Streetwise Professor

September 24, 2012

First They Came for Anderson Cooper, and the MSM Remained Silent. Then They Came for Ann Compton.

Filed under: Politics — The Professor @ 5:20 pm

Once upon a time CNN was known as the “Clinton News Network”-and for good reason.

Let’s just say that romance is so over.  CNN’s Anderson Cooper obtained slain ambassador Christopher Stevens’s diary, and reported that Stevens had written that he was concerned for his security, and “and specifically about the rise in Islamist extremism and growing al Qaeda presence.”  This completely contradicted Hillary Clinton’s claim that Stevens had never, ever given any inkling about his concerns.

In response, the State Department has gone completely non-linear on CNN about this:

‘Given the truth of how this was handled, CNN patting themselves on the back is disgusting,’ Mr Reines [a Foggy Bottom spokesman-and personal spokesflack for HRC] said in his statement.

‘Whose first instinct is to remove from a crime scene the diary of a man killed along with three other Americans serving our country, read it, transcribe it, email it around your newsroom for others to read and then call the family?’

First, an aside: note the reversion to the bad old days of treating terrorism as a law enforcement issue: “remove from a crime scene.”  Is that what the consulate in Benghazi is?  A crime scene?  On 9/11?  Seriously?  Tragically, I think he is.

Second, the intensity of the State Department response is rather, uhm, undiplomatic.  Although they are framing their outrage in terms of the violation of Stevens’s family privacy, it is clear that their anger derives first, foremost, and almost exclusively from the highly damaging nature of the revelations.  (Indeed, hiding behind the family makes their attack all the more disgusting, as hard as that is to wrap one’s head around.)  This demolishes every aspect of the pathetic narrative that the White House, Hillary, and Susan Rice have attempted to spin in order to obscure the ugly facts.  That a US ambassador was left virtually defenseless in an extremely violent area crawling with Salfist jihadis, and notably lacking in Chicago-esque gun control laws (which obviously are so efficacious).

Would that the State Department was as vituperative in addressing our adversaries.  Please contrast this, for instance, with the “thank you sir may I have another” response to Russia’s ejecting USAID for having the temerity of supporting democracy in Russia.

I wonder if CNN will hit back, or whether it will get its mind right.  Sadly, I am betting on the latter.

But it gets better.  Or worse, depending on how you look at it.  When a reporter queried the SD on the whole fiasco, the aboveforementioned Phillipe (!) Reines snarled back at the offending questioning reporter in an email exchange that culminated with Phillipe (!) telling the reporter to “fuck off.”

When questioned about this on 60 Minutes (and I use the term “questioning” very generously, given the, uhm, Lewinskyish approach of Steven Kroft), Obama said that there had been a “few bumps in the road” in the Middle East.  Although the usual suspects screamed that to say that Obama was referring to the Benghazi fiasco was to rip his remarks out of context, given the events in the ME, of which the attack on the consulate and the killing of Ambassador Stevens is certainly the most important, it beggars the imagination that there is any context in which Obama’s remarks were anything but desperate and offensive.

But in the best-defense-is-a-good-offense tradition,to the administration it is not Obama’s remarks that are desperate and offensive, it is questioning him about them that is.  The loathsome Jay Carney (who actually makes me pine for the somewhat less loathsome Robert Gibbs, as unimaginable as that is), ripped into the rather inoffensive Ann Compton for having the indecency to ask: “The complaint this morning about the line ‘bump in the road’ is not that it’s minimizing the Arab Spring but that it’s minimizing the death, the violent death, of the U.S. Ambassador, three others and — what, when he said ‘bump in the road,’ did he mean? Not to draw parallels, not to define that event in Benghazi?”

To which the preternaturally offensive Carney (who should really follow his name and become a carnival barker-if they’ll have him, which is doubtful, having standards like they do) replied: “I appreciate the question Ann because that assertion is both desperate and offensive.”

Hey, Jay.  I suggest you follow Phillipe’s (!) advice to the reporter.  Or, as Clint said-why don’t you try something physically impossible?

As Walter Russell Meade has noted, the media would be baying like hounds after a wounded fox had Bush suffered such an egregious series of failures in the ME, but is averting its gaze from the implosion of Obama’s ME policy (such as it is), and the callous and obfuscatory response to these failures.

In ’96, Robert Dole rather pathetically asked “Where’s the outrage”?  1996 pales in comparison to what is happening today: the reasons for outrage are far greater now.  But barely a peep of protest is heard from the legacy media and the alleged cultural and political elite.  Indeed, most of the media remains silent when the administration unleashes  search-and-destroy missions against rather well-respected colleagues for having the audacity-the audacity!-to report facts and ask obvious questions.  All out of political allegiance and expediency.  And that is truly desperate and offensive.

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  1. In the meantime, the Moscow buerau of Radio Liberty is being sacked and hacked in such ugly ways that even the most pro-Western Russian commentators (like Victor Shenderovich) find offensive.

    Comment by LL — September 25, 2012 @ 6:38 am

  2. While I am no fan of the over simplistic C. Wright Mills or Beard kind of political economics, to understand the dynamic of the press, it is always good to look at where the money is coming from. Consider these propositions:

    1. The traditional Press, and its electronic equivalents (CNN), are dying economically.
    2. The dynamic for most prominent reporters has been to work in Government – often as press aides, gofers, whatever. My contacts tell me this is true in Washington, and it is from personal knowledge certainly true in New York State.
    3. This leads to a patronage state and state of mind on the part of those in power with the result that one gets the Clinton News Network and the more egregious examples of bias through editing, or ignoring inconvenient stories. This has been going on for quite a while.

    Suddenly, gasp, the worm is turning! That it comes from such an impeccably establishment character as Anderson Cooper makes it even worse – the man is gay (good!) and comes from probably the most socially prominent family in NY (GOOD!!!!, especially as the new class loves to grovel in imagined WASPdom – See Ralph Lauren, Vanderbilt, et al.).

    What adds volume to the scream is that THIS IS NOT THE WAY IT IS SUPPOSED TO WORK! The political establishment sees or feels this as the first crack, made by someone they cannot really touch and are enraged. Underneath lies a deeper anxiety -what if the whole system of de facto control and influence is coming unstuck. To survive the reviled press might be coming to the realization that the same old nonsense may not work – if they keep going they are not going to have a job! If that happens the dubious goodies the politically correct can offer will not go to them.

    The disproportionate rage is best seen as a Significant Response, in the Freudian meaning of the word: a severe reaction when the patient is threatened by a question, beyond the question’s immediate subject, because the patient is forced to face an unbearable truth. At least I hope this is the case.

    Comment by Sotos — September 25, 2012 @ 7:06 am

  3. One must always beware of proud cum laudes in liberal arts.

    Gibbs disseminated deception with the gusto of a beer vendor at a Nationals game. He took pleasure in the hoodwink.

    Carney is just an automaton programmed with the Three Laws Of Lying Progressive similar to Asimov’s Three Laws Of Robotics.

    Comment by pahoben — September 26, 2012 @ 6:19 pm

  4. Cmon Professor you always smear carnival workers with this guy. I mean what in the world would he do on the midway. Okay maybe he would man the cotton candy machine or sell corn dogs but then Michelle would be aghast.

    Comment by pahoben — September 26, 2012 @ 6:42 pm

  5. Yes, we have noticed the Perfesser’s anti Carney biases before, and have warned him of the dangers of being assaulted by large stuff animals: alas, he has not heeded our warnings! Re the Midway – if you know who had anything to do with food concessions, not only would Michelle be aghast (and out o’ there, ASAP), but the local Health department would be concerned about verbal fecal matter getting into the suckers’ food too. The dangers of Intellectual Salmonella cannot be overstated.

    Comment by Sotos — September 27, 2012 @ 1:16 pm

  6. I think all these idiots need to reread (hopefully they read it?!) “1984”. There’s a slight possibility they will recognize themselves. Never mind, I am being too optimistic.

    Comment by voroBey — September 27, 2012 @ 2:43 pm

  7. @Sotos-brilliant you are right DC is suffering from an outbreak of intellectual salmonella.

    @vorBey-I think they used it as a training manual.

    Comment by pahoben — September 27, 2012 @ 8:17 pm

  8. Good job highlighting all the necessary points on this awful story, it’s been so hard to get it straight with all the bathos about the “betrayal” by CNN.

    I’m not getting this.

    It’s a notebook that sounds not very full (i.e. informal) and personal, but it’s found *in the workplace* and sounds like it was mainly about work-related things. The ambassador is, after all, a public figure and an official. Why is his diary somehow off limits to the press given the hugely variegated versions of this story we’ve had from all over from the start? It’s definitely in the category of “the public’s right to know”.

    The real question to ask about the “crime scene” (good eye there — it is definitely all about trying to convert counter-terrorism into police work) is why this was left for CNN to find in the first place.

    I had to wonder about sending an FBI team out from New York, too. I’m sure these gumshoes are qualified but…do they get it about foreign countries, battle zones, etc.? Wouldn’t there be some other entity that might be more qualified to investigate this complex scene? Dare I say it, the CIA?

    And then there’s Sean Smith’s last words which I keep trying to get attention to, as to their significance beyond him being a virtual world hero as well:

    Comment by Catherine Fitzpatrick — September 27, 2012 @ 8:24 pm

  9. What could possibly be the purpose of sending the FBI other than domestic politics. I mean they will investigate and apprehend a well armed militia in the boonies of Libya-puhlease. They will work in the spirit of cooperation with local law enforcement to apprehend this same militia-puhlease. Their first step would be to initiate a “see something say something” campaign in Benghazi-puhlease. Domestic deception matches the fact set.

    Comment by pahoben — September 28, 2012 @ 10:04 am

  10. We have a POTUS whose true sympathies lie with global government rather than with the US. Soros is pleased with his performance and already has sent checks to various Obama linked progressive organizations. Israel is on its heels, the US is bankrupt, entitlements are uncontrolled, the UN is itching to start global wealth transfers, US diplomats are being offed, Obama’s chances for reelection look promising, so yes the State Of The Union looks good to Soros. His protege deserves reward.

    I remenber the good old days when only “crackpots” talked about the plan for a global government subserving the US.

    Comment by pahoben — September 28, 2012 @ 3:48 pm

  11. Re crackpots: most are just mad – but to the Romans & Greeks they were sometimes the messengers of the gods.

    Comment by sotos — September 29, 2012 @ 8:35 am

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