The mainstream media are laboring hard to turn Gov. Mitt Romney’s strong defense of American interests and values into a “gaffe” that reflects the Obama campaign’s claim that Romney is somehow not ready for the foreign policy duties of the presidency. They are largely ignoring President Barack Obama’s foreign policy and intelligence failures, and literally collaborating to attack Romney.
To do so, they are obscuring five key facts:
1. Romney was right about the timing of official Obama administration reactions. Yes, the U.S. Embassy in Egypt issued a statement which empathized with the mob before the attacks, but it reiterated its statements after the attacks as well. The White House disavowed those statements–through an unnamed source, and much later on Tuesday, while the State Department issued a similar statement at the same time that failed to condemn the raid.
2. The State Department condemned the Libya attack but not the attack in Egypt. Romney’s critics point out that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton did issue a statement on Tuesday night stating that “there is never any justification for violent acts of this kind.” That statement did not refer to Egypt at all–only to the attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya. The only statement on the Egypt attack remained that of the embassy in Cairo.
3. Romney could not have known that the ambassador to Libya was killed. He could not have known because almost no one knew. It is likely that President Obama himself did not know. Yet the media is behaving as if Romney committed some grave act of insensitivity. Both candidate Obama and his predecessor John Kerry exploited the known deaths of U.S. troops to attack George W. Bush without such push-back.
4. Obama, not Romney, broke the mutual pledge not to attack each other on 9/11. Contrary to what some journalists are alleging, Romney studiously avoided criticizing the President on 9/11. By contrast, the Obama campaign sent new surrogate Bill Clinton to Florida to bash Romney and running mate Paul Ryan in a hyper-partisan and false attack. Romney’s statement on the attacks had been embargoed for 12:00 a.m. on 9/12.
5. The Obama administration, not the Romney campaign, bungled its message. When the White House sends a message to reporters that it does not agree with the language used by the U.S. Embassy, but the State Department reiterates very similar language, there is a contradiction that must be explained. Meanwhile, Romney stated clearly what has been always been his foreign policy. Yet he is accused of a “gaffe.”
Do not expect the mainstream media to correct these mistakes. Do not expect them to hold the Obama administration accountable. Do not expect them to correct themselves once they have some disgruntled Republicans to affirm their overall narrative. Do not expect them to remember this is an election, in which the opposition has the right–the obligation–to state its views. Do not expect them to stand up for free speech–or truth.
But do note that Romney stayed to answer journalists’ questions, while Obama refused, ducking out to attend a fundraiser in Las Vegas. Romney is effectively the leader of the free world today, the man whose principled reaction to events expressed what ought to be–and used to be–the minimum Americans expect of their president.
That we still cherish and enjoy our free press is no thanks to Obama–or the media that protect him.