During a live interview with former Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Monday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer suggested that criticism of President Obama in Gates's new memoir was endangering American troops overseas: "As this criticism is leveled by you in the book of the commander-in-chief, the acting commander-in-chief, at a time when some 40,000 U.S. troops are in harm's way, do you think that by calling him into question at this stage it is either dangerous or dishonorable?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
After Gates rejected the notion, Lauer insisted: "But you don't think it undermines his credibility with the troops he is commander-in-chief of right now?" At the top of the show, Lauer teased the interview: "Robert Gates on his new memoir and his criticism of President Obama. Is it fair with U.S. troops still in harm's way?"
"Republican lawmakers Thursday blamed the Obama administration for the stunning resurgence of Iraq’s al-Qaeda franchise and called on the White House to take assertive steps to help Baghdad beat back militant uprisings in the country’s west." That's how Ernesto Londono opened his January 10 story "Republicans blame Obama administration for al-Qaeda resurgence in Iraq," a front-page-worthy story which Washington Post editors buried on page A10.
By contrast, the Post ran not one but two Chris Christie bridge-scandal stories on the Friday edition's front page. The other stories rounding out the front page centered on efforts to hash out a long-term security agreement with Afghanistan, the Washington Redskins announcing their new head coach, and privacy/data-collection concerns from dashboard computers in new cars.
ABC, CBS, and NBC ballyhooed former Defense Secretary Robert Gates's attacks on President Obama and other high government officials on their Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning newscasts. NBC's Brian Williams and CBS's Norah O'Donnell also trumpeted the former Cabinet official's "devastating critique" of the President in his upcoming memoir. All three networks also played up Gates's self-identification as a Republican.
NBC's Today and CBS This Morning brought on former Obama administration officials on Wednesday morning. Both guests did their best to counter their former colleague. Matt Lauer touted David Axelrod's "important perspective" on the issue, and asked, "Did you get a sense that he was a guy who...was disgruntled in any way?" The CBS morning show turned to former chief of staff Bill Daley, who slammed Gates for going public: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
At the top of Wednesday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer portrayed former Defense Secretary Robert Gates as an ungrateful and disgruntled ex-employee: "Blindsided. President Obama's former Defense Secretary Robert Gates takes on his old boss – the man who awarded him the Medal of Freedom – in a blistering new memoir. This morning, what may have made him turn?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In the report that followed later, correspondent Andrea Mitchell fretted: "President Obama's decision to keep George Bush's defense secretary, a Republican, has now blown back on the White House." Like Lauer, she made sure to note how Obama had honored Gates: "Gates gave no hint of his resentment when he left the cabinet two years ago and President Obama awarded him the Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor."
Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates recently wrote a tell-all book that slams Congress, President Obama, and several members of the Obama administration. Over at msnbc.com, Sarah Muller highlighted some of Gates’ criticisms in a Tuesday article. However, Muller did not mention Gates’ major criticism of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
In fact, Muller outright lied when she wrote this: “Gates has nothing but nice things to say about former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. ‘I found her smart, idealistic but pragmatic, tough-minded, indefatigable, funny, a very valuable colleague, and a superb representative of the United States all over the world.’”
Los Angeles Times columnists have produced several delusional doozies in the past few days.
One of the more hysterical came from Doyle McManus on Sunday ("The president's hump year; The sixth year is often tough, but Obama could triumph"). While acknowledging that "The public's initial romance with the president has faded" and that "events are in charge now," he backhandedly described Obama's presidency thus far as scandal-free. Really (HT to frequent commenter Gary Hall):
On Thursday, the New York Timescalled for the Obama administration to enter into a plea bargain or offer clemency to National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden in order to bring him back to the United States.
On PBS’s McLaughlin Group Friday, syndicated columnist Pat Buchanan observed during a discussion about this issue, “There is an inherent conflict of interest between journalists and so-called whistleblowers” (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Discouraging headlines are appearing about the deterioration of the situation in Iraq, the war U.S. troops won in 2008. Bloomberg News notes, "Al-Qaeda Fighters Take Fallujah as Iraqi Army Attacks." The Washington Post reports that an "Al-Qaeda force captures Fallujah amid rise in violence in Iraq."
At the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, the headline writers are apparently more interested in making sure that as few readers as possible take an interest in the story, based on the non-descriptive headline they have chosen to employ:
Nicholas D. Kristof (I've tended to call him "Nick" through the years) has made and implemented a momentous, course of civilization-altering decision effective 1/1/2014 (HT Twitchy): "If you look closely at my Times byline ... I’ve knocked out my middle initial for the new year."
Why oh why would Nick want to do that? "I think in the Internet age, the middle initial conveys a formality that is a bit of a barrier to our audience. It feels a bit ostentatious." I've got a clue for you, Nick, old buddy old pal: Your columns are much more than "a bit" ostentatious and pretentious. Unfortunately, the disappearance of your middle initial is not likely to change that. If ever anyone exemplified navel-gazing, knee-jerk, double-standard liberalism, it would be you. Accordingly, I suggest that you begin to use a more appropriate middle initial than the one you just dropped. My suggestion follows the jump.
The fascination with and excuse-making for long-gone communist dictators responsible for the murders of millions during their reigns is a long-standing phenomenon.
Both CNBC and the New York Times continued that hoary tradition last week. Each headlined reports on the 120th anniversary of the birth of Mao Zedong (whose name was written as Mao Tse-Tung until about two decades ago) with "Happy Birthday, Chairman Mao!" headlines. CNBC's appears after the jump (HT Twitchy; bolds are mine throughout this post):
The New York Times on Sunday published a highly controversial report claiming the September 2012 attack on our consulate in Benghazi, Libya, did not involve al Qaeda, and was as the Administration originally stated a spontaneous demonstration in response to an American-made anti-Islamic video.
Appearing on Fox News Sunday, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) completely refuted the article saying, "[T]hat story is just not accurate" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
It seems that Associated Press reporter Maggie Michael and Sarah El Deeb, her partner in distortion, can hardly believe that Egypt's military-backed government is calling terrorists "terrorists."
The Muslim Brotherhood is a terrorist organization. Even if one believes, as Michael asserts, that "The Brotherhood, founded in 1928, denounced violence in the late 1970s," that alleged repudiation was rendered null and void after hard-line Islamist Mohammed Morsi, who lost his legitimacy when he took dictatorial powers in November of last year, was ousted from power in July. After that, the Brotherhood, as I noted at the time, with evidence, "rededicated itself to terrorism." Egypt's government is recognizing the obvious, and the in three process thumbing its nose at the Obama administration, which as far as I can tell has never backed away from its position that the Brotherhood should have a role in Egypt's government.
Joe Scarborough made a point of mentioning that until today, his MSNBC show hadn't discussed the Obama selfie at the memorial service for Nelson Mandela. Morning Joe's way too highbrow for that kind of stuff, don't you know, particularly when it might reflect badly on Barack Obama.
But when the crew finally got around to it today, opinion from Joe to Mika to Ed Rendell to Thomas Roberts was unanimous: there was nothing to criticize. Mika made her point by seeking to snap a selfie with Scarborough, as Joe jokingly showed her the hand. View the video after the jump.
Earlier this week, NBC Sports announced that "Moscow-based TV journalist Vladimir Posner (also frequently spelled "Pozner") will be a correspondent for NBC Olympics’ late-night show with Bob Costas during the Sochi Games."
To call Posner's background "problematic" is like saying that Bob Filner, former Democratic Mayor of San Diego, has a bit of a problem with how he treats members of the opposite sex. Posner is an old hand at defending and dissembling the worst excesses of the Soviet Union, including but not limited to the following exchange from 1980 cited by Lisa de Moraes at Deadline.com on Wednesday (bolds are mine throughout this post):
Alan Gross, political prisoner. Those were four words missing from Emma Margolin's December 10 MSNBC.com story hailing the handshake between President Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro earlier today at Nelson Mandela's memorial service in Soweto, South Africa. Gross, a State Department contractor, has been languishing in a Cuban prison for five years.
