistan, a little bit liberal, not really sure if we're going to go get him? Absolutely not."
What?? If a soldier, whatever his religion or politics, had served, to quote Susan Rice, with "honor and distinction," and a deal to retrieve him were on the table that wouldn't seriously jeopardize our national security interests, can anyone conceive that we wouldn't make it? The objections to the Bergdahl deal arise out of the very high national security price exacted in exchange for someone who seemingly was at best AWOL, if not a deserter. Giving the lie to Jacobson's lunacy was fellow panelist Jack Jacobs, who objected to the Bergdahl deal. Jacobs, by the way, grew up a nice Jewish kid in NYC, and was awarded the Medal of Honor for his service in Vietnam. (Video below.)
Los Angeles Times reporter Shashank Bengali clearly put a great deal of energy and time into trying to persuade readers on Thursday that the five Gitmo terrorists released in exchange for Bowe Bergdahl "may not live up to (that) description."
It only took a day for Bengali's work to be discredited. The person he seemed to believe would be among the least likely to become a threat — after all, he was supposedly just a "civilian official" — "pledged to return to fight Americans in Afghanistan." Geez, couldn't Noorullah Noori at least have allowed a decent interval before telling the truth? Don't you just hate it when one of the guys you're trying to whitewash almost immediately turns around and makes you look like a complete fool?
In an interview with the Fox News host on Friday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer wondered if "President Bill O'Reilly" would have made the Bowe Bergdahl prisoner exchange with the Taliban. O'Reilly replied: "I would not make the deal....These are not prisoners of war, these Taliban guys, they're war criminals. We ran down last night the atrocities that the Taliban has committed over the past ten years, and it's horrifying." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Lauer followed up: "Do you think the administration either didn't see the reaction coming or misread the reaction?" O'Reilly responded: "It's such a mystery that they wouldn't know. First of all, President Obama knows what Bergdahl did because there's a classified report on the guy....They already know what he did, and it's not good."
The Obama administration has given a fresh explanation to justify its secret deal with the Taliban to exchange five Guantanamo Bay detainees for Bowe Bergdahl: the radical Islamists who held the Army sergeant would execute him if the terms of the exchange were made public before the handover was carried out.
Yet among the Big Three network evening newscasts tonight covering developments in the prisoner-swap saga, only NBC's Nightly News hammered home the point that the Obama White House's story has significantly changed and that without a sufficient explanation from White House aides. What's more, only NBC's Pentagon correspondent Jim Miklaszewski pointed out that the administration did give a heads up to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) prior to the deal going down -- which, logic dictates, unnecessarily risked a leak which could have endangered Sgt. Bergdahl's life [Listen to MP3 audio montage here; Video follows page break]:
On Thursday's New Day on CNN, during a discussion of President Obama's decision to release five high-risk Taliban prisoners from Guantanamo Bay in exchange for hostage Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, without even notifying Congress first, liberal CNN commentator Paul Begala took a gratuitous swipe at Republicans as he cracked that, "if Barack Obama cured cancer, the Republicans would attack him for putting oncologists out of work."
At about 8:30 a.m., after conservative commentator Cheri Jacobus gave her view of the Bergdahl prisoner trade, noting that Democrats have also been critical of the President, co-host Chris Cuomo turned to Begala and posed the question:
Appearing on Thursday's MSNBC Andrea Mitchell Reports, Bloomberg News reporter Jeanne Cummings asserted that the highly controversial Bowe Bergdahl prisoner exchange – which an overwhelming majority of Americans feel has endangered the lives of U.S. soldiers – would have no negative political impact on Democrats in November's midterm elections. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Asked if the deal with the Taliban would affect the elections, Cummings declared: "Generally, no. It's a bipartisan reaction....I don't think this is going to last very long unless Congress comes up with better arguments than, 'We really hated the Rose Garden ceremony.' That compared to bringing a soldier back, for the American public, I don't think they weight together."
In a fit of partisan pique, national Republican leaders like RNC chairman Reince Priebus are whipping up a "lynch mob" against Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl that threatens the soldier's right to due process.
That's the latest Obama-shielding spin hitting the airwaves on MSNBC courtesy of NationalMemo.com editor-in-chief Joe Conason, who made such a charge on the June 5 edition of The Reid Report towards the conclusion of a segment with host Joy Reid and Salon.com's Joan Walsh. The relevant transcript appears below the page break [Listen to MP3 audio here; Watch the video below the page break]:
UPDATE, 4:40 p.m.: Friedman has partially scrubbed his Twitter bio. His Tumblr bio linked in this post remains — for now.
Late last night, Brandon Friedman, the Obama administration’s Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs at the Department of Housing and Urban Development, unleashed a furious five-tweet barrage attacking those who dare to question whether Bowe Bergdahl served "with honor and distinction" (National Security Advisor Susan Rice's words on ABC's "This Week" on Sunday).
Friedman's tweets would already be headline news in the establishment press if an official in a Republican or conservative administration published what readers are about to see. He saved his strongest venom, couched in a question, for Bergdahl's fellow soldiers — apparently including the ones who died trying to retrieve him — after Bergdahl left his unit (HT Gateway Pundit via Hot Air):
When it comes to being a good liberal soldier, MSNBC’s Chris Matthews doesn’t seem to have gotten the network’s message that the GOP is "swiftboating" Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl. Over the past week, MSNBC hosts have maintained that Bergdahl had been swiftboated on five different broadcasts and it seems as though Matthews is sick of the comparison.
Speaking with Chuck Todd, NBC’s Chief White House Correspondent, Political Director, and host of The Daily Rundown on MSNBC, on the Wednesday June 4, Hardball, Matthews slapped down the MSNBC “swiftboat” narrative: “Swift-boating is totally misused here. Swift-boating is when you make up stories...” [See video below.]
Chuck Todd, NBC’s Chief White House Correspondent, Political Director, and the host of MSNBC’s The Daily Rundown, openly attacked Morning Joe co-host Joe Scarborough for daring to criticize Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl’s father who in Scarborough’s words “is reaching out to pro-Taliban forces talking about killing Americans.”
The NBC reporter seemed to take direct offense at Scarborough’s disdain for Bergdahl's father and remarked: “Don't criticize the parents. Don't criticize the parents in here...I wouldn't criticize the parents. I'm sorry..That are missing a child. Their son is missing for five years. You know what? It is not logical. You cannot handle it. Put yourself in his shoes.” [See video below.]
Q. When it comes to the release of five of the worst of the worst Gitmo detainees, what does Eugene Robinson know that the Pentagon doesn't? A. That President Obama must be defended at all costs and in every circumstance.
How else to explain his mind-boggling claim on today's Morning Joe that the impact on the war of the release of five senior Taliban officials would likely be "negligible." Incredibly, Robinson was only willing to put "senior" in skeptical air quotes [see screengrab after jump]. The WaPo columnist's claim sparked controlled outrage from Joe Scarborough, and energetic disagreement even from former Obama car czar Steve Rattner. View the video after the jump.
Two of the leading lights of the lefty blogosphere weighed in Tuesday on the Bowe Bergdahl matter. Daily Kos founder and publisher Markos Moulitsas, who served a three-year stint in the Army just after graduating from high school, blasted the anti-Bergdahl rhetoric of bloodyhanded neoconservative "chickenhawks" who aren't ashamed to opine despite being "wrong about everything in the last decade."
Kos claimed that since the Afghan war "is now over," the five Taliban exchanged for Bergdahl had to be released anyway "under international law." From Moulitsas's post (emphasis added):
Once again, an MSNBC host is playing up the idea that “there must be something larger” to justify what, on its face, seems to be a disastrous prisoner swap in the Bowe Bergdahl-Taliban exchange.
On the June 4 edition of her Now program, host Alex Wagner, ever the apologist for the president, hoped that the trade for POW Bowe Bergdahl would open up broader war-ending negotiations with the Taliban [MP3 audio here; video below]:
Politico Magazine Deputy Editor Blake Hounshell has made a fool of himself yet again. Three months ago, Hounshell grudgingly and bitterly had to acknowledge that former Alaska Governor and former vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin was right — and he was wrong — when she predicted in 2008 that Barack Obama's weakness might cause Russia's Vladimir Putin to calculate that he could invade Ukraine without suffering meaningful consequences. That's what happened in Crimea. Hounshell characterized Palin's contention at the time as "an extremely far-fetched scenario."
