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Saturday, May 17, 2008
NewsBusters Spins Bush 'Appeasement' Attack
Topic: NewsBusters

The folks at NewsBusters are doing their best to try and pretend that President Bush wasn't referring to Barack Obama when he raised the subject of "appeasement" in a speech to the Israeli Knesset.

Yet, as the Boston Globe reported, "White House officials indicated that the criticism applied to Obama, who has said that as president he would rely on greater diplomacy to improve relations with unfriendly nations." A May 15 NewsBusters post by Matthew Balan acknowledged that CNN also reported this in claiming that Democrats were being "hypersensitive" to the remark.

But when White House press secretary Dana Perino asserted that Bush was not referring to Obama, certain NewsBusters quickly glommed onto that as the gospel truth. Noel Sheppard, in trumpeting Perino's assertion without offering a reason to believe her at face value, huffed that CNN's sources claiming that Bush was referring to Obama were merely "unnamed 'White House aides.'"

This allowed NewsBusters and the MRC to move onto its next talking point -- that any news report mentioning the controversy was taking "cues from the Obama campaign," as Brent Baker put in a May 15 NewsBusters post (and May 16 CyberAlert item, in which he also, as we noted, tried to spin away an analogy between negotiating with Iran and Reagan's negotiations with the Soviet Union).

Baker's post made reference -- the only one we can find -- to the fact that Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has also advocated negotiation with Iran, but only in a transcript; he never addressed it directly.

A post by Justin McCarthy, meanwhile, claimed that a report on NBC's "Today" "sounded almost like an Obama campaign press release" and that NBC's Andrea Mitchell was acting as a "mind reader" by claiming that Bush's speech "could hardly have been an accident"; he insisted that Mitchell showed "journalistic irresponsibility" for not noting "the White House’s denial that President Bush referred to Senator Obama." Of course, McCarthy is similarly irresponsible by not noting that sources claiming that Bush was.

In a May 16 post, Balan complained again that "CNN carried the water for the Democrats and portayed President Bush’s 'appeasement' remarks before the Knesset in Israel as an attack on Barack Obama."

A post by Lyndsi Thomas, meanwhile, asserted that any claim that "Bush’s statements were an attack on Obama" was "Democratic spin."

In the midst of all this, Noel Sheppard tossed out a big, steaming chunk of Bush sycophancy that would not being out of praise coming from Ronald Kessler's pen. Sheppard praised Bush's Knesset speech as "stirring and emotional" and "one of the greatest speeches of his career," while attacking the media for "exclusively report[ing] 83 words they felt insulted the candidate for president they have been unashamedly supporting for over a year." Sheppard then posted the entire Bush speech, complained yet again that only the "appeasement" attack "got through" the media's "bias filters", then declared:

The rest they stole from us, and for this we are owed an apology that certainly will never come, for instead of Americans being proud of the job our President did representing our nation on this historic visit, this day will live in infamy rather than immortality. 

How much did Dana Perino pay you for that post, Noel?

P.S. For all of the MRC's obsession with making sure that Democratic politicians caught in wrongdoing are properly identifed as such, there is no mention whatsoever that the 1930s-era senator whom Bush quoted in his speech as saying, "Lord, if I could only have talked to Hitler, all this might have been avoided," was Sen. William Borah -- a Republican.

Posted by Terry K. at 5:47 PM EDT

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