September 22, 2015: National Review senior editor Jay Nordlinger joins Hugh Hewitt and MSNBC‘s Morning Joe to talk about his new book “Children of Monsters: An Inquiry into the Sons and Daughters of Dictators“.
What’s it like to be the son or daughter of a dictator? A monster on the Stalin level? What’s it like to bear a name synonymous with oppression, terror, and evil?
Jay Nordlinger set out to answer that question, and does so in this book. He surveys 20 dictators in all. They are the worst of the worst: Stalin, Mao, Idi Amin, Pol Pot, Saddam Hussein, and so on. The book is not about them, really, though of course they figure in it. It’s about their children.
Some of them are absolute loyalists. They admire, revere, or worship their father. Some of them actually succeed their father as dictator—as in North Korea, Syria, and Haiti. Some of them have doubts. A couple of them become full-blown dissenters, even defectors. A few of the daughters have the experience of having their husband killed by their father. Most of these children are rocked by war, prison, exile, or other upheaval.
Obviously, the children have things in common. But they are also individuals, making of life what they can. The main thing they have in common is this: They have been dealt a very, very unusual hand. Read the rest of this entry »
[VIDEO] Krauthammer Blasts ‘Greek God’ Obama For Attacking Fox Over Poverty: ‘He’s Letting Us Know His Arrogance Has No Limits’Posted: May 14, 2015
On Wednesday’s Special Report with Bret Baier, FNC’s Charles Krauthammer slammed President Obama for attacking Fox News’ at an event on poverty at Georgetown University.
For The Weekly Standard, Mark Hemingway writes: Someone I’m related to by marriage has written a superb column on the problem of media ignorance. The fact I’m not a disinterested observer shouldn’t stop me from noting that the column and the event that prompted it has attracted some attention. The piece is pegged to a much discussed interview talk radio star Hugh Hewitt conducted with Zach Carter, the Huffington Post’s “senior political economy reporter.”
[Also see – Mollie Hemingway on Media Illiteracy]
Hewitt asked Carter why he was spouting off various critical opinions related to Dick Cheney and the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Certainly, Carter’s not alone here — the rise of ISIS has had liberal journalists queuing up to insist President Obama bears minimal responsibility for the disintegration of the situation in Iraq. Joe Biden bet his vice presidency Iraq would extend the Status of Forces Agreement, and had they not failed, it might well have prevented the current mess. But here we are.
“The problem is ultimately not Carter’s ignorance. The problem is that we live in an environment where you can become a “senior political economy reporter” for a major news organization at age 28.”
Still, perhaps there are reasons to criticize Cheney and the invasion of Iraq, but the trouble was that Carter couldn’t articulate any of them substantively, and what’s more, Hewitt asked a series of questions establishing that Carter doesn’t even have an acceptable baseline of knowledge to spout off on the topic. Some of the questions, such as whether Carter has read specific books, might seem pedantic. Others seemed to be a pretty basic litmus test about knowledge of al Qaeda and the U.S.’s involvement in Iraq. Read the rest of this entry »
Media Ignorance Is Becoming A Serious Problem
This reminds me of Donald Rumsfeld’s abstract musings on “known unknowns” and “unknown unknowns”. But then, Zach Carter—The Huffington Post‘s senior political economy reporter–would have to know who Donald Rumsfeld is.
Mollie Hemingway rocks. Read the whole thing here.
Last week, conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt interviewed Zach Carter, who is The Huffington Post‘s senior political economy reporter. The interview’s purpose was to discuss Carter’s negative response to Hewitt’s previous interview of former Vice President Dick Cheney. The interview was lively and interesting but it did not go well for Carter, who was forced to admit his ignorance of the historical context of the situation in Iraq.
Looked at one way, the interview might almost seem like pointless point-scoring. In response to Hewitt’s questions, Carter admitted he didn’t know who Alger Hiss was and that he hadn’t read The Looming Tower. Those two questions are standard questions for Hewitt’s interviews.
