Thursday, October 23, 2014

Right Wing Media Pundits Use Canadian Terror Tragedy To Attack President Obama

Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, killed at the Canadian War Memorial on Wednesday
On some level you have to admire the vacant, uninformed audacity of the modern American conservative movement's efforts to energize their aging and shrinking voter base.

When it comes to their ceaseless quest to find ways to blame virtually any event that takes place on President Obama, there is no level to which they will not sink.
While many people in North America and around the globe over the past 48 hours were quietly keeping Canadian soldier Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, a 24 year-old reservist who served with the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, in their thoughts and prayers and struggling to understand his tragic death at the hands of a recent Muslim convert with a history of drug abuse, Fox News was busy concocting ways to rewrite the narrative in such a way as to blame Obama for it.

Let's review. A radical Muslim gunman named Michael Zehaf-Bibeau opens fire on Cpl. Cirillo as he stands guard over the Canadian War Memorial at a complex in Ottawa, killing him. The killer then races into the nearby Canadian parliament building but is killed in a violent exchange of gunfire with members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

This incident came just two days after another radicalized Muslim named Martin Couture-Rouleau used a car to run over two Canadian soldiers in Quebec, killing one of them and seriously injuring the other. 

As reported by Emily Arrowood and Lis Power on earlier this afternoon, despite President Obama specifically mentioning the words "terrorist activity" or "terror" no less than three times during a press conference on Wednesday, the talking heads on the Fox News Channel were busy venting their outrage NOT at Michael Zihaf-Bibeau (the Canadian-born man who used a gun to take the life of Cpl. Cirillo), but at a completely FALSE narrative concocted by right-wing media based on the lie that suggests President Obama won't call terrorist incidents terrorist incidents.  

Consider the transcript of this exchange on 'Fox & Friends' between host Steve Doocy and Fox News "legal analyst" Peter Johnson (as posted on

DOOCY: "Should this serve as a wake-up call to Canada and America, and could the president's failure to recognize terror as terror put us at risk? Peter Johnson, Jr. joins us live."

JOHNSON: "We need to take the wake-up call and say 'don't call back in five minutes.' The president, unfortunately Steve, and our friends out there this morning, has not recognized terror as terror -- Benghazi, Fort Hood, the Little Rock 2009 massacre of our American soldiers here on American soil, Alton Nolan and the beheading as you were talking about before. So the first step is recognition of the problem. We need to be strong and powerful enough to say yeah, there is a problem and we're going to contain it here in the United States."

"But the problem is, we haven't recognized it and called it as such. So today, the president needs to recognize this as terrorism. He didn't recognize it yesterday, although the Canadian prime minister did, and the world did, and anyone that could read about it or see it on the site or on our television could say, what do you think it is? This is a radicalized Islamist terrorist." 
 [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 10/23/14]

To repeat, President Obama used the words "terrorist activity" or "terror" three times during his press conference on the day of the attack, so what the Hell are these people on Fox even talking about?

This lunacy wasn't limited to 'Fox & Friends' by a long-shot. On the day of the actual shooting Fox News host Sean Hannity, Fox White House correspondent Ed Henry and host Andrea Tantaros ALL repeated variations on the same theme, taking care to tie it into the Benghazi incident in Libya - as did everyone's favorite gas bag Rush Limbaugh.

The Media Matters article points out an important and glaring weakness of the Republican party and today's American conservative movement - their current political platform is largely based off two things:

1. A highly-distorted mix of theory and opinion disguised as policy (trickle-down economic theory, right-to-work laws, "voter fraud", repealing the Affordable Care Act).

2. And using an irrational and virulent hatred of the President as a rallying point - an unprecedented and disrespectful hatred largely based on portraying him as an "other"; which has the effect of laying out a welcome mat for intolerance and bigotry within the Republican party.

The GOP has shrunk to using Benghazi like some sort of all-purpose Magic Bullet, invoking it like some kind of mantra or charm that will simultaneously zap the President's popularity and take the shine off Hillary Clinton's star.

Even though the actual FACTS of the Benghazi incident are totally different than how conservatives USE Benghazi, as the transcript above shows, they have the gall to cite Benghazi as if it was in any way relevant to the terrible events that have taken place in two large Canadian cities in the past few days.

Were these attacks in Canada actually linked to ISIS threats of retribution against any nation supporting the US attacks in Iraq and Syria?

Michael Zehaf-Bibeau was born in Canada and, as evidence suggests, was a loner who only recently became involved with radical Islam - yet with barely any facts known and the investigation just starting conservatives want to blame this senseless attack on the President?

There's something distasteful and cowardly in the way Republicans are quick to use the tragic deaths of innocent people who died at the hands of terrorist killers as political red meat to toss to their constituents.

Why didn't Hannity or Limbaugh talk about the fact that Cpl Cirillo was the father of a young son? Or that he loved dogs and frequently posted photos of his beloved pets online?

They're much to busy trying to capitalize on the fear generated by these unprecedented (for Canadians) terrorist attacks as a means to further channel their loathing for the President.

For conservative media pundits there's no room to honor a fallen soldier who was standing guard at a memorial to fallen soldiers; conservatives can't miss the opportunity to use the brutality of this latest terrorist incident to dishonor the leader of the country they claim to love.

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