The AP has found a new way to attack TV's 24. They say that because of the depiction of character Jack Bauer's, shall we say, short-cuts in interrogating prisoners his ways have now infected the US Military. Absurdly, the AP is advancing the case, in "Does Jack Bauer Influence Interrogators?", that "there are indications that real-life American interrogators in Iraq are taking cues from what they see on television."
Are they indeed? Says who?
Predictably the AP reports these claims are from the "advocacy group Human Rights First".
Diane Sawyer sat down to ask Mahmoud Ahmadinejad [MA] some tough questions today, and a weather report broke out. Having spent last week in Syria, Diane is now in Iran on the second leg of her All-Dictator Tour. She began her interview of MA, televised on this morning's GMA, by asking him "are you sending Iranian weapons into Iraq?"
In lieu of an answer, MA went Sam Champion on Sawyer: "Let me first say good morning to our viewers all over the states and its good people, and let me tell them that we have spring weather here in Tehran, and I hope it will be spring all over the world."
He stopped just short of giving a shout-out to his homies Parvin, Roshan and Farzan in Bel-Air.
What followed was a series of non-denial denials that were laughable in their evasiveness.
I was curious as to how Neal Gabler would opine. Surely, there was no way the resident aggressive lefty at Fox News Watch would defend the odious statements of William Arkin, who in this column libeled the US military as "mercenaries" and claimed we treat them to "obscene amenities." As it turns out, Gabler didn't, even going so far as to call Arkin's statements "idiotic."
However . . . that doesn't mean that Gabler didn't find something to complain about in the way conservatives reacted to the column. Kvetched Neal:
"There are literally tens of millions of bloggers out there. Singling out this particular blogger is an instance of cherry-picking by Fox News, who've been on this story, by Rush Limbaugh. And what's worse, in my estimation, as idiotic as these words are, is then to ascribe these to ascribe these attitudes to the entire left, which O'Reilly has done, and which Rush Limbaugh has done, and that is idiotic."
This week, Chris Matthews' anti-Bush bigotry spilled over into a profanity laden rant. The "Hardball" host dropped the F-bomb during a live interview with Don Imus.
Meanwhile, CNN’s Paula Zahn connected opposition of illegal immigration to, you guessed it, the Ku Klux Klan. This is the same network, however, that tried to downplay proven religious bigotry by a blogger for the John Edwards campaign.
Over on ABC, "Good Morning America" anchor Diane Sawyer spent the week in Syria. She let the despotism of President Bashar Assad go mostly unchallenged.
During other segments, Sawyer chose to ask him about video games and whether he uses an iPod.
New York Times reporter Jeff Zeleny again spun in a Democrat direction in his coverage of the fierce arguments over non-binding resolutions regarding Bush's troop increase in Iraq. On Thursday, Zeleny claimed: "Senator John W. Warner, a Virginia Republican who led the bipartisan resolution against the president’s troop buildup plan, went to the Senate floor on Wednesday to read the letter only two days after siding with Republican leaders on a vote that blocked the debate."
Rajiv Chandrasekaran was the Baghdad bureau chief for the Washington Post during the tenure of Paul Bremer as head of the Coalition Provisional Authority in the period succeeding the removal of Saddam Hussein. Chandrasekaran is the author of Imperial Life in the Emerald City, a book generally critical of Bremer's administration -- but apparently not critical enough for Chris Matthews. Chandrasekaran was Matthews' guest on today's Hardball.
At one point, Matthews launched this vulgar leading question about Bremer:
"Did this guy blow it? Was he a joke? Was he an arse on a golden horse?"
Imagine that during the days of apartheid in South Africa, Diane Sawyer had just completed an interview of the white leader of the regime. What are the odds she would have emerged to inform viewers, in sympathetic tones, that the leader had reminded her of an old Afrikaaner saying to the effect that change must come slowly?
Yet that's just what Diane did after her interview with Syrian dictator Bashar Assad in which he claimed Syria wasn't ready for democracy. The screencap you see here is of Diane giving a dramatic portrayal of Assad's words. Emoted Diane:
"The president reminded me that all over the Arab world, there is a standard saying, 'chouay, chouay' [my transliteration] which means 'slowly, slowly. Change must come slowly.'"
Have a look at the video clip of Diane's dramatic renderinghere.
When a despot you're interviewing denigrates the value of democracy in another country, wouldn't your journalistic instincts prompt you to ask him about the utter lack of democracy in his own? Not in Diane Sawyer's case.
