In a pre-taped segment, delivered from the Forbidden City in Beijing, NBC's Matt Lauer pointed out a poll that showed the Chinese are happier than Americans and repeated his line that protestors could be seen as "party crashers," on Tuesday's "Today" show.
During an interview with NBC News China analyst, Joshua Cooper Ramo, Lauer made the following observation:
LAUER: There's a recent poll that said some very high percentage of the people in China are happy with their lot in life. Something around 80 percent. You compare that to polls in the United States that say only about 25 percent of Americans are, what's the root of their happiness here?
Then a little later in the segment the "Today" co-host, repeating an earlier worryhe made on Monday's program, declared the average Chinese citizen would disapprove of any protests:
NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams acted as a conduit for Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's propaganda message of conciliation as NBC Nightly News led Monday with about seven minutes of comments from the Iranian leader's interview with Williams in Tehran, such as how “for more than 50 years now the policy of American statesmen has been to confront the Iranian people.” Williams seemed quite pleased with himself, introducing the interview excerpt:
It was clear in just the opening few minutes of the conversation that the Iranian President had a message he wanted to impart to the U.S. and to the wider world. In various answers to our questions, he talked about common ground with the United States. The Associated Press today described his words spoken to us as "unusually conciliatory," and said he raised hopes for a breakthrough.
Though, based on a look at the posted transcript, less than a third of the session made it onto the Monday night newscast, NBC made sure to include Ahmadinejad's praise, possibly tongue-in-cheek, of Williams (through a translator):
It’s very interesting. Before this meeting that is going to take place, you are aware of what other people are going to do, apparently. This tells me that you are a very able reporter and very active. Congratulations are very much in order. Before something happens, apparently you know what’s going to happen. This is interesting.
Is there a pro-Obama bias in the media? Only if you at it from a certain point-of-view according to "NBC Nightly News" anchor Brian Williams.
Despite allegations of just the opposite, the wall-to-wall coverage of presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama's trip to the Middle East then to Europe wasn't a sign of bias - it was just the media attempting to "educate" according to Williams.
Williams appeared on CNBC's "Closing Bell" on July 28 to promote the broadcast of his interview with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to be aired on the July 28 "NBC Nightly News." "Closing Bell" host Maria Bartiromo asked Williams if the media were treating Democratic presidential hopeful as a "darling." Williams dismissed the allegation.
"I think it is in the eye of the beholder," Williams said. "As I always say, there was that great New York clothier Sy Syms. We all grew up listening to those radio ads in the New York area and what did he used to say? ‘An educated consumer is our best customer.' The journalism needs to be judged on what we covered of that trip, how we covered it, what we said. It was a big story last week. The crowd I covered in Berlin was a big story, as was the visit to Paris and London and the Middle East before it."
It seems Barack Obama had a "senior moment" on Wednesday during his trip to Israel regarding which Senate committees he is a member of. On the same day's Special Report with Brit Hume, during the "Fox All Stars" segment, the Weekly Standard's Fred Barnes called out Obama for his claim, which the Illinois Senator made while trying to impress Israeli reporters, that he is a member of the Senate Banking Committee, as he took credit for the passage of legislation regarding Iran. Barnes: "[Obama] was trying to brag about how tough he was on the Iranians, and he said his committee, the Senate Banking Committee, had passed a resolution ... that would have caused American firms to divest of Iranian interests. And the trouble is, he's not on that committee. ... And he didn't vote for it. That would be a senior moment if McCain did it."
Indeed, the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs membership roster does not list Obama's name. But during a news conference, which aired live Wednesday morning during CNN Newsroom, Obama seemed to embellish his resume: "Now, in terms of knowing my commitments, you don't have to just look at my words, you can look at my deeds. Just this past week, we passed out of the U.S. Senate Banking Committee, which is my committee, a bill to call for divestment from Iran, as a way of ratcheting up the pressure to ensure that they don't obtain a nuclear weapon." (Transcripts follow)
On Friday's Countdown show, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann used a sloppily worded statement by an 83-year-old decorated veteran, retired Colonel Bud Day, who volunteered for both World War II and the Vietnam War, and who ended up spending 30 months as a POW, a man whom Olbermann called "dangerously deluded" and derided as a "slob" and a "clown," to paint John McCain as agreeing with what the MSNBC host referred to as Day's "racism and religious hatred." After quoting part of a recent statement by Day in which he referred generically to "the Muslims," instead of "Muslim extremists," as wanting either to "kill us" or to force Americans to "kneel," Olbermann suggested that McCain "agrees" that Muslims in general are the enemy. As he tagged Day as "Worst Person in the World," Olbermann slammed McCain: "And you heard him [Day]: John agrees with him. As of tonight, John's campaign has refused to repudiate Day's racism and religious hatred. Maybe John needs to get rid of this clown but fast. Bud ‘The Muslims are Going to Kill Us' Day, today's ‘Worst Person in the World.'" (Transcript follows)
While reporting that a top U.S. diplomat will attend an international meeting with an Iranian negotiator on Wednesday’s CBS "Early Show," correspondent Bill Plante suggested such a meeting represented the Bush Administration moving toward Barack Obama’s goal of direct negotiations with Iran: "Absolutely a first and it's a sharp break from what has been the policy of the Bush Administration...Now official disclaimers aside, the fact that the administration is sending someone to this meeting is a very big deal. And since Obama has put it into the political debate it is sure to stay as part of the political discussion."
Following that report, co-host Harry Smith talked to political analyst Jeff Greenfield about the impact on the presidential campaign:
So interesting, this has been part and parcel of the political discussion of the two campaigns for several months now. Barack Obama says we should talk to some of these folks. McCain has long maintained, very much along the administration lines, we don't talk unless they stop enriching uranium. How does this reflect, do you think, upon the campaigns?
Greenfield responded by describing how the diplomatic meeting would help Obama: "But if your whole argument, and it was Senator Clinton's as well, against Obama is he's naive, he doesn't understand the world, and now to have the administration say, 'okay, the precondition we can set aside,' it tends to undercut the argument, which is going to be a key to Obama's critics, that he doesn't understand the world."
Friday's NBC Nightly News and Saturday's CBS Evening News relayed comments by IAEA Director General Mohamed El Baradei as the UN official warned against an attack on Iran's nuclear facilities, in response to a recent military exercise by the Israeli military. CBS anchor Kelly Wallace quoted El Baradei as contending that an attack on Iran "could turn the Mideast into a, quote, 'ball of fire.'" NBC substitute anchor Ann Curry spoke of "dire warnings of the consequences" as she introduced a report by Jim Miklaszewski which focused on possible retaliations by Iran, and which also mentioned El Baradei's "ball of fire" comments and the UN official's threat to resign if Iran is attacked.
In Miklaszewski's report, after relaying Iran's threat to give Israelis "a serious blow to the face," he cited U.S. military's officials who argue that "airstrikes on Iran could have devastating consequences in the Middle East and here at home. Iran could step up attacks against U.S. forces in Iraq, unleash a wave of terrorism through the radical group Hezbollah, and wreak havoc on the world economy by disrupting the flow of oil out of the Persian Gulf."
When Georgia Republicans ran an ad against former Senator Max Cleland, which included a photograph of Osama bin Laden, attacking the Democratic Senator's numerous votes to apply labor union rules to the Homeland Security Department, liberals were outraged as they claimed the ad was an attack on the "patriotism" of war hero Cleland. MSNBC host Keith Olbermann expressed outrage by mentioning the attack on Cleland several times in the last few years as he claimed that Cleland was "cut down," "sandbagged," "blindsided," "cheap shotted," "mugged," "hamstrung," and subjected to a "hatchet job," in part because of the inclusion of the bin Laden photograph.
But Olbermann himself recently employed a photograph of Osama bin Laden as he teased a story contending that "John McCain's top guy [Phil Gramm] on the economy made it easier for bin Laden," and charging that Gramm was "on the side of the terrorists' bankers before and after 9/11." The MSNBC host has also accused McCain of "betraying" U.S. troops, and has suggested that McCain does not "understand [the] risk and sacrifice" of U.S. troops serving in Iraq, and that he has "abandoned" them. He even went so far as to suggest that McCain has ulterior motives for supporting an extended U.S. presence in Iraq because he supports "war-profiteering" by U.S. firms who would benefit. And Olbermann once mocked McCain as "awol" during as Senate vote because he was at a fund-raiser "supporting himself instead of the troops." (Transcripts follow)
Exactly who “threatens” whom? One of Friday’s headlines on the BBC’s Web site proposes “Israeli minister threatens Iran,” relating how Israel’s Deputy Prime Minister Shaul Mofaz says an attack will be inevitable unless Iran ends its nuclear experiments: “If Iran continues with its programme for developing nuclear weapons, we will attack it. The sanctions are ineffective."
Earlier this week, however, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told Iranians that "the criminal and terrorist Zionist regime which has 60 years of plundering, aggression and crimes in its file has reached the end of its work and will soon disappear off the geographical scene." That sounds pretty menacing, too, but plugging “Ahmadinejad” into the BBC’s search engine finds no reports on this threatening speech.
Today's dramatic $6-a-barrel spike in oil has been blamed on a couple of factors - a forecast by Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) claiming oil would hit $150 a barrel by July and a weakening dollar off news unemployment increased half a percent for the month of May.
But CNBC contributor John Kilduff, who is also the vice president of risk management for MF Global (NYSE:MF), told viewers on the June 6 "Squawk on the Street" geopolitical factors, specifically remarks from an Israeli official about attacking a nuclear facility in Iran, is behind the spike.
"[W]hat's really lit up this market big time here is, which hasn't been really mentioned. I haven't heard too much and I'm surprised at, is deputy minister in Israel said this morning that an attack on Iran's nuclear facilities is quote, ‘unavoidable,'" said Kilduff on CNBC's "Squawk on the Street."
If the Speaker vilifies U.S. soldiers and praises their Iranian killers, and the Jurassic Press doesn't report it, does it make a sound?
Last Thursday, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, third in line to the Presidency and currently the highest ranking Democrat on Planet Earth, sat down for an 80-minute chat with reporters and editorial board members of her home district's San Francisco Chronicle. 62 minutes in, Madame Speaker, pontificating on the Iraq surge, offered up the following:
"Whatever the military success and any progress that may have been made, the surge didn't accomplish its goal. ... And some of the success of the surge is that the goodwill of the Iranians -- they decided in Basra when the fighting would end, they negotiated that cessation of hostilities -- the Iranians."
The following is from an MRC press release calling out the liberal mainstream media for covering up House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's (D-Calif.) recent remarks chalking up the success of the U.S. military in Iraq to the "goodwill of the Iranians." [audio of Pelosi's remarks available here]
Alexandria, VA-- Last Thursday, a collection of reporters and members of the editorial board of the San Francisco Chronicle sat down for a nearly 80-minute interview with Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi, Democrat of California.
At the 62-minute mark, Pelosi slandered and demeaned the hard-won successes of our armed forces in Iraq, saying "Whatever the military success and progress that may have been made, the surge didn't accomplish its goal. And some of the success of the surge is that the goodwill of the Iranians -- they decided in Basra when the fighting would end, they negotiated that cessation of hostilities -- the Iranians."
No one at the Chronicle reported the Speaker's vicious slander. Nor did NBC, ABC or CBS, CNN or MSNBC deem it fit for broadcast, either Thursday evening or at any point on Friday. The vaunted New York Times likewise did not deem this fit to print.
Joy Behar finds actors and hard left activists Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon "two of the most patriotic Americans that we have in the media." On the May 29 edition of "The View" the panel discussed Susan Sarandon’s threat to leave the United States if John McCain is elected president. The following Monday, June 2, Whoopi Goldberg read Sarandon’s response to the controversy.
In her letter to "The View" Sarandon claimed her words have been "morphed into something other than intended." Sarandon bizarrely added she simply would feel unsafe in New York City because of McCain’s "statements regarding foreign policy and his volatile temper."
After Goldberg read in Sarandon’s letter that she "has faith in the American people," Joy Behar called Sarandon and longtime partner Tim Robbins "two of the most patriotic Americans that we have in the media" because "they stuck their neck out in the beginning when it was very unpopular to speak out against the war and the Bush administration."
Wednesday's Hannity and Colmes showed viewers clips of Barack Obama making contradictory statements from Sunday and Tuesday about whether Iran was a serious threat, with the Illinois Senator on Sunday saying "they don't pose a serious threat to us," but on Tuesday saying "Iran is a grave threat." Pollster Frank Luntz also sparred with FNC's liberal co-host Alan Colmes over whether it would be wise to meet with dictators like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Adolf Hitler, and got Colmes to admit that "I might" meet with Hitler. Luntz: "Would you talk to Hitler?" Colmes: "It would depend upon the circumstances. ... I might." (Transcript follows)
The segment began with a clip of Democratic Governor and Obama supporter Bill Richardson talking about Obama's desire to "talk to the Iranian leaderhip," and the clip of Obama talking about Iran were soon played, as they had been played on the previous night's show:
BARACK OBAMA CLIP #1, DATED MAY 18: Iran, Cuba, Venezuela, these countries are tiny compared to the Soviet Union. They don't pose a serious threat to us.
In an effort to back up Obama's gaffe that he'll "talk" to anyone, even terrorists, as if diplomacy in and of itself was a cure all, editorial writer Bruce Ramsey of the Seattle Times has made a gaffe of his own that, in essence, makes the claim that negotiating with Adolf Hitler was perfectly reasonable even as each concession given to him by Europe's prewar powers obviously gave him every reason to be brave enough to start WWII. Ramsey seems to be trying to justify the appeasement of Hitler in order to give Barack Obama the cover he needs to make his inexperience and naiveté seem less detrimental to his presidential ambitions.
Ramsey is worried, he says, about the "continual reference to Hitler and his National Socialists, particularly the British and French accommodation at the Munich Conference of 1938." He feels that it was completely reasonable to cave in to Hitler in those days prior to the war.
If anyone in your family lineage had any ties to the Nazi regime, no matter how obscure, you are automatically disqualified from speaking to any Jewish audience, according to Joy Behar. Apparently we are responsible for the sins of our grandparents. [audio available here]
Discussing the Bush "appeasement" remarks on the May 19 edition of "The View," Joy Behar, after mocking President Bush’s intelligence, followed this bizarre line of reasoning in chiding Bush for even speaking to the Israeli Knesset.
During an exclusive interview with George W. Bush, on Monday's "Today" show, NBC's Richard Engel seemed to blame all of the Middle East's problems on the President's policies as he charged that, "Iran's position in the world is rising because of your actions in Iraq," and that the war on terrorism "has not made the world safer."
This exchange was typical of the tone of the entire interview where virtually all of Engels' questions to the President were from the left.
RICHARD ENGEL: If you look back over the last several years, the Middle East that you'll be handing over to the next president has, is deeply problematic. You have Hamas in power, Hezbollah empowered, taking to the streets, Iran empowered, Iraq still at war. What region are you handing over?
GEORGE W. BUSH: Richard, Richard those folks were always around. They were here. What we're handing over is a, is a Middle East that one recognizes the problems and the world recognizes them. There's, there's clarity as to what the problems are.
ENGEL: The war on terrorism has been the centerpiece of your presidency. Many people say that it has not made the world safer, that it has created more radicals, that, that there are more people in this part of the world who want to attack the United States.
The 9a.m. hour of Friday’s MSNBC News Live featured only slanted coverage of President Bush’s remarks to Israel's Knesset including "Hardball" correspondent David Shuster’s characterization of the President’s remarks as “clearly an intellectually grotesque and dishonest statement.”
Shuster also argued that Bush’s remarks were offensive to "a lot" of people because "when you talk about Adolf Hitler in the context of the Middle East, it diminishes the atrocities and just how horrific the Nazi regime really was."
The hour long broadcast featured two segments which focused on Bush’s remarks with guests David Shuster and Barack Obama supporter Senator Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), both of whom criticized the President’s statements and went along with the Democratic spin that Bush’s statements were an attack on Obama.
Throughout the day on Thursday, CNN carried the water for the Democrats and portayed President Bush’s "appeasement" remarks before the Knesset in Israel as an attack on Barack Obama. "The Situation Room" host Wolf Blitzer began his program by stating that "President Bush slams Barack Obama from Israel." Senior political analyst Gloria Borger quipped, "I know that the White House press secretary says they were not talking about Barack Obama, but of course they were." Senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin remarked, "I think this is straight out of the usual Republican playbook." Jack Cafferty struck hard: "He is beyond irrelevant and he's not going to scare anybody. He just babbles away like Eliot Spitzer talking about matrimonial fidelity. It's a joke." CNN’s other senior political analyst, David Gergen, reminisced, "I can't remember as brazen a political shot by a President overseas in a political race back home... an especially jagged kind of criticism."
Throwing gas on the firestorm between Senator Obama and President Bush, the May 16 edition of "Today" sounded almost like an Obama campaign press release. Host Matt Lauer kicked off the segment rhetorically questioning if Bush is "the campaigner in chief."
Reporter Andrea Mitchell basically said "yes" stating without doubt that "President Bush did inject himself directly into the presidential campaign." Mind reader Mitchell claimed Bush’s speech to the Israeli Knesset "could hardly have been an accident" and used the opportunity "to fire a shot at Barack Obama."
Mitchell admitted the president did not mention Obama’s name but he somehow still managed to compare the Senator from Illinois to "the politicians who appeased Hitler." Displaying journalistic irresponsibility, Mitchell did not even report the White House’s denial that President Bush referred to Senator Obama.
Thursday May 15, 2008, American media hit a new low. To paraphrase Michelle Obama, I have never been less proud of my country.
On the occasion of Israel's 60th anniversary, President George W. Bush gave one of the greatest speeches of his career.
Yet, America's media could only see this event through the tiny prism of the upcoming presidential election, and thereby totally ignored virtually everything that was said by the most powerful man in the world to one of our nation's greatest allies.
From a speech that lasted over 20 minutes -- interrupted eight times by applause from Israeli Knesset members -- America's media exclusively reported 83 words they felt insulted the candidate for president they have been unashamedly supporting for over a year.
Everything else in the President's stirring and emotional address went completely ignored, so much so that the other 2,400 words were totally irrelevant, as was the signficance of the day and the moment.
The big story this morning is President Bush's remarks to the Israeli Knesset invoking the example of Hitler to warn against the appeasement of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. In the opening segment, from Mika Brzezinski [subbing as host for Joe Scarborough this week] to Willie Geist to Pat Buchanan to Mike Barnicle to David Shuster, nary a word in defense of Bush was heard, with Shuster twice referring to Bush's remarks as "grotesque." The only slight straying from Bush-bashing orthodoxy was Barnicle's observation that when he first heard of the remarks, he took them as aimed at Jimmy Carter, not Barack Obama.
A show purporting to have any semblance of balance would surely have a defender, if not of Bush, then at least of John McCain [who has reacted approvingly to Bush's comments] as a subsequent guest on today's show. Well, here's the guest lineup that Mika announced:
Bill Richardson--Obama endorser
Joe Biden--who has called Bush's remarks "bull----"
Susan Rice--Obama foreign policy advisor
Jonathan Alter--liberal pundit and occasional Olbermann sidekick
The broadcast network evening news shows took their cues from the Obama campaign Thursday night as all framed their coverage -- of President Bush warning in Israel that “some seem to believe that we should negotiate with the terrorists and radicals” -- around angry reaction to Bush's perceived attack on Barack Obama with CBS and NBC trying to undermine Bush's argument by contending it contradicts policies of past Republican Presidents and/or Bush administration officials.
CBS anchor Katie Couric, referring to Bush and John McCain, cited “a two-pronged Republican attack today on Barack Obama on a key foreign policy matter.” Reporter Chip Reid saw a “Republican barrage” which “began in Jerusalem today where President Bush appeared to be taking aim at Barack Obama.” Reid soon passed along how “Obama, who has said he would meet with leaders of Iran, Syria, and Cuba, noted that Presidents Kennedy, Nixon, and even Reagan also negotiated directly with America's enemies.” But Mikhail Gorbachev hadn't promised to nuke Israel.
Over on NBC, Brian Williams teased his lead story: “President Bush on the world stage delivers what was widely seen as an attack on Barack Obama.” Williams described it as “today's political shot heard 'round the world. The concussion was instantaneous. Upon hearing the news, one Democratic Senator used a word we can't use on this broadcast.” Reporter John Yang called it “the first salvo of this fall's general election campaign” and, with “THIS IS B******T” on screen, relayed how “Senator Joseph Biden characterized the President's words with a word we can't use.” Yang contended Bush's admonition “would also apply to Mr. Bush's former Secretary of State” who urged engagement with Hamas. But not a personal sit-down with the President of the United States.
Message to Chris Matthews: when ripping a guest for his lack of historical knowledge, try to avoid making a history mistake of your own in the same segment.
It happened on this afternoon's Hardball. After lambasting a guest for not knowing his Neville Chamberlain history, Matthews surmised that the attack on the USS Cole in October, 2000 happened under . . . President Bush.
Over a graphic which read “Pres. Bush Invokes Nazis While Criticizing Obama’s Foreign Policy,” MSNBC sought to hype Democratic reaction to President Bush’s speech in Israel.
During the 9a.m. hour of Thursday’s “MSNBC News Live,” host Mika Brzezinski reported: “President Bush issued a stinging criticism of Barack Obama today suggesting that his plans to hold talks with Iran is the same as trying to appease the Nazis on the eve of World War II.”
Brzezinski began the broadcast with “breaking news” of President Bush’s comments and repeatedly came back to it, making for a total of six references to the “controversy” in the hour-long broadcast. The host also quoted the reaction from the Obama campaign three times and continually referred to the President’s remarks as a “swipe at Obama.”
White House Press Secretary Dana Perino has refuted assertions by CNN that President Bush, in a speech to the Israeli Knesset on Thursday, "[suggested] that Senator Barack Obama and other Democrats are in favor of appeasing terrorists in the same way that U.S. leaders appeased the Nazis in the run-up to World War II."
As my colleague Matthew Balan reported less than two hours ago, CNN's "American Morning" was quick to view statements made by the President as hostile to the junior senator from Illinois and other Democrats.
Yet, in a press gaggle following the President's speech, Perino flatly denied such assertions (file photo above right):
On Thursday’s CBS "Early Show" correspondent Bill Plante reported on President Bush’s speech before the Israeli Knesset and suggested the president was going after Barack Obama: "The president today is slamming Iran, embracing the Israelis, barely mentioning the Palestinians, and he's suggesting, without naming any names, that anyone who's in favor of talking to Iran, like say, Barack Obama, is in favor of appeasement." [audio available here]
Later in the report, Plante again claimed that the president was attacking the Democratic candidate: "The president is also taking what some will interpret as a slap at Barack Obama. He's saying that those who believe we should negotiate with terrorists and radicals, and he calls that appeasement." Plante then dismissed the comments as nothing more that President Bush pandering to voters during an election year: "White House officials deny that Mr. Bush had Obama specifically in mind, but it doesn't take a whole lot of imagination to see this as reaching out to American Jewish voters in an election year."
On the June 7, 2004 CBS "Evening News,"after Ronald Reagan’s death, Plante attacked the former president for what he saw as Reagan’s appeasement of terrorists during the Iran-Contra scandal: