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]
In the wake of the news that President Obama had ordered limited bombing on ISIS mobile artillery units – a small hit with only two 500-pound bombs – experts were not shy about declaring their concern on TV about the Obama strategy.
The White House won't commit to stopping the genocide by ISIS -- as evidenced yesterday when White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest failed to provide an affirmative response to a question by the press as to whether President Obama would take every measure to stop the genocide -- And President Obama has conclusively ruled out any U.S. troops going into Iraq, whether his strategy of very limited air strikes successfully stop ISIS or not. The disjointed, anemic responses by the White House is not sitting well with military analysts.
In the endlessly contentious debate over Israel and the Palestinians, is there a more misleading word than "occupation"?
During the most recent broadcast of ABC's "This Week" on Sunday, New Yorker editor David Remnick became the latest Hamas apologist to cite Israel's "occupation," presumably of the West Bank, as a legitimate basis for Palestinian grievances. Fortunately, The Weekly Standard's Bill Kristol was also a panelist on the show. How many others who were watching must have felt like cheering when Kristol spoke, even-handed and armed with the truth. (Video after the jump)
In a report for Tuesday's NBC Nightly News, chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel declared that "Gazans tried to put their lives back together" during a cease-fire with Israel and said of the Palestinian terrorist group that spurred the conflict: "Hamas, after a month of punishment, realized it was nearly without friends in the region. Especially Egypt, its Arab neighbor and former ally." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Engel explained: "This is Gaza's crossing into Egypt. Throughout this war, Hamas's main demand has been to open it, but it's still closed. Hamas has enemies in Israel and in the military-led government in Egypt." Strange that NBC never reported on the isolation of Hamas until after the violence subsided.
Navi Pillay, U.N. high commissioner for human rights, has accused both Israel and Hamas militants of committing war crimes in the Gaza conflict. Her harshest criticism, as well as that of most nations, has been reserved for the Israeli government, charging that it has committed war crimes in direct violation of the Geneva Conventions. In the wake of the huge difference in casualties and property destruction, many in the West have accused the Israeli government of making a grossly disproportionate response to terrorist rocket attacks. A New York Times (July 23, 2014) article titled "As Much of the World Frowns on Israel, Americans Hold Out Support" says that a number of "world leaders and demonstrators pointed to the lopsided number of Palestinian casualties — more than 650, most of them civilians — versus 35 on the Israeli side, 32 of them soldiers." By now, those numbers have tripled, but let's think about some of the arguments being made.
First, let's take a historical look at proportionality in response to an attack.
A popular blood libel Palestinian leaders and parents tell their people and children goes as follows: "Jews used to slaughter Christians in order to mix their blood in their holy matzos."
In the video (HT Twitchy) which follows the jump, Blitzer asks Hamas spokesman Osama Hamdan to confirm that the quoted words just cited are what he recently said and meant. Over nearly seven agonizing minutes, Hamdan never admitted to anything, but certainly conducted himself as if he had uttered those words. To his credit, Blitzer noted that the end of the segment that his question had not been answered, leaving reasonable viewers to believe Hamdan did say previously say them, and that the bare outlines of his attempted excuse, which was essentially a claim that "I was just repeating something someone else said," doesn't fly.
On MSNBC's Melissa Harris-Perry program on Saturday, Dean Obeidallah injected race into the debate inside the U.S. over the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict: "You saw a poll last week, young people 18 to 29: only 25 percent think it's justified what Israel is doing; 50 percent said, no. People of color, same numbers...It's really the Obama coalition versus white conservatives. That's the only group saying – the majority saying what Israel is doing is justified."
During the same panel discussion, American University's Hillary Mann Leverett made a very peculiar assertion about anti-Jewish sentiment in the Middle East – that from a historical perspective, European anti-Semitism was supposedly much worse than Islamic anti-Semitism: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
On Thursday, as Connor Williams at NewsBusters reported, Joe Scarborough at MSNBC "ripped Israel for their 'indiscriminate' attacks upon Gaza, and feared that this would only cause the conflict to worsen in the future." Specifically, Scarborough said that "this is asinine. This continued killing of women and children in a way that appears to be indiscriminate is asinine," and "we will rue the day that this is happening every day and women and children are being seen."
On Friday, as Laura Flint at NewsBusters noted, Scarborough attempted to walk back some of what he said, insulting his objectors by saying he would use "simple talk that simple minded people can understand." He was apparently so proud of what he said that he had it printed virtually verbatim at the Politico late Friday afternoon, complete with an emphatic, condescending title. Let's revisit the screed to make a few important points (produced in full because it has already been broadcast; bolds and numbered tags, used so Joe can better follow "simple-minded" points, are mine):
Appearing on Fox News’ Hannity on Wednesday, July 30, Mosab Hassan Yousef, the son of the founder of the terrorist group Hamas, had some harsh words for those who claim that the group is merely a “humanitarian” organization.
Speaking to Sean Hannity, Yousef insisted that Hamas is “not a humanitarian organization. Hamas is a terrorist organization with a humanitarian face to it.” [See video below.]
"As much of world watches Gaza war in horror, members of Congress fall over each other to support Israel," the Associated Press shockingly tweeted Tuesday morning, only revising the headline four hours later, Fox News's Megyn Kelly noted Wednesday night as she introduced Brent Bozell, president of the Media Research Center (MRC) -- the parent organization of NewsBusters.org -- for a segment on liberal media bias in the coverage of Israel's Operation Protective Edge in the Gaza Strip. [Listen to MP3 here; video embed follows page break]
"That was pretty surprising to many in the media world," Kelly noted, asking for Bozell's thoughts. "The tweet referred originally to a news article that was as slanted as that," the MRC founder noted, adding, "That news article could have been written by Hamas working for the AP or the AP is doing press releases for Hamas. It's indistinguishable. This makes a mockery of journalism." But alas, anti-Israeli bias is hardly contained to the AP news wire, Bozell noted, recalling how:
Earlier today, I gave the Associated Press an unwarranted benefit of the doubt. I figured that there was no way the language contained in an offensive AP tweet on the Israel-Gaza situation would appear in an actual story by an alleged professional journalist. Boy, was I wrong.
The language in question was posted at 6 a.m. ET and is still present at the wire service's official Twitter account. It reads: "As much of world watches Gaza war in horror, members of Congress fall over each other to support Israel." I wrote this afternoon that "The tweet ... links to a brief dispatch by Bradley Klapper, whose coverage, to be fair (but only if he's not the tweeter), doesn't reflect the sentiments expressed in the tweet." Well, it didn't then, because the underlying story had been revised. Here's are the first five paragraphs of Klapper's story as they appeared before comprehensive cleanup efforts ensued:
On Tuesday, July 29, NBC Nightly News was the only network evening newscast to highlight criticism of Secretary of State John Kerry following his inability to broker a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas.
While CBS and ABC ignored the criticism of Secretary Kerry, Andrea Mitchell, NBC’s Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent, did her best to cast the Secretary of State as a victim of anonymous Israeli criticism. During a press conference earlier in the day, Mitchell sympathetically asked Kerry if such criticism was “hurting your ability to be a mediator here, to have Israel -- with these blind quotes from Israeli officials attacking you so vociferously?” [See video below.]
On Monday night’s edition of his PBS show, Charlie Rose aired an interview with Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal that he conducted in Doha, Qatar over the weekend and Meshaal took the insane and ridiculous step of comparing himself and the Palestinian people to what Nelson Mandela and South Africa went through under apartheid. This statement is just the latest since excerpts began airing on CBS’s Face the Nation, CBS This Morning, and CBS Evening News on Sunday and Monday.
When asked by Rose for a prediction on how does he believe that the fighting in Gaza will end, Meshaal railed against Israel as carrying out the “occupation” by declaring that: “Every single occupation ought to fail and every single occupation ought to stop and every single settlement ought to perish. Yes, it is difficult, we'll pay a price, Mandela played – paid plenty but he was victorious at the end of the day. Ultimately, the Palestinian people will be independent." [MP3 audio here; Video below]
Of all the Associated Press reporters out there, Matt Lee, whose beat is the State Department, appears to have the least patience with the pablum (and worse) he is expected to swallow from the Obama administration.
In September of last year, as the situation in Syria escalated, Obama administration Secretary of State John Kerry proposed a non-mandatory request for a Congressional vote on U.S. military involvement in Syria. After hearing State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki defend that proposal as "courageous," Lee, after getting a non-response to a question as why it was courageous, famously asked: "Was there some kind of, like, group spine-removal op procedure at the White House over the weekend?" Though he may not have exercised the best judgment this morning in posting the tweet which follows the jump, at least we can say that Lee hasn't taken up permanent residence in the wire service's otherwise very crowded water-carrier wing:
The Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, wants Americans to know that the Obama adminisration is really, really upset — but not at Hamas for committing terrorist acts, using women and children as human shields, and digging tunnels for the purpose of mass-murdering civilians on Rosh Hashanah.
No-no-no. Team Obama is "fuming" (i.e., their poor little feeeeewings are hurt) because Israeli officials and the Israeli media — even its liberal wing — are furiously criticizing U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry for apparently doing all he can to sell out the Jewish state's positions in attempting to negotiate a ceasefire with Hamas.
ABC, CBS, and NBC's morning and evening newscasts have yet to cover the dire situation of Christians in Iraq, particularly after ISIS's takeover of the key city of Mosul. The Islamic extremist group drove most of the Christians out of the city, and issued an ultimatum to those who remained: covert to Islam, pay a hefty tax, or face death. Refreshingly, the New York Times spotlighted the crisis in a Thursday op-ed, and noted that the Christian community in Mosul has lived there for nearly 2,000 years.
The patriarch of the Syriac Catholic Church, Ignatius Yousef Younan III, along with Fox News Channel's Father Jonathan Morris, detailed ISIS's anti-Christian pogrom on Wednesday's Fox and Friends: [video below the jump]