In a story on Sunday’s CBS "60 Minutes," on a new non-lethal ray gun developed by the Pentagon, anchor David Martin explained why such a weapon is not yet on the battlefield: "Pentagon officials call it a major breakthrough which could change the rules of war and save huge numbers of lives in Iraq. But it's still not there. That's because, in the middle of a war, the military just can't bring itself to trust a weapon that doesn't kill."
However, Martin later explains that part of the reason for the weapon not being deployed in Iraq is due to political concerns over the potential abuse of such a weapon, especially given the extreme play past abuses have gotten in the media. He talked to Assistant Secretary of the Air Force, Sue Payton:
Joy Behar defended the indefensible on "The View," Gloria Steinem’s anti-military comments, and Elisabeth Hasselbeck came out strong against them. For those that missed it, the famous feminist implied Hillary Clinton is more qualified than John McCain because Senator Clinton did not serve in the military. Steinem rhetorically asked "killing people is a qualification for ruling people?" She continued to wonder how it may have been different had John McCain been a female prisoner of war.
"suppose John McCain had been Joan McCain and been captured, shot and been a POW for eight years. The media would ask ‘what did you do wrong to get captured? What terrible things did you do while you were there as a captive for eight years?’"
These inflammatory comments became the topic of discussion on the March 3 edition of "The View." Elisabeth Hasselbeck, to a very loud applause, called the rhetoric "despicable" and "evil."
Earlier this week, NewsBusters' Tim Graham noted the downbeat mood in many of the nominated movies at Sunday's Oscars, as originally written up by a Washington Post staff writer. NB's Matt Sheffield addressed the Feature Documentary award winner, "Taxi to the Dark Side," and the dearth of libertarian or conservative representation in the list of that category's nominees.
Taxi to the Dark Side? Never heard of it. Did not even know it existed. They wonder why no one watches the Oscars.
Voodoodaddy is far from alone, and his comment begs a bigger question: Why, as I believe is the case, would a company make a film knowing full well that almost no one will see it?
That's certainly not a question anyone in Old Media is asking. Two of the five nominees in the Feature Documentary category ("War/Dance" - $57,640; Operation Homecoming" - either $4,516 or $6,795) did barely noticeable business in 2007.
What follows is coverage of the February 28 presidential news conference. I focused mostly on the questions posited by the media. Video of the most biased questions should be posted shortly thereafter. [Update: White House transcript available here.]
Bottom line: Most of the really biased questions came down on the economy, particularly with regard to gas prices. Other than that and a question by Bill Plante about FISA immunity for telecom companies, most of the questions were fine, although the reporters often tried to draw Bush into handicapping the 2008 presidential contest or commenting on how his policies affect Sen. John McCain's chances:
As my colleague Brent Baker reported on February 15, of the three evening news programs offered by the major broadcast networks, only ABC's "World News" addressed the one year anniversary of the troop surge in Iraq, and did so by sharing with viewers how successful the strategy has been.
Yet, not all press members agree with ABC. In fact, some, like Michael Kinsley in Slate last Thursday, parrot the Democrat talking point "No, the surge is not a success" because troops aren't being aggressively withdrawn from the region.
With that in mind, what follows are two charts depicting events in Iraq that media members like Kinsley won't dare show American citizens:
In an attempt to salvage some degree of credibility for presidential candidate Barack Obama's assertions about military equipment shortages, Reuters reporter Andrew Gray went back to a long-discredited claim planted by a local Tennessee reporter, and resurrected a Donald Rumsfeld quote that was not relevant to his story topic.
First, Gray went to what Obama claimed, and how the Pentagon responded:
During the face-to-face encounter on Thursday evening, Obama said he had heard from an Army captain whose unit had served in Afghanistan without enough ammunition or vehicles.
Obama said it was easier for the troops to capture weapons from Taliban militants than it was "to get properly equipped by our current commander in chief," President George W. Bush.
"I find that account pretty hard to imagine," Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman told reporters.
During Thursday night’s Democratic presidential debate on CNN, Senators Clinton and Obama actually face two question that reflected a conservative agenda. CNN’s John King asked the candidates about the border fence and the surge in Iraq, topics that are not usually highlighted by the mainstream media.