…he was unaware that Bill Clinton had bombed Iraq in 1998…
But then Carter said he hadn’t read various other books, such as Bernard Lewis ’Crisis of Islam, Robin Wright’s Dreams and Shadows, or Thomas P. M. Barnett’s The Pentagon’s New Map. He said he hadn’t read Dexter Filkins’ The Forever War but that he’d “read a lot of the stuff that he’s written for The New Yorker.” Filkins joined The New Yorker in 2011. He said he does not read politician’s memoirs, including Cheney’s or George W. Bush’s. That he was unaware that Bill Clinton had bombed Iraq in 1998 or that Gadhafi had reportedly disarmed in 2003. He admitted he doesn’t know who A. Q. Khan, the father of the Pakistan bomb and godfather of Iranian and North Korean nuclear programs, is.
“I give him credit for sticking through the entire interview.”
It’s such a display of ignorance that it seems almost unfair. But looked at another way, it’s simply a good interview where Hewitt seeks to establish Carter’s background and breadth of knowledge in order to help listeners know on what basis he critiqued Cheney.
“But it speaks to a larger problem we face with our media, which is that they frequently are not well read and, more importantly, they do not realize it.”
“He then asked the 31-year old Carter if he knew who Alger Hiss was. I’ve been on Hewitt’s show before—he can be a fantastic interviewer, especially of politicians—but this was unusual.”
Unusual? Call me old-fashioned, but let’s not pretend Alger Hiss was an “obscure” figure in American history, an unfair “gotcha” question to ask of a 31-year-old college graduate.
Alger Hiss was a high-ranking U.S. State Department official and Secretary-General of the United Nations founding conference. He was convicted of perjury in 1950 after denying involvement in Soviet espionage. Hiss partisans and many on the ideological left for many years hotly disputed the jury’s verdict in the case, putting forward a variety of conspiracy theories. The overwhelming consensus among historians today is that Hiss was guilty.
Note: If history had revealed Alger Hiss to be not guilty, every child in America would be subjected to endless Alger Hiss Day classroom assignments, “Alger Hiss Day” would be registered as a national holiday, and there would be a monument in Washington D.C. honoring his noble sacrifice.
Back to Mollie…
I don’t mean to pick on Carter, who was a good sport. If anything, I give him credit for sticking through the entire interview. But it speaks to a larger problem we face with our media, which is that they frequently are not well read and, more importantly, they do not realize it.
My favorite line was when Carter was asked if he’d heard of George Weigel and he replied, “I’ve heard of Dave Weigel.”
Margaret Eby reports: Playwright David Mamet, a longtime critic of President Barack Obama, had harsh words for the POTUS on an appearance on “The Hugh Hewitt Show.”
“He’s a tyrant,” Mamet, 65, said. “I give him great credit. He’s always said that his idea was to reform the United States. And, you know, like many tyrants, like Wilson and like Franklin Delano Roosevelt, he believes that his way is the right way and that he’s going to implement his vision of the world, and many agree with him.”
“He’s acting in concert with his conscience. And I applaud him for it,” Mamet continued. “I just disagree with everything he’s done.”
He connected some of his dissent with the current administration with Obama’s foreign policy.
“I’m a Jew,” Mamet said. “I’m for the Jewish people, and I’m an American, and I’m for the West, and I’m for our allies.”
John Nolte reports: NBC’s Chuck Todd scored a huge interview with President Obama Thursday and opened things by immediately drilling down on the president’s relentlessly repeated lie that under ObamaCare you can keep your current insurance plan if you like it. The full interview is even more impressive than the clips that have been going around. Even after he elicits a “sorry” from Obama, Todd keeps after the point for almost ten minutes.
Ultimately, though, Todd came away with the impression that Obama doesn’t believe he lied. And Todd is probably right, which is a little unnerving.
