For the Washington Post's Petula Dvorak the sight of American college kids celebrating the death of Osama Bin Laden outside of the White House gates, on Sunday night, was "almost vulgar." In a May 2 story Dvorak described the scenes of joy as "one part Mardi Gras and two parts Bon Jovi concert" but then went on to say "It felt a little crazy, a bit much. Almost vulgar" and admitted: "my first reaction was a cringe."
Dvorak, then doubled-down on her hand-wringing, saying the U.S. students reminded her of "those al Qaeda-guys dancing on Sept. 11th," before pondering: "Are we simply creating star-spangled recruitment tapes for a new generation of terrorists killing in the name of their new martyr?"
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."
On Sunday, a Wikileaks document dump revealed files from Guantanamo Bay in which military commanders noted the Finsbury Park mosque in north London was a "haven" for Islamic extremists, "an attack planning and propaganda production base" that recruited jihadists to fight in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
But while the American mainstream media have been ga-ga over tomorrow's royal wedding, there's been little if any attention paid to this development by the very same reporters who were packing their bags for London.
A search of Nexis for ABC, CBS, and NBC news transcripts from April 25 through today reveals nothing on the Finsbury Park mosque, although other information from the latest wikileaks dump was discussed.
Classified dossiers of detainees at Guantanamo Bay prison released by Wikileaks were naturally splashed on the front of Monday’s New York Times, which had editorialized in strong terms for the closing of the Cuba prison. Reporters Charlie Savage, William Glaberson, and Andrew Lehren filed “Details of Lives in an American Limbo.”
(In February 2009, Glaberson let two hard-left groups he called "human rights groups" ridicule a Pentagon report saying there was no mistreatment at Guantanamo Bay.)
From Monday's lead story:
A trove of more than 700 classified military documents provides new and detailed accounts of the men who have done time at the Guantánamo Bay prison in Cuba, and offers new insight into the evidence against the 172 men still locked up there.
Military intelligence officials, in assessments of detainees written between February 2002 and January 2009, evaluated their histories and provided glimpses of the tensions between captors and captives. What began as a jury-rigged experiment after the 2001 terrorist attacks now seems like an enduring American institution, and the leaked files show why, by laying bare the patchwork and contradictory evidence that in many cases would never have stood up in criminal court or a military tribunal.
The New York Times offered a distorted glimpse into the prison at Guantanamo Bay and the Bush administration's treatment of suspected terrorists in a series of reports published on Sunday and Monday.
Scouring hundreds of leaked military documents, Times reporters used emotionally-charged phrases and cherry-picked anecdotes to paint an unflattering picture of the facility that has jailed hundreds of enemy combatants captured in the War on Terror.
Chrystia Freeland has called the US prison system an "American Gulag Archipelago." The Global Editor-at-Large of Reuters made her comment during today's Dylan Ratigan show on MSNBC.
The context was a discussion of the recent WikiLeaks document dump about Gitmo, but Freeland was clearly speaking of the domestic US prison system, not our military prisons. Ratigan picked up on her theme, saying we could cut our prison costs in half if marijuana were legalized.
Of all the reasons to send our people to fight and die in Afghanistan, spending $2 billion per week in the process, Howard Dean has managed to come up with perhaps the worst: feminism.
On today's Morning Joe, Dean explained that "the whole reason" he used to support President Obama's waging of the Afghanistan war was that leaving the country would plunge its women back into "the Stone Age." But now that Afghan President Karzai has showed insufficient support for women's right in Dean's eyes, it's time to get out.
After relegating to page A16 the stabbing slaughter of five members of a family of Israeli settlers on March 12 at the hands of Palestinians, the New York Times mustered front-page sympathy for Vittorio Arrigoni, a pro-Palestinian activist murdered in Gaza by a fringe Islamic group. Fares Akram and Isabel Kershner reported from Gaza for Saturday’s front page, “Killing of Pro-Palestinian Activist In Gaza Deals a Blow to Hamas.”
For Vittorio Arrigoni, an Italian pro-Palestinian activist who friends said fought peacefully for justice, the end was as violent as it was incongruous.
Former Army Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez is expected to be a Democratic contender in the Texas 2012 Senate race. However, when Politico's Mike Allen brought news of his probable candidacy to MSNBC's "Morning Joe" Monday, he omitted the fact that Sanchez commanded the U.S. ground forces in Iraq while the infamous abuses at the Abu Ghraib prison took place.
