Accuracy in Media

Former CBS Evening News anchor Dan Rather appeared on Piers Morgan Tonight this week to promote his new book, and told Morgan that he was impressed enough with Obama’s foreign policy to give the President an A for his efforts.

Morgan: When you look at President Obama’s foreign policy since he became President, are you impressed by the way that he has conducted it?

Rather: I am. I am personally impressed and, furthermore, I think most of the American people—a majority—are impressed. He hasn’t done it perfectly, but, let’s face it: he’s ended one war, the Iraq War. He got—he didn’t get—U.S. military people got, but on his watch, he got Osama bin Laden. We’ve also made rather great strides in trying to stabilize the situation with China. It hangs in the balance right now. But I think he gets an A on foreign policy. However, one must note, American elections are very rarely decided on foreign policy. It’s about the economy and jobs, that would be the determining factor. But I think President Obama may be helped by what he’s done in foreign policy, particularly the gutting of Obama [sic] on his watch. Again, one always wants to emphasize he didn’t do it, the troops did it—

Morgan admitted that was true, but said he thought it was churlish for people to criticize Obama for reminding them that he issued the order to kill bin Laden.

The criticism that Morgan is referring to is of the new Obama campaign ad that focuses on the decision Obama made to go into Pakistan to kill Osama bin Laden. The ad features Bill Clinton.

In the ad, the Obama campaign questioned what Mitt Romney would have done had he been the president, in an effort to cast doubt on Romney’s suitability for the office.

It was that question, not the reminder of the successful mission to kill bin Laden, that has led to criticism from conservatives and liberals, including Arianna Huffington, Dana Milbank and Jon Meacham.

That doesn’t seem to be very churlish to me.

If Rather is going to give Obama an A for his foreign policy, then he should give Bush one as well, since all Obama really has done in this area of combating terrorism is, as The New York Times’ Thomas Friedman said last year, to execute his predecessor’s strategy. And Obama has done a fairly good job in that department.

But that would mean praising Bush, who Rather tried to help defeat in 2004 with his deceitful report on Bush’s National Guard service. Rather is still stubbornly clinging to his claim that the report was accurate, even after it was proven to be riddled with inaccuracies and misrepresentations.

Rather is getting the grand treatment from his friends in the mainstream media, who have conveniently avoided asking him the tough questions about the inglorious end to his long career at CBS, allowing him to give his own unchallenged biased view.

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