Following President Obama's Wednesday afternoon press conference, NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams continued his longtime obsession with the liberal fantasy film The American President and his eagerness to compare Obama to Michael Douglas's fictional presidential character: "...the President today almost conjuring the wording of Aaron Sorkin from the movie American President, as will be pointed out all day, really decided to throw down." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Referring to Obama's indignation at critics of U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice, who made false statements about the terrorist attack in Libya, chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell gushed: "This was President Andrew Shepherd really coming through in the East Room of the White House. Because this was President Obama saying, 'If you want to pick a fight with my U.N. ambassador, and blame her for something that was not her responsibility on Benghazi, then you come after me'....It was dramatic. He is angry."
Charlie Rose and Norah O'Donnell took turns hammering Senator John McCain on Wednesday's CBS This Morning over his promise to block any potential nomination of Susan Rice to be secretary of state. Rose grilled McCain after the Republican slammed Rice for blaming a "spontaneous" mob for the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi: "Didn't Susan Rice say that...all the information was not in, and she did not know everything there was to be known....what should she have said, based on what she knew at the moment?"
O'Donnell also tried to shift blame away from Ambassador Rice to a "failure with the intelligence coming out of the CIA." She later pointed a finger at former CIA Director David Petraeus and current Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. When the Arizona senator confirmed that Petraeus and Clinton deserved scrutiny, Rose interjected, "But why not wait for them before you make a judgment about Susan Rice?" [audio available here; video below the jump]
Suddenly discovering something that anyone with eyes could see before the election, Josh Gerstein at Politico tells us that "Obama's foreign policy team hits turbulence."
Please. For over a week after September 11, the administration was pretending that a video which wasn't relevant at all caused protests which never occurred were what supposedly led to the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya which killed four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens. We had different people in the administration taking blame (but not really), and learned that but for the heroics of two of the men who died, dozens of others might have perished. But only now is Gerstein discovering "turbulence." Read on for a narrative which would be funny if it were not so sadly symptomatic of a see-no-evil press corps:
Americans of all political stripes were distressed by the September 11 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, that killed four Americans, including the U.S. Ambassador. But the reaction of the national broadcast networks has been demonstrably and shamefully partisan from the beginning of this story.
In the immediate aftermath of the terrorist attack, all three broadcast networks touted the political angle that the events would bolster President Obama — “reminding voters of his power as commander-in-chief,” as NBC’s Peter Alexander asserted on the September 14 edition of Today — while Mitt Romney would be damaged by his supposedly flubbed initial reaction.
But as the story progressed and reports indicated that the Obama administration knowingly misrepresented the nature of the attack, failed to provide adequate security, and refused to authorize a potential rescue mission to save those under fire, those same journalists have been either slow to report those developments, or altogether silent.
The Obama-loving media were out in force Sunday downplaying the significance of the White House's ever-changing position on the attacks on our consulate in Benghazi last month.
After New York Times White House correspondent Helene Cooper called the death of four Americans "peripheral to what's going on right now" on Meet the Press, Time magazine's Joe Klein told Face the Nation viewers this matter "has been like the October mirage - it really isn't an issue" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
The Obama-loving media is still trying to shelter the President they adore from scrutiny concerning the White House's ever-changing explanation for what happened at our consulate in Benghazi, Libya, last month.
Doing her part Friday was NPR's Nina Totenberg who actually said on PBS's Inside Washington, “There'd be no reason to send [United Nations Ambassador] Susan Rice out to lie if she was going to get exposed immediately” (video follows with transcript and commentary):
"Either they are misleading the American people or incredibly incompetent."
So said Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) on CBS's Face the Nation Sunday about the administration's reporting of what happened when four Americans were killed at our consulate in Benghazi, Libya, last month.
The 2007 video of then-Senator Barack Obama hinting at racism in the federal government's response to Hurricane Katrina isn't the only news story that NBC's Todayshow stuck up its nose at during the first days of October. The morning newscast has conspicuously ignored covering the latest developments in the terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya. It hasn't devoted a full segment or even a news brief to the issue since September 29.
As Today devoted air time to how Mitt Romney's debate performance was supposedly "completely overshadowed" by "hunting" Big Bird, ABC's Good Morning America and CBS This Morning devoted full reports on Monday to a former security official's charge that the State Department ignored repeated requests for extra security at the diplomatic facility in Libya.
Does anyone remember anybody in the establishment press speculating over who might hold Cabinet positions during a second Bush 43 term in the fall of 2004 without qualifying it with "if Bush is reelected"? Neither do I.
But at the Politico on Thursday, the closest Josh Ragin got in an item found at the web site's "The Cable" section speculating on whether John Kerry or Susan Rice is better positioned to be Obama's nominee to be "America's next top diplomat" (i.e., Secretary of State) was quoting a Republican Senate aide who merely referred to the possible fireworks "if it's the beginning of a second Obama term." That doesn't even qualify as a qualifier either, because a victorious Obama might attempt to confirm a new nominee to replace Hillary Clinton during a lame-duck session. Excerpts follow the jump (bolds are mine):
On Saturday's Fox News Watch, as the panel discussed the media's lack of attention to revelations that the Obama administration knew that the attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya was a pre-planned terrorist attack in spite of dismissing the event as a protest that got out of hand, left-leaning FNC analyst Kirsten Powers declared that the media have had a "really disturbing lack of curiosity" about the episode, adding that they "should be holding" the Obama administration's "feet to the fire in a a serious way."
ABC's Good Morning America hasn't once reported on U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice's claim on the September 16, 2012 edition of This Week that the terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya was "a spontaneous - not a pre-meditated - response to what had transpired in Cairo." Even worse, the morning show hasn't reported on the subsequent developments on the consulate attack over the past 12 days that cast doubt on Ambassador Rice's statement.
NBC's Today show also hasn't covered Rice's talking points on the attack, after she appeared on Meet the Press on the same day as her This Week appearance. News reader Natalie Morales merely reported on September 19 that "the White House says there is currently no evidence that last week's deadly attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya was planned and pre-meditated. Officials say it appears that the violence was sparked by that anti-Islam film made in the U.S." Two days later, Morales gave an update on how "the White House is now classifying the deadly attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya as a terrorist attack....But intelligence officials now believe it was a planned attack in the guise of a protest."
Both of those programs provided voluminous coverage of Romney's "47%" tape, but have no time to scrutinize the Obama administration's public statements about an incident that claimed the life of an American ambassador?
In a dispatch today, an unbylined AP report headlined "Romney: Benghazi a 'Terrorist Attack'" seems to act as if this is some kind of revelation to the GOP nominee even though everyone except Obama administration insiders desperately trying to bring life to the corpse formerly known as the Arab Spring have been saying that for well over a week. It gets much worse than that in the report's third paragraph:
ABC’s Barbara Walters will do most anything to score a big interview. Now, she’s been forced to apologize for trying to help a former aide to Syrian President Bashar Assad land a job or get into college in America in exchange for her Assad interview last December. Sheherazad Jaafari was a press aide to Assad and daughter of Bashar Jafaari, the Syrian ambassador to the United Nations. Last October, UN Ambassdador Susan Rice and the U.S. delegation to the UN walked out on a Jafaari speech.
Walters said in a statement issued Tuesday she rejected Jaafari's later request for a job at ABC News, saying it was a conflict of interest. But she said she contacted people on Jaafari's behalf and "I regret that." London’s Daily Telegraph acquired some of the friendly e-mails of Walters, like this one to Jafaari:
Michael Scheuer, a former counter-terrorism analyst for the CIA, scolded CNN's Christine Romans Thursday for letting her support for the current President show.
Toward the end of a lengthy interview on "American Morning" about the situation in Libya, Romans took issue with her guest saying America is "nearly bankrupt" leading Scheuer to respond, "You're just carrying the water for Mr. Obama" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Rachel Maddow's self-proclaimed "obsessive" devotion to the truth again proves fickle.
As an example of what she sees as the resurgence of wedge issues, Maddow said this on her MSNBC show last night --
The culture war era conspiracy theories about black helicopters and a one-world government secretly pursued by America's elites, that stuff is back from the culture war eras too. The new Republican head of the House Foreign Affairs Committee convened the first hearing of that committee this week. What's the topic? Get the US out of the UN!
To back up Maddow's hypercaffeinated claim (she tends to talk in italics), an article titled "House Republicans' next target: the United Nations" from Foreign Policy magazine was shown on the screen. Awkwardly absent from the actual article was any mention of what Maddow claimed.
How does earnest MSNBC polemicist Rachel Maddow expect anyone to take her seriously when she doubts al Qaeda still threatens American lives?
It took Susan Rice, US ambassador to the United Nations for the most leftward presidency since LBJ, to remind Maddow that al Qaeda's deadly intent is not "hypothetical."
Preceding Rice's appearance on Maddow's show Dec. 2 was this observation from Maddow about the Bush Doctrine, as enunciated by Bush at West Point in June 2002 (first of three segments of embedded video) --
MADDOW: The Bush Doctrine was probably the single most radical thing about the Bush presidency because it dropped the requirement that the United States actually be threatened before we'd start a war with someone, instead saying that if we just thought we might be threatened some time in the future, that would be justification enough for us now to start a war. It is a really radical concept if you think about it, not only about war, but about us, about America. And it may have survived the Bush presidency.
That's roughly what Susan Rice's response to a pointed question from Laura Ingraham amounted to. Give credit to Rice, Obama senior foreign policy advisor, for appearing on Ingraham's "Just In" FNC show today and taking on the host in a freewheeling conversation. But she and her candidate are really going to have to learn to do better than the feeble dodge she offered.
The subject was the recent phone conversation between Obama and Iraqi Foreign Minister, Hoshyar Zebari. ABC's Jake Tapper reports that after the call, Obama claimed that Zebari "did not express" any concern about the Dem candidate's plan to withdraw U.S. troops. But Zebari told the Washington Post "that he had some frank talk for the candidate: 'The foreign minister said ‘my message’ to Mr. Obama ‘was very clear...Really, we are making progress. I hope any actions you will take will not endanger this progress.’"
That led to this exchange between Ingraham and Rice.
The big story this morning is President Bush's remarks to the Israeli Knesset invoking the example of Hitler to warn against the appeasement of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. In the opening segment, from Mika Brzezinski [subbing as host for Joe Scarborough this week] to Willie Geist to Pat Buchanan to Mike Barnicle to David Shuster, nary a word in defense of Bush was heard, with Shuster twice referring to Bush's remarks as "grotesque." The only slight straying from Bush-bashing orthodoxy was Barnicle's observation that when he first heard of the remarks, he took them as aimed at Jimmy Carter, not Barack Obama.
A show purporting to have any semblance of balance would surely have a defender, if not of Bush, then at least of John McCain [who has reacted approvingly to Bush's comments] as a subsequent guest on today's show. Well, here's the guest lineup that Mika announced:
Bill Richardson--Obama endorser
Joe Biden--who has called Bush's remarks "bull----"
Susan Rice--Obama foreign policy advisor
Jonathan Alter--liberal pundit and occasional Olbermann sidekick