On Monday's Countdown show, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann used his regular "Worst Person in the World" segment to accuse the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Admiral Michael Mullen, of trying to "fake" a "Gulf of Tonkin" incident with Iran over the recent U.S. Navy confrontation with Iranian navy speed boats in the Strait of Hormuz. Referring to reports that, out of five Iranian boats, only one unarmed boat approached the U.S. Navy ships, and that the threatening message received could have come from a "well-known marine heckler" of the area, Olbermann awarded the "Worst Person" dishonor to Mullen: "So you guys tried to fake another Gulf of Tonkin incident using some clown with a CB radio and the lethal threat posed by the S.S. Minnow? Joint Chiefs Chairman Mike Mullen, on behalf of the Bush administration, today's 'Worst Person in the World'!"
On Friday's NBC Nightly News, correspondent Jim Maceda reported that Europeans have an unusually high interest in this year's presidential election as "they say they'd be very happy with anyone who makes a clean break with the past eight years. In a word, change." Maceda also suggested that Hillary Clinton reminds some of President Bush because of her "talking tough on Iran and terrorism." Notably, while liberals have long criticized Bush for his "You're either with us or against us" line after the September 11th attacks, according to USA Today, Senator Clinton, a week before Bush's speech, used similar words as she argued that Bush should articulate "to every nation in this world, you're either with us or you're not, and there will be consequences." And, appearing on the CBS Evening News the same day, she spoke approvingly of Bush's plan to "make it clear that every nation has to either be with us or against us." (Partial audio available here.)
Add Keith Olbermann to the list of MSNBC hosts offended by popular applause lines from Thursday's GOP debate on FNC. On Friday's Countdown, the same day that Hardball's Chris Matthews had earlier compared Mike Huckabee's words regarding the U.S. military defending itself from Iran to "talking like jihadists," Olbermann named Fred Thompson "Worst Person in the World," contending that the GOP presidential candidate had "pulled another whopper" because the former Senator joked that Iranian military members on speed boats who harassed U.S. Navy warships came close to meeting "those virgins that they're looking forward to seeing." Olbermann further mocked Thompson by suggesting that his candidacy was just part of a "Candid Camera" stunt. (Transcript follows)
On Friday's Hardball, during the show's regular "Big Number" segment, Chris Matthews went after Mike Huckabee for quipping during Thursday's FNC presidential debate that those who attack the American military should be prepared to see the "gates of hell," as the MSNBC host asked if we're all "learning to talk like jihadists now," and contended that Huckabee's comments earn him a "10" on the "irresponsibility scale." Notably, Huckabee's remark was very popular with "Republican-leaning" focus group participants as shown by pollster Frank Luntz Thursday night during FNC's post-debate coverage, as the former Arkansas governor's words scored around 90 percent in terms of approval. (Transcript follows)
At the top of Thursday’s CBS "Early Show," co-host Harry Smith questioned the authenticity of an audio tape of the confrontation between U.S. and Iranian ships on January 6:
We're going to try to re -- to deconstruct the Pentagon tapes just released of that hostile incident in the Strait of Hormuz. Iranian speedboats taunting a U.S. ship. A tape the Iranians are calling a hoax. There's something strange about the audio.
In the later segment on the issue, Smith talked to international security expert, Jeff McCausland, and again wondered if the Iranian hoax accusation had merit:
Iranian officials are calling this video a hoax, saying those voices sounded like they were recorded someplace else...As you have looked at this tape, listened to -- especially the English coming from the Iranians, does it ring authentic to you? Does it seem real?
Well, this strays from the usual silliness and less than credible work over at the Huffington Post and gets closer to a style of treasonous support for our espoused enemies than it does the normal fare. In a posting by one Hooman Majd, an Iranian born writer who dabbles in the music business, we are treated to the absurd conspiracy theory that the U.S. Military manufactured the incident last Tuesday in the Straits of Hormuz involving a few Iranian patrol boats and the the U.S. Navy. Majd seems to imagine that the Pentagon somehow faked the whole thing, and I'm not exaggerating. Catch the title of his posting: It's a Fake. No attempt at subtlety there!
