Posted by Curt on 11 February, 2015 at 4:08 pm. 1 comment.


Noah Rothman:

It is a delicious irony that President Barack Obama’s decision to sit down for an extended interview with the left-leaning explanatory journalism outfit is backfiring so spectacularly.

To review, what was a relatively milquetoast conversation about a variety of subjects grew unexpectedly controversial when the subject of Islamic radical terrorism was introduced by Matthew Yglesias. The president courted unnecessary controversy when he made three contentions.

A) Islamic radical terrorism is akin to local crime; a regular and permanent feature of modern life that can only be mitigated by a “big city mayor.” Like crime, the rate of terrorism must be reduced in order for Americans to thrive. The implication, however, is that Islamic radical extremist violence is here to stay.

B) The threat of terrorism is “sexy,” and that is why the media covers it so intensely. It may not, however, be the most pressing threat to American national security. Americans are not imperiled by Islamic terrorism in the same way that they are by climate change, for example. But the press condescendingly avoids covering that subject with the intensity it deserves because it is more complex than simple terroristic violence.

C) Terrorist’s targets, like a kosher deli in Jewish neighborhood in Paris that was attacked in January in the wake of the massacre at Charlie Hebdo’s offices, are selected “randomly.”

You can see why these responses were troubling, to say the least. But the president’s team of press liaisons, protective of the president as they are, went about attempting to justify Obama’s remarks rather than to simply clarify his intentions and move on.

“The adverb that the president chose was used to indicate that the individuals who were killed in that terrible, tragic incident were killed not because of who they were but because of where they randomly happen to be,” White House Press Sec. Josh Earnest obfuscated.

“I believe if I remember the victims specifically,” State Department spokeswoman Jennifer Psaki echoed in an effort to muddle the anti-Semitic nature of the attack on that Parisian Jewish deli. “They were not all victims of one background or one nationality.”

The offensive nature of this intentional attempt to confuse the press about the true character of anti-Semitic Islamist terrorism resulted in a terrible news cycle for the White House. Just hours after these statements were made, both Psaki and Earnest insisted that the administration has always regarded the Paris attacks as the work of “anti-Semitic” terrorists. If you misconstrued their meaning, well that’s your problem.

And that would probably be the end of this controversy if the egos at Vox were not so easily wounded by the White House’s efforts to walk back the statements Obama made in his exclusive interview with their outlet.

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