Since Friday’s presidential debate, all three major broadcast networks have highlighted one of Barack Obama’s more commanding moments when he charged that John McCain was wrong in some of his pre-Iraq war predictions, but the media have so far ignored Obama’s incorrect assertion that "there was no Al-Qaeda" presence in Iraq before America’s invasion in 2003. Before the 2003 invasion, various news sources – some American, some from other countries – were already citing the governments of various countries as they reported that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the former leader of Al-Qaeda in Iraq, not only was already in Iraq plotting attacks to be carried out in Europe, but that he already had an association with Osama bin Laden and had spent time in Afghanistan. But during Friday’s debate, Senator Obama asserted: "Now, keep in mind that we have four times the number of troops in Iraq, where nobody had anything to do with 9/11 before we went in, where, in fact, there was no Al-Qaeda before we went in, but we have four times more troops there than we do in Afghanistan."
By contrast, ABC, CBS, and NBC have all played the following soundbite of Obama from the debate which is more favorable to the Illinois Democrat: "John, you like to pretend like the war started in 2007. You talk about the surge. The war started in 2003. And, at the time, when the war started, you said it was going to be quick and easy, you said we knew where the weapons of mass destruction were. You were wrong. You said that we were going to be greeted as liberators. You were wrong. You said that there was no history of violence between Shia and Sunni. And you were wrong."
Notably, back in January 2003 and again in March 2004, the NBC Nightly News relayed claims that the Bush administration had "passed up several opportunities to take [Zarqawi] out well before the Iraq war began." The below was first posted on February 29 of this year, and lists some of the relevant reporting on Zarqawi from various sources and countries:
"Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts" the late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, a Democrat, once said. Apparently, the ladies of "The View" disagree. Debating which presidential nominee has better judgment, Whoopi Goldberg once again forwarded the myth that the Bush administration completely ignored Afghanistan and focused instead on Iraq.
"President Bush came over here to New York City and said we’re going to go get the people who did this to us. He did not go get the people who did this to us. He went to Iraq. Now that’s not where the people were. They were in Afghanistan. [applause] Now how do you miss that? So none of this has worked."
To repeat the same history lesson to Whoopi, the Bush administration began military operations in Afghanistan on October 7, 2001, less than a month after the attacks of September 11. The invasion of Iraq did not commence until March 19, 2003, and even then and to this day, a sizeable military force remains in Afghanistan.
Back on September 10 in a visit to Chicago's Lincoln Park neighborhood, Democratic VP candidate Joe Biden seemed to hint that al Qaeda forced down a helicopter he was traveling in when he was visiting Afghanistan in February of 2008. He made the claim again on September 22 in a campaign stop at the National Guard Association. The truth, however, is not exactly what Biden may be trying to allege. Thus far, only ABC's Jake Tapper is exposing the ruse for what it is, a misleading tale pumped up to make his Afghanistan visit seem more menacing than it really was.
The Chicago Sun-Times reports that on September 10 Biden told a Chicago audience a harrowing tale about his helicopter ride.
Last month, it was the Associated Press's Jeannine Aversa's turn to mishandle the reporting on Uncle Sam's Monthly Treasury Statement on the government's receipts, spending, and deficit.
Aversa's usual specialty is hallucinating over "blizzards of pink slips" and "jobs vanishing into thin air" when she does her "report," aka her downbeat propaganda piece, on the government's monthly jobs release.
In covering June's Monthly Treasury Statement, Aversa selectively rounded the data she presented (covered at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog) to make receipts look less impressive and to minimize the true extent of the government's current year spending spree.
