A global war on the U.S. First Amendment is escalating, as our president and his surrogates apologize for a video no one ever heard of before attacks on U.S. interests began to blaze around the globe.
How did media bungle their response? Just like our president bungled his.
Almost every major network led with headers suggesting GOP presumed nominee Mitt Romney bungled his response to messaging from the U.S. Embassy in Cairo.
You have to put a few key moments in perspective on the timeline:
[From the U.S. Embassy in Cairo on Sept. 11 ‘about 6 a.m.] “The Embassy of the United States in Cairo condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims…We firmly reject the actions by those who abuse the universal right of free speech to hurt the religious beliefs of others.”
By 6:30 p.m., the embassy Tweeted that it stood by that statement.
At 10:10 p.m. Politico put out a statement that the Obama administration disavowed the Embassy statement.
At 10:24 p.m. Romney made a statement:
I'm outraged by the attacks on American diplomatic missions in Libya and Egypt and by the death of an American consulate worker in Benghazi. It's disgraceful that the Obama administration's first response was not to condemn attacks on our diplomatic missions, but to sympathize with those who waged the attacks.
The Obama campaign fired back criticizing Romney for criticizing Obama.
The next day in Jacksonville (Fla.) reporters set up an impromptu ambush. Romney decided to make a statement and unlike Obama, Romney took questions. Here’s a very relevant part of what Romney said:
America will not tolerate attacks against our citizens and against our embassies. We'll defend, also, our constitutional rights of speech and assembly and religion. We have confidence in our cause in America. We respect our Constitution. We stand for the principles our Constitution protects. We encourage other nations to understand and respect the principles of our Constitution, because we recognize that these principles are the ultimate source of freedom for individuals around the world.
That statement was actually Reaganesque, not only in content but in spirit, especially those first four words.
Republicans should have been praising our nominee universally. In the direct face of a threat against our rights, Romney recognized the threat and addressed it.
Our president and his surrogates are still blaming that filmmaker who has been rumored to be a Coptic Christian from Egypt and whose anger at Muslims would surprise no well-informed mind considering the outright persecution of Copts rarely mentioned by U.S. media. Worse, the FBI apprehended the filmmaker, allegedly because of conflicts with his probation requirements from a financial fraud crime.
Not one media outlet has mentioned the persecution of the Copts.
The underlying issue for Americans, other than self-defense, is the First Amendment and international aims to enact blasphemy laws.
The Obama administration has been no lover of the First Amendment, dating to before his election:
Missouri law enforcement resources were designated to police anti-Obama ads. Source for that claim? Official pages of the Missouri governor’s office. The governor said Democrats had “attached the stench of police state tactics to the Obama-Biden campaign…”
1) Obama’s Homeland Security Dept. issued a new report titled ‘Rightwing Extremism’, describing extresmists as : “those that are mainly antigovernment, rejecting federal authority in favor of state or local authority, or rejecting government authority entirely. It may include groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration.”
2) Obama obtained a seat for the U.S. on the UN Human Rights Council. That Council has been dedicated to getting a law passed against “defamation of religion.” The prime beneficiary in Resolution 7/19 and others like it is Islam. Countries under Islamic rule are dedicated to getting an international blasphemy law passed.
The Obama Administration gets serious about healthcare reform with a “something’s fishy” campaign, asking Americans to monitor emails and websites for “disinformation about health insurance reform.” Obama set up an email at the White House for people to report on anyone from the aspiring blogger to the grassroot activist.
The Obama administration has also criticized conservative talk show hosts and media.
The latest lapse in oversight of government limitation on speech occurred as protesters in North Africa and Asia vandalized property and either threatened or harmed U.S. personnel in the region.
There is no way to monitor every anti-anything statement in a free country. The U.S. cannot cave on this issue and nor can we lead from behind.
U.S media have been complicit in refusing to stand up for the amendment they might appreciate if they weren’t so intent on reelecting a Democrat. Academics are mute.
In the book The Future of Blasphemy: Speaking of the Sacred in the Age of Human Rights, Austin Dacey wrote:
The onus is on the agents of civil society—nongovernmental organizations, journalists, academics, educators, individual citizens—to demand that states and international bodies stand up for the free exercise of conscience even when it defiles the sacred.”**
America needs a leader to remind the East of that “onus” every time terrorists whip devotees into a frenzy of anti-American rage.
Obviously Obama’s State Department was unprepared and lacked vigilance.
Worse, to lay blame on a filmmaker for deaths that could have been prevented by our government is a shameful political tactic enabled by media.
Drone strikes that kill both terrorists and civilians as well as promoting the death of Osama bin Laden are surefire triggers for Islamist unrest.
Romney said the right thing at the right time. That so many failed to acknowledge that and that so few media refuse to question the administration in office should give every one of us concern.
(Commentary by Kay B. Day/Sept. 16, 2012)
**Cited from Reason magazine, June, 2012.