As they do every weekday at noon, CNN’s American viewers were switched over to the CNN International network’s “Your World Today,” a show so far to the left that it makes the rest of CNN look like a Norman Rockwell tribute to the greatness of America. Today, during coverage of the U.S. military’s successful elimination of terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the CNNI caption referred to him as a “top Iraqi insurgent.”
Al-Zarqawi, as everyone (including CNN's foreign bureaus?) surely knows by now, was not an Iraqi, but a Jordanian who spent most of the past three years instigating the deaths of thousands of Iraqi soldiers, police and civilians. Was CNNI trying to falsely paint the self-appointed leader of “Al Qaeda in Iraq” as some sort of nationalist freedom fighter, or are they just sloppy with their choice of words? Either way, it seems like an insult to the people of Iraq to have their worst foreign enemy listed as one of their own.
Reporter Dexter Filkins has an exceedingly strange take on the death by air strike of terrorist leader Zarqawi, responsible for the deaths of hundreds of Iraqis: “By finally eliminating Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the American military and its Iraqi allies have killed the man who put a face on the Iraqi insurgency. The question now looming over Mr. Zarqawi's death is how large a blow it deals to the guerrilla movement he helped drive to such bloody limits.
The MRC has been following the media’s reaction to the death of terrorist mastermind Abu Musab al Zarqawi all day. Much of the coverage has been focused on downplaying the significance of the event. Now we have a new angle. MSNBC anchor Milissa Rehberger hosted First Look, the early morning coverage of Zarqawi’s death. At 5:45AM EDT, in an attempt to give her audience a full picture, this is how she described the life of a brutal murderer:
Milissa Rehberger: " I just want to take a pause for just a second to bring everyone up to date on who Abu Musab al Zarqawi really was, other then the leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq who was killed in an air strike this morning. We are told that he had a troubled childhood where he grew up in Jordan, that he dropped out of high school, that when he was 20-years-old, he went to Afghanistan and joined Al Qaeda."
When President Bush spoke live on the networks around 7:30 AM Eastern this morning, NBC News packaged its coverage as a "Special Report," meaning its NBC affiliates in the Central, Mountain, and Pacific time zones that hadn't started airing "Today" yet were showing this segment. The report ended only after Lauer had exchanged the latest liberal conventional wisdom with Tim Russert, appearing from the West Coast, who was pouring out pitchers of cold water.
Will it change things? "Probably not." Russert highlighted a piece of conversation with a White House aide cautioning that one day's euphoria over the capture of Saddam didn't change much. (Left out of that: whether Russert prodded the aide into saying it.) The "sectarian violence between Sunnis and Shiites continues, and, almost like clinging to a life preserver, that we've learned "things can turn dramatically worse in Iraq...within a moment's notice."
This is a great moral victory for the USA. We have eliminated one of the most active and high profile Al Qaeda terrorists in operation today. Yet, some in the MSM are already downplaying this victory and attempting to make it seem as if this is no big deal. We have already seen several of these instances recorded right here on Newsbusters, so I will not rehash them here.
Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the most-wanted terrorist in Iraq who waged a bloody campaign of beheadings and suicide bombings, was killed when U.S. warplanes dropped 500-pound bombs on his isolated safehouse, officials said Thursday.
It would have been more correct for the AP to report:
“…when U. S. warplanes dropped 500-pound bombs on what al-Zarqawi thought was his isolated safehouse.”
Anyway, well done and thanks to everyone who helped take out al-Zarqawi.
In May of 2004, Abu Musab Al Zarqawi participated in the beheading of Nicholas Berg, a businessman working in Iraq. His father, Michael, emerged in the aftermath of that crime as an outspoken liberal activist and is now running for Congress in Delaware on the Green Party ticket. So who better to bring on for a discussion about Zarqawi’s death? Michael Berg appeared on all three cable channels this morning to spew hatred towards the United States Government and George W. Bush. Interestingly, only one network, MSNBC, found the time to mention that Mr. Berg is now a political candidate. Rather then cover the successful elimination of a significant terrorist threat, CNN, FNC, and MSNBC all gave time to someone who would make statements such as this one on CNN’s American Morning at 7:50AM EDT:
Michael Berg: "Well, you know, I'm not saying Saddam Hussein was a good man, but he's no worse than George Bush. Saddam Hussein didn't commit the rapes, neither did George Bush, but both men are responsible under their reigns of, of terror....I don't get it. Why is it better to have George Bush be the king of Iraq rather than Saddam Hussein?"
As has been documented at NewsBusters here, here, here and here, the predictable MSM response to the killing of Zarqawi has been to downplay its signficance. But there was one surprising bright spot late this morning. CNN host Carol Lin gave pull-out-now John Murtha a surprisingly rough run for his money.
Lin: "A very big day for this administration. Is it fair to say that this attack and the killing of Al-Zarqawi wouldn't have happened if US troops were not on the ground?"
Murtha was unwilling to concede the point: "I'm not sure about that. I'm not sure they couldn't have done it from the outside. If it's as portrayed, it was a bomb that killed him from the air, so I'm not sure about that."
At 7:12 this morning, NBC's Today was already turning the Zarqawi victory into a Republican-Democrat spitting match, inviting on Senator Joe Biden (Democrat from Television, I mean, Delaware). When co-host Ann Curry asked: "Do you think, talking about politics for just a moment, that the President might be able now to use this to gain momentum, to improve the chances of, of improving his approval ratings and helping in the midterm elections coming up this November?" Biden said yes, because Bush has been "crippled" by "incompetence" at home and abroad:
Well, I hope it does improve his ratings. Look, I’m a Democrat. We get one president at a time. This election in November is not going to be for president of the United States, and he has been basically crippled at home and abroad because ofthe incompetence of the way his administration has operated at home and abroad, and that’s not good for the country. He fails, America ends up getting hurt. And so, I hope it does improve his standing. I hope it does embolden him then to take bolder moves in terms of changing policy in Iraq. He’s made some significant changes in Iran. That’s helpful. But we have a long way to go. His low ratings and his inability to rally any support is a very difficult position for the United States internationally.
How on Earth would the networks work in the alleged Marine massacre at Haditha today? Oh, don't worry. Matt Lauer was on that six minutes into the show, MRC's Geoff Dickens reports. Oh, the timing was very political, we at NBC would like to underline:
Matt Lauer: "And Mik, let me just talk about the timing of this. The, the U.S. military has been rocked over the last couple of weeks by headlines suggesting an alleged massacre in Haditha. So clearly this comes at a very important time for the Pentagon."
Air America Radio seemed rather unimpressed by the Zarqawi story out of Iraq this morning. I caught some of the opening minutes of the Stephanie Miller show today. They were playing clips of the Rose Garden Bush remarks and just mocking his accent. "He's extra-twangy today," mocked Miller. The show's impressionist started doing Bush in a William Buckley-esque Connecticut accent, implying the Texas talk is all phony.
Then they began joking "we're auditioning for a new boogey-man," as if Zarqawi was a phantom in a closet. (A caller later suggested Simon Cowell host the boogey-man auditions.) By 9:15, the show shifted back to automatic pilot, mocking Gary Bauer's appearance on Fox with John Gibson on opposition to "gay marriage." (They also mocked Tony Perkins on the same subject on Hardball.)
On the other end of the spectrum, Interviewed this morning on GMA, Richard Clarke - former White House advisor, turned author and bitter Bush-administration critic - scoffed at the significance of the killing of Zarqawi. Host Diane Sawyer was happy to second Clarke's emotion.
Sawyer: "First question has got to be this morning, is it any safer in Iraq and will the war end any sooner?"
Early AP dispatches from the press conference Nouri al-Maliki held this morning to announce the death of Zarqawi said these words were "drawing loud applause from reporters" there.
That didn't sound typical, and NBC's Richard Engel was more precise on Today this morning: "Spontaneous joy from Iraqi reporters gathered in Baghdad's fortified Green Zone." American reporters don't cheer American victories. They suggest this won't mean much in the long run.
NBC's Special Report around the president's remarks included analysis from Tim Russert -- in reality and in tone, the Democratic response. Russert threw several pitchers of cold water on the good news, saying people should remember the euphoria after capturing Saddam Hussein, and things didn't change much.
Good on Don Imus! On today's 'Imus in the Morning,' he called NBC reporter Mike Boettcher on his attempt to spin a bombing in Baghdad as a "not good" response to the killing of Zarqawi.
Here's how it went down. Boettcher was reporting from Baghdad and had this to say:
Boettcher: "Well, good morning, Don. We have the response here right now [to the Zarqawi killing], it’s not good. There have been, there has been another bombing. Thirteen people are dead in central Baghdad. So that is apparently the current reaction from the insurgents to Zarqawi's death."
Imus: "How do we know that's a reaction to that, Mike?"
Boettcher started to back down: "We don't know for sure, Don. You’re right, you’re absolutely right."
It's sad that within minutes of announcing Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's death, the network morning shows were already carrying criticism of the Bush administration. Not only did NBC invite Sen. Joe Biden to attack Bush incompetence (funny day for that!), ABC's Bill Weir reminded the audience that Zarqawi beheaded American Nicholas Berg, and then replayed Berg's left-wing dad saying at the time that he had no desire for his son's killers to be killed. Weir then reported that he spoke to Berg's father this morning, and he condemned the Zarqawi killing as part of an endless cycle of retribution.
UPDATE: MRC's Brian Boyd has the transcript, and it should be noted that Weir also found a more traditional victim's relative response:
You just knew it. The MSM had to find a way to downplay the significance of the killing of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of Al-Qaeda in Iraq. Whereas he had been portrayed as the key to violence in the country, now that he's dead, he is described as just one among 'many thousands'.
And sure enough, on CNN this morning at about 6:20 AM, there was Octavia Nasr CNN's senior editor for Arab affairs, interviewed by host Soledad O'Brien, suggesting that Zarqawi's death might not really be such a 'big deal', after all. Nasr reported that beyond Al Qaeda, there are thousands of other, home-grown insurgent groups in Iraq, 'many' of which are more powerful that Al Qaeda.
"Experts we talk to all the time tell us to be very careful with the way we describe Al Qaeda in Iraq. They say they are the ones that get the most attention, especially from the U.S. media, the western media, but tell us there are many small insurgency groups in Iraq that are more powerful than Al Qaeda, the Zarqawi group. They tell us that there is a resistance in Iaq that is a bit different from the terror groups like Zarqawi's group. So percentage wise, I don't think anyone can put a number on that. But definitely the experts tell us that this is not a lone group in Iraq. There are many thousands more like it."
For weeks, the MSM has been billing as a bellwether the congressional by-election in California to replace convicted felon Randy 'Duke' Cunningham. As per the conventional wisdom, if the Democrats managed to take the seat in what is normally a GOP-stronghold, it would be seen as a harbinger of horrible things to come for the Republican congressional majority.
Well, the election was held yesterday, and - whoops! - the Republican, Brian Bilbray, won. So how did Today spin it? Why, silence was suddenly golden. At least as of the crucial first half-hour, there was time for coverage of dust in the Arizonan desert, but not a word of the Bilbray victory. Insert your imagine-if-the-Dem-had-won comment here.
Earlier today, the Los Angeles Times reported that Pentagon officials were considering
dropping Article 3 of the Geneva Convention from FM 34-52, the Army's
field manual on interrogation. While the Pentagon has not reached a
final decision on the potential modifications to FM 34-52, the Times
and USA Today certainly have. Follow the escalation.
"The Pentagon has decided to omit from new detainee policies a key tenet
of the Geneva Convention that explicitly bans "humiliating and
degrading treatment," according to knowledgeable military officials, a
step that would mark a further, potentially permanent, shift away from
strict adherence to international human rights standards."
Looks like another person on the CBS payroll missed a memo. First it was weatherman Dave Price giving positive reports on Iraq. Now, on this morning’s "Early Show" Colonel Randy Larsen, the director of the Homeland Security Institute and according to co-host Hannah Storm, a CBS News consultant, debunked a few myths that have been promoted by the media.
