Yet for its coverage of the 10 year anniversary memorial service in today's paper, the Washington Post elected to go with an 11-paragraph article by Newport News [Va.] Daily Press's Hugh Lessig rather than assign a Post staffer to the story.
Foiled Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad was sentenced to life imprisonment on Tuesday, which was noted by all Big Three networks. But a look at the transcripts shows that ABC, CBS, and NBC all have one obvious thing in common: words like "Obama" are never uttered. (The same happened in The New York Times and The Washington Post.)
Can anyone imagine if Shahzad attempted this in 2008, the word "Bush" would have been absent from the news and analysis? The War on Terror has disappeared as a political matter, and now it's simply "U.S. officials" and "the government" fighting jihadists. While several suggested Shahzad's incompetence was the only obstacle preventing a mass murder, no one assessed whether the current administration succeeded or failed.
NBC Nightly News led with the Shahzad sentencing, while CBS waited four minutes and ABC waited for seven and a half before getting to it. NBC began:
Acting as if President Barack Obama is uniquely burdened by the responsibility of protecting the nation from a terrorist attack or overseeing a war, Diane Sawyer and Bob Woodward marveled at how he’s taken on the job despite the terrible world George W. Bush left for him, in awe of his recognition that terrorists setting off a nuclear device in U.S. city would be a “game changer” and how he dictated “a six-page document” outlining Afghan war strategy – a level of presidential engagement never before seen in “American history.”
Setting up an eight-minute segment on Monday’s World News pegged to Woodward's Obama's Wars book (an abridged version ran later on Nightline), Sawyer relayed how “Woodward said, quote, ‘the saber-rattling Bush administration had not prepared for some of the worst case scenarios, ones the new President was handed in the Oval Office.’”
As if the terrorist threat was unknown, Woodward empathized with Obama: “Imagine the high of being elected on that Tuesday and then they come in two days later and say, ‘by the way, here are the secrets. It's a drumbeat. They're coming. They're planning. They're plotting. They're communicating.’”
Eric Bolling's new show on the Fox Business Channel, Money Rocks, saw a significant display of fireworks this evening. During a discussion of some already controversial statements made by Democratic strategist, Bob Beckel, a very heated exchange developed involving Beckel and Atlas Shrugs publisher, Pamela Geller.
The controversy started when Bolling played a clip of Beckel's previous appearance on the show in which he stated:
"Look, at some point, I know it's sensitive here in New York and probably New Jersey, but we have to get over 9/11."
What did he mean by ‘we have to get over 9/11'? According to Beckel, this was simply an expression of frustration for a variety of things, such as extra security at airports and a few other minor inconveniences designed to catch "a bunch of non-existent terrorists."
The short list of ‘non-existent terrorists' since 9/11 that Mr. Beckel must be referring to, include the Madrid train bombers, Russian train bombers, Shoe Bomber, the Lackawanna Six, Fort Hood assassin, the Virginia ‘Jihad' Network, Christmas Day bomber, Fort Dix plotters, and the Times Square bomber.
Beckel might have been feeling the stress of trying to defend such a blatantly insensitive statement, by providing a blatantly inaccurate defense, as he experienced a misogynistic meltdown directed at Geller in the middle of the segment in which he said:
"You're a woman, you better be careful about saying who I carry water for."
As the actor Richard Tillman – brother of former Army Ranger and former NFL player Pat Tillman – appeared as a guest on HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher on Friday promoting the film "The Tillman Story" about his brother’s death in Afghanistan, host Maher played a clip from Pat Tillman’s funeral in which Richard Tillman mocked the religious references made at the funeral by speakers Maria Shriver and John McCain. Maher went on to praise Richard Tillman as having "a lot of balls" for his words as there was also moderate applause from the audience.
Maher set up the clip: "But, you know, they had Maria Shriver and John McCain... Speaking there, and Maria said, "Pat, you are home. You are safe." And McCain said, "You will see Pat again when a loving God reunites us all with our loved ones."
