U.S. Press Virtually Ignoring Strong Anti-Obama and Anti-American Sentiment, Banners at Egyptian Protests

As I noted on Friday, the final sentence in an AP report earlier that day (saved here at host for future reference, fair use and discussion purposes) on protests in Egypt read: "One banner depicted President Barack Obama and said, 'Obama supports terrorism.'"

I predicted with little risk of being wrong that the existence of this banner would not "survive future AP reports" -- and it hasn't, even though this and similar banners were still present in Tahrir Square on Saturday. A search at the AP's national site on "Obama supports terrorism" (not in quotes) returns nothing. Other establishment press coverage has also failed to reveal the continued presence of anti-American and anti-President Obama sentiments.

The signs are still there, as is the anti-American sentiment, as Betsy Hiel at TribLive.com (part of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review) virtually exclusively reported on Saturday evening U.S. time (bolds are mine throughout this post):

Egyptian liberals, moderates angry over American support for Muslim Brotherhood

As tension mounted here in anticipation of Sunday protests against President Mohamed Morsy, another foe emerged for many Egyptians: the United States.

... He (Ramez Nashed) said the opposition's rally — which it hopes will attract millions of supporters on the one-year anniversary of Morsy's election — is not just directed at the ruling Muslim Brotherhood but also at fuel and water shortages, power blackouts, rising food prices and a collapsed economy.

Yet Nashed, like so many in the opposition, asked another question, too: “Why is America supporting Morsy and the Brotherhood?”

... For months, Egyptian liberals and moderates have grown angrier over what they say is inexplicable U.S. support for Islamists.

In Tahrir Square, Cairo's epicenter of protest since 2011, graffiti near the Egyptian Museum declares: “Down with the Brotherhood, Down with America!”

On a downtown building, a poster shows a distorted portrait of U.S. Ambassador Anne Patterson over the words, “Crone, Go Home.” On a nearby corner, another poster says, “Obama supports terrorism.”

... “For the Christian people here, for 10 years America was our dream,” said Nashed, who works in an electronics store. “Now we are afraid of America. … I have family in America, and I know the Americans don't support terrorism.”

Read the whole thing.

A Saturday afternoon 1,400-word AP report by Sarah El Deeb, with help from Maggie Michael and Hamza Hendawi, didn't contain the slightest hint of anti-American or anti-Obama sentiment. It doesn't seen like TribLive's Heil had to look very hard to find it. It seems as if the AP trio either didn't look very hard, or refused to report what they saw. The AP did find a quote useful to someone who wants to believe that this is the opposition's last shot at legitimacy:

There is a sense among opponents and supporters of Morsi that Sunday's rally is a make or break day. The opposition feels empowered by the petition, known as Tamarod, or Rebel, but it offered no proof regarding the figures. If verified, it would mean that nearly double the number of people who voted for Morsi a year ago are now calling for him to step down.

"Honestly, if (Sunday) is not a game changer, we might all just pack up our bags and leave," said Mahmoud Salem, a prominent blogger known by his blog's name Sandmonkey and a vocal critic of the Muslim Brotherhood, from which Morsi hails.

Over at the New York Times, David D. Kirkpatrick, Ben Hubbard and Kareem Fahim portrayed Morsi as in control and able to ride things out, and gave him a free pass to issue an "apology" for assuming dictatorial powers late last year:

Morsi Confident Ahead of Planned Protests in Egypt

Faced with a wave of increasingly violent protests demanding his ouster, President Mohamed Morsi declared this weekend that he was confident that he would serve out his term as Egypt’s first democratically elected head of state.

... Mr. Morsi also acknowledged more explicitly than before that he had made a mistake in his “constitutional declaration” last fall putting his own power above the authority of the courts until the passage of a constitution. Although he said he meant to block the courts from dissolving the constitutional assembly, the move struck many as authoritarian, and it set off the waves of protests that have led to the Sunday demonstrations.

“It contributed to some kind of misconception in society,” Mr. Morsi said in the interview. His advisers have privately acknowledged deep regrets over the declaration, although they argue that subsequent rulings have confirmed that the high court — controlled by justices appointed from Mr. Mubarak — was indeed poised to dissolve the assembly.

The obvious problem with the "apology" is that Morsi's assumption of dictatorial powers ahead of the elections gave him a large degree of control over how they were conducted so he could twist the results in his favor.

He called for quick elections so that opposition leaders wouldn't have enough time to coalesce. He split them into two Saturdays so the Brotherhood could better monitor and intimidate areas with large numbers of opposition-supporters.

As a result, those who did vote approved a Constitution based on sharia law and socialism -- something the Muslim Brotherhood had originally said it was not interested in seeing happen.

His "oh gosh, I'm sorry" rings hollow, and the Times's failure to describe the events leading up to today's protest is inexcusable.

Also conveniently omitted from the AP and Times reports was any mention of U.S. Egyptian Ambassador Anne Patterson's contribution to the situation, noted in a Washington Free Beacon report:

... (Protesters) also blame the Obama administration and U.S. Ambassador to Egypt Anne Patterson for propping up Morsi and facilitating the Muslim Brotherhood’s power grab.

“We are very critical of the Obama administration because they have been supporting the Brotherhood like no one has ever supported them,” Shadi Al Ghazali Harb, a 24-year-old member of Egypt’s Revolutionary Youth Coalition, told the Washington Free Beacon on Friday afternoon during a telephone interview from Cairo.

The White House is “the main supporter of the Brotherhood,” he said. “If it wasn’t for the American support this president would have fallen months ago.”

Al Ghazali Harb specifically dubbed Patterson “the first enemy of the revolution,” claiming “she is hated even more than Morsi.”

Activists hung pictures of Patterson with a red “X” drawn across her face at Egypt’s Defense Ministry during smaller protests Friday afternoon.

“She’s done a lot to harm our relations with the United States,” Al Ghazali Harb said.

For those who wish to see a television report which will probably never be seen here, there is a YouTube video which appears to be of a foreign mainstream news report showing the protesters' anti-Obama and anti-Patterson signs.

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.

Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.