ABC, NBC Continue to Ignore Damaging Biden Gaffes on U.S. Allies in the Middle East

On Monday night, ABC and NBC continued its blackout of Vice President Joe Biden’s latest gaffes regarding U.S. allies in the Middle East that led to the White House forcing Biden to call and apologize to Turkey and the United Arab Emirates over the weekend. 

Additionally, NBC continued to not cover Biden’s other gaffe made in the same speech at Harvard University, in which he uttered an expletive when remarking to Harvard’s student body vice president about being the second person in command. [MP3 audio here; Video below]

After Monday’s CBS This Morning covered Biden’s remarks that U.S. allies in the Middle East had aided terrorists to fight in Syria, CBS continued its coverage of the story with a full report from CBS News chief White House correspondent Major Garrett during Monday night’s CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley.

Anchor Scott Pelley began the two-minute-and-nine-second segment by saying that the White House was spending Monday night “working to smooth things over after some undiplomatic remarks by the Vice President shook up the alliance against ISIS.”

Garrett mentioned that Biden committed two policy-related gaffes during the speech regarding U.S. diplomacy in the Middle East, with the first being:

Vice President Biden said Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates had allowed extremist groups to flourish in Syria, all in the name of fighting the regime of Bashar Al Assad and indirectly giving rise to ISIS.

As for the second gaffe regarding the fight against ISIS, he: 

[A]lso committed the diplomatic faux pas of recounting a private conversation with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, where Erdogan admitted that foreign fighters were crossing from southern Turkey to join ISIS in Syria. 

All in all, Garrett summarized these two gaffes as having “joined a long list of recent, public missteps by Biden.”

In addition, Garrett mentioned Biden’s third gaffe that came later during the same Harvard event, in which he “cursed while joking about the limits of his office.” The mention by Garrett was the first mention of it on CBS (following a brief mention on ABC World News Tonight with David Muir on Friday).

On Monday night’s Special Report with Bret Baier on the Fox News Channel (FNC), the program’s panel discussed Biden’s latest gaffes as well. Weekly Standard senior writer Steve Hayes remarked that, while some enjoy laughing about Biden whenever he says something regrettable, “they can have serious, geopolitical repercussions and I think that's what we’re seeing now.”    

Associate editor of The Hill A.B. Stoddard noted that what Biden said was far from inaccurate, but, nonetheless, “it's not helpful to say our allies are our biggest problems.”

The complete transcript of the segment that aired on the CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley on October 6 can be found below.

CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley
October 6, 2014
6:40 p.m. Eastern

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE CAPTION: Controversial Comments] 

SCOTT PELLEY: The White House tonight is working to smooth things over after some undiplomatic remarks by the Vice President shook up the alliance against ISIS and Major Garrett has that. 

VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: Our biggest problem is our allies. 

MAJOR GARRETT: Following a speech last week at Harvard University, Vice President Biden said Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates had allowed extremist groups to flourish in Syria, all in the name of fighting the regime of Bashar Al Assad and indirectly giving rise to ISIS. 

BIDEN: They poured hundreds of millions of dollars and thousands of tons of weapons into anyone who would fight against Assad, except that the people who were being supplied were al-Nusra and al-Qaeda, and the extremist elements of Jihadis coming from other parts of the world. 

GARRETT: Biden also committed the diplomatic faux pas of recounting a private conversation with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, where Erdogan admitted that foreign fighters were crossing from southern Turkey to join ISIS in Syria. 

BIDEN: President Erdogan told me, he's an old friend, said, you were right. We let too many people through. Now they're trying to seal the border. 

GARRETT: The White House worried that Biden's statements could undermine the newly formed coalition of Middle Eastern countries fighting ISIS. Turkey only publicly joined last week. When Erdogan demanded an apology, Biden complied, placing weekend phone calls to the Turkish President and the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi. The comments joined a long list of recent, public missteps by Biden. In that same speech, Biden cursed while joking about the limits of his office. 

BIDEN: Isn’t it a [bleeped]? [LAUGHTER]

GARRETT: Biden gave voice to long-simmering White House frustration about the flow of arms, money and foreign fighters into Syria. His mistake suggesting it was official policy of countries named, but, Scott, the White House says it remains confident the new coalition will hang together even amid Biden's candor. 

PELLEY: Major Garrett reporting from the White House tonight. Major, thank you.

The relevant portions of the transcript from FNC’s Special Report with Bret Baier on October 6 are transcribed below.

Special Report with Bret Baier
October 6, 2014
6:39 p.m. Eastern    

BRET BAIER:  Meantime, ISIS moves forward in Syria, some people say taking over the town of Kobani, right there on the border with Turkey, a Kurdish town, the Kurds say they’re still fighting for it, but officials acknowledge it could fall soon. This, after Vice President Biden is also apologizing for this remark last week. 

VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: Our allies in the region were our largest problem in Syria. The Turks, who are great friends and I have a great relationship with Erdogan, who I just spent a lot of time with. The Saudis, the emirates, et cetera. What were they doing? They were so determined to take down Assad and essentially have a proxy Sunni-Shia war, what did they do? They poured hundreds of millions of dollars and ten thousands of tons of weapons into anyone who would fight against Assad, except that the people who were being supplied were al-Nusra, and al-Qaeda. 

BAIER: Vice President Biden has so far apologized to Turkey and the UAE. Let's bring in our panel: Steve Hayes, senior writer for The Weekly Standard, A.B. Stoddard, associate editor of The Hill, and syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer. Steve?

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: BIDEN: “Biggest Problem is Our Allies”]

STEVE HAYES: Well, you don’t want Joe Biden saying those things, and we laugh about – at some of his gaffes, and they provide great entertainment and fodder for journalists covering him, but you know, they can have serious, geopolitical repercussions and I think that's what we’re seeing now as we're trying to encourage Turkey to do things like fight in Kobani and stand up with the United States, even if what he said had some truth to it. I mean, that's the case of many of Joe Biden's gaffes is he does say something that’s true, it's just a little bit impolitic, I think that's what we're looking at here. 

BAIER: A.B.?

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Biden Apologizes to Turkey and UAE]

A.B. STODDARD: Yeah, it’s, you know, a lot of what he said is true, a lot of it is not exactly true. You don’t like to say things – it's not helpful to say our allies are our biggest problems, but, obviously some of our allies he mentioned have actually funded Jihadists within their borders or in and around Syria and Turkey has been a real conduit for ISIS. So there's a lot of frustration, but Joe Biden has a habit of saying everything you're not allowed to say when you're Vice President of the United States. 

Foreign Policy Iraq Middle East Syria Media Bias Debate Bias by Omission War on Terrorism ABC World News Tonight CBS CBS Evening News NBC NBC Nightly News Fox News Channel Special Report Stephen Hayes Steve Hayes Scott Pelley Major Garrett A.B. Stoddard Bret Baier Joe Biden
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