Execitiove Editor of Accuracy In Media
The Times’ David Brooks Misses Obama—and a Few Facts
Roger Aronoff — February 10, 2016
David Brooks, The New York Times’ resident “conservative,” has once again gone all out to support President Obama, claiming that the misconduct of the current presidential campaigns has already made him “miss” the President’s “superior integrity” and poise. Brooks’ “strange sensation” that he is feeling seems reminiscent of the thrill up his leg for the President that MSNBC’s Chris Matthews once spoke of experiencing.
Brooks has been with the Times for over 12 years, and is also a political analyst for PBS. That would be more than enough left-wing influence to severely cloud anyone’s judgment, and clearly Brooks has not been immune.
The mainstream media refuse to throw away their rose-colored glasses when judging Obama because the reality of this President’s corruption and dishonesty contradicts the liberal narrative. To the contrary, if Brooks were to be believed, President Obama has demonstrated “basic care and respect for the dignity of others,” sound decision-making, “grace under pressure,” and “optimism.” And yes, just like former senior Obama advisor David Axelrod, Brooks argues that President Obama has been “remarkably scandal-free” when compared with prior presidencies.
The question of presidential legacy, however, revolves not around a president’s demeanor but rather his policy successes and failures, as well as his character. From the IRS scandal, to Fast & Furious, to Benghazi, and the mistreatment of veterans, there have, in reality, been a multitude of scandals under President Obama’s leadership. These scandals, and the ensuing cover-ups, have stained Obama’s reputation less publicly than in previous administrations not because of their minor importance, but rather because a corrupt media is willing to overlook massive amounts of evidence of malfeasance to benefit their allies in the Democratic Party.
“Perhaps, for the Obama administration, it’s proven easier to deny the media’s access to information that might reveal further scandals than to admit the truth about its own deep-seated corruption,” we wrote in 2015, when Brooks made a similar outrageous claim. The mainstream media continue to be more than content to leave stones unturned whenever it becomes clear that new evidence might harm Obama.
“If the Obama Administration is willfully giving guns to Mexican drug gangs, allows veterans to die waiting for health care, makes a concerted effort to stifle free speech while refusing to help the four Americans under assault from terrorists doesn’t merit the word scandal in David Brooks’ book then he demonstrates no capacity for reason,” argues Aaron Goldstein for The American Spectator, who also took note of this latest Brooks column.
During his ongoing war against journalists, President Obama has abused the Espionage Act while investigating administration leaks. “This is the most closed, control-freak administration I’ve ever covered,” argued David Sanger of the Times. Maybe Brooks should consult with Sanger, or another Times colleague, James Risen, who said that the Obama administration has been “the greatest enemy of press freedom that we have encountered in at least a generation.”
But for Brooks there can only be kind, wistful words about the end of an Obama presidency. “No, Obama has not been temperamentally perfect,” Brooks writes. “Too often he’s been disdainful, aloof, resentful and insular. But there is a tone of ugliness creeping across the world, as democracies retreat, as tribalism mounts, as suspiciousness and authoritarianism take center stage.”
By ugliness, Brooks obviously meant to snipe at Republican presidential candidates such as Donald Trump or Senator Ted Cruz (TX). In contrast to Trump, Brooks argues, President Obama combatted Islamophobia by making a “wonderful speech” at the Islamic Society of Baltimore.
“President Obama, meanwhile, went to a mosque, looked into people’s eyes and gave a wonderful speech reasserting their [Muslim’s] place as Americans,” writes Brooks.
Brooks writes opinion pieces, and he’s certainly entitled to his opinions, but he clearly didn’t do any background research on the mosque that Obama visited, nor the speech itself. “[Islamic Society of Baltimore] leaders have amassed a record of support for radical Islamic causes over the years, including endorsing the Chechen jihad and Palestinian suicide bombings,” reports the Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT). “Its former imam was active in a charity later linked to terror financing including Hamas, the Taliban, and for providing ‘hundreds of thousands of dollars’ to Osama bin Laden.”
Daniel Pipes, writing for IPT, accuses President Obama of excess optimism when it comes to Islamic terror. “…but what about the dark side, the unique and repeated role of mosques in parlaying totalitarian ideas and fomenting violence?” Pipes asks. “That goes unsaid in the president’s rose-colored presentation.”
In another interpretation of Obama’s mosque speech, Dennis Prager points to how the President championed the fact that Thomas Jefferson and John Adams each owned a copy of the Koran. What the President failed to mention, Pragerpoints out, was that these founders owned Korans in order to understand why Muslims were using their religion to justify enslaving Americans.
Clare Lopez pointed out numerous factual errors in Obama’s comments at the mosque, including the meaning of the word “Islam.”
In one instance, Brooks seeks to favorably compare Obama to Mrs. Clinton, alluding to her email scandal as a “vaguely shady shortcut” rather than the serious scandal with criminal implications at its heart.
Recent news reports, including from the Times, confirm that Mrs. Clinton sent or received over 1,300 emails containing classified information using her private server. One cannot also overlook that Mrs. Clinton was serving in the Obama administration at the time. EmailGate is, therefore, also an Obama scandal.According to the Times, there are “18 emails exchanged between Mrs. Clinton and President Obama” that the administration is refusing to make public.
For Brooks, Obama’s only missteps in terms of foreign policy have been because he has been “too cautious.” But according to another of Brooks’ colleagues at the times, Roger Cohen, Obama’s “caution” has been instrumental in a Syrian civil war that has resulted in 250,000 deaths, 4.5 million refugees, and 6.5 million people internally displaced. Speaking of Syria’s largest city, Aleppo, currently under siege by the Assad government, Cohen writes that the situation “is a result of the fecklessness and purposelessness over almost five years of the Obama administration.”
A Washington Post editorial, entitled “Mr. Obama stands by silently as Russia continues its onslaught in Syria,” argues that “the United States has paved the way for the ongoing military debacle.”
Obama has thrown caution to the wind with yet another debacle—the phony nuclear deal—one which will empower Iran to gain the bomb while ensuring that this totalitarian regime receives enough funding to continue to spread terror abroad. Yet MSNBC’s Steve Benen, while reflecting on Brooks’ “compelling case,” argues that “quite a few folks are likely to miss the president once he’s left the stage, for more reasons than one.”
The mainstream media continue to delude themselves into thinking that President Obama’s legacy will inspire admiration from both sides of the aisle once he leaves office. If enough journalists remain as detached from reality as Brooks, they might be proven right.