Joe Scarborough made a point of mentioning that until today, his MSNBC show hadn't discussed the Obama selfie at the memorial service for Nelson Mandela. Morning Joe's way too highbrow for that kind of stuff, don't you know, particularly when it might reflect badly on Barack Obama.
But when the crew finally got around to it today, opinion from Joe to Mika to Ed Rendell to Thomas Roberts was unanimous: there was nothing to criticize. Mika made her point by seeking to snap a selfie with Scarborough, as Joe jokingly showed her the hand. View the video after the jump.
All three networks on Wednesday engaged in damage control for the White House following criticism of President Obama's selfie during Tuesday's Mandela memorial service. On CBS This Morning, senior White House correspondent Bill Plante even made this absurd assertion: "The President might have caused a diplomatic incident if he had declined the invitation to be in a photo with two long-time allies." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
The cast of NBC's Today also justified the incident, with co-host Savannah Guthrie arguing: "I think some people thought it's not appropriate because it's a funeral. On the other hand, it wasn't a funeral, it was a memorial service." Weatherman Al Roker added: "It was a memorial, it was a celebration." Matt Lauer chimed in: "There were people singing and dancing all around them."
After Brian Williams touted President Obama's handshake with Cuban dictator Raul Castro as "one of the better moments" at Tuesday's memorial service for Nelson Mandela, correspondent Lester Holt went further on Wednesday's NBC Today, hailing the encounter as "a true Mandela moment." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
A sound bite followed of Democratic Congressman John Lewis gushing: "It's the power of Nelson Mandela to bring President Barack Obama together and Raul Castro together here in South Africa." Prior to Williams on Tuesday, Holt had similarly declared that "the measure of Mandela [was] so great" that "America's presidents shared a stage" with Castro.
Alan Gross, political prisoner. Those were four words missing from Emma Margolin's December 10 MSNBC.com story hailing the handshake between President Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro earlier today at Nelson Mandela's memorial service in Soweto, South Africa. Gross, a State Department contractor, has been languishing in a Cuban prison for five years.
There was a reference to "genocide" in the story, but that was from a quote from a Cuban official railing against the U.S. trade embargo with Cuba (emphasis mine):
Reporting from South Africa on Tuesday's NBC Today about the memorial ceremony for Nelson Mandela, Nightly News anchor Brian Williams noted how the "dignitary section has some criminals, some thieves, some kings, some presidents" and that "Several have been life-long sworn enemies." He then proclaimed that President Obama's "handshake with [Cuban leader] Raul Castro was one of the better moments." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Williams gushed that oppressive dictators sitting side by side with democratically elected leaders of the free world was somehow part of Mandela's legacy: "What would Nelson Mandela say to all of them and say to all of this? Most of the speakers have urged the crowd, 'Go on, behave like him, live like him, be infused with his spirit going forward and maybe we could get some place.'"
On the Friday, December 6, All In with Chris Hayes show on MSNBC, during a discussion of Nelson Mandela's support for violent resistance, the Daily Beast's Michael Moynihan admitted that the former South African leader had a "moral failing" because he "associated with" dictators who "did the same things to their people" as "was done to him."
Referring to an article by Moynihan on the subject, host Chris Hayes brought up the "Santa Clausification process" as he posed the question:
On Sunday's NBC Meet the Press, host David Gregory used the death of former South African President Nelson Mandela to lecture American politicians: "Mandela refused to be consumed by hatred and insisted on working toward a common purpose with his political foes. That, seems to me, is what is missing from this era of argument in Washington." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
However, Gregory portrayed President Obama as the victim of such polarization, rather than one of its instigators: "The election of our 44th president was similarly an example of how countries can overcome their past....Yet, President Obama has struggled since he made history. He still aspires to achieve political consensus on some of the country's most pressing challenges."
On Friday's PoliticsNation, MSNBC's Karen Finney accused Republicans of practicing their own form of "apartheid" by "separating people and dividing people" as she and host Al Sharpton discussed comments some right-leaning public figures have made in the aftermath of Nelson Mandela's passing.
