Sunday, June 25, 2006

Murtha: I'm Mad as Hell...

First the substance: John Murtha has disgraced himself by saying that the United States is the top threat to world peace.

Murtha says U.S. poses top threat to world peace

MIAMI — American presence in Iraq is more dangerous to world peace than nuclear threats from North Korea or Iran, Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., said to an audience of more than 200 in North Miami Saturday afternoon.

Murtha was the guest speaker at a town hall meeting organized by Rep. Kendrick B. Meek, D-Miami, at Florida International University's Biscayne Bay Campus. Meek's mother, former Rep. Carrie Meek, D-Miami, was also on the panel.

War veterans, local mayors, university students and faculty were in the Mary Ann Wolfe Theatre to listen to the three panelists discuss the war in Iraq for an hour.

A former Marine and a prominent critic of the Bush administration's policies in Iraq, Murtha reiterated his views that the war cannot be won militarily and needs political solutions. He said the more than 100,000 troops in Iraq should be pulled out immediately, and deployed to peripheral countries like Kuwait.

"We do not want permanent bases in Iraq," Murtha told the audience. "We want as many Americans out of there as possible."

Murtha also has publicly said that the shooting of 24 Iraqis in November at Haditha, a city in the Anbar province of western Iraq that has been plagued by insurgents, was wrongfully covered up.

The killings, which sparked an investigation into the deadly encounter and another into whether they were the subject of a cover-up, could undermine U.S. efforts in Iraq more than the prison abuse scandal at Abu Ghraib in 2004, Murtha said.

"(The United States) became the target when Abu Ghraib came along," Murtha said.

Where to begin? First off, let's note that the appropriate question with Murtha is no longer 'should he be re-elected to Congress?' Instead, it's 'is he getting the care he needs?' Because he has clearly lost it. Even on something as basic as knowing that US troops are not the primary target in Iraq - Iraqis are - Murtha demonstrates an utter failure to understand the facts on the ground. I guess we should take it as progress that he's no longer advocating a redeployment to Okinawa, but that's little comfort. The man is a buffoon, and his comments are an insult to our men and women in uniform.

As for the politics, this once again demonstrates the extraordinary ability of the Democrats to shoot themselves in the foot, arm, thigh, ear, hip, abdomen, and any other body part in easy view. Murtha is bringing back the worst images of the Democratic party from the Vietnam era. Seriously: when was the last time you heard someone in his or her right mind say that the US was the greatest threat to world peace?

Happily for Republicans, Murtha announced for 'Majority Leader' (chuckle), before launching himself into the lunatic fringe, guaranteeing widespread coverage of his comments. For wavering independent voters, this is simply one more demonstration that Democrats cannot be trusted in power.

I think it's a safe bet that the folks at the NRCC are polling to see how Murtha's Howard Beale act is going over. Murtha's district is rated +5 Democrat by analyst Charlie Cook - which makes it Democratic leaning, but by no means a safe seat. Folks who have for decades been happy to have a non-controversial conservative Democrat representing them are waking up to see their man in DC is a loon. I expect there are a lot of people open to other options.

Hat tip: Powerline.

Update: The Sun Sentinel has now retracted this claim. See also my apology to Mr. Murtha here.

Back to the top.


chancuff said...

"Update: The Sun Sentinel has picked up on this story as well."

Sun-Sentinel didn't pick up the story, their writer, Elizabeth Baier created it. Will be interesting to see how Ms Baier's career pans out for her Jerry Springer Style Journalism.

Were I in Sun-Sentinel's shoes, I'd sit quiet as a mouse, hoping this will all blow over without much more fuss. Elizabeth Baier quotes Murtha several times in her Breaking World News (Brit Hume of Fox News as well as the Wall Street Joural have taken Baier's ball and run with it) claims of what Murtha said in Miami. When direct quotes are used, it's often the case the reporter has recorded the event, in order to make certain their quotes are accurate. What initially drew my attention was her lack of quotes for what she claims Murtha said in her first paragraph.,0,7119684.story

Shortly after reading the Sun Sentinel story, I googlenews'ed "Murtha Miami Iran Nuclear"
Among the dozens of hits quoting Ms. Baier indexed within a few hours of the Sun Sentinel's earth shaking expose' of Murtha's talk, I found another article published by the Miami Herald.

