Sometimes, video can really clarify things like nothing else. You'll likely agree after watching the video below featuring presidential candidate and inexperienced Illiniois Senator Barack Obama discuss the issue of surveillance as practiced by the George W. Bush Administration compared to what now-president Obama has to say about the same subject matter.
Beyond the legality of the spying that's been conducted for years on behalf of Obama by the National Security Agency, it is transparently obvious that Barack Obama has violated his campaign promises on this issue. Naturally, we don't expect this video to get much play from the Obama-adoring media:
Sometime late Thursday afternoon, an editorial at the New York Times bitterly criticizing President Obama for the expansion of surveillance efforts during his administration contained this sentence: "The administration has lost all credibility." Within a few hours, as seen here, that sentence was changed to "The administration has lost all credibility on this issue," and set off in a separate paragraph.
George Will had some harsh words for the Obama administration Sunday.
Appearing on ABC’s This Week, Will said that the recent revelation concerning National Security Agency information gathering is going to metastasize the IRS controversy into a national security scandal, and concluded that as a result, “the willingness to trust the executive branch is today minimal and should be.”
Since last week’s revelations concerning the National Security Agency looking at American phone records, it’s been fascinating to watch Obama-loving media members take issue with what the White House is doing.
Include New York Times columnist Paul Krugman who on ABC’s This Week Sunday said that America is now “kind of” an “authoritarian surveillance state” (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), the Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, on Sunday had harsh words for the Guardian’s Glenn Greenwald revealing last week that the National Security Agency is looking at phone records of virtually all Americans.
Appearing on ABC’s This Week, Rogers said, “I know your reporter that you interviewed, Greenwald, says that he’s got it all and now is an expert on the program. He doesn't have a clue how this thing works” (video follows with transcript):
Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) had some harsh words Thursday for the Obama administration collecting phone records of millions of Americans.
Speaking with Yahoo! News, Paul said, “I think it would be remedial education for those who are doing this. They need to go back and read the Constitution, read the Fourth Amendment, and understand that our records are private.”
The Big Three networks coverage so far of the Justice Department's questionable investigation of Fox News' James Rosen has followed a similar pattern to that of their coverage of the Kermit Gosnell case. Jan Crawford's report on Thursday's CBS This Morning was the first full report on growing controversy on ABC, CBS, and NBC's morning and evening newscasts. NBC briefly covered the investigation on Tuesday's Today, and ABC has yet to mention it.
Crawford pointed out how the DOJ's "unprecedented" surveillance of Rosen has "really just set off a firestorm of criticism from the left and right. For the first time ever, a presidential administration is treating news reporting like a crime, and a reporter like a criminal suspect." [audio available here; video below the jump]
New York Times reporters Scott Shane and Michael Shear found "right-wing conspiracy" mongering in the aftermath of the unusual 12-hour filibuster by Republican Sen. Rand Paul protesting the White House's failing to rule out the use of drone strikes on American soil or against U.S. citizens: "Visions of Drones Swarming the Skies Touch Bipartisan Nerve."
That slightly dismissive headline on the front of Saturday's edition ("Visions" assumes an abstract and an unreasonable fear) is matched by the story, which tilts a little to the left in labeling and to the Obama administration in its dismissive tone toward White House critics, pitting "liberal activists" against "right-wing conspiracy theorists" and "self-proclaimed defenders of the Constitution." In contrast, during the Bush years the Times took seriously the most paranoid fears of liberals about the Patriot Act.
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.
Republican Sen. Rand Paul's filibuster on Attorney General Eric Holder's refusal to rule out drone strikes against U.S. citizens, which ended early Thursday morning, was absent from the front page of Thursday's New York Times. The Times buried its coverage of Paul's striking "talking" filibuster, in which he held the floor for nearly 13 hours, ostensibly in opposition to Obama's choice of John Brennan for CIA director. Brennan was serving as a proxy for Paul's demand that Holder rule out drone strikes on American citizens or on U.S. soil.
Paul's performance did not merit a full news story in the Times. Coverage was limited to a few paragraphs in the middle of a more comprehensive story by Charlie Savage on bipartisan criticism of Attorney General Eric Holder, and a single sentence deep into Scott Shane's front-page story "C.I.A.'s History Poses Hurdles For a Nominee." Liberal columnist Gail Collins also wrote about it, in snotty fashion. There wasn't even a print-edition photo of the dramatic filibuster.
During the Wednesday edition of her CNN program “Outfront,” host Erin Burnett and her producers just could not stop themselves from deriding Kentucky Republican Rand Paul’s filibuster effort to block a Senate vote on John Brennan, President Obama's choice for CIA director.
While the show did give some serious discussion to the substance of Paul’s concern on behalf of Americans’ civil liberties, during the introduction of the segment, Burnett treated the matter rather flippantly and featured a graphic of the senator entitled “Sen. Paul Drones On… And On…”
News that the New York Times and Washington Post kept secret until recently the secret U.S. drone base in Saudi Arabia is once again raising questions on the paper's politicized double standards on keeping state secrets related to the war on terror.
Contrast the deference paid to the Obama administration's request for secrecy, going along with the national security arguments advanced by Obama (until Wednesday's expose of White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennan, Obama's choice to head the CIA) with how the paper routinely leaked secrets during the Bush administration that may have hurt anti-terrorist programs. Here are just some of the national security low-lights and double standards Times Watch has documented at the Times over the years.
President Obama's media acolytes must really be disappointed – they're comparing his administration's unilateral behavior in the war on terror to that of George W. Bush. The new interest was kicked off by a Justice Department document leaked on Monday that offered a legal analysis of when the president can order the targeted killing of an American citizen suspected of terrorism, without due process. Wednesday's lead New York Times article from Yemen was a rundown of the fatal drone strikes authorized by President Obama and his "kill list" coordinator John Brennan, now Obama's nominee to head the C.I.A.
The Times relegated the actual news about the leaked document to page 11, in the International section, in a "news analysis" by reporters Scott Shane and Charlie Savage that dug into the politics of the controversy under an odd, vague headline: "Report on Targeted Killing Whets Appetite for Less Secrecy."
It's been nothing less than astonishing watching the media cover for Monday's leaked Department of Justice memo making the legal case for drone attacks against Americans.
Exposing the hypocrisy of this Wednesday was one of Fox News's liberal contributors Kirsten Powers who said of her colleagues on the left, "They're clearly hypocrites. They clearly don't really care about human rights. They only care if it helps them politically" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
A fight broke out between New Media and Old Media on Fox News's Hannity program Wednesday that has the entire blogosphere abuzz.
When Fox News's Juan Williams, in the midst of a discussion about the national security leaks controversy, arrogantly told syndicated columnist Michelle Malkin, "I'm a real reporter, I am not a blogger," all hell broke loose (video follows with transcript and commentary, relevant section at minute 4:50):
CBS This Morning stood out as the only Big Three network morning show on Thursday to cover a conservative group's allegation that the Obama administration gave a movie director and writer "special access to government officials involved in the commando operation that killed Osama bin Laden," as reported by Reuters on Wednesday. ABC's Good Morning America and NBC's Today ignored the story.
Correspondent Chip Reid outlined that "the documents...obtained by Judicial Watch, a conservative government watchdog group...reveal that director Kathryn Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal...met with top national security officials; gained access to Seal Team 6; and visited the CIA."
On Wednesday, NPR strongly hinted that they would bring their liberal bias into their special programming for the tenth anniversary of 9/11. Their planned reports on the mass atrocity includes an investigation which scrutinizes the efforts of private firms guarding soft targets like sports arenas: "[The] investigation...suggests that these kinds of programs are disrupting innocent people's lives."
An August 30, 2011 press release on the public-funded network's website stated that "it has been said that America would never be the same after terrorist attacks took nearly 3,000 lives on September 11, 2001. A decade since the tragedy, how have the attacks affected people's lives and shaped America's collective outlook and future? Beginning September 5, NPR News offers a week of reports looking back at the events leading up to 9/11 and reflecting on the ways it continues to impact the nation."
New York Times investigative reporter James Risen, notorious for exposing (along with colleague Eric Lichtblau) two anti-terrorist government programs during the Bush years, filed an affidavit in federal court in Virginia on Tuesday, refusing to comply with a subpoena that he identify a source in his 2006 book “State of War” about a C.I.A. plan to feed Iran bad information to cripple its nuclear program.
After a long promotional listing of his journalistic credentials, Risen in the affidavit cites a 2006 report from ABC News claiming the Bush administration had harassed Risen and other journalists. "The Bush administration eventually singled me out as a target for political harassment," Risen writes in the filing.
In a surprise announcement, Bill Keller is resigning as New York Times executive editor as of September 6. He will be replaced by Jill Abramson, the paper’s managing editor, Jeremy Peters reported on nytimes.com Thursday morning.
Keller will still write for the paper: "As for Mr. Keller’s plans, he said he was still working out the details of a column he will write for the paper’s new Sunday opinion section, which will be introduced later this month."
