Filling in for Alex Wagner on Monday afternoon, Ari Melber of the left-wing Nation magazine did some thing on MSNBC's Now that Wagner and many of their colleagues have been reluctant to do themselves -- expose the deception and dishonesty of Obama on the subject of drone attacks. While there was a brief mention or two in the weeks and months that preceded the election, the coverage was never sufficient -- considering the circumstances.
It's a telling sign however, that such a report would air three weeks after the incumbent's decisive re-election victory, by a guest host at that. Armed with indisputable video evidence, Melber noted the disparity between the candidate and the president [video below the page break]:
It’s commonplace for a news organization to be attacked for failing to cover certain major news events. On the other hand, it is rare for a news outlet to be attacked for doing its job and reporting the news.
According to Pulitzer Prize winning reporter Thomas Ricks, Fox News’ extensive reporting on the terrorist attack on our consulate in Benghazi is not only a waste of time but an example of how Fox is, “the wing of the Republican Party.” Appearing on Monday’s Happening Now, Ricks openly called out Fox News for its coverage of what he dismissed as merely a “small firefight.” [See video below break. MP3 audio here.]
As has so often been the case for nearly four years, one needs to go to the editorial pages of the nation's two leading financial publications, the Wall Street Journal and Investor's Business Daily, to get to the truth behind news developments, especially the ones with potential to cast the Obama administration in a bad light.
There may not be a better example of the press ignoring the obvious than the circumstances surrounding Mohammed Morsi's dictatorial power grab in Egypt. Morsi gained substantial perceived world standing when the U.S. government praised him lavishly (or is it slavishly?) for his involvement in brokering a truce of sorts in the Israel-Hamas conflict. As a Friday IBD editorial pointed out, Morsi is now "using America's stamp of approval to oppress his own people" (bolds are mine throughout this post):
At the end of Joe Klein's stupefying defense of Susan Rice and the Obama admin's misinformation campaign on the Benghazi outrage on today's Morning Joe, Joe Scarborough asked Time's Klein whether President Obama had invited him to play golf, "because you are just gobbling up the talking points like Thanksgiving turkey." H/t NB reader Carmel.
Here were some of Klein's astounding assertions: There are no unanswered questions about Benghazi. Ambassador Stevens had all the security he wanted. Rice's talking points were "absolutely accurate"--it was a spontaneous demonstration by extremists. Al qaeda was not involved in the attack. Not clear that reports from Stevens asking for more security exist. View the video after the jump.
The Washington Post is once again kissing a Washington posterior. Two days after lauding liberal Sen. Patty Murray, the Post hailed Hillary Clinton with the dominant headline on Monday’s front page: “The secretary of 1,000 things.”
Like any other Hillary superfan, Post reporter Stephanie McCrummen could only wonder whether Mrs. Clinton would now prepare a 2016 presidential run or – perish the thought – “this might really be it for one of the most iconic figures in American political history.” Benghazi? That’s a small speed bump on the Road to Gush-gush:
Well, that didn't take long. Fulfilling a fear expressed on Tuesday by David Horovitz in the Times of Israel, someone is already using the country's mostly (but to be sure, not completely) successful deployment of its Iron Dome missile defense system as an argument against Israel's right to robustly defend itself.
The assertion came the very next day in the form of a tweet from a member of the establishment press (how unsurprising), one Anthony De Rosa from Reuters, the wire service's Director of Social Media. Alert responder "Robbie Guy" posted a riposte so deliciously effective that De Rosa removed the tweet. Too late. The takedown came after Simon Plosker at Honest Reporting (HT Bruce Kesler at at Maggie's Farm via Instapundit) had captured shots of both items.
As I wrote this morning to the NewsBusters editor who alerted me to the Washington Post's editorial, "The GOP’s bizarre attack on Susan Rice," I don't read WaPo much, but somehow assume they're not quite as extreme as the New York Times." Silly me, judging by WaPo's ugly, over-the-top opinion item.
Here's the ugly last paragraph from today's editorial: "Could it be, as members of the Congressional Black Caucus are charging, that the signatories of the letter are targeting Ms. Rice because she is an African American woman? The signatories deny that, and we can’t know their hearts. What we do know is that more than 80 of the signatories are white males, and nearly half are from states of the former Confederacy." More after the jump.
So what's more important, the fact that Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi was involved in brokering a Gaza-Israeli peace deal which appears to be more than sightly tilted in Hamas's direction, or the fact that Morsi has opportunistically seized nearly dictatorial powers?
They're arguably equal, but if compelled to choose, I believe most readers here would contend that because of the difficulties seen throughout human history in undoing such things, Morsi's power grab is more important. The Associated Press doesn't share that evaluation. In its summary of "10 Things to Know for Friday" the wire service notes the "peace" accord but not the power grab:
Leading off Monday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams wrung his hands over Israel suffering fewer casualties than Gaza in the ongoing Mideast conflict: "It is a lop-sided fight right now, the estimated death toll is more than a hundred in Gaza, with three Israelis reported dead. The fusillade of rockets from Gaza into Israel is being answered by air strikes, many from drones, many aimed at individuals inside buildings, inside densely packed neighborhoods."
Williams's desire for a fairer fight was reminiscent of former NBC commentator John Chancellor's reaction to the Persian Gulf War in 1992, telling then-Nightly News anchor Tom Brokaw: "Greenpeace, the public interest organization, believes that the Iraqi death toll, civilian and military, before and after the war, may be as high as 198,000. Allied military dead are counted in the low hundreds. The disparity is huge and somewhat embarrassing."
CNN's Soledad O'Brien teed up Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.) to pick out the "code words" in GOP opposition to Susan Rice's nomination to Secretary of State, on Tuesday morning's Starting Point.
"Would you agree with what she's saying that there's a racial or a sexist component to a lot of these comments?" O'Brien asked, quoting the incoming chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC). "Or would you say as the letter seems to say, they use the word 'incompetent,' and they use the word undermining the desire to improve U.S. relations?" [Video below the break. Audio here.]
From Joe Scarborough to John Heilemann, Katty Kay to Mark Halperin to Willie Geist, it was unanimous on today's Morning Joe. Whatever the substance, whatever the policy, Republicans would be making a massive political mistake by opposing the possible nomination of Susan Rice as Secretary of State.
Summed up Scarborough the MJ zeitgeist: "do a bunch of old white guys want to make their first big battle, post-election, a battle going up against a younger woman of color?" View the video after the jump. H/t reader cobokat.
Despite evidence reported elsewhere, a Monday story in the New York Times by Fares Akram, Jodi Rudoren and Alan Cowell described the bombing of "two buildings housing local broadcasters and production companies used by foreign outlets" as a possible example of Israel "targeting journalists" -- while ignoring one "little" thing. As the Washington Free Beacon noted (HT Instapundit), "Four senior Islamic Jihad terrorists were using the media building as a hideout. They were killed in the Israeli strike." Additionally, the Times reporters downplayed the high-percentage effectiveness of Israel's Iron Dome missile defense system in blowing up Hamas rockets before they could cause any damage.
What follows are the two "don't let the facts get in the way of a good story" paragraphs from the Times, as well as those relating to Iron Dome's results thus far:
Appearing on Sunday's NBC Meet the Press, New York Times foreign affairs columnist Tom Friedman worked to downplay the terrorist attack in Libya: "There are diplomats that go to dangerous places, and sometimes...they get killed. It is a tragedy. To me, Libya is not a scandal, it's a tragedy."
While the murder of U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans was indeed a tragedy, Friedman has insisted on protecting the Obama administration from criticism over the attack. On the October 21 Meet the Press, he declared of the growing scandal: "To me, this is an utterly contrived story in the sense that 'this is the end of,' you know, 'Obama's foreign policy.'"
