Posted by Curt on 9 February, 2015 at 3:44 pm. 2 comments already!


Noah Rothman:

It’s hard to be more tactless in addressing the threat possed by modern Islamist terrorism than by calling attacks like that which occurred on a kosher market in Paris “random” and comparing the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria to small town criminals in sore need of a sheriff. That is, however, how President Barack Obama chose to address the issue of terrorism in an expansive interview with the liberal “explanatory journalism” venture

When subjected to a line of leading questioning from Vox’s Matthew Yglesias as to whether or not the press “overstates the level of alarm people should have” about terrorism and understates it when it comes to issues like “climate change and epidemic disease” (Ebola, presumably, not included), Obama agreed that the media “absolutely” embellishes the threat posed by Islamist terrorism.

“What’s the famous saying about local newscasts, right? If it bleeds, it leads, right?” Obama said. The insinuation here is that the media’s focus on the war on international terrorism precipitated by the September 11th attacks is just ratings-grabbing sensationalism. After insinuating that, Obama went ahead and said it outright.

“You show crime stories and you show fires, because that’s what folks watch, and it’s all about ratings,” the president insisted. “And, you know, the problems of terrorism and dysfunction and chaos, along with plane crashes and a few other things, that’s the equivalent when it comes to covering international affairs.”

Obama insisted that airplane disasters and bloody acts of Islamist terrorism in places like Paris, Ottawa, New York City, Peshawar, and Sydney are “sexy,” while covering events like the global reduction in infant mortality rates are not. Then there are other issues like climate change, which both the president and his interlocutor seemed to agree represent a graver threat to your life than do murderous Islamist fundamentalists. But the changing climate is a matter that is, however, far too complex for the press to relate to the average reader. Only a loyal consumer of click bait could be expected to wrap their arms around the Gordian Knot of global warming.

“Look, the point is this: my first job is to protect the American people,” Obama conceded. “It is entirely legitimate for the American people to be deeply concerned when you’ve got a bunch of violent, vicious zealots who behead people or randomly shoot a bunch of folks in a deli in Paris.”

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