CNN heavily promoted an "exclusive" last night with stories by John Vause and Howard Kurtz rebutting an Insight magazine article on Barack Obama’s Indonesian schooling, that it occurred in a "madrassa," with the on-screen graphic "DEBUNKING A SMEAR." Conservatives shouldn't defend journalism from conservative media outlets if the story doesn't stand up -- if it carries a lot of shaky anonymous sourcing and can easily and passionately be portrayed by liberal media outlets as a "smear." Insight's story seems underbaked, not ready to face prime-time liberals like last night's fusillade from Wolf Blitzer and Anderson Cooper and Paula Zahn, who brought on CAIR, not Obama, for outrage over "Islamophobia."
The sad thing here is that Democratic candidates (and the Democrat-dominated media) will follow the usual Clinton formula: they'll push outrage at unsubstantiated charges, and then not really press the candidate about the issues raised. Obama's Illinois church and religious beliefs (and his former lack of religious beliefs) are very interesting topics. Like everything about Obama, they need more investigation from the media and less exaltation. But the media will quickly suggest (and have suggested) that Obama's exotic upbringing makes him more qualified to understand the world. He has certainly pushed that line. Take this AFP wire story where race-transcending Obama touted to the reporter that he was "greatly influenced" by his Asian sojourn:
On the Tuesday edition of "Situation Room," host Wolf Blitzer asked Ted Kennedy whether Iraq and U.S. interests would be better off with Saddam Hussein still in power. The CNN anchor spent much of his interview wondering how the Massachusetts Senator would stop President Bush from increasing troop levels in Iraq. However, he only briefly challenged Kennedy on what should be done in Iraq, preferring questions such as, "So, is this Vietnam?" Another example is his query on whether the world's interests would be better served if a dictator such as Hussein were still in power:
Wolf Blitzer:"You voted against that original resolution way back. And you say that was the best vote in your 42 years in the United States Senate. Saddam Hussein was executed, as you know, in the last few weeks. Was the country better off, was the U.S. interests in that part of the world better off under Saddam Hussein?"
Proving that he can be just as hard on Democrats as Republicans, CNN’s Jack Cafferty savaged the Democratic Party--for going easy on George Bush. Appearing on Thursday’s edition of "The Situation Room," the veteran journalist slammed Dems in Congress for stating that they won’t impeach the President, for refusing to cut funding for Iraq, and generally not standing up to Bush. According to Cafferty, this makes them "no better than the people committing these crimes."
The CNN host began by lamenting the agenda of the incoming Democrats:
Jack Cafferty: "But the Democrats are focused on raising the minimum wage. That’s fine, I guess. They’ve already said they won’t impeach President Bush. They’ve already said they won’t cut funding for the war. And several Democrats are hedging on the issue of independent ethics oversight of Congress. Gee, we don’t need that, do you?...If the Democratic Party refuses to confront this administration in a meaningful way on the issues that are threatening the very survival of our nation, then they’re no better than the people committing these crimes."
For CNN, New Years Eve arrived on January 4. "Situation Room" anchor Wolf Blitzer literally counted down the seconds until the Democrats officially took control of Congress. However, when the Republican Revolution swept the GOP into power in 1994, the cable network did not display such a running tally. At 11:45am, Mr. Blitzer hosted a special edition of his program and explained the digital readout:
Wolf Blitzer: "Right now, we’re counting down to the power shift. Both the House and the Senate will be called to order at noon eastern. That’s when our countdown clock runs out and ceremonies ushering in the new era in Congress begin."
Previewing a segment on the January 1 edition of "Situation Room," a CNN graphic confused the world’s most wanted terrorist with Senator Barack Obama. Anchor Wolf Blitzer teased a piece on the hunt for Osama bin Laden by wondering about "another man feared and hated around the world. That would be Osama bin Laden."Unfortunately, the onscreen graphic asked "Where’s Obama?" Perhaps the cable network was just following the lead of Ted Kennedy, who famously referred to the Illinois Senator as "Osama Obama."
You might think the media, given the fact that they helped engineer a Democratic victory in the midterms, and that it’s almost Christmas (sorry, Holiday), would ease their assault on President Bush. And you would be wrong. "Hardball" host Chris Matthews recently remarked that President Bush is demonstrating "messianic nuttiness." CNN’s Jack Cafferty finds it "strange" that Democrats aren’t racing to impeach President Bush.
Over on MSNBC, the reliably biased Keith Olbermann has become completely unhinged. On December 9, he smeared Bush as "authoritarian" and the "worst ever" president. But, Keith, do you like him or not?
On CBS, "Evening News" host Katie Couric labeled Bush’s new poll numbers "devastating" and "stunning."
But not all politicians are bad, especially those with that "D" next to their names. Long time ABC reporter Barbara Walters named Nancy Pelosi the "most fascinating person of 2006." And, no, the network did not bestow a similar honor on Newt Gingrich in 1994. "The Los Angeles Times" provided an even more glowing description, calling the San Francisco Congresswoman an "American Everywoman."
For those who enjoy watching a well-known racist and unapologetic anti-Semite get beat up by a television anchorman, CNN’s “The Situation Room” was the place to be Wednesday. Host Wolf Blitzer invited former Ku Klux Klan member David Duke on to discuss the Holocaust conference in Tehran, and the fireworks started immediately. After being introduced, Duke came right out of his corner, and attacked Wolf (must-see video available here):
Well, first off, Mr. Blitzer, I resent the introduction you made of me. You mentioned the Ku Klux Klan 11 times. That was over 30 -- well, 30 years ago in my life, and since that time I got elected to the House of Representatives, I became -- and I received a full doctorate, I have been a teacher, I have one of the best selling books in the world.
And you interview many former communists in governments all over the world and you don't introduce them by saying former communist and certainly not 11 times. I think you're biased because you're a former lobbyist for AIPAC. You're a Jewish extremist, supporter of Israel, so you want to bias anyone who criticizes Zionism.
Nice way to start an interview, wouldn't you say? Blitzer then asked, “Well, do you hate Jews?” Duke responded:
Ever wonder who the constituency of CNN reporter Jack Cafferty is? Apparently one member of his fan club is far left Democratic Congressman, and 2008 presidential aspirant, Dennis Kucinich. During the Tuesday edition of “The Situation Room,” Cafferty delivered another angry diatribe, labeling Iraq a “hell hole” and, once again, calling the Fox News Channel “the F-word network.” In his “Cafferty File” segment, the CNN reporter discussed the President’s decision to delay any announcements on Iraq. His comments certainly did not esape the attention of Kucinich (video here):
Jack Cafferty, a vociferously anti-Bush CNN contributor, on Monday spoke approvingly of an impeachment bill introduced by outgoing Congresswoman, and fellow Bush hater, Cynthia McKinney. He found it "strange" that, unlike McKinney, so many Democrats are unwilling to consider impeachment. What’s strange is that Cafferty would cite McKinney as a rational source of information. This is, after all, a woman who previously wondered if President Bush knew about 9/11 before it happened, attacked a Capitol Hill police officer and whose supporters blamed Jews for the Congresswoman’s 2006 primary defeat:
Jack Cafferty:"...Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney introduced a bill to impeach President Bush. It’s strictly symbolic and has no chance of going anywhere. She lost her congressional seat and is on her way back to civilian life. But McKinney isn’t the only person who thinks President Bush may have done things that rise to the levels of high crimes and misdemeanors. And yet, the incoming House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi, has said that impeachment of the President is, quote, ‘off the table.’ It’s all kind of strange."
On Monday’s "Situation Room," CNN reporter Jeff Greenfield discussed the possibility of American losing in Iraq and whether it would turn out to be such a terrible thing. He began by describing several historical military defeats, including Vietnam, and, according to Greenfield, many of these examples seemed to lead to positive outcomes. It’s fitting that host Wolf Blitzer introduced him by noting that the reporter was "contemplating the ‘L’ word."
Greenfield: "In one view, such setbacks encouraged America’s adversaries to be more bold in their assaults. But over time, another picture emerges. Less than 20 years after the fall of Vietnam, the Soviet Union literally ceased to exist. More than half a century after China became communist, the U.S. is economically, at least, a partner. And America's biggest companies see China not as a threat, as but a huge market. And Vietnam? It embraces an American president and American investments. As for Iraq, the turmoil there almost surely means that the ambitious goals of the invasion, a stable, functioning democracy are beyond reach. But if the United States chooses to engage and chooses, as well, to talk with nations in the region like Iran and Syria, that course will likely trigger a profound debate, perhaps even reaching into the next presidential campaign. And what would that debate be about? More than anything else, one key question: Would this engagement tell the world that the United States has become weaker--or wiser?"
For the second time in two days, a CNN anchor asked Jimmy Carter to rank President Bush’s Iraq invasion on the scale of historical mistakes. Both segments minimized or ignored the serious errors that Carter himself made as Commander in Chief, such as his failed attempt at rescuing the Iranian hostages. And both mentioned his peace making efforts. On Tuesday, Wolf Blitzer asked the ex-president just how "big a blunder" Iraq would end up becoming. On Thursday, Anderson Cooper wanted to know the same thing. Additionally, each set of questions and answers featured references to Vietnam:
Anderson Cooper: "In the history of mistakes that administrations have made, how big do you think this Iraq operation has been?"
Jimmy Carter: "Well, obviously, it will be judged in retrospect after the whole thing is over which may be a few years in the future, but up until this point, it's been a horrible mistake. One of the worst mistakes we’ve made. I would say it would compare-- you could argue both sides with Vietnam. But, the main thing was that it's been a quagmire in Iraq. It hasn't succeed so far. The violence is escalating. Americans have lost their lives. But, I think the worst thing was the abandonment of Afghanistan. We had a good chance there after the Soviets withdrew and we came in to stamp out the Taliban policies and to wipe out al Qaeda. We had unanimous support around the rest of the world. All of a sudden, we could have had the whole world on our team rebuilding Afghanistan. Giving them a glimpse of a good life in the future. I think that would have contributed to the possibility of a permanent democratic state of their choice. And I think all of that was abandoned in favor of Iraq. That adds to the seriousness of the mistake of going in to Iraq."
Ever wonder what makes Keith Olbermann such a fine journalist? Well, according to the former sportscaster, it’s the fact that he doesn’t "make the facts up" like Rush Limbaugh does.
PBS host Jim Lehrer trumpeted his objectivity in a more creative way. Using a food analogy, the anchor deemed himself the "flavor of neutrality." (Just a thought, but where do the liberal flavors originate? Ben and Jerry's?)
Perhaps longing for the "good old days," NBC News chose no less an authoritative source than Matt Lauer to announce that the situation in Iraq is a civil war. Maybe NBC is attempting to recreate the famous "Cronkite moment"?
Interestingly, this same network that is so eager to declare a civil war, has, at times, been hesitant to label Hezbollah a terrorist group.
The media’s fascination and love affair with Jimmy Carter apparently have no limits. CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer interviewed the ex-president on Tuesday’s "Situation Room" and cited his knowledge and experience of dealing with Iran:
Wolf Blitzer: "You know a lot about Iran. You spent the last 444 days of your presidency focusing in on the American hostages."
Jimmy Carter: "I remember that."
Blitzer: "I know. I remember it very well. I think everyone who was alive remembers it, as well. This is a regime -- basically, the same people who were in charge then, who took over for the shah, are still in charge right now, led by a supreme ayatollah, who has been meeting today with Talabani, and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad met yesterday with Jalal Talabani, the president of Iraq."
Blitzer may remember the event, but it’s unclear if he recalls the botched Carter rescue attempts, including one that left eight U.S. servicemen dead. If he did recollect the event, the CNN anchor certainly didn’t bring the subject up.
For the second time in less than two weeks, CNN has advised the Republican Party on how to succeed. During the Friday edition of "The Situation Room," reporter Bill Schneider informed the GOP that the way for them to recover from midterm losses is to imitate Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and embrace liberal policies:
What’s the definition of bipartisanship? According to CNN’s Jack Cafferty, it’s completely supporting the Democratic agenda. On the Friday edition of "The Situation Room," the CNN host complained that President Bush, whose "arrogance" he decries, had the temerity to re-nominate John Bolton as UN Ambassador and still supports the terrorist surveillance program:
Jack Cafferty: "After the Republicans got the stuffing knocked out of them in the midterms last week, President Bush wanted to make nice. So he had these little sit-downs with Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, the new powers in Congress, and talked about how they were all just going to get along. That tired old phrase bipartisanship was heard over and over again, as it always is after somebody get’s dusted up at the ballot box....And as proof that [Bush's] arrogance was not lost in the election, he wants Congress to pass legislation legalizing the NSA spy program, the one that’s already been ruled illegal by a federal judge. That’s not going to happen either. Great idea though, right? You do something illegal, you just get your toadies in Congress to pass a law saying that it’s legal. Same thing they did with the violations of the Geneva Conventions."
On Thursday’s "Situation Room," CNN reporter Bill Schneider proclaimed that Republicans need to move left in order to recover from their midterm losses:
Bill Schneider: "Will Republicans move further to the right? Not if they got the message of the election. Republicans lost because they abandoned the center. Independents voted Democratic by the biggest margin ever recorded. The election also provides an alternative model of a Republican who moved to the center and thrived."
Who is this shining example of moderation? Why, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. He actually won by becoming a liberal, but perhaps that’s what Schneider meant.
"Situation Room" host Wolf Blitzer interviewed incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday and continued the fawning media coverage of the liberal Democrat. His gushing tone can best be described by how he closed the interview:
Wolf Blitzer: "Let me just congratulate you and wish you the best of luck. This is going to be an exciting ride. We started off that you are going to be the first woman to be the Speaker of the House. So you have an enormous amount of responsibility that comes with the job, a little bit extra because you're making history."
Nancy Pelosi: "Well, I appreciate your saying that and I think one of my first acts as -- post-election, will be to become a grandmother for the sixth time. We're anxiously awaiting the birth of our grandchild, who is due the first week in November, so a good omen. We get ready for our new grandbaby as we get ready for a new Congress."
Blitzer: "Well, we'll wish you only the best on that front as well."
Pelosi: "As well, thank you. Thank you, Wolf."
Throughout the segment, which aired at 5:28pm on November 8, Mr. Blitzer’s tone seemed similar to that of an excited fan interviewing a celebrity.
As many NewsBusters have commented, the liberal media were anything but gracious in victory last night. CNN political analyst Paul Begala was a fine example when during the 8PM “Situation Room,” he took the opportunity to attack the most popular conservative radio talk show host in the country (video here with transcript to follow).
As the conversation centered on the Missouri Senate race, and how stem-cell research and Michael J. Fox might have impacted the outcome, Begala said the following (as previously reported here):
But Bill Bennett was not the face and the voice of the anti-embryonic-stem-cell-research debate. It became Rush Limbaugh, a drug-addled gasbag who is self-discredited. That's good for Claire McCaskill.
Obviously, Begala sees himself as a uniter and not a divider. Thankfully, Bill Bennett was there to clean up the mess:
Not waiting for voters to finish their work, at least one CNN producer has begun referring to House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi as "Madame Speaker." CNN's Dana Bash revealed at about 4:20 on the Situation Room how "Nancy Pelosi came into the Capitol this afternoon. Our producer Ted Barrett bumped into her and jokingly said 'How are you, Madame Speaker?' She smiled ear to ear and said 'I like the title,' but quickly caught herself and said 'Not yet.'"
Bash added that Democrats are busy high-fiving themselves and measuring the drapes: "Now in public Pelosi may be cautious, but we understand that in private she and her staff are already talking about whether or not they should move their office suite into the bigger space now occupied by the Republican House Speaker Dennis Hastert. And there was not a lot of caution in a briefing just a short while ago from the two chairmen of the Democratic House and Senate campaign committees. They were actually bubbling with optimism, Wolf."
