WaPo Asks: Was Obama's Jonas Brothers Drone Joke Offensive?
"The Jonas Brothers are here, they're out there somewhere," the President said Saturday evening (video right).
"Sasha and Malia are huge fans, but boys, don't get any ideas. Two words for you: predator drones. You will never see it coming. You think I'm joking?"
The Obama administration has spent a great deal of time on outreach to Muslims worldwide, and on dialing down the volume and rhetoric of the prior administration in order to defuse al-Qaeda's narrative of a clash of civilizations between Muslims and non-Muslims. So you have to wonder why in the world the president's speech writers would think it was a good idea to throw a joke about predator drones into the president's speech during the White House Correspondent's Dinner, given that an estimated one-third of drone casualties, or between 289 and 378, have been civilians. It evinces a callous disregard for human life that is really inappropriate for a world leader, especially a president who is waging war against an enemy that deliberately targets civilians. It also helps undermine that outreach by making it look insincere. It's already hard enough to convince Muslims that the U.S. isn't indifferent to civilian casualties without having the president joke about it.
Philadelphia Daily News's Will Bunch tweeted Sunday, "Let's be honest, fellow progressives, we'd be all over Bush if he made the same 'predator drone' joke Obama told last night."
The Post then actually compared Obama's joke to -- dare I say it? -- something Bush said in his first term:
President Bush was pilloried for making light of the lack of WMDs in Iraq at the 2004 White House Correspondents' Dinner. Does Obama deserve similar treatment?
This led the author Rachel Weiner to ask readers, "Was President Obama's joke about killing the Jonas Brothers with predator drones offensive?"
With over 36,000 votes in at roughly 1AM EDT, 67 percent of respondents amazingly said "Yes."
On a related note, this wasn't the first piece the post published Monday with a negative view of Obama's Dinner performance.
Imagine that: a liberal paper on Monday published TWO pieces critical of Obama's comedy stylings.
What's that old saying about a broken clock?