The improving situation in Iraq is driving certain congressmen and congresswomen to rhetorical depths I don't recall ever seeing.
Though there have almost surely been other instances of offensive excess on the House Floor over the Iraq War, we've recently been treated to at least the following:
Pete Stark (D-CA), October -- "You don't have money to fund the war or children,'' Stark said. "But you're going to spend it to blow up innocent people if we can get enough kids to grow old enough for you to send to Iraq to get their heads blown off for the president's amusement." Stark, under intense pressure from Nancy Pelosi, later tearfully apologized.
David Obey (D-WI), November -- Insurgents “are running out of people to kill,” and “There are fewer targets of opportunity.” I do not believe that Obey has backed off of his remarks.
Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), December -- "They (Republicans) like this war. They want this war to continue." Pelosi later "clarified," saying she meant to say "support" instead of "like."
The latest example, courtesy of Virginia Congressman Jim Moran on Wednesday, may, despite the strong competition noted, take the prize for greatest smear of our president, his administration, and/or our troops -- ever.
What is it with Hollywood liberals and their penchant for messing with my childhood heroes by making them shills for liberal storylines. First "GI Joe." Then "Knight Rider." What's next, "The A-Team"? Maybe. (h/t Perez Hilton)
Variety reported yesterday that John Singleton is on board to direct a silver screen adaptation of the 1980s TV action drama "The A-Team." This time it sounds like oil company executives may end up being the bad guys.
After months of declining violence in Iraq as a result of the troop surge, Wednesday’s CBS "Early Show" jumped on news of a car bombing in the Iraqi city of Amarah as co-host Russ Mitchell declared: "There's breaking news out of Iraq this morning. Three car bombs exploded today in one of the deadliest attacks in months."
CBS Correspondent Jeff Glor reported from Baghdad and tried to frame the bombing as part of an overall violent trend in the country:
Following a recent spike in violence in Baghdad in central Iraq, this is not good news in southern Iraq...They appear to follow a ruthless pattern, allowing insurgents to inflict maximum casualties, set off one explosion, wait for people to gather, then set off another...It also comes on the heels of an uptick in violence in Baghdad, which has been surprisingly quiet in recent months. In the past week, more than 100 Iraqis have died.
As a recent Media Research Center report on Iraq coverage has shown, as violence in Iraq has gone down in recent months, media coverage has fallen just as sharply. It is interesting that as soon as there was something bad to report, CBS suddenly became interested in Iraq again. However, former co-host Hannah Storm did make reference to troop surge success during an interview with Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden on October 16th, when she wondered if victory over Al Qaeda in Iraq was just "semanitcs."
Long-time gossip columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times, Michael Sneed, was one of the first to announce that the son of Chicago's Mayor Daley volunteered as a private in the U.S. Army in 2004 after successfully attaining his MBA from the University of Chicago. That was interesting reporting, that such a big city mayor's son would join the Army like a regular guy, of course, but has Sneed now taken her "exclusives" a step too far? On Dec. 11th, Sneed reported that Patrick Daley is being deployed overseas. Has this somewhat specific news endangered his life and/or that of his fellow soldiers now that the enemy has been told that the son of a famous politician is on his way to a specific theater of action as well as being told a targeted window of departure?
In an effort to have a fair and balanced debate on the issue of the destruction of CIA interrogation tapes, "Face the Nation" host Bob Schieffer invited Democratic Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Jay Rockefeller, and liberal Republican, Senator Chuck Hagel, on to Sunday’s broadcast. Hagel proved to be left of Rockefeller:
We are saying what to the world? That the Army Field Manual applies to our Army people, our armed services people, but the C.I.A. and all these Blackwater-type variations of militias and armies are unaccountable to what? That's not who we are as Americans, Bob. We're better than that. We don't need that. The world wants us to be better than that. We want to be better than that. We need to be smarter. Burning tapes, destroying evidence, I don't know how deep this goes. Could there be obstruction of justice? Yes. How far does this go up in the White House? I don't know.
That does not sound like an opinion from the mainstream of the Republican Party.
MSNBC hosts Joe Scarborough and David Shuster squared off in a heated battle on Tuesday over whether waterboarding constitutes torture. Scarborough appeared exasperated with his left-leaning guest and, at one point, derided, "Are you an expert? When did you decide and when did the liberal media decide and when did all of us in Manhattan, Georgetown and West Hollywood decide that waterboarding was torture?"
Later in the segment, Shuster began wildly comparing waterboarding to violent acts: "If you believe that America should torture, fine! Waterboard them! Drill them in the kneecaps. Shoot, shoot their legs off! Whatever you want to do." Scarborough responded by laughing and, in a nod to "24," announced, "I'm not Jack Bauer."
There is one current story in Iraq that has attracted the full attention of the Associated Press, and that is the case of Bilal Hussein, an AP photographer and terrorism suspect. The AP report on Hussein's hearing yesterday leaves out the fact that Hussein was arrested with a known al Qaeda terrorist... one of but many troubling aspects of the news organization's decision to forego objective news reporting in favor of self-serving advocacy in a clear and pervasive conflict of interest.
The Associated Press, as an involved party in this case, should recuse themselves from reporting on Hussein's trial.
MRC Director of Research and NewsBusters Senior Editor Rich Noyes appeared Monday night on the "O'Reilly Factor" to discuss his findings in the December 4 Media Reality Check, "Good News = Less News on Iraq War."
As we previously noted, Fox News host Bill O'Reilly cited the MRC study in his December 6 "Talking Points Memo" segment. Video (2:35) from that "Factor":Real (1.91 MB) and Windows (1.60), plus MP3 audio (1.19 MB).
Quickly reacting to the December 9 Washington Post's front page revelation yesterday that some Democrats, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi knew about waterboarding interrogation techniques YEARS ago, Time's Joe Klein sought to silence criticism of Democratic hypocrisy.
The media's reaction to the November 2007 National Intelligence Estimate on Iran's nuclear weapon program has been as grandiose as it is selective, inaccurate and wrong-headed.
The single excerpt they chose to trumpet, that the report proffers with "high confidence" that Iran halted weapons development in 2003, maximized their ability to bash President George W. Bush for being wrong all along about one third of his Axis of Evil.
The MSM has characterized as "war mongering" and "the politics of fear" Bush's consistent and prudent imputations to keep our eye on -- amongst other things -- the spinning Persian ball. They allege the Administration wielded these Terror implements to rush us into battle in Iran and to ensure electoral wins here at home.
FNC's Bill O'Reilly on Thursday night centered his "Talking Points Memo" around the findings in the MRC's Media Reality Check study released earlier this week, "Good News = Less News on Iraq War: As Surge Succeeds and Casualty Rates Fall, ABC, CBS and NBC Lose Interest In Iraq War." O'Reilly pointed out how U.S. casualties and violence are way down from six months ago. Then, citing the MRC's numbers with a chart displaying them on screen, he observed how now "there is far less carnage in Iraq and far less reporting about the war. Since the surge began, Iraq war stories on the nightly news programs have dropped from 178 a month to 68 in November. Those stats were compiled by the conservative watchdog group Media Research Center and you can read the report online at mrc.org."
Editor & Publisher editor Greg Mitchell is hot on the trail with a year long E&P tribute to local newspapers that are covering "the shocking number of suicides among U.S. troops in Iraq or after they return home". At first I figured this was a strange tribute to be making, especially considering that Mitchell didn't bother to present any facts when implying that the war is to blame for such tragic deaths. Instead Mitchell follows it up with an AP story about the apparent suicide of Army veteran Tyler Curtis and presents this incident as further proof to bolster the claim.
NEW YORK For the past year, E&P has paid tribute to local newspapers, sometimes quite small ones, that have covered extremely sensitive and revealing stories that previously gained little attention: the shocking number of suicides among U.S. troops in Iraq or after they return home. Recent studies suggest the figure, once in the hundreds, is now in the thousands.
Not a single one of these outlets discusses the fact that Franklin Foer spent the better part of 13 pages alleging a military conspiracy spanning four bases in three countries involving dozens of soldiers, from privates to colonels.
I guess they didn't want to discuss how nutty that explanation sounds.
Nor did they mention that Foer and The New Republic refused to apologize to those soldiers in Iraq and Kuwait they accused of atrocities.
Not a single one them acknowledges that Foer was being deceptive when he claimed back in July "the article was rigorously edited and fact-checked before it was published."
On Sunday’s CBS "60 Minutes," anchor Scott Pelley, who referred to Iranian President Ahmadinejad as "friendly," "modest," and "incorruptible," compared American forces in Iraq to barbarian hordes of the past while examining the plight of Iraqi Christians since the war began in 2003: "The Iraqi Christian community, which had survived invasions by Mongols and Turks, was driven out under American occupation."
