If you’re choosing one person who best represents America’s journalistic establishment, it’d be hard to top Steve Coll, a former Washington Post reporter and managing editor who’s now dean of Columbia University’s journalism school; a member of the Pulitzer Prize board; and a staff writer for the New Yorker.
On Wednesday, Coll posted a piece on the New Yorker’s website in which he argued that if the Supreme Court were to consistently apply the religious-freedom principle it endorsed in the Hobby Lobby case, it would have to allow an essentially Taliban-owned U.S. corporation to deny insurance coverage for polio vaccines for the children of its employees, since the Taliban believe that such vaccines, in Coll’s words, “violate God’s law.”
The scene: a network newsroom in Manhattan, editorial meeting for the June 24 evening broadcast.
“Hey, what about this story of Meriam Ibrahim? Looks like Sudan released her and then rearrested her.”
“Meh, another African Christian condemned by Muslim fanatics to death for her faith, yada, yada, yada. We need something really important, that cuts right to the fundamental conflicts and contradictions of our time.”
“Well, some foreign soccer player bit another foreign soccer player at the World Cup.”
“Bingo! Any chance the victim is transgendered?”
“Uh, I don’t know, chief, but I’ll sure find out!”
An exaggeration? At this point, who knows? All we know is that ABC, NBC and CBS aren’t among the swath of the media that’s been covering the harrowing tale of a young Sudanese mother condemned to death because she wouldn’t renounce her Christian faith. Here story has come to a head with her release and apparent re-arrest before she could flee Sudan. The U.S. ambassador to Sudan has been summoned and tensions are running high.
Who was Anwar Al Awlaki and why did the U.S. government kill him in a 2011 drone strike, despite his U.S. citizenship?
The latter question has been answered with the court-ordered release of a Justice Department memo justifying the action. Awlaki, held “operational and leadership roles” in Al Qaeda in Yemen and “continue[d] to plot attacks intended to kill Americans.”
The first question – who he was – is one many in the media won’t be too eager to revisit, because they got it spectacularly wrong for a long time.
The "Memo from Birmingham" in Monday's New York Times, "Reading, Writing and Allegations," by reporter Katrin Bennhold, partially whitewashed the problem of Islamic separatism and possible tolerance for extremism at a high school in Birmingham, England.
Bennhold, playing lightly over allegations against Park View School, strove to make a recent UK government investigation sound ludicrous and prejudiced.
An American teenager, along with two Israeli teens, has been kidnapped in Israel. “[T]wo jihadist groups had posted claims of responsibility for kidnapping the teens,” according to The Washington Post. Israel is in an uproar as the government tries to find them.
But in America, the broadcast networks are breathlessly covering the new movie “22 Jump Street.” In fact, ABC, CBS and NBC have devoted more than 10 and a half minutes to the sophomoric slapstick movie comedy. That’s more than twice what they’ve given to the kidnapping.
Following the insulting trend of tagging every objection or concern raised about Obama administration policy and conduct as exclusively the province of Republicans and conservatives to an outrageous extreme, Rebecca Kaplan at CBS News opened her Monday story about whether the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) might plan terrorist acts in the U.S. as follows: "Republicans are sounding the warning that the next 9/11-like terror plot could emerge from the regions of Iraq and Syria that are currently dominated by an extremist group bearing down on Baghdad." Really, Rebecca? No one else is worried about that? Wanna bet?
Kaplan also seemed to believe that it would calm readers' nerves if they learned that it will be "at least a year before ISIS might pose more of a serious threat to the U.S." If that was meant to make me feel better, it didn't work. Excerpts follow the jump (links are in original; bolds are mine):
The people at NBC who are agonizing over David Gregory's ongoing audience freefall at his Meet the Press perch need only look at the first half of his interview with 2012 Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney to see why it's happening.
Gregory basically refused to acknowledge the existence of Romney's core argument, which is essentially that he wouldn't have done what President Obama did in withdrawing from Iraq so hastily and leaving things to run on auto-pilot. Instead, he insisted on sticking with a "Well, what would do now?" line of questioning, even though, as Romney indicated, he doesn't have access to intelligence briefings necessary to assert an informed opinion. When that didn't work, he tried to hold Romney to a stale 2007 quote from when conditions were obviously very different. The fact is that wouldn't be facing the present quandary if Obama hadn't acted directly against the (often privately expressed) desires of Iraqi leaders and U.S. intelligence officials to maintain at least a significant advisory presence there. Video and a transcript of the Iraq-related portion of the interview follow the jump (bolds and numbered tags are mine):
Well, ABC and NBC are acting to type, ever reluctant to call evil by its name when doing so is politically incorrect (and possibly dangerous).
Consider both networks’ reporting on the story of the school girls kidnapped last month in Nigeria, and a second, smaller group kidnapped last week. To date, NBC identified the kidnappers of hundreds of Christian girls as Islamist less than 33 percent of the time (12 mentions in 37 reports). ABC’s record is particularly shameful – just 22 percent (eight of 36 total reports) of stories mentioned that Boko Haram, the terrorist gang that abducted the girls, are radical Muslims.
Paul Whitefield "is a 30-year veteran of the Los Angeles Times who is copy chief of the editorial pages and a writer/scold for the Opinion L.A. blog." He also has a serious but far from unique case of Bush (and Cheney) Derangement Syndrome and an extraordinary ignorance of the history of last decade's war in Iraq, which included a victory in 2008 the U.S. press, with rare exceptions, refused to recognize.
Clueless Paul, in a Thursday post, claimed that what has happened recently in Iraq proves (italics are his) that "the invasion ... in 2003 wasn’t a very good idea" Admitting that "I don’t know how these things keep sneaking up on us" (I can help you with that, Paul), he petulantly wrote: "Send Mr. (George W.) Bush and Mr. (Dick) Cheney over there and let them try to negotiate a solution," because "they’re the ones who created this mess in the first place." Well no, Paul. Excerpts from Whitefield's work, followed by a pointed riposte from a National Review op-ed, follow the jump (bolds are mine throughout this post):
Mark Jacobson may have set a new standard for dumb defenses of the Bergdahl deal. Appearing on MSNBC's Up With Steve Kornacki today, scholar and Afghanistan veteran Jacobson suggested that opposition to the Bergdahl deal arises out of the soldier's religion and politics. He made a mind-boggling analogy: "My parents freaked out when I went to Afghanistan both times. If I had been captured. Do I want someone to say this nice Jewish kid over in Afghanistan, a little bit liberal, not really sure if we're going to go get him? Absolutely not."
What?? If a soldier, whatever his religion or politics, had served, to quote Susan Rice, with "honor and distinction," and a deal to retrieve him were on the table that wouldn't seriously jeopardize our national security interests, can anyone conceive that we wouldn't make it? The objections to the Bergdahl deal arise out of the very high national security price exacted in exchange for someone who seemingly was at best AWOL, if not a deserter. Giving the lie to Jacobson's lunacy was fellow panelist Jack Jacobs, who objected to the Bergdahl deal. Jacobs, by the way, grew up a nice Jewish kid in NYC, and was awarded the Medal of Honor for his service in Vietnam. (Video below.)
Los Angeles Times reporter Shashank Bengali clearly put a great deal of energy and time into trying to persuade readers on Thursday that the five Gitmo terrorists released in exchange for Bowe Bergdahl "may not live up to (that) description."
It only took a day for Bengali's work to be discredited. The person he seemed to believe would be among the least likely to become a threat — after all, he was supposedly just a "civilian official" — "pledged to return to fight Americans in Afghanistan." Geez, couldn't Noorullah Noori at least have allowed a decent interval before telling the truth? Don't you just hate it when one of the guys you're trying to whitewash almost immediately turns around and makes you look like a complete fool?
Ten years ago this month, U.S. Marine Wassef Ali Hassoun disappeared from Camp Fallujah in Iraq. After a five-month military investigation, he was charged with desertion and theft, brought back to Virginia's Quantico Marine base and then transferred to North Carolina's Camp Lejeune for trial.
Yet, a full decade later, Hassoun is as free as a bird. The accused deserter's whereabouts are unknown. No trial ever began. No punishment ensued. And our leaders in Washington don't seem to be doing a thing about this.
On Tuesday's Morning Joe on MSNBC, normally left-leaning co-host Mika Brzezinski repeatedly showed skepticism toward President Obama's decision to release five high-value Taliban prisoners in exchange for the release of hostage Bowe Bergdahl from the Haqqani terrorist group.
In the absence of Joe Scarborough, Brzezinski introduced the show by recounting some of the correspondence involving anti-America and anti-military sentiments between Bergdahl and his parents, suggesting he may have deserted his post before he was captured.
As she turned to guest Al Hunt of Bloomberg View, she posed the question:
CNN's Morgan Spurlock followed in the footsteps of Christiane Amanpour on Sunday's Inside Man by giving faithful Christians much more harsh treatment than practicing Muslims. Spurlock denounced a pro-traditional marriage sermon by the pastor of a mega-church: "Being somebody who has a lot of friends and family who are homosexuals, it's hard to believe that there's only one way. And it's part of the problem that I have with religion in general."
By contrast, the TV personality sympathized with the apparent plight of Muslims in Tennessee – despite Islam's own condemnation of homosexuality. Spurlock zeroed in on a Muslim woman who has "witnessed the groundswell of Islamophobia first hand," and helped her lobby against proposed legislation in the Tennessee statehouse: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
Chris Matthews mocked Republicans on Friday's Hardball over their hawkish stance towards Boko Haram, the Nigerian Islamist group that recently kidnapped hundreds of girls. Matthews made a thinly-veiled racial attack on the GOP during a panel discussion on the terrorist organization: "By the way, when did the Republican Party take this keen interest in Africa? I may have missed that one."
Guest Michelle Bernard, who is of Jamaican decent, quickly followed the MSNBC host with a more overt racially-based jab at Republicans: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
Allowing a brief prayer to be said at the beginning of a court case is akin to stoning and beheading people for not following your religion, according to liberal comedian John Fugelsang. On MSNBC’s “The Ed Show” May 6, Fugelsang actually compared the recent Supreme Court decision in Greece v. Galloway to allow prayer in government as reminiscent to Muslim Sharia Law. Really?
Fugelsang called this case “not really about Christianity, it’s about Christian supremacy. This is about a whole different thing: establishing Christianity as the dominant religion.” The commentator went on to say, “The irony is, these are the guys that are praying for a separation of mosque and state over there, erasing the wall of church and state over here. And it’s interesting, with government in religion, Scalia law is a lot like Sharia law.” Get it? They rhyme. And Scalia is a conservative justice. And conservatives are the same as Islamic fundamentalists. Clever, clever, liberals!
A strange thing happened on CNN on Saturday May 3 prior to the White House Correspondents’ Dinner. CNN host Don Lemon, appearing alongside Professor Marc Lamont Hill, professed his admiration for the Nation of Islam, a well-known hate group.
Lemon proclaimed that Hill thinks he “look[s] like a member of the Nation of Islam. That’s okay. I like them. I live on 123rd Street. They’re always at 125th Street subway stop and I buy my Final Call.” [See video below.]
"[D]espite years of public hand-wringing in the West over Syria’s bloody and rapid decline, the country is continuing to plummet into new depths of the abyss" as witnessed by instances of crucifixion at the hands of Islamist extremists, Jacob Siegel of the Daily Beast reported today.
It remains to be seen if the Big Three networks pick up on the story, but somehow we doubt they will. A search of Nexis and our DVR system show they certainly haven't done so thus far. Siegel adds:
Reacting to the contents of Benghazi-related emails finally obtained and published by Judicial Watch, Hounshell asked, "Can you point me to a credible, authoritative story saying the WH knowingly pushed a false narrative?" Well Blake, on the off-chance that you're really interested in the truth instead of serving as one of your organization's lead Obama administration lapdogs, I give you the Tuesday night writeup from an investigative journalist who, per her "about" page, has won four national Emmy Awards and has been nominated for eight others.
This afternoon (late morning Pacific Time), Roger Simon at PJ Media had several reactions to the latest developments in the Benghazi saga, as new evidence surfaced of a White House "effort to insulate President Barack Obama from the attacks that killed four Americans." Simon's press-related assertion: "We will now see if there is even a figment of honesty in our mainstream media ..."
Though it's still early (but just barely), it's not looking good, my friend. Matt Hadro at NewsBusters indicated as much earlier tonight in noting that the TV networks have thus far ignored the news. Later, I'll show that other key online establishment press sources are also ignoring this bombshell story.
Bergen claimed that “white supremacists, anti-abortion extremists and anti-government militants have killed more people in the United States than have extremists motivated by al Qaeda’s ideology.” He cited a New America study which counted 34 people killed by right-wing extremist acts and just 23 people killed by Al Qaeda-linked terrorism, after 9/11. Why start there? Wouldn’t the 2,977 people killed that day by jihadists skew those findings somewhat?
Bozell and Tim Graham rightly pointed to the university's embrace of particularly nasty anti-Catholic and anti-Israel speakers. Michael Graham found yet another example adding toxic icing to an already rancid cake, and noted that three of its female graduates have achieved a unique level of infamy (links are in each original; bolds are mine throughout):
It’s graduation time. Many college students are preparing for their commencement ceremonies. On some campuses, some students are playing a game of what we might call “Dump the Speaker.” Conservative speakers chose to deliver commencement addresses are beying howled off campus by leftist student organizations, and faculty as well. It’s either a left-wing speaker – or none.
Rutgers recently faced this by inviting Condi Rice, and refused to budge. But Brandeis University has just knuckled under to student and faculty protests over its announced speaker, author Ayaan Hirsi Ali. She was dis-invited.
Fox News's Megyn Kelly clashed with CAIR again in a taped segment that aired Thursday night on The Kelly File. Arguing over the recent uproar at Brandeis University, Kelly ripped CAIR for suing its critics and trying to "silence" them.
For those who haven't heard, Brandeis intended to honor human rights activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali at its graduation, but pulled its invitation after backlash over her criticism of Islam as anti-women. CAIR called her a "notorious Islamophobe." The organization's spokesman then defended its stance on Thursday night, but Kelly wouldn't have it. [Video below. Audio here.]
Jimmy Carter has blamed the Catholic and Southern Baptist churches for the abuse of women around the world. According to Carter, men around the world use the doctrine of those churches on the role of women as justification for abusing women.
Appearing on Monday's Morning Joe, the former president said: "with the writing of St. Paul, you can selectively take verses out of the Bible and you can justify women not being able to be priests and so forth, so the Catholic church and the Southern Baptist Convention and others quite often say well women are not qualified to have an equal role in the service of God as men. And of course men all over the world take this as kind of a proof that they can abuse their wives or pay less pay, you know?" View the video after the jump.
ABC Family has killed its program “Alice in Arabia” before it began after complaints that it relied on stereotypes of Muslims, a network spokesperson told BuzzFeed Friday night. The show's pick-up had been announced on Monday.
The pilot followed an American teen who is kidnapped by her Saudi Arabian extended family and must “find a way to return home while surviving life behind the veil.” The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) and the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) hated it. In a letter to ABC executives, ADC President Samer Khalaf complained:
In a conflict that pits two politically correct minority "victim" classes against one another, which one will win out? That's a fun parlor game to play, and today across the Pond it seems the answer is observant Muslims when the conflict involves the aforementioned and gays, even if the gay person in question is, himself, a Muslim.
Breitbart London managing editor Raheem Kassam has the story of how BBC Three refused to entertain discussion of a gay Muslim drag queen's question -- "[W]hen will it be right to be Muslim and gay?" -- during a forum for the program entitled, I kid you not, Free Speech (emphasis mine):
You might have missed this -- hey, we can't blame you, we watch so you don't have to -- but, "MSNBC's Ed Schultz said on the air last week that his favorite president is Barack Obama," NewsBusted anchor Jodi Miller noted on the latest edition of the NewsBusters original comedy production. "'Stay away from my man!' snapped an angry Chris Matthews."
For Jodi's funny takes on everything from Starbucks to nutty environmentalists to the dopey radical Muslim fatwa against living on Mars, watch the February 28 edition of NewsBusted in the video embed after the page break. You can watch more NewsBusted by visiting the YouTube channel here.
The Daily Beast’s Dean Obeidallah really wants his readers to believe that Taliban-style Sharia Law is threatening America, only, of course, it's coming from evangelical Christians. In a February 18th piece, Obeidallah hyperventilates how “Mainstream conservatives are trying to bring America’s laws into agreement with ‘God’s law’.”
The piece began with Obeidallah whining that
The question isn’t: Will conservatives push to enact laws based on the Bible? The real questions are: 1. How many more of these laws do they want to impose? And, 2. What will our nation look like if their crusade is successful to bring America’s laws into agreement with “God’s law”?
A Christian man was savagely killed Sunday morning by a Muslim lynch mob in Central African Republic, right in front of a Washington Post reporter. "They cut his neck like a cow," Post reporter Sudarsan Raghavan quoted a relative of the victim, Polin Pumandele.
Post print edition editors assigned the story to page A6, giving it a rather bland headline, "Solutions elusive as sectarian violence spreads." By contrast, earlier this morning, WashingtonPost.com editors promoted the story prominently on the paper's landing page, using "They cut his neck like a cow' as the teaser headline and accompanying it with a photo of women mourning his death (see image below the page break):