In Wednesday’s “Good Feeling Gone, In Congress, Anyway,“ New York Times reporters Jennifer Steinhauer and Carl Hulse suggested it was unseemly for Republicans to not accede to President Obama on domestic issues, after the killing of Osama bin Laden by Navy SEALS in Pakistan.
The article superficially appears to be an even-handed “pox on both houses“ story, but the text provided a tableaux of Democrats fuming over Republican actions or lack of same, as if Republicans had reacted to the unifying national moment of Obama’s capture with stubborn partisan obstruction. Two photo captions demonstrated Democrats seeing a "spirit of unity" dashed by the GOP:
Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader, complained about the “excessive regulation” of business.
Senator Harry Reid, the majority leader, said he hoped a “spirit of unity” would prevail, but there was little sign of it Tuesday.
This morning on WMAL's "Morning Majority" program, former Clinton White House counsel Lanny Davis slammed liberals who were taking partisan pot-shots at former President George W. Bush in the wake of Osama bin Laden's killing on Sunday.
While Davis didn't name names, he made veiled references to MSNBC and its "Last Word" host Lawrence O'Donnell. O'Donnell, you may recall, bashed former President Bush on his Monday evening "Last Word" program, insisting that President Bush had dismissed bin Laden's capture or killing as unimportant to the war on terror as early as 2002.
But Bush's rhetoric downplaying bin Laden was strategic, not to be taken completely at face value Davis argued.
MSNBC's Chris Matthews on Wednesday mocked Rush Limbaugh's response to the killing of Osama bin Laden, deriding the conservative as a "walrus underwater." Matthews also made an odd grunting noise to back up this description.
After playing a clip of Limbaugh asserting that the media have played up Barack Obama's role in the action, the Hardball anchor berated, "You know, I don't even know what that is except just bitterness. I mean- [makes noise] Walrus underwater talking and what is he actually saying?"
Matthews introduced the segment by hitting Limbaugh as a "caricature" and a "cartoon."
According to the man ABC News relies on for religious analysis, it's impossible to say whether Osama bin Laden was "evil." Father Edward Beck, the network's religion correspondent, appeared with Bill O'Reilly on Tuesday and offered moral equivalence on the subject of the terrorist's death.
When the O'Reilly Factor anchor pressed Beck on whether bin Laden truly represented malevolence, Beck replied, "That's not for me to judge. His actions were certainly were evil."
O'Reilly pressed Beck on this point, prompting the ABC News analyst to assert, "No, I think that's up to God to ultimately decide who's evil."
The New York Times quickly moved to quash suggestions that “enhanced interrogation” like waterboarding may have yielded useful intelligence in the killing of Osama bin Laden. Moving to protect the paper’s ideologicalinvestment that such methods are both brutal and ineffective was Wednesday’s front-page defense by Scott Shane and Charlie Savage, “Harsh Methods Of Questioning Debated Again.”
The reporters seems awfully assured, based on vague and contradictory information, in their attempt to discredit the idea that "brutal interrogations" (a phrase at the top of the article's first sentence) and "torture" like waterboarding may have yielded useful intelligence. They also ignored C.I.A. director Leon Panetta's admission to anchor Brian Williams on Tuesday's NBC Nightly News after the anchor asked him if waterboarding helped obtain information that led to bin Laden: "I think some of the detainees clearly were, you know-they used these enhanced interrogation techniques against some of these detainees."
Did brutal interrogations produce the crucial intelligence that led to the killing of Osama bin Laden?
Washington Post art critic Philip Kennicott couldn't bring himself in a Tuesday essay to dwell on the evil of Osama bin Laden. He committed a "single morning of destruction," but he was really so much more fascinating than that. He killed a few thousand people, to be sure. But on the bright side, his actions led to the Kennedy Center's "Arabesque" festival and he was "very good for book clubs" as he "shifted the horizons of our curiosity" into the appreciation of literary stars in Afghanistan, Turkey and Iran.
Kennicott's ending: "To assert order and reclaim the power of the state, Obama had to embody it in a way that recalled the regal precedents on which the American presidency is based. A primitive story line required a primitive ending, one great man taking down another."
A headline in The Washington Post's Wednesday Style section declared: "American Indians object to ‘Geronimo’ as code for bin Laden raid." Writer Neely Tucker goes on to lament: "In a triumphant moment for the United States, the moniker has left a sour taste among many Native Americans."
Tucker explained: "It was his [Geronimo's] name that the U.S. military chose as the code for the raid, and perhaps for Osama bin Laden himself, during the operation that killed the al-Qaeda leader in Pakistan." He later remarked: "It isn’t clear yet which branch of the military came up with the nickname — the Army, Navy, CIA or any of the anti-terror special forces groups involved in planning the raid — but it apparently wasn’t bin Laden’s nickname for very long."
If any American with a patriotic pulse listened to the Mike Malloy radio show, they would have been shocked on Monday night when Malloy outrageously suggested that Navy SEALs should have shot former president George W. Bush, and not Osama bin Laden. (MP3 audio clip here.)
MIKE MALLOY: I have heard some commentators talk about the fact that, all the lives that have been lost in this war on terror, and now the summary execution of the person responsible. But as soon as I heard that, I thought, well, bin Laden really didn't have anything to do -- did he? -- with Iraq. And I think his only relationship with Afghanistan was geographical.
But Iraq -- all the death in Iraq was not caused by bin Laden. The death in Iraq was caused by George W. Bush. Five thousand Americans, tens of thousands permanently damaged and shot to pieces, a million Iraqis dead -- that wasn't bin Laden. That was George Bush. So when does Seal Unit 6, or whatever it's called, drop in on George Bush? Bush was responsible for a lot more death, innocent death, than bin Laden. Wasn't he, or am I wrong here?
ABC's World News on Tuesday continued to demonstrate the network's lack of interest in whether enhanced interrogation methods such as waterboarding played a part in the killing of Osama bin laden. The Diane Sawyer-anchored program was the only newscast to avoid the topic.
In contrast, Nightly News host Brian Williams interviewed CIA director Leon Panetta, grilling, "Can you confirm that it was as a result of waterboarding that we learned what we needed to learn to go after bin Laden?" He hammered the question three times, adding, "...Are you denying that waterboarding was in part among the tactics used to extract the intelligence that led to this successful mission?"
On the CBS Evening News, anchor Katie Couric made similar points to Panetta: "One of President Obama's first acts was to outlaw enhanced interrogation techniques. Now, some of these were used on detainees who provided information that led to bin Laden's whereabouts. Given that, do you think the use of these techniques should, in fact, be re-evaluated?"
Just when the media adulation of Barack Obama might have been showing signs of waning, along comes the killing of Osama Bin Laden to drive it to new sycophantic heights. In the genre, it will be hard to outdo the schoolgirl-crushiness of Margaret Carlson.
On today's Morning Joe, Carlson characterized the operation against Osama Bin Laden as the moment when "Professor Obama turned into General Obama and ran this incredible raid."
When word emerged Sunday night that President Obama would be making remarks from the White House at 10:30 pm, viewers knew it must be important. When it began to leak that America had finally found and killed Osama bin Laden, there was joy from sea to shining sea.
The nagging pain that this radical Islamic assassin had never received American justice was finally relieved. Crowds gathered in front of the White House and at Ground Zero to chant joyously “USA! USA!” But for most, it wasn’t jubilation. It was the silent fist pump, and a silent prayer of thanksgiving for the safety of our extraordinary military. And a thanks to this president for his leadership in bringing justice to that monster.
Unfortunately, while the president spoke for the whole country in remembering the pain of 9/11, his remarks left a gaping hole. He made no generous bow to all the efforts of his predecessor George W. Bush as well as his team. My one regret is that Bush 43 didn't get this scalp. He deserved it more than anyone.
It defies explanation for a major network to avoid performing a background check on the individuals they interview for their segments. MSNBC however, has done it not once, but twice, in a single article.
In a piece published earlier today by reporter, Kari Huus, two individuals with questionable ties are interviewed in an attempt to show that Muslim-Americans are indeed celebrating bin Laden’s death. While there are plenty of spotlights placed on the backlash against Muslims, requisite accusations of Islamophobia, and even a mention of a ‘war on ignorance’, the report mentions nothing of the questionable backgrounds of Mohamed Magid and Yasir Qadhi.
Magid, president of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), states that “Bin Laden was not a Muslim leader; he was a mass murderer of Muslims.” And speaking of mass murderers, the ISNA in 2008 admitted in a federal district court in Dallas to holding ties with Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood. Magid goes on to say that, “(Bin Laden’s) demise should be welcomed by all who believe in peace and human dignity.” This has to create quite the contradiction for Magid, considering the Muslim Brotherhood has recently taken the opposite route, condemning the killing of bin Laden.
On Monday and Tuesday, NPR played up how Osama Bin Laden's death might translate into a political win for President Obama. Mara Liasson trumpeted the "huge victory" for the President and spotlighted a scholar who gushed how Obama now looked "strong and competent and decisive." Cokie Roberts boasted how the military operation was a "score" for the Democrat and that it was a "game changer politically."
At the beginning of her report which lead Tuesday's Morning Edition, Liasson gushed that "every president benefits from moments of national unity, but none so much as Barack Obama, who ran for office promising to bridge partisan divides." Later, the journalist noted that, with the raid against Bin Laden, "he [Obama] made good on his repeated promise to act unilaterally if he had actionable intelligence."
On Tuesday's Hardball, while praising President Obama's handling of the killing of Osama bin Laden, MSNBC's Chris Matthews excoriated Dick Cheney as a "sadist."
Former Newsweek editor Howard Fineman contrasted the Bush/Cheney administration's dropping of bombs in Iraq with Obama's actions. Matthews responded by mocking, "There's a difference between being cold blooded- I think presidents have to be cold blooded- and being a sadist."
As if his point wasn't clear, the liberal anchor interrupted Fineman to add, " I was referring to Cheney, of course."
Tuesday’s lead New York Times editorial thumped President Obama on the back for the targeted killing of Osama bin Laden, calling the president “a strong and measured leader.” In contrast, the two mentions of President Bush, who pursued Bin Laden aggressively, were both negative. The editors also tried to shoo away the pesky fact that the tip that led to Osama bin Laden’s killing came from a detainee at Guantanamo Bay, the island prison the paper has worked so hard to close down over the years, contradicting its own reporting in the process.
Leadership matters enormously, and President Obama has shown that he is a strong and measured leader. His declaration on Sunday night that “justice has been done” was devoid of triumphalism. His vow that the country will “remain vigilant at home and abroad” was an important reminder that the danger has not passed. His affirmation that the “United States is not and never will be at war with Islam” sent an essential message to the Muslim world, where hopes for democracy are rising but old hatreds, and leaders who exploit them, are still powerful.
Mr. Obama rightly affirmed that this country will be “relentless in defense of our citizens and our friends and allies” — but “true to the values that make us who we are.” Maintaining that balance is never easy, and this administration has strayed, but not as often or as damagingly as the Bush team did. Much will be made of the fact that the original tip came from detainees at the prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. There is no evidence that good intelligence like this was the result of secret detentions or abuse and torture. Everything suggests the opposite.
America should consider gathering important national security information by giving terrorists book deals, or paying them off, says the liberal Joy Behar. The HLN host offered her bizarre expertise on foreign intelligence Tuesday morning on ABC's The View.
"If we use these enhanced techniques, then they [the terrorists] can use them on us," Behar said of "enhanced interrogation techniques," which include the practice of "waterboarding" and are used by the U.S. military to extract information from prisoners. The panel was discussing whether America should be using the interrogation program to gather intelligence, if indeed it does produce valuable information.
Washington Post columnist Petula Dvorak may have pulled her punches, calling Sunday night's spontaneous celebrations of bin Laden's demise "almost vulgar," but her colleague Susan Jacoby thoroughly trashed such displays as "mindless" in her "Spirited Atheist" column yesterday at the Post/Newsweek "On Faith" site:
If you had to guess what narcissistic Hollywood leftists would say in the immediate aftermath of Osama Bin Laden's death, what would it be? Would you think about the "mother lode" of intelligence that was to be had from taking down the world's most wanted terrorist? Would you think of all the terrorist plots that have been thwarted since 9/11? Would you think of the national catharsis that would occur for every single person who remembers exactly where they were and what they were doing when the Towers were hit?
Of course not. Because the first thing that happens when you think the world revolves you is to start applying similar logic elsewhere. Exhibit A: Michael Moore (or was that Exhibit XXL?) Regardless, in less time than it takes a man to scarf down a Quarter Pounder with Cheese, Michael Moore was demonstrating just how clueless the hard left is when it comes to world-wide terrorism:
The New York Times's supposedly momentous decision to omit "Mr." from references to Osama bin Laden in its Monday obituary is apparently working to distract critics from the item's other problems.
Along with Michael T. Kaufman, Kate Zernike, whose primary vocation seems to be finding racism in the Tea Party movement where none exists and otherwise smearing its participants, comes off as almost critical of how bin Laden was "elevated to the realm of evil in the American imagination once reserved for dictators like Hitler and Stalin."
Imagination ("the faculty ... of forming mental images or concepts of what is not actually present to the senses")? Babe, I don't know about you, but we didn't imagine September 11. We saw it. Others directly experienced it. Many died. Do you remember?
The obit's topper for me is the (in my opinion) deliberate historical revisionism in the following passage (bolds are mine throughout this post):
In the wake of the killing of Osama bin Laden, ABC has shown very little interest in whether enhanced interrogation, such as waterboarding, led to the terrorist's ultimate demise. NBC, however, dealt with the subject in an in-depth manner and CBS at least mentioned it.
While interviewing former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Good Morning America's George Stephanopoulos on Tuesday never broached waterboarding. In contrast, Matt Lauer on NBC's Today talked to Rice and wondered, "These enhanced interrogation techniques. Some former administration officials are now connecting the dots between those techniques and the information that led to the killing of Osama bin Laden. Do you feel the dots can be connected?"
On the same program, reporter Jim Miklaszewski asserted, "U.S. officials tell NBC News that 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed while in CIA custody provided key information regarding a courier close to bin Laden, intelligence sometimes obtained through aggressive interrogation techniques like water boarding."
On NBC's Nightly News on Monday, chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel used a report on the history of the war on terror to attack the Bush administration for going to war in Iraq: "...when civil war in Iraq broke out, American troops were stuck....it was a distraction from the United States' original mission to find Bin Laden, stop Al Qaeda, and prevent another 9/11."[Audio available here]
Engel began his report by describing the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan following the September 11th attacks, but soon shifted into commentary as he mockingly proclaimed: "...regime change in Afghanistan, done with few troops and high technology, seemed so easy. The Bush White House tried it again in Iraq." He further ranted: "Afghanistan and Iraq were lumped together in what was called a 'global war on terrorism.' The truth was, there was never a connection between Iraq and Osama Bin Laden. There were no weapons of mass destruction, either."
Sunday was an historic day for America, an historic victory in the War on Terror - Usama Bin Laden, the man who had ordered the death of over 3,000 Americans on 9/11, had finally been killed. It was also an historic revelation that, conducting the war according to far-left liberal policies would have prevented this day from ever happening.
Chris Matthews' obsession with birthers didn't take a break on the day after the killing of Osama bin Laden. Only 43 seconds into Monday's show on the terrorist, the Hardball anchor connected, "Barack Obama. The cool hand directs the operation step by step. All this time, the crazies were talking birth certificates, he was working."
Politicizing the death of the man who murdered 3000 people, Matthews berated, "Will this make the Republicans look for someone who can do what Obama can do? Or will they keep on celebrating the clown show?"
The liberal cable host jeered, "Will they stop enjoying their passion and go from cheering their buffoon parade to finding a real pick to put up against a proven master and commander?"
In his May 2 Swampland blog post "Osama Gone, and Now...", Time's Joe Klein makes some arguably contradictory assertions in his thoughts on the role former President Bush played in ultimately finding and killing Osama bin Laden:
Update (17:38 EDT on May 4): Rush Limbaugh mentioned this post on his May 3 program. You can listen to that by clicking here.
Well, this should be interesting.
The AP is reporting (preserved here in case the report devolves, as such things very often do) that "secret prisons" and "harsh interrogation techniques" were involved in getting the "first strands of information" that ultimately led to Sunday operation which killed 9/11 mastermind Osama Bin Laden.
It's only a three-paragrapher, so it follows in full (for fair use and discussion purposes). Get a load of the final paragraph:
The day after terrorist Osama bin Laden was killed in a U.S. military action, Good Morning America brought on consultant Richard Clarke to downplay the death as a "propaganda victory" that will "make us feel good," but won't "mean much" for U.S. security."
GMA co-anchor George Stephanopoulos on Monday interviewed Clarke, who worked for both Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. After Stephanopoulos prompted him to talk about how "personally gratifying" the terrorist's death must be, Clarke cautioned, "But, I think we have to put the emotion aside and think about what it actually means for American security. And it doesn't mean that much for American security. "
He continued, "And it doesn't mean that much for American security. It makes us feel good...There's a propaganda victory. But the organization, the network of organizations that he spawned is out there. And many of them are still quite healthy."