During the segment, Pelley interviewed an Anglican Reverend in Baghdad named Andrew White:
PELLEY: He was first sent to Baghdad by the Archbishop of Canterbury nine years ago, well before the Christian persecution. You were here during Saddam's reign, and now after. Which was better? Which was worse?
WHITE: Well, it's difficult to describe. The situation now is clearly worse now, but --
PELLEY: Worse than Saddam?
WHITE: Oh, far. There's no comparison between Iraq now and then. Things are the most difficult they have ever been for Christians. Probably ever in history. They've never known it like now.
PELLEY: Wait a minute. Christians have been here for 2,000 years.
WHITE: Yes. And it's now the worst it has ever been.
Two days after the CNN/YouTube Republican debate, where the news network failed to mention a questioner’s affiliation with Hillary Clinton’s homosexual steering committee, "The Situation Room’s" Jack Cafferty, in his "Cafferty File" segment, asked whether "it is time for the U.S. to rethink ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ when it comes to gays in the military," and featured statistics from the New York Times and the top homosexual advocacy group in the country, without verbally attributing these sources.
The "Cafferty File" segment began 10 minutes into the 5 pm Eastern hour, and in the midst of the two breaking news stories of the evening - the train crash in Chicago and the hostage standoff at Clinton’s campaign office in New Hampshire. Cafferty began by citing that "twenty-eight retired generals and admirals say that it's time for this country to repeal the U.S. military's policy of 'don't ask, don't tell.' On the fourteenth anniversary of this being signed into law, they've signed a letter calling for Congress to get rid of it." He then cited two statistics, which were also displayed on the screen - that there are supposedly 65,000 gays and lesbians in the military, and that there are more than 1 million gay veterans.
Retired Brig. Gen. Keith Kerr, a member of Hillary Clinton's campaign, in the audience at CNN's Republican debate of November 28th, making comments after the airing of his YouTube question on gays in the military.
Who's Hollywood's latest Big Bad Villain? Private military contractors--giving rise to a new version of Derangement Syndrome: Blackwater Derangement Syndrome or BwDS.
Echoing lefty rage at Blackwater, TV shows from “Boston Legal” to “Jericho” have turned contractors into the bad guys.
NBC's upcoming two-hour movie/backdoor pilot “Knight Rider” is no different, but this time Michael Knight and KITT the talking car are "counteracting and preventing the damage done by private, covert military contractors.”
According to the November 29 Hollywood Reporter, television's latest venture into contractor bashing is this sequel to the campy '80s David Hasselhoff show. In the new movie, Michael Knight's son Mike Tracer (what, was Mike Gunn or Mike Bullitt too obvious? Was Mike Stone not manly enough?) is now driving KITT and fighting the real threat to the world—private military contractors (bold mine):
The surveyor will see you now Journalist and Pollster (Either Or)
As an increasing number of Americans exhibit knowledge of and confidence in the success of the surge in Iraq, pollsters seeking a gloomier picture have turned to their single most reliable focus group for bad news. They have in fact skipped the middle men and women and gone to its very font: the media.
Nearly 90 percent of U.S. journalists in Iraq say much of Baghdad is still too dangerous to visit, despite a recent drop in violence attributed to the build-up of U.S. forces, a (Pew Research Center) poll released on Wednesday said.
One wonders if this is the same 90% of correspondents who admitted to voting for President Bill Clinton twice; certainly a great deal of overlap exists between the two polling samples.
Did you know that the US is still at war with Korea, Germany, Japan, Bosnia and Kosovo? Based on “Hardball” host Chris Matthews' recent claims, we are still at war with those countries and will be until our troops leave their soil. (h/t Weasel Zippers)
On his November 28 show (transcript here), MSNBC's Matthews discussed Iraq with Washington Post columnist David Ignatius, wondering when “will we be able to come home.” In the process, the former Carter speechwriter said, “If we can't ever come home, we can't ever say we won.”
Silly me, I thought WWII, the Korean War, the Bosnian War and the Kosovo War were over. I guess the US troops still stationed in those countries prove otherwise (bold mine throughout):
Wash, spin, rinse, spin. Phone, spin, report, spin, poll, spin. The similarities between the work of the mainstream media and a laundry machine are striking. Yet there is nothing about the cycle -- the spin-report-poll-spin cycle -- that does for political events what detergent does for your boxers or briefs.
