Sunday, April 19, 2009


Following the rescue of Captain Richard Philips by Navy Seals, many in the media quickly went overboard showering a great deal of the credit on President Obama. In some cases they almost made him sound like Teddy Roosevelt charging up San Juan Hill.

CNN's Gloria Borgia as well as other politicos at CNN, and even Jeff Birnbaum, a Fox News contributor were quick to give Obama the lions share of the credit for the successful rescue of Captain Philips . It is almost baffling to understand why.

Kenneth T. Walsh in US News and World Report wrote, "Obama's decision to authorize the use of military force to free Phillips, captain of the cargo ship Maersk Alabama, from a band of pirates demonstrated that the new commander in chief will apply American muscle in a crunch. It also showed that he trusts the military to get the job done and remains cool under pressure. These are significant developments for a man who has endured considerable criticism about being too young and inexperienced to serve as an effective commander in chief."

Gloria Borgia on CNN called the rescue a "win" for the Obama Administration. The Boston Globe called it Obama's first test as President and that he passed with flying colors.

The credit for the successful rescue of course goes to the Navy Seals, the Captain of the Bainbridge and some FBI negotiators who kept the situation fluid until a window of opportunity opened up for the Seals snipers to do what they were trained to do. And the plan to rescue Captain Philips was a Navy operation, not anything devised in the White House.

Unfortunately for Mr. Walsh and others, President Obama did nothing except give the go ahead for the Navy Seals to take the action they had been trained to take under these circumstances and Obama left the ultimate decision, the real decision, in the hands of the Captain of the Bainbridge who was given the authority to use his judgement and did, giving the go ahead to fire the shots that killed the pirates and freed Captain Philips.

This is not to say Obama did anything wrong. He did was he should have done by delegating authority to those who knew what they were doing and knew how to handle what was a very dangerous situation.

But the question no one seems to be asking is, what else could Obama have done? Refuse to let the Navy rescue Captain Philips? Refuse to let them take whatever action the commander on the scene deemed necessary? Refuse to allow the Seals snipers to do what they've been trained to do in situations like this? Not give them the authority to act on a window of opportunity if it presented itself? Had Obama refused and had Captain Philips remained a hostage or lost his life it would have for all intents and purposes been the end of the Obama Presidency.

It was the commander on the scene and the Seal sharpshooters who were cool under pressure not, as Walsh writes, President Obama who made the only decision it was possible to make -- give the authority to the commander on the scene to take whatever action was neccessary to save Captain Philips when the opportunity arose.

It is almost farcical to see that the media has gotten to the point where they are willing to heap praise on Obama for simply not being inept and are willing to set the bar so low that Obama can get over it simply by stepping on it. This is no fault of Obama's. But it simply erodes the mass media's credibility even more. And the way the media is going, and with the credibility they are losing, even Navy Seals won't be able to rescue them.


sue said...

Thank you for this Marc- I have been mulling over the media response all week and trying to figure out if I am just too jaded to see anything positive in Obama.
But it is very clear that he really took the only step he reasonably could take-and it is again proof positive that the media congratulates Obama on everything he does- I know W set the bar pretty low- but it has gotten just ridiculous.

I now feel like I truly need 48 - 72 hours after a newsworthy event to really have all of the facts- it takes that long to search around the internet to find the facts that the MSM fails to mention.

Thankfully this is one of the places I come for a re-framing of the story-

Great post

Anonymous said...

It's clear that the media expects sub-par performance from Obama, hence, when he performs up to par, the media cheers into a frenzy.

susn h said...

The Navy Seals were trained superbly under Bush's watch, which Obama wants to take credit for. Obama wants to reduce our naval forces and military around the world. It costs a huge amount of money to keep military well trained in place, ready for action, like the Navy Seals. As a democrat, I always thought the military was an over-unnecessary expense, but now after election 2008 I see things differently. We need a strong military but hopefully we do not have to send that military into war. This involves continued training and readiness but hopefully never the necessity to use that military in actual combat. I agree with Sue, I think I am just too jaded to see anything positive in Obama. Certainly not his fraternizing with the likes of Raul Castro and Hugo Chavez, but that is another issue altogether...

sue said...

So I watched Obama address the CIA today- explain the release of the torture memos- I am still not certain I understand every piece of this story- but one thing is for sure-

I watched it on C-SPAN and turned it off immediately after he was done speaking- so I didn't listen to a single blathering idiot tell me what he said.

All I could figure out after listening to him was that he said we can't live w/o the CIA and that we don't advocate torture. (It took him about 20 minutes to say that- repeatedly in different sentence structures).

I will watch MSM tonight and read NYT and WSJ tomorrow for the spin- I am eager to compare media spin to my own interpretations.

Anonymous said...

Marc - As usual, this piece is right on. The only thing is that you seem to think the media is losing credibility. The way I see it, they're not - at least not in the eyes of most Americans. Everyone is continuing to eat what they are being spoon fed, which, unfortunately, continues to be a dangerous bias in Obama's favor. I am dumbfounded by how long this charade is continuing.