Leave it to Dylan Ratigan, one of the star personalities at MSNBC who seems to be constantly looking for a reason to be angry.
On his July 12 show, Ratigan posed his view on how trade between China and the United States operates. According to Ratigan, importing products where labor costs are significantly lower is akin to slavery. He specifically named Foxconn, a company that manufactures iPhones and iPads for Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL). (h/t @KenShepherd)
"Do you want to get raw?" Ratigan said. "Let's say that the American people happily, logically apathetic are perfectly happy basically with a slave culture of illegals and outsourced slaves in China making iPhones at Foxconn and that for as much as we talk about the liberation of the slaves and we like to pat ourselves on the back for the Civil War - got a big statue of Abe Lincoln. All we've really done is alter the color of some our slaves and moved them to other countries. Is that too extreme on my part, Matt?"
The Pentagon rescinded the invitation of evangelist Franklin Graham to speak at its May 6 National Day of Prayer event because of complaints about his previous comments about Islam.
The Military Religious Freedom Foundation expressed its concern over Graham's involvement with the event in an April 19 letter sent to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. MRFF's complaint about Graham, the son of Rev. Billy Graham, focused on remarks he made after 9/11 in which he called Islam "wicked" and "evil" and his lack of apology for those words.
Col. Tom Collins, an Army spokesman, told ABC News on April 22, "This Army honors all faiths and tries to inculcate our soldiers and work force with an appreciation of all faiths and his past comments just were not appropriate for this venue."
On Monday’s Larry King Live on CNN, guest Jane Fonda portrayed herself as a victim of a "myth" that was "created" by "right-wingers" about her infamous "Hanoi Jane" visit to Vietnam to protest the Vietnam War. Without specifying what aspect of the "Hanoi Jane" story she considered to be a fallacy, though the "Product Description" at Amazon.com seems to shed some light on what she was referring to, she claimed that author Jerry Lembcke’s new book, "Hanoi Jane: War, Sex, and Fantasies of Betrayal," dispels the "myth," and asserted that it is "sad" that some conservatives are "still stuck in the past":
JANE FONDA: No, it's about the myth, you know, why it is that 300 people went to North Vietnam, people, many people before me, why me, why have they created this myth? You know, when I came back from North Vietnam, there was maybe a quarter of an inch of media about it in the New York Times. Nobody made any big deal out of it. It was created, and some people are stuck-
LARRY KING: By critics?
FONDA: By right wingers. There are some people who are like stuck there, you know, they're still stuck in the past. I always want to say, "Get a life," or, you know, "Read what really happened," you know. The myths are now true.
Referring to people who sometimes protest against her, she continued: "But it makes me sad for these people who are stuck because they've not taken the time – if they're going to waste their energy on hatred, they should take the time in finding out what was really true."
Less than two weeks after linking draconian anti-gay sentiment in Uganda to a group of American evangelical Christians who visited the African nation, on Sunday’s World News, ABC correspondent Dan Harris filed a report focusing on the positive work of American evangelicals in Cambodia who are helping children escape from being sold into prostitution by their own parents. And, although he did not mention by name the existence of former communist leader Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge regime, Harris recounted the theory of some Christians that the destruction of religion in the 1970s is one of several factors that helped erode morality in the country. Harris: "Why is this so easy here? Poverty is part of the answer, but some Christians say it's also because Cambodia endured a genocide in the 1970s, during which children were forced to spy on and even execute their parents, and the educated and religious communities were nearly wiped out. Pastor Don Brewster believes, as a result, Cambodia now suffers from a moral vacuum."
Diane Sawyer, anchoring on Sunday because of the impending House vote on ObamaCare, introduced the report: "It says in the Bible that faith without deeds is dead. And it's a notion taken to heart by a group of American evangelicals who are fighting child sex trafficking in Cambodia, a country that has been a magnet for pedophiles. Weekend anchor Dan Harris traveled to Cambodia to witness the rescue."
Toyota is facing harsh scrutiny from the media and lawmakers - perhaps with justification. But there could be consequences for the U.S. economy.
