NewsBusters previously reported that CNN's Fareed Zakaria had met with President Obama face-to-face to discuss foreign policy. Obama's other reported "source" of information on foreign policy, New York Times foreign affairs columnist Thomas Friedman, mocked Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu Sunday on CNN, and added that he should have dutifully obeyed the demands Obama outlined in his recent Mideast speech.
According to a May 11 New York Times article, Friedman was one of two foreign policy journalists "sounded out" by President Obama for information on foreign affairs. The other, CNN's Fareed Zakaria, has previously criticized Israel's prime minister for not agreeing to the Israeli-Palestinian borders laid out by Obama in his Mideast speech.
Republican Congressman and retired Army veteran Allen West (R-Fla.) said he "cannot understand" America’s involvement in Libya and that U.S. military is being used as a "rent-a-force" in the region.
"For every decision there are consequences and we have to sometimes analyze what could be those consequences. Just the same with operations in Libya – I cannot understand it. I don’t know what the goal and objective are," West said in an address at the Heritage Foundation on Tuesday.
Just how in bed with Barack Obama is Fareed Zakaria?
On the Sunday CNN program bearing his name, the host began the show by saying Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu should have thanked the President for his Middle East peace proposal given earlier this month (video follows with transcript and commentary):
After proclaiming last week that he would be "surprised if anyone in Israel" objected to Obama's Middle East speech, CNN's Fareed Zakaria ripped Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu for his refusal to accept the President Obama's plan for Israeli-Palestinian borders. On CNN's In the Arena Thursday, Zakaria expounded upon his Washington Post op-ed criticizing Netanyahu, which NewsBusters reported on.
Zakaria has admitted to having face-to-face meetings recently with President Obama to discuss foreign affairs, and revealed that information before Obama's Middle East speech. Zakaria appeared on CNN before and after the speech last Thursday to give his commentary, talked about the speech on his Sunday show, and then wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post criticizing Netanyahu for his stubbornness.
Anchoring her eponymous MSNBC program today, Andrea Mitchell defended President Barack Obama's position on Libya against criticism from Republican presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty.
"I'm not sure what Tim Pawlenty would like the president to do," snickered NBC's chief foreign affairs correspondent, immediately after playing a clip of the former Minnesota governor saying exactly what he wished Obama had done differently in Libya.
In the opinion article, "Where Netanyahu Fails Himself and Israel," in the May 25 Washington Post, CNN anchor Fareed Zakaria blasted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for rejecting President Obama’s peace proposal invoking Israel’s pre-1967 lines. Zakaria compared the Israeli prime minister to former Soviet Union Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko, known as "Mr. Nyet" for his stubbornness in dealing with the U.S.
Zakaria also charged that Netanyahu "might sound like Churchill, he acts like a local ward boss, far more interested in holding onto his post than using it to secure Israel’s future," and that Israel "continues to rule millions of Palestinians in serf-like conditions - entitled to neither a vote nor a country." Zakaria seemed to forget that, while Palestinians outside the boundaries of Israel who are not Israeli citizens do not get to vote in Israeli parliamentary elections, they did get to cast ballots for their own parliament in February 2006, with the terrorist group Hamas winning a narrow victory.
The president's speech last week, which was described by the White House in advance as a speech intended to reach out to the Muslim world, will probably go down as one of the least well-understood major presidential speeches in modern memory. Confusion concerning the president's words and intent cut across the lines of Jews, Christians and Muslims, Democrats and Republicans, neocons and paleocons, friends and foes of Israel, and friends and foes of the president.
For many serious commentators, the confusion lies on what the president meant by his statement that "We believe the borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps, so that secure and recognized borders are established for both states." Was this a shift of policy, no shift or a critical increase in U.S. presidential pressure on Israel in future peace negotiations?
Contrary to what NBC's David Gregory said Friday, U.S. News & World Report editor Mort Zuckerman believes that in the wake of President Obama's Mideast speech, "The Israelis do not feel they have the Americans at their back for the first time since the founding of the state of Israel."
Such was said during a heated debate about the subject on PBS's "McLaughlin Group" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Most Americans are probably familiar with outspoken Kiss star Gene Simmons, but likely didn't know that he was born and partially raised in Israel.
With this in mind, when he was asked by CNBC's Jane Wells what he thought about President Obama's suggestion that Israel's borders be redrawn to pre-1967 levels, Simmons replied, "He has no f--king idea what the world is like because he doesn’t have to live there" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
In lockstep with Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg, who scolded Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to "please don't speak to my president that way," MSNBC anchor Andrea Mitchell cautioned of the "political pitfalls" for Republican presidential candidates who dared to challenge Barack Obama's speech on the Middle East.
On the May 20 edition of "Andrea Mitchell Reports," NBC's chief foreign affairs correspondent warned against criticizing the Democratic commander-in-chief and bewailed the "angry reception" he's received over his desire to see Israel surrender territory it acquired in the six-day Middle East war of 1967.
On Friday's Early Show, CBS called upon Clinton administration alumnus Jamie Rubin to act as a flack for the current Obama White House and to comment on the President's speech on the Middle East. Rubin lamented the President's poor approval rating in Israel: "Unfortunately- and this is unfortunate for everyone, I think...Obama doesn't have the huge popularity in Israel that, perhaps, President Bush had."
Anchor Erica Hill brought on the husband of ABC host Christiane Amanpour and first identified him as "Assistant Secretary of State Jamie Rubin, who is now executive editor of the Bloomberg View [the new opinion section of Bloomberg News] " However, she failed to mention at any point in the interview that Rubin served under former President Clinton, unlike Nicholas Burns, who appeared later in the program. Hill clearly identified him as "undersecretary of state under President George W. Bush."
President Barack Obama has made an unprecedented demand on Israel, Jewish leaders said Thursday, after the president called for Israel to redraw its borders to where they were in 1967 before the Six Day War. One rabbi said Obama was, in essence, asking for "ethnic cleansing" of thousands of Jewish families.
In his major policy speech Thursday on the protests sweeping the Middle East, President Obama did not refer once to Saudi Arabia, arguably the Arab world’s least democratic state.
He also made no reference to Lebanon, where political maneuvering by the Shi’ite terrorist group Hezbollah saw the U.S.-backed prime minister, Saad Hariri, ousted earlier this year and a Hezbollah-backed candidate named to replace him.
Our good friend Mark Levin went on a tear yesterday about Obama's Mid East policy speech in which he called for Israel to go back to pre-1967 borders, an arrangement that would be perilous for Israel's national security and very existence.
Update below the break: Although Zakaria said he would be "surprised" if any Israelis objected to Obama's "quite even-handed" call for pre-1967 borders between Israel and Palestine, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed clear disapproval of the idea Thursday.
CNN's Fareed Zakaria appeared three times on Newsroom Thursday to preview and evaluate President Obama's speech on the Middle East – but never revealed that he has recently had face-to-face meetings with the president on foreign policy matters.
Last weekend a comment by CNN prime time host Eliot Spitzer revealed that Zakaria was advising the president on foreign policy matters, but Zakaria later dismissed that observation and said he simply had off-the-record conversations with Obama on foreign issues. However, he still did not disclose that information when he evaluated Obama's foreign policy speech Thursday on CNN.
This White House, like its predecessors, can take some comfort in the fact that the Middle East has been breaking the hearts of diplomats and foreign politicians for at least 2,000 years. Of course, some centuries have been worse than others (Pontius Pilate had a particularly difficult innings). But in modern times, the American voting public has become accustomed to seeing regular news from the Middle East feature wars, terrorism, mayhem, religious fanaticism and failed peace initiatives.
As a result, few presidents pay much of a price at election time for failing to deliver peace or other conspicuous diplomatic successes from that cradle of civilization and birthplace of the three great religions of the Book. I am certainly not prepared to predict that President Obama will lose many votes in 2012 based on his Middle East policy.
On CBS’s Sunday Morning show, during his regular commentary, right-leaning CBS contributor Ben Stein gave a pessimistic view of the "Arab Spring" movement to topple authoritarian governments in the Middle East, charged that America would regret allowing Hosni Mubarak lose power in Egypt, and predicted that the radical Muslm Brotherhood would take over there.
He also gave rare attention to the Muslim Brotherhood’s history of alliance with Nazi Germany during World War II. Stein:
The most potent political force in Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood, hates the U.S., loathes Israel, condemns the killing of bin Laden whom they praise as a martyr, and they've been wedded to terror for their entire existence. Oh, P.S., they were closely connected with Adolf Hitler. They'll probably take over Egypt completely sooner or later.
As NewsBusters previously documented, Nazi Germany helped build up the Muslim Brotherhood in the 1930s to spread anti-Jew hatred in the Middle East.
Obama’s "deliberate, almost scholarly" approach to foreign policy may be obtaining mixed results at best, but New York Times reporter Mark Landler trumpeted the White House line that the killing of Osama bin Laden would enable Obama to "reset" American policy in the Arab world: "Obama Seeks Reset in Arab World – Speech Likely to Put Bin Laden’s Death in Context of Uprisings." After years of falsely deriding President Bush as an incurious cowboy set on "going it alone" in foreign policy, the Times finds Obama's "immersion" in liberal journo-think (like Times columnist Tom Friedman) a welcome sign of "scholarly" pragmatism.
For President Obama, the killing of Osama bin Laden is more than a milestone in America’s decade-long battle against terrorism. It is a chance to recast his response to the upheaval in the Arab world after a frustrating stretch in which the stalemate in Libya, the murky power struggle in Yemen and the brutal crackdown in Syria have dimmed the glow of the Egyptian revolution.
It’s a “news”` outlet dedicated to coverage of the Middle East, but it ignores ongoing atrocities against Israeli civilians. Its Arab language sibling threw a lavish birthday party for a terrorist who infamously murdered a Jewish family, and its reporting during the Iraq War was called “vicious, inaccurate, and inexcusable” by the U.S. Secretary of Defense. The list of op-ed contributors to its website reads like a Who’s Who of left-wing and Muslim anti-Americanism.
It’s Al Jezeera English, and liberals and the U.S. media want to give it prestigious awards and greater access to the U.S. cable news market.
Last week, the media rightfully crowed over U.S. success in killing Osama Bin Laden, an unquestioned bad guy in the war on terror. They noted that intelligence gathered from that raid may have led to an unsuccessful U.S. Predator drone attack on Anwar Al Awlaki, leader of Al Qaeda in Yemen. Unfortunately, while Al Awlaki is very much as bad as Bin Laden, the media haven’t always known it.
The mainstream media have recently described this America-born terrorist as a “central figure” of Al Qaeda and the New York Times, ABC News, and MSNBC have all called him “radical” when reporting on the recent attempted drone attack. Al Awlaki has been linked to the 2009 Christmas Day Underwear bombing attempt in Detroit, the Fort Hood Shooting and the failed Times Square bombing.
But just 10 years ago they claimed he was a “moderate” a bridge-builder, and a “prayer leader.”
MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell on Thursday had a highly-contentious interview with former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
"The Last Word" host repeatedly interrupted his guest leading her to say after one such incident, "Lawrence, you have a bad habit with your guests. You never let them answer a question" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
On Monday and Tuesday, NPR played up how Osama Bin Laden's death might translate into a political win for President Obama. Mara Liasson trumpeted the "huge victory" for the President and spotlighted a scholar who gushed how Obama now looked "strong and competent and decisive." Cokie Roberts boasted how the military operation was a "score" for the Democrat and that it was a "game changer politically."
At the beginning of her report which lead Tuesday's Morning Edition, Liasson gushed that "every president benefits from moments of national unity, but none so much as Barack Obama, who ran for office promising to bridge partisan divides." Later, the journalist noted that, with the raid against Bin Laden, "he [Obama] made good on his repeated promise to act unilaterally if he had actionable intelligence."
Update (17:38 EDT on May 4): Rush Limbaugh mentioned this post on his May 3 program. You can listen to that by clicking here.
Well, this should be interesting.
The AP is reporting (preserved here in case the report devolves, as such things very often do) that "secret prisons" and "harsh interrogation techniques" were involved in getting the "first strands of information" that ultimately led to Sunday operation which killed 9/11 mastermind Osama Bin Laden.
It's only a three-paragrapher, so it follows in full (for fair use and discussion purposes). Get a load of the final paragraph:
For the Washington Post's Petula Dvorak the sight of American college kids celebrating the death of Osama Bin Laden outside of the White House gates, on Sunday night, was "almost vulgar." In a May 2 story Dvorak described the scenes of joy as "one part Mardi Gras and two parts Bon Jovi concert" but then went on to say "It felt a little crazy, a bit much. Almost vulgar" and admitted: "my first reaction was a cringe."
Dvorak, then doubled-down on her hand-wringing, saying the U.S. students reminded her of "those al Qaeda-guys dancing on Sept. 11th," before pondering: "Are we simply creating star-spangled recruitment tapes for a new generation of terrorists killing in the name of their new martyr?"
While it was suggested during February's coverage of anti-government protests in Egypt that the radical Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood movement only had the support of a minority of Egyptians, a recent Pew Research Center poll finds that over 70 percent of the Egyptian public holds a favorable view of the Islamist organization. The same poll also notably finds that the more secular April 6 movement has a similar appeal.
The Haaretz Web site contains the AP article "Poll: More Than Half of Egyptians Want to Cancel Treaty with Israel," which notes: "The conservative Islamist Muslim Brotherhood and the largely secular April 6 movement - two groups closely involved in the uprising, had the highest approval ratings in society, with over 70 percent seeing them in a very or somewhat favorable light."
On the February 8 NBC Nightly News, correspondent Richard Engel had estimated the group's appeal to be between 20 and 40 percent.
And, as the headline alludes to, 54 percent of poll respondents expressed the view that Egypt's thirty-year treaty with Israel should be ended: "According to the poll results, only 36 percent of Egyptians are in favor of maintaining the treaty, compared with 54 percent who would like to see it scrapped."