The Pentagon rescinded the invitation of evangelist Franklin Graham to speak at its May 6 National Day of Prayer event because of complaints about his previous comments about Islam.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."
"Officials say it's too soon to pinpoint the exact cause of the tragic explosion at the Upper Big Branch mine in West Virginia that took the lives of 29 miners, but we certainly know enough to identify the root cause," Huffington began. "It's the same cause that led to the 2006 Sago mine disaster in West Virginia that killed 12 miners. And it's also the same cause that led to the Lehman Brothers disaster, the Citigroup disaster, the bursting of the housing bubble, and the implosion of our financial system: a badly broken regulatory system."
"The economic collapse has not killed people, but it has gradually destroyed millions of lives. Both calamities occurred because elected officials who should have been creating a regulatory system that protects working families instead created a system that protects the corporations it was meant to watch over."
At the top of Tuesday's CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith proclaimed: "At an historic summit, President Obama joins world leaders to try to stop terrorists from obtaining nuclear weapons." He later declared: "It's the largest gathering of world leaders hosted by a U.S. President since the 1945 conference that founded the United Nations. And it's already yielded some quick results."
White House correspondent Chip Reid reported on some of those "quick results": "Ukraine announced it will send its entire stockpile of highly enriched uranium, enough to build several nuclear weapons, out of the country, perhaps to the United States, by 2012....China...has shown a new willingness to consider sanctions against Iran, but is still reluctant to fully endorse them because it gets so much of its oil from Iran." In a news brief at the top of the 8AM ET hour, fill-in news reader Betty Nguyen mentioned another dangerous regime giving up its nuclear stockpile: "Canada announced it's returning a significant amount of its spent nuclear fuel to the U.S."
In concluding his report, Reid touted: "Now, at most international summits, they try to lower expectations to kind of soften the disappoint of not accomplishing much. At this summit, the President is taking the opposite approach. He is building up expectations, promising that by the end of the day, there will be a concrete plan of specific actions to lock up those loose nukes." Given that dealing with rogue states like Iran and North Korea are not subjects of the summit, it is unclear how much will really be accomplished at the meeting.
Uniquely among Friday’s broadcast network evening newscasts, NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams gave his viewers a glimpse into the undignified exit from the White House endured by the Dalai Lama, who was made to walk past a number of trash bags as President Obama sought to keep the Chinese government from noticing the meeting. A photograph of Tibet's exiled Buddhist spiritual leader walking past the bags was shown as the NBC host read the piece.
Below is a transcript of the news item from the Friday, February 19, NBC Nightly News, as read by Brian Williams:
In a February 17 online article entitled "Charity Case," Newsweek's Issac Stone Fish declared: "Whether they like it or not, China has been very good for Tibetans." Fish's outrageous claim came on the eve of President Obama's Thursday meeting with Tibet's religious leader, the Dalai Lama.
While Fish noted how: "Tibetans feel chafed by the restrictions on their political and religious freedoms; many are dissatisfied with Chinese rule....They want self-determination; fair enough." But then dismissed those concerns as he praised Chinese communist rule: "For China's many blunders in mountainous region, it has erected a booming economy there. Looking at growth, standard of living, infrastructure, and GDP, one thing is clear: China has been good for Tibet."
Fish touted China's investment in Tibet's infrastructure: "Since 2001, Beijing has spent $45.4 billion on development in the Tibet Autonomous Region....Infrastructure improvements have not only helped grow the economy but also have aided in modernizing remote parts of the Tibetan plateau." Fish quoted Columbia University Tibetan studies professor Gray Tuttle, who boasted: "Cellphone service in parts of western Tibet is better than in parts of New Jersey."
CNN’s Jack Cafferty all but endorsed a global version of China’s oppressive one-child policy on Friday’s Situation Room. He repeated the argument of Canadian journalist Diane Francis, that population control is the only way to fight global warming, and mentioned the opposition of “fundamentalist leaders” and others only in passing. All but one of the viewer e-mails that Cafferty read endorsed the idea.
The CNN commentator raised the population control issue eight minutes into the 4 pm Eastern hour during one of his “Cafferty File” segments. Though he didn’t give much of a hint as to his stance on the proposal at first, Cafferty made it much more clear after he read his “Question of the Hour:”
Thomas Friedman of the New York Times dismissed the ClimateGate scandal during an interview on Thursday’s Situation Room on CNN, labeling it “nonsense” and an “idiot debate.” Anchor Wolf Blitzer only pressed Friedman slightly when he repeated his call for a “price on carbon that would trigger mass innovation in green technology,” meaning a large surtax on fossil fuels.
