MSNBC’s Krystal Ball substituted for Ronan Farrow as host of his MSNBC show on Friday and remarked with a guest during a segment on the Islamic terror group ISIS that their reported waterboarding of their captives, including the late James Foley, can be blamed on the U.S. detention facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and what happened at Abu Ghraib in Iraq.
After shifting gears from talking about the increased terror alert in the United Kingdom and fears across western Europe that hundreds of their citizens have joined ISIS and could return to commit terrorist attacks, Ball mentioned an article in The Washington Post that reported ISIS captives were waterboarded. She then asked MSNBC terrorism analyst Evan Kohlmann what he thought about this news. [MP3 audio here; Video below]
Politico's Josh Gerstein was in top keister-covering mode last night in dealing with President Barack Obama's latest stated indication that U.S. foreign policy is adrift.
To him, the President's admission that “We don’t have a strategy yet” was just an "awkward choice of words" and an "inartful phrase." (By the way, over six years after after one of Obama's flaks first used it to defend the then-candidate's flip-flop on DC's strict gun ban, something he originally believed was constitutional until the Supreme Court's ruling in the Heller decision, "inartful" is still not a recognized word. Yet its use continues to spread.) Excerpts from Gerstein's grief-stricken groaner follow the jump (bolds and numbered tags are mine):
On Friday morning, the major broadcast networks were out in full force to defend President Obama after his remarks at a press conference Thursday afternoon in which he said that “we don’t have a strategy yet” in how to militarily address the Islamic terrorist group ISIS in Syria.
Leading the way was NBC’s Today, where co-host Matt Lauer told NBC News political director and moderator of Meet the Press Chuck Todd that “[c]ritics pounced” when Obama made that remark and wondered if they took “his words too literally.” [MP3 audio here; Video below]
I struggle to come up with a reason, other than an irresponsible attempt to minimize the impact of the horror, why the headline at a Thursday evening Associated Press story by Zeina Karam and Ryan Lucas about "more than 160 Syrian government troops" massacred by ISIS is "JIHADISTS KILL DOZENS OF CAPTURED SYRIAN SOLDIERS."
While competing newscasts on ABC and CBS led tonight with the president's stunning admission at a press briefing that he hasn't formulated a strategy to deal with ISIS yet, NBC placed the story in the third slot in the lineup, after a lead-off report regarding the NFL's "tough new policy" on domestic violence and a story by New York-based correspondent Katy Tur about comedian Joan Rivers's hospitalization.
On top of that, Nightly News substitute anchor Lester Holt completely left out both ISIS and the invasion of Ukraine by Russia from his opening-credit tease. By contrast, both ABC's Amy Robach and CBS's Maurice DuBois led off their opening-credit teases by citing the most quotable nugget from today's presidential presser [LISTEN to MP3 audio here; WATCH video montage below page break]:
Sean Hannity confronted Anjem Choudary on his Fox News Channel program on Wednesday over the Islamist's unapologetic support of ISIS. The two repeatedly talked over each other, with the American talk show host hounding Choudary if he supported the terrorist group's genocidal campaign in Iraq and Syria.
The U.K.-based radical Muslim contended that the multiple account of atrocities by ISIS forces, especially against Christians and Yazidis in northern Iraq, were lies that were being used to discredit the Islamist group: [video below the jump]
Lumping one’s political adversaries with the vicious jihadists of ISIS seems to be the new new thing. Last Thursday, Dinesh D’Souza alleged that “the common thread between ISIS and [the looters] in Ferguson is you have these people who basically believe that to correct a perceived injustice, it's perfectly OK to inflict all kinds of new injustices...And all of this is then licensed by the left and licensed to some degree by the media.”
On Saturday, Washington Monthly blogger David Atkins responded to D’Souza, asserting that ISIS is not at all left-wing; rather, the terrorist group stands for “bedrock principles of political conservatism wherever it appears in the world,” such as “eschew[ing] ‘foreign’ western impulses, roll[ing] back the clock on progressive social reforms, and aggressively institut[ing] a more traditional religious approach to society.”
