This morning, MSNBC’s Alex Witt was in full damage control mode, working whatever apologist explanations she could find into her reluctant coverage of last night's teleprompter-free “Tonight Show” appearance by the president. [audio available here]
Obama was doing quite well at staying on message, when he made the following comment in reaction to Jay Leno's question about his infamous lack of bowling ability:
JAY LENO: I imagine the bowling alley has been burned and closed down.
President BARACK OBAMA: No, I've been practicing.
OBAMA: I bowled a 129. I had –
LENO: Oh, no, that's very good. Yeah. That's very good, Mr. President.
OBAMA: This is sort of like Special Olympics or something.From the press releases coming out of the White House, we know that the press division immediately kicked into high-gear damage-control mode. Of course, the media picked up on the urgent need to bury this story in whatever way they possibly could - which led to the following ludicrous statement by the MSNBC anchor:
ALEX WITT: Now as nothing goes unescaped when it comes to the President. He did talk about the Special Olympics. Some people took that as an offensive remark. However, this morning on a radio show, the director of the Special Olympics for the state of Illinois, a man by the name of Doug Snyder, talked about that. And he thinks he knows where all this came from, because he remembers a couple years back introducing the President to a little girl named Caitlyn, who showed the President how to bowl, and did a darn better job of doing it at the time than the President was able to do it. He thinks Caitlyn is actually perhaps the inspiration for the President deciding to be a bit better as a bowler.It is a rather wide practice for the media to hide their favored politicians behind children. Think, for instance, of the school voucher debate. Those people who favored vouchers were portrayed as being “against better education for our children.” In this, Witt is attempting to hide the President's flippant and insulting remark behind a silver-lined cloud of compassion. Not even the White House is so silly as to think that the President's remarks were anything but flippant and offensive - as evidenced by the immediate phone call to the President and CEO of the Special Olympics apologizing for the comments, and the near-instantaneous press release.