Blitzer raised ClimateGate during the second half of his interview with Friedman: “Let’s talk about ‘Hot, Flat and Crowded’ and global warming; this conference that’s under way in Copenhagen right now. The release of these e-mails, what’s called ‘ClimateGate,’ how much damage does that do to those who say man does have this significant role in global warming and this whole debate takes a new twist as a result of that?”
The New York Times columnist immediately played the “denier” card, and pointed to his favorite country, China, as an example of a society that wasn’t paying any attention to the scandal:
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."
Throughout the history of this country playing the role of a global power, the United States has faced down threats of fascism and communism. The country is now in the throes of a war against terrorism.
However, on ABC's Nov. 22 "This Week with George Stephanopoulos," a panel consisting of Washington Post columnist George Will, Liz Cheney of Keep America Safe, University of California, Berkeley professor Robert Reich and Walter Isaacson is the President and CEO of The Aspen Institute, warned the next ideological battle facing the country is that which China practices - an authoritarian market society or authoritarian capitalism.
"For 37 years, every administration has bet, since Nixon went to China, on a theory, and the theory was that capitalism, market economy, which requires a judicial system to enforce promises, which are called contracts, needs a vast dissemination of information and decision-making that capitalism by its mores and working would subvert the regime, that you could not have an authoritarian market society," Will said. "It's the Starbucks fallacy. It turns out to be a fallacy, that if the Chinese have a choice of coffees, they'll want a -- they'll demand a choice of political candidates. We may be wrong. It could be you can have an authoritarian system."
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.”
Chris Ariens at TV Newser reports that CNN reporter Emily Chang was detained for two hours today in Shanghai for holding up a T-shirt depicting Barack Obama wearing a Red Army uniform. "Chang bought the T-shirt at a basement souvenir shop in Beijing and brought it with her to Shanghai as she covers President Obama's visit to the city."
The front of the t-shirt says "Serve the People" in Chinese. On the back, it reads "Oba Mao" in English. The shirts have been seen in Chinese shops for months, but were "banned" ahead of Obama's trip.
When Chang held up the shirt up for a live shot outside a Shanghai metro stop, she was approached by two security guards. She recounted the scene in her In The Field blog:
Bad move? Maybe. But it ended up being great television.
As noted earlier today (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), yesterday's resignation from CNN by Lou Dobbs was his second during a storied career there. The first was at least partially driven by clear tensions between Dobbs and CNN head Rick Kaplan, a longtime friend of former president Bill Clinton who arrived at the network in 1997.
That Kaplan was driven to protect Clinton, and to risk journalistic integrity while doing so, is virtually beyond dispute. In 1997, as the Wall Street Journal's Dorothy Rabinowitz noted in a 1999 op-ed whose primary purpose was to comment the significance of "the demolition of CNN and Time's story charging that U.S. forces used the lethal gas sarin to attack American defectors in Laos," U.S. News reported that Kaplan "issued a warning to CNN journalists to limit the use of words like 'scandal' in relation to stories on the president's fund-raising ventures."
So you can imagine how beside himself Kaplan must have been when Dobbs, then the host of a business and finance show, went after the Chinese nuclear espionage story in 1999 while his other CNN colleagues and the Big 3 networks were attempting to downplay and ignore it. Brent Baker's CyberAlert from March 12 of that year has the details:
This won't surprise anyone who reads this blog regularly, but it needs to get on the record nonetheless: The airing of a June video showing interim White House Communications Director Anita Dunn praising Mao and Mother Teresa as "two of my favorite philosophers" to a group of high school students is barely news in the establishment press.
In an August 2008 report on the Obama campaign, Anne E. Kornblut of the Washington Post also described Dunn as "as senior adviser" who had joined the campaign "in the spring."
Roger Kimball at Pajamas Media has the video of Dunn's speech. NB's Jeff Poor (covering Glenn Beck's original broadcast that broke the story) and P.J. Gladnick (on Dunn's pathetic attempt to excuse herself) have previously dealt with Dunn's speech.
Here are the Mao-relevant portions of the speech excerpt:
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.
New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman again showed a disturbing affection for China's dictatorship in his Wednesday column attacking Republican stubbornness on health care and climate change legislation ("Our One-Party Democracy"). Friedman pleaded for "enlightened" autocrats, able to get things accomplished against the will of the people, for their own good.
Watching both the health care and climate/energy debates in Congress, it is hard not to draw the following conclusion: There is only one thing worse than one-party autocracy, and that is one-party democracy, which is what we have in America today.
One-party autocracy certainly has its drawbacks. But when it is led by a reasonably enlightened group of people, as China is today, it can also have great advantages.
Today's dispatch from the Associated Press about the Chinese Communist government's attempt to require that a state-developed program called "Green Dam Youth Escort" be installed on all new personal computers sold in that country is all too typical of the awful reporting on this potentially frightening development.
