While NBC, ABC, and CBS have provided wall-to-wall coverage since midday Thursday on Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 being shot down over Ukraine and Israel sending ground forces into Gaza, none of the broadcast networks have made a single mention of President Obama being criticized for attending political fundraisers that night.
Of the three network morning shows on Friday, only CBS This Morning even noted that Obama had just "returned to Washington late last night after a political trip to New York." Though it was never explained the trip was to raise campaign funds for the Democratic Party. NBC's Today didn't bother to mention the fundraisers, but did find time to promote Al Roker's upcoming interview with First Lady Michelle Obama. ABC's Good Morning America didn't even mention Obama's name in its coverage of the crises.
It was strange. Joe Scarborough had just completed a comprehensive indictment of failed American foreign policy around the globe. But at the very moment when he should have laid those disasters at the feet of the sitting President of the United States, Scarborough came down with a bad case of . . . cold feet.
Scarborough laid out to David Gregory a tour d'horizon of failed American foreign policy from the Middle East, to Iran, to Russia/Ukraine, describing it as "one disaster after another.One strikeout after another." But perhaps fearful of where the ineluctable logic of his comments was taking him, Scarborough suddenly made nice, saying "of course that is not directed to President Obama." Really? Who's been in the White House for the last six years? View the video after the jump.
MSNBC’s unwavering devotion to President Obama amidst the immigration crisis of his own making was made prominently clear on the July 16 edition of Ronan Farrow Daily. The Lean Forward host actually misreported an ABC News Washington Post poll which determined that 58% of Americans disapprove of President Obama’s handling of immigration while only 33% approve of his policies. Farrow claimed, “there's a new poll out from ABC News and Washington Post saying that a majority of Americans agree with the president pushing on Congress on this.”
Seizing on the falsehood, Farrow immediately placed the blame on the Right, asking Republican strategist John Feehery, “should those numbers send a strong signal to Republican congressmen at this point, maybe it's time to change tracks?” [See video below. Click here for MP3 audio]
At last, an Obama administration official has come out in favor of a fence. He promises it will bring security to people on both sides of the border.
Unfortunately, Philip Gordon, National Security Council coordinator for theMiddle East, North Africa and the Gulf, was not speaking of a border fence between the United States and Mexico, but a fence between the West Bank and the 1967 Israeli border. That fence, he said, would be built after Israelrelinquishes the territory in exchange for an empty promise of "peace" with the Palestinians.
On the third day of José Díaz-Balart, the latest program to enter the Lean Forward network’s lineup, the former Telemundo host began the July 16 edition with a 9 minute discussion of the immigration crisis. Díaz-Balart, who in a TVNewser blog claimed that his show was “about opening up lines of dialogue, opening up to other communities, opening up to other thoughts across the board,” gave 6 minutes and 43 seconds of air time to liberal immigration advocates.
Of the 9 minutes and 33 seconds of discussion, 15 seconds were given to the opposing point of view by two random protesters in Oracle, Arizona. [See video below. Click here for MP3 audio]
As my colleagues have been documenting throughout the day, both NBC and MSNBC have had their share of biased segments against Israel on their Tuesday programs.
So it was rather refreshing to see Hardball host Chris Matthews defend the United States's staunchest -- and only truly democratic -- Middle Eastern ally in his closing "Let Me Finish" commentary for the July 15 program. You can read the transcript below the page break (MP3 audio here, video follows page break; emphasis mine):
For an example of how MSNBC is leaning forward into biased coverage of the latest troubles Israel is having with the terrorist group Hamas, one need look no further than the July 15 edition of Andrea Mitchell Reports.
After hearing from NBC foreign correspondent Ayman Mohyeldin about how the Egyptian cease-fire was rejected by Hamas because it “failed to address the comprehensive issues that they (Hamas) were trying to go after,” Mitchell invited the Israeli ambassador to Washington, Ron Dermer, to discuss the crisis in Israel and offer “his take” on U.S. nuclear negotiations with Iran. When Dermer stated that “Iran wants to develop a nuclear weapon.” Mitchell retorted that they “say they don’t.” Well, that settles it. Just like that time in 2007 when the Holocaust-denying President of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, insisted there were no gay men in Iran. [See video below. Click here for MP3 audio]
Reporting from the Gaza Strip during MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell Reports on July 14, NBC foreign correspondent Ayman Mohyeldin, formerly of Al Jazerra and CNN, parroted Hamas denials that it deliberately placed missile batteries in civilian buildings in Gaza [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]:
They definitely reject the labeling of using civilians as human shields....Hamas military wing people that we've been speaking to and others – not just on these past few days, but in the past several years, because this is an issue that always comes up against Hamas – they will say that this is the nature of the battlefield that they have to fight in. That this is not an issue by design, but as a reality of what Gaza is like because it's so densely populated.
