One would have thought that the Democratic takeover of Congress and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s resignation would have preseted plenty of fodder for the women of ‘The View’ to debate on Thursday’s show. However, it was a discussion on Iraq and the war on terror that dominated today's 'Hot Topics' segment. Not surprisingly, co-host Rosie O’Donnell equated the post-September 11th America to the "McCarthy era" and claimed people were "blacklisted" and labeled "unpatriotic" if they expressed any dissent from the Bush administration. O’Donnell also defended the United Nations as a "world voice" and took a shot at Iraq war ally Britain for being "on our side and in our pocket." The liberal O’Donnell then went on to tell conservative co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck to not be afraid of terrorists:
Rosie O’Donnell: "Faith or fear, that's your choice. You can walk through life believing in the goodness of the world, or walk through life afraid of anyone who thinks different than you and trying to convert them to your way of thinking. And I think that this country–"
Elisabeth Hasselbeck: "Well, I'm a person of faith, so I, but I also believe–"
O’Donnell: "Well, then, get away from the fear. Don't fear the terrorists. They’re mothers and fathers."
Three flights and 11 hours after leaving Ithaca I made it to our rendezvous spot in Charleston, SC, the Sheraton North, and met two of my three team members: Navy Lt. Corey Schultz of CENTCOM, who did an absolutely wonderful job organizing the trip stateside and who will now accompany us to and around Iraq, and Dave Kelso, classic rock DJ extraordinaire at KRXO in Oklahoma City.
We shared dinner in the hotel restaurant, and I rolled tape [as you'll see the lighting was dim but the stories were good enough to justify sharing less-than-perfect footage with you]. In this montage, Corey explains the reason behind our middle-of-the-night flight schedule, and Dave tells a moving story from a previous trip to Iraq.
Although not as bumpy as the road the GOP encountered last night, I've hit some turbulence on the first day of my Iraq trip. With weather socked in on the East Coast, my US Airways flight out of our little Ithaca airport was cancelled. A quick phone call later I was on the road to Syracuse. For my sins I decided to listen to Air America all the way - the Stephanie Miller Show as it turned out. They spoke of being in "full gloat mode," and that was no overstatement. Multiple renditions of the "nah-nah-nah-nah, goodbye" song, endless repetitions of Paul Begala's slur of Rush Limbaugh, fantasies of Tom DeLay slipping in his own sick - a class act all around.
Oddly, I didn't find it getting under my skin much. After 12 years in the wilderness, I suppose it's just human nature for Dems to revel in the moment. Every dog has its day. Then again, on election night 1994 I don't recall the GOP revolution, welcome as it was, sending me into paroxysms of puerile chest-pounding. Sidenote: the Air Americans mocked the Fox & Friends cast's notion that, after all, many of the successful Dem candidates were of a moderate to conservative stripe. Miller & Co. are apparently expecting Pelosi to govern in accordance to what they gleefully referred to as her "San Francisco values."
As some of our readers know, I'm heading off to Iraq, where I'll be reporting for CNS, the news agency of MRC.
Our focus at NB is of course exposing liberal media bias, and to the extent I have a chance to "cover the coverage" I'll certainly be blogging on that. At the same time, I'm thinking that our NB readers might enjoy experiencing more generally some sights, sounds and impressions from the trip. So, with the indulgence of my editors, I'll maintain an 'Iraq Diary' here with written reports, photos and even some video clips - internet connections permitting.
Here's the schedule, which is of course subject to change:
November 8th - travel commercial from Ithaca to Charleston, SC November 9th - fly from Charleston AFB to naval base in Rota, Spain, near Gibraltar Nov. 10th - arrive Rota Nov. 11 - depart Rota, arrive Balad, Iraq. Nov. 11-13 - International [Green] Zone. Visits with Gulf Reconstruction Divsion of Army Corps of Engineers and military hospital featured in HBO documentary 'Baghdad ER.' Nov. 13th-20th - With Marines in Fallujah. Nov. 21st-23rd - heading home Nov. 23rd [Thanskgiving] - arrive base Dover, DE
A few weeks ago on the Right Angle TV show I host, my guest was Barry Strauss, the brilliant professor of history and the classics at Cornell University. Our conversation focused on his recent book, "The Trojan War", which one reviewer has described as so authoritative "it may well preempt future historians from ever trying to improve on it."
Toward the end of the show I invited Prof. Strauss to comment on whether he saw any parallels between the fall of Greek and Roman civilizations and the situation in the West today. While eschewing sweeping generalizations, the professor did observe that one sign of a civilization in decline is its disinclination to believe in itself coupled with a loss of will to fight for its survival.
...memories of 1980s media bias when it comes to U.S. coverage of Nicaragua.
Fans [of Daniel Ortega] waved a sea of Sandista [sic] flags -- some in the traditional red-and-black stripes of Ortega's 1979 revolution that toppled the corrupt Somoza dynasty...
Somoza was toppled by a broad coalition the goals of which were subsequently hijacked by the Marxist-Leninist Ortega brothers.
During his first presidency, Ortega became a symbol of U.S. fears that a communist wildfire could sweep the Americas in the 1980s.
Ortega is more than a symbol. He's a real guy, and USSR and Cuba-funded civil wars were not a "fear" in the 1980s, but a reality. The civil war in El Salvador, for instance, really happened.
As the seventh leftist leader to win office in recent years in a Latin America increasingly at odd [sic] with U.S. dictates, Ortega's victory represents both a symbolic and a strategic blow to President George W. Bush.
Many political analysts called it a self-inflicted wound, saying United States made the Cold War dinosaur who will lead this desperately poor, banana-exporting, New York-sized nation of 5.5 million into a far more important figure that he is.
Today's Wall Street Journal online edition features an important essay by sociologist James Q. Wilson examining how the American press has turned into an unpatriotic and anti-war entity. He also explains why this matters: because educated people are likely to be swayed by the media's coverage of events, whether that coverage is accurate or not.
A few excerpts:
We are told by careful
pollsters that half of the American people believe that American troops
should be brought home from Iraq immediately. This news discourages
supporters of our efforts there. Not me, though: I am relieved. Given
press coverage of our efforts in Iraq, I am surprised that 90% of the
public do not want us out right now.
Between Jan. 1 and Sept. 30, 2005,
nearly 1,400 stories appeared on the ABC, CBS and NBC evening news.
More than half focused on the costs and problems of the war, four times
as many as those that discussed the successes. About 40% of the stories
reported terrorist attacks; scarcely any reported the triumphs of
American soldiers and Marines. The few positive stories about progress
in Iraq were just a small fraction of all the broadcasts.
We should have seen this one coming. The New York Times doesn't think the Saddam trial was fair enough and wants his death penalty delayed.
With the same solicitude it reserves for politically-correct domestic criminals, the Times editorial of this morning opines that Saddam's trial "fell somewhere short" of "an exemplary exercise in the rule of law." In the Times' view, the trial represented neither "full justice" nor "full fairness."
And as an opponent of the death penalty even for mass murderers, the Times predictably advises the appeals court to "defer the carrying out of any death penalty long enough to allow the completion of a second trial."
On this morning's Meet The Press, Tim Russert tried to pass off the editorial in the "Army Times" and sister publications calling for Donald Rumsfeld's noggin as having some special significance. RNCC Chairman Tom Reynolds didn't let him get away with it. Reynolds exposed those so-called "military newspapers" as nothing more than cogs in the Gannett chain, a member-in-good-standing of the MSM whose flagship paper is the reliably-liberal USA Today.
Russert flashed the panel of the editorial shown here, and asked Reynolds:
Here's an antidote from an unlikely corner for all the Dem outrage at the 'November surprise' of the Saddam verdict. On this morning's 'Today,' none other than Chris Matthews just pronounced his considered opinion that the verdict actually helps . . . the Democrats.
According to Matthews, given the unpopularity of the war, anything that draws attention to Iraq hurts Republicans. Apparently that even extends to a good-news story such as the Saddam verdict. Opined Matthews to host Lester Holt:
"One general rule would be anything that brings attention to Iraq is bad for the Republicans. I think Iraq's become a four-letter word for the voter. And this trial and condemnation of Saddam Hussein is probably going to remind us of Iraq again. It's probably going to help the Democrats to some extent."
The MSM has had a field day trumpeting an impending editorial in "military newspapers" calling for Defense Secretary Rumsfeld's resignation. But as NewsBusters John Stephenson and Michael Bates have documented here and here, here's what the liberal media didn't disclose:
Despite the official-sounding ring of "military newspapers," these are commercial, private-sector operations owned by Gannett, the chain whose leading outlet is the left-leaning USA Today. The editorial is roughly as representative of the official military view of the Secretary as an anti-Rumsfeld rant by the New York Times.
While the MSM tried to multiply the significance of the editorial by mentioning that it was carried in four separate papers, representing the various branches of the military, again they are all just fellow members of the Gannett stable. It's as misleading as claiming that an article published in the various regional editions of TV Guide appeared in "hundreds of magazines."
Now the Pentagon has weighed in. Staying above the fray as to just what those "military newspapers" are - and are not - the DoD has offered a systematic rebuttal of the various allegations contained in the editorial. Highlights:
Karmic balance? The Dow Jones hits a new high. The 'Dowd' Jones hits a new low. In her pay-to-read column this morning, Maureen Dowd of the New York Times analogizes the relationship of Vice-President Cheney and Defense Secretary Rumsfeld to that of preacher Ted Haggard and a male prostitute.
Setting the titillating tone with her headline, "A Wartime Love Story", Dowd writes:
At the heart of every administration, there is one relationship above all others that shapes history . . . W. is the hood ornament, but Cheney & Rummy are the chitty chitty bang bang engine of this administration.
It’s a beautiful love story, really, even more touching than Ted Haggard, the evangelical preacher and Bush White House adviser, asking a male prostitute for crystal meth, or Borat putting a bag over the head of a squealing Pamela Anderson and carrying her off.
As reported here, in a story airing on 'Today' of October 28th, NBC reporter Richard Engel delved into the most private concerns of US soldiers serving in Iraq. Engel queried one solider about his fears of dying in combat, or as he put it:
"You ever worry one day your number's gonna come up?"
Engel also drew soldiers out on their concerns as to the faithfulness of their loved ones back home, inviting them to discuss "the Jody," described by one soldier as "the guy who is back home with your wife or your girlfriend." Added Engel: "They worry and tell stories about soldiers going home to empty houses."
Just yesterday a reader brought to my attention the sudden TV ubiquity of John Harwood. He pointed out that - CNBC and Wall Street Journal credentials notwithstanding - Harwood is a predictable liberal voice. And sure enough, it was none other than Harwood that David Gregory chose for a comment on L'Affaire Kerry on this morning's 'Today.' And darn if that reader wasn't right about Harwood's leftward tilt. Let's read and analyze Harwood's statement:
"It's difficult to see, in a campaign dominated by unhappiness about the Iraq war, how these comments will be a driving force in the last few days."
Here at NewsBusters, the last thing we'd want to do is sow discord among the liberal house columnists of the New York Times. But present purposes oblige me to let Bob Herbert know that his colleague Maureen Dowd doesn't read his column.
That's the only way to explain Dowd's claim in her column this morning that the people "tut-tutting" about Barack Obama's presidential ambitions are Republicans. According to Dowd, those mean GOP types are putting Obama down because of his lack of foreign policy experience.
You, mean, Maureen, as in this statement?:
"In an appearance on “Meet the Press” yesterday, [Obama] made it clear that he was considering . . . a run. With all due respect to Senator Obama, this is disturbing. . . [he] has a very slender résumé, very little experience in national politics, hardly any in foreign policy."