A video at CNN with reporting by Sara Sidner from Gaza tells us "how a small child became a symbol of civilian casualties." Some of her narrative: "A scene no parent should ever have to endure"; "Four year-old Mahmoud Sadallah lies dead in the arms of a neighbor, a child of Gaza, another victim of an airstrike"; "we saw no evidence here of military activity." There's even a scene where Ms. Sidner reports having to flee where she is currently reporting because "there are airstrikes" and "rockets." Since Hamas doesn't have an air force, we're supposed to assume that Israel's military is responsible for Mahmoud's death.
Except, as Joel Pollak at Breitbart noted this morning, others have shown that Sidner wants us to believe isn't the truth (bolds are mine throughout this post; links are in originals presented):
In her "Sunday Roundup" post at the site which bears her last name, Arianna Huffington supported that notion that "This week, America finally began questioning the judgment of its generals," but lamented that the scrutiny is over "sexual conduct rather than military conduct."
Fine, that's her opinion. But what's really odd is that she apparently thought that referencing a headline found at the Onion would be seen by readers as meaningful support for her argument (HT to a NewsBusters tipster):
Why don't America's media members want to acknowledge Jerusalem as being the capital of Israel?
On CNN Newsroom Friday, Ashleigh Banfield actually said, "Rockets fired at Jerusalem. It is not the capital at this point, but it is the disputed center of the universe so to speak when it comes to Israel" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
On Friday's NBC Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie interviewed Jordan's Queen Noor and former CIA operative Valerie Plame about their effort to rid the world of all nuclear weapons: "...two women taking on a big challenge....leading an initiative called Global Zero. The goal, to eliminate nuclear weapons around the world." The headline on screen declared them to be "on a mission."
At one point, Guthrie suggested the naivety of the goal: "The counter-argument to that is, 'Wait a minute, all the bad actors in the world are racing toward more nuclear weapons. Can we really afford to do that?' Noor replied: "Well, I think if the United States and Russia, who have 90% of the world's arsenal of nuclear weapons, do continue to make the deep cuts that started during Reagan, that Obama has built up on, that President Obama now in his next term can make with the Russians, significant credible cuts in, then the rest of the nuclear states will join a process..."
Showing an obvious double standard, CNN's Soledad O'Brien asked a GOP congressman whether Republicans were hypocritical for opposing Susan Rice's potential candidacy for Secretary of State, but she failed to ask tough questions of a Democratic congressman about Rice's qualifications.
O'Brien insisted that although some Republicans are opposing Susan Rice's candidacy because she circulated false information on the Libya attacks, "Isn't that exactly analogous of what happened with Condoleezza Rice, who John McCain supported and who Lindsey Graham supported?" she pressed Rep. Joe Heck (R-Nev.) [Video below the break. Audio here.]
President Obama at Wednesday's press conference defended United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice from criticism concerning the four Americans killed in Libya in September by claiming she "had nothing to do with Benghazi."
This led syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer to ask on Fox News's Special Report hours later, "Then why the hell are you sending her out" to inform the public about what happened?
Charlie Rose and Norah O'Donnell took turns hammering Senator John McCain on Wednesday's CBS This Morning over his promise to block any potential nomination of Susan Rice to be secretary of state. Rose grilled McCain after the Republican slammed Rice for blaming a "spontaneous" mob for the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi: "Didn't Susan Rice say that...all the information was not in, and she did not know everything there was to be known....what should she have said, based on what she knew at the moment?"
O'Donnell also tried to shift blame away from Ambassador Rice to a "failure with the intelligence coming out of the CIA." She later pointed a finger at former CIA Director David Petraeus and current Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. When the Arizona senator confirmed that Petraeus and Clinton deserved scrutiny, Rose interjected, "But why not wait for them before you make a judgment about Susan Rice?" [audio available here; video below the jump]
Well, there's one little bit of good news in Martin Crutsinger's final report on yesterday's release of the federal government's October Monthly Treasury Statement (I did a review of his initial take yesterday [at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog]). The good news is that Crutsinger, unlike in most months during the past several years I have reviewed such reports, actually identified the single-month amount of money the federal government spent in October, namely $304 billion. We'll see if he continues the practice of reporting single-month spending amounts in future months.
The rest of Crutsinger's coverage is typically pathetic and predictable. He failed to correctly define what the deficit really is for his readers, understated the impact on fiscal 2013 of any tax or spending decisions the President and Congress might agree on, ignored the likelihood that receipts in teh coming year are likely coming back to levels last seen in fiscal 2007 (meaning that virtually the entire problem facing the country has to do with spending, not collections), and engaged in the seemingly required exercise of blaming George W. Bush for running deficits (not disclosed as far smaller) and conducting wars Congress agreed to fight before Obama came into office. As I said, typically pathetic and predictable.
Unless today is a total surprise and runs contrary to most of what we've seen during the past four years, President Obama will go through another "news conference" without a great deal of difficult or aggressive questioning from the assembled press corps.
Carrie Budoff Brown and Josh Gerstein at the Politico seem to think otherwise, and have produced a lame list of seven questions they think Obama will be asked -- so lame that one of them has to do with recently passed marijuana-legalizing initiatives in the states of Washington and Colorado:
Suddenly discovering something that anyone with eyes could see before the election, Josh Gerstein at Politico tells us that "Obama's foreign policy team hits turbulence."
Please. For over a week after September 11, the administration was pretending that a video which wasn't relevant at all caused protests which never occurred were what supposedly led to the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya which killed four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens. We had different people in the administration taking blame (but not really), and learned that but for the heroics of two of the men who died, dozens of others might have perished. But only now is Gerstein discovering "turbulence." Read on for a narrative which would be funny if it were not so sadly symptomatic of a see-no-evil press corps:
Syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer on Tuesday said the White House used David Petraeus’s affair to get the CIA director to give testimony about the attacks on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, that was in line with the administration’s position on the matter.
Appearing on Fox News's Special Report, Krauthammer said, "The sword was lowered on Election Day" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
During a eight minute interview, Tuesday's CBS This Morning helped left-wing radical Oliver Stone promote his latest project - a revisionist documentary and book on World War II and the beginning of the Cold War that credits the Soviet Union for winning World War II and indicting the United States for its supposed "history of aggression."
Anchor Charlie Rose omitted a key part of the New York Times critique of Stone's project when he noted that the liberal newspaper "called your series 'a ten-part indictment of the United States that doesn't pretend to be even-handed'." Reviewer Alessandra Stanley had also charged that the documentary "sounds almost like a parody, a sendup of that filmmaker's love of bombast and right-wing conspiracy." The leftist director flatly denied he wasn't being even-handed. [audio clips available here; video below the jump]
On Monday's CBS This Morning, Sharyl Attkisson filed a hard-hitting report on the possible ties between former CIA chief David Petraeus's resignation and the continuing controversy over the terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya. Attkisson spotlighted how Petraeus told several members of Congress that "video of the Benghazi attack supports an element of spontaneity, as the administration first claimed."
Anchor Charlie Rose also hyped Rep. Peter King's theory on General Petraeus's resignation: "The chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee says the timing of the resignation suggests a cover-up. Petraeus was scheduled to testify to Congress this week about the attack that killed the American ambassador to Libya." [audio clip available here; video below the jump]
Greta Van Susteren on ABC's This Week Sunday took exception with a cheap shot at Fox News from Nation magazine's Katrina vanden Heuvel.
This came after vanden Heuvel said of former CIA director David Petraeus, "Don't forget that over at your network at Fox, he was your candidate for a while" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
A war broke out on the set of HBO’s Real Time Friday when MSNBC’s sole conservative commentator S.E. Cupp had the nerve to say that Barack Obama’s foreign policy was no different than former President George W. Bush’s.
In the midst of the shouting, actor Samuel L. Jackson said to Cupp, “You don’t want to f—k with Dick Cheney" (video follows with transcribed highlights and commentary):