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:
Tuesday's New York Times report by Jeff Zeleny, "Campaign Flashpoints: Patriotism and Service" covered the back and forth between the McCain and Obama camps over a controversial comment by retired general and Obama adviser Wesley Clark about McCain's lack of qualifications to be president.
In response to a question by Bob Schieffer on the CBS Sunday talk show "Face the Nation," Clark said of John McCain, "I don't think riding in a fighter plane and getting shot down is a qualification to be president."
But Zeleny also put heavy emphasis on fact-checking what he considers unfair attacks on Barack Obama.
Mr. Obama arrived here in Independence, the home of President Harry S. Truman, to open a weeklong patriotism tour. He sought to explain and defend his American ideals to ward off skepticism and silence persistent rumors about his loyalties to the nation.
On Tuesday’s CBS "Early Show," co-host Harry Smith talked to foreign correspondent Lara Logan about the situation in Afghanistan and she declared: "So seven years later we have more troops in the country than we have ever had. And yet no one is admitting the fact that we are facing strategic defeat in a country that wanted us there. Unlike Iraq, they actually wanted us there."
Smith introduced the segment by proclaiming: "U.S. officials say attempts to root out Al Qaeda and the Taliban are failing. And for the second straight month in June, militants killed more U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan than in Iraq."
During the segment, Smith displayed his foreign policy credentials in reference to the Afghanistan-Pakistan border: "I've been reading lightly about these tribal areas. I was there about 20 years ago. I described it to a friend of mine, it's like the Star Wars bar. You can't trust anyone there. You don't know who's loyal to who." So Afghans and Pakistanis are like strange-looking aliens?
Update/Correction: Cross-referencing my results with that of the MRC's internal database, I found a news mention on the June 26 "Today" of the previous day's missile test, which aired at the 9:00 a.m. news brief.
I know that missile defense is hardly a major political issue right now, but successes in the program are worth at least passing mention in broadcast media, particularly given tensions with Iran and the utility of missile defenses for our military forces should conflict ensue with the nuclear weapon-pursuing theocratic state.
Unfortunately, according to Nexis, no such stories were filed on either ABC or CBS programming following the latest test on June 26. This despite the fact that the test involved a not one but two complicating twists to the testing scheme. Reported the Honolulu Advertiser's Diana Leone (emphasis mine):
For months, the mainstream media has obsessed with the evils of the "right wing attack machine." Recently, CBS bizarrely labeled attacks on Obama’s campaign financing flip flop "swift boating." ABC’s George Stephanopoulos even defended the Obama campaign’s discrimination against Muslims to "combat the issue" of false rumors that Obama is a Muslim.
While much of the mainstream media frets about the alleged GOP slime machine, they ignore the much larger, more heavily financed true smear machine from the left. The Politico reports that far left blogger John Aravosis, who also humiliates those who do not fit his brand of liberalism, is now attacking McCain’s Vietnam War record (ironically is exactly the outrage directed at the "swift boat" veterans)
Andrea Mitchell depicts Wesley Clark's cracks about John McCain's heroism as a gaffe. Bloopers that will cost him any chance of being picked for the Obama veep slot. But surely the seasoned MSM hand knows better than to imagine that Clark was freelancing. Clark's were anything but impromptu remarks, made, say, late at night to a foreign reporter in a hotel cocktail lounge in some far-flung land. To the contrary, Clark took his shots in the brightest of limelights—those of a Sunday morning talk show—speaking with the venerable Bob Schieffer. Clark was explicitly there as an Obama campaign surrogate.
Moreover, Clark had made similar comments before, as a guest on Morning Joe earlier this month [YouTube of earlier appearance]. So the Obama campaign was well aware of his views. If it had any qualms about him expressing them, surely he would have been warned off. Thus, far from representing a gaffe, Clark's comments must be seen as reflecting Barack Obama's calculated strategy—and that is precisely how the McCain campaign has interpreted them.
So why would Andrea Mitchell turn up on Morning Joe today lambasting Clark for his "stupid" and "dumb" remarks? You don't suppose she was trying to inoculate Obama, give him cover, some plausible deniability, so that the remarks get the maximum attention without Obama's fingerprints being seen on them?
