For much of the past week Fox News has been complaining that President Obama has not done enough for the people of Libya. Most of these stories castigated the President as a weak leader who was ignoring massive suffering on the part of people who are fighting for their freedom against a brutal tyrant. As the story unfolded Fox Nation posted items with headlines that constructed a dramatic story of incompetence and neglect.
The Fox Nationalists painted a picture of a “President Gone AWOL” who “Bows the the UN” that “Authorizes No-Fly Zone” so that allies “Declare Military Action” while “Obama Outsources the War to the French.” So obviously the story climaxes with…
“Serious Doubts Raised About Obama’s War In Libya.” That’s right – it’s now Obama’s war. A military action that Obama was supposedly to indecisive to start, and too much a follower to lead, is now declared to be a full-fledged war that belongs solely to Obama. When did Obama return from being AWOL? When did he assume ownership from the French? When did it become a war?
In truth, there are legitimate reasons to raise doubts about this affair. While the Libyans are certainly in dire need, and the action was supported by the UN as well as the Arab League, the United States is not particularly well situated for sinking into another potential mid-east quagmire. But that’s exactly why this action should not be led by the U.S. Ceding a more prominent role to the French, the British, and regional players not only prevents the U.S. from bearing the bulk of the military and financial responsibility, it weakens the inevitable accusation that this is just another imperialistic adventure on the part of the United States.
However, for Fox to mischaracterize the course of events so deceitfully is – well, actually it’s just the way Fox operates. Before the military action Obama was indecisive and compassionless. In the formative stages he was weak and lacked leadership. Now, during the assault, when we and our troops are at the most risk, Fox chooses to focus on doubts expressed by the President’s political opponents.
It’s safe to predict that after the action is completed and Qaddafi is awaiting trial in the Hague for crimes against humanity, Fox will lead with “Obama Bows to the Netherlands in Qaddafi prosecution.” Or maybe “Kenyan President of U.S. Hands Libyan Dictator Over to Dutch Dope Smokers.”