On Wednesday's The Last Word on MSNBC, host Lawrence O'Donnell used a recent commencement speech delivered by Mitt Romney to slam the former GOP presidential candidate as taking the "most dishonorable posture that was possible for an able-bodied man of Mitt Romney's age" for refusing to serve in the Vietnam War while supporting the existence of the draft.
But the MSNBC host also called it "honorable service" for young people to protest against the Vietnam War while refusing to serve. O'Donnell:
After a public outcry arose after last week’s airing of “The Amazing Race” in Hanoi, Vietnam, which many deemed as “anti-American,” CBS has apologized.
Before last night’s episode, show host Phil Keoghan gave this apology on behalf of CBS:
“Parts of last Sunday's episode, filmed in Vietnam, were insensitive to a group that is very important to us -- our nation's veterans. We want to apologize to veterans – particularly those who served in Vietnam – as well as to their families and any viewers who were offended by the broadcast. All of us here have the most profound respect for the men and women who fight for our country.”
Yet another example of why I've long referred to Mike Malloy as the Voice of the Guard in the Gulag.
Bad enough that this most creepy and vampiric of men can barely let consecutive sentences pass without reference to carnage and bloodshed. On his radio show Tuesday, Malloy slandered Sen. John McCain as a war criminal who murdered civilians during the Vietnam War and was justifiably tortured for doing so. (audio clip after page break)
David Carr of The New York Times wrote an unintentional laugh line for Monday's paper: "There is a growing worry that the falling value and failing business models of many American newspapers could lead to a situation where moneyed interests buy papers and use them to prosecute a political and commercial agenda."
No! Could you believe a newspaper would follow a political agenda based on what its owner wanted to do? Where have we ever heard of that before, say, with an owner who told Daddy he thought the Americans should be shot in Vietnam? But wait: in San Diego, it's that other, somehow less professional bias: Union-Tribune owner Douglas Manchester is "anti-big government, anti-tax and anti-gay marriage. And he’s in favor of a remade San Diego centered around a new downtown waterfront stadium and arena."
UPDATE AT END OF POST: O'Donnell evaded draft with college deferment.
Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain and MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell had quite a heated battle on Thursday's "The Last Word."
During one segment, after O'Donnell besmirched his guest for not enlisting for military service during the Vietnam War despite having worked for the Department of Navy as a ballistics analyst, Cain marvelously asked, "Do you stay up night to come up with the wording in these questions or do you have someone writing them for you?" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
NBC Today co-anchor Ann Curry is the cover story of the September issue of Ladies Home Journal and discussed how she fought with her U.S. naval officer father about the Vietnam War, (unsurprisingly) taking the liberal, Walter Cronkite-inspired anti-war position:
"When I was a teenager," she says, "Dad and I would have dinner table debates about the Vietnam War. I was deeply affected by Walter Cronkite's reports, and I questioned our country's role. Sometimes our discussions got so heated my siblings would leave the table. At the end of those conversations my dad would say, 'I don't always agree with you, but I'd still vote for you for president.'
On Sunday’s NBC Nightly News, anchor Lester Holt informed viewers that Human Rights Watch recently aimed criticism at singer and former anti-war activist Bob Dylan, charging that he "should be ashamed of himself for letting" the Chinese government "tell him what to sing."
After recounting the irony of Dylan performing a concert in Vietnam after opposing the Vietnam War in the 1960s, Holt noted that he was criticized for "submitting his song list to Chinese authorities."
Below is a complete transcript of the item as read by Lester Holt from the Sunday, April 10, NBC Nightly News:
Rush has spent a considerable portion of today's broadcast ripping into this article by Christine Stapleton of Cox Newspapers, and rightly so, for the first three of the four opening paragraphs that follow:
Despite the warnings of Dick Cheney, George Will, Rush Limbaugh and Fox News, the Russians are not drilling for oil off Cuba. Neither are the Chinese. In fact, no one — not even Cuba — is drilling for oil off Cuba.
The pesky and persistent rumor, bubbling back up with the Deepwater Horizon disaster, is still nothing more than a pesky and persistent rumor — aired in 2008 by former Vice President Cheney (who got the misinformation from conservative columnist Will), repeated on Fox News and recently revived by conservative radio commentator Limbaugh, who told his listeners 10 days after the spill: "The Russians are drilling in a deal with the Cubans in the Gulf. The Vietnamese and Angola are drilling for oil in the Gulf in deals with the Cubans."
However, as oil from BP's exploded well continues surging from the Gulf floor and washing onto Panhandle beaches, the rumor is poised to become fact.
Joe Scarborough was on fire this morning, his ire trained on twin targets: Dick Blumenthal, and the New York Times' John Harwood, who casually dismissed the candidate's lies about having served in Vietnam as just a case of getting "a little carried away." At one point, Scarborough claimed he wasn't calling Blumenthal a "scumbag"—but it sure sounded like it.
Harwood began his Blumenthal defense with a barroom analogy: "the occasions where he was loose is more akin to a guy who had a few too many at the bar and hit on somebody rather than somebody actually trying to slip a mickey into the girls drink." He later added this lame defense: that even if Blumenthal lied to the veterans groups about his record, they weren't deceived by it. "Were all those veterans groups fooled by it?", asked Harwood, implying they weren't. "You're a reporter, you go ask them," snapped Scarborough.
Scarborough later pointed out that Blumenthal lied and trafficked on the valor of others on precisely those occasions when, appearing before veterans groups, it would benefit him politically. Harwood miscast Joe's criticism of Blumenthal as a demand that all candidates explain why they didn't serve. A peeved Scarborough called Harwood out: "John, I don't know show, what feed you're listening to."
At the end of Sunday's Face the Nation on CBS, host Bob Schieffer gushed over a recent trip to the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library and one exhibit in particular: "honoring Walter Cronkite....those moments in American history captured by TV...when Walter always seemed to be there....the little things we never saw, Walter's scripts, his pipe, and his office, just the way it was."
Schieffer observed that a tribute to Cronkite being at the library of the Democratic president was a "perfect fit" and noted how: "Johnson liked and respected Walter. Walter liked and respected Johnson." Schieffer went on to fondly remember Cronkite's denunciation of the Vietnam War: "When Walter returned from Vietnam and concluded in a documentary the war was unwinnable, Johnson remarked to an aide, 'if I've lost Cronkite, I've lost America.' And so he had....When Walter came out against the war, he did something he almost never did – he took sides."
While specifically citing Cronkite's bias against the war, Schieffer failed to comment on a Friday report that revealed FBI documents detailing allegations that the then CBS Evening News anchor offered to rent a helicopter to transport Democratic Senator Ed Muskie to an anti-war rally in Florida in November of 1969.
In a Friday article for Yahoo! News, reporter John Cook revealed FBI documents that detail allegations that former CBS Evening News anchor Walter Cronkite offered CBS News resources to transport fierce Vietnam critic and Democratic Maine Senator Edmund Muskie to a Florida anti-war rally in November of 1969. (h/t TVNewser)
According to Cook, the FBI files describe how "Cronkite encouraged students at Rollins College in Winter Park, Fla., to invite Maine Sen. Edmund Muskie to address a protest they were planning....Cronkite told the group's leader that Muskie would be nearby for a fundraiser on the day of the protest, and said that 'CBS would rent [a] helicopter to take Muskie to and from site of rally.'"
While noting Cronkite's public condemnation of the war on air just nine months earlier, Cook rightfully observed: "such tight collaboration between a news organization and the anti-war movement — particularly the offer of CBS News resources to help ferry a sitting senator and future presidential candidate around in opposition to the war — was highly unusual and would presumably have been explosive if known widely at the time." Cook also noted: "It's unclear whether Muskie ever actually attended the event."
The Pentagon rescinded the invitation of evangelist Franklin Graham to speak at its May 6 National Day of Prayer event because of complaints about his previous comments about Islam.
