Mara Liasson hyped Hillary Clinton as "the most popular politician in the country" on Friday's Morning Edition on NPR. Liasson asserted that "there's no question that being out of politics for four years has enhanced her political reputation," and devoted her report to touting how the supposedly "fireproof" Mrs. Clinton's experience as secretary of state would make her a "field-clearing frontrunner" in the 2016 presidential race.
The NPR journalist played soundbites from just two pundits during the segment, both of them close political associates of the Clintons: former White House Press Secretary Dee Myers, and Geoff Garin, who was the chief strategist for the former First Lady's 2008 presidential bid. Liasson merely identified Garin as some one who "has worked for Clinton in the past."
Contrary to CBS's Steve Kroft, CNN's foreign affairs reporters actually asked the tough questions of outgoing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in their Tuesday interview on The Situation Room.
While Kroft spun his foreign policy questions into softballs for Clinton and Obama on Sunday's 60 Minutes, CNN's Jill Dougherty confronted Clinton on Egypt and Libya. She started off asking if the Egyptian state would survive amidst bloody unrest, and then zeroed in on Libya:
In a column which went up this morning, Fox News Political Analyst Kirsten Powers, whose political positions certainly lean left and is a self-described liberal, ripped into President Obama and his administration for what she correctly characterizes as their "strategy to delegitimize a news organization" -- hers.
Her column is about far more than Obama's recent complaint to the New Republic's Chris Hughes (covered by Noel Sheppard at NewsBusters) that "If a Republican member of Congress is not punished on Fox News or by Rush Limbaugh for working with a Democrat on a bill of common interest, then you'll see more of them doing it." What Powers recounts is a strategy first employed in 2009 and apparently being revived, now that Obama no longer has to answer to America's voters, to marginalize the only U.S. network which still tries to be fair and balanced (bolds are mine):
CBS 60 Minutes correspondent Steve Kroft "ought to hand in his journalism card" if there actually were such a thing, NewsBusters senior editor Tim Graham concluded in an interview with substitute host Eric Bolling on the January 28 edition of Your World w/Neil Cavuto. Graham was referring to the January 27 puff piece that the newsmagazine aired in which Kroft failed to ask any tough questions of the president and his departing secretary of state.
"Look, this is Steve Kroft's history," Graham told Bolling. "This is the reason why we wrote a report called 'Syrupy Minutes.' With the Democrats, this is what they do." And yet, "This is the same show that broke Abu Ghraib on Bush's head. This is the same show that tried to destroy Bush with fake National Guard records." [MP3 audio here; video embedded below page break]
On Monday's CBS This Morning, Norah O'Donnell gushed over Steve Kroft's interview of President Obama and Hillary Clinton, twice emphasizing the supposed "warmness" between the two Democrats. O'Donnell asserted that the interview was "a long way from where they were in 2008 in that bitter primary battle....This time, they were leaning into each other. There was clearly a warmness between them."
John Dickerson later hyped how the Kroft segment on Sunday's 60 Minutes came at an opportune time for Mrs. Clinton, after her contentious appearances before a Senate committee about the Islamist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya:
On Tuesday, CBS's Sharyl Attkisson broke on Twitter that the Obama administration "has indicated that it will not be answering Benghazi question we've been asking since Oct." Attkisson, who has provided hard-hitting reporting on the September 11, 2012 Islamist attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya, listed many of the questions that the executive branch has yet to answer about the story.
The journalist noted in a later Tweet that "CBS News FOI'd Benghazi info from State Dept, CIA, FBI and Defense Dept. None has been provided." Attkisson also pointed out a false claim by the administration:
During a retrospective on 2012 on the December 30, 2012 edition of CBS's Sunday Morning, Charles Osgood ludicrously oversimplified the continuing scandal over the September 11, 2012 Islamist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya. Osgood conspicuously omitted U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice's Sunday show appearances five days after the assault, which conflicted with intelligence agencies' early conclusion that the attack was pre-planned.
The journalist's 14-second look at the story merely consisted of two sentences noting who died in the American installation and one of the most recent developments [audio available here; video below the jump]:
On December 18, in covering the aftermath of the official report on the terrorist raid on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya which killed four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens, the Associated Press reported in the first three paragraphs of its coverage that "Three State Department officials resigned under pressure," identifying those who had stepped down as "Eric Boswell, the assistant secretary of state for diplomatic security, Charlene Lamb, the deputy assistant secretary responsible for embassy security, and Raymond Maxwell, the deputy assistant secretary of state who oversees the Maghreb nations of Libya, Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco."
It wasn't until the fourth paragraph that readers who got that far -- clearly a tiny percentage compared to those who saw the headline ("State Department security chief, 2 deputies, resign after damning Benghazi attack report") or only heard headline-based reports on broadcast outlets -- learned that "Some of the three may have the option of being reassigned to other duties." In other words, they might not be losing their jobs or even receive cuts in pay. At the New York Post this morning, Josh Margolin is reporting that the three identified by the AP plus one other person aren't being meaningfully punished in any sense:
Dan Abrams at Mediaite caught a weird bit of anti-Israel bias in Jeffrey Gettleman's brutal investigation on Sunday's New York Timesfront page of the carnage in Congo:
But for years Tutsi-led Rwanda has tried to carve out a zone of influence in eastern Congo, using ethnic Tutsi militias and Tutsi businessmen inside Congo to do its bidding. Rwanda has a very disciplined, patriotic army that punches above its weight -- the Israel of Africa. It was Rwanda’s invasion in 1996 that sent Congo into a tailspin it has yet to recover from.
Following Hillary Clinton’s illness last week, which prompted a fainting spell and a mild concussion, Good Morning America on Tuesday morning hyped the busy career of Ms. Clinton, proudly dubbing her the “Most Traveled Secretary of State.” The story began with GMA co-host George Stephanopoulos, a former President Clinton operative, mentioning that Ms. Clinton is, “On the mend now" although "she may be still out of action for most of her remaining time as Secretary of State."
ABC News Correspondent Reena Ninan described in detail the accident Ms. Clinton experienced, as this was the second time in eight years the Secretary has fainted because of a stomach bug. While Ninan and Stephanopoulos both emphasized the rest Mrs. Clinton requires, neither mention the fact that as a result the Secretary will miss the December 20 hearing scheduled to receive her testimony on the September 11 terrorist strike on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi. You may recall that Clinton's State Department received numerous complaints from the late Amb. Chris Stevens about insufficient security on the ground in Libya. [See video below page break. MP3 audio here.]
This one comes straight from the "There are none so blind as those who refuse to see" Department. On Wednesday, in an interview with talk show host Hugh Hewitt (HT Daily Caller), New York Times Cairo Bureau Chief David D. Kilpatrick characterized Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood as "not violent by nature," and as "a moderate, conservative but religious, but moderate, regular old political force." (Quick aside: There is nothing "conservative" about sharia law, persecution of Christians, and the subjugation of women, yet the press won't stop using that dishonest tag to describe radical Islamists.)
Just a few days later, in a pair of dispatches, one of which appeared in today's Times print edition, Kilpatrick reported that "the government of President Mohamed Morsi has approved legislation reimposing martial law," and that Morsi "is leaning more closely than ever on his Islamist allies in the Muslim Brotherhood." Imagine that. Excerpts from the Hewitt interview and each of Kirkpatrick's Friday reports follow the jump.
Reviewing several dispatches from the past couple of days, the latest news out of Egypt is that Egyptian "President" Mohammed Morsi "is not backing down in the showdown over decrees granting him near-absolute powers," that "clashes between the two camps (Morsi's Islamist supporters and secular opponents) ... left two dead and hundreds injured," and that the country's Muslim Brotherhood-dominated assembly "pushed through the 234-article draft (constitution) in just 21 hours from Thursday into Friday ... (after) Coptic Christians and liberals earlier had walked out."
The draft constitution includes several articles "that rights activists, liberals and Christians fear will lead to restrictions on the rights of women and minorities," and omits "bans on slavery or promises to adhere to international rights treaties." Oh, and I almost forgot: "The Obama administration is declining to criticize Egypt's draft constitution." It's worth identifying at this point several (but by no means all; what follows is surely a small sample) of those who in 2011 reassured the world that Egyptians had nothing to fear if the Brotherhood and Islamists became dominant.
Attempts by liberal MSNBC pundits like Touré and Richard Wolffe to dismiss conservative criticisms of Amb. Susan Rice as racially-motivated are evidence of the "militant, radical Left flexing its muscles" post-Obama reelection, NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell told Sean Hannity on the "Media Mash" segment of the Fox News host's November 29 program.
"Where were" liberal journalists when "Clarence Thomas was smeared in his confirmation hearings" or "with Allen West in Florida?" Bozell asked. "When a conservative black man is attacked," the media are mute, failing to consider if perhaps there is racism at play in the criticisms leveled by liberals. What's more, if Rice were white, the media would simply complain Republican critics are "anti-woman," the Media Research Center founder observed [watch the full segment below the page break].
In what has been a daily and exhausting exercise, Richard Wolffe, executive editor of MSNBC.com, continues to push the slanderous claim that opposition to U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice is racially motivated.
Appearing on Thursday’s Martin Bashir show, Wolffe and fellow liberal journalist Jonathan Capehart of The Washington Post continued to slam Republicans for their investigation of Susan Rice. [See video below page break. MP3 audio here.]
In a Tuesday evening dispatch at the Associated Press (saved here for future reference, fair use and discussion purposes) on the status of U.S. foreign policy in Egypt, Bradley Klapper and Julie Pace either displayed an amazing level of clairvoyance or indulged in a level of fantasy ordinarily reserved for trips to Disneyland. I'm betting that it's the latter, that this AP report will in short order come to be seen as a complete journalistic embarrassment, and that the Obama administration is drinking from the same koolaid jug.
The good news is that they at least finally acknowledged a linkage that most of the rest of the establishment press has studiously ignored, namely that "After winning U.S. and worldwide praise (for brokering an Israel-Hamas ceasefire), Morsi immediately cashed in on his new political capital by seizing more power at home." But it's all downhill from there (bolds and numbered tags are mine):
Fox News Channel's Greta Van Susteren has reached her boiling point after seeing yet another person at MSNBC hurl a gratuitous, objectively false charge of "racism" at Arizona Senator John McCain for having the gall to believe that Susan Rice would not be a good choice to be the next Secretary of State.
Well, if the President himself can call a sacked consulate and four dead Americans who deserved adequate security and didn't get it "bumps in the road," why not?
Monday morning, the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, presented a story in advance of United Nations ambassador Susan Rice's meeting today with certain Republican senators -- a meeting from which Rice, who engaged in serial falsehood peddling during the weekend after the September 11 Benghazi attack, apparently falsehood-peddling Rice emerged today even worse-off than before. In that story, both the headline and first paragraph of Anne Flaherty's coverage characterized Benghazi as a "PR (public relations) disaster."
Others can comment on the entirely of the Sunday New York Times story by Serge F. Kovaleski and Brooks Barnes (used in Monday's print edition) about Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, the maker of the infamous "Innocence of Muslims" YouTube trailer the authors characterize as a "film" a dozen times in their write-up. Nakoula has now been in jail for two months.
I'm only going to comment on the following two sentences from the writeup which follow the jump:
As has so often been the case for nearly four years, one needs to go to the editorial pages of the nation's two leading financial publications, the Wall Street Journal and Investor's Business Daily, to get to the truth behind news developments, especially the ones with potential to cast the Obama administration in a bad light.
There may not be a better example of the press ignoring the obvious than the circumstances surrounding Mohammed Morsi's dictatorial power grab in Egypt. Morsi gained substantial perceived world standing when the U.S. government praised him lavishly (or is it slavishly?) for his involvement in brokering a truce of sorts in the Israel-Hamas conflict. As a Friday IBD editorial pointed out, Morsi is now "using America's stamp of approval to oppress his own people" (bolds are mine throughout this post):
The Washington Post is once again kissing a Washington posterior. Two days after lauding liberal Sen. Patty Murray, the Post hailed Hillary Clinton with the dominant headline on Monday’s front page: “The secretary of 1,000 things.”
Like any other Hillary superfan, Post reporter Stephanie McCrummen could only wonder whether Mrs. Clinton would now prepare a 2016 presidential run or – perish the thought – “this might really be it for one of the most iconic figures in American political history.” Benghazi? That’s a small speed bump on the Road to Gush-gush:
So what's more important, the fact that Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi was involved in brokering a Gaza-Israeli peace deal which appears to be more than sightly tilted in Hamas's direction, or the fact that Morsi has opportunistically seized nearly dictatorial powers?
They're arguably equal, but if compelled to choose, I believe most readers here would contend that because of the difficulties seen throughout human history in undoing such things, Morsi's power grab is more important. The Associated Press doesn't share that evaluation. In its summary of "10 Things to Know for Friday" the wire service notes the "peace" accord but not the power grab:
It took more than a month -- and an intervening presidential election -- but it appears as though MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough has finally joined the chorus of conservatives criticizing Candy Crowley for covering for President Obama’s false statements on Libya during the presidential debates.
Speaking on Monday’s Morning Joe, Scarborough strongly rebuked the Obama administration’s handling of the post-Benghazi coverage. [See video below page break. MP3 audio here.]
As more information comes to light regarding the attacks on our embassy in Benghazi, now seems like a perfect time to examine how an objective journalist deals with the Obama administration's evolving view of the attack as opposed to how an Obama-boosting one does. Viewers of the 10 a.m. hour of MSNBC programming got to see such a sharp contrast this morning.
Speaking with fill-in host Richard Lui on Jansing & Co., Joy-Ann Reid of TheGrio.com and Ron Fournier of National Journal were brought on to discuss the recent revelations that former CIA Director Petraeus knew within 24-hours that the attack on our embassy was an act of terrorism. Hearing the responses from Ms. Reid and Mr. Fournier could not offer a better contrast between Reid's bias and Fournier's dissatisfaction with swallowing whole the media's storyline. [See video below page break. MP3 audio here.]
Charlie Rose and Norah O'Donnell took turns hammering Senator John McCain on Wednesday's CBS This Morning over his promise to block any potential nomination of Susan Rice to be secretary of state. Rose grilled McCain after the Republican slammed Rice for blaming a "spontaneous" mob for the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi: "Didn't Susan Rice say that...all the information was not in, and she did not know everything there was to be known....what should she have said, based on what she knew at the moment?"
O'Donnell also tried to shift blame away from Ambassador Rice to a "failure with the intelligence coming out of the CIA." She later pointed a finger at former CIA Director David Petraeus and current Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. When the Arizona senator confirmed that Petraeus and Clinton deserved scrutiny, Rose interjected, "But why not wait for them before you make a judgment about Susan Rice?" [audio available here; video below the jump]
Unless today is a total surprise and runs contrary to most of what we've seen during the past four years, President Obama will go through another "news conference" without a great deal of difficult or aggressive questioning from the assembled press corps.
Carrie Budoff Brown and Josh Gerstein at the Politico seem to think otherwise, and have produced a lame list of seven questions they think Obama will be asked -- so lame that one of them has to do with recently passed marijuana-legalizing initiatives in the states of Washington and Colorado:
Suddenly discovering something that anyone with eyes could see before the election, Josh Gerstein at Politico tells us that "Obama's foreign policy team hits turbulence."
Please. For over a week after September 11, the administration was pretending that a video which wasn't relevant at all caused protests which never occurred were what supposedly led to the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya which killed four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens. We had different people in the administration taking blame (but not really), and learned that but for the heroics of two of the men who died, dozens of others might have perished. But only now is Gerstein discovering "turbulence." Read on for a narrative which would be funny if it were not so sadly symptomatic of a see-no-evil press corps:
On Monday's CBS This Morning, Sharyl Attkisson filed a hard-hitting report on the possible ties between former CIA chief David Petraeus's resignation and the continuing controversy over the terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya. Attkisson spotlighted how Petraeus told several members of Congress that "video of the Benghazi attack supports an element of spontaneity, as the administration first claimed."
Anchor Charlie Rose also hyped Rep. Peter King's theory on General Petraeus's resignation: "The chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee says the timing of the resignation suggests a cover-up. Petraeus was scheduled to testify to Congress this week about the attack that killed the American ambassador to Libya." [audio clip available here; video below the jump]
Now that their guy will be in the White House for another term, the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, has apparently commenced its "Cleaning up Benghazi" project -- as, naturally, has the Obama administration.
As part of that effort, the wire service's Greg Risling, reporting from Los Angeles at 6:14 p.m., made only the vaguest of references to how the film "roiled the Middle East" and "sparked violence ... killing dozens," without mentioning how it was dishonestly leveraged by terrorists as cover for protests and violence, and of course without mentioning how Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and so many others in his administration spent well over a week -- despite clearly knowing better -- citing the film as the cause of the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya which killed four Americans, including Libyan ambassador Christopher Stevens. Excerpts follow the jump (saved here in full for future reference, fair use and discussion purposes; bolds are mine):
With President Obama's election win, the worldwide celebrations have commenced again. NBC's Today show documented as much as they possibly could on Wednesday morning.
Reporting from London, foreign correspondent Michelle Kosinski was tasked with narrating the story of how the election has been perceived and reported overseas. Eerily similar to four long years ago, jubilant residents from other sovereign nations were shown in a high spirits after a second term was guaranteed to Obama. [ video below, MP3 audio here ]