MSNBC’s Krystal Ball substituted for Ronan Farrow as host of his MSNBC show on Friday and remarked with a guest during a segment on the Islamic terror group ISIS that their reported waterboarding of their captives, including the late James Foley, can be blamed on the U.S. detention facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and what happened at Abu Ghraib in Iraq.
After shifting gears from talking about the increased terror alert in the United Kingdom and fears across western Europe that hundreds of their citizens have joined ISIS and could return to commit terrorist attacks, Ball mentioned an article in The Washington Post that reported ISIS captives were waterboarded. She then asked MSNBC terrorism analyst Evan Kohlmann what he thought about this news. [MP3 audio here; Video below]
On Friday morning, the major broadcast networks were out in full force to defend President Obama after his remarks at a press conference Thursday afternoon in which he said that “we don’t have a strategy yet” in how to militarily address the Islamic terrorist group ISIS in Syria.
Leading the way was NBC’s Today, where co-host Matt Lauer told NBC News political director and moderator of Meet the Press Chuck Todd that “[c]ritics pounced” when Obama made that remark and wondered if they took “his words too literally.” [MP3 audio here; Video below]
Alexander the Great. Stonewall Jackson. George S. Patton. To this list of some of history's greatest military strategists, a new name must be added: that of Barack Obama. That is, if you agree with Joe Scarborough's take on President Obama's statement at yesterday's press conference that "we don't have a strategy yet" regarding possible attacks on ISIS in Syria.
According to Scarborough, speaking on today's Morning Joe, President Obama's "no strategy" statement was "straight out of The Art of War where when you were weak, you make your enemies think you were strong. When you were strong, you make your enemies think you were weak." It's what Scarborough would have done, he told viewers, if he were president. When Sam Stein said that he couldn't tell if Joe was joking, Scarborough assured him: "I'm serious. Dead serious . . . I am dead serious. I am not joking." View the video after the jump.
While competing newscasts on ABC and CBS led tonight with the president's stunning admission at a press briefing that he hasn't formulated a strategy to deal with ISIS yet, NBC placed the story in the third slot in the lineup, after a lead-off report regarding the NFL's "tough new policy" on domestic violence and a story by New York-based correspondent Katy Tur about comedian Joan Rivers's hospitalization.
On top of that, Nightly News substitute anchor Lester Holt completely left out both ISIS and the invasion of Ukraine by Russia from his opening-credit tease. By contrast, both ABC's Amy Robach and CBS's Maurice DuBois led off their opening-credit teases by citing the most quotable nugget from today's presidential presser [LISTEN to MP3 audio here; WATCH video montage below page break]:
Sean Hannity confronted Anjem Choudary on his Fox News Channel program on Wednesday over the Islamist's unapologetic support of ISIS. The two repeatedly talked over each other, with the American talk show host hounding Choudary if he supported the terrorist group's genocidal campaign in Iraq and Syria.
The U.K.-based radical Muslim contended that the multiple account of atrocities by ISIS forces, especially against Christians and Yazidis in northern Iraq, were lies that were being used to discredit the Islamist group: [video below the jump]
Lumping one’s political adversaries with the vicious jihadists of ISIS seems to be the new new thing. Last Thursday, Dinesh D’Souza alleged that “the common thread between ISIS and [the looters] in Ferguson is you have these people who basically believe that to correct a perceived injustice, it's perfectly OK to inflict all kinds of new injustices...And all of this is then licensed by the left and licensed to some degree by the media.”
On Saturday, Washington Monthly blogger David Atkins responded to D’Souza, asserting that ISIS is not at all left-wing; rather, the terrorist group stands for “bedrock principles of political conservatism wherever it appears in the world,” such as “eschew[ing] ‘foreign’ western impulses, roll[ing] back the clock on progressive social reforms, and aggressively institut[ing] a more traditional religious approach to society.”
Last week I noted how MSNBC's Chris Matthews, who usually has tingles down his leg for the president, was taken aback by Barack Obama's statement regarding the ISIS beheading of American freelance journalist James Foley.
Tonight a frustrated Matthews expressed his frustration with Mr. Obama once again, asking his guests Bobby Ghosh and Howard Fineman why the president didn't couch the U.S. response to the bloodthirsty Islamist terrorists as a defense of American honor. Why, Matthews wondered, did Obama stick to business as usual "playing golf last week when he had the American people's attention?" Why doesn't Obama "fight like a street fighter when it comes to defending the lives of Americans"? The relevant transcript appears below the page break (emphais mine; MP3 audio here; video follows page break):
Wow, it's not often you see someone morph from George McGovern to Curtis LeMay in a matter of weeks.
Credit for this curious distinction goes to Ed Schultz, token working-class stiff at MSNBC who also pontificates on a daily podcast. In one of his postings last week, Schultz responded to the execution of journalist James Foley by a psychopath in the cult of medieval savages known as ISIS. (Audio after the jump)
Dan Rather, former anchor of the CBS Evening News, appeared on CNN’s Reliable Sources to harshly criticize those in Congress calling for the U.S. to take military action against the terrorist group ISIS.
Speaking to anchor Brian Stelter on Sunday, August 24, Rather proclaimed that he will only listen to those who advocate boots on the ground “if you tell me you are prepared to send your son, your daughter, your grandson, your granddaughter to that war of which you are beating the drums.” [See video below.]
In a Sunday-morning post, Daily Kos blogger Mark Sumner argued that the “threat ISIS represents to the United States” is “[e]xactly none” and urged us not to overreact now the way we supposedly did after 9/11 and consequently “hand over freedoms for an illusion of safety. The NSA reading your email and listening in on your phone, idiots mistaking a dropped t-shirt at the Mexican border for the prayer rug of invading Muslims, TSA workers who know you more intimately than your spouse. Those are bin Laden's victories.”
Besides, Sumner remarked, everyday food additives may be more lethal than jihadists: “You could probably make a compelling case that corn syrup is more deadly to Americans than all the terrorists who ever lived.”
On Sunday, August 24, This Week moderator George Stephanopoulos bizarrely worried that the U.S. might take too much action in combating the terrorist group ISIS.
Speaking to Bill Kristol, editor of the conservative Weekly Standard magazine, wondered “it struck me how quickly this has all moved. From ISIS being a minor threat, the president talking about it several months ago as the junior varsity, to now an imminent threat, the words of Chuck Hagel, to the United States. And I guess I wonder, is there a danger here of overreacting?” [See video below.]
Even the New York Times has directed criticism at President Obama for being hopelessly out of touch. Following his announcement of American journalist James Foley’s brutal death at the hands of ISIS, the President immediately headed out to the links for a quick round of golf, a move panned in an often bipartisan fashion. Liberal Times columnist Maureen Dowd mocked the President in a piece that played off Abraham Lincoln’s legendary Gettysburg Address.
Headlined “The Golf Address,” Dowd justifiably ripped President Obama for his response to that horrific tragedy: “FORE! Score? And seven trillion rounds ago, our forecaddies brought forth on this continent a new playground, conceived by Robert Trent Jones, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal when it comes to spending as much time on the links as possible — even when it seems totally inappropriate.” [See excerpts below.]
Appearing on Fox News Sunday, veteran journalist Bob Woodward had some harsh words for the Obama Administration over it’s handling of the terrorist group ISIS.
Speaking on Sunday, August 24, Woodward blasted the White House for having a confusing message on how to combat the terrorist group, insisting “there's an inconsistency here. I mean, Hagel and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs have said -- and Kerry, the Secretary of State, made it very clear, all options are on the table, and the president has said no boots on the ground.” [See video below.]
Is the beheading of an American journalist – along with the genocide of Christians and other religious minorities – enough to label the Islamist terror group ISIS as the consummation of evil? According to CNN.com, the answer is really quite complicated.