There was a reference to "genocide" in the story, but that was from a quote from a Cuban official railing against the U.S. trade embargo with Cuba (emphasis mine):
The media's determination to pin anything negative on Texas Senator Ted Cruz apparently knows no bounds.
Even as the establishment press, with Politico's Reid Epstein being one of the more recent examples, attempts to give President Obama the Mother of All Free Passes for the disastrous rollouts of HealthCare.gov and Obamacare in general, Cruz, currently perceived as a strong 2016 presidential prospect, somehow deserves to be associated with comments left at his Facebook post on Nelson Mandela's death. At least that's what Anneta Konstantinides at ABC's "The Note" seems to want readers to believe; otherwise, why would she engage in the effort at all? Excerpts follow the jump (bolds are mine; HT Twitchy):
Kudos to the Daily Beast for running a feature today on six Americans who are detained in despotic regimes across the globe -- one in Cuba, the others in North Korea or Iran -- all of them held since President Obama took office in January 2009.
Writer Brandy Zadrozny noted she was writing her feature on the occasion of the fourth anniversary of Alan Gross's imprisonment in Cuba. Among those men is SaeedAbedini, a Christian minister who is serving an 8-year sentence in "RajaiShahr Prison, notorious for its brutal treatment of inmates."
On Friday's CBS This Morning, former Time magazine managing editor Richard Stengel unexpectedly zeroed in on a part of Nelson Mandela's legacy that apparently wasn't sufficiently left wing. Moments after he lionized Mandela as "the George Washington of South Africa", Stengel asserted that "he [Mandela] had not been very progressive about HIV and AIDS when he was president".
Veteran 60 Minutes correspondent Bob Simon also sang Mandela's praises, to the point that he made an eyebrow-raising comment about the supposed extent that the former South African president stands apart in recent history: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
Amid the tributes looking back at the life of former South African President Nelson Mandela following his death on Thursday, Friday's NBC Today and ABC's Good Morning America both managed to take shots at Ronald Reagan for not being supportive of Mandela during Apartheid. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
On Today, chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell proclaimed: "The U.S. wasn't always on Mandela's side. In the 1980s, President Reagan supported the Apartheid regime, a cold war ally, even as protests broke out on college campuses across America demanding that the U.S. punish the regime....Finally, Congress, including key Republicans, overrode Reagan's veto, imposing the economic sanctions that helped break the Apartheid regime."
As NewsBusters has been reporting, CBS News has been one of the leading mainstream media outlets in exposing the failings of the ObamaCare website.
One of the standouts has been investigative correspondent Sharyl Attkisson who took to Twitter Wednesday to absolutely pound the Obama administration for refusing to release information about Healthcare.gov security tests and enrollment figures:
In response to several outlets contending with basis that the Associated Press sat on its knowledge that the United States and Iran were conducting secret diplomatic discussions, the AP's Paul Colford has published a "Back Story" item defending its conduct, claiming that it could not "confirm, to its standards, what had happened." My related NewsBusters post is here.
Breitbart had a related item earlier today. In it, Larry O'Connor posted a tweet from a specific person at another news organization indicating that "both had versions of it independently early & were asked to not publish til end of Iran talks." Barring a better explanation from AP than what readers will see after the jump, the tweet by Laura Rozen at the Washington-based, Middle East-focused Al-Monitor presumptively refutes AP's claim that it didn't have enough information to justify publishing a story (if they didn't, why would the government bother to ask them to not publish?). Colford did not address Rozen's relayed claim, even though his item more than likely went up several hours after O'Connor's Breitbart post and roughly 48 hours after Rozen's tweet (depending on its time zone). Colford's full AP post follows the jump (links and italics are in original):
How shambolic of a smoking ruin is the Obama presidency? When Tina Brown surveys the wreckage, the best—the best!—thing she sees, the thing she believes will be Barack Obama's shining legacy, is his handling of Iran and Syria, which she declares to be "smart," and of course, "nuanced."
The Obamacare catastrophe? Not to worry. On today's Morning Joe, Brown assured us that those problems are "transient." No, look over here, at President Obama's masterful handling of foreign policy! Yes, years from now, when the minor hiccups of the Obamacare rollout will be long forgotten, people will still be marvelling at how well Barack Obama dealt with Iran and Syria. View the video here.
My previous post (at BizzyBlog; at NewsBusters) dealt with Pace's blind acceptance of unsupported assertions about the reason for the Obama administration's delay of 2015 Obamacare enrollment until November 15, 2014 and her willingness to parrot long-discredited talking points about why the HealthCare.gov website initially crashed. Before that, she bragged about how her organization, which didn't exactly have a track record of sitting on news about secret Bush administration efforts, sat on what it knew about the existence of secret negotiations between the U.S. and Iran (bolds are mine throughout this post):
Charlie Rose and Norah O'Donnell stayed true to form and badgered a Republican/conservative guest on Monday's CBS This Morning – this time, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor over his criticism of the Obama administration's nuclear deal with Iran. Rose questioned the congressman's opposition to the proposal, which he labeled "dangerous". Rose asked, "Why isn't that a good deal to freeze things and delay?"
O'Donnell twice touted the deal as "positive", in an attempt to defend the White House's controversial diplomatic efforts: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
Joe Scarborough has suggested that President Obama's poor poll numbers made him "desperate," driving him to agree to a deal with Iran on its nuclear program that Scarborough criticized as "bad" and even "horrible."
Scarborough described recently speaking with someone who said that no president with approval ratings under 40% should be allowed to do a deal. Reminds me of doctors' warnings not to sign legal documents while under the effects of some medications. Said Scarborough of unpopular presidents: "they get desperate, they really do." View the video after the jump.
Sure, he was careful to couch it. But the bottom line is that Zbigniew Brzezinski believes that Iran is willing to abandon its goal of acquiring nuclear weapons.
Jimmy Carter's former national security adviser offered that opinion in response to questioning by former RNC Chairman Michael Steele on today's Morning Joe. Brzezinski also claimed that the recent round of negotiations have been "serious, substantive" and that the Iranians have been "accommodating." View the video after the jump.
The latest evidence of that detachment from reality came online Saturday evening at the New York Times, and appeared in today's print edition. Writer James McAuley, described as "a Marshall scholar studying history at the University of Oxford," wrote that Dallas collectively "willed the death of the president," and that it has prospered disproportionately in the subsequent 50 years because of "pretending to forget."
A commenter at my post yesterday ("TomsonaNonGrata") about how a pair of New York Times reporters characterized President Barack Obama's false guarantee to Americans that "If you like your plan-doctor-provider, you can keep your plan-doctor-provider" as an "incorrect promise" — because they couldn't work up the nerve to call it a lie — noted that "All these people (in the press) that were so quick to call Bush a liar about WMD, when he was basing his decision on the intelligence available at the time, now can't bring themselves to call Obama a liar, when he specifically knew policies could/would be cancelled, and kept saying otherwise."
Point well-taken, especially given what the intrepid tweet trackers at Twitchy relayed from Washington Examiner columnist Charlie Spiering. Spiering fouund a Times editorial from 2008 which commented on the George W. Bush and weapons of mass destruction:
Friday's All Things Considered made it clear that NPR is not just one-sided when it comes to the domestic agenda of left-wing homosexual activists, but it also slants toward them with foreign issues. Correspondent Michele Kelemen boosted a collaboration between visiting members of the "Rakurs" LGBT group from Russia and their American counterparts in Washington, DC and Maine.
Kelemen zeroed in on the testimony of one Rakurs member who lamented how the Russian city of Arkhangelsk has supposedly turned from a place "open to different views and trends" to a "stronghold of traditional values and religious beliefs in the Russian north".