Tom Brokaw is the man that our Brent Bozell recently described as having "used NBC and [his] anchor chair as a platform to promote Democratic agendas and delight in Republican setbacks for more than 20 years." But every once in awhile, perhaps out of Greatest Generation nostalgia, Brokaw has something kind to say about a Republican.
As was the case on Morning Joe today, when, after reciting a list of the 41st president's accomplishments, Brokaw called George H.W. Bush "the most underrated modern president of our time." Video after the jump.
On Monday, Calvin Woodward, with help from Martin Crutsinger and Pete Yost, produced a "Fact Check" on the budget proposal the White House released earlier that day.
After properly criticizing the administration's plan to use "about $850 billion in savings from ending the wars and steers some $230 billion of that to highways" (and actually quoting someone knowledgeable, who pointed out that "Drawing down spending on wars that were already set to wind down and that were deficit-financed in the first place should not be considered savings"), Woodward went off the rails:
Appearing as a guest on Thursday's The Colbert Report on Comedy Central, ABC's Christiane Amanpour characterized conservatives as several years ago "frog-marching" the U.S. to war with Iraq as she and host Colbert discussed the likelihood Israel will soon attack Iran to prevent the Islamic state from producing nuclear weapons. (Video below)
Michael Schmidt reported from Baghdad Wednesday for the Times on the conclusion of the trial (held in California) of the last Marine accused in the so-called Haditha massacre in Iraq: “Anger in Iraq After Plea Bargain Over 2005 Massacre.” Although Marine Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich pled guilty to a single misdemeanor that called for a maximum of 90 days in jail, Schdmit insisted on calling him a "ringleader" in the "massacre."
After the incident came to light in July 2006, Times reporter Paul von Zielbauer filed over 30 stories on the alleged killings of two dozen Iraqi civilians in the town of Haditha, which anti-war activists were quick to compare to the My Lai massacre of Vietnam. The Times has long presumed the guilt of the Marines involved, while barely covering the steady drip of acquittals of all but one of the eight Marines charged in the “massacre.”
On the Monday, January 9, Imus in the Morning, as he was interviewed by phone, New York magazine's Frank Rich - formerly of the New York Times - argued that he believes President Obama should be reelected, and seemed befuddled when host Don Imus, who plans to vote for Mitt Romney, asserted that Obama's foreign policy has been "disastrous." The liberal columnist then tried to give President Obama credit for the death of Osama bin Laden.
After Imus asked, "So you like President Obama, don't you? I mean, you'll vote-"
Iraq’s former interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi said Sunday that President Obama was wrong when he claimed the United States left Iraq as a stable and democratic country.
Appearing on CNN's Fareed Zakaria GPS, Allawi said, "It’s neither stable nor democratic, frankly speaking. The terrorists are hitting again very severely. Al Qaeda is fully operational now in Iraq" (video follows with transcribed highlights and commentary):
During Tuesday's live coverage of the New Hampshire Primary on MSNBC, at about 6:53 p.m., Chris Matthews asked guest Tom Ridge why it is that "crazy neocons" and Republican "chickenhawks" always want to "go to war with other people's children."
As he began the interview, Matthews listed several Republicans who have not served in the military and whose children have not served, and then posed: (Video below)
In 1984, an Associated Press writer covering the Democratic primaries wrote that "In a presidential contest dominated by concerns over the economy, inflation, and unemployment, the Democratic candidates have been loath to acknowledge the extent to which Carter administration policies contributed to those problems. Democrats have also controlled Congress for most of the past three decades, which made it relatively easy to enact the policies Carter pursued."
Of course, that AP report really never happened. The establishment press never razzed Walter Mondale, Gary Hart, and the other 1984 Democratic presidential candidates about the ruinous Carter-Era inflation, 20%-plus interest rates, and high unemployment against which the Reagan administration was making significant progress in the early 1980s. But on Tuesday morning, Beth Fouhy at the Associated Press felt it necessary to wonder why this year's GOP primary candidates are rarely mentioning George W. Bush, even though the economy under Barack Obama is making relatively scant progress towards a genuine recovery and makes a much more appropriate target for criticism. Here was her comparable paragraph, plus the two which followed:
There are press memes which won't go away no matter what, and no matter how often disproven. One, repeated in an Associated Press report a couple of weeks ago as our troops were about to leave Iraq, claimed that "No WMD were ever found" there. The truth: Yes they were — along with 550 metric tons of yellowcake uranium found in Iraq after Saddam was overthrown, specifically “the stuff that can be refined into nuclear weapons or nuclear fuel.”
Another meme which won't die and fails to pass the truth test was in an AP item by Julie Pace about President Obama's decision to defer raising the debt ceiling by $1.2 billion today. In it, she repeated the leftist line about how the national debt has grown so large (HT to an NB emailer):
On Thursday, as NBC's Today show covered the eruption of more than a dozen bombings in Iraq just days after the pullout of U.S. troops, correspondent Richard Engel argued against the view that the Obama administration should have been more effective in negotiating an agreement with the Iraqi government for an extended U.S. troop presence which might have helped ward off such attacks. (Video below)
As Engel appeared on set, co-anchor Ann Curry posed:
At the top of Thursday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams sadly declared: "At a ceremony in Baghdad today, the Americans lowered the flag and it was a quiet ending to a war that went bad not long after its spectacular start." While Williams stressed the "high cost" of the war, citing figures of dead and wounded, the report that followed ignored accomplishments in the conflict.
Chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel followed Williams sorrowful tone: "For a big war, it was a remarkably small closing ceremony. A few hundred troops, a five-piece band on a base by the airport on the edge of Baghdad." He later rhetorically wondered: "Did America prevail? Iraq's future remains uncertain....What was conspicuously absent today, Brian, there were no parades among Iraqis, no victory celebrations, no thank yous."
When anti-war liberals are pressed about whether they are anti-military, they normally claim to support the troops while disagreeing with the war the troops are under orders to take part in.
But, as he introduced Thursday's Last Word show, MSNBC host Lawrence O'Donnell certainly sounded like he was attacking the U.S. military as he not only absurdly suggested that it was the U.S. military, rather than the President, that "chose" to "stay encamped for nearly nine years" in Iraq, but he even recounted the number of Iraqi civilians killed by both the U.S. military and Iraqi insurgents combined.
O'Donnell began his Thursday, December 15, Last Word program on MSNBC (Video and transcript follow):
The day the war in Iraq was officially declared over, the New York Times returned to the 2005 Haditha “massacre” on Thursday’s front page. Baghdad-based reporter Michael Schmidt uncovered classified military documents about to be burned for fuel to cook a fish: “Junkyard Gives Up Secret Accounts of Massacre.” Just above the story stood a photo of President Obama greeting crowds at Fort Bragg, N.C. with the subhead “Obama Thanks Troops as He Observes End of Iraq War," teasing the paper's actual end-of-the-war story, which only made page A20.
As the war marked its official end, Schmidt let his feelings show, accusing "traumatized" troops of having grown "increasingly twitchy, killing more and more civilians in accidental encounters. Others became so desensitized and inured to the killing that they fired on Iraqi civilians deliberately..."
Opening NBC's Nightly News on Wednesday, anchor Brian Williams touted the U.S. troop withdrawal from Iraq as an Obama administration accomplishment while slamming the war effort itself: "The President promised they'd be out by New Year's Eve and here they come....The war started with the event somebody called 'shock and awe' and it became a tragic and prolonged slog."
In the report that followed, White House correspondent Kristen Welker announced: "Mr. Obama has opposed the war since his days as a state senator. And today he said it's harder to end a war than to begin one....The President, facing a tough re-election battle, did not declare victory in Iraq, but has called the withdrawal a campaign promise kept."
Appearing as a guest on Wednesday's Piers Morgan Tonight on CNN, former NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw recounted some of the rationale behind why the Bush administration believed that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction before the invasion of Iraq, even noting that President Clinton had also believed in the presence of WMD. (Video below)
The media never let President Bush live down the so-called "Mission Accomplished" speech aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln on May 1, 2003when the then-president declared an end of major combat operations in Iraq, even though Bush pointedly noted "Our mission continues. Al-Qaida is wounded, not destroyed....The war on terror is not over." But now that President Obama is earnestly trying to portray himself as the president who is once-and-for-all wrapping up the Iraq War, MSNBC is more than happy to give the commander-in-chief the benefit of the doubt.
"This president seems determined to deliver imagery of an organized exit" from Iraq, MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell approvingly noted on today's Andrea Mitchell Reports right after watching live video of President Obama with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The Iraqi prime minister is in Washington "for talks aimed at cementing U.S.-Iraqi relations in a new, postwar era," the Washington Post reported today, "kick[ing] off a week in which the administration will trumpet the imminent end of the war, and the fulfillment of Obama’s election pledge to withdraw all U.S. forces from Iraq."
Donald Trump on Friday took a nice little poke at Wolf Blitzer.