Sanchez, when he retired from the Army in November of 2006, told a local paper that the Abu Ghraib scandal was "the sole reason" he was forced to retire. The scandal occurred in the summer and fall of 2003, and involved humiliations, beatings, and sexual abuse of prisoners at the hands of U.S. soldiers at Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad. Sanchez was the commander of coalition forces in Iraq during that time.
Once again, the Times falsely described a “nasty” anti-Cleland campaign ad by Chambliss, this time claiming it was “picturing Mr. Cleland with Osama bin Laden.” Has anyone at the Times ever actually watched the ad?
Days after President Obama called for forming a bipartisan group in Congress to begin negotiating a $4 trillion debt-reduction package, the parties have not even agreed to its membership. Yet six senators -- three Democrats, three Republicans -- say they are nearing consensus on just such a plan.
The group’s oldest members -- Senator Richard J. Durbin, 66, a progressive from Illinois who counts the Senate’s only socialist as a friend and ally, and Senator Saxby Chambliss, 67, a genial Georgia conservative whose nasty first campaign left lingering bad feelings among Democrats, and who is a confidant of Speaker John A. Boehner -- illustrate that even with the mounting federal debt intensifying the partisan divide over spending and taxes, the severity of the fiscal threat is forging unlikely alliances.
Robert Redford's "The Conspirator" is a thinly-veiled political allegory warning against the danger of trying terrorists in military tribunals. And that's why his movie about the military trial of Lincoln assassination conspirator Mary Surratt is problematic.
That's not me talking, that's Washington Post film critic Ann Hornaday in her April 15 movie review:
NPR's Dina Temple-Raston touted Attorney General Eric Holder's reluctance to give detainees at Guantanamo Bay military trials during a segment on Monday's All Things Considered. Temple-Raston and host Michele Norris only featured sound bites from the Justice Department head, omitting clips from supporters of the military tribunals.
Norris began by noting the Obama administration's "major reversal" in their decision to try Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four other 9/11 suspects in military court. After playing a clip from Attorney General Holder's recent press conference, where he announced the move, the host turned to the correspondent and recounted how " in late 2009...Holder announced that these five conspirators will be tried in New York City in a civilian trial. So today's decision officially reverses that."
Temple-Raston, who conducted a sting operation against U.S. border agents earlier in 2011 by wearing a headscarf and posing as Muslim woman, mainly acted as stenographer for the attorney general, though she did acknowledge the mismanagement of the rollout for the civilian trials plan:
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.”
In the past several weeks, events outside the United States have commanded as much of Mr. Obama’s attention as the nation’s domestic concerns. The upheavals in the Middle East and North Africa have provided a fresh reminder that the Oval Office is occupied by the nation’s commander in chief.
That alone might not be enough to displace the economy as the No. 1 issue for Mr. Obama. But as the president’s top advisers survey the field of potential Republican rivals in 2012, one other fact is glaring: Almost none of them have any serious foreign policy credentials.
During Monday's "Morning Joe," Time's Mark Halperin and co-host Mika Brzezinski helpfully provided some spin for the White House to borrow as President Obama finishes his prepared remarks for Monday evening's address to the nation on the events in Libya.
President Obama has received sharp criticism for his foreign policy concerning Egypt and Libya, but Halperin threw cold water on that, calling Obama's strategy "extremely deft in a very tough situation." Brzezinski agreed with his premise, adding that his "deft" handling is also in accord with promises he previously made.
"He's pro-democracy, right? He's anti-violence. He's anti-unilateral U.S. intervention," Halperin noted of Obama, trying to connect his current policy with the peacemaker he claimed to be as a presidential candidate.
(Video below the jump. Comments begin at the 12:30 mark.)
Libyan rebel commander admits his fighters have al-Qaeda links Abdel-Hakim al-Hasidi, the Libyan rebel leader, has said jihadists who fought against allied troops in Iraq are on the front lines of the battle against Muammar Gaddafi's regime.
So how will the U.S. press deal with this hot potato?
In the lead-up to the Iraq War, the media "hammered Bush" about getting congressional approval, NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell noted on last night's "Hannity" during the "Media Mash" segment. Yet such scrutiny has been missing in President Obama's actions on Libya, he noted.
What's more, the media have failed to press Obama on violating his own standards on presidential use of military force:
Is Obama more 'hawkish' and yet more charming than his immediate predecessor?
Apparently so, claimed Time's Mark Halperin and MSNBC's Mika Brzezinski on Thursday's edition of "Morning Joe."
Halperin believes that President Obama has been more cavalier than his predecessor, and Brzezinski thinks that although Obama has extended many of Bush's unpopular policies, he brings a different "characterization" to the table.
The panel harped on the irony of Obama receiving the Nobel Peace Prize despite his inexperience in the White House at the time (less than a year) and the fact that he has continued American wars overseas and started a third one in Libya. Liberals Mike Barnicle and Mika Brzezinski both admitted to having been taken aback by the 2009 decision to bestow the prize on the president in his freshman year in office. (Interestingly enough, this recalls an episode in 2009 when co-host Joe Scarborough mocked the Nobel committee's decision on the "Morning Joe" set.)
(Video after the jump. Comments from start until 3 minutes in.)
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.
On Thursday's Newsroom, CNN's Ali Velshi claimed that Rep. Peter King has a "seemingly strange obsession with Islam and Islamists, or whatever you want to call it," given the lead up and the first day of hearings looking into the radicalization of American Muslims. Velshi also bizarrely stated that "I don't quite understand how when you put an -ist at the end of it [Islamism], it changes the subject."
The anchor discussed the hearings with former FBI agent Foria Younis, CNN national security analyst Peter Bergen, and former Catholic turned Episcopal priest Rev. Alberto Cutie during the last segment of the 2 pm Eastern hour. Midway through the panel discussion, Velshi turned to Cutie and made his claim about the New York congressman, along with his doubt about the validity of "Islamist" as a term:
Amid the media's vilification of Rep. Peter King, their continuing coverage of Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison's "tearful struggle" stands in stark contrast.
"Amid the raw feelings of Thursday's House hearings on domestic Islamic radicalization, Rep. Keith Ellison could not fight back the tears" as he recounted a story about Mohammed Salman Hamdani. Rep. Ellison "choked up and spoke haltingly of how some tried to 'smear' Hamdani because of his faith," declared the Minneapolis Star Tribune on March 10. The manner in which Hamdani was defamed, and the identities of the guilty, has remained ambiguous to date.
Echoing Rep. Ellison's Twitter post "America is big enuf for all of us," USA Today declared "Rep. Keith Ellison" has made it clear "America is big enough for us all." Cursorily noting that "Rep. Pete King, R-N.Y. vowed not to bow to 'political correctness,'" it went on to give an in-depth reaction provided by a talk show host based out of Minnesota: "As I was wiping my tears," she said, "I was thinking what is it about my faith that is not being accepted as an American? My faith? My scarf? My ethnicity?"
Absent from all of the media's coverage of Rep. Ellison's weeping is the Title 1 of Section 102 in the Patriot Act passed by Congress after 9/11:
On Thursday's CBS Evening News, congressional correspondent Nancy Cordes implied that the House Homeland Security Committee hearing on the radicalization of American Muslims was simply a political show put on by committee chairman Peter King: "Ignoring calls from Democrats to cancel his hearing...King embarked on the inquiry in a room newly decorated with fiery images from 9/11."
Cordes later declared that "King's own past assertion that most U.S. mosques are run by radicals" resulted in "poisoning the atmosphere" of the hearing. She remarked on how King's "relations with Muslim leaders there [in his Long Island, NY district] deteriorated after 9/11." A sound bite was then featured of Dr. Faroque Kahn of the Islamic Center of Long Island, who labeled King a "Muslim-basher."
MSNBC host Andrea Mitchell on Thursday brought the specter of bigotry into Representative Peter King's hearings on the threat of radical Islam in America. While interviewing Congressman Dan Lungren of California she awkwardly hinted, "Well, you know, you and I are both white."
The irritated Republican wondered, "What does that mean?" Mitchell lectured, "I'm just asking, get in their heads for a second and try to think about how it is to be a Muslim-American facing these kinds- this kind of testimony today. That's all I want to know."
In an earlier segment, the Andrea Mitchell Reports host casually insisted that the hearings are "a great lesson against the dangers of over-generalizing, of generalizing at all about particular groups."
An NPR correspondent recently went incognito for a sting operation aimed at exposing U.S. border agents who target Muslims for "interrogation" at the Canadian border.
Employing the same tactics used by James O'Keefe to bring down top NPR executives, counterterrorism correspondent Dina Temple-Raston draped herself in a headscarf, drove to the northern border, and recorded her encounter with a U.S. border agent. [Click here for audio.]
"An agent from Customs and Border Protection was sitting in what looked like a little toll booth," recalled Temple-Raston on the March 10 Morning Edition, who gave the agent no indication that he was being recorded. "He asked me to remove my sunglasses and peered into the car. I was wearing a headscarf and so was Kathy Jamil. He asked why we'd been to Canada."
