There is an inside joke for the veteran viewers of MSNBC’s morning show, ‘Morning Joe,’ which refers back to a time when Joe Scarborough was in a heated debate with Zbigneiw Brzezinski (Mika’s father) over the behind-the-scenes content of President Clinton’s Camp David accords. The elder Brzezinski grew rather frustrated with being out-shouted by Scarborough, and delivered the following zinger:
“You know, you have such a stunningly superficial knowledge of what went on that it's almost embarrassing to listen to you.”
This crushing critique could also be applied to today’s appearance of the New York Times’ Sam Tanenhaus, author of 'The Death of Conservatism,' on that same show. Tanenhaus delivered the following two opinions with an admirably straight face:
SAM TANENHAUS: Yeah, and it was interesting to go to the Clinton school and tell the audience there that the last conservative president in America was Bill Clinton.
"President Obama reeling back the Bush administration's plans for a missile defense shield in Eastern Europe, instead opting for a new system he says is better equipped to fend off an Iranian threat," "Fast Money" host Melissa Lee said on her Sept. 17 show.
Despite devoting almost the entire Good Morning America program on Tuesday to Michael Jackson, ABC could only find three minutes for a hard-hitting Jake Tapper interview with Barack Obama. And even though co-host Diane Sawyer promised at the close of the piece, "And we'll have more of the President's interview with Jake Tapper later in the broadcast," the segment never returned.
Tapper, who was in Moscow to cover Obama's summit with Russian President Dimitry Medvedev, quizzed, "Whether it's this summit with President Medvedev, or anything else, can you point to any reason why you're encouraged that your approach to Iran and North Korea is the right approach?"
Tapper also highlighted Vice President Biden's admission that the administration "misread how bad the economy" was when the stimulus was being crafted. He then skeptically asked, "If the diagnosis was, was wrong, how can you be sure that the prescription, the stimulus package, was right?"
TASS probably couldn't have done it better. And NBC correspondent Jim Maceda seemed to be channeling that Soviet Russia official state-run news agency in his glowing account of Russia Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's heavy-handed dealings with some small businesses. Putin was, he said, "combating Russia's deep recession hand-to-hand."
"Over the past decade, Vladimir Putin's morphed into more roles than a Hollywood star," Maceda said. "From Boris Yeltsin's shy obedient yes-man to the imperious leader, the action man, bomber pilot, artist and lately the people's prime minister combating Russia's deep recession hand-to-hand - harassing a supermarket manager for marking up pork prices."
After the Bush years Russians are naturally “wary” of a U.S. President, as negative views of the U.S. have soared ABC reported Monday night, but the network still managed to highlight teens, at a “Kremlin-sponsored summer camp,” who “are optimistic about President Obama.” One asserted “he's so young and energetic” and “he will give a new surge to our relationship,” while a second, echoing the take of U.S. journalists, maintained: “I see Obama as an innovator in your country.” (Back in January, World News featured a story made up of naive kids around the world sputtering beauty pageant-like simplicities about how Obama will bring “world peace” and inspires them to say “yes, we can!”)
Anchor Charles Gibson noted Obama was met in Moscow by “skepticism coupled with an edge of reserve” since “after nearly a decade of tense relations with the U.S., Russians remain wary, even of a President who promises change.” Reporter Clarissa Ward recited the reasons: “In the last eight years, profound disagreements over issues such as the war in Iraq, the invasion of Georgia, and NATO expansion have sunk U.S.-Russian relations to post-Cold War lows.” Specifically, “46 percent of Russians said they had a mainly negative opinion of the U.S. That's up from just seven percent in 1990.”
When Harry Smith interviewed Pres. Obama earlier this week, I noted that his idea of "speaking truth to power" was to suggest Bo the dog was out of control. But when Smith had a Republican in his sights this morning, the mild-mannered Early Show host suddenly went Rambo. Raising his finger, Smith scolded Mitt Romney for pointing out that Pres. Obama's response to the Iranian repression fell far short of Ronald Reagan's "tear down this wall" reproach to the Soviets.
In the second half of his op-ed in the Washington Post today, former Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev entirely credits himself and fellow countrymen for the end of his country's Communist dictatorship, and claims that it's the Western capitalist model that is currently failing.
In the process, he espouses positions that seem to have been copied from the Democratic Party's past few platforms, as well as from U.S. Dear Leader Barack Obama's governing model.
Following Gobachev's ridiculous rewrite of the Soviet Union's final decade (you know it's ridiculous because the name "Reagan" never appears; he doesn't even believe that the break-up should have happened), here are key passages from the former dictator's admonishments of the West (the most obvious direct lifts from Obama and Dems are in bold):
Here’s a quick informal poll:Who has heard news of Russia’s recent troop buildup in the South Ossetia region of Georgia?
Most of our readers would immediately think of the Russian invasion of that region last summer, during the presidential contest, but the Russians are arguably saber rattling again with a fresh buildup of boots on-the-ground ahead of planned NATO exercises.
Last August, the media coverage immediately took the angle of breathless anticipation on how each presidential candidate would react to such a situation.John McCain’s position was easily established from his record over many years in the Senate.Then-Senator Obama’s position was much more difficult to ascertain – but the media gave him ample time to figure it out, helping the candidate defer those questions to the September 26 debate.In fact, a good example of such activism was shown in the Washington Post’s Jim Hoagland, who in his August 31 op-ed insisted:
As was usually the case during Bill Clinton's presidency, the ascendancy of Dear Leader Barack Obama means that we will often have to consult the output of center-right commentators, and of course the Media Research Center and its affiliates, to cut through the establishment media's puffery to pick up even the most basic pieces of news.
I have bolded items in the excerpt below that represent news that was either not reported or vastly under-reported by what's left of the establishement media (there are even more examples at Krauthammer's full column):
On top of the major faux pas in gifting promulgated by the Obamas during the visit of British Prime Minister Gordon Brown comes the story of the ridiculous mistake that Secretary of State Hillary "the linguist" Clinton made with her gift to Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov.
The "gift" was supposed to be a funny one, but it was a misfire because it seems that Clinton couldn't find anyone in the employ of the State Department that had a grasp of the Russian language. The U.S. media has not made too big a deal about this one but the Russian and British media has been playing this one to the hilt. It's being called the "Button Gaffe" and it certainly is making our Sec. of State look stupid to the world.
As part of a continuation of his "COMЯADE UPDATE" segment he started near the beginning of his show, which became a YouTube sensation, Fox News host Glenn Beck is picking up right where he left off.
Beck, on his March 4 program took on a couple new targets, UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown and union labor.
"Comrades! Comrades, there is good news from the Western front," Beck said. "Our glorious revolution is starting to take hold on a global scale. Just listen as Comrade Brown pounded our propaganda into the minds of the clueless capitalist pigs today. Listen up."
Beck played a clip from Brown's address of a joint session of Congress, where the prime minister lobbied for the "world" to work together.
On Tuesday’s CBS Evening News, correspondent Lara Logan reported on the Obama administration’s effort to improve relations between the United States and Russia by abandoning a missile defense system proposed under the Bush administration: "It's become one of the most contentious issues dividing the U.S. and Russia. American plans to deploy a missile defense system on Russia's doorstep...The Obama administration's willingness to even open discussions on the issue is a dramatic reversal of U.S. policy under President Bush, who dismissed Russian objections. That dispute helped bring U.S.-Russian relations to their lowest point since the break-up of the Soviet Union nearly 20 years ago. Today the President made it clear he's already started to change that."
Rather than offer any criticism, Logan cited Steven Pifer of the left-leaning Brookings Institution, who declared: "It seems to me that when we're looking for issues on which we can signal to the Russians that we're prepared to be more flexible and listen to some of their concerns, missile defense is one." At the top of the broadcast, anchor Katie Couric teased the segment by describing Obama’s proposal as an "intriguing suggestion."
It's not often that meteorology intersects with geopolitics - but Europe could be in store for another Cold War, literally.
Accuweather.com's chief long-range and hurricane forecaster Joe Bastardi observed that Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's recent cut of gas flows to Europe via Ukraine may have been done so in anticipation of a global cooling cycle on the Jan. 6 "Glenn Beck Show" radio program. Bastardi has a solid reputation among Wall Street traders for understanding weather's impact on energy commodities.
"The thing I want to bring up here - very interesting - most of the solar cycle studies that we know about and that guys like me read have come out of the Russian scientists," Bastardi said. "But when Glasnost developed, the Russian scientists, a lot of their ideas on the coming cool period that a lot of us believe is going to occur - ice, rather than fire is the big problem down the road here 2030, 2040, and the reversing cyclical cycles of the ocean - it came out of the East."
“The KGB, I think, was an honorable place to work” with “worthwhile” achievements, CNN founder Ted Turner contended in an interview aired on Sunday's Meet the Press in which he blamed the U.S. for starting the battles with Vladimir Putin “by putting the Star Wars system in Czechoslovakia and Poland” and, when host Tom Brokaw recalled that Leonid Brezhnev reacted to Jimmy Carter's outreach by invading Afghanistan, Turner retorted with moral equivalence: “Well, we invaded Afghanistan, too, and it's a lot further -- at least it's on the border of the Soviet Union.” Brokaw called it “naked aggression on the part of the Russians at the time,” prompting Turner to charge: “Well, going into Iraq was naked aggression on the part of the United States.”
Turner, who did the sit-down as part of the media tour for his new book, Call Me Ted, defended Putin's KGB background by comparing it to someone who worked for the FBI:
We have an FBI and, and, and, and, and we're not prejudiced against somebody who's worked at the FBI. It's an honorable place to work. And the KGB, I think, was an honorable place to work. And it, it gave people in the former Soviet Union, a communist country, an opportunity to do something important and worthwhile.
Yeah, like oppressing people in captured nations and running gulags to suppress political dissent.
Expatica is an overseas publication for US expatriates in Europe with six country-customized editions. It betrays many of the biases that permeate mainstream US journalism. What follows is a prime example of that.
The publication's Germany version today has an article celebrating the 19th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall that makes it appear as if it, well, y'know, sorta just serendipitously happened because a bunch of people protested for a while.
On Monday's Countdown show, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann charged that the Republican Party, which he referred to as the "Grand Old Terrorism Party," is engaging in "terrorism" against Americans by distributing DVD copies of an anti-terrorism film, which Olbermann referred to as "neocon pornography." The film in question, "Obsession: Radical Islam's War Against the West," analyzes the threat of radical Islam and shines a light on the antisemitic, anti-West propaganda that many children are subjected to in some schools in predominantly Muslim countries, and the media that are tolerant of this kind of radical message in these countries. Even though the film opens with an on-screen disclaimer emphasizing that "most Muslims are peaceful and do not support terror," and that "this is not a film about them," Olbermann portrayed the film as a "hate DVD." Olbermann: "[Republicans] are polluting the nation with more neocon pornography today. ... The disk is of a lunatic fringe, right-wing film ... In it, scenes of Muslim children are intercut with Nazi rallies. The organization behind the hate DVD has endorsed Senator McCain."
Notably, just a month ago, Olbermann accused "neocons" of engaging in a conspiracy to ignite a new Cold War with Russia, as he theorized that they "may think terrorism is dead, at least as far as its usefulness as a weapon to frighten Americans, and they've decided to foment the return of an oldie but a goodie, that threat from those godless commu-, I'm sorry, that threat from those czarist Russians."
In its Dunkin' Donut-sponsored Web poll of the day for September 12, Time.com misrepresented Gov. Sarah Palin's position on the Georgia-Russia conflict, perhaps to paint the Alaska governor as a trigger-happy novice at foreign affairs:
Do you agree with Sarah Palin that the US should go to war to defend Georgia if necessary," asked the poll. That suggests Palin is urging the United States gear up for war with Russia, a misrepresentation of her views.
But a look at the interview with Charles Gibson in context shows Palin was merely expressing a commitment to defend Georgia as a NATO member if that nation should join NATO. That is perfectly in line with Article 5 of the NATO Treaty, which reads:
Charles Gibson's interview with Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin, the first since her selection, not surprisingly focused mostly on pressing her to prove she's qualified for the job and quizzing her about foreign policy issues. While Gibson certainly treated her with more respect than would have many other national media figures, he did suggest her willingness to unhesitatingly accept John McCain's offer demonstrated “hubris” and he delved into what he described as her “provocative comments” on the Iraq war being part of “God's plan.” When he seemingly caught her unaware of the definition of the “Bush Doctrine,” he outlined its tenets without embarrassing her, yet he also veered close to condescension in asking if she had “ever travel[ed] outside the country” and: “Have you ever met a foreign head of state?”
Gibson began the World News excerpt, of the session recorded in Fairbanks, with what he termed “the central question,” namely: “Can you look the country in the eye and say 'I have the experience and I have the ability to be not just Vice President, but perhaps President of the United States of America?'” When she denied any hesitation about her abilities, Gibson asserted: “Doesn't that take some hubris?”After she cited her energy expertise, he countered: “National security is a whole lot more than energy.” He moved on to quizzing her about how, if the U.S. followed her advice to admit Ukraine and Georgia into NATO, “wouldn't we then have to go to war if Russia went into Georgia?”, whether she'd let Israel attack Iran and if she would approve of cross-border raids into Pakistan.
That segment consumed the first ten minutes or so of World News which ended with another interview excerpt in which Gibson paraphrased her as saying in June that “our national leaders are sending U.S. soldiers on a task that is from God.” After supporting You Tube video of Palin, Gibson demanded: “Are we fighting a holy war?” Unconvinced by her answer about how she only meant, as Lincoln urged, “let us pray that we are on God's side,” Gibson pounced: “But you went on and said, 'There is a plan and it is God's plan.'” He soon followed up again: “Are you sending your son on a task that is from God?”
How does Keith Olbermann view pre-Obama America? Apparently akin to the Soviet Union, and South Africa under apartheid. Here was his statement from the top of tonight's DNC coverage.
CHRIS MATTHEWS: It is an iconic night in history: we'll all remember this night as long as we live. This is the night that the first Western government, the first Western political power, or party, has nominated an African-American, someone of African heritage, to lead the country. It's something that took a long time to happen, almost like an old Polaroid film developing. But here it is. It happened officially last night, and tonight it is crowned, this achievement. And it's going to happen at a football field.
KEITH OLBERMANN: And it happens as suddenly in some respects as the Soviet Union crumbled or apartheid was beaten in South Africa. These seemingly invincible hurdles that could never be overcome and within a short period in our historical timespan, suddenly they're gone. And almost nobody saw it coming. Certainly no one at all saw it coming more than four years ago.
A Russian newspaper, Rossiyskaya Gazeta, has an advertising section in today's Washington Post that looks very much like newspaper copy (although it does bear a disclaimer), notes Matt Lewis of Townhall.com.
Of course the above-the-fold front page story presents a decidedly pro-Russia skew to the conflict in the breakaway Georgian province of South Ossetia. The headline and subhead: "Georgian Bombs Rained on Us: South Ossetians awoke to find their villages under siege."
Another story along the same lines inside the section comes with this headline: "How Could Rockets Be Used Against a Peaceful City"? The subhead complained that the casualties in the conflict were "staggering."
To these ears, it sounded like a sophomoric line by, well, a sophomore seeking to impress classmates and perhaps his fuzzy-headed teacher. But MSNBC has proclaimed Mario Cuomo's call for a nuclear freeze because "peace is better than war and life is better than death" one of the greatest convention-speech lines ever.
In the run-up to this evening's keynote address by former Virginia Gov. Mark Warner and Hillary's much-anticipated speech, Hardball did a segment on some of the best Dem convention speeches of the past. Now, love it or hate it, it's hard to deny that the late Ann Richards' "born with a silver foot in his mouth" about George 41 was a pretty good zinger. And even Barack Obama's "there is not a liberal America and a conservative America. There is the United States of America" wasn't bad either. No beef with those being included. But try out the excerpt from Maria Cuomo's 1984 speech that MSNBC selected as one of the "best of the best."
The L.A. Times' Rosa Brooks has done it again, taken a serious subject and made an uninformed romp of it. One wonders how the old Georgian lady seen in news photos standing wounded among the ruins of her apartment building, or the Georgian Mother running down the street, infant in her arms, trying to escape Russian tanks might feel about the humor with which Brooks brings to bear upon their plight? But, there it is for all to see in Brooks' "The Cold War, reheated" wherein Brooks puts the funny back in war. It's been too serious for too long for Brooks, apparently. We need the sunny side of ethnic cleansing, brutal invasion, and crushing occupation, don't we?
Oh, and let's not forget the skewed history, incorrect conclusions, and partisan inanities that Brooks blurted out with her little attempt at "Springtime for Gorbachev." Only with this production, Brooks is seriously trying to absolve the U.S.S.R.
Not that there was any doubt that McCain walked away the winner from Rick Warren's forum, but when David Shuster cracks that Obama was lucky not too many people were watching . . . Subbing for Chris Matthews on this evening's Hardball, Shuster kibitzed Saddleback with Dem Steve McMahon and Republican Todd Harris. Shuster made his surprising remark at segment end.
DAVID SHUSTER: I think it also revealed that John McCain's going to be a much better debater than a lot of people think. And maybe also in some sense, Barack Obama is lucky in a way that Saturday night was Michael Phelps' night and not a night when a lot of people were paying attention to politics.
A bit later, Shuster used Phelps to work in an obligatory swipe at President Bush. After rolling tape of a clearly-excited Phelps mentioning that it was "pretty cool" that the president had taken pictures with him at the pool after the 400 individual medley race, Shuster pounced: "even cooler for the president, who's probably happy that someone popular wanted to get a picture with him."
On Sunday’s This Week on ABC, host George Stephanopoulos seemed to buy into the idea that Georgia provoked war with Russia as he asked guest Mitt Romney, "Didn’t President Saakashvili of Georgia bring some of this on himself by going into South Ossetia?" After Romney informed viewers that Georgian troops were deployed in response to violent attacks by South Ossetians, the ABC host followed up by asking Romney to respond to charges that the push, presumably by the United States, to expand NATO and build a missile defense system was perceived by Vladimir Putin as "belligerent and aggressive." Stephanopoulos: "How do you respond to the argument that by pushing for Georgia to be in NATO, by pushing for Ukraine to be in NATO, by putting a missile defense system in Czechoslovakia, this was seen as belligerent and aggressive by Putin and kind of brought him in?"
CNN correspondent Tom Foreman omitted identifying a "foreign policy expert" as a former member of Bill Clinton’s National Security Council during a report on John McCain’s strong position towards Russia on Wednesday’s Election Center program. This expert, Charles Kupchan of the Council of Foreign Relations, accused McCain of becoming a belligerent position towards the country: "Well, over the last few years, McCain's views on Russia seem to be getting more and more confrontational, and I think he's really aligned himself with the far right, not with the centrists within the Republican Party. And, in some ways, it almost appears either if he thinks the Cold War is still on or that he wants it to return."
Kupchan, a professor of international relations at Georgetown University, served as Director for European Affairs on the National Security Council during Clinton’s first term. He also has complimented Barack Obama for his willingness to "engage adversaries," which to him is "a sign not of naiveté or inexperience, but of hard-headed realism." Foreman used two sound bites from the professor during his report. At the beginning of the segment, the CNN correspondent played Ronald Reagan’s famous "tear down this wall" line from 1987 as he introduced McCain’s position on Russia: "In the final years of the Soviet Union, as Ronald Reagan was thundering at the Russians, John McCain was a first-term senator cheering him on, and, 21 years later, he still distrusts Russia."
The crisis in Georgia is all Bush's fault, the Republicans offered America a soft-pedaled version of George Wallace's racism, and Obama-voting Southern Democrats are intelligent, defiant people living in occupied territory. I learned all that from just one Newsweek column.
I may have to watch "The View" to earn back some I.Q. points.
Yes, Christopher Dickey enlightened Newsweek readers on "The Defiant Ones," his August 14 Web exclusive, the subheader of which noted that:
The Russia-Georgia conflict is yet another example of why a leader caught up in the romance of resistance should not rely on Washington. What Saakashvili should have learned from history--and the American South.
According to Dickey, the real problem is America and its ally, Georgia, a partner in coalition forces in Iraq, not Vladimir Putin's Russia.
So where does the American South come in? Dickey's thread ran from the nation of Georgia to the Peach State by examining the psychology of defiance (emphasis mine):
John McCain's chief foreign policy adviser and his business partner lobbied the senator or his staff on 49 occasions in a 3 1/2-year span while being paid hundreds of thousands of dollars by the government of the former Soviet republic of Georgia.
At the top of the first hour of Tuesday's The Situation Room on CNN, fill-in anchor Suzanne Malveaux led with Russia's invasion of Georgia and she cited how “Moscow responded with a show of military muscle that was reminiscent of the Cold War era.” But 40 minutes later, CNN political analyst Bill Schneider contended that raising the very “Cold War” specter CNN had reported could “frighten” voters.
He characterized John McCain's assessment, about how Vladimir Putin's "ambitions are to restore the old Russian empire,” as “ominous” and warned that such language may hurt McCain since it could cause “some voters” to “worry: Does he want to start a new Cold War?” Schneider argued: “The risk for McCain is that he could overplay the issue and frighten war-weary voters, whose priorities are at home right now.”
On Monday's Countdown show, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann blamed the Bush administration for the fighting between Russia and Georgia, charging that "the U.S. knowingly provoked Moscow for years by building up Georgia's military," and asked if "the administration essentially stoked the fires of this conflict by the way we contributed to the building up of Georgia and sort of encourage its president to do something like this." The MSNBC host was also distressed at the words of "neoconservatives" who favor a firm response against Russia, and referred to "troubling neocon echoes." Guest Flynt Leverett expressed his concern that "a very powerful group of neoconservative fellow travelers in the Democratic Party" would undermine Barack Obama's "more nuanced approach" to dealing with the situation as these neoconservative "elements" move into the Obama campaign. (Transcript follows)