And as Toyota (NYSE:TM) executives have endured two days of congressional hearings on the issues surrounding their potentially widespread defective products, the most aggressive questioners have been lawmakers from Michigan, home of the Big 3 automakers. A fact that led CNBC "Squawk Box" co-host Becky Quick to question if the federal government, with a huge stake in General Motors and Chrysler, are being a little unfair with Toyota on her Feb. 24 broadcast.
"We've heard from some congressmen, especially those later on in the show about the people and Congress people who are questioning Toyota at this point saying, they are doing this because the government has this big stake in GM?" Quick said. "To me, that seems a little crazy."
On Fox's Nov. 22 "Fox News Sunday," former "Special Report" anchor and Fox News senior political correspondent was dead spot on target in many regards when it came to criticizing the tack President Barack Obama has taken with his foreign policy gestures.
First, Hume reflected on how Obama reacted on his trip to Asia last week. He noted that Obama was in a tough position, having to rely on borrowed Chinese money. However, "embracing weakness" was not the proper way for Obama to represent the country in Hume's view (emphasis added).
"Look, the president is in a weaker position than he might have been, not least because his policies have contributed mightily to the immense amount of new borrowing that's being done, much of it from the Chinese," Hume said. "So now you have the Chinese even worried about the size of the health care plan. That is unfortunate. But this president seems quite willing to embrace weakness as a position for the United States. I mean, the bowing and scraping that we see -- Saudi Arabia we saw it. We saw it on this trip in Japan."
At the top of Monday’s CBS Evening News, anchor Katie Couric teased a story on the President’s trip to China by casting him as Reaganesque: “Mr. Hu, tear down that firewall. President Obama challenges China’s government to allow unfettered access to the internet.”
Couric introduced the segment that followed by continuing to play up the idea that Obama took a hard line on Chinese censorship: “In China today, he challenged leaders of the communist government to give people greater access to the internet.” Correspondent Chip Reid reported that the President’s actual statement on the matter was hardly so dramatic: “It’s one of the touchiest topics in China and the President’s long answer took on the tone of a polite lecture.”
A clip was played of Obama declaring: “I have always been a strong supporter of open internet use. I’m a big supporter of non-censorship....I have a lot of critics in the United States who can say all kinds of things about me. I actually think that that makes our democracy stronger...” Reid described those comments as a “rebuke” that “was aimed at China’s leaders.” However, He went on to admit: “...if they were watching it on TV, most Chinese were not, because the government allowed it to run on only one local channel in Shanghai. In the rest of China, they aired a soap opera.”
And if that “progress” with Russia fades, will the Times follow up? Watch this space.
Diplomatic correspondent Helene Cooper and David Barboza emphasized the positive:
President Obama, fresh from making progress in his efforts to get Russia on board for possible tough new sanctions against Iran, arrived in China on Sunday, where he will attempt the even more difficult task of prodding China’s leaders to get tough on Iran.
Joe the Plumber was certainly on to something when he got then-candidate Barack Obama to admit he wanted to redistribute the wealth, according to former Republican presidential candidate and Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee.
Huckabee, who now hosts a show aired on the weekends on the Fox News Channel, told "On The Record" host Greta Van Sustren on Nov. 16 that Obama's policies go beyond just the redistribution of wealth, especially on health care. He likened a provision in the House health care bill that would require people to have some sort of health care coverage to a "poll tax."
"[W]hile we really wish [the president's priorities] were recovery, getting jobs back - that's the number one thing we ought to be focused on - but it appears to be redistribution," Huckabee said. "That's what's going on in the health care world, where we're trying to make sure that we've redistributed health care, taking it from people who have it, taking from them, giving it to people who may not even desire to have it, and forcing people into an unconstitutional system where they're going to have to virtually pay into a private marketplace in order to get full rights of citizenship. It's the equivalent of a poll tax."
ABC’s Good Morning America finally picked up on the deep bow President Obama performed for the Emperor of Japan over the weekend. Co-host Diane Sawyer ran through how other U.S. Presidents have greeted either Emperor Akhito or his father, the late Emperor Hirohito over the years — some bowing, some not. Sawyer claimed that Americans are “not trained to greet royalty” and “it’s just too confusing.”
