Is Obama Getting a Pass for Monday’s Air Force One NYC Flyover?

Wednesday's Example of Media Bias   —   Posted on April 29, 2009

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-Read the excerpt below from NewsBusters.org.
-Read "Types of Media Bias" in the right column. Then answer the questions.

If George W. Bush’s White House military office had staged an Air Force One photo op flyover of Manhattan without warning New Yorkers beforehand resulting in buildings being evacuated and widespread panic, would media have castigated him for his wreckless stupidity and obvious disengagement from tensions those in the area still have due to 9/11?

This seems an important question given what happened Monday, and how the press are covering the incident with someone in the White House they can’t hide their love for.

As the Associated Press reported Tuesday…:

It was supposed to be a photo op that captured images of an Air Force One plane with a majestic Statue of Liberty in the background. Instead, it turned into a public relations nightmare that led to recriminations from the president and mayor and prompted thousands of others to ask, “What were they thinking?”

Recriminations FROM the president? Excuse me, but as the story continues, we find that HIS administration was responsible:

Just before the workday began on Monday, an airliner and supersonic fighter jet zoomed past the lower Manhattan skyline. Within minutes, startled financial workers streamed out of their offices, fearing a nightmarish replay of Sept. 11.

For a half-hour, the Boeing 747 and F-16 jet circled the Statue of Liberty and the Financial District near the World Trade Center site. Offices evacuated. Dispatchers were inundated with calls. Witnesses thought the planes were flying dangerously low.

But the flyover was nothing but a photo op, apparently one of a series of flights to get pictures of [the President’s plane – Air Force One] in front of national landmarks.

It was carried out by the Defense Department with little warning, infuriating New York officials and putting the White House on the defense. Even Mayor Michael Bloomberg didn’t know about it, and he later called it “insensitive” to fly so near the site of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

The director of the White House military office, Louis Caldera, took the blame a few hours later. …

“Last week, I approved a mission over New York. I take responsibility for that decision,” Caldera said. “While federal authorities took the proper steps to notify state and local authorities in New York and New Jersey, it’s clear that the mission created confusion and disruption. I apologize and take responsibility for any distress that flight caused.”

When told of the flight, President Barack Obama was furious, a White House official said on the condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations.

So, Obama is off the hook because he’s furious?

Amazingly, protecting the president from responsibility or scrutiny concerning this matter seemed top priority to his adoring fans in the media. The “NBC Nightly News” didn’t even mention Obama’s name in their brief segment on the story. …

CBS’s Katie Couric [said] in her “Evening News” report Monday…:

A scare in New York today. Workers in skyscrapers near Ground Zero looked out to see a low-flying 747 shadowed by a fighter jet. With images of 9/11 still fresh in their minds, people poured into the streets. Turns out it was one of President Obama’s planes doing a photo shoot near the Statue of Liberty. The White House military office is apparently updating its photo file of Air Force One near national landmarks. The president reportedly furious about the incident and the military office has apologized.

And that’s it.

Is this how the coverage would have went if this incident happened while Bush was in power? Would a totally unknown official in the White House military office been allowed to apologize, and the president get a pass because he was furious?

Or would … the press have viciously excoriated the president for his astounding stupidity and disengagement from the public he serves?

Read the original post at newsbusters.org.

Questions

1.  Do you think this is an example of bias by spin and/or omission?  Explain your answer.

2.  Do you think that the media would have reported this story differently if it had been done by the Bush administration?  Explain your answer.  Ask a parent the same question.


Scroll down to the bottom of the page for the answers.
























Answer(s)

1. Opinion question. Answers vary. 

2. Opinion question. Answers vary.