New York Times columnist Tom Friedman was at it again, pushing his peace in the Middle East through environmentalism strategy. Invited on this morning's Today show to promote his upcoming Discovery Channel documentary called Green: The New Red, White and Blue, Friedman claimed one of the best ways to promote democracy in Iraq was to bring down the price of oil through energy saving green technology. Friedman also repeated his clarion call to retake the meaning of the word green from conservatives when NBC's Matt Lauer tossed the following softball to him:
Lauer: "Yeah and you say it's time to stop thinking about the green movement as tree-huggers and sissies. This is tough domestic and foreign policy."
Has the Imus-inspired national conversation on race and sex jumped the shark? I'm starting to suspect so after hearing Pat Schroeder this morning. Her most notable contribution to the collective dialogue was to suggest that there's something inherently masculine about verbal meanness.
The former Democratic congresswoman from Colorado was a member of a panel moderated by NBC's Lester Holt on this morning's "Today."
Leave it to a liberal to claim that Americans are "cheapskates" because our government does not spend enough money on foreign aid. In the L.A.Times for April 13th, that is just what we are treated to with Rosa Brooks' screed titled, "To the rest of the world, we're cheapskates" and subtitled, "The U.S. international affairs budget -- which helps fight AIDS, poverty and more -- is just 1% of total spending." But, by attacking our country over its record on charity and foreign aid spending, Brooks proves that she neither understands the nature of American generosity, nor the American character.
An American tax-funded documentary, titled Islam vs. Islamists, a film on how moderate Muslims feel about the corruption of their religion by Wahhabi extremists and their experiences in facing those extremists, was axed by PBS for the very reason that it puts some Muslims in a bad light, says the film's producer in Tuesday's edition of the Arizona Republic. Rampant PCism is the charge, and it is hard to deny the claim once the whole story is put out there.
The producer of a tax-financed documentary on Islamic extremism claims his film has been dropped for political reasons from a television series that airs next week on more than 300 PBS stations nationwide.
Producer Martyn Burke claims that PBS, in order to be allowed to continue with the project, tried to make him fire some of his associates on the film because they belong to a Conservative Think Tank and that they still axed his film anyway when all was said and done.
New York Times reporters Helene Cooper and Carl Hulse's Saturday "Washington Memo" -- "As One Syria Trip Draws Fire, Others Draw Silence" -- defended House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's controversial trip to Syria with familiar Democratic talking points.
"With a final stop in Lisbon on Friday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi headed home to a Washington that is still ringing with complaints from senior Bush officials that her stop in Damascus to visit with Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian president, bolstered the image of Syria at a time when United States policy is to isolate it.
The Media Research Center's Gala has only recently concluded. It will be almost a full year until the DisHonors Awards are again distributed. Even so, Scott Pelley's query to John McCain, aired on this evening's 60 Minutes, has to be considered a strong, early contender for Most Inane Question in next year's running.
Let's set the stage. 60 Minutes had devoted extensive time to McCain's recent trip to Iraq. Particular attention was paid to his visit to a Baghdad market, which, as it turned out, was carried out with very considerable security surrounding him. Even so, McCain acknowledged during the course of the interview that he was in large measure staking his candidacy on the success of the surge.
Immediately preceding his question, Pelley had noted that five generations of McCain's family had attended West Point or Annapolis. McCain was shown in his Senate office pointing out a picture of his father in Vietnam when he was commander of US forces in the Pacific.
Observed Pelley: "Now McCain's family is serving again. He has a son in the Naval Academy and another son 18 years old, headed toward Iraq."
You might think that Easter would be an occasion for an MSM outlet like ABC to invite in a serious Christian theologian or minister to discuss issues of death and resurrection. Please. I did say "an MSM outlet." ABC's Good Morning America decided the best way to celebrate Easter today was to devote one segment to an anti-war activist who had organized a "cluster bomb hunt" to parallel the White House's Easter egg hunt, and another segment to a mocking examination of the Easter bunny.
In the first segment, GMA's Kate Snow interviewed Brian Hennessey, organizer of the "cluster bomb hunt" outside the White House to protest the use of the weapons. Small children were shown constructing the mock bombs, and later would be sent out to search for them. Claimed Hennessey "we're not trying to politicize kids in any way." Right. When he later mentioned that the kids' parents would be "looking for weapons of mass destruction which of course aren't there," Snow didn't bother to suppress a laugh. Not surprising. This is the same Snow who a couple weeks ago who was moved to laughter by a painting that depicted Christ and his disciples as dogs.
The mainstream media unabashedly continues its soft-touch approach with Iran and its president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
On Thursday's "American Morning," CNN foreign correspondent Aneesh Raman gave a report from Amman, Jordan on the release of the 15 British sailors and marines by Iran. He began with the describing the P.R. conducted by Iran and Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as one of "precision." Later in his report, Raman then described the P.R. campaign as "sophisticated." These are hardly adjectives CNN employs for American officials.
Though Raman does state that Iran "used the media to its advantage" and that its broadcasts of the British sailors and marines making statements were "staged confessions," it's unsurprising, to say the least, that the CNN correspondent would use such glowing terms for the Iranian regime's propaganda coup. It was only a few months ago that Raman's colleague at CNN, Suzanne Malveaux, asked President Bush for a show of respect for Ahmadinejad.
In some ways, Army Colonel Jack Jacobs [ret.] is the perfect military analyst for an MSM outlet like MSNBC. His Medal of Honor, awarded to him for exceptional heroism in Vietnam [read account here], puts him above reproach. Yet his take on Iraq and other military affairs is anything but a parroting of the Bush administration line.
But while MSNBC might see him as one of their own, there come moments, as today, when Jacob leaves no doubt that he remains altogether a military man, upholding the highest traditions of valor and sacrifice. At about 10:30 AM EDT this morning, he was brought in to comment after the just-concluded press conference by a number of the British sailors and marines who had been held captive by the Iranians. A clearly outraged Jacobs made no effort to hide his contempt for them.
Imagine if you will that in September 1996, just days after America launched a missile strike on Baghdad to expand the “no fly zone,” Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich met with Saddam Hussein to discuss foreign policy matters without the permission of President Clinton.
Would the media have vociferously discussed the possibility that Gingrich had violated federal law in doing so?
If the answer is a resounding “Yes,” then why have extremely few press outlets broached this issue as it pertains to current Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s (D-California) recent potentially law-breaking trip to Syria?
To best understand the issue, a little history is necessary. The Logan Act was created in 1799, and reads as follows:
Call it a flying-pig moment, or chalk it up to his concern for Dems' long-term best interests if you will. But there's no denying that on this morning's "Today," Matt Lauer absolutely unloaded on Nancy Pelosi and her ill-conceived venture into foreign policy.
The segment was entitled "Democratic Diplomacy: Has Pelosi Gone Too Far?", virtually answering the question by its very asking. In the set-up piece, David Gregory rolled two telling clips. The first was of VP Cheney's comments on the Rush Limbaugh show yesterday to the effect that Pelosi's statement regarding her trip was"nonsensical." The second was of former congressman Lee Hamilton, warning that if his fellow Dems box in the president on foreign policy, Americans might conclude that the Democrats have gone "too far."
Interviewing Tim Russert at 7:06 AM ET, Lauer came out guns ablazin'.
LAUER: Vice-President Cheney called Nancy Pelosi's trip to Syria "bad behavior," a Washington Post editorial on Thursday called it "counter-productive and foolish," and op-ed in the Wall Street Journal this morning goes a step further and suggests her trip may actually have been a felony, that it may have violated something called the Logan Act. Tim, is this the way the Democrats wanted to get off the mark in terms of foreign affairs?
Last Friday, “The Young Turks” of Air America Radio invited comedian Jackie Mason on to discuss his new book. To say the least, hosts Cenk Uygur and Ben Mankiewicz displayed a level of rancor and invective that they should both be ashamed of (video available here).
The discussion was so extraordinarily hostile that at one point, as the conversation moved to what Israel had offered former PLO leader Yasser Arafat at Camp David in exchange for peace back in 2000, Uygur incredulously said to his guest:
Are you even remotely attached to the facts? They wanted to give 98 percent of the country back to the Palestinians?!?! I’ll take it right now!
Fascinating, yes? After all, Uygur, despite showing a remarkable lack of historical knowledge basically said on national radio that he’d be happy if Israel gave 98 percent of its land to the Palestinians.
Better strap yourself in for this one, sports fans, for the Washington Post ran an editorial Thursday harshly criticizing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) and the “foolish shuttle diplomacy” she exhibited on her controversial trip to Syria this week.
(UPDATE: Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert issued a press release denying giving Pelosi a "peace message" for Syria.)
Entitled “Pratfall in Damascus,” the piece pounded Pelosi early and often (emphasis added throughout):
HOUSE SPEAKER Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) offered an excellent demonstration yesterday of why members of Congress should not attempt to supplant the secretary of state when traveling abroad.
Shocked? Well, the Post's editorial staff was just getting warmed up. Check those seatbelts again:
In the post-Walter Reed world, the MSM is on the prowl for stories that fit the template -- troops suffering at the hands of an indifferent military health bureaucracy. Yesterday's episode of the Montel Williams show demonstrates what happens when a soldier doesn't stick to the victimization script.
Have a look at this article from the Grand Junction [Colo.] Sentinel, which reports on the appearance on the Williams show of Kelli Frasier, a resident of Clifton, CO in the Grand Junction area. Frasier, who served 11 months in Iraq, was invited onto the show to discuss her experiences in Iraq and once she returned home. According to the article, "Frasier suffers anxiety attacks and bouts of unexplainable anger and has been diagnosed as suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder." But while Williams was eager to emphasize the problems Frasier has encountered, according to the article:
When she told Williams she was treated well by the Department of Veterans Affairs, he seemed to lose interest and moved quickly to another segment, she said.
Talk about making a mountain out of a mole hill. The Boston Globe reports on the "push" to draft Al Gore to run for president in 2008 in the April 4th edition of the paper. The story's starry-eyed subjects launching Gore for president websites and sponsoring web petitions are in for the best fluff treatment lending their claims of a "surge" in support for a Gore candidacy far more legitimacy than it deserves.
The sunny representation of these Gore for president campaigns the Globe gives is almost pathetic in it's obvious wishful thinking. The only qualifying language to downplay the efforts used in the piece is an understated "How big is the effort? Hard to say."
No, it's not really that hard to say even when assessing the fluff the Globe reported. In fact, it's pretty easy to say that there is little interest -- at least far from enough interest to show a "surge" in support for a second Gore run for the White House. Far from "heating up" it seems more likely that there is a flaming out in the offing.
Lt. Col. Rick Francona (USAF Retired) is an MSNBC military analyst who also writes for the network's "Hardblogger" blog. But while Francona has plenty of thoughts on how to deal with Iran's hostage-taking and on the notion of setting a withdrawal deadline for U.S. troops in Iraq, a review of Nexis showed zero hits for Francona on MSNBC recently, and only one appearance on NBC's "Nightly News" the day after the British servicement were taken hostage. And even then, he was featured with a sound bite about the Pat Tillman investigation.
WITHDRAWAL DATE FOR IRAQ AIDS THE ENEMY (March 23)
GULF ARABS DRAW A RED LINE AGAINST IRAN (March 19)
The 15 British sailors and Royal Marines were captured on March 23. Francona has written more on Iran specifically and the Middle East in general, it's just not all been posted to MSNBC's Web site. Francona runs his own Web log, Middle East Perspectives, and has a few additional posts in the same time period, including one dated March 25 explaining the long-disputed Shatt al-Arab waterway in which Iran captured its British hostages.
So given Francona's expertise and his being on the MSNBC payroll, he's been pretty busy appearing on air, right?
Well, a Nexis search for "Rick Francona" among MSNBC documents from March 19-April 3 turned up no hits.
Would someone please let Andrea Mitchell know that John McCain is competing for the Republican presidential nomination? He's not going up against Obama, Hillary et al. in a race to determine who can surrender fastest in Iraq.
Giving her expert analysis on this morning's "Today" of John McCain's lackluster fundraising results, Mitchell claimed that John McCain is "hurt by his support for the Iraq war."
Could Andrea possibly be more wrong? McCain's support for President Bush's Iraq policy is the only thing keeping him alive, if barely, in the GOP race. Opposition to the war would put McCain in Chuck Hagel territory -- so unpopular among Republican voters that he dare not even throw his hat into the ring.
CNN correspondent Michael Ware appeared on Monday's "American Morning" and gave a live report from Baghdad on Sen. John McCain's visit to the Iraqi capital. Host Soledad O'Brien asked him during the segment if he had, as suggested in Internet accounts, heckled the presidential hopeful:
SOLEDAD O'BRIEN: Let me ask you a question. There was a report that said you were heckling and you were laughing during the senator's press conference. Is that true?
WARE: "Well, let's bear in mind that this is a report that was leaked by an unnamed official, of some kind, to a blog, to somewhere on the Internet. No one is going to put their name forward. We certainly haven't heard Senator McCain say anything about it, or any of his staff have come forward to say anything about it.
CNN Baghdad reporter Michael Ware has had quite a week getting his rips in, and more, about how ineffective (in his view) current military efforts in Baghdad have been -- to the point of obviously crossing the line into blatant unprofessionalism earlier today.
Ware's "the war is failing" stridency flared up last Tuesday, and can be seen at this YouTube video (HT Hot Air) -- Ware starts getting his rips in at about the 1:30 mark after McCain states that some neighborhoods of Baghdad are safe. It appears that Blitzer made sure that McCain didn't get any words to rebut Ware after Ware's rant. Ware's strongest riposte:
“I don't know what part of Neverland Senator McCain is talking about when he says we can go strolling in Baghdad.”
Next, on Thursday, Ware took issue with Joe Lieberman when the Connecticut senator said that "American soldiers are more confident walking the streets of Baghdad." Ware's response is that the insurgents are simply "laying low."
Finally, Drudge is reporting the following exclusive about Ware's conduct at a press conference that apparently took place earlier today:
Well, you might say, like child like parent. The New York Times, parent corporation of the Globe, is out with an editorial this morning, Talking Darfur to Death, very much along the same lines.
The Times politely writes off UN expressions of concern and Arab League diplomacy. Instead, it demands "concerted international action, including a strong protective force." Note that word: "force." Call it protective, but "force" inevitably implies guys with guns. And to what end? To stop the killing of innocent civilians in the ethnic, largely intra-Muslim, strife that grips Darfur. The parallel with the situation in Iraq is striking. Yet in the Darfur case the Times demands an international force, whereas in Iraq it of course is demanding that the international force in place withdraw post haste.
The co-hosts of "The View" again discussed the Iranian British hostage situation on the March 29 edition. Rosie O’Donnell trusted the Iranians more than the British and Americans, and the discussion evolved into more Rosie rants against alleged Bush administration tyranny and for the first time on "The View," Rosie ranted on her September 11 conspiracy theories. Rosie’s rants were too much even for fringe liberal Joy Behar. Token non-liberal Elisabeth Hasselbeck was far more assertive than the previous day. In the teaser at the end of the first segment, Rosie and Joy made light of the upcoming discussion.
ROSIE O’DONNELL: Alright we’re going to take a break and come back and talk about the situation in Iran with the soldiers, the British soldiers who were in international waters. The British say they were in the right waters and the Iranians say no they were in our waters, and so it begins.
JOY BEHAR: Do you think people are now clicking us off because you promoed that?
O’DONNELL: Well, I don’t know, but we're going to talk about it and I'm sure it will make the news.
Far be it from me to put in a plug for "Today," but I do hope Nancy Pelosi & Friends were watching this morning. Congressional Dems might be quick to dismiss what President Bush predicts would be the upshot of a date-certain pull-out from Iraq. But perhaps they would not so blithely disregard the observations of one of the most experienced and respected reporters on Iraqi matters . . . a New York Times staffer, no less.
During this morning's first half-hour, "Today" aired a segment devoted to answering the question "What if US Troops Withdraw?" In the first part, narrated by David Gregory, dueling experts painted alternatively gloomy and not-so-glum pictures of what things would be like if the US withdrew. Those on the "things wouldn't-be-so-bad" side seemed to receive more than their fair share of air time.
But then, Matt Lauer interviewed John Burns. As Matt observed, "few Western journalists have as a good a perspective on this war in Iraq as New York Times Baghdad bureau chief John Burns."
Failed radio mouth and Senatorial candidate from Minnesota , Al Franken, told David Letterman on the set of the "Late Show" that the USA should reconsider approving the Kyoto Protocols because the treaty is good for the economy -- Despite that the ruinous treaty was voted down by a unanimous Senate vote in 1997 for the very reason that it would harm the economy.
To a fawning audience and a rapt host, Franken attacked Bush over the treaty that was voted down before he ever got to office, saying "One of the dumbest things that this president has said -- and that is a high bar -- is that if we abided by the Kyoto agreement, it would be ruinous to our economy. The opposite is true."
As an NBC military affairs analyst, retired Gen. Barry McCaffrey is a familar face to many Americans. McCaffrey also serves as an adjunct professor at West Point, and in that capacity recently wrote an eight-page paper on the situation in Iraq based on a recent visit there.
In today's Washington Post, there appears an article by Thomas Ricks, WaPo's Pentagon correspondent, reporting on the McCaffrey paper. While Ricks does discuss some of McCaffrey's more optimistic findings, he emphasizes the negative while ignoring a number of the general's positive observations. Ricks' headline sets the tone: McCaffrey Paints Gloomy Picture Of Iraq, a tone reinforced by the article's opening line: "An influential retired Army general released a dire assessment of the situation in Iraq, based on a recent round of meetings there with Gen. David H. Petraeus and 16 other senior U.S. commanders."
Ricks does state that McCaffey's report "also lists several reasons for some new optimism, noting that since the arrival of Petraeus last month, 'the situation on the ground has clearly and measurably improved.'" And later: "Among McCaffrey's reasons for new optimism were that the Maliki government is permitting the United States to attack rogue leaders in the Mahdi Army of radical Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr. Also, he noted that U.S. and Iraqi forces have changed their basic approach to operations, with soldiers now living on small outposts across Baghdad. Iraqi forces also are better equipped than before. In Anbar province, he noted, 'There is a real and growing groundswell of Sunni tribal opposition to the al-Qaeda-in-Iraq terror formations.' So, he concluded, it is still possible to develop a stable Iraq."
But Ricks omits mention of a number of other significant, positive findings that McCaffrey made, including the following:
From the moment she participated in an anti-war march in NYC at the time of the 2004 GOP convention, there's been little doubt as to where Meredith Vieira stands on Iraq. Even so, it was something of a shock to hear the "Today" co-host express her opposition in the first person plural this morning.
Discussing the war with Sen. John McCain [R-AZ] at about 7:05 AM ET this morning, she said:
"Six out of ten Americans don't agree [with you]. They want a pull-out from Iraq. So what are we missing? When you say we are succeeding, based on what?"
"We?" Give Meredith credit for candor; but one more reason for NBC to stop pretending it doesn't lean left.
Seymour Hersh of “The New Yorker” has been an outspoken critic of the Bush administration and the war in Iraq for many years. This certainly should come as no surprise to folks familiar with his name, his work, and his style of dangerously activist journalism.
On March 11, Hersh added a new wrinkle to his résumé by not only doing a radio interview with the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting, but also actually discussing what he believes is the American military strategy towards Iran including what he called "an intensive planning for an air strike" and "some sort of on the ground operation."
Town hall or pep rally? Hard to tell, judging from the first half-hour of Hillary's appearance on Good Morning America today. Host Robin Roberts lavished praise on Hillary, suggested there's unanimous support for the Dem Iraq policy, and fielded only one audience question -- which came from someone who worked on Hillarycare in 1993 and beseeched Clinton to try it again as president.
GMA today kicked off its series of Town Hall meetings with the presidential candidates. This one, featuring Hillary, was located in Des Moines, Iowa. During the opening schmooze, Hillary, speaking of Iraq, stated: "I'm very proud that all the Democrats are saying the same thing and that's what we should all be working toward, and that's to begin to change this policy and get us on the right track."
ROBERTS: That is something that I think the country completely agrees on, on both sides about that.
It is always interesting to me how a story can be published as if it is serious work, a story that almost seems plausible until you step back from it to realize that not a shred of proof to support the supposition was ever offered. After you're done reading it you realize that all you ended up with were empty phrases like "some say" or "many are" instead of any statistics, studies or other proof. Such is the case with the Washington Post's story titled, "War Causing Split Among Evangelicals". In fact, writer Julie Sullivan flat out admits that there is no proof for her supposition that “many” evangelical Christians are turning away from the war... but she postulates the premise any way.
No polling data show conclusively that opinion has shifted among conservative evangelicals.
This is only the fourth paragraph (the previous three being one sentence affairs) so you'd think she could just retire the piece right there. But, no we have to start right up with the "some say" routine.
Lately it seems that HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher” has become the place for left-wing politicians and media members to go on Friday evenings to say whatever disgraceful thing they want about the Bush administration without regard for accuracy or prudence.
Does that make it HBO’s answer to ABC’s farcical morning coffee klatch “The View,” and Bill Maher is suddenly just an intelligent version of Rosie O’Donnell with a Y-chromosome and better clothing?
The March 23 installment certainly suggested so, with the unabashed and unashamed host leading a herd of disgruntled liberals to slaughter conservatives much as Rosie now despicably does on almost a daily basis. In fact, Maher began this most recent episode with a monologue featuring ten out of eleven jokes about Bush, his family, the Administration, and seemingly any politician with an “R” next to his name.
Most disgracefully, the first josh of the evening actually mocked the First Lady (video available here):