Being a regular Fox News Watch viewer, there was nothing surprising, tuning into last evening's discussion of the Clinton-Chris Wallace dust-up, in hearing lefty panelist Neal Gabler take his employer and colleagues to task.
Among his moves, Gabler:
Claimed "this network's reputation [presumably as right-leaning] precedes it."
Asserted that Chris Wallace "did not frame the question properly. He asked 'why didn't you do more?' Which is like asking 'will you stop beating your wife?'"
Defended Wallace only at the expense of other Fox colleagues: "He is not a Hannity, he's not an O'Reilly he's not a Brit Hume, Cavuto, Gibson." Hume of course is not merely an on-air personality but also the powerful FNC managing editor.
Spurned host Eric Burns' entreaty to add someone from another network to his list of partisan TV personalities.
Later, amiable liberal Jane Hall chimed in - after smilingly mentioning that she was glad she had recently re-signed with FNC [and thus presumably was not vulerable to recriminations]. Claimed Jane: "this network's commentary beat up on him, beat up on Clinton, and did not beat up on Bush."
I suppose I shouldn't have been surprised that a TV host whose idea of a show-closer is tossing wadded-up balls of paper at the camera would indulge in middle-school-worthy taunts about someone's weight. And yet . . . I actually was surprised when on tonight's show, Keith Olbermann unleashed a string of jibes aimed at Roger Ailes' physique. So surprised that when Olbermann first began his barrage, with a comment about Ailes doing something "between pies," I truly wondered whether I had misheard him or perhaps misunderstood his intent. Fat jokes? Could my fellow Cornellian really be stooping that low?
He could. Olbermann's mean-spirited motive soon became manifest. Displaying what was presumably the least flattering photo of the Fox chief he could find [shown here], Olbermann followed that comment with this string of insults:
When the Pope recently accused Muslim extremists of using violence to advance their ends, they responded . . . with violence. Not to compare myself to the Pontiff, but I recently accused a liberal columnist of being consumed with Bush-hatred, and she has now responded . . . by cataloguing the many things she hates about Bush.
With one of his inimitable montages, Rush Limbaugh documented today the way in which the MSM got hung up on a handshake - one the media reported didn't come off between Afghan President Hamid Karzai and his Pakistani counterpart Pervez Musharraf during their recent White House visit.
Though WH spokesman Tony Snow has reportedly indicated that the pair did shake hands off-camera, the media tea-leaf readers seemingly imbue The Handshake That Didn't Happen with dire implications for the achievement of US goals in the region. Ironically, on the very same day, the MSM has yet to report on a major, positive development in the region - one that would bring a smile to the lips of even a Nancy Pelosi or a New York Times editorialist - were they not solemnly sworn to ac-cen-tu-ate the negative from now till Election Day.
Rush Limbaugh just mentioned that the Dems' latest strategy to keep the NIE story bubbling is to make a hullabaloo over the Bush administration's decision not to declassify and release the entire NIE report. I then turned to the Yahoo News page, and what do I find but an Associated Press article with this headline and lead paragraph:
White House refuses to release full NIE
WASHINGTON - The White House refused Wednesday to release the rest of a secret intelligence assessment that depicts a growing terrorist threat, as the Bush administration tried to quell election-season criticism that its anti-terror policies are seriously off track.
Anytime Maureen Dowd writes about Hillary, I figure it's good for an NB item. But reading and re-reading the pay-per-view Another Clinton Seduction at cock's crow, I just couldn't get a handle on what Dowd was getting at. Coming back to it in the light of a beautiful Ithaca morning, it suddenly dawned on me: Mo is mad at Hillary, and there are two reasons:
Hillary hasn't been tough enough on George Bush; and
Incredible as it might sound, Hillary - in contrast with certain NY Times columnists - has figured out a way to make men like her.
Dowd's ire is unmistakeable when it comes to Hillary's insufficient Bush bashing: "She has been like a silent-film star,lacking a voice in this chilling time when the Bush administration has Photoshopped the Constitution, portrayed critics as traitors, and spurred terrorism with a misconceived and mismanaged war in Iraq."
"Good morning, this is Harry Smith reporting from London today, June 10th, 1940. With Luftwaffe pilots now brazenly carrying out daylight bombing raids on London, it's clear that the war against Nazism is a failure."
Judging by his take on Iraq, that's presumably how Harry would have reported matters had he been around during the dark days of WWII. Fortunately, Churchill was there:
"Hitler knows that he will have to break us in this Island or lose the war. If we can stand up to him, all Europe may be free and the life of the world may move forward into broad, sunlit uplands. But if we fail, then the whole world, including the United States, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new Dark Age."
Linda Greenhouse is a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter who covers the United States Supreme Court for the New York Times. As we all know, the New York Times, along with the rest of the mainstream press, is adamant about their commitment to unbiased journalism. Reporters don't have opinions, at least not opinions that impact their journalism. It's nonsense, of course, but nonsense that's maintained by the likes of the Times.
Well, Linda Greenhouse, in a recent speech at her alma mater, Radcliffe, expressed some opinions. And if she really feels this way, there's absolutely no way that it could possibly not color her reporting. What she chooses to highlight, the way she expresses things, what she covers or doesn't cover, what she thinks is news and what isn't - that's all determined by her worldview.
Who would have thought that Howard Dean would come off looking like the relatively statesmanlike DNC Chair? Dean has acknowledged that Chris Wallace was "tough but fair" in his questioning of Bill Clinton. Meanwhile, Dean's DNC predecessor Terry McAuliffe, with all the class and dignity for which he's known, has attacked Wallace as a Republican "tool," suggesting along the way that Tucker Carlson must be on drugs.
McAuliffe was a guest on Carlson's MSNBC show this afternoon. Tucker touched things off with this observation:
"It's interesting to see the attack machine cranked up again. I notice you're trying to paint Chris Wallace as some sort of right-wing lunatic. I don't think Chris Wallace is a right-winger for one thing. He had Donald Rumsfeld on his show, I'm not here to defend Fox I'm just telling the truth, and he gave Rumsfeld a hard time on 9-11 too. Why is that every time someone calls the Clinton people to account, they all of a sudden start screaming 'you're a right-winger, you're part of the conspiracy against us'? Why can't they evaluate criticism on its own terms?"
Since one of the main issues at hand was Fox News' alleged bias, you would have thought NBC would have assembled a more 'fair & balanced' panel than James Carville and liberal sidekick Paul Begala. But just when you thought Meredith Vieira was going to lead a one-sided seance, she actually hit the liberal duo with two tough questions.
Carville provided the opening, ill-advisedly claiming that "not one 'assertation' of fact" by Clinton during his FNC interview has been challenged. Guess what, James? We've got some serious 'assertatin' goin' on over he-ah, in the person of Condi Rice, and Vieira was quick to point that out.
Vieira: "Not everybody agrees what he said is fact."
In this morning’s interview with Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, Today host Matt Lauer mostly asked serious questions about Pakistan’s role in the war on terror and what more that country could do but right before the end of the interview Lauer asked Musharaff to elaborate on a charge he made about the Iraq war:
Lauer: "In your book you wrote, quote, 'I never favored the invasion of Iraq because I feared it would exacerbate extremism as it most certainly has. The world is not a safer place because of the war in Iraq, the world has become far more dangerous.' A recent classified National Intelligence Estimate, in this country, draws that exact same conclusion. So let me ask you, do you think then President Bush should be blamed for making the world a less safe place?"
If there's one person whose essence, whose very being, whose every fiber stands for the proposition that the Roman Catholic church is the one true religion, it is the Pope. The Church does define him as the Vicar of Christ, after all.
So you might forgive the Pope for advocating the notion that his religion is superior. But somehow that notion deeply offends Boston Globe columnist - and former Roman Catholic priest - James Carroll. In his column of today, Pope Benedict's hierarchy of truth, faith, Carroll takes the Pope to task for asserting the superiority of his faith. Referencing the Pope's recent address that has caused a stir, Carroll writes:
In his rant against Chris Wallace of Fox News on Friday, former president Bill Clinton claimed that (bold is mine):
I tried. So I tried and failed. When I failed I left a comprehensive anti-terror strategy and the best guy in the country, Dick Clarke.
You would wait forever for someone in The 527 Media to do what blogger Patterico did earlier today. In the course of a longer entry dispelling other myths and falsehoods in the Clinton-Wallace interview, Patterico busted the Clinton claim about the anti-terror transition from his administration to the incoming Bush Adminstration. He located this interview of Richard Clarke in early 2002 that was cleared for distribution by the White House in 2004 and published at Fox News' web site in March of that year.
In a profile of Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice which led Sunday's 60 Minutes, Katie Couric explained how Rice “rejects the notion that the U.S. is a bully, imposing its values on the world.” CBS then ran a soundbite from Rice as she sat a few feet in front of Couric: “What's wrong with assistance so that people can have their full and complete right to the very liberties and freedoms that we enjoy?” To which, Couric retorted by inserting one of her kids into the story: “To quote my daughter, 'Who made us the boss of them?'” (Couric has two daughters, one a teen and the other a tween, I believe.) Couric followed up: “You have said that your goal was, quote, 'To leave the world not just safer but better.' Right now Iraq doesn't seem safer, Iran and North Korea have not fallen into line. Do you honestly believe that the world is safer now?”
Earlier in the segment, Rice asserted about the Iraq war that “the idea that somehow because the intelligence was wrong, we were misleading the American people, I really resent that.” Rice's lack of guilt seemingly astonished Couric: “Really? Because that's what so many people think.” At least “so many” in Couric's Manhattan news media orbit.
Assessing the anti-U.S. rants at the UN from Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, on Friday night's Real Time with Bill Maher on HBO, Maher and actor Bradley Whitford contended President Bush's policies have legitimized the criticism of an arrogant U.S. abusing its power. Maher proposed: “Even though these guys are bad in a lot of ways, it is also true that the substance of what they said -- that the U.S. is a bully, that we want to rule the world with threats and bombs, that we're imperialistic -- what I thought was, you know, this is a speech I've heard over the years many times by tin horn dictators at the UN against the U.S. It's just that now it strikes a lot of people as true.” Whitford, formerly part of the cast of The West Wing, and now a star on NBC's new Monday night drama, Studio 60: On the Sunset Strip, charged that “lie after lie after lie” from the administration has caused “an inappropriate over-reaction” to terrorism “so that these idiots, these crackpots seem to be justified” in their criticisms.
A soldierasked the Secretary to define just who is the enemy. In professorial, avuncular fashion, Rumsfeld carefully described how a limited number of Muslim extremists have hijacked their faith and sought to impose their warped vision on their co-religionists. That others were seeking to regain power lost when the United States deposed dictatorial regimes in Afghanistan and Iraq. And that still others are simply criminal elements.
The BBC has obtained evidence that Israelis have been giving military training to Kurds in northern Iraq.
A report on the BBC TV programme Newsnight showed Israeli experts in northern Iraq, drilling Kurdish militias in shooting techniques.
Kurdish officials have refused to comment on the report and Israel has denied it knows of any involvement.
From that point forward the story is literally riddled with assumptions about how other countries and the rest of Iraq will react, without a single quote or attribution from anyone who supposedly will object. Examples throughout the article's text (scare words in bold):
The bio of Los Angeles Times columnist Rosa Brooks couldn't be much more impressive in terms of conventional credentials: Harvard, Oxford, Yale. Adviser to State Department. Kennedy School Fellow.
But despite having her ticket prestigiously punched time and again, her column of today reveals that nowhere has she learned much in the way of nuance or common sense. Her opposition to President Bush's efforts to clarify interrogation rules so as to allow some more forceful techniques is absolute and implacable, utterly failing to acknowledge the realities of terrorism on a scale unimaginable when the Geneva Convention was drafted.
Reaction against Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’ remarks to the United Nations, in which he referred to President George W. Bush as "the devil," has been strong. Liberal Democrat Charlie Rangel forcefully argued that the attack on the President was an attack on all Americans, while House minority leader Nancy Pelosi denounced Chavez as "an everyday thug." It’s interesting, though not surprising, that Rosie O’Donnell and Joy Behar of ABC’s "The View," were not able to do the same.
Rather than criticize Chavez for his outrageous comments, Behar and O’Donnell did what they do best: blame President Bush:
Behar: "Well, don't you think Bush threw in the gauntlet when he called people the 'axis of evil'?...What else did they -- they called -- there was another name, I can’t think of it, that they–"
O’Donnell: "Well, he, he would, he, President Bush is very fond of calling people who have different opinions than he 'evildoers.'"
A couple of snippets from this morning's "news" segments on ABC and CBS...
On The Early Show, Rene Syler interviewed the President of the Council on Foreign Relations, and former Bush administration official, Richard Haass. After having played the video of Chavez calling Bush "the devil," of crossing himself and saying that he could still smell the sulfur in the air, Syler's first question for Haass, her first question on this head-of-state behaving that way on the world's primary diplomatic stage?
"Let's start with those comments by Hugo Chavez yesterday. He makes this personal attack on the president calls him the devil a number of times. Is that appropriate?"
What, Rene -- you couldn't figure that one out for yourself?
For NewsBusters types, the question has always been whether Meredith Vieira would be as liberal as her Today show predecessor, Katie Couric. As of this morning, we have our answer. Yesterday, Hugo Chavez stood on the world stage and called the President of the United States a "devil" and claimed the speakers platform still stunk from his presence. Today, Meredith Vieira went on national TV and warned us not to be too quick to dismiss his message.
Interviewing Bill Clinton, she said:
"Now, it's easy to dismiss somebody like Chavez -- and some have -- as a nut. But do you think he is giving voice to to wider frustration in the developing world about this country and this country's policies? Do we need to change the way we act?"
Chris Matthews sees W's favorables going up and the Dem generic congressional edge going down. He's ticked, and on tonight's Hardball he made clear his explanation for this revoltin' development: the MSM isn't churning out enough bad news from Iraq.
Matthews first floated the idea during a segment with GOP strategist Ben Ginsburg and Dem counterpart Steve McMahon. I'll mention as an aside that McMahon strikes me as one of the more reasonable, straightforward Dem partisans.
Quoth Chris: "Does it bother you gentlemen both that when you watch television now that the war seems to have left the TV screen to a large extent and that's helping your [GOP] party? Does that bother you that this war is largely off television now? We're not being shown it that much."
Far be it from ABC to take sides in the fight against nuclear terrorism. As depicted by Good Morning America today, yesterday's UN speeches by Pres. Bush and Iran's Ahmadinejad were simply a battle of equals. And if anything, the guy who wants to wipe Israel off the map came off looking better in ABC's portrayal.
Host Chris Cuomo [son of Mario, brother of current New York AG candidate Andrew] set the tone: "We begin with the showdown at the United Nations, pitting President Bush against Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The philosophical battlefield: Iran's nuclear program. Senior national correspondent Claire Shipman is in Washington with more on two leaders, sharply divided."
President Bush might have successfully avoided Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at the UN yesterday, but he couldn't escape Meredith Viera's backseat driving on Iran policy on this morning's 'Today.' Perhaps convinced of the value of a good gabfest by her years on "The View," Vieira left little doubt she thinks that George and Mahmoud should soon sit down for nice coffee klatsch.
Vieira's guest was Tim Russert. Alluding to the way that Pres. Bush and Ahmadinejad avoided each other yesterday, Vieira asked him:
"Eventually will [Pres. Bush] have to sit down with this man? How much saber-rattling can you do if you're talking about the potential of going to war?"
If there's one thing you might have thought Meredith would have learned over the last 51/2 years, it's that when George Bush raises the sword, he ain't necessarily planning just to rattle it.
Comedy Central host Jon Stewart, well known for slamming conservatives, talked last night with former President Clinton and proceeded to offer him non-stop softball questions. The ex-President plugged his new Clinton Global Initiative program to fight poverty, global warming and support racial reconciliation. (Stewart did not press as to what specifically the project will do.) The tenor of the comedian’s questions can be summed up in this query on what makes Clinton happy:
Stewart: "All right, so what, in your mind, you’ve worked, you’ve worked in government for most of your career. Now you are out and doing private initiatives, these types of things. What’s more effective? What are you having more fun doing and what do you think is more effective?"
Yes, that’s right. Jon Stewart asked the former President what he found "fun," political or private life? It became clear, very early in the program, just how the talk show host differentiated between George W. Bush and Bill Clinton.
Stewart: "We got a fine program for you tonight Former president Bill Clinton will be sitting down with us today. And uh, I'll ask him probably questions about the political climate and the complex issues, and he will be like [high pitched, hysterical voice], duh, I don't know. Oh, no, wait. That's, uh, oh, right, no, this is President Clinton."
On Monday’s “Early Show,” co-host Hannah Storm interviewed First Lady Laura Bush. Unlike Mrs. Bush’s interview on “Today,” Storm’s questions were much more supportive of the first lady, yet she still managed to sneak in a few questions regarding America’s image abroad and the first lady’s role in approving President Bush’s speeches.
Storm held off until her fourth question before delving into the issue of America’s reputation abroad:
You wouldn't think that someone who wrote a book condemning all religions as dangerous hokum and who favors higher taxes, drug decriminalization and gay marriage would be in danger of becoming the right's favorite liberal. But in the wake of his LA Times column of today, Head-in-the-Sand Liberals, Sam Harris might be on the way to being celebrated by conservatives and castigated on the left.
The column's subtitle really tells the story: "Western civilization really is at risk from Muslim extremists," and Harris' essential point in that liberals refuse to recognize that fact.
In a surreal clash of the sacred and the profane, the New York Times - that citadel of secularism - has declared in its editorial of this morning that Pope Benedict "needs to offer a deep and persuasive apology," for having quoted a 14th century Christian emperor who said:
“Show me just what Muhammad brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.”
The Times is only being fair and balanced, I suppose. After all, hardly a week goes by that you can't pick up the paper and read an editorial condemning this or that mullah, imam or ayatollah for the latest fatwa ordering the death of such-and-such infidel or the destruction of entire countries found to be an annoyance. Or not.
In a brief item on the Friday's CBS Evening News, Katie Couric asserted: “At the top of tonight's news briefing, a who's who of President Bush's adversaries on the world stage all together in one place. Venezuela's Hugo Chavez and Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad are among the leaders in Havana for the meeting of the non-aligned nations. Raul Castro is playing host. His older brother, Fidel, is still recovering from intestinal surgery.”
ABC and NBC, however, realized those leaders and others gathered, for the summit in Havana of the “Non-Aligned Movement,” are enemies of the United States, not just the current occupant of the Oval Office. Fill-in ABC anchor Kate Snow referred to how the organization “regularly takes anti-American stances and today was no exception” and reporter Jim Avila, in Cuba, relayed how “America's short list of antagonists” were “all bashing the United States for opposing Iran's nuclear program, all of them together in Cuba, capital of anti-Americanism.” NBC's Brian Williams, anchoring from Havana, described the summit of non-aligned nations as “all of the enemies of the United States, really, gathered in one room.”
The Boston Globe refers to Charlie Savage as a "staff writer." But judging by the hyper-partisan comments he made on Fox News Channel this afternoon, Savage belongs over on the opinion page.
Interviewed with two other legal reporters by FNC's Martha MacCallum, Savage took these shots at President Bush and his fellow Republicans:
President Bush is "terrorizing" Americans with the terrorism issue for political gain.
Speaking of the current rift between the president and Sen. McCain over interrogation rules for suspected terrorists, Savage snidely observed that McCain had been a POW in Vietnam while Bush spent the war "back in Texas."