The ABC powerhouse is in Syria this week. This morning's GMA aired an interview she scored with Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad. Joe Biden would surely declare Assad "articulate;" the tyrant does speak excellent English and has a mild-mannered, urbane demeanor. But, in his case, appearances are definitely deceiving. Assad is the ruthless ruler of one of the most oppressive regimes on earth. On a scale of 1-7, Freedom House recently gave Syria its lowest possible rating of '7' on political rights. Bashar is of course following in the bloody foosteps of his father, Haffez. Among other acts of rule by terror, the previous tyrant infamously erased from the face of the earth the Syrian town of Hama, massacring an estimated 10-25,000 people in the process.
There's no denying that the recently-released National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq is anything but rosy. But the key question is 'where do we go from here?' The answer, for every one of the Dem presidential contenders, is 'home,' at varying rates of speed. In editorializing on the NIE report, don't you think, then, that it would have been appropriate for the New York Times to mention what the report foresaw as the result of a hasty withdrawal?
But the Times had better things to do with its ink, spending most of its editorial spinning the recent military success in Najaf in the most negative possible terms. In doing so, the Gray Lady ignored this key aspect of the report, as described here by CNN:
"The estimate also makes it clear, however, that simply walking away from Iraq may even be worse. If the U.S. makes a 'rapid withdrawal' from Iraq, a move many Democratic lawmakers have called for, the estimate said it could lead to the collapse of the Iraqi Security Forces, potentially plunging the country into a chaotic situation marked by "extreme ethno-sectarian violence with debilitating intra-group clashes."
To ignore this key conclusion, which goes to the heart of the debate raging in Washington today, is no mere negligence on the Times' part. It is nothing short of a journalistic fraud perpetrated on its readers. Mark was in Iraq in November. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Holy Cross College Professor Jerry Lembcke's 1999 column, "We Are What We Remember" (HTML link), was originally published in the April edition of Holy Cross Magazine (original PDF of the entire magazine is here; Lembcke's column is on Page 74).
Lembcke's core claim is that "the image of the spat-upon veteran is mythical ....." This is a narrative that at least two Greater Cincinnati-area bloggers appear to have fallen for hook, line, and sinker (here and here; BizzyBlog's "debunk of the debunkers" post from earlier today is here; be sure to read the Updates and the comments). Apparently others around the country have also been taken in.
Lembcke's fallback position is that:
But while I cannot prove the negative, I can prove the positive: I can show what did happen during those years and that that historical record makes it highly unlikely that the alleged acts of spitting occurred in the number and manner that is now widely believed.
There's a teeny tiny problem with Lembcke's claim. As Former Cleveland Plain Dealer reporter Bill Sloat notes at his Daily Bellwether blog, Jerry Lembcke's "search for evidence" apparently overlooked a couple of contrary items that were very close by -- so close that he would not even have had to leave his easy chair after reading the article he wrote. That's because Lembcke is debunked in the VERY SAME issue of the VERY SAME Holy Cross Magazine -- not once, but twice, by two separate Holy Cross alumni who served in Vietnam!
The first alumni vet is Jim McDougald '51. The second is Steve Bowen '65. The story, along with its individual portrayals, covers Pages 18-31 of the original publication. Extracts with the two spitting stories are these:
Not that there was ever much doubt where Tim Russert aligns, but it was nice to get concrete confirmation on today's Meet the Press. Grilling John Edwards over his vote to authorize the war and his expression of support for it as late as 2004, Russert pointed out that Obama had staked out a firmly anti-Iraq war position before the conflict began.
Russert displayed a two-part graphic of Obama's 2002 statement, which concluded with the words: "I am not opposed to all wars. I'm opposed to dumb wars."
Russert then shot at Edwards: "His judgment was on the money."
"We have met the enemy and he is us." - Pogo comic strip, 1971
Nicholas Kristof has apparently embraced the Walt Kelly view of America. When it comes to the war in Iraq, the only evildoers the New York Times columnist seems to see are Americans.
At the foot of his pay-to-play of column of January 23rd, Kristof invited readers to submit their literary analogies for President Bush and Iraq. In today's columnn, Kristof mentions having received over 400 reader responses.
And which entry does Kristof choose to feature at the column's beginning and that might fairly be taken as his unofficial winner? One that analogizes the various actors in the play to characters from Harry Potter. I set forth below the reader's analogies, followed by a description of the character as culled from their Wikipedia entries.
WFAA TV in the Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas market has been touting a story that they obviously think is some sort of tragedy. So bad, in fact, that the first words of their story are, "'Inhumanity' and 'atrocity' are just two words being used to describe news..."
One would think that the world was ending, wouldn't one?
The TV station is wracked up in high dudgeon over a family of Palestinians who are in the country illegally and were scooped up by Immigration officials and remanded to a rather posh housing center to await the outcome of the machinations of government officials trying to determine their fate.
Blogs such as NewsBusters play a key role in helping the truth bypass the filter of the mainstream media. That was the view that Rear Admiral Mark Fox expressed to this blogger today.
I had the opportunity to participate in a conference call for bloggers with RADM Fox, a Silver Star recipient who scored the first Navy MiG kill in Operation Desert Storm, and who now serves as the Communications Director for MNF-I in Baghdad. Given NB's mission, when I had the to ask a question I naturally focused on MSM coverage of the war. I cited to Admiral Fox the headline and opening paragraph of the New York Times story on the recent battle in Najaf in which Iraqi-US forces killed over 200 enemy fighters and captured more than 400. Predictably, the Times sought to cast the success in the most negative possible light.
Occasionally I'm contacted by media
organizations who want to tape an interview, usually when events occur
which will impact military families. Right before the President's
speech on the way forward in Iraq, I received some media requests. The
aim was to come to my home, film me watching the speech and then
interview me about my reaction to what was said. I have never done a
television interview. Ironically, I think I would have accepted one of
these invitations, but I happened to be out of town and not in
Washington during the President's speech, so I was unavailable.
I farm these interviews out when possible. My husband calls me a
"chicken" for doing this, and he's mostly right. When I'm contacted,
it's usually because the outlet is looking for a "pro-victory" point of
view and they know, obviously, that I represent that point of view. No
doubt they already have the opposing view lined up. One of the reasons
I'm leery of television interviews is because of ambush tactics such as
those recently used against my blog mom, who was asked to appear on an
ABC News show with another mother to discuss Iraq.
arrived at the prescribed time, I put my earpiece in, got the
microphone clipped to my sweater and the cord appropriately hidden. The
New York producer and the director (or tech guy??) both spoke in my ear
and I did the microphone test... 1, 2, 3, 4... 10, 9, 8, 7. I sat
listening to the broadcasts and news feeds in my ear for a good 20
minutes, including a few on-air promos of the upcoming interview “with
two military moms with their take on the President's State of the Union
Address,” as well as the two lead-in interviews with two of ABC's
female political reporters -- one in New York and one in D.C.
thinking, Great. I have Hillary or Nancy in the other chair! Close.
Turns out it was Barbara Boxer’s friend, Anne Roesler not to mention Nancy Pelosi’s
darling. While there was a small legend that appeared and quickly
disappeared under Ms. Roesler’s picture, turns out that Anne Roesler is
no ordinary, average “military mom”, but a practiced anti-war speaker
and writer -- AND HAS BEEN SINCE BEFORE THE WAR ACTUALLY BEGAN.
Half-serious warning: those with heart conditions are advised to have their medications handy when reading this.
With Democrats in congressional power, are leftists feeling suddenly empowered to express formerly taboo views? First came a column in the Los Angeles Times arguing we have overreacted to 9-11. Now comes Washington Post columnist William Arkin to express contempt for our troops and question how much we really owe them after all.
"I've been mulling over an NBC Nightly News report from Iraq last Friday in which a number of soldiers expressed frustration with opposition to war in the United States. I'm all for everyone expressing their opinion, even those who wear the uniform of the United States Army. But I also hope that military commanders took the soldiers aside after the story and explained to them why it wasn't for them to disapprove of the American people."
"These soldiers should be grateful that the American public, which by all polls overwhelmingly disapproves of the Iraq war and the President's handling of it, do still offer their support to them, and their respect."
"Through every Abu Ghraib and Haditha, through every rape and murder, the American public has indulged those in uniform, accepting that the incidents were the product of bad apples or even of some administration or command order."
"We pay the soldiers a decent wage, take care of their families, provide them with housing and medical care and vast social support systems and ship obscene amenities into the war zone for them, we support them in every possible way, and their attitude is that we should in addition roll over and play dead, defer to the military and the generals and let them fight their war, and give up our rights and responsibilities to speak up because they are above society?"
Like describing a spiral staircase without using your hands, "Today" pulled off the impressive feat this morning of getting through an entire segment about the UK terror plot uncovered yesterday without once mentioning that the suspects are Muslim. Oh, the word "Muslim" did pop up - but only or purposes of describing the intended victim of the plot and concerned area residents.
NBC's Keith Miller reported from London, mentioned that "the alleged target of the kidnaping [was] a British Muslim soldier on leave from Afghanistan."
The House Democrats got big media publicity for a huff-and-puff committee session on global warming this week, yet no one seems to have noticed that on the hot-button issue of Iraq, the congress which has been clamoring for "oversight" opportunities wasn't as interested Wednesday morning:
all 435 members of the House were invited to participate in a
classified briefing Wednesday morning providing an update on
implementation of the president's surge strategy in Iraq, only about
25-30 members accepted the invitation.
two-hour closed event at started at 8:00 a.m. EST. Members who attended
told FOX News that the meeting was "helpful" and "useful" in that the
officials essentially confirmed a lot of what has been reported
publicly about the strategy.
of Defense Undersecretary for Policy Eric Edelman, who was testifying
later in the day to the Senate Armed Services Committee on the troop
surge, appeared with the directors of intelligence and operations for
the Joint Chiefs of Staff and a high ranking State Department official,
for a closed-door briefing.
If only Joe Biden had seized the moment with one brilliant burst of brevity . . .
This morning on GMA, Biden had the chance to turn his presidential candidacy announcement into a funny, feel-good moment that would have won him untold millions in free coverage. Sadly, the senator from Delaware couldn't resist his proclivity to pontificate.
Diane Sawyer had the scoop: Joe Biden appeared on this morning's Good Morning America to make it official -- he's running for president.
First came the obligatory questions about Iran and Iraq. Diane next tried lure Biden into expanding on his statement that Hillary's nostrums for Iraq would be a "disaster." Biden wouldn't bite: "I have great respect for Hillary Clinton . . . she is fully qualified to be president . . . She is a first-rate person."
Biden similarly declined to rise to Sawyer's bait about Obama's inexperience, responding: "This guy's incredible. He's fresh, he's new, he's got great ideas."
Talk then turned to Biden's Achilles heel: his famed motor mouth. Sawyer: "The Washington Post says your friends have told you that you have to learn to 'put a sock in it' and not talk so much, and that you're taking their recommendation to heart."
Biden launched into a 93-word response in which claimed he was taking his friends' advice to heart, but in the same breath added that "if it takes more than three minutes" to give an answer, he's going to do it.
Imagine if in response to Diane's question, Biden, after a pregnant pause, had let his entire answer be a big, smiling "yup!"
It would have been priceless, and splashed all over the media. But Joe just couldn't "hep" himself. Joe Biden: once again, victim of his own verbosity.
Not that there was any real doubt, when you turned on the news this morning and heard the report that eight men had been arrested in England and charged with plotting terror attacks including the Al-Qaeda style beheading of a police officer, that the suspects were Muslim, but you wouldn't know it from this Reuters report on the arrests.
Any reference to the ethnic or religious origins of the suspects was absent.
In contrast, this Bloomberg report stated that "Sky News [Fox News sister network] said the arrested men were British born of Pakistani origin, while one was Pakistani."
When a NBC military analyst made the case that US withdrawal from Iraq would have very harmful consequences, you might have expected Meredith Vieira to argue the point. But not only did the NBC host seem to buy into his logic, she took it a significant step farther toward its logical conclusion.
Retired LTC Rick Francona was Meredith's guest on this morning's "Today." The appearance was sparked by reports that the US has amassed firm evidence that Iran is supplying a variety of weaponry to Shia militias in Iraq, including shoulder-fired missiles and sophisticated IEDs responsible for the deaths of many Americans. The screen graphic posed the question "Is U.S. Fighting Iran in Iraq?"
Francona made his thesis clear from the get-go: "We're in a power struggle with the Iranians over who's going to exercise influence in the future in Iraq, and they want to be that power. It's either us or them."
Vieira set the stage for her off-the-Dem-reservation remarks with this question: "So they're hoping if and when we leave Iraq they will fill the power vacuum that is left?"
"Yesterday's fighting at Waterloo was extraordinary, highlighting the daunting challenge faced by the coalition of British and Prussian forces in fighting Napoleon."
That's how the Boston Globe might have spun the Battle of Waterloo, judging by the negative gloss the New York Times' Beantown subsidiary managed to put in on the major success of Iraqi-US coalition forces at Najaf yesterday. Coalition forces killed an estimated 250 insurgents who were planning to attack Shias, possibly including their supreme religious leader, the Ayatollah Sistani, who had gathered in the city south of Baghdad for a major religious holiday.
What made the success that much more encouraging was that while US forces provided support, it was the Iraqi military that took the lead. This is the best, latest evidence that the Iraqis are indeed standing up. It augurs well for the 'surge' operation in Baghdad, which also will rely on major Iraqi army involvement.
So, here is a question: Why is CBS using propaganda film originally posted on an al Qaeda website and claiming it is merely "CBS obtained" with no mention of the actual source for Lara Logan's report on The "Battle of Haifa Street"?