You will notice, this writer totally missed Murtha's "shot heard around the world" (technorati now has 400+ hits for what Ms. Baier claims Murtha said.)

On the unlikely chance Ms. Baier did *not* quote Murtha from a recording she made at the event ... I've written the Florida International University Public Relations folks asking them to preserve their audio/video recording of this event they sponsored for Murtha to speak at.

I've sent inquiries to the entire editorial boards of the Sun Sentinel, Wall Street Journal, Arizona Sun Star and Miami Herald, as well as Knight Ridder, asking them to pursue any recording of this event, in pursuit of the real news story, Elizabeth Baier.

It shouldn't take more than a day, or three, for Ms Baier to experience personally, that the world of journalism is flat. Whether you like or despise John Murtha is no longer the story. The real story is ... just how far has mainstream media sunk? Is Jerry Springer Journalism the new standard for reporters?

Here's what should strike every blogger as truly shocking... If Murtha never said anything like this ... If America's Conservative Talking Heads plastering this "Murtha fiction" all over the internet, including Fox News and the Wall Street Journal, then who's to blame for this story achieving such prominence that our enemies will have no trouble finding it, and get the comfort these stories provide them?

Hold your breath and hope that all this aid to our enemies really does have to do with what Murtha said in Miami. Until this gets cleared up by audio/video recordings verifying what was said, it's America's media "dittoheads", including bloggers that are the ones providing comfort our enemies.

Let's hope Fox News, Wall Street Journal, and of course, bloggers ain't the real culprits giving comfort to our enemies.

Keep in mind there are only two stories written by reporters who were actually in Miami last Saturday, where Murtha spoke. One used Mutha's outrageous comments as her opening paragraph, and the other, at a competing Newspaper in Florida, never mentioned them at all.

I spent a few hours on the phone with a friend of mine who is editor for a news site. I'm letting him run with this ball. You can follow how this story develops at:


The Editor at IP said...

Thanks for your comment; I'll continue to follow this and look forward to what you may find out. And while it's not dispositive, I think it's worth noting that this report appeared on Saturday, and Mr. Murtha has not gotten around to denying the report or asking for a retraction. I think that if he knew or thought that he had not said this, he would be likely to deny it very quickly.

That said, the lack of a denial proves nothing. I'll continue watching.

The Editor at IP said...

Chancuff et al -

I'll post more on this later when I have time, but Murtha says the Sun Sentinel reporter got it wrong - that he was merely citing the results of a poll which shows that in some parts of the world, the US presence in Iraq is regarded as the greatest threat to world peace:

lefty said...

are you going to update your post now that the sun sentinel has retracted its eroneous quote attributed to mr. murtha?

chancuff said...

Looking at the large number of blog posts I've placed throughout the blogsphere in the last 2 weeks, I'm sure I'm not alone in thinking they look like spam.

My apologies to all.

Some interesting things happened today. I received an email response from Bill Pasco(e) of Diana Irey's campaign against John Murtha for the 12th District of Pennsylvania seat in the House of Representatives.

In responding Mr. Pascoe's email, I found it useful to CC that response to him to Elizabeth Baier and her editor Ms. Rosenhause (Managing Editor Sun-Sentinel).

The topic of those emails was "Rovian Architecture Unplugged". If you are interested to learn more, feel free to write them.

Make "Rovian Architechure Unplugged" your subject heading so they know what your inquiry is about.

Their email addresses:

Bill Pascoe phone: (724) 258-2300

Elizabeth Baier

Sharon Rosenhause

Cliff Hancuff
The World of Journalism Is Flat, Too