Remember Obama Gaffes After Americans Were Killed? The Networks Yawned

Political reporters sounded like they were headed for fainting couches after President Trump’s press event at Trump Tower. Reporters professed incredulity that Trump would continue to criticize “anti-fascist” violence, as if those events mattered. The president's declaration that there were fine people on “both sides” of Saturday’s events sounded like people marching with Nazi flags were fine. But the media protected Barack Obama when he sounded tone-deaf after Americans died. The White House press corps looked like docile lapdogs, not fierce watchdogs.

Contrast 1: Last year, a black sniper named Micah Johnson killed five Dallas police officers and wounded seven others at a Black Lives Matter protest. The police chief was clear about his motive: “The suspect said he was upset at white people. The suspect stated he wanted to kill white people, especially white officers.” His Facebook page had “Likes” for Black Lives Matter and the New Black Panthers.

But Obama, in a July 9, 2016 press conference, flinched from condemning the obvious racism and the ties to black leftists: “I think it’s very hard to untangle the motives of this shooter. As we’ve seen in a whole range of incidents with mass shooters. They are by definition troubled, by definition if you shoot people who pose no threat to you, strangers, you have a troubled mind.” It couldn't be blamed on rhetoric, for example, the BLM protesters who chanted, "Pigs in a blanket, fry 'em like bacon."

That night, none of the three evening newscasts thought Obama’s comments were controversial enough to even mention. CNN gave it 73 seconds the next day on State of the Union, when host Jake Tapper asked Obama’s Homeland Security Secretary, Jeh Johnson: “What exactly is hard to entangle about the killer’s motives? They seem fairly clear-cut to me.”

Johnson lamely shot back that not all the facts were in yet: "Well, as Chief Brown noted, the shooter apparently told the hostage negotiator that he wanted to kill white people, especially white police officers. I think that's a quote from Chief Brown. The investigation, however, is still early. We are investigating every aspect of this shooter's life. I suspect we're going to know a lot more very quickly."

Contrast 2: In 2014, cameras caught Obama smiling as he went off to play as round of golf at Martha's Vineyard after the beheading of American journalist James Foley by ISIS in Syria. Over the next 24 hours, the only broadcast coverage was a brief item the next morning on CBS; nothing like the outcry that we’ve seen this week. This was a journalist slaughtered, and the journalists were bored by this apparent lapse of judgment.

Two and a half weeks later, on NBC’s Meet the Press, Obama admitted it was a mistake. Chuck Todd gently inquired: "I've got to ask, like, so during that vacation, made the statement on Foley, you went and golfed. Do you want that back?" Obama said “It’s always a challenge when you’re supposed to be on vacation,” Mr. Obama said. “Because you’re followed everywhere. And part of what I’d love is a vacation from the press....I should’ve anticipated the optics [of golf].”

Contrast 3: Then there’s the September 11, 2012 attack in Benghazi, when terrorists stormed a U.S. facility and killed the U.S. Ambassador to Libya and three other Americans. The next day, the President made a brief statement of regret in the Rose Garden -- taking zero questions from reporters -- and then left for a Las Vegas fundraiser, while his equally shameless team fanned out to promote the false narrative that the attack was the result of an anti-Muslim video. The only politician who met reporters was Mitt Romney -- and he was hammered for daring to criticize Obama.

As MRC's Geoffrey Dickens reported at the time, The Big Three (ABC, CBS, NBC) Wednesday evening newscasts devoted more than 9 minutes (9 minutes, 28 seconds) to the flap over Mitt Romney's statement criticizing the administration's handling of the Libyan crisis but spent just 25 seconds on questions regarding Barack Obama's Middle East policy, a greater than 20-to-1 disparity. Time spent questioning Obama's shameful fundraising during a national crisis? Zero. (Only NBC's Chuck Todd mentioned Obama was having a...."campaign rally" in Vegas.)

And, during the investigations that followed, we learned that Obama felt so entitled he skipped his intelligence briefing that day. To this day, it remains a mystery what Obama did on the night of that deadly attack. That strongly proves their level of curiosity (or aggression) is very strongly associated with the party in control of the White House.

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Jake Tapper Chuck Todd Barack Obama Donald Trump
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