When Jimmy Carter pulled the Persian rug out from under the Shah, we wound up with the Ayatollah Khomenei and a line of spiritual/political descendants culminating in Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Terence Jeffrey has now pointed out that by her highly-critical statements undermining Pervez Musharraf, Hillary Clinton could be precipitating an even worse disaster in Pakistan. The editor-in-chief of CNS News.com, NB's sister organization, has thus described Clinton as "Jimmy Carter on steroids."
At about 4:15 PM ET today, CNN aired a Wolf Blitzer interview of Clinton notable for these two statements by her.
In an effort to have a fair and balanced debate on the issue of the destruction of CIA interrogation tapes, "Face the Nation" host Bob Schieffer invited Democratic Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Jay Rockefeller, and liberal Republican, Senator Chuck Hagel, on to Sunday’s broadcast. Hagel proved to be left of Rockefeller:
We are saying what to the world? That the Army Field Manual applies to our Army people, our armed services people, but the C.I.A. and all these Blackwater-type variations of militias and armies are unaccountable to what? That's not who we are as Americans, Bob. We're better than that. We don't need that. The world wants us to be better than that. We want to be better than that. We need to be smarter. Burning tapes, destroying evidence, I don't know how deep this goes. Could there be obstruction of justice? Yes. How far does this go up in the White House? I don't know.
That does not sound like an opinion from the mainstream of the Republican Party.
The media's reaction to the November 2007 National Intelligence Estimate on Iran's nuclear weapon program has been as grandiose as it is selective, inaccurate and wrong-headed.
The single excerpt they chose to trumpet, that the report proffers with "high confidence" that Iran halted weapons development in 2003, maximized their ability to bash President George W. Bush for being wrong all along about one third of his Axis of Evil.
The MSM has characterized as "war mongering" and "the politics of fear" Bush's consistent and prudent imputations to keep our eye on -- amongst other things -- the spinning Persian ball. They allege the Administration wielded these Terror implements to rush us into battle in Iran and to ensure electoral wins here at home.
The mainstream media have been fawning over the atheist inspired film "The Goldan Compass" and ignoring the fact that the author (upon which the movie is based), Phillip Pullman, has bragged about killing God in his novels. Well, according to CNN, the real focus should be on the fact that the film raises "awareness" about the plight of polar bears. No, really.
In 2007, ABC's investigative reporter Brian Ross has provided hard-hitting looks at Mike Huckabee, Fred Thompson and Rudy Giuliani. He's focused only one such segment on a Democrat, Hillary Clinton. And, unsurprisingly, each of his investigations into a GOP candidate has been accompanied by snarky, sarcastic comments.
On Thursday's Countdown, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann used his latest "Special Comment" to denounce President Bush as a "pathological presidential liar or an idiot-in-chief" for continuing to talk about the potential danger of a nuclear Iran after receiving word in August of the possibility the newest national intelligence report would find that Iran no longer has an active nuclear weapons program, but had suspended such a program in 2003. Olbermann: "We have either a President who is too dishonest to restrain himself from invoking World War III about Iran at least six weeks after he had to have known that the analogy would be fantastic, irresponsible hyperbole, or we have a President too transcendently stupid not to have asked, at what now appears to have been a series of opportunities to do so, whether the fairy tales he either created or was fed, were still even remotely plausible. The pathological presidential liar, or an idiot-in-chief." (Transcript follows)
Checking in Wednesday night from Tehran with Iranian reaction to what anchor Brian Williams described as the new intelligence assessment that “Iran is not developing nuclear weapons after all,” NBC correspondent Ali Arouzi held up a newspaper to show how it portrayed President Bush “as Pinocchio.” Arouzi described crowds cheering President Ahmadinejad's railing against lies spread by the U.S. and how the state media are calling President Bush “a liar and a warmonger.” On the upside for Iranians, Arouzi found the “many” who “have long been worried that the United States will attack Iran over its nuclear ambitions” now have “a sense of relief that that won't happen.”
Thomas Fingar, the Deputy Director of Analysis for the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE), is the media rock star of the moment.
Why? For the just released NIE assessment he co-authored that proffers with "high confidence" that Iranian nuclear weapon development came to a halt in 2003.
