November 16, 2015

I'm starting to see a familiar pattern emerge again. After the attacks on 9/11, it's no secret that the mainstream media helped enable the Iraq war by refusing to do their jobs and became cheerleaders for America to kick ass instead of questioning what was being disseminated to the American people. Watching today's questions to President Obama after the Paris attacks, I'm seeing the same thing again.

If President Obama had ordered ground forces into Syria and any place ISIS breathes, I imagine the media would be silently celebrating, but since Obama is taking a thoughtful approach, they are asking for blood. For decades, in the media's eye, Republicans were the real big boys on national security, who were the only ones qualified to protect the homeland,. You'd think that after the Bush administration's horrific decisions, that fantasy would have been smashed forever. Unfortunately, it's not.

NBC's Ron Allen parroted right wing criticisms on Obama instead of being a real journalist

"I think a lot of people around the world and in America are concerned because, given the strategy that you are pursuing and it's been more than a year now, ISIS' capability seems to be expanding. Were you aware that they had the capability of pulling off the kind of attack that they did in Paris? Are you concerned and do you think they have that same capability to strike in the United States? And do you think that given all you've learned about Isis over the past year or so and given all the criticism about your underestimating them, do you think you really understand this enemy well enough to defeat them and to protect the homeland?"

Say, what? Is Allen auditioning for a job with Donald Trump's campaign? Has the homeland been protected since President Obama took office? If so, then why did he ask this insane question ?

Here's CNN's Jim Acosta demanding American/Rambo style action against ISIS:

A CNN reporter used a bit of heated language on Monday when asking President Obama about the U.S. strategy to defeat ISIS.

"I guess the question is – if you'll forgive the language – why can't we take out these bastards?" CNN's Jim Acosta asked.

Not that I think Acosta's stupid, but America has been trying to take out the bastards for the last fourteen years, through two administrations and it hasn't succeeded yet, but Acosta ran on pure adrenalin and undermined the entire press corp.

These reactions by reporters are very troubling because it's starting a horrible trend again. We can't have the press revert back to their behavior that was run by emotion and jingoism after the Twin Towers went down. What did that accomplish?

I hope the executives in charge of the news for NBC, CBS, ABC, CNN, MSNBC take a step back and remember why they failed so miserably not that long ago and tell their reporters to be professionals. If we don't expose this behavior by the press now, I fear another foreign policy debacle is not far behind.

Now the media is labeling Abdelhamid Abaaoud as the new "mastermind."

That's not the case at all and they are building him up into the next Lex Luthor, when he's just a coward and a murderous thug and he should be named as such.

We are living in a time when news outlets need clicks to raise revenue and these click bait tropes are damaging in ways these news outlets are not considering enough. Abaaoud is a murderer, and not some master villain, imbued with the waters of the Lazarus Pit, who is challenging The Green Arrow for control of Star City. He's a killer of civilians and the innocent. Period, end of story. And the media better start recognizing this and stop granting them Mensa powers. Just do your job and report the facts and stop making things worse. Is that too much to ask?

The Myth of the Terrorist Mastermind

Now that French authorities have named a suspected chief planner of the Paris attacks—27-year-old Belgian ISIS veteran Abdelhamid Abaaoud—the press is building him up as if he’s 100 feet tall. Abaaoud isn’t just another opportunist butcher of innocent flesh, he’s a “mastermind,” concur the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Associated Press, CBS News, Fox News, Time, NPR, the Guardian, NBC News, the Independent, and other outlets. Even POLITICO gets in on the act, though hedging it as the “alleged mastermind.”

It doesn’t diminish the horror of Paris slaughter in the least to note that there was nothing “masterful” about the operation that took place last Friday. Nor was any special genius on display at two failed operations from earlier this year, on a high-speed train and in a church, attributed to Abaaoud’s know-how. These two operations—providing shooters with firearms and pointing them in the direction of a group of unsuspecting civilians—took about as much imagination and skill as ordering a pizza. The Paris assault was more complex: Abaaoud allegedly dispatched three teams of attackers to six or seven locations to perform their killing chores. But no true mastermind would brag about the results. At or near the stadium, where upwards of 80,000 fans were watching a soccer match between Germany and France, the three suicide bombers detonated their charges and killed only one other person.

UPDATE II: Digby has more examples of an out of control media:

CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, for example, was very angry:

AMANPOUR:If anybody was expecting to hear in the passion and eloquence and speech patterns of President Obama a tipping point, they did not hear that today. And as you say, defensive when he was asked questions about American leadership, dismissing the notions of American leadership as mere slogans, seeming not to take into account the very palpable fear amongst citizens, certainly here in France, to an extent in the United States, certainly in the United Kingdom — everybody bracing for the worst of the worst to happen again…

COOPER: In terms of containment, though, he is trying to stress, and whether it’s walking back comments he made before, he’s really in this was stressing geographic containment on the ground compared to the same time —

AMANPOUR:Fine. But in terms of ability they are not contained. They have just slaughtered 129 people in Paris. The death toll may rise very higher because there are 352 people injured, of whom 99 are critically wounded. So the question is to have an honest conversation now about a new strategy.

Let’s just say that if you are looking for dispassionate reporting and analysis, you’re going to have a hard time finding it on CNN.

But that was nothing compared to what Fox News offered up. Bill Hemmer was practically in tears bemoaning the fact that the president was refusing to declare war on evil:

BILL HEMMER: If you were waiting to hear a U.S. president say “I feel your pain,” or if you were waiting to hear a U.S. president say “it’s them or us,” that is not what you just heard… President Obama has made it quite clear, in that Q & A that lasted more than 45 minutes, that he has accepted there are evils in this world and evils in places like Paris, France, and this is something that we all must face today. It’s a reality in which the world we live. [sic] If you’re at home wondering with your own set of anger and your own set of fears about what could happen next, you were not alone, because that’s precisely what you feel here in Paris, France. And if you were waiting for clarification on your feelings through that Q & A, you weren’t going to get it.

He was clearly very upset and didn’t feel comforted by the president’s words. And no he isn’t 5 years old either.

At the end of the president’s comments he admonished those who would close the door to desperate refugees fleeing the civil war in Syria. Chris Matthews was furious at this and made it quite clear that he doesn’t think much of them:

Chris Matthews: I think it’s a problem that millions of Syrians coming here while we go fight their war for them. I think it’s insane. I can’t see why we should go fight a war with Syria without at least asking the Syrians if they’d like to join up.

Evan Kohlmann [terrorism expert]: These are families, These people aren’t fighters.

Matthews: Our country is filled with families too. Do you know how many of our soldiers are in multiple deployments who have families!!?

Kohlmann: Everyone has families, but when you have little kids and there are barrel bombs being dropped …

Matthews: Look, we’ve been talking about building up the Syrian army now for year. There is no Syrian Army, the basis of a Syrian Army is leaving.

Kohlmann: I don’t think you can fault these people from running from barrel bombs dropped on them.

Matthews:I’m saying “think about fighting for your country !”

Kohlmann:The time for that was back in 2013. These people are desperate…

Matthews: Try that on the American people. They’re not going to accept this. It’s not going to work. Thank you Evan Kohlman you know your stuff about terrorism. Let me tell you about politics.

Matthews, at least, does not pretend to be a reporter. But the idea that refugees of a civil war are cowards is a low point for his commentary.

Can you help us out?

For nearly 20 years we have been exposing Washington lies and untangling media deceit, but now Facebook is drowning us in an ocean of right wing lies. Please give a one-time or recurring donation, or buy a year's subscription for an ad-free experience. Thank you.


We welcome relevant, respectful comments. Any comments that are sexist or in any other way deemed hateful by our staff will be deleted and constitute grounds for a ban from posting on the site. Please refer to our Terms of Service for information on our posting policy.