NYTs Headline Fuels Media Critics

NYTs Headline Fuels Media Critics

Yesterday, the New York Times raised eyebrows with a headline about the president’s speech from Martha’s Vineyard on ISIS:  “Obama, Outraged Over Beheading, Vows To Stay The Course.” 

After the internet erupted in guffaws over the unintentional pun, it was changed to “Obama Appalled By Beheading, Will Continue Airstrikes.” 

Today, we have another headline from the Grey Lady that I think attempts to make up for yesterday’s awkwardness.

A Terrorist Horror, Then Golf: Incongruity Fuels Obama Critics

See, the problem is those darned Obama critics who can’t stop criticizing President Awesome even when he’s on vacation. What is the matter with people? Don’t they understand that presidents have their own ways of dealing with stress – especially “No Drama Obama”?

Presidents learn to wall off their feelings and compartmentalize their lives. They deal in death one moment and seek mental and physical relief the next. To make coldhearted decisions in the best interest of the country and manage the burdens of perhaps the most stressful job on the planet, current and former White House officials said, a president must guard against becoming consumed by the emotions of the situations they confront. And few presidents have been known more for cool, emotional detachment than Mr. Obama.

It’s good of the New York Times to explain that to us peasants out here in the hinterlands. I’m sure they would be just as understanding if it were a Republican president fist-bumping and laughing it up on the golf course less than an hour after speaking to the devastated parents of a brutally murdered American victim of terrorism. 

The real issue here, is not the totally understandable behavior of a president who deserves some downtime – but the fuel it is giving to the partisan haters out there. 

Tragically, the article points out, even sensible non-Republicans like Ezra Klein feel the president made a tactical error when he hightailed it to the golf course moments after addressing the nation about the terrorist menace, ISIS.

Privately, many Democrats shook their heads at what they considered a judgment error. Ezra Klein, editor in chief of the online news site Vox, who is normally sympathetic to Mr. Obama, wrote on Twitter on Wednesday that “golfing today is in bad taste.” The Daily News published a front-page photograph of a grinning president in a golf cart next to a picture of Mr. Foley’s distraught mother and father under the headline, “Prez tees off as Foley’s parents grieve.”

“As a general rule, I think that he’s right that you can’t be held hostage to the news cycle — the man deserves a bit of downtime,” said Jim Manley, a longtime Democratic strategist. “But in this particular instance, I think a lot of Democrats flinched a little bit.”

The article continues, “what really matters according to Mr. Obama’s defenders,” (which includes the NYTs) “is not what the president does to blow off steam, but what he does to blow up ISIS.”

And “the commander in chief is on duty no matter where he is, and that even on vacation, he is receiving briefings, making phone calls and issuing orders…” etc etc. You know the drill.