On MSNBC's Countdown show on Friday, substitute host Brian Unger featured a softball interview with Democratic Congressman John Murtha during which Unger queued up Murtha to attack the Bush administration's Iraq policy and Republican critics. The Countdown host bolstered Murtha's credibility by referring to his war record and labelling him a "traditional hawk" while he discredited White House advisor Karl Rove by negatively labelling him as a "partisan attacker trying to squash discussion about Iraq," and proclaimed "the Swift-Boating of the 2006 election has begun." Unger also saw no irony in fretting about "personal attacks" on Murtha even as Murtha referred to Rove "sitting on his fat backside in an air-conditioned office." (Transcript follows)
On this morning’s "Early Show" CBS terrorism analyst and former FBI agent Christopher Whitcomb told co-host Hannah Storm that he believes the seized al Qaeda documents are believable, i.e. the ones where al Qaeda admits it’s losing in Iraq, and that the United States is making significant progress in the overall war on terrorism.
Ms. Storm began her interview of Mr Whitcomb inquiring about the authenticity of these al Qaeda memos:
"The Iraqi government has released a document it said was found at the site of the bombing when al Zarqawi was killed. Actually, the U.S. government says it was found a few weeks before on a hard drive. But the bottom line is this document says that al Qaeda's weakening. It's an al Qaeda document, supposedly. Do you buy it? Can we take it at face value?"
In the past week, President Bush has visited Iraq, had his top political operative cleared of wrongdoing, and presided over the elimination of the terrorist mastermind Abu Musab Al Zarqawi. NBC’s Today show took note of this fact and the June 16 edition featured a segment on Bush’s upturn in fortunes. But if conservatives expected the media to be happy about Bush’s "good week," they were sadly mistaken. Today reporter Norah O’Donnell began her piece, which aired at 7:13AM EDT, by stating that the Bush administration hoped the current string of positive events would become more then "just a fleeting bit of good news." She also implied that the President’s trip was a political stunt:
"And the President may get the most mileage...literally and figuratively, out of his drop-in to Baghdad...with secrecy both necessary and adding dramatic effect."
CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS REPORTER: WordCentral.com defines terrorism as the use of a violent or destructive act to achieve a goal. Why is it so difficult for the international community to agree on a definition for terrorism?
OCTAVIA NASR, CNN SENIOR EDITOR FOR ARAB AFFAIRS: Well, I think for one, terrorism for one person is a freedom fight for another. And you know, the Arab world always talks about this, as they say the so-called terrorism, because they believe that - in Iraq, for example, many people are struggling against occupation, so in many ways they support that struggle against occupation but then they draw a line between those who are struggling. They want a free Iraq, they want the occupiers out and those who are pushing the envelope and crossing the line by terrorizing people. And when we say terrorizing people, in a sense, it's going after the innocent civilians, the unsuspecting civilians, taking hostages, beheading them. Committing acts that are totally unacceptable, even by the standards of a freedom fight. So, you know, if you think about it, "terrorism" is a subjective term depending on which side you are on.
Rachel Marsden writes at Front Page Magazine that ever since news of terrorist plots in Canada came out, "Canadian journalists have been busy spitballing accusations of ethnic insensitivity at each other."
Seventeen alleged Islamic terrorists were arrested in Canada recently, leaving approximately 50 more terrorist cells to go, according to federal spy agency sources. But even with authorities acknowledging that more arrests are inevitable, there’s one thing that could hinder further takedowns: political correctness.
Since the terror busts, some Canadian journalists have been busy spitballing accusations of ethnic insensitivity at each other from the nation’s editorial pages. Obviously, they’d rather be picking the lint out of each other’s navels than worrying about the folks who want to kill us.
Meanwhile, the political climate here is so charged that politicians, editors and police are treading on eggshells, afraid that the wrong words could be enough to send some Islamofascists on a bender—as though they actually need an excuse.
As this op-ed column from today's Los Angeles Times illustrates, the MSM and the left-dominated American academy continue to side, in the name of 'human rights', against measures designed to protect us from another 9/11 and with those who might potentially do us harm.
Author David Cole, a law professor at Georgetown University and volunteer attorney with the Center for Constitutional Rights, was co-counsel to the plaintiffs in Turkmen vs. Ashcroft. He condemns the district court ruling in that case, which, as described in this article from Jurist, held:
Yesterday Lee Cowan, of CBS News, may have exaggerated the size of the protests in Baghdad by people loyal to cleric Muqtada al Sadr, in response to President Bush’s surprise visit. But today, he made up for it. Cowan, reporting from Baghdad for "The Early Show" on CBS, was the only reporter on the 3 major network morning shows to quote from al Qaeda documents found after the death of terrorist leader Abu Musab al Zarqawi.
While "Good Morning America" on ABC and "Today" on NBC gave only cursory mention of the documents, "The Early Show" led the program with the story. Co-host Julie Chen noted the significance of the documents and what they could mean when she introduced Cowan’s piece:
A new study says that the more the media cover terror attacks, the more terror attacks occur. Both the media and terrorists benefit from terror attacks, because the terrorists get free publicity while the media get higher ratings and sell more newspapers.
It's a macabre example of win-win in what economists call a "common-interest game," say Bruno S. Frey of the University of Zurich and Dominic Rohner of Cambridge University.
"Both the media and terrorists benefit from terrorist incidents," their study contends. Terrorists get free publicity for themselves and their cause. The media, meanwhile, make money "as reports of terror attacks increase newspaper sales and the number of television viewers."
More ink equals more blood, claim two economists who say that newspaper coverage of terrorist incidents leads directly to more attacks. It's a macabre example of win-win in what economists call a "common-interest game," say Bruno S. Frey of the University of Zurich and Dominic Rohner of Cambridge University.
"Both the media and terrorists benefit from terrorist incidents," their study contends. Terrorists get free publicity for themselves and their cause. The media, meanwhile, make money "as reports of terror attacks increase newspaper sales and the number of television viewers." The results, they said, were unequivocal: Coverage caused more attacks, and attacks caused more coverage -- a mutually beneficial spiral of death that they say has increased because of a heightened interest in terrorism since Sept. 11, 2001.
Gee, thanks for the altruistic journalism, New York Times.
Pinkerton reports on his brief foray inside the belly of the 'immigrant rights' beast. Far from being an echo of the black civil-rights movement of the '60s based on non-violence, Pinkerton says that it's a radical 'movimiento' animated by dreams of 'reconquista.'
Pinkerton explains that earlier this week he attended a panel discussion entitled "The New Immigrants Movement," part of a "Take Back America" conference convened in Washington, D.C., by the left-wing Campaign for America's Future.
The New York Times has sunk to a new low in their quest to shut down Gitmo's terrorist training facility, this time by turning over their opinion page to a suspected terrorist.
Today's editorial page features an op-ed from Mourad Benchellali, a French national awaiting trial in France on terror charges. Benchellali's op-ed, titled "Detainees in Despair," claims that he was unjustly plucked from an outdoor cafe by Pakistani police, and held under brutal conditions at the Guantanamo Bay facility without reason or probable cause.
I was seized by the Pakistani Army while having tea at a mosque shortly
after I managed to cross the border. A few days later I was delivered
to the United States Army: although I didn't know it at the time, I was
now labeled an "enemy combatant." It did not matter that I was no one's
enemy and had never been on a battlefield, let alone fought or aimed a
weapon at anyone
Earlier this week, the Media Research Center released a new study documenting the fairly heavy coverage ABC, CBS and NBC have provided of yet-unproved claims that U.S. Marines engaged in a “massacre” in Haditha, Iraq last year. The study found those same networks have provided relatively paltry coverage of the select group of American heroes who’ve been given the military’s highest honors: the Distinguished Service Cross, the Navy Cross, the Air Force and the Congressional Medal of Honor.
Today’s Washington Times (Jennifer Harper) has a nice summary of our study’s key findings, plus some reaction from the multi-national force in Iraq. Excerpts from her article, “‘Bad News’ Rife in military coverage”:
You'd think that President Bush's surprise visit to Iraq would warrant a big front-page headline in one of the country's largest newspapers. Yet today's print edition of the Los Angeles Times (Wednesday, June 14, 2006) blares the headline, "Crackdown Underway in Baghdad." A reference to the surprise visit is relegated to the sub-headline, and only a tiny 1.75" x 2" photo of President Bush and Prime Minister Minister Maliki occupies the page. The far-more appropriate title is platooned to the continuation of the story on page A24: "Bush Visits Iraq Ahead of Major Sweep."
The Times appears to be continuing its practice of downplaying good news for the Bush administration (here and here are just a couple of many examples; see also this).
Has Katie Couric's departure had a salubrious effect on Matt Lauer? Freed his inner moderate? The jury's still out. And to be sure, in his interview of Bill O'Reilly this morning Lauer managed to take shots at Ann Coulter and the Iraq security situation. Still, when an MSM host suggests that releasing prisoners from Guantanamo could result, of all things, in an 'international Willie Horton,' it does make you sit up and take notice.
Meanwhile, BOR himself, fresh from his visit to Guantanamo, energetically made the case for the current system of detaining enemy combatants.
Lauer did start things out with a quick jab at the state of security, or lack thereof, in Iraq:
The media is overflowing with stories about the incident in Haditha on November 19, 2005. There are so many stories and so many interviews but there is a problem. Many of the stories and recountings of events are inconsistent and seem ever changing.
Take the conflicting stories from Thaer al-Hadithi - the "young Iraqi journalist" and AP's "Iraqi human rights investigator". Al-Hadithi claimed that his "own house was barely 100 yards from the IED explosion." He recounted that the blast shattered his windows. Al-Hadithi claimed he "ran outside in time to see Marines from three other humvees springing from their vehicles and heading for four homes on either side of the road."
But in his interview with the AP, he claimed "he was visiting his family in Haditha". Al-Hadithi described an "eerie silence after the explosion". He told the AP that he watched from the window of his home and had a clear view of two of the houses.
Our media today seem absolutely allergic to good news, especially when it comes to Iraq.
In the early morning of June 8, the story broke that American forces had killed Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, our most infamous terrorist enemy in Iraq. This was terrific news, a time for rejoicing in America. A man who viciously caused the death of thousands, and killed Americans like Nicholas Berg by personally sawing off their heads, would kill no more.
This should have been a time for national euphoria, and for most, it was. But the media’s hearts clearly weren’t in it. Within just a few minutes of the “Today” show announcement, a viewer could draw the clear sense that the poor-mouthing had begun. Matt Lauer began by noting the “timing” was certainly right for a Pentagon dragged down by allegations of a Marine massacre at Haditha. NBC invited Sen. Joe Biden to describe how President Bush has been “basically crippled at home and abroad because of the incompetence of the way his administration has operated at home and abroad.” We’re going to discuss Bush incompetence – minutes after we learn Zarqawi was located and eliminated?
Various media around the world have been using this shocking photo to smear the US Marines in connection with the Haditha incident.
As Michelle Malkin has reported, the photo has nothing to do with US Marines: "The photo is of fishermen executed in a Haditha stadium by terrorists six months before the Nov. 19 incident under investigation by the US military."
That didn't stop the Times of London from running it on June 1st, alleging it was of the alleged Marine action in Haditha. The Times later apologized.
What's gotten into Campbell Brown? I'd had her pegged as a conventional MSM liberal, but in recent times, she has manifested a refreshing streak of independence that was very much on display in her interview of Howard Dean on this morning's Today show.
Things came to a head over the Dems' vague and conflicting positions over Iraq.
