Editor and Publisher seems hardly able to hold back their excitement over the possibility that someone has found proof of the existence of the mysterious "Captain Jamil Hussein" who the Associated Press claimed as a source for the supposed burning of 6 Sunni Iraqis in retaliation for the depredations of that sect on their Shi'ite neighbors.
How do you know the Iraq Study Group report is dead? When on this evening's Fox News Watch conservative columnist Jim Pinkerton declares its "total evaporation" and the most aggressive liberal panelist doesn't bother to deny it.
"I think the most interesting thing has been the total evaporation of the Baker-Hamilton commission as a force in American politics. Of all people Laurence O'Donnell at the Huffington Post had a headline: 'Rush Limbaugh Is Right,' about the report, saying it is a formula for surrender. And whether you like it or not, Neal, Bush is not going to surrender Iraq."
A bloody civil conflict between distinct Muslim factions that has left thousands dead and many more displaced. Should America be involved? For the MSM, the obvious answer is 'no' if you're talking about Iraq. None of our business. A quagmire. We can't referee a civil war. Get out now.
But Darfur, another bloody conflict between warring Muslim groups? Well, that's different. Not only can and should we be involved, but, we're blithely informed, "this is one we can fix."
What's the difference? As more than one commentator has observed, liberals are all in favor of American intervention - so long as we have no national security interest at stake.
“A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.” - Winston Churchill
In the course of a Boston Globe column today in which she calls for a referendum in Iraq as to whether the US stays or goes, Ellen Goodman writes:
"Today we have nearly 3,000 American deaths, and by one estimate 650,000 Iraqi deaths."
Ever the environmentalist, Goodman dutifully recycles the findings of a report published in the Lancet magazine on civilian deaths in Iraq. This study, prepared by two anti-war partisans, has - as I noted here back in October - been thoroughly debunked. See more recently this piece which among other things quotes "Hot Air" thusly:
Liberal New York Times columnist Frank Rich was among friends during his appearance on Wednesday’s edition of The View. While co-hosts Elisabeth Hasselbeck and Rosie O’Donnell were nowhere to be found during the segment, Joy Behar and Barbara Walters allowed Rich to promote his book, which Walters herself said "tears the Bush White House apart." While Walters did pose one challenge to the writer’s assertion that the Iraq war cannot be won, most of the questions directed to the columnist would not be considered so tough.
Walters began the interview with the Times columnist with this glowing introduction:
Barbara Walters: "Every Sunday, millions of people turn to New York Times columnist Frank Rich to hear his views on everything from politics to pop culture. That's how important his opinions are. Not everybody loves his opinions, and in his new book, The Greatest Story Ever Sold, he absolutely tears the Bush White House apart. This is a book that is such fascinating reading."
The bravest and most patriotic of Americans, those who see first hand what goes on in Iraq, can see the liberal bias in the media. On Monday’s Hannity and Colmes, co-host Sean Hannity recounted from his recent trip to Iraq that many in uniform there feel the media paints a grimmer picture than the reality on the ground. Hannity first offered this comment when talking with Oliver North reporting from Ramadi, Iraq.
Sean Hannity: "You know Colonel, one of the things without fail, wherever the secretary went, he was greeted like a rock star. I mean, the troops love him. And the one theme that kept coming back to me, and they watched TV regularly, they’ve had Fox News on almost everywhere I went, is that the media was not portraying this accurately, and they did mentioned, quite often, the disdain and the disgust at the portrayal of, of their efforts and the politics that’s going on behind here in America. I assume that, this now your eighth trip to Iraq, you’re hearing a lot of the same thing."
Good-natured advice to reporters making headlines by exposing the ignorance of government officials on national security matters: keep your facts straight yourselves.
There's been a rash of stories in recent days about the shocking ignorance of various government officials when it comes to bread 'n butter facts about the war on terror. First there was a report by Lisa Myers of NBC revealing how little some top FBI officials knew about various terrorist groups and leaders.
Just in the last couple days, Jeff Stein the National Security Editor at Congressional Quarterly, has been getting a lot of play with his story of similar ignorance on the part of incoming House Intelligence Commitee Chairman Silvestre Reyes [D-TX]. Reyes didn't know that Al Qaeda was a strictly Sunni group, nor did he have command of the basics about Hezbollah.
What’s the best way to cover the story that the incoming Democratic House Intelligence Chairman flunked a reporter’s current events quiz? Well, if you’re the producers of CNN’s "American Morning," you devote five minutes to the subject and spend half the time discussing examples of Republicans flubbing such quizzes. Reporter Bob Franken filed two reports for the Tuesday edition of "American Morning" and seemed downright embarrassed to be reporting the fact that Texas Congressman Silvestre Reyes incorrectly responded to a correspondent’s question of who, Shiite or Sunni, primarily comprise al-Qaeda. (Reyes believed the answer to be Shiites.) Franken alternately asserted that the House member must now be aware of "snarky reporters," "treacherous reporters" and claimed that Reyes had been given a "rude welcome." Perhaps to make up for even mentioning the subject, the CNN reporter spent two and a half minutes, out of a combined five total, discussing Republican goofs. At 7:15am, co-host Soledad O’Brien introduced Franken, and set the "we-don’t-want-to-cover-this" tone:
Soledad O’Brien: "In Washington, D.C., Democrats are getting a little taste of what it's like to be in charge on Capitol Hill. Along with the perks of power comes the gotcha moments. The incoming House Intelligence Chairman is the current victim as he flunks an important test. ‘American Morning’s Bob Franken live in Washington for us this morning with details. Good morning."
Saturday's New York Times obituary for Jeane Kirkpatrick, President Ronald Reagan's envoy to the United Nations, was written by Tim Weiner and draws on Weiner's background as the paper's liberal defense reporter during the 1990s.
Weiner takes a mostly positive look at Kirkpatrick's life and influence at the U.N., but can't resist inserting his own liberal foreign policy slant.
"At the United Nations, she defended Israel's invasion of Lebanon in 1982 and the American invasion of Grenada in 1983. She argued for El Salvador's right-wing junta and against Nicaragua’s left-wing ruling council, the Sandinistas."
I almost did a double take when reading this editorial knowing it came from the Washington Post. Kudos to the staff of the editorial page for printing something very politically incorrect about deceased former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, and acknowledging the horrible truth that Fidel Castro, the aging communist ruler of Cuba, has not been sufficiently denounced.
Castro-worship (and really Fidel is just a cipher for any leftist dictator) is an amusing thing. I once encountered a college professor who was so enamored of him, he even defended Castro's systematic murders and imprisonments of gay Cubans, despite having previously denounced the right for being anti-gay just weeks before. The further irony was, that this guy taught ancient political philosophy and history and yet was forever going on about how wonderful Fidel was.
And now to the excerpt:
It's hard not to notice, however, that the evil dictator leaves
behind the most successful country in Latin America. In the past 15
years, Chile's economy has grown at twice the regional average, and its
poverty rate has been halved. It's leaving behind the developing world,
where all of its neighbors remain mired. It also has a vibrant
democracy. Earlier this year it elected another socialist president,
Michelle Bachelet, who suffered persecution during the Pinochet years.
..... now the WashPost has printed another article on the city, this time an upbeat one. What gives? You guessed it.The second one was reported from Ramadi. Case closed, thank you very much. Unfortunately, it's little solace knowing how few journalists ever leave their safe little hovels in Baghdad hotels or Washington, D.C.
Kaus doesn't think "upbeat" accurately describes the WaPo article, which is actually an AP dispatch by Will Weissert. I agree; I'd call it "even-handed."
But there's a larger point, which is that an actual named AP reporter has reported from something other than a "safe little hovel," and from Ramadi no less.
Why? I have to wonder if AP is responding to the current controversy, by doing things it would probably never admit to doing, and certainly would never attribute to having been done because of outside influence. Specifically:
Was it a planned one-two punch? On Saturday, New York Times columnist Frank Rich declared that "we have lost in Iraq." Today, in The Time Is Now, his Times colleague Bob Herbert flatly calls for surrender. No conditions, no time-table. As Herbert starkly puts it: "it is time to pull the troops out of harm’s way."
Herbert says "it is wrong to continue sending fresh bodies after those already lost." He raises the "moral question" of justifying "the lives that will be lost between now and the final day of our departure." But Herbert ignores another looming moral question: the lives that will be lost if we hastily retreat.
Those looking for a true conservative to enter the Republican presidential field might be feeling a bit perplexed in the wake of Sam Brownback's performance on this morning's Fox News Sunday. The senator from Kansas:
Endorsed the ISG report and appeared to strongly support negotiations with Iran and Syria.
Called for a timetable for US withdrawal.
Spoke approvingly of a Bidenesqe division of Iraq into three ethnic regions.
Declined to swing at the softball host Chris Wallace lobbed at him regarding Mitt Romney's flip-flops on abortion and gay rights.
Seemingly described himself as a "compassionate conservative."
Invited by Wallace to comment on the ISG report, Brownback was surprisingly supportive: "I think [Pres. Bush] really should look at these recommendations very seriously as well. And it seems to me that what Baker-Hamilton provides us is a chance to kind of reset the table and get a bi-partisan buy-in and not just a bipartisan buy-in, a global buy-in to what we can do to move forward in Iraq and get our troops out of harm's way and out of the sectarian violence. I think this is an important moment, like senator Dodd identifies as well"
How does Jimmy Carter know when he's outstayed his welcome on the international stage? When even Jane Hall, the genial liberal of Fox News Watch, suggests it's time to turn him out to pasture. Carter's latest book, an anti-Israel diatribe incitingly entitled "Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid" brought this evening's panel together - in criticism of the 39th president.
Lefty Neal Gabler took the first shot, noting the way Carter went after Jewish critics of his book: "he's criticizing book reviewers of his book for being too Jewish, which I think is very odd."
Said conservative commentator Cal Thomas: "Carter has pretty much enjoyed a free ride on the Middle East because of Camp David and the great media celebration of that. I think it's time to confront him a little more about the content of his ideas."
But it was the normally mild-mannered Jane Hall who got off the line of the night:
Sure, the recommendations of the Iraq Study Group might be largely useless. But hey, check out all the wonderful consensus - and cue another chorus of Kumbaya! That, in a nutshell, is the message of the Boston Globe's editorial of this morning, Presidential Ingratitude.
"Whatever might be questioned in any particular recommendation of the report, the bipartisan spirit and consensus-building purpose of the Iraq Study Group deserve grateful praise from the president, not a defensive rejection."
"The Iraq Study Group may not have come up with all the right answers; in their pursuit of unanimity, they may have settled for split-the-difference compromises where only one straight path makes sense.But in their bipartisan spirit of cooperation, they gave Americans a much-needed reminder of how statecraft once was conducted."
Guest hosting this afternoon's Hardball, Mike Barnicle claimed to decry the politics surrounding the Iraq Study Group's report. But when it comes to political cheap shots, does it get much lower than this comment by Barnicle himself?
"Since the report was issued, I think 19 Americans have been killed in Iraq. Does anybody really think about that at the top level here today in terms of the report? Is it all just the politics of it?"
What is it about leaving a network gig that makes news anchors even more biased? Ex-host Tom Brokaw told a "Harball" audience that Barack Obama is a "rock star," lavished praise on Jon Stewart, and claimed that Ronald Reagan neglected "Mother Earth."
Speaking of NBC stars who suck up to environmentalists, Matt Lauer recently encouraged Al Gore to run for president and "save the planet." Way to stay objective, Matt!
The "Today" anchor continued his global warming obsession in another segment, lauding actor Leonardo DiCaprio for "standing up to get people thinking" about the issue. (Funny, I don’t recall the "Today" host complimenting many pro-life activists for "standing up.")
Lobbying for global warming can be tiring work, as NewsBusters editor Matthew Sheffield noted when he pointed out that CNN host Miles O’Brien fell asleep during recent hearings on the subject.
This week, the "mainstream" media continued lobbying for a complete acknowledgment of total failure in Iraq. "Time" magazine likened the Iraq Study Report to a drug intervention. Discussing the same subject, "Hardball" guest host Mike Barnicle wondered if President Bush is "delusional," " isolated" or "stubborn." Those are certainly some great options to chose from!
NBC is so giddy to report on Bush’s failures in Iraq, they’ll even spin the truth. On Friday’s Today,Ann Curry and Tim Russert deeply implied their shared beliefs on an incompetent, stubborn, and increasingly isolated Bush administration. Curry inquired, "just how extraordinary were the events of this week?"
They got so carried away in their Bush bashing, Tim Russert strayed from the truth claiming, "a new secretary of Defense says, no we’re losing in Iraq."
However, what incoming Defense Secretary Robert Gates actually said was that the United States is "not winning but, not losing." As fellow news analyst Michael Rule noted, CBS misquoted Robert Gates as well. The entire transcript is below.
