The AP has found a new way to attack TV's 24. They say that because of the depiction of character Jack Bauer's, shall we say, short-cuts in interrogating prisoners his ways have now infected the US Military. Absurdly, the AP is advancing the case, in "Does Jack Bauer Influence Interrogators?", that "there are indications that real-life American interrogators in Iraq are taking cues from what they see on television."
Are they indeed? Says who?
Predictably the AP reports these claims are from the "advocacy group Human Rights First".
Last week, NewsBusters bloggers Scott Whitlock (here and here) and Mark Finkelstein (here and here) separately addressed "Good Morning America" anchor Diane Sawyer's softball interviews with Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad.
It's a shame it didn't come out before then, but this weekend Parade magazine released its 2007 World's Worst Dictators list. Al-Assad came in at number 10, up 6 slots from the 2006 list.
Oh well, I guess it's helpful to have the next time Sawyer enlarges her carbon footprint by flying around the world just to ask another thug completely innocuous questions while enjoying the touristy trappings of a Potemkin village.
This week, Chris Matthews' anti-Bush bigotry spilled over into a profanity laden rant. The "Hardball" host dropped the F-bomb during a live interview with Don Imus.
Meanwhile, CNN’s Paula Zahn connected opposition of illegal immigration to, you guessed it, the Ku Klux Klan. This is the same network, however, that tried to downplay proven religious bigotry by a blogger for the John Edwards campaign.
Over on ABC, "Good Morning America" anchor Diane Sawyer spent the week in Syria. She let the despotism of President Bashar Assad go mostly unchallenged.
During other segments, Sawyer chose to ask him about video games and whether he uses an iPod.
I guess to show he is a real meterosexual, Milbank starts his piece off with an observation on Bremer’s choice of footwear and draws the wild conclusion that it must say something about his mental state.
Jerry Bremer wore black dress shoes instead of his trademark combat boots yesterday as he testified before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. But except for that concession, the former American viceroy of Iraq had lost none of his swagger.
Never try to say ABC anchor Diane Sawyer hasn’t been tough on oppressors. In one interview in 1998, she stared one in the face and said, "You’ve been compared to Saddam Hussein. Nero. To Torquemada, who was head of the Inquisition."
Oh, forgive me. That wasn’t a dictator she was questioning. It was Kenneth Starr, the independent counsel investigating Bill Clinton’s lying under oath. This was a common practice for ABC at the time. Their website had an infamous instant poll asking if there was an "Ig-Nobel" prize, who should win it? The choices were Saddam, Slobodan Milosevic, Osama bin Laden and....Linda Tripp.
So how do ABC news anchors like Sawyer perform when they land "exclusive" interviews with actual dictators? The rings of international thugs are kissed for the privilege. Their obvious lack of respect for the concept of democracy is politely skimmed over. The real threat they pose to America is downplayed – or ignored.
On Tuesday’s "Good Morning America," anchor Diane Sawyer continued to gush over the dictator of Syria. As already noted on NewsBusters, the ABC anchor gingerly questioned Syrian President Bashar al-Assad over the country’s political and cultural repression. But she also defended him, reminding American viewers that "change must come slowly."
A second segment focused on Assad’s wife, Asma. In this piece, Sawyer’s most laudatory yet, she profiled the Mideast power couple and a viewer could be forgiven for assuming that this was a look at the wife of a 2008 presidential contender and not the spouse of a dictator.
Sawyer informed her audience on just what an amazing couple they make and closed the segment with a direct appeal for more understanding of the Syrian dictatorship:
Diane Sawyer: "So, while the world debates the intentions of her husband on the world stage, the two of them are clearly symbols of a new generation in the Middle East. The former doctor, the former banker, schooled in England, steeped in Syria. And she might say, asking the West for a new conversation about a new day."
Imagine that during the days of apartheid in South Africa, Diane Sawyer had just completed an interview of the white leader of the regime. What are the odds she would have emerged to inform viewers, in sympathetic tones, that the leader had reminded her of an old Afrikaaner saying to the effect that change must come slowly?
Yet that's just what Diane did after her interview with Syrian dictator Bashar Assad in which he claimed Syria wasn't ready for democracy. The screencap you see here is of Diane giving a dramatic portrayal of Assad's words. Emoted Diane:
"The president reminded me that all over the Arab world, there is a standard saying, 'chouay, chouay' [my transliteration] which means 'slowly, slowly. Change must come slowly.'"
