While the liberal media predictably focus on the domestic political ramifications for President Obama as regards his strange and ever-evolving policy on Syria, the real story worth reporting is how Obama may actually be strengthening Bashar Assad's hand, even making him "a national hero" who can not only survive but thrive as a result.
In her September 12 front-page story "Syrian Rebels Hurt By Delay," The Wall Street Journal's Nour Malas has an excellent story to that effect. Filing from Istanbul, she quotes Mohammmed al-Daher, "a commander in the rebels' Western backed Free Syria Army" as lamenting that he "wouldn't be surprised if the end result of these negotiations is that [Assad] remains as president and beyond that, turns into a national hero who saved his country." Malas continued (emphasis mine):
"One does not sharpen the axes after the right time; after the time they are needed." -- Russian Proverb
The late Ukrainian violinist Mischa Elman is considered one of the greatest of all time, but he has nothing on Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has played the Obama administration better than any musician.
As of Thursday morning, CBS's morning and evening newscasts have yet to mention a revelation made by their own investigative correspondent, Sharyl Attkisson, on Tuesday – that Secretary of State John Kerry told Congress "he will not honor the request to make Benghazi survivors available for questioning."
Wednesday's CBS Evening News aired a full report on the State Department's slow progress in upgrading security at U.S. diplomatic posts in the aftermath of the September 11, 2012 Islamist attack, but failed to mention Kerry's refusal. Margaret Brennan also let the Obama administration and Senator Robert Menendez hint that congressional Republicans were to blame for not appropriating the $2.2 billion needed for the security upgrades. [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
On the one-year anniversary of the Benghazi attacks, only three CNN shows bothered to hold the Obama administration accountable for not having made any arrests of suspects. Hosts Jake Tapper and Erin Burnett, and anchor Michael Holmes were the three CNN figures to point at the administration for not having made any arrests.
For the rest of CNN's 18-hour news day, any mentions of Benghazi ignored the lack of arrests and were mostly brief reports on Wednesday's bombing of the Foreign Ministry building in the city and reminders that it was the one-year anniversary of the attacks. Piers Morgan Live made no mention whatsoever of Benghazi.
How do you know when an MSM member is pushing pro-Obama spin to the absurd? When even the most partisan of Dems, in the person of James Carville, can't stomach it.
On today's Morning Joe, Andrea Mitchell, claiming that the world was "coalescing" around Obama's position on Syria, said that there was "a lot of optimism" surrounding the Obama team's negotiations with the Russians. Mitchell said she had seen this kind of thing before back in the 80s, when the US negotiated arms control with the Soviet Union. "It starts slowly but things happen," comforted Mitchell. All this was too much for Carville, who forsaw a future in which the negotiations went on and on and led nowhere. Said Serpent Head: "I love Andrea and she's optimistic. God love her, I hope she's right. Count me a little more pessimistic." View the video after the jump.
President Obama has been facing an unusual amount of criticism lately for his handling of the Syrian crisis, so it was only a matter of time before someone in the mainstream liberal media tried to cut him some slack for his weak leadership. On Wednesday’s Andrea Mitchell Reports on MSNBC, the host-turned-apologist asked if Obama could really be blamed for not calling on Congress to authorize a military strike in Syria.
Mitchell was talking to Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), chairman of the House intelligence committee and a supporter of military action against Syria, about the president’s Tuesday night speech. Rogers expressed disappointment that Obama was not more forceful in making the case for intervention in Syria. Mitchell then defended Obama’s indecisiveness: [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
One does not simply destroy a nation's cache of chemical weapons. It's actually a rather complicated and expensive endeavor, despite how neat and simple the president's acolytes seem to be making it out to be. In fact, the United States government is decades into the process of eliminating American chemical weapons. What's more, the U.S. government is six years past its previous 2007 deadline -- not to mention 19 years past the initial 1994 deadline -- for 100 percent compliance.
Mark Thompson of Time magazine has a great piece today on "How To Destroy Syria’s Chemical Weapons" in which he looks at the painstakingly detailed logistical and cost considerations of eliminating a nation's stockpile of chemical weapons. Here's an excerpt (emphases mine):
In news briefs on Tuesday and Wednesday, NBC Today anchor Natalie Morales touted: "Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will be given the National Constitution Center's Liberty Medal for her years in public service and her work on human rights." The two segments totaled 36 seconds of air time. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Meanwhile, on Wednesday, the network morning show only managed to offer a couple mentions, totaling 10 seconds, to the anniversary of the September 11, 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya that killed four Americans – a major security failure that occurred during Clinton's tenure at the State Department.
Apparently we can't grasp the full brilliance and nuance of Barack Obama's speeches without having someone from the establishment press telling us what he really meant to say when he said what he really said.
