GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: One of our viewers wrote in—you talk about service—and asked, Brenda Godfrey Bryan, Marietta, Georgia: did you ever consider joining the armed services to protect and serve our country? If not, why?
BARACK OBAMA: You know, I actually did.
BARACK OBAMA: You know, I had to sign up for Selective Service when I graduated from high school. And I was growing up in Hawaii, and I had friend whose parents were in the military, there were a lot of Army, military bases there. And I always actually thought of the military as some ennobling and honorable option. But keep in mind: I graduated in 1979. The Vietnam War had come to an end. We weren't engaged in an active military conflict at that point. So it's not an option that I ever decided to pursue.
Frank Rich expends his 1,500-words today ripping into Sarah Palin. Into John McCain for picking Sarah Palin. Into any members of the press who might not rip into Sarah Palin. What's got Rich so riled up? Cut to Frank's final line: "they just might pull it off." With props to the late Robert Palmer, Frank's got a bad case of not-loving Sarah Palin—but he's badly worried America will find her simply irresistible.
We've had fun with this kind of thing before, so let's ring up the curtain on Rich, Fisked: Act II.
Rich's headline is "Palin and McCain’s Shotgun Marriage." He later describes McCain's process of picking Palin as "speed-dating" and writes of his "embrace" of her. My, my. Sexualizing a woman politician in order to diminish her? Isn't that just the kind of thing that would normally be condemned by, say, a liberal columnist of the NY Times?
On Friday's Countdown show, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann tagged John McCain as the day’s "Worst Person in the World," as he charged that McCain is "suffering from at least one actual delusion," and "an utter disrespect for the meaning of the loss of life," because the Republican presidential candidate recently characterized Iraq as a "peaceful and stable country." Citing recent suicide bombings that have killed 78, Olbermann slammed McCain’s comments from what the MSNBC host referred to as a "frightening" interview. Olbermann: "So an average of four people a day dead in suicide bombings means a country is peaceful and stable, but a peaceful and stable country does not mean victory has been achieved and we can get our men and women out of there. One way or the other, you are witnessing a man suffering from at least one actual delusion, to say nothing of an utter disrespect for the meaning of the loss of life. It is not funny. It is shameful. John McCain, today’s 'Worst Person in the World.'"
Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the Friday, August 29, "Worst Person" segment from MSNBC"s Countdown show:
Imagine the outrage in feminist circles if a conservative columnist had mockingly analogized a sitting Dem governor to an animal. But Richard Cohen has said as much of Sarah Palin. And I predict you won't hear a peep from the Kim Gandys or Naomi Wolffs of the world—much less from their allies in the MSM.
Cohen begins his WaPo column of today by dismissing Palin as "a sitcom of a vice presidential choice and a disaster movie if she moves up to the presidency." After noting Newt's defense of her nomination, Cohen continues [emphasis added]:
It's a pity Gingrich was not around when the Roman Emperor Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus Germanicus, better known by his nickname Caligula, reputedly named Incitatus as a consul and a priest. Incitatus was his horse.
To these ears, it sounded like a sophomoric line by, well, a sophomore seeking to impress classmates and perhaps his fuzzy-headed teacher. But MSNBC has proclaimed Mario Cuomo's call for a nuclear freeze because "peace is better than war and life is better than death" one of the greatest convention-speech lines ever.
In the run-up to this evening's keynote address by former Virginia Gov. Mark Warner and Hillary's much-anticipated speech, Hardball did a segment on some of the best Dem convention speeches of the past. Now, love it or hate it, it's hard to deny that the late Ann Richards' "born with a silver foot in his mouth" about George 41 was a pretty good zinger. And even Barack Obama's "there is not a liberal America and a conservative America. There is the United States of America" wasn't bad either. No beef with those being included. But try out the excerpt from Maria Cuomo's 1984 speech that MSNBC selected as one of the "best of the best."
The L.A. Times' Rosa Brooks has done it again, taken a serious subject and made an uninformed romp of it. One wonders how the old Georgian lady seen in news photos standing wounded among the ruins of her apartment building, or the Georgian Mother running down the street, infant in her arms, trying to escape Russian tanks might feel about the humor with which Brooks brings to bear upon their plight? But, there it is for all to see in Brooks' "The Cold War, reheated" wherein Brooks puts the funny back in war. It's been too serious for too long for Brooks, apparently. We need the sunny side of ethnic cleansing, brutal invasion, and crushing occupation, don't we?
Oh, and let's not forget the skewed history, incorrect conclusions, and partisan inanities that Brooks blurted out with her little attempt at "Springtime for Gorbachev." Only with this production, Brooks is seriously trying to absolve the U.S.S.R.
Andrea Mitchell's floating of the Obama-camp accusation that John McCain cheated by overhearing Obama's responses at the Saddleback forum, as NewsBuster D.S. Hube reported, isn't the first time the NBC correspondent has made herself propagator-in-chief of Obama's conspiracy theories. As NewsBuster Noel Sheppard has noted, McCain campaign manager Rick Davis has now written NBC to protest Mitchell's behavior. Here's an excerpt from his letter to NBC News president Steve Capus [emphasis added]:
[I]nstead of taking a critical journalistic approach to this spin, Andrea Mitchell did what has become a pattern for her of simply repeating Obama campaign talking points.
In asserting a "pattern" of such behavior by Mitchell, what did Davis have in mind? Almost surely it included a very similar stunt that Mitchell pulled in connection with Obama's cancellation of his planned visit to injured troops while in Germany for his speech in Berlin. As I noted here at the time, Mitchell passed along the Obama camp's unsubstantiated conspiracy theory that McCain had pulled strings with Pentagon buddies to have them withdraw permission for the visit.
On Monday's Countdown show, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann blamed the Bush administration for the fighting between Russia and Georgia, charging that "the U.S. knowingly provoked Moscow for years by building up Georgia's military," and asked if "the administration essentially stoked the fires of this conflict by the way we contributed to the building up of Georgia and sort of encourage its president to do something like this." The MSNBC host was also distressed at the words of "neoconservatives" who favor a firm response against Russia, and referred to "troubling neocon echoes." Guest Flynt Leverett expressed his concern that "a very powerful group of neoconservative fellow travelers in the Democratic Party" would undermine Barack Obama's "more nuanced approach" to dealing with the situation as these neoconservative "elements" move into the Obama campaign. (Transcript follows)
Last month, it was the Associated Press's Jeannine Aversa's turn to mishandle the reporting on Uncle Sam's Monthly Treasury Statement on the government's receipts, spending, and deficit.
Aversa's usual specialty is hallucinating over "blizzards of pink slips" and "jobs vanishing into thin air" when she does her "report," aka her downbeat propaganda piece, on the government's monthly jobs release.
In covering June's Monthly Treasury Statement, Aversa selectively rounded the data she presented (covered at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog) to make receipts look less impressive and to minimize the true extent of the government's current year spending spree.
New York Times terror-trial reporter William Glaberson filed a "news analysis" Sunday on the war crimes conviction of Salim Hamdan, the Guantanamo Bay detainee recently convicted of providing material support to terror by serving as driver and bodyguard to Osama bin Laden.
The verdict in the first war crimes trial at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, is in: One poorly educated Yemeni, with an impish sense of humor and two little girls, is guilty of supporting terrorism by driving Osama bin Laden. With credit for time served, the sentence is no more than five months.
The New York Times's front-page report Thursday marking the 500th death in Afghanistan (most but not all in combat) tracks through the same muddy ruts as the paper's previous four stories marking each 1,000 fatality mark in Iraq.
It's taken almost seven years of combat in Afghanistan to reach the plateau of 500, which occurred on July 22 of this year. Apparently the Times couldn't wait for 1,000. The paper goes on to blame the public for ignoring the Afghanistan war, even though the Times's coverage of the war has hardly been comprehensive -- except when things are going badly.
Update: An NB reader contacted Mike Allen, author of the article, to complain about the photo choice. Allen indicated he was unaware of, and not involved in, the photo selection. The accompaning photo was subsequently changed to one of the condemned solider.
Of all the millions of photos of George W. Bush, that displayed here is the one Politico.com chose to accompany its story, Bush Approves Soldier's Execution, of the president's authorization of the execution of a soldier convicted of four murders and eight rapes in North Carolina.
Was this a photo taken of Pres. Bush as he announced his decision? Apparently not. The story indicates that the president did not announce his decision in person, but did so via a statement from White House Press Secretary Dana Perino.
Does Politico have evidence that the president made his decision in anger? If so, it didn't report that. To the contrary, Dana Perino's statement says the decision was "difficult" for the president.
Between now and Election Day, we're sure to see—and chronicle at NB—plenty of MSM sycophancy for Barack Obama. But between the thrills going up assorted media legs, evidence is emerging that some in the media are beginning to assess the Dem candidate in a clearer light. Take for example, Gabriel Sherman's piece at the New Republic which as its title—End of the Affair—suggests, has as its thesis that at least for some of its members, the MSM's puppy-love stage might be coming to an end.
Today comes Howard Fineman's admission, hesitant as it might be, and mitigated by his suggestion that Obama came close to hitting an absolute home run with his European trip, that yes, well, after all, the guy is—how can I put this?—arrogant.
Newsweek's senior DC correspondent was a guest on this afternoon's Hardball, with Mike Barnicle sitting in for Chris Matthews. The jumping off point was Obama's cancellation of his plans to visit injured American troops in Germany.
At the top of Monday’s CBS "Early Show," co-host Russ Mitchell teased a segment about a new McCain campaign ad criticizing Barack Obama for not visiting wounded American soldiers in Germany: "...it is 99 days until election day and John McCain this weekend took off the gloves off with an ad criticizing Barack Obama for among other things, going to the gym while on his trip overseas last week." The segment later began with a report by correspondent Bill Plante, who described: "... it's now just 99 days to the election. But those 99 days promise a pretty rough ride. This new TV ad from the McCain campaign targets Obama's decision to cancel a visit with U.S. troops in Germany."
Plante then played a brief clip of the McCain ad and followed up with the Obama campaign’s defense: "The Obama campaign's return shot, quote, 'John McCain is an honorable man who is running an increasingly dishonorable campaign.' Back from a tour abroad focused on foreign policy and rock star TV coverage, Obama is talking this week about pocket book issues." After Plante’s report, Mitchell talked to Republican strategist Kevin Madden and former Clinton Press Secretary Dee Dee Myers about the ad. Mitchell asked Madden: "...how nasty is this likely to get over the next few months?"
On July 16, Andrew Malcolm at the Los Angeles Times's Top of the Ticket Blog wrote the following (bold is mine):
When President Bush ordered the surge in January 2007, (Barack) Obama said: "I am not persuaded that 20,000 additional troops in Iraq is going to solve the sectarian violence there. In fact, I think it will do the reverse," a position he maintained throughout 2007. This year he acknowledged progress, but maintained his position that political progress was lacking.
This YouTube video (different from the compare/contrast video at the bottom of the LAT's link) shows Obama reciting the lines just quoted.
The LAT Blog notes earlier in its entry that "The parts (of Obama's web site) that stressed his opposition to the 2007 troop surge and his statement that more troops would make no difference in a civil war have somehow disappeared."
Something else disappeared this week. Team Obama, for all its posturing, probably saw something like this coming -- which explains their web site scrubbing.
Hopefully this event will repeat itself frequently. You have to get all the way to the end of an apparently weekly routine Associated Press report to see it, but there it is:
The New York Times is miffed. They aren't happy that there has been a dearth of news photos showing dead American soldiers in the war in Iraq. The Times is lamenting that there have been "4,000 U.S. Combat Deaths, and Just a Handful of Images," so more carnage and death is their druthers. Well, more American dead, anyway. They aren't interested in the dead of the enemy, to be sure.
Using the story of photog Zoriah Miller who had his embed status removed when he publicized photos of dead U.S. Marines after a suicide bombing, the Times reveals their pique over the fact that not enough dead Americans have been peddled to the American public. The Times denounces the military for protecting the troops and their families saying, "after five years and more than 4,000 American combat deaths, searches and interviews turned up fewer than a half-dozen graphic photographs of dead American soldiers."
Complaining for opponents of the war that the lack of casualty photos has created a a situation where the "public portrayal of the war is being sanitized," the Times wonders if the homefront is being badly served because we here are not seeing the "human cost of a war that polls consistently show is unpopular with Americans."
Are reporters in the business of reporting fact or rumor? Andrea Mitchell, for one, doesn't scruple to circulate "scuttlebutt" that if true would be deeply damaging to John McCain.
Barack Obama's cancellation of plans to visit injured military members at bases in Germany has drawn considerable attention and criticism. On today's Morning Joe, Mitchell passed along an Obama-campaign inspired rumor that McCain used his Pentagon connections to sabotage the Obama visit.
The screencap captures it nicely: Heather Wilson, smiling. Robert Wexler, mouth agape. On this afternoon's Hardball, the feisty, brilliant [bio: high honors Air Force Academy grad, Rhodes Scholar] GOP representative from New Mexico took on the duo of the combative congressman from Florida and host Chris Matthews, and walked away a winner. The subject was Obama's Berlin speech, and by extension his presidential qualifications.
You'll find excerpts below, but they don't do begin to do justice to Wilson's brio and the coolness under verbal fire she displayed. That's why I'd strongly encourage readers to view the video. Wilson kicked off her tour de force in commenting on a clip of Obama in his Berlin speech proclaiming that various walls, including one between American and Europe, "cannot stand" and must be torn down.
NBC outdid itself in promoting the pro-gay view in its Nightly News coverage Wednesday of a hearing held by the House Armed Services Committee's subcommittee on personnel. NBC served up a litany of gay "victims" of the military's ban on open homosexuality, plus pro-gay congressmen, and played up a recent poll showing most Americans wanting to overturn the ban.
NBC cited only one pro-ban witness, a retired Army Ranger sergeant who got 3 seconds of airtime in the 2:39 segment. Elaine Donnelly of the Center for Military Readiness, who gave a detailed testimony supporting the ban, was not featured at all. The sergeant's statement, by the way, was immediately and angrily refuted by a veteran Army officer now in Congress.
Narrated by Pentagon correspondent Jim Miklaszewski, the piece begins with lesbian retired Navy Capt. Joan Darrah walking along a country path with her partner and a Frisbee-catching dog. She gives heartfelt testimony. Next comes retired Marine Sgt. Eric Alva, who lost a leg in Iraq and has been featured on other newscasts as the face of gay soldiering. Alva is shown with his prosthetic leg, in full uniform, and then testifying. Rep. Chris Shays (R-Conn.), proclaims the gay ban "unpatriotic" and "cruel."
A couple days ago at the gym, listening to a Hugh Hewitt podcast and perhaps not paying as much attention as I should have while pedaling away, I heard Hugh mention that Barack Obama doesn't understand the role of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. What was Hugh referring to? As the British would say: the penny just dropped. A few minutes ago, CNN's Situation Room played a clip of Obama saying this about his plan for Iraq:
BARACK OBAMA: I'm going to call in the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and give them a new mission, and that is to bring the war in Iraq to a close. We are going to get out.
There's only one problem. The Joint Chiefs of Staff does not have operational command of U.S. military forces. That authority resides in the commanders of the various Unified Combatant Commands. CENTCOM is the command with responsibility for Iraq [and 26 other countries including Afghanistan and Pakistan]. Earlier this month, the Senate confirmed Pres. Bush's appointment of Gen. David Petraeus as CENTCOM commander. Lt. Gen. Raymond Odierno is the new US commander for Iraq, replacing Gen. Petraeus. Those are the people, along with the Secretary of Defense, to whom the orders Obama spoke of would be issued.
You would be hard-pressed to find a "better" example of a walking, talking, typing Old Media double standard-bearer than New York Times columnist and International Herald Tribune (IHT) contributor Nicholas Kristof.
..... his legacy is not all bad ..... The emancipation of women and end of child marriages moved China from one of the worst places in the world to be a girl to one where women have more equality than in, say, Japan or Korea. ..... Mao’s ruthlessness was a catastrophe at the time ..... yet there’s more to the story: Mao also helped lay the groundwork for the rebirth and rise of China after five centuries of slumber.
Here is Kristof describing an example of what is currently happening in Zimbabwe in the June 29 IHT (bold after headline is mine):
The Armed Forces Press Service issued a press release on Thursday morning, July 10, in celebration of the fact that the U.S. military has had 13 consecutive months of meeting and/or exceeding recruitment goals. Sadly, the media stayed sullenly quite all day, taking no notice of the success of our military on OR off the field.
Regardless of the fact that the media ignored the good news, there is good news, indeed.
Although the term isn't used, it's clear that the Obama campaign sees itself and their candidate as victims of a vast conspiracy of right-wingers.
Going all the way back to the 1988 presidential election, Obama's "Fight the Smears" chart (featuring the campaign's new sort-of "presidential seal," replacing the one that was "dropped," at the top left) purports to tell us "Who's Behind These Lies."
If the page's historical starting points are any indication, to paraphrase Jerry Lee Lewis, there may not be "a whole lotta smearin' goin' on" among the current "smearing" parties it identifies:
More anti-war figures are voicing their opinions about contradictory and confusing statements regarding Iraq made Thursday by presumptive Democrat presidential nominee Barack Obama, and the news is clearly not good for his campaign.
One such concerned party is Tom Hayden, the famed ex-husband of Jane Fonda who, along with Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin, was part of the Chicago Seven that incited riots at the 1968 Democratic National Convention.
Forty years later, Hayden wrote a strong rebuke of Obama's suddenly fluctuating position on the Iraq war that should garner a lot of media attention given its publication at the left-leaning Huffington Post; the title alone should give folks a sense of the tightrope the junior senator from Illinois is walking concerning this issue -- "No Retreat: If you Want to Win, Stop the War! Barack at Risk" (emphasis added throughout):
Earlier this week, to avoid "undue" emphasis on how much the situation has been improving in Iraq, the press, in search of bad news, switched its focus to Afghanistan (examples here, here, and here). Kyle Drennen and Warner Todd Huston at NewsBusters noted this on Tuesday.
Similarly, Associated Press writer Ellen Simon, confronted with a key report showing economic improvement, decided that it was more important to discuss inflation.
On Tuesday, the Institute for Supply Management's Manufacturing Index, after four months of contraction, returned to slight expansion mode with a reading of 50.2 (any reading above 50 indicates expansion). The result confounded the "experts," who predicted that the index would fall by about a point instead of rising by 0.6 points.
I don't think I've ever seen AP fail to give the overall ISM result first- or second-sentence treatment, but Simon managed that trick by covering the report's inflation component, moving the overall ISM index reading down to the fourth paragraph: