First Lady Michelle Obama is wrapping up her tour of China today and even though the American press was shut out from her trip, the First Lady has received glowing coverage of her taxpayer-funded visit.
Despite the already over-the-top praise, NBC’s “Today” had a unique take on the trip. Appearing on Sunday, March 23, CNBC’s Eunice Yoon commented that both Mrs. Obama and the wife of the communist president of China were a “hip fashion icon from a small town who happens to be married to a very powerful man who’s running a country.”
Friday's CBS Evening News and ABC's World News both glowingly harkened back to a prominent past example of bilateral exchange between the U.S. and China, as they reported on Michelle Obama's trip to the East Asian country. But they continued their blackout on covering the White House's ban of journalists accompanying the First Lady. During a news brief, CBS's Scott Pelley trumpeted how "education is the focus of her [Mrs. Obama's] week-long trip, but there was also time for a little bit of ping-pong diplomacy."
The ABC evening newscast surpassed their competitor, however, with David Muir touting "the images making headlines out of China... the Chinese president unexpectedly coming out to meet her – the whole thing reminiscent of those iconic shots of President Nixon in his groundbreaking trip to China." Jonathan Karl also raised the air of "ping-pong diplomacy," but noted the current First Lady's departure from her predecessors in her approach to the communist regime: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
In a full report for Friday's Today, White House correspondent Peter Alexander proclaimed: "This trip is really focused on building good will. White House aides are confident that the First Lady's personal story will also resonate with the Chinese people....It's a highly anticipated visit to a country whose relationship with the U.S. is complicated at best." All the more reason to allow American journalists to go along. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
On Thursday, NBC's Today and CBS This Morning dutifully parroted the White House line that First Lady Michelle Obama's trip to China was "not political" but ignored the fact that the press corps was banned from traveling with her on the overseas junket. ABC's Good Morning America skipped the topic. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
During a report on Thursday's NBC Today about the impact of NCAA March Madness office pools on worker productivity, correspondent Kerry Sanders casually touted: "March Madness, an American distraction....Even the President takes a break from world affairs to fill out his bracket." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
At no point did Sanders offer any criticism of Obama taking a "break from world affairs" during the Ukrainian crisis. Co-host Savannah Guthrie introduced the segment by wondering: "Does March Madness really interfere with getting actual work done?" Amid clips of employees filling out their brackets, Sanders declared: "If you're calling a business today, don't be surprised if your call goes unanswered."
You're MSNBC. That hurts I know, but work with me. So, what would you like to feature: President Obama getting Putinized? Syria flouting the WMD agreement? Iran's inexorable march toward nukes? The ongoing Obamacare debacle?
Not so much. Say: why not make like CNN and go all in on MH-370? Which is precisely what Morning Joe did today. The first 103 minutes were devoted exclusively to the story of the missing plane, as an endless series of experts and panelists speculated to no particular avail. Rare that we agree with Madeline Albright. But long into the second hour, during—finally—a Ukraine segment, Albright said "I know we're all focused on the airplane," but suggesting that Ukraine is by far the more critical issue. Mika Brzezinski reacted defensively. View the video after the jump.
What happened to Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 may eventually be discovered, but there is something else that has been missing for much longer and its "disappearance" has far greater implications for America. It is our foreign policy. Can anyone say what it is?
With Russia's Vladimir Putin behaving like a modern Catherine the Great in his efforts to annex Crimea and possibly all of Ukraine, what is our policy toward Russia, which is behaving increasingly like its former, supposedly dead, communist self?
Appearing on NBC's Late Night on Tuesday – aired early Wednesday morning – New Yorker editor and former Washington Post Moscow correspondent David Remnick defended Barack Obama's poor handling of the Ukrainian crisis by bashing George W. Bush: "I think President Obama was elected not to get into more wars....his predecessor, President Bush, foolishly, at the very best, got into a war in Iraq that was a disaster." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Remnick continued: "And by the way, it gives [Russian President Vladimir] Putin some justification [to invade Ukraine]. He says, 'Don't lecture me. Don't lecture me about invasion,' and so on. No matter how justified or not that may be, that's a point he goes out and makes in front of his own people."
Former liberal CNN contributor Roland Martin launched a left-wing tirade on his TV One news program on Wednesday, aimed mainly at conservative opponents of President Barack Obama's foreign policy: "Who the hell is America fooling to tell somebody else in another country who you can invade and cannot invade?...the United States, under President Reagan, invaded Grenada....Yet, here we are telling another sovereign nation what countries you can't invade. It's called being hypocritical. It is called being shameless, and frankly, we look silly."
Despite targeting Republican Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham by name for their criticism of Obama, Martin threw a much wider net in his rant: "So Americans, can you please stop with the hypocritical nature of your criticism?...The fact of the matter is, America has always invaded other countries." The host also included some of the left's usual examples of America's meddling around the world: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman went on PBS’s Charlie Rose show Monday night and defended President Obama’s soft foreign policy approach to the crisis in Ukraine. [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
Of that approach, which so far has consisted of sanctions against 11 Russian and Ukrainian officials, Friedman said:
On Wednesday, the Politico's Dylan Byers, imitating the president his web site so loves and adores, unilaterally decided ("new rule") that those of us who are making the self-evident observation that President Barack Obama's foreign policy performance has been weak can't do so unless we articulate what he should be doing.
How quaint. I don't recall seeing, hearing or reading of anyone at Politico or in the rest of the establishment press trying to place such firm conditions on those who opposed the Iraq War or how it was being conducted, the Bush 43 tax cuts, or any other performance, initiative, or idea during the previous presidential administration. Byers' tweet and several choice responses to it follow the jump (HT Twitchy):
"Reporter Sharyl Attkisson has resigned from CBS News. Her major stories -- Benghazi and Fast and Furious -- will now be covered by this CBS reporter," NewsBusted anchor Jodi Miller deadpanned as an image of an empty chair was shown onscreen over her shoulder.
Other targets of Miller's sharp wit in today's edition of NewsBusted include perennial MENSA rejectee Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-Texas), the ever-"bossy" Hillary Clinton, and Colorado potheads. Watch the video here or by clicking play on the embed that follows the page break. Click here to visit and subscribe to the NewsBusted channel on YouTube.
One of the more annoying aspects of establishment press coverage of many controversial issues is the outlets' tendency to act as if opposition to many things (really almost anything) which advance the left's agenda springs exclusively from Republicans. One obvious example is abortion, as if you can't be pro-life and libertarian or liberal (see: Nat Hentoff).
Another budding example has to do with governance of the Internet. Late Friday afternoon, the Commerce Department's National Telecommunications & Information Administration (NTIA) announced its "intent to transition key Internet domain name functions" to "the global multistakeholder community." Obviously, there is Republican opposition to this move, but you don't have to be either to be opposed. Predictably, though, Jessica Meyers and Erin Mershon at the Politico headlined ("Defenders of Net transition: GOP off base") and framed their writeup as if that's the case. Excerpts from their report and an an excerpt from a blog post at the nonpartisan Information and Technology Innovation Foundation follow the jump.
As of Monday evening, ABC, CBS, and NBC's morning and evening newscasts have yet to cover North Korea's firing of 25 short-range missiles into the Sea of Japan on Sunday. NBCNews.com did post an unsigned article from Reuters on Sunday about how the "missiles flew for 45 miles before splashing into the sea," and ABC News' website went with AP's write-up on the development, but neither outlet devoted any air time to the story.
By contrast, CNN's New Day on Monday devoted a 20-second news brief to the Obama administration's reaction to this latest instance of North Korean sabre-rattling: [video below the jump]
On Sunday's NBC Meet the Press, moderator David Gregory touted the United Nations slamming the "human rights record" of the U.S. as it condemned Russia's invasion of Ukraine: "You know, when we deal with Vladimir Putin, this issue of hypocrisy comes up....The United Nations pointedly criticized the U.S.'s human rights record over drone strikes, NSA surveillance, the death penalty." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Turning to Democratic Illinois Senator Dick Durbin and Republican Arizona Senator Jeff Flake, Gregory worried: "Does it make it hard to deal with the likes of Putin and Lavrov when you've got the U.N. criticizing the U.S. that way?"
As of 11 P.M. Eastern Time Sunday evening, searches at both the Associated Press and at the Politico on "radioactive" returned nothing relating to a comment made on TV by Russian "journalist" Dmitry Kiselyov reminding viewers that his country, as translated by the wire service AFP, "is the only one in the world "realistically capable of turning the United States into radioactive ash." Reuters also has a story here. Further evidence of AP disinterest is the fact that its two "10 Things to Know for Monday" relating to Russia as of 9:03 p.m. noted the West's intent to impose sanctions and penalties but did not mention the Russian threat.
Kiselyov isn't some freelancer mouthing off for "look at me" attention. As such, the failure of these two outlets to report what is clearly a serious escalation in rhetoric emanating from Russia is breathtakingly negligent, even by their non-standards. It's as if they're desperately trying to keep Kiselyov's statement from becoming an item on the U.S. morning news shows.
In a late Friday afternoon release, the U.S. Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) announced its intent "to transition key Internet domain name functions to the global multistakeholder community." The statement is full of the kind of dense bureaucratic language one tends to see when the agency is doing something really important but controversial.
Stating the situation more clearly, TheDomains.com calls it "the Offical Statement Of The US Giving Up Control Over ICANN" (The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers). Americans for Limited Government has issued a press release"blasting the Obama Commerce Department for turning over control of the Internet to United Nations International Telecommunication Union." The one story in the press as of 7:30 p.m. was at the Politico, whose Erin Mershon appears to have caught wind of the news ahead of NTIA's release. Mershon takes eight paragraphs to tell readers to whom the functions are to be transitioned — and I don't think her dallying is mere sloppiness (bolds are mine):
Talking to Donald Trump on Thursday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer complained about the Celebrity Apprentice host and CPAC speaker criticizing President Obama's poor handling of the Ukranian crisis: "You've been critical of the President and his handling of the situation with Ukraine and Crimea. I think you said, I'm paraphrasing here, but basically Putin was playing with or toying with Obama. That is kind of a common refrain of yours....you always think that Obama is being weak." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Trump, on to promote the 2014 Miss USA pageant set to air on NBC in June, pointed out that "a lot of other people" had been equally critical of Obama's foreign policy. Lauer countered: "What would you have done differently than he did in the days before Russian troops went into Crimea?" Trump replied: "Well, first of all, it should have never happened." Lauer pressed: " But what would you have done immediately?"
As an embarrassed Joe Scarborough said, Mika Brzezinski didn't have her "filter on" this morning. On today's Morning Joe, Brzezinski broke out a lurid tale of how as a young woman she had been held "hostage" by the son of the President of Lebanon, who apparently had hijinks on his mind.
Scarborough had just teased Mika with a variation on his running joke of how she vacations in the south of France. Joe jibed that in retaliation for France's sale of warships to Russia, Ukraine notwithstanding, Mika would be imposing personal sanctions on France by cutting back her weekend trips there from 26 to 23 yearly. In response, Brzezinski described how 25 years ago, the son of the President of Lebanon held her "hostage" in the south of France, took her to porn flicks, and bought her bikinis "with only one piece." View the video after the jump.
Nowhere in her 15-paragraph March 11 obituary of Melba Hernandez did Associated Press writer Andrea Rodriguez find space to cite a critic of the late Cuban Communist revolutionary.
In her story -- headlined "'Heroine of the Cuban Revolution' was lifelong Castro loyalist" in the Washington Post -- Ms. Rodriguez paid significant attention to the role Hernandez played in aiding Castro's rise to power as well as to the "human rights awards" she received in 1997 from that great humanitarian Col. MoammarGaddafi, all the while using gauzy language to describe her exploits (emphasis mine):
Few have defended the Obama administration, and especially Obamacare, as vocally and in my view often unreasonably, as Fox News's Juan Williams. He has gone so far as to call Republican Party opposition to Obamacare its "original sin," and absurdly claimed that "massive opposition" from Republicans is what forced HealthCare.gov's rushed rollout.
One blind spot Williams does not have involves how consistently horribly leftists treat African-American conservatives, or even African-Americans who express an occasional sensibly conservative thought. One reason the left is so brazen in its persecution attempts is its knowledge that no matter how uncivil or unreasonable, their attempts will almost never gain wide exposure in the nation's establishment press. The latest example concerns calls by the faculty at Rutgers University to prevent former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice from her scheduled appearance as commencement speaker there this year. Williams expressed his outrage in a Thursday Fox News column (HT Hot Air; bolds are mine):
Former ThinkProgress blogger Zaid Jilani has written that during his time at the Center for American Progress blog, senior staff of the Center were "berated" for being too critical of President Obama on the war in Afghanistan. He compared the pressure to shut up as similar to the Russia Today cable channel.
He asserted that phone calls came in to CAP from the White House complaining about bloggers being critical of Obama's war policies, despite Jilani being the toast of MSNBC for a graph in 2011 showing Obama was leaving more troops in Afghanistan than George W. Bush ever had there:
Appearing on Thursday's CBS Late Show aired early Friday morning, former NBC Nightly News anchor Tom Brokaw discussed the Russian invasion of Ukraine with host David Letterman and observed: "...when chemical weapons were used in Syria and they were discovered, I didn't think it was President Obama's finest moment. He said there's a red line, then he kept moving that sucker....[Vladimir Putin] might have taken the measure of President Obama and said, 'I may be able to test this guy'....it has that appearance." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
That analysis was prompted by Letterman noting: "And people are saying this [Russian invasion of Ukraine] is because of the negotiations, or the unilateral negotiations regarding Syria, when he [Putin] stepped in looking for weapons of mass destruction...and Obama had to sort of acquiesce that because it was not a bad idea. So now he [Putin] feels like he can get away with this. Is that part of it?" Brokaw replied: "Well, I think that's pretty astute."
Anchor Liz Wahl of Russia Today’s Washington, D.C. bureau abruptly resigned her position during a live broadcast this week because she said she “cannot be part of a network, funded by the Russian government, that whitewashes the actions of Putin.” However, ABC’s Barbara Walters was unimpressed by this young anchor’s brave stand. [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
On Thursday’s episode of The View, Walters responded to Wahl’s resignation with the haughtiness of a veteran journalist. She huffed, “I think what she did is fine, it's a personal choice, but don't make her a hero for protesting. She is working for the government.”
Talking to MSNBC Morning Joe host Joe Scarborough on Thursday's NBC Today about the Ukranian crisis, co-host Matt Lauer saw the Republican Party, not Russia, as President Obama's fiercest adversary: "We're six days into this crisis now, the rhetoric seems to be heating up. Not between Russia and the United States, but between Republicans in Congress and the administration." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Lauer pressed Scarborough: "You heard John McCain say it was a massive intelligence failure and a misreading of Vladimir Putin's intentions. Lindsay Graham weighed in, saying, 'What we're seeing in the Ukraine right now is a result of failed policies in Syria and Benghazi.' Do you agree with those assessments?" Scarborough immediately dismissed the GOP criticism: "No, absolutely not....Barack Obama didn't lose Ukraine any more than George W. Bush lost Georgia in 2008, anymore than Ike lost Hungary in 1956."
Bryan Preston of the PJ Media blog spotlighted in a Wednesday post how Russia Today anchor Liz Wahl resigned from her position at the network's Washington, DC division during a live broadcast because, in her words, she "cannot be part of a network, funded by the Russian government, that whitewashes the actions of Putin."
During her impromptu commentary, Wahl referenced how fellow RT on-air personality Abby Martin condemned Russia's invasion of the Crimea peninsula inside the borders Ukraine (video of Wahl's statement, via Washington Free Beacon's YouTube account, below the jump):
It's pointless to pay attention to foreign policy when a Democrat is president, unless you enjoy having your stomach in a knot. As long as a Democrat sits in the White House, America will be repeatedly humiliated, the world will become a much more dangerous place -- and there's absolutely nothing anybody can do about it. (Though this information might come in handy when voting for president, America!)
The following stroll down memory lane is but the briefest of summaries. For a full accounting of Democratic national security disasters, please read my book, "Treason: Liberal Treachery From the Cold War to the War on Terrorism."
MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough got rather self-righteous on Wednesday’s Morning Joe, chiding Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and others who have criticized President Obama’s weak-kneed response to the crisis in Ukraine. [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
Scarborough asserted his belief that “politics should really end at the water's edge” during international crises like this, proclaiming, “I'm old-fashioned enough to believe that harshly criticizing the commander-in-chief during dangerous international crises, whether it’s with the likes of Saddam Hussein or Vladimir Putin, well, that provides comfort to nation-states who choose to be our enemies.”
Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, NBC has been the only Big Three broadcast network to look back to President Obama ridiculing Mitt Romney for calling Russia a U.S. "geopolitical foe" in 2012. On Wednesday's NBC Today, White House correspondent Peter Alexander reminded viewers: "Republicans have repeatedly attacked President Obama's Russia policy as weak and naive....Helping fuel that criticism, this moment from the 2012 campaign, where President Obama mocked Governor Mitt Romney for calling Russia America's number one geopolitical foe." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Neither ABC's Good Morning America nor CBS This Morning managed to work that into their coverage of the unfolding international crisis on Wednesday.
It appears that Aron Heller at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's press, might have been applying lessons learned from the wire service's U.S. business and economics writers in his coverage of Israel's settlement activity. Heller also seems strangely fond of this mythical thing known as the "international community."
AP business and economics writers like Martin Crutsinger and Christopher Rugaber have regaled us with the wonders of the alleged housing recovery during the past two years, but haven't been quite as good at telling us that over 4-1/2 years after the recession officially ended, new home sales and construction activity is still only about 60-65 percent of what is seen as healthy by most economists and analysts. Heller pulled an analogous trick in his report; fortunately Evelyn Gordon at Commentary (HT Powerline) was astute enough to catch his misdirection, one in which President Obama has also engaged.