Then came a clip of Richard Tillman speaking at the funeral while nearly crying: "Thank you for coming. Pat’s a f------ champion and always will be. Just make a mistake, he’d want me to say this. He’s not with God. He’s f------ dead. He’s not religious. So thanks for your thoughts, but he’s f------ dead."
After applause from the audience, Maher responded, "That’s a lot of balls, my friend."
Sometimes, The Huffington Post just publishes stuff they should know can be objectively disproven. On Thursday, leftist author John Robbins wrote about people falsely accused of "eco-terrorism." But then he had to wrap up by suggesting something verifiably false:
But apparently there are federal officials who for whatever reason consider the threat posed by "eco-terrorists" to be priority number one. This, even though no act of environmental protest, even those where property has been intentionally damaged, has ever resulted in a single human death.
Ted Kaczynski (the Unabomber) was an eco-terrorist responsible for 23 injuries and three deaths through letter-bombs. Were they not "acts of environmental protest"? That's certainly how Kaczynski intended them.
Yet in neither of two separate articles by the Associated Press (Nicole Winfield and David Stringer/Victor L. Simpson) do the writers mention a possible extremist Muslim/Islamic connection. The writers simply identified the suspects as "London street cleaners."
Imagine six Israelis had been arrested in the US and charged with possibly plotting against a visiting ayatollah. Rhetorical question: would Today have mentioned their nationality and/or religion?
But when reportedly six Algerian Muslims were arrested in the UK and charged with possibly plotting against visiting Pope Benedict XVI, Today breathed not a word of their identity. Reporter Nina Dos Santos spoke only of "the specter of terror" having reared its head in London, and of "yesterday's arrests." But Dos Santos never said what form that specter took . . . or who was arrested.
Appearing as a guest on Friday’s Countdown show, MSNBC political analyst Richard Wolffe – formerly of Newsweek – referred to the debunked story that was retracted by Newsweek in May 2005 which had incorrectly claimed that American interrogators at Guantanamo Bay had flushed a Koran down a toilet to intimidate Muslim prisoners. But Wolffe did not inform viewers that the story was untrue as he accused conservatives of a double standard for criticizing Newsweek’s inaccurate Koran desecration story from 2005 while not being aggressive enough in condemning Pastor Terry Jones’s declaration that he would burn the Koran on September 11. Wolffe:
I'm struck all the time with this story about the experience of those of us who worked in Newsweek – not the least of whom is Mike Isikoff now at NBC News who wrote a story about the abuse of the Koran in Guantanamo Bay, and there were riots and people died and the overwhelming torrent of abuse from conservative, the echo chamber, more than elected officials I think, certainly from conservative media, was that Newsweek had lied and people died. That's what they said.
Newsweek’s erroneous story inspired riots and a significant number of deaths in 2005 before it was retracted by the magazine, although, as previously documented by the MRC, Newsweek buried its retraction.
Those are the two most prevalent words uttered or typed on this tragically historic day.
For many, September 11, 2001, was a day that will forever be seared into the minds of those who were witness. On that day, the nation was awoken by a harsh reality that some people want nothing more than to destroy our freedom, our way of life. It was a day that 19 hijackers, four airplanes, two towers, and one deranged ideology brought the threat of terrorism to the forefront in our country.
But a mere nine years after 9/11, has the leadership of this nation, both administrative and media related, already forgotten?
Yesterday, on the eve of the anniversary of 9/11, the President of the United States of America had the tone deaf audacity to ignore the concept of time and place, choosing to defend the building of the Ground Zero victory mosque. In his news conference, President Obama said that the proposed New York City mosque has run up against the "extraordinary sensitivities around 9/11." In other words, he hears the sensitivities, he simply does not care.
Alan Colmes on the ninth anniversary of 9/11 said America shouldn't commemorate these attacks every year, and was nicely smacked down by Judith Miller for his smarmy efforts.
Discussing the anniversary coverage on "Fox News Watch," Colmes said, "Every 9/11 it's become like a national day of remembrance, which I understand from an emotional standpoint, but I wonder if it's such a good idea that every year we make such a big deal on the media of it being 9/11."
Miller shot back, "The reason you do it is to remember why we have the counter-terrorism policies we have...We need to be reminded why we're doing this."
Colmes pathetically replied, "9/11 should not be revered as some kind of national almost holiday."
"It's not revered. It's commemorated," said Miller (video follows with transcript and commentary):
In an interview with controversial Florida Pastor Terry Jones on Wednesday's CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith doubted whether or not Muslim extremism was really a threat: "Would you regard radical Islam, then, as the enemy?"
While Jones' plan to burn copies of the Koran on the anniversary of 9/11 has been rightfully condemned as offensive and an unnecessary provocation, Smith's response of questioning the danger of Islamic radicalism altogether denies the ideological motivation of America's enemies. After Jones described receiving threats over his planned event, Smith responded by quoting scripture: "...you're a student of the New testament, I'm sure. Did not Jesus say you're to love your enemy?"
After Jones continued to defend the burning of the Muslim religious text, Smith again cited the Bible: "But there are at least two different times in Matthew and Luke where Jesus is quite, quite clear about loving – about loving your enemy." Concluding the interview, Smith commented: "Well, I know you say you've been praying about it. And I hope that you find the wisdom in order to do the right thing, as the next couple of days unfold."
Defenders of controversial imam Feisal Abdul Rauf have been touting his past efforts in offering counterterrorism advice to the FBI as a way to illustrate his bridge-building intentions. Much like other reports, they tend to gloss over the more controversial aspects of Rauf's statements. But, as is typical with the Ground Zero mosque imam, it can be demonstrated that he is frequently speaking with a forked tongue.
There is no doubt that Rauf has made some questionable and incendiary comments regarding America and her role in the Muslim world. Perhaps these statements fit the imam's overall rhetoric involving U.S. complicity in the attacks of 9/11. As does the following statement to the FBI, which is conveniently omitted from media reports defending Rauf.
Bridge-building imam Feisal Abdul Rauf was giving a crash course in Islam for FBI agents in March of 2003. When asked to clarify such terminology as ‘jihad' and ‘fatwa', Rauf stated (emphasis mine throughout):
"Jihad can mean holy war to extremists, but it means struggle to the average Muslim. Fatwah has been interpreted to mean a religious mandate approving violence, but is merely a recommendation by a religious leader. Rauf noted that the U.S. response to the Sept. 11 attacks could be considered a jihad, and pointed out that a renowned Islamic scholar had issued a fatwah advising Muslims in the U.S. military it was okay to fight the Taliban in Afghanistan."
Once again, the co-host of MSNBC's "Morning Joe" Joe Scarborough hinted that "certain networks," (ahem, MSNBC) hold quite the double standard between Democrats and Republicans. When the subject matter was President Obama's snub of an Iraq War question during his vacation at Martha's Vineyard – he remarked "We're buying shrimp, guys" – Scarborough pointed out that network coverage of Bush would have been far more negative.
As NewsBusters reported last week, Scarborough also believes "certain networks" will "maul" Haley Barbour if he runs for President in 2012.
The show's co-host Willie Geist first opined that news coverage might have been different with President Bush. "I hate to make this point too often," he said, "but imagine for a moment George W. Bush were on his sixth vacation, and he was asked about Iraq, and he said 'I'm buying shrimp.' You think that wouldn't be a headline everywhere?"
"You're implying there's a double-standard, Willie," conservative guest Pat Buchanan snickered.
Never mind the personal feelings of people, which they're entitled to have, over the notion of a mosque being built in close proximity to Ground Zero in Lower Manhattan. Those sensitivities have nothing to do with what's really going on. It's really all about President Barack Obama and his political opponents according to New York Times columnist Frank Rich.
On MSNBC's Aug. 26 broadcast of "The Rachel Maddow Show," host Rachel Maddow admitted she was befuddle that anti-Islam sentiment has seemingly peaked in the past few weeks and wondered why it has suddenly been brought to boil, with the mosque in question at the forefront.
"For all the bad decisions made post-9/11, we really didn't see a national, like, open partisan two-minutes hate toward Muslims the way we are seeing now about this mosque debate," Maddow said. "Why is it happening now?"
In a Swampland blog post this morning entitled, "Something I Didn't Know," Time magazine's Joe Klein pointed to a New York Times article that noted the existence of two mosques "already within several blocks of the proposed [Islamic] center."
But while other folks might draw the conclusion that building an additional mosque just blocks from Ground Zero is a needless exercise in dividing New Yorkers over a highly sensitive matter, Klein ran in the exact opposite direction, suggesting that logical consistency would compel mosque opponent Newt Gingrich to want to "close those suckers down"?
"[T]his is further evidence of the true nature of this squabble: a particularly sleazy form of Nativist electoral politics," Klein insisted. [click here for a related post by Brent Baker]
Khadr was captured on a battlefield in Afghanistan in 2002, when he was just 15 years old. He's charged with the murder of a U.S. soldier, a crime he's already confessed to, although he now claims his confession was coerced.
Although 15-year-olds in the United States are frequently tried as adults for murder and although Khadr is in 23 years old now, McGirk presented the case as the potential first conviction of a "child" for war crimes since World War II. What's more, McGirk presented the case as a potential travesty of justice in an ill-conceived war on terror, a term he dismissively used in quote marks:
CNN's Rick Sanchez bizarrely wondered on Tuesday's Rick List whether investigating the funding behind the planned mosque near Ground Zero would lead to investigations into Catholic and/or Mormon funding: "If you start going into who is giving money...you've got to go to Rome and start asking where the money is going into Rome....and you have to go the Mormons and ask...what are they doing with their money? [audio clips available here]
Sanchez posed that vaguely morally relativistic question as he interviewed former New York Governor George Pataki during the prime-time edition of his program 14 minutes into the 8 pm Eastern hour. Before bringing on his guest, the CNN anchor inquired whether the opponents of the proposed Islamic center/mosque had become extreme: "Are those against this Islamic center/mosque in New York City going too far these days? I want to you decide as you look at this new ad that's going to be running on city buses in New York. On one side, as you look at this, you will see that there's a picture of a mosque- on the other side, a shot of a plane that's slamming into the Twin Towers, and it poses this question: why there? The ad is being sponsored by a group that's called The American Freedom Defense Initiative."
After noting former New York City Mayor Ed Koch and current mayor Michael Bloomberg's support for the mosque, Sanchez introduced Pataki and first asked him, "Why are they [Koch and Bloomberg] wrong and why are you right?" After the Republican explained his opposition, the anchor gave his first hint to his later Catholic/Mormon question: "Once you start telling someone you can't worship here because it affects the sensibilities or sensitivities of someone else, you're starting to go down a slippery slope, and then a lot of people would ask- well, which religion is next? Who else are we going to not let worship where they want, how they want?"
When the American Civil Liberties Union sues the government for its right to defend the cleric that inspired the Fort Hood mass murder, couldn't the media describe them as radical, or even left-wing? Instead, the headline in the Washington Post Wednesday was "Treasury sued over edict on radical cleric Aulaqi: Rights groups say rule prevents challenge to effective death sentence."
Why aren't groups that oppose terrorists positively defined as "civil rights groups"? What about the "civil rights" of terrorist victims like the murdered at Fort Hood? Post reporter Spencer Hsu lets the ACLU's Anthony Romero claim that endangering the jihadist's rights endangers us all:
President Barack Obama told disabled veterans in Atlanta on Monday that he was fulfilling a campaign promise by ending U.S. combat operations in Iraq "on schedule."
But the timetable for withdrawing U.S. troops in Iraq was decided during the Bush administration with the signing of the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) by U.S. and Iraq officials on Nov. 16, 2008. The Iraqi parliament signed SOFA on Nov. 27, 2008.