The Military Religious Freedom Foundation expressed its concern over Graham's involvement with the event in an April 19 letter sent to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. MRFF's complaint about Graham, the son of Rev. Billy Graham, focused on remarks he made after 9/11 in which he called Islam "wicked" and "evil" and his lack of apology for those words.
Col. Tom Collins, an Army spokesman, told ABC News on April 22, "This Army honors all faiths and tries to inculcate our soldiers and work force with an appreciation of all faiths and his past comments just were not appropriate for this venue."
During a discussion of John McCain's drift rightward on Wednesday's Morning Joe, MSNBC contributor Mike Barnicle smeared the Arizona Senator as more scared of Republican primary challenger J.D. Hayworth than he was of his Vietnamese torturers. Barnicle mocked, "The ultimate sadness is that, here, in the 21st century, running for re-election, he shows more fear of J.D. Hayworth than he showed toward his captors in North Vietnam." [MP3 audio available here]
"That is really sad," added Barnicle. At this point, the show ground to a complete stop. Seemingly stunned by the journalist's comments, co-host Mika Brzezinski sputtered, "That's- Okay. I'm just going to stay away from that. " The Washington Post's Jonathan Capehart marveled, "Wow."
Joe Scarborough, who is supposed to be the token conservative on the liberal cable network, provided no defense of McCain. He neutrally remarked, "There's a pregnant pause. Some very tough things being said here." Scarborough continued, "And since I'm a diplomat, and I never say such things, I'm just going to go to my good friend Paul Ryan." He then moved on to a different subject and talked to the Republican Congressman.
On Monday’s Larry King Live on CNN, guest Jane Fonda portrayed herself as a victim of a "myth" that was "created" by "right-wingers" about her infamous "Hanoi Jane" visit to Vietnam to protest the Vietnam War. Without specifying what aspect of the "Hanoi Jane" story she considered to be a fallacy, though the "Product Description" at Amazon.com seems to shed some light on what she was referring to, she claimed that author Jerry Lembcke’s new book, "Hanoi Jane: War, Sex, and Fantasies of Betrayal," dispels the "myth," and asserted that it is "sad" that some conservatives are "still stuck in the past":
JANE FONDA: No, it's about the myth, you know, why it is that 300 people went to North Vietnam, people, many people before me, why me, why have they created this myth? You know, when I came back from North Vietnam, there was maybe a quarter of an inch of media about it in the New York Times. Nobody made any big deal out of it. It was created, and some people are stuck-
LARRY KING: By critics?
FONDA: By right wingers. There are some people who are like stuck there, you know, they're still stuck in the past. I always want to say, "Get a life," or, you know, "Read what really happened," you know. The myths are now true.
Referring to people who sometimes protest against her, she continued: "But it makes me sad for these people who are stuck because they've not taken the time – if they're going to waste their energy on hatred, they should take the time in finding out what was really true."
On Monday’s NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams updated viewers on possibly the most decorated American war hero of the modern era, Colonel Robert Howard, as the Vietnam War veteran was laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetary. Williams had taken a moment on his show in December to commemorate his passing. On Monday, Williams recounted:
On Wednesday’s NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams took a moment to remember Vietnam War veteran, retired Colonel Robert Howard, who was awarded many honors for his heroic service, including the Medal of Honor, eight Purple Hearts, four Bronze Stars, and two Dinstinguished Service Crosses. Williams began his tribute: "We have a brief special word tonight about a very special man whose story you should know about, in part because his story will be told for generations to come. Robert Howard might have been the toughest American alive while he was among us. Bob was the only man ever to be nominated for the Medal of Honor three times for three separate acts of staggering heroism in combat."
After recounting some of the honors bestowed upon Colonel Howard, Williams related: "It's believed Bob Howard was the most heavily-decorated American veteran of the modern era, period."
The NBC anchor further recounted: "In one 54-month period he was wounded 14 times. He served five tours of duty in Vietnam. And in recent years, he loved his trips to Iraq and Afghanistan to visit the men and women in uniform and in the fight there."
In a Thursday New York Times appreciation of CBS producer Don Hewitt, television writer Mike Hale avoided the whole concept of liberal bias in the work of Hewitt or his creation, 60 Minutes. Instead, Hale suggested that in threading the needle between an "increasingly radicalized" audience and stuffy advertisers, CBS and Hewitt created a "kinder, gentler, more conservative take" for 60 Minutes than controversy-stoking British and Canadian shows that inspired it. (Hewitt represented "cautious CBS News values, the kind exemplified by that other recently deceased titan, Walter Cronkite.")
How hard was it for CBS to be "more conservative" than the Canadians? Consider this brief explanation of the "slyly subversive" film Mills of the Gods: Viet Nam, produced for the TV show that inspired CBS: "Working without a script, [filmmaker Beryl] Fox went to Vietnam with portable equipment and shot two kinds of cinema verite footage: placid images of the ordinary life of the Vietnamese peasantry and shocking images of the war’s carnage and destruction as wrought by sometimes disturbingly cheerful American pilots and soldiers." These were then edited together for propaganda impact.
While some in the media have been dusting off their love beads, bell-bottoms and broomstick skirts in an effort to wax nostalgic about Woodstock, the VFW has reminded its members that the world did not stop for those four days in August 1969.
In fact, for 109 American soldiers, the world ended that weekend.
Much has been made over the "half a million strong" that flocked to a dairy farm in rural New York to celebrate music and peace. Richard K. Kolb instead compared the coverage Newsweek and Time gave to the festival while shortchanging American efforts in Vietnam.
Perhaps inadvertently, the text of the Associated Press's earliest video coverage (scroll down the right frame at the link) of Walter Cronkite's death would appear to say a lot about how journalists see themselves -- and it's not as objective communicators of what is occurring in the world:
Cronkite: "Hello, I'm Walter Cronkite."
AP's Diane Kepler, narrator: He was the most trusted man in America.
Cronkite (November 22, 1963): From Dallas, Texas, the flash apparently official. President Kennedy died at 1PM Central Standard Time, 2 o'clock Eastern Standard Time, some 38 minutes ago.
DK: Walter Cronkite, for many the quintessential TV journalist, has died. For most Americans he was the man to turn to on everything from the assassination of President Kennedy to what to think about the war in Vietnam.
In his Wednesday afternoon "Caucus" post on nytimes.com, "Conservative Ad Accuses Sotomayor of Supporting Terrorists," Times legal reporter Charlie Savage used a new anti-Sotomayor ad from the Committee for Justice to smear the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth campaign against Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry in 2004.
Taking advantage of the fact that the new ad was written by someone also involved in the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth campaign in 2004, Savage applied the same "unsubstantiated charges" template the Times used to attack the Swift Boat Veterans but went even further, all but calling the group's charges "lies."
On the Wednesday, June 10, Beck show on FNC, during an interview with host Glenn Beck, actor John Voight informed viewers that he decided to abandon his left-wing past partly because he blamed the "Marxist" anti-war movement of the Vietnam War era for causing the "slaughter" in South Vietnam and Cambodia after America pulled out of the region. After recounting that "I was surrounded by people who were very heavily programmed Marxist, and I didn't even realize it at the time that this was communist-based stuff, you know, that the communists were behind organizing all of these rallies and things," Voight continued:
And then I saw the end of the war. I saw us pull out, and then I saw the communists move in and slaughter 2 1/2 million people in South Vietnam and Cambodia. And I saw the left that had precipitated this turn away, just walk away from it. ... They didn't take seriously the blood that they had been directly causing. And it didn't – but I must say programming is very, very deep. And I didn't really pull out of it for quite a while afterward. But that's where the dime dropped and things started to happen. And then I , you know, then 9/11, of course.
Below is a complete transcript of the interview from the Wednesday, June 10, Beck show on FNC:
Reuters published a story today, April 4, detailing some nonsense from a Taliban terrorist who has claimed "responsibility" for Friday's shooting rampage in Binghamtom, New York. The question that comes to mind is why? Why did Reuters imagine this idiotic claim, this obvious lie, was worth reporting to the world? Does Reuters not have the good sense God gave a door knob? Why would Reuters pass this Taliban propaganda off as news?
From Peshawar, Pakistan, Reuters reports that this Taliban leader wannabe has said that the murderous rampage perpetrated by an unhinged Vietnamese immigrant was done by his "men." This half-wit terrorist claims that he ordered the "men" to attack the U.S. because of the use of Predator drones that have been so successful in cutting out so many of those nits in their Pakistani strongholds.
But we all know this "acceptance of responsibility" is an outright lie. We may not know why Jiverly Voong went off the deep end, but we know he had zilch to do with Pakistan. So, why did Reuters think it a story worthy of reporting? There can only be one reason.
So, picture this... you are a refugee from the fall of Saigon, or, after it fell and in the midst of the many millions murdered by the communist oppressors that overtook the country in the 70s and 80s, you were lucky enough to escape with your life. Let's say you finally move to California to enjoy a communist free life in the United States. Paradoxically, though, there you encounter a newspaper that scolds you and says that you are just a fearmonger for getting upset that there is a communist art show in your new cmmunity. And all the while you know that millions of your countrymen were murdered by the same communists that this paper, the L.A. Times, wants you to celebrate in art.
Would you get a tad upset? I think you might. Yet the L.A. Times thinks you should rather be interested in breaking "taboos," having "open dialog" and to stop "the fear." You should not get so gosh darned all upset at the commie art show. YOU are at fault here, not the commies.
On Tuesday’s NBC Nightly News, correspondent Ron Mott filed a report featuring incoming Republican Congressman Joseph Cao, the first Vietnamese-American elected to Congress, and the man who defeated corrupt former Democratic Congressman William Jefferson in heavily Democratic New Orleans. Brian Williams introduced Mott’s piece: "There was new ground broken on Capitol Hill today, where the first Vietnamese-American Congressman in the history of this republic was sworn in. Joseph Cao of Louisiana is also the first Republican in more than a century to win the seat representing New Orleans."
Mott recounted Cao’s escape from Vietnam and his victory against Jefferson, who was involved in a bribery scandal: "The 41-year-old Republican Congressman, Joseph Cao, is now a standout on Capitol Hill, traveling a very long way to get there. As a boy, he was among tens of thousands airlifted out of Vietnam after the fall of Saigon, without his parents, who feared he was killed at the airport. ... He later studied for the priesthood, eventually became a lawyer, and then last year, took on a political institution in New Orleans, Democrat William Jefferson, embroiled in a bribery scandal."
Of course we all know that it's absolutely wrong and mean-spirited to suggest that anyone on the left could conceivably be unpatriotic [though an exception might be made for unrepentant terrorist friends of Barack Obama who accept from Vietnamese communists rings made from downed US planes.] So while we won't be using the u-word here, two recent MSNBC shows offer a remarkable contrast. Let's compare Chris Matthews' giddy reaction to news of difficulties in the markets with Mika Brzezinski's gloom in begrudgingly discussing the Iraq surge's success.
The first portion of the video is from the opening of Hardball of September 15th, the day when news was breaking of Lehman and Merrill Lynch's travails, and the DJIA had sunk over 500 points. Matthews could hardly contain his glee, comparing McCain to Hoover, and declaring that because of the "terrible news" about the economy, "as of today, this is no longer an election about lipstick on pigs, misleading ads or how many houses a candidate owns. This is serious. The economy is a real issue. With real consequences." Then there was today's discussion on Morning Joe of the surge's success. Mika's pout—on view in the screencap—epitomizes her reaction. I commend the entire video clip to your attention, but would focus on these exchanges.
It remains to be seen whether this turns out to be Barack Obama's "Christmas in Cambodia" untruth, his Dukakis-in-tank hilarity -- or both.
Regardless, what follows is a pretty obvious "misstatement" that would not possibly be ignored if it were uttered by a conservative or a Republican.
In his hilariously titled post ("Mighta Joined If He Coulda Capped Some Cong") on Barack Obama's interview in a barn this morning (not kidding) on This Week with George Stephanopoulos, fellow NewsBuster Mark Finkelstein reported on Obama's answer to a viewer's question about whether he ever considered military service. You can read Mark's post for his overall thoughts, but I want to focus on something the Illinois senator said that several commenters at the post took exception to (photo courtesy DayLife):
You know, I had to sign up for Selective Service when I graduated from high school. .... But keep in mind: I graduated in 1979.
During the noon hour of the July 8 "MSNBC News Live," host Tamron Hall discussed McCain's new TV ad with Chicago Tribune's Jill Zuckman and Washington Post’s Kevin Merida. The ad focused on McCain's time as a POW as demonstrative of his love of country and Hall questioned how Obama could compete with such a story.
Well, look, Senator McCain's got this great story about what he survived and what he endured and his campaign wants to tell that story as much as possible because they think that that's something voters respect and it gives them a sense of what he’s made of. But Senator Obama’s got a great American success story, too, and it’s just a different one and I think voters are equally impressed with what he’s all about.
So, the story of a man who never served in the military but was a community organizer and graduated from Harvard Law is "different" but just as impressive as the story of a man who was a prisoner of war, tortured by his Communist captors and refused special treatment in order to stay with his fellow servicemen in prison?
Although the term isn't used, it's clear that the Obama campaign sees itself and their candidate as victims of a vast conspiracy of right-wingers.
Going all the way back to the 1988 presidential election, Obama's "Fight the Smears" chart (featuring the campaign's new sort-of "presidential seal," replacing the one that was "dropped," at the top left) purports to tell us "Who's Behind These Lies."
If the page's historical starting points are any indication, to paraphrase Jerry Lee Lewis, there may not be "a whole lotta smearin' goin' on" among the current "smearing" parties it identifies:
Tuesday's New York Times report by Jeff Zeleny, "Campaign Flashpoints: Patriotism and Service" covered the back and forth between the McCain and Obama camps over a controversial comment by retired general and Obama adviser Wesley Clark about McCain's lack of qualifications to be president.
In response to a question by Bob Schieffer on the CBS Sunday talk show "Face the Nation," Clark said of John McCain, "I don't think riding in a fighter plane and getting shot down is a qualification to be president."
But Zeleny also put heavy emphasis on fact-checking what he considers unfair attacks on Barack Obama.
Mr. Obama arrived here in Independence, the home of President Harry S. Truman, to open a weeklong patriotism tour. He sought to explain and defend his American ideals to ward off skepticism and silence persistent rumors about his loyalties to the nation.
ABC correspondent John Berman used a report on Tuesday's "Good Morning America" to whine about the fact that Barack Obama has had to defend himself against serious charges. He opened the segment by commenting on a series of speeches the Democrat is giving that tout patriotism and lamented, "Well, you would think a man elected to the U.S. Senate, who is the Democratic nominee for president of the United States, would not feel a need to defend his love for America."
Berman's colleague, GMA co-host Robin Roberts, interviewed Obama surrogate General Wesley Clark and actually grilled him about his assertion that John McCain's Vietnam-era military service isn't a credential to be president. However, she credulously accepted the attempts by the Democratic nominee to disavow himself from the attack, saying, "...The McCain and Obama camps are divided on most things but they have agreed on one, that the comment by retired General Wesley Clark was out of line..."
On June 24, however, Roberts discussed remarks made by Charlie Black, an aide to Senator McCain, in which Mr. Black claimed that a terrorist attack would help the presumptive GOP presidential nominee. In this instance, she was far more cynical. Roberts speculated, "Almost immediately, we had apologies from McCain and Charlie Black, but is this the kind of thing that a campaign puts out there on purpose and then retracts?"