The day after the bombing—authorities are looking for answers
. Other people are looking for someone to blame. But thankfully, most people are just looking for ways to help. Not everyone is a first responder, but when something like this happens, we all have a first response, and for most of us, that first response is something that can make us all feel good about us.
President Obama knows that his response has to be reassuring, calm, and reasonable
—all the while knowing that the response to his response will be the exact opposite of all of those things. What the President of the United States says in a situation like this is critical. What the pundits say about him will also be critical—but not in the same sense of the word. It’s difficult for the President to formulate a response in the immediate aftermath. The information is very sketchy—and so are the people who will be criticizing his reaction.
Obama said “people shouldn’t jump to conclusions before we have all the facts.” The people who “jump to conclusions” don’t even have to jump. They’re standing on their conclusions before the incident even occurs. For the rightwing media, the reaction to an event like this is like the obituary of someone who died at age 101—they already have it all written and ready to go.
We have to be careful not to pull a “Richard Jewell
.” If you don’t know who Richard Jewell is, back in 1996 after the bombing at the Olympics in Atlanta, nobody knew who Richard Jewell was either—but everybody was sure that they did. Jewell was a security guard at the 1996 Olympics. He discovered the pipe bomb, alerted police, and helped evacuate the area before the bomb went off. His actions saved many lives, and very quickly led the media to start to unravel his own life. Jewell was later suspected as being the bomber, based solely on the fact that he found the bomb and seemed to fit some sort of stereotype as a law enforcement wannabe lone wolf bomber. He was profiled as the type of person who could easily be a bomber. The world is full of people who could easily be a bomber. The fact is that hardly any of them actually is a bomber. The world is also full of people who can respond correctly and even heroically to finding a bomb. As it turns out, Richard Jewell fit that profile perfectly.
Bill O’Reilly’s big talking point seemed to be that Obama was wrong to call this tragic event a tragedy
—and it made about as much sense as it sounds. Bill said Obama “made one mistake. The President called the attack a tragedy. It was not. It was a vile act of violence, designed to kill innocent people, including children.” Bill, you’re describing a tragedy! Yes, it was more than a tragedy, but it was undeniably a tragedy. Bill said“It’s not a tragedy. I mean, these are well thought out, military campaigns, directed against civilians. This is what the Nazis did.” Does Bill O’Reilly think that planning and forethought lessen the impact of a tragedy? Yes folks, this may SEEM tragic, but somebody put a lot of thought into it. Therefore, it is no tragedy in Bill O’Reilly’s book. If it seems mean or small to criticize Bill O’Reilly over his choice of words—that is exactly what Bill O’Reilly chose to do to our President on the day of a national... ahem... tragedy.
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