The people at NBC who are agonizing over David Gregory's ongoing audience freefall at his Meet the Press perch need only look at the first half of his interview with 2012 Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney to see why it's happening.
Gregory basically refused to acknowledge the existence of Romney's core argument, which is essentially that he wouldn't have done what President Obama did in withdrawing from Iraq so hastily and leaving things to run on auto-pilot. Instead, he insisted on sticking with a "Well, what would do now?" line of questioning, even though, as Romney indicated, he doesn't have access to intelligence briefings necessary to assert an informed opinion. When that didn't work, he tried to hold Romney to a stale 2007 quote from when conditions were obviously very different. The fact is that wouldn't be facing the present quandary if Obama hadn't acted directly against the (often privately expressed) desires of Iraqi leaders and U.S. intelligence officials to maintain at least a significant advisory presence there. Video and a transcript of the Iraq-related portion of the interview follow the jump (bolds and numbered tags are mine):
Paul Whitefield "is a 30-year veteran of the Los Angeles Times who is copy chief of the editorial pages and a writer/scold for the Opinion L.A. blog." He also has a serious but far from unique case of Bush (and Cheney) Derangement Syndrome and an extraordinary ignorance of the history of last decade's war in Iraq, which included a victory in 2008 the U.S. press, with rare exceptions, refused to recognize.
Clueless Paul, in a Thursday post, claimed that what has happened recently in Iraq proves (italics are his) that "the invasion ... in 2003 wasn’t a very good idea" Admitting that "I don’t know how these things keep sneaking up on us" (I can help you with that, Paul), he petulantly wrote: "Send Mr. (George W.) Bush and Mr. (Dick) Cheney over there and let them try to negotiate a solution," because "they’re the ones who created this mess in the first place." Well no, Paul. Excerpts from Whitefield's work, followed by a pointed riposte from a National Review op-ed, follow the jump (bolds are mine throughout this post):
From time to time, we at NewsBusters like to highlight things the media actually do right, and so, on this Flag Day, we tip our hats to the CBS Evening News, which two days ago closed its newscasts with a story on the 200th anniversary of Francis Scott Key's writing of the “Star-Spangled Banner."
Reporter Jim Axelrod narrated a fitting tribute to the “flag and song together, forming the fabric of a nation's identity.” Particularly moving was how R&B singer Brian McKnight, who has performed the anthem at sporting events, spoke about how you cannot properly perform the song publicly unless you appreciate all that it -- and by extension Old Glory -- represents over all these years. [See video below page break]
On Friday's NBC Nightly News, Brian Williams strongly hinted that the recent Islamist blitzkrieg in Iraq was completely former President Bush's fault: "Make no mistake: what's happening in Iraq right now is a direct outgrowth of the U.S. decision to invade the country over a decade ago." However, he glossed over the Obama administration's failure to negotiate a continued U.S. presence and pulling out all American forces in late 2011 as a factor in the crisis.
Williams repeated his point to David Gregory: "How does the President sell any action at all to the component of the American people who feel...it's not our dance...even though...we broke it?" Gregory seconded his contention: "Right, that Pottery Barn rule: you broke it; you own it; you got to somehow fix it." Later, Stephanie Gosk did reference the troop pullout, but didn't mention President Obama by name: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
The panelists of MSNBC’s Morning Joe got a little more than they were bargaining for when they brought Sen. John McCain on their June 13 program.
With the Arizona Republican making the case that the Obama administration was leaving Iraq in a hostile situation in which all of America’s past sacrifices “will have been made in vain,” both host Mika Brzezinksi and Sam Stein of the Huffington Post went above in their efforts to defend Obama’s decision to pull out of Iraq completely.[See video below. Click here for MP3 audio]
Well that’s not something you see every day. An A-list actor led Hollywood celebrities at an awards show to give a standing ovation to an American war hero in the audience. At the Spike TV “Guys’ Choice Awards” June 7, Mark Wahlberg accepted the “Troops Choice” award and spent his whole time on stage thanking and praising the U.S. military and former Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell.
Wahlberg recently starred in Luttrell’s true-life story told in “Lone Survivor,” and is starring in the upcoming “Transformers 4: Age of Extinction.”
CBS Evening News was the only Big Three evening newscast on Wednesday to report that the FBI has opened a criminal investigation into the V.A. scandal. Neither ABC's World News nor NBC Nightly News covered this latest development in the ongoing controversy. Instead, both programs devoted air time to the 20th anniversary of O.J. Simpson's slow-speed run from the police, after the murder of his wife and her friend.
Anchor Scott Pelley gave an 18-second news brief on the federal agency's new probe into the cover-up of long patient wait times at the Department of Veterans Affairs: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
Both Time and the Wall Street Journal have reported that Bowe Bergdahl, the soldier released by his Afghan captors in exchange for five hardened Gitmo terrorists — or, in the alternative universe of the Los Angeles Times, five guys aged 43 to 47 who "are pretty old now" — will not contact his parents (WSJ's headline says he "has declined to speak to his family").
That news broke several hours after Fox News's Juan Williams appeared on Chris Wallace's Fox News Sunday and compared Bowe Bergdahl to the biblical prodigal son. The analogy didn't even work at that point, as RedState poster Aaron Gardner explained this morning. Video of Williams's wacky whine follows the jump:
Candy Crowley, in continuing to carry water for the Obama administration, pressed Arizona Senator John McCain on State of the Union on whether Bowe Bergdahl was “less worthy of rescue” than a young John McCain when he was a POW during the Vietnam War.
Crowley led off her interview by acknowledging McCain’s service in Vietnam, complimenting him for serving with “courage” and “honor” and “valor.” Seeming to ignore her own kind words, she immediately went after the Arizona senator. After identifying the circumstances surrounding the capture of Bergdahl–likely deserter, possible defector, possible converter to Islam–Crowley posed this question to McCain [MP3 audio here; video below]:
On Thursday, the editorial board at the New York Times, reacting to the growing firestorm over the release of five hardened terrorists from Gitmo in return for the Army's Bowe Bergdahl, went after Bergdahl's "army unit’s lack of security and discipline." It then incredibly claimed that a classified army report described in a separate Times dispatch that day suggested that those alleged conditions were "as much to blame for the disappearance" of Bergdahl as ... well, the sloppy editorial didn't specifically say.
On Sunday, two Times reporters continued the offensive against Bowe Bergdahl's platoon and its members, apparently wanting readers to believe that the unit's occasionally "raggedy" attire and alleged poor leadership somehow explain Bergdahl's "disappearance."
The seething anger at seeing the Obama administration being raked over the coals by critics of the Bowe Bergdahl exchange of five hardened terrorists for a soldier who left his post, including many Democrats and most prominently his fellow unit members, was apparently too much for the editorial board at the New York Times. On Thursday, they let loose with a poorly sourced and hastily drafted editorial originally entitled "The Politics of the Bergdahl Case." Tim Graham at NewsBusters alluded to this editorial on Friday in covering fake conservative David Brooks's completely predictable defense of President Obama's decision.
Several revisions later — five in all, tracked by an impressive site called NewsDiffs.org — there is a more pointed title ("The Rush to Demonize Sgt. Bergdahl"). The Times has also had to make two corrections, including an important qualification to a statement made by Arizona Senator John McCain which negated the Times's attempt to go after him (of course, the Times pretended that it didn't). The editorial went on to outrageously impugn the motives, integrity and basic decency of Bergdahl's comrades in Afghanistan and sympathizers who have had the unmitigated gall to help them tell their story to the press.
Mark Jacobson may have set a new standard for dumb defenses of the Bergdahl deal. Appearing on MSNBC's Up With Steve Kornacki today, scholar and Afghanistan veteran Jacobson suggested that opposition to the Bergdahl deal arises out of the soldier's religion and politics. He made a mind-boggling analogy: "My parents freaked out when I went to Afghanistan both times. If I had been captured. Do I want someone to say this nice Jewish kid over in Afghanistan, a little bit liberal, not really sure if we're going to go get him? Absolutely not."
What?? If a soldier, whatever his religion or politics, had served, to quote Susan Rice, with "honor and distinction," and a deal to retrieve him were on the table that wouldn't seriously jeopardize our national security interests, can anyone conceive that we wouldn't make it? The objections to the Bergdahl deal arise out of the very high national security price exacted in exchange for someone who seemingly was at best AWOL, if not a deserter. Giving the lie to Jacobson's lunacy was fellow panelist Jack Jacobs, who objected to the Bergdahl deal. Jacobs, by the way, grew up a nice Jewish kid in NYC, and was awarded the Medal of Honor for his service in Vietnam. (Video below.)
Brian Williams glossed over the V.A. scandal during his interview of President Obama on Friday's NBC Nightly News. Williams did devote time to the ongoing controversy surrounding the release of senior Taliban leaders in exchange for Bowe Bergdahl – specifically the White House failing to inform Congress 30 days before the Islamists were let go from Guantanamo Bay, as required by federal law.
However, the anchor didn't mention that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid revealed that he was informed of the trade for Bergdahl on May 27, 2014 – a day before it actually happened. Williams also forwarded the President's own misleading claim about his grandfather's World War II service: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
Friday's World News on ABC paid tribute to the 70th anniversary of the D-Day invasion of Normandy with an emotional look at one of the remaining veterans who survived the hellish landings on Omaha Beach. However, the Big Three newscast made a historical gaffe during anchor David Muir's introduction to the segment.
Muir directed his audience's attention to a black-and-white photo of troops landing on June 6, 1944, and contrasted it with a photo taken Friday morning supposedly at the same place: Omaha Beach. But the 70-year-old picture was actually of British and Canadian troops landing at Juno Beach miles to the east: [video below the jump]
Doing his best to keep the Obama administration’s front line from falling into retreat, MSNBC’s Ed Schultz sprayed rhetorical cover fire all over the place on his June 5 program, defending Team Obama’s much-criticized deal to release Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl in exchange for five deadly Taliban leaders.
Within the first two minutes of Thursday’s The Ed Show, Schultz called Republicans “ruthless and without boundaries,” using Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl’s family as “a tool in their toolbox to take down President Obama.” According to Schultz, Republicans “can’t stand the fact that [Bergdahl’s father] Bob Bergdahl doesn’t hate Muslims.” [See video below. Click here for MP3]
Ten years ago this month, U.S. Marine Wassef Ali Hassoun disappeared from Camp Fallujah in Iraq. After a five-month military investigation, he was charged with desertion and theft, brought back to Virginia's Quantico Marine base and then transferred to North Carolina's Camp Lejeune for trial.
Yet, a full decade later, Hassoun is as free as a bird. The accused deserter's whereabouts are unknown. No trial ever began. No punishment ensued. And our leaders in Washington don't seem to be doing a thing about this.
In an interview with the Fox News host on Friday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer wondered if "President Bill O'Reilly" would have made the Bowe Bergdahl prisoner exchange with the Taliban. O'Reilly replied: "I would not make the deal....These are not prisoners of war, these Taliban guys, they're war criminals. We ran down last night the atrocities that the Taliban has committed over the past ten years, and it's horrifying." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Lauer followed up: "Do you think the administration either didn't see the reaction coming or misread the reaction?" O'Reilly responded: "It's such a mystery that they wouldn't know. First of all, President Obama knows what Bergdahl did because there's a classified report on the guy....They already know what he did, and it's not good."
Appearing on Thursday's MSNBC Andrea Mitchell Reports, Bloomberg News reporter Jeanne Cummings asserted that the highly controversial Bowe Bergdahl prisoner exchange – which an overwhelming majority of Americans feel has endangered the lives of U.S. soldiers – would have no negative political impact on Democrats in November's midterm elections. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Asked if the deal with the Taliban would affect the elections, Cummings declared: "Generally, no. It's a bipartisan reaction....I don't think this is going to last very long unless Congress comes up with better arguments than, 'We really hated the Rose Garden ceremony.' That compared to bringing a soldier back, for the American public, I don't think they weight together."
UPDATE, 4:40 p.m.: Friedman has partially scrubbed his Twitter bio. His Tumblr bio linked in this post remains — for now.
Late last night, Brandon Friedman, the Obama administration’s Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs at the Department of Housing and Urban Development, unleashed a furious five-tweet barrage attacking those who dare to question whether Bowe Bergdahl served "with honor and distinction" (National Security Advisor Susan Rice's words on ABC's "This Week" on Sunday).
Friedman's tweets would already be headline news in the establishment press if an official in a Republican or conservative administration published what readers are about to see. He saved his strongest venom, couched in a question, for Bergdahl's fellow soldiers — apparently including the ones who died trying to retrieve him — after Bergdahl left his unit (HT Gateway Pundit via Hot Air):
Q. When it comes to the release of five of the worst of the worst Gitmo detainees, what does Eugene Robinson know that the Pentagon doesn't? A. That President Obama must be defended at all costs and in every circumstance.
How else to explain his mind-boggling claim on today's Morning Joe that the impact on the war of the release of five senior Taliban officials would likely be "negligible." Incredibly, Robinson was only willing to put "senior" in skeptical air quotes [see screengrab after jump]. The WaPo columnist's claim sparked controlled outrage from Joe Scarborough, and energetic disagreement even from former Obama car czar Steve Rattner. View the video after the jump.
Death Penalty Month at anncoulter.com has already been interrupted by the psycho in Santa Barbara, and now it's being interrupted by the Buddhist in Bagram.
Keeping to the spirit of Death Penalty Month, let's review the execution of Pvt. Eddie Slovik. Slovik's offense: desertion in wartime. (See the tie-in?) Unlike Bowe Bergdahl, who deserted his unit, according to the accounts of his comrades, Slovik never actually deserted. He also didn't call America a "disgusting" country or say he was "ashamed to be an American." Slovik was just a chicken.
Politico Magazine Deputy Editor Blake Hounshell has made a fool of himself yet again. Three months ago, Hounshell grudgingly and bitterly had to acknowledge that former Alaska Governor and former vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin was right — and he was wrong — when she predicted in 2008 that Barack Obama's weakness might cause Russia's Vladimir Putin to calculate that he could invade Ukraine without suffering meaningful consequences. That's what happened in Crimea. Hounshell characterized Palin's contention at the time as "an extremely far-fetched scenario."
In late April, he tried to claim that no one "credible" or "authoritative" had shown that the White House had knowingly pushed a false Benghazi narrative — just as award-winning reporter Sharyl Attkisson was proving otherwise. Then in a tweet Monday evening, he petulantly questioned why everyone's so concerned about the five hardened Taliban terrorists freed from Guantanamo Bay in exchange for Bowe Bergdahl (HT Twitchy):
Five years ago, I publicly raised questions about Bowe Bergdahl's desertion from Blackfoot Company, 1-501 Infantry (Airborne), 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division.
A few weeks after his so-called "capture" in late June 2009, three conflicting accounts surfaced: U.S. officials told the Associated Press Bergdahl had "walked off" the base with three Afghans; the Taliban claimed on its website that "a drunken American soldier had come out of his garrison" and into their arms; and Bergdahl claimed in his Taliban "hostage video" that he had "lagged behind a patrol" before being captured. I asked on my blog: Were the AP's sources mistaken? Or is the disturbing first account the right one? What about the "three Afghans" Pfc. Bergdahl reportedly "just walked off" with after his shift? Who are they? What's going on?
Appearing on Wednesday's Andrea Mitchell Reports on MSNBC, NBC Pentagon correspondent Jim Miklaszewski offered a blunt response to the notion that the White House was "taken aback" by the controversy swirling around the Bowe Bergdahl prisoner exchange: "I think if anybody at the White House would have done "Google: Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl," it would have jumped right up at them. There's no explanation for why they didn't know this." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Such critical analysis was prompted by host Andrea Mitchell wondering: "Were they [at the Pentagon] at least, were they somewhat taken aback, as the White House was, by the controversy that erupted over this?" Miklaszewski replied: "Not at all....senior defense and military officials were aware from the very beginning, shortly after he was – disappeared from his base five years ago, that this was a controversial issue. That soldiers were upset that one of their own would abandon their post in a war zone..."
Chuck Todd, NBC News Chief White House Correspondent, Political Director, and host of MSNBC’s The Daily Rundown, has been doing his best serving as White House stenographer as of late.
Appearing on MSNBC’s Morning Joe on Wednesday, June 4, Todd played up the White House’s justification for releasing five dangerous Taliban prisoners and argued “At some point you’ve got to do something with these folks. And these Taliban leaders they emphasize, have no American blood on their hands, at least as far as they know.” [See video below.]
Euphoria over the Taliban's release of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl was quickly tempered by media reports that Bergdahl had abandoned his post and that his father made comments opposing the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Bergdahl's father tweeted, "I am still working to free all Guantanamo prisoners. God will repay for the death of every Afghan child."
Does that include those children killed while being used as human shields by the Taliban? Where is Bergdahl's concern for women who die from "honor killings" and for girls who are denied an education?
It did not take long for MSNBC to begin blaming the right-wing “anti-Obama machine” for the backlash against the Bergdahl prisoner swap. Intent on ignoring their own poll in which 65% of respondents didn’t support Obama’s decision to make the exchange, the June 3 edition of The Last Word With Lawrence O’Donnell went above and beyond in criticizing Republicans for “swiftboating” Bergdahl.
After airing multiple clips from Fox News, host Ari Melber, filling in for O’Donnell, went so far as to claim that “many of the loudest voices here on the Right today remain utterly uninterested in any of the questions, and are instead obsessed with hurling any accusation that might, just might, stick to this particular president.” He accused Republican strategists of manipulating Bergdahl’s platoon members for testimony discrediting Bergdahl, an outrageous claim considering these veterans came forward of their own accord and even created a Facebook group labeling the Bergdahl as a deserter. [See video below. Click here for audio]
Far too many journalists in the Washington-Gotham axis believe that any criticism of President Barack Obama must have its roots in cynical right-wing political opportunism and nothing else. At Bloomberg News, in a dispatch time-stamped June 4 at midnight, reporters David Lerman and Kathleen Hunter regaled readers with how the "Taliban Release Gives Republicans Fuel Beyond Benghazi." Some Democrats' concerns about Obama's actions in the freeing of Bowe Bergdahl were already known, including substantive issues of national security. But the Bloomberg pair limited the scope of Obama's problem with Dems to notification, while contending that "the demands for more information have come mostly from Republicans, some of whom already have declared their opposition to a deal whose details have yet to be fully disclosed."
The left-leaning New York Daily News also didn't get the memo that any criticism of Obama can only come from the right.
Acting as a stenographer on Wednesday's NBC Today, chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd parroted the Obama administration's new attack against critics of the Bowe Bergdahl prisoner exchange: "They did not expect this backlash on Bergdahl himself. I've had a few aides describe it to me as, 'We didn't know that they were going to swift boat Bergdahl'....a reference to that political fight back in 2004 over John Kerry's military service that became so controversial in that campaign. So there's some fighting words there." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
The outrageous talking point was prompted by co-host Matt Lauer wondering: "Did the White House truly think this was just going to be a celebratory moment, the release of Sergeant Bergdahl? Did they not see any of this backlash coming? Were they caught flat-footed?"
Psst: David Gregory! You can stop auditioning to fill Jay Carney's White House spokesman spot. President Obama has already appointed someone else. Given his rotten Meet The Press ratings, it's understandable that Gregory would be prospecting for his next position. Even so, his performance on today's Morning Joe was pitiable.
With even liberals like Mika Brzezinski, Donny Deutsch and John Heilemann dumping on the Bergdahl deal, there was Gregory as President Obama's lone defender. Thus: Dianne Feinstein has criticized the lack of consultation? Meh: she's been critical of the Obama admin on other things. And twice Gregory made the argument that Commanders-in-Chief, whatever the circumstances, just don't leave soldiers on the battlefield. That was too much even for Heilemann, who argued that there are limits to what a C-in-C should do, particularly when the soldier in question might have been a deserter. View the video after the jump.