During his own interview on the Hugh Hewitt show Friday with guest host Carol Platt Liebau, Todd said, “You know, he does not believe he lied on this, and that’s the sense I get.” Here is Todd’s entire quote:
You know, he does not believe he lied on this, and that’s the sense I get. I mean, I think that that’s, he’s taken issue with that before with folks off the record, and I got it’s a sensitive issue, felt like he did not sit there and say he intentionally lied. He said that he wanted to, he thought he was going to be able to keep this promise. I thought what was revealing in that answer, when I asked him that direct question about this, was this a political lie that you started to believe it, was he talked about well, you know, it turns out we had trouble in crafting the law.
If Obama has convinced himself he didn’t lie, that borders on pathological. We now know that as far back as 2010 the president knew eight to nine million people would lose their health insurance. We have him on video admitting to that:
The 8 to 9 million people you refer to that might have to change their coverage — keep in mind out of the 300 million Americans that we are talking about — would be folks who the CBO, the Congressional Budget Office, estimates would find the deal in the exchange better. Would be a better deal. So, yes, they would change coverage because they got more choice and competition.
‘Govt institutions ‘utterly repulsive and disgusting’
Steyn, author of “After America: Get Ready for Armageddon,” told Hewitt it was understandable that Republicans like Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and his allies in the U.S. Senate would call for Republicans in the House of Representatives to use the power of the purse to pursue certain policy positions.
“Well look, you know, in my book when it came out, whatever it was, a couple of years ago, it had a very simple point, that the question was whether the governing institutions of the United States of America were capable of meaningful course correction,” Steyn explained. “And I think we’ve just seen, whether you fall on Jonah [Goldberg]’s side or on your side, the net result is that we keep telling the world that we’re not capable of serious course correction. And that’s a problem. And I well understand why people like Ted Cruz get impatient with it. They’re right to be impatient with it.”
Jeff Poors reports: Senate Republicans furiously attacked Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Utah Sen. Mike Lee behind closed doors and leaked details of an off-record meeting to the media to harm the two senators, according to Lee.
Lee divulged some of the details of a closed-door meeting on Hugh Hewitt’s radio show on Friday, since he said much of it had been leaked to the media by his own colleagues.
“[N]ormally, I don’t comment at all on closed-door meetings between Republican senators,” Lee said. “It’s a pretty strict rule we follow. But one exception I’ll make is circumstances like this, where contents of the meeting were leaked deliberately by several of my colleagues and leaked in a very one-sided way. I’m happy to tell you about it here.”
“It was an all-out attack against Ted Cruz and me,” he continued. “It was unflattering. It was unfair. It was demeaning. It was demeaning to Sen. Cruz and me, but more than anything, it was demeaning to those who engaged in the attack.” Read the rest of this entry »
The bozo leviathan sees everything . . . and nothing.
By Mark Steyn
Every time I go on his show, my radio pal Hugh Hewitt asks me why congressional Republicans aren’t doing more to insist that the GOP suicide note known as “the immigration deal” include a requirement for a border fence. I don’t like to tell Hugh that, if they ever get around to building the fence, it won’t be to keep the foreigners out but to keep you guys in.
I jest, but only very slightly and only because the government doesn’t build much of anything these days — except for that vast complex five times the size of the Capitol the NSA is throwing up in Utah to house everybody’s data on everything everyone’s ever done with anyone ever.
A few weeks after 9/11, when government was hastily retooling its 1970s hijacking procedures for the new century, I wrote a column for theNational Post of Canada and various other publications that, if you’re so interested, is preserved in my anthology The Face of the Tiger. It began by noting the observation of President Bush’s transportation secretary, Norman Mineta, that if “a 70-year-old white woman from Vero Beach, Florida” and “a Muslim young man” were in line to board a flight, he hoped there would be no difference in the scrutiny to which each would be subjected. The TSA was then barely a twinkle in Norm’s eye, and in that long-ago primitive era it would have seemed absurd to people that one day in America it would be entirely routine for wheelchair-bound nonagenarians to remove leg braces before boarding a plane or for kindergartners to stand patiently as three middle-aged latex-gloved officials poke around their genitals. Back then, the idea thateverybody is a suspect still seemed slightly crazy. As I wrote in my column, “I’d love to see Norm get his own cop show:
“Captain Mineta, the witness says the serial rapist’s about 5′10″ with a thin mustache and a scar down his right cheek.”