Last week I noted how MSNBC's Chris Matthews, who usually has tingles down his leg for the president, was taken aback by Barack Obama's statement regarding the ISIS beheading of American freelance journalist James Foley.
Tonight a frustrated Matthews expressed his frustration with Mr. Obama once again, asking his guests Bobby Ghosh and Howard Fineman why the president didn't couch the U.S. response to the bloodthirsty Islamist terrorists as a defense of American honor. Why, Matthews wondered, did Obama stick to business as usual "playing golf last week when he had the American people's attention?" Why doesn't Obama "fight like a street fighter when it comes to defending the lives of Americans"? The relevant transcript appears below the page break (emphais mine; MP3 audio here; video follows page break):
Wow, it's not often you see someone morph from George McGovern to Curtis LeMay in a matter of weeks.
Credit for this curious distinction goes to Ed Schultz, token working-class stiff at MSNBC who also pontificates on a daily podcast. In one of his postings last week, Schultz responded to the execution of journalist James Foley by a psychopath in the cult of medieval savages known as ISIS. (Audio after the jump)
Dan Rather, former anchor of the CBS Evening News, appeared on CNN’s Reliable Sources to harshly criticize those in Congress calling for the U.S. to take military action against the terrorist group ISIS.
Speaking to anchor Brian Stelter on Sunday, August 24, Rather proclaimed that he will only listen to those who advocate boots on the ground “if you tell me you are prepared to send your son, your daughter, your grandson, your granddaughter to that war of which you are beating the drums.” [See video below.]
In a Friday op-ed which appeared in the paper's international print edition on Saturday and which can reasonably be seen as giving voice to an editorial board which wouldn't dare put their name to it, La Salle University Political Science Professor Michael Boyle strenuously objected to recent characterizations of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
We can't call ISIS "evil." We also shouldn't call them a "cancer," or "savage," or "barbaric." Oh, and the fact that George W. Bush called Al Qaeda "evildoers" is why ISIS came to be, and why our problems with radical Islam are now worse. Excerpts follow the jump:
On Sunday, August 24, This Week moderator George Stephanopoulos bizarrely worried that the U.S. might take too much action in combating the terrorist group ISIS.
Speaking to Bill Kristol, editor of the conservative Weekly Standard magazine, wondered “it struck me how quickly this has all moved. From ISIS being a minor threat, the president talking about it several months ago as the junior varsity, to now an imminent threat, the words of Chuck Hagel, to the United States. And I guess I wonder, is there a danger here of overreacting?” [See video below.]
Appearing on Fox News Sunday, veteran journalist Bob Woodward had some harsh words for the Obama Administration over it’s handling of the terrorist group ISIS.
Speaking on Sunday, August 24, Woodward blasted the White House for having a confusing message on how to combat the terrorist group, insisting “there's an inconsistency here. I mean, Hagel and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs have said -- and Kerry, the Secretary of State, made it very clear, all options are on the table, and the president has said no boots on the ground.” [See video below.]
Is the beheading of an American journalist – along with the genocide of Christians and other religious minorities – enough to label the Islamist terror group ISIS as the consummation of evil? According to CNN.com, the answer is really quite complicated.
In fact, James Dawes, director of the program in Human Rights at Macalester College, argued in a piece for CNN’s online arm that “there are few things more dangerous now than allowing ourselves to think” that ISIS does “evil things for evil ends,”as NRO’s Jonah Goldberg phrased it in a tweet earlier this week. Dawes’s assertion is that Americans need to “do the hard work of understanding the context that made them, so that we can create a context that unmakes them.” He added that“understanding” will “help us see the world through their eyes.” [See Goldberg's tweet and excerpts from the piece after the jump.]
The press never let George W. Bush forget about that "Mission Accomplished" banner on the USS Abraham Lincoln after Saddam Hussein was overthrown and his government's military was routed in Iraq. They often pretend that Bush said it, or adopted it. He did no such thing, saying only that “Our mission continues.”
