When conservatives take to the House floor to criticize the news media’s liberal distortions, that’s not newsworthy to NBC, but Wednesday’s NBC Nightly News made time to showcase an unhinged liberal Democrat, Representative Patrick Kennedy, screaming against the media during House floor remarks in favor of a Dennis Kucinich-backed resolution to withdraw all troops from Afghanistan by the end of the year, a fringe proposition which was soundly defeated 356 to 65.
Anchor Brian Williams characterized Kennedy’s yelling tirade as “a gripping moment,” describing how Kennedy railed against “U.S. strategy in the war, then he turned on the news media and how few have bothered to show up to cover the debate.” Williams’ embracing set up, with “Speaking Out” as the on-screen heading:
There was a gripping moment this afternoon here in Washington. It happened on the floor of the House of Representatives as the House was debating withdrawing U.S. troops from Afghanistan. Congressman Patrick Kennedy, a Democrat who represents Rhode Island, the son of the late Ted Kennedy, got up and gave a loud, emotional and angry speech about U.S. losses in the war, U.S. strategy in the war, then he turned on the news media and how few have bothered to show up to cover the debate.
Earlier this afternoon, NB's Tim Graham noted how NPR's Robert Siegel and Pew Research pollster Andrew Kohut spoke approvingly of "Millennials" as being "less 'militaristic' and less religious" than their elders.
At end of his post, Graham noted that Siegel and Kohut "somehow" forgot to discuss the key political finding in the poll, namely that the demographic's 32-point favoritism towards Democrats (62% to 30%) has declined by more than half (to 54% to 40%) in just one year of living in Obamaland. Shoot, if that trend continues for another nine months, it will be almost all even by Election Day in November.
The New York Times has apparently discovered its inner patriot. The paper decided after a request from the White House to hold off publishing key information about the war effort in Afghanistan for fear of alerting the enemy to key U.S. intelligence.
The Times and its executive editor Bill Keller, who defended the decision, have left the nation collectively uttering, "It's about time." Now that's change we can believe in.
Keller told WNYC radio today that two Times reporters had a story ready to go on Thursday about the capture of Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the Taliban's top military commander in Pakistan. The paper decided to hold off on running the story until today, the date the White House requested.
The National Security Council, Keller recalled, "thought it had been a clean snatch and they were afraid once the word got out, other Taliban officials would go deeper underground or take measures to cover their tracks. So they asked us to hold off for a while."
On his January 29 program, MSNBC's Dylan Ratigan introduced Rall as "an award-winning cartoonist who caught our eye with cartoons like this one showing some Wall Street types chatting about President Obama's bank tax."
But Ratigan must be ignorant of or apathetic regarding Rall's penchant for soldier-smearing left-wing screeds. After all, he all but personally endorsed Rall's fundraising pitch (audio available here):
Less than two months after receiving a Nobel Peace Prize, the President is proposing a huge increase in war spending.
Despite his campaign pledges to the contrary, Obama's new budget calls for expenditures associated with the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq to increase to levels only ten percent below the average of former President George W. Bush's last two years in office.
Given the media's anti-war predilections, it's going to be fascinating to see how the following numbers revealed by Politico a few hours ago will be reported in the coming days:
But on the off chance that what follows might actually mean something, here is an excerpt from a lengthy piece of investigative journalism from Fox News's James Rosen (HT to an e-mailer):
Obama Administration Steers Lucrative No-Bid Contract for Afghan Work to Dem Donor
Despite President Obama's long history of criticizing the Bush administration for "sweetheart deals" with favored contractors, the Obama administration this month awarded a $25 million federal contract for work in Afghanistan to a company owned by a Democratic campaign contributor without entertaining competitive bids, Fox News has learned.
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?"
NBC's Andrea Mitchell, on the syndicated Chris Matthews Show over the weekend, claimed that the United States' wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have not helped in the fight against terrorism, going as far as to say "They've hurt," and "we have inspired more Jihadis against us." Mitchell also played defense for Barack Obama on his terrorism policy as she hailed the President's recent speeches on the issue have been "strong" and "substantive," and "he's now trying to...take the reins and be the CEO," in the fight against al Qaeda. [audio available here]
The following exchanges were aired on the January 10 edition of The Chris Matthews Show:
In the eyes of many in the liberal media, President Obama can do no wrong. If he does, it's not his fault; he is simply a victim of circumstance, or he made the best decision he could given the options. One can tell news items portraying Obama in this light by their descriptions of problems in the passive voice.
Take yesterday's New York Times article by Jackie Calmes, for instance. The piece displays a conspicuous use of the passive voice in the headline: "Promise to Trim Deficit Is Growing Harder to Keep", instead of, say, "Obama's Policies Make Deficit Reduction Unlikely".
The refrain is getting old. When Obama's economic policies caused the debt to skyrocket, and didn't lead to recovery but rather to more federal spending aimed at shoring up the economy, it was because the recession was worse than the administration had planned. Obama's brilliant plans to raise taxes on businesses failed because Congress succumbed to political pressure. Anticipated savings in Iraq were nullified when it turned out winning a war in Afghanistan might actually require significant funding. And Medicare is already being cut to pay for the health care overhaul, so those cuts can't go towards drawing down the deficit. You see, it's never actually Obama's fault.
In his swan song interview with President Barack Obama, which consumed more than ten minutes of World News, ABC's Charles Gibson couldn't have provided a friendlier or more empathetic platform to Obama on the “weight” of sending troops to war and how “devilishly difficult” it's become to pass a health care plan because of a few rogue Senators. Gibson, set to retire Friday, teased his last Wednesday newscast:
Welcome to World News. Tonight, we broadcast from the White House. And in the headlines, one on one. Our conversation with the President in which he says he lost sleep over his decision to send more troops to Afghanistan, and makes a dire warning about health care.
That “dire warning,” which Gibson did not challenge in the interview: “If we don't pass it, here's the guarantee: the federal government will go bankrupt.”
Gibson began with Afghanistan, recalling how commanders don't “commit kids to war,” they just follow the President's orders, “and I thought, 'Holy God, what a weight that is on your shoulders.'” After Obama ruminated at length on the “gravity” of the “tough” analysis process he went through, Gibson wondered about the inner Obama: “How did you change from the beginning of that analysis and process that you went through to the end, inside you?”
On the CBS Evening News on Saturday, correspondent Kimberly Dozier reported on a recent rise in homegrown Islamic extremism in the United States and explored the motivation behind it: “... terrorism experts agree militant Islam is becoming an American problem....the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan make potent recruiting tools. They’re portrayed by the militants as America’s war on Islam.”
Dozier went on to cite American bigotry as another cause: “Muslim community leaders here say young people are also being driven to extremes by post-9/11 anti-Muslim propaganda like this.” An obscure anti-Muslim video was played as she continued: “And rising incidents of genuine anti-Muslim discrimination. Civil rights complaints have jumped 10 percent in just the past year, according to the Council on American Islamic Relations.”
While using C.A.I.R. as a credible source, Dozier only briefly mentioned the organization’s radical ties: “There’s been tension between the FBI and the Council over alleged links to militant groups which it denies.” She then offered a dismissive statement from C.A.I.R.: “It says U.S. authorities should start using the Muslim community as a resource, not an adversary, to help it police its own.”
CNN founder Ted Turner unleashed more of his wacky banter in a recent appearance at the Cable Center in Denver, reports Multichannel News. It was an hourlong question-and-answer session with Michael Smith, a professor with the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.
The wackiest one was his analysis of recent wars, asserting that "the Russians just pulled out" of Afghanistan – in reality, the pullout was finalized in February of 1989. He was only off by 20 years.
"We’ve spent enough money on the Iraq war to buy the place five times over....now we’re in Afghanistan, and there’s not even any oil there! And the Russians just pulled out, and they’re tough."
Then he was asked about starting CNN because he came home from work too late to catch an evening newscast. The 24-7 cable news channel is like a marriage, he said:
"It’s like being married – you have access to lovemaking all the time. With a girlfriend, it’s just Friday nights."
Asked what he’ll get Rupert Murdoch for Christmas, he replied:
In an unusually tough interview with President Obama on Sunday’s 60 Minutes on CBS, correspondent Steve Kroft described the President’s West Point speech as being “greeted with a great deal of confusion” and that “some people thought it was contradictory.” He later said of the health care bill: “some people think is incomprehensible....I’ve not met anybody who’s read it.”
Kroft began the interview by asking about the new Afghanistan strategy and made some observations about Obama’s announcement of the plan: “In your West Point speech, you seemed very analytical, detached, not emotional....There were no exhortations or promises of victory. Why? Why that tone?” Obama argued: “...that was actually probably the most emotional speech that I’ve made.” And then hit the Bush administration: “...one of the mistakes that was made over the last eight years is for us to have a triumphant sense about war. There was a tendency to say, ‘We can go in. We can kick some tail. This is some glorious exercise.’”
Kroft went on to note that the speech: “was greeted with a great deal of confusion.” A testy Obama interjected: “I disagree with that statement.” Kroft rephrased: “...it raised a lot of questions. And some people thought it was contradictory. That’s a fair criticism.” Not according to the President: “I don’t think it’s a fair criticism....There shouldn’t be anything confusing about that.” Obama then touted a Bush administration success to make his point: “...that’s something that we executed over the last two years in Iraq. So, I think the American people are familiar with the idea of a surge.”
Following in comedian Jon Stewart's footsteps, Al Gore's Current TV mocked President Obama's Nobel Peace Prize ceremony Friday.
In a "SuperNews" segment, animator Josh Faure-Brac showed Nobel Chairman Thorbjorn Jagland getting uncomfortable with the idea of giving the President a peace prize while he's sending 30,000 more troops to war.
Frustrated by the exchange, Obama turned the tables on Jagland asking him to solve the problem in Afghanistan.
After fumbling for an answer, Jagland marvelously said, "Maybe if we found a charismatic leader who had the entire planet shouting, 'Hope' and 'Yes we can,' maybe then we would be in a position to change things. But where we going to find a guy like that?"
This angered Obama, who said, "I am not the Messiah," and eventually grabbed his prize storming off the stage claiming, "I got s**t to do" (video embedded below the fold, h/t Story Balloon; pay particular attention to the changing chyrons in the bottom left of the screen):
There is one thing I very much want everyone who reads this to understand. Although I vehemently disagree with just about everything Barack Obama has done since he has been in office, and I really believe that he's digging a fiscal hole that this nation will be generations, if ever, digging out of, although I believe him to be a total socialist and just hate it when I have seen him bow to royalty around the world, I will write this piece with as much impartiality as I can, so that it will not be about the man or anything he has done in the past, but rather about the defense of this nation.
First of all, trying terrorists in America is nothing more than gross arrogance by our President and Attorney General.
The repercussions of a terrorist trial in New York could be so catastrophic that you don't even want to think about it.
CNN’s Christiane Amanpour lashed out at the widespread criticism of the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to President Obama on Thursday’s American Morning: “Can I just say, I think it’s overdone, this pushing back against his award. He’s obviously done something very significant, and that is...the United States has now had a new relationship with the rest of the world” [audio clip from the segment available here].
Amanpour and CNN senior political analyst David Gergen appeared just after the beginning of the 7 am Eastern hour, about an hour before the President formally received his Nobel in Oslo. Anchor Kiran Chetry asked the chief international correspondent, “[W]e received some of the embargoed remarks, and he [President Obama] does acknowledge quite soon in this delivery the controversy surrounding it, that perhaps he’s at the beginning and not the end of his labors on the world stage. How do you think that’s being received?”
The Iranian-born journalist immediately launched into her critique: “You know what? Can I just say, I think it’s overdone, this pushing back against his award. He’s obviously done something very significant, and that is, after eight years in which the United States was really held in contempt around the world, the United States has now had a new relationship with the rest of the world. This is what the Nobel Committee has rewarded and has accepted. This is what the polls around the world are showing.”
Despite all the campaign assurances that he would see the Afghan war effort through, liberals are incensed that Obama is following through on his pledge to, you know, win. The latest lefty to excoriate the president for pursuing America's enemies abroad is veteran White House correspondent Helen Thomas, who today lamented that Obama must now be dubbed a "war president."
"Obama should remember his own battle cry and tell the hawks: 'Yes, we can,' " Thomas wrote today in her syndicated column for Hearst Newspapers. Maybe he should also remember his insistence that Afghanistan "is not a war of choice. This is a war of necessity."
And he has remembered those wise words. But his supporters, who flocked to the "good war" cause as way to contrast Democratic national security efforts with the supposedly ill-intentioned Iraq war--and rip on George Bush in the process--have exhausted the political usefulness of Afghanistan, and are now calling for withdrawal.
A defensive Robin Roberts on Monday lauded the potential passage of any kind of health care bill as a "historic moment," seeming to bristle at Bill O’Reilly’s grade of a D for the President’s performance on this issue. The Fox News host appeared on Good Morning America to award Barack Obama a D, C and B, overall.
O’Reilly bluntly assessed, "Health care, I'd say D as in dog...But, you can't be putting out a 2,000-page bill, which the Senate did, and President Obama has not been able to explain it." He challenged the ABC host, "Do you understand any of this? I don't." Seeming to ignore O’Reilly’s critique, Roberts shot back, "But we do know that if something is passed, Harry Truman couldn't get anything passed. President Clinton couldn't get anything passed. It will be an historic moment." [Audio available here.]
O’Reilly simply dismissed, "That's good. But, we won't understand what it is that's historic. We'll go, 'Hey, it's historic, but I don't know what it is!'"
Thomas Friedman of the New York Times repeated his endorsement of the “smaller footprint” approach in Afghanistan on CNN’s Campbell Brown program on Wednesday, but couldn’t bring himself to explicitly oppose President Obama’s move to send 30,000 additional U.S. troops to the country: “I have great sympathy for the President....my gut instinct was...I wish there was a smaller way to try to do this.”
Anchor Campbell Brown devoted the entire interview of the New York Times columnist, which began 13 minutes into the 8 pm Eastern hour, to Afghanistan. Brown first tried to get Friedman to expand on his doubting position on the troop increase: “General McChrystal basically getting what he wants with these additional troops- you think it’s a bad idea, I know. Explain your thinking.” The left-of-center columnist tried to spin his argument to be more about the state of the economy, and made his first hint of his sympathy with the President over the decision:
Comedy Central's Jon Stewart on Wednesday absolutely tore apart President Obama's speech on Afghanistan for being a virtual rehashing of former President George W. Bush's 2007 address concerning a troop surge in Iraq.
In the opening segment of "The Daily Show," Stewart asked, "[I]s 30,000 troops the military equivalent of two Advil?"
From there, Stewart used videoclips to show just how much Obama's speech resembled what Bush said more than two years ago concerning Iraq.
"The Daily Show" host also surprisingly demonstrated how people on both sides of the aisle -- politicians and pundits alike -- hated what Obama had to say (video embedded below the fold with partial transcript, h/t Story Balloon):
Media liberals are proving that all their praise for Obama’s eloquence and charisma depends on how liberal Obama sounds. Look no further than Washington Post TV critic Tom Shales, who swooned this spring after presidential prime-time appearances that Obama was "still every inch ‘President Wonderful’" and clearly could wear a button reading "Smartest kid in class," saw Obama going to the Dark Side by adding troops in Afghanistan. Ick, Shales wrote on Wednesday, how Bush-like. He began:
Would you buy a used war from this man? Americans might be seeing their bright, young president in a dark, new light this morning after watching his televised speech Tuesday night centering on escalation of the war in Afghanistan.
Shales complained that Obama’s speech sounded "awfully similar" (emphasize the "awfully") to Bush’s speeches on Iraq. Therefore, his confidence in his own charisma is overrated:
CNN’s Larry King carried water for President Obama’s move to send more troops to Afghanistan during an interview of Michael Moore on early Wednesday morning. King later shifted further to the left, asking Moore if he agreed with Jesse Ventura’s call for a new draft and a “war tax” and quoting from Bob Herbert of the New York Times, who labeled the Afghan war a “tragic mistake.”
The CNN host interviewed the famous left-wing director for the first two segments of his program. Near the end of the first segment, King sought Moore’s take on something from his interview of Ventura, whom he interviewed the night before: “Jesse Ventura said last night- and he agrees with your position, by the way- that we should consider bringing back the draft and we should have a war tax so that people suffer if we’re all going to pay a price for this. What do you think?”
The leftist one-upped his celebrity counterpart: “There would be no increase in the troops if there was a draft and if people had to pay for it. I actually have proposed bringing back the draft now for some years, but only draft the children of those in the upper five percent income bracket, because if the wealthy have to send their kids over to Iraq or Afghanistan, trust me, there won’t be many wars.”
The host quoted from Herbert in his last question to Moore: “Bob Herbert, writing in The New York Times today, called this a ‘tragic mistake,’ and then he quotes Dwight David Eisenhower...Eisenhower said, ‘I hate war as only a soldier who has lived it can and as one who has seen its brutality, its futility, and its stupidity.’And then he said- this will impress you, I think- Eisenhower: ‘Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and not clothed.’ That’s from a four star general and a president.”
Good Morning America’s Diane Sawyer on Wednesday conducted a generally tough interview with Joe Biden on the subject of Afghanistan, but ignored an embarrassing gaffe from the Vice President: "Our number one enemy concern is the existential threat, al Qaeda. Number two is the stability of a nuclear state called Afghanistan, under siege by radicals." Did the Vice President, perhaps, mean Pakistan? It's unclear as Sawyer didn't follow up. [Audio available here.]
Earlier in the segment, responding to Sawyer’s comment that Republicans believe setting a date for removing troops is a bad idea, Biden argued, "How are they emboldened, knowing that by the time we train up the Afghanis, we're going to be gradually handing off, beginning in 2003 [sic]?" Beginning in 2003? Would journalists allow Sarah Palin to get away with such obvious malapropisms?
There's something about these big events that cause MSNBC "Hardball" host Chris Matthews to go off script and say something seemingly ridiculous.
Matthews has publicly admitted President Barack Obama has given him a thrill up his leg after a campaign speech in Feb. 2008, and uttered "oh God," earlier this year after an Obama address to Congress, prior to the Republican response from Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal earlier this year. And on Dec. 1, he referred to West Point as "the enemy camp" in coverage following a speech from Obama announcing his intentions to increase troops in Afghanistan. And, later that night - Matthews took a shot at former Vice President Dick Cheney (emphasis added).
"The president said tonight that we're fighting in Afghanistan because al Qaeda is in Pakistan," Matthews said. "Is that what this is all about? Is that why we're fighting and some are dying in Afghanistan? To deliver the message to the government over in Pakistan to fight harder against al Qaeda. It sounds more Rube Goldberg than ‘Remember the Alamo.' Also try tonight to workout whether the president's goals in Afghanistan are achievable. Are they? And of course, there's always Dick Cheney who jumped it from under his bridge to bite the president's ankle even before he made the speech tonight."
Either MSNBC "Hardball" host Chris Matthews let one slip tonight, or it was an extremely poor choice of words.
Following President Barack Obama's Dec. 1 speech, which he announced his intentions for increasing troop levels in Afghanistan, MSNBC followed with wrap-up coverage of his speech with arguably three of their most prominent on-air personalities - "Countdown" host Keith Olbermann, "The Rachel Maddow Show" host Rachel Maddow and Matthews.
Matthews referred to a scene from "Gone with the Wind" about the American Civil War as an example of "excitement" going into a war. He said that was lacking in the room during Obama's speech.
Good Morning America host Diane Sawyer on Tuesday badgered Robert Gibbs from the left, quizzing the White House press secretary about Democratic resistance to a troop surge in Afghanistan. She began by fretting, "Is this the last time the President is going to ask for American troops from the American people?"
After Gibbs mentioned the dangerous threat of al Qaeda, Sawyer reiterated, "...If the generals come back in six months and say, we need just another 10,000, another 15,000 to finish this job, you're saying the answer will be no?"
The GMA host, who will become the new anchor of World News in January, worried about the cost of a troop surge: "What about the cost of the war? What do you say to members of the Democratic Party, the President's own party, who say we simply cannot afford this $100 billion cost?"
Previewing the President's speech tonight, NBC's Matt Lauer invited on Karl Rove, on Tuesday's Today show, and pressed the former White House senior adviser if the reason Afghanistan still required the U.S.'s attention is because the previous administration "took its eye off the ball in Afghanistan," and "concentrated too heavily on Iraq." Rove hit back, accusing Lauer and Bush administration critics of "revisionism." And later, when Lauer questioned if there were enough "resources" to counter the Taliban resurgence in Afghanistan Rove fired back that any one in the Obama administration was in no position to criticize:
"Well look, first of all, they, resources were sent as they were needed, but I would remind you this, President Obama is in no position whatsoever to criticize what President Bush did. Because in 2007, President Obama, then a member of the United States Senate, voted against war funding for Iraq and Afghanistan. If this was so vital, then why did he not speak out? He was chairman of a committee overseeing NATO. He could have easily called a hearing to say, ‘I'm concerned about this issue.' He did not."
The following a complete transcript of the interview as it was aired on the December 1, Today show:
Serving as a stenographer to Obama operatives trying to magnify the import of the President's schedule for the week, CBS anchor Katie Couric on Monday night trumpeted:
White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel saysthis will be an 'historic week in an already historic year,' with the Afghanistan decision, the Senate opening debate today on a health care reform bill, and the President's schedule jam packed.
“Jam packed” with fairly pedestrian activities and political gimmicks, though Couric treated them as consequential, starting with how “today the President met with Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd” and “later in the week,” after Obama “shares his Afghan strategy” which is of some much-delayed consequence, he'll “host a job summit of business and labor leaders at the White House.”
Then, Couric touted how “on Friday he's taking his message of job creation and the economy directly to the American people, visiting Allentown, Pennsylvania, the first stop on what the administration is calling the 'White House to Main Street' tour.” A trip to Allentown is what Couric thinks constitutes an “historic week”?
A week after calling Barack Obama "Carteresque," Chris "Tingles Up My Leg" Matthews said the former object of his affection is "Too much Chamberlain and not enough Churchill."
I'm honestly not sure which is worse -- being compared to Jimmy Carter or World War II appeaser Neville Chamberlain.
Regardless, I guess Matthews really has lost that lovin' feeling.
As the discussion about the President's upcoming speech on Afghanistan wound down on this weekend's "The Chris Matthews Show," the host asked his guests if the "long deliberation" concerning strategy will make Obama "look smart and deliberate for having taken all this time, or will the dithering shot still being cast in by people like former Vice President Dick Cheney" hurt him?
What ensued will raise many eyebrows on both sides of the aisle (video embedded below the fold with transcript):