Comedy Central's Stephen Colbert, on Tuesday's Colbert Report, featured Newsbusters's publisher L. Brent Bozell in his "The Word" segment that ridiculed those who credit enhanced interrogation or waterboarding in the killing of Osama bin Laden. After playing a clip of Bozell, from the May 6, Fox and Friends, saying waterboarding led to the death of bin Laden and hailing: "Hip, hip hooray to George Bush" Colbert joked: "Yes, three cheers for George Bush! Unless you're in a gagged stress position, in which case try three grunts."
Colbert then went on to make fun of Donald Rumsfeld, mocking that the former Secretary of Defense must have just taken a hit from a blunt to have, in his view, contrasting views on the interrogation issue, as seen in the following excerpt from the May 17 Colbert Report:
The U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency has apprehended more suspected terrorists on the nation’s northern border than along its southern counterpart, CBP Commissioner Alan Bersin said Tuesday.
“In terms of the terrorist threat, it’s commonly accepted that the more significant threat” comes from the U.S.-Canada border, Bersin told a hearing of the Senate Judiciary subcommittee on Immigration, Refugees, and Border Security.
Rounding out the news of the past couple of weeks, the media elite struck two contradictory themes — with journalists saluting the “courage,”“guts” and “cool hand” of Barack Obama in ordering the mission that killed Osama bin Laden, even as the liberal media were “repelled” and “appalled” by the “vulgar” and “idiotic” celebrations of everyday Americans to the news of the terrorist leader’s demise.
The latest edition (PDF) of MRC’s bi-weekly Notable Quotables newsletter captures the flavor of liberal media coverage since bin Laden’s death, including the bitterness of some on the far left, including the left-wing journalist who griped that it “was not justice” but rather “one killer [the United States] killing another.”
Here are some of the best quotes from the issue; for the entire edition, visit www.MRC.org:
If you listen to the passengers and crew who flew on American Airlines Flight 1561 last weekend, there's no doubt about what happened on their harrowing trip: A Yemeni man shrieking "Allahu akbar!" at the top of his lungs more than 30 times rushed the cockpit door twice intending to take down the plane and kill everyone on board.
The clammy, sweaty lone male passenger exhibited classic symptoms of what Middle East scholar and author Daniel Pipes has dubbed "Sudden Jihad Syndrome" — a seemingly random outbreak of threatening behavior or violence by a hysterical Muslim adherent who had not previously exhibited signs of Islamic radicalization. It took at least four men to tackle and restrain Rageh Ahmed Mohammed al-Murisi. "There was no question in everybody's mind that he was going to do something," passenger Angelina Marty told the San Francisco Chronicle.
I've not been much of a fan of Time magazine for years, though I am again, if only briefly.
Fresh off Rachel Maddow's ludicrous claim that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was "not all that well known" until he was killed by the US military in 2006 and allegedly elevated in death beyond what he was in life, Time magazine published a special issue titled "The End of bin Laden."
The cover of the magazine, which can be seen here, shows an illustration of bin Laden crossed out with a prominent red "X" -- as in, buh bye.
Turns out this is only the fourth time in Time's history that the magazine has gone with the "X" cover. Prior to bin Laden's rude awakening by Navy SEALs, Time did this for only three other globally reviled figures: Adolf Hitler, Saddam Hussein -- and Zarqawi. (video after page break)
It seems to me that our government had vastly more intelligence on what was going on in Obama bin Laden's ghastly hideout before sending SEAL Team 6 in last week than they are telling us. President Barack Obama told CBS that the odds in favor of bin Laden being in the compound were "at best" 55 percent. My guess is that they were closer to 100 percent.
We know that from satellites overhead, our intelligence officers thought they had bin Laden spotted in the complex. A man that they concluded was bin Laden was seen pacing regularly inside the compound grounds. Called "The Pacer," he was tall, and they figured he might very well be the 6 foot 4 terror leader. So the order was sent to our SEAL team to go in.
