September 16, 2012

AP on Sept. 10: ‘It Will Be a Rare Day’ When National Security or Terrorism Will Be a ‘Center of Attention’

On September 10, in a writeup which should qualify them for immediate entry into the Journalistm Hall of Shame, the Associated Press’s Julie Pace and three other assisting reporters, acting as virtual stenographers for the Obama administration and water-carriers for his reelection campaign, declared that “It will be a rare day on the campaign when terrorism, or national security for that matter, will be a center of attention,” while insisting that Obama has the presumptive upper hand in such matters.

Oops. Excerpts from their write-up follow the jump. It would be funny if it weren’t so tragically sad (bolds are mine):

"In a world of new threats and new challenges, you can choose leadership that has been tested and proven," the president said last week while accepting the Democratic Party's nomination, attempting to draw a contrast with a GOP presidential ticket that has little foreign policy experience.

"I promised to refocus on the terrorists who actually attacked us on 9/11. And we have," Obama added. "A new tower rises above the New York skyline; al-Qaida is on the path to defeat; and Osama bin Laden is dead."

It will be a rare day on the campaign when terrorism, or national security for that matter, will be a center of attention.

Unlike the other presidential elections following the attacks, polls show those issues are a low priority for voters. A CBS News/New York Times survey this summer found 37 percent of voters called terrorism and security extremely important to their vote while 54 percent said the economy and jobs were that important.

… Despite the strong economic focus, Obama's campaign says it still sees an opportunity to zero in on national security and terrorism in the final weeks of the campaign. And it's clear why it would want to: Polls show Obama leading Romney on national security and terrorism, issues where Republicans typically have an advantage.

Officials say national security issues resonate particularly well in battleground states with large military and veterans populations, including Virginia, North Carolina and Florida. The Obama campaign has been running television advertisements in those states focused on the president's policies for veterans, and Obama surrogates have held national security-focused events there, too.

Biden, whose son served in Iraq, has been making a point of highlighting the human costs of the wars that followed the 9/11 attacks. A frequently emotional Biden often lists the exact number of service members dead and wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Really, Julie? This is the same Joe Biden who in a speech in Wisconsin two weeks ago, as Tim Graham at NewsBusters noted the next day, misstated the "exact number" of service members killed in Afghanistan. Biden's speech was just eight days before Pace's write-up.

What's more, regardless of whether the U.S. establishment press cares to disseminate it, we now have a report that even before Pace & Co. drafted their dispatch celebrating what they thought would be the virtual irrelevance of 9/11 in the presidential campaign (the AP headline reads, "For once, 9/11 attacks play small role in election"), "Three days before the deadly assault on the United States consulate in Libya, a local security official says he met with American diplomats in the city and warned them about deteriorating security." The Jerusalem Post has reported that almost a week before Pace & Co. began pecking away at their keyboards for their story, a "September 4 letter, sent to all Egyptian security sectors," warned "that Sinai- and Gaza-based Global Jihad cells were planning attacks on the two embassies."

If Pace, her colleagues, and her wire service had any sense of journalistic responsibility or even any sense of shame, they'd stick to reporting facts from this point forward and avoid relaying ignorant, spin-driven predictions from an administration whose performance in so many many areas has ranged from ignorantly passive to dangerously destructive. But they won't.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

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3 Comments

  1. Missing a bit at the end there.

    Comment by zf — September 17, 2012 @ 9:03 pm

  2. #1, thanks for the catch.

    Sometimes the site doesn’t fully load a revised post if the Net connection hiccups. Hard to detect, and really annoying.

    Thank goodness the full version is at NB.

    Comment by Tom — September 17, 2012 @ 9:25 pm

  3. No problem, I put a smileyesque symbol at the end to show that it was a gentle nod and not a sarcastic rejoinder, but it got deleted. So now my comment looks snarky, sorry about that.

    Comment by zf — September 17, 2012 @ 11:41 pm

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