Opinion

Media whitewash can’t cover for Obama on Egypt

Not even the friendliest media can make this look good.

John Kerry was the one off yachting on Friday, but the whole White House was adrift on judging the course of events in Egypt, The New York Times reported Saturday.

This is The Times, though, so the headline says “Egyptian Crisis FindsWashington Largely Ambivalent and Aloof.”

tankspyramids“Ambivalent and Aloof” to the rest of the world means utterly confused. Cairo, the city where the newly minted President Obama gave his famed “address to the Arab world” in 2009 is in upheaval and Obama is silent. The Arab nation whose peace treaty with Israel is the cornerstone of American policy in the Middle East is in disarray, and the president of the United States – who last time around demanded the ouster of a 30-year ally – is “aloof.”

“Embarrassed,” might be a better word, since the guy who came in was so much worse than the guy we kicked out.

The Times reports:

“At one point, Mr. Obama cultivated a relationship with Mr. (Mohammed) Morsi and for a while in November thought he could be an effective partner … But within days, Mr. Morsi issued a decree claiming vast new powers, quickly puncturing the optimism in the White House and elsewhere in Washington …

(Barack “Executive Orders” Obama doesn’t like presidents who claim “vast new powers.” That’s interesting.)

Meanwhile, the White House reaction to events as reported by The Times – the most Obama-friendly paper in the country – sounds like a parody of crisis management.

“The president met in the Situation Room on Thursday with his national security team, and the White House released a photograph showing the session. Obama’s decision to go golfing on Friday angered some Egyptians, and the only public comment from the administration as the crackdown in Cairo turned violent came from a State Department spokeswoman urging calm.”

They had a meeting. They took pictures. They urged calm.

And the guy in charge of the State Department took his own advice and stayed calm aboard his wife’s yacht in Nantucket.

Back in 2009, the same year as the Cairo address no one can remember these days, Obama got a lot of adulatory coverage when he told reporters he’d made no immediate comment on the collapse of insurance-giant AIG because, “I like to know what I’m talking about.”

He should have said, “I’m just being Ambivalent and Aloof.”

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