Rahm Emanuel missed his calling in life. Rather than heading the Dem congressional campaign committee, he should have become a professional in the sport of freediving - holding your breath and diving without any breathing apparatus. Judging by his performance on today's Good Morning America, there's no doubt Rahm would have been a world champion.
In the closely-controlled world of the first half-hour [really 22 minutes] of the morning news shows, hosts keep a tight rein on their guests. Even notorious gabbers like Joe Biden are lucky to get in 15 seconds in before being cut short. Katie Couric, for all her liberal leanings, was a master of the technique.
"I'll see your disgruntled Republican and raise you an anti-war veteran, a pro-illegal-immigrant naturalized American and a Christian conservative who knows others planning to stay home."
That's how you might describe the bidding in the ABC/NBC game of Texas Talk 'Em Down. You might recall that last week I reported here on how NBC's David Gregory unearthed an Ohio bookstore owner, described as a "life-long Republican," who was thinking of voting Democrat.
That all you got, Today? Bookstore-owner high? Good Morning America beat that handily this morning with a full house!
Jake Tapper conducted the folks-in-the-Middle-American-diner segment, an obligatory bit of MSM pre-election shtick. ABC's chief DC political correspondent found himself out at Tommy's Diner in Columbus, Ohio, the same town in which Gregory disinterred his disillusioned Republican. Place must be a hotbed of disgruntled GOPers!
As Tim Graham reported here earlier this week, NBC reporter Richard Engel, who spends much of his time in Iraq, has declared: "I think war should be illegal...I'm basically a pacifist."
This morning's 'Today' ran a feature Engel had put together focusing on depression among American troops serving in Iraq. Engel spoke with men of the 1st Platoon, 562nd Engineer Company. At one point, Engel asked the soldier pictured here:
"You ever worry one day your number's gonna come up?'"
Replied the soldier, in words echoing those of comrades over the generations: "Yeah, but you try to keep that in the back of your head. You just focus on today and what you've got to do to get it right and bring everybody back home alive."
Haven't the MSM been suggesting it's only Republicans who engage in mean-spirited tactics in the closing weeks of a campaign? Yet in her column this morning, the LA Times Rosa Brooks dug deep into the dreck, depicting W as a drunk. She writes:
"When it comes to Iraq, being a citizen in George W. Bush's America is like being a passenger in a car driven by a drunk driver."
Shades of the 2000 campaign, when just days before the election a decades-old Bush DUI surfaced, under circumstances giving reason to believe a Gore aide was behind the leak.
When NBC military affairs correspondent Jim Miklaszewski posed an ill-founded question to Donald Rumsfeld at a Pentagon press briefing today, the Secretary of Defense responded in, shall we say, animated fashion, leaving very little doubt as to where he stood on the matter.
The Mik apparently asserted that every time a security benchmark has been laid down, the Iraqis have failed to meet it.
You can view the Defense Secretary's muscular response - cataloguing Miklaszewski's myriad mistakes - here.
Reading their respective pay-per-view columns this morning, it's a gauge of just how far out Paul Krugman is on the port side of politics that his New York Times colleague Bob Herbert sounds positively moderate by comparison.
In The Obama Bandwagon Herbert expresses salutary - and surprising - caution when it comes to the current outbreak of Obama-mania:
"It’s a measure of how starved the country is for a sensible, appealing, intelligent, trustworthy leader that a man who until just a couple of years ago was an obscure state senator in Illinois is now suddenly, in the view of an awful lot of voters, the person we should install in the White House."
Mr. Mallaby goes on a long diatribe that contradicts itself so many times that an informed reader would get whiplash from the experience. And all those head turing points are attacks against the effectiveness, sincerity, and well-meaning of American policy.
He begins his screed by negatively invoking a Ronald Reaganism, saying "It's not exactly morning in America", after which he regales us on how nothing worthwhile has come from Iraq, "a special Rumsfeldian screw-up".
Will someone please explain to me the MSM's standards for airing graphic footage?
