Archive for Alex Witt

Ebola for Dummeez, att: Donald Trump

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The following is Donald Trump's needlessly-fear-mongering tweet about the Ebola patients coming back home to the United States for treatment to, you know, save their lives:

This confirms for the umpteenth time what an utter ignoramus and needy attention-seeker Trump is.

I have been critical of Alex Witt in the past, but she outdid herself today. She conducted a thorough, crystal clear, and ultra-informative interview with infectious disease specialist Dr. William Schaffner from the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine about the Ebola virus and how it spreads. Unfortunately, MSNBC only provided part of the excellent segment that extended into a second interview with their medical correspondent, Nancy Snyderman. I'm including an earlier conversation that she and Snyderman had instead.

Donald Trump could learn a thing or two about a thing or two. Whipping up fear inside the U.S. is reckless and stupid, two things at which Trump excels. One thing at which he miserably fails: Telling the truth.

Dr. Schaffner's obvious sub-specialty is spreading the truth and dispelling rumors about this "terribly serious infection, but one that's not readily transmissible." Presenting Ebola for Dummeez:

The fears are unfounded, Alex. I'm going to tell you honestly that we in public health and infectious diseases are a little surprised at how much anxiety there is about this, because we know about this infection, we know it's very serious, we know how it's transmitted, and we're very confident that we can take care of such patients safely...

They're going to take very good care of this patient absolutely safely, no hazard to folks in the street...

You can imagine that the resources [in Africa] are not as elaborate as those that we have here. .. It's the supportive care [that we have here] that's going to help these people surmount this infection...

Being able to send specimens immediately off to the laboratory and get the results back quickly, and then assessing organ function... we can monitor the heart very carefully, and then if something goes wrong, we can call in the specialists to attend to it, we have the drugs available, and we can monitor their impact very, very carefully...

We have [resources] available in this country and virtually in every large community hospital. It's very reassuring...

In Africa [Ebola] strikes most people who are adults, because they exchange body fluids... One of the ways it's spread in Africa has to do with funeral practices and cultural activities that are deeply embedded. When someone dies, out of respect to the person who's passed, the body is washed very, very carefully, including all the body orifices, and that's done by family and dear friends. And it's in that actual activity that they're exposed to the virus and transmission can occur to those family and friends... That's part of the reason it's spreading...

Airborne transmission has not been demonstrated... is very unlikely. So there's no good evidence of that at present [In a later part of the segment that wasn't included in the clip, this is confirmed and expanded upon by Snyderman]. And in any event, these patients that are being brought here are being protected from airborne transmission. Our healthcare workers are taking the appropriate precautions...

[Re: The protective gear]: They know how to put it on and in what sequence to take it off so that they don't contaminate themselves. They're very rigorously trained, and when you do it, you're observed doing it correctly...

It's not the amount of oxygen [in the room, levels, ventilation], it's that the room is balanced so that air goes into the room, it doesn't leak out. It is then filtered and exhausted after it's cleansed, so it's very rigorously controlled.

There was so much more information that we could all appreciate. MSNBC did us a disservice by editing down the segment.

Here is the clip of Alex Witt with Nancy Snyderman:

Alex Witt:

What are the chances that the virus could spread here in the U.S.?

Snyderman:

Zero to none.

Got that, Trump?

stfu plz

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Snarky analysis of the worst news anchor question o' the day

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omg obama

Today Alex Witt asked this (slightly paraphrased) question of her guest regarding the Iran nuclear deal:

So if the Iran deal fails, does that mean failure for President Obama?

Let's dissect that, mmkay?

  • So what I'm asking is, if something fails, does it fail? And if Obama was involved, isn't he an epic fail, too? Well, isn't he? OMG!
  • So whaddya say, can I coax you to use the words "blame Obama"?
  • So if the deal doesn't go as well as the president hopes, is he the big fat failure we all know he is and always has been and always will be? OMG!
  • Can you please assume and/or predict a negative outcome of a deal that was finalized only hours ago, has six months to go, and hasn't even had a nano-chance to start working yet?
  • OMG! Is one potentially bad deal going to obliterate any and all successes he's had after 8 years of his presidency?
  • If making a peaceful, diplomatic attempt to avoid another insane, deadly war that would be terrible for the region, the United States, and the world doesn't produce an ideal result, don't you think it's time to prematurely condemn this president?
  • If things go the way President Obama's detractors want it to go, can we conclude that, OMG! his entire presidency sucks?
  • If the president doesn't succeed at this international effort that includes several other countries-- never mind that silly Osama bin Laden thing and avoiding war with Syria-- can we finally all agree that we should be dismissive of his entire foreign policy?
  • Can I garner higher ratings for my show by asking a meaningless-yet-annoyingly goading question that will-- OMG!-- incite more Obama bashing, blame, and disapproval?
  • OMG! OBAMA IS A BLACKTASTIC LOSER!
  • Is this a particularly terrible interview?

blame Obama 2

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VIDEO: Alan Grayson spars with Alex Witt on #Syria. Grayson wins.

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Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

I've had my problems with Alex Witt in the past, but in today's interview with Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.), she was more unprepared, flustered, and inaccurate than I've seen her in some time.

Witt came at Grayson with challenge after challenge of his positions on Syria, and he batted them away the way Mr. Ed swatted flies with his tail. When she got her facts wrong, he wasted no time in correcting her, and without even trying, he embarrassed her as badly as she embarrassed herself.

As a Twitter pal put it:

"He sorta ate Alex's lunch on the media hype of war with Syria. She was speechless and there was a moment of silence as if everything had gone off script."

Agree with Grayson or not, he speaks his mind, he's blunt, and gets right to the point. In this instance, he wasted no time and had ready answers to unWitting (bygones), uninformed questioning. Here are some excerpts:

Witt: You have been very vocal in your opposition to any kind of intervention. What's your argument against this?

Grayson: First it's not our responsibility. Secondly, whatever we do won't actually accomplish anything useful. Third, it's expensive. And fourth it's dangerous.

Witt: Okay. Uh. You're pretty definitive in that. How much pushback are you getting...?

Grayson: No, my position is actually the popular position here. We set up a website called DontAttackSyria.com and within a few hours we had 10,000 signatures petitioning the president against this action. The polls now show and will continue to show that Americans understand that it's simply not our responsibility. We are only one country out of 196. We have our own problems to deal with, and we're not the world's policeman, nor the world's judge, jury, and executioner.

Witt: You have said that you don't even think it's clear a chemical attack occurred. Now Doctors Without Borders, which is a completely impartial group, says its partners have treated 3,600 people for chemical weapons symptoms. Do you not believe them?

Grayson: No, no. You're misquoting me out of context. I said that several days ago before that evidence came in...

[But] I've yet to hear anybody explain to me why our attacking Syria will take away their ability to commit such an attack in the future.

Witt: Do you question, sir, the president saying that this is a threat to our national security, the use of chemical weapons in Syria?

Grayson: Absolutely. We haven't been attacked at all. Not a single American has been attacked during the course of this entire civil war. And I think Americans understand that. Let's tend to our own garden. ...

Witt: What's your response to [the clip of President Obama's remarks]?

Grayson: Not a single other country feels that way. Just a few days ago we had British parliament debate --

Witt: (She interrupted quickly and loudly here) France does, I believe!

Grayson: Well, no. France is saying we'll wait and see. So that's not the case at all. How is it that this is always our responsibility? And by the way, the treaty that the president's citing says that in case of violations of that treaty, you take the perpetrators to the International Court of the Hague, you don't bomb them.

Witt: (Sigh) Okay. Uhh.. Are you going to be on that conference call, sir, at 2:00... ?

Grayson: No, there is no conference call at 2:00 with general membership... I've arranged for a separate briefing... next week.

consequences smaller

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Here's an idea, Republicans...

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ic factor democrat party

Today on MSNBC, Alex Witt interviewed Republican freshman class president Rep. Luke Messer who hails from Indiana's 6th district. She was questioning him about the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad GOP dissension-slash-implosion, and he pretended to care.

How do I know he was only pretending? He dropped a few hints. One was his feigned concern about said growing division among his fellowGOPers. Or maybe he meant that, but considering the same old right wing talking points coming out of his own mouth, and his record, how sincere could he have been?

Another was when he rejected common sense gun safety law proposals while insisting that he "would listen" to any suggestions as he clearly sided with the radical NRA CEO, Wayne LaPierre (the NRA has given him a 100% rating). But hey, he's a great listener!

However, the obvious giveaway that exposed him to be the partisan hack that he is was when, as he claimed to support working across the aisle with the new "bipartisan" House members, he repeatedly used the word "Democrat" as an adjective. That's a well-known GOP slur, or as the New Yorker referred to such language, "The 'Ic' Factor":

To wit:

The Democrat Party has a clear record when it comes to taxes.

And:

Nothing threatens our hard-won reforms and economic prosperity more than a Democrat victory this November.

And:

The difference is clear: if you want the government in your pocket, vote Democrat.

Memo to Messer (and all Republicans): It's called the Democratic Party.

There’s no great mystery about the motives behind this deliberate misnaming. “Democrat Party” is a slur, or intended to be—a handy way to express contempt. Aesthetic judgments are subjective, of course, but “Democrat Party” is jarring verging on ugly. It fairly screams “rat.” [...]

In the conservative media, the phenomenon feeds more voraciously the closer you get to the mucky, sludgy bottom. “Democrat Party” is standard jargon on right-wing talk radio and common on winger Web sites...

So here's an idea, Republicans: If you want to maintain even a shred of credibility, stop insulting the very party you claim to want to work with so badly. Unless you want us to start calling you "Rushpublics."

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Military judge restricts more materials in 9/11 trial. UNclassified materials.

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abu13

Just now on MSNBC, Alex Witt said this (I'm coming in mid-sentence, but she was discussing the Zero Dark Thirty controversy): "...Enhanced interrogation techniques-- torture-- some will call it that."

SOME? Or anyone but the Bushies and their stellar, upstanding, patriotic Department of Justice that decided to call it something else in order to duck prosecution of Bush and the Waterboardettes? Torture is torture, and it doesn't work, it's illegal, immoral, and just plain wrong on every level.

Clear?

Witt casually tossed off the "some will call it that" as if it were an afterthought, not fact. "Enhanced interrogation techniques" is a Bushian euphemism for torture. That has been well established. Documented. End of story. It's about time everyone reports about it accurately.

Which brings me to the L.A. Times piece I read today:

The military judge overseeing the trial for alleged Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and four others has ruled that lawyers cannot make public even unclassified materials.

The ruling by the judge, Army Col. James L. Pohl, follows an order on Dec. 6 in which he directed that any evidence or discussion about harsh interrogation techniques used against the five men also be kept secret. He issued the ruling despite accusations by human rights groups that the government was trying to hide the fact the men were tortured. [...]

In another development, President Obama this week signed the National Defense Authorization Act, which supports overall military operations but also puts on hold his plan to close the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay — a pledge he repeated in October during his run for reelection.

Of course, GOP debate audiences cheered waterboarding, which means they were cool with illegally torturing other human beings. So much for the "family values" "pro-life" crowd.

______________________________________________

here; That link includes one specific to only *Fayiz al-Kandari’s story here.

Here are audio and video interviews with Lt. Col. Wingard, one by David Shuster, one by Ana Marie Cox, and more. My guest commentary at BuzzFlash is here.

Lt. Col. Barry Wingard is a military attorney who represents Fayiz Al-Kandari in the Military Commission process and in no way represents the opinions of his home state. When not on active duty, Colonel Wingard is a public defender in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

If you’d like to see ways you can take action, go here and scroll down to the end of the article.

Then read Jane Mayer’s book The Dark Side. You’ll have a much greater understanding of why I post endlessly about this, and why I’m all over the CIA deception issues, too.

More of Fayiz’s story here, at Answers.com.

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Quote-O'-The-Day: Pat Buchanan Makes Sense edition

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I turned on the tail end of an Alex Witt segment with Pat Buchanan (Someone explain why he is still on MSNBC again?), and they were speculating about John Boehner possibly becoming the next Speaker of the House.

As I reached for the nearest anti-nausea meds, I heard Pat the WonderMouth say the following:

"Nobody knows who John Boehner is, and that's a good thing."

Buchanan let the truth slip out. How novel.

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The Daily Beast defends Sarah Palin

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As I've mentioned before, there's something about weekend cable news that gets under my skin. The reporting is often faulty and/or biased, and this seems to go unnoticed.

Today's Saturday Seethe began as I watched Alex Witt interview Shushannah Walshe about Vanity Fair's recent piece on Former Half-Gov Nastette McHurlCans. Walshe all but accused Vanity Fair of outright lying and inept journalism, saying that the article "relied on people with an axe to grind."

Oh really? As opposed to, say, those who practically stick their collective tongues down Nastette's throat? Greta Van Susteren, for one. ClusterFox in general, for a dozen.

Walshe complained that the Vanity Fair piece quoted Palin's  "frequent house guests" who witnessed "screaming fights, a fusillade of curses" between McHurlCans and Former Half-First Dude:

“They took all the canned goods out of the pantry, then proceeded to throw them at each other. By the time they got done, the stainless-steel fridge looked like it had got shot up with a shotgun. Todd said, ‘I don’t know why I even waste my time trying to get nice things for you if you’re just going to ruin them.’ ”

Shushannah scoffed at accounts like that one, which is fine. She claimed she'd interviewed a lot of sources who never witnessed such incidents. If she relies on different sources who have contradictory information, so be it (although her lack of eyewitness accounts doesn't prove that these little spats didn't occur). But Witt appeared to be awfully supportive of Walshe, and that's what struck me.  So did the Daily Beast's strong implications that the overall veracity of the Vanity Fair article should be dismissed summarily.

Whatever happened to objective news broadcasts?

Oh wait. I know.

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