During an interview aired on CNN's the Situation Room, the real estate tycoon said to his host, "I know you like the president and all that stuff, although less than some of the folks at MSNBC" (video follows with transcript and absolutely no need for additional commentary):
In an interview with Vice President Joe Biden in Iraq aired on Thursday's NBC Today, co-host Ann Curry depicted the war effort there as a failure: "In a war that was started to protect the world from weapons of mass destruction that were never found, can the United States claim victory?" [Audio available here]
Biden agreed with Curry as he took a jab at the Bush administration: "We're not claiming victory. What we're claiming here is that we've done the job our administration set out to do, to end a war we did not start, to end it in a responsible way, to bring Americans home, to end the bleeding, both financially and physically that this war has caused..." [View video after the jump]
In a live report from Baghdad on Wednesday's NBC Today, co-host Ann Curry described her arrival to the country with Vice President Biden: "Security is heavy amid an uptick in violence as the U.S. brings its divisive eight-year war in Iraq to an end. The Vice President timed his trip to the last days of America's war in Iraq."
Later in the report, Curry listed the cost of the war: "Eight years after 'shock and awe,' after the toppling and death of Saddam Hussein, after at least 4,473 American lives lost, and 32,226 wounded in action, and a roughly estimated 100,000 Iraqi civilian deaths, America leaves a significantly less violent but not completely stable Iraq."
Chris Matthews must be seriously concerned about Barack Obama's reelection chances.
On the syndicated program bearing his name this weekend, the man who used to get a thrill up his leg whenever a certain junior senator from Illinois spoke said that George W. Bush did a better job of using television to convey his message than the current White House resident has (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Appearing on the Sunday, November, 13, Today show on NBC to discuss Saturday night's GOP presidential debate that focused on foreign policy, Meet the Press host David Gregory suggested that, because President Obama's foreign policy, "by a lot of accounts," has been "very successful," the Republican candidates may not be so eager to go after Obama in that realm. Gregory, speaking of the candidates:
Sure way to stay schnockered between now and presidential Election Day: sling a shot every time a liberal plays the race card.
Latest example: on Al Sharpton's MSNBC show this evening, Bill Press ascribed Republican reluctance to give President Obama credit on Iraq to the fact that "the Republican party is like some of the banks down South. They refuse to give a black man credit." Video after the jump.
There really is no limit to the hypocrisy of Bill Maher.
Despite having gotten fired by ABC shortly after the 9/11 attacks for calling America cowards due to our use of long-range cruise missiles, the host of HBO's Real Time on Friday raved about President Obama's deployment of unmanned predator drones to kill people from thousands of miles away (video follows with transcript and commentary):
On Sunday's Meet the Press, host David Gregory teed one up for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that was specifically designed to mock the Republican presidential candidates while allowing her to brag uninterrupted about the foreign policy successes of Barack Obama (video follows with transcript and commentary):
As the media did a victory lap over Friday's announcement by President Obama that all American troops would be removed from Iraq by the end of the year, Fareed Zakaria took a surprisingly contrary position.
Speaking from Tehran with a variety of CNN hosts throughout the day, Zakaria said this development was a disappointment for the United States and a victory for Iran (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Bill Maher on his HBO program Friday said, "If you just presented the Republicans with Obama's resume and didn't say who it was, they would erect statues to this guy."
After mentioning the deaths of Osama bin Laden and MoammarGaddafi, Maher continued, "Just the killing alone, Michelle Malkin would name her vibrator 'Obama'” (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Early on Thursday's The Daily Rundown on MSNBC, as news was breaking of the reported death of Libyan dictator Moammar Qadhafi, host Chuck Todd used the opportunity to declare: "...a trillion dollars and thousands of U.S. lives to topple a dictator in Iraq, it's a billion dollars and no U.S. lives to topple a dictator in Libya. That's a – that's a pretty stark contrast." [Audio available here]
Todd, NBC's chief White House correspondent, made the gratuitous shot at the Bush administration while talking to Robin Wright of the liberal Woodrow Wilson Center, who proclaimed: "...this is going to be an enormous success for the Obama administration in looking at how quickly it was done, with what international cooperation....it's one where the United States changes the narrative from what happened in Iraq." [View video after the jump]
Appearing as a guest on Monday's Piers Morgan Tonight on CNN, singer Tony Bennett declared that President Obama is the "greatest accomplishment that the United States ever came up with," and expressed admiration for the President whom he labeled as "more than intelligent."
A bit later, when asked by host Piers Morgan whether he believed war was ever "justified," with Morgan specifically asking if it was "imperative" to "defend yourselves" against Adolf Hitler in spite of the "collateral damage," Bennett, a World War II veteran, was not so sure: