On Tuesday, jury selection began in the trial of Lewis Libby. And "Good Morning America" reporter Claire Shipman couldn’t resist spinning this occasion into an attack against President Bush. Libby, the former Chief of Staff to Vice President Dick Cheney, is charged with perjury and obstruction of justice. He does not, however, face prosecution for publically outing Wilson's wife, CIA agent Valerie Plame. However, through sloppy phrasing and omission, Shipman encouraged the assumption that this is yet another example of the Bush administration’s misconduct. The most brazen example is the GMA reporter’s description of the "original crime":
Claire Shipman: "Prosecutors are trying to show that Libby lied to investigators about conversations he had with reporters regarding CIA officer Valerie Plame, the undercover agent who was outed. Libby blames a faulty memory. And in classic Washington style, Libby isn't in trouble for the original crime, outing Plame, but, rather, the, quote, ‘the cover up,’ according to the prosecutor."
No government official has been charged with revealing the identity of Valerie Plame. So, how can there be an "original crime?"
What's become of multiculturalism? Isn't it an entrenched tenet of liberal dogma that all cultures are to be "celebrated" as equally worthy? Yet in recent weeks I've noticed a countervaling trend in the liberal establishment. Western values are exalted, as here and here. Then, even Thomas Friedman, bien-pensant hero of the foreign policy establishment, indulged in some negative Arab stereotyping that would have had the PC police screaming had the author not been, well, Thomas Friedman.
Today comes another certified MSMer, Richard Cohen of the Washington Post, suggesting that Iraqis might be fundamentally different from Americans, so much so that what they require is a brutal dictator. Muses Cohen in his column of today, Our Tunnel Vision .
As everyone knows and Andrea Mitchell has confirmed, Chris Matthews is no liberal. Don't let the fact that he describes the goal of the impending Iraq surge as "ethnic cleansing" fool you.
Matthews discussed the impending surge into Baghdad on this evening's Hardball with David Ignatius of the Washington Post and Gary Berntsen, the former CIA field commander for the agency's Jawbreaker team at Tora Bora.
Said Matthews, speaking of the role of US troops:
"If they are forced to do patrol duty in the streets of the Sunni areas where they are expected to basically be part of the ethnic cleansing because they will be shooting at Sunnis, they are going to get shot back at."
"Do you owe the Iraqi people an apology for not doing a better job?"
This is one of the questions President Bush faced from "60 Minutes" correspondent Scott Pelley on Sunday’s program. Pelley also cited the same "Military Times" CBS’s Chief White House correspondent Jim Axelrod cited on the January 11 edition of the "Evening News," which shows more miltiary troops now disapprove of the President’s handling of the war in Iraq, and was highlighted by Brent Baker here on Newsbusters. However, when John Kerry and John Edwards and their wives were jointly interviewed on the program on July 11, 2004, correspondent Lesley Stahl did not mention a CBS poll that showed war veterans supporting President Bush for reelection by a large margin, and that poll was significant in that veterans were a group that Senator Kerry was actively courting.
When CBS launched their blog Public Eye in Sept. of 2005 they claimed it would give us "the journalists who make the important editorial decisions at CBS News and CBSNews.com" and that those journalists "will now be asked to explain and answer questions about those decisions in a public forum."
While the jury might be out on the success of their task, we can certainly wonder at their ability to step away from themselves to render balanced judgment. Especially in the case of their recent story, "Biased In Both Directions", where they declare that the MSM is reporting "in the middle" where it concerns stories about Iraq.
James Carroll, whose Boston Globe columns might be viewed less as reasoned discourse and more as auto-therapy for his famous rift with his father, predictably turns his MLK, Jr. Day piece into a condemnation of all things American.
Vietnam was at the root of his split with his father, as Carroll documented in God, My Father, and the War That Came Between Us. So Carroll naturally drags a Vietnam/Iraq analogy into his piece: "like Bush, Johnson was presiding over a lost war." Of course, if there was a lesson of Vietnam it's that we lost it because we lost the political will to win it.
Has Chris Matthews surged and accelerated his war against President Bush? Did the MSNBC host and analyst refer to the Commander-in-Chief as "evil"?
