The Corner

Who Jumped The Gun, Exactly?

The establishment-press position is that Mitt Romney outrageously jumped the gun in his condemnation of the Obama administration’s response to the attacks on our embassies (even though the administration soon moved to exactly Romney’s position, condemning the U.S. embassy’s response). For reasons laid out by Rich Lowry, Byron York, and others, I think that’s all wrong.

I understand and can respect the opposing point of view, by the way. I don’t think it’s ridiculous to argue that Romney jumped the gun. I do think, however, the obsession with the issue is beyond ridiculous. It should have been a minor sidebar question, taking up a few minutes on Sunday shows. Instead, we’ve gotten to the point where the MSM seems to be treating the ongoing turmoil in the Middle East and the metastasizing attacks on our embassies as an unfortunate distraction from the “real story” of Romney’s incompetence. Indeed, much of the political press seems to have decided that their job is to explain why Romney shouldn’t be president. In an effort to master self-parody, Chris Matthews now believes it was “arrogant” for Romney to even run against Obama in the first place.

Anyway, amidst a remarkable amount of tut-tutting and chest-thumping from journalists about Romney’s rush to (an accurate) judgment, very little attention has been paid to the fact the same mainstream media so quick to denounce Romney’s overeagerness just happened to report that this video was produced by a bunch of nefarious Jews eager to slander Muhammed and sow bloodshed across the Muslim world. And they got the story entirely wrong. Corrections are now being issued but the damage was done. Obviously, this is a bit of an apples-to-oranges comparison, since the media and a presidential campaign aren’t exactly the same thing. But given the determination of the “objective” press corps to impose its editorial judgment into their coverage, it just feels worthwhile to point out that their error was far more egregious and harmful than anything Romney said. 

Jonah Goldberg, a senior editor of National Review and the author of Suicide of the West, holds the Asness Chair in Applied Liberty at the American Enterprise Institute.

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