Well, this should be fun. President Obama and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will hold a joint press conference in a few minutes in the Rose Garden. The last joint press conference the president held -- on May 13 with British Prime Minister David Cameron -- was met with some tough questions by the AP's Julie Pace.
Below the page break I'll be live-blogging the questions from journalists. As usual, please give us the questions you would like answered in the comments section. Also, who do you think might ask the toughest questions and who might try to help the president out with a softball? Let us know your thoughts.
In a move which appears conveniently timed to coincide with a wave of other arguably more damaging bad news for the administration, the Associated Press has reported that the Department of Justice informed the wire service on Friday that it had secretly obtained two months of reporters' and editors' telephone records.
In the words of AP's Mark Sherman, in coverage late this afternoon, "the government seized the records for more than 20 separate telephone lines assigned to AP and its journalists in April and May of 2012." Sherman also notes that "more than 100 journalists work in the offices where phone records were targeted, on a wide array of stories about government and other matters," and that those records "were presumably obtained from phone companies earlier this year" (i.e., after Obama was safely re-elected). More from Sherman's report, a comment from yours truly, and several comments by others who have read AP's coverage follow the jump (bolds are mine):
Appearing for his regular "Miller Time" segment on FNC's The O'Reilly Factor on Tuesday, comedian Dennis Miller denounced former Vice President Al Gore as a "detestable cat" and "a phony," as he recommended that "everybody should shun Al Gore" after he sold Current TV to Al-Jazeera.
After host Bill O'Reilly joked that Gore was a "personal friend' of Miller's, the comedian made a point of denying any friendship with the former Vice President as he began his response:
President Barack Obama will take to the podium in the White House press briefing room at 10:30 a.m. Eastern for a press conference. The occasion: today is the 100th day of his second term in office. We at NewsBusters will be watching and I'll be live-blogging the questions from reporters. Pardon my inaccuracies as I'll be transcribing on the fly.
In the comments section, leave some question that YOU would ask if you were in the room. Which questions should be asked but likely won't?
Both the Los Angeles Times and the New York Daily News, the latter crediting wire service assistance, have reported that Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the now deceased older brother accused of committing the Boston Marathon bombings, was thrown out of a service at the Islamic Society of Boston, the Cambridge mosque he attended, about three months ago. I wonder if anyone in the media will notice the terror-connected history of the ISB? It's right there for anyone who cares to look for it.
First, quoting the Times story by Andrew Tangel and Ashley Powers:
Warning: Please remove all flammables, fluids, and food from proximity to your computer as the following statement by Newsweek's Eleanor Clift on PBS's McLaughlin Group Friday could result in a potentially hazardous fit of laughter.
"The concern within the [Obama] administration [regarding cyber warfare] is intense, and it reminds me of the way the Clinton administration was focused on al Qaeda in the ’90s" (video follows with lengthy commentary to really expose the absurdity of this statement):
Nazis are fast becoming the favorite slur of the hosts on MSNBC. Chris Matthews last Friday compared the "aggressive" push for war in Iraq to what lead to the prosecution of war criminals at the Nuremberg trials. Matthews appeared with Chris Hayes, Alex Wagner and other MSNBC regulars to discuss a new cable documentary on the tenth anniversary of the Iraq war.
After reading a congratulatory reading of a column he wrote prior to the war, Matthews lashed out: "I was really embarrassed by my country, how a President of such limited ability, limited rhetorical ability, mental ability, historic ability, could talk us into a war." Making one of his favorite comparisons, the Hardball anchor sneered, "You know, the Nuremberg trials were primarily, before the Holocaust and all those other issues, was against people who launched an aggressive war. And this was an aggressive war." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] So, in this example, George W. Bush is one of the Nazis?
At the top of Sunday's NBC Meet the Press, chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel forwarded anti-Israel sentiment during a segment about President Obama's trip to the Middle East: "I think the President went there to give Israel a big hug. Some people in the region think that he went too far, that he went too far to embrace Zionism as an ideology, not just the State of Israel." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Engel declared: "Israel feels very threatened, very unsure about its future. That's obvious by the way they are walling themselves in psychologically and physically....the idea was to make Israel feel secure in an increasingly insecure region." He lamented: "The Palestinians generally were disappointed with the trip, nothing concrete coming out of it."
As I noted earlier this evening, Obama spoke last week under a banner of Yasser Arafat, "the father of modern terrorism." That move is being seen as a gaffe by the very few, almost none of whom are in the establishment press, who have even noticed it. What if it's not a gaffe, but rather an intentional move? That may be the case if what Al Arabiya reported on Friday, seen after the jump, is indeed true (HT Examiner.com):
On Thursday in Ramallah, as Daniel Halper at the Weekly Standard blog noted, U.S. President Barack Obama "addressed the assembled journalists while standing under a Yasser Arafat banner." Arafat is rightly considered the “father of modern terrorism.” Since U.S. establishment press coverage is non-existent, I'll take readers to an outraged Nile Gardiner at the UK Telegraph to express how utterly offensive Obama's silently condoning Arafat's legitimacy really is:
On Wednesday's NBC Nightly News, chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel described Israel's precarious position in the Middle East: "Israel sees the world just beyond its borders collapsing. The war in Syria....Hamas in charge in Gaza....The Muslim Brotherhood running Egypt." He proclaimed that the Jewish state "hasn't ever been popular in this neighborhood, but now its enemies are at the gate and angry." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Despite explaining the dangerous situation, Engel portrayed Israel as an almost paranoid nation cutting itself off from the outside world: "Israel is becoming a fortress. Fences along the borders with Egypt, Lebanon, and Syria. More fences around the Gaza Strip, and a massive wall along the West Bank. A country the size of New Jersey with more than 500 miles of barricades. Israel is shutting out the Arab world and shutting itself in."
During a joint press conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday, President Obama lectured NBC chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd for asking too many questions: "Chuck, how many do you got? Do you guys do this in the Israeli press? You say you get one question and then you add like five?...You see how the young lady from Channel One, she had one question, she was very well behaved, Chuck?...I mean, you're just incorrigible." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Perhaps it was the content of Todd's questions, rather than the number, that the President objected to: "I want to follow up a little bit on the peace process....you said you weren't going to let this slip to your second term. We're in your second term with the Mideast peace process. What went wrong? Why are we further away from a two-state solution?... what do you believe went wrong? Did you push Israel too hard? What do you wish you would have done differently?"
With this afternoon's Senate confirmation hearings for CIA director nominee John Brennan in view, the February 7 broadcast of Now with Alex Wagner devoted significant attention to the Obama administration's use of armed drones and the recently-leaked DOJ White Paper defending the legitimacy of drone strikes that explicitly targeted American civilians overseas.
For her part, host Alex Wagner failed to mention Anwar al-Awlaki’s activities as a terrorist operative affiliated with al-Qaeda. The Now host merely tagged al-Awlaki as an American-born cleric, even though he served as a talent recruiter within the organization and inspired Fort Hood shooter Nidal Hassan. Al-Awlaki also had contact with Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the terrorist who attempted to blow up a passenger airliner on Christmas Day of 2009. None of that was mentioned on the show.
The CBS Evening News on Tuesday completely ignored the revelation, uncovered in a leaked government memo, that the Obama administration claims the power to legally kill al Qaeda terrorists, even if they're American citizens. ABC's Good Morning America on Wednesday allowed a mere 42 seconds to this rather important topic. ABC's World News, NBC's Nightly News and the Today show all covered the story. Of the six evening and morning shows, however, only three featured the liberal American Civil Liberties Union decrying this move by a Democratic president.
World News reporter Jon Karl at least pointed out the obvious contradiction of liberals who railed against supposed torture by George W. Bush, reminding, "As soon as he became President, Barack Obama stopped CIA tactics like wateboarding that he considered torture. But this justifies outright killing a suspected terrorist." The journalist added, "How does dropping a bomb on an American citizen without any judicial review, any trial, not raise any human rights questions, or more human rights questions than something like waterboarding?" (Or, one might also wonder, putting a catepillar in a box with a terrorist. Under George W. Bush, ABC labeled this "torture.")
On Monday's Morning Edition, NPR's Larry Abramson boosted an "international boycott movement" against Israeli company SodaStream without mentioning the left-wing ideology of the organizations behind the protest. Abramson merely described the boycott organizers as "supporters of Palestinian rights."
The correspondent featured a soundbite of a December 2012 anti-SodaStream protest in Boston, but failed to mention that the demonstration was organized by Jewish Voice for Peace, whose advisory board includes far-left notables such as Noam Chomsky, Eve Ensler, and Tony Kushner.
In an interview with former Vice President Al Gore on Tuesday's Today, co-host Matt Lauer fretted over the "hypocrisy" of the global warming crusader selling his news channel Current TV to the oil-funded Al Jazeera network. However, Lauer completely ignored the Arab news organization's history of anti-Americanism and promotion of Islamic fundamentalism. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
When Lauer questioned Gore about selling Current to Al Jazeera for $500 million, Gore declared: "I'm very pleased that Al Jazeera has established itself as a really respected news-gathering network." Rather than challenge that assertion, the only criticism of the network Lauer could think of was this: "But if they get funding from a country that has – that bases its wealth on fossil fuels, and fossil fuels are the enemy you target in climate change, isn't there a bit of hypocrisy in that?"
On Tuesday, CBS's Sharyl Attkisson broke on Twitter that the Obama administration "has indicated that it will not be answering Benghazi question we've been asking since Oct." Attkisson, who has provided hard-hitting reporting on the September 11, 2012 Islamist attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya, listed many of the questions that the executive branch has yet to answer about the story.
The journalist noted in a later Tweet that "CBS News FOI'd Benghazi info from State Dept, CIA, FBI and Defense Dept. None has been provided." Attkisson also pointed out a false claim by the administration:
Former This Week host Christiane Amanpour's reputation for biased reporting precedes her, despite her own denials. Despite this, ABC thought it fit to air a two-part special starting on Friday evening titled Back to the Beginning. The network's press release trumpeted, "Join...Christiane Amanpour on the ultimate road trip as she travels to the lands of the Bible....to investigate the roots of those stories that have created so much conflict, and at the same time so much of the healing she has seen across her career."
However, the last time the journalist put together a mini-series on religion, God's Warriors, for CNN in 2007, she gave Muslim "fundamentalists" in the U.S. sympathetic treatment, while showing "concern" for "right-wing" Jewish settlers in the West Bank, and discomfort towards the theology and practices of American evangelical Christians. Amanpour even equated one Christian youth group with the Taliban.
As voting on Egypt's constitution begins, an Associated Press story this morning by Aya Batrawy and Sarah El Deeb typifies how the U.S. press is only nibbling around the edges of its content. The headline reads "EGYPTIANS VOTE ON ISLAMIST-BACKED CONSTITUTION." In the story's content, the pair found an 23 year-old Egyptian engineer who told them, in their words, that "he felt the proposed constitution needed more, not less, Islamic content," and expressed a belief that "All laws have to be in line with Shariah."
Nice misdirection there. As Andrew McCarthy, "arguably the most important prosecutor in the War on Terror" and "among the most authoritative writers anywhere on the dangers of Jihad," explained at PJ Media on Wednesday morning, and as much of the non-U.S. press accurately comprehends, the proposed constitution is about institutionalizing sharia in Egypt, and the last-minute splitting of the vote, originally scheduled for only today but now taking place today and next Saturday, is about ensuring its victory at the polls (bolds are mine throughout this post):
In August, President Barack Obama "secretly" authorized support for Syria's rebels. It was so "secret" that Reuters had a story about it. It "broadly permits the CIA and other U.S. agencies to provide support that could help the rebels oust Assad."
At the Daily Beast, former Obama administration State Department member P.J. Crowley believes that " Later this year or early next, Washington may formally recognize the Syrian opposition as a viable alternative to the regime of President Bashar al-Assad." Well, okay, sometimes you have to back a less undesirable alternative, but if you do, I would think Obama owes it to the American people to have them understand the true nature of those you're backing. As of this moment, very few Americans know what the rebels would want to do if they achieve power. MEMRI does, because its people watch Middle Eastern TV and videos. What follows is a transcript from an October 21 broadcast (HT Weasel Zippers):
Reviewing several dispatches from the past couple of days, the latest news out of Egypt is that Egyptian "President" Mohammed Morsi "is not backing down in the showdown over decrees granting him near-absolute powers," that "clashes between the two camps (Morsi's Islamist supporters and secular opponents) ... left two dead and hundreds injured," and that the country's Muslim Brotherhood-dominated assembly "pushed through the 234-article draft (constitution) in just 21 hours from Thursday into Friday ... (after) Coptic Christians and liberals earlier had walked out."
