When ABC and NBC interview First Ladies, both the tone and substance of the discussion tend to hinge on whether the husband is an Obama or a Bush.
On Wednesday's ABC "World News" and NBC "Nightly News," network correspondents sat down with Michelle Obama in South Africa for exclusive interviews in which they lobbed softball questions and avoided her husband's policies. But in interviews with Laura Bush in 2007 and 2010, ABC questioned the then-First Lady's Mideast trip and NBC re-litigated President Bush's response in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
Isn’t it inspiring? Once again, the Obama family is bringing peace and raising esteem for America in a foreign land by their very presence.
Back on March 21, New York Times reporters Alexei Barrionuevo and Jackie Calmes with Obama gushed “Brazilians who gathered at a plaza trying to catch a glimpse of him said that he had inspired millions in this country because of his African heritage.” Paris correspondent Scott Sayare on September 23, 2010 praised Obama’s magical abilities: “But anti-American sentiment, once pervasive in these neighborhoods, seems to have been all but erased since the election of Mr. Obama, who has proved to be a powerful symbol of hope here and a powerful diplomatic tool.”
ABC and NBC have delivered fawning coverage of First Lady Michelle Obama's visit this week to South Africa and Botswana, oozing over the "celebrity" and "excitement" of the "patented Michelle power" on display. To its credit, CBS has largely taken a pass on the idolatry.
The War Powers Act is relevant in certain circumstances, including (Section 1543) "in any case in which United States Armed Forces are introduced ... into the territory, airspace or waters of a foreign nation, while equipped for combat." This would clearly apply to the Libyan situation.
The Act requires timely presidential notification of the commencement of such operations. Though of dubious constitutionality, the Act further requires that (Section 1544) "Within sixty calendar days ... the President shall terminate any use of United States Armed Forces" unless Congress has declared war or has enacted a specific authorization ..."
We're at Day 60, and the Obama administration isn't going to comply with any of this. Here is how the Associated Press is headlining and describing Barack Obama's failure to comply (copied in full for future reference, fair use and discussion purposes):
Update below the break: Although Zakaria said he would be "surprised" if any Israelis objected to Obama's "quite even-handed" call for pre-1967 borders between Israel and Palestine, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed clear disapproval of the idea Thursday.
CNN's Fareed Zakaria appeared three times on Newsroom Thursday to preview and evaluate President Obama's speech on the Middle East – but never revealed that he has recently had face-to-face meetings with the president on foreign policy matters.
Last weekend a comment by CNN prime time host Eliot Spitzer revealed that Zakaria was advising the president on foreign policy matters, but Zakaria later dismissed that observation and said he simply had off-the-record conversations with Obama on foreign issues. However, he still did not disclose that information when he evaluated Obama's foreign policy speech Thursday on CNN.
A new poll finds one out of 10 Egyptians are sympathetic to Islamic "fundamentalists," 75 percent have a positive view of the Muslim Brotherhood, and 79 percent have a "very" or "somewhat unfavorable" view of the United States.
But Washington Post's Michael Birnbaum seems to portray this data as of little concern (emphasis mine):
On Friday's "Inside Washington," during a discussion about American foreign policy in the Middle East and Africa, PBS's Mark Shields actually said, "The most urgent priority that we have is to find jobs somehow, not simply for Americans, which is an urgent priority, but for young Egyptians" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
But some of the labeling was overheated: “A secretive evangelical Christian organization that some say has a right-wing agenda.” When the Times says “some say,” it almost always means “liberals say,” and indeed, Oppenheimer’s source, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics (CREW) tends to target conservatives with their complaints.
The Ivory Coast strongman Laurent Gbagbo, who was finally captured on Monday, defied nearly everybody: the United States, the European Union and the African Union. But right to the end, Mr. Gbagbo had defenders in the West, and they notably included several prominent conservative Christians.
Covering the budget debate on Capitol Hill and the conflict in Libya, Andrea Mitchell spun two serious policy issues as examples of race-baiting.
On the April 5 edition of “Andrea Mitchell Reports,” the MSNBC anchor lamented that Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) proposed 2012 budget would ravage black and Hispanic communities.
“Representative Paul Ryan’s 2012 budget, released today, includes reforms, what they call reforms, and also big cuts in housing assistance, job training, and food stamps,” warned Mitchell. “All of which would have a very big impact on particularly poor and minority communities, some say.”
The great thing about being a enviro-evangelist blogger in the United States is the moral high ground it gives you from which to condemn people who fall short of your ecological credentials.
Take Bryan Walsh, the blogger behind Time magazine's Ecocentric blog. Walsh took GoDaddy.com CEO Bob Parsons for hunting down an elephant in Zimbabwe that was a threat to a village's crops.
In an April 4 post, Walsh set out to convince readers that hunting elephants, even when done as a defensive measure to save a village's crops, is illegitimate.
