MSNBC’s Alex Witt loves to ask questions that try to steer her guests toward a certain response, and she was at it again on Saturday’s edition of Weekends with Alex Witt. The host attempted to get three separate guests to agree with her that President Obama was last week’s “big winner” for stumbling onto a potential diplomatic solution to the Syrian crisis. When the third guest was critical of Obama, an incredulous Witt challenged his answer.
During the first hour of her two-hour program, Witt was discussing the recent U.S.-Russia deal to try and get Syrian President Bashar al Assad to give up his chemical weapons. She asked Reuters columnist David Rohde: “You know, doesn't President Obama actually come out the big winner here ultimately? Because without firing a shot, you said you believe that Syria will get rid of its chemical weapons.” [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
Everyone knows about the terrible backlash against America Muslims after 9-11, so it's understandable for Muslims to be worried about a post-Boston bombing backlash, right?
What? There was no major backlash against Muslims in 2001 or thereafter? American Jews suffer far more religion-based attacks than Muslims every year? Then why did Andrea Mitchell today exclaim that Muslims were "understandably" very worried about a backlash? View the video after the jump.
New York Times Public Editor Margaret Sullivan's Sunday column on drone strikes featured an interesting comment about (media?) bias against Republicans from David Rohde, a reporter kidnapped by the Taliban in 2008.
First, Sullivan criticized the Obama administration from the left:
On December 7, the notorious radical mastermind of “WikiLeaks,” turned himself in on a sexual assault charge in London. But in the liberal media, the condemnations are few. There are no real enemies to the media elite’s left, especially if they can be (very loosely) identified with journalism. Julian Assange may be highly motivated to cripple American “imperialism,” but his relentless efforts to disrupt American foreign policy is a good thing when the media are manipulating the government’s reaction by choosing which leaks they will publish and promote.
Time magazine editor Richard Stengel, for example, told Charlie Rose on PBS that Assange is an “idealist” that “sees the U.S. since 1945 as being a source of harm throughout the planet,” but he’s not really opposed to him. He put Assange on the cover of Time with an American flag gagging his mouth and feigned a position of balance. In his “To Our Readers” letter, Stengel conceded Assange is out to “harm American national security,” but there is a public good unfolding, in that “the right of news organizations to publish those documents has historically been protected by the First Amendment.” Our founding fathers, Stengel huffed, understood that “letting the government rather than the press choose what to publish was a very bad idea in a democracy.” He tapped the reader on the chest: “I trust you agree.”
Americans the world over could die because of these intelligence betrayals. But hip, hip, hooray for the freedom of speech that got them killed?
Wikipedia can be a vehicle for tearing down barriers and democratizing information. Unless the New York Times is involved.
Just as the Times was able to keep 40 other media organizations from reporting on the capture of their own David Rohde, so too were they able to keep Wikipedia from reporting it. They also used his Wikipedia page to try to win favor with the Taliban.
In their watchdog role of keeping the public informed, the New York Times has over the years disclosed government secrets regarding anti-terrorism tactics, overseas prisons, interrogation tactics, and military tactics, that critics contend have harmed the effectiveness of the programs and put America and our military at greater risk.
In fact, in 2008, the Times even published the name of an interrogator who got Khalid Shaikh Mohammed to talk, against the wishes of the interrogator’s lawyer and the CIA. The interrogator and his family fear for their lives, but that’s okay, because the public has a right to know.
So when Times journalist David Rohde was captured by the Taliban and held for seven months, the Times was going to report that, right? After all, doesn’t the public have a right to know about the threats they may face while traveling in Afghanistan?
As it turns out, the New York Times doesn’t think we do.