CBS used its Sunday evening and Monday morning newscasts to keep the spotlight on the question of a "possible cover-up" surrounding the terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi. Jeff Glor led CBS Evening News with the scoop from earlier in the day on Face the Nation – that a "career U.S. diplomat is raising new questions" about the Obama administration's claim that the attack spontaneously erupted in response to an early protest in Egypt.
Monday's CBS This Morning also aired a report on this latest development on the September 11, 2012 attack. Meanwhile, ABC and NBC have yet to pick up on the veteran diplomat's allegations, despite the fact that he is set to testify publicly to Congress on the issue on Wednesday.
The Big Three networks unequivocally celebrated the end of the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy as a "historic moment" on their Tuesday morning programs. CBS's "Early Show" turned to a discharged Air Force major who pushed for further recognition of same-sex couples by the military. NBC's "Today" brought on a homosexual playwright to promote his one-man movie on the policy. ABC's "GMA" only had a news brief on the development, but still highlighted how a magazine is "publishing photos of more than 100 active duty gay and lesbian troops who served in silence until now." None of the programs brought on dissenting voices to advocate the continuation of the policy.
"The Early Show" devoted the most amount of air time to the expiration of the policy, and led the 7 am Eastern hour with a slanted report from correspondent David Martin. Martin played sound bites from President Obama and outgoing chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Admiral Mike Mullen, both opponents of the ban on open homosexuals from serving in the military, but none from supporters:
On Sunday, a Wikileaks document dump revealed files from Guantanamo Bay in which military commanders noted the Finsbury Park mosque in north London was a "haven" for Islamic extremists, "an attack planning and propaganda production base" that recruited jihadists to fight in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
But while the American mainstream media have been ga-ga over tomorrow's royal wedding, there's been little if any attention paid to this development by the very same reporters who were packing their bags for London.
A search of Nexis for ABC, CBS, and NBC news transcripts from April 25 through today reveals nothing on the Finsbury Park mosque, although other information from the latest wikileaks dump was discussed.
A clip was played of Alston proclaiming: "You've got complete silence from the CIA...they should not be operating major projects which kill people directly." Martin then chimed in: "Think about it, a operation the U.S. doesn't even admit exists has killed more than 500 people."
Martin's report featured another critic of the tactic, the Brookings Institution's Peter Singer, who fretted: "It allows us to carry out acts of war without having to go through some of the debates we would have in the past."
Martin noted that though the attacks are secret, "everybody knows who to blame," followed by Singer arguing the attacks have been "very effective in creating a large amount of anger at the U.S. that may well bite us in the long term." Martin added: "Faisal Shahzad, the Times Square bomber, told investigators the drone strikes were the reason he set out to kill hundreds of innocent Americans."
His story, unlike those on ABC and NBC, assumed the new policy -- that ends the threat of using nuclear weapons against a nation that attacks the U.S. with chemical or biological weapons so long as they don’t develop nuclear weapons – reflects unchallenged wisdom and has no detractors.
“For the first time ever,” Martin trumpeted, “the new policy limits the circumstances under which the U.S. would resort to nuclear weapons, assuring nations which do not have them and do not try to get them they have nothing to worry about.” As if they now have a legitimate fear of the U.S. annihilating them with a nuclear attack.
ABC’s Jake Tapper, in contrast, recognized not all are thrilled with eliminating a threat which has kept America safe for decades as he also noted the new policy contradicts what Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said in 2008:
On Sunday’s 60 Minutes on CBS, correspondent David Martin reported on the "soft approach" to terrorism in Saudi Arabia: "Each time the United States releases Saudis from the prison at Guantanamo, the kingdom dispatches a 747 to Cuba to pick them up...the Saudi government is paying for cars, homes, even marriages for these reformed jihadists."
After explaining that "...more than half the so-called 'detainees' will probably never go before a jury because the U.S. government does not have a case that will stand up in court," Martin went on to describe a Saudi Arabian program for released detainees: "What we found is a rehabilitation program that attempts to make solid citizens out of holy warriors by convincing them Bin Laden has it all wrong."
Not only did Martin highlight the Saudi efforts to "rehabilitate" terror suspects, but he explained: "Some Saudis have been in Guantanamo for seven years, and Dr. Abdul Rahman Al Hadlaq believes the longer a man is there, the harder he is to treat." Martin then asked Hadlaq, a Saudi psychologist who runs the program: "They come out of Guantanamo hating Americans?...Is there evidence that Guantanamo has made them more radical?" Hadlaq replied: "I think so, yes. Because, in their journey, you know, from Afghanistan to Guantanamo, they have faced a lot of torturing. It's so important to deal with this, you know, issue of torture."
In response, Martin added: "‘Torture’ is, of course, a loaded word, but at the very least, the treatment en route to Guantanamo was rough, and provided the raw material for Al Qaeda propaganda videos to drum up new recruits."
Offering a defense of President Obama’s decision to close Guantanamo Bay within the year, on Thursday’s CBS Evening News, correspondent David Martin argued: "During his final years in office, President Bush said repeatedly he wanted to close the prison at Guantanamo, where suspected terrorists were being held indefinitely without trial. Turns out it was his own vice president who stood in the way."
Martin worked to discredit Dick Cheney’s concerns about closing the detention facility: "According to Cheney, 61 of the 530 prisoners released from Guantanamo during the Bush administration have already gone back to terrorism. According to the Defense Intelligence Agency, there are 61 suspected cases of former detainees rejoining the fight, but so far only 18 have been confirmed." Martin then admitted: "Most have subsequently been killed or captured; but some, like this suicide bomber in Iraq, lived long enough to kill again."
In a story on Sunday’s CBS "60 Minutes," on a new non-lethal ray gun developed by the Pentagon, anchor David Martin explained why such a weapon is not yet on the battlefield: "Pentagon officials call it a major breakthrough which could change the rules of war and save huge numbers of lives in Iraq. But it's still not there. That's because, in the middle of a war, the military just can't bring itself to trust a weapon that doesn't kill."
However, Martin later explains that part of the reason for the weapon not being deployed in Iraq is due to political concerns over the potential abuse of such a weapon, especially given the extreme play past abuses have gotten in the media. He talked to Assistant Secretary of the Air Force, Sue Payton:
While covering the murder of Marine Maria Lauterbach on Monday’s CBS "Early Show," Co-host Julie Chen used the opportunity to level broad charges against the military and its handling of sexual assault cases: "What did the Marines do to protect her, and when did they do it? It's a question we've heard asked for -- of the military for decades." This was followed by a report by CBS Correspondent David Martin, who agreed with Chen: "You're right, the military has long been accused of mishandling sexual assault reports, and there are now some protective measures in place."
Martin moved beyond Lauterbach, who reported being raped by the murder suspect, Cesar Laurean, last April, to other reports of sexual assault in the military:
MARTIN: Earlier in the Iraq war, revelations that there had been more than 100 sexual assault cases in Kuwait, Iraq , and the rest of the Persian Gulf, coupled with complaints from female service members that the male-dominated chain of command did not take their allegations seriously, brought this charge from Senator Susan Collins.
"Insurgent attacks are down from 170 in January to 120 in August," ABC's Terry McCarthy noted on the September 9 World News Sunday, the day before Petraeus testified before Congress. "But that is still four attacks a day, on average. Iraq remains a very violent place....Life in central Iraq is still deadly dangerous."
Both networks linked their stories to Canada's top court rejecting asylum for two U.S. Army deserters. On NBC, a deserter living in Canada asserted: “The whole reason we're here is because this was a bogus war. There were no weapons of mass destruction. There were no links to international terrorism.” CBS featured another deserter who rationalized: “If I had been asked to go to Afghanistan, I would have gone there. But the Iraq War, I didn't want to have any part of that anymore.”
Just one day after taking heat from the media and congressional Democrats,