Coverage of British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher's death and life was relegated to below the fold at USA Today this morning (pictured here; the paper stopped posting front-page pics two years ago).
Three items above the fold (excluding left-side teases to coverage of other stories) were considered more important that the Iron Lady's passing: "Remembering Annette Funicello"; a "Duplicate programs waste billions" item about wasteful government spending (useful, but it's not as if we didn't know this already); and to top it off, a 6x6 photo from the first half of the NCAA men's basketball finals, the result of which the paper was unable to report because the game ended after its publication deadline.
Your daily dose of inadvertent humor comes from an article by Annie Lowrey at the New York Times on Sunday evening ("Lew to Press for European Policy Changes"; also in today's print edition).
In "covering" (from Washington?) Treasury Secretary Jack Lew's four-day European trip for meetings with EU leaders encouraging them to pursue "growth" policies -- which in Keynesians' fevered minds always really means "stimulus" and not genuine growth-driven initiatives -- Lowrey wrote the following (bold is mine):
As the media predictably gush and fawn over the thought of Hillary Clinton as president, there's something extremely obvious they've been missing.
Rather surprisingly, Roger Simon, the perilously liberal chief political columnist at Politico, asked the $64 million question on CNN's Reliable Sources Sunday, "How good a job did she really do as Secretary of State?" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
CBS again paid homage to Caroline Kennedy on Tuesday's CBS This Morning as they hyped her possible nomination to be the next ambassador of Japan. During her report, Jan Crawford featured liberal historian Robert Dallek, who gushed over the apparent worldwide reputation of the presidential daughter's family: "The Kennedys, generally, have an extraordinary, continuing hold on the public's imagination, both in this country and abroad."
Dallek later asserted that the U.S. might be "sending somebody as ambassador to Tokyo who is representative of the best in American culture." The correspondent also touted how Kennedy "would have an opportunity to test her political skills, but also, she would be able to put the Kennedy name back on an international stage" if President Obama named her to the key diplomatic post.
Warning: Please remove all flammables, fluids, and food from proximity to your computer as the following statement by Newsweek's Eleanor Clift on PBS's McLaughlin Group Friday could result in a potentially hazardous fit of laughter.
"The concern within the [Obama] administration [regarding cyber warfare] is intense, and it reminds me of the way the Clinton administration was focused on al Qaeda in the ’90s" (video follows with lengthy commentary to really expose the absurdity of this statement):
According to contemporary reports, as here and here, Egyptian protesters who pelted the motorcade of then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton with tomatoes during her visit to Egypt last July were chanting "Monica! Monica!"
So who did Al Sharpton, on his MSNBC show this evening, blame for the tomato pelting? Why, Glenn Beck and Michele Bachmann, of course! According to the Reverend Al, it was the raising by Beck and Bachmann of the possible connection of Hillary's top aide, Huma Abedin, to the Muslim Brotherhood that outraged the Egyptian horde. Sharpton says "there is absolutely nothing" to back the claims of Abedin family ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. That is simply false, as this National Review item documents. View the video after the jump.
At the top of Sunday's NBC Meet the Press, chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel forwarded anti-Israel sentiment during a segment about President Obama's trip to the Middle East: "I think the President went there to give Israel a big hug. Some people in the region think that he went too far, that he went too far to embrace Zionism as an ideology, not just the State of Israel." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Engel declared: "Israel feels very threatened, very unsure about its future. That's obvious by the way they are walling themselves in psychologically and physically....the idea was to make Israel feel secure in an increasingly insecure region." He lamented: "The Palestinians generally were disappointed with the trip, nothing concrete coming out of it."
As I noted earlier this evening, Obama spoke last week under a banner of Yasser Arafat, "the father of modern terrorism." That move is being seen as a gaffe by the very few, almost none of whom are in the establishment press, who have even noticed it. What if it's not a gaffe, but rather an intentional move? That may be the case if what Al Arabiya reported on Friday, seen after the jump, is indeed true (HT Examiner.com):
On Thursday in Ramallah, as Daniel Halper at the Weekly Standard blog noted, U.S. President Barack Obama "addressed the assembled journalists while standing under a Yasser Arafat banner." Arafat is rightly considered the “father of modern terrorism.” Since U.S. establishment press coverage is non-existent, I'll take readers to an outraged Nile Gardiner at the UK Telegraph to express how utterly offensive Obama's silently condoning Arafat's legitimacy really is:
Zurprise, zurprise: Zbig wouldn't go to war to stop Iran getting nukes. On Morning Joe today, Jimmy Carter's former national security adviser had some advice for President Obama: tell Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu that America will not go to war against Iran.
Attacking Iran's nuclear facilities would surely be an act of war. Yet doing so might well be the only way to prevent the ayatollahs from getting the A-bomb. Unfortunately, neither Joe Scarborough nor anyone else on the panel including daughter Mika asked Brzezinski flat out whether he would encourage America to stand by while Iran got nukes. But it's hard to intepret his words otherwise. And of course, Zbig is the man who called for the U.S. to shoot down Israeli warplanes on the way to Iran. View the video after the jump.
Another episode airs tonight of FX’s The Americans. Last week, the historic drama set in 1981, portrayed a successful KGB effort to discredit a Polish priest, who is leading an anti-Soviet liberation movement, by smearing him as a rapist during his visit to New York City. (“The Reagan administration doesn’t want a rapist leading the movement to push the Soviets out of Poland.”)
The March 13 installment of the series also featured an actual real-life clip of President Ronald Reagan hailing the people of Poland: “We, the people of the free world, stand as one with our Polish brothers and sisters.”
During a joint press conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday, President Obama lectured NBC chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd for asking too many questions: "Chuck, how many do you got? Do you guys do this in the Israeli press? You say you get one question and then you add like five?...You see how the young lady from Channel One, she had one question, she was very well behaved, Chuck?...I mean, you're just incorrigible." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Perhaps it was the content of Todd's questions, rather than the number, that the President objected to: "I want to follow up a little bit on the peace process....you said you weren't going to let this slip to your second term. We're in your second term with the Mideast peace process. What went wrong? Why are we further away from a two-state solution?... what do you believe went wrong? Did you push Israel too hard? What do you wish you would have done differently?"
Does Mika Brzezinski see Barack Obama as the Messiah? Mika dismissed the notion, but Joe Scarborough had a very different point of view.
As today's Morning Joe rolled live footage of President Obama's arrival in Tel Aviv, former Bush foreign policy advisor Dan Senor couldn't help sarcastically observing "the Messiah has returned to Israel." Mika Brzezinski feigned dismissiveness, asking: "are you kidding me?" Retorted Joe Scarborough: "no, he's channeling you." View the video after the jump.
A CNN headline during Tuesday's 11 a.m. hour of Newsroom asked, "Should Bush officials be tried for war crimes?" CNN legal analyst Lisa Bloom argued that the U.S. should submit to the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court for the mass murder of Iraqis that far exceeded the 9/11 atrocities.
Bloom downplayed the 9/11 terror attacks in the face of the Iraq War. When anchor Ashleigh Banfield noted that America responded to 9/11 with force and not in a "sanguine" manner, Bloom compared it to the Iraqi casualty count: "And that was 4,000, not 100,000, not 10 years." [Video below the break. Audio here.]
In a report on the tenth anniversary of the Iraq War for Tuesday's NBC Today, chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel was unable to conceal his contempt for the conflict: "Iraq's oil money was supposed to pay for the war. It didn't work out that way. From now on, the war set its own agenda, an insurgency erupted that became a religious civil war....Iraqis accuse the United States of invading to find weapons of mass destruction that were never there, and destroying a delicate religious balance." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Engel continued: "The [Bush] White House stopped claiming all was well in Iraq, and thousands more troops surged. The violence dropped, and Americans left. Nine years, almost 4,500 troops killed, 32,000 wounded, 130,000 Iraqi civilians killed. The cost, according to a new study, nearly $2 trillion."
On Thursday's World News, ABC News correspondent Terry Moran acted like it was a big surprise that newly-elected Pope Francis stands by the Catholic Church's teachings on sexuality: "Now, as the world comes to know him, it turns out, on many issues, Pope Francis is a staunch traditionalist. He compared abortion to a death sentence; called gay marriage 'destructive of God's plan.'"
By contrast, CBS surprisingly reported on the continuing persecution of the Catholic Church in China on Friday's CBS This Morning. Though he didn't explicitly label the Chinese government as communist, correspondent Wyatt Andrews noted how "millions of the faithful worship in groups at home, praying in underground churches where religion, if practiced too openly, can lead to arrest." Andrews' report stands out from his network's biased coverage of the papal election.
In a mild shock -- mild because it's mentioned before the elections, but probably won't be when it really matters after the polls close -- Frank Bajak and Jorge Rueda at the Associated Press, in a story about how the last opposition TV station in Venezuela is being sold to an insurance magnate who is reportedly "friendly with government," noted the extraordinary handicaps that Venezuela's opposition presidential candidate faces as he attempts to unseat the Chavista successor to the late dictator Hugo Chavez in April's upcoming elections.
Way to go out on a limb, Harold!. . . Of all the Morning Joe regulars, Harold Ford, Jr. is on my short list of those who bring the least to the table. Ford seems more interested in cultivating friends and avoiding offense than in saying anything interesting or—heaven forfend—controversial.
Ford took his penchant for finding something good to say about everyone to absurd new heights on today's show. On the one hand, Harold showed respect for Rand Paul's filibuster. On the other, he actually broke out the hoary "my dear friend" in saying he wasn't as worred about the drone policy as is Ron Wyden. And Harold is confident that President Obama will uphold the Constitution. Ford even claimed that AG Eric Holder did "a phenomenal job" in answering questions on the drone policy. We're running out of hands, here, Harold! Matters reached an absurd crescendo when, after observing that those who hang out with terrorists put themselves in peril, Ford proclaimed "I don't dine, socialize or spend time with people who are on a terrorist list around the globe." Good to know! View the video after the jump.
Not surprisingly, most of the folks on MSNBC have being having a field day Thursday ridiculing Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) for his historic filibuster the day before.
Doing his part on the Martin Bashir show was MSNBC political analyst David Corn who said that Attorney General Eric Holder’s letter to Paul “had a very silent FU in it” (video follows with transcribed highlights and commentary):
As Joe Scarborough said, "this is liberal on liberal on liberal violence. I love watching it." He was referring to the intra-squad liberal dogfight, spurred by Rand Paul's filibuster, that broke out on Morning Joe today over the use of drones by the U.S. government. H/t NB reader Ray R.
Though former car czar Steve Rattner played a supporting role, the two main combatants were Sam Stein of the Huffington Post and Richard Wolffe of MSNBC itself. Stein criticized the lack of guidelines that the Obama administration has established for the use of drones on U.S. citizens, supporting Paul's argument that it should be an easy question for the Obama admin to answer. In the other corner, Wolffe was the internationalist, suggesting all terrorists should perhaps be entitled to the same due process, be they Saudi, Kuwaiti or American. Stein and Scarborough had to enlighten Wolffe about the special protections the Constitution extends to U.S. citizens. View the video after the jump.
It's as if Associated Press reporter Paul Haven saw colleague Frank Bajak's pathetic obituary of Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez earlier today (covered by Matthew Balan at NewsBusters) and said: "Oh yeah? I can outdo you."
That he did, in an execrable report excerpted after the jump which should be saved to the hard drive and shown as evidence that anyone who calls the wire service "the Authoritarian Press" is not at all out of line (bolds are mine):
CNN, which if I recall correctly severed formal ties with the Associated Press some time ago, quoted former congressman Joseph Kennedy II's reaction to the death of Venezuela's authoritarian leader Hugo Chavez as follows: "President Chavez cared deeply about the poor of Venezuela and other nations around the world and their abject lack of even basic necessities, while some of the wealthiest people on our planet have more money than they can ever reasonably expect to spend" ... There are close to 2 million people in the United States who received free heating assistance, thanks to President Chavez's leadership. Our prayers go out to President Chavez's family, the people of Venezuela, and all who were warmed by his generosity."
Here is how Christine Armario at the AP, with the help of Steve LeBlanc in Boston, sanitized Kennedy's remarks:
Frank Bajak of the AP lionized Venezuelan autocrat and "fighter" Hugo Chavez minutes after his death on Tuesday, playing up in the second sentence of his item how the "former paratroop commander and fiery populist...outsmarted his rivals time and again." Bajak later hyped Chavez as a "master communicator and savvy political strategist."
Ping-pong diplomacy worked with China, so why not b-ball diplomacy with North Korea? Mika Brzezinski is clearly not buying that line of logic. On today's Morning Joe, Brzezinski confessed to being "angry" with George Stephanopoulos for having the extraterrestrial otherwise known as Dennis Rodman on This Week to discuss his recent trip to North Korea, which included meeting with its new leader, Kim Jong Un.
Mika didn't spare her fellow MJ panelists, calling them "idiots" when they persisted in discussing Rodman's trip and TW appearance. View the video after the jump.
The Morning Joe panel was tough today on the Obama White House for threatening Bob Woodward by telling him he would "regret" his reporting that it was the Obama administration that had devised the sequester, In the course of the opening segment, various panel members described the Obama White House response as "mickey mouse," "pathetic" and "childish."
But at the same time, a theme emerged that there was nothing unusual about a White House trying to intimidate reporters. Mark Halperin said "the Bush White House regularly would engage in the same kind of tactics." And Joe Scarborough and Andrea Mitchell shared stories of having been threatened by the Bush and Reagan White Houses, respectively. Andrea named names. Scarborough did not. H/t readers Ray R. and cobokat. View the video after the jump.
Remember when Washington Post In The Loop columnist Al Kamen launched another frivolous, liberal pandering contest for participants to name Hillary Clinton’s memoir to make things “a little easier” for her? Kamen is known for his inside the Beltway commentary on politics within Washington, which probably explains why bureaucrats love him. Well, after a strenuous vetting process, the winners are in, and it’s full of liberal boot-lickers, pro-Obama journalists, and former staffers of Joe Biden.
The top three that were the most interesting were from Alfred Friendly, Jr., a former reporter for Newsweek and the New York Times, who suggested Hard Times, Soft Power as his title for Hillary’s memoir. Does anyone else feel that the name sounds like a title suitable for the Adults Only section of the Clinton Presidential Library bookstore?
Syndicated columnist George Will on ABC's This Week Sunday made a marvelous observation about the upcoming Academy Awards.
In his view, “Zero Dark Thirty” should win as best picture as a “rebuke to Senators Levin, Feinstein, and McCain who have enough to do without being movie critics and falsely accusing that movie of taking a stand on torture it does not take” (video follows with transcribed highlights and commentary):
On the eve of Sunday's Academy Awards presentation, former George W. Bush CIA Director Michael Hayden has made a strong statement about the hunt for Osama bin Laden film "Zero Dark Thirty."
In an interview to be aired on CNN's Fareed Zakaria GPS Sunday, Hayden said, "If you look at the movie, it was artistically true, not factually true. Artistically, it portrayed the CIA interrogation program, but factually it was overwrought and inaccurate" (video follows with transcript and commentary):