On Wednesday's MSNBC Daily Rundown, minutes after President Obama denied setting a "red line" on Syria's use of chemical weapons, chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd excused the obvious falsehood: "I think it was clear that the President was trying to depersonalize the Syria issue a little bit....to say, you know, 'Stop making this about the President personally, depersonalize this.'" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Following those instructions from Obama, Todd proceeded to blame Republicans for the President trying to distance himself from his own red line: "...there are some House Republicans who are looking at this only view – through the prism of their disagreements and dislike for President Obama rather than the policy itself. And so [the White House is] trying to make the policy argument, 'Forget who's in the seat as commander-in-chief, would the United States believe this was a red line no matter who was president?'"
Wednesday's CBS Evening News twice underlined President Obama's 2012 "red line" remark before playing a soundbite of the Democrat's "I didn't set a red line" reversal earlier in the day. Scott Pelley noted that "a year ago, he [Obama] warned the Syrian dictator that a red line would be crossed if the dictator used chemical weapons against his rebellious citizens." Major Garrett soon added that Obama "set a red line on the use of chemical weapons 13 months ago." [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
None of the Big Three evening newscasts played the actual clip of the President's 2012 warning. On NBC Nightly News, Chuck Todd did his best to explain away the President's denial: "The President redefined what he meant by his red line". Jonathan Karl didn't even mention the original "red line" comment during his report on ABC's World News.
In case you missed it, new Iranian president Hassan Rouhani has proven his "moderate" credentials to Time magazine [see screen capture below page break]. How so, you might ask? Well, a tweet from (what purports to be) his account yesterday, which reads, "As the sun is about to set here in #Tehran I wish all Jews, especially Iranian Jews, a blessed Rosh Hashanah. pic.twitter.com/tmaf84x7UR"
When George W. Bush was president, America's media loved reporting international demonstrations against him once things in Iraq turned south.
With this in mind, it will be interesting to see if the same historically anti-war press will cover a picture depicting Barack Obama as the devil published Wednesday in the popular Egyptian newspaper Al Wafd.
While covering Bashar al-Assad on Tuesday, ABC's Martha Raddatz described the Syrian dictator as "looking poised and immaculately dressed." This light-hearted description is reminiscent of some of the softball questions asked by Diane Sawyer on February 5, 2007. The then-Good Morning America anchor dished with the man who, in August, allegedly used chemical weapons on his own people: "You like video games?...Do you have an iPod?"
After the dictator announced that he did, Sawyer sounded more like an Access Hollywood host: "And you're a country music fan. Faith Hill? Shania Twain?"She then moved on to the topics of what films Assad enjoyed. The fan of chemical weapons and gassing his own people touted The Pursuit of Happyness. He blurbed, "It tells you a story...Maybe there's many beneficial things to learn from, about real life." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
In my soon to be 77 years as a citizen of the United States of America, having lived through Japan's sneak attack on Pearl Harbor, the dark days of WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Watergate, 9/11 and all the other serious and profound events our beloved nation has been involved in over the last three quarters of a century, I have to say with all sincerity that I have never seen a president as confused, befuddled, impotent, insincere and as out of his depth as Barack Obama has become in dealing with the Syrian issue.
When you're the leader of the free world, you don't make statements you can't back up and you don't draw lines in the sand, watch your enemies cross them with impunity and go off and play a round of golf.
The president's call on Saturday for Congress to debate and pass a resolution authorizing airstrikes against Syria also served as a telegraphed message to the liberal media about how to spin the message in a way that puffs the president politically while turning a serious question of foreign policy and use of military resources into a domestic political grist for the 2014 midterms.
Well, the Wall Street Journal's Jay Solomon and Janet Hook smartly saluted and fired their salvo in a piece filed at the paper's website on Sunday afternoon headlined, "White House Girds for Battle With Congress." Here's how they began:
"The Obama administration has refused to send gas masks and other chemical-weapons protection gear to Syrian opposition groups, despite numerous requests dating back more than a year and until the reported chemical-weapons attack that struck the Damascus suburbs August 21," Josh Rogin of The Daily Beast reported earlier today. What's more, it wasn't for lack of supply, as there are numerous gas masks lying about in the region in storage, surplus from the late Iraq War, Rogin reported.
It's completely understandable and arguably advisable to not ship weapons to Syrian opposition groups for fear of weapons falling into the wrong hands, but refusing life-saving gas masks when the Syrian government is known to have chemical weapons caches is quite another. It remains to be seen how much the Big Three networks and newspaper outlets pick up on this thread, but we'll be watching. Below is a critical excerpt from his post (emphasis mine):
Maybe, in sync with the predictable press reactions to oft-seen bad economic numbers, the headline at Julie Pace's late-morning story at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, should have been: "Obama Foreign Policy Falls Apart ... Unexpectedly."
