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Paul Kengor: No media pass on Mideast if Bush were president

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By Paul Kengor
Saturday, Sept. 29, 2012, 9:03 p.m.
 

Imagine this: The president is George W. Bush.

At the GOP convention, his supporters hoist signs touting his killing of Osama bin Laden. In his speech, he makes fun of his opponent's foreign-policy experience while boasting about his alleged Middle East triumphs, from Egypt and Libya to Afghanistan and Iraq.

Three days later, Israel and Iran heat up. The president, however, has reportedly refused to meet with Israel's prime minister.

All this as the 11th anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001, approaches.

Then, the kicker: The Middle East explodes on Sept. 11. The U.S. embassy in Cairo looks eerily like a replay of the U.S. embassy in Tehran under Jimmy Carter. Hours later in Libya, a U.S. ambassador is killed, the first since the Carter years. By week's end, there are protests against America in more than 20 Middle Eastern cities, including in Iraq, and a sudden surge in violence that kills some U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

Making those anti-Osama signs look haughty and overconfident, demonstrators hoist pro-Osama signs and chant, “We're all Osama!”

It gets worse. Americans learn of amazing presidential incompetence: He didn't attend a single daily intelligence briefing leading up to the 9/11 anniversary. That's right, not one. Worse, he has attended only 44 percent of daily briefings and only about a third this year — while campaigning and meeting with TV personalities and celebrities. This from a man who mocked his opponent's foreign-policy credentials.

But there's more.

In a campaign interview, he says Egypt is not a U.S. ally, prompting a public correction by no less than Carter. Even worse, his administration (including his secretary of State) seems unwilling to call the attacks premeditated or even terrorism and wants to blame an obscure anti-Muhammad video.

On the Sunday talk shows, his U.N. ambassador claims the Libya attack was “not … premeditated.” She is immediately repudiated by the Libyan president, who states there's “no doubt that this was pre-planned, determined.” And media report that U.S. diplomats in Libya had been warned three days before that attack. Then we hear that a terrorist released from Gitmo was involved.

The president, bear in mind, did not attend a single daily intelligence briefing during that period. And still keeps campaigning and talking to celebrities.

Imagine how the media would react if the president were George W. Bush. The New York Times would call for his head.

Now imagine the president is Barack Obama and all this is real — which it is.

Never have I witnessed the media attack a president as they did Bush and protect a president as they have Obama. This is truly extraordinary. Our mainstream media's bias is scandalous.

Paul Kengor is a professor of political science at Grove City College. His books include “The Communist: Frank Marshall Davis, The Untold Story of Barack Obama's Mentor” and “Dupes: How America's Adversaries Have Manipulated Progressives for a Century.” His column appears the first Sunday of each month.

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