On Tuesday night, the three major broadcast networks omitted from their coverage on the Islamic group ISIS a report that President Barack Obama has received briefings on the terrorist organization “for at least a year before the group seized large swaths of territory over the summer.”
ABC, CBS, and NBC all led their evening newscasts with multiple segments on the gruesome murder of American journalist Stephen Sotloff at the hands of ISIS in a propaganda video released on Tuesday afternoon. Over on the Fox News Channel (FNC), Special Report with Bret Baier aired three segments on the story, including a report from chief intelligence correspondent Catherine Herridge. [MP3 audio here; Video below]
This morning, Catherine Herridge at Fox News, in the first two minutes of a video seen here, reported that "detailed and specific intelligence about the rise of ISIS was included in the PDB, or the President’s Daily Brief, for at least a year." Fox is being careful, as some of what is being reported would indicate that the time involved is "far more than a year" — possibly even "three years."
This would mean that Obama, if he actually reads the briefs he claims to devour in lieu of actually attending national security meetings as his Oval Office predecessors have, should have been fully aware of ISIS's danger at least several months before he called them the "jayvee team" in a New Yorker Magazine interview. If previous patterns hold, the fact that Fox is reporting the story will mean that the Obama-aligned establishment press will, as they have for several hours already, ignore it. The relevant portions of the transcript follow the jump (HT to a frequent tipster; bolds are mine):
On Monday's Morning Joe, MSNBC's Mika Brzezinski felt sorry for President Obama and all the crises overseas that he is currently facing: "You look at just the President, and the incoming on foreign policy crises, I think it's possibly unprecedented, except for extreme times of war."
Moments earlier, the morning newscast played a montage of video clips looking back at all the tumultuous events from the summer. Joe Scarborough expressed his disbelief at the amount of chaos, while Brzezinski replied to the mash-up by setting up her lament for the chief executive: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
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]
Although all three networks covered Barack Obama's admission on Thursday that "we don't have a strategy" for responding to Islamic militants in Syria, ABC, CBS and NBC journalists were really animated by the President's tan suit. GMA news reader Amy Robach on Friday enthused, "Finally this morning, some presidential critics are saying, 'yes, we tan!'" [For a video montage, see below. MP3 audio here.]
Over on NBC's Today, Dylan Dreyer lectured Twitter on the superficiality of such a topic: "President Obama had a very important press conference. He was talking about all sorts of world issues. So of course social media was focused on those world issues, right? Of course not. They were focused on his tan suit." Dreyer mocked Twitter in the midst of NBC's obsessing about the suit.
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."
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]
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):
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:
In a Sunday-morning post, Daily Kos blogger Mark Sumner argued that the “threat ISIS represents to the United States” is “[e]xactly none” and urged us not to overreact now the way we supposedly did after 9/11 and consequently “hand over freedoms for an illusion of safety. The NSA reading your email and listening in on your phone, idiots mistaking a dropped t-shirt at the Mexican border for the prayer rug of invading Muslims, TSA workers who know you more intimately than your spouse. Those are bin Laden's victories.”
Besides, Sumner remarked, everyday food additives may be more lethal than jihadists: “You could probably make a compelling case that corn syrup is more deadly to Americans than all the terrorists who ever lived.”
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.]
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):
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.
MRC president Brent Bozell sent us an article today and insisted "If you haven't read this piece, I recommend you do so." It’s a letter James Foley, the freelance American journalist abducted in Syria and beheaded by ISIS, to his alma mater Marquette University back in 2011 when he was captured in Tripoli, Libya. He was released after 45 days due in part to a campaign by his Marquette friends.
It's a testament to how his faith and his prayers (like the Rosary) helped Foley get through that trying time:
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.
Over at Hot Air on Tuesday night, Mary Katharine Ham pointed to a headline at the New York Times, present at its web home page as well as at the story itself, which equally blames Hamas and Israel for the end of their cease-fire: "Rockets From Gaza and Israeli Response Break Cease-Fire." Someone needs to tell Isabel Kershner and Jodi Rudoren that it's the "rockets from Gaza" which broke the cease-fire.
There's a bigger problem with the story, and with establishment press coverage of the conflict in general during the past 36 hours, namely that virtually everyone is ignoring a Monday blockbuster report at the Jerusalem Post presenting compelling evidence that Hamas intended to overthrow the Palestinian government and its President, Mahmoud Abbas, in conjunction with its attacks on Israel (Shin Bet is Israel's internal security service; bolds are mine):
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.]
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.]
Appearing on CNBC's Squawk Box Tuesday morning, the business network's chief Washington correspondent John Harwood acknowledged that President Obama's failed foreign policy would be an obstacle to Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential ambitions: "...her independent credential running for president is that she was President Obama's secretary of state. The world is now blowing up. So that is a big problem for her. And so she's going to be looking for ways to separate herself from the current foreign policy mess." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Harwood's comments were prompted by host Joe Kernen asking about a quote in The Daily Beast in which Obama reportedly dismissed Clinton's recent criticism of his handling of the Middle East as "horsesh**t." In response, Harwood observed: "It wouldn't surprised me if he said that....I'm sure that that's how he feels about the criticism, he's made that pretty clear."
CNN's Jim Acosta ran to the Obama administration's defense in a Monday post on Twitter. Ari Fleischer, former White House press secretary under President George W. Bush, replied to Acosta's previous Tweet reporting that Vice President Joe Biden "called Iraqi Prime Minister-designate Haider al-Abadi to congratulate him." Fleischer wondered, "Why is Biden making these calls? It's POTUS's [President of the United States] job..."
The journalist complimented the Bush administration alumnus for his "good question," and continued by emphasizing Biden's supposed expertise with the Middle Eastern country: [Twitter post below the jump]
Yesterday, Roll Call and The Hill both relayed Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein's call, in Roll Call's words, "for a broader military campaign against ISIL, not just the targeted missions authorized by the president." She believes it is needed because "It has become clear that ISIL is recruiting fighters in Western countries ... and possibly returning them to European and American cities to attack us in our backyard."
Searches at their web sites indicate that the Associated Press and New York Times have not reported Feinstein's stark warning, which directly contradicts the President's January ridicule of ISIL/ISIS as the equivalent of junior varsity basketball players. At the Politico, in a worry-wart piece on "Obama's liberal problem," Seung Min Kim and Jeremy Herb shamefully omitted Feinstein's "in our backyard" warning — while covering the rest of what she said.
The Prime Minister of Israel, sitting across from a visiting Sean Hannity, looked Hannity and his Fox News audience in the eye, using the phrase “moral clarity” with reference to Israel’s on-going battle with Hamas and the larger conflict with radical Islamists. Hannity himself has used the phrase. Yet the phrase Benjamin Netanyahu used can just as easily apply to Hannity himself, Hannity’s trip to Israel bringing desperately needed moral clarity to the larger media coverage of the current events in the Middle East.
The Big Three networks steered clear of labeling the Islamist group ISIS "terrorists" on their evening newscasts on Friday. Instead, ABC's World News and CBS Evening News labeled the genocidal radicals "militants." NBC Nightly News used the more benign "rebels" in their coverage of the group's latest attacks on the Kurdish part of Iraq.
The closest that a journalist at ABC, CBS, or NBC got to using the "terrorist" label was Scott Pelley's teaser at the very top of CBS Evening News: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]