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:
Friday, at Real Clear Politics, Jack Kelly recounted the Illinois Senator's egregious error, and its frightening implications (bolds are mine throughout):
Obama Needs a History Lesson
In his victory speech after the North Carolina primary, Sen. Barack Obama said something that is all the more remarkable for how little it has been remarked upon.
In defending his stated intent to meet with America's enemies without preconditions, Sen. Obama said: "I trust the American people to understand that it is not weakness, but wisdom to talk not just to our friends, but to our enemies, like Roosevelt did, and Kennedy did, and Truman did."
McClatchy News -- the paper chain that likes to claim they speak "truth to power" -- is pleased to show us "another side" to the Iran backed Iraqi militia leader Muqtada al Sadr and that other side is his supposed "charity work." It has been a common tactic of Muslim warlords and other terrorists to pretend at "charity" as they plan suicide bombings and targeted terror attacks among the very people they pretend to be helping with their "charity." The so-called charity is but a screen to hide their terror activities behind, a salve to keep the locals from getting too uppity. But, McClatchy had their hearts go aflutter over Sadr's "humanitarian aid" imagining it to be the "other" softer side of the terror chieftain giving Sadr a nice little bit of free positive publicity quite despite the truth of his murderous actions.
The McClatchy piece written by Shashank Bengali with the assistance of Leila Fadel and special correspondent Hussein Kadhim, detail all the wonderful works of Sadr as he helps people so brutally harmed by... you guessed it... the United States military.
CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, introducing a panel discussion on Monday’s "The Situation Room," asked concerning Hillary Clinton’s "obliterate Iran" comments, "[I]s Senator Clinton's tough talk against Iran part of a larger move to the right?" The chyron or graphic on the screen that accompanied the discussion seemed to give Blitzer's question an air of certainty: "Inside Her Move to the Right: How Clinton's Redefining Herself."
Each member of the panel, all contributors to CNN, had a slightly different answer to the question. Jack Cafferty quipped "it's another attempt to pander to voters, to, you know, to sound tough on national security." CNN senior political analyst Gloria Borger thought "she's really running a classic Republican campaign against Barack Obama" and that Hillary "feels she has a real opportunity here, if she turns Obama into a liberal." And CNN senior legal analyst Jeff Toobin labeled her comments "more populist than right-wing." Blitzer also made an uncharacteristic move by quoting from the conservative publication, The Weekly Standard.
CNN’s John Roberts apparently took David Gergen’s advice from last week, and during his interview of Barack Obama on Monday’s "American Morning," declared out of the gate that he wasn’t going to ask the Democrat from Illinois about his former pastor. "I want to just stipulate at the beginning of this interview, we are declaring a Reverend Wright-free zone today. So, no questions about Reverend Wright. Our viewers want us to move on, so this morning we're going to move on. Is that okay with you?" Obama reacted favorably to this declaration. "Fair enough. That sounds just fine."
Want to see how the mainstream media views Fox News? Look no further than Newsweek's Howard Fineman and the way he thinks the Bush administration uses the network.
Fineman, who is Newsweek magazine's senior Washington correspondent and a regular on MSNBC, told an audience at the Politics & Prose Bookstore in Washington, D.C. on May 1 that if you want to know what the Bush administration has in store for Iran, keep your eye on Fox News.
"Now about Iran," Fineman said. "I think there's no doubt they're [the Bush administration] looking to see what can be done there and I would recommend Fox News to you. I can' believe I'm saying this, but if you want to know what's being thrown out there, what balloons are being floated - that's the place to look, okay. That's why you've got to scan all the media."
A lot of bias can be packed into six little words. Take, for example, this April 30 headline on CBSNews.com: "'Hostile' Iran Sparks U.S. Attack Plan." Hostile with the quote marks coupled with "U.S. attack plan" without them suggests belligerence on the part of American military authorities who might be overly suspicious of a "hostile" Iran.
The term "attack plan" might even evoke in readers the notions that an imminent, perhaps large scale offensive military action or war with Iran, a favored bogeyman of left-wing anti-war activists.
But the term "hostile," as we see in the story's lede, is taken from one unnamed military officer's description of Iran's "increasingly hostile role" in backing insurgents in Iraq who are the primary threat to the safety of American GIs.:
(CBS) A second American aircraft carrier steamed into the Persian Gulf on Tuesday as the Pentagon ordered military commanders to develop new options for attacking Iran. CBS News national security correspondent David Martin reports that the planning is being driven by what one officer called the "increasingly hostile role" Iran is playing in Iraq - smuggling weapons into Iraq for use against American troops.
What's more, the article itself lays out that the "attack plan" is more or less an upgrade and revision of plans to address an existing Iranian threat, more than a master plan for another war.:
Appearing on the April 29 edition of "The View," former House Speaker Newt Gingrich proved his intellectual superiority to Joy Behar punching holes in her very shallow debate points. Also, in discussing the ongoing Reverend Wright controversy, Whoopi Goldberg placed Billy Graham in league with Wright and Louis Farrakhan. [audio version of embedded video available here]
In challenging Newt Gingrich’s assertion that there’s a sympathy on the far left for America haters such as William Ayers, Behar inquired, "there’s no romance going on between the hard right of this country and Saudi Arabia let’s say?" Gingrich swiftly answered "the hard right in this country deeply dislikes Saudi Arabia as the source of Wahabbist funding."
It’s really amazing at times to see how the media greet the War on Terrorism with the same detente-loving impulses they used during the Cold War. (They never seem to contemplate whether detente would have ever won the Cold War, or just prolonged it ad infinitum.) In the Los Angeles Times, reporter Jeffrey Fleishman reported on "Iran watching U.S. campaigns with hope for detente." Fleishman’s breath was intoxicated with the old-time brew of moral equivalence, as Iranian theocrats and American conservatives are oddly alike:
Some analysts wonder whether the Islamic Republic, led by supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, wants a significant improvement in relations with the U.S. Since the Islamic Revolution in 1979, when militants in Tehran seized 52 American hostages and held them for 444 days, the weekly chants of "Death to America" have become a defining mantra, much in the same way Bush's "axis of evil" resonates with American conservatives.
On Thursday's Countdown show, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann seemed worried by Hillary Clinton's pledge during Wednesday's debate that "if Iran attacks Israel, apparently Senator Clinton is going to order massive retaliation." Olbermann suggested Clinton had "set herself up as an imperial President waiting to happen." After the MSNBC host contended that Clinton's pledge "may be further to the right than the Bush administration," liberal talk radio host/MSNBC analyst Rachel Maddow further charged that an "immediate threat by Iran" was merely "invented by neo-cons." Maddow: "Hillary Clinton, of course, put an exclamation point on it by talking about poleaxing our entire approach to foreign policy in order to counteract this immediate threat by Iran, which has been invented by the neo-cons." (Transcript follows)
Referring to the debate, Olbermann teased the April 17 Countdown show: "The only real news, if Iran attacks Israel, apparently Senator Clinton is going to order massive retaliation. Did she set herself up as an imperial President waiting to happen?"
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)