The media, as One, spend days or weeks bashing someone or something they do not like. They then conduct a poll to prove to you that they were right all along. In a campaign season, their one-sided coverage is calculated, then executed to produce a result. It’s not about reporting the events, it’s about changing the prevailing view.
And the polls -- such as the ones by the media, which are not independent surveys like those undertaken by the likes of Rasmussen or Gallup -- aren’t intended as much to gauge the public view of a candidate or events as they are to reinforce that which they have “reported”, or provide the media guidance on how effective their spinning of the news has been.
On the CBS "Early Show" on Nov. 13th, co-host Julie Chen claimed that there was "an alarming suicide rate among veterans" of the Iraq/Afghanistan conflicts. CBS then aired a report that went on to claim that the suicide rate for our troops had wildly climbed. Fellow NewsBuster Kyle Drennen had his doubts about the report when the show originally aired and now comes an editorial by oftentime military reporter Michael Fumento further casting large amounts of skepticism on the CBS report.
The CBS show specifically wanted to make it seem like Iraq war vets are the ones that have seen these outrageously rising suicide rates. Reporter Armen Keteyian included in his report this opener:
The New York Times's liberal readership surely got indigestion over Tuesday's lead story from Baghdad by Damien Cave and Alissa Rubin, "Baghdad Starts to Exhale as Security Improves." It's even accompanied by three photos of normal life in the Iraqi capital.
Yes, this is the same New York Times that declared less than a month ago in the lead sentence to a lead editorial:
"The news out of Iraq just keeps getting worse."
But on Tuesday the Times made a public bow to the improving reality in Iraq, admitting:
"The security improvements in most neighborhoods are real. Days now pass without a car bomb, after a high of 44 in the city in February. The number of bodies appearing on Baghdad’s streets has plummeted to about 5 a day, from as many as 35 eight months ago, and suicide bombings across Iraq fell to 16 in October, half the number of last summer and down sharply from a recent peak of 59 in March, the American military says.
Catching up with news from the end of last week, NBC and CBS on Friday night jumped to highlight an increase in Army desertions blamed on the Iraq war, but failed to note the rate has simply returned to its 2001 level or that the number of desertions by Marines, a service also heavily committed to Iraq, has fallen. Brian Williams led the NBC Nightly News with how “the number of desertions from the U.S. Army is way up in the six years we've been at war.” Jim Miklaszewski outlined how “over the past year, 4,698 soldiers were declared deserters. That's an alarming increase of 42 percent over the previous year, but a stunning 80 percent jump in desertions compared to the first year of fighting. As they did during the Vietnam War, many deserters flee to Canada to avoid a military court-martial in the U.S.” Unlike Miklaszewski, CBS reporter David Martin added some perspective by pointing out that “the overall number of deserters represents less than one percent of soldiers on active duty. During the last unpopular war, Vietnam, the desertion rate was five percent.”
Both networks linked their stories to Canada's top court rejecting asylum for two U.S. Army deserters. On NBC, a deserter living in Canada asserted: “The whole reason we're here is because this was a bogus war. There were no weapons of mass destruction. There were no links to international terrorism.” CBS featured another deserter who rationalized: “If I had been asked to go to Afghanistan, I would have gone there. But the Iraq War, I didn't want to have any part of that anymore.”
On CBS’s "Sunday Morning" this past weekend, reporter Martha Teichner did a profile of recently deceased ultra left-wing author, Norman Mailer, who she described as "... a hell of a big man for a short guy, scrappy, brilliant, controversial. Slugging away at life and letters until the very end." Of course, this was the same Norman Mailer that said of the World Trade Center in October 2001: "Everything wrong with America led to the point where the country built that tower of Babel, which consequently had to be destroyed."
Later Teichner remarked that "Mailer was unapologetically liberal, anti-war, anti-Nixon, anti-establishment." Well, he certainly was "anti-establishment" when he said to a "London Telegraph" reporter in February 2002, "America has an almost obscene infatuation with itself...The right wing benefitted so much from September 11 that, if I were still a conspiratorialist, I would believe they'd done it."
At another point, Teichner observed that "Norman Mailer loved playing the political provocateur." That proved true when in 2003, Mailer asserted to the "London Times" that, "Bush thought white American men needed to know they were still good at something. That's where Iraq came in...."
Tuesday’s CBS "Early Show" featured a segment on a recent Veteran’s Affairs report that outlined "an alarming suicide rate among veterans," according to co-host Julie Chen. Reporter Armen Keteyian then previewed an upcoming "Evening News" segment on the findings and shared the stories of particular veterans who served in Iraq:
Staff Sergeant Justin Reyes spent a violent year serving in Iraq...Medical records show Justin suffered severe psychological trauma after witnessing "multiple dead" and having to "sort through badly mutilated bodies." Earlier this year, one month after separating from the Army, Justin hanged himself with a cord in his apartment, at just 26...families recently sat down to talk about losing loved ones, all veterans of Iraq, to suicide...Mia Sagahon's boyfriend, Walter, shot himself at age 27 about a year and a half after he came back from Iraq.
Keteyian got a response from Democratic Senator, Patty Murray (D-Wash.) on the issue: "That's a lot of young men and women who've gone to fight for us, who've come home and found themselves that lost."
Both President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney gave speeches honoring military veterans on November 11, Veterans Day. Yet rather than take a short breather from his usual rants about the Bush administration to celebrate veterans' service and sacrifice, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann chose to portray the president as a callous commander-in-chief for not laying a wreath at Arlington National Cemetery on Veterans Day.
But a review of the principal speakers over the history of the wreath-laying and accompanying speech shows that U.S. presidents often send other dignitaries (such as the Vice President or Secretary of Defense) to perform the honor of laying the wreath and addressing the assembled audience in the adjacent amphitheater.
In what began as a Veterans Day tribute to African-American military veterans, a segment on Sunday’s CBS "Sunday Morning,"soon became a rant against the Bush Administration as reporter Bill Whitaker exclaimed:
The concerned Department of Defense has studied why black enlistment has plummeted and found that many of the so-called "influencers" in the black community, parents, teachers, clergy, feel in general, that Bush Administration policies have hurt African-Americans. And more than any other group, they oppose the war in Iraq.
Whitaker then examined the case of Macio Sheffield, an African-American high school student in Los Angeles who was a member of the Junior ROTC. After Sheffield explained his reason for being in ROTC: "I enjoy learning about respect and discipline. I like the Army. I love America," Whitaker followed with, "But first Macio will have to get past his parents, Macio senior and Terry Craten, who, like the majority of the blacks in the survey, oppose the Bush Administration and this war." Whitaker then talked to Sheffield’s parents:
Instead of the progress that has been made in lowering violence in the country, CNN decided to focus on the "significant price" of the troop surge in Iraq. Tuesday’s "American Morning" reported that the Defense Department had decided to pull an entire brigade out of Iraq. Co-host John Roberts asked Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr "what’s this really mean for the war?" Starr only mentioned the decrease in violence in passing as she reported that the troop surge is "now officially in reverse gear." She did not include figures of this recent downturn in violence, something that only CBS Evening News did among the "Big Three" evening news broadcasts on Monday.
Starr’s report aired at the beginning of the 7 am Eastern hour of "American Morning." After she reported which units were sending troops home, Roberts asked her about the "price" of progress in Iraq. "Barbara, a lot of people are talking about progress here in Iraq, but progress comes at a price." In response, Starr highlighted the Bush administration’s lack of pressure on the Iraqi government to work on reconciliation, the shift to working with local groups that may become "armed militias" when the U.S. leaves Iraq, and how "ethnic cleansing" has divided Baghdad.
As the mainstream media often accentuate the negative in the Iraq War -- see Newsweek's latest photo essay -- independent journalist Michael Yon's latest photograph (pictured at right) is highly unlikely to grace the cover of any major liberally-biased newsmagazine.
Yet the picture of Muslim and Christian Iraqis working together to affix a cross atop St. John's Church in Baghdad is creating buzz throughout the blogosphere on sites such as Captain's Quarters, Michelle Malkin, and the Anchoress as a sign of everyday progress -- not just militarily but in the battle for the "hearts and minds" of the Iraqi people.
Here are some of the Anchoress's thoughts on the matter:
It’s one of those photographs that takes the breath - there is a feeling of cognitive dissonance. Some of us on one side - who perhaps have never understood why we went to Iraq in the first place - may look at this picture and say, “but…but…Iraq is a hell-hole, an unmanageable, unwinnable, place of civil strife, death and occupied people who hate us!”
Some of us on the other side, who - overwhelmed with images of burned flags and screaming mobs - may have forgotten the humanity of the Iraqi people (people we let down once before, and who had reason to distrust us and our commitment) may see these Muslims and Christians raising a cross together, in a language of brotherhood and gratitude, and say, “but…but…all those people are bad people…”