In the course of Matthews dialogue with Lester Holt, guest-hosting on this morning's "Today," Holt raised the possibility that President Bush might choose to expand the war into Iran:
Holt: "The president of course has stepped up language against Iran for its interference within Iraq. He sent a naval aircraft carrier group to the Persian Gulf. If he makes this now against Ahmadinejad, if Ahmadinejad becomes the 'poster thug' in this case, does that increase support for the war?"
Matthews: "Well, the president may well choose to widen the war for political reasons . He may do it for military reasons. We do have our troops under assault in Iraq and he has to protect the troops. And if there is Iraqi [sic, presumably Iranian] involvement in the other side he has to take steps. The danger is we might cross the border into Iraq [sic, again surely referring to Iran], therefore triggering a reaction from Iraq, from Iran rather, and then we go to war with Iran. And I think the President might well want to do that. Who knows what evil lurks? But the fact of the matter is that the American public may never get a say in this. The Congress may never get a say in it."
It's not enough to embrace defeat in Iraq. The United States should preemptively capitulate to Iran too. That's not Noam Chomsky's latest fevered pronouncement, nor the impassioned plea of Cindy Sheehan at the gates of Gitmo. It is the opening paragraph of a column in this morning's Boston Globe by Robert Rotberg. And who is Rotberg? Former President of Lafayette College, former professor at MIT, now Director of Harvards's Kennedy School Program on Intrastate Conflict and Conflict Resolution.
"The only way to promote sustainable peace, stability, and order in Iraq is to forge an unholy alliance with Iran -- and accept Iran's dominant influence in the Middle East. Only by accepting Iranian hegemonic pretensions, odious as they are, can the United States extricate itself somewhat honorably from Iraq."
In case we missed the point, here's how Rotberg concludes his column:
"Churchill mobilized the English language and sent it into battle." - Edward R. Murrow
Give Frank Rich credit for this: he doesn't run from his theater-critic past. Like a mirror-image Churchill, the man now paid by the New York Times to think great thoughts rather than to laugh till he cries mobilizes theater metaphors in his pay-per-view, anti-war opus of this morning, He’s in the Bunker Now.
Rich begins by informing us that President Bush has morphed from Harold Hill in "The Music Man" into Willy Loman from "Death of a Salesman." And we all know what that means.
Cal Thomas had the line of the night on this evening's Fox News Watch. Here's how the conservative commentator explained Americans' dissatisfaction with progress in Iraq:
"Part of the problem here is we have Desert Storm with the 100-hour war. Everybody came home. There were victory marches, General Schwarzkopf leading. The press was full of stories: 'we finally got the Vietnam monkey off our back.' Now we're used to the very quick action. It's not going to happen, except thank goodness Jack Bauer is coming back to make it happen on '24' - that's what we're waiting for."
As might be expected, the New York Times is trying its unlevel MSM best to portray Iraqi reaction to President Bush's recently-announced proposal in the most negative possible light. But the Gray Lady has already been forced to acknowledge that it blatantly misrepresented a key fact in its recent article on the matter. Now, new doubts have arisen about its characterization of Iraqi reaction.
In its article of January 11th, unsubtly entitled In Baghdad, Bush Policy Is Met With Resentment, the Times claimed that the Iraqi government had "offered only a grudging endorsement" of President Bush's proposal and that its response was "tepid."
As supposed evidence of the alleged "resentment," the Times claimed that "the Iraqi leader, Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, failed to appear at a news conference," suggesting that he had spurned a scheduled appearance. This notion was reinforced by the legend appearing beneath the Times' photo [displayed here]: "Iraq’s prime minister sent a spokesman, Ali al-Dabbagh, to address President Bush’s latest policy."
There was only one problem with the Times depiction of PM Maliki having failed to make a scheduled appearance: it wasn't true. The press briefing was a regularly-scheduled weekly event with Government of Iraq spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh and the Prime Minister was never scheduled to appear.
The Times was forced to acknowledge its misrepresentation in a correction published today:
How do you know when someone's gone off the deep end of the liberal pool? When she manages to outdo Keith Olbermann at the art of invective.
On this evening's Countdown, Olbermann and Arianna Huffington were discussing Joe Lieberman's support of President Bush's Iraq policy. Olbermann's opening bid was to suggest, given Lieberman's backing of traditional Dem positions on ethics and global warming and the fact that "he could give the Senate to the GOP if he feels crossed or just feels like it," that the independent Democratic senator from CT was a "necessary evil" from the Dems' viewpoint.
"Necessary evil"? Was that weak beer the best Keith could do? Arianna easily trumped Olbermann's opprobrium: "this is like somebody having a horrible disease and looking at some positive side-effect. Like having terminal cancer and saying 'but, I'm losing weight in the process.'"
As NewsBuster Warner Todd Huston has noted, Sen. Barbara Boxer took an unseemly jab at Condi Rice yesterday.
Of all the members of the Senate, the one you might expect to be least likely to call attention to a woman's single, childless status for purposes of scoring political points would be Boxer. And yet it was the oh-so-broadminded senator from the Bay Area who did just that when Condi Rice appeared before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee yesterday to defend President Bush's newly-announced Iraq plans.
In a segment narrated by ABC senior national correspondent Jake Tapper, today's Good Morning America highlighted Boxer's questionable comment, running a good-sized clip of the exchange.
Is it not outrageous that Senator Barbara Boxer (Dem, Cal) verbally attacked Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice for not having children as Rice appeared before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Thursday to discuss the Administrations position on Bush's Iraq military "surge" plans? Is this an acceptable criticism of a political official? Is the fact that an official might not have children reason to doubt their capacity for policy making or ability to advise an administration?
Is this the Democrat's new era of niceness, their less rancorous way of governing?
I was shocked to see this intemperate verbal assault by Boxer in the New York Post, but I became curious to see how other MSM sources treated the outrageous comments of the unbalanced Boxer. So, I did a little search of the reactions of the press.
(Full excerpts of the sections in each story that detailed Boxer's outrageous behavior follows)
On the day after President Bush announced a troop surge in Iraq, CNN chose to commemorate an odd "anniversary." As of January 11, it has now been five years since the first terrorist suspects arrived at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The cable network’s "Your World Today" program used this date to highlight the "allegations of mistreatment amounting to torture" at the facility. On Thursday, the hour-long show featured two segments and a news brief on the subject, all heavily focusing on how the camp could be shut down, not whether it should be closed. After an intro piece on the history of the camp, anchor Hala Gorani interviewed Human Rights Watch Executive Director Ken Roth and began her questioning with this loaded lead-in:
Hala Gorani: "Well, Human Rights Watch says detaining hundreds of men without charge at Guantanamo has been a legal and political debacle of historic proportions. But what can human rights groups do to shut the facility down or put pressure on governments? Human Rights Watch executive director Ken Roth joins us now live from Washington. That was a quote from you, ‘a legal and political debacle of historic proportions,’ Ken. Did you imagine in 2001, that in 2007 Guantanamo Bay would still be operating?"
Illinois Senator Dick Durbin appeared on Thursday’s "Early Show" to discuss President Bush’s new strategy for Iraq, and, as one would expect, Senator Durbin was highly critical of the plan. However, it wasn’t anything that Durbin or "Early Show" co-host Harry Smith said that was attention grabbing, but the information CBS provided under Mr. Durbin’s name that was perplexing. For example, CBS informed viewers that the senior Senator from Illinois supports the presidential ambitions of his junior colleague, Barack Obama. Other tidbits of information provided by CBS included that Mr. Durbin is in his second term in the Senate and that "Time" rated him as one of the Senate’s ten most effective members.
Appearing on this morning's Imus show, Chris Matthews [file photo] painted a portrait of a bloodthirsty VP Cheney.
Matthews: "I don't think we should get deeper and deeper into the sands of Arabia with more troops. I think these decisions to keep going forward, which is what he’s doing, is getting us into a quicksand situation where the more you struggle, the more you sink. I think that's where we're headed and it‘s because of his ideology, because of the neocons who have grabbed his arm again, this guy Fred Kagan has grabbed hold of him [the president] again and they've using [retired General] Jack Keane to do it, and they’re working through Cheney, of course, who always wants to kill, and they’ve dragged us back into the same mentality that we're looking for any reason to strike, and I think that's the way he is towards Iran right now."
Appearing on this morning's "Early Show," CBS Chief Foreign Correspondent Lara Logan lit into President Bush's Iraq plan. Harry Smith opened the exchange: "the question of the morning is, can Prime Minister Maliki's government hold up its end of the bargain?"
Replied the South-African born, French-educated Logan: "That's a very good question, because most people agree that this whole plan depends on the Maliki government living up to their promises. Very, very few people in Baghdad believe that Maliki is willing or able to do this. And what you're looking at is essentially a government where all signs point to a sectarian government pursuing a sectarian agenda. And so when Maliki says he's going to act against the militias the Sunnis simply just don't believe him."
Could Meredith Vieira be emerging as one of the morning shows' most incisive inquisitioners? As we noted here, Katie Couric's replacement at "Today" recently gave Ted Kennedy a rather rough going-over regarding his legislative proposal to require the president to obtain congressional approval for a surge.
This morning, she took on the hitherto untouchable Barack Obama. And while her tone and line of questioning were not disrespectful, neither was there any hint of the kind of MSM cheerleading that the junior senator from IL has no doubt come to expect.
Before we get to Vieira's questions, take a good look at the screencap. By his super-serious mien and the marble-pillared setting he chose for the interview, Obama was clearly trying to project the image of a ready-for-prime-time Commander-in-Chief. Call him "Stone Cold Barack Obama."
While there's never been much doubt as to where Norah O'Donnell stands politically, I've never heard her express a political position in such unmistakably personal terms as she did this afternoon on Tucker Carlson's MSNBC show. Said Norah, discussing the President's imminent announcement of a surge:
"The President has chosen a military solution to the sectarian violence. As Brownback said today, and an increasing number of Democrats, it should be a political solution."
When Tucker countered that the military is traditionally used for the express purpose of ultimately achieving a political solution, Norah again expressed her own view: "Perhaps when there's a clear enemy. But in this case there's not really an enemy. We're in the middle of a civil war between Sunnis and Shias."
In other words, what follows is from an officially released May 30, 2004 interview of Nancy Pelosi by Tim Russert. At the time, what Pelosi said was blessed by the party, and what she said is that there should be more troops in Iraq (bolds are mine):
"Thank God for blogs," said White House Press Secretary Tony Snow this afternoon, commenting on the Bush administration's communications efforts. The comment came in the course of a conference call for bloggers conducted this afternoon by Snow and Brett McGurk [pictured here], the National Security Council's Director for Iraq, giving a preview of President Bush's speech of tonight on Iraq. I had the opportunity to participate on behalf on NewsBusters.
Snow described the problem with the traditional media - generously I would say - not in terms of bias but as a function of the "if it bleeds it leads" tendency.
Snow indicated that he reads the blogs represented in the conference call. It's clear that the White House views blogs, NewsBusters among them, as playing an important role in cutting through the MSM clutter. Snow also described the frustration of military people in Iraq with media coverage that does not comport with the reality they experience in the field. Snow predicted that service people would begin using their own video cameras and sites such as YouTube and LiveLeak to get the word out. Along those lines, I can say that one of the most empowering aspects of my recent trip to Iraq was the ability to put video up on NewsBusters, at times within an hour of events in the field, as with this report on a training exercise of Iraqi soldiers on the Euphrates river in Anbar province.
Among the encouraging details emerging from the conference call:
UPI is wagging its finger at U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez via a group of "Arab leaders" who are warning the government "to fight anti-Arab bigotry." The whole UPI "report" is nothing but the warnings of these so-called leaders about how filled with bigotry the USA is and how the government must fight it.
With all this hooplah, one would imagine that Arabs are being attacked, mistreated and discriminated against all across the country at an alarming rate. Arab "leader" James Zogby even makes the claim that the government must "reverse this disturbing and increasingly accepted trend of anti-Arab and Muslim bias".
Where has Maxine Waters been? It wasn't until she turned up on Tucker Carlson's show this afternoon that I realized how long it's been. Now there is one fun lady. The Representative from California proved the perfect foil, helping Carlson score some wicked points at Nancy Pelosi's expense.
Carlson's fundamental question, and I think it's a good one, is, given that Dems ran and were elected on an anti-war platform, why are they apparently about to go along with the surge? The unstated answer is that they've made a cynical political calculation that it's in their interest to demagogue the issue rather than lead.
Here's how it went down:
Waters: "I certainly, do not trust the President of the United States to lay out a case that is believable . . . I don't trust him. I don't believe him, I won't be supporting it, for sure."
Carlson: "But [Pelosi's] naive enough to believe him. I think I understand the point you're making."
Is there no bridge too far for Joe Scarborough to cross in defending charges of liberal bias against his NBC/MSNBC employers? On last night's Scarborough Country, Joe adopted a position so sycophantish, even Keith Olbermann might have been embarrassed by it.
Scarborough suggested that NBC News had done the right thing in assembling a panel on the Iraq surge composed exclusively of experts hostile to the President Bush's proposal. Scarborough's suggestion came in the course of a segment on Bill O'Reilly's revealing interview with Andrea Mitchell last week, during which he confronted her on NBC's liberal bias. Video: Real (4.3MB) or Windows (5MB) PlusMP3 (795 KB)
It was the worst of times, it was the best of times on this morning's "Today." Throughout the show's long opening segment on Iraq, and regardless of the visuals: from David Gregory to President Bush, troops on the ground, Nancy Pelosi, Gordon Smith, etc., the screen graphic continued to skeptically ask "Lost Cause?"
So when Meredith Vieira began her subsequent interview of Ted Kennedy, there was every reason to expect her to lob softballs to the senator on the legislation he's introducing requiring Pres. Bush to obtain specific congressional authorization of a surge.
Perhaps the strident liberalism of Rosie O’Donnell and Joy Behar is emboldening Barbara Walters? On the Monday edition of "The View," the ABC journalist insisted that America went to war with Iraq without knowing the facts. Walters made her assertion follwing comments from the liberal O’Donnell, who touted the fact that she wore a "No War" t-shirt prior to the 2003 invasion, and co-host Behar’s claim that "they [the Bush administration] lied to us!" The veteran correspondent responded to these statements by sounding like more of an activist and less of a journalist:
Barbara Walters: "We didn't have the facts at that time."
Joy Behar: "That's right."
Walters: "We did not have the facts. And it is true that we have not seen– We have– We- The most brutal pictures we saw were the pictures of Saddam Hussein being hanged. We have not seen some of, some of the terribleness that have happened to our men and women. And I do think, and if you look at the polls, that the tide is turning. What the answer is, nobody seems to know."
Eleanor Clift of Newsweek asserted on this past weekend’s McLaughlin Group that John Negroponte was moving from the role of Director of National Intelligence to become the number two man at the State Department because Vice President Cheney and President Bush wanted a yes man in the intelligence position who would "support their desire to make war with Iran." Clift also portrayed Vice President Cheney as a bully on intelligence matters as she claimed that had Negroponte remained the Director of National Intelligence, "he’d spend the next two years agreeing with Dick Cheney that we have to wage war with Iran, or he’d be pushing back unsuccessfully."
Yet in her indictment of the President and Vice President over wanting war with Iran, Clift neither condemned any of Iran’s provocative actions, nor did she mention paths the Bush administration is pursuing to avoid war, such as working through the U.N. Security Council to impose sanctions.
George W. Bush is less overtly religious in his public pronouncements than many of his presidential predecessors. Yet the MSM often portrays him as a zealot who sees himself on a mission from God.
Pundit Norm Ornstein perpetuated the stereotype on this morning's "Good Morning America". ABC senior national correspondent Jake Tapper narrated a segment on Pres. Bush's impending announcement of a surge of troops into Iraq. The thrust was that W is making his decision despite bi-partisan opposition. Not only are virtually all Dems opposed, but, as Tapper put it, "even some Republicans are expressing serious doubts about the proposed surge." To that effect, an excerpt was played of Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell's appearance on yesterday's Fox News Sunday stating: "I think there will be some who will and some who won't [support the surge]."
Chronicle staff writer, Robert Collier, wants the US to "negotiate" with the radical, Islamist, terrorists and the old guard Saddamists that are vexing Iraq's attempts to move into the 21st century preventing them in their laudable attempt to build a nation answerable to Iraqis of every stripe.
"U.S. must negotiate with insurgents and militias, experts say", Collier breathlessly informs us. His "experts", though, leave much to be desired for reliability.
Collier seems to think the insurgents and terror outfits should be treated as if they are merely interested parties, as if they were the same kind of political party or faction we are used to in the west. Someone has not taken the time to inform Mr. Collier about exactly what these factions want in the Middle East, sadly.