At the top of Friday's CBS Early Show, co-host Erica Hill proclaimed: "Tough talk. As the violence continues to escalate between rebel forces, and Moammar Qadhafi's military, President Obama sends a clear message." A sound bite was played of Obama calling on Qadhafi to step down on Thursday. In a later report, correspondent Mandy Clark claimed Obama had "drawn his line in the sand."
On the February 24 Early Show, co-host Chris Wragge touted the "very strong words" in the President's first public statement on the crisis. On that same broadcast, Clark claimed that Libyans "...felt encouraged that the President had come out with such strong words. They now feel that the eyes of the international community is upon Qadhafi, and that will force him to hold back on any bombing campaigns or any war crimes that he might commit."
"President Obama has been taking a truckload of flak from the right for his measured response to the crises embroiling the Middle East," MSNBC's Martin Bashir harumphed as he opened his "Clear the Air" commentary on the March 1 program.
"Measured is my word because it's certainly not one that right-wing pundits have been using," Bashir complained.
Of course the term "measured" implies deliberate calculation and an overarching strategy, whereas the timeline of the Obama administration response to Libya suggests there has been, objectively speaking, some amount of "dithering" by team Obama.
While even the liberal National Public Radio blog highlighted how the "U.S. Struggles to Evacuate; Others Don't" in Libya, on Saturday's CBS Early Show, correspondent Harry Smith gave the effort high marks: "If they were handing out a report card, as far as the embassy is concerned, it would be an A+." [Audio available here]
Co-host Rebecca Jarvis implied some displeasure with the evacuation in her question to Smith: "How do the Americans that you're talking to feel about the job that the U.S. embassy did throughout the ordeal in getting them to safety?" Smith dismissed any criticism of the government response: "There's so much anti-government sentiment in America about how different parts of the bureaucracy respond to things....the way that everything was handled was just absolutely impeccable."
View video below
On Friday’s NBC Nightly News, during a report which focused on a group of Libyans helping to organize protests against dictator Muammar Qadhafi, correspondent Richard Engel gave viewers a glimpse into oppressed people looking to America for support as he concluded his report by relating that these protesters "have been waiting for a strong message from Washington." He also recounted that he had seen graffiti at the rebel headquarters calling on President Obama to "choose between the Libyan people or Qadhafi."
Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the Friday, February 25, NBC NightlyNews:
Earlier today I noted that mainstream media have not been critical of the Obama administration's poor efforts at evacuating American nationals from Libya.
Oddly enough it appears the taxpayer-subsidized NPR has.
From Bill Chappell's Feb. 24 blog post, "U.S. Struggles to Evacuate Libya; Others Don't":
At the top of Thursday's CBS Early Show, co-host Chris Wragge touted President Obama's statement on the violence in Libya: "...making his first public statements on the situation there with some very strong words." However, moments after Obama's Wednesday comments, liberal MSNBC host Chris Matthews admitted: "...that was pretty tame language given the horror that's going on in Tripoli."
On Thursday, Early Show co-host Erica Hill spoke with correspondent Mandy Clark, who was reporting from Libya, and asked about the impact of Obama's words on the crisis: "...he was saying the suffering and bloodshed is outrageous and unacceptable. How much of President Obama's words have made it to people on the streets of Libya?" Clark claimed: "Everyone we spoke to felt encouraged that the President had come out with such strong words. They now feel that the eyes of the international community is upon Qadhafi, and that will force him to hold back on any bombing campaigns or any war crimes that he might commit."
During the Bush administration, the media perpetually pounded on news developments that highlighted real or imagined incompetence and/or the low regard with which the administration was held in foreign capitals.
But with the Obama administration's poor handling of the Libyan crisis, the MSM have been strangely mute.
Take for example the evaucation of American expatriates from Libya.
Good Morning America news anchor Juju Chang on Thursday made a goof that could surprise her morning show audience. Discussing instability in the Middle East, the reporter claimed that oil prices have been pushed above "$100 per gallon."
Obviously, Chang meant that oil prices are now over $100 per barrel. The current national average for a gallon of regular gasoline is $3.22. (See below for video of the hilarious gaffe. MP3 audio here.)
If Time-magaziner-turned-WH-press-sec Jay Carney ever tires of defending Pres. Obama, Norah O'Donnell clearly seems ready to step in...
When on today's Morning Joe Donny Deutsch described PBO as having a passive leadership style as evidenced by his approach to Libya, health care and other issues, an indignant O'Donnell piped up, defending the president's passivity.
View video after the jump.
"U.S. still awaiting Libya's permission to evacuate Americans," blared the headline for a page A6 story in today's Washington Post.
"The United States has been unable to get Libya's permission to evacuate American citizens from the country, State Department officials said Tuesday, prompting the administration to temper its response to the Libyan crackdown," Post staffers Mary Beth Sheridan and Colum Lynch noted.
Gee, you'd think that should be front-page news, and it's difficult to imagine this not being front-page news had it happened under President George W. Bush's watch.
Since that article's publication, the State Department has chartered a ferry to evacuate American citizens from the country. From a story filed by Sheridan and Lynch at 11:15 a.m. EST today:
While it is quite clear that the officials of WikiLeaks are leftists, there are more conservative media outlets picking through its scraps. The Telegraph in the U.K. has found a scandal: that the British government manipulated the Libyans into releasing a mass-murdering terrorist on his cancer diagnosis:
A Foreign Office minister sent Libyan officials detailed legal advice on how to use Abdelbaset al-Megrahi’s cancer diagnosis to ensure he was released from a Scottish prison on compassionate grounds.
The Duke of York [Prince Andrew] is also said to have played a behind-the-scenes role in encouraging the terrorist’s release.