The very first line of Patrick Buchanan's official MSNBC bio describes him as a conservative. Fair enough. But is MSNBC as forthcoming about the political leanings of its liberal analysts? I was watching 'The Most' this afternoon when the hitherto unknown-to-me Juliette Kayyem appeared to give her assessment of a national security speech that Pres. Bush gave today before an association of military officers.
Host Alison Stewart introduced Kayyem simply as an "MSNBC terrorism analyst" who had "taken time out" from her Harvard Kennedy School teaching duties to appear.
I was struck by the relentlessly negative tone of Kayyem's comments. For example, Stewart's first question was: "The president continued to talk about us being a nation at war. Is war the right term, and who would the war be against?"
Talk about your Dubious Distinction Awards. In his recently-released videotape, Adam Gadahn, né Pearlman, a nice boy from California turned Al-Qaeda spokesman, names Sy Hersh as a “sympathetic” personality, along with British MP George Galloway and Brit journalist Robert Fisk. As per the Counterrorism Blog, Gadahn "asks . . . Hersh to 'reveal more' than what was published in a New Yorker article on the war."
The New Yorker article in question was one of a series Hersh has written critical of the Bush adminstration's Iraq policy. In a speech last year Hersh claimed that the US government is being taken over by a neo-con "cult":
It was a rollicking episode of 'The Long & The Short of It' this morning, and even taking my personal biases into account, it was hard not to score it 2-0 for the tall man. The regular Sunday-morning feature of Fox & Friends Weekend pits long, conservative Newsday and TCS columnist Jim Pinkerton against short, liberal Ellen Ratner of Talk Radio News.
The opening topic this morning, in a match refereed by FNC host Kiran Chetry, was a report that retired General and former Dem presidential nomination-seeker Wesley Clark will be issuing on behalf of Democrats this week, intended to "detail the failures of Republicans" on national security.
The ostensible topic was the NFL fantasy-league draft that members of the Today show crew recently conducted. But in sharing her strategy for making draft picks, Campbell Brown might have unintentionally offered hope to Republicans looking nervously to November and beyond.
Campbell admitted to weekend co-host Lester Holt that she knows little about football. So in making her picks, Brown said she simply adopted this strategy: "I picked the ones who looked tough and mean."
It wasn't easy, but I battled my way this morning to the end of Frank Rich's pay-per-view column, Donald Rumsfeld’s Dance With the Nazis. Tempting as it was, I didn't turn the cyber-page despite prose that you might find in the dictionary next to the definition of 'turgid'. Take Rich's description of Donald Rumsfeld's recent remarks: "[a] toxic effort to impugn the patriotism of administration critics by conflating dissent on Iraq with cut-and-run surrender and incipient treason."
My persistence was rewarded with two nuggets from the column's concluding paragraphs. First, as a certified spokesman for MSM sentiment, Rich made clear that in liberal media-land, Iraq is not part of the war on terror. Rich dismissed Pres. Bush's assertion that Al-Qaeda and our foes in Iraq are part of the same “ideological struggle of the 21st century.” Sniffed Rich:"One more drop in the polls, and he may yet rebrand this mess War of the Worlds."Movie titles aside, and messy as it might be, we are indeed engaged in a new kind of world war. And if more proof were needed that the MSM doesn't understand that, here it was.
That's not a typo in the headline. According to this Wall Street Journal article reprinted in the Star-Telegram, "on average, GM pays $81.18 an hour in wages and benefits to U.S. hourly workers, including pension and retiree medical costs."
But in his vituperative rant against the Big Three U.S. automakers, Boston Globe columnist Derrick Z. Jackson manages to ignore the huge labor cost advantage enjoyed by non-union Toyota.
How much of an advantage? According to that same article, "Harbour Consulting President Ron Harbour estimates Toyota's total hourly U.S. labor costs, with benefits, at about $35 an hour." That's right, GM's average labor costs are 130% higher than that of the US operations of its Japanese rival. That translates into a $1,000/vehicle average labor-cost advantage enjoyed by Toyota. Thank you, UAW!
Do you remember the scene in The Naked Gun where Leslie Nielsen, as police detective Frank Drebin, pretends to be a major league baseball umpire in order to be able to search the players to see who might be the assassin?
The very first pitch is dead over the heart of the plate, but Frank hesitates before finally, timidly, calling 'strike.' The crowd roars in approval. Frank gets a taste for the positive feedback, and by the third strike is bellowing out his calls, making flamboyant hand gestures, even doing a moonwalk.
A similar phenomenon might be occuring with Keith Olbermann. As noted here, in a closing 'Special Comment' on last night's show, he accused the Bush administration of representing "a new type of fascism." Daily Kos and Democratic Underground exploded in paroxysms of joy, and deluged the show with thousands of approving emails.
To judge by the outraged defense of Democrats and the MSM that Matt Lauer and Tim Russert advanced on this morning's Today show, the Bush administration's arguments on fighting the war on terror are hitting home.
NBC reporter Kelly O'Donnell set the tone with this little shot at the president:
"While the president has cautioned not to politicize what he is talking about, he was greeted here in Salt Lake by 2,000 invited members of the public who carried signs, there was music playing - a campaign-style event - and we were told this was intended to counter some of the war demonstrations led by people like Cindy Sheehan."
Preliminaries over, it was on to the main event, the Lauer/Russert tag team.
Looking back, it all seems so predictable. The relentless criticism, the countless sneering jabs from Keith Olbermann directed at the Bush administration were building to an inexorable climax. It came tonight. Olbermann flatly accused the Bush administration of representing "a new type of fascism."
Though the denouement was inevitable, the proximate cause of Olbermann's tirade was Donald Rumsfeld's speech to the American Legion on Tuesday in which he suggested that opponents of the war in Iraq have adopted the same attitude that slowed a military response to Hitler. Rumsfeld asserted that radical Islam represents "a new type of fascism."
Bush supporters who think that the MSM's sports pages might offer a respite from Bush-bashing should think again. MSNBC managed to slip a sneak attack on the president into a seemingly innocuous article on the recent collapse of the Boston Red Sox.
Wrote MSNBC contributor Bob Cook, criticizing Sox General Manager Theo Epstein [pictured here]:
"Epstein might be better [sic] keeping his mouth shut for a while. His recent, unfoundedly optimistic pronouncements have him sounding like President Bush on Iraq."
Sorry, this item is a bit dated. On last weekend's edition of "On The Media" on National Public Radio, host Bob Garfield devoted a segment to the utter, outrageous waste of public broadcasting. Oops, no, not that public broadcasting, but U.S. propaganda broadcasts to Cuba. (Forgive me for chortling whenever a government-funded news outlet denounces another government-funded news outlet. It ought to come with a disclaimer. "We here at National Public Radio believe deeply in biting the hand that feeds us -- hard.")
Garfield began by reporting on TV Marti's satire show, "The Office of the Chief," that mocks Cuban dictator Fidel Castro. In the chair normally occupied by El Jefe was his brother Raul Castro, "waxing about his 59 luxury homes and barking orders at his staff." After a clip, Garfield instructed:
If once is an aberration, and twice a trend, what's three times?
The first time Joe Biden told Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace that he was "praying," it got my attention. By the third time - using the variant "I pray to God" - I was thoroughly curious. Then something happened at the end of the interview that might provide a clue as to Joe's sudden bout of religiosity.
By the way, Biden claimed to be 'praying' in response to various pieces of evidence that Wallace confronted him with suggesting that, at long last, the security situation in Iraq might be improving. Biden repeatedly responded that he was 'praying' that Wallace was right, all the time suggesting that in fact there was no real reason for optimism.
Remember George H.W. Bush? The one who was derided by the MSM for his lack of toughness? The man Newsweek put on its cover with the sneering headline "Fighting the Wimp Factor"?
Scratch all that. As per this morning's “Today” show, it turns out H.W. wasn't a wimp at all. Not only was he a 'diplomat', above all he was someone who knew how to successfully fight a war in Iraq.
What caused “Today” to catch a bad case of SORS: Sudden-Onset Revisionism Syndrome? It's that old truism at work: the MSM is willing to praise a Republican who is out of power . . . for purposes of bashing one still in office.
”Today” used the occasion of W's visit to his father's home in Kennebunkport this weekend to raise the question "Like Father Not Like Son?" Narrating
On this evening's Hardball, Matthews pleaded with Buchanan to take back the Republican party from neo-conservatives. In closing an earlier segment with guest Joe Biden, Matthews had taken a shot at neo-cons: "Unfortunately we have been carried into Iraq by the dreams of the ideologues."
When Buchanan came on, Matthews took that same notion one step further:
"Pat, when are the traditional conservatives in this country who believe in less government, less role in the world, like yourself, though you might be more extreme than some, George Will, Bill Buckley, when are you guys going to retake your party from the neo-conservatives and stop these overseas campaigns?"
Has Tucker Carlson ever heard of the Marshall Plan? Seriously. The question arises in light of Carlson's show-closing diatribe this afternoon. Tucker was irate that, "now that Israel is done pummeling Lebanon, Uncle Sam wants to help clean up the mess. Your hard-earned tax dollars will include $42 million to help Lebanon's military prepare for deployment in the southern part of the country, rebuild schools and help mop up an oil spill off the Lebanese coast."
He continued: "Here's the question - if the United States was so opposed to the physical destruction of Lebanon, so opposed that we would pay for the reconstruction of Lebanon, why did we allow Israel - and we did allow Israel - to use American arms to pummel Lebanon. Maybe it was a good idea, maybe it wasn't. But the fact that we are paying for the clean-up suggests we were against it in the first place. And if we were against it in the first place, why didn't we do something about it? Good question!" [If Carlson did say so himself].
The Boston Globe is not a media outlet known for its sympathetic view towards fundamentalist religious types. Everyone is aware of this. The Globe coverage of fundamentalist religious types is never particularly positive. Iran is a repressive fundamentalist theocracy. Everyone knows this.
But this morning, the Boston Globe has rapturous praise for the repressive fundamentalist theocrats in Tehran. In this front page story, the Globe manages to praise the freedom and openness of a regime that won't let women go out in public without having their heads covered.
The white-coated scientists at Tehran's Royan Institute labor beneath a framed portrait of the turbaned, bearded supreme leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the head of a state that enforces strict religious rules governing everything from how women dress to what kinds of parties people throw.
But in the cutting-edge field of human embryonic stem-cell research, the scientists work with a freedom that US researchers can only dream of: broad government approval, including government funding, to work on the potent cells from early-stage embryos that researchers believe hold the promise to cure many diseases.
When the New York Times originally broke the story of the NSA Terrorist Surveillance Program, the rest of the media leapt to the bandwagon, and immediately began referring to President Bush's "Domestic Surveillance Program." One of the forums where this has been particularly egregious is CBS' The Early Show. Well, the last 7 months and all of the discussion has done nothing to change the view of the program held by CBS. There were two separate comments in a 30-second news snippet from Tracy Smith that were either inaccurate or incomplete, and, of course, they were inaccurate or incomplete in a manner that made the program sound worse than it is.
The first was the continued mis-labeling. The program is not, despite the mainstream press' continued insistence, a "domestic" surveillance program. The NSA is not monitoring American's domestic calls without warrants, or at least, if they are, that has not been made public. That's not what the program being talked about covers. The NSA is monitoring overseas communications of suspected terrorists and terrorism supporters. If some of those communications are into the United States, they're continuing to monitor. That doesn't make the conversations "domestic."
If not quite from the grave, the decision by one of Jimmy Carter's judicial appointees, striking down the NSA terrorist surveillance program, was an unwelcome blast from past. Call it Carter's Revenge. Malaise Redux. The spirit of Desert One lives.
That this was a political decision more than a legal one is evidenced by the intemperate language of the opinion itself: "There are no hereditary kings in America," harumphed Judge Anna Diggs Taylor of the United States District Court in Detroit, in a case filed by the ACLU. [An exception to Taylor's no-hereditary-kings rule: the Sulzberger dynasty that is . . . the New York Times. Hat tip to NB poster Jack Bauer. See details in comments below.]
If I ever knew that Chris Matthews' brother Jim Matthews is the Republican candidate for Lt. Governor of Pennsylvania, I had forgotten. Chris manifestly has not, and on this evening's Hardball peevishly berated a Republican guest who had the temerity to remind him of that fact.
After interviewing Dem Congressman Jack Murtha, Matthews had Murtha's Republican challenger Diana Irey on as a guest. Before getting into substance, Matthews testily alluded to the fact that Irey's campaign manager had sent Matthews a press release with proposed questions for Murtha. First on the list:
"How hard is it for you knowing that Jim Matthews just appeared two days ago with your opponent Diana Irey to cut the ribbon at her volunteer HQ in your hometown of Johnstown?"
On Wednesday's Countdown show, while reporting on a recent Zogby poll which found that more Americans can name two of Snow White's dwarves than can name two of America's Supreme Court justices, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann took the opportunity to joke that Justices Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia are "Dopey and Grumpy." The Countdown host also took a shot at President Bush by bringing up Bush's failure to name world leaders in a pop quiz during an interview with Boston TV journalist Andy Hiller in November 1999, and suggested to comedian Mo Rocca that Bush's lack of knowledge is to blame for "current world affairs." Olbermann: "Can you think of any consequences at all that could have stemmed from that candidate's level of knowledge? Is that being reflected at all in the current world affairs?" (Transcript follows)
David needs the umbrella to complete his Neville Chamberlain impersonation. In an Op Ed in today's Washington Post David Ignatius applauds the disastrous UN-brokered ceasefire:
The Lebanon war was damaging for Israel, the United States and, most of all, Lebanon itself. But it may have taught everyone a lesson that will be immensely important to the future of the Middle East: The solutions to the big problems that afflict the region are not military but political.
