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The “Teflon Teen™”, Justine Beiber, Gets Busted

justin-bieber-mug-shotI have to hang my head and admit that I am fascinated by pop culture and the crazy world that revolves around it. The excesses of young Hollywood and the music industry makes me sick to my stomach. I can’t help but think of the people in my poor town who are struggling to feed their kids and keep a shelter over their heads, while thugs like Justin Bieber blow more money in a single party than many make in decade.

Waking up to the news that Justin Bieber, the Teflon Teen™, was finally busted for something, after getting away with so much shit over the years, made me smile.

When I heard that he resisted arrest, wouldn’t take his hands out of his pockets according to one report, I immediately thought of Roy Middleton, the Florida man who was shot at 15 times by police in his own driveway while retrieving some cigarettes out of the car. He was black, you know? Thankfully, he lived through it.

As the day goes on, the sensationalist cable new networks will use the Bieber story as a good reason to ditch all the other important stories happening in the world today. For example, our awesome President Barack Obama announced an initiative to combat rape yesterday and the evidence against Chris Christie and his bullying ways are growing in scope.

Based on the look on Justin’s face, he probably thinks it’s cool to get busted. He knows damn well that he can afford the best lawyers you can buy. Something tells me this isn’t the last mug shot we will see from the Teflon Teen™.

(I don’t really have the trademark for Teflon Teen, so feel free to use the hell out of it. :)

January 23, 2014 Posted by | Media, MSM, MY Take, Pop Culture | , , , | 1 Comment

The Real Reason Chris Christie Made Fort Lee Suffer!

Rachel Maddow and her crack staff have discovered the real reason for the retaliation that Chris Christie exacted on the city of Fort Lee, but the target wasn’t the mayor of Fort Lee, it was the leader of the New Jersey Senate Democrats. Watch her report from last nights show below, it takes her a little while to get to the meat of the piece, but once you see it, I’m sure you will nod in agreement.

Steve Benen at the Maddowblog summarizes some of the piece…

In New Jersey, state Supreme Court justices serve an initial term of seven years, at which point the sitting governor decides whether or not to reappoint them. Since the New Jersey constitution was revised and adopted in 1947, every governor has reappointed every state Supreme Court justice without exception.

That is, until Christie took office. In 2010, soon after Christie’s inauguration, he did something unprecedented: he declined to reappoint one of the justices: New Jersey Supreme Court Justice John Wallace, the court’s only African-American member. Wallace was not burdened by scandal or allegations of wrongdoing; Christie simply didn’t want him on the high court anymore.

Democrats in the state Senate were livid. Rachel described the political firestorm that soon erupted in Trenton:

Senate Democrats made Chris Christie’s first nominee to replace Justice Wallace, they made her wait until somebody else’s seat came up on the court then they would consider her for that one, but not Justice Wallace’s.

Then, Chris Christie nominated a man named Phil Quan for the state Supreme Court, Senate Democrats said no. Then, Chris Christie nominated a man named Bruce Harris for the court, Senate Democrats said no.

Senate Democrats were so mad about what Christie did to take John Harris off the Supreme Court when he was up for re-nomination that they would not let anyone through. It’s been a big political crisis in New Jersey. Senate Democrats rejected every one of those Christie nominees, one after the other.

And then when another of the justices on the Supreme Court, a Republican, came up for re-nomination just like John Harris had, and the Senate Democrats signaled that they were going to give her a whale of a time at her re-nomination hearing, Chris Christie just flipped out. He had enough. He pulled that justice off the Supreme Court rather than submit her to re-nomination before the Senate Democrats.

No governor had ever failed to reappoint a sitting state Supreme Court justice, but Christie had suddenly done it twice – once for the court’s only African-American jurist, infuriating Democrats, and then again for a justice he actually liked. The governor, enraged, held a press conference to tell reporters, “I was not going to let her loose to the animals.”

The “animals,” in this case, were the Democrats in the state Senate.

Christie said that on the afternoon of Aug. 12, 2013.

On the morning of Aug. 13, 2013, Christie’s deputy chief of staff told the governor’s guy at the Port Authority, “Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee.”

The leader of the Senate Democrats at the time was a senator from … Fort Lee.

Coincidence, I think not. It also explains why Governor Christie said that he didn’t even want to hear Bridget Kelly’s explanation, because he already knew the answer and didn’t want you or I to know. To me, that is one of the most glaring things he said in his press conference. His explanation for why he didn’t talk to her was completely unbelievable, but of course, the fawning media who were enthralled with his contrition just slobbered all over themselves at that point.

Governor Christie stood there for 2 hours yesterday and weaved an elaborate lie that is definitely going to come back to kick him in the ass. He would have been wise to give a short, contrite apology and drop the mic. But no, he chose to give the most elaborate, over-the-top apology, complete with sadness, embarrassment, humiliation, ignorance, naiveté, stupidity and poor management skills. He apparently thinks he can get over being incompetent easier than the reality, that he is a vindictive bully with a bad temper and not afraid to use his power to punish people who cross him.

I’m filling up the back of my pickup truck with popcorn, this is going to get really good. And you media apologists, we’re watching you too!

Here is Rachel’s piece, it’s clearly her scoop, bravo Rachel and staff.

January 10, 2014 Posted by | Media, MSM, Politics, Republican Party | , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Glenn Greenwald, Perpetually Wrong, But Allowed To Be So!

abc_tw_greenwald_nsaI frequently get asked why I write so much about Glenn Greenwald. I’ve looked at myself in the mirror many times and asked the same question.

I think back to when I first read one of his posts at Salon during the end of the Bush administration. He was railing against Bush at that time and I was certainly sympathetic to that sentiment. But as I read his pieces, I noticed that he exaggerated an awful lot and took leaps with his conclusions and that didn’t sit well with me. I was all for attacking Bush, but because I am a political junky and was pretty informed on things, I noticed the exaggerations and in some cases, blatant lies. I didn’t join in with others in praising his “journalism”.

It was many years later that I learned that Glenn Greenwald hadn’t always railed against President Bush. In fact, he supported Bush and the many horrible things he did in the wake of 9/11 including the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq as well as supporting Bush during the time when the Patriot Act was passed. In light of what he is saying now, it should speak volumes about his integrity. Glenn has written about those of us who point this out and his attempt to dismiss his support for Bush is pretty lame. Ben Cohen from The Daily Banter wrote about this, go read it and have a laugh at Greenwald’s expense. Ben gives Glenn way too much credit, in my opinion.

Like Ben, I’m happy that Glenn finally opened up his eyes and realized the error of his ways. A little context though, Glenn wasn’t exactly a young, naive lad when he “had not abandoned my trust in the Bush administration”, or “gave the administration the benefit of the doubt” or felt that President Bush was “entitled to have his national security judgment deferred to”. No, Glenn was 36 years old in 2003, when the bombs started falling on innocent people in Iraq, a war that I marched against.

So  Glenn’s dishonesty and tendency to exaggerate and mislead his readers turned me off immediately. But that isn’t the main reason I write about Glenn Greenwald so frequently.

Glenn Greenwald is a bully. I hate bullies!

If you want to read more about his journalistic brutality, go read this post, or this one, or this one. Or just go to Google and search, there are many examples out there besides the ones I’ve written about.

How Can Greenwald Be So Wrong, So Much Of The Time

Glenn Greenwald loves hyperbole. Decades from now when scholars write about The Age Of Hyperbole that we are currently living in, Glenn Greenwald’s picture will surely be accompanying the journal articles.

A few of my favorites from the last year.

“The objective of this is to enable the NSA to monitor EVERY SINGLE CONVERSATION AND EVERY SINGLE FORM OF HUMAN BEHAVIOR!”

“The National Security Agency is currently devoted to the objective of creating a worldwide surveillance net that allows it to monitor what all human beings are doing and how they’re behaving and interacting with one another.”

I know there are a lot of paranoid people in this world who love that kind of talk, it feeds their paranoia and makes them feel like they are not alone. Any thinking, reasonable person who isn’t consumed with hatred or paranoia can read those words and realize they are completely over the top and can not possibly be true.

How many NSA employees do you think it would take to “MONITOR every single conversation and every single form of human behavior”? You see, Glenn doesn’t just think that the NSA is gathering meta data on who is calling who, after getting a warrant from a the FISA court (as dysfunctional as it is) because of intelligence on a suspected terrorist. No, Glenn thinks that there are people monitoring “every single conversation and every single form of human behavior”.

Bob Cesca has been keeping track of Glenn’s NSA “journalism” better than anyone and has coined the term “the 24 hour rule”, which basically says we should wait for the other shoe to drop before believing what ole Glenn Greenwald says.

Last week, Glenn made several statements to Christine Amanpour in an interview. Here are two of his long-winded, never stopping for a breath, answers. (My transcription and emphasis)

Answer 1: Let’s just use our common sense when analyzing the claims of political officials when they say that. Ever since 9/11, British and American officials have screamed terrorism over and over and over every time they get caught doing bad things they shouldn’t do – from lying to the public about invading Iraq to setting up a worldwide torture regime to kidnapping people and taking them around the world to be tortured – they just want to put the population in fear by saying the terrorists will get you if you don’t submit to whatever authority it is that we want to do. And that is all they are doing here, it’s the same tactic they always use. Let’s just use common sense, every terrorist who is capable of tying their own shoes, has long known that the U.S. government and U.K. government  is trying to monitor their communications in every way that they can. That isn’t new, we didn’t reveal anything new to the terrorists they didn’t already know. What we revealed is that the spying system is largely devoted not to terrorists but is directed at innocent people around the world. That is what was not previously known and that is why American and British officials are so angry because they wanted to hide what the true purpose of the spying system is from the people at whom it’s directed and that is the only thing that is new in what we reported.

Answer 2: Well first of all a lot of people like to ask why is there so much anti-American sentiment around the world all you have to do is listen to that tape of Mike Rogers to understand it. He basically is going around telling the world that they ought to be grateful that without their knowledge, we are stealing ALL THEIR COMMUNICATIONS data and invading their privacy (Amanpour nods in agreement) None of this has anything to do with terrorism. Is Angela Merkel a terrorist? Are sixty or seventy million Spanish or French citizens terrorists? Are there terrorists at Petrobras? This is clearly about political power and economic espionage, and the claim that this is all about terrorism is seen around the world as what it is, which is pure deceit.”

I’ll get to the latest “24 hour rule” moment in a bit, but first let’s take a look at his penchant for hyperbole.

As with most of Glenn Greenwald’s rants, it isn’t necessarily the broad, populist, quotable punch line that is the problem, but what he says leading up to it. Make no mistake, Glenn is probably a great trial lawyer, although I’m sure a good opposing lawyer would be screaming “I object” an awful lot.

What stood out to me in Glenn’s response to Christine was the tainting of the jury along the way. I laughed out loud when I heard him say “Let’s just use our common sense” as he started. See the above part about how many NSA people it would take to monitor “every single conversation and every single form of human behavior” as you listen to Glenn talk about common sense.

Glenn starts his twisted reasoning by appealing to common, shared perceptions to get people nodding…like Amanpour herself…by, among other things, saying that U.S. and British officials always “scream” terrorism when they get caught doing “bad things”. He lists some of these bad things, starting with “from lying to the public about invading Iraq”…whoa, whoa, whoa…Glenn was supporting that group that was lying at the time and I know he is oh so sorry about that, but he fell for the bullshit none-the-less. There were a lot of us who didn’t. It speaks to his judgement at the tender age of 36.

Greenwald then gets bold and says “to setting up a worldwide torture regime”, which is clearly directed at his paranoid, conspiratorial readers. Because it isn’t just a few places where our government and allies take prisoners to be held and questioned, and yes, sometimes tortured too…which of course, I don’t approve of, but to Glenn, it’s labeled a “worldwide torture regime”. Oh, that hyperbole must make him tingle.

A little bit further on in his rant, he uses a pretty slick tactic when he says that “Every terrorist…has long known that the U.S. government and U.K. government  is trying to monitor their communications in every way that they can” and then claims that this is “nothing new”. Except, uh, Glenn…you told the terrorists “how” they are being monitored and that IS new.

Glenn then proceeds to his real thesis that the “spies” aren’t out to get terrorists, they are out to get innocent, little ole YOU! This thesis occurs frequently in his writings and is much more pronounced in his TV appearances, because he can’t go back and edit his words once they’ve flown out of his mouth and he can’t add “updates” to Christine Amanpour’s program like he is known for in his hyperbolic writing. This is what he said, “the spying system is largely devoted not to terrorists but is directed at innocent people around the world.” He really believes that the target of all this spying is innocent people. He has strayed from what most people probably think – that in the effort to get terrorists, innocent people are being “monitored” and having their rights trampled on. Glenn sees it as a fiendish plot to go after YOU, run hide, build a bunker, buy some guns…they are coming for you. A little later he claims that it is “because they wanted to hide what the true purpose of the spying system is”, once again, referring to “innocent” people, just like you.

In the final sentence of his interview, Greenwald says “This is clearly about political power and economic espionage…” in reference to the accusations of the NSA spying on Germany and France. Well the “24 hour rule” destroys Glenn’s hyperbolic proclamation. Turns out the intelligence agencies in each of those countries shared that information with the U.S. government and the cooperation was geared towards tracking down terrorists. From of all places, the Guardian…

The German, French and Spanish governments have reacted angrily to reports based on National Security Agency (NSA) files leaked by Snowden since June, revealing the interception of communications by tens of millions of their citizens each month. US intelligence officials have insisted the mass monitoring was carried out by the security agencies in the countries involved and shared with the US.

I’m sure all of that is appealing to the paranoid, conspiracists and the narcissists who think the whole damn world revolves around them and don’t have any problem thinking they are so damn important that the U.S. government is paying someone lots of money to monitor them and steal “ALL YOUR COMMUNICATIONS DATA”. Cue the Twilight Zone music!

Part of the problem with the current state of our politics and media is that it is loaded with narcissists, nihilists and conspiracy loons. Alex Jones, Glenn Beck, Fox News, Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Greenwald all know who their target audience is and Glenn has just sliced off a piece from the left flank of that crowd.

I wish more of the national media would listen more carefully to Glenn Greenwald or wait for the other shoe to drop before running with one of his stories, but I’m sure many of them just don’t want to deal with the other thing Glenn is good at…the bullying.

November 4, 2013 Posted by | Afghanistan War, Media, MSM, National Security, Politics, Professional Left | , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

The Birth of Crisis Journalism™ – A Rant!

Warning! A profane rant is below, hide the kids.

The media has collectively lost their fucking minds. Since when is it the role of the media to obsess over mistakes and blow them completely out of proportion, while ignoring everything else that is happening in the world? They have totally embraced the hyperventilating loons on the right and adopted their moronic thinking.

So a website contractor, hired to design and build the website for healthcare.gov, screwed up. Great, I got it. Now move on to doing your fucking jobs again.

And by the way, Chuck Todd, your job is to present the truth to your viewers, not just deliver the “message” that one side or the other feeds to you through Mike Allen, just before you go on Morning Joe to set the meme of the fucking day. In case you aren’t aware, the Society of Professional Journalists has a code of ethics and the first item in the list is pasted below. Read it, internalize it…there will be a quiz.

Seek Truth and Report It (heading)
Journalists should be honest, fair and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting information. (sub-heading)

Journalists should: — Test the accuracy of information from all sources and exercise care to avoid inadvertent error. Deliberate distortion is never permissible.

Now let’s look at Chuck Todd’s full quote from his now infamous appearance on Morning Joe and see how well it fits with the above.

Chuck Todd (on Morning Joe):

“But more importantly, it would be stuff that Republicans have successfully messaged against it,” Todd told Rendell. “They don’t repeat the other stuff because they haven’t even heard the Democratic message. What I always love is people say, ‘Well, it’s you folks’ fault in the media.’ No, it’s the President of the United States’ fault for not selling it.”

In effect, he’s saying that he just delivers the message, it’s not his job to “test the accuracy of information from all sources”. He admits that Republicans have successfully “messaged against it” but he apparently doesn’t care at all whether that “message” is truthful or not. That is some serious bubble think. I keep telling Chuck to get the hell out of Washington and breathe some fresh air, talk to some real people, empathize with folks who actually are influenced by what happens inside your comfy little bubble.

Prior to the “glitch” story, the media was clinging to the idiotic idea that President Obama should negotiate with Republicans who were holding a gun to the head of our economy, demanding the defunding of a law that took 18 months to pass through the legislative process, was signed by the President and upheld by the Supreme Court of the United States in exchange for the Congress doing their jobs. The media acted like complete morons repeating the Republican talking point of “he won’t even sit down with us and talk”, as if that is what you do when one party completely circumvents the legislative process and acts like a 4-year-old kicking and screaming on the floor.

Going back a little further, the media was freaking out about Syria and the “red line”, once again repeating the Republican talking points verbatim, as if Frank Luntz was behind them pulling their fucking puppet strings and lip syncing his focus group tested phrases. President Obama didn’t invent our position on Syria’s chemical weapons. The treaty that we are enforcing was signed by President Nixon in 1972 and can be found here. But the media wanted to pin it all on President Obama because the brain-dead GOP plucked the “red line” phrase out of a speech and proceeded to bastardize the context and history of the international treaty against the use of chemical weapons.

I could go on and on…I’m thinking back to the “momentum” days of Mitt Romney’s bid for King of the Village Idiots (The GOP & their compliant media)!

Welcome to the new world of Crisis Journalism™

October 22, 2013 Posted by | Media, MSM, Politics, President Barack Obama | , , , , , | 7 Comments

Jon Stewart Shames The GOP AND The Media Over “Shutdown”

I watched this clip a little while ago and then turned to Chuck Todd’s show on MSNBC to see him doing exactly what Jon Stewart shamed the media about, false equivalences. Chuck Todd is the poster child for what is wrong with the media, he has helped to re-brand lying as “messaging”.

October 1, 2013 Posted by | 2014 Elections, Economy, Media, MSM, Politics, Republican Party | , , | 6 Comments

President Obama’s Press Conference August 9, 2013

August 9, 2013 Posted by | Media, MSM, Politics, President Barack Obama | , , , , , | 2 Comments

When Greenwalds Attack! 10 Examples From His Past

It’s fascinating for someone who has kept a critical eye on Glenn Greenwald to see him playing in the big leagues and striking out so much. I do believe it’s time for him to be sent back down to the minors.

Glenn Greenwald frequently attacks people who disagree with him, he can’t help himself. He has a hair trigger on that gun of his and likes to shoot it off. (By the way, he is against gun control, in case you weren’t aware.)

The most recent example of Glenn’s penchant for lashing out happened on Twitter as he attacked Daniel Serwer of Johns Hopkins University and peacefare.net.

GGTweet

Well, that one little tweet from the “Rio Pundit” prompted quite a backlash from many different directions. One of the best came from Adam Serwer, Daniel Serwer’s son, a writer for Mother Jones and a reporter for MSNBC.com.

AdamSerwer

Glenn Greenwald’s knee-jerk attack on Daniel Serwer revealed exactly how GG rolls. I wrote a post recently, The Top 5 Exaggerations By Glenn Greenwald On NSA!, that looked at just a few of Glenn’s exaggerations in his latest 15 minutes of fame. This one tweet from Glenn is both an exaggeration and an attack, combining two of his favorite tactics. And for those that say Glenn is “smart”, please read that tweet one more time.

Daniel Serwer, the person that Glenn tried to dismiss by claiming Edward Snowden had “done far more for the world in the last two months than you have in your life”, has actually spent most of his adult life working for peace. Charles Johnson at Little Green Footballs has Daniel’s bio and gives his take on this incident. Here is a piece of the bio…

Daniel Serwer (Ph.D., Princeton) is a Professor of Conflict Management, as well as a Senior Fellow at the Center for Transatlantic Relations, at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. He is also a Scholar at the Middle East Institute.

Formerly Vice President for Centers of Peacebuilding Innovation at the United States Institute of Peace (2009-10), he led teams there working on rule of law, religion, economics, media, technology, security sector governance and gender. He was previously Vice President for Peace and Stability Operations at USIP, where he led its peacebuilding work in Iraq, Afghanistan, Sudan and the Balkans and served as Executive Director of the Hamilton/Baker Iraq Study Group. Serwer has worked on preventing interethnic and sectarian conflict in Iraq and has facilitated dialogue between Serbs and Albanians in the Balkans.

I won’t spend time pushing back against the Snowden claim, you can go read some of Bob Cesca’s work here, here and here if you want to get up to speed on the issues surrounding the Edward Snowden leaks.

One of the main tactics Glenn Greenwald uses is to attack anyone who challenges him, with venom and over the top projections of all things evil onto his target. I’ve personally been called a few names by him, mostly because I support President Obama. He really dislikes people who support President Obama. Joy-Ann Reid wrote about this a while back.

Anyone who fails to loathe Obama as he does is an “Obama lover” (just chew on that, if you’re African-American) or a “cultist.” It isn’t possible that Obama could do anything that isn’t vile and insipid and worthy of continual, emphatic condemnation.

Since I’ve spent way too much time reading and writing about Glenn Greenwald, mostly because I despise his tactics, but in all candor, partly because he has such a profound hatred for President Obama, I thought I’d share some links I have gathered over the years. You can decide for yourself how you feel about Glenn, considering the following.

10 Examples of Glenn Greenwald Attacks

1.  When the “don’t touch my junk” guy emerged on the scene, Mark Ames and Yasha Levine wrote a piece questioning some issues surrounding that incident, Glenn Greenwald pounced on them. Go read this account by Mark Ames and Yasha Levine, it’s quite remarkable.

2. Benjamin Wittes of Lawfare and a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution wrote a great piece explaining why he won’t engage with Glenn Greenwald and the piece reveals a lot of what others have seen too. It is one of the reasons why I quit interacting with Glenn, I’ve blocked him on Twitter and try not to read any of his trolling drivel.

3. Glenn Greenwald set his aim at Wired Magazine when they published the chat logs of Bradley Manning, which got him busted. The targets of his attack on this time were Evan Hansen and Kevin Poulsen. (You may have to Google ‘The Curious Case of Glenn Greenwald vs. Wired magazine’ if you hit a paywall)

3. In this one, Glenn attacks Kurt Eichenwald and Joy-Ann Reid in an epic Twitter battle that is summarized here.

4. One of the worst attacks Glenn has made over the years, which he has never apologized for, involved joining in on attacking a friend of mine, Imani Gandy (Angry Black Lady). This one included tweeting about rape with one of his minions.

5. Ben Cohen at The Daily Banter (a most excellent site), wrote a great piece about Glenn attacking fellow journalists who supported the Iraq War…but of course, Glenn Greenwald told us in his own words how he supported President Bush in his invasion and slaughter of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi’s. And of course, Glenn was also supporting President Bush when he rammed the Patriot Act through…you know, that law that started much of the surveillance that Glenn now rails against.

6. Jonathon Chait wrote a hilarious and revealing post titled “Glenn Greenwald is Ralph Nader“, which prompted Glenn Greenwald to attack Paul Krugman…go read it, you’ll see why. And here is a post detailing the attack on Paul Krugman, for making a reference to the NSA story.

7. You have to give Greenwald credit for taking on people who are way smarter than he is. Here is an exchange between Al Giordano and Glenn Greenwald that has a lot to do with the current NSA revelations, this is a must read if you want to be informed and entertained. I wish Al posted more often, he is amazing.

8. Chez Pazienza wrote a terrific piece called “The Daily Banter’s Official Helpful Media Guide for Interacting With Glenn Greenwald” that is a must read for anyone thinking of saying anything that Glenn Greenwald disagrees with.

9. This little skirmish with Sam Harris is pretty interesting. Sam Harris likes to tell it like it is and Glenn got a little bit of push back from Sam.

