New York Times Removes Quote From President Obama Explaining His Lack of Initial Response To Massacres On A Need To Watch More Cable News

220px-Nytimes_hqPresident_Barack_ObamaThere is a bizarre story out of the New York Times where the newspaper printed an astonishing statement by President Obama that was immediately picked up by journalists and then removed by the newspapers under a claim that it was trimmed for space. The newspaper said that President Obama defended his criticized laid-back response to the Paris and San Bernardino massacred to not watching enough cable television. It was the most newsworthy part of the fairly generic article and yet it quickly disappeared as social media lit up with criticism of the President.

The President was responding to criticism that he seemed passive or disconnected in his early response to the massacres. Reporting on a private meeting with columnists, Obama was reportedly as recognizing the failure and added “In his meeting with the columnists, Mr. Obama indicated that he did not see enough cable television to fully appreciate the anxiety after the attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, and made clear that he plans to step up his public arguments.” That rationalization was immediately picked up by media, including a leading CNN reporter, as astonishing.

It then disappeared without a trace.

At first, I thought that the New York Times might have simply gotten it wrong or it was decided that the President was just joking in such a bizarre comment. However, the New York Times is not denying the statement was made or suggesting that it was a joke. Instead, D.C. bureau chief Elisabeth Bumiller wrote “There’s nothing unusual here. That paragraph, near the bottom of the story, was trimmed for space in the print paper by a copy editor in New York late last night. But it was in our story on the web all day and read by many thousands of readers. Web stories without length constraints are routinely edited for print.” That last part is certainly true, but that is well known. What does not track is cutting a graph that, while embarrassing to the White House, was the only real news in the piece. That is reflected in the fact that social media lit up immediately from journalists who cited only that part of the story.

Reporters flashed the information on social media while some like Ron Fournier of the National Journal columnist called it “breathtaking.”Likewise, the Wall Street Journal’s James Taranto compared the lack of response by some as a telling contrast to such a statement being made by a less favored politician like George W. Bush. CNN’s Brian Stelter declared it the “Quote of the Day” and immediately put it on his Twitter feed.

In fairness to the New York Times, it has hit Obama pretty hard on some stories. However, this removal of such a newsworthy element of the story is itself quite disturbing. A president should not need to watch cable to understand how to respond to massacres of this kind.

68 thoughts on “New York Times Removes Quote From President Obama Explaining His Lack of Initial Response To Massacres On A Need To Watch More Cable News”

  1. Isaac…. “Turley, you are becoming more diluted and pathetic, pandering to the right wing nuts on this blog” Right on cue we get the “right wing nuts” comment from Isaac. So predictable.

  2. Ignore O’s cultists. Their faith demands that they side with- and assault anyone who criticizes and Black. Hence, they’re unworthy of an audience or response.

    As for Obama, the quote merely shows how little the boy knows or cares about the majority of Americans. If it’s not the Blacks hootin’, hollerin’, and rising up against Whitey, he neither listens nor cares. By now we should all be used to that.

  3. As an addendum to my comment above, there have been 45 deaths in the U.S. attribute to jihadist terrorism since 9/11. Between deaths by guns and deatha in car accidents, we have had ~840,000 deaths. This does not include smoking that drives things off the chart.

    The San Bernardino attack was ~35 host and 14 killed. On July 4, 2014, a bad weekend in Chicago, there were 82 shot and 14 killed.

  4. This comment by Obama makes sense to me. The shootings in San Bernardino are the equivalent carnage of a bad weekend in Chicago, that the nation barely acknowledges. I could see how the President could be insulated from appreciating the magnification of it foisted upon the public by 24/7 media coverage that blankets every form of news for weeks afterward. Our collective reaction is out of sync and is not calibrated to the risk, and is the result of an irresponsible media taking advantage of this type of news as a source of nearly free programming that produces breathtaking ratings and profit. It is the evolution of reality TV from the entertainment side of the TV business to its currently infecting news reporting, and our political process as well.

    1. “The San Bernardino attack was ~35 host and 14 killed. On July 4, 2014, a bad weekend in Chicago, there were 82 shot and 14 killed.”

      That seems to assume that the number of victims is the only relevant factor when we evaluate the meaning and importance of the event.

      Would anyone care to claim that motives and objectives of the perpetrators are irrelevant when we evaluate the meaning and risk associated with this incident. Does any one want to claim that the commitment, and the association or membership of the perpetrators are irrelevant when we evaluate the meaning of this situation. Does any one really believe the potential for recruitment, funding, planning, arming and carrying out similar operations are irrelevant facts when we evaluate the meaning and implications of this situation.

      I argue that numbers alone cannot guide us to a reasonable understanding or proper response this this incident. We must consider the ideology, and the potential of their organization to recruit, deploy additional combatants, and carry out similar attacks.

      If only numbers matter than why would we bother to distinguish terrorism at all?

      It is ironic to me that some of the people who argue most strenuously that only the numbers matter are the same people who argue most strenuously that we need laws regarding hate speech.

      If motivation matters with speech, how can we possibly ignore motivation and the potential for political intimidation when it comes to murder, hostages, and IEDs?

      The incident received major news coverage because it was an example of something relatively new in this country, something relatively rare in this country, and yet something with the potential to grow and become a major factor in all our lives.

      Make no mistake about it. This was a very significant event and deserves our keen attention.

  5. It is good that JT shows that the Emperor has no clothes. I retract my criticism of JT for picking on Obumbo. No President has ever done enough to knock down the terrorists of the world. I say: Millions for defense but not once cent in tribute. Of course now days “millions” for defense is not much. I would like to just bomb the terrorists and pirates into the stone age. One problem is: they are already in the stone age. But they have the internet. How do we educate the masses over there? I think we need to purge the earth of islam and other pirate religions. I have zero tolerance for intolerance. And I blame the lame. Even a lame duck can get off the arse and forego the golf game. I do not like golfers either. A President should not smoke tobacco or play golf. Or know the Koch Brothers.

  6. His nickname is Barry, ya know. As in Barry Goldvasser. I think that Phylis Schlafly likes Barry Obama. Y’all know who she is don’t ya? She hails from Saint Louis.

  7. Karen, The cultists attack JT because he has the temerity to point out the Emperor has no clothes. If Obama forms his own country in Guyana after leaving office, they will follow. Obama will offer both grape or cherry Kool-aid. He believes in choice.

  8. A troubling trend around the globe are terrorists destroying schools, such as the infamous Beslan school massacre, in which over 300 people were killed and over 700 wounded. Or there was the Ma’alot Israeli school massacre, with 21 children murdered. Turkey, alone, has lost 300 schools to mass murdering terrorists. Schools, tragically, are favorite targets of terrorists.

    I wonder if the President would blow us off if we start suffering terrorist attacks at the same rate as many other places in the world. Would we warrant any remarks then, President Obama? Or would our concerns still be a joke?

  9. I am curious as to why there is rather vehement pushback against Professor Turley for posting this article. Is it not valid criticism that President Obama failed to address the nation for quite some time, after a terrorist attack on our own soil? Or that, when he did, he blamed the GOP? Or that a derisive comment about national uneasiness after the attack was removed by a newspaper article? Because he’s been quite eager to comment before all the facts were in on Trayvon, et al, but absent when a comment actually would be required.

    I could certainly understand the argument that it was a joke that fell flat, but not this vehemence against even discussing the President’s reaction to a terrorist attack. Or what appears to be the media’s attempt to give him a pass, when the time honored place for journalists is a state of constant antagonism to whoever sits in the hot seat at the White House. They are supposed to ask the tough questions, not lob softballs or bury gaffes after ISIS followers strike a Christmas party.

  10. “He should have placed a hundred thousand troops on the ground immediately and re-instituted the draft.”

    Maybe you or your kids but definitely not mine!!

  11. Too late BarkinDog, video was post upthread at 6:57am. It is good to know you have become aware of obama’s MO though.

    Nicely done!

  12. I predict that this blog will have a photo of Obama playing golf and a story about his disengagement and laziness– within days.

  13. Perfect timing here JT. There was a similar item last year when Obama and wife had just gotten off the plane in Hawaii. Your fabrication about a lame duck lazy black guy sitting in the Oval Office will be high lighted by the photos of him out on the golf course again. Some terrorist attack will occur while he is on the back nine. Very select timing here JT. Tell us who your man or woman is for the White House next go round. JT? Who do you favor? Koch Brother candidate? Trumpster? Cruz control? Rubio on the slubio? Oh, I know. Christie.

  14. Obama can also be glib when downplaying the threat of terrorism. That isn’t working too well for him.

  15. Renegade,
    The military is very efficient at removing “leadership” that proves destructive to good order and discipline. While there is certainly a percentage of senior leadership that warrant dismissal, the rate at which Flag Officers have been disciplined seems more like a purge. I used to lament retiring when I entered the civilian workforce. The cultural differences between military and civilian life can be quite dramatic, but unfortunately the military has become more of a reflection of the current politically correct culture than I had in my 20 years of service. I would say that “good order and discipline” nationally is verging on being out of control and I believe this is a direct reflection on the current leader of the Executive branch.

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