MSNBC and ABC Eager to Herald ‘Vindication’ for Obama in Qadhafi’s Death

It’s no surprise MSNBC hosts were quick to see “vindication” for President Barack Obama in the death of Moammar Qadhafi, but ABC’s George Stephanopoulos and Jake Tapper were just as eager Thursday night to make sure viewers knew the White House was gloating.

“The President was careful not to take too much credit in the Rose Garden,” fill-in World News anchor George Stephanopoulos noted before presuming that “behind the scenes White House officials have to be feeling some sense of vindication.”

Tapper confirmed “they do. They see this as a vindication for Obama's foreign policy....which is more international cooperation, smaller footprint, more focused applications of U.S. power.” This played out in Libya, “using the unique capabilities of the U.S. and then stepping back and letting NATO take control. All of this part of the Obama foreign policy and they do feel vindicated.”

Neither the CBS Evening News nor NBC Nightly News characterized Qaddafi’s death as “vindication” for Obama’s policies.

Thursday afternoon, in the 3 PM EDT hour, MSNBC’s Martin Bashir basked in Obama’s triumph over conservative criticism: “After putting up with months of criticism, the accusation was that he led from behind, he didn’t know what he was doing. Isn’t this the complete vindication of his strategy?” Washington Post editorial writer Jonathan Capehart unhesitatingly agreed: “I would think so.”

Opposite Stephanopoulos and Tapper in the 6 PM EDT hour, MSNBC’s left-wing activist/Obama-phile Al Sharpton fretted during his PoliticsNation program:

Whether you applaud this brutal end or not, today’s events are clearly a vindication of the President’s policy in Libya. The dictator’s gone and no Americans was killed. But today in a statement after statement, Republicans barely made mention of President Obama...

From the Thursday, October 20 World News with Diane Sawyer on ABC:

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: With Qadhafi’s death today, three men responsible for thousands of American deaths have been killed in almost as many months: Osama bin Laden in May, Anwar al-Awlaki in September and now Qadhafi, all by or backed by American force. I want to bring in Jake Tapper from the White House now. And Jake, the President was careful not to take too much credit in the Rose Garden, but behind the scenes White House officials have to be feeling some sense of vindication.

JAKE TAPPER: They do. They see this as a vindication for Obama’s foreign policy. One senior White House official telling me this evening, bin Laden, Awlaki, Qadhafi, all met their demise in some fashion because of decisions President Obama made. It's part of the larger Obama foreign policy which is more international cooperation, smaller footprint, more focused applications of U.S. power. They said that, al-Qaeda, it’s been very, very targeted, the attacks the U.S. has made on al-Qaeda. And Libya, using the unique capabilities of the U.S. and then stepping back and letting NATO take control. All of this part of the Obama foreign policy and they do feel vindicated, George.

Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center