Referring to former Senator Rick Santorum comparing Mandela fighting against the oppresssion of apartheid to conservatives fighting against ObamaCare, Finney asserted: [See video below.]
At the Daily Beast, Michael Moynihan attempted to overcome the tendency of journalists and celebrities to make Nelson Mandela a secular saint. Moynihan recalled that when Margaret Thatcher died, these same people denounced her for here "indulgence" of right-wing dictators like Agosto Pinochet in Chile, who allowed his country to become a democracy.
ABC called her reign an “elective dictatorship.” NBC reported several times that “Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead” became a popular iTune after she passed away, and CBS predicted the funeral would be a "tense and controversial affair." It's safe to guess these networks wouldn't dream of recalling Mandela’s associations with despots like Fidel Castro and Muammar Qaddafi, as Moynihan insisted they should:
The media's determination to pin anything negative on Texas Senator Ted Cruz apparently knows no bounds.
Even as the establishment press, with Politico's Reid Epstein being one of the more recent examples, attempts to give President Obama the Mother of All Free Passes for the disastrous rollouts of HealthCare.gov and Obamacare in general, Cruz, currently perceived as a strong 2016 presidential prospect, somehow deserves to be associated with comments left at his Facebook post on Nelson Mandela's death. At least that's what Anneta Konstantinides at ABC's "The Note" seems to want readers to believe; otherwise, why would she engage in the effort at all? Excerpts follow the jump (bolds are mine; HT Twitchy):
With the passing of Nelson Mandela yesterday, it was a metaphysical certainty that the media would draw parallels between the legendary South African leader and Barack Obama. So it was not a surprise when it happened during a tribute package at the beginning of Friday’s Morning Joe.
As triumphant footage of Mandela rolled on the screen, co-host Mika Brzezinski read a scripted narrative: [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
On Friday's CBS This Morning, former Time magazine managing editor Richard Stengel unexpectedly zeroed in on a part of Nelson Mandela's legacy that apparently wasn't sufficiently left wing. Moments after he lionized Mandela as "the George Washington of South Africa", Stengel asserted that "he [Mandela] had not been very progressive about HIV and AIDS when he was president".
Veteran 60 Minutes correspondent Bob Simon also sang Mandela's praises, to the point that he made an eyebrow-raising comment about the supposed extent that the former South African president stands apart in recent history: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
On Thursday's PoliticsNation, MSNBC political analyst Jonathan Alter played the liberal caricature by actually suggesting that, in light of former South African President Nelson Mandela's passing, Americans should practice "forgiveness" toward "hundreds of thousands of people" who are serving life prison sentences. Speaking to host Al Sharpton, Alter suggested:
Amid the tributes looking back at the life of former South African President Nelson Mandela following his death on Thursday, Friday's NBC Today and ABC's Good Morning America both managed to take shots at Ronald Reagan for not being supportive of Mandela during Apartheid. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
On Today, chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell proclaimed: "The U.S. wasn't always on Mandela's side. In the 1980s, President Reagan supported the Apartheid regime, a cold war ally, even as protests broke out on college campuses across America demanding that the U.S. punish the regime....Finally, Congress, including key Republicans, overrode Reagan's veto, imposing the economic sanctions that helped break the Apartheid regime."
Bill Maher was a guest on Piers Morgan's CNN show on Tuesday night; the interview segment was replayed on Friday (thanks to NB's Noel Sheppard for that catch). Among other things, Maher confirmed that he is a member of the left's unreality-based community when he described MSNBC as "very rarely wrong" and Fox News's Bill O'Reilly as someone who "says something that is insanely off-base and not true" almost every night.
Maher also lamented what he sees as CNN's biggest problem: They're trying to "play it down the middle," and viewers don't want that.
On Sunday's 60 Minutes, CBS's Lara Logan bluntly pointed out how the September 11, 2012 Islamist attack on the U.S. facilities in Benghazi, Libya "have been overshadowed by misinformation, confusion, and intense partisanship". Logan turned to an actual eyewitness of the attack, along with two former advisers to deceased Ambassador Chris Stevens – Greg Hicks and a Green Beret officer – to refreshingly outline what actually happened that infamous night.
However, the correspondent failed to explicitly mention President Barack Obama or former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during her report. She only vaguely noted that "contrary to the White House's public statements, which were still being made a full week later, it's now well established that the Americans were attacked by al Qaeda in a well-planned assault." [video below the jump]
To prevent more soft-target terror attacks like the deadly Al Shabaab strike on Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya, policymakers around the world should consider liberalizing their gun laws to allow for armed civilians, the head of the the world's largest international police institution argued in an interview with ABCNews.com earlier this week. Unfortunately a search of Nexis finds that ABC has ignored this news development on its on-air programming. Competitors NBC and CBS have likewise censored the story.
As ABC's Josh Margolin noted, INTERPOL Secretary General Ronald Noble argued not only that an armed citizenry was a more sensible option than attempting to secure every "soft target" -- like malls, parks, and cafes -- but that it's hard to imagine a successful Westgate-style attack in the United States, particularly in gun rights-friendly states like Texas:
It's not yet a safe haven, but it seems that terrorist outfits are having little problem setting up Twitter accounts. It also seems that these accounts tend to stay up until someone complains, meaning that the company either has no effective mechanisms for detecting pro-terror sentiments and the gruesome pictures which sometimes accompany them, or isn't using them. The ease with which all of this can be done has not become much of a national story, even though becoming one would seem to be a natural outgrowth of last week's Kenya mall attack, given that one such Twitter account gleefully posted attack photos.
Here are some of the specfiics from Bridget Johnson at PJ Media (bolds are mine):
It goes without saying that the reason Susan Rice was scrapped from consideration to replace Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State last year was due to the claims she made on numerous television programs the Sunday after our consulate in Benghazi, Libya, was attacked.
Despite this, when CNN's Fareed Zakaria did a twelve minute interview with Rice Sunday, he didn't mention Benghazi at all.
Charlie Rose and Norah O'Donnell broke out the kid gloves for Bill Clinton on Tuesday's CBS This Morning. Rose and O'Donnell failed to press the Democrat on the possible conflicts of interest surrounding his Clinton Global Initiative, as well as his wife Hillary's possible 2016 presidential run. The two anchors granted over 12 and a half minutes of air time to the former president.
Rose played up the "human side" of Clinton, and wondered if Hillary would "rather be – today – she can do both – president or grandmother?" O'Donnell pointed out that Mrs. Clinton "said you guys are watching movies together and taking long walks. And so, how is life different now?" [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
Dare a top newspaper journalist to play connect-the-dots and chances are he’ll fail miserably – at least with drawing the line between Islam and terrorism. In Nairobi, Kenya last weekend, Islamist militants took over a high-end shopping mall and began executing non-Muslims. In Pakistan, Islamist suicide bombers detonated at a Christian Church on Sunday.
Yet on Monday, September 23, 90 percent of the top ten (via circulation numbers) daily newspapers’ headlines in the United States censored the words “Islam” and Muslim” from Nairobi and Pakistan reports. One – the New York Daily News – didn’t even have a headline for the latest Islamic terrorist attacks. That’s journalism at its finest.
The Big Three broadcast networks made their slanted priorities clear on their Thursday evening newscasts, as they fawned over Caroline Kennedy's Senate confirmation hearing earlier that day, but failed to cover the emotional congressional testimony of Pat Smith. Smith is the mother of Sean Smith, who died in the 2012 Islamist attack on the U.S. post in Benghazi, Libya.
ABC's Martha Raddatz was awestruck over JFK's daughter: "For one brief shining moment, senators from both sides of the aisle seemed to harken back to the so-called Camelot days." NBC's Harry Smith gushed that "history and legacy were more important this morning than party or partisanship. The daughter of a president said she wanted to fulfill her father's wish." [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
According to Barack Obama, his Party, and their media minions, Benghazi is a "phony scandal."
The folks at HBO mustn't think so, for according to the Hollywood Reporter, the cable network has just optioned New York Times best-seller "Under Fire: The Untold Story of the Attack in Benghazi" as a telepic to be executive produced by Jerry Weintraub.
On Monday's CBS This Morning, Sharyl Attkisson pointed out the "potential conflict of interest" in the ongoing controversy over the Islamist attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi, Libya. Attkisson detailed how congressional Republican are scrutinizing Undersecretary of State Patrick Kennedy's involvement in naming staff to the Accountability Review Board, even as it was investigating his role in the lead-up to the September 11, 2012 attack. [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
It was Attkisson's first report about Benghazi on CBS's morning and evening newscasts since the May 8, 2013 edition of CBS This Morning. Her report that day was the first time in over five months that the journalist reported about the story on the air.
If President Barack Obama is losing Al Hunt, there is definitely trouble in Lefty-land.
But let's not go too far. In the midst of leveling criticisms at Obama as "bordering on incompetence," the former host of CNN's Capital Gang and executive editor at Bloomberg News, who is now a Bloomberg View columnist and host of a Bloomberg TV's Political Capital Sunday news show, cited three examples of supposedly indisputable George W. Bush administration incompetence, none of which fits the description.
As of Thursday morning, CBS's morning and evening newscasts have yet to mention a revelation made by their own investigative correspondent, Sharyl Attkisson, on Tuesday – that Secretary of State John Kerry told Congress "he will not honor the request to make Benghazi survivors available for questioning."
Wednesday's CBS Evening News aired a full report on the State Department's slow progress in upgrading security at U.S. diplomatic posts in the aftermath of the September 11, 2012 Islamist attack, but failed to mention Kerry's refusal. Margaret Brennan also let the Obama administration and Senator Robert Menendez hint that congressional Republicans were to blame for not appropriating the $2.2 billion needed for the security upgrades. [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
The Big Three network morning shows on Wednesday briefly noted the one-year anniversary of the Islamist attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi, Libya, but not one pointed out the latest development in the ongoing controversy over what happened. On Tuesday, CBS correspondent Sharyl Attkisson reported on Twitter that Secretary of State John Kerry "tells [C]ongress he will not honor the request to make Benghazi survivors available for questioning."
Norah O'Donnell highlighted on Wednesday's CBS This Morning that "Republican Congressman Darrell Issa wants to interview survivors" and that "he's giving the State Department until Monday to meet his demand", but didn't mention Kerry's refusal. [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
If there's one thing Chris Wallace at Fox News does well that most others in the press don't — at least when interviewing Democrats and liberals — it's his refusal to let a question go until his interviewee either answers it or makes it obvious to viewers that he or she won't answer.
Such an incident took place today with White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough on Fox News Sunday (video is here). The question, which I strongly doubt was even broached on any of the left-leaning Sunday talk shows today, concerned why the Obama administration hasn't been able to apprehend the September 11, 2012 Benghazi terrorist attack ringleader (bolds are mine):
Washington Post media blogger Erik Wemple recalled Daily Beast boss Tina Brown hate-tweeting her former Washington bureau chief Howard Kurtz: “am I forgetting something or didn’t I fire you for serial inaccuracy?”
“That was a bit of classlessness that simply wasn’t going to go unpunished,” Wemple wrote. “And now the journalism gods have spoken, via a correction that is available on NPR.” On a Thursday interview on Morning Edition, Brown made a very dramatic error, falsely claiming a pregnancy by rape of a journalist in Somalia, as anchor Renee Montagne announced on Friday's show:
Tuesday's CBS This Morning spotlighted the upcoming one-year anniversary of the Islamist attack on the U.S. diplomatic facility in Benghazi, Libya, but whitewashed the role of President Obama and his administration, including that of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Anchors Charlie Rose, Norah O'Donnell, and Gayle King didn't once mention Obama or Clinton's name during an interview segment with author Fred Burton.
In his new book, Burton revealed that "an unidentified security official in the Benghazi compound...messaged the U.S. embassy in Tripoli: 'Benghazi under fire, terrorist attack.'" However, Rose only vaguely referenced the White House's now-discredited talking point about the terrorist attack: "Does this book and your understanding of it suggest that everybody knew it was a planned attack, and not a surprise arising out of a protest?" [audio available here; video below the jump]