CNN International's Zain Verjee on Monday's Newsroom highlighted The Guardian's left-wing talking point that the attempted assassination of Rep. Gabby Giffords "points to the rise of political extremism in the United States." Verjee also bizarrely played up a post from al-Jazeera's website which speculated whether the U.S. would blame Islam for the shootings in Arizona [audio available here].
Anchor Kyra Phillips brought on the CNN International anchor 53 minutes into the 9 am Eastern hour to report on international reactions to the violence, and asked, "So, what are the headlines there, starting in Great Britain, Zain?"
Verjee launched right into The Guardian's headline as she held up a copy of the newspaper:
AOL News contributor Paul Wachter launched an inflammatory attack on Pope Benedict XVI in a Thursday post where he also defended recently-fired CNN editor Octavia Nasr for her eulogy of Hezbollah's spiritual leader. After hinting that the network "overreacted," Wachter suggested that CNN should also fire "anyone who speaks highly of the pope, who...has contributed to the deaths of millions from AIDS."
Wachter began his commentary, "Octavia Nasr Firing: Should CNN Also Ax Anyone Who Praises the Pope?," by recounting the former Middle Eastern affairs editor's Tweet where she expressed how she was "sad to hear of the passing of Sayyed Mohammad Hussein Fadlallah.. One of Hezbollah's giants I respect a lot." He then echoed Nasr's own synopsis of the Hezbollah spiritual leader: "Fadlallah left a complex legacy. He was staunchly anti-Zionist, a defender of suicide bombings and approved of the suicide attacks on American barracks in Beirut during the United States' ill-fated intervention in Lebanon during the country's civil war. But he also championed women's rights under Islam and spoke out against honor killings."
The writer, who also contributes to left-leaning publication such as New York Time Magazine, The Atlantic, and The Nation, then launched his attack on the Pope, and lumped in Jerry Fallwell, for good measure, at the end:
A CNN.com article on Monday emphasized how Laura Bush “praised the performance” of President Obama during a recent interview and “criticized Washington’s sharp political divide.” Mrs. Bush also complimented Dick Cheney for defending the Bush administration during the interview with correspondent Zain Verjee, but the article didn’t mention this until 15 paragraphs later.
The article, titled “Laura Bush praises Obama, bemoans excessive partisanship,” summarized Verjee’s interview with the former first lady. The lead paragraph highlighted Mrs. Bush’s positive words for Mr. Obama: “Former first lady Laura Bush praised the performance of her husband’s successor Monday, breaking with many Republicans in telling CNN that she thinks President Obama is doing a good job under tough circumstances.”
After mentioning Cheney in passing in listing the topics of discussion during the interview, the CNN.com article returned to emphasizing how the former resident of the White House parted ways with her husband’s political allies: “The typically reserved former first lady defended Obama’s decision to deliver a back-to-school speech to students, putting her at odds with many conservatives afraid that the president will use the opportunity to advance his political agenda.”
CNN’s Zain Verjee couldn’t seem to find any health care “experts” who agreed with Pope Benedict XVI during a report on Tuesday’s Situation Room about the “political firestorm” the pontiff apparently set off during his first visit to Africa. Verjee not only cited unnamed “experts” who disagreed with the pope’s statement that the distribution of condoms on the continent “increases the problem” of HIV/AIDS instead of helping it, but also found “some priests and nuns working with AIDS victims in Africa question the church’s anti-condom policy.”
Anchor Wolf Blitzer introduced the correspondent’s report, hyping how “Pope Benedict XVI is facing a condom controversy right now. That may be last thing he needs on his first tour of Africa, [which is] struggling to cope with a massive AIDS epidemic.” Verjee continued in this vein: “Pope Benedict XVI set off another political firestorm, even before he landed in Africa, saying condoms could make the HIV/AIDS crisis worse. He told reporters, ‘It’s a tragedy, but you can’t resolve with it the distribution of condoms. On the contrary, it increases the problem.’
During Thursday’s Situation Room, CNN’s Zain Verjee exclaimed about how much “the world is waiting” for President Obama to begin his international travels: “The world wants Obama, the road show.” She also gushed over how his “rock star vibe will make his personal diplomacy a much more potent tool” and how he will be in “really big demand overseas.”
The correspondent made her “road show” comment during an introduction to a short report on the President’s first trip to Canada, which gave a little history of the past two presidents’ first foreign trips, and also possible other overseas destinations for the commander-in-chief in the near future. The report also featured two clips from Darrell West of the Brookings Institution, who highlighted the importance of international trips for President Obama, and how other world leaders will want to interact with him, in order to “get a piece of him, find out who he is, what his priorities are.”
CNN correspondent Zain Verjee, in a report posted on CNN.com on January 17, likened the expected large crowds for the inauguration of Barack Obama to the Hajj, the annual Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca: “The coming political pilgrimage to Washington is similar to another grand event in both size and preparation -- the Hajj, the most important religious pilgrimage in the Muslim world.”
Secretary of State Condi Rice gave an "exit interview" to CNN correspondent Zain Verjee that aired on Wednesday night’s Anderson Cooper 360, and Verjee asserted the Iraqi shoe-tossing incident was deeply representative: "It was really a symbol in so many ways ih the Arab world of utter contempt for President Bush...Does it bother you that with all the diplomacy that you’ve done, President Bush’s policies, the policies that you’ve carried out that the U.S. is so loathed around the world?"
Verjee also insisted: "Your critics say that really what happened was, was the North Koreans were just playing you like a violin." On 9/11 she asked: "The worst breach of national security in the history of the United States came under your watch....Did you ever consider resigning?" And: "One of the issues raised by some of your critics, they say that as National Security Advisor you were really steamrolled by Vice President Cheney, by former Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, and didn’t present a broad enough view to the President. Do you think you did?"
In the Words-Mean-Things category, yesterday we got both the Associated Press and CNN distorting the words Laura Bush used to describe Sarah Palin on foreign policy. Worse, the video interview of the First Lady was right on CNN yet on its own Political Ticker blog, CNN still distorted what Laura Bush said about Palin. It makes you wonder if the folks at CNN even watch CNN?
CNN’s State Department correspondent Zain Verjee insisted that Republican vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin "just won't be able to handle" foreign crises like the conflict between Russia and Georgia during an interview with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice which aired on Monday’s American Morning.
At the beginning of the short interview, Rice complimented the Alaska governor for her "terrific speech" at the Republican convention. Verjee then asked, "Does she have enough experience to handle the kind of things that you need to have?" When the Secretary brushed aside the question, Verjee pressed her on the experience question: "But, a lot of Republicans are also saying that she just lacks the experience. I mean, you can dispatch Vice President Cheney to deal with the Ukraine and Georgia. But Sarah Palin just won't be able to handle it."