In fact, James Dawes, director of the program in Human Rights at Macalester College, argued in a piece for CNN’s online arm that “there are few things more dangerous now than allowing ourselves to think” that ISIS does “evil things for evil ends,”as NRO’s Jonah Goldberg phrased it in a tweet earlier this week. Dawes’s assertion is that Americans need to “do the hard work of understanding the context that made them, so that we can create a context that unmakes them.” He added that“understanding” will “help us see the world through their eyes.” [See Goldberg's tweet and excerpts from the piece after the jump.]
Friday’s CBS This Morning dove into the subject of President Obama vacationing in Martha’s Vineyard while events domestically and internationally rage, including the brutal murder of American journalist James Foley at the hands of the Islamic terrorist group ISIS. While they were the only network to mention this story, the report from CBS News White House Correspondent Major Garrett and discussion among the hosts afterward did little more than cover for the president.
At the segment's conclusion, co-host Norah O’Donnell compared Obama’s golfing minutes after making a statement about Foley’s murder to former President George W. Bush going golfing after speaking about a suicide bombing in Iraq. O’Donnell observed that:[MP3 audio here; See the video after the jump]
During a press briefing on Wednesday, deputy State Department spokesperson Marie Harf condemned the beheading of American journalist James Foley by Islamic terrorists while adding that the threat posed by the terror group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS) “is not about the United States and what we do.”
That comment led Associated Press reporter Matt Lee to ask if President Barack Obama's speech the day before -- in which he called for “a common effort to extract this cancer so that it does not spread” -- was a sign that “you’re actually going to do something” about terrorism.
"I don't know why he used the word 'justice.' It's not appropriate here. This is an attack on our country, we have to react to it," an upset Chris Matthews reacted to a video excerpt of President Obama's statement today about the beheading by an ISIS member of American freelance journalist James Foley.
"This is our country versus this group that's declared war on us. What's justice mean in this con-- I don't know why the word's used, like we're going to go to the World Court with this?!" Matthews sneered to guest Howard Fineman of the Huffington Post Media Group on the August 20 edition of Hardball. Later in the segment, an irate Matthews insisted "no American president can survive if he lets Americans be beheaded on international television with impunity. Impunity! He has to strike back, as an American, it's in our soul!" [LISTEN to MP3 audio here; WATCH video below the page break]
NBC Nightly News was the sole Big Three evening newscast on Friday to cover ISIS's ongoing rampage against non-Muslims in northern Iraq. Chris Jansing filed a full report on the heartbreak for a Yazidi community in Nebraska, who have lost family to the Islamist group's campaign of terror. By contrast, ABC's World News and CBS Evening News both found time to air news briefs on the historical gaffe in a photo promoting the new season of PBS's Downton Abbey.
Jansing interviewed several Yazidis for the segment, who detailed the atrocities that ISIS is inflicting on their minority community: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
As liberal columnist Kirsten Powers recently noted, President Obama is notably reluctant to acknowledge that Iraqi Christians are facing lethal persecution at the hands of Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant("ISIL"). Unfortunately, he’s not alone. ABC has been almost completely silent about the religious minorities that ISIL’s self-declared Islamic caliphate is intent on wiping out.
While CBS and NBC have spent time on nearly every broadcast of the morning and evening news shows detailing the immense persecution against Christians, Yazidis and other non-Muslim religious groups in Iraq, ABC has been absent. CBS and NBC mentioned the Yazidi religious sect 34 times while Christians were mentioned 23 times between the two networks in a two-week period.
Yet ABC identified ISIL’s victims as “Christian” and “Yazidi” in only one Sunday evening news broadcast, Aug. 10.
On Tuesday Morning, MSNBC and Telemundo anchor Jose Diaz-Balart brought a guest on his MSNBC show to discuss the targeted killing and persecution of Christians in Iraq at the hands of the ultra-Islamic terrorist group ISIS. The guest, Mark Arabo, who serves as the national spokesman for the Chaldeans, (the sect of Iraqi Christians facing ISIS’s terror), told Diaz-Balart that the actions of ISIS are that of “a full-blown genocide” in targeting 400,000 Christians in Iraq.
When asked by Diaz-Balart for his take on the actions of the Obama administration so far in Iraq, Arabo said that he and the Iraqi community in Southern California near San Diego (which is the second largest in the country) first “sounded this alarm from San Diego eight weeks ago and we’ve been as clear as we are today: This is a full-blown genocide.” [MP3 audio here; Video below]
In the wake of the U.S. military launching air strikes to combat ISIS militants in northern Iraq, the entire panel on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace had some harsh words for President Obama’s foreign policy.
While the entire panel that appeared on Sunday, August 10 agreed that Obama has mismanaged the threat ISIS poses to the Middle East, Ron Fournier of National Journal had the strongest rebuke of Obama when he charged that “he's been the Commander in Chief or the underestimator in chief.” [See video below.]
Andrea Mitchell, NBC’s Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent, had some surprisingly harsh words for the Obama Administration in the wake of the militant group ISIS holding thousands of religious minorities hostage near the northern Iraq city of Irbil.
Speaking on Meet the Press on Sunday, August 10, Mitchell proclaimed that regarding Isis “there was intelligence. And to say that they were shocked by the Peshmerga on Saturday night being routed is a farce. The White House wasn't listening.” [See video below.]
The Big Three networks steered clear of labeling the Islamist group ISIS "terrorists" on their evening newscasts on Friday. Instead, ABC's World News and CBS Evening News labeled the genocidal radicals "militants." NBC Nightly News used the more benign "rebels" in their coverage of the group's latest attacks on the Kurdish part of Iraq.
The closest that a journalist at ABC, CBS, or NBC got to using the "terrorist" label was Scott Pelley's teaser at the very top of CBS Evening News: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
On Thursday, the al Qaeda spinoff group the Islamic State seized numerous towns in northern Iraq that are home to much of the country’s minority Christian population, sending tens of thousands of them fleeing further into the Kurdish-dominated region to avoid the unforgiving and deadly extremist group. When it came to the major broadcast networks covering this story on their Thursday morning news shows, neither ABC, CBS, or NBC provided their viewers with information on this story.
Meanwhile, CNN and its morning show, New Day, did cover the story with not one but two stories during its three-hour show. First, it aired a full, 3-minute-and-1-second report from CNN senior international correspondent Nic Robertson at the top of the 6:30 a.m. half hour and then a 21-second news brief during the 8:00 a.m. hour. [MP3 audio here; Video below]
Continuous fear-mongering from the left about the supposed cataclysmic dangers of global warming has always been present, but Slate’s Eric Holthaus has taken things to a whole different level. As Iraq and Syria devolve into chaos, the left-wing publication has blamed climate change for the rise of the al-Qaeda offshoot ISIS.
While the purpose of ISIS – imposing Sharia law on captured territory, ethnically cleansing Shia Muslims, and persecuting other religious groups like Christians – is evident to most of the world community, Slate makes the claim that the radical Sunni group was somehow spurred on by recent drought in the region:
Anti-American commandos from Iran are already helping the Iraqi military by doing the sort of logistical coordination that President Obama promised from the U.S. Army today, NBC's Richard Engel noted in a June 19 Nightly News report from Baghdad. "The image I've had in my head all day, Brian, is of this driver's ed car with two steering wheels, with one with the U.S. Army now about 300 people on one steering wheel and the Iranian Quds Force-- which is often hostile to the United States at the other wheel -- and I'm not sure that Iran and the U.S. have any intention of driving this car in the same direction," the network's chief foreign affairs correspondent told viewers at home.
Liberal vs. neo-con. Isolationist vs. interventionist. The clash over Iraq strategy between John Heilemann and Bill Kristol on today's Morning Joe had it all.
Things got heated as Heilemann assailed Kristol's call for intervention as "absurd." Kristol responded by suggesting that Heilemann's invocation of "American blood" was a cheap "rhetorical line." View the video after the jump.