On Wednesday’s Countdown show, responding to conservatives who wanted President Obama to give more credit to President Bush for apparent successes in Iraq, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann sarcastically thanked the former President and charged that the war in Iraq was Bush’s "false war." He went on to claim that, "The neocons lied about Iraq to get us in there."
Guest Jeremy Scahill of the left-wing "The Nation" magazine joined in slamming President Bush and "neocons" for the Iraq war, claimed the troop surge did not play a significant role in stabilizing the country, and ended up asserting that Bush administration members who supported the invasion "shouldn't be able to leave their houses without being confronted with the death and destruction that their lies caused."
And, even though various news outlets reported on the presence of al-Qaeda in Iraq leader Abu Musab Zarqawi in the country years before the 2003 invasion, Scahill claimed that "it was the Bush administration's policy in Iraq that created an al-Qaeda presence in that country."
But, as previously documented by NewsBusters, back in January 2003 and again in March 2004, the NBC Nightly News relayed claims that the Bush administration had "passed up several opportunities to take [Zarqawi] out well before the Iraq war began."
He may be playing hide-and-seek from drone missiles in the caves of Yemen, but Al Qaeda cleric Anwar Al-Awlaki is still attempting to poison the minds of young Muslim Americans through the use of YouTube and other social media.
The extent of Al-Awlaki's reach on the internet is outlined in a new report released by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) on Aug. 28. The report describes the millions of views garnered by Al-Awlaki's YouTube video clips and the online networking of his rabid fan base.
A former imam at the Dar al-Hijrah mosque in Virginia, the American-born Al-Awlaki has increasingly been using social media as a recruiting method for would-be jihadists, leading terrorist watchers to dub him the "[Osama] bin Laden of the internet" and the "sheikh of YouTube." Al-Awlaki has been tied to the Sept. 11 hijackers, the Christmas Day bomber and the Fort Hood shooter. This past spring, President Obama ordered that the cleric be killed on sight, but the American Civil Liberties Union filed suit on Aug. 30 to prevent the military from targeting the U.S. citizen without a trial.
According to MEMRI, after Al-Awlaki's personal website was shuttered in 2009, YouTube became the "largest clearinghouse of his online videos."
NBC's Richard Engel has done some good reporting from Iraq. But scratch the reporter's surface, and you find a political partisan eager to echo the anti-Bush party line. Witness his exchange with Ari Fleischer on Morning Joe today. Engel twisted the former Bush press secretary's words, accusing him of alleging an Osama Bin Laden connection with Iraq. Fleischer had palpably said no such thing.
The springboard was Fleischer's citation of a 1998 OBL interview in which the terrorist boss said America was weak because it is unable to see through long wars. Fleischer went on to argue that America's resolve will be tested should things go badly wrong in Iraq or Afghanistan, thus putting under pressure the arbitrary dates that have been set for US withdrawal from those countries.
Engel jumped in to accuse Fleischer of claiming an OBL tie with Iraq. Even after Fleischer made explicitly clear he was alleging no such connection, Engel obdurately pressed his point.
"Imagine if somebody were to really sit down with Osama bin Ladin and say, 'Listen man, what is it that you're so angry at me about that you're willing to have people strap bombs to themselves, or get inside of airplanes and fly them into buildings?'"
So said actor Matthew Modine in an interview published at CNN.com Monday.
"That would be the miracle if we can get, sit down and talk to our enemies and have a fine way for them to hear us" (video embedded below the fold with partial transcript and commentary, h/t Hot Air):
[Update, 2:34 pm Eastern: Audio and video clips from the report posted.]
Despite the change in administration, CNN’s Michael Ware, who regularly issued doom-and-gloom reports on Iraq in past years, bluntly stated during a report on Thursday’s Anderson Cooper 360 that “America cannot win the war in Afghanistan...with bombs and bullets,” and offered that the only solution to the attacks on NATO troops was “cutting deals” with the Taliban and its leader, Mullah Omar.
Ware made this impolitic remark from the middle of the thoroughly Islamist border region between Afghanistan and Pakistan. The correspondent presented clips with interviews with Pakistani military and intelligence officials, and advanced the notion that Pakistan could serve as a mediator in such “deals” with the al Qaeda ally [audio clips from the report available here].
After giving a dramatic description of the region he had traveled to, Ware delivered his personal assessment of the Afghan campaign:
WARE: To put it simply, America cannot win the war in Afghanistan. It certainly can’t win it with bombs and bullets, and it can’t win it in Afghanistan alone. But part of the answer lies here, where I’m standing, in these mountain valleys in Pakistan on the Afghan border, because this is al Qaeda and Taliban territory. Right now, there’s as many as 100 Taliban on that mountaintop between the snowcapped peaks and amid those trees. They’re currently under siege from local villagers, who are driving them from their bunkers. But at the end of the day, it’s the Pakistani military who tolerates the presence of groups like the Taliban, and it’s not until America can start cutting deals with these people that there’s any hope of the attacks on American troops coming to an end.
Message: Obama cares about Muslims. And he's got Osama bin Laden on the run by wisely fighting the war not militarily, but ideologically, unlike George Bush.
That's the bottom-line finding in Rod Nordland's piece from Baghdad for the New York Times Sunday Week in Review story on Obama's speech to Muslims in Cairo, "Forceful Words and Fateful Realities." Nordland, a longtime Newsweek foreign correspondent, portrayed Osama bin Laden's taped rebuttal as a sign of his weakness.
Barack Obama's speech in Cairo last Thursday was "soft spoken and eloquent," said Moqtada al-Sadr, the radical Iraqi cleric, grudgingly, since he also said he despised it. It was a speech that meant different things to different people, a quality that has been much noted in this president. He supported Israel, but reached out to the Muslim world in an unprecedented way. Some friends were troubled, others reassured. Some of America's enemies denounced it, but none dismissed it. Not even the arch-enemies at whom, in some important way, the speech was directed.
In his Best of the Web Today column at the Wall Street Journal editorial page site on Wednesday, James Taranto noticed how Reuters had two very different takes on how Osama bin Laden attacks American presidents. He attacks Obama to protest his persuasive skills, while Bush is easily cartooned as a belligerent cowboy:
"A double blast from al Qaeda against Barack Obama shows the group is as worried as ever by the persuasive skills of the U.S. president, who makes a speech to Muslims on Thursday," Reuters "reports" from London:
Now that America has a liberal President, it is apparently no longer acceptable for a private citizen to express disagreement with the White House in Keith Olbermann’s world. On Thursday’s Countdown show, MSNBC host Olbermann delivered his latest "Special Comment" rant, this time calling for former Vice President Cheney to "leave this country," and made a suggestion that Cheney, who recently criticized President Obama’s plans for handling counterterrorism, should somehow be "made to desist" from such criticism. Olbermann: "You, Mr. Cheney, you terrified more Americans than did any terrorist in the last seven years, and now it is time for you to desist, or to be made to desist."
The Countdown host, who never showed any concern that his tirades against the Bush administration would "undermine" the war on terrorism, accused Cheney of "trying to sabotage" Obama’s "efforts against terrorism," and made a number of vulgar implications in attacking Cheney – including twice pronouncing the former Vice President’s first name with emphasis as if to call him by a vulgar word; saying that he would tell Cheney to "shove it"; and asking which "orifice" Cheney was pulling numbers from about the recidivism rate of former Guantanamo detainees.
How is it that in this time of historic change and euphoria, the media can remain so pessimistic?
The messiah has been elected, ACORN and Democratic Secretary of State Mark Ritchie are stealing an election in Minnesota, conservatives are going to be silenced via the Fair-Less Doctrine, and gay marriage activists are assaulting the elderly. It is a time of hope and optimism in this, our liberal country.
So, why so negative?
The answer of course is, certain news might be perceived as a positive point in the waning days of the Bush Administration.
Let's take a break from the tedious MSM spin on the latest polls, and settle back and enjoy the televised spectacle of two people who patently dislike each other going at it on live national TV.
Former UN Ambassador/current Obama backer Richard Holbrooke was a guest on today's Morning Joe. Observing Holbrooke over the years, he's struck me as someone with, shall we say, a deep and abiding appreciation for his own acumen and importance.
Holbrooke and host Joe Scarborough repeatedly clashed over a host of issues from Biden's latest gaffe to Osama Bin Laden. But beyond the substance, it was the unvarnished animosity between the two that makes this must-see TV.
Since Friday’s presidential debate, all three major broadcast networks have highlighted one of Barack Obama’s more commanding moments when he charged that John McCain was wrong in some of his pre-Iraq war predictions, but the media have so far ignored Obama’s incorrect assertion that "there was no Al-Qaeda" presence in Iraq before America’s invasion in 2003. Before the 2003 invasion, various news sources – some American, some from other countries – were already citing the governments of various countries as they reported that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the former leader of Al-Qaeda in Iraq, not only was already in Iraq plotting attacks to be carried out in Europe, but that he already had an association with Osama bin Laden and had spent time in Afghanistan. But during Friday’s debate, Senator Obama asserted: "Now, keep in mind that we have four times the number of troops in Iraq, where nobody had anything to do with 9/11 before we went in, where, in fact, there was no Al-Qaeda before we went in, but we have four times more troops there than we do in Afghanistan."
By contrast, ABC, CBS, and NBC have all played the following soundbite of Obama from the debate which is more favorable to the Illinois Democrat: "John, you like to pretend like the war started in 2007. You talk about the surge. The war started in 2003. And, at the time, when the war started, you said it was going to be quick and easy, you said we knew where the weapons of mass destruction were. You were wrong. You said that we were going to be greeted as liberators. You were wrong. You said that there was no history of violence between Shia and Sunni. And you were wrong."
Notably, back in January 2003 and again in March 2004, the NBC Nightly News relayed claims that the Bush administration had "passed up several opportunities to take [Zarqawi] out well before the Iraq war began." The below was first posted on February 29 of this year, and lists some of the relevant reporting on Zarqawi from various sources and countries:
Look for Mika Brzezinski outside the Danish embassy. True, the Danes had nothing to do with the New Yorker's publication of the Obama cover. But what more time-honored locale to protest an irreverent cartoon of a figure adulated with religious fervor?
Mika has condemned the New Yorker cover as "dangerous." Why dangerous? Mika doesn't quite say. But by darkly musing about unspoken perils that derive from the mocking of Obama, she would apparently place irony about her candidate off limits. Mika sounded the alarm on today's Morning Joe.
Why would the New York Times divulge information that could prove harmful to the national security of the United States? Because, so consumed is it by hatred of President Bush, that the paper actually wants America to lose. Such is the considered opinion Jim Pinkerton expressed on yesterday's Fox News Watch. The case in point was an article the Times published on June 30, 2008, Amid U.S. Policy Disputes, Qaeda Grows in Pakistan, which quoted from a "highly-classified Pentagon order" describing internal disputes at the Pentagon over plans to capture Osama Bin Laden and defeat al Qaeda.
JIM PINKERTON: We endanger national security when you leak sources and methods. For example, the story that Cal [Thomas] alluded to before, about the wiretaps across the world.
JANE HALL: That's a different deal.
PINKERTON: OK. I think—just a hunch—that the New York Times hates the Bush administration so much that they want us to lose, that's what I think.
When Georgia Republicans ran an ad against former Senator Max Cleland, which included a photograph of Osama bin Laden, attacking the Democratic Senator's numerous votes to apply labor union rules to the Homeland Security Department, liberals were outraged as they claimed the ad was an attack on the "patriotism" of war hero Cleland. MSNBC host Keith Olbermann expressed outrage by mentioning the attack on Cleland several times in the last few years as he claimed that Cleland was "cut down," "sandbagged," "blindsided," "cheap shotted," "mugged," "hamstrung," and subjected to a "hatchet job," in part because of the inclusion of the bin Laden photograph.
But Olbermann himself recently employed a photograph of Osama bin Laden as he teased a story contending that "John McCain's top guy [Phil Gramm] on the economy made it easier for bin Laden," and charging that Gramm was "on the side of the terrorists' bankers before and after 9/11." The MSNBC host has also accused McCain of "betraying" U.S. troops, and has suggested that McCain does not "understand [the] risk and sacrifice" of U.S. troops serving in Iraq, and that he has "abandoned" them. He even went so far as to suggest that McCain has ulterior motives for supporting an extended U.S. presence in Iraq because he supports "war-profiteering" by U.S. firms who would benefit. And Olbermann once mocked McCain as "awol" during as Senate vote because he was at a fund-raiser "supporting himself instead of the troops." (Transcripts follow)
In a movie role miscasting that would be akin to picking Michael Moore to portray George W. Bush, a new flick that is starting production soon will feature an unlikely actor as the president of the United States of America. Leftist activist, and virulent anti-American Danny Glover has been tapped to star as a U.S. president that will be confronted with a "global cataclysm" in the film "2012."
There's a "cataclysm" alright. That such a U.S. hater would be picked to star as the occupant of the White House is as big a disaster as can be imagined. It is just amazing how Hollywood likes to stick their fingers in the eyes of the American public. Of all the actors in LaLaLand that they could pick to take the role of POTUS, they have to pick Glover, one of the worst anti-Americans in the business. And in a business over flowing with folks with anti-American ideas, that is really saying something.
At the close of her interview on CNN’s "Larry King Live" on Monday evening, host Larry King asked ABC’s Barbara Walters "Have you had a major disappointing interview?... Someone you had looked forward to, didn't work out right." Walters named a few notables, and gave the following anecdote: "I have said, I'm very mellow. I'm not auditioning anymore. I'm not out to get the great get. And then one reporter said to me, and what if Osama bin Laden called? I said I'll pack." King, in agreement, replied, "You’re not kidding. Who wouldn't?" So, these two media celebrities would jump at the opportunity to interview the terrorist guru, despite any possible propaganda coup that may result, thus putting the advancement of their career over the national interest.
Almost immediately before this, a viewer asked Walters, "I was just wondering, who's your candidate for president this year?" Walters responded, "Well, you see, part of being in the news department, because I'm part of ABC News, is we do not give opinions. I don't mind writing in the book about my own life, but I don't give my opinions about political candidates." Walters must have forgotten about her colleague at ABC, David Wright, who is a well-known Obama cheerleader, as well as her own endorsement of Al Gore’s "An Inconvenient Truth" and Michael Moore’s "Sicko."
While it is currently conventional wisdom in the media that there was no Al-Qaeda presence in Iraq before the 2003 invasion, as evidenced by the media's failure to correct Barack Obama's recent claim that "there was no such thing as Al-Qaeda in Iraq until George Bush and John McCain decided to invade Iraq," for several years dating back before the Iraq invasion, there have been media reports of former Al-Qaeda in Iraq leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's connections to Osama bin Laden, and his use of Iraq as a base to plot terror attacks against other countries before the war. In fact, four years ago, the NBC Nightly News claimed not only that there was an Al-Qaeda presence in Iraq before the invasion, busy plotting attacks against Europe, but that the Bush administration intentionally "passed up several opportunities" to attack terrorist bases in Iraq "long before the war" in 2002 because of fear it would "undercut its case" for overthrowing Saddam Hussein. (Transcripts follow)
What is it about liberal reporters that they can deliver slanted pieces about conservatives time and time again but when it comes to a mass-murdering terrorist they feel compelled to give the other side? On Tuesday's "Today" show, NBC's Ned Colt decided he needed to balance out the views of Osama Bin Laden, as he rhetorically asked about the al Qaeda leader: "Murderous fanatic or hero of radical Islam?" Colt even went on to relay a soundbite from the editor of Al-Quds who painted Bin Laden as the "little David" with the U.S. playing the role of "the mighty Goliath."
The following is Colt's set-up piece and the full interview as they occurred on the January 22, "Today" show:
MATT LAUER: He is the most wanted man in the world, Osama Bin Laden. The al Qaeda leader has been on the run for years now but his son Omar is speaking out. The 26-year-old says he wants to bring peace to the world. We'll talk to him in a moment but first NBC's Ned Colt on public enemy #1.
ABC correspondent Nick Watt conducted a softball interview with the son of terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden on Tuesday's "Good Morning America" and he credulously repeated Omar bin Laden's goals of being an "ambassador for peace." Host Diane Sawyer called the idea a "very curious proposal," while Watt announced that the younger bin Laden "wants to meet with President George W. Bush" and labeled the idea "astounding."
Watt expressed no skepticism over the proposed meeting. This, despite the fact that bin Laden lauded his father, responsible for countless thousands of deaths, as a "very kind man" and stated that he would not turn his dad over to American authorities, were he to know the location. Apparently, it didn't occur to Watt that this might not be the kind of person who would be best qualified to be an ambassador for peace or someone that President Bush would meet with. However, the GMA correspondent did find time to notice bin Laden's "glamorous, English wife."
Journalists are responsible for presenting the news of the day to ordinary citizens. Their requirements include objectivity and analysis. However, they are also expected to understand the difference between a mass-murderer who espouses a form of global slavery and an elected leader of the freest country on Earth. Unfortunately, it appears that Ryan Yeomans, of the Central Connecticut State University does not have that understanding. Writing today in the opinion pages of The Recorder, Central Connecticut State's college newspaper, Yeomans states,
Even more curiously, having retrieved the original guide on 11SEP2007, watched it disappear on 12SEP2007 (page not found) to reappear as a sanitised single page version, it now seems today that the 11SEP2007 guide version is back online (compare with versions retrieved from Google's cache at Biased BBC) - or is it still not fully purged from your systems (even though the timestamps have been updated to say 12SEP2007)? What gives?
In analyzing the video, Neal Krawetz of Hactor Factor, an expert on digital image forensics, said in his latest blogs that the video contained many visual and audio splices, and that all of the modifications were of very low quality.
Most striking is bin Laden’s beard, which has been gray in recent images. For this video it is black. “As far as my tools can detect, there has been no image manipulation of the bin Laden portion of the image beyond contrast adjustment. His beard really does appear to be that color.”
If you're the Boston Globe, there's no day like 9-11 to suggest negotiating with terrorists. For that's what the Globe appears to propose in its editorial of this morning, "Toughness after Sept. 11."
The gist is that in response to 9-11, President Bush's "aggressive foreign policy" and his "version of toughness" have had "tragic and unpredictable consequences," including "tens of thousands of civilians dead" in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the trampling of civil liberties at home.
So what does the Globe propose as the alternative to toughness? The editorial approvingly notes that "Churchill sought rapprochement with the Soviet Union following Stalin's death in 1953. Reagan realized he could negotiate with the Soviet Union after Mikhail Gorbachev came to power."
DailyKos.com, the Left's most popular website and a key source of fund-raising for Democrats from coast to coast, says Osama bin Laden and Ronald Reagan have a lot in common:
So is Osama bin Laden truly "evil?" Most people who lost family members at the World Trade Center on 9/11/2001 would probably consider him to be evil. Was President Ronald Reagan evil? Most residents of Beirut who lost family members when the USS New Jersey rained 2,700 pound Mark 7 shells on residential neighborhoods in 1983 during the Lebanese Civil War probably considered Reagan to have been evil. Bottom line? Bin Laden is no more evil than other revolutionary leaders in other times or even than ordinary national leaders who propel their countries to war for "national honor," or to acquire the resources of others, or even to "do good."
To translate Kos-speak: Osama bin Laden isn't a terrorist, he's a freedom fighter. And Reagan wasn't a freedom fighter - he was a terrorist.
"Osama Bin Laden’s widely publicized video address to the American people has a peculiarity that casts serious doubt on its authenticity: the video freezes at about 1 minute and 36 seconds, and motion only resumes again at 12:30. The video then freezes again at 14:02 remains frozen until the end. All references to current events, such as the 62nd anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombing of Japan, and Sarkozy and Brown being the leaders of France and the UK, respectively, occur when the video is frozen! The words spoken when the video is in motion contain no references to contemporary events and could have been (and likely were) made before the U.S. invasion of Iraq."
You better put down your drinks, and make sure there's nothing in your mouths, for the New York Times's David Brooks made a comment on Friday's News Hour that is guaranteed to evoke uncontrollable fits of laughter from those on the right side of the aisle.
*****Updates at end of post include similar opinions from conservative bloggers, as well as a video of a CNN correspondent saying roughly the same thing, and a response from the Kos Kidz.
After introducing regular guests Brooks and Mark Shields, host Jim Lehrer asked their opinions concerning the just-released Osama bin Laden video.
Brooks was second up with this absolutely marvelous observation (final warning to put down your drinks, video available here):
“Artist/Activist” Mos Def, a hip-hop musician and actor, matched Rosie O'Donnell Friday night on HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher in espousing a bizarre 9/11 theory which absolves Osama bin Laden as he also characterized George Washington and the Catholic church as “terrorists,” maintained that terrorists have legitimate grievances and trashed America as the threat to the world. [Be warned, this posting includes numerous profanities in accurate quotations.] Def contended that “George Washington and all them dudes was terrorists as far as the Queen was concerned,” charged that “the Catholic church's stance about child molestation is a form of terrorism in and of itself” and when asked by Maher if bin Laden was behind destroying the World Trade Center, declared “absolutely not.” Def asserted that “highly-educated people in all areas of science have spoken on the fishiness around the whole 9/11 theory.”
A few minutes later, Def defended terrorism as a response to America's misdeeds: “Let's deal with the fact that there are valid reasons even to a lot of terrorists' arguments, quote unquote, terrorists' arguments about why are they frustrated with colonial presence, imperial presence. The way that this government has pursued its foreign interests has been meddlesome, murderously meddlesome.” Directing his ire at President Bush, Def asserted that “this administration and this government has sought to suppress everyone and no one has sought to suppress America in quite the same way,” yet the U.S. goes “to these places and fucking kill[s] people.”
In what he no doubt considered cutting edge humor, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann on Friday night contended that Sean Hannity, just like Osama bin Laden, “rants without making a specific threat or point,” and MRC President/NewsBusters Publisher Brent Bozell, also just like bin Laden, “makes vague threats, is cranky and has a bad dye job on his beard.”
“So he's Sean Hannity?” Olbermann asked rhetorically immediately after he teased Countdown by describing how in the new Osama bin Laden video “he criticizes congressional Democrats and just rants without making a specific threat or point.” As Olbermann uttered Hannity's name, MSNBC inserted a picture of Hannity over the image of bin Laden in the new video. A half hour later, with “Finding Bin Laden” on screen under the bin Laden image, Olbermann plugged the upcoming segment by comparing the physical appearance and attitude of the terrorist with Bozell: “And he criticizes the Democrats, makes vague threats, is cranky and has a bad dye job on his beard. Brent Bozell? No, there's another Osama bin Laden tape. Wasn't the President going to catch him dead or alive six years ago?” Bozell has a beard, but it's not dyed.
In an ABC News Special Report shortly before 3:30pm EDT, Brian Ross revealed that in a new video, Osama bin Laden “even refers to a broadcast on ABC News on an American soldier in Iraq complaining about the war.” Anchor Elizabeth Vargas explained: “Seems to be referring to that particular story that was run on July 16th of this summer by our Nick Watt in Baghdad.” An ABCNews.com posting quoted bin Laden:
“It would benefit you to listen to the poignant messages of your soldiers in Iraq, who are paying -- with their blood, nerves and scattered limbs....Among them is the eloquent message of Joshua which he sent by way of the media, in which he wipes the tears from his eyes and describes American politicians in harsh terms and invites them to join him there for a few days.”
The Tuesday, July 17 edition of the MRC's CyberAlert recounted how “ABC's World News on Monday night featured video of what was described as 'great candor' from 'bitter' soldiers in Iraq, one of whom demanded: 'I challenge the President or whoever has us here for 15 months to ride alongside me.'”
[UPDATE, 7:35pm EDT: On Friday's World News, Ross again noted how bin Laden cited the complaining soldier in ABC's story, and Ross added: “Perhaps, says bin Laden, his message 'will find in you an attentive ear so you can rescue him' and others in Iraq."