Update below the break: Although Zakaria said he would be "surprised" if any Israelis objected to Obama's "quite even-handed" call for pre-1967 borders between Israel and Palestine, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed clear disapproval of the idea Thursday.
CNN's Fareed Zakaria appeared three times on Newsroom Thursday to preview and evaluate President Obama's speech on the Middle East – but never revealed that he has recently had face-to-face meetings with the president on foreign policy matters.
Last weekend a comment by CNN prime time host Eliot Spitzer revealed that Zakaria was advising the president on foreign policy matters, but Zakaria later dismissed that observation and said he simply had off-the-record conversations with Obama on foreign issues. However, he still did not disclose that information when he evaluated Obama's foreign policy speech Thursday on CNN.
On CBS’s Sunday Morning show, during his regular commentary, right-leaning CBS contributor Ben Stein gave a pessimistic view of the "Arab Spring" movement to topple authoritarian governments in the Middle East, charged that America would regret allowing Hosni Mubarak lose power in Egypt, and predicted that the radical Muslm Brotherhood would take over there.
He also gave rare attention to the Muslim Brotherhood’s history of alliance with Nazi Germany during World War II. Stein:
The most potent political force in Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood, hates the U.S., loathes Israel, condemns the killing of bin Laden whom they praise as a martyr, and they've been wedded to terror for their entire existence. Oh, P.S., they were closely connected with Adolf Hitler. They'll probably take over Egypt completely sooner or later.
As NewsBusters previously documented, Nazi Germany helped build up the Muslim Brotherhood in the 1930s to spread anti-Jew hatred in the Middle East.
MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell on Thursday had a highly-contentious interview with former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
"The Last Word" host repeatedly interrupted his guest leading her to say after one such incident, "Lawrence, you have a bad habit with your guests. You never let them answer a question" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
On Friday's "Inside Washington," during a discussion about American foreign policy in the Middle East and Africa, PBS's Mark Shields actually said, "The most urgent priority that we have is to find jobs somehow, not simply for Americans, which is an urgent priority, but for young Egyptians" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
So certainly such a provocative move should command coverage by the mainstream media, yet thus far among the Big Three networks, it appears from a search of Nexis that ABC has ignored the story while NBC and CBS have only done anchor briefs on the development.
For the second week in a row, Newsweek's Eleanor Clift found herself in a hostile crowd on PBS's "McLaughlin Group."
During a lengthy segment about the crisis in Eqypt, after Clift claimed the protesters were secular, the entire panel almost pounced on her with Mort Zuckerman saying several times, "That's nonsense" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Most of the media were predictably jubilant and giddy on Friday when it was announced that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak was stepping down.
Acting as the voice of reason was syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer who on PBS's "Inside Washington" spoke some inconvenient truths about the Muslim Brotherhood and Egypt's similarities to pre-Islamic Revolution Iran that America's press have been dishonestly downplaying for weeks (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Newsweek's Eleanor Clift must have felt like a fish out of water during the taping of this weekend's syndicated "McLaughlin Group."
In a lengthy and tremendously informative segment about the crisis in Egypt, the host and his other three guests - Pat Buchanan, Monica Crowley, and Mort Zuckerman - gave the perilously liberal columnist quite a lesson regarding the Obama administration's diplomatic mishandling of Hosni Mubarak as well insights about the Muslim Brotherhood that most in the media are ignoring (video follows with transcript and commentary):
As pro-Mubarak forces continue to clash with democratic protesters in the streets of Cairo and the situation in Egypt remains volatile and uncertain, NBC's David Gregory confidently declared that the Muslim Brotherhood has no interest in turning Egypt into an Islamist state.
On the February 4 edition of MSNBC's "Andrea Mitchell Reports," the moderator of "Meet the Press" blithely dismissed concerns that the Brotherhood might exploit the power vacuum created by outgoing President Hosni Mubarak to codify Islamic law in Egypt.
"It was pointed out by one of the experts on the panel that [the Muslim Brotherhood] will also be aware of their position internationally," announced Gregory, referring to a recent panel he moderated at the Brookings Institution, a liberal think tank. "They don't want to overstep that. They don't want to turn it into an Islamist state. They have matured politically in that sense and are rather sophisticated."
Having mercilessly attacked Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) for six days in a row, MSNBC's Chris Matthews on Wednesday set his sights on conservative talk show host Glenn Beck.
After an opening teaser in which the "Hardball" host referred to "the right-wing freak-out over Egypt," Matthews ended up doing two segments about the Fox News star in which he and his perilously liberal guests called the object of their disaffection a "fear mongering," "completely crazy," "full mooner," "Captain Queeg" (videos follow with partial transcripts and lengthy commentary):
Chris Matthews on Friday asked the panelists on the syndicated program bearing his name two questions about the crisis in Egypt that must have made his liberal viewers gasp.
Moments after surprisingly asking NBC's Andrea Mitchell if "neo-conservatives who believe in really trying to push democracy" were right all along, Matthews asked David Sanger of the New York Times if George W. Bush was "better equipped than this President to deal with this crisis" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
For general discussion and debate about all things relating to politics, the economy, and sports.
Possible talking point: Egypt.
How serious is the situation in Egypt? Will this result in a full-scale revolution that topples Mubarak? If so, will this become religious leading to some kind of new Islamic government such as in Iran? Or will Mubarak get control of the situation?
Appearing as a guest on CNN’s Parker-Spitzer, rocker Gene Simmons of the rock band KISS and the TV show Family Jewels related to viewers that he is "very conservative" on fiscal and foreign policy issues, voiced his support for President Bush and the war on terrorism - including "nation building" in Iraq - and declared that he wishes he could take back his vote for President Obama from the 2008 election.
As he later explained that he normally does not talk about politics because he believes entertainers are not qualified to speak about such matters, he also took a jab at Hollywood liberal Sean Penn and suggested that politically outspoken celebrities are "morons."
Simmons, who has a history of declaring his love for America because of the rescue of his mother from Nazi concentration camps, also discussed his visit to the house of Holocaust victim Anne Frank and its inclusion in his TV show Family Jewels.
When asked by co-host Kathleen Parker about his support for President Bush and the invasion of Iraq, Simmons revealed some of his voting history:
NBC's Andrea Mitchell reporting live from Tehran on Tuesday's Today show, on the American hikers held hostage in Iran, relayed Iranian government spin, that the Ground Zero mosque protest and controversial Koran "desecrations" have "added to the tension here, the anti-American spirit." Spurred by a question from substitute anchor Carl Quintanilla about the protests in New York city, Mitchell actually held up one of the state-owned newspapers and relayed that "if the government needed any excuse to drum up more anti-American fever," they have it, as she noted "all the headlines" in Iran are about the "desecration" and "burning" threats of the Koran.
The following segment was aired on the September 14 Today show:
Appearing as a guest on Saturday’s Huckabee show on FNC, actor Jon Voight condemned Time magazine for the cover on its September 13 issue which provocatively displays the words "Why Israel Doesn’t Care About Peace" in the middle of a Star of David made from daisies. Voight charged that there must be anti-Semitism at Time magazine if such a cover could be devised. Voight:
Listen, if Israel falls we all fall. Did you see the Time magazine, did you guys see the Time magazine cover? Cover? It was amazing. Here's a cover with a Star of David on it, and it says Israel doesn't care about peace. ... But this is anti-Semitism. This is, who are the anti-Semites who are running Time magazine? And their prior cover, you know, they alluded to the Islamophobia, they're calling America Islamophobic.
As previously documented by NewsBusters, Time managing editor Richard Stengel bizarrely seemed to see a down side to fewer terrorist attacks against Israelis when he appeared on the Thursday, September 2, Morning Joe on MSNBC, as he suggested that it was a "sad truth" that the low level of recent violence from terrorists -- including the "Hamas folks" -- had made Israelis feel less urgency about negotiating with Palestinians. Stengel:
Laura Ingraham and Greg Gutfeld had some fun Thursday evening bashing NBC foreign correspondent Richard Engel for absurd comments he made on the "Today" show this week.
As NewsBusters reported Tuesday, Engel that morning told NBC's Ann Curry:
If there had been no invasion Saddam would still be in power. He was probably getting more moderate. He was being welcomed into the, into, by, by a lot of European countries, he was being welcomed in Eastern Europe in particular. He was heading in a, in a direction of accommodation.
On Thursday's "O'Reilly Factor," substitute host Ingraham and guest Gutfeld had a field day with what the former labeled "The Dumbest Things of the Week" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
While MSNBC host Keith Olbermann was recently dismissive of conservatives for highlighting radical Islam’s persecution of homosexuals in some countries, the Countdown host also has a history of showing more interest in mocking conservatives who complain about the persecution of women by radical Muslims than of actually reporting on such mistreatment.
Last July, Olbermann ignored a story about an Iranian woman accused of adultery who was sentenced to death by stoning – a story carried by the NBC Nightly News and ABC’s World News – but on September, 28, 2007, when conservative activist David Horowitz mistakenly cited an image from a movie as if it were taken from an actual stoning, the MSNBC host pounced to slam Horowitz, calling him a "right-wing fringer," naming him "Worst Person in the World," as he sarcastically mocked the conservative activist’s attempt to draw attention to such persecution. Olbermann:
The image is actually from a 1994 film made in Holland... [The actress] has made at least three appearances on Dutch TV since. Evidently she’s okay. But keep plugging away, Mr. Horowitz. Let’s keep spending billions of dollars to stoke up religious hatred and send our kids to their deaths on the battlefield so we can prevent Dutch actresses from having to do scenes in which their characters are buried alive in a movie. Right-wing water carrier David, "I saw it in the movies, it must be real," Horowitz, today’s "Worst Person in the World!"
By contrast, on July 8, 2010, NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams set up a report about a woman who was awaiting the sentence of stoning to death in Iran, and treated the issue with the seriousness that it deserves:
The HBO documentary For Neda, directed by Antony Thomas and narrated by famed Iranian actress Shohreh Aghdashloo, first aired on HBO in the United States on June 14 but went viral in Iran on June 1, well before the regime even knew about it. In an HBO interview, Mr. Thomas stated that the goal of the film was to look beyond Neda Agha-Soltan as the most prominent symbol of the Green Revolution and into the soul of whom Neda was as a human being. To that end, Mr. Thomas and crew succeeded brilliantly. The emotional rollercoaster ride one undergoes while traversing Neda Soltan’s short but eventful life in For Neda ranges from the tender and sublime to black despair and furious outrage.
At times, For Neda also induces in the viewer an unnerving sense of paranoia. Throughout much of the film, the regime is the evil villain unseen on the screen but whose ominous presence is most keenly felt. The rather ordinary but highly illicit home interview sessions in Iran with Neda’s family and others engender a dark foreboding to the point you almost expect regime jackboots to bust down the doors at any moment. The rest of For Neda is also fraught with many palpable dangers that make the fictional James Bond’s seem trite by comparison. In For Neda, we know that the consequences of regime discovery and reprisal are as perilous, real and horrifying as it gets.
Great idea. While we're at it, let's invite al Qaeda to a conference on Israel's future . . .
On Morning Joe today, Zbigniew Brzezinski recommended that the US organize an "international conference" on Afghanistan's future—and invite Iran to participate. The former Carter National Security Advisor didn't say what positive contributions he might expect from a country working in defiance of international sanctions to develop nuclear weapons and which has stated its desire to wipe Israel off the map.
On the eve of the one year anniversary of the most recent Iranian presidential election, the Web site for The New Republic gave space to Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona) to lament the Obama administration's feckless response to the corrupt Iranian regime's crackdown on protesters and its continued quest for nuclear weapons and terrorist sponsorship under Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
In response two days later, Time's Joe Klein resorted to his typical petulant bluster to berate the generally liberal magazine and divert attention from the real issue of Obama's leadership:
The New Republic perplexes me. It has some of the best and smartest writing around. And then it allows John McCain, whose lack of knowledge about Iran is encyclopedic, to hold forth in its pages.
Klein's June 13 Swampland blog post at Time.com focused on one brief excerpt of McCain's item, launching into how he felt McCain was not nuanced enough and hence lacks credibility to address the issue:
Helen Thomas was her typical, Israel-hating self Tuesday when during the White House press briefing, she called the previous day's flotilla incident a "deliberate massacre, an international crime."
When she got her chance to ask White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs a question at the proceeding, Thomas was relentless in her accusations.
"If any other nation in the world had done it, we would have been up in arms," she said.
"What is the sacrosanct, iron-clad relationship where a country that deliberately kills people and boycotts -- and we aid and abet the boycott?" (video follows with transcript and commentary, h/t Hot Air's Allahpundit):
ABC's Jake Tapper reported Tuesday that the Obama administration is going to support Israel in the wake of international outrage over the flotilla incident off the coast of Gaza Monday morning.
If Tapper is correct, one has to wonder whether the typically pro-Palestinian media here in America will stand with the President on this one.
Such seems especially intriguing given Obama's plummeting approval ratings and his increasingly frosty relations with press members that helped him get elected two years ago but now feel he's snubbing them at every turn.
Here's what Tapper wrote hours ago at ABC's Political Punch blog (h/t Hot Air's Ed Morrissey):
According to the geniuses at ABC News, the flotilla incident between Israel and pro-Hamas activists Monday endangers American troops stationed in the Middle East.
At the conclusion of what had been a relatively well-balanced "World News" report concerning what happened off of the coast of Gaza early Monday morning, ABC's Jim Sciutto apprised viewers of the angry reaction to the event by Muslims in the region.
"While the facts remain in dispute, demonstrations extended across the Muslim world to Muslim communities in Europe," began Sciutto.
"A public outpouring like this one poses a danger for America's relations with the Muslim world as well," he continued.
"The popular perception of America has real consequences for American soldiers undermining already weak support for U.S. military action in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
On Friday's The O'Reilly Factor on FNC, substitute anchor Juan Williams devoted a segment to the recent inclusion of Iran on the United Nations Commission on the Status for Women, despite the draconian treatment of women by government authorities in the nation. The FNC host was reminded of Libya's leadership of the U.N. Human Rights Commission in 2003. Williams:
Another outrage courtesy of our friends at the U.N. Iran has just been selected to sit on the United Nations commission on human, on women's rights. Iran, which requires that women who don't dress modestly enough get stoned or lashed. Iran, which threatens to arrest women with suntans. I guess we shouldn't be shocked. In 2003, Libya was selected to head up the U.N. Human Rights Commission.
Williams brought aboard author Brigitte Gabriel for further discussion of the issue. Below is a complete transcript of the segment from the Friday, April 30, The O'Reilly Factor on FNC:
Former United Nations ambassador John Bolton had one of the best lines on Friday's "Real Time" when after he got some scattered applause from the typically liberal audience in attendance, he said to Bill Maher, "You let Republicans in."
As the subject turned to America's military operations abroad, the HBO host told his guest, "You can't really believe that radical Muslim terrorists...need Afghanistan to launch an attack on us."
"I think there are plenty of alternative places," replied Bolton. "And I would say the bigger strategic interest going forward is keeping those nuclear weapons out of the hands of terrorists."
This produced some scattered applause from the crowd leading Bolton to marvelously say, "You let Republicans in" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
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."
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.
Near the end of Wednesday's Dylan Ratigan Show on MSNBC, host Dylan Ratigan led his 'Busted' segment by claiming that The Drudge Report did "not let facts get in the way of a good headline" on Tuesday, by featuring one which read: "CIA: Iran Moving Closer to Nuclear Weapon." Ratigan remarked: "That'll get the ratings up."
Despite the fact that most of the world has long operated under the assumption that Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons, including the Obama administration, Ratigan singled out Matt Drudge's website for scorn, arguing: "Sounds pretty scary, right? Until you find out what the CIA report actually said. The agency's intelligence actually shows that Iran is quote, 'keeping open the option to develop nuclear weapons,' but that they quote 'do not know' whether Tehran will ultimately head down that road." The headline on screen read: "Misinformed; Wordplay On Iran's Nuke Plans."
Ratigan eventually revealed where he received his liberal taking points: "the truth, why would you let that get in the way of ratings? As our friend Glenn Greenwald from Salon.com points out on his blog, false reporting on Iran could be ultimately be far more dangerous than the perceived threat itself. Let's try to stick to the facts."