Throughout the day on Thursday, CNN carried the water for the Democrats and portayed President Bush’s "appeasement" remarks before the Knesset in Israel as an attack on Barack Obama. "The Situation Room" host Wolf Blitzer began his program by stating that "President Bush slams Barack Obama from Israel." Senior political analyst Gloria Borger quipped, "I know that the White House press secretary says they were not talking about Barack Obama, but of course they were." Senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin remarked, "I think this is straight out of the usual Republican playbook." Jack Cafferty struck hard: "He is beyond irrelevant and he's not going to scare anybody. He just babbles away like Eliot Spitzer talking about matrimonial fidelity. It's a joke." CNN’s other senior political analyst, David Gergen, reminisced, "I can't remember as brazen a political shot by a President overseas in a political race back home... an especially jagged kind of criticism."
CNN correspondent Ed Henry hacked out 29 paragraphs on his network's Web site dedicated to the proposition that "President Bush launched a sharp but veiled attack Thursday on Sen. Barack Obama and other Democrats." Henry cited anonymous White House sources to acknowledge that "the remarks [before the Israeli Knesset] were aimed at the presidential candidate [Barack Obama] and others in his party."
Henry then expended much energy tracking down Democrats to bluster about Bush's "veiled attack" and how specious it was, including a hot-tempered Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.) declaring the charge, "bulls**t."
But aside from the he-said/she-said treatment of quoting Democratic outrage and finding Republicans -- White House Press Secretary Dana Perino and presumptive GOP nominee Sen. John McCain -- on the defensive, Henry failed to look into Obama's past statements on his vision for presidential diplomacy.
Yet Obama's presidential campaign Web site itself lays out in pretty simple terms the Illinois Democrat's view about engaging the Iranian regime in "direct" negotiations with no preconditions (emphasis mine):
White House Press Secretary Dana Perino has refuted assertions by CNN that President Bush, in a speech to the Israeli Knesset on Thursday, "[suggested] that Senator Barack Obama and other Democrats are in favor of appeasing terrorists in the same way that U.S. leaders appeased the Nazis in the run-up to World War II."
As my colleague Matthew Balan reported less than two hours ago, CNN's "American Morning" was quick to view statements made by the President as hostile to the junior senator from Illinois and other Democrats.
Yet, in a press gaggle following the President's speech, Perino flatly denied such assertions (file photo above right):
Minutes after President Bush began his speech to the Israeli Knesset, CNN quickly channeled outraged Democratic reaction to his "false comfort of appeasement" remark. "American Morning" co-host John Roberts, in a brief on the speech, claimed the President was "suggesting that Senator Barack Obama and other Democrats are in favor of appeasing terrorists in the same way that U.S. leaders appeased the Nazis in the run-up to World War II," though the President did not mention any Democratic official or the Democratic Party.
The graphic on the screen also reflected this belief that Democrats were being unfairly smeared: "Pres. Says Obama, Other Dems Want ‘Appeasement of Terrorists" and "Pres. Bush Compares Dems’ Stance on War to Appeasement of Nazis."
In rural parts of the country, it happens from time to time; a person appears uninvited on someone's property, and the landowner tells them that "elsewhere" is a better place to be. Typically these confrontations are benign in nature, even when on occasion either the property owner or the trespasser turns out to be armed.
Such was the case in Texas this past weekend when a Danish reporter wandered into the yard of an elderly Texas woman, and she shooed him off, a gun apparently in hand.
CNN's Ed Henry made quite a big deal out of the incident, promoting it as a near "international incident" writing in the lede that the Dane came "this close to getting shot."
He characterized the confrontation this way:
Give CNN points for stating the obvious, if points are deserved for such a prosaic report. But, don't forget that by doing so, it is their gleeful kick in the ribs to George W. Bush and that particular aspect was the goal in the first place for reporting that the race for the White House "overshadowed" Bush's State of the Union speech.
From the headline to the last word of the piece, there is little by way of new or prescient "analysis" relayed in a report half of which delights to say how supposedly irrelevant Bush has become. Proclaiming, "Analysis: Bush overshadowed by presidential race," CNN doesn't give us much by way of thoughtful "analysis:"
I'll be live-blogging the press conference (mostly just the questions from the journalists as we're focused on the bias) and if a video update is warranted, we'll post one shortly after the conference concludes:
10:44 closes press conference, leaves podium.
10:41: Mark Silva, Chicago Tribune, says reading Bush's body language he can tell he's "somewhat dispirited." Then he says "the facts have failed you" on things he's telling the American people. Quotes Harry Reid. "Are you feeling troubled... credibility gap?"