Filling in for Alex Wagner on Monday afternoon, Ari Melber of the left-wing Nation magazine did some thing on MSNBC's Now that Wagner and many of their colleagues have been reluctant to do themselves -- expose the deception and dishonesty of Obama on the subject of drone attacks. While there was a brief mention or two in the weeks and months that preceded the election, the coverage was never sufficient -- considering the circumstances.
It's a telling sign however, that such a report would air three weeks after the incumbent's decisive re-election victory, by a guest host at that. Armed with indisputable video evidence, Melber noted the disparity between the candidate and the president [video below the page break]:
ARI MELBER: The drone attacks here are controversial because the Obama administration has not published standards for how it selects their targets, which have included American citizens. That secretive approach is at odds with a commitment that Obama made during his first campaign for the presidency when he advocated the rights of due process for all, even accused terrorists.
Sen. BARACK OBAMA (D-Ill.): If the government grabs you, then you have the right to at least ask why was I grabbed and say maybe you've got the wrong person. You know, the reason you have that safeguard is because we don't always have the right person. You may think it's Barack the bomb thrower, but it might be Barack, the guy running for president.
Despite what then-candidate Obama said, the reality of the drone program that has killed American citizens is unsettling even if one believes it necessary or proper to defend Americans. According to a report Melber cited by the New America Foundation, "drone attacks have increased substantially during Obama's first term."
In mid-October, New York Times public editor -- the paper's ombudsman -- criticized her paper from the left on the issue of drone strike coverage, and in doing so quoted a former Times reporter, David Rohde, who argued that "If a Republican president had been carrying out this many drone strikes in such a secretive way, it would get much more scrutiny."