Mitt Romney's statement yesterday evening slamming the Obama administration for the U.S. embassy in Cairo's attempt to appease the Islamist protesters was "naive," MSNBC's Alex Wagner and Time magazine's Rana Foroohar agreed in a segment on the September 12 edition of Now with Alex Wagner.
While Wagner said the initial statement condemning the anti-Muhammad movie was intended to calm tempers and save lives, Foroohar went into an odd analogy that compared Islamist hatemongers with conservative radio host Glenn Beck (MP3 audio here; video embedded below page break):
Both President Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney spoke earlier today about the horrendous murders yesterday of U.S. foreign service officials in Benghazi, Libya. Of the two, only Romney took questions from the media. Yet rather than scrutinize the president's failure to be open to inquiry from members of the press, MSBNC's Thomas Roberts and NBC's chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd devoted the top segment of the 11 a.m. MSNBC Live program to focusing on Romney "doubling down" in today's press conference of his criticism of the Obama administration.
For his part, Roberts suggested Romney's press conference today was in response to President Obama's post-convention bounce in the polls:
On Wednesday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams gushed over a speech Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made on a trip to South Africa: "...she talked about the strength she received from Nelson Mandela back when she was first lady and the Clintons were under daily political attack."
Williams read a quote from Clinton: "I was beginning to get pretty hard inside. I was beginning to think, who do they think they are? What can I do to get even?" He then added: "She talked about Mandela's lesson of shedding bitterness and working toward reconciliation."
The Associated Press made no attempt to hide their liberal slant on Tuesday as they hyped an obscure leftist organization's report attacking American conservatives' efforts to support traditional marriage in Africa. Writer Michelle Faul repeatedly used biased labels such as "anti-gay," "religious right," and "Christian right" against social conservatives. By contrast, she made only one vague reference to the far left political ideology of the group that issued the report.
Faul also falsely implied that American social conservatives endorse legislative efforts in Uganda to implement the death penalty on those convicted of "aggravated homosexuality."
Uniquely among the broadcast network evening newscasts, on Friday's NBC Nightly News, substitute host Kate Snow briefly noted that it was former President George W. Bush's 66th birthday, and that the former President was in Africa as part of an effort to fight against cancer on the Third World continent. Snow read the item:
When Bill Clinton went to Africa in 2007 to fight AIDS, ABC hyped his important work "to save a continent." Diane Sawyer interviewed the ex-President and Kate Snow followed him to Africa. However, the same network has, thus far, skipped former President George W. Bush's efforts to fight cancer in the same area.
On the July 24, 2007, Good Morning America, Kate Snow excitedly related, "In Africa, they seem to be on a first-name basis with the former president, shouting 'Bill! Bill!'" On the July 20th GMA, Diane Sawyer hyped, "And President Bill Clinton weighs in, speaking out on the war, his work to save a continent..." Instead of praising Bush's work, Tuesday, the morning show devoted two segments to the divorce of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes.
Washington Post reporter Sudarsan Raghavan filed a 12-paragraph story today, published on page A9 about "coordinated assaults... in the town of Garissa" Kenya on Sunday morning in which "[m]asked gunmen sprayed bullets and hurled grenades at two churches... killing at least 15 people and injuring several."
"It was the latest in a series of attacks in this East African nation suspected of being carried out by al-Qaeda-linked militants from neighboring Somalia or their sympathizers," Raghavan noted. Yet nowhere in his story did he describe the group suspected as responsible, al-Shabab, as a terrorist entity, but merely as an "Islamist... militia." The United States government considers al-Shabab a terrorist entity. From the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) website:
So here's how it appears to me and I suspect many other news readers, never mind the real motivations. At the Associated Press, when you're covering situations like suicide bomber attacks on Christian churches in Nigeria yesterday, you hold out as long as you can in speculating about who is responsible, even though Islamist Boko Haram terrorists (and only Boko Haram terrorists) have claimed credit for previous attacks in that country, and even though no other religion on earth generates large numbers of people who claim to be its adherents who are willing to blow themselves up so they can kill as many infidels as possible.
Then, once the inevitable claim of responsibility arrives, you treat it as old news (the bombings were a whole 24-36 hours ago, y'know), focus your headline and coverage on "Christian" reprisals instead (even though there is no element of Christian doctrine which sanctions random reprisals), and identify who carried out the attacks as late as you possibly, so it will end up not making most broadcast and many print reports. Here are excerpts:
It would appear that the establishment press is determined to portray a "both sides are at fault" equivalency as much as possible in Nigeria where almost none exists.
Earlier today, Patrick Poole at the PJ Tatler pointed out that a brief initial Associated Press item from Lagos would cause a person, in Poole's words, to "come away mystified as to why these churches were subject to apparently random 'violence.'" He specifically objected to the vagueness of a sentence claiming that "Churches have been increasingly targeted by violence in Nigeria." Later more detailed dispatches from Reuters and the AP aren't much more helpful, especially as they both fail to tag the principal perpetrators of the violence, the Boko Haram, as the terrorists that they are.
With Muammar Qadhafi dead and Libya firmly in the hands of rebels, the attention of the major network media has shifted away from the North African country. But that certainly doesn't mean the unintended consequences of the late NATO-assisted revolution aren't barreling down the track.
Tripoli-based Time magazine contributor Steve Sotloff has an excellent piece at the magazine's website about how radical Salafist Muslims are enacting a reign of terror on fellow Muslims who don't subscribe to their radical theology. You can read the whole piece here.
It remains to be seen what sort, if any, attention the media at-large pay to post-Qadhafi Libya and the degree to which President Obama's actions in support the Libyan rebels has led to a dangerous post-Qadhafi power vacuum that could likely be filled by dangerous Islamists.
Oops, he supposedly did it again. Herman Cain, the GOP presidential candidate who has experience as a rocket scientist on his resume, made another allegedly "stupid" remark. Why, if you buy the press's accounts of his statements, it's hard to believe the guy can dress himself in the morning without hanging his pants over his head and putting his socks on his hands.
Here's what Cain said that has the ninnies at ThinkProgress aka ThinkRegress (whom I won't link) and the Politico all lathered up -- When Cain recounted how he wouldn't answer a reporter's non-specific question about Libya, he responded that he needed to know which aspect of President Obama's current "policy" (there is one?) he should address: "Do I agree with siding with the opposition? Do I agree with saying that Qadhafi should go? Do I agree that they now have a country where you’ve got Taliban and Al Qaeda that’s going to be part of the government? … Do I agree with not knowing the government was going to — which part was he asking me about? I was trying to get him to be specific and he wouldn’t be specific." Well, it turns out, in an update at Politico which ThinkRegress isn't posting, lest it disturb its meme of constant condescension, that a Cain spokesman identified an important Libyan official with Taliban connections lickety-split:
The "mildly Islamist" party that won a plurality of votes in recent Tunisian elections is not a troubling sign, nor is the possibility that Egypt and Libya may be moving in an Islamist direction post-Qadhafi and Mubarak, Reza Aslan argued in a Sunday "Guest Voices" piece for WashingtonPost.com's "On Faith" section (emphases mine)
The "moderate Islamist group" Ennahdha appears to have garnered the most support in last week's elections in Tunisia, Leila Fadel of the Washington Post reported in the October 25 paper.
Fadel noted that Ennahdha was "brutally repressed' during longtime dictator Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali's reign and insisted that the party now has broad appeal "not only [among] the religious but also socially conservative voters who saw it as an authentic Tunisian party that respects the Arab and Islamic character of the nation."
Yet nowhere in Fadel's story does the Post correspondent note that Ennahdha -- which means Renaissance in English -- supported the Islamic Revolution in Iran, has backed terrorism, and been generally anti-American in its rhetoric, Jerusalem Post's Oren Kessler noted yesterday:
"Libya’s top leader declared the country officially 'liberated' Sunday from the four-decade rule of Moammar Gaddafi, pledging to replace his dictatorship with a more democratic but also a more strictly Islamic system," Washington Post staff writer Mary Beth Sheridan noted in the lead paragraph of her October 24 front-page article, "Libya declares liberation days after Gaddafi death."
Sheridan noted two possible significant policy changes that transitional leaders are examining: banning interest on housing loans and loosening the existing restrictions on Libyan men taking more than one wife.
On Sunday's Meet the Press, host David Gregory teed one up for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that was specifically designed to mock the Republican presidential candidates while allowing her to brag uninterrupted about the foreign policy successes of Barack Obama (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Hundreds of Coptic Christians traveled to Washington D.C. yesterday "from as far as New York and Chicago" to call on President Obama to push Egypt's government to protect their brothers and sisters from persecution.
Kudos are in order for the Washington Post for devoting a 14-paragraph story on page B3 of the October 20 paper. Editors also published a large photo from the demonstration, headlined, "At the White House, Coptic Christians demand an end to 'horrible nightmare,'" on the front page of the Post to direct readers to the Metro section story.
A truly amazing coincidence happened on Monday night as former President George W. Bush was praised for helping millions in Africa by two separate public figures in two unrelated matters - the fight against AIDS in Africa, and South Sudan’s successful fight for independence - on two different television shows.
As rocker Bono of U-2 appeared as a guest on CBS’s Late Show with David Letterman, he praised President Bush for helping to save so far five million lives in Africa over the past eight years because of his push to supply treatment to AIDS patients.
And on Comedy Central’s Colbert Report, guest and human rights activist John Prendergast of the Enough Project, when prodded by host Stephen Colbert, noted that it was under Bush that America used its influence to help the South Sudanese secure a peace deal with the north.
During former President George W. Bush's time in office, he was regularly described as fascist, murderous, and a war criminal for his wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Even if people didn't support the wars, though, Bush obeyed the law and received congressional approval to be in the countries. President Barack Obama is the one acting above the law, having yet to seek approval for being at war with Libya and ignoring the War Powers Act, but the media remains absent on labeling him with the same names.
CNN foreign affairs analyst Fareed Zakaria – who has recently had off-the-record conversations with President Obama on foreign issues – noted the president's "restraint" in his dealing with the "Arab Spring" and the conflict in Libya Wednesday. Zakaria previously gave a thumbs-up for Obama's Mideast speech in May and later defended the president's plan for removing American troops from Afghanistan.
The point-of-note is that this is the same analyst whom, according to the New York Times, President Obama "sounded out" while shaping his foreign policy. The two simply had "off-the-record" conversations on foreign issues, according to Zakaria, and the CNN host claimed he was not an advisor to the President.
As the First Lady and her daughters toured Africa last week, Americans were treated to puff piece after piece from their adoring fans in the press.
One such aired on ABC's "This Week" Sunday with David Muir actually saying, "Will some of that deeply felt criticism in Africa melt under the glow cast by Mrs. Obama and her girls?" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
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.