The appearance by Dep. National Sec. Advisor Tony Blinken on Fox News Sunday was an example of the Obama White House directly confronting right-wing propaganda at the source.
Transcript via Fox News Sunday:
WALLACE: All right. We’re counting on moderate Syrian rebels to be our ground force in taking on ISIS inside that country, but on Friday, and let’s put some pictures up on the screen, there were a series of demonstrations in cities across Syria. Thousands of Syrians protesting the U.S. airstrikes, saying we’re killing civilians and that we’re also aiding the regime of Bashar al Assad.
In fact, Mr. Blinken, aren’t we alienating the very people that we’re counting on to help defeat ISIS?
BLINKEN: Actually, Chris, we’ve seen strong expressions of support from the Syrian opposition for the effort that we’re making against ISIL.
WALLACE: How do you explain that?
BLINKEN: The moderate opposition is the common denominator to both being able to be a counterweight on the ground to ISIL, and then over time also being a counterweight to Assad. Building them up enables us to have forces on the ground that can deal with ISIL, as we use our airpower and other unique assets.
At the same time, if you’re going to change the dynamics in Syria, if you’re going to get to a political transition that moves Assad out, you have to have a strong moderate opposition. We are doing both.
WALLACE: Fine. Those protesters — and you seem to be ignoring the fact of their protests, thousands of them, they were chanting that “Assad, Obama and the coalition are the enemies of God”. The Assad regime says we’re in the same trenches, fighting with them, on behalf of Bashar al Assad.
Question: Will the president impose a no-fly zone which would, one, show the demonstrators that we are not helping the Assad regime? And also would protect those civilians from attacks from the air from Assad?
BLINKEN: Chris, we’re proceeding very deliberately and taking this one step at a time. First, in Iraq, we have now in place an inclusive Iraqi government, to be the partner on the ground in Iraq, and we’re going to be reforming the Iraqi security forces to work with them.
In Syria, thanks to the strong expression of support from Congress, bipartisan support, majorities in both parties, we now have authority to go ahead and train and equip the moderate Syrian opposition. We have Saudi Arabia, as a partner, working with us. We have other countries who are going to take part in that. This is a process.
WALLACE: What about —
BLINKEN: These are all things that we’re looking at overtime, if they prove useful, necessary and effective, we’ll take them on. But right now, the main emphasis is starting to move ISIL back, get them on their heels, off their toes. We’re already seeing an impact in Iraq where we’ve taken strikes, and in coordination with Iraqis and the Kurdish forces, we’ve been moving them back. Same thing in Syria, you see the first days of strikes. But again, the president has been very clear. This is going to be a long- term effort. It’s going to be sustained and it’s going to be more effective because we’re going to be working with partners on the ground, not sending in hundreds of thousands of Americans.
As the Republican news network, Fox News had been trying to portray President Obama’s ISIL strategy as a failure since before he officially announced it. What is interesting is that the Obama White House is pushing back by going to the source of the propaganda. The Obama administration was too sensitive to Fox News early on, think Shirley Sherrod and Van Jones. They tried to ignore Fox News and freeze them, and now they have moved on to the most effective strategy of directly knocking down the falsehoods.
Fox News is the Republican talking points dissemination machine. Fox claims that the Syrian people oppose Obama’s strategy, but they feature guests and hosts that want boots on the ground in Syrian. If the Syrian people oppose bombing, they really aren’t going to like having an invading army on their soil. However, consistency and logical thought aren’t what Fox News is about.
Fox is trying to score partisan points before a midterm election. The network was gung ho in their support of Bush’s war of choice, and one suspects that if a Republican president were bombing ISIL, Fox News would be leading the media flag waving. There is no better way to counter the right-wing propaganda than challenging it on the network that is disguised as news.
Jason is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association
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