Inspired by an Esquire magazine interview in which Republican Senator Chuck Hagel mentioned the possibility that some of President Bush's critics may push impeachment at some point, CNN's Wolf Blitzer devoted considerable time on Monday's The Situation Room to discussing the significance of Hagel's impeachment talk, remarking that "it's not good for President Bush, to put it bluntly." Blitzer characterized impeachment talk as "a little bit louder" and, after Democratic Senator Chris Dodd, appearing as a guest, showed disinterest in a Bush impeachment, Blitzer still clung to the possibility, characterizing Dodd's words as "leaving the door slightly open," and remarking, "What I'm hearing is you're not completely ruling it out." (Transcript follows)
According to CNN’s Jack Cafferty, President Bush would jump at the opportunity to use the kidnapping of 15 British soldiers as a pretext to invade Iran. On the Monday edition of "Situation Room," Cafferty asserted that he hoped U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair doesn’t ask George W. Bush to join a coalition of the willing whose goal it is to free the captives.
Jack Cafferty: "Let’s hope British Prime Minister Tony Blair doesn’t ask the United States to join a coalition of the willing to invade Iran and get its hostages back. My feeling is President Bush would be on that like a bird on a worm."
The CNN host also saw scary implications in the fact that the U.S. Navy is just off the coast of Iran:
Seymour Hersh of “The New Yorker” has been an outspoken critic of the Bush administration and the war in Iraq for many years. This certainly should come as no surprise to folks familiar with his name, his work, and his style of dangerously activist journalism.
On March 11, Hersh added a new wrinkle to his résumé by not only doing a radio interview with the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting, but also actually discussing what he believes is the American military strategy towards Iran including what he called "an intensive planning for an air strike" and "some sort of on the ground operation."
On the March 26 edition of "The View," co-host Rosie O’Donnell discussed the Iranian seizure of British sailors. Rosie again gave out false information on national television and implied that this may be a hoax so to provide the president with an excuse to go to war.
"But interesting with the British sailors, there were 15 British sailors and Marines who apparently went into Iranian waters and they were seized by the Iranians. And I have one thing to say: Gulf of Tonkin, Google it. Okay."
Rosie may have missed the news that not only do the United States and Britain insist they were not in Iranian waters, but Iraq and France do as well. Veteran journalist Barbara Walters did not bother to correct Rosie.
Is it the media’s job to keep American citizens aware of statements made by foreign officials that could shed light on what we’re up against in winning the wars in Iraq and on terrorism? Or, should the press keep the caustic comments of such political officials from the public in order to maximize the impression that all the problems in the world are caused by the Bush administration?
While you formulate an answer, consider the following statements made by the Syrian Minister of Culture during a speech aired on Iranian television (video available here courtesy of Memri TV):
The so-called Al-Qaeda is in my opinion, an illusion. It is a bunch of organizations which used to be supervised by the CIA, and used to commit crimes in some Arab and Islamic countries.
Nice, huh? Alas, he was just getting warmed up blaming terrorism on America:
In time for the Persian New Year, CBS's Melissa McNamara trawled the blogosphere (including MySpace blog entries) and found bloggers who think Iran's Islamic extremist government has a point about "300" being "anti-Persian." In doing she, she produced a handful of blogs that appear to generate light traffic and in at least one case is just a rambling screed.
McNamara told readers that the "Islamic Republic News Agency" (IRNA) finds fault with the film's version of historical events. She left out that IRNA is Iran's official state-controlled news/propaganda service. CBSNews.com's resident "Blogophile" also noted objections from an Iranian newspaper, Hamshahri, which she described simply as "Iran's biggest circulation newspaper."
That's akin to a journalist during the Cold War describing Pravda as simply the Soviet Union's best-selling newspaper. Hamshahri co-sponsored a political cartoon contest that the Iranian government held last year that generated hundreds of entries that were anti-Jewish or anti-Israeli. Portions in bold are my emphasis:
It has been argued for years that the media typically focus on images from Iraq and the war on terror which paint American and Israeli military in a bad light while always presenting the enemy as victims.
In fact, this effort often includes the doctoring of photographs as well as the staging of events in front of rolling cameras which will be broadcast or published by an antiwar press without the slightest investigation into authenticity.
