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Sunday, July 20, 2008

MSM covers up both Obama's arrogance and imprecision in interview gaffe during Afghanistan/Iraq trip

Today on CBS's Face the Nation, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., in Afghanistan, told the paparazzi-pursued correspondent Lara Logan that "the objective of this trip was to have substantive discussions with people like President Karzai or Prime Minister Maliki or President Sarkozy or others who I expect to be dealing with over the next eight to 10 years.

"And it's important for me to have a relationship with them early, that I start listening to them now, getting a sense of what their interests and concerns are."

The notion that Obama will be dealing with world leaders for eight-to-ten years, possibly up through July 2018, suggests that either (a) he believes that not only will he be elected and re-elected, but the 22nd amendment will be repealed and he will be elected for a third term, OR (b) he was speaking casually and just meant two terms.

(H/t InstaPundit and Newsbusters; boldface mine.) I have two questions — one for supporters of Sen. Obama, and the other for Jake Tapper and ABC News, who offered up this information and observation:

  1. If Barack Obama is this cocky and this sloppy now, when he's not yet even the official nominee of his party, then just how much more insufferable and how much more reckless will he be if he actually does become president of the world's only remaining superpower?

  2. Why does this report appear on ABC News' political blog, "Political Punch" — where, at best, it will be seen by a few thousand political junkies who get their news from the net — instead of as a headlined story on ABC News' homepage?

The ABC News homepage's "top story" about Obama today is actually an AP report entitled "Barack Obama Meets Afghan President Hamid Karzai," and it makes no mention of the gaffe — but it does manage to quote another of Obama's statements from the same CBS News interview in which he made the "eight-to-ten years" remark, so the AP writers must have heard the gaffe. Similarly, MSNBC manages to quote from the CBS News interview, but found neither the Senator's arrogance or imprecision newsworthy. The New York Times also manages to quote other lines from the interview without revealing Obama's blunder. Ditto for the Washington Post.

Sen. Barack Obama, seen here with Sgt. 1st Class Ishanna Fenton of Combined Security Transition Command, visited Camp Eggers in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Sunday; CSTC photo And as for CBS itself, the Tiffany Network, the network of journalistic standards personified by its long-time anchor Dan Rather? Well, over there it's: "Scoop? What scoop?" CBS News' own website article about the interview includes the gaffe as part of a transcript of Obama's full interview with Logan (as does its ten-minute embedded video clip) but its prefatory news analysis doesn't bother to point out the fact that the would-be next president of the United States either doesn't know how long he might serve (absent a constitutional amendment), or else doesn't care enough to be precise in describing the potential outside limits of his service in that office.

And the CBS Evening News played parts of the interview in an almost six-minute clip, but Obama's gaffe somehow found its way onto the editing room floor rather than onto the air again. Ironically, the last two minutes of the CBS Evening News clip is all about how the media are giving Obama almost twice as much coverage as McCain. It ends with a solemn warning that with this level of intense scrutiny, Obama's slip-ups "could hurt his candidacy and give him the kind of media coverage he doesn't want."

Oh, please. The peals of laughter from the editors who included those lines in the segment — after cutting out Obama's gaffe — must have been extremely dangerous, perhaps risking the rupture of several internal organs.

CBS News' Lara Logan interviewing Barack Obama from Afghanistan For pete's sake, the gaffe was in response to a question about whether Obama is too inexperienced in foreign affairs — which would include being too gaffe-prone when speaking without a teleprompter — to "lead the country at war as commander in chief from day one." Can't he reasonably be expected to answer that question without screwing up? And if he can't, isn't that in itself newsworthy?

I don't think Jake Tapper is the only MSM reporter smart enough to know that presidents can only serve two terms in office. I don't think he's the only one smart enough to figure out that two times four is eight, not "eight to ten."

I know I'm not the only person around who remembers the media hurricane that began immediately after Gerald Ford's remark about Poland in the 1976 presidential debates, and that lasted through (and possibly tipped the outcome of) the 1976 presidential election. That gaffe, however, played directly into the narrative of the leftist elites and the mainstream media, who treated this as Gerald Ford helplessly confirming Chevy Chase's previous SNL impersonations of Ford: Poor man, too many blows to the forehead boarding Air Force One.

Imagine if McCain had been either this cocky or this sloppy in a major interview with a national media outlet on a trip being covered round-the-world like the Second Coming. Is there any chance that a McCain gaffe like this could have failed to be quoted in headlines in every mainstream media news outlet?


UPDATE (Mon Jul 21 @ 7:30am): Andrew McCarthy points out that "the truly scary thing about what the Messiah said is that he no doubt figures it's Maliki and Karzai who will be out of power within ten years, not him."

Posted by Beldar at 11:35 PM in 2008 Election, Global War on Terror, Mainstream Media, Obama, Weblogs | Permalink


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(1) luke the texican made the following comment | Jul 21, 2008 12:07:14 AM | Permalink

cocky? insufferable? he's got a long way to go before he's in "decider" territory

(2) Beldar made the following comment | Jul 21, 2008 12:26:01 AM | Permalink

Luke, find me a comparable statement made by George W. Bush before he was elected in which he so blatantly assumed he would indeed be elected (or for that matter, re-elected). Find me pictures of Dubya using a mock-up of the presidential seal before he was elected. Find me a video clip of Bush saying (while describing himself in the imperial third person) that everywhere is George W. Bush country after George W. Bush has visited there. Then we can talk.

You're confusing self-confidence and self-adoration. I'm accusing Obama of the latter, when he lacks even a basis for the former.

(3) John made the following comment | Jul 21, 2008 6:06:01 AM | Permalink

OMG, a presidential candidate talking as if he expects to be elected? That's shocking, shocking! I've never heard of such a thing! Why is the press covering it up!

I look forward to analysis of how his choice of which syllables he emphasizes in words proves his incompetence, and a study of how his posture demonstrates his personality disorders.

(4) Beldar made the following comment | Jul 21, 2008 7:12:52 AM | Permalink

John: That's cute, but Obama's actually talking as if there's no possibility that he might lose. Were it not part of a pattern, this episode might not be very interesting.

As for what the press is covering up: Here again, were Obama not campaigning as some sort of wunderkind whose transformative brilliance is going to save the world, then a mental miscue — here, the "ten years" reference — might not be newsworthy. But the candidate is carefully manicuring his image to hide ordinary flaws, and the press is his willing accomplice (as with their never publishing any photographs of him smoking). At one time in our nation's history, we thought it was okay for the press to conceal from America such facts as that the president could not walk unassisted. But no such standards are acceptable today, and indeed, no such slack is cut for Obama's opponent.

I will agree that this is not quite as cocky as the Great Seal of Obama, nor nearly as serious a verbal gaffe as his "undivided Jerusalem" blunder (which spoke volumes, all condemnatory, about his profound ignorance on crucial matters of foreign policy and basic 20th Century history). But surely saying that he's campaigned in "57 states" (with one more to go) or that he expects to serve 10 years as president is at least as significant as McCain saying that he'd recited the offensive line of the Pittsburgh Steelers to his North Vietnamese captors (instead of, as he wrote in his book, the linemen of the Green Bay Packers). For that latter miscue, McCain has been accused not only of being senile, but of being dishonestly so (which is kind of hard to square, but that doesn't stop lefties from arguing both). McCain's miscue leads the evening news casts; Obama's is consigned to the cutting room floor.

I'm also concerned about the confluence of these two things — the cockiness and the carelessness. I'm concerned that Obama thinks it's his right to have the mainstream media cover for him on this sort of thing, or on his prevarications about quitting smoking, or on whether he actually wrote something for the Harvard Law Review (and if not, why not). I genuinely fear that there are more than a few similarities between Barack Obama and Richard Nixon.

(5) Gregory Koster made the following comment | Jul 21, 2008 9:42:29 AM | Permalink

Dear Mr. Dyer: Nope, the similarity is to Jimmy Carter. His unceasing ineptitude doesn't matter to Obama. Why should it? He's sure that the press will cover for him. So far he's right. As for not just admitting his blunders with a smile, if he does, his gang can't kick McC for similar blunders. He would also ponit ou to you that the press is objective: they'd do this for any propspective Democratic candidate. A far more serious example is the Maliki quote, in an interview with DER SPIEGEL, in which Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki seems to agree with Obama on the need for the US to get out within 16 months. Patrick Frey has pointed out that there are now at least three different versions of the quote. The NEW YORK TIMES has the tapes of the intervew, but characteristically, is not releasing them, just trumpeting that the quote is correct. Sound familiar? It should: it's just what the TIMES did with the Bush "Texas Air national Guard" forgeries in 2004.

The notion that Iraq is to be thrown away, or at best, fought for all over again makes me ill. But it does show us that the press will stop at nothing to get Obama in. So why fret about an extra two years to a presidential term? I repeat, the model Obama is following is Jimmy Carter's, with an extra sixteenth of an ounces of melanin in his skin. His ace in the hole? "If you disagree with me, you're a racist." My bet is that one year of Obama's administration will have NATIONAL REVIEW, the WEEKLY STANDARD (and me, for that matter) writing editorials to Jesse Jackson, saying Jesse come home, all is forgiven.

We can't afford that.

Vote for the Grumpy Old Man.

Sincerely yours,
Gregory Koster

(6) Jaye made the following comment | Jul 21, 2008 4:41:36 PM | Permalink

"Insufferable" is indeed the right word.

I am a Democrat. I supported Hillary Clinton. I know that this is an entirely different post/comment, however, I despise Senator Obama. Arrogant, unqualified, humorless, do not begin to describe this candidate.

He once said that he had been to 57 states.

Law Review Editor in Chief does not make a commander in chief.

I am a liberal. He just isn't my messiah.

His statements about foreign policy in the Middle East could have been easily made by a college freshman. He isn't purposing a change--we are already doing what he thinks we should do in the Middle East.

I don't even like Bill Krystol and I agreed with everything he opined in his column today.

No one has ever frightened me like this candidate. I can't put my finger on it--is it his ego, lack of experience, the Kennedy comparison--which is just so not true--his snottiness, his empty rhetoric, I wish I could be sure. Perhaps it is promising "change" but having no plan.

There are things about our socio-politico-economic culture that I would like to change--but that is it. I love my country and I am proud of it but I don't want to change for the sake of change. He isn't "new" and "improved."

(7) Andrew X made the following comment | Jul 22, 2008 10:29:22 AM | Permalink

You're wrong! It's BUSH that's arrogant. Not anyone else, certainly among Bush's detractors. It's BUSH that's arrogant!

Everyone's been saying so. It must be true.

Get your story straight.

(8) rrr made the following comment | Jul 22, 2008 10:53:06 AM | Permalink

And even if Great Leader is insufferable, it's all Bush's fault.

(9) MayBee made the following comment | Jul 22, 2008 10:59:53 AM | Permalink

It is very interesting when comparing it to the recent fevered imaginings of the left that Bush would never give up the presidency. Remember that?

Jay Rosen, though he has since deleted it, published the comment of a newspaperman proposing that it was the duty of the press to find whatever fake crisis Bush is planning that would allow him to not hold elections.
This was an especially popular conspiracy before the 2004 elections, although Rosen's correspondent was referring to these elections.

Yet this real (as opposed to imagined) comment goes virtually unnoticed by those who were so concerned.

(10) megapotamus made the following comment | Jul 22, 2008 11:00:23 AM | Permalink

The simple fact that he is not thinking in terms of his potential Constitutional position; a LIMITED position is obvious from this or it is a ridiculous level of ignorance from someone who claims to be a Constitutional scholar. Obama is a classic product of affirmative action; the man's only life achievements have been political and these are merely tactical. He headed up the Harvard Law Review without EVER writing anything for it? Try that without affirmative action on the scales. The limousine libs are going to affirmative action this nitwit into the highest office in the land not regardless of his ignorance but in proud declaration of same. "Hey, Barry was polluting diapers in Indonesia when all those crazy wars were going on, how should he know anything about it?" Pathetic.

(11) Jim Treacher made the following comment | Jul 22, 2008 12:15:55 PM | Permalink

I made a deal with an Obama-supporting friend: I'll stop pointing out his gaffes when you stop saying "Internets."

(12) charles austin made the following comment | Jul 22, 2008 12:20:58 PM | Permalink

Has anyone checked with Hillary to see if she's ok with waiting until 2018?

(13) drjohn made the following comment | Jul 22, 2008 1:13:58 PM | Permalink


(14) Michael Brophy made the following comment | Jul 22, 2008 7:06:19 PM | Permalink

It's 8.5 years until he leaves office. Then he has to go around for 1.5 years collecting baksheesh. Sheesh, you guys don't have brains or honor or what?

(15) Ann Greer made the following comment | Aug 16, 2008 9:26:41 AM | Permalink

his name alone.
Barack (muslim name
Hussein (muslim name
Is he muslim, YES, he will turn the USA into a third
world country, with our
citizens getting shot for
speaking out against him.

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