That's the impression one gets from reading "What President Obama said, what he meant" early Wedesday at the Politico. In it, along with an accompanying video dedicated to the same idea, we see Carrie Budoff Brown's exercise in explaining Obama's 15-minute speech on Syria to the ignormamuses of the world. Her weakest translation concerns the extent to which Obama apparently assumed he'd automatically have support from the vast majority of Republicans, apparently because, as the web site's equally surprised Alex Isenstadt and Reid Epstein also believed two days ago ("'Party of Hawks,' Has Gone 'Dovish'"), they just love to go to war for any reason, no matter how incoherent or unplanned. That passage follows the jump:
The Big Three network morning shows on Wednesday briefly noted the one-year anniversary of the Islamist attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi, Libya, but not one pointed out the latest development in the ongoing controversy over what happened. On Tuesday, CBS correspondent Sharyl Attkisson reported on Twitter that Secretary of State John Kerry "tells [C]ongress he will not honor the request to make Benghazi survivors available for questioning."
Norah O'Donnell highlighted on Wednesday's CBS This Morning that "Republican Congressman Darrell Issa wants to interview survivors" and that "he's giving the State Department until Monday to meet his demand", but didn't mention Kerry's refusal. [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
The NBC Tonight Show host spent much of his opening monologue lampooning President Obama beginning with, “It's still a little warm, but you can tell fall is coming...The leaves are changing faster than the White House position on Syria” (video and transcript follow):
For well over two weeks, the Obama administration has been urging military action against the Assad regime in Syria for its use of chemical weapons.
At the Associated Press, in a "Fact Check" item at its "Big Story" site, Calvin Woodward told readers that "President Barack Obama voiced his conviction Tuesday night that Syrian President Bashar Assad was to blame for deadly chemical attacks against civilians, but again he offered no proof." Again? The AP reporter also questioned the number of civilian deaths involved. Excerpts follow the jump:
When we last checked in on Barack Obama discussing Benghazi on the network news, he was reassuring Brian Williams on the October 25 “Rock Center” that “We’re going to do a full investigation.” It’s a year later and it’s still “we are going to.” Last fall, Williams and Obama posed as curious for answers on how this disaster happened. Neither of them has demonstrated any noticeable curiosity since.
A new Media Research Center study of Benghazi coverage in 2013 on ABC, CBS, and NBC shows there are two routine modes of operation: (a) praising Team Obama’s public relations and (b) silence.
Maybe my processing of the English language isn't what it used to be, but I'm having a hard time making sense of the headline at David Espo's and Julie Pace's report (saved here at host for future reference, fair use and discussion purposes) at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, on President Obama's Syria speech tonight.
The headline? "OBAMA DELAYS SYRIA VOTE, SAYS DIPLOMACY MAKE WORK." Huh? If the last three words are "Make Diplomacy Work," that's better, but not by all that much, because it looks like he's giving orders to others, when he and his administration are the ones who have to make it work. Several paragraphs from the AP pair's report follow the jump (boids are mine):
The liberal website Talking Points Memo [see screen capture below] is accepting and running advertisements for a company called Freak Flags, a California outfit which creates flags designed like the U.S. flag but with the stars in the canton pushed off the side of the blue field, while symbols like the Star of David, Christian cross, or the U.S. dollar sign are emblazoned in the center. The idea of each is a left-wing critique of those who "put Israel first" or "put Jesus first" or "put Wall St. first," respectively.
But a review of the company's website's blog reveals some anti-Semitic rantings regarding the president's call for airstrikes in Syria.
On Monday's CBS This Morning, Charlie Rose cited how Hillary Clinton once referred to Bashar al-Assad as a "reformer", but didn't use the former secretary of state's name in his question to the Syrian despot. When al-Assad asked to specify who had called him a "reformer, " Rose vaguely replied, "People who write about you; people who talk about you; people who analyze Syria and your regime." [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
The veteran PBS host continued, "Now, they say – their words – a 'butcher' – comparisons to the worst dictators ever to walk on the face of the earth...Everything they could say bad about a dictator, they're now saying about you." The Middle Eastern dictator answered by bizarrely likening himself to a doctor:
On Monday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer and chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd engaged in a strategy session over how President Obama could minimize any political damage from Congress voting down a strike on Syria. Lauer fretted: "Is there an escape hatch for the President? Is there a way for him to save face politically if this vote goes against him?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Lauer's concern was prompted by Todd observing: "[The White House is] very concerned, Matt, because it's not just that they believe they need Congress on this and they want to punish Assad and all of the Syria policy, but they realize a loss like this could be politically crippling to him [Obama] all over Washington on all the different battles that he's got coming in the next six months."
No website outdoes the Politico when it comes to looking at the world through Beltway-stereotyping glasses. A post this morning on Republican congressmen and senators' views towards attacking Syria exemplifies that outlook.
Apparently, in the fevered minds of Alex Isenstadt and James Hohmann, a GOP lawmaker learning about any idea to intervene militarily automatically salivates at the prospect and shuts down all critical thinking processes. The Politico pair are puzzled at how so many of them can possibly be opposed to President Obama's proposed Syria intervention. It's really not that hard, guys, if you abandon your stereotypes and do some thinking yourselves for a change. Excerpts follow the jump (bolds are mine):
If there's one thing Chris Wallace at Fox News does well that most others in the press don't — at least when interviewing Democrats and liberals — it's his refusal to let a question go until his interviewee either answers it or makes it obvious to viewers that he or she won't answer.
Such an incident took place today with White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough on Fox News Sunday (video is here). The question, which I strongly doubt was even broached on any of the left-leaning Sunday talk shows today, concerned why the Obama administration hasn't been able to apprehend the September 11, 2012 Benghazi terrorist attack ringleader (bolds are mine):
Poor Barack Obama can't catch a break. If the world would just stop and pay attention to him for a while, things would be so much better for and so much easier on Dear Leader.
That's the takeaway from a pathetic piece ("President Obama’s toughest Syria hurdle: The calendar") by Reid Epstein at Politico. It's as if no other president has had to compete with Monday night football, primetime TV lineups and the like. Please. "The calendar" isn't nearly as big a hurdle as, say, proving that it was the Syrian government and not Syrian rebels who actually used chemical weapons, the fact that Great Britain has pointedly refused any military involvement, and the administration's fabricated accounts and subsequent bungling related to last year's Benghazi terrorist attack. Excerpts from Epstein's execrable effort follow the jump.
NBC chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd on Sunday said there are more Democrats coming to a "rational and principled" decision in opposing an attack on Syria compared to Republicans who in his view are just as likely to be basing their opinion strictly on politics.
Such was said on NBC's Meet the Press (video follows with transcript and commentary):
On Friday, as seen in Google News search results showing posts and feeds at other web sites, a report at the New York Times by Peter Baker and Steven Lee Meyers had the following headline "Obama Fails in Bid for Wide Backing for Syria Attack."
On Twitter, self-described "conservative academic" Will Antonin wondered (HT Twitchy), "How long until this NYT headline is changed?" The answer: Not long. Sometime before the story got to the Old Gray Lady's September 7 print edition, the Baker-Meyers story's headline was changed to "Obama Falls Short on Wider Backing for Syria Attack," and its content had been changed. The original story, which had opened by saying that "President Obama emerged from the Group of 20 summit meeting with a few international supporters," is no longer present on the Times's web site.
In Part 1 of this pair of posts on the press whitewash of President Barack Obama's "red line" on the use of chemical weapons in Syria, I looked at the Washington Post's Glenn Kessler, who excused President Barack Obama's contradictory "red line" remarks as "offhand" statements" which shouldn't count for much compared to official statements and press releases by diplomats and the White House. (Who knew?)
PolitiFact's Jon Greenberg has also predictably weighed in with the excuse-makers. The web site didn't even bother applying a "Truth-o-meter" rating, claiming that Obama "never denied using the phrase or giving it the significance it has today." Excerpts follow the jump (bolds are mine throughout this post):
As expected, the establishment press's excuse-makers have come out to defend the indefensible, claiming that President Barack Obama's Wednesday assertion in Stockholm that "I did not set a red line" with Syria and chemical weapons doesn't contradict his oft-quoted August 2012 "red line" statement.
I didn't think that the Washington Post's Glenn Kessler to be among those trying to explain it all away; (meanwhiile, PolitiFact has predictably weighed in; its post is the subject of Part 2). While he has been a bit heavier in handing out the "Pinocchios" in situations involving Republicans and conservatives than to Democrats and liberals, Kessler has rarely tried to convince readers that they didn't see or hear what the really saw and heard. Unfortunately, that's exactly what he did in this instance by giving the obvious contradiction "no rating." Excerpts follow the jump (bolds are mine; HT Hot Air):
In back-to-back interviews with members on Congress on Friday's MSNBC Daily Rundown, fill-in host Luke Russert desperately tried to sell Democrats and Republicans on the importance of supporting President Obama taking military action against Syria. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Talking to Democratic Virginia Congressman Gerry Connolly, Russert worried: "How much of this do you think, within your caucus, falls on this idea of, 'Okay, we're not necessarily comfortable with the idea of launching any missiles into Syria, but God help us, if we cut the President off here at the knees he becomes a lame duck quite early in his term and looks entirely weak. So we're going to kind of go along with him here in order to preserve his ability to govern on other major issues.' Is there an element of that here?"