Began Brown: "Let me ask you about Iraq. I want to ask a straightforward question. What is the Democrats' position on Iraq? What solution do Democrats have?"
Dean: "We believe that the President is wrong to say this will be left to the next president. That's not the right approach. Secondly, we believe there needs to be a transition, that the Iraqis need to take over and our troops need to come home and be redeployed to other parts of the world to fight terrorism. The war on terror has nothing to do with the war with Iraq, or at least it didn't until the president got us in there. We believe in transition. This is now the responsibility of the Iraqis. And we believe that this cannot be left to the next administration. It needs to be dealt with now."
Hit back Brown: "But 'dealt with now', that's not that different from President Bush's position."
On this Sunday’s "Face the Nation" on CBS, Bob Schieffer once again turned to New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman for analysis on developments in Iraq, the overall war on terrorism, and the Israel/Palestinian peace process.
Among the claims Friedman made were claiming that the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay was the "anti-Statue of Liberty." That America is alone in Iraq, discounting the contributions by the British and other coalition partners. And that he doesn’t "really want to blame America" for the inability of the Israelis and Palestinians to come to a workable peace agreement.
Friedman began by seemingly eulogizing Zarqawi. He focused on how effective Zarqawi was as a terrorist, but doesn’t offer praise to our troops or thanks that he has been removed from the equation in Iraq:
On Monday’s "Good Morning America," co-host Charles Gibson interviewed Rep. John Murtha, the perfect opportunity to press him hard on how Zarqawi might not have been defeated if our troops had gone "over the horizon," as CNN’s Carol Lin suggested the other day. But that didn’t happen. MRC's Brian Boyd reports Gibson calmly set him up to turn the entire good news around into more grist for getting out of Iraq ASAP. It began with Charlie playing up Murtha’s military credentials (oops, left out those controversial medals):
"We're going to turn now to Congressman John Murtha, who has been a very outspoken critic of the war in Iraq. A combat veteran; spent 37 years in the Marine Corps, himself; and he's joining us this morning from Johnstown, Pennsylvania."
The writers of The New York Times apparently think that every day's a good day to bash the Bush administration. And any hook will work, whether it's factually correct or not. Today's example comes from yesterday's Times, and Niall Ferguson. He's got a long piece about the burgeoning Federal debt.
Well, I'm all in favor of concern about the debt, because I'd rather have a lower debt than a larger. (I rather suspect that, as a matter of policy, the New York Times would not agree with me on the proper means for lowering the debt, but we'll leave that aside for the moment.)
So, what exactly is Ferguson's take?
Since becoming president, George Bush has presided over one of the steepest peacetime rises ever in the federal debt. The gross federal debt now exceeds $8.3 trillion. There are three reasons for the post-2000 increase: reduced revenue during the 2001 recession, generous tax cuts for higher income groups and increased expenditures not only on warfare abroad but also on welfare at home. And if projections from the Congressional Budget Office turn out to be correct, we are just a decade away from a $12.8 trillion debt — more than double what it was when Bush took office. [emphasis mine]
To paraphrase Douglas Adams, "this is obviously some strange usage of the word peacetime that I wasn't previously aware of." Even if you want to describe the 1990s as "peacetime" despite the fact that we had troops active in Iraq (and Somalia and Bosnia), it is difficult to comprehend how someone could describe the period since 9/11 as "peacetime." After the United States was clearly attacked, we have responded militarily, removing the governments of two different nations in the past 5 years, with all of the military costs that those operations have required. There's no legitimate usage of the word "peacetime" in that context. The only reason that you would use that word is to make a false comparison that makes the Bush administration's performance look worse than it has been.
How unusual to see something like that in the New York Times...
Media reporter turned columnist David Carr quotes the now-notorious comment out of Ann Coulter’s new book regarding the media-lionized “Jersey Girls” who lambasted Bush for failing to stop 9-11, then huffs in his Monday column:
"That typical Coulter sortie was hardly a misstep on some overamped talk show. That doozy of a sentence was written, edited, lawyered and then published.”
What have the Dems and their MSM echo-chamber been clamoring for, nay, demanding, when it comes to Iraq? Why, a troop withdrawal, of course. Yet there was Matt Lauer on this morning's Today, fretting that President Bush might . . . withdraw troops.
Lauer's lament came in the course of his interview of former General Barry McCaffrey, looking ahead to the Iraq summit that Pres. Bush is holding at Camp David beginning today with his top national security advisers.
" Do you worry about a political side of this, that the administration may pull a substantial number troops out of Iraq just prior to November's mid-term elections simply to sway public opinion?"
You might say the Boston Globe has taken the condemnation of Ann Coulter to new depths. Its editorial cartoon of 9/11, by staffer Dan Wasserman, suggess that Coulter's criticism of the 'Jersey Girls'- the 9/11 widows turned harsh Bush administration critics - amounts to desecration of the graves of the 9/11 victims themselves. Wasserman also swipes at what he perceives to be Coulter's brand of Christianity.
Jealous guardians of high standards or just . . . jealous? There was a rare bit of consensus on tonight's Fox News Watch, as pundits from left and right came together to condemn Ann Coulter for what they judged to be money-motivated excesses in her latest opus, 'Godless: The Church of Liberalism'. The focus was Coulter's controversial statements about the Jersey Girls - the 9/11 widows turned harsh Bush administration critics. Highlighted was this excerpt from Ann's book:
"These broads are millionaires, lionized on TV and in articles about them . . . I have never seen people enjoying their husbands' death so much."
MRC's Mike Rule noticed on Friday that CBS "Early Show" co-host Hannah Storm held fast to deeply pessimistic questions in an interview with Sen. John McCain. She began by wondering if Zarqawi's death would have any effect at all:
"Well, even the president, Senator McCain, had a notably cautious response yesterday to the fact that al Zarqawi was dead. He said we can expect terrorists to carry on without him. What's your assessment? Will his death have any impact on the level of violence? Particularly the civil war that's raging in Iraq now?"
On Friday, talk show host Laura Ingraham laughed at how MSNBC's Chris Matthews started demoting Zarqawi on Thursday night's "Hardball" as a minor-league threat, a "Triple-A" terrorist instead of a real "World Series" win. MRC's Geoff Dickens passed on the transcript:
"Well could one concern be that if they bragged, and appropriately so bragged, about killing Zarqawi, a real bad guy, who killed Nicholas Berg and a number of other people in the most vicious way, beheading them, that they would expose the fact that they haven’t caught Mullah Omar, the head of the Taliban, haven’t caught Zawahiri, the number two guy, number three guy over there, and they certainly haven’t caught Bin Laden. Are they concerned that, that bragging at this point would look like bragging about a Triple-A World Series rather than a real one?”
On the day of the running of the final leg of the Triple Crown, we've got a new leader in the Wackiest Zarqawi-Take Stakes. The new favorite in the kooky conspiracy derby is far from a colt. Galloping ghosts! It's De-Frosted Anti-Vietnam War Man and battle-hardened Jane Fonda veteran Tom Hayden. His winning notion? That Zarqawi might really have been our guy in Iraq.
In thisHuffington Post piece, Hayden tries to give himself cover by stating "I have no reason to believe Zarqawi was an [American] agent," but then immediately goes on to contradict himself, darkly musing:
As I noted yesterday, while most Americans were celebrating the military success that killed the most wanted terrorist in Iraq, Abu Musab al Zarqawi, there were still some in the media trying to spin the development in a negative light. That trend continued on the CBS "Evening News" with Bob Schieffer last evening. In one segment, Schieffer interviewed two critics of the war in Iraq, New York Times columnist Tom Friedman and CBS News Analyst Michael Scheuer. Scheuer had also appeared earlier in the day on "The Early Show."
Schieffer focused on Friedman first, inquiring what Friedman thought about the development: