Lanny Davis Seems To Believe That Roger Goodell Has Been A Really Good Crisis Manager

September 17, 2014 by  
Filed under Videos

So there is someone willing to defend beleaguered NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, and it turns out it’s the guy who’s willing to defend almost anyone — Lanny Davis, crisis manager and author with a book to sell you, about crisis management. His defense of Goodell has been duly recorded and published at CNN, which is willing to publish anything.

At issue here is that whole Ray Rice business, wherein the National Football League, being aware that the Baltimore Ravens running back had clocked his then-fiancee Janay Palmer into a deep unconsciousness in a hotel elevator, punished Rice with a more lenient punishment than it metes out if you smoke a little weed now and again. To Davis’ mind, the people who have really behaved irresponsibly are those demanding accountability.

“When everyone is piling on,” says Davis, “it’s time to take a breath and say: We need more facts, less reliance on media reports based on anonymous sources and over-heated pundits who are too ready to rush to judgment.”

Left unsaid here is that the main reason we’ve been largely kept in the dark as to the facts, up until TMZ released the full video of Rice’s violent interaction with his fiancee, is that Goodell and his organization have endeavored mightily to keep those facts from coming to light. When the public was armed merely with the evidence that Rice had dragged his fiancee from the elevator, the NFL defended its decision to suspend him for a mere two games by sheltering in what had been unknown, essentially suggesting that Palmer had acted in such a way that mitigated the circumstances.

The Baltimore Ravens organization cheerfully sheltered in the same existential void, sending a May 23 tweet that read, “Janay Rice says she deeply regrets the role that she played the night of the incident.” The implication being that she had done something to bring Rice’s fist upon herself.

As craven as that now looks, given the fact that we all know now that the “role she played” was nothing more than being the punching bag of a violent abuser, that’s only the start of Goodell’s merry litany of falsehoods. As Deadspin’s Tom Ley has reported, these are legion.

And that’s probably why Davis’ “defense” of Goodell doesn’t really go on to … you know … defend him. What Davis wants you to know is that Goodell, for all his many faults, should be lauded for doing really good crisis management. But as you’ll see, Davis is also wrong about that.

Here’s Davis:

But then [Goodell] turned in the right direction, following the three basic rules of crisis management, whether in business, politics, or life.

First, he acknowledged that he made a mistake and took personal responsibility. He showed that he understood, albeit belatedly, how serious male violence against women is. In his August 28 letter to all NFL owners, Goodell wrote: “I didn’t get it right. Simply put, we have to do better.”

In an accompanying memorandum that would be distributed to all personnel in the NFL, he wrote, in bold-faced dark letters, the following:

“Domestic violence and sexual assault are wrong. They are illegal. They are never acceptable and have no place in the NFL under any circumstances.”

Suffice it to say, the process of “taking responsibility” is actually more complicated than simply saying, “My bad,” and then putting a bunch of universally true things in super-serious boldfaced type. An organization that needs its leader to remind it that domestic violence and sexual assault are “wrong,” and by the way “illegal,” is an organization that needs a remedial level of accountability imposed upon it. Goodell shows no real sign of wanting to do this — I’ll point you again to Ley’s list of deceits that have come straight from Goodell.

What’s next?

Second, he laid out a detailed forward-looking mandatory education and training program to implement this policy. Most important, he announced far more severe penalties than before, effective immediately for violations of this bold-faced policy: 1) at least six game suspensions for the first violation, with heavier penalties if facts show more serious offenses, such as violence involving a weapon, choking, repeated striking, against a pregnant woman or in the presence of a child; and 2) a second offense will result in “banishment” from the NFL. That’s right, banishment — with no assumption that a petition for reinstatement will ever be accepted.

Davis maybe doesn’t realize this (or perhaps it’s a feature in the “crisis management” biz), but the first two sentences contradict one another. You can’t have a “forward-looking” domestic violence program if the program you’re implementing is only being implemented because you got caught out by TMZ’s release of the full video of Rice’s abuse. Goodell’s “forward-looking” policy was the two-game suspension standard, forged during what amounted to a cover-up of the facts. You don’t get to say, “Now that we’ve been pantsed by TMZ, we have a domestic violence punishment program that really lowers the boom,” and call that “forward-looking.”

Finally, we have this:

The third rule is to authorize an independent investigation to answer all the questions and verify the facts. And that is exactly what happened. Of course the emphasis is on the word “independent.”

Yes, this “independent investigation” was set up by New York Giants owner John Mara and Pittsburgh Steelers owner Art Rooney II, and it involves parachuting former FBI Director Robert Mueller III into NFL HQ to give the league the full True Detective treatment.

Now, perhaps at this point you’re wondering how “independent” this investigation can be, given the fact that it’s all been put in place by a pair of owner-stakeholders. Lanny Davis wants you to shut your ignorant mouth:

I have read about doubts about Mueller’s objectivity because he comes from a large law firm that has ties to the NFL. My response: Nonsense. Robert Mueller is a former United States attorney, senior U.S. Justice Department official, and one of the most respected FBI directors in history.

Nonsense! By gum, Robert Mueller did some stuff, and you will respect that. Well, here’s some of the stuff that Davis is very quickly glossing over:

ESPN: “Mueller, based in Washington, D.C., is a partner in the law firm of WilmerHale, which helped negotiate the NFL’s Sunday Ticket package with DirecTV. The firm also has represented Washington R*****ns owner Dan Snyder, and several former members of the firm have taken positions with NFL teams.”

Mike Florio, NBC Sports: “One such former WilmerHale employee is, coincidentally, Ravens president Dick Cass, who joined the club after thirty-plus years at the firm.”

So the “doubts” that Davis has “read about” are actually the accurately reported accounts that document the obvious conflicts of interest with this “independent” investigation.

This is not good crisis management, when your BFF in the crisis management business puts easily penetrated obfuscations on CNN’s website in order to paper over all of the previous obfuscations reported everywhere else.

If you want to assess the potential that the NFL is prepared to be accountable for all of this, here are some things you should remember. Goodell made accountability your responsibility. He declined to take on the task himself. When the public was outraged about Rice’s meager suspension, Goodell told the public to trust him — because if you knew what was on the tape of the incident, you’d see it his way. When the public was outraged at the fact that the content of said tape put paid to those notions, Goodell adjusted the suspension policy but insisted that he hadn’t seen the full video.

It was only after the Associated Press had the NFL caught in that lie that Goodell did a modicum of facing the music. And now Lanny Davis is here to tell you that you don’t actually possess any facts — that everything you think you know about this incident actually has emerged from a wilderness of “innuendo and anonymous sources” and that you should wait for a conflict-laden investigator to spin you a tale of the real facts.

There’s a reason you don’t trust these guys. You should go with that instinct.

(By the way, here’s what good crisis management looks like, from Kristine Belisle, former adviser to federal inspectors general: “We might be embarrassed at times and disclose things that we could — and others would — easily hide, but we’ll shock the press with our honesty. No one else does this, and before long, we’ll have a built-in defense when we’re attacked. No matter what they hear, the press will come to us first and believe us, because we’ll prove to them that we tell the truth.”)

[Would you like to follow me on Twitter? Because why not?]

Foley family honors journalist son killed by Islamic State with new non-profit

September 16, 2014 by  
Filed under Videos


By Charles M. Sennott

ROCHESTER, New Hampshire — One month after the horrific video of American journalist James Foley’s beheading at the hands of the Islamic State was released, the Foley family finds itself at the center of a global debate over the US government’s policy to forbid the payment of ransom to terrorist organizations.

You’d never know all this was swirling around this faithful and dignified family here in the quiet New England town where they live and where Jim, 40, came of age along with his four siblings. But they have now stepped into a very public and emotional argument over how to address the rising scourge of kidnap and ransom.

To help focus that debate, the Foleys established a fund that will provide resources to families caught in the nightmare of a hostage situation, and that will also seek to enshrine a legacy for their brother and son who was executed after being taken hostage in Syria and held for nearly two years during which time he was beaten and tortured.

In announcing the formation of the James W. Foley Legacy Fund on Friday, John and Diane Foley have sought to confront their anguish by promoting Jim’s “passions and ideals among future generations.”

According to a statement about the nonprofit organization which was conceived of in the Foleys’ home by family, friends and supporters over the last few weeks, “The Fund’s foremost aim is to build a resource center for families of American hostages as they work to bring their loved ones home.”

This is an issue that weighs heavily on the Foleys, who have shared that they feel deeply for those families who still have loved ones held captive by the Islamic State or by other terrorist groups and criminal gangs around the world.

The Foleys have spoken out recently to the media, granting interviews to CNN, ABC News and the New York Times to share their frustration at the way the US handled the investigation into their son’s capture and, as they see it, its hands-off approach to helping them find a way to bring him home.

“The FBI didn’t help us much – let’s face it,” Diane Foley said in a recent New York Times article titled “For James Foley’s Family, US Policy Offered No Hope.”

For months, the Foleys’ sense of desperation and anguish, now also punctuated with some very human frustration and anger, was visible to those who know them and have spent time with them.

They privately shared some of these feelings with me in recent weeks during visits to their home. In addition to frustration with the FBI, the lead agency on Jim’s case, they also expressed their disappointment with the inability of the State Department and the White House to do more. But only in the last few days has the family decided to go public with its strong feelings about the need for America and the larger world to reconsider how it deals with hostage situations.

The US and UK are among those countries with strict laws forbidding such ransom payments, and the Foleys have now publicly stated that they were warned that they would face prosecution if they violated those laws and made payment.

It has also been GlobalPost’s policy, borrowed from long-standing and existing policies at the BBC and other major international news organizations, to refuse to ever pay ransom in the event of a hostage taking and to immediately involve the US government in handling it as a criminal matter.

While they struggled with the stark reality of US law, the Foleys learned that there were a number of European countries, including France and Spain, actively coordinating to secure the release of other hostages held by IS alongside Jim Foley by making payments of between $3 million and $5 million. Diane Foley reached out to these families and traveled to Europe. She returned desperate to try to do the same, if that was indeed the only way to save her son.

“It was horrible — and continues to be horrible. You are between a rock and a hard place,” as Diane Foley described her ordeal to the New York Times.

Senior US law enforcement officials have insisted that they were in constant contact with the Foley family. But they said,they were limited in what information they could share, as much of it was classified.

These officials added that they were bound by US law, which mandates a zero concession policy: The government refuses to accede to terrorist demands for money or the release of prisoners, arguing that doing so creates a perverse incentive that would encourage more kidnapping. Indeed, there is some evidence that IS stepped up its kidnapping efforts in part to finance its operations, stunning the world when they pushed forward across the Syrian border and captured the city of Mosul and a swath of territory about the size of Maryland.

In early July, the Foleys were told, the US military secretly landed in the IS stronghold of Raqqa, Syria in a failed raid. They did not find Foley or his fellow captives, who had apparently been moved to another hiding place. The Foleys say they were not made aware of this raid until after the FBI confirmed the video that depicts his execution.

I spoke with a private investigator, who was formerly a member of an elite military unit that had conducted similar raids, about kidnap and ransom cases. He has worked in this shadowy world for many years and spoke on the condition of anonymity. He said the Foleys have every right to be frustrated and angry because US policy on the matter has been inconsistent and confusing, pointing out that the publicly stated policy was violated when five Taliban prisoners held at Guantanamo were released in exchange for the captured US Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.

He added that he believes every family should be allowed to pursue buying their loved ones’ freedom.

“Anyone in this world who has a child or a loved one understands that very human response to want to save a life at any cost. You can do that, and not give up the fight to destroy those who carried out the kidnapping and the organization that is behind them,” said the investigator, who was not among those who worked with the Foleys on their case.

This summer just after the terrible news of Jim’s death, I ran into the acclaimed Harvard University law professor and expert on terrorism, Alan Dershowitz, and we discussed the complex set of legal and moral questions around whether or not to pay ransom to a terrorist group like the Islamic State to secure freedom for a loved one.

“Any parent would do anything to save a child’s life. And I think they should be able to,” he said. “I would think of it as paying with one hand while preparing with the other hand to destroy the terrorists who do this.”

He said that the Americans and the British were not alone in having a fractured and flawed policy, but that Israel also proclaims publicly to have zero tolerance for paying ransom or exchanging prisoners. But he said they frequently do prisoner exchanges, including the release of some 1,000 Palestinian prisoners, including many convicted of multiple murders and terrorism, in exchange for the 2011 release of the Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, who was held by Hamas for five years.

David Rohde, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist for the New York Times who now writes a column for Reuters, has been outspoken on this issue and speaks with perhaps more authority than any other journalist. That’s because he has lived it. He was held in captivity by the Taliban for seven months, while his family was told it was not legal to pay the Taliban for his release, before he managed to escape on his own in 2009 using a rope that he had stowed away.

The policy questions surrounding the debate are agonizingly difficult. But, as Rohde points out in his Aug. 20 column, what is needed most is for thought leaders, diplomats, victims as well as international businesses, aid agencies and news organizations to all come together and deal with the peril they face, and try to agree on a set of recognized standards and practices. Rohde writes:

“The payment of ransoms and abduction of foreigners must emerge from the shadows. It must be publicly debated. American and European policymakers should be forced to answer for their actions.

Foley believed that his government would help him, according to his family. In a message that was not made public, Foley said that he believed so strongly that Washington would help that he refused to allow his fellow American captives to not believe in their government.

A consistent response to kidnapping by the US and Europe is desperately needed. The current haphazard approach is failing.

James Foley must not die in vain.”

There is something about the Foley family’s intense faith, their extraordinary strength and their undying belief in their son’s work as a journalist that gives anyone lucky enough to know them a great confidence that Jim Foley will never die in vain.

The James W. Foley Legacy Fund seems to be their way of making sure that Jim is honored. And not only do they want to honor him by working with other families who are enduring the agony of a kidnap and ransom situation. But as they describe the mission of the fund, they also want to honor Jim’s service at Teach for America and his many years teaching and mentoring disadvantaged, urban school kids about writing and about life.

Perhaps most poignantly, the Foleys want to honor Jim’s great passion for reporting on the ground, telling stories that mattered, and his great compassion for the people he reported on.

As John and Diane wrote in the statement announcing the Fund, “Jim’s life challenges us all to love and forgive one another, and to make this world a better place.”

GlobalPost Co-founder Charles M. Sennott is Executive Director of The GroundTruth Project which trains and mentors the next generation of international correspondents to do social justice reporting that can make a difference, and to do it safely.

Royal Baby News Doesn’t Really Excite Americans, Poll Finds

September 16, 2014 by  
Filed under Videos

Last week, Great Britain’s royal family announced that Kate Middleton, aka the Duchess of Cambridge, is pregnant with her second child. A new HuffPost/YouGov poll finds that Americans just aren’t that interested.

Only 7 percent of respondents said they have been following the news about the duchess’s pregnancy very closely, and another 22 percent said they’ve followed it somewhat closely. On the other end of the spectrum, 35 percent said they have not followed the news very closely, and another 30 percent said they haven’t paid attention at all.

There was a substantial gender divide, with 39 percent of women following the pregnancy news very or somewhat closely, while only 18 percent of men said the same.

Why aren’t Americans paying much attention to Kate Middleton’s happy announcement? Maybe because they aren’t all that enthusiastic about another round of royal baby. Only 7 percent said they are very excited that Middleton is pregnant again. Eighteen percent said they are somewhat excited, and another 19 percent said they’re not very excited. Nearly half (48 percent) said they are not at all excited that Middleton is expecting her second child.

But it’s not just the duchess whom Americans are tired of hearing about. Americans are fairly unenthused about media coverage of the entire British royal family. Fifty-six percent said the media spend too much time covering stories about the royal family, while 26 percent said the media spend the right amount of time. Just 2 percent said there’s too little coverage of the royals.

The HuffPost/YouGov poll was conducted Sept. 11-12 among 1,000 U.S. adults using a sample selected from YouGov’s opt-in online panel to match the demographics and other characteristics of the adult U.S. population. Factors considered include age, race, gender, education, employment, income, marital status, number of children, voter registration, time and location of Internet access, interest in politics, religion and church attendance.

The Huffington Post has teamed up with YouGov to conduct daily opinion polls. You can learn more about this project and take part in YouGov’s nationally representative opinion polling. Data from all HuffPost/YouGov polls can be found here.

‘Miss America’ Broadcast Misspells Jane Austen As ‘Jane Austin’

September 15, 2014 by  
Filed under Videos

Looks like someone at the “Miss America” pageant is lacking a little sense and sensibility.

During Sunday night’s broadcast, bits of trivia about each contestant popped up on the screen, including the fact that Miss New York Kira Kazantsev (who would go on to win the contest) “loves anything Jane Austin.”

Of course, the author’s name is spelled Jane Austen.

The mistake didn’t go unnoticed on Twitter:

Jane Austin? Jane AUSTIN?! *sets everything on fire*

— Stacey E. Singleton (@staceyNYCDC) September 15, 2014

Stone Cold Jane Austin

— Helena Fitzgerald (@helfitzgerald) September 15, 2014

@derekahunter @dangainor @ABCNetwork @MissAmericaOrg I’ve always preferred Jane Houston but I steer clear of Jane Dallas and Jane Austin

— Freedom (@fiscalconserve) September 15, 2014

Maybe Jane Austin is a really obscure author in some far corner of the internet and we’re all just not cool enough to know.

— Tyler (@oktysure) September 15, 2014

Turns out, Jane Austin was also an author: a 19th-century American novelist and short story writer who penned more than 20 books.

maybe they misspelled jane austen or MAYBE cup girl is super into the shadow of moloch mountain how are we to know

— Rachel Syme (@rachsyme) September 15, 2014

The “Austin” error wasn’t the only thing unusual about on-screen bits of trivia. Mashable has a look at some of the truly odd “facts” to pop up during the show, such as a contestant terrified of frogs, one attacked by a cheetah and a young lady nicknamed “Bob.”

Obama Met Privately With Top Journalists Before ISIS War Speech

September 14, 2014 by  
Filed under Videos

NEW YORK –- President Barack Obama met with over a dozen prominent columnists and magazine writers Wednesday afternoon before calling for an escalation of the war against the Islamic State, or ISIS, in a primetime address that same night.

The group, which met in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in an off-the-record session, included New York Times columnists David Brooks, Tom Friedman and Frank Bruni and editorial writer Carol Giacomo; The Washington Post’s David Ignatius, Eugene Robinson and Ruth Marcus; The New Yorker’s Dexter Filkins and George Packer; The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg and Peter Beinart; The New Republic’s Julia Ioffe; Columbia Journalism School Dean Steve Coll; The Wall Street Journal’s Jerry Seib; and The Daily Beast’s Michael Tomasky, a source familiar with the meeting told The Huffington Post.

National Security Advisor Susan Rice, Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes and White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough also attended the meeting, according to the source.

The White House declined comment.

Peter Baker, the chief White House correspondent for The New York Times, reported on Saturday that Obama had met with columnists and magazine writers but did not name the attendees.

Baker wrote that three New York Times columnists and one editorial writer attended, but indicated they weren’t sources for his story. Since the meeting was off the record, the Times columnists could not report what Obama said. But Baker, a Times reporter not in attendance, was under no obligation to withhold the fact that the meeting took place.

Obama has long derided the 24-hour news cycle in which minor misstatements can become fodder for endless cable discussions. But throughout his presidency, he has used smaller, private meetings with influential columnists and commentators as a way to explain his positions before rolling out major foreign and domestic policy decisions.

A year ago, Obama met with the New York Times editorial board and three columnists while considering whether to launch airstrikes against President Bashar Assad’s regime in Syria.

Obama’s decision to escalate the war Wednesday followed several weeks of calls by politicians and pundits for him to expand the air campaign against the Islamic State, even as the intelligence community and terrorism experts said the militant group poses no imminent threat to the United States.

Who’s Paying The Pro-War Pundits?

September 13, 2014 by  
Filed under Videos

Talking heads like former General Jack Keane are all over the news media fanning fears of ISIS. Shouldn’t the public know about their links to Pentagon contractors?

Rice Video Accelerates Cultural Shift on Men’s Violence

September 12, 2014 by  
Filed under Videos

The video that TMZ leaked of Baltimore Ravens star Ray Rice punching his then-fiancée in a casino elevator couldn’t have come at a more fortuitous moment. October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, which means that every year around this time women’s shelters and advocacy organizations expend a great deal of energy and not a small amount of their limited funds organizing events designed to call attention to the ongoing tragedy of men’s violence in families and relationships.

That “closed circuit” video has done more to raise awareness about domestic violence than untold numbers of public service announcements and billboard ads.

But the awareness it raised goes well beyond conventional pleas for understanding the plight of victims. Due to the powerful combination of Rice’s fame and status as a Super Bowl-winning, Pro Bowl football player, along with social media’s ability to transmit video, the entire country has been exposed to the stark realities of domestic violence in one of the most convincing ways possible: right in front of its eyes. Survivors of this type of violence — both its immediate targets and its “secondary” victims, such as children — don’t need a video to validate that what they experience is real.

But for millions of people who don’t know much about the issue, and only tune in when a high-profile case dominates the 24/7 news cycle for a few days, the Rice incident and its fall-out provide a powerful case study of what the cultural theorist Henry Giroux calls “public pedagogy.” It’s an opportunity for the general public to learn more about an important issue that even after all these years of tireless advocacy and consciousness-raising by the battered women’s movement and its allies remains shrouded in denial and misinformation.

Still, many of us in the gender violence prevention field know full well that trying to turn controversial public events into “teachable moments” can be an uphill fight. We know a lot about the causes of domestic and sexual violence — and we know a fair amount about how to prevent them. But in-depth discussion and analysis is typically not considered “good for TV ratings,” especially when it’s competing with cable television’s preferred script, which consists of staged debates between charismatic former prosecutors and defense attorneys arguing over the legal minutia of celebrity cases.

This one may turn out differently for the simple reason that the video of Rice punching his future wife in the face makes it difficult, if not impossible, for commentators to minimize his behavior or shroud it in euphemism. In the past, televised discussions about domestic violence often parroted the kind of trivializing language counselors who work with men who batter have heard for decades in their court-mandated programs: “It was just a domestic dispute,” or “They just had a little scuffle.”

Men who abuse women often use the passive voice to describe what led to their arrest: “She got herself beat up that night,” or “A fight broke out.” Media commentators play a similarly obfuscating role when they say things like “We don’t know the whole story,” or when teammates and team officials respond to domestic violence allegations against one of their own by saying “Our thoughts and prayers are with the couple at this difficult time.”

Their sentiments might be sincere, but they play a crucial role in shifting accountability away from the alleged perpetrator and onto either the victim, or the couple as a whole. There is a term for this in the domestic violence lexicon. It’s called “colluding with the batterer.”

Unlike previous high-profile cases, the existence of the elevator video has significantly diminished that kind of collusion by the media and by Rice’s peers.

In fact, one of the most notable developments in the Ray Rice case is the astounding number of men in the media and in public life who have stepped forward to strongly criticize Rice on the air and applaud the National Football League’s (NFL) decision to indefinitely suspend him. Among those men are many current and former professional athletes, whose vocal leadership on this incident represents a major shift from similar cases in the past.

The most promising aspect of this sad saga is that the presence of the video has contributed to a transformation already underway in the public’s understanding of gender-based violence.

The old way to approach the subject was to focus on the women and ask questions like: Why are they attracted to men who mistreat them? Why do they stay? For sure, these sorts of questions retain their allure: Janay Rice is under intense critical scrutiny for her tweets and declarations of love for the man who knocked her unconscious.

But the new paradigm for understanding domestic and sexual violence entails turning the spotlight around, onto men. These abuses are no longer something that happens to women. Rather, they are increasingly seen as something that is done to women by men. In the case of Ray Rice, (nearly) everyone is talking about him — what he did, why he did it, what it will mean for his career. The idea is not to negate Janay Rice’s experience; far from it. She is the actual victim in this case. But Ray Rice’s fateful act of violence, caught on video, says much more about him than it does about her.

And to the extent that the national conversation remains focused on all that’s happened as a result of his actions, as well as a consequence of how the NFL’s leadership mishandled the situation, it will say something hopeful about us.

It will say that our troubled society is finally beginning to place the responsibility for our tragic level of interpersonal violence not on its victims, but on those with power who abuse and misuse it.

CBS Pulls Rihanna From ‘Thursday Night Football’ Amid Ray Rice Scandal

September 11, 2014 by  
Filed under Videos

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The chairman of CBS Sports says the network is revising its “Thursday Night Football” broadcast because of controversy that arose connected with the Ray Rice video.

Sean McManus said the changes include eliminating a segment with the Rihanna song, “Run This Town.” Rice was released by the Baltimore Ravens this week after a video showing him knocking his future wife unconscious was aired on TMZ and elsewhere. The network wanted to give the game coverage a more “subdued” tone and journalistic approach, McManus said.

Rihanna’s own history of violence involving Chris Brown was one of several factors involved in cutting the song element but not the overriding factor, McManus said.

CBS begins its prime-time Thursday broadcasts with the Pittsburgh Steelers at the Baltimore Ravens.

Obama’s ISIS, Al Qaeda Comparison ‘Wildly Off-Base,’ Richard Engel Says

September 10, 2014 by  
Filed under Videos

President Barack Obama outlined his strategy to take down the Islamic State in an address to the nation on Wednesday, comparing his plan to employ airstrikes to take down terrorists while supporting partners on the ground to past efforts to take out terrorists in Yemen and Somalia.

But NBC News’ chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel accused the president of taking liberties with his analogy.

“I think it is wildly off-base, I think it’s an oversimplification of the problem,” Engel said, reporting from Erbil, Iraq.

Engel explained that the partnered government in Yemen relies on the United States when members of al Qaeda are hiding in parts of the desert that its forces can’t reach, while terrorist groups in Somalia are “generally ignored” unless U.S. special operations forces see an opportunity to strike.

“That’s not at all the situation that we are seeing in Iraq and Syria,” Engel said, noting that the Islamic State consists of tens of thousands of individuals operating in an area the size of Maryland, where 8 million people live.

“It’s much more akin to regime change than it is to waiting back, picking targets with allied forces, they are not comparable at all,” Engel said. “He’s talking about having the Iraqi army reconstituted and using that Iraqi army to secure this country. The problem is the Iraqi army over the last several months has collapsed, it has been reconstituted already by many Iranian advisers and sometimes regular Iranian ground forces that have been witnessed on many occasions, and these Sunni villages that are now with ISIS are afraid of the Iraqi army.”

“We talk about a partner on the ground that we are going to link up with to rid Iraq of ISIS,” he said. “Well, that partner on the ground in many cases is a reason that people support ISIS in this country.”

Watch the comments above.

Tim Cook Says Steve Jobs ‘Would Be Incredibly Proud’ Of The Apple Watch

September 9, 2014 by  
Filed under Videos

Work on the newly unveiled Apple Watch didn’t start until after the 2011 death of Steve Jobs, but CEO Tim Cook says the iconic co-founder’s DNA is all over the new product.

“To me it’s not as a big deal whether he personally saw something or didn’t,” Cook told ABC’s David Muir. “It’s that his thinking and his taste and his incredible perfectionist kind of view — his view that you should always innovate. All of those things are alive and well in the company, and I think they always will be. I think his DNA will always be the foundation of Apple.”

See more in the clip above.

Muir also asked Cook about security in the wake of the breach in which hackers were able to access celebrity iCloud accounts and steal private photos, including nude images.

“You basically carry your life around on your wrist — your payment information, your heart rate, your pulse — and a lot of people at home are going to wonder: How safe is it?” Muir asked.

“It’s incredibly safe,” Cook said. “I think we are establishing a new bar.”

“When you see celebrities get their photos hacked, people think, ‘Well, these are famous people. And if they’re not protected, what about us?’” Muir asked.

“I feel incredibly certain that it’s very secure, the most secure thing out there,” Cook said.

See more in the clip below.


Next Page »