After the fall of the Berlin Wall and the downfall of the Soviet Union, the New York Times and other liberal media outlets often produced stories suggesting a bright side to the fallen dictatorships. The trend was notoriously encapsulated in a February 12, 1992 Times headline marking the release of the last political prisons of the Soviet era: "A Gulag Breeds Rage, Yes, but Also Serenity."
Similarly, the Times often latched on to the chaos of the Iraq war to suggest things had in at least some ways been better under the rulership of bloody dictator Saddam Hussein, responsible for the torture and killing of hundreds of thousands of people, Kurds, Iranians, and Iraqis.
A late and particularly insensitive entry in the field came on Sunday, Michael Schmidt and Yasir Ghazi, "As Baghdad Erupts in Riot of Color, Calls to Tone It Down," suggesting that "Baghdad has weathered invasion, occupation, sectarian warfare and suicide bombers. But now it faces a new scourge: tastelessness."
"Let's Clear the Fog of War," suggested Pulitzer Prize winning reporter Timothy Egan in a recent blog post for the New York Times. Egan criticized the White House's decision to simply stop talking about what happened at the compound where Osama bin Laden was killed on Sunday night. "They owe us a complete story, an honesty story, one for the record," Egan wrote.
But in calling for truth, Egan, whether he realized it or not, perpetuated a falsehood concerning the Iraq war that those who opposed that war continue to invoke in support of the narrative that the war effort itself was premised on a falsehood.
Egan made his opposition to the effort in Iraq clear in labeling it "a disastrous and bankrupting war against a country that had nothing to do with the mass homicide on American soil." He went on to offer the tale of Pfc. Jessica Lynch as "emblematic of the whole phony campaign at the top. If the White House was willing to go to war on false pretenses, why shouldn’t low-level commanders follow suit on the ground?"
MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell on Thursday had a highly-contentious interview with former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
"The Last Word" host repeatedly interrupted his guest leading her to say after one such incident, "Lawrence, you have a bad habit with your guests. You never let them answer a question" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
On NBC's Nightly News on Monday, chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel used a report on the history of the war on terror to attack the Bush administration for going to war in Iraq: "...when civil war in Iraq broke out, American troops were stuck....it was a distraction from the United States' original mission to find Bin Laden, stop Al Qaeda, and prevent another 9/11."[Audio available here]
Engel began his report by describing the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan following the September 11th attacks, but soon shifted into commentary as he mockingly proclaimed: "...regime change in Afghanistan, done with few troops and high technology, seemed so easy. The Bush White House tried it again in Iraq." He further ranted: "Afghanistan and Iraq were lumped together in what was called a 'global war on terrorism.' The truth was, there was never a connection between Iraq and Osama Bin Laden. There were no weapons of mass destruction, either."
Sunday was an historic day for America, an historic victory in the War on Terror - Usama Bin Laden, the man who had ordered the death of over 3,000 Americans on 9/11, had finally been killed. It was also an historic revelation that, conducting the war according to far-left liberal policies would have prevented this day from ever happening.
In his May 2 Swampland blog post "Osama Gone, and Now...", Time's Joe Klein makes some arguably contradictory assertions in his thoughts on the role former President Bush played in ultimately finding and killing Osama bin Laden:
On Friday's "Inside Washington," during a discussion about American foreign policy in the Middle East and Africa, PBS's Mark Shields actually said, "The most urgent priority that we have is to find jobs somehow, not simply for Americans, which is an urgent priority, but for young Egyptians" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Former Army Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez is expected to be a Democratic contender in the Texas 2012 Senate race. However, when Politico's Mike Allen brought news of his probable candidacy to MSNBC's "Morning Joe" Monday, he omitted the fact that Sanchez commanded the U.S. ground forces in Iraq while the infamous abuses at the Abu Ghraib prison took place.
Sanchez, when he retired from the Army in November of 2006, told a local paper that the Abu Ghraib scandal was "the sole reason" he was forced to retire. The scandal occurred in the summer and fall of 2003, and involved humiliations, beatings, and sexual abuse of prisoners at the hands of U.S. soldiers at Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad. Sanchez was the commander of coalition forces in Iraq during that time.
New York Times Executive Editor Bill Keller’s latest Sunday magazine column, “Team America,” asks in the subhead: “Less than a decade after invading Iraq, the U.S. has rediscovered its missionary spirit. Should we be troubled by this?” Keller is not completely on board with Obama on what’s shaping up as “regime change” in Libya. But he also claimed that as editor he doesn’t take stands for or against wars, whether they are “old” wars in Iraq or “new ones in Libya.” A 2007 speech suggests differently. Keller wrote on Sunday:
Eight years ago, when I was an Op-Ed columnist for this paper, I aligned myself with something I called the I-Can’t-Believe-I’m-a-Hawk Club -- baby boomers whose distrust of foreign intervention, forged during the bloody mess of Vietnam, was tempered by the noble rescue of Bosnia and Kosovo, leading to a grudging sympathy for the invasion of Iraq. I’m sure the Bush administration did not need permission from the East Coast pundit chorus to go to war, but it was a high-water mark of the missionary impulse.
As editor of The Times, I don’t take stands for or against wars, old ones in Iraq or new ones in Libya, lest my opinions be mistaken for the guiding doctrine of our news coverage. But it’s fair to say the experience of Iraq and Afghanistan underscores the value of a certain humility about our ability to shape history.
Charles Krauthammer had quite a battle this weekend with "Inside Washington" host Gordon Peterson and fellow panelist Mark Shields.
The fireworks began when Peterson quibbled about how we haven't raised taxes to pay for the wars we're currently waging leading Shields to call them unpatriotic as a result (video follows with transcript and commentary):
On Wednesday's CBS Early Show, co-host Chris Wragge interviewed former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and questioned President Obama's Libya policy: "...on Monday, the President said it would be a mistake to send U.S. troops to push out Qadhafi, saying quote, 'We went down that road in Iraq'...taking a shot at you and President Bush....Isn't the President being a bit hypocritical?"
Even Rumsfeld was unwilling to seize on Wragge's characterization: "Oh, I'm not sure I'd use that word." However, he went on to call for greater clarity from the administration on removing Qadhafi: "...the continued ambiguity by the President and the administration about whether or not Qadhafi will ultimately be gone is harmful....as long as the people on the ground are ambiguous as to whether or not Qadhafi's going to stay or leave, more people will be killed."
For a mercifully fleeting moment, Ed Schultz was considered a possible candidate for Senate.
It came in the wake of Sen. Byron Dorgan, Democrat of North Dakota, announcing in January 2010 that he would not seek re-election. Speculation briefly centered on Schultz running to succeed Dorgan until Schultz adamantly denied he had any intention of doing so.
On Friday, Schultz demonstrated why he is unfit for public office or anything resembling genuine power over other people. It came during a conversation with a caller to Schultz's radio show after the caller complained that "war criminals" in the Bush administration were "not held accountable" for their crimes (audio) --
During Monday's "Morning Joe," Time's Mark Halperin and co-host Mika Brzezinski helpfully provided some spin for the White House to borrow as President Obama finishes his prepared remarks for Monday evening's address to the nation on the events in Libya.
President Obama has received sharp criticism for his foreign policy concerning Egypt and Libya, but Halperin threw cold water on that, calling Obama's strategy "extremely deft in a very tough situation." Brzezinski agreed with his premise, adding that his "deft" handling is also in accord with promises he previously made.
"He's pro-democracy, right? He's anti-violence. He's anti-unilateral U.S. intervention," Halperin noted of Obama, trying to connect his current policy with the peacemaker he claimed to be as a presidential candidate.
(Video below the jump. Comments begin at the 12:30 mark.)
Eleanor Clift on this weekend's "McLaughlin Group" made a truly absurd comment about the disparate ways Barack Obama and Ronald Reagan handled Libya during their respective presidencies that left Monica Crowley in stitches.
After Clift mocked Reagan by saying, "You don’t need leadership that goes into a Muslim country all alone," Monica laughed loudly before replying, "American presidential leadership, Eleanor, never goes out of style" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Unlike President Bush in both Afghanistan and Libya, President Obama chose not to seek congressional approval for the mainly-U.S. bombing campaign against Libya's Moammar Qaddafi, but the big broadcast networks are barely noticing.
On Friday's Fox & Friends, Media Research Center President and NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell offered the evidence of the media's glaring double standard on this issue, pointing out that Obama himself had explicitly said that it would be "unconstitutional" for a President to go to war without such approval -- and yet the media are by and large failing to hold the President accountable to his own standard.
In the lead-up to the Iraq War, the media "hammered Bush" about getting congressional approval, NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell noted on last night's "Hannity" during the "Media Mash" segment. Yet such scrutiny has been missing in President Obama's actions on Libya, he noted.
What's more, the media have failed to press Obama on violating his own standards on presidential use of military force:
Last evening we detailed Cenk Uygur's hypocrisy in supporting military action in Libya. This morning brings news of another liberal nouveau-hawk: Howard Dean. The man who was a scream away from winning the 2004 Dem presidential nomination based on his opposition to the Iraq war suddenly supports a muscular foreign policy. On Morning Joe, Dean told Joe Klein (who is surprisingly skeptical about President Obama's Libya policy):
"I don't think you stay out of these things. You can't if you're the most powerful country in the world . . . You have to take chances."
The Obama administration launched its air war against Moammar Qaddafi’s Libya after a vote of the UN Security Council, but without any congressional authorization — and apparently not even very much consultation with congressional leaders. A review of the ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts from Friday night through Monday night finds virtually no network interest in Obama’s bypassing of Congress — an attitude in stark contrast to their approach to the Bush administration during the run-up to the Iraq war in late 2002. (Video montage below jump.)
With Libya, only the NBC Nightly News has even mentioned the controversy over the Obama administration’s decision to cut Congress out of the decision-making. On the March 20 Nightly News, White House correspondent Chuck Todd offered one sentence taking note of John Boehner’s objections in a laundry list of other congressional complaints:
The perpetually anti-war Ed Schultz took his seat behind the desk at MSNBC studios Monday with the expressed mission of selling Barack Obama's air assault on Libya to his viewers.
So passionate was the "Ed Show" host in supporting the President he several times showed video footage of downed Pan Am flight 103 while claiming that Moammar Gaddafi was responsible thereby justifying an attack on him over 22 years later (video follows with partial transcript and commentary):
On Sunday's 60 Minutes on CBS, correspondent Bob Simon noted the eighth anniversary of the war in Iraq by describing how "questions still remain as to why the United States launched the war in the first place. The Bush administration said it was because of Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction. But there were no such weapons."
In the segment that followed, Simon interviewed Rafid Alwan – also know by his code-name 'Curve Ball' – a former Iraqi chemical engineer who claimed the Hussein regime was pursuing weapons of mass destruction. Before the interview Simon implored viewers to "ponder how anyone could ever have believed one word he [Alwan] said." After the interview, Simon concluded that the Bush administration had fallen for "one of the deadliest con jobs in history" by listening to Alwan and going to war in Iraq.
Former Clinton advisor and current CNN contributor Paul Begala thought he was being clever Friday evening when he took a cheap shot at George W. Bush on HBO's "Real Time."
Without skipping a beat, St. Louis Tea Party founder and Big Government editor Dana Loesch smacked down her CNN colleague with a delicious jab at his former boss (video follows with transcript and commentary):
For the second week in a row, Newsweek's Eleanor Clift found herself in a hostile crowd on PBS's "McLaughlin Group."
During a lengthy segment about the crisis in Eqypt, after Clift claimed the protesters were secular, the entire panel almost pounced on her with Mort Zuckerman saying several times, "That's nonsense" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
As CNN’s Fareed Zakaria concluded his Fareed Zakaria GPS show on Sunday, he recommended to his audience that they read former President George W. Bush’s memoir, Decision Points, but, even while recommending the book, he still took a dig at the former President as he described the book as "surprisingly well written." He also acknowledged that "you might not think he’s super-smart" before praising the former President as "agreeable" and "frank."
Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the Sunday, February 13, Fareed Zakaria GPS on CNN:
Most of the media were predictably jubilant and giddy on Friday when it was announced that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak was stepping down.
Acting as the voice of reason was syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer who on PBS's "Inside Washington" spoke some inconvenient truths about the Muslim Brotherhood and Egypt's similarities to pre-Islamic Revolution Iran that America's press have been dishonestly downplaying for weeks (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Chris Matthews on Friday said that Hosni Mubarak's exit from Egypt and the jubilation now happening in Tahrir Square took Barack Obama to have happen.
As soon as he said it on the 5 p.m. installment of MSNBC's "Hardball," the host quipped, "His critics will probably say, 'Yeah, we knew this was coming'” (video follows with transcript and commentary):