Mr. Milbank’s Muddled Misfire

When conservatives taunt Muslims in the room, they apparently thank them for their questions and say, “Well, I’m glad to see you’re representing Muslims in this company.” This is then translated by the press into the “ugly taunting” of an innocent American University law student who just wanted to ask a question that was, by the way, off the topic of the panel at hand.

Chris Plante, on his Washington-based WMAL radio show, remarked the next day that he and the panel should have said that her question regarding Muslims wasn’t on topic and moved on. Then, Plante asserted, The Washington Post’s Dana Milbank would have had to come up with a different smear. (Plante was the moderator of the panel held by the Benghazi Accountability Coalition {BAC} at The Heritage Foundation on June 16th.)

Indeed, Milbank takes delight in smearing conservatives and prefers to target their character instead of addressing the substance of their message. When Accuracy in Media and the Citizens’ Commission on Benghazi held a conference on the Benghazi attacks last September, Milbank impugned the group as a bunch of conspiracy theorists. Apparently, he must shoot the messenger if he can’t address the message. But that is a strategy best reserved for the leftist Media Matters, not The Washington Post. As I remarked then, “Milbank is the reporter the Post usually sends out to cover events where conservatives gather so he can offer his sarcastic little commentaries to belittle the people involved.”

Thus, Milbank starts his latest column with “Representatives of prominent conservative groups converged on the Heritage Foundation on Monday afternoon for the umpteenth in a series of gatherings to draw attention to the Benghazi controversy.” Clearly, Milbank is already bored with what he views as a phony scandal and is looking for something to spice up his column.

Saba Ahmed, a questioner in the audience, provided him with the perfect opportunity, presenting herself as an American University law student—a position that Milbank parroted in his column. But this was a lie by omission—or sheer lack of journalism. Milbank fails to note that Ahmed ran for Congress in Oregon, is a leftist activist, runs her own lobbying firm, and was close to the Christmas bomber terrorist, facts all recounted in an AIM-exclusive column by James Simpson.

In a blatant misrepresentation of the facts, Milbank writes that “One questioner said he had heard that Gen. Carter Ham, then-commander of U.S. Africa Command, had been ‘placed under house arrest’ at the time of the Benghazi attack.”

“‘I’ve heard the same story,’ Plante seconded,” continues Milbank. He then fails to point out that Plante turned to Citizens’ Commission on Benghazi Member Clare Lopez, a retired CIA officer, to dispel this rumor and clear the air regarding General Ham. Readers are instead left with the impression that the panelists believe this rumor.

Instead, he impugns Lopez for saying that “perpetrators of the attack are ‘sipping frappes with journalists in juice bars.’” This was a reference to CNN’s infamous interview of Ahmed Abu Khatalla, perpetrator of the Benghazi attacks, at a public coffee shop in that city. This demonstrates Milbank’s lack of knowledge of basic facts about the Benghazi case at the time, which is probably why he steered clear of the subject.

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This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

The New York Times’ Krugman Sees Obama As A Victim Of Unfair Press

We have always said that there’s a place for bias in the media; and it belongs under the category of “commentary,” or “opinion,” usually on the op-ed page (which is short for ‘opposite the editorial page.’) Often, however, those opinions are right in line with the newspaper’s perspective; and that is certainly the case with a recent New York Times column.

This year has hardly been a victory lap for President Obama, but the Times’ Paul Krugman would like his readers to view it as such. “You should judge leaders by their achievements, not their press, and in terms of policy substance Mr. Obama is having a seriously good year,” writes Krugman. “In fact, there’s a very good chance that 2014 will go down in the record books as one of those years when America took a major turn in the right direction.”

Krugman, you see, believes like we do that the media are biased. But Krugman believes that the bias is that the media don’t fawn enough over what he sees as Obama’s great accomplishments, and that “The accepted thing, it seems, is to portray Mr. Obama as floundering, his presidency as troubled if not failed.”

Krugman’s examples are Obama’s signature health reform and his recent regulations on climate change. Ironically, the same day, the Times reported that the administration is “contacting hundreds of thousands of people with subsidized health insurance to resolve questions about their eligibility, as consumer advocates express concern that many will be required to repay some or all of the subsidies.” For a family of four earning $80,000, this could mean they have to repay as much as $2,500 this year, they report.

And this is not the least of the problems plaguing Obamacare. We have reported on the micro networks that lead to essentially no care under this health care insurance, the price hikes, as well as the constant problems and cronyism inherent in the law’s implementation.

As for the climate change rule Krugman refers to, it will cost 500,000 jobs and an average of $1,000 in income per family, according to the Heritage Foundation. Krugman, however, views Obama’s new power plant rules as “a real start” in an effort “to save the planet.” The sad part is, Krugman is far from alone in the media in believing this nonsense, assuming he actually believes it.

Then there are the scandals that have rocked the administration this year. Even the mainstream media called the Veterans Affairs health care waiting list scandal a real scandal, although its attention shifted quickly to other matters. With the IRS scandal, the Benghazi scandal, the VA scandal, the Bowe Bergdahl trade, and the first quarter of this year showing negative economic growth, Krugman cannot credibly call this year a “major turn in the right direction.”

And don’t forget Russia, Crimea, Syria, Iraq, and Iran. Right direction? Maybe in Krugmanville, but not in the real world.

 

This commentary originally appeared at AIM.org and is reprinted here with permission. 

Photo credit: DonkeyHotey (Flickr)

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

See What Obama Is Hoping You Have Forgotten About With All the Recent “Distractions”

President Obama is embroiled in two Veterans Affairs scandals: 1) fabricated documents and secret waiting lists for health care, with dozens of veterans dying while waiting for appointments; and 2) waiting lists for disability benefits. The former is now the subject of a criminal investigation opened by the Phoenix office of the FBI just days after the release of a bipartisan letter from 21 U.S. senators to the Department of Justice calling for a criminal investigation.

“Evidence of secret waiting times, falsification of records, destruction of documents, and other potential criminal wrongdoing has appalled and angered the nation, and imperiled trust and confidence in the Veterans Health Administration,” the senators wrote in the letter, which was sent late last week to Attorney General Eric Holder.

“The spreading and growing scale of apparent criminal wrongdoing is fast outpacing the criminal investigative resources of the IG, and the revelations in the interim report only highlight the urgency of involvement by the Department of Justice,” they wrote.

That story was receiving a lot of media attention until the President announced his swap of five members of the Taliban high command for one American deserter; and since then, there has hardly been any coverage of it. It was even being labeled a scandal in the mainstream media, with some arguing that, unlike Benghazi and the IRS, this one was a real scandal. But that was because they could argue that it was a scandal that began during previous administrations, and thus there was no specific blame on Obama’s shoulders.

The other scandal, unresolved disability benefits, has received even far less attention in the news-even though it is also a systemic, long unaddressed problem.

The Obama administration’s inability to address the veterans’ disability backlog is a stain on the reputation of our nation, making it harder for veterans suffering from physical disabilities or PTSD to afford food, shelter, and the comforts of life after service.

But, as Obama misleadingly stated last month, “we launched an all-out war on the disability claims backlog.” His statements are like those about the war on poverty—a lot of rhetoric, but not much movement.

“And in just the past year alone, we’ve slashed that backlog by half,” continued President Obama in his May 21 speech. “Of course, we’re not going to let up, because it’s still too high. We’re going to keep at it until we eliminate the backlog once and for all.”

The disability claims backlog hasn’t been slashed under President Obama; it has only grown. He is able to claim that disability claims have been slashed in half because he is selectively measuring from the point where they skyrocketed to a whopping 611,000 in March 2013.

In contrast, it was reported this week that 57,000 veterans have been waiting more than 90 days to visit a doctor for the first time; and a Veterans Affairs representative has announced that the department has begun contacting these veterans immediately.

But the veteran disability backlog has only gone downhill since Obama took office: “The ranks of veterans waiting more than a year for their benefits grew from 11,000 in 2009, the first year of Obama’s presidency, to 245,000 in December [of 2012]—an increase of more than 2,000 percent,” reported Aaron Glanz for the Center for Investigative Reporting in March 2013.

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This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

White House “Mistake” Exposes CIA Officer

The Obama administration “mistakenly” revealed the identity of its CIA Chief of Station (COS) in Kabul, Afghanistan, over the Memorial Day weekend, by including his name on a list of senior U.S. officials who were taking part in President Obama’s unannounced visit there with American troops. The “pool report” listing the COS’ name was ultimately passed on by the White House to 6,000 people working for various news organizations. According to The Washington Post, the names on the list were “provided by U.S. military officials.”

The “pool report” had been filed by the Post’s Scott Wilson, who failed to notice this problem until after he sent the list back to the White House. “There were several misunderstanding and mistakes that happened, including my own failure to review the list before including it in my pool report and sending it back to White House press officials for distribution. I wish I had, and I regret not doing so,” wrote Wilson in an email.

It was not Wilson’s responsibility to protect the identity of America’s top intelligence officer in Afghanistan; it was the White House’s responsibility to protect the identities of its people in the clandestine services before sending information onto the press. But informing the press apparently took precedent that day over attention to detail and national security.

Citizens’ Commission on Benghazi (CCB) member Clare Lopez, a former CIA officer herself, questioned whether an inappropriate mentality exists at the White House and whether this has trickled down to other offices. “Our national security leadership simply doesn’t view the enemy as the enemy….it’s all ‘potential partners,’” she said. “There is no understanding that there are implacable, remorseless enemies in this world who never rest, never sleep, and constantly plot ways to harm and destroy us.”

“Without that defensive mentality, even absent deliberate ill will, these kinds of things will happen over and over again,” continued Lopez.

In their coverage of this alleged “mistake,” both The Washington Post and the UK Telegraph, as well as other news organizations, pointed to the outing of Valerie Plame, blaming Bush officials. “In 2003, aides to George W. Bush leaked the identity of Valerie Plame, a CIA agent, in an attempt to tarnish the reputation of her husband, a former U.S. diplomat who criticized the Iraq war,” states the Telegraph. According to the Post, “The only other recent case came under significantly different circumstances, when former CIA operative Valerie Plame was exposed as officials of the George W. Bush administration sought to discredit her husband, a former ambassador and fierce critic of the decision to invade Iraq.”

Once again, the assertion is made that Plame was exposed by Bush officials who sought to discredit her husband, Joe Wilson. The Telegraph picked up that line almost verbatim. The truth, however, is that the person who leaked that information was Richard Armitage of the State Department—someone who was opposed to going into Iraq. And in 2007, following the unjust prosecution of Scooter Libby, The Washington Post was the one discrediting Wilson, calling him a “blowhard,” and said that all of the major claims in his famous 2003 op-ed “were false.”

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This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

Ridiculous: MSNBC Seeks To Discredit Benghazi Investigation

We are pleased that MSNBC has finally taken notice of the Citizens’ Commission on Benghazi (CCB), but certainly not surprised at their failure to report on the Commission’s findings. Instead, they attempted to smear the Commission by suggesting sinister motives for one of its members, when the truth is something very different. In a recent column, I argued that MSNBC and their new website have essentially become a “Vote Democrat” haven akin to The Huffington Post.

Underlying MSNBC’s reporting is the notion that Benghazi is not a real scandal, which ties directly into the administration’s narrative. Press Secretary Jay Carney called Benghazi one of several phony scandals last July, and this argument has been consistently furthered by progressives unwilling to support any investigation that would potentially pose a problem for Hillary Clinton in her 2016 presidential run–or for President Obama while he retains office.

Thus, we have Politico reporting last Wednesday that “Hillary Clinton’s world was so worried about a Republican investigation of the Benghazi attacks, they sent a message to House Democrats: We need backup.” Due to this pressure, the Democrats, through Pelosi’s leadership, decided to participate in the Select Committee on Benghazi instead of condemning it as a partisan charade from the sidelines.

This should have been an obvious choice: the tragedy demands answers, and our Representatives have a civic duty to search for them on behalf of the American people. That was also why Accuracy in Media founded the Citizens’ Commission on Benghazi, to search for truth outside the Congressional process, which has, to date, been fragmented and partial.

In a recent broadcast on her daily MSNBC show, Joy Reid put Democratic Representative Linda Sanchez (CA) on the defensive for joining her four colleagues on the Select Committee, asking whether Democrats were legitimizing Republicans’ fundraising efforts and partisan politics by participating. “And so, as lawmakers on both sides meet to discuss their strategies, the question is: ‘Did the Democrats’ decision to join just elevate Republicans’ Benghazi circus to the big top?’” Reid asked, referring to the Select Committee as a “Kangaroo court” twice, and also as a fundraising circus. Apparently, she only invited Democrats onto her show to talk about it.

MSNBC hosts are playing partisan politics, as usual, and trying to encourage the Democrats to protect President Obama and Clinton by not participating in the hearings. Rather, as Joy Reid says, they should be going to the microphone and attacking the Republican witch-hunt. The same issue was raised on several other MSNBC shows as well. Is it really this supposed news organization’s job to advise the Democrats on political strategy?

“Ah, yes, the American people,” commented Reid, a former staffer to then-Sen. Obama in 2007, on her show. “The ones who have decidedly not been clamoring for yet another Benghazi investigation. Except, of course, on the far right, where Benghazi will soon go from a pet obsession of the GOP base, to [what] Republicans certainly hope will be a summer blockbuster, complete with major fundraising at the box office and bankable stars on the witness stand…”

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The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom