Category Archives: In the News

items in the news

Foot In Mouth

So these people all said jackass things, and now a bunch of people are dead. More here.

Weeks after the invasion of Iraq began, Fox News Channel host Brit Hume delivered a scathing speech critiquing the media’s supposedly pessimistic assessment of the Iraq War.

“The majority of the American media who were in a position to comment upon the progress of the war in the early going, and even after that, got it wrong,” Hume complained in the April 2003 speech (Richmond Times Dispatch, 4/25/04). “They didn’t get it just a little wrong. They got it completely wrong.”

Hume was perhaps correct–but almost entirely in the opposite sense. Days or weeks into the war, commentators and reporters made premature declarations of victory, offered predictions about lasting political effects and called on the critics of the war to apologize. Three years later, the Iraq War grinds on at the cost of at least tens of thousands of lives and hundreds of billions of dollars.

Around the same time as Hume’s speech, syndicated columnist Cal Thomas declared (4/16/03): “All of the printed and voiced prophecies should be saved in an archive. When these false prophets again appear, they can be reminded of the error of their previous ways and at least be offered an opportunity to recant and repent. Otherwise, they will return to us in another situation where their expertise will be acknowledged, or taken for granted, but their credibility will be lacking.”

Gathered here are some of the most notable media comments from the early days of the Iraq War.

Declaring Victory

“Iraq Is All but Won; Now What?”
(Los Angeles Times headline, 4/10/03)

“Now that the combat phase of the war in Iraq is officially over, what begins is a debate throughout the entire U.S. government over America’s unrivaled power and how best to use it.”
(CBS reporter Joie Chen, 5/4/03)

“Congress returns to Washington this week to a world very different from the one members left two weeks ago. The war in Iraq is essentially over and domestic issues are regaining attention.”
(NPR’s Bob Edwards, 4/28/03)

“Tommy Franks and the coalition forces have demonstrated the old axiom that boldness on the battlefield produces swift and relatively bloodless victory. The three-week swing through Iraq has utterly shattered skeptics’ complaints.”
(Fox News Channel’s Tony Snow, 4/27/03)

“The only people who think this wasn’t a victory are Upper Westside liberals, and a few people here in Washington.”
(Charles Krauthammer, Inside Washington, WUSA-TV, 4/19/03)

“We had controversial wars that divided the country. This war united the country and brought the military back.”
(Newsweek’s Howard Fineman–MSNBC, 5/7/03)

“We’re all neo-cons now.”
(MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, 4/9/03)

“The war was the hard part. The hard part was putting together a coalition, getting 300,000 troops over there and all their equipment and winning. And it gets easier. I mean, setting up a democracy is hard, but it is not as hard as winning a war.”
(Fox News Channel’s Fred Barnes, 4/10/03)

“Oh, it was breathtaking. I mean I was almost starting to think that we had become inured to everything that we’d seen of this war over the past three weeks; all this sort of saturation. And finally, when we saw that it was such a just true, genuine expression. It was reminiscent, I think, of the fall of the Berlin Wall. And just sort of that pure emotional expression, not choreographed, not stage-managed, the way so many things these days seem to be. Really breathtaking.”
(Washington Post reporter Ceci Connolly, appearing on Fox News Channel on 4/9/03, discussing the pulling down of a Saddam Hussein statue in Baghdad, an event later revealed to have been a U.S. military PSYOPS operation [stunt]–Los Angeles Times, 7/3/04)

Mission Accomplished?

“The war winds down, politics heats up…. Picture perfect. Part Spider-Man, part Tom Cruise, part Ronald Reagan. The president seizes the moment on an aircraft carrier in the Pacific.”
(PBS’s Gwen Ifill, 5/2/03, on George W. Bush’s “Mission Accomplished” speech)

“We’re proud of our president. Americans love having a guy as president, a guy who has a little swagger, who’s physical, who’s not a complicated guy like Clinton or even like Dukakis or Mondale, all those guys, McGovern. They want a guy who’s president. Women like a guy who’s president. Check it out. The women like this war. I think we like having a hero as our president. It’s simple. We’re not like the Brits.”
(MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, 5/1/03)

“He looked like an alternatively commander in chief, rock star, movie star, and one of the guys.”
(CNN’s Lou Dobbs, on Bush’s ‘Mission Accomplished’ speech, 5/1/03)

Neutralizing the Opposition

“Why don’t the damn Democrats give the president his day? He won today. He did well today.”
(MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, 4/9/03)

“What’s he going to talk about a year from now, the fact that the war went too well and it’s over? I mean, don’t these things sort of lose their–Isn’t there a fresh date on some of these debate points?”
(MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, speaking about Howard Dean–4/9/03)

“If image is everything, how can the Democratic presidential hopefuls compete with a president fresh from a war victory?”
(CNN’s Judy Woodruff, 5/5/03)

“It is amazing how thorough the victory in Iraq really was in the broadest context….. And the silence, I think, is that it’s clear that nobody can do anything about it. There isn’t anybody who can stop him. The Democrats can’t oppose–cannot oppose him politically.”
(Washington Post reporter Jeff Birnbaum– Fox News Channel, 5/2/03)

Nagging the “Naysayers”

“Now that the war in Iraq is all but over, should the people in Hollywood who opposed the president admit they were wrong?”
(Fox News Channel’s Alan Colmes, 4/25/03)

“I doubt that the journalists at the New York Times and NPR or at ABC or at CNN are going to ever admit just how wrong their negative pronouncements were over the past four weeks.”
(MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough, 4/9/03)

“I’m waiting to hear the words ‘I was wrong’ from some of the world’s most elite journalists, politicians and Hollywood types…. I just wonder, who’s going to be the first elitist to show the character to say: ‘Hey, America, guess what? I was wrong’? Maybe the White House will get an apology, first, from the New York Times’ Maureen Dowd. Now, Ms. Dowd mocked the morality of this war….

“Do you all remember Scott Ritter, you know, the former chief U.N. weapons inspector who played chief stooge for Saddam Hussein? Well, Mr. Ritter actually told a French radio network that — quote, “The United States is going to leave Baghdad with its tail between its legs, defeated.” Sorry, Scott. I think you’ve been chasing the wrong tail, again.

“Maybe disgraced commentators and politicians alike, like Daschle, Jimmy Carter, Dennis Kucinich, and all those others, will step forward tonight and show the content of their character by simply admitting what we know already: that their wartime predictions were arrogant, they were misguided and they were dead wrong. Maybe, just maybe, these self-anointed critics will learn from their mistakes. But I doubt it. After all, we don’t call them ‘elitists’ for nothing.”
(MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough, 4/10/03)

“Over the next couple of weeks when we find the chemical weapons this guy was amassing, the fact that this war was attacked by the left and so the right was so vindicated, I think, really means that the left is going to have to hang its head for three or four more years.”
(Fox News Channel’s Dick Morris, 4/9/03)

“This has been a tough war for commentators on the American left. To hope for defeat meant cheering for Saddam Hussein. To hope for victory meant cheering for President Bush. The toppling of Mr. Hussein, or at least a statue of him, has made their arguments even harder to defend. Liberal writers for ideologically driven magazines like The Nation and for less overtly political ones like The New Yorker did not predict a defeat, but the terrible consequences many warned of have not happened. Now liberal commentators must address the victory at hand and confront an ascendant conservative juggernaut that asserts United States might can set the world right.”
(New York Times reporter David Carr, 4/16/03)

“Well, the hot story of the week is victory…. The Tommy Franks-Don Rumsfeld battle plan, war plan, worked brilliantly, a three-week war with mercifully few American deaths or Iraqi civilian deaths…. There is a lot of work yet to do, but all the naysayers have been humiliated so far…. The final word on this is, hooray.”
(Fox News Channel’s Morton Kondracke, 4/12/03)

“Shouldn’t the [Canadian] prime minister and all of us who thought the war was hasty and dangerous and wrongheaded admit that we were wrong? I mean, with the pictures of those Iraqis dancing in the streets, hauling down statues of Saddam Hussein and gushing their thanks to the Americans, isn’t it clear that President Bush and Britain’s Tony Blair were right all along? If we believe it’s a good thing that Hussein’s regime has been dismantled, aren’t we hypocritical not to acknowledge Bush’s superior judgment?… Why can’t those of us who thought the war was a bad idea (or, at any rate, a premature one) let it go now and just join in celebrating the victory wrought by our magnificent military forces?”
(Washington Post’s William Raspberry, 4/14/03)

“Some journalists, in my judgment, just can’t stand success, especially a few liberal columnists and newspapers and a few Arab reporters.”
(CNN’s Lou Dobbs, 4/14/03)

“Sean Penn is at it again. The Hollywood star takes out a full-page ad out in the New York Times bashing George Bush. Apparently he still hasn’t figured out we won the war.”
(MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough, 5/30/03)

Cakewalk?

“This will be no war — there will be a fairly brief and ruthless military intervention…. The president will give an order. [The attack] will be rapid, accurate and dazzling…. It will be greeted by the majority of the Iraqi people as an emancipation. And I say, bring it on.”
(Christopher Hitchens, in a 1/28/03 debate– cited in the Observer, 3/30/03)

“I will bet you the best dinner in the gaslight district of San Diego that military action will not last more than a week. Are you willing to take that wager?”
(Fox News Channel’s Bill O’Reilly, 1/29/03)

“It won’t take weeks. You know that, professor. Our military machine will crush Iraq in a matter of days and there’s no question that it will.”
(Fox News Channel’s Bill O’Reilly, 2/10/03)

“There’s no way. There’s absolutely no way. They may bomb for a matter of weeks, try to soften them up as they did in Afghanistan. But once the United States and Britain unleash, it’s maybe hours. They’re going to fold like that.”
(Fox News Channel’s Bill O’Reilly, 2/10/03)

“He [Saddam Hussein] actually thought that he could stop us and win the debate worldwide. But he didn’t–he didn’t bargain on a two- or three week war. I actually thought it would be less than two weeks.”
(NBC reporter Fred Francis, Chris Matthews Show, 4/13/03)

Weapons of Mass Destruction

NPR’s Mara Liasson: Where there was a debate about whether or not Iraq had these weapons of mass destruction and whether we can find it…

Brit Hume: No, there wasn’t. Nobody seriously argued that he didn’t have them beforehand. Nobody.
(Fox News Channel, April 6, 2003)

“Speaking to the U.N. Security Council last week, Secretary of State Colin Powell made so strong a case that Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein is in material breach of U.N. resolutions that only the duped, the dumb and the desperate could ignore it.”
(Cal Thomas, syndicated column, 2/12/03)

“Saddam could decide to take Baghdad with him. One Arab intelligence officer interviewed by Newsweek spoke of “the green mushroom” over Baghdad–the modern-day caliph bidding a grotesque bio-chem farewell to the land of the living alongside thousands of his subjects as well as his enemies. Saddam wants to be remembered. He has the means and the demonic imagination. It is up to U.S. armed forces to stop him before he can achieve notoriety for all time.”
(Newsweek, 3/17/03)

“Chris, more than anything else, real vindication for the administration. One, credible evidence of weapons of mass destruction. Two, you know what? There were a lot of terrorists here, really bad guys. I saw them.”
(MSNBC reporter Bob Arnot, 4/9/03)

“Even in the flush of triumph, doubts will be raised. Where are the supplies of germs and poison gas and plans for nukes to justify pre-emption? (Freed scientists will lead us to caches no inspectors could find.) What about remaining danger from Baathist torturers and war criminals forming pockets of resistance and plotting vengeance? (Their death wish is our command.)”
(New York Times’ William Safire, 4/10/03)

Huge Oil Spill In Alaska

So when they tell you that we should drill in ANWR because its “safe” they are telling you a load of lies. Seems no one notices as a quarter million gallons of oil just sort of leaked out of a pipe on the north slope of Alaska last week. Oops.

An oil spill discovered at Prudhoe Bay field is the largest ever on Alaska’s North Slope region, American officials say.

They estimate that up to 267,000 gallons (one million liters) of crude leaked from a corroded transit pipeline at the state’s northern tip.

The spill was detected on March 2 and plugged. Local environmentalists have described it as “a catastrophe.”

In 1989, the Exxon Valdez shipping disaster spilled 11m gallons (42m liters) of oil onto the Alaskan coast.

“I can confirm it’s the largest spill of crude oil on the North Slope that we have record of,” Linda Giguere, from Alaska’s state department of environmental conservation, was quoted as saying by the Associated Press.

The estimate is based on a survey conducted several days ago at the site where the leak was discovered, officials say.

Thats a lot of oil to just leak out of a pipe. Is no one paying any attention at all.

Cletus: “hey billy this here dial says we is about a quarter million gallons short on this here pipe, think we should do anythin bout this?”
Billy: “umm nope, American gladiator is on.”

I mean seriously what the hell.

Feingolds Resolution

Seems someone still has some fight left in them.

Good ole Russ, I would vote for you for president. I really would. Russ Feingold is fighting to alert the American people about our vanishing liberties. Being in the minority party doesn’t help much, so he is in effect trying to give the legal equivalent of a scolding to the president. If only more of our elected representatives would feel this way we could impeach Bush.

Read the censure resolution here.

Download Russ talking about the resolution here.

Greenland Is Melting

A while ago I posted about new evidence that the Greenland ice sheets are melting at double the rate they were ten years ago. Well tonight I was lucky enough to listen to the two scientists who produced the studies. Honestly the media does a horrible job of explaining science issues. These two lade out in simple terms just how fucked we are if we don’t do something soon. The sheets are pouring loads of water into the oceans which is bad enough, but when you factor in all the ICE that is also flowing into the ocean (something that is not done in any current climate models) we are really really fucked. It was depressing but educational.

At Least I Am Not The Only One

I have never liked Bush (I know *gasp*), but it seems the rest of the country (or at least most of them) has caught up with me. SEE PEOPLE, all that screaming was not just hot air. Its so good that the rest of you have finally seen the light. Seems the latest CBS news poll has Bush’s approval rating at 34 (!!!) percent. A new all time low. Dick’s is at 18 DOWN from 23 (HA HA HA).

Read the full poll here, and the full Katrina poll here. (both PDF)

Really its his own fault. After years of telling people that the Arabs are out to get us, he has convinced all the red necks (and a good amount of the rest) that every Arab is a bad Arab. The rabid dog of bigotry is now biting the hand that feeds it. The truth is the UAE company that wants to buy the ports will most likely do just as good a job as anyone else at running them. But Bush Co. have stoked the fires of hatred and mistrust too well. And now its gonna get him impeached.

Follow my logic on this one, he is gonna piss off enough voters that the backlash is going to extend to the midterm elections, the Democrats could get enough votes to take back the senate, and if all goes as planned the house as well, then its a hop skip and a jump to Dick forced to step down after getting charged with leaking secret CIA agent names, with the half the “brains” (the other being Rove) out of the way
Bush fucks up so bad he goes down hard. We should all start office pools to see what it will be that gets him in the most trouble, my guess it will be some simple cover up of some sex he had with a secretary…ohhh wait that was Bill. No my real money is on starting an illegal war, illegal torture, destroying the environment, bankrupting the nation to give tax cuts to the rich, his slash and burn tactics for higher education and “no child left behind”, illegal domestic spy program…you know take your pick.
From here.

The latest CBS News poll finds President Bush’s approval rating has fallen to an all-time low of 34 percent, while pessimism about the Iraq war has risen to a new high.

Americans are also overwhelmingly opposed to the Bush-backed deal giving a Dubai-owned company operational control over six major U.S. ports. Seven in 10 Americans, including 58 percent of Republicans, say they’re opposed to the agreement.

CBS News senior White House correspondent Jim Axelrod reports that now it turns out the Coast Guard had concerns about the ports deal, a disclosure that is no doubt troubling to a president who assured Americans there was no security risk from the deal.

The troubling results for the Bush administration come amid reminders about the devastating impact of Hurricane Katrina and negative assessments of how the government and the president have handled it for six months.

In a separate poll, two out of three Americans said they do not think President Bush has responded adequately to the needs of Katrina victims. Only 32 percent approve of the way President Bush is responding to those needs, a drop of 12 points from last September’s poll, taken just two weeks after the storm made landfall.
Mr. Bush’s overall job rating has fallen to 34 percent, down from 42 percent last month. Fifty-nine percent disapprove of the job the president is doing.

For the first time in this poll, most Americans say the president does not care much about people like themselves. Fifty-one percent now think he doesn’t care, compared to 47 percent last fall.

Just 30 percent approve of how Mr. Bush is handling the Iraq war, another all-time low.

By two to one, the poll finds Americans think U.S. efforts to bring stability to Iraq are going badly – the worst assessment yet of progress in Iraq.

Even on fighting terrorism, which has long been a strong suit for Mr. Bush, his ratings dropped lower than ever. Half of Americans say they disapprove of how he’s handling the war on terror, while 43 percent approve.

In a bright spot for the administration, most Americans appeared to have heard enough about Vice President Dick Cheney’s hunting accident.

More then three in four said it was understandable that the accident had occurred and two-thirds said the media had spent too much time covering the story.

Still, the incident appears to have made the public’s already negative view of Cheney a more so. Just 18 percent said they had a favorable view of the vice president, down from 23 percent in January.

Americans were evenly split on whether or not Cheney’s explanation of why there was a delay in reporting the accident was satisfactory.