This lands him myriad press plaudits because it affords them yet another opportunity to bash President George W. Bush.
However, those with any sort of political memory recall a July 11, 2007 Congressional appearance by the very same Thomas Fingar. Just these scant four months ago, he gave the House Armed Services Committee a very different "high confidence" perspective on Iran and their efforts to develop the bomb.
Joy Behar’s case of Bush Derangement Syndrome is so severe that she mocks them for what she herself it guilty of. It is no secret she hates the Bush administration to the point of calling them liars and murderers, comparing their former defense secretary to Hitler, applying a different standard to Bush than to Hillary Clinton, and even to the point of airing falsecharges on the administration. The December 5 edition of "The View" added some hypocrisy in her latest charge.
The Financial Times (FT) is reporting that an Iran-bound ship seized by the United Arab Emirates last month "contained materials banned by UN Security Council resolutions 1737 and 1747, while the purchaser of the materials has been barred by the same resolutions."
Those resolutions were put in place, FT writers Simeon Kerr and Najmeh Bozorgmehr noted in their December 5 article, "to curtail its [Iran's] nuclear development programme."
Although Kerr and Bozorgmehr's Emirati government source "declined to identify the contents of the cargo or the Iranian company" that ordered them, the development is newsworthy, particularly in light of the shift in the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE), that now concludes that Iran stopped its nuclear program in 2003.
A search of the December 5 Washington Post found no articles similar to Kerr and Bozorgmehr's, although it's unclear if the FT reporters have an exclusive scoop.
Reports on Tuesday's broadcast network evening newscasts all highlighted concerns the new National Intelligence Estimate (NIE), which concluded Iran stopped working on its nuclear weapons program in 2003, will reduce international pressure on Iran. But just a couple of minutes after CBS's Jim Axelrod asserted that “maintaining an international coalition to confront Iran will no doubt be trickier now,” CBS's Elizabeth Palmer contended from London that pressure to impose sanctions, “led by the European leaders,” remains “huge” since “they've always said, 'look, the point is to stop Iran enriching uranium that could be one of the ingredients for a bomb.' And they believe that sanctions could be very effective in finally curbing that program which remains very active as we speak.”
Like Axelrod, NBC's David Gregory noted that “the President is making the case that the international community cannot let up on Iran,” but “the question is whether a skeptical public and skeptical international community will listen?” ABC's Martha Raddatz related how the White House is “concerned” and “I've been in touch with some diplomats. The ones who have to go overseas and say please join us with these sanctions. There is definite concern...”
In the wake of the new National Intelligence Report which found that Iran apparently halted its nuclear weapons program, some in the media rallied around a single word to describe the revelation - "embarrassment"
‘Face the Nation’ anchor Bob Schieffer, in a conversation with anchor Russ Mitchell following President Bush’s press conference on Tuesday, thought the finding rose to a level higher than embarrassment.
I'll be live-blogging the press conference (mostly just the questions from the journalists as we're focused on the bias) and if a video update is warranted, we'll post one shortly after the conference concludes:
10:44 closes press conference, leaves podium.
10:41: Mark Silva, Chicago Tribune, says reading Bush's body language he can tell he's "somewhat dispirited." Then he says "the facts have failed you" on things he's telling the American people. Quotes Harry Reid. "Are you feeling troubled... credibility gap?"
10:37: unid'd reporter "Wolf" asks about if Bush's personal relationship with the Democrats in Congress is affecting getting legislation through.
10:35: another unid'd reporter named "Wolf" asks Bush to react to 2008 U.S. presidential race
10:35: reporter asks if he discussed Russian elections with Putin
10:33: unidentified reporter asks Bush if in his conversation with Putin if he asked him to not sell uranium to Iran.
10:30: Baier, Fox News: "What does the vote in Venezuela mean for the U.S.? .... What's your reaction to Chavez opponents winning?"
The Democrats are better at understanding the impact of globalization on working people in America. The wages that have been arrested and halted in their growth, while, you know the boys in investment banking are making 10 times the average income of an American. I think the Democrats understand the consequences of it more than the Republicans and, frankly, another disagreement I've got with Republicans is that they are compulsive interventionists. They seem to have learned nothing and forgotten nothing from what happened in Iraq when they are talking about doing the same thing in Iran. -- Pat Buchanan, November 29, 2007
The next time you hear the MSM defending itself against charges of a lack of balance by pointing to Pat Buchanan's presence on its panels, remember his statement above. On globalization, Pat echoes the Seattle street protesters, seasoned with some John Edwards "Two Americas" rhetoric about Wall Street fat cats. On foreign policy, Pat sounds like someone auditioning for Secretary of Peace in Pres. Kucinich's cabinet.
Considering how many hyperventilating media leftists broke their promises to leave the country if George W. Bush won reelection in 2004, I'm not exactly holding out hope we'll see the IRS arrest former New York Times bigwig Chris Hedges (file photo at right) anytime soon.
Hedges, if you recall, was the paper's former Middle Eastern bureau chief who became more famous (infamous rather) for his lengthy anti-war diatribe during a 2003 speech to graduates of Rockford College.
The devoutly left-wing Hedges has hardly stopped proclaming his bona fides since that time, even writing a book comparing American religious conservatives to the Taliban. Today, our hero is busy concerning himself with the conspiracy theory that the United States will soon invade Iran. If that proves to be the case, the unbiased former Timesman will refuse to pay his income taxes in that same year:
Moral relativism alert: a professor appearing on this evening's Hardball has declared that a US attack to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons would be handing Iran "their very own 9-11." Jo-Anne Hart, of Lesley College and Brown University, was a guest on this evening's Hardball. Host Chris Matthews set us up the bomb with a leading question.
CHRIS MATTHEWS: What do you think were the lessons, the WMD lessons of Iraq? Going to war over WMD to a large extent. What did we learn?
Instead of pounding President Bush with the usual media focus on failures in Iraq, ABC anchor Charles Gibson, in his Tuesday interview at Camp David with President and Mrs. Bush, actually pointed out how many doubted the surge strategy and wondered if he wanted to “crow?” Gibson inquired in an excerpt aired on World News: “You took a lot of doubting and rather skeptical questions about the surge. I'll give you a chance to crow. Do you want to say I told you so?” Bush demurred from the opportunity. Indeed, a January MRC report documented the media hostility toward Bush's plan: “TV's Pre-Emptive War Against Iraq 'Surge'; Before Iraq Plan Unveiled, Reporters Said It Was Unpopular, Wouldn't Work & War Was 'Lost Cause.'”(See text below)
Prompted by Bush's satisfaction that Iraqis are “beginning to see enough security so that reconciliation is taking place, as well as the economy's beginning to move,” Gibson pressed the President on problems with “reconciliation.” Leading to a correction from Bush, Gibson had earlier referred to “a lot of bellicose rhetoric that has been aimed at Iran” and cited how “you yourself at a news conference recently raised the specter of World War III.” Bush clarified: “I said if you want to avoid World War III.”
A major political figure calls for the torture and execution of homosexuals and the mainstream media ignores it. Why? Could it be because the individual is a high level Iranian official? The story "Gays Deserve Torture, Death Penalty, Iranian Minister Says" appeared on the front page of FoxNews.com, yet it was nowhere to be found on CNN’s, MSNBC’s, ABC News’, or CBS News’ websites.
The Fox News story, lifted from The Times of London, reports that in a "peace conference" with British MP’s in May, the leader of the Iranian delegation, Mohsen Yahyavi, stated according to the article that "homosexuals deserve to be executed, or tortured, and possibly both."
"The Times" story, appearing on the Fox News website, reports on the meeting as follows:
Smith teased the segment at the top of the show by declaring, "On the record, 21 Democrats officially call for the impeachment of Vice President Dick Cheney, citing deceit in Iraq and covert operations in Iran." This declaration was preceded by a song that CBS managed to find on the internet with the lyrics: "Impeach Cheney first."