Actually, the government employs lots of experts on culture and protocol to make sure that our presidents are fully “trained” on what to do when they represent our government overseas — which is not to say that all of our presidents perform these duties flawlessly.
Missing from Sawyer’s run-down is a tidbit that ABC White House correspondent Jake Tapper posted on his “Political Punch” blog Sunday afternoon. Tapper said he received a note from an old friend whom he described as “an academic with expertise about the Japanese Empire, and in general a supporter of President Obama.” According to this expert, it wasn’t necessarily incorrect for Obama to bow, but the President’s “forward lurch” was “jarring and inappropriate.”
On Friday, this NewsBuster noted how Pres. Obama, questioned at a news conference in Japan, twice refused to say whether he thought the United States' dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki was "the right decision."
Yesterday on Fox News Watch, Jim Pinkerton noted the NewsBusters nugget. The Fox News contributor and New America Foundation fellow observed that PBO's failure had huge implications for America's nuclear deterrent.
Video after the jump of PBO's duck-and-cover at the Tokyo press conference.
Defending the decision of the United States to drop nuclear weapons on Hiroshima and Nagasaki during WWII is not a comfortable thing to do when you're in Japan. But if you're President of the United States, you must do it. Diplomatically, yes. With sympathy for the civilian victims, yes. But you must do it.
But when it came time today for Barack Obama to fulfill that fundamental duty, he failed. The very first reporter [from Fuji TV] called on at the joint press conference with PBO and Japanese PM Hatoyama in Tokyo today put the question to Pres. Obama in blunt and explicit terms:
JAPANESE REPORTER: What is your understanding of the historical meaning of the A-bombing in Hiroshima and Nagasaki? Do you think it was the right decision?
Obama took a deep breath, paused . . . and punted.
On today's Morning Meeting, host Dylan Ratigan gathered his loyalist liberal media friends to deride Sarah Palin's recent speech to investors in Hong Kong, wherein she made the observation that government programs often create new problems, which are then tackled by eager politicians with what else but even more government programs.
First, in the interest of fairness, it must be noted that the guest from the Huffington Post and Vanity Fair, Vickie Ward, barely uttered a word in the entirety of the segment.
That's because she was laughing.
Here's what caused Ward's giggle-fit:
RATIGAN: I want to go to Andy Barr at Politico. Palin on health reform. This one made a little bit less sense. But I feel like it's very indicative, Andy, of certain aspects of right-wing talking points which look to demonize the government inherently, as opposed to looking at government as a tool that can either be abused, misused, or screwed up. Right? And so that rhetoric is evident here. [reading] 'It's common sense that government attempts to solve problems like the health care problem will just create new problems.' Now, forget the nonsensical aspect of that.
There is an inside joke for the veteran viewers of MSNBC’s morning show, ‘Morning Joe,’ which refers back to a time when Joe Scarborough was in a heated debate with Zbigneiw Brzezinski (Mika’s father) over the behind-the-scenes content of President Clinton’s Camp David accords. The elder Brzezinski grew rather frustrated with being out-shouted by Scarborough, and delivered the following zinger:
“You know, you have such a stunningly superficial knowledge of what went on that it's almost embarrassing to listen to you.”
This crushing critique could also be applied to today’s appearance of the New York Times’ Sam Tanenhaus, author of 'The Death of Conservatism,' on that same show. Tanenhaus delivered the following two opinions with an admirably straight face:
SAM TANENHAUS: Yeah, and it was interesting to go to the Clinton school and tell the audience there that the last conservative president in America was Bill Clinton.
[Update, 2:34 pm Eastern: Audio and video clips from the report posted.]
Despite the change in administration, CNN’s Michael Ware, who regularly issued doom-and-gloom reports on Iraq in past years, bluntly stated during a report on Thursday’s Anderson Cooper 360 that “America cannot win the war in Afghanistan...with bombs and bullets,” and offered that the only solution to the attacks on NATO troops was “cutting deals” with the Taliban and its leader, Mullah Omar.