King, during a portion of the debate concerning illegal immigration about a half hour into the 8 pm Eastern hour, asked Hillary Clinton about her vote in 2006 to support the construction of a border fence.
You're all aware, I'm sure, of the several attacks against our fighting men and women perpetrated by city governments of late. The Berkeley City Council, who intended to try and kick Marine recruiting offices out of the city, and Toledo, where Mayor Finkbeiner refused to allow the Marines to exit a bus in his city when they arrived to start planned upon exercises, are all over the news. It is also well known that in Toledo, Ohio and Berkeley, California protesters for and against the Marines have been deployed to face each other and the news media have been there to chronicle it all. But, one paper has taken it upon itself to try and excuse the very people who put these ignorant politicians into office who caused these rows in the first place.
The Toledo Free Press published a recent article titled "Controversy over Marines rejection impacts city's development efforts", the main thrust of which is that people shouldn't blame the businesses of either Toledo or Berkeley for the actions of their politicians. But, after seeing all the whining about lost revenue by the business community in both cities and after seeing them plead with people not to blame them for what their politicians do, it left me wondering why shouldn't we hold voters accountable for what their politicians do?
Americans will be in far greater danger of a terrorist attack after midnight Saturday due to House Democrats, led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Cal.), deciding to leave town for a break rather than vote on a surveillance bill that cleared the Senate Tuesday.
Sadly, the good folks at the Associated Press don't seem concerned, for instead of painting an accurate picture of this truly abysmal delay tactic by the left, the wire service chose to defend Pelosi and the Democrats while conveniently ignoring some key facts.
As reported moments ago (emphasis added throughout):
(See Update below for correction and clarification re Google News.)
This one has an interesting twist relating to Google News that I will get to later.
It should be no surprise that the so-called "newspapers of record" did very little with the news earlier this week that the actiing director of an Iraqi psychiatric hospital had been arrested for allegedly supplying mentally ill patients for use as, for lack of a better description, unwillingly co-opted "suicide bombers."
Iraq Hospital Chief Allegedly Supplied Patients for Bombings
The acting director of a Baghdad psychiatric hospital has been arrested on suspicion of supplying Al Qaeda in Iraq with the mentally impaired women it used to blow up two crowded animal markets in the city on Feb. 1, killing about 100 people.
The Times, in a report (link requires free registration) by Robert F. Worth and Nada Bakri, actually called the recently slain Hezbollah commander Imad Mugniyah a terrorist:
A top Hezbollah commander long sought by the United States for his role in terrorist attacks that killed hundreds of Americans in the 1980s, died Tuesday night in Damascus, Syria, when a bomb detonated under the vehicle he was in, Syrian officials said.
No one claimed responsibility for killing the commander, Imad Mugniyah, who had been in hiding for many years and was one of the most wanted and elusive terrorists in the world.
But, as James Taranto at Best of the Web noted, the Times's headline ("Bomb in Syria Kills Militant Sought as Terrorist") is nowhere near as clear as the first two paragraphs of the article's text, and a related Times online video by reporter John Kifner is much more blunt in its judgment of Mugniyah (Kifner received a reporting credit but not a byline in the print article).
The February 13th New York Times online contained fifteen "Pictures of the Day". Their #1, lead photograph was what you see to the right, with the following description (emphasis added):
Security officials in Lebanon said Imad Mugniyah, 45, a senior Hezbollah military commander, was killed by a car bomb on Tuesday night in Damascus, Syria. Mr. Mugniyah had been accused in a series of bombings, hijackings and kidnappings during the 1980s and 1990s, including the 1983 bombing of a Marine barracks in Beirut that killed 241 American service members. Mr. Mugniyah's father, Fayez, left, and grandfather held each other during a wake in Beirut.
On Saturday, Toledo-area blogger Maggie Thurber, yours truly (NewsBusters; BizzyBlog), and many others dealt with the now-national story of how Glass City Mayor Carty Finkbeiner had turned away Marine Corps Reservists who had been given prior clearance to conduct weekend urban warfare exercises in the city.
The Toledo Blade's Sunday and Monday coverage of the story clearly showed sympathy towards the still-unrepentant mayor, while taking a "what's the big deal?" attitude towards those who don't appreciate what he did.
Sunday's report by JC Reindl started its defense in its headlines ("Finkbeiner taking flak over Marines; Mayor defends his decision to cancel urban war games"; bolds are mine throughout), and continued into its text:
VACATE THE PREMISES Mayor to Marines: Leave downtown He says urban exercises scare people
A company of Marine Corps Reservists received a cold send-off from downtown Toledo yesterday by order of Mayor Carty Finkbeiner.
The 200 members of Company A, 1st Battalion, 24th Marines, based in Grand Rapids, Mich., planned to spend their weekend engaged in urban patrol exercises on the streets of downtown as well as inside the mostly vacant Madison Building, 607 Madison Ave.
Toledo police knew days in advance about their plans for a three-day exercise. Yet somehow the memo never made it to Mayor Finkbeiner, who ordered the Marines out yesterday afternoon just minutes before their buses were to arrive.
"The mayor asked them to leave because they frighten people," said Brian Schwartz, the mayor's spokesman.
I had the honor of attending the Presidential Banquet last evening at the 2008 Conservative Political Action Conference. Speakers included Bob Novak and Rep. Marsha Blackburn, as well as former ABC White House correspondent Sam Donaldson (who good naturedly needled Novak in a speech introducing and praising his career in journalism).
Blackburn spoke eloquently about having the "best district" in America and how faith, family, and a can-do volunteer spirit characterize her constituency. "Not once," Blackburn emphasized, did anyone she spoke to on Wednesday in the aftermath of devastating tornados, "ask where's FEMA?"
Blackburn, NewsBusters fans may recall was the target last September of an inaccurate and unfair ambush at the hands of MSNBC's David Shuster. For an archive of NewsBusters posts on that, check here.
See also Mark Finkelstein's Sept. 26 post complete with MSNBC's David Shuster apology for ambushing Blackburn:
Wednesday's NBC and CBS evening newscasts paid tribute to only the third Marine private ever, and the first since Vietnam, to be awarded the Silver Star, for heroism in the battle for Fallujah, who was killed in July during his third tour in Iraq. “At Camp Pendleton today,” NBC's Brian Williams reported at the end of his newscast, “a ceremony to honor a fallen U.S. Marine.” Williams outlined how “Corporal Sean Stokes was posthumously awarded the Silver Star, accepted by his dad for his heroism during the battle for Fallujah back in '04 when he was a private. Stokes is just the third buck private to receive the Silver Star in the past 40 years of U.S. military history, the first since the Vietnam war.”
The CBS Evening News concluded with a full story on the award to Stokes. Reporter Ben Tracy explained how Stokes was a “former athlete who chose the Marines over college after 9/11.” Noting he was “only a private,” Tracy related how “Sean stood out, often volunteering to go in first, directly in the line of fire. Wounded several times, he made it home twice.” Interspersed with reflection's from the Marine hero's father, Tracy observed that “this morning, on what would have been his 25th birthday, Sean was awarded the coveted Silver Star for courage in battle.”
The writers' strike is giving conservative fans of "24" a temporary reprieve from a maddening, preachy plots planned in the new season. So argues Bryan Preston at Hot Air, noting that Hollywood praises liberal anti-military, anti-war on terror fare like "Redacted," while it can't abide a pro-American, pro-war on terror far like "24," despite the latter being vastly more successful as a commercial enterprise than the former.
Preston notes that Day 7 of "24" opens by featuring lead character Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) defending his actions before a congressional committee that will doubtless rail against his methods in obtaining intelligence from terrorists. He notes this merely gives fictional liberal senators air time to echo arguments "24" fans here time and again from real life liberal politicians and the mainstream media (emphasis mine):
Serious question: why does Mika Brzezinski bother? Why does she sustain the charade of non-partisanship? Not a day goes by that host Joe Scarborough doesn't proclaim his conservative Republicanism. But despite a mountain of evidence as documented here over the months, Brzezinski continues to deny the undeniable: that she is a partisan Democrat.
On today's Morning Joe, Mika first put her GOP consultant cap on, counseling Republicans to stop supporting Romney, then floated the notion that she might actually vote Republican in the fall. The duo were mulling the latest poll numbers, which showed Mitt Romney having jumped up over the last month.
On Wednesday's The Situation Room, CNN's Jeffrey Toobin bizarrely objected to Rudy Giuliani's choice of words in his speech endorsing John McCain when the former mayor argued that McCain should be the next "Commander-in-Chief of the United States," instead of "Commander-in-Chief of the military," as the CNN analyst called the former mayor's statement "pretty outrageous." Toobin further contended that Giuliani's words were an example of his "militaristic, authoritarian approach that I think is just not right. ... That's not what the President does. He doesn't run the country." (Transcript follows)
At about 6:40 p.m. on the January 30 show, host Wolf Blitzer led Toobin, Gloria Borger and Jack Cafferty in a discussion that included reaction to Giuliani's speech, which had run live earlier that hour. After Borger gave a positive review of the speech, Toobin responded:
Over the course of at least nine months, CNN’s John Roberts has regularly labeled the troop surge in Iraq, the amassing of 28,000 additional troops in the country, the "so-called surge." Liberals, such as George Lakoff, have objected to the term "surge" in the past, since using the term would "subscribe to Bush’s misleading frame." Roberts' latest use of the phrase took place on Monday’s "American Morning." He posed the following question to White House Press Secretary Dana Perino. "The President is also going to be talking about Iraq tonight, Dana. He'll be talking, I guess, about the so-called surge, progress that's been made in terms of security and safety there. But there still has been little political progress. What's the President's message to Nouri Al-Maliki and the people who are in charge there in Iraq going to be tonight?"
This isn’t the first time Roberts has used the "so-called surge" phrase in an interview with Perino. In an April 20, 2007 interview with then-Deputy White House Press Secretary, Roberts asked, "You say that this so-called surge is working, that things are getting better. There are 182 people killed the other day in Baghdad, is that really getting better?"
Last year, the Washington Post let itself be so badly misled by a "study" on military recruiting from a far-left think tank that WaPo ombudsman Deborah Powell felt obliged to write a lengthy column about the matter, diplomatically taking her paper to task for failing to "tell the full story."
So when the same think tank came out with another recruiting study this year, surely WaPo would take it with a large grain of salt, right? Think again.
"I like how you think, senator," cooed "Late Show" host David Letterman in agreement with John Edwards's charge that "most of what" Fox News Channel host Bill O'Reilly says "is crap."
Letterman had asked the former senator about his "feud" with O'Reilly over Edwards's charge that the Bush administration is failing to care for military veterans to the extent that hundreds of thousands are winding up homeless.
The exchange came in a jovial January 22 interview in which Edwards joked about having Letterman as his running mate, or at the very least as a celebrity endorser a la Oprah Winfrey.
After the article "Shock Troops" in The New Republic had been challenged by critics , a documentary filmmaker/blogger by the name of JD Johannes narrowed down the search of the author to Alpha Company, 1-18 Infantry, Second Brigade Combat Team, First Infantry Division on July21.
Three days after that on July 24, the military began a formal investigation, which included taking statements from soldiers in Alpha/1-18IN.
Scott Beauchamp gave his initial statement on July 26, published here for the first time.
Former Navy SEAL Steve Robinson has been tracking down and exposing people falsely claiming to be real Navy SEALS or Green Berets, etc., for quite some time now. He says that people making false claims that they are members of America's elite forces are on the rise since 9/11. With the assistance of video producer John Carey, Mr. Robinson has created a little video about his efforts in which a NewsBusters story is featured prominently.
The blogosphere continues to boil with outrage over the Times's front-page story from Sunday on veterans coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan and committing murders, a story immediately discredited by cursory research as journalistically and statistically worthless. The paper's main finding, that 121 veterans either committed a killing in this country or are charged with one, was useless without context, which the Times either couldn't or didn't provide.
