Several national newspapers praised the four-hour PBS Frontline series beginning Tuesday night titled "News War," on how Team Bush (and Team Nixon before that) undemocratically waged war on the press. There's not much on whether the press was undemocratically waging war on the elected president in those cases. (Who, pray tell, voted for the New York Times to run the country?) The man setting the table for the first two hours is Arun Rath, who the South Asian Journalists Association website jokingly notes "acquired a semi-classical education at Reed College in Oregon ('Atheism, Communism and Free Love')." What a surprise for an NPR/PBS producer.
In a new interview on the SAJA website, Rath explained how he was somehow completely incapable of tracking down conservatives to comment on the show's arrogant liberal thesis, namely that the press is crucial to save democracy from freedom-crushing Republicans:
In a huge blow to America’s ability to defend itself from future terrorist attacks both home and abroad, the European Central Bank has told SWIFT, the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, that it must halt the transfer of personal banking information to American authorities by April.
As reported by Agence France-Presse on February 1 (h/t to Dan at Riehl World View): “The agency, the European Data Protection Supervisor, told the bank to come up with measures ‘to make its payment operations fully compliant with data-protection legislation,’ urging it to ‘take appropriate measures as soon as possible.’”
Hadn’t heard about this? Well, how could you? After all, according to Google and LexisNexis searches, the only major American media outlet to bother reporting this was, coincidentally and quite ironically, the New York Times.
Isn’t that a delicious twist of fate? Yet, the hypocrisy in this goes much deeper.
As NewsBusters has been reporting for the past couple of weeks, a battle is being waged between liberal bloggers and a conservative radio station in San Francisco. Those that are unfamiliar with this issue should read articles covering both sides of the matter here and here.
This week the New York Times took every opportunity to mislead on the nature of the terrorist-surveillance program, triggered by Wednesday's announcement by Attorney General Alberto Gonzales that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA) would have jurisdiction over the program that eavesdrops on international calls of people in the U.S. suspected of terrorist ties.
The announcement Wednesday from Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA) would now approve of surveillance actions under the “Terrorist Surveillance Program,” prompted a return to the bad network habit of describing as “domestic spying” and “domestic eavesdropping” the effort to monitor communication between people inside the United States and suspected terrorists abroad. With “Domestic Spying” on screen, ABC World News anchor Charles Gibson cited “a major reversal today by the Bush administration in the war on terrorism. Two years ago, you may recall, the administration maintained it had the right to spy on people in the United States, without court approval. Today, however, the Justice Department said there will be no such surveillance of people in this country without court approval.” (A look at CBS and NBC follows)
On Wednesday's Countdown, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann and frequent guest John Dean discussed the possibility of a Democratic Congress moving to impeach members of President Bush's Cabinet as an alternative to actually impeaching the President or Vice President. After Dean contended that Democrats would need to "find their spine and go toe to toe" with the administration because Republicans "play hardball in a much tougher and more ruthless manner than Democrats," Olbermann brought up Dean's idea of impeaching Bush administration members. Olbermann: "The far end of what you suggest, obviously, would be impeachment, but the merits of that are at best arguable. I think we can probably both recall an occasion in which impeachment actually bolstered a President's popularity. But you wrote recently about impeaching not a President or a Vice President, but members of the Cabinet. How would that work? And is it a practical thing?" (Transcript follows)
As the AP reports (Strip-Searched Muslim Woman Gets Apology), the Dept. of Homeland Security sent an apology letter to a Muslim woman who was strip searched on April 11th, 2006. Naturally, the AP uses the report as an excuse to bash the US government.
The Department of Homeland Security has sent a letter apologizing to a Muslim woman who was detained at the Tampa airport and strip-searched at a county jail.
Safana Jawad, 45, a Spanish citizen who was born in Iraq, was detained on April 11 because of a suspected tie to a suspicious person, authorities said. She was held for two days before being deported to England.
As NewsBusters has reported here and here, there has been a shockingly deafening silence from the American media concerning revelations of former National Security Adviser Sandy Berger’s actions at the National Archives in 2003. In fact, it appears that only Fox News has much interest in a story about a top-level political official stealing and destroying top secret documents from the facility responsible for storing them.
With that in mind, “Your World” invited Ann Coulter on to discuss this issue on Thursday, and the conservative author was not shy (video available here courtesy of our friend at Ms Underestimated). After guest host David Asman gave some background, he asked his guest: “Ann Coulter, where is the outrage? Are you surprised that there is no outrage about this?”
The hubbub raised over six Islamic imams being removed from a US Airways flight in Minneapolis for suspicious behavior is the latest in a string of incidents underlining one consistent thread in the war on terror: Muslim terrorists have never given up on the tried and true idea of hijacking airplanes and blowing them up to kill and demoralize the infidels.
Police and witness reports suggest a list of suspicious activities and remarks. Some of the imams were discussing in Arabic about "bin Laden" and condemning America for "killing Saddam." Imams asked for seat belt extenders for the extremely obese, for no apparent reason. (Did you know such extenders even existed?) The imams spread out at all exits of the plane, two in front, two in the middle, two in the rear. Between the six imams, they had one piece of checked luggage.
Speaking as an alumnus to students at Brown University over the weekend, liberal New York Times reporter James Risen -- best known for breaking open the government's terrorist-surveillance program -- hailed Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's resignation as "the best thing to happen in a long time" and cheered that it's "sinking in" with President Bush that his foreign policy is "too radical."
Risen also typically complained of how vital the New York Times is to American democracy. The Bushies have "suppressed dissent throughout the administration," and the climate of fear is "palpable" and "frightening to watch." The press is vital because "there's been almost no congressional oversight." And cable news just rips off the newspapers: "CNN, which is probably the best of them, does almost no original reporting" and the cable networks have "24 hours to fill and nothing to say." In the Brown Daily Herald, reporter Abe Lubetkin wrote:
In light of the big Democrat win last week, United Press International is doing its best to start the ball rolling against our security with a report from the 11th called Leahy aims at restoring habeas corpus.
In this fawning report, UPI paints Leahy as the hero on the white horse "restoring rights" to those poor enemy combatants the evil, evil Bush administration has been so mean to. UPI is overjoyed that Leahy is riding to the defense of terrorists...
Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., is expected to take over as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and The (Calif.) Daily Journal reports that Leahy is drafting a bill to undo portions of the new law in an effort to restore habeas corpus rights for enemy combatants.
How nice of Leahy to "restore" something they never had in the first place!
The supposed rights of habes for enemy combatants never existed and still doesn't. The only thing that the last few Supreme Court decisions addressed is if enemy combatants can APPLY for habeas protections, NOT that they should automatically have them.
Most people know Ted Rall as the highly acclaimed liberal cartoonist with impeccably bad taste as reported by NewsBusters here. What you might not have known is that he is also an op-ed writer.
With that in mind, on Wednesday, Rall published a rather disgraceful piece of hyperbole and vitriol that quite demonstrated just how far off the reservation this man has strayed. It was titled “Our Long National Nightmare Has Just Begun” (emphasis mine throughout): “I'm tempted, in the aftermath of the widest and most stunning electoral repudiation of Republicanism since Watergate, to mark the Democratic recapture of governorships, the House of Representatives (and probably the Senate) as the beginning of the end of Bush's fascism lite, and thus a long overdue vindication of what I've been saying about him since his December 2000 coup d'état.
Stick with this, folks, because it’s going to get worse:
CNN's Jack Cafferty listed a litany of supposed Bush misdeeds and how Bill Clinton “was impeached for telling a lie” before posing his “Cafferty File” question in the 7pm EST hour of Thursday's The Situation Room: “If the Republicans lose the election Tuesday, what should happen to President Bush?” Naturally, Cafferty's strong suggestion that President George W. Bush deserves the same generated matching e-mails, yet Cafferty expressed astonishment: “It's amazing. 98 percent of the ones that I read -- and I looked at several hundred of them -- said impeach him....There's a lot of anger out there over what this man's done."
Cafferty had charged: “This President has pulled off a power grab in the name of the war on terror the likes of which this country hasn't seen in a very long time. And in the process, people who are a lot smarter than I am suggest that he has broken this nation's laws over and over and over again. From invading a sovereign nation without provocation to torturing prisoners to the NSA spy program, to holding people without a right to a court hearing or a lawyer, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.” Amongst the e-mails Cafferty read, one declared: “Of course George Bush deserves to be impeached, and he should also be thrown in jail.” Another writer recommended: “He should be 'legally' water-boarded until he can recite the Bill of Rights and define habeas corpus.”
On Wednesday's Countdown show, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann used his latest "Special Comment" not only to demand that President Bush apologize to American troops over the Iraq War, but he also blamed Bush for inspiring acts of "domestic terrorism" against critics, a la King Henry and Archbishop Thomas Becket, and bizarrely chose to inject racism by making a comparison between Bush supporters attacking the President's opponents and the 1856 caning of anti-slavery Senator Charles Sumner by pro-slavery Congressman Preston Brooks, and at one point even mentioning charges of racist "fear of miscegenation" in the current Tennesee Senate race. As Olbermann concluded his rant, he addressed Bush: "You instructed no one to mail the fake Anthrax [received by Olbermann], nor undermine the FBI's case, nor call for the execution of the editors of the New York Times, nor threaten to assassinate Stephanie Miller, nor beat up a man yelling at Senator George Allen, nor have the First Lady knife Michael J. Fox, nor tell John McCain to lie about John Kerry. No, you did not, sir. And the genius of the thing is the same as in King Henry's rhetorical question about Archbishop Thomas Becket: 'Who will rid me of this meddlesome priest?' All you have to do, sir, is hand out enough new canes." (Transcript follows)
Once again taking "tolerance" to the level of societal self-destruction, the BBC has decided that showing the human side of the Taleban is an important story to cover.
They have ridiculously embedded a reporter with the Taleban in Afghanistan. Reporter David Lyon has been reporting from the Taleban and has filed a report filled with laudatory terms and brimming with respect for his subject.
This is a truly shocking revelation by the New York Times ombudsman Byrone Calame (hat tip to Michelle Malkin). In a column published Sunday, Calame – the Times' “public editor” – has reversed a previous position of his concerning the Times June 23 article about secret international banking surveillance designed to uncover the sources of terrorist funding. Now, Calame thinks it was a mistake for the Times to reveal the existence of this program (emphasis mine throughout):
After pondering for several months, I have decided I was off base. There were reasons to publish the controversial article, but they were slightly outweighed by two factors to which I gave too little emphasis. While it’s a close call now, as it was then, I don’t think the article should have been published.
Those two factors are really what bring me to this corrective commentary: the apparent legality of the program in the United States, and the absence of any evidence that anyone’s private data had actually been misused. I had mentioned both as being part of “the most substantial argument against running the story,” but that reference was relegated to the bottom of my column.
This is quite a reversal for Calame who wrote at the time:
I was dutifully working my way through Robert Kuttner's Boston Globe column of this morning, Cleaning Up the Mess, on the lookout for some outrageous MSM morsel with which to arouse NewsBusters readers.
But all I was getting were Kuttner's "on the one hand, but on the other hand" arguments as to whether it is in Democratic interests to retake one or both houses of Congress come November. His thesis is that America is such a mess thanks to years of Republican misrule that fixing it could be a thankless task for Dems, who might be better off waiting for the deluge of the 2008 presidential elections. For the record, Kuttner does come down on the side of taking power now.
MSNBC's Keith Olbermann delivered another of his “Special Comment” rants on Thursday night -- this one his longest yet, clocking in at just over 11 minutes. Olbermann began the diatribe, which concluded the October 5 Countdown, by saying his topic was “lying,” specifically how President Bush is making false claims about Democrats. Olbermann cited how Bush charged that Democrats “don’t think we ought to be listening to the conversations of terrorists” and “think the best way to protect the American people is wait until we're attacked again.” Maintaining that the accusations are baseless, Olbermann asserted: “A President who comes across as a compulsive liar is nothing less than terrifying.” But by Olbermann's reasoning that since no Democrat has said exactly what Bush asserted when he made the political points about the implications of Democratic positions, no one should be able to accuse Bush of lying about Iraq since he has never said he lied about Iraq.
Olbermann proceeded to allege that Bush “has savaged the very freedoms he claims to be protecting from attack” through his “terrifying attempt to hamstring the fundament of our freedom -- the Constitution -- a triumph for al Qaeda, for which the terrorists could not hope to achieve with a hundred 9/11's.” He accused Bush: "You want to preserve one political party's power. And obviously you will sell this country out, to do it. These are lies about the Democrats, piled atop lies about Iraq, piled atop lies about your preparations for al Qaeda.” Olbermann also denounced Vice President Cheney for how he “lives on, in defiance, and spreads -- around him and before him -- darkness, like some contagion of fear.” Sounds more like Olbermann. (Transcript follows)
When the Pope recently accused Muslim extremists of using violence to advance their ends, they responded . . . with violence. Not to compare myself to the Pontiff, but I recently accused a liberal columnist of being consumed with Bush-hatred, and she has now responded . . . by cataloguing the many things she hates about Bush.
ABC's entertainment division refused to knuckle under to intense pressure from supporters of former President Bill Clinton, including the Democratic National Committee and MoveOn.org, and aired the first part of their miniseries, "The Path to 9/11", with some additional edits:
Sometimes, in spite of itself, ABC's "This Week With George Stephanopoulos" shines a light on liberal thinking that liberal political strategists would prefer remain dark. Today Katrina Vanden Heuvel, the Left's answer to Michael Savage, revealed that her thinking remains firmly stuck in pre-9/11 mode.
We're all familiar with this definition of a conservative: "a liberal who's just been mugged." This morning, Ted Koppel devised a variation on the theme that could be taken as an insult to his fellow lefties: "a liberal is a conservative who just got arrested."
Koppel's line came in the course of a Today show interview with Matt Lauer to discuss a special that Koppel is about to air in his role as Managing Editor of the Discovery Channel [so that's where he went after leaving ABC!]. As Lauer described it, the documentary, entitled 'The Price of Security,' addresses "the balance between securing the nation and protecting our individual liberties."
Looking back, it all seems so predictable. The relentless criticism, the countless sneering jabs from Keith Olbermann directed at the Bush administration were building to an inexorable climax. It came tonight. Olbermann flatly accused the Bush administration of representing "a new type of fascism."
Though the denouement was inevitable, the proximate cause of Olbermann's tirade was Donald Rumsfeld's speech to the American Legion on Tuesday in which he suggested that opponents of the war in Iraq have adopted the same attitude that slowed a military response to Hitler. Rumsfeld asserted that radical Islam represents "a new type of fascism."
Friday’s morning shows largely preferred the JonBenet Ramsey case over yesterday’s district court ruling declaring the National Security Agency’s terrorist surveillance program to be unconstitutional. NBC’s "Today" and CBS’ "The Early Show" limited their reporting on the issue to brief anchor reads, as did their evening news counterparts, as the MRC’s Brad Wilmouth previously reported.
"Good Morning America," however, did devote more than a few seconds on the topic, with ABC’s Jessica Yellin reporting from the White House. In her report, Yellin never acknowledged the liberal background of Judge Ann Diggs Taylor, who, Yellin pointed out, "accuses the President of acting like a king" and says the NSA program "blatantly disregards" the parameters established in the Bill of Rights. Yellin labeled the court’s decision a "stinging setback" for President Bush, and highlighted this warning to the President from George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley :
Jonathan Turley: "He could be impeached. And people should not be underestimating that. It's true that this Congress does not want to--"
If not quite from the grave, the decision by one of Jimmy Carter's judicial appointees, striking down the NSA terrorist surveillance program, was an unwelcome blast from past. Call it Carter's Revenge. Malaise Redux. The spirit of Desert One lives.
That this was a political decision more than a legal one is evidenced by the intemperate language of the opinion itself: "There are no hereditary kings in America," harumphed Judge Anna Diggs Taylor of the United States District Court in Detroit, in a case filed by the ACLU. [An exception to Taylor's no-hereditary-kings rule: the Sulzberger dynasty that is . . . the New York Times. Hat tip to NB poster Jack Bauer. See details in comments below.]
On Thursday's Countdown show, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann bolstered the ruling by Federal Judge Ann Diggs Taylor against the Bush administration's controversial NSA spying program that involves warrantless monitoring of international phone calls when one participant is a terrorist suspect. Referring to the ruling as a "judicial smackdown" and a "stunning ruling" against the program, Olbermann repeatedly referred to the NSA program as monitoring "our" phone calls or "our" emails. The MSNBC host further contended that since the program was revealed, "anybody who had actually read the Constitution" believed it would eventually be ruled as "patently illegal." Olbermann's guest discussing the topic was liberal law professor Jonathan Turley, who labeled Judge Taylor's ruling as a "very thoughtful opinion" and called efforts by conservatives to discredit her as a liberal Carter appointee as "distasteful." By contrast, CNN and FNC featured guests who questioned Judge Taylor's judicial wisdom. (Transcript follows)
On Thursday, all three network evening newscasts covered the ruling by a federal judge against the Bush administration's controversial NSA spying program that involves warrantless monitoring of international phone calls when one participant is a terrorist suspect. Stemming from a case filed by the ACLU and other plaintiffs, Judge Ann Diggs Taylor, a Carter appointee, found the program to be unconstitutional. Unlike CNN and FNC, which conveyed that the ruling would likely be overturned, none of the network evening newscasts mentioned the liberal credentials of Judge Taylor or the debate over judicial activism and legal weaknesses in the ruling, such as the issue of whether the plaintiffs had standing to file the lawsuit, since the plaintiffs themselves were not found to be the subjects of surveillance. (Transcripts follow)
During the 4pm EDT hour of "The Situation Room," CNN’s Jack Cafferty had a thing or two to say about a U.S. district court judge ruling the National Security Agency’s terrorist surveillance program as unconstitutional. Cafferty attacked the "arrogant" Bush administration for its supposed "abuse of power" and accused the President of lying to the American people and violating his oath of office:
Jack Cafferty: "So what does this mean? It means President Bush violated his oath of office, among other things, when he swore to uphold the Constitution of the United States. It means he’s been lying to us about the program since it started, when he’s been telling us there’s nothing illegal about what he’s doing."
Will the New York Times write stories on how eavesdropping is what alerted U.S. authorities to the terrorist airplane attack? Time magazine reported in an exclusive that the "U.S. picked up the suspects' chatter and shared it with British authorities."
The operation involved cooperation between British and American authorities.
Britain's MI-5 intelligence service and Scotland Yard had been tracking the plot for several months, but only in the past two weeks had the plotters' planning begun to crystallize, senior U.S. officials tell TIME. In the two or three days before the arrests, the cell was going operational, and authorities were pressed into action. MI5 and Scotland Yard agents tracked the plotters from the ground, while a knowledgeable American official says U.S. intelligence provided London authorities with intercepts of the group's communications.
The Wall Street Journal says media and Democratic opposition to the programs now looks foolish after the foiled terror plot.
The plot was foiled because a large number of people were under surveillance concerning their spending, travel and communications.
On this morning's Today, NBC's Kevin Corke wondered how long the administration knew about the averted bombing plot and why they would withhold that information, asking: "If the administration has known about this potential plot what was the hold up in getting the word out, especially domestically?" Either this is a case of the media being overly-skeptical or just being clueless. Clearly the administration wouldn't want to release any information before any arrests were made so as not to tip off any suspects in the U.S. or Britain. The following is the full exchange between NBC's Ann Curry and Corke.
Ann Curry: "And British Prime Minister Tony Blair briefed the President overnight about this plot. Well NBC's Kevin Corke is in Crawford, Texas at the President's ranch this morning. Kevin, good morning. Any word from the President?"