At the time of 9-11 itself, the MSM apparently made a collective decision that it wouldn't show any of the graphic evidence of the horror that had been visited on thousands of our fellow citizens. No pictures of victims. No close-ups of the poor souls who chose to jump rather than being consumed by the flames. Even years later, there was somber MSM discussion, as here and here, as to whether movies like 'World Trade Center' or 'Flight 93' had come too soon.
I DVD'ed Olbermann overnight to check just how fawning a performance he would put in with his guest Barack Obama - whom FCC regulations require me to describe as "the rising star of the Democratic party." When it came to Olbermann's sycophancy, I wasn't disappointed. After accusing Republicans of "terrorizing" Americans, the MSNBC host continued:
"proposing an alternative course for American politics, one that replaces fear with - of all things - hope, Senator Barack Obama of Illinois and his new book, The Audacity of Hope."
The midterm elections are approaching and some members of the media are revving up their bias. MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann recently suggested that President Bush might be as big a threat as the terrorists. This was only a day after referring to conservative talk show hosts who visited the White House as the "Legion of Doom." CNN’s Jack Cafferty wondered if Karl Rove is planning an "October surprise" to salvage the Republicans’ chances in the midterm elections.
The print media have also offered unrestrained attacks from the left. A "Washington Post" report described House Speaker Dennis Hastert appearance as "a cross between Wildford Brimley and Jabba the Hutt." Nothing quite like objectivity, huh? A former "New York Times" bureau chief recently characterized the Christian right as "fascist." Perhaps he’d been chatting with "Newsweek" columnist Jonathan Alter. Alter told Don Imus he hoped the country has seen the last of "values voters."
The "Today" show fawned over Barack Obama, describing him as "electrifying" and a "rock star." This was on the same day that they giddily predicted a "perfect storm" to wipe out the Republicans in the midterms. Another early AM program, CNN’s "American Morning"encouraged author David Kuo to call for Christians to boycott the upcoming election.
Imagine you're a leading news magazine. You've published a major story claiming that Afghanistan is a brewing disaster in which Al-Qaeda can once again roam with impunity. So bad is the situation, say you, that for purposes of your article you've dubbed the country "Jihadistan."
Now comes the Pentagon, and in painstaking, point-by-point fashion, refutes so many of your article's assertions as to call its overall validity into question. How do you respond?
A. In a rigorous, systematic manner, you contest the Pentagon's arguments and prove that you were correct in the first place.
Despite the harsh headline: Hillary Hits Bottom, Hillary Clinton might actually welcome Rosa Brooks' LA Times column of this morning condemning her for supporting legislation allowing torture in ticking-bomb cases. Call it a 'Sistah Rosa' moment that Hillary can point to as proof she's not too soft on terror to be president.
But I wonder. Is Brooks aware - while bashing the presumptive presidential candidate for supporting legislation permitting torture in narrowly delineated cases - that Hillary is echoing her husband?
Has Brooks read this column by Alan Dershowitz? The Harvard law prof reports on Bill's recent NPR interview in which he said:
On his show yesterday, MSNBC's Tucker Carlson congratulated Diane Sawyer of ABC for leaving the comforts of home to report from North Korea. Judging by her report this morning, you'd have to say the rigors have been worth it. Sawyer has been on a week-long stay in Dear-Leader Land, and this morning she scored an important story. A top N. Korean general flatly told her that his country has the means to deliver a nuclear weapon.
Sawyer: "We asked him what the words of North Korea meant when they said there would be a 'merciless blow' in response to any sanctions? He said he couldn't say specifically but pointed out they have short- and long-range missiles. He said 'President Bush wants us to kneel down. We cannot agree on that. If it continues, I think it will be natural to have war.'"
Amidst all the MSM reports about this being the deadliest month for US troops in Iraq in a long time, there was a stunning bit of candor today from NBC reporter Richard Engel suggesting this is not mere coincidence, but a conscious effort by the terrorists to elect Democrats.
At the end of his report on this morning's 'Today' on the situation in Iraq, having spoken with US soliders, Engel reported:
"They believe insurgents are intensifying attacks against American soldiers now in an attempt to influence November's mid-term elections."