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With this afternoon's Senate confirmation hearings for CIA director nominee John Brennan in view, the February 7 broadcast of Now with Alex Wagner devoted significant attention to the Obama administration's use of armed drones and the recently-leaked DOJ White Paper defending the legitimacy of drone strikes that explicitly targeted American civilians overseas. 

For her part, host Alex Wagner failed to mention Anwar al-Awlaki’s activities as a terrorist operative affiliated with al-Qaeda.  The Now host merely tagged al-Awlaki as an American-born cleric, even though he served as a talent recruiter within the organization and inspired Fort Hood shooter Nidal Hassan.  Al-Awlaki also had contact with Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the terrorist who attempted to blow up a passenger airliner on Christmas Day of 2009.  None of that was mentioned on the show. 


It was huge news. A map targeting those with opposing viewpoints led to a tragic attack. Partisan rhetoric was out of control and fringe-types were being driven to gun commit gun crimes. Except that, in the case of the Gabby Giffords shooting two years ago, none of those things were even remotely true. But that didn’t stop the media from breathlessly conjecturing that a target-festooned map on Sarah Palin’s website had pointed Jared Loughner to Rep. Giffords, and that Palin’s “reload” rhetoric made him shoot.

But now we have a case in which a politically motivated shooter has confessed to choosing his targets according to a map. In fact, it was a “hate map” created by the left-wing Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). But ABC, CBS, NBC, and CNN aren’t talking.


News that the New York Times and Washington Post kept secret until recently the secret U.S. drone base in Saudi Arabia is once again raising questions on the paper's politicized double standards on keeping state secrets related to the war on terror.

Contrast the deference paid to the Obama administration's request for secrecy, going along with the national security arguments advanced by Obama (until Wednesday's expose of White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennan, Obama's choice to head the CIA) with how the paper routinely leaked secrets during the Bush administration that may have hurt anti-terrorist programs. Here are just some of the national security low-lights and double standards Times Watch has documented at the Times over the years.


What's the correlation between Fox News and Playboy TV?

Well, on a relatively new online game show called Let's Ask America, web cam contestants were playfully asked which one would offend liberal parents more if they stumbled upon their teenage son watching one or the other. (video clip below; h/t email tipster John Heckman)


Why on earth would the Boy Scouts be reluctant to accept gays?

 


For two nights in a row, NBC, ABC, and CBS have ignored a story that would damage the liberal narrative they are helping the White House to push. Two days ago, the Congressional Budget Office reported that it has revised its projections of the cost of ObamaCare’s insurance subsidies. The CBO now estimates that the subsidies, which are to be offered through exchanges beginning in 2014, will cost 29 percent more than the CBO initially projected in 2010. The projected 10-year cost has increased by $233 billion.

In addition, the report estimates that 7 million workers will lose their employer-sponsored health insurance due to ObamaCare, almost twice as many as the CBO previously estimated. Monetary penalties on those who don’t buy insurance are now expected to be $36 billion higher from 2014 to 2019 than was originally thought.


The February 7 Washington Post ran an in-depth front-page story examining the relationship between Sen. Robert Menendez and a Florida eye doctor under investigation for Medicare fraud.  Despite extensively detailing the controversial relationship between the New Jersey Democrat and the reliably Democratic campaign donor, the Post's Carol Leonnig and Jerry Markon omitted that the FBI is also investigating allegations that Menendez paid for underage prostitutes with girls in the Dominican Republican. Oddly enough, however, the paper's Style section ran another Menendez story, this one by staff writer Manuel Roig-Franzia, which did mention the hooker scandal. Even so, that article, headlined "Behind the gates of this exclusive resort, a scandal brews," was mostly focused on just how exclusive and luxurious Menedez's Dominican getaway was, reading in parts like a promotional travel brochure.


Tony Bennett is one of America's most popular singers but he has proven once again that talent in the arts is no predictor of intelligence.

At a Wednesday press conference, the outspoken pacifist and ardent Democrat Bennett compared isolated gun deaths in the U.S. to Nazi concentration camps and said that if America did not do something to curtail violence in this country, the other countries would “take care of us in a really bad way,” just like they did in World War II to the Germans. Bizarre video and story below.


For the second day in a row, the CBS Evening News on Wednesday avoided any coverage of a new memo revealing that the Obama administration asserts the power to legally strike terrorists, even if they're American citizens. Of the combined three nightly newscasts on Wednesday and three morning shows on Thursday, four of them found time to cover the story.

In contrast to the Evening News, Diane Sawyer opened World News by highlighting the "secret war." Sawyer fretted, "Those escalating drone attacks in the air and the consequences on the ground. And the question-- is it making the United States safer?" Reporter Martha Raddatz explained that Obama's drone policy "has grown 700 percent under the Obama administration." Considering how hyperbolically journalists obsessed over George W. Bush's acts of "torture," one would think the Evening News would be interested in covering Obama's drone policy.


In an interview with Pattie Mallette, mother of pop star Justin Bieber, on Thursday's NBC Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie worried about Mallette's producing role in an upcoming film: "...you wanted to talk about your involvement in a movie called Crescendo....[which] tells the story of Beethoven's mother, who, while she was pregnant, attempted to have an abortion and even attempted suicide....it's a movie with a decidedly pro-life/anti-abortion purpose." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]

Guthrie invited Mallette to distance herself from that purpose: "But you feel like people, as I understand it, are getting the wrong message about what you are trying to say by your participation?" Mallette replied: "Yeah, I don't feel that it is a pro-life message. I mean, people are going to get from it what they want to. It's just – it's a true story, it's a historical piece." Guthrie pressed further: "Do you feel misled at all by the producers of the film? I mean, if the film has this message and its goal is to – is an anti-abortion message, I mean, are you okay with that? I guess I'm confused about what your position is."


Gas prices are at record highs for the time of year, and took a bigger bite out of household income last year than in decades, yet the topic has taken just a fraction of the broadcast network news programs’ time.

“The Energy Department’s statistical arm reported Monday that the average household spent $2,912 for gasoline in 2012, which makes up almost 4 percent of pre-tax income, tying 2008 for the highest percentage in roughly 30 years,” The Hill’s Ben Geman wrote on Feb. 4.


Forget your biological clock, ladies. Here’s another internal timer set to ring: the abortion alarm. Just for you, Jezebel’s Erin Gloria Ryan confirms that 25-years-old is the perfect age for an abortion.

“There's a point where [a woman is] financially and emotionally mature enough to support a child and her body is still capable of making babies — but what about the alternative?” Ryan asked in breezy piece for Jezebel, the site of “gossip, culture, fashion, and sex for the contemporary woman.” 


A Wednesday report by Keith Laing at the Hill failed to point out a quite obvious contradiction during departing Transportation Secretary LaHood's appearance on NPR's Diane Rehm show.

From all appearances, based on the video available at her site, Rehm, once LaHood launched into a predictable rant about how our transportation infrastructure is in serious disrepair, didn't ask -- and should have asked -- why the hundreds of billions of dollars spent on the stimulus plan accompanied by those ubiquitous Recovery Act promotional signs seen at road construction projects didn't stabilize things two or three years ago. Excerpts from Laing's lackluster effort follow the jump (bolds are mine):


One of the most talked about Super Bowl commercials this past Sunday was the Go Daddy ad where supermodel Bar Refaeli passionately kisses a nerd.

On NBC's Tonight Show Wednesday, host Jay Leno asked Refaeli to recreate the ad with him. It didn't turn out how he expected.


Conservatives might take heart from a recent poll showing a decline in Americans' trust in government.  But Chris Cillizza sees it as a "depressing reality." So wrote Cillizza in his "Fix" column in today's Washington Post.  Indeed, Cillizza's headline, "Are we in the end times of trust in government?", suggests that he finds the development nothing short of potentially apocalyptic.

Let's consider what Thomas Jefferson's had to say about the need for a healthy distrust of government—and speculate as to why the polling news has Chris bummed out. More after the jump.