The Right Opinion

Questions the Press Doesn't Ask

By Mona Charen · Dec. 25, 2012

Merry Christmas to the Fourth Estate! Hope you've enjoyed your goose or turkey or whatever your family tradition includes (latkes for those who are Jewish). When you return to work, there are a few loose ends on which you might want to follow up.

“Follow up.” It's a term that has gone out of style in the age of Obama. You members of the press have become remarkably uncurious since he's been in the White House. A blanket of benevolent uncuriousness smothers news about Obama administration wrongdoing.

The Secretary of State, who took “full responsibility” for the Benghazi debacle, has not once been publicly questioned about it. Called to testify before a House committee this week, she pleaded illness – a fall resulting in a concussion. She says she will testify in January. Perhaps members of Congress will ask what the press has not. Who made the decision to deny the requested additional security to our diplomats? Where is a copy of the order President Obama says he issued requiring that “everything possible” be done to save our personnel who were under attack? (Former Assistant Secretary of Defense Bing West notes that such orders are always written down.) Were Navy seals stationed in Benghazi told to “stand down” rather than render assistance? Who told Susan Rice to say that the attack grew out of a protest, when there was no protest?

Speaking of that non-existent protest, isn't anyone even a little uncomfortable at the spectacle of the United States government arresting a guy for making a video (however “crude and offensive”)? On orders of this administration, an FBI team descended upon and locked up Nakoula Basseley Nakoula. He may be a petty criminal and an idiot, but that's not the point. Aren't members of press sensitive about infringements of the First Amendment? Besides, what sort of message does it send to extremists around the globe when the U.S. cracks down on expressions of “blasphemy” toward Mohammed? Won't they congratulate themselves on intimidating us?

You may want to ask. Just saying.

Oh, and here's something else you forgot to be inquisitive about. An unpaid intern working in the office of Democratic New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez (who was reelected on Nov. 6) was arrested on Dec. 6. It seems the 18-year-old illegal immigrant from Peru (who helped the senator on immigration issues!) was a registered sex offender. ICE knew about him, but he was repeatedly told by higher ups at DHS, according to a government source, to delay the arrest until after the election. If true, that's a remarkable politicization of law enforcement. So far, one “no comment” from a government official has sufficed to quiet your inquiries.

During the campaign (we learned after the election), the Obama administration undertook to devise guidelines for the use of unmanned aerial vehicles or drones. “There was a concern that the levers might no longer be in our hands,” an official told The New York Times. In other words, a Republican president would need guidelines for the use of Hellfire missiles, but with President Obama in the White House, safeguards are unnecessary. His unerring judgment is all that's required. The president has presided over the deaths of an estimated 2,500 individuals – including some American citizens – through the drone program of targeted assassinations. Isn't the press interested in what sort of guidelines the administration recommends imposing on its successor? On itself? Oh, wait, with the election safely past, the guidelines are on hold.

Finally, this isn't a scandal, an abuse of power, or an example of hypocrisy, but it's such a blatant display of moral confusion that it begs for questioning. The Syrian dictator Bashar Assad, (about whom the next secretary of state was so wrong), has killed roughly 25,000 civilians and uprooted 1.2 million more. Human Rights Watch reported that there are 27 known torture centers run by the Syrian military. Yet the president has said that only the use of chemical weapons represents a “red line” that Syria must not cross. “If you make the tragic mistake of using these weapons,” he warned earlier this month, “there will be consequences and you will be held accountable.” Question: Doesn't that mean that Assad will not be held accountable for the rest? What is the logic of that?

You might ask. If it's not too much trouble.

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6 Comments

M Rick Timms MD in Georgia said:

All great points Mona. But the short answer is.... they won't ask.

And unless something changes in the House leadership ( such as electing Allen West to be the first Speaker that is not a sitting member of the House ) the GOP is not gonna make a real issue of these unasked questions either.

They may hold some hearings but there will be NO media Coverage, and when it is covered the leading questions will indict the "right wing conspiracy to make Obama look bad". The House Leadership needs to be shouting these questions from the podium all day, every day.

Just like the left - if you say something long enough, loud enough , and often enough eventually people will begin to believe it. We will see.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012 at 2:41 AM

Robinius in Broomfield, Colorado said:

Why has no one pressed for an answer to where Syria's chemical weapons came from? Is it because they likely came from Saddam Hussein and all the jerks who whined "Bush lied, people died" would be proven wrong?

Tuesday, December 25, 2012 at 5:12 PM

Wayne in Hinesville, GA said:

Odumbo flat stated that if Assad used chemical weapons there would be consequences. According to some reports he has already done so. Now its time for Odumbo to act or then the entire world will know he is a liar and an appeaser. We already knew that fact so its no news to any of us who bother to keep up with what goes on in Pollution on the Potomac. I am sure Assad will be shaking in fear of a strongly worded protest and is even more scared of being held accountable. I would bet that would last about as long as it takes to read the protest. He knows the UN will do nothing to stop the slaughter and we sure as hell don't need to get involved in another Moslem country. Let the idiots kill each other so we don't have to risk one American life. Our government, to include the RINO's, is a damn joke when it comes to foreign policy.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012 at 5:56 PM

Wayne in Hinesville, GA replied:

I forgot the most important part of all. Traitor Kerry thinks Assad is a wonderful leader

Tuesday, December 25, 2012 at 5:58 PM

Tex Horn in Texas said:

That Obama designed the guidelines for the use of drones is scary, indeed. As a citizen concerned about the use of drones over America, I wrote my Senator, John Cornyn, voicIng my concerns over the use of drones in America. He replied that he thought they could be useful to police and border agents. So, my friends, even the conservatives in Congress are ready to go about spying on you, possibly even murdering you. The establishment Republicans are no more trustworthy than the socialists controlling this country.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012 at 12:22 PM

Cal in in SoCal said:

Mona Charen is an outstanding columnist - reminiscent of "The Press" of
yesteryear. No more. "The Press" is now a propaganda machine for the White House and all Libs. Newspapers and old news magazines have been dying for several decades - soon to be laid to rest permanently. But, the damage to Democracy has been done. Lib politicians have been using taxpayer money to buy their way for several elections and it probably is too late. Look what happened last November. Adios!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012 at 4:14 PM