The story failed basic journalism, with the Times making no attempt to compare murder rates of veterans to that of the general population. Can one imagine the Times spouting out a raw number of murders committed by, say, illegal immigrants? Without context, the Times' big finding was useless, a single data point floating in space.
"Bush allows Navy to use sonar in whale areas," blares the headline to an AP story on MSNBC.com about President Bush granting the Navy the right to continue to test mid-frequency active sonar in coastal waters despite a federal court judge's order for the Navy to stop.
"Judge had earlier ordered 12-mile no-sonar zone off California," reads the subhead.
Gee, I wasn't aware that whales had legal claims on U.S. coastal waters, let alone that they are considered "whale areas."
The issue at hand is whether environmental laws can and should be shelved from time to time for national security exemptions, and if the president can make that determination as commander-in-chief. So why not a headline that's more straightforward?
"Bush allows Navy to use sonar in coastal waters. Decision challenges court ruling aimed at protecting whales."
"The New York Times" uses fuzzy math to smear volunteer soldiers and "Fox and Friends" picked it up. MRC’s Clay Waters reported on the "Sunday Times" January 13 story, "Across America, Deadly Echoes of Foreign Battles," essentially smearing soldiers linking some committed murders to the Iraq and Afghanistan conflict.
However, the numbers show that Iraq and Afghanistan veterans are far less likely to commit murder. On the January 16 edition of "Fox and Friends," co-host Steve Doocy noted that veterans are "five times less likely to commit murder." Gretchen Carlson noted the danger of putting out these dubious stories adding "You don't have time to actually get to the bottom of all of these articles. People just assume that what they read, wrong or right, is truth."
The '80s are back -- Sylvester Stallone has prepped another "Rambo" movie, Chuck Norris is an Internet icon and Mr. T is doing commercials. Alex Williams tackled the "trend" for the Sunday Styles section of the New York Times, "Tough Guys for Tough Times." Williams' story is a retread in its own way; the first sentence below in particular could have been been found 20 years ago in any college rag, pretentiously penned by an earnest liberal student straining for profundity:
"The leading action symbols of the Reagan era -- with all their excess, jingoism and good vs. evil bombast -- have returned, as outsize and obvious as they were in the decade of stonewash. Yet as stars of prime-time hits and feature films (not to mention Republican mascots), these actors are still as ripped and imposing as they were 20 years ago, and they continue to carry an undeniable authority with fans old and new."
Williams cracked on insecure conservative men, albeit in code ("likely not Hillary Clinton supporters"):
On Monday's Countdown show, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann used his regular "Worst Person in the World" segment to accuse the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Admiral Michael Mullen, of trying to "fake" a "Gulf of Tonkin" incident with Iran over the recent U.S. Navy confrontation with Iranian navy speed boats in the Strait of Hormuz. Referring to reports that, out of five Iranian boats, only one unarmed boat approached the U.S. Navy ships, and that the threatening message received could have come from a "well-known marine heckler" of the area, Olbermann awarded the "Worst Person" dishonor to Mullen: "So you guys tried to fake another Gulf of Tonkin incident using some clown with a CB radio and the lethal threat posed by the S.S. Minnow? Joint Chiefs Chairman Mike Mullen, on behalf of the Bush administration, today's 'Worst Person in the World'!"
While covering the murder of Marine Maria Lauterbach on Monday’s CBS "Early Show," Co-host Julie Chen used the opportunity to level broad charges against the military and its handling of sexual assault cases: "What did the Marines do to protect her, and when did they do it? It's a question we've heard asked for -- of the military for decades." This was followed by a report by CBS Correspondent David Martin, who agreed with Chen: "You're right, the military has long been accused of mishandling sexual assault reports, and there are now some protective measures in place."
Martin moved beyond Lauterbach, who reported being raped by the murder suspect, Cesar Laurean, last April, to other reports of sexual assault in the military:
MARTIN: Earlier in the Iraq war, revelations that there had been more than 100 sexual assault cases in Kuwait, Iraq , and the rest of the Persian Gulf, coupled with complaints from female service members that the male-dominated chain of command did not take their allegations seriously, brought this charge from Senator Susan Collins.