With that in mind, the picture at the right represents a rather startling image of terrorism that media would never dare share with the American people. As the MEMRI Blog shockingly reported (h/t Charles at LGF, emphasis added):
As NewsBusters reported about the March 11 installment of “Meet the Press,” former “Nightline” anchor Ted Koppel made some almost verboten observations concerning the dangers of a premature withdrawal of American troops from Iraq. Amongst other things, Koppel claimed the battle between Sunnis and Shia currently taking place there would become a much larger religious conflict throughout the entire Persian Gulf region.
With that as pretext, another side of this issue ignored by the media is how Hizbullah and Iran are licking their respective chops at the thought of such a troop withdrawal and the opportunity it would present for the total annihilation of Israel.
Consider for example some recent comments made by Abdallah Safialdeen, Hizbullah’s representative in Iran. A few weeks ago, he gave an interview on Irani television, and made statements that if ever broadcast in America would radically change how U.S. citizens viewed the war (video available here courtesy of Memri TV):
The MSM/Dem drumbeat has been that by fighting the war in Iraq, the United States has taken its eye off the ball in Afghanistan, that a big Taliban offensive is about to begin there, and that it could be a key to the Taliban fully re-establishing itself in the country.
Take, for example, the comment made by Sen. Barack Obama in a Today appearance yesterday in the context of the publication of the confession of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed: "I think we have ended up being distracted, particularly in Afghanistan, from dealing with the kind of real threats we heard about today."
But a senior officer on the ground has expressed a different perspective. Colonel David Enyeart, now on his second tour of duty in Afghanistan, is Deputy Commander of Combined Joint Task Force Phoenix V, charged with training the Afghan National Army and police. In a conference call with the Colonel in which I participated recently, COL Enyeart expressed the view that the spring offensive could actually be the Taliban's last stand.
Back in the '70s, an exchange of ping pong players between the United States and China began a thawing of relations between the two countries that paved the way for Richard Nixon's famous trip to Beijing. Could we be entering a similar stage with Iran that could come to be known as "orange juice diplomacy"? Diane Sawyer certainly seems to hope so, judging by the way she pressed US ambassador to Iraq Zalmay Khalilzad on Good Morning America today. Along the way, Sawyer seemed to willfully downplay the degree of Iran's responsibility for the Shia insurgency in Iraq.
Sawyer spoke from New York with Ambassador Khalilzad in Baghdad on the eve of a regional conference on security issues organized by the Iraqi government that will bring representatives of the United States into the same room with those from Iran and Syria. Sawyer quoted to the ambassador the recent remarks of David Satterfield, the State Department's Iraq coordinator: "If we are approached over orange juice by the Syrians or the Iranians we're not going to turn and walk away."
Sawyer seized on Satterfield's statement: "Are we talking to the Syrians and the Iranians, or are we dependent on orange juice?"
Khalilzad: "As you know, for some time Diane, we have said that we are willing to talk to the Iranians if we think it will be useful to the situation in Iraq."
Those tuning in to hear one of the White House’s most outspoken foes castigate the president and his staff like virtually no one else in the media were not disappointed (video available here courtesy of our friend Ms Underestimated).
After some introductory pleasantries, Maher asked: “I know from your latest article that we ought to be worrying about a war with Iran?”
The ABC News web site currently features a dramatic picture of a nuclear bomb blast (a cropped version of which appears at right) along with a story blurb that matches Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's claim that the U.S. is hypocritical to seek to prevent nations like Iran and North Korea from getting the bomb while we still preserve our nuclear arsenal.
The headline: "You Can't Build Nukes. But We Can" followed by this short story tease: "A decision has been made to update and redesign America's aging stockpile of nuclear weapons, even as the U.S. demands that Iran and North Korea not build up their own arsenals."
When you click on the actual AP report, written by Scott Lindlaw, readers see a much more neutral headline, "Bush Administration Picks Lawrence Livermore Warhead Design," and the story mainly focuses on the technical reasons for updating the country's nuclear technology. Deep in the story, however, Lindlaw cited critics who thought the U.S. was sending the "wrong signal" to the world's rogue regimes.
If there were any doubt as to the degree to which the MSM loathes and distrusts President Bush, it should be dispelled by the performance of Sy Hersh on today's Hardball and the way he was applauded by Chris Matthews. At the end of Hersh's appearance, Matthews put this question to the investigative reporter:
"What's your biggest worry in the world? Is it Iran? Is it this administration going to war with Iran? Is it a civil war in Iraq? Is it Musharraf's inability to fight the Taliban on his own soil? What's your biggest worry?"