10. The last one I’ll throw in the mix is Greenwald’s attack on David Gregory, which I have mixed feelings about. David Gregory asked a horrible question loaded with innuendo and completely blew the opportunity to ask a really good one and then hammer Glenn until he answered it. The question I would have asked is “did you have any contact with Edward Snowden before he took the job at Booz Allen?” A lot of people want to know the answer to that question. It seems to me that the protection a journalist has by saying that someone came to them with information kind of flies out the window IF that “journalist” had something to do with stealing the information. And please, any GG minions, spare me turning that last sentence into an accusation, the word “IF” should be your clue. The act of stealing the information and then publishing it are separate acts.

Bringing it back to the original Glenn Greenwald attack, I think Daniel Serwer’s final tweet to Glenn Greenwald is pure perfection.

DwerwerTweet2

July 7, 2013 Posted by | Media, MSM, Politics | , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

The Top 5 Exaggerations By Glenn Greenwald On NSA!

I have analyzed Glenn Greenwald’s writing many times over the years. His slick use of rhetorical devices, and his propensity to exaggerate, jump out at me and smack me upside the head when I read his writings. I’ve compiled what I think are the top 5 exaggerations by Glenn Greenwald since the NSA story broke. These are mostly from his appearances, where he apparently feels more free to exaggerate than when he commits something to paper.

Before I get to the list, I feel it is my duty to point out Glenn’s incredible hypocrisy about the right of privacy.

In his one big case as a lawyer, defending the white supremacist Matt Hale, Glenn Greenwald was smacked down by the judge for unethically recording witnesses without their knowledge. Mr. Privacy, Glenn Greenwald, invaded the privacy of witnesses in order to defend that vile creature.

Seizing the opportunity, Defendants’ counsel (Glenn Greenwald) hit the record button and commenced surreptitiously taping the conversation with Dippold. The conversation lasted for some time, covering in detail Dippold’s contacts with Hale, the WCOTC, and various other parties having an interest in the underlying litigation. Dippold never asked if Defendants’ counsel was taping the conversation. Nor did Defendants’ counsel make any representations to Dippold suggesting that the conversation was or [**4] was not being taped. [...]

Approximately one month later, Plaintiff discovered the existence of another tape. This tape pertained to a conversation between Defendants’ counsel and Ian Sigel, another witness in the case. [...]

Plaintiff moved to compel disclosure of these tapes, arguing that this conduct was unethical and therefore vitiated any attorney work-product privilege that may have attached to these recordings, and sought a protective order prohibiting any further recordings. The magistrate judge granted both motions, finding defense counsel’s conduct unethical under two separate rules: Local Rule 83.58.4(a)(4), prohibiting “dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation;” and Local Rule 83.54.4, stating “a lawyer shall not … use methods of obtaining evidence that violate the legal rights of [another] person.”

Now to the top 5 exaggerations by Glenn Greenwald on the NSA story.

Number 5

Here is Glenn Greewnald from On Point with Tom Ashbrook, on NPR.

“What has been damaged by these revelations is the reputations and credibility of the people in power who are building this massive spying apparatus completely in the dark and with no accountability.”

Except Glenn, that is a massive exaggeration. Here is James Clapper, the Director of National Intelligence from the Volokh Conspiracy.

  • By order of the FISC, the Government is prohibited from indiscriminately sifting through the telephony metadata acquired under the program. All information that is acquired under this program is subject to strict, court-imposed restrictions on review and handling. The court only allows the data to be queried when there is a reasonable suspicion, based on specific facts, that the particular basis for the query is associated with a foreign terrorist organization. Only specially cleared counterterrorism personnel specifically trained in the Court-approved procedures may even access the records.
  • All information that is acquired under this order is subject to strict restrictions on handling and is overseen by the Department of Justice and the FISA Court. Only a very small fraction of the records are ever reviewed because the vast majority of the data is not responsive to any terrorism-related query.

In short, there’s less difference between this “collection first” program and the usual law enforcement data search than first meets the eye.  In the standard law enforcement search, the government establishes the relevance of its inquiry and is then allowed to collect the data.  In the new collection-first model, the government collects the data and then must establish the relevance of each inquiry before it’s allowed to conduct a search.

If you trust the government to follow the rules, both models end up in much the same place.  I realize that some folks simply will not trust the government to follow those rules, but it’s hard to imagine a system with more checks and restrictions and doublechecks than one that includes all three branches and both parties looking over NSA’s shoulder.

Number 4

From Glenn Greenwald’s original article on the PRISM program. (not linked)

When the FAA was first enacted, defenders of the statute argued that a significant check on abuse would be the NSA’s inability to obtain electronic communications without the consent of the telecom and internet companies that control the data. But the Prism program renders that consent unnecessary, as it allows the agency to directly and unilaterally seize the communications off the companies’ servers.

But Glenn, that’s not true either. Most of the service providers who he accused of allowing “direct and unilateral” access have denied the claim.

Here is a piece that blows away this exaggeration/lie by Glenn. From The New York Times…

But instead of adding a back door to their servers, the companies were essentially asked to erect a locked mailbox and give the government the key, people briefed on the negotiations said. Facebook, for instance, built such a system for requesting and sharing the information, they said.

The data shared in these ways, the people said, is shared after company lawyers have reviewed the FISA request according to company practice. It is not sent automatically or in bulk, and the government does not have full access to company servers. Instead, they said, it is a more secure and efficient way to hand over the data.

Number 3

On CNN, Glenn Greenwald said the following…

“There is a massive apparatus within the United States government that with complete secrecy has been building this enormous structure that has only one goal, and that is to destroy privacy and anonymity, not just in the United States but around the world,” charged Glenn Greenwald, a reporter for the British newspaper “The Guardian,” speaking on CNN. “That is not hyperbole. That is their objective.

First of all, “complete secrecy” is a major exaggeration, considering I can search in Google and find many articles about the center that the NSA built in Utah. As a matter of fact, a Google search landed me this press release from January 6, 2011 about the groundbreaking ceremony for the new “data center” in Utah. Complete secrecy Glenn?

He goes on to say that the “only goal” is to “destroy privacy and anonymity.” You see, in Glenn’s world, it doesn’t even have a little bit to do with preventing terrorism. The United States government, collectively, thinking as one giant Dr. Evil, is “only” out to destroy your privacy and anonymity. But it isn’t just American citizens that the United States government wants to do that to, it’s the entire world people, don’t you see? And then Glenn thinks that just by saying, “That’s not hyperbole, That is their objective” – that somehow it makes it true. The only thing missing is an evil laugh and a pinky raised to your lip.

I’m sure there are many psychologists out there that are having fun with Glenn’s paranoid exaggerations. He is a case study in paranoia, if you ask me. Did you ask me?

Number 2

In one of his many rounds to the gullible media, he talked to NPR and said the following…

The National Security Agency is currently devoted to the objective of creating a worldwide surveillance net that allows it to monitor what all human beings are doing and how they’re behaving and interacting with one another.

In that statement, he takes it even further than in others. He adds the word “monitor” to his hyperbole, which implies real-time snooping in most people’s minds. It begs the question, how many “oppressors” does he think are employed at the NSA? And damn, they must be getting overtime if it allows them to “monitor what all human beings are doing and how they are behaving and interacting with one another.” I’m sorry, that’s just freaking crazy. And anyone who excuses that type of hyperbole is just enabling this sick man.

I think David Simon characterized this stupidity best in his piece called “We are shocked, shocked…”

Is it just me or does the entire news media — as well as all the agitators and self-righteous bloviators on both sides of the aisle — not understand even the rudiments of electronic intercepts and the manner in which law enforcement actually uses such intercepts? It would seem so.

Because the national eruption over the rather inevitable and understandable collection of all raw data involving telephonic and internet traffic by Americans would suggest that much of our political commentariat, many of our news gatherers and a lot of average folk are entirely without a clue.

You would think that the government was listening in to the secrets of 200 million Americans from the reaction and the hyperbole being tossed about. And you would think that rather than a legal court order which is an inevitable consequence of legislation that we drafted and passed, something illegal had been discovered to the government’s shame.

Number 1

And the number 1 exaggeration is……drum roll please……this little gem from his appearance on Morning Joe where Mika dared to challenge him.

The objective of this is to enable the NSA to monitor EVERY SINGLE CONVERSATION AND EVERY SINGLE FORM OF HUMAN BEHAVIOR!

Ding, ding…..we have a winner! “…NSA to monitor EVERY SINGLE FORM OF HUMAN BEHAVIOR” Chew on that one for a while. How many millions of NSA employees do you suppose it would take to do that?

How in the hell can Glenn Greenwald get away with saying such crap on national television without someone challenging him? Anyone falling for his hyperbole and paranoia really needs to wake up, do a reality check and then get a grip. It’s one thing to be outraged about our government stepping on our privacy rights, with checks and balances within all three branches of government, but it is quite another to buy into the idea that the objective of the NSA is to “monitor every single conversation and every single form of human behavior”.

Come on, why the exaggerations? Is it because the truth doesn’t accomplish Glenn Greenwald’s goal of world domination? (That was me exaggerating.)

P.S. When I first learned that my phone calls were being kept track of, well over 30 years ago, when I first saw a phone bill that had the numbers listed and the times the calls were made, I was a little concerned. I didn’t freak out, I just accepted that with new technology, that was the world we lived in. That was 30 freaking years ago. Since then, Google can target ads for snowblowers on damn near every web page I go to, because one day, I did a search for snowblowers.

If you weren’t aware that all your electronic communications are out there for anyone with even a little bit of technical ability to grab on to, I really think you need to pay a little more attention.

I didn’t like the idea of it over 30 years ago, but having accepted that fact so long ago, I have a hard time getting too upset about it now. I take comfort in the fact that I am not a criminal and frequently think that if someone is “monitoring” my calls or emails, they are bored shitless.

June 13, 2013 Posted by | Media, MSM, National Security, Politics, Professional Left | , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

In Search Of A Scandal, Any Scandal Will Do!

I find myself thinking of this quote from Inigo Montoya in The Princess Bride a lot lately. It is overused, I know, but it works so well.

“You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

The word I’ve been hearing a lot lately that fits Inigo’s observation is “scandal”.

According to Merriam Webster, the word scandal is defined as

2 : loss of or damage to reputation caused by actual or apparent violation of morality or propriety.

The #1 definition was a religious one.

We’ve all heard the Republicans and their stenographers, the press, say the word “scandal” about a million times in the last couple of months. But do any of these issues really qualify as a “scandal”? I say NO.

The Benghazi Scandal That Isn’t

American embassies and consulates have been attacked many times in our history, particularly in dangerous areas. Bob Cesca did an amazing job in compiling the attacks on America during the Bush administration. Here is a portion of that post.

January 22, 2002. Calcutta, India. Gunmen associated with Harkat-ul-Jihad al-Islami attack the U.S. Consulate. Five people are killed.

June 14, 2002. Karachi, Pakistan. Suicide bomber connected with al-Qaida attacks the U.S. Consulate, killing 12 and injuring 51.

October 12, 2002. Denpasar, Indonesia. U.S. diplomatic offices bombed as part of a string of “Bali Bombings.” No fatalities.

February 28, 2003. Islamabad, Pakistan. Several gunmen fire upon the U.S. Embassy. Two people are killed.

May 12, 2003. Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Armed al-Qaida terrorists storm the diplomatic compound killing 36 people including nine Americans. The assailants committed suicide by detonating a truck bomb.

July 30, 2004. Tashkent, Uzbekistan. A suicide bomber from the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan attacks the U.S. Embassy, killing two people.

December 6, 2004. Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Al-Qaida terrorists storm the U.S. Consulate and occupy the perimeter wall. Nine people are killed.

March 2, 2006. Karachi, Pakistan again. Suicide bomber attacks the U.S. Consulate killing four people, including U.S. diplomat David Foy who was directly targeted by the attackers. (I wonder if Lindsey Graham or Fox News would even recognize the name “David Foy.” This is the third Karachi terrorist attack in four years on what’s considered American soil.)

September 12, 2006. Damascus, Syria. Four armed gunmen shouting “Allahu akbar” storm the U.S. Embassy using grenades, automatic weapons, a car bomb and a truck bomb. Four people are killed, 13 are wounded.

January 12, 2007. Athens, Greece. Members of a Greek terrorist group called the Revolutionary Struggle fire a rocket-propelled grenade at the U.S. Embassy. No fatalities.

March 18, 2008. Sana’a, Yemen. Members of the al-Qaida-linked Islamic Jihad of Yemen fire a mortar at the U.S. Embassy. The shot misses the embassy, but hits nearby school killing two.

July 9, 2008. Istanbul, Turkey. Four armed terrorists attack the U.S. Consulate. Six people are killed.

September 17, 2008. Sana’a, Yemen. Terrorists dressed as military officials attack the U.S. Embassy with an arsenal of weapons including RPGs and detonate two car bombs. Sixteen people are killed, including an American student and her husband (they had been married for three weeks when the attack occurred). This is the second attack on this embassy in seven months.

I’m racking my brain trying to remember a “scandal” coming from any of these attacks.

The idea that changing “talking points” to not tip off the terrorists responsible for the attacks was some sort of massive conspiracy to make the President look good is just ridiculous. We shouldn’t forget that this “scandal” started with Mitt Romney putting his foot in his mouth during the campaign and since then, the GOP has doubled down on it many times. They were so sure that it was the one thing that could take the President out, if only someone would listen. The real reason that Republicans are trying to create a “scandal” where there is none is because they can’t accept that they got their asses kicked again by President Obama. It’s one giant case of sore-loseritus. The next step is for the Republicans to ask for a “do over” or a “mulligan” on the 2012 elections. Get over it, you lost. And a free tip for you Republicans, Americans don’t like sore losers, you look like fucking weasels.

And remember, the media and the GOP are calling this an “Obama scandal”. First off, there IS no scandal there. There was no violation of “morality or propriety” by anybody, let alone the President. There hasn’t been any connections to the President at all. With the release of the emails that Jon Karl of ABC News was duped about (being generous), that show that the White House let the agencies involved fight over the infamous talking points, this whole issue should be but a bad memory. And my god, they were freaking talking points. Talking points that were prefaced by Susan Rice in the following way.

“Let me tell you the– the best information we have at present.  First of all, there’s an FBI investigation which is ongoing.  And we look to that investigation to give us the definitive word as to what transpired.  But putting together the best information that we have available to us today, our current assessment is…”

What exactly is so hard to understand about this, unless you just don’t want to understand…then it is understandable. :)

The AP And Fox News Leak Investigations Continue reading

May 30, 2013 Posted by | Hypocrisy Watch, Media, MSM, Politics, President Barack Obama, Republican Party | , , , | 3 Comments

MY Take On The News Of The Day!

I’ve decided that I’m going to try to do short takes on the news of the day and provide links when appropriate. Finding the time to write longer pieces would entail quitting one of my jobs and living in a trailer somewhere. So instead, I’ll try this. If you want to consider this an open thread, please do so. And you trolls, please read the comment policy and don’t be surprised if your vile comments never make the cut.

I got a good laugh watching the reports about Mark Sanford attempting to rehabilitate himself after his fall from politics. He was, of course, hiking the Appalachian Trail, which a lot of people didn’t know extends all the way to Argentina.

The story about Oscar Pistorius shooting his girlfriend is a perfect example of why having a gun in the home often leads to tragedy. Whether he did it on purpose or it was an “accident”, she would be alive today if there wasn’t a gun in the house.

I’ve seen quite enough of Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles, why don’t they get jobs or something and contribute to the economy, instead of pretending like Republicans in Washington actually give a shit about the future of our country.

Reminder of the day: Republicans held our economy hostage in the summer of 2011, our President negotiated a deal to prevent a financial meltdown and at the time, Politico called Mitch McConnell “the chief Republican architect of the compromise”.  Media, please stop letting the Republican stooges keep repeating that the sequester was the President’s idea, just stop. You look like damn fools….again.

And of course, Mitch McConnell wasn’t the only Republican counting on nobody paying attention to reality for the last 4 years. Paul Ryan tried some serious revisionist history by trying to use his “baffle them with bullshit” techniques when asked about his touting the sequester back when it happened. It didn’t work. Busted!

I’ve been seeing on Twitter that the White House Press Corp is whining about access to the president or the number of press conferences or some horseshit. Considering what the WHPC has become, they should be glad he even acknowledges their existence.

February 19, 2013 Posted by | Media, MSM, MY Take, Politics | , , , | Leave a comment

The Extremely Liberal Podcast Talks Media With A Veteran Reporter/Professor

We welcome a special guest who worked for CNN for many years and now teaches broadcasting. He offers great insight into the issue of media bias and how social media is becoming a big part of local news operations. We talk politics as well, so give us a listen.


To download the MP3, right click and “Save As” (30 mb).

February 15, 2013 Posted by | Media, MSM, Podcast, Politics | , , , | Leave a comment

Soledad O’Brien Challenges The Republican’s Attack On Amb. Susan Rice

I love it when Soledad O’Brien gives the press a lesson on how to be a journalist and digs down deeper into the GOP’s idiotic arguments and faux outrage. The Republican party thinks that their audience is stupid and the vast majority of the press actually is stupid and lets politicians get away with the crap that McCain and Graham are attempting. The fact that while John McCain and Lindsey Graham were holding their very serious, cranked to 11, press conference screaming about not having information about Benghazi while other Senators were being briefed on the incident, pretty much says it all.

Watch as Soledad O’Brien and Charles Blow make Republican congressman Joe Heck look rather foolish and reveal how misguided the Republican attack on Ambassador Susan Rice is.

November 16, 2012 Posted by | Media, MSM, Politics, President Barack Obama, Republican Party | , , , | 2 Comments

Romney Excels At Lying In All His Ads, Not Just The Jeep Ad!

In light of the “Jeep lie” that Governor Romney has been using to scare workers in Ohio, I thought I’d take a look at the many other ads Romney has run that were also blatant lies.

Turns out, it’s all of them.

It’s quite a collection that Romney has accumulated over his time in the national spotlight. The 2012 presidential election will provide a lot of material for those of us who study the media and criticize it.

When the ad wars began, it was clear that the truth wasn’t going to play a major role in Mitt Romney’s advertising campaign. In his very first ad, Mitt Romney channeled Andrew Breitbart and just plucked a sentence out of a speech by President Obama and told a massive lie with it. Let the games begin…

Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign has displayed a special level of shamelessness in its ads and attacks since its very first one, when it ran a clip of Barack Obama saying “if we keep talking about the economy, we’re going to lose”—a clip from 2008 when Obama was quoting an aide to then GOP nominee Sen. John McCain.

Here is the dishonest ad that became a pillar of the Republican convention in Tampa, the one where they plucked “you didn’t build that” out of a longer statement having to do with infrastructure like roads and bridges, which all American businesses use.

The Romney campaign has released an astonishingly deceptive new ad, containing a blatant, flat-out lie. The new ad actually edits together snippets of words and sentences to make it sound as if President Obama said something he did not say, and then attacks him for saying it.

Here is another example of Romney trying to twist a positive into a negative when the Obama campaign went to court to restore early voting for all of the people of Ohio after the Republican legislature passed laws restricting early voting for all but military personnel. The Republicans didn’t like how the African American churches loaded up their parishioners on buses and headed to the polls on the final Sunday before the election. So what the hell, they passed a law stopping it…because they could.

Mitt Romney wrongly suggests the Obama campaign is trying to “undermine” the voting rights of military members through a lawsuit filed in Ohio. The suit seeks to block state legislation that limited early voting times for nonmilitary members; it doesn’t seek to impose restrictions on service members.

The welfare lie was one of the big whoppers that the Romney campaign told and it received a lot of push back from the media, but that didn’t stop the Romney campaign from continuing to run it. This lie is something that 15 or 20 years ago would have made the media camp out in front of his mansion until he retracted it. But today, eh, just another day, nothing to see here.

Mitt Romney released a new ad today about welfare reform. It’s a stone-cold lie.

The ad’s narrator says: “Under Obama’s plan, you wouldn’t have to work and wouldn’t have to train for a job. They just send you your welfare check.”

That’s a wild fabrication. As my colleague Isaiah J. Poole and I have both detailed, Obama’s HHS department merely heeded the concerns from a bipartisan group of governors and established a waiver program so states could experiment with different ways to help welfare recipients transition to work.

Another of the big lies being sold to the American people is the $716 billion lie. Romney and Ryan have told it in many different ways, but basically are trying to scare seniors into thinking that “Obamacare” cut $716 billion in benefits, which is not true at all.

In reality, the $716 billion is not a “cut” in benefits but rather the savings in costs that the Congressional Budget Office projects over the next decade from wholly reasonable provisions in the reform law.

One big chunk of money will be saved by reducing unjustifiably high subsidies to private Medicare Advantage plans that enroll many beneficiaries at a higher average cost than traditional Medicare. Another will come from reducing the annual increases in federal reimbursements to health care providers — like hospitals, nursing homes and home health agencies — to force the notoriously inefficient system to find ways to improve productivity. [...]

What the Republicans fail to say is that the budget resolutions crafted by Paul Ryan and approved by the Republican-controlled House retained virtually the same cut in Medicare.

Who can forget about the Solyndra lie where Romney tried to imply that the Obama administration steered contracts to friends and family.

So last Thursday Romney held a surprise press conference at Solyndra’s shuttered headquarters. During his prepared statement, Romney said:

“An independent inspector general looked at this investment and concluded that the Administration had steered money to friends and family and campaign contributors.”

Romney then repeated the claim later in the press conference.

Small problem: No inspector general ever “concluded” such a thing, at least not based on any written reports or public statements.

When you consider the above and the great work that Steve Benen has been doing at “Chronicling Mitt’s Mendacity” at the Maddowblog, it all adds up to the most brazenly dishonest campaign that has ever been known. Historians will be busy for quite a while parsing the piles and piles of lies left behind by Romney and his cynical, manipulative, soulless campaign team.

I began this post yesterday and after just visiting the Maddowblog to see what Mr. Benen was writing today, I noticed he has a similar post up where he looks at just the ads Romney has run since the 3rd debate. I’m pasting a bit of it below, but go read the whole thing.

I went through the Romney campaign’s website and YouTube channel, and found that Team Romney has unveiled six English-language television ads since the third and final debate with President Obama last week, an average of nearly one per day.

1. The day after the debate, Romney unveiled this spot, accusing the president of having gone on an “apology tour.” The ad was based on a lie.

2. Romney then unveiled a minute-long spot, boasting about his plan to create “12 million new jobs.” The promise has been exposed as completely fraudulent.

3. The next Romney ad accused Obama of shrinking the military to the point that our Navy is now the smallest since 1917. The claim has been exposed as ridiculous.

4. This week, Romney unveiled an ad suggesting Chrysler is moving Jeep jobs to China. It’s an absurd lie.

5. Romney then launched a Pennsylvania-only ad, boasting about how much he loves coal. Romney is also on record saying he believes coal plants kill people.

6. Romney’s latest spot says Obama “gutted the work requirement for welfare.” That’s a lie.

I’m not cherry picking the offensive ads built around falsehoods; I’m merely listing all of the ads Romney has unveiled since the third debate.

This isn’t normal. It’s also not healthy for our democracy. Mitt Romney — who keeps telling reporters about how great his “momentum” is — has reached some kind of Peak Lying moment in which he spews falsehoods at an almost uncontrollable pace.

This segment below by Rachel Maddow, Steve Benen’s boss, gets to the heart of what has been going on in this election. Watch it, share it and let’s all hope that the 2012 election is an anomaly.

Cross posted at Angry Black Lady Chronicles

October 31, 2012 Posted by | 2012 Election, Election, Media, Mitt Romney, MSM, Politics, President Barack Obama | , , , | 5 Comments

Real Liberal Political Talk On The Extremely Liberal Podcast – NEW!

If you are tired of watching pundits playing “both sides” and revealing their conservative biases, check out our little podcast where we say it like it is and delve into topics you won’t hear anywhere else. Listen, enjoy!


Right click and “Save Link As” to download the mp3.

October 31, 2012 Posted by | 2012 Election, Election, Media, Mitt Romney, MSM, Politics, President Barack Obama | , , , | 3 Comments

David Gregory Auditions For Fox News On Meet The Press

Come on, Roger Ailes, hire the man already why dontcha?

I stopped watching Meet the Press on a regular basis shortly after Tim Russert passed away. But I feel obligated to watch when we get near an election, just so I can keep an eye on what is going out to national audiences on the broadcast networks. It became obvious to me a long time ago that David Gregory is on an endless audition for the next Fox News gig.

This past Sunday, September 30, 2012, David Gregory grabbed the Republican torch and ran with that sucker. His interview with David Plouffe was more Fox News than Fox News is and it was noticed by a few people. As I listened to his questions, I was astounded by how loaded with GOP talking points and opinion they were.

I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that David Gregory was the keynote speaker at the convention of a Republican advocacy group, along with Karl Rove and Speaker John Boehner.

Let’s take a look at some of David Gregory’s questions a little closer, piece by piece. (emphasis is all mine)

Question 1 (to be analyzed)

GREGORY: “I want to talk about some issues including a foreign policy crisis in Libya…”

As you can see, Gregory calls the attack on our embassy a “foreign policy crisis”, which plays right into the Republican party’s attack by pointing at the President, rather than portraying it as a senseless act of violence against America. Gregory goes on…

“…and the fact that this administration has changed its tune when it comes to describing the raid on our compound, on our embassy in Libya that killed our ambassador Chris Stevens and others, of course, on the ground.”

Don’t you just love the phrase “changed its tune”? The implication in that phrase makes it sound like it was a “flip-flop” or worse yet, a lie. The odd thing is that David Gregory then plays a clip of Ambassador Rice from the September 16 episode of Meet the Press where she says this…

“Let me tell you the– the best information we have at present.  First of all, there’s an FBI investigation which is ongoing.  And we look to that investigation to give us the definitive word as to what transpired.  But putting together the best information that we have available to us today, our current assessment is that what happened in Benghazi was in fact initially a spontaneous reaction to what have just transpired hours before in Cairo, almost a copycat of– of the demonstrations against our facility in Cairo, which were prompted of course by the video.”

Now seriously, Ambassador Rice made it very clear that it was “the best information we have at present” and that the FBI was investigating and we look to them for “the definitive word as to what transpired”. She then repeated “the best information we have available, our current assessment…” and went on to say that what happened in Benghazi was (according to best info at present) initially a spontaneous reaction to what happened in Cairo hours earlier. I’m not sure what else David Gregory wanted Ambassador Rice to say before he would believe that the administration was still investigating the incident and wasn’t sure exactly what happened. Maybe if it had been printed on a giant Nerf baseball bat and smacked against his head a few times, he might have heard it…or believed it.

There’s more…

“There was a caveat there.  She said the FBI was still investigating.  But the thought was it was a spontaneous reaction. A couple of days before that, the Libyan president said, no, in fact, al Qaeda was behind this attack.”

Notice how Gregory dismisses the multiple caveats Ambassador Rice gave with a quick “There was a caveat.” He then oversimplifies her statement by saying “[B]ut the thought was it was a spontaneous reaction” and then makes a lame attempt at a “gotcha” moment by pulling a but, but, but…the Libyan president said a couple days before that al Qaeda was behind the attack. And exactly where is the problem, David? Is David Gregory implying that the FBI wasn’t needed in Libya to investigate the deaths of 4 American diplomats? Does David Gregory think we should just accept the word of the new President of Libya, it’s not like the guy was under any pressure…having just failed at protecting our embassy, something that the host country is obligated to do. Or is David Gregory’s problem just that there was a contradiction, even after the many caveats preempting Amb. Rice’s answer. That’s some hard hitting journalism, David. Nice one! LOL!

There was more to the question and more Fox News-style bias…

GREGORY: (cont.) “And then days later, after Ambassador Rice is on this program and other programs, the president’s spokesman Jay Carney says this.  “It is, I think, self-evident that what happened in Benghazi was a terrorist attack.”  Well, if it was self-evident, then why didn’t the president come out and called this exactly what it was, an act of terror on the anniversary of 9/11?”

Well, Mr. Gregory, President Obama had this to say on September 12, 2012…

“No acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation, alter that character or eclipse the light of the values that we stand for.”

Maybe David Gregory was too busy sipping tea with the Romney crowd to pay attention to what our President actually said the day after America was attacked. I know the people at Fox News have selective hearing and miss things that don’t fit with their narrative, but the once great Meet the Press used to pride itself on getting things right. I guess it is just a different kind of “right” these days.

David Plouffe responded to the loaded question and touched on some of the points embedded in it. I’m sure that he wanted to hit them all, but David Gregory had to interrupt Mr. Plouffe in his confrontational style.

Question 2 (more of a follow up)

As David Plouffe is explaining to the rabid host how forthcoming the Obama administration was as new information came to light, Gregory interrupts with this…

GREGORY:  No, but there’s also the question about whether you call this what it is on the day that it happens.  Jay Carney said it was self-evident that this was a terrorist attack.  These are people who came to a demonstration with weapons and security was an issue at the compound.  Why not call it what it was?

I sensed that David Gregory wasn’t liking the fact that Plouffe was spelling out the reality of how these things work because like a petulant little child he responded, “No, but there’s also….” in a combative way, once again showing his bias and agenda with his line of questioning.

As you read above, President Obama referred to the tragedy as an “act of terror” the day after it happened. So the entire basis of Gregory’s question is bogus. Once again, I wonder if he actually saw the President’s words about the tragedy or if he is just reading from Republican talking points. I expect that sort of thing from Fox News anchors, but generally not from network anchors.

If you look at what Gregory says, “there’s also the question about whether you call this what it is on the day that it happens”, you have to ask yourself if “knee-jerk” is the new intelligence for Mr. Gregory and Republicans. Is this a new standard for all presidents or just this one? Throughout the whole process, the Obama administration has been deliberate, honest, and open about what they know as they find it out. I shouldn’t be surprised that Gregory and the GOP don’t know how to act when an administration is forthright with the American people. If you look back at the last Republican administration, they clearly decided first and then bent the facts to justify it. Do WMD’s ring a bell?

Question 3

This next question was caught and tore apart by several people in the media and it was one of the more blatant falsehoods that David Gregory injected into his questions this past Sunday.

“GREGORY:  The president has said as recently as May of this year that al Qaeda has not had a chance to rebuild, that al Qaeda has been defeated…”

Except the President NEVER said that al Qaeda was defeated. From Imani, THE Angry Black Lady…

Here’s what President Obama actually said:

And one year ago, from a base here in Afghanistan, our troops launched the operation that killed Osama bin Laden. The goal that I set — to defeat al Qaeda and deny it a chance to rebuild — is now within our reach.

Still, there will be difficult days ahead. The enormous sacrifices of our men and women are not over.

So David Gregory claims Obama did an al Qaeda victory dance, when Obama totally didn’t.

President Obama clearly said that al Qaeda’s defeat is “within our reach” and “[T]here are difficult days ahead.” So yeah, like the opposite of saying al Qaeda is defeated.

The rest of David Gregory’s question…

“…There is an election on, as we’ve been talking about, and the president’s challenger said plain and simple, the president failed to level with the American people and call this a terrorist attack, because you had to be concerned about another terrorist attack from al Qaeda in the Middle East after the president said that al Qaeda had been defeated.”

David Gregory repeats the lie about the President saying that al Qaeda was defeated and then takes up the twisted reasoning of the Romney boneheads that the President didn’t call it a terrorist attack because then he would be contradicting himself with something he never said. It all gets so stupid when trying to follow wingnut logic, but sometimes you just have to get down in the trench of stupidity and sort it out for them.

David Plouffe’s response was spot on…

MR. PLOUFFE:  That is preposterous and really offensive to suggest that.  As information was received from the intelligence community, it was distributed.  This president’s record on terrorism takes a backseat to no one.  We obviously took out their number one leader in Osama bin Laden, the leadership of al Qaeda has been decimated just as the president promised in 2008.  And by the way, in 2008, the president said he would go into Pakistan to go after Osama bin Laden.  Governor Romney said he wouldn’t.  Governor Romney said it was tragic that we entered the Iraq war.  One of the reasons that al Qaeda strengthened during the last decade is our focus was too much on Iraq.  So we are happy to have this debate and we’ll have it obviously for the duration of this campaign…

You can see from the ellipsis that Gregory interrupted Mr. Plouffe with this injection of yet another Republican talking point…

GREGORY:  Was this an intelligent– intelligence failure?

Now you can’t tell from the abrupt question what exactly “this” is to David Gregory. You would assume that he was talking about the “contradictions” that he had just spent many minutes belaboring, but it may have been in reference to the intelligence leading up to the attack, which is yet another “blame the President” meme that the right has been trotting out. Once again, is there a new standard where it’s alright to blame our country, our leader, when America is attacked. Can you imagine David Gregory asking these sorts of questions of say, Karl Rove, immediately after 9/11? The fainting couches would have crumbled from the weight of all the faux right-wing patriots falling on them.

Question 4

GREGORY:  As you know, the Chairman of the Homeland Security Committee has called for Susan Rice to resign.  Does the president have a hundred percent confidence in Susan Rice?

The Chairman of the Homeland Security Committee is, of course, Rep. Peter King of New York. He’s a freakin nut, do I need to say more?

Question 5

GREGORY:  What about the broader point here?  Security is so bad in Benghazi that the FBI can’t even go in and investigate.  What about the fact that there are talk of military options to find Ambassador Stevens’ killers?  What is America doing to work its will to change the trajectory in Libya?

The assumptions behind these odd questions are open to interpretation. Yes, security is bad in Libya, tell us something we don’t know. And yes, there is talk of everything being on the table in response to the attack on our embassy. But what the hell is Gregory implying with “[W]hat is America doing to ‘work its will’ to change the trajectory in Libya?” That to me is just a Palinesque word salad question. Is America really trying to “work its will” in Libya or doing what our diplomats have been saying, supporting fledgling democracies as they fight for self governance. Working our “will” on other countries is a Bush/Cheney era thing which obviously informs David Gregory’s questioning.

Question 6

GREGORY:  Was it inappropriate for him to go to a fund-raiser the day after this attack now in retrospect knowing that it was a– a terrorist attack, the– inappropriate for him to engage in politics as usual?

There was no fundraiser in Las Vegas the day after the Libyan attacks. You wouldn’t know that if you relied on Republicans like David Gregory and the Breitbart people, who have been pushing that lie. I looked into the President’s published schedule and many reports about his trip and there was no fundraiser.

I remembered seeing Jon Ralston, the host of Ralston Reports, a statewide television show in Nevada, say as much on my television. I was having trouble tracking that clip down, so I emailed Jon and this was his response.

There was no fundraiser. He spoke briefly to a rally and then left.

But David Gregory decided to parrot the right-wing nuts who have been pushing that lie to the world. I’m a little disappointed that David Plouffe let that one slide by, but I can imagine when so much shit is being hurled at you, you have to pick your battles and respond in a way that gets the message out.

Question 7

This next one is another of the Romney campaign’s lame-ass attempts to try to undercut President Obama’s huge successes in foreign policy. David Gregory does a great job of getting in all the faux facts of this Republican attack….isn’t it hard to view David Gregory as anything other than a paid shill for the Republicans? Gregory is responding to David Plouffe’s answer that said the President is on the job 24/7.

GREGORY:  24/7, but apparently not during U.N. meetings as The New York Post highlighted here, the question about whether there was a snub not meeting with the Israeli leader, the president is on The View, this is U.N. world leaders to gab with the gals of The View that was the headline in The New York Post with their own point of view there.  But is this– is he– is he not performing all the critical role of– of the presidency, particularly with the foreign policy crisis?  With so many questions about management of the Middle East, when you have a key United Nations gathering, not to meet with world leaders, including Netanyahu at a time of so much concern over Iran?

Gregory’s first sentence, “24/7, but apparently not during U.N. meetings as The New York Post highlighted here…”, once again shows his right-wing perspective. He was argumentative towards Plouffe and then goes on to sprinkle in the buzz words Republicans love so much, including “snub..Israeli leader”, “on the View”, “foreign policy crisis” and he ends it with the right-wing’s next war of profit, Iran.

I think the Republicans were really pissed that President Obama didn’t meet with several leaders at the U.N. because they probably had a whole batch of lies at the ready to throw out to the gullible, lemming media. Personally, I don’t care what reasons the President had for not doing a bunch of meetings around that time, that’s his decision. When David Gregory is president, then he can decide who he meets with and when. Until then, the guy who actually got 65 million American votes will make that call.

Question 8

This next question reveals that David Gregory is either stupid, a right-wing hack or what I’d put my money on, BOTH! David Plouffe responded to the previous question and at the end of his response, David Gregory’s next question followed…

…By the way, look at– let’s talk about Governor Romney’s response during this.  You know, in the– in the hours as these attacks became known in Libya and the assaults on our embassy in Egypt, Mitt Romney throws out some half-baked statement.  And I think that’s one of the reasons…

GREGORY:  But the government– wait, but the United States government had to also disavow its own statement that came out of the embassy in Cairo that some might also call half-baked and had to be revised, did it not?

So once again, David Gregory interrupted his guest so he wouldn’t miss an opportunity to represent his Republican masters. He compares the embassy statement, which was sent out BEFORE there was any violence (in an attempt to prevent violence), with Romney’s knee-jerk statement that showed he didn’t understand the sequence of events. The two statements have no similarity, but it gave Gregory the opportunity to inject just one more Republican falsehood into the conversation. And it had that petulant child ring to it, “yeah, but they did it too, so nah!”

Question 9

The final question I will examine from this “train wreck called journalism” that NBC broadcast for the world to see, brings out the class warrior in David Gregory. After playing a clip of President Obama, Gregory tees up a doozy of a question, proving yet again that he pays attention to his GOP handlers quite well. Try this one on for size.

(Videotape, Thursday)

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA:  During campaign season, you always hear a lot about patriotism.  Well, you know what, it’s time for a new economic patriotism–an economic patriotism rooted in the belief that growing our economy begins with a strong and thriving middle-class.

(End videotape)

GREGORY:  Invoking patriotism there, just trying to be clear, so raising taxes on wealthier Americans is the president considers that patriotic?  I assume he also thinks sacrifice is patriotic.  And yet he is not spending much time talking specifically about what he’d do, like how he would cut the Medicare program to make it solvent.  Beyond the cuts that he’s talked about, and when Simpson-Bowles says he needs much more dramatic cuts.  So framing this as patriotism, it’s about taxing the wealthy but not talking about where the American people should sacrifice?

Gregory bypasses the idea of a strong middle class and growing jobs at home and instead, goes right for the “taxing wealthier Americans” and then pivots quickly to sacrifices from people on Medicare. But he goes even further and pulls out the Simpson-Bowles line, but only focuses on the spending cut side of that Simpson-Bowles exercise in futility and ignores that the commission also called for increasing taxes on “wealthier Americans.”  It is very similar to how the rest of the Republican party uses the Simpson-Bowles commission, plucking out what suits them and ignoring the rest.

David Gregory has been playing the role of conservative hack for quite a while by both representing the Republican agenda in his questioning, but also in his selection of guests and the panel of talking heads.

What makes David Gregory’s tactics so insidious is that he embeds so many falsehoods within his questions, that it’s impossible for his guests to respond to all of them. And when they do respond, he interrupts them if they begin to get a valid point across. With each new question, the process continues on, leaving a wasteland of bad information in its wake.

I’m thankful there are only a few more weeks left in the election so I can quit watching Meet the Press and spare myself the frustration of watching a once great show, a standard bearer for network news shows, slip down the drain.

Cross posted at Angry Black Lady Chronicles

UPDATE: Check out Charlie Pierce’s post on the “Dancin Master” (David Gregory)

October 2, 2012 Posted by | 2012 Election, Election, Media, MSM, Politics, Republican Party | , , , | 1 Comment

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