Ware made this impolitic remark from the middle of the thoroughly Islamist border region between Afghanistan and Pakistan. The correspondent presented clips with interviews with Pakistani military and intelligence officials, and advanced the notion that Pakistan could serve as a mediator in such “deals” with the al Qaeda ally [audio clips from the report available here].
After giving a dramatic description of the region he had traveled to, Ware delivered his personal assessment of the Afghan campaign:
WARE: To put it simply, America cannot win the war in Afghanistan. It certainly can’t win it with bombs and bullets, and it can’t win it in Afghanistan alone. But part of the answer lies here, where I’m standing, in these mountain valleys in Pakistan on the Afghan border, because this is al Qaeda and Taliban territory. Right now, there’s as many as 100 Taliban on that mountaintop between the snowcapped peaks and amid those trees. They’re currently under siege from local villagers, who are driving them from their bunkers. But at the end of the day, it’s the Pakistani military who tolerates the presence of groups like the Taliban, and it’s not until America can start cutting deals with these people that there’s any hope of the attacks on American troops coming to an end.
On the Wednesday, June 10, Beck show on FNC, during an interview with host Glenn Beck, actor John Voight informed viewers that he decided to abandon his left-wing past partly because he blamed the "Marxist" anti-war movement of the Vietnam War era for causing the "slaughter" in South Vietnam and Cambodia after America pulled out of the region. After recounting that "I was surrounded by people who were very heavily programmed Marxist, and I didn't even realize it at the time that this was communist-based stuff, you know, that the communists were behind organizing all of these rallies and things," Voight continued:
And then I saw the end of the war. I saw us pull out, and then I saw the communists move in and slaughter 2 1/2 million people in South Vietnam and Cambodia. And I saw the left that had precipitated this turn away, just walk away from it. ... They didn't take seriously the blood that they had been directly causing. And it didn't – but I must say programming is very, very deep. And I didn't really pull out of it for quite a while afterward. But that's where the dime dropped and things started to happen. And then I , you know, then 9/11, of course.
Below is a complete transcript of the interview from the Wednesday, June 10, Beck show on FNC:
CNN latched onto two separate poll results on Monday that indicated that about half of Americans view the Islamic world negatively or don’t trust Muslim allies as much as other allies, and indicated that President Obama and others in authority need to be “educators” for the public about Islam. The network brought up the polls’ results on seven different occasions during their programming that day.
During the 8 am Eastern hour of American Morning, chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour first brought up a recent ABC News/Washington Post poll which found that 55 percent of Americans “concede that they lack a good basic understanding of Islam” and that 48 percent “hold an unfavorable opinion of Islam.” After she read these results, substitute anchor Carol Costello responded, “I think the difference is that many Americans see Islam as an ideology instead of a religion, and maybe, President Obama has to kind of -- kind of put a definition on it from the American standpoint in Turkey.”
Later, near the end of the noon hour of the Newsroom program, Amanpour appeared again, this time with anchor Tony Harris. He asked the correspondent to “talk us through some recent polling in The Washington Post that suggests that the president is going to have to play the role of educator-in-chief when it comes to explaining Islam to many in America, even as he works for better relations with the Islamic world.” Amanpour first answered that President Obama was “trying to smooth...over and correct” the “terrible rupture” between the U.S. and the Islamic world over the past eight years.
Monday's World News concluded with a story touting how a school in Japan, which ABC failed to note is affiliated with the Washington Post Company, uses President Obama's speeches to help teach English. Anchor Charles Gibson poured on the flattery:
Finally tonight, there's the old saying that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Well if that is the case, hundreds of students in Japan are flattering President Obama no end. That's because they're busy imitating him, all for a good reason.
After clips of adult students saying “Yes, we can,” reporter Clarissa Ward explained from Tokyo: “This is the Obama workshop at the Kaplan English School in Japan. Every week, as many as 200 students attend” where “they learn the President's speeches line by line, reciting them to their teacher.” That teacher seems to have a preference for those on the left, as Ward relayed how he “has also used speeches by Martin Luther King and John F. Kennedy for his classes, but he says his students are particularly inspired by the message of Mr. Obama.”
On Tuesday’s NBC Nightly News, correspondent Ron Mott filed a report featuring incoming Republican Congressman Joseph Cao, the first Vietnamese-American elected to Congress, and the man who defeated corrupt former Democratic Congressman William Jefferson in heavily Democratic New Orleans. Brian Williams introduced Mott’s piece: "There was new ground broken on Capitol Hill today, where the first Vietnamese-American Congressman in the history of this republic was sworn in. Joseph Cao of Louisiana is also the first Republican in more than a century to win the seat representing New Orleans."
Mott recounted Cao’s escape from Vietnam and his victory against Jefferson, who was involved in a bribery scandal: "The 41-year-old Republican Congressman, Joseph Cao, is now a standout on Capitol Hill, traveling a very long way to get there. As a boy, he was among tens of thousands airlifted out of Vietnam after the fall of Saigon, without his parents, who feared he was killed at the airport. ... He later studied for the priesthood, eventually became a lawyer, and then last year, took on a political institution in New Orleans, Democrat William Jefferson, embroiled in a bribery scandal."
Of all the genres of interviews, those conducted by the media with family and friends of victims of tragedy are among the most difficult and often least successful.
A remarkable exception to that rule comes in the form of the interview David Gregory conducted on this morning's Today show with Rabbi Shalom Paltiel, who was a friend of the Chabad couple murdered in Mombai and is a fellow member of the Chabad movement.
Gregory demonstrates knowledge and sensitivity, and Rabbi Paltiel exhibits a faith and optimism in the face of tragedy that people of all faiths should find inspiring. I encourage people to watch.
Last week at NewsBusters we noted how conservative commentator Pat Buchanan on MSNBC’s "Morning Joe" summed up global warming hysterias as just another "neo-Marxist idea for the transfer of wealth and power from people to elites." Now it seem that rival cable morning show "American Morning" has proved his point by highlighting a Japanese group fighting modern-day convenience with a vengeance.
On today’s "American Morning," CNN highlighted a group taking global warming hysteria to a whole new level of absurdity. The group called "Slow Life" says "the earth can't keep up with the speed of modern living. The environment losing ground to conveniences like the power hungry vending machines found on every Tokyo street corner, gas-guzzling cars and life’s outright excesses."
CNN’s Kyung Lah tried to link fast-paced lifestyles to global warming. Aside from interviewing one regular person on the street who claimed she could not afford to live a slow life, the only other person interviewed by CNN for the story was a professor sympathetic to the "Slow Life" gospel. The irrational professor claimed, "The problem is wealth. Actually it is wealth that has been producing poverty and that has been causing environmental crisis."
"Mr. Bush is to meet Chinese President Hu Jintao this week on the sidelines of the G8 Summit - where leaders will talk about soaring gas and food prices and the thorny issue of climate change," Yang said. "Officials want to build momentum toward next year's deadline for a global agreement to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions blamed for climate change."
President George W. Bush in April announced his support for establishing federal emissions reduction targets with a goal of stopping greenhouse gas emission growth by 2025. That wasn't enough for "Nightly News," which still managed to find a global warming alarmist with anti-Bush sentiments to bash his efforts.
On Thursday's Countdown show, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann seemed to mock John McCain's military service as he quipped that McCain was "awol" for not showing up for a Senate vote on providing college tuition to American troops, and further accused McCain, whom he called "Senator 'I Support the Troops,'" of "supporting himself instead of the troops." The MSNBC host also mocked McCain as being at the "front lines" of a fund-raiser in California. Notably, just a few weeks ago, Olbermann thought it was amusing to scold Ann Coulter for making a crack about Barack Obama being a "Manchurian candidate" because it might remind people of McCain, even though it was Olbermann, not Coulter, who drew a connection as he observed that the film The Manchurian Candidate was about a "presidential election and an American war hero POW who'd been brainwashed in Southeast Asia." (Video of Olbermann's "Manchurian Candidate" comments can be found here.) (Transcripts follow)
Again today, the New York Times demonstrates that the MSM isn't opposed to America's invasion of foreign countries. There's really only one precondition: the national security interests of the United States must not be at stake.
