It appears that Aron Heller at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's press, might have been applying lessons learned from the wire service's U.S. business and economics writers in his coverage of Israel's settlement activity. Heller also seems strangely fond of this mythical thing known as the "international community."
AP business and economics writers like Martin Crutsinger and Christopher Rugaber have regaled us with the wonders of the alleged housing recovery during the past two years, but haven't been quite as good at telling us that over 4-1/2 years after the recession officially ended, new home sales and construction activity is still only about 60-65 percent of what is seen as healthy by most economists and analysts. Heller pulled an analogous trick in his report; fortunately Evelyn Gordon at Commentary (HT Powerline) was astute enough to catch his misdirection, one in which President Obama has also engaged.
ABC, CBS, and NBC's morning newscasts have yet to report about the bilateral squabble between the Obama administration and Israel over Secretary of State John Kerry's warning on Saturday that the U.S. ally faces "an increasing delegitimization campaign that has been building up....There are talks of boycotts and other kinds of things."
The war of words comes days after actress Scarlett Johansson ended her eight-year affiliation with Oxfam due to their opposition to Israeli settlements in the West Bank. Johansson appeared in a Super Bowl ad for SodaStream, a company based in Israel that runs a large facility on the West Bank. On Monday, CNN anchor Michaela Pereira devoted a news brief on New Day to Kerry's remark and the Israeli government's reaction: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
On Wednesday's All In show, MSNBC's Chris Hayes ended the show with a commentary appealing to 16 Senate Democrats who are joining with Republicans to push more sanctions on Iran, as the MSNBC host blamed the pro-Israel group AIPAC for influencing these Democrats, and accused the Senators of being "intent on sabotaging the President's peace talks and pushing us towards another war."
As he listed out a number of public figures who oppose the Obama administration's deal with Iran, Hayes also framed skeptics of the deal as being "apoplectic at the thought of peace."
On Monday's All In show on MSNBC, Chris Hayes accused Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of making himself into a "cartoon" by "tirelessly agitating for war" and "oppos[ing] peace," as the MSNBC host celebrated the "truly historic" news of President Obama's deal with the Iranian government over its nuclear program.
Before a clip of Netanyahu calling the agreement a "historic mistake," Hayes complained:
Sure, he was careful to couch it. But the bottom line is that Zbigniew Brzezinski believes that Iran is willing to abandon its goal of acquiring nuclear weapons.
Jimmy Carter's former national security adviser offered that opinion in response to questioning by former RNC Chairman Michael Steele on today's Morning Joe. Brzezinski also claimed that the recent round of negotiations have been "serious, substantive" and that the Iranians have been "accommodating." View the video after the jump.
On Tuesday's All In show on MSNBC, host Chris Hayes twice asked California Democratic Rep. Barbara Lee if Israel is an "obstacle" to a "diplomatic settlement between the U.S. and Iran," as the two discussed the possibility of a meeting between President Barack Obama and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani at the United Nations gathering.
After playing a clip of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appealing for help to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons, Hayes posed:
Zurprise, zurprise: Zbig wouldn't go to war to stop Iran getting nukes. On Morning Joe today, Jimmy Carter's former national security adviser had some advice for President Obama: tell Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu that America will not go to war against Iran.
Attacking Iran's nuclear facilities would surely be an act of war. Yet doing so might well be the only way to prevent the ayatollahs from getting the A-bomb. Unfortunately, neither Joe Scarborough nor anyone else on the panel including daughter Mika asked Brzezinski flat out whether he would encourage America to stand by while Iran got nukes. But it's hard to intepret his words otherwise. And of course, Zbig is the man who called for the U.S. to shoot down Israeli warplanes on the way to Iran. View the video after the jump.
Brace yourselves, for NBC's Andrea Mitchell - on MSNBC no less - actually criticized Barack Obama Wednesday.
During a News Nation segment about the President's trip to Israel, Mitchell said his relationship with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is "one of the worst" she can remember going all the way back to her years covering Ronald Reagan (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Bill Maher came back from his long winter vacation Friday to predictably say stupid things on HBO's Real Time that only a liberal would utter or appreciate.
One such was telling Palestinian journalist Rula Jebreal, “What's happening in Israel is kind of what would happen in America if the Tea Party took over” (video follows with transcribed highlights and commentary):
"The key difference between these two candidates is that one is going to do all he can to avoid a new war in the Middle East and the other one is going to hand over U.S. policy to Bibi Netanyahu and launch a new global war."
So actually said the Daily Beast's Andrew Sullivan on the syndicated Chris Matthews Show Sunday (video follows with commentary):
Comedienne Joy Behar on Tuesday weighed in on the growing controversy over President Obama spending time on ABC's The View rather than meeting with foreign dignitaries in town for the United Nations General Assembly.
Commenting on Twitter, Behar said, "Maybe he'd rather talk to me than Netanyahu."
Appearing on Sunday's NBC Meet the Press, The Atlantic's national correspondent Jeff Goldberg acknowledged poor U.S.-Israel relations and proceeded to blame Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for causing the rift: "I've never seen an Israeli prime minister mismanage the relationship with the United States or with the administration the way this prime minister has." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Goldberg admitted: "Obama's not blameless. The first year, the peace process was a disaster." However, he then continued to lambast Netanyahu: "...one person here is the senior partner, one is the – the junior partner, and Netanyahu has turned this into a story about himself and Obama, rather than the important thing."
Has Maureen Dowd's documented hatred of Paul Ryan pushed her over the edge? The New York Times columnist is accused by several pundits of employing anti-Semitic tropes in her latest Sunday Review column, the charmingly titled "Neocons Slither Back," currently the #1 e-mailed Times story as of noon Monday. Meanwhile, Times columnist Nicholas Kristof harshly criticized Mitt Romney and accused Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of "interfering in American elections."
Paul Ryan has not sautéed in foreign policy in his years on Capitol Hill. The 42-year-old congressman is no Middle East savant; till now, his idea of a border dispute has more likely involved Wisconsin and Illinois.
Ryan was moving his mouth, but the voice was the neocon puppet master Dan Senor. The hawkish Romney adviser has been secunded to manage the running mate and graft a Manichaean worldview onto the foreign affairs neophyte.
NBC's David Gregory on Sunday actually referred to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as "the leader of the Jewish people."
This happened during a Meet the Press interview that included the host vociferously grilling Netanyahu about whether Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney was correct when he said, “President Obama has thrown allies like Israel under the bus” (video follows with transcript and commentary):
The New York Times has again used a misleading headline to falsely imply failure on the part of conservative Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: Thursday's story by Isabel Kershner, "Israelis Fear Fallout From Netanyahu’s Blunt Comments." But the underlying story fails to come close to making that case, quoting only a single opponent of Netanyahu -- the opposition leader in the Israeli Parliament.
Just how in the tank for Barack Obama is CNN's Piers Morgan?
During an interview with Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak Wednesday, Morgan actually said to his guest concerning Iran, "President Obama clearly would prefer not to see Israel take any action before the election" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Newsweek's Eleanor Clift and National Review's Rich Lowry got into quite a heated debate on PBS's McLaughlin Group this weekend.
With the topic being President Obama's Middle East policy, after much back and forth, Lowry scolded, "If you’re honest about it, that is your bottom line. You are okay with [Iran] getting a nuclear weapon" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Newsweek's Eleanor Clift got a bit of a tongue-lashing from US News and World Report's Mort Zuckerman on this weekend's McLaughlin Group.
After Clift predictably praised President Obama's press conference last week, Zuckerman aggressively shot back, "That's nonsense to say the Israelis don't think through the consequences of war! That’s ridiculous!" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Appearing as a panel member on the syndicated Chris Matthews Show on Sunday, Washington Post columnist David Ignatius predicted that President Obama would be more aggressive in taking on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a second term, as he cited the belief by Obama's people that the President "has had success" in Middle East policy so far. (Video below)
Ignatius seemed to go along with the idea that President Obama has a "strong foreign policy record" as he ended up asking rhetorically:
The New York Times learned Thursday that its biases have consequences.
In a letter from his senior adviser Ron Dermer obtained by the Jerusalem Post, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu scornfully declined the Gray Lady's offer to write an op-ed due to the paper's long history of anti-Israel sentiments:
New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, who poses as a tough friend of Israel, offensively referred to the “Israel lobby” in his Wednesday column “Newt, Mitt, Bibi and Vladimir."
After bashing Newt Gingrich for suggesting the Palestinians are an “invented” people, Friedman reiterated the usual talking points in support of a Palestinian state, but with a hostile and paranoid twist.
On Wednesday, New York Times reporter Isabel Kershner covered an embarrassing gaffe involving President Obama – a private conversation between Obama and French President Nicholas Sarkozy, in which both men were overheard insulting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Yet somehow the paper managed to omit Obama from its headline: “In Overheard Comments, Sarkozy Calls Netanyahu a ‘Liar.’”
Drudge is currently linking to a "trash talk" story at Ynetnews.com about how, with a microphone still on, French President Nicolas Sarkozy said that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu "is a liar." U.S. President Barack Obama's response, also audible, was: "You're fed up with him, but I have to deal with him every day!" That's not necessarily the most disgraceful aspect of the story. What follows after the jump, which explains why the story is just coming out now, is at least as reprehensible:
Friday at the UN (text here), Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas accused Israel of engaging in "ethnic cleansing."
Earlier, in a speech to 200 supposed "senior representatives of the Palestinian community in the U.S." (would that include Gaza flotilla organizers and Barack Obama pals Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn? Just askin'), Abbas declared, as relayed by Ynetnews.com, that "They talk to us about the Jewish state, but I respond to them with a final answer: We shall not recognize a Jewish state."
Given that there would hardly be a point to covering Abbas's speech if readers knew of the just-cited statements, it's hardly surprising that the press is also in a non-recognition mode:
NBC's David Gregory on Sunday did his darnedest to get Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to say Israel has had no better friend in the White House than President Obama.
As the "Meet the Press" host continued to force the issue, Netanyahu finally said, "David, you're trying to throw me under the bus of American politics. And guess what, I'm not going to be thrown there" (video follows with transcript and commentary):