Look at things from Barack Obama’s perspective. Since when do jayvee teams rate such intense media coverage, anyway? When asked by NPR why (a) people have less confidence in his ability to keep the nation safe and (b) are more worried about ISIS in particular than ever, the rational response would be to point to the attacks in Paris and San Bernardino. Instead, as CNN reports, Obama answers (a) by claiming that the White House has not done enough … in bragging about what they have done.
On (b), Obama lays much of the blame on the media for seeking ratings:
President Barack Obama acknowledged in an interview released Monday that his administration may have fumbled its anti-ISIS communications strategy, but he insisted the plan itself was working and suggested saturated media coverage of the group could be fueling terror fears in the United States. …
But he also pinned Americans’ renewed unease about terror attacks on U.S. soil to blanket media coverage of ISIS attacks. The November ISIS terrorist massacre in Paris, which left 130 people dead, led to “a saturation of news about the horrible attack there,” Obama said in the interview.
“If you’ve been watching television for the last month, all you have been seeing, all you have been hearing about is these guys with masks or black flags who are potentially coming to get you,” he said in the NPR interview. “So I understand why people are concerned about it.”
“Look, the media is pursuing ratings,” he added later. “This is a legitimate news story. I think that, you know, it’s up to the media to make a determination about how they want to cover things.”
Gee, I don’t recall Obama complaining about media ratings when they covered his ridiculous claim that “al-Qaeda is on the run” back in 2012. He didn’t complain about ratings when he and Joe Biden claimed that the war in Iraq was over and that they had won it. Obama didn’t seem to mind the media coverage of his dismissal of ISIS in January 2014 as the “jayvees.” Suddenly, now that his administration has to answer for their deliberate ignorance while a regional threat metastasized, now it’s the media’s fault.
Beats acknowledging his own fault, I suppose, but it’s not going to fool anyone.
Is it possible to overhype a threat? Sure, and the media has a long and inglorious track record over many decades in doing so. (Remember alar?) However, ISIS isn’t just some small network of malcontents like the Baader-Meinhof gang — which managed to do a lot of damage despite their size — but a terrorist army that has erased international borders, has committed a series of genocides, and has just transitioned into international terrorism. They are seizing control of the failed state of Libya that Obama and Hillary Clinton created, and now represent a serious threat to Europe. They are infiltrating a stream of refugees that Obama wants the US to welcome, and meanwhile we’re failing at vetting individuals to keep violent jihadis out under Obama’s leadership.
If you’re not worried about those issues and aren’t holding a seven-year administration accountable for them, you’d have to be an idiot. And if the media didn’t report those issues, they’d be the “jayvee team.”
The problem in this case isn’t the media. It’s the man who wants to keep shifting responsibility from himself to any entity handy on his way to vacation.
Note: Added second-to-last paragraph a few minutes after publication.