I don’t think anyone outside the sphere of Muslim fundamentalism is glad over the attack against the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya, in which four Americans citizens were killed. Not liberals, not conservatives, or any third parties. So it’s really sad to see how Obama’s comment in the Daily Show when he said that this incident was “not optimal” has been exploited by right-wing media and pundits.
I say exploited because if you watch the clip above it’s obvious that Stewart is using an understatement that Obama picked up and used himself in his response. Now, you may criticize both of them for using a rather humorous expression like an understatement when discussing such a tragic event, even in a comedy show. But if we ask ourselves what Obama (and Stewart) actually meant by this, the answer can be found in any dictionary or encyclopedia. Here is Wikipedia’s definition,
Understatement is a form of speech which contains an expression of less strength than what would be expected. This is not to be confused with euphemism, where a polite phrase is used in place of a harsher or more offensive expression.
That makes it pretty clear that Obama did not view the attack on the consulate as something to be taken lightly – quite the opposite. And every news media and pundit – like The Washington Post, The National Review, Mediaite, Rush Limbaugh, and Pamela Geller – who pretend to not know what an understatement is should be ashamed of themselves. All of them also quote Pat Smith, mother of consulate staffer Sean Smith who was among those killed in the attack, as saying,
“It’s insensitive to say my son is not very optimal – he is also very dead.”
I’m not saying she didn’t say it, I don’t think it changes anything, but why are all of them using the same single source – the infamous British tabloid Daily Mail? What does that say about their interest in getting to the truth? If you’re only source is the Daily Mail and you go with story anyway then you don’t give a crap about the truth.
Obama is not the bad guy here. It’s those right-wing vultures like Limbaugh and Geller who are using this tragedy to score points by deliberately misinterpreting what Obama said, while simultaneously pretending to empathize with the victims and their families.
And for the record: I don’t like the liberals who used to ridicule Sarah Palin and who are now demonizing Mitt Romney either. Politics should be about the issues – not about hating people.