Secretary of State John Kerry appeared before Congress Tuesday to pitch the White House’s case for military action against Syria. Coverage of the discussions on the floor in congress have led the front page of the website of the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Christian Science Monitor, the Daily Beast and Fox News.
In the wake of the murder of over 1,400 Syrian civilians by sarin gas, President Obama and his staff have been pushing for consensus support in punishing the nation’s president, Assad, and his military capabilities for the war crimes committed against their own people. It seems, according to each web site, that Mr. Obama is likely to be granted 90 days to conduct military operations as well as a an option for congress to allow an extra 30 days if needed to accomplish military objectives.
After initially reading proffered by the New York Times I moved on to the Wall Street Journal, the flag ship paper of Fox News owner Rupert Murdoch. One might expect such an entity to subscribe to a position contrary to the Time’s report of support from all sides of the President’s request. But such was not the case.
According to the Journal, though Kerry spent hours in front of congress fielding questions from both parties, he left with support from many Republicans and Democrats alike.
Bereft of opposition, the next article across the screen came via the conservative website, the Daily Beast. But here also coverage paid to regards to any hyped grudges between parties, instead sticking to quotes and a general consensus that Syria had gone too far and that to neglect action would invite further chemical attacks, biological warfare or even the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction in the region and beyond.
The same tone was found on the pages of The Christian Science Monitor and even the reliable foils to Democrats, FoxNews.com. Lead articles at both sides reported the consensus for a call to action without any outcry against the political opposition. The only real difference in the reporting was the interpretation of Kerry’s remarks regarding the prohibition of the use of soldiers on the ground.
While the first three sites conveyed that troops would not be allowed in combat operations, they left the door open for troops to be deployed in the event that possession of the chemical weapons by radical forces became a threat. The latter sources seemed to take from the meeting that Kerry bowed to opposition and agreed that boots on the ground could be taken off the table as an option regardless of circumstance.
After searching so many right leaning sources it was surprising to find no one sporting any real opposition to Obama and his plans, but then Fox News reared its combative head in the form of links to videos from the news channel itself.
While their lead article took a very reasoned and objective view of the facts, relying on facts and quotes to build the story, the videos featuring their vitriolic talking heads were replete with assumptions regarding the White House’s lack of plans, lack of sincerity, and disdain for congress, as well as a healthy lack of trust for the president.
With titles like “Has Obama set a trap for Congress with Syria,” America’s handling of Syria unbecoming of a superpower?” and “Obama failing to lead on Syria,” the pundits were about as even handed as one would expect. Contributor Allen West and host Greta Van Susteren agreed that Obama had little respect for Congress and would surely do as he liked regardless of their vote. Frequent guest and “syndicated columnist” Charles Krauthammer contended that Obama “doesn’t have a strategy” at all.
And Bill O’Rielly? To be fair Bill O’Rielly, as he is apt to do more often than many liberals would care to admit, took a very reasoned and humanitarian view. He agreed that President Obama was left with little choice and that America had the responsibility to act in the defense of the defenseless as well as the future safety or our nation and our allies.
Sometimes you find allies in the strangest places.