Abramson will be the first woman to run the Times newsroom in the paper’s 160-year history. For Abramson, the Times is holy writ:
On Friday, the morning shows of the Big Three networks barely touched on President Obama approving the renewal of key provisions in the Patriot Act, avoiding the kind of criticism they launched during the terms of former President George W. Bush. During that time, the networks often expressed "concern...that civil liberties are threatened as never before" by the law, as CBS Evening News put it in 2003.
ABC's Good Morning America devoted one news brief to the development 17 minutes into 7 am Eastern hour. News anchor Josh Elliott noted how "President Obama signed an extension of the U.S. Patriot Act. He used a device called the auto pen because the bill had to be signed before midnight Washington time." NBC's Today show devoted the most attention to the presidential action with three news briefs from Ann Curry at 15 minutes past the 7 am Eastern hour, and at the top of the 8 and 9 am hours.
On The Early Show, CBS's Jeff Glor's brief on the Patriot Act extension, which aired at the same time as Curry's first brief on NBC, gave the most negative hint against the law of the three networks:
New York Times legal reporter Charlie Savage’s two stories on libertarian Sen. Rand Paul holding up extending sections of the Patriot Act ignored the huge hypocrisy of the act’s newest vocal defender, Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. The paper also demonstrated a new-found comfort on the part of the Times for the act, which it excoriated during the Bush years.
Reid attacked fellow Sen. Ron Paul in personal terms on the Senate floor Wednesday, but the Times ignored both the attack and Reid’s overheated defense of the Patriot Act, which would surely have been denounced as demagoguery coming from a Republican. Liberal journalist Spencer Ackerman called Reid a demagogue, saying "Dick Cheney would be proud." (Ouch!) Ackerman fumed:
Sunday was an historic day for America, an historic victory in the War on Terror - Usama Bin Laden, the man who had ordered the death of over 3,000 Americans on 9/11, had finally been killed. It was also an historic revelation that, conducting the war according to far-left liberal policies would have prevented this day from ever happening.
Not waiting for history to play out, a New Times caption writer, below a picture of celebrants of Obama Bin Laden's demise outside the White House, has written: "As crowds gathered outside the White House, there was little question that Mr. Obama's presidency had forever been changed."
For “Secrecy in Shreds,” his latest column for the New York Times’s Sunday magazine, Executive Editor Bill Keller conducted a surprisingly affable conversation with conservative journalist Gabriel Schoenfeld of Commentary magazine, who last year published “Necessary Secrets,” a book highly critical of Keller and the Times revealing details of and thus wrecking two successful terrorist-fighting programs -- the National Security Agency’s secret eavesdropping,, and SWIFT, a Treasury Department program that screened international banking records for suspicious activity.
Last year, Gabriel Schoenfeld, a veteran of the conservative magazine Commentary, published a book that explained how The New York Times could be prosecuted under the Espionage Act. The book said a lot of other things too, but you’ll understand why that particular proposition stuck in my mind. At one point Schoenfeld conjured an image of authorities “frog-marching a shackled Bill Keller into court.”
New York Times reporter Andrea Elliott won a Pulitzer Prize in 2007 for a series of articles about Sheik Reda Shata, an imam in Brooklyn. In a speech to the Times newsroom after her victory, her editor lauded the series for helping to tear down "the wall of hatred” against Muslims in America.
Sunday’s similar, 8,400-word magazine cover profile, “A Marked Man In America,” featured Yale Ph.D. candidate Yasir Qadhi, a conservative Muslim trying to make the case for non-violence to resistant and radicalized younger Muslims. Even while Elliott engaged in soft-pedaling Islamic extremism, as she did in her 2007 piece, Steven Emerson’s Investigative Project commented that Elliott’s “exhaustive profile of an Islamic cleric....makes the depth and severity of radicalization among some young Muslim Americans very clear,” even if she didn’t necessarily set out to do so.
But this paragraph by Elliott is wildly overstated.
MSNBC's Joe Scarborough blasted protesters and opponents of the new TSA screening procedures on Wednesday's "Morning Joe," only to recant his position on the show's next hour when he realized two panel members criticized the new checks. "I was saying this was a made-up debate – this is a real debate, I guess," Scarborough admitted on the second hour of his show.
While Scarborough and co-hosts Mika Brzezinski and Willie Geist, as well as MSNBC political analyst Harold Ford, sympathized with TSA workers and defended the new checks, two guests opposed the new search methods. Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan and New York Magazine columnist John Heilemann criticized the TSA procedures.
Early in the first hour of the show, Scarborough ranted against the "opt-out" protestors who would be forgoing the body scanners at airports Wednesday to be subjected to pat-down checks, deliberately frustrating and slowing down the process on one of the busiest travel days of the year. Scarborough has recently promoted civil discourse on his show with the mantra "Keep Calm and Carry On," but let loose at the protesters Wednesday.