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:
Both ABC and NBC on Wednesday used a new Pew Research Center poll of military veterans to claim that, as ABC news reader Josh Elliot put it, “one-third of those who’ve served in Afghanistan and Iraq now say the wars were not worth fighting,” while NBC’s Tamron Hall told viewers “one-third of U.S. veterans believe the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were not worth fighting.”
But that’s not really what the poll found. Pew surveyed 1,853 veterans, including 712 whose service took place after September 11, 2001. They found 50% of the post 9/11 veterans thought the war in Afghanistan was worth it, and 44% who supported the war in Iraq — percentages significantly higher than both the general public and veterans who served in earlier conflicts or pre-9/11.
Singer Tony Bennett has sold over 50 million album copies but that success doesn't seem to have required much common sense or decency. In a recent interview, the veteran crooner sounded appallingly similar to controversial left-wing minister Jeremiah Wright, stating, among other things that America "caused" 9/11 to happen.
In what was supposed to be an interview about his latest music collection, Bennett took a turn far afield when he began lashing out at U.S. foreign policy, creating a grotesque moral equivalence between Al Qaeda terrorists who deliberately inflict mass civilian casualties and America: “Who are the terrorists? Are we the terrorists or are they the terrorists? Two wrongs don’t make a right,” he said.
This was going to be a relatively quick post about the good news, as announced by the Castle Coalition in a Tuesday press release after being teased a few days earlier by "Little Pink House" author Jeff Benedict, that a Lifetime Channel movie is going to be made about the Kelo vs. New London eminent domain drama.
Just as they did right after the killing of Osama bin Laden back in May, NBC's Brian Williams and Richard Engel interrupted Sunday morning's ceremonies marking the tenth annivesary of the 9/11 attacks to pontificate against the war in Iraq.
At about 9:30am on Sunday, during live coverage of the events at Ground Zero, Williams instructed the audience: "Iraq had nothing do with this." Correspondent Richard Engel quickly echoed: "Iraq had nothing to do with this," before complaining: "And that message is still lost today." (Video and transcript after the jump; h/t Gerardo)
Though the 40-page section was mostly respectful, focusing on the victims and personal remembrances of that horrible day, there was some scattered politicized reporting within the section, and some objectionable editorializing elsewhere in the Times September 11 edition.
Salon columnist Joe Conason appeared on Monday's Hardball to excoriate former Vice President Dick Cheney: "...You would almost think that Cheney was actually an agent of the nation's enemies..." Host Chris Matthews did not disagree or contest this charge.
Conason and Matthews were discussing the war in Iraq and Cheney's continual defense of it. Playing off the Salon.com's columnist's comments, Matthews compared the ex-VP: "That's what they said, by the way, of Joe McCarthy. You couldn't be a better friend to the communist, in effect, than Joe McCarthy."
There have been some idiotic things said by liberal media members surrounding the tenth anniversary of 9/11, and "NBC Nightly News" anchor Brian Williams added to the list Monday.
Appearing on MSNBC's "Morning Joe," Williams said, "People forget the crazy pressure to put a flag on your lapel and without it you couldn’t be a patriot. You certainly couldn’t love your country" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
A skirmish broke out on Morning Joe today as PBS host Tavis Smiley claimed President George W. Bush "lied" the USA into the war in Iraq. Joe Scarborough and--surprisingly--Jon Meacham forcefully refuted Smiley's slur.
Scarborough unwittingly provoked the incident when, commenting on yesterday's 9-11 observances, he called for a Kumbaya moment in which Americans would put aside politics and thank presidents Bush and Obama for keeping the country safe. That set Smiley off: "the reality is that one of those guys lied to the American people"--and the fight was on. View video after the jump.
CNN's Fareed Zakaria got more than he bargained for in his Sunday interview with guest Donald Rumsfeld.
As he pushed the former Secretary of Defense on America's need to cut military spending, the "GPS" host blushed when Rumsfeld smartly said, "There are people who think we're living in the post-American world, to coin a phrase. There are people who believe that we should step back and lead from behind" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
It certainly wasn't a Paul Krugman moment, but is the tenth anniversary of the biggest attack on our mainland a good time to say, "Fifty years from now, we might even look at 9/11 as simply the beginning of the decline of America?"
That's what Fareed Zakaria said Sunday on the CNN program bearing his name (video follows with transcript and commentary):
In the wake of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, New York Times reporters overcame enormous danger and duress to perform often-heroic feats of journalism, as proven by the Pulitzer Prize winning “Portraits of Grief” series, which commemorated the lives of every single victim of the terrorist attacks. But in the months and years that followed the paper reverted to partisan and liberal ways, even when the subject was the deadly attack on their hometown.
On Sunday the Times will print a special section marking the 10th anniversary of 9-11 (you can read it online now). In anticipation of the paper's commemoration, here’s a sampling of the paper’s years of slanted coverage related to the attacks.
By all accounts, President Obama has been far more hawkish than anyone anywhere in the world could have possibly imagined.
Despite this, "New Yorker" magazine editor David Remnick told the crew at MSNBC's "Morning Joe" Friday that the current Administration is responsible for the lack of anti-American displays in Arab Spring uprisings (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Days before the tenth anniversary of 9/11, MSNBC's Joe Scarborough released an antiwar song featuring powerful images of that horrible attack on our nation along with a message to bring our soldiers home from our current incursions.
The music video "Reason To Believe" was aired on Thursday's "Morning Joe," and I caught up with the host by phone shortly after the show's conclusion (video follows with highlights along with commentary from Scarborough and me):