Media Breaks Pattern and Reports Obama Was Right Instead of Right Wing Smears

Conservatives remain consistent in their strategy of how to handle being consistently wrong. When they have no counter arguments to what a Democratic politician has actually said they make up something different to attack. We saw that with the attacks on John Kerry when they twisted the words “global test” and when they claimed his joke about George Bush getting stuck in Iraq was about the troops. Today they tried the same type of attack once again on Barack Obama.

Usually when the right wing launches their smears, the news media will quote the conservative smear, regardless of whether it has any validity, and try to pass this off as objectivity.This time, instead of repeating the right wing smears as news, somebody at AP actually did her job and acted like a real journalist.

Earlier today Barack Obama said:

We’ve got to get the job done there and that requires us to have enough troops so that we’re not just air-raiding villages and killing civilians, which is causing enormous problems there.

The right wing noise machine jumped into action. Rather than interpret this line as any reasonable person would they twisted it to mean that Obama was claiming that the United States was solely killing civilians. By their warped logic, all it took was to show that the United States does anything else to prove Obama wrong.

Of course this is not what Obama said. AP fact checked what Obama actually said and found that he was right:

A check of the facts shows that Western forces have been killing civilians at a faster rate than the insurgents have been killing civilians.

The U.S. and NATO say they don’t have civilian casualty figures, but The Associated Press has been keeping count based on figures from Afghan and international officials. Tracking civilian deaths is a difficult task because they often occur in remote and dangerous areas that are difficult to reach and verify.

As of Aug. 1, the AP count shows that while militants killed 231 civilians in attacks in 2007, Western forces killed 286. Another 20 were killed in crossfire that can’t be attributed to one party.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai expressed his concern about the civilian deaths during a meeting last week with President Bush.

Bush said he understands the agony that Afghans feel over the loss of innocent lives and that he is doing everything he can to protect them. He said the Taliban are using civilians as human shields and have no regard for their lives.

“The president rightly expressed his concerns about civilian casualty,” Bush said of Karzai. “And I assured him that we share those concerns.”

Obama was right, but that doesn’t affect the attacks from the right. For example, earlier today Captain Ed wrote:

Does Obama think before making these statements? Does he think at all? He’s not just blowing his chances in this election, but he’s making an argument for his long-term exclusion from any position with foreign policy or military issues under his control.

This is a mighty strange thing for a Republican to say, considering how most of them were wrong every step of the way with regard to ignoring the warnings about al Qaeda before 9/11 and with regards to the entire conduct of the war in Iraq. If anyone, it is these Republicans who should be excluded from any position involving foreign policy or military issues.

Lacking any real arguments we see conservatives repeatedly resorting to this type of tactic. There will always be material for those who have so little integrity that they will resort to this. It is impossible to spend the day speaking without saying something which isn’t open to being twisted in this manner. Democrats if they chose could easily do the same. For example, at the signing of a defense appropriations bill on August 5, 2004 George Bush said, “Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we.”

If we wanted to behave like conservatives, we could have cited this as proof that George Bush was thinking of ways to harm our country. Instead we simply attribute it to Mad Cowboy Disease, have a few laughs, and return to criticizing Bush for his real statements and actions. The difference is that liberals have real arguments to make and don’t need to resort to this type of smear tactic.

Update: Debunking conservative distortions appears to be a new trend in journalism. Rove resigns and the whole conservative strategy falls apart.

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1 Comment

  1. 1
    Ron Chusid says:

    “Ron, kinda forgot to actually defend Obama’s smear, too. ”

    That’s because Obama never made the smear which the conservative claim. There’s nothing more to defend. As AP showed, Obama was right about what he was actually talking about.

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