“Socialist BS”: Right-Wing Media Attack Obama's Joplin Commencement Speech

Right-wing media responded to President Obama's May 21 high school commencement speech in Joplin, Missouri, by claiming that Obama “preache[d] socialist BS,” called for “military-style community action during crises,” and that he “uncorked a campaign speech.”

Obama Gave High School Commencement Address In Tornado-Ravaged Joplin, MO

Obama Delivered Address On One-Year Anniversary Of Devastating Tornadoes. From The Kansas City Star:

President Barack Obama told the graduating seniors of Joplin High School Monday night that they and their city had inspired the world.

Speaking on the eve of the one-year anniversary of the mile-wide tornado that shredded their city, Obama said Joplin's lesson is that lives are defined not by what happens to people, but by how they respond.

“The story of Joplin is the story of what happened the next day,” the president said. “And the day after that. And all the days and weeks that followed.”

Even in the face of devastation, people can choose to carry on and make a difference, Obama said.

“And in doing so, we can make true what's written in Scripture -- that 'tribulation produces perseverance, and perseverance, character, and character, hope.' ”

The president's visit was his second to Joplin in a year. Obama walked the city's streets one week after the EF-5 tornado struck, promising then that the country would stand at Joplin's side for years to come. [The Kansas City Star, 5/21/12]

Right-Wing Media Respond To Obama's Speech With Wild Attacks

Daily Caller: Obama “Pushed A Sharply Ideological Message And Included Partisan Jabs And A Call For Military-Style Community Action During Crises.” A May 22 Daily Caller article about Obama's speech claimed that Obama “pushed a sharply ideological message and included partisan jabs and a call for military-style community action during crises.” From The Daily Caller:

President Barack Obama's high school commencement speech in the tornado-stricken town of Joplin, Mo., pushed a sharply ideological message and included partisan jabs and a call for military-style community action during crises.

“You are from America. No matter how tough times get, you will be tougher,” he told the students and parents May 22. “The road has been hard. The day has been long. But we have tomorrow, so we march. We march together,” he said on the first anniversary of the deadly tornado strike.

The military imagery was entwined with stump-speech language that repeatedly contrasted the president's progressive ideology of organized acton against what he caricatured as the spiteful and selfish alternative of individualism.

“As you begin the next stage in your journey, you will encounter greed and selfishness; ignorance and cruelty. ... You will meet people who try to build themselves up by tearing others down; who believe looking after others is only for suckers,” he said.

“My deepest hope for all of you ... [is that] you can serve as a reminder that we're not meant to walk this road alone; that we're not expected to face down adversity by ourselves,” he told his audience. “We're stronger together than we are on our own.”

The “stronger together” phrase is the main slogan used by Obama's campaign to rally young and first-time voters. [The Daily Caller, 5/22/12]

Jim Hoft: “How God-Awful ... Obama Preaches Socialist BS To Graduating Students In Joplin.” In a May 22 Gateway Pundit post, Jim Hoft linked to The Daily Caller article and wrote: “Haven't they been through enough, Barack? Their town was devastated by a massive tornado and now they're forced to listen to Barack Obama push his socialist BS at graduation.” From Hoft's post:

Haven't they been through enough, Barack?

Their town was devastated by a massive tornado and now they're forced to listen to Barack Obama push his socialist BS at graduation.

What a nightmare.


Barack Obama returned to Joplin, Missouri to push his socialist dogma to the class of '12. [Gateway Pundit, 5/22/12, emphasis in original]

Fox Nation: “Obama Uncorks Campaign Speech At Joplin Graduation Ceremony.” On May 22, Fox Nation linked to The Daily Caller article under the headline “Obama Uncorks Campaign Speech at Joplin Graduation Ceremony.” From Fox Nation:

Fox Nation Campaign Joplin

[Fox Nation, 5/22/12]

Right-Wing Media Have Shown They'll Attack Obama Over Just About Anything

Disney World Speech. In January, right-wing media used Obama's speech at Walt Disney World as an opportunity to attack him, despite the fact that previous presidents, including Ronald Reagan, had given speeches at Disney parks while in office. [Media Matters, 1/19/12]

Halloween. In October 2011, right-wing media attacked the Obamas for handing out fruit along with candy to trick-or-treaters at the White House. [Media Matters, 10/31/11]

Paper Clips. In September 2011, the New York Post and Fox News attacked Obama for using a “chintzy” paper clip to hold together a copy of his jobs plan. [Media Matters, 9/13/11]

Hurricane Irene. While Hurricane Irene slammed the East Coast in August 2011, right-wing media responded by criticizing Obama, claiming that he “politicize[d]” Irene and that his hurricane briefings were nothing more than a “pathetic” “command center photo-op.” [Media Matters, 8/29/11]

East Coast Earthquake. Following an earthquake that struck the East Coast in August 2011, right-wing media attacked Obama for being on a golf course during a family vacation when the earthquake struck. [Media Matters, 8/24/11]

Dijon Mustard. In May 2009, conservative media attacked Obama as an elitist because he ordered a hamburger with Dijon mustard. [Media Matters, 5/7/09]

Latin America Jobs Trip. In March 2011, right-wing media attacked Obama's long-planned jobs trip to Latin America as a “vacation,” even though the trip was focused on economic opportunities for the U.S. and trade relationships with Latin American nations. [Media Matters, 3/18/11]

Children's Easter Egg Roll. Also in March 2011, Fox & Friends attacked the White House Easter Egg Roll for making the souvenir eggs more environmentally friendly and encouraging children to exercise. [Media Matters, 3/30/11]

Osama Bin Laden's Death. In May 2011, The Washington Times attacked Obama following the successful raid in Pakistan that killed Osama bin Laden, complaining that he golfed before the mission took place and that he “snub[bed] Bush” in his speech following bin Laden's death. [Media Matters, 5/3/11]