In late April, he tried to claim that no one "credible" or "authoritative" had shown that the White House had knowingly pushed a false Benghazi narrative — just as award-winning reporter Sharyl Attkisson was proving otherwise. Then in a tweet Monday evening, he petulantly questioned why everyone's so concerned about the five hardened Taliban terrorists freed from Guantanamo Bay in exchange for Bowe Bergdahl (HT Twitchy):
Five years ago, I publicly raised questions about Bowe Bergdahl's desertion from Blackfoot Company, 1-501 Infantry (Airborne), 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division.
A few weeks after his so-called "capture" in late June 2009, three conflicting accounts surfaced: U.S. officials told the Associated Press Bergdahl had "walked off" the base with three Afghans; the Taliban claimed on its website that "a drunken American soldier had come out of his garrison" and into their arms; and Bergdahl claimed in his Taliban "hostage video" that he had "lagged behind a patrol" before being captured. I asked on my blog: Were the AP's sources mistaken? Or is the disturbing first account the right one? What about the "three Afghans" Pfc. Bergdahl reportedly "just walked off" with after his shift? Who are they? What's going on?
Appearing on Wednesday's Andrea Mitchell Reports on MSNBC, NBC Pentagon correspondent Jim Miklaszewski offered a blunt response to the notion that the White House was "taken aback" by the controversy swirling around the Bowe Bergdahl prisoner exchange: "I think if anybody at the White House would have done "Google: Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl," it would have jumped right up at them. There's no explanation for why they didn't know this." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Such critical analysis was prompted by host Andrea Mitchell wondering: "Were they [at the Pentagon] at least, were they somewhat taken aback, as the White House was, by the controversy that erupted over this?" Miklaszewski replied: "Not at all....senior defense and military officials were aware from the very beginning, shortly after he was – disappeared from his base five years ago, that this was a controversial issue. That soldiers were upset that one of their own would abandon their post in a war zone..."
Chuck Todd, NBC News Chief White House Correspondent, Political Director, and host of MSNBC’s The Daily Rundown, has been doing his best serving as White House stenographer as of late.
Appearing on MSNBC’s Morning Joe on Wednesday, June 4, Todd played up the White House’s justification for releasing five dangerous Taliban prisoners and argued “At some point you’ve got to do something with these folks. And these Taliban leaders they emphasize, have no American blood on their hands, at least as far as they know.” [See video below.]
Euphoria over the Taliban's release of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl was quickly tempered by media reports that Bergdahl had abandoned his post and that his father made comments opposing the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Bergdahl's father tweeted, "I am still working to free all Guantanamo prisoners. God will repay for the death of every Afghan child."
Does that include those children killed while being used as human shields by the Taliban? Where is Bergdahl's concern for women who die from "honor killings" and for girls who are denied an education?
Far too many journalists in the Washington-Gotham axis believe that any criticism of President Barack Obama must have its roots in cynical right-wing political opportunism and nothing else. At Bloomberg News, in a dispatch time-stamped June 4 at midnight, reporters David Lerman and Kathleen Hunter regaled readers with how the "Taliban Release Gives Republicans Fuel Beyond Benghazi." Some Democrats' concerns about Obama's actions in the freeing of Bowe Bergdahl were already known, including substantive issues of national security. But the Bloomberg pair limited the scope of Obama's problem with Dems to notification, while contending that "the demands for more information have come mostly from Republicans, some of whom already have declared their opposition to a deal whose details have yet to be fully disclosed."
The left-leaning New York Daily News also didn't get the memo that any criticism of Obama can only come from the right.
Richard Engel, NBC’s Chief Foreign Correspondent, had some harsh words for the U.S. government’s refusal to provide the American public with information about the release of Sergeant Bergdhal in exchange for five Taliban prisoners.
Appearing on MSNBC’s Morning Joe on Wednesday, June 4, Engel remarked that “We've actually been getting more information today from the Taliban than we have from spokespersons here at the hospital in Landstuhl.” [See video below.]