On Thursday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams incredulously noted how "...it's become fashionable among some to say...that so-called enhanced interrogation, what some define as torture...helped contribute to the death of bin Laden." He then touted: "Today Senator John McCain headed to the floor of the U.S. Senate to refute that."
In the clip that followed, McCain declared: "In my personal experience, the abuse of prisoners sometimes produces good intelligence, but often produces bad intelligence. Because under torture a person will say anything he thinks his captors want to hear whether it is true or false." He then asserted: "The trail to bin Laden did not begin with a disclosure from Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who was waterboarded 183 times. The best intelligence gained from a CIA detainee was obtained through standard non-coercive means."
While Good Morning America covered the news that Omar bin Laden, the son of the terrorist mastermind, has condemned the U.S. for his father's killing, no mention was made of GMA's January 22, 2008 friendly interview with the young man.
On Wednesday, reporter Jim Sciutto explained, "Another of bin Laden's son, Omar, who is living in Saudi Arabia and other family members have condemned the raid, calling it an illegal assassination of an unarmed man."
Yet, in 2008, correspondent Nick Watt tossed softballs to Omar bin Laden, parroting, "[Omar] wants to be an ambassador for peace. First up, he wants to meet with President George Bush to explain to him what his father is all about." Watt failed to press the offspring of the mass murderer on comments such as this: "My father is a very kind man...He's very sorry when he does something like 11 September."
Left-wing Columbia Professor Jeffrey Sachs, a frequent Morning Joe guest, has accused US special operations forces of committing "high-tech murder on a large scale" for their targeted campaign of killing or capturing Al Qaeda Taliban forces in Afghanistan.
Sachs made his contemptible accusation on today's Morning Joe in the course of a discussion of the PBS Frontline documentary "Kill/Capture" on the JSOC operations. Stephen Grey, a producer of the documentary, was a guest.
Just when you consider cutting the Associated Press a break for doing something right, they pull this.
Most people know that in the interest of "not spiking the football," the Obama administration has decided that it will not release photos of Osama bin Laden's dead body.
Shortly after the decision was announced, AP filed a Freedom of Information Act request for said photos. According to John Hudson at the Atlantic (HT to Jim Taranto at the Wall Street Journal's Best of the Web), the AP's Michael Oreskes claims that "This information is important for the historical record" and "It's our job as journalists to seek this material." So far, so good.
But you just knew they'd figure out a way to potentially ruin it. Here's Oreskes as quoted by Hudson:
MSNBC's Ed Schultz is so pro-Barack Obama that he wasn't the most liberal person on his Monday program. The Ed Show host hyperbolically praised the President as "on the footsteps of greatness" and tangled with a guest who refused to agree that Osama bin Laden was guilty.
Grit TV anchor Laura Flanders appeared on the program to out-liberal Shultz, arguing, "...You can say a lot of things about what happened Sunday night [with the killing of bin Laden]. You can say it was justified. But justice is not the word. It wasn't what we stand up for around the world and call justice."
An incredulous Schultz could only sputter, "Osama bin Laden wasn't guilty?...He wasn't guilty?" Flanders would simply emphasize, "As I said, you can call it justified."
MSNBC's Chris Matthews on Monday continued to obsess over Dick Cheney, deriding the former Vice President as a "torture advocate" who should waterboard Dick Cheney and Scooter Libby.
The Hardball anchor attacked Cheney for complaining that Barack Obama has ended Bush-era war on terror polices. Matthews offered this aside: "...But Cheney being Cheney- doesn't that sound like a good torture advocate name, by the way- he couldn't help but stick it to the President on this very issue."
He then played a clip of Cheney and, rather than address the ex-VP's statements, mocked, "Why don't we have Cheney try that waterboarding thingamajig of his on Karl Rove and Scooter to really find out who said what in that CIA leak case? I think they're fair game, to use a phrase. "
If CNN's Roland Martin gives the same answer as a tea party conservative, you know you've asked him a pretty bizarre question. On Monday's 10 a.m. EDT news hour, CNN anchor Carol Costello asked the panel if Obama is now "unbeatable" due to the killing of Osama bin Laden, falling gas prices, and a positive May jobs report.
Of course, the election is over one year away, not all of the possible Republican candidates have officially declared their intentions, and the direction of the economy remains to be seen. But CNN apparently thought it fitting to ask the experts if the 2012 election is all but decided.
On Sunday's Reliable Sources, CNN host Howard Kurtz used the killing of Osama bin Laden to revisit how the media were too deferential to the Bush administration. Kurtz questioned the validity of the terror alerts in the years following 9/11 and wondered if they were used for political gain. Kurtz, comparing the press coverage of the bin Laden assassination and the War on Terror, pondered if there was a "climate of fear" post-9/11 and asked "did the media contribute to that?"
"Is it possible that the Bush administration, for political reasons, chose to play up the War on Terror in a way that the Obama administration has chosen not to?" Kurtz asked guest Brian Ross of ABC News. Ross didn't see the same conspiracy theory on the Bush administration, simply saying that they had a "different mindset" in the matter than Obama.
Last week, the media rightfully crowed over U.S. success in killing Osama Bin Laden, an unquestioned bad guy in the war on terror. They noted that intelligence gathered from that raid may have led to an unsuccessful U.S. Predator drone attack on Anwar Al Awlaki, leader of Al Qaeda in Yemen. Unfortunately, while Al Awlaki is very much as bad as Bin Laden, the media haven’t always known it.
The mainstream media have recently described this America-born terrorist as a “central figure” of Al Qaeda and the New York Times, ABC News, and MSNBC have all called him “radical” when reporting on the recent attempted drone attack. Al Awlaki has been linked to the 2009 Christmas Day Underwear bombing attempt in Detroit, the Fort Hood Shooting and the failed Times Square bombing.
But just 10 years ago they claimed he was a “moderate” a bridge-builder, and a “prayer leader.”
On NBC's Meet the Press on Sunday, host David Gregory remained highly skeptical of the role enhanced interrogation tactics played in tracking down and killing Osama bin Laden: "Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded 183 times. And based on reporting this week in NBC News and outside, he never gave up the truth about the courier that led to bin Laden."
Gregory made the argument while speaking to a panel that included former CIA Director General Michael Hayden, former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani. In response to Gregory's assertions, Chertoff referred to political partisans debating the issue: "...there will be people who will never be persuaded one way or the other about this." Gregory argued: "But it's a question of whether it's knowable....Is it objectively knowable?"
While discussing what role President Bush and enhanced interrogations played in the death of Osama bin Laden, Fox News Sunday panelist Juan Williams referred to the terrorist's death as "murder."
Responding to conservative Paul Gigot, Williams dismissed, "But to somehow say it's because we were engaged in enhanced interrogation, and that led- and it's a very uncertain path that it leads directly to the murder of Osama bin Laden- it seems to me petty, and it seems to me an attempt to diminish President Obama's accomplishments."
I have to wonder if someone spiked that White House-brewed Kool Aid for MSNBC with hallucinogens.
Either that or the network's apologists suffer from pathological dishonesty.
How else to explain one of the most blatantly deceitful claims on MSNBC in memory, when Rachel Maddow on Wednesday dutifully cited the reasons why she agreed with Obama's decision against releasing photos of a deceased bin Laden.
After all, Maddow said, many Iraqis refused to believe that Saddam Hussein's sons were no longer alive after the US military released photos of them upon their deaths.
Not only that, Maddow argued, look at what happened after our military unveiled a photo of deceased terrorist Zarqawi (video after page break) --
"Let's Clear the Fog of War," suggested Pulitzer Prize winning reporter Timothy Egan in a recent blog post for the New York Times. Egan criticized the White House's decision to simply stop talking about what happened at the compound where Osama bin Laden was killed on Sunday night. "They owe us a complete story, an honesty story, one for the record," Egan wrote.
