This morning — stunned that our president was raising money in Vegas and prepping for a party with Beyonce while our embassies burn — I asked myself: “What if Barack Obama were a Republican? How would the media cover these last few days?” After living through eight years of coverage of the Bush administration, it’s not hard to guess. Let’s suppose, just for a moment, that the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the L.A. Times covered Obama like they covered Bush. I present the top six headlines (with opening sentences):
1. New York Times: “President Attends Vegas Fundraiser as Middle East Protests Rage.” Top Aides to President Barack Obama struggled to keep track of events in the Middle East and to contain the political fallout from Mr. Obama’s decision to proceed with Las Vegas Fundraiser even while American embassies were under attack across the Middle East . . .”
2. New York Times: “News Analysis: Is There Now a ‘Promise Gap’ in Foreign Policy?” As Democratic challenger Mitt Romney runs ads in battleground states comparing Mr. Obama’s campaign promises to his economic performance, new ads are set to air contrasting the mass rallies in support of Mr. Obama in his 2008 campaign with the mass riots roiling the Middle East . . .”
3. Washington Post: ”In Midst of Crisis, President Sends Mixed Messages to Egypt.” Less than a day after accusing his Democratic rival, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, of “shooting first and aiming later,” the administration was forced to backtrack from the President’s declaration that Egypt was not an ally . . .
4. Washington Post: ”News Analysis: Ghost of the Carter Campaign Haunts President.” In 1980 humiliating images of blindfolded American hostages filled TV screens across America, dooming President Carter’s already-struggling presidential campaign. In 2012, black flags fly over U.S. embassies as the administration appears unable to defend American diplomatic outposts abroad . . .
5. Los Angeles Times: ”Critics Recall McCarthyism as Department of Justice ID’s Controversial Filmmaker.” The Department of Justice publicly identified the maker of a controversial film critical of Islam, raising concerns about the filmmakers safety and about the DOJ’s commitment to free speech . . .
6. Los Angeles Times: ”Hollywood Rages as Department of Justice Targets Amateur Director.” A coalition of actors, producer, and directors held a blistering press conference outside of Department of Justice offices in Los Angeles, accusing the administration of an ‘unconscionable attack on free speech’ after the DOJ disclosed the identity of the controversial director of “The Innocence of Muslims” . . .
Ahh well, I guess we’ll have to wait until the Romney presidency to watch mainstream journalists actually do their job.