On NBC's Meet the Press on Sunday, during a roundtable discussion of Barack Obama's running mate possibilities, correspondent Andrea Mitchell argued that one of the "minuses" for Obama choosing former Democratic Senator Sam Nunn would be that Nunn is "anathema to the gay and lesbian community" as she seemed to portray the "young Bill Clinton" as a victim who had the "Don't ask, don't tell" policy on gays in the military "shoved down his throat" by Nunn and then-Joint Chiefs Chairman Colin Powell in 1993. Mitchell: "Minuses: He is anathema to the gay and lesbian community because of 'Don't ask, don't tell.' He's tried to moderate his position, but it was he and Colin Powell who shoved that down the young Bill Clinton's throat in 1993, as a new President. So there are large Democratic interest groups who would rebel at the convention if Sam Nunn were the nominee." (Transcript follows)
Yesterday, charges against another Marine officer accused of involvement in the Haditha "massacre" were dismissed. Today's Washington Post printed a story, but it was from Los Angeles Times writer Tony Perry, not a Post staffer. What's more, Perry's 10-paragraph story was printed on page A10 below-the-fold. [Check here for Perry's article* at the Times Web site.]
At least that was nine paragraphs longer than the "Around the Nation" brief that the June 5 print edition of the Post ran to relay news of the acquittal of another Haditha Marine:
Marine Acquitted in Iraq Case
CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. -- A military jury acquitted Marine intelligence officer 1st Lt. Andrew Grayson of charges that he tried to help cover up the killings of 24 Iraqis in Haditha.
When Georgia Republicans ran an ad against former Senator Max Cleland, which included a photograph of Osama bin Laden, attacking the Democratic Senator's numerous votes to apply labor union rules to the Homeland Security Department, liberals were outraged as they claimed the ad was an attack on the "patriotism" of war hero Cleland. MSNBC host Keith Olbermann expressed outrage by mentioning the attack on Cleland several times in the last few years as he claimed that Cleland was "cut down," "sandbagged," "blindsided," "cheap shotted," "mugged," "hamstrung," and subjected to a "hatchet job," in part because of the inclusion of the bin Laden photograph.
But Olbermann himself recently employed a photograph of Osama bin Laden as he teased a story contending that "John McCain's top guy [Phil Gramm] on the economy made it easier for bin Laden," and charging that Gramm was "on the side of the terrorists' bankers before and after 9/11." The MSNBC host has also accused McCain of "betraying" U.S. troops, and has suggested that McCain does not "understand [the] risk and sacrifice" of U.S. troops serving in Iraq, and that he has "abandoned" them. He even went so far as to suggest that McCain has ulterior motives for supporting an extended U.S. presence in Iraq because he supports "war-profiteering" by U.S. firms who would benefit. And Olbermann once mocked McCain as "awol" during as Senate vote because he was at a fund-raiser "supporting himself instead of the troops." (Transcripts follow)
Lt. Col. Jeffrey Chessani is the latest Marine to turn out not to be a "cold-blooded killer" that the media and Democratic politicians painted Marines charged with the Haditha "massacre" to be. This two weeks after another Marine was acquitted in a Haditha court martial.
FoxNews.com has the AP story about the dismissal of charges against him here.:
CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. - A military judge dismissed charges Tuesday against a Marine officer accused of failing to investigate the killings of 24 Iraqis.
Col. Steven Folsom dismissed charges against Lt. Col. Jeffrey Chessani after finding that a four-star general overseeing the case was improperly influenced by an investigator probing the November 2005 shootings by a Marine squad in Haditha.
As you might have guessed, this story is not exactly commanding the airwaves of the cable news networks this afternoon, although the media obsessed about the "massacre" in 2005.
On Monday’s CBS "Evening News," correspondent Lara Logan touted what was essentially a press release from a key terrorist leader in Afghanistan: "Afghan warlord Gulbeddin Hekmatyar spoke exclusively to CBS News about the state of the insurgency in Afghanistan in this interview smuggled out of his secret hiding place." Logan went on to offer a translation of the video: "‘The resistance is spreading in all directions,’ he says. ‘It's becoming stronger and more powerful.’"
