Journalists love to preen as human rights watchdogs, congratulating themselves publicly for their roles – real or imagined – in securing the life and liberty of the downtrodden. That is, as long as it’s the right sort of downtrodden.
Take, for example, NBC’s coverage in the run up to the Sochi Winter Olympics. Because of Russian restrictions on gays’ free speechfor homosexuals, the official Olympic network repeatedly fretted about gay “human rights.” NBC speculated about the rights and safety of gay athletes and visitors to Sochi, reported extensively on Russia’s gay community, talked to every gay athlete in the NBC phone book and hyped President Obama’s appointing of prominent gays to the U.S. Olympic Delegation. Network hosts also tried to encourage athletes to make pro-gay statements while at the Games, at the risk of disqualifying themselves from competition. Video after the break.
Islamic terrorists were suspected in the terrorist bombings that just killed dozens in Russia. But reporters at ABC, NBC and CBS went out of their way to avoid the obvious connection or even to call the suspects “terrorists,” preferring instead the squishy word “militant.”
Friday, Sunday and Monday, three separate suicide bombings left at least 37 people dead in the Volgograd and Pyatigorsk, Russia. In October, a female suicide bomber killed 5 people on a bus in Volgograd. U.S. officials and terrorism experts believe these attacks are related instances tied to an Islamic Chechen rebel leader, Doku Umarov, who threatened of attacks in the area last summer. Volgograd, formerly Stalingrad, is close to Sochi, the site for the upcoming Winter Olympics and a particular target for the attacks.
While interviewing openly gay U.S. women's hockey team player Caitlin Cahow on Thursday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer hoped for controversy during the games over Russia's "anti-gay laws": "[Openly gay former tennis player] Billy Jean King said that perhaps it is time for a 'John Carlos moment'....that moment in 1968 in Mexico City [Olympics] when [U.S. runners] John Carlos and Tommy Smith stood up and they gave the Black Power salute because they wanted to protest racial inequality. Would you be willing to be a part of some kind of a John Carlos moment in Sochi?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Cahow tried to tamp down Lauer's expectations: "Honestly I think that my John Carlos moment right now is going to Russia and being present and representing the United States. Like I said before, this delegation represents so much more than just LGBT diversity. We have a really remarkable diversity in the United States."
Earlier this week, NBC Sports announced that "Moscow-based TV journalist Vladimir Posner (also frequently spelled "Pozner") will be a correspondent for NBC Olympics’ late-night show with Bob Costas during the Sochi Games."
To call Posner's background "problematic" is like saying that Bob Filner, former Democratic Mayor of San Diego, has a bit of a problem with how he treats members of the opposite sex. Posner is an old hand at defending and dissembling the worst excesses of the Soviet Union, including but not limited to the following exchange from 1980 cited by Lisa de Moraes at Deadline.com on Wednesday (bolds are mine throughout this post):
The latest evidence of that detachment from reality came online Saturday evening at the New York Times, and appeared in today's print edition. Writer James McAuley, described as "a Marshall scholar studying history at the University of Oxford," wrote that Dallas collectively "willed the death of the president," and that it has prospered disproportionately in the subsequent 50 years because of "pretending to forget."
Friday's All Things Considered made it clear that NPR is not just one-sided when it comes to the domestic agenda of left-wing homosexual activists, but it also slants toward them with foreign issues. Correspondent Michele Kelemen boosted a collaboration between visiting members of the "Rakurs" LGBT group from Russia and their American counterparts in Washington, DC and Maine.
Kelemen zeroed in on the testimony of one Rakurs member who lamented how the Russian city of Arkhangelsk has supposedly turned from a place "open to different views and trends" to a "stronghold of traditional values and religious beliefs in the Russian north".
On Tuesday, Julia Ioffe, senior editor for the liberal New Republic publication, all but suggested that President Obama needed to use military force against Tea Party conservatives in Congress. Ioffe likened the current federal government shutdown to the 1993 constitutional crisis in Russia, where then-President Boris Yeltsin ultimately ended the impasse by dissolving the parliament, and had tanks shell the legislative body's "White House".
The writer asserted that both the "old Soviet conservatives" in Russia 20 years ago and the Tea Party representatives in the House were "intransigent, bull-headed faction[s]".
The three networks on Thursday morning allowed a scant 65 seconds to Senator John McCain's "blistering" op-ed published in the communist newspaper Pravda, featuringa call for freedom and tolerance in Russia. Although ABC, CBS and NBC quickly summarized the Senator's international rebuttal to Vladimir Putin's New York Times op-ed, the morning shows offered the briefest of quotes and mostly portrayed the piece as a grudge match with Putin.
