Fox News Attacks Obama's Defense Of Susan Rice

››› ››› THOMAS BISHOP

Fox News figures attacked President Obama's defense of Ambassador Susan Rice during a press conference, claiming his statement that critics of Rice "should go after me" was "absurd and chauvinistic." Fox has a history of attacking Obama and Rice, most recently by invoking Libya smears in order to derail Rice's potential nomination as secretary of state.

Conservative Media Figures Attack Obama's Defense Of Rice As "Paternalistic," "Chauvinistic," "Sexist"

Fox's Kirsten Powers: Obama's Defense Of Rice Was "Absurd And Chauvinistic." In a FoxNews.com op-ed, Fox News contributor Kirsten Powers called the president's remarks about Rice "absurd and chauvinistic ... as if she needs the big strong man to come to her defense":

Wednesday, President Obama bizarrely cast the U.N. Ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, as some delicate flower the boys should stop picking on for her dissembling claims on five Sunday talk shows following the killing of 4 Americans in Benghazi.  But, there is no damsel in distress and Obama's paternalistic bravado in defense of a top administration official is going to come back to haunt him.

[...]

Imagine George Bush saying that people criticized John Bolton because he was an "easy target." He wouldn't.

It's absurd and chauvinistic for Obama to talk about the woman he thinks should be Secretary of State of the United States as if she needs the big strong man to come to her defense because a couple of Senators are criticizing her. [FoxNews.com, 11/15/12]

Fox Regulars Lane, Krauthammer: Obama "Defending The Mistress In Distress" Is "Political Theater." On the November 14 edition of Fox News' Special Report, Washington Post editorial writer Charles Lane commented that "I thought it was a little bit of political theater there, the chivalrous president standing up for the woman being attacked by these male senators." Fox contributor Charles Krauthammer agreed, saying that Obama "does play this sort of Lancelot defending the mistress in distress." [Fox News, Special Report with Bret Baier, 11/14/12]

Fox's Cavuto: Obama Defended Rice With "Clearly Sexist Tone." Fox News host Neil Cavuto described Obama's defense of Rice as "faux rage" with a "clearly sexist tone." [Fox News, Your World with Neil Cavuto, 11/15/12]

Powers: Obama's Defense Of Rice "Was Very Paternalistic." Appearing on Fox News' America Live, Kristen Powers said Obama's defense of Rice was "very paternalistic:

POWERS: He sort of portrayed it as, like, these two men beating up on a woman, left out Senator Ayotte, that she's part of this, and sort of made it seem like she was coming to her defense. It was very paternalistic, I thought, you know, that 'how dare they go after her.' She's the U.N. ambassador. She's more than capable of handling this. [Fox News, America Live, 11/14/12]

Fox's Lou Dobbs: "Obama Now Protective Of Amb. Rice" But Following The Benghazi Attack  "Hid Behind Her Skirts [sic]." Fox Business host Lou Dobbs claimed "Obama now protective of Amb. Rice" but retorted that during the two months following the attacks on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, "hid behind her skirts " :

[Twitter, 11/14/12]

In Fact, Obama Only Defended Rice From Attacks On A Nomination He Had Not Yet Made

Question To Obama Framed Around Possible Nomination Of Rice As Secretary Of State. During a  November 14 presidential press conference, Obama responded to a question about Rice's possible nomination as secretary of state by pointing out that "she has done exemplary work" and after the Benghazi attack "made an appearance at the request of the White House in which she gave her best understanding of the intelligence that had been provided to her":

JONATHAN KARL (ABC News senior political correspondent): Senator John McCain and Senator Lindsey Graham both said today that they want to have Watergate-style hearings on the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi and said that if you nominate Susan Rice to be secretary of state, they will do everything in their power to block her nomination. As Senator Graham said, he simply doesn't trust Ambassador Rice after what she said about Benghazi. I'd like your reaction to that. And would those threats deter you from making a nomination like that?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, first of all, I'm not going to comment at this point on various nominations that I'll put forward to fill out my Cabinet for the second term. Those are things that are still being discussed.

But let me say specifically about Susan Rice, she has done exemplary work. She has represented the United States and our interests in the United Nations with skill and professionalism and toughness and grace. As I've said before, she made an appearance at the request of the White House in which she gave her best understanding of the intelligence that had been provided to her. If Senator McCain and Senator Graham and others want to go after somebody, they should go after me. And I'm happy to have that discussion with them. But for them to go after the U.N. ambassador, who had nothing to do with Benghazi and was simply making a presentation based on intelligence that she had received and to besmirch her reputation is outrageous.

And you know, we're after an election now. I think it is important for us to find out exactly what happened in Benghazi, and I'm happy to cooperate in any ways that Congress wants. We have provided every bit of information that we have, and we will continue to provide information. And we've got a full-blown investigation, and all that information will be disgorged to Congress.

And I don't think there's any debate in this country that when you have four Americans killed, that's a problem. And we've got to get to the bottom of it, and there needs to be accountability. We've got to bring those who carried it out to justice. They won't get any debate from me on that.

But when they go after the U.N. ambassador, apparently because they think she's an easy target, then they've got a problem with me. And should I choose -- if I think that she would be the best person to serve America in the capacity -- the State Department, then I will nominate her. That's not a determination that I've made yet. [TheNew York Times, 11/14/12]

Fox News Is Leading The Attack Against Susan Rice

Fox Tried To Prevent Susan Rice Nomination With Libya Smears. Fox News tried to disqualify Rice from being nominated as the next secretary of state by alleging that she made inaccurate statements about the attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi, Libya. But during her Sunday show appearances, Rice was accurately conveyed the consensus of the intelligence community at the time, and there is evidence that the anti-Islam video she referenced did, in fact, play a role in motivating the attack. [Media Matters, 11/14/12]

Fox Casted Old Libya Information As New To Continue Politicizing Story, Attacking Rice. Fox News has seized on what it believes is a new angle to continue making an issue of the Obama administration's response to the Libya terrorist attack: that Obama's statement that the White House chose Rice to discuss the attack publicly as new and "significant." In fact, that had been known for a month prior to Obama's statement. [Media Matters, 11/14/12]

Fox News Sunday Went Fuzzy On Rice's Libya Statements. On the September 30 edition of Fox News Sunday, two panelists suggested that Rice, the did not properly emphasize the fact that there is an ongoing investigation into the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya. In fact, in the interview that they were referring to, and throughout her appearances on the Sunday talk shows, Rice repeatedly noted that the investigation was ongoing and that its results would ultimately reveal what happened. [Fox Broadcasting Co., Fox News Sunday, 9/30/12, via Media Matters]

Fox News Reimagined Rice's Remarks On Libya Attack. Fox News commentators reimagined Rice's statements about the consulate attack in Benghazi, saying Rice was "so definitive" in Sunday show interviews about what had happened there. In fact, Rice repeatedly made clear during her interviews that definitive conclusions would only follow from an administration investigation, which she stressed was under way. [Media Matters, 10/11/12]

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