U.S. Marine Andrew Tahmooressi has been held in a Mexican prison for more than three months for accidentally crossing into Mexico with weapons and NBC News has yet to acknowledge the story.
On Wednesday, July 9, Sergeant Tahmooressi made his first appearance in a Tijuana courtroom and on Thursday both ABC’s Good Morning America and CBS This Morning covered the developments whereas NBC’s Today remained silent. [See video below.]
A prominent exhibit explaining why the nation's trust in its media establishment has dropped to precipitous lows would likely include Tom Cohen's Thursday afternoon column at CNN expressing befuddlement over President Barack Obama's unpopularity.
After all, Cohen's headline crows that under Obama we have "more jobs" and "less war" (!), so there's a "disconnect" which must be explained. To give you an idea of how pathetic his attempt is, he managed not to mention any form of the words "immigration," "scandal," or "contraction" (as in, the first-quarter decline in GDP) while pretending to present a complete analysis. Meanwhile, one of CNN's embedded headline links to another story ("Obama to Republicans: 'So sue me'") openly mocks Cohen, doing a better job of explaining the "disconnect" in six words than anything he wrote in his first 37 paragraphs. Excerpts follow the jump (bolds are mine throughout this post; numbered tags are mine):
On Monday, June 30, the Supreme Court dealt a blow to labor unions seeking to obtain more control over public employees who do not want to join the union. Despite the setback for union bosses, NBC Nightly News was the only network evening news broadcast to cover the ruling on Monday evening.
In addition, President Obama nominated Robert McDonald to be the next Secretary of Veterans Affairs and fix the troubled agency yet ABC’s World News with Diane Sawyer and the CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley were nowhere to be found on this story either. [See video below.]
After Friday's World News on ABC ignored the White House report on the infamous problems with the Department of Veterans Affairs, Saturday's Good Morning America on ABC also ignored the scandal, while CBS This Morning Saturday and NBC's Today show -- both of which are two-hour programs - only ran short briefs, the one on CBS totaling 25 seconds and the one on NBC 19 seconds.
By contrast, the CBS Evening News on Friday led with the V.A. story and gave it a full report of more than two minutes. The NBC Nightly News, after initially giving the story 24 seconds on Friday, followed up Saturday evening and presented viewers a full report of almost two and a half minutes, making it the second story both evenings.
Friday's World News on ABC glossed over the release of Deputy White House Chief of Staff Rob Nabors's report on the scandal at the Veterans Administration. President Obama had sent Nabors to look into the long wait times at veterans hospitals nationwide. Instead, the evening newscast set aside almost two minutes of air time to a woman, who is eight months pregnant, competing in a track and field competition.
On CBS Evening News, Scott Pelley led the broadcast with the "bleak picture" detailed in the new report. Correspondent Wyatt Andrews spotlighted how Nabors "combined scathing criticism with ideas on moving the V.A. forward." Brian Williams used the same label as Andrews during his 24-second news brief about the story on NBC Nightly News: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
On Tuesday night’s edition of his PBS show, Charlie Rose interviewed former Vice President Dick Cheney and pushed him to “give the president some credit for trying” to negotiate for a contingent of American troops to stay in Iraq after the status of forces agreement expired in 2011.
Cheney reminded Rose that, in his mind, Iraq “was in pretty good shape” when he and then-President George W. Bush left office. From there, he said that there “was no follow-up” on the part of the Obama administration for a residual presence to give the Iraqi military “intelligence capabilities, some air assets, training and so forth that would allow them to maintain control over their own sovereign territory.” [MP3 audio here; Video below]
Who was Anwar Al Awlaki and why did the U.S. government kill him in a 2011 drone strike, despite his U.S. citizenship?
The latter question has been answered with the court-ordered release of a Justice Department memo justifying the action. Awlaki, held “operational and leadership roles” in Al Qaeda in Yemen and “continue[d] to plot attacks intended to kill Americans.”
The first question – who he was – is one many in the media won’t be too eager to revisit, because they got it spectacularly wrong for a long time.
In a screed against an interventionist foreign policy, Hardball’s Chris Matthews virtually insisted that there is a sinister plot among those initial supporters of the Iraq war to dictate the political life of nations throughout the Middle East. For Matthews, simply being wrong on the Iraq war–to the extent that anyone can make a claim like that with any certainty at the present time–is not enough.
In his initial comments on the June 19 edition of Hardball, Matthews railed at any news outlet that would dare give a platform to George W. Bush administration alumni to share their thoughts on how President Obama should proceed with aiding the Iraqi government [MP3 audio here; video below]:
Anti-American commandos from Iran are already helping the Iraqi military by doing the sort of logistical coordination that President Obama promised from the U.S. Army today, NBC's Richard Engel noted in a June 19 Nightly News report from Baghdad. "The image I've had in my head all day, Brian, is of this driver's ed car with two steering wheels, with one with the U.S. Army now about 300 people on one steering wheel and the Iranian Quds Force-- which is often hostile to the United States at the other wheel -- and I'm not sure that Iran and the U.S. have any intention of driving this car in the same direction," the network's chief foreign affairs correspondent told viewers at home.
On the June 19 edition of NewsNation With Tamron Hall, the MSNBCer and Today news desk anchor interviewed Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.) on American intervention in Iraq. When Hall asked the congressman what he believed would be the consequences if Maliki refused to meet American demands for reform, Meeks’s answer morphed into a rant against former Vice President Dick Cheney. Meeks snarled, “how dare he come and even raise his ugly head at this time.”
Violent rhetoric is not new for the Democrat facing multiple allegations of fraud and corruption. Just this past March, Meeks displayed a similar lack of tact towards the former veep, stating “Dick Cheney should just keep his mouth shut and stay at home.” These sentiments were mirrored later in Hall’s interview when he snapped “the guy should just go stay retired, take care of his health and just keep his mouth shut.” [See video below. Click here for MP3 audio]
Though he has dispatched 275 military advisors to that country, his virtual ultimatum to that Iraq Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki — no angel by any stretch, but still a better alternative to a civil war or an ISIS-run terrorist state — that he must negotiate with all parties involve before the U.S. will even think about making a meaningful military commitment seems destined to allow matters to deteriorate further, perhaps to the point of no return. Despite all of this, Donna Cassata and Bradley Klapper at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, implied in a Tuesday afternoon dispatch that anyone who doesn't support plan-free military action now is some kind of hypocrite — except for Democrats who say that their support of going to war in 2002 was a mistake. The AP pair also falsely asserted that weapons of mass destruction "were never found" in Iraq.
Ed Schultz, never one to be left behind in radical left wing rhetoric, followed suit with the rest of MSNBC in condemning an intervention in Iraq on the June 16 edition of The Ed Show. Within the first 10 minutes, he had already blamed Republicans for using “dirty scare tactics,” claimed that they were calling for “troops on the ground,” and asked viewers to text in their answers to the utterly ridiculous poll, “are you prepared to send your kid to Iraq?”
Speaking of fear mongering. [See video below. Click here for MP3 audio]
While all three network morning shows covered the ongoing terrorist invasion of Iraq on Tuesday, only CBS This Morning made the connection between President Obama's foreign policy and the chaos in the country. In an interview with former U.S. ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker, This Morning co-host Charlie Rose wondered: "Has the United States and the Obama administration failed to pay sufficient attention to Iraq since American troops left?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Later on the broadcast, correspondent Jan Crawford talked to Iraq war veterans upset by seeing their hard-fought accomplishments being lost. Crawford explained: "When he campaigned for president in 2008, then-Senator Obama made bringing the troops home a priority.... But the U.S. withdrawal came at a cost, leaving an opening for radical terror groups."
Following the insulting trend of tagging every objection or concern raised about Obama administration policy and conduct as exclusively the province of Republicans and conservatives to an outrageous extreme, Rebecca Kaplan at CBS News opened her Monday story about whether the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) might plan terrorist acts in the U.S. as follows: "Republicans are sounding the warning that the next 9/11-like terror plot could emerge from the regions of Iraq and Syria that are currently dominated by an extremist group bearing down on Baghdad." Really, Rebecca? No one else is worried about that? Wanna bet?
Kaplan also seemed to believe that it would calm readers' nerves if they learned that it will be "at least a year before ISIS might pose more of a serious threat to the U.S." If that was meant to make me feel better, it didn't work. Excerpts follow the jump (links are in original; bolds are mine):
Editor's Note: This was sent to the publishing syndicate as a two-parter. We have combined both parts into this one column post.
I have four colossal disagreements with how President Barack Obama cut the deal for the prisoner swap of five senior Taliban leaders for U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl; the former, the White House itself admits, could "absolutely" rejoin terrorist cells.
Sure, I have far more than four issues with how it all went down — for example, the absolute avoidance and disregard of constitutional submission and congressional consent. But this administration seems to have little regard for proper protocol with anything, so I'm going to focus here on a few different angles of argument.
On Monday, June 16, NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams did his best to not only spin the recent surge in violence throughout Iraq as being George W. Bush’s fault but managed to completely contradict the reporting of NBC’s own journalists.
Williams opened the broadcast by falsely declaring “As a group of heavily armed and highly motivated terrorists continues its way across Iraq, it's not yet clear if the U.S. will take any action in Iraq...The U.S. may have to work with Iran before this is all over as another Iraqi city has now fallen to this group called ISIS.”
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]