Larsen used the arrests in Canada to defend the National Security Agency’s (NSA) reported collection of phone records data and to illustrate its usefulness:
"But, it's a superb example, Hannah, of this controversy in the past few weeks about NSA and having the big database of telephone calls. When they arrested these people this weekend, they got cell phones and they got access to other phone numbers they didn't have before. And I'll tell you what, as a U.S. citizen, I'm really happy there's a database we can quickly look into now and see who they've been calling in the United States and start looking into that. So, there's a specific example of about how this data mining can really provide us more security here."
Andrew C. McCarthy writes in National Review that when the New York Times reported on the foiled terrorist plots in Canada, they took great pains not to mention the terrorists were Muslim.
Not only were all those arrested Muslims. The reported evidence against them fits to a tee the shopworn pattern of Islamic terrorism repeated for much of the last two decades. Young men were radicalized at the local mosque and its companion school by elders preaching from the Koran.....
Nonetheless, the rigorous media practice in Phase One is to suppress any reference to Islam, the single thread that runs through virtually all modern terrorism—from New York, to Virginia, to Bali, the Djerba, to Baghdad, to Mombassa, to Tel Aviv, to Nairobi, to Dar es Salaam, to Ankara, to Paris, to Riyadh, to Amman, to Sharm el-Sheikh, to Aden, to London, to Madrid, and, now, to Toronto.
While considerable attention focuses on Ann Coulter's more superficial charms, from a conservative perspective Ann's real beauty is her absolute refusal to buy into liberal logic, no matter how pervasive. That independence of mind was on display this morning during her 'Today' interview with Matt Lauer. Ann was on to tout her new book, Godless: The Church of Liberalism, released today on . . . 6/6/6 - sign of the devil and all that. [See today's open thread.]
The first example came in the context of President Bush's current push for a constitutional amendment that would prohibit gay marriage. The liberal mantra on his initiative, as exemplified by Ann Curry's performance on yesterday's Today, is that this is a cynical political ploy and a waste of time when there are myriad 'real' issues out there to be addressed.
In the wake of the Ann Coulter interview on Tuesday's "Today" -- specifically the part where Matt Lauer simply couldn't believe Coulter's attacks on 9-11 widows channeling their grief into anti-Bush attacks on TV news shows -- here are a few reminders of how the Kristen Breitweisers of the world (who endorsed John Kerry in the fall) were given the lion's share of attention by network hosts like Matt Lauer.
An MRC study of relatives on the morning news shows found the disparity of anti-Bush victim relatives to pro-Bush relatives was 20 to 3. (The report concluded, "These relatives are entitled to their views, of course. But network viewers are entitled to a little balance, too.")
A week earlier, it was already obvious Breitweiser was doing election-year publicity against Bush:
All too often all we get are the bad stories about this war on terror from our Mainstream Media. Not only that but we only hear about our allies when they are quitting their support for US led efforts to combat terror in the world and never when they are in support or do something to help the effort. So, I suppose it isn't beyond belief that we never heard this heartwarming story anywhere in the US Media.
For the last two years, Fran O'Brien's Steak house in Washington D.C. has treated our wounded servicemen from Walter Reed Army Medical Center to a steak dinner on Friday nights. But they recently lost their lease at the Hilton Hotel in D.C. leaving the Friday night dinners in doubt.
Enter the Italian Ambassador and his staff who, on May, 21st, conjured up a full Italian dinner for 27 of our wounded heroes. When Ambassador Gianni Castellaneta, and his wife, Lila, found out that O'Brien's had lost their lease, they decided to step in to substitute lasagna for steak. (See Stars and Stripes article Click here)
On this morning’s "Early Show" on CBS, co-host Harry Smith continued his crusade against the war in Iraq, and suggested that not only is the war in Iraq a quagmire, but the whole war on terror is one as well. In an interview with Senator Joe Biden, a Delaware Democrat and probable candidate for President in 2008, Smith accentuated the negative in Iraq without challenging Biden on his positions.
Smith set the tone for the segment with his first question, suggesting that nothing has been accomplished in Iraq:
"The insurgency appears to be operating virtually at will. Have we made no progress there or is there, do you see any signs of hope of this ending?"
The Capital Times ran a front page story on Memorial Day that was the perfect way for a newspaper to celebrate our military heroes; the cookie cutter foreign war vet who "can't get a job" despite 4.6% unemployment story. Oh yeah, and of course he's homeless.
Well, actually he made the story up. And the checks and balances of the editorial process in today's skeptical journalism climate meant they ate up his story without so much as a phone call to confirm it. The paper says "We've been snookered" with a line suggesting it slipped past due to a holiday weekend. I guess that's what you get for waiting until the weekend before Memorial Day to do your homeless vet story.
At least they observed Memorial Day. [FYI: For more information about how to fight Google censorship, see the comments.]
A wacky group of conspiracy theorists who think 9/11 was an inside job on the part of the Bush administration met in Chicago over the weekend, and got a respectful hearing from Times Metro reporter Alan Feuer.
“500 Conspiracy Buffs Meet To Seek the Truth of 9/11” made Page 1 of the Metro section, and that very headline gives the conspiracy-mongers the undeserved accolade of truth-seekers when they’re actually just crawling for scraps of evidence “proving” that Bush, not radical Islamic terrorism, was responsible for 9/11.
The New York Times recently conducted an interview with author John Updike about his newest novel. This interview was revealing of why liberals will never understand this age in which we live. It is indicative of how they just don’t understand the evil we face in Islamofascism. (See story - Click here)
Updike, as obsessed with fallen Christianity as he is with prurient sex scenes, must have seen the writing on the wall while in the midst of penning his newest novel, a sort of thriller titled Terrorist.
The plot of Updike’s new novel revolves around a young man of mixed parentage who is radicalized into the Islamofascist world. He is given the assignment of exploding a bomb in New York’s Lincoln tunnel. According to the interview we will find the book’s main character, 18 year-old Ahmad, a “lovable” sort of fellow.
In this day when we are faced with Islamofascists who have announced their desire to use nuclear bombs to destroy major US cities -- and other cities in the West -- John Updike wants to make a “lovable” terrorist for us to read along with!
This is the typically convoluted response to this era that the left has so descended into. But, this isn’t the only example of the Left’s confusion evidenced in Mr. Updike’s thought process.
Mr. Updike seems only to have come to his protagonist’s background recently:
The host might be different, but the partisan bias is the same.
Norah O'Donnell sat in for Chris Matthews on this evening's Hardball. The first half hour was devoted to a discussion of Haditha, with Norah making frequent allusions to a "failure of leadership" and wondering why President Bush didn't know the facts and disclose them to the press sooner.
But speaking of disclosure . . . Norah didn't find it necessary to disclose to viewers that two of her three guests were partisan Democrats.
Paul Hackett, shown in the first photo, was the Democratic candidate for Congress from Ohio's 2nd District, and later sought the Democratic senatorial nomination. But Norah introduced him only as "a Marine Corps veteran who served in Iraq and also ran for office in Ohio." Unsuspecting viewers might well have thought that, if anything, the Marine vet was a Republican.
CNN reporter Ben Wedeman got to spend some quality time with terrorists who get their kicks trying to kill Israeli children as he spent the day hanging out at a rocket factory. Nowhere in the story will you read a derogatory word about the terrorists, or even the word "terrorist" at all, and he closes the piece by calling it "a good story."
You might think, as an American or even as a decent human being, that if you knew people who knew bomb-making terrorists, or you had the means to get to where the bombs are being made, you would tell authorities. Not CNN reporters. They bend over backwards to protect these murderers:
I got to the rocket makers through an old acquaintance in Gaza. To protect his identity, I'll call him Majid. A journalist, Majid has the numbers of all Gaza's factions, parties, politicians, warlords, thugs, crooks and freelance gunmen... I didn't mention what I was trying to arrange to anyone -- not CNN's assignment editors, not our Jerusalem bureau, not even Adil, my cameraman who was hoping for a day off after two weeks in Gaza covering clashes and chaos. Gaza is crawling with informants, collaborators and spies, so the less anyone knows about your plans, the better.