The anti-Iraq website called Iraqslogger posted a story about how CBS reporter Lara Logan is crying that CBS seems to have spiked her "Haifa Street" story. Logan has sent out a mass email to all her friends and colleagues in the world of journalism in hopes that they will pressure CBS to show her report that has not yet made it to TV. It has, though, appeared on the internet.
It's turning out to be quite a day for pugilistics. Earlier, I noted how Hillary threatened to "deck" her opponents. Now, just about a month to the day after the holiday is observed by the Brits, Brit Hume celebrated a personal Boxing Day of his own. On this morning's Fox News Sunday, the FNC DC managing editor landed some heavy body blows on Chuck Hagel and John Kerry.
On a long drive home from a Indianapolis this weekend, I had the dubious pleasure of listening to a CBS news break at the top of the hour on a talk station and in one of their reports on Saturday's anti-War protests the verbiage used to report the gatherings was so slanted that it was startling and was so obviously intended to make it seem much greater than it really was that it wasn't even funny.
Reporter Jim Taylor started his report saying "A nation says no to war ..." as an introduction to the story of the goings on in Washington.
A "nation" says no? A few protests equates the the whole nation, CBS?
Did anyone really believe that Nancy Pelosi's recent whirlwind visit to Iraq was truly the "fact-finding" mission she billed it to be? I doubt it. But just in case there are some credulous folks out there, here's proof that rather than trying to find facts, Pelosi wanted to promote a political agenda.
Have a look at this video clip from her January 26th visit. Exactly two minutes in, Pelosi, seated with Jack Murtha, is speaking with the young female Army
soldier who is seen facing the camera. Here is the exchange:
Young Army Soldier: "I'm a 96 Bravo Intel Analyst. I work as a Sunni analyst in a fusion cell."
Nancy Pelosi: "Let's talk about the intelligence that got us into the war. That would be interesting to start with."
It's not uncommon for an interviewer to tell a guest offering orotund pronouncements that he's sounding "like a candidate." But Meredith Vieira took that one giant step further this morning, informing renegade Republican Chuck Hagel that he was sounding downright "presidential."
Of course, nothing sounds more presidential to an MSMer's ears than defeatist criticism of the war in Iraq and by extension of the current occupant of the White House. But when it came to the key question, Hagel, far from flashing presidential timber, equivocated like a garden-variety pol.
Vieira: "Senator, at this point, do you believe we are fighting and dying for nothing?"
Hagel immediately went into bob-and-weave mode: "Well, I think the Congress needs to take a look at it and each member of Congress needs to go on the record and need [sic] to address the issue in a very clear way so that they can go back to their constituents and say yes I either support an escalation to put 22,000 more troops in the middle of a sectarian civil war, or I don't."
The headline conveys the obvious impression that our troops are fighting Iraqi soldiers and not terrorists/"insurgents."
Based on the story that follows, the headline is obviously false.
Bryan thought the headline at the original story had been updated, but that turns out to have been incorrect. Yours truly tipped him, and he noted, that the story is still there in all its ignominy. What's more, he noted, by reviewing Google News results, that the false headline, even if corrected now, has spread around the country and around the world. Further supporting the Pandora's Box nature of the AP's journalistic malpractice, here's a regular Google search on the headline (in quotes) showing that it still generates thousands of hits. And even though most of underlying linked stories appear to have different titles now, some (like this one) still have the original.
Has there been any phrase that has been so used and abused by the Democrats as they seek to give themselves cover? But in one fell 'slip', Chuck Schumer gave away the game this morning: the claim to support the troops is a sham. Supporting the troops is merely something to be figured out later. It's an afterthought, to be addressed after Democrats, with some Republican support, rush through a resolution telling our troops that the mission for which they are putting their lives on the line is not just meaningless but absolutely antithetical to our nation's interests.
David Gregory interviewed Sen. Schumer on this morning's "Today."
Gregory: "The Vice-President is dismissive of this [resolution] effort yesterday saying it's not going to stop the president, and in fact he goes further, saying this will be detrimental to the troops on the ground."
Schumer: "Absolutely not, and I think it's going to be shown, when this resolution comes up, and it is non-binding, my guess is that not only are we going to get a vast majority of Democrats to vote for it in one form or another, but close to a majority of the Republicans. And that is going to shock even Vice-President Cheney."
Gregory: "But how can the public really buy the Democrats support the troops but don't support the mission? How can you do both?"
Schumer: "Well, that's the difficulty. A resolution that says we're against this escalation, that's easy. The next step will be how do you put further pressure on the administration against the escalation but still supporting the troops who are there? Andthat's what we're figuring out right now."