Have you heard the brouhaha about so-called “robo-calls”? These are repeat telephone calls by a telemarketing software program that critics claim violate federal communications laws. As you might imagine, the media have been wrongly depicting this as exclusively being a Republican strategy, while ignoring the Democrat campaigns that are doing exactly the same thing.
The New York Times published an article about this subject Tuesday, and CNN reported on this matter during Monday’s “Situation Room” (video here with transcript to follow). Of course, neither outlet chose to inform the public about Democrat candidates utilizing the same telephone strategy as reported here, here, here, and here (hat tip to Michelle Malkin).
CNN’s Jacki Schechner declared: “Wolf, there's an audio clip that's making the rounds online on some of the top liberal blogs and we got the same clip from Tammy Duckworth's campaign, she's the Democrat running in Illinois' sixth district against Republican Peter Roskam. Take a listen.”
Isn't it interesting how CNN these days seems fixated on the propaganda being disseminated at "top liberal blogs?" Keeping with that theme, Schechner continued:
CNN’s Jack Cafferty chose the day before the election to morph into a complete Daily-Kos/left wing clone. He slammed Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld as "an obnoxious jerk and a war criminal." The comments, made in reference to an editorial in the ‘Military Times’ newspapers, came during the 4pm hour of Monday’s "Situation Room." A transcript of the November 6 segment, which began at 4:11pm with Cafferty reading from the editorial, is below:
Jack Cafferty: "‘The time has come, Mr. President, to face the hard, bruising truth. Donald Rumsfeld must go.’ That is a quote from an editorial in this week’s ‘Military Times’ newspapers. The independent publications owned by Gannett, include ‘The Army Times,’ ‘The Navy Times,’ ‘Air Force Times,’ and ‘Marine Corps Times.’ The piece goes on to say, quote, ‘Rumsfeld has lost credibility with the uniformed leadership, with the troops, with Congress and with the public at large. His strategy has failed, and his ability to lead is compromised. And although the blame for our failures in Iraq rests with the Secretary, it will be the troops who bear its brunt.’ They didn’t even mention that he’s also an obnoxious jerk and a war criminal.
During the Friday edition of "The Situation Room," CNN’s Jack Cafferty summarized an international poll that showed many Europeans think President Bush is a greater threat to world peace than North Korea. He solemnly intoned that the results show "just how low the United States image has sunk." After reading the survey, Cafferty asked his audience this question:
Jack Cafferty: "...What does it mean when our closest allies think that President Bush is a greater threat to world peace than either North Korea or Iran?"
"Situation Room" host Wolf Blitzer had an answer:
Blitzer: "It means we got a serious problem internationally."
CNN's Jack Cafferty listed a litany of supposed Bush misdeeds and how Bill Clinton “was impeached for telling a lie” before posing his “Cafferty File” question in the 7pm EST hour of Thursday's The Situation Room: “If the Republicans lose the election Tuesday, what should happen to President Bush?” Naturally, Cafferty's strong suggestion that President George W. Bush deserves the same generated matching e-mails, yet Cafferty expressed astonishment: “It's amazing. 98 percent of the ones that I read -- and I looked at several hundred of them -- said impeach him....There's a lot of anger out there over what this man's done."
Cafferty had charged: “This President has pulled off a power grab in the name of the war on terror the likes of which this country hasn't seen in a very long time. And in the process, people who are a lot smarter than I am suggest that he has broken this nation's laws over and over and over again. From invading a sovereign nation without provocation to torturing prisoners to the NSA spy program, to holding people without a right to a court hearing or a lawyer, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.” Amongst the e-mails Cafferty read, one declared: “Of course George Bush deserves to be impeached, and he should also be thrown in jail.” Another writer recommended: “He should be 'legally' water-boarded until he can recite the Bill of Rights and define habeas corpus.”
CAFFERTY: Well, listen, it's tailor-made for the media. We get so sick and tired of, you know, running sound bytes of the candidates that when somebody comes along and does something that's even this much out of ordinary, we pounce on it like cats on a mouse and drag it around until it's dismembered on the living room floor.
ZAHN: Will it be dismembered by election night is the question, Jack Cafferty.
CAFFERTY: If we have our way with it, it will be.
BLITZER: I'm sure there'll be something else that will pop up between and probably an hour from now.
"And, of course, Paula, what is really telling here is that Kerry, for most of the day, was alone in his explanations, and trying to figure all of this out -- Democrats quietly saying that they really wish Kerry had kept quiet on this one.
"But, late in the day, Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer released a statement, criticizing President Bush's criticism of Kerry. And, then, Paula, late in the day as well, we got yet another press release from Kerry, criticizing, reacting to Bush's criticism of him earlier in the day, calling it smear.
This is turning into the gift that keeps on giving. Not only did CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer get totally schooled by the Vice President’s wife last Friday in front of the whole nation, but now he’s actually saying that he was surprised by Lynne Cheney's behavior.
On CNN’s Late Edition Sunday, Blitzer set up a replay of the now famous interview with the following (video here):
I've been covering the Cheneys for many years, including on a day-to-day basis, when he was the defense secretary during the first Gulf War and I was CNN's Pentagon correspondent.
Mrs. Cheney has been a frequent guest on my programs. In recent years, I've often invited her to discuss her new children's books, but she always is open to discussing the news of the day.
Lynne Cheney was right. The Vice President’s wife recently attacked a CNN pre-election special as straight out of Democratic talking points. The program in question, "Broken Government: Power Play," aired on October 26 and discussed presidential power. Reporter John King introduced his special that night on location at Independence Hall, Philadelphia. Close your eyes and it sounds like an ad straight out of the DNC:
John King: "Justice, on Mr. Bush's terms, would mean challenge after challenge, test after test of the balance of powers laid out in the Constitution, adopted here in Philadelphia's Independence Hall 219 years ago, written by men, who, for all their brilliance, could not have imagined jet aircraft, let alone jet aircraft used as weapons. Nor could men determined to find the lasting antidote to tyranny have imagined the Internet, spy satellites, other technological advances now so central in the war on terror. But they did warn, in this hall, time and time again of too much presidential power, creating a careful system of checks by the Congress and the courts, lines the Bush administration, in the name of protecting Americans from another attack, has repeatedly stretched, rewritten, and sometimes just ignored."
As NewsBusters previously reported, Lynne Cheney, wife of Vice President Dick Cheney, had a rather heated interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on Friday (video of entire must-see segment here). Seeming to recognize how poorly he performed, Blitzer needed some encouraging words from one of his colleagues. So, he brought on Lou Dobbs to pat him on the back, and chastise Cheney (video available here). After some niceties, Dobbs said:
Well, I, with all due respect, I don't believe Lynne Cheney could be more wrong, both in tone and in fact. The truth is that this government is not functioning. It is dysfunctional, in point of fact.
Government isn’t functioning? Great. Can I have my money back? After all, government seems to be collecting taxes, and spending like a drunken sailor. How is that different than how it has been functioning for the last 76 years? Ignoring such realities, Dobbs continued his government is broken-Lynne Cheney doesn't know what she's talking about tirade:
During an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, Lynne Cheney turned the tables on the cable network and bluntly asked if Blitzer wanted the U.S. to win in Iraq:
Lynne Cheney: "Right, But what is CNN doing running terrorist tape of terrorist shooting Americans? I mean, I thought Duncan Hunter asked you a very good question and you didn’t answer it. Do you want us to win?"
Wolf Blitzer: "The answer, of course, is we want the United States to win. We are Americans. There’s no doubt about it. You think we want terrorists to win?"
The Vice President’s wife was referring to an October 23 segment with Congressman Duncan Hunter, in which he criticized the network for airing footage of insurgents killing Americans. Mrs. Cheney, who appeared on the October 27 edition of "The Situation Room," continued her harsh analysis of CNN. "Why," she wondered, "are you running terrorist propaganda?"