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Hometown: NY
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Current location: Florida
Member since: Mon Sep 6, 2004, 08:54 PM
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Journal Archives

Eric Boehlert: New York Times, CNN and failed Afghanistan coverage

New York Times, CNN and failed Afghanistan coverage
But Her Emails, part II
Eric Boehlert
1 hr ago

One day after the New York Times in a page-one piece inferred that President Joe Biden is an incompetent who lacks empathy, the State Department announced the U.S. had successfully evacuated 30,000 people from Afghanistan since the end of July, and that 8,000 people departed on Saturday alone, as they filled 60 departing flights from Kabul airport. So much for incompetence.

A thinly veiled opinion column that ran under the banner of “news analysis,” the Times piece was written by White House correspondent Peter Baker. Pounding the daily’s preferred downer troop withdrawal narrative, Baker went out of his way to suggest Biden, whose administration is overseeing a massive Afghanistan airlift and troop withdrawal, is similarly incompetent to Trump, who oversaw the death of 600,000 Americans to Covid-19 last year. It was a stunning bout of failed, Both Sides journalism by Baker.

Led by the New York Times’ and CNN’s frenzied reporting and analysis, the media have gone all in with the narrative that Biden’s presidency sits on the precipice of ruin in the wake of U.S.’s long-expected troop departure from Afghanistan. (Spoiler: It does not.)

Deliberately falling down a deep well of optics reporting (Biden is “defiant and defensive”) and launching sweeping, and often hysterical, conclusions that are not based in fact, the press gathered up its forces days ago and set off on a one-sided feeding frenzy excursion, where week-old “chaotic images” are still treated as breaking news by CNN. Let’s be honest, if the State Departement announced it had evacuated 100,000 people from Kabul, it wouldn’t change the media’s predetermined coverage.

Eager to injure Biden, Beltway scribes gleefully engage in groupthink, echo GOP talking points without pause, and set their sights on the leader of the Democratic Party.

Sound familiar? Does this conjure up disturbing images of the 2016 campaign, when the same invested journalists unleashed a feeding frenzy on the country’s top Democrat, feasted on “optics” analysis, badly overplayed the facts of the story, excitedly amplified Republican lawmakers, obsessed over process, and repeatedly demanded apologies from Hillary Clinton for how she handled her private email correspondence?

It’s not possible to watch much of the misguided Afghanistan coverage and not see the clear similarities between that and the media’s woeful But Her Emails brand of coverage that helped elect Trump.


Posted by babylonsister | Mon Aug 23, 2021, 07:26 AM (22 replies)

Americans were urged to leave Afghanistan...

so none of this came as a complete surprise despite what some talking heads might say.

US Embassy in Kabul again urges Americans to leave Afghanistan 'immediately'
By Jennifer Hansler, CNN
Updated 12:46 PM ET, Thu August 12, 2021

(CNN)The US Embassy in Kabul again urged American citizens to leave Afghanistan "immediately" amid rapid Taliban gains in the country.

It is the second such security alert in less than a week urging the immediate departure of US citizens.

"The U.S. Embassy urges U.S. citizens to leave Afghanistan immediately using available commercial flight options," the embassy said Thursday, noting that Americans who cannot afford to purchase airline tickets should contact the embassy "for information regarding a repatriation loan."

The embassy issued its alert as the Taliban continued its assault, seizing major cities and capitols, dealing blow after blow to the Afghan government, its army and the US and its allies who trained Afghan forces.


Posted by babylonsister | Sun Aug 22, 2021, 12:49 PM (7 replies)

Kamala Harris to Campaign for Gavin Newsom


Kamala Harris to Campaign for Gavin Newsom
August 21, 2021 at 11:22 am EDT By Taegan Goddard

Politico: “A visit by Harris could also help rally California Democrats to fill out their ballots, particularly the critical Democratic voting bloc of women of color. While Harris’ poll numbers have slipped in recent months, she retains deep support in the Bay Area, where she launched her political career as a prosecutor.”
Posted by babylonsister | Sat Aug 21, 2021, 12:31 PM (5 replies)

University of Virginia Disenrolls 238 Students for Not Being Vaccinated


University of Virginia Disenrolls 238 Students for Not Being Vaccinated
Corbin Bolies, Breaking News Intern
Published Aug. 21, 2021 9:45AM ET

Getting vaccinated not only allows one to go out to eat or see a show—it’s also a requirement to get a college degree. The University of Virginia disenrolled more than 200 students Friday for not meeting the university’s COVID-19 vaccination requirement, a spokesman told CNN. That means they cannot return to campus or take classes unless they update their status within a week. “Students out of compliance received multiple emails, calls, text messages and—in some cases—calls to their parents,” spokesperson Brian Coy said. “Our numbers show that our students responded to this. This means we can have the kind of in-person semester where people can engage in normal ways.”

The school had given students until July 1 to be vaccinated unless they had a religious or medical exemption. Of the 238 disenrolled students, only 49 were actively enrolled in classes. About 97 percent of the student population is vaccinated, Coy said.
Posted by babylonsister | Sat Aug 21, 2021, 10:12 AM (5 replies)

South Dakota sees the country's largest two-week COVID surge

Sturgis doesn't disappoint And Noem is a special kind of stupid.


South Dakota sees the country’s largest two-week COVID surge
By Marco Quiroz-Gutierrez
August 19, 2021 5:30 PM EDT

South Dakota experienced a large spike in COVID-19 cases recently after the state’s governor, Kristi Noem, a Republican, said at the end of July she will not be ratcheting up efforts to encourage people to get the COVID vaccine.

The Midwestern state saw the country’s biggest two-week increase in COVID cases at 230%, according to New York Times data. The state recently increased the frequency with which it reports its COVID cases—from once a week to every weekday—which may have contributed to the boost.

Despite the spike, the state still has a much lower concentration of new COVID-19 cases (20 per 100,000 people) than current COVID hotspots such as Florida, Louisiana, and Mississippi, which all have more than 100 cases per 100,000 people.

The state has fully vaccinated 41% of its population as of publication, according to New York Times data.

At last week’s 81st annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, Gov. Noem reiterated that she will avoid mandates, including masks or vaccines. Noem said she prefers to give her constituents the information they need to make informed personal decisions. The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally was criticized by Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, who worried it could become a superspreader event, as it had been in 2020.


“President Biden is overstepping his authority to try to push masks in schools and mandate vaccines,” read a tweet from Gov. Noem’s account. “He’s doing it to distract from the disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan where Americans are left behind.”
Posted by babylonsister | Sat Aug 21, 2021, 08:26 AM (48 replies)

Damn Right He's My President


Damn Right He’s My President
Community (This content is not subject to review by Daily Kos staff prior to publication.)
Friday August 20, 2021 · 1:55 PM EDT

Joe Biden ended the twenty-year war in Afghanistan. That’s a historical fact now. It wasn’t perfect, and it wasn’t pretty, but it had to be done, and by God he did it.

His first year in office, too!

When Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld invaded Afghanistan in October of 2001, Americans were led to believe it would be a quick, decisive battle similar to what we saw in Desert Storm, Iraq, in 1991.

Boom boom, bang bang, in and out, done.

Obviously we were lied to, because the Bush administration had no intention of leaving Afghanistan from the start. And they made damned certain that leaving the country would be somebody else’s problem.

Republicans excel at making messes that somebody else has to clean up.

The GOP whipped up popularity for the war by pandering to their base’s bigotry (gonna teach them ragheads a lesson!) while simultaneously accusing anybody who disagreed with them of being unpatriotic and belonging to the “Hate America First” crowd.

Seriously. That’s basically what happened.


You can’t spend twenty freaking years and well over a trillion dollars “nation building” only to watch it all evaporate in eleven days and blame it on the new guy.

Because the bottom line is this: Joe Biden didn’t screw up the twenty-year war of Afghanistan. That had already been done twenty times over, starting in October of 2001.

Joe Biden ended the Afghanistan war.

And for that, I am proud.
Posted by babylonsister | Sat Aug 21, 2021, 07:10 AM (16 replies)

Afghanistan Reporting Is A Tsunami Of Bullsh*t Not Seen Since 9/11

8/20/21 6:42am
Afghanistan Reporting Is A Tsunami Of Bullsh*t Not Seen Since 9/11
There are not enough hours in the day to rebut all this "journalism."
By Susie Madrak

I find myself constantly sickened by the performance (and yes, that's the right word) of our journalism establishment in the past week. The pro-military slant, the anti-Biden slant, the carefully edited clips meant to gin up controversy... and presenting ex-military who sit on the boards of defense contractors as unbiased observers. Nope, they learned nothing.

Anyway, here are some more reasoned views. Inoculate yourselves!



Posted by babylonsister | Sat Aug 21, 2021, 06:19 AM (6 replies)

Maine Lawmaker Whose Wife Just Died of COVID Joins Anti-Vax Rally

Who DOES this?

Maine Lawmaker Whose Wife Just Died of COVID Joins Anti-Vax Rally
Chris Johansen, who has been a fierce opponent of pandemic restrictions, joined a rally at which a colleague compared the governor to a Nazi.
Zoe Richards, Breaking News Reporter
Updated Aug. 20, 2021 5:19PM ET / Published Aug. 20, 2021 1:17PM ET

A Republican legislator in Maine who lost his wife to COVID-19 last week appeared at a rally on Tuesday that featured a GOP colleague who compared the state’s Democratic governor to a Nazi doctor who performed deadly experiments on Jews during the Holocaust.

State Rep. Chris Johansen, who emerged in the early days of the pandemic as a fierce opponent of public health-related restrictions, joined a group of lawmakers at the event in Augusta. State Rep. Heidi Sampson delivered a speech to the crowd that baselessly accused Gov. Janet Mills, who has introduced a vaccine mandate for health-care workers, of operating a government campaign to test “experimental” vaccines on unknowing citizens.

She described Mills as the “reincarnated” Nazi doctor Josef Mengele, who performed deadly experiments on Jewish people in Auschwitz death camps during the Holocaust.


According to the Bangor Daily News, neither Chris Johansen nor his wife Cindy, who served as corresponding secretary for the Aroostook County Republicans, had been vaccinated against COVID when she first began describing her symptoms on Facebook last month.

While there is little evidence of her death on the Facebook page of Aroostook County Republicans, the Aroostook County Democrats posted a condolence message on Facebook on Aug. 15. Her death was later confirmed to The Daily Beast by a spokesperson for the Maine Republican Party.


Posted by babylonsister | Sat Aug 21, 2021, 05:08 AM (5 replies)

EXCLUSIVE FBI finds scant evidence U.S. Capitol attack was coordinated-sources

This is not at all helpful imo. Reuters? And former LEOs? Might they have a motive?

August 20, 20217:06 AM
EXCLUSIVE FBI finds scant evidence U.S. Capitol attack was coordinated-sources
By Mark Hosenball and Sarah N. Lynch

WASHINGTON, Aug 20 (Reuters) - The FBI has found scant evidence that the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol was the result of an organized plot to overturn the presidential election result, according to four current and former law enforcement officials.

Though federal officials have arrested more than 570 alleged participants, the FBI at this point believes the violence was not centrally coordinated by far-right groups or prominent supporters of then-President Donald Trump, according to the sources, who have been either directly involved in or briefed regularly on the wide-ranging investigations.

"Ninety to ninety-five percent of these are one-off cases," said a former senior law enforcement official with knowledge of the investigation. "Then you have five percent, maybe, of these militia groups that were more closely organized. But there was no grand scheme with Roger Stone and Alex Jones and all of these people to storm the Capitol and take hostages."

Stone, a veteran Republican operative and self-described "dirty trickster", and Jones, founder of a conspiracy-driven radio show and webcast, are both allies of Trump and had been involved in pro-Trump events in Washington on Jan. 5, the day before the riot.

FBI investigators did find that cells of protesters, including followers of the far-right Oath Keepers and Proud Boys groups, had aimed to break into the Capitol. But they found no evidence that the groups had serious plans about what to do if they made it inside, the sources said.


Posted by babylonsister | Fri Aug 20, 2021, 09:43 AM (32 replies)

Eric Alterman: How Low Can They Go? The Media's Afghan Coverage

The American Prospect
Altercation: How Low Can They Go? The Media’s Afghan Coverage
To assess the withdrawal, mainstream media go to the ‘experts’ who were wrong or lied about the war for the past 20 years.
by Eric Alterman
August 20, 2021


One could write an entire doctoral dissertation on the multiple, overlapping failures that have characterized most of the mainstream media coverage of the collapse of the 20-year war in Afghanistan. So many of the pathologies that interfere with its ability to tell simple truths about our country and our world are being run through this wringer that it would take literally hundreds of pages to do justice to all of them; to explain how they operate across our media institutions and why they operate the way they do. Ironically, the splintering of these same institutions made possible by the internet has allowed some writers and analysts to capture a few of these, practically in real time.

The most obvious among the myriad failures of mainstream coverage of the crisis is its stubborn ahistoricism. The Biden administration may have screwed up the exit of U.S. troops and the friendly Afghans who helped them, but hey, this was a 20-year, nearly $2.4 trillion war effort that was built on lies and self-delusion and that we didn’t really want to win in the first place. Prospect alumnus Matt Yglesias does a fine job of laying out some of the history that ought to be included in any story about who is to blame, but almost never is, in his Substack essay “Biden (and Trump) Did the Right Thing on Afghanistan.”


I find myself a little shocked to be recommending a piece by someone who is not only “vice president for research and policy at the Charles Koch Institute” but was also “President Donald Trump’s nominee for ambassador to Afghanistan.” But this William Ruger fellow, writing in The National Interest, is also a veteran of the war in Afghanistan, and most importantly, makes a great deal of sense. He praises Biden for “displaying real courage by sticking with a decision that remains prudential given the realities about Afghanistan and the United States. Biden is showing the requisite realist spine that America needs at this moment.” Ruger mocks his critics who claim the U.S. “could have stayed longer at a low cost, all the while preserving an Afghan government that was already teetering when even more American boots were on the ground. They also place the blame for the collapse we are seeing on withdrawal rather than on the failed two decade-long Afghan nation-building project and its architects.”

Getting down to proverbial brass tacks, he indicts most MSM coverage because the critics in question “were those same [Afghan war] architects, along with their advisors and supporters outside government. Indeed, these were often the very people who the Washington Post’s Craig Whitlock outed in his Afghanistan Papers series as having had little clue how to find success in Afghanistan and who consistently misled the American people about the state of the war. Moreover, these critics are committed to propping up another, much grander failed project—the primacist approach to the Greater Middle East and the world more generally.”


Posted by babylonsister | Fri Aug 20, 2021, 08:59 AM (15 replies)
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