Town hall or pep rally? Hard to tell, judging from the first half-hour of Hillary's appearance on Good Morning America today. Host Robin Roberts lavished praise on Hillary, suggested there's unanimous support for the Dem Iraq policy, and fielded only one audience question -- which came from someone who worked on Hillarycare in 1993 and beseeched Clinton to try it again as president.
GMA today kicked off its series of Town Hall meetings with the presidential candidates. This one, featuring Hillary, was located in Des Moines, Iowa. During the opening schmooze, Hillary, speaking of Iraq, stated: "I'm very proud that all the Democrats are saying the same thing and that's what we should all be working toward, and that's to begin to change this policy and get us on the right track."
ROBERTS: That is something that I think the country completely agrees on, on both sides about that.
It is always interesting to me how a story can be published as if it is serious work, a story that almost seems plausible until you step back from it to realize that not a shred of proof to support the supposition was ever offered. After you're done reading it you realize that all you ended up with were empty phrases like "some say" or "many are" instead of any statistics, studies or other proof. Such is the case with the Washington Post's story titled, "War Causing Split Among Evangelicals". In fact, writer Julie Sullivan flat out admits that there is no proof for her supposition that “many” evangelical Christians are turning away from the war... but she postulates the premise any way.
No polling data show conclusively that opinion has shifted among conservative evangelicals.
This is only the fourth paragraph (the previous three being one sentence affairs) so you'd think she could just retire the piece right there. But, no we have to start right up with the "some say" routine.
Lately it seems that HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher” has become the place for left-wing politicians and media members to go on Friday evenings to say whatever disgraceful thing they want about the Bush administration without regard for accuracy or prudence.
Does that make it HBO’s answer to ABC’s farcical morning coffee klatch “The View,” and Bill Maher is suddenly just an intelligent version of Rosie O’Donnell with a Y-chromosome and better clothing?
The March 23 installment certainly suggested so, with the unabashed and unashamed host leading a herd of disgruntled liberals to slaughter conservatives much as Rosie now despicably does on almost a daily basis. In fact, Maher began this most recent episode with a monologue featuring ten out of eleven jokes about Bush, his family, the Administration, and seemingly any politician with an “R” next to his name.
Most disgracefully, the first josh of the evening actually mocked the First Lady (video available here):
It must have been very chilly in hell on Friday, for the editorial division of a major newspaper actually came down on Democrats.
I kid you not.
For those that missed it, the Washington Post ran an editorial Friday entitled “Retreat and Butter,” with a sub-headline “Are Democrats in the House voting for farm subsidies or withdrawal from Iraq?”
Having asked a tremendously valid question that most in the antiwar media have ignored as the Iraq debate heated up on Capitol Hill this week, the Post surprisingly and accurately answered its own question (better strap yourself in your seat):
The more things change, the more they stay the same. That was the focus of Bob Franken's report on CNN's "American Morning," which focused attention on the pork barrel spending proposals in the emergency funding bill for the military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The key excerpt:
REP. NANCY PELOSI, (D) HOUSE SPEAKER: "With today's convening of the 110th Congress, we begin anew."
FRANKEN (voice over): "That was the rallying cry from the newly in-charge Democrats, the wheeling and dealing and hidden pork barrel spending would be no more. Fast forward just 10 weeks. Democratic leaders face their biggest challenge so far. The legislation providing $124 billion in war funding, combined with a troop pullout from Iraq next year. And they're using every tool at their command. The same tools they criticized the Republicans for using -- good, old fashioned pork."
Matt Lauer said the right thing. Was it for the wrong reason?
Discussing on this morning's "Today" with Tim Russert the current wrangling between the Bush administration and the Dem congress over a bill to fund the Iraq war and the Dems' attempt to include a "date certain" for troop withdrawal, Matt Lauer said:
"Robert Gates, the Defense Secretary, has said that sometime next month that the funding for troops on the ground will run out. So now we've got a very high stakes game of political chicken. And can you imagine the Democrats getting to a point where they actually stop the funding for troops on the ground? That would be a disaster, wouldn't it?"
Is it the media’s job to keep American citizens aware of statements made by foreign officials that could shed light on what we’re up against in winning the wars in Iraq and on terrorism? Or, should the press keep the caustic comments of such political officials from the public in order to maximize the impression that all the problems in the world are caused by the Bush administration?
While you formulate an answer, consider the following statements made by the Syrian Minister of Culture during a speech aired on Iranian television (video available here courtesy of Memri TV):
The so-called Al-Qaeda is in my opinion, an illusion. It is a bunch of organizations which used to be supervised by the CIA, and used to commit crimes in some Arab and Islamic countries.
Nice, huh? Alas, he was just getting warmed up blaming terrorism on America:
Judging by the excerpt Tucker Carlson played on his MSNBC show this afternoon at about 4:15 PM ET, Richard Engel's War Zone Diary is a powerful and moving documentary of the NBC reporter's experiences in Iraq. To his credit, Engel has accompanied troops on many combat patrols. Among other clips, we saw particularly compelling footage of Marines on a night mission in the mean streets of Ramadi, in Anbar province, searching for - and finding unharmed - one of their comrades who had gotten separated during an earlier patrol there.
Speaking of combat, Engel did at at one point state that "it is very brutal but after some time you do start to see things from their [U.S. soldiers' and Marines'] perspective."
There was quite a kangaroo court put together on CNN Tuesday evening largely designed to discredit recent confessions by al Qaeda terrorists Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and Waleed Bin Attash while pointing accusatory fingers of blame at American interrogation methods (video available here).
Joining the host on “Paula Zahn Now” was Air America Radio’s Rachel Maddow, Republican strategist Amy Holmes, and CNN contributor Roland Martin.
As the panel was nicely stocked with only one view from the right, the views expressed were clearly sympathetic to our enemy, and suggestive that not only is America using inappropriate interrogation techniques, but also that any information we obtain “almost gets comical.”
After introducing some of the pertinent facts about the recent confessions, Zahn skeptically asked:
Oy, did Google's algorithims ever misfire. There at the top of my Gmail inbox this morning was an ad, which the Google wizards presumably determined to be geared to my predilections, for a book called . . . "Why Mommy Is a Democrat."
I suppose Google was right, in the sense that the ad piqued my interest, though the odds of my buying a copy of the book are as remote as Outer Mongolia. But let's have a look. According to the About page:
Why Mommy is a Democrat brings to life the core values of the Democratic party in ways that young children will easily understand and thoroughly enjoy. . . this colorful 28-page paperback illustrates the Democratic principles of fairness, tolerance and peace, and concern for the well-being of others. It's a great way for parents to gently communicate their committment to these principles and explain their support for the party.
Why Mommy is a Democrat may look like a traditional children's book, but it definitely isn't just for children. With numerous subtle (and not-so-subtle) swipes at the Bush administration and the Republican party, Why Mommy is a Democrat will appeal to Democrats of all ages.
READ UPDATE AT FOOT: Bill O'Reilly and guests discuss how "conservative bloggers" impacted the story.
To mark yesterday's fourth-anniversary of the war in Iraq, CBS News requested an interview with U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Zalmay Khalilzad. The ambassador took time from a hectic war-time schedule to speak from Baghdad with Katie Couric, and in the course of the interview provided a first-hand view of how the new surge strategy is working.
But when last night's Evening News aired, lo and behold, the interview never ran. It was instead relegated to an obscure corner of Katie's online blog. CBS apparently determined that Ambassador Khalilzad's comments weren't "newsworthy."
Katie & Co. did find time for Bob Woodward [who to my knowledge has never been to Iraq], to opine that the violence in Iraq wouldn't persuade President Bush to change course.
It has been argued for years that the media typically focus on images from Iraq and the war on terror which paint American and Israeli military in a bad light while always presenting the enemy as victims.
In fact, this effort often includes the doctoring of photographs as well as the staging of events in front of rolling cameras which will be broadcast or published by an antiwar press without the slightest investigation into authenticity.
With that in mind, the picture at the right represents a rather startling image of terrorism that media would never dare share with the American people. As the MEMRI Blog shockingly reported (h/t Charles at LGF, emphasis added):
On the Friday edition of "Nightline," "20/20" anchor Barbara Walters appeared again to plug her sycophantic interview with Hugo Chavez, the virulently anti-American leader of Venezuela.
According to the ABC host, Chavez, who has called President Bush a murderer and a killer, simply likes to "poke fun at American leaders." During a discussion with "Nightline" host Martin Bashir, she also described the Venezuelan President in glowing, even flowery terms:
MARTIN BASHIR : "You've met him in person, you interviewed him, you spent time for him, for all the kind of brash things that he's actually said, how did you find him as an individual, as a man?"
BARBARA WALTERS: "Well, he was not what I expected. He was very dignified. He was warm, friendly. He likes the U.S. It's George Bush that he doesn't like. He also was very personal. He talked about how hard his life was, that he wished he could be in love but you can't be when you are heading a country."
On the March 19 edition of "The View," Barbara Walters returned from Venezuela where she conducted a puffy interview with President Hugo Chavez.
Walters insisted that "he is not crazy" and "he does not hate the United States" but "hates George Bush." The veteran ABC journalist, however, felt the discount oil Chavez provided to Hurricane Katrina victims is "a good thing to do."
Yet in 2001, ABC described American aid to the Afghan poor as merely "propaganda."
Although Barbara said he is a socialist and mentioned in passing that "he’s got a lot of things that are not so wonderful," there was not even a murmur about Chavez’s assault on the free press. Rosie O’Donnell, who rants against the PATRIOT Act’s alleged assault on civil liberties, did not bother to raise that concern. They even displayed some love for the Venezuelan dictator when Rosie coddled a talking Hugo Chavez doll. Ironically, on the next subject on patriotism, Rosie and Joy exclaimed that dissent is patriotic. The transcript is below.
As NewsBusters reported about the March 11 installment of “Meet the Press,” former “Nightline” anchor Ted Koppel made some almost verboten observations concerning the dangers of a premature withdrawal of American troops from Iraq. Amongst other things, Koppel claimed the battle between Sunnis and Shia currently taking place there would become a much larger religious conflict throughout the entire Persian Gulf region.
With that as pretext, another side of this issue ignored by the media is how Hizbullah and Iran are licking their respective chops at the thought of such a troop withdrawal and the opportunity it would present for the total annihilation of Israel.
Consider for example some recent comments made by Abdallah Safialdeen, Hizbullah’s representative in Iran. A few weeks ago, he gave an interview on Irani television, and made statements that if ever broadcast in America would radically change how U.S. citizens viewed the war (video available here courtesy of Memri TV):
Darfur today is not Iraq under Saddam. But there are sufficient parallels to render this morning's Boston Globe editorial deeply ironic. While the Globe has condemned the coalition intervention in Iraq, it clamors for aggressive international action in Darfur.
So how many Gathering of Eagles (GoE) counterprotesters were in Washington yesterday, and how did their numbers compare to the Answer Coalition's protest count?
The New York Times (may require registration) reported "several hundred counterdemonstrators" (HT Michelle Malkin, who has the priceless quote of the day -- ".... the NYTimes relied on 'several veterans of the antiwar movement' to give them crowd estimates of the Gathering of Eagles. It's the domestic equivalent of MSMers relying on dubious Iraqi stringers to provide them with war coverage...." -- THWAP!)
The Washington Post, in its article about the protest, wrote of "thousands of counter-demonstrators."
Keying off the fourth anniversary of the Iraq war this Tuesday, the networks will be running overviews of the situation there all week. Judging by the opening salvos this morning on ABC and NBC, you might when tuning in want to hide the sharp objects and keep the Zoloft handy. The picture painted is ceaselessly dismal, with any bright spots ignored or explained away.
Take the report by ABC's Terry McCarthy on today's Good Morning America. After citing weekend casualty statistics, he began by claiming that "now more than ever" Iraqis are nervous about the future of their country. According to McCarthy, "the sound of bombings and gunfire are constant backdrops to everyday life." Constant? Really? I daresay that in the great majority of the country, people rarely hear either. Even in hotspots like Baghdad, while such sounds are not unusual, neither are they "constant" by any means.
One challenge for the MSM is explaining away the largely peaceful and prosperous Kurdish north. McCarthy did his unlevel best: "even in northern Iraq's Kurdish region, which is relatively peaceful, the fight to keep terrorists out takes up a lot of time and energy. The Kurds dug a six-foot ditch all around the largest city, Irbil, to stop car bombs from entering."
The big three networks seem to have found religion. Bush-bashing religion, but faith nonetheless. ABC’s "Good Morning America" and "Nightline" highlighted Mayan "spiritual leaders" who protested a visit by President Bush to Guatemala.
The two shows focused on the "evil spirits" that the President supposedly brought and worried that the Commander in Chief has "angered the gods." NBC’s "Today" noted the protesters plans to "purify" the site and featured a demonstrator who chanted "Gringo go home."
This week, NewsBusters told you what the rest of the media won’t: While the Bush White House played a roll in the dismissal of eight U.S. Attorneys, Bill Clinton fired all 93 attorneys at the beginning of his first term.
On "Good Morning America," host George Stephanopoulos, who was a Clinton spokesman in 1993 and defended the then-President’s firing, hypocritically grilled Attorney General Alberto Gonzales for firing 85 fewer attorneys.
For his level-headed professionalism, Lester Holt is on my [admittedly short] list of MSM faves. But while Holt did hit former Ambassador [to Gabon, São Tomé and Príncipe] Joseph Wilson with one tough question on this morning's "Today," he let Valerie Plame's husband hijack the beginning of the interview, lobbed him numerous softballs, and failed to challenge Wilson on his blatant misrepresentation of Plame's role in sending him to Niger.
In the set-up piece preceding the interview, "Today" aired a clip of Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R-Ga.) asking Plame, during yesterday's congressional hearing, whether she was a Republican or a Democrat. For the record, Plame sardonically acknowledged that she was indeed a Dem.
As already noted on NewsBusters, "20/20" anchor Barbara Walters interviewed Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez for a segment airing on the March 16 edition of the program. And although she did occasionally challenge authoritarian leader, Walters spent much of the interview discussing important topics such as whether Chavez likes coffee, marriage, and generally regurgitating the Venezuelan President’s propaganda.
Walters, appearing on the Friday edition of "Good Morning America" to plug the interview, even touted a Chavez run for political office in the U.S.:
Robin Roberts: "Did he think he would do very well if he ran for office here in this country?"
Barbara Walters: "He said, ‘You know, if I came to this country, I would run, I could run an election if I changed my name to Nicky Chavez because I am for humanity. I am for disseminating the wealth. I am for helping people.’ He says, ‘I would win.’ So put his name down on the list."
The MSM/Dem drumbeat has been that by fighting the war in Iraq, the United States has taken its eye off the ball in Afghanistan, that a big Taliban offensive is about to begin there, and that it could be a key to the Taliban fully re-establishing itself in the country.
Take, for example, the comment made by Sen. Barack Obama in a Today appearance yesterday in the context of the publication of the confession of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed: "I think we have ended up being distracted, particularly in Afghanistan, from dealing with the kind of real threats we heard about today."
But a senior officer on the ground has expressed a different perspective. Colonel David Enyeart, now on his second tour of duty in Afghanistan, is Deputy Commander of Combined Joint Task Force Phoenix V, charged with training the Afghan National Army and police. In a conference call with the Colonel in which I participated recently, COL Enyeart expressed the view that the spring offensive could actually be the Taliban's last stand.
On the March 15 edition of "The View," Rosie O’Donnell brought up the news of Khalid Sheik Mohammed’s many confessions. Rosie, who believes radical Christianity is just as dangerous as radical Islam, was more outraged on unproven allegations of torture than the horrific atrocities Mohammed confessed to. On her latest rant she also demonstrated her lack of knowledge on the extensive al Qaeda network.
O’DONNELL: I think the man has been in custody of the American government, in secret CIA torture prisons in Guantanamo Bay, where torture is accepted and allowed, and he finally is the guy who admits to doing everything. They finally found the guy. It's not that guy bin Laden. It's this guy they've had since ‘93. And look, this is the picture they released of him. Doesn’t, he look healthy?
ABC’s Rosie O’Donnell has said some pretty disgraceful things on “The View” since her arrival. However, this might be the worst.
On Thursday’s installment, O’Donnell actually said that the only reason al Qaeda terrorist Khalid Sheikh Mohammed confessed to any of his actions is because he is being held and tortured by the United States government.
NBC Today co-host Meredith Vieira tossed softballs to Barack Obama, in an exclusive interview this morning, as she asked him if Alberto Gonzales should resign over firing of U.S. Attorneys and also allowed him to spout off on the President's Iraq policy. In the 7am half-hour Vieira lobbed this pitch to the Democratic presidential candidate:
Vieira: "Senator let's switch gears now and talk about the firing of those eight U.S. Attorneys. The Attorney General, Alberto Gonzales has admitted that mistakes were made. He wants to right them. He says he wants to stay on the job as well. You opposed his nomination two years ago and this is what you said about the Attorney General on Tuesday, you said, 'He had shown in his role as White House counsel a penchant for subverting justice to serve the President's goals, and I feared that in an Attorney General.' Do you believe, sir, that Mr. Gonzales knowingly subverted justice in this case and do you want him to resign?"
Imagine you're skimming the news and come across a story entitled "Democrats Work to Smooth Iraq Tension." What would you assume the article was about? That those caring Dems had tried to ease sectarian strife between Sunnis and Shias, perhaps? I'd say that would be a fair inference. But read the story, and you'll discover that it is an account of a behind-closed-doors shouting match between Nancy Pelosi and Maxine Waters, the tart-tongued congresswoman from California.
According to the body of the article, "tempers flared on Iraq among Democrats on Tuesday as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi fielded criticism from an anti-war congresswoman over liberals' concern that the party is not doing enough to end the war. Pelosi's behind-closed-doors exchange with Rep. Maxine Waters of California [was] described as heated."
What's the harm, you might ask? After all, the full story is there for those who read it. But that's just the point. Frequently people read only the headlines. Consider, for example, this excerpt from a writer's guide:
"In search engines, newsfeeds (RSS), and other external environments . . . users often see only the headline and use it to determine whether to click into the full posting. Even if users see a short abstract along with the headline (as with most search engines), user testing shows that people often read only the headline. In fact, people often read only the first three or four words of a headline when scanning a list of possible places to go.
I wonder if the MSM ever gets tired of trying to make evil look good? And if they aren't trying to make evil look like good, they are trying to soft peddle evil with a they-are-really-just-like-us analysis of evil’s actions. Such is the case today in the Boston Globe wherein writer H.D.S. Greenway equates Iraqi insurgents to being just like America's founding revolutionary generation.
In 'Surge' doomed to final failure, a badly garbled reading of history is foisted upon an unsuspecting reading public that culminates with H.D.S. Greenway boiling down the entire American Revolution to the claim that British soldiers were a "conquering force" in the Colonies and the Colonists were mad at them for it.
On Monday’s "Nightline," the ABC program continued the media’s fascination with the Mayan "spiritual leaders" who protested a recent visit to Guatemala by President Bush. According to anchor Cynthia McFadden, "some say he's angered the gods."
While footage onscreen showed Uruguayan demonstrators (from a previous portion of the trip) burning an American flag, Reporter Jessica Yellin noted that "many in the region don’t care for Mr. Bush" and seriously reported on the President’s "bad vibes":
JESSICA YELLIN: "The spiritual leaders of the Guatemala's indigenous Mayan population are also worried about the President's bad vibes. They will perform a special cleansing ceremony to clear away the bad energy they say he left during his visit."
Q. How do you know the liberal American media are doing their best to bury a good-news story about Iraq?
A. When an official Chinese communist news outlet gives it more coverage than the MSM.
When the UK recently announced that it was reducing the number of its troops in Iraq by 1,600, the news was the subject of massive media coverage in the United States. In addition to innumerable MSM news reports on the development, pundits filled the airwaves with hours of dire conjecture as to whether the British move signalled the collapse of the coalition, etc.
But when news comes that another member of the coalition is proposing to send more additional troops to Iraq than the UK is withdrawing, MSM reaction has been the proverbial cricket-chirp.
[Updated 5:20pm EDT] For the second time in a week, a media organization has seriously reported on the "evil spirits" that President Bush’s trip to Latin America will bring. During a 7am news brief on the Monday edition of "Good Morning America," reporter Chris Cuomo noted that Bush’s visit to a sacred Mayan ruin has resulted in protests. According to Cuomo:
Chris Cuomo: " President Bush's tour of Latin America stops in Guatemala today where he'll meet with that country's president. President Bush will also visit a sacred Mayan ruin today, making some protesters angry. They say President Bush will only bring, quote, 'evil spirits' to the site. On Sunday, during the President's nearly seven hours in Colombia, demonstrators clashed with police. The situation was so dangerous, a decoy motorcade was used on the way back to the airport."