In an encore of their performance from earlier in the day CBS and NBC heaped their praises on to President Barack Obama Tuesday evening. “He eulogized the slain police officers of Dallas, but he seized this moment of national attention to plea for reason from both sides of a racial divide,” proclaimed Anchor Scott Pelley on CBC Evening News. Pelley seemed to be in awe of the president during his report.
“Mr. Obama eulogized the five officers, but he also brought into the room the memory of the two men killed by police this month who were the reason for the Dallas protest,” Pelley continued, “The president said we must reject despair. We are not as divided as we seem.”
The coverage of Obama’s speech was similar on NBC Nightly News. “President Obama faced an even more difficult challenge in Dallas today, paying tribute to the five policemen murdered in Thursday's ambush,” stated Anchor Lester Holt, “while at the same time speaking frankly about racial bias and invoking the names of African-American men killed by police.”
NBC reporter Gabe Gutierrez did note that, “Some of his comments drew mixed reactions from an audience filled with law enforcement. Also receiving mixed reactions online” The only problem is that Gutierrez failed to interview one person, or get one quote, from anyone who disagreed with something the president said.
ABC’s reporting was vastly different from their competitors. The network focus on both President Obama and former President George W. Bush. “President Obama and President Bush, both men clearly moved as they paid their respects to the police officers killed in Dallas,” said David Muir on World News Tonight, “First ladies Michelle Obama and Laura Bush on-hand, too.” The theme continued throughout their report.
Spanish-language network Telemundo decided to shatter to solemnness of the ceremony by giving attention to the anti-cop protesters outside the venue. “Nobody says anything, everyone is frightened by the arrogance of the police,” yell an unidentified protester to the network.
July 12, 2016
6:31:13 PM Eastern [3 Minutes 29 Seconds]
SCOTT PELLEY: “Our sorrow can make us a better country.” Those were the words of the president this afternoon. He eulogized the slain police officers of Dallas, but he seized this moment of national attention to plea for reason from both sides of a racial divide.
BARACK OBAMA: We wonder if an African American community that feels unfairly targeted by police and police departments that feel unfairly maligned for doing their job can ever understand each other's experience. It's hard not to think sometimes that the center won't hold and that things might get worse.
PELLEY: The center was where the president hoped to draw both protesters and police. He criticized each for ignoring the truths to be found in the middle.
OBAMA: And when anyone, no matter how good their intentions may be, paints all police as biased or bigoted, we undermine those officers we depend on for our safety. When study after study shows that whites and people of color experience the criminal justice system differently, so that if you're black you're more likely to be pulled over or searched or arrested. we cannot simply turn away and dismiss those peaceful protestors as troublemakers or paranoid.
PELLEY: Mr. Obama eulogized the five officers, but he also brought into the room the memory of the two men killed by police this month who were the reason for the Dallas protest.
OBAMA: But even those who dislike the phrase "Black lives matter," surely we should be able to hear the pain of Alton sterling's family, just as we should hear the students and coworkers describe their affection for Philando Castile as a gentle soul.
PELLEY: As a nation, Mr. Obama said we ask too much of police and not enough of ourselves.
OBAMA: As a society we choose to under-invest in decent schools. We allow poverty to fester so that entire neighborhoods offer no prospects for gainful employment. We refuse to fund drug treatment and mental health programs. We flood communities with so many guns that it is easier for a teenager to buy a Glock than get his hands on a computer or even a book. And then we tell the police, you're a social worker. You're the parents. You're the teacher. You're the drug counselor. We tell them to keep those neighborhoods in check at all costs and do so without causing any political blowback or inconvenience. Don't make a mistake that might disturb our own peace of mind. And then we feign surprise when periodically the tensions boil over.
PELLEY: The president said we must reject despair. We are not as divided as we seem.
July 12, 2016
7:01:21 PM Eastern [3 Minutes 11 Seconds]
LESTER HOLT: Good evening. For a president who by his own acknowledgement has comforted far too many grieving communities, President Obama faced an even more difficult challenge in Dallas today, paying tribute to the five policemen murdered in Thursday's ambush. And praising the courage of law enforcement while at the same time speaking frankly about racial bias and invoking the names of African-American men killed by police. It at moments was a delicate walk along the fault lines that the president believes are not as deep and wide as they may seem. NBC’s Gabe Gutierrez has more.
[Cuts to video]
GABE GUTIERREZ: In the wide ranging speech, president Obama seemed frustrated but hopeful.
BARACK OBAMA: I'm here to insist that we are not as divided as we seem. And I know that because I know America. I know how far we have come against impossible odds.
GUTIERREZ: This the 11th time he's traveled to comfort a city after a mass shooting.
OBAMA: I have seen how inadequate words can be in bringing about lasting change.
GUTIERREZ: Joined by Vice President Biden and former President George W. Bush. The focus was on those absent, the five fallen officers represented by five chairs with folded flags.
OBAMA: The vicious killer of these police officers, they won't be the last person who tries to make us turn on one another. We know there is evil in this world. That's why we need police departments.
GUTIERREZ: The president balanced praise for police officers with a blunt acknowledge of racial bias in the criminal justice system, addressing the shooting deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile last week.
OBAMA: We can't simply dismiss it as a symptom of political correctness or reverse racism.
GUTIERREZ: Some of his comments drew mixed reactions from an audience filled with law enforcement. Also receiving mixed reactions online, the president's comments on guns during the speech.
OBAMA: So many guns that it's easier for a teenager to buy a Glock than get his hands on a computer or even a book.
GUTIERREZ: Former President Bush a Dallas resident spoke earlier in the memorial.
GEORGE W. BUSH: Too often we judge other groups by their worst examples, while judging ourselves by our best intentions.
GUTIERREZ: Dallas Police Chief David Brown quoted Stevie Wonder.
DAVID BROWN: And I've got to say, always, I'll be loving you always. And there's no greater love than this. That these five men gave their lives for all of us.
GUTIERREZ: As he introduced the president.
OBAMA: I'm so glad I met Michelle first because she loves Stevie Wonder.
GUTIERREZ: The service drawing officers from around the country, the president acknowledging their challenges.
OBAMA: We ask the police to do too much and we ask too little of ourselves.
GUTIERREZ: If words seemed inadequate today, music spoke volumes.
[Cuts back to live]
More of downtown Dallas is slowly starting to reopen as investigators clear out that huge crime scene, this exhausted police force is now getting some help from neighboring departments, as funerals for the fallen begin tomorrow. Lester?
World News Tonight
July 12, 2016
6:31:26 PM Eastern [3 Minutes 22 Seconds]
DAVID MUIR: Good evening. And we begin tonight with those powerful words today from a president and from his predecessor. President Obama and President Bush, both men clearly moved as they paid their respects to the police officers killed in Dallas. First ladies Michelle Obama and Laura Bush on-hand, too. President Obama applauding the officers' bravery, and telling this country, we are not as divided as we seem. A haunting image of five seats in the front, holding only folded American flags. And then, the standing ovation for that police chief in Dallas. ABC's Jonathan Karl is there tonight.
[Cuts to video]
JON KARL: Two presidents and two first ladies, joining a Dallas police community mourning the hate-filled murder of five of their own.
BARACK OBAMA: Dallas, I'm here to say, we must reject such despair. I am here to insist that we are not as divided as we seem.
KARL: President Obama praising the courage of the men in blue.
OBAMA: When the bullets started flying, the men and women of the Dallas police, they did not flinch. We mourn fewer people today because of your brave actions.
KARL: Sentiments echoed by another president, now a resident of Dallas.
GEORGE W. BUSH: We will not forget what they did for us. Your loss is unfair. We cannot explain it. We can stand beside you and share your grief.
KARL: And a heartfelt standing ovation for Dallas Police Chief David Brown. The man who has held this community together. He offered some much-needed laughter to go with the tears, joking that when he really loved a girl, he'd recite some Stevie Wonder.
DAVID BROWN: So today, I'm going to pull out some Stevie wonder for these families. So families, close your eyes and just imagine me back in 1974 with an afro and some bell bottoms and wide collar. Until the day that you are me, and I am you, now ain't that loving you?
OBAMA: Chief Brown, I'm so glad I met Michelle first, because she loves Stevie Wonder.
KARL: Much of Obama's speech was a tribute to the bravery of police officers, but on the flight to Dallas, he spoke to the families of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling, whose deaths at the hands of police officers have also shocked the nation.
OBAMA: I see people who mourn for the five officers we lost, but also weep for the families of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. In this audience, I see what's possible. I see what's possible when we recognize that we are one American family.
[Cuts to live]
MUIR: And Jon Karl with us live tonight. Jon, the president, in a very candid moment today, saying his own words along the way have been inadequate in his words, to stop the violence?
KARL: You could hear the frustration in his voice, David, as he said, he's spoken at simply too many of these memorials and seen the inadequacy of words to bring about change, including, David, the inadequacy of his own words.
6:30:45 PM Eastern
JOSE DÍAZ-BALART, ANCHOR, TELEMUNDO: Good evening, President Obama today had words of comfort for the nation during an interfaith service for the 5 police officers killed in Dallas, Texas last week.
MARIA CELESTE ARRARÁS, ANCHOR, TELEMUNDO: In the ceremony, which counted with the presence of ex-President George Bush and his wife Laura, Obama called upon overcoming differences but at the same time, he showed frustration, because he says his words seem to not have been enough to stop so many massacres in his presidency. Let’s go to Edgar Muñoz, he is live in Dallas, Texas, with more about what happened. Edgar.
EDGAR MUÑOZ, CORRESPONDANT, TELEMUNDO: That’s right, Jose and Maria Celeste, President Barack Obama took advantage of this mournful ceremony, above all, to send a message to heal the racial wounds. He was accompanied by [former] President George W. Bush to demonstrate unity in front of the families of the victims. The President called upon Americans to find points of unity, let’s listen to what he said.
EDGAR MUÑOZ, CORRESPONDANT, TELEMUNDO: President Barack Obama, in a ceremony to which he was accompanied by his wife and ex-President George W. Bush, described the deaths of the 5 police officers in Dallas not just as an act of demented violence, but an act of racial hate.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: [In English] …I’ve seen how inadequate words can be…
EDGAR MUÑOZ, CORRESPONDANT, TELEMUNDO: “I’ve had to speak in too many of these religious services during my term,” he said. He also expressed his frustration. “I’ve seen how my words are inadequate to find real, lasting change,” he assured. The photographs of the slain police officers by the sniper were placed on the side of the stage to render them tribute. The family of the slain victims and the 9 wounded were in the front. President Obama highlighted the work of the fallen police officers, and criticized the easy access to guns.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: [In English] …we flood communities with so many guns…
EDGAR MUÑOZ, CORRESPONDANT, TELEMUNDO: “We flood,” he said, “communities with so many guns, that it is easier for youth to get a gun than a book.” Facing the law enforcement ring to guard the President, Epifanio Camacho had a holstered gun. In Texas, the carrying a gun is permitted.
EDGAR MUÑOZ, CORRESPONDANT, TELEMUNDO: Is it good to bring a weapon?
EPIFANIO CAMACHO, SUPPORTER OF OPEN CARRY: It’s good to have a weapon to protect oneself, and one’s family. I’m not here to protect all these people, it’s just for me and my family and friends.
EDGAR MUÑOZ, CORRESPONDANT, TELEMUNDO: During the ceremony at the Meyerson Symphony Center, which was shielded by security, some signs appeared against the use of guns and police abuse.
UNIDENTIFIED PROTESTER: Nobody says anything, everyone is frightened by the arrogance of the police.
EDGAR MUÑOZ, CORRESPONDANT, TELEMUNDO: The event ended emotionally, with all attending singing with the First Lady and President Obama, also former President Bush and his wife Laura, the Mayor of Dallas, and the [Dallas] police chief holding hands.
EDGAR MUÑOZ, CORRESPONDANT, TELEMUNDO: President Barack Obama is meeting all afternoon here in Dallas with the families of those killed, but also with the wounded agents. Tomorrow, Jose and Maria Celeste, the funeral services begin and the only police officer of Hispanic origin, Patrick Zamarripa, his funeral services are Friday and Saturday.