President Barack Obama was "crisp and decisive" but also lucky in his handling of the Maersk Alabama hostage crisis, exults Time magazine's Joe Klein [depicted in NewsBusters screen cap/file photo at right] in an April 13 Swampland blog post.
Klein added that had the Navy SEAL snipers failed in hitting their targets, Republicans and second-guessing journalists would probably push the Obama administration to escalate matters to tackle a non-existent pirate "threat":
But it could easily have gone wrong, through no fault of the President and the SEALs--a gust of wind, whatever...and then the Administration would have had to waste all sorts of energy on damage control, fending off the second-guessers--Republicans and, all too often, people like me--and perhaps overreacting to the pirate "threat" as a result. Presidencies are, sadly, built or crippled on such quirks of fate.
When Hollywood movies and their stars trash America's brave soldiers, the anti-war press can't give them enough attention.
Yet, when cast and crew members of the soon to be released prequel of the sci-fi classic "Star Trek" visited service men and women in Kuwait on Saturday, newsrooms across the fruited plain couldn't care less.
A search of Nexis between April 7 -- the day when pirates seized the U.S.-registered and American-crewed Maersk Alabama -- and today, April 10, shows that both the Washington Post and Los Angeles Times failed to even mention President Barack Obama in their stories on the ongoing hostage situation. The New York Times did, once, in a page A6 April 9 story by Mark Mazetti and Sharon Otterman, but it came 15 paragraphs into the 26-paragraph story and served to explain Obama's absence in the ongoing U.S. response:
At the White House, military and national security officials tracked the developments from the Situation Room, and they provided several briefings to President Obama and other administration officials throughout the day.
Mr. Obama first learned of the hijacking early on Wednesday morning after he returned to the White House from his overseas trip, and he later convened an interagency group on maritime safety, aides said. The White House press secretary, Robert Gibbs, said, ''Our top priority is the personal safety of the crew members on board.''
Basically, the nation's top three newspapers are letting President Obama off the hook from any scrutiny regarding his involvement or lack thereof in the ongoing hostage situation.
In what almost seems a gleeful pronouncement, The New York Times trumpeted America's powerlessness over the recent capture by pirates of a captain of a U.S. run freighter on the high seas. With an April 9 headline that blares, "Standoff With Pirates Shows U.S. Power Has Limits," the Times almost seems to revel in that taking down of an arrogant America by mere pirates in power boats.
It's quite hard not to feel that the Times is celebrating the enfeebling of the "world's most powerful military," here.
The mainstream media has found little of alarm in the story, but conservative bloggers including musician Charlie Daniels have taken heed of the Obama administration's changes to the terminology the U.S. government uses to describe the war on terrorism. For example, "terrorism" will now be referred to as "man-caused disasters" and the Global War on Terror will now be referred to as "Overseas Contingency Operation."
Daniels, who performed at the 2003 Media Research Center Gala, pulls no punches in his March 27 post, where demonstrates the absurdity of the politically correct language deployed by the Obama administration:
"Forget about bringing the troops home Iraq - we need to get the troops home from World War II," Maher said. "Can anybody tell me why in 2009, we still have more than 50,000 troops in Germany and 30,000 in Japan? At some point these people are going to have to learn to rape themselves."
On Friday’s CBS Early Show co-host Harry Smith interviewed Afghanistan war veteran and Obama campaign volunteer Craig Mullaney, author of "The Unforgiving Minute: A Soldier’s Education," and praised the book: "What a wonderful story, the arc, blue-collar kid decides to go to West Point, even ends up in Oxford before he ends up in Afghanistan. Ranger school...And look at you, receiving your diploma from Al Gore, no less....Such a pleasure to meet you. It is such a wonderful, wonderful read. So thoughtful and so articulate. And such good writing. Really appreciate it."
Smith did make vague mention of Mullaney’s political connection to Barack Obama’s presidential campaign: "Fast forward, you come out of the service, decide to become involved politically. You're involved with President Obama now. He's going to announce this in -- another increase in troops in Afghanistan. The thing that people whisper about, the concern they have for this president, will Afghanistan be this president's Vietnam? Does that worry you?" Mullaney replied: "I worry about a lack of patience in the American public. It's been a long time since we've focused on Afghanistan. And we've lost a lot of ground over the last seven years. And it's going to take a big effort to garner the resources necessary to really turn the situation around."
