Sandwiched neatly between the U.S. papal visit and the Keystone Primary, former President Jimmy Carter picked an excellent time to visit U.S. State Department-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) Hamas and yet receive scant press coverage.
Yet Carter's embrace of Hamas, his newfound respect in the state-run Iranian media, and his all-but-explicitly leveled allegations of a Zionist conspiracy behind U.S. foreign policy present a strong case for media scrutiny, as well as the media's role in presenting the comments for denunciation by presidential contenders Sens. Clinton, McCain, and Obama.
For its part the Los Angeles Times appears to be taking notice, judging from the coverage from its Middle East affairs blog Babylon & Beyond. From an April 21 posting by Borzou Daragahi in Beirut and Ramin Mostaghim in Tehran (emphasis mine):
“[P]rices are rising across Africa, pushed up by the cost of oil and demand for biofuels,” ABC correspondent Jim Sciutto said.
“Those biofuels are in fact a large part of the equation,” ABC correspondent David Muir added. “Many farmers around the world, who once grew wheat and rice, now grow corn and sugar cane instead, to produce ethanol a more lucrative market.”
In yet another in a disgraceful series of indecent journalistic collaborations, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann and Hillary Clinton's Think Progress actually quoted al Qaeda's second in command Ayman al-Zawahiri to discredit Republican presidential candidate John McCain (video embedded right, use scrollbars to properly center).
International journalism advocacy group Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is declaring March 12 "Online Free Expression Day" to raise awareness to government repression of Web-based journalism in over 20 countries throughout the world.
RSF now lists 15 countries as "Internet enemies" (such as Cuba, Iran, and North Korea) and 11 other nations in a less-severe but nonetheless troubling designation as "countries under watch" (emphasis mine):
"I said it before and I'll say it again," Amanpour said. "I believe that we failed as a profession to do our duty which is simply to ask the hard questions, to stay on it, to fact check and to cross-check and to not take one version of the story hook, line and sinker."
The Media, as Sisyphus, Unwinding its Terror TaleThere is a push by the Jurassic Press -- in two directions at once -- to frame just-so their presentation of the murder and murderers engaged in the attempted global implementation of political Islam.
One such shove was again demonstrated by the New York Times this past February 13th. The Media attempt to present these bits of human flotsam -- and their family members and friends -- in the most sympathetic of possible lights. The Times portrayal of the mourning father and grandfather of recently rubbed out Hezbollah serial assassin Imad Mugniyah -- responsible for amongst many other atrocities the 1983 bombing of the Marine Corps barracks in Beirut (American death count 241) is nothing more than another attempt to humanize these inhuman creatures.
The other Press effort underway is the minimization of the evil of these acts and actors. There is even a feel to some of these reports that those delivering them almost do not wish to have to do so, but are forced to by circumstances and forces (the Internet, anyone?) beyond their control.
Key facts that would exhibit the depths of barbarism mined by these men (and women and, sadly, their bloodletting-by-proxy children) are left out.
The US media seems to think that their job description includes deciding what information is and is not legal to leak and print- never mind that we elect Presidents, Senators and Representatives to do this, not members of the scribbling class. This arrogance and complete lack of care for their fellow Americans was famously demonstrated in the NSA and SWIFT banking exposes by the New York Times resident anti-Americans, James Risen and Eric Lichtblau.
However, these are not the only such cases. Recently, Risen has once again exposed classified data with the aid of hidden law-breakers in the government. In this case, Risen exposed a CIA-Mossad operation to destabilize Iran. Risen has been subpoenaed by a federal court to reveal who gave him this data, but predictably, he sees his mission of aiding America's enemies and assisting said enemies to kill American citizens as more important that assisting the government to uphold laws about leaking sensitive information. And equally predictably, the rest of the mainstream media is rallying to his defense. Haaretz, an Israeli news source, reported on the topic today, casting Risen in the role of victim.
On Thursday's The O'Reilly Factor, FNC analyst Karl Rove quoted an AP story by Christopher Wills from September 18, 2004, which had reported not only that Barack Obama had previously been open to a U.S. troop increase in Iraq when he was running for Senate, but had warned against a premature troop withdrawal as a "slap in the face to the troops fighting there" which could make Iraq "an extraordinary hotbed of terrorist activity." (Transcripts follow)
After devoting his "Talking Points Memo" to debunking Obama's recent claim that "there was no such thing as Al-Qaeda in Iraq until George Bush and John McCain decided to invade Iraq," Bill O'Reilly started his interview with Rove by asking why it is "bad strategy for Obama to go out and say that the Bush administration fouled it all up and we need to get out."
The February 13th New York Times online contained fifteen "Pictures of the Day". Their #1, lead photograph was what you see to the right, with the following description (emphasis added):
Security officials in Lebanon said Imad Mugniyah, 45, a senior Hezbollah military commander, was killed by a car bomb on Tuesday night in Damascus, Syria. Mr. Mugniyah had been accused in a series of bombings, hijackings and kidnappings during the 1980s and 1990s, including the 1983 bombing of a Marine barracks in Beirut that killed 241 American service members. Mr. Mugniyah's father, Fayez, left, and grandfather held each other during a wake in Beirut.
The death of Hezbollah's Imad Mughniyah is a good opportunity to call to mind the Reuters news wire's refusal to call a terrorist a terrorist.
A February 13 story by Tom Perry and Laila Bassam contained the word "terrorist," but only in quotes from sources. The word "terrorism" occurred twice, once in quotes and another when describing a cited source as a "terrorism expert" (emphasis mine).:
BEIRUT (Reuters) - Senior Hezbollah commander Imad Moughniyah, on the United States' most wanted list for attacks on Israeli and Western targets, has been killed by a bomb attack in Damascus, the Lebanese group said on Wednesday.
Remember how the New York Times went apoplectic over last December's NIE estimate that brashly claimed that Iran had suspended their intent to manufacture nuclear arms? It was a front pager and formed the basis of claims that we had illegitimately targeted Iran for rhetorical attacks by many people who opposed the Bush Administration's entire foreign policy regime. Well, as the New York Sun said on the 7th, "what a difference two months make." It appears that the original NIE report was too hasty in its claims that Iran was innocent as the driven snow. So, here's the question: Will the NYT gives us a front page story apologizing for their alarmism?
Yeah. I didn't think so.
On December 3rd, the NYT led its front page, "News Analysis" article with this startling statement:
Monday's State of the Union speech by President Bush gave the MSNBC team their latest chance to deride a Republican speech, which they eagerly accepted. Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews spent about an hour discussing negative reviews of Bush's speech, with Olbermann calling it "oldies but not so goodies," and fretting about Bush's warnings to Iran about "enriching uranium," with Matthews proclaiming that the speech reminded him of old-time radio character "Fibber McGee saying, 'One of these days, I'm going to clean out this closet.' ... it was the theme of this entire speech tonight." When former Bush Chief-of-Staff Andy Card was interviewed at about 11:20 p.m., he chastised the MSNBC team: "I can't tell you how cynical you two sound, and almost every guest you've had on has been very cynical.
The mainstream media turned a deaf ear to Canada's conservative government as they withdrew support for a United Nations led anti-racism conferenceon charges that the conference itself is a "a systematic promotion of hatred and bigotry". One Canadian official called the U.N. Durban II conference a "gong show" as Ottawa withdrew all support in protest of the escalating rhetoric against Israel. This of course comes as no surprise considering that the United Nations, in all its limited wisdom, elected Libya to chair the conference, Cuba as the vice chair and named Iran to the organizing committee. (h/t Girl on the Right)
On Monday's Countdown show, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann used his regular "Worst Person in the World" segment to accuse the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Admiral Michael Mullen, of trying to "fake" a "Gulf of Tonkin" incident with Iran over the recent U.S. Navy confrontation with Iranian navy speed boats in the Strait of Hormuz. Referring to reports that, out of five Iranian boats, only one unarmed boat approached the U.S. Navy ships, and that the threatening message received could have come from a "well-known marine heckler" of the area, Olbermann awarded the "Worst Person" dishonor to Mullen: "So you guys tried to fake another Gulf of Tonkin incident using some clown with a CB radio and the lethal threat posed by the S.S. Minnow? Joint Chiefs Chairman Mike Mullen, on behalf of the Bush administration, today's 'Worst Person in the World'!"
On Friday's NBC Nightly News, correspondent Jim Maceda reported that Europeans have an unusually high interest in this year's presidential election as "they say they'd be very happy with anyone who makes a clean break with the past eight years. In a word, change." Maceda also suggested that Hillary Clinton reminds some of President Bush because of her "talking tough on Iran and terrorism." Notably, while liberals have long criticized Bush for his "You're either with us or against us" line after the September 11th attacks, according to USA Today, Senator Clinton, a week before Bush's speech, used similar words as she argued that Bush should articulate "to every nation in this world, you're either with us or you're not, and there will be consequences." And, appearing on the CBS Evening News the same day, she spoke approvingly of Bush's plan to "make it clear that every nation has to either be with us or against us." (Partial audio available here.)
Add Keith Olbermann to the list of MSNBC hosts offended by popular applause lines from Thursday's GOP debate on FNC. On Friday's Countdown, the same day that Hardball's Chris Matthews had earlier compared Mike Huckabee's words regarding the U.S. military defending itself from Iran to "talking like jihadists," Olbermann named Fred Thompson "Worst Person in the World," contending that the GOP presidential candidate had "pulled another whopper" because the former Senator joked that Iranian military members on speed boats who harassed U.S. Navy warships came close to meeting "those virgins that they're looking forward to seeing." Olbermann further mocked Thompson by suggesting that his candidacy was just part of a "Candid Camera" stunt. (Transcript follows)
On Friday's Hardball, during the show's regular "Big Number" segment, Chris Matthews went after Mike Huckabee for quipping during Thursday's FNC presidential debate that those who attack the American military should be prepared to see the "gates of hell," as the MSNBC host asked if we're all "learning to talk like jihadists now," and contended that Huckabee's comments earn him a "10" on the "irresponsibility scale." Notably, Huckabee's remark was very popular with "Republican-leaning" focus group participants as shown by pollster Frank Luntz Thursday night during FNC's post-debate coverage, as the former Arkansas governor's words scored around 90 percent in terms of approval. (Transcript follows)
At the top of Thursday’s CBS "Early Show," co-host Harry Smith questioned the authenticity of an audio tape of the confrontation between U.S. and Iranian ships on January 6:
We're going to try to re -- to deconstruct the Pentagon tapes just released of that hostile incident in the Strait of Hormuz. Iranian speedboats taunting a U.S. ship. A tape the Iranians are calling a hoax. There's something strange about the audio.
In the later segment on the issue, Smith talked to international security expert, Jeff McCausland, and again wondered if the Iranian hoax accusation had merit:
Iranian officials are calling this video a hoax, saying those voices sounded like they were recorded someplace else...As you have looked at this tape, listened to -- especially the English coming from the Iranians, does it ring authentic to you? Does it seem real?
Well, this strays from the usual silliness and less than credible work over at the Huffington Post and gets closer to a style of treasonous support for our espoused enemies than it does the normal fare. In a posting by one Hooman Majd, an Iranian born writer who dabbles in the music business, we are treated to the absurd conspiracy theory that the U.S. Military manufactured the incident last Tuesday in the Straits of Hormuz involving a few Iranian patrol boats and the the U.S. Navy. Majd seems to imagine that the Pentagon somehow faked the whole thing, and I'm not exaggerating. Catch the title of his posting: It's a Fake. No attempt at subtlety there!
When Jimmy Carter pulled the Persian rug out from under the Shah, we wound up with the Ayatollah Khomenei and a line of spiritual/political descendants culminating in Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Terence Jeffrey has now pointed out that by her highly-critical statements undermining Pervez Musharraf, Hillary Clinton could be precipitating an even worse disaster in Pakistan. The editor-in-chief of CNS News.com, NB's sister organization, has thus described Clinton as "Jimmy Carter on steroids."
At about 4:15 PM ET today, CNN aired a Wolf Blitzer interview of Clinton notable for these two statements by her.
In an effort to have a fair and balanced debate on the issue of the destruction of CIA interrogation tapes, "Face the Nation" host Bob Schieffer invited Democratic Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Jay Rockefeller, and liberal Republican, Senator Chuck Hagel, on to Sunday’s broadcast. Hagel proved to be left of Rockefeller:
We are saying what to the world? That the Army Field Manual applies to our Army people, our armed services people, but the C.I.A. and all these Blackwater-type variations of militias and armies are unaccountable to what? That's not who we are as Americans, Bob. We're better than that. We don't need that. The world wants us to be better than that. We want to be better than that. We need to be smarter. Burning tapes, destroying evidence, I don't know how deep this goes. Could there be obstruction of justice? Yes. How far does this go up in the White House? I don't know.
That does not sound like an opinion from the mainstream of the Republican Party.
The media's reaction to the November 2007 National Intelligence Estimate on Iran's nuclear weapon program has been as grandiose as it is selective, inaccurate and wrong-headed.
The single excerpt they chose to trumpet, that the report proffers with "high confidence" that Iran halted weapons development in 2003, maximized their ability to bash President George W. Bush for being wrong all along about one third of his Axis of Evil.
The MSM has characterized as "war mongering" and "the politics of fear" Bush's consistent and prudent imputations to keep our eye on -- amongst other things -- the spinning Persian ball. They allege the Administration wielded these Terror implements to rush us into battle in Iran and to ensure electoral wins here at home.
The mainstream media have been fawning over the atheist inspired film "The Goldan Compass" and ignoring the fact that the author (upon which the movie is based), Phillip Pullman, has bragged about killing God in his novels. Well, according to CNN, the real focus should be on the fact that the film raises "awareness" about the plight of polar bears. No, really.
In 2007, ABC's investigative reporter Brian Ross has provided hard-hitting looks at Mike Huckabee, Fred Thompson and Rudy Giuliani. He's focused only one such segment on a Democrat, Hillary Clinton. And, unsurprisingly, each of his investigations into a GOP candidate has been accompanied by snarky, sarcastic comments.
On Thursday's Countdown, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann used his latest "Special Comment" to denounce President Bush as a "pathological presidential liar or an idiot-in-chief" for continuing to talk about the potential danger of a nuclear Iran after receiving word in August of the possibility the newest national intelligence report would find that Iran no longer has an active nuclear weapons program, but had suspended such a program in 2003. Olbermann: "We have either a President who is too dishonest to restrain himself from invoking World War III about Iran at least six weeks after he had to have known that the analogy would be fantastic, irresponsible hyperbole, or we have a President too transcendently stupid not to have asked, at what now appears to have been a series of opportunities to do so, whether the fairy tales he either created or was fed, were still even remotely plausible. The pathological presidential liar, or an idiot-in-chief." (Transcript follows)
Checking in Wednesday night from Tehran with Iranian reaction to what anchor Brian Williams described as the new intelligence assessment that “Iran is not developing nuclear weapons after all,” NBC correspondent Ali Arouzi held up a newspaper to show how it portrayed President Bush “as Pinocchio.” Arouzi described crowds cheering President Ahmadinejad's railing against lies spread by the U.S. and how the state media are calling President Bush “a liar and a warmonger.” On the upside for Iranians, Arouzi found the “many” who “have long been worried that the United States will attack Iran over its nuclear ambitions” now have “a sense of relief that that won't happen.”
Thomas Fingar, the Deputy Director of Analysis for the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE), is the media rock star of the moment.
Why? For the just released NIE assessment he co-authored that proffers with "high confidence" that Iranian nuclear weapon development came to a halt in 2003.
This lands him myriad press plaudits because it affords them yet another opportunity to bash President George W. Bush.
However, those with any sort of political memory recall a July 11, 2007 Congressional appearance by the very same Thomas Fingar. Just these scant four months ago, he gave the House Armed Services Committee a very different "high confidence" perspective on Iran and their efforts to develop the bomb.
Joy Behar’s case of Bush Derangement Syndrome is so severe that she mocks them for what she herself it guilty of. It is no secret she hates the Bush administration to the point of calling them liars and murderers, comparing their former defense secretary to Hitler, applying a different standard to Bush than to Hillary Clinton, and even to the point of airing falsecharges on the administration. The December 5 edition of "The View" added some hypocrisy in her latest charge.
The Financial Times (FT) is reporting that an Iran-bound ship seized by the United Arab Emirates last month "contained materials banned by UN Security Council resolutions 1737 and 1747, while the purchaser of the materials has been barred by the same resolutions."
Those resolutions were put in place, FT writers Simeon Kerr and Najmeh Bozorgmehr noted in their December 5 article, "to curtail its [Iran's] nuclear development programme."
Although Kerr and Bozorgmehr's Emirati government source "declined to identify the contents of the cargo or the Iranian company" that ordered them, the development is newsworthy, particularly in light of the shift in the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE), that now concludes that Iran stopped its nuclear program in 2003.
A search of the December 5 Washington Post found no articles similar to Kerr and Bozorgmehr's, although it's unclear if the FT reporters have an exclusive scoop.