The top of the segment featured a report by Chip Reid, who explained, "The resolution accuses Cheney not only of alleged past sins regarding Iraq, but alleged current ones on Iran." Despite Cheney’s "sins," Reid also admitted the unpopularity of the proposal:
While previewing an upcoming interview with extreme left-wing presidential candidate, Dennis Kucinich, on Friday’s CBS "Early Show," co-host Harry Smith remarked, "I've actually admired Dennis Kucinich for a long -- since he was mayor of Cleveland." In addition to Smith admitting that he admired someone as liberal as Kucinich, who wants to establish a Department of Peace and claims to have seen UFOs, Smith specifically mentioned Kucinich’s disastrous tenure as Mayor of Cleveland, Ohio.
Even The New York Times could not ignore Kucinich’s failures as mayor in a 2003 candidate profile:
But it all came crashing quickly down when Mr. Kucinich presided over the city's plunge into default in 1978. The collapse attracted international ridicule and, except for a brief sojourn on the City Council in the early 80's, left the obstreperous boy wonder in political exile for 15 years...[he] was elected mayor in 1977 and governed the city with a tight circle of friends. But Cleveland's finances, already troubled, spiraled out of control. The climactic moment came in December 1978, when the city was unable to meet $14.5 million in bond obligations. Despite pressure from the business community, Mayor Kucinich refused to sell the municipal electric system to cover the debt. Cleveland went bust, as did his career.
The Washington Post topped off its Style section today by interviewing filmmaker Jonathan Demme on his documentary following around Jimmy Carter on the book tour of his tome Palestine: Peace, Not Apartheid. When asked if he worried that Carter's book was "too tedious" as a film subject, Demme suggested Carter as The Answer to the War on Terrorism:
Whether we want to admit it or not, most of us Americans, certainly me, feel we are trapped in this terrifying, potentially cataclysmic situation where we feel as Westerners that we are in a conflict with [the jihadists] in the Middle East, and we're looking for a way out. Carter's message of peace provides that. I got excited when I heard about the book tour. . . . Here is a man with Camp David under his belt; he thinks he can solve this. Maybe we can catch lightning in a bottle and learn something about how that archaic notion of peace can be achieved.
NewsBusters reported on October 29 that Chris Matthews wrote a speech for Barack Obama attacking his primary rival Hillary Clinton from the left. The following morning, "Fox and Friends" picked it up. Co-host Steve Doocy noted, just as Geoffrey Dickens did in his post, that Matthews is a former Jimmy Carter speech writer.
Doocy read an e-mail from Jonathan in Sag Harbor, New York calling Matthews a "Democratic stalwart" and "will do anything to get a little face time" for his "low rated program." Co-host Gretchen Carlson observed that it "sounds a lot maybe like a speech that MoveOn.org would also write."
Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it -- George Satayana.
Well and good. But becoming a prisoner of the past presents dangers, too. Stay tuned for an example of how reliance on a corollary of Satayana's rule went horribly wrong for the U.S.
Maureen Dowd's column of this morning "W.M.D. in Iran? Q.E.D." is the latest example of what passes for MSM wisdom on Iran. The argument, in a nutshell: we attacked Iraq over ill-founded concerns about WMD and got bogged down. So perish the thought of using force to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.
According to former Bill Clinton operative George Stephanopoulos, one reason the United States wouldn't start a war with Iran is because the Bush administration doesn't possess the "troops or the allies or the credibility that it would take to launch a war right now." Stephanopoulos, who is now the host of ABC's "This Week," slipped that bit of bias into a discussion on Friday's "Good Morning America" of new sanctions the White House is imposing on Iran. Would the network journalist ever casually assert that his old boss is lacking in credibility? Perhaps if the issue was inappropriate relationships in the workplace? It seems unlikely.
A few minutes earlier, guest co-host Deborah Roberts could hardly refrain from gushing while she reported the details of Hillary Clinton's 60th birthday party on Thursday night. The ABC correspondent lauded, "And a lovely touch from former President Clinton who said at 60, his wife looks very beautiful. Isn't that nice?...Isn't that sweet?" Fellow guest co-host Elizabeth Vargas swooned over the "beautiful" birthday song that rocker Elvis Costello serenaded the 2008 candidate with. GMA regular Chris Cuomo enthused, "She definitely enjoyed it. I can guarantee you that."