They had to invent Sarah Palin's supposedly most embarrassing gaffe when she was the vice-presidential nominiee in 2008. She never said, "I can see Russia from my house!" Comedienne Tina Fey did. As noted at NewsBusters several days ago, that hasn't altered the folklore.
You don't have to invent gaffes for Joe Biden, the man who became Vice President after the 2008 election. He generates them continually. The lists seen here and here contain many of the golden oldies through August of 2012. There have been plenty since then. His latest, following the jump, is a doozy. The smart money would be on the establishment press ignoring it, as they have the vast majority of the others.
Navi Pillay, U.N. high commissioner for human rights, has accused both Israel and Hamas militants of committing war crimes in the Gaza conflict. Her harshest criticism, as well as that of most nations, has been reserved for the Israeli government, charging that it has committed war crimes in direct violation of the Geneva Conventions. In the wake of the huge difference in casualties and property destruction, many in the West have accused the Israeli government of making a grossly disproportionate response to terrorist rocket attacks. A New York Times (July 23, 2014) article titled "As Much of the World Frowns on Israel, Americans Hold Out Support" says that a number of "world leaders and demonstrators pointed to the lopsided number of Palestinian casualties — more than 650, most of them civilians — versus 35 on the Israeli side, 32 of them soldiers." By now, those numbers have tripled, but let's think about some of the arguments being made.
First, let's take a historical look at proportionality in response to an attack.
As of Tuesday morning, ABC's morning and evening newscasts have yet to cover the Associated Press report that revealed the Obama administration's covert program in Cuba that attempted "recruit young Cubans to anti-government activism" on the communist-dominated island. The AP outlined that "over at least two years, the U.S. Agency for International Development...sent nearly a dozen neophytes from Venezuela, Costa Rica and Peru to gin up opposition in Cuba."
By contrast, both CBS This Morning and NBC's Today set aside air time to the scoop. NBC's Natalie Morales gave a 32-second news brief on the clandestine program: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
On Monday night, only the CBS Evening News covered what anchor Scott Pelley described as an "emerging genocide" in Iraq. In a 48-second news brief, Pelley reported: "The Islamic army known as ISIS has seized vast territory in Syria and Iraq....Now, have a look at what they're doing to the minority Shiite Muslims....In this video, Shiite men are herded together and executed in mass graves. Here, Shiite men are shot in the head one by one and dumped into a river." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Edited footage of men being executed ran on screen, in addition to clips of ISIS blowing up Shiite mosques. Pelley wrapped up the brief segment by noting: "The slaughter is spreading. The Iraqi government is battling ISIS with limited success." No mention was made of the Obama administration's handling of the growing crisis.
On Tuesday's Today, Savannah Guthrie had an exclusive interview with Obama National Security Advisor Susan Rice, but rather than grill the controversial administration official on a variety of international crises, the NBC host merely tossed softballs. Meanwhile, about thirty minutes later, Guthrie interrogated former Ohio State University marching band director Jonathan Waters on being fired over the group's hazing practices.
Guthrie began her exchange with Rice by not even asking a question, just making a statement that "U.S. officials seem very, very confident" that the West African ebola outbreak could be contained. In her first real question to Rice, Guthrie simply wondered if the Israel-Hamas cease-fire in Gaza "will hold?" Finally, Guthrie worried that the ebola outbreak would overshadow a White House PR event with African leaders. That was the extent of interview.
A popular blood libel Palestinian leaders and parents tell their people and children goes as follows: "Jews used to slaughter Christians in order to mix their blood in their holy matzos."
In the video (HT Twitchy) which follows the jump, Blitzer asks Hamas spokesman Osama Hamdan to confirm that the quoted words just cited are what he recently said and meant. Over nearly seven agonizing minutes, Hamdan never admitted to anything, but certainly conducted himself as if he had uttered those words. To his credit, Blitzer noted that the end of the segment that his question had not been answered, leaving reasonable viewers to believe Hamdan did say previously say them, and that the bare outlines of his attempted excuse, which was essentially a claim that "I was just repeating something someone else said," doesn't fly.
All three network morning shows on Monday eagerly touted the Obama administration denouncing Israel after an attack on Hamas targets in Gaza led to civilian deaths. On NBC's Today, correspondent Richard Engel proclaimed: "After another attack on Palestinians taking shelter at a U.N.-run school on Sunday, Washington issued its strongest condemnation yet of its ally. The U.S. State Department said it was 'appalled by the disgraceful shelling.'" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Engel continued: "U.N. officials were shocked Israel chose to attack where it knew so many civilians would be in danger....The U.N. secretary general called the Israeli strike 'a moral outrage and a criminal act.'"
On MSNBC's Melissa Harris-Perry program on Saturday, Dean Obeidallah injected race into the debate inside the U.S. over the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict: "You saw a poll last week, young people 18 to 29: only 25 percent think it's justified what Israel is doing; 50 percent said, no. People of color, same numbers...It's really the Obama coalition versus white conservatives. That's the only group saying – the majority saying what Israel is doing is justified."
During the same panel discussion, American University's Hillary Mann Leverett made a very peculiar assertion about anti-Jewish sentiment in the Middle East – that from a historical perspective, European anti-Semitism was supposedly much worse than Islamic anti-Semitism: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
Isaiah 1:18: "Come now, and let us reason together." Joe Scarborough: My critics are "morons, and I can call them that." The notoriously thin-skinned Morning Joe host is at it again. Scarborough typically dings those who dare differ with him as Cheetos-chompers living in their mothers' basement. But Scarborough escalated the hostilities this morning, declaring that those who criticize his stance on Israel are "morons," and that he has been pro-Israel since the days that his critics were having their behinds wiped by mom.
Scarborough had caused a firestorm last week when, as NewsBuster Connor Williams reported, he accused Israel of "indiscriminate" attacks on Gaza. Scarborough again made the "indiscriminate" accusation this morning, and no doubt anticipating additional criticism, launched his pre-emptive strike. View the video after the jump.
On Sunday, August 3, NBC’s Meet the Press showed that the liberal media’s anti-Israel bias was in full force. Moderator David Gregory introduced a taped segment with Andrea Mitchell, NBC News Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent, by pondering “whether Israel may achieve victory, but lose the battle of wider world opinion.”
Mitchell began her piece by insisting that “as the violence continues, the civilians trapped in the middle, Israel’s strategy of self-defense is becoming less defensible in world opinion.” [See video below.]
On Thursday, as Connor Williams at NewsBusters reported, Joe Scarborough at MSNBC "ripped Israel for their 'indiscriminate' attacks upon Gaza, and feared that this would only cause the conflict to worsen in the future." Specifically, Scarborough said that "this is asinine. This continued killing of women and children in a way that appears to be indiscriminate is asinine," and "we will rue the day that this is happening every day and women and children are being seen."
On Friday, as Laura Flint at NewsBusters noted, Scarborough attempted to walk back some of what he said, insulting his objectors by saying he would use "simple talk that simple minded people can understand." He was apparently so proud of what he said that he had it printed virtually verbatim at the Politico late Friday afternoon, complete with an emphatic, condescending title. Let's revisit the screed to make a few important points (produced in full because it has already been broadcast; bolds and numbered tags, used so Joe can better follow "simple-minded" points, are mine):
Do Gaza civilians support Hamas' military operations that use them as human shields and store weapons in their schools and mosques? Ayman Mohyeldin would have you think so. On today's Morning Joe, the NBC reporter claimed that among Gazans, Hamas' military wing is "very highly revered."
To which Israeli spokesman Mark Regev had a stunning comeback: "I mean, if you walk down the street in Gaza with an NBC camera and you ask people, well, was Hamas shooting from this building that the Israelis targeted? No, everyone will say, of course, not. Because you have a regime that is ultimately authoritarian and violent to its own people and they have that ability to control the message. It's like walking down the street in Cuba with a camera and saying do you like Fidel Castro? What can people say?" View the video after the jump.
In an interview with Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer on Thursday's NBC Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie noted how "anti-Israel protests around the world" "have taken a disturbing turn and become anti-Semitic in nature," but proceeded to blame Israel for the prejudice: "Do you ask yourselves, 'Okay, we may be winning militarily but are we losing the larger battle, the PR war?' And perhaps, as one headline put it yesterday, minting the next generation of terrorists?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
The headline Guthrie cited was from the liberal Daily Beast website, which on Wednesday published an article by Jesse Rosenfeld, who ranted: "It is not Hamas propaganda, the school curriculum or even their parents that make these children see a future where continued resistance is the only option for survival. That was an education taught by the Israeli bombs that flattened their homes and by the bread lines across the street from the school."
"As much of world watches Gaza war in horror, members of Congress fall over each other to support Israel," the Associated Press shockingly tweeted Tuesday morning, only revising the headline four hours later, Fox News's Megyn Kelly noted Wednesday night as she introduced Brent Bozell, president of the Media Research Center (MRC) -- the parent organization of NewsBusters.org -- for a segment on liberal media bias in the coverage of Israel's Operation Protective Edge in the Gaza Strip. [Listen to MP3 here; video embed follows page break]
"That was pretty surprising to many in the media world," Kelly noted, asking for Bozell's thoughts. "The tweet referred originally to a news article that was as slanted as that," the MRC founder noted, adding, "That news article could have been written by Hamas working for the AP or the AP is doing press releases for Hamas. It's indistinguishable. This makes a mockery of journalism." But alas, anti-Israeli bias is hardly contained to the AP news wire, Bozell noted, recalling how:
Tonight at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, a dispatch by Ken Dilanian and Eileen Sullivan reports that "a document circulating among White House staff" about post-9/11 allegedly harsh and inhumane CIA interrogation techniques — a document which was "accidentally emailed to an Associated Press reporter" — claims that Former Secretary of State Colin Powell "may not have been informed when the techniques were first used in 2002." Given the wire service's unrequited lapdog love for all things Obama, it seems more likely, as posited by Instapundit's Glenn Reynolds, that the "AP reporter" in question is on the regular circulation list and was told to call this particular leak an accident. Excerpts follow the jump (bolds are mine):
In a report for Wednesday's NBC Today, chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel – who on Monday fretted that Hamas would get "nothing" out of a cease-fire deal with Israel – highlighted a Palestinian teenager celebrating the terror group's attacks: "In Gaza, many see these attacks as justified. 16-year-old Farah Bakkar has developed a following online after live tweeting as [Israeli] bombs fell....Farah never supported Hamas before, but does now." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
A sound bite ran of Bakkar proclaiming: "When I see the [Hamas] rockets getting to Israel, I start loving them more and more and I pray for them."
Earlier today, I gave the Associated Press an unwarranted benefit of the doubt. I figured that there was no way the language contained in an offensive AP tweet on the Israel-Gaza situation would appear in an actual story by an alleged professional journalist. Boy, was I wrong.
The language in question was posted at 6 a.m. ET and is still present at the wire service's official Twitter account. It reads: "As much of world watches Gaza war in horror, members of Congress fall over each other to support Israel." I wrote this afternoon that "The tweet ... links to a brief dispatch by Bradley Klapper, whose coverage, to be fair (but only if he's not the tweeter), doesn't reflect the sentiments expressed in the tweet." Well, it didn't then, because the underlying story had been revised. Here's are the first five paragraphs of Klapper's story as they appeared before comprehensive cleanup efforts ensued:
On Tuesday, July 29, NBC Nightly News was the only network evening newscast to highlight criticism of Secretary of State John Kerry following his inability to broker a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas.
While CBS and ABC ignored the criticism of Secretary Kerry, Andrea Mitchell, NBC’s Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent, did her best to cast the Secretary of State as a victim of anonymous Israeli criticism. During a press conference earlier in the day, Mitchell sympathetically asked Kerry if such criticism was “hurting your ability to be a mediator here, to have Israel -- with these blind quotes from Israeli officials attacking you so vociferously?” [See video below.]
On Tuesday, only NBC's Today covered Israel's heavy criticism of the Obama administration's effort to pushed a Hamas-backed cease-fire plan in Gaza. At the top of the broadcast, co-host Savannah Guthrie proclaimed: "...the Obama administration goes on the defensive after Israeli media rip John Kerry's efforts to make peace." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In the report that followed, correspondent Kate Snow observed: "The public and the press seem to have turned on Kerry. Take a look at the headline in this morning's paper. 'Obama and Kerry,' it says, 'are playing with fire.'"
As yours truly noted a week ago, journalists who have ventured into Gaza operate under coverage restrictions imposed by Hamas, the terrorist group which controls it. Based on the tenor of their coverage, the New York Times and other organizations are complying with Hamas's constraints, usually without telling their readers, listeners, and viewers. This of course begs the question of why those reporters and photographers stay there — unless they'd like to leave and are being prevented from doing so.
A little onsite reality leaked out of Gaza today, in the form of two tweets from Wall Street Journal reporters based there, before they were quickly withdrawn. Twitter user Yair_Rosenberg caught them before they disappeared. They provide evidence that a rocket strike at a Gaza hospital which killed many Palestinians was the result of an errant Hamas rocket, not an Israeli strike:
Of all the Associated Press reporters out there, Matt Lee, whose beat is the State Department, appears to have the least patience with the pablum (and worse) he is expected to swallow from the Obama administration.
In September of last year, as the situation in Syria escalated, Obama administration Secretary of State John Kerry proposed a non-mandatory request for a Congressional vote on U.S. military involvement in Syria. After hearing State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki defend that proposal as "courageous," Lee, after getting a non-response to a question as why it was courageous, famously asked: "Was there some kind of, like, group spine-removal op procedure at the White House over the weekend?" Though he may not have exercised the best judgment this morning in posting the tweet which follows the jump, at least we can say that Lee hasn't taken up permanent residence in the wire service's otherwise very crowded water-carrier wing:
The Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, wants Americans to know that the Obama adminisration is really, really upset — but not at Hamas for committing terrorist acts, using women and children as human shields, and digging tunnels for the purpose of mass-murdering civilians on Rosh Hashanah.
No-no-no. Team Obama is "fuming" (i.e., their poor little feeeeewings are hurt) because Israeli officials and the Israeli media — even its liberal wing — are furiously criticizing U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry for apparently doing all he can to sell out the Jewish state's positions in attempting to negotiate a ceasefire with Hamas.
On Monday's NBC Today, chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel worried that Hamas was not getting enough out of a temporary cease-fire agreement with Israel: "What is Hamas getting in return? So far, nothing. No deal, no immediate lifting of the closure of the Gaza Strip. Just a reprieve from Israel's assault that has flattened entire Gaza neighborhoods and killed more than a thousand Palestinians, many of them civilians, many of them children." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Engel continued to outline the demands from the Palestinian terrorist organization: "The war could easily escalate again. Hamas wants an agreement to end the fighting, not for Israel to unilaterally scale back the assault on its own terms."
On Sunday’s Meet the Press, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu profoundly slapped down moderator David Gregory’s assertion that Israel had been involved in the “targeting of a U.N. school that killed children and those civilians who were fleeing a safe place to go in the fighting.”
Netanyahu resoundingly condemned Gregory’s statement and insisted that the “Secretary General of the United Nations before this incident took place, said that, admitted that two U.N. schools in Gaza were used to stockpile rockets.” [See video below.]
While all three networks denounced the shelling of a U.N. school in Gaza on Thursday, NBC, ABC and CBS all failed to report on similar U.N. schools in the war-torn territory being used to hide Hamas rockets. As Fox News reported on Tuesday, "The U.N. Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) said the rockets were found in between two other UNRWA schools that are being used to host 1,500 displaced people."
On Wednesday's Special Report, anchor Bret Baier read a statement from the office of the U.N. Secretary General condemning Hamas for the action. Panelist Charles Krauthammer blasted the international organization: "The U.N. workers, UNRWA, have collaborated with Hamas for years and years. They know that there are missiles in the schools, in the hospitals, in the mosques, and they know what's going to happen. Kids will be killed and that's going to be on television." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Israeli ambassador to the United States Ron Dermer wasted no time on this evening's Erin Burnett OutFront to hit CNN for bias by omission in its reporting on Palestinian casualties at a United Nations hospital in the Gaza Strip.
"I think it would be a disservice to your viewers for a [CNN] reporter from Gaza not to mention that in the last week we had two different UNRWA [United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration Works Agency] schools where we had actually rockets found in the schools and handed over to Hamas," Dermer chided host Erin Burnett, who interrupted, "These are two different UN schools, you're saying." "That's correct," the ambassador replied, continuing his attack on the network's bias with a suggestion that the network was not properly doing its homework on the conflict (emphasis mine; watch video below page break):
ABC, CBS, and NBC's morning and evening newscasts have yet to cover the dire situation of Christians in Iraq, particularly after ISIS's takeover of the key city of Mosul. The Islamic extremist group drove most of the Christians out of the city, and issued an ultimatum to those who remained: covert to Islam, pay a hefty tax, or face death. Refreshingly, the New York Times spotlighted the crisis in a Thursday op-ed, and noted that the Christian community in Mosul has lived there for nearly 2,000 years.
The patriarch of the Syriac Catholic Church, Ignatius Yousef Younan III, along with Fox News Channel's Father Jonathan Morris, detailed ISIS's anti-Christian pogrom on Wednesday's Fox and Friends: [video below the jump]
Both Wednesday's CBS Evening News and Thursday's NBC Today offered full reports on President Obama being criticized for attending Democratic Party fundraisers at a time of international crises. ABC continued to remain silent on the growing controversy.
On Evening News, White House correspondent Major Garrett reported: "President Obama arrived late today in Los Angeles for his fifth meeting with big donors in two days." A clip played of Garrett challenging Press Secretary Josh Ernest: "Could you address what many Americans believe is either the trivial or unnecessarily-distracting obligation of presidents – including this one – to raise money in the course of conducting important matters of state?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
On Tuesday's NBC Nightly News, Brian Williams reported the Apollo 11 astronauts' meeting with President Obama to mark the 45th anniversary of the first moon landing, but failed to mention that only photo journalists were permitted to cover the event. Williams spotlighted Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins's visit to the White House, and how "with them in spirit in the Oval Office today was the late, great Neil Armstrong."
During his minute-long news brief, the anchor also pointed out a former NASA administrator's warning about the current state of the U.S. manned spaceflight program: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]