Newsweek Trashes Romney for Exploiting Tragedy, Touts Obama's 'Diplomatic Fury'

As a media reporter, Howard Kurtz used to evaluate the media’s tilt in a moderate way. Now, as Washington bureau chief for Newsweek, his job must be to repeat the day’s assembly-line liberal spin, in an article titled “Mitt Romney’s Ill-Timed Assault on President Obama as Americans Are Killed Abroad.” Romney’s “given the appearance of exploiting an international tragedy.”

Meanwhile, Newsweek’s Christopher Dickey wrote the Obama “accountability” article, titled “Diplomatic Fury. Obama's Impossible Position After Libyan Violence." The subhead empathetically felt the pain at “Obama’s impossible task of dealing with the mob, those who incited them, and those who exploited that incitement for their own end.” Dickey did not mention, among the inciters, Newsweek and its phony Koran-toilet-paper “expose” of 2005. 

Kurtz insisted Romney bungled the politics. Apparently, he should have said and done nothing...when the spin in the morning papers was that he wasn’t active enough on the trail! The spin is negative, no matter what:

By slamming the Obama administration as the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans were killed in Libya, the Republican nominee has given the appearance of exploiting an international tragedy. Whether his criticism is warranted or not, the timing seems insensitive—as if Romney is more interested in scoring political points than mourning the deaths of U.S. diplomats.

The Romney campaign has not addressed the anti-American riots since Tuesday’s statement, perhaps sensing that the candidate sounded too harsh at a time of revulsion and sympathy over the death of Ambassador Christopher Stevens and his colleagues.

Kurtz later added more pain for Romney: "To the extent that Romney has delved into foreign affairs, he has had a tough time getting any traction. His recent trip to Britain, Israel, and Poland was marred by a series of gaffes."

At least Kurtz mentioned the original apology from our embassy in Egypt that "seemed to apologize" for offending Muslims. “The Embassy of the United States in Cairo condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims—as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions.”

Dickey never mentioned that as he railed against Obama's critics: 

When the White House confirmed the death of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans in Benghazi on Wednesday morning, it tried to walk the thin line of diplomatic fury: “While the United States rejects efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others, we must all unequivocally oppose the kind of senseless violence that took the lives of these public servants.”

But it probably would be too much to expect Obama’s opponents to try to thread that needle. Those out of office don’t need to show the same restraint as those who are in, and those backing the Republican ticket, predictably, show even less. After the Cairo incident, Nina Shea, writing in The National Review, was quick off the mark, suggesting the measured reaction of the U.S. embassy there, and Obama policy generally, was an effort to “appease fanatics.” Liz Cheney, whose family did so much to bring American war to the Middle East, chimed in with a snide Tweet: “Mob attacks Embassy, replaces US flag w/al Qaeda flag. Embassy responds by condemning people hurting Muslims feelings?”

Dickey predictably denounced “incendiary Dutch politican” Geert Wilders and his American counterparts:

In fact, there have been hints of reason in this sorry show of hate. The attempts to provoke Muslim hysteria were largely subsumed by the excitement of the Arab Spring that began early last year. Crackpots like Pastor Terry Jones, the would-be Quran burner, and more savvy figures like Wilders—and Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum, who denounced “radical Islam” during their campaigns for the Republican domination without really drawing much of a distinction—had seen violent reaction, and their audiences, declining. Even Wilders has been losing votes.”

Doesn't this make it sound like Dickey was saying Gingrich and Santorum were out on the campaign trail looking for "violent reaction"? Now who's demonizing?

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis