The president's call on Saturday for Congress to debate and pass a resolution authorizing airstrikes against Syria also served as a telegraphed message to the liberal media about how to spin the message in a way that puffs the president politically while turning a serious question of foreign policy and use of military resources into a domestic political grist for the 2014 midterms.
Well, the Wall Street Journal's Jay Solomon and Janet Hook smartly saluted and fired their salvo in a piece filed at the paper's website on Sunday afternoon headlined, "White House Girds for Battle With Congress." Here's how they began:
It's becoming apparent the Obama-loving media are displeased with the President's decision to seek Congress's approval to strike Syria.
On This Week Sunday, ABC News chief foreign correspondent Terry Moran said, "Obama's leadership image in the Syrian opposition is probably at an all-time low right now" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan had some harsh words for Barack Obama Sunday.
Appearing on ABC's This Week, Noonan said of the White House's surprising announcement Saturday that it was going to ask Congress for approval to strike Syria, "I think everybody pretty much views it as the president blinked."
In 2011, CNN's Fareed Zakaria revealed that he advised President Obama on foreign policy.
On his GPS program Sunday, Zakaria lambasted the current White House resident saying, "[T]he administration's handling of Syria over the last year has been a case study in how not to do foreign policy...the manner in which the Obama administration has first created and then mismanaged this crisis will cast a long shadow on America’s role in the world" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Syndicated columnist Pat Buchanan is not surprisingly totally opposed to President Obama unilaterally striking Syria without approval from Congress.
Speaking to NewsMax TV’s Kathleen Walter Thursday, Buchanan said, “If the president launched an unnecessary and unconstitutional war, striking a country against whom we have not declared war and had not attacked us, that is de facto an impeachable act.”
On her Friday MSNBC program, host Andrea Mitchell tried to ease the concerns of Democratic Congresswoman Barbara Lee and other members of Congress calling for a congressional vote on military action in Syria: "Barack Obama, as you know better than I do, was one of the leading Democratic politicians against the Iraq War. So if he says that this is different, that the evidence is there....does that persuade you since he has always come at this from a very cautious anti-war perspective?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Accepting the odd juxtaposition of the President launching missile strikes from an "anti-war perspective," Lee responded: "And I'm very pleased that the President has come at this in a very cautious manner....But also that has nothing to do with our constitutional responsibility as members of Congress, Andrea."
Well, if you can't say anything good about how your guy's foreign policy is going, you can at least try to trash one of his predecessors so your guy doesn't look so bad.
That would appear to be the idea behind David E. Sanger's attempt at the New York Times today to falsely inform readers that the two towering leaders of the 1980s, Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher, angrily disagreed over the UK's choice to retake the Falkland Islands after Argentina had seized them. Sanger linked back to a previous Times story which clearly pointed to the real disagreement, but never described anything resembling anger. Additionally, a cable from Secretary of State Alexander Haig during that era directly refutes Sanger's contention.
"The Obama administration has refused to send gas masks and other chemical-weapons protection gear to Syrian opposition groups, despite numerous requests dating back more than a year and until the reported chemical-weapons attack that struck the Damascus suburbs August 21," Josh Rogin of The Daily Beast reported earlier today. What's more, it wasn't for lack of supply, as there are numerous gas masks lying about in the region in storage, surplus from the late Iraq War, Rogin reported.
It's completely understandable and arguably advisable to not ship weapons to Syrian opposition groups for fear of weapons falling into the wrong hands, but refusing life-saving gas masks when the Syrian government is known to have chemical weapons caches is quite another. It remains to be seen how much the Big Three networks and newspaper outlets pick up on this thread, but we'll be watching. Below is a critical excerpt from his post (emphasis mine):
David Letterman took a comedic swipe at George W. Bush and Barack Obama Wednesday.
Talking about what appears to be a looming American strike on Syria, the CBS Late Show host said, “It's going to be kind of an enjoyable switch for Obama. Now he can start a war that the next president will be stuck with” (video follows with transcript and commentary):
With all eyes on Syria and what appears to be a looming United States strike, syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer said Tuesday that it’s a “pointless exercise” unless we’re going all in to remove Bashar Assad.
Appearing on Fox News’s Special Report Krauthammer said, “If we are going to have an attack, it should be aimed at that, and if it’s not, we shouldn't be doing anything."
"With all the talk that took place" during the Bush administration "on Iraq about the need for congressional approval, before there was a military strike, have you heard anyone in the media question how unilaterally Barack Obama can decide to send us to war [in Syria] without congressional approval?" NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell asked Neil Cavuto on the August 26 edition of his Fox News Channel program Your World. Cavuto opened the segment by noting that many in the media were prodding Obama to use unilateral military action against Syria for having crossed a "red line" by deploying chemical weapons.
There's also the fact that "this administration, [and their] foreign policy is an incoherent mess, " Bozell added, noting that in 2011, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton hailed Syrian dictator Bashar Assad as a "reformer," something the liberal media are not reminding the American public about now. "No one's asking the question, 'Do you folks in this administration have any idea what you're doing?!'" [watch the full segment below the page break]
Maybe, in sync with the predictable press reactions to oft-seen bad economic numbers, the headline at Julie Pace's late-morning story at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, should have been: "Obama Foreign Policy Falls Apart ... Unexpectedly."
Pace's pathetic attempt at pathos in assessing the status of the Obama administration's foreign policy tells AP readers that some of it is due to "factors outside the White House's control" (as if previous administrations haven't had to deal with unanticipated developments), that Obama "misjudged" what would come in the Arab Spring's aftermath (we're supposed to ignore all of those contacts he's had with Muslim Brotherhood officials and their sympathizers), and that the NSA revelations have hurt our standing in Europe (without noting that the root cause is NSA's spying on U.S. citizens). Excerpts follow the jump.
Tuesday's CBS This Morning stood out as the only Big Three network morning newscast to cover the latest development in the controversy surrounding the September 11, 2012 Islamist attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi, Libya. Gayle King gave a 26-second news brief to Secretary of State John Kerry clearing four mid-level diplomats to return to duty, after they were placed on leave by his predecessor, Hillary Clinton [audio available here; video below the jump].
Neither ABC's Good Morning America nor NBC's Today devoted any air time to Kerry's move. Instead, the two programs set aside full reports to Sunny, the new dog adopted by the Obama family.
A Republican congressman is claiming that then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton so vehemently denied that the Benghazi attack on September 11, 2012, was a terrorist strike that she "screamed" at a congressman in a private briefing just two days later.
Two reporters at the Associated Press covering the trial of the alleged (but really confessed) perpetrator of the Ft. Hood massacre still believe there is a "key but difficult question" which needs to be answered: "Why did Maj. Nidal Hasan attack his fellow soldiers in the worst mass shooting ever on a U.S. military base?"
Although the narrative of Nomaan Merchant and Michael Graczyk is couched in the context of what prosecutors will allow themselves to say in the trial itself — after all, the government claims that the murders represent an incident of workplace violence, and therefore not one involving terrorism — the pair's opening, which is what will get most readers' attention, still makes it appear that Hasan's motives remain vague (bolds are mine):
In an impressive display of journalistic gymnastics on Friday's NBC Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie and Meet the Press moderator David Gregory managed to have an entire discussion about U.S. policy in Egypt without mentioning President Obama by name. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Plenty of vague substitutions were used, including "the President" "the White House" "the administration" and most popularly, "the U.S." Anything to avoid actually holding Barack Obama accountable for the internal strife plaguing a key ally in the Middle East. Even the headline on screen during the morning show segment read: "Chaos in Egypt; What Options Does U.S. Have?" They at least briefly showed Obama on screen during the segment.
What a piker, that Barack Obama. All he was going to do was stop the rise of the oceans and begin to heal the planet. Hillary can do a heck of a lot more. She can actually . . . "save the world."
Just ask Kathleen Parker. The Washington Post columnist that—laughably—some still call a conservative, recommends in in her latest column that Hillary run on the narrative that she is the person who, yes, "can save the world." Parker appeared on Morning Joe today to advance her argument, asserting that "there's no one better suited to sort of lead that movement symbolically and as leader of the free world than Hillary Clinton. It's not an endorsement but let's look at it objectively." View the video after the jump.
"We maintain the peace through our strength; weakness only invites aggression." -- Ronald Reagan, March 23, 1983
President Reagan's speech to the nation 30 ago launched a major arms buildup to confront the expanding military power and political aspirations of the Soviet Union. It followed the disastrous presidency of Jimmy Carter, whose nonperformance during the Iran hostage crisis led to the perception in the Muslim world that America was weak and had lost its resolve to confront enemies.
John Blackstone promoted Hillary Clinton's potential 2016 presidential run on Tuesday's CBS This Morning, and minimized the ongoing questions about her leadership before, during, and after the September 11, 2012 Islamist attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi, Libya. For opposition, Blackstone merely noted that "a new ad, just released by the GOP, criticizes Clinton's handling of the terrorist attack in Benghazi", without further explaining the issue.
The correspondent also buried the staunchly pro-abortion and partisan stance of Emily's List. He vaguely labeled the pro-Democratic PAC a "group that promotes women candidates."
Ted Koppel made a fascinating observation about terrorism and the recent embassy evacuations that certainly won't please President Obama or his supporters in the media.
Appearing on NBC's Meet the Press, Koppel said, "With a conference call, Al Qaeda has effectively shut down 20 U.S. embassies around north Africa and the Middle East...The terrorists have achieved more with one phone call than we have achieved with all our response" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer had some harsh words Tuesday for the White House calling the evacuation of our embassies in the Middle East “ordered departures.”
Appearing on Fox News’s Special Report, Krauthammer said, “This is the first administration in history ever to launch a lexicological war on the enemy. You know, they’ve thrown the book at them - the dictionary.”
On Monday's NBC Today, correspondent Ann Curry reported from Tehran on the installation of new Iranian president Hassan Rouhani, touting how the cleric "promises to change virtually everything Mahmoud Ahmandinejad has done." Moments later, she announced: "...today Iran has a moderate president promising sweeping change." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In a similar report for Sunday's Nightly News, Curry declared that the transfer of power "appears full of goodwill" while teeing up Rouhani addressing the Iranian parliament. Wrapping up the segment, she proclaimed: "After his remarks, President Rouhani immediately named his entire cabinet, most fellow moderates. He was clearly signaling the direction he wants Iran to go and how fast."
As moderator David Gregory hyped a "feud" over national security between Kentucky Senator Rand Paul and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie on Sunday's NBC Meet the Press, former Senator Rick Santorum called out a stunning media double standard: "...the media has a fascination with how divided the Republican Party is and tends to ignore the divisions within the Democratic Party. And I think they are as very much as real on this issue." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
MSNBC Morning Joe host Joe Scarborough similarly noted Democratic divisions on matters of national security and surveillance: "Well, but it's not just the Republican Party....there are going to be those battles going on in the Democratic Party."
Saturday evening, a friend suggested that I watch the midnight rerun of Judge Jeanine Pirro's Fox News program for her interview segment with a Democrat and a Republican about this weekend's closing of 22 embassies overseas in response to terrorist threats.
Ryan Clayton was the Democrat whose arguments blaming George W. Bush's administration for the current level of threats in the Middle East were so weak that he was reduced to childishly reminding viewers that 9/11 happened on George W. Bush's watch (as if we didn't know, and as if eight years of previous Clinton administration weakness were irrelevant). Clayton has an interesting history, which I will note at the end of this post. The Judge Jeanine segment follows the jump.