Logan went on to repeat more of Hekmatyar’s propaganda:
‘Although I'm confined to one bunker and a village which is under the threat of American warplanes all the time, I sleep very peacefully at night, while George Bush cannot sleep in the White House without the help of sleeping pills,’ he says.Hekmatyar mocks President Bush as a warmonger and blames him for Iran's meddling in Afghanistan. He says the Iranians are pouring money and weapons into the fight that's destroying his country.
In case you missed it, the Supreme Court Thursday bestowed Constitutional rights to terrorists currently held at Guantanamo Bay.
As my colleague Brent Baker reported hours ago, the broadcast evening news programs predictably saw this decision as a stinging defeat for the Bush administration that could prove tremendously embarrassing to the president.
Almost prophetically, conservative radio talk show host and constitutional lawyer Mark Levin stated earlier in the day that reporters making such statements "are lying through their teeth. They are propagandists, spewing the talking points of the enemy."
Beginning his program Thursday, Levin took the Supreme Court to task for this ruling, as well as the predictable standing ovation from the media, crescendoing to the following conclusion that should be required reading for all Americans interested in the truth concerning this matter (ten minute audio available here, picture courtesy Radcity):
A new study shows women and minorities are more satisfied in general with their jobs than white men in the military and that military women are generally much more positive about their career and career prospects than their civilian counterparts, according to a new study.
Newsweek's Sarah Kliff has the story in a Web exclusive (emphasis mine):
Barack Obama's greatest vulnerability as a candidate is, perhaps, his lack of national security credentials—the doubt in voters' minds as to whether he is qualified to be Commander-in-Chief. So if there was one thing Hillary Clinton could have done during her speech today to bolster Barack, it would have been a clear-cut statement that, yes, she believes in his ability to be Commander-in-Chief. But the only person person Hillary spoke of today as qualified to be Commander-in-Chief was . . . herself.
Let's recall that during the primaries, Hillary repeatedly hit Obama on the issue of his lack of C-of-C cred, going so far as to draw an invidious comparison between Obama and John McCain on the matter. Consider these statements from March, as reported by the Chicago Tribune [emphasis added]:
Another day and another Marine acquitted of charges from the so-called "Haditha massacre" that left-leaning journalists (doing the bidding of Democrat Jack Murtha) insisted actually happened.
Bob Owens has the story you won't be seeing on tonight's ABCNNBCBSMSNBC shows:
A military jury has acquitted 1st Lt. Andrew Grayson of all charges that he helped cover up the killing of 24 Iraqis in Haditha following the IED ambush of a Marine patrol.
Grayson, a Marine intelligence officer, had been accused of having a military photographer erase digital photos of the dead Iraqis. Grayson had turned down a plea deal to face charges on five counts that could have led to a maximum of 20 years in prison. An obstruction-of-justice charge against Grayson had been dismissed by the judge earlier in the week. [...]
As lead-ins to short reports on the posthumous presentation of a Medal of Honor, ABC and CBS on Monday night managed to squeeze in -- more than 20 minutes into their evening newscasts -- brief mentions of how in May the fewest number U.S. servicemen were killed in Iraq in any month since the war began five years ago. But not NBC Nightly News. (And Sunday's Today and Nightly News, as well as Monday's Today, also skipped the good news.) NBC anchor Brian Williams on Monday led with worries that “because it's been underfunded for decades, mass transit may not be ready for all the Americans leaving their cars behind,” and ran his short update, on the Medal of Honor going to Army Private First Class Ross McGinnis, without anything about the decline in troops killed.
Fill-in ABC anchor George Stephanopoulos set up his report on the White House ceremony presenting the honor to the parents of McGinnis by dampening the positive news with the total death number:
The Pentagon reported 19 American troops were killed in May. That's the lowest monthly toll since the war began. The total number of Americans killed in the war is now approaching 4,100.
On the CBS Evening News, anchor Katie Couric also noted the total, but CBS didn't display it on screen, as she painted the fewest killed as “perhaps” a sign violence is going down:
In Iraq, a sign perhaps that violence is decreasing. In the lowest monthly death U.S. toll since the war began, 19 Americans were killed in May. The total U.S. toll for the war is now 4,086.