So while the press has come close to making a claim Bush 43 never made an article of faith, it is virtually ignoring something current U.S. President Barack Obama actually said, namely that, concerning ISIS, "The analogy we use around here sometimes, and I think is accurate, is if a jayvee team puts on Lakers uniforms that doesn’t make them Kobe Bryant." Kristina Wong at the Hill is a rare exception. She reminded readers of what Obama said in January as she reported Thursday on how the nation's defense secretary and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff completely disagree (bolds are mine):
Friday’s CBS This Morning dove into the subject of President Obama vacationing in Martha’s Vineyard while events domestically and internationally rage, including the brutal murder of American journalist James Foley at the hands of the Islamic terrorist group ISIS. While they were the only network to mention this story, the report from CBS News White House Correspondent Major Garrett and discussion among the hosts afterward did little more than cover for the president.
At the segment's conclusion, co-host Norah O’Donnell compared Obama’s golfing minutes after making a statement about Foley’s murder to former President George W. Bush going golfing after speaking about a suicide bombing in Iraq. O’Donnell observed that:[MP3 audio here; See the video after the jump]
In a stunning report by ABC News online, we learned that President Barack Obama and his White House knew that ISIS "recently threatened to kill U.S. journalist James Foley to avenge airstrikes the United States has conducted in Iraq." A video surfaced on Tuesday showing what appears to be an ISIS terrorist beheading Foley with the stated reason of revenge on Obama, suggesting they will do it again.
President Obama recently downplayed the ability of ISIS to carry out significant damaging acts of violence, referring to the terrorists as the JV (Junior Varsity) team compared to Al Qaeda, in an interview with The New Yorker magazine's David Remnick.
The news that Al Gore is suing Al Jazeera America for millions of dollars owed him from the purchase of his Current TV network rocked the media world last week. After all, who knew Al Jazeera America still existed?
But AJA is still there (probably), snug in the old Current TV channel slot on your cable guide. It’s just that you’re not watching. Neither is anyone else.
Vox's Max Fisher shamelessly invoked medieval history in a Monday post about Pope Francis. Fisher highlighted the pontiff's support for action against ISIS's "unjust aggression" in Iraq, and hyped that "there is good precedent for this...between 1096 and 1272 AD, popes also endorsed the use of Western military action to destroy Middle Eastern caliphates. Those were known as the crusades; there were nine, which means that this would be number 10."
The former Washington Post journalist immediately set the tone with the title of his post: "News from 1096 AD: Pope endorses military force to destroy Middle Eastern caliphate." Fisher continued in this vein in his lead paragraph:
NBC Nightly News was the sole Big Three evening newscast on Friday to cover ISIS's ongoing rampage against non-Muslims in northern Iraq. Chris Jansing filed a full report on the heartbreak for a Yazidi community in Nebraska, who have lost family to the Islamist group's campaign of terror. By contrast, ABC's World News and CBS Evening News both found time to air news briefs on the historical gaffe in a photo promoting the new season of PBS's Downton Abbey.
Jansing interviewed several Yazidis for the segment, who detailed the atrocities that ISIS is inflicting on their minority community: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
Does anyone remember a media report expressing sympathy for former President George W. Bush when adverse events happened during his Crawford, Texas "vacations"? (Given that he and Laura lived there, calling a visit to your place back home hardly seems to qualify as some kind of "vacation")
Well, Thursday evening, Politico's Carrie Budoff Brown took pity on President Obama for his "vacation from hell." Excerpts follow the jump.
On Thursday, August 14, all three network morning shows did their best to defuse the conflict between former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and President Obama following Clinton’s criticism of the White House’s foreign policy.
The “big three” (ABC, CBS, and NBC) insisted that any dispute between the two Democrats had subsided with ABC and NBC pushing the White House line that when the two met for a birthday party on Martha’s Vineyard “a good time was had by all.” [See video below.]
What's more important? The ongoing slaughter of refugees in a rapidly deteriorating Iraq or the December 2015 Star Wars film? According to the journalists at Good Morning America, the answer is Star Wars. The ABC program on Wednesday devoted 55 seconds to discussing a film that is 16 months away from being released, but only 33 seconds to the desperate situation in Iraq.
News reader Amy Robach quickly mentioned that more U.S. troops are arriving in the troubled country, adding, "The 130 military advisers are working to help rescue thousands of religious minorities who are stranded by Islamic militants." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] She sped through this story: "Thousands of refugees are stranded after militants took over their villages. Heartbreaking images show the refugees desperately trying to hang on to rescue helicopters."
On Wednesday, August 13, all three network morning shows did their best to minimize the conflict between former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and President Obama following Clinton’s criticism of the White House’s handling of the militant group ISIS.
The “big three” (ABC, CBS and NBC) networks all played up how Clinton plans to “hug it out” with President Obama when they meet at a party on Martha’s Vineyard. Speaking to “The Atlantic” magazine, Clinton criticized Obama’s foreign policy by insisting that “great nations need organizing principles. Don’t do stupid stuff is not an organizing principle.” [See video below.]
Rush Limbaugh has this pronounced tendency -- annoying to liberals, endearing to conservatives -- of remembering things from long ago that left wingers would prefer remain forgotten, thanks very much.
El Rushbo did this yet again on his radio show in response to the startling news that President Obama ordered military strikes in Iraq, after maintaining for more than a decade that American military actions there served no useful purpose whatsoever and accomplished nothing except to recruit countless more jihadists. (Audio after the jump)
While it has been reported that the United States will provide the Kurdish army – commonly known as the Peshmerga – with small arms and ammunition, there have been repeated calls to more substantially arm the paramilitary force. On the August 12 edition of CNN Newsroom, host Carol Costello discussed the subject with Haras Rafiq, an outreach officer for the Quilliam Foundation, a think tank that challenges Islamic extremism.
Costello was skeptical that doing anything to assist the Kurds against ISIS in northern Iraq would help the cause. Rafiq argued that “heavy artillery” and “heavy ammunition,” along with possible training of Kurdish forces, would be necessary to repel ISIS. Costello doubted that these options would be effective: [MP3 audio here; video below]
On Tuesday Morning, MSNBC and Telemundo anchor Jose Diaz-Balart brought a guest on his MSNBC show to discuss the targeted killing and persecution of Christians in Iraq at the hands of the ultra-Islamic terrorist group ISIS. The guest, Mark Arabo, who serves as the national spokesman for the Chaldeans, (the sect of Iraqi Christians facing ISIS’s terror), told Diaz-Balart that the actions of ISIS are that of “a full-blown genocide” in targeting 400,000 Christians in Iraq.
When asked by Diaz-Balart for his take on the actions of the Obama administration so far in Iraq, Arabo said that he and the Iraqi community in Southern California near San Diego (which is the second largest in the country) first “sounded this alarm from San Diego eight weeks ago and we’ve been as clear as we are today: This is a full-blown genocide.” [MP3 audio here; Video below]
Only CBS This Morning on Tuesday bothered to cover the heartbreaking video of Iraqi refugees rushing a helicopter in a desperate attempt to escape the violence of the terrorist group ISIS. NBC's Today and ABC's Good Morning America ignored the gripping video.
CBS reporter David Martin narrated the CNN-supplied footage: "Iraqi Army helicopters fly in at 100 feet in broad daylight to push pallets of food and water out the door. When one found a piece of ground level enough to land on, it was immediately rushed by men, women and children, desperate to escape the Sinjar Mountains." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
In the wake of the recent surge of violence in northern Iraq as well as the potential coup within the government, NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams did his best to push the White House line that President Obama’s summer vacation was full of work.
On Monday, August 11, Williams introduced a segment with Chris Jansing, NBC’s Senior White House Correspondent, by promoting how “the White House is taking pains to stress that even though President Obama is on vacation, it’s a working vacation in Martha’s Vineyard.” [See video below.]
Any intraparty criticism of President Obama’s recent foreign policy moves regarding Iraq was nowhere to be found on NBC’s morning or evening news programs as former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton leveled some criticism at Obama on the subject in an interview with The Atlantic that was published over the weekend.
Both Sunday and Monday mornings’ installments of Today and Sunday night’s NBC Nightly News ignored this angle of disagreement among arguably the two most well-known and influential figures in Democratic politics as Obama authorized U.S. air strikes against ISIS militants in northern Iraq late last Thursday and throughout over the weekend. [MP3 audio here; Video below]