Rather than offer a reasoned analysis of a National Intelligence Estimate declassified by the Bush administration today, the AP selected only the most negative aspects of the report for inclusion in their story.
WASHINGTON - The war in Iraq has become a "cause celebre" for Islamic extremists, breeding deep resentment of the U.S. that probably will get worse before it gets better, federal intelligence analysts conclude in a report at odds with President Bush's portrayal of a world growing safer.
In the bleak report, declassified and released Tuesday on Bush's orders, the nation's most veteran analysts conclude that despite serious damage to the leadership of al-Qaida, the threat from Islamic extremists has spread both in numbers and in geographic reach.
Have you heard that conservatives and Christians involved as part of the radical extreme Christian Right who met over the weekend in Washington DC for the Family Research Council’s Action meeting aptly called The Washington Briefing are in a dire state of distress, depression, despair and despondency? I was shocked as I read through tons of articles from some of the 100 media who attended the briefing.
MSNBC states that the speakers of the briefing, “… expressed scepticism [sic] about what their engagement in 2004 had delivered.” Since Tony Perkins stated that, “I don't think enthusiasm is as strong as 2004," that means, according to the liberals, that the world has crashed and burned for conservatives who voted for President Bush.
On tonight's Nightly News, NBC anchor Brian Williams played excerpts from former President Bill Clinton's meltdown on Fox News, then turned to an "expert" for "perspective" - former Clinton staffer David Gergen. Gergen and Williams downplayed Clinton's display of anger, calling it a "four or five on a scale of ten" compared to previous private Clinton hissy fits.
Liberal press critics are quite the paradox. Most such writers like Eric Alterman, Michael Wolffe, and Michael Massing, are pretty sophisticated about the media in non-political matters, but when it comes to politics, they can't help repeating a slightly toned down version of rhetoric you'll find over at the Daily Kos. They deny the press is tilted toward the left (ignoring scores of content studies and surveys of reporters) and yet they cheer when the media chooses to favor the left, as if that's the media's natural role. Which it is, of course--if you're a liberal
This line of thought is far too common among left-wing media critics. In an interview with the Huffington Post, writer Michael Massing provided a textbook example of it, arguing that the press has properly began pushing back against the Bush Administration while also saying that conservative critics are fundamentally wrong in their opinion of the media:
My working hypothesis on all this, which I have mentioned in some of
those articles, is that the more powerful the President, the more timid
the press. There's an inverse relationship between the popularity of
the President and the willingness of the press to challenge him. And
right now, Bush's popularity is very low. I think we're seeing the
press pushing back in a very strong way. If I were writing an article
today about what's been happening, I would say more about how the press
has been pushing back. And I think there's a big appetite for this
among readers. The Bush administration is so beleaguered and has done
so many things that have upset the public that the press sees an
opening and has been moving to take advantage of it.
In the course of the last few weeks Keith Olbermann's "Special Comments" have become a Countdown staple in which the host plays to his Daily Kos demographic with vitriolic condemnations of all things Bush. I thought Olbermann had reached the nec plus ultra of nastiness with his suggestion a couple weeks ago that the Bush administration represented "a new type of fascism." I might have been wrong. MRC's Brad Wilmouth has comprehensively documented Keith Olbermann's 'Special Comment' of last night. In the course of those comments, Olbermann chose to invoke, of all things, the people's right to overthrow a tyrannical government.
Reuters reported on Saturday (hat tip to Drudge) that the controversial British film about the assassination of President Bush actually won a critics’ choice award at the Toronto Film Festival. I imagine you’re all surprised:
"Death of a President," which stirred controversy in the days ahead of the festival, took home the Fipresci prize, which is chosen by international critics. The film, a fictional documentary showing the assassination of President Bush, was noted by the jury "for the audacity with which it distorts reality to reveal a larger truth."
See, now that’s exactly what moviegoers want these days: a film that distorts reality to reveal a larger truth. Of course, in a disturbing sort of way, that’s better than the normal media blathering which distorts reality to reveal a tapestry of lies in order to further the goals of one of the nation's major political parties. But, I digress:
The Fitzpatrick Plame investigation has spurred the New York Times into examining how their reporters conduct themselves. Apparently, the Gray Lady wants her staff to act more like terrorists and drug dealers. Reporters are being told to delete emails, destroy notes, and use disposable cell phones in order to stymie future investigations.
President Bush's Rose Garden press conference on Friday morning began with the president making a forceful statement about the need to keep the country safe, and how new legislation to curtail interrogations and surveillance programs could make that job harder. But the goofiest question of the day had to be the one from CNN White House correspondent Suzanne Malveaux:
Malveaux: "Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian President, will actually be in the same building as you next week, in Manhattan for the United Nations General Assembly. You say that you want to give the message to the Iranian people that you respect them. Is this not an opportunity, perhaps, to show that you also respect their leader? Would you be willing to, perhaps, meet face-to-face with Ahmadinejad, and would this possibly be a breakthrough, some sort of opportunity for a breakthrough on a personal level?"
Bush: "No, I'm not going to meet with him. I have made it clear to the Iranian regime that we will sit down with the Iranians once they verifiably suspend their enrichment program. I meant what I said."
It may have been Bush's shortest answer of the day. He didn't get into how he was supposed to show respect for the Iranian president's Israel-threatening or anti-Semitism or Holocaust denial.
Perhaps Bush's best quip of the day came in his exchange with Sheryl Gay Stolberg of the New York Times who described her paper as "friendly." To laughter, Bush retorted: "I'd hate to see unfriendly." Plus, NBC's David Gregory was again the Man Who Wouldn't Shut Up in an antagonistic exchange with Bush. (More on both below.)
Tony Snow, the still fairly new White House press secretary who's been at the job for only four months, is getting more "laughs" out of the gathered reporters than his predecessor, Scott McCellan.
Snow was a veteran journalist and commentator before becoming press secretary, giving him much more experience than McClellan had before taking the job. Snow has been more adept at handling McClellan's old nemeses, Helen Thomas and David Gregory.
Yeas & Nays reviewed the press briefing and press gaggle transcripts from Snow’s first four months on the job and compared them to those of Snow’s predecessor, Scott McClellan, during his first four months.
Under Snow, there were more than 330 percent more instances of laughter — as defined by the transcriber’s insertion of “(Laughter)” in the transcript — than under McClellan.
It appears that the BBC is taking a page from the American media in its love of ‘rebellious’ Republicans. Last night, BBC World (airing on Washington PBS station WETA) opened with a report on the President’s visit to Congress.
“It soon became clear that even in his own Republican Party there are serious doubts about the president's plans. Three Republican titans, Senators McCain, Warner, and Graham, broke with their president and by 15 votes to 9 the Senate Armed Services Committee approved a bill very different to that of Mr. Bush. It's an extraordinary act of defiance. “
As the report closed, the theme repeated: “As vital congressional elections draw near, who actually speaks for the republicans on the key issue of the day national security? Adam Brooks, BBC News, Washington.”
Is Nancy Grace, the crime-obsessed CNN Headline News host and
prosecutor, at least partly to blame for the suicide of a Florida woman
whose son has been reported missing?
According to the family of Melinda Duckett, a harsh interview Grace
taped with Duckett was one of the factors that put her over
Duckett shot herself a
day after taping an interview with CNN Headline News' Nancy Grace, who
frequently focuses on missing-persons cases. Stumbling on questions
like whether she had taken a polygraph test or where, specifically, she
was shopping with her son before his disappearance, Duckett, speaking
by telephone, became audibly exasperated.
Before it was over,
Grace was pounding her desk in a raised voice, saying, "Where were you?
Why aren't you telling us where you were that day?"
and the others, they just bashed her to the end," Melinda Duckett's
grandfather Bill Eubank said Tuesday. "She wasn't one anyone ever would
have thought of to do something like this. She and that baby just loved
each other, couldn't get away from each other. She wouldn't hurt a bug."
As you would expect, Grace denies this. On Monday's
show, instead of focusing on 9/11, she devoted basically the
entire program (except for a small mention of the terrorist attacks at
the end) to the Duckett case. Everything Grace said about the case, plus a comment, is below the fold.
In national politics, most in the business will tell you that things don't get serious until after Labor Day. That's when many Americans who normally ignore politics will start tuning in.
That's true this year as always, but the '06 election cycle also brings a new problem: the political censorship of advertising which even peripherally dares to mention a politician. Jacob Sullum has more on this outrage (h/t: NB reader sarcasmo):
As of Friday, when the 60-day blackout period for "electioneering communications" by nonprofit interest groups begins, political speech will enjoy less protection than dirty movies. While a sexually explicit film is protected by the First Amendment if it has some socially redeeming value, an "electioneering communication" is forbidden even if it deals with important and timely public policy issues.
Supporters of this ban, imposed by the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002, say they want to eliminate "sham issue ads" that are aimed at electing or defeating a candidate and therefore should be funded only by political action committees subject to campaign contribution limits. But since the ban applies to any TV or radio spot that mentions a federal official who is up for re-election, it also prohibits genuine issue ads.
Poll: More Americans blame Bush for 9/11 screams the CNN headline. No doubt they rely on few people opening up the pdf file at link, which still only contains 2 questions out of what looks to be at least 27, or more. But an examination of even that tells us this is bogus news.
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The percentage of Americans who blame the Bush administration for the September 11, 2001, attacks on New York and Washington has risen from almost a third to almost half over the past four years, a CNN poll released Monday found.
Asked whether they blame the Bush administration for the attacks, 45 percent said either a "great deal" or a "moderate amount," up from 32 percent in a June 2002 CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll.
The vast majority of the mainstream media has been playing down possible fears of a radical change in governance should Democrats take the House and or Senate in the 2006 mid-term elections. They've reported John Conyers statements regarding backing away from impeachment and we've heard little if anything about what a Democrat controlled legislature might do.
Apparently now someone is talking and it's being reported locally, what remains to be seen is how broadly it'll be picked up by the mainstream press.
At least one report indicates they are privately planning a range of actions including: investigations of the Bush administration on a scale larger than Watergate; using the budget as a lever to dictate actual war strategy and leave Iraq; imposing a range of economic measures negatively impacting the Oil and Pharmaceutical industries; and the launching of a "boatload" of expensive social welfare programs while raising the minimum wage.
Clinton pointedly refuted several fictionalized scenes that he claims insinuate he was too distracted by the Monica Lewinsky sex scandal to care about bin Laden and that a top adviser pulled the plug on CIA operatives who were just moments away from bagging the terror master, according to a letter to ABC boss Bob Iger obtained by The Post.
Item -- Philosophical sympathizer Cynthia Tucker of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution in her June 2004 column evaluating the Clinton presidency:
As badly as the American press leans leftward, the Canadian press is actually worse in its bias against things conservative. That's ironic since Canada's prime minister, Stephen Harper, is actually a conservative which has caused a good amount of friction with intolerant liberals up north.
Facing an entire press corps as impartial as Keith Olbermann, Harper has had no choice but to play tough with reporters who despise him, snubbing their little award ceremonies, and denouncing their desire to pontificate at news conferences. "They don't ask questions at my press conferences," he said in May.
As of today, The Parliamentary Press
Gallery has called off its five-month-old boycott of Prime Minister
Stephen Harper's news conferences.
Officially, its only a
temporary suspension of the boycott to let Harper think about the error
of his ways and to reach a new protocol for holding press conferences.
But the PPG members know the jig's up.
As regular readers of NewsBusters know, a fairly large number of
leftists in this country are convinced that George W. Bush is hell-bent
on destroying America and turning it into a dictatorship where
mandatory worship of "neocons" is required and media outlets are
censored. Liberal figures such as Al Gore, Keith Olbermann, and regulars at places like Democratic Underground and Daily Kos routinely make such statements.
exposing leftist paranoia for public ridicule is amusing, I think it's also
worth noting just how far from reality these claims really are. Last
month, we saw how real media repression occurs every day in Fidel Castro's Cuba. But Cuba is far from the only place where this happens. Over at PBS's MediaShift, Mark Glaser and Zimbabwean journalist Frank Chikowore talk about how that country's government imprisons and censors reporters who dare criticize it:
government shuts down independent newspapers. It jams radio signals
from outside the country. Internet access is sporadic. Inflation is out
of control. A bill is in Parliament that would allow the government to
censor private email communications.
Welcome to Zimbabwe,
the south African country born out of the former Rhodesia in 1980 and
led by strongman President Robert Mugabe every day since its
independence from British colonialism.
Ever since the "controversy" was ignited by Bush enemies like Joseph Wilson three years ago, The New York Times has run almost 40 front-page stories on the leak of the name of CIA operative Valerie Plame (Wilson's wife) to Robert Novak. But now that the prime anti-Bush angle has fizzled out, the Times has been notably reluctant to return to the scene of the non-crime.
One of the marvelous hypocrisies regularly exhibited by the liberal media is their constant carping about the caustic tone in politics today while they think of new words to express their vitriol and animus for all things Republican. In a blog piece at HuffnPuff Sunday, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jane Smiley demonstrated this glaring contradiction perfectly as she beseeched fellow liberals that “We can do better” with the hateful words that are used to describe President Bush and Vice President Cheney.
Honestly. I’m not kidding.
Actually titled “We Can Do Better” – and cynically presented “[a]s a Labor Day celebration” – Smiley’s clarion call referenced a speech by former California Governor Hiram Johnson in which the harshest language was used to describe Harrison Gray Otis, then publisher of the Los Angeles Times. Johnson referred to Otis as being “disgraceful, depraved, corrupt, crooked, and putrescent.”
As shocking as it might seem, the Pulitzer Prize-winning Smiley wants liberals to use such language to describe America's current president (emphasis mine):
Saturday's edition of the Times has a pretty misleading article filled with Karl Rove's woe and informing all of us beyond the beltway lifeforms that Rove is now useless to the Party where once he was a kingmaker. At least they are hoping this to be the case.
Where it is misleading is that, as they fill the piece with how Rove is losing influence, they don't balance that claim with the simple fact that nearly every 2nd term president and his team struggles to keep hold of the Party reins as that president's last years in office roll on. It happened to Clinton, too, if the Times will remember?
One would think that Rove has lost his midas touch and that he is now routinely ignored by Party hopefuls and candidates all up and down the line by this piece.
Much like the UN's credibility, this cluster bomb seems to be hanging by a thread.
But, for starters, is it really likely that it landed there by itself? Or is it more likely that someone identified it as a dud and hung it from a tree?
And secondly, how's this for moral equivalence: Is there ANY distinction between Israel "raining down cluster bombs when a cease-fire was in sight," and Hezbullah "firing rockets at Haifa AFTER THE CEASE-FIRE WENT INTO EFFECT?"
Why is one REGULARLY condemned in articles written by the dhimmis in Europe, and one REGULARLY ignored?
Jan Egeland, who according to the caption accompanying this picture, is shocked and appalled at Israel's "completely immoral" behavior. strike this...[Jan presumably has no problem whatsoever with terrorists hiding behind civilians, as he has yet to utter a single word condemning that behavior]... (Correction: As pointed out by reader "truth squad," Jan Egeland has in fact condemned that behavior:
But a day after criticizing Israel for "disproportionate" strikes against civilians, U.N. humanitarian chief Jan Egeland accused Hezbollah of "cowardly blending" among Lebanese civilians.
Valerie who? The New York Times seems to need a reminder.
Judging by its sparse coverage, the Times is apparently trying to pretend the Valerie Plame "outing," (which for three years was a matter of national import on its editorial page, news pages, and among its stable of liberal columnists), is no longer even newsworthy, now that the inconvenient truth (Armitage?) is out.
Now we know, thanks to "Hubris," a new book by Newsweek reporter Michael Isikoff and left-wing writer David Corn of The Nation -- someone who bears much responsibility for puffing up the Plame non-story in the first place.
Times legal reporter Neil Lewis reports what everyone who has Internet access already knows -- that Richard Armitage, former deputy secretary of state under Colin Powell, was columnist Robert Novak's source for the information that Joe Wilson's wife, Valerie Wilson/Plame, worked for the CIA.
Writing at TCS Daily, Glenn Reynolds wonders about the net effect of the exposure of the fact that fake news is more common than previously supposed:
In a democratic polity -- or even one that's driven by things like "world opinion" -- faked news poses a real threat to decent decision-making. Worse yet, the likely outcome of widespread fakery will be a tendency on the part of people to simply dismiss news that they don't want to hear. (And we already see enough of that phenomenon as it is). [...]
Once again, as I've said in previous columns, it boils down to whom you can trust. And although it seems that Big Media outfits, which want to make money and be around for the long term, would have a sufficient investment in their credibility not to fake news themselves, or to pass along fake news except in extraordinary circumstances, the evidence of recent weeks is that journalism is rife with fakery, and that we're seeing more of it now mostly because it's easier to spot now that lots of people can examine the evidence and compare notes. [...]
Context is key. And one of the lessons of these various affairs is that neither the photo, nor the purveyor of the photo, should be given unquestioned authority. Instead, we have to think for ourselves, and make up our own minds. Because it turns out that we can't trust, well, much of anyone.
He's right, of course. But realizing the need to think critically is only
part of the solution. Despite the fact that a
great many interactive web participants (bloggers, blog readers, and forum
users) realize the value of not buying into everything you see, many do not.
A still larger group aren't even reading blogs or forums, which presents a
bit of a problem.
The front page of today's Chicago Tribune carries the headline: "Bush's vows after Katrina go unfulfilled, Critics: Washington `all windup, no pitch.'"
The principal critic cited is the dependably liberal historian Douglas Brinkley of Tulane University. "'The Bush administration, post-Katrina, has been all windup and no pitch. It's a low point in Bush's tenure,' says Brinkley."
The professor's credentials as an impartial observer are questionable. Here, after all, is a man who claims that Jimmy Carter "is seen as a national treasure - even by people who didn't like him as president." A man who asserted: "I think he'd (John Kerry) make a first-rate president." A man who wants to see Bill Clinton's reputation rehabilitated and says, "Hopefully, we'll have a fuller view and also understand that he's had a great many important strengths."
A New York Times Editorial appears to be something of a non-CIA rendered intelligence report on what the GOP has in mind for the Fall. I say non-CIA, because it's scary to be sure.
The last thing this country needs as it heads into this election season is another attempt to push the intelligence agencies to hype their conclusions about the threat from a Middle Eastern state.
That’s what happened in 2002, when the administration engineered a deeply flawed document on Iraq that reshaped intelligence to fit President Bush’s policy.
In what would be ironic, were this not the NY Times, they have no problem delivering up scary assessments of the deep dark inner workings of the malevolent GOP, they simply don't want anyone doing it for our enemies, as well.
Have liberal journalists gotten more than they bargained for after hyping up the Valerie Plame Wilson leak "scandal?" Ed Morrissey argues that this is the case in light of yet another leak investigation, this one about CBS and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee:
The media, especially national organizations, used to have a silent
immunity from these kinds of investigations, but two developments
changed all of that. First, the media used to understand the impact of
the disclosures they made and to coordinate them with the federal
government to minimize the damage. That era appears to have ended,
largely with the New York Times, which has blown several intelligence
programs during wartime despite the warnings of the White House and
members of Congress.
Secondly and more importantly, the press brought it on themselves in
the Plame leak. The New York Times, hypocritically, took the lead in
hysterically demanding a federal probe into the kind of leak that they
regularly publish on their front pages. Somehow the media mavens who
took their lead from the Gray Lady never considered the fact that an
investigation into leaks would require subpoenaed testimony from the
reporters that received them.
Too late, they realized that the public storm they created would
rain down all over themselves. They have tried to paint the subpoenas
and the resulting contempt-of-court threats as an indication of an
oppressive Bush administration, declaring war on the media. This order
by Judge Ellis should put an end to that misapprehension. The media
created this demand for investigations into leaks of classified
information, and jus because they were too foolish to understand that
all roads led back to them is no reason to feel much sympathy for their
If the loony MSM were viewing Joe Lieberman's primary loss to leftist, Ned Lamont, in any more a convoluted manner, they would be crosseyed, tonguetied, and hogtied. I mean, the backflips they are making to explain this story are so magnificent that it'd make any Circ de Soleil acrobatic clown green with envy.
It is amazing how every article about politics seem to start with the emotional underpinning that the Republicans are somehow merely scheming, or are just capitalizers, dirty tricksters or looking for "weapons" to get votes. Could it be that a Republican here or there might actually be serving his true principles by highlighting an issue? Nah, don't be ridiculous. It's sure to be just some kind of angle or trick!