The draft constitution includes several articles "that rights activists, liberals and Christians fear will lead to restrictions on the rights of women and minorities," and omits "bans on slavery or promises to adhere to international rights treaties." Oh, and I almost forgot: "The Obama administration is declining to criticize Egypt's draft constitution." It's worth identifying at this point several (but by no means all; what follows is surely a small sample) of those who in 2011 reassured the world that Egyptians had nothing to fear if the Brotherhood and Islamists became dominant.
Well, if the President himself can call a sacked consulate and four dead Americans who deserved adequate security and didn't get it "bumps in the road," why not?
Monday morning, the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, presented a story in advance of United Nations ambassador Susan Rice's meeting today with certain Republican senators -- a meeting from which Rice, who engaged in serial falsehood peddling during the weekend after the September 11 Benghazi attack, apparently falsehood-peddling Rice emerged today even worse-off than before. In that story, both the headline and first paragraph of Anne Flaherty's coverage characterized Benghazi as a "PR (public relations) disaster."
Filling in for Alex Wagner on Monday afternoon, Ari Melber of the left-wing Nation magazine did some thing on MSNBC's Now that Wagner and many of their colleagues have been reluctant to do themselves -- expose the deception and dishonesty of Obama on the subject of drone attacks. While there was a brief mention or two in the weeks and months that preceded the election, the coverage was never sufficient -- considering the circumstances.
It's a telling sign however, that such a report would air three weeks after the incumbent's decisive re-election victory, by a guest host at that. Armed with indisputable video evidence, Melber noted the disparity between the candidate and the president [video below the page break]:
As has so often been the case for nearly four years, one needs to go to the editorial pages of the nation's two leading financial publications, the Wall Street Journal and Investor's Business Daily, to get to the truth behind news developments, especially the ones with potential to cast the Obama administration in a bad light.
There may not be a better example of the press ignoring the obvious than the circumstances surrounding Mohammed Morsi's dictatorial power grab in Egypt. Morsi gained substantial perceived world standing when the U.S. government praised him lavishly (or is it slavishly?) for his involvement in brokering a truce of sorts in the Israel-Hamas conflict. As a Friday IBD editorial pointed out, Morsi is now "using America's stamp of approval to oppress his own people" (bolds are mine throughout this post):
At the end of Joe Klein's stupefying defense of Susan Rice and the Obama admin's misinformation campaign on the Benghazi outrage on today's Morning Joe, Joe Scarborough asked Time's Klein whether President Obama had invited him to play golf, "because you are just gobbling up the talking points like Thanksgiving turkey." H/t NB reader Carmel.
Here were some of Klein's astounding assertions: There are no unanswered questions about Benghazi. Ambassador Stevens had all the security he wanted. Rice's talking points were "absolutely accurate"--it was a spontaneous demonstration by extremists. Al qaeda was not involved in the attack. Not clear that reports from Stevens asking for more security exist. View the video after the jump.
During the recent war in Gaza, NBC News used two images of which definitely one and possibly both qualify as deceptive propaganda against Israel's war effort.
The first example is the infamous image of a child who was killed by shrapnel from a rocket fired out of Gaza by the terrorist group Hamas, but which some news outlets, including CNN, attributed to an Israeli airstrike early on.
Well, that didn't take long. Fulfilling a fear expressed on Tuesday by David Horovitz in the Times of Israel, someone is already using the country's mostly (but to be sure, not completely) successful deployment of its Iron Dome missile defense system as an argument against Israel's right to robustly defend itself.
The assertion came the very next day in the form of a tweet from a member of the establishment press (how unsurprising), one Anthony De Rosa from Reuters, the wire service's Director of Social Media. Alert responder "Robbie Guy" posted a riposte so deliciously effective that De Rosa removed the tweet. Too late. The takedown came after Simon Plosker at Honest Reporting (HT Bruce Kesler at at Maggie's Farm via Instapundit) had captured shots of both items.
So what's more important, the fact that Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi was involved in brokering a Gaza-Israeli peace deal which appears to be more than sightly tilted in Hamas's direction, or the fact that Morsi has opportunistically seized nearly dictatorial powers?
They're arguably equal, but if compelled to choose, I believe most readers here would contend that because of the difficulties seen throughout human history in undoing such things, Morsi's power grab is more important. The Associated Press doesn't share that evaluation. In its summary of "10 Things to Know for Friday" the wire service notes the "peace" accord but not the power grab: