Yet again, an Obama official says "Muslim," right-wing media freak-out follows

Blog ››› ››› JULIE MILLICAN

During a recent interview on Al Jazeera, NASA administrator Charles Bolden discussed President Obama's efforts to improve Muslim outreach and said that Obama "wanted me to find a way to reach out to the Muslim world and engage much more with dominantly Muslim nations to help them feel good about their historic contribution to science ... and math and engineering." Bolden said that this wasn't "a diplomatic anything. What it is is that [Obama is] trying to expand our outreach, so that we can get more people to contribute to the things that we do." Bolden then discussed examples of other countries' valuable contributions to the International Space Station and added: "So it is a matter of trying to reach out to get the best of all worlds, if you will. And there is much to be gained from drawing the contributions that are possible from Muslim nations."

Of course, since an Obama official made completely noncontroversial comments about reaching out to the Muslim world in order to gain contributions to the fields of science and technology, the right-wing media freaked out.

For instance:

  • Byron York: "Obama's new mission for NASA: Reach out to Muslim world." In a July 5 Washington Examiner column, Byron York highlighted some of Bolden's comments about "reach[ing] out to the Muslim world," and wrote that in a June 15 speech, Bolden discussed the fact that "in the past NASA worked mostly with countries that are capable of space exploration. But that, too, has changed in light of Obama's Cairo initiative." York quoted Bolden saying: "He asked NASA to change ... by reaching out to 'non-traditional' partners and strengthening our cooperation in the Middle East, North Africa, Southeast Asia and in particular in Muslim-majority nations ... NASA has embraced this charge.'"
  • Hot Air: "Congress needs to either get the White House to redefine its mission for NASA or cut off its funds until the self-esteem party is canceled." Seizing on York's column, Hot Air's Ed Morrissey complained that all of the "new mission[s] of NASA" have "one thing in common: they have nothing to do with space." Absent from Morrissey's criticism was the fact that Bolden specifically mentioned the potential for Muslim nations to contribute to the International Space Station. But more to the point, York quoted Bolden saying: "NASA is not only a space exploration agency, but also an earth improvement agency." NASA's Earth Sciences Division and global climate modeling are a testament to that fact. Nonetheless, Morrissey demanded that Congress "either get the White House to redefine its mission for NASA or cut off its funds until the self-esteem party is canceled."
  • Krauthammer: "This idea of 'feel good about your past' scientific achievements is the worst kind of group therapy, psycho-babble, imperial condescension and adolescent diplomacy." On Fox's Special Report with Bret Baier, Charles Krauthammer attacked the administration for prioritizing this outreach, saying, "This is a new of fatuousness. NASA was established to get America into space and to keep us there. This idea of 'feel good about your past' scientific achievements is the worst kind of group therapy, psycho-babble, imperial condescension and adolescent diplomacy. If I didn't know that Obama had told him this, I'd demand the firing of Charles Bolden."
    Hoft: "Don't hold back, Charles." In a July 5 Gateway Pundit post, Jim Hoft highlighted Krauthammer's comments, saying, "Don't hold back Charles." Hoft also linked back to York's Washington Examiner column.
  • Atlas Shrugs: "Obama's obsession with ceding the free world to the umma" is "positively scary." In an Atlas Shrugs post, Pam Geller wrote of Bolden's comments: "How bad is Obama's obsession with ceding the free world to the umma (the Muslim world community)? It's positively scary. Not only did he slash NASA's key programs and cut space exploration, but also he told them to redirect their efforts towards Muslim countries."
  • Bolling: "should we really go so far as to make sure that Muslims are cool with our space program?" On the July 6 Fox & Friends, co-host Steve Doocy introduced video of Bolden's remarks by saying Bolden made "such an extraordinary claim." After airing a portion of Bolden's interview, Doocy said, "Huh? Huh?" Guest host Eric Bolling asked, "Should we really go so far as to make sure that Muslims are cool with our space program?"

Of course none of these conservatives can come up with a single reason why working with Muslim countries to "get more people to contribute" to advancements in science and technology is a bad thing.

Take a look:

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