Thus it is that the NYT op-ed page today runs Aid at the Point of a Gun by Robert D. Kaplan, a national correspondent for The Atlantic and a fellow at the Center for a New American Security. The gist is that while it could bring ongoing obligations, the armed invasion of Myanmar for purposes of bringing aid to the cyclone victims is justifiable and feasible. Extended excerpt [emphasis added]:
France’s foreign minister, Bernard Kouchner, has spoken of the possibility of an armed humanitarian intervention, and there is an increasing degree of chatter about the possibility of an American-led invasion of the Irrawaddy River Delta.
Newsweek's Conventional Wisdom feature has oft been the target of much snarkage here at NewsBusters, and the featurette failed to disappoint today with this doozy:
[Up Arrow] Chinese government: Unlike Burma's generals, officials are responding quickly and openly to natural disaster.
Ya think?! I mean, they're only hosting the 2008 Summer Olympics so clearly they've been hard at work putting the finishing touches on that Potemkin village. But that doesn't excuse China's human rights abuses or merit them kudos by any stretch, nor does it address how Communist Chinese building codes might be woefully substandard compared to say capitalistic Japan, which is far more often wracked by large-scale earthquakes.
Poor teaser headline selection by MSNBC.com? I report, you decide.
At right is a screencap of a teaser headline from the Web site about U.S. humanitarian aid reaching Myanmar Burma. As the AP story linked makes clear, the fault for the delay in the aid's arrival is that of the military dictatorship, not any incompetence or lack of concern by Washington.
Yet the teaser headline reads: "First U.S. aid plane lands in Myanmar; UPDATED: Relief comes more than week after cyclone."
The same headline and subhead are found on the AP article as found when readers follow the link. The AP story itself makes clear the Burmese government has and continues to be an obstacle to reaching devastated Burmese civilians with much needed food and medical relief:
CNN has an article posted this AM about the on-going misery in Myanmar resulting from the recent cyclone that devastated the Irrawaddy delta and has left as many as 100,000 dead. The country's paranoid military dictatorship is hampering aid efforts, and as a result, is no doubt adding to the number of dead and injured.
In writing about the U.S. forces in the area poised to help if the dictatorship will only allow international aid, CNN makes the following curious claim (in bold):
"And as we're talking today, Terry, the death count in Myanmar from the cyclone that hit there yesterday has been rising from 15,000 to way on up there to much higher numbers now being speculated," Gore said. "And last year a catastrophic storm from last fall hit Bangladesh. The year before, the strongest cyclone in more than 50 years hit China - and we're seeing consequences that scientists have long predicted might be associated with continued global warming."
The day after Pope Benedict XVI departed the U.S. after a six-day visit, Blaine Harden of the Washington Post lamented the Catholic Church’s influence in the Philippines, specifically, the government of Philippines "acceding to Catholic doctrine" by "supporting only what it calls ‘natural’ family planning," rejecting "modern contraception" as part of family planning." Throughout his article, titled "Birthrates Help Keep Filipinos in Poverty," Harden painted a bleak picture of "the fastest-growing segment of the Philippine population," which is "very poor people with large families," and sought to blame their poverty and backwardness on their following Catholic teaching, brushing aside corruption and other factors that contribute to poverty. A photo accompanying the article in the print-edition of the Post showed a poor Filipino mother in her shack with her four children, two of whom are naked.
Harden described the Church’s influence throughout the article, hinting that it had created a climate of fear in the country "An organization that is helping Espinoza [a poor Filipino woman who plans to get a contraceptive intrauterine device] agreed to introduce this reporter to her on condition that it not be named. The group’s health workers said they fear retaliation and harassment from officials in the national and city government, as well as from the Catholic Church." He immediately mentioned after this that in 2005, the "Catholic bishops in the southern Philippines announced that they would refuse Communion to government health workers who distributed birth control devices."