Have a look at the video clip of Diane's dramatic renderinghere.
As already noted on NewsBusters, ABC’s Diane Sawyer threw softballs to Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad in an interview for Monday's "Good Morning America." However, GMA featured a section segment that was, amazingly, even worse. In the piece, the hard-hitting journalist probed the dictator about pertinent issues such as his favorite movies ("Pursuit of Happyness"), music (Shania Twain and Faith Hill), and whether he enjoys video games (no). Rather then press Assad over points such as the fact that Freedom House recently gave the country its worst scores (7 out of 7) for both political and civil liberties and ranked it "not free," Mrs. Sawyer allowed the Syrian leader to play film critic:
Diane Sawyer: "And American movies?"
Bashar Assad: "Sometimes. Not– Not– Not very much to movies in general. I don’t have time actually."
Sawyer: "But you like true stories?"
Assad: "True stories and historical stories. Want to know the names?"
Assad: "Yeah. ‘The Pursuit of Happyness.’"
Sawyer: "And you liked it?"
Assad: "Yeah. It tells you a story that you– Maybe there’s many beneficial things to learn from, about real life. Providing that it's accurate about the story. The real story."
When a despot you're interviewing denigrates the value of democracy in another country, wouldn't your journalistic instincts prompt you to ask him about the utter lack of democracy in his own? Not in Diane Sawyer's case.
The ABC powerhouse is in Syria this week. This morning's GMA aired an interview she scored with Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad. Joe Biden would surely declare Assad "articulate;" the tyrant does speak excellent English and has a mild-mannered, urbane demeanor. But, in his case, appearances are definitely deceiving. Assad is the ruthless ruler of one of the most oppressive regimes on earth. On a scale of 1-7, Freedom House recently gave Syria its lowest possible rating of '7' on political rights. Bashar is of course following in the bloody foosteps of his father, Haffez. Among other acts of rule by terror, the previous tyrant infamously erased from the face of the earth the Syrian town of Hama, massacring an estimated 10-25,000 people in the process.
When it comes to the subject of global warming, members of the media have lost all restraint. CNN’s Larry King nervously wondered if climate change might "really kill us all?" Could it "submerge cities like New York and Washington and San Francisco under floods from melting Arctic ice caps?" Not to be outdone, "Good Morning America’s" weatherman warned of the dire threat of global warming. The next day, an ABC graphic fretted, "Will billions diefrom global warming?"
For anyone that questioned whether "Newsweek" is biased, public appearances by the magazine’s top staffers should answer the question. Editor Jon Meacham suggested that President Bush is outside "reality." "Newsweek" columnist Anna Quindlen recently debunked the "myth" that Hillary Clinton is a liberal.
WFAA TV in the Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas market has been touting a story that they obviously think is some sort of tragedy. So bad, in fact, that the first words of their story are, "'Inhumanity' and 'atrocity' are just two words being used to describe news..."
One would think that the world was ending, wouldn't one?
The TV station is wracked up in high dudgeon over a family of Palestinians who are in the country illegally and were scooped up by Immigration officials and remanded to a rather posh housing center to await the outcome of the machinations of government officials trying to determine their fate.
So, here is a question: Why is CBS using propaganda film originally posted on an al Qaeda website and claiming it is merely "CBS obtained" with no mention of the actual source for Lara Logan's report on The "Battle of Haifa Street"?
The anti-Iraq website called Iraqslogger posted a story about how CBS reporter Lara Logan is crying that CBS seems to have spiked her "Haifa Street" story. Logan has sent out a mass email to all her friends and colleagues in the world of journalism in hopes that they will pressure CBS to show her report that has not yet made it to TV. It has, though, appeared on the internet.
Vice President Dick Cheney squared off with CNN host Wolf Blitzer on Wednesday in a contentious, multi-part "Situation Room" interview. Blitzer seemed to openly adopt the mantra and talking points of the Democratic Party. In fact, in a tease for the interview, Blitzer promised, "The Vice President takes on his critics, including me." Cheney, whose wife Lynne aggressively sparred the cable anchor back in November, told Blitzer that a question about administration blunders was "hogwash." Elaborating on a clip of Democratic Senator Jim Webb, the "Situation Room" host asked Cheney about Bush failures:
Wolf Blitzer: "And it’s not just Jim Webb. It’s some of your good Republican friends in the Senate and in the House are now seriously questioning your credibility because of the blunders, of the failures. Gordon Smith– Gordon Smith--"
Dick Cheney: "Wolf. Wolf. I simply don’t accept the premise of your question. I just think it’s hogwash."
Blitzer: "That what? That there were no blunders? The President himself says there were blunders."
In response to president Bush's State of the Union Address, the Washington Post's main criticism (by reporter Glenn Kessler in the "news" section, not the editorial page) seems to be that Bush doesn't understand who "the enemy" is in the Global War on Terror. Yet as the Post proceeds to knock what they perceive as Bush's simple minded rhetoric with today's news article they only reveal it is they, rather, that has no idea who our enemies are.
In his State of the Union address last night, President Bush presented an arguably misleading and often flawed description of "the enemy" that the United States faces overseas, lumping together disparate groups with opposing ideologies to suggest that they have a single-minded focus in attacking the United States.
The headline was "President's Portrayal of 'The Enemy' Often Flawed." The Post's conception of "flawed" is just as ill considered as they imagine the president's to be and their analysis adds up merely to mirror the conception held by many Europeans.
Once again, a National U.S. paper "arguably" chooses sides with Europe's interests over that of America.
One of the common themes emanating from the media in recent years is that the world and the Middle East were much safer places before America invaded Iraq in March 2003. In their view, all of the geopolitical problems began that very month, and prior to that point, the earth was a happy place whose citizens all got along like two-year-olds in a sandbox.
Unfortunately, this position hypocritically and absurdly ignores what happened eighteen months earlier in Manhattan and Washington, D.C., as well as the hatred for America and its allies as depicted in the cartoon to the right published in a Bahrainian newspaper on June 10, 2002, fully nine months before America invaded Iraq.
For those interested, the Jewish caricature in the cartoon is demanding that the Bush caricature say “I Hate the Arabs!” In response, Bush is replying, “I hate the Arabs, I hate the Arabs!”
One of my correspondents on my own site, Publius' Forum, has been trying to clear up a wretched email that was sent to one of our boys in Iraq refusing him service and telling him he should "pull out of Iraq".
Fox News has picked up this story that I have been watching for a few days. I've been trying to ascertain if it was real or another example of an internet hoax -- sometimes it isn't easy to tell these days -- but I think I can safely say it is real at this point. It has been rather hot news in Wisconsin over the last 48 hours, too.
The question is, will we see it farther and wider? Will the MSM pick up this story of our solder being ill treated by Discount-Mats.com, a Muslim owned, Wisconsin based floor mat company?
Army Sgt. Jason Hess, stationed in Taji, Iraq wanted to purchase a few floor mats for use in his station in Iraq and emailed the Wisconsin based floor mat company to ask if they would ship to an APO address in Iraq?
Last Friday, I was shocked to see a series of photographs on the news wires, sent across by Reuters photographer Kevin Frayer, one of the photographers of Qana fame. The pictures illustrated a picture of a large crowd, grieving the death of a ten-year-old Palestinian girl, Abir Aramin, who was reported to have been injured by a stray rubber bullet fired by none other than the Israeli Defence Forces, and whose subsequent death has "enraged" the local Palestinian population.
There were some immediate problems with Mr. Frayer's depiction of these events, though. First and foremost, as someone who is constantly monitoring the news wires, I can comfortably say that there are no pictures on the wire of any anti-barrier protest at Anata during this time, and certainly no pictures of what would be a very injured girl. Furthermore, there are no photos of her in the hospital, a scenario that would obviously be very sympathetic, something which would attract every photographer in the area!
In other words, there is no photographic evidence that the Palestinian version of this story happened at all!
There’s so much to find offensive about Fareed Zakaria’s article in this week’s Newsweek that it’s tough to know where to begin. Put simply, the piece stated rather strongly that President Bush is responsible for a declining rate of democracy around the world.
Of course, one study that Zakaria cited to prove this premise “points out that 2006 was a bad year for liberty, under attack from creeping authoritarianism in Venezuela and Russia, a coup in Thailand, massive corruption in Africa and a host of more subtle reversals.”
Zakaria never addressed what President Bush did to advance creeping authoritarianism in Venezuela and Russia, the coup in Thailand, and the massive corruption in Africa. Instead, he reported the following (emphasis mine throughout):
With that in mind, CAIR’s legal director, Arsalan Iftikhar, went on the “O’Reilly Factor” Friday to discuss his organization’s views on this subject (video available here). O’Reilly marvelously set the discussion up:
Isn't this political correctness gone crazy? I mean, let's face it, come on, you have a program that's a fictional program. Everybody knows it. You have in this world Muslim villains. They are on the other side of the war on terror from us. There are Muslims who want to kill Americans, you know that. So you combine fiction with reality in this program. And now you guys are complaining about it? And the far left nuts are complaining about it? What's going on?
When Diane Sawyer interviewed Nancy Pelosi on Friday’s "Good Morning America," the ABC anchor seemed more interested in subjects such as building up the new House Speaker’s reputation for toughness and talking about trash, then she did on quizzing Pelosi about Iraq. While Sawyer did ask about the conflict, she also pressed the San Francisco Democrat from the left, twice wondering if Pelosi would consider cutting off funds. More often, Sawyer characterized Pelosi in positive, almost glowing terms. She began, however, by asking whether toughness or determination would be a better description of the new Speaker:
Diane Sawyer: "For two centuries in America, the Speaker of the House looked like this. [Montage of former Speakers, all male obviously] So, how is it a 66-year-old mother of five, and grandmother, broke the mold? Like a freight train she's already moved six major pieces of legislation through the House. Everything from stem cells to minimum wage. And whatever side you're on, when this new Speaker moves, she moves fast. Nancy Pelosi says power is not handed to you. You have to know how to win it. When she walks into a room, she is quiet, polite. But her fellow politicians say she's galvanized steel with a smile. Now, 100 hours. 100 hours in. What's the word that you, that you would use for yourself in those first 100 hours? Tough? Determined? What's the word?"
The heat on former President Jimmy Carter over his book on Israeli-Palestinian issues continues to be turned up. The Fox News website is reporting (hat tip to LGF):
Former President Jimmy Carter won't go unchallenged after his appearance next week at Brandeis University, where he is lecturing on his latest book about what he terms the Palestinian apartheid by Israel.
Harvard Law School Professor Alan Dershowitz will step on stage afterward to rebut the former president's remarks despite having been booted from an earlier booking to debate Carter on his assertions.
Forgive me, for I’m suddenly giddy. Adding to my jubilant delirium, the article deliciously continued (emphasis mine):
On Thursday’s "Good Morning America," reporter Claire Shipman effusively previewed the looming presidential battle between Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. How, Shipman wondered, would Obama’s "fluid poetry" stand up against Mrs. Clinton’s "hot factor?" The tone of the January 18 piece seemed to indicate that, although members of the media may think both candidates are terrific, Obama hasn’t lost his "flavor of the month" status. In the segment, Shipman noted the New York Senator’s flip-flops on Iraq and that, despite being a "devout Methodist," she rarely talks about religion. However, it was this over-the-top praise that really demonstrated who the current media darling is:
Claire Shipman: "Though the change in [Clinton’s] views also mirrors the nation’s and the increasingly grim situation in Iraq, she could appear politically calculating while Obama seems principled. And the side-by-side talent show? Next to Obama's fluid poetry, Hillary Clinton's delivery can seem overly cautious."
On Tuesday, jury selection began in the trial of Lewis Libby. And "Good Morning America" reporter Claire Shipman couldn’t resist spinning this occasion into an attack against President Bush. Libby, the former Chief of Staff to Vice President Dick Cheney, is charged with perjury and obstruction of justice. He does not, however, face prosecution for publically outing Wilson's wife, CIA agent Valerie Plame. However, through sloppy phrasing and omission, Shipman encouraged the assumption that this is yet another example of the Bush administration’s misconduct. The most brazen example is the GMA reporter’s description of the "original crime":
Claire Shipman: "Prosecutors are trying to show that Libby lied to investigators about conversations he had with reporters regarding CIA officer Valerie Plame, the undercover agent who was outed. Libby blames a faulty memory. And in classic Washington style, Libby isn't in trouble for the original crime, outing Plame, but, rather, the, quote, ‘the cover up,’ according to the prosecutor."
No government official has been charged with revealing the identity of Valerie Plame. So, how can there be an "original crime?"
Former President Jimmy Carter was interviewed by Al-Jazeera on Sunday (hat tip to LGF, video available here), and the former peanut farmer made some statements that many in America might find quite objectionable.
For instance: “Well, I don’t really consider, I wasn’t equating the Palestinian missiles with terrorism.” What? Excuse me? Palestinian missiles aren't acts of terrorism? Really?
Alas, that was just the beginning of a series of truly shocking comments made by a former president on an Arab television network that has continually shown itself to be hostile to American interests. Take a gander at this next abomination if you've got the stomach for it:
As NewsBusters reported last Thursday, people are resigning from the Carter Center due to the former president’s controversial book about the Israeli-Palestinian issue. One such member was on “Hannity & Colmes” Monday, and he stated that Carter has “abandoned his traditional position of honest broker and mediator,” and “goes so far as to condone terrorism until such a time a Palestinian state is achieved” (video available here courtesy of our friend at Ms Underestimated).
Of course, much like the rest of his ilk in the fawning media, host Alan Colmes did everything possible to undermine the statements being made by guest Steve Berman. But, the former Carter Center board member was having none of it.
When Colmes began the interview asking “is Jimmy Carter anti-Semitic,” Berman coolly responded:
"Do you owe the Iraqi people an apology for not doing a better job?"
This is one of the questions President Bush faced from "60 Minutes" correspondent Scott Pelley on Sunday’s program. Pelley also cited the same "Military Times" CBS’s Chief White House correspondent Jim Axelrod cited on the January 11 edition of the "Evening News," which shows more miltiary troops now disapprove of the President’s handling of the war in Iraq, and was highlighted by Brent Baker here on Newsbusters. However, when John Kerry and John Edwards and their wives were jointly interviewed on the program on July 11, 2004, correspondent Lesley Stahl did not mention a CBS poll that showed war veterans supporting President Bush for reelection by a large margin, and that poll was significant in that veterans were a group that Senator Kerry was actively courting.
When CBS launched their blog Public Eye in Sept. of 2005 they claimed it would give us "the journalists who make the important editorial decisions at CBS News and CBSNews.com" and that those journalists "will now be asked to explain and answer questions about those decisions in a public forum."
While the jury might be out on the success of their task, we can certainly wonder at their ability to step away from themselves to render balanced judgment. Especially in the case of their recent story, "Biased In Both Directions", where they declare that the MSM is reporting "in the middle" where it concerns stories about Iraq.
There’s really no other way of putting this: Keith Olbermann is a disgrace, and the idea that any major media outlet would give him a daily platform to spew his vitriol from is similarly so.
Such an observation certainly comes as no great surprise to NewsBusters readers who have been regularly subjected to videos and transcripts of this man’s vapid and insipid rantings since this blog was first started. Though Thursday night’s “Special Comment” on MSNBC’s “Countdown” was not necessarily out of the ordinary for Olbermann, coming a day after President Bush’s speech to the nation concerning Iraq, its contents were all the more offensive (video available here).
Last week saw the dawning of the new Democratic majority and members of the media seemed to be charmed by the event. ABC reporter Cokie Roberts described a photo-op of new House Speaker Nancy Pelosi holding her grandchild as "fun" and "completely natural." CBS’s Bob Schieffer interviewed Pelosi and pressed her to raise taxes. And "60 Minutes" commentator Andy Rooney became nostalgic for Democrats of old, saying it’s "hard to dislike Jimmy Carter."
MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann continued his fevered attack on all things Republican and conservative. He’s now accused White House Press Secretary Tony Snow of "bald-faced lying" about a Bush speech. Olbermann’s cohort in liberalism, Chris Matthews, described the Vice President of the United States as someone "who always wants to kill." Later in the week, he told his "Hardball" audience that he was "terrified" of the President’s plans for Iran. Chris, calm down!
Is it not outrageous that Senator Barbara Boxer (Dem, Cal) verbally attacked Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice for not having children as Rice appeared before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Thursday to discuss the Administrations position on Bush's Iraq military "surge" plans? Is this an acceptable criticism of a political official? Is the fact that an official might not have children reason to doubt their capacity for policy making or ability to advise an administration?
Is this the Democrat's new era of niceness, their less rancorous way of governing?
I was shocked to see this intemperate verbal assault by Boxer in the New York Post, but I became curious to see how other MSM sources treated the outrageous comments of the unbalanced Boxer. So, I did a little search of the reactions of the press.
(Full excerpts of the sections in each story that detailed Boxer's outrageous behavior follows)