CBS This Morning devoted just 19 seconds to the "blistering opinion piece." Rose narrated, "[McCain] accuses Russian President Vladimir Putin of corruption and repression." Good Morning America's Josh Elliott allowed 23 seconds and insisted that the Senator "blast[ed] Russian President Vladimir Putin." According to Today's Savannah Guthrie, McCain offered a "scathing" attack on Russian corruption. Mostly absent from the three networks were full quotes highlighting the Senator's main topic, a defense of democracy and freedom.
On Monday's The Last Word show, after former chess champion and Russian political activist Garry Kasparov charged that President Obama had "blown up [the] reputation of his office" by allowing Russian President Vladimir Putin to talk him down from his "red line" warning against Syria, MSNBC host Lawrence O'Donnell tried to argue that Obama had not really lost face since he never specifically promised military action, even though the President warned of "enormous consequences" if chemical weapons were used.
The back and forth started after O'Donnell asked "what advice" the Russian activist had for Secretary of State John Kerry's "day to day negotiations" on the matter, prompting Kasparov to respond:
MSNBC’s Alex Witt loves to ask questions that try to steer her guests toward a certain response, and she was at it again on Saturday’s edition of Weekends with Alex Witt. The host attempted to get three separate guests to agree with her that President Obama was last week’s “big winner” for stumbling onto a potential diplomatic solution to the Syrian crisis. When the third guest was critical of Obama, an incredulous Witt challenged his answer.
During the first hour of her two-hour program, Witt was discussing the recent U.S.-Russia deal to try and get Syrian President Bashar al Assad to give up his chemical weapons. She asked Reuters columnist David Rohde: “You know, doesn't President Obama actually come out the big winner here ultimately? Because without firing a shot, you said you believe that Syria will get rid of its chemical weapons.” [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
CNN’s Candy Crowley did her best Hillary Clinton Sunday.
During a State of the Union discussion about the American-Russian agreement concerning Syria, Crowley asked a skeptical Congressman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), "Who cares" that "Russia got the diplomatic edge?" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
In yet another monologue comment destined to give NBC's Barack Obama-loving news division a case of heartburn, Tonight Show host Jay Leno, whose 22-year run (with some interruptions) as that show's host is on tap to end after the 2014 Winter Olympics, took a shot at the administation's diplomatic and leadership weaknesses recently on display.
The video of Leno's monologue from NBC's web site follows the jump. The Obama joke is at the 1:05 mark.
"One does not sharpen the axes after the right time; after the time they are needed." -- Russian Proverb
The late Ukrainian violinist Mischa Elman is considered one of the greatest of all time, but he has nothing on Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has played the Obama administration better than any musician.
Syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer had some harsh words for the apparent peace proposal offered by Russian President Vladimir Putin involving Syria turning over its chemical weapons.
Appearing on Fox News's Special Report Monday, Krauthammer said, “The chances of these weapons being eliminated from Syria are less than of the Chicago Cubs winning the World Series this year, and they are now mathematically eliminated.”
Maybe, in sync with the predictable press reactions to oft-seen bad economic numbers, the headline at Julie Pace's late-morning story at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, should have been: "Obama Foreign Policy Falls Apart ... Unexpectedly."
Pace's pathetic attempt at pathos in assessing the status of the Obama administration's foreign policy tells AP readers that some of it is due to "factors outside the White House's control" (as if previous administrations haven't had to deal with unanticipated developments), that Obama "misjudged" what would come in the Arab Spring's aftermath (we're supposed to ignore all of those contacts he's had with Muslim Brotherhood officials and their sympathizers), and that the NSA revelations have hurt our standing in Europe (without noting that the root cause is NSA's spying on U.S. citizens). Excerpts follow the jump.
President Obama held a press conference Friday in which he called for stricter controls over the government’s domestic surveillance system and commented on his relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin. But to ABC’s Good Morning America, those developments were not the primary news. Their main takeaway was that the president showed personality.
Seriously, that was the angle that Saturday's GMA took on this story. Anchor Dan Harris set ABC's premise right at the top: “Switching gears now to all the chatter this morning about President Obama showing a different and very interesting side of his personality in a high-profile moment in front of the assembled White House press corps on Friday afternoon.” [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
Leftist bloggers like Alyssa Rosenberg at Think Progress are agitating for NBC Sports to make the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia yet another moment for gay-Left activism, in protest of Russia’s crackdown against freedom of speech for the gay agenda. At the Television Critics Association in Los Angeles, NBC executives were pushed to promise assertively hostile coverage of current Russian sexual politics.
The leftist group calling themselves “Truth Wins Out” (appointed in 2011 as honorary camera operators for ABC News in trashing Michelle Bachmann) has started a petition drive proposing that Comcast and NBC-Universal should demonstrate their strong support for diversity by making MSNBC host Rachel Maddow a “human rights correspondent” for Olympic coverage:
In Part 1 (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), I covered how the Bill Barrow at the Associated Press covered the religion-based aspects of former President Jimmy Carter's speech at Carter's Mobilizing Faith for Women conference yesterday in Atlanta. Carter characterized certain religions' failure to allow women to be priests as examples of "oppression," and seemed to consider them as worthy of mention as far more serious and oppressive problems, among them female mutilation, child slavery, forced marriages of young women, and gender-selection abortion.
In this part, I will cover what Bill Barrow had to have heard but did not report. Specifically, he did not mention Carter's series of apologies for U.S. actions over the past 60 years and other supposedly oppressive conditions which still are present in America. The text which follows the jump is transcribed from the video of Carter's speech at the conference's web site.
Syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer had some harsh words for President Obama Monday in the wake of Russia and China's handling of National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden.
Appearing on Fox News's Special Report, Krauthammer said, "If there's no element of respect or fear - and you saw it in the summit with the head of the United States and head of Russia and China within the last two weeks - they care nothing for what Obama says, and they know that when he makes a threat, it carries no weight behind it."
A Google News search on ["Susan Rice" "executive privilege"] (typed exactly as indicated between brackets) returns two stories. The main one is at Fox News, where K.T. McFarland pointed out that President Obama, now that he has appointed Susan Rice to be his National Security Adviser, can invoke executive privilege to keep her from testifying before Congress. The second is at Mediate, and notes that McFarland said the same thing to Fox News Channel anchor Martha MacCallum earlier today.
Among those who conveniently didn't catch this: Frank James at NPR, who didn't identify the executive privilege dodge in his "5 Takeaways From Obama's Susan Rice Appointment"; the Associated Press, whose three Wednesday items on Rice (here, here, and here) don't mention it, and where a search on "executive privilege" (not in quotes) returned nothing relevant; and the Politico, where a search on "Rice executive privilege" (not in quotes) also returned nothing relevant. Excerpts from McFarland's column, with harsh words about Rice's lack of qualifications, follow the jump (bold and italics are hers except final paragraph):
The New York Times has been mostly steady and factual in its coverage of the bombings at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. But the paper is taking criticism Friday for its benign headline over its online story on two terrorist suspects from Chechnya, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, killed in a shootout early Friday morning, and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, still on the loose Friday afternoon.
Nearly forgotten article from GQ, late '80s, its subject lost to memory but one detail that stuck -- the writer mentioned that he took part in a weekly touch football game in Central Park and Geraldo Rivera was another player.
Rivera, he claimed, was the type of competitor who jumped to catch a pass when it wasn't necessary. You know that guy, right? Anthony Weiner, to cite an obvious example. Decades later, Rivera is still engaging in this type of thing, most often over the airwaves. (Audio clip after page break)
Another episode airs tonight of FX’s The Americans. Last week, the historic drama set in 1981, portrayed a successful KGB effort to discredit a Polish priest, who is leading an anti-Soviet liberation movement, by smearing him as a rapist during his visit to New York City. (“The Reagan administration doesn’t want a rapist leading the movement to push the Soviets out of Poland.”)
The March 13 installment of the series also featured an actual real-life clip of President Ronald Reagan hailing the people of Poland: “We, the people of the free world, stand as one with our Polish brothers and sisters.”
KGB operatives infiltrated conservative media? Wednesday night’s episode of FX’s The Americans imagines that in 1981 a conservative magazine employed a journalist who was really a mole for the KGB. On the day of the assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan, “Charles Duluth” of the “Conservative Statesman” magazine, proclaims to a KGB operative who he is helping: “Frankly, I hope the bastard bleeds to death on the operating table.”
The Americans is centered around husband and wife KGB sleeper agents (Matthew Rhys and Keri Russell as “Philip and Elizabeth Jennings”) who live with their kids as ordinary Americans in suburban Washington, DC when Reagan becomes President.
Last week’s second episode of The Americans (the third episode will run tonight, February 13, on FX), dramatically ended with a scene showing the horror realized by KGB operatives at the Soviet embassy in Washington, DC when they learn President Ronald Reagan intends to build “a ballistic missile shield” – aka the Strategic Defense Initiative. (video below)
The Americans is centered around husband and wife KGB sleeper agents (Matthew Rhys and Keri Russell as “Philip and Elizabeth Jennings”) who live with their kids as ordinary Americans in suburban Washington, DC when Ronald Reagan becomes President.
After the anti-American hostilities in the Middle East this week, one would think it's pretty obvious why it's in our interest to prevent Muslim extremists from getting nuclear weapons.
Apparently not, for CBS Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer actually asked Sunday, "What is the difference in Iran having a nuclear weapon and Russia having a nuclear weapon or China or Pakistan?" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Uniquely among the broadcast network evening newscasts, on Tuesday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams noted that today is the 25th anniversary of President Reagan calling on Soviet Leader Mikhail Gorbachev to demolish the Berlin Wall, as Reagan stood in Berlin on June 12, 1987, and delivered his famous "Tear down this wall" speech. Williams read the brief item: