The front-page headline early this morning in the online edition of the Washington Post is this:
Romney Faces Flak for Assailing Obama on Libya
Oh, and there’s this smaller story that gets far less play—it’s just a teensy, weensy subhead in another, larger story:
Protesters Angered by Anti-Islam Film Storm U.S. Embassy in Yemen
The Associated Press dispatch beneath the Post headline is pretty chilling:
Chanting “death to America,” hundreds of protesters angered by an anti-Islam film stormed the U.S. Embassy compound in Yemen’s capital and burned the American flag on Thursday, the latest in a series of attacks on American diplomatic missions in the Middle East.
The protesters breached the usually tight security around the embassy and reached the compound grounds but did not enter the main building housing the offices. Once inside the compound, they brought down the U.S. flag, burned it and replaced it with a black banner bearing Islam’s declaration of faith — “There is no God but Allah.”
Before storming the grounds, demonstrators removed the embassy’s sign on the outer wall, set tires ablaze and pelted the compound with rocks.
It was similar to an attack on the U.S. Embassy in the Egyptian capital of Cairo on Tuesday night. A mob of Libyans also attacked the U.S. consulate in the eastern city of Benghazi on Tuesday, killing American Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans.
In Egypt, protesters were clashing with police near the U.S. Embassy in the capital Cairo for the third day in a row.
Help me here: A mob shouting "death to America" has attacked another U.S. embassy in the Middle East, three Americans, including a U.S. ambassador, have been killed, and the Middle East is bursting into flames…and the top story in the minds of editors at the second most important newspaper in the U.S. is that Mitt Romney has dared to criticize their precious POTUS.
Romney is running for president and the public deserves to know what he thinks of our policies in the Middle East, especially when the Middle East erupts and the Obama administration responds weakly—you should get a load of POTUSs perfunctory remarks about this crisis last night at a campaign event (!) in Las Vegas. This is what need's 'splaining: the media regards the situation as too serious for Mitt Romney to comment but not so serious that President Obama must cancel a campaign stop. Go figger.
The Middle East is always a cauldron, but the incoherent policies of the feckless Obama administration haven’t helped. It is interesting that this crisis, which evokes memories of the 1979 revolution in Iran that also saw a floundering U.S. response, comes on the heels of President Obama’s refusal to meet with the prime minister of Israel, heretofore our strongest ally in the Middle East (the president had better things to do, such as being on the Letterman show and meeting with policy maven Beyonce).
Romney was right to criticize the administration, and what he said obviously packed a wallop. Otherwise, the media would not be in full cry against him. As you probably know, an audio of the press coordinating questions for Romney at a press conference yesterday has surfaced. I’m not shocked that members of the press would coordinate questions to get the most out of a press conference, even though they are supposed to be competing with each other. What stuns is what they consider important. They were determined to turn Romney's necessary and astute comments into just another campaign gaffe. This is how the media is going to cover the rest of this campaign?
Ben Smith at Buzz Feed writes that this is the second time Romney has been burned by issuing a quick response.No, Ben, Romney didn't get burned by making a statement. it is the media that is bound and determined to burn him. If you wonder why this campaign seems so trivial, so focused on “gaffes,” look no further than the "absurdist" Romney press conference.
Gosh, you’d almost think they don’t want to talk about the real issues.
Hat tip to Seth Mandel for spotting the Buzz Feed quote.