Although more subdued compared to his June 18 anti-Dick Cheney diatribe, MSNBC's Chris Matthews returned on his Monday, July 14 program once again to his unhealthy, creepy obsession with the former vice president. The relevant news hook was what Matthews derided as a "Cheney family offensive," referring to a Politico Playbook lunch event held earlier in the day in Washington, D.C., featuring Cheney, wife Lynne, and daughter Liz.
"Cheney, who was the number one force pushing was on the American people, said he's sticking to his tragic position of 2003," Matthews groused before playing a clip of Cheney saying he "believed it in then" and "looking back on it now, it was the right thing to do." "What did anyone expect, is what I have to say," Matthews huffed, adding, "Is it news that Dick Cheney [chay-nee] is Dick Cheney [chee-nee]?"
U.S. Marine Andrew Tahmooressi has been held in a Mexican prison for more than three months for accidentally crossing into Mexico with weapons and NBC News has yet to acknowledge the story.
On Wednesday, July 9, Sergeant Tahmooressi made his first appearance in a Tijuana courtroom and on Thursday both ABC’s Good Morning America and CBS This Morning covered the developments whereas NBC’s Today remained silent. [See video below.]
On Monday evening's NBC Nightly News, host Brian Williams used a perhaps revealing verb to describe a belief held by former Soviet foreign minister and Georgian president Eduard Shevardnadze, who died on Monday at 86.
It would be good to look back and learn how Shevardnadze came to say what he said a decade ago before getting to how Williams framed it. As reported in Doug Martin's obituary at the New York Times (bolds are mine throughout this post):
Jay Michaelson unleashed at Cru, the evangelical Christian group formerly called Campus Crusade for Christ, in a Monday item on Daily Beast for supposedly being "involved in some of the meanest homophobia-for-export in Africa." Michaelson, who did little to hide his contempt for orthodox/traditional Christians, contended that Cru was part of a "vast right-wing conspiracy to export homophobia to Africa and fight the culture wars on potentially winning...turf."
The author, who is a visiting scholar at Brown University, sounded a clarion call for his fellow leftists to recognize the Cru as an apparent force for "preaching hate" around the world:
A prominent exhibit explaining why the nation's trust in its media establishment has dropped to precipitous lows would likely include Tom Cohen's Thursday afternoon column at CNN expressing befuddlement over President Barack Obama's unpopularity.
After all, Cohen's headline crows that under Obama we have "more jobs" and "less war" (!), so there's a "disconnect" which must be explained. To give you an idea of how pathetic his attempt is, he managed not to mention any form of the words "immigration," "scandal," or "contraction" (as in, the first-quarter decline in GDP) while pretending to present a complete analysis. Meanwhile, one of CNN's embedded headline links to another story ("Obama to Republicans: 'So sue me'") openly mocks Cohen, doing a better job of explaining the "disconnect" in six words than anything he wrote in his first 37 paragraphs. Excerpts follow the jump (bolds are mine throughout this post; numbered tags are mine):
Just in time for Independence Day, Fox News’ Megyn Kelly hosted a two part preview of an interview with Bill Ayers that will air in full July 4. The July 2 segment pitted the former Weather Underground bomber against conservative filmmaker Dinesh D'Souza, who’s new film, “America” was also released July 2.
Ayers, who never repented of bombings and other crimes, is now somehow a college professor and education theorist. In 2008, Barack Obama downplayed Ayers as “a guy who lives in my neighborhood,” but the two sat on philanthropic boards together and Obama actually kicked off his political career with an event Ayers’ hosted in his home. Some, including Stanley Kurtz, believe the association is much deeper than “guy in the neighborhood.”
NBC's morning and evening newscasts have yet to cover the pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong on Tuesday. That day, ABC's World News labeled the demonstration "one of the largest marches in Hong Kong's history" during an 18-second news brief, but failed to mention that the communist Chinese government was the target of the participants. The network's morning show, Good Morning America, has yet to devote any air time to the protest.
Seth Doane filed a two-minute report about the march on Wednesday's CBS Evening News. But like his peers at ABC, Doane omitted describing the "central government here in Beijing" as communist. Anchor Scott Pelley introduced the correspondent's report by noting the anniversary the protesters were marking: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
On Monday, June 30, it was revealed that the three Israeli teens, one of whom was a dual Israeli-American citizen, that went missing two weeks were found dead, likely the victims of murder from the Palestinian terrorist organization Hamas.
While all three network evening news shows reported on the deaths of the three teenage boys,NBC Nightly News only provided a news brief and completely ignored that one of the boys, Naftaly Frenkel, was in fact a U.S. citizen. Anchor Brian Williams did find time to highlight how “President Obama was among those who expressed outrage over the killings.” [See video below.]
Katrina vanden Heuvel, editor of the far-left The Nation magazine, did her best to attack Bill Kristol, editor of the conservative Weekly Standard magazine, over his continued support for the Iraq war and the need to take action to stop the increasing violence in the region.
Appearing on ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos on Sunday, June 29, vanden Heuvel tried to verbally assault Kristol by asserting “We don't need armchair warriors. And if you feel so strongly, you should, with all due respect, enlist in the Iraqi army.”
Jon Stewart fell back to his partisan comfort zone on the Thursday, June 26 edition of The Daily Show. Despite Tuesday’s brief respite into the realm of poking fun at his own party, the Comedy Central host spent the opening monologue of his show blasting Republicans for being “warfare queens.”
Stewart ended his rant by telling Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) to “go f*** yourself.” Classy. [See video below. Click here for MP3 audio]
The scene: a network newsroom in Manhattan, editorial meeting for the June 24 evening broadcast.
“Hey, what about this story of Meriam Ibrahim? Looks like Sudan released her and then rearrested her.”
“Meh, another African Christian condemned by Muslim fanatics to death for her faith, yada, yada, yada. We need something really important, that cuts right to the fundamental conflicts and contradictions of our time.”
“Well, some foreign soccer player bit another foreign soccer player at the World Cup.”
“Bingo! Any chance the victim is transgendered?”
“Uh, I don’t know, chief, but I’ll sure find out!”
An exaggeration? At this point, who knows? All we know is that ABC, NBC and CBS aren’t among the swath of the media that’s been covering the harrowing tale of a young Sudanese mother condemned to death because she wouldn’t renounce her Christian faith. Here story has come to a head with her release and apparent re-arrest before she could flee Sudan. The U.S. ambassador to Sudan has been summoned and tensions are running high.
On Tuesday's The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell on MSNBC, during a segment about foreign policy challenges involving Russia and the turmoil in the Middle East, MSNBC.com Executive Editor Richard Wolffe oddly suggested that President Obama finds it to be a "satisfying challenge" because it is "intellectually rigorous" to deal with such substantial foreign policy problems.
He also not surprisingly took a jab at former President Bush, blaming him for the chaos in the Middle East, and asserted that "there's a lot of cleanup there."
Host O'Donnell wondered about what things are like inside the White House as he posed:
Just prior to President Obama's Thursday press conference on Iraq, NBC's chief White House correspondent and political director Chuck Todd was caught on an open mic joking that Republican Senator John McCain "must have had heart palpitations" after former general and CIA director David Petraeus seemed to back up President Obama's inaction during the crisis. Todd quipped: "Did anybody check John McCain? Is he okay now that David Petraeus came out against doing anything?"
In a statement to Business Insider on Friday, McCain communications director Brian Rodgers hit back at Todd: "It's not like further evidence was needed to prove the liberal bias at MSNBC and in the mainstream media, but Chuck Todd's 'hot mic' comments...show just how quickly the media will try and discredit Senator McCain and anyone who questions President Obama."
Someday, Barack Obama might make a fine professor somewhere. In the meantime, someone should remind him that he's still President of the United States . . . If President Obama thought he was going to score some easy media points by sitting down for an interview with Mika Brzezinski last Friday, he was badly mistaken. Morning Joe aired the interview today, to bad reviews by its guests.
Dem Donny Deutsch didn't want to say--but said--that Obama looked "checked out," and seemed like he "wants to go home." Mark Halperin observed that Republicans resonate when they say that Obama is not "taking control." Commenting on Obama's long disquisition on the complications of the Syrian situation, Halperin observed: "it's up to the President of the United States to take some bold action to try to address [problems] and not just sit and say here's why this is hard, here's why this is hard."It's as if Barack Obama sees himself in the faculty lounge, offering exquisite insights on the problems of the day, rather than in the Oval Office, with the obligation to address them. View the video after the jump.
Following a tough grilling of Secretary of State John Kerry in the first part of her interview aired on Thursday, on Friday, NBC Today co-host Savannah Guthrie revealed that the rest of her time spent with Kerry was mostly devoted to fluff and softballs: "From breakfast with senators and the ceremonial duties of office to back-to-back trips to the White House, Secretary of State John Kerry has taken his new job and run with it....the once-staid senator now one of the President's most outspoken road warriors." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Guthrie observed: "It seems to me that you are looser than you've ever been." Kerry replied: "You know, after years and years in public life, I know who I am. I know what I want to achieve."
Anti-American commandos from Iran are already helping the Iraqi military by doing the sort of logistical coordination that President Obama promised from the U.S. Army today, NBC's Richard Engel noted in a June 19 Nightly News report from Baghdad. "The image I've had in my head all day, Brian, is of this driver's ed car with two steering wheels, with one with the U.S. Army now about 300 people on one steering wheel and the Iranian Quds Force-- which is often hostile to the United States at the other wheel -- and I'm not sure that Iran and the U.S. have any intention of driving this car in the same direction," the network's chief foreign affairs correspondent told viewers at home.
Reacting to the announcement from President Obama that the United States will be sending approximately 300 special forces to Iraq in non-combat “advisor” roles, the panel on MSNBC’s The Cycle was skeptical that the move would accomplish anything significant. It’s fair to say that the panel was not exactly erring on the side of more intervention, however.
After reading a quote from Time magazine which pointed out that many dictators in the Middle East have argued that only their oppressive measures could quell the tension between Sunnis and Shiites, guest host Luke Russert asked, “After what's happened in Iraq, Libya, Egypt, Syria, is it fair to say the West was better off with dictators?” [MP3 audio here; video below]
In a remarkably tough interview with Secretary of State John Kerry aired on Thursday's NBC Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie interrogated the nation's top diplomat on the Obama administration's failure to prevent terrorists from invading Iraq: "It seems like the U.S. was totally caught off guard by this....did you act too slowly? I mean, [Iraqi Prime Minister] Maliki was asking for help with air strikes in the last few weeks as this was coming, as ISIS was coming toward this part of Iraq. Why didn't we act then?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Later in the exchange, Guthrie pressed: "What's happening now in Iraq is directly related to the situation in Syria. Did the U.S. – did the President miss the moment, make a huge mistake by not trying to turn the tide in Syria then and what's happening in Iraq now is just the chickens coming home to roost?"
Looks like it's not just in Iraq where civil war is breaking out. Seems that it could also be happening at MSNBC, with Iraq ironically being the flashpoint.
Two nights ago, Rachel Maddow condemned TV shows that book original Iraq war hawks like Paul Bremer. Maddow specifically called out her very own MSNBC for having given Bremer air time. And just where had Bremer appeared on the Lean Forward network? Morning Joe. So you have to imagine that Joe Scarborough might well have had Maddow in mind when on today's show he said "I don't know why some people are so intellectually weak that they're afraid to actually listen." Sniped Scarborough: if people "wanted to watch people just saying what they--what everybody else in a little circle believe, they could watch certain shows on prime time cable." Wonder which show Joe had in mind? View the video after the jump.
MSNBC's Chris Matthews put his pro-Hillary puffery on the back-burner this evening to lead off Hardball with a screed against his favorite archnemesis Dick "it's pronounced CHEE-knee, by the way" Cheney.
Chris failed to disappoint with his loopy, nonsensical rant against the former vice president, at one point comparing him to a pitch man for the website Diedinhouse.com. Matthews even inspired a little nuttiness in the Huffington Post Media Group editorial director Howard Fineman, who insisted Cheney's hat-wearing was devised by the former vice president as a subtle sartorial dig at Obama's manliness or lack thereof. You cannot make this stuff up (LISTEN to the MP3 audio here; WATCH the video clip below the page break):
Appearing on Wednesday's NBC Today, chief White House correspondent and political director Chuck Todd reported on the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll showing President Obama's poll numbers taking a nose dive and made this stunning declaration: "This is as if the public is saying, 'Hey, buddy, your presidency is over. You may not believe it is, but your ability to lead and convince us that you have the right policies anymore, we're not listening.'" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
That observation was prompted by co-host Savannah Guthrie highlighting: "Let's show the poll number you call the dagger. 'Can the President lead and get the job done?' 54% say no."
At roughly 8 a.m. Eastern Time Tuesday morning, the wire service AFP (Agence France-Presse) had a story entitled "Fighting nears Baghdad as UN warns crisis 'life-threatening.'" AFP reported that "Militants pushed a weeklong offensive that has overrun swathes of Iraq to within 60 kilometres (37 miles) of Baghdad Tuesday." A Skynet video found at Gateway Pundit tells us that "ISIS Terrorists Surround Baghdad From Three Sides."
Meanwhile, as of 12:30 a.m. ET on Wednesday only one of the three Iraq-related stores (here, here and here) at the Associated Press refers — and even then only in a very late paragraph — to how ISIS (or ISIL, using AP's preferred acronym) "overran Mosul then stormed toward Baghdad."