"Good Morning America" co-host Robin Roberts conducted a two part, almost 11 minute interview with Michelle Obama on Friday that avoided tough questions and consisted almost entirely of softballs. This included reading e-mails from the audience, such as "What does she [the first lady] do for relaxation in the evening, away from the public?" and also "...How can she stay so positive about the economy?"
This is quite a contrast to some of the queries Laura Bush had to deal with when she was first lady. On October 22, 2007, the very same Roberts quoted Archbishop Desmond Tutu to Mrs. Bush. She challenged, "Desmond Tutu went even farther, saying the generosity of Americans, that's what we should export instead of our bombs." She also informed Mrs. Bush of the assertion by New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman that America "should export hope instead of fear."
Nancy Pelosi's callous treatment of the United States Air Force has been uncovered by a Freedom of Information Act request from Judicial Watch – and with the exception of Fox and Friends, the morning shows have given it exactly zero air time.
When Rush Limbaugh called a phony soldier a phony, the media frenzy was nearly instantaneous. But when Nancy Pelosi's staffer writes a belligerent email to the Department of Defense, demanding to know the location of every G5S in Air Force service, there is a virtual media blackout.
Fox and Friends reported the staffer as writing:
KAY KING: It is my understanding there are no G5S available for the House during the Memorial Day recess. This is totally unacceptable. The Speaker will want to know where the planes are [...] This is not good news, and we will have some very disappointed folks, as well as a very upset Speaker.
On the December 9, 2008, Countdown show, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann charged that Bush administration members – whom he did not specify by name but presumably President Bush was meant to be included – deserve to be "in hell," as he cited a report that a post-war insurgency in Iraq using roadside bombs to attack U.S. troops had been predicted by the U.S. military before the invasion. During the show’s regular "Bushed!" segment, Olbermann lambasted the Bush administration:
So not only did the Bush administration and the Bush Pentagon ignore the prewar intel, that the WMD we sought to recover were not in Iraq, but the Bush administration and the Bush Pentagon ignored that if we removed Saddam Hussein an insurgency of some sort would develop in Iraq. And now we learn the Bush administration and the Bush Pentagon ignored the prewar intel that when an insurgency did develop, it would use roadside bombs to kill the troops we needlessly sent there.
I don’t know what, if any religion you belong to, but I suspect you’ll agree that people who ignored that many foretellings of preventable death should have a long time to think about it in hell!
Below is a complete transcript of the "Bushed!" segment from the December 9, 2008, Countdown show on MSNBC, with critical portions in bold:
On Tuesday’s CBS Evening News, correspondent Lara Logan reported on the Obama administration’s effort to improve relations between the United States and Russia by abandoning a missile defense system proposed under the Bush administration: "It's become one of the most contentious issues dividing the U.S. and Russia. American plans to deploy a missile defense system on Russia's doorstep...The Obama administration's willingness to even open discussions on the issue is a dramatic reversal of U.S. policy under President Bush, who dismissed Russian objections. That dispute helped bring U.S.-Russian relations to their lowest point since the break-up of the Soviet Union nearly 20 years ago. Today the President made it clear he's already started to change that."
Rather than offer any criticism, Logan cited Steven Pifer of the left-leaning Brookings Institution, who declared: "It seems to me that when we're looking for issues on which we can signal to the Russians that we're prepared to be more flexible and listen to some of their concerns, missile defense is one." At the top of the broadcast, anchor Katie Couric teased the segment by describing Obama’s proposal as an "intriguing suggestion."
New numbers are out about President Obama's performance and they show that, while most Americans favor the majority of actions he has taken, two of his more controversial decisions are highly unpopular. One of the disputed actions, the closing of the prison facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, has long been a high-profile issue the media can hardly dodge. But the other, reversing the “Mexico City” policy, has gotten little news coverage. It will be interesting to watch whether they finally report on Mexico City, or even note that Obama has made any unpopular moves.