Ann Curry: "Tim Russert is NBC's Washington bureau chief and the moderator of Meet the Press. Tim, good morning."
Perhaps in an attempt to surpass even David Gregory for most egregious bias, CNN reporter Suzanne Malveaux derided President Bush as a "Kool-Aid" drinker who won’t admit failure in Iraq. In a report for the Friday edition of "American Morning," the White House correspondent discussed Bush’s news conference with British Prime Minister Tony Blair. In additional fits of bias, Malveaux, described the President’s frustration at the lack of progress in Iraq as "the closest you'll get from this president to admitting failure" and noted that "for Mr. Bush, it's not easy to admit mistakes." But nowhere did Ms. Malveaux make her editorial point more clear, that Iraq is a total failure and Bush is in denial, than when she drew an allusion to Jonestown and the infamous mass suicide by Kool-Aid:
Suzanne Malveaux: "President Bush and his closest ally, British Prime Minister Tony Blair, have stood shoulder to shoulder on the Iraq war since the very beginning. Critics calling Mr. Bush 'the cowboy' for stubbornly leading the charge, and Mr. Blair 'the poodle' for obediently following. But three years since the U.S. invasion, the two are still adamant their Iraq mission is sound. President Bush didn't just drink the Kool-Aid, he made it. But perhaps now it's a little less sweet."
Al Gore's not just a father of the internet. Not merely a savior of the planet. He's also a venerable psychotherapist. Ask Ann Curry.
'Today' opened its show this morning with a clip of a British reporter snidely asking President Bush, at his joint press conference yesterday with British PM Tony Blair, whether he was "in denial" over Iraq.
Curry kept the psychoanalysis going with this comment-in-the-guise-of-a-question to Tim Russert:
"This has got to be a tough time for this president. We heard earlier on this program from Al Gore, earlier this week, his recommendation to the president not to take all of this personally. Is there a sense in Washington that the president is having such a tough time with this personally that it's making it difficult, it's affecting his judgment, over what to do next in Iraq?"
Iranian Ambassador to the United Nations Javad Zarif seemed to take the advice from Howard Dean: Whenever someone challenges you, blame the "Fox News propaganda machine." On Wednesday night, Zarif spoke at a forum at Columbia University. Several students challenged him on issues from support of Hezbollah, nuclear ambitions, suppressing dissent, and denial of the Holocaust. The frustrated Zarif retorted, "my friend don’t consume whatever is fed by Fox News." The crowd reacted with laughter and some scattered applause.
This was not the first time the Iranian government, like the Democrats, blasted Fox News. Back in March, Iranian Ambassador to the IAEA Ali Asghar Sotanieh attacked Fox News. A left wing blogger chose to side with the Ayatollahs. I thought liberals hate theocracy. I guess I was wrong. The entire transcript is below.
How do you know the Iraq Study Group's suggestion of reaching out to Iran is in trouble? When of all people a leading MSM light like Matt Lauer approvingly cites leading neo-con Richard Perle to shoot down the idea.
The Baker-Hamilton duo was making the TV rounds this morning. Appearing on 'Today,' it wasn't long into their chat with Matt that he hit them with this:
"Let's talk about this idea of reaching out to the people in the neighborhood - Syria and Iran. Richard Perle said recently that 'talking to Iran about Iraq will be seen throughout the region as an indication of American weakness."
To drive home the point, 'Today' displayed a graphic with Perle's photo and the language cited above.
In a story on the resignation of United Nations ambassador John Bolton, reporter Helene Cooper, for the second time in three weeks, suggests (mockingly?) that defeated Sen. Lincoln Chafee, one of John Bolton's chief Republican critics, is actually a possibility to succeed Bolton as ambassador to the U.N.
Stephen Spruiell of National Review Online caught it first when the story was posted to the Times website Monday, but the story was subsequently changed both online and in print, deleting the Chafee reference.
On Wednesday morning, the highly anticipated report from the Iraq Study Group [ISG] was released to the public. The ISG’s report contained seventy-nine recommendations for the United States in its effort to lessen the violence in Iraq and protect American forces. One of the major recommendations of the panel was a call for the withdrawal of most U.S. combat troops by early 2008.