“Okay, Sergeant, I want you to pull everyone in.”
“Everyone. Men, women, children. We’ll start in the Bronx and work our way through to Staten Island. What matters here is that we not appear to be looking for people who appear to look like the appearance of the people we’re looking for. There are eight million stories in the Naked City, and I want to hear all of them.”
A decade on, it would be asking too much for the new Norm to be confined to the airport terminal. There are 300 million stories in the Naked Republic, and the NSA hears all of them, 24/7. Even in the wake of a four-figure death toll, with the burial pit still smoking, the formal, visible state could not be honest about the very particular threat it faced, and so in the shadows the unseen state grew remorselessly, the blades of the harvester whirring endlessly but, don’t worry, only for “metadata.” As I wrote in National Review in November 2001, “The bigger you make the government, the more you entrust to it, the more powers you give it to nose around the citizenry’s bank accounts, and phone calls, and e-mails, and favorite Internet porn sites, the more you’ll enfeeble it with the siren song of the soft target. The Mounties will no longer get their man, they’ll get you instead. Frankly, it’s a lot easier.” As the IRS scandal reminds us, you have to have a touchingly naïve view of government to believe that the 99.9999 percent of “metadata” entirely irrelevant to terrorism will not be put to some use, sooner or later.
Dr. Larry Arnn and Robert Ferrigno on Iran
Dr. Larry Arnn is president of Hillsdale College, and was an assistant to Sir Martin Gilbert for some of the years of Gilbert’s work on the massive biography of Churchill.
Both were my guests today on the growing crisis in Iran.
Their interviews will be up at Radioblogger.com later today…
Bonus track — from Ferrigno’s blog:
I recently did Hugh Hewitt’s live national radio show to promote The Girl Who Cried Wolf and listening to it afterwards – the host archives his shows – I realized, after thirteen book tours and a lot of radio interviews, I had learned some things. I hope the following tips helps other authors facing the microphone and praying that they don’t projectile vomit.
Live radio interviews are either conducted in a studio or linked to your location by telephone. Either way they are terrifying the first few times. Acknowledge that to yourself and move forward.
A studio interview will seem strange the first time you do it. You’re in a glass booth, usually sitting across from the host. The two of you will be wearing headphones and speaking into a large microphone, while the engineer is watching things from another room through a pane of thick glass. Yes, it’s artificial, but the more you can hone in on the host when you talk, the better. You want to make things feel like a friendly conversation between the two of you. Depending on the host, it may actually be a confrontational conversation, but that’s okay too, as long as you keep things lively and don’t freeze up. (I once went on a “Morning Zoo” type early morning show where the merry band of pranksters made fart noises while they read excerpts from my book that they considered “hot.” I played the part of the good sport, although I wanted to strangle them… slowly.)
Location interviews are more relaxed. You’re in a comfortable place at your home, just talking on the phone to hopefully millions of people. Make sure you’re on a land line for the best reception and turn off any “inaudible” air-conditioning or forced-air heating, which will be picked up and make for a “hissy” broadcast. Your host will appreciate this, or, at least the engineer will. (I learned this from an ex-CIA agent I interviewed once, who complained about poor surveillance recordings)
Whether at home or in-studio, make notes to yourself. Short, succinct notes on separate cards. You can’t believe the things you will blank out on under pressure. I usually go with the name of the host, my own name (really), the name of my book, and the plot of the book in fifteen or twenty words. In big letters I write SLOW DOWN. Most of us talk faster when we’re nervous, so a reminder to ease off will make things easier for listeners to understand and keep you from running out of air. (My first interview I think the host was worried he was going to have to perform CPR on me)
I also write a note that says HAVE FUN. This is the most important note of all.
Try not, and I know it’s hard, try not to not feel compelled to insert the name of your book in every sentence. A good host will mention the title at the beginning and end of the segment and in my case at least, spell your name for the audience. (“Just like Lou Ferrigno!”) Let the host do the work. Otherwise you come off as sweaty and desperate.
Radio is a medium of superlatives because it makes the guest more interesting to the listeners. If the host introduces you as “perhaps the best crime fiction writer in the known and unknown universe,” don’t correct them. You may think it makes you look humble, but it also makes the host look bad. Don’t EVER make the host look bad. Chuckle and say thank you. Besides, who’s better than you?
The host is always aware of the clock and so should you be. When you hear background music getting louder FINISH YOUR POINT because the host will be cutting to a break and if he has to interrupt you to do so, it will feel awkward. You want to make the host’s job easy, just like the host wants to make your job easy. See, you’re pals!
You have been given a gift, act accordingly. Airtime, whether on a national radio show or a podcast beamed out of a garage, is a way to connect with people who don’t know you, a party where for five or ten minutes you’re the guest of honor. The host has many, MANY more people who want to sit where you are sitting than you can imagine. So greet the host warmly, thank him or her when your time is over and send an email to that effect afterwards. They will have earned it.
President Obama has a number of “poker tells” which he displays when answering questions. They betray an increasing distance between his reply and the truth.
Talk show hosts love when the president gives one of his very rare press conference or any other occasion when he is off prompter. That is when these “tells” surface, giving all veteran Obama observers the verbal heads-up that the president has entered the land of thinly disguised fantasy or obvious dissembling.
First, the president begins a pattern of “ahs” and “uhmms” which are as embarrassing as they are revealing. The awkward pausing punctuated by these semi-stutters increases in frequency as the president senses his own flailing about.
Next, the president begins filibustering. His average length of answer in every press conference is already epic, but he has been getting worse as the presidency has dragged on. Pressers are not battles between the “reporters” and the president. Very few not named Jake or Ed bother the president with fastballs. The struggle is simply between the president and the effort he has to land the plane anywhere near where it took off, so far does he wander as he rambles through the minutes he is obliged to spend appearing to take questions.
The president will allegedly be subject to time limits on Wednesday night, but his contempt for most such rules almost guarantees he will blow through every limit and dare the moderator or Mitt Romney to challenge him.
If either does, we will be treated to “tell No. 4,” the president’s feigned outrage that anyone would interrupt or question him. When this happens, his countenance displays a disapproving sneer and his voice clouds with displeasure. It is practiced. It is also profoundly anti-democratic and arrogant, and if he plays this card on this stage, it will backfire.
Watch as well for nonresponsive self-pity, verbal essays on how difficult it was when he took over and how hard he has been working. Self-pity and self-regard are not designed to endear him to the unemployed or even the economically fragile, so he will be coached to try to avoid displaying his sense of outrage at being thought a failure or “in over his head,” but the president’s sense of his own immensity is so great as to blow past such base political calculations.
Finally, watch for the parade of straw men, the president’s favorite rhetorical trick. He will set up arguments that have never been made in the service of Republican goals that have never existed, and then he will denounce both. If the appearance of a straw man serves as a trigger in a drinking game, many bottles will empty by the end of Debate No. 1.
So the president enters the debate a prohibitive favorite to clobber Mitt Romney. But if Benghazi or the unemployment rate surfaces, if the president’s failure to remedy joblessness, spark a serious recovery, or in any way pose an obstacle to Iran’s nuclear ambitions are brought up in the course of Wednesday night’s first big debate, then watch for these verbal ticks and know that Romney is scoring.