Conservative media figures who have been longtime supporters of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are accusing the Obama administration of pursuing a policy of disengagement in the Middle East, pointing to the end of the war in Iraq and the troop drawdown in Afghanistan. But unmentioned in their criticism is when they think it would have been an appropriate time to withdraw from both countries, if at all.
On Friday September 14, Fox News contributor Charles Krauthammer appeared on Hannity to discuss the violent anti-American protests that have erupted in recent days in the Middle East. Krauthammer blamed the violence on America's foreign policy under Obama, accusing the president of disengaging in the Middle East, including in Iraq and Afghanistan. He claimed that Obama has "changed American policy on the theory that the reason that people hated us was because we were tough," adding:
KRAUTHAMMER: And he was now apologizing and promising to change course. We would no longer be tough. We would be loved. We would show compassion. And we would get out of Iraq. He sets a deadline for Afghanistan. He doesn't support the Green Revolution in Iran. He shows the Ayatollahs tremendous respect. He essentially protects them when they are under attack. He gets nowhere on the Iran nuclear issue. He is equivocal uncertain during the Arab Spring. He leads from behind in Libya. The theory was if we go soft, if we are very nice, if we say 'Assalamu alaikum,' enough times, everything will be all right. And what he decided is, the way to do that, the theory and therefore the practice is going to be, retreat and withdraw. Remember the line he uses? The tide of war is receding. That means the tide of American power is receding.
He added that Obama's policies have created a "vacuum" in the Middle East that radical Muslims "are now going to fill."
Krauthammer's misguided sentiments echoed in the Fox chamber today when Fox News contributor and National Review columnist Jonah Goldberg, on America's Newsroom, said, "I agree with [Krauthammer] entirely about the vacuum that we're creating in the Middle East, about withdrawal, about the sense that Obama has created that we're not going to meddle in Middle Eastern affairs when there's freedom on the march, and that kind of thing."
Fox News came to Mitt Romney's defense after his response to the attack on American diplomats in Libya was seen by many as an "attempt to score political points" and widely condemned, even by fellow Republicans.
Fox News seized on the Republican Party's attack against the Obama administration regarding the national debt by claiming that "per person debt" in the United States has "jumped nearly $17,000" under President Obama. In fact, Americans' total debt burden has fallen in the past three years.
Following the Obama administration's announcement that it will grant certain undocumented immigrants the chance to be exempted from deportation, Fox News claimed President Obama had issued the decision as an executive order, implying he did so to circumvent Congress. In fact, the change is an exercise of prosecutorial discretion that is consistent with the current law and has decades of precedent.
Fox News is attempting to downplay and discredit its own poll, which found that if the election were held today, voters would re-elect President Obama by a 7-point margin. This is hardly the first time Fox has tried to distort poll findings to advance a certain narrative.
From the May 15 edition of Fox News' Special Report with Bret Baier:
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Both mainstream and conservative media outlets have responded to the recent spike in gasoline prices by circulating talking points rooted in politics rather than facts. As a whole, these claims reflect the misconception, perpetuated by the news media, that changes in U.S. energy policy are a major driver of oil and gasoline prices.
As the employment outlook improves, Fox News is advising Republicans to focus on blaming President Obama for rising gasoline prices -- a claim with no relation to economic fact.
Fox News contributor Stephen Hayes claimed that it's "nonsense" for the Obama administration to argue that it "didn't really appreciate the depths of the problems the country faced when we came into office." In fact, measures of the recession in 2009 understated its depth, and subsequent revisions of economic data have shown that the downturn was indeed worse than it appeared at the time.
From the December 20 edition of Fox News' Special Report with Bret Baier:
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Right-wing media have recently attacked President Obama for celebrating Hanukkah too early and for displaying too many Christmas trees at the White House. Right-wing media have long attacked Obama for how he observes holidays, including Thanksgiving, Veterans Day, Memorial Day, Easter, Ramadan, and even Halloween.
Right-wing media are once again attacking President Obama over his vacations, this time for planning a "staggering" 17-day holiday trip to Hawaii. But vacations of that length are not unprecedented; President Reagan took a 25-day vacation in August 1983, and President George W. Bush took 27-day and 25-day vacations in August 2001 and August 2002, respectively.
Conservatives in the media have used the occasion of Rep. Barney Frank's retirement announcement to rehash old theories of how he, through his support for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, caused the subprime bubble and subsequent meltdown. In fact, Wall Street -- not affordable housing programs -- was the primary cause of the financial crisis.
Following the release of Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry's (TX) tax plan, conservative media have hyped the plan, claiming it is "exciting" and a "radical improvement" over the current system. However, economists from across the spectrum have criticized Perry's plan, noting that it will lead to "substantial" revenue loss and "draconian cuts" while "undermin[ing]" the need to make the tax code simpler.
Following President Obama's announcement that all troops would leave Iraq by the end of the year, Fox News has scrambled to attack Obama's foreign policy, calling the development a "strategic tragedy" and speculating that it could mean the lives of American troops killed in Iraq could have been "wasted."