During an 11am press conference Wednesday, Jonathan Karl, ABC’s senior national security correspondent asked the panel pointedly why their recommendations should outweigh the advice President Bush receives from military commanders on the ground:
Jonathan Karl, ABC News: "You're certainly a group of distinguished elder statesmen, but tell me why should the President give more weight to what you all have said, given that, as I understand, you went to Iraq once–with the exception of Senator Robb, none of you made it out of the Green Zone–why should he give your recommendations any more weight than what he’s hearing from his commanders on the ground in Iraq?"
New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman declared that the insurgency in Iraq has been defeating the U.S. military for the past four years during an interview Wednesday with Good Morning America’s Diane Sawyer. While making the argument that there is no "two to three year" solution for the violence occuring in Iraq, Friedman declared victory for the insurgents:
Thomas Friedman: "...I don't believe myself that there's a two to three year solution where we just train a few more troops. The issue isn't training, Diane. After all, who's training the insurgents? Nobody. They're doing just fine. They've basically been defeating the U.S. military for the last four years."
Professor, in So Many Words, Says That Jimmy Carter Deserves Another Prize: Best Fiction Writer in an Alleged Non-Fiction Book; Prediction is that Media Will Ignore
Great catch and follow-up comment by blogger Nasty Brutish & Short -- The Carter Center of Emory University has lost a Middle East Fellow, namely Professor Kenneth Stein, "solely as a result of Carter's new book, Palestine: Peace, Not Apartheid" (link is to a post at Powerline, which has Stein's full e-mail; also discussed by J-Pod and Goldberg at NRO's The Corner).
Here's the money paragraph from Stein's resignation letter:
President Carter's book on the Middle East, a title too inflammatory to even print, is not based on unvarnished analyses; it is replete with factual errors, copied materials not cited, superficialities, glaring omissions, and simply invented segments. Aside from the one-sided nature of the book, meant to provoke, there are recollections cited from meetings where I was the third person in the room, and my notes of those meetings show little similarity to points claimed in the book. Being a former President does not give one a unique privilege to invent information or to unpack it with cuts, deftly slanted to provide a particular outlook.
Since today is being hyped as Bow to the Iraq Study Group Day, we should note that this is not a White House commission, but a group assembled by Congress. It’s also affiliated with the U.S. Institute of Peace. (Not all of those affiliated commissions get massive hype from journalists. For example, take Newt Gingrich and George Mitchell’s commission on United Nations reform last year.) Gail Russell Chaddock of the Christian Science Monitor explained recently it began with veteran Republican Rep. Frank Wolf of northern Virginia:
The Iraq Study Group is the flip side of the usual blue-ribbon panel, whose launch is often its high point. It began modestly as a one-line earmark in last spring's emergency defense spending bill - "$1 million ... for activities relating to Iraq."
No Chris Matthews, no problem. The regular host of MSNBC's Hardball might be taking a post-election break, but the show hasn't missed a beat when it comes to liberal bias. We detailed here the sycophantish performance that last week's substitute host David Shuster put on with guest Jimmy Carter. With John Kerry as his guest, this evening's pinch hitter Mike Barnicle kept the Matthews' anti-Bush flame burning.
Barnicle offered guest John Kerry this distinctly negative multiple choice test to explain President Bush's Iraq policy:
"Is the president delusional, is he isolated, is he stubborn, is he all of the above, none of the above?"
In a special edition of MSNBC's Hardball College Tour former NBC Nightly News anchor Tom Brokaw went on diatribes against the President's war policy, comparing it to Vietnam, praised "rock star" Barack Obama, castigated "blatantly racist" Republican ads, charged Ronald Reagan neglected, "Mother Earth," and declared of the notoriously liberal Daily Show: "There are more facts and more truths told in the first eight minutes of The Daily Show than most political news conferences in Washington."
NBC's Campbell Brown filled in for host Chris Matthews as she teed up questions to Brokaw at Fordham University. The following are some of the more relevant rants from Brokaw:
The Iraq Study Group's recommendations are about to be released. Think about it: what should be the media's focus? I'd say attention should center on what those recommendations are, and whether if implemented they would advance - or impair - US interests in Iraq.
But that's not the MSM's focus at all. From the cover of Newsweek to the Today show, the concern is not whether the recommendations are good, but only whether President Bush will accept them.
In the course of Matt Lauer's interview of former Bush chief-of-staff Andy Card, 'Today' flashed the Newsweek cover shown here. When Card began