But in calling for truth, Egan, whether he realized it or not, perpetuated a falsehood concerning the Iraq war that those who opposed that war continue to invoke in support of the narrative that the war effort itself was premised on a falsehood.
Egan made his opposition to the effort in Iraq clear in labeling it "a disastrous and bankrupting war against a country that had nothing to do with the mass homicide on American soil." He went on to offer the tale of Pfc. Jessica Lynch as "emblematic of the whole phony campaign at the top. If the White House was willing to go to war on false pretenses, why shouldn’t low-level commanders follow suit on the ground?"
In a set of tweets a few minutes ago decrying the shooting of bin Laden, leftist filmmaker Michael Moore attacked the Obama administration for not capturing bin Laden and bringing him back alive for trial.
After comparing Confederate general Robert E. Lee and Confederate president Jefferson Davis to bin Laden, Moore groused, "I'm just saying, I want my America back."
He then added, "I dunno, maybe it never was. We are a nation founded on genocide and built on the backs of slaves."
Ever looking to criticize the American populace from his cardboard platform, filmmaker Michael Moore lashed out Thursday on CNN at supporters of Osama bin Laden's assassination. "We've lost something of our soul here in this country," he said of the mission to kill the al Qaeda leader rather than capture him and try him in court.
A guest on Piers Morgan Tonight, Moore contrasted the assassination with the post-World War II Nuremburg trials. He claimed that America then, unlike now, put itself above the level of its enemies by trying their leaders instead of simply executing them.
The liberal filmmaker ripped Americans' disregard for a trial and their support of an assassination. "The second you say that, you're saying that you hate being an American," he huffed. "You hate what we stand for, you hate what our constitution stands for....We should be standing up and saying 'listen, damn it, we're Americans. This is the way we do it. You commit a crime, we put you on trial.'"
Michael Moore and others on the far left have taken to moral preening over the killing of Osama bin Laden, finding it unseemly to celebrate the death of a man that killed 3,000 American citizens. (Of course, people would have cheered if Osama had been merely captured and not killed.) Friday's New York Times story by Benedict Carey validated that left-wing trend under the headline "Celebrating a Death: Ugly, Maybe, but Only Human."
Some Americans celebrated the killing of Osama bin Laden loudly, with chanting and frat-party revelry in the streets. Others were appalled -- not by the killing, but by the celebrations.
“It was appropriate to go after Bin Laden, just to try to cut the head off that serpent, but I don’t think it’s decent to celebrate a killing like that,” said George Horwitz, a retired meat cutter and Army veteran in Bynum, N.C.
Others were much more critical. “The worst kind of jingoistic hubris,” a University of Virginia student wrote in the college newspaper, The Cavalier Daily. In blogs and online forums, some people asked: Doesn’t taking revenge and glorying in it make us look just like the terrorists?
President Barack Obama's Ground Zero visit yesterday was "pitch perfect," according to former Newsweek editor Jon Meacham, despite reports that the commander-in-chief was rude and dismissive toward at least one American who lost a family member on Sept. 11, 2001.
On the May 6 edition of "Morning Joe," MSNBC anchor Willie Geist asked Meacham to characterize the significance of Obama's visit to the site where more than 3,000 people were slaughtered in an attack planned by deceased al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.
"I thought it was pitch perfect in the sense of it was not about him," intoned Meacham, who now occasionally writes for Time magazine. "It was not the grand speech; it was him doing a kind of human interaction with the folks."
In report from Pakistan on Friday's NBC Today, news anchor and soon-to-be co-host Ann Curry offered this description of Osama bin Laden's widow, Amal al-Sada: "After more than 10 years of marriage, Amal was known to be devoted to him....and she was much like him: simple, pious, not interested in luxuries like his other four wives. And it appears she lived his life on the run." [Audio available here]
A sound bite was featured from terrorism expert Evan Kohlman, who like Curry, adopted a sympathetic tone toward the al-Qaeda leader's spouse: "She joined bin Laden and she traveled with him during one of the most difficult parts of his life, which when he was mostly on the run, traveling across Pakistan, Afghanistan with few luxuries. And yet, she stuck by him."
"If you listen very carefully, you can hear the sound of thousands of people in Washington, D.C., peeling egg off their faces," NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell quipped on the May 6 "Fox & Friends," referring to the naysayers who condemned enhanced interrogation techniques such as waterboarding during the Bush administration.
Indeed, President Bush "is not getting the credit he deserves" for the finding and killing of Osama bin Laden.
NPR's Ari Shapiro emphasized the possible political benefits for President Obama on Thursday's Morning Edition in the aftermath of the death of Osama bin Laden. Shapiro lined up sound bites from three pundits who touted the "big moment" for the "bold" President and how it amounted to a "fundamental shift in the way Americans perceive Mr. Obama."
Midway through his report, the correspondent introduced a clip from former Bill Clinton speechwriter Jeff Shesol: "He [Shesol] believes this week could mark a fundamental shift in the way Americans perceive Mr. Obama." The Clinton alum claimed that it would be "very hard after this moment to suggest that President Obama doesn't have the guts to make tough calls, to make bold and risky calls...and then to go ahead because he knows it to be the right thing to do."
As the headline proves, the Times has made itself quite comfortable with using the loaded word "torture" to describe broad interrogation methods like water-boarding and sleep deprivation that inflict temporary physical panic but not permanent damage.
The killing of Osama bin Laden provoked a host of reactions from Americans: celebration, triumph, relief, closure and renewed grief. One reaction, however, was both cynical and disturbing: crowing by the apologists and practitioners of torture that Bin Laden’s death vindicated their immoral and illegal behavior after the Sept. 11 attacks.
Not bad, it took her a mere 18 months to grasp this.
On her MSNBC show Monday night, the first time it ran after the death of bin Laden, Rachel Maddow cited several post-9/11 examples of terrorism targeting Americans in the US -- including the attack at Fort Hood in November 2009.
"Since Sept. 11, the story of terrorism targeting the United States itself has mostly, thankfully, been the story of thwarted attacks," Maddow said, such as the so-called shoe bomber and underwear bomber, a plot to detonate explosives in the New York City subway system, the failed bombing of Times Square, and the so-called Dallas bomber who targeted former president George W. Bush.
"And then there was the mass-casualty shooting at Fort Hood in Texas in 2009, carried out by Major Nidal Hasan," Maddow said.
Quite a contrast with how Maddow described the incident on her show Nov. 12, 2009, fully a week after the carnage (video after page break) --
President Bush received a short-term boost in a New York Times poll when Saddam Hussein was captured in December 2003, his job approval rating rising to 58% from 50%, while the assassination of Osama bin Laden similarly benefitted President Obama in yesterday's NYT/CBS poll, 57% to 46%. Yet it was Obama who got the warmer initial greeting on the New York Times's front page.
Support for President Obama rose sharply after the killing of Osama bin Laden, with a majority now approving of his overall job performance, as well as his handling of foreign policy, the war in Afghanistan and the threat of terrorism, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll.
The glow of national pride seemed to rise above partisan politics, as support for the president rose significantly among both Republicans and independents. In all, 57 percent said they now approved of the president’s job performance, up from 46 percent last month.
Anchoring NBC News special report coverage of President Obama visiting Ground Zero on Thursday, Meet the Press host David Gregory used the opportunity to take a shot at critics of the administration: "...this [killing bin Laden] was the ultimate leadership moment for a commander in chief who in some ways had not been tested on this order. Who had been the target of criticism from Republicans..."
Gregory noted how some of the President's critics "have said that he has not shown the kind of leadership necessary to demonstrate he was capable of protecting America," adding, "despite the continuity of this administration with the previous administration's fight against terrorism, whether it's detainee policy or the surge of forces in Afghanistan." Of course, President Obama certainly did not campaign on continuity with the Bush administration's national security policy, but begrudgingly adopted it out of necessity.