Yesterday in Stockholm at the G20 summit, President Barack Obama said the following in regards to the use of chemical weapons in warfare: "I didn't set a red line. The world set a red line." For years, the press obsessed over the alleged untruthfulness of President George W. Bush's "16 words" ("The British Government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa") in his 2003 State of the Union address. Today, the Associated Press won't even directly quote the first six of Obama's.
Regardless of whether one thinks that Obama's statement is an attempt to abdicate personal responsibility for his original "red line" (i.e., in the sand) statement a year ago or an assertion that his year-ago statement merely affirmed what the rest of the world believes, it's news, and should be presented to the nation's readers and viewers in quotes. But not at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, which is barely recognizing the existence of the "red line" at all.
Monday morning, 22-term Democratic Congressman Charlie Rangel of New York, as reported by Tal Kopan at the Politico, said that President Barack Obama's drawing of a "red line" on Syria is "embarrassing," and that he is against "putting our kids in harm’s way to solve an international problem."
Rangel is the third most-senior House member of either party. If a senior Republican congressperson similarly criticized opposed a Republican or conservative president in a matter such as this, there would be widespread establishment press coverage. In this case, there's very little. This is not unusual for stories detrimental to Democratic Party interests, as the rest of the establishment press all too often seems content to say, "Oh, that was already in the Politico, so we don't have to cover it."
Its actual headline is, "Obama's history-defying decision to seek Congressional approval on Syria." As Instapundit's Glenn Reynolds noted a short time ago: "You can read this entire article about Obama going to Congress over Syria without seeing any mention that Bush went to Congress over Iraq and Afghanistan." After the jump, readers will get as much as (or maybe more than) they can stand, complete with the "There were no WMDs in Iraq" lie (bolds are mine):
On her Friday MSNBC program, host Andrea Mitchell tried to ease the concerns of Democratic Congresswoman Barbara Lee and other members of Congress calling for a congressional vote on military action in Syria: "Barack Obama, as you know better than I do, was one of the leading Democratic politicians against the Iraq War. So if he says that this is different, that the evidence is there....does that persuade you since he has always come at this from a very cautious anti-war perspective?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Accepting the odd juxtaposition of the President launching missile strikes from an "anti-war perspective," Lee responded: "And I'm very pleased that the President has come at this in a very cautious manner....But also that has nothing to do with our constitutional responsibility as members of Congress, Andrea."
Reporter Josh Lederman is in on it too. He never specficially describes Obama's current actions as "orders." Alternate words include "announced," "proposing," "executive actions," and "new policy." It isn't until the second-last of his 13 paragraphs that Lederman informs readers that "the White House has completed or made significant progress on all but one of the 23 executive actions Obama had previously ordered in January" (but the actions themselves are not called "orders".
It looks as if MSNBC has kowtowed to Bradley Manning’s request to be referred to as a woman. On Sunday’s Weekends with Alex Witt, fill-in host Mara Schiavocampo tried to honor Manning’s bizarre request, but kept slipping up and referring to Manning as “he.”
In a teaser before the segment, Schiavocampo declared, “Bradley Manning is now Chelsea Manning. But is Leavenworth prison legally obligated to grant the soldier gender re-assignment therapy? And is she in any danger in a men's prison?” [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
In an exclusive interview with Bradley Manning's attorney David Coombs on Thursday's NBC Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie read a "bombshell announcement" from the convicted military leaker: "I want everyone to know the real me. I am Chelsea Manning. I am a female." After referring to Manning as "he" throughout the segment, Guthrie immediately switched pronouns: "Why did she choose this moment to announce this?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Guthrie then fretted: "She wants hormone therapy. Fort Leavenworth does not provide that. Are you going to sue to try to force the government to give her hormone therapy, and perhaps a sex-reassignment surgery?" Coombs replied: "...as far as the hormone therapy, yes. I'm hoping Fort Leavenworth would do the right thing and provide that. If Fort Leavenworth does not, then I am going to do everything in my power to make sure that they are forced to do so."
We at NewsBusters have repeatedly raked Reuters over the coals for years now on various issues -- particularly their steadfast refusal in numerous stories to call terrorists "terrorists." But today a kudos is in order as the news wire -- in reporting Private Bradley Manning's desire to undergo hormone therapy to take on the persona of a woman named Chelsea -- refuses to call Manning a "she," something that Time magazine and NBC's Savannah Guthrie, among other journalists, are doing.
In Susan Heavey and Ian Simpson's 24-paragraph story this afternoon, the only times Manning was described as a "she" was when his lawyer was directly quoted [article accessed via ChicagoTribune.com]:
So what if he disclosed information that potentially threatened American lives and security interests? Manning's a "frail guy who doesn't look threatening to anyone." So you have to question the length of his sentence.
Such was the bizarre logic that Chris Matthews—guest hosting for Andrea Mitchell on MSNBC today—employed as he bemoaned Bradley Mannings' sentence--which could in practice see him freed in less than 10 years. Matthews was also moved by the fact that in military prison, Manning will be surrounded by people "who won't like him." View the video after the jump.
Two reporters at the Associated Press covering the trial of the alleged (but really confessed) perpetrator of the Ft. Hood massacre still believe there is a "key but difficult question" which needs to be answered: "Why did Maj. Nidal Hasan attack his fellow soldiers in the worst mass shooting ever on a U.S. military base?"
Although the narrative of Nomaan Merchant and Michael Graczyk is couched in the context of what prosecutors will allow themselves to say in the trial itself — after all, the government claims that the murders represent an incident of workplace violence, and therefore not one involving terrorism — the pair's opening, which is what will get most readers' attention, still makes it appear that Hasan's motives remain vague (bolds are mine):
Finally. Four years after Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan walked into the Soldier Readiness Processing Center at Fort Hood, Texas, and perpetrated the bloodiest massacre ever on an American military base, the self-confessed jihadist's court martial proceedings began this week. Have you forgotten?
Americans obsessed over the O.J. Simpson, Casey Anthony and Jodi Arias trials. Gun-control lobbyists turned Newtown, Aurora and Tucson into national awareness-raising, fundraising and legislation-promoting campaigns. But where are the celebrity lobbyists and high-profile advocates for the victims of bloodthirsty Muslim vigilante Nidal Hasan?
Bradley Manning must be terribly lonely. After all, how many gay men have made news the last few years without being celebrated in the media for their gayness? And a gay man who also “struggles with issues of gender identity” can pretty much write his own contract with MSNBC.
But the media, and the broadcast networks especially, are oddly reticent about the sexual orientation and confusion of Manning, the army private convicted of the most extensive military intelligence security breach in U.S. history.
It has been almost 48 hours since the New York Post's Melissa Klein first reported that "This iconic picture of firefighters raising the stars and stripes in the rubble of Ground Zero was nearly excluded from the 9/11 Memorial Museum," because "the museum’s creative director ... considered the Tom Franklin photograph too kitschy and "rah-rah America."
A Google News search on "Ground Zero New York" (not in quotes, past seven days, showing duplicates) returns only 24 relevant items. None are from establishment press outlets. The same search at the Associated Press's national web site also returns nothing relevant. Excerpts from Klein's Post report, as well as Publishers Weekly's review of the upcoming book, are after the jump.
On Tuesday's NBC Today, during a report on a attack against Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison that freed hundreds of Al Qaeda terrorists, chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel couldn't resist slamming the U.S. for past abuses at the facility: "Abu Ghraib prison, notorious for American abuses and humiliations that [turned] an untold number against the United States, remains an open wound." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Engel began the segment by dismissing the Iraq war as a futile effort: "Iraq is now back in a civil war U.S. officials tell NBC News. The hard-fought U.S. surge there, the benefits of an American war to stop Iraq's civil war, are being wiped out. In car bombs, ambushes and gun fights, more than 250 killed in ten days."
This Fourth of July weekend is turning into an unforseen laff-fest. Yesterday we had NBC featuring a photo of President Obama making what he might have thought was an assertive hand gesture while discussing the situation in Egypt with his aides.
Today treats us to historian Douglas Brinkley, on Morning Joe, claiming that when it comes to foreign policy, President Obama reminds him of, yes, Supreme-Allied-Commander-turned-President Dwight D. Eisenhower. View the chuckle-worthy video after the jump.
Two years ago, a humor website called The Washington Fancy presented the headline “Obama Cancels July 4th Because of Budget Cuts.” The fake article in the middle of debt-ceiling battles insisted “President Obama sees the cancellation of the holiday as due punishment for Congress’s recent behavior.”
It continued: “Canceling the July 4th holiday will save states and cities billions of dollars in money that would have normally been spent on Chinese fireworks and large brass bands.” It’s not funny anymore. Now, with what AP falsely calls the “congressionally mandated” sequester cuts, military bases have done just that. They have cancelled Fourth of July events.
“America will never be destroyed from the outside,” President Abraham Lincoln once argued, explaining, “if we falter and lose our freedoms it will be because we destroyed ourselves.” Or rather, according to Hollywood’s latest masterpiece, “White House Down,” America’s suicide will arise from racist right-wing sociopaths, hateful bloggers, NSA hackers, and weapon-manufacturing companies – with ABC News reporting live.
Once again, Hollywood can’t bring itself to acknowledge America’s real enemies – the ones who actually kill American soldiers, diplomats and civilians. Instead, it turns fellow citizens with a differing view into bloody-minded monsters. In Whit House Down,” Columbia Picture’s new film directed by Roland Emmerich and written by James Vanderbilt, pro-military citizens and right-wingers – the destroyers of the peace – are the culprits.
A federal judge has finally selected a trial date for accused Fort Hood mass-murderer Nidal Malik Hasan – July 9. We’ll see if it actually happens. If you’ve forgotten that mass shooting, then the media had scored a point for President Obama. The Pentagon dismissed the terrorist attack as “workplace violence,” the Obama media nodded in agreement and the massacre vanished from public memory.
Hasan went on his deadly rampage, killing 13 and wounding another 32, on November 5, 2009. By the beginning of 2010, the networks were already in “sleep” mode. On the one-year anniversary, only NBC filed a story (that completely avoided the word “Obama”), while CBS had a single anchor brief. Amazingly, ABC offered nothing.
Netroots Nation, the leftist annual convention currently in progress in San Jose (next year it's in Detroit; can't wait), bills itself as a "connector of awesome progressive activists."
Based on Emily Schultheis's Saturday morning report at the Politico on the viewpoints of those in attendance, the gathering's slogan should really be, "Blame it on Bush and Boehner." The Politico reporter also professes surprise that these largely angry leftists aren't angry at President Barack Obama, as if anyone would have really expected that (bolds are mine):
If you need any further proof that the Lean Forward network is all in for the Democratic Party, look no further than the weekend program Disrupt. The newly-minted show is hosted by Karen Finney, frequent MSNBC contributor and former Director of Communications for the Democratic National Committee (DNC).
Finney decided to rewrite history on Sunday, suggesting to guest Heather Hurlburt that NSA surveillance is acceptable under the Obama administration, but was unacceptable under the Bush administration, because fighting a “global war on terror with these unseen foes” is the “new normal.”
Openly gay CNN anchor Anderson Cooper devoted a full quarter of his Thursday, June 6 program to the story of a transgender ex-Navy SEAL who laments that he could not serve in the military now as a man who identifies as a woman. [Listen to the audio here]
Cooper chronicled the adult life of Christopher Beck, who now goes by Kristin, who first enlisted in the Navy in 1990 and would eventually achieve his goal of serving as a member of the Navy SEALs. However, he claimed that he always had an inner struggle with his gender identity. He was born a man, but identified himself as a woman. He also claims to have signed up for the SEALs to try to suppress or “cure” his feminine desires but never could.
In a story which I can attest is accurate, Gina Loudon at WND.com, formerly WorldNetDaily, reports that the Air Force's 624th Operations Center is warning airmen not to look at the news.
That's not exactly what they're saying, but they might as well be. What the "Notice to Airmen" says is that "Users are not to use AF NIPRNET systems to access the Verizon phone records collection and other related news stories because the action could constitute a Classified Message Incident." It's currently pretty hard to go to a news site without seeing a blurb on a "related story," given how many "related stories" there are which go way beyond Verizon to nine tech companies, 50 other companies, Edward Snowden, White House, congressional and bureaucrats' responses, etc. The Air Force's claim that reading a news story or even looking at documents which have been made public is a "Classified Message Incident" is pretty shaky, based on the definition provided in a two-year old memo I located. That definition, and a grab of the censorious memo, follow the jump.
Things got feisty on Morning Joe today, as Glenn Greenwald of the Guardian clashed with Mika Brzezinski over the leak of the NSA phone surveillance program by Greenwald's informant, Edward Snowden. H/t NB reader Jeff M.
When Brzezinski alleged that wiretapping or the review by the NSA of emails required an additional judicial review and warrant, Greenwald accused Mika of using "White House talking points" that were "completely misleading and false." Mika denied it. Greenwald upped the animosity by telling Mika she would have known better if she had paid even "remote attention" to the issues over the last ten years. View the video after the jump.
Former President George W. Bush has kept a low profile in his years after office, preferring to focus on personal reflection and veterans' causes since leaving the presidency in 2009. But that didn't keep a left-wing panel on MSNBC from using Bush's recent bike ride with wounded veterans to blast his presidency, though.
Alex Wagner, who anchors the noontime Now program on the Lean Forward network, introduced a segment on Friday's program about Bush's annual mountain bike ride with wounded veterans around his ranch in Texas. But she quickly turned the nonpartisan cause into a sneering criticism of the former president's intelligence and decision-making, with nary a word of praise for the charity work:
In case you didn't get the gist of President Obama's Thursday speech at National Defense University, the AP's Robert Burns boiled it down on Saturday, perhaps supportively: "OBAMA REFOCUSES TERROR THREAT TO PRE-9/11 LEVEL."
That leaves one annoying detail Burns and Obama ignore: The "pre-9/11 threat level" wasn't that much different from the threat level during the first few years after 9/11. But our response in going to a war footing and more conscientious coordination at home was. As a result, there were no more successful terrorist attacks until the Ft. Hood massacre (mislabeled "workplace violence by our hapless government) in November 2009. The World Trade Centers were bombed in 1993. After that, there were at least the following: Khobar Towers in 1996, the American embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998, the USS Cole in 2000, and other incidents in the U.S. which may have been inspired by Islamist terrorists despite official conclusions to the contrary. The "pre-9/11 threat level" was actually higher, especially if one remembers, well, 9/11. But that's certainly not the message Obama, with Burns's help, is trying to convey. Instead, it's that the President "has all but declared" that global war on terror is over (bolds are mine):
Code Pink's Media Benjamin managed to break into another presidential event on Thursday, namely Barack Obama's speech at the National Defense University. The topic was "U.S. Counterterrorism Strategy," meaning that the administration's aversion to the T-word seems to be diminishing as the damaging scandal-related news continues to pour in.
Readers will see that Benjamin was relatively civil towards Obama. In fact, Kathleen Hennessey and Christi Parsons at the Los Angeles Times wrote the following: "Rather than dismiss Benjamin as a heckler, the president engaged her, asking her to let him explain but also pausing to listen as she continued to talk while security closed in around her." That behavior is in direct contrast to how she behaved last decade during the Bush administration -- something never mentioned in any coverage of Thursday's speech I found. The full exchange with Obama followed by a recounting of what made Benjamin an overnight sensation in Sepetmber 2002, follow the jump.
In a way you have to hand it to Krystal Ball. The former Democratic congressional candidate-turned-MSNBC co-host is always hard at work spinning for the Obama administration, come what may. Appearing on Thursday's Politics Nation, the co-host of MSNBC’s The Cycle raved about President Obama’s May 23 national security speech, claiming the president is “reining in his own power,” a “remarkable and incredibly unusual” move.
Ball fawned over the president’s speech to host Al Sharpton, claiming he “put the steps in place” to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility, before offering this proclamation about Obama’s executive power:
Fort Hood shooter Maj. Nidal Hassan is still drawing his military paycheck while the Defense Department has refused to deem Hassan's victims as suffering combat-related wounds, which would entitle them to Purple Hearts and additional pay and benefits to aid the cost of their rehabilitation, Scott Friedman of Dallas, Texas, NBC affiliate KXAS reported on Wednesday morning. [watch the original KXAS report below the page break]
Yesterday, native Texan and MSNBC anchor Tamron Hall aired Friedman's report on her NewsNation program in her "Gut Check" segment in which she asked her viewers to weigh in on her Facebook page, "Should the Pentagon designate the Fort Hood shooting a terrorist attack?" [For their part, 76 percent of her viewers agreed that it should.] Although this is a pretty compelling report, at time of publication, neither NBC's Nightly News nor Today programs have aired the story.
On last Friday’s Washington Week, PBS moderator Gwen Ifill brought in a panel of four liberal journalists to dissect the three scandals that have plagued the Obama administration the past couple of weeks. Predictably, most of the panelists attempted to downplay the seriousness of the Benghazi fiasco.
Midway through the Benghazi discussion, Ifill turned to The Washington Post’s Ed O’Keefe and posed the question that has surely been on every left-wing reporter’s mind for months: “But Ed, why is this -- why is this stuck? Why is this a story that never went away?” [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
Defending the indefensible can make a liberal journalist a little prickly. How else do you explain Washington Post columnist Colbert I. "Colby" King's specious attack on his fellow Post colleague and Inside Washington panelist Charles Krauthammer this weekend?
It all happened when Krauthammer responded to a Post editorial, published in Thursday’s paper, which asserted that UN Ambassador Susan Rice did not mislead anyone about the nature of the September 11 Benghazi attack. Ninety-seven House Republicans had signed a letter charging that Rice did mislead the public, and the Post editorial demanded that those Republicans apologize to Rice. [Video below. MP3 audio here.]