The agreement, which had been in negotiations since 2007, set a timetable calling for most U.S. troops to leave Iraqi towns and cities by June 30, 2009, with about 50,000 troops left in place until the final withdrawal of all U.S. military forces by Dec. 31, 2011.
Liberal filmmaker Michael Moore, in an interview with CNN's Larry King, compared the suspected WikiLeaks source Bradley Manning with witnesses of Nazi atrocities testifying at Nuremberg.
"He essentially followed the Nuremberg principles," Moore claimed, "which is when you see something going on like this, when you see war crimes being committed, when you see lies being told in order to bring a country to war, you have to speak out against it."
Moore thought that Manning "is exactly who we want in our armed forces," and deserves the Profile in Courage award for helping to make the WikiLeaks public knowledge. "You can't just line up and be a good German and do what you're told to do," Moore said in defense of Manning's audacity.
The liberal filmmaker appeared on King's show last Tuesday, and the news hour was re-aired Sunday night. Moore answered questions from King and from viewers themselves on topics ranging from the BP oil spill to the Arizona immigration law to the WikiLeaks scandal.
In her debut Sunday morning as host of ABC’s This Week with Christiane Amanpour, the long-time CNN international correspondent brought a foreigner’s perspective to the program as she treated her lack of knowledge and familiarity with U.S. politics as an asset and the current New York City resident seemed to say that after more than two decades of covering the world she had decided to allow herself to deal with U.S. politics now that “the story in this country is turning into one of the most fascinating.” She asserted in an opening explanation: “I'm also eager to open a window on the world.”
In her interview with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi she approached the Speaker as an empathetic liberal confused about why the public would vote in Republicans after all of the Democratic achievements (“You, by all accounts, are one of the most, if not the most, powerful and successful Speakers in the history of the United States. You’ve passed so much legislation...”) and fretted about “so much polarization” against Pelosi as exemplified by an anti-Pelosi ad which Amanpour described as painting Pelosi as “the bogeyman.” Amanpour despaired: “There seems to be a never-ending partisanship. What is it you can do for the people in this highly-polarized situation?”
She framed questions to Pelosi around phrases such as “from an outsider’s point of view” and “for me, looking in from outside.” Amanpour displayed less ideological affinity and was more engaged and informed about Afghanistan when she quizzed Secretary of Defense Robert Gates.
PBS recently responded to accusations of a liberal slant to its July 23 Need to Know program which featured satirist Andy Borowitz making fun of Sarah Palin’s intelligence as the show's executive director Shelley Lewis claimed that, because the previous week's episode had featured a segment that was critical of President Obama, the program in reality has been balanced in going after political figures. According to TVNewser, quoting from Michael Getler's July 28 "The Ombudsman Column" on the PBS Web site, Lewis argued: "Is a little joking about Ms. Palin's penchant for malaprops really such a big deal? Last week, editorial cartoonist Steve Brodner was pretty tough on President Obama, and we heard plenty from Obama fans about how unfair we were, how right-wing we were, etc. We do try to have some fun at both sides' expense..."
But the July 16 segment that poked fun at Obama actually criticized him for not being liberal enough in keeping his campaign promises as cartoonist Steve Brodner was shown drawing sketches of Obama while a voiceover of the cartoonist lamented that "the presumed anti-war Obama became the 30,000 more troops Obama," and that "the previous stimulus advocate Obama who faced McConnell finally and a vocal conservative movement, he didn't campaign consistently for the stimulus that he mentioned in the State of the Union, wound up advocating for that along with deficit reduction, making him at least partly like McConnell."
Missed? Perhaps, but this story of complacency by President Barack Obama's administration has certainly been under-reported thus far.
On Fox News Channel's July 28 broadcast of "Studio B," the network's judicial analyst Andrew Napolitano discovered a potential lapse in responsibility by the Obama White House. For the broadcast of his July 31 Fox Business Network show "FreedomWatch," Napolitano interviewed Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks.org, the so-called "whistleblower site" which released tens of thousands of classified files about the Afghanistan war. During the interview, Napolitano reported Assange revealed he offered the Obama White House the documents, but they were unresponsive. (h/t @CrabbyCon)
"STUDIO B" HOST SHEPARD SMITH: You just interviewed Julian Assange. Now Julian Assange is the man who is the founder of WikiLeaks - released these, or on his site was released the 92,000 pages of documents that lead to all this discussion about our complete failures in Afghanistan and thoughts that we need to get out of Afghanistan. He told you something that I considered to be a blockbuster bit of news. NAPOLITANO: And that is that WikiLeaks presented the documents - there were over 100,000 pages of them, to the White House. SMITH: When? NAPOLITANO: Weeks before they were released. He wouldn't give me an exact date.
So as you know, Wikileaks has posted a crapload of secret military reports about the Afghan war, including covert operations against Taliban figures. They claim their goal is to reveal “unethical behavior,” by the government and corporations.
On their website they write “All governments can benefit from increased scrutiny by the world community, as well as their own people.”
This is pure bullpoop, to use the scientific term.
The fact is, their goal is to only “expose” people they don’t like – meaning the United States military – and get worldwide props for it.
So there was Robert Gibbs on the White House lawn, defending to Mika Brzezinski the letter from the Obama administration saying it favored a compassionate release of the Lockerbie bomber over a prisoner transfer. Oh, wait. That wasn't the White House press secretary—it was Chuck Todd. Sorry about that. But when you view the video I think you might forgive my error. Todd certainly came across like a paid administration flack . . .
In the course of his conversation with Mika on today's Morning Joe, Todd labelled "outlandish" the depiction by the Sunday Times of London of the US position as "double-talk." As Mika continued to press the case, suggesting the US could simply have expressed its implacable opposition to any form of release, Todd complained that it was "easy to back-seat drive" the Obama admin's handling of the matter. Perhaps most laughably, Todd defended the Obama admin's "delicate" diplomacy by claiming "any administration" would have done the same and raising the what-if of another country trying to tell our government what to do. You mean, like Pres. Obama's moves to close Gitmo and take other measures weakening US national security because other countries have complained about them?
Tom Friedman stepped into a journalistic controversy in his Sunday New York Times column, "Can We Talk?" protesting CNN's firing of senior editor of Middle East affairs Octavia Nasr for posting this message on Twitter upon the death of Hezbollah founder Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah:
Sad to hear of the passing of Sayyed Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah... One of Hezbollah's giants I respect a lot.
According to Western intelligence, Fadlallah blessed the drivers of the vehicles behind the 1983 attacks on Marine barracks in Beirut which killed 241 Marines. President Clinton froze his assets in 1995 because of his suspected involvement with terrorists.
Yet Friedman was dismayed by Nasr's dismissal by CNN:
I find Nasr's firing troubling. Yes, she made a mistake. Reporters covering a beat should not be issuing condolences for any of the actors they cover. It undermines their credibility. But we also gain a great deal by having an Arabic-speaking, Lebanese-Christian female journalist covering the Middle East for CNN, and if her only sin in 20 years is a 140-character message about a complex figure like Fadlallah, she deserved some slack. She should have been suspended for a month, but not fired. It's wrong on several counts.
Good Morning America's George Stephanopoulos on Monday lobbied that if one were to "set aside" the Fort Hood terror attack and the botched Christmas bombing, there haven't been successful attacks on America in the last few years.
Stephanopoulos was talking to William Arkin, the co-author of a new Washington Post investigation into the top secret agencies created in the wake of 9/11. The GMA host began by asserting, "I spoke with an administration official early this morning."
Putting a positive spin on Obama's first 18 months, he trumpeted, "And that if you set aside the Fort Hood bombing in Texas and the failed Christmas bomber, there has not been a major attack that's been anything close to successful on American soil."