Posted on | September 13, 2012 | 7 Comments
Protesters at U.S. Embassy in Cairo, Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2012
Many people were shocked by the hot-mike incident Wednesday, in which reporters were overheard coordinating their questions before a Mitt Romney press conference, planning to question the candidate about whether he regretted his statements about the Libyan attack that killed four Americans, and how his “answer is continuing to sound.”
What has perhaps been forgotten was that the day before the eruption of Muslim riots in Libya and Egypt, the Obama campaign had already dictated its foreign-policy narrative to the media. This was the message already packaged and delivered on the eve of the annual 9/11 commemoration. An article at BuzzFeed posted early Tuesday morning had this headline:
The article included explicit comments like this:
“For the first time in a very long time, a Democrat has a clear advantage on national security issues,” Michele Flournoy, a national security campaign advisor and former Defense Department official said. “This is a real significant shift in our political system.”
Voters, Flournoy went on to say, “consistently prefer President Obama over Mitt Romney on this issue by double digits.”
It was therefore pre-determined by the Obama campaign that the 9/11 remembrance would be the occasion for emphasizing the Democrat’s “clear advantages” on foreign policy.
No “Swiftboats” allowed!
One might have thought that the sudden onslaught of Islamic violence that left the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other Americans dead would have been perceived as an unfortunate reminder that the “clear advantage” wasn’t really so clear.
However, inside the pro-Obama bubble that seems to envelop much of the political press corps — evidently including of Ari Shapiro of NPR and Jan Crawford of CBS — no contradictory facts can be permitted to disturb the precious narrative: Obama is winning, Romney is losing, and everything must be conformed to that storyline.
Toby Harnden of the London Daily Mail is evidently outside that bubble, and saw the attacks in Egypt and Libya for what they actually were:
The Obama administration is engulfed in a full-blown foreign policy crisis just two months before the presidential election after the murder of the US ambassador to Libya and three other officials and amid fierce criticism from his opponent Mitt Romney.
These incidents, occurring as they did in two nations where Obama had sided with radical insurgents who overthrew their governments in the “Arab Spring” uprisings, clearly raised questions about the wisdom of the administration’s policy. But for pro-Obama reporters, the attacks had to be interpreted within the “clear advantage” narrative, and so whatever Mitt Romney said or did, the Republican challenger’s response had to be portrayed as insufficient, inadequate or otherwise wrong.
By daring to criticize the Obama administration, Romney was contradicting the press-corps consensus, as John Podhoretz says:
The murders of US diplomats in Libya and the attempted storming of the US Embassy in Cairo took place 56 days before the election of America’s next president.
Apparently, it is the view of much of the mainstream media and foreign-policy establishment that discussing these horrific events in the course of the presidential campaign is monstrous.
One might think that these custodians of the public good would wish the discussion to be of nothing else. The United States and its representatives abroad have been attacked, and in a manner that threatens to spread like wildfire. You’d think everyone would agree it’s time to talk foreign policy.
Oh, no. In the precincts of America’s Most High, the worst evil done [Tuesday] was Mitt Romney daring to broach the subject and use it to criticize President Obama’s foreign policy. . . .
Read the whole thing, as Podhoretz describes how the attacks on Romney started with explicitly left-wing Talking Points Memo and then dispersed throughout the media. The real outrage, in the minds of the pro-Obama media, is not that savages destroyed our consulate in Benghazi and killed four Americans, but rather that a Republican would dare describe this tragedy as a consequence of Obama’s failed policies.