At the Associated Press Tuesday evening, the wire service re-posted verbatim Eileen Sullivan's "Why It Matters" report from October 15. One of that report's core assertions is that It "injected the issue of diplomatic security into the presidential campaign and renewed questions about the quality of U.S. intelligence." At my related NewsBusters post that day, I noted that President Obama and administration had "lots of intelligence within 24 hours of the attack, and that there was no reason to doubt its accuracy."
Reports Tuesday evening from other news sources -- notably not picked up by AP as of 6:45 this morning Eastern Time (the better to possibly keep it from appearing on the morning TV News shows which rely heavily on AP for content) -- indicate that the White House knew that the Benghazi attack was terrorism within minutes of its beginning. Excerpts from Reuters and CBS News follow the jump (bolds are mine throughout this post):
On PBS's Charlie Rose show on Monday, as the group discussed the night's presidential debate, New York magazine's John Heilemann described Mitt Romney's past statements on foreign policy as "relatively harsh and relatively bellicose," as he argued that Romney had faced political "dangers" in his foreign policy positions "because he's been surrounded by some number of neo-conservative foreign policy advisors."
According to the initial report in The Canadian Press, UN special rapporteur on counter-terrorism and human rights Ben Emmerson has an urgent message for the American people which essentially adds up to a presidential endorsement for Barack Obama.
A Romney/Ryan administration, Emmerson warned, would use torture on enemy combatants detained at U.S. facilities, and could point to their election as evidence the public approves of torture. Even so, the broadcast networks have failed to pick up on what seems to be an unprecedented attempt by a United Nations official to influence a presidential election.
You don't know whether to laugh or cry upon reading the Sunday night shots campaign Jim VandeHei and Mike Allen at Politico took at Mitt Romney and his campaign.
Maybe these guys really believe that the Romney campaign is the one which still desperately needs a "last chance to move the needle in any significant way in the swing states that will decide the election," and that "Obama is slightly better positioned in the states that will dictate the outcome." If they do, my take is that the Romney campaign is playing possum, and the Politico pair, infused with Beltway naiveté and skewed polling data, are gullibly buying it. Several paragraphs from their effort follow the jump (bolds are mine throughout this post):
Liberal anchor Martin Bashir on Wednesday whined about reporters who actually commit journalism and dare to question the shifting White House story on the death of a U.S. ambassador in Libya. After playing a clip of his colleague, Mike Viqueira, quizzing press secretary Jay Carney, Bashir scolded, "Mike, despite Carney repeating his assertion the administration divulged details of this attack as they came in, why were reporters like yourself not prepared to buy it?" [See MP3 audio here. Video below.]
Viqueira patiently explained, "But some red flag are raised when the explanation does continually shift, especially under political pressure, especially in an election year." Viqueira added that the White House spokesman, two days after the attacks, "made several declarative statements" linking the attack to an anti-Islamic movie. He then pointed out, "As you know, it's been well documented, the explanations evolved over time."
Charlie Rose badgered former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani on Tuesday's CBS This Morning over the "few specifics" of Mitt Romney's foreign policy speech on Monday. During the interview, Norah O'Donnell boosted former Clinton Secretary of State Madeleine Albright's "full of platitude and free of substance" blast at Romney's speech.
Rose changed subjects midway through the segment and also hounded the former U.S. attorney on whether the Romney campaign has "decided to be more moderate" in the last days of the presidential race.
The 2007 video of then-Senator Barack Obama hinting at racism in the federal government's response to Hurricane Katrina isn't the only news story that NBC's Todayshow stuck up its nose at during the first days of October. The morning newscast has conspicuously ignored covering the latest developments in the terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya. It hasn't devoted a full segment or even a news brief to the issue since September 29.
As Today devoted air time to how Mitt Romney's debate performance was supposedly "completely overshadowed" by "hunting" Big Bird, ABC's Good Morning America and CBS This Morning devoted full reports on Monday to a former security official's charge that the State Department ignored repeated requests for extra security at the diplomatic facility in Libya.
On Sunday's NBC Meet the Press, BBC America Washington correspondent Katty Kay dismissed the electoral impact of the Obama administration's mishandling of the crisis in the Middle East: "I'm not sure that who said what, when, and when the intelligence came out...I'm not sure that that's going to be a huge issue for voters in the course of this election." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
However, she did bemoan the fact that ongoing chaos in the region may blunt Obama campaign attacks against Mitt Romney: "It does mean that it's harder for the White House to keep focusing on what was a pretty disastrous response from the Romney campaign initially. So it kind of draws a line under that." And what of the "pretty disastrous response" by the President of the United States?
Let's see. Who has the bigger problem with Libya and the Middle East? Is it the guy who's in charge with a foreign policy in disarray who has described the first murder of a U.S. ambassador in 33 years a "bump in the road"? Or his presidential campaign challenger Mitt Romney?
If we're to believe Mike Allen, Jim Vandehei, and Politico, it's Romney, where "Romney advisers at odds over Libya" was the only thing visible on my computer screen when I went to the web site's home page at 10 p.m. ET. You have to go almost all the way to the bottom of the home page to see stories about how "at odds" Obama administration advisers have been and still are about the U.S. positions on Libya, terrorism, Israel, and the Middle East during the past several weeks. Several paragraphs from the Romney story, wherein one learns that there really isn't much in the way of conflict, accompanied by yet another round of "the polls say Romney's doomed," follow the jump (bolds are mine):
ABC's Jake Tapper's Thursday report on World News stands alone as the only Big Three coverage so far of what The Daily Beast's Eli Lake reported on Wednesday - that U.S. intelligence officials had "strong indications" within a day that Islamist terrorists were behind the September 11, 2012 attack on the American consulate in Benghazi - not a mob enraged at a controversial Internet video.
By contrast, former NBC Nightly News anchor Tom Brokaw tried to point the finger at Mitt Romney on Friday's Today show for the media's apparent lack of curiosity at the inconsistencies in the Obama administration's narrative about the terrorist attack. Otherwise, NBC only aired two reports on the story since Wednesday - twice running the same Ann Curry interview of Libyan President Mohammed Magarief.
ABC's Good Morning America hasn't once reported on U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice's claim on the September 16, 2012 edition of This Week that the terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya was "a spontaneous - not a pre-meditated - response to what had transpired in Cairo." Even worse, the morning show hasn't reported on the subsequent developments on the consulate attack over the past 12 days that cast doubt on Ambassador Rice's statement.
NBC's Today show also hasn't covered Rice's talking points on the attack, after she appeared on Meet the Press on the same day as her This Week appearance. News reader Natalie Morales merely reported on September 19 that "the White House says there is currently no evidence that last week's deadly attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya was planned and pre-meditated. Officials say it appears that the violence was sparked by that anti-Islam film made in the U.S." Two days later, Morales gave an update on how "the White House is now classifying the deadly attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya as a terrorist attack....But intelligence officials now believe it was a planned attack in the guise of a protest."
Both of those programs provided voluminous coverage of Romney's "47%" tape, but have no time to scrutinize the Obama administration's public statements about an incident that claimed the life of an American ambassador?
In today’s broadcast of MSNBC Live, host Thomas Robert interviewed Democratic National Committee (DNC) chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz about the presidential campaign, where she naturally got in all her anti-Romney, pro-Obama talking points. At the close of the interview, Roberts asked whether concern for Israel could swing a sizable portion of Jewish voters in Florida to vote for Romney.
During the September 25 broadcast of the PBS Newshour, anchor Gwen Ifill invited Council on Foreign Relations President Richard Haass and former U.S. Ambassador Nicholas Burns to discuss President Barack Obama’s foreign policy and his recent address to the UN. Reporter Judy Woodruff also had a segment on the president speech. Yet none of the segments dealing with the address mentioned the fact that the Obama administration has expressed support for anti-blasphemy measures that are completely incongruous with the freedom of speech as protected by the U.S. Constitution.
In a pre-recorded interview with former President Bill Clinton aired on Tuesday's Piers Morgan Tonight, CNN host Morgan fawned over the former Democratic President and complained about the "God damned Twenty-Second Amendment" as he suggested that Clinton should be President "for the next 30 years."
In the wake of a rather tragic and tumultuous events regarding American foreign policy in the Middle East, President Barack Obama plans to forego the opportunity for a one-on-one meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during his visit to the UN this week. The reason is simple. It just could not wait. The president needed to have a sit down with Barbara Walters and the rest of gals at The View.
On Monday, ABC's Good Morning America and NBC's Today failed to air any full reports on the continuing inquiry into the terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, and mentioned the issue only in passing. CBS This Morning did devote a full segment to the dispute between the State Department and CNN over their use of a Ambassador Chris Stevens' personal journal, but didn't mention President Obama or Secretary of State Hillary Clinton by name.
Matt Lauer vaguely referenced the "new wave of anti-Americanism" in the Islamic world during an interview of Tony Blair, but it took the former British prime minister to specifically point out the "tragic death of your ambassador" in Libya. During a report on the presidential race, ABC's Jake Tapper did briefly note how the President "described some of the events as bumps in the road. The Romney campaign saying that the death of four Americans, including the U.S. ambassador in Libya, is far worse than a bump in the road."
On last night’s broadcast of the PBS Newshour, anchor Gwen Ifill discussed the latest polls with Pew’s Andrew Kohut and Mark Blumenthal, "senior polling analyst" of The Huffington Post. Her talk about voter engagement and enthusiasm got a little hazy – if not completely insensitive – when she referred to last week’s embassy attacks as a “dust up.”
Perhaps "dust up" in her mind only refers to the liberal media's insular discussions about foreign-policy developments, but could she sound more cavalier about the deaths of Americans in Libya?
This week we learned what really gets the liberal media in a ... well ... rage. It isn't the act of perpetrating violence upon the innocent. No, it's calling out that rage for everyone to see. In Liberal Land, words speak louder than actions.
The media on the left side of the aisle took more umbrage with a Newsweek article titled, Muslim Rage, than they did with the incidents that demonstrated that rage - the killing of four Americans in Libya, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens, and the hoisting of Islamist flags on sovereign U.S. soil. Outlets like Think Progress called the Newsweek cover, which featured an image of a group of obviously agitated Muslims, Islamophobic. Newsweek for their part did not apologize for their portrayal of events in the Middle East saying:
Clay Waters at NewsBusters has already exposed the passive-aggressive anti-Semitism in Maureen Dowd's Sunday rant ("Neocons Slither Back") at the New York Times. So did Politico's Dylan Byers, who nonetheless thought that the Obama campaign's tweet supporting Dowd's column via its "Truth Team" (and, by inference,their endorsement of her "neocon puppet master" premise) was so unimportant that he didn't mention it until his final paragraph. Excerpts from Byers weakly headlined item follow (HT Twitchy):
As the broadcast network evening newscasts on Monday recounted protests in Beirut, Lebanon, organized by Hezbollah, only the CBS Evening News noted that the U.S. government considers Hezbollah to be a "terrorist group," while ABC called it a "militant group" and NBC gave the organization no label.
As he listed Muslim countries where protests against the United States had been occurring, CBS anchor Scott Pelley noted:
In a stunning display of group-think on Sunday's NBC Meet the Press, a panel of journalists all concluded that no American president could have possibly prevented the ongoing crisis in Middle East or responded to it any better than Barack Obama. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
The hand-wringing began with The Atlantic's Jeff Goldberg absolving the President of any responsibility for chaos in the region: "There are some very, very deep and troubling things going on in – in the Middle East that have very little to do with what a president does or doesn't do.... so to blame the President for – for an attack on – on these embassies, I think, is a bit much."
CNN's Soledad O'Brien on Monday felt the need to defend Barack Obama from criticism that his policies are at least partially responsible for the recent anti-American hostilities transpiring in the Middle East and other parts of the globe.
During a heated debate with Congressman Peter King (R-N.Y.) on Starting Point, O'Brien got a much-needed education on the President's "apology tour" (video follows with CNN transcript and commentary):
American blood was shed and mobs of Muslims continue to burn American flags and chant “Death to America!” around multiple U.S. consulates. It’s a scene that’s played out on almost a regular basis. A media story (about flushing Korans or other slights to Islam real or imagined) provides some pretext and the “Arab Street” explodes with raging mobs. The ambassador’s death is what sets the current situation apart.
Thursday's CBS This Morning rushed to President Obama's defense over the spat between the Democrat and opponent Mitt Romney over a statement issued by the U.S. embassy in Cairo, Egypt condemning an obscure Internet video about Muhammad. Minutes after Steve Kroft tossed softballs at the President and let him speak uninterrupted for two and half minutes, the show confronted Republican Senator Rob Portman for defending Romney's attack.
Anchor Norah O'Donnell hounded Portman, interjecting five confrontational questions in just over two and half minutes, about the same amount of time that Obama spoke without any disruption. O'Donnell cried, "You're mistaken, Senator," and read statements from Peggy Noonan, Nick Burns, and Mike Rogers to emphasize that "Republicans...are saying that Governor Romney stepped in it." [audio available here; video below the jump]
Angry journalists repeatedly lashed out at a defiant Mitt Romney, Wednesday, pushing the Republican to renounce his criticism of Barack Obama's handling of the crisis developing in Libya. In a statement on Tuesday, the presidential candidate slammed the administration's "disgraceful" response to the attacks on the U.S. embassy in Libya, which ended with the murder of ambassador Chris Stevens.
An unidentified reporter complained, "The statement from the President was a very toughly worded statement last night. Do you regret the tone at all, given what we know now?" Another asked, given how quickly events were unfolding, was it "appropriate to be weighing in as this as this crisis is unfolding in real time? " The same question came again and again, a total of seven times. [See a video montage below. MP3 audio here.]
Uniquely among the broadcast network evening newscasts, ABC's World News on Tuesday failed to mention Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's criticism of the Obama administration for not being aggressive in preventing Iran from building nuclear weapons. The CBS Evening News included a plug in its opening teaser and then devoted a full report to the story.