Pace's pathetic attempt at pathos in assessing the status of the Obama administration's foreign policy tells AP readers that some of it is due to "factors outside the White House's control" (as if previous administrations haven't had to deal with unanticipated developments), that Obama "misjudged" what would come in the Arab Spring's aftermath (we're supposed to ignore all of those contacts he's had with Muslim Brotherhood officials and their sympathizers), and that the NSA revelations have hurt our standing in Europe (without noting that the root cause is NSA's spying on U.S. citizens). Excerpts follow the jump.
In the media’s wall-to-wall Egypt coverage, one important facet of the ongoing crisis has gotten short shrift: the deadly plight of that nation’s Christians. The three broadcast networks in particular have buried the anti-Christian violence, devoting just 5 percent of Egypt reporting to it since last week. Six days ago, supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood and deposed President Mohammed Morsi launched what some are calling a “pogrom” and “jihad” against Egypt’s Christian population.
Violence against Egypt’s Christian minority is nothing new. Nor is the media’s disinterest in it. But in the last week, that violence suddenly escalated to epidemic levels.
A chemical attack in Syria that may have killed as many as 1300 people was of little interest to ABC's Good Morning America on Wednesday. The network morning show allowed a mere 25 seconds to the large scale gassing. In such a small amount of time, it's not surprising that guest news anchor Amy Robach skipped the salient point that this attack violated the so-called "red line" set out by Barack Obama in 2012.
NBC's Today allowed a little more time, two minutes and eight seconds, but also ignored the red line angle and any mention of Barack Obama. It was only CBS This Morning that noticed this. Anchor Charlie Rose pointed out, "President Obama has said that Syria's government would cross a red line if it uses chemical weapons against its own people. We're monitoring the White House for any response." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Ted Koppel made a fascinating observation about terrorism and the recent embassy evacuations that certainly won't please President Obama or his supporters in the media.
Appearing on NBC's Meet the Press, Koppel said, "With a conference call, Al Qaeda has effectively shut down 20 U.S. embassies around north Africa and the Middle East...The terrorists have achieved more with one phone call than we have achieved with all our response" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer had some harsh words Tuesday for the White House calling the evacuation of our embassies in the Middle East “ordered departures.”
Appearing on Fox News’s Special Report, Krauthammer said, “This is the first administration in history ever to launch a lexicological war on the enemy. You know, they’ve thrown the book at them - the dictionary.”
Saturday evening, a friend suggested that I watch the midnight rerun of Judge Jeanine Pirro's Fox News program for her interview segment with a Democrat and a Republican about this weekend's closing of 22 embassies overseas in response to terrorist threats.
Ryan Clayton was the Democrat whose arguments blaming George W. Bush's administration for the current level of threats in the Middle East were so weak that he was reduced to childishly reminding viewers that 9/11 happened on George W. Bush's watch (as if we didn't know, and as if eight years of previous Clinton administration weakness were irrelevant). Clayton has an interesting history, which I will note at the end of this post. The Judge Jeanine segment follows the jump.
Remember all that talk from President Obama during last year’s campaign about al Qaeda being decimated?
Apparently not, for on ABC’s This Week Sunday, Congressman Peter King (R-N.Y.) said, “Al Qaeda is in many ways stronger than it was before 9/11 because it's mutated and it spread and it can come at us from different directions” (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Late Thursday, news broke of the State Department ordering numerous U.S. embassies across the Middle East closed on Sunday, August 4 due to terror threats from Al Qaeda. While the Big Three network evening newscasts all covered the important development that night, not one of them made any mention of the September 11, 2012 terrorist attack on the consulate in Benghazi, the perpetrators of which remain at large.
By Friday morning, the networks managed to add brief mentions of Benghazi to their reporting. On NBC's Today, chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell noted: "... in the aftermath of Benghazi, the State Department is not taking any chances....Amidst ongoing turmoil across the Middle East, from Cairo's Tahrir Square to the civil war in Syria, and past attacks on U.S. diplomatic posts, from Benghazi, Libya last year..."
For decades, no American president has successfully navigated the tenuous relationship between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, each one failing to broker a long-term peace agreement between the two groups. Despite the daunting task of establishing Middle East peace, USA Today believes that President Obama has a secret weapon that no president has had before: Secretary of State John Kerry.
In a glowing review of his involvement, the July 30 USA Today hyped how Secretary Kerry is “running show in Mideast talks.” Reporter Aamer Madhani’s praise doesn’t stop there, Gushing that the secretary has notably “worked a bit of magic” in his efforts to create peace between Israel and the Palestinian people.
It has been almost 48 hours since the New York Post's Melissa Klein first reported that "This iconic picture of firefighters raising the stars and stripes in the rubble of Ground Zero was nearly excluded from the 9/11 Memorial Museum," because "the museum’s creative director ... considered the Tom Franklin photograph too kitschy and "rah-rah America."
A Google News search on "Ground Zero New York" (not in quotes, past seven days, showing duplicates) returns only 24 relevant items. None are from establishment press outlets. The same search at the Associated Press's national web site also returns nothing relevant. Excerpts from Klein's Post report, as well as Publishers Weekly's review of the upcoming book, are after the jump.
Yes, there's a war on women in America. But it's not the phony "war" that tampon-hurling feminists are always shrieking about — as they did last week in Texas to protest tougher regulations on dangerous late-term abortion clinics. No, I'm talking about a real war on women waged by Saudi royals and elites who've imported human trafficking and abuse of domestic workers onto U.S. soil.
Meet Meshael Alayban of Saudi Arabia, wife of Abdulrahman bin Nasser bin Abdulaziz al-Saud. She apparently thought we Americans would look the other way at human trafficking and abuse of domestic workers — you know, the way they do in her misogyny-infested home country. The wealthy Meshael Alayban thought wrong.
Well, The Washington Post sure knows how to bury a lead. It’s hardly news that someone is accusing Al Jazeera of having an anti-Western slant – it does and plenty of people have taken public exception to it. But when 22 of the network’s own employees quit because they can’t stomach the pervasive pro-Islamist bias, it’s something to write home about.
On July 9, the Post ran a straightforward “Style” section article about the latest charges of bias against Al Jazeera, this time about its pro-Muslim Brotherhood, pro-Morsi coverage of the Egyptian unrest. It seems the Egyptian military, with the hearty approval of gathered Egyptian journalists, banished some Al Jazeera reporters from a news conference.
MSNBC’s Chris Matthews is none too pleased about President Obama’s decision to send arms to Syrian rebels.
On Tuesday’s Hardball, the host asked, “Why don't we just change the name of the Department of Defense to the Department of Killing Islamic People on Global Television Department, because that's what we've been doing for a dozen years?” (video follows with transcript and commentary):
For many years, the networks have done a sloppy job of comparing "conservatives" around the globe. As the Berlin Wall fell, the "conservatives" became the communists who wanted to keep their grip on power and not give way to democracy. That's hardly comparable to American conservatives.
On Saturday night, CBS News was doing this sloppy dance on the elections in Iran. From London, reporter Elizabeth Palmer declared all the candidates to succeed Ahmadinejad were the Islamist equivalent of the American Tea Party movement:
Conservative columnist Pat Buchanan made a statement about Friday's announcement concerning Syria definitively having used chemical weapons on its people that is guaranteed to raise eyebrows on both sides of the aisle.
Appearing on PBS's McLaughlin Group, Buchanan said, "This has Tonkin Gulf written all over it...false flag."
On Monday's NBC Nightly News, Brian Williams failed to mention Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan's traditional Islamic orientation as he reported on the "anti-government protests" in the Mediterranean country. Williams merely described the demonstrations as a "display of frustration with the prime minister...who has been trying to impose more conservative values on that mostly secular country."
CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley had no such qualms the same evening as he reported on the same rallies. Pelley asked correspondent Holly Williams, "When the protestors say that Erdogan is trying to impose his Islamic values on the country, what are they talking about?"
In case you didn't get the gist of President Obama's Thursday speech at National Defense University, the AP's Robert Burns boiled it down on Saturday, perhaps supportively: "OBAMA REFOCUSES TERROR THREAT TO PRE-9/11 LEVEL."
That leaves one annoying detail Burns and Obama ignore: The "pre-9/11 threat level" wasn't that much different from the threat level during the first few years after 9/11. But our response in going to a war footing and more conscientious coordination at home was. As a result, there were no more successful terrorist attacks until the Ft. Hood massacre (mislabeled "workplace violence by our hapless government) in November 2009. The World Trade Centers were bombed in 1993. After that, there were at least the following: Khobar Towers in 1996, the American embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998, the USS Cole in 2000, and other incidents in the U.S. which may have been inspired by Islamist terrorists despite official conclusions to the contrary. The "pre-9/11 threat level" was actually higher, especially if one remembers, well, 9/11. But that's certainly not the message Obama, with Burns's help, is trying to convey. Instead, it's that the President "has all but declared" that global war on terror is over (bolds are mine):
Code Pink's Media Benjamin managed to break into another presidential event on Thursday, namely Barack Obama's speech at the National Defense University. The topic was "U.S. Counterterrorism Strategy," meaning that the administration's aversion to the T-word seems to be diminishing as the damaging scandal-related news continues to pour in.
Readers will see that Benjamin was relatively civil towards Obama. In fact, Kathleen Hennessey and Christi Parsons at the Los Angeles Times wrote the following: "Rather than dismiss Benjamin as a heckler, the president engaged her, asking her to let him explain but also pausing to listen as she continued to talk while security closed in around her." That behavior is in direct contrast to how she behaved last decade during the Bush administration -- something never mentioned in any coverage of Thursday's speech I found. The full exchange with Obama followed by a recounting of what made Benjamin an overnight sensation in Sepetmber 2002, follow the jump.
Former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney was Jay Leno’s guest on the Tonight Show Friday, and he didn’t have kind things to say about the current White House resident or former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
At one point in their discussion, Romney said, "I'm not a fan of the president - in case you didn't know that."