There are surely Bill O'Reilly experts out there who have carefully charted the history of his pronouncements on the Iraq war. But as a casual observer, it seemed to me that in this evening's Talking Points, O'Reilly struck an altogether more negative tone on Iraq, with implications for future US foreign policy.
Here's what he had to say: "The chaos in Afghanistan and Iraq will never end, because there will always be people who hate Americans. And we are an occupying force in those countries. The very important question is how do we as citizens process what's going on in those theaters of war? In Afghanistan, the Taliban are just waiting until we leave and will always be waiting. Whether the Karzai government will ever be strong enough to defeat them is an open question.
Does Osama bin Laden read the work of left-wing media figures and bloggers? It's quite possible, argues Brendan O'Neill:
When Al Jazeera broadcast Osama bin Laden's latest audiotape in January, it provoked the same sense of déjà vu as Messages to the World: The Statements of Osama bin Laden, recently published by the leftist publishing house Verso.
The book is a collection of every public utterance made by the Al Qaeda leader from 1994 to 2004. According to The Observer's excitable reviewer, it shows that he is a "charismatic man of action, an eloquent preacher, a teacher of literature and a resilient, cunning, wonderfully briefed politician." To me, however, there was something irritatingly familiar rather than surprisingly eloquent about his tone and turns of phrase.
Then it struck me: Bin Laden is a blogger. Not literally, of course, but he certainly speaks the language of the blogosphere. He references Robert Fisk and Michael Moore, those darlings of the anti-war Web. His latest statement recommends that people read Rogue State by William Blum, whose e-mail newsletter, Anti-Empire Report, is frequently republished and discussed in the left-wing blogosphere.
Since it was Memorial Day, the day on which America honors its war dead, it was natural that The Washington Post saw this as the perfect day for...a big profile of a hard-left "anti-war" activist, Stacy Bannerman of Military Families Speak Out. Reporter David Montgomery chronicled her marriage to a National Guard soldier, "the warrior and the antiwarrior," and she won. The husband, back from Iraq, asked: "Soldiers are dying for what reason again?"
The annual Memorial Day concert event on the mall (nationally televised by PBS) topped the left corner of the Style section, but much of the front Style page was devoted to Bannerman’s story, with a huge Post photographer's shot of Bannerman marching for "peace" in jeans and a T-shirt, complete with the www.mfso.org web address. The headline was: "Choose Your Battle: She's a Pacifist. He's A Warrior. But Even In the Shadow of Iraq, Their Love Soldiers On."
Could there be a new sheriff on the block at Fox News Watch? Brash lefty Neal Gabler often manages to get the last word, but on last evening's show he was soundly put in his place by National Review editor Rich Lowry, substituting for Cal Thomas.
The topic was the recent press leaks that have compromised a number of highly-classified anti-terrorism programs including the secret prisons for Al-Qaeda members, the monitoring of Al-Qaeda related phone calls and the gathering of phone calling patterns.
Predictably, Gabler was highly critical of the prospect of the government going against those who, by publishing the leaks, potentially cause significant damage to our national security interests:
NBC's David Gregory wasn't the only liberal reporter who just had to emphasize The Economist magazine's cover calling President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair the "Axis of Feeble." At CJR Daily, Paul McLeary noted it became a hot trend. So why would this bother liberal Columbia Journalism Review folks? Because it's lazy. "Great headline," said McLeary, but "The sad thing is, they all probably thought they were being funny and original, and in a sense they were -- but in lockstep. And that's what strikes us as feeble."
It seems what the media likes in this is how it turns Bush's phrase back on itself, and comments on how both Bush and Blair are lame-duck leaders. But if they are "feeble," er, what about the sub-par politicians who couldn't seem to defeat their attempts at re-election? Here's McLeary's roundup of mentions:
In another episode of "Why the French are Always Wrong", Le Figaro newspaper has published its latest example of how clueless the French are where it concerns what is going on in the world and why it is going on. (See article by Clicking Here)
In an editorial by Pierre Rousselin, titled "Christians Flee the East in Wake of Bush's 'Crusade' ", we are treated to an analysis of how George W. Bush is ruining the lives of Christians in the east with his evil "crusade" against Islam.
Need I say not a word against Islam is mentioned in this editorial? I didn't think that would surprise anyone.
What is amazing about this editorial, though, is the vacuum in which the discomfort of eastern Christians is discussed. It is as if, as far as Rousselin is concerned, there is only one reason, one root cause of this exodus of eastern Christians; George W. Bush.
Are American troops savages? Harry Smith grasped onto today's leak in the "New York Times" to suggest so. On CBS’s "The Early Show" this morning, the co-host interviewed General George Casey, commander of coalition forces in Iraq. Smith’s questions focused on the negative, such as alleged atrocities by Marines and the loss of life in Baghdad. He asked nothing about whether hope can be found in the new Iraqi government coming together. Smith’s questions may have been designed to rattle the General, but General Casey remained level headed and confident throughout Smith’s grilling of him.
Smith began the segment by implying that U.S. troops randomly kill civilians:
You almost expected The Edwin Hawkins Singers to turn up on set. For, short of Hillary raising her right hand on the steps of the Capitol some time in January of 2009, it just doesn't get much happier for Today than this morning. In one fell news cycle, George Bush and Enron evil-doers laid low.
It couldn't have come quick enough for Katie Couric. Interviewing Tim Russert on the president's mea culpa performance of yesterday, in which he and Tony Blair admitted to mistakes in his handling of Iraq, she asked:
"Do you think both men should have tried this approach sooner?"
Lest anyone think that the president's remorse will appease the MSM, it was obvious that, now with a taste of blood, the liberal media pack will only call for more. Couric wasted no time in going after Donald Rumsfeld:
Jason DeParle, assigned by the New York Times to cover the “conservative beat,” reported Thursday that faculty at Georgetown University are hotly rebelling against former Bush Pentagon official Douglas Feith, a "war criminal," in his new gig as a professor at Georgetown University. The headline was sedate: “Faculty’s Chilly Welcome For Ex-Pentagon Official.”
The typically left-wing professoriate at Georgetown may be up in arms, but you would be crestfallen if you believed liberals would be called "liberals" or "leftists" in the DeParle piece, even as Feith is identified as a “neoconservative” favoring war on Saddam Hussein.
Today's ABC News: The Note suggests viewers of this evening's televised joint news conference of President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair, "watch closely the nuance, the body language, the bonhomie, and the sheer homo-eroticism."
The next sentence is: "(We are sort of kidding about that last one, Mr. President.)"
Thank heaven they're only "sort of kidding about that last one." It would have been a terrific shock to their wives.
Still, it would have been more politically correct to have added that, if there were any homo-eroticism between the two leaders, there'd be nothing wrong with it.
Harold C. Hutchison writes on Strategy Page about selective reporting by the media, who choose to focus on events in their own way. There is always more than one way to report a story or saga, and Strategy Page reveals some alternate options.
A number of stories have been unreported on – or misreported – in the war of terror. The mainstream media is willing to discuss the car bombs. But which of these stories have been the most damaging in terms of not getting out?
@ The memos from Saddam's regime. These memos, often ignored by major mass media outlets (unless targeted for derision), have generally shown the terrorist connections that Saddam's regime had, and showed that the regime was also interested in acquiring weapons of mass destruction. Far from lying, the Bush Administration had largely been spot on.
On tonight's CBS Evening News, David Martin reported on a story about Specialist Kendell Frederick and his quest for citizenship. Martin interviewed Specialist Frederick's mother, Michelle Murphy, about the red tape that delayed the approval of his citizenship application. The delay was due to a lack of a signature on his fingerprint form. Specialist Frederick was serving in Iraq and went to Camp Anaconda to have another fingerprint form completed. On the way back to his base, the convoy was hit by an IED. Specialist Frederick died on October 19, 2005.
Mrs. Murphy showed Martin a letter from Specialist Frederick's Commander explaining that her son was in the convoy solely to get his fingerprint form completed. At this point in the report Martin was shown speaking with a representative of USCIS. David Martin actually claimed that Specialist Frederick was "killed by red tape". Martin went on to say Specialist Frederick "had to die to get his citizenship".
Once again Harry Smith reported from Baghdad for this morning’s Early Show. This morning, his focus was talking with ordinary Iraqis about their life during the war, and Harry Smith may have once again been surprised when he heard one Iraqi thank America and all Americans who supported the war for what they did for Iraq. Rene Syler opened this segment:
Rene Syler: "We see opinion polls almost weekly telling us how Americans feel about the war in Iraq. But what do ordinary Iraqis think? Harry's live in Baghdad with that story. Harry, good morning."
Harry Smith: "Rene, an extraordinary opportunity. Seven Iraqi young men, all in their 20s, all college educated, they all speak English. We talked about everything from the danger of their everyday lives to Saddam Hussein and the role of America in this country. Now their answers will enlighten you, and they may surprise you."
Harry Smith, co-host of CBS’s "The Early Show," has spent the last few days reporting from Baghdad. On Friday, he reported the security situation was such that he couldn’t go out and get ice cream. But today, he decided to look for a success story. He found one, but he proved that while he can report a bad news story without mentioning any good news, he can’t report a success story without finding negative items to talk about. Reporting from Baghdad, Harry Smith began his piece, which profiled the work of the U.S. Army 4th Infantry Division’s work in the town of Sababor, talking about the violence in Iraq: "Yeah, good morning. I'll tell you what, just an illustration of how much bad news there is here. A friend of mine here in Iraq told me the other day 'the busiest people in this town are the terrorists.'" Later, he talked of a bombing in Sababor which occurred a month ago: "It hasn't been easy. Just a month ago, a bomb here killed 15 people."
And at one point, "The Early Show" co-host appeared surprised to learn that people in Sababor view Americans positively. And Smith seemed even more shocked when one of the boys told him his name was "Bush" after Smith had an apparent James Bond like moment in introducing himself to the boy.
Video clip of exchange between Iraqi kid who called himself "Bush" and Smith (21 seconds): Real (700 KB) or Windows Media (825 KB), plus MP3 audio (125 KB)
NPR’s Nina Totenberg claimed that the United States was becoming East Germany on the program "Inside Washington" which airs on some PBS affiliates, and in the Washington D.C. market on News Channel 8 as well as the local ABC affiliate.
Host Gordon Peterson, opened a discussion segment regarding a report by ABC News Investigative reporter Brian Ross, who asserted that a federal law enforcement officer advised him and his producer to get new cell phones because the government was tracking the phone numbers dialed in an effort to root out confidential sources. Peterson wondered what effect this would have on reporters:
"He says the official told him ‘it's time for you to get some new cell phones quick.’ Reporters are going to start functioning like al Qaeda operatives? Go to a pay phone if the can find one?"
Imagine you're a newswire editor writing the headline for a story in which former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright has accused Pres. Bush of 'religious absolutism.' What would be a fair headline? Something like:
Albright Accuses Bush of 'Religious Absolutism'
Now consider Reuters' actual headline:
Albright Critical of Bush's Religious Absolutism
Note the not-so-subtle difference. We've moved from Albright accusing Bush of religious absolutism, to Reuters effectively reporting Bush's absolutism as a fact, of which Albright is simply critical. Not even a set of quotation remarks around 'religious absolutism' to clarify that the words are Albright's, and not unquestioned fact.
Rep. John Murtha (D-PA) appeared on CBS' The Early Show this morning, along with several others, to discuss winning the JFK "Profiles in Courage" award.
During the interview, Murtha went on an anti-War rant, to which The Early Show's co-anchor Julie Chen said nodded in agreement and said "absolutely":
MURTHA: And I said there's not only no progress, it's worse than it was pre-war. This thing has been mishandled so badly. The american people need to hear. We're spending $450 billion on this war by the end of the year, $9 billion a month, and so we need to change course.
"Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty." JFK Inaugural Address, 1961
"We can do just as much by withdrawing our troops." John Murtha, Winner, Profile in Courage Award, 'Today' show, 5/22/06
The Kennedys have come a long way since JFK gave his inaugural speech. Pres. Kennedy was a cold warrior, not only in the words of that speech, but in action. He stared down the Kremlin over the Soviets' installation of nuclear missiles in Cuba, and with his Cuban embargo took the world the closest it has ever been to the brink of nuclear war.
In April I wrote about the opening of the Democrats' Election 2008 Talking Points Tour. It kicked off with Barack Obama preaching the certainty of fossil fuels heating up our planet while conveniently neglecting to mention what is heating up Mars and Jupiter.
The media has turned the tour up a notch with a twisted fascination over Al Gore, coverage excuse provided by his new movie on global warming that is certain man is heating the planet with SUV usage while conveniently neglecting to mention what is heating up Mars and Jupiter. Al ensures full media coverage by bringing the war into it.
"I also believe that after 9/11 if, in addition to rallying the country and wisely invading Afghanistan to pursue Osama bin Laden, that if the president of the United States had said 'Let's become independent of oil and coal', that people would have responded to that."
Yeah, we responded to that in the 70's. It would have been nice if he had done something about it when he was sipping iced tea with the Red Chinese. But Bill Clinton can't run for President again so he comes right out and says what other Democrats won't:
"Climate change is more remote than terror but a more profound threat to the future of the children and the grandchildren and the great-grandchildren I hope all of you have...
Does the NYT so hate the military that they even refuse to learn the slightest thing about it? Apparently they have such disdain for the US military they cannot even find a writer in their employ that knows even standard facts about the military, much less an editor that knows enough to make the proper corrections.
On may 11th, the NYT published a story about the funeral of Sgt. Jose Gomez which featured right at the top of the page a photograph of the Sgt's Mother and Father at the funeral, Mom being consoled by a member of the US military. The caption of this photo identifies that member of the US military as an "officer" when the soldier in question is clearly wearing the rank of Sgt. First Class. (See story –Click Here- Registration required)
An editorial in Saturday's Washington Times highlighted the discovery by the MRC's Rich Noyes, as detailed in a Friday NewsBusters posting, about how “Leslie Cauley, the USA Today reporter who 'broke' the news that three major U.S. telecommunications companies were assisting the National Security Agency in building a database to more easily track any communications by potential terrorists, is listed as a donor to former House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt, according to a search of the Center for Responsive Politics Web site.”
The May 20 editorial, “Spinning, Spying and USA Today,” recounted: “With Verizon and BellSouth both challenging USA Today's report on their alleged participation in NSA's surveillance programs, it's not yet clear whether or to what extent the claims in the Gannett daily's much-discussed article are true. What's clearer is that USA Today reporter Leslie Cauley has ties to the Democratic Party, which the Media Research Center's 'NewsBusters' Web site unearthed yesterday. Searching through campaign-filing records, Rich Noyes discovered that Miss Cauley gave $2,000 to then-Democratic presidential hopeful Dick Gephardt in 2003. That's the type of activity that journalists normally avoid if they wish to be perceived as objective...” (How Rush Limbaugh also picked up the posting, follows)
Bob Schieffer on Friday decided to use the uprising at Guantanamo as an opportunity to express his disdain for the detention facility. Schieffer opened the CBS Evening News by asking: “Has the U.S. prison for terror suspects at Guantanamo become more trouble than it's worth?” He then presumed: “Even those who created it have to be asking that question tonight.” Schieffer listed a litany of reasons it should be closed, “It has generated reams of bad publicity for the United States, today a UN committee said it ought to be shut down because it violates the Geneva Convention, and now the latest: Prisoners wielding improvised weapons lured ten guards into an ambush and a riot broke out.” (Uninterrupted transcript follows)
NewsBusters' Rich Noyes has reported on the Democratic affiliations of the USA Today reporter who "broke" the NSA phone records story.
Other journalists are worried about the loss of credibility to the profession in general if the story turns out to be false. Reports Editor and Publisher:
The USA Today phone records scoop, which is drawing increased scrutiny as phone companies dispute elements of the report, has also sparked interest among those in the news business, as well as longtime journalism observers.
Editors and veteran journalists who spoke with E&P are mixed on how the situation has been handled by all involved, with some claiming that the outcome could impact how news outlets report sensitive intelligence information in the future.
On CBS’s "The Early Show" this morning, co-host Harry Smith reported from Baghdad. However, unlike Dave Price, the "Early Show weatherman who reported on high morale and security progress in Iraq -- his reporting can be seen here and here -- Smith focused on the negative, and even complained that the security situation is so bad that he couldn’t go out and get ice cream.
Harry Smith: "Now the one other example I can give you of what the security situation is like here, just around our hotel, it's very, very secure. But when I asked our folks if I could go down to the corner and out of the secure zone to get an ice cream last night they said it's a risk just simply not worth taking. Hannah."
The Sweetness and Light blog says the AP has been biased in its pictures of the confirmation hearing of Air Force Gen. Michael Hayden to head the CIA.
Not content to subliminally associate General Hayden with eavesdropping via a plethora of photographs of him with microphones, the DNC's Associated Press ratchets up its agit-prop by making him look like a doofus:
It should come as no surprise that CNN.com briefly used this picture for its frontpage.
Leslie Cauley, the USA Today reporter who last week “broke” the news that three major U.S. telecommunications companies were assisting the National Security Agency in building a database to more easily track any communications by potential terrorists, is listed as a donor to former House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt, according to a search of The Center for Responsive Politics Web site, www.opensecrets.org
A search found a listing for "writer and journalist" Leslie Cauley, indicating she gave $2,000 to Gephardt on June 30, 2003, when Gephardt was running for the Democratic presidential nomination. And that seems not to be her only tie to Democratic politics (see Update below)
BellSouth Corp. has sent a letter to USA Today and the newspaper's parent company, Gannett, demanding the retraction of a story which said the phone company shared its customers calling records with a federal spy agency, according to a Thursday report in the online edition of the Wall Street Journal. The letter demanded that the newspaper retract the "faults and unsubstantiated statements" in the May 11 article, which said BellSouth and some of its rivals shared bulk calling data with the National Security Agency, the Journal said. The story ignited a firestorm about government intrusion into consumer privacy and led to lawsuits against BellSouth, Verizon Communications Inc., and AT&T Inc. A phone call to BellSouth wasn't immediately returned. End of Story
Stunning news from Expatica's German edition (bolds are mine; because of its brevity, the entire report is included here):
Germans say al-Qaeda no longer organizing strikes
18 May 2006
DUESSELDORF - Al-Qaeda's hierarchy in western Europe has vanished and the terrorist network's leadership has largely ceased direct management of attacks, a senior German police intelligence officer told a trial court this week.
She said the al-Qaeda leadership now mainly relied on video and internet proclamations to inspire Islamists in the western world to act on their own.
Germany's BKA federal crime agency had no evidence of Islamists swearing an oath of loyalty to Osama bin Laden since 2001 to become al-Qaeda members. The only terrorist to have done so since that date was Abu-Musab al-Sarqawi, the Jordanian who mounts attacks in Iraq.
In this morning's special "Situation Room" covering General Michael Hayden's confirmation hearings for his appointment as CIA Director, CNN national security correspondent David Ensor said that Hayden could expect questions "about really the most fundamental point for a top intelligence officer. This one, who's been so loyal to the president, when the chips are down and the intelligence doesn't fit what the president wants it to fit, will he speak truth to power?"
Speak truth to power? That vague, usually meaningless catchphrase is a favorite of many liberals. Dan Rather speaks truth to power. Cynthia McKinney speaks truth to power. John Kerry speaks truth to power. And now CNN national security correspondent David Ensor anticipated questions about speaking truth to power.
Part-Time Pundit says "another drive-by media attempt to discredit" Bush and claim the Republicans "are trying to usher in a new era of fascism has fallen flat on its face."
Claims by USA Today using sources with “direct knowledge of the program” that the NSA has been collecting massive databases of phone calls don’t appear to match with the records of two of the three apparent participants, Verizon and Bell South....
Once again, we are faced with an “objective” journalistic medium that didn’t do enough footwork to verify the claims that were made before it splashed them on the front page and riled the population. The irony is that it appears the population would support such a database if it existed.