When David Gregory grilled Hillary Clinton on Today on December 17th, the challenges to her came from his own mouth. Not once was a statement by Barack Obama used to confront Clinton.
But when Barack Obama made back-to-back appearances this morning on Today and Morning Joe, again and again tough questions were posed not in the first person but as coming from Hillary Clinton or her surrogates.
Mike Huckabee might want to "revise and extend" the remarks of his Iowa campaign manager. Appearing on this evening's Tucker on MSNBC, Bob Vander Plaats stated that "we're fighting a radical religion in Islam" and that "the war on terror is a theological war."
"But Mika Brzezinski agrees with me!" might not be Mike Huckabee's best pitch to Republican primary voters in defending his harsh criticism of the Bush administration on foreign policy. But the fact is that Mika has done her best to throw Mike a lifeline on the matter.
In a "Foreign Policy" magazine article, an excerpt of which appears below, Huckabee had famously written of "the Bush administration's arrogant bunker mentality."
Interviewing Huckabee on today's Morning Joe, Mika teed up some recent news as supporting evidence for the "arrogant bunker mentality" allegation -- and the candidate was only too happy to take a swing.
In an especially glowing interview with Barack Obama on Tuesday’s CBS "Early Show," co-host Harry Smith lobbed softball after softball at the Illinois Senator, including this question about the successful troop surge in Iraq: "Obama is positioning himself as a candidate for change, particularly on the war. Were you a fan of the surge?" Obama’s response was not surprising, but did defy all logic:
No. And it's fascinating to me how the surge is now being defined as a success. That central question remains -- how do we get a change in behavior amongst Sunni, Shia, and Kurds? The only way I believe to trigger that change is to send a clear signal that we are withdrawing, we're not going to have permanent bases there, we will be a partner with them to help stabilize the country, but they've got to make some decisions.
A long and carefully-worded December 14 Washington Post article about this week's climate change conference in Bali portrayed President Bush as the reason that the United States is not following Kyoto and the sole roadblock to saving Mother Earth.
On top of that, even while presenting the eco-blame-game's backstory, the reporter never mentioned the Clinton/Gore administration's involvement or that they set the standard for how America handles Kyoto.
Shane began by likening the CIA to a group of grifters afraid their luck may finally be running out.
"For six years, Central Intelligence Agency officers have worried that someday the tide of post-Sept. 11 opinion would turn, and their harsh treatment of prisoners from Al Qaeda would be subjected to hostile scrutiny and possible criminal prosecution.
But the oil-rich Emirates is considered a developing country, and even as a signatory to the United Nations Kyoto protocol on global warming, is not required to cut emissions. The United States is no longer bound by Kyoto, which the Bush administration rejected after taking office in 2001.
After months of declining violence in Iraq as a result of the troop surge, Wednesday’s CBS "Early Show" jumped on news of a car bombing in the Iraqi city of Amarah as co-host Russ Mitchell declared: "There's breaking news out of Iraq this morning. Three car bombs exploded today in one of the deadliest attacks in months."
CBS Correspondent Jeff Glor reported from Baghdad and tried to frame the bombing as part of an overall violent trend in the country:
Following a recent spike in violence in Baghdad in central Iraq, this is not good news in southern Iraq...They appear to follow a ruthless pattern, allowing insurgents to inflict maximum casualties, set off one explosion, wait for people to gather, then set off another...It also comes on the heels of an uptick in violence in Baghdad, which has been surprisingly quiet in recent months. In the past week, more than 100 Iraqis have died.
As a recent Media Research Center report on Iraq coverage has shown, as violence in Iraq has gone down in recent months, media coverage has fallen just as sharply. It is interesting that as soon as there was something bad to report, CBS suddenly became interested in Iraq again. However, former co-host Hannah Storm did make reference to troop surge success during an interview with Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden on October 16th, when she wondered if victory over Al Qaeda in Iraq was just "semanitcs."
In an effort to have a fair and balanced debate on the issue of the destruction of CIA interrogation tapes, "Face the Nation" host Bob Schieffer invited Democratic Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Jay Rockefeller, and liberal Republican, Senator Chuck Hagel, on to Sunday’s broadcast. Hagel proved to be left of Rockefeller:
We are saying what to the world? That the Army Field Manual applies to our Army people, our armed services people, but the C.I.A. and all these Blackwater-type variations of militias and armies are unaccountable to what? That's not who we are as Americans, Bob. We're better than that. We don't need that. The world wants us to be better than that. We want to be better than that. We need to be smarter. Burning tapes, destroying evidence, I don't know how deep this goes. Could there be obstruction of justice? Yes. How far does this go up in the White House? I don't know.
That does not sound like an opinion from the mainstream of the Republican Party.
As monthly reported troop deaths began falling in Iraq a few months ago, CNN's Robin Wright was in an early October interview with the Washington Post's Howard Kurtz on CNN's "Reliable Sources" that was blogged on by NB's Noel Sheppard.
In it, Wright explained why September's US troop death figure, at the time the lowest in over a year, did not deserve significant news coverage:
We've had five years of the Pentagon telling us there is progress, there is progress. Forgive me for being skeptical, I need to see a little bit more than one month before I get too excited about all of this.
Okay, maybe Ms. Wright can work up some "excitement" about this (Source: icasualties.org) --
MSNBC hosts Joe Scarborough and David Shuster squared off in a heated battle on Tuesday over whether waterboarding constitutes torture. Scarborough appeared exasperated with his left-leaning guest and, at one point, derided, "Are you an expert? When did you decide and when did the liberal media decide and when did all of us in Manhattan, Georgetown and West Hollywood decide that waterboarding was torture?"
Later in the segment, Shuster began wildly comparing waterboarding to violent acts: "If you believe that America should torture, fine! Waterboard them! Drill them in the kneecaps. Shoot, shoot their legs off! Whatever you want to do." Scarborough responded by laughing and, in a nod to "24," announced, "I'm not Jack Bauer."
On Sunday’s "Face the Nation" on CBS, host Bob Schieffer aksed in his commentary at the end of the show: "Have we helped our cause with the rest of the world when they come to believe we have sunk to using the tactics of those who oppose us?" Speaking in reference to the recent news that the CIA destroyed videotapes of the interrogations of terrorists, which some believe may have involved water boarding, Schieffer began his rant by invoking the name of the great liberal icon, Edward R. Murrow (video available here):
Finally today, Edward R. Murrow was one of the first to understand the power of worldwide communications, but it was the message, not the power to reach so many people, that concerned him...I thought about that as we learn more about the C.I.A.'s use of what our own Army and the Geneva Conventions define as torture and how officials destroyed evidence when a federal judge demanded tapes of the interrogation episodes.
Always eager to promote another Hollywood film that casts a snarky eye on American foreign policy, Time magazine interviewed Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts, and Philip Seymour Hoffman about Charlie Wilson’s War, a new movie about a conservative Texas Democratic Congressman who secured funding for the Afghan rebels, written by liberal West Wing scribe Aaron Sorkin. Hanks recalled that when the Soviets invaded Afghanistan in December 1979, he just knew it was the beginning of the Soviets’ Vietnam, that "They have made a mistake equal to anything wrong America has done." Moral equivalence with the Soviets? Still in vogue in Hollywood in 2007.
Reasons to be skeptical? At the time, Hanks was 23 and had yet to get his big break as Kip-slash-Buffy in the ABC sitcom Bosom Buddies; and Hanks also suggested the Soviets freshly took over Hungary in 1956, instead of merely keeping the Soviet lid on the country. The interview began with Time’s Belinda Luscombe celebrating her own ignorance about American support for Afghan rebels:
In a typical softball interview with former President Bill Clinton on Monday’s CBS "Early Show," co-host Harry Smith ran defense for the Clinton campaign:
I also want to set the record straight. When you were in Muscatine a week and a half ago or so, right, and said 'I've always been against this,' speaking about the Iraq war. I did a little Googling last night, and the best I could tell, was you said the weapons inspectors should be allowed to do their jobs.
Beyond Smith’s idea that a thirty second Google search is journalism, one wonders why he felt the need to "set the record straight" for a particular presidential campaign. Maybe it has something to do with Smith’s belief that the Clintons are a "still-young couple" and "political rock stars."
The media's reaction to the November 2007 National Intelligence Estimate on Iran's nuclear weapon program has been as grandiose as it is selective, inaccurate and wrong-headed.
The single excerpt they chose to trumpet, that the report proffers with "high confidence" that Iran halted weapons development in 2003, maximized their ability to bash President George W. Bush for being wrong all along about one third of his Axis of Evil.
The MSM has characterized as "war mongering" and "the politics of fear" Bush's consistent and prudent imputations to keep our eye on -- amongst other things -- the spinning Persian ball. They allege the Administration wielded these Terror implements to rush us into battle in Iran and to ensure electoral wins here at home.
Who is the biggest climate sinner? Not China, says the AP.
The Associated Press reported November 7 an interest group's findings that Saudi Arabia and the United States are the worst "climate sinners" for not taking drastic attempts to cut carbon emissions. But it accepted the group's "relatively positive" assertion that China's emission growth will slow in the future.
The news wire story picked up by USA Today reported that Saudi Arabia was the biggest sinner because its policies block attempts to curb greenhouse gases and the U.S. was second because it refuses to sign the Kyoto Treaty.
Thomas Fingar, the Deputy Director of Analysis for the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE), is the media rock star of the moment.
Why? For the just released NIE assessment he co-authored that proffers with "high confidence" that Iranian nuclear weapon development came to a halt in 2003.
This lands him myriad press plaudits because it affords them yet another opportunity to bash President George W. Bush.
However, those with any sort of political memory recall a July 11, 2007 Congressional appearance by the very same Thomas Fingar. Just these scant four months ago, he gave the House Armed Services Committee a very different "high confidence" perspective on Iran and their efforts to develop the bomb.
The Financial Times (FT) is reporting that an Iran-bound ship seized by the United Arab Emirates last month "contained materials banned by UN Security Council resolutions 1737 and 1747, while the purchaser of the materials has been barred by the same resolutions."
Those resolutions were put in place, FT writers Simeon Kerr and Najmeh Bozorgmehr noted in their December 5 article, "to curtail its [Iran's] nuclear development programme."
Although Kerr and Bozorgmehr's Emirati government source "declined to identify the contents of the cargo or the Iranian company" that ordered them, the development is newsworthy, particularly in light of the shift in the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE), that now concludes that Iran stopped its nuclear program in 2003.
A search of the December 5 Washington Post found no articles similar to Kerr and Bozorgmehr's, although it's unclear if the FT reporters have an exclusive scoop.
Former "CBS Evening News" anchor Walter Cronkite, much like his former colleague Bob Schieffer, appears to be dead set against the war in Iraq regardless of how conditions have improved in the past several months.
In an op-ed published at the liberal website Common Dreams, Cronkite made his strongest surrender appeal to date, whilst of course castigating the Bush administration.
Readers are advised to proceed with caution, and keep a trash receptacle handy in case of unexpected reverse peristalsis (emphasis added, h/t Dan Gainor):
As detailed here, "Abu Omar al-Baghdadi" was long-ago outed as a figment of al Qaeda-in-Iraq's imagination, a transparent attempt to give a home-grown flavor to the foreign-controlled AQI operation by claiming that the non-existent Baghdadi, supposedly an Iraqi, was AQI's leader.
I'll be live-blogging the press conference (mostly just the questions from the journalists as we're focused on the bias) and if a video update is warranted, we'll post one shortly after the conference concludes:
10:44 closes press conference, leaves podium.
10:41: Mark Silva, Chicago Tribune, says reading Bush's body language he can tell he's "somewhat dispirited." Then he says "the facts have failed you" on things he's telling the American people. Quotes Harry Reid. "Are you feeling troubled... credibility gap?"
10:37: unid'd reporter "Wolf" asks about if Bush's personal relationship with the Democrats in Congress is affecting getting legislation through.
10:35: another unid'd reporter named "Wolf" asks Bush to react to 2008 U.S. presidential race
10:35: reporter asks if he discussed Russian elections with Putin
10:33: unidentified reporter asks Bush if in his conversation with Putin if he asked him to not sell uranium to Iran.
10:30: Baier, Fox News: "What does the vote in Venezuela mean for the U.S.? .... What's your reaction to Chavez opponents winning?"
On Sunday’s CBS "60 Minutes," anchor Scott Pelley, who referred to Iranian President Ahmadinejad as "friendly," "modest," and "incorruptible," compared American forces in Iraq to barbarian hordes of the past while examining the plight of Iraqi Christians since the war began in 2003: "The Iraqi Christian community, which had survived invasions by Mongols and Turks, was driven out under American occupation."
During the segment, Pelley interviewed an Anglican Reverend in Baghdad named Andrew White:
PELLEY: He was first sent to Baghdad by the Archbishop of Canterbury nine years ago, well before the Christian persecution. You were here during Saddam's reign, and now after. Which was better? Which was worse?
WHITE: Well, it's difficult to describe. The situation now is clearly worse now, but --
PELLEY: Worse than Saddam?
WHITE: Oh, far. There's no comparison between Iraq now and then. Things are the most difficult they have ever been for Christians. Probably ever in history. They've never known it like now.
PELLEY: Wait a minute. Christians have been here for 2,000 years.
WHITE: Yes. And it's now the worst it has ever been.
The Democrats are better at understanding the impact of globalization on working people in America. The wages that have been arrested and halted in their growth, while, you know the boys in investment banking are making 10 times the average income of an American. I think the Democrats understand the consequences of it more than the Republicans and, frankly, another disagreement I've got with Republicans is that they are compulsive interventionists. They seem to have learned nothing and forgotten nothing from what happened in Iraq when they are talking about doing the same thing in Iran. -- Pat Buchanan, November 29, 2007
The next time you hear the MSM defending itself against charges of a lack of balance by pointing to Pat Buchanan's presence on its panels, remember his statement above. On globalization, Pat echoes the Seattle street protesters, seasoned with some John Edwards "Two Americas" rhetoric about Wall Street fat cats. On foreign policy, Pat sounds like someone auditioning for Secretary of Peace in Pres. Kucinich's cabinet.
So, we are the "ugly American," we're always told. But to whom do they come running when they need help? Italy, France, maybe? Hardly. Still, they love to beat up on the US, and unfortunately our MSM is only too happy to act the echo chamber for anti-Americanism. This time it is Time Magazine that gleefully adds to the din of opprobrium at America with theirs titled, "US Ranked Low in Humanitarian Aid," wherein, crook and ex-UN chief Kofi Annan has decided that we are cheapskates where it concerns so-called "humanitarian aid" to foreign countries. Yes, after all we've done, after all we do around the world in their time of need, Annan and his UN cronies have the gall to call us cheap, uncaring, stingy even, where it concerns this supposed rate of "humanitarian aid" that other countries are so much more generous with. Even Luxembourg beats us according to the novel mathematics employed by Annan and others who want to attack the US of A. Ain't we Americans just such meanies?
It took fourteen pages--13 of those geared towards Franklin' Foer's attempt to keep his job--but here's the punchline:
When I last spoke with Beauchamp in early November, he continued to stand by his stories. Unfortunately, the standards of this magazine require more than that. And, in light of the evidence available to us, after months of intensive re-reporting, we cannot be confident that the events in his pieces occurred in exactly the manner that he described them. Without that essential confidence, we cannot stand by these stories.
Stay tuned. I'll have much more later, including why Franklin Foer said nothing to justify keeping his job.
The surveyor will see you now Journalist and Pollster (Either Or)
As an increasing number of Americans exhibit knowledge of and confidence in the success of the surge in Iraq, pollsters seeking a gloomier picture have turned to their single most reliable focus group for bad news. They have in fact skipped the middle men and women and gone to its very font: the media.
Nearly 90 percent of U.S. journalists in Iraq say much of Baghdad is still too dangerous to visit, despite a recent drop in violence attributed to the build-up of U.S. forces, a (Pew Research Center) poll released on Wednesday said.
One wonders if this is the same 90% of correspondents who admitted to voting for President Bill Clinton twice; certainly a great deal of overlap exists between the two polling samples.
Their infidels are committing suicide by the hundreds on the gates of Baghdad . . . Be assured, Baghdad is safe, protected. There are no American infidels in Baghdad . . . There is no presence of American infidels in the city of Baghdad. -- Saddam's Information Minister Muhammed Saeed al-Sahaf, AKA "Baghdad Bob."
Not bad, Bob. But if you want to see how flackery is done at its supremely sycophantic best, you should have tuned into tonight's "Tucker" to catch Lanny Davis's act, as he defended Bill Clinton's claim to have opposed the Iraq war "from the beginning."
On this morning's Today show, Matt Lauer discussed with Tim Russert the Middle East peace conference that began today. After years of MSM criticism of President Bush for not getting more involved in the Israeli-Palestinian situation, how does Lauer react when the president undertakes an historic initiative bringing together leaders of all the area's countries for the first time? You guessed it.
Wash, spin, rinse, spin. Phone, spin, report, spin, poll, spin. The similarities between the work of the mainstream media and a laundry machine are striking. Yet there is nothing about the cycle -- the spin-report-poll-spin cycle -- that does for political events what detergent does for your boxers or briefs.
The media, as One, spend days or weeks bashing someone or something they do not like. They then conduct a poll to prove to you that they were right all along. In a campaign season, their one-sided coverage is calculated, then executed to produce a result. It’s not about reporting the events, it’s about changing the prevailing view.
And the polls -- such as the ones by the media, which are not independent surveys like those undertaken by the likes of Rasmussen or Gallup -- aren’t intended as much to gauge the public view of a candidate or events as they are to reinforce that which they have “reported”, or provide the media guidance on how effective their spinning of the news has been.