Of course, that's easy to say from the climate-controlled comfort of a New York magazine office, so Walsh reserved the bulk of his ire not for the villagers or the Zimbabwean government but for Parsons, who apparently made a politically incorrect choice with his own money:
NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell has seen a lot of dopey stuff from the liberal media in his nearly 25 years battling liberal media bias. But Matt Lauer's question to Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) on Wednesday takes the cake.
Discussing the matter of arming the rebels in Libya, the "Today" host allowed that there may well be al Qaeda operatives among the anti-Qadhafi forces, but asked, "would it not be a sign to them [the rebels] or showing them that the United States has compassion and we're willing to use our military might to help all people?"
After watching a clip of that exchange on the March 31 edition of "Hannity," Bozell couldn't contain his laughter.
In 1427, a ship captain sailing for his Portuguese Prince, Henry the Navigator, discovered the Azores Islands. If the question of the significance of this event had been posed, at the time, to Sultan Murad Khan (the leader of the Ottoman Empire), or to Itzcoatl and Nezahualcoyotl (the co-leaders of the Aztecs) or to Rao Kanha (one of the princes of Jodhpur in India), it is unlikely that any of them would have responded that it is an early indication of a historic explosion of cultural energy in Europe that will lead to European exploration and conquest of most of the known world, and to a renaissance of European thought that will give rise to scientific, industrial and scholarly dominance of the planet by European culture for at least half a millennium.
Today, no European or American leaders with whom I am familiar have tied the Sept. 11, 2001 attack, the various Islamist bombing attacks around the world, the push for Sharia law in the West and the current disturbances in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Jordan, Syria and Bahrain together as symptoms of one larger phenomenon.
President Obama's decision to bomb Libya is not even so multilateral as President George W. Bush's decision to attack Iraq. Nor is it ultimately driven by humanitarian concerns — and certainly not by any vital U.S. national interest.
Despite Obama's vilification of Bush for his alleged unilateralism, "Obama's 'coalition of the willing,'" according to foreign policy reporter Josh Rogin, "is smaller than any major multilateral operation since the end of the Cold War." Obama's Libyan intervention is more unilateral than Dubya's in another respect, as well: Obama has brazenly refused even to consult Congress, much less seek its blessing.
One sign that the broadcast networks aren’t vigorously opposed to President Obama’s air strikes in Libya is the utter lack of polls. There were no ABC/Washington Post or NBC/Wall Street Journal polls touted before Obama’s Libya address, and a Gallup poll showing only 47 percent support for military action has been barely mentioned.
CBS News did a poll (without The New York Times) and briefly touted its results on March 22. Katie Couric offered one sentence on the Evening News: “A CBS News poll out tonight finds most Americans are following the events in Libya closely and nearly seven out of ten approve of the air strikes.” But the question was phrased in a way to encourage support for a coalition effort protecting innocent civilians:
"As you may know, the U.S. military and other countries have begun cruise missile and air strikes in Libya in order to protect civilians from attacks by Qaddafi's forces. Do you approve or disapprove of the U.S. and other countries taking this military action in Libya?"
During Monday's "Morning Joe," Time's Mark Halperin and co-host Mika Brzezinski helpfully provided some spin for the White House to borrow as President Obama finishes his prepared remarks for Monday evening's address to the nation on the events in Libya.
President Obama has received sharp criticism for his foreign policy concerning Egypt and Libya, but Halperin threw cold water on that, calling Obama's strategy "extremely deft in a very tough situation." Brzezinski agreed with his premise, adding that his "deft" handling is also in accord with promises he previously made.
"He's pro-democracy, right? He's anti-violence. He's anti-unilateral U.S. intervention," Halperin noted of Obama, trying to connect his current policy with the peacemaker he claimed to be as a presidential candidate.
(Video below the jump. Comments begin at the 12:30 mark.)
Libyan rebel commander admits his fighters have al-Qaeda links Abdel-Hakim al-Hasidi, the Libyan rebel leader, has said jihadists who fought against allied troops in Iraq are on the front lines of the battle against Muammar Gaddafi's regime.
So how will the U.S. press deal with this hot potato?
Everyone seems to have a different theory about why President Obama attacked Libya when he did and what his ultimate purpose is, because he has been so adamantly against similar uses of military force and reluctant even to voice his support for some democratic movements. I don't think it's that mysterious.
Commentators have been mystified by Obama's vacillation, his indecisiveness and his apparent apathy about foreign policy. I do think that Obama far prefers domestic policy to foreign policy and that he wants to focus most of his attention on redistributing wealth, administering "economic justice" and otherwise fundamentally changing America. But we should understand that fundamentally transforming America has an essential foreign policy component, as well.
On Thursday at Reuters, Andrew Quinn, with the help of Caren Bohan, cobbled together a pathetic "analysis" full of sympathy for a "struggling" Barack Obama and recognition of the need to keep oil flowing from Saudi Arabia. It also contained a false jab at George W. Bush and the War in Iraq.
First, let's look at Quinn's Bush jab:
Obama is committed to partnering with other countries rather than going it alone as did his predecessor George W. Bush, which both broadens and complicates the decision-making process.