After no huge caches of weapons of mass destruction were found in Iraq, the New York Times felt burnt by liberal accusations of being water-carriers for Bush in the run-up to the Iraq war -- an accusation based almost entirely on a handful of overly credulous pieces filed by former reporter Judith Miller.
These days, the Times is leaning heavily in the opposite direction, preening about how skeptical it has been about U.S. government evidence demonstrating Iran's role in providing bombs to Shiite militias in Iraq. Monday's headline makes that clear and the front-page story itself by James Glanz and Richard Oppel Jr. is hedged to the hilt: "U.S. Says Raid in Iraq Supports Claim on Iran, but Doubts Persist."
Talk about creating a false dichotomy geared to discrediting a policy! The AP has generated a doosie in theirs titled "Rural America bears scars from Iraq war" and subtitled "Nearly half of U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq came from a small town".
Their main thrust is that small towns are somehow seeing their sons fall on the field of battle in "unfair" numbers.
Across the nation, small towns are quietly bearing a disproportionate burden of war. Nearly half of the more than 3,100 U.S. military fatalities in Iraq have come from towns like McKeesport, where fewer than 25,000 people live, according to an analysis by The Associated Press. One in five hailed from hometowns of less than 5,000.
At first blush this might seem to be alarming. But, when one lets that first emotive rush fade and allows a little common sense to be applied to the situation, it doesn't seem so outrageous. The fact is, youngsters from rural areas are simply far more prone to joining the military in the first place and always have been. So it is a natural matter of strict statistics that more from those areas would fall in battle. After all, there are more of them.
So, what we are left with is a naked, emotive effort to cause some sort of outrage over the perceived unfairness of this statistic, even as there is no "fair" or "unfair" component to it. It is simply a fact.
An Iranian state news agency used the Photoshop program to manipulate photos in order to try and back up claims that the US was behind a spate of bombings in southeast Iran , a popular American blog said.
Clearly, network anchors have much more sensitive skins than President Bush. Reporters insult him to his face, suggest he's concocting wars with fake intelligence, and insist he's incapable of admitting any mistakes. But to gain access to Katie Couric or Diane Sawyer, apparently you have to arrive with pom-poms and a pleated skirt.
Howard Kurtz interviewed ABC's Diane Sawyer about her disgustingly sympathetic 2007 Axis of Evil tour of interviewing the dictators of Iran and Syria for Monday's "Media Notes" column in The Washington Post. The piece read more like a press release for ABC than a news article. Take this line: "Just as industry insiders are wondering whether she is ready to abandon the predawn grind, Sawyer embarks on a one-woman diplomatic mission that has the business buzzing."
What happens when a noted politician announces he’s running for President? Well, in the case of conservative Republican Mitt Romney, CBS’ "Early Show" gives the story a scant ten seconds. But what if that candidate is Democrat Barack Obama? Well, then the same program devotes over nine minutes of coverage! (For those keeping count: A 54: 1 advantage for the Democrat.)
Over on ABC, "Good Morning America’s" Diane Sawyer continued her Dictator ‘07 tour. She portrayed the authoritarian Syria as a pro family, welfare paradise.
Later in the week, Sawyer asked Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, noted Holocaust denier, how often he cries.
On the Thursday edition of "Good Morning America," co-host Diane Sawyer responded to critics of her recent visits to Syria and Iran. After reading some viewer e-mails about the interviews she conducted with leaders of those countries, including a question on why ABC allowed Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad so much time to spew his propaganda, Sawyer informed her audience, "People all over the world, whatever their governments are doing, people all over the world really do have a yearning to live at peace on this planet, I believe."
Perhaps the GMA host was taking the words of the Iranian President to heart. During one interview, he told her that mass rallies containing "death to America" chants shouldn’t be taken personally by U.S. citizens.
Earlier in the segment, which aired at 7:48am on February 15, Sawyer defended the necessity of such trips by citing the need for greater understanding:
It goes without saying that we wouldn't want to provoke such a person -- it could harm his self-esteem. Unfortunately, President Bush doesn't seem to have gotten the message. But thank goodness for David Gregory. As luck would have it he turned up at today's White House press conference to convey the message to the president: stop provoking poor Mahmoud!
Gregory began by observing: "A lot of critics say that you are using the same quality of intelligence about Iran that you used to make the case for war in Iraq . . . and that you are doing that to make a case for war against Iran. Is that the case?"
On the Tuesday edition of "Good Morning America," Diane Sawyer, on the last leg of her Dictator ‘07 tour, asked Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad her silliest questions yet. Sawyer mused about Iranian environmental problems and also wondered how often the Holocaust-denying leader cries. The ABC program featured several segments with the President of Iran. After a piece where she only lightly pressed Ahmadinejad on his calls for the destruction of Israel, the GMA anchor asked if Iran’s President, who is seeking a nuclear bomb, is "sentimental and sympathetic" This question allowed Americans to see a softer side of the unpredictable leader:
Diane Sawyer: "Well, in a minute we're going to talk and I'm going to get the questions you have from e-mails. But a number of people have already said is there anything surprising, personal about President Ahmadinejad that we didn't know? Well, it turns out, someone told me he cries a lot. That he is dramatically sentimental and sympathetic if someone comes up and expresses a personal plight. So I just asked him, are you often in tears?"
A very funny moment occurred during Tuesday’s White House press briefing between Press Secretary Tony Snow and CNN’s Ed Henry. As the latter tried to back the former into a corner over claims that Iran is arming Shia in Iraq with weapons, Snow comically admonished the CNN correspondent for getting a bit excited during his questioning.
After Kyra Phillips introduced Henry during the 1PM EST installment of “CNN Newsroom,” Henry went right into Democrat talking points concerning the allegations of Iranian weaponry in Iraq (video available here):
As already reported on NewsBusters, ABC’s Diane Sawyer continued her Dictator ‘07 Tour on Tuesday with a stop in Iran to interview President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Although the "Good Morning America" host did press the Iranian leader, it’s hard not ask some difficult questions to a man who repeatedly calls for the destruction of Israel.
However, the questions were nowhere near as tough as in November 1998 when she interrogated special prosecutor Kenneth Starr. In that case, Sawyer told the Clinton investigator that "There is something about certainty that scares a lot of people" and wondered if he "went too far." In comparison, while the veteran journalist did challenge Ahmadinejad, she frequently let absurd statements go without a follow-up. When Iran’s President insisted that "death to America" chants shouldn’t be taken personally by United States citizens, Sawyer didn’t call him on it:
Diane Sawyer: "So now, the nuclear questions. What about those 3,000 centrifuges and the gaps in reporting to the watchdog IAEA? And the Bush administration contention if it walks like a duck and it talks like a duck, it's a desire for a nuclear weapon. If you could have a nuclear weapon today, tomorrow, would you want one?"
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad: "Well, our position is clear: We are opposed to any proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and nuclear weapons. We believe that the time is now over for nuclear weapons. It is a time for logic, for rationality and for civilization. Instead of thinking of finding new weapons, we are trying to find new ways to love people. And if talked about ‘Death to America’ slogan, I think you know it yourself, it is not related in any way to American public. Our people have no problem with American public, and we have a very friendly relationship."
In keeping with their constant quest to saddle the USA with the fault for the growing unrest in he Middle East, the Washington Post has unleashed another article, replete with some efforts to blame-the-USA-first, titled "Across Arab World, a Widening Rift".
In the first paragraph, writer Anthony Shadid illustrates the traditionally intertwined nature of Egypt's Sunni and Shiite communities showing us how they have so easily coexisted in the recent past but quickly gets to the warnings of the danger of the Shiites "rising".
Naturally, this is the fault of the USA who has left Arabs with a sense of "powerlessness and a persistent suspicion of American intentions." The rise of unrest is also blamed on the "United States and others for inflaming it".
During the Monday edition of the "Situation Room," Jack Cafferty discussed U.S. allegations that Iraqi militants are killing American soldiers with weapons provided by Iran. At the conclusion of the "Cafferty File" segment, the CNN host engaged in the always reliable media tradition of moral equivalence, comparing Iran’s action to U.S. support of Afghan rebels in the 1980s. Apparently, the fact that America was opposing the brutal Russian regime, whereas, in this case, Iran is the oppressive entity, makes no difference. Cafferty and "Situation Room" host Wolf Blitzer also exhibited skepticism about the United State’s timing in making these accusations:
Jack Cafferty: "So here is the question: ‘When it comes to Iran’s alleged involvement in Iraq, who do you believe?’ E-mail your thoughts to CaffertyFile@CNN.com or go to CNN.com/Caffertyfile. Reminiscent, Wolf, of the war in Afghanistan, when Russia invaded. It seems to me we were– The United States was supplying weapons and intelligence and things like that to the Afghan rebels."
Wolf Blitzer: "The Mujahideen, a lot. Through the CIA, through the Saudis, Those shoulder-fired missiles which brought down a lot of Soviet helicopters."
Cafferty: "So, that was okay but it's not okay if Iran-- I'm, I’m confused, Wolf."
Blitzer: "Well, you know, later we will talk to Michael Ware about the timing, why the U.S. is releasing all this information right now since it's been out there at least for a year, maybe two."
Diane Sawyer sat down to ask Mahmoud Ahmadinejad [MA] some tough questions today, and a weather report broke out. Having spent last week in Syria, Diane is now in Iran on the second leg of her All-Dictator Tour. She began her interview of MA, televised on this morning's GMA, by asking him "are you sending Iranian weapons into Iraq?"
In lieu of an answer, MA went Sam Champion on Sawyer: "Let me first say good morning to our viewers all over the states and its good people, and let me tell them that we have spring weather here in Tehran, and I hope it will be spring all over the world."
He stopped just short of giving a shout-out to his homies Parvin, Roshan and Farzan in Bel-Air.
What followed was a series of non-denial denials that were laughable in their evasiveness.
When a despot you're interviewing denigrates the value of democracy in another country, wouldn't your journalistic instincts prompt you to ask him about the utter lack of democracy in his own? Not in Diane Sawyer's case.
The ABC powerhouse is in Syria this week. This morning's GMA aired an interview she scored with Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad. Joe Biden would surely declare Assad "articulate;" the tyrant does speak excellent English and has a mild-mannered, urbane demeanor. But, in his case, appearances are definitely deceiving. Assad is the ruthless ruler of one of the most oppressive regimes on earth. On a scale of 1-7, Freedom House recently gave Syria its lowest possible rating of '7' on political rights. Bashar is of course following in the bloody foosteps of his father, Haffez. Among other acts of rule by terror, the previous tyrant infamously erased from the face of the earth the Syrian town of Hama, massacring an estimated 10-25,000 people in the process.
"We have met the enemy and he is us." - Pogo comic strip, 1971
Nicholas Kristof has apparently embraced the Walt Kelly view of America. When it comes to the war in Iraq, the only evildoers the New York Times columnist seems to see are Americans.
At the foot of his pay-to-play of column of January 23rd, Kristof invited readers to submit their literary analogies for President Bush and Iraq. In today's columnn, Kristof mentions having received over 400 reader responses.
And which entry does Kristof choose to feature at the column's beginning and that might fairly be taken as his unofficial winner? One that analogizes the various actors in the play to characters from Harry Potter. I set forth below the reader's analogies, followed by a description of the character as culled from their Wikipedia entries.
If only Joe Biden had seized the moment with one brilliant burst of brevity . . .
This morning on GMA, Biden had the chance to turn his presidential candidacy announcement into a funny, feel-good moment that would have won him untold millions in free coverage. Sadly, the senator from Delaware couldn't resist his proclivity to pontificate.
Diane Sawyer had the scoop: Joe Biden appeared on this morning's Good Morning America to make it official -- he's running for president.
First came the obligatory questions about Iran and Iraq. Diane next tried lure Biden into expanding on his statement that Hillary's nostrums for Iraq would be a "disaster." Biden wouldn't bite: "I have great respect for Hillary Clinton . . . she is fully qualified to be president . . . She is a first-rate person."
Biden similarly declined to rise to Sawyer's bait about Obama's inexperience, responding: "This guy's incredible. He's fresh, he's new, he's got great ideas."
Talk then turned to Biden's Achilles heel: his famed motor mouth. Sawyer: "The Washington Post says your friends have told you that you have to learn to 'put a sock in it' and not talk so much, and that you're taking their recommendation to heart."
Biden launched into a 93-word response in which claimed he was taking his friends' advice to heart, but in the same breath added that "if it takes more than three minutes" to give an answer, he's going to do it.
Imagine if in response to Diane's question, Biden, after a pregnant pause, had let his entire answer be a big, smiling "yup!"
It would have been priceless, and splashed all over the media. But Joe just couldn't "hep" himself. Joe Biden: once again, victim of his own verbosity.