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."
“The people guiding” Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani “in his foreign policy message...are drawing some attention,” NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams announced Thursday evening in advancing the news agenda of a front page New York Times story which ominously warned Giuliani “is consulting with, among others, a particularly hawkish group of advisers and neoconservative thinkers” and that has “raised concerns among some Democrats.” Reporter Ron Allen explained how “New York's former Mayor takes a hard line when it comes to facing America's adversaries like Iran” and treated it as newsworthy that “among the Republican hopefuls, it is Rudy Giuliani who has most closely surrounded himself with so-called neoconservative foreign policy thinkers, many from the Bush-Cheney administration.” Giving credit to the source of NBC's story idea, Allen relayed the paper's rogues' gallery of those who have advised Giuliani: “This morning's New York Times lists advisors who have called for profiling Muslims at airports, another who favors ending the U.S. ban on carrying out assassinations, and the author of 'The Case for Bombing Iran.'”
Allen soon found great wisdom in a commentator not usually considered so wise by journalists: “It was the neoconservative voices in the Bush administration that most forcefully made the case for invading Iraq, a decision even some conservative Republicans say was a disaster.” Viewers then heard from Pat Buchanan, long outside of the GOP mainstream on Iraq, denouncing neoconservatives: “If these people, the neoconservatives, are Rudy Giuliani's foreign policy team, a vote for Rudy is tantamount to a vote for permanent war.”
In a recent Web interview with "Foreign Policy" magazine, dated October 2007, which focused on environmental issues, CNN founder Ted Turner claimed that global warming presents a greater danger to the world than Iran. Turner: "Iran does not put us in peril like global warming does." In a September interview with "GQ" magazine, Turner had similarly downplayed the nuclear threat from Iran as he argued that America's nuclear arsenal poses a greater threat to the world: "I'm much more worried about our nuclear arsenal than theirs. Iran, at best, can get a few nuclear weapons. We have tens of thousands." The CNN founder further suggested that global warming is to blame for the drought in the Southeast, and contended that the same Al Gore who refuses to debate scientists on global warming is as "smart as a whip." (Transcript follows)
File this one under "Mental Images We Could Do Without."
Discussing her attempt to straddle the Iran issue, Chris Matthews has accused Hillary Clinton of a "wide stance." For some time, the "Hardball" host has been making the point that while Hillary now claims she voted for the 2002 Iraq resolution only for purposes of authorizing more diplomacy, at the time everyone and his uncle knew that it was a war authorization.
For example, interviewing Hillary advisor Howard Wolfson on "Hardball" back in July, Matthews stated: "Anybody who didn't think we were going to war in the months leading up to the war in Iraq wasn't paying attention."
Today, Matthews employed the infelicitous metaphor for purposes of accusing Hillary of pulling a similar stunt on Iran.
During an interview by "GQ" magazine's Wil Hylton posted on the magazine's blog on September 20, CNN founder Ted Turner blamed Fox News for pushing America into the Iraq war, tagging the conflict as "Rupert's war," and contended that he is more afraid of America's possession of nuclear weapons than he is of rogue states like Iran obtaining such weapons. Turner: "I'm much more worried about our nuclear arsenal than theirs. Iran, at best, can get a few nuclear weapons. We have tens of thousands. We have to get rid of them." The CNN founder, who has a history of defending North Korea, ignoring the country's problem of starvation, complimented its "thin" citizens as "healthy," and suggested the despotic regime is of no more danger to America than Cleveland, Ohio. Turner: "They were nice to me. There weren't a lot of fat people walking around. They were all thin. And being thin is healthier than being fat. ...
If you thought the proper way to refer to terrorists who commit violence in the name of Islam was by using such terms as "Islamic terrorists," "Islamic militants," or even "Islamic extremists," be on notice that you may be offending Alan Colmes. In fact, even if you refer to the terrorist group "Islamic Jihad" by that name, which is the name the group uses to refer to itself, you're still not in the clear.
Wolf Blitzer’s interview of former president Jimmy Carter on Wednesday’s "The Situation Room" demonstrated the CNN host’s catering to prominent liberals. In one question to the former president, Blitzer asked about the ongoing presidential campaigns. "Do any of these candidates, presidential candidates, scare you?" After Carter answered that none of the Democrat candidates scared him, Blitzer asked as follow-up questions, "What about the Republican side?" and "Who scares you the most?"
Later in the interview, Blitzer asked Carter, "By your definition, you believe the United States, under this administration, has used torture?" Carter’s unequivocal answer: "I don't think it. I know it, certainly." This led to a follow-up question from Blitzer on the question of whether President Bush should be impeached. "But you don't want to see any formal charges or a trial?"
Update, 6:10 PM - Video (4:45): Real (3.50 MB) or Windows (2.91 MB), plus MP3 (2.17 MB)
On Tuesday’s CBS "Early Show," host Harry Smith interviewed former president Jimmy Carter, who he introduced as "Nobel Peace Prize Laureate President Jimmy Carter." Smith then proceeded to launch into a discussion about Iran citing an "an exhaustive investigative piece in the New Yorker...by Sy [Seymour] Hersh." Apparently Harry and ‘Sy’ are good buddies. Smith described how Hersh’s article "chronicles the building up, the drum beats of the potential of war with Iran" and asked Carter: "Is there a best way to find peace with Iran?"
Asking the president who oversaw the disastrous Iranian hostage crisis how to deal with Iran is like asking the dictator of Sudan how to bring about an end to the genocide in Darfur. Oh wait, Carter has talked to the Sudanese tyrant about that very issue:
Citing how “members of the anti-war group MoveOn.Org named Iran, not Iraq, as their top issue,” and without once applying a liberal or left wing label, ABC's Word News on Monday night skewered Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton from the left for voting for a resolution other candidates claim could allow President Bush to launch a war against Iran. Anchor Charles Gibson explained how “Clinton recently voted for an amendment in the Senate that would designate Iran's Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist organization. Other Senators running for President...are criticizing her vote, saying the amendment she supported could give the President authority to start a war against Iran.”
Reporter Kate Snow centered her story around how “Senator Clinton has been taking a lot of heat for that Iran vote, starting at the last debate.” Viewers heard saw video of Clinton being confronted at an Iowa event, and Mike Gravel charge “I'm ashamed of you,” before Snow maintained “it's the kind of vote that angers the Democratic faithful.” Snow concluded by benignly describing MoveOn as simply an “anti-war” group: “Tough talk on Iran is perceived by some Iowans as all too similar to the tough talk from Democrats in the run-up to the Iraq War. And, Charlie, last week, members of the anti-war group MoveOn.Org named Iran, not Iraq, as their top issue.” So, MoveOn speaks and ABC News jumps?
On Monday's "Good Morning America," co-host Chris Cuomo conducted a sycophantic interview with former President Jimmy Carter. In the introduction alone, the ABC anchor glowingly described Carter as someone who is " waging peace, fighting disease and building hope." A few seconds later, he again cheerfully enthused that Carter is a "a man who is all about peace."
Cuomo even went so far as to tell the one-term president that, given some hindsight, America would now appreciate Carter's leadership during the hostage crisis. He described Carter's handling of the 444 day long spectacle of American hostages being held in Iran as the philosophy of saying, "'We will negotiate. We will not just go in and bomb and see what happens.'" To make it perfectly clear that Cuomo was praising Carter and simultaneously slamming President Bush, the ABC host elaborated, "It just seems that today in our political climate, restraint is seen as strength, because we've seen what happens when we use force." After a brief discussion of the 2008 campaign, Cuomo, the son of the former liberal governor Mario Cuomo, gushed that he hoped the Democrats pay "attention to your message. It certainly serves well with the current political situation."
The Los Angeles Times ran a bizarrely biased October 5 article about Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's Qods Day speech. The Times omitted and downplayed important remarks and outright threats in the much-sanitized speech, such as twisting Holocaust denial into just asking questions.
True to form, the Iranian president railed against the ever-oppressive and all-powerful “Zionists,” but the LAT presented his speech with a tone better suited for an Iranian audience.
The reporters, special correspondent Ramin Mostaghim in Tehran and staff writer Borzou Daragahi in Beirut, jumped right into the anti-Semitic propaganda that could just as easily have come from the Aryan Nation (bold mine throughout):
The MRC's Culture and Media Institue, a defender of traditional values, says it is an attempt to influence this fall’s congressional debate on abstinence education programs. The show also depicts abstinence-only education as "useless, if not actively harmful."
On Friday, the host of HBO's "Real Time" once again proved he has, for in coming to the defense of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Maher rationalized the Iranian president sending munitions to kill American soldiers in Iraq by asking, "Doesn't Bush have American blood on his hands?"
Maybe worse, Maher said that Ahmadinejad's denial of the Holocaust, and statements that "Israel should be wiped off the map," are just "things he says to get elected," and "are the equivalent of when the Republicans in this country say, ‘Gay marriage will lead to death.'"
After introducing his panel, Maher began the discussion with Ahmadinejad's visit to New York City stating (video available here, relevant sections at 1:28 and 5:00):
Joe Scarborough is still trying to wring mileage out of bashing Bill O'Reilly over his Sylvia's comments. After calling the "Factor" host a "moron" yesterday, the "Morning Joe" host was back at it today.
Did Chris Matthews, on his September 24th edition of "Hardball," really hear Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad "allow" that there was a Holocaust? This is what he insisted to New York City Councilman David Weprin:
MATTHEWS: OK, let‘s talk about that very point. The hottest issue of the last century, of course, and the worst case of inhumanity to man, of course, is the Holocaust. I listened carefully to him. And I know you did, sir. Didn‘t you hear him allow the fact that there was, in fact, a Holocaust?
WEPRIN: Well, he—his statement today was different than his statement in the past.
WEPRIN: In the past, he‘s clearly said that the Holocaust was a hoax, it never existed. Now he‘s talking about doing more research. There‘s no question...
Does the media have any understanding at all of how important they are to terrorists and other enemies of the United States with their determined moral equivalency? When it comes to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the answer appears to be a resounding no. Time Magazine's Richard Stengel provides a glowing puff piece on the Iranian leader, entirely abrogating his responsibility as a reporter to provide any context whatsoever. Stengel writes of Ahmadinejad,
The invitation was on creamy stationery with fancy calligraphy: The Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran "requests the pleasure" of my company to dine with H.E. Dr. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The dinner is at the Intercontinental Hotel — with names carefully written out at all the place settings around a rectangular table. There are about 50 of us, academics and journalists mostly. There's Brian Williams across the room, and Christiane Amanpour a few seats down. And at a little after 8pm, on a day when he has already addressed the U.N., the evening after his confrontation at Columbia, a bowing and smiling Mahmoud Admadinejad glides into the room.
This is now an annual ritual for the President of Iran. Every year, during the U.N. General Assembly in New York, he plots out a media campaign that — in its shrewdness, relentlessness, and quest for attention — would rival Angelina Jolie on a movie junket. And like any international figure, Mr. Ahmadinejad hones his performance for multiple audiences: in this case, the journalists and academics who can filter his speech and ideas for a wider American audience.