Sunday's "NBC Nightly News" featured retired General Barry McCaffrey, NBC News military analyst and "one-time war critic," as he voiced his "surprising new assessment" that conditions in Iraq have improved "dramatically" since the surge. McCaffrey, former Drug Czar of the Clinton administration, remarked: "A year ago, I thought the thing was going over the edge of a cliff. That has changed dramatically in a very short period of time."
Anchor Lester Holt played up McCaffrey's history of being a war critic as he teased the December 23 show: "Reality Check: New progress in Iraq, and a surprising new assessment from a four-star general and one-time war critic, just back from Baghdad." (Transcript follows)
A September 12 NewsBusters' item, NYT Misreports Biden-Obama Exchange, detailed a reporting error in the New York Times' coverage of testimony delivered the previous day to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee by General David Petraeus and Iraq Ambassador Ryan Crocker. The news story reported an exchange between Senator Joseph Biden (D-DE) and Senator Barack Obama (D-IL), both Democratic presidential candidates:
The senators were allowed only seven minutes each for questions, a limit that Mr. Biden, as a committee chairman, tried to enforce. But he did not try overly hard to cut off Mr. Obama, perhaps because he did not want to be seen in the ungentlemanly act of silencing a political rival. “Why don’t you try to summarize quickly what you said, O.K.?” Mr. Biden genially asked him as his time ran out.
Bill Maher gave an unsatirizable interview on Tuesday evening’s "The Situation Room" on CNN, spending a large portion of his ten-minute interview attacking, among others, General David Petraeus, Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker, and Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki, labeling them "stooges" for President Bush. When host Wolf Blitzer asked about the recent congressional testimony of the general and the ambassador, Maher parroted the MoveOn.org line. "Well, it was a White House-written report. We know that. Bush has an interesting little scam going. He also quoted in his speech on Thursday night, Maliki. And he said basically that the Iraqi leadership is asking us to stay. So, in other words, he puts words into his stooges' mouths, and then, he quotes them."
See Update at foot with list of Petraeus press appearances.
The gravest charge you can level at a military man, as MoveOn.org essentially did to Gen. Petraeus with its infamous "General Betray Us" ad, is to call him a traitor.
But close behind in the catalog of calumny is to call a soldier a coward. And that's effectively what Frank Rich did in his [p.p.v.] New York Times column of today.
Writes Rich [emphasis added]:
General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker could grab an hour of prime television time only by slinking into the safe foxhole of Fox News, where Brit Hume chaperoned them on a gloomy, bunkerlike set before an audience of merely 1.5 million true believers.