ABC Ignores Its Own Journalist Hounding Carney on Obama's 'Accomplishments' in Iraq
Thursday's World News on ABC led with the rapid advance of an Islamist group into the heart of Iraq, but glossed over how correspondent Jonathan Karl grilled outgoing White House Press Secretary Jay Carney over how this development casts doubt on two of President Obama's supposed "top foreign policy accomplishments: ending the war in Iraq and decimating and destroying core al-Qaeda."
Terry Moran noted how "President Obama today, resisting pleas from the Iraqi government for immediate U.S. air strikes to turn the tide, tread cautiously." Martha Raddatz later underlined that "Obama said himself today that these fighters could end up being a significant threat to our homeland." But neither journalist mentioned how their colleague sparred with Carney about the President's past boasts about Iraq and al Qaeda: [YouTube.com video of the exchange below]
JONATHAN KARL: Senior officials in this White House have repeatedly, over the years – and as recently as Tuesday – described, as the President's top foreign policy accomplishments, ending the war in Iraq and decimating and destroying core al-Qaeda. Given what we're seeing now in Iraq, can you still claim those as two of your signature achievements?
JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: There is no question that the President pledged to end the war in Iraq, and he did, and that was-
KARL: There's no war in Iraq right now?
CARNEY: U.S. combat mission in Iraq-
KARL: U.S. combat-
CARNEY: What is also the case – and what the President made clear as we wound down the war in Iraq – is that we need to be a good partner to the government in Iraq, and provide the assistance that we can, at their request, to help them meet their security challenges – and we have done that. Ultimately, Iraq's future has to be decided through reconciliation of political factions in Iraq, and a unified approach to dealing with the challenge posed by a group like the ISIL [Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant].
KARL: And decimating and destroying core al Qaeda, when an al Qaeda-linked group is now in charge – in control of major cities in the — in the heart of Iraq?
CARNEY: Well, within the – within your question, you have made the appropriate distinction, which is core Iraq (sic), based in Afghanistan and Pakistan, has unquestionably been severely compromised and decimated. I don’t think anybody would disagree with that.
What we have been saying for a long time now, is that our – when it comes to threats to the United States and our national security interests directly, the threat posed by affiliated groups has grown – in Yemen, for example and elsewhere — as the core leadership and core al Qaeda in the Afghan – in the Af-Pak [Afghanistan-Pakistan] region has been diminished and decimated. But that's – we've openly discussed that. The President; [former CIA Director] John Brennen, when he was here, and also, obviously, over at the CIA; has talked about it. And that is a challenge that we are very upfront about.
But I don't think you can argue that when it comes to al Qaeda in Afghanistan – in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region, that the strategy of going after core al Qaeda leadership has not been effectively prosecuted.
KARL: Isn’t it equally dangerous – or, arguably, more dangerous – to have an al-Qaeda-linked group in control of major Iraqi cities than to have them in the mountains of Pakistan?
CARNEY: Well, I guess I would have to remind you that the – that the most severe military attack on the United States and our lifetimes occured – was organized and ordered out of Afghanistan and Pakistan by core al Qaeda.
The destruction of the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and Flight 93 on September 11, 2001 was not a "severe military attack," as Carney labeled it, as al Qaeda is obviously not a military organization.
Back in May 2014, World News also ignored two other scoops from Karl about the V.A. scandal that came out of exchanges with Carney. On the May 16, 2014 edition of the evening newscast, anchor Diane Sawyer gave a 30-second news brief on a development in the scandal, but omitted how Karl hounded Carney on the issue. Later in the broadcast, ABC aired two full segments totaling seven minutes and 54 seconds of air time to Barbara Walters' departure from The View. Four days later, they skipped how the correspondent caught the press secretary misrepresenting the American Legion's position on the V.A. controversy.
— Matthew Balan is a News Analyst at the Media Research Center. Follow Matthew Balan on Twitter.