On Sunday's NBC Meet the Press, special correspondent Tom Brokaw used a discussion on the Boston Marathon bombings to argue more broadly that the "roots" of anti-American terrorism across the Islamic world are U.S. drone attacks: "I think we also have to examine the use of drones that the United States is involved in and – and there are a lot of civilians who are innocently killed in a drone attack in Pakistan, in Afghanistan, and in Iraq." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Brokaw began by wondering: "We have to work a lot harder at a motivation here. What prompts a young man to come to this country and still feel alienated from it, to go back to Russia and do whatever he did? And I don't think we've examined that enough." Speaking of people in the Middle East, Brokaw warned: "There is this enormous rage against what they see in that part of the world as a presumptuousness of the United States."
In a 23-paragraph story -- headlined "States move to restrict gun magazines" in the print edition -- stacked heavily in favor of gun control advocates, the Washington Post's Sari Horwitz insulted her readers intelligence with sloppy reporting and baseless claims.
"Experts say limiting size of devices could reduce deaths in mass shootings," insisted the subheadline. But it turns out Horwitz only quoted one such "expert," David Chipman, who happened to be a "senior policy adviser for Mayors Against Illegal Guns." Two paragraphs later, Horwitz noted that "gun rights advocates" like Lawrence Keane of the National Shooting Sports Foundation dismiss that notion as "speculative at best." So what makes Chipman an expert while the senior vice president of a shooting sports trade group is not, other, that is, than the liberal journalist's biases on gun control?
St. Louis Post-Dispatch columnist Bill McClellan is mighty proud of himself this week. Today, he wrote that the negative response to a column he wrote on Wednesday ("One last call to service – end military funeral honors") is "pig heaven for an attention-craving columnist." The porcine parallel McClellan made seems more than appropriate in the circumstances.
You see, Budget-cutter Bill is either too dense to realize or doesn't care that his cost-cutting suggestion to end all military funeral honors except for "men and women killed in combat" would disqualify someone he specifically cited as a hero who was not killed in combat as deserving of such treatment. But first, some lowlights from McClellan's original column (HT The Blaze; bolds are mine throughout this post):
In a brief item Friday at Politico, Donovan Slack reported that President Obama has withdrawn his nomination of Caitlin Halligan for the U.S. Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit.
Concerning Republican senators' opposition to her nomination, Slack said it was "because they said she had a record of advocacy and an activist view of the judiciary" without citing specifics. It's almost as if Slack knew he had to write something, but wished to keep a rare Republican success at stopping an objectionable court nominee as vague and quiet as possible. In early March, the folks at Eagle Forum compiled a useful list of how awful Halligan would have been had her appointment made it through the Senate (bolds are mine throughout this post):
In a report for Thursday's NBC Today, investigative correspondent Michael Isikoff reported on plans for a $150 million renovation of the Guantanamo Bay prison still housing 166 terror detainees and sympathetically described how "despite improvements in recent years" of the facility, "the detainees' hopes of getting released were crushed when President Obama stopped talking about closing it." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Isikoff noted that some of the detainees were "engaged in a hunger strike...as an attempt to regain attention." A sound bite played of new the commanding general of the prison expressing his frustration with President Obama: "Nothing in the inauguration speech about closing it. Nothing in the State of the Union. You know, he's not re-staffing the office that was, you know, focused on closing or transferring."
Zurprise, zurprise: Zbig wouldn't go to war to stop Iran getting nukes. On Morning Joe today, Jimmy Carter's former national security adviser had some advice for President Obama: tell Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu that America will not go to war against Iran.
Attacking Iran's nuclear facilities would surely be an act of war. Yet doing so might well be the only way to prevent the ayatollahs from getting the A-bomb. Unfortunately, neither Joe Scarborough nor anyone else on the panel including daughter Mika asked Brzezinski flat out whether he would encourage America to stand by while Iran got nukes. But it's hard to intepret his words otherwise. And of course, Zbig is the man who called for the U.S. to shoot down Israeli warplanes on the way to Iran. View the video after the jump.
If you peruse the Washington Post online, you’d notice that the top five stories didn’t even mention Harry Reid’s egregious comments about the seven Marines that were killed in Nevada yesterday. Likewise, although the fatal training accident itself was reported on page A3, Reid's comments were nowhere in the March 20 print edition.
On the Senate floor yesterday, Reid suggested a link between their deaths and the current budget sequestration. Here's what the Nevada Democrat said which the capital city's newspaper of record apparently finds unremarkable:
The scare tactics that Democrats from President Obama on down have employed to wring political benefit out of the sequester have apparently hit a despicable new low. In comments made about the deaths overnight of seven U.S. Marines in a training incident in Nevada, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Dem from Nevada, reportedly suggested that we may see more such incidents because the sequester cuts put Marines at risk.
NBC military correspondent Jim Miklaszewski, appearing on Andrea Mitchell's MSNBC show this afternoon, reported that the Marines have strongly rejected Reid's claim, and that one Marine official accused Reid of "pure political posturing on the backs of these dead Marines." View the video after the jump.
If you’re going to hurl insults petulantly at someone with whom you disagree, it helps if (1) you have some evidence to support your insinuations, and (2) the descriptors you use can’t be easily turned back on you.
MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell failed on both counts on Thursday’s “The Last Word.” The hot-tempered O’Donnell, who famously challenged Mitt Romney’s son to a fist fight on air, went off on a tangent on Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who shook up Washington on Wednesday with his 13-hour filibuster. Seemingly oblivious to the praise Paul’s old-school performance earned from hard-left opponents such as erstwhile Obama green energy czar Van Jones and the protest group Code Pink, O’Donnell tossed out words like “infantile” and “empty-headed” to characterize the senator.
Way to go out on a limb, Harold!. . . Of all the Morning Joe regulars, Harold Ford, Jr. is on my short list of those who bring the least to the table. Ford seems more interested in cultivating friends and avoiding offense than in saying anything interesting or—heaven forfend—controversial.
Ford took his penchant for finding something good to say about everyone to absurd new heights on today's show. On the one hand, Harold showed respect for Rand Paul's filibuster. On the other, he actually broke out the hoary "my dear friend" in saying he wasn't as worred about the drone policy as is Ron Wyden. And Harold is confident that President Obama will uphold the Constitution. Ford even claimed that AG Eric Holder did "a phenomenal job" in answering questions on the drone policy. We're running out of hands, here, Harold! Matters reached an absurd crescendo when, after observing that those who hang out with terrorists put themselves in peril, Ford proclaimed "I don't dine, socialize or spend time with people who are on a terrorist list around the globe." Good to know! View the video after the jump.
As Joe Scarborough said, "this is liberal on liberal on liberal violence. I love watching it." He was referring to the intra-squad liberal dogfight, spurred by Rand Paul's filibuster, that broke out on Morning Joe today over the use of drones by the U.S. government. H/t NB reader Ray R.
Though former car czar Steve Rattner played a supporting role, the two main combatants were Sam Stein of the Huffington Post and Richard Wolffe of MSNBC itself. Stein criticized the lack of guidelines that the Obama administration has established for the use of drones on U.S. citizens, supporting Paul's argument that it should be an easy question for the Obama admin to answer. In the other corner, Wolffe was the internationalist, suggesting all terrorists should perhaps be entitled to the same due process, be they Saudi, Kuwaiti or American. Stein and Scarborough had to enlighten Wolffe about the special protections the Constitution extends to U.S. citizens. View the video after the jump.
As press secretary to President Obama, Robert Gibbs was often in the obfuscation business. Now that he's been freed from that role and become a news analyst—albeit at MSNBC—Gibbs has become considerably more candid. Readers will recall, for example, that he described Chuck Hagel as "unimpressive and unprepared" at his Senate confirmation hearing.
Today, Gibbs took that frankness a significant step further. On Up With Chris Hayes, Gibbs stated that as press secretary, he had been ordered not to acknowledge the existence of the drone program. View the video after the jump.
During yesterday’s edition of Fox News Sunday, Washington Post editor Bob Woodward, who wrote the book "The Price of Politics" on how Obama handled the debt-ceiling fiasco in 2011, explained again to his media colleagues that it was a White House initiative to use a hatchet with these budgetary matters in the form of sequestration.
When Fox host Chris Wallace suggested the news media would highlight every spending-cut casualty expected from sequestration, liberal analyst Juan Williams agreed: "I think the news media will play into that at every level." Wallace asked Woodward to repeat his reporting:
The trashing of Ted Cruz continues apace in the bien-pensant MSM. From the New York Times, to the Washington Post, to Politico and elsewhere, the liberal media has the new Republican Senator from Texas in its sights.
Joe Scarborough is clearly camped out on the Cruz-bashing bandwagon. Earlier this month, so offended by Cruz was the sensitive Scarborough that he wouldn't deign to mention him by name. Today, not to be outdone by Frank Bruni, who called Cruz "an ornery, swaggering piece of work," Scarborough declared that Cruz acts like "a carnival barker at a local Republican event." View the video after the jump.
Anyone who thinks that setting a parody site of PolitiFact would be a good idea should reconsider. The site already parodies what a true fact-checking effort would look like on a nearly daily basis.
On Tuesday, the site's Molly Moorhead evaluated Marco Rubio's claim during his State of the Union response speech that spending cuts involved in sequestration were originally the idea of President Barack Obama and the White House. Of course they were. But after admitting that the "(The Price of Politics author Bob) Woodward’s reporting shows clearly that defense sequestration was an idea that came out of Obama’s White House," she still evaluated Rubio's claim as only "half-true" (bolds are mine):
In a careless attempt to get a rise out of their readers, mainstream media outlets like the Washington Post and Esquire Magazine erroneously reported that the Navy SEAL credited with the assassination of Osama bin Laden had been unceremoniously stripped of health insurance following his retirement last September.
The story immediately went viral, thanks in large part to the tireless efforts of Ezra Klein and Sarah Kliff from the Post and their massive followings on Twitter. Former editor of the San Francisco Chronicle Phil Bronstein originally posted an 'exhaustively researched' article about it on Esquire's site. Upon its publication and online distribution however, some readers noticed just how rife with inaccuracies the story was. Former public affairs officer of the Department of Veteran Affairs Brandon Friedman was among them. (H/T - Twitchy)
Former Fort Hood police sergeant Kimberly Munley, one of two officers who helped stop Major Nidal Hasan's deadly shooting spree at Fort Hood, Texas in November 2009, and who was a guest at President Obama's 2010 State of the Union address (something the Politico chose to remind everyone of just yesterday), now says, according to ABC News, that "Obama broke the promise he made to her that the victims would be well taken care of."
Excerpts from ABC's web story in anticipation of a Nightline report tonight follow the jump (bolds are mine):
In a lengthy article in March's Esquire "reported in cooperation with" the leftist-advised Center for Investigative Reporting, CIR Executive Chairman Philip Bronstein told readers that the unnamed Navy SEAL who killed Osama bin Laden on May 1, 2011 was a year ago "wondering how he was going to feed his wife and kids or pay for their medical care." According to Bronstein, the answer is (read these words carefully): "[A]fter sixteen years in the Navy, his body filled with scar tissue, arthritis, tendonitis, eye damage, and blown disks, here is what he gets from his employer and a grateful nation: Nothing. No pension, no health care, and no protection for himself or his family."
The "no health care" portion of that statement is inarguably false. Yet Bronstein, as will be seen shortly, stands by it. On Monday, Megan McCloskey at Stars & Stripes explained something which would be known to any journalist genuinely interested in finding out how the military's pay and benefits arrangements work (link is in original; bolds are mine):
An unsigned and undated Justice Department white paper, obtained by NBC News, reports The New York Times, "...is the most detailed analysis yet to come into public view regarding the Obama legal team's views about the lawfulness of killing, without a trial, an American citizen who executive branch officials decide is an operational leader of Al Qaeda or one of its allies."
The proviso is they must pose "an imminent threat of violent attack against the United States." If "an informed, high-level official" of the government decides they are a threat, the paper says, and if capture is not feasible, they may be killed.
Suppose our enemies declared war on us—and we didn't show up? In a variation on the pacifist line from the 60s, that's essentially what Chris Hayes has proposed as American policy.
On his MSNBC show this morning, the hopelessly naive Hayes suggested that rather than debating "big war"—boots on ground—versus "small war"—targeted strikes—we go for a third option "no war." In Hayes's fantasy-land, America declares the war on terror over and "declares itself at peace." View the video after the jump.
Sure, you might be cool with Barack Obama calling up a drone strike on an American citizen. But don't forget: a Republican [shudder!] could become President!
That was the Washington Post editorialist Jonathan Capehart's warning to Donny Deutsch when the ad-man-turned-pundit proclaimed he had no problem with the president, under desperate circumstances, ordering a drone strike against an American. View the video after the jump.
NPR's Ari Shapiro did little to conceal his slant towards same-sex "marriage" on Thursday's Morning Edition, as he reported on the Defense Department granting limited benefits to the same-sex partners of members of the military. Shapiro hyped that supposedly, "as a political move, the Pentagon's action is barely controversial."
The openly-homosexual correspondent later asserted that "it's hard to tell whether President Obama's pro-gay positions are helping to create this wave [of support for homosexuals in the military], or just letting him surf it." He also lined up three left-leaning talking heads during his report, versus only one social conservative pundit.
With this afternoon's Senate confirmation hearings for CIA director nominee John Brennan in view, the February 7 broadcast of Now with Alex Wagner devoted significant attention to the Obama administration's use of armed drones and the recently-leaked DOJ White Paper defending the legitimacy of drone strikes that explicitly targeted American civilians overseas.
For her part, host Alex Wagner failed to mention Anwar al-Awlaki’s activities as a terrorist operative affiliated with al-Qaeda. The Now host merely tagged al-Awlaki as an American-born cleric, even though he served as a talent recruiter within the organization and inspired Fort Hood shooter Nidal Hassan. Al-Awlaki also had contact with Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the terrorist who attempted to blow up a passenger airliner on Christmas Day of 2009. None of that was mentioned on the show.
In the wake of the leaked Department of Justice memo detailing the legality of targeted killings by drones on American citizens, the PBS NewsHour found it fitting to have the ACLU defend its position in why these strikes are troubling, and why American-born al-Qaeda leader Anwar al-Awlaki should’ve been kept alive to plan acts of terror against the United States.
Of course, this is maddening to the progressive wing of the Democratic Party. Liberal publications, like The Nation, detail the dark future of drone warfare, and some anti-drone journalists, like Conor Fierdorsdorff of The Atlantic, have compared Obama to Bush. However, even with the media either criticizing, or ignoring, this development, last night’s broadcast of the PBS NewsHour didn’t take into account the hypocrisy of liberals who were on the warpath a few years prior after release of Bush memos related to enhanced interrogation techniques.
A senior Defense Department official said the ban on women in combat should be lifted because the military's goal is "to provide a level, gender-neutral playing field." I'd like to think the goal of the military should be to have the toughest, meanest fighting force possible. But let's look at "gender-neutral playing field."
The Army's physical fitness test in basic training is a three-event physical performance test used to assess endurance. The minimum requirement for 17- to 21-year-old males is 35 pushups, 47 situps and a two-mile run in 16 minutes, 36 seconds or less. For females of the same age, the minimum requirement is 13 pushups, 47 situps and a 19:42 two-mile run. Why the difference in fitness requirements? "USMC Women in the Service Restrictions Review" found that women, on average, have 20 percent lower aerobic power, 40 percent lower muscle strength, 47 percent less lifting strength and 26 percent slower marching speed than men.
Barack The First? Wow: who would have thought that perhaps the strongest statement yet in condemnation of President Obama's self-arrogated right to kill Americans abroad would have come from Jon Meacham? Yet on today's Morning Joe, historian Meacham—who knows something about the use and abuse of presidential power—criticized Obama for ignoring the "rule of law" and actually described Obama as acting like "an American king."
Joe Scarborough seconded Meacham's surprising statement, adding that had this come to light under George W. Bush, impeachment would be in the air. View the video after the jump.
Imagine the apoplectic Precious Perfect Special Comment rage Keith Olbermann [remember him?] would have worked himself into had this memo come to light under W . . .
Unusual candor from Mika Brzezinski and Harold Ford, Jr. on the double standard that exists for Republicans and Democrats. Discussing on today's Morning Joe the Obama administration memo that has been uncovered authorizing the use of drone strikes to kill U.S. citizens abroad, Mika admitted that there would have been a "huge controversy" if such a memo had surfaced during the Bush administration. Ford said that "Democrats have to think now about how they conducted themselves and the questions they raised about Bush administration tactics." Joe Scarborough flatly declared that had the policy come to light under Bush, it would have been "stopped" by the ensuing outcry. View the video after the jump.
Surprised they didn't opt for the auto da fe analogy . . .
On Chris Hayes's MSNBC show this morning, Ali Gharib, editor of the "Open Zion" blog at the Daily Beast, described the questioning of Chuck Hagel at his Senate confirmation hearing as "a Republican purge" and a "Maoist public shaming." Michael Hastings of the Rolling Stone begged to differ, finding it more reminiscent of "Stalin." View the video after the jump.
Former senator Chuck Hagel's shoddy performance at his confirmation hearing yesterday has not merely been panned by conservative outlets but also liberal ones. For example, in "What Happened to Hagel?", Daily Beast's Ali Gharib concluded that "a proud statesman" appeared "confused and unsure as he took body shots" from skeptical senators, all the while being unable to explain "some version—any version—of the sober views he's put forward over his years as a foreign policy thinker."John Judis of The New Republic complained that "[f]ormer Sen. Chuck Hagel didn’t acquit himself well.... He was equivocal, often unconvincing, and seemed taken aback by questions that had been swirling around the rightwing blogosphere for weeks."
But leave it to the Washington Post to dutifully carry the Obama administration's water. In his page A3 February 1 story, "Hagel sharply attacked at Senate hearing," Ernesto Londono took aim at the GOP for their "withering criticism" of Hagel. Londono conceded that "at times [Hagel] struggled" but insisted that he "nonetheless offered a full-throated endorsement of the United States' alliance with Israel, insisted he has never advocated for unilateral nuclear disarmament and called Iran an existential threat."
Sure, Chuck Hagel might have been a bumbling, stumbling mess at his confirmation hearing yesterday. But the real story was how awful were the Republicans who questioned him. That was the collective judgment of today's Morning Joe panel.
For example, so contemptuous was Joe Scarborough of Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, that the Morning Joe host announced that he would not even mention him by name. "Clown show" was the panel's operative phrase for the Republican performance. Andrea Mitchell, Mika Brzezinski, Mike Barnicle et al. joined in the Republican roasting. View the video after the jump.