I will refer to Green Dam Youth Escort as "the GD software" for the balance of this post. Many readers will find this abbreviation particularly appropriate once they fully understand everything the GD software could potentially do.
The latest news about the GD software is that the government has delayed what was to be a July 1 installation requirement, but that it intends to go forward with that mandate at some point. In the meantime, for reasons not fully vetted, many PC makers have begun shipping units with the GD software either already installed or included on an accompanying CD.
Considering the gravity of what the Chinese Communist government is trying to do to its people, worldwide media coverage of the GD software has been much lighter than justified. Somehow, what may happen to the free speech and free expression rights of 1.3 billion people isn't anywhere near as important as what's happening in connection with an entertainer who has been dead for a week.
FNC's Catherine Herridge traveled to Bermuda to meet the four Chinese Muslim Uighurs just released from Guantanamo Bay and she elicited from them that living in China is worse than life at Guantanamo. Talking to them through an interpreter at their new home, a pink bungalow with a swimming pool, Herridge reported how she “asked which was worse: Life at Gitmo versus China?” The interpreter relayed, over the voices of all of the men talking: “Of course it's China. There's no guarantee for human rights there.”
So, there's a new angle for the media: Guantanamo as a bastion of human rights protections. Not really much of a surprise in contrast to China, but it took a FNC reporter to frame the comparison between a U.S. military-run detention center and a communist nation.
Wall Street Journal reporter Mei Fong wrote a report Fridayabout how some families in China, perhaps with the help of criminals, are marrying off their daughters with no intent of having them honor their vows in order to keep the "bride price," an amount a groom's family typically pays the bride's family.
This development is just one of many perverse side-effects of resulting from the Chinese Communist government's one-child policy (image at top right was found at this web address), which has now been in place for three decades. Because of that policy and the country's male-preferring culture, far more pre-born girls than boys have been aborted, leading to a serious male-female imbalance.
Despite the history, Fong somehow managed to get through her 26-paragraph report without mentioning the terms "abortion" or "one-child."
Here are the relevant paragraphs, with euphemistic words in bold after the title:
Keiser appeared on Al-Jazeera English's March 27 "Inside Story" to discuss the possibilities of a global currency. Host Darren Jordon asked Keiser about the pitfalls of converting to a global currency and Keiser used it as an opportunity to launch into an anti-American diatribe.
"Well, the pitfalls are for the U.S.," Keiser said. "The U.S. has what [former French President Charles] de Gaulle called an extraordinary privilege - they can write checks that they never have to cash. They just print new dollars. This has been going on since Bretton Woods at the end of World War II."
Remember that juicy story last week of the Chinese mistress that convinced her rivals and her lover to go for a drive? The mistress that then drove them all off a cliff in revenge for being dumped for one of the rivals by the lover?
Great story. It had pathos, humor, revenge and... apparently it never happened. The U.S. media picked this story up from the Chinese speaking media and ran with it last week but obviously didn't do much by way of checking the accuracy of the tale. Turns out the Chinese "reporter" that wrote the story pulled a Jayson Blair -- he made up the whole thing.
Chinese divers won a record seven gold medals during the 2008 Olympics. But even they didn't leap as headlong into the Beijing tank as did NBC. That's how you might describe the collective verdict of the Fox News Watch panel this evening on NBC's regime-friendly coverage. The subject arose as part of the show's Year in Review, and began with a clip of Matt Lauer unctuously questioning a ChiCom official:
MATT LAUER: There's a recent poll that said some very high percentage of the people in China are happy with their lot in life. Something around 80%. You compare that with the polls in the United States that say only about 25% of Americans are. What's the root of their happiness here?
View video here. The panel lit into the network's coverage, with even the liberal-leaning Jane Hall and Kirsten Powers joining the NBC-scorching consensus.
During a phone interview with FNC anchor Megyn Kelly, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, who already voiced disapproval of Barack Obama's attempt to suggest that Kissinger would agree with his intention to meet personally with Iranian President Ahmadinejad, on Saturday elaborated on his disagreement with Obama, and clarified his views on how America should negotiate with Iran. The segment began with a soundbite of Obama from the debate trying to lecture McCain about Kissinger’s views. Obama: "Senator McCain mentioned Henry Kissinger, who’s one of his advisors, who, along with five recent Secretaries of State, just said that we should meet with Iran, guess what, ‘without precondition.’ This is one of your own advisors."
Asked by Kelly if he supported having a President "meet with Ahmadinejad without preconditions," Kissinger responded: "No, I don’t. I have argued that, at some point, negotiations with Iran are important. But it is my view that they should be on the working level, and that the President should not be involved until we know that we are close to an agreement, or that we know what the nature of the agreement is." Kelly soon sought clarification: "So, in other words, you favor negotiations at the lower level, perhaps all the way up to the Secretary of State, but you do not believe an American President should sit down without preconditions, as Barack Obama says he would like to do." Kissinger: "That is correct."
Peripatetic New York Times columnist Tom Friedman was in China for the closing ceremony of the Beijing Olympics, and his Wednesday column "A Biblical Seven Years" praised the host country for the Games' "magnificent $43 billion infrastructure," built over the past seven years while the U.S. has been stuck fighting Al Qaeda. Friedman also praised the Communist nation's "planning, concentrated state power" and "national mobilization." Don't those words have more than a little echo of Stalinism?
After attending the spectacular closing ceremony at the Beijing Olympics and feeling the vibrations from hundreds of Chinese drummers pulsating in my own chest, I was tempted to conclude two things: “Holy mackerel, the energy coming out of this country is unrivaled.” And, two: “We are so cooked. Start teaching your kids Mandarin.”
Do as we say, not as we do - the new theme for NBC's coverage of the 2008 Summer Olympics? Quite possibly.
WTHR, the NBC affiliate for Indianapolis, reported from Beijing and described the set used for the network's two highest-rated news broadcasts - "Nightly News" and "Today" - as air conditioned, even though it is outdoors.
Even NBC "Today" co-host Matt Lauer remarked about the air conditioning, but complained the weather was still uncomfortable even with the luxury.
"The first couple of nights even with the air conditioning it was steamy in here, but we've been lucky ever since," Lauer said to WTHR. "It's been overcast some days, takes the temperature down. We call it fog smog."
While the Washington Post's Beijing-based Ariana Eunjung Cha should be commended for her reporting on Beijing's restrictions on the exercise of religion by Olympic team chaplains, the paper's headline editors clearly dropped the ball in titling her August 14 headline: "Some Olympians Dissatisfied With Religious Center."
The casual reader might say, "so what," and breeze past the article. After all, any Olympic Games is bound to garner a host of logistics and aesthetics complaints from athletes, coaches, media, and tourists on a whole host of things. But the substance of the story is not so much on the subjective and sometimes picayune complaints of athletes and coaches but rather in the tightly-restricted manner in which the Communist Chinese government is providing for the spirital welfare of the Olympians.
On Monday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Julie Chen introduced a segment on China hosting the Olympics: "Well, the Olympic games are more than a chance for the world's athletes to excel, they also give the host nation an opportunity to shine. For China and it's 1.3 billion people, the Beijing games are feeding a groundswell of pride." Chen then went to correspondent Barry Petersen who declared: "From designer clothes to new cars, China is getting rich. Democracies once bragged that theirs was the only way to economic success. China is doing it the communist way."
Petersen began his report by observing: "Well, China wants to throw a successful Olympics party and so far they're doing just fine. With plenty of enthusiasm spreading from Beijing pretty much around the world." Of course that ignored the heavy pollution in Beijing, constant protests, President Bush’s criticism of China’s human rights record, and the fatal stabbing of the father-in-law of a U.S. coach. Petersen went on to describe how: "Beijing has the welcome banners out to a half million visitors. More foreigners at one time than the country has seen since the Mongol invasion a thousand years ago." So Olympic visitors are like barbarian hordes?
Saturday's Fox News Watch devoted a few minutes to the controversy, which was documented previously by the MRC's Geoffrey Dickens, over NBC's Matt Lauer claiming during an interview for the Today show that "some very high percentage of the people in China are happy with their lot in life, something around 80 percent," but that in America, "only about 25 percent." Liberal panelist Patricia Murphy of Citizen Jane stated her belief that Lauer simply made an "error" in misstating a Pew Research poll which found that, when asked if they were "satisfied with the direction of the country," 86 percent of Chinese respondents said yes, but when asked about "personal satisfaction," that "the number was much, much lower."
Conservative columnist Jim Pinkerton theorized NBC was being soft on China because the network is making money off the Olympics: "Could it be because NBC paid China a billion dollars to cover the Olympics? And they can't afford to have their reporters and sportscasters kicked out for telling the truth about China. So they have no choice but to cover up." (Transcript follows)
Maybe it is because NBC has the broadcast rights for the Summer Olympics being held in China, but big gas-guzzling, greenhouse gas-emitting automobiles made by General Motors are seen as a plus for the communist nation's embrace of capitalism.
The August 6 "NBC Nightly News" featured the Chinese people's love of troubled U.S. automaker General Motors (NYSE:GM) - an indicator interpreted as an acceptance of capitalism.
"What would Chairman Mao think?" CNBC correspondent Phil LeBeau asked. "Six decades after the Communist Revolution, China has become the hottest capitalist engine on earth. And ironically, some of the most revered symbols of success in today's China are Cadillac, Buick and Chevrolet."