Rusty Weiss

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The progression of Anwar al-Awlaki – if not the most influential force in terror operations, certainly one of the more popular faces – from simple cleric to proud member of the ‘kill or capture’ list, has sparked little interest in the MSM from a threat aspect.  Instead, it has prompted yet another interview from CNN with his father, begging the United States to call off the military.

Imagine Osama bin Laden being treated with kid gloves shortly after serving as the influential and inspirational leader of the 9/11 attacks.  In contrast, presenting bin Laden’s side of the story was an overwhelming goal of the liberal media shortly after 9/11, with CNN leading the charge – so much so that it prompted Brent Bozell of the Media Research Center to write a column concerning the network’s willingness to ogle the Al-Qaeda leader

According to Bozell, CNN’s desire to interview bin Laden (through Al Jazeera) clearly demonstrated that “it does not matter to them if their offer ends up harming the American war effort on terrorism by giving this terrorist an international forum to promote his propaganda.”  

Curiously, that exact scenario is being played out in the current media as well – in reverse...

In what is generally being interpreted by most as a surprise move, CNN has recently decided to cover the Tea Party movement from an angle foreign to most in the main stream media - combating stereotypes that are heavily promoted by liberals. 

There is no doubt that the piece by Shannon Travis, Reporter's notebook: What really happens at Tea Party rallies, deserves credit for being one of the first to offer fair coverage of the Tea Party movement outside of Fox News.  NewsBusters has seen the value in such reporting from CNN.  As Matthew Balan reported yesterday evening, "Travis's article is a welcome breath of fresh air, especially when you consider that it was former CNN correspondent Susan Roesgen who lashed out at an early point against the Tea Party movement a year ago in April 2009."

That comparison alone raises some questions, however.  How does a network which featured the Roesgen debacle, suddenly find respect for the movement?  How does the organization whose award-winning journalists refer to the people as ‘tea baggers', seek to dispel the degrading stereotypes propagated in the media?  And how does a network, who just over a week ago minimized a Nevada Tea Party Event of roughly 20,000 people, by speculating that ‘at least dozens' were in attendance, suddenly believe the movement to be legitimate and important?

Most importantly, is the network actively seeking a shift to more fair and balanced coverage, or are they seeking the admiration of conservatives driving the ratings of Fox News?  Michelle Malkin for one is skeptical, calling it a desperate move for a ‘ratings-starved CNN'

The curiosity of the CNN shift has only been exacerbated by the network's desire to have the story covered by conservative writers.

(Explanation after the jump...)

A recent blog post from Earl Devaney seeks to dispel several so-called myths involving the Recovery Board, but does little to dispel the notion that those operating the Web site are woefully inept.

In fact, Devaney's defense for the ‘phantom' congressional districts (clerical errors), the claims that he reports to the Obama administration (they simply listen and adjust their thinking), and the complaint that itself cost $18 million to overhaul (it might cost up to $18 million), make the operation look amateurish at best.

Couple all of this with stories of overly complicated systems involved in the stimulus application process, and inaccuracies in the reporting of supposed ‘two-time losers' - an error that prompted a statement of apology from the board -, and one can only envision those CareerBuilder monkey commercials from years past.

More troubling is's insistence on using the phrase ‘jobs created' when tracking stimulus funds - as can be seen here on a report designed to show the viewer the ‘Most Jobs Created by State'.  This comes nearly three months after Ed Pound, Spokesman for the Recovery Board, told ABC News that, "...since OMB is not going to use ‘jobs created or jobs saved' anymore, we're not going to use it either."

The reason the Office of Management and Budget was distancing itself from the phrase?

With an increasing attempt by the left to paint Tea Party protestors as racist loons, it becomes of great importance to identify those who purport to represent conservative values, but in reality are nothing more than radical individuals. 

As NewsBusters has previously reported, liberal Web sites - particularly Talking Points Memo (TPM) and the Huffington Post - have continually cited the Tea Party links of one Dale Robertson.  Why?  Because he further promotes the concept of the tea partier as racist.  Robertson once demonstrated a level of racial ignorance that boggles the mind by being photographed with a sign reading "Congress = Slaveowner, Taxpayer = N***ar".

But the reality is that Robertson has predominantly self-described links to the Tea Party movement, while legitimate factions of the movement have been trying to distance themselves from the man.  His claims of influence within the Tea Party have turned out to be mildly embellished.  Now, it turns out his web of tales is growing ever more tangled.

Tommy Christopher of Mediaite recently interviewed Robertson, in which he claims that the sign that made him famous for the wrong reasons was simply a fake.  As Mediaite reports:

(March 27th, 10:06 a.m. -- Please see update at the end of the post.)

What is the first step in the main stream media's handbook of liberal bias?  Why, alter the headline to fit your agenda, of course.

To say that CNN was misleading in their headline about James O'Keefe is to be kind:

CNN Headline

Feds punish ACORN filmmaker?  Seems an odd choice of headline considering the article itself does not mention any punishment being doled out by the Feds - in fact the word ‘punish' or any other variation does not even appear in the article

The actual story concerns the fact that prosecutors have reduced the charges against O'Keefe and three others involved in the Landrieu phone incident.  Perhaps CNN is confusing allegations and charges with actual punishment.

The opening paragraph of the article reads:

Rochelle Riley of the Detroit Free Press recently penned a column so wrought with falsehoods that it is difficult to navigate the ensuing minefield of absurdity. 

But navigate we shall...

Riley sets out with a fully sarcastic, yet hearty, thank you to John Boehner, alleging that his fiery speech to the House had contributed to the Democrat's healthcare victory.

"Boehner and many of his supporters - as well as some extremists the party hasn't decided how to handle - faced off against the American people and lost."

It is difficult to comprehend the unmitigated arrogance of liberals as they repeatedly voice that talking point:  The healthcare reform legislation is a victory for the American people. 

This simply is not so.  As recently as Sunday, Americans were staunchly opposed to Obamacare by a 54-41% margin according to a Rasmussen poll.  The veracity of their opposition was also overwhelming, with 45% who strongly oppose the plan, and 26% who strongly favor the plan.  If this were an election, we'd be speaking in terms of a landslide.  In reality, it is a landslide defeat for the American people.  For Obama, Pelosi, and their liberal media cohorts to define going against the will of the governed as a victory for the people, is to essentially spit directly into the collective face of this nation.

We've seen the likes of Time Magazine, MSNBC, the Washington Post, and Newsweek link the Joe Stack airplane attack to the conservative movement.  But in an interesting twist, a political blogger for The Nation has inexplicably linked Stack to several players at the recent CPAC convention - including Tim Pawlenty, Scott Brown, and most notably Glenn Beck. 

Leslie Savan wastes little time delving into despicable comparisons from the onset with the title to her rant: 

Glenn Beck Dodges Incoming Plane at CPAC

From there, the associations to Stack stretch ever further.  Savan somehow manages to draw parallels between Pawlenty's comment about taking a 9-iron to big government, and the attack (emphasis mine throughout):

"Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty strained to hit a Southern-sheriff note of populist threat by suggesting, rather oddly, that conservatives were cuckolded wives who, like Tiger Woods's spouse, should "take a 9-iron and smash the window out of big government in this country!"--thereby managing to invoke both the wall of shattered glass windows at the Echelon Building and the marital troubles that may have contributed to Stack's anger."

It would seem the term ‘metaphor' is beyond the writer's grasp. 

Next up is an out of context quote from Scott Brown:

How does one prepare for an upcoming appearance by Seth MacFarlane of Family Guy fame?  If you're Bill Maher, you follow up the Family Guy/Sarah Palin/Down Syndrome attack by doing an 'exclusive rant' for the Huffington Post which includes - you guessed it - a joke about Sarah Palin's son, Trig.

Maher appeals to his lower-intellect audience by stating:

"...while we were off, Sarah Palin agreed to do commentary at Fox News.  Which is actually very similar to her day job - talking to a baby with Down Syndrome."

Video can be found here:

Once again some members of the media have taken to branding Rush Limbaugh a racist, offering backhanded compliments and genuine surprise that a black woman could have won the Miss America contest whilst he served as judge.

As Boyce Watkins lamented in his Black Voices article, (emphasis mine throughout):

"This week, Rush Limbaugh was standing in front of a talented black woman who was trying to become Miss America. I am not sure if Rush voted for her or not, but the black woman was able to win.  Caressa Cameron, a 22-year old from Virginia Commonwealth University, was crowned Saturday night as the winner of the 2010 Miss America pageant."

Watkins, himself a fervent anti-conservative from the Al Sharpton School of race baiting, was merely voicing what many in the media are thinking - a black woman won despite the presence of Limbaugh.

Take NBC Washington for example, who explains that Rush was indeed charmed by Ms. Cameron, saying that she won simply because she:

The White House continues to throw out random numbers in their quest to convince the public that their behemoth stimulus bill is saving jobs at a massive rate.  The confusion has even seeped into the President's biggest support group - the media.

CNN recently announced how the stimulus plan funded nearly 600,000 jobs this past quarter.  In their article, which parrots the numbers provided by the administration's Web site, CNN hints that these figures may actually be low, in that they do not include jobs created 'indirectly' (emphasis mine throughout):

"It does not tally jobs created indirectly through companies buying supplies for stimulus projects, people spending their tax cuts, increased unemployment benefits and the like."

Would adding the number of indirect jobs have provided a boost to the stimulus numbers?

Not quite, according to a source CNN can likely trust - themselves...

Watching the media's inability to find relevant investigative news during the Obama era is like watching a bald-headed fellow named Fudd hunting for ‘wabbit'. 

Such is the case of the main stream media's complete and utter ignorance involving the administration recently steering a $25 million no-bid contract to a Democratic campaign contributor. 

While Fox News reporter James Rosen did an in-depth investigative report (and follow up) on the deal with Checchi & Company - despite working for what the administration considers a non-news network - the entire media establishment had ignored a significant reneging of campaign promises, right up until that deal was canceled.

Doing his best impersonation of a crystal ball, NewsBuster Tom Blumer correctly foretold the future when he questioned the media response to the story:   

"Will the rest of the establishment press risk the tattered remnants of its credibility, follow the White House's suggestion, and ignore the story because it's coming from Fox?"

The answer...

In an unfortunate choice of articles, MSNBC earlier had a featured set of headlines in their politics section regarding the stimulus package and its effect on the troubled job market.

One article touts the recent White House claim that the stimulus package had saved 2 million jobs.

But the other article explains why a new method of accounting adopted by the White House will make it "impossible to track the number of jobs saved or created with the $787 billion in recovery money."

The screenshot below leads viewers to two very different reports:

The media has frequently made the deplorable decision to present prisoners at Guantanamo Bay as innocent choir boys, wrapped up in the evil that is a U.S. prison system run by blood thirsty prison guards. Such is the case of a recent piece by the BBC, covering a love-fest reunion between the former Guantanamo guard who has seen the light, repenting for his evil ways, and two ex-inmates whose only goal in Afghanistan back in 2001 was to provide aid work, sight see, and smoke dope.

The BBC interview with the three individuals - former prison guard Brandon Neely and former inmates Ruhal Ahmed and Shafiq Rasul - asks the question: "But what were the pair doing in Afghanistan in 2001?"

Ahmed's response goes unquestioned (emphasis mine throughout):

Mr Ahmed admits they had a secret agenda for entering Afghanistan, but it wasn't to join al-Qaeda.

"Aid work was like probably 5% of it. Our main reason was just to go and sightsee really and smoke some dope".

Indeed, a true to life Harold and Kumar.

But what were the benevolent ones, Ahmed and Rasul, really doing at the time that the BBC would rather whitewash in their reporting?

As has been noted here in the recent past, it isn't just government entities that are a little slow on the uptake when it comes to identifying radical Muslim preachers as accessories to terrorism - it's also the media.  Consider the case of Anwar al-Awlaki, a man who has consistently shown ties to terrorist attacks, yet who had gone predominantly under the media radar as nothing more than a simple cleric.

Also consider the curious case of one Yasir Qadhi, a man recently interviewed by CNN for a sympathetic look at the failed underwear bomber, Umar Farouk AbdulMutallab.  A man who has apparently escaped background investigations by both CNN and the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC).  (H/t the Jawa Report)

How else to explain CNN's representation of Qadhi as a simple, orthodox teacher of Islam, who had no idea of the extremist views of AbdulMutallab?  And how else to explain the baffling decision by the NCTC to utilize Qadhi in its deradicalization efforts?

What, you might ask, is wrong with presenting this man as a moderate teacher of ‘the nuts and bolts of Islam?'

Well, for starters, he is - by his own admission - a proud member of the U.S. terror watch list, and an instructor at an institution so extreme in their teachings, that an anti-terror consultant once dubbed the school ‘Jihad U.'

Find out more about the man CNN presents as an innocent professor of Islam after the break...

Representative Pete Hoekstra recently indicated that the attempted bombing of Northwest Airlines Flight 253 should be a clue that helps the Obama Administration ‘connect the dots' on terrorism.

While that remains unlikely with an administration more obsessed with right-wing extremists, man-caused disasters, and the impeccable success of our counterterrorism systems, perhaps it's time to start holding the main stream media accountable for their own inability to connect certain dots. 

Such is the case of the media's handling of Anwar al-Awlaki...

The New York Daily News is demonstrating that PDA's (Palin Derangement Awards) just never go out of style - celebrating yet another triumph in liberal media condescension by judging Sarah Palin to be one of 2009's worst celebrity parents.  Palin shares the limelight with the selfless and humble parents of the balloon boy, David Hasselhoff, the Pez dispenser emulating Octomom, and Courtney Love.

Having recently secured Politifact's ‘Lie of the Year', in which one is seemingly bestowed the honor of liar simply for pointing out obvious questions involving a so-called ‘death panel' known as the Independent Medicare Advisory Board - (In other words, ‘Lie of the Year' translates to ‘Questions We'd Rather You Didn't Ask') - Palin finds herself with little time to celebrate. 

So, in a quick turnaround from the high that is winning a prestigious award from a non-fact-checking fact-checking Web site, Palin finds herself having to hastily accept the honor of Worst Celebrity Parent.

And what does the New York Daily News base this label on?  A quote from the attention deprived Levi Johnston, who once claimed in a Vanity Fair interview that Palin referred to her baby Trig as being ‘the retarded baby'. 

The Daily News recalls Johnston's remarks...

White House Press Secretary, Robert Gibbs, recently ridiculed a Gallup poll which showed the President's approval ratings at a record low for this stage of his presidency, for seemingly no other reason than they showed the President in a negative light.  Gibbs referred to the Gallup polling organization as a wildly fluctuating EKG, labeling their results as the equivalent of ‘a 6-year-old with a crayon.'

Predictably, this administration has managed to throw a temper tantrum at every instance of failure that has defined them.  The only surprise here, being that Gibbs was capable of taking the pacifier out of his mouth long enough to make the analogy.

On the other hand, it was mere months ago that Gibbs himself used Gallup poll numbers to demonstrate support for President Obama's economic stimulus plan - a stimulus plan that a 6-year-old with a crayon would have voted ‘no' on.

Gibbs Gallup glorifying after the break...

People Magazine practically slipped over their drool-laden piece yesterday involving First Lady Michelle Obama's decision to recycle ornaments for the White House Christmas tree.  The opening statement of this piece is so very complimentary of this novel decision, you'd think it was a decision that qualifies Mrs. Obama as a nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize next year.  (Cause that's a little ridiculous, no?) 

It reads:

"It used to be that Christmas at the White House dazzled visitors with the glitter of thousands of fairy lights. But not this year. Not in this economy and not with this practical-minded first lady."

Apparently, first ladies of years past had celebrated Christmas in the White House with a total disregard for the economy and the environment. 

Not so, however...

Shortly after the opening paragraph's praising of the current White House Christmas tree, the People article takes a swipe at the Clintons and Bushes for not being more like the Obamas:

In case you missed the media coverage of the Fort Hood shooting for the last several days, let's sum up the main theme:  Nidal Malik Hasan is not a terrorist.

CNN continued that theme early Thursday morning with an interview from a profiler who claims that Hasan is nothing more than a lonely, wifeless, psychopath in the midst of a midlife crisis. 

Criminologist Pat Brown states that:

"He was simply a lone guy who had issues, problems, psychopathic behaviors that escalated to the point where he wanted to get back at society, and he took it out on his workmates like most of them do."

What does Brown base that assessment on?  During a correspondence with her (outlined in full at the end of this post), CNN's profiler of choice had very little to say about the radical Muslim ideology in the Hasan case.  You'll be amazed at what follows:

As is seemingly tradition, the media is once again playing that classic game known as ‘How Can We Blame Bush?'  It's the party favorite where liberals take the biggest headline of the day, and immediately link Bush to the cause in one fell swoop, eliminating all facets of rationale. 

Now, syndicated columnist Gwynne Dyer has introduced his own version, something that is only surprising in the length of time it took for this kind of diatribe to crack the pages of the media:  ‘Fort Hood = Bush's fault'.

In his latest column, Dyer makes the tired argument that it is the War on Terror which breeds Muslim resentment, and by extension, is an obvious explanation for the actions of Major Nidal Malik Hasan.  It was President Bush who popularized the War on Terror phrase, delivering a speech shortly after the attacks of September 11th which would outline his future plans. 

As Dyer states (emphasis mine):

The one explanation that is excluded is that America's wars in Muslim lands overseas are radicalizing Muslims at home.

Dyer's revisionist history also explains that the War on Terror itself was not in response to escalating attacks by jihadists - rather, it was part panic, part ignorance, and a heaping portion of racism.

(More after the break)