With this afternoon's Senate confirmation hearings for CIA director nominee John Brennan in view, the February 7 broadcast of Now with Alex Wagner devoted significant attention to the Obama administration's use of armed drones and the recently-leaked DOJ White Paper defending the legitimacy of drone strikes that explicitly targeted American civilians overseas.
For her part, host Alex Wagner failed to mention Anwar al-Awlaki’s activities as a terrorist operative affiliated with al-Qaeda. The Now host merely tagged al-Awlaki as an American-born cleric, even though he served as a talent recruiter within the organization and inspired Fort Hood shooter Nidal Hassan. Al-Awlaki also had contact with Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the terrorist who attempted to blow up a passenger airliner on Christmas Day of 2009. None of that was mentioned on the show.
The media complicity in President Obama's drone strategy gets more and more astonishing with each passing day.
On Wednesday, Britain's Guardian published a piece with the incredible sub-headline "New York Times and Washington Post knew about secret drone base in Saudi Arabia but agreed not to disclose it to the public."
In the wake of the leaked Department of Justice memo detailing the legality of targeted killings by drones on American citizens, the PBS NewsHour found it fitting to have the ACLU defend its position in why these strikes are troubling, and why American-born al-Qaeda leader Anwar al-Awlaki should’ve been kept alive to plan acts of terror against the United States.
Of course, this is maddening to the progressive wing of the Democratic Party. Liberal publications, like The Nation, detail the dark future of drone warfare, and some anti-drone journalists, like Conor Fierdorsdorff of The Atlantic, have compared Obama to Bush. However, even with the media either criticizing, or ignoring, this development, last night’s broadcast of the PBS NewsHour didn’t take into account the hypocrisy of liberals who were on the warpath a few years prior after release of Bush memos related to enhanced interrogation techniques.
It's been nothing less than astonishing watching the media cover for Monday's leaked Department of Justice memo making the legal case for drone attacks against Americans.
Exposing the hypocrisy of this Wednesday was one of Fox News's liberal contributors Kirsten Powers who said of her colleagues on the left, "They're clearly hypocrites. They clearly don't really care about human rights. They only care if it helps them politically" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Barack The First? Wow: who would have thought that perhaps the strongest statement yet in condemnation of President Obama's self-arrogated right to kill Americans abroad would have come from Jon Meacham? Yet on today's Morning Joe, historian Meacham—who knows something about the use and abuse of presidential power—criticized Obama for ignoring the "rule of law" and actually described Obama as acting like "an American king."
Joe Scarborough seconded Meacham's surprising statement, adding that had this come to light under George W. Bush, impeachment would be in the air. View the video after the jump.
To give you an idea of how much you have to be in the tank for President Obama in order to be the typical host on an MSNBC program, on Tuesday, Krystal Ball and Toure Neblett - two far, far-left commentators! - actually came out in support of the just-released Justice Department memo that made the legal case for drone strikes against Americans.
Be sure to strap yourselves in tightly before you enter the bumpy ride in this bizarre parallel universe (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Imagine the apoplectic Precious Perfect Special Comment rage Keith Olbermann [remember him?] would have worked himself into had this memo come to light under W . . .
Unusual candor from Mika Brzezinski and Harold Ford, Jr. on the double standard that exists for Republicans and Democrats. Discussing on today's Morning Joe the Obama administration memo that has been uncovered authorizing the use of drone strikes to kill U.S. citizens abroad, Mika admitted that there would have been a "huge controversy" if such a memo had surfaced during the Bush administration. Ford said that "Democrats have to think now about how they conducted themselves and the questions they raised about Bush administration tactics." Joe Scarborough flatly declared that had the policy come to light under Bush, it would have been "stopped" by the ensuing outcry. View the video after the jump.
On Monday's Morning Edition, NPR's Larry Abramson boosted an "international boycott movement" against Israeli company SodaStream without mentioning the left-wing ideology of the organizations behind the protest. Abramson merely described the boycott organizers as "supporters of Palestinian rights."
The correspondent featured a soundbite of a December 2012 anti-SodaStream protest in Boston, but failed to mention that the demonstration was organized by Jewish Voice for Peace, whose advisory board includes far-left notables such as Noam Chomsky, Eve Ensler, and Tony Kushner.
Andrea Mitchell isn't about to let a good hurricane go to waste in her push for economy-wrecking climate change regulations.
On her MSNBC show today, Andrea Mitchell claimed that recent weather events including Superstorm Sandy have "taught us if nothing else, that we have a real climate problem and that we have to deal with this here even if the rest of the world isn't going to deal with it in China and elsewhere." View the video after the jump.
Marking Hillary Clinton's final day as Secretary of State on Friday's NBC Nightly News, chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell gushed: "Clinton's State Department farewell was bittersweet. She took time to tour the building, saying goodbye to cafeteria workers....[her] departure had the energy of a campaign rally. As she left, some women were shouting, '2016.'" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
On Saturday's Today, White House correspondent Kristen Welker continued the lovefest, proclaiming that Clinton was "starting a new chapter in her storied life," and noting: "Her journey to secretary of state was somewhat improbable. From the White House's first lady, to the Senate, to a tough campaign against her now-former boss."
Surprised they didn't opt for the auto da fe analogy . . .
On Chris Hayes's MSNBC show this morning, Ali Gharib, editor of the "Open Zion" blog at the Daily Beast, described the questioning of Chuck Hagel at his Senate confirmation hearing as "a Republican purge" and a "Maoist public shaming." Michael Hastings of the Rolling Stone begged to differ, finding it more reminiscent of "Stalin." View the video after the jump.
Washington Post diplomatic correspondent Anne Gearan has repeatedly blown kisses to Hillary Clinton in the past few months with her gauzy coverage of the departing secretary of state's handling of Benghazi. Today she took her show on the road, make that air, as she appeared on MSNBC's Martin Bashir program with Democratic strategist Kiki McLean and guest host former DNC communications director Karen Finney. With MSNBC looking forward giddily to a possible 2016 presidential run, the segment was titled onscreen as "Until We Meet Again."
Sure "[s]he leaves office without huge accomplishments" like groundbreaking peace talks or the like, but she does have "enormous goodwill around the world," Gearan gushed. "Some of her greatest accomplishments really were just showing up," the Post staffer insisted.
Mara Liasson hyped Hillary Clinton as "the most popular politician in the country" on Friday's Morning Edition on NPR. Liasson asserted that "there's no question that being out of politics for four years has enhanced her political reputation," and devoted her report to touting how the supposedly "fireproof" Mrs. Clinton's experience as secretary of state would make her a "field-clearing frontrunner" in the 2016 presidential race.
The NPR journalist played soundbites from just two pundits during the segment, both of them close political associates of the Clintons: former White House Press Secretary Dee Myers, and Geoff Garin, who was the chief strategist for the former First Lady's 2008 presidential bid. Liasson merely identified Garin as some one who "has worked for Clinton in the past."
Washington Post In the Loop columnist Al Kamen has once again proven he’s one of the Obama administration’s biggest cheerleaders. You may recall that he asked readers to choose the First Family’s vacation spot last summer, and dismissed criticism coming from liberals that Obama's second term Cabinet was getting more monochromatic and male.
Well, ol' Al has a new contest for us: picking the title of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's memoir.
In the days of the late Mike Wallace, "60 Minutes" was known for hard-hitting, aggressive journalism that asked the questions viewers wanted answered and held the powerful accountable.
The Jan. 27 program on which Steve Kroft interviewed President Obama (at his request, no less) and outgoing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton fell far short of that high standard. It was the kind of softball toss you might have expected if Oprah Winfrey or Barbara Walters had conducted the interview.
Contrary to CBS's Steve Kroft, CNN's foreign affairs reporters actually asked the tough questions of outgoing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in their Tuesday interview on The Situation Room.
While Kroft spun his foreign policy questions into softballs for Clinton and Obama on Sunday's 60 Minutes, CNN's Jill Dougherty confronted Clinton on Egypt and Libya. She started off asking if the Egyptian state would survive amidst bloody unrest, and then zeroed in on Libya:
The headline NBC chose promote from chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell's Tuesday interview with outgoing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was that Clinton really couldn't accomplish much given the situation she "inherited" from the Bush administration, with Nightly News anchor Brian Williams proclaiming: "...[Clinton] said, among other things, it's tougher these days to pull off the sweeping diplomatic achievements of the old days." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
On Wednesday's Today, Mitchell parroted Clinton's talking points: "Clinton told me that it is hard for her to imagine waking up next week with no place to go, after four years and almost a million miles circling the globe. Hillary Clinton said the traditional way of doing diplomacy was not good enough for the crisis the Obama team inherited."
The liberal media's lovefest for Hillary Clinton continues apace. Andrea Mitchell’s interview with the outgoing secretary of state will air today, but don’t expect to see many tough questions. We already know what Mitchell thinks about Clinton, based on a comment she made on Tuesday’s Andrea Mitchell Reports. Talking with MSNBC political analyst Ed Rendell, Mitchell declared of Clinton, “She has done such a job by everyone’s account as secretary of state.”
Except, of course, for that little Benghazi thing, which Mitchell acknowledged is Hillary’s major regret. And it’s a pretty big blight for someone who has done “such a job.” Such a job covering up the facts, maybe? Such a job misleading the American public about the nature of the attack? [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
On Tuesday's Starting Point, CNN's David Gergen smiled on Hillary Clinton's "wonderful farewell" at the State Department and touted her "very powerful position" for a 2016 presidential run. As CNN noted, Gergen once worked as an adviser to President Clinton.
When asked if anything from Clinton's term as Secretary of State would come back to haunt her as a presidential candidate, Gergen replied "I don't think so. The Benghazi affair, I think, will long be forgotten unless there's some smoking gun we have no idea about." [Video below the break. Audio here.]
In a column which went up this morning, Fox News Political Analyst Kirsten Powers, whose political positions certainly lean left and is a self-described liberal, ripped into President Obama and his administration for what she correctly characterizes as their "strategy to delegitimize a news organization" -- hers.
Her column is about far more than Obama's recent complaint to the New Republic's Chris Hughes (covered by Noel Sheppard at NewsBusters) that "If a Republican member of Congress is not punished on Fox News or by Rush Limbaugh for working with a Democrat on a bill of common interest, then you'll see more of them doing it." What Powers recounts is a strategy first employed in 2009 and apparently being revived, now that Obama no longer has to answer to America's voters, to marginalize the only U.S. network which still tries to be fair and balanced (bolds are mine):
CBS 60 Minutes correspondent Steve Kroft "ought to hand in his journalism card" if there actually were such a thing, NewsBusters senior editor Tim Graham concluded in an interview with substitute host Eric Bolling on the January 28 edition of Your World w/Neil Cavuto. Graham was referring to the January 27 puff piece that the newsmagazine aired in which Kroft failed to ask any tough questions of the president and his departing secretary of state.
"Look, this is Steve Kroft's history," Graham told Bolling. "This is the reason why we wrote a report called 'Syrupy Minutes.' With the Democrats, this is what they do." And yet, "This is the same show that broke Abu Ghraib on Bush's head. This is the same show that tried to destroy Bush with fake National Guard records." [MP3 audio here; video embedded below page break]
On Monday's CBS This Morning, Norah O'Donnell gushed over Steve Kroft's interview of President Obama and Hillary Clinton, twice emphasizing the supposed "warmness" between the two Democrats. O'Donnell asserted that the interview was "a long way from where they were in 2008 in that bitter primary battle....This time, they were leaning into each other. There was clearly a warmness between them."
John Dickerson later hyped how the Kroft segment on Sunday's 60 Minutes came at an opportune time for Mrs. Clinton, after her contentious appearances before a Senate committee about the Islamist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya:
On Thursday morning, CNN's John Berman hammered a Democratic congressman who said the cause of the Benghazi attacks doesn't make a difference at this point. In contrast, anchor Soledad O'Brien didn't ask about the controversy over that remark shouted first by Secretary Clinton.
"But, Congressman – don't the facts always make a difference and doesn't knowing the facts and knowing them quickly always help in evaluating the situation so it can be prevented in the future?" Berman pressed. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
Could Piers Morgan be any more of an Obama hack? After Republicans grilled Secretary of State Hillary Clinton over the Benghazi attacks on Wednesday, Morgan unloaded on their criticism as "political grandstanding" showing "a whisper of misogyny."
"I've been listening to the Republicans getting on their high horse about this for a long time.Now I've thought a lot of today's criticism was political grandstanding in many ways," said the CNN host who has done plenty of grandstanding of his own from his high horse on gun control. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
Joe Scarborough has said that he doesn't know whether Morning Joe member Willie Geist is a Democrat or a Republican. I'd say Willie leans left on social issues but is not reflexively liberal on other matters. Today, with Scarborough absent from the Morning Joe set, Geist actually rode to the defense of Rand Paul.
The Republican Senator from Kentucky has been taking heat from Dems over telling Hillary Clinton at yesterday's Benghazi hearings that had he been president, he would have fired her for her handling of the matter. Panelist Donny Deutsch made a predictable attack, calling Paul "pathetic, amateur hour" and an "idiot." But Geist weighed in to say that Paul "had a right to challenge" Clinton, and that he's "not supposed to just sit thereand celebrate her," and that he was "doing his job." View the video after the jump.
There was a funny moment during Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's testimony before Congress Wednesday concerning last year's attack on our consulate in Benghazi, Libya.
When newly-elected Republican Congressman from Arkansas Tom Cotton began his questioning of Clinton, he said, "Some of our peers on the other side have expressed their ambitions for your future. I’d like to say that I just wish you’d won the Democratic primary in 2008."
Leave it to Obama-boosting MSNBC to carry water for the Obama administration over the terrorist attack on our consulate in Benghazi. Speaking with Congressman Chris Smith (R-N.J) on her MSNBC program Wednesday afternoon -- prior to Smith's committee's hearing with Clinton but following this morning's Senate hearing -- Ms. Mitchell spouted off numerous White House talking points to excuse Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s failure to secure our embassy in Benghazi.
Mitchell’s regurgitation of Obama/Clinton talking points comes just hours after she claimed Clinton had a “stellar term” as Secretary of State. The segment began with Congressman Smith outlining his expectations for Ms. Clinton’s testimony:
On Tuesday, CBS's Sharyl Attkisson broke on Twitter that the Obama administration "has indicated that it will not be answering Benghazi question we've been asking since Oct." Attkisson, who has provided hard-hitting reporting on the September 11, 2012 Islamist attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya, listed many of the questions that the executive branch has yet to answer about the story.
The journalist noted in a later Tweet that "CBS News FOI'd Benghazi info from State Dept, CIA, FBI and Defense Dept. None has been provided." Attkisson also pointed out a false claim by the administration: