A terrorist website releases a tape of Osama Bin Laden, claiming it's new. And how do the MSM react? By rushing to air it, or in the case of wire services like AP, trumpet it in print. As of 6:30 A.M. EDT this morning, the AP story Bin Laden Appears in New al-Qaida Video was featured on Drudge.
There's only one problem. A senior Bush administration official informs this NewsBuster that:
"intelligence agencies have determined the video was previously aired as a portion of a longer show first on MBC TV (Middle East broadcast station) on April 17, 2002."
What's the result of the MSM's sloppy "air-first-verify-later" approach? The world’s most evil and despicable terrorists are given tons of free air time and print exposure.
Is ABC's Bill Weir a TV journalist -- or a recruiter for Team Defeat? You had to wonder, watching his interview on today's "Good Morning America" of Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tn.). Alexander has co-sponsored legislation that would make the Iraq Study Group recommendations the basis for future U.S. strategy in Iraq.
GMA CO-HOST BILL WEIR: You have introduced an idea now that really centers around redeploying our troops over there. What would it take for you to get behind a timetable for withdrawal?
This could be an MSM first: breaking out a variation on the old used-car salesman line: "what would it take to get you to buy this car today?"
Later in the interview, Weir returned to his effort of luring Lamar to the surrender side.
WEIR: The Democrats say your proposals don't have enough teeth. They really want to see some movement here. But as you watch the President this week, "stay the course," yet again [bad, bad, intransigent President!]. You're defying him in a way just by introducing this. Do you hope that he'll come around to you, or are you eventually just drifting towards an eventual [support for] withdrawal?
The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States. -- U.S. Constitution Article II, Section 2.
The faces occasionally change at "Today," but the bias remains the same. Natalie Morales sat in for Meredith Vieira this morning, but the show didn't lose a liberal beat, as Natalie knocked President Bush for his temerity in asserting his constitutional role as Commander-in-Chief.
Chatting with Tim Russert at about 7:10 A.M. EDT, Morales offered this take on W's comments of yesterday:
NBC'S NATALIE MORALES: Tim, what was striking yesterday was the aggressive tone the President took with Congress yesterday,with lawmakers, saying it is not their job to manage the war. Not since Vietnam has there been such a clash between the executive and the legislative branches. If the President is trying to build support, did he lose some of that yesterday?
Ann Curry didn't even bother with the "some say" dodge. On this morning's "Today," she flatly suggested to Michael Chertoff that we are losing the war on terror because of a "misguided focus" on Iraq.
The Secretary of Homeland Security was on to discuss reports that a new assessment from U.S. counterterrorism analysts indicates that al-Qaeda has rebuilt itself and poses the greatest threat to the U.S. since before the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.
When Chertoff confirmed the report's basic accuracy, Curry went on offense.
NBC'S ANN CURRY: You're saying that this report is true. Well, how is this possible? How is it possible that after six years and U.S. attacks, that al-Qaeda could now could be at about the same level it was pre-9-11?
As Chertoff tried to respond, Curry interrupted, her voice suddenly thick with emotion.
CURRY: And what does it say specifically about whether we're losing this war on terror and if in fact that's because our focus is misguided, that's it's on Iraq, and not on this area of Pakistan?
If I hear one more MSM outlet ascribe the implosion of John McCain's candidacy to his support for the war in Iraq, I'm going to scream . .
Let's see. Why don't we check out this morning's "Today"?
NBC REPORTER CHIP REID: He's been falling steadily in the NBC/Wall Street Journal poll from 29% in December to 24 in March and last month just 14%. His unwavering support of the Iraq war is unpopular with moderate Republicans and he insists he won't change his position for political purposes.
Reid did go on to mention McCain's support for "immigration reform" [read amnesty] as another issue hurting his campaign. But anyone who thinks McCain's support for our Iraq policy [a position shared by the frontrunners] is his main problem with GOP primary voters is as out of touch with the Republican base as only the MSM can be.
Does NBC have some inside dope? Is John McCain, till now one of the staunchest supporters of the Bush administration's Iraq policy, about to bug out? An unusual question from Matt Lauer to Tony Snow this morning raised that possibility.
Here's the exchange that came on this morning's "Today" at 7:08 A.M. EDT, toward the end of Lauer's interview of White House press secretary Snow:
TODAY CO-HOST MATT LAUER: If, and you hate hypotheticals, I know, so hate me later, but if John McCain comes back [from his current Iraq trip] and joins the ranks of those other Republicans who say it's time to rethink this strategy, how big a blow is that to the President, considering how supportive John McCain has been to the strategy?
WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY TONY SNOW: You've got to understand that for the President, although politics is clearly important in building public support, succeeding is the most important thing of all. If we fail in Iraq, and this is something [U.S. Ambassador to Iraq] Ryan Crocker was pointing out as well, if you have failure in Iraq, you are going to see consequences that are going to be extraordinarily dire in the region, throughout the world and for the United States.
If Neal Gabler had been around in the late 1930s, would he have been praising Neville Chamberlain's complacency toward Hitler while condemning Churchill and FDR for their "hysteria"? Maybe so, judging by the liberal Fox News Watch panelist's comparison of the reaction of the British and the Americans to terror.
Gabler appeared on last evening's Fox News Watch.
FOX NEWS WATCH PANELIST NEAL GABLER: The [British] coverage was I think very responsible, very even-tempered, very fact-based, very cool, and I'm wondering if this isn't a function of the way the British government responded, which was very even-handed, very temperate, very cool . . . When we get terrorist threats in this country, I mean they are hyped, there's hysteria, and is that a function of the fact that the admistration hypes these things?
In all the time I've been monitoring the liberal media, rarely have I seen a host assail a guest with the ferocity David Shuster displayed in going after Fouad Ajami today. Shuster, guest-hosting for Chris Matthews on this afternoon's Hardball, was seemingly infuriated by a Wall Street Journal op-ed piece Ajami had written that analogized Scooter Libby to a fallen comrade who, pursuant to the Soldier's Creed, should not be left behind.
Set forth below are excerpts from Shuster's diatribe against Ajami, the Lebanese-born Director of the Middle East Studies Program at Johns Hopkins. But words alone don't do justice to the vituperation with which Shuster expressed himself. I urge readers to view the video. I might note that Ajami, perhaps inured to hyperbole by his many years in the Middle East, reacted to Shuster's verbal assaultswith equanimity.
SHUSTER: Mr. Ajami [never does Shuster refer to him by the honorific "Professor"], do you really believe Scooter Libby is like the 3,600 soldiers killed in Iraq?
AJAMI: I really don't need to be lectured on the soldiers killed in Iraq. I spent an enormous amount of time in Iraq. I've spent an enormous amount of time with the American soldiers in Iraq . . . I have a nephew serving with the American military as a lieutentant . . .
SHUSTER, interrupting: Which makes all this even more puzzling, with all due respect Mr. Ajami [translation: with no respect at all], to take someone like Scooter Libby and to compare him with somebody like your nephew or somebody who's actually wearing the uniform raises an awful lot of questions, and we're just trying to get at those questions [right].
AJAMI: You're following in the footsteps of Paul Krugman, who had a column in the New York Times. You have to be able to handle a metaphor. This really was a metaphor . . .
SHUSTER: Mr. Ajami, if it was a metaphor, why didn't you point out that it was a metaphor in your column? "Metaphor" is never in your column.
Michael Yon doesn't have an answer (HT to NewsBuster reader "acumen") as to why Old Media won't cover the Al Qaeda massacre of a small village near Baqubah, Iraq that he reported earlier this week (related NewsBusters posts are here and here):
Coordinates to the area of the gravesites are MC 679 381.
In my dispatch, I reported that six people were killed, but mentioned that Iraqi soldiers were still digging out bodies when I left. A few hours ago, Colonel Hiduit put the number at 10-14, and said the search for bodies had ended. I made video of the graves, bodies and of interviews with Iraqi and American soldiers while we still were at the scene and have been working to make material from this available on this website.
..... But for those publications who actually had people embedded in Baqubah when the story first broke and still failed to cover it, their malaise is inexplicable. I do not know why all failed to report the murders and booby-trapped village: apparently no reporters bothered to go out there, even though it’s only about 3.5 miles from this base. Any one of the reporters currently in Baqubah could still go to these coordinates and follow his or her nose and find the gravesites.
I was confident the New York Times would find a way to pour cold water on the Fourth of July. Still, turning to it this morning, I was curious to see just what kind of wet [with that cold water]blanket the Times would throw on our national holiday. And the Grey Lady didn't disappoint, with a sour, melancholy editorial viewing America through the eyes of other countries -- and naturally finding us wanting.
Looking Outward on the Fourth begins with a lament over "these very difficult times, four years deep into a war that has turned much of the world against this country." Got that? It's America's fault that times are tough, not that the world seethes with madmen who want to destroy the West. The editors then take a shot at unnamed "political leaders" [who could they be?] who "seek to arrogate the idea of freedom as their own political preserve."
If American media fails to cover this with the same amount of gusto that they have pursued Haditha and Abu Ghraib, they will be demonstrating their preference for whom they wish to win this conflict. The press has to tell the story that evil really does exist in this world. Imagine if the story of the Holocaust was never told because the media was only interested in reporting Allied atrocities. Yes, by failing to treat this war objectively, the media does indeed enable massacres such as this one and history will judge the coverage of this war very harshly.
The wicket has gotten sticky for those who, in the wake of terror attacks, seek to blame the West for the disaffection of a few Islamist youths gone wrong. The profile of those involved in the latest rash of terror incidents in the U.K. has stood that theory on its head.
Consider the dialogue on this morning's "Today" at 7:06 a.m. EDT between NBC's Lester Holt and Lisa Myers, both reporting from London.
NBC'S LESTER HOLT: Lisa, we always hear when these sort of things happen in the U.K. about disaffected young Muslim men, sort of home-grown terrorists. When you talk about physicians, does this change the nature of what anti-terror authorities here would expect in these cases?
NBC'S LISA MYERS: Absolutely, Lester. This greatly complicates the profile. Most of the recent plots had been the work of so-called home-grown cells with ties to Pakistan; disaffected young British Muslims who in some cases went to Pakistan for terror training. Here you have a group of highly-educated foreigners, the kind of people that this country actually encourages to come to Britain. So that makes it very tough, Lester.
Maybe this afternoon's oppressive heat and humidity on the Hardball Plaza in DC were getting to Chris Matthews. I'm not sure how else to explain his complaint, to the effect that it is wrong of the Roman Catholic Church to apply its rules to politicians as it does to other adherents.
His remark came in the course of a debate on religion on this afternoon's edition of "Hardball" between Christopher Hitchens, author of the atheist polemic "God Is Not Great", and the Reverend Al Sharpton.
HARDBALL HOST CHRIS MATTHEWS: Today you have the Roman Catholic church through its bishops challenging the rights of Catholic office-holders to take positions for abortion rights. They basically say you have to be for imprisonment of people involved with abortion or else you're not a Catholic and you'll be excommunicated. It seems to be an era, not just because of Islam, to keep religion out of politics . . . Why are they foisting themselves, why are the religious leaders jumping into the political marketplace and saying to politically-elected people, who are duly elected, "you cannot take that position and be in our church, or we will excommunicate you"? That seems to be what's going on.
Mika Brzezinski is at it again. As noted here and here, the daughter of Jimmy Carter's former National Security Advisor is inclined to inject her personal political views into her MSNBC newsreading role.
At 6:10 am EDT on today's "Morning Joe," Mika read an item reporting that Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) had called for a change of course in Iraq and expressed support for the recommendations of the Iraq Study Group, co-chaired by James Baker and Lugar's fellow Hoosier, Lee Hamilton.
Mika couldn't restrain herself, archly asking:
MSNBC NEWSREADER MIKA BRZEZINSKI: Whatever happened to the Iraq Study Group, because I believe President Bush asked for those pieces of advice, correct?
Host Joe Scarborough immediately called Mika on her editorializing.
MSNBC HOST JOE SCARBOROUGH: The thing is, Mika, if you write for the front page of the New York Times, they don't let you go into the editorial room.
Tuesday mornings’s Democratic presidential candidates forum, aired live on MSNBC and moderated by Chris Matthews, had a few, to put it mildly, strange moments. Billed as a forum, the event was little more than a union-sponsored soapbox for the three leading Democratic candidates, Senators Clinton and Obama, and former Senator Edwards.
The left-leaning American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, or AFSCME, which organized the soapbox, was quick to cheer for the most mundane of liberal catch phrases while descending into boos and hisses at the very mention of former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani.
I look forward to complaints that China has only a sixth of the world's population but emits a quarter of its CO2, that Chinese auto emissions standards aren't good enough (Mr Gore?) and that China hasn't signed Kyoto .....
As we've documented at NewsBusters, last year the media, particularly the Washington Post, raked then-Sen. George Allen (R-Va.) over the coals for his infamous "macaca" insult, and his ensuing profuse apologies for same. We've also documented that Democratic politicians' jokes about India and Indian-Americans have been largely ignored (see below the jump).
The latest racial incident kicking up dust on the 2008 campaign trail is yet another Democratic gaffe, dubbed by some, "Punjab-gate," after an Obama presidential campaign research memo cheekily described rival Hillary Clinton as a Democrat from Punjab, a province in India.
Of course, as the oppo memo itself notes, and as John McCormick of the Chicago Tribune reported in the Trib's "The Swamp" blog, Obama's staff were referring to another "lame attempt at humor" (my emphasis, see below jump) by the junior senator from the Empire State about her electoral chances were she to decide to relocate to India:
Monday, June 18, 2007 OHIO GOVERNOR SPEAKS AT CAIR BANQUET
(COLUMBUS, OH, 6/18/2007) - Ohio Governor Ted Strickland spoke last night at the tenth annual banquet of the Council on American-Islamic Relations chapter in that state (CAIR-OH).
Governor Strickland addressed the crowd of 350 people, saying: "On behalf of all Ohioans, [my wife and I] appreciate your vision to promote justice and mutual understanding. We gather under CAIR-Ohio's theme this year, 'American Muslims: Connecting and Sharing,' to do just that, to connect and share and get to know each other better."
Governor Strickland also expressed appreciation for "the Muslim traditions of strong family, hard work, and education,” and presented a proclamation honoring CAIR-Ohio’s work.
In an ideal world, a news consumer would get his or her essential facts from hard-news coverage, and would read op-ed columns solely to learn writers' opinions on particular topics of interest -- while perhaps being entertained in the process.
We clearly do not live in an ideal world. If fact, the "news" is all often turned upside-down, as journalists supposedly covering the hard news end up focusing on trivialities and personalities, while subtly (or not so subtly) injecting their own opinions into their work. This leaves the necessary work of substantively informing the audience to op-ed writers.
No one does the job Old Media hard-news reporters won't do better than Mark Steyn.
In his Chicago Sun-Times column today, Steyn, in his typical engaging style, does more in under 1,200 words to inform readers about the real-world implementation difficulties and disparate-treatment outrages in the immigration bill under consideration in Washington than all of Old Media's hard-news reporters have in several weeks.
Here are just a few of the nuggets in Steyn's piece that I was not aware of, and that you probably haven't seen or heard anywhere else:
Sam Zaramba, in a subscription-only op-ed column in Tuesday's Wall Street Journal, gives the next Woodward or Bernstein a hot story to follow up on:
..... malaria ..... is the biggest killer of Ugandan and all African children. Yet it remains preventable and curable. Last week in Germany, G-8 leaders committed new resources to the fight against the mosquito-borne disease and promised to use every available tool.
Now they must honor this promise by supporting African independence in the realm of disease control. We must be able to use Dichloro-Diphenyl-Trichloroethane -- DDT.
..... Today, every single Ugandan still remains at risk. Over 10 million Ugandans are infected each year, and up to 100,000 of our mothers and children die from the disease.
No one could possibly be conspiring to prevent the eradication of malaria, could they?
Well, yes they could. And they are, as Zaramba notes:
MSNBC was certainly the place to be Tuesday evening if you like watching a conservative take on a liberal about the value of the ACLU, and how tied into the Democrat Party that organization is. Also on the debate docket was the value of torture in terrorist interrogations.
What more could you ask for on a Tuesday evening?
Without further ado, in the left corner was Rosa Brooks of the Los Angeles Times; in the right corner was Tucker Carlson of MSNBC.
As this was scrappy and entertaining from the opening bell, I’m just going to let the tape role without any interruptions, and allow the reader to peruse the transcript that follows while watching this truly delicious segment (video available here, better fasten your seatbelts):
Was it the most important speech of President Reagan’s life?
Who knows? But, on the 20th anniversary of the moment many historians believe signaled the beginning of the end of the Cold War, none of the broadcast evening news programs bothered to even mention it.
Instead of covering the anniversary of President Reagan’s demands in front of the Brandenburg Gate in West Berlin, Germany, for Mikhail Gorbachev to “tear down this wall” (video and transcript of the speech available here), ABC’s “World News with Charles Gibson” reported:
On the June 12 "Early Show," anchor Harry Smith again pounded Tony Snow, and Tony Snow again responded with a reprimand. Smith, who recently offered a puffy interview of Al Gore, continued his harsh interrogation of the White House press secretary. When discussing the G-8 summit, Snow asserted that Bush has "taken the lead" on initiatives such as climate change. Smith interrupted Snow like wise.
THIS is CNN in 1998; the link is to a story debunking the network's Peter Arnett and April Oliver, who accused Vietnam soldiers of war crimes in Operation Tailwind.
This is from 2003. The network's Eason Jordan confessed that the network twisted the news out of Saddam Hussein's Iraq, thereby giving false impressions of the regime to the world so that it could maintain its access to the country (the article is posted at the author's web host for fair use and discussion purposes).
Then there's this from 2005. Eason Jordan accused the US military in Iraq of targeting journalists, and ultimately resigned in the wake of the outcry. "Somehow" the actual video footage of Jordan's accusations, made at the World Economic Forum in Davos, never surfaced.
As already noted on NewsBusters, former CBS anchor Dan Rather appeared on Monday’s edition of "Morning Joe" and lobbied for a "a strategic withdrawal from Iraq." He also found time to twice bash his "Evening News" successor Katie Couric for dumbing down and tarting up the news. After giving the standard caveat that Couric is a "nice person," he went in for kill. Speculating on the program’s declining ratings, Rather complained to MSNBC host Joe Scarborough that "the mistake was to try to bring the ‘Today’ show ethos to the evening news and to dumb it down, tart it up in hopes of attracting a younger audience."
Rather vociferously derided the media’s obsession with celebrities, in particular the hyperbolic coverage of the Paris Hilton affair. (This is a fair point, but it’s a little odd to be making it on MSNBC, one of the worst offenders in Hilton overkill.) For a second time in the 7:30am hour, he attacked the "superficial changes" made in his absence:
Can you remember the last time you heard "Today" or other MSM outlets describe, in terms such as "over the top," rabid anti-Bush protests by the likes of the Cindy Sheehan crowd, the Code Pink girls, or the folks pictured below ? Neither can I. Conversely, when Bill Clinton receives enthusiastic receptions overseas, the MSM breaks out the "rock-star" analogies, with no sarcasm in sight.
But let President Bush receive a warm welcome from Eastern European crowds who appreciate his leadership on behalf of their freedom, and "Today" just can't take it.
On this morning's "Today" at 7:04 am EDT, NBC's Kelly O'Donnell reported from Bulgaria on the president's European trip, in which crowds in Bulgaria and notably in Albania greeted him very enthusiastically.
NBC CORRESPONDENT KELLY O'DONNELL: We've seen the president get a warm, sometimes over-the-top reaction here in Eastern Europewhere countries send troops to Iraq and also generally back the president. So he may not be all that anxious to get back to Washington."
On Wednesday’s "Situation Room," liberal anchor Jack Cafferty argued that, perhaps, it's President Bush, not Vladimir Putin, who is attempting to reignite the Cold War. However, Cafferty might want to consider the fact that fewer pesky journalists seem to mysteriously disappear in the United States than they do in Russia.
During this week’s Republican debate, CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer had a suggestion for the national GOP: Be more like liberal Arnold Schwarzenegger. Now, this is an idea he’s peddled four times since the midterm elections. Isn’t it sweet when left-wing journalists offer advice to the Republican Party?
Speaking of liberal cable hosts, Keith Olbermann suggested this week that the unraveling of a terror plot at JFK airport was politically timed to help the Bush administration. Yes, Keith, and the Paris Hilton media soap opera is a cover by the White House to distract from the immigration debacle.
On Thursday’s “Good Morning America,” reporter Claire Shipman portrayed the simmering tensions between Russia and the United States as a replay of the Cold War and also took President Bush, who is meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin at this week’s G8 summit, to task for missing a “critical diplomatic opportunity” to cooperate with the Russians over the placing of a proposed missile defense system in Poland.
Additionally, Shipman, while noting Putin’s rollback of democracy, contended that Russia’s president is “wildly popular at home” and hyperbolically claimed that “everybody is very happy with Vladimir Putin there.” While it’s true that Putin’s autocratic nature appears to have done him no harm in the polls, it’s quite silly to say that “everybody” is happy in a country where journalists and spies continue to die mysteriously.
There has been a certain amount of MSM coverage of the fact that Sunni tribal chiefs have begun encouraging men in their areas to volunteer for the Iraqi police force [file photo]. But I haven't seen MSM stories on the way that increased police presence may have translated into a more normal day-to-day life for the people of Anbar -- the large, Sunni-dominated province of western Iraq that contains such former hotspots as Fallujah and Ramadi.
So that was the question on my mind when I had the chance to participate yesterday in a blogger conference call with Brigadier General David D. Phillips [pictured below], the Deputy Commanding General of CPATT, the entity responsible for the training of the new Iraqi police force. Here's the general's response to my question as to the effect of the presence of Iraqi police on life in cities in Anbar.