Conservative Media Lash Out Over Obama's Address On Combating ISIS

Conservative Media Lash Out Over Obama's Address On Combating ISIS

››› ››› JULIE ALDERMAN

Right-wing media lashed out at President Obama for comments he made about gun violence prevention, anti-Muslim discrimination, and terrorism in his December 6 address from the Oval Office about combating the terrorist organization ISIS.

President Obama Delivers Speech On Terrorism And Combating ISIS

Obama Defends His Strategy To Defeat ISIS In Oval Office Address. Several days after the mass shooting in San Bernardino, California that left 14 dead by a couple that reportedly supported ISIS, President Barack Obama gave a speech to outline his strategy to fight the terrorist organization. In the televised address, Obama defended his strategy and said ISIS "has evolved into a new phase" of terror threats. Among policy specifics, Obama called on Congress to pass legislation that would ban individuals who were on the government no-fly list from buying a gun:

In a rare Oval Office address, Obama sought to calm a U.S. public increasingly jittery about the fight against Islamist militancy that once appeared to be waged overseas. His remarks failed to quiet Republican critics who have long accused him of underestimating the militants' strength and staying power.

Speaking in a measured tone, Obama used his 14-minute nationally televised appearance to draw a careful line about what he would and would not do. He pledged, for example, to "hunt down terrorist plotters" anywhere they are. But he insisted: "We should not be drawn once more into a long and costly ground war in Iraq or Syria."

Obama spoke just four days after U.S.-born Syed Rizwan Farook, 28, and his Pakistani wife, Tashfeen Malik, 29, opened fire on a holiday party for civil servants in San Bernardino, California, killing 14 people. The pair were killed hours later in a shootout with police.

Obama condemned the attack as "an act of terrorism designed to kill innocent people." But he also said San Bernardino showed that "the terrorist threat has evolved into a new phase" as Islamic State used the Internet to "poison the minds" of potential assailants.

Obama also made a connection between national security and the need for gun control following America's latest mass shooting.

[...]

At the same time, Obama cautioned against overreaction to the militant threat at home.

"We cannot turn against each other by letting this fight be defined as a war between America and Islam," he said, alluding to the incendiary rhetoric by Republican presidential candidates like Donald Trump, which is seen by critics as fear-mongering against the Muslim community.

[...]

Among the few specific requests in his speech was for Congress to pass legislation that would block individuals who are on the government no-fly list from purchasing guns. That would not have stopped the California couple, however, since they were not on any government terrorism watch list. [Reuters, 12/7/15]

Right-Wing Media Attack Obama For His Speech And Proposals To Fight ISIS

Fox's Elisabeth Hasselbeck: "It's A Sad State" When Obama Gets Credit For Calling San Bernardino Shooting Terrorism When He "Should Have Been" Saying That "All Along." On the December 7 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck asserted that President Obama "should have been" calling the San Bernardino attacks terrorism "all along," and claimed he only did so during his December 6 remarks:

KRISTIN FISHER: In his entire remarks, he never once used the words "radical Islamic terrorism." Brian, Elisabeth, and Steve.

STEVE DOOCY (HOST): Thank you, Kristin. He did use the word terrorism though.

ELISABETH HASSELBECK (HOST): He did.

DOOCY:And that's a step in the right direction. But then again, he had to because his FBI director said it was terrorism two days earlier.

HASSELBECK: It's a sad state when he gets credit for actually using the word that should have been used all along.

DOOCY: He should have just added to it.

HASSELBECK: Perhaps.

DOOCY: Just one more word.

HASSELBECK: Just another step forward would be great. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 12/7/15]

Fox Contributor Stephen Hayes: "What You Saw Were Attempts To Distract And Attempts To Defend His Failing Record." On the December 6 edition of Fox News' Special Report, Fox News contributor and Weekly Standard senior writer Stephen Hayes followed Hasselbeck's example, saying there is a "low bar" when "we are celebrating the fact that the President of the United States has called a terrorist attack a terrorist attack." Hayes went on to lament that "you didn't see any change of strategy whatsoever. What you saw were attempts to distract and attempts to defend his failing record":

STEPHEN HAYES: What a low bar it is that we are celebrating the fact that the President of the United States has called a terrorist attack a terrorist attack. He should have been doing this all along. What you saw tonight was a speech where the president proposed political solutions to national security problems. That's what he's done for seven years now. ... What you expected from this president was a change of strategy. You didn't see any change of strategy whatsoever. What you saw were attempts to distract and attempts to defend his failing record. [Fox News, Special Report with Bret Baier, 12/6/15]

FrontPage Mag: If Obama Wants To Defeat ISIS, "He Can Starting By Trying To Figure Out How He Would Defeat Himself." In a December 7 article, FrontPage Magazine attacked President Obama's remarks, claiming that he "demands that we give in to fear by compromising the Second Amendment of the Bill of Rights," criticizing Obama's rejection of profiling Muslims in America, and comparing Obama himself to ISIS:

The media was hoping for an inspirational speech, but Obama ran out of inspiration about the same time that Americans ran out of jobs and hope for the future. All that's left is narcissistic preening.

We've been getting variations of this passive aggressive speech for years now in which Obama condescendingly informs the nation that he knows what he's doing and isn't about to change a thing, and then issues some random demands to Congress to try and pass the responsibility to someone else.

All the tired old clichés are here. Anyone who wants to take on ISIS is just "giving it what it wants". Because apparently what the Islamic State really, really wants is for us to crack down on terrorists.

Anyone who disagrees with Obama is "giving into fear" or "abandoning our values". And yet it's Obama who demands that we give in to fear by compromising the Second Amendment of the Bill of Rights.

Obama insists that any profiling of Muslims would be "abandoning our values", but that rolling back the Second Amendment for the entire country somehow isn't a fearful abandonment of our values.

He claims that a crackdown on terrorists would be "giving into fear", but creating a class of people who are denied their Second Amendment rights because their names appear on a no-fly list wouldn't be.

[...]

The tragedy is that both the Islamic State and the United States are led by narrow-minded fanatics who are leading their peoples to disaster in an attempt to create a utopia through abuse of power and lies.

If Obama ever wants to figure out how to really defeat ISIS, he can start by trying to figure out how he would defeat himself. [FrontPage Magazine, 12/7/15]

Weekly Standard's Fred Barnes: Obama Spoke About "Nonexistent" Wave Of Discrimination Against Muslims In America. Weekly Standard's executive editor wrote that Obama's remarks may not have been a letdown since the public's expectations of Obama "were so low." Barnes added that Obama's "dwelling on gun control was entirely out of place" and said the president's claims about widespread discrimination against Muslims in America "is nonexistent":

If it wasn't a letdown to most Americans, that's only because their expectations were so low. Obama's streak of failing to come to grips with the terrorist threat, both substantively and rhetorically, remains intact.

He retreated to a euphemism to assess the menace of ISIS. He said it's "evolving." Please, Mr. President, it's growing in front of your eyes - in the Middle East, Europe, Africa, and, most alarmingly of all, here at home.

We've now had two bloody attacks - in Paris and last week's slaying of 14 Americans in San Bernardino, California. The president's response is to change his anti-terrorist strategy not a whit. Yet he insists he's confident we'll defeat ISIS and other terrorists, as if those words are reassuring. Coming from our commander in chief, they're scary.

[...]

I assumed Obama wouldn't allow his obsession with gun control to force its way into his address. I was wrong. Dwelling on gun control was entirely out of place since nothing the president and his allies are proposing would have prevented the San Bernardino terrorists from acquiring their weapons.

And I suspected he'd spare us another rendition of his tale of a wave of vicious discrimination against innocent Muslims in this country. Instead he dwelled on it, though the wave is nonexistent. This matter received a "rather disproportionate" amount of time in the speech, Charles Krauthammer said on Fox News. That was an understatement. [The Weekly Standard, 12/6/15]

National Review Online: America Doesn't Need "Yet Another Lecture About Discrimination." National Review staff writer David French lamented that in his remarks, Obama condemned discrimination against Muslims, writing that "The very idea that our nation needs yet another lecture about discrimination is deeply disrespectful to the American people." French went on to attack the president's push for regulations that would make it more difficult for those on a no-fly list to obtain a gun, claiming it was "pure posturing":

In an era where a jihadist army controls more territory, commands more fighters, and has demonstrated broader striking power than any jihadist force in modern history, the President of the United States spends just about as much time lecturing Americans about Islamophobia as he does laying out his utterly inadequate strategy for defeating ISIS.

The very idea that our nation needs yet another lecture about discrimination is deeply disrespectful to the American people.

[...]

The president's rhetoric about gun control was pure posturing. While I don't have an objection to denying guns to actual terror suspects, our own "no-fly" and terror watch lists are both absurdly over-inclusive and dangerously under-inclusive. We have a terror watch list approximately 700,000 strong, and while it's proven to cast a wide enough net that it entangles innocent Americans of all walks of life, it apparently didn't include the vast majority of the individuals who've launched successful domestic terror attacks since 9/11. Let's first design a credible watch list, then we can discuss how to keep dangerous people from buying guns -- without abandoning due process. [National Review Online, 12/6/15]

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