American Elephants

The Media Misses the Point; The White House Looks Bad. by The Elephant's Child

Everything today is about sequestration, in one way or another. The White House is seriously angry with journalists who are nor falling properly in line. Bob Woodward has tangled with the White House before, rather famously, and is not cowed. But in all the talk, only Walter Russell Mead has noticed what Bob Woodward was actually saying.

The MSM didn’t miss a beat jumping into the he said/she said story of an alleged retaliatory threat from the White House. But once again, the media is completely missing the real Bob Woodward story: In an appearance on MSNBC yesterday, he delivered a reproof of the President’s decision not to deploy an aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf. The Navy’s policy has been to have two carriers in the Med, as security for each other.
The sequester talks about cutting back on funding, but does not specify how or where the specific cuts are to come.  If the President asked Congress for emergency funds to maintain America’s fleet in the Gulf, he would get them.

Reports that the United States cannot afford it, suggest that Obama is not serious about military action, nor that Obama has the will to stop Iran. If he was serious about the threat of Iran’s nuclear adventures, he wouldn’t be posturing about keeping carriers tied up in port.  Woodward said:

“Can you imagine Ronald Reagan sitting there and saying, ‘Oh, by the way, I can’t do this because of some budget document?’” Woodward said Wednesday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

“Or George W. Bush saying, ‘You know, I’m not going to invade Iraq because I can’t get the aircraft carriers I need’ or even Bill Clinton saying, ‘You know, I’m not going to attack Saddam Hussein’s intelligence headquarters,’ as he did when Clinton was president because of some budget document?” Woodward added. “Under the Constitution, the president is commander-in-chief and employs the force. And so we now have the president going out because of this piece of paper and this agreement. ‘I can’t do what I need to do to protect the country.’ That’s a kind of madness that I haven’t seen in a long time.”

But that all got lost in the he said/she said of presidential spokesmen threatening the famed journalist, and it turned out that other journalists who had neglected to praise the president’s position on the sequester got angry phone calls as well.

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