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."
CNN host Erin Burnett did her best to provide cover for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on the issue of Benghazi during a highly combative interview with Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX).
Cruz appeared on Erin Burnett OutFront on Tuesday, June 17 and was immediately met with a barrage of questions from the CNN host in which she defended Ms. Clinton from numerous criticisms over Benghazi. [See video below.]
Hillary Clinton hit a "home run" with her performance in a live CNN "townhall"-style interview hosted by CNN's Christiane Amanpour, Chris Matthews enthused at the opening of his June 17 Hardball program.
Though he has dispatched 275 military advisors to that country, his virtual ultimatum to that Iraq Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki — no angel by any stretch, but still a better alternative to a civil war or an ISIS-run terrorist state — that he must negotiate with all parties involve before the U.S. will even think about making a meaningful military commitment seems destined to allow matters to deteriorate further, perhaps to the point of no return. Despite all of this, Donna Cassata and Bradley Klapper at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, implied in a Tuesday afternoon dispatch that anyone who doesn't support plan-free military action now is some kind of hypocrite — except for Democrats who say that their support of going to war in 2002 was a mistake. The AP pair also falsely asserted that weapons of mass destruction "were never found" in Iraq.
Ed Schultz, never one to be left behind in radical left wing rhetoric, followed suit with the rest of MSNBC in condemning an intervention in Iraq on the June 16 edition of The Ed Show. Within the first 10 minutes, he had already blamed Republicans for using “dirty scare tactics,” claimed that they were calling for “troops on the ground,” and asked viewers to text in their answers to the utterly ridiculous poll, “are you prepared to send your kid to Iraq?”
Speaking of fear mongering. [See video below. Click here for MP3 audio]
While all three network morning shows covered the ongoing terrorist invasion of Iraq on Tuesday, only CBS This Morning made the connection between President Obama's foreign policy and the chaos in the country. In an interview with former U.S. ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker, This Morning co-host Charlie Rose wondered: "Has the United States and the Obama administration failed to pay sufficient attention to Iraq since American troops left?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Later on the broadcast, correspondent Jan Crawford talked to Iraq war veterans upset by seeing their hard-fought accomplishments being lost. Crawford explained: "When he campaigned for president in 2008, then-Senator Obama made bringing the troops home a priority.... But the U.S. withdrawal came at a cost, leaving an opening for radical terror groups."
Liberal vs. neo-con. Isolationist vs. interventionist. The clash over Iraq strategy between John Heilemann and Bill Kristol on today's Morning Joe had it all.
Things got heated as Heilemann assailed Kristol's call for intervention as "absurd." Kristol responded by suggesting that Heilemann's invocation of "American blood" was a cheap "rhetorical line." View the video after the jump.
Following the insulting trend of tagging every objection or concern raised about Obama administration policy and conduct as exclusively the province of Republicans and conservatives to an outrageous extreme, Rebecca Kaplan at CBS News opened her Monday story about whether the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) might plan terrorist acts in the U.S. as follows: "Republicans are sounding the warning that the next 9/11-like terror plot could emerge from the regions of Iraq and Syria that are currently dominated by an extremist group bearing down on Baghdad." Really, Rebecca? No one else is worried about that? Wanna bet?
Kaplan also seemed to believe that it would calm readers' nerves if they learned that it will be "at least a year before ISIS might pose more of a serious threat to the U.S." If that was meant to make me feel better, it didn't work. Excerpts follow the jump (links are in original; bolds are mine):
Editor's Note: This was sent to the publishing syndicate as a two-parter. We have combined both parts into this one column post.
I have four colossal disagreements with how President Barack Obama cut the deal for the prisoner swap of five senior Taliban leaders for U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl; the former, the White House itself admits, could "absolutely" rejoin terrorist cells.
Sure, I have far more than four issues with how it all went down — for example, the absolute avoidance and disregard of constitutional submission and congressional consent. But this administration seems to have little regard for proper protocol with anything, so I'm going to focus here on a few different angles of argument.
"It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain..." (The Gettysburg Address)
On Monday, June 16, NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams did his best to not only spin the recent surge in violence throughout Iraq as being George W. Bush’s fault but managed to completely contradict the reporting of NBC’s own journalists.
Williams opened the broadcast by falsely declaring “As a group of heavily armed and highly motivated terrorists continues its way across Iraq, it's not yet clear if the U.S. will take any action in Iraq...The U.S. may have to work with Iran before this is all over as another Iraqi city has now fallen to this group called ISIS.”
The people at NBC who are agonizing over David Gregory's ongoing audience freefall at his Meet the Press perch need only look at the first half of his interview with 2012 Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney to see why it's happening.
Gregory basically refused to acknowledge the existence of Romney's core argument, which is essentially that he wouldn't have done what President Obama did in withdrawing from Iraq so hastily and leaving things to run on auto-pilot. Instead, he insisted on sticking with a "Well, what would do now?" line of questioning, even though, as Romney indicated, he doesn't have access to intelligence briefings necessary to assert an informed opinion. When that didn't work, he tried to hold Romney to a stale 2007 quote from when conditions were obviously very different. The fact is that wouldn't be facing the present quandary if Obama hadn't acted directly against the (often privately expressed) desires of Iraqi leaders and U.S. intelligence officials to maintain at least a significant advisory presence there. Video and a transcript of the Iraq-related portion of the interview follow the jump (bolds and numbered tags are mine):
Paul Whitefield "is a 30-year veteran of the Los Angeles Times who is copy chief of the editorial pages and a writer/scold for the Opinion L.A. blog." He also has a serious but far from unique case of Bush (and Cheney) Derangement Syndrome and an extraordinary ignorance of the history of last decade's war in Iraq, which included a victory in 2008 the U.S. press, with rare exceptions, refused to recognize.
Clueless Paul, in a Thursday post, claimed that what has happened recently in Iraq proves (italics are his) that "the invasion ... in 2003 wasn’t a very good idea" Admitting that "I don’t know how these things keep sneaking up on us" (I can help you with that, Paul), he petulantly wrote: "Send Mr. (George W.) Bush and Mr. (Dick) Cheney over there and let them try to negotiate a solution," because "they’re the ones who created this mess in the first place." Well no, Paul. Excerpts from Whitefield's work, followed by a pointed riposte from a National Review op-ed, follow the jump (bolds are mine throughout this post):
On Friday's NBC Nightly News, Brian Williams strongly hinted that the recent Islamist blitzkrieg in Iraq was completely former President Bush's fault: "Make no mistake: what's happening in Iraq right now is a direct outgrowth of the U.S. decision to invade the country over a decade ago." However, he glossed over the Obama administration's failure to negotiate a continued U.S. presence and pulling out all American forces in late 2011 as a factor in the crisis.
Williams repeated his point to David Gregory: "How does the President sell any action at all to the component of the American people who feel...it's not our dance...even though...we broke it?" Gregory seconded his contention: "Right, that Pottery Barn rule: you broke it; you own it; you got to somehow fix it." Later, Stephanie Gosk did reference the troop pullout, but didn't mention President Obama by name: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
Thursday's World News on ABC led with the rapid advance of an Islamist group into the heart of Iraq, but glossed over how correspondent Jonathan Karl grilled outgoing White House Press Secretary Jay Carney over how this development casts doubt on two of President Obama's supposed "top foreign policy accomplishments: ending the war in Iraq and decimating and destroying core al-Qaeda."
Terry Moran noted during how "President Obama today, resisting pleas from the Iraqi government for immediate U.S. air strikes to turn the tide, tread cautiously." Martha Raddatz later underlined that "Obama said himself today that these fighters could end up being a significant threat to our homeland." But neither journalist mentioned how their colleague sparred with Carney about the President's past boasts about Iraq and al Qaeda: [YouTube.com video of the exchange below the jump]
On her 12 p.m. ET hour MSNBC show on Thursday, host and NBC chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell was unusually critical of the Obama administration's handling of terrorists seizing control of large portions of Iraq: "Where is our intelligence? We were there for ten years. We oughta know something about Iraq. This isn't North Korea." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
That comment followed Virginia Democratic Senator Tim Kaine's attempt to defend the White House for being caught flat-footed by the foreign crisis: "Well, this is a late-breaking development. Look, nobody in the administration contemplated that the Iraqi armed forces would just melt away and capitulate as fast as they have." Mitchell shot back: "Shouldn't they have?"
On Thursday, Kyle Olson of Progressives Today blog spotlighted how CNN political contributor Marc Lamont Hill wore a T-shirt emblazoned with the image of Leila Khaled, an infamous Palestinian terrorist, as he conducted an interview for Huffington Post Live. Hill's shirt includes a quote from Khaled, who hijacked airplanes as a member of the Marxist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine: "Resistance is not terrorism."
The Huffington Post Live host wore the red short-sleeved shirt as he interviewed author Wendy Williams on May 7, 2014. Olson zeroed in on a controversy from earlier in 2014 involving college students who wore a black version of the same shirt to a conference sponsored by the liberal group J Street:
Al Qaeda-affiliated militants have seized control of two cities in Northern Iraq, including Mosul the nation’s second largest and Tikrit, the hometown of Sadaam Hussein. Despite the increased violence, all three network morning shows did their best to downplay or ignore the Obama Administration’s Iraq policy for potentially contributing to the violence.
On Thursday, June 12, ABC, CBS, and NBC all provided extensive coverage on the latest violence on and the danger of the radical Jihadists taking over parts of Iraq. However, only NBC briefly noted President Obama’s decision to quickly withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq. ABC didn't use the word "Obama," and the only CBS reference to the president was to fret that the administration has "no current idea" on whether or not to send in military support to aid the Iraqi government. [See video below.]
Q. How do you know that Barack Obama's feckless foreign policy poses a serious threat to the security of the free world? A. When a leading foreign policy voice of the Washington Post agrees with a leading foreign policy voice of the Wall Street Journal that such is the case.
It happened on today's Morning Joe, when WaPo's highly-respected David Ignatius agreed with a WSJ op-ed by Daniel Henninger, "While Obama Fiddles," that darkly concludes: "past some point, the world's wildfires are going to consume the Obama legacy. And leave his successor a nightmare." Said Ignatius: "those are harsh words from the Wall Street Journal, but I think there's a lot of truth to them." View the video after the jump.
Troubled by a recent poll number showing 52 percent of independent voters approve of a select congressional committee investigating the Benghazi fiasco, MSNBC's Chris Matthews offered former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton his messaging advice on the matter during a segment of the June 10 Hardball.
It boiled down to: "sometimes you get killed, and that's part of the business." The relevant transcript follows the page break (emphasis mine; MP3 audio here; video follows page break):
Charlie Rose and Norah O'Donnell questioned Republican Senator Marco Rubio on Tuesday's CBS This Morning over the increase in the number of children illegally entering the U.S., and whether immigration reform is going to be revived in Congress. Rose spotlighted that Rubio received "some political pushback" on the immigration issue, and wondered, "When will we see thorough immigration reform?"
The PBS veteran also noted that the Florida politician is a "leading critic of the V.A. health system," but oddly didn't ask a question about the ongoing scandal. Instead, he ran to Hillary Clinton's defense on the extent of her responsibility for the security lapses leading up the September 11, 2012 Islamist attack on the U.S. diplomatic facility in Benghazi, Libya: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]