On Thursday’s Countdown show, one night after accusing President Bush of not doing enough to protect America from Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaeda organization before the September 11th attacks, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann seemed sympathetic to the plight of bin Laden’s former driver, Salim Hamdan, during the show’s regular "Bushed" segment which purports to update viewers on what the Countdown host sees as Bush administration scandals. Following Hamdan’s sentencing in a military court during which the judge expressed an apology to the bin Laden aide as he handed down a sentence that would make Hamdan eligible for release in six months, the American military indicated Hamdan may still be kept prisoner at Guantanamo Bay indefinitely in spite of the ruling, prompting Olbermann to accuse the Bush administration of "urinating" on the Constitution, and making Hamdan one of the "victims" of its "medieval" justice system. Olbermann: "So, besides urinating on the Constitution and the rights and freedoms every American soldier has ever fought to win and protect, the Bush administration has now decided that when its victims have actually served their sentences, doled out under its own medieval, quote, "justice," unquote, system, it still might not choose to set them free, thereby giving that Constitution and our country a second pass on the way out." (Transcripts follow)
The New York Times's front-page report Thursday marking the 500th death in Afghanistan (most but not all in combat) tracks through the same muddy ruts as the paper's previous four stories marking each 1,000 fatality mark in Iraq.
It's taken almost seven years of combat in Afghanistan to reach the plateau of 500, which occurred on July 22 of this year. Apparently the Times couldn't wait for 1,000. The paper goes on to blame the public for ignoring the Afghanistan war, even though the Times's coverage of the war has hardly been comprehensive -- except when things are going badly.
Is reporter Michael Powell at the New York Times auditioning for Comic Relief?
At next year's event, Powell's headline at his August 2 story (HT Weapons of Mass Discussion) about Obama's repeated hypocritical invocations and charges relating to race (of course, that's not how he sees it), along with his report's first 10 words, would bring the house down:
With Genie Out of Bottle, Obama Is Careful on Race
Senator Barack Obama is a man of few rhetorical stumbles .....
Only someone locked inside the Old Media bubble could possibly believe that Obama hasn't "stumbled" repeatedly, to the point where he's making Bush 41 Vice President Dan Quayle look like a certified genius.
The screencap captures it nicely: Heather Wilson, smiling. Robert Wexler, mouth agape. On this afternoon's Hardball, the feisty, brilliant [bio: high honors Air Force Academy grad, Rhodes Scholar] GOP representative from New Mexico took on the duo of the combative congressman from Florida and host Chris Matthews, and walked away a winner. The subject was Obama's Berlin speech, and by extension his presidential qualifications.
You'll find excerpts below, but they don't do begin to do justice to Wilson's brio and the coolness under verbal fire she displayed. That's why I'd strongly encourage readers to view the video. Wilson kicked off her tour de force in commenting on a clip of Obama in his Berlin speech proclaiming that various walls, including one between American and Europe, "cannot stand" and must be torn down.
On Wednesday’s CBS "Early Show," correspondent Sheila MacVicar described Barack Obama’s visit to Israel’s Holocaust memorial during his continuing Middle East tour as: "...yet another chance to see how the Senator looks in statesman clothes." MacVicar imbued Obama with the mantel of "statesman" just last Friday when she described the upcoming trip: "...Senator Obama is taking to the skies to stride on the world stage. It's a chance for Americans to take a look at how he measures up as a statesman...it's an attempt to demonstrate he has the necessary gravitas to maneuver through diplomatic minefields, especially in the Middle East."
Earlier in Wednesday’s report, MacVicar described Obama’s meeting with top Israeli officials and made sure label the conservative: "The day began with a double helping of breakfast and conversations with Israel's Defense Minister Ehud Barak and former prime minister and leading right-winger Benjamin Netanyahu." MacVicar concluded her report with a preview of Obama’s next stop:
This afternoon he'll travel by helicopter with not one, but two ministerial tour guides, the foreign minister and the defense minister, to the Israeli town of Sderot, which is frequently a target of Palestinian rockets. For Obama it's a chance to show that he understands and feels the plight of Israelis. For the Israelis, it's a chance to make their point about their strategic weakness.
In fact, this piece was so skeptical of the differences between what the press have been reporting about the presumptive Democrat presidential nominee and the truth that it could almost have been written by Kurtz himself (emphasis added throughout):
Andrea Mitchell might be a doyenne of the liberal media, but she has her reporter's pride and principles, which have been trampled by the way the Obama campaign has managed the media during the candidate's current trip to Afghanistan and Iraq. Mitchell let loose on this evening's Hardball, speaking of "fake interviews," and decrying that she was unable to report on pertinent aspects of the trip because the media has been excluded and that the video released is unreliable because it's impossible to know what has been edited out.
Before Mitchell made her displeasure known, Roger Simon of Politico, Chris Matthews's other guest during the segment, depicted the images coming out of the war zone as all Obama could have dreamed of.
ROGER SIMON: The optics are all very good on this trip. I mean, the beginning of this trip is so good, Senator Obama might just want to call off the end and just keep running the videotape.
At the top of Monday’s CBS "Early Show" a full six minutes of coverage was devoted to Barack Obama’s world tour, while only three minutes was given to a John McCain interview. During the interview with McCain, co-host Harry Smith wondered: "You know, when you have the network anchors chasing your opponent across the Middle East it's a little hard to make news. What is your strategy to get folks to pay attention to your message over the next couple of days?" Co-host Maggie Rodriguez asked a similar question to Republican pollster Frank Luntz on Friday: "Can John McCain even compete next week?"
The coverage of Obama consisted of co-host Julie Chen talking to New York Times Baghdad correspondent Richard Oppel, followed by a clip of CBS correspondent Lara Logan’s interview with Obama in Afghanistan. Oppel highlighted recent news of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki supporting Obama’s troop withdrawal plan: "...he was quoted accurately. He did express a clear affinity for Obama's 16 month proposal."
Later, when interviewing McCain, Harry Smith also brought up Maliki’s comments: "But one of the other things that -- one of the other things that he [Obama] has said is that maybe the troops should be out within the next 18 months, an idea that Prime Minister Al Maliki basically agrees with. Maybe the surge, in fact, did work. Is it time for American troops to start coming home?" That statement was in response to McCain pointing out to Smith that: "We are winning the war. And Senator Obama was wrong. He railed against it. He voted against the surge. And he said it would fail. He was wrong there."
"Good Morning America" co-host Diane Sawyer on Monday quizzed John McCain on whether the media is gushing too much over Barack Obama's Middle East trip. She then proceeded to cite Obama talking points on the visit. First, Sawyer wondered, "A quick question about the press coverage, if I can. [Obama's] there with a lot of reporters and it's been widely reported--" At this point, the Arizona senator started chuckling to himself.
A surprised Sawyer continued, "You're laughing. Do you think the press coverage is unfair?" McCain wryly responded, "That's up to the American people to decide, Diane. It is what it is." A few seconds earlier, Sawyer appeared to preemptively answer her query on media bias. The ABC journalist prompted, "You have criticized Senator Obama in the past for not going to Iraq and getting a fresh assessment. He is in Iraq as we speak this morning. Does this take care of it?" The subtext of the question sounded very much like "He went to Iraq. Will you leave him alone now?" Never mind the fact that McCain has been to the area eight times and Obama only two.
"Good Morning America," in what is surely a sign of things to come, prepped for Barack Obama's first Middle East trip by focusing three stories on the subject, including one in which George Stephanopoulos admitted that John McCain is "frustrated" by the media attention given to the foreign excursion. GMA co-host Robin Roberts and the ex-Clinton aide discussed the media coverage briefly, in a passive voice.
Referring to Obama's visit next week to Iraq and Afghanistan, Roberts casually wondered, "And finally, how does McCain counter all of this attention that Obama is going to be receiving on this trip?" Stephanopoulos candidly responded, "The McCain campaign is very frustrated by this. As you know, all three evening news anchors going over to -- on this foreign soil with Barack Obama. They know he's going to get a lot of attention." Notice it's "all of this attention that Obama is going to be receiving" rather than "all the coverage we're giving him." And if the McCain camp is "frustrated" by the coverage, isn't that a subject that Roberts and Stephanopoulos should have explored? They didn't.
Larry Hunter claims he is a "lifelong conservative." Yet, in his recent New York Daily News article, he also says he is voting for Barack Obama for president. The two simply cannot coexist. One has to be obliterated in favor of the other. And, regardless of the facile reasoning Hunter gives for his apostasy, this article does nothing to support any supposed conservative cause. It does, however, give the media something to crow about.
Larry Hunter begins by assuring us of his conservative credentials. A supply sider from the Reagan White House, Hunter had a 5-year-long stint as chief economist at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, was a member of Bob Dole's economic team for the 1996 presidential race and was chief economist for Jack Kemp's Empower America. All of this does confirm his economic conservatism. But none of it says anything to his ideology otherwise. Still, regardless, we can take at face value his credentials and mark him as generally on the right side of the issues.
Yet, even after telling us his resume, Hunter says, "This November, I'm voting for Barack Obama." Naturally, he says his "colleagues were shocked." So should be anyone who thinks conservatism the best direction for this country.
I have my issues with Pat Buchanan. Anyone who writes a book arguing we should have found a modus vivendi with Hitler isn't necessarily high on my list. Still, when it comes to spot-on analysis of the political scene, Pat is without peer. But when Buchanan—his own opposition to the Iraq war notwithstanding—argued on this evening's Hardball that McCain's support for the surge is a winning issue for him, it drove Chris Matthews into such a frenzy he was reduced to a reality-defying scream that the surge isn't working.
Air America's Mark Green was along for the bumpy ride. An extended clip was rolled of McCain at a town hall in New Mexico saying that he knows how to win wars, that Obama was wrong to oppose the surge, and that he McCain will build on the Iraq experience to lead us to success in Afghanistan.
As was pattern earlier this year and last, ABC's World News is much more willing -- than its CBS and NBC competitors -- to acknowledge good news in the Iraq war. On Tuesday night, ABC's Martha Raddatz cited “some really impressive gains” as she reported the plummeting number of attacks in Baghdad, falling from 1,278 in June of 2007 to 112 last month. The night before, only anchor Charlie Gibson highlighted the “upbeat assessment of security in Iraq today from Joint Chiefs Chairman Admiral Michael Mullen.”
Neither the CBS Evening News nor NBC Nightly News mentioned Mullen on Monday night while NBC's Jim Miklaszewski only noted less violence in Iraq in contrast to a “record number of Americans killed in Afghanistan last month,” so “if there's any bright side here...it's that the level of violence in Iraq has come down enough” to allow the military to move resources to Afghanistan.
Tuesday night, CBS anchor Katie Couric offered just a clause on violence in Iraq -- “Iraq's national security adviser called today for setting a timetable, a sign Baghdad is growing more confident as the violence decreases” -- before finding a away to deliver depressing news about Iraq: How though Iraqi oil profits “are on the rise,” the “money is not going to one place it's desperately needed.” That would be ill-equipped hospitals.
CNN carried KDKA footage showing that Murtha has grudgingly acknowledged the obvious: That the troop surge in Iraq has, in his words, "in the short-term ..... certainly reduced incidents," but that "I'm not sure whether it's because of the Iraqis are just worn out, but certainly the way they're doing it today makes a big difference."
What KDKA decided to keep from TV viewers is arguably at least as important as what the station showed.
In interview footage left on the cutting room floor, Murtha falsely claimed that less than 1/3 of the Iraqi benchmarks have been met, and that the majority of Americans "want us out" of Iraq as fast as possible. But most explosively, the Pennsylvania congressman claimed that a major reason why the troop surge has been successful is that before that time "we broke down doors, we went in and we killed people inadvertently."
Earlier this week, to avoid "undue" emphasis on how much the situation has been improving in Iraq, the press, in search of bad news, switched its focus to Afghanistan (examples here, here, and here). Kyle Drennen and Warner Todd Huston at NewsBusters noted this on Tuesday.
Similarly, Associated Press writer Ellen Simon, confronted with a key report showing economic improvement, decided that it was more important to discuss inflation.
On Tuesday, the Institute for Supply Management's Manufacturing Index, after four months of contraction, returned to slight expansion mode with a reading of 50.2 (any reading above 50 indicates expansion). The result confounded the "experts," who predicted that the index would fall by about a point instead of rising by 0.6 points.
I don't think I've ever seen AP fail to give the overall ISM result first- or second-sentence treatment, but Simon managed that trick by covering the report's inflation component, moving the overall ISM index reading down to the fourth paragraph:
On Tuesday’s CBS "Early Show," co-host Harry Smith talked to foreign correspondent Lara Logan about the situation in Afghanistan and she declared: "So seven years later we have more troops in the country than we have ever had. And yet no one is admitting the fact that we are facing strategic defeat in a country that wanted us there. Unlike Iraq, they actually wanted us there."
Smith introduced the segment by proclaiming: "U.S. officials say attempts to root out Al Qaeda and the Taliban are failing. And for the second straight month in June, militants killed more U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan than in Iraq."
During the segment, Smith displayed his foreign policy credentials in reference to the Afghanistan-Pakistan border: "I've been reading lightly about these tribal areas. I was there about 20 years ago. I described it to a friend of mine, it's like the Star Wars bar. You can't trust anyone there. You don't know who's loyal to who." So Afghans and Pakistanis are like strange-looking aliens?
We've taken notice that Iraq is suddenly out of the news now that things are consistently going so well for U.S. forces there. Well, since CNN can't find much bad to talk about in Iraq they've finally found some "bad" news they can use as a needle to stick in the Bush Administration's collective eye. In Coalition troop deaths in Afghanistan surpass Iraq, CNN has discovered that they can make a body bag contest out of casualties between Iraq and Afghanistan. Oh, joy!
For the second month in a row, U.S. and allied troop deaths in the Afghan war have surpassed those in Iraq, according to official figures tallied by CNN... In June, 46 foreign troops died in Afghanistan and 31 troops died in Iraq. In May, 23 foreign troops died in Afghanistan and 21 died in Iraq.
Stop the presses! And, did you notice that now they are adding foreign troops up because they can't get enough American deaths to report? Can you remember the last time the American press was worried about the casualties among our foreign coalition?
The NewsBusters staff noted yesterday that the increasingly good news in Iraq was not being covered by the US media. And it is good news. Contrary to the wishes of much, if not most, of the American media and their fellow believers in the Democratic Party, the United States and its allies are winning the war against Islamic aggression on the battlefields, although our courts and our media seem determined to do their utmost to turn this victory into defeat (see the New York Times coverage and the Supreme Court's decision in Boumediene). Most of the US media has placed its eggs into the basket of American defeat and support for the Islamic barbarians we are facing. So it is as welcome as it is rare to see that The Times of London today has a column that points our the indisputable fact that the West is winning.
As The Times reports on the situation in Afghanistan and Iraq, reporter Gerard Baker begins his story by quoting the famous statement by World War I Allied commander Marshal Foch,
UPDATE: Hard to imagine, but it's even worse than originally thought. AP's go-to "historian" is, as Wikipedia shows, a shameless politically active far-leftist (HT Eric at Vocal Minority).
(begin original post)
Two Associated Press writers, with the help of accompanying photos at ABCnews.com, have dug down deep and reached a new low in dismal, depressive reporting.
You can be forgiven if, after reading the entire Saturday afternoon "report" by Alan Fram and Eileen Putman of the Associated Press, you worry that the two writers plan to jump from the nearest tall building -- and take their readers with them -- unless Barack Obama wins the White House.
This is how the pained pair's incredibly over-the-top report begins (note how the headline answers the question before the text begins; excerpted text is included here for fair use and discussion purposes, as are photos originally found at the ABC link that are included at the cross-post):
Everything seemingly is spinning out of control Out-of-control weather, gas prices, economy chip away at American self-confidence
Chief foreign correspondent for CBS News Lara Logan appeared on Tuesday's "Daily Show With Jon Stewart" to declare that she doesn't watch American news (that would presumably include her own network). She also decried, "If I were to watch the news that you're hearing in the United States, I'd just blow my brains out. 'Cause it would drive me nuts." (How does CBS feel about this?)
What became apparent in the segment was the journalist's distaste for both American journalism, which she is a part of, and her belief that Americans don't really care about Iraq. In addition to answering "no" when asked if she watches the news, host Jon Stewart proceeded to question her about Iraqi violence not getting enough media coverage. The Comedy Central anchor queried, "Have we lost our humanity with this entire situation?" "Yeah, we have," Logan agreed.
On Monday’s CBS "Evening News," correspondent Lara Logan touted what was essentially a press release from a key terrorist leader in Afghanistan: "Afghan warlord Gulbeddin Hekmatyar spoke exclusively to CBS News about the state of the insurgency in Afghanistan in this interview smuggled out of his secret hiding place." Logan went on to offer a translation of the video: "‘The resistance is spreading in all directions,’ he says. ‘It's becoming stronger and more powerful.’"
Logan went on to repeat more of Hekmatyar’s propaganda:
‘Although I'm confined to one bunker and a village which is under the threat of American warplanes all the time, I sleep very peacefully at night, while George Bush cannot sleep in the White House without the help of sleeping pills,’ he says.Hekmatyar mocks President Bush as a warmonger and blames him for Iran's meddling in Afghanistan. He says the Iranians are pouring money and weapons into the fight that's destroying his country.
NBC anchor Brian Williams on Monday evening rued that Afghanistan “is too often called the other war or perhaps even the forgotten war” when “in the month of May, for the first time ever, American and allied combat deaths were higher in Afghanistan than the monthly loss in Iraq.” But that's as much because of good news from Iraq, which Williams ignored, as bad news from Afghanistan. The number of U.S. service personnel killed in Iraq in May was the fewest in any month since the war began in 2003 -- a positive trend Williams, unlike his colleagues at ABC and CBS, failed to share with his viewers two weeks ago.
Back on Monday, June 2, the other networks noted how 19 died in May as a result of combat in Iraq. In the same month, total U.S. (15) and allied troop deaths in Afghanistan rose to 23, the Washington Post reported Sunday.
In his report on Uncle Sam's Monthly Treasury Statement released Wednesday afternoon, the Associated Press's Martin Crutsinger incorrectly informed readers that the stimulus checks sent out by the government represented the major reason why May's monthly deficit ballooned from a year ago. The AP reporter also continued with the wire service's seemingly never-ending recession obsession.
Here's the headline, and how Crutsinger began his report:
Stimulus payments result in record May deficit
A flood of economic aid payments pushed the federal budget deficit to $165.9 billion, the highest imbalance ever for May.
The Treasury Department reported Wednesday that the May deficit was more than double what it was in May 2007. Some $48 billion in payments went out as part of the $168 billion economic relief effort to revive the economy and keep the country from a deep recession.
Imagine a conservative commentator suggesting Hillary would rather spend time up-close-and-personal in the company of bare-chested warriors than with Bill. Cries of sexism and intrusion on privacy could be expected to echo through the media.
But don't expect the MSM to blink over Mika Brzezinski having suggested the same regarding Laura and George W.
With Joe Scarborough off today, Mika again was in the Morning Joe host chair. One of Willie Geist's light-hearted "News You Can't Use" items focused on Laura Bush's surprise trip to Afghanistan, and the display of the traditional Maori haka dance that New Zealand troops there performed for her.
Invited on to promote his new book, "War Journal," NBC's Middle Eastern correspondent Richard Engel claimed, on Tuesday's "Today" show, that it wasn't "an opinion piece." However, in the book, Engel reveals a definite anti-war bias as he called the Iraq war "a war of opportunity," and charged, "the U.S. invaded the wrong country."
Engel tried to deny the book's slant in the following exchange with "Today" co-host Meredith Vieira:
MEREDITH VIEIRA: You know this is not a political treatise, but you do take a position about the war. You call it "a war of opportunity." And you write, "The problem was that the U.S. invaded the wrong country, destroying an odious government that was not responsible for 9/11. I don't know how you recover from invading the wrong country, no matter how you spin it." As a journalist, did you worry that you were crossing a line when you said that?