Networks Dodge Obama Linking ISIS Terror, Unrest in Ukraine to Events in Ferguson

During his speech to the United Nations (U.N.) General Assembly on Wednesday, President Barack Obama made a striking, unusual and ridiculous comparison between the reign of terror taking place in the Middle East at the hands of the brutal Islamic terrorist group ISIS, the ongoing tension in Ukraine, and the unrest that took place in Ferguson, Missouri last month after the death of 18-year-old Michael Brown.

As far as the any of the major broadcast networks bringing up this absurd mention on their evening newscasts, neither ABC, CBS, or NBC gave that portion of the President’s speech any attention or allowed it to see the light of day. [MP3 audio here; Video below]

Concerning what the President said precisely, he said the following regarding hesitation by some countries to support the U.S. in fighting ISIS: 

I realize that America’s critics will be quick to point out that at times we too have failed to live up to our ideals; that America has plenty of problems within its own borders. This is true. In a summer marked by instability in the Middle East and Eastern Europe, I know the world also took notice of the small American city of Ferguson, Missouri -- where a young man was killed, and a community was divided. So, yes, we have our own racial and ethnic tensions. And like every country, we continually wrestle with how to reconcile the vast changes wrought by globalization and greater diversity with the traditions that we hold dear.

On cable, both CNN and the Fox News Channel (FNC) mentioned of Obama’s comparison in reports from their respective White House correspondents just after the top of the 6:00 p.m. hour.

Appearing on CNN’s The Situation Room, senior White House correspondent Jim Acosta cited White House aides who told him that “the President added a mention of the riots in Ferguson, Missouri to acknowledge the U.S. isn't perfect.”

Meanwhile, FNC’s Special Report anchor Bret Baier led into FNC chief White House correspondent Ed Henry’s report by saying that “the Nobel Peace Prize winner President ...interestingly used the occasion to mention some of America's own problems.” 

Seconds later, Henry explained that the President’s speech, aides say, “was a chance to showcase American leadership on the world stage.” Instead, the President: “[F]or some reason...also highlighted what he suggested were America's failings in Ferguson, Missouri.”

Leading into the soundbite of the President referencing Ferguson, Henry stated that: 

In a curious moment, the President said he understands why critics think America can't call out others over violent extremism because of trouble within our own borders, as it tagged ISIS’s atrocities to the shooting of the unarmed, black 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.

Responding to Obama’s comparison of the terror caused by ISIS and riots in Ferguson, conservative syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer dismissed the premise that it has been taken out of context on FNC’s Special Report with Bret Baier. He opined that the President meant it to be “a moral equivalence.” 

Following that, the well-known and read conservative slammed the President for adding another chapter in his international tour of apologizing for America and what takes place here:

[W]e have people who slit throats on television, take their heads off in some places, we have countries that invade their neighbors -- more people, incidentally, have been killed in eastern Ukraine than died in the Gaza war, no one knows that -- a lot of death. But on the other hand, we have a shooting in Missouri, still unresolved, nobody's been charged yet, and thus everybody ought to know. This is a continuation of the apology tour, or the confession tour, which took place. I believe the one thing you can say about the improvement in Obama's treatment of his own country, is that six years ago he went around the world talking about our sins, and here at least he stayed home and did it from the podium of the United Nations.

The complete transcript of the segment that aired on FNC’s Special Report with Bret Baier on September 24 is transcribed below.

FNC’s Special Report with Bret Baier
September 24, 2014
6:03 p.m. Eastern

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE CAPTION: Obama’s ISIS Address; International Appeal]

BRET BAIER: Today, the Nobel Peace Prize winner President brought his rationale for a new war on terrorism to the United Nations. He also interestingly used the occasion to mention some of America's own problems. Let's go now to chief White House correspondent Ed Henry and the President's comments to the United Nations that raised some eyebrows here in Washington. Good evening, Ed. 

ED HENRY: Good evening, Brett, before this speech, some of the President's aides were saying this was a chance to showcase American leadership on the world stage, but for some reason, the President also highlighted what he suggested were America's failings in Ferguson, Missouri. As President Obama tries to broad on the coalition against ISIS, he’s trying to win over allies still on the fence, in part because they're concerned about his long-term commitment to the fight, though today, he said, while ISIS is a cancer he'll help root out, this is not really the dominant part of his agenda. 

BARACK OBAMA: I have made it clear that America will not base it's entire foreign policy on reacting to terrorism. Instead, we waged a focused campaign against al-Qaeda and its associated forces and when it comes to America and Islam, there is no us and them, there is only us because millions of Muslim Americans are part of the fabric of our country. 

HENRY: Despite the continued effort to slam former President George W. Bush's war on terror, this President has his own explaining to do. One area ago from this very podium, he took a victory lap. 

OBAMA [ON 09/24/13]: Today, all of our troops have left Iraq. Next year, an international coalition will end its war in Afghanistan, having achieved it's mission of dismantling the core of al-Qaeda that attacked us on 9-11. 

HENRY: This year the President is saying something much different, the remnants of al-Qaeda are dangerous enough to strike the American homeland, so he launched a new war in Iraq and Syria and used the address here to issue a plea to the world to join the coalition, backed up by an emotional French President François Hollande, moments after he confirmed an ISIS-aligned group in Algeria had beheaded a French hostage. 

FRENCH PRESIDENT FRANCOIS HOLLANDE: When faced with these barbaric acts, faced with this terrorism, will we remain spectators? 

HENRY: The French have conducted air strikes over Iraq, but not Syria and a similar promise came today from the Netherlands, raising questions about NATO members not stepping up. 

HENRY: [TO NATO SECRETARY GENERAL]: Why haven't European allies joined the military fight? 

NATO SECRETARY GENERAL ANDERS FOGH RASMUSSEN: I think you will see European allies joining the U.S., also when it comes to the military operation. 

HENRY: In a curious moment, the President said he understands why critics think America can't call out others over violent extremism because of trouble within our own borders, as he tied ISIS’s atrocities to the shooting of the unarmed, black 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.

OBAMA: In a summer marked by instability in the Middle East and eastern Europe, I know the world also took notice of the small American city of Ferguson, Missouri, where a young man was killed and a community was divided. So, yes, we have our own racial and ethnic tensions. 

HENRY: Now, reporters later pressed on why the President would drag Ferguson, an ongoing legal matter, into this story. Aides had to clarify the President was just trying to point out America is not always perfect in its own domestic affairs. Bret?

BAIER: Ed Henry, traveling with the President at the United Nations. Ed, thank you. 

(....)

7:42 p.m. Eastern

KRAUTHAMMER: It surely wasn't taken out of context, and he intended a moral equivalence. I'll read you what he said 'In a summer marked by instability in the Middle East and in Eastern Europe, I know the world also took notice of Ferguson.' That is, you know, as George [Will] said, we have people who slit throats on television, take their heads off in some places, we have countries that invade their neighbors -- more people, incidentally, have been killed in eastern Ukraine than died in the Gaza war, no one knows that -- a lot of death. But on the other hand, we have a shooting in Missouri, still unresolved, nobody's been charged yet, and thus everybody ought to know. This is a continuation of the apology tour, or the confession tour, which took place. I believe the one thing you can say about the improvement in Obama's treatment of his own country, is that six years ago he went around the world talking about our sins, and here at least he stayed home and did it from the podium of the United Nations.

The complete transcript of the segment that aired on CNN’s The Situation Room on September 24 can be found below.

CNN’s The Situation Room
September 24, 2014
6:04 p.m. Eastern

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Breaking News : Airstrikes on ISIS Oil Facilities]

WOLF BLITZER: Let's get more on the President's call here at the United Nations for direct action against ISIS. Our senior White House correspondent Jim Acosta is joining us now, so tell our viewers what exactly happened at the United Nations here today, Jim.

JIM ACOSTA: Well, Wolf, I'm told we shouldn't expect to hear from the President on this latest air assault on ISIS later on this evening, but he basically warned ISIS earlier today that more air strikes were coming in an address to the U.N. General Assembly, a speech he tried to use to connect with hearts and minds in the Muslim world. President Obama arrived at the United Nations not to make peace, but to expand his new war on terrorism. In a rare appearance, chairing a session of the U.N. Security Council, the President called on other nations to stop the flow of western foreign fighters into the ranks of ISIS and other terror groups. 

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: They may try to return to their home countries to carry out deadly attacks. 

ACOSTA: And he told new Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to brace himself for a long battle. 

OBAMA [TO AL-ABADI]: This is not something that is going to be easy, and it is not going to happen overnight. 

OBAMA [TO UN GENERAL ASSEMBLY]: No God condones this terror. 

ACOSTA: Hours earlier, in a tough-talking speech to the U.N. General Assembly, the President urged the world to join forces to destroy ISIS as he warned the terror group soldiers to clear off the battle field. 

OBAMA: The only language understood by killers like this is the language of force. So the United States of America will work with a broad coalition to dismantle this network of death. 

ACOSTA: But Mr. Obama also took aim at the root causes of violent extremism, with a candid message to Muslims everywhere. 

OBAMA: It is time for the world, especially in Muslim communities, to explicitly, forcefully, and consistently reject the ideology of organizations like al-Qaeda and ISIL. No external power can bring about a transformation of hearts and minds. 

ACOSTA: Aides say the President added a mention of the riots in Ferguson, Missouri to acknowledge the U.S. isn't perfect. 

OBAMA: So, yes, we have our own racial and ethnic tensions. 

ACOSTA: Still, the President didn't win over any adversaries. Moments after he slammed Russia for its actions in Ukraine, Moscow's delegation was caught on camera laughing and Syria's Ambassador to the U.N. accused the U.S. of siding with Arab partners that support terrorism. 

SYRIA AMBASSADOR TO THE U.N. BASHAR JA’AFARI: You cannot be a terrorist while fighting terrorists. This is why I'm saying U.S. needs a reliable partners such as Syria, Iraq, and the other secular governments in the area. 

BLITZER: Alright. So that was Jim Acosta reporting. 

Foreign Policy Iraq Middle East Syria Media Bias Debate Bias by Omission Military War on Terrorism United Nations Ferguson ABC World News Tonight CBS CBS Evening News NBC NBC Nightly News CNN The Situation Room Fox News Channel Special Report Government & Press President Barack Obama President Obama Jim Acosta Michael Brown Bret Baier Ed Henry Wolf Blitzer Barack Obama
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