This got the attention of Jeffrey Goldberg at the Atlantic (HT Instapundit), who linked to the identical but unbylined Reuters item at the New York Times. Goldberg's response:
In the lead-up to the Iraq War, the media "hammered Bush" about getting congressional approval, NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell noted on last night's "Hannity" during the "Media Mash" segment. Yet such scrutiny has been missing in President Obama's actions on Libya, he noted.
What's more, the media have failed to press Obama on violating his own standards on presidential use of military force:
Amid all the confusion of our new little war in Libya, one thing is clear: Notwithstanding the bravery and professionalism of our troops, in naming it Operation Odyssey Dawn, the Pentagon has invoked a haunting specter. The war's namesake — Homer's epic poem "The Odyssey" — is the tale of the hero, Odysseus, taking 10 years to get home from the Trojan War — which itself took 10 years to fight.
In fairness to the Pentagon, when the Germans started their ill-fated campaign in Tripoli in February 1941 (that was to be lost due to a too-long and thin logistics line), they, too, had difficulty, calling it Operation Sonnenblume (Sunflower). As the German historian Wolf Heckmann drolly noted of the Wehrmacht high command: "Unconsciously, someone had hit upon the perfect symbol: a huge and showy flower at the end of a long and rather fragile stem."
Well, it is official. The president of Bolivia, Evo Morales, has asked the Norwegian Nobel Committee to take back President Barack Obama's Nobel Peace Prize owing to Obama's missile strikes in Libya. The head of Russia's Liberal Democratic Party, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, also has weighed in, and Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin is really in a snit. This is the best news Col. Moammar Gadhafi has had in weeks.
President Obama, who ordered airstrikes against Libya and then took his wife and the girls on a sightseeing and official junket to South America, probably took little note of the Bolivian's and Russians' actions, but it does show how difficult it is to get "world opinion" behind the use of force, even against a fla fla dictator such as Gadhafi. There is more unease in the "world community." Amr Moussa, the head of the Arab League, at first was for enforcing a "no-fly zone" over Libya. Now he is not so sure. The next thing you know, he will be on Gadhafi's side. World opinion can be volatile.
Former Clinton advisor and current CNN contributor Paul Begala thought he was being clever Friday evening when he took a cheap shot at George W. Bush on HBO's "Real Time."
Without skipping a beat, St. Louis Tea Party founder and Big Government editor Dana Loesch smacked down her CNN colleague with a delicious jab at his former boss (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Calls for a U.S. or NATO-imposed no-fly zone over Libya to aid the fledgling rebellion against dictator Muammar Qadhafi have been met with protests by Obama administration officials that it is a logistical nightmare requiring careful planning and forethought.
While that's something to that argument, fears of Libya's air force are way overblown, some retired Air Force officers argue, according to Aviation Week's David Fulghum, in his March 8 blog post, "Libyan Air Defenses Would Fade Fast" (emphases mine):
During the Bush administration, the media perpetually pounded on news developments that highlighted real or imagined incompetence and/or the low regard with which the administration was held in foreign capitals.
But with the Obama administration's poor handling of the Libyan crisis, the MSM have been strangely mute.
Take for example the evaucation of American expatriates from Libya.
If Time-magaziner-turned-WH-press-sec Jay Carney ever tires of defending Pres. Obama, Norah O'Donnell clearly seems ready to step in...
When on today's Morning Joe Donny Deutsch described PBO as having a passive leadership style as evidenced by his approach to Libya, health care and other issues, an indignant O'Donnell piped up, defending the president's passivity.
It is truly disgusting for me to hear politicians, national and international talking heads and pseudo-academics praising the Middle East stirrings as democracy movements. We also hear democracy as the description of our own political system. Like the founders of our nation, I find democracy and majority rule a contemptible form of government.
You say, "Whoa, Williams, you really have to explain yourself this time!"
"U.S. still awaiting Libya's permission to evacuate Americans," blared the headline for a page A6 story in today's Washington Post.
"The United States has been unable to get Libya's permission to evacuate American citizens from the country, State Department officials said Tuesday, prompting the administration to temper its response to the Libyan crackdown," Post staffers Mary Beth Sheridan and Colum Lynch noted.
Gee, you'd think that should be front-page news, and it's difficult to imagine this not being front-page news had it happened under President George W. Bush's watch.
On Monday's "Morning Joe," MSNBC co-host Joe Scarborough hinted that President Obama may have been a major catalyst of the current protests against the authoritarian Mubarak regime in Egypt. Scarborough referred to the president's 2009 Cairo speech and wondered if it inspired the present protests.
"Barack Obama, he goes to Cairo, he gives a speech, and he inspires – perhaps he's the one who inspires a lot of these Egyptians to get out into the streets eventually," Scarborough proposed.
The "Morning Joe" panel was discussing the transition of power in Egypt and how it might affect American politics. Scarborough characterized President Obama as on the one hand a possible galvanizing figure in the current push for freedom in Egypt, and yet on the other hand a world leader accused of inaction during oppression of Iranians by their government in 2009.