Wednesday, 05 January 2011

A "QUESTION" FROM MEREDITH VIERA TO PAUL RYAN

Ken Berwitz

It is always heart-warming to find that those nice folks at The Today Show are, er, living up to their reputation for "neutrality".

In this connection, here is a verbatim transcript of Meredith Viera's opening question, when interviewing Paul Ryan (R-WI), who is now chairing the House Budget Committee:

"As of today Republicans control the House, and as Matt just brought up, one of the key points on your agenda will be attempting to repeal the health care plan. But given the fact you do not have the votes in the Senate, as Senator McCain just pointed out, and the President has veto power. And also given the fact that the American voters, in the midterm elections, made it clear that what they care about most right now are jobs and the economy, why go down this path at all? It almost feels like an act of revenge on the part of the Republican Party."

Yep, a veritable paradigm of journalistic professionalism.  The only possible criticism I can see is that she didn't end the question by adding "you right wing, fascist pig".

Thank you Meredith and Matt.  You certainly are keeping the Today bar at it's usual level......


HUGO AND HILLARY

Ken Berwitz

hugo chavez is the apparently unbalanced, lowlife, President-turned-dictator of Venezuela.  Hillary Clinton is the Obama administration's selection, apropos of no qualifications other than traveling a lot with Hubby Bubba when he was President, to be our Secretary of State.

Here they are at the inauguration of Brazil's new (marxist) head of state this weekend:

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton shakes hands with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on Saturday.

What a proud moment for us.

Oh, by the way, since that handshake, chavez has refused President Obama's selection of Larry Palmer - career diplomat and former Ambassador to Honduras - as US Ambassador to Venezuela, evidently because Mr. Palmer was critical of some things about chavez' government.  Here, excerpted from an article at macedoniaonline.eu (??), is who he would like instead:

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez sought to end a diplomatic stand-off with the United States on Tuesday by suggesting it name Bill Clinton, actor Sean Penn or director Oliver Stone as its envoy to Caracas.

U.S. diplomat Larry Palmer had criticized Venezuela's government, saying morale in its military was low and there were clear ties between members of the Chavez administration and leftist rebels in neighboring Colombia.

In a televised speech late on Tuesday, Venezuela's firebrand president said he had come up with a solution.

"I hope they name Oliver Stone. I'll suggest a candidate ... Sean Penn, or (linguist and philosopher Noam) Chomsky. We have a lot of friends there. Bill Clinton!" Chavez said.

Way to go, Hillary.  Just the guy to cozy up to for the cameras......


JOY BEHAR: IGNORANCE AS AN ART FORM

Ken Berwitz

Can Joy Behar possibly be this ignorant?  This ridiculous?

Well, yes.  She proves it over and over again on her (justifiably low-rated) nightly show.

Here, excerpted from Ken Shepherd's blog at newsbusters.org, is the latest example (use my link to read the entire blog and see the video):

Joined by a balanced panel of liberal Bloomberg news columnist Margaret Carlson and leftist radio host Bill Press, HLN's Joy Behar took to her eponymous program last night to dismiss the plan Republican congressmen have to read the entire U.S. Constitution from the House floor later this week.

"Do you think this Constitution-loving is getting out of hand? I mean, is it a nod to the Tea Party?" Behar asked Press, before unwittingly, perhaps, answering her own question: "Is it the first time a lot of congressmen will have heard about it, er, read it?"

Yeah, Joy.  Right on.  The constitution is just a sop to the Tea Party.  Heck, why would any enlightened person give a damn about the consitution anyway?  And what possible reason would a member of congress have for knowing what it says?

FYI:  according to the latest Neilsen ratings (Monday), Joy Behar remains dead last in the 9PM cable news ratings.  Anderson Cooper (CNN) gets about a third more viewers than Behar, Rachel Maddow (MSNBC) gets more than double her viewers, and Sean Hannity (Fox) gets 5 - 6 times as many. 

I can't help thinking that comments like the ones noted above have a little something to do with it.


WIKILEAKS AND THE IRAQ WAR

Ken Berwitz

Are our media intentionally withholding coverage of wikileaks documents that put President Bush's decisions regarding the Iraq war in a far better light than has been portrayed for all these years?

Lt. Colonel James Zumwalt (Ret.) - yes, Elmo Zumwalt's son - certainly thinks so.  And he has written a fact-filled, highly persuasive essay on why for Human Events.  Here are some of the key excerpts - (but please do yourself a favor and read the entire piece):

While the media have been quick to run with WikiLeaks U.S. State Department cable releases to undermine Washingtons efforts to effect stability in unstable parts of the world, it is slow, if not silent, in giving credit where credit is due. Although other credible sources confirmed it before WikiLeaks did, in receiving similar disinterested responses from the media, it should be clear now that President Bushs concerns about Saddam Husseins weapons of mass destruction (WMD) program were well-founded.

British intelligence had determined an effort was made by Iraq to obtain "yellowcake"   a uranium concentrate extracted from ores for use as material in higher-grade nuclear enrichment from Niger. The waters separating fact from fiction over this allegation were muddied after various claims and counter-claims followed.

 

In July 2003, former U.S. career diplomat Ambassador Joe Wilson, in a New York Times op-ed, claimed he had been sent to Africa by the Bush Administration in 2002 and had debunked the yellowcake claim. Despite Wilson's claim, a 2004 bipartisan Senate intelligence committee report found his visit actually supported evidence Saddam was undertaking a WMD effort, based on the 1999 incident.

The 2003 Iraq invasion by U.S. forces also launched a massive effort to find WMDs. By late 2003, as determined in a review by a Wired Magazine editor of WikiLeaks documents on the issue, the Administration was losing faith WMDs would be found. But, as Wired reports, the WikiLeaks documents clearly show "for years afterward, U.S. troops continued to find chemical weapons labs, encounter insurgent specialists in toxins and uncover weapons of mass destruction. . . . Chemical weapons, especially, did not vanish from the Iraqi battlefield.  
A September 2004 New York Times op-ed by the former head of Saddams nuclear research program supported this, as well. He wrote:

"[T]he West never understood the delusional nature of Saddam Husseins mind . . . he lived in a fantasy world . . . .  giving lunatic orders . . . he kept the countrys Atomic Energy Commission alive . . . Saddam fooled  . . .  the world . . . . [O]ur nuclear program could have been reinstituted at the snap of Saddam Husseins fingers."
 
Of note too is a January 2004 revelation by Syrian journalist defector Nizar Nayuf. He reported there were three locations in Syria where Iraqi WMDs had been transported prior to the 2003 invasion and were being stored. He also revealed some of these sites were being built with North Korean cooperation. This explained why three years later Israel attacked a nuclear facility being built in Syria by Pyongyang and Syrias subsequent failure to criticize Israel for fear of drawing further international attention to what Damascus had been doing.

Five years after Joe Wilsons op-ed claimed no yellowcake was sold to Iraq the ease with which Saddam could have snapped his fingers and reinstituted his nuclear program became apparent. In July 2008, in an operation kept secret at the time, 37 military air cargo flights shipped more than 500 metric tons of yellowcake found in Iraq out of the country for further transport and remediation to Canada.
 
One would think a press undermining that effort at the time under the guise of freedom of the press would feel an obligation to accurately report the success of such a governmental effort. This should especially be the case after those same media contributed to the false perception Saddam possessed no WMD capability and, therefore, never really posed a serious threat.
 
As evidenced by the WikiLeaks disclosures, apparently no such obligation is felt.

Tell me:  if James Zumwalt has access to these documents, does it not stand to reason that our wonderful "neutral" media do as well?

And if our wonderful "neutral" media have such access, why are they collectively sitting on it?  Do you think they'd be sitting on Wikileaks documents that proved Bush lied us into the war?

Could they be less professional?  Less neutral?  More shameful?

Sad to say, these are the "journalists" who supposedly inform our citizens. 

That explains a lot, doesn't it?

WisOldMan Nevermind wikileaks! Remember, a Navy Captain showed "raunchy" movies! (01/05/11)


JOAN RIVERS: A SAD, UGLY DECLINE

Ken Berwitz

Don't throw any banquets for Joan Rivers.  She has made (and, I would hope, retained most of) a very large fortune in her varied, highly successful entertainment career as a writer, performer, show host, author, etc., and then through jewelry sales on QVC.

Given her terrific rsum, it is absolutely mystifying to me why Ms. Rivers is now trying to do the same kind of gutter-language humor that far younger "comedians" use, to appeal to the "if someone says fuck it must be funny" crowd.

Last night I watched less than one minute of her comedy special on a cable channel (I don't remember which, and the channel should thank me for it). Within those seconds, Ms. Rivers' "humor" consisted of attacking her daughter for not posing topless in Playboy Magazine, and referring to her as a "stupid fucking cunt".  Her daughter. 

As a matter of disclosure, a couple of years ago I proposed a TV show idea for Ms. Rivers and had contact, for several months, with one of her key people. 

I had originally proposed it to another comedian who liked the idea a lot and, with her agent, met with me and a cable network to discuss its potential.  Ultimately, she "better dealed" me with a different gig (one that I don't think panned out very well - small consolation, but I have to admit feeling somewhat edified.) 

So I then turned to Ms. Rivers as one of the (relatively few) other entertainers who could succeed with the concept. After several months she it turned down, I was told, because she was offered an alternative project which already had a cable network on board.  I was, also told, however, that she still liked the idea and would keep it in mind for the future.  I have no idea whether that was sincere or whether my proposal is still being held by her staff.

I thought then, and still think, that the TV show idea is a really good one.  But if I ever find out that Joan Rivers turned it down in favor of what I saw last night I will reconsider, on the theory that if something as ugly as her new "comedy" routine is preferable, then my idea must stink to high heaven.


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