Embassy attacks and the media
Did the press prove their bias in coverage?
- Duration 11:09
- Date Sep 16, 2012
Did the press prove their bias in coverage?
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The scene in -- Ghazi Libya Tuesday night September 11 as what was believed to be.
As what were believed to be rioters storming the US consulate there -- testing and anti Muslim film supposedly produced in this country.
That film also blamed as the cause for Islamic protesters attacking the US embassy in Cairo Egypt scaling the walls tearing down the American flag.
Someone in that embassy tweeted this message in response to the riots.
We firmly reject the actions by those who abuse the universal right of freedom of speech to hurt the religious beliefs of others.
Politico reported the Obama administration tried to distance itself from the embassies message with this.
The statement by the embassy in Cairo was not cleared by Washington and does not reflect the views of the United States government.
Mitt Romney also reacted to the attacks with this statement I am outraged by the attacks on American diplomatic missions in Libya and Egypt.
And by the death of an American Consulate worker in -- Ghazi.
Romney held a press conference the next day.
Possibly the administration was wrong to stand by a statement sympathizes with those who had breached our embassy in Egypt instead of condemning.
There -- actions.
It's never too early for United States government.
Condemned attacks on Americans.
And to defend our values.
The White House distance itself last night from the statement saying it wasn't cleared by Washington.
That reflects the mixed signals.
They're sending -- the world.
The president also face the media on Wednesday.
The United States condemns in the strongest terms this outrageous and shocking attack.
We're working with the government of Libya to secure our diplomats.
-- also directed my administration to increase our security at diplomatic posts around the world.
That's an extremely abbreviated timeline of the events of this week the question for us here on news watch is.
How did the media react or failed to react to the news and the real issues surrounding these events.
Let's first go to Fox News correspondent Shannon Bream for more.
Late Tuesday GOP nominee Mitt Romney released a statement calling the administration's initial response to the attacks in Egypt disgraceful.
Saying they appeared to quote sympathize with those who waged the attacks.
That original administration response came in the form of an embassy statement which secretary of state Hillary Clinton had reportedly rejected and senior officials say the White House never approved.
Yet despite the distance the administration seemed to want between it and the embassy statement only Ronnie seems to be taking the heat for criticizing it.
This statement looks.
Crafts and tone deaf in the light of this -- CNN contributor and Newsweek columnist John Avalon called Romney's statement quote unwise inaccurate and un presidential.
The president's policies in the Middle East should be the big story now how how -- the president's policies affecting what's happening over there.
Instead it's become Mitt Romney's.
Just before Bonnie face the press to make a statement about the tragedy in Libya and to take questions reporters could be -- conferring with each other I would say do you regret.
Having your statement tonight at home there does anything go offline and it -- that I -- I say little.
Media watchers including Fox's John Stossel point out the conversations like that one aren't necessarily rare.
They have a limited time with the president with the candidates.
And they want to make sure that they get an answer to this question so they do a little coordination.
In the end -- rather than being pressed for details about who was or wasn't guarding the consulate and then Ghazi or why he elected not to cancel a fund raiser Wednesday night in Las Vegas.
The president in a sit down interview was asked about and given a chance to criticize Romney.
-- couldn't play better for the for the president because it takes a lot of heat off of him he's the president he's the one whose policies are beyond your question right now.
And and much of the -- is being taken off office.
Seven of the eight questions Romney took from reporters Wednesday were about his statement rather than events in Libya and Egypt.
After the president gave his statement at the White House he took no questions.
Pretty is lots I'm -- and bringing in Washington.
Aren't so Shannon raises a number of questions there about the events of the weekend the coverage of it will get to some of them here in this program Jim.
First of all the president other than his sit down with sixty minutes and telemundo he hasn't answered questions.
Four from the media about all of these terrible events of this week 10.
Well he's chosen not to having -- and and in many ways probably wisely so that the situation is so fluid but look.
I mean as measures have been and ghetto who covered the White House when I was in the bush 41 administration.
Said look this is.
Playing -- the president's advantage like that and here's how.
There's many stories press to -- -- the -- talk about Libya and the death of ambassador -- there's not they're ignoring that.
Do you talk -- Egypt and the tech talk about the -- and -- who said what and discipline the chain -- -- -- on.
Talk with the Arab Spring is really hear what are they can be talking.
About the global village and Peggy Noonan wrote a column about how one guy is setting off movie can cause chain of events around the world war.
They can choose to see this through the prism of the presidential campaign and take one statement the Mitt Romney and turn that into -- -- they could the week's news until.
By probably the Friday.
The story it got so serious they had that realize now the reelection issue as a middle -- in the chances and anybody in the Middle East is listen to Mitt Romney.
US embassy is getting upset because Mitt Romney says a man two on Wednesday that that.
Raises that is the question -- -- mean that's been the story of the week is what did Mitt Romney say and when did he say it when when nobody's asking about you know why were we not prepared for attacks on our embassies on 9/11 friends.
And that is clearly a question that should have been addressed that has been under covered.
Along with other issues section is how was it possible.
-- -- junior public affairs officer or someone who is reporting to -- ambassador in Egypt who was not in Egypt but was in Washington.
Did not clearest statement -- had tremendous.
Caused tremendous controversy.
What about the movie is there a movie that caused this whole -- supposedly we don't even know that it did yet.
There are so many facts that are yet to be determined.
The to turn this into.
Political fold overall is just missing the story.
Rick you had an article in the Daily Beast and before we get into this we should point out that you served on the Romney foreign policy advisement team for a time earlier in his campaign.
But you said why is it okay for the secretary of states to condemn.
The the -- statement the Cairo embassy tweets.
As ineffective but it's not okay for Mitt Romney to do the same.
Yeah I find it really puzzling you know I work at the state department for eight years in the Bush Administration I know what it's like the serve in a diplomatic post.
And try to get Washington and to approve something takes a very long time and I think that's the frustration here for me is that.
Why are we critique keen.
When Mitt Romney spoke -- the timing and whether it was too early I think the simple fact is the president the United States waited fifteen hours.
While a developing situation.
Took cold and became more violent.
Why aren't we asking where the president was during those fifteen hours if I was out in embassy Cairo dealing with all of that says that was unfolding.
I don't want the press and the United States to start condemning this violence the president's first statements.
Where to condemn Mitt Romney yeah and I think I think that -- So not right and the press has seemed to echo that and and the question is you know was that the appropriate response of the media given what happened.
The former secretary of defense under George W.
Came to Romney's defense here was this tweet from Donald Rumsfeld the attacks on our embassies.
And diplomats are a result of perceived American weakness Mitt Romney.
He is right to point that out as anyone in the media saying that Monica.
No but this is exactly the point Mitt Romney is running not just to be president but to be commander in chief so he was perfectly within his rights to say what he said.
Being critical of the president's response.
But the bigger point is that we too have a sitting commander in chief right now.
And this is about his policies that in large part not totally but in large part have led to this Islamist mess and instead we have a press and -- press corps.
That is obsessed with two things one the horse race so they always try to squeeze these things into a political narrative a lot of times when it doesn't exist or shouldn't exist.
And number two they are in full protect Obama mode and that's what you saw this week what is going -- going on in the Middle East what's happening in Washington right now.
Under this president this is not about Mitt Romney this is -- Barack Obama and those questions have not been raised.
Unless Mitt Romney has deemed the crisis out in some manner completely invisible to the gang of 500.
Doubling down is the most craven and ill advised move of twelve men.
This appeared on times website.
It looks very similar.
You can read -- for yourself unless the Romney campaign has -- out the crisis and so -- Howard Kurtz we did did Mitt Romney pull the trigger too soon on statement ripping administration over Libyan consulate killings.
And then this headline in the Daily Beast.
Mitt Romney's ill timed assault on President Obama as Americans are killed abroad.
And then LA times James -- treated.
Cock -- Mitt Romney takes Libya tragedy and finds a way to side with moronic pastor Terry Jones.
Then came this headline in the LA times Mitt Romney should triple down on Libya rally with reverend Jones so are the tweets.
Sort of influencing them.
The way this gets covered the -- available.
Well I hate you which comes first the chicken or the -- -- I think they all think the same way and that influence the coverage and enough to tweets and hadn't happened I think we would have had the same thing -- -- -- you look at that and an you have to say didn't do they even care about what was actually unfolding in front of their -- in the Middle East because.
You seemed outraged and accusing the president of being insulted I'm sorry late there work.
Human beings being murdered.
Are our embassy was under attack we were watching that our American flag being torn up and burned and the Islamic flag flying over.
I really do what -- am not asking legitimately as I look at those like do they even care.
It it just doesn't even seem like there's any sense of something terrible is happening and we should be paying attention to it and actually.
And what was raised earlier which is the actual radio silence and Richard is a 100% Clinton racked with -- where was the president and why was the first thing they said about Mitt Romney statement.