Romney Video Distracts From Obama's Libya Crisis

The media have the responsibility to ask more questions about the diplomatic murders in Libya.


If you are at all interested in following events in the Arab world as they unfold, you'd better look to the British press. The American media could seemingly not be less interested.

Consider. Two embassies attacked. "Old Glory" taken down and the al Qaeda flag raised over an embassy compound. A U.S. ambassador and his team—including two former U.S. Navy SEALs—dragged through the streets of Benghazi and then horribly murdered, probably after being tortured for at least five hours. Protests and riots all over the region at western embassies—especially U.S. embassies—and the Obama administration acts like there's nothing to see and everyone should just keep moving.

[See a collection of political cartoons on the turmoil in the Middle East.]

Better to cover a secretly-made and surreptitiously obtained video of a Mitt Romney fundraiser from last May—in which Romney said nothing that was a) inaccurate or b) all too different from anything he was saying at the time on the stump—than to ask the Obama administration any of the hard questions.

There is absolutely no excuse for the lack of interest in these matters as demonstrated by the White House press corps, the reporters covering the campaign, or the national media. They should all be ashamed.

Remember how, when George W. Bush was president, some lame-brained member of the National Guard assigned to Abu Ghraib prison was photographed holding a dog leash attached to the neck of a prisoner? The Democrats and the media went into high gear on that one, doing everything they could to make it seem her actions had been ordered personally by the president and sanctioned by the U.S. Department of Justice. There was no question that wasn't asked, no suspicion that wasn't aired, and no theory too bizarre to not get even one hearing.

[Take the U.S. News Poll: Did Mitt Romney Botch His Response to the Diplomatic Murders in Libya?]

Now there are Americans dead or imperiled throughout the region and the Obama administration blames it all on a movie on YouTube that no one ever saw. Not terrorists. Not ham-handedness and poor planning by the State Department. Even the Republicans have failed to realize just how weird this all is. Add to that the repeated statements by the acting president of Libya that they knew something was coming and they told the United States, and you should have a fine scandal developing. Instead, the noise of the crickets is deafening.

Did the State Department really know in advance what was coming? Did President Obama know? Did National Security Adviser Tom Donilon know—or was he too busy, as some Republicans suspect, leaking sensitive data about U.S. intelligence operations to the media to have the time to care?

[Check out our editorial cartoons on President Obama.]

If any of them knew, why didn't they do anything about it? Why didn't they increase security or withdraw the ambassador and his team? And if they didn't know, why didn't they?

There are a lot of questions still unasked, let alone unanswered about what happened on Sept. 11, 2012 and what has happened in the days since. The Obama administration can't seem to keep its stories straight but anyone who ought to be asking questions isn't—which goes for Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill as well as the media. How many more al Qaeda flags will have to fly over U.S. embassy compounds? How many more ambassadors will have to die before people start holding President Obama accountable for what is going on?

  • Read Mary Kate Cary: Romney's Right to Criticize Obama on Muslim Protests
  • Read Robert Schlesinger: Romney's Foreign Policy Would Play Into the Terrorists' Hands
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