On ABC's Good Morning America on Wednesday, co-host George Stephanopoulos fretted over congressional hearings on the radicalization of American Muslims being "potentially explosive" and that "Critics are already calling this a witch hunt." The headline on screen throughout the segment read: "Hearings on Islamic Radicals: Witch Hunt or Reality Check?"
ABC was not alone in touting the "witch hunt" accusation. On CBS's Early Show, correspondent Nancy Cordes described how "already foes [of the hearings] are calling them discriminatory and a witch-hunt." On NBC's Today, co-host Meredith Vieira introduced a report on the hearings by noting how "critics say it amounts to a witch hunt."
Bowing to reality, President Obama has officially reneged on a campaign promise to his base, reversing a previous decision on detainees at Guantanamo Bay that will keep the prison camp for terrorists open indefinitely. It made the front page of Tuesday’s Washington Post but was buried near the back of the New York Times that day, on page 19: “Obama, in Reversal, Clears Way for Guantanamo Trials to Resume.”
Reporters Scott Shane and Mark Landler rounded up some suspiciously sympathetic quotes from left-wing figures, or as the Times calls them, “civil rights advocates," either cutting Obama some slack or even finding bright spots in the decision.
New York Times religion reporter Laurie Goodstein made Tuesday’s front page with an attack on Brigitte Gabriel, an activist who warns against the dangers of radical Islam in the United States: “Drawing U.S. Crowds With Anti-Islam Message.”
Interestingly, the piece is datelined Fort Worth, Texas, suggesting much of the relevant reporting was done last fall – Gabriel spoke to a Tea Party event in Fort Worth in September 2010, and Goodstein’s story includes a photo of Gabriel speaking at “a Tea Party event in September.”
Did some of this story come out of the freezer? It was surely released today to intersect with Rep. Peter King’s hearings on Islamic radicalism which begin on Thursday, but which the Times already bashed in its lead editorial today. The editors pointed an accusing finger at King: “Not much spreads fear and bigotry faster than a public official intent on playing the politics of division.”
Recently, the Los Angeles branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-LA) released a video showing a group of protestors exhibiting anti-Muslim sentiments outside an ICNA fundraising dinner. Liberal media outlets ran with the press release as a way to highlight bigotry towards Muslims, with the video showing up on The Guardian, Think Progress, Salon, Mediaite, Huffington Post, and Hillary Clinton’s source for ‘real news’, Al Jazeera. Problem being, the video and press release is so wrought with false statements, distortions, and a cut and paste documentary style, it could have passed as a Michael Moore film.
Naturally, these news outlets casually gloss over the ICNA’s controversial ties to radical clerics, terrorist organizations, and the implementation of Sharia law. Outlined previously, the group has hosted events with such speakers as radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, and Siraj Wahhaj, an unindicted co-conspirator in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, and one of the keynote speakers at this particular fundraiser. Additionally, the group has documented ties to Hamas, Jamaat-e-Islami, and the Muslim Brotherhood.
All facts which seemingly bear little relevance as to why there would be a protest in the first place. But even beyond an exploration of reasons behind the protest, is concern that these media outlets would present a distorted video as evidence of anything other than their own journalistic malpractice.
Mark Potok of the left-wing Southern Poverty Law Center claimed on Monday's Newsroom on CNN that radical Islam wasn't "our biggest domestic terror threat," that instead, "that pretty clearly comes from the radical right in this country." Anchor Suzanne Malveaux touted Potok as "expert on extremism" from "one of the most highly regarded non-governmental operations that are monitoring hate groups."
Malveaux brought on the SPLC spokesman at the bottom of the 12 noon Eastern hour to discuss the upcoming hearings by the House Homeland Security Committee on the radicalization of American Muslims. The anchor first asked him, "From your study of tracking radical groups, potentially hate groups, what do you think of this hearing? Is al Qaeda radicalizing Muslims? Is that our biggest homegrown terrorism threat right now?"
Potok replied with his "radical right" claim, and went on to criticize the chairman of the House committee, Rep. Peter King:
Dan Gilgoff played up the Islamic community's concerns over upcoming congressional hearings on "the radicalization of American Muslims" in a Friday article on CNN.com. Gilgoff quoted Muslims 12 times in his article, versus only 3 times for Rep. Peter King, who will be convening the hearings, and omitted mentioning actual terrorist incidents from recent years that involved native-born or naturalized Muslims.