At a time when radical Muslims are rioting in the streets over images of Muhammad, the Washington Post somehow thinks it's a perfect time to pretend once again that images of communist guerrilla/butcher Che Guevara are cool. In an article headlined "The Che Cachet," Post reporter David Segal writes about how "An Exhibition Traces How the Marxist Revolutionary's Photo Inspired An Army of Capitalists."
This article has been done before. And done before. And done before. But that apparently doesn't mean it can't be done again. And badly again.
The dumbest sentence by far: Segal writes "Rifle-wielding freedom fighters around the world have revered this image the way Christians revere saints." Appalling. The second half is not untrue -- communists and leftists do revere the image like a religious icon of "socialist realism." It's the first half, the idea that communist guerillas are "freedom fighters." As if Marxists ever brought anyone freedom. That's so 20th century...
Today's Matt Lauer scored a Jerome Bettis-sized TD this morning by asking a question regarding the current Muslim rioting that was as unexpected as it was perspicacious. Meanwhile, former Clinton diplomat Bill Richardson offered the instinctive Democratic response to a threat to our security: bring on the UN!
Richardson, currently the New Mexico governor, described the grim state of the Muslim world: "I've never seen the situation so dire with with the threats from Iran, the victory of Hamas, the escape of Badawi in Yemen. This is a very dangerous situation. It seems that the Muslim world is exploding."
Hey, I'm a multi-culturalist. I'm happy to see people observing their various religious holidays, from Christmas to Chanukah to Ramadan. But somehow, my multicultural enthusiasms run out of steam when it comes to . . . condoning the sacking of foreign embassies.
Not Julian Phillips. The co-host of Fox & Friends Weekend blithely condoned the current rioting and burning of foreign embassies around the world by Muslims angered by depictions of the Prophet Mohammed. His explanation-by-way-of-excuse: "different religion, different culture."
In the course of the show's opening segment, Fox's Yasmina Ykelenstam reported live from Beirut, where rioters had set fire to the Danish embassy. She reported that there has been violence across the city, including at the Norwegian embassy, and cars smashed and burned. Back in the studio, Kiran Chetry reported that in Damascus, Syria, rioters had also set fire to the Danish embassy.
National Public Radio's show "On The Media" continues to amaze. Last weekend (and transcripts go up in mid-week), the hosts mustered more outrage against Pope Benedict XVI and the Vatican charging copyright fees than they could against Hamas attempts to put a public-relations veneer over their terrorist war on Israel. You could see the difference in the segment titles. The Vatican segment was titled "Pricing the Word." Hamas drew a cheeky headline: "Extreme Makeover: Hamas Edition."
Co-host Garfield began the papal fuss: "[A]s of this week, if you'd like to use a portion of the encyclical or any other papal text in a book you're working on, get ready to pay up, because quoting the Pope just got pricey. The Vatican Publishing House will henceforth impose copyright fees." He interviewed Vatican reporter John Allen: "This one took me by surprise. Charging to reprint the Pope's words – where did that come from?" Allen explained this is not a big change, but Garfield persisted.
Let's give Today its due. It devoted extended coverage this morning to the growing nuclear threat from Iran. In Katie Couric's interview of Richard Haass, President of the Council on Foreign Relations, it was quickly established that Iran does indeed represent a serious danger. Much of the conversation involved a discussion of the various options - none of them ideal - to address the threat. One might argue that Haass' estimate that Iran remains five years away from acquiring a nuclear weapon is dangerously optimistic, but he did not attempt to downplay the seriousness of the situation.
But, inevitably, Katie turned the talk to what she deemed domestic spying, alternatively dubbing it, with a wry smile, "the terrorist surveillance program."
AFP (Agence France Presse) reports from Doha, Qatar, that President Clinton denounced the cartoons of Muhammad with a bomb for a hat and other "outrageous" cartoons. But Laura Ingraham made a good point today: why is he stumping for the Danish-flag-burning Islamic fanatics, feeling their pain, and having no comment on the Washington Post cartoonist Tom Toles using our military amputees as a punch line? Here's a piece of the AFP report:
Former US president Bill Clinton warned of rising anti-Islamic prejudice, comparing it to historic anti-Semitism as he condemned the publishing of cartoons depicting Prophet Mohammed in a Danish newspaper.
On a slow news day, a couple Today show notes, both concerning Matt Lauer.
Readers will recall, as described here, that on the eve of the confirmation hearings Lauer branded Sam Alito an "ultraconservative." No mea culpas from Matt this morning in the wake of Alito's vote splitting from the court's conservative wing and staying the execution of a death-row inmate. Today did label Alito's decision a "Supreme Surprise." Observed Katie Couric:
"Everyone expected Alito to be a reliable, consistent conservative on the high court which is why so many are a little shocked that he sided with liberals and moderates in his very first vote on the high court last night."
Liberals hate to be accused of having a pre-9/11 mentality. But how else can you describe it when two leading MSM lights dismiss the war on terror as a political ploy that President Bush has taken to "extremes"?
That's exactly what happened on this morning's Today show. Matt Lauer, conducting a SOTU post-mortem interview of Tom Brokaw, wrote off W's war on terror as a political tactic:
"The president talked about this fight against "radical Isam" [note that Lauer raised his hands, painting scare quotes in the air around the term] saying that the weapon they use in the fight is fear and that we cannot retreat, there's no peace in retreat. Is this an attempt in this divided nation to find some kind of term or idea that people can get united behind?"
Toggling between the Today show and Good Morning America this morning offered a perfect illustration of the very different treatment the MSM reserves for Republicans and Democrats.
At Today, Andrea Mitchell was painting a grim picture of President Bush's foreign policy record. Take the recent Hamas victory, for example, which Mitchell unequivocally labelled: "a disaster for the US peace plan."
In fact, reactions to the Hamas victory have been very mixed, with some seeing a significant silver lining, as in this column by conservative [and I might add Jewish] columnist Jeff Jacoby:
On Friday, the New York Times released results from its recent, comprehensive poll done along with CBS News. The Times devoted an entire article to this poll, and put it smack dab on the front page. Yet, the article curiously left out a few details that the Times editors must have thought were unimportant. For instance, 52 percent of those polled approve of the way the president is prosecuting the war on terrorism. This is the highest approval the president has received in this regard from a CBS News/New York Times poll since before Hurricane Katrina hit. This is quite surprising given all of the attention given to NSA eavesdropping over the past six weeks, and last week’s release of the Osama bin Laden tape.
Another finding of this poll that the Times omitted from its Friday article was that 50 percent of respondents said U.S.
If there was any doubt that the New York Times thoroughly despised President Bush, the last shreds were erased this morning. In an editorial entitled “Spies, Lies, and Wiretaps,” the Times presented a case against the Bush administration with similar gusto as it might attack an organized crime family and it’s Mafia Don. Assuming it had already received an indictment, the Times then prosecuted its case, and acted as both judge and jury to seal a conviction.
The piece began with a subtle reference to Woodward and Bernstein’s famous Watergate expose while sexistly ignoring the female members of the administration:
“A bit over a week ago, President Bush and his men promised to provide the legal, constitutional and moral justifications for the sort of warrantless spying on Americans that has been illegal for nearly 30 years. Instead, we got the familiar mix of political spin, clumsy historical misinformation, contemptuous dismissals of civil liberties concerns, cynical attempts to paint dissents as anti-American and pro-terrorist, and a couple of big, dangerous lies.”
After these opening remarks, the prosecution built its case. It began by discrediting what it perceived was lie number one:
Remember the good old days, when Democrats and their friends in the MSM would regularly bash Republican administrations for doing business with less-than-democratic, even unsavory foreign governments and their leaders?
From the Shah of Iran, to Marcos in the Phillipines, Suharto in Indonesia, Pinochet in Chile and a variety of strong men, authoritarians and tinpots in between, liberals lambasted Republican presidents for "coddling dictators" and doing nothing to promote freedom and democracy.
It seems the MSM has overhauled its ordre du jour [to use a phrase one might hear in, oh, Davos, Switzerland]. At least when it comes to those 'furriners,' could it be that Democrats and their MSM buds suddenly aren't so keen on . . . democracy anymore?
Over at NRO, Jay Nordlinger is on his annual jaunt to observe the global hoi polloi at Davos, Switzerland, but he has a telling tidbit of New York Times bias if you keep with it. Apparently, it's surprising that the President is reading books again, even those distasteful tomes about the dark days of mass murder in the communist bloc:
You may have seen, in the New York Times, that President Bush has been reading that big new book about Mao: Mao: The Unknown Story, by the husband-and-wife team of Jung Chang and Jon Halliday. (Actually, I should have written "wife-and-husband team" — sorry about that.) Did you catch what the Times's writer, Elisabeth Bumiller, had to say about this? (Her story is here.) Very interesting.
The New York Times makes a point to cast the Canadian election as a non-ideological victory for the Conservatives on Wednesday. Canada-based reporter Clifford Krauss marks the country’s groundbreaking election of a Conservative government over a headline seemingly meant to reassure the Times’ timorous liberal readership: “Canada’s Shift: To the Right, Gently – Harper Defeated Liberals More Over Scandals Than Policies.”
Last May, the Canada-based Krauss assumed the liberal view that international treaties and gay marriage laws were signs of political virtue and tolerance: "Canadian cities are among the most ethnically diverse and safest in the world. Canadian tolerance took real form during the past two years with the extension of marriage rights to gays and lesbians in most of the country."
Yesterday's Canadian election confirmed what polls and pundits had been reporting: Millions of voters strongly favored the Conservatives and were disgusted by the Liberal Party's stumbling social policies and massive corruption.
The Post only quoted one person who even claimed to have voted Conservative. And it told its readers said she did so “reluctantly:”
"I think we have to give it a try. But I am very afraid that it will be too far right," said Florence Koven, 72, emerging from the polls after voting -- reluctantly, she said -- for the Conservative Party. "The unknown always concerns you. Mr. Harper (the Conservative leader) says he is a changed man; we'll see how much he has changed."
Yes indeed, all of us on both sides of the border need to be sooo careful about voting for Conservatives. And if they win, we must always hope they change once in office.
The Post's management continues to insist the paper doesn't have a liberal bias. What's more, the editors tell us that when covering an election, their reporters find out what voters are saying and tell us.
Well, if that's the case, how did The Post miss all the Canadians who would have been happy to tell its reporters: "We're sick and tired of the Liberals and glad the Conservatives are going in?"
John McCain is a straight talker. You can take it to the bank. Assuming, that is, that you're willing to rely on the Today show's say-so. During much of McCain's interview with Matt Lauer this morning, Today 'helpfully' displayed the legend "Straight Talk from John McCain." Guess that wraps it up - the man is as square a shooter as the day is long!
Some of us watching the interviewing might otherwise have thought that John McCain was positioning himself to run for president as the Know-Nothing candidate.
The topic was the NSA surveillance program, which President Bush has now dubbed the "terrorist surveillance program." When it came to the program's legality, McCain was more agnostic than a Unitarian lay minister.
California’s upcoming GOP primary just got interesting. Former U.S. Rep. and decorated veteran Paul "Pete" McCloskey recently announced that he will challenge Rep. Richard Pombo (R-Tracy) in June.
Often described as a "maverick Republican" (code word for liberal) by the mainstream media (MSM), McCloskey is being lauded as a "moderate" who will restore the conservative principles of small government to a scandal-plagued Washington. To drive the point home, Jack Abramoff and Tom DeLay’s names are invoked frequently in articles on the subject.
McCloskey ran against President Richard Nixon in 1972 as an antiwar candidate and testified in congress along with Vietnam Veterans Against the War organizer John Kerry, who he also endorsed for president in 2004. All this, combined with having been co-chairman of the first Earth Day in 1970 and one of the authors of the Endangered Species Act, makes McCloskey a "good" Republican in the eyes of the media.
The Today show played a dangerous game this morning, floating the notion that President Bush manipulated the release of an OBL tape in 2004 to influence the outcome of the presidential election.
Today opened the segment by flashing the image to the right, which so closely juxtaposed photos of W and OBL you might have thought it was a campaign poster. And call me suspicious, but I can't help but wonder if the "Close Up" beneath the photos wasn't merely the title of the lead segment but also Today's 'subliminable' comment on the pair's relationship.
Just in case anyone missed the point, Lauer archly asked: "is OBL President Bush's not-so-secret weapon?" Lauer then suggested the WH is exploiting the latest OBL tape to conduct a "PR blitz" in support of the NSA surveillance program.
Lauer then handed the ball to NBC reporter David Gregory, who claimed that the White House has "politically seized" the moment "with the OBL tape still fresh" to "step up its campaign against its critics" on the surveillance issue.
Gregory then made a much more sinister suggestion, stating:
Today Canadians go to the polls in an election many predict will go the conservatives' way.
Canadian Press reports on an email "making the rounds of U.S. conservative groups" that warns American conservatives not to talk to Canadian journalists before the election.
The message says that "the Canadian media, which is trying to save the current Liberal government, has a strategy of calling conservatives in the U.S.A. in the hopes that someone will inadvertently say something that can be hung around the Conservatives."
Paul Weyrich, head of the Free Congress Foundation, says that although the message is in his name and he agrees with it, it was written by an overzealous aide.
According to the Associated Press (hat tip to the Drudge Report), Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Thursday “challenged Europe to take back the Jews who emigrated to Israel, adding that no Jews would remain in Israel if Europe were to open its doors.” Strangely, a thorough Google and LexisNexis search identified that, until now, no major American media outlet has reported this new round of anti-Semitic statements by the controversial Iranian leader who is also threatening to expand his country’s nuclear activities. (The New York Times published an online AP story Friday evening at its website that included this information. However, it appears that this did not make their Saturday print editions.)
The first time AP logged this report was via its Worldstream unit at 10:25PM GMT Friday. That calculates to 5:25PM Eastern Time. Yet, according to Google and LexisNexis, not one American media outlet besides the Drudge Report is covering this story:
Joe Klein of TIME magazine fame wrote a fabulous piece recently entitled “How to Stay Out of Power; Why liberal democrats are playing too fast and too loose with issues of war and peace.” In it, the typically liberal Klein offered a typically liberal readership a side of the domestic spying issue that must have made many subscribers wonder if their mailman had accidentally put a copy of the National Review in their mailbox.
Klein began by addressing the hypocrisy of a letter that House minority leader Nancy Pelosi (D-California) recently released that was supposedly written on October 11, 2001 to then National Security Agency director General Michael V. Hayden. “In it she expressed concern that Hayden, who had briefed the House Intelligence Committee about the steps he was taking to track down al-Qaeda terrorists after the 9/11 attacks, was not acting with "specific presidential authorization."
Israel-based Steven Erlanger gets page 3 play Friday for his interview with the family of a Palestinian suicide bomber in Nablus (“Into the West Bank Abyss: From Student to Suicide Bomber”).
“Sami Antar, 21, in his second year of physical education studies at An Najah University here, left the apartment at 8 a.m. Thursday. In the afternoon, he blew himself up on behalf of the militant group Islamic Jihad in Tel Aviv, in a zone of shops and restaurants, but killed only himself. About 20 Israelis, ordinary people going about their daily business, were wounded, one of them seriously.”
Next comes Erlanger’s entry for bad metaphor of the year:
Just as our intelligence experts' parsing of the OBL tape may uncover hidden clues, so does a careful deconstruction of comments this morning by Katie Couric yield important insights into her MSM mindset.
Couric was interviewing Peter Bergen, British author of "The Osama Bin Laden I Know." At one point, Katie had this to say:
"He talks about President Bush in the tape and he says he's foolish for ignoring the poll numbers that indicate the American people want him to pull out of Iraq. How do you think he's keeping abreast of all this. It's sort of odd, isn't it? Is he just paying attention to Al-Jazeera? It's not as if he's reading the New York Times, is it?"
The piece begins by painting the poignant image of a Palestinian killed by Israelis and his bereaved family member who "choked back tears and wiped his red, swollen eyes." It ends with this slogan: ''When you have no hope, you vote Hamas."
"So what?", you ask. Palestinians are permitted to distribute campaign literature in preparation for their legislative elections on Jan. 25th. What's the big deal? Well, true. Except this wasn't a Hamas campaign flyer. It was an article in this morning's Boston Globe: A Death Hardens Support for Hamas.
One wonders whether the author, Thanassis Cambanis, wasn't smoking cannabis when composing his one-sided piece. The image he paints is of repressive Israelis hounding the innocent Hamas. But in fact, the dead man in question was the leader of a Hamas terrorist cell, according to the Israeli Defense Forces,. who was killed in a shootout with Israel forces during a raid in which Israel arrested 18 suspected "militants."
Once might be excused as an aberration. Twice signals a troubling trend.
On Saturday, Julian Phillips - the over-promoted host of Fox & Friends Weekend - downplayed the threat posed by Iran's nuclear ambitions. He implied that there was limited cause for concern since Iran has agreed to allow International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors to carry out surprise inspections of its nuclear sites with as little as two hours notice.
On Sunday, Phillips was back at it . His guest was Barry Schweid, senior diplomatic correspondent for AP and a Fox News contributor. And once again, Phillips trotted out his pet theory:
"They agreed to protocols with the UN in 2003 for snap inspections in two hours or less. Why are these inspections not enough?"
You know the Ted, Chuck & Joe Show flopped when even Chris Matthews accuses the Dems of "buffoonery" in the Alito hearings. Yet that is exactly what Matthews did in his appearance on this morning's Today show:
"I don't think any points were scored by the Democrats. There was a lot of buffoonery by Democratic senators."
For whatever reason, Matthews was on his most 'fair & balanced' behavior. For example, in discussing Pres. Bush's joint appearance with German Chancellor Angela Merkel yesterday, Matthews described Merkel's predecessor, the left-wing Gerhard Schroeder, as "very obnoxious," having taken "one cheap shot after another at us" and exploited our tribulations in Iraq for his own political gain.
As we detailed here, on yesterday's Today show Matt Lauer yesterday blurted out in the midst of an interview "let's face it, [Alito] is an ultra-conservative."
If that weren't slur enough in the liberal mindset, Dem strategist James Carville continued the assault on this morning's Today, accusing Alito of being: "completely enamored and impressed with power."
Carville and consulting sidekick Paul Begala were in to chew the fat with Katie Couric over the Alito hearings and the pair's new book, "Take it Back," their prescription for reforming the Democrat party and the country at large.
A leitmotif of the interview was Katie Couric's exasperation with Democrats. Exasperation at Dem failure to sufficiently rake Alito over the coals, exasperation at Dems for ignoring the Carville-Begala bromides for recapturing power.
NBC’s Tim Russert invited the New York Times reporter who broke the NSA eavesdropping story three weeks ago onto “Meet the Press” this morning. Despite the obvious controversial nature of the guest and the subject matter, Russert asked no truly compelling or interrogative questions of James Risen, and, as a result, produced an interview that not only didn’t challenge Risen about the fortuitous timing of the article’s release, but also offered the viewer no new information concerning this matter.
For instance, Russert chose to ask Risen:
MR. RUSSERT: Amid much speculation as to why the The New York Times held this story, you had written it, you had finished it, you knew it was—what reflected what your reporting had shown. It may have played a role in the election of 2004 if it had been published in October. Why was it held?
However, here’s a list of potentially more provocative and important questions that Russert chose not to ask his controversial guest:
Terry Mattingly explores how the media should "excommunicate" Pat Robertson from the Iron Rolodex as the gaffe list lengthens. The deepest dig: calling him the "Bishop Jack Spong of the far right." (Mattingly notices some of the same CBS interviews on Public Eye I noted Friday.)
The Washington Post editorial page very sloppily blurs Pat Robertson together with Iran's leader Ahmadinejad in the Saturday edition. You can lament Robertson's take on Sharon, but he's not a Holocaust denier or virulent Israel-hater. There's also an anti-Robertson cartoon. Is it just me, or have the Saturday cartoon spreads in the Post dumped their usual humorous, almost nonpartisan focus in favor of anti-conservative yuk-yuks?