It did not take long for MSNBC to begin blaming the right-wing “anti-Obama machine” for the backlash against the Bergdahl prisoner swap. Intent on ignoring their own poll in which 65% of respondents didn’t support Obama’s decision to make the exchange, the June 3 edition of The Last Word With Lawrence O’Donnell went above and beyond in criticizing Republicans for “swiftboating” Bergdahl.
After airing multiple clips from Fox News, host Ari Melber, filling in for O’Donnell, went so far as to claim that “many of the loudest voices here on the Right today remain utterly uninterested in any of the questions, and are instead obsessed with hurling any accusation that might, just might, stick to this particular president.” He accused Republican strategists of manipulating Bergdahl’s platoon members for testimony discrediting Bergdahl, an outrageous claim considering these veterans came forward of their own accord and even created a Facebook group labeling the Bergdahl as a deserter. [See video below. Click here for audio]
Far too many journalists in the Washington-Gotham axis believe that any criticism of President Barack Obama must have its roots in cynical right-wing political opportunism and nothing else. At Bloomberg News, in a dispatch time-stamped June 4 at midnight, reporters David Lerman and Kathleen Hunter regaled readers with how the "Taliban Release Gives Republicans Fuel Beyond Benghazi." Some Democrats' concerns about Obama's actions in the freeing of Bowe Bergdahl were already known, including substantive issues of national security. But the Bloomberg pair limited the scope of Obama's problem with Dems to notification, while contending that "the demands for more information have come mostly from Republicans, some of whom already have declared their opposition to a deal whose details have yet to be fully disclosed."
The left-leaning New York Daily News also didn't get the memo that any criticism of Obama can only come from the right.
Richard Engel, NBC’s Chief Foreign Correspondent, had some harsh words for the U.S. government’s refusal to provide the American public with information about the release of Sergeant Bergdhal in exchange for five Taliban prisoners.
Appearing on MSNBC’s Morning Joe on Wednesday, June 4, Engel remarked that “We've actually been getting more information today from the Taliban than we have from spokespersons here at the hospital in Landstuhl.” [See video below.]
Acting as a stenographer on Wednesday's NBC Today, chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd parroted the Obama administration's new attack against critics of the Bowe Bergdahl prisoner exchange: "They did not expect this backlash on Bergdahl himself. I've had a few aides describe it to me as, 'We didn't know that they were going to swift boat Bergdahl'....a reference to that political fight back in 2004 over John Kerry's military service that became so controversial in that campaign. So there's some fighting words there." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
The outrageous talking point was prompted by co-host Matt Lauer wondering: "Did the White House truly think this was just going to be a celebratory moment, the release of Sergeant Bergdahl? Did they not see any of this backlash coming? Were they caught flat-footed?"
Psst: David Gregory! You can stop auditioning to fill Jay Carney's White House spokesman spot. President Obama has already appointed someone else. Given his rotten Meet The Press ratings, it's understandable that Gregory would be prospecting for his next position. Even so, his performance on today's Morning Joe was pitiable.
With even liberals like Mika Brzezinski, Donny Deutsch and John Heilemann dumping on the Bergdahl deal, there was Gregory as President Obama's lone defender. Thus: Dianne Feinstein has criticized the lack of consultation? Meh: she's been critical of the Obama admin on other things. And twice Gregory made the argument that Commanders-in-Chief, whatever the circumstances, just don't leave soldiers on the battlefield. That was too much even for Heilemann, who argued that there are limits to what a C-in-C should do, particularly when the soldier in question might have been a deserter. View the video after the jump.
Add CNN political commentator Paul Begala to the list of liberals finding fault with the way President Obama handled the release of five Taliban members from Guantanamo Bay in exchange for American hostage Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl.
On Wednesday's New Day on CNN, the liberal spinmeister took the Obama administration to task for not obeying the legal requirement that Congress should be informed 30 days before the release of prisoners from Guantanamo Bay. [See video after break.]
"Obama, when you've lost MAD magazine, you've lost America."
That was the apt quote from one of Mad Magazine's readers commenting on their hard hitting parody about President Obama's trade of Bowe Bergdahl for five top Taliban leaders who had been incarcerated in Guantanamo. As you will see after the jump, Mad took a very dim view of the exchange. "Barack Obama's Unfortunate New Movie," was very different from the usual light-hearted humor you see in Mad:
It's not scientific, of course, but a reader poll at the bottom of an MSNBC.com piece headlined "Is Bowe Bergdahl the GOP’s new Benghazi?" seems to indicate that not even fans of the Lean Forward network are falling for the network's absurd pro-Obama spin on the prisoner swap.
By a nearly 2-to-1 margin (65 percent), readers answered "no" to the poll question, "Do you support Obama’s decision to release 5 Taliban prisoners in exchange for Bergdahl?" You can see the screen capture taken at 9:09 p.m. Eastern below the page break
On his June 3 Hardball program, MSNBC's Chris Matthews expressed his disapproval of the president having broken federal law in the process of securing Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl's release in exchange for transferring five high-level Taliban detainees from Guantanamo Bay to Qatari government custody.
Of course, it took a liberal Democrat, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) complaining about the matter to register with Matthews as a problem for the president, but all the same, the Hardball host seemed angry that President Obama violated a law which he signed into effect. The relevant transcript appears below the page break [emphasis mine; Listen to the MP3 audio here or watch the video below the page break]:
In order to press through with the five-for-one POW exchange to return Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, "the White House overrode an existing interagency process charged with debating the transfer of Guantanamo Bay prisoners and dismissed long-standing Pentagon and intelligence community concerns based on Top Secret intelligence about the dangers of releasing" the five high-level Taliban detainees, Time magazine's Massimo Calabresi reported this afternoon at Time.com.
Indeed, "Obama’s move was an ultimate victory for those at the White House and the State Department who had previously argued the military should 'suck it up and salute,' says the official familiar with the debate," Calabresi reported. Appropriately, Time editors ripped that "suck it up and salute" line and made it the teaser headline on the Time.com front page [see screen capture below page break]. Aside from delving into the internal debate in the intelligence community and the administration over the release, Calabresi also reported how Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was given a heads up, even as it seems everyone else in Congress on both sides of the aisle were kept in the dark [emphasis mine]:
Establishment press outfits have an annoying and in my view fundamentally deceptive tendency to make the content of news reports disappear once they have been "updated" with new information. The Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, is one of this technique's most egregious practitioners.
There's really no good reason for this practice. Storage is cheap. But far more important, so is leaving tracks for the sake of the historical record. In the past 48 hours, AP has virtually deep-sixed a particularly damning incident involving Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel as he crowed in front of U.S. troops about Bowe Bergdahl's release.
On Tuesday, MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell Reports presented two very different accounts of what kind of soldier Bowe Bergdahl was, first as a disillusioned free spirit who wished he'd joined the Peace Corps, then as a bloodthirsty warrior who wanted to rip the enemy's face off. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Talking to New York Times reporter Elisabeth Bumiller, host Andrea Mitchell portrayed Bergdahl sympathetically: "I read somewhere, and it may have been your reporting, that he initially thought it was sort of joining the Peace Corps, that he was going to be helping the Afghan people, that maybe he didn't really understand. Because his disillusionment came so quickly..." Bumiller replied: "He did have some romantic notions...he was going over to Afghanistan to help the Afghan people. And those views were quickly dashed after he got there."