Meanwhile, the same edition of the Post reports Hezbollah's continued refusal to disarm. It's painfully obvious that Israel's withdrawal from Lebanon without destroying Hezbollah will mean even greater suffering and bloodshed when the West finally decides to deal with the problem.
One of the interesting evidences of bias in the mainstream press is the way that all political discussions tend to be written from the point-of-view of "what do the Democrats need to do to win?" This New York Times "analysis" is just the latest example. All of the factors that you'd expect to see from a PR firm trying to help Democrats get elected are present.
Introductory paragraph framing the issue from the Democrats' perspective? Check.
After being outmaneuvered in the politics of national security in the last two elections, Democrats say they are determined not to cede the issue this year and are working to cast President Bush as having diminished the nation’s safety.
Those mean-spirited Republicans. They're all about the politics of hate. And now this! Can you imagine, calling a political opponent an "evil, authoritarian, crypto-fascist puppet master"? Wait a sec. That wasn't a Republican. It's a Huff Poster describing Dick Cheney.
Oh, and for good measure he calls President Bush "a smiling, dry alcoholic with sadistic tendencies."
The author in question is Larry Beinhart, who, as per his web page, is a member in good standing of the liberal establishment: Fulbright Fellow, novelist and screenplay writer, written for Newsday, LA Times, International Herald Tribune, Esquire. Couple Emmys.
Nearly two week ago, NBC’s Andrea Mitchell suggested hard-line Communist Raul Castro really did have a soft spot for capitalism.
has been in charge of the military and the economy,” Mitchell explained
to the August 2 “Today” show audience, calling Fidel’s younger brother “politically hard-line but more open than his brother to free
enterprise, including foreign investment.”
She might be on to something, after all.
prosecutors in Miami were prepared to indict Raul Castro as the head of
a major cocaine smuggling conspiracy in 1993, but the Clinton
Administration Justice Department overruled them, current and former
Justice Department officials tell ABC News,” ABC’s Brian Ross and Vic Walter reported on August 14.
of the photographer's comment (it appears that Denton's original is
gone, but that another commenter reposted it within his own comment;
scroll down to "Andy Levin Fri Aug 11 09:54:08")
i have been working in lebanon since all this started,
and seeing the behavior of many of the lebanese wire service
photographers has been a bit unsettling. while hajj has garnered a lot
of attention for his doctoring of images digitally, whether guilty or
not, i have been witness to the daily practice of directed shots, one
case where a group of wire photogs were coreographing the unearthing of
bodies, directing emergency workers here and there, asking them to
position bodies just so, even remove bodies that have already been put
in graves so that they can photograph them in peoples arms. these
photographers have come away with powerful shots, that required no
manipulation digitally, but instead, manipulation on a human level, and
this itself is a bigger ethical problem.
In an article on Fidel Castro, his health, and his visit from Venezuelan Fidel fan Hugo Chavez, the Associated Press noted that "birthday articles in state-run newspapers extolled his virtues." The implication is that state-controlled papers aren't apt to be truthful, much less objective.
So what's the AP's excuse? In the very same article, AP reporter Anita Snow informs us that:
"News of Castro's illness made Cubans uneasy about the future, but a series of upbeat statements from government officials have helped calm a public facing up to the mortality of the island's longtime leader. 'What happiness I received!' exclaimed resident Margot Gomez after seeing Sunday's newspaper during a morning walk in Havana. 'Long live Fidel and long live the revolution! He knows what to do to convert setbacks into victories!'
Last week, I documented here the way CNN leaned over backwards for balance in a story. In the wake of the Seattle Jewish Center shooting, it equated the fear of Jewish-Americans of similar incidents . . . with the fear of Hezbollah supporters of being unfairly accused.
Although it wasn't nearly so egregious, Fox News Channel's Anita Vogel [seen here in a file photo] just engaged in some over-reaching herself in the name of balance. She narrated an otherwise solid segment on 'fauxtography' and other ways in which the media and Hezbollah supporters manipulate the news. The segment included an interview with star blogger Charles Johnson, founder of Little Green Footballs, who played a key role in outing the smoky Beirut-skyline bit of fauxtography.
But then, searching for balance where there really is little or none to be had, Vogel claimed that the Israeli government also manipulates the news:
"But we need to keep in mind, there are other ways foreign governments control the media. The Israeli government exercises control over the media during wartime, like prohibiting them from reporting on real-time rocket strikes and places in northern Israel where officials are visiting due to safety concerns."
You wouldn't have known either their names or backgrounds had you relied on the Today show this morning for the information. According to the wife of one of the suspects, the men's families come from Jerusalem.
According to NBC reporter Janet Shamlian, who narrated a segment on the situation, those facing terrorism charges are "three Texas men."