Bona fide journalists don’t apologize to officials for asking questions about their administration’s failures, do they?
Trick question: we said “bona fide” journalists.
On today’s State of the Union show on CNN, host Dana Bash treated Secretary of State Antony Blinken to a softball interview regarding Biden admin failures on the attack on Israel, and the release of $6 billion to Iran.
Bash began by playing a clip of National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan recently saying:
“The Middle East region is quieter today than it has been in two decades. Now, challenges remain, Iran’s nuclear weapons program, tensions between Israelis and Palestinians. But the amount of time that I have to spend on crisis and conflict in the Middle East compared today to my predecessors going back to 9/11 is significantly reduced.”
Sullivan’s statement is an admission of negligence. Contrary to his boast that the Middle East “is quieter today than it has been in two decades,” as he spoke, Hamas was on the verge of unleashing its attack on Israel. And Sullivan saying that he has spent significantly less time on the Middle East than his predecessors is a further admission of his incompetence.
So, how did Bash react? Did she try to press Blinken on Sullivan’s catastrophic misreading of the situation? Of course not. To the contrary, Bash explicitly let Sullivan off the hook, saying:
“It does seem like this very coordinated attack came out of nowhere. This isn’t about specifically anything that Jake missed, but more broadly about the intelligence failure, not just about the Israelis but about the U.S.”
Note Bash saying that the attack “came out of nowhere.” As if, yunno, nobody could possibly have seen this coming. Not your fault, Biden administration! And, heaven forbid Blinken might think she was focusing on Sullivan’s monumental misreading of the Middle East! Nope, not about anything that good old Jake said!
Blinken had the chutzpah to claim that Sullivan was “right,” and indeed, “exactly right!” Riiiight.
Blinken brushed off the question about US intelligence failures, saying, “there will be plenty of time in days to come to look and see what anyone missed.”
Bash promptly replied: “I understand.” So understanding, that Dana — when it comes to failing to press the Biden administration on its failures! Think she would have been so “understanding” with a Republican Secretary of State?
Bash was as bad if not worse regarding the Biden admin’s release of $6 billion to Iran.
Bash made a long, apologetic, preface before posing her question to Blinken.
“I just have to ask you to—if you want to respond—to what we’re hearing from Republicans who are over and over since this happened using the word appeasement when it comes to Iran and your administration. They criticized the decision to unfreeze $6 billion in Iranian funds. And I know and want to state that that money has not yet been unfrozen. Iran does not yet have it. But the accusation is that Iran’s posture — excuse me that the U.S., your administration’s posture towards Iran has helped contribute to this. I want to get you — give you a chance to respond.”
Let us count the ways that Bash bowed to Blinken.
“I just have to ask you—if you want to respond.” Translation: I really don’t want to ask—apologies, please excuse me! And really, only respond if you want to: no pressure!
“What we’re hearing from Republicans over and over.” So, she casts this as simply a partisan attack. No right-thinking person could possibly criticize releasing $6 billion to the mullahs!
“And I know and want to state that that money has not yet been unfrozen. Iran does not yet have it.” So Bash is offering in advance the administration’s excuses and talking points!
“I want to get you — give you a chance to respond.” A real journalist would have pushed for an answer, saying, as Bash first did, “I want to get you to respond.” But, realizing with horror that she might have actually pushed for an answer, she catches herself, and revises: “I want to give you a chance to respond.” Really, Tony, only if you feel like it!
This was an absolutely craven bit of water-carrying for the Biden administration by Bash and CNN. Expect plenty more along similar lines from the liberal media in coming days!
On CNN’s State of the Union, Dana Bash’s softball interview of Secretary of State Tony Blinken on the Biden administration’s failures regarding the attack on Israel and the release of $6 billion to Iran was sponsored in part by Consumer Cellular, Abbvie, maker of Vraylar, GlaxoSmithKline, maker of Arexvy, and Citi.
Here’s the transcript.
State of the Union
9:07 am EDT
DANA BASH: It does seem like this very coordinated attack came out of nowhere. I want our viewers to listen to what the U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan said just nine days ago.
JAKE SULLIVAN: The Middle East region is quieter today than it has been in two decades. Now, challenges remain, Iran’s nuclear weapons program, the tensions between Israelis and Palestinians. But the amount of time that I have to spend on crisis and conflict in the Middle East today compared to any of my predecessors going back to 9/11 is significantly reduced.
BASH: That obviously has changed dramatically, not just for Jake Sullivan, but for all of you. And this isn’t specifically about anything that Jake missed, but more broadly about the intelligence failure, not just by the Israelis, but the U.S. What you can say about that?
ANTONY BLINKEN: Well, two things, Dana. First, what Jake Sullivan said was right. If you look at the relationship among countries in the Middle East, you saw with a lot of work by the United States, countries come together and the region integrating. Hostilities diminishing. And we’ve been very engaged in pursuing, for example, normalization between Israel and its neighbors, building on what’s already been done, including with Saudi Arabia.
And other conflicts, like the conflict in Yemen, where we’ve had a truce now for almost two years, have made a huge difference. What happened over last 24 hours doesn’t go to state-to-state conflict, where Jake is exactly right: it’s diminished. This goes to a terrorist attack by a terrorist organization.
. . .
In terms of the intelligence, there will be plenty of time in, uh, uh, days to come to look and see what anyone missed. What might, what we could have done better. Right now, the focus is on helping Israel, making sure that it has what it needs to deal with this attack.
BASH: I understand.
. . .
While we’re talking about Iran, I just have to ask you to—if you want to respond—to what we’re hearing from Republicans who are over and over since this happened using the word appeasement when it comes to Iran and your administration.
They criticized the decision to unfreeze $6 billion in Iranian funds. And I know, and want to state, that that money according to your administration has not yet been unfrozen. Iran does not yet have it.
But the accusation is that Iran’s posture — excuse me, that the U.S., your administration’s posture towards Iran has helped contribute to this. I want to get you — give you a chance to respond.
BLINKEN: Well, there are two things here. First, with regard to the funds that you mentioned, that were released to, that were made available to Iran for humanitarian purposes, as part of getting Americans back who were being held or detained in Iran.
Let’s be very clear about this, and it’s deeply unfortunate that some are playing politics when so many lives have been lost, and Israel remains under attack. The facts are these. No U.S. taxpayer dollars were involved. These were Iranian resources that Iran had accumulated from the sale of its oil that were stuck in a bank in South Korea. They have had from day one, under our law, under our sanctions, the right to use these monies for humanitarian purposes. They were moved from one account to another, in another country, to facilitate that use. As of now, not a single dollar has been spent from that account. And again, the account is closely regulated by the U.S. Treasury Department.So it can only be used for things like food, medicine, medical equipment. That’s what this is about. And by the way, the previous administration set up a very similar mechanism to enable Iran to use its oil proceeds, that were blocked in various places, or stuck in various places, for humanitarian purposes.
So, people are either misinformed or they’re misinforming. And either way it’s wrong.