Yestereday in Stockholm at the G20 summit, President Barack Obama said the following in regards to the use of chemical weapons in warfare: “I didn’t set a red line. The world set a red line.” For years, the press obsessed over the alleged untruthfulness of President George W. Bush’s “16 words” (“The British Government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa”) in his 2003 State of the Union address. Today, the Associated Press won’t even directly quote the first six of Obama’s.
Regardless of whether one thinks that Obama’s statement is an attempt to abdicate personal responsibility for his original “red line” (i.e., in the sand) statement a year ago or an assertion that his year-ago statement merely affirmed what the rest of the world believes, it’s news, and should be presented to the nation’s readers and viewers in quotes. But not at the Associated Press, aka the Administration’s Press, which is barely recognizing the existence of the “red line” at all.
Here are relevant passages from an AP report on yesterday’s war resolution committee vote in the U.S. Senate currently time-stamped early this morning by Donna Cassata with the help of eight other AP reporters:
DIVIDED VOTE FORESHADOWS OBAMA CHALLENGE ON SYRIA
… Speaking in Sweden on Wednesday, Obama left open the possibility he would order retaliation for the deadly chemical weapons attack even if Congress withheld its approval.
“I always preserve the right and responsibility to act on behalf of America’s national security,” he told a news conference. In a challenge to lawmakers back home, he said Congress’ credibility was on the line, not his own, despite saying a year ago that the use of chemical weapons would cross a “red line.”
The Senate panel’s vote marked the first formal response in Congress, four days after Obama unexpectedly put off an anticipated cruise missile strike against Syria and instead asked lawmakers to unite behind such a plan.
The term “red line” was not present in the following dozen reports found at the AP’s national site at 6:15 this morning Eastern Time with time stamps after Obama’s “I didn’t set a red line” statement (note that reports are often revised throughout the day, and are usually unavailable after a week or two):
- “A LOOK AT SYRIA DEVELOPMENTS AROUND THE WORLD”
- “SENATE PANEL VOTES TO AUTHORIZE FORCE IN SYRIA”
- “SYRIA CREATES NEW HEADACHES FOR GOP LEADERS”
- “SYRIA OVERSHADOWS ECONOMY AS G20 LEADERS MEET”
- “OBAMA HEADS INTO THE LION’S DEN IN RUSSIA” — This report by Josh Lederman quotes what followed Obama’s 12 “red line” words (“‘My credibility is not on the line. The international community’s credibility is on the line,’ Obama said Wednesday at news conference in Stockholm.”)
- “SPIN METER: OBAMA ON USE OF US MILITARY MIGHT” — In what is supposed to be a rundown of past and current comments by Obama on the use of military force, Lederman failed to quote Obama’s original and current “red line” statements.
- “10 THINGS TO KNOW FOR THURSDAY”
- “G-20 SUMMIT LEADERS FACE A DIVIDED GLOBAL ECONOMY”
- “ANSWERS TO SYRIA QUESTION NO CLEARER”
- “WHITE HOUSE PRAISES SENATE FOR BACKING SYRIA PLAN”
- “KERRY MAKES CASE TO HOUSE FOR ACTION IN SYRIA”
- “WHITE HOUSE NOTEBOOK: OBAMA ALLUDES TO SYRIAN WAR”
Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.