The mainstream media is still head over heels for our new commander in chief, and he still has honeymoon popularity with the public. But according to a Feb. 1 USA Today/Gallup Poll telephone survey of 1,000 adults, only 35 percent of Americans approved of Obama's decision to overturn the Mexico City Policy, a ban on U.S. funding of overseas family planning groups that promote abortion.
So asked Chris Matthews of Frank Gaffney of the Center for Security Policy on today's edition of "Hardball." Gaffney was joined by liberal pundit David Corn of Mother Jones magazine in a segment around 5:20 p.m. ET and they were discussing the call by liberal Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) for a war crimes investigation of senior Bush administration officials and terrorist detainee interrogators.
For video of the exchange, click the play button on the embedded video.
While performing at the inaugural ball honoring America's military veterans, some wounded vets are reported to have walked out on funk Musician George Clinton over a perceived on stage insult to George W. Bush.
The Washington Times is reporting that during the Heroes Red, White and Blue Inaugural Ball a white towel with the word "[Expletive] GEORGE" spelled out on it was displayed by band members of George Clinton and the P. Funk All-Stars.
Here's a story you may not have heard as the media have all but ignored outgoing President Bush during the Obama transition.
The Air Force pilot who flew President Bush on 9/11 and ferried the commander-in-chief on secret flights to visit troops in Iraq hails the outgoing president as "definitely a great man" for whom "it's been an honor to fly."
As CBS Radio's Mark Knoller noted in a January 17 story, Air Force Colonel Mark Tillman, commander of the Presidential Airlift Group, is retiring from military service after flying President Bush back home to Texas.:
On Wednesday’s The O’Reilly Factor, during the show’s "Talking Points Memo," FNC host Bill O’Reilly slammed the New York Times and NBC News, presumably referring to MSNBC hosts like Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow, accusing them of having "damaged their own country in a disgusting display of propaganda and outright lies" by "convincing the world that the USA is a nation of torture, a country that sadistically inflicts pain on both the innocent and the guilty." O’Reilly further attacked the "insane call for fishing expeditions to find something that will lead to prosecuting the President and Vice President," and added that he "despises, despises those who, in the name of ideology, want to weaken the country, putting us all in danger," and charged that doing so would be "un-American."
O’Reilly then hosted a discussion with FNC military analyst retired Colonel David Hunt and, to argue the liberal point-of-view, FNC analyst Bob Beckel, and Hunt contended that he had used "coerced interrogation" in the past that had "saved guys' lives."
The exquisite moral sensibilities of the MSM . . .
Would you waterboard an al Qaeda member for three minutes to get information to save the lives of nine passenger-loads of innocent civilians? Chrystia Freeland wouldn't. The US managing editor of the Financial Times made the stunning statement during the course of a classic Morning Joe dust-up today. Joe Scarborough, with help from tag-team partner Pat Buchanan, went after Freeland on her opposition to waterboarding and similar interrogation techniques. At one point Scarborough called Freeland "sophomoric." Later, the exasperated MJ host gave his guest some of the same treatment to which he'd recently been subjected by Zbigniew Brzezinski, telling Freeland "you have no idea what you're talking about."
Finally, under questioning from Buchanan, Freeland went so far as to disagree with the proposition that it would be moral to waterboard someone for three minutes to get information to foil a plot to simultaneously kill nine passenger planeloads of people.
When historians look back in wonder at how a long-established publication like the New York Times could have declined from its virtual king-of-the-world status in mid-2002 to its Bush-deranged, 85%-devalued shadow of its former self, they will surely make a few stops at Maureen Dowd's twice-weekly, lost-in-another-world columns (the Dowd picture is from the Times's web site).
Today's offering from Dowd (HT Hot Air Headlines) is intended to be a final figurative kick in the shins at George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, something she admits to fantasizing about having done to the Vice President this week when she had opportunities.
But the Dowd diatribe really ends up as a self-portrayal of someone who deeply imbibed the kool-aid her paper dished out over the past seven years and is beyond ever letting go, and serves as a microcosm of what the Old Gray Lady has done to itself in that same timeframe:
Well, it seems that the folks at Vanity Fair realized that they won't have George W. Bush to kick around any more. So they decided to launch the journalistic equivalent of thermonuclear war against him in an attempt to get its shot at a "draft of history."
In a 14 web-page tome (the photo at the top right is at its beginning) that fancies itself an "oral history," the magazine hauls out every criticism, real or imagined, hurled at the president during the past eight years. It reminds everyone that the media's favorite stereotype of conservatives and Republicans is that they're dumb (I guess Ike's orchestration of D-Day was some kind of accident, and George W. Bush's MBA -- he is the first president to hold one -- was some kind of gift from Poppy).
Sadly, the magazine finds a few former administration officials to pile on. One of them likens Bush to Sarah Palin (that's supposed to be an insult). We're left with the long-discredited meme of Dick Cheney as puppet master and Bush as impotent since Katrina (then how did Bush get that Iraq Surge past everyone and make it stick anyway?).
All you really need to know to spare yourself a truly painful read is what is in the tease paragraph after the headline. Brace yourself:
Nearly two years after reporters such as NBC's Tom Brokaw derided President Bush's troop surge as "a folly" and suggested the war itself was a "lost cause," American troop deaths are at their lowest level since the Iraq war began in March 2003, and the death toll among Iraqi civilians is also down sharply in 2008.
So right on cue, Monday's New York Times reports that ABC, CBS and NBC have all pulled their full time reporters from Iraq. According to correspondent Brian Stelter, the lack of violence means the networks are less interested in the Iraq story: "Representatives for the networks emphasized that they would continue to cover the war and said the staff adjustments reflected the evolution of the conflict in Iraq from a story primarily about violence to one about reconstruction and politics."
It seems that some in Congress are so upset that our troops and their president have achieved what looks like victory in Iraq to seasoned, on-the-ground observers like Michael Yon that they feel compelled to get in their final digs to somehow discredit the war's legitimacy.
One such congressman is Democrat Henry Waxman of California (image originally found at the Washington Post), whose Committee on Oversight and Government Reform decided to re-hash the famous "sixteen words" President Bush used in his January 2003 State of the Union Speech ("The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa").
The conclusion of Waxman's 10-page Memorandum (a PDF at this link) begins by saying:
On Monday’s The Situation Room, CNN correspondent Jamie McIntyre conveyed a dissenting view of whether retired General Eric Shinseki, Barack Obama’s choice for Veterans Affairs Secretary, can accurately be described as having advised the Bush administration to send more troops to occupy Iraq. McIntyre: "But Shinseki has his critics, too, who say, in fact, he never stood up to Rumsfeld, never pressed for more troops for Iraq, and, when asked in a private meeting of the Joint Chiefs if he had concerns about the war plans, never said a word, according to two people who were in the room. Asked by Newsweek two years ago to respond to the criticism he didn't press his concerns, Shinseki e-mailed back: ‘Probably that's fair. Not my style.’"
A December 7, 2008, wire article by the Associated Press' David Espo claims, "[Former Army chief of staff Gen. Eric] Shinseki was forced into retirement by the Bush administration after he said the original invasion plan for Iraq did not include enough troops." (President-elect Obama recently announced Gen. Shinseki would head the Veterans Affairs Department.)
The truth? No such thing happened. FactCheck.org, among other sources, debunked this mythover four years ago.
The Oakland Tribune reports the story of a hipster granny from Berkeley that has decided to sue the U.S. military over a reporter embed she arranged in Iraq that was abruptly canceled by the government. While the Oakland Trib and the hippie granny try their hardest to make the U.S. military the villain, it's a bit hard to feel too sorry for her when the facts are considered. On top of that, the Trib absurdly calls her situation an "ordeal" which, when comparing her situation to what the soldiers have to go through, seems a bit over-the-top and silly, really.
Jane Stillwater of Berkeley, CA, had arranged an embed in Iraq and was told on January 19 that she was accepted. She immediately bought her plane ticket and arranged for the trip. Later that same day, however, she was contacted again and told her embed was canceled. Regardless of the cancellation, Stillwater flew to Kuwait anyway hoping the military would change its mind. They didn't and now she is suing in small claims court for the plane ride and other expenses.
The Los Angeles Times recently created a stir among the Pentagon press corps, running a page one story implying that the Defense Department was cheating wounded warriors out of their disability pay.
The LAT shared the story of a Marine “wounded twice in Iraq -- by a roadside bomb and a land mine” and a soldier who “crushed her back and knees diving for cover during a mortar attack in Iraq.” The LAT indignantly reported: “…in each case, the Pentagon ruled that their disabilities were not combat related.”
A Department of Defense official tells me that a number of prominent MSM Pentagon correspondents were ready to take the Pentagon to task, but all ultimately dropped the story. Why? It turns out that, upon investigation, the LAT’s page-one piece was mostly fiction.
And here's another "surprise," considering how we were told during the presidential campaign that the situation in Afghanistan was deteriorating: Combined November coalition deaths from all causes in Afghanistan and Iraq were the lowest in over 4-1/2 years, and the two-month total is by far the lowest ever:
On Sunday’s CBS Face the Nation, host Bob Schieffer discussed the challenges President-elect Barack Obama will face with liberal authors: "Today we ask the authors of four of the year's most important books to assess the problems the new administration will face." Schieffer asked the Washington Post’s Bob Woodward, author of ‘The War Within: A Secret White House History,’ about Obama picking Hillary Clinton as secretary of state, Woodward replied: "It's an amazing national security team that Obama appears to have selected. It's kind of like 'Goldilocks and the Three Bears.' You've got too cool, which might be -- or at least appropriately cool, General Jones as the national security adviser; Gates is kind of just right, in the middle; and Hillary Clinton, hot."
Schieffer later turned to the New Yorker’s Jane Mayer, author of ‘The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned into a War on American Ideals,’ and asked: "...your fascinating book, 'The Dark Side,' tells how the current vice president, Richard Cheney, amassed power unknown to any vice president in our history. I'd like to ask you first, how did he do that? And do you see Joe Biden having the kind of power?" Mayer replied: "it takes a president like Bush to have a vice president like Cheney. Obama, so far, seems to be so much more involved in the details and in kind of wanting to command the policies all the way up and down, really -- so I don't see it repeating." Mayer then went on to compare the Bush and Obama administrations:
Another difference that's very important is that both the president coming in and the vice president are lawyers, and one of the things that happened in the last administration was neither of them were. They were not constitutional scholars and they enacted policies that -- including legalizing torture for all purposes -- that really were not constitutional. And I don't think we're going to see that again. This is a -- this is a group of people who -- and the secretary of state is also a lawyer now. These people respect the law, I think.
At the top of Thursday’s CBS Evening News, anchor Katie Couric referred to a recent court ruling to release five Guantanamo Bay detainees as: "A big legal setback for the president's war on terror." Couric later introduced a report on the ruling and reiterated the idea of the ruling being a defeat solely for President Bush: "...a federal judge ruled today that five suspects held at Guantanamo Bay must be released...it's a major defeat for the Bush administration in its final days."
In the report, correspondent Wyatt Andrews described how: "Defense lawyers call it a victory for American justice and the beginning of the end for Guantanamo." Andrews cited one attorney, Stephen Olesky: " I think many forces are now working toward the closure of Guantanamo and toward ensuring that many of these men who have been held for so long under such desperate circumstances get home." Andrews concluded the report: "...the ruling starts a nightmare for the Pentagon. The military now faces an oncoming rush of 200 Guantanamo appeals, not to mention an incoming president who wants to close the camp altogether." One wonders if CBS will be using the phrase "president’s war on terror" with President Obama.
As Barack Obama appears to be appointing less than totally pro-surrender officials to his inner circle, far leftists are feeling constrained in their criticism by Obama Mania.
A Los Angeles Times article by Paul Richter with an amusing title ("Antiwar groups fear Barack Obama may create hawkish Cabinet") notes that Obama has appointed or is considering many people who originally supported the war in Iraq (this apparently automatically makes them "hawks").
Richter's hawkish characterization of the likes of Richard Holbrooke, Hillary Clinton, Vice-president Elect Joe Biden, and John Kerry is inadvertently amusing to any reader who has followed the machinations in Washington since the 110th Congress began in January 2006.
Richter goes to one peace activist, Kevin Martin, to "prove" that Obama is a "centrist." But in the process, as noted in my bold, we see an antiwar zealot acknowledge that Obama Mania has gone over the top: